Experience and karma or kamma

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shanyin
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Experience and karma or kamma

Post by shanyin »

Can what I'm experiencing create negative karma? I mean on the level of thought and emotion.
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Experience and karma or kamma

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Intentional action generates karma, so the short answer to the question is 'no'.

I'm sure there's a longer answer and that someone will provide it :tongue: but we are authoritatively advised that speculating about karma is a futile, pointless exercise (and perhaps someone will provide the reference I'm too lazy to look up just now (sorry)).

:namaste:
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Giovanni
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Re: Experience and karma or kamma

Post by Giovanni »

What Kim says is correct. We think of karma as the result of something, but the word karma just means “ action”. The result of karma, which we experience as positive or negative or neutral is karma vipaka.
So what we experience does not create karma vipaka, but the way that we react to experiences might if that reaction is consciously deliberate.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Experience and karma or kamma

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

How you respond to your experiences generates karma.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
shanyin
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Re: Experience and karma or kamma

Post by shanyin »

Am I responding to my experiences in a way that is generating negative karma? I suppose you wouldn't know cuz you don't know me but I'm just asking. Wouldn't reactions to subjective experience only create negative karma if it is effecting other beings? Or effecting oneself very negatively like self harm?
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Experience and karma or kamma

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

shanyin wrote: Tue Nov 09, 2021 3:29 am Am I responding to my experiences in a way that is generating negative karma? I suppose you wouldn't know cuz you don't know me but I'm just asking. Wouldn't reactions to subjective experience only create negative karma if it is effecting other beings? Or effecting oneself very negatively like self harm?
A thought isn’t just a stagnant thing. Thoughts are what you actively practice. You can never know for sure how, in the long run, your actions will affect other beings.

Regardless of your own details, if you respond to events with patience, then you are actively practicing patience. If you respond to events with anger and resentment, then you are actively practicing anger and resentment. Life goes by in real-time. It’s not a hypothetical proposition. How you respond this very second, for example, to this paragraph you are reading, this is what you accumulate as practice.

Just as with learning to play the piano, the more you practice, whatever it is, the more natural it becomes to you. Then it becomes “second nature” or automatic. You can get really proficient at anger and resentment. You can also perfect patience, generosity, and so on. It’s all up to you. That’s what karma is about.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
SilenceMonkey
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Re: Experience and karma or kamma

Post by SilenceMonkey »

I’m not sure I agree without Kim. Intention isn’t merely the feeling of “I will do this.” On a much subtler level, intention (volition) is always present. It’s one of the five omnipresent mental factors!

We’re basically always making karma. As long as we’re stuck in ignorance, kleshas roam freely in our experience. We’re almost never aware of our kleshas, let alone the karma they will create.

As long as we haven’t tamed our mind, we will create karma. The ultimate taming is when we have realization of emptiness.

As long as our minds are operating from delusion, anything that happens in the mind will create a habitual tendency (karma) that will come to fruition in the future. The more intense the klesha, the stronger the karmic force.
shanyin
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Re: Experience and karma or kamma

Post by shanyin »

Yes I think that is an important thing to say is that you never know in the long run how actions effect other beings. Even an enlightened mind in the modern nuclear age with the internet and all the information maybe cannot know. :shrug: :thanks:

ps I am starting to feel a bit of paranoia because I thought I wrote more words and an extra sentence in my OP but it seems to have been edited out. I think this is happening on facebook messages and emails as well. Maybe I need to scan for viruses or get a VPN.

Also Giovanni's post only shows up in the page where I write a reply to the thread, in the topic review window.

I think alot of my questions come from a desire or motivation to make the best of this life, not knowing what is coming after death. But I have some common sense things I should be working on myself about too. Like anger and communication skills and substance abuse.
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Aemilius
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Re: Experience and karma or kamma

Post by Aemilius »

shanyin wrote: Tue Nov 09, 2021 3:29 am Am I responding to my experiences in a way that is generating negative karma? I suppose you wouldn't know cuz you don't know me but I'm just asking. Wouldn't reactions to subjective experience only create negative karma if it is effecting other beings? Or effecting oneself very negatively like self harm?
You would need to understand better what is "experience" ? For example, there are impressions through the five senses, plus the the sixth sense of mental impressions; ideas and mental images. In Buddhist view the first moment in perception is of the actual object, but this is very rapidly replaced by its mental counterpart. What you experience trough your senses is a mental image of a precept/perceptual object.
That is according to my (limited) understanding of it.

A lot has been written about this in Buddhism, a small sample of it:

"The oldest preserved definition of perception in the Buddhist tradition is the one by Vasubandhu (c. 4th century CE), “Perception is a cognition [that arises] from that object [which is represented therein]” (Frauwallner, 1957, p. 120). However, the more influential and much discussed view is that of later Buddhist Yogācāra philosopher Diṅnāga (c. 480–540 CE) for whom perception is simply a cognition “devoid of conceptual construction (kalpanāpodhaṃ)”. Taber (2005, p. 8) notes two important implications of this definition. First, perception is non-conceptual in nature; no seeing is seeing-as, because that necessarily involves intervention of conceptual constructs, which contaminate the pristine given. Perception is mere awareness of bare particulars without any identification or association with words for, according to Diṅnāga, such association always results in falsification of the object. Referents of the words are universals which, for the Buddhist, are not real features of the world. Second, Diṅnāga’s definition only indicates a phenomenological feature of perception; it says nothing about its origin and does not imply that it arises from the contact of a sense faculty with the object. Therefore, for the Buddhist idealist, the object that appears in perceptual cognition need not be an external physical object, but a form that arises within consciousness itself. Both these ideas led to vigorous debates in classical Indian philosophy between the Hindus and the Buddhists. The first of these ideas relates to the notion of non-conceptual perception, the second to idealism. Diṅnāga’s philosophy is idealist-nominalist in spirit and his epistemological position is in sync with the Buddhist metaphysical doctrines of no-self, evanescence of all that exists and emptiness which, expectedly, evoke strong reaction from the realist Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and Mīmāṃsā schools."

