Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:41 pm

Thanks jayarava, for the reference.

It's interesting that the Theravada Commentators appear to have resisted the temptation to create mechanism for the "transmission" of kamma, in contrast to other sects.

Have you consulted the Kathavatthu ("Points of Controversy")? The quotation that I gave from Leo Rivers above: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=21076#p297361 seems to suggest that there might be something useful there, but I don't have access to that text at home.

:anjali:
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby robertk » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:47 pm

jayarava wrote:I had a fruitful trip to the library today.
Questions about the persistence of latent dispositions and accumulation of karmic potential thus remain: once the cognitive processes are activated, are they transmitted through the six modes of cognitive awareness? If so, why do they not influence these forms of mind? If not, how do they persist from one moment of bhavaṅga-citta to the next without some contiguous conditioning medium? The bhavaṅga-citta does not directly address these persisting questions, adumbrated in the Kathavātthu so many centuries before. Nor, to my knowledge, do subsequent Theravādin Abhidhamma traditions discuss these questions in dhammic terms.
- Waldron, William S. Buddhist unconscious: the ālaya-vijñāna in the context of Indian Buddhist thought. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. p.83.

I think this helps to explain why I can't find a specific answer to my question. There probably isn't one. However Waldron notes that some modern commentators have attributed the functions I'm interested in to the bhavaṅga, despite this conflicting with the Abhidhamma and the Visuddhimagga. The lack of satisfactory answer led to the development of the ālayavijñāna doctrine which proved very durable and is more popular that Nāgārjuna's alternate which was to deny the reality of karma and vipāka.

Best Wishes
Jayarava

In fact the Abhidhamma perfectly explains latent dispositions and the accumulation of kamma. Did you read the link I gave ?
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby jayarava » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:15 am

My other find in the library yesterday was Gethin, Rupert. 'Bhavaṅga and Rebirth According to the Abhidhamma.' in The Buddhist Forum. Vol III. T. Skorupski and U. Pagel (eds.), London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, pp. 11–35.

Gethin works through the details of bhavaṅga process in a way that is now becoming quite familiar - his sources are the same ones we've been discussing. He rules out the bhavaṅga as the carrier of karma:
"it does not seem possible on the basis of what is said explicitly in the texts to justify the claim that the bhavaṅga carries with it all character traits, memories, habitual tendencies, etc." (30).


However Gethin is alive to the need to something to do this job or perhaps we should say for this function to be carried out somehow. Again, the fact that the Sarvāstivādins, the Sautrāntikas and the Yogacārins all recognised and proposed solutions to this problem seem to beg the question of how the Theravādins would solve it. This is exactly my own entry point. After years of study Pāli language and texts I started learning Sanskrit and delving into Sanskrit Buddhist texts. This led to an interest in Sarvāstivāda and puzzlement over how any Buddhist could believe that everything exists (sarva-asti). Gethin finds it inconceivable that the great Theravādin commentators, Buddhaghosa, Buddhadatta, and Dhammapala, had not considered the problem, and he ventures to speculate a little on how they might have solved it. Like Gethin, I'm interested that the great three seem not to have proposed an obvious solution. No one who has even dipped into the Visuddhimagga can conceive of Buddhaghosa as anything but thorough.

For Gethin there are many similarities between bhavaṅga and ālayavijñāna and thus he is willing to entertain the thought that the two at least "belong to the same complex of ideas within the history of Buddhist thought." (35). I agree on this last point.

There is still the lead pointing to pakati-upanissaya-paccaya which I will be trying to follow up today.
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby robertk » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:21 am

The bhavanga is a bit of a red herring for explaing how accumulations are carried on.
What about all the vitthi cittas that arise in between bhanga cittas?
In fact accumulations are carried forward citta by citta, whether it be bhavanga or cakkhu vinnana, or javana etc.
Nama is not not like rupa, ( matter) , it has the nature of accumulating. It is not like a receptacle that has limits.
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby SarathW » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:38 am

Kamma is performed in seven Javna thought moments.
There is no separate thought called Bhawanga. (it is just a label)
Different name is given for each thought moment according its function in a given moment.
:)
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby robertk » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:17 am

SarathW wrote:Kamma is performed in seven Javna thought moments.
There is no separate thought called Bhawanga. (it is just a label)
Different name is given for each thought moment according its function in a given moment.
:)

In fact bhavanga moments are completely different from javana moments. Both are absolutely real.
What do you mean by "thoughts"?
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby yikeren » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:32 am

Hi Robert

I'm afraid that I do not follow your comment:

The bhavanga is a bit of a red herring for explaing how accumulations are carried on.
What about all the vitthi cittas that arise in between bhanga cittas?
In fact accumulations are carried forward citta by citta, whether it be bhavanga or cakkhu vinnana, or javana etc.
Nama is not not like rupa, ( matter) , it has the nature of accumulating. It is not like a receptacle that has limits.


