Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Strive4Karuna » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:14 pm

Does unwholesome thinking generate bad merit? What if I have unwholesome thoughts, but good actions?



or should I just let it go and stop thinking about kamma and a possible next life and focus on now.
Strive4Karuna
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:38 am

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby waterchan » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:08 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:Does unwholesome thinking generate bad merit?


Oh, most definitely. Any act of body, speech or mind accompanied by ill will, sensual/material desire or ignorance of the Dhamma generates akusala kamma. In fact, unwholesome thinking is the main avenue by which solid preceptors generate bad kamma. There's a bazillion sutta references to that, so I'll let you do the searching, or let someone else post them. :D
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
User avatar
waterchan
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Sereitei

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby culaavuso » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:52 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:What if I have unwholesome thoughts, but good actions?

The suttas speak of mixed kamma that is both dark and bright. It could be viewed as two separate actions, one bodily and one mental. Each action will yield its results.

Strive4Karuna wrote:or should I just let it go and stop thinking about kamma and a possible next life and focus on now.


This seems to be a false dichotomy. What you do now will influence the conditions that you experience in three seconds, three hours, three years, or three lifetimes. The only way to take care of the future is by taking care of what's being done right now to shape it. Until the cessation of kamma is achieved, every 'now' results in new kamma that will influence the future. Thinking about kamma is itself an intentional action happening 'now' which can generate kamma, so it may be more useful to ask whether the kamma being generated right now is bright or dark.

AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.


SN 35.145: Kamma Sutta wrote:Whatever kamma one does now with the body, with speech, or with the intellect: This is called new kamma.

And what is the cessation of kamma? Whoever touches the release that comes from the cessation of bodily kamma, verbal kamma, & mental kamma: This is called the cessation of kamma.

And what is the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma? Just this noble eightfold path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is called the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma.


AN 4.235: Ariyamagga Sutta wrote:Monks, these four types of kamma have been directly realized, verified, & made known by me. Which four? There is kamma that is dark with dark result. There is kamma that is bright with bright result. There is kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result. There is kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma.


Dhp 9 (121-122) wrote:Don't underestimate evil
('It won't amount to much').
A water jar fills,
even with water
falling in drops.
With evil — even if
bit
by
bit,
habitually —
the fool fills himself full.

Don't underestimate merit
('It won't amount to much').
A water jar fills,
even with water
falling in drops.
With merit — even if
bit
by
bit,
habitually —
the enlightened one fills himself full.
culaavuso
 
Posts: 965
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Aloka » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:25 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:Does unwholesome thinking generate bad merit? What if I have unwholesome thoughts, but good actions?
or should I just let it go and stop thinking about kamma and a possible next life and focus on now.


I recommend listening to this talk about kamma given by Ajahn Amaro called "Who is Pulling the Strings" and dated 23rd September 2012 at the link.

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

Kind regards,

Aloka
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3577
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:53 pm

Hi Strive4Karuna
Strive4Karuna wrote:Does unwholesome thinking generate bad merit? What if I have unwholesome thoughts, but good actions?



or should I just let it go and stop thinking about kamma and a possible next life and focus on now.

Thoughts are a mental action that will given time form the foundation for consciousness
Cetanā sutta: [Developing] Intentions - SN 12.38 wrote:"Mendicants, what one perceives, what one thinks over, and what one fills the senses with: this supports the continuation of consciousness.
When one recollects the sense object, consciousness is established, therefore, wherever consciousness is established is where it increases for the future, leading to more becoming later on.
When there is more becoming later on, one should recollect there will also be birth, old age & death, as-well as grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, & despair, and so there is the origination of this whole mass of suffering.”

If our thinking is based in unskillful areas then we are eventually going to develop intentions based on the mindstate that we have developed.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5743
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby seeker242 » Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:06 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:or should I just let it go and stop thinking about kamma and a possible next life and focus on now.


Sounds like a good plan as long as you try to think and practice skillful things, right now. As right now is what really matters. :smile:
User avatar
seeker242
 
Posts: 267
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby cooran » Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:11 pm

Is all thinking "intentional"? Some thinking seems uncontrolled.

What about when you are trying to meditate and, after a little or a long while, you become aware that your mind has been rambling on about imaginary things.

Do the 'involuntary' thoughts or fictional stories create Kamma?

Any sutta quotes supporting this?

