Kamma of unintentional actions


Hi Raivo,

for me it is also important that sense restraint, seclusion, and renunciation are not about having no joy at all. I enjoy the good spiritual joy and feelings of mettaa meditation and of kind acts. I also happily allow my mind some not so harmful foolishness like watching a movie, enjoying nice food with friends and the like. I am also in a romantic relationship with my wife. I am a layman and these things are normal for a layman’s life. The Buddha knew and acknowledged that.

I only try to reduce the grossly unwholsome desires for now - try to purify the mind step by step within the boundaries of what I can happily let go of for the time being. As you say, Raivo, do not try to force yourself to give up all [unwholesome] sense pleasure at once. I tried the brute force approach in meditation and it did not work at all for me. Just as Ajhan Brahm says: “Be your own best friend.”

With much mettaa,


Dear all,
Thank you for this wonderful discussion. Some times doubt arise in my spiritual practice and it nice to hear other people experience with restrain. Cultivating wisdom in the mind which has many defilements is not an easy job. But as far as I understand in Buddhas words wisdom will come from practicing letting go of unwholesome states . Do I understand this right?
With metta, Alona


Yes, the way I understand the Dhamma, the really profound insights into the nature of life should come pretty much by themselves when we have let go of the five hindrances and see things clearly.

But in the beginning stages, wisdom is also knowing what the unwholesome (unskillful, harmful, not useful) and wholesome states are, why they are unwholesome and wholesome, why and how they enter and stay in our minds, and how to let them go or develop them.

Usually hearing a teacher describe all this is just hearing words that don’t really mean that much to us. We can nod and think we understand, but later on, after experiencing something personally, we can discover that we really had no idea what they were talking about.

It really is very hard at first but I can honestly say that it gets easier and the rewards more than make up for any suffering born from stupidity along the way.

With metta,


Thank you Raivo for sharing your understanding.
With metta, Alona.


Dear Lola,

You use whatever wisdom you have to help you let go, and that letting go then leads to a deepening of the wisdom.

With metta.


Dear Ajahn Brahmali,
Thank you for kind clarification.
With metta,


Dear Raivo,

I think this is a very keen observation of yours and it entails a point I stepped over in my previous post. Your way of putting this reflects wisely the conditioned nature of sensual desire. Sensual desire is arising due to conditions and triggers. Your sentence reminds me of the way this is formulated in the Suttas. A passage from Samyukta-Aagama 1260, translated by Ven. Anaalayo in his book “Perspectives of Sattipathaana” reads:

“On seeing women/men, he/she arouses improper attention and, grasping the sign of their physical form, lustful sensual desires appear in his/her mind.”

Ven. Anaalayo quotes SN 20.10 (The Cat) as a parallel version in the Paali-Nikaayas. Another passage is taken from Samyukta-Aagama 312, translated by Ven. Anaalayo in the book:

“If on having seen a form with the eye,
Right mindfulness has been lost,
Then, in relation to the form that has been seen,
The sign will be grasped with thoughts of craving,
For one who grasps the sign with craving and delight,
The mind will constantly be bound by attachment.”

He quotes SN 35.95 as a parallel version. Somehow this formulation of grasping the sign of the physical form resonates very much with how I perceive the process unfolding in my mind. To me it seems as if my mind is picking out one detail of a shape or of proportions or so and zooms in on that and then gets attached to it. (I just quoted these passages, because I thought you or others might like them too.)

Also regarding wise attention (yoniso manasikaara), which we also addressed here - for example in relation to Alona’s question on how wisdom can arise in the mind. I very much like Ven. Anaalyo EBT study on this topic in his book “From Grasping to Emptiness”, p. 69 ff. - in my view the gist of his findings actually resemble very closely to what you wrote as a reply to Alona. :slight_smile:

Anaalayo very clearly describes that the Early Buddhist Teachings (EBT) very much emphazise wise attention (yoniso manasikaara) for the progress on the path in the text.

With much mettaa,

2015-03-25 Corrected some confusing mistakes:
In the last paragraph I had written “wise intention”, but meant “wise attention”. Also, the paragraph did not reflect the fact, that the explanations given/positions taken in the book by Ven. Anaalayo are based on the Early Buddhist Teachings. There were also a number of typos in my post… Sorry, I was quite a bit pressed for time when I wrote this post.


