Kamma?

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Kamma?

Postby steve19800 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:32 am

Hello all,

So straight to the question.
If something happens to us, usually we just simply say: Oh this is my kamma. On another occasion, we keep procrastinating paying the bill for example and then we got fined and then that is our kamma.
You cross the road carefully and then you don't hit by a bicycle. You cross the road carelessly and then you hit by a bicycle.

On conventional level, many people say this is our kamma. Some use kamma to justify their actions.
But what kamma really is? I know kamma means action. The fruit is vipaka. But the point from the question above is, how do you know if that is our kamma/vipaka?

Many Thanks _/\_
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Re: Kamma?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:32 am

These four imponderables are not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about them would go mad and experience vexation. Which four? The Buddha-range of the Buddhas [i.e., the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha] ... The jhāna-range of one absorbed in jhāna [i.e., the range of powers that one may obtain while absorbed in jhāna] ... The results of kamma ... Speculation about [the first moment, purpose, etc., of] the cosmos is an imponderable that is not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about these things would go mad & experience vexation.

— AN 4.77

Don't ask yourself, "Is this experience a result of an unwholesome action in the past?" Instead, ask yourself, "Is this action going to be a cause of good results in the future?"
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Kamma?

Postby nibbuti » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:23 pm

steve19800 wrote:how do you know if that is our kamma/vipaka?

By focussing on the dependent origination (cessation) of dukkha around kamma/action, rather than on the 'I', 'mine', 'self' identification:

"Now, when asked, 'Is stress (dukkha) self-made?' you say, 'Don't say that, Kassapa.' When asked, 'Then is it other-made?' you say, 'Don't say that, Kassapa.' When asked, 'Then is it both self-made and other-made?' you say, 'Don't say that, Kassapa.' When asked, 'Then is it the case that stress, being neither self-made nor other-made, arises spontaneously?' you say, 'Don't say that, Kassapa.' When asked, 'Then does stress not exist?' you say, 'It's not the case, Kassapa, that stress does not exist. Stress does exist.' When asked, 'Well, in that case, does Master Gotama not know or see stress?' you say, 'Kassapa, it's not the case that I don't know or see stress. I know stress. I see stress.' Then explain stress to me, lord Blessed One. Teach me about stress, lord Blessed One!"

"'The one who acts is the one who experiences [the result of the act]' amounts to the eternalist statement, 'Existing from the very beginning, stress is self-made.' 'The one who acts is someone other than the one who experiences'[2] amounts to the annihilationist statement, 'For one existing harassed by feeling, stress is other-made.' Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle:

From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.
From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form.
From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media.
From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact.
From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.
From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.
From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance.
From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming.
From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.
From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/ sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."- SN 12.17

Or by focussing on the intention and path factors:

"'Kamma should be known. The cause by which kamma comes into play should be known. The diversity in kamma should be known. The result of kamma should be known. The cessation of kamma should be known. The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said?

"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.

"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.

"And what is the diversity in kamma? There is kamma to be experienced in hell(-states), kamma to be experienced in the realm of common animals, kamma to be experienced in the realm of the hungry shades, kamma to be experienced in the human world, kamma to be experienced in the world of the devas. This is called the diversity in kamma.

"And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.

"And what is the cessation of kamma? From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma; and just this noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma. - AN 6.63

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Re: Kamma?

Postby Aloka » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:47 pm

steve19800 wrote:.
If something happens to us, usually we just simply say: Oh this is my kamma. On another occasion, we keep procrastinating paying the bill for example and then we got fined and then that is our kamma.
You cross the road carefully and then you don't hit by a bicycle. You cross the road carelessly and then you hit by a bicycle.

On conventional level, many people say this is our kamma. Some use kamma to justify their actions.
But what kamma really is? I know kamma means action. The fruit is vipaka. But the point from the question above is, how do you know if that is our kamma/vipaka?



Hi steve,

This talk "Who's pulling the strings ?" from Ajahn Amaro will help to answer your questions about kamma, if you can spare the time to listen to it.

http://www.blubrry.com/amaravatitalks1/1536590/who-is-pulling-the-strings-ajahn-amaro-sunday-talk-2012/

with kind regards

Aloka
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Re: Kamma?

Postby Bakmoon » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:16 pm

steve19800 wrote:Hello all,

So straight to the question.
If something happens to us, usually we just simply say: Oh this is my kamma. On another occasion, we keep procrastinating paying the bill for example and then we got fined and then that is our kamma.
You cross the road carefully and then you don't hit by a bicycle. You cross the road carelessly and then you hit by a bicycle.

