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  1. 1. Buddhist Ethical Teaching on KARMA >√kar (to do), > the Pali term kamma (Sanskrit. karma) etymologically means “action or doing”, >KARMA  “volitional action”. >the belief that acts bring about their retribution, usually in a subsequent existence.
  2. 2. Kamma is formulated as the universal law of causality and everything comes into existence must have a cause according to this law. the principle of the ‘law of karma’ is that beings are reborn according to the nature and quality of their actions.
  3. 3. All good and bad actions constitute kamma. In the ultimate sense, kamma denotes all wholesome and unwholesome volitional actions. The volition having the root in ignorance (moha), greed or attachment (lobha) or anger (do sa) is evil. The volition, which is accompanied by generosity (alobha), good-will (adosa) and wisdo m (pannà), is wholesome.
  4. 4. This belief is nowadays shared by many Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas, and others, but the details can vary considerably between differen t believers. They all seem to have shared the aspiration to end the endless cycle of rebirths that results from acts and their consequences.
  5. 5. >Theistic : God (Isvara), who is the creator, the preserver and the destroyer of the world, is believed to be the Lord of the law of karma. >Hindus conceive it as operating under the supervision of God (Isvara), so it is necessarily dependent on God.
  6. 6. ♠ In the Vedic belief, sacrifice was regarded as almost the only kind of duty, and it was also called karma or kriya [action] and the unalterable law was that these mystical ceremonies for good or bad, moral or immoral, were destined to produce their effects. > Thus, the sacrifices performed in accordance with the Vedic teachings might unquestionably be supposed to be good karma which would in turn produce good results.
  7. 7. ♠ In the Upanishads, the law of karma is considered as the law of the conservation of moral energy. >According to this principle, We reap as we sow. The good seed brings a harvest of good, the evil of evil. > They laid on this law and the ritual sacrifices as the way leading to the salvation. “sin could be removed by sacrifices to gods, great emphasis is laid on the law of karma.”
  8. 8. Regarding karma and its results, Upanishad points out thus: “ According as one acts, according as one behaves, so does he become. The doer of good becomes good; the doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action. Others, however, say that a person consists of desires. As is his desire, so is his will; as is his will, so is the deed he does; whatever deed he does, that he attains.”
  9. 9. ♠ One of the sectarians, by the name of Makkhaligosala was found to hold the view of “Non- causality (Ahetuka vaada) or fixed (Niyati)”. > He refutes all the causes or actions either wholesome or unwholesome thus: “There exists no cause or condition for beings to become defiled; they are defiled without cause or condition. There exists no cause or condition for beings to become absolutely pure; they are absolutely pure without cause or condition”.
  10. 10. > According to him all beings come into existence without making any endeavour but by accident or by chance. He says thus: “All sentient beings, all those that breathe, all those that exist, all those that possess the principle of life are devoid of power, energy, strength and endeavour. They just happen naturally, by chance and according to their own individual character.”
  11. 11. Ajitakesakambala “There is no (consequence to) alms-giving, sacrifice or oblation. A good or bad action produces no result. This world does not exist, nor do other worlds. There is no mother, no father. There is no rebirth of beings after death.” > It means that all good or evil done to them producing no result.
  12. 12. >His view is embarking upon the annihilationist view as he disproves to accept all sorts of kamma, either wholesome or unwholesome, the existence of this world and the other worlds. >He criticizes that daana is the idea of the fools as alms-giving ends in ashes. The words of those who assert on such a thing as merit in alms-giving are empty, false and senseless.
  13. 13. ♠ The Buddhists, conceive it as an independent Law; its operation is independent through its nature is dependent or relative. ♠ It is independent in the sense of working out by its own nature without the interference of any Supreme Being.
  14. 14. ♠ The Buddhists, conceive it as an independent Law; its operation is independent through its nature is dependent or relative. ♠ It is independent in the sense of working out by its own nature without the interference of any Supreme Being. Past actions are said to ‘welcome’ one in a future life like a person being welcomed by kinsmen (Dhp. 219–20).
  15. 15. Culakammavibhanga Sutta states: “Beings are owners of their actions, heirs of their actions; they originate from their actions, are bound to their actions, have their actions as their refuge. It is action that distinguishes beings as inferior and superior, happy and miserable, beautiful or ugly, well- built or deformed, gain and loss, fame and disgrace, etc.
