Don't let the gloves intimidate you; the gloves are off.

[Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]


 [Dhamma Talk]


AN 5.174

Five things which result in hatred here and hell hereafter and five things that free one from hatred here and hell hereafter.

Read the Sutta

Index to available translations: AN 5.174

Elsewhere termed 'the five-fold guilty dread' [AN 10 92], 'the five-fold dread and hatred' [AN 9.27].

So far no one's translation makes good sense.

The five actions are not the five guilty dreads, they are the sources of the guilty dreads.

For the obvious case: The man who 'goes to another man's wife' is the source of the hatred directed at him by the husband — going to another man's wife is not itself hatred. ... though there will be those practitioners of modern psychology who will say that going to another man's wife is subconscious hatred of the other man. So who knows?

Bhk. Bodhi translates: 'five perils and enmities' which comes closer.

The idea is 'fearful hate-makers'.

Since the end of World War II, the whole world has more or less abandoned belief in Heaven and Hell and the importance of ethical behavior as the means whereby these states are arrived at. People profess, go through the motions, but their behavior reveals their real lack of belief. How could it be otherwise in the face of the attrocities on both sides of that war, re-inforced by the atrocities of a dozzen smaller wars thereafter?

What Creator God could withstand the cross-questioning of a high-school sophomore on this issue?

Who would follow the dictates of a God that would allow such things?

The key piece of thinking missing has been the idea of kamma.

Individual responsibility for one's own destiny.

With individual responsibility we can understand that the perpetuation of atrocities is the fearful hate-making deed of those directly involved in the making of the atrocities and the suffering of the victims is a matter of the repercussion of their past deeds.

What sort of deeds could millions of people have in common that would result in the carnage they experienced?

Since the beginning of history, millions of people have entered armies with the intent to kill, have killed and maimed, and have encouraged hate and actively supported ideas and actions that resulted in depriving others of life.

Those intentions and acts come home.

In the face of such things as the holocaust, the dropping of the atom bomb, the bombing of Dresden, putting responsibility and blame off onto a Creator God destroyed it's own usefulness (the idea just breaks down under it's obvious absurdity at such magnitude; such deeds require small, blind minds, not the omnicience of a God).

But much of the world was left without an alternative.

The result is certainly a world led by a nation bereft of ethical practices, whole-heartedly devoted to making a buck and indulgence in sense-gratification.

God is dead, there is no heavenly retribution.

Even the Golden Rule (which is a corrolary of the idea of kamma) no longer makes sense because it was presented not as a matter of the impersonal workings of nature, but as the rule used in the judgments of this no-longer-believed-in God.

Justice now is not a matter of punishing criminals for their deeds but is a matter of inflicting punishment arbitrarily on the basis of cost-benefit analysis.

The result of that is life deprived of meaning beyond stimulation of the senses in the immediate here and now.

Without the idea of Judgment by God and without the idea of kamma there is no thinking in ethical terms.

Life has become a mere matter of amoebic-like reaction to pleasureable and painful stimulus.

Somehow, my friends, you have got to wake yourselves up to this issue.

The alternative, without even considering heaven and hell, is lack of awareness of this stifflingly narrow atomatonic drugery we have here today and the blind following of blind leaders blindly following in their pursuit of votes polls telling them of the preferences of the blind as to the ways they wish to be lead into ever deeper degradation of life in the future.

You, who have a peripheral interest in Buddhism because it is the fad of the day need to overcome your resistance to understanding the fundamental importance of ethical behavior to access to the higher ideas found in this system.

Buddhism here has hardly got into the practice of Loving Kindness.

There is no practice of Loving Kindness where there is no understanding of ethical behavior.

Without an understanding of ethical behavior Loving Kindness is the practice of Self-love. Whatever makes you feel good is 'loving kindness' and therefore 'right' and everything else is 'wrong'. That is the extent of your system of ethics and that is the limit of your ethical thinking.

