Quick Kamma Vipāka & Dangers of Sense Pleasures

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    • #14504
      inflib
      Participant

      Hello,

      In the post Dasa Samyōjana – Bonds in Rebirth Process, Lal writes:

      “but I am still working on trying to see the dangers of sense pleasures and thereby making a convincing case that all we perceive as “pleasures” in the human and dēva realms are in fact CAUSES for future suffering”

      Over the past few months, kamma vipāka has been arising very quickly and has made it easier to see that sense pleasures are causes for suffering.

      Here’s a few examples of the suffering:

      • Just before moving to a new location 2 months ago, I had the desire for what “I believed” at that time to be a good living arrangement which now has turned out to be more suffering.
      • Food items such as peanuts, chocolate, meat, cakes, etc. are now causing sleeping issues, unwanted dreams and nightmares.
      • Sexual activity causes dizziness and nausea.
      • Music causes repeating loops of lyrics or tunes running through the mind.
      • Scented lotions and soaps cause itchy, cracked and dry skin.

      These are all things enjoyed up until recently, but now through quick harsh kamma vipāka, I no longer have any desired for them.

      Is this possibly the suffering that sense pleasures can bring? It almost seems likes a scientific “vacuum” where reactions happen explosively and instantaneously. Is anyone else noticing reactions like this?

      With metta,
      Donna :)

    • #14505
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      Hi Donna,

      The danger sense pleasures can bring is more than those you have described. If one values so highly of worldly sense pleasures, he or she will definitely keep coming back to kama loka to ‘enjoy’ sense pleasures. For nature to impart kamma vipaka onto us, we need to exist in kama loka. Which implies if we are going to exist in kama loka again to enjoy sense pleasures, we would need to take rebirth, grow old, fall sick, and die. This process itself is already burdensome enough. Not even to mention the unimaginable kamma vipaka one has to go through in woeful states when highly immoral deeds are committed.

      The only safety net we can have in this lifetime is to attain at least a stream entry and take a slow boat out of sansara. We have to play our cards right. Time is ticking.

    • #14506
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      Hi Donna,

      Forgot to mention…regarding the above sense pleasures that gave you adverse effects, which caused you to turn away from them, if they did not cause you any adverse effects, would you continue to enjoy them without considering the implications? We all should seriously consider this point if we are really keen to end future suffering.

    • #14507
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Yes. I did say, “but I am still working on trying to see the dangers of sense pleasures and thereby making a convincing case that all we perceive as “pleasures” in the human and dēva realms are in fact CAUSES for future suffering” in that post.

      However, I meant more in the sense of results in future lives. For example, one will not be released from the apayas as long as one enjoys hurting others/animals, and one is not released from the “good realms in kama loka” (human and deva realms), as long as one HAS CRAVINGS for normal sense pleasure.

      But normally one does not start disliking or developing adverse reactions to eating especially. Remember that the Buddha was offered most delicious foods by Kings. It is just that he never had a craving for such foods.

      For example, sugar or cakes taste sweet or lemon will taste sour for an Arahant too. These are called kama guna, and anyone in a given bhava will SENSE THEM the same. Another opposing example is that pigs taste feces, rotting foods, etc and that is a kama guna for pigs. See, “Kāma Guna, Kāma, Kāma Rāga, Kāmaccanda“.

      However, there could be some experiences like what Donna (inflib) is experiencing. While I have not developed any dislikes for foods like cakes or anything else, I see a big change in tasting alcoholic drinks. I now simply cannot drink any strong alcohol like whiskey. I used to love to drink beer and have no apatite now. I may be able to drink a beer, but I have not even tried recently. And I cannot stand loud music and have not watched a movie for over probably two years; it seems just a waste of time. I guess I could do some of that if I really wanted to, but the desire is not there.

      I am saying all this just to clarify the point that not many will experience the aversions that Donna is experiencing. This is why each person’s experience is unique, even though there are common general trends.

    • #14511
      y not
      Participant

      Hello All:

      It is hard to see the adverse long-term outcome of sense pleasures in this gross material world alone (not considering the finer worlds for the moment,as that requires the belief in those worlds as a precondition). Most do not try at all, the general attitude being: ‘here is this moment, let me enjoy, after all we only live once. And if things turn out wrong, then I will have another throw of the dice, either in the same or in another direction. As long as there is life, there is hope’.

      Johnny said: ‘if they did not cause you any adverse effects, would you continue to enjoy them without considering the implications?’ Most people do. Those who see the dangers must have either great intelligence or have experienced the resulting suffering in previous lives, and this last, as I see, could really be the very root of that ‘intelligence’. This may not penetrate to the conscious level in most cases.

