Sunday, August 31, 2008

BPS 1104- Mind & Phenomena Causality: Kamma & Ethics

Core Concepts of Kamma in Buddhism- 4

Section 2
Using Kamma in Psychotherapeutic Practice- 9

Section 3
Kamma and Buddhist Approach to Illness, Death, and Dying-16

Section 4
Kamma and Professional Ethics- 21

Appendix- 26

Reference- 30


AN- Aṇguttara Nikāya
Dha- Dhammapada
DN- Dīgha Nikāya
MN- Majjhima Nikāya
PTS- Pāli Text Society
SN- Saṃyutta Nikāya
Ud- Udāna
Vm- Vinaya Mahāvagga
Vis- Visudhimagga

Section 1

Core Concepts of Kamma in Buddhism


Kamma Concept

Kamma is the main concern of the Buddhist teaching which possesses Buddhist philosophical and psychological aspects. The Sks term is called Karma, and in Pāli it’s called Kamma. Kamma is defined in the Buddhist texts as action that denotes the wholesome and unwholesome volition and their concomitant mental factors, causing rebirth and shaping the destiny of men (beings) . To make it more clear Kamma is what we do daily performances through our bodily and mental actions, is the law of moral causation. Kamma and rebirth are inter-related, and it is the fundamental doctrines of Buddhist teaching. In ultimate sense Kamma means all moral and immoral volition. Involuntarily, unintentional or unconscious actions, though technically deeds, do not constitute that (That) Kamma (what the Buddha said himself), because volition, the most important factors in determining Kamma, is absent. And the omniscient Buddha said himself that “cetanāhaṃ bhikkhave kammaṃ vadāmi”- I say, O Bhikkhus, which the volition is Kamma .

Categorical Kamma

Three Categories of Kamma Wholesome (should be cultivated Unwholesome (should be avoided)
Bodily (Kāyika) 1. Injuring or harming or killing living being (Pāṇātipāta)
2. taking or destroying animate or inanimate properties which are not given (adinnadāna)
3. committing sexual misconduct (Kāmesumicchācāra) 1. abstain from injuring or harming or killing living being (Pāṇātipāta virati)
2. abstain from taking or destroying animate or inanimate properties which are not given.
3. refrain from committing sexual misconduct (Kāmesumicchācāra virati)
Verbal (vaci) 4. telling lies (Musāvāda)
5. backbite and calumny (Pisunavācā)
6. using abusive language (Pharusavācā)
7. gossiping or taking a part in frivolous conversation (samphappalāpa) 4. Abstain from telling lies (Musāvāda virati)
5. abstain from backbite and calumny (pisunavācā virati)
6. abstain from using abusive language (pharusavācā virati)
7. abstain gossiping or taking a part in frivolous conversation (samphappalāpa)

Mental (Mānasika) 8. covetousness or engaging the mind in object of craving (abhijjhā)
9. ill will or malevolence (Byāpāda)
10. wrong views (Miccādiṭṭhi) 8. abstain from covetousness (Anabhijjhā)
9. abstain from ill will (Abyāpāda)
10. abstain from wrong views, or holding the right views (sammā diṭṭhi).

Kamma and Delusion

According to Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey’s saying there are said to be two causes of suffering in Buddhism. They are Kamma and Abhijjhā (Delusion). According to the Paṭiccasamuppāda doctrine the 1st aspect of twelve causes and effects is dependent on ignorance arise conditioning activities (Abhijjhā paccayā saṅkhāra). If we observe here carefully can see the conditioning activities either wholesome or unwholesome which mostly caused by ignorance. Because lack of true perception we perceive good as bad and bad as good. Basically, there are Buddhist moral codes which are called Sīla (Precept), should be abide by any ordinary men (beings). They basic moral precept is called Pañcasīla, as following-

1. I undertake to train myself to support life (Pāṇātipāta veramaṇi sikkhāpadaṃ)
2. I undertake to train myself to only take that which is freely given (Adinnāda veramani sikkhāpadaṃ)
3. I undertake to train myself not to over indulgencing in sensuality (Kāmesumicchācāra veramaṇi sikkhāpadaṃ)

4. I undertake to train myself to use speech wisely (Musāvāda veramaṇi sikkhāpadaṃ)
5. I undertake to train myself not to use substances that could the mind (suramereyyamajjhāpamādaṭṭhāna veramaṇi sikkhāpadaṃ)

Root of Kamma and Delusion

According to Abhidhamma Piṭaka in every volitional activity has its own root (Mūla). The roots are six, three are wholesome (Kusala) and three are unwholesome (Akusala). There unwholesome roots cause to unwholesome action and later three wholesome roots cause to wholesome action.

Wholesome root of Kamma Unwholesome roots of Kamma
1. alobha- non-greed
2. adosa- non-hatred
3. amoha- non delusion 1. lobha- greed
2. dosa- hatred
3. moha- delusion

In Abhidhammika explanation of root said that Lobha or greed never work alone, it works with the association of Moha, and Dosa also does the same. That is why delusion is the main concern of this doctrine .

Where is Kamma?

A certain Psycho-analyst writes- “Stored within the Psyche”. Some clear example here and now, kamma is in court judgment by the judge, or in Norwegian Noble Committee, or in the prison, or in the place people are in happy or in suffering. According to Buddhist psychology the beings (Men) where they are present now it is because of their Kamma and the future can be foretold by their kamma. It is called the law of dependant origination or cause and effete. Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey says “the main teaching of the Buddha concerns the law of cause and effect (las bras) and regardless of how much one may know about the Dhamma, if one does not act in accordance with this, there can be no benefit .

