While discussing the idea of a creator god with some friends on another site, I came across the main sutta explaining the Buddha's view and noticed there's a possible contradiction with his teaching of kamma. I posted this in the Discovering Theravada section because I consider myself a beginner and figure there's probably a very simple explanation for this.
Here's the passage from AN 3.61: Tittha Sutta:
The Buddha wrote:"Having approached the priests & contemplatives who hold that... 'Whatever a person experiences... is all caused by what was done in the past,' I said to them: 'Is it true that you hold that... "Whatever a person experiences... is all caused by what was done in the past?"' Thus asked by me, they admitted, 'Yes.' Then I said to them, 'Then in that case, a person is a killer of living beings because of what was done in the past. A person is a thief... unchaste... a liar... a divisive speaker... a harsh speaker... an idle chatterer... greedy... malicious... a holder of wrong views because of what was done in the past.' When one falls back on what was done in the past as being essential, monks, there is no desire, no effort [at the thought], 'This should be done. This shouldn't be done.' When one can't pin down as a truth or reality what should & shouldn't be done, one dwells bewildered & unprotected. One cannot righteously refer to oneself as a contemplative. This was my first righteous refutation of those priests & contemplatives who hold to such teachings, such views."
Is there no contradiction here with the law of kamma? Are not present actions conditioned by past actions? Or is it just tendencies towards actions that are conditioned, but the ultimate act is left unconditioned and thus up to us?
I appreciate your help in this matter.