Verse 16 of the Janavasabha Sutta:
For "Let us find out what comes," he has a footnote which reads:Then the Thirty-Three Gods sat down each in his proper place, saying: 'Let us find out what comes of this radiance, and having found the truth of it, we will go towards it.' The Four Great Kinds, sitting down in their places, said the same. Thus they were all agreed.
I think of the Dhamma as something which is, as MN 22 said, "clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork".Vipaka: not here, as usually, in the technical sense of 'result of kamma', but (a rare usage) 'outcome in general'
I do not think of the Dhamma as a specific, fringe worldview or convoluted philosophy, with its specific metaphysical, ontological, and ethical terms. This is also, as I see it, bolstered by the teachings of papanca, the claim by the Buddha that the Dhamma can be taught in any language (forget which sutta it was, but somebody here could help me find that citation), and the definition of Noble Right View, contrasted with right view "with effluents," in the MN 117.
So, the Buddha's teachings of karma, I relate these relatively straightforwardly to action and consequence. If I act rightly, I can reasonably expect good results (in this life and the next), and the opposite if I do evil. In this case at least, I think the meanings of the terms are actually obscured by keeping it untranslated, because people in the west have so many skewed value-judgments about the idea of kamma. If we say kamma is action and vipaka is effect, it's clear that the Buddha's teaching was essentially the same as the justification for most philosophical ethics, period, in western philosophy, not some kind of cosmic or esoteric or divine force which rewards good and punishes evil. That is, by saying "kamma" is merely action and nothing more than action, by saying "vipaka," is nothing more than consequence, all the typical western contentions about karma is easily avoided. If anyone says, "I can commit an evil deed in a certain case, and get away with it," it's relatively easy to get at the heart of the foolishness of such a statement, without requiring people overcome the big hurdle of having to accept a specific set of foreign terms.
The claims made by Aristotle, Socrates, etc., even fools like Ayn Rand, on how living rightly is beneficial, is very easy to accept. A teaching which goes beyond this doesn't seem to make much sense to me.
Aristotle once said, "I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law." Would this by itself not be a recognition of cause & effect, or does such wisdom require the recognition of specific terminology or specific terms of thought, in order to be valid?