Five Niyamas-Does Every Unfortunate Event Always Have Kamma As A Root Cause?

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    • #23060
      firewns
      Participant

      Does every unfortunate event always have kamma as a root cause?

      I think Lal has mentioned before that his recent condition must have a past kamma as a root cause.

      However, I believe that besides kamma niyama, there are four other niyamas–dhamma niyama, citta niyama, utu niyama and bija niyama. Could any of these four niyamas be the root cause instead and kamma having nothing to do with the root cause?

      I ask this because some people may feel very bad when something unfortunate happens to them in life, as they think they somehow deserve it due to past bad kamma. Others may get angry and turn away from Buddhism as they find it very unfair that good people have to suffer.

      Thank you very much in advance for your answers to my questions.

    • #23065
      sybe07
      Spectator

      I think there is a difference between abhidhamma and sutta.

      Sutta’s list karma as one cause of many other causes for sickness, discomfort, bad feelings. If you want i will provide the sutta’s, but they are treated here earlier.

      In contact with the Jains the Buddha also made clear that painful feeling can just be phyiscal and not result of bad deeds but result of painful practises. In other words, anyone will feel pain when doing certain things. If i have not jogged for a long time, and i start, i will feel pain. Do i really have to belief this pain is due to a bad past deed? I do not. This pain is just phyiscal and not rooted in past bad deeds.

      But, as i understand from lal, Abhidhamma sees any sense experience as a kamma-vipaka. So whatever we see, feel, smell etc. comes to us as a kamma-vipaka. And the logic is, when this is painful it is due to a bad kamma, and when is it nice it is due to good kamma.

      This is not really open for any debate.

      As i said, on this topic, i feel, there is a difference between sutta’s and abhidhamma. Sutta is more open for the idea that not all we experience is some retribution of past good and bad deeds. But again, from Abhidhamma perspective this is not open for any debate.

      Siebe

    • #23102
      Lal
      Keymaster

      firewns wrote: “However, I believe that besides kamma niyama, there are four other niyamas–dhamma niyama, citta niyama, utu niyama and bija niyama. Could any of these four niyamas be the root cause instead and kamma having nothing to do with the root cause?”

      Yes. I have also written a little bit about those niyamas in a post (I don’t recall the post).
      But I just did some research and it seems that those are not discussed in the Tipitaka (suttas or in Abhidhamma).

      If anyone has a reference on those niyama dhamma from the Tipitaka, please post. I cannot find a single reference.
      – It is possible that they were introduced by a commentary written later on.

      Kamma vipaka may be explained fully via the laws of kamma together with Paticca Samuppada.
      – Laws of kamma are not deterministic BECAUSE not only a previous kamma, but also CONDITIONS to bring those kamma vipaka to fruition need to satisfied. Those conditions are in Paticca Samuppada.
      – For example, Angulimala killed almost 1000 people. But he was able to “bypass” those vipaka by attaining the Arahanthood. At the cuit-patisandhi moment, those kamma very likely tried to enforce a bhava in the apayas, but his mind would not grasp them (i..e, “upadana paccaya bhava” step in Paticca Samuppada would not be effective, as well as “vedana paccaya tanha” and “tanha paccaya upadana”).
      – Also see, “What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma?“.

      August 25, 2019: I just found a sutta on Dhamma Niyama or more precisley on “dhammaniyāmatā”: “Uppādā Sutta (AN 3.126)“.

      • #23243
        Christian
        Participant

        Thank you very much Lal for this post. Very refreshing. Many expect from Dhamma to be fireworks and turn their life around in one night totally ignoring the facts you stated about human nature which can be discouraging for practice but once one understands the limitations of being human one will deal better with obstacles on the Path.

    • #23110
      sybe07
      Spectator

      @firewns,

      These are some sutta’s in which kamma is listed as a possible cause for unfortunate things one could experience. Those sutta’s clearly suggest Buddha’s view was not: “‘Everything this individual experiences—pleasurable, painful, or neutral—is because of past deeds.’

      https://suttacentral.net/sn36.21/en/sujato
      https://suttacentral.net/an5.104/en/sujato
      https://suttacentral.net/an10.60/en/sujato

      Maybe from these lists of possible causes stems the idea to introduce other causes, nyiama’s, and to see kamma as a seperate cause for illnesses, affliction etc. and to introduce other causes like medical causes (bile, phlegm etc) or causes related to climate, and other extern causes.

