Compilation of Speeches in the Academy of Synology, UK

No.       Content
1 Cause and Effect – The Inevitable Way of Karma——Address at the Ancestral Remembrance Ceremony, Wales, 2017
2 Religions Are Indispensable For World Peace——Address at Inter-Faith Symposium, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
3 Why are we here? ——Address at the first Lampeter Friendship Dinner
4 How to Realize the “Six Greatness” and Achieve Great Success——The Opening Ceremony of 2017 Autumn Class of the Academy of Sinology, UWTSD
5 Friendship Dinner for a Town of Harmony
6 The Returning to the Start of a New Year, and the Renewal of Everything An Addreess at "Chinese New Year Friendship Dinner", Lampeter
7 Exceptional Times: Exceptional Commitment Address at the Opening Ceremony of the Academy of Sinology Year 2018
8 Establishing a Harmonious Paradise by Learning God’s Love for All——Friendship Dinner in Lampeter, December 2018

Cause and Effect – The Inevitable Way of Karma——Address at the Ancestral Remembrance Ceremony, Wales, 2017


Respectable Vice-Chancellor Hughes, Distinguished Guests, Colleagues, teachers and students, Good morning! 


I am very delighted to welcome you all to join our Ancestral Remembrance Ceremony. We held the ceremony for the first time here last July and everyone had enjoyed the event. 


Time really flies! A year has passed and we are having our second ancestral ceremony today. We hope that the Ceremony will be held here once every year.


The significance of the ancestral ceremony is to remember our ancestors and pay respect to their kindness. Our ancestors are closely linked to us and they are inseparable from us. Our existence is owed to our ancestors. The invaluable wisdom and experiences that they passed down to us have guided our life. This is tremendous kindness of our ancestors.


Ancestors of all races and the saints of all religions in the world pass on to us the ethical and moral education, the education of causality and the teachings of saints. These four types of universal education are extremely important for purifying our minds and bringing harmony to the society. Therefore, they are worth our learning diligently. 


Among the four types of education, the education of causality is particularly important in helping people cultivate their righteous mind in our society. However, this type of education is the most neglected one in our society. This is one of the main reasons why the society is chaotic today. Therefore, I would like to take the opportunity to talk about the education of causality.


Both Eastern and Western cultures have talked about the rules of causality. Due to time constraints, I can only give brief introduction to the rules of causality.


1. The cause and effect correspond to each other: the cause and effect share the same attributes.


Good cause will naturally result in good effect, whereas bad cause will certainly induce bad result. It will not be mixed up. The ancient Book of History in China Shangshu《尚書》, said “If one favours righteousness, he will enjoy good fortune. If one follows the evils, he will induce misfortune”. Similarly, in Christianity, it is said “Evil pursues the sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repaid.” In Judaism, it is said “There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief”. In Hinduism it is said, “…none who performs good deeds come to an evil end” (Bhagavadgîtâ, Tr. Kashinath Trimbak Telang, 6.72). In Islam it is said, “Whoever does a good deed, it is for his own-self, and whoever does evil, it is against (his own-self)” (Qur’an, 45:15).


2. It takes time to ripen:  From cause to consequence, it will take a period of time to show the effect.


It is like planting a seed.  It will take a period of time for the plant to grow before it blossoms and bears fruits. It will not instantly bear fruits. By the same token, when the bad or good deeds are committed, they will not immediately show the consequence. It will take a rather long time for them to show the consequence.


Many people do not believe in causality because they do not understand the rationale behind it. People often times see the kind people not being reciprocated with good rewards and the wicked people not being punished with retribution. On the contrary, some good people come across misfortune and some wicked people end up enjoying good fortune. As such, people start to deny the notion of causality. In fact, this is caused by our short sighted view. If we look at the longer period of several years or even several decades, we will be able to see clearly the cause and effect over time. Like the old saying, “it is not without the consequence, it is just not yet the time”, and “the good and the evil will eventually result in their own consequences, it is just a matter of time”.


As mentioned earlier, some good people come across misfortune. That is because the bad deeds that they committed previously have born fruits first. Some wicked people receive good fortune. That is because the good deeds that they performed before have born fruits sooner. Over time, when the old karma is exhausted, the new karma will emerge. Hence, one can observe the cause and effect are in sync with each other.


