Previous Causes and Later Effects


People are strange creatures in that they only have the flesh eye the physical eye and so they can't discern the relationship between previous causes and later effects in their lives. Because of that, they are always bumping their heads against the north wall and the south wall, frantically flying and buzzing about, like a foolish fly trying to get out through a closed window. They have no idea where they are. Although they may be people this life, next life they may turn into dogs or other animals as they undergo retributions for their karmic deeds. They may be reborn as hungry ghosts, or in the hells, or as asuras who do nothing but fight with others.

If we take a good look at the realm of humans, we will see that it is very precarious—not what you could call a whole lot of fun. Therefore, no matter who we are, we must be cautious with our words and extremely careful in our every move. We should wipe out our fondness for fame and profit. We should not be arrogant, thinking that we are something special, looking lightly on others. One who cultivates the Way and is still filled with pride will find that it drags down his body, mind, and spirit. At all times we should "truly acknowledge our own faults and not discuss the faults of others," and realize that "others' faults are just our own." Regard everyone else as being not different from the way we are, and consider other people's habits as our own habits, other people'Spain as our own pain, the evils of others as our own evils, and the good points of others as our own good points as well. We should not become jealous of the talents of others and try to obstruct them. That is why, when I was still at home, and after I left home while I was in the monastery, I was always eager to do whatever work needed to be done. In fact, I did more than. my share of the work. I certainly didn't have the thought, "If I do this, someone else may cheat me, and I may have to take a loss."

In all your actions watch over yourselves. Whether walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, always have presence of mind. You should always be "at home." That means don't allow your mind to wander off to observe the faults of others while neglecting your own faults. You shouldn't be like a camera which can only take pictures outside but can't focus within. Rather, you want to "return the light, look within," and set your mind on getting rid of your nasty temper and your improper thoughts. Talk less and work more. You shouldn't always make excuses for yourself, arguing, "This is just the way I am, this is just the way I am, this is just the way I am!" What are you really like? In the future you will become a pig. That's what you will be like: just a stupid pig.