All religions, not only Buddhism, but Confucianism, Christianity and Mohammedanism as well, advise people to refrain from evil and to do good deeds; that they “should not fall behind others in their performance of kind acts.”
But what is the benefit of doing good? What is the value of morality? It is often said, “Goods deeds bring about good reward; evil deeds, harsh retribution.” This is the Law of Cause and Effect. In China, kind acts are expected to bring rewards largely to one’s family. It is believed that good deeds will bring good children and fecund posterity. Thus the saying: “House of accumulated good deeds shall be blessed with abundance.” But not so true!
Many a kind and good family produce children of great wickedness and many a wicked parent gives birth to children both filial and loyal. One of China’s ancient emperor “Yao” was a kind and magnanimous person, but his son Tan Chu was notorious for his arrogance. Again, Ku Sou the Blind, father of emperor Shun, was stupid and evil, but his son was renowned for his filial piety. These are just a couple of examples. Individually speaking, the wicked often finds it easier to secure social reputation and power, while the good are more often than not down-trodden and have to lick their wounds in solitude. Was not Confucius a man of high moral and great erudition? Yet, when he was making the round of the warring states, he was nearly the round of the warring states he was nearly starved to death at Chen Tsai. Neither did his political ideals meet with appreciation. On the other hand, the notorious brigand “Chih” had practically everything his way at the time. Seen from these facts, how can it be said that there is a law governing reward and retribution of good and evil acts?
What is the reason for one to perform good deeds? These questions can only be answered by the Law of Causality extends to all three time phases- past, present and future. Instead of concerning itself only with the present life. Hence, I say, “all religions advise people to do good deeds, in this their motives are the same. For in following the Buddha, one simply persists in the performance of good deeds. It may be that his present circumstances are unfavorable and frustrating, but once his good karma (deeds) ripen, they will naturally bear good fruit.