How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

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How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby arijitmitter » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:05 am

I have a confusion and I will try my best to express it -

I know nothing of my past Kamma baggage (how much bad Kamma and how much good Kamma I have carried into this birth). If I spend my entire life in only self less service of others, it is clearly not enough for Nibbana. Assuming I won 300 million dollars from a lottery, and I use most of it to help people rather than use it for myself then I am earning good Kamma. It will make my next birth in a higher realm or assure that at least I will be reborn as a human. But it will not let me be free of the cycle of birth and death - that is no Nibbana through self less service alone.

Just to lend some perspective -

Jains believe that suffering tremendously in this life alone is enough to nullify any previous bad Kamma. (Jain sadhus have clean shaven face, head and body. But no razor is used. Hair is ripped out by a fellow sadhu and the pain is tolerated quietly. That is just one of the ways they use to suffer. There are numerous more. There is nothing more unnerving than to see 14 day old beard being torn out of a Jain sadhu's face)

Hindus believe that Karma Yoga alone is enough for enlightenment (Karma being self less work for others in this sense)

In Hinduism there are 4 paths to Nirvana -

1 ) Bhakti Yoga - salvation through devotion to God
2 ) Jnana Yoga - salvation through reading the scriptures and arriving at enlightenment through reason and knowledge (Jnana)
3 ) Raja Yoga - salvation through performance of yogic exercises to purify body and soul and meditating on kundalini
4 ) Karma Yoga - salvation through path of self less service

But clearly that is not the case in Buddhism where meditation and self realization plays a large role.

So how does one arrive at perfect balance where Kamma is null (zero and neither positive or negative) and meditation is enough to allow one to proceed to Nibbana.

Understanding this is required, since although I maybe 200 life times away from Nibbana, I have to understand what is Nibbana vis a vis Kamma (I know what is Nibbana but what is it's interrelationship with Kamma)

I have tried to understand it from Angulimala Sutta but there is no description of what actually Angulimala did to overcome the lesser skill of murdering innocents. How did he repay his bad Kamma (I understand he was once beaten up badly but that is hardly enough to atone for 1000 murders).

Does Buddhism mean that pure heart and meditation alone is not only fuel on path to salvation but also gives redemption from previous Kamma

Note: part in italics is extra and not pertinent to my actual question

Since Raja Yoga leads to Samadhi, and so does Jhana, then is closest cousin of Buddhism Raja Yoga ?

Such as first step of Raja Yoga is - Yama

Yama (restraints) consists of five parts: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (sexual abstinence), and aparigraha (non-covetousness). Ahimsa is perfect harmlessness, as well as positive love. The five directives of yama lay down behavioral norms as prerequisites for elimination of fear, and contribute to a tranquil mind. (Wikipedia)

Second step of Raja yoga is - Niyama

Niyama is observance of five canons: shaucha (internal and external purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (austerity), svadhyaya (study of religious books and repetitions of mantras), and ishvarapranidhana (self-surrender to God and his worship). Niyama, unlike uama, prescribes mental exercises to train the mind to control emotions. (Wikipedia)

Like this there are 8 steps (so the name Ashtanga Yoga)

Yama – code of conduct, self-restraint
Niyama – religious observances, commitments to practice, such as study and devotion
Āsana – integration of mind and body through physical activity
Prāṇāyāma – regulation of breath leading to integration of mind and body
Pratyāhāra – abstraction of the senses, withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects
Dhāraṇā – concentration, one-pointedness of mind
Dhyāna – meditation (quiet activity that leads to samadhi)
Samādhi – the quiet state of blissful awareness, superconscious state.

This is very similar to Buddhism. I am not arguing who copied from whom. But does it mean meditation alone is redemptive in nature from Buddhist perspective ?


:anjali: Arijit
Last edited by arijitmitter on Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:34 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:16 am

Greetings,

You might find this summary useful: http://www.bodhikaram.com/kamma.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:41 am

Aṅgulimāla overcame most of the effects of his unwholesome kamma of killing 999 human beings by attaining Arahantship — the merit of which is immeasurable. The remnant effects bore fruit in that very existence by way of frequently getting injured and abused, and by an early death.

