Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Worldly Passions - Desire

                         Very soon at December's end, countries from all around the world will celebrate the coming of a new year.  The exact date may vary for some nations, but it’s still an occasion where people will mark the passing of 365 days of time with creative and quite unusual customs.


Original Photo by Ben Sutherland available on Flickr.com


                      In Latin countries, twelve grapes are eaten, one for each month in the year. It is meant to bring good luck and fortune.

                      Thai people throw water on each other in hopes that it will bring rain for their crops. They also release birds from their cages and return fish back into streams for good luck.

                      In Japan, the bells in temples are rung 108 times. This is because Buddhism teaches that we have 108 worldly passions. These passions are said to be blind because we are entirely driven by them, causing us constant trouble and torment. So a New Year's tradition arose that striking the bell 108 times banishes all the worldly passions that caused us suffering from the passing year.

                     However, we know from the Law of Cause and Effect, little rituals that promise luck are not true. In order to receive good fortune, we must first plant the good seeds ourselves.

                      In the case of a bell dissolving all our worldly passions, this is also untrue -- no matter how many people still practice it. It may be fun to ring in the New Year, but believing anything will follow your action besides a loud "GONG!" noise is surrendering yourself to a false superstition.


Original Photo by MIKI Yoshihito available on Flickr.com


                      What is true is that we are made up of worldly passions and nothing else. Buddhism explains that worldly passions never vanish within us as long as we're living, and attempts to remove them don't even leave a dent.

                      You can think about it like a snowman.


Original Photo by islandjoe available on Flickr.com

                      If you take away all the snow from out of the snowman, what do you have?


Original Photo by mrsdkrebs available on Flickr.com

                      You don't have anything. Without snow, a snowman loses form and ceases to be what it is supposed to be. 

                       It's the same with us. If you remove all of our worldly passions, there is nothing left.

                      Sakyamuni Buddha used the number 108 to represent the idea that our worldly passions are seemingly countless. 

                      Yet within this large number of passions, there are Three Poisonous Passions which are the most dreadful of all. These passions reflect the very nature of all the other 105 worldly passions. They are DESIRE, ANGER, and IGNORANCE

The Three Poisonous Passions


DESIRE -   

It's the constant longing we have to get something. 
If we don't have it, we really want it. If we have it, we want more of it. 
And no matter how much we are satisfied, we will still have new cravings arise within us.
There is no end to our limitless desire.

Original Photo by Ani Carrington available on Flickr.com

Our desire can be compared to the deep, blue sea. 
Our wants come to us like waves, one after another.
The deeper the water, the deeper the blue becomes in color.
If we always get what we want, we can endlessly drown in our own greed.



ANGER -  

It's the fury within you of being denied anything you think you deserve. 
We can yell at people we love or curse strangers over the slightest offense.
Our anger can spread uncontrollably and become unpredictable.
The more we feel betrayed, the angrier we become. 


Original Photo by wwarby avaialble on Flickr.com


Anger can be likened to a fire, because it burns at high heat.
Flames span outwardly scorching everything it touches quickly.
We turn red when we're mad because our blood is boiling.
 Left unchecked, it can torch everything in our life like a wildfire.

IGNORANCE -

It's the venomous feeling we harbor deep within us.
We secretly envy our superiors, curse those who cross us, and delight in others' misfortune.
Everyone else is to be blamed for our misfortune, and we resent them for it in our minds.
Not taking responsibility for our own fate is defiance of the Law of Cause and Effect.

Original Photo by Darco TT available on Flickr.com

Ignorance leaves us totally blind to the truth, and so it can be said to be pitch black.
These ugly feelings are dirty and filthy and spread like a disease or pollution. 
We distort the world with our own private, warped views.
The nature of ignorance is dark and ugly, because it is so hard to see clearly within ourselves.


               Now, let's take a look at the first worldly passion.


Desire

               Buddhism teaches that Desire can be further broken down into five categories. 