Once one of the prominent disciples of the Buddha, named Ānanda, remarked that, despite it’s apparently difficulty the teaching of the cause and effect (Paṭiccasamuppāda) is actually quite simple. The Buddha rebuked him saying not to say so, that infect this teaching is very deep and propound .

Kamma with Me Always!

It is required for this section to keep a journal for one week personal reflections on Kamma. I have found Kamma is with me! Always. Last week days I did not want or expect any thing but there is big thing happened that is a good relationship has broken down between me and my friend. It was unexpected. At that moment felt so sad and hopeless. But I was meditating on the universal characteristics is all conditioned things are impermanent (Sabbe saṅkhāra anicca). As an ordinary person the universal love (Mettā) should be shown to all and that I do. Some time I try to forget it but, sometime I think let it be, I can learn many from this.
What I was saying that Kamma always with me, I saw it and I knew. Action I do is all through body, verbal, and the mind. I don’t go to dining hall until I (Mind) feel hungry or if some thing needed, and until my volition of the mind violates the body to move. Every where, in bathing, reading, writing, sleeping, it’s happen. I have trained myself to know what is Kusala kamma or Akusala kamma. The word Kusala is not just good or wholesome but it has important meaning, such as kusala kamma is such kind of action which is much skillful, profitable, salutary, and so on. What I have done unwholesome actions within last week days not many or not big, I can say honestly. It is true that one who does unwholesome actions mostly say that I did not do something unwholesome. What I did is I tried to best create and develop my friend’s negative things which I supposed it could make me cool, calm and patience. Some how it worked but I felt so bad in my heart. And the wholesome things are that I did not harm any body or any other beings, to environment, to the government, to the law and act.

Yes, I can predict myself what the possible effects may be when the Kamma ripens, suppose, if I walk in the street carelessly, I could commit an accident may be losing limbs, or the painful death. If I do some thing against the law and act I might be abused. If I do compile this assignment correctly I might get good marks for that, and so on. Best prediction is that every Kamma has its results, either good or bad.

The General Aspects of the Law of Cause and Effect

Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey finds there are four main characteristics of the law of cause and effect (in Tibetan traditions of mental development) , as following-
1. Kammic (Karmic) seeds inevitably ripen in accordance with their cause, that is, virtue leads to joy, and non-virtue to sorrow.
2. Because a Kammic act has many effects, just as one grain of rice produces many grains, the store of kammic seeds is ever increasing.
3. If a certain cause is not produced, its result will not be experienced.
4. kammic seeds never loss their potency.

In the same article the author says that “if an un-virtuous act is performed, one must apply the four opponent powers, for there is nothing to do when one’s non-virtuous kamma has ripened into suffering. What and how the Buddha can do else! The Buddha can do only to show the ways or can teach restrain from. Kamma is such a thing that nothing to with is when it is done and bringing results. And the Buddha himself had demonstrated to his disciples as-‘When this exists that comes into being; with the coming into being of this that exists. When this does not exists that too does not come into being; with the cessation of this, that too ceases to exist.’

Here the word exist means that what is done by volition or the volition act through bodily, verbal, mental. There is a beautiful example has given that Buddha’s time who had a most beautiful voice but an extremely ugly body. The Buddha explained to king that during the third Buddha that monk was one of the workers building a great stupa in reverence to the Buddha. During construction he was continually complained that this stupa is so large, for this consequence he became so ugly, but he has wonderful. Though, when the stupa had been completed he repented of his previous complaints and adorned the top of the stupa with melodious bells, hence his later endowment of a beautiful voice.

Even the Buddha himself was, could not escape from his previous results of actions. Since he was the Buddha, Devadatta who was one of the students of the Buddha but was against of the Buddha always attempted to kill the Buddha. Once he threw a big stone to Buddha in way walking but the stone was not to the Buddha but a small piece of the stone caused to bloodshed from finger. But because of the heavy bad action’s Devadatta had to suffer in misery realm.

Section 2

Using Kamma in Psychotherapeutic Practice

Case Study

Here is a professional psychotherapeutic lecture by Dr Jacqui Dodds which is titled as “Working with Kamma in my psychotherapeutic practice”. Before studying on this lecture I would like to mention some experience of my life.

Since I was about 19, by the year of 1999 I had been ordained as Buddhist novice in my village temple. It was an un-occasional because suddenly I wanted to be a monk. Family agreed but time is only for one week. Some of my friends could not believe that I could be a monk, and would lead the monk life for such a week! But now this is my about 7 years in monk life. Since I was a new born novice was so much devoted to every religious activities, such as learning the disciplinary rules, memorizing the chanting, regular worshiping and chanting, performing the alms giving ceremonies and so on. Very swiftly I forgot myself what was the friends said that I can’t be a monk longer than 7 days. I was replaced to another place where there are lots of novices and orphanages every day go for alms round. When I joined then felt it’s a new life. Within a short period I had acquired the basic teaching. Then the monk who was the senior and the head of this place appointed me as others tutor or the caretaker. Such devotion helped me later on in my way of life.

Having studied on the Dr. Jacqui Dodds ‘working with Kamma in my psychotherapeutic practice’ , perceived that there are many moderated and successful kamma works have been privileged.