  16. 16. acts of hatred and violence tend to lead to rebirth in a hell, acts of delusion and confusion … as an animal, and acts of greed … as a ghost. ‘By constantly committing evil deeds we are reborn in hell, by doing many we become spirits [i.e. ghost s], and doing only a few we are reborn as an animal’
  17. 17. ♠ Rebirth in a hell is also seen as particularly due to both doing evil actions and encouraging others to do them, by approving of and praising such actions. >Abstaining from evil actions and encouraging others to do so leads to a heavenly rebirth (AN). ♠ In Mahayana Buddhism, it is also held that obstructing a Bodhisattva – a heroic, compassionate being – in a good deed has terrible karmic consequences, for it hinders the welfare of many beings (Bca).
  18. 18. ♠ Actions can also lead to karmic fruits in a human life. This might be the present life, or a future human life, be this one’s next life, or one that comes after one or more other types of re birth. ♠ Culakammavibhanga Sutta
  19. 19. It is said that to develop generosity and moral virtue to a small degree leads to rebirth as a human of ill fortune; …to develop them to a medium degree leads to being a human of good fortune; …to develop them to a high degree leads to rebirth in heavens.
  20. 20. The status and working of the law of karma Karma is often likened to a seed, and the two words for a karmic result, vipāka and phala, respectively mean ‘ripening’ and ‘fruit’. > As a fruit seed gives rise to a new plant of the same kind of tree which gives the seed, so also a kamma seed will produce a new being in a plane appropriate to the original kamma. > What determines the nature of a karmic ‘seed’ is the will behind an act: ‘It is will (cetanā), O monks, that I call karma; having willed, one acts through body, speech or mind’ (AN).
  21. 21. Ten Akusala-kamma ‘Kamma-patha’ means ‘course of action’. It is the name for a group of 10 kinds of either unwholesome or wholesome actions. The unwholesome actions may be divided into three groups in accordance with three types of kamma. 1 Akusala-kāya-kamma There are 3 unwholesome bodily actions: 1 Pānātipàtà – killing any living being, 2 Adinnādānā – stealing or taking other’s property unlawfully, 3 Kamesu-micchācārā – sexual misconduct such as unlawful sexual intercourse.
  22. 22. 2 Akusala-vacī-kamma There are 4 unwholesome verbal actions: 4 Musāvādā – lying, 5 Pisunavācā – slandering, 6 Pharusavācā – rude or harsh speech, 7 Samphappalāpa – vain talk or foolish babble. 3 Akusala-mano-kamma There are 3 unwholesome mental actions: 8 Abhijjhā – covetousness, 9 Vyāpāda – ill-will 10 Micchādi hiṭṭ – wrong view
  23. 23. Ten Kusala-kamma These are ten wholesome actions also known as “ten sucaritas”, meaning “ten types of good conduct’. They are also divided into three groups in accordance with three types of kamma. 1 Kusala-kàya-kamma There are three wholesome bodily actions: 1 Pànàtipàtà-virati – avoidance of killing, 2 Adinnàdànà-virati – avoidance of stealing 3 Kamesu-micchàcàrà-virati – avoidance of sexual misconduct.
  24. 24. 2 Kusala-vacī-kamma There are four wholesome verbal actions: 4 Musàvàdà-virati – avoidance of lying, 5 Pisunavàcà-virati – avoidance of slandering, 6 Pharusavàcà-virati – avoidance of harsh speech, 7 Samphappalàpa-virati – avoidance of vain talk. 3 Kusala-mano-kamma There are three wholesome mental actions: 8 Anabhijjhà – absence of covetousness (unselfishness), 9 Avyàpàda – good-will 10 Sammà-di hiṭṭ – right view.
  25. 25. Cetanā encompasses the motive for which an action is done, its immediate intention (directed at a specific objective, as part of fulfilling a motive), and the imme diate mental impulse which sets it going and sustains it (Keown,). >Actions, then, must be intentional if they are to generate karmic fruits: accidentally treading on an insect does not have such an effect, as the Jains beli eved.
  26. 26. The ‘karmic fruitfulness’ of actions Good actions are said to be ‘lovely’ (kalyā aṇ ) and to be, or have the quality of, puñña (Pali; Skt punya), >puñña = ‘fortune-bringing or auspicious quality of an action’; ‘an act which brings good fortune or to the ha ppy result in the future of such an act’. >A puñña action is ‘auspicious’, ‘fortunate’ or ‘fruitful’, as it purifies the mind and thus leads to future good fortune).
