Karmic fruit

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Karmic fruit

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:23 pm

Do you think the karmic fruit can appear in the form of being in a position to accrue further bad karma?

I'm watching a program on Hitler Youth, thinking about how their young, vulnerable minds were put into a terrible position. And I'm speculating that their actions probably caused them to contribute to their cycle of suffering.

:anjali:
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:02 pm

I think that's a tough question.

One's kamma could be a cause for being born poor, ugly, despised... and these are certainly conditions more conducive to creating more bad kamma. Then again, one born rich, attractive, and well liked can also create bad kamma. Ajahn Brahm likens it to baking a cake: the best of ingredients can still turn out a terrible cake if used carelessly while the worst of ingredients can still turn out a tasty cake when used with skill.
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby SeerObserver » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:29 pm

Drolma wrote:Do you think the karmic fruit can appear in the form of being in a position to accrue further bad karma?

I'm watching a program on Hitler Youth, thinking about how their young, vulnerable minds were put into a terrible position. And I'm speculating that their actions probably caused them to contribute to their cycle of suffering.

:anjali:

Most definitely. I once raised this idea in a thread (on another forum) about Hell's minions, whose main (and only?) function is to hand down retribution on other beings for their misdeeds. But then the hell being is harming another and therefore creating karma which will lead to retribution to bestow upon them. The temperament one builds carries over. For example, beings who currently like to dabble in black arts or follow dangerous masters may have been followers or even leaders of similar activities in the past.

It takes stronger temperament/karma that one must have built in order to be a hell being or the like as opposed to a Hitler youth or the like, I would imagine. The purpose of the whole existence (although temporary) is to inflict harm and therefore accrue demerit. It would seem that this would be a retribution for forcing or coaxing other beings into committing demerit. Since they forced, misled, or somehow caused beings to harm others and therefore accrue bad karma, they are now forced to harm others and accrue that kind of karma.

Although our past temperament and actions were causal agents in what our current situations are, we do (as humans) have free will and can exercise that when it comes to what kind of karma we want to create from here on out, an option that certain existences mentioned may not. There are many more people who are not subscribing to things like what you mention than people who are.
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:42 pm

Thank you both, these answers are satisfying input.

It almost seems more unfortunate to experience karmic fruit in such a way that you are causing further harm, like it's continuing the cycle. When something unpleasant happens in my life, I sometimes think I'm kind of cleaning up my karma. Better now than later to bear the fruit, possibly in the form of worse delusion.

Hope I make sense :anjali:
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:20 pm

Greetings Drolma,

Cause is effect is cause is effect - one moment conditions the next.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby AdvaitaJ » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:30 pm

Drolma,

The last thing I want to do is defend Hitler youth, but even for them, wouldn't "intention" play a major role? If their intent was to save their families, their homes, their younger siblings, wouldn't that have put them in a position to generate more positive karma than many of us could ever achieve?

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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:Cause is effect is cause is effect - one moment conditions the next.

Not quite. Cause is not the same as condition. Karma can never be vipaka.
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby SeerObserver » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:47 am

AdvaitaJ wrote:Drolma,

The last thing I want to do is defend Hitler youth, but even for them, wouldn't "intention" play a major role? If their intent was to save their families, their homes, their younger siblings, wouldn't that have put them in a position to generate more positive karma than many of us could ever achieve?

Regards: AdvaitaJ

...than any of us could ever achieve? That's a little strong. Their intention may lessen the amount of akusala kamma they will derive from the overall situation, but whatever they do that causes harm to others, following orders or not, still generates negative karma. You've probably seen this POV in any thread discussing soldiers/law enforcement killing.

What you raise is interesting though in that there is something of a Robin Hood element. Can't a "personal" sacrifice be kusala kamma at least to some extent? I hope someone can chime in on this...slippery slope, I know. For example, although I doubt that the Hitler youth were privy to this perspective, but what if after assessing the whole situation they were willing to endure asankheyyas of unfavorable existence in order to save their families, etc. as AdvaitaJ hypothesizes? This could be out of shear love, dutifulness, or what have you. The Jataka tales even address major sacrifices and what not.
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:53 am

Greetings Peter,

Peter wrote:Not quite. Cause is not the same as condition. Karma can never be vipaka.


