KARMA (Sanskrit, also _karman_, Pāli: _kamma_) is a Sanskrit term that literally means "action" or "doing". In the Buddhist tradition, _karma_ refers to action driven by intention (_cetanā _) which leads to future consequences. Those intentions are considered to be the determining factor in the kind of rebirth in _samsara _, the cycle of rebirth.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Buddhist understanding of _karma_
* 2.1 Rebirth * 2.2 Karma * 2.3 Karmaphala * 2.4 Complex process * 2.5 Liberation from _samsara_
* 3 Within the Pali suttas
* 4 Within Buddhist traditions
* 4.1 Early Indian Buddhism
* 4.2 Theravādin tradition
* 4.2.1 Canonical texts * 4.2.2 Transfer of merit
* 4.3 Mahayana tradition
* 4.3.4 East Asian traditions
* 5 Modern interpretations and controversies
_Karma_ and _karmaphala_ are fundamental concepts in Buddhism. The concepts of _karma_ and _karmaphala_ explain how our intentional actions keep us tied to rebirth in _samsara_, whereas the Buddhist path, as exemplified in the Noble Eightfold Path , shows us the way out of _samsara_.
Rebirth , , is a common belief in all Buddhist traditions. It says that birth and death in the six realms occur in successive cycles driven by ignorance (_avidyā _), desire (_trsnā _), and hatred (_dvesa _). The cycle of rebirth is called _samsarā _. It is a beginningless and ever-ongoing process. Liberation from samsarā can be attained by following the Buddhist Path . This path leads to _vidyā_, and the stilling of _trsnā_ and _dvesa_. Hereby the ongoing process of rebirth is stopped.
The cycle of rebirth is determined by _karma_, literally "action". In the Buddhist tradition, _karma_ refers to actions driven by _intention_ (_cetanā _), a deed done deliberately through body, speech or mind, which leads to future consequences. The _Nibbedhika Sutta_, Anguttara Nikaya 6.63:
Intention (_cetana _) I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, whether the intention manifested itself in physical, vocal or mental form, it was the intention alone which had a moral character: good, bad or neutral The focus of interest shifted from physical action, involving people and objects in the real world, to psychological process.
According to Gombrich, this was a great innovation, which overturns brahmanical, caste-bound ethics. It's a rejection of caste-bound differences, giving the same possibility to reach liberation to all people, not just Brahmanins:
Not by birth is one a brahmin or an outcaste, but by deeds (_kamma_).
How this emphasis on intention was to be interpreted became a matter of debate in and between the various Buddhist schools.
Karma leads to future consequences, _karma-phala_, "fruit of action". Any given action may cause all sorts of results, but the _karmic results_ are only those results which are a consequence of both the moral quality of the action, and of the intention behind the action. According to Reichenbach,
he consequences envisioned by the law of karma encompass more (as well as less) than the observed natural or physical results which follow upon the performance of an action.
The "law of karma" applies
...specifically to the moral sphere not concerned with the _general_ relation between actions and their consequences, but rather with the moral quality of actions and their consequences, such as the pain and pleasure and good or bad experiences for the doer of the act.
Good moral actions lead to wholesome rebirths, and bad moral actions lead to unwholesome rebirths. The main factor is how they contribute to the well-being of others in a positive or negative sense. Especially _dāna_, giving to the buddhist order, became an increasingly important source of positive _karma_.
How these intentional actions lead to rebirth, and how the idea of rebirth is to be reconciled with the doctrines of impermanence and no-self , is a matter of philosophical inquiry in the Buddhist traditions, for which several solutions have been proposed. In early Buddhism no explicit theory of rebirth and karma is worked out, and "the karma doctrine may have been incidental to early Buddhist soteriology." In early Buddhism, rebirth is ascribed to craving or ignorance.
In later Buddhism, the basic ideas is that _intentional_ actions, driven by _kleshas _ ("disturbing emotions"), _cetanā _ ("volition"), or _taṇhā _ ("thirst", "craving") create impressions , tendencies or "seeds" in the mind. These impressions, or "seeds", will ripen into a future result or fruition . If we can overcome our _kleshas_, then we break the chain of causal effects that leads to rebirth in the six realms. The _twelve links of dependent origination _ provides a theoretical framework, explaining how the disturbing emotions lead to rebirth in samsara .
The Buddha's teaching of karma is not strictly deterministic, but incorporated circumstantial factors, unlike that of the Jains. It is not a rigid and mechanical process, but a flexible, fluid and dynamic process, and not all present conditions can be ascribed to karma. There is no set linear relationship between a particular action and its results. The karmic effect of a deed is not determined solely by the deed itself, but also by the nature of the person who commits the deed, and by the circumstances in which it is committed.
