Garuka kamma

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Garuka kamma

Postby Dhammanucara » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:55 am

I was discussing about kamma with my friends when we came to garuka kamma. As far as I know, those garuka kamma are: matricide, patricide, injuring the Buddha, killing an Arahant, and causing a schism in the Sangha, and if any of these is committed, one will definitely go down to Avici Hell in his next rebirth, and furthermore, one would not be at ease and thus is incapable of attaining magga-phala or arahantship. Thus, these garuka kamma are considered as the heaviest evil kamma, or in normal language, the most sinful kamma. Then, my friend said that why would killing a mother or father be more sinful than killing a hundred million people in the war, since the latter one is killing many potential enlightened ones, while the former one is merely killing one or two possible enlightened beings. I explained that it is because parents are those people whom we should be grateful to the most since they are the ones who give birth to us and raise us, but he retorted that I was merely generalizing and he raised up question such as what if those parents are abusive parents and merely treat their children as if they are their slaves, so do they fit to be honored like other parents? I was dumbfounded, to be honest,and was at a loss of how to reply him. Anyone knows how to explain this?

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Re: Garuka kamma

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:57 am

they may be abusive, but that doesnt mean you need to kill them.. :thinking: you do your bit, look after yourself and move on, and perhaps later when you have the time and the space, sort out your issues about them through the practice of the dhamma (or any other means) because it is bad kamma and will block your progress to nibbana. I remember reading one sutta where the Buddha says that just because someone is older it doesnt mean they should be respected- that is based on their qualities as a person.
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Re: Garuka kamma

Postby poto » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:37 am

Dhammanucara wrote:what if those parents are abusive parents and merely treat their children as if they are their slaves, so do they fit to be honored like other parents? I was dumbfounded, to be honest,and was at a loss of how to reply him. Anyone knows how to explain this?


The way I've seen this explained is that because the Precious Human Rebirth is so rare, we should respect our parents for bringing us into this world even if they are bad people. They have still given us a very rare opportunity to achieve liberation, and for that alone we should be thankful.

In all practicality, it's best to distance oneself from abusive relationships. If somebody's parents are being abusive, I don't think they need to be honored like other parents, but as rowyourboat mentioned, that doesn't mean they should be killed either.

People have the potential to change too. I had a very rough go with my parents when I was a teenager. Now that I'm older, and have spent a good number of years living on my own, our relationship is much better. Had I done something awful like killing my parents, I wouldn't have had the chance to patch things up with them in later years.
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Re: Garuka kamma

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:48 pm

Dhammanucara wrote:I was discussing about kamma with my friends when we came to garuka kamma. As far as I know, those garuka kamma are: matricide, patricide, injuring the Buddha, killing an Arahant, and causing a schism in the Sangha, and if any of these is committed, one will definitely go down to Avici Hell in his next rebirth, and furthermore, one would not be at ease and thus is incapable of attaining magga-phala or arahantship. Thus, these garuka kamma are considered as the heaviest evil kamma, or in normal language, the most sinful kamma. Then, my friend said that why would killing a mother or father be more sinful than killing a hundred million people in the war, since the latter one is killing many potential enlightened ones, while the former one is merely killing one or two possible enlightened beings. I explained that it is because parents are those people whom we should be grateful to the most since they are the ones who give birth to us and raise us, but he retorted that I was merely generalizing and he raised up question such as what if those parents are abusive parents and merely treat their children as if they are their slaves, so do they fit to be honored like other parents? I was dumbfounded, to be honest,and was at a loss of how to reply him. Anyone knows how to explain this?

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:


Keep in mind that the array of teachings that the Buddha gives are generally broad teachings, and he doesn't usually give them in terms of absolutes, so one must have a very clear understanding to work out specific examples. It sounds like your friend is making the mistake of taking a generalized explanation and applying it wholesome to a very extreme specific example, and then complaining that it doesn't work.

Seems like the key question is this:

"why would killing a mother or father be more sinful than killing a hundred million people in the war, since the latter one is killing many potential enlightened ones, while the former one is merely killing one or two possible enlightened beings"

Correct?

If so, then one may need to clarify. Firstly, the main point of the garukakammas are that they are guaranteed to go to the hell realms next life, hence the other name, antarikakamma, ie. without any interval between this life and the hellish rebirth.

However, this does not necessarily mean that each and every instance of garukakamma results in extremely long hell rebirth. eg. Ajatasattu as case in point, he had this from patricide, but due to some repentance, change of heart, etc. only had relatively short hell rebirth.