Awareness Raising

This is one of the most important identifications what is said Awareness Raising. Let us say it is the development of meditative absorption, or self awareness of moral conduct through daily activities of individuals. It is said the lecturer’s intension to use question…………, to encourage the client to be curious and open-minded about their life and identification of dominant patterns of behavior, thinking and emotions.

Here, I would like to pick up some words from these lines, behavior, thinking and emotions, and would like to examine according Buddhist fundamental.

Behavior, Thinking , Emotion

The Pāli word Caraṇa which the English translate as behavior, or some time as conduct. According to Buddhist moral code there are some kinds conduct are specified for the individuals, as a Buddhist. They are called sīla.
For the lay individuals there some sorts of sīla or behavior, they are basic and constitute the minimum which every man or woman must observe. They are called-

1. The five precepts pañcasīla. There are; abstention from killing, stealing, improper sexual intercourse, telling lie, and intoxicants.

2. The eight precepts (Atttaṅga uposatha sīla) . There are; abstention from killing, stealing, enchastity, lying, intoxication, eating after midday, dancing-singing-music and shows, garland, sent, cosmetics and adornment etc, luxurious and high beds.

3. The ten precepts (Dasaṅga sīla) - this is the shined form of eight precepts. No-7 of the eight precepts is spilt into two, and the tenth one is abstaining from accepting gold and silver. This also so Pabbajjā sīla of one who is under the noviciation.

4. The precepts of monk hood (Bhikkhu sīla) - there are four kinds of sīla for them, they are 1. Restraint with regard to the 227 Vinaya rules (Pātimokkhasaṃvara sīla) , 2. Restraint of the senses (Indriyasaṃvara sīla), 3. Restraint with regard to one’s livelihood (Ājīvaparisuddhi sīla), 4. Morality with regard to the four requisites.

All kinds of behavior, either of lay men or the monk, also are have specified for which lead to the social and individual stability, spiritual way of mundane or supra mundane . Buddhist ethics of Pañca sīla which have their universal acclaim-ability and acceptability. Because it is proved that in psychotherapeutic practice they are applicable.

Thinking and emotion both go together. It is also one of the main concerns. As it has further mentioned on the lecture that “I understand that ‘Kammic seeds” from past actions and intent are the impulses that combine with supportive conditions to generate the kamma creating our external worlds.”

In the cycle of Paṭiccapsmuppāda it has mentioned about the consequence of past kammas in present life and the present kamma results to future life of the individuals. In the cycle of rebirth there are three kinds of round (Vaṭṭa) are working continuously, they are-
1. round of defilements (Kilesa vaṭṭa)
2. round of Kamma (Kamma vaṭṭa)
3. round of resultants (Vipāka vaṭṭa)

Regarding Kamma, the ten kinds of unwholesome (Akusala) kamma lead to the unhappiness and misery of further life, and ten kinds of wholesome kamma, or the ten meritorious kamma leads to happiness and prosperity. And we are rounding in this round (Vaṭṭa) and suffering. What the Buddha said to Ānanda that it is not easy to rid of this round unless the person developed his or her insight . It is the profound teaching of the Buddha.

For this, firstly we should come out with the moral conduct as it is called the foundation. Some of us feel so guilty and depressed when some wrong deeds are done, knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or unconsciously. This is also one kind of mental ailment. In such a circumstance a psychotherapist should provide the insight and true concept of wrong doing if he is accused by or suspected oneself.

Five conditions of Killing (Pāṇātipāta)
1. the being must be alive
2. there must be the knowledge that it is a being
3. there must be an intension to cause death
4. an act must be done to cause of death
5. There must be death as the result of the said act.
If all the said five conditions are fulfilled, the individual should be accused by killing.

Five conditions of stealing (Adinnadāna)
1. the property must be in the possession of another person
2. there must be the knowledge that the property is in the possession of another person
3. there must be an intension to steal
4. there must be an act done to steal
5. by that act the property must have been taken
If all the said five conditions are fulfilled, the person should be accused by stealing.

Four conditions to sexual misconducts (Kāmesumicchācāra)
1. it must be a man or woman with whom it is improper to have sexual intercourse
2. there must be an intension to have such sexual misconduct with such a man or woman
3. there must be an act done to have such intercourse
4. there must be enjoyment of the contact of the organs
If all the said four conditions are fulfilled, the person should be accused of sexual misconduct.

Four condition of telling lie (Musāvāda)
1. the thing said must be untrue
2. there must be an intension of deceive
3. there must be an effort made as a result of the said intension
4. the other must know the meaning of what is said
If all these conditions are fulfilled, the person should be accused of telling lies

Four conditions of backbite and calumny (Pisinavācā)
1. there must be a persons to be disunited
2. there must be an intension to disunited two persons
3. there must be an effort made as a result of the said intension
4. the other must know the meaning of the thing said

Three conditions of using abusive language (Pharusavācā)
1. there must be some one to be abused
2. there must be anger
3. abusive words there must be actually used

Two conditions of idle talk (Samphappalāpa)
1. there must be an intension to say things which bring forth no good benefits
2. such thing must be said

The entire thing I have mentioned here to refer what the Buddha said “I say, o monks, that the volition is Kamma” . In every condition we can see that said there must be an intention or volition to do what a person intended to do. We should have the knowledge of discriminating the thing in good or bad, need to develop wisdom or insight (Paññā), to remove the delusion (Abhijjhā), which is called the “Kamma seeds”.

