Karma

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Karma

Postby PaulD » Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:00 am

I got this from a website.

"On one level, karma serves to explain why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. The injustices of the world, the seeming random distribution of good and evil, are only apparent. In reality, everybody is getting what he or she deserves. Even the child brutalized by drugged adults deserves the horror. The mentally ill, the retarded, the homosexuals, and the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis deserved it for evil they must have done in the past. The slave beaten to within a breath of death deserved it, if not for what he did today, then for what he did in some previous lifetime. Likewise for the rape victim. She is just getting what she deserves. All suffering is deserved, according to the law of karma."

If this is all true then where does this leave social justice since they all deserved it? Will the soldiers who killed nazis in world war 2 to liberate the jews from death camps have to pay off their karmic debt by being killed themselves in this lifetime or the next?
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Re: Karma

Postby appicchato » Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:18 am

There are better words to describe the law of Kamma than 'deserve'...much better...and there are many, many, levels to describe this phenomena...this one in no way offers a good description...and referring to the soldiers, who knows?...they don't, and we don't either...but there's no getting around the law that says every action will bear fruit somewhere down the pike...
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Re: Karma

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:22 am

Greetings Paul,

What was presented in the quotation was a completely abominable misrepresentation of the Buddha teachings as found in the Tipitaka.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Karma

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:16 pm

Hi PaulD

I'm shocked with the manipulation that website is doing with the teachings of the Buddha. Where did you read this?

Metta
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Karma

Postby bodom » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:38 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:Hi PaulD

I'm shocked with the manipulation that website is doing with the teachings of the Buddha. Where did you read this?

Metta


Its from a skeptic's dictionary
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=w ... r8igOEmsUA
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The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Karma

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:18 pm

Not without bias then.
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Re: Karma

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:32 pm

It's worth noting that the author of the article doesn't present this view of karma as being held by Buddhists let alone by Hindus. I would recommend the OP find better sources for their information about kamma available on this forum and places like www.accesstoinsight.com. Sabbe sattaa bhavantu sukhitattaa!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
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Re: Karma

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:04 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:It's worth noting that the author of the article doesn't present this view of karma as being held by Buddhists let alone by Hindus. I would recommend the OP find better sources for their information about kamma available on this forum and places like http://www.accesstoinsight.com. Sabbe sattaa bhavantu sukhitattaa!

I agree . However, change the wording of the OP a little (take out the "deserved" stuff) and it's not so different from what you find there: Actions have consequences... even if there is no "self" to experience them...

Nyanatiloka Mahathera
II. Kamma & Rebirth (Lecture, Ceylon University, 1947)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 4.html#ch2
II. Kamma and Rebirth

When beholding this world and thinking about the destinies of beings, it will appear to most people as if everything in nature was unjust. Why, they will say, is one person rich and powerful, but another person poor and distressed? Why is one person all his life well and healthy, but another person from his very birth sickly or infirm? Why is one person endowed with attractive appearance, intelligence and perfect senses, while another person is repulsive and ugly, an idiot, blind, or deaf and dumb? Why is one child born amid utter misery and among wretched people, and brought up as a criminal, while another child is born in the midst of plenty and comfort, of noble-minded parents, and enjoys all the advantages of kindly treatment and the best mental and moral education, and sees nothing but good things all around? Why does one person, often without the slightest effort, succeed in all his enterprises, while to another person all his plans fail? Why do some live in luxury, while others have to live in poverty and distress? Why is one person happy, but another person unhappy? Why does one person enjoy long life, while another person in the prime of life is carried away by death? Why is this so? Why do such differences exist in nature?

Of all those circumstances and conditions constituting the destiny of a being, none, according to the Buddha's Teaching, can come into existence without a previous cause and the presence of a number of necessary conditions. Just as, for example, from a rotten mango seed a healthy mango tree with healthy and sweet fruits never will come, just so the evil volitional actions, or evil kamma, produced in former births, are the seeds, or root-causes, of an evil destiny in a later birth. It is a necessary postulate of thinking that the good and bad destiny of a being, as well as its latent character, cannot be the product of mere chance, but must of necessity have its causes in a previous birth.

According to Buddhism, no organic entity, physical or psychical, can come into existence without a previous cause, i.e. without a preceding congenial state out of which it has developed. Also, no living organic entity can ever be produced by something altogether outside of it. It can originate only out of itself, i.e. it must have already existed in the bud, or germ, as it were. To be sure, besides this cause, or root-condition, or seed, there are still many minor conditions required for its actual arising and its development, just as the mango tree besides its main cause, the seed, requires for its germinating, growth and development such further conditions as earth, water, light, heat, etc. Thus the true cause of the birth of a being, together with its character and destiny, goes back to the kamma-volitions produced in a former birth.
...