On conventional level, many people say this is our kamma. Some use kamma to justify their actions.
But what kamma really is? I know kamma means action. The fruit is vipaka. But the point from the question above is, how do you know if that is our kamma/vipaka?

Many Thanks _/\_


Some of the things that happen to us are caused by kamma. Some of the things that happen to us are simply chance. Only a fully enlightened Buddha can look at an individual circumstance and tell which, so I don't think it is helpful to think about, as until another Buddha comes around, you can't get an answer anyways.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
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Re: Kamma?

Postby steve19800 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:30 am

Hi steve,

This talk "Who's pulling the strings ?" from Ajahn Amaro will help to answer your questions about kamma, if you can spare the time to listen to it.

http://www.blubrry.com/amaravatitalks1/1536590/who-is-pulling-the-strings-ajahn-amaro-sunday-talk-2012/

with kind regards

Aloka


Hi Aloka,

Thanks for the link but I think the link is dead?
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Re: Kamma?

Postby steve19800 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:39 am

Some of the things that happen to us are caused by kamma. Some of the things that happen to us are simply chance. Only a fully enlightened Buddha can look at an individual circumstance and tell which, so I don't think it is helpful to think about, as until another Buddha comes around, you can't get an answer anyways.[/quote]

How do you have a proper understanding of kamma?
How can something happening to you if that is not your kamma? If you win a $1.000.000 lottery, would that also simply by chance? I think everything happens for a reason, you coincidentally met a girl and then you got married. I don't think someone marriage's life whether happy or not happy is simply an accident. And the one who always want to get divorce is unable to do so for any reason also is not without a cause.
So can we say here kamma also dependant origination? Are they the same or not?

Thanks _/\_
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Re: Kamma?

Postby steve19800 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:51 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:These four imponderables are not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about them would go mad and experience vexation. Which four? The Buddha-range of the Buddhas [i.e., the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha] ... The jhāna-range of one absorbed in jhāna [i.e., the range of powers that one may obtain while absorbed in jhāna] ... The results of kamma ... Speculation about [the first moment, purpose, etc., of] the cosmos is an imponderable that is not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about these things would go mad & experience vexation.

— AN 4.77

Don't ask yourself, "Is this experience a result of an unwholesome action in the past?" Instead, ask yourself, "Is this action going to be a cause of good results in the future?"


I understand we need to live in the present moment. But I just wonder if the law of kamma is just another term of 'God's gift' or God's punishement', because you never know right? Except you have achieved something and you can understand it with your own wisdom (according to a Buddhist monk).
So far, the theory of kamma for most ordinary people is useful only as a psychological effect, particularly a victim of a crime for instance.

Or maybe there are many levels of definition of kamma in Pali canon?
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Re: Kamma?

Postby Aloka » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:11 am

steve19800 wrote:
Hi Aloka,

Thanks for the link but I think the link is dead?


Hi Steve,

Try this link - its the talk 'who is pulling the strings' under the Q & A session with the same title.

http://www.amaravati.org/teachings/audio_compilation/2083

with kind wishes

Aloka
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Re: Kamma?

Postby steve19800 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:14 am

nibbuti wrote:
steve19800 wrote:how do you know if that is our kamma/vipaka?

By focussing on the dependent origination (cessation) of dukkha around kamma/action, rather than on the 'I', 'mine', 'self' identification:

"Now, when asked, 'Is stress (dukkha) self-made?' you say, 'Don't say that, Kassapa.' When asked, 'Then is it other-made?' you say, 'Don't say that, Kassapa.' When asked, 'Then is it both self-made and other-made?' you say, 'Don't say that, Kassapa.' When asked, 'Then is it the case that stress, being neither self-made nor other-made, arises spontaneously?' you say, 'Don't say that, Kassapa.' When asked, 'Then does stress not exist?' you say, 'It's not the case, Kassapa, that stress does not exist. Stress does exist.' When asked, 'Well, in that case, does Master Gotama not know or see stress?' you say, 'Kassapa, it's not the case that I don't know or see stress. I know stress. I see stress.' Then explain stress to me, lord Blessed One. Teach me about stress, lord Blessed One!"

"'The one who acts is the one who experiences [the result of the act]' amounts to the eternalist statement, 'Existing from the very beginning, stress is self-made.' 'The one who acts is someone other than the one who experiences'[2] amounts to the annihilationist statement, 'For one existing harassed by feeling, stress is other-made.' Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle:

From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.
From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form.
From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media.
From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact.
From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.
From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.
From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance.
From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming.
From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.
From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/ sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."- SN 12.17

Or by focussing on the intention and path factors:

"'Kamma should be known. The cause by which kamma comes into play should be known. The diversity in kamma should be known. The result of kamma should be known. The cessation of kamma should be known. The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said?

