Collective Kamma

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Collective Kamma

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:59 am

Hi all,

In Theravada is collective kamma discussed? If so, how does it work?

Thanks :namaste:
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:11 pm

Drolma wrote:Hi all,

In Theravada is collective kamma discussed? If so, how does it work?

Thanks :namaste:

If you mean collective karma in the sense of "I suffer the vipaka of kamma you created merely because we live in the same town or belong to the same club" or something like that... Theravada denies such a concept. We are ach the owner of our own kamma.

If you mean collective karma in the sense of "a group of people committed an act together and at some later date suffer the result together" then there are such stories in the scriptures.
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Collective Kamma

Postby GrahamR » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:19 pm

quote="Drolma"]Hi all,

In Theravada is collective kamma discussed? If so, how does it work?

Thanks :namaste:[/quote]

There was a lot of discussion in the Buddhist press about this when Sharon Stone put her foot in her mouth over suggesting the Chinese earthquake was a kammic effect of China's actions in Tibet. And she had met the Dalai Lamma.
Basically you produce your own Kamma.
With metta :bow:
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby clw_uk » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:26 pm

Buddha states being are owners of their kamma.

If there is collectice kamma no one can reach nibbana since there would always be someone else to hold one back



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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:45 pm

Peter wrote:
Drolma wrote:Hi all,

In Theravada is collective kamma discussed? If so, how does it work?

Thanks :namaste:

If you mean collective karma in the sense of "I suffer the vipaka of kamma you created merely because we live in the same town or belong to the same club" or something like that... Theravada denies such a concept. We are ach the owner of our own kamma.

If you mean collective karma in the sense of "a group of people committed an act together and at some later date suffer the result together" then there are such stories in the scriptures.


Yes thanks, I mean the latter. I was looking at this:

1. Utuniyama: the natural law pertaining to physical objects and changes in the natural environment, such as the weather; the way flowers bloom in the day and fold up at night; the way soil, water and nutrients help a tree to grow; and the way things disintegrate and decompose. This perspective emphasizes the changes brought about by heat or temperature.

2. Bijaniyama: the natural law pertaining to heredity, which is best described in the adage, "as the seed, so the fruit."

3. Cittaniyama: the natural law pertaining to the workings of the mind, the process of cognition of sense objects and the mental reactions to them.

4. Kammaniyama: the natural law pertaining to human behavior, the process of the generation of action and its results. In essence, this is summarized in the words, "good deeds bring good results, bad deeds bring bad results."

5. Dhammaniyama: the natural law governing the relationship and interdependence of all things: the way all things arise, exist and then cease. All conditions are subject to change, are in a state of affliction and are not self: this is the Norm.


This list seems to leave the idea of collective kamma open because of #2 and #5. Now I know things like natural disasters aren't the result of kamma. But for example, would the reign of George Dubya be a result of collective kamma? I have always found this confusing. Or was WWII potentially a result of collective kamma? Though many people had volition and performed action, Hitler is generally the only one blamed for things. But it wasn't the result of one person's incredible evil, right?

So if I pay taxes right now and that tax money goes to supporting wars, am I participating in the war machine? Is this an action that will bear fruit, and would the same be true for all Americans?

Thank you :smile:
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby Jechbi » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:24 am

Hi Drolma,

This is actually a really interesting question. I suspect Peter nailed it with his excellent post, but I'd like to add a few thoughts, since it looks like the thread more or less died without addressing the additional questions you asked. My answers might not be the best, but maybe someone else could step in and refine this (or fix it), plus provide some sutta references or something.
Drolma wrote:Now I know things like natural disasters aren't the result of kamma. But for example, would the reign of George Dubya be a result of collective kamma? I have always found this confusing. Or was WWII potentially a result of collective kamma? Though many people had volition and performed action, Hitler is generally the only one blamed for things. But it wasn't the result of one person's incredible evil, right?
My understanding is that the web of conditions for even a single individual is so complex that you can't really know (unless you are the Buddha) exactly why a person is having a particular life experience. Since this is the case with a single individual, then imagine how much more complex it must be to analyze entire societies.

More concretely, though, I think common sense would demand that others besides Hitler share responsibility for the atrocities of WWII, and I think that if you look at the recent history of modern Germany, you'll find a great deal of soul-searching and even societal blame-accepting that was largely absent during the first difficult decades right after that war. The denial mostly passed, and this generation is coming to terms with the widespread complicity that enabled Hitler.

So, sure, in any analysis I think we have to acknowledge that the prevailing political order in any nation will be the result of a complex blend of conditions including the volitional character of its present leadership, but also including the manner in which its people react to that, the economic realities, tradition, etc.

One question is, how would the concept of collective kamma inform one's path of practice?
Drolma wrote:So if I pay taxes right now and that tax money goes to supporting wars, am I participating in the war machine? Is this an action that will bear fruit, and would the same be true for all Americans?
I guess the alternative is to break the law by refusing to pay taxes? Or to become a monk so that the payment of taxes is not an issue? For the overwhelming majority of the householder population, things like taxes and death are unavoidable. Merely by existing in society, one contributes in an unavoidable way to suffering. Even if you are a vegetarian, when you pay for your vegetables, part of your payment may go toward the wages of an employee who is not a vegetarian, and who then uses that income from you to buy meat at the butcher shop, so you're still indirectly supporting the slaughter of animals. No matter what we do, from the moment we are born in ignorance we participate in this samsara until we are fully liberated.

All right, I don't know if that addresses your questions, but maybe it will spur a better response from someone else.

Metta
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But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:36 am

Greetings Drolma,

I don't think there's anything in the five niyamas that suggests collective kamma in any way.