"In recent literature, there has been a scholarly debate on whether the Indian Yogācāra philosophy is a form of idealism or not. This debate is murky because there are various versions of idealism discussed in the literature in Buddhist philosophy. At least three versions have been discussed in recent literature in Buddhist philosophy: subjective idealism (the view that there are no mind-independent objects); metaphysical idealism (the view that external objects do not exist); and, epistemic idealism (the view that what we are immediately aware of is intrinsic to cognition). Lusthaus (2002) and Coseru (2012) have argued, respectively, for a “phenomenological” and “phenomenalist naturalist” interpretation of Yogācāra in opposition to the standard idealist interpretation. The main argument for the phenomenological reading is that the epistemic claims made by the Yogācāra philosophers do not commit them to ontological claims. This would avoid the charge of metaphysical idealism but is still open to being interpreted as offering an epistemic or subjective idealism. Lusthaus sees Yogācāra philosophers’ denial of solipsism and affirmation of other minds as a fatal blow to the subjective idealist interpretation of Yogācāra. Idealism does not necessitate solipsism as is made clear in Berkeley’s version of subjective idealism and Hegel’s absolute idealism which explicitly requires other minds. Thus, there is reason to think that the epistemic idealist interpretation of Yogācāra is not threatened by its commitment to other minds."

"Kellner and Taber (2014) have argued that Vasubandhu’s argues for a standard metaphysical idealist position, which is to deny the existence of physical objects outside of consciousness.Kellner and Taber (2014) also present a new reason for the revival of the standard idealist reading of Yogācāra. Their argument for this reading is based on Vasubandhu’s argumentative strategy rather than the logical structure of individual proofs. They claim that in the Viṃśikā Vasubandhu uses the argument from ignorance, according to which, the absence of external objects is derived from the absence of evidence for their existence. They also note that Vasubandhu uses the same strategy to refute the existence of the self in the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya IX. The argument from ignorance seems like a bad strategy. It is often listed as a logical fallacy of the general form: since statement P is not known or proved to be true, P is false. But because the general form of the argument is bad, it does not necessarily follow that every argument of that form is unsuccessful. It may well succeed because of other features, for example the semantic meanings of the terms or when the arguments are arguments to the best explanation. Kellner and Taber emphasise that some arguments from ignorance are successful when they function as arguments to the best explanation especially in contexts where there are agreed-upon standards of verification. For example, the medical community agrees that the most accurate and sensitive test for typhoid is testing the bone marrow for Salmonella typhi bacteria. If it turns out that it cannot be proven that one has typhoid (because of the lack of Salmonella typhi bacteria in one’s bone marrow), then it is false that one has typhoid. No matter how suggestive the symptoms are, if the specific bacteria do not show up in the bone marrow within a specific time period, then one does not have typhoid. So, then, the question is: Is Vasubandhu’s argument from ignorance successful for establishing idealism? I fear not. That is because there are no universally agreed-upon criteria among Classical Indian philosophers (not even among fellow-Buddhists) as to what counts as evidence for the existence of external things."

Perceptual Experience and Concepts in Classical Indian Philosophy https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/perception-india/
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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LastLegend
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Re: Experience and karma or kamma

Post by LastLegend »

shanyin wrote: Mon Nov 08, 2021 6:58 am Can what I'm experiencing create negative karma? I mean on the level of thought and emotion.
Karma is the act of mind that would bring previous past connected experience or manifest in new experience in the way we think, talk, and respond.
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Aemilius
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Re: Experience and karma or kamma

Post by Aemilius »

shanyin wrote: Tue Nov 09, 2021 3:29 am Am I responding to my experiences in a way that is generating negative karma? I suppose you wouldn't know cuz you don't know me but I'm just asking. Wouldn't reactions to subjective experience only create negative karma if it is effecting other beings? Or effecting oneself very negatively like self harm?
A more down to earth explanation why one's perception is not an experience of objective reality: You can see a person of the opposite sex in different way than her ex-husband, ex-boyfriend or her father, mother or other relative. You see a female crow differently then a male crow sees her. You see a female crocodile differently than a male crocodile would see her. After you have been a vegetarian for ten years or more, you can begin to see fish and other animals as fellow sentient beings. When you are really hungry you see food in a different way than when you have stuffed yourself with a large meal.
Various examples of racial prejudices come to mind, where people regard all kinds of things about other races as "objective facts". I don't mean that there are no measurable qualities in peoples, horses, cars or dogs, but their assumed perception completely depends on the mind of the perceiver, generally speaking.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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