Any regular murder or killing may or may not result in hell, and it may or may not be immediate. There are many other factors involved. However, killing many people may in fact virtually guarantee both immediate and hellish rebirth.

Therefore, the friends question is actually incorrect to begin with: ie. it is NOT necessarily the case that "killing a mother or father [is] more sinful than killing a hundred million"... and the way that the garukakamma is worded, never implies that it is in the first place. It is only "weighty" (garuka) viz-a-viz regular killing (which is still pretty weighty!) No doubt a mass of regular murders would also result in some extremely nasty kammic results.

For instance, to say that one garuka murder is a 100 on the nasty scale, whereas a regular murder is only a 50, would imply that, yes, it is more "guru", ie. weighty. However, a single garuka is still only 100, compared to one million regulars, which weigh in for a total 50 million. Of course, I'm not saying that such a simplistic method is how kamma works, but one may get the idea.

Also: "he raised up question such as what if those parents are abusive parents and merely treat their children as if they are their slaves, so do they fit to be honored like other parents?"

Perhaps not, if they are really nasty. Of course, this doesn't necessitate killing either. It is a whole other matter. Not killing parents does not at all imply honoring them, though for most people, honoring is the right thing to do. Each case is specific.
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Re: Garuka kamma

Postby Hunter » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:04 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Keep in mind that the array of teachings that the Buddha gives are generally broad teachings, and he doesn't usually give them in terms of absolutes, so one must have a very clear understanding to work out specific examples. It sounds like your friend is making the mistake of taking a generalized explanation and applying it wholesome to a very extreme specific example, and then complaining that it doesn't work.

Seems like the key question is this:

"why would killing a mother or father be more sinful than killing a hundred million people in the war, since the latter one is killing many potential enlightened ones, while the former one is merely killing one or two possible enlightened beings"

Correct?

If so, then one may need to clarify. Firstly, the main point of the garukakammas are that they are guaranteed to go to the hell realms next life, hence the other name, antarikakamma, ie. without any interval between this life and the hellish rebirth.

However, this does not necessarily mean that each and every instance of garukakamma results in extremely long hell rebirth. eg. Ajatasattu as case in point, he had this from patricide, but due to some repentance, change of heart, etc. only had relatively short hell rebirth.

Any regular murder or killing may or may not result in hell, and it may or may not be immediate. There are many other factors involved. However, killing many people may in fact virtually guarantee both immediate and hellish rebirth.

Therefore, the friends question is actually incorrect to begin with: ie. it is NOT necessarily the case that "killing a mother or father [is] more sinful than killing a hundred million"... and the way that the garukakamma is worded, never implies that it is in the first place. It is only "weighty" (garuka) viz-a-viz regular killing (which is still pretty weighty!) No doubt a mass of regular murders would also result in some extremely nasty kammic results.

For instance, to say that one garuka murder is a 100 on the nasty scale, whereas a regular murder is only a 50, would imply that, yes, it is more "guru", ie. weighty. However, a single garuka is still only 100, compared to one million regulars, which weigh in for a total 50 million. Of course, I'm not saying that such a simplistic method is how kamma works, but one may get the idea.

Also: "he raised up question such as what if those parents are abusive parents and merely treat their children as if they are their slaves, so do they fit to be honored like other parents?"

Perhaps not, if they are really nasty. Of course, this doesn't necessitate killing either. It is a whole other matter. Not killing parents does not at all imply honoring them, though for most people, honoring is the right thing to do. Each case is specific.


Then Why did King Ajatasattu not have the ability to become a sotapanna but Angulimala could attain Arahantship after he killed 999 people? Doesnt make sence to me. I Think that the Garuka Kamma is a Kamma that keeps one from attaining Enlightenment and one has to pay it off beforehand. But, again, Im not sure.
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Re: Garuka kamma

Postby Dhammanucara » Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:42 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Dhammanucara wrote:I was discussing about kamma with my friends when we came to garuka kamma. As far as I know, those garuka kamma are: matricide, patricide, injuring the Buddha, killing an Arahant, and causing a schism in the Sangha, and if any of these is committed, one will definitely go down to Avici Hell in his next rebirth, and furthermore, one would not be at ease and thus is incapable of attaining magga-phala or arahantship. Thus, these garuka kamma are considered as the heaviest evil kamma, or in normal language, the most sinful kamma. Then, my friend said that why would killing a mother or father be more sinful than killing a hundred million people in the war, since the latter one is killing many potential enlightened ones, while the former one is merely killing one or two possible enlightened beings. I explained that it is because parents are those people whom we should be grateful to the most since they are the ones who give birth to us and raise us, but he retorted that I was merely generalizing and he raised up question such as what if those parents are abusive parents and merely treat their children as if they are their slaves, so do they fit to be honored like other parents? I was dumbfounded, to be honest,and was at a loss of how to reply him. Anyone knows how to explain this?