At the beginning of last century, there was a very rich man in Shanghai.  He was kind and generous by doing lots of good things for the society. However, when he was dying, he suffered tremendously. After he died, he went to the hell. When people learned about how he suffered at the end, they started to doubt the notion of causality. Subsequently, it was discovered that this rich man was a government official in Qing Dynasty. He pocketed the money that the Emperor assigned to salvage the people suffering from the famine, which caused lots of innocent people to die from starvation. This was a great sin that he had committed, and could not be alleviated by his subsequent kind deeds. As a result, the retribution of his sins emerged first as he was dying, and he suffered a great deal.


3. Karma will not disappear: The cause will not disappear, for however long it has gone, until it eventually bears fruits.


When we commit a bad deed or perform a good deed, the cause of a bad deed or a good deed is like a seed, being planted in our subconscious mind, which is called karma. The karma will not disappear, nor will the good karma and bad karma cancel each other. The karma will not disappear until it bears fruits of the seed that was planted previously. In Buddhism, the scripture says “Even through the longest time, all the karma will not disappear, until the right time comes, one shall bear the consequence of his karma.” Namely, as long as one still lingers in the reincarnation, one cannot escape from the law of causality. All the good and bad karmas are like the boomerangs, they will eventually come back to us.


In Catholics, one of the psalms quotes “His evil intent recoils upon his head; his wicked design comes back in his face” Psalm, 7:17, CCB). In Christianity it is said, ‘The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast’ (Proverbs, 5:22, NIV) and ‘God will give to each person according to what he has done’ (Romans, 2:6, NIV). In Judaism it is said, ‘Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein; and he that rolleth a stone, it shall return upon him’ (Proverbs, 26:27, JPS). In Buddhism it is said, ‘If one speaks or acts with an evil mind, suffering follows him just as the wheel follows the hoof-print of the ox that draws the cart’ and ‘If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him’ (The Dhammapada). In Hinduism it is said, ‘Everybody reaps the fruit of his own deeds’ (Bhagavata Purana, 10.413).


4. Transformation will change the effect: From cause to effect, there could be change in the magnitude of the effect.


Good karma and bad karma cannot offset each other.  However, they can affect each other to induce different result. The subsequent good karma will be added on top of the previous good karma to repress the emergence of the bad karma. Same rules apply to the bad karma. Namely, if one continues to commit sins on top of the bad karma that he has already accumulated, it will aggravate the bad karma that he will suffer. On the contrary, if one makes efforts to accumulate merits of good deeds after committing the bad karma, one will alleviate the degree of bad karma in the future. By the same token, if one continues to perform good deeds after having accumulated good karma, it will strengthen the merits in the future. If one commits bad karma after accumulating good karma, it will adversely affect the future merits.


For exactly the reason that the good and bad karma affect each other, one can change the course of his life and his fate. As it is said in The Treatise on Response and Retribution of Daoism, “if one commits sins and subsequently repents for his sins, refrains from all the evils and practices all the good deeds, over a long time, he will be able to turn misfortune into blessings”.


Liaofan’s Four Lessons is the family teachings written by Mr. Liaofan Yuan around 1600 AD. This book describes in details the rationale and the process of how he changed his fate. It is a great story.  Mr. Yuan was not meant to have wealth and fame, nor was he meant to have any children in his life. After he made great efforts to perform good deeds, he was granted a good position by the Emperor and eventually got children. His life was extended from 53 years to 74 years before he passed away.


Around the same period of time, there was another person, Mr. Jin Yi Yu. He was very talented and followed all the good deeds in front of people, but he liked to bad mouth others and had serious problems with his evil thoughts. As a result, his life was going downhill. He was not only unable to obtain the recognition from the Emperor, but also suffered from losing 4 sons and 3 daughters who died at young age. His only son got lost and never returned home as he went out. His wife cried so hard that she became blind. His only daughter also suffered from mental disorder, the whole family got into distress without sufficient financial support. Luckily, he got the help from the God of Stove who pointed out his faults of evil thoughts and the fact that he was not sincere when doing good deeds.


As a result of the advice from the God of Stove, he was determined to repent, rectify his wrong doing and perform good deeds with kindness from the bottom of his heart. Within 3 years, he was able to completely change his life: he passed the examination of the government and got granted a good position by the Emperor, he found his lost son, his wife recovered her vision, and his family finally enjoyed peaceful and healthy life. One of the people from his home town recorded this story into “The Legend of Jin Yi Yu Meeting the God of Stove.”


