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5 th Class Notes: Abhidharma 4 Karma and Defilements

KARMA

I. OVERVIEW

- The teaching of karma (action) is fundamental to Buddhist thought, explaining how the various realms of being, and

the world itself, arise. In Buddhism, the world (discussed in the last class), arises from the collective karma of all beings.

- However, there is a current of interpretation which views the teaching of karma as merely a concession for the

uninitiated, a straightforward moral framework for the common people, and peripheral to the ultimate aims of Buddhism, ―an insufficiency ethic for the weak who will not seek complete salvation‖ (-Weber). The real or essential Buddhism is then meditation and enlightenment as the Abhidharmakosa states: Essentially, the precepts have heaven for their result; cultivation has disconnection [i.e., nirodha, cessation] for its result.‖ Insight into no-self uproots the

illusion of a self performing karma. There are thus two distinct paths: a ―karmic path‖ of doing good and a ―nirvanic path‖ seeking liberation (Spiro). We will return to this question below.

- As we discussed in the first class, Śākyamuni Buddha did adopt the basic notion of karma from the Brahmanical

context where karma meant ritual action, as well as the Śramaṇa movements, in which the Jains taught that karma was a subtle material dust which could be good or bad but was to some extent all negative or impure. However, the teaching of karma in the context of Buddhism was altered in key ways with deep ties to the ultimate soteriological goal of liberation from saṃsāra.

- Karma means action and in Buddhism, particularly moral action good/skillful (kuśala) or bad/unskillful (akuśala).

- The definition of karma (action) is intention (ceta). This represents a profound shift in emphasis from engaging in

acts of external purification and cultivation - such as sacrifice, ritual washing and physical asceticism - to internal or

mental purification and cultivation: training the mind.

- Karma as intention ultimately rests on the defilements and it thus the elimination of the defilements that constitutes

liberation. But note, karma is not peripheral in this context. It is because the defilements unfold through karma into the world of birth and death that elimination of the defilements acquires its soteriological significance.

- In addition to being action which is morally defined by its intention, karma is action which brings about a result at a

later time. Technically, the result of karma (action) is retribution (vipāka), but karma also comes to refer to the relational complex of the original act and its later retribution, and by extension, karma also comes to be applied just to the result (e.g. its your karma). Further, karma can also refer to unretributed (or accumulated) karmic acts that is, one can possess a store of good karma.

II. INTENTION (CETANĀ)

- Cetanā, intention or volition, basically refers to thought, voluntary and conscious. More specifically, in the

Abhidharma approach, volition is the overall pattern or shape of the mind, or that which conditions, informs and

shapes the mind. The mind here refers to consciousness and all the mental factors present in a moment of mind.

- Cetanā is thus the overall pattern of the mental factors, or that which directs the mental factors towards a given

pattern and the most significant patterns are moral: good, bad, etc. The mental factors (caitta) themselves are thus classified in terms of their moral (skillful and unskillful) and spiritual (defiled) valence expressing the central importance of cetanā and karma in the Abhidharma psychological analysis. The moral quality of karma is defined by the intention that lies behind it, the overall ethical tendency of the voluntary directing function of the mind.

- The Buddha thus grounds action and ethics in the study of the mind, and more specifically, intention, a choice or the voluntary shaping of the mental factors. Ultimately it is the mind which gives rise to the world through action.

- There are numerous classifications of karma in the Abhidharma teachings. In relation to cetanā:

2-fold: i .cetanā (intention, volition), and ii. cetanākrta (action created by volition, action-after-having-been-willed). Intention, volition or thought (cetanā) projects bodily & vocal karmas and arises before them. Cetanā also arises together with and assists bodily and vocal karmas. Karma is not just cetanā, as cetanā itself does not accomplish action in the world.

3-fold: 1. Mental (manas), 2. Bodily (kāya), 3. Vocal (vāk). Karma is established on a 3-fold basis:

1) In terms of the originating cause, mental karma is established (all actions have their origin in the mind) 2) In terms of intrinsic nature, vocal karma is established (voice is action by its nature whereas bodyis not) 3) In terms of supporting basis, bodily karma is established.

III.

TRANSMISSION OF KARMIC ACCUMULATIONS AND THE ABHIDHARMA PROBLEMATIC

- As discussed under the Abhidharma Problematicin the 2 nd class, the doctrine of karma poses a particular problem for the synchronic approach of dharma theory. In particular:

a) The synchronic approach asserts that the ultimate account of reality consists of the momentary existence of dharmas. Such dharmas are discernable on a moment-to-moment basis in the mind and its associated mental factors which comprise the individual.

b) Any given moment of mind can only be characterized by one karmic valence: good, bad or undefined.

c) How then can accumulated karmic potentials (past karma, both good and bad, that has not yet come to fruition), a key aspect of the diachronic soteriological frame in which the synchronic method acquires its relevance, be accounted for?

i. If they are a part of the series, there would be conflicting moral valences in a single moment.

ii. If they are not, how are the accumulated karmic potentials invariably associated with ones series?

- In this context, the Sarvāstivāda resolve this issue:

a) By asserting that the original karma exists in the three times (the defining these of sarvāstitva: all exists).

b) By introducing a mediating dharma of possession or acquisition (prāpti) which is disjoined or disassociated from mind (citta-viprayukta).

- When a series generates karma, the series remains connected to that karma by way of a prāpti series. A prāpti series

is a prāpti dharma arising with the original karma which replicates itself in a homorgenous (niyanda emanation, or sabhāga - similar) series of acquisition (prāpti) dharmas until the karma comes to fruition. One thus possessesthe karma. The prāpti series maintains the causal efficacy of the karma (or, possibly, one can say that the prāpti series is the ongoing efficacy of the karma as it continues to be associated with the individual).

i. The prāpti series guarantees that accumulated karmic potentials are only associated with the series from which they were produced and provide an unbroken stream of causal links connecting the originating act with its future

retribution.

ii. Because the prāptis are disjoined from mind, their variant moral valences pose no conflict to the principle that each moment of mind must have one moral quality. The dharmas disjoined from mind preserve the overall approach of dharma theory while sacrificing the principle that the overt functions of mind completely encompass the individual stream.