Just wondering if your comment is in reference to the cognitive process model of Abhidhamma or some other models.

If we are using the cognitive process model, I'm a bit puzzled as to the lack of comment on the role of the two Registration cittas (Sarah quite rightly pointed out that kamma is performed by the Javana cittas)
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby robertk » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:46 am

The point i am making is that cittas arise in an unbroken series with each citta being a condition for the next one. It doesnt matter for this aspect whether it is in a vitthi process or not

So because of samanantara paccaya , and other conditions , there is the continuity and accumulating.


Visuddhimagga" (XVII, 68)

... When a state is indispensable to another state’s presence or arising,

the former is a condition for the latter. But as to characteristic, a

condition has the characteristic of assisting; for any given state that

assists the presence or arising of a given state is called the latter’s

condition. The words, condition, cause, reason, source, originator,

producer, etc., are one in meaning though different in letter....

Thus, there are conditioning phenomena, paccaya-dhammas, and

conditioned phenomena, paccayupanna-dhammas. ..
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby jayarava » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:56 am

robertk wrote:The bhavanga is a bit of a red herring for explaing how accumulations are carried on.
What about all the vitthi cittas that arise in between bhanga cittas?
In fact accumulations are carried forward citta by citta, whether it be bhavanga or cakkhu vinnana, or javana etc.
Nama is not not like rupa, ( matter) , it has the nature of accumulating. It is not like a receptacle that has limits.


Hi Robert,

I agree, though this does not prevent some from speculating. It's interesting that Gethin knows it's a red-herring but cannot stop himself from speculating how bhavaṅga might provide karmic continuity.

I've been looking at some of your other discussions on the web this morning (your avatar is distinctive) and while I still don't feel I've understood I think the pointers towards āyūhana are helpful. So what I need to do is locate this idea that cittas accumulate kamma and pass it forward in the traditional texts. Almost certainly not in the suttas. Possibly in the Abhidhamma, but most likely in the commentarial layer and the Visuddhimagga. If you have any pointers I'd be most grateful. From what I've seen this morning āyūhana seems to be associated with saṅkhārā, but I've yet to understand how saṅkhārā fits into the cittavīthi model.
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby jayarava » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:40 am

robertk wrote:So because of samanantara paccaya , and other conditions , there is the continuity and accumulating.

Visuddhimagga" (XVII, 68)

Vism XVII.68 is just a general description of what a condition is. And contiguity between two cittas is just a statement that one follows another (Vism XVII.73-76) So eye-citta gives rise to mano-dhātu-citta. It says nothing at all about accumulation or the influence of kamma.

I'm not doubting your statements about continuity and accumulating - and intuitively something like this must happen. I just want to locate the textual sources for the idea. There's a quote from Ps that looks more promising at XVII.292:
Tenāha ‘‘purimakammabhavasmiṃ moho avijjā, āyūhanā saṅkhārā, nikanti taṇhā, upagamanaṃ upādānaṃ, cetanā bhavoti ime pañca dhammā purimakammabhavasmiṃ idha paṭisandhiyā paccayā’’ti (Ps 1.47).
Hence it is said: 'In the previous kamma-process becoming, there is delusion, which is ignorance; there is accumulation (āyūhanā) which is formations (saṅkhārā); there is attachment, which is craving; there is embracing, which is clinging (upādāna); there is volition (cetanā) which is becoming (bhava); thus these five things in the previous kamma-process becoming are conditions for the rebirth-linking here [in the present becoming]. Paṭisambhidāmagga (PTS Ps i.52).

Elsewhere the commentary on the Aṅguttara Nikāya (Mp 2.192) glosses the phrase: kāyasaṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkharoti (which occurs in the Saṅkhārasuttaṃ, AN 3.23 = i.122) with
Kāyasaṅkhāranti kāyadvāre cetanārāsiṃ - the body-formation [is] "a heap of intentions in the body-door”
Abhisaṅkharotīti āyūhati rāsiṃ karoti piṇḍaṃ karoti - The verb abhisaṅkharoti [means] he accumulates, he makes a heap, he makes a lump.”


This points towards saṅkhārakkhandha as the process by which cetanā accumulates. But I still don't see where this fits into the cittavīthi. It takes us back into the territory of Vism XVII.146ff esp 174. And this is not help on the notion of how a past kamma can condition the present.

