Dharma Card for September, 2015


             The demon guardians of hell

             Are not burnt by the hell fire;        

             Burnt are only those criminals

             Who have done evil acts.

                      ---Rev. Shojun Bando


Reader: Why aren’t the hell demons themselves burnt by
fire while they torture the criminals by fire?

Priest: It’s because the hell demons and the fire are
nothing but the rules of hell.

Reader: What do you mean by the rules of hell?

Priest: Those who have done evil acts are brought to a
suffering state as a natural result. This is called
the rule of karma effect.

Reader: Hard to understand.  What is karma at all?

Priest: Well, karma itself means act.  In fact, evil acts
like killing living things, stealing, committing
adultery (bodily acts), lying, discord-aiming
taletelling, slandering, demagoguery, flattery
(oral acts),  greed, anger, stupidity (mind acts)
---these evil acts drag their effects and torture
the person.  This is the effect of karma named
hell.  In other words, karma effect is just like
one’s habit distressing one. “Thievish habits” or
“life-style (habit)-related disease” cause hell. 
A well-said tanka poem goes:

           ‘No carpenters make the fire chariot for hell;

               you make it and ride on it for yourself.’   

Reader: It is what is called “To receive upon oneself
the retribution for one’s own acts,” isn’t it? 
How horrible!  I wish for the Other Shore, or 
Pure Land.