True, you can't classify something as both kamma and vipaka, but I'd suggest that vipaka can be a cause under the banner of citta-niyama.

If it wasn't, what would cause you to want to be Buddhist?

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: Karmic fruit

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:56 am

I still think you are conflating 'cause' and 'condition'.
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:58 am

Greetings Peter,

Peter wrote:I still think you are conflating 'cause' and 'condition'.


Yes I am... but I'm comfortable with that.

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: Karmic fruit

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:22 am

Hi SeerObserver and AdvaitaJ,

Yes, that's what I mean. The Hitler Youth kids were in such an unfortunate position. The program I was watching was so sad, little kids being made to guard corpses! Sorry to be graphic, but it happened. Those kids were in a terrible predicament. It's an interesting point about intention. But the thing is that kids really don't understand about death and stuff until a certain age, and even through adolescence kids don't understand long-term consequences very well. That's why they engage in risky behavior a lot of times. So I don't know what the intent factor could be like in such a young mind, it's hard to imagine. And as you mentioned, loving your family and wanting to protect them seems like wholesome karma.

I was just thinking that being born into a position to basically be forced to create negative karma and cause harm really sucks. It's a human birth, which is good, but it seems like some negative karmic fruit coming to pass too. I was thinking about the cyclic nature of all of this.

:anjali:
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:27 am

Hi Retro and Peter,

Both of your comments make sense. I think it's true about this flow of cause and effect, like water, and it's true about the distinction between karma and its fruit too.

:juggling:
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:28 am

Greetings Drolma,

Re: your Hitler youth post...

Its worth remembering though that causing suffering to others in inherent in our existence.

We need food, shelter and water to survive, and even with the most careful effort and the best intentions, our actions required for our own sustinence and continuation are going to cause harm and death to sentient beings.

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: Karmic fruit

Postby appicchato » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:35 am

Peter wrote:I still think you are conflating 'cause' and 'condition'.

The 'condition' is the 'cause'...from this angle anyway...
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby SeerObserver » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:44 am

Drolma wrote:I was just thinking that being born into a position to basically be forced to create negative karma and cause harm really sucks. It's a human birth, which is good, but it seems like some negative karmic fruit coming to pass too. I was thinking about the cyclic nature of all of this.

Being born into such a position is definitely a negative karmic fruit. It is derived from having forced others to do akusala kamma. It is a natural retribution for this in two ways.

The first way is that you are being forced to do something which will surely generate negative fruit as a result of you putting someone in that situation. The second is that you "wasted another's time", so to speak. By putting them into that situation, you have deprived them of time they could have spent on the path. As a result, even though you are a human (which is one of the most conducive states for practice), you will be deprived of the opportunity to take full advantage of that conduciveness and "waste" some of that away as well.
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:50 am

Greetings SeerObserver,

SeerObserver wrote:Being born into such a position is definitely a negative karmic fruit. It is derived from having forced others to do akusala kamma. It is a natural retribution for this in two ways.

The first way is that you are being forced to do something which will surely generate negative fruit as a result of you putting someone in that situation. The second is that you "wasted another's time", so to speak. By putting them into that situation, you have deprived them of time they could have spent on the path. As a result, even though you are a human (which is one of the most conducive states for practice), you will be deprived of the opportunity to take full advantage of that conduciveness and "waste" some of that away as well.


Is there any evidence in the suttas that supports your exposition of kamma?

Particularly this bit "Being born into such a position is definitely a negative karmic fruit."

How can this be explained without recourse to an invisible omniscient hand (i.e. directing people to certain locations by ) foreseeing (i.e. knowing in advance what Germany was going to become in 10-20 years time) and directing the affairs of the universe (i.e. so that fruit poetically bears for those who have been naughty in previous lives)?

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: Karmic fruit

Postby SeerObserver » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:52 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings SeerObserver,

Is there any evidence in the suttas that supports your exposition of kamma?

Particularly this bit "Being born into such a position is definitely a negative karmic fruit."

How can this be explained without recourse to an invisible omniscient hand (i.e. directing people to certain locations by ) foreseeing (i.e. knowing in advance what Germany was going to become in 10-20 years time) and directing the affairs of the universe (i.e. so that fruit poetically bears for those who have been naughty in previous lives)?

