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¡§When one¡¦s life span is reduced, poverty will also strike. One often encounters adversity and misery as well¡¨.

This above sentence to the ninth sentence ¡§when one¡¦s life span comes to an end, one will perish¡¨ provide a detailed explanation of the true reality. What is the meaning behind the word, ¡§reduced¡¨? It refers to the result of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of merits and demerits accumulated from our good and bad deeds. Although destiny exists as a result of our past deeds, if we neither perform exemplary deeds nor commit flagrant offenses in this lifetime,
then our destiny remains unchanged. This is known as predestination and is expressed in a proverb, ¡§Life is predestined, one cannot alter it at all¡¨. However, if we practice great virtue, this virtue will increase. Conversely, committing bad deeds will reduce the good fortune, which we have accumulated in our previous lives. Consequently, our good fortune varies daily according to our deeds. (As an American proverb says, ¡§we create our destiny everyday we live¡¨.)

Our destiny varies daily according to our every thought, word and deed, but the degree of change is not that substantial. Thus, our future can be predicted quite precisely. This applies not only to the destiny of an individual, but also to those of a family, community, country and the world. Numerous prophets have predicted the good fortune and misfortune of the world. So, we see that even it has a fixed destiny.

Our destiny is neither created by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas nor by spiritual beings. Then, who created it? We did. The destiny of a family is the result of the deeds and shared karma of its members. The destiny of a country is the result of the shared karma of its citizens. The destiny of a world is the result of the shared karma of every person. We can tell the kind of retribution a person will receive by observing his or her deeds. Good causes will reap rewards and bad causes will reap retributions. This is the truth.

Even Enlightened Beings, who appear in this world with pure virtues still cannot escape cause and effect. Ancient teachings, the cause and effect in attaining Buddhahood explained in the ¡§Lotus Sutra¡¨ and the Five Kinds of Cause and Effect explained in the ¡§Flower Adornment Sutra¡¨ also do not deviate from the Law of Cause and Effect. Thus, Buddhism teaches that ¡§all existing things are empty in nature except the Law of Cause and Effect¡¨. Why? The interchange of cause and effect is not empty in nature because it is continuous. A cause generates an effect and an effect can become another cause and this change continues in a perpetual cycle. Therefore, cause and effect is not empty in nature. The reward and retribution, good luck and bad luck, and good fortune and misfortune are changing constantly. This is a true principle.

excerpt from Treatise on Response and Retribution (Tape 11)

Changing Destiny