PDA

View Full Version : Alternate Karma Theory?



Aloka
15 Jun 15, 17:33
Alternate Karma Theory

by Jayarava


Revised 15 June 2015.

Many modern Buddhists find themselves struggling with the doctrines of Buddhism that rely on metaphysical speculation even though Buddhists regularly warn each other against speculating about metaphysics. The doctrine of rebirth is the one that usually heads the list. Literal rebirth seems very implausible in the light of other fields of knowledge. The doctrine of karma is allied to rebirth in the sense that if one is reborn it is because of karma. One of the main applications of pratītyasamutpāda has been to try to explain karma and historically this effort led to changes in the ways that Buddhists understood pratītyasamutpāda.

In my examination of the history of the idea of karma, in many blog essays and one published article (2014), I have noted that Buddhists themselves were often in dispute over the details of how karma could work. The idea of pratītyasamutpāda underwent significant change to try to accommodate karma. My 2014 article explained how the doctrine of karma itself undergoes a fundamental shift in the Mahāyāna that effectively decouples actions from consequences. The issue of whether there is or is not an interval between death and rebirth depends on how one interprets the karma doctrine to begin with. Despite an almost universal attempt by authors who write about Buddhism to present smoothed over accounts of these doctrines, what we find in the texts is a long history of dispute and alteration in search of coherence.

By now we know that no two Buddhist sects applied pratītyasamutpāda to the karma doctrine in the quite the same way. This knowledge may take some pressure off modern Buddhists who struggle to integrate Iron Age and medieval Buddhist ideas into their worldview. Even most Iron Age and medieval Buddhists could not quite believe it!


CONTINUED AT THE LINK

http://jayarava.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/alternate-karma-theory.html


Any comments about the complete article at the link ?

:hands:

daverupa
15 Jun 15, 20:37
Very nice article, good questions are asked & discussed.

Kamma & rebirth are topics that pre-exist Buddhism and Jainism, so the flowing ideations about all this would have been quite colorful in the preceding century or so. That we see this interplay of contrasting ideas in the texts is important to consider:


Inconsistency is a feature of the early Buddhist texts. That the Pali Canon preserves views which are not consistent with Theravāda orthodoxy is both interesting and useful. It suggests that the Theravādins preserved these texts, but that other unknown factors were at work in the collection process. Perhaps the Theravāda sect was once more diverse than it presently is with respect to doctrine. Buddhaghosa, as we see in his commentary on this sutta, had an homogenizing effect. At the very least we must think of the Pāḷi texts as a much more heterogeneous body of literature than we have previously.

It seems likely that the first few centuries saw collection, compilation, and extrapolation on the proto-Nikaya stock of Buddhavacana, and this generated a slow growth of material that ends up coming to us in a few different Scholastic editions, only one of which is complete.

And, all of this predates the Abhidhamma, which is itself an effort to craft these plaid texts into whole cloth. The effort that generated the old Abhidhamma texts is the very effort we are called on today to engage with as we read these ancient Nikayas/Agamas - absorbing any Tradition wholesale is simply not advised, and the later the Tradition's origins the more grandiose its deviations are likely to be.

daverupa
21 Jun 15, 01:49
...& in fact, AN 9.13 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.013.than.html) states that the holy life is lived without reference to kamma at all...

McKmike
21 Jun 15, 05:49
...& in fact, AN 9.13 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.013.than.html) states that the holy life is lived without reference to kamma at all...

""Just as the great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt, so also this Dhamma and Discipline has one taste, the taste of liberation. This is the sixth wonderful and marvellous quality in this Dhamma and Discipline..." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.5.05.irel.html
The Buddha was consistent, the dhamma is about practice, a heuristic method to see in this moment the truth of reality and not about speculation

"'This is stress,' my friend; 'This is the origination of stress,' my friend; 'This is the cessation of stress,' my friend; 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,' my friend, is the unknown, unseen, unattained, unrealized and not broken-through-to that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One with the purpose of knowing, seeing, attaining, realizing, & breaking through to. This is the unknown, unseen, unattained, unrealized and not broken-through-to that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One with the purpose of knowing, seeing, attaining, realizing, & breaking through to." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.013.than.html

Thanks for the reference very helpful

Aloka
25 Jun 15, 04:58
...& in fact, AN 9.13 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.013.than.html) states that the holy life is lived without reference to kamma at all...

Thanks Dave, I hadn't read that sutta before!

:hands: