Prompted & Unprompted III

This is continue from previous exchange…

…coming back to Karma without intention, it depends on how we define Karma. Following is my understanding of Karma. In a given situation, if one does something, then he or she has developed a potential to do it again if he or she gets into the same situation. That potential to repeat things again is what I understand as Karma. Buddhist practice is to destroy those potentials in a way that whatever the circumstances, he or she will never do that again. We can call it Zero Potential State or Sunyata. How can Karma be classified as good or bad.? It depends on what sort of mental elements ( cetasikas) are associated at the time of doing Karma.


My reply:

I remember, there was once, a friend asked, “discovered anything new in your meditation?”

My answer to him was, “I do not discover anything new.
I, simply, try to understand what was taught to me.”

We do not define Kamma, we simply try to explain, what Kamma is. When someone give a definition of something, that definition simply serve as description for us to better understand the targeted object or phenomena.

What we do know about Kamma is:

“I declare, O Bhikkhus, that volition is kamma. Having willed one acts by body, speech, and thought.” – The Buddha (link…)

“According to the seed that’s sown, So is the fruit you reap there from, Doer of good will gather good, Doer of evil, evil reaps, Down is the seed and thou shalt taste The fruit thereof.” – Samyutta Nikaya.

Thus, when a person developed an intention or a volition of the mind in actualizing a goal, which resulted action through body, speech and intellect, this intention is Kamma.

If this intention is acted by associating with unwholesome mental states or mental factors, this Kamma is unwholesome. If this intention is acted by associating with wholesome mental factors, this Kamma is wholesome.

What is unwholesome? Those mental factors that are rooted, associating or being accompanied by greed, hatred, fear and delusion or ignorant, are unwholesome. Thus, if the intention is acted with greed, dominated by greed, overwhelmed by greed, possess by greed, this intention is unwholesome. This is the same as hatred, fear or delusion. This will mean a Kamma for a potentially unsatisfactory future.

What is wholesome? Those mental factors that are rooted, associating or being accompanied by non-greed, non-hatred, non-fear, and non-delusion, are wholesome. Thus, if the intention is acted with non-greed (like: generosity), and the mind knowingly and with full awareness of this good intention, then this intention is wholesome. This will mean a Kamma for a potentially satisfactory future.

We should also understand, in Buddhism, we had already being continuously reborn since long time ago. We have already committed many (traditionally, it is term as incalculable) kamma (either good or bad). This mean, all of us are carrying or inheriting these kammic potential. Thus, whenever we acted, this will contribute to the existing kammic pool. Even among the good and bad kamma, there are those that are ready to be experienced and there are also those that are just started. So, whenever we acted a good kamma, some of the accumulated good kamma may ripen and manifest its potential into a certainty.

From here, I should make a point, even though we might be able to understand how Kamma works, but is it impossible to precisely predict and know the exact influences of each and every forces of Kamma.

It can be explain like the following simile. If one put a ping pong ball in a box, cover it and shake it, can we be certain at which point the ping pong ball will stop inside the box? No, and it may appear as random and unpredictable. However, if one able to know the position of it before the we shake the box, and able to know the force as well as all the necessary variables for that needed in the calculation, for the final position, then we can definitely predict its final outcome.

This is the same for Kamma. Since as I said before, according to Buddhism, we have been reborn countless times, at each birth, whenever there is act that generate Kammic potential, it will contribute to existing Kammic pool that will manifest its influences when the conditions is satisfied.

Sometime, the some forces of Kamma work together, sometime some work against each other. Sometime, it will be combined with other forces of nature to give rise to its final outcome. The additional problem is we do not possess the insight or the ability to really see clearly the Kammic conditioning and its manifestation. This mean, to know which exactly the Kammic force is for which result is very difficult.

This does imply, sadly, even though Kamma has been such thoroughly described and explained in Buddhism, it is still difficult for us to gain full understanding of Kamma.

I remember a teacher once told us, “if you are unenlightened, and you contemplate too much into Kamma, you might go insane.”

Traditionally, it is said, only a Buddha can see Kamma in full details.

If you still think there is a possibility for an unintentional Kamma, I suggest, why not start observing this mind of yours. See for yourself, whenever there is an unintentional act, is such act wholesome, unwholesome or indeterminate (neutral)? If it is neutral, why would there be a kammic consequence? If there is no kammic consequences, how can we call and why should we call it a kammic action?

Now, before you do this, I hope, you can first develop the ability to see and apprehend on what is instigation and what is non-instigation. From here, once you able to understand what is instigation, you should be able to see and apprehend what is instigation and what is intention. From here, once you able to understand what is intention, you should be able to see and apprehend what is intentional and what is unintentional. If you can see the differences between intentional and unintentional, then you should be able to see and apprehend its associating mental factors. If you able to see this, then you should be able to see and apprehend what do we mean by kammic action.

End note: There were some other email that were left out. They are left out because of lack of content or just flames – irrelevant to the whole discussion.

  1. Wesyralry says:

    Ive been offered a hand me down, but would rather get a modern one, has anyone owned one of these:

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