Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

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mikenz66
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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:40 pm

Hi Peter,
Peter wrote: My point is I suspect it's nonsensical to ask "If everything was the same except for that karma, would he still have been hit on the head with rocks?"
Yes, that's a good point.

I still feel I'm missing something, because it feels like I'm not getting a straight answer to the question I was trying to ask. This probably means that I'm really confused, since I doubt that there is a conspiracy going on here to "deny information..." :spy:

Perhaps I should try it again:
Kamma is intentional action performed by cittas in a particular mind stream. Does what is described as "the ripening of kamma" happen only in that same mind-stream?
Clearly, actions by one mind stream can condition other mind streams (e.g. by injuring or killing). What I'm trying to understand is what extent that should be regarded just "regular cause-and-effect" (i.e. not "ripening of kamma").

I keep getting the feeling I'm painting myself into a corner...

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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:14 am

Greetings Mike,

A few points that may assist or confuse (we'll see how it goes!)

1. Vipaka is the mental resultant of kamma. Vipaka is not physical.

2. Remember Angulimala was not a "self". As per Ajahn Chah's phrase "No Ajahn Chah", there was "No Angulimala". In this sense there was "No Angulimala" to be subject to the vipaka arising from previous kamma. When we think about a particular "person" (as anything more than a conventional designation) who does an action and then suffers the result of that, we come to miss what kamma and Buddhist conditionality are all about.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by kc2dpt » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:17 am

mikenz66 wrote:Kamma is intentional action performed by cittas in a particular mind stream. Does what is described as "the ripening of kamma" happen only in that same mind-stream?
Yes.
- Peter

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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by dhammatrophic » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:39 am

B. There is no question of punishment or reward because there is no one who punishes or rewards. It is the course of nature that one reaps what one has sown. Accumulated akusala kamma produces at the right time a citta which experiences an unpleasant object; this citta is the result of a bad deed one did in the past. Accumulated kusala kamma produces at the right time a citta which experiences a pleasant object; this citta is the result of a good deed one did in the past.
If you could make kusala vipāka arise at will, you could have it without interruption, whenever you wish. This is not possible. Moreover, if it were not the right time for you to have any kusala vipāka, you would not be able to receive a pleasant object: the record-player would be broken, or something else would happen so that you could not have kusala vipāka.
How is the "right time" determined?
How does this "rightness" logically mingle with the unpredictability of ripening karma?
-trophic
1. turning, changing, or reacting in a particular way
2. attracted to, having an affinity for, or moving toward a particular thing
3. acting on something specified, or in a particular way
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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by robertk » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:36 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Robert,

Thank you for the reply. I do understand that the complexity makes it pointless to speculate in particular cases, but what I was interested in clarifying was whether I should understand kamma to only affect the mindstream that performs it. I think you are answering in the affirmative.

Metta
Mike
yes, that is so.
Angulima had kamma that could give rise to unplesant results at any time. If he had stayed in his room possibly he would not have experienced the result as soon as he did, or possibly the roof would have fallen on his head, who knows.
It's like us, we have done intense dark deeds over millions of aeons, thus the kamma is waiting to give result, waiting for other conditions to come together. So no surprise if we burn our hand cooking, or loose a limb in a car accident, or come down with incurable heart disease.
I was listening to Khun sujin a few years ago when someone was bewailing many unfortunate fatalities from flooding in South thailand. She said - do you have the same compassion when you read about a killer now (implying that he will one day be the one dying suddenly somewhere).
So the kamma/viapaka is arising only in the same mindstream.. but kamma needs supporting conditions to bring its result.

No hurry.. 100,000 aeons of time is not too long for kamma to wait. :mrgreen:
Robert

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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by kc2dpt » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:33 pm

dhammatrophic wrote:How does this "rightness" logically mingle with the unpredictability of ripening karma?
Because the factors that make it right are far too complex for you to predict.
- Peter

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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by cooran » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:06 pm

Hello Rob,
Robert said: No hurry.. 100,000 aeons of time is not too long for kamma to wait.
But ... not all kamma has to have fruit, does it? Otherwise their would be no Liberation.

metta
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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by kc2dpt » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:23 pm

Chris wrote:not all kamma has to have fruit, does it?
I have heard that not all kamma has to give fruit.
Some kamma, if no suitable circumstances arise in time, won't pass on from one life to the next.
Some kamma is countered by other kamma.
Some kamma, if no suitable circumstances arise in time, and it is the end of an arahant's life, won't give fruit at all.
Some kamma will always give fruit.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by robertk » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:37 am

Dear Mike
I asked Sujin Boriharnwanaket this question on Saturday. She said that there is the experience of hardness through the body door very very often, perhaps many hundred of times even in a second. And each experience is vipaka - the result of kusala or aksula kamma done in the past. Thus it is not surprising that at times there may be experience of very intense hardness.

