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Re: [Pali] Abhidhamma Series, no 7. Kamma and Result.

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  • Bryan Levman
    Hi Nina, ... self who can determine to do wrong or to do what is right, it ... conditioned by the roots and many other factors. Each moment, ... I know this is
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 7, 2010
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      Hi Nina,

      >Whatever conduct we follow in daily life, it is conditioned by the
      >wholesome or unwholesome roots accumulated from life to life. There
      >is no
      self who can determine to do wrong or to do what is right, it
      >is
      conditioned by the roots and many other factors. Each moment,
      >whatever we do, is conditioned.

      I know this is an age-old question, but if there is "no self who can determine to do wrong or to do what is right" who is it that awakens to and follows the Eight Fold Noble Path? Did the Buddha not believe in free will? Certainly from reading his teachings, it seems like he did. Please explain,

      Thanks,

      Bryan






      ________________________________
      From: Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...>
      To: pali@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tue, April 6, 2010 10:44:30 AM
      Subject: [Pali] Abhidhamma Series, no 7. Kamma and Result.

      Dear friends,

      Kamma and Result.

      As we have seen, three cetasikas are unwholesome roots, akusala
      hetus: lobha (attachment), dosa (aversion) and moha (ignorance).
      Three cetasikas are beautiful roots, sobhana hetus: non-attachment,
      alobha, non-aversion, adosa, and pa~n~naa.
      Akusala hetus can motivate ill deeds through body, speech or mind.
      Ill deeds are called in Påli: akusala kamma. Kamma is the cetasika
      (mental factor arising with the citta) which is intention or
      volition, in Pali: cetanaa. However, the word “kamma'' is also used
      in a more general sense for the deeds which are intended by cetanaa.
      The term kamma-patha (literally “course of action'') is used as well
      in this sense. There are akusala kamma-pathas and kusala kamma-
      pathas, ill deeds and good deeds, accomplished through body, speech
      and mind. As regards akusala kamma-patha, there are ten akusala kamma-
      pathas and these are conditioned by lobha, dosa and moha. They are:
      killing, stealing, sexual misbehaviour, lying, slandering, rude
      speech, frivolous talk, covetousness, ill-will and wrong view
      (di.t.thi).
      Sobhana cetasikas motivate good deeds such as generosity, abstention
      from ill deeds, mental development which includes samatha and
      vipassanaa.
      Whatever conduct we follow in daily life, it is conditioned by the
      wholesome or unwholesome roots accumulated from life to life. There
      is no self who can determine to do wrong or to do what is right, it
      is conditioned by the roots and many other factors. Each moment,
      whatever we do, is conditioned.

      When we are generous, helping others or paying respect, we may
      believe that there are only kusala cittas. However, what we take for
      wholesome may be motivated by akusala, such as conceit or being
      intent on some advantage for ourselves. Kusala cittas and akusala
      cittas alternate in our life. This shows how deeply rooted
      defilements are.

      Kamma is a mental activity which can be accumulated. Since cittas
      that arise and fall away succeed one another in an unbroken series,
      the force of kamma is carried on from one moment of citta to the next
      moment of citta, from one life to the next life. In this way kamma is
      capable to produce its result later on. A good deed, kusala kamma,
      can produce a pleasant result, and an evil deed can produce an
      unpleasant result. Kamma produces result at the first moment of life:
      it produces rebirth-consciousness in a happy plane of existence such
      as the human plane or a heavenly plane, or in an unhappy plane of
      existence such as a hell plane or the animal world.
      Throughout our life kamma produces seeing, hearing and the other
      sense-impressions that are vipåkacittas, cittas that are results.
      Vipåkacittas are neither kusala cittas nor akusala cittas. Seeing a
      pleasant object is the result of kusala kamma and seeing an
      unpleasant object is the result of akusala kamma. If there is right
      understanding of the citta that is cause and the citta that is result
      we shall know the meaning of anattaa. We shall come to understand
      that there is no self who can cause the arising of pleasant or
      unpleasant experiences through the senses. Due to kamma gain and
      loss, praise and blame alternate in our life.

