MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

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MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:59 pm

Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta
The Shorter Exposition of Kamma
Translated from the Pali by
Ñanamoli Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.135.nymo.html
Introduction
by Bhikkhu Khantipalo
You want: long life, health, beauty, power, riches, high birth, wisdom? Or even some of these things? They do not appear by chance. It is not someone's luck that they are healthy, or another's lack of it that he is stupid. Though it may not be clear to us now, all such inequalities among human beings (and all sorts of beings) come about because of the kamma they have made individually. Each person reaps his own fruits. So if one is touched by short life, sickliness, ugliness, insignificance, poverty, low birth or stupidity and one does not like these things, no need to just accept that that is the way it is. The future need not be like that provided that one makes the right kind of kamma now. Knowing what kamma to make and what not to make is the mark of a wise man. It is also the mark of one who is no longer drifting aimlessly but has some direction in life and some control over the sort of events that will occur.


1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's Park.

Then Subha the student (brahman), Todeyya's son, went to the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him, and when the courteous and amiable talk was finished, he sat down at one side. When he had done so, Subha the student said to the Blessed One:

2. "Master Gotama, what is the reason, what is the condition, why inferiority and superiority are met with among human beings, among mankind? For one meets with short-lived and long-lived people, sick and healthy people, ugly and beautiful people, insignificant and influential people, poor and rich people, low-born and high-born people, stupid and wise people. What is the reason, what is the condition, why superiority and inferiority are met with among human beings, among mankind?"

3. "Student, beings are owners of kammas, heirs of kammas, they have kammas as their progenitor, kammas as their kin, kammas as their homing-place. It is kammas that differentiate beings according to inferiority and superiority."

4. "I do not understand the detailed meaning of Master Gotama's utterance spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning. It would be good if Master Gotama taught me the Dhamma so that I might understand the detailed meaning of Master Gotama's utterance spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning."

"Then listen, student, and heed well what I shall say."

"Even so, Master Gotama," Subha the student replied. The Blessed One said this:

5. "Here, student, some woman or man is a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell. If, on the dissolution of the body, after death, instead of his reappearing in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell, he comes to the human state, he is short-lived wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to short life, that is to say, to be a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings.

6. "But here some woman or man, having abandoned the killing of living beings, abstains from killing living beings, lays aside the rod and lays aside the knife, is considerate and merciful and dwells compassionate for the welfare of all living beings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination, in the heavenly world. If, on the dissolution of the body, after death, instead of his reappearing in a happy destination, in the heavenly world, he comes to the human state, he is long-lived wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to long life, that is to say, to have abandoned the killing of living beings, to abstain from killing living beings, to lay aside the rod and lay aside the knife, to be considerate and merciful, and to dwell compassionate for the welfare of all living beings.

7. "Here, student, some woman or man is one who harms beings with his hands or with clods or with sticks or with knives. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation... If instead he comes to the human state, he is sickly wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to sickness, that is to say, to be one who harms beings with one's hands or with clods or with sticks or with knives.

8. "But here some woman or man is not one who harms beings with his hands, or with clods, or with sticks, or with knives. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination... If instead he comes to the human state, he is healthy wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to health, that is to say, not to be one who harms beings with his hands or with clods or with sticks or with knives.

9. "Here, student, some woman or man is angry, much given to rage; even when little is said, he is furious, angry, ill-disposed, resentful, he shows ill-temper, hate and surliness. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation... If instead he comes to the human state, he is ugly wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to ugliness, that is to say, to be furious, angry, ill-disposed, resentful, and to show ill-temper, hate and surliness.

10. "But here some woman or man is not angry or much given to rage; even when much is said, he is not furious, angry, ill-disposed, resentful, nor does he show ill-temper, hate or surliness. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination... If instead he comes to the human state, he is beautiful wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to beauty, that is to say, not to be angry or given to much rage; even when much is said, not to be furious, angry, ill-disposed or resentful, or to show ill-temper, hate or surliness.

11. "Here, student, some woman or man is envious; he envies, begrudges and harbors envy about others' gains, honor, veneration, respect, salutations and offerings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation... If instead he comes to the human state, he is insignificant wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to insignificance, that is to say, to be envious, to envy, begrudge, and harbor envy about others' gain, honor, veneration, respect, salutations and offerings.

12. "But here some woman or man is not envious, he does not envy, begrudge or harbor envy about others' gain, honor, veneration, respect, salutations and offerings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination... If instead he comes to the human state, he is influential wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to influence, that is to say, not to be envious, not to envy, begrudge or harbor envy about others' gain, honor, veneration, respect, salutations and offerings.

