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Re: [Pali] Pali - Every few days - [B094]

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  • Michael Beisert
    Todd, I understand your argument and to some extent agree with what you say. Your argument works better in a single life time but would maybe not hold so well
    Message 1 of 14 , Nov 2, 2003
      Todd,

      I understand your argument and to some extent agree with what you say. Your
      argument works better in a single life time but would maybe not hold so well
      across life times. But my understanding is that the original question was
      not in terms of the level of suffering but on the degree of intensity of
      kamma. Or maybe better said the potential degree of vipaka based on the same
      unwholesome kamma (action/deed) by a dhamma practitioner and someone
      without any knowledge of the dhamma. My reasoning was that for a dhamma
      practitioner the vipaka is likely, but not necessarilly, going to be
      stronger.
      Metta
      Michael


      >From: Todd Martin <todd@...>
      >Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
      >To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: Re: [Pali] Pali - Every few days - [B094]
      >Date: Sat, 1 Nov 2003 10:11:34 -0800
      >
      >Michael,
      >
      >I sort of disagree. Someone who has heard the Dhamma will generally be
      >living a good life. If they then commit a wrong deed they will indeed
      >suffer, however they will have the tools available to end that
      >suffering. Someone who has not and is, lets say for sake of argument, a
      >career criminal, they live in constant suffering with no peace ever.
      >Clearly they suffer more in terms of consistency and lack the tools
      >needed to end that suffering, leading to further feelings of
      >hopelessness. Which will usually lead to them committing more wrong
      >deeds adding to their cycle of hellish existence.
      >
      >I do however see the point of "Who suffers more?" as irrelevant,
      >suffering is suffering no matter how you shake it. All should be
      >avoided. I don't think we should discriminate against those who suffer
      >less.
      >
      >-todd
      >
      >On Nov 1, 2003, at 8:45 AM, Michael Beisert wrote:
      >
      > > Nina,
      > >
      > > On the surface this seems like a very easy question but in fact it is
      > > very
      > > complex. Maybe this is the reason there has been no replies so far? I
      > > had in
      > > the back of my mind that somewhere I read something about your
      > > question but
      > > my research ended empty and therefore I will give you my opinion on
      > > it. I
      > > think the answer to your question is no, someone who has not heard the
      > > Dhamma and commits an akusala deed is in a better position than
      > > someone who
      > > knows the Dhamma, even worse if someone is a commited disciple of the
      > > Buddha. My reasoning is that someone that knows that a certain deed
      > > should
      > > be avoided and nevertheless does it would have a stronger mental
      > > imprint
      > > because of that than someone who is ignorant of the Dhamma. And that
      > > stronger imprint means a stronger kamma. Having said that we should
      > > remember
      > > that the workings of kamma can be very complex and just as a reminder
      > > look
      > > at the Lonaphala Sutta (AN III.99).
      > >
      > > Now the question becomes really complex when you throw in the �skilful
      > > means� so highly praised in the Mahayana tradition. And using a skilful
      > > means interpretation of a certain deed, what apparently would be an
      > > akusala
      > > deed could be regarded as kusala. And this really opens the door for
      > > any
      > > actions to be interpreted anyway you want and to atribute any kamma
      > > consequences you want.
      > >
      > > Metta
      > > Michael
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >> From: nina van gorkom <nilo@...>
      > >> Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
      > >> To: <Pali@yahoogroups.com>
      > >> Subject: Re: [Pali] Pali - Every few days - [B094]
      > >> Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 19:15:12 +0100
      > >>
      > >> Dear John and friends,
      > >> This is interesting. We just discussed in Dhamma Study Group this
      > >> subject.
      > >> Suppose you do evil without having heard the Dhamma, is this evil
      > >> greater
      > >> than when you know it is akusala? I frwd this post to the group.
      > >> Nina.
      > >> op 29-10-2003 16:27 schreef John Kelly op palistudent@...:
      > >>
      > >>> Pali - Every few days - [B094]
      > >>> Gair/Karunatillake - Chapter 5 ? Further Readings
      > >>> Ex. 3. (Part 1 of 2)
      > >>>
      > >>> Raajaa aaha: ?Bhante Naagasena, yo jaananto
      > >>> paapakamma.m karoti, yo ajaananto paapakamma.m karoti,
      > >>> kassa bahutara.m apu~n~nan?ti?
      > >>> The king said: "Venerable Nagasena, for whom is the
      > >>> greater demerit, one who knowingly does evil, or one
      > >>> who does evil unknowingly??
      > >>
      > >
      > > _________________________________________________________________
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      >------------
      >"I know what you're thinking about but it isn't so, nohow.
      >Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would
      >be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."
      >
      >
      >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >

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    • Michael Beisert
      Nina, (and RobertK), As a principle I can fully understand that ignorance leads to suffering and further rebirth, and that the forerunner of the way to
      Message 2 of 14 , Nov 2, 2003
        Nina, (and RobertK),

        As a principle I can fully understand that ignorance leads to suffering and
        further rebirth, and that the forerunner of the way to liberation is right
        understanding. So within that framework the answer by Nagasena makes perfect
        sense. The same applies to the passages quoted by RobertK from the
        commentaries.

        But I still have some difficulty in accepting that one specific unwholesome
        deed may have a stronger vipaka for an ignorant person. I like your quotes
        from the Abhidhamma and using that logic the same mental factors
        (cetasikas), influenced by the same roots, would be present in the same
        unwholesome deed performed by the dhamma practitioner (assuming he /she is
        still a putujana) and an ignorant person. So, if the mental constituents are
        exactly the same what would make the vipaka stronger for one and not the
        other? My logic is that the feelings of guilt/remorse will explain the
        different intensity of vipaka. And the dhamma practitioner will likely have
        stronger feelings of guilt/remorse that the ignorant person. Over time the
        story could be different because the ignorant person due to his/her
        ignorance might develop that deed into a habit and this will bring far
        greater harm.

        Metta
        Michael
        orkom <nilo@...>
        >Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
        >To: <Pali@yahoogroups.com>
        >Subject: Re: [Pali] Pali - ignorance
        >Date: Sun, 02 Nov 2003 16:17:02 +0100
        >
        >Dear Michael,
        >to recapitulate: from Milinda's questions: >>> The king said: "Venerable
        >Nagasena, for whom is the greater demerit, one who knowingly does evil, or
        >one who does evil unknowingly?>
        >Nagasena's answer was one who does evil unknowingly.
        >
        >op 01-11-2003 17:45 schreef Michael Beisert op mbeisert@...:
        > >
        > > On the surface this seems like a very easy question but in fact it is
        >very
        > > complex. ..... the answer to your question is no, someone who has not
        >heard
        >the
        > > Dhamma and commits an akusala deed is in a better position than someone
        >who
        > > knows the Dhamma....
        >N: It is complex. Let us go to the roots of all akusala. There are three
        >akusala hetus or roots which are the foundation of akusala citta. I do not
        >know the Portuguese word for root, in French it is racine. In Pali the
        >tersm
        >hetu and muula are used. The three are: lobha (greed) dosa (aversion or
        >hate) and moha (ignorance or delusion). Another word for moha is avijjaa.
        >There are akusala cittas rooted in moha and lobha, rooted in moha and dosa
        >and rooted in moha alone. But all akusala cittas have moha as their root.
        >Dhammapada vs 251: <...there is no net like delusion>, and in the Ch on
        >taints, vs. 243:... <and a worse taint than these is ignorance, the
        >greatest
        >taint.>
        >We become entangled in ignorance, it is like a net.
        >Ignorance is not knowing realities as they are, not knowing what is kusala,
        >what is akusala, not knowing the four noble Truths. It is like blindness,
        >like darkness.
        >There are different intensities, degrees of the akusala hetus. When the
        >degree of moha is stronger, there is a higher degree of akusala. The
        >akusala hetu that arises together with the citta conditions the
        >accompanying
        >mental factors (cetasikas) and the citta. It motivates different degrees of
        >unwholesome deeds.
        >I could recommend the Wheel, no 251-253, by Ven. Nyanaponika: "the Roots of
        >Good and Evil ".
        >
        >M: we should remember
        > > that the workings of kamma can be very complex and just as a reminder
        >look
        > > at the Lonaphala Sutta (AN III.99).
        >N: Yes, only a Buddha thoroughly penetrates the workings of kamma and
        >result.
        >This sutta is very complex, but does not contradict the fact that more
        >ignorance conditions the akusala to be more intense. Decisive here is
        >leading the holy life. The Buddha teaches here about being in the cycle and
        >going out of the cycle, the commentary states.
        >M: Now the question becomes really complex when you throw in the skilful
        > > means� so highly praised in the Mahayana tradition. And using a skilful
        > > means interpretation of a certain deed, what apparently would be an
        >akusala
        > > deed could be regarded as kusala. And this really opens the door for any
        > > actions to be interpreted anyway you want and to atribute any kamma
        > > consequences you want.
        >N: Then there is more and more ignorance, as I see it. Metta is always
        >kusala, violence is always akusala. Nobody in the world can change akusala
        >into kusala. The three beautiful roots are: alobha, adosa and amoha or
        >pa~n~naa.
        >Nina.
        >
        >