5. Small Cause Could Induce Great Effect: Small cause could lead to bear serious consequence.


It is like planting small seeds of watermelon into the soil, and they will eventually grow and bear many large watermelons.  The ancient Book of History in China Shangshu《尚書》, said “if one does good deeds, countless good fortunes will follow. If one does bad deeds, countless misfortunes will follow.” In Qur’an, it is said, “Whoever brings a good deed … shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit, and whoever brings an evil deed … shall have only the recompense of the like thereof …”. In Buddhism, it says that giving one thing to others will entail ten thousand times of rewards in return. All these examples give us evidence of “small cause could lead to serious consequence”.


Why would there be phenomenon of small cause generating serious consequence?  The rationale is the creation of karma is through our thoughts, and the formation of our thoughts is very fast. In Buddhism, The Sutra of Bodhisattva Dwelling in the Womb indicates that within a snap of finger, there are 3.2 trillions of thoughts being formed, each one of the thoughts generates substance and each substance has consciousness.” 


Simply because the speed of generating the thoughts is so fast that lots of karmas are formed within a very short period of time. All of these karmas will eventually lead to consequence that we have to bear. As the karmas are added on top of one another, the accumulation of karmas will increase the degree of the consequence that we have to bear and the length of time in bearing the karma will be extended in the future as well.


The manifestation of small cause leading to great effect is that the cause will generate 3 kinds of karmas such as “the immediate karma”, “the core karma”, and “the lingering karma”. If the good or bad karmas are very serious ones, one will induce the effect to emerge immediately, which is called “Immediate Karma” or “Flower Karma”. This “Immediate Karma” is the not the most serious one. The most serious one is the “Core Karma”, which usually occurs in the next life. In addition, there will be “Lingering Karma” in the longer term. This is like dropping an object into water to cause ripple, the effect will linger for a long time. The lingering karma will pass on the fortune or misfortune to the descendants. As The Book of Change indicates that “the family with accumulation of merits will have lingering blessings and the family with accumulation of evils will have lingering retribution”. This is also the evidence of lingering karma.


Exactly for the reason that small cause could lead to great effect, it is said in Buddhism that Bodhisattvas are fearful about the cause, and the ordinary people are fearful about the consequence.” The Bodhisattvas are enlightened people. They fully understand that committing evil cause will generate serious karma. Therefore, they are extremely cautious about not committing any negative cause. As for the bad karma, that is the result of the bad deeds committed in the past. Once negative karma is “exhausted” by bearing the consequence, one should not be fearful. Hence, the Bodhisattvas will calmly accept the karmas as they emerge, and will not suffer from them. On the other hand, the ordinary people are distracted with confusion. They know the bad karma is terrible and try to escape from them, without knowing that stopping the generation of bad cause is the only solution to shy away from the bad karma. As the ordinary people suffer from the bad karma, he will generate more evil thoughts which continue the vicious cycle of generating even more bad karma. The ending of his life will be terribly miserable, and the suffering will be endless. This is what the Buddha and Bodhisattva describe as “the pitiful people”.


All the above was simply citing some simple rules of causality for your reference. When one fully understands the rules of causality, one will not dare to commit any sins, and will make great efforts to do good things. As the famous scholar in the early Qing Dynastry, Mr. Anshi Zhou indicated, if everyone believes in causality, the country will enjoy stability and prosperity; if everyone disregards causality, the country will fall into chaos.


I sincerely hope that by learning and promoting the education of causality that is passed down to us from our ancestors, we will be able to help purify our minds, to bring harmony to the society, and to achieve world peace eventually. This is the best way to remember and respect our ancestors and to repay the kindness of our ancestors. This will also be the greatest reward of our ancestral ceremony. May we encourage one another with these best wishes for many years to come!


Lastly, I would like to wish you the joy of good health, happiness, good fortune at all times, wisdom and longevity. Thank you very much.



因果報應 絲毫不爽——二〇一七年威爾士祭祖大典 談話


  尊敬的休斯校長、諸位嘉賓、各位老師、各位同學:大家好!

