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Question about the law of Karma and consequence - Dhamma Wheel

Question about the law of Karma and consequence

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
sanblvd
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Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby sanblvd » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:20 am

So, I been interested about Buddhism for a long time now, I never really got into it but never stop reading and talk to other person who knows a thing or two whenever I get the chance.

What interest me most about Buddhism is the concept of karma or the law of cause and effect. So here is some of the basic principle that I understand.

- Whatever you practice in this life will carry onto future life, for example if you practice patience and understanding, your future reborn nature will be a person that is more patience and tolerance towards others, and if you are an angry spiteful person and keep developing that angry, your future reborn will have similar temperament. This is kinda like why some person are naturally good towards playing Piano, because he/she might already be accomplished pianist in past life.

- Whatever you do to others, the other person will do the same to you. If you cause harm to him/her and if he/she didn't have chance to repay it this life, in the next life when you both meet you will experience the similar thing that you cause him/her to experience. That means if you cause harm to that person, that person will have chance to cause harm to you. If you have helped that person in this life, and in next life when you are in need of help, that person will repay the debt and have the chance to help you.

Ok I see nothing wrong with the first law, it is the 2nd law that I have some questions and contradictions.

1. So when in this life, if I have a chance to cause harm to another person, does that mean that person that I am about to harm, have cause me harm in past life?

2. Expanding on #1, if this is so, does that means I am about to harm the other person is not because of my own free will, but because I am simply repaying a debt to balance what he/she have done to me in the past?

3. So at what point do I know that I am acting on my own free will or I am here because of past karma? So for example, Hitler, he have caused millions of death, it is hard to believe that 1 person have been harmed by so many millions in the past life, that he is repaying the vengeance, so what part of his action is out of cause and effect and what part of his action is out of free will? And same question apply for me, obviously I'm not Hitler, but still want to know what part of my action is out of consequence and what is out of free will?

4. When I am about to cause harm to others, that means I am doing negative action, that would make me a bad person, BUT logically speaking, I am only a bad person because I have suffered from the hand of my victim in past life. So does that mean
A. I am a bad person not because of my own fault or free will.
B. When I cause harm to other person, does that mean I condemn the other person into becoming another bad person next time? (because he/she will harm me in the future reborn)
C. This kinda contradicts with the first point that you are what you are because of how you practice your nature in the past existence, but if I am what I am because of things that other have done to me in the past life, I don't have a choice over what I am, or what will I became.

I hope someone with knowledge can help me explain this riddle, it has been bothering me for years now.

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Aloka
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby Aloka » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:53 am

Hi sanblvd,

I recommend listening to this talk about karma from Ajahn Amaro, a UK abbot from the Theravada Thai Forest Tradition

"Who's Pulling the Strings"




with kind regards,

Aloka

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daverupa
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby daverupa » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:34 pm


sanblvd
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby sanblvd » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:26 pm

Ok I listened and read all of it, I get the jest of what they are talking about, they are saying the law of Karma is just one of the factor that explains the current state of being, there are other laws such as law of physic, gravity, time etc... which causes thing to be became what they are and explains it.

But still, it does not explain my question which I had posted. Because out of the examples that I posted, it has nothing to do with law of physic, it is directly connected with the interaction with one consciousness being to another, it still does not explain that when I have the chance to do good or evil to another person, am I doing this out of my free will or am I at this situation because of what happened in the past.

And as well as the interaction of what happen when I do good/evil to that person, how will that change the other person's mental being, for example when I kill someone out of greed or whatever, did I make the person who have suffered from me into someone who crave vengeance in the next life into killing me? If so, the other person have became "bad" without any fault of their own action.

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daverupa
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby daverupa » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:06 pm


sanblvd
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby sanblvd » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:23 pm

Can you guys expand more on your responses? Instead of giving me a link to read or just type a line or two....

So basically what you saying is, there are actions that I am doing that is out of past cause and effect, there are also actions that I am doing out of my own free will. But only someone as enlighten as Buddha can identify the two, however in the end, no matter if I am what about to do as a result of past consequence or own free will, I am still going to be responsible for that action.

And whatever I do, will create a new cause, which later will result in a consequence.

But what about the problem that my action will also positively or negative another person's state of mind/existence. For example if I kill someone out of greed, will I cause that person in the future to be full of vengeance to want to harm me in return? And if that is so... if that person harms me in next life for what I have done to him/her in past life, won't that person also receive negative marks for his action? Because he is also responsible for this action no matter if out of free will or past action. But his negative action is only the result of my negative action in the first place, which he have no control over.

