does good kamma lead to good results?

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    • #13449
      sybe07
      Spectator

      From AN 1.314 (translation Bodhi):

      “Bhikkhus, for a person of wrong view, whatever bodily kamma, verbal kamma, and mental kamma he instigates and undertakes in accordance with that view, and whatever his volition, yearning, inclination, and volitional activities, all lead to what is unwished for, undesired, and disagreeable, to harm and suffering. For what reason? Because the view is bad”

      So apparently the answer is “No”. It depends on the view behind the kamma.

      If kamma is not really determining the arising effects/result, why is it so often presented:

      good kamma—-> good results (heath, long life, beauty, heaven etc)
      bad kamma—->bad results (illnesses, short lived, ugly, hell etc)?

      Isn’t this wrong?

      Siebe

    • #13452
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Do good kamma (good actions by the body, speech, and mind) lead to good results? The answer is YES.

      Bhikkhu Bodhi’s above translation in the post by Siebe above is 100% accurate.

      This is why I emphasize the basics. At the very foundation of Buddha Dhamma is dasa akusala. That is the yard stick to be used to determine between good and bad or moral and immoral.

      How is a kamma determined to be good or bad?

      If a kamma involves any of the dasa akusala, then it is a bad or immoral kamma, and it will bring bad results.

      There are three bad kamma done by the body, four by speech, and three by the mind. The most important one people tend to forget: micca ditthi.
      If a kamma is done with micca ditthi, that is a bad or immoral kamma, and WILL bring in bad results.

      The opposites of the 10 types of micca ditthi are the “correct views” and WILL bring in good results within this world, i.e., good births in higher realms, health, wealth, beauty, etc.

      There are two levels of mica ditthi. First one needs to remove the ten types of micca ditthi.
      Then one can start on the Noble Eightfold Path AFTER learning about the deeper level of micca ditthi. That is to realize that it is a wrong view to believe that things in this world can bring long-term happiness. This second level of wrong views are dispelled when one comprehends Tilakkhana, the Three Characteristics of this world: anicca, dukkha, anatta.

      The strongest immoral deeds are done by the 10 types of micca ditthi. They inevitably lead to suffering and can lead to rebirth in the apayas.

      One can attain Nibbana only by getting rid of the second level of micca ditthi, i.e, only by comprehending Tilakkhana. Thus ultimate and permanent happiness can be attained only by getting rid of second level of micca ditthi.

      Both types of micca ditthi are discussed in the post:
      Micca Ditthi, Gandhabba, and Sotapanna Stage

    • #13455
      Tobias G
      Participant

      Regarding Lals reply I would add: There is a moment when one on the path can see that even having an opinion or tending to think and ponder about worldly things is already a danger and ditthi. If harmful or not helpful thinking is involved one is acting with lobha, dosa, moha. Normal people always tend to value mundane issues highly. They cannot see the futility in it. These worldly activities will bind one to this world. The mind will get agitated and thus pulled away from Nibbana. The peace of mind is disturbed. Of course some activities are still necessary to fulfill certain tasks and responsibilities.

      AN 4.183 Sutasutta:

      “…When, for one who speaks of what has been seen, unskillful mental qualities increase and skillful mental qualities decrease, then that sort of thing should not be spoken about. But when, for one who speaks of what has been seen, unskillful mental qualities decrease and skillful mental qualities increase, then that sort of thing should be spoken about. …”

    • #13466
      sybe07
      Spectator

      I think the sutta is truthful. It does not matter which intentions one has, the view behind it determines the results, not the intentions.

      If you want to help animals or people good intentions alone will not necassary lead to good results. One must also have knowledge. Good intention alone can create more suffering and even death of the animals or people which you are trying to help.

      Relying on ones good intentions, thinking: ‘ach, i am doing good, because i have such good intentions, and i am safe because i have good intentions’, while not really concerned with results and with acquiring right view, i think that is a kind of akusala, immoral.