Karma is also not the same as "fate" or "predestination". Karmic results are not a "judgement" imposed by a God or other all-powerful being, but rather the results of a natural process. Certain experiences in life are the results of previous actions, but our responses to those experiences are not predetermined, although they bear their own fruit in the future. Unjust behaviour may lead to unfavorable circumstances which make it easier to commit more unjust behavior, but nevertheless the freedom not to commit unjust behavior remains.
LIBERATION FROM _SAMSARA_
The real importance of the doctrine of karma and its fruits lies in the recognition of the urgency to put a stop to the whole process. The _Acintita Sutta_ warns that "the results of kamma" is one of the four incomprehensible subjects , subjects that are beyond all conceptualization and cannot be understood with logical thought or reason.
According to Gombrich, this sutra may have been a warning against the tendency, "probably from the Buddha's day until now", to understand the doctrine of _karma_ "backwards", to explain unfavorable conditions in this life when no other explanations are available. Gaining a better rebirth may have been, and still is, the central goal for many people. The adoption, by laity, of Buddhist beliefs and practices is seen as a good thing, which brings merit and good rebirth, but does not result in Nirvana, and liberation from _samsara_, the ultimate goal of the Buddha.
WITHIN THE PALI SUTTAS
See also: Anatta and moral responsibility
According to the Buddhist tradition, the Buddha gained full and complete insight into the workings of karma at the time of his enlightenment. According to Bronkhorst, these knowledges are later additions to the story, just like the notion of "liberating insight" itself.
In AN 5.292, the Buddha asserted that it is not possible to avoid experiencing the result of a karmic deed once it's been committed.
In the Anguttara Nikaya , it is stated that karmic results are experienced either in this life (P. _diṭṭadhammika_) or in a future lives (P. _samparāyika_). The former may involve a readily observable connection between action and karmic consequence, such as when a thief is captured and tortured by the authorities, but the connection need not necessarily be that obvious and in fact usually is not observable.
The Sammyutta Nikaya makes a basic distinction between past karma (P. _purānakamma_) which has already been incurred, and karma being created in the present (P. _navakamma_). Therefore, in the present one both creates new karma (P. _navakamma_) and encounters the result of past karma (P. _kammavipāka_). Karma in the early canon is also threefold: Mental action (S. _manaḥkarman_), bodily action (S. _kāyakarman_) and vocal action (S. _vākkarman_).
WITHIN BUDDHIST TRADITIONS
Various Buddhist philosophical schools developed within Buddhism, giving various interpretations regarding more refined points of karma. A major problem is the relation between the doctrine of no-self, and the "storage" of the traces of one's deeds, for which various solutions have been offered.
EARLY INDIAN BUDDHISM
The concept of _karma_ originated in the Vedic religion , where it was related to the performance of rituals or the investment in good deeds to ensure the entrance to heaven after death, while other persons go to the underworld.
Main article: Pre-sectarian Buddhism
The concept of karma may have been of minor importance in early Buddhism. Schmithausen has questioned whether karma already played a role in the theory of rebirth of earliest Buddhism, noting that "the karma doctrine may have been incidental to early Buddhist soteriology." Langer notes that originally karma may have been only one of several concepts connected with rebirth. Tillman Vetter notes that in early Buddhism rebirth is ascribed to craving or ignorance. Buswell too notes that "Early Buddhism does not identify bodily and mental motion, but desire (or thirst, _trsna_), as the cause of karmic consequences." Matthews notes that "there is no single major systematic exposition" on the subject of karma and "an account has to be put together from the dozens of places where karma is mentioned in the texts," which may mean that the doctrine was incidental to the main perspective of early Buddhist soteriology.
According to Vetter, "the Buddha at first sought, and realized, "the deathless" (_amata/amrta_ ), which is concerned with the here and now. Only after this realization did he become acquainted with the doctrine of rebirth." Bronkhorst disagrees, and concludes that the Buddha "introduced a concept of karma that differed considerably from the commonly held views of his time." According to Bronkhorst, not physical and mental activities as such were seen as responsible for rebirth, but intentions and desire.
The doctrine of karma may have been especially important for common people, for whom it was more important to cope with life's immediate demands, such as the problems of pain, injustice, and death. The doctrine of karma met these exigencies, and in time it became an important soteriological aim in its own right.
