It is not all suffering that has its root in Karma. There are eight causes by which sufferings arise, by which many beings suffer pain. And what are the eight? Superabundance of wind, and of bile, and of phlegm, the union of these humours, variations in temperature, the avoiding of dissimilarities, external agency, and Karma. From each of these there are some sufferings that arise, and these are the eight causes by which many beings suffer pain. And therein whosoever maintains that it is Karma that injures beings, and besides it there is no other reason for pain, his proposition is false.
So what arises as the fruit of Karma is much less than that which arises from other causes. And the ignorant go too far when they say that every pain is produced as the fruit of Karma. No one without a Buddha’s insight can fix the extent of the action of Karma.
Reverend, the Jain leader Nātaputta claims to be all-knowing and all-seeing, to know and see everything without exception, thus:…
He says “O Jain ascetics, you have done bad deeds in a past life. Wear them away with these severe and grueling austerities. And when you refrain from such deeds in the present by way of body, speech, and mind, you’re not doing any bad deeds for the future. So, due to eliminating past deeds by mortification, and not doing any new deeds, there’s nothing to come up in the future. With nothing to come up in the future, deeds end. With the ending of deeds, suffering ends. With the ending of suffering, feeling ends. And with the ending of feeling, all suffering will have been worn away.”
When they said this, I said to them, ‘But reverends, do you know for sure that you existed in the past, and it is not the case that you didn’t exist? Do you know for sure that you did bad deeds in the past?’
‘Do you know that you did such and such bad deeds? Do you know that so much suffering has already been worn away? Or that so much suffering still remains to be worn away? Or that when so much suffering is worn away all suffering will have been worn away?’
‘But reverends, do you know about giving up unskillful qualities in the present life and embracing skillful qualities?’
‘No we don’t, reverend.’
I say that the ending of defilements is for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know or see. For one who knows and sees what? ‘Such is form, such is the origin of form, such is the ending of form. Such is feeling … Such is perception … Such are choices … Such is consciousness, such is the origin of consciousness, such is the ending of consciousness.’ The ending of the defilements is for one who knows and sees this.
“Sir, they speak of this thing called a ‘sentient being’. How is a sentient being defined?”
“Rādha, when you cling, strongly cling, to desire, greed, relishing, and craving for form, then a being is spoken of. When you cling, strongly cling, to desire, greed, relishing, and craving for feeling … perception … choices … consciousness, then a being is spoken of.
Suppose some boys or girls were playing with sandcastles. As long as they’re not rid of greed, desire, fondness, thirst, passion, and craving for those sandcastles, they cherish them, fancy them, treasure them, and treat them as their own. But when they are rid of greed, desire, fondness, thirst, passion, and craving for those sandcastles, they scatter, destroy, and demolish them with their hands and feet, making them unplayable.
In the same way, you should scatter, destroy, and demolish form, making it unplayable. And you should practice for the ending of craving. You should scatter, destroy, and demolish feeling … perception … choices … consciousness, making it unplayable. And you should practice for the ending of craving. For the ending of craving is extinguishment.”
How are those weeds, insects etc separate from “you”? Are these not all part of the same everchanging process of Samsara, being artificially differentiated by “you” only because of “Name & Form”, conditioned by Volition, rooted in Ignorance?
What arises is only suffering arising, what ceases is only suffering ceasing.
Certainly, “I” would not unduly obsess over the inevitable results of “my” form being part of Samsara. At the same time, “I” would not intentionally squash that insect either, just as “I” would not intentionally cut off “my” finger.