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If You Want to Change Your Results, Change Your Causes and Conditions

If you want to change your results, change your causes and conditions

As we've learned, Buddhism teaches that whether good or bad, every single thing that happens to us is "my karma, my harvest" (own causes, own effects). This time, let us answer some more questions from our readers.

When a cause and conditions combine, a result appears.

“Tens of thousands of people fall victim to earthquakes, ship disasters, terrorism, etc. It is taught that all results come about because the cause within a person combined with bad conditions. Is this true for every single case?”

----Male reader in his 70’s from Hokkaido

We will focus on and answer this question in this issue. Needless to say, it is so painful and sad to see or hear of accidents and disasters in which many people die at once. Of course, we cannot help but wish for those tragedies not to happen. However, as we learned last time, Buddhism teaches, “Every single effect occurs when a cause and conditions combine with each other. There is no exception to this.” “Causes” are the karmic seeds created by each person's karma of the mind, mouth, and body. "Conditions" help the cause to bring about a result. When a cause and conditions combine, a result appears. We have been planting a tremendous number of seeds through these three karmas.

But even if we agree in theory that "all that I reap is what I have sown," we are shocked and confused when something unexpected happens to us, especially when it is a bad result. It is natural that people do not recall the bad seeds they have planted. Buddhism teaches that the deeds we do with our minds, mouths, and bodies turn into invisible power (karmic causes), which remains within us forever (indestructible karmic power).

One high priest said, “In a single day, 800,004,000 (eight hundred million four thousand) thoughts pass through the mind.” Our minds are constantly in motion, and so they change a countless number of times each and every day. What's more, Buddhism teaches that our lives do not only consist of this present lifetime, but rather have been continuing since the distant past. We cannot even imagine how many karmic causes we have been creating during all that time.

If certain conditions come along, anything could happen

Since we have an enormous number of karmic causes, if the right conditions come along, we never know what kind of results may occur for us. Master Shinran said, “Under the right conditions, I, Shinran, would do anything.” (If certain conditions just came along, I would do any kind of horrendous deed.) You might ask, “We cannot change the seeds we planted in the past. So doesn't that mean that all we can do is stay still and wait helplessly for the results to happen?” No, that's wrong. If we change the conditions, the results will completely change. That is why we must avoid bad conditions in our relationships with others, in our environment, and so on. It is important to seek out better conditions.

What are the good seeds that will lead to happiness?

But it's not only conditions that really make a difference. Based on the law of cause and effect, which is the truth that runs through the three worlds and ten directions, Shakyamuni Buddha taught us the following two things:

"The misfortune and disasters that happen to you come about due to karmic causes that you created in the past. (Bad cause, bad effect; own cause, own effect.) If you do not want to be unhappy, refrain from bad deeds." "Happiness is brought about by good causes that you created. (Good cause, good effect; own cause, own effect.) If you want to be happy, perform good deeds."

In this way, Buddhism urges us to "refrain from bad deeds and perform good deeds." So, the natural conclusion is that if you want to avoid misfortune and experience good fortune, you should change your actions (seeds) to move toward the light of a better future. Then, what are the good deeds that are taught in Buddhism? Let us learn more about that next time!

Lesson Point

“Every single effect occurs when a cause and conditions combine with each other.” There is no exception to this.

Every day we do a tremendous number of deeds through our bodies, mouths, and minds.

If the right conditions come along, we never know what kind of results we may invite.

We cannot change our karmic causes from the past. However, if we change our conditions, the results we receive will change as well. Therefore, seeking out good conditions is important.

If you want to be happy, it is important to change both causes and conditions. So there are two things that you can do:

1. Change your actions (do good deeds)

2. Change your conditions (pick a good environment, etc.)

How does Buddhism define good deeds? We will explain about it in detail.


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