The Vaibhāśika-Sarvāstivāda was widely influential in India and beyond. Their understanding of karma in the Sarvāstivāda became normative for Buddhism in India and other countries. According to Dennis Hirota,
Sarvastivadins argued that there exists a dharma of "possession" (_prapti_), which functions with all karmic acts, so that each act or thought, though immediately passing away, creates the "possession" of that act in the continuum of instants we experience as a person. This possession itself is momentary, but continually reproduces a similar possession in the succeeding instant, even though the original act lies in the past. Through such continual regeneration, the act is "possessed" until the actualization of the result.
The _Abhidharmahṛdaya_ by Dharmaśrī was the first systematic exposition of Vaibhāśika-Sarvāstivāda doctrine, and the third chapter, the _Karma-varga_, deals with the concept of karma systematically.
Another important exposition, the _Mahāvibhāṣa _, gives three definitions of karma:
* action; karma is here supplanted in the text by the synonyms _kriya_ or _karitra_, both of which mean "activity"; * formal vinaya conduct; * human action as the agent of various effects; karma as that which links certain actions with certain effects, is the primary concern of the exposition.
The 4th century philosopher Vasubandhu compiled the _Abhidharma-kośa _, an extensive compendium which elaborated the positions of the Vaibhāṣika -Sarvāstivādin school on a wide range of issues raised by the early sutras. Chapter four the Kośa is devoted to a study of karma, and chapters two and five contain formulation as to the mechanism of fruition and retribution. This became the main source of understanding of the perspective of early Buddhism for later Mahāyāna philosophers.
The Dārṣṭāntika- Sautrāntika school pioneered the idea of karmic seeds (S. _bija_) and "the special modification of the psycho-physical series" (S. _saṃtatipaṇāmaviśeṣa_) to explain the workings of karma. According to Dennis Hirota,
he Sautrantikas insisted that each act exists only in the present instant and perishes immediately. To explain causation, they taught that with each karmic act a "perfuming" occurs which, though not a dharma or existent factor itself, leaves a residual impression in the succeeding series of mental instants, causing it to undergo a process of subtle evolution eventually leading to the act’s result. Good and bad deeds performed are thus said to leave "seeds" or traces of disposition that will come to fruition.
In the Theravāda Abhidhamma and commentarial traditions, karma is taken up at length. The _Abhidhamma Sangaha_ of Anuruddhācariya offers a treatment of the topic, with an exhaustive treatment in book five (5.3.7).
The _ Kathāvatthu _, which discusses a number of controverted points related either directly or indirectly to the notion of kamma." This involved debate with the Pudgalavādin school, which postulated the provisional existence of the person (S. _pudgala_, P. _puggala_) to account for the ripening of karmic effects over time. The Kathāvatthu also records debate by the Theravādins with the Andhakas (who may have been Mahāsāṃghikas ) regarding whether or not old age and death are the result (_vipāka_) of karma. The Theravāda maintained that they are not—not, apparently because there is no causal relation between the two, but because they wished to reserve the term _vipāka_ strictly for mental results--"subjective phenomena arising through the effects of kamma."
In the canonical Theravāda view of kamma, "the belief that deeds done or ideas seized at the moment of death are particularly significant."
Transfer Of Merit
Main article: Transfer of merit
The _ Milindapañha _, a paracanonical Theravāda text , offers some interpretations of karma theory at variance with the orthodox position. In particular, Nāgasena allows for the possibility of the transfer of merit to humans and one of the four classes of petas , perhaps in deference to folk belief. Nāgasena makes it clear that demerit cannot be transferred. One scholar asserts that the sharing of merit "can be linked to the Vedic _śrāddha_, for it was Buddhist practice not to upset existing traditions when well-established custom was not antithetic to Buddhist teaching."
The Petavatthu , which is fully canonical, endorses the transfer of merit even more widely, including the possibility of sharing merit with all petas.
Indian Yogācāra Tradition
In the Yogācāra philosophical tradition, one of the two principal Mahāyāna schools, the principle of karma was extended considerably. In the Yogācāra formulation, all experience without exception is said to result from the ripening of karma. Karmic seeds (S. _bija_) are said to be stored in the "storehouse consciousness" (S. _ālayavijñāna _) until such time as they ripen into experience. The term _vāsāna_ ("perfuming") is also used, and Yogācārins debated whether vāsāna and bija were essentially the same, the seeds were the effect of the perfuming, or whether the perfuming simply affected the seeds. The seemingly external world is merely a "by-product" (_adhipati-phala_) of karma. The conditioning of the mind resulting from karma is called _saṃskāra _.
