Ahosikamma (kamma that has lost its potential force)

Hello everyone,

I have a question about the following term: ahosikamma (https://suttacentral.net/define/ahosikamma). I have encountered it in Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw’s book, “Workings of Kamma”. I have looked it up here, across suttas, and it seems like this term was first introduced by Buddhagosa in his Visuddhimagga. I’m wondering if this contradicts the suttas, in a sense that in suttas it is said that the kamma that is formed will be always unraveled. Suttas say, however, that good kamma can sort of “easen” bad kamma, so that the suffering from it will be less intense. Is it what Buddhagosa might have had in mind? Is this concept justified in general by the Teachings?

Thank you.

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The text from Visuddhimagga.

  1. Herein, kamma is fourfold: to be experienced here and now, to be experienced on rebirth, to be experienced in some subsequent becoming, and lapsed kamma.2 Of these, (i) the volition, either profitable or unprofitable, of the first of the seven impulsion consciousnesses in a single cognitive series of impulsions is called kamma to be experienced here and now: it gives its result in this same selfhood. But if it cannot do so, it is called (iv) lapsed kamma (ahosi-kamma), according to the triad described thus, “There has been (ahosi) kamma, there has been no kamma-result, there will be no kamma-result” (see Paþis II 78). (ii) The volition of the seventh impulsion that accomplishes its purpose is called kamma to be experienced on rebirth: it gives its result in the next selfhood. If it cannot do so, it is called (iv) lapsed kamma in the way already described. (iii) The volition of the five impulsions between these two is called kamma to be experienced in some subsequent becoming: it gives its result in the future when it gets the opportunity, and however long the round of rebirths continues it never becomes lapsed kamma.

So it seems that it is based on the javana cittas. The first and the last javanas are weak in effect so they either gives result immediately or on the next rebirth, but if the condition is not fulfilled, then they become void. The middle javanas are strong and gives the result on subsequent rebirths and never void (of course, unless someone attains Nibbana).

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I think ahosikamma is based on AN 3.100:

“Monks, for anyone who says, ‘In whatever way a person makes kamma, that is how it is experienced,’ there is no living of the holy life, there is no opportunity for the right ending of stress. But for anyone who says, ‘When a person makes kamma to be felt in such & such a way, that is how its result is experienced,’ there is the living of the holy life, there is the opportunity for the right ending of stress.

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The fruit of the kamma that would have burned you in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, you are now experiencing in the here-&-now! – MN. 86 (to ven. Angulimāla.)

The commentary explains in this connection, within the conceptual frame of the javanā, that ahosikamma is the lack of the result of kamma (kammavipāka) regarding past, future and present. It goes on saying that ven. Angulimāla had experienced the third kind (presently effective) and that he has uprooted the other too, being ahosikamma (?), lit. kamma which was not (ahosi=was not).

So the quoted sutta instance might serve as a basis which does not contradict the concepts of the commentary. The term itself is not found in the suttas, however.

Mettā

Why is The Salt Crystal sutta AN 3.100 in suttacentral but AN 3.99 in accesstoinsight?

Ahosikamma is suggested here:

It probably has this context (as well):

“Bhikkhus, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-release of loving-kindness. The mind-release of loving-kindness surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.

“Just as the radiance of all the stars does not equal a sixteenth part of the moon’s radiance, but the moon’s radiance surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant, even so, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-release of loving-kindness… Iti 27

with metta

The four imponderables are identified in the Acintita Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya 4.77, as follows:
Third imponderable is:

  • The [precise working out of the] results of kamma ;

I believe above is very true but haven’t got the attention by many…

Because there are different AN sutta numbering among the translators and Tipitaka editions:

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The general workings of kamma has been taught though. The knowledge of the specific working of kamma isn’t exclusive to the Buddha. I believe that is why other teachers at the time also taught karma.

With metta