  27. 27. >Monks, puñña is a designation for happiness, for what is pleasant, charming, dear and delightful. I mys elf know that the ripening of puññas done for a long ti me are experienced for a long time as pleasant, char ming, dear and delightful. After developing a heart of l ovingkindness for seven years, for seven aeons of ev olution and devolution, I did not come back to this wo rld . . . [being reborn in a delightful heaven for that tim e]. (It.)
  28. 28. > As the noun puñña refers to the auspicious, uplifting, purifying power of good actions to produce future happy result s, one might translate it as ‘goodness-power’. > As an Adj. ‘(an act of) karmic fruitfulness’, with ‘karmically fruitful’. This makes a connection with the fact that actions (karmas) are often likened to ‘seeds’ and their results are known as ‘fr uits’ (phalas) or ‘ripenings’. While such phalas can be the res ults of either good or bad actions, and puñña relates only to go od actions.
  29. 29. The link to ‘fruitfulness’ is also seen in the fact that the Sangha is described as the best ‘field of punna’, i.e. the best group of people to ‘plan t’ a gift ‘in’ in terms of karmically beneficial res ults of the gift.
  30. 30. Puñña-kiriya Vatthu (Bases of Meritorious Action) 1 Dàna – giving charity or generosity 2 Sīla – morality; observing five precepts, eight precepts, ten precepts, etc. 3 Bhàvanà – meditation, both tranquility and insight 4 Appacàyana – reverence to elders and holy persons 5 Veyàvacca – service in wholesome deeds 6 Pattidàna – transference of merit 7 Pattànumodana – rejoicing in others’ merit 8 Dhamma-savana – listening to the Doctrine 9 Dhamma-desanà – expounding the Doctrine 10 Di hijjukammaṭṭ – straightening one’s right view
  31. 31. The above ten puñña-kiriya-vatthus can be classified into three groups: 1. giving (dāna), 2. moral virtue (sīla) and 3. meditation. 1 giving (dāna) group – Dàna, Pattidàna, Pattànumodana 2 moral virtue (sīla) group– Sīla, Appacàyana, Veyàvacca 3 meditation (Bhàvanà) group – Bhàvanà, Dhamma-savana, Dhammadesanà, Di hijjukamma.ṭṭ
  32. 32. The dāna group represents alobha (generosity), and opposes lobha (attachment) and macchariya (stinginess). It is compared to the legs. The sīla group represents adosa (good-will) and opposes issa (jealousy) and dosa (anger). It is compared to the body. The bhàvanà group represents amoha (wisdom) and opposes moha (ignorance). It is compared to the head.
  33. 33. ♠ The opposite of puñña is apuñña, which one can accordingly see as meaning ‘(an act of) karmic unfruitfulness’ or ‘karmically unfruitful’, i.e. producing no pleasant fruits, but only bitter ones.  A synonym for apuñña is pāpa, which, while often translated as ‘evil’, really means that which is ‘infertile’, ‘barren’, ‘harmful’ or ‘ill-fortuned’.
  34. 34. Karmic fruitfulness and motive ♠‘the mental aspiration of a moral person is effective through its purity’(DN). >If a person gives something to a monk ‘with longing, with the heart bound (to the gift), intent on a store (of karmic fruitfulness), thinking “I’ll enjoy this after death” ’, it is said that he will be reborn for a whi le in the lowest of all the heavens.
  35. 35. >A series of what seem to be meant as progressively higher motives is then outlined:giving because one feels ‘it is auspicious to give’; wishing to continue a fa mily tradition of giving; wishing to support those who do not cook for themselves; because great sages of t he past were supported by alms; because giving lead s to mental calm, joy and gladness; or because giving enriches the heart and equips it for meditation (AN).
  36. 36. Giving from the last of these motives is then said to lead to rebirth in the first heaven of the realm of (ele mental) form, where the brahmas dwell. > Buddhaghosa says, on moral virtue: That undertaken just out of desire for fame is inferior; that undertaken just out of desire for the fruits of karmicall y fruitful actions is medium; that undertaken for the sake of the Noble state thus, ‘This is to be done’, is superior. (Vism. 13)
  37. 37. While Buddhists often see a large gift as generating more karmic fruitfulness than a small one, a small gift from a poor p erson is said to be worth as much as a large one from a rich p erson (SN). Here, purity of mind makes up for the smallness of a gift, for ‘where there is a joyful heart, no gift is small’ ( J.). Thus, ‘If you have a little, give little; if you have a middling amount, give a middling amount; if you have much, give much. It is not fitting not to give at all’ ( J.).  Thus it is emphasized that even the poor have the means to give, be this as little as leftover noodles as food for ants.