- The doctrine that everything existsensures that the past can bear results in the present or future. The prāpti

dharmas hold things together: the series and its associated actions as above, and as we will see below, the mind and its dispositions towards the defilements.

- The Sautrantika took another approach: less committed to upholding dharma theory at any cost, they proposed a

theory of seeds(bīja) which carry karmic potentials. These seeds are not actually dharmas but are potentials or merely provisional(prajñapti). The Sarvāstivādins reply, in effect: are they real forces (dharmas, vipāka-hetus) or

not and if not, how can they bring about a retribution?

IV. KARMA IS MORALLY DEFINABLE

- Karma is morally definable. Emphasis is placed on intention, on the overall pattern of mental factors, in determining

the moral valence of an action (as discussed in the 3 rd class). The moral valence of karma is also characterized in reference to its (non-moral) results rather than the originating intention or the nature of the action itself (harmful vs.

helpful, etc.). [Intention is the definition of karma then as it is what is most prominent in forming karmic results]:

Kuśala (skillful, beneficial, good, wholesome): Desirable results:

i. Agreeable retribution: either as positive sensation or good rebirth this protects one from suffering for a limited time. This is the result of good but impure action.

ii. Conducive to the attainment of nirvāṇa this definitely protects one from suffering. This is the result of good and pure action, action which purifies other action.

Akuśala (skillful, detrimental, evil, bad, unwholesome): Undesirable results: Negative sensation or painful rebirth.

Avyākrta (Morally non-defined, neutral, indeterminate, of indistinct nature): No karmic result. Two sub-types:

i. Nivta (veiled, obstructed) indefinite but obstructive to liberation (e.g., belief in self (satkāya-dṛṣṭi)). ii. Anivta (Non-veiled, unobstructed) indefinite and not obstructive to liberation (e.g., certain crafts)

- Good karma is a kind of pivot between saṃsāra and nirvāṇa:

i. On one hand, saṃsāra subsumes positive and negative karma. Agreeable sensations tend to invoke greed. Disagreeable sensations tend to invoke aversion. Based on those reactions, further karma is generated. Good action leads to higher births, but higher births are still part of the wheel of birth and death. (White action)

ii. On the other hand, the path (which is conditioned) and leads to nirvāṇa (which is unconditioned) includes mental states which overlap with the mental states of good or skillful minds. The path, the particular conditioned pattern of dharmas which abandon the defilements, is pure, but it is not itself nirvāṇa it induces the possession or acquisition (prāpti) of definitive abandonment of the defilements (= cessation, nirodha and disconnection, visayoga). (Pure Action)

Black, White, Black-White & Pure Action:

i. Black: Bad action, being defiled, is absolutely black; retribution, being painful, is black.

ii. White: Good action of the sphere of Rūpadhātu, not mixed with the bad, is absolutely white; its retribution, being agreeable, is white.

iii. Black-White: Good action of the sphere of Kāmadhātu, being mixed with the bad, is black-white; its retribution is mixed, so it is thus black-white. This definition is to be understood as applying, not to the nature of the action itself, but to the seriesor the person; in one and the same mental series, good action is mixed with bad action. There is no action which is black-white, nor any retribution which is black-white, which would be a contradiction.

iv. Pure: Pure action destroys the other three types of action. Not being defiled, it is not black; not being retribution,

it is not white. It is non-white(asukla)…the Blessed One wishes to oppose pure action to white action…Pure

action does not have any retribution, for it is not of the domain of the spheres of existence; in fact, it arrests the process of existence.

V. INFORMATIVE (VIJÑAPTI) AND NON-INFORMATIVE (AVIJÑAPTI) KARMA

- Bodily and vocal karma can be informative or non-informative.

Vijñapti: informative. Applies to actions of body and voice which are informative‖ – evident, communicating, visible, audible, etc. Bodily informative action is shape, not movement, because of momentariness (movement is

a false conception). Vocal informative action is speech.

Avijñapti: non-informative. Refers to a non-evident, non-communicating aspect of certain actions. Simultaneous with the accomplishment of the action itself, an invisible karmic force (a retributive cause) is projected within the doers body (it is a type of subtle material form (rūpa)) which continues to renew itself in a series.

- In fully develop Sarvāstivāda, avijñapti is 3-fold:

i. Discipline/restraint (savara) Primarily concerns vow and meditation states. In relation to ordination, this avijñapti establishes the difference between those in the discipline (savara) and those who are not that is, how monks and nuns are truly different from the non-ordained. When properly acquired, this avijñapti can act as a restraining force, helping one to avoid transgressing the precepts. This avijñapti requires specific conditions and ecclesiastical procedure (e.g., vows must be taken in front of a teacher who recites the vows which one then repeats word for word [para-vijñāpana]).

ii. Undiscpline/non-restraint (asavara) Primarily concerns livelihoods. This is similar to the 1 st type, but applies to unskillful occupations such as being a butcher. Even when such a person performs a good deed, they still possess this negative avijñapti.

iii. Neither-discipline-nor-undiscipline (naiva-savara-nasavara) Concerns a variety of situations including:

a) How rejoicing over an action or repenting an action (see consecutive karma below), contribute to and

transform the karmic cause associated with the originating volition. Such an interaction between the original karmic seed and subsequent actions presupposes a continuously present and active karmic agent, the avijñapti, through which the potential status of the karmic fruit can be continuously modified. Another example is that the merit of a gift increases by reason the unfolding of benefits received through the gift.

b) This category of avijñapti is also used to account for the tricky problem of actions committed through an

emissary. The original vocal karma does not constitute the act (e.g. murder) as the emissary may be interrupted. What then changes in the persons karmic causes at the moment when the emissary enacts the deed? It is explained that at that moment, an avijñapti is produced (based on the vijñapti of the original vocal karma, which in itself cannot serve as the cause for the seeding of the distinct, further karmic cause of the accomplished deed).

