Karma vs luck

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Karma vs luck

Postby Middleway » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:14 pm

I was the victim of a stabbing a few weeks ago. It was an unprovoked attack by some Junkie.
I won't go right into the details but he stabbed me something like a screwdriver in front of my ear which traveled through my sinus's and exited through my pallet into my mouth.

I'm ok, he missed pretty much everything, all the major facial nerve's, blood vessels and my jugular vein. I could have so easily been permanent disfigured or dead. Here is a pic of the blood vessels and nerves of the face to give you an idea of how "lucky" I am. Click on facial nerve's if your interested to see the diagram

http://trachea.stanford.edu/imageatlas.html



I know the buddhist view is that I am working off my bad Karma by the misfortune of getting stabbed, but is there anything that relates to the incredible luck I had in coming off so lightly? I'm still quite shook up and angry at what he could have done to me I'm just trying to make some kind of sense of the whole incident. Maybe it is just blind good fortune and I should buy a lottery ticket as my doctor suggested :)
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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:47 pm

Ouch... glad you came out of that OK. I personally don't think it's useful to view the karma in that way. I would worry only about making good karma, and avoid doing bad karma... anything else is speculation. Doing it this way is actually good for practice.

That way, I don't really get more upset than is necessary when there's nothing coming out of the good karma I've been doing, and when the bad things are happening, I don't waste my time worrying about what bad karma I might've done in the past, whatever that might be. I think that these are based around delusion (the "I" did this, "I" did that, on "my" own, "I" deserve this), something that you want to avoid in practice.

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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby Ben » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:39 am

Greetings Middleway
Sorry to hear of your recent unprovoked attack but I am glad that you survived it.
Whatever happened was the result of the maturation of past kamma. Having said that, it doesn't absolve anyone from responsibility in the part they took in your attack. As for luck...my impression is that many Buddhists in Asian countries often conflate merit with luck. Perhaps its a translation issue as I don't think the Buddha ever talked about luck at all.
The important thing is that you survived. I hope it has given you a deep and abiding sense of samvega (spiritual urgency) to do the things necessary for your own liberaton.
kind regards

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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby cooran » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:34 am

Hello Middleway,

You may find this article by helpful, especially the section about ‘’kinds of kamma ''- esp. the section on the four categories of kamma.
Understanding the law of kamma
from Good, Evil and Beyond Kamma in the Buddha's Teaching by P. A. Payutto
http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/kamma1.htm

with metta
Chris
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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby David2 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:55 am

Even on the enlightened buddha who had not any kamma left there were some assassination atempts.

No matter if there is kamma left or not, everybody could die at any moment. Every material thing is impermanent.

But who dies? The material body. If you are enlightened, you will remain in nibbana at the time of death of your body. If you are not enlightened you will be reborn. "Death" exists only in material terms.
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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:07 am

Greetings Middleway,

Kamma is based on the fundamental misperception that there is a person/agent/soul who acts, and a person/agent/soul who experiences the fruition of those actions. Once this misperception is eradicated through the attainment of arahantship, someone is beyond the net of kamma, having seen through that which sustains it. Therefore, kamma does not operate outside of the person/agent/soul and therefore the attack from the junkie was their 'bad kamma' (i.e. unwholesome volitional activity) and nothing to do with your kamma. The only role your kamma and vipaka (mental resultant) had in the piece was that you regard what happened as something that happened to "you" and "you" suffer to that extent.

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: Karma vs luck

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:18 am

The Luckiest Man in the World? Or the unluckiest man?



retrofuturist wrote:Kamma is based on the fundamental misperception that there is a person/agent/soul who acts, and a person/agent/soul who experiences the fruition of those actions.

Kamma is just volition, and its result follows accordingly. Self-view is something entirely different. Whether someone is free from self-view (a Stream-winner), or entirely free from all pride and conceit (an Arahant), they still experience the fruition of kamma as vipāka.
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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby Dan74 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:23 am

Retro, could you provide some references/ arguments to support the view you've provided?