Dear Raivo, dear all,

… I just wanted to add that I picked up the idea of “imagining” ones own skeleton during mettaa meditation from recordings of a 9 day mettaa retreat taught by Bhante Sujato in 2012. (Unfortunately, I do not know where these specific recordings would be available online. I checked and there are mettaa retreat recordings available for downlowd from Santi Forest Monastery from 2007:
I would assume these instructions are similar, but I did not check myself. I also attended two weekends on mettaa meditation with Bhante Sujato myself. With this I just want to say - just as a general disclaimer - that the best way to learn the practice is obviously if you attend a full retreat first and then use the recordings to brush up your memory. Unfortunately, due to my job, I could not attend an extended retreat yet, but just the two weekends already helped my a lot to get started with the practice…)

Also, one good example, where I could get a taste of how ‘contemplation of the body’ could be practiced, was from the half hour meditation prior to a recent Dhamma talk by Bhante Sujato with the title “Contemplation of Death”. The meditation was cut out of the video on the Dhammaloka Youtube channel, but it is still available in the ‘original’ Livestream recording. (If the link does not work, use the slider under main screen and look for “Dhamma Talk 20-02-2015” - the meditation starts at around 6:00 minutes).

With much mettaa,


Thank you @brahmali and they are very useful answers!

(3) If you act it out it is much worse, but fantasising is also best avoided. How do you feel if you fantasise about killing someone? If you notice that you feel less positive or bright than normal, you know the kamma is not good. One of the essential things on the Buddhist path is to gradually change the way we think. But again, please don’t set the bar too high, or you will just get very frustrated and perhaps even give up.

, Lust,friends, is slightly blameworthy but slow to fade away; hatred is very blameworthy but quick to fade away; delusion is very blameworthy and slow to fade away. "

I think in your answer you referred to fantasising about killing but is it the same with greed? I mean outside samadhi we have no choice but to have some greed.Is there any distinction between blamewothy or unblameworthy greed?
What does gradualness mean in Buddhism ?

Thank you in advance!



Thank you very much for this link, Robert. Yesterday, I read through the chapter you mentioned and today started from the beginning of the first book “in the series” (

I would highly recommend both of them to everybody - very easy to read, based on the suttas and make the meanings of different pali terms a lot clearer in many ways.

With metta,


Dear Samma,

One of the ten courses of unwholesome action (see MN41) is covetousness, and this is defined as longing for the possessions of others. This is obviously a strong form of greed, and it is this that is considered unwholesome mental action (bad mental kamma) as far as greed is concerned.

It depends on what your level of ambition is. If you want to practice the path fully, including deep samādhi, then any sort of greed (sensual desire) is going to be a problem and as such it is blameworthy. But from the perspective of getting a better rebirth the lesser forms of greed will not be much of a hindrance as long as the rest of your life is well lived. Please also remember the idea of kamma not being just good or bad (wholesome or unwholesome), but different shades of grey.

In practical terms the trick is to deal with the strongest defilements first of all, especially the anger. As you gradually eliminate the coarser defilements you can start to focus on the middling defilements. As you eliminate those, you turn to the refined defilements. In this way the path is gradual, that is, a gradual purification. This gradualness is well described in AN3:100.

With metta.


Such an important note, many thanks dear Ajahn and to all members for holding this healthy discussion. It has helped me in clearing many doubts and simplified the Kamma & rebirth teachings which before seemed complicated to go through, cheers to the community :smile:

With metta and much gratitude!


Dear all,

in the above post (which I am replying to), I had specified the Central European Times (CET) for the livestream sessions in terms of the timezone in Germany including “Daylight Savings Time” (DST), because I had written that post in winter. Tomorrow, 29.03.2015 in Germany and most countries in Europe, the clock will be set back 1 hour to “normal time”. As far as I could find out from the internet, Western Australia does not use DST, which means that all sessions start one hour LATER in terms of European time:

Hence, tomorrows course schedule in Europe is:
06:30 - 08:00 and 10:30 - 12:30 - Central European Time (summer time)

With much mettā,

CHANGED 29.03.2015: Since the effect of changing from DST to normal time is usually that everything is one hour earlier, I did the calculation the wrong way. Actually, in this exceptional situation we can sleep one hour longer. Because the course is at 9:30 DST and stays there. Now in ‘normal time’ or ‘summer time’ what was 9:30 before with DST is now 10:30 in ‘summer time’…
My sincere apologies, if I stole your sleep and ruined your Sunday!!! :disappointed_relieved: Well, the intention was pure. Unfortunately, there was a fatal lack of wisdom…
For my defense I can only say that I had typed in the starting time into a time zone converter in the internet, which gave me the 4:30 and thus helped to get me onto the wrong track…