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7492
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:30 pm

The stories you tell yourself tend to come true. Its best to think as little as one can manage :)
Joshu was asked,
"When a man comes to you with nothing,
what would you say to him ?"
Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 1010
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 am

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Aloka » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:07 pm

cooran wrote:What about when you are trying to meditate and, after a little or a long while, you become aware that your mind has been rambling on about imaginary things.

Do the 'involuntary' thoughts or fictional stories create Kamma?



If they're just passing papanca and intention is absent, then I don't see how they can create any kamma.

:anjali:
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3577
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby waterchan » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:09 pm

cooran wrote:Do the 'involuntary' thoughts or fictional stories create Kamma?

Any sutta quotes supporting this?


Contact is the means by which kamma comes into play. In dependent origination, the cause of contact can be traced back to mental and physical activity (nama-rupa) which need not be strictly voluntary.

So mental activity, intentional or unintentional, creates contact, which creates kamma. The Buddhist idea of "intention" includes very fine subconscious tendencies as well as the grosser forms that we usually understand by the English word "intention".

The only type of activity or papancha that would create neutral kamma is that which is in accordance with the Eightfold Path:

AN 4.235: Ariyamagga Sutta

"And what is kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma? Right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is called kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
User avatar
waterchan
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Sereitei

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:31 pm

Aloka wrote:
cooran wrote:What about when you are trying to meditate and, after a little or a long while, you become aware that your mind has been rambling on about imaginary things.

Do the 'involuntary' thoughts or fictional stories create Kamma?



If they're just passing papanca and intention is absent, then I don't see how they can create any kamma.

:anjali:

Appropriate Attention.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5743
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby waterchan » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:36 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Appropriate Attention.


Then the devata inhabiting the forest thicket, feeling sympathy for the monk, desiring his benefit, desiring to bring him to his senses, approached him and addressed him with this verse:

From inappropriate attention
you're being chewed by your thoughts.
Relinquishing what's inappropriate,
contemplate
appropriately.


How come devas never approach me when I'm having unskillful thoughts... I wouldn't mind being patronized by one...
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
User avatar
waterchan
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Sereitei

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Aloka » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:49 pm

waterchan wrote:So mental activity, intentional or unintentional, creates contact, which creates kamma.


If my thoughts are fantasising briefly about colourful butterflies on flowers, while I'm sitting on a bus, - how does that create contact, which creates kamma?
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3577
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby waterchan » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:04 pm

Aloka wrote:If my thoughts are fantasising briefly about colourful butterflies on flowers, while I'm sitting on a bus, - how does that create contact, which creates kamma?


Three conditions are necessary and sufficient for contact: one of your six senses, an object that can be perceived by that sense, and the consciousness of that sense (viññāṇa).

SN 12.44: Loka Sutta:

Dependent on the intellect & mental qualities there arises intellect-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact.


If your mind is fantasizing about a butterfly, you have your mind, you have the butterfly in your mind, and your mind is obviously conscious of the butterfly.

The three factors are in place: BOOM — contact.

Contact is present: BOOM — kamma!
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
User avatar
waterchan
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Sereitei

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Aloka » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:09 pm

waterchan wrote:The three factors are in place... BOOM — contact.

Contact is present... BOOM — kamma


That doesn't answer my question. contact with what ? Kamma from what ?.....an imaginary butterfly ?
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3577
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby waterchan » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:14 pm

Aloka wrote:
waterchan wrote:The three factors are in place... BOOM — contact.

Contact is present... BOOM — kamma


That doesn't answer my question. contact with what ? Kamma from what ?


Did you read the suttas I linked?

Contact is the meeting between your mind, the butterly in your mind, and your mind's consciousness. Kamma arises as a result of contact. Those are in the two suttas linked previously.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
User avatar
waterchan
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Sereitei

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Aloka » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:20 pm

In the sutta you linked, the Buddha said:

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


Please explain how intention arises from an imaginary butterfly .
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3577
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby waterchan » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:24 pm

Aloka wrote:In the sutta you linked, the Buddha said:

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


Please explain how intention arises from an imaginary butterfly .


((remark edited out by Cooran))

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


Now, is there mind-contact when you imagine a butterfly or not?
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
User avatar
waterchan
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Sereitei

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:22 pm

waterchan wrote:
The three factors are in place: BOOM — contact.

Contact is present: BOOM — kamma!
A sutta is linked, but your "Contact is present: BOOM — kamma" is not obvious.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19323
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Phena » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:51 am

Is kamma generated upon the Contact at Nama-rupa (that is: feeling, perception, intention, contact & attention - physical phenomena,) or at Contact that occurs after Salayatana?
Phena
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 6:40 am

Next

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests