Did my Kamma make me write this?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby alan » Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:00 pm

Sometimes I hear Kamma used in interesting ways, such as "It was my Kamma to find this teacher" or "It's just her Kamma, she can't understand this and has to follow a different path". The pop definition seems to carry with it implications of fate or destiny.
Does this usage reflect a proper understanding?
alan
 
Posts: 2438
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:15 pm

no, the useage is more in keeping with the Hindu definition I believe. Kamma in buddhist terms is intention, the fruits of which (vipaka) don't necesarily have to operate in a specific fassion, like legal law where certain crimes are punishable in a set manner, such as parking offences results in fines. Vipaka on the other hand comes no matter what, but it isn't necesarily in operation when we meeting someone (unless we intended to meet that person), and the effect of the results of kamma aren't necessarily guaranteed either, we could end up in a really bad situation because of kamma but find it easy to deal with, or it just doesn't effect us, because of the results of our practice.
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: 5661
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:29 pm

Strictly speaking, kamma is the cause, vipāka is the effect, but in general use kamma is used to mean the result or the latent predisposition to a certain kind of behaviour.

Intentional action (kamma), when repeated becomes habit, and habit builds character. It is much easier to follow the well-beaten track through the forest than to cut a new path.

However, kamma is not fate or predestination. Past life kamma is only one of many causes. The actions done earlier in this very life are also kamma, and the present effort is vital in determining the outcome.

Think of past kamma as the seed, and present life kamma as the soil, water, sunlight, and cultivation of the gardener. A mango seed has the potential to produce a mango tree and fresh mango fruits — it has no potential to produce chilis. A chilli seed has the potential to produce chillis — it has no potential to produce mangoes.

See the Four Points to Bear in Mind about the law of dependent origination. Avoid the two extremes of moral impotency on the one hand, and rigid determinism on the other.
AIM WebsiteMy ForumsPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 1819
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby alan » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:05 pm

Thanks for the link. I've set it aside to re-read in the morning. Is it fair to say, then, that spiritual inclination has nothing to do with Kamma? Some people start exploring at an early age, others don't ever care. Why is this?
alan
 
Posts: 2438
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby salty-J » Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:58 pm

I just read the link and it really is confusing how right view is not anihilationism and also not eternalism. Doesn't something either cease to exist, or continue to exist? I see how everything is in a constant state of change, no confusion about that, but why isn't that anihilation? just because of the fact that that thing that is no more had done actions which had effects that are still out there? :thinking:
"It is what it is." -foreman infamous for throwing wrenches in fits of rage
User avatar
salty-J
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:25 am
Location: Los Angeles, California

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:15 pm

alan wrote:Is it fair to say, then, that spiritual inclination has nothing to do with Kamma? Some people start exploring at an early age, others don't ever care. Why is this?

No, quite the contrary. Spiritual inclination has everything to do with kamma, but spiritual potential won't come to maturity without present effort.

Culakammavibhanga Sutta
18. "But here some woman or man when visiting a monk or brahman, asks: 'What is wholesome, venerable sir?... Or what, by my doing it, will be long for my welfare and happiness?' Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination... If instead he comes to the human state, he is wise wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to wisdom, that is to say, when visiting a monk or brahman, to ask: 'What is wholesome, venerable sir?... Or what, by my doing it, will be long for my welfare and happiness?'

If, in spite of making a thorough inquiry, and making signficant efforts to attain insight, one fails to attain the Path and its Fruition in this very life, that wholesome kamma will bear fruit in future existences as the faculty of wisdom by means of which a person would have the inclination to question traditional religion or hearsay knowledge, and to investigate further to discover deeper truths. That is, a person would be said to be "Spiritually inclined."

Others are not so inclined, and so even if they hear Dhamma discourses regularly due to their cultural umbringing, they don't have the slightest inclination to meditate or to study properly.
AIM WebsiteMy ForumsPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 1819
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:23 pm

salty-J wrote:I just read the link and it really is confusing how right view is not anihilationism and also not eternalism. Doesn't something either cease to exist, or continue to exist?

Indeed, as long as we hold fast to self-view, and perceive the mental and physical process as a permanent self, it is confusing. If there is no self, what is reborn? If there no self, what is annihilated on attaining Arahantship?

Self is an illusion. When the illusion is annihilated, all such doubts and confusion will disappear.
AIM WebsiteMy ForumsPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 1819
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:48 pm

Hi Alan,

In a different thread, I wrote about a person having the kamma to find a teacher. When I wrote that, I meant that a person finds a teacher due to volitional action. This kamma is both past and present. My understanding is that we make kamma right here and now, and also in concert with our inclinations based on past volitional action.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby salty-J » Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:26 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
salty-J wrote:I just read the link and it really is confusing how right view is not anihilationism and also not eternalism. Doesn't something either cease to exist, or continue to exist?

Indeed, as long as we hold fast to self-view, and perceive the mental and physical process as a permanent self, it is confusing. If there is no self, what is reborn? If there no self, what is annihilated on attaining Arahantship?