- Avijñapti karmas only last for ones present existence. Avijñaptis are not carried over into ones future existences

(being material, they become extinct at the death of the body). Even so, their retribution can be actualized in future

lives through an acquisition (prāpti) series (one can continue to possess (prāpti) the avijñatpis).

- Aivjnapti may have originally served as a mechanism to account for karmic retribution (rather than a prāpti series as above). In mature Sarvāstivāda however, avijñapti develops to serve multiple functions in a variety of specific situations which posed problems for the synchronic approach.

- Defined as a special kind of matter (rūpa) [because it derives from, or with, vijñapti which is rūpa], avijñapti karmas may represent an alternative strategy to resolving problems of the Abhidharma Problematic: as they are material, they are not conjoined with mind, and thus avert the problem of conflicting moral valences co-existing in a single moment of mind. (The Theravada tradition seems to have opted for this strategy generally rather than dharmas disjoined from mind.) However, as a material entity, avijñapti was unwieldy for it was so subtle (invisible, non-resistant and non- spatialized), practically speaking it was non-material. Also, how can rūpa be volitional?

VI. HOW KARMA UNFOLDS

- Karma can be determinate or indeterminate:

Determinate karma (niyata): Action determinate with respect to its retribution. Three types:

(i) to be retributed in this life, (ii) in the next life, and (iii) in subsequent lives.

There are five ways to generate action that is determinate:

i. Actions carried out through great defilement ii. Actions carried out through great faith

iii. Actions carried out continuously or for a prolonged period of time

iv. Action carried out with respect to a field of qualities(e.g., a Buddha)

v. The murdering of ones mother and father.

A subset of determinate karmas are the 5 mortal transgressions(ānantarya = no-gaptransgressions one goes to Avīci Hell (the worst hell) immediately (no-gap) after ones present life):

(i) Patricide, (ii) Matricide, (iii) Killing an Arhat (fully enlightened disciple)

(iv) Injuring a Buddha (impossible to kill a Buddha), (v) Creating a schism in the Sagha (Buddhist community)

Indeterminate karma (aniyata) is karma that may or may not be retributed. Further, its retribution can be modified in various ways. For example, the retribution of some karmas may be lightened as a result of practice and cultivation. Highly developed practitioners may transform even serious transgressions. Such moments of transcendence are described as encountering a strong obstructing force of the retributable karma not wanting to be transcended, like creditors desperately putting pressure on a debtor when about to leave the country.

Arhats and Buddhas cannot escape the consequences of determinate karma. However, their spiritual development is such that even great evil karmas mature in ways that little harm is done. Others teach that nobles ones (āryas) necessarily experience the retribution of their determinate karmas before entering the noble path.

- Karma is 3-fold:

i. Preparatory (prayoga or sāmantaka) action consists of any preparations for an action they are always vijñapti, sometimes avijñapti. A man, desiring to kill an animal, rises from his bed, takes some silver, goes to the market, feels the animal, buys the animal, leads it, pulls it, makes it enter, mistreats it, takes a sword, strikes the head once or twice: as long as he does not kill it, the action preparatory to killing lasts.

ii. The course of action proper is the act at the moment of accomplishing or achieving the action (just 1 moment). At the stroke by which he deprives the animal of its lifethat is, at the moment when the animal diesthe vijñapti of this moment and the avijñapti which is simultaneous to this vijñapti, are the course of action proper. For it is by reason of two causes that one is touched by the transgression of murder: by reason of the preparatory action and by reason of the achievement of the result [of the preparatory action].

iii. Consecutive (pṛṣṭhā) action is action in the moments that follow they are sometimes vijñapti, always avijñapti. The moments that follow, the moments of avijñapti created by the killing, are the consecutive action; the series of the moments of vijñapti are also consecutive action: moments that constitute pulling the hide off the animal, washing it, weighing it, selling it, cooking it, eating it, and congratulating oneself on it.

- 6 Contributing Causes: Karma is not bound by a mechanical rigidity. Many factors are at work as action and its

retribution unfold according to the teaching of dependent co-arising, a middle way between determinism or fatalism and absolute freedom or random chance. These 6 causes affect the gravity of a karmic cause and thus its retribution (one further factor is the spiritual status of the doer/possessing false views):

i. The preparatory action (prayoga) is action which leads to the principle action.

ii. Volition (cetanā) is the dharma through which the act is accomplished, the overall tendency of the mental factors

conjoined at the moment of the karma.

iii. Strength of intention (āśaya-viśesa) is the level of conviction behind the deed.

iv. The basis (adhisthāna) is the deed itself. E.g., killing one‘s parents is much worse than stealing from them. (This can also include the further consideration of whether the action is fully accomplished and completed.)

v. The nature of the field (ketra-viśesa) is the moral or spiritual quality of the person with respect to whom the karma is incurred. Splitting the sagha is the most serious transgression because the sagha is the most excellent field of virtue. Other significant ―fields‖: the Buddha, arhats, one‘s mother and father, etc.

vi. Subsequent actions (pṛṣṭhā) following the principle action can make it more grave and make its retribution determinate. (This can include regret, confession, rejoicing, etc.)

- Courses of Action (karma-patha): AKB: By taking from among these [good & bad] practices the most evident, one

defines the ten courses of action, good and bad respectively. The 10 courses of action, karma-patha, represent a major form of ethical guidance within Buddhism the most important kinds of action. The 10 unskillful paths of karma are:

1. taking life (prāṇātipāta)

2. taking what is not given (adattādāna)

3. sexual misconduct (kāma-mithyācāra)

4. false speech (mṛṣā-vāda)

5. malicious speech (paiśunya)

6. harsh speech (pāruya)

7. frivolous speech (sabhinna-pralāpa)

8. covetousness (abhindhyā)

9. malice (vyāpāda)

10. false view (mithyā-dṛṣṭi)

- The 10 courses of action represent the most significant ways, skillful and unskillful, in which volition unfolds and operates (see also 3-fold result below). They are pathways or courses (-patha) that volition (karma) can traverse, and work through, to its accomplishment (roads volitions can traverse or follow). The unskillful paths of karma represent the primary ways in which beings establish a course within saṃsāra, the endless round of birth and death.

