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Articles

EP23- The Law of Cause and Effect

1. What is Cause and Effect? 

Cause and Effect is the law operating objectively in the predestined conditions of life of each man. This is the pair of concept producing – producing (also called “năng sinh” and “sở sinh” in Buddhism), meaning what produced will be counter-produced accordingly, what one sows one will reap accordingly or also called such Cause - such Effect. For ease of understanding, it means to sow rice to reap rice, to sow bean to receive bean again. Good Cause produces good Effect receipt, evil Cause produces evil Effect receipt. This is the objective law of the Universe. 

    Cause and Effect mentioned here means the factors arisen deeply in the mind of people, manifesting in specific acts of good deeds or bad deeds, producing good or bad results in future. Some documents also mentioned the law of Cause and Effect as the Karma- Retribution, explaining that good Karma produces good results, and bad Karma will produce bad ones. Such explanations are not correct in accordance with the instruction of Shakyamuni Buddha on Cause and Effect. Cause and Effect means both good Cause and good Effect, and bad Cause and bad Effect. The concept of Karma only refers to actions produced by evil mind which relate to bad retributions in the future. It means that one has to repay for the Karma that one produced. Karma has the power that forces to repay, called Repay for Karma. To produce Karma, to repay for it. Who produced Karma that one must repay for it, and must repay completely. As such, there is no good Karma but there are both good and bad Cause and Effect. 

    In oaths for cultivating sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha when taught his disciples on Cause and Effect had given many specific examples, some mentioned below: 

- Those who are poor now because in past incarnations had lived stingy greedy; 

- Those who are in high rank now because in past incarnations had worshipped Buddhas; 

- Those who have congested noses in this life because in past incarnations had burnt bad joss- stick to offer to Buddhas; 

- Those who live long life now because in past incarnations had love-kindness; 

- Those who are rich now because in past incarnations had  accepted life of hardship for giving alms; 

- Those who are now brainy because in past incarnations had been industrious in reading books and chanting sutra; 

- Those who are now doctors cheating patients for money will be banished to hell after death; 

- Those who add water to wine for sale shall short live in next incarnation; 

- Those who now often lie shall be libelled and deceived in next incarnation; 

- Those who are now lead to build pagodas, monasteries and towers shall command people and will be respected by people next incarnation; 

- Those who are now giving alms shall be justly rich in future life; 

- Those who are now keep austere and pure body will be august and noble in next life. 

- Etc,. 

Those words of Buddha have shown us clearly the Causes and Effects. 

2. How does Cause and Effect happen? 

    The law of Cause and Effect happen naturally as a matter of course, nothing can prevent it. Whenever we saw a cause an effect will immediately appear waiting for us in the future. To make it simple, whenever we conduct a good or bad deed there immediately exist corresponding good or bad consequences of those awaiting to be given to us in the future. And we will be determined to receive these results.  The only matter is when we receive them, that’s all! The consequence may be passed to us directly in this incarnation or in the next or future incarnations.

    There was a woman being a guerrilla in the war against French and who took part in destroying pagodas in accordance with her commander under the tactic “empty garden empty house” (in fact the commander didn’t call for destruction of pagoda but only making “empty garden empty house” so that the French soldiers do not have place to stay when they took over the village). As such, this woman created a karma. Consequently, she is punished in this life: she is always ill, weak and paled, failed in everything she did and has an unhappy family….After being guided by the author to make a remorse ritual in pagoda and beg for forgiveness of Troi and Buddha (because she had to follow the order of her commander) and pay offering to the Three Jewels to redeem her faults, she was forgiven. Immediately, she became healthy and joyful, began to get lucks in her business and life. 

