Can Kamma be inherited?

  • This topic has 10 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 4 years ago by Lal.
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    • #27475

      I have a question: if a politician steals millions of dollars and gets very rich and then after 3 or 4 years he dies suddenly, his heirs not knowing anything about the robberies, because they were small children at the time when they grew up and live a normal life very rich, also inherit the bad Karma of the Father?

    • #27477

      One is responsible only for one’s own deeds.

      The children are not responsible for their father’s actions unless they helped him in those particular activities.

    • #27482

      They might inheret the problems. Maybe the stolen money, now in their possession, is reclaimed and maybe they meet with all kinds of problems?

    • #27483
      y not

      In that case, where ‘they meet with all kinds of problems?’ that could be so only if it was their kamma to experience those problems. Nothing happens to us that we do not deserve.

      That is, if their father, the politician, did not commit the crime, the childrens’ kamma vipaka would have remained latent.

    • #27484

      Sybe07 wrote: “They might inherit the problems.”

      No. They DO NOT.

      The following is a key aspect of Buddha Dhamma and that can avoid many unnecessary speculations about kamma/kamma vipaka.

      Kamma are committed BY THE MIND.
      – If one thinks, speaks, and acts with greed, anger, ignorance, those are the root causes.
      – Kammic energy is PRODUCED in javana citta.

      If those children helped their father in his immoral activities (and thus generated defiled THOUGHTS) then they would create THEIR OWN kamma and the corresponding vipaka will come to them.
      – That has nothing to do with the kamma/kamma vipaka that the father created for himself.

    • #27485

      I meant: those children who inheret the stolen money might live in luxery because of the stolen money of their father. Maybe their lifestyle has become dependend upon the stolen money which is now in their possession. This is a realistic scenario.

      If this stolen money is being reclaimed they will meet with all kind of problems. Maybe their possesions, their houses and cars, are claimed. This is what i meant that they might inheret many problems.

      I have never ever claimed that they inheret the negative kamma of stealing.

    • #27487
      y not


      If they live in luxury it can only be because they themselves had created the causes for that in their OWN past. If they have problems, ditto. Kamma is not transferable. The father’s (mis-)deed brought about the conditions in which THEIR OWN kamma vipaka could take hold – for better or for worse, for better AND for worse. Nothing unfair or ‘undeserved’ can happen at all.

      Lal has explained it in pure Dhamma terms along with the workings.

    • #27490

      That’s a true story…
      The politician didn’t actually steal by himself just accepted the money (or other valuable things) that was sent to him, most of the time, I believe, it wasn’t in kind, but similar ways, I think.
      I believe the heirs are not responsible and do not inherit the bad Kamma from the Father, however they could be generous with the money helping relatives and other known and needy people by being generous to them. However, as I know, they have completely forgotten all their relatives and friends who have encountered difficulties…
      That’s your real kamma…

    • #27497

      For me personally the debate on kamma has never really come to a satisfactory end.

      I have studied the sutta on kamma. My opinion, based on the sutta’s SN36.21, AN5.104 and AN.10.60, is that the Buddha did not teach that any problem we face is caused by our own immoral deeds in the past. There are also other causes mentioned in those sutta’s. Kamma is a possible cause.

      When one is still young one will have little pain and problems starting running, right?
      And when one is over 50 it will be more difficult and painful.
      What is the cause of the difference? Kamma? I would not say that.
      There is a physiological cause that explains the difference in difficulties one meets.

      Some time ago I had this experience: I had for a long time very bad headackes, like fire burning in the mind, every day. At first i thought that it must be kamma-vipaka, some retribution of to much agression in my deeds. So i just beared that pain. I did not go away. After some time i started to question the cause of the pain. The intuition came…’you drink to little’…yes that was true. I drank only 600 ml a day. I started to drink 1,5 l a day and from that time on, the painful feelings, have totally vanished.
      So, is some bad deed in the past creating that headacke or was it just a physiological cause?

      When people dehydrate all kinds of problems arise. Are those problems arising because one now reaps the fruits of immoral deeds? And they go away when one starts drinking??? This makes no sense, right?

    • #27498

      Sybe07: “My opinion, based on the sutta’s SN36.21, AN5.104 and AN.10.60, is that the Buddha did not teach that any problem we face is caused by our own immoral deeds in the past.”

      What you have wrong is the part in the bold.

      1. There MUST be a previous kamma to bring vipaka. We have done infinite number of kamma in the past and it may not be possible to pinpoint the specific kamma. But NOTHING happens without a cause. Only a Buddha can get into such specifics for a given person.

      2. But NOT all previous kamma can bring vipaka. There MUST BE the right conditions to bring vipaka.

      This is discussed in, “What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma?

      Please read that post carefully. If you see something not correct, quote the bullet # and explain why that is not correct.

    • #27505

      Sybe07: I deleted your comments. Quoting an incorrectly translated sutta is not the way to disprove anything.

      Nothing happens without a cause. If you say that kamma is not that cause, what is it?

      Again, not all past kamma bring vipaka. This is all explained in the post I quoted above. Also, that is the whole idea behind Paticca Samuppada.

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