- The ten unskillful courses of action are based in the three unskillful roots (akuśala-mūla): 1, 6 & 9 are achieved through hatred, 2, 3 & 8 through greed, 10 through delusion, and 4, 5 & 7 through any one of the three roots. Note:

preparatory actions for all the courses of action can arise from all three roots.

VII. KARMIC RESULTS

- Projecting (ākepaka) and Completing (paripūraka) Karmas:

i. Projecting actions: One action projects one arising and no more. Some karmic causes are responsible for projecting a particular type of existence. The group-homogeneity (nikāya-sabāgha) & vital faculty (jīvita-indriya) of one existence are the result of the karmic projection of one and only one karma. But note: the projecting karma operates with an assemblage of other causal factors including the functioning of defilements and assisting conditions. Nothing arises from a single cause.

ii. Completing Actions: Many actions complete an existence, contributing in terms of specific details (life span, etc). Many actions do not together project one arising: for if this were the case, the projection of existence would take place in parts. AKB: The same way that a painter with one stroke delineates the outline of an image, and then fills in this image: so too, even though their quality of being a human is the same, certain humans have perfect organs, major and minor members; certain humans are beautiful through the excellence of their hue, figure, shape and power, whereas, in certain humans this or that is lacking.

- Collective Karma: The paths of karma are established not only because they effect one by way of retribution, but

also the whole world. An individuals karmic action has both personal and collective aspects. The latter is sometimes called collective karma.The basic Buddhist teaching is that the whole universe, with all its planets, mountains and oceans, etc., is the result, the fruit of dominance (adhipati-phala) of the collective karma of the totality of beings inhabiting the universe.

- 3-fold Result: All paths of karma (karma-patha), skillful or unskillful, are said to have a threefold result:

i. Fruit of retribution (vipāka-phala)

ii. Fruit of emanation (niyanda-phala)

iii. Fruit of dominance (adhipati-phala)

For example, killing is said to have the following three results:

i. Rebirth in a lower realm

ii. Short life-span in future births

- The ten paths of karma are said to be established on account of these three fruits.

- The first two are unique for the individual but the third is shared by all beings.

- The retribution result is undefiled-neutral. The retribution result is primarily sensation, vedanā.

- The emanation (even-flowing) result is also taught as a tendency to repeat the action, forming a rut, habit, disposition.

- A further result of the action of course is also what is actually accomplished by the deed itself.

- Can ones karma bear effect on another or be experienced by another? The Sarvāstivāda refute these possibilities. The transfer of merit is not actually a transfer of good karmic causes. Rather, the transfer of merit is effective through inspiring in beings new wholesome volitions which are new karmic causes in their stream. No one experiences someone elses retribution, vipāka. This is a corollary of the basic ethic of intention. One does not receive the karmic retributions of actions intended by others. In its popular manifestations, however, the doctrine of karma underwent numerous alterations, distortions, over-simplifications, and reconfigurations.

DEFILEMENTS

I. HOW THE DEFILEMENTS FUNCTION WITH KARMA

A. Underlying questions and perspectives:

- How does the realm of action interrelate with the realm of the mind?

- How does karma interact with the defilements on one hand, and as part of the path on the other?

- How integrate morality based on good vs. bad, and a psychology of liberation from good and bad?

- How do ethics work with spiritual cultivation?

B. Defilements are the generating cause and a supporting condition for karma:

- Defilements (kleśa, anuśaya), the cognitive and emotional afflictions of mind, are the ―root of existence‖ (mūlaṃ-

bhavasya) the underlying condition for saṃsāra. The defilements apart from karma do not get elaborated into a world. Karma without the defilements is not actually karma it does not accumulate (upacita) and does not give rise to new existence.

- Karma is how the defilements are enacted, how they are actually put into action, and through karmic causation, how

the world of cyclic rebirth is constantly maintained and renewed. Action elaborates the defilements into the realm of sentient relations, and karmic results unfold a new foundation upon which the defilements can thrive. Thus it is through both the defilements and karma that suffering is truly established and maintained.

- Karma is generated because of the defilements and without the defilements, karmas are incapable of effecting a new

existence. Arhats do have the indeterminate karmas conducive to rebirth, but they are incapable of producing rebirth in

the absence of the defilements. Karma thus requires the defilements as a necessary supporting condition for the process of retribution.

- This is expressed in the 3-part cyclic condensation of the 12-fold dependent arising (discussed last week):

Defilement [5 th class]

arising (discussed last week): Defilement [5 t h class] World [4 t h class] Action [5

World [4 th class]

Action [5 th class]

C. How karma is works with and against the path to liberation:

- While it is the case, as quoted above, that: Essentially, the precepts (śīla) have heaven for their result; cultivation (bhāvanā) has disconnection [from the defilements] for its result,‖ successful negotiation of the path of cultivation presupposes and builds on a deep and extensive commitment to the ethical practices of the precepts (i.e., good karma).

- Liberation (nirvāṇa) is conceived (or even defined) in terms of the abandonment of defilements and the karmic

activity they engender. Liberation goes beyond karma (it is pure karma rather than black, white, etc.), but the path to liberation involves clearly distinguishing and committing oneself to good or wholesome karma (and mental states) in

contrast to evil, bad or unwholesome karma (and mental states).

- The defilements are what lies between karmic result which is neutral and karmic action which is not. Karmic result is

the perpetuation of samsaric existence but in and of itself does not comprise an active cause for the maintenance of cyclic suffering. Between that result and a new karmic cause is defilement, and this is the juncture or gap into which liberating practice can find a footing. There is no way to drive a wedge between karmic cause and karmic result, but the possibility for liberation flows from the freedom that is available between karmic result and new karmic cause. The later represents a juncture of choice, where intention can potentially shape a skillful or unskillful response to the karmic result of the present.