Metta,
Retro. :)

My understanding of the matter comes in part from articles (scholarly and otherwise) written on the subject. There is sutta citation within them as well.

No invisible hand is needed to put beings into appropriate conditions dictated by their karma. There is always oppression, misguidance, etc. If not Germany, these people would have been born somewhere else...maybe as disciples of another oppressive leader or members of some other group.

The same follows for any good or bad condition a being is to be born into. There is no hand or timing scheme necessary. These conditions are always present somewhere, and when they are not then the dependent origination does not yet come to fruition. For example, Buddha Maitreya is still in Tusita Heaven and will not originate in the human realm until the proper conditions are present.

Here are some writings I have looked at on the subject.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:They show us that our present living conditions, our dispositions and aptitudes, our virtues and faults, result from our actions in previous lives. When we realize that our present conditions reflect our kammic past, we will also realize that our present actions are the legacy that we will transmit to our kammic descendants, that is, to ourselves in future lives.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:The teaching of rebirth, taken in conjunction with the doctrine of kamma, implies that we live in a morally ordered universe, one in which our morally determinate actions bring forth fruits that in some way correspond to their own ethical quality.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:The sentient universe is regulated by different orders of causation layered in such a way that higher orders of causation can exercise dominion over lower ones. Thus the order of kamma, which governs the process of rebirth, dominates the lower orders of physical and biological causation, bending their energies toward the fulfillment of its own potential. The Buddha does not posit a divine judge who rules over the workings of kamma, rewarding and punishing us for our deeds. The kammic process functions autonomously, without a supervisor or director, entirely through the intrinsic power of volitional action.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:It is mental activity, in the form of volition, that constitutes kamma, and it is our stock of kamma that steers the stream of consciousness from the past life into a new body. Thus the Buddha says: "This body, O monks, is old kamma, to be seen as generated and fashioned by volition, as something to be felt" (SN XI.37). It is not only the body, as a composite whole, that is the product of past kamma, but the sense faculties too (see SN XXV.146). The eye, ear, nose, tongue, body-sense, and mind-base are also fashioned by our past kamma, and thus kamma to some degree shapes and influences all our sensory experience. Since kamma is ultimately explained as volition (cetana), this means that the particular body with which we are endowed, with all its distinguishing features and faculties of sense, is rooted in our volitional activities in earlier lives.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:The ultimate implication of the Buddha's teaching on kamma and rebirth is that human beings are the final masters of their own destiny. Through our unwholesome deeds, rooted in greed, hatred, and delusion, we create unwholesome kamma, the generative cause of bad rebirths, of future misery and bondage. Through our wholesome deeds, rooted in generosity, kindness, and wisdom, we beautify our minds and thereby create kamma productive of a happy rebirth.
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:20 am

Greetings SeerObserver,

Interestingly, I agree with everything you've quoted of Bhikkhu Bodhi... but I don't see how any of it supports your argument that an evil gandhabba (for want of a better term) could be directed to a particular geographical place on Earth where tyranny and oppression will happen in the future, whereas a good gandhabba would be directed to a particular geographical place on Earth where the sun shines and the birds will sing in a decade or two's time. What exactly "knows the future" in order to facilitate this kammic housing scheme?

Exhibit A - Verses 1 & 2 of the Dhammapada
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.


Exhibit B - Definition of vipāka from Nyanaponika's Buddhist Dictionary
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/u_v/vipaaka.htm

'karma-result', is any karmically (morally) neutral mental phenomenon (e.g. bodily agreeable or painful feeling, sense-consciousness, etc. ), which is the result of wholesome or unwholesome volitional action (karma, q.v.) through body, speech or mind, done either in this or some previous life.


That is how kamma works. It doesn't predict future patterns of warfare and oppression and somehow plonk people in countries and towns that befit their kammic inheritance. Once again, I challenge you to find a sutta reference that does.

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: Karmic fruit

Postby clw_uk » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:12 pm

Greetings


I think some of these posts tie into the other thread about child prostiutes, in short one does not know what is and isnt result of kamma so anything that comes up is a speculative guess


You dont know that they were in said position because of past kamma


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