      I belief, anyone who is really concerned with doing good, will inevitably question, ‘but really what is doing good’? What do i have to do to do good?

      Doing good is not the same as ‘acting with good intentions’. Good or bad, it is inevitable related to view. That view determines the result, that’s what the sutta says.

    • #13489
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Again the sutta:

      “Bhikkhus, for a person of wrong view, whatever bodily kamma, verbal kamma, and mental kamma he instigates and undertakes in accordance with that view, and whatever his volition, yearning, inclination, and volitional activities, all lead to what is unwished for, undesired, and disagreeable, to harm and suffering. For what reason? Because the view is bad”

      From Lal’s reply i understand this sutta actually does not make any sense. Why? Because Lal says that kamma based on wrong view cannot be good and is bad or immoral.

      “If a kamma is done with micca ditthi, that is a bad or immoral kamma, and WILL bring in bad results”(Lal)

      So this sutta makes no sense at all when it suggests that a person of wrong view can have positive kamma.

      Again, here is something not oke.

      I belief one can be sincere and have moral thoughts, wanting to assist, to help others (or animals), and still have wrong view, for example, wrong view of what actually is helpful or is wholesome in the end.

      One cannot say those thoughts are immoral just because one has a wrong view on what is really helpful in the end.

      Are the thoughts of a materialist perse immoral because he has a wrong view?

      I think it is not true that wrong view Always means immoral thoughts or deeds.

    • #13491
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Reflecting on this the thought arose in me that for me it is better not to talk to much about moral and immoral. Intentions and deeds mixed with greed, hate and delusion are especially unskilfull.

      But behind these intentions and deeds there is most of the time the view that those greedy, hateful, deluded deeds are in our own interest and protect something, our happiness, that of our familie, country etc. Is this immoral?

      We do not have to become moralist, preachers who now what is moral and immoral. The Buddha has given us the knowledge by which we can see that this greed, hate and delusion is not really to our own advantage or of that of others.

      Intentions. Obama will probably also think it was a good intention to kill Osama Bin Laden. Trump, in his own way, will also have good intentions. If we would talk to Hitler we would even see his good intentions. It is so simple to belief he had only bad intentions. In his own deluded way he had good intentions. At least that is what i belief.

      So what especially counts is the view behind these intentions. That’s what de sutta makes clear. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. It is the view that counts. Therefor, in the end it not about being moral or immoral but having right or wrong view. Amen:-)

    • #13494
      Lal
      Keymaster

      The sutta says exactly what I said. There is no contradiction.

      I think Siebe has a confusion about one’s intention (which according that person may be good) and how that intention (if based on micca ditthi or a wrong view) can have bad outcomes (vipaka).

      When a suicide bomber blows up tens of people, his intention could be good from his point of view, because he BELIEVES that it will lead to good results for him and his family (that is what they say).

      But it does matter what he (or anyone else) believes or intends. What matters is whether that is view is a wrong view in terms of Nature’s laws (which, according to the Buddha, are embodied in dasa akusala, of which micca ditthi is one).
      Killing people is itself a strong immoral act. On top of that he has another strong kamma based on his wrong view that killing other people can lead to good results. So, an action like that has bad kammic consequences due to two factors.

      Most of Siebe’s comments in that post and the subsequent post above have this incorrect understanding. For example, Siebe said: “Are the thoughts of a materialist per se immoral because he has a wrong view?”
      Of course they are immoral thoughts. It is the same thing. Just because they sincerely believe that a life ends with the death of the physical body, that belief is a STRONG micca ditthi. That seems like a harsh statement. But that is true. Rebirth and laws of kamma (rooted in dasa akusala) are foundations of Buddha Dhamma. These are not philosophical issues to be debated on. One either believes them or not. But there are many logical arguments provided by the Buddha for a rational person to see the truth in them. I have explained the importance of getting rid of micca ditthi in many web posts and in several topics in the discussion forum.

