No right or wrong (karma)

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alfa
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No right or wrong (karma)

Post by alfa » Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:17 pm

:namaste:

Whenever people talk of karma, they turn it into a reward/punishment theory. Which in turn would imply: you do the right thing, you get good results. Conversely, you do something bad and you get bad results.

Maybe there's no such thing. Maybe people who do evil get good results (wealth, fame etc.) and people who do good suffer (disease, poverty). And I mean in the context of one or many lives - it doesn't matter. My point is: karma isn't as straightforward as good deed leads to good result. I feel karma is just unfinished business, nothing to do with right/wrong, good/evil.

This would explain why we're here in samsara - due to karma, we have unfinished business. So we keep coming back. So karma = unfinished business, nothing more. Meaning, a very good person could experience bad results life after life, whereas an evil person could experience good result life after all. There's no reason to believe karma is some kind of moral force.

Instead, we can see karma as unfinished business - actions producing more actions, desires producing more desires, thus keeping us trapped here. :anjali:

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cappuccino
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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by cappuccino » Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:36 pm

heaven & hell

:shrug:

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Nicolas
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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by Nicolas » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:40 pm

alfa wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:17 pm
Whenever people talk of karma, they turn it into a reward/punishment theory. Which in turn would imply: you do the right thing, you get good results. Conversely, you do something bad and you get bad results.

Maybe there's no such thing. Maybe people who do evil get good results (wealth, fame etc.) and people who do good suffer (disease, poverty). And I mean in the context of one or many lives - it doesn't matter. My point is: karma isn't as straightforward as good deed leads to good result.
The suttas are very clear, actions lead to results, good action leads to good result, bad action leads to bad result.

"There really are evil actions, there really is the result of misconduct." (MN 136)

"Beings are owners of their actions, heirs of their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and have their actions as their arbitrator. Action is what differentiates beings in terms of baseness & excellence." (MN 135)

"There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world." is part of (mundane) right view.


P.S. more detail below:
Mahākammavibhaṅga Sutta (MN 136) wrote: There is the case where a certain person is one who takes life, takes what is not given [steals], engages in illicit sex, lies, speaks divisively, speaks abusively, engages in idle chatter; is covetous, malevolent, & holds wrong view. With the breakup of the body, after death, he reappears in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell.

But there is also the case where a certain person is one who takes life, takes what is not given, engages in illicit sex, lies, speaks divisively, speaks abusively, engages in idle chatter; is covetous, malevolent, & holds wrong view, (yet) with the breakup of the body, after death, he reappears in a good destination, a heavenly world.

[...]

Now, Ānanda, in the case where the contemplative or brahman says, ‘So there really are evil actions, there really is the result of misconduct,’ I allow him that. When he says, ‘For I saw the case where a person who took life… & held wrong view, with the breakup of the body, after death, has reappeared in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell,’ I allow him that, too. But when he says, ‘Anyone who takes life… & hold wrong view: They all, on the breakup of the body, after death, reappear in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell,’ I don’t allow him that. And when he says, ‘Whoever knows this, knows rightly; whoever knows otherwise, their knowledge is wrong,’ I don’t allow him that. When, insisting through obstinacy & grasping right there on what was seen by himself, known by himself, understood by himself, he states: ‘Only this is true. Everything otherwise is worthless,’ I don’t allow him that, either. Why is that? Because the Tathāgata’s knowledge with regard to the greater analysis of action is otherwise.

Now, Ānanda, in the case where the contemplative or brahman says, ‘So there really are no evil actions, there really is no result of misconduct,’ I don’t allow him that. But when he says, ‘For I saw the case where a person who took life… & held wrong view, with the breakup of the body, after death, has reappeared in a good destination, a heavenly world,’ I do allow him that. But when he says, ‘Anyone who takes life… & hold wrong view: They all, on the breakup of the body, after death, reappear in a good destination, a heavenly world,’ I don’t allow him that. And when he says, ‘Whoever knows this, knows rightly. Whoever knows otherwise, their knowledge is wrong,’ I don’t allow him that. When, insisting through obstinacy & grasping right there on what was seen by himself, known by himself, understood by himself, he states: ‘Only this is true. Everything otherwise is worthless,’ I don’t allow him that, either. Why is that? Because the Tathāgata’s knowledge with regard to the greater analysis of action is otherwise.

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Sam Vara
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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:50 pm

alfa wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:17 pm
:namaste:

Whenever people talk of karma, they turn it into a reward/punishment theory. Which in turn would imply: you do the right thing, you get good results. Conversely, you do something bad and you get bad results.

