The Small Kamma-Analysis Sutta

(Majjhima Nikāya 135)


IV – ‘THE SMALL KAMMA-ANALYSIS SUTTA’

(‘Cula Kamma- Vibhanga·Suttam’) 664

INFERIOR AND SUPERIOR HUMAN BEINGS

There is a sutta in the Majjhima~Nikaya called the ‘The Small Kamma-Analysis Sutta,.66S We shall now explain the workings of kamma with reference to that sutta. The sutta begins:

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Park. Then the Brahmin student Subha, Todeyya’s son, went to the Blessed One, and ex­changed greetings with him. After exchanging pleasantries, he sat down at one side and asked the Blessed One:

‘Master Gotama, what is the root and cause why human beings are seen to be inferior(hina)

and superior(panita)? For people are seen to be

[1 -2] short-lived and long-lived,

[3-4] sickly and healthy,

[5-6] ugly and beautiful,

[7-8] uninfluential and influential,

[9-10] poor and rich

[11-12] low-born and high-born,

[13-14] stupid and wise.

What is the root and cause, Master Gotama, by which human beings are seen to be inferior and superior?,666

Why did Subha ask these questions? According to the commentary,667 his late father, the Brahmin Todeyya, had been King Kosala’s minister(Purohita), and had been of extreme possessiveness(macchariya). Owing to his extreme possessiveness, he was at death reborn in the womb of a bitch living in his own house. One day, when The Buddha went for alms by Subha’s house, the dog barked. The Buddha scolded it, calling it Todeyya. Subha was greatly offended, but The Buddha proved to him that the dog was his own reborn father: The Buddha got the dog to dig up some treasure Todeyya had buried. This proof inspired Subha with faith in The Buddha, and moved him to approach The Buddha, and ask about the workings of kamma.

664 Reference numbers in italics refer to sutta quotations, etc. in endnotes beginning p.301.

66S M.III.iv.5 ‘Cula-Kamma· Vibhanga·Suttam’ (‘The Small Kamma-Analysis Sutta’)

666 Here, inferior and superior refers to each side of the seven pairs of questions: seven inferior and seven superior. The VsM.xiv.496 ‘Atit·Adi· Vibhaga-Katha’(‘Discussion of the Past, etc. Oassification’) PP.xiv.193 explains: ‘It is inferior where it arises as an unprofit­able result, and it is superior where it arises as a profitable result.’

667 For details, see the sutta’s commentary.


First, The Buddha answered Subha’s question in brief:668

Kamma owners(kamma·ssaka), student, are beings, kamma heirs(kamma-dayada), kamma-bom(kamma·yonO, kamma-bound(kamma·bandhO), and kamma-protected (kamma-ppafisaranaJ.

Kamma distinguishes beings, that is, as inferior(‘l1ma) and superior(panilaJ.

Subha did not understand The Buddha’s explanation. So he asked The Buddha please to explain in detail:

do not understand in detail the meaning of Master Gotama’s statement, which He spoke in brief without expounding the meaning in detail.

should be happy if Master Gotama would teach me the Dhamma so that might under­stand in detail the meaning of Master Gotama’s statement.

Why did The Buddha explain in such a way that His listeners were unable to understand? Because the Brahmins were very proud: they thought they were the wisest of all people. And The Buddha knew that if He gave His answers in detail first, they might say they had already known the answer. To avoid this, He al­ways gave them an answer in brief first, as to humble their pride.

When Subha had admitted to not understanding the brief answer, and asked for a detailed answer, his pride was humbled, and only then did The Buddha give a detailed explanation. He explained the cause for each of the fourteen results one by one. He said:

Then, student, listen, pay good attention: shall speak.

THE FOURTEEN WAYS

ONE IS A KILLER

Here, student, a woman or man is a killer of beings; CI1Iel, bloody-handed, engaged in slaying and attacking, without mercy towards living beings. Because of accomplishing and undertaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in per­dition, in a bad destination, in an infemal place, in hell is rebom.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destina­tion, in an infernal place, in hell is not rebom, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is short-lived.

This is the way, student, that leads to a short life, namely, one is a killer of beings; cl1lel, bloody-handed, engaged in slaying and attacking, without mercy towards living beings.

Rebirth as a human being is always the result of wholesome productive kamma, and rebirth in a woeful state is always the result of unwholesome productive kamma. Hence, if the conclusive volition of killing functions as productive kamma to produce rebirth, it will produce rebirth in a woeful state. But if, despite the kamma of killing, a wholesome productive kamma functions as productive kam­ma to produce a human rebirth, the preceding and succeeding volitions (before and after the killing) will function as frustrating kamma in the course of that hu­man life. They will frustrate the productive kamma that produced the human re-

668 The Buddha explains this same principle in M.ILi.7 ‘KuklaJravatika·Suttam’ (‘The Dog­Duty Ascetic Sutta’). There, He explains that the kamma one has as a certain being ac­complished in one life determines one’s rebirth as another being in a future life: ‘Therefore, PUlJlJa, a being’s rebirth is owing to a being: one is reborn according to what one has done. Thus, PUlJlJa, “Kamma heirs are beings”, do I declare.’This is what the Commenta­tors call the Kamma-0wnershipKnowledge(Kamma·S5akata·NaQa). See ‘The Five Types of Knowledge’, p.56. See also quotation endnote 126, p.239.

 

birth by direct opposition, and eventually one will intercept it: the wholesome productive kamma will not sustain the human being’s life, and she or he will be short-lived. The human being will meet with adversities that are in the same way directly opposed to a long life, and that will in some way or other result in a pre­mature death.669/241

This principle of direct opposition holds true for all cases where The Buddha explains unwholesome kamma that matures in that life’s continuanceiPavatti).

THE VENERABLE MAHAMOGGAL1.ANA’S PAST PARRIODE

A good example of killing leading to rebirth in hell, and a short life as a human being is the Venerable Mahamoggallana.242 In a past life, he lived with his wife and blind parents. His wife did not want to look after the blind parents, and told him many malicious lies about them, complaining about how troublesome they were. Finally, she asked him to kill his blind parents, and he agreed.670Pretending that he was going to take them to another village, he took them to a forest in a bull cart. Inside the forest, he pretended to be a gang of bandits, and began to beat his parents with the intention to kill them.

As he set upon them, however, his parents cried out that bandits were attack­ing, and that he (their son) should not try to save them but escape. Their selfless compassion and love for him moved him so much that he stopped beating them. Afterwards he was overwhelmed by remorse.

How many unwholesome kammas did he accomplish with this act? If he beat his parents for only five minutes, billions and billions of mental processes would have arisen, with billions and billions of impulsions, each with the most reprehen­sible, evil volition of wanting to kill his own parents: billions and billions of un­wholesome kammas. But also before he beat his parents, when planning how to kill them, did he accomplish billions and billions of unwholesome kammas. And after beating them, whenever he recollected his evil act, and was overwhelmed by remorse and unhappiness, did he accomplish billions and billions of unwhole­some kammas. The maturing of the volition of each of those billions and billions of impulsions would produce the weightiest results in future lives.

Hence, at his death, the volition of a seventh unwholesome impulsion (in one of those billions of unwholesome mental processes) functioned as subsequently­effective productive kamma to produce rebirth in hell. The volition of the middle-

669 MA explains that with the conclusive volition(sannitfhina’reIi1naya) of killing (when all fac­tors for killing are fulfilled: see ‘A Course of Unwholesome Kamma’, p.126) one is reborn in hell (niraye nibbattati) (the kamma functions as productive kamma, and MT explains that the result is sure to be most severe(acranta·ka(uka)). But with the preceding&succeeding volitions (pubb’apara’reIi1nahi),the life-span may be shortened in two ways: 1) The volitions preceding/ succeeding the actual killing may function as interruptive kamma(upaai1edaka·kammena) (MT: interceptivekamma(upaghataka·karnma)), interrupting the wholesome kamma that has produ­ced another human life, leading to an untimely death. 2) If killing preceded/ succeeded the wholesome kamma that produced a certain human rebirth, that wholesome kamma will not be superiorMarani na hoti), which means it is incapable of producing a long-life rebirth­Iink(digh-ayukapafisandhini). Thus even though the life-span is short, the early death is timely, because the merit that produced the human life has been exhausted. For VsM’s explanation of timely/untimely death, see subsequent endnote 241, p.301. See also ‘Productive Kamma’, p.184, ‘Interceptive Kamma’, p.192, and ‘Inferior/Superior’, p.58.

670 Killing a parent is one of the unwholesome weighty kammas: see ‘Unwholesome Weighty Kamma’, p.168.

 

five unwholesome impulsions in those billions of unwholesome mental processes functioned as indefinitely-effective productive kamma to produce rebirth in hell again and again, and he went through horrific sufferings in hell for millions of years. And identical kammas produced many adversities for him in subsequent lives. When a wholesome kamma functioned as productive kamma to produce a human rebirth, the kamma of trying to kill his parents functioned as directly op­posed unwholesome, frustrating kamma, so that he met with adversities condu­cive to a premature death. Sometimes the unwholesome kamma functioned as interceptive kamma, and he was beaten to death: for over two hundred lives, he was killed by having his skull smashed to pieces.

Nevertheless, from the time of Buddha Anomadassi till the time of our Buddha (one incalculable and a hundred thousand aeons), he accumulated the perfec­tions(palllmt) to become second chief disciple to our Buddha. Such perfections are wholesome kammas, and when his parami matured, he became an Arahant and second chief disciple to our Buddha, chief in psychic power.671

Even so, despite being such a superior Arahant, his life was cut short, and he attained Parinibbana, again with his skull and bones smashed into little pieces. How?

As The Buddha’s Dispensation grew, day by day, The Buddha and His disciples received more and more honour and hospitality from the people. As a result, other teachers and their disciples received less and less. They held a grudge against the Venerable Mahamoggallana, because they thought he with his supe­rior psychic powers was responsible. So they hired bandits to go and kill the Ven­erable Mahamoggallana. Thus, their grudge against him was a supporting cause for his parricide kamma to produce its result.

Over seven days, the bandits came to his dwelling to kill him. But the Venerable Mahamoggallana knew their intention with his psychic power, and with his psychic power, he disappeared from his dwelling: he went out of the key-hole. On the seventh day, however, he was unable to disappear: his parricide kamma func­tioned as frustrating kamma to stop him from attaining jhana, and he could not exercise his psychic powers. Then an identical kamma functioned as interceptive kamma, and the bandits beat him to death, till his bones were smashed com­pletely. And then they left him. But he did not die. He was able again to enter jhana, and exercise his psychic powers. Using his psychic powers, he was then able to go and ask The Buddha for permission to enter Parinibbana, to return to his dwelling, and to enter Parinibbana there.

When he became an Arahant, the Venerable Mahamoggallana’s mind was puri­fied through the destruction of all defilements: greed-rooted defilements, hatred­rooted defilements, and delusion-rooted defilements.672 Defilements were re­sponsible for all the unwholesome kamma he had accomplished. And because of the unwholesome kamma he had accomplished, he had to go through immense suffering. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said in the second ‘Gaddula­‘Baddha’sutta:673

671 psychiC powers: see footnote 239, p.80.

672 defilements: for the ten defilements, see footnote 126, p.44.

673 S.IILLx.8 ‘Dutiya·Gaddula·Baddha·Suttam’ (‘The Second Clog-Bound Sutta’), quoted p.30.

 

 

Therefore, bhikkhus, one should reflect repeatedly upon one’s own mind: ‘For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, by hatred, and by delllSion.’

By mental defilement, bhikkhllS, beings are defiled; by mental purification, beings are purified.

We shall be giving many other examples of how one’s life is cut short owing to past unwholesome kamma: Tambadathika the executioner (whom we mentioned before), the demon Nanda, the Venerable PDtigattatissa, etc. We shall discuss them later on.674

Now, please listen to The Buddha’s second explanation to Subha.

ONE IS NOT A KILLER

But here, student, a woman or man abandoning the killing of beings, is an abstainer of the killing of beings: with laid down rod, laid down knife, gentle and merciful towards all living beings, she or he dwells kind and compassionate. Because of accomplishing and undeltaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heavenly world is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heav­enly world is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is long-lived.

This is the way, student, that leads to a long life, namely, abandoning the killing of be­ings, one is an abstainer of the killing of beings: with laid down rod, laid down knife, gentle and merciful towards all living beings, one dwells kind and compassionate.

In this case, to abstain from killing is a wholesome kamma that may function directly as productive kamma to produce either a heavenly rebirth or a long hu­man life.

The wholesome kamma referred to here is mundane wholesome kamma, which is practice of the three merit-work bases(pufifia·kiriya·vatthu). We discussed them earlier:67s

1) Offering (dana).

2) Morality (sila): for laypeople it is the five, eight or ten precepts. The first pre­cept is always ‘from killing to abstain(panab’pataver.unanO’. For bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, morality is the Vinaya rule, which includes a precept against kill­ing a human being, and a precept against killing any other being.

3) Meditation (bhavana): that is samatha meditation, which is either access con­centration or jhana, and insight meditation, which is to know and see the impermanence, suffering, and non-self of ultimate mentality(palllmattha·nama) and ultimate materiality(paramattha·fl7pa) of past, future, and present, internal and external, gross and subtle, superior and inferior, far and near.

The higher practise of mundane wholesome kamma is knowledge and con­duct(v[fj8·carana). We discussed it earlier:676

1) Conduct(caIllna) is fifteen things: morality, faculty restraint, moderation in food, devotion to wakefulness, faith (which includes habitual practice of of­fering), mindfulness, conscience, shame, great learning, energy, wisdom, and the four jhanas.

674 For details on Tambadathika, see 'Tambadathika the Executioner', p.181, and for the killing-kamma that functioned as interceptive kamma to cut off his present life, see 'The Avenging Courtesan', p.270.

67S For details, 'The Merit-Work Bases', p.64ff.

676 For details, see 'Knowledge and Conduct', p.135.

 

2) Knowledge(v[fj8) is insight knowledge(vipa.s:sana·iiana), up to the Formations­EquanimityKnowledge (Salikhar·Upekkha·Nana).

As we discussed earlier, insight meditation that produces rebirth is in­cluded under conduct, and insight meditation that does not produce rebirth is included under knowledge.

Such wholesome kammas may function as productive kamma to produce a deva life. If the conclusive volition of abstinence from killing produces a human life, it will be a long and trouble-free human life. The preceding and succeeding volitions (before and after the abstinence) may also function as reinforcing kamma to work in a similar way.677

This principle of similarity holds true for all the cases where The Buddha ex­plains wholesome kamma that matures in that life's continuance(pavalt1).

LONG-LIFED BHIKKHUS

Good examples of gentleness and mercifulness leading to a long life are some of the long-lived bhikkhus of the past. The Venerable Mahakassapa, and the Venerable Ananda attained Parinibbana (final cessation) at the age of a hundred and twenty, the Venerable Anuruddha at the age of a hundred and fifty, and the Venerable Bakula went into Parinibbana at the age of a hundred and sixty.678

THE VIRTUOUS VENERABLE PANCASILA SAMADANIYA

Another example is the Venerable Pancasila Samadaniya:679 we mentioned him briefly before.680 In our Buddha's Dispensation, he attained Arahantship with the four discriminations (papsambhida).681 To be able to do that, he needed to have practised superior knowledge and conduct(v[fj8-camna) in the Dispensation of pre­vious Buddhas: as we just mentioned, that includes insight meditation up to the Formations-Equanimity Knowledge (Salikhar·Upekkha·fJiina).

For example, in Buddha Anomaddassi's Dispensation,682 Paiicasila Samadaniya was a poor man. Even so, he purified his morality by observing the five precepts

677 MA explains that with the conclusive volition {sanni(thana'ceIi1naya) of non-killing <the actual act of abstinence: see examples in footnotes 197/198, p.69> one is reborn in the deva wor1d(ckva·lokentblmtati)<the kamma functions as productive kamma>. But with the preced­ing & succeeding volitions(pubb-apata'ceIi1nahlj, the life-span will become long in two ways: 1) The volitions that preceded/succeeded the actual non-killing may function as reinforcingkamma(upat/hambhaka·kammarh), reinforcing the wholesome kamma that has produced the human life, leading to a long life. 2) Because no killing preceded/succeeded the other wholesome kamma that produced the human rebirth, that wholesome kamma will be su­perior Matarh hoti), which means it is capable of producing a long-life rebirth-Iink(atgh'ayuka­-pafisandhirh). See also 'Productive Kamma' <p.184>, 'Interceptive Kamma' <p.192>, and 'Inferior/Superior' <p.58>.

678 DA.ii.l (§5-7) 'Mah·Apadana·Suttam'('The Great Uneage Sutta'). It explains also that The Buddha's chief patroness, Visakha passed away at the age of a hundred and twenty. 679 Ap.I.iii.4'Paficasl7a·Samadaniya· Tthem·Apadanam'('The Pancasila-Samadaniya-Elder Narrative')

680 See 'The Venerable Pancasila Samadaniya', p.226.

681 four discriminations: 1) meaning discrimination(~-pafisamb'1ida), 2) Dhamma discrimi­nation(Dharnrnapafisambhida), 3) language discrimination(nillltti-pafisamb'1ida), 4) perspicacity discrimination/Pat1bMna-pafisamb'1ida), knowledge of the previous three knowledges. (VsM.­xiv.428 'Pafifia·Pabheda-Katha'('Discussion of Wisdom Categorization') PP.xiv.21-26)

682 See 'Appendix 2: The Uneage of Buddhas', p.361

 

for about a hundred thousand years, without breaking a single precept. Based on that morality, he developed strong, powerful concentration, as well as insight up to the Formations-EquanimityKnowledge(Salikhar·Upe\'kha·~a). That made his morality pure and flawless.

