Causes and Effects
Blog Post 28: Causes and Effects
"This article presents a few answers Singha Rinpoche provided for questions about reincarnation, illness, and failure."
The purpose of being Buddhist is to liberate oneself from the six realms of samsara. When we learn about the six realms, we understand that there is reincarnation. If we cannot accept that, we forget the real purpose of Buddhism. All we do then is pray to have a good existence while remaining in samsara. We pray to have all kinds of worldly possessions. While we may accumulate merit, it isn't Buddhist philosophy when we dedicate it to our material desires. The Buddha did say that if we do things with dharma intent, dharma action, and dharma dedication, worldly benefits will come as a side effect. But without the acceptance of reincarnation, we merely remain focused upon the side effects.
Illness (responding to a cancer survivor)
If you have had cancer, it is because there was a cause for it. So first, you must purify the cause. When something will happen, and we want to stop it, we need to generate an incredible amount of merit to counter it. For example, if there is a guided missile coming toward us, we must have an equally powerful guided missile to stop it.
We pray that all beings not be afflicted by cancer or by any sickness. But we also need to take significant responsibility and generous action to counter it. The ideal step we can take is the development and generation and actual cultivation practice of bodhicitta. We accept that we have made mistakes, and we want to correct them. We don't want to run away and cower. We all have fears. That's why we use our situations to see how much samsara sucks. It's not to say that we cannot have fun, but we must not forget that our life's primary purpose is to gain enlightenment while we are in samsara. The Buddha said, "I cannot wash away your sins or take away your sickness or pain, but if you have faith and devotion to the words of truth, then we can walk together, and we can support one another."
Failure (responding to the questioner's loss of confidence)
Perhaps you have squandered your good worldly karma. But life itself is about ups and downs. When things go wrong, how do you evolve? How do you change?
That's why the Buddha's teachings on impermanence are a wake-up call for each one of us. We must change. We must evolve and strive to gain merit. With that, we will have success.
When we have any small success, we must generate good karma. Share what we have and humbly accept other people's criticisms of us. We must offer service, our heart, and our support. Work with other people to improve our minds and lives. Confidence will emerge from mind training and study about the impermanence of phenomena. With that, we will respond to different situations more skillfully.