Karma is not a universal creating force but a modifier of one's perception.
I would have put it: Karma is not only something that is an action resulting from a certain type of mind which has an effect on the material, but is also a modifier of one's perceptions.
Astus wrote:And here we can apply the reasoning used to establish a mental continuum separate from matter, only in a reverse fashion. If material dharmas cannot cause mental dharmas, how can mental dharmas cause material dharmas? However, it is not entirely true that material dharmas don't cause mental dharmas, since a single perception of an object can trigger lot of different mental dharmas. Still, this whole field of Buddhism seems entirely unresearched.
perhaps mental dharmas don't "create" material dharmas, but they certainly affect them. Look what happens to your body when you get mad/excited etc.
Astus wrote:As far as I know, there is no clear description of the dharmic process of a consciousness defining the body and environment of a new birth. And if it were really the karma forming the environment, isn't it strange that nobody ever experienced that throughout the process of delivering a baby not much changes in the surroundings? Should we then say that it is about the outer conditions matching the inner causes, without there being a karma modifying the place? Also, it doesn't seem likely that a consciousness could foresee the events that will happen in one's life, therefore if it happens that a tornado blows away one's house later it's hardly one's karma causing it.
There are many scriptural references of karma, carried in the subtle continuum, not only determining where one is born etc, but how one interacts with said environment. You can easily extend that til eventually you affect that environment - butcher's shops have a certain atmosphere, Padmasambhava's caves have another for instance. In those instances of course it still seems intangible, but often it leads to tangible effects.
It is more often a combination of karma and other forces. But certain things in the material world are just inevitably so, the instability and impermanence of composite phenomena are certainly not determined by karma. What we experience therein is, as in the tornado blowing away our house and how we are affected by it (why did we live there etc).
(Now if we were going to go down the Prasangika path, both the experiencer and the experience would be non-inherently existing - as in the case that if they were inherently existing in their own right it would be impossible to separate them or consider them one, or have one precede the other, or have them truly exist simultaneously.... ummm, please forgive the tangent)