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Re: [Pali] RE: kamma and grace

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  • nina van gorkom
    Dear Danya, Welcome to the list. I hope you find it useful for your studies. Yes, I was puzzled by the word grace. I have a try. See below. ... Danya wrote: I
    Message 1 of 20 , Sep 4, 2003
      Dear Danya,
      Welcome to the list. I hope you find it useful for your studies.
      Yes, I was puzzled by the word grace. I have a try. See below.
      op 04-09-2003 02:56 schreef Piya Tan op libris@...:
      > It helps if you have a working definition of "grace".
      Danya wrote:
      I would really appreciate it if you could suggest articles or books that
      you
      >> found particularly helpful in understanding how kamma operates within
      >> Theravada Buddhism.
      Nina: Wheel no 221-224, BPS Sri Lanka, Kamma and its Fruit, also containing
      articles by me. I believe it is on line now.
      It is very intricate how different conditions operate at different moments
      in the course of our lives. Akusala kamma committed aeons ago can still
      produce result now when the conditions are right. Each moment of
      consciousness, citta, arises and falls away, and is succeeded by the next
      one. That is why good and bad inclinations can be accumulated from life to
      life. Thus, not only different kammas are accumulated, also good and bad
      inclinations which can motivate good and bad deeds. Angulima had
      accumulated inclinations to violence but also, he must have listened to
      Dhamma in former lives, he must have accumulated right understanding. The
      Buddha knew his disposition and he knew that it was the right time for him
      to hear the Dhamma. He became a monk and later on he attained arahatship as
      you have read in the sutta (M, 86). At the attainment of arahatship the end
      of the cycle is reached. Kamma cannot produce as result any kind of rebirth.
      However, an arahat can, during his last life, still experience results of
      former kammas in the form of pleasant and unpleasant experiences through the
      senses. This is explained also in this sutta. A cloth of earth, sticks and
      gravel fell upon A"ngulimaala so that he had a broken head. The Buddha
      explained that he was experiencing the result of akusala kamma, which, had
      he not been an arahat, could have produced rebirth in Hell.
      I see the Buddha's great compassion in this sutta, but I would not use the
      word grace. Different kammas and different inclinations were the conditions
      for different effects. This sutta helps us to understand that events in life
      all have their appropriate conditions. This is actually Dhamma Nyaama, the
      fixed nature of Dhamma. I wrote (in Meanings of dhamma, no 7) about the
      Fixedness of Law (Dhamma) regarding all things, also quoting from Buddhist
      Dict by Ven. Nyanatiloka.
      <There is a fivefold natural order, that governs:
      1. temperature, season.
      2. plant life.
      3. kamma.
      4. functions of citta in the processes.
      5. certain events occurring in the lives of the Buddhas.
      As regards kamma: akusala kamma produces an undesirable result and kusala
      kamma produces a desirable result, and this is niyaama, a fixed order of
      dhammas. It cannot be altered.
      The ³Gradual Sayings² (I, 285) Ch XIV, §134, Appearance states:
      "Monks, whether there be an appearance or non-appearance of a Tathaagata,
      this causal law of nature (dhaatudhamma.t.thitataa), this orderly fixing of
      things (dhammaniyaamataa) prevails, namely, All phenomena are
      impermanent..."
      The same is said with regard to the nature of dukkha and anattaa.>
      Conditions take their course, no matter whether there is an appearance or
      non-appearance of a Tathaagata. When you use the word grace it suggests a
      person who bestows grace. This is in the context not according to reality.
      Not even a Buddha can alter the fixedness of kamma.
      Nina.
    • Danya Furda
      Thanks for your help and suggestions. For the purposes of my thesis, I am defining grace as a gift or favor given by a representative of ultimate reality
      Message 2 of 20 , Sep 4, 2003
        Thanks for your help and suggestions. For the purposes of my thesis, I am
        defining grace as "a gift or favor given by a representative of ultimate
        reality without regard to the recipient's virtue and without which ultimate
        liberation would not be possible." Many religious traditions embrace a
        concept of grace in this sense. There does not need to be a god or God to
        have a concept of grace. Grace needs not to be a technical term monopolized
        by Christian theology. I am arguing here, however, that buddhas are special
        beings and possess abilities and qualities not possessed by human beings or
        even by devas.

