Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

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Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby Sati1 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:58 pm

Hello,

The Abhidhamma states that kamma can ripen in any future lifetime (indefinitely effective kamma, aparapariyavedaniya). So suppose that somebody is living after the lifetime when a kamma was created but before the lifetime when that kamma is to ripen. They discover the Path, go forth, let go of all cravings. Could they attain enlightenment in that lifetime, or would they have to wait until their past kamma has been "paid off"? If the latter is the case, then that would mean that enlightenment is not available to everyone. Is this indeed the case, or am I missing something here?

Thank you,
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Good question Sati1!

The introduction, and text, of this sutta may be helpful:
MN 101 Devadaha Sutta

The Buddha refutes a Jain theory of kamma, which claims that one's present experience is determined solely by one's actions in past lives, and that the effects of past unskillful actions can be "burned away" through austerity practices. The Buddha here outlines one of his most important teachings on kamma: that it is both the results of past deeds and present actions that shape one's experience of the present. It is precisely this interaction of present and past that opens up the very possibility of Awakening.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

As I understand it, the essential point is that full awakening renders past kamma (largely) irrelevant. (Largely because the results can still ripen in this life, but there will be no further becoming.)

:anjali:
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Re: Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby culaavuso » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:35 pm

It's perhaps helpful to note that through unbinding there is the end of becoming:

Ud 3.10
Ud 3.10: Loka Sutta wrote:For the monk unbound
through lack of clinging/sustenance,
there's no further becoming.


Also, in AN 3.76 there is an analogy describing becoming as the result of a relationship between kamma, consciousness, and craving.
AN 3.76: Bhava Sutta wrote:Thus kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. The consciousness of living beings hindered by ignorance & fettered by craving is established in/tuned to a refined property. Thus there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. This is how there is becoming.


Consciousness and craving are among the things ended through the noble eightfold path, as shown in the presentation of the four noble truths in terms of dependent origination that is seen at SN 12.65
SN 12.65: Nagara Sutta wrote: I have directly known birth ... existence ... clinging ... .craving ... feeling ... contact ... the six sense bases .... name-and-form ... consciousness ... volitional formations, their origin, their cessation, and the way leading to their cessation.


Thus it can be said that a field alone can not ripen into becoming if there is no seed and no moisture present.
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Re: Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby santa100 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:38 pm

MN 86 shows Ven. Angulimala attaining arahantship after laying down his sword:
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!" ~~ http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html ~~
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Re: Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby Mkoll » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:57 pm

Being beaten, even half to death, doesn't sound nearly as bad as roasting in hell for thousands of years. Perhaps, and this is an inference derived from that passage, the arahant experiences all the fruit of their past kamma that has yet to ripen but only to a much, much lesser degree.

:anjali:
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Re: Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby culaavuso » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:05 pm

Mkoll wrote:experiences all the fruit of their past kamma that has yet to ripen but only to a much, much lesser degree.


AN 3.99
AN 3.99: Lonaphala Sutta wrote:"Suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into a small amount of water in a cup. What do you think? Would the water in the cup become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?"

"Yes, lord. Why is that? There being only a small amount of water in the cup, it would become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink."

"Now suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into the River Ganges. What do you think? Would the water in the River Ganges become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?"

"No, lord. Why is that? There being a great mass of water in the River Ganges, it would not become salty because of the salt crystal or unfit to drink."

"In the same way, there is the case where a trifling evil deed done by one individual [the first] takes him to hell; and there is the case where the very same sort of trifling deed done by the other individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.

'Now, a trifling evil act done by what sort of individual takes him to hell? There is the case where a certain individual is undeveloped in the body, [2] undeveloped in virtue, undeveloped in mind [i.e., painful feelings can invade the mind and stay there], undeveloped in discernment: restricted, small-hearted, dwelling with suffering. A trifling evil act done by this sort of individual takes him to hell.

'Now, a trifling evil act done by what sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment? There is the case where a certain individual is developed in the body,[3] developed in virtue, developed in mind [i.e., painful feelings cannot invade the mind and stay there], developed in discernment: unrestricted, large-hearted, dwelling with the immeasurable. A trifling evil act done by this sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.
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Re: Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby Mkoll » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:43 pm

Hi culaavuso,

If we're to trust the chronology of the Angulimala Sutta, Ven. Angulimala attained arahantship before he was attacked.

