Abhidhamma In Daily Life
Part 5 - Can We Reform Or Not?
Among the four vipatti conditions, some can be rectified and some cannot. There is nothing we can do about the plan of existence we are born in. This means gati vipatti cannot be rectified.
But for some vipatti conditions can be improved or rectified. For example if you are born poor, ignorant environments you can move to patirupa desa (favorable places). We can see many foreigners moving into our country in search for wealth. So also people from upper Myanmar move southwards to lower Myanmar for the same purpose. Scholars are known to move to localities where better education is available. Yet you ought to possess certain basic qualifications such as intelligence and diligence to win success in other place. Without these, moving to another place will be fruitless.
In the case of upadhi sampatti or upadhi vipatti the bodily features cannot be changed. But you can improve your appearance by means of suitable and matching attire. The impact of stylish garments can be noticed in the difference between urbanites and country folk. Mother can, in many ways, improve the bone structure and rectified minor deformities of their babies. Even some form of facial ugliness and dissymmetry of limbs can be improved by proper care and means, and the health of the babies can be well maintained through proper feeding and dieting. The ignorance and carelessness of mothers cause slight deformities as well as ill health in their infants. The absence of payoga sampatti makes room for akusala kamma to take effect. Payoga sampatti includes knowledge, intelligence and right effort the combination of which can rectify certain defects.
In the case of kala vipatti one person cannot do much to alter the conditions. Only the rulers are capable of doing so. Nevertheless, except in the time of global turmoil, one can move to places where there are capable leaders. Local leaders such as the village headman, community leaders and abbots can make conditions improve in their localities to some extent. You will, by this time, realize that the three vipatti conditions, namely gati, upadhi and kala can be improved and rectified to a certain extent.
The easiest to rectify is payoga. If you are lazy you can reform yourself to be industrious. If you are short-tempered, you can practice patience and become an affectionate person. If you are vainly proud, you can admonish yourself not to be so. If you lack knowledge and education, you can learn from the wise. In a short time you will accumulate knowledge and wisdom. Those who try to reform themselves, to rectify their faults will benefits not only in the present life but also in the countless existences to come i.e. in samsara.
Do Not Always Depend On Kamma
In this world there are four great religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Hinduism and Buddhism believe kamma and its result. Christianity and Islam believe in the Creator of the universe. The belief in Creator of the universe will not be dealt with in detail. That this is wrong belief will be easily evident to the reader of this book. Those who believe that past kamma deeds and their results solely determine the destiny of a being is accepting also wrong belief known as Pubbekatahetuditthi. This is wrong belief because it professes that all good and bad effects experiences by all sentient beings are sole results of good and bad deeds done in the past existences.
Therefore Buddhists who believe that past kamma actions alone determine the present life are committed to Pubbekatahetuditthi. Keeping in mind the four sampatti and the four vipatti, you can be positive that the results of good and bad kamma are pursuing you all the time. But the effects of evil deeds can produce effects only when vipatti conditions prevail. And the effects of past good deeds come to you only when the sampatti conditions are ambient. This is right belief or right view.
Even if you have done bad deeds in the past they will not produce effects if you diligently cultivate payoga sampatti. If in this life, you strive to fulfill parami perfections such as Dana, Síla, etc., you will be reborn in a luxurious abode. If you keep on cultivating payoga sampatti in every existence, you will forever enjoy sati sampatti. Then your bad kamma kusala will never get the chance to harm you until the attainment of Nibbána. Therefore do not worry about your past kamma deeds which you cannot see or recollect. Try to be righteously prosperous in this life; reform yourself and develop payoga sampatti to the highest magnitude so that you will soar higher in the cycle of rebirths.
Both kusala kamma and akusala kamma produce reciprocal and similar effects. Someone who had taken life will be killed in one of his next existences; or he will be infested with ailments. [See also Ratana Gonyi for details].
Reciprocal Effects Of Dana
Generosity, alms giving, charity and the goodwill to help others are all Dana. The effect of Dana is such that the donor will be wealthy all the more in the next existence. But if you fail to have apara cetana volition (post-charity volition), that is if you feel stingy or remorse after your charity, you will not be happy in your next life in spite of your wealth. You will spend your days in the manner of a destitute even though you are a rich person.