Through the right understanding and the development of meditation one could attain the true knowledge of Kamma (Kammassakata Ñāna), which is –
1. Understanding the Kamma
2. understanding the results of kamma

Understanding Kamma and Its Resultant

1. Understand the fact that all beings have kamma only as their own property; that all beings are the heirs of their own kamma; that kamma alone is their origin; kamma alone is their relative; and the kamma is their real refuge .
2. understanding which of the actions done by them bodily, verbally, and mentally, are unwholesome; that they would give bad results in their future birth and that these unwholesome deeds would drag them to the four lower miserable states.
3. Understanding such and such actions are wholesome; that these would give good resultants in their successive births, and these deeds would cause beings to arise in the happy existence, such as in the human world and world after death.

Relationship between Kamma and Western Psychology

Using metaphor, myth, story and symbol

Unfortunately, present day Buddhism mostly recognized by other as a mythical religion or practice. But the Buddha himself said that rites and rituals are the defilements (kilesa) or the obstacle to our perfect attainment which is called Silabbataparāmāsa. Also true that the Buddha mostly used to tell story concerning the topic according to the listener’s temperament, which are well know as Jātaka stories (The birth stories of Buddha as a Budhisatta). Jesus also used stories to teach. One of the modern western psychologists named C G Jung (1875) well known as a mystical. This is owing to his belief in a racial unconscious which preserves a way of thinking derived from the earliest stages of human history and is embodied in myths. It is said in the lecture- “given that our understanding, as Buddhist psychotherapists, is that all phenomena is impermanent and empty of substance- including ourselves- stories and language that unfurl and are amenable to multiple interpretation and creative change, seem more appropriate that any search for ‘the one right way’ to practice, and the substance use of manualised, perspective modes of psychotherapeutic practice.

Raising awareness through dream work

Buddhist Analysis of Dream

There is no systematic theory of dreams in the early Buddhist scriptures. However, the problem of the moral responsibility of the dreamer is discussed in Vinaya Piṭaka where the question of whether a person who sins in his dreams is to be condemned, is taken up.

There is some interesting in the Milinda Pañha as well as in same works on the Abhidhamma. In the latter work of this question is raised whether a man dreams when he sleeps or when he is awake! The answer given is that dreams do not belong to sleep or sleep waking experience, but to an intermediate stage comparable to a monkey’s sleep. Dreams do not occur in deep sleep, for the mind has to be active in some active during sleep.

Dreams analysis in Milinda Pañha

There are 6 causes of dreams

1. Agitation of wind
2. Agitation of bile
3. Agitation phlegm
4. Influence of gods or supernatural agencies
5. Habits of previous behavior and performances
6. (Prophetic dreams)

Freud says that dreaming is a way of satisfying unfulfilled wishes. It is what stated in Vinaya Piṭaka that a monk who commits an offence in a dream is not morally responsible for his acts. This suggests that there is no volitional control over dream thoughts. (Freudian Hypothesis)

Dream is recognized as one kind of defilement, out of greed, hatred and delusion one dreams. This why to be said that since an Arahant never dreams, and an Arahant is said free from all defilements.

Dream in Aṅguttara Nikāya

Since the Buddha struggling for his enlightenment as ascetic Gotama had five dreams what we found in Aṅguttara Nikāya .

16 Dreams of King Kosalla

Once king Kosall had 16 dreams. He was not happy with them went to Brahmins to know what did they mean but he was not satisfied with them. Then he went to Buddha and explained one by one that what he saw. After analyzing them the Buddha said that he will have religious, economic, political problems. Then the Buddha suggested him that he should perform charity for the poor people of the country and to the Sangha as well.

In the interpretation of king Kosala’s sixteen dreams, the Buddha suggested him to perform some wholesome deeds. And it was successful psychotherapy. Now we can say that kamma is essential elements for the psychotherapeutic practice.

Section 3

Kamma and Buddhist Approach to Illness, Death, and Dying



Death is certain thing in this world, and universal truth. Every day we are busy and aware of our all activities and appointments. But how many times a day we remember that death is certain, one day or may be any time we could die. Craving and ignorance are too strong with us, lack or moral practice and meditation it is very difficult to get rid of such craving and ignorance, illness-aging-dying as well.

Life is suffering

Close your eyes think for a while how you are, how much are you happy, and ask yourself. May be you are happy, how and how long. We are possessors of several sense faculties. Depend on them cravings and desires arise all the time . And we are not satisfied. When we are not satisfied unhappiness situation arises. And the cravings arise all time to time. We feel pain if we have feeling. If we get much we should be ready to lose some thing. If we are able for love, also I will have ability of grief. This is the way of life.

What is suffering?

In Buddha’s way, easy to know what suffering is? It is ‘birth is suffering, aging is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and excessive despair are suffering, association with the dislike one is suffering, separation from the liked is suffering, not to get what one wishes, that also is suffering. In brief, the five aggregates of clinging are suffering’. We want to be young forever. Could we? All the time we try to keep our skin fair and sooth. How long? Forever? Do we want to die? Is it true? But we have to die. Final separation. Who want to get pains, grief? But we get them naturally. Who want to be separated from his beloved one? But we do. This is the way of life. And we say life is suffering.

What Contribution Can Buddhism Make to Modern Medical Ethical Debates?

