Greetings Mike, all,
A quick warning... put on your Nanananda hat, or you may get quickly lost!
mikenz66 wrote:Retro, you didn't address my query whether the classification of vipaka as purely mental (and physical results of kamma having a different name) is an abhidhamma/commentary development.
Yes, such are the peril of fire drills, but I'm back now.
mikenz66 wrote:Is there a Sutta reference about this?
I don't know if it's specifically addressed in such detail, but I can assure you I wouldn't be bringing it in as a reference if it was inconsistent with the treatment of kamma in the suttas. Even more important perhaps than vipaka being mental, is that it is experienced... to which extent AN 6.63 - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- provides the following...
"And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later, and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.
"And what is the cessation of kamma? From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma; and just this noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma.
Interestingly two causes for the cessation of kamma are given - the Noble Eightfold Path as one, with the other being "From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma". Now, since we're all agreed that an arahant does not create kamma, in keeping with AN 6.63 we then must accept that the cessation of contact has also occurred.
Yet clearly, the arahant is still sentient - so contact (phassa) cannot simply mean the coming together of senses and data input. To that end, in defining this "phassa" which has ceased for the arahant, I find the following explanation from Nanavira Thera to be satisfactory...
Nanavira Thera wrote:So long as there is avijjá, all things (dhammá) are fundamentally as described in the earlier part of the Múlapariyáyasutta (Majjhima i,1 <M.i,1>); that is to say, they are inherently in subjection, they are appropriated, they are mine. This is the foundation of the notion that I am and that things are in contact with me. This contact between me and things is phassa.
It makes sense that this has ended for the arahant who has followed the Noble Eightfold Path through to its fulfilment and is, as far as I can tell, the only sensible way to reconcile this sutta on kamma with what the Buddha says elsewhere of the arahant. The suttas also tell us, via teachings on dependent origination, that from the cessation of contact (phassa) comes the cessation of feeling (vedana).
Obviously, that's rather confronting (particularly in terms of its consequences for satipatthana/vipassana meditation), and it gives cause to sit up and think about precisely what vedana actually means in terms of the experience of an arahant who has achieved the cessation of avijja (and thus, the cessation of vedana). I do not believe it is right to superimpose our putthujana concepts/experiences of what vedana is onto that of the arahant, lest there be some nuance of the arahant's experience that we misunderstand on account of us not being arahants ourselves.
To follow on then from the above structural explanation for phassa, transposed to fit vedana... "they (feelings) are inherently in subjection, they are appropriated, they are mine. This is the foundation of the notion that I am and that I feel things
. This perception of me feeling things is vedana."
It's a fundamental mindshift from how we would conventionally conceive things like phassa and vedana, but I think it's correct, consistent with the suttas, and sheds new light on suttas such as SN 25.5 - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
- which say...
"Monks, feeling born of eye-contact is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Feeling born of ear-contact... Feeling born of nose-contact... Feeling born of tongue-contact... Feeling born of body-contact... Feeling born of intellect-contact is inconstant, changeable, alterable.
Thus feeling is not an objective thing that exists or not, it a subjective perceptual experience, dependent upon avijja (as per SN 12.15).
And so on and so forth... throughout the remainder of the dependent cessation sequence, but we needn't go that far, because this brings us into contact with the sutta in the original post that states, "with the discarding of craving, kamma is discarded. With the discarding of kamma, suffering is discarded." I hope the above explanation gives some indication as to why the translation uses the word "discarded". By shedding notions of "I", anything associated with that "I" is discarded too, like the scales on a discarded snake-skin.
So coming back to the subject of kamma and its resultant (broadly defined, omitting at your request any Abhidhammic classification)... how does the arahant experience phassa? How does the arahant experience vedana? According to the explanation provided above... they don't, because avijja has ceased.
If they don't, likewise, how can they experience vipaka? They can't.
In other words, through arahantship they have transcended that whole net of moral causality that comes with the false experience of an "I". Or put another way, by removing the "subject", you remove the potential for "subjective experience", and open the doors to the deathless.