Before karma is created, the individual has a sort of freedom to choose what it shall be. But after it has been accomplished, it becomes a factor which cannot be ignored, and which has either to be expended through the results which it invites, or counteracted by fresh and appropriate karma.
Karmic determination is popularly designated as fate. Fate, however, is not some foreign and oppressive principle. Fate is man’s own creation pursuing him from past lives. And just as it has been shaped by past karma, it can also be modified, remoulded, and even undone through karma in the present life.
It is in the arena of earthly existence that creative and effective karma can take place, through the medium of the Gross body. The proper understanding and use of the law of karma enables man to become a master of his own destiny through intelligent and wise action.
Each person has become what he is through his own accumulated actions. And it is through his own actions that he can mould himself according to the pattern of his heart, or finally emancipate himself from the reign of karmic determination which governs him through life and death.
-Selection from “REINCARNATION AND KARMA: VI”, Discourses