Research papers on the concept of Karma look at this major componant of Eastern Religions and explicate for you.
The doctrine of karma, an inherent component of Eastern religions, contains complexities that the Western mind may have difficulty grasping. In its simplest terms, it is cause and effect, acts and consequences, "just desserts," or the law of moral causality. For every action taken by a human being, good or evil, karma is the giant tote board that keeps a running score and affects the quality of this life, past lives and future lives. The roots of several religions form the concept of karma and it originates from the same garden, but branch off into two different schools of thought:
To understand the religion of Hinduism and its view of karma, one must start by examining the Vedic Hymns and the Upanishads. The Vedic Hymns, believed written as long ago as 1500 B.C. are ancient compositions of Indo-European literature and philosophy. The Rig-Veda is considered to be the most important as it holds the core beliefs of Hinduism, the foundation of the religion as practiced from early times to the present.
In his book Religions of India, he describes the Upanishads as "a group of mystical-intuitional writings that were inspired by an amazing intellectual experience of the absolute reality beyond the phenomenal world". If the Vedic Hymns provided the inspiration, the Upanishads focused on the intellectual and spiritual interpretation. A focal point in the Upanishads is its emphasis on Brahman or the true self. Bramanism is the state of perfection for which Hindus strive. Human life is considered to be a lower existence, a temporary state until the person is deemed worthy to become one with the Supreme Being.
Nearly all religions have some standard for human conduct that is acceptable and unacceptable. Some religions have established principles that are stricter than others, but most people who follow a particular religion have had their actions guided either directly or indirectly by their religion's mores. By providing guidelines for conduct that is right or wrong, religious systems have historically helped to guide the ethical standards of their members.
Karma basically holds that the actions that one takes will come back to the actor by a higher degree. For example, a person who is nice to another person can expect a positive reward at some point in time. Similarly, a person who mistreats another person can expect a negative reaction in the future. Additionally, Buddhists also believe in reincarnation to some extent. They believe that when a person dies, that person can be reborn as another person or as some other thing. However, karma continues to influence a person from one life to the next. A person who dies with negative karma can be reborn in a worse situation than before. This idea provides an incentive for Buddhists to behave well towards other people.