Lessening one's karmic retribution
lessening one's karmic retribution
転重軽受 (Jpn tenju-kyoju )
The principle that one can experience the effects of bad karma from the past to a lesser degree because of Buddhist faith and practice. In general, Buddhism attributes one's present sufferings to one's past actions or causes that remain in one's life as karma, asserting that one must suffer the effect of every negative cause made in the past. The Mahaparinirvana Sutra, Fa-hsien's Chinese translation of the Nirvana Sutra, states, however, "It is due to the blessings obtained by protecting the Law that they can diminish in this lifetime their suffering and retribution." This passage suggests that, due to the benefits accumulated through faith and practice, one can diminish in terms of both time and intensity negative karmic retribution that would otherwise torment one harshly over a longer period, even several lifetimes.
Nichiren (1222-1282) states in his writing Lessening One's Karmic Retribution: "If one's heavy karma from the past is not expiated within this lifetime, one must undergo the sufferings of hell in the future, but if one experiences extreme hardship in this life [because of the Lotus Sutra), the sufferings of hell will vanish instantly. And when one dies, one will obtain the blessings of the human and heavenly worlds, as well as those of the three vehicles and the one vehicle" (199). According to this principle, Buddhist faith and practice may cause one suffering and hardship, but will relieve one of the hellish suffering that is one's due.