I don't think the literal approach to kamma is exactly right (and your point about the self-attribution in this literal kamma theory is a good one), but the actual view you've posited is what is considered a well-known fallacy in Zen. I wonder if it has some support in Theravada?
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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:21 am

Greetings bhante,
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Kamma is just volition, and its result follows accordingly. Self-view is something entirely different. Whether someone is free from self-view (a Stream-winner), or entirely free from all pride and conceit (an Arahant), they still experience the fruition of kamma as vipāka.

It is my belief that the commentators taught that way, but that the Buddha himself did not teach that an arahant is subject to vipaka.

Any examples I can find where it is taught that they are all derive from the commentaries... though of course I'm happy to hear examples that prove otherwise.

Adhering to the four great standards defined in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta however, I can't bring myself to accept these commentarial explanations without seeing the Buddhavacana they are purportedly rooted in.

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:42 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings bhante,
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Kamma is just volition, and its result follows accordingly. Self-view is something entirely different. Whether someone is free from self-view (a Stream-winner), or entirely free from all pride and conceit (an Arahant), they still experience the fruition of kamma as vipāka.

It is my belief that the commentators taught that way, but that the Buddha himself did not teach that an arahant is subject to vipaka.

Any examples I can find where it is taught that they are all derive from the commentaries... though of course I'm happy to hear examples that prove otherwise.

Adhering to the four great standards defined in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta however, I can't bring myself to accept these commentarial explanations without seeing the Buddhavacana they are purportedly rooted in.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Hi Retro,

what about Ven. Angulimala?
Angulimala Sutta
Then Ven. Angulimala, dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Angulimala became another one of the arahants.

Then Ven. Angulimala, early in the morning, having put on his robes and carrying his outer robe & bowl, went into Savatthi for alms. Now at that time a clod thrown by one person hit Ven. Angulimala on the body, a stone thrown by another person hit him on the body, and a potsherd thrown by still another person hit him on the body. So Ven. Angulimala — his head broken open and dripping with blood, his bowl broken, and his outer robe ripped to shreds — went to the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw him coming from afar and on seeing him said to him: "Bear with it, brahman! Bear with it! The fruit of the kamma that would have burned you in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, you are now experiencing in the here-&-now!"


best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.

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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:58 am

Greetings Acinteyyo,

acinteyyo wrote:what about Ven. Angulimala?

See earlier topic...

Do arahants discard vipaka/suffering?
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6382

... but if you don't feel like it, and would prefer a snapshot...

With the discarding of craving, kamma is discarded. With the discarding of kamma, suffering is discarded. Thus, with the ending of craving there is the ending of kamma; with the ending of kamma there is the ending of suffering."S.V.86 (S.19/450/123)

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:42 pm

Hi Retro,

hm... I read the topic but it's still not overall convincing. I will go on there viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6382&p=125395#p125395

best wishes, acinteyyo
Last edited by acinteyyo on Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.

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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby chownah » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:46 pm

Middleway,

Karma vs luck?
I have a fairly good idea about what karma is but I have no idea about what luck might be...can you give us a definition as to what you mean by "luck"?

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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:52 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Acinteyyo,

acinteyyo wrote:what about Ven. Angulimala?

See earlier topic.... . . .
With the discarding of craving, kamma is discarded. With the discarding of kamma, suffering is discarded. Thus, with the ending of craving there is the ending of kamma; with the ending of kamma there is the ending of suffering."S.V.86 (S.19/450/123)

Metta,
Retro. :)
With full awakening kamma is stopped, but if what you said is true, given the body is considered past kamma, according to the suttas, the arahant would die upon awakening. The quoted text, S.V.86, is not addressing the "fruit of kamma." It is simply stating there is no further action/choice driven by greed, hatred, and delusion.

The thread linked really does not address Angulimala. The Angulimala sutta clearly, straightforwardly refers to the fruit of kamma. No more new kamma, the conditioning of the old kamma still lingers, albeit modified by the awakening and what lead to it.
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: Karma vs luck

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:16 pm

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:With full awakening kamma is stopped, but if what you said is true, given the body is considered past kamma, according to the suttas, the arahant would die upon awakening.

