What Kamma is

by Sayadaw U Thittila | 1996 | 4,604 words

"According to the seed that's sown, So is the fruit ye reap therefrom. Doer of good will gather good, Doer of evil, evil reaps, Sown is the seed, and thou shalt taste The fruit thereof" Buddha - Samyutta Nikaya Sukhi Hotu Sdn Bhd (#FREE001/1996) Printed By Unique, Penang, 1998...

Part 3 - Classification Of Kamma

- Sub-Contents: (+ / -)

Kamma is classified into four kinds according to the time at which results are produced.  There is Kamma that ripens in the same lifetime, Kamma that ripens in the next life, and Kamma that ripens in successive births. These three types of Kamma are bound to produce results as a seed is to sprout. But for a seed to sprout, certain auxiliary causes such as soil, rain etc. are required. In the same way, for a Kamma to produce an effect, several auxiliary causes such as circumstances, surroundings, etc., are required. It sometimes happens that for want of such auxiliary causes Kamma does not produce any result. Such Kamma is called Ahosi-Kamma or “Kamma that is ineffective”.

Kamma is also classified into another four kinds according to its particular function. There is Regenerative (Janaka) Kamma which conditions the future birth; Supportive (Upatthambhaka). Kamma which assists or maintains the result of already-existing Kamma, Counteractive (Upapilaka) Kamma which suppresses or modifies the result of the reproductive Kamma, and Destructive (Upaghataka) Kamma which destroys the force of existing Kamma and substitutes its own resultants.

There is another classification according to the priority of results. There is Serious or Weighty (Garuka) Kamma which produces its resultants in the present life or in the next. On the moral side of this Kamma the highly refined mental states called Jhanas or Absorptions are weighty because they produce resultants more speedily than the ordinary unrefined mental states. On the opposite side, the five kinds of immediately effective serious crimes are weighty. These crimes are: matricide, patricide, the murder of an Arahanta (Holy One or perfect saint), the wounding of a Buddha and the creation of a schism in the Sangha.

Death-proximate (Asanna) Kamma is the action which one does at the moment before death either physically or mentally - mentally by thinking of one’s own previous good or bad actions or having good or bad thoughts. It is this Kamma which, if there is no weighty Kamma, determines the conditions of the next birth.

Habitual (Acinna) Kamma is the action which one constantly does. This Kamma, in the absence of death-proximate Kamma, produces and determines the next birth. Reserved (Katatta) Kamma is the last in the priority of results. This is the unexpended Kamma of a particular being and it conditions the next binh if there is no habitual Kamma to operate.

A further classification of Kamma is according to the place, in which the results are produced, namely:-

  1. Immoral Kamma which produces its effect in the plane of misery.
  2. Moral Kamma which produces its effect in the plane of the world of desires.
  3. Moral Kamma which produces its effect in the plane of form.
  4. Moral Kamma which produces its effect in the plane of the formless. 
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