A Discourse on Paticcasamuppada

by Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw | 62,614 words

The Paticcasamuppada refers to “The Doctrine of Dependent Origination”. This is the English translation done by U Aye Maung Published by U Min Swe Buddhasasana Nuggaha Organization Rangoon, Burma....

Chapter 3 - Rejection Of Good Kamma Means Bad Kamma

Some people misinterpret the lack of good or bad kamma on the part of the Arahat and say that we should avoid doing good deeds. For an ordinary person the rejection of good kamma will mean the upsurge of bad kamma, just as the exodus of good people from a city leaves only fools and rogues, or the removal of useful trees is followed by the growth of useless grass and weeds. The man who rejects good deeds is bound to do bad deeds that will land him in the lower worlds. It will be hard for him to return to the human world.

In point of fact, the Arahats dissociation from good kamma means only that because of the extinction of avijja, his action is kammically unproductive. Indeed the Arahats do good deeds such as revering the elder theras, preaching, giving alms, helping living beings who are in trouble and so forth. But, with their total realization of the four noble truths and the elimination of avijja, their good actions do not have any kammic effect. So it is said that the Arahat does not have good kamma, not that he avoids doing good deeds.

An ordinary person who does not care for good deeds because of his avijja and mistaken view, will build up only bad kamma that are bound to lead to the lower worlds. In fact the lack of the desire to do good is a sign of abysmal ignorance that makes the holy path. and Nibbana remote. The mind becomes inclined to good deeds in so far as avijja loses its hold on it. A sotapanna yoga is more interested in doing good than when he was an ordinary man. The same may be said of those at the higher stages of the Ariyan path. The only difference is the increasing desire to give up doing things irrelevant to the path and devote more time to contemplation. So, good deeds should not be lumped together with bad deeds and purposely avoided. Every action that is bound up with avijja means either good kamma or bad kamma. In the absence of good kamma all will be bad kamma.

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