• 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 affect you over a much longer period.
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.
Knock-on effects and amplification of consequences
The good or bad effects of our actions can combine with other factors, becoming amplified
by circumstances. This is one of the main reasons why it is so important to have
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.
No good comes of no good.
You can control actions, but not consequences.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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?