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The Mechanism by Which Our Deeds Create Our Destiny--- Lesson 8 of 12


Shakyamuni Buddha teaches that whatever destiny we may face, whether fortune or misfortune, it is all generated by our own seeds (actions). There is absolutely no exception to this. Then how exactly do our actions create our destiny? How does this work? Shakyamuni taught that the deeds we do with our minds, mouths, and bodies turn into an invisible energy and stay within us. This energy can never be destroyed. This is called "karmic power." When this invisible karmic power (cause) combines with the right "conditions," we receive a visible result: our fate.


When the condition of mild spring weather comes along, cherry blossoms will bloom in full.

The following tanka or thirty-one syllable poem teaches us that it is the combination of invisible karmic power and conditions that creates a visible result:

Every year

Cherry blossoms bloom on Mount Yoshino

Split the branches

Where are the flowers?

Mount Yoshino in Nara Prefecture has been Japan’s most famous cherry blossom viewing spot for many centuries. The cherry blossoms on the mountain reach full bloom around April. However, if you visit the mountain in winter, all you will see is lots of dead-looking trees. Even if you cut up a piece of one of the trees in hopes of finding where the flowers are, you would never find even a single petal. What makes those trees reach full bloom in spring is that the invisible power within the trees combines with the conditions of spring weather. In the same way, invisible karmic power creates good or bad results when the right conditions come along.


Your karmic power never disappears, even if nobody noticed what you did.

For example, let's say you shoplifted and nobody noticed. But actually, that doesn't mean you got away with it. The seeds you planted will never disappear. Your bad action will stay within you in the form of bad karmic power. Later, when the bad karmic power combines with a certain condition, you will face a bad result. This is true for good actions too. Even if nobody acknowledges your good actions, your actions will stay within you in the form of good karmic power and this will bring good results when it combines with the right conditions. Seeds not planted will never grow, but seeds planted will surely grow when they meet with the right conditions. When we gain a good understanding of the law of cause, condition and effect, our attitude towards the results we receive will shift. In hard times, we reflect upon our own bad deeds in the past. In good times, we cannot help but make extra effort. Why? Because we know that it would only be fair for us to receive any bad result, and yet in spite of this, we are blessed with happiness. This must be due to the protection of the buddhas and the masters*. In short, this is how Buddhists live their lives: in hard times, reflection; in good times, effort.

*Protection of the buddhas and the masters:

To be protected by Amida Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, and the true Buddhist masters.


Lesson Point

_Whatever you do, all of your actions stay within you in the form of invisible energy (karmic power). When this combines with conditions, it produces visible results (your destiny).

_When you face misfortune or calamity, reflect on your past conduct. When you are blessed with happiness, make extra effort with gratitude for your good fortune.

Let us know the law of cause, condition and effect well and move toward the light.

Next Lesson

When will your seed bloom?

The secret of karma

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