How then do concentration and insight purify one's morality? The defilements (kilesa)are the decisive supporting causes(upani.s.;aya)for bodily bad conduct(kaya­-du·a:aIiti1) and verbal badconduct(vad-du-a:aIiti1). But they are suppressed by strong and powerful jhana concentration(samadhlj. And when there is such concentration, there can also be insight knowledge(vpas-sana·iiana). Insight knowledge knows and sees all formations(5Cllikhalll) in oneself and the outside world, as impermanence (anicca), suffering(dukkha), and non-self(an·attaJ. This insight suppresses the defile­ments, making one's mind pure and taintless. And if one with such a mind prac­tises offering(dmla), and morality(S77a) (if one with such a mind observes the five, eight, or ten precepts, etc.), those acts also become pure and taintless, which means they are most powerful.

This type of most powerful purification of morality was what Paiicasila Sama­daniya did for about a hundred thousand years. At his death, he reflected on his flawless virtue, which meant that at the time of death, his mind was full of joy and happiness. And that 'virtue kamma' functioned as productive kamma to pro­duce rebirth in a heavenly world. And identical kammas functioned as similar productive kammas, so that he went from one deva world to another, and up and down between the heavenly worlds and the human world.

In every one of those lives he achieved three things:

1) Long Iife(dq;7h·ayu)

2) Great wealth and sensual pleasures(maha·bll/:ya) 3) Sharp wisdom (tikkha·pafiiia)

Everyone is always looking for these things: also today everyone is looking for these things. How do you achieve them?

1) By cultivating morality(S77a). the five, eight or ten precepts.

2) By cultivating concentration(samadhij: the four fine-material-, and four imma­terial jhanas.

3) By cultivating wisdom(pafiiia). insight knowledge{l1passana·iianaJ.

Thus are the workings of kamma. Such workings of kamma are why The Bud­dha said in the second'Gaddula'Baddha'sutta:683

Therefore, bhikkhus, one should reflect repeatedly upon one's own mind: 'For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, by hatred, and by delllSion.'

By mental defilement, bhikkhus, beings are defiled; by mental purification, beings are purified.

You should, therefore, be inspired to put forth effort to practise these three trainings in this Buddha's Dispensation.

Avu-V Al;>I;>HANA KUMARA l.1VES loNG

Let us then take another example of someone who lives long: Ayuva<;l<;lhana Kumara. The Buddha says in the Dhamma'Pada:684

683 S.IILLx.8'Dutiya.Gaddula.Baddha.Suttam'('The Second Oog-Bound Sutta'), quoted p.30.

684 DhP.viii.9 'Saha.soa·j,ggga'('Thousands Chapter')

 

To the one always obeisant and virtuous, always the elders worshipping, four things increase: life(ayu), beauty(vanno), happiness(sukham), strength(balamj}.

If one is gentle and kind, compassionate towards all beings, and always honours

and respects one's elders and betters, one's life improves in those four ways:

1) Life (ayu): one's life span increases.

2) Beauty (vanna): one's complexion becomes clearer.

3)Happiness (sukha): one's health and comfort improves. 4) Strength (bala): one's vigour and stamina increase.

The Dhamma-Pada Commentary explains life span with an example.68s Suppose someone has accomplished a wholesome kamma that produces a human rebirth with a life span of fifty years. And in his human life he always honours and res­pects his elders and betters: those who are elder by age, and better by charac­ter, that is, by morality, concentration, and wisdom. Paying respect in this way, he accomplishes billions of wholesome kammas. Then if, when he is twenty-five, an unwholesome frustrating or interceptive kamma matures, threatening his life span, those wholesome 'respect kammas' intercept the unwholesome kamma, and he lives up to his full life span, fifty years. A good example of this is the Ayuva<;l<;lhana Kumara.686

Once, there were two hermits who lived together for many years. Then one of them left, and got married. When his wife had delivered a son, he and his family visited the other hermit and paid obeisance to him. The hermit said, 'May you live long', to the parents, but he said nothing to the boy. The parents asked the her­mit why he had said nothing, and the hermit told them the boy would live only seven more days. And he said he did not know how to prevent the boy's death, although The Buddha might know.

So the parents took the boy to The Buddha. When they paid obeisance to The Buddha, He too said, May you live long to the parents, but nothing to the boy: and He too predicted the boy's coming death. Then, to prevent the boy's death from taking place, He told the parents to build a pavilion at the entrance to their house. And He told them to put the boy on a couch in the pavilion, to listen to protective chants(palitta) recited by bhikkhus. Then for seven days, The Buddha sent eight or sixteen bhikkhus to recite protective chants. On the seventh day, The Buddha Himself came to the pavilion. With Him came also devas from the whole universe: they came to listen to Dhamma taught by The Buddha. At that time, an evil de­mon (yakkha) Avaruddhaka, was at the entrance, waiting for a chance to take the boy away. But since devas of greater power had come, Avaruddhaka had to move back till eventually he was twelve leagues away from the boy. And all night the recitation of protective chants continued, protecting the boy. The next day, the boy was removed from the couch, and made to pay obeisance to The Buddha. This time, The Buddha said, May you live long to the boy. And when asked how long the boy would live, The Buddha said he would live up to a hundred and twenty years. So the boy was given the name Ayuva<;l<;lhana Kumara (ayu = life; va¢¢hana = increasing; kumara = boy).

If we analyse this case, we understand that a wholesome kamma functioned as productive kamma to give Ayuva<;l<;lhana Kumara rebirth as a human being. We understand also that a more powerful unwholesome interceptive kamma was

68S DhPA.viii.8l4yu.lIa(J¢7ana.Kumara. Vatthu; ('The Case of Ayuva~hana Kumara') 686 ibid.

 

going to intercept the result of his wholesome rebirth kamma, so that he would die after only one week as a human being. But by listening to the protective chants recited by the bhikkhus, and later by also The Buddha, past wholesome kamma of habitually honouring and respecting his elders and betters reinforced his 'human rebirth' kamma. That reinforcing kamma was so powerful that his life span increased from the expected one week to one hundred and twenty years. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said to Subha, Todeyya's son:687 Kamma distinguishes beings, that is, as inferior and superior.

Now, please listen to The Buddha's third explanation to Subha.

ONE IS A TORMENTOR

Here, student, a woman or man is a tormentor of beings, with the hand, with a stone, with a stick, or with a knife. Because of accomplishing and undertaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destination, in an infernal place, in hell is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destina­tion, in an infernal place, in hell is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is much sick.

This is the way, student, that leads to much sickness, namely, one is a tormentor of beings, with the hand, with a stone, with a stick, or with a knife.

MISCHIEVOUS NANDA

A good example of going to hell because of striking someone with the hand, is the case of the demon(yakkha) Nanda.688 Once, the Venerable 5ariputta was sit­ting in the moonlight, and his newly shaven head shone in the moonlight. As he was entering a meditative attainment, Nanda, a demon, struck him on the head out of mischief and anger. The force of the blow was such that had he struck a mountain peak, the peak would have split. But because the Venerable 5ariputta was protected by his attainment, he felt only a slight touch on his head. Nanda's unwholesome kamma, however, functioned as presently-effective productive kamma. He cried out, 'I am burning! I am burning!' and disappeared from the earth, instantly to reappear in the great hell.

Here, we need to understand that this did not happen owing to any power of the Venerable 5ariputta's: 243 it happened solely because of the power of Nanda's unwholesome kamma. Such are the workings of kamma. Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said in the second'Gaddula'Baddha'sutta:689

Therefore, bhikkhus, one should reflect repeatedly upon one's own mind: 'For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, by hatred, and by delusion.'

By mental defilement, bhikkhllS, beings are defiled; by mental purification, beings are purified.

Nanda was unable to control his mind, unable to refrain from trying to harm the Venerable 5ariputta. As a result he was reborn in hell. If you want to avoid rebirth in hell, you should try to control your mind, so you can abstain from all unwholesome kammas.

687 Quoted p.256.

688 U.iv.4 'Yakkha Pahara·Suttam'('The Demon-Blow Sutta') 689 Quoted p.30.

 

THE CRUEL BIRD-CATCHER

Another good example of harming other beings is the Venerable PDtigatta­tissa.69o In Buddha Kassapa's Dispensation,691 when the life span was many thousands of years, he was a bird-catcher (fowler) called Sakul)ika. Whenever he caught many birds, he would not kill them. Instead, he would break their wings and legs so they could not escape. He did this over many thousands of years. And in that same life, he once filled an Arahant's bowl with delicious food, did the fivefold obeisance,692 and aspired for Arahantship.

At death, the unwholesome kamma of tormenting and killing birds over many thousands of years functioned as productive kamma to produce rebirth in hell: there he suffered much torment over millions of years. In our Buddha's Dispen­sation, however, his alms kamma matured as productive kamma to produce re­birth as a human being again. Because of his aspiration for Arahantship, he or­dained as a bhikkhu. But his unwholesome kamma of harming and killing so many beings functioned as frustrating kamma, to weaken his alms kamma, so it could not maintain his health and life as a bhikkhu.

One day, he became much sick. Boils formed on his whole body. They grew bigger and bigger every day, and pus oozed out of them till his whole body was full of oozing sores. And he became known as the elder 'Putrid-Body Tissa'(pw­·Gatta·lissa·Thera). Then, after some time, his bones began to disintegrate. And his fellow bhikkhus, unable to look after him, abandoned him.

When The Buddha discovered him, He with His own hand cleaned the Vener­able PDtigatta with warm water, and changed his dirty robes. This produced pleasant feeling in Venerable PDtigatta, and his mind became calmer and calmer. The Buddha then gave him a short Dhamma talk, and while listening to the Dhamma talk, the Venerable PDtigatta was able to contemplate the nature ofimpermanence(ania<i), suffering(dukkha), and non-self(an·atta) in formations. And, at the end of the Dhamma talk, he was an Arahant. His mind was free of lust, hatred, and delusion. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha repeated in the second 'Gad­dula'Baddha'sutta:693

Therefore, bhikkhll5, one should reflect repeatedly upon one's own mind: 'For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, by hatred, and by delllSion.'

By mental defilement, bhikkhll5, beings are defiled; by mental purification, beings are purified.

Now, please listen to The Buddha's fourth explanation to Subha.

ONE IS NOT A TORMENTOR

But here, student, a woman or man is not a tormentor of beings, with the hand, with a stone, with a stick, or with a knife. Because of aa:omplishing and undeltaking such ac­tions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heav­enly world is reborn.

690 DhPA.iii.7 'POti·Gatta· TJSSa· Tthera· Vatthu' ('The PDtigattatissa-Elder Case') 691 See 'Appendix 2: The Uneage of Buddhas', p.361.

692 fivefold obeisance: a traditional Indian form of obeisance, with the two hands, the two knees, and the forehead touching the ground.

693 S.IILLx.8 'Dutiya·Gaddula·Baddha·Suttam' ('The Second Clog-Bound Sutta'), quoted p.30

 

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heav­enly world is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is not much sick.

This is the way, student, that leads to being without much sickness, namely, one is not a tormentor of beings, with the hand, with a stone, with a stick, or with a knife.

The wholesome kamma of not harming and killing beings may function directly as productive kamma to produce either a long heavenly life, or a long human life without much sickness. If one accomplishes also other wholesome kammas, such as three merit-work bases (offering(dana), morality(S77a), and samatha and vipassana meditation(bhavana) one's conduct is further purified. And if one's meditation in­cludes the four divine abidings(Qlttail7blllhma·vH1ara), one's conduct is purified even further. The four divine abidings are:244

1) Loving-kindness (metta): wishing that all beings be happy.

2) Compassion (karuna): wishing that all beings not suffer.

3) Sympathetic joy (mudita): rejoicing in the happiness and success of other be­ings.

4) Equanimity (upekkha): looking at all beings with detachment.

When one practises these four divine abidings up to access concentration or jhana, those kammas may function as most powerful productive or reinforcing kammas to produce either a long heavenly life, or a long and healthy human life. The reason is that as one undertakes to accomplish such kammas, and as one accomplishes them, one's mind is inclined to see beings free from danger; in­clined to see beings free from mental and physical suffering; inclined to see be­ings well and happy; and inclined to see beings long-lived etc. Such kammas of goodwill can (when they mature) produce health and longevity in a human life. Therefore, if you want to be healthy and long-lived, then purify your morality, do not harm or kill beings, and cultivate the four divine abidings(Qlttarobtahma·vihara). The Buddha says namely:694

Fulfilled, bhikkhus, is the virtuous one's mental aspiration because of the purity of mo­rality.

THE HEALTHY VENERABLE BAKULA

A good example of such purified morality together with the four divine abidings is the Venerable Bakula.69s One incalculable and a hundred thousand aeons ago, he was a learned Brahmin. Then, wishing to promote his own welfare in future lives, he took up the hermit's life in the forest. There, he gained skill in the eight attainments and five mundane psychic powers.696 And then he spent his 'precious time'245 enjoying jhana happiness.

At this time, The Buddha Anomadassi had appeared in the world.697 One day Bakula listened to a Dhamma talk by The Buddha, and then took refuge in the Triple Gem.

One day The Buddha fell sick with stomach trouble, and Bakula offered Him medicine, and cured Him. Bakula's offering fulfilled four factors:

694 A.VIII.I.iv.5 'Dan·Upapatti·Suttam'('The A1ms&Rebirth Sutta'): see endnote 59, p.36. 69SM.III.iii.4~kula.Suttam'('The Bakula Sutta')

696 eight attainments: four fine-material and four immaterial jhanas; psychiC powers: see footnote 239, p.80.

697 See 'Appendix 2: The Lineage of Buddhas', p.361.

 

1) He, the offerer, was virtuous. Furthermore, his virtue was reinforced by the eight attainments and five mundane psychic powers, for they had suppressed his hindrances for a long time. Also, he had taken refuge in the Triple Gem.

2) The receiver of the offering, The Buddha, was the most virtuous kind of person in all the world.

3) The offering, the medicine, had been righteously obtained from the forest.

4) Bakula, the offerer, had a happy, taintless mind before offering, while offer­ing and after offering. At that time, his mind was free from defilements. He sought nothing from The Buddha: he sought only parami.698 He knew the result of his kamma would be great, because he possessed the divine eye, the divine eye that knows the workings of kamma.

In the 'Dakkhi(l8' Vibhanga'sutta, The Buddha explains that such kamma as fulfils

these four factors is of great result, and is sure to produce its full result:699 [1] When a virtUOIlS person offers a gift,

[2] righteously obtained,

[3] to a virtuous person,

[4] with tl1lsting heart, pladng faith that the result of kamma is great, that gift will come to full fruition, I declare.

Bakula’s offering fulfilled these four conditions, which means it would come to full fruition.

Then, when The Buddha had recovered and was again well, Bakula went to see The Buddha, and made an aspiration. He said to The Buddha:

Venerable Sir, the Tathiigata recovered because of my medicine. Because of this kamma, may no illness appear in my body in any life even for a few seconds.

Because of his pure and powerful kamma and aspiration, he never experienced any illness in any life, not even for a few seconds. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said in the’Dan·Opapatti’ sutta:700

Fulfilled, bhikkhllS, is the virtuOIlS one’s mental aspiration because of the purity of vir­tue.

If you want to accomplish superior kammas when you make an offering, you should emulate Bakula’s example.

In Buddha Anomadassi’s Dispensation/01 for about a hundred thousand years, Bakula accomplished many parami, including jhana-parami. He maintained his jhana up to the time of death, so it became a wholesome weighty kamma, and he was reborn in the Brahma world?02 For incalculable aeons, he was reborn sometimes in the deva world, and sometimes in the human world, and never did he experience any illness.

In Buddha Padumuttara’s Dispensation/01 Bakula was a householder in the city of Hamsavati. When he heard The Buddha had declared a certain bhikkhu chief disciple in health, he made an aspiration to become such a chief disciple in a fu­ture Buddha’s Dispensation. To that end he accomplished many wholesome

698 parami: see footnote 146, p.54.

699 M.III.iv.12 ‘Dakkhina· Vibhariga·Suttam’ (‘The Gift-Analysis Sutta’)

700 A.VIII.I.iv.5 ‘Dan-Opapatti·Suttam’(‘The Alms&Rebirth Sutta’): see endnote 59, p.36. 701 See ‘Appendix 2: The Uneage of Buddhas’, p.361.

702 wholesome weighty kamma: for details, see ‘Wholesome Weighty Kamma’, p.173.

 

kammas, such as offering different types of requisite to The Buddha and Sangha. The Buddha Padumuttara saw that Bakula would accomplish the required parami to fulfil his aspiration, and prophesied that it would take place in The Buddha Gotama’s Dispensation. Throughout his hundred-thousand year long life, Bakula accomplished many wholesome kammas such as offering alms, practising moral­ity, and practising samatha and vipassana meditation up to the Formations-Equa­nimity Knowledge(Salikhar·Upekkha·Nana).703

Before Buddha Vipassi’s Dispensation/ol he was reborn in Bandhumati, where he also became a hermit. When the Bodhisatta had become Buddha, Bakula also in that life met The Buddha, and took refuge in the Triple Gem. But although he had faith in The Buddha, he was still unable to give up his hermit’s life. Even so, he would listen to Dhamma talks by The Buddha, and for about a hundred thou­sand years, he practised samatha and vipassana meditation in his forest dwelling, according to The Buddha’s instructions. Furthermore, with his psychic powers, he would collect herbs from the forest, make medicine, and offer it to sick bhikkhus. Doing this, his volition(retana) was to cure sick bhikkhus: once, he cured many bhikkhus who had become sick because of odours from poisonous flowers. Again in that life, he maintained jhana up to the time of death, which meant that again he was reborn in the Brahma world. And for about ninety-one aeons, he went from deva life to deva life, and sometimes to a human life.

In The Buddha Kassapa’s Dispensation/ol he was a human being, and accom­plished much wholesome kamma by renovating old monastic buildings, and again helping sick bhikkhus become well. Owing to this, and owing also to his previous kamma of having helped Anomadassi Buddha become well, Bakula en­joyed long lives and perfect health in every life.

