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Thread: A Big Pot of Merit

  1. #11
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    Hello Woodscooter,

    To comment on your points. I'm pleased you think I'm up the right tree but I'm not sure I haven't dug myself a hole.

    Anyway I think:
    “Self IS the result of past deeds” does invite some speculation on what this “self” might be composed of.
    I think in this context I was referring to the personal experience of “self”, as in the quality of the experience which has resulted from our previous actions. I might try to expand on the idea and post something in due course.

    I think: Karmic deeds can be done in isolation, e.g. thoughts which will affect the mental continuum of the thinker, there is no need for them to directly involve others, as in positive meditational exercises or stewing up hateful thoughts.

    I would understand that: Unintentional harm doesn’t create negative karmic outcomes since they are said to require specific qualities as below:
    (Sorry, again from my notes, paraphrased, without a source, but from a mahayana perspective)

    "Karmic actions are willed and directed activities of body, speech and mind. Karmic outcomes are dependent on motivation or intention which can be defined as virtuous, non-virtuous and neutral. They have effects, the intensity of which is determined by the strength of the motivations behind them. There are three factors which result in a “completed” karmic action:
    -First the preparation which defines the object of the action, the intention to carry out the action, and for a non-virtuous action, the presence of an affliction such as anger, attachment or confusion.
    -Secondly there is the action itself, and
    -Thirdly the completion of the action accompanied by pleasure or satisfaction that the deed was done."

    I understand also that the final satisfaction or pleasure is a key component. If disgust or regret follows the action the karmic result would not be the same or as severe. This indicates a purely personal connection to the action, and therefore a person in isolation could still generate karmic results from their solitary actions." Karma is generated by intention etc, rather than outcome. Perhaps.

    If anyone has other perspectives or definitions please post them.

  2. #12
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    Having thought a bit more about merit and karma, there is another interesting 'in' to the subject. If you look behind the science of the brain and mind, whatever we think or do influences both, even to the point of bringing about restructuring of the brain. We can then see merit and karma as the changes which are the result of actions, or even thoughts, we undertake. This would take care of the 'good intentions' part too.

  3. #13
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
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    Richard,

    You are right to follow “Self IS the result of past deeds” with some thought as to what is meant by "self". Even though Buddhism teaches that the self arises from conditioned thought, there is an entity doing the thinking, creating the arising and with a path towards liberation from the self. We may deny the self but cannot deny the entity that creates the image of a self.

    If karma exists, that predicates something exists that is capable of forming an intention and being the receptacle for accumulated karma (or indeed merit).

    That's as far as my tiny brain can go. I'll end by repeating "I hesitate to offer any speculation as to the way in which karma (or kamma) operates."

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