The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:04 am

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:I don't think anyone would find it surprising that Angulimala would be stoned, after killing 999 people.
Indeed... people have been stoned for much less. Some have even been stoned for crimes of which they have been innocent.
mikenz66 wrote:Why, then would there be surprise that other good or bad things that happen could be a result of kamma?
I'd be interested to know what you mean by "things" as it's particularly pertinent to these discussions. In the Dhamma, "kamma" is paired with "vipaka", its result.

As we see in this definition of vipaka...

http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/u_v/vipaaka.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
'karma-result', is any karmically (morally) neutral mental phenomenon (e.g. bodily agreeable or painful feeling, sense-consciousness, etc. ), which is the result of wholesome or unwholesome volitional action (karma, q.v.) through body, speech or mind, done either in this or some previous life.

Totally wrong is the belief that, according to Buddhism, everything is the result of previous action. Never, for example, is any karmically wholesome or unwholesome volitional action the result of former action, being in reality itself karma.

On this subject s. titthāyatana, karma, Tab. I; Fund II. Cf. A. III, 101; Kath. 162 (Guide, p. 80).

Karma-produced (kammaja or kamma-samutthāna) corporeal things are never called kamma-vipāka, as this term may be applied only to mental phenomena.
By way of example, if I throw a stone at an empty can, sitting on a fence and cause it to be dinted, then the new form of the can could be said to be kamma-produced, but it is not vipaka. The action, the kamma, was the throwing of the stone... and what was the mind state associated with the throwing of the stone? It is the mind state behind the action which will determine its mental result. As it is with the case of the stone thrown at the can, so it is with the clods thrown at Angulimala.
Of course, since the workings of kamma are said to be unfathomable to anyone other than a Buddha it would be silly to look at some situation and try to say that it was because of such-and-such a particular kamma.
Agreed. The Buddha may well have said this in order to stop people indulging in papanca regarding kamma and its effects, and to stop people wrongly attributing events and perceived fortunes and misfortunes to kamma. Yet, the Buddha did say in AN 6.63 ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#part-5" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; )...
"'Kamma should be known. The cause by which kamma comes into play should be known. The diversity in kamma should be known. The result of kamma should be known. The cessation of kamma should be known. The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known.'
... so we certainly should not put the issue of kamma away and ignore it. The challenge is to understand it experientially and in accordance with the Dhamma, as the Buddha encourages, rather than as a subject for papanca.
The point is that actions have consequences. This concept ... helps us to maintain our sila. So I prefer to take a forward-looking, rather than backward-looking perspective.
Yes... as a morality teaching, looking forward is better than looking back, but as a subject for insight, the best place to observe kamma and its workings are here and now, through mindfulness and meditation.

:meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:01 am

Hi Retro,

You're starting to confuse me. (And, strangely for you, you're arguing from Abhidhamma definitions rather than from the Suttas...).

In answer to your question, I'm not ruling out any "thing", since the results of kamma are unknowable by non-Buddhas.

What sorts of things, then, do you think could possibly be caused by kamma?

Mike

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:57 am

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:You're starting to confuse me
If you can explain precisely what is confusing you, perhaps I can explain or restate in an alternate manner.
mikenz66 wrote:strangely for you, you're arguing from Abhidhamma definitions rather than from the Suttas...).
It's more that the suttas don't specifically address the issue, whereas the later expositions do. The suttas certainly don't say otherwise.
mikenz66 wrote:In answer to your question, I'm not ruling out any "thing", since the results of kamma are unknowable by non-Buddhas.
The suttas however say otherwise. AN 6.63 as quoted before, for example (especially the bolded section)...
"'Kamma should be known. The cause by which kamma comes into play should be known. The diversity in kamma should be known. The result of kamma should be known. The cessation of kamma should be known. The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said?

"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.

"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.

"And what is the diversity in kamma? There is kamma to be experienced in hell, kamma to be experienced in the realm of common animals, kamma to be experienced in the realm of the hungry shades, kamma to be experienced in the human world, kamma to be experienced in the world of the devas. This is called the diversity in kamma.

"And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.


"And what is the cessation of kamma? From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma; and just this noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma.

"Now when a disciple of the noble ones discerns kamma in this way, the cause by which kamma comes into play in this way, the diversity of kamma in this way, the result of kamma in this way, the cessation of kamma in this way, & the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma in this way, then he discerns this penetrative holy life as the cessation of kamma.

"'Kamma should be known. The cause by which kamma comes into play... The diversity in kamma... The result of kamma... The cessation of kamma... The path of practice for the cessation of kamma should be known.' Thus it has been said, and in reference to this was it said.
mikenz66 wrote:What sorts of things, then, do you think could possibly be caused by kamma?
The diverse results, dependent on contact, as coloured in red above.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:00 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:What sorts of things, then, do you think could possibly be caused by kamma?
The diverse results, dependent on contact, as coloured in red above.
And so presumably kamma to be experienced in the human world
could include being swept away by a tsumani, or being in a world that is experiencing warming?

Metta
Mike

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:07 am

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:And so presumably kamma to be experienced in the human world
could include being swept away by a tsumani, or being in a world that is experiencing warming?
But remember... kamma is action, and tsunamis and global warming aren't kamma. I think you've accidentally conflated kamma with vipaka, and forgotten that vipaka is mental.

Kamma to be experienced in the human world is me throwing a stone at a can... not some "force" hurling a tsunami in a particular direction.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:19 am

Hi retro, I was merely using what you quoted, which didn't include the "result" word. Do you disagree with the sutta that you quoted?

Surely when you are being swept away by a tsunami you can be experiencing unpleasant bodily or mental feeling?

Can you please be a little more specific you think CAN be the results of kamma? It really seems to me that you are denying that ANYTHING is the result of kamma.

Metta
Mike

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:58 am

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:Hi retro, I was merely using what you quoted, which didn't include the "result" word.
But it did...?
"And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.
mikenz66 wrote:Surely when you are being swept away by a tsunami you can be experiencing unpleasant bodily or mental feeling?
Yes, previous action may result in present vipaka..... and yes, a tsunami would result in many contacts, from which there would be diversity in kamma (actions based in fear, terror, awe etc.). The vipaka would be the mental resultant of the kamma.

And of course (and it should go without saying...) the tsunami didn't happen because of kamma, and it didn't intentionally hunt any people down for being naughty boys and girls either.
mikenz66 wrote:Can you please be a little more specific you think CAN be the results of kamma? It really seems to me that you are denying that ANYTHING is the result of kamma.
Kamma-samutthāna and kamma-vipaka, and I've already given examples of both which is why I'm surprised to see you feel that "It really seems to me that you are denying that ANYTHING is the result of kamma."

Far from it!

I just take guidance on what kamma is and is not from the Pali Canon rather than Hinduism and "pop kamma".

(EDIT: I should clarify, I'm not suggesting that you do... rather that it takes a concerted effort to filter out Mahayanan, Hinduistic and fatalistic Jatakan conceptions of karma when confronted by them and to not allow them to influence one's perception on what kamma is and isn't)

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:11 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote: I just take guidance on what kamma is and is not from the Pali Canon rather than Hinduism and "pop kamma".
So presumably you agree with the Buddha that the painful feeling that Angulimala felt when being pelted by stones was vipaka from the bad kamma of killing people? And therefore that the painful feeling being felt while being swept away by a tsunami could be a result of past kamma. Though, as I said, only a Buddha can know the details:

AN 4.77 Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"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 [precise working out of the] results of kamma..
...
Metta
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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:25 am

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:So presumably you agree with the Buddha that the painful feeling that Angulimala felt when being pelted by stones was vipaka from the bad kamma of killing people?
I agree with the Buddha, but I don't agree with your sentence (which was based on Thanissaro Bhikkhu's poor translation). Let us read from Bhikkhu Bodhi's far superior translation...

"Bear it, brahmin! Bear it, brahmin! You are experiencing here and now the results of deeds because of which you might have been tortured in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years".

People acted (kamma) and threw sticks and postherds at Angulimala. They acted so (kamma) because of their beliefs with respect to Angulimala's previous deeds. In other words, the visual contact of seeing Angulimala conjoined with the contact of memory about his crimes, resulted in unwholesome action (kamma) on their part. As per the earlier quote, "what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play"

In this part of the text on Angulimala, the Buddha is effectively saying to him that he shouldn't be too surprised that people begrudge his earlier crimes and that he should simply bear it, and put this relatively minor incident (a cut head) in perspective by recognising that the vipaka (mental resultant) of his kamma would have plagued him for many years had he not attained arahantship. Having attained arahantship, he had transcended kamma and vipaka (of which he might have been tortured in hell for many years), and thus the feelings experienced from the cut head were not kamma-vipaka (n.b. which is why Thanissaro's translation is poor with respect to Bodhi's).
"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 [precise working out of the] results of kamma..
...
Exactly... they should not be conjectured about... this is what I was talking about before when I mentioned papanca.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:46 am

Hi Retro,

Sorry, I disagree. I think that it's clear that the Buddha is referring to Angulimala's kamma:
"Bear it, brahmin! Bear it, brahmin! You are experiencing here and now the results of deeds because of which you might have been tortured in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years".
Metta
Mike

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:51 am

PS, there was an interesting discussion about Angulimala here:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=20#p4724" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mike

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:59 am

Greetings,
mikenz66 wrote:Sorry, I disagree. I think that it's clear that the Buddha is referring to Angulimala's kamma
Of course he was talking about Angulimala's previous kamma! How else could Angulimala have created the seeds by which he "might have been tortured in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years"?

Alternatively, if you're suggesting that having someone throw a stick at an arahant, and then having someone else throw a potsherd at them is the vipaka resulting from committing 999 murders, then I certainly do disagree with you, for all the reasons stated above. Such an interpretation of events has no alignment with what the Buddha taught about kamma-vipaka.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
mikenz66 wrote:Sorry, I disagree. I think that it's clear that the Buddha is referring to Angulimala's kamma
Of course he was talking about Angulimala's previous kamma! How else could Angulimala have created the seeds by which he "might have been tortured in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years"?
Sorry I was confused by your comment that:
retrofuturist wrote:People acted (kamma) and threw sticks and postherds at Angulimala. They acted so (kamma) because of their beliefs with respect to Angulimala's previous deeds. In other words, the visual contact of seeing Angulimala conjoined with the contact of memory about his crimes, resulted in unwholesome action (kamma) on their part. As per the earlier quote, "what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play"
retrofuturist wrote: Alternatively, if you're suggesting that having someone throw a stick at an arahant, and then having someone else throw a potsherd at them is the vipaka resulting from committing 999 murders, then I certainly do disagree with you, for all the reasons stated above. Such an interpretation of events has no alignment with what the Buddha taught about kamma.
No, I'm saying that the painful feeling of the stones hitting his head was a result of the kamma. I think this was discussed to death in the thread I mentioned. Here is Ven Dhammanando's comment:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... t=20#p4758" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Dhammanando wrote:Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:Why is this interpreted in terms of the kamma? If the kamma ripens only in his mindstream then how does it condition the throwing of clods, stones, etc, by the bodies of other mindsteams?
As Robert mentioned, in the commentary it is said that the various projectiles were not deliberately aimed at Angulimala. As for the ripening, this consisted in the unwholesome resultant bodily consciousnesses accompanied by painful feeling.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Metta
Mike

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by retrofuturist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:24 am

Greetings Mike,

If you believe it really was an "accident".... :shock:

To me, it doesn't seem particularly consistent with the text, when the text itself shows people's hostility towards Angulimala...
Now on that occasion great crowds of people were gathering at the gates of King Pasenadi's inner palace, very loud and noisy, crying: "Sire, the bandit Angulimala is in your realm; he is murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings! Villages, towards, and districts have been laid waste by him! He is constantly murdering people and he wears their fingers as a garland! The king must put him down!"
Honestly, to me this "accidental" business sounds like an implausible attempt to shoehorn the sutta onto the commentarial theory, rather than a genuine attempt to read it on its own merits. What it seems like to you, is ultimately for you to decide.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: The Dhamma as cosmic enforcer?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:26 am

Hi Reto,

What it means to me is that Angulimala experienced pain due to his kamma.

Any issue with that?

Metta
Mike

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