“It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that for Early Buddhism an understanding and acceptance of this principal of kamma and its fruit is an essential component of right view. Right view has two aspects, the world-bound or mundane aspect, which pertains to life within the world, and the supramundane or world-transcending aspect which pertains to the path to liberation. The world-transcending right view includes an understanding of the Four Noble Truths, dependent origination, and the three marks of impermanence, suffering and nonself. For Early Buddhism this world-transcending right view cannot be taken up in isolation from mundane right view. Rather, it presupposes and depends upon the sound support of mundane right view, which means a firm conviction in the validity of the law of kamma and its unfolding through the process of rebirths. “
Excerpt from In The Buddha’s Words, An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon by Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi
Commentary on Ghost Kings:
Excerpt from : Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva
The collected lectures of Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hun
Translated by American Bhiksu Heng Ching
The great ghost kings mentioned previously are called kings because they lead the ghosts, and, regardless of whether they seem beneficial or malevolent, they are all transformations of great Bodhisattvas. In the past these ghost kings vowed to use expedient devices to benefit living beings. Some use compassion to protect their followers while others manifest a fierce appearance to subdue them. These two methods , protection and subduing, are the two major divisions in the methodology of teaching beings. Since some resolve their thoughts on enlightenment when they see a ghost of great compassion, the method of compassionate protection is practiced to teach them; because others will resolve their thoughts on enlightenment only after meeting a terrifying ghost, the method of subduing is also used.
In either case , the method used is not a question of good or evil on the part of the ghosts themselves, because good and evil come only from the karmic responses of living beings. When a living being’s bad karma ripens, it may encounter someone like Great King with Evil Eyes; when its good karma ripens, it may meet the Great Compassionate Ghost King. Any karma may, of course, be changed when it has ripened—bad karma may become good, and sometimes good karma turns bad. Students of the Buddhadharma should learn not to be affected by either good or bad karma, but should strive to turn bad into good and not allow themselves to go down the road which leads to the mountain of knives, the caldron of oil, and the tree of swords(*means wrong path and/or hell and lower realms). They should study Buddhadharma , upset heaven, and smash through earth. Heaven represents good causes, earth bad ones. Turn the bad to good and evil ghost kings will be of no use, while the good ones will be able to retire.
“You, me, us, we, them, those and whoever else you can think of do not have the authority to decide the existence of another life but our own. If in the construction of our existence we purposefully and intentionally make the destruction of another life part of the foundational frame work for our relationships with another, on any level, we cascade the effect through our own entire existence.
Believing then that another has no redeeming qualities, is in capable of change, is not worthy of respect, is the worst of the worst, and at the very least not fit for compassion is to build the same qualities upon our existence through every level.
Human life no matter the struggle and it obstacles, however personal, is worth the time and effort it takes to build compassion, to grow in non-judgement, and extend our understanding beyond our own incipient maturities. If on the other hand we should choose not to build these qualities into our existence then it is only a matter of time before such qualities, and that which embody them, are removed due to there non functionality within the larger existence of life we share. A larger existence that supports without judgement, gives without expectation of appreciation, accepts the purpose in all things, and provides for each regardless of its fitness to receive.
So, though we build the existence of another, know we are choosing our own.”
copied from a discussion on the death penalty, however the wisdom, compassion and equanimity the writer speaks of and defines in his post can be applied to any circumstance, any time, to anyone by anyone.
The Pali term Karma literally means action or doing. Any kind of intentional action whether mental, verbal, or physical, is regarded as Karma. It covers all that is included in the phrase “thought, word and deed”. Generally speaking, all good and bad action constitutes Karma. In its ultimate sense Karma means all moral and immoral volition. Involuntary, unintentional or unconscious actions, though technically deeds, do not constitute Karma, because volition, the most important factor in determining Karma, is absent.
The Buddha says:
“I declare, O Bhikkhus, that volition is Karma. Having willed one acts by body, speech, and thought.” (Anguttara Nikaya)
Every volitional action of individuals, save those of Buddhas and Arahants, is called Karma. The exception made in their case is because they are delivered from both good and evil; they have eradicated ignorance and craving, the roots of Karma.
“Destroyed are their germinal seeds (Khina bija); selfish desires no longer grow,” states the Ratana Sutta of Sutta nipata.
This does not mean that the Buddha and Arahantas are passive. They are tirelessly active in working for the real well being and happiness of all. Their deeds ordinarily accepted as good or moral, lack creative power as regards themselves. Understanding things as they truly are, they have finally shattered their cosmic fetters – the chain of cause and effect.
Karma does not necessarily mean past actions. It embraces both past and present deeds. Hence in one sense, we are the result of what we were; we will be the result of what we are. In another sense, it should be added, we are not totally the result of what we were; we will not absolutely be the result of what we are. The present is no doubt the offspring of the past and is the present of the future, but the present is not always a true index of either the past or the future; so complex is the working of Karma.
It is this doctrine of Karma that the mother teaches her child when she says “Be good and you will be happy and we will love you; but if you are bad, you will be unhappy and we will not love you.” In short, Karma is the law of cause and effect in the ethical realm.