The Role of Cetanā in Kamma - Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature

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Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature

The teachings of the Buddha are aimed solely at liberating sentient beings from suffering. The Basic Teachings of Buddha which are core to Buddhism are: The Three Universal Truths; The Four Noble Truths; and The Noble Eightfold Path.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

The Role of Cetanā in Kamma

Generally speaking, Buddhists believe in kamma, which means all kinds of intentional actions whether they are mental (manokamma), verbal (vacikamma) or physical (kāyakamma). Every action produces its corresponding effect. Therefore, we believe that we will get bad results if we do evil actions and will get good results if we do good deeds.
We are assured that we will have due effect of what we have done now and hereafter whether good or bad.
Kamma is called the law of cause and effect. Without a cause, there is no any effect. It is also called the law of moral causation. Moral causation works in the moral field as the physical law of action and reaction in the physical field. This is the natural law of the universe. Therefore, the Buddha said: “there is no place to hide in order to escape from kamma results (Dhammapada, verse 127).

We do everything ourselves with a volition (cetanā). Volition is the main source of kamma. Nothing can be established without cetanā. Cetanā is also the motivating force for the mind. The kammaarises depending on the driving force of cetanā. So the Buddha said “cetanāis what I call kamma.” The intensity of kamma depends on the force of cetanā.
In Buddhism, the mind is the chief of all good and bad states. If you speak or act with good or bad mind, then happiness or unhappiness follows you just as the wheel follows the foot of the ox or your shadow which never leaves you. Similarly, purity or impurity is dependent on ourselves, no one purifies another, “by oneself doing evil, one defiles oneself, by oneself doing good, one purify oneself”. Understanding kamma, we can choose what we want to do. After that we act carefully about physical, verbal and mental. Not to do evil, do what is good, to purify our mind through the Eightfold Noble Path. By treading this noble way, we can be free from all sufferings and attain Nibbāna sooner or later.

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