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In the Aghatavinaya Sutta, there are five antidotes given for arisen ill-will(āghāto). I am puzzled because one of these is to develop equanimity ("upekkhā tasmiṃ puggale bhāvetabbā") and another is to reflect on ownership of kamma, which is used to generate (/is the cause of) equanimity as I understand it. I don't understand what is intended by having these separate. Full text follows.

"There are these five ways of subduing hatred by which, when hatred arises in a monk, he should wipe it out completely. Which five?

"When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should develop good will for that individual. Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

"When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should develop compassion for that individual. Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

"When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should develop equanimity toward that individual. Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

"When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should pay him no mind & pay him no attention. Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

"When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should direct one's thoughts to the fact of his being the product of his actions: 'This venerable one is the doer of his actions, heir to his actions, born of his actions, related by his actions, and has his actions as his arbitrator. Whatever action he does, for good or for evil, to that will he fall heir.' Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

"These are five ways of subduing hatred by which, when hatred arises in a monk, he should wipe it out completely."

  • Hi! "the other is to reflect on ownership of kamma which is used to generate (/is the cause of) equanimity" I'm not sure what you mean by this, and what exactly you were expected to not be separated. – Thiago Sep 8 '15 at 0:43
  • @ThiagoSilva I understood the question as e.g. this says that "understanding that people are responsible for their own decisions" is one of the seven ways to develop equanimity ... so, given that "equanimity" is the 3rd item on the list above, why is "product of his actions" the fifth (separate) item on the list above, instead of being categorized under 'eqanimity'? – ChrisW Sep 8 '15 at 1:03
  • @ThiagoSilva, what ChrisW said. – Adamokkha Sep 8 '15 at 2:16
  • Perhaps these are to be undertaken in sequential order, providing the previous one was insufficient in dispelling hatred. – Ryan Sep 8 '15 at 8:45
  • @Ryan, the question has to do with the fact that developing equanimity and reflecting on kamma seem too similar to be separate methods. – Adamokkha Sep 10 '15 at 3:00
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Looking at the text, it does not recommend reflecting on the ownership etc of kamma as a method of developing equanimity (upekkha). Here it is specifically for removing resentment (āghāta). As far as I can tell from searching the electronic Pāli Canon the idea of reflecting on kamma is never linked with upekkhā.

In reflecting on kamma one is taking the approach to hindrances (nīvaraṇa), which Kamalashila in his book Meditation: The Buddhist Way of Tranquility and Insight calls, "considering the consequences" (pg 54-5). The other four are: cultivate the opposite (mettā & karuṇā); cultivate a "sky-like mind" (upekkhā); suppression (don't think of the person or asatiamanasikāro); and lastly going for refuge (not included here). This list and Kamalashila's are not a perfect match, but seem to be similar in intent. They are methods for dealing with the hindrances in preparation for practising jhāna.

I'm not sure whether it is helpful to think in terms of a hierarchy of "effectiveness". One has a number of techniques one can use to help deal with the hindrances, and tries each of them until one works.

The reflection on kamma comes from a list of five things to continuously reflect on famously found at AN 5.57, titled Abhiṇhapaccavekkhitabbaṭhāna Sutta (The Discourse of Facts to be Continuously reflected On) in the Burmese Ed. of the Canon. In this text it gives the benefit (athavasa) of doing this practice of reflecting on the consequences:

atthi, bhikkhave, sattānaṃ kāyaduccaritaṃ vacīduccaritaṃ manoduccaritaṃ. tassa taṃ ṭhānaṃ abhiṇhaṃ paccavekkhato sabbaso vā duccaritaṃ pahīyati tanu vā pana hoti. idaṃ kho, bhikkhave, atthavasaṃ paṭicca ‘kammassakomhi, kammadāyādo kammayoni kammabandhu kammapaṭisaraṇo, yaṃ kammaṃ karissāmi — kalyāṇaṃ vā pāpakaṃ vā — tassa dāyādo bhavissāmī’ti abhiṇhaṃ paccavekkhitabbaṃ itthiyā vā purisena vā gahaṭṭhena vā pabbajitena vā.

There is, Monks, bad conduct (duccarita) of body, speech and mind by beings. But when one continuously reflects on [this reflection on kamma], then such wickedness is completely abandoned or it is [at least] diminished.

Thus the point of this practice is not so much generating upekkha as it is the elimination of wicked conduct (duccarita). And resentment (āghāta) is clearly a form of mental wicked conduct, a mano-duccarita, in the language of the Abhiṇhapaccavekkhitabbaṭhāna Sutta. Reflecting on the consequences of such wickedness will help the person who aims to eliminate the hindrance in preparation for meditation. Clearly this has more general ethical applications as well, but it seems the main context is meditation and eliminating the hindrances.