               They are Food, Wealth, Love, Fame, and Sleep

                They are known as the Five Desires.


The Five Desires

FOOD -


Original Photo by elsie.hui available on Flickr.com


 It's the pleasure we get from eating a delicious meal.
We love to eat at restaurants and have home-cooked meals.
People enjoy fad health diets or binge on holidays like Thanksgiving.
Even with dessert, we'll still be hungry for more.

WEALTH -

Original Photo by epSos.de available on Flickr.com

It's the urge to stockpile money and not pay people back.
We want to brag about our new smart phones and cruise in our new cars.
Whether we're rich or poor, we revel when funds rise within our bank accounts.
There is no amount of cents that decreases our desire for more money.


LOVE -

Original Photo by kainr available on Flickr.com

It's the wanting intimacy from another man or woman physically and emotionally.
We watch attractive people on the street and get excited when we get to talk to them.
There's an intense feeling that burns to be near the person we love.
Our heart beats expectantly for the next burst of romance and passion.


FAME -

Original Photo by Gareth.D.Jones available on Flickr.com

 It's the thrill of being praised and honored by someone special or a large group of strangers.
We want to have fans like a movie star or be held in high regard like a president.
Deep down we secretly just want everyone to think we're cool.
No man is an island; we always have the desire to be liked.
 
    SLEEP -

Original Photo by Matt Erasmus available on Flickr.com

It's that yearning to sleep in, relax on the sofa, and just be plain lazy.
We hit snooze to escape going to school briefly or take a sick day just to stay in bed.
All we want to do is just chill out and take it easy.
The longer we are awake, the stronger our need for sleep.


                      At the mercy of these five desires, we slave to them in some form or another. We will to go to such great lengths just to get satisfaction, even if it causes to pain those around us.

                       Now of course we should do serious soul-searching if we sense that we are greatly troubling others with our desires. Self-reflection can sometimes catch when we are being too lazy in our studies or when we've been taken over by the luring idea of an illicit affair. We may even overcome the temptation of stealing the last bite on the plate at the family dinner, but our worldly passions will keep flaring up despite our best efforts. They remain as a filter by which we perceive all of our experiences for every moment we're alive... up until our very last breath.

                        In the next post, we will take a look at the second poisonous passion, Anger.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Law of Cause and Effect -- The Three Worlds

                   We've learned so far from the Law of Cause and Effect, that every effect has a cause.


                   So of all the various ages, time periods, and decades we could have been born in... what exactly determines when is the moment we're born?


Original Photo Art by Alan Cleaver available on Flickr.com


                   Answer: the Law of Cause and Effect.

                 There are now more than 7 billion people alive today with nearly 200 countries in the world. We could have been born in so many different cities and places on this planet. So what determines where in the world we're born? Or how we even came to be born to our parents?


Original Photo by woodleywonderworks available on Flickr.com


                   Answer: It's still the Law of Cause and Effect.


Good Cause,    good effect.
Bad cause,    bad effect.
Own cause,    own effect.


                  Let's review briefly.

                  Cause refers to our deeds or actions.

                  Effect means our resulting experiences.

                  Good deeds lead to good results; bad deeds lead to bad results. Our own actions determine the good or bad experiences that happen to us.

                  So, for example, let's say you were born in United States. The cause for your birth had to occur before you were born.

                  The Law of Cause and Effect applies throughout all of the Three Worlds. In Buddhism, the Three Worlds represent time.

                 The Three Worlds are the Past World, the Present World, and the Future World.


                 The Past World includes all our lives from before our present life. 

                  The Present World is the span of our life from birth to death. 

                  The Future World represents our afterlife.




                  We've performed countless deeds in our past lives. All these past actions from before our human experience are what determined in this lifetime what our gender would be, the city we were born in, and even our date of birth. We could have been born at a time of war or a time of peace. Our family could have been richer or poorer when they had us. All of these karmic factors are determined by the deeds of our past life.

