The world of Tzu Chi (Vol.107)

2019 • 02 52 harma A side from giving rise to Bodhicitta and following the Bodhisattva Path, Buddhist practitioners must also believe in the karmic law of cause and effect. In the “Chapter on the Karma of Living Beings” in the Earth Treasury Sutra , the Buddha announced: “If men and women in the future fail to do good deeds and only do evil; fail to believe in cause and effect; indulge in sexual misconduct and false, divisive and harsh speech, or slander the Great Vehicle, beings with karma like that will certainly fall into the evil realms.” Unenlightened beings often lose sight of their true nature and live as if in a fog or a dream. They do not know the value of life and do not fear the consequences of the law of karma, so in their ignorance they create much negative karma. They do not understand that, whether they do good deeds or commit transgressions, they have to accept the results of their actions. Hence, in this state of confusion, they do many things they should not do. To illustrate the importance of even a single word when it comes to the karmic law of cause and effect, I will cite a story that took place in ancient China, that should serve as a reminder to us all. In the Tang dynasty, there was a Zen master named Baizhang Huaihai, who was famed for stating, “A day without work should be a day without food.” When he gave lectures at the temple where he was the abbot, a certain white-haired old man was always in the audience. One day, after the lecture was over, everyone in the audience left, except for the old man. Venerable Baizhang asked him who he was. “In fact, I am not a human being,” the old man replied. “Long ago, at the time of Kasyapa Buddha, I engaged in spiritual cultivation here in the mountains. One of my disciples asked me, ‘Are great spiritual practitioners bound by the law of karma?’ I replied, ‘They are not bound by the law of karma.’ For that, I have repeatedly been reborn as a fox for the last 500 years! To this day, I do not know how my answer was wrong! Please be compassionate and teach me, so I may be freed from existence as a fox.” Venerable Baizhang replied, “Go ahead and state your question!” “Are great spiritual practitioners bound by the law of karma?” “You should have replied, ‘They will not deny the law of karma.’” The old man heard this and instantly awakened, so he prostrated himself before THE THIRD PRINCIPLE Give rise to Bodhicitta Believe in the karmic law of cause and effect Read and recite the Great Vehicle Sutra Diligently progress on the Bodhisattva Path CHERISHYOUR BLESSINGS INTHIS LIFE