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:


Keep in mind that the array of teachings that the Buddha gives are generally broad teachings, and he doesn't usually give them in terms of absolutes, so one must have a very clear understanding to work out specific examples. It sounds like your friend is making the mistake of taking a generalized explanation and applying it wholesome to a very extreme specific example, and then complaining that it doesn't work.

Seems like the key question is this:

"why would killing a mother or father be more sinful than killing a hundred million people in the war, since the latter one is killing many potential enlightened ones, while the former one is merely killing one or two possible enlightened beings"

Correct?

If so, then one may need to clarify. Firstly, the main point of the garukakammas are that they are guaranteed to go to the hell realms next life, hence the other name, antarikakamma, ie. without any interval between this life and the hellish rebirth.

However, this does not necessarily mean that each and every instance of garukakamma results in extremely long hell rebirth. eg. Ajatasattu as case in point, he had this from patricide, but due to some repentance, change of heart, etc. only had relatively short hell rebirth.

Any regular murder or killing may or may not result in hell, and it may or may not be immediate. There are many other factors involved. However, killing many people may in fact virtually guarantee both immediate and hellish rebirth.

Therefore, the friends question is actually incorrect to begin with: ie. it is NOT necessarily the case that "killing a mother or father [is] more sinful than killing a hundred million"... and the way that the garukakamma is worded, never implies that it is in the first place. It is only "weighty" (garuka) viz-a-viz regular killing (which is still pretty weighty!) No doubt a mass of regular murders would also result in some extremely nasty kammic results.

For instance, to say that one garuka murder is a 100 on the nasty scale, whereas a regular murder is only a 50, would imply that, yes, it is more "guru", ie. weighty. However, a single garuka is still only 100, compared to one million regulars, which weigh in for a total 50 million. Of course, I'm not saying that such a simplistic method is how kamma works, but one may get the idea.

Also: "he raised up question such as what if those parents are abusive parents and merely treat their children as if they are their slaves, so do they fit to be honored like other parents?"

Perhaps not, if they are really nasty. Of course, this doesn't necessitate killing either. It is a whole other matter. Not killing parents does not at all imply honoring them, though for most people, honoring is the right thing to do. Each case is specific.


Hi Ven Pannasikhara,

Thanks very much for your lucid explanation. I will convey to him. Another question that popped up in my mind while reading your reply: What if your father is the world's most cruel perso who had caused much sufferings to human beings(maybe someone like hitler), and you as the son are fighting against him. Supposed you won the battle against your father and the whole world wants you to sentence your father death penalty. If you were to do that, would you be said as committing the garuka kamma as well?

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:
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Re: Garuka kamma

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:42 am

Hunter wrote:
Then Why did King Ajatasattu not have the ability to become a sotapanna but Angulimala could attain Arahantship after he killed 999 people? Doesnt make sence to me. I Think that the Garuka Kamma is a Kamma that keeps one from attaining Enlightenment and one has to pay it off beforehand. But, again, Im not sure.


It is usually considered that Angulimala was very well advanced along the spiritual path before he turned to murder.
Personally, I don't think we can be totally sure that he killed 999 people. Probably quite a few, but the number may be exaggerated.
The same really cannot be said of Ajatasattu.

I try to avoid an understanding of kamma as something that we have to "pay back". One school had a notion of kamma as like a promisary note which "never perishes" (avinasa), which lends itself to such an explanation. But really, it is not like a debt at all, this is an overly simplified and popularist description.
Likewise too the idea that blocks attaining enlightenment, as if enlightenment was some thing to get, rather than it being the eradication of mental defilements itself, and there is a kamma which blocks it - I remove the kamma, then get enlightenment. Basically, the removal of all kamma is itself enlightenment. That's why it is called the truth of cessation.
Rather, it is like a seed which has to grow and fruit. However, whether it grows into a huge tree, or merely sprouts and is destroyed, depends on a number of conditions.
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Re: Garuka kamma

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:47 am

Dhammanucara wrote:
Hi Ven Pannasikhara,

Thanks very much for your lucid explanation. I will convey to him. Another question that popped up in my mind while reading your reply: What if your father is the world's most cruel perso who had caused much sufferings to human beings(maybe someone like hitler), and you as the son are fighting against him. Supposed you won the battle against your father and the whole world wants you to sentence your father death penalty. If you were to do that, would you be said as committing the garuka kamma as well?

