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karma

Each person is born into a different situation. Therefore, each has different personalities and characteristics. The cause of these differences is due to the karma created by the individual's past and present. This karma effects and controls his/her life.

I. Definition:

"Thien" means goodness and kindness which benefits to others. "Ac" means evil acts and anything that brings damage to others. "Nghiep" means thoughts and actions that come from body, mouth, and mind. "Bao" means the results of karma.

II. Conceptions of good and evil:

Good andevil does not have a clear definition. The meaning of good and evil in everyday life is different from the meaning of good and evil in Buddhism.

1. Good and evil according to the customs: According to some customs, anything that follows accepted habit is considered "good", even if it's an immoral act. For example, several countries in Africa consider killing and eating their elderly parents a good act. In Vietnam, it's considered a pious act for children to kill animals to worship their parents who have passed away. Therefore, the meaning of good and evil is varied, depending on given customs.

2. Good and evil according to the laws: Laws are created to protect citizens of a country. By following the law, a person is considered a "good" citizen. Hence, "bad" does not really mean that it's immoral. "Good", then, doesn't really mean it's moral. Because laws differ from one country

to another, something that is considered beneficial to one country's citizens may be harmful to an other country's.

3. Good and evil according to monistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam): These religions claim that believing in God is good, not believing in God is incorrect. Thus meaning of good and evil is based on an article of faith, not on the individual's moral exertions.

4. Good and evil according to Buddhism: the Buddhist teaching espouses the idea that doing whatever reasonable and beneficial to oneself and others is considered good or else evil.

III. Classification:

1. Evil: Evil actions keep human beings in the cycle of re-birth and suffering. There are many evils; however, they are under two different categories: five immoral actions and ten evil actions.

a. Five immoral actions: Killing father, killing mother, killing Arahat, hurting Buddha, and disunifying the Shangha.

b. Ten evil actions: Killing, stealing, lusting, lying, two-edged exaggerate speech, harmful speech, greediness, hatred, and ignorance.

2. Intentional good action: Good actions. Do good and beneficial things for oneself and others.

a. Stop evil: Do not think about or commit the five immoral and ten evil actions.

b. Good action: Practice the following ten good deeds: set free all living beings, to be charitable, good conduct, truthful speaking, rightful speaking, gentle speaking, reconcilable speaking, compassion, endurance, right thinking.

3. Unintentional good actions: Do good things without thinking the benefits for oneself and others.

IV. Understanding karma:

1. Depends on cause: action, speech, thought.

2. Depends on result:

a. Intentional karma: Karma keeps people in the cycle of samsara (reincarnation)

b. Immovable karma: Karma of beings in the heaven where there are forms and formless

universes.

c. Faith karma: Karma of the enlightened ones. They are not controlled by karma. They are embodied in numerous forms to help beings. This karma cannot be explained or discussed.

d. Leading karma: The karma that leads one to receive the result of such karma.

3. Effectiveness of karma:

a. One's actions and behavior are effected by karma.

b. The circumstances of a person or a society are effected by karma.

c. Karma controls one's rebirth. The karma that a person accumulates in his past or present life will predict his next life.

1) Accumulated karma: Karma accumulated from many lives.

2) Custom karma: Karma from the habit of one's life.

3) Most important karma: Karma that over power other karma.

4) Dying karma: Karma that comes when one approaches death.

V. Understand the result of karma:

1. Classifications:

a. The result of karma of the individual: The results of the individual's body, behavior, feelings, thoughts are all due to cause.

b. The result of karma of a group: Results of a society or group's circumstances are due to cause.

2. Timing of the result of karma:

a. Immediate recompense: Karma takes effected in the same life.

b. Next life recompense: Karma of the present life will have effect in next life.

c. Future recompense: Karma of the present life will have effect in many future lives.

3. Result of karma with effects within oneself:

a. Result karma within oneself: One has shot a bird. His action makes his cruelty accumulate in himself. Result of karma goes against the one who created it.

b. Bird was killed: In the future if he has the capability he will seek revenge.

4. Types of "result of karma" within oneself:

a. Unintentional:

1) If unintentional, performance of a good action will result in no gaining of good karma within oneself. However, there will be good karma towards oneself.

2) If performing a good action unintentionally and one regret it afterwards, there will be bad karma in one's mind.

3) When performing a bad action unintentionally, one does not gain bad karma in one's mind, although there will be bad karma towads oneself due to the other's revenge.

4) When performing a bad action unintentionally, if one realizes it and repent it, there will be good karma within one's mind.

b. Intentional.

1) When performing a good action for a purpose to benefit from it, one will still accumulate bad karma within the mind.

VI. Relation between karma and recompense (the result of karma).

1. The good and evil karma theory is a natural law, and effect one's actions. It is a part of the causeeffect law.

2. One may change one's karma.

VII. Conclusion:

1. The evil and good karma help us understand that happiness and miseries depend on one's actions, not on a divine being.

2. Karma effects one's life.

3. One may change his/her karma. One can create his/her future if one has the will to do it.

Chánh Thiện

  1. Ngài Ma Ha Ca Diếp - Ma-Ha Ca-Diep
  2. Ngài A Nan Ðà - A Nan Da
  3. Ngài Nguyên Thiều - NguyenThieu
  4. Ngài Liễu Quán - LieuQuan
  5. Bốn Sự Thật Cao Thượng(Tứ Diệu Ðế) - The Four Noble Truths
  6. Mười Hai Nhân Duyên (Thập nhị nhân duyên) - The Principle of The Dependent Origination (Paticca samuppada)
  7. Tám Chánh Ðạo - The Eight-Fold Noble Path
  8. Kinh Mười Ðiều Thiện - The Sutra of The Ten good deeds
  9. Thiện Ác Nghiệp Báo  - Karma
  10. Sáu Ðộ - The Six Perfections
  11. Phép Quán Tưởng và Niệm Phật - The Methods of Meditating on Buddha
  12. Bát Quan Trai - The Eight Retreat Precepts
  13. Phật Giáo Việt Nam Từ Ðời Trần đến Cận Ðại - Buddhism in Vietnam from The Tran Dynasty to Present
  14. Tình Thần Không Chấp Thủ, Tinh Thần Tùy Duyên Bất Biến
  15. Phật Giáo Là Triết Học Hay là Một Tôn Giáo?
  16. Quan Ðiểm Của Phật Giáo Về Con Người - Vấn Ðề Tâm Vật Trong Ðạo Phật -  Buddhist viewpoint On Human Beings. About Spirit and Matter In The Buddhism
  17. Quan Ðiểm Của Phật Giáo Về Vũ Trụ - Vấn Ðề Nguyên Nhân Ðầu Tiên - Buddhism's Viewpoint ON The Universe The First Cause