Remorse or regret as fruits of kamma

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Ripser
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Remorse or regret as fruits of kamma

Post by Ripser » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:19 pm

Dear friends,
I'm working my way through the Abhidhammic system but I find the materials available in English rather dry and difficult, even when they are supposed to be introductory (the most "narrative" I know of are the Abhidhamma Studies of Nyanaponika Thera). I guess this is due to the traditional style of learning, centered on lists, classifications and recitation, which I probably should be following instead of the modern quick-comprehension, overall-glimpse style. (It’s never late, I guess…) There is one question for which I have found no clear answer in my books of reference on the Abhidhamma, namely Buddha Abhidhamma by Mehm Tin Monand and the Abhidhammattha-sangaha edition by Bhikkhu Bodhi and Mahāthera Nārada (Pariyatti Ed., 2012).

My doubts are related to the resultant rootless consciousness (pali: vipāka-ahetuka-cittāni).First of all, let’s refresh what this types of consciousness are.

According to the Theravada scholastic tradition, there are 15 resultant rootless sense-sphere cittas (states of consciousness): resultant (vipāka) here means that they correspond to kammic fruition, and rootless (ahetu) indicates that, as they are the result of kamma and not the creation of future kamma, they are not directly connected with the roots of greed, hatred or delusion. These cittas might be either wholesome or unwholesome (i. e. the result of wholesome or unwholesome past actions) and are related either to one of physical five senses (taste, sight, touch, smell, and hearing) or to the receiving and investigating activities that arise in the mind after the sensory experience. Feelings associated with the resultant rootless cittas are bodily pain or equanimity in the "unwholesome" cittas, and bodily pleasure, equanimity or joy in the "wholesome" ones. See table 1.3 in Bhikkhu Bodhi’s edition of the Abhidhammattha-sangaha for further details.

I am aware that the "law" of kamma is regarded in the Suttas and the commentaries in pretty realistic and objective terms (e.g., the death of Ven. Mahamoggallāna). An extreme example of the objective and law-like kammic fruition sometimes found in the Suttas might be the image of someone's head exploding because of not answering a question from a Tathāgata (s. MN 35.13). Nevertheless, I have often wondered about the possibility that human-realm vipāka (fruits of kamma) comprises, not only five-sense experiences, but also states of mind directly prompted by the remembrance of past action, or by imaginations and fantasies. An everyday example could be remorse, or rather a sudden outburst of remorse. Remembering something you have done or said that makes you suffer can be an active volitional activity (you can either indulge in it or let it go), and hence a cause of kamma, good or bad, but it can also be spontaneous, unexpected and unwanted.

But remorse is usually built upon a purely mental object, that is, a memory. And, as we have seen, the Abhidhamma seems to consider only the five sense cittas as vipāka, excluding the mind-door (the sixth sense-base), which is absent in the 15 resultant rootless cittas. Is vipāka, i.e., the result of kamma, in the sense-sphere only linked to eye, nose, ear, tongue and touch? Are you aware of any passage in the Abhidhammic literature (or in the Suttas, for that matter) suggesting that vipāka can be itself a private and subjective state conditioned by a mental object, such as an outburst of remorse, sudden good memories or joy, or a mental breakdown?

Any guess would be appreciated, and, if something doesn't seem clear (old hazy Abhidhamma, and I suspect I didn’t manage to make it clearer), please don't hesitate to ask.

We quoted Peter Harvey above. Here is what he has to say about remorse:
“However much Buddhism may value genuine remorse, it does not –certainly in its Theravāda form – encourage feelings of guilt; for such a heavy feeling, with its attendant anguish and self-dislike, is not seen as a good state of mind to develop, being unconducive to calm and clarity of mind. Indeed, it can be seen as an aspect of the fourth spiritual hindrance, of agitated ‘restlessness and worry’. Such a feeling might arise as part of the natural karmic result of an action, but is not to be actively indulged in (An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics, Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 28)
He accepts the possibility of remorse as a karmic result, but I fail to see how it could be explained in the language of the Abhidhamma.

Metta,
Oscar.

