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I read the following on the internet:

But when the view of "self" ends, kamma also ends Is that plausible? Are you saying that kamma is conditioned by self-view? And saying that kamma -- the fruit of old kamma and the creation of new kamma -- is non-existent for a stream-enterer (who by definition has no self-view)?? I thought it was, canonically, an attribute of an arahant -- even then old kamma continues to fruit, but no new kamma is created -- it's conditioned not by self-view but by ... by conceit, and by desire-for-existence, that kind of thing ... isn't that the doctrine of the suttas?

Do the suttas say the "old kamma" of an Arahant continues to fruit?

  • Quoting this comment – ChrisW Aug 5 at 7:18
  • It's clear to me, that the karma most certainly fruits. It just doesn't fruit "for" an Arahant, because Arahant has abandoned all identification. Therefore the old karma that fruits "in the neighborhood" is not appropriated by Arahant. And yet, it does fruit. – Andrei Volkov Sep 5 at 14:50
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Angulimala -- A Murderer's Road to Sainthood

Yet there were still a few who could not forget that Angulimala the bandit, with his superior prowess, had shown them in their weakness and thus had humiliated them. Out of that resentment, as an act of revenge, they were mean enough to injure the venerable Angulimala by throwing stones and sticks which struck him when he had gone for alms. They must have done so from a safe distance.

Then with blood running from his injured head, with his bowl broken, and with his patchwork robe torn, the venerable Angulimala went to the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw him coming, and he told him: "Bear it, brahmana, bear it, brahmana! You have experienced here and now the ripening of kamma whose ripening you might have experienced in hell over many a year, many a century, many a millennium."

Being a saint, his mind and heart were firm and invulnerable. But the body, the product of former craving, the symbol and fruit of previous kamma, was still there in present existence and was still exposed to the effects of former evil deeds. Even to the Buddha himself it happened that, as a result of former deeds, Devadatta was able to cause him a slight injury. Also his two chief disciples had to experience bodily violence. The venerable Sariputta had been hit on the head by a mischievous demon, and the venerable Maha-Moggallana was even cruelly murdered. If this occurred in the case of these three Great Ones, how could Angulimala have fully avoided bodily harm — he who in his present life had committed so much evil! Yet, it was only his body that received these blows, but not his mind. That remained in invulnerable equipoise.

  • The above sounds like gossip rather than sutta teachings. Also, it is totally unrelated to any type of visible teaching here & now that can be verified by the wise. It appears to fall outside of Dhamma and fall into the sphere of "folk religion". I suggest the basics of Taking Refuge in the Dhamma. Kind regards – Dhammadhatu Aug 5 at 7:16
  • Thanks ChrisW but I have been a Buddhist for a long time and have read the superstition of this answer many times. Its just a old wives tale, similar to what is described in MN 95 as the rantings of a string of blind men. I suggest to provide a thoughtful answer that assists personal mental development rather than post blind faith teachings similar to Christianity. Often people convert to Buddhism from Christianity but continue the same old kamma. With metta. Kalyanamitta DD – Dhammadhatu Aug 5 at 7:29
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    The question asks about the suttas: "Do the suttas say...?" So see e.g. MN 86 ends with, "And thus Ven. Angulimala became another one of the arahants", and then in the next paragraph, the Buddha saying, "Bear with it, brahman! Bear with it! The fruit of the kamma that would have burned you in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, you are now experiencing in the here-&-now!" – ChrisW Aug 5 at 19:52
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AN 3.76 appears to say becoming is "kamma ripening" and, for kamma to ripen, craving provides the moisture. Given an Arahant has ended craving & becoming (which are both "asava" or "mental defilements"), it would appear kamma is not ripening or fruiting for the Arahant.

AN 6.63 says the Noble Eightfold Path ends kamma. Since an Arahant has fulfilled the Noble Path, it would appear old kamma is not ripening or fruiting for the Arahant.

SN 12.37 says the five aggregates ("kaya") is not-self and that it should be seen as "old kamma" that is to be "felt" rather than identified with. Since the "kaya" is not identified with but merely felt (as Arahants experience feeling at sense contact), surely there is no becoming (per AN 3.76) therefore there is no kamma ripening or fruiting when Arahants experience merely what is felt.

MN 86 (possible mythical fake dhamma) is often the go-to sutta for the old kamma adherents. In MN 86, it appears quite obvious it was not Angulimala watering & fruiting his old kamma (given AN 3.76 says "craving is the moisture" but Arahants are free from craving) but the anger in the people who stoned him that were fruiting kamma. For example, that King Pasenadi forgave Angulimala (unlike the stoners) shows the reactions towards the Bhikkhu Angulimala were not related to internal fruiting of kamma. Surely, we cannot say "forgiveness" is a fruit of the evil kamma of mass-murder.

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There are several types of Kamma. There are some types of Kamma that ends with the attainment of Arahath while there are some that doesn't. ex:- Kamma of Mugalan Thero. Also no Kamma is created after attaining Arahath. Kamma is only created by attachments & attainment of Arahath breaks all attachments & therefor no Kamma is created afterwards.

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