The Analysis of Deeds
(Karma-vibhaṅga)



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15-22: Rebirths

15. Rebirth in Hell

Herein, what is the deed that leads to rebirth in hell?

It is said:

[1] Wrong living in body, speech and mind through having severely corrupt thoughts.
[2] A deed based on annihilationist view.
[3] A deed based on eternalist view.
[4] A deed based on nihilistic view.
[5] A deed based on inconsequence view. In Pāḷi texts the terms are analysed like this: annihilationist view = the view that life ends with death; eternalist view = the view that the soul (ātma) is eternal; nihilistic view = the view that there is no result of giving, etc.; inconsequence view = the view that bad actions are without consequences.
[6] A deed based on a selfish doctrine.
[7] A deed based on ungratefulness.
[8] Bad deeds having immediate results. The five bad deeds are: Taking the life of mother, father or a worthy one (arhat); spilling the blood of a Realised One; or causing a schism in the Saṅgha.
[9] Making false accusations against virtuous noble ones.

This is the deed that leads to rebirth in hell.

16. Rebirth as an Animal

Herein, what is the deed that leads to rebirth as an animal?

It is said:

[1] Wrong living in body, speech and mind through having intermediately corrupt thoughts.
[2] Deeds arising from various types of lust.
[3] Deeds arising from various types of hatred.
[4] Deeds arising from various types of delusion. Greed, hatred and delusion are the three unwholesome roots.
[5] Causing regret to those gone forth, mother or father.
[6] Deriding beings who are animals.
[7] Similarly, it is said endeavouring in deeds like the cow-vow and dog-vow These were vows to behave like animals, e.g. eating grass, etc. in the case of the cow-vow; eating scraps, etc. in the case of the dog-vow. offerings; and endeavouring in aspiring to this.

16a

You should speak here of the Bodhisattva in the traditional birth story about the Lion. Which Jātaka is unknown.

16b

Also about the brahmin Varṣākāra in his rebirths as a monkey. Just as the brahmin Varṣākāra This story is known to the Pāḷi commentaries, see MA 4.73, Gopaka-moggallāna-sutta-vaṇṇanā, but there the monk Vassakāra defames is Ven. Mahākaccāna. saw the elder monk Mahākāśyapa above Rājagha going through the air from the mountain Vulture’s Peak to the side of the Seer’s mountain, then, with a mind corrupted through connection with Devadatta and Ajātaśatru, he made this wrong doing by way of speech: “This ascetic going through the air from one mountain to another is like a monkey jumping from tree to tree.”

The Fortunate One related this: “The brahmin Varṣākāra, having become angry, made this wrong doing by way of speech.”

“What was the result for him?”

The Fortunate One said: “Because of that wrong doing by way of speech the result is the brahmin Varṣākāra will be reborn as a monkey for five hundred lives.”

Afterwards Varṣākāra heard that the Fortunate One had declared, it seems: ‘He will be reborn as a monkey in five hundred lives.’ He became spiritually anxious and full of faith.

Then, at the time the Fortunate One was passing away, Varṣākāra asked: “When will that deed be destroyed?”

The Fortunate One said: “These five hundred births you will be reborn in Rājagha. Just as the rose-apple arises in the Rose-Apple Isle, where the fruits are the size of the uṣṭrikā plant, and their flavour is like sweet honey, so that is where you will be reborn. From there you will arise in a happy destination. Just as with a corrupt mind one is reborn amongst lions. And explaining the meaning the Fortunate One spoke this verse:

“Long is the night for one awake, long is a league for one tired,
long is saṁsāra for fools who know not True Dharma.”

This is the deed that leads to rebirth as an animal.

17. Rebirth in Yama’s World

Herein, what is the deed that leads to rebirth as a preta A preta is a being living a miserable existence in a kind of limbo or purgatory. In Buddhist cosmology this world is under the control of Yama. in Yama’s world?

It is said:

[1] Wrong living in body, speech and mind through having a mind of revenge and anger.
[2] Greed.
[3] Dishonest greed.
[4] Wrong livelihood.
[5] Dying of hunger, thirst or anger.
[6] Dying with a mind attached to possessions.

17a

As was said by the Fortunate One in the One Hundred Chapters Scripture, in the discourse on the Analysis of Deeds: “Again for this person, Ānanda, it is a deed that was done in another life; or holding a wrong view at the time of death.” cp. MN 136: Earlier they must have done a wicked deed that leads to suffering, or later they did a wicked deed that leads to suffering, or at the time of death they took up a completely wrong view.

This is the deed that leads to rebirth as a preta in Yama’s world.

18. Rebirth in the Asura World

Herein, what is the deed that leads to rebirth in the Asura The asuras are anti-gods, or former gods (sura), that fought against the gods and were thrown out of heaven because of their rebellion. world?

It is said:

[1] All wrong living in body, speech and mind that is mild.
[2] Conceit.
[3] Great conceit.
[4] Conceit regarding attainments.
[5] The ‘I’-conceit.
[6] Wrong conceit.
[7] Well-performed deeds having wholesome roots but which ripen in birth in the Asura worlds.
[8] Everything arising from excessive passion and having a bad character, but having wisdom as a cause. I am unsure what deeds would characterise these last two causes, and unfortunately, just where we want it, no examples are given.

This is the deed that leads to rebirth in the Asura world.

19. Rebirth in the Human World

Herein, what is the deed that leads to rebirth in the human world?

It is said:

The ten wholesome deeds Karma-patha means something like deed-path, which is awkward in English. Throughout I have translated it simply as deeds. that are either well-practiced or poorly practiced. What ten?

[1-3] The threefold deeds by way of body. Not killing, taking what is not given and sexual misconduct.
[4-7] The fourfold deeds by way of speech. Restraint from false, malicious and rough speech; and frivolous talk.
[8-10] The threefold deeds by way of mind. Being without avarice, having good will and right view.

This is the deed that leads to rebirth in the human world.

20. Rebirth in Heavenly Sense Worlds

Herein, what is the deed that leads to rebirth in the heavenly sense worlds?

It is said:

The fully complete ten wholesome deeds. Same as previous list, but to perfection.

This is the deed that leads to rebirth in the heavenly sense worlds.

21. Rebirth in Heavenly Form Worlds

Herein, what is the deed that leads to rebirth in the heavenly form worlds?

It is said:

The fully attained four concentrations, This refers to the four jhānas, which have corresponding levels in the cosmology. and from that, full excellence in the ten wholesome deeds.

This is the deed that leads to rebirth in the heavenly form worlds.

22. Rebirth in Heavenly Formless Worlds

Herein, what is the deed that leads to rebirth in the heavenly formless worlds?

It is said:

The four formless attainments,

[1] The sphere of endless space.
[2] The sphere of endless consciousness.
[3] The sphere of nothingness.
[4] The sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

There is the developing and making much of these attainments.

This is the deed that leads to rebirth in the heavenly formless worlds.