When Karma strikes back...

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
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Admiral
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When Karma strikes back...

Postby Admiral » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:40 pm

Hi there (:

There's something I'd like to ask you.
Let's imagine somebody that killed and lied a lot in its past lives.
When karma will strike him back, will it be "dangerous" for the people around him, his family, etc...?

I mean : is karma totally personal or can it affect the people around?
When a lot of people die in a plane crash, is this because of the bad karma of one, or are they all paying for their past mistakes?

:namaste:

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:46 pm

'Strike back'?

Edit: Look, every volitional action has a consequence, every cause has an effect. It's not about reward and punishment.

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:59 pm

I thought it was a clever title. :tongue:

Yes, I believe that what one does ends up affecting everyone. If it's just viewed as a personal thing, then I think that would go against the idea of anatta (not-self). That's the way I understand it. BUT, worry about your own kamma (current), not other people's. The total workings of kamma are impossible to contemplate, according to the Buddha.
Last edited by beeblebrox on Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Admiral » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:05 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:'Strike back'?

Edit: Look, every volitional action has a consequence, every cause has an effect. It's not about reward and punishment.


I'm sorry, my english isn't really good, I didn't want to talk about punishment.
But I'm sure you caught what I meant... :smile:

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby bodom » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:05 pm

beeblebrox wrote:I thought it was a clever title.


I thought it was the title of a new Star Wars movie. :tongue:

The total workings of kamma are impossible to contemplate, according to the Buddha.


:goodpost:

"'I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir'... — AN 5.57


:anjali:
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: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:07 pm

beeblebrox wrote:The total workings of kamma are impossible to contemplate, according to the Buddha.
:thumbsup:

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Admiral » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:09 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Yes, I believe that what one does ends up affecting everyone. If it's just viewed as a personal thing, then I think that would go against the idea of anatta (not-self). BUT, worry about your own kamma (current), not other people's. The total workings of kamma are impossible to contemplate, according to the Buddha. That's the way I understand it.


:coffee:

Thanks for the answer :)
To be honest, it's more about my own kamma than other people's. I don't want anyone to suffer because of the mistakes I did in my past lives ! :|

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:14 pm

Admiral wrote:I'm sorry, my english isn't really good, I didn't want to talk about punishment.
But I'm sure you caught what I meant... :smile:
I think your English is fine :). I don't know if you were conflating kamma with punishment or not, but I thought I'd try to clarify, just in case :).

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:17 pm

Admiral wrote:To be honest, it's more about my own kamma than other people's. I don't want anyone to suffer because of the mistakes I did in my past lives ! :|


Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about it, either way (whether it affects just you, or other people are included). Just don't try to identify yourself with the bad actions too much (anatta), and continue to do your best in making the good kamma. That's what I would do.

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Admiral » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:25 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:I think your English is fine :). I don't know if you were conflating kamma with punishment or not, but I thought I'd try to clarify, just in case :).

Oh, thanks :) it's not the case, I assure you of it ;)

beeblebrox wrote:Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about it, either way (whether it affects just you, or other people are included). Just don't try to identify yourself with the bad actions too much (anatta), and continue to do your best in making the good kamma. That's what I would do.


Thanks for the advice. :)
So, I'll do my best to not get obsessed with the consequences of my bad kamma but instead increase my good kamma !

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Sekha » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:33 pm

AN 1.308
Bhikkhus, a certain person is born in the world for the harm, bad luck and unpleasantness of many gods and men. Who is it? It is one with wrong and perverted view. He pulls out many from right view and establishes them in wrong view. He is born in the world for the harm, bad luck and unpleasantness of many gods and men.
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As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby OcTavO » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:37 pm

Admiral, this may be an interesting read for you: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/volition.pdf

As other have mentioned, the Buddha's advice was to not get too tied up in trying to determine the workings of Kamma...

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it."
~AN 4.77

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby IanAnd » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:36 pm

Admiral wrote:Let's imagine somebody that killed and lied a lot in its past lives.
When karma will strike him back, will it be "dangerous" for the people around him, his family, etc...?

I mean : is karma totally personal or can it affect the people around?
When a lot of people die in a plane crash, is this because of the bad karma of one, or are they all paying for their past mistakes?

From where, in heaven's sake, are you coming up with these crazy assumptions? Who or what has influenced your thinking such that you would even entertain asking a question in this manner?

Apparently, you are confused as to the definition of kamma that the Buddha used. In other words, your understanding of it is insufficient enough to ask a reasonable and cogent question about it without resorting to deluded thinking patterns which must have been inculcated in you from some outside source. The question I'm asking is: from where did these delusional thinking patterns that you are displaying arise? By asking this question, which I intend that you personally contemplate, it is meant to be self-reflective rather than to be argumentative or create controversy. In other words, it would be of benefit for you to examine your own thought processes that allowed such thoughts to arise within you, thus muddying your field of vision.

Begin here in order to understand the correct definition of kamma and its use:
The Buddha's definition of kamma is: "It is volition, monks, that I declare to be kamma. Having willed, one performs an action by body, speech, or mind." (AN 6.63)

The question you asked, highlighted above, presumes some sort of metaphysical transference. This is not possible. Unless one's thinking is deluded.

