Karma signifies the actions of living beings that potentially affect their future. Karma is created through the three categories of action:
- mental action
- verbal action
- physical action
These three categories of action represent the causes from which one will experience various effects in the future.
Buddhism teaches that the different characteristics that people possess, such as differences in the country of birth or place of residence, differences in personal abilities, and differences in appearance are all based on the effect of their karma accumulated from previous lifetimes. It is said that people are continuously affected by the karma created by good and evil acts committed in past lives. However, the principle of karma is different from the idea of fatalism. Therefore, it is important to understand that one can change one’s life in the future through one’s present good and evil actions.
Reference: Basic Terminology of Nichiren Shoshu, p. 69.