One child is born sightless to poverty stricken parents in a drought and war ravaged region of Africa and another born to immensely wealthy parents in a penthouse in Zurich. One childis is born with an IQ of 60 and can barely feed himself and another is reading an encyclopedia by the age of two. A four year old girl who never took a music lesson can play several different instruments while another with cerebral palsy can not even hold a spoon. One child is born into the Brahman caste and another into an untouchable family. Still another overcomes her disability and goes on to develop a cure for AIDS while a perfectly healthy world class athlete suffers a career ending compound fracture of the femur. There are five billion examples of differences in fortune, wisdom, physical and mental drive and abilities.
There are rarely encountered adults and even children who have a documented first hand knowledge of historical individuals, events, and locations and there are unmistakable shared physical and mental characteristics among certain deceased and living individuals with no associated shared heredity. Only the doctrine of Karma reasonably explains and answers this observable reality.
Examples of collective karma are those with cerebral palsy, those born white, those killed in the holocaust, doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs. Either there is individual and group responsibility or there is none. Weal and woe either happens by chance, the will of god, or through the thoughts, words, and actions of individuals and groups. Those who have faith in the Lotus Sutra believe in personal and group responsibility caused by the thoughts, words, and deeds of individuals and groups accumulated since the infinite past. Who is the agent of your weal or woe? I hit my thumb with a hammer. I would be a fool to blame someone else. Likewise, only fools blame God, others, the environment, or chance for their misfortune.
Nichiren Daishonin on Karma:
"Question: How can you be certain that the exiles and sentences of death imposed on you are the result of karma created in the past?
Answer: A bronze mirror will reflect color and form. The First Emperor of the Ch'in dynasty had a lie-detecting mirror that would reveal offenses committed in this present life. The mirror of the Buddha's Law makes clear the causal actions committed in the past. The Parinirvana Sutra states: "Good man, because people committed countless offenses and accumulated much evil karma in the past, they must expect to suffer retribution for everything they have done. They may be despised, cursed with an ugly appearance, be poorly clad and poorly fed, seek wealth in vain, be born to an impoverished and lowly family or one with erroneous views, or be persecuted by their sovereign. They may be subjected to various other sufferings and retributions. It is due to the blessings obtained by protecting the Law that they can diminish in this lifetime their suffering and retribution."
Namu Myoho renge kyo and Karma...
Karma can be the most comforting or the most disquieting belief. Everything depends on one's Buddhist faith and practice, true and correct or false and mistaken. Certitude of karmic reward is always comforting while certitude of karmic retribution may or may not be disquieting. You will have to repay your karmic debt. If you have accumulated much karmic reward, the debt seems insignificant. If you have accumulated little karmic reward, your debt seems oppressive. Chanting Namu Myoho renge kyo with a correct faith and teaching others to do the same, is the way to accumulate infinite karmic reward. Your travails will pale in significance.