13. "Here, student, some woman or man is not a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, garlands, perfumes, unguents, bed, roof and lighting to monks or brahmans. Due to having performed and completed such kamma, on the dissolution of the body, after death he reappears in a state of deprivation... If instead he comes to the human state, he is poor wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to poverty, that is to say, not to be a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, garlands, perfumes, unguents, bed, roof and lighting to monks and brahmans.

14. "But here some woman or man is a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, perfumes, unguents, bed, roof and lighting to monks and brahmans. Due to having performed and completed such kamma, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination... If instead he comes to the human state, he is rich wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to riches, that is to say, to be a giver of food, drink, cloth, sandals, garlands, perfumes, unguents, bed, roof and lighting to monks and brahmans.

15. "Here, student, some woman or man is obdurate and haughty; he does not pay homage to whom he should pay homage, or rise up for whom he should rise up, or give a seat to whom he should give a seat, or make way for whom he should make way, or worship him who should be worshipped, or respect him who should be respected, or revere him who should be revered, or honor him who should be honored. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation... If instead he comes to the human state, he is low-born wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to low birth, that is to say, to be obdurate and haughty, not to pay homage to whom he should pay homage, nor rise up for..., nor give a seat to..., nor make way for..., nor worship..., nor respect..., nor revere..., nor honor him who should be honored.

16. "But here some woman or man is not obdurate or haughty; he pays homage to whom he should pay homage, rises up for whom he should rise up, gives a seat to whom he should give a seat, makes way for whom he should make way, worships him who should be worshipped, respects him who should be respected, reveres him who should be revered, honors him who should be honored. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination... If instead he comes to the human state, he is high-born wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to high birth, that is to say, not to be obdurate or haughty, to pay homage to whom he should pay homage, to rise up for..., to give a seat to..., to make way for..., to worship... respect... revere... honor him who should be honored.

17. "Here, student, some woman or man when visiting a monk or brahman, does not ask: 'What is wholesome, venerable sir? What is unwholesome? What is blamable? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? What, by my doing it, will be long for my harm and suffering? Or what, by my doing it, will be long for my welfare and happiness?' Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation... If instead he comes to the human state, he will be stupid wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to stupidity, that is to say, when visiting a monk or brahman, not to ask: 'What is wholesome?... Or what, by my doing it, will be long for my welfare and happiness?'

18. "But here some woman or man when visiting a monk or brahman, asks: 'What is wholesome, venerable sir?... Or what, by my doing it, will be long for my welfare and happiness?' Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination... If instead he comes to the human state, he is wise wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to wisdom, that is to say, when visiting a monk or brahman, to ask: 'What is wholesome, venerable sir?... Or what, by my doing it, will be long for my welfare and happiness?'

19. "So, student, the way that leads to short life makes people short-lived, the way that leads to long life makes people long-lived; the way that leads to sickness makes people sick, the way that leads to health makes people healthy; the way that leads to ugliness makes people ugly, the way that leads to beauty makes people beautiful; the way that leads to insignificance makes people insignificant, the way that leads to influence makes people influential; the way that leads to poverty makes people poor, the way that leads to riches makes people rich; the way that leads to low birth makes people low-born, the way that leads to high birth makes people high-born; the way that leads to stupidity makes people stupid, the way that leads to wisdom makes people wise.

20. "Beings are owners of kammas, student, heirs of kammas, they have kammas as their progenitor, kammas as their kin, kammas as their homing-place. It is kammas that differentiate beings according to inferiority and superiority."

21. When this was said, Subha the student, Todeyya's son, said to the Blessed One: "Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent, Master Gotama! The Dhamma has been made clear in many ways by Master Gotama, as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing the hidden, showing the way to one who is lost, holding up a lamp in the darkness for those with eyes to see forms.

