Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 940,961 words

This page describes “the knowledge of the retribution of actions (karmavipaka-jnanabala)” as written by Nagarjuna in his Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra (lit. “the treatise on the great virtue of wisdom”) in the 2nd century. This book, written in five volumes, represents an encyclopedia on Buddhism as well as a commentary on the Pancavimsatisahasrika Prajnaparamita.

II. The knowledge of the retribution of actions (karmavipāka-jñānabala)

The power of the knowledge of the retribution of actions (karmavipākajñānabala). – Whether it is a matter of actions carried out by the body or speech, of actions unaccomplished in the present lifetime, of actions resulting from discipline of vow (samādānaśīla),[1] of bad actions, of actions to be carried out during one day and one night,[2] of sinful or meritorious actions: the Buddha has summarily explained the threefold sphere of action of all of these, and this is what is called the natures of karman.

1) The Buddha knows the past (atīta) actions of all beings the retribution of which is also past, the past actions the retribution of which is taking place in the present (pratyutpanna), the past action the retribution of which is in the future (anāgata), the past actions the retribution of which is in the past and the present, the past actions the retribution of which is in the past and the future, the past actions the retribution of which is in the present and the future, the past actions the retribution of which is in the past, future and present. It is the same for present actions.

2) Furthermore, among the good minds (kuśalacitta), there are those that undergo the retribution of good (kuśala), bad (akuśala) or indeterminate (avyākṛta) actions.[3] It is the same for bad (akuśala) minds and indeterminate (avyākṛta) minds.

3) Furthermore, as a result of a salutary (kṣema) action, one undergoes a pleasant retribution (iṣṭavipāka); as a result of a pernicious (akṣema) action, one undergoes an unpleasant retribution (aniṣṭavipāka); as a result of an action that is neither salutary nor pernicious (naivakṣemanaākṣema) action, one undergoes a neither unpleasant nor pleasant retribution.[4]

As a result of an action to be experienced in the present lifetime (dṛṣṭadharmavedanīya), one undergoes a retribution in the present lifetime; as a result of an action to be experienced after having been reborn (upapadyavedanīya), one undergoes a retribution after having been reborn [i.e., in the very next lifetime to come]; as a result of an action to be undergone later (aparaparyāyavedanīya), one undergoes a retribution in a later existence [from the third onward].[5]

As a result of an impure (aśubha) action, one undergoes a retribution of torment; as a result of a pure (śubha) action, one undergoes a retribution free of torment. As a result of a mixed (saṃbhinna) action, one undergoes a mixed retribution.

4) Furthermore, there are two kinds of actions: the action that must necessarily be experienced (niyatavedanīya) and the action that will not necessarily be experienced (aniyatacedanīya).[6]

The action that must necessarily be experienced is that from which one cannot escape.

a. Sometimes the action that must necessarily be experienced depends (apekṣate) on the time (kāla), a person (pudgala) and the place (sthāna) in order to undergo its retribution.

Thus a person who is to enjoy happiness in the company of a noble cakravartin king awaits the moment when the noble cakravartin king appears in the world, and that is the moment when he attains his reward: therefore he depends on the time. He depends also on an individual, on the occurrence of the noble cakravartin king, and finally, he depends on the place, i.e., the place where the noble cakravartin king is born.

But there are actions that must necessarily be experienced which do not depend on any skill or any deed. Whether they are beautiful (suvarṇa) or ugly [238a] (durvarṇa), they present themselves without being sought, Thus for the person who has taken birth in the paradises, the happiness resulting from merit (puṇyasukha) appears by itself, and for the person who is in hell (niraya), the suffering resulting from the sin (āpattiduḥkha) follows him by itself. These actions do not depend on causes and conditions because they are especially serious (guru).[7]

As actions inevitably to be experienced (niyatavedanīya), see for example the army of P’i-lieou-li (Viruḍhaka) that killed seventy-two thousand men who were in possession of the Path (mārgaprāpta) and innumerable lay practitioners (upāsaka) who were keeping the five precepts (pañcaśikṣāpada).[8]

See also the great magicians (mahāṛddhika) like Mou-lien (Maudgalyāyana), etc., who could not be saved.[9]

See also Po-kiu-lo (Bakkula) who was thrown by his step-mother into the fire, into boiling water and into water, but who did not die.[10]

Finally, the Buddha, when he was traveling through the kingdoms as a wandering mendicant (pravrajita), was begging and did not lack for offerings of food. However, five hundred carts brought him kingly food; in the foliage [alongside of which] he was walking, there grew seeds of rice (śāli, taṇḍula) and in his cooked rice (odana) there was an emulsion of a hundred flavors (ojaḥ śatarasam).[11]

Good or bad, actions of this kind are to be experienced (niyatavedanīya) necessarily; the others do not necessarily have to be experienced (aniyatavedanīya).