      Often people wonder if some unfortunate event is due to kamma. I know some sangha make use of the nyiama’s. They use them in such a way that if one can find medical causes, external causes or causes related to climate, one can drop the idea it is due to past bad deeds.
      For this is find no support in the sutta’s.

      Siebe

    • #23111
      firewns
      Participant

      Thank you very much, Siebe and Lal for putting in effort in your replies and insights! They are very helpful to me.

    • #23213
      Anonymous

      It is very interesting that Lal was nor able to find any reference to the 5 niyamas in the tripitaka. In my understanding dhamma niyama, utu niyama, citta niyama, bija niyama are probably some of those conditions that would decide whether a kamma has a chance to come to fruition. Refering back to lals example of angulimala who killed thousands before attaining arahathhood it was his mindset of being a arahath that stoped all the kamma vipaka. What I am trying to say is if a tree bears fruits one can say it is because of the soil, another can say it is because of water. But in reality all conditions water, soil, sunlight etc has to be there together with a seed to create the tree that bore fruits. But if the seed wasn’t there no amount of sun or water or soil can create a tree. So may be there is a kamma beeja (seed) behind everything that happens. Its just that kamma can not come to fruition by itself without favourable conditions. Anyway its just my way of thinking.

    • #23214
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Rishi’s observation is quite right.

      Without a past kamma (a kamma beeja) no good or bad thing can happen.

      But the key point is that certain conditions must be satisfied for those kamma beeja to bring vipaka.

      In particular, for a rebirth to occur at the cuti-patisandhi moment, “upadana paccaya bhava” must be satisfied. When one attains the Arahanthood, both avijja and tanha are completely removed and thus there will be no upadana for any kind of bhava in the 31 realms.
      – Therefore, while there may be many kamma beeja from the past that could give rise to a new bhava (and birth), none of those will be grasped (upadana) at the cuti-patisandhi moment of an Arahant.

      Even in regular kamma vipaka during a lifetime, one can live in such way as not to provide conditions for bad kamma beeja to bring fruits.
      – For example, if one goes to a bad neighborhood at night, one may be setting up conditions for some bad kamma vipaka to materialize.
      – Or, if one gets really drunk, one may be getting into arguments and even fights.
      – I really cannot understand why people keep re-building houses in flood zones. They are likely to face the same situation again. It is again setting up conditions for another possible future disaster.

      One should really contemplate on this point.

    • #23215
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Rishi said: “Refering back to lals example of angulimala who killed thousands before attaining arahathhood it was his mindset of being a arahath that stoped all the kamma vipaka”.

      Angulimala did according to tradition suffer from stones being thrown at him while he went to villages. Ofcourse, people did hate the man who killed their beloved ones.

      There will be few persons, i think, who do not think that such crimes do not need public retaliation and imprisonment. I do not understand why Angulimala was not imprisoned. I find it strange there is so little concern for the welfare of those killed and those family-members of the killed ones.

      I remember the Buddha advised Angulimala to bear this trowing of stones. I also have seen Lal teaches that the mindset of an arahant or even a Budddha does not stop all kamma-vipaka in this life.

    • #23216
      Anonymous

      Sybe07 said, “I also have seen Lal teaches that the mindset of an arahant or even a Buddha does not stop all kamma-vipaka in this life.”
      Yes, that is true. But if he was not an arahant he would have spent thousands or even millions of years in niraya. so it would be correct to say he barely suffered a fraction of the kamma vipaka he was due. If his kamma was not so serious he would have probably escaped the whole thing.

      As for the matter on imprisoning angulimala, the whole thing comes down to the moral question. Do we need to punish a person for the sake of punishment? or is there a more logical reason behind it?
      Do we do it to teach a person a lesson and help him become better? Or are we doing it make sure that the society is safe from such criminals? Either way, there is no logical reason to punish him if he is already an arahant. He is no harm to anyone at all. I think the king took buddhas word for it and decided to give him a chance. That’s how much faith the king had in the Buddha.

      • #23230
        sybe07
        Spectator

        Rishi said” Either way, there is no logical reason to punish him if he is already an arahant. He is no harm to anyone at all. ”

        But imagine Angulimala would live in your own homwtown nowadays. He would allready have killed 989 people. People are very afraid. Woman do not enter the park. People do not walk alone anymore. Angulimala has caused terror in town. People are very afraid. He has traumatised them. For a very long time this mass killing is going on. One day your own mother does not come home. You are very worried because of these murders. And yes, it is true. She is found killed, cut of fingers, murdered.

