Simon E. wrote:Karma/vipaka is operative to the degree that we give it power by identification.
We do not need to be fully realized in order for a lack of identification with actor/action/consequence to arise.
We do need however to be introduced to our natural condition by one who is realized.
From a rather different perspective, karma (kamma) is cetanaa, intention; and cetanaa is presumably linked with attachment for better or for worse. Where there is no attachment, there is presumably no intention in the requisite sense and consequently no karma/kamma or vipaaka. Being in the natural condition, in instant presence, is thus what is called kiriya or kriya in the Paali Abhidhamma, consciousness which acts but is inoperative karmically. On this conception, the actions of a Buddha are kiriya or kriya. It doesn't follow from our being able to relax in a kriya state for a time, however, that karma is a con or that it is irrelevant.
Dukkham eva hi, na koci dukkhito,
kaarako na, kiriyaa va vijjati,
atthi nibbuti, na nibbuto pumaa,
maggam atthi, gamako na vijjati
Suffering there certainly is, but no sufferer,
no doer, though certainly the deed is found.
peace is achieved, but no-one's appeased,
the way is walked, but no walker's to be found.
- Visuddhimagga XVI, 90