Cause & Effect

One Buddhist sutra states: "If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present."

Buddhism explains karma in order to reveal how to transform it. Put another way, to hold the doctrine of karma over people without fully clarifying the means for changing it is to wrongly interpret Buddhism. Such teachings only cause people to remain bound by the shackles of fate.

Present effects are due to karmic causes from the past. However, future effects arise from the causes we make in the present. It is always the present that counts. It is what we do in the present moment that decides our future; our past causes do not govern our future as well. Nichiren Buddhism emphasizes that no matter what kind of karmic causes we have made in the past, through the causes we make in the present we can achieve a brilliant future.

Buddhism stresses the importance of the present and the future. There is little point in dwelling on the past. Far more constructive is looking to the future and moving forward. What is vital is that we achieve a bright and glorious future through our efforts and perseverance today.

Buddhism holds that everything is in a constant state of flux. Thus the question is whether we accept change passively and are swept away by it or whether we take the lead and create positive changes on our own initiative.

"What kinds of causes am I making right now?" "What actions am I taking?" The answers to these questions are what will determine our future.

Every family has its own set of circumstances and problems that only its members can fully understand. One thing I can say, however, is that, no matter what kind of people your parents are, they are your parents. If you did not have those parents, you would not be alive. It is important to understand the deep significance of this point.

What is the purpose of our lives? What becomes of our life when we die? ... No matter how much power and authority one might wield now, these become meaningless in the face of death. In the end, the only thing that is important is how one has lived one's life. We alone must face the consequences of our actions and decisions. When one understands the strict law of cause and effect at work in life, one will inevitably come to correct one's way of living.

Ultimately, we are responsible for our own destiny. It may seem to us that our fate is predetermined, whether by our genes or by our environment. What really matters, however, is how we can improve ourselves from this moment forward, how we can change the circumstances that we find ourselves in. This enormous transformative force is what Buddhism is all about. In this struggle lies the source of never-ending youth and vitality.

Inconspicuous virtue brings conspicuous reward. From the perspective of Buddhism, we never fail to receive the effect of our actions, whether good or bad; therefore, it's meaningless to be two-faced or to pretend to be something we're not.

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