I’d like to share something that I’ve noticed about kamma. This isn’t something that I’ve seen explicitly stated, but I feel that many people depict kamma as something that is determined by our mental state only. According to this view, two actions that involve the same amount of greed, hatred, and delusion would lead to consequences of the same level. In other words, what determines vipaka is your mind at the moment that you have the intention, and it’s not dependent on the world outside.
Although intuitive, this interpretation seems to contradict passages that show that certain actions lead to better results than others, even though both seem to involve the same level of greed, hatred, or delusion. One example of this is the AN 8.59, which says the following:
There are these eight individuals who are worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world. Which eight?.. The one who has entered the stream…
However, a lay follower, for instance, has no way to know whether or not the person they’re donating to has entered the stream, so they could give to good and bad monks with a similar mental state, but some gifts would lead to better benefits than others.
Another example of this is Ud 5.3, which tells the results that Suppabuddha suffered for spitting on a Buddha.
Once, monks, in this very Rājagaha, Suppabuddha the leper was the son of a rich money-lender. While being escorted to a pleasure park, he saw Tagarasikhin the Private Buddha going for alms in the city. On seeing him, the thought occurred to him, ‘Who is this leper prowling about?’ Spitting and disrespectfully turning his left side to Tagarasikhin the Private Buddha, he left. As a result of that deed he boiled in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, many hundreds of thousands of years…
It’s intuitive that Suppabuddha, having the same mental state, could have spat on any random contemplative, but without bearing such horrible fruits. The focus of the sutta seems to be that he spat on a Buddha specifically, which is something that Suppabuddha had no way of knowing.