Dear Robert,

No worries mate! Don’t feel bad. That’s the problem with having “time” LOL. Just as you said, you had the best intentions and that’s what really matters.


sukhi hotu,


Dear all,

I just wanted to share with you an article and a guided meditation by Ven. Anālayo on satipaṭṭhāna meditation. The article describes his interpretation of the practice and describes in how far he sees this interpretation supportet by the Early Buddhist Teachings.

ExploringSatipatthana.pdf (392.9 KB)

The link to the guided meditation, which goes along the same lines as the article, is:

I thought this fits well into our discussion on contemplation of the body, because Ven. Anālayo seems to regard this type of contemplation to be quite important. Also, he gives instructions how to start with a simplified/reduced version of the practice.

I understand his guided meditation to be an interpretation of satipaṭṭhāna practice in-line with the suttas, which tries to establish a similar scheme of successive steps as it is known from ānāpānasati meditation. As far as I understand it, his motivation is to describe the dynamics which he finds to naturally unfold in his own practice and how this benefits the overall practice. (While presumably contemporary “vipassanā” practice usually focuses quite a bit on one satipaṭṭhāna… I am not an expert here…) This does not mean, however, that one should try to always rush through all stages of satipaṭṭhāna meditation in 40 min every time. The guided meditation is more geared towards conveying an outlook on potential dynamics of the practice, so that one has a better idea of how to proceed while ones own practice evolves. Personally, I started doing the guided meditation just to get a rough idea of what might become important at some point, but will go back to the basics and focus more on developing the individual stages of this practice (or ānāpānasati) when I feel ready to do so (*). I will try this next to the mettā practice for some times and I am curious to see how it will feel.

With much mettā,

(*) I have no extended experience neither with any type of these “satipaṭṭhāna practices” nor with “ānāpānasati practice”, so I think it is good to try these out for some time and get an idea for how they feel. I guess it is good to practice each of those for a while so that I better understand which practice I should develop further. I will keep doing the mettā practice because it feels good and I still need to keep developing basic mindfulness before breath meditation (or any other contemplation) can really take off.


Dear Ajahn Brahmali I would like to take a few minutes of your time to ask for guidens.
I am working on my spiritual development for quite some time. As a result of straggling I also believe that Buddhist way of life is only way for me. I have being practicing meditation , listening to Dhamma talks, reading books written by Theravada monks and following 5 priceps for a few years now. But I feel I need a teacher to move faster with my practice. I live in Sweden and I don’t know how to find teacher in Theravada tradition in Nordic country.
If you have some advice for me I woul be forever great-full.
With Metta,


Dear Lola,

It is not easy to find suitable teachers anywhere, let alone in the Nordic countries. There is a group in Norway that arranges regular meditation retreats, as well as talks. Their website is found here. Also Bhante Sujato and myself (as well as Ajahn Brahm) visit Europe fairly regularly. In fact, Ajahn Sujato is going there next November. There are a number of other possibilities as well, but it all depends on exactly what you are looking for. Perhaps other people here might have some useful suggestions?

With metta.


Dear Ajahn Brahmali thank you very much for your reply and link to meditation group in Norway. I will watch for upcoming retreats and try to get there.
I know that Ajahn Brahm have his traveling plans posted . But what about yours and Bhante Sujato traveling plans? Are they posted to? Where can I see them?
You have mention that I have number of other possibilities. What do you have in mind? I am looking for any guidens and help to see my ignorance and my defilements and I think without teacher or spiritual friend it will take long time . I wonder how non monastic followers in Theravada tradition advance in their practice . How can I find out?
With metta,


For Bhante Sujato’s trip to Europe in November and December, see this. As for myself, my engagements in Europe usually get posted on the Dhammaloka home page, here.

There are a number of Buddhist monasteries and monastics in Europe, for instance Amaravati Buddhist Monastery outside London. Ven. Analayo is very interesting teacher, and some of his writings are avaialble here. (Unfortunately, he doesn’t do much teaching apart from writing.)

Good luck!
With metta yet again.

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Thank you very much for your help. I will follow your suggestion.
With metta, Alona.

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