The _Treatise on Action_ (_Karmasiddhiprakaraṇa_), also by Vasubandhu, treats the subject of karma in detail from the Yogācāra perspective. According to scholar Dan Lusthaus,
Vasubandhu's _Viṃśatikā_ (_Twenty Verses_) repeatedly emphasizes in a variety of ways that karma is intersubjective and that the course of each and every stream of consciousness (_vijñāna-santāna_, i.e., the changing individual) is profoundly influenced by its relations with other consciousness streams.
According to Bronkhorst, whereas in earlier systems it "was not clear how a series of completely mental events (the deed and its traces) could give rise to non-mental, material effects," with the (purported) idealism of the Yogācāra system this is not an issue.
In Mahāyāna traditions, karma is not the sole basis of rebirth. The rebirths of bodhisattvas after the seventh stage (S. _bhūmi _) are said to be consciously directed for the benefit of others still trapped in saṃsāra. Thus, theirs are not uncontrolled rebirths.
If (the act) lasted till the time of ripening, (the act) would be eternal. If (the act) were terminated, how could the terminated produce a fruit?
The _Mūlamadhyamakavṛtty-Akutobhayā_, also generally attributed to Nāgārjuna, concludes that it is impossible both for the act to persist somehow and also for it to perish immediately and still have efficacy at a later time.
In Tibetan Buddhism, the teachings on karma belong to the preliminary teachings, that turn the mind towards the Buddhist dharma.
In the Vajrayana tradition, negative past karma may be "purified" through such practices as meditation on Vajrasattva because they both are the mind's psychological phenomenon. The performer of the action, after having purified the karma, does not experience the negative results he or she otherwise would have. Engaging in the ten negative actions out of selfishness and delusions hurts all involved. Otherwise, loving others, receives love; whereas; people with closed hearts may be prevented from happiness. One good thing about karma is that it can be purified through confession, if the thoughts become positive. Within Guru Yoga seven branch offerings practice, confession is the antidote to aversion.
East Asian Traditions
Dōgen Kigen argued in his _ Shobogenzo _ that karmic latencies are emphatically not empty, going so far as to claim that belief in the emptiness of karma should be characterized as "non-Buddhist," although he also states that the "law of karman has no concrete existence."
Zen's most famous koan about karma is called _Baizhang\'s Wild Fox_ (百丈野狐). The story of the koan is about an ancient Zen teacher whose answer to a question presents a wrong view about karma by saying that the person who has a foundation in cultivating the great practice "does not fall into cause and effect." Because of his unskillful answer the teacher reaps the result of living 500 lives as a wild fox. He is then able to appear as a human and ask the same question to Zen teacher Baizhang, who answers, "He is not in the dark about cause and effect." Hearing this answer the old teacher is freed from the life of a wild fox. The Zen perspective avoids the duality of asserting that an enlightened person is either subject to or free from the law of karma and that the key is not being ignorant about karma.
MODERN INTERPRETATIONS AND CONTROVERSIES
Buddhist modernists often prefer to equate karma with social conditioning, in contradistinction with, as one scholar puts it, "early texts give us little reason to interpret 'conditioning' as the infusion into the psyche of external social norms, or of awakening as simply transcending all psychological conditioning and social roles. Karmic conditioning drifts semantically toward 'cultural conditioning' under the influence of western discourses that elevate the individual over the social, cultural, and institutional. The traditional import of the karmic conditioning process, however, is primarily ethical and soteriological—actions condition circumstances in this and future lives."
Essentially, this understanding limits the scope of the traditional understanding of karmic effects so that it encompasses only _saṃskāra_s—habits, dispositions and tendencies—and not external effects, while at the same time expanding the scope to include social conditioning that does not particularly involve volitional action.