        Would you really still reason the same way seeing Angulimala living as a free man?

        Siebe

        • #23233
          Lal
          Keymaster

          Siebe: You have probably not read the whole account of Angulimala before commenting: “Angulimāla – A Murderer’s Road to Sainthood“.
          – I had provided this link in the post: “Account of Angulimāla – Many Insights to Buddha Dhamma

          Local authorities were too scared to confront Angulimala, and the King himself came with an army to catch him. But the Buddha intervened before that.

          The King thus met Angulimala, who was sitting by the Buddha, when he arrived with the army. Angulimala was already an Arahant by that time. There was no need for the King to arrest Ven. Angulimala.

    • #23226
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Another relevant important thing to contemplate is the following:

      Human body can endure pain in a limited range. It cannot endure the types of pain that can be endured in some lower realms. If subjected to such suffering, the human body will perish momentarily.

      In the same way, a human body cannot experience the pleasures that can be experienced by a deva body.

      Therefore, it is only a limited range of pain or pleasure that can be experienced in a given realm.

      We all are likely to have done both good and bad kamma in the past. Those really bad kamma will bring vipaka only when we are born in the lower realms.
      – Those really good kamma will bring highly-pleasurable vipaka only when we are born in a deva realm (Of course, when one dies there all that pleasure will turn to much suffering).

      However, if one cultivates panna and attains the Sotapanna stage, one will never be born in an apaya to experience those bad vipaka. Then those “bad kamma” done in the past will become “ahosi kamma”, i.e., they will never again bring vipaka.
      – This is why Buddha Dhamma is called a “hetu-phala vāda”, not a “kamma-phala vāda”. Kamma plays an important role, but kamma vipaka can be overcome by removing the CONDITIONS to bring those vipaka to fruition. Those CONDITIONS are in Paticca Samuppada.
      – It is essentially the “upādāna paccayā bhava” that can stop a future bhava (and thus jāti or births) from arising. That step will not go through certain types of bhava, depending on whether one has attained Sotapanna, Sakadagami, etc stages of Nibbana. Of course, no bhava will be grasped by an Arahant.

      Buddha never denied that one can have pleasurable experiences in human and higher realms. However, birth in any realm will end up in much suffering in the long run. Any and all suffering will be stopped only when the rebirth process is stopped (mainly because in the long run, one WILL BE born mostly in the apayas; see, “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm“).
      – This is the key message of the Buddha. This may not be easy to understand, but this is what is explained in the First Noble Truth.

      • #23244
        Christian
        Participant

        Thank you very much Lal for this post. Very refreshing. Many expect from Dhamma to be fireworks and turn their life around in one night totally ignoring the facts you stated about human nature which can be discouraging for practice but once one understands the limitations of being human one will deal better with obstacles on the Path. :)

    • #36336
      Tobias G
      Participant

      I cannot find a Tipitaka reference for the five dhammatā, only for dhammaniyāmatā: SN12.20

      There it is stated:
      “Katamo ca, bhikkhave, paṭiccasamuppādo? Jātipaccayā, bhikkhave, jarāmaraṇaṁ. Uppādā vā tathāgatānaṁ anuppādā vā tathāgatānaṁ, ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā idappaccayatā. …”

      So it seems dhammaniyāmatā is about paṭiccasamuppādo or how rebirth works via the akusala mula PS.

      In the post What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma? it is said:
      “3. First of all, there are actions by individuals that lead to harmful consequences right away. If one jumps from a tall building, one is bound to get hurt or worse. That is a result of dhamma niyama (law of gravitation is a dhamma niyama,) which is cause and effect. …”

      But I think this is utu niyama, a physical law about rupa.

      Can you explain the difference between bija niyama and kamma niyama?

    • #36346
      Lal
      Keymaster

      You are right, Tobias. There is only one dhammatā, which is dhammaniyāmatā. The sutta you referenced explains that.

      It seems that the five “five dhammatā” was made up by someone in a commentary. It could be Visuddhimagga, but I am not sure.
      – If a key principle is not referenced in the Tipitaka, it is safe to assume that it was made up by someone at a later time.

      I had come across a discourse by Waharaka Thero which addresses this issue about the “five dhammatā“. For the benefit of those who can understand the Sinhala language here is the link:
      කර්මය, නියාම ධර්ම
      – Explanation within the first 30 minutes.

    • #37908
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I just now revised the post, “What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma?

      Thanks to LayDhammaFollower and Tobias for their efforts.

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