Symbolically, it represents an unimaginably long period of time.
Basically, the law of cause and effect, to which all sentient beings, indeed, all things, are subject. Also, the cumulative causal situation affecting one's destiny as a result of past acts, thoughts, emotions.
A bond or connection between people due to a relationship (either good or bad) formed in a previous life. Frequently such an affinity is discussed in terms of "causes and conditions." Cause focuses on the specific karmic disposition of the individual; conditions refer to the nexus of causes that make up his situation.
Hindrances to one's practice or life arising specifically as a result of deeds performed in this life or in past lives.
In popular Chinese belief, a king and judge of the dead who dispenses punishments to the recently deceased while they reside in a transitional, purgatory-like netherworld awaiting their next rebirth. According to orthodox Buddhism, a netherworld of this kind does not exist.
(Chinese: Ti-tsang, "earth store") Bodhisattva known for his great vows to liberate all sentient beings, even descending into the hell realm in order to lead the beings there out of suffering.