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(skt.: karma; tib.: le) Literally action. It is the universal law of cause and effect. By doing virtuous actions we produce good karmic seeds and by doing non-virtuous actions we produce bad karmic seeds. These seeds produce certain results according to the karmic laws. Karma is very complex mechanism and only an Enlightened being can understand completely the relations between karmic actions and results. Karma as presented in Buddhist philosophy should not be understood in a fatalistic sense.
The definition of karma given by Buddha Shakyamuni in Nibhedikka Sutra is: Intention, I tell you, is karma. Intending, one does karma by way of body, speech and mind. Another definition of karma, found in Abdhidharmakosha is: Karma is the movement of the mind (mental karma) and what follows (actions of speech and body).
There are many divisions of karma, but some of the most known divisions are:
1. good, bad and neutral karma
2. karma made by body, speech and mind
3. karma that will ripe in this life, karma that will ripe in next life, karma that will ripe in any life after the next one
How karma works is explained by four principles:
1. karma is definite, which means that good karma produces good result and bad karma produces bad result;
2. karma increase exponentially with time;
3. there will be no result if the karma for it is not accumulated;
4. karma does not just dissapear, but always gives a result.