[The] world’s foolish people, [do] not know [about karmic] cause [and] effect.
Seeing [those] doing good yet attaining misfortune, then saying good should not [be] done.
Seeing [those] acting evil yet attaining good fortune, then saying evil should not [be] prohibited.
Not knowing [that the] coming of misfortune [and] good fortune, have [that] near [and] have [that] far, [with] later [and] sooner not definite.
[That] near [is] then [with] people together attaining sight [of them].
[That] far [is] then perhaps [in a] separate life [or] a certain number [of] lives [later. If] not those having [supernormal] power [of knowing] past lives, [they are] not able [to] know [them] all.
Now giving an analogy, with hope [for] easy understanding.
Acting good [and] acting evil, [are] like planting grain thus.
Those people, although good, with past lives’ [deeds], that acted not able [to be] without faults, thus today, that received [is] not able [to be] without adversities.
[The] body of this life, [is] named as [a] retribution body.
With this life as male [or] as female, perhaps beautiful, perhaps ugly, as well as [having] longevity [or] premature death, poverty [or] wealth, wisdom [or] foolishness, health [or] sickness [and] others, [these are] thus [due to] those actions [and] those deeds [in] past lives, those responding [rewards and] retribution, thus naming this body as [a] retribution body.
Speaking [of] this as [the] body of [the] fruit [of] retribution, [from] past lives that acted, [it is] with [the] cause of past lives, as [the] fruit [i.e. effect] of this life.
This life, although good, [due to the] heavy [negative] karma of past lives, [they are] not able [to] immediately attain their rewards of doing good, and first attain their evil retribution of past lives.
Like people [in the] last year, [who have] yet [to] plant grain, this year, although diligently cultivating [the land], for [that] yet [to be] harvested before, [they] likewise cannot avoid [being] without grain [first].
This [being] without grain, [is] not due [to] this year’s diligence, yet [being] without [grain].
This year [being] without grain, [is] thus that caused by last year not planting.
This year, since [with] diligent cultivating [of the land, they will] then, harvesting later, and [in the] next year, then have grain.
Of people doing evil, still yet [to] receive misfortune, [they are] with remaining good fortune yet [to be] exhausted.
Like people [in the] last year, [having] diligently cultivated [the land, in] this year not cultivating, then still not going as far [as to be] hungry, [this is] therefore [due to] those remaining [grain] of last year.
[If] eaten completely, then [with] this year’s [grain] yet planted, [they] will [be] without that [to] eat.
[It] must [be] known [that] good people attaining evil retribution, if not doing good, their evil retribution will [be] even [more] extreme.
Due to acting good, then will evil retribution accordingly reduce [to be] lighter.
Evil people attaining good rewards, if not doing evil, their good fruits will [be] even greater.
Due to acting evil, good rewards likewise [will] accordingly reduce [to be] lighter.
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(Reply Letter [To] Layperson Yáng Zōngshèn)
Namo Amituofo : Translation by Shen Shi’an