On this discussion, firstly I would like to have overview of Dr Jacqui Dodds’s doctrinal research “Cancer as Bad Luck or Warning Symbol”, and would like to re-mention some important points which are also main concern of the Buddhist doctrinal teaching. Cancer, which is the serious bodily illness. But the cancer patients who believed they had been cancer-free for five years or more (and therefore were medically recognized as ‘survivor’ . The researcher says -
‘My own interest in the effects alternative healing discourses and therapies have on cancer patients first arose 1991 when I recruited a small group of cancer patients to explore collectively the influence of meditation on their lives. In my first research study, I recruited a collective inquiry group met nine times over three months, using group discussion to identify key principles, experienced difficulties and perceived benefits associated with their meditation practice. My interest them – as- now- was to explore the inter-relationship of mind and body. From this I would like to pick up the words for further discussion according to Buddhist doctrine what the Buddha said himself.

Before going to discuss on Buddhist contribution to medical ethics again over viewing on this research work where there are some underlying research questions had been used, such as-
• Question on mind-body duality or unity
• Question on responsibility and control over illness

What we do summary if this is mind is concern more than the body. Recently in many American medical research works one thing often coming out that most of physical illness are caused by mental influences. It is what the Buddha was saying to his followers about 2550 years ago, concerning body and mind.

Our bodies, the aggregates which are the objects of clinging are subject to constant change and decay. All sentient beings are subject to age-ing, sickness and finally death. There are some discourses in Khanda Saṃyutta given specially to some aged and ailing disciples. For example, the discourses given to the old Brahmin Nakulapitu, Venerable Tissa, Venerable Vakkali, to Venerable Assaji, and to some others. To Nakulapitu, the Buddha pointed out the change and decay that constantly take place in the body thus,’ this body is festering sore; it is encased in a thin layer of skin. It is fragile like an egg-shell. If anyone, while bearing the burden of this body, were to claim that, even for a moment, he is sound health, he is nothing but a fool. The Buddha latter told him to train himself so that his mind should not be sick even though his body is sick. The full meaning of the Buddha’s advice was not very clear to the old Brahmin at first, so the Venerable Sariputta explained to him more fully later on. The exhortation here is not to have any illusion of self. For then only one would not be affected by the changeable-ness and impermanence of the aggregates. To be one with a sick body but not without a sick mind is to become a noble one. To be freed from mental suffering. One with a sick body and with a sick mind is an ignorant worldliness.

The Venerable Vakkali was another old disciple of the Buddha. Once, when he was seriously ill, the Buddha went to see him at his request. Venerable Vakkali was very anxious to see the Buddha all the time and always wanted pay homage to him. Having required after his health, the Buddha said to him, ‘what good will it be for you to see this foul body? Vakkali, he who sees the reality (Dhamma) sees me. Indeed, seeing the reality is seeing me’.

Venerable Assaji who was ailing and was finding it very difficult to concentrate. The Buddha gave advice on how to reflect on the true nature of the five aggregates thus, ‘when experiencing a sensation, whether it be pleasant or unpleasant or neutral, to do so without any attachment. By doing so, one eventually comes to perceive the sensation pertaining only to the body (which arises at the five sense doors) as sensation pertaining only to the body, and sensation pertaining only to life. He also knows that all sensations experienced in this body would become extinguished on the dissolution of the body and the ending of the mental aggregates just as a burning oil lamp would go out when there is no more cause to burn due to the exhaustion of oil and wick.

Our Bodies are Suffering

The aggregates which are the objects of clinging are unsatisfactory and are the cause of pain and suffering, grief, lamentation, distress and agony. In Bhara Sutta the Buddha refers to the five aggregates which are the objects of clinging as the burden. The bearer of the burden is any person bearing that burden. The cause or means by which one is led to bear that burden is craving- craving for pleasures, craving for the continued existence, and craving for no further existence. Laying down the burden is the complete cessation of craving through non-attachment, and abandonment which is in fact the realization of perfect liberation (Nibbana).

In Kukkula Sutta the Buddha likens the aggregates which are the objects clinging to burning ashes. In Aditta Sutta (para 61), to burning coal. Time to time, the aggregates are identified with suffering (dukkha), and craving (taṇhā) with the origin or causes of suffering. The fact is, the arising of the aggregates is the arising of the suffering, the appearance of ailments and the manifestation of aging and death. The cessation of the aggregates is the cessation of suffering, the extinction of ailments and the disappearance of the aging and death. It is achieved only by the development of threefold training i.e. morality (sīla), concentration (samādhi), and wisdom (paññā). Which is also called the intermediate way (majjhimapatipadā). This is the propound and ultimate teaching of the Buddha.

What is death?

It is clearly demonstrated in the texts as “The departing and vanishing of beings out of this or that order of beings, their destruction, disappearance, dying, death the completion of their life period, dissolution of the aggregates, the discarding of the body, the destruction of the controlling faculty of vital principle. This, Bhikkhus, is called death .”

To me (us), death still as a fear, to a doctor in hospital “this body must be discharged”, to Guru Nanak “brings blessing”

Buddhist Aspect of (Mental) Illness

There are two kinds of illnesses of beings as detected by the Buddha as physical illness (Kāyaroga), and mental illness (Cetasika roga). The Buddha was a supreme one for healing the mental disordered. For physical illness better consult a physician, take medicine, if it is serious painful and out of any treatment, better accept it, bear it, be mindful on it, it would help. As the Buddha did himself when the Buddha was suffering from deadly dysentery, which finally caused him to die .

It is said that while we have bodily diseases from time to time, mental illness is almost continual until Arahantship is attained. So, that only the Arahant (the noble or the saint) can be said to have a perfectly healthy mind.