With metta,
Dhammanucara :namaste:


Glad the explanation helped.

As for the above question, I not a big fan of spending a lot of time answering very contrived and extreme hypothetical questions. Although I don't think you are doing this, often, people seem to concoct such questions simply to try to catch one out.

Any real example contains a huge amount of factors and conditions, and trying to formulate one in a couple of sentences which is generalized, then usually leads to people making further conditions try to find the loop hole. It often ends up a kind of "bad faith" as it were. The question of your friend above is a bit like this.

Still, I shall answer. The father is really evil. You - for some reason or another - fight against him. Others want you to sentence him. Simply refuse. If he was such a bad person to society, let the rest of society judge him. Moreover, judging does not have to lead to the death penalty. etc. etc. There are so many assumptions in this question, that it is impossible to give any categorical answer.

Sometimes, better answers are not what we need. What we need are better questions.
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Re: Garuka kamma

Postby Dhammanucara » Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:02 am

Thanks very much Venerable! Yes, I do notice that trend of creating some hypothetical questions in order to find the loop holes. That was exactly what happened to me when I was discussing dhamma with my friend. He was not a Buddhist, so the idea of kamma does not really appeal him, what more garuka kamma.

Perhaps my explanation to him was not very accurate when he asked me which is worse- killing one's mother, or killing multiple people or a hundred million people. From what I understood, I told him the former is worse, because in my opinion, mother is the most benevolent and noble person to us, without her, we would not be able to see the beauty of this world, or even worse, without her, we wont be able to get this precious human body and have a chance to practice and realize the dhamma. Furthermore, every single mother who conceives us takes much pregnancy and labor pain for a total of 9 months, and if she does not love you, she wouldnt want to bear that kind of pain for 9 months and would just abort you off. So, no matter what, deep inside a mother's heart, she still loves you. It is maybe the approach is wrong or at the outer appearance, she appears to be cruel. Thus, to kill such a person who has done so much for you is definitely the most ungrateful thing to do, hence why it is said to be the most weighty-unwholesome kamma. But I was just being swept off for generalizing all mothers to be the same. :toilet:

On another separate question, if a mentally unsound person kills his mother (something which is quite common today), do we call this as garuka kamma as well? How about a person who is under alcohol influence? Will the case be the same too?

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Re: Garuka kamma

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:41 am

Dhammanucara wrote:Thanks very much Venerable! Yes, I do notice that trend of creating some hypothetical questions in order to find the loop holes. That was exactly what happened to me when I was discussing dhamma with my friend. He was not a Buddhist, so the idea of kamma does not really appeal him, what more garuka kamma.

Perhaps my explanation to him was not very accurate when he asked me which is worse- killing one's mother, or killing multiple people or a hundred million people. From what I understood, I told him the former is worse, because in my opinion, mother is the most benevolent and noble person to us, without her, we would not be able to see the beauty of this world, or even worse, without her, we wont be able to get this precious human body and have a chance to practice and realize the dhamma. Furthermore, every single mother who conceives us takes much pregnancy and labor pain for a total of 9 months, and if she does not love you, she wouldnt want to bear that kind of pain for 9 months and would just abort you off. So, no matter what, deep inside a mother's heart, she still loves you. It is maybe the approach is wrong or at the outer appearance, she appears to be cruel. Thus, to kill such a person who has done so much for you is definitely the most ungrateful thing to do, hence why it is said to be the most weighty-unwholesome kamma. But I was just being swept off for generalizing all mothers to be the same. :toilet:

On another separate question, if a mentally unsound person kills his mother (something which is quite common today), do we call this as garuka kamma as well? How about a person who is under alcohol influence? Will the case be the same too?

With metta,
Dhammanucara


You got sucked into his question. To ask: "Which is worse ... killing one's mother, or killing multiple people or a hundred million people." It's a silly question. It is not the case that every killing has the same kammic weight. Nor can one count up how many of these equal how many of those.

As long as "garuka" is defined as wrt mother, father, etc. then of course they are, by definition. If one defined it in other terms, such as "with great hatred and ignorance", then one would have to look at specific cases. If one defines it as "with long time in hell as result", then many other factors, such as the general spiritual development of the person who did it, etc.
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