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* ^ In common Tibetan common speech, the term _las_, "karma", is often used to denote the entire process of karma-and-fruit. * ^ Sanskrit, punaraāvŗtti, punarutpatti, punarjanman, or punarjīlvātu * ^ In early Buddhism rebirth is ascribed to craving or ignorance, and the theory of _karma_ may have been of minor importance in early Buddhist soteriology. * ^ There are many different translation of the above quote into English. For example, Peter Harvey translates the quote as follows: "It is will (_cetana_), O monks, that I call karma; having willed, one acts through body, speech, and mind." (A.III.415). * ^ Sutta-nipata verse 1366 * ^ For example, the Sautrāntika , a subsect of the Sarvastivada , the most important of the early Buddhist schools , regarded the intention to be the stimulus for _karma_, action which leads to consequences. The Vaibhāṣika , the other sub-sect of the Sarvastivada, separated the intention from the act, regarding intention as karma proper. * ^ In the Abhidharma they are referred to by specific names for the sake of clarity, karmic causes being the "cause of results" (S. _vipāka-hetu_) and the karmic results being the "resultant fruit" (S. _vipāka-phala_). * ^ See also Saṅkhāra * ^ For _bīja_, see also Yogacara#Karma, seeds and storehouse-consciousness * ^ The twelvefold chain as we know it is the result of a gradual development. Shorter versions are also known. According to Schumann, the twelvefold chain may be a combination of three succeeding lives, each one of them shown by some of the samkaras. * ^ See also Sivaka Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya 36.21), in which the Buddha mentions eight different possible causes from which feelings can arise. Only the eight cause can be ascribed to karma. * ^ Dasgupta explains that in Indian philosophy, acintya is "that which is to be unavoidably accepted for explaining facts, but which cannot stand the scrutiny of logic." See also the _Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta _, "Discourse to Vatsagotra on the Fire," Majjhima Nikaya 72, in which the Buddha is questioned by Vatsagotra on the "ten indeterminate question," and the Buddha explains that a Tathagata is like a fire that has been extinguished, and is "deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea". * ^ The understanding of rebirth, and the reappearance in accordance with one's deeds, are the first two knowledges that the Buddha is said to have acquired at his enlightenment, as described in Majjhima Nikaya 36. * ^ Bronkhorst is following Schmithausen, who, in his often-cited article _On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism_, notes that the mention of the four noble truths as constituting "liberating insight", which is attained after mastering the Rupa Jhanas, is a later addition to texts such as Majjhima Nikaya 36. It calls in question the reliability of these accounts, and the relation between _dhyana_ and insight, which is a core problem in the study of early Buddhism. According to Tilmann Vetter, originally only the practice of dhyana, and the resulting calming of the mind may have constituted the liberating practice of the Buddha. * ^ Langer: "When I was searching the Sanskrit texts for material, two things become apparent: first, rebirth, central as it is to Indian philosophy, is not found in the earliest texts; and second, rebirth and karman do not appear to be linked together from the beginning. In fact, originally karman seems to have been only one of several concepts connected with rebirth, but in the course of time it proved to be more popular than others. One of these ‘other concepts’ linked with rebirth is a curious notion of ‘rebirth according to one’s wish’, sometimes referred to in the texts as kAmacAra. The wish — variously referred to in the texts as kAma or kratu — is directed to a particular form or place of rebirth and can be spontaneous (at the time of death) or cultivated for a long time. This understanding seems to have some affinity with the Buddhist notion that a mental effort, a positive state of mind, can bring about a good rebirth." * ^ Stanislaw Schayer, a Polish scholar, argued in the 1930s that the Nikayas preserve elements of an archaic form of Buddhism which is close to Brahmanical beliefs, and survived in the Mahayana tradition. According to Schayer, one of these elements is that Nirvana was conceived as the attainment of immortality, and the gaining of a deathless sphere from which there would be no falling back. According to Falk, in the precanonical tradition, there is a threefold division of reality, the third realm being the realm of nirvana, the "amrta sphere," characterized by prajna. This nirvana is an "abode" or "place" which is gained by the enlightened holy man. According to Falk, this scheme is reflected in the precanonical conception of the path to liberation. The nirvanic element, as an "essence" or pure consciousness, is immanent within samsara. The three bodies are concentric realities, which are stripped away or abandoned, leaving only the nirodhakaya of the liberated person. See also Rita Langer (2007), _ Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth: Contemporary Sri Lankan Practice and Its Origins_, p.26-28, on "redeath" (_punarmrtyu_). * ^ Tilmann Vetter, _Das Erwachen des Buddha_, referenced by Bronkhorst. * ^ _Mūlamadhyamakavṛtty-Akutobhayā_, sDe dge Tibetan Tripitaka (Tokyo, 1977) pp. 32, 4.5, cited in Dargyay, 1986, p.170. * ^ Ken Jones, _The Social Face of Buddhism: An Approach to Political and Social Activism_, Wisdom Publications, 1989, quoted in "A Buddhist Ethic Without Karmic Rebirth?" by Winston L. King _Journal of Buddhist Ethics_ Volume 1 1994
* ^ Rupert Gethin: " a being’s intentional 'actions' of body, speech, and mind—whatever is done, said, or even just thought with definite intention or volition"; "t root karma or 'action' is considered a mental act or intention; it is an aspect of our mental life: 'It is "intention" that I call karma; having formed the intention, one performs acts (karma) by body, speech and mind.'" * ^ Gombrich: "Bodily and verbal action manifested one’s intention to others and therefore were called vijñapti, ‘information’."
