Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Law of Cause and Effect -- Part Three

               When using the term Three Worlds, it means the Past World, the Present World, and the Future World.

Original Photo by puuikibeach available on

      Past World                                            Present World                                        Future World
World before birth                         Human life (80-100 years max)                        World after death

   The Past World and the Future World are both related within the Present World. The Law of Cause and Effect penetrates the Three Worlds, which represents all time.

               Our True Self, our deepest sense of life, is not limited to this physical body. The physical body and its six billion cells disappear at death. Our True Self, our true life, also penetrates the Three Worlds. So once the physical body is gone, this True Self remains.

   The True Self is also referred to as the Alaya Mind or Alaya Consciousness. Alaya means storehouse in Sanskrit. Therefore, it can be referred to as the storehouse mind. It is like a safety deposit box, or a storage unit.

Original Photo by toolstop available on

                 Buddhism teaches that there are eight minds within human beings. Seven of them disappear at death with the physical body, but the Alaya Mind is the part that remains.

                The Alaya Mind is our self since the countless ages past. It lasts forever, long after our death. It flows from the beginning-less beginning and into the never-ending future. It is the invisible flow of life present in every moment.

                 Throughout life, we perform various deeds and actions that fall into three categories. They are also known in Japanese as Go, or karma.

Go \ Karma

Mind - Deeds

Mouth - Deeds \ Actions

Body - Deeds \ Actions

       We perform countless deeds with our mind, mouth, and body. These are the seeds which create our fate. The mind is performing them the most and has the strongest power. What moves the body and mouth is the mind.

                       My mind caused me to write out my notes on this lecture on Law of Cause and Effect from Takamori-sensei, the current living master of Pure Land Buddhism. Then I decided to put the content online to share the teachings. You are now reading this because your mind encouraged you to look into Buddhism, and you then found Mirror of Dharma Blog by searching Google or you clicked a link to this page. This example demonstrates a chain of causes and their subsequent effects.

       In our life, the mind always remains the strongest of the three, because it invisibly drives all our choices. Because of this, wrong thoughts can't be enforced at this level from outside forces. Mouth and body can of course be regulated.

                  For example in criminal cases, people discuss and debate whether or not the act was premeditated. The law examines what the murderer had in his mind. The mind has this strong energy, so a greater emphasis must be placed on it.

Original Photo by JohnE777 available on

                We have learned about good causes, bad causes, and own causes. So what kind of seeds do we have in our hearts and minds?

                 Even without knowing these causes or the Law of Cause and Effect, the actions of the mind, mouth and body are converted into invisible karmic power. The terms karmic power and seeds of karma are interchangeable. These energies are what is stored in the Alaya Mind. All our actions are recorded invisibly and stored within this storehouse mind. The karmic power within it flows throughout all the Three Worlds (past, present, future).

                    Karmic power thus becomes the cause, but cause alone cannot bring an effect. It requires a condition. You reap the effect only when the condition arrives. Karmic power lasts forever and never disappears. This means all our thoughts, words, and actions become invisible power stored into our Alaya Mind for all time.

                   The Chinese characters for the word "input" translate to "entering the power." When we use a word processor, we are "entering the power" of our thoughts to be stored into data onto a hard disk.

Original Photo by boredwithacamera available on

                    Putting weight on the keys of the keyboard is the condition that allows the process to take place. The commands or words we see on the monitor are the effect.

                   It’s also like the the call log on a cell phone, and there are so many other examples. Society and our world become more familiar when integrated with Buddhist fundamentals.

                    So Alaya Mind flows through the past, present, and future. This is why at birth, we receive the effects of certain characteristics like being American, Japanese, Male, Female, etc. These effects had to be determined before the result took place.

                   But how were they determined? They were made as a result of our past choices in the past life. This is why though we are all human beings, no single person has received the same experience. The different effects we all have were determined by each and every one of us in the past life and the past world.

                     It is not by accident. Our fate does not occur without cause. Different causes mean different effects. Karmic power from the past flowed into this present life. Our parents were the condition.

                     Some may claim the father is the cause and the mother was the condition. But then why do siblings have different effects? It must be the karmic power from each child's past.

                      A cause itself doesn’t result in birth as a human. It must combine with a condition in order to make the effect. This is how we came to be born, but it is not only in this life. We have repeated birth and death ceaselessly. 

      Past             Present                 Future
                    Cause    --- >   Effect
                         Cause       --->     Effect

           To know the causes of the past, look at the effects within the present. To know the effects of the future, look at the causes being made at present. This concept remains constant within the Three Worlds.

If you're happy now = that's a good effect = which means you’ve done good things

If you're miserable now = that's a bad effect = which means you’ve done bad things

                 What we are suffering from is the deeds of our own past. So what about our future? How about after we die? Look at the cause in your present through the actions of your mind, mouth, and body. If you’re doing bad things, you must then suffer in the Future World.

                   If there is no past life, then there is no cause to be born. Without a past, there is then no future.

                                 If someone kills one person, they can be executed once. But if they kill ten people, they can still only be executed one time. Karma dictates that if you kill ten people, you will be executed ten times. What about the other nine offenses? They must be reaped in the future life. All the pain the killer caused must occur to them in their afterlife.

                  If the Law of Cause and Effect were false, it would not be able to span the Three Worlds and Ten Directions. This Law of Cause and Effect of Three Worlds remains valid for all time and all existence. The teachings of Buddhism are all based on this principle making understanding of this concept extremely crucial.

                  Your future is contained within the causes of your present. Look deeply at yourself and the actions of your mind, mouth and body. Look closely into the image that reflects back to you.

Original Photo by nattu available on

What is your body doing?

What is your mouth saying?

What is your mind thinking?

                   Listening to the words of Buddha in this way shows us our True Self. Without knowing the Law of Cause and Effect, this cannot be clear.

                    Look within the Mirror of Dharma at present. This is why listening to Buddhism is so essential.

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