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Here is a footnote from Wheel 208 regarding the first three methods:

These are the first, second and fourth of the four divine abodes (brahma-vihāra). According to A-a, the third abode, altruistic joy, is not mentioned here because it is difficult to practise it towards those against whom one has a grudge.

In other words, the first three form a set of meditative practices.

Lists in the Suttas are usually given in ascending order, but sometimes are given in descending order. My guess is that this is an example of a descending order.

The most effective way to dislodge ill-will is mettā meditation, less effective is karuṇā meditation, even less effective is upekkhā meditation. Less effective than meditation is ignoring and the least effective would be reflecting on kamma.

Reflecting on kamma may be effective in the short term, but if the perspective is from the long term, the other methods will be more effective in eliminating ill-will.

  • I wonder whether the sequence is from more to less 'immediate' (in time), rather than more to less 'effective': e.g. what one needs immediately is good will, and what one needs in the long term is reflecting on kamma. – ChrisW Sep 11 '15 at 8:43
  • I think all 5 steps for meditative practices. this arisen ill-will(āghāto) is disturbance ('neewarana ') for tranquility. Hence the practitioner can use his already developed "Samatha" Skills. Stating from most Soft to Hard. Metta(Good will) to Neglect then wears (let him do what he likes , not try to correct him -Like 'Brahma Danda' to Channa Bikku) . – Shrawaka Sep 12 '15 at 1:07
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To put it very succinctly:

  • Developing equanimity: do not mentally react to any sensation resulting from stimulus due to contact hence not creating any further fabrications. If you are dealing with ill will this is mainly triggered by preconceived perception (Sanna) in combination with a stimuli like the sight, through or memory about the person and one's mental reaction to this perception. Here you are cutting the defilements at the root by not feeding into new perceptions which lead to unskillful action of ill will or what might proliferate from this. Not feeding into perception eliminates or reduces the past build up of the aggregate of perceptions and the potential future fabrication created by means of reaction to these perceptions.
  • Contemplating that someone is the heir to one's own Karma: this is more primitive or basic that the above, but nevertheless another way to develop a shallow form of equanimity especially for beginners or when the above way does not work because you are overpowered by strength or the perception, where one tries to mend or sooth the ill feeling by means of contemplating thus changing the perception of the situation or person. Due to the changed perception you reduce creating new fabrications. Here you are reducing defilements through developing conducive perceptions or eliminating unconducive perception (ill will).
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In the Aghatavinaya Sutta, there are five antidotes given for arisen ill-will(āghāto).

These content should be relevant to Monks, those separate from lay life, and devote to meditate in the jangles. As shown in sutta ('when hatred arises in a monk') These antidotes should be used within the meditations.

I am puzzled because one of these is to develop equanimity  and another is  kamma. 

The given antidotes are:

  1. Develop good will for that individual.
  2. Develop compassion for that individual.
  3. Develop equanimity toward that individual.
  4. Pay him no mind & pay him no attention.
  5. Direct one's thoughts to the fact of his being the product of his actions.

"These are five ways of subduing hatred by which, when hatred arises in a monk, he should wipe it out completely." (When somebody make disturbances, the Monk in meditate should develop)

  • Use Metta(Good will), so the arisen ill-will(āghāto) will be wipe out.
  • If not wipe out ill-will, then try develop compassion.
  • Still ill-will arises develop equanimity.ill-will should be wipe out.
  • If above three methods not success then pay him no mind & no attention(Neglect).
  • Any of above not removes ill-will then Reject him.(See Note).

"These are five ways of subduing hatred by which, when hatred arises in a monk, he should wipe it out completely."

Conclusion

So none of the above factors produces karma.

They are used here for self protection or removes developing ill-will.

**`Notes`*

Reject = release responsibility to him 'This venerable one is the doer of his actions, heir to his actions, born of his actions, related by his actions, and has his actions as his arbitrator. Whatever action he does, for good or for evil, to that will he fall heir.

So the other party not effects, That is the highest penalty for Buddhist monk.

(The highest penalty, Ānanda, after my passing away, is to be handed out to the monk Channa.” “But what is the highest penalty, reverend Sir?” “The monk Channa, Ānanda, may say whatever he wishes but he is not to be spoken to or advised or instructed by the monks.” - Mahāparinibbānasutta)

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