Are killing trees bad Kamma?

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daverupa
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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:50 pm

beeblebrox wrote:It's been established that the intention is kamma, but he was asking if this is the same as saying the kamma is intention.

Both of these two statements are very different. Why different? Lyndon gave us this example: red is color, but does that mean the color is (necessarily) red?


All reds are colors, not all colors are reds. This shows very little, however - we need to make sure there is a valid baseline for this comparison.

So let's check. We can agree that all intentions generate kamma of one of the four sorts, but then there is the question: is all kamma the result of intention? Yes. Intending, one does kamma via body, speech, or mind. Nowhere does kamma arise without intention.

Finally, is everything that happens kamma - is everything that happens the result of intention? No. Trees moving in the wind are unrelated to kamma.

---

The red:color comparison is flawed; 'red' doesn't generate 'color', while 'intention' does indeed generate 'kamma'.
    "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: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby santa100 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:31 pm

Ven. Bodhi clarified the meaning of the AN 6.63 phrase:
Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.

and noted:
Cetana ‘ham bhikkhave kammam vadami. This should probably be understood to mean that volition is a necessary factor in creating kamma, not that volition on its own invariably and in all instances creates kamma. It can thus be seen as a counterfoil to the Jain position that any action, even an unintentional one, creates kamma. The Chinese parallel, MA 111, at T I 600a23–24, says: “How does one understand kamma, There are two kinds of kamma: intention and the kamma [created] when one has intended”

So while it's valid to say volition has a causal relationship with kamma, it'd be invalid to say volition and kamma is the same entity. Just like a mother gives birth to a son, but the son himself is not the mother..

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:24 pm

santa100 wrote:So while it's valid to say volition has a causal relationship with kamma, it'd be invalid to say volition and kamma is the same entity. Just like a mother gives birth to a son, but the son himself is not the mother..


I'm surprised people took the phrase "kamma = intention" to be so strict.

I saw the '=' sign as a simple swap for the 'is' term in the original passage, and when seen in that context it's easy to understand that intention generates kamma, and that nowhere does anyone think that they are precisely the same entity, coextensive & with perfect overlap.

The two terms are very close, and talking about one usually means talking about the other, but I think everyone agrees that they aren't exactly the same.

It's a weird straw man getting throttled, in this thread... math notations are trouble.

---

But now this is interesting: the above footnote comment seems to suggest that there can be volition without kamma. This is news to me, and doesn't make much sense to me on the face of it... where is a cite for volition that has no kamma?

"And what is new kamma? Whatever kamma one does now with the body, with speech, or with the intellect: This is called new kamma.


What new action is there that isn't an action of body, speech, or mind, such that there was an intention and no action, not even of the intellect? Is there intention that isn't at least an intellectual act?
    "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: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby santa100 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:07 pm

daverupa wrote:I'm surprised people took the phrase "kamma = intention" to be so strict.

I saw the '=' sign as a simple swap for the 'is' term in the original passage, and when seen in that context it's easy to understand that intention generates kamma, and that nowhere does anyone think that they are precisely the same entity, coextensive & with perfect overlap.

The two terms are very close, and talking about one usually means talking about the other, but I think everyone agrees that they aren't exactly the same.

It's a weird straw man getting throttled, in this thread... math notations are trouble.

No straw man, just clarification. And thanks for the clarification above..
daverupa wrote:But now this is interesting: the above footnote comment seems to suggest that there can be volition without kamma. This is news to me, and doesn't make much sense to me on the face of it... where is a cite for volition that has no kamma?

If that was the case, Buddhas and arahants would've had no hope of putting an end to kamma and thus being stuck in samsara perpetually, for every single volition instance of them would've been automatically and inextricably tied to kamma!

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:18 pm

santa100 wrote:If that was the case, Buddhas and arahants would've had no hope of putting an end to kamma and thus being stuck in samsara perpetually, for every single volition instance of them would've been automatically and inextricably tied to kamma!


