Continuing the theme from Sunday’s kotowaza….
Literally: cause – fruit / reward – answer – news / reward
Alternately: The law of karma. What goes around comes around. What returns to you is good or ill depending on whether your actions are for good or for ill. Originally a Buddhist phrase that promised reward or retribution for one’s actions in both one’s immediate past and in one’s past lives. In modern usage, this compound most often refers to the consequences of evil or harmful actions.
Notes: A less common version reverses the second pair of characters and becomes 因果報応. Good-specific and evil-specific related compounds are, respectively, 善因善果 and 悪因悪果 (zen.in.zen.ka and aku.in.a-kka).
This compound apparently comes to us from a text called 大慈恩寺三蔵法師伝 (Daijionji sanzouhoushi den), a record of the life of the Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang, whose trip to India in the early to mid 7th Century CE provided the basis for the Journey to the West, one of the “four great novels” of classical Chinese literature. More recently, it comes to us via the late 8th or early 9th Century Japanese collection of Buddhist stories known as the Nihon Ryouiki.