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When does right or wrong view at death over ride the karma one has accumulated in life?

I was just reading (googling) how right and wrong view when we be die can determine our next birth, rather than our karma in general. For genuine Buddhists, this may not be a problem, because that is also temporary. But it's an issue for me, so I wondered when that happens, when karma plays less of a role.


Here is what I was reading

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right and wrong view at the time of death can only temporary over ride (not eradicate) karma

This seems to be the explanation for how evil doers with wrong view can end up with a good rebirth (and virtuous people with right view a poor rebirth): a momentary change of view.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.136.nymo.html

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Yes. Even if one leads a virtuous and generous life, if at death wrong view is present, one is headed downwardly, good householder. So very importand to gain the stream!

"Now, for one of wrong view, Lohicca, I tell you, there is one of two destinations: either hell or the animal womb.... more on "how to adress wrong view."

At what time ones conducts grows righteous, secure not to fall down ever again?

Enter

At Savatthi. "Monks, the eye is inconstant, changeable, alterable. The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The mind is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

Mudita

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Right view does not override the kamma. Right view permits enduring the kamma experienced.

MN86:17.2: Now at that time someone threw a stone that hit Aṅgulimāla, someone else threw a stick, and someone else threw gravel.
MN86:17.3: Then Aṅgulimāla—with cracked head, bleeding, his bowl broken, and his outer robe torn—went to the Buddha.
MN86:17.4: The Buddha saw him coming off in the distance,
MN86:17.5: and said to him,
MN86:17.6: “Endure it, brahmin! Endure it, brahmin!

Right view lessens the burden of that kamma.

MN86:17.7: You’re experiencing in this life the result of deeds that might have caused you to be tormented in hell for many years, many hundreds or thousands of years.”

Aṅgulimāla killed many. He became a follower of the Buddha and changed his view before he died.

However, sometimes it takes a passage through Hell to change wrong view. Ven. Moggallāna once said:

MN50:23.1: I roasted for many years, many centuries, many millennia in that Great Hell.

Ven. Moggallāna was one of the Buddha's two chief disciples.

Random paths

In general, the Noble Eightfold Path is conditioned. When we direct our intentions with Right View, the outcomes of our actions are no longer random whims lit by momentary impulses of desire. The outcomes are Noble, directed towards less suffering:

MN44:10.2: “The noble eightfold path is conditioned.”

However, we have to guard intentions very carefully. In particular, notice that the Buddha teaches that although our own intentions matter, kamma can also be conditioned by others.

AN4.171:6.1: Mendicants, there are four kinds of reincarnation.
AN4.171:6.2: What four?
AN4.171:6.3: There is a reincarnation where one’s own intention is effective, not that of others.
AN4.171:6.4: There is a reincarnation where the intention of others is effective, not one’s own.
AN4.171:6.5: There is a reincarnation where both one’s own and others’ intentions are effective.
AN4.171:6.6: There is a reincarnation where neither one’s own nor others’ intentions are effective.

Because the intentions of others impact us as well, those intentions of others are like waves on the ocean that toss about small boats. Those waves arise from the intentions of others. Our own intentions direct the steering of our own little boats on the open ocean. And just like a small boat on the ocean, navigation (i.e., Right View) is a way to avoid many bad outcomes (i.e., lost at sea). In that way one might say that we "override" the kamma of ignorance. We are still at sea but stop welcoming random directions and choose instead the right direction. We let go of ignorance in favor of Right View.

Once we embrace Right View and set our boats on a good course, interesting things happen.

DN33:3.1.101: They think:
DN33:3.1.102: ‘If only, when my body breaks up, after death, I would be reborn in the company of well-to-do aristocrats or brahmins or householders!’
DN33:3.1.103: They settle on that thought, concentrate on it and develop it. As they’ve settled for less and not developed further, their thought leads to rebirth there.
DN33:3.1.104: But I say that this is only for those of ethical conduct, not for the unethical.
DN33:3.1.105: The heart’s wish of an ethical person succeeds because of their purity.

We can get quite fancy about favorable destinations:

DN33:3.1.132: They think:
DN33:3.1.133: ‘If only, when my body breaks up, after death, I would be reborn in the company of the Gods of Brahmā’s Host!’
DN33:3.1.134: They settle on that thought, concentrate on it and develop it. As they’ve settled for less and not developed further, their thought leads to rebirth there.
DN33:3.1.135: But I say that this is only for those of ethical conduct, not for the unethical.
DN33:3.1.136: And for those free of desire, not those with desire.
DN33:3.1.137: The heart’s wish of an ethical person succeeds because of their freedom from desire.

For those who embrace Right View the paths followed lead to:

AN10.63:1.4: The one who has seven rebirths at most, the one who goes from family to family, the one-seeder, the once returner, and the one who is perfected in the present life.

So in that way, Right View is essentially the abandonment of all the intentions that would lead us to random bad existences stuck in an ocean of suffering. There is no magic transporter to "Nibbanaland". We have to get there on our own.

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  • not sure if we've misunderstood each other. I mean temporary over ride, so you get reborn somewhere as if by random
    – user23322
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 16:08
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    Thank you for the clarification. I've added a new section on "Random Paths" that highlights what the Buddha taught about how views affect outcome. Hopefully that will be of some use.
    – OyaMist
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 14:47
  • I don't mean right view in the super mundane way, I just mean basic buddhist beliefs. sorry for any confusion
    – user23322
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 15:13
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    Ah. Understood. I can only direct towards what the Buddha taught. Those teachings are core to all Buddhist beliefs, but have evolved to focus on different basic buddhist beliefs by each tradition. I studied Zen and those basic beliefs are worded differently than the texts quoted above. We'll have to see how other Buddhists on this forum share their own knowledge.
    – OyaMist
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 15:28
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    I cannot say. The vocabulary of the Early Buddhist Texts is quite rigorous and modern language does not quite bridge exactly to the texts. I have experience searching the five Nikayas for key terms found there. If you happen to remember the Tibetan document, it might help that search. There are also Tibetan Buddhists here on the forum who will be far more knowledgeable than I about their own tradition.
    – OyaMist
    Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 16:46

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