5) The desire realm (kāmadhātu) is the place (sthāna) where one undergoes the retribution (vipāka) for three kinds of actions, namely, action to be experienced pleasantly (sukhavedanīya), action to be experienced unpleasantly (duḥkhavedanīya) and action to be experienced neither unpleasantly nor pleasantly (aduḥkhāsukhavedanīya).

The form realm (rūpadhātu) is the place where one undergoes the retribution of two types of actions, namely, the action to be experienced pleasantly (sukhavedanīya) and the action to be experienced neither unpleasantly nor pleasantly (duḥkhāsukhavedanīya).

The formless realm (ārūpyadhātu) is the place where one undergoes he retribution of one single kind of action, namely, the action to be experienced neither unpleasantly nor pleasantly (adḥukhāsukhavedanīya).[12]

6) There are retributions dependent on an object (vastupekṣa) and it is thanks to this object that one obtains the retribution of action. Thus, in the pools (taḍāga) of king Fou-kia-lo-p’o [erroneous transcription for Fou-kia-lo-so-li = Pukkusāti[13]] there grew thousand-petaled golden lotuses (sahasrapattrāṇisuvarṇāvabhāsani padmāni), as large as chariot wheels[14] and, because of them, a large crowd of people were overjoyed and many went forth from home (pravrajita) and obtained Bodhi.

7) The Buddha knows the places (sthāna) where beings carry out their actions, whether in the desire realm (kāmadhātu), the form realm (rūpadhātu) or the formless realm (ārūpyadhātu).

If it is in the desire realm, he knows in what destiny (gati); if it is in the divine destiny (devagati), he knows among which gods; if it is among humans (manuṣya), he knows in what continent (dvīpaka); if it is in Jambudvīpa, he knows in what kingdom (rāṣṭra); if it is in a kingdom, he knows in what city (nagara) or village (nigama); if it is in a vihāra, he knows in what place; if it is in a city (naga), he knows in what quarter (vāṭa), in what street (vīthi), in what house (prāsāda) and in what room (sthāna).

8) The Buddha knows at what time a given action has been carried out, whether it was one generation ago, two generations ago, up to a hundred thousand generations ago.

9) He knows the number of times the retribution of a given action (karmavipākaphala) has been undergone, has not yet been undergone, will necessarily be undergone or not necessarily undergone.

10) He knows the good or bad tools that have been used [to carry out an action]; a knife (śastra), a stick (daṇḍa), an order for an execution (vadhaśāsana), etc.; he knows if one has killed oneself or if one has ordered someone else to kill. It is the same for all other bad actions and also all good actions.

11) The Buddha knows what generosity (dāna) and what disciplines (śīla) have been cultivated.

In regard to generosity, if a thing has been given, he knows if it is land, a house (gṛha), a garment (cīvara), food (piṇḍapāta), medicine (bhaiṣajya), a bed or seat (śayanāsana), an object made of the seven jewels (saptaratnamaya vasu).

In regard to discipline (śīla), the Buddha knows if it is a discipline of vow (samādānaśīla), a discipline acquired naturally (dharmatāprātilambhikaśīla),[15] a discipline of mental order (caitasikaśīla), a discipline of speech (vākśīla), an ekadeśakakārin discipline, a pradeśakārin discipline, a yadbhūyaskārin discipline, a paripūrṇakārin discipline,[16] a discipline of a single day (ekadivasaśīla),[17] a discipline of observing the seven good paths of action (saptakuśalakarmapatha),[18] a discipline observing the ten precepts fully (daśaśikṣāpada), or a discipline joined with concentration (samādhi).

12) In regard to meritorious works (puṇya), the Buddha knows those who cultivate the first, second, third or fourth dhyāna, the four immeasurables of loving-kindness (maitrī), compassion (karuṇā), joy (muditā) and equanimity (upekṣa) and other similar causes and conditions of good actions.

