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Volume 5 No 1

The Voice of Bliss

Good Begets Good
By Venerable Shen-Kai

Buddhism teaches that, 'Good deeds shall be rewarded with good, and evil with evil.' However, there are devout Buddhists who have done many good deeds and yet their lives are full of sorrows and sufferings. On the other hand, there are people who have committed all sorts of evil. Yet, they go unpunished, their lives are without a hitch and they have all their wishes fulfilled. What is this all about?
1. Kalpa
A long period of time; an age. 1 small kalpa = 16.8 million years; 1 medium kalpa = 336 million years; 1 great kalpa = 1.344 billion years.

The four forms
Form - Characteristics;
(i) Everybody has an ego, this is the ego form.
(ii) When we see another person, we perceive the human form.
(iii) When thoughts arise in our mind, we perceive the sentient being form.
(iv) The continuity of these thoughts through time, gives rise to the age form. The four forms are merely an aggregation of various elements, and with their disintegration they cease to exist; therefore they have no ultimate reality of their own.

3. The past is gone and cannot be grasped.
After this moment, the present becomes past and also cannot be grasped. The future is not here yet and therefore cannot be grasped too. Therefore there is no need to attach to these Three Minds, for they do not have an ultimate reality of their own.

The past, present and future are called the Three Periods. Any discussion on cause and effect needs to consider the Three Periods. Even the slightest movement of a finger has a past, present and future. It will become obvious when we consider the filming of a movie. One move of the hand and the many frames of the movement are recorded by the camera. If any three frames are picked randomly, they are all separated by the past, present and future. The characteristic of time is a continuous process of past, present and future.

Extending the time scale, where you are now is the 'present'. Just now when you arrived is already 'past'. When you leave here in a little while, it is the 'future'. If you consider your departure from here to be the 'present', then right where you are now is the 'past'.

We can easily know the events of yesterday, today and tomorrow. It is also not too difficult to know the events of the last year, this year and next year. We may not be able to know the events of the distant past, such as before our conception, or after our death from our previous life. People need to be well cultivated to know this. If one cultivates well in this life, then naturally there will be good effects in his next life; but if one cultivates well and yet faces many adversities, then it is the result of negative karma that has been committed in the past. This may be last year, the previous life, many lives before, or many kalpas[1] ago.

Once we understand Jen Chen Buddhism we will know how to be truly free and liberated. The Diamond Sutra states: "There is no ego form, no human form, no sentient being form, and no age form."[2] The 'age form' refers to the 'time form', that is the characteristic of time. If there is no 'age form', then there is no 'time form'. If there is no 'time form', then we depart from the four forms altogether. To achieve the no 'age form' we must abide by what the Diamond Sutra states: "The mind of the past cannot be grasped, the mind of the present cannot be grasped, the mind of the future cannot be grasped."[3] If we can detach from these Three Minds, eradicate the four forms, then we immediately attain liberation, peace and happiness.


Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre