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How does one's karma produce external events? - Dhamma Wheel

How does one's karma produce external events?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
Luke
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How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Luke » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:50 pm

I also posted this on Dharma Wheel. I'm curious what sorts of responses it will get here. It is one of the burning questions that I think about:

I could find it understandable if a person later experienced some type of mental suffering in his/her present life or next life as a result of doing some bad action; however, I have trouble seeing how committing a negative action can result in the external environment doing something bad to that person at a precise moment in the future.

For example, imagine that a serial killer is out camping and that a lose rock falls off a nearby cliff, lands on his head, and kills him as a result of his negative karma. How can karma--which, if I understand correctly, is "stored" in one's mind--cause the external environment to produce such results in reaction to one's past actions?

I suppose that some people may say that there is no "outer" reality and that it's all mind, but if that's so, then I would like to understand the details of exactly how that works.

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beeblebrox
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:19 pm

I don't think that getting killed by a rock would be a result of killing people, per se... it's the result of being in wrong place at wrong time; also maybe due to not taking a precaution of wearing a helmet (bad kamma); and not having some buddies with you who could call for help and save your life if that happens (another bad kamma); and finally, if you don't have any buddies because you kill too many people, then it's maybe in that sense, it's (indirectly) from the kamma of killing too many people.

I think it works more something like along that line. Also, the Buddha said that to try figure out the workings of kamma is one of the inconceivables. You shouldn't vex yourself too much with it. It's useless.

I know one of the things that kamma definitely doesn't do, though, is to keep track of everything that you do, and then piece out your punishment accordingly. Kamma doesn't work that way at all.

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Lazy_eye
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:41 pm

Hi, Luke,

I'm not sure kamma is responsible for the rock. But it might be responsible for the serial killer being reborn in hell after getting hit by the rock.

In that case, the natural event (loose rock) provided an opportunity for the kamma to reach fruition.

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Vepacitta
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:17 am

I understand that these things are kind of 'fun' to think about - but it's really not the point of the Dhamma. Unless you're one 'thus gone' you won't be able to figure it out. This sort of speculation is basically besides the point - unfruitful, leading one down into selfiness.

Non-speculatively yours from Mt. Meru,

V.
I'm your friendly, neighbourhood Asura

Luke
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Luke » Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:17 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:25 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Viscid
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Viscid » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:54 pm

This manual of cosmic order is rather interesting. Thanks for that retro.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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cooran
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby cooran » Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:35 pm

Hello Luke,

You may find this booklet of assistance:


Contents
Introduction
Acknowledgment
1. Understanding the Law of Kamma
Kamma as a law of nature
The law of kamma and social preference
The meaning of kamma
a. kamma as intention
b. kamma as conditioning factor
c. kamma as personal responsibility
d. kamma as social activity or career
Kinds of kamma
2. On Good and Evil
The problem of good and evil
The meaning of kusala and akusala
Kusala and akusala as catalysts for each other
Gauging good and bad kamma
Primary factors
Secondary factors
3. The Fruition of Kamma
Results of kamma on different levels
Factors that affect the fruition of kamma
Understanding the process of fruition
Fruits of kamma on a long term basis -- Heaven and Hell
Summary: verifying future lives
Kamma fruition in the Cula Kammavibhanga Sutta
4. Kamma on the Social Level
The importance of ditthi in the creation of kamma
External influences and internal reflection
Personal responsibility and social kamma
Responsible social action
5. The Kamma that Ends Kamma
6. Misunderstandings of The Law of Kamma
Who causes happiness and suffering?
Beliefs that are contrary to the law of kamma
Can kamma be erased?
Do kamma and not-self contradict each other?
7. In Conclusion
The general meaning
Intelligence over superstition
Action rather than prayer
Non-adherence to race or class
Self reliance
A caution for the future
References

http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/kamma.htm

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

rowyourboat
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:56 pm

Hi Luke

I suppose you get 'may the force be with you' type thing all the time on these forums?... or not :tongue:

Anyways, regarding karma- i think it is a bit like gravity. The mind gives a command to step off the building and we fall. Similarly the mind does something with a negative intention and karma takes over..

with metta
:namaste: :jedi:

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Lazy_eye
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:28 pm


Luke
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Luke » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:08 pm


dhammapal
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby dhammapal » Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:49 am







Jack
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Jack » Sun Oct 31, 2010 1:52 am

The Buddha taught that there are, I believe, 5 forces that act on phenomena. Karma or kamma in Pali is only one of the 5.

I think kamma is best understood as taught in the Cycle of Dependent Origination. We can react to any event either skillfully or unskillfully. A skillful reaction leads to our not suffering; an unskillfull reaction causes us to suffer. These reactions can be affected by tendencies (kamma) based on our past intentions/actions in other events. If we let these tendences (kamma)dictate our action,this in turn, causes tendencies (kamma) that push us toward suffering in future events. So, it makes sense to try to act skillfully in even very small events in our lives.

Individual
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Individual » Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:02 am

Simply see karma in your direct, personal experience (not magic, not "god's will", the world certainly isn't always fair and just). Once you can do that...

Then ask yourself, "With reference to what does one regard things as internal and external?"

Are things external because they are outside the body and internal because they are inside the body? Are things external because they are outside the mind and internal because they are inside the mind?

On what foundation are things even regarded as internal and external in the first place?

I wouldn't deprive you of the opportunity to discover these things for yourself by telling you to what to believe. :)
The best things in life aren't things.


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Aloka
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Aloka » Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:18 pm

.

I found an Interesting article here by the late Ajahn Buddhadasa .."Kamma in Buddhism," which probably not everyone will agree with but I thought it was worth reading.




.

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Popo
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Popo » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:25 pm

Theoretical approaches have their place and are, I suppose, essential but a theory must be tempered with reality.
-J. Nehru

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Popo
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Popo » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:35 pm

Although maybe kamma only refers to the effects of our actions on our future rebirth. I'm not that knowledgable on the term.

Best wishes :pig:
Theoretical approaches have their place and are, I suppose, essential but a theory must be tempered with reality.
-J. Nehru

Individual
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Individual » Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:55 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:23 am

How does an apple seed produce an apple tree? Why doesn't it produce a pine tree? Can an apple seed produce an apple tree without any soil, water, or sunlight?

The Buddha said that beings are the owners of their kamma (kammassakā), heirs of their kamma (kammadāyāda), have kamma as their origin or womb (kammayonī), are related to their kamma (kammabandhū), and have kamma as their protection or refuge (kammappatisaranā), whatever skilful or unskilful action they do, they will inherit its results. ()

There are 24 different causal relations — the law of cause and effect is a very complex teaching, though very simple in principle.

When Devadatta rolled the boulder to try to kill the Buddha, he was making fresh kamma that would result in being reborn in Avīci hell. When the boulder split into two pieces, and a splinter of rock injured his food, the Buddha was inheriting the result of some previous kamma of injuring living beings.

Seeds and plants follow the law of genetics (bījaniyama). The mental process follows the law of kamma (kammaniyama). Mountains, volcanoes and boulders follow the law of climate (utuniyama). Whether pushed or not, a boulder can roll down a mountain and kill somebody. Mountaineers put themselves in danger — I am very much less likely to be killed by an avalanche or falling rock than is a mountaineer, but who knows their own destiny?
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

Individual
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Re: How does one's karma produce external events?

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:05 pm

Thank you, Venerable Bhikkhu. :)
The best things in life aren't things.



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