He goes on to discuss all kinds of issues, including anatta and ultimate dhammas...
In the ultimate sense, there do not even exist such things as mental states, i.e. stationary things. Feeling, perception, consciousness, etc., are in reality mere passing processes of feeling, perceiving, becoming conscious, etc., within which and outside of which no separate or permanent entity lies hidden.

Thus a real understanding of the Buddha's doctrine of kamma and rebirth is possible only to one who has caught a glimpse of the egoless nature, or anattata, and of the conditionality, or idappaccayata, of all phenomena of existence. Therefore it is said in the Visuddhimagga (Chap. XIX):
Everywhere, in all the realms of existence, the noble disciple sees only mental and corporeal phenomena kept going through the concatenation of causes and effects. No producer of the volitional act or kamma does he see apart from the kamma, no recipient of the kamma-result apart from the result. And he is well aware that wise men are using merely conventional language, when, with regard to a kammical act, they speak of a doer, or with regard to a kamma-result, they speak of the recipient of the result.

No doer of the deeds is found,
No one who ever reaps their fruits;
Empty phenomena roll on:
This only is the correct view.

And while the deeds and their results
Roll on and on, conditioned all,
There is no first beginning found,
Just as it is with seed and tree...

No god, no Brahma, can be called
The maker of this wheel of life:
Empty phenomena roll on,
Dependent on conditions all.


Metta
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Re: Karma

Postby Mukunda » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:50 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:I agree . However, change the wording of the OP a little (take out the "deserved" stuff) and it's not so different from what you find there


But that is the problem. The use of that one word "deserves" completely redefines kamma and places it outside the scope of the Buddha's teachings.
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Re: Karma

Postby appicchato » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:58 pm

Mukunda wrote:The use of that one word "deserves" completely redefines kamma and places it outside the scope of the Buddha's teachings.


Mmm...maybe for you...not necessarily for everyone else...the definition of deserve (to be worthy, fit, or suitable for some reward or requital..something given in return, compensation, or retaliation...) doesn't really apply here...Kamma is (to me) not about any of these things...it's about cause and effect...action as a result of willful intent, and the fruit of that action...period...if you choose to read more into that, that's fine...
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Re: Karma

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:06 pm

Greetings Paul,

Here's something I posted back in November last year which might at least give you a counterpoint by which to compare what the above author has stated....

I think the common perceptions of kamma and what it is tend to be a little over inflated and lead people into thinking it's some kind of unproveable mystic force in which you believe or do not.

Kamma is a volition action, and volitional activity is a formation (sankhara) conditioned by ignorance. Thus, kamma is representative of samsaric existence or 'being'. Actions which are generally considered to constitute good kamma (wisdom, generosity, lovingkindess) are such because these actions inherently involve a degree of renunciation of self-interest and a reduction of craving and clinging. This is how they yield good vipaka (kammic result). Not because they somehow coerce and manipulate external events, but because of their very nature. On the other hand, greed, aversion and delusion work in the opposite direction and mire one further in samsaric suffering.

Until one is an arahant, there will always be varying degrees of ignorance, so we will continue to 'build houses' (i.e. sankhara) and identify with the five aggregates (in part or in whole) and will continue to exist in the samsaric round of becoming to that extent. So called "good kamma", through seeing the benefits that derive from lack of clinging, provides a good foundation not only for general mundane happiness, but also for the transcendental wisdom which ultimately transcends kamma (and thus, samsara) by the understanding and experience of cessation.

Nothing particularly mystical and incomprehensible there, is there?


Original link: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2690

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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Re: Karma

Postby PaulD » Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:11 pm

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Re: Karma

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:35 am

appicchato wrote:
Mukunda wrote:The use of that one word "deserves" completely redefines kamma and places it outside the scope of the Buddha's teachings.


Mmm...maybe for you...not necessarily for everyone else...the definition of deserve (to be worthy, fit, or suitable for some reward or requital..something given in return, compensation, or retaliation...) doesn't really apply here...Kamma is (to me) not about any of these things...it's about cause and effect...action as a result of willful intent, and the fruit of that action...period...if you choose to read more into that, that's fine...

I'm with Mukunda on this one, because the word 'deserves' carries implications and connotations which have no place in the dhamma - implications of a person or being empowered to allocate rewards and punishments: 'you deserve a day off work,' or 'you don't deserve another slice of pie.' That sort of thing.
It's only an implication but it's enough to bother me.
In the context of kamma, the suggestion that there could be a choice or decision about entitlements or outcomes doesn't make sense unless we also acknowledge the existence a supernatural entity able to make that choice. And I really don't want to go there. :tongue:

:namaste:
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Re: Karma

Postby appicchato » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:43 am

Apologies Mukunda...I misread, or misinterpreted what was said...and I agree with you...
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Re: Karma

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:47 am

To me the whole point of the teaching on kamma is not so we can speculate about why this person or that person experienced good or bad in their lives, but so that we can be aware that what we are doing now will have future results.

