Karma means actions and explains how our experiences are shaped by our own actions.
Good Karma Bad Karma
Buddha explained that every experience we have is shaped by our own previous actions. Good actions leading to happiness and negative actions leading to unhappiness. Whether an action is good or bad depends upon the intention behind it. When that action is over it leaves an impression in the mind and that impression or karmic imprint will later “ripen” as an experience.
While karma specifically refers to actions it is also often used to refer to the results of actions, our experiences. In any given situation we can find that our experience and those of others can be radically different. According to karma the principal factor governing those experiences are own previous actions.
Understanding Karma leads us to take responsibility for our own actions and thus to avoid blaming others. Accepting that we have created causes for our experiences also encourages us to put energy into improving our current actions. If we improve our actions and the minds that motivate them then we will create positive causes in our mind and experience greater happiness in the future.
Occasionally we can see karma producing immediate results. However, impressions left in the mind can remain there for a long time before they produce their result. Understanding this helps us to understand how people engaging in good actions can experience bad results and vice versa: what is ripening now is due to past actions while the present actions will produce their effect in the future.