Before the appearance of our Buddha Gotama, he was reborn in Kosambi, to the family of a councillor. One day, while being bathed by his nurse in the waters of the Yamuna river, he slipped into the water, and was swallowed by a large fish: but he did not die. His life was preserved owing to the power of his purity in this his last life; it was a case of psychic power diffused by knowledge(ii”ana·vipph­lira iddhi)?04 This psychic power appeared in him because his many parami were such now that he could not die without having attained the Arahant Path-Know­ledge: this was for sure his last death. 70S

The fish that had Bakula inside was caught by a fisherman, and sold to the wife of a councillor in Baral)asi. When the fish was cut open, the child was found unharmed, and the councillor’s wife adopted the child as her own son. When the story reached Kosambi, Bakula’s parents went to Baral)asi and claimed their child. But his adoptive mother refused to give him up. Their case was presented to the king, and he decreed that Bakula should be shared by both families: that is why his name was Bakula (ba= two/both; kula = families)?06 After a prosperous life, he was eighty, Bakula heard the Dhamma of our Buddha, again gained faith in

703 Formations-Equanimity Knowledge: see p.ll1.

704 Also called ‘Attainment by Intervention of Knowledge’. It is one of the ten supernormal powers(iddhi).

70S VsM.xii.373 ‘Iddhividha·Niddeso,(,Exposition of the PsychiC Powers’) PP.xii.27

706 MA explains that just as both dv§·visatiand lJa·visatimean ‘twenty-two’, so both dvi-/wlo and1Ja·k1Jlo mean two families.

 

 

the Triple Gem, and this time he ordained as a bhikkhu. Within eight days of his ordination he became an Arahant with the four discriminations(pap5Clmbhida).707

Bakula was by The Buddha declared chief disciple in good health. He was also one of the four bhikkhus in our Buddha’s Dispensation with great psychic power (maMibhififia).708 He was a monk for eighty years, and when one hundred and sixty years old, he entered Parinibbana (final cessation> sitting on his pyre. His long life and perfect health were all due to his kamma, accomplished in previous lives, based on purification by morality.

Here, we should like to discuss the workings of kamma a little bit. When Bakula offered medicine to The Buddha Anomadassi, his desire to see The Buddha healthy was very strong: his volition(retana) was very strong. And when, in The Buddha Vipassi’s Dispensation, he cured the many bhikkhus, his desire to see them healthy was again very strong: his volition was again very strong. The de­sire to see virtuous people become healthy is very wholesome kamma, and func­tions as either productive or reinforcing kamma that will keep one healthy in fu­ture lives.

Do you want to be reborn in heaven? Do you want to have a long and healthy human life? If you do, you should try to be a woman or man who does not injure and kill other beings. Instead, you should try to do as the Venerable Bakula.

· You should purify your conduct by observing morality.

· You should offer medicine and medical treatment to virtuous people with all your heart, that is, without expecting anything in return from the receivers.

· You should cultivate samatha and vipassana meditation with success, and be sure to master the four divine abidings.

Injuring and killing other beings is done because of defilements. They do not produce rebirth in heaven, and do not produce a long and healthy human life: they produce only rebirth in the woeful states, and a short and troubled human life. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said:709

Fulfilled, bhikkhllS, is the virtuOIlS one’s mental aspiration because of the purity of vir­tue.

Now, please listen to The Buddha’s fifth explanation to Subha.

ONE Is ANGRY, VERY IRRITABLE

Here, student, a woman or man is an angry one, very irritable. Spoken to even a little bit, she or he is abllSive, troublesome, offended, stubborn, and shows anger, hatred and resentment. Because of accomplishing and undeltaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destination, in an infernal place, in hell is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destina­tion, in an infernal place, in hell is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is ugly.71o

7(J] four discriminations: see footnote 681, p.260.

708 The other three were the Venerable 5ariputta, Venerable Mahamogallana, and the bhikkhuni Bhaddakaccana Yasodhara.

709 A.VIII.I.iv.5 ‘Dan-Opapatti·Suttam’(‘The Alms&Rebirth Sutta’): see endnote 59, p.36. 710 The Buddha explains this also to Queen Mallikii: see ‘Queen Mallikii’, p.190.

 

This is the way, student, that leads to ugliness, namely, one is an angry one, very irri­table. Spoken to even a little bit, one is abusive, troublesome, offended, stubborn, and shows anger, hatred, and resentment.

SCOWLING PANCAPAPI

A good example of anger leading to ugliness is Paiicapapi.711 She was daughter of a poor man of Baral)ilsi. Her hands, feet, mouth, eyes, and nose were very ugly, which was why she was called Paiicapapi (the one with five defects). But one thing about her was very good: her touch. Her touch was extremely pleasant. That was owing to kamma accomplished in a previous life.

In a past life, she was also daughter of a poor man of Baral)asi. And one day a Paccekabuddha went for alms in Baral)asi to get some clay for the walls of his dwelling.712 When he saw Paiicapapi preparing clay, he stopped in front of the house and stood silently. She guessed what he wanted, and gave him an angry look. Even so, she offered him a lump of clay. The offering was a wholesome kamma, but associated with anger. Although it functioned as a productive kamma to produce a human rebirth, her anger functioned as a frustrating kam­ma to make her look very ugly. Identical offering kamma functioned at the same time as reinforcing kamma to make her touch extremely pleasant. In the end, that kamma gave good results.

One day she happened to touch Baka, the king of Baral)ilsi. Her touch was so pleasant, he went mad with desire. And he visited her in disguise, and married her. But he was afraid to make her his chief consort, because she was so ugly:

he was afraid people would mock him. So he arranged for many men of Baral)asi to feel her touch, and they all went mad with desire. After that, he was able safely to make her his chief consort. But the other consorts became jealous, and arran­ged for her to be cast adrift in a boat. She was rescued by one King Pavariya, who claimed her as his property. The two kings were prepared to go to war over her, but agreed to let Paiicapapi live one week at a time with each king. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said to Subha:

Kamma distinguishes beings, that is, as inferior and superior.

ABUSIVE SUPPABUDDHA

Another good example of anger leading to ugliness is Suppabuddha, the poor leper of Rajagaha. He practised the threefold training under The Buddha. He puri­fied his conduct by observing the precepts, he listened to the Dhamma with re­spect, and he practised samatha and vipassana meditation. One day, listening to The Buddha teach Dhamma, he became a Stream Enterer(Sot·Apanna). a Stream Enterer who was a leper. How did he become a leper? What type of kamma was responsible?713

The bhikkhus asked The Buddha this question, and The Buddha explained. In a previous life, Suppabuddha was the son of a treasurer, a wealthy merchant in Rajagaha. One day, he was going to the pleasure park with many attendants. He

711 JA.XXLiv.4 ~unala·Jataka· Vannana’(‘Description of the Kul)ala Jataka’)

712 It was custom in ancient India for ascetics etc. to go for alms outside the time for go­ing for almsfood, when they needed other material requisites.

713 U.v.3′Suppabuddha.Kutfhi.Suttam’(‘The Suppabuddha-Leper Sutta’): described also in DhPA.vi.6‘Suppabuddha·Kutfhi·Vatthu’(‘The Case of Suppabuddha the Leper’).

 

was looking forward to showing off his wealth, and to have people pay respect to him. But as he was approaching the pleasure park, he saw that nobody paid any attention to him: all the people were paying attention to the Paccekabuddha Ta­garasikhi. As Suppabuddha was walking along, he accumulated many unwhole­some kammas, because he was disappointed. He was angry that people did not notice him, but paid respect to the Paccekabuddha. The Paccekabuddha was wearing a rag-robe. So when Suppabuddha came up to the Paccekabuddha, he spat, and said: Who is this leper, in a leper’s robe wandering about!’ Then he turned his left side to him, and went away.

Afterwards, on that day and later, he recalled the scene with anger, again and again. Proud of being son of a treasurer, he in this way accomplished many billions of unwholesome kammas. At death, one of those kammas functioned as produc­tive kamma, and produced rebirth in hell. In hell, he underwent horrific sufferings over many millions of years. In our Buddha’s Dispensation, a wholesome kamma functioned as productive kamma to produce rebirth as a human being. But his human happiness was frustrated by ‘leper kammas’, and he became a wretched leper in Rajagaha.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said in the 7<okalika’sutta:714 When a person has taken birth, an axe is born inside his mouth with which the fool cuts himself by uttering offensive speech.

In this life, however, Suppabuddha obtained the blessing of Stream Entry(Sot­·Apatli). He went to see The Buddha, paid obeisance, and took refuge in the Triple Gem. On his way back to the city, a demon in the guise of a cow gored him to death. This was the same demon that killed Tambadathika the executioner, Puk­kusati, and the ascetic Bahiya Daruciriya: we mentioned them earlier.715 Why did the demon kill these four men?716

THE AVENGING COURTESAN

The four men killed by that demon had in a past life been sons of wealthy mer­chants. The demon that now killed them in the guise of a cow was a female de­mon(yakkhhllj: she had in that life been a courtesan whom the four men had taken to the pleasure garden. Having taken their pleasure with her, they killed her and took her jewels, and the money they themselves had paid her. At her death, she vowed vengeance on them. And she killed them over a hundred lives.

Now, Suppabuddha had in the infinite past accomplished an infinite number of unwholesome kammas. Abusing the Paccekabuddha, and afterwards remember­ing the event with anger, as well as taking part in the killing of the courtesan, with those two actions alone, he had accomplished an infinite number of un­wholesome kammas: some would mature as productive kammas, some as rein­forcing kammas, some as frustrating kammas, and some as interceptive kammas. The interceptive kammas were kammas to be experienced in some subsequent Iife(apariipaliya·vedaniya·kamma). onenow intercepted the wholesome productive

714 S.I.VI.i.l0 ‘Kokalika·Suttam’(‘The Kokiilika Sutta’). Kokiilika was a monk who criticized the Venerable 5ariputta and the Venerable Mahamoggallana. For that kamma, he devel­oped a terrible skin disease, died and was reborn in the Lotus Hell(Padumo Nimya). In that sutta, The Buddha explains that the life-span there is almost infinitely long.

71S For Tambadathika the executioner, see p.181, and p.209. For PUkkusati, see p.215, and for Bahiya Darucariya, see p.193.

716 DhPA. vi.6 ‘Suppabuddha·Kut!hi·l-atthu’ (‘The Case of Suppabuddha the Leper’)

 

 

kamma that had produced his rebirth as human being. But it could not make its own result arise, because all unwholesome kammas productive of rebirth in woe­ful states lapsed as a result of his Stream-Entry Path Knowledge. The interceptive kamma did, however, allow another wholesome productive kamma to produce rebirth in Tavatirilsa heaven. Such are the workings of kamma.

Now, please listen to The Buddha’s sixth explanation to Subha.

ONE IS NOT ANGRY, NOT IRRITABLE

But here, student, a woman or man is an unangry one, not irritable. Spoken to even a lot, she or he is not abusive, not troublesome, not offended, not stubborn, and does not show anger, hatred, and resentment. Because of aa:omplishing and undertaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heav­enly world is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heav­enly world is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is good looking.

This is the way, student, that leads to good looks, namely, one is an unangry one, not irritable. Spoken to even a lot, one is not abusive, not troublesome, not offended, not stubborn, and does not show anger, hatred, and resentment.

THE lOVING-KIND VENERABLE SUBHOrr

A good example of friendliness leading to beauty is the Venerable SubhDti.717 In Buddha Padumuttara’s Dispensation,718 he was born into a rich family and was called Nanda. Later he became a hermit, the leader of forty-four thousand hermits (isi).719 They dwelt in a forest near a big mountain, developed samatha, and all became expert in the eight jhanas and five mundane psychic powers.720

One day, The Buddha and a hundred thousand Arahants came down from the sky to visit them. The hermits were so pleased, they used their psychic powers within minutes to collect flowers, and spread flowers for the visitors to sit upon. The visitors seated themselves, and then entered the cessation attainment(niro­dha·samapattl), the temporary cessation of mentality and consciousness-born mate­riality.721 And then for seven days, Nanda stood behind The Buddha holding a canopy of flowers over Him. My audience, please see how great his perseverance was! All the time accumulating wholesome kammas, he did not move for seven days! He did not lie down. He did not take any food. He did not go to the toilet. And his mind was fully concentrated. This was possible only because he was ex­pert in the eight attainments, and the five mundane psychic powers. With fully concentrated mind he stood behind The Buddha, holding a canopy of flowers over Him for seven days.

You may try to imagine the number of wholesome kammas that arose. Even within a snap of the fingers many thousand million wholesome mind-door pro­cesses arise and perish, each with seven impulsions, each of which have volition,

717 AA.I.xiv.2 ‘SubhOti· Tthera· Vatthu’(‘The SubhDti-Elder Case’) 718 See ‘Appendix 2: The Lineage of Buddhas’, p.361.

719 Their hermithood was not the state of living alone, but the state of living in the forest, far from society.

720 eight attainments: four fine-material and four immaterial jhanas; psychiC powers: see footnote 239, p.80.

721 cessation attainment: see footnote 434, p.156.

 

which is kamma. We may thus understand that the wholesome kammas which arose in Nanda’s mind-door processes were beyond counting.

The kammas of Nanda’s mental processes were sensual-plane wholesome phe­nomena(k:lm·avaawa kusala dhamma). And of the seven impulsions, the middle five impulsions are the most powerful: indefinitely-effective kammas(apa/llpaliya·vfda­niya·kamma), to be experienced in any future life after the subsequent life up to one’s final Nibbana. Such kammas can for a very long time produce the most sublime results on the sensual plane.

When The Buddha and other Arahants emerged from the cessation attainment, it was the most auspicious time to make offerings to them.722 And the hermits offered The Buddha and Sangha fruits and flowers, righteously obtained from the forest. Then The Buddha asked one of the bhikkhus, proficient in receiving offer­ings, and proficient in loving-kindness jhana(mettafhana), to give an inspirational talk(anumafana).723

At the end of the inspirational talk, all the hermits became Arahants, except Nanda. Why? Because his attention had been fixed on the eminence of the teaching bhikkhu. So he did not attain a Path(Magga)or Fruition(PhaIa).

When he discovered that bhikkhu’s eminent qualities, Nanda resolved that he too should reach such eminence. His resolution was accompanied by five factors:

1) His morality was purified and shone like a pearl, and was accompanied by the eight attainments and psychic powers.

2) His offerings had been righteously obtained.

3) His jhana had suppressed the defilements of lust, anger, and conceit, so that his mind was clear and taintless before offering, while offering and after off­ering: He did not expect anything from The Buddha and Sangha.

4) Since he possessed the psychic power of the divine eye, he had clearly seen and understood the workings of kamma: that meant he had full faith in that the results of kamma would be great.

5) The receivers were an unsurpassed field of merit, because they were all Arahants, and one was also a Buddha. Furthermore the offerings had been made to them at the most auspicious time, because they had just emerged from the cessation attainment(nirodha·samapalt1).

With these factors, it was certain that Nanda’s resolution would come true. And indeed, Buddha Padumuttara prophesied that Nanda would as a bhikkhu under The Buddha Gotama become proficient in loving-kindness jhana and eminent in receiving offerings.

In spite of his faith in The Buddha, Nanda was unable to become a bhikkhu, because he was too attached to his hermit’s life. But he would very often go and see Buddha Padumuttara, and listen to the Dhamma. And he practised samatha and vipassana under The Buddha’s instruction. He emphasized the loving-kind­ness jhanas, and based on them, he practised insight meditation up to the For­mations-Equanimity Knowledge(Sarikhiir·Upekkha·fJanaJ.724 And owing to his skill in the jhanas, he was able also to maintain his jhana up to the time of death, which

722 For an explanation of the most auspicious time to make an offering to an Arahant, see also ‘Present Result from Wholesome Kamma’, p.155.

723 inspirational talk: see footnote 443, p.158.

724 Formations-Equanimity Knowledge: see p.ll1.


meant one of his jhana kammas became a weighty kamma that functioned as productive kamma to produce rebirth in the Brahma world.72s

Here, we should like to discuss the workings of kamma a little bit in relation to dependentorigination(papcrasamuppada). After Nanda had made his offering of fruit and flowers to The Buddha and Sangha, Nanda resolved to become a bhik­khu, proficient in loving-kindness jhana, and eminent in receiving offerings. But this resolution was based on ignorance and craving. How?

Our body and mind comprise only ultimate materiality and mentality. If we see them as that, our view is right, Right View(Samma·ditfhi), which is insight knowledge (vipassana·fiana). But if we see our materiality and mentality as a man, woman, bhikkhu or bhikkhuni, this is wrong, wrongview(miccha-ditfhi), accompanied by ignorance(av[fj8) or delusion(moha). This means that Nanda's view of a bhikkhu proficient in loving-kindness jhana, and eminent in receiving offerings was a manifestation of ignorance and delusion. Dependent on that deluded view, he resolved to become a bhikkhu, proficient in loving-kindness jhana, and eminent in receiving offerings, which is craving(tanha). And his repeated craving, holding fast to the life of a bhikkhu, was clinging(upadana). Ignorance, craving and cling­ing are called the round of defilements(kiksavatta), because they are the defile­ments that produce the round of rebirths(samsalll).726

Dependent on ignorance, craving, and clinging Nanda accomplished superior wholesome kammas: he offered fruit and flowers to The Buddha, and to the Sangha, the unsurpassed field for merit in theworld(anuttalllm punna·kkhetliJm Iokassa).727 Such wholesome kammas are volitional formations(saJikhaia). They are impermanent because as soon as they arise they perish. But in one's continuity of mentality-materiality, they remain as a potency: that potency can produce a result at any time. In the kamma-cause section(kamma·paaaya uddesa) of the Pat­thana (Causal RelationS),this potency is called kamma.728 And the volitional for­mations(salikIWa) and kamma are called the kamma round(kamma·vatta): the kamma that produces the round of rebirths.

