Chapter2-5 : When results are slow in coming, regard it as you would a fixed-term deposit in the ban
When, despite our best efforts, there seem to be no results, we tend to be downcast, thinking that all our efforts were in vain.
We come to regret the efforts we made, thinking it would have been better to have done nothing.
Among crops, there are those that bear fruit quickly, and those that ripen slowly.
For example, rice matures the same year you plant it, but barley takes another year.
There is a proverb: “Peaches and chestnuts, three years; persimmons, eight.” Some crops take as long as three or even eight years to mature.
Our actions are the same.
In Buddhism our deeds are divided into three kinds of karmic causation.
There is the kind that produces effects right away, the kind that produces effects after some time, and the kind that produces effects long afterward.
In terms of the previous example of crops, the first kind is like rice, which ripens right away; the second is like barley, which ripens one year later; and the third is like peaches and chestnuts, which ripen after three years, or like persimmons, which ripen after eight.
Shakyamuni Buddha taught: “There are actions that ripen quickly and those that ripen slowly. Since, however, seeds that are sown always ripen, don’t worry about quick or slow, but do your best to plant good seeds.”
Yet we are apt to think only of the immediate future, so our eyes go only to what produces immediate results.
In fact, though, it is immediate results that we need to be most careful about.
There are people who go for a diet plan that promises, “Ten kilos off in three days!”
But think about it for a minute: Even if there were a diet that could take off ten kilos in three days, it would be very bad for your health.
And it is likely you would soon rebound back to your original weight.
But if you spent six months improving your eating habits and lost weight without resorting to extreme measures, it would be good for your health, and you would be unlikely to go back to your former weight.
When results don’t seem to be coming, think of it as a fixed-term deposit in the bank.
It will take some time before your money comes back to you, but when it does come back, it will be with more interest than in a normal account.
After you’ve planted a seed, there’s no need to spread harmful chemical fertilizers and try to force the buds to emerge.
A forced result will not be a long-lasting one. Some flowers bloom quickly, others slowly.
It’s the same with your actions and their results.
We know that seeds that are sown always produce an effect, so let’s just plant good seeds carefully, without rushing.