Does anyone interpret karma to mean that the future itself arrives twice, "now" and again in the future?

Is there any reason to think that karma itself is that movement of impermanence, so that it cannot be entirely dissolved?

  • where did you come across this idea, "karma is the movement of impermanence.."? it sounds odd
    – blue_ego
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 17:27
  • it has an anthropomorphic quality to it...
    – blue_ego
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 18:56
  • it's just religion who cares @lilredindy
    – user23997
    Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 22:37

8 Answers 8


Not stopping, reacting with deluded tendency, will nourish, make experiances repeating, yes. Yet, it works also in the other direction, having heared to good Dhamma, that especially the "now" effort, in stopping unskillful, cuts away furture arising, good householder. No new produces, old running out.

And yes, if not getting 'luckily" meet the good Dhamma while proper attention, it's somehow "impermanent" this wandering on and suffer in Samsara.

More on Kamma: A Study Guide.

  • Your reference is very long. Did you mean to cite a specific section to address the original question?
    – giardia
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 20:35
  • Ways to liberation requires sacrifices. Common one is to greedy, to lazy, again and again, seeks ways without letting go of lazzyness, greed, not willing to surrender. Yet right here the kamma could end, good householder. All up to him.
    – user23448
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 4:40

Short answers are available in the sutta, but they can be a bit cryptic:

MN79:7.5: Nevertheless, Udāyī, leave aside the past and the future.
MN79:7.6: I shall teach you the Dhamma:
MN79:7.7: ‘When this exists, that is; due to the arising of this, that arises.
MN79:7.8: When this doesn’t exist, that is not; due to the cessation of this, that ceases.’”

What is important about kamma is intention and its nature. When Identity View exists, much suffering arises. When Identity View doesn't exist, suffering ceases. In this quote, the Buddha is gently directing Udāyī to the present, which is the only place where we can affect our clinging to Identity View.

We're used to thinking about "this desire" and "that suffering" as separate. That artificial separation between "desire" and "suffering" deludes us into madly chasing desires while running away from suffering. Identity view chases desire and runs away from suffering. When identity view exists, suffering arises.

MN1:172-194.26: Because he has understood that relishing is the root of suffering,

It's hard to let go of Identity View. It's hard to let go of relishing.

MN1:172-194.30: That is what the Buddha said.
MN1:172-194.31: But the mendicants were not happy with what the Buddha said.

  • most people can't be saints
    – user23322
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 17:41
  • 1
    ...in this lifetime. But it's quite a relief that there is a way to be rid of suffering. A saint might just be tired of playing wack-a-mole with wishes. DN34:2.1.151: ‘This teaching is for those of few wishes, not those of many wishes.
    – OyaMist
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 13:38
  • yeah true, sorry I took that wrongly
    – user23322
    Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 4:48
  • great posting..
    – blue_ego
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 22:42

Kamma is the law of this universe, its cause are cravings, its nature is dependent origination and its result is samsara or endless impermanent lives. The cause of it has to be uprooted through non-self view or the Dhamma and to get it the mind needs to have nomore thoughts or even better it has to be directed in the right direction, the one of Virtue. When the self is uprooted the kamma cannot find anymore the link to the doer, this is called deathless or hiding from Mara, the supervisor of kamma.

  • yeah. it's the same as asking if the effect is a repetition of e cause. I am pretty sure that's a really useful way of thinking about Nagarjuna's analysis of causation. thanks!
    – user23322
    Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 5:07

Karma is impermanent, and it depends on causes and conditions. Our actions (in this life and past lives) create positive and negative karma constantly.

Our thoughts and actions also influence the conditions for karma to manifest and function.

So in a way, your interpretation makes sense. If you think of "future" as the results or manifestation of karma, then the "future" arrives once when our actions create positive/negative karma, and it arrives again when our thoughts and actions influence the conditions for karma to manifest.

  • I'm depleted to up vote just cos you agreed with me, but idk if it's in the spirit of stack exchange ha
    – user23322
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 21:55
  • 1
    @again_insane_buddhist I guess the "spirit of SE" is to ask a question when you have a problem, and to upvote an answer if you find it "useful" i.e. if it helps to address/solve/answer that problem. Or some people up- or downvote depending on whether they think the answer is true or false. Or some people vote depending on whether they think an answer is relatively good, compared to others.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 23:39

Karma is intentional thoughts, words and deeds (AN 6.63), for which thoughts are the most important component (MN 56) and it originates from the mind (Dhp 1).

