The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Nine: Sending on Spirits in Transition


Taegŏ asked again, “In the Nirvana Sūtra it says, ‘If one wishes to know about one’s past life, that is what one has received in the present life. If one wishes to know about one’s future life, that is what one makes in the present life.’ When I observe people receiving blessings or punishments in the present life, there are those who deserve to receive punishments for the way they use their minds but live instead a pleasurable life in a rich and distinguished family, while those whose minds are good and who should certainly receive blessings instead receive miserable suffering in a poor family. Can we still say that the principle of cause and effect is precise?” The Founding Master said, “That is why all the buddhas and enlightened masters warn us to hold the final thought pure and clear. Those whose minds are unwholesome but live a wealthy life in the present are those who, in their past lives, accumulated merit by doing good deeds when they were young, but at the end of their lives fell into unwholesome thoughts by thinking there was no point in performing good. Those whose minds are good but are living a miserable life in the present are those who performed unwholesome deeds unintentionally as youths in their past lives but repented late in their lives and returned to the good. In this way, the final thought in the present life becomes the initial thought in the future life.”