22. "I go to Master Gotama for refuge, and to the Dhamma and to the Sangha of bhikkhus. From today let Master Gotama accept me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge for life."



study guide
135 Cūlakammavibhanga Sutta The Shorter Exposition of Action
SUMMARY
The Buddha explains how karma accounts for one’s fortune or misfortune. He
names the results of specific actions.
NOT ES
[4] QUOTE: “Students, beings are owners of their actions, heirs of their actions;
they originate from their actions, are bound to their actions, have their actions as
their refuge. It is action that distinguishes beings as inferior or superior.”
If one causes an evil act, one will either be reborn in an unhappy destination
or in the human realm. If one causes a wholesome act, one will either be reborn
in heaven or in the human realm.
[518]
If one is reborn in the human realm, the following is a list of some
actions and their results.
1. killing—short life; nonkilling—
long life
2. injuring beings—sickly; notinjuring
beings—healthy
3. being angry or hateful—ugly; being peaceful—beautiful
4. being envious of another’s gain, honor, or respect—uninfluential; being
nonenvious—
influential
5. lacking generosity—poor; being generous—wealthy
6. being obstinate, arrogant or disrespectful—lowborn;
being openminded,
meek or respectful—highborn
7. lacking energy for inquiry with the wise—stupid; inquiring with the wise—
wise
[Ed: Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi seems to select his words carefully in the notes of
this discourse. Note 1224: “If karma of killing directly determines the mode of
rebirth…” this will happen. And Note 1225: “Abstaining from killing may be
directly responsible for the [consequent rebirth.]” It is likely that he is making
room for the complexity of the workings of karma, as explained in MN136.]
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:05 pm

i have a question for you guys; do you think this sitta explains to us how we should treat those whom we see as ugly, lowborn, shortlived, stupid and sickly?
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby Jechbi » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:58 am

jcsuperstar wrote:do you think this sitta explains to us how we should treat those whom we see as ugly, lowborn, shortlived, stupid and sickly?

In my opinion, no, not directly. On the other hand, it cautions that we are the owners of our volitional actions, so depending on how we treat those who are lowborn, shortlived, stupid, sickly, etc., we will be the owners of that behavior and live with the consequences. So indirectly, yes it does. Seems like it implies that we should do our best to treat everyone with respect, generosity, kindness, and so on.

Metta
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Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:12 am

Greetings JC,

With lovingkindess and compassion regardless.

Sometimes I think verses 5-18 of this sutta are misunderstood and taken as a fatalistic representation of destiny, whereas they should be seem in light of the summary, "beings are owners of kammas, heirs of kammas, they have kammas as their progenitor, kammas as their kin, kammas as their homing-place. It is kammas that differentiate beings according to inferiority and superiority". We create myriad kammas and many will counteract or complement each other.

Or, as I could attempt to explain it by way of example without recourse to mystical interpretations of kamma which are at odds with the Buddha's teaching. This probably isn't the traditional understanding, but this is how I understand it.

5. Those prone to violence are prone to having a shorter life (reason: violence is deadly)

6. Those prone to compassion are prone to happy destinations and long life (reason: mindstates rooted in lovingkindness and compassion, avoidance of violence)

7. Those prone to fighting are prone to sickness (reason: physical and psychomatic damage to the body)

8. Those prone to not-fighting are prone to health (reason: do not get subject to violence and have healthy state of mind)

9. Those prone to anger are prone to ugliness (reason: facial expression reflects negative mindstates and anger contorts the face)

10.Those prone to kindness are prone to happiness and beauty (reason: non-contortion of the face, pleasant speech and attitude)

11. Those prone to envy are prone to insignificance (reason: nobody wants to associate with bitterness, and such people will not act well)

12. Those prone to altruistic joy are prone to being influential (reason: liked and respected by others, not mentally twisted by greed or aversion)

13. Those prone to stinginess are prone to poverty (reason: no one will share their wealth, kindness or time with a scrooge)

14. Those prone to generosity are prone to happy destinations and wealth (reason: growth in friendship, influence, wholesome mindstates)

15. Those prone to conceit are prone to being low-born (reason: this attitude engenders distrust and dislike from others, spiritual practice is non-existent)

16. Those prone to respect are prone to being high-born (reason: willing to learn, wholesome mindstates, and healthy spiritual practice)

17. Those prone to disinterest in spiritual development are prone to stupidity (reason: no interest in wisdom means deluded mindstates predominate)

18. Those prone to spiritual development are prone to humanity and wisdom (reason: increased insight through spiritual development makes one wise)

Thoughts and comments welcome.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:29 am

very good retro! you said what i was thinking but didnt really know how to elaborate upon...
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:28 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:Or, as I could attempt to explain it by way of example without recourse to mystical interpretations of kamma which are at odds with the Buddha's teaching.


With which teaching of the Buddha would a literal interpretation of paragraphs 5-18 be at odds?

This probably isn't the traditional understanding, but this is how I understand it.

5. Those prone to violence are prone to having a shorter life (reason: violence is deadly)

6. Those prone to compassion are prone to happy destinations and long life (reason: mindstates rooted in lovingkindness and compassion, avoidance of violence)

7. Those prone to fighting are prone to sickness (reason: physical and psychomatic damage to the body)

[...]