"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.

"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.

"And what is the diversity in kamma? There is kamma to be experienced in hell(-states), kamma to be experienced in the realm of common animals, kamma to be experienced in the realm of the hungry shades, kamma to be experienced in the human world, kamma to be experienced in the world of the devas. This is called the diversity in kamma.

"And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.

"And what is the cessation of kamma? From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma; and just this noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma. - AN 6.63

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Thanks Nibbuti.
What is the result of kamma? There are three sorts:

Which arises right here and now,
For example just like from the analogy above, you cross the road with no attention and then hit by the bicycle. There are many things going on there and there are all arises right here and now. Is being a careless person for instance is his/her kamma or because s/he has no attention when crossing the road is his kamma? Or is it the kamma of the bicycler to have his break is faulty therefore cause a serious accident?

If we look at it that way it is a dependent origination. Can we say that everything is dependent? Some are obvious and some are subtle. If everything is dependent does that mean kamma is another word of dependent origination?
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Re: Kamma?

Postby Bakmoon » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:15 pm

steve19800 wrote:Some of the things that happen to us are caused by kamma. Some of the things that happen to us are simply chance. Only a fully enlightened Buddha can look at an individual circumstance and tell which, so I don't think it is helpful to think about, as until another Buddha comes around, you can't get an answer anyways.


How do you have a proper understanding of kamma?
How can something happening to you if that is not your kamma? If you win a $1.000.000 lottery, would that also simply by chance? I think everything happens for a reason, you coincidentally met a girl and then you got married. I don't think someone marriage's life whether happy or not happy is simply an accident. And the one who always want to get divorce is unable to do so for any reason also is not without a cause.
So can we say here kamma also dependant origination? Are they the same or not?

Thanks _/\_[/quote]

The Suttas explicitly reject the idea that everything that happens to us is the result of our kamma. In AN 3.61, the Tittha Sutta, the Buddha lists three teachings that he rejects as false, and one of the teachings he rejects is the teaching that everything that happens to us is the result of our kamma. You'll find it in paragraph three in this link.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
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Re: Kamma?

Postby Doshin » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:12 pm

Bakmoon wrote:The Suttas explicitly reject the idea that everything that happens to us is the result of our kamma. In AN 3.61, the Tittha Sutta, the Buddha lists three teachings that he rejects as false, and one of the teachings he rejects is the teaching that everything that happens to us is the result of our kamma. You'll find it in paragraph three in this link.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


I think you take the text out of context. That paragraph is about sectarians, whose belief is that everything is *only* caused by kamma. It does not rule out, that kamma influences what we experience.

_/\_
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Re: Kamma?

Postby Doshin » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:25 pm

steve19800 wrote:How do you have a proper understanding of kamma?
How can something happening to you if that is not your kamma? If you win a $1.000.000 lottery, would that also simply by chance? I think everything happens for a reason, you coincidentally met a girl and then you got married. I don't think someone marriage's life whether happy or not happy is simply an accident. And the one who always want to get divorce is unable to do so for any reason also is not without a cause.
So can we say here kamma also dependant origination? Are they the same or not?

Thanks _/\_


(we have to have a common agreement on the meaning of the words)

I know many thinks of kamma, as the result of actions/intentions (ones destiny so to speak); actually its the other way around. Kamma roughly translates to "the intention" (behind any given action).

What the law on kamma states, is that your intention behind actions/decisions will have consequences in the future. You do not know what consequences (when, how, how many/often).

_/\_
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Re: Kamma?

Postby daverupa » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:27 pm

Doshin wrote:You do not know what consequences


In this connection, doubt is the hindrance of being unclear whether this or that intention is wholesome or unwholesome. So, while not knowing specific effects is something of an imponderable, knowing the basic structure of how wholesome & unwholesome kamma are defined is a core goal of practice.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Kamma?

Postby santa100 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:06 pm

If kamma is "action", then there're past kammas and current kammas. The reason for a guy who drove 95 miles/hr on the highway and then got killed for hitting an 18-wheeler in front of him might or might not have something to do with his bad kamma in previous life. One thing we can know for sure is that his most immediate kamma of reckless driving was the one that resulted in his death. So until the day one's reached arahantship and attain Divine Eye capability, there's no way to see for oneself the exact working of kamma in a previous life. HOwever, one does have full control of his/her current/immediate kamma and s/he has to try their best to do what's wholesome and abstain from what is not..
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Re: Kamma?

