Yet Another Response to "About Karmic Debts & Payback"
Response to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/zeph/message/1186Yet Another Response to 'About Karmic Debts & Payback"
H(ugh): We should not be attached to burning off negative karma. But that if the conditions are ripe, let the karma be burn off by itself.
S(hi'an): There is another method of ridding negative karma – by not letting karmic seeds have the conditions to form fruits (thus rendering the seeds infertile, as good as non-existent), or by diluting or minimising the effects of fruition by creating much more positive karma. There is then no need to "burn off" negative karma. According to the Abhidhamma, the enlightened do not create new karma, while they can still experience past karma bearing fruit. Even the Buddha was attempted assassinated upon after enlightenment. Of course, the merits of Buddhas are so great that no Buddha can ever be killed. Another way of looking at it is that the Buddha was allowing some negative karma to bear fruit–so as to teach on how far-reaching karma can be; thus it being important not to create the slightest negative karma.
H: The idea of "karmic interest" makes the concept of karma tricky and brings in the element of "penalty and reward". Instead of a simple universal law - "a reaction is in the opposite direction and of the same magnitutde as the action". The "interest" idea makes it a complex one.
S: Karma has no sense of penalty or reward. However, its effects are usually felt by sentient beings as so. The "interest" idea does make the dynamics of karma complex, but it is because karma is truly complex. The Buddha once exclaimed that karma is so complex that only Buddhas can discern its intricate mechanisms with perfect clarity. Another example of why "penalty and reward" due to "interest" is natural and a must is this–A farmer plants ten apples seeds. If his karma from this act operates according to your simple law of an action being balanced by an equal reaction, he will yield nothing more than the equivalent of ten apple seeds. In other words, he will not get any apples at all. Reality is, there when causes (yin1) meet conditions (yuan2), they always become more than the equivalent of the causes themselves –as effects (guo3).
H: If A helps B without expecting B to return his favour or to have any acknowledgement from anyone for this act, but is fully aware of the good deed he is doing... Is A not entirely detached from the action or the result of the action? Does A create merits (gong1 de2) or good karma (fu2 bao4)?
S: It is possible for A to do good to B and know good is being done – yet no having attachment to the act itself, or attachment to having good results from the act. This means merits instead of ordinary good karma is created. The Diamond Sutra's standards for a pure act of generosity requires not clinging to the giver, the given and the recipient of kindness. There are no requisites of needing to not be aware of good being done.