      This is not different from common law applied in courts. There could be a person X who believes it is moral to steal from the rich and give to poor. But stealing is a crime and he will be punished for that crime. Nature works the same way. Just being ignorant of nature’s laws is not an excuse. One cannot say, one did not know that killing animals for sport is immoral; he/she will be paying for such immoral acts.

      Now, anyone is free to believe whatever he/she wants. I am just stating facts according to the Tipitaka. Even the Buddha could not persuade people with strong micca ditthi. So, I am not going to say anymore on this subject. This is a very clear-cut case.

    • #13498
      sybe07
      Spectator

      The sutta says clearly that for a person of wrong view, whatever bodily kamma, verbal kamma, mental kamma he instigates upon that wrong view…(so even when this kamma is moral ), whatever his volitional activity is, (so even moral helpful intentions)….all lead to suffering. Why? because the view is wrong.

      One with a materialistic view can live a moral life, doing good to others. Mostly intent on giving, on sharing, helping, doing good. He can be a doctor. Most doctors have probably a materialistic view and not belief in rebirth. Does this mean their intentions and behaviour are immoral? No, ofcourse not.
      Just like believing in rebirth does not mean one lives moral. Maybe this view makes that one is Always greedy, only doing good to create good rebirth. Maybe the doctor, while not believing in rebirth, is more altruistisch doing good.

      I belief, it is not true that a wrong view Always goes together with bad intentions or kamma. No, most of the time people have good intentions but behind those are bad views. Then the sutta says… the result will be bad because the view is bad.

      So, in the end, which result will arise from intentions and deed, depends in the end on the quality of the view, is it wrong or right, and NOT on the quality of intentions.
      Siebe

    • #13583
      sybe07
      Spectator

      In these serie post there must be a reply of Vince, but for some unknown reason i do not see this. Typical example of the bad kamma of Siebe…or was it Vince evil kamma:-)

      Siebe

    • #13584
      Vince
      Participant

      Yes I posted something, then edited it and tried to post it again. I figured it might show up eventually, but oh well.

      Anyway, basically what I said was that it seems to me you’re interpreting the sutta as saying that ANY and ALL actions done by a person who holds one or more wrong views will ultimately be bad, but I don’t think that is the case. In my opinion, interpreting it that way is too much of a sweeping generalization. Instead, I think the sutta is making a very specific statement; any kamma that is undertaken “IN ACCORDANCE WITH THAT [wrong] VIEW” will lead to what is undesired.

      So that doesn’t mean that a person who happens to a hold a wrong view is totally incapable of doing good deeds or that genuine good deeds done by that person won’t bring good results. Like in your example of a doctor, it may be the case that a person with a materialist’s outlook on the world might still help others out of a genuine sense of altruism. I think it’s possibe that such good actions may have another root cause that is unrelated to their materialistic viewpoint, since all people have a mixture of lobha/dosa/moha and alobha/adosa/amoha.

      But a person who undertakes an action with a micca ditthi as the fundamental motivating factor for that action will end up with what is undesirable. In extreme cases (like Lal’s suicide bomber example), actions born out of such wrong views wouldn’t be considered good deeds anyway; there would be no gray area. But since most people’s actions aren’t that extreme and all people have a mixture of good and bad gathi then the “genuine goodness” of certain actions in certain situations can become ambiguous. For this reason I think it’s a very complex issue to try and determine how karmically fruitful a given action is by trying to precisely pinpoint what sort of world view the action might have arisen from.

      Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it true that any Ariya will still have minor wrong views about what is and isn’t good to do until they reach the Arahant level, because until that point Samma Ditthi is still incomplete?

      • #13598
        sybe07
        Spectator

        Hi Vince, do you agree that the sutta’s, in general, also suggests that it IS possible to generate good intentions, good verbal deeds, good deeds based upon on a bad view? In other words, is it possible that moral kamma can spring from a bad view?