      *******
      Nina.



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    • Ken O
      Dear Bryan ... There is a will but no one will, it is cetana that will.  When we think there is an I that will, that I  is miccha ditthi that arise with
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 7, 2010
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        Dear Bryan

        >I know this is an age-old question, but if there is "no self who can determine to do wrong or to do what is right" who is it that awakens to and follows the Eight Fold Noble Path? Did the Buddha not believe in free will? Certainly from reading his teachings, it seems like he did. Please explain,

        There is a will but no one will, it is cetana that will.  When we think there is an "I" that will, that "I" is miccha ditthi that arise with cetana that will.  When you interest to learn dhamma to develop understanding, it is not you that "will" to learn dhamma, it is saddha or panna (or arising together) that arise with cetana that will, chanda that interest and viriya that strive


        Kind regards
        Ken O 


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      • Nina van Gorkom
        Dear Bryan, ... N: I understand your question. The expression free will is not found in the teachings, and the core of the Buddha s teachings is anattaa, no
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 8, 2010
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          Dear Bryan,
          Op 7-apr-2010, om 12:57 heeft Bryan Levman het volgende geschreven:

          > Whatever conduct we follow in daily life, it is conditioned by the
          > >wholesome or unwholesome roots accumulated from life to life. There
          > >is no
          > self who can determine to do wrong or to do what is right, it
          > >is
          > conditioned by the roots and many other factors. Each moment,
          > >whatever we do, is conditioned.
          >
          > I know this is an age-old question, but if there is "no self who
          > can determine to do wrong or to do what is right" who is it that
          > awakens to and follows the Eight Fold Noble Path? Did the Buddha
          > not believe in free will? Certainly from reading his teachings, it
          > seems like he did. Please explain,
          ---------
          N: I understand your question. The expression free will is not found
          in the teachings, and the core of the Buddha's teachings is anattaa,
          no self or person who can direct the arising of any citta. There is
          volition, cetanaa, and it is a cetasika, a conditioned dhamma which
          is not self.
          It is very useful to remember that the Buddha spoke in conventional
          language and also pointed to paramattha sacca.
          Recently we studied the sutta about 'it can be done', namely the
          abandoning of akusala and the developing of kusala. This sutta is a
          strong exhortation and it can enhance confidence in the Dhamma. This
          in itself is already a condition for right effort, for kusala viriya
          to follow up the Buddha's advice. The disciples at the Buddha's time
          had no misunderstandings and knew that kusala viriya and kusala
          cetanaa are cetasikas, conditioned dhammas, not belonging to a self.
          Your question cannot be solved by thinking in a theoretical, abstract
          way. People would turn into a vicious circle, and it may seem a
          contradiction that whatever we do is conditioned but that it is still
          possible to develop kusala and abandon akusala.
          We have to see it all in a practical, realistic way and then the
          problem of free will would not even occur. It is already a fact that
          we are interested in the Buddha's teachings and that we study these.
          Thus, there are already conditions that can affect our thinking and
          actions. These conditions stem from the past, and nobody could
          control them. Kusala performed in the past conditions the arising of
          kusala today.
          If we forget that there is no self who develops kusala, then we
          easily can have conceit that I am better than others, or we may be
          clinging to the idea of "I am a good person".
          The more we study the conditioned dhammas of citta, cetasika and
          ruupa, the more will we see, at least intellectually, that there is
          no self who can cause the arising of any citta at will.

          Later on I will deal with the cittas arising in processes, and the
          rapidity of the arising and falling away of cittas. It will be
          clearer that there is simply no time to stop any citta or prevent it
          from arising, no matter it is kusala or akusala. But it is a fact
          that favorable conditions can be cultivated by citta and cetasika.

          *******
          Nina.





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bryan Levman
          Dear Nina, Thanks for your answer. Perhaps the best way to look at it is that concepts of free will and determinism are themselves extremes and neither one
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 9, 2010
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            Dear Nina,

            Thanks for your answer. Perhaps the best way to look at it is that concepts of free will and determinism are themselves extremes and neither one applies ("na upeti" as the Buddha says to Upaviisa in SN 207, verse 1077 in answer to the latter's question of whether a person exists or not-exists at death) . Or, in a practical, conventional sense, one can follow the path, but in an ultimate sense, there is no atta at all.

            Best,

            Bryan







            ________________________________
            From: Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...>
            To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Thu, April 8, 2010 4:24:31 AM
            Subject: Re: [Pali] Q. Abhidhamma Series, no 7. Kamma and Result.


