Volitions at the end of life

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phil
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Volitions at the end of life

Post by phil » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:09 am

HI all

I'm often interested in these words from Bhikkhu Bodhi in one of my notebooks, from the commentarial notes on a discourse (don't know which one.)

"This accumulation of mental energy, habit energy, volitional energy, becomes a tremendous force, which at the time of death projects the stream of consciousness into a new realm of being, a new realm of existence in conformity with the ethical qualities of the volitions themselves."

This is very encouraging if one is living a life in which one can sense a lot of wholesome volitions at work, but I'm not sure it's in line with what the canon usually says. Isn't it taught that it is one volition which may arise in a way not at all in line with the usual volitions of that lifetime? Not that it would be random, but this idea of a kind of motivational push of habitual volitions doesn't feel quite right from an orthodox viewpoint. Or is it? What does the canon say?

Thanks.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

perkele
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Re: Volitions at the end of life

Post by perkele » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:47 am

There is this Mahanama Sutta about a layman who is worried about having an unfortunate rebirth due to being distracted at the moment of death. The Buddha puts him at ease, assuring him that, owing to his pious habits, "his death will not be a bad one".

I remember another sutta which describes the benefits of being learnt in the Dhamma: If born among humans or devas, one will remember and recognize it easily. Or if not, friendly devas who one might have known in the previous existence as a human, are likely to come and remind one.

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phil
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Re: Volitions at the end of life

Post by phil » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:20 am

Thanks perkele.

And of course come to think of it there are several suttas in which householders are told that their moral restraint will lead to happy destinations etc. It could be that the ways busy householders are encouraged to think and the way more complex suttas and Abdhidhamma explain things have a different flavour? I know this is an imponderable, we just have to keep on keeping on but I am curious. I think I remember hearing stories about virtuous monks who were reborn in a woeful realm because of a kamma from a past life becoming the rebirth citta, or something like that. That would run counter to Bhikkhu Bodhi's words in the post above.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

pegembara
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Re: Volitions at the end of life

Post by pegembara » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:41 am

It's complicated.
"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

"The Buddha-range of the Buddhas[1] is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana...[2]

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...
"When he says thus: 'For I have seen that some person killed living beings... had wrong view. I saw that on the dissolution of the body, after death, he had reappeared in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell,' I concede that to him.

"When he says thus: 'It seems that one who kills living beings... has wrong view, will always, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in the states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell,' I do not concede that to him.

"When he says thus: 'For I have seen that a person killed living beings... had wrong view. I saw that on the dissolution of the body, after death, he had reappeared in a happy destination, in the heavenly world,' I concede that to him.

"When he says thus: 'It seems that one who kills living beings... has wrong view, will always, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, in the heavenly world,' I do not concede that to him.

"When he says thus: 'For I have seen that a person abstained from killing living beings here... had right view. I saw that on the dissolution of the body after death, he had reappeared in a happy destination, in the heavenly world,' I concede that to him.

"When he says: 'It seems that one who abstains from killing living beings... has right view will always, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, in the heavenly world,'[6] I do not concede that to him.

"When he says thus: "For I have seen that a person abstained from killing living beings here... had right view. I saw that on the dissolution of the body, after death, he had reappeared in the states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell," I concede that to him.

"When he says thus: 'One who abstains from killing living beings... has right view will always, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in the states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell,' I do not concede that to him.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
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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phil
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Re: Volitions at the end of life

Post by phil » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:06 am

Thanks pegembara, complicated indeed.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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