                   Children born to the same parents have different faces, personalities, and talents. This is because each one of them has their own individual karma.



                     Our destiny changes over time as a result of each choice we make in the present.






                   Now if someone chooses to take the life of another, they may face the death penalty for their actions. But why is it that if someone takes the lives of 10 people, or even 100 people, they can still only be put to death one time? Under ordinary law, the consequences for the other murders can't be prosecuted. 

                   But if a worker is paid a salary of $100 a day and then works for ten days straight, would it make sense to only get paid $100? No, of course not. Ten days work would deserve $1,000. One hundred days of work would merit $10,000 of wages. 

                   If the causes vary, then the results should also vary. 

                   A murderer can face the death penalty in this life only once. However, under the Law of Cause and Effect, they have to face the repercussions of every life they extinguished in a future life.

                   And just because a bad seed remains undetected does not mean that the person who planted it is safe. It may take time, but the bad effect will most certainly emerge for that person.


                   A seed that is planted will surely grow.


                  Let's review a scientific example of a cause with a delayed effect. More than 30,000 years ago, a squirrel buried the fruit of a flower in the arctic region of Siberia. Forgotten over the ages, it became covered over with an icy cold permafrost and remained perfectly preserved in sub-zero temperatures. Then in February of 2012, Russian scientists were able to grow a healthy, living plant from the fruit of that flower.

Original Photo by captainmcdan available on Flickr.com
Original Photo by tasaarni available on Flickr.com

                 Likewise, karmic seeds that we planted long ago before we were born can still become effects within this lifetime.

                   This means that all those bad things that we ourselves have done and kept secret in our hearts and minds for sure, will come back to us one day.

                   Every cause in the universe has an effect. According to Buddhism, this has always been and will always be the truth. 

                   In order to reveal to us how our destiny is shaped, Sakyamuni Buddha shared this insight within the Cause and Effect Sutra:


If you want to know the seeds of the past, 
look at the fruit of the present. 

If you want to know the fruit of the future, 
look at the seeds of the present.


                         What does this mean exactly?

                         The way to know what you did in the past is to look at what's happening to you right now. Whatever you're doing at present will determine what type of experience you'll have in the future. 

                          There are many practical examples where this can be witnessed easily. Someone with good grades now is someone who studied hard in the past. Someone who's lazy now and makes no effort can't expect good results in the future.

                            However, because of all the countless past causes contained within our Alaya-consciousness (storehouse consciousness) since the beginningless past, there are a vast, incomprehensible combination of consequences that can occur to us while we're alive. The only missing component preventing them from occurring is the right condition to bring them about.

                            The Law of Cause and Effect as it relates to concept of time and condition is known in Buddhism as the Law of Causality in the Three Worlds.


  Looking deeply 
into our present 
reveals both 
the past and the future.

    The present is thus the key to the past and the future.

This is the reason 
why Buddhism teaches 
the importance of the present self 
and being in the 
NOW.

                           But did you know even the word "now" is in the past before you finish saying it?

                           When you say -- "Now!"-- as soon as you utter the sound "N-" from your lips, it enters the past by the time you arrive at the "-ow!" It's a tiny, one-syllable word, and yet with this example we can clearly see how time within the Three Worlds is all connected.


Original Photo by katerha available on Flickr.com


                           The more we strive to understand the Law of Cause and Effect, the more we strive to discard bad intentions and practice good intentions.

                           We aim at getting rid of bad thoughts, so that they don't occur to us later on. The result of doing bad things only brings more bad results into your mind.

                           We want to set our minds on positive thoughts, but then follow through with them so that they become actions as well. 

                           Because whatever we choose to do now... these choices will be the results we are going to end up harvesting for ourselves later. This is why we should fear evil and turn to the light with all our hearts.


Original Photo by _Virdi_ available on Flickr.com

                            If you don't want bad results, stop doing bad deeds. If you want to be happy, do good deeds.