13) The Buddha knows the various causes and conditions of bad actions, such as greed (mātsarya), malice (vyāpāda), fear (bhaya), bad views (mithyādṛṣṭi), [238b] bad friends (pāpamitra), etc. He knows the various causes and conditions of good actions such as faith (śraddhā), compassion (karuṇā), respect (satkāra), trance (dhyāna) and absorption (samāpatti), wisdom (prajñā), good friends (kalyāṇamitra), etc.

Actions are dominant (adhipati): there is no one among gods or men who is able to change the nature of actions.

For thousands of years, myriads, hundreds of thousands of existences, action always follows its perpetrator without release, like a creditor (ṛṇāyika) pursuing his debtor.[19]

When the action meets the combination of causes and conditions (hetupratyāyasāmagrī), it produces its fruit of retribution (vipākaphalaṃ dadāti), like a seed (bīja) planted in the soil, encountering the complex of causes and conditions and the right time (hetupratāyasāmagrīṃ prāpya kālaṃ ca), germinates anew.[20]

Action projects the being into an existence of the six destinies with the speed of an arrow..

All beings are heirs to their actions (karmadāyāda) in the way that sons inherit the wealth of their fathers which is bequeathed to them.[21]

When the fruit of action is in progress, it cannot be stopped, like the fire at the end of the kalpa (palpoddāha).          

Action distributes beings among the various places where they are to be reborn, like the great king of a country distributes administrative posts according to the services rendered.

When a man dies, action covers up his mind like a great mountain extending its shadow over things.

Action assigns various bodies [to beings] like the master artist (citrakmara) who makes different images (pratimā).

If a person acts well, action procures a fine reward for him; if the person acts badly, action procures a bad punishment for him, like the man who serves a king and is rewarded according to his services.

This is a classification of actions and their retribution.

14) [Mahākarmavibhaṅgasūtra].[22] – Moreover, in the Fen-pie-ye-king (Karmavibhaṅgasūtra), the Buddha said to Ānanda: “[It may happen] that a man who does bad deeds is reborn in a good place (sugatim utpadyate) and that a man who does good deeds is reborn in a bad place (durgatim utpdyate).”

Ānanda asked: “How is that possible?”

The Buddha replied: “If the bad action (pāpakarman) done by the evil man during the present lifetime (dṛṣṭa eva dharme) has not yet ripened (aparipakva) and if a good action done by him during a previous lifetime (pūrve kṛtaṃ kalyānakarma) is already ripened (paripakva), then for this reason – although presently he is doing something bad – he takes rebirth in a good place. Or again if, at the moment of his death (maraṇakāle), a good mind (kuśalacitta) and good mental events (kuśalacaitasikadharma) arise in him, then for this reason, he takes rebirth in a good place.”[23]

“[It may also happen] that a man who has done a good deed takes rebirth in a bad place. If the good action (kalyāṇakarman) done by the honest man during the present lifetime (dṛṣṭa eva dharme) has not yet ripened (aparipakva) and if a bad deed done by him during an earlier lifetime (pūrve kṛtaṃ kalyāṇakarma) is already ripe (paripakva), then, for that reason and although he is doing good actions presently, he is reborn in a bad place. Or also if, at the moment of his death (maraṇakāle), a bad mind (akuśalacitta) and bad mental events (akuśalacaitasikadharma) arise in him, then, for that reason he takes rebirth in a bad place.”[24]

Question. – This way of seeing in regard to action already ripened (paripakva) and action not yet ripened (aparipakva) is acceptable. But how can the mind at death (maraṇacitta), which lasts only a short time, prevail over the power of actions (saṃskārabala) that extend over an entire lifetime? (see Appendix 2) 

Answer. – Although this mind may be very short, its power (bala) is intense (paṭu). It is like fire (agni) or poison (viṣa) that, although small, can accomplish great things. The mind at death is so determinate (niyata) and so strong (dhṛta) that it prevails over the power of action (saṃskārabala) extending over a century.

This last mind is called ‘the great mind’ (mahācitta) for it has, as its urgent task, the abandoning of the body (svadehaparityāga) and the organs (indriya).[25] Thus the man in battle (raṇa), who does not spare his life, is called a hero (śūra), and the arhat, who gives up attachment to life, attains arhathood. [238c]

Those are the various retributions of sinful and meritorious actions as well as their functioning (pravṛtti).