  很高興看到大家今天前來參加祭祖大典!記得去年七月,我們第一次在這裡舉辦祭祖大典,大家參加之後都很歡喜。時間過得很快,轉眼之間已經過了一年,今年是第二屆的祭祖大典。我們希望每年都能在這裡舉辦一場祭祖。

  祭祖的意義是緬懷祖德,知恩報恩。祖先跟我們息息相關,密不可分,有過去的祖先才有今天的我們。更何況祖先留給我們寶貴的智慧與經驗,指引我們人生的方向,這個恩德更是重大。

  世界各族的祖先和各宗教的聖賢,都教導我們倫理教育、道德教育、因果教育和聖賢教育。這四種普世教育,對於人心的淨化、社會的和諧,具有非常重要的作用,值得我們認真學習。在四種普世教育之中,因果教育對於端正世道人心特別重要;然而這也是最受到忽視的教育,這是今天社會之所以動盪不安的主要原因之一。所以今天我想談談因果教育。

  東西方文化對於因果法則都有闡述。由於時間的關係,以下只能對因果法則做淺顯的介紹。

  一、因果相應:因果的性質必然相同。

  善因所感的必然是善果,惡因所感的必然是惡果,不會錯亂。中國最早的史書《尚書》說:「惠迪吉,從逆凶,惟影響。」基督教《箴言13:21和合本》:「禍患追趕惡人;義人必得善報。」猶太教《聖經.箴言12:21》:「義人不遭災害;惡人滿受禍患。」印度教《摩訶婆羅多5.46》:「沒有誰行善反得惡果的。」回教《古蘭經45:15》:「行善者自受其益,作惡者自受其害。」

  二、歷時而熟:從因到果必須經歷一段時間。

  就像種子種下之後,必須經過一段時間的成長,才會開花結果,不能馬上得到果實;同樣的道理,作惡或作善之後,不會馬上得到惡報或善報,必須經過相當長的一段時間,才會顯示報應。

  很多人不信因果,就因為不了解這個原理。人們往往看到行善的人沒得到善報,作惡的人沒得到惡報;甚至於善人反而得的惡報,惡人反而得的善報,於是就否定因果報應。其實這只是自己太短視,如果把時間範圍拉長到數年或數十年,就會清清楚楚看到因果報應絲毫不爽,所謂「不是不報,時候未到」,「善惡到頭終有報,只爭來早與來遲」。前面所說的,行善之人得到惡報,其實是因為他從前所做的惡因先成熟,所以先得到惡報。作惡的人得到善報,是因為他從前所做的善因先成熟,所以先得到善報。只要假以時日,這些舊的報應消盡之後,新的報應就會現前,就能看到因果確實相應。

  上個世紀初,上海有一位富翁,樂善好施,做了很多善事,但是臨終的時候很痛苦,死後的去處也很不好,人們看見就懷疑因果報應有差錯。後來才發現,這個富翁先前在朝廷為官,曾經私吞朝廷賑濟饑荒的官銀,造成許多災民無辜的餓死。這個惡業非常重大,不是他後來積德行善所能夠減輕的;惡業在他臨終的時候成熟了,所以先產生了惡報。

  三、業力不壞:因不會失壞,無論經歷多久,直到結成果報為止。

  造了善惡業之後,善惡因(種子)會一直留在心田裡,不會中途消亡,善惡因也不能互相抵消,一定到結成各自的善惡果報之後,這個業力才會消失。佛教《大寶積經》上說:「假使經百劫,所作業不亡,因緣會遇時,果報還自受。」因此,只要還在生死輪迴當中,絕對逃不掉因果報應。所做的善惡像迴力鏢一樣,遲早會回到自己的頭上。

  天主教《聖詠集》說:「他的凶惡必反轉到自己頭上,他的橫暴必降落在自己頂上。」基督教《箴言5:22和合本》:「惡人必被自己的惡孽捉住,他必被自己的罪惡如繩索纏繞。」《羅馬書2:6 和合本》:「神必照各人的行為報應各人。」猶太教《聖經.箴言26:27》:「挖陷坑的,自己必掉入其中;滾石頭的,石頭必反滾在他身上。」佛教《法句經》說:「若以染污意,或語或行業,是則苦隨彼,如輪隨獸足。」又說:「若以清淨意,或語或行業,是則樂隨彼,如影不離形。」印度教《薄伽梵往世書10.413》:「人人都自食其行為之果。」

