Karmic fruit

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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:14 pm

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

The 'condition' is the 'cause'...from this angle anyway...

If that were so, then everyone born into a particular circumstance would perform the exact same actions. However we know this is not the case. Being born into a difficult situation may be a strong condition for acting in an unwholesome way. Nevertheless, some people will act that way and some people will act in other, surprising ways. To say being born into a particular situation is a cause of certain behavior is determinism and denies the Buddha's teachings on karma and intention.
- Peter

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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby SeerObserver » Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:56 pm

retrofuturist wrote: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?
retrofuturist wrote: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.

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote: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:They show us that our present living conditions, our dispositions and aptitudes, our virtues and faults, result from our actions in previous lives.

No invisible hand is there to put beings into these conditions or create/predict future patterns. Volitional actions are what place beings. And there doesn't need to be any prediction of the future. Righteous, oppressive, conducive, etc., whatever the case may be...these conditions occur all the time from small-scale to large.

Present living conditions and dispositions/aptitudes are the result of previous acts. That being the case, not everyone was recruited into Hitler's movement. The same goes for whatever else is going on. Someone born into war torn regions of the world dodging bullets is of a differnt karmic inheritance than the five blessed ones who were born into the position to be the first five disciples of the Buddha and attain arahantship in that lifetime.
Building on that, not everyone in these war torn countries participates in what's going on either. Going further, many of them are able to leave the country to pursue education, new occupation, etc. Now they may stay behind and participate if that's what their temperament/disposition/aptitude calls for. But to have the inclination toward such things AND be born with proximity to it is a karmic fruit different from just having one of those conditions. And then of course there are the people born far removed from such things whose temperaments/inclinations cause them to travel and seek out these conditions and participate. All these are different karmic fruits.
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:45 pm

Greetings SeerObserver,

I think you are classifying certain things as vipaka which should rightly be classified as kamma. Virtually every example you give in your last posts points to volitional action.

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 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:I think you are classifying certain things as vipaka which should rightly be classified as kamma.

I suppose it is from Thai influence since Thais generally only use the word, "kamm". They know what kamma and vipaka (vipak) both are, but use the word "kamm" and let the listener figure it out from the context. I also use kamma/karma in reference to both volitional action and vipaka.

For example I'll say, "that criminal is creating bad karma", and I'll also say, "that slaughtered animal must have had bad karma". So put karma where it fits in, and vipaka where I'm referring to fruits of volition and call it a day. I'll somewhat borrow a line of yours here.
retrofuturist wrote:
Peter wrote:I still think you are conflating 'cause' and 'condition'.

Yes I am... but I'm comfortable with that.
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:56 am

Greetings SeerObserver,

Which of course you're welcome to do, but it may be worth reviewing the continuation of Nyanaponika's explanation of vipaka, as found in his Buddhist Dictionary which I linked to on the previous page...

Totally wrong is the belief that, according to Buddhism, everything is the result of previous action. Never, for example, is any karmically wholesome or unwholesome volitional action the result of former action, being in reality itself karma.

On this subject s. titthāyatana, karma, Tab. I; Fund II. Cf. A. III, 101; Kath. 162 (Guide, p. 80).

Karma-produced (kammaja or kamma-samutthāna) corporeal things are never called kamma-vipāka, as this term may be applied only to mental phenomena.


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 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:37 pm

Retro, you appear to be contradicting yourself.

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


retrofuturist wrote:Totally wrong is the belief that, according to Buddhism, everything is the result of previous action. Never, for example, is any karmically wholesome or unwholesome volitional action the result of former action, being in reality itself karma.
- Peter

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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:35 pm

Greetings Peter,

In the first quote, I'm not specifically using a framework of "kammic causality"... just one of causality generally.

Image

A domino knocks over a domino knocks over a domino knocks over a domino....

And as venerable Nyanaponika said, "Totally wrong is the belief that, according to Buddhism, everything is the result of previous [kammic] action."

Tying this back to the topic at hand, room must be made for other non-kammic causes, otherwise we fall into the trap of kammic fatalism.

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 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:31 am

The question:

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

Your answer:

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

Your (new?) answer:

room must be made for other non-kammic causes, otherwise we fall into the trap of kammic fatalism.

The question was specifically about kamma and vipaka. It sounds like you're answer to the question is now 'no'? 'maybe'? 'sometimes'? It's not clear to me what your position is anymore.
- Peter

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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:51 am

Greetings Peter,

As I understand it, kammic fruit manifests within the scope of the five aggregates... for example, it can influence your sense-bases, and in the form of vipaka it can influence your experience of suffering and happiness. So to the following question...

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


I say that conditions (kammic or otherwise) determine how reality pans out. In the scheme of the five niyamas, kamma-niyama is one, and has played a role, in and amongst the other niyamas in determining how reality has panned out over time. Note here, that everything being spoken of is temporally causal....t (time) conditions t+1 which conditions t+2 which conditions t+3 and so on.

