Is clinging Kammic?

Is clinging Kammic? If yes, this view contradicts MN 44, which says that clinging isn’t a type of intention.

Nice Sutta. Reading it I couldn’t single out which part of the Sutta your comment comes from exactly. Can you or anyone provide further information? Thank you! :pray:

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I don’t really see how you took “clinging is not Kamma” from that Sutta. Would you mind elaborating on that?

Clinging seems to me to be the ultimate, simplest, deepest kind of Kamma there is. My understanding of the Dhamma (limited as it is) is that clinging is the most basic and fundamental cause of Kamma that there is. The reason I say that is that we even cling to things that we know to be negative. We don’t just cling to the positive feelings and experiences of existence. We cling to all of it. It’s such an infantile and ignorant behavior if you really think about it objectively. I wouldn’t characterize my life as positive but I still cling to my identity very strongly, and that’s even after being exposed to the Buddha’s wisdom and my own (admittedly unsatisfactory) meditation practice.

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If upādāna didn’t involve kamma, then there’d be no reason for dog-duty ascetics (whose conduct is an expression of sīlabbat’upādāna) to be reborn as dogs. Yet MN57 states that this is precisely the destiny to which their observance leads.

That’s not to say, however, that upādāna itself is kamma-generating, but rather, that on any occasion when upādāna arises, kamma will be generated by the conascent cetanā.

As MN44 says:

“But ma’am, is that grasping the exact same thing as the five grasping aggregates? Or is grasping one thing and the five grasping aggregates another?”

“That grasping is not the exact same thing as the five grasping aggregates. Nor is grasping one thing and the five grasping aggregates another. The desire and greed for the five grasping aggregates is the grasping there.”

This means that clinging isn’t one of the aggregates, so it can’t be regarded as an instance of intention. However, it’s intention that’s said to be kamma:

‘Deeds should be known. And their source, diversity, result, cessation, and the practice that leads to their cessation should be known.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it? It is intention that I call deeds. For after making a choice one acts by way of body, speech, and mind.
AN 6.63

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Once MN 44 says that clinging isn’t a type of intention, I don’t understand how it could be kammic. I elaborated more on that in my reply to @Bodhisattva.

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I do believe that this is the right interpretation, but I’m struggling to understand how clinging itself could be kammic even though it isn’t a type of intention.

Hmm, that sounds quite reasonable. Could you please elaborate more on that? Maybe some sutta evincing that? I mean, must clinging always arise with intention? Is there any sutta talking about that?

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On that comes to mind is the Atthirāgasutta in the SN’s Nidānavagga:

“If, bhikkhus, there is lust for the nutriment edible food, if there is delight, if there is craving, consciousness becomes established there and comes to growth. Wherever consciousness becomes established and comes to growth, there is a descent of name-and-form. Where there is a descent of name-and-form, there is the growth of volitional formations. Where there is the growth of volitional formations, there is the production of future renewed existence. Where there is the production of future renewed existence, there is future birth, aging, and death. Where there is future birth, aging, and death, I say that is accompanied by sorrow, anguish, and despair.”

Bhikkhu Bodhi remarks on the bolded part:

The variation here on the usual sequence is very interesting. When “the growth of volitional formations” is placed between name-and-form and future existence, this implies that the expression corresponds to three critical terms of the standard formula—craving, clinging, and (kamma-)existence—with āyatiṃ punabbhavābhinibbatti signifying the process of entering the new existence.

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But does it mean that every time clinging arises intention is present too? It doesn’t seem clear to me that that’s what the sutta is referring to.

Is it not self-evident that clinging must be accompanied by intention?

Honestly, not really. For example, clinging to self is always present, but intention isn’t. Am I right?