Fate, what does it mean

When I started this post it was in hope to gain a little better understanding of what fate was, but I am as confused even more after I tried to explain it to myself, read on you will understand. You would think that with all the information we have at our finger tips that this would not have been an exercise in futility.

I found today in my readings of my favorite bloggers that the word fate has come up several times and I will post my response to fate here and then I would like to talk a little more about fate, if you will allow.

fate, were it fate that defined us where would we go, is fate real or is it random, I have yet to answer this question and one more, do we as men and women create our own fate, or is it already written in the stars, our bodies, the very building blocks of our souls.

That is what I have used today to describe fate as I see it, but what is fate, how is fate controlled, do you even believe in fate? This is what fate is according to Dictionary.com:

Fate noun:


something that unavoidably befalls a person; fortune; lot: It is always his fate to be left behind.


the universal principle or ultimate agency by which the orderof things is presumably prescribed; the decreed cause ofevents; time: Fate decreed that they would never meet again.


that which is inevitably predetermined; destiny: Death is our ineluctable fate.


a prophetic declaration of what must be: The oracle pronounced their fate.


death, destruction, or ruin.

Wow fate really looks like it sucks, so far nothing good is said about fate, only negative things are said about fate, there has to be something good about fate it can’t be all bad can it? I mean really so far it looks that way. Here Wikipedia (ok so I know not the best source in the world but hay we are trying to find something good about this) uses fate and destiny intertwined are they or are they two separate things, here is what it says about fate:

Although the words are used interchangeably in many cases, fate and destiny can be distinguished. Traditional usage defines fate as a power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events. Fate defines events as ordered or “inevitable” and unavoidable. Classical and European mythology features three goddesses dispensing fate, known as Moirai in Greek mythology, as Parcae in Roman mythology, and as Norns in Norse mythology. They determine the events of the world through the mystic spinning of threads that represent individual human fates.

Well I can see that fate and destiny are two very different things and destiny is not what we are discussing here; we want to know about fate. The explanation on Wikipedia doesn’t give a very clear definition about the word but tells us some history about the word, I think?

Now we find the definition of fate as determined by Merriam Webster:

Fate:  the expected result of normal development<prospective fate of embryonic cells>

Well not much there is there, I wonder if we looked a little closer at the site if we would find more, let’s see shall we? Well here is a little better from Merriam Webster:


: the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do : destiny


a: an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end: disaster; especially: death


a: final outcome: the expected result of normal development <prospective fate of embryonic cells>c: the circumstances that befall someone or something <did not know the fate of her former classmates>


plural capitalized: the three goddesses who determine the course of human life in classical mythology

Still all in all a negative word this fate I am looking for. Even the bible uses fate as a bad word, but does any of this tell us what fate really is, do these definitions make me understand fate any better than I already don’t?

Even the pagan dictionary defines fate as: Fate- The destined result of life after a sequence of fated events. This was taken for the following site: http://onespiritx.tripod.com

Well we have looked at modern definitions of fate let’s see what Buddha says about fate.

What Buddhism says of Fate?
Fate is often said to prevail in everyone’s life in many different religions in the world. Also known as “God’s Will” or “Heaven-will”, it is believed to be predestined by an omnipotent creator or universal force and is not up to an individual to control his/her own fate.

Fate in Buddhism is but a wrong view. Our life and its event are not controlled by an external force (e.g. God, Heaven). All beings are bounded by their previous karma. We use another term call “Destiny” instead, to explain why some things which will happen to an individual will eventually happen. “Destiny”, is the direct result of an individual’s karma from his/her previous lives. The Karma (both wholesome and unwholesome) may be accumulated.

From a Buddhist perspective, a person’s life and events is and will never be the result of a powerful God etc. A person is born into this world due to his previous Karma (both wholesome and unwholesome). In Buddhism, apart from Karma, the three poisons are also the primary causes of rebirth (Ignorance, Greed, and Anger).

Events in life is also subjected to the uprisings and cessations of many conditions, where without some conditions, things would not have happened in a particular way. For instance, you have planted some seeds of a certain plant (in this case Karma). However, without conditions like sunlight and water, your seed no matter how plentiful will not turn into a plant. When conditions do not arise, your seeds will remain as seeds until a period when conditions arise to enable to the seed to potentially grow.

It would be a mistake to blame an entity (e.g. a God) for all unfortunate events in a person’s life. Many Theologists would argue saying bad things are not the fault of God but rather the work of a Devil etc, which sounds illogical to me. If God is so omnipotent, why would he like some people become so rich, while others tormented like slaves. If there was no past lives nor previous karma, how do you justify the difference in the lives of many people? (e.g. Broken families, Illness, Richness etc). Based on a probability game or a zero sum game?

Still even in Buddhism well you have read it for yourself hopefully and I will let you make a judgment on the theories they have provided, I myself have to wrap my head around what exactly they are trying to say, is fate / karma a good or bad thing, in Buddhism it seems to be a bit of both. Still I am unable to define for myself what fate is, do we create our own fate or is our fate preordained? I would like to think that I am in charge of my own fate and not that it is preordained by a higher power. To say that I am as confused as when I started would be an understatement to say the least, did I really think something so big, hell I can’t find a word for how I want to describe it, that I would be able to put a definition to it in a short post. No I didn’t but I thought I might gain a little more understanding of what fate actually was. But I still have no more of a clue than when I started.

With much gratitude and devotion,

Dan Kline


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