Friday, September 09, 2011

Must We Experience The Result of All Kamma (Karma)?

I just answered a question about whether one must experience the result of all of one's karma, and I couldn't remember where the right passage was. I found it in a translation by Nyanaponika here:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/kammafruit.html

But I was disappointed with the translation, which seems ambiguous at best. At worst, it equates the two very different potential answers. So, I'm editing the translation and offering it here:



"If one says that in whatever way a person performs a kammic action, in that way he will experience it — in that case there will be no (possibility for a) religious life and no opportunity would appear for the complete ending of suffering.

"But if one says that in whatever way a person performs a kammic action the result of which is to be experienced, in that way he will experience the result — in that case there will be (a possibility for) a religious life and an opportunity for making a complete end of suffering."

— AN 3.110




And here is the Pali:



“yo, bhikkhave, evaṃ vadeyya — ‘yathā yathāyaṃ puriso kammaṃ karoti tathā tathā taṃ paṭisaṃvediyatī’ti, evaṃ santaṃ, bhikkhave, brahmacariyavāso na hoti, okāso na paññāyati sammā dukkhassa antakiriyāya.

yo ca kho, bhikkhave, evaṃ vadeyya — ‘yathā yathā vedanīyaṃ ayaṃ puriso kammaṃ karoti tathā tathāssa vipākaṃ paṭisaṃvediyatī’ti, evaṃ santaṃ, bhikkhave, brahmacariyavāso hoti, okāso paññāyati sammā dukkhassa antakiriyāya.




So, saying we must experience the result of all karma is equivalent to closing the door to freedom from the cycle of samsara. All we can say for sure is that if our karma does bring a result, that result will be of a kind with the original karma.