Kamma, disease and death

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Kamma, disease and death

Postby clw_uk » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:26 pm

How can one bring together the teaching that kamma vipaka can be the cause and condition for sickness and death on occasions with modern knowledge of genetics and bacteria etc?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Kamma, disease and death

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:44 pm

I don't think there is any conflict. Kamma does not explain all causes. Genetics and bacteria could be the result of kamma, although that does not necessarily have to be true.
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Re: Kamma, disease and death

Postby clw_uk » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:59 pm

True and there are teachings that not everything is the result of a past intention, however there are suttas that say for example the reason people get sick while others do not is because of past kamma, how can this be when its just genetics or disease?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Kamma, disease and death

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:03 pm

clw_uk wrote:True and there are teachings that not everything is the result of a past intention, however there are suttas that say for example the reason people get sick while others do not is because of past kamma, how can this be when its just genetics or disease?

I believe the suttas say that some get sick (not all) because of past kamma.

But even if it were true, the genetics that caused the disease / sickness could be the ripening of some past kamma (past life, giving you that bad genetics).
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Re: Kamma, disease and death

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:24 pm

clw_uk wrote:True and there are teachings that not everything is the result of a past intention, however there are suttas that say for example the reason people get sick while others do not is because of past kamma, how can this be when its just genetics or disease?


Hi Craig

Genetics and disease can be vectors of ripening past kamma.
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
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Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Kamma, disease and death

Postby clw_uk » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:01 pm

I can kinda see how genetics can be, but how can bacteria be "moved" for want of a better word to a particular body
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Kamma, disease and death

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:08 pm

Greetings Craig,

Do you know about the five niyamas? It might be worth looking into them further, so as to see what factors other than kamma can influence such things.

Kamma niyama and citta niyama can have a psychomatic effect on the body, but so can other things. See also this post (viewtopic.php?f=25&t=832#p10275) that I made in the Study Group re: MN 135.

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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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Re: Kamma, disease and death

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:19 pm

Hi Craig

There is no supernatural force or invisible hand directing the movement of beings to their respective destinations. Through our own volition, we are continually creating the seeds of our future. In the example you gave, of someone getting sick by way of bacterial or viral infection, past kammas
(be it by volitional actions, choices, words we have spoken, unwholesome thoughts we have concocted) will direct us to a future situation where we maybe in proximity to bacteria, viruses or other environmental factors that cause one or more genetic predispositions to become expressed.
Metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

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Re: Kamma, disease and death

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:29 pm

Greetings Ben,

How can such things unwittingly direct someone towards the proximity of things that may cause danger, which may well be completely unbeknownst to them? What guides or directs someone to a town where the Black Plague is going to take force within a couple of days? What guides someone to an area where an unexpected earthquake is just about to happen? What guides storms and tempest towards those individuals who are ripe for electrocution or drowning?

I'd be genuinely interested to hear an explanation that does not rely on the "invisible hand" you refer to.

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: Kamma, disease and death

Postby clw_uk » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:54 pm

Thanks retro, i am familiar with them


I know that one can become sick just because of natural contact with bacteria but there are occasions where it says it is because of past kamma, its this latter im addressing


Hi Craig

There is no supernatural force or invisible hand directing the movement of beings to their respective destinations. Through our own volition, we are continually creating the seeds of our future. In the example you gave, of someone getting sick by way of bacterial or viral infection, past kammas
(be it by volitional actions, choices, words we have spoken, unwholesome thoughts we have concocted) will direct us to a future situation where we maybe in proximity to bacteria, viruses or other environmental factors that cause one or more genetic predispositions to become expressed.
Metta

Ben


But direction implies that "something" knows where that bacteria is in order for you to be directed to it


What i am getting at is since kamma is mental, as in it doesnt create the physical world in any sense, how does the result of kamma include a natural event of bacteria infecting a body, what is the distinction between the natural account given and the kamma account of the same event without just saying its past kamma?


Metta

:anjali: :buddha1:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Kamma, disease and death

Postby Tex » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:02 pm

clw_uk wrote:I can kinda see how genetics can be, but how can bacteria be "moved" for want of a better word to a particular body


I don't think the bacteria has to be moved per se, or even that we have to be directed toward it. We all encounter bacteria and viruses every day, some bacteria even live inside us all the time. But some people are physically more susceptible to bacterial infections than others, and some people are born into areas without ideal sanitation or medical care, perhaps those things could be a result of a previous life's kamma?
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Re: Kamma, disease and death

Postby clw_uk » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:10 pm

Thats a good point tex


So it could be that past kamma doesnt directly cause the sickness itself but say causes the conditions that are suitable for that sickness to arise, so sanitation of your community, access to healthcare, immunity, maybe even religious beliefs etc
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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