Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Action (karma) has Fruit

Wisdom Quarterly
Karma is a broad and complex with mental resultants and fruit, vipaka and phala (buddhist-network.com).

According to the Buddha: Beings are owners of their actions (karma, those things willed, performed, and accumulated), inheritors of their actions, are created by their actions, linked to their actions. Their actions produce their destiny.

Whatever actions they engage in -- profitable and unprofitable skillful or unskillful -- the resultants (vipaka) and fruit (phala) will be theirs.

There is one who
  • PHYSICALLY: kills living beings, steals what belongs to others, sexually misconducts [harming others under protection or in a relationship];
  • VERBALLY: utters falsehoods, uses divisive and aggressive speech, prattles empty speech; is covetous, envious,
  • MENTALLY: is jealous, malicious, or holds wrong views.
The intention or motivation behind bodily, verbal, and mental actions -- whether rooted in greed, aversion, or delusion or their opposites -- determines the quality of the fruit to be expected. [The morality of the person or persons one does it to also contributes a great deal.]

Hidden and secret are such intentions determining the eventual result of one's deeds, words, and thoughts [when they opportunistically get a chance to ripen]. It is difficult to know others' ulterior and concealed motives but possible, with mindful reflection, to discern one's own.

But I tell you: Whoever pursues hidden ways and [harmful] objectives may expect one of two results -- either torments in perdition or rebirth among animals. So it is with the rebirth of any being. They are reborn according to their store of actions.
  • [The death-proximate consciousness is followed by the rebirth-linking consciousness taking some past act as object; karma therefore gains the opportunity to condition the following life, and other karma results in the conditions one meets, and how one reacts is again the karma one is making and can expect to inherit; therefore, a stumble can lead to downfall unless, in the face of adversity, one maintains the habit of skillful and profitable responses.]
When reborn, beings experience the exact effects of their actions. Therefore do I declare: Beings are owners of their actions, inheritor of their actions, are created by their actions, are linked to their actions either [in the case of unskillful actions] like a heavy load drawn by a yoked ox or [in the case of skillful deeds] a weightless shadow that follows one everywhere.

Their actions produce and condition their destiny. Whatever actions they perform, wholesome or unwholesome, the results and fruits will be their inheritance. Karma causes and conditions not only rebirth but the conditions that follow.