Is “事出必有因” the most accurate translation for "everything happens for a reason"?
If not, what is it?
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The comment by drooze above is spot-on. The phrase "everything happens for a reason" suggests a "good" reason. This idea has a long history in the West but is best encapsulated in Leibniz's idea that we live in the best of all possible worlds--God could not have made it better and has a good plan behind every seemingly bad event. Voltaire has this play out to tragic and humorous effect in his short novel Candide. The Chinese 事出必有因 is a Buddhist idea, suggesting that every event has a relevant cause. This is a karmic idea suggesting not basic goodness in the world but basic justice. If something bad happens to you it's not because it is part of some cosmic plan that is ultimately good but because you did something bad at some point in your past (or past lives), and the bad event is a result of that.
I am a Chinese student,so my expression my not very appropriate,but I may find a better tranlation from Oxford Chinese dictionary,Everything has a wherefore. And 凡事means everthing，事in Chinese means thing or things，we don't differentiate plural form and singular form with es or 's. It seems strange to add 凡 before 事出必有因，there have some reason. 无风不起浪，事出必有因 is a saying . 事出有因 is equal with 事出必有因，事出有因 is a idiom，it's a four character expression,here is the defination from the Oxford Chinese dictionary: Idiomatic expression usually made up of four characters, and containing, within one sentence, a single, complete meaning. Most four character expressions have ancient origins, and their language is often very different from modern Chinese. Four-character expressions are similar to idioms and proverbs but whereas these come from vernacular speech, four-character expression have literary origins, Some of the meanings can be understood literally. Others can be understood only in their original context.事出有因 is the former.And same as 事出必有因，we don't add 凡before 事出必有因，because it's a set phrase.If add 凡before 事出必有因 just like you wear a suit and wear slippers.