Altogether there are five causes for the round of rebirth:

1)ignorance .......................... (av[fj8) 4) formations (of kamma) ... (saJikMlll)

2)craving ............................. (tanha) 5) existence

3) clinging ..................... (upadana) (of kammic potency) .......... (Mava)

This principle applies whenever we discuss the maturing of kamma. Nanda's powerful offering kamma was further reinforced by his strong and

powerful loving-kindness jhana(mettajhana). And how did his loving-kindness jhana become so strong and powerful? One reason was that when practising samatha and vipassana, he had emphasized the development of loving-kindness jhana. And based on his loving-kindness jhana, he had practised insight medita­tion: that way his insight knowledge became clear, deep, profound, and strong and powerful. 246 And vice-versa, owing to his insight knowledge, his loving-kind­ness jhana also became firm, strong, and powerful. According to the Patthana, samatha and vipassana are strong and powerful mutually decisive supporting

72S See 'Wholesome Weighty Kamma', p.173. 726 See further 'Wishing for Rebirth; p.15.

727 Unsurpassed field for merit in the world: this is one of the nine qualities by which The Buddha describes the Sangha. See, for example, quotation endnote 39, p.24.

728 potency: see footnotes 5, p.l, 56, p.15, and 'Kammic Potency', p.370.

 

 

causes(upaniS5Qya paccaya).729 How? He entered loving-kindness jhana. Emerging from it, he immediately contemplated the jhana formations as impermanence (anicca), suffering(dukkha), and non-self(an·atta). Then he entered loving-kindness jhana again, and again emerged from it, and again contemplated the jhana for­mations as impermanence, suffering, and non-self. This procedure he practised again and again. Owing to this type of repeated practice, both his loving-kindness jhana and insight meditation became firm, strong, and powerful. Furthermore, loving-kindness jhana is the direct opposite of anger, which was why his mind was usually free from anger. Whenever he practised samatha and vipassana, especially anger, but also other defilements were long suppressed. They were also suppress­ed by his psychic powers. All these practices made his mind very pure, and owing to that superior purity, it was certain that he would succeed in his resolve to be­come a bhikkhu proficient in loving-kindness and eminent in receiving offerings. Finally, since Nanda had practised samatha and vipassana for about a hundred thousand years, his will power became very strong. Any wish he made could come true because of his will power: will power is volition(retana), which is kamma.

Buddha Padumuttara prophesied that Nanda would become a bhikkhu profi­cient in loving-kindness jhana and eminent in receiving offerings in our Buddha's Dispensation. Nanda was then reborn as the son of a rich man called Sumana, who was a faithful devotee(upasaka) of The Buddha, and younger brother to Anathapil)Qika, The Buddha's chief patron(dayaka). Nanda was in that life called SubhDti ('one of good looks') because of his beauty and good looks. His good looks were the result of his previous wholesome kamma, which had been free of defilements, especially free of anger.

On the day that his elder brother Anathapil)Qika offered the Jetavana monas­tery to The Buddha and Sangha, SubhDti listened with respect and attention to The Buddha's inspirational talk. It filled him with such faith in the Dhamma that he wanted to ordain. Being the son of a faithful disciple of The Buddha, he went forth from a believer's home to homelessness. After his ordination, he mastered the two Vinaya Rules (the bhikkhu and bhikkhuni rules). And having obtained a meditation subject from The Buddha, he went to the forest to live and meditate. There he developed insight and attained Arahantship based on loving-kindness jhana. Teaching the Dhamma without distinction730 or limitation, he was declared chief bhikkhu in living in remoteness and peace(arana·vihan), and in being worthy of giftS(dakkhklewa).731 His strong and powerful loving-kindness jhana (the founda­tion for his insight meditation), had enabled him to live in peace and remote from defilements for a long time.

The Pali Texts say that when he went for alms in the village, he would enter loving-kindness jhana at every door, which meant every offering made to him was of superior merit.

Once, in the course of his wandering, he came to Rajagaha. And the king, King Bimbisara, promised to build him a dwelling place for the rains. But the king for­got, and the Venerable SubhDti meditated in the open air. The result was that no rain fell in Rajagaha. When the king discovered why, he quickly had a leaf hut built. As soon as the Venerable SubhDti entered the hut, and seated himself on

729 decisive supporting cause: see footnote 595, p.203.

730 without distinction: teaching with no preference of audience.

731 A.I.XIV.ii.201-202 'Etad·Agga Vagga: Dutiya. Vaggo'('Chapter on ''This is the Chief":

Second Chapter')


the bed of hay, rain fell. His mind was so purified with loving-kindness jhana, and supramundane knowledge that even the devas helped protect him from getting soaked by rain. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said in the second 'Gaddula'Bad­dha 'sutta: 732

Therefore, bhikkhus, one should reflect repeatedly upon one's own mind: 'For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, by hatred, and by delllSion.'

By mental defilement, bhikkhllS, beings are defiled; by mental purification, beings are purified.

THE GoLDEN VENERABLE MAHAKACcANA

Another good example is the Venerable Mahakaccana.733 In our Buddha's Dis­pensation, he was born in Uiieni, in the family of a King Cal)dapajjota's chaplain. He was called Kaccana because of his golden complexion, and also because Kac­cana was the name of his clan(gotta). He became one of our Buddha's most emi­nent disciples, declared chief in elaborating what The Buddha had taught in brief.

Why was his complexion golden? And how did he achieve that distinction as a bhikkhu? Responsible were his accomplished kammas.

In Buddha Padumuttara's Dispensation/34 he was reborn into a very rich family.

One day he went to the monastery, and stood at the edge of the audience listen­ing to a Dhamma talk by The Buddha. And he saw The Buddha confer upon a bhikkhu (also called Kaccana) the distinction of chief disciple in elaborating and analysing Dhamma explained in brief by Buddha. Deeply impressed, he resolved also to win that distinction in a future Buddha's Dispensation. With this intention, he invited The Buddha and hundred thousand large Sangha, and made a grandoffering(maha·dana): it lasted seven days. On the seventh day, he prostrated him­self at the feet of The Buddha and said: 'Bhante, as a result of this seven-day­long grand offering, I do not wish for any other bliss. But I do wish to secure the title of the bhikkhu who seven days ago was declared chief of those who elabo­rate and analyse what has been taught by The Buddha in brief.'

Another account of Mahakaccana's past73S explains that in Buddha Padumutta­ra's Dispensation, he built a lotus-shaped cetiya736 called Paduma (lotus). It was covered with gold, and had a throne inside with a canopy made of gold, jewels, and hair from the camari-horse.737

In that Dispensation, over a hundred thousand years, Mahakaccana accom­plished also many other wholesome things, such as:738

· Mastery of the texts(pao/alt1): learning The Buddha's Word off by heart

(Buddha· VaQlnassa pao/iipunanam), reciting the Pali(Pa:~ sajjhiiyo).

732 S.IILLx.8'Dutiya.Gaddula.Baddha.Suttam'('The Second Oog-Bound Sutta'), quoted p.30.

733 AA.Lxiv.l 'Mahiikacciina· Tthera· Vatthu' ('The Mahakaccana-Elder') 734 See 'Appendix 2: The Lineage of Buddhas', p.361.

73S Ap.I.iv.3 'Mahiikacciina· Tthera·Apadiinam' ('The Mahakaccana-Elder Narrative') 736 cetiya: Pali for stupa/pagoda.

737 camari-horse: the Himalayan yak. Its tail is very precious.

738 This is the standard practice for attaining the four discriminations: VbhA.xv.718 'Sali­gaha·Viim·Vannanii'('Description of Summary Part') DD.xv.1955; VsM/VsMT.xiv.429'Pafifiii·Pabheda·Kathii'('Discussion of Wisdom Categorization') PP.xiv.28-31. See also end­note 183, p.247.

 

· Hearing(savana): learning the Dhamma thoroughly, with care and respect.

· Inquiry/Pal1'puro'1a): discussing knotty passages in the Texts, Commentaries, etc.

· Past practice(pubba·yoga): practising samatha and vipassana up to the Forma­tions-EquanimityKnowledge(Salikhar·Upekkha·Nana).739

In Buddha Kassapa's Dispensation/4o he was a householder of Baral)asi.741 After The Buddha's Parinibbana, a splendid cetiya was being built over The Buddha's remains, in the shape of a solid rock of gold. And the Venerable Mahakaccana donated bricks of gold worth a hundred thousand: and he made an aspiration that in future births he should have a golden complexion.

As we can see, all these wholesome kammas that the Venerable Mahakaccana accomplished in past lives were all pure, all dissociated from anger or any other defilements. Some of those wholesome kammas functioned as productive kamma, some as reinforcing kamma, and almost all were to be experienced in some sub­sequent life. And some of them matured to function as productive kammas in our Buddha's Dispensation.

We can then analyse the Venerable Mahakaccana's case in accordance with the workings of kamma.

A 'brick kamma' functioned as productive kamma to produce his last rebirth, as a human being. It produced the five resultant aggregates at the rebirth-linking moment, and identical kammas maintained his five aggregates through the course of life. Identical kammas functioned also as wholesome reinforcing kammas, to produce a long life, health, happiness, and a golden complexion. The wholesome kammas responsible for all these results depended on his past ignorance, craving, and clinging.

When he met our Buddha, The Buddha gave him a Dhamma talk. At the end of the talk, Mahakaccana attained Arahantship together with the four discriminations (pa{isambhida):742 his wholesome kammas (parami) accomplished in previous Buddhas' Dispensations as well as in our Buddha's Dispensation had matured.

Later, when The Buddha bestowed titles of eminence on the bhikkhus, He de­clared:743

This is the chief, bhikkhus, of my bhikkhu disciples who can elaborate the briefly spo­ken, and analyse the meaning, that is, Mahiikaa:ana.

Fulfilled now was the aspiration Mahakaccana had made in Buddha Padumutt­ara's Dispensation.

Do you want to be handsome and beautiful? Do you want to have a golden complexion? If you do, you should try to be a woman or man who never gets angry or irritated: even when criticised a lot, you must not get offended, not get angry, not be hostile, and not be resentful. If you want to be handsome and

739 Formations-Equanimity Knowledge: see p.ll1.

740 See 'Appendix 2: The Uneage of Buddhas', p.361.

741 AA.I.xiv.l 'Mahakaccana· Ttheta· Vatthu' ('The Mahakaccana-Elder Case') 742 four discriminations: see footnote 681, p.260.

743 A.I.XIV.i 'Etad·Agga Vagga: Pafhama· Vaggo' ('Chapter on ''This Is the Chief": Rrst Chap­ter') The Commentary explains that The Buddha's declaration rested on the Venerable Mahakaccana's elaboration of: 1) M.Lii.18 'Madhu·Pin(iika·Suttam'('The Honey-Ball Sutta'), 2) M.IILiv.3'Maha·Kaccana·Bhadd·Eka·Ratta·Suttam' ('The Mahakaccana An-Excellent-Night Sutta'), 3)SuN.v1'ar.1"yana Vagga'('Final Chapter').

 

 

beautiful, you must not display anger, hatred, and bitterness. Such things are defilements and they do not produce beauty: they produce only ugliness.

Based on morality, you should cultivate samatha and vipassana, and cultivate especially the four divine abidings(cattaiv bll1hma·vH18ill): loving-kindness, compas­sion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. The four divine abidings suppress anger and other defilements. The Buddha says that is how you may attain beauty.

You should not forget, however, that all formations are impermanent. All formations are impermanent, suffering, and non-self, be they beautiful or ugly, attractive or unattractive. So you should try not only to acquire beauty and a golden complexion, you should also try to acquire a beautifully pure mind, that is, you should also try to attain Arahantship. If you do as the Venerable SubhDti and Venerable Maha-Kaccana, you will succeed. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha says in the Dhamma'Pada:744 Carefulness(appamada) is the path of Deathlessness; carelessness(pam8da) is the path of Death;

the careful do not die;

the careless are as the dead.

Now, please listen to The Buddha's seventh explanation to Subha.

ONE HARBOURS ENVY

Here, student, a woman or man is an enviollS one. Gain, honour, respect, reverence, obeisance, and homage [received by] another, she or he envies and begl1lllges, harbour­ing envy. Because of aa:omplishing and undeltaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destination, in an infernal place, in hell is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destina­tion, in an infernal place, in hell is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is without influence?4S

This is the way, student, that leads to lack of influence, namely, one is envious. An­other’s [received] gain, honour, respect, reverence, obeisance, and homage, one envies and begl1ldges, harbouring envy.

Envy causes many problems in society. 247 Women and men who cannot control their envy and grudging do not conduct themselves well, do not conduct them­selves according to the Dhamma.

THE ENVIOUS VENERABLE TISSA

A good example of envy leading to rebirth in hell, and no influence as a human being, is the Venerable losaka Tissa:746 we mentioned him briefly in connection with destination failure(gati-vpatti).747 In Buddha Kassapa’s Dispensation/48 he was a bhikkhu. And he lived in a hermitage belonging to a rich man: the rich man was his chief patron. One day an Arahant arrived. The rich man liked the Arahant’s

744 DhP.iLDI.Ppamao’a.Vaggo’(‘Carefulness Chapter’). The Pali cannot satisfactorily be duplicated in English: (non-) + pamao’a (negligent/careless) = non-negligent = careful, attentive, heedful, etc.

74S The Buddha explains this also to Queen Mallikii: see ‘Queen Mallikii’, p.190. 746 JA.I.v.l (41)lasaka·Jataka·Vannana’(‘Description of the Losaka Jataka’)

747 See ‘Destination Failure Enables Unwholesome Kammas’, p.218.

748 See ‘Appendix 2: The Lineage of Buddhas’, p.361.


appearance so much that he asked the Arahant please to stay in the hermitage, and promised to look after him: the Arahant agreed to stay.

In the evening, the rich man brought flowers, scents, etc. for the new bhikkhu.

He listened to the new bhikkhu teach Dhamma, and left with much ceremony. And he invited both bhikkhus to his house for the next day’s meal. When the Venerable Losaka Tissa saw the Arahant receive so much attention, he became very envious.

Next day, the Venerable Tissa did not want the Arahant to come for the meal.

So he only struck the gong very lightly with his fingernail, and then went to the rich man’s house alone. But the Arahant had read the Venerable Losaka Tissa’s mind, and had already left the hermitage at dawn. When the rich man asked where the other bhikkhu was, the Venerable Losaka Tissa said he was a lazy, good-for-nothing bhikkhu. After the venerable one had eaten, the rich man washed his bowl, refilled it with food, and asked the Venerable Losaka Tissa please to give it to the other bhikkhu. But on his way home, the Venerable Losaka Tissa threw the food into a hole, and covered it with embers from a newly burned field: this act of envy was unwholesome kamma.

When the Venerable Losaka Tissa returned to the hermitage, he discovered that the Arahant had left. Then he was overcome with much remorse, and not long after, he died. At death, the ‘envy kamma’ functioned as near-death kamma to produce rebirth in hell. This meant that all the wholesome kammas he as a bhikkhu had accomplished, over twenty thousand years, were intercepted by his envy kamma, and were unable to produce their result. Once he was in hell, many identical ‘envy kammas’ functioned as reinforcing kamma, to increase and prolong his sufferings in hell.

When he eventually escaped from hell, yet other ‘envy kammas’ matured, to function as unwholesome productive kammas to be experienced in some subse­quent life. Owing to destinationfailure(gaU·vipalt1)/49 he became a demon(yakkha) in five hundred successive births: in each life, he never had enough to eat. Then in another five hundred successive births, he became a dog, again never with enough food to eat. And in every subsequent life, not only did he never have enough to eat, he suffered also many other hardships. My audience, just see the workings of kamma!

Finally, however, in his last life, the wholesome kammas he had accomplished in The Buddha Kassapa’s Dispensation met the right conditions to mature: they functioned as productive kammas to produce rebirth as a human being. But they were intercepted by his envy kamma. How?

In our Buddha’s Dispensation, he was reborn as the son of a fisherman in a vil­lage called Kodala. And he was given the name Losaka Tissa. And from the day of his conception, everyone in the village suffered various hardships. When they discovered why, they drove Losaka’s family out. Then, as soon as Losaka could walk, his mother put a potsherd in his hand, and sent him out to beg. As a small boy, he wandered about uncared for, picking up morsels of rice like a crow. One day, when he was seven years old, the Venerable 5ariputta saw him. The Vener­able 5ariputta felt sorry for him, and ordained him as a novice. But the Venerable Losaka Tissa was always unlucky: wherever he went for alms, he received only little. Also in that life, he never had a proper meal. Even so, practising the three­fold higher training, eventually he became an Arahant. Why? In Buddha Kassapa’s

749 See ‘Destination Failure Enables Unwholesome Kammas; p.218.

 

Dispensation, over twenty thousand years, he had fulfilled sufficient parami to attain Arahantship. But, even as an Arahant, he never had a proper meal. When people put food into his bowl, it disappeared: his parami produced his receiving alms, but his envy kamma intecepted them, and the food disappeared. The cause was his act of throwing away food offered to an Arahant, because he had been jealous of the Arahant: he had envied and begrudged the Arahant’s gains, and his receiving honour, respect, reverence, obeisance and homage from the rich man.