- In terms of the schematic above, two distinct gaps or junctures can be identified:

Cultivation Gap” (abandoning the defilements)

Defilement [5 th class]

(abandoning the defilements) Defilement [5 t h class] “ Karma gap” (ethical practice, i.e., good, impure

Karma gap” (ethical practice, i.e., good, impure karma)

World [4 th class]

Action [5 th class]

“No Gap”

In the Cultivation Gapthe defilements are abandoned such that they no longer arise. This is definitive release. Based on not reacting to the result, the world, the foundation, and eventually realizing the true nature of the object of the defilements. If the defilements do not arise, karmic activity does not occur. In the Karma Gapone engages in ethical practice: not acting on the defilements. This brings temporary relief including an agreeable result but does not definitively address the underlying problem of the defilements. However, more significant than its agreeable results is that ethical practice is conducive to cultivation.

- In some more detail:

a) karma which is good, bad or non-defined, leads to…

b) results which are correspondingly agreeable, disagreeable or indeterminate, and in all three cases,

c) defiled tendencies underlie or are provoked by those feelings or sensations, summarized below by the three unskillful or evil roots (akuśala-mūla): greed, hatred and ignorance (the afflicted counterparts to agreeable, disagreeable and indeterminate feelings). These defilements then predispose the series to further…

d) karma, which can be good, bad or non-defined, and the cycle goes on perpetually.

a) Karma

b) Result

c) Defilement

d) Karma

Good (kuśala)

Agreeable

Greed

[Greed, hatred and ignorance can be the condition for good, bad or undefined karma]

Bad (akuśala)

Disagreeable

Hatred

Undefined (avyākrta)

Neutral

Ignorance (+ Greed & Hatred)

Karma Gap

No Gap

Cultivation Gap

Karma Gap

No Gap

- This may help to clarify how good karma is spiritually bivalent (as discussed above):

i. Good karma is part of the process of saṃsāra. It generates pleasant results but agreeable sensation itself is only a temporary relief, and thus characterized by the ―suffering of change‖. Further, agreeable sensation becomes the foundation for the arising and development of defilements, particularly grasping, attachment and greed. Pure action, which ―destroys‖ action, is thus distinct from white action.

ii. Good karma is also part of the path to nirvāṇa. Since karma is intention, action is mental, and purifying one‘s action is purifying one‘s mind. Cultivation is then the continuation of this purification of the mind in the relatively non-active context of meditation and study of the teachings. Without creating a gap between the arising of the defilements and new action through ethical practice, the cycle may have too much momentum for cultivation to be effective. As karma is defined as intention, commitment to ethical conduct leads naturally into studying the mind and its mental factors and developing good or skillful states of mind. Good karma represents an essential, ongoing, and prerequisite component of turning the attention inward to study the underlying mental process. It is the basis for training the mind back to the ―Cultivation Gap‖, the juncture before the defilements arise and take root.

This bivalent approach to good ethical conduct may also resonate with correlate tensions between right view and going beyond all views, as well as between Conventional Truth leading to or opening Ultimate Truth vs. Ultimate Truth which negates or goes utterly beyond Conventional Truth. We will explore these tensions later in the context of Madhyamaka thought. These were productive tensions which helped move the tradition forward.

II. BASIC NATURE OF THE DEFILEMENTS ABHIDHARMA PROBLEMATIC PART II

- In early Buddhism, the defilements (kleśa) as dispositions, tendencies or potentials are referred to as anuśaya (latent

tendency). Sentient beings are endowed with a number of defilements, most of which are only active under specific conditions. Some afflictions, such as belief in self, can co-exist with practically any object, whereas greed only arises

with respect to an agreeable sensation or object, and hatred only arises with respect to a disagreeable sensation or object (and further, greed and hatred cannot co-exist as their modes of activity are opposed). Ignorance accompanies all defiled states. The array of defilements lie in wait as dispositions, ready to overwhelm the sentient being once the correlate set of conditions arise.

- Enlightenment is not merely the absence of defilements in one‘s present state of mind – it is that the defilements

cannot afflict the mind under any condition whatsoever. In other words, the latent dispositions towards the defilements have been uprooted and completely cleared. As discussed below, the Abhidharma describes the path in terms of a gradual process of abandoning the defilements. Abandoning the defilements refers to the complete uprooting of the latent disposition.

- As with the discussion of karma above, we find here a second major manifestation of the Abhidharma problematic:

a) The synchronic approach asserts that the ultimate account of reality consists of the momentary existence of the mind and its associated mental factors which comprise the individual.

b) How can such an approach account for the diachronic persistence of latent dispositions towards the defilements? A moment of anger is easily classified as a distinct dharma, arising in that moment, but the disposition towards getting angry belongs to a different level of discourse.

c) Not only are the defilements incompatible with each other (greed and hatred), some are also incompatible with good or skillful states of mind. Further, in the gradual abandoning of the defilements, how is it that the remaining defilements are transmitted even while the pure path abandons other defilements?

d) In other words, how can the dispositions continue in an unbroken series if they are not somehow present in each moment? But if they are present in each moment, how are they not efficacious in every moment?

e) Abhidharma approaches to the defilements, which are clearly a fundamental aspect of the whole soteriology, thus encounter the same impasse which arose with accounting for the related notions of karmic cause and effect, karmic accumulation, etc. Dharma theory needs to be adapted or to some extent abandoned.

- Sarvāstivāda Response: The Sarvāstivāda reject the notion of latent defilements, interpreting anuśaya rather as

subtleand tenacious, and asserting that anuśaya simply refers to the manifest afflictions (kleśa). The language of

dispositions is rejected as incompatible with dharma theory. Instead, the Sarvāstivādins once again invoke the dharma of possession (prāpti). Each of the defilements is associated with an individual by a conascent prāpti (disjoined from mind). Apparent references to latent defilements in the early discourses were reinterpreted as possession (prāpti). When a defilement becomes active (conjoined with mind), the prāpti series associated with that defilement is strengthened. The abandoning of the defilements then consists of the destruction of the prāptis of the defilements.

