(exerpted from "The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion", Shambhala Books, 1994)

Universal law of cause and effect, which according to the Buddhist view takes effect in the following way: "The deed (karma) produceds a fruit under certain circumstances; when it is ripe, then it falls upon the one responsible. For a deed to produce its fruit, it must be morally good or bad and be conditioned by a volitional impulse, which in that it leaves a trace in the psyche of the doer, leads his destiny in the direction determined by the effect of the deed.

The effect of an action, which can be of the nature of body, speech or mind is not primarily determined by the act itself but rather particularly by the intention of the action. It is the intention of actions that cause a karmic effect to arise.[...] Only a deed that is free from desire, hate and delusion is without karmic effect.

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