The kamma-vipaka can be from wholesome roots. All kamma is not negative. I believe it is the Jain view that all kamma is bad and that we must purge ourselves of all kamma.

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby santa100 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:29 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:The kamma-vipaka can be from wholesome roots. All kamma is not negative. I believe it is the Jain view that all kamma is bad.

Of course. But we're not talking about all kamma is not negative. We're talking about the Buddhas and arahants no longer generate kamma whether negative or positive (the "skillful habits cease without trace" in MN 78 ).

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:56 pm

Ok, I see what you mean. There have been some other threads specifically discussing the issue of how the Buddha or another arahant does not generate new kamma when in fact they are still alive and appear to still have intentions of doing daily tasks. I admit I need to look into this more myself as it does seem confusing how one (even an arahant) could not generate any intention / kamma, good or bad while still performing daily tasks, albeit wholesome actions.

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:55 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:it does seem confusing how one (even an arahant) could not generate any intention / kamma, good or bad while still performing daily tasks, albeit wholesome actions.


There are four sorts of kamma: bright, dark, mixed, and another sort that addresses this problem. Kamma that leads to the ending of kamma - sammasankappa, we might say.

AN 4.235 wrote:"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.
    "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: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:10 pm

So does the arahant have intention / kamma or not?

If not, how does he/she go about daily tasks? I realize they are all wholesome deeds, thoughts, actions, but is it all automatic-pilot or is there wholesome-intention or not?

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:13 pm

I found this in the Bhikkhu Bodhi article:

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:The arahant, the liberated one, does not generate any more kamma. He continues to act and perform volitional actions, but without clinging. Hence his actions no longer constitute kamma. They don't leave any imprints upon the mind. They don't have the potency of ripening in the future to bring about rebirth. The activities of the arahants are called "Kriyas", not kammas. They are simple actions. They leave no trace on the mental continuum, just like the flight of birds across the sky.


So the arahant does have a sort of volition, but it is a type that doesn't generate kamma. So volition does not always = kamma -- in the rare cases of arahants, that is.

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby santa100 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:35 pm

Ven. Bodhi again. He da man! :anjali:

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:10 pm

Greetings,

santa100 wrote:Ven. Bodhi again. He da man! :anjali:

Yeah - I don't think always agree with him, but I agree with him in this instance.

From ignorance comes volitional formations... With the ending of ignorance comes the ending of volitional formations...

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: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:44 pm

daverupa wrote:So let's check. We can agree that all intentions generate kamma of one of the four sorts, but then there is the question: is all kamma the result of intention? Yes. Intending, one does kamma via body, speech, or mind. Nowhere does kamma arise without intention.


Hi Dave,

My thought was something more like this:

The intention generates kamma of some kind, so the intention is considered kamma. The kamma doesn't always match the intention, though... so kamma =! intention. (So, you can't really use the "intention = kamma" as a defense for an action, i.e., by saying that your intention was good so therefore it doesn't matter.)

How is that formula useful? The intention produces kamma; and then when this kamma ripens, you get to see what kind of fruit it produces. This is how someone would develop a practice.

Also, when an arahant experience the fruit of a bad kamma, do you think that was his intention?

:anjali:
Last edited by beeblebrox on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:49 pm

How does an arahat eat or go to the bathroom without any intention, by the way I presume volition and intention are different translations of the same pali word, is that correct?

Also what about acts of nature, like being struck by lightening, or hit by a flood or earthquake, these obviously don't have any human intention, but are they kamma, if so you have examples of kamma that does not involve intention (or volition).
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:53 pm

Greetings,

I think much of the problem here is actually about cetana being translated as intention because the modern use of the word intention is a bit too flimsy to capture what the Buddha was getting at.

Cetana isn't "motivation" or "justification"... it points to the qualitative nature of the mindstate underpinning the action. Hopefully this makes it clearer...

