How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

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arijitmitter
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by arijitmitter » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:05 pm

Mr Man wrote: Kamma will cease through recognition. In mindfulness, you're allowing kammic formations to cease rather than recreating them, or annihilating them and recreating them. It's important to recollect that whatever you create, you destroy, and what you annihilate, you create – one conditions the other, just as the inhalation conditions the exhalation. One is the kammic result of the other. Death is the kammic result of birth, and all we can know about that which is born and dies is that it is a condition and not-self.
Everyone has made excellent contributions, although I have not had time to go through all the links quoted till now. But what Ajahn Sumedho said is something like what I was looking for. Although not hundred percent of what I was looking for it is at least a solid foundation on which to begin my contemplation again.

Thank you to all,

:anjali: Arijit

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Dhammanando
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:13 pm

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.)

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purple planet
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by purple planet » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:42 pm

Thanks for clearing things up Dhammanando
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance

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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by reflection » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:44 pm

arijitmitter wrote:My question is more complex than what anyone has been able to understand (although I thank them for answering it to best of their ability)

Good Kamma does not lead to Nibbana. But meditation and self realization leads to Nibbana. Nibbana frees us from Kamma.

Then is meditation and self realization a redemptive practice (All other religions have a God in place to grant redemption at some stage; Buddhism does not and hence the complication)

There is no God so there is no Who. But is is a valid question How I become free from Kamma.

Is Dhamma then an antidote to Kamma ? The Four Noble Truths will make it seem so. But there is one fact I cannot reconcile with - extreme sin as Angulimala had done can be wished away just by becoming a noble person.

That is a characteristic of religions with a God. God can alter your balance sheet. But we have learned that Kamma is an unforgiving force, chasing you across lifetimes to give you your due. How can Kamma just let a man who killed 999 people go scott free unless it implies Dhamma is an antidote to Kamma, nullifying its existence.

I cannot be the first person to ask this. There has to be many scholars in Buddhism who have pondered over if Dhamma is not only a means to attain Nibbana but also redemptive.
Perhaps you are seeing kamma through a somewhat western lens, which seems shaped more by Hinduism than by Buddhism. Speaking about kamma as a balance sheet, about "its existence" and your capitalization of the word makes me think so. But kamma is not a fixed thing or quality or something like that. Instead kamma-vipaka is a process. Kamma creates results, and one of the results may be more kamma if the initial kamma is one of greed/hatred/delusion. Once the process is broken, we are free. If we killed 999 people or not doesn't matter in that perspective. It is not about destroying kamma or paying a debt, it is about stopping a process of initiating actions. The most important initiating actions here are the ones initiating birth, initiating consciousness.

Now in general somebody who did a lot of actions based on hatred will have a harder time stopping the process because their underlying tendencies are stronger. So in a sense that is their bad kamma to work with, but you shouldn't see it as a pay back or balance sheet. In principle all it takes to stop kamma is to realize no self, because greed/hatred/delusion can only survive with a view of self. You can't really call that realization an act of good kamma, although in a certain way it is. But it's more like a process ending itself. That way you can look beyond good and bad.

Perhaps a bit vague reading it like this, but the important thing to know is that kamma is not some kind of judgement scale weighing your actions. Also realize that kamma is just a word, and as soon as we have words, we have concepts. It's important to try and see beyond concepts in order to be ready to realize things that just can't be put to words.

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Mr Man
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by Mr Man » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:19 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
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.)
Bhante but you are taking Ajahn Sumedho's teaching out of context and forgetting that he is speaking in English to an English speaking audience. He is not teaching as a scholar. Perhaps you could address the OP rather than criticise your fellow monk's teaching?
:anjali:

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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:30 pm

Greetings,
Mr Man wrote:Bhante but you are taking Ajahn Sumedho's teaching out of context and forgetting that he is speaking in English to an English speaking audience. He is not teaching as a scholar. Perhaps you could address the OP rather than criticise your fellow monk's teaching?
:anjali:
Personally, I think it is good to see a bhikkhu critique the teachings of another bhikkhu. If a bhikkhu's words are never held to account, or to any standard, then the renown of bhikkhus would come to be based on attributes such as charisma and popularist story-telling.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by kmath » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:38 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
Mr Man wrote:Bhante but you are taking Ajahn Sumedho's teaching out of context and forgetting that he is speaking in English to an English speaking audience. He is not teaching as a scholar. Perhaps you could address the OP rather than criticise your fellow monk's teaching?
:anjali:
Personally, I think it is good to see a bhikkhu critique the teachings of another bhikkhu. If a bhikkhu's words are never held to account, or to any standard, then the renown of bhikkhus would come to be based on attributes such as charisma and popularist story-telling.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Nothing against Ajahn Sumedho, but I also appreciate what Dhammanando said. Debate is good!