One day, the Venerable 5ariputta saw that the Venerable Losaka Tissa would that night enter Parinibbana. So he decided to make sure that the Venerable Los­aka Tissa should on his last day have a proper meal. He went with the Venerable Losaka to 5avatthi for alms, but no one even noticed them. So he told the Ven­erable Losaka Tissa to return to the monastery and wait there. Then the Vener­able 5ariputta went for alms alone, received food, and had the food sent to the Venerable Losaka in the monastery. But the people ate all the food themselves, so the Venerable Losaka Tissa still went without food. And by the time the Ven­erable Sariputta discovered what had happened, it was already afternoon: bhik­khus cannot eat regular food in the afternoon. So the Venerable 5ariputta went to the king’s palace, and obtained a bowl of catu·madhura (honey, oil, butter, and sugar).75O He returned to the monastery, and then asked the Venerable Losaka to eat it out of the bowl as he held it: otherwise it would disappear. Owing to the Venerable 5ariputta’s compassion and efforts, that day, for the first time in his life, the Venerable Losaka Tissa had a full belly. And that night he attained Parinibbana, the final cessation.

In every life Losaka was without influence, because of the power of his envy kamma. It functioned as productive kamma to produce unhappy rebirths, and in every unhappy rebirth, his envy kamma functioned as reinforcing kamma to de­prive him of food. When finally a wholesome kamma functioned as productive kamma to produce a human rebirth, and wholesome kamma matured to provide an opportunity for food, his envy kamma functioned as interceptive kamma to make the food somehow disappear. But finally, his past and present parami ma­tured: that is, his samatha and vipassana kammas matured, and he attained Arahantship. Soon after attaining Arahantship, he attained Parinibbana, and that kamma intercepted all the kammas that could function as productive kamma to produce rebirth. All mental and physical sufferings ceased without remainder, and there would be no more rebirth. A shrine was erected over his ashes.

Thus are the workings of kamma. Such workings of kamma are why The Bud­dha said in the second‘Gaddula’Baddha’sutta:7s1

Therefore, bhikkhus, one should reflect repeatedly upon one’s own mind: ‘For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, by hatred, and by delllSion.’

By mental defilement, bhikkhllS, beings are defiled; by mental purification, beings are purified.

Now, please listen to The Buddha’s eighth explanation to Subha.

7S0 catu.madhum: bhikkhus are by their rule disallowed to eat after noon. They are, how­ever, allowed to eat these four items for medical reasons. The same applies novices, and for those nuns and lay devotees who observe the eight/nine/ten precepts.

7S1 S.IILLx.8′Dutiya.Gaddula.Baddha.Suttam’(‘The Second Oog-Bound Sutta’), quoted p.30.

280

The Workings of Kamma

ONE DOES NOT HARBOUR ENVY

But here, student, a woman or man is an unenvious one. Gain, honour, respect, rever­ence, obeisance, and homage [received by] another, she or he does not envy and does not begl1ldge, not harbouring envy. Because of accomplishing and undertaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heavenly world is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heav­enly world is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he has great influence.

This is the way, student, that leads to great influence, namely, one is not enviollS. Ano­ther’s [received] gain, honour, respect, reverence, obeisance, and homage, one does not envy and does not begl1lllge, one does not harbour envy.

HAPPY URUV8..A KASSAPA

A good example of non-envy leading to great influence is the Venerable Uruvela Kassapa. He was one of three fire ascetics who together with their disciples or­dained under our Buddha.

In Buddha Padumuttara’s Dispensation/s2 he was a householder.753 One day he saw The Buddha declare the bhikkhu Sihaghosa chief disciple in having a great foliowing(maha·paIiVai”ana). When he heard how this bhikkhu received much gain, honour, respect, reverence, obeisance and homage, Uruvela Kassapa was not envious, he did not begrudge him it, he did not harbour envy over it, on the con­trary, Uruvela Kassapa’s whole body was filled with joy and happiness for the bhikkhu: this is what we call mudita(sympatheticjoy). This attitude of mind was of great benefit to Uruvela Kassapa. It helped him later to attain higher rebirths. At his last rebirth, it helped him attain Arahantship.

In fact, Uruvela Kassapa’s happiness for the bhikkhu was such that he wished for the same honour in a future Buddha’s Dispensation. Towards that end, he accomplished many wholesome kammas:7S4

· He purified his virtue, by observing the five precepts.

· He made offerings to The Buddha and Sangha.

· He memorized The Buddha’s Word, learned the Dhamma thoroughly, with care and respect; discussing knotty passages in the Texts, Commentaries, etc.

· He practised insight meditation up to the Formations-Equanimity Knowledge(SarikMr·UpekkM·fJana).

We should like now to analyse this according to the principle of dependentorigination(papcrasamuppada). If Uruvela Kassapa had understood that the bhikkhu Sihaghosa was composed of ultimate materiality and mentality, there would have been Right View(Samma·ditfhi),for according to reality(yatM·bhOta), there is only ultimate materiality and mentality: there is no such thing as a bhikkhu or bhik­khuni. Thus, he perceived the Venerable Sihaghosa as a bhikkhu with a large following because of ignorance(av[fj8). Dependent on that ignorance, he wished himself to become a bhikkhu with a large following in a future Buddha's Dispen­sation: that was craving(tanha) for life as such a bhikkhu. Again and again, he craved for life as such a bhikkhu: that was clinging(upadana). Towards that end,

7S2 See 'Appendix 2: The Uneage of Buddhas', p.361.

753 ApA.liv.8 V/Uve/a-Kassapa· Tthem·Apadanam' ('The Uruvela-Kassapa-Elder Narrative') 754 This is the standard practice required for attaining the four discriminations: see p.275.

 

he accomplished many wholesome kammas, by offering(daila), purifying his mo­rality(sDa), studying the Dhamma, and practising samatha and vipassana medita­tion(bhavanaJ; they were wholesome volitional formations(salikhaia). But such wholesome kammas are impermanent. As soon as they arise, they perish. None­theless, in his continuity of mentality-materiality, there remained the kammic potency (kanuna satti).7SS

Altogether there were five past causes for continued rebirth:

1)ignorance ............................. (avijia) 4) formations (of kamma) .......... (sarikMra)

2)craving ............................... (li1(1ha) 5) existence

3) clinging ........................ (upadana) (of kammic potency) ............... (Mava)

Some of the wholesome kammas (the wholesome volitional formations) func­tioned then as productive kammas, some as reinforcing kammas, and some as frustrating kammas: almost all of them were indefinitely-effective kammas(apar­iipaJiya·vedaniya·kamma), to be experienced in future lives. And, indeed, in future lives he gained great influence.

In one such subsequent life, Uruvela Kassapa was born as the younger step­brother of Buddha Phussa: their father was a King Mahinda.7s6 There were also two other brothers. Once, the three brothers quelled some troubles at the border to the kingdom. As a reward, the king allowed them for three months to support The Buddha and Sangha. It was a Sangha of a hundred thousand bhikkhus: an unsurpassed field of merit. They appointed three of their ministers to make all the arrangements.757 They themselves observed the ten precepts, stayed close to The Buddha, listened to Him teaching Dhamma, and practised samatha and vi­passana whenever they could.

These kammas produced superior results, and the three brothers were reborn now as devas, now as men, over many lives. In their last life, they were reborn into a Brahmin family, of the name Kassapa. They learned the three Vedas, and became matted-hair fire-ascetics, each with a following of disciples. They prac­tised self-torment(atta·kilamatfla), and worshipped a sacred fire.

Uruvela Kassapa was chief. He lived at Uruvela on the banks of the Neraiijara River, with five hundred disciples. Farther down the river lived his brother, Nadi Kassapa, with three hundred disciples. And yet farther down lived Gaya Kassapa, with two hundred disciples: the three brothers had altogether one thousand fire­ascetics.

Not long after His enlightenment, The Buddha visited Uruvela Kassapa?58 The Buddha asked Kassapa if He could stay in the chamber of the sacred fire. Kassapa warned him not to, because there was also a fierce naga (dragon) that spewed fire and smoke. But The Buddha stayed there anyway. And with His psychic powers, The Buddha overpowered first that naga and then another naga nearby. Kassapa was much impressed by The Buddha's psychic powers. He invited The Buddha to stay and promised to provide The Buddha with food every day. The Buddha then stayed in a grove nearby for three months. In that time, He display­ed his psychic powers many times, and each time Kassapa was impressed. But

7SS kammic potency: see footnotes 5, p.l, 56, p.15, and 'Kammic Potency', p.370. 7S6 AA.I.xiv.4Vrovela·Kassapa· Tthera· Vatthu' ('The Uruvela-Kassapa-Elder Case')

7S7 In Buddha Gotama's dispensation, they became King Bimbisara, the householder Visakha, and the Venerable Ratthapala.

7S8 Vin.Mv.i.12 Vrovela·patihatiya-Katha' ('Discussion of the Uruvela Miracles')

 

 

Kassapa thought he was himself an Arahant, and thought The Buddha was not an Arahant, so he did not try to learn anything from The Buddha. The Buddha could read Kassapa's mind, and waited for the right time: He waited until Kas­sapa should be ready to learn from Him.

Finally, when the time was right, The Buddha told Kassapa that neither was Kassapa an Arahant, nor did Kassapa know the way to Arahantship. Kassapa was very surprised. But because he had by now gained faith in The Buddha, he thought it was probably true. And humbly he asked for ordination. The Buddha asked him to tell his disciples of his decision, and to let them make their own decision: they all decided to become bhikkhus as well. All five hundred cut off their matted hair, and threw it into the Neraiijara River, together with their sacrifi­cial utensils. And then they were all ordained. Seeing the hair and utensils floating down the river, Nadi Kassapa and Gaya Kassapa came to inquire what happened, and then they and their disciples also ordained. Then they went wandering with The Buddha. At Gayasisa The Buddha taught them the 'The "Burning" Sutta' ('Aditta·Suttam')/59 by which all one thousand bhikkhus attained Arahantship.

From Gayasisa, The Buddha and the new Arahants went to Rajagaha.76oThen, in the presence of King Bimbisara and a crowd of people, Uruvela Kassapa de­clared his discipleship to The Buddha.

Uruvela Kassapa was so called because he was ordained at Uruvela, and to dis­tinguish him from other KassapaS.761 When he was a fire-ascetic, he had one thousand disciples. And when he ordained under The Buddha, they all followed him. One such disciple of Uruvela Kassapa was, for example, the Venerable Belat1;hasisa. He had followed Uruvela Kassapa in ordaining as a bhikkhu, and later became the Venerable Ananda's preceptor. Many of Uruvela Kassapa's dis­ciples ordained others. In that way, his following grew even larger. Hence, when The Buddha declared the chief bhikkhus, He declared Venerable Uruvela Kassapa chief bhikkhu in having a large following.762

Do you want to have great influence? If you do, you should try to be a woman or man who does not envy or begrudge the gain, honour, respect, reverence, obei­sance and devotion received by others. Instead you should rejoice: that is what we call sympathetic joy. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said to Subha, Toddeya's son:763 Kamma distinguishes beings, that is, as inferior and superior.

Now, please listen to The Buddha's ninth explanation to Subha.

ONE DOES NOT MAKE OFFERINGS

Here, student, to ascetics or Brahmins(5Clmana·br.lhmana), a woman or man is not an of­ferer of food, drink, clothing, transport, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, and lamps. Because of aa:omplishing and undertaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destination, in an infernal place, in hell is reborn.

759 Ibid., also S.rV.I.iii.6 'Aditta·Suttam' ('The "Burning" Sutta').

760 Vin.Mv.i.13 'Bimbisam·Samagama·Katha'('Discussion of the Bimbisara-Meeting') 761 Kassapa is a clan name, and there were a number of bhikkhus of that clan.

762 A.I.XIV.iv.22420tao'.Agga Vagga: C8tuttha·Vaggo'('Chapter on "This is the Chief":

Fourth Chapter')

763 See extended quotation, p.256.

 

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destina­tion, in an infernal place, in hell is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is poor?64

This is the way, student, that leads to poverty, namely, to ascetics and Brahmins, one is not an offerer of food, drink, clothing, transport, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, and lamps.

Here, although one is able to make offerings, one does not do so because of stinginess, because of possessiveness(maatlarijta): although one is perhaps even rich, one does not make any offerings. Such kamma produces rebirth in a woeful state, and if one is reborn as a human being, one will be poor.

THE MISERLY BRAHMIN TODEYYA

A good example of such possessiveness leading to an unhappy birth is the fath­er of the young man The Buddha is here talking to, the Brahmin student Subha. We mentioned his father earlier, the Brahmin Todeyya. He was chaplain to King Pasenadi of Kosala, and was extremely rich.

The Brahmin Todeyya had accomplished wholesome kammas in the past, and one of them functioned as productive kamma, to make him extremely rich in this life. But although he was now very rich, he was also extremely possessive and miserly.76s He always told his son, Subha, not to give anyone anything. He told Subha to collect his property like the honey bee, which collects honey drop by drop, or like the ant, which collects grain by grain of earth to make an ant-hill. Hence, although The Buddha and Sangha often stayed at Savatthi, Todeyya never made any offerings. And (as we mentioned earlier) owing to his extreme attachment for his property, Todeyya was at death reborn as a dog, to a bitch in his own house.

When the dog died, he was reborn in hell. One possessiveness kamma had functioned as a productive kamma to produce rebirth as a dog, and now another, identical, possessiveness kamma functioned as interceptive kamma to cut off that productive kamma's result, and make its own result arise: rebirth in hell.

Do you want to avoid being reborn as a dog? Do you want to avoid being reborn in hell? If you do, you should try to be a woman or man who is not possessive, stingy or miserly. And you should try to remove any great attachment you may have for your property by practising samatha and vipassana.

Please remember the envious Venerable Losaka Tissa. He was not only jealous, he was also possessive: he did not want to share his patron's favours with others. As a result, although he managed to escape from hell, at every human rebirth, he was poor. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said in the second 'Gaddula'Bad­dha 'sutta: 766

Therefore, bhikkhus, one should reflect repeatedly upon one's own mind: 'For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, by hatred, and by delllSion.'

By mental defilement, bhikkhllS, beings are defiled; by mental purification, beings are purified.

764 The Buddha explains this also to Queen Mallikii: see 'Queen Mallikii', p.190.

76S Being in this way unable to enjoy one's wealth is also the result of giving with stint: see endnote 248, p.301.

766 S.IILLx.8'Dutiya.Gaddula.Baddha.Suttam'('The Second Oog-Bound Sutta'), quoted p.30.

 

 

Now, please listen to The Buddha's tenth explanation to Subha.

ONE MAKES OFFERINGS

But here, student, to ascetics and Brahmins a woman or man is an offerer of food or drink, dothing, transport, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, and Iamps.767Because of aa:omplishing and undeltaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heavenly world is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heav­enly world is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is wealthy.

This is the way, student, that leads to wealth, namely, to ascetics and Brahmins one is an offerer of food or drink, dothing, transport, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwell­ings, and lamps.

THE VENERABLE SlvALI

A good example of such generosity leading to wealth is the Venerable Sivali.768 In Buddha Padumuttara's Dispensation/69 he resolved to become chief bhikkhu in receiving gifts, like one of Buddha Padumuttara's chief disciples, the Venerable Sudassana. To this end, Sivali gave alms for seven days to The Buddha and the Sangha of a hundred thousand bhikkhus. The result of this kamma was very big indeed. Why?

At that time, the human life span was a hundred thousand years, and the ma­jority of people observed the precepts, and purified their virtue. And Sivali under­stood that, owing to the purity of virtue, the wish of a virtuous one comes true.770 To that end, he made offerings to The Buddha and Sangha; memorized The Buddha's Word, learned the Dhamma thoroughly, with care and respect; discussed knotty passages in the Texts, Commentaries, etc.; and practised insight medita­tion up to the Formations-Equanimity Knowledge(Salikhar·Upe\'kha·Nana). This is the standard of practice for those who attain Arahantship with the four discriminations (pa{isambhida).771 So if we analyse Sivali's seven-day long offering of alms, we see:

· It was associated with morality(sila), concentration(samadhlj, and wisdom (panna).

· The recipients were The Buddha and a Sangha of a hundred thousand bhikkhus: an unsurpassed field of merit in the world.

· The offerings had been righteously obtained.

· Sivali's mind was happy, clear, and taintless, before offering, while offering, and after offering. He did not expect anything in return from The Buddha and Sangha.

· Because Sivali had practised insight meditation, he understood dependent origination. That meant he had full faith that the result of this kamma would be great. 248

767 These ten items are called the ten bases for offering(cBsa dana·vatlhu). 768 AA.I.xiv.2 'Sivali· Tthera· Vatthu' ('The Siva Ii-Elder Case')

769 See 'Appendix 2: The Uneage of Buddhas', p.361.

770 See quotation p.268.

771 four discriminations: See footnote 681, p.260. For the standard practice required, see p.275.

 

 

For these reasons, the virtue of his offering was so great that his wish would certainly come true. Hence, Buddha Padumuttara prophesied that, in Buddha Gotama's Dispensation, Sivali would become chief bhikkhu in receiving offerings.

In Atthadassi Buddha's Dispensation,772 Sivali was a King Varul)a.773 When The Buddha entered Parinibbana (final cessation), Sivali made great offerings to the Bodhi tree, and later died under it. At death, he was reborn in the Nimmanaratf deva world. 249 Thirty four times he was a king among men, with the name Subahu.

In Vipassi Buddha's Dispensation, Sivali was a householder living near Bandhu­mati.774 Once, the people competed with the king in making the most splendid offering of alms to The Buddha and Sangha of sixty thousand bhikkhus. For this offering, Sivali gave honey, curds, and sugar to feed all the recipients. And he said to The Buddha: 'Bhagava, I do not by this aspiration wish for another result except that in the future, in a Buddha's Dispensation, also I (like your foremost placed bhikkhu) should become chief in gains.'

In our Buddha's dispensation, he was born into the family of a Licchavi Mahali.

