By Nhat Quan
If you sow a seed, one day you will reap the fruit. Whatever kind of seed you sow, you will surely reap the same kind of fruit. In Buddhism it is often said:
- Whatever you sow, you will reap.
In the spirit of Buddhism, students understand. The cause is a primary force that produces an effect; the effect is a result of that primary force. So first and foremost you must understand the word Cause and Effect from the Buddhist point of view. The cause is the germ, the seed. Cause also means the ability to motivate, and emanate action. The effect is the fruit of the cause, the formation of that active power. Cause and effect are two successive states, closely related, and dependent on each other. If there is no cause, there is no effect, and if there is no effect, there is no cause. Cause and effect, effect and cause, go on and on. So you must know that when you sow a cause, you will reap the same fruit. That is also the reason why in the world human life is born:
- There are beautiful people, bad people, strong people, weak people, poor people, and rich people. Some people suffer, some people are happy, some people are rich, and some people are poor. Different sounds, different languages.
- Some people live for a hundred years without dying, and some young people die still.
- Some people are righteous, and some people are skittish.
- There are beautiful people but poor, and there are ugly people who are rich.
- There are people who are very strong but have low status, there are weak people who have high status.
- Some people live long in suffering, while happy people die early.
- There are people who do good but often encounter many problems, while those who do evil will receive blessings.
- Some people are short but have a noble will, there are people who are tall but have no will, despicable.
- Some people have many children, and some are lonely.
- There are people who leave home, hungry and wandering, and there are people who have excess food and clothes.
- Some young people are poor, and when they are old, they become rich.
- There are innocent people who are arrested and imprisoned.
- There are fathers' families who reject their children, there are brothers' families who are discordant and fight against each other.
- Some people have full possessions, some are homeless, and they move around, living a miserable life in a foreign land.
- There are people who enjoy peace and happiness. There are people looking for work that no one hires.
- There are smart, intelligent people, and there are ignorant and stupid people.
- Some people do business to get wealth, and some people don't need what nature brings.
- Someone who speaks sweetly. Some people say it is like a thorn.
- Some people are respected by many people, and some people are shunned by everyone.
- There are people who are tolerant and generous, people who are liked, and there are people who are abandoned by everyone.
- Some people like to listen to the Buddha's teachings, and some people fall asleep listening to the sutras.
Everything is created by cause and effect, so as a Buddhist, you must know that in the universe, everything is not marching, changing naturally and irrationally, but obeying a common law. From the Buddhist point of view, it is called the Law of Cause and Effect. This law is not created by some metaphysical god, or set up by any society, but is the law of nature, quietly moving but very right, and infinitely powerful. Usually, you don't observe closely, so you don't notice the law. Therefore you have acted indiscriminately without accountability to yourself, and even to those around you. And so the more you suffer, the more you sink in the sea of ​​confusion, and guilt. The more you suffer, the more you complain about heaven and earth, and the deeper you step on the path of sin.
Everyone knows that this life is impermanent, the world is unpredictable, things change, and stars move. Human life is very short compared to endless time, human life is like a lamp in the wind, and no one dares to confidently say that tomorrow you will still be in this world or not. The person you just met yesterday but woke up today has already gone to the other side of the world. In the blink of an eye, yin and yang are separated from each other. Although the body is still here, the soul has returned to a far away place, never to meet again. Impermanent is like that. At that time, the people who sent the people only took each other a part of the way from the house to the grave, or the crematorium, but not further. No matter who that person is, and how full of love, no one dares to take each other to the end of the road. Indeed as said in the kind of sentiment:
1- Love of Wife & Husband:
When we first met, dated in all sorts of ways, a day without seeing each other felt like a thousand years. Then, when they become husband and wife, even though they eat the same tray, stay in the same house, and sleep in the same bed at night, they can be together in pain and suffering, happy and sad together. But in the end, there is a time to break up, although you can live together, you can't die together. So to say a hundred years of living together, it's all just a dream. In fact, when impermanence comes, it only takes one part of the way.
2- Child Love
Although parents and children are related by blood, it is only a corporate relationship. Piety, hope, caring for each other, etc., make up a happy family. But in the end, when you go to the afterlife, your children can only see you off for a while, but not be able to bring you back.
3- Money & Fame
You work hard, make money, regardless of tricks, regardless of the consequences later, as long as there are things you need to be satisfied. No matter how much money you have in your bank account, it's just something outside your body. When you were born, you didn't bring it, and when you died, you didn't take it away.
