The Buddha said:
If a man who has committed many a misdemeanor does not repent and cleanse his heart of the evil, retribution will come upon his person as sure as the streams run into the ocean which becomes ever deeper and wider.
If a man who has committed a misdemeanor come to the knowledge of it, reform himself and practice goodness, the force of retribution will gradually exhaust itself as a disease gradually loses its baneful influence when the patient perspires.
The Buddha said:
When an evil-doer, seeing you practice goodness, comes and maliciously insults you, you should patiently endure it and not feel angry with him. For the evil-doer is insulting himself by trying to insult you.
The Buddha said:
Once a man came unto me and denounced me on account of my observing the way and practicing great loving kindness. But I kept silent and did not answer him. The denunciation ceased.
I then asked him, “If you bring a present to your neighbor and he accepts it not, does the present come back to you?” the man replied, “it will.” I said, “You denounce me now, but as I accept it not, you must take the wrong deed back upon your own person. It is like an echo succeeding sound, it is like shadow following object. You never escape the effect of your own evil deeds. Be therefore mindful and cease from doing evil.”
Man is a crowd, a crowd of many voices – relevant, irrelevant, consistent, inconsistent – each voice pulling in its own way; all the voices pulling man apart. Ordinarily man is a mess, virtually a kind of madness. You somehow manage, you somehow manage to look sane. Deep down layers and layers of insanity are boiling within you. They can erupt any moment, your control can be lost any moment, because your control is enforced from without. It is not a discipline that has come from your center of being.
For social reasons, economic reasons, political reasons, you have enforced a certain character upon yourself. But many vital forces exist against that character within you. They are continuously sabotaging your character. Hence every day you go on committing many mistakes, many errors. Even sometimes you feel that you never wanted to do it. In spite of yourself, you go on committing many mistakes – because you are not one, you are many.
Buddha does not call these mistakes sins, because to call them sin will be condemning you. He simply calls them misdemeanors, mistakes, errors. To err is human, not to err is divine. And the way from the human to the divine goes through mindfulness. These many voices within you can stop torturing you, pulling you, pushing you. These many voices can disappear if you become mindful.
In a mindful state mistakes are not committed – not that you control them, but in a mindful state, in an alert, aware state, voices, many voices cease; you simply become one, and whatsoever you do comes from the very core of your being. It is never wrong. This has to be understood before we enter into these sutras.
In the modern Humanistic Potential Movement there is a parallel to understand it. That’s what Transactional Analysis calls the triangle of PAC. P means parent, A means adult, C means child. These are your three layers, as if you are a three-storied building. First floor is that of the child, second floor is that of the parent, third floor is that of the adult. All three exist together.
This is your inner triangle and conflict. Your child says one thing, your parent says something else, your adult, rational mind says something else.
The child says “enjoy.” For the child this moment is the only moment; he has no other considerations. The child is spontaneous, but unaware of the consequences – unaware of past, unaware of future. He lives in the moment. He has no values and he has no mindfulness, no awareness. The child consists of felt concepts; he lives through feeling. His whole being is irrational.