- Sautrantika Response: In the Abhidharmakosa, Vasubandhu supports the view that the anuśayas are latent

tendencies of defilements, expressing a lack of commitment to dharma theory by once again appealing to the notion of seeds (bīja) which are not dharmas: What is called anuśaya is the kleśa itself in a state of sleep, whereas the paryavasthāna (outburst) is the kleśa in an awakened state. The sleeping kleśa is the non-manifested kleśa, in the state of being a seed; the awakened kleśa is the manifested kleśa, the kleśa in action. And by seedone should understand a

certain capacity to produce the kleśa, a power belonging to the person engendered by the previous kleśa.

III. HOW THE DEFILEMENTS FUNCTION

A. The Defilements Adhere and Grow: One defilement causes the whole citta-caitta (mind and mental factors) complex to be defiled by way of influence and contamination. For this reason, the Sarvāstivāda teach that the defilements ―adhere and grow‖. The defilement and the aggregate of mind and mental factors mutually support and deepen each other. As the mind and its mental factors become defiled, the defilement itself becomes more intense.

- The defilement also adheres and grows in relation to its object, unless the object is pure (anāsrava, outflow-free).

Pure objects refer to the 3 rd and 4 th noble truths of nirvāṇa and the path. Such pure objects do not support the growth of the defilements but are opposed to them. All other objects are opportunities for the growth of the defilements.

- The defilements also strongly adhere it is very difficult to become free from the defilements. Like a bird flying in

the sky, thinking it can cross an ocean, and a fish swimming in the water, following its shadow until it eventually the bird falls to its demise.

B. Functions of the Defilements: When a defilement (kleśa) enters into action, it accomplishes many operations:

-It makes solid (or firm) its root, its prāptithe possession that a certain person already had of the kleśa - preventing it from being broken; -It places itself in a series (that is, it continues to reproduce itself, establishing a series); -It accommodates its field, rendering the person fit for the arising (or abiding) of the kleśa (and also makes one inapt to change); -It engenders its offspring, that is, the upakleśas (secondary defilements): hatred engenders anger, etc. (engenders a poisonous emanation) -It leads to action (leads to karma-bhāva, induces the karma for new existence); -It aggregates its causes, namely, incorrect judgment (gathers up its own requisites, repeatedly giving rise to improper mental application); -It causes one to be mistaken (deluded) with regard to the object of consciousness (harms proper understanding); -It bends the mental series towards the object or towards rebirth (conducts the stream of consciousness, induces consciousness on the objects of rebirth); -It brings about a falling away of good (opposes the virtues, makes one go astray); and -It becomes a bond (bandhana) and prevents surmounting of the sphere of existence to which it belongs. -It can generate all forms of suffering.

C. Defilements arise from 3 Causes: The anuśaya (1) is cause; the dharmas are its object (2); and incorrect judgment

(3) is its immediate preparation: three distinct forces‖:

i. On account of a cause (hetu-balena): anuśayas in one‘s samtana (series) have not been abandoned or known so the defilements can arise when the corresponding conditions assemble. ii. On account of the object (viaya-balena): external stimuli conducive to defilements enter one‘s field. iii. On account of preparatory effort (prayoga-balena): This refers to improper mental application (ayoniso- manaskara, ―erroneous judgment‖ or ―incorrect comprehension‖).

- Defilements can arise without the 2 nd cause (object) if the 1 st (not abandoned) and 3 rd (improper mental application)

are active. The 2 nd (object) cannot make a defilement arise if there is proper mental application (the opposite of the 3 rd ).

D. Universal (sarvatrāga) Defilements: The universal defilements can arise and function in relation to all objects of

their sphere (dhātu) and also serve as the cause for the production of further defilements (similar and dissimilar). There are 11 universal defilements (7+4) [see table on next page where the universal defilements are marked with a ―u‖]:

7

under the defilements abandoned by seeing the truth of suffering in Kāmadhātu: ignorance, all 5 views & doubt

4

under seeing the truth of origin in Kāmadhātu: ignorance, false views, esteeming views & doubt

- Of these 11 universal defilements, 9 (by excluding the view of self & view of extremes) also serve as universal defilements in relation to the higher spheres (Rūpadhātu & Ārūpyadhātu).

IV. HOW THE DEFILEMENTS ARE ABANDONED

- Abandonment (prahāna), at certain stages, is basically synonymous with: disjunction (visayoga), cessation (nirodha), complete knowledge (parijñā) and fruit of the spiritual life (Śrāmaaya-phala).

A. Modes and Categories of Abandonment of the Defilements: When a defilement can be abandoned simply by the

insight into the Four Noble Truths, it is darśana-heya, susceptible to being abandoned by the path of seeing (or vision:

darśana). Otherwise, the defilements are susceptible to being abandoned by seeing and cultivation (bhāvanā-heya). See table on the next page. The 5 views and doubt, being cognitive in nature, are solely abandoned by the path of seeing (darśana-marga). The other 4 defilements, attachment, anger, pride and ignorance, are cognitive and affective in nature and thus are not abandoned by insight alone. They are intrinsically more tenacious and resilient than the cognitive defilements. Cultivation, that is, repeated practice and realization of insight, and deepening of meditation, is required. The Sarvāstivāda distinguishes 5 categories of abandonables:

1. By seeing the 1 st noble truth of suffering

2. By seeing the 2 nd noble truth of origin

3. By seeing the 3 rd noble truth of extinction

4. By seeing the 4 th noble truth of the path

5. Through cultivation

[completely abandons view of self & view of extremes] [universal defilements are abandoned by seeing 1 st & 2 nd truths] [ignorance, false views (mithyā-dṛṣṭi) & doubt abandonable by seeing the 3 rd & 4 th truths have pure (anāsrava) objects.] [these 4 anuśaya have 9 grades: weak-weak to strong-strong]

- The Sarvāstivāda also distinguishes defilements in terms of the 3 spheres: 1. Kāmadhātu (desire-realm), 2. Rūpadhātu (fine-material-realm), and 3. Ārūpyadhātu (non-material-realm).

