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Karma (Action) can produce effects at different times, even in different lives.
There are three main types of Karma (Actions) depending on the stage of maturation. There is the Karma (Action) that matures: a) in this life, b) in the next life and c) in a life after the next one.
The third type of Karma (Actions) is the strongest one. The first two types lose their power if they do not find the opportunity. They will never mature unless they have the opportunity to mature, either in this life or the next. But the third type stays with us for as long as we to be in Sansāra, the “cycle of existence”, the “cycle of birth and death”. It can bring about effects even after hundreds or even thousands of centuries in the future.
This delay, this time gap helps us understand what may seem like a discrepancy in the function of Karma (Action). We often see good people face difficulties and great suffering in their lives. And on the other hand, we see bad people who are very successful and lucky. This is due to the time lag between Karma (Action) and the effect (kamma-vipāka).
The good man collects/reaps the effects/fruit of some bad Karma (Action) of the past. But he will enjoy the pleasant effects of the good Karma (Actions) he is now gathering in the future. On the contrary, the bad man enjoys the effects of some good Karma (Practice) of the past. In the future, however, he will be faced with the fruit of his bad Karma (Action) and suffer.