                            This is the conclusion of this series on Law of Cause and Effect. I encourage you to read lessons on Law of Cause and Effect here on this blog. Continue to review and study it often, because this universal truth is both the foundation of Buddhism as well as the compass that points the way for all toward a happier life.

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Source: Arctic Flower Article from New York Times

Monday, October 14, 2013

Law of Cause and Effect -- Karmic Power

            So let's recap what we've learned so far about the Law of Cause and Effect before explore karmic power in more depth.


  Good causes produce good effects. 
Bad causes produce bad effects. 
 Own causes produce own effects.

Causes mean our actions, 
or in other words what we do.

Effects mean the result of our actions, 
or in other words what we experience in life.

            Good deeds bring us good experiences, and bad deeds bring us bad experiences. Our own actions determine what kind of experiences we bring into our lives.


Original Photo by Nicole Yeary available on Flickr.com

            The concept of individuals determining their own future through the power of their own deeds is known as karma.

             Karma is an invisible, indestructible energy that never fades away. It is this karma that has the power to determines whether events are favorable or unfavorable to us in any given situation.

             This karmic power is stored in what is known in Sanskrit as Alaya-vijnana, or "storehouse mind." It is like a spiritual storehouse holding all your karmic power. All our karma is stored here eternally without limit. This is the true self that transmigrates lifetime to lifetime within the cycle of birth and death.

            We can imagine this mind works almost like documents stored onto your computer. You first input data into the word processor by typing with your keyboard. All the letters and spaces you type translate into digital information which the computer then stores invisibly within its hard drive. The hard drive is very compact giving it the power to store a lot of information.

              Likewise, our physical brains also hold a lot of data. Over a lifetime, the brain of a scholar can often hold the contents of an entire library. His head doesn't have actual paper books in it. The contents of the books are stored invisibly within his mind.


Original Photo by Tulane Public Relations available on Flickr.com


                Now because of the invisible nature of karmic power, it can often conceal certain causes and effects from our perspective. Let's look at an example that demonstrates this idea.
              
                Every year in Japan, the cherry blossom trees bloom in the springtime. It is a national pastime to have a picnic under the trees to observe their beautiful pink, white and rose colored-leaves.

Original Photo by rumpleteaser available on Flickr.com


                 However, one creative Japanese poet wrote about the cherry blossoms during the winter and composed this curious work:


Year after year
Cherry blossoms bloom again
on Mount Yoshino
Split the tree and look inside -- 
where are all the flowers?


               In spring, we can see all these beautiful cherry blossoms in abundance, but the poet is asking us here... where is the power to bloom flowers in winter?

               Hidden within all of them is the power to bloom a flower. You can't chop the tree in half and see with your eyes where these flowers are hiding. Science may be able to pinpoint the location of where the organic chemistry of the flowers can be found, but you won't find actual flowers anywhere in the tree. So where are they?

                Sure, all the trees contain the tiny biological energy that make cherry blossoms. This power is a cause that remains dormant until the right condition comes along. That right condition is warm, spring weather. When this cause and condition combine, beautiful flowers bloom as the effect.

                 Trees that are sickly or malnourished no longer carry the biological energy required to create flowers even in spring. So a condition alone isn't enough. Without a cause, there's just no result. There must be a cause and condition for an effect. 

                 If cold weather makes spring arrive late, then the blossoms arrive late as well. In that case, the cause was ready, but the condition delayed the effect. If the winter is mild, then cherry blossoms can bloom sooner. The sooner a condition comes, the sooner it can become an effect.

                 So the energy in the cherry blossom trees is unseen. With the right condition, only then can the visible result of cherry blossoms emerge.

Original Photo by Zdenko Zivkovic available on Flickr.com

                  Karmic power is invisible too, but once it combines with the condition, it becomes an effect. If you where to look for it with a microscope in our body, you wouldn't be able to find it.

