When I was a little boy, my mother would always tell me that if I did something wrong, that I would get a “Bachi” or a punishment from God. For a while, this thought prevented me from getting into trouble. Eventually I found out that bachi did not occur, as my friends sometimes acted inappropriately. My mother would counter that God’s punishments sometimes does not occur immediately after any indiscretions. I thought to myself, what is the purpose of delayed punishment? It is this concept of Causality (karma, innen) that I would like to discuss.
What if a physical act resulted in an immediate electrical shock? One would try to avoid the act at all cost. The avoidance would be due to fear. This is what BF Skinner learned in his experiment with rats on classical conditioning. If God were to punish us immediately after a sin or wrongdoing, we would be avoiding the act due to fear, and not from a perspective of right or wrong. It is like the despots that rule their kingdoms. They hinder the behaviors of their people. They limit their abilities to choose between what is right and wrong. They limit their spiritual maturity. This is what immediate punishment or immediate karma would result in, the delay of spiritual maturity.
It is this concept of causality as a learning tool and an enhancer of spiritual maturity that I would like to talk about. In one of the sacred books, God tells us that all our indiscretions and contributions are recorded; and will eventually develop into either sufferings or joy. When we look upon these suffering or joy from the perspective of our past actions, we can understand that we have sinned or have helped others. We have free will to act evil and suffer the consequences, or act good to plant the seeds of joy. It is not fear that prevents us from acting. It is this new concept of causality as guidance from a loving God that is important for us to understand. But most of us see and experience the joys and sufferings of life, but we do not understand their origin or cause.