At no point in time is there any knowledge by anything or anyone that at t+3 for example, to know that "opportunities for kamma to ripen" or "opportunities for good or bad kamma to be created" will arise at t+524 and t+3320. Conditions will pan out simply how the conditions will pan out in accordance with the five niyamas. Attributing those "opportunities" to kamma isn't really justifiable because it is but one of the five niyamas and in terms of what happens in the external world, your individual kamma-niyama arguably plays a very small role. Given the temporal relationships, it is certainly wrong to say that these conditions arise simply for the purpose of making kamma come to fruit... some people seem think this way about kamma, but the universe does not revolve around them, even if to them it seems that it does.

In thinking about kamma we should try to avoid thinking of it as a relationship between an "internal" self and an "external" world and thinking that kammic causality is the connection between the two. The world impacted by kamma is that of the internal world... it is the loka that the Buddha describes as either the five aggregates or the six sense bases. He defined the world in this way, because that is the dominion of his teachings... and only with the world defined like this can talk of kammic fruit be meaningful and occur as a natural law without recourse to "invisible hands" and "foreknowledge". Also, only in this sense can the net of kamma be transcended... if it operated outside loka, how could it be transcended?

I hope that makes my position clearer.

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 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:02 am

Retro,

Follow that same line and reconcile how someone of clear mind can be born in a war-ridden underdeveloped region dodging bullets to get to the grocery store while someone can be born into palace life and be a deluded individual and vice versa.

I'm interested to reconcile the OP by Drolma. How do certain people get into certain situations?
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:24 am

Greetings SeerObserver,

SeerObserver wrote:Follow that same line and reconcile how someone of clear mind can be born in a war-ridden underdeveloped region dodging bullets to get to the grocery store while someone can be born into palace life and be a deluded individual and vice versa.


What reconciliation is required? The way you speak about these things seems to imply some divine "purpose" or "reason" as to why things occur, similar to a "God's will". That layer of divine conceptualisation is unnecessary and not part of (or in accord with) the Buddha's Dhamma.

SeerObserver wrote:I'm interested to reconcile the OP by Drolma. How do certain people get into certain situations?


Investigate the five niyamas (and leave Berzin at the door) and maybe you'll stop trying to attribute everything to kammic causes. Kamma is intention actional. The universe doesn't live and die by intentional action alone. Comets don't whizz by, and dodge or hit planets based on kamma. The sun doesn't shine because of intentional action.

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 pt1 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:02 am

retrofuturist wrote:Investigate the five niyamas


Hi retro, once on e-sangha I asked if anyone knew where did the teaching of Niyamas actually come from, since I didn't come across it in the suttas so far, but nobody knew. I only found references to several relatively modern Burmese teachers. I'm wondering if you have perhaps found the source of this teaching in the meantime?

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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:14 am

Greetings pt1,

The niyamas are only explicitly explained initially in the commentaries, quite possibly as a reaction to the Mahayana suggestion that kamma and dependent origination are indeed the cause of everything in the universe, which is elsewhere rebuked in the Points Of Controversy (venerable Dhammanando has provided reference to this somewhere before). The niyamas are a way of explaining what those non-kammic orders are... they are not an essential teaching in and of themselves, but are an effective means of rebuking incorrect interpretations of Buddhist causality, and show by example that kamma is not the cause of everything.

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 pt1 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:38 am

Thanks retro. The kamma order - which conditions out of the 24 explained in the abhidhamma does it relate to, if any?
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:50 am

Greetings pt1,

pt1 wrote:Thanks retro. The kamma order - which conditions out of the 24 explained in the abhidhamma does it relate to, if any?


The Abhidhamma and the Commentaries certainly aren't my speciality so I wouldn't dare to try to line them up in any kind of way.... other than perhaps to note that there are many paccaya (conditions) mentioned which aren't kamma, and that since kamma is explicitly listed as a condition (as opposed to all 24 of them) then the 24 paccaya classifications are yet another way to make the same point that I'm making using the 5 niyama scheme.

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 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:36 am

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

The 'condition' is the 'cause'...from this angle anyway...

If that were so, then everyone born into a particular circumstance would perform the exact same actions. However we know this is not the case. Being born into a difficult situation may be a strong condition for acting in an unwholesome way. Nevertheless, some people will act that way and some people will act in other, surprising ways. To say being born into a particular situation is a cause of certain behavior is determinism and denies the Buddha's teachings on karma and intention.


Ahem...might I rephrase that?...the condition may be the cause... :reading:
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Re: Karmic fruit

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:01 pm

If what our Ven. says is not true, then there would be no point to creating positive conditions for future exposure to dharma.

Therefore I must conclude that it is true. Conditions may be a cause under the right circumstances.
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