   In a village in a country side, there is a household after many years of saving now can buy some golden rings and placed them into a small bottle to keep for future use. Unfortunately, one day her grandchild took the bottle for play and lost it. She checked all over her house but couldn’t find it. The next day, her neighbour accidentally got the bottle under a small sewer when she swept the lane. She advertently concealed it. After a while she sold such rings to a jewellery. Unfortunate for her, the jewellery owner recognised their product by the marks and informed the owner of the rings. The ring owner visited the neighbour house to negotiate for taking the rings back but the neighbour woman denied she found them. Soon later, the neighbour started rebuilding her house. The ring owner guessed that she must found her rings so that she can have money for rebuilding the house. So she came again and negotiated for dividing the rings half-half and each to keep a half. The neighbour still denied it and even swore hardly “if I found your gold and didn’t return them to you I will die and cannot stay in this house”. when the house came to finishing period, the painter put a floor fan in the middle of a room. The woman accidentally stepped on the electric cable and had an electric shock to death. So she had sowed a bad Karma and she had to reap it. Normally, this woman will only loose her assets in the future, maybe in this incarnation or the next incarnation. But she swore hardly, that made this karma become so heavy that it demanded for repaying immediately. Consequently, she couldn’t live in her house after rebuilding. 

    The author has observed so many similar cases where karma are sowed and reaped but cannot mention them all here in a short article.

3. Can Karma be abolished? 

    No! To sow Karma, to repay it certainly. Karma can never be abolished. If not repay in this incarnation, it will be repay in other future incarnations. We can only beg for delay in repayment of karma. It means that begging for not repaying karma in this incarnation but in future incarnations. 

   To beg for delay in repayment of karma, we have to come to pagoda or temple or church to do a remorse ritual in front of Troi, Phat and gods or deities. If we are sincere the delay will be granted. Depending on whether the crime is serious or not the karma delay will be granted for repaying in the next 1 or 2 incarnations. The author has guided many people for this delay.

4. Is there any way to reduce karma? 

    Yes! There is only one way: accumulating Virtue. When virtue increases karma will decrease. When we are granted with delay in repaying karma for next 1 or 2 incarnations, it means that we have 1 or 2 incarnations to live healthily for accumulating virtues. So when the time comes for repaying karma, the karma might have been reduced significantly and repayment for it becomes lightly, maybe just a sickness of a few days can fulfil the repayment. That’s the benefit of delaying in repayment of karma. 

    In each incarnation, Virtue and Karma are marked with a light Virtue clots and dark Karma ones. If you do a good deed you earn a light Virtue clots and if a bad deed, a dark Karma ones. For example, if you save a drowning man, you earned 105 bright clots. On the opposite, if you beat someone on their head that caused serious injury, you got 105 dark clots. Throwing a piece of brick on other’s head: 91 dark clots, slapped on other’s face: 5 dark clots, stealing a bread: 5 dark clots, cheating in selling gasoline: 55 dark clots etc. The biggest number of dark clots can be record for one action is 105, and the smallest is 3. It’s similar with light clots. Saving a drowning man: 105 light clots, taking an injured man to hospital: 55 light clots, giving 5 thousands Dong to a beggar: 3 light clots, appeasing 2 persons for not fighting: 55 light clots etc. And so on for the whole life. At the end of one’s life the total sum of light and dark clots will be netted off. If there remain only light clots, one will enjoy good life in next incarnation, if there remain only dark clots he will have to bear the effect of karma. In such way, it proceeds itself, self-reconciled and no one need to enter in the accounts. It’s impartial to everyone.  

    As such, Buddhism teaches us to live honestly with love-kindness. Living honestly with love-kindness is to live for the others, for the community and be helpful to others, be glad to their success. By living honestly with love-kindness we can accumulate virtues and reduce karma. So you should always direct your mind to doing good deeds and avoiding bad deeds. Such thought must permanently remain in our mind. When you go praying in pagoda, church or in other religious places, you should pray for good for others not for yourself. When you give your offering to the Three Jewels, don’t pray for yourself but for the permanent existence of the Three Jewels to guide all beings. That’s how you live honestly with love-kindness. If you try to disseminate this understanding to other people your virtue will become bigger too. 

    Cause and Effect is the natural law of the Universe, it proceeds on itself and no one controls it. This is a natural law and not a law promulgated by Buddhism. Shakyamuni Buddha only explained for us to understand this Cause and Effect law and taught us to live honestly with love-kindness. 

 

GSĐich- ĐP Van Van Quang