        The concept of grace (as defined above) was brought to my attention while
        reading Peter Masefield's excellent book, Divine Revelation in Pali
        Buddhism. I guess my question in terms of grace is whether or not anyone
        else has come across other resources which explore the idea that a buddha is
        an essential element for Dharma to be transmitted to others.

        Thanks Nina for the info on kamma. It appears that kamma is operative
        regardless whereas grace can only occur when a buddha is present in the
        world to reveal the Dharma to those ready to hear it. Also, I am
        distinguishing between the concept of grace and that of compassion. For
        something to be "grace," rather than just simply "compassion," it must lead
        to assured ultimate liberation.

        Danya


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ong Yong Peng
        Dear Danya, Nina, Piya and friends, I am not able to provide any references, but kindly allow me to offer some opinions. The concept of grace is vague in
        Message 3 of 20 , Sep 4, 2003
          Dear Danya, Nina, Piya and friends,

          I am not able to provide any references, but kindly allow me to offer
          some opinions.

          The concept of grace is vague in Buddhism comparing to all other
          religions. Even in Christianity, grace is only given "in exchange"
          for faith. A buddha may be an essential element for Dharma to be
          transmitted to others. But a Buddha is not a Hindu avatar or a Jewish
          messiah. And it is possible for a person, under the right conditions,
          to attain nibbana on his own. This we call a paccekabuddha.

          I would not call the Buddha approaching Angulima a gift or favor,
          although I am not hesitant to use christian evangelistic words that
          Angulima was "ripe to pluck". :-)

          Your exploration of the concept of grace in Buddhist literature is an
          interesting and significant one. Dr Masefield's work has received
          high regards throughout buddhist circles. It is highly possible that
          elements of grace do exist in Buddhism, you may regard Buddha's Pure
          Land (in the Pure Land school of Mahayana Buddhism) as an example.
          However, because in the Asian buddhist traditions, people approach
          religion with a different mindset, hence we don't see many works
          discussing grace in Buddhism. I am sure your investigation will be an
          eye-opener for us, providing us another window to see the magnificent
          nature of the Buddha-dhamma.

          metta,
          Yong Peng
        • Ong Yong Peng
          Dear Danya and friends, allow me to add that Buddhism is not a dogmatic, blind faith religion. Therefore, grace is not the deterministic factor to Nibbana,
          Message 4 of 20 , Sep 4, 2003
            Dear Danya and friends,

            allow me to add that Buddhism is not a dogmatic, "blind faith"
            religion. Therefore, grace is not the deterministic factor to
            Nibbana, even in Pure Land Buddhism.

            This thought led me to the word faith, which is also not greatly
            emphasized in Buddhism as in other religions. But, that doesn't mean
            that faith is futile in Buddhist practice.

            Many western writers have given Buddhism a new perspective, and this
            includes Sharon Salzberg's Faith (ISBN: 1573222283). This may be an
            area you want to consider -- the ever evolving globalising Buddhism.
            And living in America means that you can easily get in touch with
            these contemporary Buddhist thinkers.

            As for the word kamma, with right understanding and right effort, all
            humans can attain nibbana here and now in their present lives,
            regardless of their past kamma. Nina had, in a previous mail, related
            Angulimala's story and kamma.

            metta,
            Yong Peng
          • Ong Yong Peng
            Dear Danya and friends, I missed out the last question. :-) So, here s my reply. Compassion brings peace and love to all, as it is unconditional. Grace is
            Message 5 of 20 , Sep 4, 2003
              Dear Danya and friends,

              I missed out the last question. :-) So, here's my reply. Compassion
              brings peace and love to all, as it is unconditional. Grace is
              conditional, conditions vary from religion to religion, including
              demands and commandments. Therefore, grace does not bring true peace
              and love, and definitely not to all.