The Kutadanta Sutta of the Dīghanikāya gives a list of meritorious deeds, each one being more meritorious, but less troublesome than the previous one. The list starts with giving a huge amount of wealth away to all-comers — which would be much better than your example of winning 300 million on the lottery and using most of it to help others.
  1. Giving millions in alms to all-comers
  2. Giving regular alms to virtuous monks
  3. Building a dwelling place for virtuous monks
  4. Undertaking to observe the five precepts
  5. Gaining faith in the Dhamma, and becoming a monk oneself
  6. Gaining the absorptions
  7. Gaining insight
  8. Gaining the psychic powers
  9. Gaining Arahantship.
Winning 300 million on the lottery can only happen if one buys lottery tickets, which is the unwholesome kamma of gambling and is rooted in greed. Working hard, using one's own intelligence and effort to earn wealth by some lawful and blameless enterprise, without causing harm to others, and then giving it all away in charity would be entirely meritorious, like the first item in the list.
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby arijitmitter » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:55 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Aṅgulimāla overcame most of the effects of his unwholesome kamma of killing 999 human beings by attaining Arahantship — the merit of which is immeasurable. The remnant effects bore fruit in that very existence by way of frequently getting injured and abused, and by an early death.


Winning 300 million on the lottery can only happen if one buys lottery tickets, which is the unwholesome kamma of gambling and is rooted in greed. Working hard, using one's own intelligence and effort to earn wealth by some lawful and blameless enterprise, without causing harm to others, and then giving it all away in charity would be entirely meritorious, like the first item in the list.


Lottery was a wrong example by me. I will like to amend that by saying I earned $ 3000 and spent it on others.

My principal question is how did he get redemption from the bad Kamma.

What I mean is if someone is proceeding on path of Nibbana at one point Kamma has to let the balance go (Kamma being like nasty nagging credit card bill).

How did this happen with Angulimala. Did Kamma card bill happen to stop coming because he became an arahant ? Or did he become an arahant after his Kamma card bill stopped coming ?

A chicken and egg situation
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby Sanjay PS » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:02 am

Hello ,

i think if we worry about kamma and its relation to Nibbana , we will more often than not , keep stumbling , and sometimes just stop the work all together . It may be best to leave kamma alone , and accept everything that comes our way , but leaving our faith untouched . One should not confuse this with blind faith , but a faith born of investigation of how our mind and bodies are interdependent , and as we keep up this investigation , faith , reverence , humility , abandoning of unskillful actions , are but inevitable .

i am sure the thought of kamma of Venerable Angulimal , must have crossed in many people minds . The way i understand it , just as there is no beginning or end of time , so also is there is no quantifying the balance of our skillful and unskillful actions . A murderer who becomes an Arhant , has a stock of unimaginable and unquantifiable amounts of skillful actions lying latent , which bears fruit at the time appropriate .

Hence , while a person becomes an Arhant just by watching and feeling the spilling of water from a jar ; the birth of its spill , growth and coming to rest of flow, another person may have to go through many hardships aeons together in becoming an Arhant . But i am sure the former Arhant , may also have worked very hard and in earnest and for many many ages together .

The sutta below are the 4 imponderables which The Budhha has advised us to leave alone .


22. "These four imponderables are not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about them would go mad & 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 jhana-range of one absorbed in jhana [i.e., the range of powers that one may obtain while absorbed in jhana]... 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
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:09 am

I wouldn't like to push the credit card or bank account analogy too far, but perhaps it is like declaring oneself bankrupt: “Let my creditors come and take whatever they want — I have nothing left to give.”

He became an Arahant on meeting the Buddha, and was ordained at once. As an Arahant he was completely open-hearted, concealing nothing of his previous crimes, and was not in the least attached to prolonging existence. King Pasenadi had set out with his army to capture Aṅgulimāla, but when the Buddha told the king that he was now a monk, and sitting right beside him, the king offered to provide the four requisites for him. However, he declined the offer as he was observing the ascetic practices (dhutanga), living only on what he could gather on alms-round.
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby arijitmitter » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:10 am

Okay then let me summarize it with an analogy -

An overweight man is drinking beer and smoking 2 packs a day. This will cause him to have a heat attack after few years.

But he chooses to take up dieting and workout (like precepts but for the body).

His past health problems vanish and from his overweight body emerges body of an Adonis after 5 years (Nibbana). The excesses of his past are forgiven by his following precepts of good healthy life.