P.S. : I have heard that some non-Theravāda Abhidhammas include remorse as an indeterminate (aniyata) mental factor, whose karmic value depends on the motivation behind it. Again, this refers to the intentional construction (saṅkhāra), not the result (vipāka), of kamma/karma.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Remorse or regret as fruits of kamma

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:45 pm

Ripser wrote:We quoted Peter Harvey above. Here is what he has to say about remorse:
“However much Buddhism may value genuine remorse, it does not –certainly in its Theravāda form – encourage feelings of guilt; for such a heavy feeling, with its attendant anguish and self-dislike, is not seen as a good state of mind to develop, being unconducive to calm and clarity of mind. Indeed, it can be seen as an aspect of the fourth spiritual hindrance, of agitated ‘restlessness and worry’. Such a feeling might arise as part of the natural karmic result of an action, but is not to be actively indulged in (An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics, Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 28)
He accepts the possibility of remorse as a karmic result, but I fail to see how it could be explained in the language of the Abhidhamma.
Harvey's understanding of the matter can't be explained in Abhidhammic terms because remorse is not conceived as a vipāka in the Abhidhamma but as a mental factor (i.e. kukkucca) that arises with aversion-rooted cittas. I discussed this matter some years ago in this post:
Dhammanando wrote:When we fret and worry, recalling our past misdeeds, we are not experiencing the vipāka of those kammas, but rather creating fresh kamma.

In abhidhammic terms, on those occasions when we are worried or remorseful as a result of recalling our past unwholesome kammas, this worry is the mental factor of kukkucca accompanying aversion-rooted unwholesome consciousnesses. Such consciousnesses are not vipākas but rather the instigators of fresh kamma. At such moments we are agents, not patients. In terms of the five-niyāma scheme, the generation of worry and remorse by past unwholesome actions falls under citta-niyāma, not kamma-niyāma.

Were it the case that ‘vipāka’ meant the unpleasant memories of our past misdeeds, then the amnesiacal and the senile could perform akusala kammas that generated no vipākas. Were it the case that ‘vipāka’ meant the worry and remorse prompted by these memories, then a sociopath, by his incapacity for remorse, would likewise be immune to the ripening of akusala kammas.

However, since the actual vipākas of our unwholesome kammas are such things as painful bodily feeling, encounters with unwished-for sights, sounds, smells, tastes, etc., shortened life-span, violent deaths, unfavourable rebirths, etc., the amnesiac and the sociopath are as much subject to them as anyone else.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Remorse or regret as fruits of kamma

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:09 pm

Ripser wrote:P.S. : I have heard that some non-Theravāda Abhidhammas include remorse as an indeterminate (aniyata) mental factor, whose karmic value depends on the motivation behind it. Again, this refers to the intentional construction (saṅkhāra), not the result (vipāka), of kamma/karma.
This is probably due to the fact there there are some passages in the Tipiṭaka where the word kukkucca refers to wholesome states of mind. The Buddha, for example, is said to have kukkucca with regard to the welfare of the bhikkhusaṅgha. Scrupulous bhikkhus are sometimes said to have kukkucca not because they have done anything wrong but because they find themselves in a situation where they might break one of their training rules and are anxious not to do so. In these contexts Theravādin ābhidhammikas would not take the word kukkucca as denoting the unwholesome mental factor of this name, but rather as terms used in common speech which, when translated into Abhidhammic terms, would denote beautiful mental factors. And so the Buddha's "kukkucca" is actually his solicitousness for the welfare of the sangha and comprises mettā and karuṇā; the scrupulous bhikkhus' "kukkucca" is actually hiri and ottappa.

Ripser
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Re: Remorse or regret as fruits of kamma

Post by Ripser » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:49 pm

Dhammanando wrote: Harvey's understanding of the matter can't be explained in Abhidhammic terms because remorse is not conceived as a vipāka in the Abhidhamma but as a mental factor (i.e. kukkucca) that arises with aversion-rooted cittas.

Thank you very much, Bhante. It seems the Abhidhamma is clear in this respect. The relation between kamma and vipaka certainly looks more solid if mind-objects are excluded.

Do you think the suttas fully support this view? Perhaps in popular Buddhism remorse, etc. can easily be seen as kammic consequences of their corresponding actions. I wonder where Harvey takes that idea from.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Remorse or regret as fruits of kamma

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:53 pm

Ripser wrote:Do you think the suttas fully support this view?
In the suttas the arising of remorse when a person recalls his former misdeeds is never referred to as the 'kammavipāka' or the 'kammaphala' of those deeds. Rather, the commonest kind of construction in remorse-related passages is to the effect, "So and so came to be remorseful, thinking "blah blah blah..." where the thoughts are simply his memory of what he has done or failed to do, coupled with an awareness of the unskilfulness of it. So the abhidhammic understanding is certainly compatible with the suttas. Whether it is positively supported by the suttas is another question.
Ripser wrote:Perhaps in popular Buddhism remorse, etc. can easily be seen as kammic consequences of their corresponding actions.
That may be the case in some popular western Buddhism, but I've never encountered it among Asian Buddhists. Of course Asian folk Buddhism has many errors of its own regarding the kamma doctrine, but it doesn't seem to be afflicted with this particular one.