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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by Mr Man » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:59 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
Mr Man wrote:Bhante but you are taking Ajahn Sumedho's teaching out of context and forgetting that he is speaking in English to an English speaking audience. He is not teaching as a scholar. Perhaps you could address the OP rather than criticise your fellow monk's teaching?
:anjali:
Personally, I think it is good to see a bhikkhu critique the teachings of another bhikkhu. If a bhikkhu's words are never held to account, or to any standard, then the renown of bhikkhus would come to be based on attributes such as charisma and popularist story-telling.

Metta,
Retro. :)
But in my opinion there is a time and a place. And in my opinion there should be a regard to the context. Perhaps I'm at fault for bringing this sermon to the OP's attention?
:anjali:

arijitmitter
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by arijitmitter » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:31 pm

Essential conclusions I can draw from the debate this far -

A ) Kamma is not a specific load to be discarded but something like a shadow which follows us (not very good analogy but will suffice). One has to change and with that change the Kammic shadow is discarded regardless of its magnitude. So killing an ant or 999 people is not important but changing from mindset of killing to one of compassion is important (and so on for all forms of Avidya)

B ) Mindfulness accelerates this change in perception. It lets us tame our mind and inclinations. When our mind is cured of its unwholesome inclinations by mindfulness, we shed our Kammic load and makes us Kamma neutral. Once we become Kamma neutral, it frees us up for proceeding on path of Nibbana.

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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by Aloka » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:38 pm

MrMan wrote:Bhante but you are taking Ajahn Sumedho's teaching out of context and forgetting that he is speaking in English to an English speaking audience. He is not teaching as a scholar. Perhaps you could address the OP rather than criticise your fellow monk's teaching?
Not only is he a monk but he was the greatly respected abbot of Amaravati monastery UK before he retired to Thailand. I am personally indebted to him for helping me with his teachings and personal instruction.
:anjali:

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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by SarathW » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:50 pm

Hi Arijit
This is how I understand it:
-Good Kamma (wholesome action=virtues=Sila) will lead the person to concentration (Samadhi)
- Concentration will lead the mind to see the things as they are
-Seen as they are means understanding impermanence, stress and Anatta so you attain Sotapanna
state
-Sotapanna person will eradicate attachment and aversion and gradually move to Anagami ( Nonreturner) state.
-Then he will fully eradicate ignorance (the thought I,me and myself) and attain Arahantship
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:45 am

retrofuturist wrote:Personally, I think it is good to see a bhikkhu critique the teachings of another bhikkhu. If a bhikkhu's words are never held to account, or to any standard, then the renown of bhikkhus would come to be based on attributes such as charisma and popularist story-telling.
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"In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it.
When a teacher achieves mythical status, and his or her devotees start to think that he or she is beyond reproach, it is very dangerous for the preservation of the true teachings.
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:51 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: When a teacher achieves mythical status, and his or her devotees start to think that he or she is beyond reproach, it is very dangerous for the preservation of the true teachings.
I have the highest regard for Ven Sumedho, but I agree with what you saying here.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Mr Man
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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by Mr Man » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:21 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: When a teacher achieves mythical status, and his or her devotees start to think that he or she is beyond reproach, it is very dangerous for the preservation of the true teachings.
I have the highest regard for Ven Sumedho, but I agree with what you saying here.
I'm not sure if Bhikkhu Pesala was referring to Ven. Sumedho here but I don't think that I or anyone has suggested that Ven. Sumedho is beyond reproach.

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Re: How Is Good Kamma Related To Nibbana

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:26 am

Mr Man wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: When a teacher achieves mythical status, and his or her devotees start to think that he or she is beyond reproach, it is very dangerous for the preservation of the true teachings.
I have the highest regard for Ven Sumedho, but I agree with what you saying here.
I'm not sure if Bhikkhu Pesala was referring to Ven. Sumedho here but I don't think that I or anyone has suggested that Ven. Sumedho is beyond reproach.
It applies.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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