If we take this and apply this to life itself, it answers the question I posed.

Am I correct in this informal analogy and summary ?
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby hermitwin » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:44 am

Obviously the kind of karma matters.
If all I did was donate money to the poor but
I was not interested in dhamma and got drunk every night.
My good karma will be riches only.

For example if you have meditated in your previous lives, then meditation will come easier to you. Also your previous association with
Wise , virtuous people will allow you to meet them again.

Some people go searching for teachers and not finding Good teachers.

Not to forget that we are constantly creating new karma. So what you do here, now matters a lot too.

Nibbana only comes when all your greed, aversion and delusion have been eradicated.
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby arijitmitter » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:04 am

My question is more complex than what anyone has been able to understand (although I thank them for answering it to best of their ability)

Good Kamma does not lead to Nibbana. But meditation and self realization leads to Nibbana. Nibbana frees us from Kamma.

Then is meditation and self realization a redemptive practice (All other religions have a God in place to grant redemption at some stage; Buddhism does not and hence the complication)

There is no God so there is no Who. But is is a valid question How I become free from Kamma.

Is Dhamma then an antidote to Kamma ? The Four Noble Truths will make it seem so. But there is one fact I cannot reconcile with - extreme sin as Angulimala had done can be wished away just by becoming a noble person.

That is a characteristic of religions with a God. God can alter your balance sheet. But we have learned that Kamma is an unforgiving force, chasing you across lifetimes to give you your due. How can Kamma just let a man who killed 999 people go scott free unless it implies Dhamma is an antidote to Kamma, nullifying its existence.

I cannot be the first person to ask this. There has to be many scholars in Buddhism who have pondered over if Dhamma is not only a means to attain Nibbana but also redemptive.
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby Sanjay PS » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:29 am

arijitmitter wrote:My question is more complex than what anyone has been able to understand (although I thank them for answering it to best of their ability)

Good Kamma does not lead to Nibbana. But meditation and self realization leads to Nibbana. Nibbana frees us from Kamma.

Then is meditation and self realization a redemptive practice (All other religions have a God in place to grant redemption at some stage; Buddhism does not and hence the complication)

There is no God so there is no Who. But is is a valid question How I become free from Kamma.

Is Dhamma then an antidote to Kamma ? The Four Noble Truths will make it seem so. But there is one fact I cannot reconcile with - extreme sin as Angulimala had done can be wished away just by becoming a noble person.

That is a characteristic of religions with a God. God can alter your balance sheet. But we have learned that Kamma is an unforgiving force, chasing you across lifetimes to give you your due. How can Kamma just let a man who killed 999 people go scott free unless it implies Dhamma is an antidote to Kamma, nullifying its existence.

I cannot be the first person to ask this. There has to be many scholars in Buddhism who have pondered over if Dhamma is not only a means to attain Nibbana but also redemptive.



There are no guarantees my friend . We can never overestimate the wholesome stock or unwholesome stock within us . Things change........

If one can not reconcile and forgive , then the same seed is within us, and just as dangerous .............your question can be best unlocked by yourself by working within the framework of your body and mind . By shrinking ones world and limiting it to the happenings within the body and mind, all doubts can steadily be put to rest.

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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby cooran » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:40 am

Hello A.,

Have a search among these Suttas and articles - you may find an answer here:

Kamma
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-subject.html#kamma

With metta,
Chris
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:56 am

Hi arijitmitter,
arijitmitter wrote:My question is more complex than what anyone has been able to understand (although I thank them for answering it to best of their ability)

Good Kamma does not lead to Nibbana. But meditation and self realization leads to Nibbana. Nibbana frees us from Kamma.
...

Does this address your question?
Kamma & the Ending of Kamma

Most descriptions of the Buddha's teachings on kamma tend to stop here, but there are many passages on kamma in the Canon — and included in this section — that do not fit into the neat picture based merely the first two insights on the night of the Awakening. The only way to account for these passages is to note the simple fact that Buddha's teachings on kamma were shaped not only by these two insights, but also by the third insight and the resulting knowledge of Unbinding. The third insight explored the possibility of a fourth kind of kamma — in addition to good, bad, and a mixture of the two — that was skillful enough to bring about the ending of kamma [§§16-17]. At the same time, in the course of developing the level of skillfulness needed to bring kamma to an end, the Buddha learned a great deal about the nature of action that forced him to recast his understanding of kamma in much more subtle terms. The knowledge of Unbinding — which followed on the full development of this fourth type of kamma and the realizations that accompanied it — acted as proof that the understandings comprising the three insights were true. To explore these points will not only help give us a more complete understanding of the Buddha's teachings on kamma, but will also show why conviction in the principle of skillful kamma is essential to Buddhist practice.


