Lesson 9 of 12
People often say "honesty does not pay", but is that really true? Is there any possibility of you receiving bad results from doing good deeds? How does Shakyamuni Buddha teach?
Honesty doesn't pay?
Shakyamuni Buddha teaches that what brings about our fate, whether fortunate or unfortunate, is our own actions. If we plant good seeds we will get good results ("Good causes produce good effects"), while if we plant bad seeds we will get bad results ("Bad causes produce bad effects").
But if we take a look at the world, there are people who are in horrible situations despite doing good deeds, while others who do bad deeds live comfortable lives, seemingly getting away with what they've been doing. Does this mean that there are some cases where honesty really does not pay? To these questions, Shakyamuni Buddha answers that all seeds planted will surely grow—it is just that some seeds will grow quickly while others will grow more slowly. What exactly does this mean?
Seeds will not always grow right away We tend to think that when we plant seeds, they will grow and give us results right away, but it doesn't always happen like this.
Some seeds might bear harvest within a year, like rice; sometimes we won't have anything to reap until the next year, like with wheat; sometimes, like with chestnut or persimmon, we have to wait several years before they will bear fruit. Shakyamuni Buddha teaches these as
"karma that produces effects immediately",
"karma that produces effects in the near future", and
"karma that produces effects in the distant future".
So "karma that produces effects immediately" brings about fast results, like rice; "karma that produces effects in the near future" takes a while to bring about results, like wheat; "karma that produces effects in the distant future" takes a long time to bring about results, like chestnuts or persimmons.
It is only a matter of fast and slow
Some seeds grow quickly while others take more time, but everything we plant will surely grow without any exception. For example, if you study hard before your exams and your grades go up as a result, or if you oversleep, arrive late at school and get scolded, those are results that bloomed quickly. Some Diet members and corporate executives have lost their jobs after having been discovered to have done dishonest things in the past. This is an example of results taking a few years to appear.
Diabetes, one of the most common lifestyle diseases, has a lot to do with the diet and lifestyle you have been keeping since you were young. You may have planted the seeds when you were in your teens or your 20's to no immediate negative effect, but in 20-30 years' time, these choices you made will start taking a toll on your health.
A Glass of Milk Changed a Life
Here's a story. One day an American lady met a hardworking student. Due to being unable to eat sufficiently, the young man was hungry, so she offered a glass of milk to him. He was suffering because he didn't have much money and had been thinking about giving up his studies. But encouraged by the lady's kindness, he found the strength to keep going, and eventually he became a doctor who was renowned across America.
Years later, the lady contracted a serious illness, and treatment would require a huge sum of money. However, the doctor she saw at the hospital happened to be the student who she once offered a glass of milk to. He recognized the lady and told her he would return the favor by treating her free of charge.
"Would you like a glass of milk?"
"Thank you, I was actually very hungry..."
"You already paid your medical fees with that glass of milk you gave me."
"What? Oh my goodness, you were...!"
The seeds we sow (karma) take varying lengths of time to bring about results. Regarding this, there are three types of karma: Karma that produces effects immediately Karma that produces effects in the near future Karma that produces effects in the distant future
Shakyamuni Buddha teaches that seeds planted will never fail to grow. Some seeds sprout quickly while others take more time.
Because seeds that are planted will grow without exception, there is never a case where "honesty does not pay." Even if the results don't appear right away, let us do our best to plant good seeds at all times. The law of cause and effect is a principle that remains unchanged regardless of time and place. It is this principle that we Buddhists believe in and follow.
The next lesson Lesson10
It's not true that "everything will be over after death" --The law of karma