Karma and Intent

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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alfa
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Karma and Intent

Post by alfa » Sun May 12, 2019 3:20 am

:namaste:

Suppose you do a good deed, let's say give money to the needy. Let's say you do that not because you care about the poor but because you want to accrue good karma.

Now we have two problems:

1) You've done a good deed. A poor man is happy, thanks to you.
2) You're selfish because of that very deed (since you only want good karma)

So what will be the consequence of this act? Will good results come to you because you've done a good deed. Or will bad results come to you because you've done with a good deed with selfish intent?

:anjali:

chownah
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Re: Karma and Intent

Post by chownah » Sun May 12, 2019 4:06 am

I think you will find an answer in the Dana Sutta:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
chownah

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Akashad
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Re: Karma and Intent

Post by Akashad » Sun May 12, 2019 4:06 am

In not a buddhist scholar,but I'm pretty sure if you do a good deed because you know it will accrue merit your actually doing it right because your having faith in cause and effect so you are performing merit with the faculty of wisdom.

I think boddhisatvas perform merit regardless of who gets it, unskillfull people , etc because their main goal is to perfect Paramis not to score the highest return.For example,if I had to perform merit I'd think who would be most suitable and who would be a field of merit and I'd meditate first so that my own mind is pure and when pure meets pure you get a good return and I do it knowing that I will get a good return.

But I avoid things like feeling very like greedy like I'm going to perform merit so I can win the lottery which I have won a couple of tiny amounts lol but it feels very off you know performing merit for really greedy requests Its like you can't bring yourself to even do that.But always perform merit even if you think your doing it for greedy reasons it's way better to give than not give. :candle: :broke:

chownah
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Re: Karma and Intent

Post by chownah » Sun May 12, 2019 5:52 am

Akashad wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:06 am
I think boddhisatvas perform merit regardless of who gets it, unskillfull people , etc because their main goal is to perfect Paramis not to score the highest return.
In that case it seems that scoring progress towards perfecting paramis is what for them constitutes scoring the highest return.
chownah

alfa
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Location: India

Re: Karma and Intent

Post by alfa » Sun May 12, 2019 6:07 am

chownah wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:06 am
I think you will find an answer in the Dana Sutta:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
chownah
Thanks. It says 'ornament for the mind'. Any idea what that means?

santa100
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Re: Karma and Intent

Post by santa100 » Sun May 12, 2019 4:56 pm

alfa wrote:So what will be the consequence of this act? Will good results come to you because you've done a good deed.
Sure, it's still a good deed that helps lessening the suffering of another human being, though the fruit probably won't be as great as one done out of more pure and wholesome intent.
Thanks. It says 'ornament for the mind'. Any idea what that means?
Ven. Bodhi's note citing Comy's explanation in "Numerical Discourses":
All three editions have cittala?karacittaparikkharattham danam deti. See 7:52, where Ce has cittalankaram cittaparikkharanti danam deti. Mp: "For the purpose of ornamenting and equipping the mind with serenity and insight."

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Jerafreyr
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Re: Karma and Intent

Post by Jerafreyr » Sun May 12, 2019 6:23 pm

#1 & 2 are not problems. It's like the desire to get rid of desire. :clap:

pegembara
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Re: Karma and Intent

Post by pegembara » Mon May 13, 2019 7:07 am

alfa wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 3:20 am
:namaste:

Suppose you do a good deed, let's say give money to the needy. Let's say you do that not because you care about the poor but because you want to accrue good karma.

Now we have two problems:

1) You've done a good deed. A poor man is happy, thanks to you.
2) You're selfish because of that very deed (since you only want good karma)

So what will be the consequence of this act? Will good results come to you because you've done a good deed. Or will bad results come to you because you've done with a good deed with selfish intent?

:anjali:
The poor will be grateful to you. Your reputation improves and you should rejoice because you have done something good. What bad result do you expect?

However, if you expect people to be grateful and to praise you for this but that didn't happen then you might have a degree of dukkha. On the other hand, if you give without self-interest, there is no dukkha.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

Virgo
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Re: Karma and Intent

Post by Virgo » Mon May 13, 2019 8:08 pm

I am not sure that it addresses your question specifically, but this is still a good read on Kamma: An Introduction to Kamma.

:namaste: Kevin
The Hunger Site

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D1W1
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Re: Karma and Intent

Post by D1W1 » Thu May 16, 2019 10:06 am

alfa wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 3:20 am
:namaste:

Suppose you do a good deed, let's say give money to the needy. Let's say you do that not because you care about the poor but because you want to accrue good karma.

Now we have two problems:

1) You've done a good deed. A poor man is happy, thanks to you.
2) You're selfish because of that very deed (since you only want good karma)

So what will be the consequence of this act? Will good results come to you because you've done a good deed. Or will bad results come to you because you've done with a good deed with selfish intent?

:anjali:
You got both wholesome and unwholesome kamma, but they're not necessarily ripening at the same time. Both bad kamma and good kamma are part of samsara. Hope this helps :anjali:

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bridif1
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Re: Karma and Intent

Post by bridif1 » Thu May 16, 2019 10:28 am

pegembara wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 7:07 am
The poor will be grateful to you. Your reputation improves and you should rejoice because you have done something good. What bad result do you expect?

However, if you expect people to be grateful and to praise you for this but that didn't happen then you might have a degree of dukkha. On the other hand, if you give without self-interest, there is no dukkha.
Hi Pegembara!

Good points!
Someone might say that rejoicing for the good deed or trying to eradicate greed through giving could be self-interest.
To those, I'd say that self-interest is the interest for making conceit stronger, and making oneself feel superior for doing such deeds.

Kind regards!

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Dan74-MkII
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Re: Karma and Intent

Post by Dan74-MkII » Thu May 16, 2019 11:28 am

I think even for deluded wordlings, the motivation for doing good is a mix, with some of it possibly true generosity with no self-cherishing. Especially in extreme situations, some people truly shine with selfless giving.

And for practitioners, it seems to me that to the extent there is self-cherishing or any sort of selfish aims, the kamma will be mixed.

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