Reply To: DN 34 Dasuttarasutta


1. We can sort things out by looking at the following sutta: “Paṭhamabhava Sutta (AN 3.76).”

The key verse is: “Iti kho, ānanda, kammaṁ khettaṁ, viññāṇaṁ bījaṁ, taṇhā sneho.”

It is insufficiently (mechanically) translated there as: ” So, Ānanda, deeds are the field, consciousness is the seed, and craving is the moisture.”

The correct translation: “So, Ānanda, deeds are the field, kamma viññāṇa (kamma bija) is the seed, and craving is the moisture.

Such kamma bija may have been created long ago (with kamma viññāṇa.) Such kammic energies (kamma bija) accumulate over time and can lead to vipāka during life or even rebirths (with paṭisandhi viññāṇa.)

  • Viññāṇa is a complex word. One needs to sort out the meaning per context.

2. Now, we can compare a kamma bija to an ordinary seed. A seed can remain without giving rise to a tree for a long time if kept in a cool, dry place.  

  • However, if that seed is planted in a field and provided with water  (moisture), it will germinate and grow into a tree.
  • In the above analogy, the Buddha pointed out that a kamma bija may stay in viññāṇa dhātu for a long time without bringing their fruits.
  • It is when we attach (taṇhā) to an ārammana (sensory input) and start doing kamma (with abhisaṅkhāra) that we make CONDITIONS for such kamma bija to bring vipāka.


3. Some strong kamma do not require suitable CONDITIONS to bring vipāka. They are the anantariya kamma. They will inevitably bring vipāka.


4. The above discussion refers only to vipāka that bring rebirths.

  • In general, vipāka during a lifetime can occur as long as there is a physical body to bring vipāka.
  • That is why even the Buddha suffered from some ailments.
  • Furthermore, even seeing, hearing, etc., are vipāka in general!
  • Many unpleasant vipāka during a lifetime can be avoided by not making CONDITIONS for them to appear. For example, going to a crime-ridden neighborhood at night is making conditions to bring vipāka. Eating junk food also creates conditions to bring vipāka (in the form of sicknesses.) We can think of many such examples.
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