What is not seen is that this is the path of the psychopath where the most depraved behavior gives pleasure to the self and is, because of that, judged to be 'righteous'.

Every experience of sense-pleasure deadens the ability to enjoy it at the same intensity in the future and that results in seeking ever more intense pleasures. The process inevitably leads to every sort of misbehavior and eventually to intentional cruelty. Is that the direction you really want to go?

What is stopping people from accepting kamma?

Partly it is because a misunderstood idea of karma came along with the fruitless appearance of religious revival during the 60s. It was abandoned along with the spiritual revival when it became more interesting to make money, take advantage of the sexual revolution, and reach for power.

What is needed for kamma to make sense is seeing the fact of rebirth and how rebirth is affected by kamma, or short of seeing, an intellectual consideration of the 'likelyhood' or 'probability' of rebirth, and how, logically, it would be affected by kamma.

If you do not 'see' rebirth, and you wish to at least see the rationality of belief in rebirth, start by asking yourself if you really believe your life is going to end at the death of your body.

If you are honest with yourself you will see that no matter how much you are told differently, you believe you will live forever.

Look at your behavior. It is slow to change, as though you had 'all the time in the world.'

Take a look! You act as though you are going to live forever. There is hardly any effort there to make every minute count as would be the logical thing to do if there were only this one life.

But deeper than that, think about consciousness. The study of psychology has focused on the phenomena of consciousness as a matter of it's curious appearance in living beings. Consciousness as a physical phenomena is otherwise totally ignored by modern science. That is not the case with Buddhism.

Consider that while you have been taught and can easily see that there are such things in the world, independent of yourself, that are 'solid', 'liquid', have heat and motion, there is also this thing there called 'consciousness.'

In this system, that is an attribute of the world. Impersonal. External to the self. It attaches to or arises coinsidentally upon the conjunction of a will to live projected onto named shapes.

You can test this. Sit still. In a short time you will decide to do something and get up and do it. What has happened? Will to be has attached itself to named shapes and consciousness of named-shapes has arisen.

Where will to be has attached itself to named shapes and consciousness of named-shapes has arisen, the results of previous deeds are given passageways to manifestation in that 'circumstance'. What is largely out of your control is the precise named shapes that are the result of your intentional actions. That is the danger. Stuff coming back to you in ways you can't control. The only escape is to make sure nothing you intend to do is anything you would not like to experience: The burning off of old bad kamma by understanding, patient acceptance, and non-reaction to consequences out of your control, and the establishment by your intentions of such a mass of deeds done with good intentions that whatever bad thing may return is experienced as insignificant. What is required for that is thinking in ethical terms. What is required for that is a system of ethics based on kamma. That is what you get in the Buddhist system.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Next ask yourself if, at the time of death, you will have had enough of 'doing'.

This is enough to say that there is a 'likelihood', 'probability', 'possibility' of rebirth.

That is enough to give you a basis for understanding that that rebirth will be in accordance with your intents.

That will be enough for you to have concern about those intents.

That is the concern with ethical conduct as a matter of kamma.

That is the point of the Dhamma: To educate you, to clarify your thinking concerning your intents as they relate to ethical behavior and kamma.

The resistance to these ideas is coming from a resistance to the idea of morality as being imposed on one from the outside.

It has been seen that morality has been imposed on the people by those in power for the personal benefit of those in power.

The danger is that in giving up ethical behavior for the sake of self-indulgence one becomes addicted to self-indulgence and ethical behavior then appears to be in conflict with one's own interests.

This must be overcome through clearly perceiving the danger and taking deliberate action.

Here you will find the tools you need to help you do that.

Here you find the idea of kamma and ethical conduct in its pure state, a matter of personal welfare having nothing to do with anyone but yourself.

Deliberately adopting ethical behavior as described here as a matter of trial and error will in a very short time break the hold of self-indulgence and allow real vision of the freedom from the dangers of fearful hate-making.

Copyright Statement