It doesn't matter whether it's the skewed version from the skeptics website, or something that sounds nicer, you can't do anything about the past but you can do something about the present and this will affect your future.

Some time ago I saw a scripture quoted that basically said such speculation is a waste of time, I wish I had made not of the reference, maybe somebody knows an can post it.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Karma

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:21 am

Hi Goofaholix,
Goofaholix wrote:To me the whole point of the teaching on kamma is not so we can speculate about why this person or that person experienced good or bad in their lives, but so that we can be aware that what we are doing now will have future results.

It doesn't matter whether it's the skewed version from the skeptics website, or something that sounds nicer, you can't do anything about the past but you can do something about the present and this will affect your future.

Yes, I agree. The point is that if you do bad stuff then bad stuff will happen.
Goofaholix wrote:Some time ago I saw a scripture quoted that basically said such speculation is a waste of time, I wish I had made not of the reference, maybe somebody knows an can post it.

You may mean this:
AN 4.77 Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?
...
"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

As you say, this supports thinking in terms of avoiding bad kamma to guard against possible future bad stuff.

However, it's sometimes used, with what I consider to be faulty logic, in the following manner:
"Since we can't know the precise working out of the results of kamma then it's not possible that [...] can be a result of kamma and anyone who states that [...] could be result of kamma misunderstands the Buddha's teaching."
By that standard, Venerable Nyanatiloka, who I quoted above viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3667#p53344 misunderstands the Dhamma...
Of all those circumstances and conditions constituting the destiny of a being, none, according to the Buddha's Teaching, can come into existence without a previous cause and the presence of a number of necessary conditions. Just as, for example, from a rotten mango seed a healthy mango tree with healthy and sweet fruits never will come, just so the evil volitional actions, or evil kamma, produced in former births, are the seeds, or root-causes, of an evil destiny in a later birth. It is a necessary postulate of thinking that the good and bad destiny of a being, as well as its latent character, cannot be the product of mere chance, but must of necessity have its causes in a previous birth.

So, don't try to figure out why this bad stuff is happing to you, but recognise that it is due to causes and conditions and that what happens in the future depends on the choices you make now.

Metta
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Re: Karma

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:49 am

Greetings,

Nyanatiloka Mahathera wrote:Thus a real understanding of the Buddha's doctrine of kamma and rebirth is possible only to one who has caught a glimpse of the egoless nature, or anattata, and of the conditionality, or idappaccayata, of all phenomena of existence.


And therein lies the fundamental difference between Buddhist kamma and Hindu karma.

It's worth taking note of the term "phenomena of existence" and thinking about what that means in a Buddhist (rather than worldly) sense...

Extract from SN 2.19: Rohitassa Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering & stress without reaching the end of the cosmos. Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos.

In other words... it consists of things that one might conventionally call "internal" to a being... namely the five aggregates.

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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Re: Karma

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:04 am

Hi Retro,

Sure. Ven Nyanatiloka continues later:
Buddhism teaches that if in previous births the bodily, verbal and mental kamma, or volitional activities, have been evil and low and thus have unfavorably influenced the subconscious life-stream (bhavanga-sota), then also the results, manifested in the present life, must be disagreeable and evil; and so must be the character and the new actions induced or conditioned through the evil pictures and images of the subconscious life-stream. If the beings, however, have in former lives sown good seeds, then they will reap good fruits in the present life.

On an ultimate level kamma is explained to be internal, but, if there is bad kamma: "the results, manifested in the present life, must be disagreeable and evil;"

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Re: Karma

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:11 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:On an ultimate level kamma is explained to be internal, but, if there is bad kamma: "the results, manifested in the present life, must be disagreeable and evil;"

I don't see why you've used the word "but" in that sentence. It alludes to the latter half of the sentence as not referring to the internal. Is that what you meant to imply?

As a side note (though not entirely unrelated as it's internal), here's a little summary of the Abhidhammic perspective on kamma, as sourced from Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma.

Abhidhamma Teachings on Kamma
http://www.lordbuddhaswords.org/Karma/A ... Karma.html

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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Re: Karma

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:39 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:On an ultimate level kamma is explained to be internal, but, if there is bad kamma: "the results, manifested in the present life, must be disagreeable and evil;"

I don't see why you've used the word "but" in that sentence. It alludes to the latter half of the sentence as not referring to the internal. Is that what you meant to imply?

No, I agree that the texts say that if you do your analysis in terms of ultimate/abhidhammic concepts then the results are "internal". But all of our experience is "just aggregates". And those aggregates might include painful feeling associated with a disease or some other calamity that has befallen our happless stream of nama-rupa...

My point is that labelling something "internal" doesn't make it less "disagreeable and evil." Or less "real".

Metta
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