Deep Belief in Cause and Effect
Shin means deep and shin (in this case pronounced jin) means belief. In means cause, and ka (in this case pronounced ga) means effect. So shinjin-inga means deep belief in cause and effect. It is obvious that there is belief in cause and effect in Buddhist theory. But many so-called Mahayana Buddhists say that the Buddhist theory of belief in cause and effect belongs to Hinayana Buddhism, and that Mahayana Buddhists can transcend belief in cause and effect. This idea, however, is wrong. Master Dogen insisted that, to understand Buddhism, it is very important for Buddhists to believe in the law of cause and effect, and so he emphasized the importance of belief in cause and effect in this chapter. In Chinese Buddhism there is a very famous story about a Buddhist priest who had fallen into the life of a wild fox because he negated the law of cause and effect, but who was saved by the words of Master Hyakujo Ekai. Many Buddhist students misunderstood this story as an example which taught the transcendence of cause and effect. But Master Dogen indicated their mistakes in this chapter. He clearly explained the meaning of the story and he explained profound belief in cause and effect in Buddhist theory.