AN 6:39 wrote:There are, O monks, three causes for the origin of action (kamma): greed, hatred and delusion.

From greed, O monks, no greedlessness will arise; it is greed that arises from greed. From hatred no hatelessness will arise; it is hatred that arises from hatred. From delusion no nondelusion will arise; it is delusion that arises from delusion.

Due to actions born of greed, born of hatred, born of delusion, neither divine beings will appear, nor humans, nor any other kind of happy existence. Rather the hells, the animal kingdom, the realm of ghosts or some other kind of woeful existence will appear due to actions born of greed, hatred and delusion.

These are, O monks, three causes for the origin of action.

There are, O monks, three other causes for the origin of action: non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion.

From non-greed, O monks, no greed will arise; it is non-greed that arises from non-greed. From non-hatred no hatred will arise; it is non-hatred that arises from non-hatred. From nondelusion no delusion will arise; it is non-delusion that arises from non-delusion.

Due to actions born of non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion, neither the hells will appear, nor the animal kingdom, nor the realm of ghosts, nor any other kind of woeful existence. Rather divine beings, humans or some other kind of happy existence will appear due to actions born of non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion.

These are, O monks, three other causes for the origin of action.

This is why the answer to any question that asks "Is doing (fill in the blank) good or bad kamma?" depends on the cetana involved, not on whatever the actual blank is.

Yes Lyndon... that includes meat eating too.

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If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
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: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:05 pm

Greetings Lyndon,

lyndon taylor wrote:Also what about acts of nature, like being struck by lightening, or hit by a flood or earthquake, these obviously don't have any human intention, but are they kamma.

Are they?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby culaavuso » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:08 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Also, when an arahant experience the fruit of a bad kamma, do you think that was his intention?

lyndon taylor wrote:Also what about acts of nature, like being struck by lightening, or hit by a flood or earthquake, these obviously don't have any human intention, but are they kamma, if so you have examples of kamma that does not involve intention (or volition).


Regarding the fruit of bad kamma, it is the result of unskillful intentions or behavior motivated by the three unskillful roots. This result is vipāka and it does not require unskillful motivation at the time it is experienced.

MN 136: Maha Kammavibhanga Sutta wrote:And as for the results ... he will feel them either right here & now, or in the next [lifetime], or following that.


An example of an arahant experiencing the fruit of bad kamma is described in MN 86.

MN 86: Angulimala Sutta wrote:Then Ven. Angulimala, dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Angulimala became another one of the arahants.

Then Ven. Angulimala, early in the morning, having put on his robes and carrying his outer robe & bowl, went into Savatthi for alms. Now at that time a clod thrown by one person hit Ven. Angulimala on the body, a stone thrown by another person hit him on the body, and a potsherd thrown by still another person hit him on the body. So Ven. Angulimala — his head broken open and dripping with blood, his bowl broken, and his outer robe ripped to shreds — went to the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw him coming from afar and on seeing him said to him: "Bear with it, brahman! Bear with it! The fruit of the kamma that would have burned you in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, you are now experiencing in the here-&-now!"


The commentaries also state that not everything is a result of kamma. There are five niyamas (orders or processes) described:

Buddhism in a Nutshell by Narada Mahathera wrote:If everything were due to Kamma, a man must ever be bad, for it is his Kamma to be bad. One need not consult a physician to be cured of a disease, for if one's Kamma is such one will be cured.

According to Buddhism, there are five orders or processes (Niyamas) which operate in the physical and mental realms:

1. Kamma Niyama, order of act and result, e.g., desirable and undesirable acts produce corresponding good and bad results.
2. Utu Niyama, physical (inorganic) order, e.g., seasonal phenomena of winds and rains.
3. Bija Niyama, order of germs or seeds (physical organic order); e.g., rice produced from rice-seed, sugary taste from sugar cane or honey etc. The scientific theory of cells and genes and the physical similarity of twins may be ascribed to this order.
4. Citta Niyama, order of mind or psychic law, e.g., processes of consciousness (Citta vithi), power of mind etc.
5. Dhamma Niyama, order of the norm, e.g., the natural phenomena occurring at the advent of a Bodhisatta in his last birth, gravitation, etc.
Every mental or physical phenomenon could be explained by these all-embracing five orders or processes which are laws in themselves.

