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The Law of Cause and Effect

I. Definition:

Cause: Anything that generates a result

Effect: Anything produced by a cause.

II. Definition of the Law of Cause and Effect:

The Law of Cause and Effect is an axiom which cites the relationship between an action and its corresponding result. An effect cannot be produced without cause.

III. The characteristics of the Law of Cause and Effect:

1. Cause and Effect is a univeral law: Buddha did not invent the Law of Cause and Effect; however, He was the person who fully understood the relationship between cause and effect. Buddha taught this law based upon real-life experience.

2. The Law of Cause and Effect controls all entities: Every existence varies due to different causes. The Law of Cause and Effect governs all existence. This Law is impartial, meaning that it takes no sides. No one can deny or change the inevitable Law of Cause and Effect.

3. Cause and Effect is a complex law: The Law of Cause and Effect is not easy to understand. The close connections and domino-relationships between cause and effect are what make the law difficult to understand. Anyone who uses simple knowledge to make a judgement on the Law of Cause and Effect usually ends up with a misconception of what the Law really is.

IV. The interrelationship of cause and effect:

Buddha used this Law to explain the association between cause and effect. This close collaboration is very hard to perceive because of its complexity.

1. A cause by itself can not generate an effect: All existence on the universe is composed of cause and other contributed factors to form an effect. A cause by itself can not form an effect. Example: A wheat grain itself can not grow if it lacks of other supporting factors (sun, water, etc.).

2. It is what it is: Whatever the characteristics of the cause are, its effect will have the corresponding characteristics. For example, a guitar learner will only know how to play guitar and will not know how to play the drums.

3. Cause and effect are interrelated: The present cause itself is generated from the effect the previous causes. The effect itself can be the cause for future effect. For example: a college degree is the result (effect) of many years in school (cause) and the degree brings about employment or advanced degree.

V. The interrelationship of cause and effect through time:

1. Cause and Effect happening at the same time: Cause and effect follow each other, meaning that an effect is immediately resulted from the cause. For example, sound is produced after the bell is rung. The effect immediately follows the cause; there is no waiting for the effect to be produced.

2. Cause and Effect in same life cycle: The cause that is created in this lifetime will have an effect in this lifetime. For example, wheat cultivation requires only about six months to yield wheat grains.

3. Cause and Effect in two consecutive lives: The effect in this life is brought about by the cause from previous life. The cause in this life will effect the next life. This means that there is a waiting period for the effect to take place. For example, if one make meaningful contribution in this life, one will be successful in one's next life.

4. Cause and Effect resulted within many lives to come: The cause that is created in one of the past lives is taking the effect in this life. The cause that is created in this life will take effect in many of the subsequent (not preferring to the next life time but to those after) lives to come. For example, to be free from the cycle of reincarnation it takes many life times of practicing Buddhism.

VI. Several examples of the Law of Cause and Effect:

1. Cause and effect in nature : A forest is the result (effect) from many trees (cause).

2. Cause and effect within oneself: A physically fit body (effect) is the result of formed tissues (cause).

3. Cause and effect within one's mind: The personality, the thoughts are influenced by the Law of Cause and Effect. Evil actions eventually lead to immoral thinking. Having high morals will make a person well mannered. The knowledge will expand due to studying diligently.

VII. The applications of the Law of Cause and Effect:

1. The Law of Cause and Effect helps us understand the truth: Once we understood what the Law of Cause and Effect is all about, we are then capable of understanding the characteristics of all matters correctly, not absurdly.

2. Reject the idea that "God creates everything": Based on the Law of Cause and Effect, Buddhism denies the idea that God created the universe, and is opposed to the idea of punishment and reward from God. A Buddhist understanding The Law of Cause and Effect should not be superstitious and should not depend on the authority of others.

3. A person who understands the Law of Cause and Effect believes and trust in himself: Knowing that a person's life depends upon his own actions and decisions, he is his own king in making decisions that affect his own life in the present time.

4. A person who understands the Law of Cause and Effect will not be pessimistic and reproached: Knowing the effect is germinated from the cause that we created, a person with an understanding of the Law of Cause and Effect should not be discouraged and blamed himself or others for the adversity. Instead he should improve his behavior in order to attain good results.

5. A person who understands the Law of Cause and Effect should create good effects and think of the results before committing actions: We know that how we are today is the result from past actions. Therefore, to have good results, we need to have perseverance in committing actions that benefit not only ourselves but also other beings. These actions need to be in compliance with Buddha's teachings.

VIII. Conclusion:

The Law of Cause and Effect is a natural theory. Based on it, we understand the following: Anything one received, either good or bad in the present life, is the results from the past lives. One is in control of oneself. No one has any rights to interfere with the results that one receives. The Law of Cause and Effect helps one to have faith in whatever one does. Practicing the Law of Cause and Effect in one's daily life will help one to eliminate pessimission and misfortunes in one's life. The Law of Cause and Effect in Buddhism provides courage, endurance, and understanding about the true characteristic of existence which opens up the road to enlightenment for all beings.

Trung Thiện

1.     Ðức Phật Di Lặc- Di Lac Buddha

2.     Ngài Văn Thu Sư Lợi Bồ Tát- Superior wisdom Bodhisattva

3.     Chùa Báo Quốc- Bao Quoc Pagoda

4.     Chùa Thuyền Tôn - Thuyen Ton Pagoda

5.     Lý Nhân Duyên Sanh- The Law of Causality

6.     Lý Nhân Quả- The Law of Cause and Effect

7.     Lý Luân Hồi - The Re-Birth

8.     Mười Ðiều Thiện - Ten Good Deeds

9.     An Cư Kiết Hạ - The Summer Retreat

10.  Năm Uẩn - The Five Aggregater(5 Skandhas)

11.  Lich Sử Phật Giáo Việt Nam từ Thời Ðại Du Nhập Ðến Ðời Lý  - The history of buddhism in VietNam From The Beginning to the Ly Dynasty

12.  Vua Trần Nhân Tông và Trúc Lâm Yên Tử

13.  Phù Hiệu GÐPT Việt Nam