4- Houses & Other Property.
Although you do not stop working to get those things, when you go to the other side of the world, it all comes to nothing.
So what do you end up taking with you, and what will follow you from one life to the next?
To answer this question someone said:
1- Body
Only the body before and after does not leave you, because it accompanies you from the moment you are born until you leave the world. Only the body can protect you, do everything for you, until the end of strength. The stronger your body is, the farther it will help you to go, and discover more and more new horizons.
If the body is no longer there, your life will also end, so you need to cherish it. This is the only thing that belongs to you, a priceless treasure. So you should love it, protect it, and satisfy its needs by training, rest, nutrition, disease prevention, and treatment, even if a slight illness is not neglected.
2- Health
If your body is healthy, your life will be better and your life will be prolonged. Not having a healthy body means nothing. So you live a day, also a blessed day, need to cherish yourself.
3- Spirit
- The biggest mistake in life is to trade health for things outside the body.
- The greatest tragedy in life is exchanging happiness for sorrow.
- The biggest waste of human life is using the time to solve the troubles created by yourself.
And all of this comes from your mind and spirit. Therefore, there is nothing in the world more precious than abundant health and a strong spirit. Protecting your health is also protecting yourself, so cherish what you have.
In fact, these factors are only partially true. The reason for saying that is only partly true because when you are in this world, this body is yours, no matter how much you take care of your health and spirit, but when impermanence comes, When this body is destroyed, health and spirit will also be destroyed, then the body and other factors can only accompany you to the grave or the crematorium, but not further. However, it is still better than a spouse, children, house, and fame that only take you to the cemetery, not dare to follow the grave or the crematorium.
So what will follow you not just to the grave or the crematorium but through life to life, and change from one form to another…?
The answer is that only good or bad karma will follow you! Therefore, if in this world:
- If you sow love, you will reap happiness in this life or in the next life.
- If you sow sincerity, in the next life you will reap faith.
- If you sow kindness, you will reap friends in the next life.
- You sow humility, you will reap kindness in the next life.
- If you sow perseverance, you will reap success in the next life.
- If you show respect, you will reap peace in your next life.
- If you sow hard, you will overcome any difficulties in your next life.
- If you sow forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation in the next life.
- If you sow openness, you will reap intimacy in the next life.
- If you show patience, you will reap progress in the next life.
- If you sow faith, you will reap miracles in the next life.
- If you sow sympathy, you will reap peace in the next life.
But if in this life:
- If you sow hatred, you will suffer in the next life.
- You sow disloyalty, the next life you will reap distrust.
- You sow selfishness, in the next life you will reap loneliness.
- You sow pride, in the next life, you will reap destruction.
- You sow envy, in the next life you will reap trouble.
- You sow laziness, in the next life, you will reap stagnation.
- You sow greed, in the next life you will reap loss.
- You sow fabrications, in the next life you will reap enemies.
- You sow sins, in the next life you will reap karma.
- You sow lies, in the next life you will reap distrust.
          The Buddha was the one who was fully enlightened, so he saw the law of cause and effect that has been and is governing throughout all mankind and sentient beings without forgiving anyone. Therefore, he warned humanity, and at the same time, to guide everyone to control their own actions clearly and wisely, first for the benefit of themselves and then for sentient beings. The Buddha's wish is like that, so you are a Buddhist, practicing according to the Buddha's teachings must understand the law of cause and effect, and then act on the true path.
You know the value of the law of cause and effect, so you should apply this lesson to all your daily work. When doing something, when saying any word, one should think in advance of an outcome that will happen, not take a risk and suffer painful consequences in the future. If you do this, you will find that your character and behavior are improving day by day, your wrongs will decrease, and your good deeds will increase. Because of that perfect seeding, from the human position, you will progress to the bodhisattva or Buddha status without much difficulty.
The question is raised, who are sentient beings and who are bodhisattvas. How do identify sentient beings and bodhisattvas?
A bodhisattva is an enlightened person who sees all the clues of suffering and happiness. To end suffering and be happy, there is nothing better than the seed of suffering you should not sow, the seed of happiness must be sown. If you don't sow the cause of suffering, there will be no result of suffering. As long as you sow the cause of happiness, the uninvited happy fruit will also come. This is the action of the enlightened one.