Kamma is, therefore, only one of the five orders that prevail in the universe.


Some common misunderstandings of intention are discussed in an essay by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu:
The Road to Nirvana Is Paved with Skillful Intentions by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Good intentions — in proportion to their true goodness — tend toward heavens of pleasure. So why do they have such a bad reputation? For three main reasons. One is that not all good intentions are especially skillful. Even though they mean well, they can be misguided and inappropriate for the occasion, thus resulting in pain and regret. A second reason is that we often misunderstand the quality of our own intentions. We may mistake a mixed intention for a good one, for instance, and thus get disappointed when it gives mixed results. A third reason is that we easily misread the way intentions yield their results — as when the painful results of a bad intention in the past obscure the results of a good intention in the present, and yet we blame our present intention for the pain.
...
The way the Buddha formulates this principle, though, has important implications, for it demands qualities of self-honesty and maturity in areas where they are normally hard to find: our evaluation of our own intentions and of the results of our actions.

As children we learn to be dishonest about our intentions simply as a matter of survival: "I didn't mean to do it," "I couldn't help it," "I was just swinging my arm and he got in the way." After a while, we begin to believe our own excuses and don't like to admit to ourselves when our intentions are less than noble.

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:20 pm

culaavuso wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:Also, when an arahant experience the fruit of a bad kamma, do you think that was his intention?


Regarding the fruit of bad kamma, it is the result of unskillful intentions or behavior motivated by the three unskillful roots. This result is vipāka and it does not require unskillful motivation at the time it is experienced.


When there is an intention, how likely would it be that the intention was to try produce bad kamma? That is why kamma =! intention. (I think this still holds true with cetana in place of "intention.") This kind of interpretation from the "intention = kamma" goes too far, in my opinion.

:anjali:

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Re: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:29 pm

beeblebrox wrote:The intention generates kamma of some kind, so the intention is considered kamma. The kamma doesn't always match the intention, though...


There is not e.g. kamma that is dark with bright result. It's like I said earlier: there's no need for an intention to be greedy, since any intention rooted in greed will count.

The eightfold formulation of the Path properly forms the backbone of the practice - the Path which is kamma leading to the cessation of kamma.

I am specifically using the above fourfold formulation of kamma because, with consistency, I can thereby inclusively cite the tenfold Path as a constant abiding for arahants. This provides for their activity.

Also, when an arahant experience the fruit of a bad kamma, do you think that was his intention?


Somewhere in the past, necessarily the intention was in place for that kammavipaka to occur thusly. It starts to broach unconjecturable territory, however, and doesn't matter in any event - the arahant produces no further kamma, despite the chance of certain old kammavipaka that still has its course to run while the body is seen standing.

No dukkha, however, so that's cool.

---

Let's all have a look at The Great Exposition of Kamma, on that note, especially starting with (15), but concluding with:

So, Ananda, there is kamma that is incapable (of good result) and appears incapable (of good result); there is kamma that is incapable (of good result) and appears capable (of good result); there is kamma that is capable (of good result) and appears capable (of good result); there is kamma that is capable (of good result) and appears incapable (of good result)."


This seems to be the confusion. You are thinking of e.g. a certain kamma that is incapable (of good result) and yet appears capable (of good result).
    "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: Are killing trees bad Kamma?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:39 pm

Greetings,

lyndon taylor wrote:by the way I presume volition and intention are different translations of the same pali word, is that correct?

Not necessarily... the most likely candidates in a discussion like this will be cetana and sankhara, neither of which are easily amenable to one word English translations.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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