I think that the passage you quoted is talking about the one in higher training because an arahant cannot perform an intentionally evil act, even a trifling one. Or am I mistaken in thinking this is an attribute of an arahant?

:anjali:
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James
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Re: Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby culaavuso » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:35 pm

Mkoll wrote:If we're to trust the chronology of the Angulimala Sutta, Ven. Angulimala attained arahantship before he was attacked.

I think that the passage you quoted is talking about the one in higher training because an arahant cannot perform an intentionally evil act, even a trifling one.


I believe you are correct about the chronology being different. The passage I quoted does in fact mention the performance of an evil act, not only the experience of the result.

The quoted passage from Lonaphala Sutta seems to only discuss the sort of kamma that arises here and now, although it seems that other parts of the sutta support the interpretation that it applies to the other two sorts of kamma arising at a later time. I read the passage as saying that the reason for the difference is because of the difference in the way that the feeling arising as a result of the action influences the mind. In Angulimala's case, his mind was developed before the arising of the result and so the experience of the result was influenced accordingly. It doesn't seem that this sutta claims that all of his past kamma would be eliminated in this way, but it does seem to suggest that whatever results arise will not lead to an unpleasant outcome. The previous quotes about the relationship of kamma, consciousness, craving, and becoming seem to allow the end of rebirth without the need of completely exhausting kamma.

Another quote from AN 3.99 that seems to support this reading is:
AN 3.99: Lonaphala Sutta wrote:Monks, for anyone who says, 'In whatever way a person makes kamma, that is how it is experienced,' there is no living of the holy life, there is no opportunity for the right ending of stress. But for anyone who says, 'When a person makes kamma to be felt in such & such a way, that is how its result is experienced,' there is the living of the holy life, there is the opportunity for the right ending of stress.


AN 6.63
AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.


Also of interest is that Thanissaro Bhikkhu's notes point out that "developed in body, virtue, mind" implies that these resultant feelings do not invade the mind and stay there, referencing MN 36
MN 36: Maha-Saccaka Sutta wrote:The Blessed One said, "And how is one undeveloped in body and undeveloped in mind? There is the case where a pleasant feeling arises in an uneducated run-of-the-mill person. On being touched by the pleasant feeling, he becomes impassioned with pleasure, and is reduced to being impassioned with pleasure. His pleasant feeling ceases. With the cessation of the pleasant feeling there arises a painful feeling. On being touched with the painful feeling, he sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. When that pleasant feeling had arisen in him, it invaded his mind and remained because of his lack of development of the body. When that painful feeling had arisen in him, it invaded his mind and remained because of his lack of development of the mind. This is how one is undeveloped in body and undeveloped in mind.

"And how is one developed in body and developed in mind? There is the case where a pleasant feeling arises in a well-educated disciple of the noble ones. On being touched by the pleasant feeling, he doesn't become impassioned with pleasure, and is not reduced to being impassioned with pleasure. His pleasant feeling ceases. With the cessation of the pleasant feeling there arises a painful feeling. On being touched with the painful feeling, he doesn't sorrow, grieve, or lament, beat his breast or becomes distraught. When that pleasant feeling had arisen in him, it didn't invade his mind and remain because of his development of the body. When that painful feeling had arisen in him, it didn't invade his mind and remain because of his development of the mind. This is how one is developed in body and developed in mind."
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Re: Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby Mkoll » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:43 pm

Thanks for your post, culaavuso.

culaavuso wrote:The previous quotes about the relationship of kamma, consciousness, craving, and becoming seem to allow the end of rebirth without the need of completely exhausting kamma.

This is my understanding of it as well.

:anjali:
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Re: Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby Sati1 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:53 pm

Wow, thanks for the wonderful passages! It seems then that I was siding with the view of the Niganthas :) your explanations make sense - kamma requires craving to ripen, so that if craving is extinguished now (and consciousness), any past kamma just dries out. From the Angulimala Sutta it also seems like the time when kamma ripens can change depending on present action. The power of present action in transforming old kamma is truly encouraging.

Thank you!

:anjali:
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Indefinitely effective kamma and Enlightenment

Postby SarathW » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:05 pm

:goodpost:

Indefinitely Effective Kamma:

No person is exempt from this class of Kamma. Even the
Buddhas and Arahants may reap the effects of their past
Kamma.

Page 281

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddh ... gsurw6.pdf
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