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What are the different types of karma?

Karma is just the law of cause and effect, so there is only one type of karma. Karma is just the way that causes and conditions create results. To explain the concept of karma, I like to use the analogy of a car’s engine. If you have a really old, out of tune car, and you get some gas that has a little water in it, and you go out for a drive on a really, really cold day, you might have trouble. The cause is the water in the gas, the conditions are a cold day, and the old engine. The result might be that the engine freezes up and stops running, and then you get rear-ended by a big truck. If you had a really new, well-tuned engine, on the other hand, and you had some gas with water in it (the same cause), and slightly different conditions (a cold, cold day, but with a strong engine), your car might run just fine (the result).  That’s all there is to it: causes, conditions and results.


 In life it is a LOT more complicated. If you swat a mosquito, that isn’t a skillful means toward enlightenment. You might have swatted it with hate and anger in your mind, which would make it a really unskillful act. Then again, you could have swatted it because you knew that it carried malaria, and was about to bite your grandmother, and in your mind you were sorry to cause pain to the mosquito. A little more skillful. The same act can have different causes and conditions, and different karmic results. But the process is the same: its just like a car’s engine, dealing with bad gas on a cold day.


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