So I'm still looking for a straightforward traditional reference to how past-kamma can have an effect after the original cetanā has ceased. We believe that each citta is conditioned by the immediately previous one and that kamma can thus accumulate, but even a single reference to this process is proving hard to pin down.
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby robertk » Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:18 pm

If all you want is a brief answer to "Where is all this kamma stored? "
. Nagasena replied to milinda

“Kamma is not stored somewhere in this fleeting consciousness nor
in any part of the body. But dependent on mind and body, it rests,
manifesting itself at the opportune moment, just as mangoes are not
said to be stored somewhere in the mango tree, but dependent on the
mango tree they lie, springing up in due season".
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby jayarava » Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:42 am

robertk wrote:If all you want is a brief answer to "Where is all this kamma stored? "
. Nagasena replied to milinda

“Kamma is not stored somewhere in this fleeting consciousness nor in any part of the body. But dependent on mind and body, it rests, manifesting itself at the opportune moment, just as mangoes are not said to be stored somewhere in the mango tree, but dependent on the mango tree they lie, springing up in due season".


Again, no. What I want is some kind of traditional explanation for something you claim is straightforward. Something I can cite in an essay rather than hearsay. I don't doubt that the belief is valid, but in order to take it further I need to know the source of it. If the belief cannot be located in traditional texts, does this mean that it is a modern innovation? If the belief can be located in traditional sources, does it have obvious antecedents or is it innovative? How does it develop? Etc.

And this quote from Miln, unattributed and a bother for me to track down, is no help because it does not tell us anything. It's a metaphor where the underlying reality is obscured. This is a common feature of many religious doctrines. The "seed > fruit" metaphor is used throughout India literature as a model for causation, but it really tells us nothing. What it in effect says is that there is a "black box" process that produces vipāka, just like the black box process that produces mangoes. This is the gist of the pañcavidhaṃ niyāmaṃ doctrine as well: cittaniyāma and kammaniyāma are plausibly like the natural (dhammatā) processes of bījaniyāma and utuniyāma (seed produce like seeds, in the right time and place), and as an afterthought dhammaniyāma (which is all about miracles) can be explained the same way. Simply saying it's a natural process clearly never suited the Abhidhammikas. They produced detailed answers in place of woolly metaphors.

Since other Buddhists perceived this problem and conceived of solutions for it, it is difficult to imagine the Theravāda intellectuals not noticing, and not trying to explain in detail. All this is dangerously close to being off topic. However I've found a much better answer which I will post separately.
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby jayarava » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:24 am

Last night I was looking again at Noa Ronkin's book Early Buddhist Metaphysics. In the chapter "Causation as the Handmaid of Metaphysics" she summarises the 24 conditions as found in the Paṭṭhāna in a very helpful way. What it now seems to me is that the functions of accumulating and passing forward kamma are distributed amongst several different types of conditionality - dhammas can operate in many different modes as a condition.

Under her discussion of the pair proximity (antara-paccaya) and and contiguity (samantara-paccaya) conditions Ronkin says:
"Every preceding thought moment is thus regarded as capable of arousing succeeding states of consciousness similar to it in the immediately following instant." (216)


She further speculates that these two, almost identical, modes of conditionality were
"probably necessary in order to account for the continuity of phenomena without relying on any metaphysical substance". (216)


Thus here we have a strong candidate for solving the problem I originally asked about. This is covered in Visuddhimagga XVII.73-6 (Vol 2, para 598 in the VRI ed.) Buddhaghosa spends some time refuting an internal dispute regarding the need for temporal proximity. This is slightly troubling because if we dispense with the need for temporal proximity we have no answer at all to our problem of action at a temporal distance - it's just something that happens according to Buddhaghosa. This is not how Ronkin interprets the Paṭṭhāna however. If we follow through the rest of the paccaya modes we find more specific links of this kind.

The decisive support condition (upanissaya-paccaya) allows a dhamma to self-sufficiently arouse a resultant dhamma. It's like a nissaya-paccaya but not necessarily foremost and "it last longer, has long-term effect and implies action at a distance... The importance of the decisive support condition seems to lie in its accounting for more and spiritual progress: virtues like trust or confidence (saddhā), generostiy (dāna), undertaking the precepts and others, all assist the occurrence of their long term results (the jhānas, insight, taking the path etc) as their decisive support, and these results, in their turn, condition the repeated arising of trust, generosity etc. (219, emphasis added)


As the Paṭṭhāna says: purimā purimā kusalā dhammā pacchimānaṃ pacchimānaṃ kusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ upanissayapaccayena paccayo. "All preceeding wholesome dhammas are a condition by way of decisive support condition of all subsequent wholesome dhammas" (i.5) Similarly for unwholesome (akusala) and undetermined (abyākata) dhammas.

