Ajahn Sumedho wrote:'Do good and you'll receive good; do bad and you'll receive bad.' We worry: 'I've done so many bad things in the past; what kind of result will I get from all that?' Well, all you can know is that what you've done in the past is a memory now.
If that’s all that we can know about kamma, then that’s all that the Buddha would have taught about it … which is hardly the case.
Ajahn Sumedho wrote:The most awful, disgusting thing you've ever done, that you wouldn't want anyone to know about, the one that, whenever anybody talks about kamma and rebirth, makes you think: 'I'm really going to get it for having done that' – that is a memory, and that memory is the kammic result. The additions to that – like fearing, worrying, and speculating – these are the kammic results of unenlightened behaviour.
Surely this is the wrong way round. 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.
Ajahn Sumedho wrote:What you do, you remember; it's as simple as that. If you do something kind, generous or compassionate, the memory makes you feet happy; and if you do something mean and nasty, you have to remember that. If you try to repress it, run away from it, get caught up in all sorts of frantic behaviour – that's the kammic result.
No, the generation of happiness through remembering one’s good deeds also comes under citta-niyāma, not kamma-niyāma, and is not a vipāka.
Ajahn Sumedho wrote:Kamma will cease through recognition.
Not according to any of the suttas dealing with the cessation of kamma. The Kammanidāna Sutta, for example:
“Thus, bhikkhus, greed is a source and origin of kamma; hatred is a source and origin of kamma; delusion is a source and origin of kamma. With the destruction of greed, a source of kamma is extinguished. With the destruction of hatred, a source of kamma is extinguished. With the destruction of delusion, a source of kamma is extinguished.” (AN.v.262, Bh. Bodhi tr.)