How do we feel when unexpected things happen?
When it’s something good, we think, “Gee, I’m lucky!”
When, on the other hand, it’s something bad we ask, “Why me?” Or we think, “It’s not my fault—it was just a piece of bad luck.”
Thus, when something unexpected happens, which is to say, when something whose cause we cannot determine happens, we use expressions like “luck,” “coincidence,” or “by chance.”
But let’s stop and think about the matter.
If you look up “chance” or “coincidence” in the dictionary, the definition is, “Something that occurs without a cause.”
But are there in fact things that happen without causes?
Shakyamuni, the historical founder of Buddhism in our age, stated clearly that, “There is a cause for every effect. There is no effect that does not have a cause.”
In Buddhism this is called “the law of cause and effect.”
“Law” means the universal principle that applies always and everywhere.
There can be no effect without a cause, and if there is a cause, an effect will necessarily result.
Shakyamuni assures us that this holds true in every age and wherever one goes.
To put it in simpler terms: “A seed that is not sown will never come to fruition, and a seed that is sown necessarily will.”
If you were told that in olden times a melon was produced without a seed ever having been sown, wouldn’t that be ridiculous?
If someone said there were sunflowers blooming in Brazil that didn’t come from seeds, would that be credible?
If a melon was produced, it was because there was a melon seed in the beginning, and if sunflowers bloomed, it was because there were sunflower seeds.
In exactly the same way, there is a cause (or seed) for every effect, and there are no effects that arise without causes.
In the worlds of natural science and medicine too, the grand premise is that there is a cause for every effect.
Even with terrible infectious diseases that, if contracted, would once have meant certain death, scientists have discovered methods of treatment by locating the microorganisms that cause the diseases.
Since the diseases have causes, it becomes possible to treat them.
If there were a disease that had no cause, there would be no way to prevent it or to cure it.
When airplane or train accidents occur, specialists conduct thoroughgoing investigations into the causes.
Human lives are at stake, so the most thorough investigations are carried out until the causes are determined.
Everyone knows that accidents do not happen by chance, through sheer coincidence, and without causes.
Yet when things are not going well for us, or the result we hoped for is not forthcoming, we tend to use words like “by chance” or “coincidence,” avoiding the effort to think things through.
But it is very important at such times to stop for a moment and think about what the cause (seed) of the effect really was.
That process will provide us with hints that will lead you to a happier life.