If this is so, does this mean you are what you are not only because of your own choice, but out of the choice of other people?

Please... write more than 1 line or so in your reply.... if you don't know the answer, just go ahead and say so, we are all trying to learn here.

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daverupa
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby daverupa » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:20 pm


Bakmoon
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby Bakmoon » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:34 pm

The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Sambojjhanga
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby Sambojjhanga » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:25 pm

The flavor of the dhamma exceeds all other flavors

sanblvd
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby sanblvd » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:41 pm


SarathW
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby SarathW » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:47 am

Hi Sanblvd
Kamma is one of unthinkable. Only Buddha will know how exactly it works. So do not waste your time. Try to understand Four Noble Truths instead. Once you understand that you will understand how Karma operates.

Please read the following book.

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddh ... gsurw6.pdf
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Yana
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby Yana » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:53 am

Kamma is an ACTION.
It's done NOW.In the PRESENT.Not the past.

Everytime you hear someone say that's my kamma,that's why i'm poor.That's wrong.
Your kamma is now.What your doing about your current situation.That's you kamma.Right here in the present.

Your poor because of the RESULT of your past kamma not your present kamma.You can still do something about it.

That's two different things.What you did in the past and what you do now are two different things.They might be related but they are different.

Right Now your Kamma is made up of:
1.The fruit of your past kamma.(Past result)
2.Your present kamma,free will,or intention.(Present action)
3.Result of your present free,will,kamma or intention.(Present result)

These three things are combined and adjust themselves to each other,they work together continuously in an intricate manner..so precise that it's impossible to really take it apart and study it completely, bit by bit.
Saying if i did this than that person will do this,will get you nowhere.I mean you can see the general outline but to really break it down and allocate whose faults it belongs to and try to trace it back is not fruitful. One of the reasons being Kamma is a very impersonal process.Kamma doesn't recognize you or them. Kamma deals only with action and reaction.Just like the law gravity ,if you push someone off a building,gravities not going to care who died or who did it.Every object in it's path will always have a tendency to fall.

Kamma is also a very complex and intricate process.One of the reasons why you will give yourself a headache if you try to break it down specifically.

Always know that Kamma is made up of both past actions and free will.Your past kamma shapes your present state and your present kamma shapes your future state.

For example, if you killed someone and then felt remorse,practiced meditation to make good present kamma,then that good kamma can neutralize you past unwholesome kamma,so in the future instead of getting killed you might just get beaten up pretty badly by some random drunk etc.this all depends on how much good kamma you have.but the act of killing is pretty heavy,it's one of those kamma's that can carry a lot of weight, so i think you would experience it's consequences to differing heights.I doubt you'd get off of it easy.Murdering your parents is an almost no go zone.I think even after you gained enlightenment you's still have to experience the results of it.If this is the case then one should practice equanimity.

If it were something lighter like if you stoled something,then you did a lot of dana or generosity then it might get neutralized.Maybe you'll still have someone steal your money,maybe you will just feel cheated off on a deal or maybe you'll have completely neutralized it and not experience it's results.

It all depends on a zillion little factors that is extremely difficult to trace,measure or calculate accurately.This is why Kamma is so Powerful.Not only can it do all that but it can go through infinite aeons before we actually experience the results of a particular kamma.

Physics and other natural laws also affects other aspects of our existence .But Kamma in itself is
VERY COMPLEX and depends on a lot of factors CONCERNING solely our actions/intentions. Kamma takes into considerations every small detail,from the most minute thoughts and intentions that can affect our kammic results.

So to be safe just keep it simple and follow the main guidelines:

1.Every Action has an opposite or equal reaction.
2.If you do good good things will come to you.
3.If you do bad bad things will come to you.

if you stick to that then you will change the course of your life and will be headed towards a better place. :hug:

:anjali:
Life is preparing for Death

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daverupa
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby daverupa » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:12 pm


sanblvd
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby sanblvd » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:14 am


Bakmoon
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby Bakmoon » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:01 am

The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Sambojjhanga
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:51 pm
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby Sambojjhanga » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:01 pm

The flavor of the dhamma exceeds all other flavors

santa100
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby santa100 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:10 pm

You could try Ven. Narada's detailed analysis of Kamma in his classic "The Buddha and His Teachings" ( http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddh ... gsurw6.pdf ) Chapters 18-21

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daverupa
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:37 pm

is a good read in this connection; it shows how somewhat subtle differences in how ideas are expressed can have a weighty impact.

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daverupa
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:50 pm


Yana
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Re: Question about the law of Karma and consequence

Postby Yana » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:01 pm

Life is preparing for Death


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