His mother was daughter of the king of Koliya, and was called Suppavasa. Being reborn into such a rich family, was the result of a powerful productive kamma of an indefinitely-effectivekamma(apar.l~a·vedaniYa·kamma). But that wholesome kamma was frustrated by an unwholesome kamma. How? Sivali spent seven years and seven months in his mother's womb.775 Before he was delivered, his mother was in labour for seven days. She thought she was going to die. So she asked her husband please to go and do obeisance to The Buddha in her name. The Buddha made a declaration:

May SUppaviisi the Koliya-daughter be happy: in comfort, may she deliver a healthy boy.

As soon as The Buddha had uttered those words, Suppavasa delivered a healthy boy, Sivali. Afterwards, she made offerings to The Buddha and the Sangha for seven days.

Owing to the reinforcement of a wholesome indefinitely-effective kamma, Sivali was from birth highly gifted. The Venerable Sariputta talked with him on the day of his birth, and with his mother's permission, ordained him.776 Sivali's meditation subject was the seven-year suffering he had endured in his mother's womb. Thus, at the shaving of Sivali's head, he attained the first Path&Fruition, Stream Entry (Sot·Apatti), when the first lock of hair fell; he attained the second Path&Fruition, Once-Return(Sakad·Agamlj, when the second lock of hair fell; and he attained the third Path&Fruition, Non-Return(An·Agamlj, when the third lock of hair fell. 250 Then, after his ordination, he went and lived in a secluded hut. Again meditating on his seven-year suffering in his mother's womb, he practised insight meditation, and became an Arahant with the fourdiscriminations(papsambhida).777 This was because of his parami: he had practised samatha and vipassana up to the For-

772 See 'Appendix 2: The Lineage of Buddhas', p.361.

773 TGA.I.vi.l0 'S""tvali· Tthem·G8tha· Vannana' ('Description of the Sivali-Elder Verses') 774 AA.I.xiv.2 'S""tvali· Ttheta· Vatthu'('The Sivali-Elder Case')

775 DhPA.xxvi.32 'Sivali· Tthem· Vatthu' ('The Sivali-Elder Case')

776 ApA.lv.3 'Sivali· Tthem·Apadanam' ('The Sivali-Elder Narrative') 777 four discriminations: see footnote 681, p.260.

 

 

mations-Equanimity Knowledge(Salikhar·Upekkha·Nana) in the Dispensations of pre­vious Buddhas.778

As we just explained, Sivali spent seven years in his mother's womb, and it took his mother seven days to deliver him: it was great suffering for him and his moth­er, and was caused by past indefinitely-effective unwholesome kamma that func­tioned as frustrating kamma.

Once, when our Bodhisatta was king of Baral)ilsi, the king of Kosala waged war against him.779The king of Kosala killed the Bodhisatta,and took his queen. But the Bodhisatta's son escaped through a sewer. Later, he returned with a great army to give battle. His mother, hearing of his plans, sent a message saying he should blockade the city instead. After seven days, the citizens of the city captu­red the king of Kosala, cut off his head, and brought it to the prince.

That prince was the continuity of mentality-materiality that later became known as Sivali in our Buddha's Dispensation, and his mother then was his mother now. Their 'blockade kamma' was the frustrating kamma that prolonged Sivali's time in the womb, and his delivery.

The Buddha related this story, to explain to the bhikkhus why Suppavasa's preg­nancy lasted so long. Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha repeated in the second 'Gaddula'Baddha'sutta:78o

Therefore, bhikkhll5, one should reflect repeatedly upon one's own mind: 'For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, by hatred, and by delllSion.'

By mental defilement, bhikkhll5, beings are defiled; by mental purification, beings are purified.

Later, the Venerable Sivali was by The Buddha declared chief bhikkhu in receiv­ing offerings.781 And once, when The Buddha went to visit Khadira-Vaniya Revata, the Venerable Sariputta's youngest brother, He took the Venerable Sivali with him, because the road was difficult, and food difficult to get: with the Venerable Sivali's wholesome reinforcing 'generosity kamma', there was always enough food for everyone.782

Another time, to test his merit, the Venerable Sivali went to the Himalayas with five hundred other bhikkhus.783 The devas provided for them in abundance. On the mountain Gandhamadana, a deva called Nagadatta gave them milk rice for seven days. Sivali's constant supply of alms was the result of his previous gener­osity kamma: wholesome reinforcing kamma to be experienced in some subse­quent life. Thus are the workings of kamma.

Now, please listen to The Buddha's eleventh explanation to Subha.

778 Formations-Equanimity Knowledge: see p.ll1.

779 JA.Lx.l0 (100) j4·sata·ROpa·Jataka·Vannana'('Description of the Not-Pleasure-Seeking Jataka')

780 S.IILLx.8 'Dutiya·Gaddula·Baddha·Suttam' ('The Second Clog-Bound Sutta'), quoted p.30.

781 A.LXIV.ii.207 'Etad·Agga Vagga: Dutijta·Vaggo'('Chapter on "This is the Chief": Second Chapter')

782 DhPA.vii.8 'Khadim· Vaniya·Revata· Tthera· Vatthu' ('The Acacia-Forest Revata-Elder Case') 783 AA.Lxiv.2 'Sivali· Tthera· Vatthu' ('The Siva Ii-Elder Case') & TGA.Lvi.l0 'S""tvali· Tthera·(;8­tha· Vannana'('Description of the Sivali-Elder Verses') & ApA.lv.3 'S""tvali· Tthera·Apadanam' ('The Sivali-Elder Narrative')

 

 

ONE IS STUBBORN AND PROUD

Here, student, a woman or man is stubborn, proud. To one who should be paid obei­sance to, she or he does not pay obeisance; for one for whom one should stand up, she or he does not stand up; to one to whom one should give a seat, she or he does not give a seat; for one for whom one should make way, she or he does not make way; one to be honoured, she or he does not honour, one to be respected, she or he does not respect, one to be revered, she or he does not revere, one to be paid homage to, she or he does not pay homage to. Because of accomplishing and undeltaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destination, in an infernal place, in hell is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destina­tion, in an infernal place, in hell is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is low-born.

This is the way, student, that leads to a low birth, namely, one is stubborn and proud.

To one who should be paid obeisance to, one does not pay obeisance; for one for whom one should stand up, one does not stand up; to one to whom one should give a seat, one does not give a seat; for one for whom one should make way, one does not make way; one to be honoured, one does not honour, one to be respected, one does not respect, one to be revered, one does not revere, one to be paid homage to, one does not payhomage to.

Who, then, are those to be honoured, respected, revered, and paid homage to?

One's elders and betters. First of all, Fully Enlightened Buddhas, Paccekabuddhas, and Noble Disciples(Arijta·savaka).784 For a layperson, one's elders and betters inclu­de one's mother and one's father, ascetics and Brahmins, and the head of the clan.Z51

THE5cA~GERSUNrrA

A good example of such pride leading to rebirth in hell, and low birth as a human being is the Venerable Sunita. Once, in a past life, he met a Paccekabuddha who was on his almsround in the village. When he saw the Paccekabuddha, he spoke to him with contempt, criticizing his way of life. He said: 'You have hands and feet like everyone else. You should work for your living like the rest of us. If you have no skill, then you should earn your living by collecting scraps and waste in a bucket.'

Sunita did not pay obeisance to one who should be paid obeisance to, he did not respect, revere and honour one to be respected, revered and honoured. Instead, he spoke with contempt to such a one, a Paccekabuddha. He accomplished many unwholesome kammas. Some functioned as productive kammas, some as frustra­ting kamma. When he died, one such productive kamma did indeed produce re­birth in hell. We may thus understand that in one's wandering in the round of rebirth, not to pay obeisance to, not to respect, revere and honour those worthy of it is very dangerous.

When Sunita finally escaped from hell, and was again reborn as a human being, he was in many lives reborn into a family of the lowest caste: in each life, he was reborn into a family of scavengers. His 'disparaging-a-Paccekabuddha' kammas functioned as frustrating kamma, to bring misfortune into his every human life.

In each life, he worked out a miserable life as a scavenger, collecting scraps and waste in a bucket. And just as he had in the past regarded the Paccekabuddha, so now did people regard him with loathing, and treat him with contempt. He

784 See commentary to the sutta under discussion.

 

 

had to honour, respect, revere, and pay homage to everybody, young and old, with humility and patience, because his livelihood depended on their goodwill and compassion.

Nonetheless, Sunita had also accomplished sufficient wholesome kammas and parami to attain Arahantship. When they matured, one of them functioned as a productive kamma to produce his human rebirth at the time of our Buddha's Dis­pensation.

In our Buddha's Dispensation, he was again reborn into a family of scavengers, in Rajagaha. And again, people regarded him with loathing, and treated him with contempt. But one day, however, The Buddha saw that Sunita had accomplished sufficient parami to attain Arahantship. So, at dawn, together with five hundred bhikkhus, The Buddha passed by where Sunita was sweeping and cleaning the street. When Sunita saw The Buddha, he was filled with joy and awe. Unable to remove himself, he stood with his back against the wall, with his hands clasped in obeisance.

The Buddha approached him, and asked in a soft and friendly voice if he would like to become a bhikkhu. Sunita expressed great joy, and The Buddha ordained him with the words:

Come bhikkhu(Ehi bhikkhuf)! Well prodaimecl is the Dhamma! Live the holy life for suf­fering's complete destl1lction!

Then The Buddha took the Venerable Sunita to the monastery, and taught him a meditation subject. The Venerable Sunita developed the eight attainments, and five psychic powers(abhififiii). with insight meditation, he attained the sixth psychic power, destruction of the taints, Arahantship.78s After that, many Brahmas, devas, and men came to pay homage to him, and he gave them teachings regarding his way to attainment. Such are the workings of kamma.

Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said in the 7<okalika'sutta:786 When a person has taken birth, an axe is born inside his mouth with which the fool cuts himself by uttering offensive speech.

THE BARBER UPALI

Another good example of how disrespect leads to a low birth is the Venerable Upali Thera. In Buddha Padumuttara's Dispensation/87 Upali was a very rich Brah­min called Sujata. He lived in Harilsavati, which was the birthplace of Buddha Padumuttara.788 Once, The Buddha came to Harilsavati to see His father, the nobleman Ananda, to teach him the Dhamma. At that time, Sujata saw an ascetic Sunanda hold a canopy of flowers over The Buddha for seven days. He also heard The Buddha declare that Sunanda would, in Gotama Buddha's Dispensation, be­come the famous Venerable PUl)l)a Mantaniputta.789 And Sujata developed the

78S eight attainments: four fine-material and four immaterial jhanas; psychiC powers: see footnote 239, p.80.

786 See footnote 714, p.270.

787 See 'Appendix 2: The Uneage of Buddhas', p.361.

788 Ap.II.iii.6 Vpiili· Tthem·Apadiinam'('The Upali-Elder Narrative')

789 The Venerable PulJlJa Mantaniputta: he was by The Buddha Gotama declared chief Dhammaspeaker(Dhamma·kathika) (A.I.XIV.i.196 'Etad·Agga Vagga: Pafhama·Vaggo'('Chap­ter on "This is the Chief": First Chapter'). In M.I.iii.4'l?atha·Vinila·Suttam'('The Chariot Relay Sutta'), he explains to the Venerable sariputta that the path to Arahantship is seven successive purifications. The Visuddhi-Magga is designed accordingly.

 

 

desire to see the future Buddha Gotama. Then he heard Buddha Padumuttara declare that one bhikkhu Patika was chief of those who master the monastic rule (Vinaya-dhara). And Sujata aspired to gain this honour himself in Buddha Gotama's Dispensation.

To that end, he made offerings to The Buddha and Sangha. Especially, at great expense, he had a monastery constructed: it was called Sobhana. Apart from mak­ing offerings, Sujata also memorized The Buddha's Word, learning the Dhamma thoroughly, with care and respect; he discussed knotty passages in the Texts, Commentaries, etc.; and practised insight meditation up to the Formations-Equa­nimity Knowledge(Salikhar·Upekkha·Nana).79o

Two aeons earlier, however, as Sunanda, the son of a nobleman, he accomplish­ed a serious unwholesome kamma. One day riding to the park on an elephant, he met the Paccekabuddha Devala. Owing to pride over his noble birth, he spoke rudely to the Paccekabuddha. And immediately he felt fierce heat in his body. Later, he went to see the Paccekabuddha together with a large following, and asked for forgiveness. Only then did the heat leave his body. In his final rebirth, this 'rudeness kamma' functioned as frustrating kamma, and his wholesome pro­ductive kamma was able to produce only a low birth into human society. He was born into a barber's family in Kapilavatthu, and worked for the Sakyan princes.

When The Buddha left Kapilavatthu, he stayed at the Anupiya Grove. There, many Sakyan young men came and ordained as bhikkhus.791 Also six Sakyan princes: Bhaddiya,792 Anuruddha, Ananda, Bhagu, Kimila, and Devadatta. Upali went with the princes, and they left him all their valuables. But he realized that if he returned to Kapilavatthu with all those valuables, the other Sakyans might think he had murdered the princes. So he left the valuables in the grove, and joined the princes to himself become a bhikkhu. At their ordination, the princes asked The Buddha please to ordain Upali first, so as to humble their own pride.

As a bhikkhu, the Venerable Upali one day asked The Buddha for a meditation subject, so that he might go and dwell in the forest alone.793 But The Buddha refused to let him go. The Buddha explained that in the forest the Venerable Upali would learn only meditation, but if he dwelt with the Sangha near The Buddha, he would learn also the Dhamma. So the Venerable Upali stayed with The Buddha, meditated, and learned the Dhamma. In due course, he attained Arahantship with the four discriminationSiPatis"ambhkfa).794 And The Buddha Himself taught the Venerable Upali the entire 'Vinaya Basket(Vinaya·Pifaka)': the Vinaya is the rule for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. The Venerable Upali attained great distinc­tion as a bhikkhu, and was by The Buddha declared chief bhikkhu in knowledge of the Vinaya. 79S At the first council, in Rajagaha, just as the Venerable Ananda

790 This is the standard practice required for attaining the four discriminations: see p.275. 791 Vin.CV.vii.1.331 '07a·Sakya·Pabbajja-Katha'('Discussion of the Six Sakyans' Going­Forth'), and DhPA.i.12 Vevadatta· Vatthu'('The Case of Devadatta').

792 Prince Bhaddiya's case is discussed just following.

793 AA.I.xiv.4 Vpali· Tthera· Vatthu'('The Upali-Elder Case'), and ApA and TGA. 794 Four discriminations: see footnote 681, p.260.

79S A.I.XN.iv.228 'Etad·Agga Vagga: pafhama· Vaggo' ('Chapter on ''This is the Chief": First Chapter')

 

 

recited the Dhamma, so did the Venerable Upali recite the Vinaya:796 all issues regarding the Vinayawere resolved by him. Such are the workings of kamma?97 Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said to Subha Todeyya's son:

Kamma distinguishes beings, that is, as inferior and superior.

Now, please listen to The Buddha's twelfth explanation to Subha.

ONE Is NOT STUBBORN, NOT PROUD

But here, student, a woman or man is not stubborn, not proud. To one who should be paid obeisance to, she or he pays obeisance; for one for whom one should stand up, she or he stands up; to one to whom one should give a seat, she or he gives a seat; for one for whom one should make way, she or he makes way; one to be honoured, she or he honours, one to be respected, she or he respects, one to be revered, she or he reveres, one to be paid homage to, she or he pays homage to. Because of aa:omplishing and un­deltaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good des­tination, a heavenly world is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heav­enly world is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is high-born.

This is the way, student, that leads to a high birth, namely, one is not stubborn, not proud. To one who should be paid obeisance to, one pays obeisance; for one for whom one should stand up, one stands up; to one to whom one should give a seat, one gives a seat; for one for whom one should make way, one makes way; one to be honoured, one honours, one to be respected, one respects, one to be revered, one reveres, one to be paid homage to, one pays homage to.

THE HIGHBORN VENERABLE BHADDIYA

Here, the Venerable Bhaddiya is a good example of how obeisance, honour, re­spect and homage paid to those worthy of it leads to a high birth. He was son of Ka!igodha, the leading Sakyan lady of the nobility: that is why he was also called Kajigodha·Putta·Bhaddiya (Ka!igodha-Son Bhaddiya). The Buddha declared him chief among bhikkhus of a high family(uroHvUka).798 He resolved to gain this dis­tinction in Buddha Padumuttara's799 Dispensation.80o At that time he had been born into a very wealthy family. In that life, he offered alms and other requisites to The Buddha and Sangha, all the time doing obeisance to The Buddha and Sangha, honouring, respecting, revering and paying homage to The Buddha and Sangha. He memorized The Buddha's Word, and learned the Dhamma thoroughly, with care and respect; he discussed knotty passages in the Texts, Commentaries, etc.; and he practised insight meditation up to the Formations-Equanimity Know­ledge(Sarikhiir.Upekkhii.fJanaJ. 801

796 Vin.CV.XI.i.439 'Sarigitj·Nidiinam'('QJuncii Introduction')

797 For a similar case of such disrespect towards one's elders/betters, see 'The Siave­Woman Khujjuttara' p.189.

798 A.I.XIV.i.193 'Etad·Agga Vagga: Pafhama· Vaggo' ('Chapter on ''This is the Chief": First Chapter')

799 See 'Appendix 2: The Uneage of Buddhas', p.361.

800 Ap.I.v.3 'Kajigodhii·Putta·Bhaddiya· Tthera·Apadiinam ('The Ka!igodha-Son Bhaddiya­Elder Narrative')

801 This is the standard practice required for attaining the four discriminations: see p.275.

 

 

In the interval between Kassapa Buddha and Buddha Gotama he was once a householder in Baral)asi.802 When he heard Paccekabuddhas took their meals on the bank of the Ganges, he had seven stone seats made, and put there for them to sit on. In that way, he honoured, respected, revered, and paid homage to the Paccekabuddhas, and in a way, offered seats to those worthy of a seat. It was only one of the many wholesome kammas that later produced a high noble birth.