Postby manas » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:58 pm

Hi steve,
as has been pointed out, although there is a general rule that wholesome volitions, words or actions will have a positive result for the doer, and that unwholesome ones will have a negative, still, if we don't look first when crossing the road and get knocked over, I think we should just examine our action in the present, which was wilful carelessness, rather than seek the answer in the past.
:anjali:
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Re: Kamma?

Postby steve19800 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:30 pm

manas wrote:Hi steve,
as has been pointed out, although there is a general rule that wholesome volitions, words or actions will have a positive result for the doer, and that unwholesome ones will have a negative, still, if we don't look first when crossing the road and get knocked over, I think we should just examine our action in the present, which was wilful carelessness, rather than seek the answer in the past.
:anjali:


Hi manas,

Generally, can we say that something unavoidable is our kamma. If you try your best to avoid thing but they still happen for you to suffer for example.
There are many causes and conditions which form a circumstance for a person to experience. Like you said even just as simple as crossing the road, it involves a lot of things for things to happen. Many causes and conditions form into one situation or one incident so to speak. Causes and conditions themselves are kamma.

I am not a Buddhist expert but I believe there are many levels of kamma. One action leads to a result and causes further results and actions. And they all are dependent to each other. Most of the time what people called kamma is what they believe as the final result or the climax of an incident. But in my opinion, there have been many kamma happening but they were just not as noticeable as the climax.

By being mindful I think we will be able to tell ourselves whether something happening is the result of our own action or just a mere carelessness.
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Re: Kamma?

Postby daverupa » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:17 am

steve19800 wrote:Generally, can we say that something unavoidable is our kamma.


That won't do;

AN 6.63 wrote:"Kamma should be known. The cause by which kamma comes into play should be known. The diversity in kamma should be known. The result of kamma should be known. The cessation of kamma should be known. The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known.


Kamma isn't unavoidable; the path to its cessation can be followed.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Kamma?

Postby steve19800 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:15 am

daverupa wrote:
steve19800 wrote:Generally, can we say that something unavoidable is our kamma.


That won't do;

AN 6.63 wrote:"Kamma should be known. The cause by which kamma comes into play should be known. The diversity in kamma should be known. The result of kamma should be known. The cessation of kamma should be known. The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known.


Kamma isn't unavoidable; the path to its cessation can be followed.


Greetings daverupa,

If you can relate my question to the analogy that I've provided.
Let me just give you another example. Simple one a car accident. I'm not talking about the cessation to be free from accident. Hope this clarify, thanks _/\_
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Re: Kamma?

Postby Doshin » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:28 am

steve19800 wrote:Generally, can we say that something unavoidable is our kamma. If you try your best to avoid thing but they still happen for you to suffer for example.
There are many causes and conditions which form a circumstance for a person to experience. Like you said even just as simple as crossing the road, it involves a lot of things for things to happen. Many causes and conditions form into one situation or one incident so to speak. Causes and conditions themselves are kamma.

I am not a Buddhist expert but I believe there are many levels of kamma. One action leads to a result and causes further results and actions. And they all are dependent to each other. Most of the time what people called kamma is what they believe as the final result or the climax of an incident. ...


That is not how kamma is defined, in buddhist context. The 'final result' is caused by (many independent) actions, most action had an intention (kamma).

(sidenote: something to ponder about, is there anything, that is really unavoidable ?)

steve19800 wrote:By being mindful I think we will be able to tell ourselves whether something happening is the result of our own action or just a mere carelessness.


Getting closer. By being mindful on our intention, we can be (more) aware on the consequences of our actions, before we initiate them.

We can not foresee all/every consequence of our actions, but we can begin to see that some intentions, most likely leads to (generally) more suffering, and some leads to less suffering. The more mindful we get, the better we get to "guess" the overall result of a given action.

In other words, our kamma (intention) is like planting seeds, that will grow into consequences (once/many) at some point(s) in the future. Mindfulness is a tool, that gives us a pointer, so that we can avoid planting "bad" seeds, before intention initiates action.

I would recommend a podcast, that once helped me a lot, with understanding (the buddhist way of seeing) kamma:
http://diamondpath.blogspot.dk/2006_08_01_archive.html
Episode 7. I do know that the "source" isn't Theravada, but it explains kamma in layman-terms, in a very easy language.

_/\_
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