The śrāvakas know only that bad action is punished and good action rewarded, but they are unable to analyze the problem with such clarity.[26] The Buddha himself understands fully and completely both action and the retribution of action. The power of his knowledge (jñānaprabhāva) is without obstacle (avyāhata), is indestructible (akṣaya) and invincible (ajeya): this is why it is described as the second ‘power’.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Discipline of vow, see above, p. 819–852F.

2.

Also called discipline of upavāsastha: cf. p. 825–929F.

3.

Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 51, p. 263a6; Kośabhāṣya, p. 227, l. 5: Kuśalam akuśalam avyākṛtaṃ karmati.

4.

Kośabhāṣya, p. 227, l. 7–9: Kṣemaṃ karma kuśalaṃ yad iṣṭavipākaṃ nirvāṇaprāpakaṃ ca duḥkhaparitrānāt tatkālam atyantaṃ ca. akṣemam akuśalaṃ kṣemapratidvandvabhāvena yasyāniṣṭo vipākaḥ. tābhyām itarat karma naivakṣemanākṣemaṃ yat tatkuśalākuśalābhyām itarat veditavyam.

Transl. – Good action is salutary whether it brings a pleasant retribution or whether it makes one obtain nirvāṇa; in the first case, temporarily, in the second case, once and for all. Bad action is pernicious, for it is, by nature, opposed to salvation: it is unpleasant retribution. An action different from the two preceding ones, namely, good and bad, is neither salutary nor pernicious.

5.

Here it is a matter of determinate (niyata) action, i.e., action that must necessarily be experienced (niyatavedanīya). It is of three kinds: cf. Kośabhāṣya, p. 229–230: Niyataṃ trividhaṃ dṛṣṭadharmavedanīyam upapadyavedanīyam aparaparyāyavedanīam… tatra dṛṣṭdharmavedanīyaṃ yatra janmani kṛtaṃ tatraiva vipacyate. upadyavedanīyaṃ dvitīye janmani. aparaparyāyavedanīyaṃ tasmāt pareṇa: “Determinate action is of three kinds: i) action to be experienced in the present lifetime or action that ripens in the same existence as it was accomplished in; ii) action to be experienced after having been reborn or action that ripens in the existence following the one in which it was accomplished; iii) action to be experienced later or action that ripens in a later existence, after the third.”

That is the canonical doctrine: cf. Anguttara, III, p. 415: Tividdhāhaṃ bhikkhave kammānaṃ vipākaṃ vadāmi: diṭṭh’ eva dhamme upapajjaṃ vā pariyāye. See also Majjhima, III, p. 214–215; Anguttara, V, p. 294, 297; Visuddhimagga, p. 515; L. de La Vallée Poussin, Morale bouddhique, 1927, p. 177–181.

6.

See Kośa, IV, p. 241.

7.

In order to estimate the lightness or heaviness of an action, six causes must be considered: see Kośa, IV, p. 241.

8.

After having massacred the Śākyas, Viruḍhaka (Viḍūdabha in Pāli) and his army established their encampment on the shores and the bed of the Aciravati river. During the night, a sudden flood drowned them and they all perished. See above, p. 508–509F, note.

9.

Although he was the most powerful of the magicians, Maudgalyāyana ended his last lifetime tragically: he was beaten like sugar-cane by heretics who reduced his bones to powder, and this resulted in his death. The great disciple thus expiated a sin he had committed against his parents in an earlier lifetime.

According to some sources, this was a matter of a simple mental sin: Anavataptagāthā (ed. Bechert, p. 94–97; transl. Hofinger, p. 199–202, p. 190c15–191a16; T 1448, k. 16, p. 78c22–79a28; Tchong king siuan tsa p’i yu, T 208, no. 15, k. 1, p. 535a23–b4); Pāli Jātaka, V, p. 125–126.

According to others, on the other hand, Maudgalyāyana really assassinated his blind parents in a pretended attack by robbers: Pāli Apadāna, I, p. 31–33; Commentary of the Dhammapada, III, p. 65–69 (transl. Burlingame, II, p. 304–307); W, Rockhill, Life of the Buddha, p. 109–110; P. Bigandet, Vie en Légende du Gaudama, p. 266–267.

10.

For Bakkula, see above, p. 1386F. The detail given here appears, to my [Lamotte’s] knowledge, only in the King liu yi siang, T 2121, k. 37, p. 201a1–9 (transl. Chavannes, Contes, III, p. 229–230): Bakkula lost his mother at the age of seven and his father took another wife who hated the son of her predecessor. While she was steaming some cakes in an earthenware jar, the child asked his step-mother for some and she threw him into the jar; then she closed the opening with a plate in the hope of killing the boy; but the latter, finding himself inside the jar, ate the cakes and did not die.

