Reincarnation and Karma – The Operation of Karma Through Successive Lives: Freedom to choose and fate

As a rule, accumulated karma has a certain inertia of its own. It does not change the nature of its momentum unless there is a special reason for it. Before karma is created, the individual has a sort of freedom to choose what it shall be. But after it has been delineated, it becomes a factor that cannot be ignored and that either has to be expended through the results it invites or counteracted by fresh and appropriate karma. The pleasure and pain experienced in life on earth, the successes or failures that attend it, the attainments and obstacles with which it is strewn, the friends and foes who appear in it-all are determined by the karma of past lives. Karmic determination is popularly designated as fate. Fate, however, is not some foreign and oppressive principle. Fate is man’s own creation pursuing him from past lives; and just as it has been shaped by past karma, it can also be modified, remolded, and even undone through karma in the present life.

-Discourses 7th Ed., p330

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