To clear up a contradiction...

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To clear up a contradiction...

Postby Dhammakid » Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:33 am

Hello All.
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.

:namaste:
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Re: To clear up a contradiction...

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:55 am

The difference here is that what what the Buddha is rejecting is "As you sow, so shall reap."

What the Buddha advocates is ""What you reap accords with what you sow."

"If one says that in whatever way a person performs a kammic action, in that very same way he will experience the result — in that case there will be no (possibility for a) religious life and no opportunity would appear for the complete ending of suffering.

"But if one says that a person who performs a kammic action (with a result) that is variably experienceable, will reap its results accordingly — in that case there will be (a possibility for) a religious life and an opportunity for making a complete end of suffering."


— AN 3.110


See:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... fruit.html
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: To clear up a contradiction...

Postby Dhammakid » Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:The difference here is that what what the Buddha is rejecting is "As you sow, so shall reap."

What the Buddha advocates is ""What you reap accords with what you sow."

"If one says that in whatever way a person performs a kammic action, in that very same way he will experience the result — in that case there will be no (possibility for a) religious life and no opportunity would appear for the complete ending of suffering.

"But if one says that a person who performs a kammic action (with a result) that is variably experienceable, will reap its results accordingly — in that case there will be (a possibility for) a religious life and an opportunity for making a complete end of suffering."


— AN 3.110


See:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... fruit.html


Ahh, thank you very much Tilt. That link explains it so very well. I can't believe I didn't think of the variability of kammic experience as the answer, even though I've read a book on that subject once before. Thanks for the reminder.

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