I would suggest you're interpreting this notion of body ontologically, whereas I am not. If an ontological interpretation of body were correct, the meditator would, by your logic, die upon reaching the formless realms too. Clearly that is not so.

Consider this, from Nanananda's 18th Nibbana Sermon, "So the arahant lets go of his body, experiencing ambrosial death­lessness. As in the case of Venerable Dabba Mallaputta, he would sometimes cremate his own body without leaving any ashes. Out­wardly it might appear as an act of self-immolation, which in­deed is painful. But this is not so. Using his jhànic powers, he simply em­ploys the internal fire element to cremate the body he has already discarded." Evidently the good bhikkhu is not referring to the ontological body, for how could that already be discarded before "death" (short of astral projection, teleportation or somesuch)?

tiltbillings wrote:The quoted text, S.V.86, is not addressing the "fruit of kamma." It is simply stating there is no further action/choice driven by greed, hatred, and delusion.

I would suggest it is saying that suffering has ended, and all dukkha is the result of kamma.

tiltbillings wrote:The thread linked really does not address Angulimala. The Angulimala sutta clearly, straightforwardly refers to the fruit of kamma.

So you're suggesting that Angulimala's past kamma, caused another person to create new kamma (i.e. throw the clods)? That is of course the logical implication of your interpretation of the sutta... think quite carefully about whether you want to commit yourself to that conclusion... what propelled the clod(s) and caused it to hit Angulimala? Was it someone else's volitional activity, was it some variety of kammic gravitational vortex that propelled the clod(s) in his direction? Can one man's kamma be another man's vipaka? (If you wish to pick these questions up, maybe you could move the relevant posts over to the previously linked topic... I don't want to clog up this topic).

DN 15 wrote:From the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of sankharas

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby pulga » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:06 am

Middleway wrote:I know the buddhist view is that I am working off my bad Karma by the misfortune of getting stabbed, but is there anything that relates to the incredible luck I had in coming off so lightly?


Your stabbing may not have been due to kamma, cf. the Sivaka Sutta:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Certainly stabbings are considered opakkamikàni.
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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby pulga » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:40 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Middleway,

Kamma is based on the fundamental misperception that there is a person/agent/soul who acts, and a person/agent/soul who experiences the fruition of those actions. Once this misperception is eradicated through the attainment of arahantship, someone is beyond the net of kamma ...


"If one asserts: 'He who makes (suffering) feels (it): being one existent from the beginning, his suffering is of his own making,' then one arrives at eternalism. But if one asserts: 'One makes (suffering), another feels (it): being one existent crushed out by feeling, his suffering is of another's making,' then one arrives at annihilationism. Instead of resorting to either of these extremes, a Perfect One expounds the Dhamma by the middle way: ... (that is, by dependent arising and cessation)." SN 12:17 (Ven. Ñanamoli's translation)

It's as if for the arahant the very idea of a self,an agent, is inconceivable: something like a square circle or a concept that jars with way he experiences the world.
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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby Nibbida » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:25 pm

It's exceedingly rare that I disagree with Ben, but on this one I somewhat do (unless I'm misunderstanding him, which is very possible). According to this framework, it's potentially possible that this could be a result of past kamma, but as Ven. Payutto pointed out: "Pubbekatahetuvada: The belief that all happiness and suffering arise from previous kamma (Past-action determinism)." So it might and it might not be. The Buddha also said (Acintita Sutta) that in trying to figure out the workings of kamma will only drive ourselves nuts.

The good news (aside from you surviving with minimal injuries) is that knowing whether or not this is kamma is irrelevant. Any time we experience pain/distress with as much mindfulness, equanimity, & compassion, we can muster it's essentially causing purification. So no matter what the cause, benefit can be derived from it by applying those skills as best as one can manage. Eventually, applying those skills toward the anger you feel toward the person who did it would also cause purification.
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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby Jack » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:04 pm

My view is that kamma only operates within the Cycle of Dependent Origination. That is, kamma determines how we react to events not to the cause of events itself. A mugging is not due to kamma. One's reaction to that mugging is. Whether we suffer or not is due to kamma.

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Re: Karma vs luck

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:12 pm

:goodpost:

Well said.

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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