Reply To: Paṭhamasañcetanika Sutta (AN 10.217)


1. It is critical to understand what is meant by “kamma nirodha.”

  • The tendency is to assume that it is about nullifying accumulated kammic energies. However, the accumulated kammic energies cannot be removed (some of those energies are exhausted when they bring vipaka, and others gradually “wear away” with time which can be billions of years.)
  • Any remaining kammic energy CAN come back to us as “kamma vipaka” whenever suitable CONDITIONS appear.

2. What we can do is to stop the CONDITIONS that can bring such “kamma vipaka.”

  • For example, Angulimala killed almost a thousand people. However, when he attained the Sotapanna stage in front of the Buddha (whom he initially intended to kill, which is another potent kamma), he instantly nullified any accumulated “kamma vipaka” that could have landed him in an apaya. Then, within a month or so, he attained the Arahant stage and nullified ALL accumulated “kamma vipaka.”
  • That shows the basic idea. It also shows the unimaginable benefits of attaining magga phala.

3. Kamma is defiled as one’s cetana (loosely interpreted as one’s intention), and kammic energies are created AT THAT MOMENT with one’s javana cittas. See “Details of Kamma – Intention, Who Is Affected, Kamma Patha.”

4. The key point is that “kamma nirodha” happens only with magga phala. As higher magga phala attained, more and more possible kamma vipaka automatically become nullified.

  • Even though an Arahant has nullified kamma vipaka that can bring rebirth, vipaka of some accumulated strong kammic energies can appear. That is because there is still one “condition” left to bring vipaka, and that is the physical body of the Arahant, which arose due to a kamma vipaka when that Arahant was born.
  • At the death of the physical body of an Arahant, no accumulated kammic energies can bring a vipaka to lead to another rebirth in any realm. That is the end of rebirth and the end of even a trace of suffering.
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