3.6.9 Introduction to Cūḷakammavibhaṅgasuttaṃ - The Result of Unwholesome and Wholesome Actions, part two
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
The Result of Unwholesome and Wholesome Actions – part two
‘‘Kammassa kārako natthi, vipākassa ca vedako;
Suddhadhammā2 pavattanti, evetaṃ sammadassanaṃ.
Evaṃ kamme vipāke ca, vattamāne sahetuke;
Bījarukkhādikānaṃva3, pubbā koṭi na nāyati;
Anāgatepi saṃsāre, appavattaṃ4 na dissati.
Evametaṃ abhiññāya, bhikkhu buddhassa sāvako5;
Gambhīraṃ nipuṇaṃ suññaṃ, paccayaṃ paṭivijjhati.
Kammaṃ natthi vipākamhi, pāko kamme na vijjati;
Aññamaññaṃ ubho suññā, na ca kammaṃ vinā phalaṃ.
Yathā na sūriye aggi, na maṇimhi na gomaye6;
Na tesaṃ bahi so atthi, sambhārehi ca jāyati.
Tathā na anto kammassa, vipāko upalabbhati7;
Bahiddhāpi na kammassa, na kammaṃ tattha vijjati.
Phalena suññaṃ taṃ kammaṃ, phalaṃ kamme na vijjati;
Kammañca kho upādāya, tato nibbattate8 phalaṃ.
Na hettha devo brahmā vā, saṃsārassatthikārako9;
Suddhadhammā pavattanti, hetusambhārapaccayā10’’ti.
This is what the Ancients say:
“There is no doer of a deed; or one who harvests the deeds result,
Merely phenomena alone rotate – seeing this is the right way to understand.
In this way kamma and its result, are causally rotating on
As seed and tree proceed in turn, no starting point can be identified,
Also in the future round of births alike; does their non-rotating not get manifest.
A Bhikkhu, a disciple of the Buddha, by comprehending this with direct knowledge,
Can penetrate this subtle conditionality, deep and void
No kamma can be found in its result, nor does result exist in kamma,
Though they are void of one another, no fruit exists without the kamma.
Just as fire does not exist inside the sun or in a gem or cow dung,
Nor does it exist outside of them but gets created by means of its constituent parts.
So neither can result be found, not within the kamma,
Not without, nor does in its result the kamma still endure.
The kamma is devoid of fruit, nor does the fruit exist in kamma,
But still the fruit is born from it, fully depending on the kamma.
There is no god, no Brahma, no creator of this round of births,
Merely phenomena alone rotate – having cause and constituents as their condition.”
A householder who aspires to include all maṅgala, all wholesome blessings as natural element of his day to day activities doesn’t need to worry about his future. The mind of someone, who lives a considerate life, mindfully aware of his actions and attentive of every present moment and thus prevents any intentional harm towards any other being, will automatically remain at peace11. That is why it was said12:
“Phuṭṭhassa lokadhammehi, cittaṃ yassa na kampati; asokaṃ virajaṃ khemaṃ” – “When faced with the vicissitudes of life, one’s mind is unshaken, sorrow less, stainless, secure.”
Living in this way, such an ardent practitioner of the Buddha’s teaching automatically produces wholesome kamma, without any need to worry about it. He instinctively secures a positive future by taking care of every present moment - there remains nothing more to be done!
But of course, an inquisitive person who experiences various positive or likewise negative effects of one’s intention and actions may get curious to enquire about the manifold knotted implications of kamma.13 In his reply to the likewise nosy youth Subho, son of Todeyya, the Buddha explained the possible kammic effects of violence, injury and harm done to others as presented in the first part of this Cūḷakammavibhaṅgasuttaṃ14. This second and final part of the Cūḷakammavibhaṅgasuttaṃ dwells on effects that result from anger, envy, greed and stinginess, arrogance, pride and ignorance.
In a similar elucidation the Buddha explained the results of kamma to Queen Mallikā, the wife of King Pasenadi of Kosala, who had been worried about her prettiness.15 At a certain occasion16 she visited the Buddha and addressed him with the following words: ‘‘Ko nu kho, bhante, hetu ko paccayo, yena midhekacco17 mātugāmo dubbaṇṇā ca hoti durūpā supāpikā dassanāya; daliddā18 ca hoti appassakā19 appabhogā appesakkhā ca? Ko pana, bhante, hetu ko paccayo, yena midhekacco mātugāmo dubbaṇṇā ca hoti durūpā supāpikā dassanāya; aḍḍhā20 ca hoti mahaddhanā mahābhogā mahesakkhā ca? Ko nu kho, bhante, hetu ko paccayo, yena midhekacco mātugāmo abhirūpā ca hoti dassanīyā pāsādikā paramāya vaṇṇapokkharatāya samannāgatā21; daliddā ca hoti appassakā appabhogā appesakkhā ca? Ko pana, bhante, hetu ko paccayo, yena midhekacco mātugāmo abhirūpā ca hoti dassanīyā pāsādikā paramāya vaṇṇapokkharatāya samannāgatā, aḍḍhā ca hoti mahaddhanā mahābhogā mahesakkhā cā’’ti? – “Bhante, could you tell the reason, why here a certain woman is ugly, of unshapely appearance and unattractive, poor, of little means, impoverished and of low rank? And why, Bhante, another woman is likewise ugly, of unshapely appearance and unattractive but rich, with a lot of possessions, wealthy and influential? And further, Bhante, could you tell the reason, why another woman is charming, beautiful, attractive and extremely good-looking but poor, of little means, impoverished and of low rank? And, why, Bhante, a certain woman is charming, beautiful, attractive and extremely good-looking and rich, with a lot of possessions, wealthy and influential?”
