Help me break down / understand this line from a book (please)

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chrism
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Help me break down / understand this line from a book (please)

Post by chrism »

From Bhikku Bodhi's "The noble eightfold path" in the Right View chapter:
Mundane right view involves a correct grasp of the law of kamma, the moral efficacy of action.
I don't get the use of the word efficacy there, my understanding of the word is preventing me from really understanding what he's saying.

For me, I would use 'efficacy' in a sentence like "the efficacy of that medication is really good.." I would substitute effectiveness for efficacy and feel that it's a close enough substitution. So, "the moral effectiveness of action".. How is action morally effective?

Is BB saying something like "the law of kamma, which is the ability of an action to produce an effect, in a moral sense" ?

Thanks, Peace,
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Help me break down / understand this line from a book (please)

Post by JamesTheGiant »

Yes, your understanding is good.
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cappuccino
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Re: Help me break down / understand this line from a book (please)

Post by cappuccino »

what is meant is… our ability to improve our life
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SDC
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Re: Help me break down / understand this line from a book (please)

Post by SDC »

I think you're in the ballpark.

Some additional food for thought:
A very common passage from the Suttas which describes that which is known as the ‘mundane’ Right View:

There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are spontaneously reborn beings; there are in the world good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.” (MN 117/iii,72)

This easily overlooked passage offers a very acute description of an authentic attitude of a puthujjana—the attitude of recognition and acknowledgment of the existence of things as phenomena (“there is…”).
...
Thus, whatever one’s experience is, whichever shape it might take—big or small, important or not, clear or ambiguous—that experience is there in its own phenomenological form. This by no means implies that such experience is necessarily understood, it simply means that it is recognized for what it is, even if that is as “something-which-is-not-understood”. This kind of ‘acknowledgement’ is the authenticity that we also find the existential philosophers often referring to. Together with authenticity, there comes the sense of the fundamental responsibility for one’s own existence which is a necessary prerequisite for a puthujjana’s ‘mundane’ Right View (which can then lead further onwards toward the ‘supramundane’ Right View—the view of the Path). The reason why this attitude is a necessary prerequisite is because only with this attitude will a puthujjana be able to understand that he does not understand, and by doing so enable himself for understanding.” The problem is, however, that if a common man denies that which is right in front of him in his day-to-day living, he denies the basic principles of his own experience. In other words he is denying the most immediate appearance of things. This results in phenomena not being seen at all. As long as this attitude persists that man is going to be deprived of the possibility of understanding the nature of the experience and consequently the nature of his own suffering.

- Ajahn N. Nyanamoli, Appearance and Existence
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WindDancer
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Re: Help me break down / understand this line from a book (please)

Post by WindDancer »

SDC wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:05 pm I think you're in the ballpark.

Some additional food for thought:
A very common passage from the Suttas which describes that which is known as the ‘mundane’ Right View:

There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are spontaneously reborn beings; there are in the world good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.” (MN 117/iii,72)

This easily overlooked passage offers a very acute description of an authentic attitude of a puthujjana—the attitude of recognition and acknowledgment of the existence of things as phenomena (“there is…”).
...
Thus, whatever one’s experience is, whichever shape it might take—big or small, important or not, clear or ambiguous—that experience is there in its own phenomenological form. This by no means implies that such experience is necessarily understood, it simply means that it is recognized for what it is, even if that is as “something-which-is-not-understood”. This kind of ‘acknowledgement’ is the authenticity that we also find the existential philosophers often referring to. Together with authenticity, there comes the sense of the fundamental responsibility for one’s own existence which is a necessary prerequisite for a puthujjana’s ‘mundane’ Right View (which can then lead further onwards toward the ‘supramundane’ Right View—the view of the Path). The reason why this attitude is a necessary prerequisite is because only with this attitude will a puthujjana be able to understand that he does not understand, and by doing so enable himself for understanding.” The problem is, however, that if a common man denies that which is right in front of him in his day-to-day living, he denies the basic principles of his own experience. In other words he is denying the most immediate appearance of things. This results in phenomena not being seen at all. As long as this attitude persists that man is going to be deprived of the possibility of understanding the nature of the experience and consequently the nature of his own suffering.

- Ajahn N. Nyanamoli, Appearance and Existence
:goodpost:

Thanks
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SDC
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Re: Help me break down / understand this line from a book (please)

Post by SDC »

WindDancer wrote: Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:17 am
SDC wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:05 pm ...
:goodpost:

Thanks
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char101
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Re: Help me break down / understand this line from a book (please)

Post by char101 »

I think you are focusing on a trivial point which does not matter.

Mundane wisdom = non supernatural wisdom or worldly wisdom.

Worldly wisdom is based on doing beneficial things (kusala), or in other words: kusala kamma. Kusala kamma is doing things like observing the 5 precepts, giving donation, helping others, helping yourself, etc. Also it is based on the belief that actions give consequences, thus there are good and bad actions which give good and bad results.

Supermundane wisdom = supernatural wisdom that lead to nibanna.

This is the wisdom about impermanence, suffering, and not-self.

But anyway, efficacy here means ability to produce result. Moral means there are good (kusala) and bad (akusala) kamma.
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