- Taking into account the 5 categories of abandonables above and the 3 spheres, the 10 anuśayas are elaborated into a total of 98 defilements see next page: 6, 7, 10 & 98 Defilements.

 

6, 7, 10 AND 98 DEFILEMENTS

98 anuśaya:

 

in kāmadhātu

 

in rūpadhātu

in Ārūpyadhātu

abandoned by:

abandoned by:

abandoned by:

 

Fundamental

 

10 anuśaya/kleśa Fundamental defilements [on the unskillful roots (akuśala-mūla: 1., 2. & 4. below): root here means cause- all unskillful mental states spring from these three roots, because of these 3 roots, the 10 courses of unwholesome action are generated. Ignorance/delusion is always present in an unwholesome state. Greed & anger may or may not be and they cannot co-exist (their

modes of activity are opposed).]

(u=universal defilement)

                             

Defilements

seeing suffering

 

seeing origin

seeing path

cultivation

seeing suffering

seeing origin

seeing path

cultivation

seeing suffering

seeing origin

seeing path

cultivation

 

6

 

7

seeing

seeing

seeing

anuśaya/kleśa

anuśaya/kleśa

defilements

 

defilements

1.

rāga

1. kamarāga

-

1.

rāga attachment, greed, associated with pleasure & satisfaction (refers to attachment

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

attachment,

sensual greed

to objects, synonym: lobha (covetousness). one of the 3 unskillful/evil roots)

greed

2.

bhavarāga -

existence-greed

2.

pratigha

3.

pratigha

2.

pratigha anger, hostility, associated with displeasure & dissatisfaction (intending to

x

x

x

x

x

                   

anger

anger, hostility

harm beings, only in kāmadhātu, synonym: dvesa (hate), one of the 3 unskillful roots)

3.

māna

4.

māna

3.

māna pride, conceit, arrogance (7 types: ordinary pride, extraordinary pride, extreme

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

pride

pride, conceit

pride, exaggerated pride, pride of inferiority, wrong pride, ignorant pride.)

4.

avidyā

5.

avidyā -

4.

avidyā ignorance (non-cognizance/non-knowledge of the four noble truths, error,

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

ignorance

ignorance

 

non-clarity, a disinclination to understand, synonym: moha (delusion), one of the 3 unskillful/evil roots. ignorance is the root cause for all defilements, including greed and hatred, in 12-fold dependent-co-arising, ignorance (the 1 st limb) is the collective name for all the defilements of the past existence giving rise to present karmic formations.)

u

u

5.

dṛṣṭi

6. dṛṣṭi views

5.

satkāyadṛṣṭi a belief in self, view of self & what pertains to self (false view that the

x

       

x

       

x

       

- views

five skandhas of grasping constituting the person is the real self. It is the view of Self superimposed on the skandhas. Only abandoned by seeing dukkha as the five skandhas of clinging are primarily an expression or result of this truth. Veiled-nondefined (in contrast to ignorance).)

u

6.

mithyādṛṣṭi false views, view of negation (false view denying causal efficacy, 4 NT

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

x

x

 
 

(subsumed

etc. main significance: it is responsible for the cutting off of the roots of good.)

u

u

under mati,

7.

antagrāhadṛṣṭi a belief in extremes, view of eternity & annihilation (grasping self as

x

       

x

       

x

       
 

views are

eternal or subject to complete annihilation. 2 extremes (anta). this view presupposes satkāya-dṛṣṭi. 5. & 7. are not classified as unskillful but as veiled-non-defined, found in all 3 spheres. These views are based on satkāya-dṛṣṭi, they too are only abandoned by seeing suffering.)

u

defiled

understanding

 

(prajna).)

 

8.

dṛṣṭiparāmarśa esteeming views, holding as high that which is low (attachment to or

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

x

x

 

esteeming of ones own views as being true and superior and in particular, obstinate attachment to the 3 views above (5., 6., & 7.).)

u

u

9.

śīlavrataparāmarśa esteeming morality & ascetic practices, holding as cause & path

x

   

x

 

x

   

x

 

x

   

x

 

that which is not cause & path (attachment to religious vows and observances by those who undertake them as a means for purification and liberation. Like satkāyadṛṣṭi & antagrāhadṛṣṭi above, abandoned by seeing the truth of suffering, but also, as it mistakes asceticism as the path of purification, it also arises with regard to the path and hence is subsumable under seeing the truth of the path (rga-satya) as well.)

u

6. vicikitsā

7. vicikitsā -

10. vicikitsā doubt, understanding two thesis, one doubts [which is true]. (Cognitive in

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

x

x

 

x

x

x

x

 

doubt

doubt

 

nature, like the 5 views: these 6 are abandoned completely through seeing the truths.)

u

u

Total: 6 7 10 98= 10 7 7 8 4 9 6 6 7 3
Total: 6
7
10
98=
10
7
7
8
4
9
6
6
7
3
9
6
6
7
3

B. How the defilements are abandoned: The defilements are abandoned through complete knowledge of their object. This accord with the basic Abhidharma principle that the defilements are abandoned through discernment of the dharmas (dharma-pravicaya). The defilements are not themselves destroyed (the dharmas exist in the three times), but through understanding the object, the defilement no longer gives rise to any fault in relation to the object. Through complete knowledge of the object, the acquisition (prāpti) series associated with the correlate defilements cannot continue.

- It is not that the path destroys or acts directly upon the defilements. This is not possible because the path is pure and

thus opposed in nature to the defilements which are impure. The path and the defilements do not co-arise. Rather, the path corresponds to insight into the object which interrupts the acquisition (prāpti) series for the defilement bearing on that object. When the prāpti series ceases, the defilement loses its afflictive potential.

- The prāpti series for each defilement and its correlate object (or class of objects) thus serves as a linkage between the individual and the defilement pertaining to a given object. These linkages are severed through the arising of the counteracting path, which is the liberating prajna of seeing the Noble Truths.