The Buddha found the causes of mental illnesses , and shown that they are curable. As we have came cross of the definition of Psychotherapy that it is a natural treatment, without using any drugs. Yes, it is, about 2550 years ago the Buddha suggested monks the mental illnesses can be cured only by making mind calm, pure, concentrated, making the mind one-pointed ness, and so on. Some Ayurvedic medicine traditions say that the Buddha was concerned about the traditional medicine to cure the mental illnesses. But, the Buddha was not really so, because when we come to know the Vinaya Piṭaka the Buddha allowed monks to take some things as medicine to cure some difficult physical illnesses, such as salt, honey, ghee, ginger, palm juice, even the excrete of cubs , but mental illnesses can be cured only by culturing the mind. But it is not so easy to make mind calm and pure. According to the Buddhist Psychotherapy causes of mental illnesses are the hindrances (Nivaraṇa), defilement (Kilesa), fetters (Saṁyojana), and so on. Nowadays, many westerns and modern Psychotherapists proclaim that the Buddhist way of meditation is the best and better healing for mental illnesses. About 2550 years ago the Buddha treated the monks concerning the culturing of mind, said “this is the only one way for the purification of being (mind), for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and grief, for reaching the noble path, for the realization of Nibbāna (perfect liberation), namely, the four foundation of mindfulness. Definitely they all are Psychological factors, either mundane or supra mundane.


Not only death is suffering but also birth is suffering (Jāti’pi dukkha) because of birth we suffer for sickness, aging, frustration, depression, lamentation, finally separation (Jāti paccayā jarāmarana-dukkha-domanassa-upāyāsa…….).now let us ourselves how do we celebrate the birth day of our son and daughter, father-mother, and beloved one, and how we celebrate the funeral and death anniversary of them. It is all because of our lack true understanding of the reality; root cause is delusion (Abhijjhā). Once we are in contact to reality our knowledge of accepting things is changed. Brazier says, ‘At this point, everything inside me changed’. The changed was continuously with him, a client to him ‘you become a different person’. We are frightened of dead bodies but in ultimate sense the livings are in fact far more dangerous than dead bodies. According to Buddhism death is not the end of life the beginning of another life in Saṃsara unless s/he destroyed all carving and cankers in this very life. If one do good, can have a better future life. However, death can be beautiful to us .

Section 4

Kamma and Professional Ethics

Code of Ethics

Here I would like to overview on the very important research by Sungtaek Cho. The professional ethics, I suppose what it has specified there is, social justice, and universal human rights or, so called universal declaration by the human rights organizations . Most of the issues have been indicated and demonstrated. As for me here, I would like to re-put some lines for study only. And further I would like compare with fundamental teaching of the Buddha.

-The religious goal of Buddhism is he attainment if inner peace through the experience of enlightenment; this……………as a state of being “extinguished” or blown out’,……………..three poisons of desire (Lobha), hatred (Dosa), ignorance (Moha).

- …..Rawls further posits what he calls “the veil of ignorance”.

From above lines I found the three poisons of desire and the “veil of ignorance”, are interrelated.

Other lines- “once social justice has been achieved; there is nothing more to talk about”.

With the title of “the selflessness of the Bodhisatta: Curing oneself by curing others”, the researcher says, in Buddhism, the process of spiritual growth is often compared to the healing of sickness.
To remind ourselves of Bodhisatta concept of nature of Bodhisatta would mention following verse-

“May I be the doctor and the medicine
And may be the nurse
For all sick beings in the world
Until every one is healed”.

Let us consider this verse with the concept of selflessness of the Bodhisatta, as a future Buddha who fulfill his perception (Pāramī).

Now we will see, as a Buddha, who has completed his last reborn, no more Bodhisatta, became the Buddha, says-

“Oneself is indeed one’s own guide and guardian
Who else could be one’s guide?
In the conquest of oneself,
One discovers a guide and guardian
Who is most difficult to find.

-Attā hi attano nātho, ko hi nātho paro siyā,
Attanā’ve sudantena nāthaṃ labhati dullabhaṃ

This is more even emphatically stated as a major axiom of Buddhist teachings (Dhammuddesa) in the one of the important Suttas called Raṭṭhapāla Sutta of MN, says-

“The world provides no external refuge
Or succor to mankind.
The world of humans has no external power
To guide its destiny

-Attāṇo loko anabhissaro .

This is one what is called the major argument between the early Buddha’s teaching and the latter (development) of Buddha’s teaching. In this thesis we are not in such debate. We will see now the Buddha so called the Universal Declaration, as the omniscient one. The researcher also mentioned in same page with the combination of early Buddhist thought and latter Buddhist thought. “Having taught his disciples and helped them to became enlightened, he (The Buddha) then urged them to preach others, ‘walk, monks, on tour for the blessing of many people, for the happiness of many people out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the blessing, the happiness of devas and human beings, let not two of you go by the same way . The researcher writes further- early Buddhists understood this passage to mean that the Buddha asked his disciples to work for others, but it was also interpreted as meaning that in order to help others one must first become enlightened and therefore healed- a point made explicitly in a Buddhist dictum; one who is sick cannot cure others. It is like one can not be a good doctor unless he/she mastered on it.

