4

If the result of one's karma is the combination of cause and condition, how does one account for all variables in the culmination of an effect?

If one is unable to include all variables, isn't that simply a limited view of the effect?

1

As others have mentioned it's not recommended to attempt to account for all the variables in karmic effects. Here is the basis for this. It's the third on a short list of what is called the Four Imponderables or Unconjecturables:

"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

"The Buddha-range of the Buddhas1 is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana...2

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"These are the four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them."

From Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable

But while pondering the precise effects of karma is not something a person working toward Nirvana should do, as it's a distraction; a fully enlightened Buddha would know such effects.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech & mind, who reviled the Noble Ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, & mind, who did not revile the Noble Ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.

From Dvedhavitakka Sutta: Two Sorts of Thinking

0

One does not account for all variables in the culmination of an effect. Only a fully enlightened Buddha can know this. For the rest of us, the pursuit of full understanding of Karma will only impede our practice towards liberation, and should not be pursued.

0

Pondering the precise nature of karma is specifically taught against, so be careful in that regard, but contemplating karma in a general sense is actually recommended by many schools, and I'd say that applies here. It's often said that both present (conditions) and past (actions) are effects that cause the present.

This is supported by quantum entanglement, if that interests you.

  • What do you mean by taught against? – Motivated Jun 30 '15 at 18:21
  • It is one of the four imponderables in the Acintita Sutta. – nousertoname Jul 2 '15 at 20:27
0

You don't need to account all variables in the culmination of an effect.

If the culmination of an effect arises because of a chained reactions of previous effects, you don't need to take into account all the variables in the chain of effects leading to the culmination of the final effect. By taking into account just a few variables, all the other variables in the chain of effects leading to the final effect will be taken into account.

This means that you don't need to know all the combinations of causes and conditions resulting in one's karma in order to account for all variables in the culmination of an effect. By taking into account just a few combinations of causes and conditions, all the variables in the culmination of an effect will be taken into account.

What are the causes and conditions to be taken into account in order for all the variables in the culmination of an effect to be taken into account?

The variables are: what is suffering, what is the cause of suffering, what is the end of suffering and what is the way leading to the end of suffering. Just by knowing these variables, you account for all the variables in the culmination of all effects.

By knowing what is suffering, what is the cause of suffering, what is the end of suffering and what is the way leading to the end of suffering, karma stops having its effects on you. This does not mean you will be completely free of karma in this very same life. You could still suffer misfortune, pain, etc. due to bad karma, but if you know what is suffering, what is the cause of suffering, what is the end of suffering and what is the way leading to the end of suffering, karma will have no effect on your state of mind and karma will not be after your death, thus future births will not follow after your death.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.