In his last birth, he was born to a ruling family of Sakyan royalty(raja) in Kapila­vatthu, our Buddha's birthplace. Bhaddiya himself ruled a Sakyan principality. At that time, Anuruddha was his great friend. When Anuruddha asked his mother to allow him to become a bhikkhu, she said she would allow it only if Bhaddiya be­came a bhikkhu too. And Anuruddha managed to persuade Bhaddiya to give up his royal life within seven days.803It is said that Bhaddiya attained Arahantship with the three knowledges(te-vffja)804 in the first rainy season retreat after his or­dination.80s

Soon after attaining Arahantship, under a tree in a lonely spot, dwelling in the bliss of Nibbana, the Venerable Bhaddiya would often exclaim:806

Oh, what happiness! Oh what happiness!

His fellow bhikkhus thought he was thinking about his past as a prince in the palace, and reported it to The Buddha. But to The Buddha he explained that when he was a ruler, he was always fearful and nervous, even though there were guards inside the palace and outside. But now, having renounced all, he was free from all fear.

Owing to previous wholesome kammas, Bhaddiya had been king for five hun­dred births and received eminence in this last life. Though there were others of a higher rank in the nobility, The Buddha declared him to be foremost among bhikkhus of noble birth because he had been born of the leading Sakyan lady, because he had renounced his position as king, and because he had been king for five hundred lives successively.807

Do you want a high rebirth? If you do, you should try to be a woman or man

who is not stubborn and proud. If you want a high rebirth:

o To those one should pay obeisance to, you should pay obeisance.

o For those one should stand up for, you should stand up.

o To those one should give a seat to, you should give a seat.

o For those one should make way for, you should make way.

o To those whom one should honour, respect, revere and pay homage to, you should honour, respect, revere, and pay homage.

One's elders and betters are first of all,808 Fully Enlightened Buddhas, Pacceka­buddhas, and Noble Disciples(Ari}'a·savaka).252 And for a layperson, one's elders

802 Ibid. and TGA.ILxvi.7 'Ka!igodha·Putta·Bhaddiya· Tthera·Gatha· Vannana' ('Description of the Ka!igodha-Son Bhaddiya-Elder Verses').

803 Bhaddiya was one of the Sakyan princes who gave all their valuables to Upali their barber. See 'The Barber Upali', p.288.

804 Vin.CV.vii.1.331 '07a·Sakya·Pabbaffi·Katha'('Discussion of the Six Sakyans' Going-Forth') 80S ibid.; three knowledges: see footnote 239, p.80.

806 ibid.

807 A.LXN.i.193 'Etad·Agga Vagga: Patf7ama·Vaggo'('Chapter on "This is the Chief": First Chapter')

808 See commentary to the sutta under discussion.

 

 

and betters include one's mother and one's father, ascetics and Brahmins, and the head of the clan.809

Please do not forget, stubbornness and pride are defilements. Defilements do not produce a high birth, they produce a low birth. Such are the workings of kamma. Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha said to Subha:

Kamma distinguishes beings, that is, as inferior and superior.

Now, please listen to The Buddha's thirteenth explanation to Subha.

ONE Is NOT AN INQUIRER

Here, student, having approached an ascetic or Brahmin(samana·br.lhmana), a woman or man is not an inquirer. [She/he asks not]: ‘What, Venerable Sir, is wholesome; what is unwholesome? What is blameful, what is blameless?Z53 What should be practised, what should not be practised? What, by my doing it, is to my long-term detriment and suffer­ing, or else, what, by my doing it, is to my long-term benefit and happiness?’ Because of aa:omplishing and undeltaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destination, in an infernal place, in hell is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in perdition, in a bad destina­tion, in an infernal place, in hell is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is stupid.810

This is the way, student, that leads to stupidity, namely, having approached an ascetic or Brahmin, one is not an inquirer. [One asks not]: ‘What, Venerable Sir, is wholesome; what is unwholesome? What is blameful, what is blameless? What should be practised, what should not be practised? What, by my doing it, is to my long-term detriment and suffering, or else, what, by my doing it, is to my long-term benefit and happiness?’

Here, one does not appear in a bad destination because one fails to ask ques­tions about right conduct. One appears in a bad destination because one conducts oneself badly. And one does so because of stupidity, because one does not know the difference between bad and good conduct, one does not know the results of bad and good conduct. One does not know those things because one has not inquired into them. That way, one does not know how to conduct oneself well, and one conducts oneself badly, contrary to the Dhamma: one commits un­wholesome kammas that function as unwholesome productive kamma to pro­duce undesirable results, or function as unwholesome interceptive kamma, or unwholesome frustrating kamma, to cut off and oppose the desirable results of wholesome kammas.

We may thus understand that this the thirteenth explanation given by The Buddha to Subha is in fact included in all the unwholesome actions we have so far discussed: to kill, to steal, to engage in sexual misconduct, to drink beer and wine, etc., to tell lies, to slander, to speak harshly, to prattle, to covet, to harbour ill-will, and to hold wrong view. When we do all these bad things, it is because of stupidity, because we do not know they are bad, because we do not have faith in or knowledge of the workings of kamma.

Here, of course, good examples are all the examples we have so far discussed, of people doing that which is unwholesome, that which is blameful, that which should not be practised, that which by their doing it, led to their long-term detri­ment and suffering. We discussed the Venerable Mahamogallana’s shortened life

809 For the future non-honouring of elders and betters, as predicted by The Buddha, see endnote 251, p.302.

810 In Pali du-ppafifio: ‘bad/wrong wisdom’.

 

 

span: in a past life, he tried to beat his parents to death. For that he went to hell for a very long time. Afterwards, he was beaten to death in many lives, even in his last life. Then there was the demon(yakkha) Nanda: he struck the Venerable 5ariputta on the head. For that, he was swallowed up by the earth to be reborn in hell. And the Venerable PDtigattatissa’s terrible sickness: in a past life, he broke the wings and legs of many birds to prevent them from escaping. For that, he went to hell for a very long time. Afterwards, he was reborn as a human being, and became a bhikkhu. But he developed boils all over his body, and his bones disintegrated. And Paiicapapi ‘s ugliness: in a past life, she gave a Pacceka­buddha an angry look. For that, she was reborn ugly. And Suppabuddha’s ugliness: in a past life, as son of a treasurer, he abused a Paccekabuddha. For that, he went to hell for a very long time. And in our Buddha’s Dispensation, he was reborn as a human being, to become a wretched leper. Then there was the Venerable Losaka Tissa’s lack of influence: in a past life, he was unable to control his envy towards an Arahant, and threw away the Arahant’s food. For that, he went to

hell for a long time. And in every life after that, he suffered many hardships, with never enough food to eat. Even in his last life, when he had become a bhikkhu and Arahant, he never received enough food to eat. We discussed also Subha’s father, the rich Brahmin Todeyya’s poverty. He was miserly, and never gave alms. For that, he was reborn as a dog. Afterwards, he was reborn in hell. And the Venerable Sunita’s low birth: in a past life, also he was rude to a Pacceka­buddha. For that, he went to hell. Afterwards, he was again and again reborn as a human being in the lowest caste, a scavenger. And the Venerable Upali’s low birth: in a past life, also he abused a Paccekabuddha. For that, when he was re­born as a human being in our Buddha’s Dispensation, it was into a barber’s fam­ily. All those people did those bad things because of stupidity.

STUPID PRINCE SUPPABUDDHA

We can take yet an example of stupidity: Suppabuddha the Sakyan prince. He was brother to The Buddha’s mother, Mahamaya, and father to Yasodhara, Prince Siddhattha’s wife. He was also Devadatta’s father.

Prince Suppabuddha was born into a royal family. As we just discussed, The Buddha says the way to such a high birth is that one is without stubbornness and pride, and that one honours, respects, reveres and pays homage to those who deserve it. We may thus understand that Prince Suppabuddha had accomplished such wholesome kammas in the past, and that one of them functioned as a pro­ductive kamma to produce his royal birth. But at the end of his life, that whole­some productive kamma was intercepted by an unwholesome kamma, to produce rebirth in hell. How?

Prince Suppabuddha bore two grudges against The Buddha.811 One grudge he bore on account of his daughter Princess Yasodhara: she had been Prince Siddh­attha’s wife. And in order to become Buddha, Prince Siddhattha had left his wife and child, to go forth. Another grudge Prince Suppabuddha bore against The Buddha was on account of his son Devadatta. When Devadatta developed the desire to become leader of the Sangha, The Buddha had an announcement made in the city, dissociating Himself and the Sangha from Devadatta.

So one day, in order to make mischief, Prince Suppabuddha decided to block The Buddha’s almsround. On the road where The Buddha had been invited to

811 DhP.ix.12 ‘Suppabuddha·Sakya·Vatthu’(‘The Case of Suppabuddha the Sakyan’)

 

 

accept alms, Prince Suppabuddha sat down drinking liquor. When The Buddha and Sangha arrived, the bhikkhus told Suppabuddha that The Teacher had come. But Suppabuddha refused to make way for The Buddha. Several times the bhik­khus told him, and each time he refused to make way for The Buddha.

Why did Prince Suppabuddha commit this unwholesome kamma? Because he did not know it was unwholesome. Why did he not know it was unwholesome? Because he never approached an ascetic or Brahmin to find out what was un­wholesome and wholesome, to find out what was blameful and blameless, to find out what would be to his detriment and suffering, and to find out what would be to his benefit and happiness. Prince Suppabuddha had never made any effort in that way. The result was stupidity. Because of his stupidity, he refused to make way for a Fully Enlightened Buddha: he refused to honour, respect, revere, and pay homage to The Buddha. Because of his stupidity, he accomplished many unwholesome kammas.

The Buddha turned back. And Suppabuddha sent a man to hear what The Buddha might say. On his way back, The Buddha smiled. And the Venerable Anan­da asked Him why He smiled. The Buddha explained that in seven days, Suppa­buddha would be swallowed up by the earth at the foot of his stairway. Suppa­buddha’s man heard what The Buddha said, and immediately told Suppabuddha. Suppabuddha then decided he would prove The Buddha wrong. So he had all his personal belongings carried to the top floor of his house, the seventh floor. Then he had the stairway removed, and all the doors locked. On each floor, he had two strong men posted. He told them that if he were to come down, they should make him go back.

Seven days after Suppabuddha had blocked The Buddha’s way, Suppabuddha’s state horse escaped from its stable. Only Suppabuddha could control the horse. So he moved towards the door. The doors opened, the stairway returned to its place, and the guards threw him down the stairway, from the top floor to the bottom. At the bottom of the stairway, he was swallowed up by the earth, and reborn in Avici Hell. The wholesome kamma that had functioned as productive kamma to produce rebirth as a human being, and to sustain his human life, was intercepted by his unwholesome kamma of refusing to make way for one whom one should make way for: in this case a Fully Enlightened Buddha, the most vir­tuous of all beings. That unwholesome kamma then produced its own result, which was rebirth in hell.

Here again, we need to understand that Prince Suppabuddha’s rebirth in hell was not the result of anything The Buddha did:Z54The Buddha did not smile be­cause of ill-will; The Buddha was not happy to see how Suppabuddha would suf­fer. The Buddha smiled because He saw that Suppabuddha’s kamma would for sure bring its result, no matter what Suppabuddha did. And the result came solely because of the power of Suppabuddha’s unwholesome kamma. Thus are the workings of kamma. Such workings of kamma are why The Buddha repeated in the second ‘Gaddula’Baddha’sutta:812

Therefore, bhikkhus, one should reflect repeatedly upon one’s own mind: ‘For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, by hatred, and by delusion.’

By mental defilement, bhikkhll5, beings are defiled; by mental purification, beings arepurified.

812 S.IILLx.8 ‘Dutiya·Gaddula·Baddha·Suttam’ (‘The Second Clog-Bound Sutta’), quoted p.30.

 

 

Now, please listen to The Buddha’s fourteenth explanation to Subha.

ONE Is AN INQUIRER

Here, student, having approached an ascetic or Brahmin, a woman or man is an in­quirer. [She or he asks]: ‘What, Venerable Sir, is wholesome; what is unwholesome? What is blameful, what is blameless? What should be practised, what should not be practised? What, by my doing it, is to my long-term detriment and suffering, or else, what, by my doing it, is to my long-term benefit and happiness?’ Because of aa:omplishing and un­deltaking such actions, she or he at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good des­tination, a heavenly world is reborn.

But if she or he, at the breakup of the body, after death, in a good destination, a heav­enly world is not reborn, if she or he as a human being returns, then wherever she or he is reborn, she or he is very wise.

This is the way, student, that leads to great wisdom, namely, having approached an ascetic or Brahmin, one an inquirer is. [One asks]: ‘What, Venerable Sir, is wholesome; what is unwholesome? What is blameful, what is blameless? What should be practised, what should not be practised? What, by my doing it, is to my long-term detriment and suffering, or else, what, by my doing it, is to my long-term benefit and happiness?’

Also here, one does not appear in a good destination because one asks ques­tions about right conduct. One appears in a good destination because one con­ducts oneself well. And one does so because of wisdom, because one knows the difference between bad and good conduct, because one knows the results of bad and good conduct. One knows those things because one has inquired into them. That way, one knows how to conduct oneself well, and one conducts oneself well, according to the Dhamma: one accomplishes wholesome kammas that function as wholesome productive kamma to produce desirable results, or function as wholesome interceptive kamma, or wholesome frustrating kamma, to cut off and oppose the undesirable results of unwholesome kammas.

We may thus understand that this the fourteenth explanation given by The Buddha to Subha is in fact included in all the wholesome actions we have so far discussed: not to kill but to be kind and compassionate, not to steal, not to engage in sexual misconduct, not to drink beer and wine, etc., not to tell lies, not to slander, to speak politely, not to prattle, not to covet, not to harbour ill-will, and to hold Right View. When we do all these good things, it is because we know they are good, because we have faith in or knowledge of the workings of kamma.

Here, of course, good examples are all the examples we have so far given of people doing that which is wholesome, that which is blameless, that which

should be practised, that which by their doing it, led to their long-term benefit and happiness: not to kill, not to harm other beings, not to be angry and irritable, not to be envious, to make offerings, and not to be stubborn and proud.

We discussed the virtuous Venerable Paiicasila Samadaniya, and long-living Ayuval;ll;lhana Kumara. We discussed the Venerable Bakula: he was never ever sick, and passed into Parinibbana when he was a hundred and sixty years old. Then there was the Venerable SubhDti: he was very good-looking, and proficient in loving-kindness. The Venerable Mahakaccana was also very good-looking: he was also chief disciple in analysing and elaborating the Dhamma explained in brief by The Buddha. We discussed also the Venerable Uruvela Kassapa: he was chief disciple in having a great following. And the Venerable Sivali: he was chief disciple in receiving gifts. Venerable Bhaddiya: he was chief disciple of high birth. These were just a few examples of the many who gained much benefit and happiness through many, many thousand lifetimes: now they were reborn as human beings, now as devas. And they practised under past Buddhas.

What was their practice?

· They observed the precepts.

· They purified their conduct.

· Based on that virtue, they made offerings to ascetics and Brahmins.

· They learned The Buddha’s Word off by heart.

· They learned the Dhamma thoroughly, with care and respect.

· They discussed knotty points, and the explanations in the texts, commentar­ies, etc.

· They practised samatha and vipassana up to the Formations-EquanimityKnowledge(Sa1ikhar.Upe\’kIIa.~a). 813

This practice is also what is called knowledge and conduct(v[fj8·caIllna). We dis­cussed it earlier:814

1) Conduct(Qllllna) is fifteen things: morality, faculty restraint, moderation in food, devotion to wakefulness, faith (which includes habitual practice of of­fering(d8i1a», mindfulness, conscience, shame, great learning in theory and practice, energy, wisdom, and the four jhanas.

2) Knowledge(v[fj8) is insight knowledge(vipa.s:sana·iiana). That is, knowing and seeing the impermanence, suffering, and non-self of ultimate mentality(palll­mattha·niima)and ultimate materiality(palllmattha·n7pa), of past, future, and pre­sent, internal and external, gross and subtle, superior and inferior, far and near. The highest mundane insight knowledge is the Formations-Equanimity Knowledge(SatikMr·upekkM·fJ/ina).

As we discussed earlier, insight meditation that produces rebirth is in­cluded under conduct, and insight meditation that does not produce rebirth is included under knowledge.

Why did all those people do all those good things? Because of wisdom. And that wisdom came from having inquired about the difference between bad and good conduct, and having inquired into the results of bad and good conduct: in short, wisdom comes from having inquired into the workings of kamma with faith and respect. As a result, under our Buddha, these people also practised, and gained the highest benefit of all, Arahantship.

THE INQUIRING VENERABLE MAHAKOTTHIKA

Let us then take one more example of someone who gained the highest benefit of all: the inquiring Venerable Mahakot1;hika. In Buddha Padumuttara's Dispensa­tion,81S he was a rich householder.816One day, he heard The Buddha declare a bhikkhu chief in mastery of the fourdiscriminations(papsambhida).817 And he aspired for similar honour for himself in a future Buddha's Dispensation. To that end, he invited The Buddha and a hundred thousand bhikkhus for an almsgiving that lasted seven days. At the end of the almsgiving, he offered each one of them three robes.

813 This is the standard practice required for attaining the four discriminations: see p.275. 814 For details, see 'Knowledge and Conduct', p.135.

81S See 'Appendix 2: The Uneage of Buddhas', p.361.

816 AA.I.xiv.3 'Mahakotfhita· Tthera· Vatthu' ('The Mahakotthita-Elder Case') 817 four discriminations: see footnote 681, p.260.

 

 

Furthermore, he memorized The Buddha's Word; he learned the Dhamma thoroughly, with care and respect; he discussed knotty passages in the Texts, Commentaries, etc.; and he practised insight meditation up to the Formations­Equanimity Knowledge(Salikhar·Upekkha·Nana). At that time the human life span was a hundred thousand years. So for a hundred thousand years, he accomplished these superior kammas, parami. The Visuddhi-Maggaexplains that this is the way of practice for those who attain Arahantship together with the four discriminat­ions.818 And the Venerable Mahakot1;hika was chief among such Arahants.

