Sankharas and Kamma

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
User avatar
Posts: 1311
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:56 pm

Sankharas and Kamma

Postby pilgrim » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:30 am

I understand from Goenka's retreat, that sankharas are created by our craving and aversion as a result of our ignorance. (Avijja paccaya sankhara). These sankharas then cause our misery in the current life and are also carried into our next life (Sankhara paccaya vinnana). In short, sankharas are our akusala kamma.

My question is this. How about our good kamma, those that are performed based on wisdom. How are these carried into the next life if not by sankharas?

Posts: 7277
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Sankharas and Kamma

Postby SarathW » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:44 am

The way I understand, good Kamma also carried into the next life.
Sankhara is the name for old Kamma.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
Posts: 2851
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Sankharas and Kamma

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:53 am

The word Sankhara has several different meanings, the way Goenka refers to them I think he really means Kilesas see
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:23 pm
Location: lalita ghat

Re: Sankharas and Kamma

Postby Babadhari » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:19 pm

hey there Pilgrim
i believe sankharas to be mental formations both good and bad.

here is a brief discourse by Goenkaji on what happens at death, hope it helps clarifysomething for you ... fault.aspx

At the last moment of this life, a specific bhava-sankhara will arise. This sankhara capable of giving a new birth will get connected with the vibrations of the related realm of existence. At the moment of death the whole field of thirty-one realms is open, so it depends on which sankhara arises as to which track the train of existence runs on next. In the same way a train gets shunted onto a new track, the force of the bhava-kamma reaction provides the push to the flow of consciousness into the next existence. For example, the bhava-kamma of anger or malice, being of the nature of heat and agitation, will unite with some lower field of existence. Similarly, one with the nature of metta (compassionate love), having peaceful and cool vibrations can only unite with some brahma-loka. This is the law of nature, and these laws are so perfectly "computerized" that there is never any flaw in the operation.

The healthy or unhealthy volition of our mind is kamma. Before performing any action at the mental, vocal, or physical level, whatever wholesome or unwholesome volition arises in the mind is the root of that action. The consciousness arises due to a contact at a sense door, then the sanna (perception and recognition) evaluates the experience, sensations (vedana) arise, then a kammic reaction (sankhara) takes place. These volitional reactions are of various kinds. How strong is the volition? How slow, deep, shallow, heavy or light? According to this the intensity of these reactions will vary. Some are like a line drawn on water, some like a line drawn on sand and some a line on rock. If the volition is wholesome, then the action will be the same and the fruits will be beneficial; and if the volition is unwholesome, then the action will be the same-it will give fruits of misery.

At the moment of death, generally, some intense sankhara will arise; it may be either of a wholesome nature or an unwholesome nature. For example, if one has murdered one's father or mother, or perhaps some saintly person, in this lifetime, then the memory of this episode will arise at the moment of death. lLikewise if one has done some deep meditation practice, a similar state of mind will arise.

One comes into contact with the Dhamma in this life because of great merits one has performed in the past. Make this human life successful by practising Vipassana. Then whenever death comes, it will come with the experience of an equanimous mind, bringing with it well-being for the future.

N.B.: The analogy of a running train changing tracks should not be mistaken for transmigration, as no entity goes from one life to the next. Nothing passes to the next life except the force of the accumulated kamma sankharas.

metta :namaste:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28

Return to “Vipassanā / Satipaṭṭhāna Bhāvana”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Myotai and 24 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine