In terms of Buddhist thought Is this accurate? It doesn't seem to jive with cause and effect which is more often referenced.

  • Could you elaborate more, please? Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 14:28
  • I guess I was trying to conceive of a better answer against agency, in what happens, especially with regard to explaining to non Buddhist.
    – m2015
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 16:12
  • Yes, In fact there is a reason due to which everything happens.
    – Ritesh.mlk
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 4:24

4 Answers 4


The issue concerns the way you understand the statement "Everything happens for a reason", since 'reason' has various meanings.

'Reason' could mean motivation or intent. For instance, "Someone has his reasons to behave the way he does." If you have that meaning in mind when you read "Everything happens for a reason", you will think it means "Everything that happens was intended by someone, like a creator God." Of course, this would not be Buddhist.

'Reason' could also refer to a cause, as in "The reason for his absence is sickness." Then, "Everything happens for a reason" means "Everything that happens has causes and conditions." This is a correct statement, from a Buddhist viewpoint.

I would not be surprised if 'reason' could also mean 'purpose, aim, goal' but I can not find an example.

We do not hear "Everything happens for a reason" often in Buddhism. I myself would never even think of saying it, because it is vague. In addition, I feel that most people would misunderstand and think that it means "things were intended this way" or "things will eventually fit in a big meaningful picture."

A more common way of stating things is: "You created the causes of your suffering." This is more personal and it is aimed at taking one's responsibility.


Nothing happens for a reason. There's no inherent meaning to any of it unless we superimpose one. But everything except Nibbana is born and born of causes.


Everything (except Nirvana) has a cause hence causality arisen. When the reason arises so does the effect / fruit. When the reason ceases, so does the effect / fruit. In this case what I mean by the reason is the 24 paccaya of Pattana or 12 in Dependent Arising.

See: Dependent Arising by Piya Tan


I can't stand when people use that term. It's a new age cliche. No everything does not happen for a reason at all. Everything is mostly random however we can find something positive in even the most difficult or adverse conditions.

  • I know that this will sound exaggerated, but where is your evidence for "everything is mostly random"? I would rather argue that we live in a probabilistc world, where there are higher changes of sth. to happen than in other instances. "Random" is often used because we do not fully understand the mechanisms.
    – Val
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 7:06

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