At has been clearly demonstrated in Brahmajāla sutta how beings hold the wrong views (Diṭṭhi), even some of beings though they acquire some of higher states (High mental development) but still they are not the perfect one. Still they are unable to get rid of “Veil Ignorance”. Sakkāyadiṭṭhi, the (wrong) view on self. Even though they are, still there are some kinds of dangerous arguments might arise, that is the Buddha said to his disciples-let not two of you go by the same way. Who cures? S/he cures, one who knows not only know who to cures but has cured oneself.

Universal Declaration

Again I like to put the lines-

“The world provides no external refuge
Or succor to mankind.
The world of humans has no external power
To guide its destiny

Ultimately no doubts on it, see the present situations, UN could not stop American President from making war in Iraq. In the west they make human rights only for their own seeks.
But the world has changed after the Tsunami, changing the atmosphere by greenhouse effect, not like the time of the Buddha.
Let us have a look on this what Holiness Dalai Lama says-

Recently some Asian Government have contented that the standards of human rights laid down in the Universal Declaration of human rights are those advocated by the west and cannot be applied to Asian and other parts of the third worlds because of differences in culture and differences in social and economic development. I do not share this view and…….

(H.H. The XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet, Human Rights and Universal Responsibility, “UN World Conference on Human rights,” Vienna, Austria, 1993)

If it is cannot be applied how can we say this is the Universal Declaration, to all beings (Human) in this universe? Why Dalai Lama should read Aristotle? Because he is a compassionate Buddhist monk, doesn’t want to see human beings as what Aristotle classifies as a political animal.

-Lee contends the west has abandoned an ethical basis for society, believing that all problems are solvable by a good government, which is in the east was never believed possible. He condemns the western liberal and intellectual tradition that has developed since World War II that claims that human beings have arrived at a perfect state where everybody would be better off if they were allowed to do their own things and flourish .

In this conversation we have divided the universal into two, east and west, means with two views (diṭṭhi). Believing that all problems are solvable by a good government. A good government is a gathering of rulers. In Buddhist term it is used as Raja (King). Not necessary etymologically, but in terms of socio-ethical thinking as ‘a king is one who righteously delights and gladdens the subjects who are under his care (Dhammena pare rañjayatī’ ti kho, Vāseṭṭha Rājā).

Here one thing is very interesting to mention that while the Buddha had born as Prince Siddattha, according to ancient Indian custom many learned Brahmins were invited to the palace for the naming ceremony, examining all the marks of the Prince they foretold if he live in palace will the Universal King (Cakkavatti), if, abandon the palace and the worldly life will be the omniscient one (Buddha). The king tried all the best but could not stop him leaving palace, as the Buddha said that this was the last rebirth. May be, he realize that time also that the world provides no external refuge, as a result he didn’t want to be the Universal King. As the Buddhist ethics it has demonstrated in details what is called “Aparihaniya Dhamma. He became a Dhammrājā instead of being a Cakkavattirājā.

Before writing the conclusion I want to say some thing about what I have said the time is not as Buddha’s contemporary. It really makes sense. Even though the Buddha has laid down the laws and doctrines, but the Buddha gave an authority to the Saṅgha that in can be change in a circumstance arisen with communities agreements. The Buddha suggested to Saṅgha that they should listen the king and abide the law and act of the state, even some occasions (Uposathapabbaṃ) might be changed in request of king. Thus the way the Buddhist ethics have been acknowledged, as we say the universal declarations.

Strong Link between Control and Wellbeing

A quick view on the article “Promoting wellbeing Through Growth”-

…., the traditional moral blaming of disease as ‘an act of God’, has now been replaced by judgments on bad lifestyle choices and ‘risky behaviors’ .

The Buddha’s research works show that the sense faculties (Indriya) of human are most dangerous things in the world, and not easy to control. But possible, can be wellbeing in the society.

For the Universal relevance and wellbeing at least the Five Precepts must be applied. Oneself is one’s own rulers, and he commands his body and senses as-

1. no life should be destroyed (Pāṇo na hantabbo)
2. none should be robbed or disposed of their legitimate possessions (adinnaṃ na ādātabbaṃ)
3. no indulgence in improper sex relations (Kāmesu micchā na caratabbā)
4. dishonesty of speech is to be avoided (musā na bhaṇitabbaṃ)
5. no drugs or intoxicant that lead to infatuation or impairment of judgment are to be consumed (Majjaṃ na pātabbaṃ)

The human of the universe, no matter where is s/he, east or west, should walk through the middle way (Majjhimapaṭpadā).

Appendix 1

Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

20. Atha kho Bhagavato Cundassa kammāra-puttassa bhattaṃ bhuttāvissa kharo ābādho uppajji lohita-pakkhandikā pabāḷhā vedanā vattanti māraṇantikā.

- After having eaten the meal provide by the Cunda the son of smith, the Lord was attacked by a severe sickness with deadly dysentery, with sharp pains as if he were about to die.

Tāsudaṃ Bhagavā sato sampajāno adhivasesi avihanññamāno.
- But He endured all this mindfully and with clear awareness, without complaint.

Cundassa bhattaṃ bhuñjitvā kammārassāti me sutaṃ- Ābādhaṃ samphusī dhīro pabāḷhaṃ maraṇantikaṃ.
Bhuttassa ca sūkara-maddavena
vyādhippabāḷhā udapādi satthuno
viriccanāno Bhagavā avoca
gacchām’ ahaṃ Kusināraṃ nagaraṃ ti.