This intense hardness is the result of akusala kamma of a strong degree -
When we descibe such momentary experience conventionally we might say "I was in a car accident and broke my arm ..".

She said it is no more surprising that at times there are such intense experiences, than it is that when we are sitting down and feeling some light pressure for example. The experience of the light pressure is also a vipaka.
The rupas (matter) always arise in kalapas that include heat, hardness, color etc. Every experience through the sense doors must contact one of these elements, but is primarily kamma that determines which one, what intensity and whether it will be inherently desirable or undesirable.
robert

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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:42 am

Greetings Robert,

Thank you for the thoughtful post. What you say makes sense, but I am not clear exactly which question you were answering.

However, one of the interesting things about what you report Khun Sujin as saying is that it sounds related to what Goenka says in his instructions and Dhamma talks about "Old Sankharas coming to the surface", e.g. on this thread: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=62" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by Jechbi » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:44 pm

Hi Robert,
robertk wrote:... whether it will be inherently desirable or undesirable.
I don't think there's any such thing as "inherently" desirable or undesirable when it comes to vipaka. It's just vipaka, and then we add on interpretations such as "desirable" or "undesirable."
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Uncover, then, what is concealed,
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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:13 pm

Hi Jechbi,
Jechbi wrote:Hi Robert,
robertk wrote:... whether it will be inherently desirable or undesirable.
I don't think there's any such thing as "inherently" desirable or undesirable when it comes to vipaka. It's just vipaka, and then we add on interpretations such as "desirable" or "undesirable."
You're welcome to your opinion, but this sub-forum is concerned with classical Theravada teaching. In the present matter, a sense-door ārammaṇa is desirable or undesirable before it is processed by any javana cittas.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by kc2dpt » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:50 am

Dhammanando wrote:In the present matter, a sense-door ārammaṇa is desirable or undesirable before it is processed by any javana cittas.
You mentioned something about this before regarding harsh speech and I am unclear about it. I recall you said harsh speech is inherently unpleasant. I can see that an overly loud sound is inherently unpleasant; it can be physically painful regardless of our opinion of it. I am less clear on how harsh words can be inherently unpleasant since to understand the meaning of the words requires a certain higher level of processing, thinking if you will. Can you clarify why harsh words are inherently unpleasant?
- Peter

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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by Jechbi » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:04 am

Bhante,

I would prefer to abandon my opinions in favor of correct knowledge. So I very much appreciate your guidance.

The Q&A article you posted here is so helpful and vivid that I may have gotten carried away. The article brings Abhidhamma language right down to a real-world level that seems to apply to everyday existence. A recurring obstacle for me has been to muddy the waters by not being precise in my understanding and use of terms.

I think I misapplied this comment:
Dhammanando wrote:The vipâkacittas themselves are morally neutral, but the terms 'kusala' and 'akusala' are applied to them to indicate the moral class of the (past) kammically active citta of which they are the present fruit.
I get that kusala-vipaka-citta can only know ittharammana, and that akusala-vipaka-citta can only know anittharammana. I just don't have all the sequences and terminology firmly in my mind. I keep thinking in terms of what happens between vedana and tanha, and that's probably not an appropriate application in this context.

I'm sure you can clearly see my confusion and where I am misunderstanding. If you could point me toward a resource that puts this together in way I can understand, I would be grateful.

(Sorry, Robert, if my comment was counter-productive.)

Respect,
:namaste:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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Re: Kamma and its Ripening in the Abhidhamma

Post by robertk » Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:54 am

Peter wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:In the present matter, a sense-door ārammaṇa is desirable or undesirable before it is processed by any javana cittas.
You mentioned something about this before regarding harsh speech and I am unclear about it. I recall you said harsh speech is inherently unpleasant. I can see that an overly loud sound is inherently unpleasant; it can be physically painful regardless of our opinion of it. I am less clear on how harsh words can be inherently unpleasant since to understand the meaning of the words requires a certain higher level of processing, thinking if you will. Can you clarify why harsh words are inherently unpleasant?
Good question Peter
The citta that conditions the rupa(cittajarupa) of sound in the case of harsh words is 'harsh', it is rooted in dosa mula citta. Thus the rupa will be of a different 'tone' than if one was speaking with cittas rooted in loving kindness.

However, It can be hard to distinguish, moreover vipaka is only one jati whereas kusala and aksuala are given a jati each becuase it is critical to know which jati is which - but not so much to know whether the vipaka is conditioned by past akusala or kusala.

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