Karma is complex, and an endless looping cycle. "Even though the past may account for many of the inequalities we see in life, our measure as human beings is not the hand we've been dealt, for that hand can change at any moment. We take our own measure by how well we play the hand we've got." ~Thanissaro Bhukkhu~
It is imperative to work hard at right thought and right action. It is equally imperative to not make this effort with the goal of being rewarded. We work at right thought and right action as part and parcel of being buddhists and this should stand on it's own merit. Nothing we think or do occurs in a bubble. What happens, the Karmic consequences of these thoughts and actions are affected by countless interrelated Karma and cannot be predicted.
We all reap exactly what we sow. We may have sown it a hundred years before, or in this very day. It is important to understand you are the master here, not a victim. Everything we think do or say makes a difference. It is liberating to know that in each and every moment we have within our grasp the possibility of changing the future. Break your patterns, do something enlightened, compassionate and wise. Transform your existence. You can be reborn spiritually in the immediate.
"The fear of death and infernal rebirths due to my evil actions has led me to practice in solitude in the snowcapped mountains.
On the uncertainty of life's duration and the moment of death I have deeply meditated.
Thus I have reached the deathless, unshakable citadel of realization of the absolute essence.
My fear and doubts have vanished like mist into the distance, never to disturb me again.
I will die content and free from regrets.
This is the fruit of Dharma practice. "~Milarepa~
Milarepa's work on that mountain top changed his Karma and he was spiritually reborn. So much so that he reached enlightenment in a single lifetime.
What joy, hope and optimism there is in this message. It is something we can all aspire to and achieve. It is our choice, it is our hard work, and we are the master of our own fate. How amazing that Nirvana is within reach for each and every one of us.