                   As we learned earlier, the Law of Cause and Effect runs through the Three Worlds. In the next post, we will learn how our karma relates to our past and future.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Law of Cause and Effect -- Own Cause, Own Effect

               Relationships and marriages take a lot of work. If both people don't put in the necessary effort, they often fall apart. It requires a very special balance between two people who are committed to each partner's well-being while remaining firmly centered themselves.

                But we often hear all the stories of how a good wife got stuck with a good-for-nothing husband. He may gamble, abuse alcohol, and then takes it all out on his wife, who only wants what's best for him.


Original Photo by Christiano Betto available on Flickr.com


                It's obvious to scold him for this wrongdoing and rightly so... especially if he's causing her to suffer. But according to Buddhism, is this bad spouse to blame for everything in this scenario?

                Let's re-examine what the Law of Cause and Effect says.

Good deeds,   good results.
Bad deeds,   bad results.
Own deeds,  own results.

                A good cause produces a good effect, and a bad cause produces a bad effect.

                Sow watermelon seeds, and surprise! You get a watermelon!

                Cause, of course, means our actions, and effect means our fate. So if we do good deeds, good things will happen to us. If we do bad deeds, bad things will happen to us. This point is clear.

       But there's one more phrase to reflect on from above:

Own deeds, own results.


Own deeds, own results = Own cause, own effect

                   This means if you drink a lot of alcohol, the person next to you is not the one who becoming intoxicated.

                    You're the one who receives the effects and gets drunk.


Original Photo by CarbonNYC available on Flickr.com


                   Let's say you're taking a college class. When you study hard, your grades will go up from that effort. Your classmate who didn't study does not receive the benefit of your diligent hours of memorizing the textbook.

                    Others' cause, own effect is not possible. Someone elses' deeds never determine your results.

Others' deeds = own results
Others' cause = own effect 

No chance!

                    On the surface level, it may be easy to agree with, but when we experience this principle firsthand, we begin to question it. As soon as bad things start happening, it's especially hard to accept this. How can we think this way when others are the ones making our lives hell? We blame and hate them for the misery we feel they alone have created for us. 

                    However, there's an old saying that helps us reflect on this frame of mind:

"The thief blames the rope that binds him." 

                    Hundreds of years ago, thieves were tied up with rope once they were captured. Today, of course, police officers use handcuffs. Either way, a thief can no longer move freely once he is detained. He begins to think that the rope is the real cause behind his suffering.

                    "If only it weren't for this rope, I'd be free!" he mutters to himself angrily. "It's all the fault of this stupid rope."

                     All the thief's rage is projected onto his current situation of being tied up. He sees this as his main problem and nothing else. 

                      Buddhism says that this is a foolish way of thinking. What got him tied up in the first place was his own actions. He should really be blaming himself for all the valuables he took from people. All the rope in the world couldn't bother this thief, if he hadn't been stealing to begin with. 

                     So to blame others for our misfortune, especially using phrases like "It's all your fault!" or "You're the one to blame!" makes us exactly like the thief cursing the rope.


Original Photo by Suhamshu available on Flickr.com


                     Everyone's suffering is the direct result of their own actions. 

                     Own cause, own effect. Every time.

                      So what about the good wife who was stuck with that bad husband earlier?

                      Well, the cause of her suffering still stemmed from her own past actions. He may really be a terrible person to be with. But had she never married him, she wouldn't have suffered as much. There are plenty of men in the world. Of all of those prospective bachelors, she chose HIM to fall in love with. If she married someone else, things would have been much different.

                      Without any doubt, the cause of her suffering comes from her past deeds.

                      But now you may think -- "But what about the husband?!? Don't tell me he's completely off the hook for being a jerk!" 

                      The husband isn't the cause of her troubles. He's a bad condition for her.

                      Only when a cause and condition come together can an effect arise.



  Cause = Wife's past karma (actions)

Condition = Husband's negative behavior

Effect = Wife's agony      

                       This universal truth could really be called the Law of Cause, Condition, and Effect, but it's referred to as as the Law of Cause and Effect for short.