              metta,
              Yong Peng

              --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Danya Furda wrote:
              Also, I am distinguishing between the concept of grace and that of
              compassion.
            • rjkjp1
              ... all ... Dear Yong peng, I understand this point differently. There are said to be at this present time only two types of human : Neyya and padaparama.
              Message 6 of 20 , Sep 4, 2003
                --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Ong Yong Peng" <ypong001@y...> wrote:
                > >
                > As for the word kamma, with right understanding and right effort,
                all
                > humans can attain nibbana here and now in their present lives,
                > regardless of their past kamma.
                >_________________
                Dear Yong peng,
                I understand this point differently.
                There are said to be at this present time only two types of human :
                Neyya and padaparama.
                Neyya may or may not be able to attain in this present life .
                However, padaparama definitely cannot attain in this life and can
                only make conditions that may lead to success in future lives.
                Even at the Buddha's time there were those such as King Ajatasattu
                whose kamma (in this case killing his father) meant they could not
                attain in that life .
                Robertk
              • Ong Yong Peng
                Dear Robert and friends, you are right, Robert. Thanks for pointing that out. Padaparamas are indeed the exceptions. metta, Yong Peng
                Message 7 of 20 , Sep 4, 2003
                  Dear Robert and friends,

                  you are right, Robert. Thanks for pointing that out. Padaparamas are
                  indeed the exceptions.

                  metta,
                  Yong Peng

                  --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, rjkjp1 wrote:
                  > > As for the word kamma, with right understanding and right effort,
                  > all
                  > > humans can attain nibbana here and now in their present lives,
                  > > regardless of their past kamma.
                  > >_________________
                  > Dear Yong peng,
                  > I understand this point differently.
                  > There are said to be at this present time only two types of human :
                  > Neyya and padaparama.
                  > Neyya may or may not be able to attain in this present life .
                  > However, padaparama definitely cannot attain in this life and can
                  > only make conditions that may lead to success in future lives.
                  > Even at the Buddha's time there were those such as King Ajatasattu
                  > whose kamma (in this case killing his father) meant they could not
                  > attain in that life .
                  > Robertk
                • Lennart Lopin
                  Dear Danya, On your interesting thesis we even had a small discussion here among friends. Actually, before you came up with your working thesis on grace, we
                  Message 8 of 20 , Sep 4, 2003
                    Dear Danya,

                    On your interesting thesis we even had a small discussion here among
                    friends. Actually, before you came up with your "working thesis" on grace,
                    we automatically thought of the (christian) concept of grace in a buddhist
                    context and couldnt bring them together in any way (especially thinking of
                    grace in a protestant context - it is sooo apart from the Buddhist point of
                    view - none taking responsibility for your actions other than you. Yourself
                    the one who eventually has to cross the stream, albeit taking the help of
                    other kalyana mittas.)

                    I understand now, that you try to explain the Buddhas to be special
                    embodiements of the Dhamma, especially in a sense that they possess for
                    instance the 10 powers and have accumulated sila, samadhi and panna during
                    inamaginable long aeons - thus they would be kind of a "representative
                    reality" (sic) who - because of their "grace" convey or "bestow" the dhamma
                    on other beings even though they are murderers like Angulimala.

                    Well, i think that the term, as it is so bound up with some of the most
                    contrary concepts to Buddhist thought (as Yong Peng pointed out) and
                    Angulimala in fact (as Nina pointed out) was already "under the surface"
                    ready for understanding the dhamma, that it will be very difficult (to say
                    the least) to come to terms with it in a Buddhist (tipitaka) context.

                    That said, i wish you much luck for solving this task, but i am curious to
                    know, how you came to relate so diverse ideas to each other?

                    kind regards,

                    Lennart

                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Danya Furda" <dfurda@...>
                    To: <Pali@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2003 8:25 PM
                    Subject: RE: [Pali] RE: kamma and grace


                    > Thanks for your help and suggestions. For the purposes of my thesis, I am
                    > defining grace as "a gift or favor given by a representative of ultimate
                    > reality without regard to the recipient's virtue and without which
                    ultimate
                    > liberation would not be possible." Many religious traditions embrace a
                    > concept of grace in this sense. There does not need to be a god or God to
                    > have a concept of grace. Grace needs not to be a technical term
                    monopolized
                    > by Christian theology. I am arguing here, however, that buddhas are
                    special
                    > beings and possess abilities and qualities not possessed by human beings
                    or
                    > even by devas.
                    >
                    > The concept of grace (as defined above) was brought to my attention while
                    > reading Peter Masefield's excellent book, Divine Revelation in Pali
                    > Buddhism. I guess my question in terms of grace is whether or not anyone
                    > else has come across other resources which explore the idea that a buddha
                    is
                    > an essential element for Dharma to be transmitted to others.
                    >
                    > Thanks Nina for the info on kamma. It appears that kamma is operative
                    > regardless whereas grace can only occur when a buddha is present in the
                    > world to reveal the Dharma to those ready to hear it. Also, I am
                    > distinguishing between the concept of grace and that of compassion. For
                    > something to be "grace," rather than just simply "compassion," it must
                    lead
                    > to assured ultimate liberation.
                    >
                    > Danya
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                    > [Homepage] http://www.tipitaka.net
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                    >
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                    >
                  • Bruce Burrill
                    Grace is a concept that arises with in theistic context. Grace is given by god, though there is nothing we do to deserve it. Quite the contrary, being sinners,
                    Message 9 of 20 , Sep 4, 2003
                      Grace is a concept that arises with in theistic context. Grace is given by
                      god, though there is nothing we do to deserve it. Quite the contrary, being
                      sinners, we do not.