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      • nina van gorkom
        Dear Michael, As you also said, the point discussed in Milinda s questions was whether akusala is stronger when there is more ignorance. The point was not
        Message 3 of 14 , Nov 3, 2003
          Dear Michael,
          As you also said, the point discussed in Milinda's questions was whether
          akusala is stronger when there is more ignorance. The point was not whether
          there is stronger vipaka for an ignorant person. Kamma produces vipaka, but
          there are other conditions necessary for kamma to produce vipaka. In the Co.
          to the Vibhanga, the Dispeller of Delusion, ch 16, Classification of
          Knowledge, 2198 there is mentioned: destiny, gati, substratum, upadhi, one's
          means or conduct, payoga, kaala, time. These can be favorable, sampatti or
          unfavorable, vipatti. For example when you are born in time of war or in a
          country where there is hunger, there is more opportunity for akusala kamma
          to produce akusala vipaaka and less opportunity for kusala vipaaka. This
          subject is complex, many condiitons play their part.
          There were countless past lives and we do not know which kamma will produce
          result at which time. But so long as there is ignorance we are in the cycle
          and we have to receive vipakaa.
          Nina.
          op 02-11-2003 18:04 schreef Michael Beisert op mbeisert@...:

          > I still have some difficulty in accepting that one specific unwholesome
          > deed may have a stronger vipaka for an ignorant person. I like your quotes
          > from the Abhidhamma and using that logic the same mental factors
          > (cetasikas), influenced by the same roots, would be present in the same
          > unwholesome deed performed by the dhamma practitioner (assuming he /she is
          > still a putujana) and an ignorant person.
        • Michael Beisert
          Nina, “The point was not whether there is stronger vipaka for an ignorant person.” Sorry then, it seems I misunderstood your question … What was the
          Message 4 of 14 , Nov 3, 2003
            Nina,

            �The point was not whether there is stronger vipaka for an ignorant person.�

            Sorry then, it seems I misunderstood your question � What was the question
            again? I am lost now.

            I am not sure about �akusala is stronger when there is more ignorance�
            either ignorance is present as a mental factor or it is not present. I don�t
            see this �relative strength of ignorance� in the texts. Where do you find
            this?

            I understand your considerations about how vipaka can be produced. But I
            thought we should take a sort of scientific approach and simplify the
            variables otherwise it is impossible to get any answer.

            Metta
            Michael



            >From: nina van gorkom <nilo@...>
            >Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
            >To: <Pali@yahoogroups.com>
            >Subject: Re: [Pali] Pali - ignorance
            >Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2003 19:06:08 +0100
            >
            >Dear Michael,
            >As you also said, the point discussed in Milinda's questions was whether
            >akusala is stronger when there is more ignorance. The point was not whether
            >there is stronger vipaka for an ignorant person. Kamma produces vipaka, but
            >there are other conditions necessary for kamma to produce vipaka. In the
            >Co.
            >to the Vibhanga, the Dispeller of Delusion, ch 16, Classification of
            >Knowledge, 2198 there is mentioned: destiny, gati, substratum, upadhi,
            >one's
            >means or conduct, payoga, kaala, time. These can be favorable, sampatti or
            >unfavorable, vipatti. For example when you are born in time of war or in a
            >country where there is hunger, there is more opportunity for akusala kamma
            >to produce akusala vipaaka and less opportunity for kusala vipaaka. This
            >subject is complex, many condiitons play their part.
            >There were countless past lives and we do not know which kamma will produce
            >result at which time. But so long as there is ignorance we are in the cycle
            >and we have to receive vipakaa.
            >Nina.
            >op 02-11-2003 18:04 schreef Michael Beisert op mbeisert@...:
            >
            > > I still have some difficulty in accepting that one specific unwholesome
            > > deed may have a stronger vipaka for an ignorant person. I like your
            >quotes
            > > from the Abhidhamma and using that logic the same mental factors
            > > (cetasikas), influenced by the same roots, would be present in the same
            > > unwholesome deed performed by the dhamma practitioner (assuming he /she
            >is
            > > still a putujana) and an ignorant person.
            >

