Karma is Action
The word karma just basically means action and action can be either bad or good. Actions taken over and over create the tendency to do the same thing again. It’s very like digging a rut in a dirt path. One person walking it disturbs it little but one after another walk it, ruts develop in the path that get deeper over time.
The Workings of Cause and Effect
According to the principle of cause and effect, actions taken in the past create the foundation for the conditions of our lives today. When we act, think, pray or speak we are setting a seed in the depths of our lives. This is called a latent effect. It has not yet become obvious. At some time in the future that latent effect will become manifest when the conditions are right for it to appear.
How Tendencies Appear
Karma also includes the tendencies that exist in each of our lives. They will surface when the appropriate conditions appear. Remember the Holocaust in World War 11? Some people were cowardly and would do anything to protect themselves. Others showed great courage and did what they could at great risk to themselves to help others. These different actions were all examples of internal tendencies which came out under the pressures existing at that time.
Our habits are examples of these tendencies. The person who overeats regularly, or another who always gives what he has to someone who needs it, are examples of karmic tendencies existing in the life of each person.
Past Interpretations of Karma
In past interpretations, karma has been thought of as a fixed, immutable condition that determined an individual’s station in life. It has been used to encourage disadvantaged people to accept their conditions in life as of their own making and to be satisfied with their lot. It also provided the basis for people, who were more fortunate, to believe in their entitlement.
How Nichiren Buddhism Views Karma
Nichiren Buddhism teaches that one of the purposes of Buddhism is to change karma. When you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in front of the Gohonzon and also work for the happiness of others you will find you have the power to alter any negative circumstances in your life, thus changing your karma. You literally have your future in your own hands and can transform it for the better at any time. This is a philosophy of great empowerment which you can prove to yourself.