The Buddha then replied with an exposition, where he relates each of the respective characteristics that Queen Mallika mentioned22:
· dubbaṇṇā ca hoti durūpā supāpikā dassanāya (ugly, of unshapely appearance and unattractive)
· daliddā ca hoti appassakā appabhogā appesakkhā (poor, of little means, impoverished and of low rank)
· abhirūpā ca hoti dassanīyā pāsādikā paramāya vaṇṇapokkharatāya samannāgatā (charming, beautiful, attractive and extremely good-looking)
· aḍḍhā ca hoti mahaddhanā mahābhogā mahesakkhā (rich, with a lot of possessions, wealthy and influential)
to the corresponding causes and counterparts:
· ekacco mātugāmo kodhanā hoti upāyāsabahulā23 - (a certain woman is often prone to anger and annoyance)
· appampi vuttā samānā abhisajjati kuppati byāpajjati patitthīyati, kopañca dosañca appaccayañca pātukaroti - (if corrected even a little only she gets equally angry, agitated, and obstinate and she rolls in anger, hatred and bitterness)
· ekacco mātugāmo akkodhanā hoti anupāyāsabahulā – (a certain woman is not often prone to anger and annoyance)
· bahumpi vuttā samānā nābhisajjati na kuppati na byāpajjati na patitthīyati, na kopañca dosañca appaccayañca pātukaroti - (if corrected a lot she does not get equally angry, agitated, and obstinate and she does not roll in anger, hatred and bitterness)
· sā na dātā hoti samaṇassa vā brāhmaṇassa vā annaṃ pānaṃ vatthaṃ yānaṃ mālāgandhavilepanaṃ seyyāvasathapadīpeyyaṃ - (she does not give anything to ascetics or Brahmins, not food nor drink, clothing or vehicles, garlands, scents or perfumes, no bedding, dwelling or light)
· sā dātā hoti samaṇassa vā brāhmaṇassa vā annaṃ pānaṃ vatthaṃ yānaṃ mālāgandhavilepanaṃ seyyāvasathapadīpeyyaṃ - (she gives to ascetics or Brahmins food and drink, clothing or vehicles, garlands, scents or perfumes, bedding, dwelling and light)
· issāmanikā kho pana hoti; paralābhasakkāragarukāramānanavandanapūjanāsu issati upadussati issaṃ bandhati - (she is one who is envious, she envies and is jealous of the gain, honor, respect, esteem, reverence or veneration received by others, all that she covets)
· anissāmanikā kho pana hoti; paralābhasakkāragarukāramānanavandanapūjanāsu na issati na upadussati na issaṃ bandhati - (she is not one who is envious, she does not envy and is not jealous of the gain, honor, respect, esteem, reverence or veneration received by others, all that she does not covet)
After this exposition of the Buddha Queen Mallika happily concludes about her own situation in the following way: ‘‘Yā nūnāhaṃ bhante, aññaṃ jātiṃ kodhanā ahosiṃ upāyāsabahulā, appampi vuttā samānā abhisajjiṃ kuppiṃ byāpajjiṃ patitthīyiṃ kopañca dosañca appaccayañca pātvākāsiṃ, sāhaṃ, bhante, etarahi dubbaṇṇā durūpā supāpikā dassanāya” – “In some earlier life, Bhante, I must have been often prone to anger and annoyance a lot and if corrected even a little only I must have got equally angry, agitated, and obstinate and been rolling in anger, hatred and bitterness. Therefore now I am ugly, of unshapely appearance and unattractive.” ‘‘Yā nūnāhaṃ, bhante, aññaṃ jātiṃ dātā ahosiṃ samaṇassa vā brāhmaṇassa vā annaṃ pānaṃ vatthaṃ yānaṃ mālāgandhavilepanaṃ seyyāvasathapadīpeyyaṃ, sāhaṃ, bhante, etarahi aḍḍhā mahaddhanā mahābhogā.” - “In some earlier life, Bhante, I must have given, food and drink, clothing or vehicles, garlands, scents or perfumes to ascetics or Brahmins, likewise bedding, dwelling or light, that is why I am rich, with a lot of possessions, wealthy and influential.” - ‘‘Yā nūnāhaṃ, bhante, aññaṃ jātiṃ anissāmanikā ahosiṃ, paralābhasakkāragarukāramānanavandanapūjanāsu na issiṃ na upadussiṃ na issaṃ bandhiṃ, sāhaṃ, bhante, etarahi mahesakkhā. Santi kho pana, bhante, imasmiṃ rājakule khattiyakaññāpi brāhmaṇakaññāpi gahapatikaññāpi, tāsāhaṃ issarādhipaccaṃ24 kāremi.” – “And in some earlier life, Bhante, I must not have been one who was envious, I was without envy and not jealous of the gain, honor, respect, esteem, reverence or veneration given to others and I wasn’t covetous. That is why today I am now influential with full authority over the girls in this court belonging to the royal clan, the Khattiyas and the householders as well.”
