1,030 episodes

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas, people and events that have shaped our world.

In Our Time BBC Podcasts

    • History
    • 4.6 • 4.3K Ratings

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas, people and events that have shaped our world.



    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the doctrine of Karma as developed initially among Hindus, Jains and Buddhists in India from the first millennium BCE. Common to each is an idea, broadly, that you reap what you sow: how you act in this world has consequences either for your later life or your future lives, depending on your view of rebirth and transmigration. From this flow different ideas including those about free will, engagement with the world or disengagement, the nature of ethics and whether intention matters, and these ideas continue to develop today.
    Monima Chadha
    Professor of Indian Philosophy and Tutorial Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford
    Jessica Frazier
    Lecturer in the Study of Religion at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
    Karen O’Brien-Kop
    Lecturer in Asian Religions at Kings College London
    Producer: Simon Tillotson
    In Our Time is a BBC Studios Audio Production
    Reading list:
    J. Bronkhorst, Karma (University of Hawaii Press, 2011)
    J. H. Davis (ed.), A Mirror is for Reflection: Understanding Buddhist Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2017), especially ‘Buddhism Without Reincarnation? Examining the Prospects of a “Naturalized” Buddhism’ by J. Westerhoff
    J. Ganeri (ed.), Ethics and Epics: Philosophy, Culture, and Religion (Oxford University Press, 2002), especially ‘Karma and the Moral Order’ by B. K. Matilal
    Y. Krishan, The Doctrine of Karma: Its Origin and Development in Brāhmaṇical, Buddhist and Jaina Traditions (Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, 1997)
    N.K.G. Mendis (ed.), The Questions of King Milinda: An Abridgement of Milindapañha (Buddhist Publication Society, 1993)
    M. Siderits, How Things Are: An Introduction to Buddhist Metaphysics (Oxford University Press, 2022)
    M. Vargas and J. Dorris (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology (Oxford Univesrity Press, 2022), especially ‘Karma, Moral Responsibility and Buddhist Ethics’ by B. Finnigan
    J. Zu, 'Collective Karma Cluster Concepts in Chinese Canonical Sources: A Note' (Journal of Global Buddhism, Vol.24: 2, 2023)

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
4.3K Ratings

4.3K Ratings

johnmercer ,


This is probalby one of the most important radio series ever conceived. The content is not dumbed down - it is up to date, challenging and thought provoking. The whole series needs to be made available as a national treasure.
Actually here is a request (if anybody reads this) why can we not download all the programmes (since most of us only just got an ipod!) - would love to catch up.

KenCharman ,

Always great

Another outstanding episode

Carlton Fairview ,

Towering achievement

Definitely the greatest programme and podcast of all.
In Our Time is in our time the best thing of all.

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