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The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

Sūtra on the Differences in the Karmic Recompenses of Action

Section 31

“Furthermore, there are ten actions that can cause sentient beings to receive evil karmic recompense in their external surroundings. There are sentient beings who frequently engage in the ten unwholesome ways of action; for this reason, they will experience all the things around them as inadequate. 1. Engaging in the act of killing living creatures will consequently affect all kinds of karmic recompense in their external surroundings: the soil will be saline and medicinal herbs [grown in that soil] will have no potency. 2. Engaging in the act of stealing will consequently create in their external surroundings frost and hail, [plagues of] grasshoppers, locusts, and insects, and so forth, which will bring famine to the world. 3. Engaging in the act of sexual debauchery will consequently bring about ferocious wind and rain, and dust and fine particles. 4. Engaging in the act of lying will consequently cause the external things surrounding them to all be fetid and foul. 5. Engaging in the act of being duplicitous will consequently cause the surrounding lands to be high, low, and uneven, with lofty peaks and steep valleys, and with trees felled and greens cut down. 6. Engaging in the act of harsh speech will consequently affect all kinds of karmic recompense in their external surroundings: gravel and sand, and awful things that are coarse and rough, will keep anything from approaching them. 7. Engaging in obsequious flattery will consequently affect all kinds of karmic recompense in their external surroundings: it will cause the grasses, trees, and dense forests to have twigs and thorns. 8. Engaging in the act of greed will consequently affect all kinds of karmic recompense in their external surroundings: it will cause grains to have tiny kernels. 9. Engaging in the act of hatred will consequently affect all kinds of karmic recompense in their external surroundings: it will cause the fruits of all the trees to be bitter and astringent. 10. Engaging in the act of having perverted views will consequently affect all kinds of karmic recompense in their external surroundings: it will cause grains not to ripen and to have low yields at harvest time. Through these ten actions, they will receive unsalutary karmic recompenses in their external surroundings.
“Furthermore, there are ten actions that can cause sentient beings to receive salutary karmic recompenses in their external surroundings. Cultivating the ten wholesome ways of action will lead to results opposite to the above. You should know that they will then gain ten salutary karmic recompenses in their external surroundings.”