                       Now let's imagine rice seeds as the cause. You'd like to grow some rice, but can you start planting anywhere? You can't just put some rice seeds on the carpet in your apartment or onto a solid block of ice and expect rice to grow. The rice seeds would never sprout in those places.

                       Rice seeds need sunshine, a lot of water, rich soil, and hot, humid temperatures. These are good conditions for rice seeds. When the cause of rice seeds comes together with these right conditions, stalks of rice become the result.  

                        So the cause of the wife's suffering was stored karmic power from her past, and the husband became a bad condition to her in the present. When these two forces combined, the effect became her suffering.

                         If the the wife's suffering continues despite her own positive efforts, she might have to consider a separation or divorce. This drastic step may be necessary, especially if her husband becomes violent or abusive. If we try to do as much good as possible but we don't receive good results, we may need to work on acquiring better conditions for ourselves.

                       So to implement the Law of Cause and Effect into our lives, we first become mindful of all the seeds we ourselves plant. This is because they will come back to us in the future as causes.

                        Then as good Buddhists, we try to be good conditions for others in hopes they follow our own example.


Original Photo by Natesh Ramasamy available of Flickr.com


                        Then as we've just learned, we must also be mindful of external conditions present in our life. By choosing the right conditions to surround ourselves in, we encourage more good causes to have a greater opportunity to flourish.

                       Please make sure to come back for the next installment in the Law of Cause and Effect series on karmic power.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Law of Cause and Effect -- Buddhism Essentials

               The Law of Cause and Effect is the foundation of Buddhism. Without understanding this universal truth, one's knowledge of Buddhism cannot progress. The more we understand the Law of Cause and Effect, the more we can then put the teachings into practice.

               If Buddhism is like a tree, that would mean that the Law of Cause and Effect is like the roots and the trunk of that tree.


Original Photo by Nicholas_T available on Flickr.com

               If the trunk is cut or the roots are severed, the tree would die. Likewise if you don't understand the Law of Cause and Effect, you won't get what the teachings of Buddhism are all about.


Original Photo by CmdrGravy available on Flickr.com


               First, the word law used in Buddhism is different than the traditional use of the word in the court system.

               By Buddhist definition, a law is a truth that never changes within the Three Worlds and the Ten Directions.

               The Three Worlds consist of the Past World, the Present World, and the Future World.

               The Past World represents the time before we were born as a human being.

               The Present World spans the time from our birth to our death in this lifetime. 

               The Future World is the eternity following death.

               Our life flows eternally through these three temporal worlds of the past, the present, and the future. 

               Looking through a closer lens, the world of the past is not only our countless past lives but also last year... yesterday... an hour ago... and the breath you just let out.

                Similarly, the world of the present is this year... today.... this hour... and your current breath.

                Then the world of the future becomes next year... tomorrow... the next hour... and the next breath you take in.

                So in Buddhism we learn that the three temporal worlds meet in every breath we inhale and in every breath we exhale. Every passing moment of our lives is represented within these Three Worlds.

              Understanding how the Law of Cause and Effect functions in relation to the Three Worlds is known as the Law of Causality in the Three Worlds. Knowing this on a deep level reveals the importance of the present moment and leads us closer to understanding of who we are in that now.

              Moving on to the Ten Directions, they are North, South, East, West, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, Up, and Down. This is a very thorough way of saying everywhere.

               This makes the Law of Cause and Effect valid at all times and in all places.

                Now laws in the United States do not necessarily apply in Japan or the United Kingdom. Drivers in these island nations must obey a traffic law which requires them to operate their cars on the left side of the road. Here in the U.S., however, we drive on the right side of the road.

                                                 JAPAN                                             UNITED STATES


                

                Both are a law in each country, yet each gives opposite instructions on what is the proper way to drive. Depending on where you are in the world, laws are subject to the differing viewpoints of the people living in that country.