- According to this approach, when one possesses defilements associated with a certain object, one is bound to that

object by the defilement. It is thus profound comprehension of the true nature of the object in the light of the Noble Truths that actually accomplishes the abandoning of the defilement.

- The ―object‖ here is basically what is referred to above as the world, as result, as foundation, and as feeling

(agreeable, disagreeable, etc.), and more broadly, all dharmas. The object refers to the particular conditions which evoke, underlie or impel the arising of an associated defilement. Just as consciousness does not arise without an object,

the defilements too arise in relation to an object (which can be a sensory object or a mind object). The universal defilements can arise in relation to all objects of their sphere.

- This may also clarify the classification of the defilements in terms of their abandonability in relation to the Four

Noble Truths above. Insight into the Four Noble Truths consists of insight into corresponding objects and aspects or modes of understanding for each of the Four Truths. There are thus distinct defilements of ignorance, greed, etc. which

bear on objects distinctly subsumed under the Four Truths.

- For instance, greed or attachment with respect to conditioned things which are actually suffering is uprooted through

seeing the 1 st Noble Truth of Suffering, greed or attachment with respect to the belief in creator god is uprooted through seeing the 2 nd Noble Truth of Origin, greed or attachment with respect to extinction as the cessation of consciousness is uprooted through seeing the 3 rd Noble Truth of Extinction, and so on for other objects, for objects

pertaining to the higher spheres, and for the other defilements.

V. THE DERIVATION OF THE UPAKLEŚAS:

- The paryavasthānas and kleśa-malas are derived from the anuśayas but come to constitute distinct forces (dharmas).

 

Secondary defilements (upakleśa)

10 defilements (anuśaya / kleśa)

10 envelopments, wrappings (paryavasthāna)

6 “filth of defilement” (kleśa- mala)

1. Rāga Attachment, greed

1. disrespect (ahrikya) 5. dissipation (auddhatya) 4. avarice (matsarya) 10. hypocrisy (mraksa)

1. cheating (maya) 3. drunkeness of pride (mada)

2. Pratigha Anger, hostility

3. envy, jealousy (irsya)

5. enmity (upahana) 6. hostility (vihimsa)

3. Māna Pride

-

-

4. Avidyā Ignorance

7. torpor (styana) 8. languor (middha) 2. absence of fear (anapatrapya) 10. hypocrisy (mraksa)

-

5. Satkāya-dṛṣṭi Belief in self

-

2. crookedness (sathya)

6. Mithyādṛṣṭi False views

-

-

7. Antagraha-dṛṣṭi Belief in extremes

-

-

8. Dṛṣṭi-parāmarśa Esteeming views

-

4. esteeming evil (pradasa)

9. Śīlavrata-parāmarśa Esteeming

   

morality & ascetic practices

-

-

10. Vicikitsā Doubt

6. regret (kaukrtya) 9. anger (krodha)

-

- There are three unskillful or evil roots (akuśala-mūla): greed, hatred and ignorance, from which all unskillful states arise. As mentioned above, the 10 unskillful paths of karma (karma-patha) have their origin in these three roots.

VI. TERMS

- Various terms are used to denote the defilements, characterizing their different functionalities and scope of operation, and each unfolding with its own distinct logic (into various divisions and re-classifications of the defilements). The basic terms with their correlate interpretations:

Kleśa (defilements): The most generic term for the defilements, so-called because they defile, afflict, disturb, or molest the psycho-physical series.

Anuśaya (latent tendencies): The anuśayas are atomic, for they are subtle; they adhere and are nourished by objects and associated mental factors; they continually bind, reappearing despite efforts to block them. (This is in accord with the Sarvāstivādin interpretation of anuśaya as subtle and tenacious rather than as latent dispositions.)

Upakleśa (secondary defilements): The secondary defilements proceed from or emanate (niyanda) from the foundational defilements, the kleśa above. These correspond to the akuśala-mahā-bhūmikas (unskillful universals), parītta-kleśa-bhūmikas (defilements of restricted scope), and some of the kleśa-mahā-bhūmikas (defiled universals) and aniyata (indeterminates).

Paryavasthāna (wrappings, envelopments): The parya-vasthanas envelop one‘s psychophysical series, like a prison - one is confined or enclosed, completely covered, surrounded, wrapped up.

Āsrvas (outflows, canker): The defilements are referred to as asravas because they cause the mental series to flow into objects, because they cause the individual to flow through the various stations of existence within saṃsāra and/or because the defilements are associated with a loss or gain (out-flow / in-flow) of energy and/or impurity.

Ogha (floods): The defilements are called oghas when they are violent as then they can ―carry one away‖ as in a flood. One drifts about, is overwhelmed by the torrent, or is utterly submerged.

Yoga (yokes, bonds): When the defilements do not enter into activity with such violence, they are called yogas, because they yoke (or attach) one to the many sufferings of transmigration.

Upādāna (clingings): The defilements are called upādānas because through their action, one clings or seizes to things of the senses, etc. Connotations: ―fuel‖ because they enable the fire of karma to stay ablaze, ―forcefulness‖ because their activity is forceful or sharp, and ―envelopment‖ like be locked in a cocoon or a spider‘s web.

Sayojana (fetters, connections): The defilements are called sayojanas because by them one is fettered or bound by objects, or because by them one is fettered to the three realms of existence, that is, to saṃsāra.

Bandhana (bonds): The bandhanas emphasize how the defilements bind beings to the three spheres of existence, prevents living beings from detaching from saṃsāra.

Kāya-grantha (corporeal ties): They tie-up sentient beings, entrapping the psycho-physical series (kāya). Synonyms:

corporeal bondage (kāya-bandhana) and rebirth-linking (pratisadhi).

Nivaraas (hindrances): The defilements can functions as nivaraas when they arise as obstacles or hindrances to the noble path, detachment and the roots of skillfulness.

- 108 Defilements: A total of 108 defilements is arrived at by adding the 98 anuśayas to the 10 envelopments

(paryavasthāna). The outflows (srava), floods (ogha), yokes (yoga) and clingings (upādāna) are alternate ways of classifying these 108 defilements.