        I tend to ‘yes’.

        For example, i think a lot of people will think they are helpful in given other people enjoyment, sense-pleasures, theater, concerts. They belief it is very good because people for a moment forget their troubles and have a really good time. They do not suffer. The musicians, theaterfolk, etc are convinced that they are truly doing something good. I belief, it is not right to say that their intentions are immoral or bad, i would Judge they are good, but their view is troublesome, maybe even bad, because, in the end it is not really helpful.

        But is it possible that good kamma is instigated upon bad view? I belief Lal says definitely “No” (see reply 2 januari) but i am not sure that is the case.

        kind regards
        Siebe

    • #13588
      Tobias G
      Participant

      Vince wrote: “Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it true that any Ariya will still have minor wrong views about what is and isn’t good to do until they reach the Arahant level, because until that point Samma Ditthi is still incomplete?”

      That is what I also think. Samma Ditthi is complete at the Arahant stage. Before that any person will have some minor wrong views left. This can happen for example when you find yourself in a discussion about some worldly stuff and you realise that it is actually total nonsense to have any view about this stuff. So there is this minor wrong view. It does not change your big picture about this world, but it is hidden and pops up with a trigger. But one should note the wrong view and it gets weaker. Sati must be there. This keeps one on the path.

    • #13590
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Vince said: “Yes I posted something, then edited it and tried to post it again. I figured it might show up eventually, but oh well.”

      Once submitted, a given comment can be revised only within an hour. That could be the reason why the comment got deleted, but I am not sure. In principle, the system should not allow a revision after an hour.

      Vince wrote: “Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it true that any Ariya will still have minor wrong views about what is and isn’t good to do until they reach the Arahant level, because until that point Samma Ditthi is still incomplete?”

      Yes. As Tobias G also elaborated, Samma Ditthi (or panna) is completed at the Arahant stage. There is no amoha cetasika. As Samma Ditthi grows, the moha asobhana cetasika weakens and the panna sobhana cetasika grows.

    • #13595
      sybe07
      Spectator

      I am glad you posted Vince. It makes sense to me.

      Regarding your question:

      I learned that the main difference between any Ariya and an arahant is described, for example, here:

      …”So too, friends, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, still, in relation to the five aggregates subject to clinging, there lingers in him a residual conceit ‘I am,’ a desire ‘I am,’ an underlying tendency ‘I am’ that has not yet been uprooted”.

      But…

      …”As he dwells thus contemplating rise and fall in the five aggregates subject to clinging, the residual conceit ‘I am,’ the desire ‘I am,’ the underlying tendency ‘I am’ that had not yet been uprooted—this comes to be uprooted.”

      https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.89

      The last is the arahantstage.

      In my own words (please correct my if they are wrong): due to a strong habit in contact with ‘the world’ there arises in us constantly the conceit that there is a subject, an “I” who sees, feels, thinks, lives, plans, will die etc. This habit is stronger then the arising of hate and greed in contact with ‘the world’. It is all-pervading and, though, not Always present, it arises much more easy then hate and greed.

      Near almost every experiences of us are coloured with the belief “I am”. This is conventionally called ‘subjectivity’. People who do not take everything so personal are much more stabel, happy, wise.

      If pain would arise in us, probably, there would arise dosa too, as a habit, but also the conceit that an “I” feels the pain or has to bear the pain. This last is an even more stronger habit.

      An arahant does not seem to have this anymore. The uprooting of the conceit “I am” was according to the Buddha the ultimate bliss.

      “There is happiness and detachment for the one who is satisfied,
      who has heard the Dhamma, and who sees,
      There is happiness for him who is free from ill-will in the world,
      who is restrained towards breathing beings.

      “The state of dispassion in the world is happiness,
      the complete transcending of sense desires,
      But for he who has removed the conceit ‘I am’—
      this is indeed the highest happiness.”

      https://suttacentral.net/en/ud2.1

      Siebe

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