Ven. Subhūti’s article wrote:The law and the Dhamma sometimes agree and sometimes they do not agree. As morality among the people deteriorates, so will the laws for its citizens made by those very same people.
In the accounts of
the Cakkavattī Sutta and Mahāsupina Jātaka, deterioration starts at the top with the rājā and his ministers and then works downwards.
Ven. Subhūti’s article wrote:Lastly, there may be ways where one keeps a precept, keeps the law, but it still leads one downwards. For instance, it is allowable in the third precept to go to a licensed government recognized brothel and hire a prostitute because the Madams or Pimps are considered the protectors and you have their permission if you pay. However, we know this is wrong and the Dhamma says this is wrong in a very famous paritta called The Parābhava Sutta (SN1.6)
"..he is seen with prostitutes..ṭhat is the cause for his downfall."
Yes, but ‘wrong’ in the sense of
imprudent, for the ‘downfall’ referred to here is loss of
wealth and reputation. But not ‘wrong’ in the sense of
being any kind of akusala kammapatha
Ven. Subhūti’s article wrote:Some countries which have a reputation for being moral and civil, like England, still have laws in place to prevent eloping to some degree. It should be noted that it is still illegal to elope immediately for the purpose of giving the parents a chance to stop the wedding.
But the Wikipedia entry that you quote in support of
this doesn’t in fact support it. It says, in effect, that the purpose of
the law (requiring the publishing of
banns before a
wedding) was to make bigamy difficult and that making elopement difficult was an unintended
Ven. Subhūti’s article wrote:Birth control is not a problem in Buddhism unless it is possible to destroy the fertilized egg, like "the morning after pill," IUD, or any other form that works after fertilization. Otherwise, oral contraception and other modern birth control methods, which are new in human history, helped women escape from being "barefoot and pregnant" as a result of sex. Equality of gender has developed as a direct result of birth control. If sex happens without a protector's consent, the guardians will be burdened for support if pregnancy occurs. Not getting pregnant is a freedom for women. Melinda Gates of "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation," has made injectable contraception availability one of the organization's main priorities for women.
So, sexual kamma is fairly strong. If one engages in sexual behavior, and both of the parties are fertile (and most are), a baby will result.
This looks like a non sequitur
to me. I don’t dispute that “sexual kamma” (i.e., the akusala kammapatha of
sexual misconduct) is strong, but this doesn’t seem to logically follow from anything that you’ve stated in the preceding paragraph in which nothing at all has been said about sexual misconduct.
Ven. Subhūti’s article wrote:If you are not willing to get married and you are taking on multiple partners in your adult life, you will develop a habit: a habitual kamma will result. There are two types of kamma that are very powerful, heavy kamma and habitual kamma. Heavy kamma may be something like killing with first degree murder, or donating an extremely large donation.
In the Abhidhammatthavibhāvinī
(and in Pa-Auk Sayadaw’s book that you recommended to Doodoot) “heavy kamma”, when it’s akusala, refers to patricide, matricide, etc., along with the niyata
wrong views that deny kammic efficacy, etc. When it’s kusala, it refers to attainment of
the eight samāpattis
If the act of taking life can be considered heavy kamma, then what could be said about the act that causes the giving of life? It has been said that:
"Even if one should carry about one's mother on one shoulder and one's father on the other, for a lifespan of 100 years...while doing...one still would not have done enough for one's parents, nor would one have repaid them."
(AN 2.4.2, Translation by Ven. Bodhi)
But the sutta then continues:
“For what reason? Parents are of great help to their children; they bring them up, feed them, and show them the world.”
And so contrary to what the Tibetans are always telling us, it would seem that the debt of
gratitude is not incurred merely through our parents’ having begotten us (which, let’s face it, is not a
terribly remarkable feat – any couple with properly-functioning reproductive organs could manage as much) but rather through the nourishing and nurturing they have given us.
The sutta then says:
“But, bhikkhus, if, when one’s parents lack faith, one encourages, settles, and establishes them in faith; if, when one’s parents are immoral, one encourages, settles, and establishes them in virtuous behaviour; if, when one’s parents are miserly, one encourages, settles, and establishes them in generosity; if, when one’s parents are unwise, one encourages, settles, and establishes them in wisdom: in such a way, one has done enough for one’s parents, repaid them, and done more than enough for them.”
So, taken as a
whole, the sutta may be summarised:
“The debt children owe to their parents is a
great one – too great to be repaid even by carrying them around on one’s shoulders for a
hundred years. It can
, however, be repaid in another way, namely, by establishing one’s parents in saddhā
And so the sutta’s central purpose appears to be that of
rhetorically elaborate encomium to saddhā
: “So great are these four things, that if you can establish your parents in them then you’ll have done them an even greater favour than carrying them around on your shoulders for a
And so, bhante, in taking the sutta as being concerned with “the kamma of
giving life,” you are reading it as the Tibetans would read it (i.e., as a
maudlin homily on filial piety, along with the favourite Tibetan cliché of
the “precious human rebirth”) and not as it is clearly meant to be read.
Ven. Subhūti’s article wrote:In Buddhism, monks have standard Pāli phrases that are memorized. In one of these stanzas, we say kamma is the only thing you will inherit from life to life.
"It is actions that I own, it is actions that I am heir to, it is actions that I am born from, actions are my kinsfolk, actions are my refuge ... whatever actions I perform, whether good or bad, to that I will be the heir"
But the passage doesn’t say that “kamma is the only
thing we will inherit from life to life. It says that we shall be the heirs of
our kamma, not that we shall be the heirs of
our kamma and nothing else
. If you were the heir to your kamma and nothing else, then the ripening of
some past kusala kamma might have caused you to encounter the Buddha’s teaching but it wouldn’t have caused you to respond to it in the way that you have. For example, if it wasn’t for natural decisive support condition (pakatūpanissaya-paccaya
) you’d have been incapable of
any sort of
response beyond that of
flopping about like a
beached sea cucumber.