                      >Dr Masefield's work has received
                      >high regards throughout buddhist circles.

                      Masefield's book is generally regarded by Buddhologists as eccentric, which
                      it is.
                    • Everett Thiele
                      Hi everyone, Offhand two main points of contact occur to me between Buddhism and Grace . I m not sure how theologically correct these are, but they might be
                      Message 10 of 20 , Sep 5, 2003
                        Hi everyone,

                        Offhand two main points of contact occur to me between Buddhism and
                        "Grace". I'm not sure how theologically correct these are, but they
                        might be worth looking at.

                        1) In the Pali Canon and in stories such as in the Dhp-a the act of
                        putting faith in the Buddha is often enough for someone to get a
                        heavenly rebirth. This sounds a lot like the Christian idea of faith
                        being salvific. The difference would be that Christianity sees heaven
                        as the end of the line, whereas Buddhism sees it as a state from
                        which a being eventually falls.

                        I haven't checked the Angulimala Sutta, but IIRC he gains this sort
                        of faith to begin with. He then, of course, goes on to become an
                        Arahant.

                        2) Pure Land Buddhism goes further and allows for faith in Amitabha
                        to enable one to be reborn in a heavenly realm as a non-returner.
                        This sounds, on the surface of it, to be very much based on 'other
                        power' like in Christianity, and to be fully salvific even in
                        Buddhist terms.

                        I'm not sure, but perhaps this 'Pure Land' is related to the sorts of
                        very high heavens which can be attained by advanced meditators in the
                        Pali tradition. I'd be very interested in hearing if this has been
                        studied.

                        best regards,

                        --Rett
                      • Ong Yong Peng
                        Dear Everett, Bruce, Lennart and friends, thanks. As much as I know about Pure Land school, there are some differences. Anagamis have worked diligently on the
                        Message 11 of 20 , Sep 5, 2003
                          Dear Everett, Bruce, Lennart and friends,

                          thanks. As much as I know about Pure Land school, there are some
                          differences. Anagamis have worked diligently on the path to reach the
                          stage of non-returners. Beings reborn in pure lands may not have
                          reached the stage of anagami yet, however pure land is a place where
                          no new kamma would be created, hence achieving the result of non-
                          returning.

                          Furthermore, the heavenly realm anagamis reside in is still within
                          the samsaric realm, which is a result of the collective karma of all
                          sentient beings in that realm/world. A pure land, on the other hand,
                          is a result of a Buddha's past vows. Amitabha's past vows was to
                          construct such a pure land. Shakyamuni's past vows was to reach out
                          to the beings in samsara.

                          Unlike a heavenly realm where beings enjoy the fruits of their good
                          karma (in Buddhist teachings), a pure land is a more conducive place
                          than samsara for beings to practice till they reach nibbana.

                          metta,
                          Yong Peng

                          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Everett Thiele wrote:
                          > 2) Pure Land Buddhism goes further and allows for faith in Amitabha
                          > to enable one to be reborn in a heavenly realm as a non-returner.
                          > This sounds, on the surface of it, to be very much based on 'other
                          > power' like in Christianity, and to be fully salvific even in
                          > Buddhist terms.
                          >
                          > I'm not sure, but perhaps this 'Pure Land' is related to the sorts
                          of very high heavens which can be attained by advanced meditators in
                          the Pali tradition. I'd be very interested in hearing if this has
                          been studied.
                        • Brian Tawney
                          ... being ... I have heard this definition of grace, but I find it difficult to unravel. Having married a Christian, I have learned that her church believes
                          Message 12 of 20 , Sep 5, 2003
                            > Grace is a concept that arises with in theistic context. Grace is given by
                            > god, though there is nothing we do to deserve it. Quite the contrary,
                            being
                            > sinners, we do not.

