Moral Kammas Producing Effects in
the Sensual Realms
i. Charity (dana) is giving, or generosity. It
is the volition of giving one's possessions to others, or sharing them liberally.
intention is more important than the value of the gift. To get the best results
one should give respectfully, while aspiring to attain nibbana. When giving food
to a monk, one should approach within arms-reach, putting the offering into his
hands or onto something held by him. If it is after midday or before dawn, food
should not be given into his hands, but it can be put down near him to be offered
later. Money should never be given to a monk, nor put down near him, but it may
be given to a lay person such as a temple attendant or trustee, with instructions
to provide whatever the monk needs, or to provide whatever suitable things one
wants to give. Alcohol, weapons, foolish entertainments, bribes, or anything else
that corrupts morality should not be given to anyone, as this is unwholesome kamma
(adhamma dana). The beneficial effects of giving are wealth, the fulfilment of
one's wishes, long-life, beauty, happiness and strength.
ii. Morality (sila)
is the volition of refraining from evil. It is the volition of right speech, right
action, and right livelihood.
Lay Buddhists should observe the five precepts
as a matter of course. Whenever possible they should observe the eight precepts
to refine their morality, and to purify the mind for meditation. The monks' morality
is extremely refined - the Visuddhimagga says that there are more than nine billion
precepts to be observed. A lay person can undertake the monastic discipline for
a short period, to practise meditation for example. In my view, a candidate should
be given proper training before taking full ordination, and should resolve to
stay for at least three months. If candidates lack proper training they may make
unwholesome kamma, obstructing their spiritual progress.
To follow the novice's
ten precepts is not so demanding, so it is appropriate to ordain for just a week
or two, but it is still a serious undertaking; not just something to do for a
weekend. There is no longer an order of Theravada bhikkhunis, but women can ordain
as eight precept nuns, shaving their hair and wearing white, pink, or brown robes
depending on the tradition. The beneficial effects of morality are rebirth in
noble families or in heavenly planes, beauty, fame, and having many friends.
Mental Culture (bhavana) is the volition when one practises tranquillity meditation
(samatha); or it is the development of insight by repeatedly contemplating mental
and physical phenomena.
Learning to recite suttas and gathas by heart is also
included in mental culture. The beneficial effects of mental culture are development
of wisdom, good reputation, and rebirth in higher planes.
iv. Reverence (apacayana)
is the volition of paying respect to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha; to one's
parents and elders, to teachers, to others who lead virtuous lives, or to shrines,
images, and pagodas.
This wholesome kamma costs nothing. Whether entering a
vihara, where people may be meditating, or a library where people may be studying,
one can easily make good kamma by restraining one's actions and speech. The beneficial
effects of reverence are noble parentage, commanding respect, and influential
v. Service (veyyavacca) is the volition of helping virtuous people,
those about to set out on a journey; the sick, the old, and the feeble.
wholesome kamma also costs nothing. By serving a monk one gets many opportunities
to learn the Dhamma and promote the Buddhadhamma. When living with virtuous monks
it will be much easier to refrain from immoral deeds. The beneficial effects of
service are having a large following and many friends.
vi. Transference of
Merit (pattidana) is the volition of asking others to participate in wholesome
deeds and thereby to share in the resultant merit.
When doing any wholesome
deeds such as giving alms, listening to Dhamma, or practising meditation, one
can multiply the benefits by urging family and friends to participate. The beneficial
effects of transference of merit is the ability to give in abundance.
Rejoicing in Other's Merit (pattanumodana) is the volition of rejoicing in the
good deeds or virtue of others.
When friends or family members do wholesome
deeds, even if one cannot participate, one can make wholesome kamma by giving
them encouragement. The beneficial effect of rejoicing in others' merit is finding
joy wherever one is born.
viii. Listening to the Dhamma (dhammassavana) is
the volition of listening to or reading Dhamma with a pure intention to gain morality,
concentration, or insight; or to learn the Dhamma to teach others.
way to listen to Dhamma is to sit on a lower seat than the speaker, with eyes
downcast and hands held together in añjali, with one's feet pointing away
from the speaker. Shoes, head coverings, and weapons should be removed. If the
speaker is standing, then one should also stand. The essential point is to be
attentive and respectful. The beneficial effect of listening to the Dhamma is
the development of wisdom.
ix. Teaching the Dhamma (dhammadesana) is the volition
of teaching Dhamma motivated by compassion, without any ulterior motive to get
offerings, honour, praise, or fame.
Reciting suttas is also dhammadesana. When
preaching, or reciting suttas and gathas, it is most improper to elongate the
sound, as singers and orators do, to arouse the emotions. While reciting, one
should concentrate on the meaning of the words, not on the sound. One should not
shout, nor recite hurriedly, but keep in harmony with others, enunciating each
syllable clearly with reverence for the Dhamma. When learning by heart one may
recite very quickly since the purpose is different. The beneficial effects of
teaching the Dhamma are a pleasing voice and the development of wisdom.
Straightening One's Views (ditthijjukamma) is the volition to establish right
understanding (samma ditthi).
If one does not understand what a monk says,
or disagrees, one should ask pertinent questions. When buying gold or gems people
question the seller about their purity. The beneficial effect of straightening
one's views is intelligence and the attainment of nibbana.
Right view is of
two kinds: mundane and supramundane. Mundane right view means belief in kamma;
or the belief that as we sow, so shall we reap. This right view is found in all
religions. An educated Buddhist will also believe in the tenfold mundane right
view as follows: 1) there is a benefit in giving alms, 2) there is a benefit of
grand offerings, 3) there is a benefit of trivial gifts, 4) there is a result
of good and evil deeds, 5) there is special significance of deeds done to one's
mother, 6) there is special significance of deeds done to one's father, 7) there
are spontaneously arisen beings such as deities, ghosts, and brahmas, 8) there
is this human world, 9) there are other worlds, such as heaven and hell, 10) there
are some people who, by the power of concentration, can see beings reborn in other
Supramundane right view means right understanding of the four noble
truths, which includes the realisation of nibbana, eradication of self-view or
ego, attaining permanent stability in morality and unshakeable confidence in the
Moral Kamma Producing Effects in the Realms of Form
wholesome kammas transcend the sensual realm. Sensual desire is one of the five
hindrances to concentration, so to attain jhana one has to overcome sensual thoughts.
The jhanas are difficult to attain, and difficult to maintain. They are not usually
attained when practising the pure insight method, but insight meditators do experience
states comparable to jhana. Insight cuts off defilements at the root, jhana only
cuts them off at the base, so insight meditation is preferable.
i. The First
Jhana - Absorption of the mind with initial application, sustained application,
rapture, bliss, and one-pointedness.
ii. The Second Jhana - Absorption of the
mind with sustained application, rapture, bliss, and one-pointedness.
The Third Jhana - Absorption of the mind with rapture, bliss, and one-pointedness.
The Fourth Jhana - Absorption of the mind with bliss and one-pointedness.
The Fifth Jhana - Absorption of the mind with equanimity and one-pointedness.
Kammas Producing Effects in the Formless Realms
These jhanas are extremely
refined and must be developed after the preceding ones.
i. Moral consciousness
dwelling on the infinity of space.
ii. Moral consciousness dwelling on the
infinity of consciousness.
iii. Moral consciousness dwelling on nothingness.
Moral consciousness wherein perception is so extremely subtle that it cannot be
said whether it is, nor that it is not