In other words, what on earth would have you thinking that one person's unwholesomeness or defiled thinking and actions would somehow invisibly affect the path of other people? What makes you think that there is a quid pro quo aspect to kamma? That is, other than having made the (unintended) mistake by getting on the wrong plane at the wrong time, to use the example given above?
Last edited by IanAnd on Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:16 pm

IanAnd wrote:Who or what has influenced your thinking such that you would even entertain asking a question in this manner?


I think it's a very common confusion. :tongue: (You reap what you sow, what goes around comes around, or "Karma".) It used to get on my nerves, but now I just try to prod them in the right direction.

In other words, what on earth would have you thinking that one person's unwholesomeness or defiled thinking and actions would somehow invisibly affect the path of other people?


I have some problems with this statement. It seems to be based on the idea of a personal identity (that is self-contained). The kamma that were done in the past of course affects other people's (future) paths.

When the conditions are right, the bad kamma will give bad fruits... where and when these will arise, who knows? But, at the very least, someone (as a different bundle of aggregates) down the line will experience them that's for sure. How he deals with them is a different story. That's the way I understand it.

What makes you think that there is a quid pro quo aspect to kamma? That is, other than having made the (unintended) mistake by getting on the wrong plane at the wrong time, to use the example given above?


This is a good point. Kamma is not a "this for that" thing with a one-for-one relation, so it makes the question about getting on the wrong plane seem like it's irrelevant to a discussion about kamma.

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby bodom » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:27 pm

Admiral

Whats wrong with you? How dare you ask such a crazy, delusional question? You must be outta your mind. :tongue:

Dont worry, there was nothing wrong with asking this question. How are you to understand without asking? Kamma is complex and needs to be understood. It is good to ask questions.

:anjali:
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: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:37 pm

Admiral wrote:Let's imagine somebody that killed and lied a lot in its past lives.
When karma will strike him back, will it be "dangerous" for the people around him, his family, etc...?
If somebody kills another person will that affect only the victim, or will it also affect his/her relatives?

It should be obvious that when the result of that kamma bears fruit, and one is killed in turn, then it also affects one's own relatives too, doesn't it? They experience a result too then don't they? Exactly how the result affects them depends on their own kamma.

The complexity of these relationships is why the Buddha said that the results of kamma is one of the four imponderables, pondering which will lead to madness.

What we should understand is that cause and effect are related — bad effects are the result of unwholesome kamma; and good effects are the result of wholesome kamma. The result that it gives is part of the very definition of wholesome and unwholesome kamma. It is the intention behind the action that makes it wholesome or unwholesome — when that bites back it is in accordance with the cause.
Every cause is the sufficient and necessary condition for the corresponding effect. This leaves no room for chance or moral impotency (akiriya-ditthi). However, as the Visuddhimagga says, for those who misunderstand it, it provides the basis for rigid determinism (niyatavāda).

To avoid the two extreme wrong views of eternalism and nihilism, study the law of dependent origination thoroughly, and contemplate well on its profound implications. It is through not understanding this doctrine that we all continue to wander in the cycle of suffering. Even on a Buddhist board such as this, some users utter harsh words and promote wrong views, which is unwholesome kamma.

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Admiral » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:52 pm

Thank you all for your answers, now I can see my mistake... :)
Thanks also for the links, Dukkhanirodha, Bhikkhu Pesala and OcTavO ! ;)

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Admiral wrote:The complexity of these relationships is why the Buddha said that the results of kamma is one of the four imponderables, pondering which will lead to madness.


The four imponderables ? I've never heard of this :embarassed:
What are they?

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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Reductor » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:21 pm

Admiral wrote:Thank you all for your answers, now I can see my mistake... :)
Thanks also for the links, Dukkhanirodha, Bhikkhu Pesala and OcTavO ! ;)

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Admiral wrote:The complexity of these relationships is why the Buddha said that the results of kamma is one of the four imponderables, pondering which will lead to madness.


The four imponderables ? I've never heard of this :embarassed:
What are they?


§ 22. "These four imponderables are not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about them would go mad & experience vexation. Which four? The Buddha-range of the Buddhas [i.e., the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha]... The jhana-range of one absorbed in jhana [i.e., the range of powers that one may obtain while absorbed in jhana]... The results of kamma... Speculation about [the first moment, purpose, etc., of] the cosmos is an imponderable that is not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about these things would go mad & experience vexation."


From http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/kamma.html , if it hasn't already been linked to.

May I add a little to why kamma and its working out is imponderable?

When we experience something from our senses we begin to evaluate them, and based on that evaluation we make a decision on how we will respond or act. This part is what Ian is calling 'kamma' and it is an internal matter that can lead to more thinking and pondering. The range of this 'kamma' remains an internal one only without an outward effect. It does, however, strengthen mental habits which are likely to propel a person into outward action at a later date.

When the decision is made and there is an outward action via body or speech, then that action contributes to the general 'conditionality' of samsara with the ramifications propagating outward through all the world. And because every being is contributing to samsara it is the case that all these individually contributed conditions will interact in surprising and otherwise unpredictable ways.

EDIT: corrected some awkward writing.
Last edited by Reductor on Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When Kharma strikes back...

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:33 pm

Admiral wrote: :embarassed:
There's no need to be embarrassed :). We're all friend's here.

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Re: When Karma strikes back...

Postby cooran » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:39 pm

Hello Admiral,

I find Bhikkhu Bodhi's teaching and explanation of Kamma to be concise and easy to understandl.
http://www.beyondthenet.net/dhamma/kamma.htm

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Chris
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