Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
steve19800
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:20 am

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by steve19800 »

acinteyyo wrote:

I don't know. The point I was trying to make is, that the mere arising of an unwholesome thought does not necessarily lead to an unwholesome action that bears an unwholesome fruit.
Maybe it's kamma but not very significant one, unless we dwell on it or cultivate those qualities then it is not impossible we also will carry those qualities to next life.
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 18160
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by mikenz66 »

Kamma can be mental, according to the stock sutta definition:
“Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, and intellect.
https://suttacentral.net/an6.63

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
lionking
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:28 pm

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by lionking »

steve19800 wrote:how can we really be sure that bad thoughts arise suddenly are not driven by intention?
Well, I can give examples.

Imagine you are trying to meditate. Here you are trying to focus on air leaving and entering your nostrils. Although your mind is like a monkey out of control. It wants to focus your thinking on encounters you had. It wants to focus your thinking on what groceries to purchase. You did not initiate these thoughts. There was no intention on your part to trigger these thought processors.

On the other hand there is intention behind any form of calculation, planning and imagination you conjure up. These are the thoughts that will bring the appropriate Vipaka.
grr ..
User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6552
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by Mkoll »

Perhaps investigating thoughts more closely may be helpful. What's one's intention behind thinking them? Are the thoughts tinged with a hindrance, e.g. doubt? What arises when one thinks in certain ways?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
User avatar
Subharo
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Yes they do.

Post by Subharo »

I appreciate everyone's responses above, however it is not unwholesome physical actions which can bring the worst resultants (as one might intuitively guess), but rather the Buddha explained that it is unwholesome mental actions, which can bring the worst resultants:

From MN 56 "Upāli, the Householder":
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn56
...
“Although, Venerable Sir, the Blessed One speaks thus, nevertheless bodily offence is certainly the most heinous.”

“What then do you think of this, householder? This (town of) Nālandā has flourished and prospered, has a vast population, and is crowded with men?”

“Yes, Venerable Sir, this (town of) Nālandā, it is true, has flourished and prospered, has a vast population, and is crowded with men.”

“And what then do you think, householder? Suppose someone were to come here with uplifted sword and say: ‘In one moment—no, in an instant, I will make a shambles—one single mass of flesh, of every living creature in this (town of) Nālandā.’

Do you think, householder, that it is really possible for that individual in one moment—no, in an instant, to make a shambles—one single mass of flesh, of every living creature in this (town of) Nālandā?”

“Even ten persons, Venerable Sir—no, twenty, thirty, forty, or even fifty persons, will not suffice! Then of what avail is one insignificant person.”

“What then do you think, householder? Suppose a Samaṇa or Brahmin, possessed of supernormal psychic powers and mastery of mind were to come here and say: ‘This (town of) Nālandā will I reduce to ashes by one thought of intense hatred.’

Do you think, householder, that it is really possible for such a one to reduce this Nālandā to ashes by one thought of intense hatred?”

“Even ten Nālandās, Venerable Sir—no, twenty, thirty, forty, or even fifty Nālandās, is that Samaṇa or Brahmin, possessed of supernormal psychic powers and mastery of mind, able to reduce to ashes by one thought of intense hatred! What, then, does one insignificant Nālandā avail?”
Basically, one must take into account the possibility of psychic powers, and how those powers could be wielded to do really, really big bad things. Then all of a sudden it becomes really important exactly how you wield and direct your mind.
Subharo Bhikkhu
"There is but one taste on this path, the taste of freedom" -The Buddha :buddha1:
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Yes, indeed

Post by daverupa »

:goodpost:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
coreycook950
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:33 pm

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by coreycook950 »

I learned this from Ajahn Chah:

Bad thoughts do not create bad karma.
Karma is volition...action...

However if you're having trouble with bad thoughts meditation helps a lot.
If you're meditating and you're still having intrusive bad thoughts, seek medical attention from a qualified professional.
It's just anxiety and there's medication for that.
User avatar
samseva
Posts: 2558
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by samseva »

coreycook950 wrote:I learned this from Ajahn Chah:

Bad thoughts do not create bad karma.
Karma is volition...action...
Thoughts are still kamma/volition/action of mind.
User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1695
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by acinteyyo »

samseva wrote:
coreycook950 wrote:I learned this from Ajahn Chah:

Bad thoughts do not create bad karma.
Karma is volition...action...
Thoughts are still kamma/volition/action of mind.
I beg to differ. Thinking is action of mind, a thought is the result not the action.
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.
User avatar
samseva
Posts: 2558
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by samseva »

acinteyyo wrote:
samseva wrote:Thoughts are still kamma/volition/action of mind.
I beg to differ. Thinking is action of mind, a thought is the result not the action.
Thought, as in the noun of the action of thinking. While you are thinking, a thought is created. Similar to a movement; while you are moving there is a movement.

Language isn't as precise as it would need to be.
User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1695
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by acinteyyo »

samseva wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
samseva wrote:Thoughts are still kamma/volition/action of mind.
I beg to differ. Thinking is action of mind, a thought is the result not the action.
Thought, as in the noun of the action of thinking. While you are thinking, a thought is created. Similar to a movement; while you are moving there is a movement.

Language isn't as precise as it would need to be.
Yes, I agree. However I find it important to point out the small difference. Creating the thought, thinking is action, creating the movement, moving is action, but the movement or the thought is a result of action, hence why it is said, intention is action.
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.
User avatar
samseva
Posts: 2558
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by samseva »

acinteyyo wrote:Yes, I agree. However I find it important to point out the small difference. Creating the thought, thinking is action, creating the movement, moving is action, but the movement or the thought is a result of action, hence why it is said, intention is action.
True, the actual movement and thought are due to the volition or kamma.
steve19800
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:20 am

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by steve19800 »

Thanks guys for the response and sorry for the late reply, I think I was lost in other threads.
seeker242 wrote:
If I had to guess I would say the initial thought of something like "I hate those people!" is just an effect of a mind that's filled with poison. So not necessarily "by itself" so to speak. It still have a cause. The cause is an unenlightened mind. "By itself" would mean that we didn't deliberately conjure it up on purpose. It just appears "by itself" because the mind has poison. But of course, no one intends for their mind to be poisoned. But that poison still has an effect.

:meditate:
lionking wrote: Well, I can give examples.

Imagine you are trying to meditate. Here you are trying to focus on air leaving and entering your nostrils. Although your mind is like a monkey out of control. It wants to focus your thinking on encounters you had. It wants to focus your thinking on what groceries to purchase. You did not initiate these thoughts. There was no intention on your part to trigger these thought processors.

On the other hand there is intention behind any form of calculation, planning and imagination you conjure up. These are the thoughts that will bring the appropriate Vipaka.
Okay. So we can't really control bad thoughts, as mentioned above "I hate those people" thought or bad thought that arises suddenly when we are meditating. But what about if when you are angry, bad thought arises suddenly e.g. punching someone that is not even related to your anger?
User avatar
lionking
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:28 pm

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by lionking »

steve19800 wrote:But what about if when you are angry, bad thought arises suddenly e.g. punching someone that is not even related to your anger?
Anger happens you feel you are not being fairly treated. So you can control anger. Tell yourself it could be a misunderstanding even if it appears in the negative.

If it happens again you can remove yourself from the situation. That way you can always control your anger and not allow things to escalate. Anger is an unsophisticated emotion. If you study it well you will realise all it does is harm you more than its intended target.
grr ..
SarathW
Posts: 15144
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Do bad thoughts create bad karma?

Post by SarathW »

In regard to OP please see the video in attached link.


http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=25233" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
Post Reply