Yesterday I was asked a few questions by a visitor to the Center who is taking a course in religious diversity at a local Lutheran seminary. One of his questions was, "What do you understand by karma?" I was grateful that other things intervened, leaving no time for me to answer his question.
I've been thinking about it, though, and I think my short (and probably my long) answer would have been something along the lines that understanding that there is karma is the same as not believing in magic. It means trusting that effects follow causes, that biological beings get sick and pass away, that there's no such thing as a free lunch, that the mess I've created is mine to deal with as best I can, that some fences can never be mended, that much of what I think and do arises because of forces beyond my control, and that I am perfectly imperfect all the same.