What is the difference between the terms kamma and kiriya / kriya?

What is the difference between kiriya and kriya?

Please provide references to kiriya / kriya from the Pali suttas.

3 Answers 3


KiriyaCitta is KusalaCitta of Arahanta (Arahants' wholesome-mind) because Arahanta can't do any Karma which effecting next life anymore.

Katamañca puṇṇa kammaṃ akaṇhaṃ asukkaṃ akaṇhaasukkavipākaṃ kammakkhayāya saṃvattati

What is neither-dark-nor-bright kamma with neither-dark-nor-bright ripening that leads to the exhaustion of kamma?

You should read MN Kukkuravatika Sutta, and AN Kammavagga in detail.

Also Sankhara is depending on Avijja, and KammaBhava is depending on Tanha, Arahanta has no Tanha, so his new karma has no next-life-resultant.

Iti kho udayi tanhakkhaya kammakkhayo kammakkhaya dukkhakkhayoti.

And so, Udāyī, when craving ends, deeds end; when deeds end suffering ends.”

According to commentary, Abhidhamma was authored by ven. Sariputta (AggaSavaka), follow to the brief teaching of the Buddha, so it is ven Sariputta's writing style which is proper for the very in detail of Abhidhamma's contents, too deep and too specific for normal word.

Whole Tipitaka come out from 4th Jhana-Mastery's mouth, especially from Arahanta-Jhana-Mastery. Every 4th Jhana-Mastery has photographic memory and super unnatural mind speed.

So, it is normal if the ordinary people can't see the realities arising and vanishing super fast and super small follow Abhidhamma and many Suttas because only very few people can do only sitting meditation whole days for at least 6 months to 5 years to get 4th Jhana Masery and high level insight meditation.


An extended discussion with Bhante Ariyadhammika, former Bhante Varado and Upasaka Sadhamma on the topic might enlighten till release from doubts, if not just after amassing (of course plenty of references incl. anyway): 'The Kamma of Arahants'!!, good householder. It needs care and much attention to get through the net rightly.


AN 3.137 says without any explicit application to Arahants:

Makkhali, that silly man, has this doctrine and view:

Makkhali, bhikkhave, moghapuriso evaṁvādī evaṁdiṭṭhi:

‘There is no power in deeds, action, or energy.’

‘natthi kammaṁ, natthi kiriyaṁ, natthi vīriyan’ti.

The term 'sacchikiriyāya' (from Sk. sākṣāt kṛ; the P. form being *saccha° sākṣāt (साक्षात्).—prep (S) before, in the presence of, evidently to the sight or sense of. 2 ad Manifestly, obviously, evidently) is found in MN 10, as follows and appears synonymous with sacchikaroti; and also appears to have the sense of 'completion/fulfilment':

to realize extinguishment.

nibbānassa sacchikiriyāya MN 10

Now, there are gentlemen who, relying on the teaching and training proclaimed by the Realized One, achieve a high distinction such as the following: they realize the fruit of stream-entry, the fruit of once-return, the fruit of non-return, or the fruit of perfection. And in addition, there are those who ripen the seeds for rebirth in a heavenly state. The person who spoke like that makes it difficult for them. They’re acting unkindly, their heart is full of hostility, and they have wrong view.

Evaṁvādī so ye te kulaputtā tathāgatappaveditaṁ dhammavinayaṁ āgamma evarūpaṁ uḷāraṁ visesaṁ adhigacchanti, sotāpattiphalampi sacchikaronti, sakadāgāmiphalampi sacchikaronti, anāgāmiphalampi sacchikaronti, arahattampi sacchikaronti, ye cime dibbā gabbhā paripācenti dibbānaṁ bhavānaṁ abhinibbattiyā, tesaṁ antarāyakaro hoti, antarāyakaro samāno ahitānukampī hoti, ahitānukampissa sapattakaṁ cittaṁ paccupaṭṭhitaṁ hoti, sapattake citte paccupaṭṭhite micchādiṭṭhi hoti.

DN 12

The term 'kālakiriyā' is generally spoken by Noble Ones, such as by the stream-enterer householder Nakula's Mother, in relation to the ending of life or 'completion of time', as follows:

Householder, don’t pass away with concerns.

Mā kho tvaṁ, gahapati, sāpekkho kālamakāsi.

Such concern is suffering,

Dukkhā, gahapati, sāpekkhassa kālakiriyā;

and it’s criticized by the Buddha.

garahitā ca bhagavatā sāpekkhassa kālakiriyā.

AN 6.16

Note: 'kālakiriyā' ('completion of time') is not synonymous with 'marana' ('death') because 'kālakiriyā' happens to Noble Ones; where as 'marana' does not happen to Noble Ones. Those who cannot discern this distinction will never understand the essence of the Buddha Teaching.

Therefore, in conclusion, the impression is 'kamma' means 'action' or 'an action'; where as 'kiriyā' may possibly mean 'completion of an action/performance'.

For example, about the word kamma, the dictionary says it can be used in many ways, such as objective, subjective, active, passive, etc.

New Concise Pali English Dictionary


neuter ~ā, .f

  1. doing; > performance; action, activity; what one does or has done; way of acting

  2. morally significant activity which produces effects



present 3 singular

does, makes; acts; performs; acts for the advantage or injury of another; (especially absolutive) puts, places

Sk. karoti, *qṷer to form, to build


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