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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:59 am

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby Mr Man » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:16 am

Kamma does not produce a fixed result for a fixed action. It is dynamic and constantly recreated. It is not a judgement or a retribution or an "unforgiving force".

From Ajahn Sumedho -

'Do good and you'll receive good; do bad and you'll receive bad.' We worry: 'I've done so many bad things in the past; what kind of result will I get from all that?' Well, all you can know is that what you've done in the past is a memory now. The most awful, disgusting thing you've ever done, that you wouldn't want anyone to know about, the one that, whenever anybody talks about kamma and rebirth, makes you think: 'I'm really going to get it for having done that' – that is a memory, and that memory is the kammic result. The additions to that – like fearing, worrying, and speculating – these are the kammic results of unenlightened behaviour.

What you do, you remember; it's as simple as that. If you do something kind, generous or compassionate, the memory makes you feet happy; and if you do something mean and nasty, you have to remember that. If you try to repress it, run away from it, get caught up in all sorts of frantic behaviour – that's the kammic result.

Kamma will cease through recognition. In mindfulness, you're allowing kammic formations to cease rather than recreating them, or annihilating them and recreating them. It's important to recollect that whatever you create, you destroy, and what you annihilate, you create – one conditions the other, just as the inhalation conditions the exhalation. One is the kammic result of the other. Death is the kammic result of birth, and all we can know about that which is born and dies is that it is a condition and not-self.

http://www.amaravati.org/documents/cittavivaka/data/13kamma.html
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby Sanjay PS » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:06 am

Mr Man wrote:Kamma does not produce a fixed result for a fixed action. It is dynamic and constantly recreated. It is not a judgement or a retribution or an "unforgiving force".

From Ajahn Sumedho -

'Do good and you'll receive good; do bad and you'll receive bad.' We worry: 'I've done so many bad things in the past; what kind of result will I get from all that?' Well, all you can know is that what you've done in the past is a memory now. The most awful, disgusting thing you've ever done, that you wouldn't want anyone to know about, the one that, whenever anybody talks about kamma and rebirth, makes you think: 'I'm really going to get it for having done that' – that is a memory, and that memory is the kammic result. The additions to that – like fearing, worrying, and speculating – these are the kammic results of unenlightened behaviour.

What you do, you remember; it's as simple as that. If you do something kind, generous or compassionate, the memory makes you feet happy; and if you do something mean and nasty, you have to remember that. If you try to repress it, run away from it, get caught up in all sorts of frantic behaviour – that's the kammic result.

Kamma will cease through recognition. In mindfulness, you're allowing kammic formations to cease rather than recreating them, or annihilating them and recreating them. It's important to recollect that whatever you create, you destroy, and what you annihilate, you create – one conditions the other, just as the inhalation conditions the exhalation. One is the kammic result of the other. Death is the kammic result of birth, and all we can know about that which is born and dies is that it is a condition and not-self.

http://www.amaravati.org/documents/cittavivaka/data/13kamma.html



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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby arijitmitter » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:05 pm

Mr Man wrote:Kamma will cease through recognition. In mindfulness, you're allowing kammic formations to cease rather than recreating them, or annihilating them and recreating them. It's important to recollect that whatever you create, you destroy, and what you annihilate, you create – one conditions the other, just as the inhalation conditions the exhalation. One is the kammic result of the other. Death is the kammic result of birth, and all we can know about that which is born and dies is that it is a condition and not-self.


Everyone has made excellent contributions, although I have not had time to go through all the links quoted till now. But what Ajahn Sumedho said is something like what I was looking for. Although not hundred percent of what I was looking for it is at least a solid foundation on which to begin my contemplation again.