* ^ Karma and samsara:
* Peter Harvey: "The movement of beings between rebirths is not a haphazard process but is ordered and governed by the law of karma, the principle that beings are reborn according to the nature and quality of their past actions; they are 'heir' to their actions (M.III.123)." * Damien Keown: "In the cosmology , karma functions as the elevator that takes people from one floor of the building to another. Good deeds result in an upward movement and bad deeds in a downward one. Karma is not a system of rewards and punishments meted out by God but a kind of natural law akin to the law of gravity. Individuals are thus the sole authors of their good and bad fortune." * Alexander Berzin: "In short, the external and internal cycles of time delineate samsara – uncontrollably recurring rebirth, fraught with problems and difficulties. These cycles are driven by impulses of energy, known in the Kalachakra system as "winds of karma." Karma is a force intimately connected with mind and arises due to confusion about reality." * Paul Williams: "All rebirth is due to karman and is impermanent. Short of attaining enlightenment, in each rebirth one is born and dies, to be reborn elsewhere in accordance with the completely impersonal causal nature of one's own karman. The endless cycle of birth, rebirth, and redeath, is samsara."
* ^ Wholesome and unwholesome actions:
* Ringu Tulku: "We create in three different ways, through actions that are positive, negative, or neutral. When we feel kindness and love and with this attitude do good things, which are beneficial to both ourselves and others, this is positive action. When we commit harmful deeds out of equally harmful intentions, this is negative action. Finally, when our motivation is indifferent and our deeds are neither harmful or beneficial, this is neutral action. The results we experience will accord with the quality of our actions." * Gethin: ebirth in the lower realms is considered to be the result of relatively unwholesome (akuśala/akusala), or bad (pāpa) karma, while rebirth in the higher realms the result of relatively wholesome (kuśala/kusala), or good (puṇya/puñña) karma.
* ^ Dargray: "When understanding of karma is correlated to the Buddhist doctrine of universal impermanence and No-Self, a serious problem arises as to where this trace is stored and what the trace left is. The problem is aggravated when the trace remains latent over a long period, perhaps over a period of many existences. The crucial problem presented to all schools of Buddhist philosophy was where the trace is stored and how it can remain in the ever-changing stream of phenomena which build up the individual and what the nature of this trace is."
* ^ Seed and fruit:
* Peter Harvey: " Karma is often likened to a seed, and the two words for karmic result, _vipaka _ and _phala _, respectively mean 'ripening' and 'fruit'. An action is thus like a seed which will sooner or later, as part of its natural maturation process, result in certain fruits accruing to the doer of the action." * Ken McLeod: "Karma, then, describes how our actions evolve into experience, internally and externally. Each action is a seed which grows or evolves into our experience of the world. Every action either starts a new growth process or reinforces an old one as described by the _four results_.
* ^ Bhikkhu Thanissaro : "Unlike the theory of linear causality — which led the Vedists and Jains to see the relationship between an act and its result as predictable and tit-for-tat — the principle of _this/that conditionality _ makes that relationship inherently complex. The results of kamma experienced at any one point in time come not only from past kamma, but also from present kamma. This means that, although there are general patterns relating habitual acts to corresponding results , there is no set one-for-one, tit-for-tat, relationship between a particular action and its results. Instead, the results are determined by the context of the act, both in terms of actions that preceded or followed it and in terms one’s state of mind at the time of acting or experiencing the result . The feedback loops inherent in _this/that conditionality_ mean that the working out of any particular cause-effect relationship can be very complex indeed. This explains why the Buddha says in AN 4:77 that the results of kamma are imponderable . Only a person who has developed the mental range of a Buddha—another imponderable itself—would be able to trace the intricacies of the kammic network. The basic premise of kamma is simple—that skillful intentions lead to favorable results, and unskillful ones to unfavorable results—but the process by which those results work themselves out is so intricate that it cannot be fully mapped. We can compare this with the Mandelbrot set , a mathematical set generated by a simple equation, but whose graph is so complex that it will probably never be completely explored." * ^ Sivaka Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya 36.21): "So any brahmans & contemplatives who are of the doctrine & view that whatever an individual feels — pleasure, pain, neither-pleasure-nor-pain — is entirely caused by what was done before — slip past what they themselves know, slip past what is agreed on by the world. Therefore I say that those brahmans only you can truly know the motivation behind your actions." * Khandro Rinpoche states: " Buddhism is a nontheistic philosophy. We do not believe in a creator but in the causes and conditions that create certain circumstances that then come to fruition. This is called karma. It has nothing to do with judgement; there is no one keeping track of our karma and sending us up above or down below. Karma is simply the _wholeness_ of a cause, or first action, and its effect, or fruition, which then becomes another cause. In fact, one karmic cause can have many fruitions, all of which can cause thousands more creations. Just as a handful of seed can ripen into a full field of grain, a small amount of karma can generate limitless effects." * Walpola Rahula states: "The theory of karma should not be confused with so-called ‘moral justice’ or ‘reward and punishment’. The idea of moral justice, or reward and punishment, arises out of the conception of a supreme being, a God, who sits in judgment, who is a law-giver and who decides what is right and wrong. The term ‘justice’ is ambiguous and dangerous, and in its name more harm than good is done to humanity. The theory of karma is the theory of cause and effect, of action and reaction; it is a natural law, which has nothing to do with the idea of justice or reward and punishment. Every volitional action produces its effects or results. If a good action produces good effects and a bad action bad effects, it is not justice, or reward, or punishment meted out by anybody or any power sitting in judgment on your action, but this is in virtue of its own nature, its own law."