  四、變易而熟:從因到果,程度上會發生變化。

  善惡因不能互相抵消,但能夠互相影響。後來做的善事會助長先前的善因,而抑制先前的惡因,反之亦然。因此,種了惡因之後,如果繼續造惡,這個惡因將來所結的惡果會大大的加重;相反的,如果造惡之後努力行善積德,將來的惡果就會大幅度的減輕。反過來說,種了善因之後,如果繼續修善,善果就增強;如果造惡,善果就減弱。

  正因為善惡因之間互相影響,所以人的命運是可以改變的,正如道教《太上感應篇》所說:「其有曾行惡事,後自改悔,諸惡莫作,眾善奉行,久久必獲吉慶,所謂轉禍為福也。」

  《了凡四訓》是公元一六OO年左右,袁了凡先生寫的家訓,詳細描述自己改造命運的原理與過程,非常引人入勝!他命裡本來沒有功名,也沒有子嗣,經由努力改過修善,最終考上功名,也有了子嗣;甚至壽命也從五十三歲延長到七十四歲。

  大約同時期,有另外一位先生叫俞淨意,他很有才華,表面上奉行種種善事,但是口德不好,尤其是邪思邪念很嚴重。結果他的運勢愈來愈差:不僅考不取功名,而且四兒三女都夭折,所剩唯一的一個兒子走失,妻子因痛哭而失明,僅有一個女兒,精神失常,家境也無以為繼。後感得灶神指出其過失,全在於意惡太重,行善不是出於真心。於是他痛改前非,真心修善,三年之間命運大大轉變:考取功名,找回兒子,妻子眼睛復明,全家人安享福壽康寧的生活。於是有一位同鄉記錄這個事情,寫成《俞淨意公遇灶神記》傳世,以警示後人。這個故事也正符合《太上感應篇》所說的:「吉人語善、視善、行善,一日有三善,三年天必降之福。凶人語惡、視惡、行惡,一日有三惡,三年天必降之禍。」

  五、因小果大:小小的因,可以結成很大的果。

  這就好像一顆小小的西瓜種子埋在土裡,將來長成很大的西瓜一樣。《尚書》說:「作善降之百祥,作不善降之百殃。」《古蘭經6:160》:「行一件善事的人,將得十倍的報酬;作一件惡事的人,只受同樣的懲罰。」佛教中甚至有所謂「捨一得萬報」的說法,都是因小果大的例證。

  為什麼會有因小果大的現象?因為造業主要靠意念,而意念產生非常快速。佛教《菩薩處胎經》中說:「舉手彈指之頃三十二億百千念,念念成形,形皆有識。」正因為心念的速度如此之快,短時間內就造成了許許多多的業因。將來這些業因都要結成果報,所以果報就加重很多,受報的時間也會增長很多。

  因小果大的另一種體現,就是因會召感花報、果報和餘報三種:所做的善惡如果比較重,當生就會顯示報應,稱為現世報或者是花報。花報還不是最重的,真正強而有力的是果報,通常在來世。除此以外,長遠的未來還有餘報,就像餘波蕩漾一樣。而且禍福還會遺留給子孫,如《易經》所說的,「積善之家必有餘慶,積不善之家必有餘殃」,這就是屬於餘報。

  正因為因小果大,所以「菩薩畏因,凡夫畏果」:菩薩是明白人,知道造惡因之後,未來的果報非常可怕,所以會非常謹慎,不敢造惡因。至於惡報,那是自己過去所造惡業產生的,受過之後就報掉了,並不真正可怕。所以菩薩能安心受報,不會因此而生起煩惱。凡夫則是迷惑顛倒,只知道惡報很可怕,努力想避免惡報,卻不知停止造惡因才能真正避免惡報。當他受到惡報時,內心生起煩惱,繼續造惡業,所以以後他的下場就非常可怕,苦無了時!這就是佛菩薩所說的「可憐憫者」。

  以上是粗舉因果法則的概要,提供大家參考。人如果真明白了因果法則,就不敢造惡,而會積極的行善。所以中國清朝初年的名士周安士先生說:「人人信因果,大治之道也;人人不信因果,大亂之道也。」

  希望通過學習與弘揚古聖先賢傳下來的因果教育,能夠促使人心淨化,社會和諧,進而達到世界和平。這是緬懷祖德、知恩報恩的最佳體現,也是我們舉辦祭祖活動的最大收穫,願與大家共勉。

  最後,祝福大家身心安康、六時吉祥、法喜充滿、光壽無量!謝謝大家!