Consequences of actions



Good consequences

• friendliness

• respect

• good favour

• good social relations

• good social environment

• synergy

• warmth

• satisfaction

• bonding

• ease of conscience

• maximum health

• inner peace and happiness

• confidence

• courage

• people want to work with you again



Bad consequences

• unpopularity

• isolation

• bad feeling

• worse social relations

• worse social environment

• sadness

• anger

• unnecessary harm

• alienation

• inner tension and unhappiness

• shame

• lack of confidence

• people lack the incentive to work with you again



Short-term and long-term consequences

Short-term consequences are important, but long-term consequences are extremely important, because they last for a much longer time.  

What you do is connected to the future by a chain of cause and effect. What seems easy right now can have very poor long term consequences.  A single action can damage your whole life.  Conversely, doing the right thing may be more difficult in the short term, but generally works out much easier in the long term.  



Spiraling out of control:  the “perfect storm” of bad circumstances

The bad effects of our actions can combine with other factors, becoming amplified by circumstances and possibly leading to outright disaster.  This is one of the main reasons why it is so important to have good ethical standards all the time, without slipping.    


The film “A Small Act” (2010):  


Documentary by Jennifer Arnold looking at the effect caused by a Swedish woman who sponsors the education of a Kenyan student. When Hilde Back sponsored a young boy in rural Kenya to go through school, she never expected to hear anything more from him. But years later, Chris Mburu - now a Harvard graduate and a human rights lawyer for the United Nations - decides to track down the stranger who made it all possible. Inspired by her act of generosity, Chris starts a scholarship programme in Hilde's honour for children at the small Kenyan primary school where his own education began.



119  A man may find pleasure in evil as long as his evil has not given fruit; but when the fruit of evil comes then that man finds evil indeed.  

120  A man may find pain in doing good as long as his good has not given fruit; but when the fruit of good comes then that man finds good indeed.  

127  Neither in the sky, nor deep in the ocean, nor in a mountain-cave, nor anywhere, can a man be free from the evil he has done.  

131  He who for the sake of happiness hurts others who also want happiness, shall not hereafter find happiness.  

132  He who for the sake of happiness does not hurt others who also want happiness, shall hereafter find happiness.  

161  Any wrong or evil a man does, is born in himself and is caused by himself; and this crushes the foolish man as a hard stone grinds the weaker stone.  

162  And the evil that grows in a man is like the malava creeper which entangles the sala tree; and the man is brought down to that condition in which his own enemy would wish him to be.  

163  It is easy to do what is wrong, to do what is bad for oneself; but very difficult to do what is right, to do what is good for oneself.  

165  By oneself the evil is done, and it is oneself who suffers: by oneself the evil is not done, and by one's Self one becomes pure.  The pure and the impure come from oneself: no man can purify another.

201  Victory brings hate, because the defeated man is unhappy.  He who surrenders victory and defeat, this man finds joy.  

209  He who does what should not be done and fails to do what should be done, who forgets the true aim of life and sinks into transient pleasures - he will one day envy the man who lives in high contemplation.  

The Dhammapada



No good comes of no good.  




From iron appears rust, and

Rust eats the iron.

Likewise, the careless actions that we perform,

Due to karma, lead us to hellish lives.  


– The Udanavarga



If the Noble Path be followed,

Rest and freedom will be man’s;

If selfishness be his guide,

Sin and trouble will drag him along.

P. Lakshmi Narasu – “The Essence of Buddhism”



We are what we think.

All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts we make the world.

Speak or act with an impure mind

And trouble will follow you

As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.


We are what we think.

All that we are arises with our thoughts.

With our thoughts we make the world.

Speak or act with a pure mind

And happiness will follow you

As your shadow, unshakable.

The Dhammapada



entering negativity is like stepping into a quicksand bog.  It’s easy to enter but hard to exit.

The Independent, UK, 18 February 2016



Least said, soonest mended.  




So, when a problem first arises, try to remain humble and maintain a sincere attitude and be concerned that the outcome is fair.  Of course, others may try to take advantage of you, and if your remaining detached only encourages unjust aggression, adopt a strong stand.  This, however, should be done with compassion, and if it is necessary to express your views and take strong countermeasures, do so without anger or ill-intent.

You should realize that even though your opponents appear to be harming you, in the end, their destructive activity will damage only themselves.  In order to check your own selfish impulse to retaliate, you should recall your desire to practice compassion and assume responsibility for helping prevent the other person from suffering the consequences of his or her acts.