A bodhisattva is someone who is enlightened and also often guides others to enlightenment. Because he was enlightened, he saw clearly what was the cause of suffering and was afraid to find ways to eliminate it, for example:
- Seeing that greed and stinginess are the causes of suffering, Bodhisattvas practice giving to destroy greed, so they say giving to save greed.
- Seeing looseness and conceit as the cause of the destruction of virtue, Bodhisattvas practice precepts to eliminate laxity and conceit, so they say that maintaining precepts saves and breaks precepts.
 - Seeing anger is the cause of many sins. Bodhisattvas practice patience to subdue should say, patience saves anger.
- Seeing that laziness and selfishness are the causes of damage to the body, and loss of merit, Bodhisattvas practice diligently to chase them away, so they should say diligently to save and solve problems.
- Seeing that the scattered mind is the cause of the dark inversion, the bodhisattva practices meditation to conquer the body and mind, so it is said that meditation saves the scattered.
- Seeing that stupidity is the cause of the cycle of birth and death, the Bodhisattva cultivates wisdom to eliminate stupidity, so it is said that wisdom saves stupidity.
The reason why Bodhisattvas practice the Six Paramitas is to eliminate the six evil and sinful causes, blindly leading people to go on forever in the cycle of suffering. When those six causes are completely destroyed, enlightenment is liberated. The stage of cultivation of the six perfections is the stage of practicing Bodhisattva until enlightenment is becoming a real Bodhisattva. This is about self-awareness. As for the enlightenment of others, the Bodhisattva sees his own duty to bring enlightenment back to everyone. To that end, the Bodhisattva must build up for himself all the essentials, such as discernment:
- Buddhism, psychology, medicine, profession, language.
These five factors Buddhism call the five intelligence. In order to create for himself to fully meet these five conditions, the bodhisattva fulfills the cause of enlightening others. You cannot embrace the mere idea that the vow to enlighten others, while you do not have a little ability, a little means, enlightenment becomes meaningless. First, you have to create for yourself all the essential conditions that are the five intelligence. After that, you carry your luggage on your shoulder and go on the road to enlightenment, you will complete the task.
In addition, the Bodhisattva must be willing to help:
- Your money, wealth, or energy when people need it.
- Words are gentle and lovely, no matter how much you help someone, but by uttering harsh words, they will be angry and disgusted.
- Do what to bring practical benefits to people. You don't have to just talk, you have to actually do it.
- Together with everyone.
 These four are indispensable means of the Bodhisattva on the path to realizing the practice of enlightening others.
Now I speak of sentient beings
The word sentient beings are those who are deluded, only looking at the results, and are afraid to pray. Always afraid of suffering to seek joy, but the cause of suffering cannot be avoided, the cause of happiness is not created. Once the fruit of suffering comes, beg and plead, but then there is no way to get over it because karma has already formed. Wishing for a happy result, but if the cause is not created, there will be no happy result.
Sentient beings are ignorant people who are afraid of suffering without knowing the cause. Seeing what suffering comes is horror, terror, and begging for help, without knowing what causes that suffering comes from. When the suffering is over, then calmly as usual do not know anything about the practice of changing actions. The fruits that beings fear the most are:
- Fear of others killing you, but your mind wants to kill people do not give up. So if you still hold a plot to kill people, the retribution of people who will kill you is inevitable.
- Fear of others stealing your money, but your greed and stealing from others, you don't spare. If you have been greedy for people, then people's greed for you is natural.
- Afraid of people infringing upon the conduct of your wife and children, yet you still look enviously at his wife and children. Embrace and destroy the virginity of your family, it is inevitable that people will destroy your family's happiness.
- Afraid that people will use lies to slander you, but you still like to deceive people. If there is a person who cheats and falsely accuses people, then the retribution of the person who cheats and falsely accuses you is impossible to escape.
- Fear of being drunk like crazy, like a fool will be laughed at, but alcohol does not stop without abstaining. If you are ready to drink, you must accept drunkenness.
These are the fruits that beings fear. But fearing the result but not avoiding the cause, shows your ignorance, so it is called a being.
You don't like to create good causes but want good results, good results cannot come, because there is no cause. However, you still dream of expecting good results. As you keep hoping for long and healthy life but refuse to save people to help animals. The life of the person is not respected, but it is impossible for everyone to respect your life.
- You wish to be rich, everyone supports you, but you refuse to give alms and help people in need.