ToVincent
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Re: Remorse or regret as fruits of kamma

Post by ToVincent » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:19 pm

Uddhacca-Kukkucca:

"overdoing & underdoing" ?



::::::::::::::::
Uddhacca
::::::::::::::::

Pali:
------------
substantivised ger.of ud-dharati (ud + dhṛ).

uddharati:
- to raise, pick up, ...


Sanskrit:
------------

उद् ud
- above, over, upwards , ...

dharati:
3rd present active singular of √ धृ dhṛ

√ धृ dhṛ
- to begin , undertake, ... (AV. ŚBr. ChUp.)




::::::::::::::::
Kukkucca
::::::::::::::::


Pali:
------------
Kukkucca, [kud-kicca - Kicca > grd.of karoti=Sk.kṛtya]

ku:
As adv.in cpds.in disparaging sense of “what of”? i.e. little.

karoti:
- to act, perform, make, do.


Sanskrit:
------------
कौकृत्य kaukṛtya fr. [ ku-kṛta ] , or [ ku-kṛtya ]
No pre-Buddhist texts' reference.

कु [ ku ] prefix
- implying depreciation , deficiency , littleness , ...

कृत [ kṛta ]
- done , made , accomplished , performed (RV. AV.)
- deed , work , action (RV. AV. ŚvetUp.)

कृत्य [ kṛtya ]
- action , act , deed , performance , achievement (AV. MBh.)

So kukkucca is not about remorse per se; but, instead, about doing something depreciative by and large- which can be remorse in some cases - like when someone feels regret for a misdeed; linked to having done something with "littleness"; with deficiency.

-------------------
Ripser wrote:........
The idea of remorse + kamma, is pretty equivocal; because the end of kamma seems related to it.
Remorse + intention of not doing it again, is the end of kamma - the transcendance of the depreciative deed.
Here is what the Buddha says about the (really) depreciative act (Kukkucca) of killing - of which someone could have "remorse" for.
“Then a disciple has full confidence in that teacher. He reflects thus: ‘In many ways the Blessed One criticizes and censures the destruction of life, and he says: “Abstain from the destruction of life.” Now I have destroyed life to such and such an extent. That wasn’t proper; that wasn’t good. But though I feel regret over this, that evil deed of mine cannot be undone.’ Having reflected thus, he abandons the destruction of life and he abstains from the destruction of life in the future. Thus there comes about the abandoning of that evil deed; thus there comes about the transcending of that evil deed.
SN 42.8
:oops: :embarassed:


“When I came to a standstill, friend, then I sank; but when I struggled, then I got swept away. It is in this way, friend, that by not halting and by not straining I crossed the flood.”
“Yadāsvāhaṃ, āvuso, santiṭṭhāmi tadāssu saṃsīdāmi; yadāsvāhaṃ, āvuso, āyūhāmi tadāssu nibbuyhāmi. Evaṃ khvāhaṃ, āvuso, appatiṭṭhaṃ anāyūhaṃ oghamatarin”ti.
SN 1.1
In this world with its ..., Māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

theY
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Re: Remorse or regret as fruits of kamma

Post by theY » Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:04 am

Uddhacca=Concentration's enemy=low samādhi's power.

Kukkucca=Worry after done unwholesome kamma and Sorry after loose chance to do wholesome kamma.
Above message maybe out of date. Latest update will be in massage's link.
--------------------------------------------------
Tipitaka memorization is a rule of monks. It isn't just a choice. They must done it.
bahussuto nāma tividho hoti – nissayamuccanako, parisupaṭṭhāpako, bhikkhunovādakoti.
http://UnmixedTheravada.blogspot.com/20 ... monks.html

theY
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Re: Remorse or regret as fruits of kamma

Post by theY » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:19 pm

5 viññāṇa are vipāka, because they are effects of saṅkhāra-paticcasamuppāda (kamma-bhava-paṭiccasamuppāda).

Kamma give vipāka.
Above message maybe out of date. Latest update will be in massage's link.
--------------------------------------------------
Tipitaka memorization is a rule of monks. It isn't just a choice. They must done it.
bahussuto nāma tividho hoti – nissayamuccanako, parisupaṭṭhāpako, bhikkhunovādakoti.
http://UnmixedTheravada.blogspot.com/20 ... monks.html

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