What is the definitive meaning to the saying “Good deeds brings wholesome results and bad deeds produce retribution”?

What is the definitive meaning to the saying “Good deeds brings wholesome results and bad deeds produce retribution”? Luangphaw can you please help clarify this for me because people nowadays believe that doing good deeds does not necessary lead to good results. However, they believe that misdeeds can yield benefits. What has led them to think in this way? https://dmc.tv/a3474

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Oct 5th, 2004 ] - [ read : 14899 ]
Question:
What is the definitive meaning to the saying “Good deeds brings wholesome results and bad deeds produce retribution”?  Luangphaw can you please help clarify this for me because people nowadays believe that doing good deeds does not necessary lead to good results.  However, they believe that misdeeds can yield benefits.  What has led them to think in this way?
  

Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku  

 
There are two points here.

One:  what is the definitive meaning of the saying “good deeds bring wholesome results and bad deeds produce retribution”?  It should be said that good deeds produce good results like happiness and prosperity.  Bad deeds produce negative results which can be both physical and mental suffering.

I’m going to go a little more in depth.  As we have just discussed earlier, there are three different ways we can acquire karma.  In those cases, whenever we perform any good deeds, whether through body, speech, or thought, the fruit of that effort will surely arrive.  As to what shape or form it will come in will be dependant on the nature of the good deeds.

For example, students who do good deeds by studying hard gain the results immediately through the proper understanding of the subject matter, and they will have an intellectual growth as well as an increased self confidence.  These are the fruit of doing good deeds.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, what does it mean when one does bad deeds and subsequently gain bad results?  By being too lazy to study, to do your homework, or to help your mother with the cooking chores, one will have poor comprehension of the subject materials and possess no culinary skills.  One often will be late to class due to the excess time needed in waiting for breakfast since no help was offered to one’s mother while she was cooking.  These are examples of some of the bad deeds done by a student and their respective results.

Thus, it is clear that doing good deeds will surely lead to pleasant results, and doing bad deeds surely will lead to unpleasant results.

2)  The reason people are confused and tend to believe that doing good does not necessarily lead to good results, and that misdeeds can yield benefits, comes from various reasons.  The first reason is that people do not fully understand what a wholesome karma means according to the definition mentioned previously.

I have encountered, on several occasions, where someone said that he had never received the expected good results from doing wholesome deeds.  So I asked him what kind of wholesome deeds he had done.  He said he had tried to please his boss by supplying him with constant alcoholic drinks, but whenever his boss became drunk he would get abused.  I informed him that what he was doing was a bad deed.

The first group of people is unable to distinguish the difference between doing good and bad.

The second group of people can distinguish between good and bad, but they are impatient.  They want to see the results immediately after the deed is done.

In doing good deeds, the first necessary factor leading to wholesome results is to make sure that a good deed was indeed done.

It is a common belief among the circle of moral practitioners that everything has its good points.  In the simple task of washing a shirt by hand, the dirtiest parts are usually found around the collar area and cuffs.  If one washes the whole shirt, but neglects to scrub the collar, one has not yet done it in the correct manner.

On the other hand, if one neatly scrubs the collar and cuffs first before washing the rest of the shirt, one is considered as having done the job in the correct manner.

However, doing the job in the correct manner also required doing it well, too.  If you scrub the shirt 10 times instead of the recommended 30, then you have not done the job well because you haven’t washed it completely.

Simply said, don’t perform any kind of work superficially or just on the surface.  Perform it wholeheartedly, and with full strength, and you will achieve pleasant outcomes.

Overall, in addition to performing any duties well and in the correct manner, you have to do them in the proper proportion too.  Don’t do it in excess.  If you are recommended to scrub 30 times, but you in turn scrubbed 100 times just to make sure, you will tear the shirt and not be able to wear it again.

So, in doing anything, you need to apply the right amount and proportion.  You should not overdo something, because you can ruin it.  Applying too little effort will not allow you to do it correctly.  Whenever we do something, we need to do it in the correct manner, do it well, and in the proper proportion, so that it will be perfect.  In addition to all these factors, it is imperative that we manage our time efficiently too. 

Now, the confusion arises during the time when we’re waiting for the results of our good deeds to bear fruit.  It may require months or years for the good deeds to bear fruit.  It is during this waiting period that past unwholesome deeds can catch up to us and bear their fruits first.  We then wonder why we have to deal with these various troubles or distresses when we’ve just finished doing good deeds.  We don’t understand why the consequences of the past bad deeds are surfacing now when they’ve ended a long time ago.  As it turns out, the fruit of our former bad deeds are manifesting themselves at the same time that we were performing good deeds.
Thus these incidents cause us rush into a false assumption that doing good brings unfavorable results.  In fact, doing something good will always lead to wholesome results, but the results of the good deeds are not ready to fruit and are being displaced by the consequences of past unwholesome actions.

However, when the appropriate time arises for the good results to bear fruit, we will become joyous in the end.

For those who are impatient and have not thoroughly thought things out, will misunderstand the situation.  They have mentioned to me that the fruits of their good deeds should manifest immediately, and the consequences of bad deeds should manifest instantaneously too.  That would be pretty fair.  There would be no need to wait for time to take effect.  I think it would be a great idea, but there are things that I need to warn everyone about.

Let me give you an example.  It would be wonderful if you could become rich instantly after you had made a donation.  But on the same token, what if you were to lose all your teeth the instant you tell a lie.  If that was the case, I wonder how many teeth the audience watching this program would have left.  I think for some situations, it is good and just that time is allowed for the fruit of any deeds to fully ripen before they are manifested.  I’ll leave you with that thought.


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