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The concept of karma has become such a pervasive part of popular culture that many of us don’t know much about its origins and various interpretations. To many people, karma is the idea that “what goes around, comes around.” Others might think of it as synonymous with a predestined fate. According to Traleg Kyabgon, the Buddha interpreted karma to mean that there are many causes and many conditions, and that our actions can impact our own suffering. The bottom line? Karma is complex, and there’s not one way to define it.

As we explore both ancient and modern interpretations of karma through conversations and films in the Rubin theater this fall, we’ve brought together some of the more popular definitions ““ taken from movies, televisions shows, and songs.

Can you match the karma references on the left with its origin on the right? Even if you get them all correct, there’s still plenty of room for more definitions, so check out the upcoming events in our series.

Karma Quote

1. “You know the kind of guy who does nothing but bad things and then wonders why his life sucks? Well, that was me. Every time something good happened to me, something bad was always waiting round the corner: Karma.”

A. Alicia Keys

2. “Karma is a bitch!”

B. Radiohead

3. “Karma’s a word, like “˜love’. A way of saying “˜what I am here to do.’ I do not resent my karma, I’m grateful for it.”

C. My Name Is Earl

4. “Karma’s justice without the satisfaction.”

D. The Mentalist

5. “It’s called karma baby, and it goes around.”

E. John Lennon

6. “Ain’t no running from karma.”

F. The Matrix Revolutions

7. “You might say she was my karma for how I took advantage of people.”

G. The Way of the Gun

8. “Instant Karma’s gonna get you. Gonna knock you right on the head.”

H. Black Eyed Peas

9. “Bad karma doesn’t have an expiration date.”

I. American Hustle

10. “Karma police, I’ve given all I can. It’s not enough.”

J. Entourage

(Answers: 1-C, 2-J, 3-F, 4-G, 5-A, 6-H, 7-I, 8-E, 9-D, 10-B)