After this realization Queen Mallika took the firm resolve and determination henceforth to avoid all anger, annoyance and obstinacy, to welcome criticism and to continue to be generous in all ways especially towards all mendicants and to forsake envy and greed: “Esāhaṃ, bhante, ajjatagge akkodhanā bhavissāmi anupāyāsabahulā, bahumpi vuttā samānā nābhisajjissāmi na kuppissāmi na byāpajjissāmi na patitthīyissāmi, kopañca dosañca appaccayañca na pātukarissāmi; dassāmi samaṇassa vā brāhmaṇassa vā annaṃ pānaṃ vatthaṃ yānaṃ mālāgandhavilepanaṃ seyyāvasathapadīpeyyaṃ. Anissāmanikā bhavissāmi, paralābhasakkāragarukāramānanavandanapūjanāsu na ississāmi na upadussissāmi na issaṃ bandhissāmi.”
After the expression of this determination Queen Mallika then requested the Buddha to accept her as lay follower: “Abhikkantaṃ, bhante…pe… upāsikaṃ maṃ, bhante, bhagavā dhāretu ajjatagge pāṇupetaṃ saraṇaṃ gata’’nti25. Queen Mallika is known as having remained a devout follower of the Buddha’s teaching who developed profound wisdom and often was counselled for her advice26.
1 Paccayapariggahakathā, Kaṅkhāvitaraṇavisuddhiniddeso, Visuddhimaggo
2 suddhadhammā: suddha + dhammā: pure; here: simple, mere, nothing else but + phenomena
3 bījarukkhādikānaṃva: bīja + rukkha + ādikānaṃ + va: seed + tree + starting from, initial + like
4 appavattaṃ: a + p + pavattaṃ: non + rotating: stagnancy, standstill
5 See introduction to lesson 3.6.10 Sīlānisaṃsakathā: ‘A meditator, someone, who practices insight, can realize some of kamma and its effects in parts.’: ‘Vipassakena pana kammantarañca vipākantarañca ekadesato jānitabbaṃ.’
6 maṇi + gomayo: gem + cow-dung: the gem symbolizes a burning glass which causes ignition by focusing the sun's rays; cow dung symbolizes the flammable object that gets ignited
7 upalabbhati: to be found, to be known
8 nibbattate: (med.) arise, become, get produced
9 saṃsārassatthikārako: saṃsārassa + atthi + kārako: of this round of existences + being, life + maker, doer
10 hetusambhārapaccayā: hetu + sambhāra + paccayā: cause + component part, constituent + condition, by means of
11 for the benefits of such a life see next sutta: 3.6.10 Sīlānisaṃsakathā - What are the Benefits of a Virtuous Life?
12 see previous sutta: 3.6.8 Maṅgalasuttaṃ - The housholder’s wholesome blessings
13 more thoughts on kamma and kamma-results (kammavaṭṭavipākavaṭṭavasena) see introduction to next lesson: 3.6.10 Sīlānisaṃsakathā
15 In the early age of 16, Mallika, a daughter of a garland maker offered the Buddha food that she was carrying. That same very day, King Pasenadi, who had been defeated by Ajatasatthu heard her voice and got attracted. When he noticed that she was unmarried he courted her and made her his chief queen in great magnificence. Mallika was found to be wise and pragmatic and later – directly after the preachment of this sutta quoted here, became a devout follower of the Buddha’s teaching.
16 Mallikādevīsuttaṃ, Mahāvaggo, Catutthapaṇṇāsakaṃ, Catukkanipātapāḷi, Aṅguttaranikāyo
17 (m)idhekacco:idha + ekacco: here + a certain
18 daliddā: poor, wretched
19 appassakā: appa + s + sakā: little + having of one’s own: having little
20 aḍḍhā: rich, wealthy
21 paramāya vaṇṇapokkharatāya samannāgatā: paramāya + vaṇṇa + pokkharatāya + samannāgatā: extreme + appearance + beauty + endowed with
22 A skilled reader should try to elaborate on the respective combinations by himself to encounter the logical beauty in these expositions of the Buddha before reading on! The Buddha’s inference doesn’t omit any factor but combines and includes all possibilities and intertwinements in rational order.
23 upāyāsabahulā: for this and some of the other vocabulary please refer to the sutta itself and the exercises!
24 issarādhipaccaṃ: issara + ādhipacca: lord, master + sovereignty, power
25 For the full expression of appreciation and the formula for going for refuge see: 1.4.8 Sāmaññaphalasuttaṃ