Thank you to all,

:anjali: Arijit
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:13 pm

Ajahn Sumedho wrote:'Do good and you'll receive good; do bad and you'll receive bad.' We worry: 'I've done so many bad things in the past; what kind of result will I get from all that?' Well, all you can know is that what you've done in the past is a memory now.


If that’s all that we can know about kamma, then that’s all that the Buddha would have taught about it … which is hardly the case.

Ajahn Sumedho wrote:The most awful, disgusting thing you've ever done, that you wouldn't want anyone to know about, the one that, whenever anybody talks about kamma and rebirth, makes you think: 'I'm really going to get it for having done that' – that is a memory, and that memory is the kammic result. The additions to that – like fearing, worrying, and speculating – these are the kammic results of unenlightened behaviour.


Surely this is the wrong way round. When we fret and worry, recalling our past misdeeds, we are not experiencing the vipāka of those kammas, but rather creating fresh kamma.

In abhidhammic terms, on those occasions when we are worried or remorseful as a result of recalling our past unwholesome kammas, this worry is the mental factor of kukkucca accompanying aversion-rooted unwholesome consciousnesses. Such consciousnesses are not vipākas but rather the instigators of fresh kamma. At such moments we are agents, not patients. In terms of the five-niyāma scheme, the generation of worry and remorse by past unwholesome actions falls under citta-niyāma, not kamma-niyāma.

Were it the case that ‘vipāka’ meant the unpleasant memories of our past misdeeds, then the amnesiacal and the senile could perform akusala kammas that generated no vipākas. Were it the case that ‘vipāka’ meant the worry and remorse prompted by these memories, then a sociopath, by his incapacity for remorse, would likewise be immune to the ripening of akusala kammas.

However, since the actual vipākas of our unwholesome kammas are such things as painful bodily feeling, encounters with unwished-for sights, sounds, smells, tastes, etc., shortened life-span, violent deaths, unfavourable rebirths, etc., the amnesiac and the sociopath are as much subject to them as anyone else.

Ajahn Sumedho wrote:What you do, you remember; it's as simple as that. If you do something kind, generous or compassionate, the memory makes you feet happy; and if you do something mean and nasty, you have to remember that. If you try to repress it, run away from it, get caught up in all sorts of frantic behaviour – that's the kammic result.


No, the generation of happiness through remembering one’s good deeds also comes under citta-niyāma, not kamma-niyāma, and is not a vipāka.

Ajahn Sumedho wrote:Kamma will cease through recognition.


Not according to any of the suttas dealing with the cessation of kamma. The Kammanidāna Sutta, for example:

“Thus, bhikkhus, greed is a source and origin of kamma; hatred is a source and origin of kamma; delusion is a source and origin of kamma. With the destruction of greed, a source of kamma is extinguished. With the destruction of hatred, a source of kamma is extinguished. With the destruction of delusion, a source of kamma is extinguished.” (AN.v.262, Bh. Bodhi tr.)
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby purple planet » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:42 pm

Thanks for clearing things up Dhammanando
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby reflection » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:44 pm

arijitmitter wrote:My question is more complex than what anyone has been able to understand (although I thank them for answering it to best of their ability)

Good Kamma does not lead to Nibbana. But meditation and self realization leads to Nibbana. Nibbana frees us from Kamma.

Then is meditation and self realization a redemptive practice (All other religions have a God in place to grant redemption at some stage; Buddhism does not and hence the complication)

There is no God so there is no Who. But is is a valid question How I become free from Kamma.

Is Dhamma then an antidote to Kamma ? The Four Noble Truths will make it seem so. But there is one fact I cannot reconcile with - extreme sin as Angulimala had done can be wished away just by becoming a noble person.

That is a characteristic of religions with a God. God can alter your balance sheet. But we have learned that Kamma is an unforgiving force, chasing you across lifetimes to give you your due. How can Kamma just let a man who killed 999 people go scott free unless it implies Dhamma is an antidote to Kamma, nullifying its existence.

I cannot be the first person to ask this. There has to be many scholars in Buddhism who have pondered over if Dhamma is not only a means to attain Nibbana but also redemptive.