                            I have heard this definition of grace, but I find it difficult to unravel.
                            Having married a Christian, I have learned that her church believes grace is
                            only given to those who practice Christianity correctly. In other words,
                            God (in the person of Christ) came into the world to teach how salvation
                            might be attained, but salvation must still be earned through individual
                            effort in the form of correct practice. Is this what is called "grace"?

                            The Buddha came into the world to teach how nibbana might be attained, but
                            nibbana must still be earned through individual effort in the form of
                            correct practice. Is this what is called "compassion"?

                            To my inexperienced mind, if there is something in the Christian idea of
                            "God's grace" that is not in the Buddhist idea of "Buddha's compassion", it
                            is that God created salvation, whereas the Buddha discovered nibbana. On
                            the other hand, Christians believe that God created everything else as well,
                            and Buddhists (as far as I know) simply don't address the question of why
                            reality should be so constructed that we can escape samsara.

                            If I have said anything someone knows to be wrong, let me know. This is one
                            of many topics I regularly come across in discussions with my wife.

                            Thank you.
                            Brian.
                            (new to the group)
                          • Ong Yong Peng
                            Dear Brian, I am afraid not so. Although, the Buddha taught out of compassion (unconditional love), nibbana is not a physical location where there is an
                            Message 13 of 20 , Sep 5, 2003
                              Dear Brian,

                              I am afraid not so. Although, the Buddha taught out of compassion
                              (unconditional love), nibbana is not a physical location where there
                              is an archangel guarding the gates to determine whether you have met
                              the criteria to enter. Nibbana is a state which only one who have
                              reached it can truly experience it, but there are of course many
                              books that try to explain it. The Buddhist experience and knowledge
                              is far much beyond the scope that the Christian doctrine can grasp.
                              This is a philosophical difference.

                              Buddhists do not practise to earn Buddha's compassion to reach
                              nibbana, Christians practise to earn God's grace to enter heaven. The
                              relationship between Buddha and Buddhists is teacher and students,
                              while that of God and Christians is master and servants. This is a
                              theological difference. In fact, without the concept of creation in
                              Hinduism, Taoism or Judaism, Buddhism is not even a theology.

