Role of Kamma

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Role of Kamma

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:18 am

Some people I have spoken to believe Kamma takes the whole role of arbiter governing Samsara's physical laws, but I have always only known Kamma to be related only to "deeds" and then responses to those deeds(vipaka). I remember there was a Sutta where the Buddha says that Kamma isn't playing as much a role as people think ( referring to Traditional Hindu Kamma), but is there any evidence for this opposing view in the Nikayas?
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Re: Role of Kamma

Postby IanAnd » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:50 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote: I remember there was a Sutta where the Buddha says that Kamma isn't playing as much a role as people think ( referring to Traditional Hindu Kamma), but is there any evidence for this opposing view in the Nikayas?

Perhaps this thread may help Personal Questions.
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Re: Role of Kamma

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:09 am

Belief (yes belief..) in kamma is part of the Buddhist mundane right view. It ties in nicely with rebirth and many suttas the Buddha talks about kamma.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-subject.html#k

It is difficult to perceive and in my experience the times that I perceive it working is when I have lot of samadhi- there is one intriguing sutta in the AN where the Buddha says that for those who do 'citta-bhavana' ie meditation that develop samadhi kamma becomes 'dittadhammavedaniya'- they become manifest almost immediately. That is, the kamma vipaka- the resultant effects of karmic actions manifest themselves straight away.

Its a bit like centrifugal force I suppose- it is only visible under certain circumstances, but nevertheless exists.

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Re: Role of Kamma

Postby Euclid » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:04 am

Kamma is our volitional actions. Because volitional actions are, quite literally, what we do, they have a very large part to play.

[A devata:]

"What is it that produces a person?
What does he have that runs around?
What enters upon samsara?
What determines his destiny?"

[The Blessed One:]

"Craving is what produces a person;
His mind is what runs around;
A being enters upon samsara;
Kamma determines his destiny"

[SN 1.57]
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Re: Role of Kamma

Postby ground » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:40 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:Some people I have spoken to believe Kamma takes the whole role of arbiter governing Samsara's physical laws, but I have always only known Kamma to be related only to "deeds" and then responses to those deeds(vipaka). I remember there was a Sutta where the Buddha says that Kamma isn't playing as much a role as people think ( referring to Traditional Hindu Kamma), but is there any evidence for this opposing view in the Nikayas?


Kamma is doing deeds, thinking thoughts in an "active" manner, ie with deluded identification and volition. vipaka is the "habit", the "seed" form of deeds and thoughts, as a result of kamma i.e. a "potential" accumulated through doing deeds, thinking thoughts. vipaka makes itself felt through "impulses" of repeating the deeds and thoughts when secondary conditions are present. These "impulses" (sankhara) can be perceived while "abiding in a state of emptiness".
Since the corresponding deeds and thoughts are "wrong by nature", they are suffering and every repetition entails further suffering and accumulates an even higher potential for future suffering.

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Re: Role of Kamma

Postby Akuma » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:05 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:Some people I have spoken to believe Kamma takes the whole role of arbiter governing Samsara's physical laws, but I have always only known Kamma to be related only to "deeds" and then responses to those deeds(vipaka). I remember there was a Sutta where the Buddha says that Kamma isn't playing as much a role as people think ( referring to Traditional Hindu Kamma), but is there any evidence for this opposing view in the Nikayas?


Do you mean where the buddha is asked if "everything experienced is governed by past actions" and the buddha replies "no"?
This is so tho because the idea that he negates here is an idea that does not take into account the reality of everyday intentions forming the kammic path too. It was a belief in a specific sect back then that saw everything determined by past life and no way to change the course of this determination as far as I remember, maybe the Ajivikas? :thinking:
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Re: Role of Kamma

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:28 am

Akuma wrote:Do you mean where the buddha is asked if "everything experienced is governed by past actions" and the buddha replies "no"?


Yes.

This is so tho because the idea that he negates here is an idea that does not take into account the reality of everyday intentions forming the kammic path too. It was a belief in a specific sect back then that saw everything determined by past life and no way to change the course of this determination as far as I remember, maybe the Ajivikas? :thinking:


I'm struggling to remember too, and sad enough I've probably read it a bunch of times. Memory is like that.
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Re: Role of Kamma

Postby Akuma » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:55 am

Here we go at least for the source:

MN 101: Devadaha Sutta — At Devadaha {M ii 214} [Thanissaro].
The Buddha refutes a Jain theory of kamma, which claims that one's present experience is determined solely by one's actions in past lives, and that the effects of past unskillful actions can be "burned away" through austerity practices. The Buddha here outlines one of his most important teachings on kamma: that it is both the results of past deeds and present actions that shape one's experience of the present. It is precisely this interaction of present and past that opens up the very possibility of Awakening.
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