In email@example.com, “Robert E”
In firstname.lastname@example.org, upasaka@ wrote:
That exact event, of course, would not have occurred had the
victim not been – also only partly due to her/his kamma – where s/he was at
the time of the murder, but the actions of the murderer are major among the
I would doubt, for example, that all those who died at Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, all those who died during the carpet-bombing of Dresden, and all
those who perished in the Holocaust did so largely due to their kamma. The
notion of (relative) innocence is not an empty one.
Did Buddha believe in relative innocence? I don’t think so. I don’t think
there is guilt either, even in kamma, which after all is just another set of
conditions created by arising factors that are themselves the product of
conditions, as I understand it. But Buddha describes very directly the result
of negative kamma as being the direct, not incidental cause, of wealth or
poverty, health or illness, and many other factors of the overall life of the
person in future lives.
Leaving aside the question of whether conventional circumstances are a story
about vipaka’s rupas or whether they are a gross description of the actual types
of rupas experienced, there’s not much ground for disputing the Buddha’s strong
association of kamma with very specific vipaka.
We would all like to think that there is an element of chance in being mugged
or murdered, and no one wants to blame the victim, but we should be clear about
what the actual philosophy is according to the Buddha, and he doesn’t seem to
back away from saying if you’re born sick or deformed or poor, or have a short
life, it’s because of kamma from previous lives. He doesn’t say it is a
combination of factors, but gives it a direct relationship.
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