Today if someone were to mention the principle, “As you sow, so shall you reap” that has been expressed in many different ways in all cultures throughout history, many would laugh and say, for example, “And what happens with those politicians? They do so much damage, they are so corrupt. Then many should already be in prison or even dead! But, look, they’re still there living the good life “or” Look at those honest, hardworking, good-hearted people. They just have to live with! “
Over the last century, a belief in the existence of a soul and an eternal life was downplayed in modern life and this became the general way of thinking. But, in fact, many things that seem unjust are not at all if the principles of reincarnation and retribution are understood.
Historically, both Eastern and Western traditional cultures have governed the various aspects of daily life with the understanding that the goal of man is in Heaven—in the West there is talk of “ascending,” while in the East there is talk of “returning.” But the process in both cultures is different in terms of retribution for good and bad acts: reincarnation. Although the final goal is the same, this factor is not in Western culture—successive reincarnations—and is key to understanding the trials and tribulations of life and to overcome them with virtue.
If one person makes another suffer, then the first person owes a debt to the person suffering and this debt must be paid off so that the suffering ceases to exist.
The Asian concept of reincarnation states that a man, after dying, can return to earthly life in any form, which can be human, animal, vegetable, or even a rock. Before being reborn on earth, one waits in another space within what is called the “Three Kingdoms” (non-divine dimensional spaces where all the lives that must pass through the cycle of reincarnation are found). The waiting times vary depending on the balance of kindness and badness that one has generated in previous lives.
The sufferings or good fortune that will touch you in the next life, whatever its forms, will come in terms of those “debts” and “credits” of the past. If one person makes another suffer, then the first person owes a debt to the person suffering and this debt must be paid off so that the suffering ceases to exist. There is justice. Therefore, the destiny of each being is predetermined by his or her previous actions.
Debts are called “ye” in Chinese or “bad karma,” and credits or virtue are called “de.” De and ye, according to the Buddha (Buddha) and Dao schools, are of material existence that surrounds the person.
De is made of white matter and one obtains it when suffering and doing virtuous acts; This matter is in harmony with the universe. While ye is black matter and is obtained by committing evil and generating suffering, so it is contrary to the nature of the universe. Both de and ye are carried after death with the original spirit and brought to the next life. Hence, in the Buddhist religion it is said, “If a being has de, if he does not win in this life, he will win in the next one.” Everything that is obtained or lost—what is enjoyed or suffered—is related to accumulating these two, which decrease and increase constantly according to one’s own behavior in daily life.
Both types of matter can also be inherited from one’s ancestors. That is, your ancestors can accumulate both through the generations. This is because the destinations intertwine. That is why the ancient Chinese always said: “Accumulate from, accumulate from,” because they understood that white matter and black matter are passed on to subsequent generations. This cycle is just to settle debts: If a son mistreats his father, in one of the following lives he will be mistreated sometime by that father, who will have reincarnated perhaps as a husband, boss, mother-in-law, father-in-law, teacher, wife or friend.
Illnesses are another way to pay off your debt. The cause of the disease, which manifests superficially in the form of viruses or tumors or some other illness, is of a yin and dark nature and comes, attracted by the black matter field of yours, which is also of a yin nature. All the tribulations, the sufferings, or the “bad luck” are the manifestations of the payment of those debts. That is why the Chinese sages used to say that one has to be grateful when facing suffering or tribulations, something very difficult to understand and accept for modern people.
Chinese sages used to say that one has to be thankful when faced with sufferings or tribulations
In the Eastern belief, one cannot “return” to Heaven with an impure body and mind. During reincarnation each life in the Three Realms has an opportunity to purify itself. And each life can cultivate spiritually on earth, so that it can finally leave the Three Realms and return. But this process is affected by the deterioration of society’s morale.
So, here is a problem too, because as morality declines with the passage of time, not only is it harder and harder to pay off your debts, but the ye starts to build up. When the moral standard of society deteriorates, people begin to naturally behave inappropriately and without realizing it, as they are accepted by society.
The karma, also known as ye, surrounds man, becomes thicker and thicker and isolates the human spirit, making it unable to perceive the nature of the universe, so that its wisdom becomes increasingly less. Then there comes a point where the person can commit evil acts even consciously; just like a person who does something wrong once and feels bad, but after repeating it over and over again he starts to feel normal and stops feeling remorse.
Before, when societies were less corrupt, people might not have had to reincarnate as frequently as a human being or a creature of the world to pay their debts—they were carrying less karma. Nowadays, it seems that a human being has more karma. This could possibly explain why, nowadays, more and more people are born in places where there is more acute suffering, more poverty, and more natural disasters, instead of in other areas where life is easier.
The “emptiness” that fills reincarnation in the West
In the West, particularly in Catholicism, it is believed that after a single life, the soul will go to Heaven, hell or purgatory according to previous behavior. This belief also validates the principle of “As you sow, so shall you reap,” but there is a gap regarding the causes of the sufferings and joys in life.
While for many the content of the Bible does not contradict the concept of reincarnation, the church always rejected it. Analyzing it would involve dealing with new questions. As an example, regarding the belief that the sins of a person are forgiven by God by only repentance at the end of his present life – after passing through purgatory as the case may be – and then go directly to the Paradise; And what happens then during the waiting process until the “final judgment”?
In several ways, then, the Eastern understanding of reincarnation and retribution perfectly complements Western beliefs in areas where man in this part of the world holds a question mark.
In fact, many Bible scholars claim that the concept of reincarnation is implied in several phrases, especially in the Old Testament. Also, there is a hypothesis that there were more direct mentions before Emperor Justinian’s proclamation in the sixth century that stated reincarnation was heresy.
Understanding the concept of reincarnation and retribution helps human beings preserve virtue by assuming responsibility for their own behavior; it also means a less violent society and a more harmonious world, as well as an environment capable of giving everyone the opportunity to correct past mistakes and improve themselves. Finally, it allows us to assume that life is absolutely fair.