* ^ Rupert Gethin: "From the Buddhist perspective certain experiences in life are indeed the results of previous actions; but our responses to those experiences, whether wished for or unwished for, are not predetermined but represent new actions which in time bear their own fruit in the future. The Buddhist understanding of individual responsibility does not mean that we should never seek or expect another’s assistance in order to better cope with the troubles of life. The belief that one’s broken leg is at one level to be explained as the result of unwholesome actions performed in a previous life does not mean that one should not go to a doctor to have the broken leg set."
* ^ In the Tibetan tradition, a karmic action grows into four results: the result of full ripening, the result from what happened, the result from what acted, and the environmental result. * ^ Bhikkhu Thanissaro uses the Pali spelling for karma. * ^ MMK (XVII.6), cited in Dargyay, 1986, p.170
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Padmakara Translation Group 1994 , p. 101. * ^ Chapple 1986 , p. 2. * ^ Lichter & Epstein 1983 , p. 232. * ^ Kalupahanna 1992 , p. 166. * ^ _A_ _B_ Keown 2000 , p. 36-37. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Gombrich 2009 , p. 19. * ^ Kopf 2001 , p. 141. * ^ Kragh 2001 , p. 11. * ^ Keown 2000 , p. 810-813. * ^ Klostermaier 1986 , p. 93. * ^ Keown 2000 , p. 37. * ^ Kragh 2006 , p. 11. * ^ Lamotte 1987 , p. 15. * ^ Bucknell 1984 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Buswell 2004 , p. 712. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Vetter 1988 , p. xxi. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Buswell 2004 , p. 416. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Matthews 1986 , p. 124. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Schmithausen 1986 , p. 206-207. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Bronkhorst 1998 , p. 13. * ^ _A_ _B_ Bronkhorst 1998 . * ^ Gethin 1998 , p. 119-120. * ^ _A_ _B_ Gethin 1998 , p. 119. * ^ Gethin 1998 , p. 120. * ^ Gombrich 1997 , p. 55. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Harvey 1990 , pp. 39-40. * ^ Gombrich 1997 , p. 51. * ^ Gombrich 1996 , p. 65-66. * ^ Gombrich 1996 , p. 68. * ^ _A_ _B_ Gombrich 1007 , p. 54-55. * ^ Gombrich 1007 , p. 54. * ^ _A_ _B_ Gombrich 1007 , p. 55. * ^ Kalupahana 1992 , p. 166. * ^ Reichenbach 1988 , p. 399. * ^ Waldron 2003 , p. 61. * ^ _A_ _B_ Reichenbach 1990 , p. 1. * ^ Harvey 1990 , p. 39. * ^ Keown 2000 , Kindle Location 794-797. * ^ Williams 2002 , p. 74. * ^ Ringu Tulku 2005 , p. 31. * ^ vetter 1988 , p. 84. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. 85. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Dargyay 1986 , p. 170. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. 52, note 8. * ^ Bronkhorst 1998 , p. 12. * ^ Harvey 1990 , p. 40. * ^ Schumann, 1997 & 88-92 . * ^ Kalupahana 1975 , p. 127. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Gombrich 2009 , p. 20. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Bhikkhu Thanissaro 2010 , pp. 47-48. * ^ Harvey 2012 , p. 42. * ^ Kalupahana 1975 , p. 131. * ^ Keown 2000 , p. 794-796. * ^ Keown 2000 , Kindle loc. 794-796. * ^ Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse 2011 , p. 76. * ^ Khandro Rinpoche 2003 , p. 95. * ^ Walpola Rahula 2007 , Kindle Locations 860-866. * ^ _A_ _B_ Gethin 1998 , p. 27. * ^ Gethin 1998 , p. 153-154. * ^ Gombrich 2009 , p. 21-22. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. 79-80. * ^ _A_ _B_ Buswell & Lopez Jr. 2013 , p. 14. * ^ Dasgupta 1991 , p. 16. * ^ _A_ _B_ Buswell & Lopez Jr. 2013 , p. 852. * ^ accesstoinsight, _Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta: To Vacchagotta on Fire_, transalated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu * ^ _A_ _B_ Gombrich 2009 , p. 20-22. * ^ Vetter 1987 , p. 50-52. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. 80-82. * ^ Gombrich 1991 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Matthews 1986 , p. 125. * ^ _A_ _B_ Collins 1999 , p. 120. * ^ Vetter 1988 , p. 79. * ^ Goldstein 2011 , p. 74. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Bronkhorst 1993 . * ^ Schmithausen 1981 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Vetter 1988 . * ^ Gombrich 1997 . * ^ McDermott 1980 , p. 175. * ^ _A_ _B_ McDermott 1984 , p. 21. * ^ SN.4.132 * ^ _A_ _B_ Lamotte 2001 , p. 18. * ^ _A_ _B_ Samuel 2010 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ vetter 1988 , p. 78. * ^ _A_ _B_ Schmithausen 1986 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Langer 2007 , p. 26. * ^ Lindtner 1997 . * ^ Lindtner 1999 . * ^ Akizuki 1990 , p. 25-27. * ^ Ray 1999 . * ^ Reat 1998 , p. xi. * ^ Conze 1967 , p. 10. * ^ Ray 1999 , p. 374-377. * ^ Ray 1999 , p. 375. * ^ _A_ _B_ Ray , p. 375. * ^ Langer 2007 , p. 26-28. * ^ _A_ _B_ Bronkhorst 1998 , p. 3. * ^ Bronkhorst 1998 , p. 16. * ^ Bronkhorst 1998 , p. 14. * ^ Ryose 1987 , p. 3. * ^ _A_ _B_ Hirota 2004 , p. 5100. * ^ Ryose 1987 , pp. 3-4. * ^ Ryose 1987 , pp. 39-40. * ^ Lamotte 2001 . * ^ Park 2007 , pp. 234-236. * ^ Matthews 1986 , p. 132. * ^ _A_ _B_ McDermott 1975 , p. 424. * ^ _A_ _B_ McDermott 1975 , pp. 426-427. * ^ McDermott 1980 , p. 168. * ^ McDermott 1984 , p. 110. * ^ _A_ _B_ McDermott 1984 , pp. 109-111. * ^ McDermott 1977 , p. 463. * ^ McDermott 1977 , p. 462. * ^ Harvey 2000 , p. 297. * ^ Lusthaus 2002 , p. 194. * ^ _A_ _B_ Lusthaus 2002 , p. 48. * ^ Lamotte 2001 , pp. 13,35. * ^ Bronkhorst 2000 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Harvey 2000 , p. 130. * ^ Huntington 1986 , p. 4. * ^ Norgay 2014 , p. v. * ^ Kalu Rinpoche 1993 , p. 204. * ^ _A_ _B_ Zopa Rinpoche 2004 , p. ix. * ^ Thrangu Rinpoche 2012 , pp. 20-21. * ^ Patrul Rinpoche 2011 , pp. 264-265. * ^ Dōgen 1975 , p. 142, 149. * ^ Lopez 2001 , p. 239. * ^ _A_ _B_ McMahan 2008 , p. 198. * ^ McMahan 2008 , p. 174. * ^ Wright 2004 , p. 81. * ^ Wright 2004 , p. 89-90. * ^ Loy 2008 , p. 57. * ^ Loy 2008 , p. 55. * ^ _A_ _B_ Burke 2003 , p. 32-33.
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* The Buddha\'s Bad Karma: A Problem in the History of Theravada Buddhism Jonathan S. Walters, Numen, Vol. 37, No. 1 (June 1990), pp. 70–95
* Dalai Lama (1992). _The Meaning of Life_, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins. Wisdom. * Geshe Sonam Rinchen (2006). _How Karma Works: The Twelve Links of Dependent Arising_. Snow Lion * Khandro Rinpoche (2003). _This Precious Life_. Shambala * Ringu Tulku (2005). _Daring Steps Toward Fearlessness: The Three Vehicles of Tibetan Buddhism_. Snow Lion.
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