Wrong View on Kamma

revised on 2021-03-26

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 21st and 22nd September 1961

If you can contemplate the five khandhas as these are not me, not I am and not mine, craving, conceit and wrong views will fall away. And if you discern impermanence, there is no "I", "I am" or "mine" to be found. The Buddha in the Dhammapada and other suttas taught us as kamma actions ‐ were following like a shadow (wholesome actions as a shadow, and unwholesome actions as a cart following the ox).

Therefore, we had to rely on kammas like father and mother. So most Buddhists are thinking that kamma not perish. Influence by craving for becoming bhāva — taṇhā, when someone hears the five khandhas are not-self and rely on kamma as stable (In the Puṇṇama sutta, a monk was listening to the Buddha’s teaching on anatta and thought like this).

If the Buddha taught people directly as kamma was impermanent and they would take it as without result. Therefore, he taught them with similes as it followed like a shadow, etc. Kamma is also impermanent, dukkha and anatta. It’s volition − cetanā. Cetanā is saṅkhārakkhandha — aggregate of volitional formation. It’s arising and passing away, so it can’t follow.

If you take it as following you, it becomes eternal view — sassata diṭṭhi. The monk in the sutta had bhāva−taṇhā — craving for becoming. And when the Buddha said the khandhas were not-self and became fear of without an experience. So he took kamma as self (atta) because he didn’t appreciate anatta. Therefore, Buddhists have sassata view on kamma.

There is the kammic energy or power leaving behind for the result, but it can’t follow. Therefore, the Buddha had to talk about its result. Taking the simile as directly will misinterpret the Buddha. It becomes wrong view if we don’t know how to teach and also interpret it (These two ways of teaching can be found in the Aṅguttara Nikāya).

If don’t know how to interpret it and the preacher has wrong view first and later the listeners. Therefore, giving talks are not easy. Taking kamma with wrong view is not a small matter. The whole country has this view; taking the kammassakatā ñāṇa with wrong view. This knowledge can’t dispel wrong view.

For an example, I do it so I get it. But it becomes uccheda view if taking kamma as fruitless or no result. For this reason, the Buddha taught it with similes. The reason for it can’t follow is; after death the conscious mind and body cease here. Because of the kammic energy, next mind and body arise.

The mind and body are neither the same one nor a different one. But they have cause and effect connection. From here (this side), not a piece of it follow there (the other side). The old one ceases and the new one arises.

I have to talk about this because everyone makes mistake with this matter. (Sayadaw retold the Puṇṇama Sutta on the view of kamma) Why we get the khandhas again? Because of the wanting mind we get back the khandhas. You don’t get it if you don’t want. “Volition — kamma was permanent — (nicca). Except volition all others were impermanent (anicca)”.

The monk in the sutta took it this way. This is called ekicca sassata diṭṭhi — partly eternity and partly non-eternity view. The Buddha said someone couldn’t realize Nibbāna if he had one of the wrong views; because his mind is not clear and confused.

I don’t want to speak about the views of Christians and Mohammedans (Muslims). This is the wrong view of Buddhists. A black spot on a white sheet; it’s like a shadow following a person. The five khandhas of human being are mind and matter. And the shadow is kamma.

The shadow is permanent. Contemplate volition as impermanence and taṇhā dies. Cetanā (volition) is including in the sabbe dhammā anattā — all dhamma are not self. Again kamma not follows a being and it falls into uccheda diṭṭhi. Have to understand the sutta teaching as indirect way and to understand directly is the Abhidhamma teachings. It’s anantarapaccayo — proximity condition.

Between the cause and effect, no other things exist. This side is kamma and the other side is result. This side of kamma has ceased here, giving the same kammic result of the kamma on the other side. It’s not following to the other side, but giving the same kammic result. If you know kamma is not following to the other side, and sassata view dies away. Again, knowing as giving the same result on that side, and uccheda view dies away. In this way, two wrong views fall away.

revised on 2021-03-26; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4202&p=36008#p36008 (posted on 2019-02-22)

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