Self is an illusion. When the illusion is annihilated, all such doubts and confusion will disappear.

ah, so is it then that Buddhism does not teach anihilationism or eternalism because "we" do not actually exist?
(I didn't mean to hijack the thread, sorry)
"It is what it is." -foreman infamous for throwing wrenches in fits of rage
User avatar
salty-J
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:25 am
Location: Los Angeles, California

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:28 pm

Hi Salty,

Adding my 2 cents:
salty-J wrote:Doesn't something either cease to exist, or continue to exist?
What is "something?" It will be form, feeling, perception, fabrication or consciousness. And how do these "somethings" exist? Just here and now, constantly arising and passing away. Things seem to be stable and lasting, but that's just our habitual way of interpreting experience.
salty-J wrote:I see how everything is in a constant state of change, no confusion about that, but why isn't that anihilation?
Because there is no self to be found anywhere. I hope others can clarify any confusion my post might introduce.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:34 pm

Hi salty-J
salty-J wrote:ah, so is it then that Buddhism does not teach anihilationism or eternalism because "we" do not actually exist?

That's how I see it. See MN 72 Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta: To Vacchagotta on Fire
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 9612
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:01 pm

Kamma is but one of the conditions which supports and sustains further Kamma. In other words it is a portion of the reason for your current action. There is a variety of types of conditions which support and sustain volitional action(kamma).

Conditions like

Biological
Physical
Psychological

And so on...

However our intention(Kamma) is a highly important condition which we tend not to give much attention to. To purify our intention would change the whole nature of our conditions radically. If we look into this and gain confidence in it we can unleash a force for positive transformation which is beyond our wildest dreams. This is what I call Buddhism and it makes me happy to contemplate.

May you all be well and Have a Happy New Year.

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
User avatar
Prasadachitta
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby salty-J » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:05 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:Kamma is but one of the conditions which supports and sustains further Kamma. In other words it is a portion of the reason for your current action. There is a variety of types of conditions which support and sustain volitional action(kamma).

Conditions like

Biological
Physical
Psychological

And so on...

However our intention(Kamma) is a highly important condition which we tend not to give much attention to. To purify our intention would change the whole nature of our conditions radically. If we look into this and gain confidence in it we can unleash a force for positive transformation which is beyond our wildest dreams. This is what I call Buddhism and it makes me happy to contemplate.

May you all be well and Have a Happy New Year.

Gabe

that is an encouraging post, Mr. Gabe! :thanks:
"It is what it is." -foreman infamous for throwing wrenches in fits of rage
User avatar
salty-J
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:25 am
Location: Los Angeles, California

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:56 pm

Greetings,

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Strictly speaking, kamma is the cause, vipāka is the effect, but in general use kamma is used to mean the result or the latent predisposition to a certain kind of behaviour...

(and subsequent posts by Bhikkhu Pesala above)


:goodpost:

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)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14521
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby seanpdx » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:52 am

salty-J wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
salty-J wrote:I just read the link and it really is confusing how right view is not anihilationism and also not eternalism. Doesn't something either cease to exist, or continue to exist?

Indeed, as long as we hold fast to self-view, and perceive the mental and physical process as a permanent self, it is confusing. If there is no self, what is reborn? If there no self, what is annihilated on attaining Arahantship?

Self is an illusion. When the illusion is annihilated, all such doubts and confusion will disappear.

ah, so is it then that Buddhism does not teach anihilationism or eternalism because "we" do not actually exist?
(I didn't mean to hijack the thread, sorry)


That's the common understanding, yes. I'm not convinced that that's what the Buddha meant, though.
seanpdx
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:56 am

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby salty-J » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:13 am

seanpdx wrote:That's the common understanding, yes. I'm not convinced that that's what the Buddha meant, though.

well, we obviously exist, here we are, after all.....the thing with no part of the totality of "ourselves" being "self" doesn't actually mean that we don't exist, so.....maybe it is just something that cannot be understood until enlightenment is attained?
"It is what it is." -foreman infamous for throwing wrenches in fits of rage
User avatar
salty-J
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:25 am
Location: Los Angeles, California

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:30 am

salty-J wrote:ah, so is it then that Buddhism does not teach anihilationism or eternalism because "we" do not actually exist?

See the Buddha's discourse on not-self.
“What do you think, monks? “Is material form permanent or impermanent (anicca)?”
“impermanent, Venerable sir.”

“Is that which is impermanent pleasant (sukha) or unpleasant? (dukkha)”
“Unpleasant, Venerable sir.”

“Is it fitting to regard what is impermanent, unpleasant, subject to change as: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?”
“No, Venerable sir.”
AIM WebsiteMy ForumsPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 1819
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Did my Kamma make me write this?

Postby Nibbida » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:22 am

alan wrote:Sometimes I hear Kamma used in interesting ways, such as "It was my Kamma to find this teacher" or "It's just her Kamma, she can't understand this and has to follow a different path". The pop definition seems to carry with it implications of fate or destiny.
Does this usage reflect a proper understanding?


I believe that's what the Buddha referred to as an "unconjecturable." (AN 4.77)

Bhikku Payutto also points out that the belief that all happiness and suffering arise from previous kamma is not true (past-action determinism).

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/good_evil_beyond.pdf (p. 93)
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

Facebook Meditation Page: http://snurl.com/yoga9vipassana
User avatar
Nibbida
 
Posts: 456
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 3:44 am


Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSNbot Media, Stephen K and 12 guests