            Dear Bryan,
            Op 7-apr-2010, om 12:57 heeft Bryan Levman het volgende geschreven:

            > Whatever conduct we follow in daily life, it is conditioned by the
            > >wholesome or unwholesome roots accumulated from life to life. There
            > >is no
            > self who can determine to do wrong or to do what is right, it
            > >is
            > conditioned by the roots and many other factors. Each moment,
            > >whatever we do, is conditioned.
            >
            > I know this is an age-old question, but if there is "no self who
            > can determine to do wrong or to do what is right" who is it that
            > awakens to and follows the Eight Fold Noble Path? Did the Buddha
            > not believe in free will? Certainly from reading his teachings, it
            > seems like he did. Please explain,
            ---------
            N: I understand your question. The expression free will is not found
            in the teachings, and the core of the Buddha's teachings is anattaa,
            no self or person who can direct the arising of any citta. There is
            volition, cetanaa, and it is a cetasika, a conditioned dhamma which
            is not self.
            It is very useful to remember that the Buddha spoke in conventional
            language and also pointed to paramattha sacca.
            Recently we studied the sutta about 'it can be done', namely the
            abandoning of akusala and the developing of kusala. This sutta is a
            strong exhortation and it can enhance confidence in the Dhamma. This
            in itself is already a condition for right effort, for kusala viriya
            to follow up the Buddha's advice. The disciples at the Buddha's time
            had no misunderstandings and knew that kusala viriya and kusala
            cetanaa are cetasikas, conditioned dhammas, not belonging to a self.
            Your question cannot be solved by thinking in a theoretical, abstract
            way. People would turn into a vicious circle, and it may seem a
            contradiction that whatever we do is conditioned but that it is still
            possible to develop kusala and abandon akusala.
            We have to see it all in a practical, realistic way and then the
            problem of free will would not even occur. It is already a fact that
            we are interested in the Buddha's teachings and that we study these.
            Thus, there are already conditions that can affect our thinking and
            actions. These conditions stem from the past, and nobody could
            control them. Kusala performed in the past conditions the arising of
            kusala today.
            If we forget that there is no self who develops kusala, then we
            easily can have conceit that I am better than others, or we may be
            clinging to the idea of "I am a good person".
            The more we study the conditioned dhammas of citta, cetasika and
            ruupa, the more will we see, at least intellectually, that there is
            no self who can cause the arising of any citta at will.

            Later on I will deal with the cittas arising in processes, and the
            rapidity of the arising and falling away of cittas. It will be
            clearer that there is simply no time to stop any citta or prevent it
            from arising, no matter it is kusala or akusala. But it is a fact
            that favorable conditions can be cultivated by citta and cetasika.

            *******
            Nina.

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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          • Bryan Levman
            Dear Ken, Thanks very much for your explanation, Warm regards, Bryan ________________________________ From: Ken O To:
            Message 5 of 10 , Apr 10, 2010
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              Dear Ken,

              Thanks very much for your explanation, Warm regards, Bryan







              ________________________________
              From: Ken O <ashkenn2k@...>
              To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Wed, April 7, 2010 2:13:28 PM
              Subject: Re: [Pali] Abhidhamma Series, no 7. Kamma and Result.


              Dear Bryan

              >I know this is an age-old question, but if there is "no self who can determine to do wrong or to do what is right" who is it that awakens to and follows the Eight Fold Noble Path? Did the Buddha not believe in free will? Certainly from reading his teachings, it seems like he did. Please explain,

              There is a will but no one will, it is cetana that will. When we think there is an "I" that will, that "I" is miccha ditthi that arise with cetana that will. When you interest to learn dhamma to develop understanding, it is not you that "will" to learn dhamma, it is saddha or panna (or arising together) that arise with cetana that will, chanda that interest and viriya that strive

              Kind regards
              Ken O

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            • Nina van Gorkom
              Dear Bryan, ... N: Just as an addition: one may think of oneself as following a Path and then one is in the world of conventional truth, sammutti sacca. It is
              Message 6 of 10 , Apr 10, 2010
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                Dear Bryan,
                Op 9-apr-2010, om 13:25 heeft Bryan Levman het volgende geschreven:

                > Or, in a practical, conventional sense, one can follow the path,
                > but in an ultimate sense, there is no atta at all.
                -------
                N: Just as an addition: one may think of oneself as following a Path
                and then one is in the world of conventional truth, sammutti sacca.
                It is a way of thinking. Whereas, in the ultimate sense, only
                specific cetasikas, the Path-factors, arise with the citta and in
                that way the Path is developing, no one develops it. As I see it, the
                ultimate sense is practical, effective.

                -------
                Nina.



