Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby pilgrim » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:09 am

Phasso paccaya Vedana. Contact will invariably give rise to Feelings. It is how the mind reacts to this Feeling that kamma is created. Because of Delusion, the mind commonly reacts with Tanha (Vedana paccaya Tanha). Intention or kamma arises, sankhara is created.
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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby binocular » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:02 am

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

Imagine, for example, drifting off in thought while at the wheel, driving on the highway at 150 km/h.

Distractions while driving can be separated into three distinct groups: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distraction involves taking one's eyes off the road, while manual distraction involves taking one's hands off the wheel. Cognitive distraction occurs when an individual's focus is not directly on the act of driving and his/her mind "wanders".[3]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distracted_driving


Every single time someone takes their focus off the road - even if just for a moment - they put their lives and the lives of others in danger. Distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible, and, in a split second, its consequences can be devastating.
http://www.distraction.gov/content/spee ... ummit.html



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?

Any sutta quotes supporting this?


I don't know of any direct support, but daydreaming is not encouraged:

In one sutta (A. III, 293) the Buddha explains how to prepare for a peaceful death. One has to organize one's life and cultivate an appropriate attitude for this purpose. The instructions given there are as follows:

(1) One should not be fond of a busy life involved in various activities.
(2) One should not be fond of being talkative.
(3) One should not be fond of sleeping.
(4) One should not be fond of having too many companions.
(5) One should not be fond of too much social intercourse.

(6) One should not be fond of daydreaming.

One Foot in the World
Buddhist Approaches to Present-day Problems
by Lily de Silva
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el337.html


But as with the distracted driving example above: if one is in the midst of one activity, but one's mind is somewhere else, chances are that something will go awry, and at least then kamma will be made.

I think that from the Buddhist perspective, kammically, one is always driving at 150 km/h on the highway, 24/7, one just doesn't notice it much of the time, so it seems okay to doze off or let one's mind wander off a bit.


3. The third group of intruders disturbing the meditator's mind are stray thoughts and daydreams. These may consist of various memories and images of the past, recent or remote, including those emerging from subconscious depths; thoughts of the future — planning, imagining, fearing, hoping; and the casual sense-perceptions that may occur at the very time of meditation, often dragging after them a long trail of associated ideas. Whenever concentration and mindfulness slacken, stray thoughts or daydreams appear and fill the vacuum. Though they seem insignificant in themselves, through their frequent occurrence they form a most formidable obstacle, not only for the beginner, but in all cases when the mind is restless or distracted.
The Power of Mindfulness
An Inquiry into the Scope of Bare Attention and the Principal Sources of its Strength
by Nyanaponika Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el121.html


and note:

However, daydreams and fantasies are most often an expression of our desires and emotional conflicts. If one examines the daydream in the frame of mind: "What does it express?" "What desire is it attempting to satisfy?" "What feeling does it carry?" then one can gain insight into his emotional needs and at the same time confront those same mental taints which meditation is supposed to overcome.
Buddhist Meditation and Depth Psychology
by Douglas M. Burns
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el088.html


This kind of approach to understanding daydreams (and papanca at large) suggests that there is intention at work in them.
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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby binocular » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:12 am

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

For many people, physical action is easier to control than mental action. Hence the suggestion to first focus on physical actions, as they are easier to keep in check.

This is not to suggest that one shouldn't or couldn't do anything about one's mental or verbal actions. Just that it's generally a good idea to start with those things where one is currently already able to make a difference.

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

As others have already noted, kamma can bear fruit in this lifetime too.
If last night at a late hour, you ate a whole pizza, and in the morning you feel crappy - that's kamma. To say nothing about dropping a heavy object on one's foot.
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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby cooran » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:14 am

Interesting! Thanks for finding these quotes, binocular!

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Aloka » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:03 am

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


Imagine, for example, drifting off in thought while at the wheel, driving on the highway at 150 km/h.


I don't drive a car, - and I don't drift off when I'm actively engaged in something which requires concentration on a task.

My example was briefly thinking about butterflies, while sitting on a passenger seat on a moving bus driven by a bus -driver.(and still being aware of when I have to get off it)

:)
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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby binocular » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:31 am

Aloka wrote:I don't drive a car, - and I don't drift off when I'm actively engaged in something which requires concentration on a task.

More power to you then!
Most of us drive a car, operate tools and machinery that require quick responses, are into some sport that requires quick responses etc.

My example was briefly thinking about butterflies, while sitting on a passenger seat on a moving bus driven by a bus -driver.(and still being aware of when I have to get off it)

I guess once you, too, make the experience that it is possible to miss one's bus stop while being engaged in daydreaming, maybe you'll change your mind. ;)
I tells you, it is possible. It starts off little by little, slowly. Not worth mentioning at first, seeming completely harmless. But if left unchecked, it grows into full-blown ignorance of one's surroundings.
If nothing else, a moment of inattentiveness can make the difference between walking safely, and stumbling, falling, and injuring oneself.
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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Strive4Karuna » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:31 pm

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.





