Enlightenment and Karma

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
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chokyi lodro
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Enlightenment and Karma

Postby chokyi lodro » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:53 pm

Whenever the story of the Buddha is recounted, it is explained that by achieving Enlightenment he became liberated from the wheel of life and death (samsara). I was thinking about how this would work.

Surely, Gautama Buddha (or any Buddha for that matter) still had the negative karma of non-meritorious actions in the past to deal with? So, how would the Buddha have broken out of samsara at the end of his lifetime? Or, is it the case that because he was by then omniscient, he also had the means to purify, or somehow mitigate, the results of those 'bad' deeds? (A very simplistic explanation I once heard of tantra springs to mind.)

Does anyone follow what I'm asking here? I'm trying to work out how one can actually link Enlightenment and practically escaping repeated birth and death, and what means that would actually take.

Any help welcome! :thanks:

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:55 pm


deepbluehum
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:32 am

This is a good question to be asking. It shows you are beginning to look at the process of birth and death as a process. A process has stages of causes leading to effects. The Buddha described this process as paticca-samuppada, the 12-links of dependent origination. Seeing that process in action actually caused the process to stop. It is by this method that he leaves samsara. The body is just a residue at that point. When the body no longer functions, the round of samsara will not restart with a new birth.

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Konchog1
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:48 am

When one automatically views everything as empty/having arisen from causes and conditions, then that person is freed from karma.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

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chokyi lodro
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby chokyi lodro » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:30 am


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catmoon
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby catmoon » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:12 am

Attaining enlightenment does not instantly cancel all karma. In the Buddha's life there were a number of karmic issues that cropped up, old old karma manifesting itself. But, suppose one sits by a pond idly throwing rocks in. The water is disturbed. If you stop, at first there is little difference, but over time the surface of the water may become very still.
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Andrew108
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:20 am

The way to change Karma is to see what karma really is. That's what enlightenment is all about.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.

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chokyi lodro
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby chokyi lodro » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:38 am


Andrew108
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:34 am

The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.

deepbluehum
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:34 pm

Any karmic effect happens where? In the body. We are talking about suffering and pain. So the practice of meditative absorption mitigates it. There are myriads of methods. Buddha spent a lot of time trying them all out, and figured out that they hadn't hit the nail on the head. So he recognized the 12 causal links the are invariably tied together in the matrix of pain and suffering. The first link he recognized is ignorance, better understood not just as unknown information, but as unconscious of a process. By becoming conscious of the process, it stops. You are wondering why that is, and the only answer is because it is. You have to see this for yourself and you will understand. Why is falling always down? It's a natural law, but until you see this nature for yourself it's like trying to explain the Mona Lisa to a blind person.

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LastLegend
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby LastLegend » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:00 pm

NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:15 pm


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chokyi lodro
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby chokyi lodro » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:19 pm

:shrug: I'm getting confused now. I thought the whole point of karma was that the cause and effect were of like natures, and related to one another.

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:00 pm

Sure. Karma's just habitual causation.

But positive karma, just as much as negative or neutral karma, maintains my basic delusion that Buddhism intends to uproot. What goes up will just come down again. Avoiding "bad" habits and doing only "good" habits doesn't solve my problems.

[N]irvana cannot be attained by means of action, for the cause-effect relation gives rise to and sustains the conditioned and made.

Capriles

So - what if "separate agency", and in general the experience that causes me to perceive phenomena as being compounded, conditioned and made, is an illusion? What if I can uproot that illusion through direct realization? I.e. I won't abandon bad actions but overcome action itself, i.e. transcend all karma.

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catmoon
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby catmoon » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:41 pm

The pond analogy is only a rough approximation to truth. You don't always have to ride it out. Here, let's strain the analogy some more.

It is possible for waves to cancel each other out. But the cancellation is rarely perfect. So, by virtuous actions, we do ameliorate the force of incoming karma. We create a situation in which good and bad karma are likely to ripen simultaneously, with a more or less neutral result.

I think that's how it works, but it's just personal speculations to be honest.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.

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Dave The Seeker
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:03 pm

Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~

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DarwidHalim
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:28 am

Someone is said realize their enlightenment, when he or she sees the true nature of reality, which is like illusions - empty appearances.

It doesn't cancel out the appearances.

The appearances that appear in you is due to your Karma.

Because, you can see the nature of this illusory karma, you no longer affected by the play of these appearances. They appear, but no matter how they appear, you are no longer affected by it.

The thought of anger can appear, but that thought really cannot disturb your equanimity, because you see the nature of the anger is illusory.

You are still and perfectly peace in the middle of tornado.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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waimengwan
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby waimengwan » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:44 pm

If the Buddha developed Bodhicitta even sleeping they will collect huge amounts of merits due to their wish to benefit sentient beings. I have a few theories about why a Buddha will not have negative karma to experience.

1) He has overcome the 3 poisons and ignorance, and if one's mind cannot have these negative motions how can any dormant negative karma arise?

2) If he has bodhicitta he will be creating the causes to overcome his negative karma all the time.

3) The merits created by one who has bodhicitta will overwhelm any negative karma. So negative karma cannot manifest under such a condition.

Andrew108
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:28 pm

Aspirational bodhicitta and genuine bodhicitta are a little bit different. The bodhicitta that you mention here is the aspirational type. Genuine bodhicitta is related to wisdom/emptiness.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.

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DarwidHalim
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Re: Enlightenment and Karma

Postby DarwidHalim » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:24 am

By the way, Buddha, arhat, and high bodhisattva no longer create karma and result of karma, whether good, or neutral.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!


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