Buddha - Diamond sutra - 16 Karma and its meaning
Type of spiritual experience
This is frequently misunderstood. It has almost started to become the same as 'Allah wills it' - well that was our fate! This was not at all what was meant.
Perceptions are retained on death and because perceptions are a record of past life actions and this life actions - a sort of log of events, then we do carry our past with us.
We are here to achieve our destiny as part of the Great work, if we have not bothered in past lives and lived a life entirely geared to our own selfish ends, then in essence we have not been shown to be capable of contributing to creation.
We are and were a passenger. Spiritually, a bit of a waste of space on the planet - consuming scarce and valuable resources and doing nothing.
On the next round we will thus not be given a particularly important task as we have proved we are not up to the job. And those with unimportant tasks do indeed tend to get placed at the bottom of the ladder - 'bottom rung' people [not judged on wealth incidentally].
As the Great work is a project of creation [and destruction] it means that whatever role we get and position in life it may well be a pretty menial one with little opportunity for creativity or destructivity.
Unless we decide, of course, that we are going to break this cycle and do something more positive and helpful.
Karma is in some senses about being much more pro-active in trying to find out what your role is - making the most of what you are good at and educating yourself accordingly.
Turning away from navel gazing, moaning and being a passenger; and actively helping instead!! Incidentally adversity is often the clarion call to do this.
A description of the experience
Section XVI. The Retribution for Past Inaction
Furthermore, Subhuti, if it be that good men and good women who receive and retain this Discourse are downtrodden, their destiny is the inevitable retributive result of inactivity committed in their past mortal lives. By virtue of their present misfortunes the reacting effects of their past will be thereby worked out, and they will be in a position to attain the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment.
Subhuti, I remember the infinitely remote past before Dipankara Buddha. There were 84,000 myriads of multimillions of Buddhas and to all these I made offerings; yes, all these I served without the least trace of fault. Nevertheless, if anyone is able to receive, retain, study and recite this Discourse at the end of the last [500-year] period, he will gain such a merit that mine in the service of all the Buddhas could not be reckoned as one-hundredth part of it, not even one thousand myriad multimillionth part of it - indeed, no such comparison is possible.
Subhuti, if I fully detailed the merit gained by good men and good women coming to receive, retain, study and recite this Discourse in the last period, my hearers would be filled with doubt and might become disordered in mind, suspicious and unbelieving. You should know, Subhuti, that the significance of this Discourse is beyond conception; likewise the fruit of its rewards is beyond conception.