It's interesting to note that when Peter says there are incidents of the "a group of people committed an act together and at some later date suffer the result together" type in the scriptures, this is correct... but generally speaking tales these aren't in the actual suttas, they are in the Jatakas and the Stories from the Commentaries. Whether one chooses to give credence to them depends on how authorative one considers such legends to be.

Generally speaking such incidents would require some kind of 'alignment of cosmic factors' or other mysterious forces of coercion and influence to contrive such results. Bringing the intricate web of causal events in such a way as to fabricate a scenario such that kamma can poetically come to fruit is not the kind of kamma that the Buddha taught about. He taught about a direct relationship between wholesome and unwholesome mindstates and the discernible results of those volitional actions. He also taught about transcending the ups and downs of kamma and vipaka through wisdom, and seeing things as they really are.

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: Collective Kamma

Postby Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:26 am

If kamma was 'collective', enlightenment would probably be not possible.

One could not paddle against the stream of a world immersed in ignorance and blindness.
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby thecap » Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:17 pm

Hi Drolma, interesting topic. Thanks.

Element wrote:If kamma was 'collective', enlightenment would probably be not possible.


Hi Element & all. Isn't that what the Mahayanists claim? Or is it just a choice whether one accepts 'collective kamma' and goes for the Bodhisatta-vows, or otherwise the Arahant path respectively? (Sorry, I'm still learning the diff between Theravada and Mahayana paths. Hope the questions are not misplaced.) Cheers, thecap.
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby Rui Sousa » Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:29 pm

I believe that what I have read and eared so far means that there is no collective Kamma. To me the crystal of salt simile (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.099.than.html#salt) clearly dismisses that notion of collective Kamma.

Also I believe there what I call coincident Kamma. Meaning that two different actions by two different people may lead to the same result, as when two completely different actions may lead different individuals to the same hell realm. Or the same action leading to the same result as developing the Jhanas is a precondition for rebirth on a certain heavenly realms.
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:03 am

Good stuff! Thanks everybody :anjali:
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby green » Sat Feb 28, 2009 3:44 am

Actually there was a Sutta in which when a priest asks whether or not there is individual karma or collective karma -- Buddha states that it is an incorrect question and states the Patitya samutpada.

So Buddha refrains from talking about Karma (collective or individual) and only speaks of karma in terms of the Patitya samutpada. Karma is associated with sankhara stage in the cycle.

Too bad I forgot the sutta's name. :toilet:
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby Element » Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:42 am

green wrote:Too bad I forgot the sutta's name. :toilet:

Could be the Maha-nidana Sutta
Now, craving is dependent on feeling, seeking is dependent on craving, acquisition is dependent on seeking, ascertainment is dependent on acquisition, desire and passion is dependent on ascertainment, attachment is dependent on desire and passion, possessiveness is dependent on attachment, stinginess is dependent on possessiveness, defensiveness is dependent on stinginess, and because of defensiveness, dependent on defensiveness, various evil, unskillful phenomena come into play: the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies.
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:37 am

thecap wrote:Hi Drolma, interesting topic. Thanks.

Element wrote:If kamma was 'collective', enlightenment would probably be not possible.


Hi Element & all. Isn't that what the Mahayanists claim? Or is it just a choice whether one accepts 'collective kamma' and goes for the Bodhisatta-vows, or otherwise the Arahant path respectively? (Sorry, I'm still learning the diff between Theravada and Mahayana paths. Hope the questions are not misplaced.) Cheers, thecap.


Hi Thecap

I'm sorry, I'm having a little trouble understanding the question. You mean do Mahayanists claim that kamma is collective and enlightenment isn't possible? Or Kamma is not collective and enlightenment is possible?

From the poking around I've done with this question, it seems that Mahayanists and Theravadans describe collective kamma (for lack of a better term) the same way.

Best,
Drolma :namaste:
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:54 am

there was a lot of talk about this around the time of the big tsunami.
i dont buy into it. seems like a hindu thing...
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby mudra » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:39 am

Drolma wrote:
thecap wrote:Hi Drolma, interesting topic. Thanks.

Element wrote:If kamma was 'collective', enlightenment would probably be not possible.


Hi Element & all. Isn't that what the Mahayanists claim? Or is it just a choice whether one accepts 'collective kamma' and goes for the Bodhisatta-vows, or otherwise the Arahant path respectively? (Sorry, I'm still learning the diff between Theravada and Mahayana paths. Hope the questions are not misplaced.) Cheers, thecap.


Hi Thecap

I'm sorry, I'm having a little trouble understanding the question. You mean do Mahayanists claim that kamma is collective and enlightenment isn't possible? Or Kamma is not collective and enlightenment is possible?

From the poking around I've done with this question, it seems that Mahayanists and Theravadans describe collective kamma (for lack of a better term) the same way.

Best,
Drolma :namaste:


Hi Drolma,

Agreed. From what I have understood in the teachings I received from Tibetan lamas, the view of karma as regards this "collectivity" is not really different in these two schools - pretty much what Peter described above.

Like in the old expression "birds of a feather flock together" - but that doesn't mean when one bird gets shot down they all fall out of the sky. There is obviously still a range/spectrum of karmic ripenings possible even within a group of beings who have (individually) created the same causes.

Even if say all the passengers in a plane crash die, it is absurd to imagine that they would all end up reborn in the same place - which would be the consequence of an 'absolute' collective karma.

Best

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Re: Collective Kamma

Postby RAIN » Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:37 pm

just kamma accidental in here? i just post in here some worlds he...
many thing actualy procede whit kamma.. not just bad and wrong, i think ^^
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