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The Law of Attraction was made popular by the wildly successful film the secret. I very much enjoyed the movie however as a pragmatic Buddhist I was initially sceptical of the Law of Attraction because well, it just seemed too easy to get what you want. Too good to be true as the saying goes.

Here was Linda Byrne saying that all you have to do is think about what you want and the universe will deliver. Buddhists however believe in karma which seems at odds with this theory. Never the less I could not help but be intrigued and wanted to find out more.

So let us compare:

LOA, the mind and karma

Buddhism states (at the cittamatran or mind only level of teachings) that the universe is a projection of our mind. Thus any good or bad karma that will take place in the future must also already be in our mind as potentialities. If this is true, then it follows that concentration on positive things in the present moment should build up our positive store of karma in our mind (so to speak). From this point of view it seems that Buddhism would agree with LOA on how to change our karma to get good things in the future by changing the very content of our mind in the now.

Desire and LOA

Where there is a difference however between Buddhism and the LOA is when it comes to Desire. If we wish for good fortune to befall us in the future, it follows that we have desire. This is not considered a bad thing according to the LOA but it is consider the cause of suffering in Buddhism. So it seems that whilst the LOA may not be in conflict with Buddhism over the way the universe works, it is at odds over the very motivation of why you would want to employ the LOA in the first place.


My personal conclusion (and I am as fallible as the next person) is that whilst the LOA is not contradicted by Buddhism there is one thing that ultimately I do not think it can bring. And that is total peace of mind. And the reason is that peace of mind depends of contentment of what is which includes the lack of having what you want.

Indeed, no-one ever said that the LOA is a recipe for happiness only that it can bring you what you want. (if you see the difference.)

Please leave your comments below.

Peter Radcliffe
Author of "Success Without Stress" and personal Life Coach.

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