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Ardavarz
                Dear friends, I just would like to share a thought that occurs to me - could we translate anatta in a sense with inanimate ? Etymologically it is more or less
                Message 7 of 10 , Apr 10, 2010
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                  Dear friends,

                  I just would like to share a thought that occurs to me - could we translate anatta in a sense with "inanimate"?
                  Etymologically it is more or less equivalent - both anima in Latin and atta in Pali mean "soul", but I am not fully aware of all possible connotations of the word "inanimate" in English. Still I think if one say: "The psyche (or mind) is inanimate", the shock from this seemingly paradoxical (for the common sense) statement could be quite insightful.

                  Ardavarz

                  --- On Sat, 4/10/10, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:

                  From: Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...>
                  Subject: Re: [Pali] Q. Abhidhamma Series, no 7. Kamma and Result.
                  To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Saturday, April 10, 2010, 5:12 PM







                   









                  Dear Bryan,

                  Op 9-apr-2010, om 13:25 heeft Bryan Levman het volgende geschreven:



                  > Or, in a practical, conventional sense, one can follow the path,

                  > but in an ultimate sense, there is no atta at all.

                  -------

                  N: Just as an addition: one may think of oneself as following a Path

                  and then one is in the world of conventional truth, sammutti sacca.

                  It is a way of thinking. Whereas, in the ultimate sense, only

                  specific cetasikas, the Path-factors, arise with the citta and in

                  that way the Path is developing, no one develops it. As I see it, the

                  ultimate sense is practical, effective.



                  -------

                  Nina.



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

























                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Bryan Levman
                  Thanks Nina, Bryan ________________________________ From: Nina van Gorkom To: Pali@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sat, April 10, 2010 10:12:55 AM
                  Message 8 of 10 , Apr 10, 2010
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                    Thanks Nina, Bryan







                    ________________________________
                    From: Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...>
                    To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Sat, April 10, 2010 10:12:55 AM
                    Subject: Re: [Pali] Q. Abhidhamma Series, no 7. Kamma and Result.


                    Dear Bryan,
                    Op 9-apr-2010, om 13:25 heeft Bryan Levman het volgende geschreven:

                    > Or, in a practical, conventional sense, one can follow the path,
                    > but in an ultimate sense, there is no atta at all.
                    -------
                    N: Just as an addition: one may think of oneself as following a Path
                    and then one is in the world of conventional truth, sammutti sacca.
                    It is a way of thinking. Whereas, in the ultimate sense, only
                    specific cetasikas, the Path-factors, arise with the citta and in
                    that way the Path is developing, no one develops it. As I see it, the
                    ultimate sense is practical, effective.

                    -------
                    Nina.

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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                  • Nina van Gorkom
                    Dear Ardavarz and Richard, Thanks for your contribution. ... N: Ardavarz, You are probably thinking of the Pali nijjhiiva, literally: no life. I understand the
                    Message 9 of 10 , Apr 11, 2010
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                      Dear Ardavarz and Richard,
                      Thanks for your contribution.
                      Op 10-apr-2010, om 22:09 heeft Ardavarz het volgende geschreven:

                      > I just would like to share a thought that occurs to me - could we
                      > translate anatta in a sense with "inanimate"?
                      > Etymologically it is more or less equivalent - both anima in Latin
                      > and atta in Pali mean "soul", but I am not fully aware of all
                      > possible connotations of the word "inanimate" in English. Still I
                      > think if one say: "The psyche (or mind) is inanimate", the shock
                      > from this seemingly paradoxical (for the common sense) statement
                      > could be quite insightful.
                      -------
                      N: Ardavarz, You are probably thinking of the Pali nijjhiiva,
                      literally: no life. I understand the difficulty to find an English
                      equivalent.
                      It is actually absence of a living being.
                      I quote from my "Meaning of dhamma: < The following meaning of dhamma
                      explained in the Dhammapada-Atthakata, is dhamma as an entity without
                      a living soul (nissatta, nijjiva):
                      <"Tasmi.m khopana samaye dhammaa honti, khandhaa hontii"ti (dha. sa.
                      121)
                      Then, at that time dhammas occur, khandhas occur.

                      aya.mnissattadhammo naama, nijjiivadhammotipi eso eva.
                      this is dhamma without living being (non-substantial), it is also
                      merely dhamma without life.
                      Tesu imasmi.m .thaane nissattanijjiivadhammo adhippeto.
                      As to these, dhamma devoid of a living soul is meant in this case. >

                      -------
                      The word inanimate can be used for ruupa, materiality. We also take
                      ruupa for self, but also ruupa is anattaa.
                      -------
                      Nina.




                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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