      This would be even more the case if one gets to consider the conditions in higher kama loka realms. Johnny said: ‘Which implies if we are going to exist in kama loka again to enjoy sense pleasures, we would need to take rebirth, grow old, fall sick, and die.’ But as one is free from sickness and old age in the realms of kama loka above the human, the temptation to enjoy there is even greater: a fine material body, heightened sense pleasures, no pains, no aches, no deseases, no old age….and for over 9 billion years (realm 11)..Wow!! ” Truly I think those who have reached the Sakadagami stage (here; there it will be difficult) can get a glimse of the real dangers there; an anagami anugami would see it. This is what I can make out.

      Our difficulty lies in that we can conceive of no blissful state apart from that arising from sense pleasures. I remember when I was about nine or ten years old observing that there was joy in my uncle’s house following the birth of a baby; some time back another uncle had died in Australia. I saw all around that in this world there is both the pleasant and the unpleasant, joy and grief; one follows the other and the other way around. Not only that, the same people who are happy now will be unhappy tomorrow and vice-versa. So, dissatisfied with this state of affairs, with having entered into such a world, knowing that I will be subject to it myself later in life, I said to myself: what if a Being, with the power to deliver, were to give me this choice: ‘Alright, you either suffer the same fate yourself (as is normal with everyone else) or you will never experience anything unpleasant in your life , but for that the price you have to pay will be never experiencing anything pleasant either’ Meaning, either both or neither. Life as you see it or death.I could not answer, because though I did not want all this unpleasantness, I did want the pleasant, and how! No almighty Being is necessary to tell you that there is no one-sided coin anywhere in this world. But that is what we keep hoping for and keep striving hopelessly for.

      Then we at last see that there is IN FACT a one-sided coin somewhere, there is indeed the Perfect State – but not in this world. If it were otherwise then all living would be just a long futile endeavour and a cruel one too. I can do no better than quote:
      If you lay bound upon the wheel of change
      and no way were of breaking from the chain
      The Heart of Boundless Being is a curse
      The Soul of Things fell Pain. You are not bound!

      So we strive on -BUT NOW IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

      y not

    • #14514
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      Well said y not!

      Indeed, it is very difficult for a normal being to understand the danger in clinging to sense pleasures. Even for someone who has been exposed to Buddha Dhamma, the task to overcome sense pleasures is extremely daunting. I think there are 2 main reasons why this is so.

      1. The will to live is too strong. Suffice to say, one values his/her self too much. A self that requires constant sense pleasures gratification in order to ‘feel alive’, which gives the person a reason or purpose to be alive. Once addicted to sense pleasures, this self would want to stay alive for as long as possible.

      2. We never believe we will die so soon. Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves. If someone with supernatural power were to tell us with certainty that we are going to die tomorrow, will we really believe this person’s claim? I seriously don’t think so. A normal person would most probably think he is mad. We know that everyone including ourselves would die one day. But it is hard to accept that we are going to die tomorrow, especially when we are in a healthy state. Deep in our consciousness, we want to live for as long as possible. We are always looking forward to that tomorrow to live. Now this is a very unrealistic kind of thinking which can become a huge obstacle in our practice. Look at those people who died an untimely death. If they were to know that they would die today, would they still drive on the road, take a plane, or do strenuous exercises?

    • #14516
      y not
      Participant

      Johnny:

      True. Except in the case where one has reached this state:

      Once a sitting Indian ascetic was confronted by a warrior wielding a drawn sword, shouting: do you realise that in front of you stands a man who can kill you without the blink of an eye ? Without moving a muscle he replied: do you realise that in front of you sits a man who is ready to die without the blink of an eye?

      Or, how far must we have travelled to have come to that stage?

      y not

    • #14523
      inflib
      Participant

      Thank you all for your replies! _/|\_

      With regards to the sense pleasures, as Lal mentioned, they’re not dasa akusala (immoral), just the nice/tasty things that’s causing the aversions that have been pushed into “light” quicker due to suffering. Maybe these harsh little kamma vipaka are reminders to not go backwards again. Like the saying “once is a mistake, twice is a pattern and three times is a habit”. Think it’s time to kick the “habit” or else!!!

      Johnny pointed out the “will to live” and “dying soon”. Interestingly, these are topics I’ve been contemplating over the past couple of weeks. To answer #2, if you were going to die today or tomorrow, what would you do? I would first sigh in relief, then be concerned about an unfinished family responsibility, and then think on the only thing on the “bucket list” and that is peace, a truly balanced and even state of mind.

      What’s still on your “bucket list”? Is it worth more than attaining any of the stages of Nibbana?

      With metta,
      Donna :)

    • #14526
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Yes. As Donna says (and others have implied), if one has understood the message of the Buddha, there should be only one item on the bucket list: To at least get released from the apayas, and then to get to the next stage.

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