There's nothing supernatural or paranormal about karma. When thoughts, words and deeds are intentionally exerted, the results come back in a natural and normal way, for example:

  • Law breakers get fined or prosecuted by law enforcement.
  • Those who habitually tell lies or violate the trust given to them, are not trusted by others.
  • Habitual exertion of evil and angry thoughts bring diseases in the body and remorse to the mind. (MN 135)
  • Habitual gamblers and alcoholics lose their wealth and are not trusted by others. (DN 31)
  • Soldiers who kill in battle experience PTSD after completing their tour of duty. (also SN 42.3)
  • Habitual lying becomes the launchpad for other evil acts. (Iti 25)

Not everything that happens is caused by karma (SN 36.21). Some things are, but there are seven other causes including carelessness, weather, assault by others, wind, bile etc. So, karma is simply a natural and normal consequence of intentional exertion. It's not supernatural.

Result of karma can also come from intentional exertion of thoughts, words and deeds from before physical birth. That's called old karma (SN 12.37), and it has shaped our physical appearance and genetic background.

Don't ask who did it when it (karma) came from the past (SN 12.17). And don't ask how exactly karma works (AN 4.77).

What's more useful is to look towards the future, inculcating a sense of accountability (AN 5.57), and shame and fear of doing evil (Iti 42).

To overcome the result of karma from the past, one needs to develop his virtues and wisdom (AN 3.100) with heedfulness (SN 3.17), and not underestimate the cumulative effect of doing good and bad deeds (Dhp 121 - 122).

  • if you don't believe in rebirth, then sure. this makes sense. I think it just shows how un-buddhist that is though. killing in war is only bad karma if we suffer ptsd? no
    – user23322
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 9:48
  • no offence, I just hate the idea of religion as a mental health treatment. there's also something sadistic and unfair about moralising those and only those who suffer due to their bad habits. it's not in the spirit of buddhist ethics, let alone philosophy
    – user23322
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 9:58
  • @again_insane_buddhist Regarding rebirth, please see this answer. To summarize: rebirth-of-self is a genuinely true phenomena for all those with self-view. Also, karma is based on intentions in Buddhism. It's not a universal system of justice.
    – ruben2020
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 12:42
  • 1
    @again_insane_buddhist Your comment on mental health treatment reminds me about monk and teacher Ajaan Fuang's comment here: ... but soon after the magazine came out, unusual numbers of people came to the wat under the impression that Ajaan Fuang, like the author of the autobiography, could treat illnesses through meditation. One woman asked him if he treated kidney diseases, and he answered, "I treat only one kind of disease: diseases of the mind."
    – ruben2020
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 12:49
  • hm I wouldn't use the word "justice" myself, so thanks for clarifying you wouldn't either. I wonder what the best EL term is for it? maybe 'self fault', but that has issues with closely translated other terms
    – user23322
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 14:31

first it depends on your definition of karma. action, or causality (cause-effect), etc. i don't know how karma works, but I have my view.

for example, if you go a vacation...there's the actual vacation (result 1) and the lasting impression it leaves (result 2).

that's how I can imagine now and in the future...

the second part of your question makes no sense to me.


I think it's more that kammic effects are unpredictable to people that haven't reached enlightenment. I don't think anyone other than an enlightened one could tell you when or how your kamma from each individual action you take and thought you have will affect you.

My limited understanding of it disagrees with the idea that it affects you "twice." My understanding is that you can't attribute good or bad fortune you're experiencing to any specific things you've done UNTIL you've reached a certain stage of awakening when that kind of insight becomes available to you, and at that point I think you're incapable of generating negative kamma.


I second the gist by @Cesare Uberti. Karma dissolves only when you have attained nibbana / nirvana following dhamma through wisdom (frankly, being an ascetic really helps to concentrate better on the truth). No God/Gods/Goddess/Goddesses (if you are into some Mahayana ideas) can help you attain that; you are on your own.

Last but in no way the least important idea (in terms of execution) is that one does need the right Guru to travel faster through the mist and fog.

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