Thus, because the measures you employ have been calmly chosen, they will be more effective, more accurate and more forceful.  Retaliation based on the blind energy of anger seldom hits the target.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama: “Compassion and the Individual



In the long run, the wise, the honest, the courageous, the compassionate will live fuller lives, and be happier, than the unwise, the dishonest, the cowardly, and the coldhearted.  ...  There is mounting empirical evidence that people who cultivate their ability to feel compassion for others, and who engage in projects that express altruistic commitments, tend to be more relaxed, more fulfilled, and happier. Altruistic feelings and behavior, it appears, really do have substantial psychological benefits.   

Troy Jollimore: "Godless yet good"



When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.  

Just as heat dispels cold, loving-kindness counters anger. We need to learn how to counter our various emotions.  Distraction is just a temporary measure.  The longer lasting remedy is to be able to see positive qualities in something or someone you otherwise see as negative.  Since there is rarely any justification for destructive emotions, we need to become aware of what gives rise to them and what the antidotes are.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama



While reading this book, a particularly compelling passage jumped out at me. The gist of it is this: In every encounter we have with another human being, that person is either offering love to us or in need of love from us. In that instant, I became a better person.

Not long after, I walked into my gym and saw Bill, a member I knew fairly well, doing standing calf raises with his back to me. Impulsively, I wrapped my weight belt around his forehead as a goofy way of saying hello. He was not pleased. He whipped around and, in so many words, most of which were unprintable, told me he would punch my face in if I ever did that again.

Instead of reacting on the same level of consciousness--"Oh, yeah? Take your best shot, you jerk!"--I thought, Cool! Here's my chance to see if this love stuff really works! I immediately began radiating love from my heart and bathing Bill in its healing glow. I also tried to apologize, but he turned away, muttering angrily.

After hanging up my jacket in the locker room, I headed to the pull-up bar and began my workout. I dropped down from the bar just in time to see Bill striding purposefully toward me from the other side of the gym. "I mean it, Phil," he fumed. "If you ever do that again, I'll take you out to the parking lot and pummel you." With that, he spun around and stormed away.

This time, I followed him, pumping love instead of iron. "Bill," I called out, catching up to him. "I'm very sorry. I had no idea you would be so upset. It won't happen again." I continued apologizing until he turned to face me. "My sister used to do stuff like that to me," he sputtered. "And I hated it."

Bingo. Bill's outburst had nothing to do with me; I had inadvertently triggered a painful childhood memory. What happened in the next moment was astonishing. The heavy, negative energy that had enveloped him, the almost palpable rage that had engulfed him, vanished. It was as if a magician had uttered "Abracadabra!" and had replaced a violent thunderstorm with sunny skies. Instantaneously.

Bill cut me off in mid-apology. "Don't worry about it," he said calmly, dismissing the whole incident with a wave of his hand. "No big deal." An hour later, we were both in the locker room, preparing to leave. "So long, Phil," he called out. "Have a good day."

Wow. If I had responded to Bill's anger in kind, the confrontation could have escalated out of control. From that day forward, the tension would have been thick between us. Even worse, my enjoyment of going to the gym every morning would have been tinged with dread. Instead, love healed the situation, it healed our relationship, and it very well might have healed the pain he had been carrying around all those years.

May you choose love in every moment. It is a wonderful place to live. After all, divine intelligence does not keep score by how many possessions you accumulate but by how much love is in your heart. Why wait another minute to begin living that truth?

Phil Bolsta: book review



The Reality of Connection


It’s easy to hate in abstraction

to create enemies in your thoughts

based on stories you’ve been told, or made up yourself

or on memories of a slight or insult

that have simmered inside you for years

feeding you with resentment

and fuelling fantasies of revenge.


It’s much harder to hate in reality

in the presence of real human beings,

sitting opposite them, looking into their eyes.


Face to face with your enemies,

waves of anger and anxiety might sweep through you at first,

but underneath the surface, a connection will slowly form.

A secret exchange of empathy will begin, a flow of fellow-feeling,

from the depths of both of your beings.


Those depths have no thoughts or memories, and therefore no hatred.

They can only feel their sameness, their common core,

and so can’t help but be drawn together, in presence,

like two small children who smile at each other, and begin to play,

while their parents are busy arguing.


And so soon, almost in spite of yourself,

your perspective will begin to shift, your anger will fade

and your resentment will melt away, as you empathise with your enemies

until they’re no longer enemies but equals, fellow human beings

who you can understand, respect, and forgive.


Abstract hatred can’t survive

when our reality is connection

and our reality is love.


Steve Taylor



Whatever living beings there may be;


Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,

The great or the mighty,

medium, short or small,

The seen and the unseen,


Those living near and far away,

Those born and to-be-born –

May all beings be at ease!


from the Metta Sutta