                              metta,
                              Yong Peng

                              --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Brian Tawney wrote:
                              The Buddha came into the world to teach how nibbana might be
                              attained, but nibbana must still be earned through individual effort
                              in the form of correct practice. Is this what is called "compassion"?
                            • rjkjp1
                              ... of ... faith ... heaven ... Dear Everett, I think a difference between most religions and Buddhism is that the Buddha taught any attachment, even to him,
                              Message 14 of 20 , Sep 5, 2003
                                --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Everett Thiele <rett@t...> wrote:
                                >
                                > 1) In the Pali Canon and in stories such as in the Dhp-a the act
                                of
                                > putting faith in the Buddha is often enough for someone to get a
                                > heavenly rebirth. This sounds a lot like the Christian idea of
                                faith
                                > being salvific. The difference would be that Christianity sees
                                heaven
                                > as the end of the line, whereas Buddhism sees it as a state from
                                > which a being eventually falls.
                                > ________________
                                Dear Everett,
                                I think a difference between most religions and Buddhism is that the
                                Buddha taught any attachment, even to him, is unwholesome.
                                The mind states which condition rebirth in deva realms are kusala
                                and all kusala cittas arise together with saddha. However faith - in
                                its normal usage - may include kusala confidence in the virtues of
                                the Buddha but it may also include attachment. Lobhamula citta
                                (mindstate rooted in attachment) cannot directly condition rebirth
                                in a heavenly realm.
                                Once the Buddha scolded Vakkali for his attachment to Buddha:
                                Yo kho Vakkali dhammam passati so mam passati Vakkali
                                whoever sees Dhamma, sees me [the Buddha]
                                RobertK
                              • nina van gorkom
                                Dear Yong Peng and friends, op 05-09-2003 13:17 schreef Ong Yong Peng op ypong001@yahoo.com: Beings reborn in pure lands may not have ... N: According to the
                                Message 15 of 20 , Sep 6, 2003
                                  Dear Yong Peng and friends,
                                  op 05-09-2003 13:17 schreef Ong Yong Peng op ypong001@...:
                                  Beings reborn in pure lands may not have
                                  > reached the stage of anagami yet, however pure land is a place where
                                  > no new kamma would be created, hence achieving the result of non-
                                  > returning.
                                  N: According to the Theravada tradition, anagamis still perform kamma which
                                  bring result. We read in Buddhist Dictionary, Ven. Nyanatiloka: <Now, a
                                  being through the disappearing of the five lower fetters (sa.myojana)
                                  reappears in a higher world (amongs the devas of the 'pure abodes'
                                  suddhaavaasa) and without returning from that world (into the Sensuous
                                  Spere) he there reaches Nirvana> Thus, he is not reborn in a sensuous plane,
                                  but still performs kamma in that higher plane.
                                  Only the arahat does not perform any new kamma, although he still receives
                                  results of former kammas for the remainder of his lifespan. That is why the
                                  arahat has, instead of kusala citta, mahaakiriyacitta. Kiriyacitta is
                                  inoperative, it does not bring result.
                                  Y: Furthermore, the heavenly realm anagamis reside in is still within
                                  > the samsaric realm, which is a result of the collective karma of all
                                  > sentient beings in that realm/world.
                                  N: I have heard the word collective kamma before, but we read in the Suttas
                                  time and again that the Buddha explained that beings are heirs to their own
                                  kamma, kamma is the womb from which they are born. Kammassakata ~naa.na,
                                  knowing kamma as one's own (saka) is clearly seen by insight knowledge,
                                  vipassana ~naa.na. According to Theravada tradition there is no collective
                                  kamma. This makes sense to me, because kamma is accumulated by each
                                  individual in the cycle, va.t.ta. Kamma is mental, it is intention, and thus
                                  it can be accumulated from moment to moment, from life to life.
                                  There are people who are born in a country where there is hunger and war, or
                                  people who are together in a accident. It may seem that they receive the
                                  same result, but in reality this is not so. There are different moments of
                                  pain, seeing, hearing, all results of kamma. A person may feel the pain of
                                  hunger but the next moment he may hear a pleasant sound. All different
                                  moments of vipaka and they cannot be the same for a group of people. There
                                  are also different intensities of vipaka.
                                  Instead of thinking of a whole situation of people, or groups of people who
                                  receive vipaka, we should analyse different moments of citta, then we come
                                  closer to reality. People react differently to the result they receive. Some
                                  people react with kusala citta, others with aversion, with akusala citta.
                                  The reason is that people have accumulated different inclinations, and
                                  different defilements, kilesas. In the commentary it is explained that there
                                  are three cycles: the cycle of kamma, the cycle of vipaka and the cycle of
                                  kilesa. Kilesa motivates again kamma and this produces again vipaka and this
                                  conditions again kilesa, and so we go on and on. Thus the three cycles keep
                                  turning around in our lives.
                                  Nina.
                                • Ong Yong Peng
                                  Dear Nina and friends, thanks for everything, Nina. You are right about collective kamma, it is commonly used in Mahayana schools, and a search on collective
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Sep 6, 2003
                                    Dear Nina and friends,

                                    thanks for everything, Nina. You are right about collective kamma, it
                                    is commonly used in Mahayana schools, and a search on collective
                                    karma will reveal that. I cannot for sure determine if the usage of
                                    the word is more of a convenience, but I have the idea it appears in
                                    Mahayana sutras.

                                    I totally agree on the explanation you have given on the Theravada
                                    perspective. And I apologise for my lack of knowledge and any
                                    confusion due to that. Browsing the web, I have found what Sayadaw U
                                    Silananda wrote on this topic:

                                    One more thing that should not be applied to the doctrine of kamma is
                                    the idea of mass kamma or collective kamma. There is no operation of
                                    a collective kamma affecting a group of people. There may be, however
                                    a group of people who do something together and who get the results
                                    of their individual kamma together. In that case, the results of each
                                    individual kamma is operating.

                                    http://www.mahindarama.com/e-library/volition4.html

                                    metta,
                                    Yong Peng
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