Karma is the law of moral causation. The theory of Karma is a fundamental doctrine in Buddhism. This belief was prevalent in India before the advent of the Buddha. Nevertheless, it was the Buddha who explained and formulated this doctrine in the complete form in which we have it today.
Though we are neither the absolutely the servants nor the masters of our Karma, it is evident from these counteractive and supportive factors that the fruition of Karma is influenced to some extent by external circumstances, surroundings, personality, individual striving, and so forth. It is this doctrine of Karma that gives consolation, hope, reliance and moral courage to a Buddhist. When the unexpected happens, and we meet with difficulties, failures, and misfortune, the Buddhist realises that they are reaping what has been sown, and we are wiping off a past debt. Instead of quitting or leaving everything to “fate”, we make a strenuous effort to pull the weeds and sow useful seeds in their place, for the future is in our own hands.
He who believes in Karma does not condemn even the most corrupt, for they, too, have their chance to reform themselves at any moment. Though bound to suffer in woeful states, they have hope of attaining eternal Peace. By their own doings they have created their own Hells, and by their own doings they can create their own Heavens, too. A Buddhist who is fully convinced of the law of Karma does not pray to another to be saved but confidently relies on themselves for their own emancipation. Instead of making any self-surrender, or calling on any supernatural agency, we rely on our own will power, and work incessantly for the well-being and happiness of all. This belief in Karma validates our effort and kindles our enthusiasm, because it teaches individual responsibility.
To the ordinary Buddhist, Karma serves as a deterrent, while to an intellectual, it serves as in incentive to do good. He or she becomes kind, tolerant, and considerate. This law of Karma explains the problem of suffering, the mastery of so-called fate and predestination of other religions and about all the inequality of mankind. It squarely puts todays and tomorrow responsibilities for change and hope on us the individual.
Peace and Love, Jim