Dhamma Letter No. 39

Q&A No. 14

This Letter is continuing the answer from last Dhamma letter .

Q. I understand Karma, individual karma. But I do not understand when hundreds of people all die together.  How does that collective karma occur?

A. We saw it from two perspectives in last dhamma letter. And we can see it more deep level.

What this means is that karma is recognized to be an ultimate reality, purely a single mental operation that is essentially independent of any group. Karma is basically one's own inheritance, being nothing more and nothing less than the results of one’s own mind operation (self-kamma, kammassakatā). We can understand this in Five aggregations [Five Khandha: Form (rūpa, 色), Feelings (vedanā, 受), Perceptions (saññā, 想), Mental action (sankhāras , 行), Consciousness (viññāṇa, 識)] with Dhamma Letter No. 18.

Even the Buddha did not isolate individual karma from its impact on the natural environment as well as on other sentient beings. The close interrelationship between individual karma and the natural environment is confirmed in early Buddhist texts such as Angutthara Nikaya 77, Aggañña-sutta, and the Cakkavattisīhanāda-sutta.

The ultimate goal of Buddhist practice is to get rid of suffering by analyzing and understanding it in detail and then cutting off its fuel. Thus ending the round of rebirth, the most vivid image of which is sentient beings running around and around the wheel of samsara, the cycle of life and death. Why do they do this?

The Buddha clearly stated that it is because of craving (taṅhā, ponobhavikā), which is the cause of rebirth and ignorance (avijiā), which is the cause of samsara. As long as there is craving and ignorance, the beginning-less and endless wheel of the cycle of life and death continues to roll. For the arahant, however, there is no more samsara, no more suffering.

Why? Because one has overcome all defilements including craving, the cause of rebirth, and the end of rebirth in all 31 realms of existence.

May you understand Buddha’s teaching well and reach nibbāna in this very life!

May all beings be well and happy!

With Metta,

Ayyā Kosallā & Mahāpajāpatī Bhikkhunī Sangha


If you have any questions related to dhamma & meditation, please feel free to ask. You can reach Ayya Kosalla directly at Bhikkhuni.Kosalla@gmail.com . 

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Buddha Sāsanaṁ Ciraṁ Tiṭṭhatu! 
May the Buddha’s teachings last a long time!

​Bhavatu Sabba Sotiṁ ca Maṅgalaṁ ca!!  
May everyone be led on the path of peace and blessing!!

Sādhu Sādhu Sādhu !