- You want to pray for your family's peace and happiness, your wife and children are all virgins, but you refuse to live a virgin life with everyone.
- You want no one to deceive you, but you refuse to speak the truth.
- You always pray for your family to reunite in harmony, without using advice to dissuade everyone from getting along.
- You always pray that no one uses cruel words to you, but you refuse to use gentle words to people.
- You want everyone to present the truth to you, but you are not telling people the truth.
- You want to pray that no one is greedy with your possessions, but you refuse to give up greed for other people's possessions.
- You always beg no one to be angry with you, but you have not yet forgiven others.
- You want to give you clear wisdom, but the stubborn wrong views do not give up.
A lot of these wishes are never fulfilled, just because you want the result but don't create the cause. This is the empty wish of deluded people, so you are a sentient being.
Looking through the fear between Bodhisattvas and sentient beings there is a huge difference. The bodhisattva knew that the cause of suffering was panic and sought every way to eliminate suffering. There is still a little bit of suffering, but the Bodhisattva is still not at peace. Therefore, the Bodhisattva always applies the Six Paramitas to destroy all the causes of suffering. The cause of suffering has been eliminated, and the result of suffering cannot come from anywhere, so the Bodhisatta never cared about the result. Do not fear the fruit, but the fruit does not come.
On the contrary, sentient beings are afraid of the result of suffering, but the cause of suffering does not prevent it, so the more they fear, the more the result of suffering will come. You weep and lament when you meet the result of suffering, but you do not want to see who caused it. Crying to heaven, blaming the earth, and hating people is just useless work, sometimes the result of suffering increases. No gods and Buddhas intentionally make you suffer, but because your ignorance creates causes for suffering, the cause is already there, and the result must come. Crying and complaining only deepen the suffering.
This is the opposite image of deluded beings and enlightened bodhisattvas. However, this delusion anyone can give up, this enlightenment anyone can do. Just aiming for the cause is an enlightened person, and only aiming at the result is a sentient being, anyone can do that. Therefore, a Bodhisattva is something all of you can do and as sentient beings, you can also give up.
Thus, bodhisattvas and sentient beings, there is not much difference, as long as you are willing to change your outlook and actions. Looking directly at the cause to see clearly the cause of suffering is avoided, the cause of happiness is to practice as a bodhisattva. You only fear the results of suffering, always seek the results of happiness, without knowing the cause, you are a sentient being. Bodhisattvas and sentient beings are no different, only looking at causes and looking at results. Like two people standing in the same place, one facing the east, the other facing the west, if the person facing the west will turn to look east, there is no difference. That way, all sentient beings have the potential to be Bodhisattvas, not that bodhisattvas are only for bodhisattvas, and you don't have a part.
In short, according to the law of cause and effect, whoever sows a cause will surely reap the same result. If you sow bad causes and reap bad results, you are a sentient being. Whereas if you sow good causes and reap good results, you are a bodhisattva. The word Bodhisattva that I use here is only for people who act, bring their own wisdom and talents to life, live alongside the masses, and practice dharmas such as Beneficial Conduct (conduct profitable to others, beneficial conduct which helps others love and receive the truth), and Engaging In The Same Work (cooperation with and adaptation of oneself to others, to lead them into the truth) by Four All Embracings in order to approach the teaching of sentient beings. Bodhisattvas are not images of temple worship sitting on lotus thrones or riding lions, but people with skillful skills, possibly dirty, working in factories, doing and teaching themselves the doer, this is the clever technique in the Five Intelligences.
On the contrary, sentient beings always seek good results but do not create good causes. Beautiful fruit cannot be obtained, when good cause you do not sow. Wanting to reap results without sowing good causes, if there are, then that result is only fraudulent, robbery, and unrighteous results. For example, you see a neighbor planting ripe oranges and buckling trees, greed arises, and you steal. If the gardener sees it, he will beat you and break your arm. If the owner of the garden does not see that you have picked and brought it back, it is also a stolen fruit, the fruit that you have in your hand is also an evil and shameful fruit.
Seeking results without causing cause, is a person who dreams in vain, away from reality, is a lazy person who wants to eat but refuses to work. Do not want to cause causes but seek results, are ignorant people should be called sentient beings. Therefore, when you know that you will reap what you sow, then if you sow you should sow good causes, then you will reap good results. You are a saint, a bodhisattva, and a Buddha.
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