Karma and Samsara
The word Karma does not mean a self-fulfilling destiny, rather it means in literal translation: acting, doing, to affect, the deed.
In the Buddhist view, karma means the law of cause and effect. It means that from every action an effect follows which is according to the nature of the action. So, beneficial actions have beneficial effects, and vice-versa.
This chain of cause and effect takes place in such a complex form that particular single effects cannot be traced back to particular singular actions. All that can be determined is healthy seeds bring healthy fruits and vice-versa.
Karma therefore does not mean a predetermined destiny unfolds, far more, we are ourselves the ones that determine our conditions. Essential for the karmic effect are our actions and attitudes—with which intent we go about our deeds.
We are ourselves responsible for our actions and therefore also for the effects we must experience. We have no “third party” whom we can ask for absolution for our unwholesome deeds. Our only effort must be dedicated to wholesome deeds in the here and now.
As long as this cycle of cause and effect remains in place, our “self” (the self produced from our existence) remains in a continual cycle of becoming and passing away. This process is referred to as a conditional cycle of existence, otherwise know as “Samsara” (to move in a cycle). Liberation from this cycle of existence is possible. The complete liberation is known as Enlightenment
When we mindfully observe the changes and happenings in our lives, then we recognise this law of effect also in the short cycles of this existence and not just over many lives.