I would like to discuss causality and reincarnation. I have heard that early Christianity believed in reincarnation, but I cannot verify this now. Some of you may know more than I. The belief in causality (karma, innen) is that there is a cause for every effect. Our actions elicit a self-response in the future. This response occurs far from the cause, many times sprouting in the next incarnation (reincarnation). This span is what makes the connection so difficult to understand. Let me give you an analogy to make it easier to understand. The history of the evolving soul is like a book that is comprised of many chapters. If we pick a chapter randomly to read, we may not understand what is happening. Just like a suffering that occurs in this life, we do not know understand why it is occurring. Causality explains to us that there is a cause for this effect of suffering. It tells us that the answer lies in previous lives, like the preceding chapters of the novel. You Christian will say this is blasphemy, and nonsense, but hear me out.
In the Ofudesaki (Tip of the Writing Brush), is the following:
This is a world constructed on reason.
So I shall press upon you everything with the reason in verse 1-21
We are the only species of animals that are able to reason. There are no mysteries in the world that we cannot resolve. It is human nature to try to understand whatever occurs. We get sick, and we try to figure out what caused it. A bridge collapses, and we want to know why it collapsed. We find a dead body, and we want to know what happened. A jet goes down, and we want to know what caused it. Cancer occurs, and we want to know the cause. Do I need to go on; all of this is cause and effect. God has given us the mind to reason, and to find out the cause of each occurrence.
Why is it so outrageous to claim that causality does exist; and why we cannot use it to explain why we suffer or have joy? Some may question the purpose of causality, arguing that we are not responsible for sins perpetrated in previous lives, and the hopelessness it creates in this life. But is it not fair that we reap what we sow? We are a society that seeks justice. There is a quote that says from a knot (suffering/inconvenience) a bud (opportunity) will sprout. This means that the sufferings or inconveniences are events that may allow us to calm our minds and ponder these occurrences. If we use these karmic effects to cleanse our minds of evil (greed, arrogance, and self love), we can by the law of causality bring upon a joyous future. But if we seek to blame others for these occurrences, we tend to regress, and continue on the path of suffering. God tells us that he does not want us to apologize for our sins; he wants us to prove our resolve by our actions when karmic effect comes back to us. God gives us causality to purify our minds. We control our own future.