Thoughts and comments welcome.


Had the Buddha wished to give a discourse describing the present life benefits of wholesome action and the present-life perils of unwholesome action, I think he would have made it clear that it was the present life he had in mind. As he does, for example, in the Sihasenapati Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.034.than.html when asked, "Is it possible, lord, to point out a fruit of generosity visible in the here & now?".

But in the Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta paragraphs 5-18 each pointedly state that the consequences referred to occur "on the dissolution of the body, after death." So how can your proposed interpretation possibly be faithful to the Buddha's intent?

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:35 am

why cant it be both?
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:39 am

Greetings venerable Dhammanando, JC, all,

jcsuperstar wrote:why cant it be both?


Indeed... this is how I meant it. I'm not driving a wedge between "this life" and "the next" - rather, I'm speaking of the future, as a causal result of present action. If the effects are demonstrable in this life, doesn't that in fact reinforce the likelihood of such kamma being effective in the next life too?

Does the Buddha ever say certain action cannot fruit in this life and will be exclusively realised in future lives? What grounds could exist for such a demarkation in the mental continuum?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:41 am

Hi JC,

jcsuperstar wrote:why cant it be both?


Well, it can be both, and I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. Nonetheless, given the repeated phrase "...on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears..." it would seem that this sutta's focus is on the outcomes that present actions will have on the next life, and (given Subha's original question to the Buddha) the way that humans are differentiated in the present life on account of actions performed in their past life.

And so a reading of the sutta that sees the Buddha as referring only to present life outcomes of present life actions seems to me to be missing the point.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:06 am

:bow:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby Branko » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:33 pm

This sutta is obviously about the actions in one life and their kammic consequences in another. But I very much appreciate Retro's examples related to the same life, because frequent question I come across when talking about kamma is: "But, how I can be sure that there are any consequences in the next life?" Since I myself can't claim I'm sure about that, the most sensible answer I come up with is: "As we can't be apsolutely sure about the next life (until we get enlightened), please look for the consequences of your actions in this very life." And Retro's exmples fit here quite well. Thanks a lot!

:anjali:
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Re: MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:06 pm

Greetings bhante, all,

Dhammanando wrote:With which teaching of the Buddha would a literal interpretation of paragraphs 5-18 be at odds?

There aren't any. However if someone were to ask the perfectly reasonable question regarding any of those paragraphs, "Well, how is that so? What is the causality behind that?" many respondents would reply simply "Oh, it's just because of their kamma" and leave it at that, thereby mystifying kamma to the realms of the supernatural and the unexplained. However, the Buddha said that "kamma should be known" and it can't be known if it there is no attempt to understand the causality in accordance with the principles of Buddhist conditionality.

Related sutta:

AN 6.63 - Nibbedhika Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

'"'Kamma should be known. The cause by which kamma comes into play should be known. The diversity in kamma should be known. The result of kamma should be known. The cessation of kamma should be known. The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said?

"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.

"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.

"And what is the diversity in kamma? There is kamma to be experienced in hell, kamma to be experienced in the realm of common animals, kamma to be experienced in the realm of the hungry shades, kamma to be experienced in the human world, kamma to be experienced in the world of the devas. This is called the diversity in kamma.

"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 [in this lifetime], 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.

"Now when a disciple of the noble ones discerns kamma in this way, the cause by which kamma comes into play in this way, the diversity of kamma in this way, the result of kamma in this way, the cessation of kamma in this way, & the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma in this way, then he discerns this penetrative holy life as the cessation of kamma.

"'Kamma should be known. The cause by which kamma comes into play... The diversity in kamma... The result of kamma... The cessation of kamma... The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known.' Thus it has been said, and in reference to this was it said..


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby GOTAMIST » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:14 am

It is import to keep in mind that our western views of good and evil do not apply when talking about the buddhist teachings. Doing evil in a buddhist perspective is not born out of a clear view of action. Doing evil in a buddhist perspective is always the result of ignorance.

Think about a child playing with matches that accidentally sets the carpet on fire.

This child does not know the danger or possible dangerous result of playing with matches, it is ignorant.

Thus should we view beings that accumulate bad kamma as an ignorant child playing with matches and burning themselves playing with matches.

