Looking for Suttas about Kamma

Hello, I’m looking for some suttas in which the buddha talks about kamma and the “purification” of kamma.
I´m looking for suttas in which he talks about rituals, animal sacrifices, sunworship, prayers, bathing and ablutions in the river (Ganges), etc. to purify or not purify your kamma or the kamma of other people. does anyone have a tip?
Thank you :wink:


Hello Volker,

Just to start the ball rolling, here is an extract from SN42.6 that seems to indicate that no amount of prayers can purify someone else from his bad actions/kamma:

“Suppose a man were to throw a large boulder into a deep lake of water, and a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart [saying,] ‘Rise up, O boulder! Come floating up, O boulder! Come float to the shore, O boulder!’ What do you think: would that boulder—because of the prayers, praise, & circumambulation of that great crowd of people—rise up, come floating up, or come float to the shore?”
“No, lord.”
“So it is with any man who takes life, steals, indulges in illicit sex; is a liar, one who speaks divisive speech, harsh speech, & idle chatter; is greedy, bears thoughts of ill-will, & holds to wrong views. Even though a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart—[saying,] ‘May this man, at the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world!’—still, at the break-up of the body, after death, he would reappear in destitution, a bad destination, the lower realms, hell.


I would look at SN42.8 to understand how was the Buddha’s approach to the topic of how actions lead to rebirth different from what preached the adherents of fatalistic doctrines found around back in his time would.

To make the point I share Ajahn Thanissaro’s note to his translation of this special sutta:

Although the Jains, like the Buddhists, teach a doctrine of the moral consequences of actions, the teachings of the two traditions differ in many important details.
This discourse points out two of the major points where the Buddhist teaching is distinctive: its understanding of the complexity of the kammic process, and its application of that understanding to the psychology of teaching.
The Buddha shows that a simplistic, fatalistic view of the kammic process is logically inconsistent, and also leads to unfortunate results for any person who, with a background of bad kamma, believes in it.
The actual complexity of kamma, however, allows for a way in which past evil deeds can be overcome: through refraining from evil now and into the future, and through developing expansive mind-states of good will, compassion, appreciation, and equanimity.
In such an expansive mind state, the unavoidable consequences of past evil actions count for next to nothing.

The Buddha also shows how his method of teaching is better than that of the Jains in that it actually can help free the mind from debilitating feelings of guilt and remorse, and lead to the overcoming of past kamma.

English translations of SN42.8 can be found in the links below:





Here are two other sutta on this.
AN 10.176

“There is the case where the brahmans of the Western lands… get their disciples to undertake their practice thus: ‘Come, now, my good man: Get up at the proper time from your bed and touch the earth. If you don’t touch the earth, touch wet cow dung. If you don’t touch wet cow dung, touch green grass. If you don’t touch green grass, worship a fire. If you don’t worship a fire, pay homage to the sun with clasped hands. If you don’t pay homage to the sun with clasped hands, go down into the water three times by nightfall.’ These are the purification rites declared by the brahmans of the Western lands… of which I approve.”
“Cunda, the purification rites declared by the brahmans of the Western lands… are one thing; the purification in the discipline of the noble ones is something else entirely.”

Ud 1.9

The Gracious One saw that those many knotted-haired ascetics, in the Winter nights, in between ‘the eights’, at the time of the snowfall, in the Gayā river, were plunging out and plunging in, were plunging out and in, were sprinkling water, and were offering the fire sacrifice, thinking: “Through this there is purity.”
Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:
“Not through water is there purity—many people bathe here!
In whom there is truth and Dhamma, he is pure, and he is a brāhmaṇa.”


Dear friends,
thank you for your help. :wink:

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