At another time, she took the child and put him on a red-hot baking-sheet; but he ate the cakes on the sheet and did not die.

Later, having gone to the river bank to wash clothes, the woman threw the boy into the river; a fish swallowed him, etc.

11.

On the Buddha’s food (ojas or ojā) of a hundred flavors (śatarasa), see above, p. 125F, note 1. The Mūlasarv. Vinaya (Gilgit Manuscript, III, part 1, p. 38–39; T 1448, k. 10, p. 47a9–23) also tells the following: When the Bhagavat began to eat the barley (yava) at Verañja, the venerable Ānanda, completely upset, began to weep: The Bhagavat, he said, in the course of his existences, gave the gift of his hands, his feet and his head; at the end of three incalculable periods, he attained omniscience and now here he eats barley growing in holes! The Bhagavat said to him: Ānanda, do you want to eat these barley grains stuck between the teeth of the Tathāgata? When Ānanda said yes, he gave him one of these grains and said: This, O Ānanda, is the very pure food of the Tathāgata; it eclipses thebest of all flavors. If the Tathāgata eats no matter how coarse a food, this food changes for the Tathāgata into food of a hundred flavors (yadi tathāgataḥ prākṛtam apy āhāraṃ paribhuṅkte tad api tathāgatasyānnaśatarasaṃ saṃparivartate).

12.

All of this is fully explained in Kośa, IV, p. 109.

13.

Pukkusāti, king of Takṣaśilā, a contemporary and friend of Bimbisāra, king of Magadha. Having read the description of the Three Jewels on a golden plaque sent to him by Bimbisāra, Pukkusāti renounced his throne, put on the yellow robe of a monk and went to search for the Buddha. Stage by stage he came to Rājagṛha and took his lodging at the home of the potter Bhaggava. The Buddha himself joined him there and during the night preached the Dhātuvibhaṅgasūtra (Majjhima, III, p. 237–247) to him. Pukkusāti requested and obtained ordination. Leaving immediately to seek for an alms- bowl and robe, he was attacked and killed by a cow. The Buddha disclosed to his monks that Pukkasāti had attained the fruit of anāgamin and has taken rebirth in the Avṛha heaven.

The history of this disciple is fully told in the Commentary of the Majjhima, V, p. 33 seq.

14.

These giant lotuses have been described above, p. 571F.

15.

See the list of disciplines in Pañcaviṃśati (T 223, k. 23, p. 390b13–14; T 220, vol. VII, k. 467, p. 15–17). As the Kośa says, the discipline of vow (samādānaśīla) depends on a vijñāpti, on an information, whereas the discipline acquired naturally (dharmatāprātilambhikaśīla or dharmatāśīla), i.e., arisen from samādhi, is just avijñapti, non-information.

In Kośa, IV, p. 49, n. 3, L. de La Vallée Poussin explains: We distinguish the samādhiśīla, the discipline obtained by making a vow, a resolution: “I will not do this or that” (type: Pratimokṣa discipline) and the dharmatāprātilambhikaśīla, the discipline acquired either without vow or act of speech: this is the discipline acquired just by the fact of possessing a dhyāna (for one possesses a dhyāna only by becoming detached from the afflictions of kāmadhātu) or by entering into the Path (pure discipline involving abstention from certain actions).

16.

These four disciplines, ekadeśakārin, etc., in regard to the layperson have already been defined above, p. 821F and note.

17.

See above, p. 825F.

18.

The discipline consisting of the observing of the seven good paths of material (rūpin) action (karmapatha): abstaining from the three misdeeds of body and the four misdeeds of speech.

19.

The comparison of the creditor is canonical: cf. Saṃyutta, I, p. 170, 171: Paccūsamhi iṇayikā detha dethā ti codenti.

20.

Paraphrase of the classical stanza:

Na praṇaśyanti karmāṇi kalpakoṭiśatair api |
sāmagrīṃ prāpya kālaṃ ca phalanti khalu dehinām ||

21.

