Zen Wisdom 194

There are two vantage points from which to view Buddhadharma. One is the view of ordinary sentient beings, and it takes the perspective of phenomena and looks forward. This is also known as the causal position. Whenever you say or do something, karma is created, and of course afterwards there will be some effect for that karma. Therefore, when you accumulate merit for performing good acts, later there will be good effects for those acts. This is the principle of cause and consequence. For ordinary sentient beings, cause and consequence work in the worldly, or phenomenal, realm. Causes and consequences in the worldly realm have outflows; that is, they are a part of, and are influenced by, self-attachment. These causes and consequences include good karma, bad karma, virtue and merit.

The second view is that of enlightened beings. There are causes and consequences that transcend the worldly, or phenomenal, realm. These causes and consequences have no outflows (no attachment), and likewise, the effects of these causes and consequences have no outflows. Such "phenomena" are bodhi, nirvana, and Buddhahood. People at such a vantage point are completely enlightened. They are at the highest position. They are at the consequence position looking backward at the causes.

People with the first perspective are ordinary sentient beings who reside in samsara. If people who are still in samsara say there will be no consequences or retribution for words and actions ─ no bad karma accumulated for bad deeds and no good karma or merit for good deeds ─ then they have an incorrect view. These people would likely not follow Buddhadharma or practice because they feel there is no consequence for practice. Worse, they might do or say anything if they believe there are no consequences for their words and actions.