(Before asking my question, I'd like to make clear that all of my previous knowledge comes from sources other than the suttas).

Is the buddhist doctrine of kamma a superstitious explanation for what is happening in the present?

How do the suttas explain diseases, malformations, intelectual handicaps and random misfortunes? Is there such a thing as random misfortunes for the Buddha (as exposed in the suttas)? Or can all of my present circumstances be explained and attributed to "my" past deeds? I ask this because I read in lots of places that some teachers explain diseases as consequences of our own deeds, and I not sure of how much of that come from the suttas themselves.

Another question, somehow related to the last one: As far as I know, the Theravada doctrine is not a non-dualistic one, and the suttas explicitly say that all conditioned phenomena are dukkha. But for other schools, is there such a thing as "bad" and "good" external circumstances? For those non-dualistic schools: do they accept that everything is dukkha? Or do they say that our minds are the ones interpreting things as good and bad, and as such, good and bad kamma is just and illusion?

Thanks in advance for your time!

  • 1
    I think the quick answer to "can all of my present circumstances be explained and attributed to 'my' past deeds" is "no" (e.g. as mentioned in another topic), so I'll close this as a duplicate, if that's alright. I also found this answer about kamma interesting, fyi.
    – ChrisW
    Dec 6 '18 at 11:45
  • One of the points given in Ven. Yuttadhammo's answers is confusing to me, to say the least. Isn't contrived and kind of convenient to say that only Buddhas can understand the mechanisms underlying kamma? That makes the figure of the Buddha a mesianic one, almost divine; also, that makes the Dhamma a practice of faith more than personal experience and testing. I think this is what makes kamma and rebirth confusing to most westerns. Dec 6 '18 at 12:14
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    I think it's canonical e.g. this sutta -- I interpret this as "don't worry about the details of how karma works, but accept the basics of it" and imvho "the basics" of it are, "it's good to do good, bad to do bad" (or "to intend" not just "to do") ... and that the way toward the ending of "[re]birth" (whatever that means), which is seen as dukkha (in the first noble truth), involves working toward the end of kamma (where a definition of kamma elsewhere, in another sutta, is translated as "intentional action").
    – ChrisW
    Dec 6 '18 at 12:25
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    You might want to ask an explicit question about that, though, I don't think that would be duplicate.
    – ChrisW
    Dec 6 '18 at 12:26
  • Noticed you use the word concept. And as in any concept, it deals with the mind. Karma serves to tame the mind, settles it so that it can move on to the actual dharma practice. It is suppose to be a quick mind fix for the first party, not so much for the third party.we as the third party can only guess and conceptual the effect of karma. Only the first party can fully feel the effect of karma.
    – tutu
    Dec 6 '18 at 23:20

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