Maybe there's no such thing. Maybe people who do evil get good results (wealth, fame etc.) and people who do good suffer (disease, poverty). And I mean in the context of one or many lives - it doesn't matter. My point is: karma isn't as straightforward as good deed leads to good result. I feel karma is just unfinished business, nothing to do with right/wrong, good/evil.

This would explain why we're here in samsara - due to karma, we have unfinished business. So we keep coming back. So karma = unfinished business, nothing more. Meaning, a very good person could experience bad results life after life, whereas an evil person could experience good result life after all. There's no reason to believe karma is some kind of moral force.

Instead, we can see karma as unfinished business - actions producing more actions, desires producing more desires, thus keeping us trapped here. :anjali:
Not everyone sees kamma as being a theory about rewards and punishments; indeed, introductory accounts of kamma often spend time debunking that approach, and showing how it is based on a misunderstanding. It's worth noting from the outset that the claim that "if you do the right thing then you get good results ...(etc.)" does not equate to a claim that those results are rewards or punishments. If we do the right thing regarding our diet or medical treatment then we get good results, but they are not normally considered to be a reward for that action being good.

The Buddha acknowledged that people who do good things often suffer, and vice versa.
there is also the case where a certain person takes life... holds wrong views [yet], on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the good destinations, in the heavenly world
(MN 136)

But to claim, as you appear to do, that there is no link between the ethical quality of the kamma and the vipaka associated with it does appear to go against what the Buddha said on several occasions:
These four types of kamma have been understood, realized, & made known by me. Which four? There is kamma that is dark with dark result; kamma that is bright with bright result; kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result; and kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma.

"And what is kamma that is dark with dark result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates an injurious bodily fabrication... an injurious verbal fabrication... an injurious mental fabrication... He rearises in an injurious world where he is touched by injurious contacts... He experiences feelings that are exclusively painful, like those of the beings in hell. This is called kamma that is dark with dark result.

"And what is kamma that is bright with bright result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates an uninjurious bodily fabrication... an uninjurious verbal fabrication... an uninjurious mental fabrication... He rearises in an uninjurious world where he is touched by uninjurious contacts... He experiences feelings that are exclusively pleasant, like those of the Ever-radiant Devas. This is called kamma that is bright with bright result.

"And what is kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates a bodily fabrication that is injurious & uninjurious... a verbal fabrication that is injurious & uninjurious... a mental fabrication that is injurious & uninjurious... He rearises in an injurious & uninjurious world where he is touched by injurious & uninjurious contacts... He experiences injurious & uninjurious feelings, pleasure mingled with pain, like those of human beings, some devas, and some beings in the lower realms. This is called kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result.

"And what is kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma? The intention right there to abandon this kamma that is dark with dark result... this kamma that is bright with bright result... this kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result. This is called kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma."
AN 4.232.

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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by binocular » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:23 pm

alfa wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:17 pm
Whenever people talk of karma, they turn it into a reward/punishment theory. Which in turn would imply: you do the right thing, you get good results. Conversely, you do something bad and you get bad results.
Put that simplistically, that's pop karma, for example.

It's a kind of simplistic, tit-for-tat idea of justice. Why do some people like it? Perhaps because it satisfies their thirst for justice, and specifically, their thirst for justice being on their side, in their favor.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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seeker242
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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by seeker242 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:53 pm

alfa wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:17 pm
My point is: karma isn't as straightforward as good deed leads to good result.
But it is just that simple.
"'I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir'.. AN 5.57.
How is precisely ripens and when, that is what is not simple. The fact that it does not always immediately ripen, or even is this lifetime, is what accounts for good results for bad people and bad results for good people. Good actions always have good results at some point in the future. Bad actions always have bad results at some point in the future. AKA: "Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir".
"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.— AN 6.63
A good person (now) having some bad disease, can simply be of the 3rd sort, which is why the whole notion of kamma simply does not work when looking from the perspective of only one lifetime. You have no idea how the currently good person was behaving in their last lifetime, or before that. Same with the currently bad person.

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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by sunnat » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:02 pm

There are also the deeds of mind.

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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by santa100 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:05 pm

alfa wrote:right or wrong (karma)
Kamma's more like action and re-action. Actions that causes pains and sufferings will lead to re-actions that brings pains and suffering in return. So you're right to a certain degree, kamma doesn't care about conceptual notions of right/wrong, moral/immoral, but if one creates pains and suffering, it's inevitable that they will come back and bite him at some point in the future, could be this life, could be subsequent lives.

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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by Zom » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:58 pm

There are 4 types of kamma, as Buddha says.