This section is covered in Visuddhimagga XVII 80-84. We also have:

Habitual cultivation (āsevana-paccaya)... "for example, developing a certain skilful thought once facilitates the cultivation of the same thought with a greater degree of efficiency and intensity... It therefore underlies the cultivation of right view, right speech and right action." (219)


Habitual cultivation is thus also responsible for memory without an agent that remembers - Ronkin places this observation in a note, with a reference to an article in two parts by David Kalupahana, both (1962) 'The Philosophy of Relations in Buddhism' University of Ceylon Review: 19-54; 188-208. (task for today is to dig out these articles). Vism XVII 87, though what's here is a bit obscure.

The kamma-paccaya occurs in two modes simultaneous (sahajāta) and asynchronous (nānākhaṇika)... and according to Ronkin:
"An asynchronous condition obtains when a past kamma comes into fruition in a manifest corresponding action. Although the volition itself ceases, it leaves in the mind latent traces that take effect and assist the arising of an appropriate action when the necessary conditions are satisfied" (220)


This is less satisfying because it does not explain the "latent trace" but I think the implication is clear enough in the light of the other passages. Thus we can see now how the Abhidhammikas conceived of this process taking place.

So overall I think we can say that the principle is established with reference to the Abhidhamma, the idea of continuity with no entities, nascent in the suttas is fleshed out in the Paṭṭhāna. It's not so clear what Buddhaghosa intended in Vism, but it may have been so obvious by his time that he does now spell it out (though given how thorough he is otherwise I find this odd). I'm still slightly puzzled that this problem is so prominent elsewhere, and yet here quite submerged and difficult to get at. However in such gaps are where articles are published. I have quite a bit of work to do yet, but the article I'm working on is definitely taking shape.

Thanks to those who provided pointers and suggestions. I think I have what I need (I will thank the participants in the article that I'm writing). Also thanks to the moderator for clearing the way. I never saw most of the deleted posts and I'm glad not to have been distracted by them.
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby robertk » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:51 am

That is good.
When i said
robertk wrote:
So because of samanantara paccaya , and other conditions , there is the continuity and accumulating
.
Did it agree with what you found, or Ninas book on the Patthana, was there anything in that?
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby SarathW » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:21 am

robertk wrote:
SarathW wrote:Kamma is performed in seven Javna thought moments.
There is no separate thought called Bhawanga. (it is just a label)
Different name is given for each thought moment according its function in a given moment.
:)

In fact bhavanga moments are completely different from javana moments. Both are absolutely real.
What do you mean by "thoughts"?


What I am trying to say is if you take the famous example of the man sleeping under a mango tree, all of seventeen thought moments are a different aspect of the same consciousness.
Kamma is caused only at the Javna level. For Arahants Javna is replaced with Phala.
So they do not have Kamma Citta. Hence it is called Kiriya Citta.
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby robertk » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:53 pm

I see.
Actually each of those seventeen moments you mention is a completely new and different consciousness.
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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:06 pm

robertk wrote:Actually each of those seventeen moments you mention is a completely new and different consciousness.


Different yes, but I don't think completely new. It is constructed out of what was in the previous moment. Or else there would've been a "brand new" birth, with a completely clean slate... not a "rebirth."

Speaking of the thread topic... I think that this might explain what the rebirth actually is (including the physical rebirth), and how it works.

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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby robertk » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:02 am

Dear beeble


There are three kinds of death :


The dispeller of Delusion (pali text society) trans. Bhikku Nanamoli:
page 121, volume1:
"this division too should be known, namely momentary death (khanika-
marana), conventional death (samutti marana) and death as cutting
off (samuccheda-marana).
"

The death we fear is conventional but in fact real death is occurring every instant. Each moment falls away completely, never to come back, but it conditions the next moment -a new one - to arise.







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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby SarathW » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:08 am

robertk wrote:Dear beeble


There are three kinds of death :


The dispeller of Delusion (pali text society) trans. Bhikku Nanamoli:
page 121, volume1:
"this division too should be known, namely momentary death (khanika-
marana), conventional death (samutti marana) and death as cutting
off (samuccheda-marana).
"

The death we fear is conventional but in fact real death is occurring every instant. Each moment falls away completely, never to come back, but it conditions the next moment -a new one - to arise.

:goodpost:
Is Samuccheda-marana means a person becoming an Arahant?






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Re: Kamma, Vipaka and Rebirth

Postby robertk » Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:58 am

Samuchedda marana is at the death of an arahat. Khandha parinibbana. The final death
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