                 As the years roll on, laws can change. Many of them can come into question or be challenged as society progresses. Laws fluctuate based on the perspectives of the public at the time.


                    CIVIL RIGHTS - 1960s                                                                            GAY RIGHTS - 2010s


Original Photo by Kheel Center, Cornell University, available on Flickr.com
Original Photo by chadmagiera available on Flickr.com









               

             But since the Law of Cause and Effect never changes and is always valid in all time and space, it is universal truth.

             So now let's move on to define the terms cause and effect.


                A cause is the reason that leads to an effect.

                Cause = Reason

                An effect is the result from a cause.

                Effect = Result


                The Law of Cause and Effect is the energy force behind why things happen, when they happen, and who they happen to. Every event in the universe has a cause. There is not a single effect that has ever occurred without a cause, even though sometimes we falsely think that things can happen without cause. 
                                                           
Original Photo by Stewart Black available on Flickr.com
                 For example, let's say an aircraft in flight suddenly crashes into the ocean.

Original Photo by elias_daniel available on Flickr.com
            






               Search and rescue teams are dispatched to comb the waters for survivors, but there is not even a trace of the plane or its flight data recorder (the black box).

                  When this happens, the cause of the accident is said to be unknown. But just because there is no evidence of the cause, does not mean that there is no cause.



                 The Law of Cause and Effect states there must have been some very real reason that made the plane crash. The pilot could have gotten sick or have steered accidentally into a storm. There may have been unforeseen engine trouble, or the plane may simply have ran out of fuel.


Original Photo by BobMacInnes available on Flickr.com


             Just because it is unexplained to us or we can't figure out why does not mean there is no cause. Every phenomenon in the universe, no matter how strange, has a cause. Never in a million or even trillion cases can there be an effect without cause.

             Sakyamuni Buddha taught us that the most important thing for us to consider about our future is this relationship between cause and effect.


The Law of Cause and Effect

 Good cause, good effect.
Bad cause, bad effect.
Own cause, own effect.


            Here the word "cause" means an action, and "effect" means an outcome.

            Buddha revealed the Law of Cause and Effect to us so we can see that we determine our future by our own choices now.

    Practice good actions, and you will get good outcomes.
  Practice bad actions, and you will get bad outcomes.
Whatever you practice is what you alone will receive.

               Using farming as an example, if you plant watermelon seeds, you will get watermelons. And if you plant radish seeds, you will get radishes. Whatever you decide to plant is what will grow. You can never plant watermelon seeds and receive radishes. It's just not possible!

               Even if a farmer hits his head and plants seeds without knowing what kind they are, he can tell instantly what kind of seeds he planted by what grows there later.


Original Photo by Amy Gaertner available on Flickr.com
           











               "Oh, I must have planted watermelon seeds here!" he exclaims upon seeing the watermelon.


            In this way even though we don't remember what seeds we've planted, we can tell by the results we currently receive in the present.

                Some may challenge this and ask, "Wait, but can't good causes lead to bad results sometimes?" OR "What about bad causes leading to good results?"

           The answer to both these questions is: NEVER!          

    Good cause = Bad Effect       Impossible!    

 Bad Cause = Good Effect   No Way!

             According to the Law of Cause and Effect, we are always the ones who determine our own destiny, for better or for worse.

             When we hear terms like fate, destiny, and fortune, they can often be misleading because they imply events are fixed in advance by other forces. But in Buddhism, these words still represent the effect created by our own past choices.


Original Photo by docksidepress available on Flickr.com
            That's because the forces of nature, our lives, and everything in the universe operate by the Law of Cause and Effect. This absolute principle is the universal truth, always and everywhere, without exception to anyone.

           We all want the good life, and we all of course want to avoid bad times. The Law of Cause and Effect reveals to us that the good or bad choices we make in every, single, given moment make or break our future moments.

           It is completely up to you to decide your own fate. And all you have to remember is...

Stop Evil; Do Good.

           Find out more about the Law of Cause and Effect and the role of condition in the next post.