- having eaten Cunda’s meal (This I heard)
He suffered a grave illness, painful, deadly
From eating a meal of pig’s delight
Grave sickness assailed the Teacher
Having purged, the Lord then said
‘Now I will go to Kusinārā town.

(This is to show how the Buddha was suffering from physical sickness as it was his results of unwholesome kamma of past lives).

21. Atha kho Bhagavā maggā okkamma yen’ aññataraṃ rukkha-mūlaṃ ten’ puasaṃkami, upasaṃkamitvā āyasmantaṃ Ānadaṃ āmantesi; iṅgha me tvaṃ Ānanda catugguṇaṃ saṃghāṭiṃ paññāpehi, kilanto’ smi Ānanda nisīssāmīti.

-then turning aside from the road, the Lord went to the foot of a tree and said ‘come, Ānanda, fold a robe in four for me, I am tired, and I want to sit down.’

eveṃ bhante’ ti kho āyasmā anando Bhagavato paṭssutvā catugguṇaṃ saṃghāṭiṃ paññāpesi.
-very good, Lord, said Ānanda, and did so.

23.Nisīdi Bhagavā paññatte āsane, nisijja kho Bhagavā āyasmantaṃ Ānandaṃ āmantesi, ‘iṅga me tvaṃ Ānanda pānīyaṃ āhara, pipāsito’ smi, Ānanda, pivissamiti.’
-the Lord sat down in the prepared seat and said ‘ Ānanda, bring me some water, I am thirsty, and I want to drink’.

evaṃ vutte āyasmā Ānando Bhagavantaṃ etad avoca; ‘Idani bhante pañcamattāni sakaṭa-satāni atikkantāni, taṃ cakkacchinnam.ūdakaṃ parittaṃ luḷitaṃ avilaṃ sandati.

-Ānanda replied, Lord, five hundred carts have passed this way; the water is churned up by their wheels, is not good, it is dirty and disturbed.

ayaṃ bhante Kakutthā nadī avhidūre acchodikā sātodikā sītodikā setakā supatitthā ramaṇiyā. Ettha Bhagavā pānīyaṃ ca pivissati, gattāni ca sītaṃ karissatī’ti.

- But, Lord, the river Kakuttha is nearby, has clean water, pleasant, cool, pure, with beautiful banks, delightful. There the Lord shall drink the water and cool His limbs.

(This is very emotional that to know how the Buddha was suffering from thirsty, could not drink water when he wanted. But the Buddha asked Ānanda three times, he replied the same. But finally he went to collect the churned water and the Buddha enjoyed that water).

Appendix 2

Dream in Aṅguttara Nikāya

Since the Buddha struggling for his enlightenment as ascetic Gotama had 5 dreams what we found in Aṅguttara Nikāya, said to be said by the Buddha as following

Dreams Analysis
1. the ground of the world became bed for him, the Himalaya Mountain became pillow for him
It was what that he one day become a Buddha, the enlightened one.
2. red garden of (flower) He would detect the noble eightfold path which would be way for his enlightenment and for the world as well.

3. Knees were covered by black eyed worms Lots of devotees, followers will pay homage to him
4. The vultures of various colors from various directions come to him and they all become white in color. People from all castes will be ordained in his Saṅgha community
5. The Buddha was walking through the mountain of excrements without touching them He will have lots of offerings, four requisites as much as he wants, but will not have any attachment to them

Appendix 3

Acinteyya Sutta

(The Discourse on the Unthinkable)

Bhikkhus there are these four unthinkable, not to be thought of, thinking of which would lead one to madness and frustration. What are the four?
1. bhikkhus, the realm (gocara) of the Buddha is unthinkable, not to be thought of, thinking of which would lead one to madness and frustration.
2. Bhikkhus, the range of jhāna attained by one who has practiced jhāna is not thinkable, not to be thought of, thinking of which would lead one to madness and frustration.
3. bhikkhus, the result of kamma is not thinkable, not to be thought of, thinking of which would lead one to madness and frustration.
Bhikkhus, loka-cintā (evolution of the world) is unthinkable, not to be thought of, thinking of which would lead one to madness and frustration

Appendix 4

As indented there are two kinds of death
1. Kālamaraṇa- death in time, in old age.
2. Akālamaraṇa- untimely death

Death in time is the death trough exhaustion of reproductive kamma that gives rise to the present existence or the death through exhaustion of the normal life-span of men at the present time or the death through exhaustion of both. Untimely death is the death due to the intervention of a destructive kamma. It is sudden death such as the one encountered in accident or suicide.

One can develop his meditative absorption or (Jhāna). Or generally we can say one can remove the fear-ness of the death and die peacefully. The maraṇānussati Bhāvanā as following-

Taking a suitable place of being mindful anywhere recollects the nature of life and death as-
• Maraṇaṃ me dhuvaṃ, jīvitaṃ me addhuvaṃ (my death is certain, my being alive is uncertain).
• Maraṇaṃ me bhavissati (my death will certainly occur)
• Maraṇapariyosanaṃ me jīvitaṃ (My being alive has only death as its end)
• Maraṇaṃ maraṇaṃ (death, death)

One who meditates on death, and developed, enjoys following benefits-
1. sleeps in bliss and wakes in bliss
2. faculties are peaceful
3. mind is peaceful
4. has conscience and shame
5. confident, faithful and serene
6. has noble intension and his mind is inclined to perfect mental happiness, Nibbana
7. revered and respected by fellows in the life of purity
8. even if s/he penetrates no higher, is at least headed destiny.


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