We should also never think that we can have an complete understanding of this fruitation of kamma in the lifes of our fellow beings :lol: . Some simple-minded folk think that if one rescues a being from a certain death it is to no avail since it is the kamma of the being that it must suffer such a death and saving it now will only mean that this death will come to fruitation later or in a next life. This is a poor understanding of kamma since saving a being from a certain death can simply mean that the kammic experience of being close to death with it's fears and dread but still being rescued from it came into fruitation. Indeed kamma is complex!

The man in the million dollar house meets the man living in a cardboard box.

Hello stranger living in a box, i have earned this house by living virtuous in my past lives.

That is nice sir, i have earned this box by living and acting in ignorance in my past lives. It may not need to be so anymore if you arrange for me a place to stay in your house.

Whe are the owners of our deeds i have my house you have your box and thus it should be.

You ignorant man, don't you know that you need to invest in that house or it will turn into a box. Once i lived in a million dollar house and you lived in a cardboard box and i answered exactly like you are doing now.

What a vicious circle :D . Forget about what was and became focus only on what is and will become!

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Re: MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby DarkDream » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:38 am

There is an excellent article that I think does a great job of explaining the meaning of it (http://www.westernbuddhistreview.com/vol4/kamma_in_context.html). From the author's point of view, most people reading the sutta have lost the context of it. The basic premise the author puts forth is that the Buddha is using skillful means to replace Brahmatical actions (the sacrifical acts of karman) with ethical actions based on morality.

The ancient Brahmins sacrificed for long-life, wealth and so on, which is specifically mentioned in the sutta.

I believe this sutta has done great harm when taken literally (see my blog post on it at http://dreamwhitehorses.blogspot.com/2008/12/crassness-of-cula-kammavibhanga-sutta.html). I also show argue that the rebirth pericopes (after death one is born in hell/heaven) were later interpolations of the systemizers who lost sight of the context of the sutta (see my blog here at http://dreamwhitehorses.blogspot.com/2009/02/revisiting-culakammavibhanga-sutta.html).

My main problem of taking it literally is that it contains what I would say the "blame the victim" mentality. A person got raped, well it is their kamma. Black people get lynched -- their kamma as well. Another negative thing about this is that one can use it to support injustices in the world. For example, all the millions of Jewish people who got gassed by Hitler, well it was the Jews fault and Hitler was just carrying out their sentence.

Also I have problems saying that a person is stupid or mentally deficient or ugly becuase of what they did in a past life. This would seem to suggest that physically malformed or mentally handicapped people are so because they are suffering the results of a past life action. Modern science of today can explain alot of deformities with genetics and so on. There is absolutely no need to posit such things.

In my opinon those that suffer such aliments should be looked upon with compassion and not a subconscious attitude that says, "well, they deserve it."

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Re: MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:56 am

DarkDream wrote:Modern science of today can explain alot of deformities with genetics and so on. There is absolutely no need to posit such things.

Then why do some people get faulty genes while others do not?
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Re: MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby appicchato » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:31 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Then why do some people get faulty genes while others do not?

My (limited) understanding leans towards saying: because of past life volitional actions...
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Re: MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:51 pm

i dont think this sutta has a blame the victim stance, which is why i asked my 1st question. i think it hints at us not treating victims poorly lest we end up in the same situation..
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby Branko » Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:57 pm

Everything that happens to us or others is due to some cause.
But this cause is not always kamma, as I understood that.
Than why blame anybody?
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Re: MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:02 pm

Branko wrote:Everything that happens to us or others is due to some cause.
But this cause is not always kamma, as I understood that.
Than why blame anybody?

this is what i believe as well, but i think i've been told im wrong on occasion. i think random things just happen to people sometimes. i dont think poking my brother in the eyes in a past life is the reason i'll get hit by lightning in this one.. i think the lightning is just a fluke, random natrual thing i had to deal with, it has causes and conditions that brought it into being and so do i, and we just happened to colide, no big morality story there...
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: MN Session 7 - MN 135. Cūḷakammavibhanga Sutta

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:41 pm

There is no room for blind chance or moral impotency in Buddhism.
All that we can say is that only a Buddha can say when and how causes wll give their effects.

Four Points to Bear in Mind (about Dependent Origination)

Relationship of Cause to Effect

The fourth aspect of Dependent Origination is the one-to-one correspondence between cause and effect (evam dhammatā). Every cause leads only to the relevant effect; it has nothing to do with any irrelevant effects. In other words, 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). Meditators clearly see the relationship of each effect to its cause, so they have no doubt about their one-to-one correspondence and the truth of moral responsibility.

It is worth looking at the Maha-kammavibhanga Sutta in conjunction with this one.
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