Perhaps you are seeing kamma through a somewhat western lens, which seems shaped more by Hinduism than by Buddhism. Speaking about kamma as a balance sheet, about "its existence" and your capitalization of the word makes me think so. But kamma is not a fixed thing or quality or something like that. Instead kamma-vipaka is a process. Kamma creates results, and one of the results may be more kamma if the initial kamma is one of greed/hatred/delusion. Once the process is broken, we are free. If we killed 999 people or not doesn't matter in that perspective. It is not about destroying kamma or paying a debt, it is about stopping a process of initiating actions. The most important initiating actions here are the ones initiating birth, initiating consciousness.

Now in general somebody who did a lot of actions based on hatred will have a harder time stopping the process because their underlying tendencies are stronger. So in a sense that is their bad kamma to work with, but you shouldn't see it as a pay back or balance sheet. In principle all it takes to stop kamma is to realize no self, because greed/hatred/delusion can only survive with a view of self. You can't really call that realization an act of good kamma, although in a certain way it is. But it's more like a process ending itself. That way you can look beyond good and bad.

Perhaps a bit vague reading it like this, but the important thing to know is that kamma is not some kind of judgement scale weighing your actions. Also realize that kamma is just a word, and as soon as we have words, we have concepts. It's important to try and see beyond concepts in order to be ready to realize things that just can't be put to words.
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Postby Mr Man » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:19 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Ajahn Sumedho wrote:'Do good and you'll receive good; do bad and you'll receive bad.' We worry: 'I've done so many bad things in the past; what kind of result will I get from all that?' Well, all you can know is that what you've done in the past is a memory now.


If that’s all that we can know about kamma, then that’s all that the Buddha would have taught about it … which is hardly the case.

Ajahn Sumedho wrote:The most awful, disgusting thing you've ever done, that you wouldn't want anyone to know about, the one that, whenever anybody talks about kamma and rebirth, makes you think: 'I'm really going to get it for having done that' – that is a memory, and that memory is the kammic result. The additions to that – like fearing, worrying, and speculating – these are the kammic results of unenlightened behaviour.


Surely this is the wrong way round. When we fret and worry, recalling our past misdeeds, we are not experiencing the vipāka of those kammas, but rather creating fresh kamma.

In abhidhammic terms, on those occasions when we are worried or remorseful as a result of recalling our past unwholesome kammas, this worry is the mental factor of kukkucca accompanying aversion-rooted unwholesome consciousnesses. Such consciousnesses are not vipākas but rather the instigators of fresh kamma. At such moments we are agents, not patients. In terms of the five-niyāma scheme, the generation of worry and remorse by past unwholesome actions falls under citta-niyāma, not kamma-niyāma.

Were it the case that ‘vipāka’ meant the unpleasant memories of our past misdeeds, then the amnesiacal and the senile could perform akusala kammas that generated no vipākas. Were it the case that ‘vipāka’ meant the worry and remorse prompted by these memories, then a sociopath, by his incapacity for remorse, would likewise be immune to the ripening of akusala kammas.

However, since the actual vipākas of our unwholesome kammas are such things as painful bodily feeling, encounters with unwished-for sights, sounds, smells, tastes, etc., shortened life-span, violent deaths, unfavourable rebirths, etc., the amnesiac and the sociopath are as much subject to them as anyone else.

Ajahn Sumedho wrote:What you do, you remember; it's as simple as that. If you do something kind, generous or compassionate, the memory makes you feet happy; and if you do something mean and nasty, you have to remember that. If you try to repress it, run away from it, get caught up in all sorts of frantic behaviour – that's the kammic result.


No, the generation of happiness through remembering one’s good deeds also comes under citta-niyāma, not kamma-niyāma, and is not a vipāka.

Ajahn Sumedho wrote:Kamma will cease through recognition.


Not according to any of the suttas dealing with the cessation of kamma. The Kammanidāna Sutta, for example:

“Thus, bhikkhus, greed is a source and origin of kamma; hatred is a source and origin of kamma; delusion is a source and origin of kamma. With the destruction of greed, a source of kamma is extinguished. With the destruction of hatred, a source of kamma is extinguished. With the destruction of delusion, a source of kamma is extinguished.” (AN.v.262, Bh. Bodhi tr.)


Bhante but you are taking Ajahn Sumedho's teaching out of context and forgetting that he is speaking in English to an English speaking audience. He is not teaching as a scholar. Perhaps you could address the OP rather than criticise your fellow monk's teaching?
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