But what if constantly worrying about kamma and the next life causes me suffering. Ajahn Chah said if it is causing suffering, it is wrong view. Is this not the wrong way to live? Aren't I suppose to live in the present moment and not think about what kind of kamma each action will bear? Nothing seems authentic anymore. I dont even know who I am or if any of my actions are genuine or not, it is causing me suffering. Yes I can try and shape it, but cant I do it without worrying about kamma & rebirth.
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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:41 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:But what if constantly worrying about kamma and the next life causes me suffering. Ajahn Chah said if it is causing suffering, it is wrong view. Is this not the wrong way to live? Aren't I suppose to live in the present moment and not think about what kind of kamma each action will bear? Nothing seems authentic anymore. I dont even know who I am or if any of my actions are genuine or not, it is causing me suffering. Yes I can try and shape it, but cant I do it without worrying about kamma & rebirth.

Don't worry about it then, put it aside and focus on where your practice is now, rather than speculate about things. You can always come back to the topic to reflect properly one BTW :)

Watch your mind, and if unskilled, unuseful thoughts come (whether intentional or not) then do what is appropriate with them and not let them take a foothold!

Be gentle with yourself. :anjali:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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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."
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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby culaavuso » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:16 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:But what if constantly worrying about kamma and the next life causes me suffering.


If the mental action of worrying is a cause of stress, then the path of practice is to abandon it.

SN 56.11: Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta wrote:This noble truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned


With any mental action, the suitability of that mental action is a question of the results it creates.

MN 61: Ambalatthika-rahulovada Sutta wrote:While you are doing a mental action, you should reflect on it: 'This mental action I am doing — is it leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful mental action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it is leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful mental action with painful consequences, painful results, then you should give it up. But if on reflection you know that it is not... you may continue with it.


Right effort applies to qualities that influence all actions: bodily, verbal, and mental.

SN 45.8: Magga-vibhanga Sutta wrote:And what, monks, is right effort? (i) There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen. (ii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen. (iii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen. (iv) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort.


Worrying is like a form of praying or wishing. It's often quite unhelpful in bringing about the wished outcome. If wishing is seen as unskillful mental action based on greed, then worrying could be viewed as unskillful mental action based on aversion. Either way, the skillful action is to perform the actions that actually lead to the intended outcome.

AN 5.43: Ittha Sutta wrote:Now, I tell you, these five things are not to be obtained by reason of prayers or wishes. If they were to be obtained by reason of prayers or wishes, who here would lack them?
...
It's not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires happiness to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires happiness should follow the path of practice leading to happiness. In so doing, he will attain happiness, either human or divine.
...
It's not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires rebirth in heaven to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires rebirth in heaven should follow the path of practice leading to rebirth in heaven. In so doing, he will attain rebirth in heaven.
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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby binocular » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:33 am

Strive4Karuna wrote:But what if constantly worrying about kamma and the next life causes me suffering. Ajahn Chah said if it is causing suffering, it is wrong view. Is this not the wrong way to live? Aren't I suppose to live in the present moment and not think about what kind of kamma each action will bear? Nothing seems authentic anymore. I dont even know who I am or if any of my actions are genuine or not, it is causing me suffering. Yes I can try and shape it, but cant I do it without worrying about kamma & rebirth.

To the best of my knowledge, two frequent causes of worry are lack of knowledge about a topic of worrying; and a lack of commitment to wholesome action.

When this is the case, the solution is to learn more about the topic in question. In this case to learn about kamma and rebirth, such as by studying the suttas, memorizing relevant passages, studying available study guides, discussing the topic with people knowledgeable in the topic.

If one spends one's time doing mostly things which one already believes to be unwholesome, then one of the effects of that is worry. This is actually a sign that one has a working moral compass, which is good. To reduce worry, one should reduce engaging in activities that cause worry, such as reduce one's engagement in unwholesome actions.
There's a saying - "A clear conscience is like perpetual Christmas." Ie. with a clear conscience, one doesn't worry.
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Re: Does unwholesome thinking generate bad kamma?

Postby Aloka » Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:38 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:
Aren't I suppose to live in the present moment and not think about what kind of kamma each action will bear? Nothing seems authentic anymore. I dont even know who I am or if any of my actions are genuine or not, it is causing me suffering. Yes I can try and shape it, but cant I do it without worrying about kamma & rebirth.


I like what Gil Fronsdal says from page 27 of "The Issue at Hand - Essays on Buddhist Mindfulness Practice".

Central to Buddhist spiritual practice is a deep appreciation of the present moment and the possibilities that exist in the present for waking up and being free of suffering. The present is the only place our creativity exists. The Buddhist notion of karma is closely tied to that creativity.

The concept of karma is not some idea about past lives; nor is it a law of predetermination. If you believe that your happiness is predetermined, it leaves no space for you to affect your happiness and your suffering. Spiritual practice includes choice. The Buddha stressed that if you have too strict an idea of karma, there is no room for choice.

The Buddha said, “What I call karma is intention.” In other words, the teaching of karma is about the intentional choices we
make in the present. The present moment is to be appreciated mindfully and relaxed into, as we do in meditation. But it is also where we choose how to step forward into the next moment. The more clearly we see the choice, the greater the freedom and creativity we have in making it.

The present moment is partly the result of our choices in the past and partly the result of our choices unfolding in the present.Our experience of the next moment, the next day, the next decade, is shaped by the choices we make in relationship to where we find ourselves right now. Intended acts of body, speech and mind have consequences; taking these consequences into account offers important guidance in our choices for action. But these consequences are not fixed or mechanical.

Continued :http://ebooks.borekingdom.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/IssueAtHand.pdf

:anjali:
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