First one is white kamma, strong good kamma with strong good results such as rebirth in heavens.
Second is black kamma, strong bad one with bad results such as rebirth in lower realms and even hell.
Third is intermediate kamma, which normally leads to human realm.
Fourth is a special kamma when one intentionally practises Noble Eightfold Path (starting with intentional forming of right views). This kamma leads to arahantship with ending of all kamma (upon the final liberation).

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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by 2600htz » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:57 pm

Hello:

I think the confusion is because the Buddha explained the subject in two ways.

1)Generally speaking wholesome actions lead to pleasant results, and unwholesome actions lead to unpleasant results.
2)Sometimes wholesome actions lead to unpleasant results. And unwholesome action to pleasant results.

Examples:

a)If you step on a splinter with your foot, and you go to the doctor, he is going to pull it out. While pulling it out, in the here and now you will experience unpleasant result. But in the future it will be beneficial.

b)Or you can do a very good deed that in the future will make you very beautiful. But because of being very beautiful you will indulge in sensuality. Causing some sex addiction.

So its not linear, its messy, but there is no way around it, wholesome leads to pleasant either in the long run or in the close future.

Regards.

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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by alfa » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:36 am

Thanks for all your replies.

I think some of them were too hasty and didn't bother to understand it fully.

So here I go again:

1) Consider nature. No moral dimension. Lion kills zebra.
2) Consider human society. No moral dimension. But we've invented morality as part of our evolution, to maintain order in society, to prevent conflict. In short, morality is just a practical tool - you don't hurt me, I don't hurt you. There's no right or wrong, good or evil.
3) From the above, let's say there's no moral dimension at all anywhere in nature, even in human societies.
4) Consider karma. Actions lead to consequences. But from the above three points, we conclude there's no good or evil, no morality. So an action, such as killing (which in the eyes of society is bad), could lead you to taking birth in a wealthy family (which in the eyes of society is good). An action, such as feeding the poor (which in the eyes of society is good) may lead you to becoming poor yourself (which in the eyes of society is bad).

In short, Karma is simply actions leading to consequences - and since there's no moral dimension - those consequences are going to be random. Meaning, 'good' won't necessarily lead to good, 'bad' won't necessarily lead to bad. Because both 'good' and 'bad' are our inventions. Not something intrinsic to nature. So if we think of karma as a natural law (and nature has no moral dimension), why would it obey human notions of good and evil?

Conclusion:
Karma is not good or bad. It's excess baggage that we carry. It keeps us wandering in samsara. So instead of thinking of good karma or bad, we can think of ALL karma as a nuisance, a burden we carry. So dropping it would mean doing actions only out of compulsion (not out of motive, even good motive).

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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by sunnat » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:51 am

sunnat wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:02 pm
There are also the deeds of mind.
There are funda mental consequences to killing that belong to one. The fruit and its offspring follow one. Suffering irrespective of anything outside. Remorse, agitation, pain.

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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by seeker242 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:50 am

alfa wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:36 am
Thanks for all your replies.

I think some of them were too hasty and didn't bother to understand it fully.

So here I go again:

1) Consider nature. No moral dimension. Lion kills zebra.
2) Consider human society. No moral dimension.
There already is a moral dimension. Taking birth in either of those realms, to begin with, is a consequence of good or bad kamma to begin with.
Conclusion:
Karma is not good or bad. It's excess baggage that we carry. It keeps us wandering in samsara.
Partly true. It's excess baggage for sure, but there is certainly good and bad according to what the Buddha taught. If you do much bad kamma, you will be suffering much in the lower realms, where you will have no chance of escaping it. If you want to escape samsara, you can't just go around doing whatever. You must do good and avoid evil, otherwise you will never escape samsara. Bad is called bad because it keeps you in samsara. Good is called good because it helps you get out of it.

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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by pegembara » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:32 am

This is something that I can relate to.
"Now what, monks, is old kamma? The eye is to be seen as old kamma, fabricated & willed, capable of being felt. The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The intellect is to be seen as old kamma, fabricated & willed, capable of being felt. This is called old kamma.

"And what is new kamma? Whatever kamma one does now with the body, with speech, or with the intellect: This is called new kamma.

"And what is the cessation of kamma? Whoever touches the release that comes from the cessation of bodily kamma, verbal kamma, & mental kamma: This is called the cessation of kamma.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
All that is experienced is considered old 'kamma'. All actions -physical/verbal/mental consider as new 'kamma'.
Actions can be skilful and unskilful with the corresponding results. We are talking about mental states and not actual physical health and wealth.
1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: No right or wrong (karma)

Post by Nicolas » Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:14 am

alfa wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:36 am
[...]
Interesting thought process, but completely antithetical to the Buddha’s teaching.
(Except maybe the last part where the kamma leading to bhava is a burden.)

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