Karma - The Mechanism: The Nature Of Karmic Bonds

Published: 22.10.2014

Chapter 8 of the Tattvarthasutra

(1) Five factors attach karmic mechanisms to our consciousness:

  • misunderstanding how this world really functions (mith­yadarsana)
  • our tendency to remain in this state of delusion, error and flawed concepts (though opportunities arise to end this state) (avirati)
  • carelessness in our thinking, speech and action (pra­mada)
  • unchecked negative emotions (ksaya)
  • the activities of our body, speech and mind (yoga).

(2) When we give in to negative emotions like anger, pride, the intention to deceive others and greed, we attract subtle matter that attaches karmic mechanisms to our consciousness. This process causes 'karmic bonds' (ban­dha).

(3) How we experience karmic matter is determined by

  • the area of life karma influences when it activates (also called the 'nature' or 'type' of karma)
  • for how long karmic molecules stay bound to our interactive karmic field (the duration)
  • the intensity with which karma manifests when it activates and
  • how many karmic molecules are stored in our interactive karmic field.

(4) Karma affects eight areas of life. It therefore is classified into eight main groups:

  1. karma that obstructs access to the five channels of knowledge (jnana-varana)
  2. karma that prevents insight and understanding (darshana-varana)
  3. karma that determines our feeling of life (veda­niya)
  4. karma that causes delusion (mohaniya)
  5. karma that determines the duration and place of (future) embodiment(s) (ayu)
  6. karma that determines form and features of our body (nama)
  7. karma that determines our status in our social environment (gotra)
  8. karma that causes obstruction in life (antaraya).

(5) Each of the eight main groups of karma is subdivided into more differentiated types:

  1. karma that obstructs access to the five channels of knowledge (jnana-varana) subdivides into 5 types
  2. karma that prevents insight and understanding (darshana-varana) subdivides into 9 types
  3. karma that determines our feeling of life (vedaniya) subdivides into 2 types
  4. karma that causes delusion (mohaniya) subdivides into 28 types
  5. karma that determines the duration and place of (future) embodiment(s) (ayu) subdivides into 4 types
  6. karma that determines form and features of our body (nama) subdivides into 42 types
  7. karma that determines our status in our social environment (gotra) subdivides into 2 types
  8. karma that causes obstruction in life (antaraya) subdivides into 5 types.

(6) Karma that obstructs access to the five channels of knowledge (jnana-varana) impedes

  • our sensory perception (mati)
  • our ability to gain knowledge from external sources (shruti)
  • our extra-sensory perception (clairvoyance, telepathy) (avadhi)
  • our direct perception of the consciousness of others (manah paryaya)
  • omniscience (kevali jnana).

(7) Karma that prevents insight and understanding (dar­shana-varana) obstructs

  • cognition through visual perception (chaksu)
  • cognition through the other sense-organs (achaksu)
  • cognition through clairvoyance and telepathy (ava­dhi)
  • cognition through omniscience (kevali jnana).
It further manifests
  • sleep (nidra)
  • deep sleep (nidranidra)
  • tiredness (prachala)
  • heavy fatigue (sleeping while sitting) (prachala­prachala)
  • somnambulism (styangriddhi).

(8) Karma that determines our feeling of life (vedaniya) manifests pleasant and unpleasant feelings.

(9) Karma that causes delusion (mohaniya) obstructs

1 our intuitive orientation towards growth (samyag darshana) by manifesting

  • confusion, error and misunderstanding
  • mixed misunderstanding and true comprehension of the world's mechanisms
  • (slight) clouding of true comprehension by wrong interpretation and error

2 our focus on action that leads towards ultimate freedom (moksa) by manifesting

  • passionate negative emotions like anger, pride, the intention to deceive others and greed, which appear in four intensities and
  • nine impeding tendencies:
  • excessive laughter
  • overindulgence
  • boredom, dissatisfaction, exhaustion
  • worry
  • fear and insecurity
  • disgust, indignation, aversion
  • compulsion to search for (new) female sexual partners
  • compulsion to search for (new) male sexual partners
  • compulsion to search for (new) sexual partners of both genders

(10) Karma that determines the duration and place of (future) embodiment(s) (ayu) causes us to manifest in four spheres of existence:

  • as naraka - as a being residing in regions of infernal character
  • as deva - as a being residing in regions of celestial character
  • as human being and
  • as animal or plant.