In his last life, he was born into a very rich Brahmin family of 5avatthi. He be­came very skilled in the Vedas. But after hearing a Dhamma talk by The Buddha, he became a bhikkhu. He meditated, and soon became an Arahant. Having asked many questions of The Buddha and of his fellow bhikkhus, he became extremely skilled in the four discriminations(papsambhida) The Buddha declared him foremost among those skilled in the four discriminations(catas"5l7papsambhida).819 This was chiefly owing to his very analytical and skilful discussion of Dhamma with the Venerable 5ariputta in theMaha·Vedalla'sutta.820 In this sutta, the Venerable Mahakot1;hika asks exceedingly deep and profound questions: for example, he asks about stupidity and wisdom; he asks about wisdom and consciousness; he asks about consciousness, feeling, and perception; he asks about wisdom, direct knowledge and full understanding; and he asks about how (on the one hand) the different kinds of liberation can be seen as different in meaning and different in name, and how (on the other hand) they can be seen as one in meaning and different in name. There are in the Pali Texts many other instances of the Vener­able Mahakot1;hika discussing Dhamma with the Venerable 5ariputta: usually he would ask the questions, but sometimes also the Venerable Sariputta would ask the questions. There are also suttas where the Venerable Mahakot1;hika discusses Dhamma with The Buddha Himself, one where the Venerable Ananda asks him questions, and one where he discusses Abhidhamma with other bhikkhus.

The Venerable Sariputta, second only to The Buddha Himself, held the Venerable

Mahakot1;hika in high regard. He expresses his high regard in three stanzas:821 Being peaceful and restraining himself,

Being an expert speaker of unconceited calm, He shakes off unwholesome dhammas

Like the wind blows leaves off a tree.

Being peaceful and restraining himself,

Being an expert speaker of unconceited calm, He removes unwholesome dhammas

Like the wind blows leaves off a tree.

Being composed and free from trouble,

Being purified and unstained,

Being viltuous and wise,

He is one who makes an end of suffering.

818 See p.275.

819 A.I.XN.i.218 'Etad·Agga Vagga: mtijta·Vaggo'('Chapter on ''This is the Chief": Third Chapter')'

820 M.I.v.3 'Maha· Vedalla·Suttam' ('The Great Catechism Sutta')

821 TG.xvii.2 'Satiputta· Tthem·Gatha' ('The sariputta-Elder Verses')

 

 

Do you want to be wise? If you do, you should try to do as the Venerable Mahakot1;hika. You should try to be a woman or man who visits ascetics and Brahmins.

· You should ask them: What is wholesome? What is unwholesome?'

· You should ask them: What is blameful? What is blameless?'

· You should ask them: What should be practised? What should not be prac­tised?'

· You should ask them: What kamma is to my long-term detriment and suffer­ing, and what kamma is to my long-term benefit and happiness?'

Why do you need to do this? Because if you do not understand what is whole­some to do, and what is unwholesome to do, you will not try to do wholesome things, and you cannot avoid doing unwholesome things. There may be things that are wholesome for you to do. But you may never do them, because you do not understand that they are wholesome to do. If you do not understand that they are wholesome to do, you will not want to do them, will you? And there may be things that are unwholesome for you to do. But you may do them again and again, again because you do not understand that they are unwholesome to do. If you do not understand that they are unwholesome to do, you will not want to avoid doing them, will you? So, as a disciple of The Buddha, it is very important to understand what is wholesome, what is unwholesome; what is blameful, what is blameless; what is to be practised, and what is not to be practised, etc. 255

Then, when you have learned the difference between wholesome and unwhole­some kamma, you should try to understand it with your direct insight knowledge. This means:

· You should try to restrain yourself from accomplishing unwholesome kamma, of body, speech, and mind.

· You should try to restrain yourself from doing what is blameful, through body, speech, and mind.

· You should try to restrain yourself from practising that which should not be practised, through body, speech, and mind.

Instead, you should try to do things that are to your long-term benefit and

happiness. What are those things? Only wholesome kammas:

· You should observe the precepts and purify your conduct.

· Based on that virtue, you should make offerings to ascetics and Brahmins.

· You should learn The Buddha's Word off by heart.

· You should learn the Dhamma thoroughly, with care and respect.

· You should discuss knotty points, and the explanations in the Texts, com­mentaries, etc.

· You should practise samatha and vipassana up to the Formations-EquanimityKnowledge(SarikMr·UpekkM·/Jana).

That way, you first understand the wholesome and unwholesome by learning knowledge, and then you understand them by your direct insight knowledge. Then will you understand that all these things are wholesome kammas; they produce wisdom and happiness. But they produce only mundane wisdom and happiness. If you want the highest wisdom and happiness, if you want to achieve permanent happiness, you should try to attain Arahantship: that is best.

 

 

CONCLUSION

Now, please listen to The Buddha's summary of the fourteen explanations He

gave to Subha.

Thus indeed, student,

[1] the practice that leads to a short life leads to a short life; [2] the practice that leads to a long life leads to a long life;

[3] the practice that leads to much sickness leads to much sickness;

[4] the practice that leads to being without much sickness leads to being without

much sickness;

[5] the practice that leads to ugliness leads to ugliness;

[6] the practice that leads to good looks leads to good looks;

[7] the practice that leads to lack of influence leads to lack of influence; [8] the practice that leads to great influence leads to great influence; [9] the practice that leads to poverty leads to poverty;

[10] the practice that leads to wealth leads to wealth;

[11] the practice that leads to a low birth leads to a low birth; [12] the practice that leads to a high birth leads to a high birth; [13] the practice that leads to stupidity leads to stupidity;

[14] the practice that leads to wisdom leads to wisdom.

And The Buddha repeated His brief explanation of kamma:

Kamma owners, student, beings are kamma heirs, kamma-bom, kamma-bound, and kamma-protected.

Kamma distinguishes beings, that is, as inferior and superior.

We have given examples of the results of these fourteen ways of conduct. In the examples, you saw eminent Mahatheras who had accomplished parami in their previous lives. They accomplished wholesome kammas such as purifying their virtue, making offerings, learning the Texts, and cultivating samatha and vipassana meditation. And as we explained many times, the cause of such whole­some kammas is ignorance, craving, and clinging. And just as ignorance, craving, and clinging are varied, so are the wholesome kammas varied. With that variety of kamma consciousnesses(kamma·vifiiiana), variety of consciousnesses associated with kammic potency, there is a corresponding variety in the way they are ex­perienced: either in this same life, or in a subsequent life. This principle of variety applies also to the maturing of unwholesome kammas.

We hope that, after listening to all these stories, you may understand how be­ings are varied because of the variety of their past kamma. We hope also that you may understand that the variety of kamma is rooted in the variety of igno­rance, craving, and clinging.822/256 The variety of kamma rooted in the variety of

822 VsM.xvii.593 :4vijja·Paccaya·Sarikhara·Pada-Katha’ (‘Discussion of the Ignorance-as­Cause-Formations Phase’) PP.xvii.63 explains: ‘His non-abandonment of … ignorance about the four truths in particular prevents him from recognizing as suffering the kind of suffer­ing called the fruit of merit, which is fraught with the many dangers beginning with birth, ageing, disease, and death, and so he embarks upon the formation of merit classed as bodily, verbal, and mental formations in order to attain that [suffering], like one desiring celestial nymphs jumps over a cliff. Also not seeing how that fruit of merit reckoned as pleasure eventually breeds great distress owing to the suffering in its change and that it gives little satisfaction, he embarks upon the formation of merit of the kinds already stated, which is the condition for that very [suffering in change], like a moth that falls into a lamp’s flame, and like the man who wants the drop of honey and licks the honey­smeared knife-edge. Also not seeing the danger in the indulgence of sense-clesires, etc.,

(!I~ •• “” (utd/ut< - page.)

 

 

ignorance, craving, and clinging, produces the variety of beings, who according toreality(yatf1a·bhOta)are nothing more than the five clinging-aggregates.

with its results, [wrongly] perceiving pleasure and overcome by defilements, he embarks upon the formation of demerit that occurs in the three doors, like a child who plays with filth, and like a man who wants to die and eats poison. Also, unaware of the suffering due to formations and suffering-in-change [inherent] in kamma results in the immaterial sphere, owing to the perversions of [wrongly perceiving them as] eternal, etc., he embarks upon the formation of the imperturbable which is a mental formation, like one who has lost his way and takes the road to a goblin city. So formations exist only when ignorance exists, not when it does not.’ See also ‘Dependent Origination’, p.l07, and endnotes 74, p.232 and 76, p.232.

 

 

ENDNOlES OiAPTER IV (surrA REFERENCES ETC.)

241 VsM.viii.167 ‘Marana·Ssati·Katha’(‘Discussion of Death-Mindfulness’) PP.vlii.2-3 explains that there are two types of death.

1) timely death(kala·mara(larh): 1.1) by exhaustion of merit(pufiffa·kkhayena): exhaustion of the rebirth-link producing kamma’s maturation of result, even though the conditions for attain­ing the (full) life span still exist. 1.2) by exhaustion of life span (5yu-kkhayena): exhaustion of the 100-year lifespan of men of the present time, since: i) there does not exist destination achievement(gati..sam,talti)(VsMT: as that of devas); ii) time achievement(kala·.sampatti)(as at the beginning of the aeon); Iii) nutriment achievement(ahira..sam,talti)(superior nutriment as have the Uttarakurus, etc.), etc. (see ‘Achievement’, p.208).1.3) by exhaustion of both (ubhaya-kkhayena).

2) untimely death(akala·mara(larh): by way of kamma-interrupting kamma(kamm’ufJBC(i1eda­ka·kamma·vasena}(= interceptive kamma(upaghataka·kammaJ). 2.1) death of those with their continuity cut off by such kamma as is capable of making one fall(cavana·.samattf1ena) from one’s station in that very moment, such as Mara Diisi, King Kalabu, etc.(VsMT: also the demonNanda(Nanda’yakkha), and the student Nanda(Nanda·ma(lavaka)). 2.2) death of those with their continuity cut off by assault from a homicide, etc.(or by an accident, illness, etc.). The examples given under 2.1 are some of those who were swallowed up by the earth because of their immediately preceding evil kamma. DhpA.v.l0 Vppalavanna· Ttheri­. Vatthu’ (‘The UppalavalJlJa-Elderess Case’) describes this happening to the student Nanda, after he had raped the Arahant bhikkhuni UppalavalJlJa: for the remaining examples, see index, p.381.

242The Pali Texts give two versions of this story. DhPA.x.9-12 Van9′a·Vagga’(‘The Vio­lence Chapter’) explains that he killed his parents even as they cried out for him to save himself. JA.v.522‘Sarabhariga·Jataka· Vannana’ (‘Description of the Sarabhariga Jataka’) explains that he repented as they cried out, and did not kill them.

243This point is discussed in MiP.N.i.l ‘Kat·Adhikara·Saphala·Panho’(‘Question about Ful­filment of the Complete-Result’). Also discussed is the case of Prince Suppabuddha, who obstructed The Buddha’s almsround: see ‘Stupid Prince Suppa buddha’, p.293.

244 The Buddha discusses the four divine abidings in, for example, D.i.13 ‘re· Vfjja·Suttam’ (‘The Three-Sciences Sutta’), and A.IILILii.5 ‘Kesamutti·Suttam’ (‘The Kesamutti Sutta’). 245 In Myanmarese, ‘precious time’ is the time in which good people do good things. It derives from A.IILIILv.l0 ‘Pubbanha·Suttam’(‘The Morning Sutta’). There, The Buddha explains that those who do good deeds(su·catitam caranti) through body, speech and mind, in the morning, at noon, and in the evening/night, their morning, noon, and night is good. That means their constellation, luck, etc. are good(Su): good moment(su·kf1aQO), good instant(su·muhutto). Also in SuN.ii.4‘Marigala·Suttam’(‘The Blessing Sutta’), The Buddha speaks in this way of ‘luck’ as good kamma by body, speech, and mind.

246 The Buddha explains how the four divine abidings may serve as the basis for vipassana in, for example, M.ILii.4′Maha-Malukya·Suttam’(‘The Great Malukya Sutta’: see endnote 268, p.349), and A.VIII.II.ii.3 ‘Samkhitta·Suttam’(‘The “Brief’ Sutta’), as does the Vener­able Ananda inM.ILi.214t1hakanagara·Suttam’(‘The Atthakanagara Sutta’).

247 In his ‘Towards Eternal Peace’, prepared for delivery at the United Nations, the Most Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw explains how wars are caused by possessiveness(69) and envy(macd1ariya):his text is based on The Buddha’s explanation to Sakka, in D.ii.8 ‘Sakka·Pafiha·Sutfam’ (‘The Sakka’s Questions Sutta’).

248 In A.V.IILv.8 ‘Sa·Pputisa·Oana·Suttam’(‘The True-Man’s Offering Sutta’), The Buddha explains five ways in which the True Man makes an offering. The primary result for all of them is wealth, but there can be also a secondary result. That is, 1) if one makes offerings with faith (AA: in the efficacy of offering and in its result), it leads also to good looks; 2) if one makes offerings with respect, one’s children/wife/s1aves/servants/workers will pay

 

attention to what one says, and understand; 3) if one makes offerings at the right time (AA: not waiting till one’s old age), much wealth will come to one early in life; 4) if one makes offerings without stint, one will enjoy superior sensual pleasures; 5) if one makes offerings without harming oneself or others, one will not lose wealth to elements/kings/ thieves/unloved heirs. The opposite give the opposite results.

249 Nimmanarati: the fifth of the six deva worlds in the sensual world. The Buddha men­tions it in, for example, A.IILII.ii.l0Vpasatha·Suttam’(‘The Uposatha Sutta’).

250 Just before one is ordained, one’s hair and beard are shaved off. And one is usually instructed to reflect on the repulsiveness of one’s hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth and skin, as the shaving takes place. When the candidate’s parami are right, this first meditation may provide the right conditions for such kamma to mature by which the candidate attains a Path&Fruition. Sivali, however, was instructed to meditate on his seven-year suffering in the womb.

251 In D.iii.3 ‘(:8kka· Vatti·SIha·Nao’a·Suttam’(‘The Wheel-Turning Uon’s-Roar Sutta’), The Buddha explains that whereas in His day those who honour their elders and betters are praisedjhonoured, in the future, those who do not do so will be praised/honoured.

252 Making offerings with respect leads not only to wealth but also to receiving respect from family and associates: see endnote 248, p.301.

253 blameful (Sivajjani)/blameless(an’aVi!ijani) : in M.II.iv.8 ‘Bahitika Sutta’(‘The Ooak Sutta’), the Venerable Ananda explains blameful conduct as bodily/verbal/mental conduct that is criticized by the wise, that is unwholesome, that harms oneself, another, or both, that increases unwholesome things and decreases wholesome things, and that has painful re­sults. Blameless conduct is the opposite. In A.IV. V.iv.4 ‘Savajja·Suttam’(‘The “Blameful” Sutta’), The Buddha defines the blameful as such conduct for which one is put in hell, in­cluding blameful view. Blameless is the opposite, for which one is put in heaven. And in A.X.III.iv.7 ‘Savajja·Suttam’(‘The “Blameful” Sutta’), He defines the blameful as wrong view/intention/speech/action/livelihood/effort/mindfulness/concentration and vice-versa. 254 This point is discussed in MiP.N.i.l ‘Kat·Adhikara·Saphala·Panho’(‘Question about Ful­filment of the Complete Result’). Also discussed is the case of the demon who struck the Venerable 5ariputta on the head. (See ‘Mischievous Nanda’, p.263.)

255 In, for example, M.I.v.6 ‘Maha·Ohamma·Samadana·Suttam’(‘The Great Undertaking­Things Sutta’), The Buddha explains: ‘Here, bhikkhus, the uneducated ordinary person, who does not see Noble Ones [etc.] … the things to be followed does not understand(~vi­tDbbe dharnme naj3n8tJ);the things not to be followed does not understand(a·~vitabbe dhamme naj3n8ti), the things to be engaged in(bhajitabbe dhamme) does not understand, the things not to be engaged in does not understand …. [Shejhe these things not knowing] follows things not to be followed; does not follow things to be followed; engages in things not to be en­gaged in; does not engage in things to be engaged in.’ Contrariwise the Noble Disciple who does see Noble Ones, etc. And then The Buddha explains the four ways of undertaking things(dharnrna-samadananlj: 1) that presentlypainful(pBcaJppanna·dukkhani), and with a future painful result(5yatifi’Q1 dukkha’vip3kani), 2) that presently pleasant(pBcaJppanna’5IJkhani), and with a future painful result; 3) that presently painful, and with a future pleasant result(ayatini 5IJkha’vip3kani), 4) that presently pleasant, and with a future pleasant result. And then The Buddha explains that because the uneducated ordinary person does not understand the type of thing which undertaken leads to a painful result, nor the type of thing that leads to a pleasant result, she/he follows it, does not avoid it(a-parivajjayafD), and then experiences the unpleasant result. And the Noble Disciple then again contrariwise.

256 The Buddha explains it in, for example, A.IV.IV.iii.l(171) ’Cetana·Suttam’ (‘The Volition Sutta’): ‘A body there being, bhikkhus, there arises in oneself bodily-volition rooted happi­ness and suffering [speech/mind there being, there arises in oneself verbal/mental-volition rooted happiness/suffering]: and with ignorance as cause.’

 

Edited from source: http://tusitainternational.net/workings-of-kamma-rev2-small-kamma-analysis-sutta/ which scanned the content from the book "The Workings of Kamma" written by Pa Auk Saydaw.

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