Cf. Saṃyutta, II, p. 101–102; III, p. 152: Seyyathāpi bhikkhave rajako vā cittakāro vā sati rajanāya vā lākkhāya vā haliddiyā vā nīliyā vā mañjeṭṭāya vā suparimaṭṭhe va phalake bhittiyā vā dussapaṭṭe vā itthirūpaṃ vā abhinimmineyya sabbaṅgapaccaṅgaṃ…”Just as a painter, using colors, lacquer, ginger, indigo or madder, using a well-polished piece of wood, a wall or a cloth, draws a picture of a woman or man with all its members and limbs…” so action, which is mind (citta), in imitation of the painter (citraka), creates all the destinies of beings.

The Saddharmasmṛtyupasthāna (T721, k. 5, p. 23b18–c25) is inspired by this canonical passage in the parable dedicated to the mind of the painter. This parable has been commented learnedly and fully by Lin Li-Kouang, L’Aide-mémoire de la Vraie Loi, 1949, p. 65 seq.

22.

Sutta from Majjhima, III, p. 207–215 (Tchong a han, T 26, k. 44, p. 706b12–708c28).

23.

Majjhima,III,p. 214, l. 17–26: Tatr’ Ānanda, yvāyaṃ puggalo idha pāṇātipātī adinnādāyī – pe – micchādiṭṭhī, kāyassa bhedā param maraṇā sugatiṃ saggaṃ lokaṃ uppajjati, pubbe vā ’ssa kataṃ hoti kalyāṇakammaṃ sukhavedanīyaṃ, pecchā vā ’ssa taṃ kataṃ kalyāṇakammaṃ sukhavedanīyaṃ, maraṇakāle vā ’ssa hoti sammādiṭṭhī samattā samādiṇṇā; tena so kāyassa bhedā param maraṇā sugatiṃ saggaṃ lokaṃ uppajjati. Sace kho so idha pānātipāti hoti adinnādāyī hoti – pe – micchādiṭṭhī hoti, tassa diṭṭhe va dhamme vipākaṃ paṭisaṃvedeti uppaajjaṃ apare vā pariyāye.

Transl. – It may happen, O Ānanda, that an individual who is actually a murderer, a thief and of wrong views, at the dissolution of the body after death, is reborn in a paradise world, either if a good action to be experienced favorably has been done by him or a good action to be experienced favorably was done by him after, or, at the moment of death, a right view has been adopted by him and strongly held by him. This is why, at the dissolution of the body after death, he is reborn in a good destiny, in a paradise world. But being actually a murderer, a thief and of wrong view, he undergoes the retribution of this action either in the present existence or in the existence following [the one in which he had done that], or in a later existence [starting from the third].

24.

Ibid., p. 215, l. 4–14: Tatr’ Ānanda, yvāyaṃ puggalo idha pānātipātā paṭivirato adinnādānā paṭivirato – pe – sammādiṭṭhī, kāyassa bhedā param maraṇā apāyaṃ duggatiṃ vinipātaṃ nirayaṃ uppajjati, pubbe vā kataṃ hoti pāpakammaṃ dukkhavedanīyaṃ, pacchāvā ’ssa taṃ kataṃ, maraṇakāle vā ’ssa hoti micchādiṭṭhī samattā samādiṇṇā; tena so kāyassa bhedā param maraṇā apāyaṃ duggatiṃ vinipātaṃ nirayaṃ uppajjati. Yañ va kho so idha pāṇātipātā paṭivirato hoti adinnādānā paṭivirato hoti – pe – sammādiṭṭhī hoti, tassa diṭṭhe va dhamme vipakaṃ paṭisaṃvedeti uppajjaṃ vā apare vā pariyāye.

Transl. – It may happen, O Ānanda, that an individual who is actually abstaining from killing living beings, abstaining from robbing and is of right view, nevertheless, on the dissolution of the body after death, is born into misfortune, the bad destiny, the abyss, hell, if a bad deed to be experienced unpleasantly had been carried out by him previously, or if a bad deed to be experienced unpleasantly had been carried out by him afterwards, or if, at the moment of death, a bad view was adopted and fervently held by him. This is why, on the dissolution of the body after death, he is reborn in misfortune, the bad destiny, the abyss, hell. But actually abstaining from killing living beings, abstaining from stealing and being of right view, he receives the reward either in the present lifetime, or in the next lifetime, or in a later lifetime [from the third onwards].

25.

See Kośa, II, p. 133.

26.

The Buddha declared that the retribution of actions is incomprehensible and forbids trying to understand it: Kammavipāko bhikkhave acinteyyo na cintetabbo yaṃ cintento ummādassa vighātassa bhāgī assa (Anguttara, II, p. 80).

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