nrose619 wrote:If a baby dies not long after its birth is that a result of kamma of a past life? and if so, what's to say that my life is not controlled by kamma of past lives?
Good question. We get this kind of question a lot, so here goes.
The Buddha's teaching of kamma is rather different than other religions and the view of karma in pop-culture. In brief, it means that developing mental states based on greed, hatred, or delusion incline the mind towards unhappiness, and developing mental states based on their opposites inclines the mind towards happiness.
Kamma is a determining factor in rebirth as well, as when a person dies, their mind will turn its attention to an act they preformed and enter a rebirth based on that mental act.
However, one thing that the Buddha did not say is that everything that happens to a person is the result of their kamma. Indeed, he rejected this view, saying that some things that happen to someone are caused by their kamma, and that other things that happen are caused by other things, such as their physical conditions.
In the case of an infant who dies young, all we can say is that maybe it was the result of their kamma in a previous life, and maybe it was just pure chance. Nobody but a fully enlightened Buddha has the ability to actually tell whether or not it was caused by kamma, so it is best not to speculate and ask ourselves why these things happen IMHO.