(11) Karma that determines the form and features of our body (nama), manifests the following characteristics:

  • the condition of our existence (gati)
  • the class (the number of senses of our body) (jati)
  • the levels of functions of our body (sharira)
  • the development and the abilities of the limbs of our respective bodies (angopanga)
  • the degree of coordination between our different levels of functions (bandhana)
  • the degree of co-ordination between consciousness and our respective bodies (sanghata)
  • the shape of our body (samsthana)
  • the construction and agility of our joints (sam­hanana)
  • the sensation when touching our body (sparsha)
  • the taste of our body (rasa)
  • the smell of our body (gandha)
  • the color of our body (varna)
  • the ability to retain our bodily form from one incarnation to the next (anupurvi)
  • the maneuverability (the heaviness) of our body in relation to its environment (agurulaghu)
  • the cause of death by internal factors (upagatha)
  • the cause of death by external factors (paragatha)
  • the heat our body radiates (atapa)
  • the light our body radiates (udyota)
  • our ability to breathe (uchchhvasa)
  • the way our body moves through space (vihayogati)
  • the number of inhabitants in our body (pratyeka­sharira)
  • our bodily mobility (trasa)
  • our attractiveness to other beings (subhaga)
  • the attractiveness of our voice (susvara)
  • the beauty of our body (shubha)
  • the grace of our body (shuksma)
  • the potential to fully develop all features of our body (paryapti)
  • the degree of circulation (the exchange of the material elements of our body) (sthira)
  • the radiation of our personality (adeya)
  • our potential to achieve fame (and the type of fame) (yashakirti)
  • the status of a tirthankara (i.e. a teacher who teaches from the state of omniscience).

(12) Karma that determines the status we carry in our social environment (gotra) manifests

  • -  our birth in a (family-) environment with high status
  • -  our birth in a (family-) environment with low status.

(13) Karma that causes obstruction in life (antaraya), interferes with our ability

  • to give recognition and gifts (dana)
  • to acquire earnings, gains and profit (labh)
  • to enjoy consumable things (bhoga)
  • to enjoy things that are not consumed (upabhoga)
  • to unfold and realize our capacities, power and vitality.

(14) The first three types of karma, i.e.

  • karma that obstructs access to the five channels of knowledge (jnana-varana)
  • karma that prevents insight and understanding (darshana-varana) and
  • karma that determines our feeling of life (vedaniya)

may remain bound to us for a maximum of ca. 3000 years (30 sagaropamas).

(15) Karma that causes delusion (mohaniya) can remain bound to us for a maximum of ca. 7000 years (70 sagaropamas).

(16)

  • Karma that determines form and features of our body (nama)
    and
  • Karma that determines the status we carry in our social environment (gotra)

can remain bound to us for a maximum of ca. 2000 years (20 sagaropamas).

(17) Karma that determines the duration and place of our (future) embodiment(s) (ayu) can remain bound to us for a maximum of ca. 3300 years (33 sagaropamas).

(18) Karma that determines our feeling of life (vedaniya) will remain bound to us for a minimum of 9 hours and 36 minutes (12 muhurtas).

(19)

  • Karma that determines form and features of our body (nama)
    and
  • Karma that determines the status we carry in our social environment (gotra)

will remain bound to us for a minimum of 6 hours and 24 minutes (8 muhurtas).

(20) All other types of karma, i.e.

  • karma that obstructs access to the five channels of knowledge (jnana-varana)
  • karma that prevents insight and understanding (darshana-varana)
  • karma that causes delusion (mohaniya)
  • karma that determines the duration and place of our (future) embodiment(s) (ayu) and
  • karma that causes obstruction in life (antaraya)

will remain bound to us from a minimum of ca. 1 second (one avali) to ca. 48 minutes (one muhurta).

(21) Karma becomes active when supportive conditions arise.

(22) The character and intensity of a karmic manifestation always mirrors the type of activity that caused its binding.

(23) After its activation our bond to the activated karma is dissolved (nirjara).

(24) At all times an infinite number of karmic molecules co exists with our body.

When we act, a number of these karmic molecules attaches to our interactive karmic field. The nature and intensity of our activity determines how many karmic molecules will attach. This process cannot be perceived directly by our senses.

(25) The agreeable variations of karma that determine

  • our feeling of life (vedaniya)
  • the duration and place of our (future) embodiment(s) (ayu)
  • the form and features of our body (nama)
  • what status we carry in our social environment (gotra)

are called positive karma (punya).

(26)  All other types of karma are negative karma (paapa).

Sources

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. Agurulaghu
  2. Anger
  3. Antaraya
  4. Avirati
  5. Ayu
  6. Body
  7. Clairvoyance
  8. Consciousness
  9. Dana
  10. Darshana
  11. Darshana-varana
  12. Deva
  13. Environment
  14. Fear
  15. Gandha
  16. Gati
  17. Gotra
  18. Greed
  19. Jnana
  20. Jnana-varana
  21. Karma
  22. Karmic matter
  23. Kevali
  24. Manah
  25. Mohaniya
  26. Moksa
  27. Muhurta
  28. Nama
  29. Naraka
  30. Nirjara
  31. Paapa
  32. Paryapti
  33. Paryaya
  34. Pride
  35. Punya
  36. Rasa
  37. Samyag Darshana
  38. Sanghata
  39. Sharira
  40. Shubha
  41. Space
  42. Tirthankara
  43. Trasa
  44. Upabhoga
  45. Varna
  46. Veda
  47. Vedaniya
  48. Yoga
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