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          • nina van gorkom
            Dear Michael, ... akusala citta. When ignorance is strong you burn yourself more:
            Message 5 of 14 , Nov 4, 2003
              Dear Michael,
              op 03-11-2003 20:08 schreef Michael Beisert op mbeisert@...:

              > “The point was not whether there is stronger vipaka for an ignorant person.
              >
              > Sorry then, it seems I misunderstood your question … What was the question
              > again? I am lost now.
              >N: The quote from the Milinda questions did not deal with vipaka. It dealt with
              akusala citta. When ignorance is strong you burn yourself more:< ,"Indeed,
              great king, in the same way the greater demerit is for him who does evil not
              knowing.> Ignorance arises with each akusala citta, but it can be of
              different degrees. When you have no notion of what is akusala the evil you
              commit is of a higher degree.
              M: I am not sure about akusala is stronger when there is more ignorance’
              > either ignorance is present as a mental factor or it is not present. I don’t
              > see this relative strength of ignorance’ in the texts. Where do you find
              > this?
              N: There are different degrees of akusala which is always accompanied by
              ignorance: ignorance of what is kusala, what is akusala, ignorance of the
              danger of akusala and of the benefit of kusala. Ignorance is gradually worn
              away by those who develop understanding and attain stages of enlightenment,
              a long process, taking aeons. Only the arahat has completely eradicated
              ignorance.
              In your own life you can notice that dosa sometimes is a slight uneasiness,
              and sometimes a stronger aversion such as anger. Ignorance is very coarse
              when one does not see that akusala is harmful, for instance if one at all
              costs is after one's own pleasure and sees this as one's goal. A person
              might even kill other beings, lie and steal all for his own sake. Ignorance
              conditions wrong view which may be very dangerous, such as the views of
              Makkhali Gosaala, Puura.na Kassapa and Ajita Kesakambali. If one propagates
              that akusala kamma does not bring any result it is most harmful for society.
              See the Brahmajaalasutta for different kinds of wrong view conditioned by
              coarse ignorance.
              We do not advocate such theories, but there are other forms of ignorance,
              less coarse, but I would not call them subtle. In the Kindred Sayings IV,
              Second Fifty, Ch I, §53 we read that a monk said:
              <'By how knowing, lord, by how seeing does ignorance vanish and knowledge
              arise?'
              'In him that knows and sees the eye as impermanent... that knows and sees
              objects... as impermanent, ignorance vanishes and knowledge arises.'
              The same is said with regard to the other doorways.
              Ignorance is not seeing the presently arisen dhamma as impermanent, dukkha
              and anattaa.
              The sotaapanna has realized the four noble Truths, but there are many
              degrees of realizing this. He still has akusala, but no longer to the degree
              of conditioning akusala kamma that can produce an unhappy rebirth. Gradually
              the three roots are worn away until one reaches arahatship.

              M: I understand your considerations about how vipaka can be produced. But I
              > thought we should take a sort of scientific approach and simplify the
              > variables otherwise it is impossible to get any answer.
              N: Science has another approach and another goal, it is quite different from
              the Buddha's teachings which have as the aim to develop understanding so
              that defilements are gradually eradicated. Kamma and vipaka belong to the
              "unthinkables", people would become mad when they try to find out which
              kamma produces which vipaka. We cannot simplify what is the domain of the
              Buddhas.
              For us it is more fruitful to begin to understand whether the citta at this
              moment is kusala or akusala. There is enough ignorance that has to be worn
              away.
              Nina.
            • John Kelly
              Michael, ... Yes! Guilt & remorse WILL be stronger for the dhamma practitioner - but hiri/otappa (guilt/remorse) is a GOOD thing, thus unwholesome kamma would
              Message 6 of 14 , Nov 4, 2003
                Michael,
                You said:
                >My logic is that the feelings of guilt/remorse will
                >explain the
                >different intensity of vipaka. And the dhamma
                >practitioner
                >will likely have
                >stronger feelings of guilt/remorse that the ignorant
                >person. Over time the
                >story could be different because the ignorant person
                >due to
                >his/her
                >ignorance might develop that deed into a habit and
                >this
                >will bring far
                >greater harm.

                Yes! Guilt & remorse WILL be stronger for the dhamma
                practitioner - but hiri/otappa (guilt/remorse) is a
                GOOD thing, thus unwholesome kamma would be mitigated
                somewhat for this person.
                John




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