  38. 38. ♠ The karmic fruitfulness of a gift is not seen to depend on its usefulness to the recipient (which may be variable and unpredictable), but on the donor’s sta te of mind when giving. >Indeed, a person with nothing to give can do an act of karmic fruitfulness by helping someone else to give or by simply rejoicing at another person’s giving, whic h is a good mental act in itself. This even applies to th e joyful contemplation of one’s own past wholesome deeds (Miln. 297).
  39. 39. It is said that an act of karmic fruitfulness is greater than its opposite, as regretting a bad action can stop one repeating it, but one has no need to regret a kar mically fruitful action, and it leads on to further spiritu al progress – joy, calm, concentration and insight – which generates more karmic fruitfulness (Miln. 84).
  40. 40. The state of mind in which an act is done is partly a matter of motive, but also of the manner in which it is don e. > This is also seen as having an effect on the karmic result. > It is said that to give ‘disrespectfully, without due consideration, not with one’s own hand, of something unwa nted (by oneself), not recognizing the giving as having a kar mic fruit’ leads to a karmic fruit where the mind does not incl ine to the enjoyment of the best of sense-pleasures (i.e. bei ng miserly with what one has (SN).
  41. 41. More specifically, it is said: ( ) giving with faith ( saddha) leads to the giver having wealth and being handsome; ( ) giving respectfully or carefully leads to the giver’s wife, family and workpeople listening carefully to him and helping him in an understanding way; ( ) giving at the appropriate time leads to wealth coming at the appropriate time; ( ) giving with no reluctance in the heart leads to the mind inclining to enjoyment of the best of sensepleasures; ( ) giving without harm to self or other leads to future wealth being free from harm from fire, water, kings, thieves or unfriendly heirs (AN).
  42. 42. S´antideva cites the Aksayamati Sutra as saying that : a ‘gift’ is no real gift if it harms someone, or is less than has been promised, or is accompanied by conte mpt, boasting or hostility, or causes distress, or is of what would otherwise have been thrown away, or is n ot given with one’s own hand, or is improper, or given at the wrong time.
  43. 43. The Sangha as the best ‘field of karmic fruitfulness’ The karmic fruitfulness of an act of giving is said to be great not only if the state of mind of the donor is p ure, but also if the recipient is very virtuous or holy. Thus ‘even so little as a handful of rice-beans … bestowed with devout heart upon a person who is wo rthy of receiving a gift of devotion will be of great fruit, of great splendour’ (Vv.).
  44. 44. A gift is said to be ‘purified’: (1) by the donor, (2) the recipient, (3)both or neither, according to whether they are virtuous and of good character or not. To be ‘purified’ by a donor, a gift must be ‘rightfully acquired, the mind well pleased, firmly believing in the rich fru it of karma’ (MN). Even if a gift is given by an evil person, in the opposite way, it may be ‘purified’ by the virtue of the recipient.
  45. 45. While a gift to an animal yields a hundredfold, and to an unvirtuous human a thousandfold, one to an ordin ary virtuous person yields a hundred thousandfold, a nd one to a spiritually Noble person has an immeasur able fruit. A gift of the virtuous to the virtuous has the greatest fruit, though (MN). >A gift given to renunciants and brahmins who are not endowed with the qualities of the path to Nirvana i s of little fruit, like a seed sown on poor, ill-watered so il.
  46. 46. The opposite applies for a gift to those endowedwith the factors of the Eightfold Path, which leads to much good karma and conduces to spiritual accomplishme nt (AN). > The well-trained Noble Sangha (which includes some lay people) is said, in a well-known chant, to be ‘worthy of respect, worthy of hospitality, worthy of gift s, worthy of salutation, an unsurpassed field of karmi c fruitfulness for the world’ (DN; MN).
  47. 47. A monk, he should be such that objects of any of the senses do not engender attachment, elation or depression so as to dis turb his calm concentration (AN). He controls his senses, uses his robe and alms-food without greed, patiently endures unpleasant sensations or abuse, avoi ds situations in which he might be suspected of misconduct, a bandons lustful or cruel thoughts, and develops the seven fact ors of awakening, beginning with mindfulness (AN). > giving such a monk generates a powerful purifying effect in the givers’ minds, leading to abundant karmic fruitfulness.
  48. 48. Nibbedhika Sutta : “When a Noble Disciple understands kamma, the origin of kamma, the variety of kamma, the resultant of kamma, the cessation of kamma and the practice leading to the cessation of kamma, then he fully understands the noble practice which leads to the complete destruction of defilements and final cessation of kamma.”