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Karma - The Mechanism: Tattvarthasutra 6.05

Published: 31.07.2014

Indriya kasaya vrata kriyah pancha-chatuh-pancha-pancha vimshati­sankhyah purvasya bhedah (5)

With our five senses, four negative passionate emotions, indifference to the Five Freedoms and by 25 types of activities we attract karma that prolongs our cycle of incarnations (samparayika). (5)

The five senses

Our tendency to experience our physical environment by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing and hearing it runs on such fundamental level that we tend to regard it as an unquestionable, absolute property of life.

Yet this preference to perceive our world e.g. as three-dimensional, as subject to gravity (as our feet resting on the ground), as matter being relatively stable, as nature being green in its phase of growth etc. is only a deep-rooted karmic bond[8] that characterizes the lower stages of development. We reinforce this inclination each time we use our senses.

Four negative passionate emotions

Anger (rage), arrogance (pride), the intention to deceive others (manipulation) and greed (addiction) attach us firmly to the objects or events on which we focus this type of emotional energy. They manifest and strengthen our deep-seated desire for further experiences of this kind. The four negative passionate emotions retain our consciousness on the lower stages of development since these are the only levels we can experience them in.

Indifference to the Five Freedoms[9]

Not to care whether we cause injury to others or deceive them, whether we take what is not given freely, are unwilling to grow or cling to our possessions, firmly bonds our consciousness to the first four stages of development.

25 activities

that prolong our cycle of incarnations are:

  1. orienting towards growth[10]
  2. activities that intensify or propagate delusion and error
  3. all activities we cause with our body, speech and mind
  4. the tendency to neglect the Five Freedoms
  5. moving without care so that small beings on the ground may get killed or injured
  6. the tendency to accuse others in anger
  7. the malicious tendency to hurt others
  8. the possession of weapons
  9. all actions that inflict physical and mental pain on ourselves and others
  10. all actions that restrict other beings in the full unfoldment of their life, their sense-organs, vitality and breathing
  11. the desire to see pleasant forms - (this limits our consciousness to our material environment)
  12. the desire to touch pleasant forms
  13. the desire to imagine and invent new stimulation of the senses (this restricts the scope of our consciousness to the range of the senses)
  14. depositing waste in the life-space of other beings
  15. setting down objects without care so that small beings on the ground may get killed or injured
  16. doing ourselves what could be done by others (thereby manifesting our attachment to these actions)
  17. admiring hurtful and evil activities and their effects
  18. propagating the mistakes of others
  19. misinterpreting those parts of the scriptures we do not want to follow
  20. disrespect for external knowledge (teachers and scriptures) because of malice or laziness
  21. engaging in harmful activities or expressing delight at the harmful activities of others
  22. the tendency to prolong or intensify our attachment to material objects and activities
  23. any attempt to disturb the spiritual efforts of others and to upset or destroy their orientation towards growth and their true knowledge
  24. propagating actions, ideas or concepts based on error and delusion
  25. the attachment to objects and actions whose worthlessness we already understood.

This sutra lists the mechanisms that perpetuate our chain of incarnations. If we want to experience more fascinating (new) layers of our existence, we need to stop their effects. We need to identify which activities lock our attention and focus on our current limited level of life. The activities listed above attach karmic matter to our interactive karmic field. They block us from becoming aware of higher stages of our existence.

The list does not instruct us how to live life. It only alerts us of the factors that obstruct our growth. Any consequences we want to deduct from this depend entirely on our own intentions, energy and the situations we still want to experience during this incarnation.


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Title: Karma - The Mechanism

Publisher: Crosswind Publishing

Edition: 2000

HN4U Edition: 2014

'The purpose of souls is to assist each other.'
TATTVARTHASUTRA - Chapter 5, Sutra 21

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Body
  3. Consciousness
  4. Environment
  5. Greed
  6. Indriya
  7. Karma
  8. Karmic matter
  9. Kasaya
  10. Pride
  11. Space
  12. Sutra
  13. Vrata
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