The ways kamma is made and experienced

The following is from Lonaphala Sutta translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

(a) In whatever way a person makes kamma, that is how it is experienced. => There is no living of the holy life.

(b) 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.

Would someone please explain how (a) and (b) are different?

Hi. The above sounds like a fixed determinism. Self commits kamma & the same self reaps the result. Refer to SN 12.17, which says this type of view is both wrong & ‘eternalism’.

Liberation from suffering is experiencing feelings (vedana) without clinging to them (MN 37). Therefore, when the present/future result (of a past deed, born of clinging) is experienced as merely felt, without clinging, there can be liberation.

For example, a memory arose about when you killed a fish when you were 5 years old. You feel bad about this past action. But then if you reflect that past action was born from ignorance & it is not-self, then all that remains is the bad feeling. When that bad feeling is felt without self-clinging, this is liberation from that past kamma. SN 12.37 make this clear; that the five aggerates (this body) & its past kamma does not belong to you or to anyone else. Note, SN 12.37 repeats the instruction: “something to be felt”. :innocent:


A) The first one is fixed the result. If one steal, one will go to hell. (Predetermined)

If you are poor or rich or ariya and steal before, you will go to jail or hell in future. No chance to avoid hell even if you get into stream enterer.

B) The second one is not determined yet depending on the faculties of the person or action of present.

If a puthujjana is stealing, they will go to jail or hell.

But if a puthujjana stole before, but attain stream enterer in this life because of effort and hear true dhamma & meet ariya. Never steal after that, He/she might experience hardship (poor) in human life presently due to past act, but never go to jail or hell.

In fact, because of his efforts to keep precepts, he will get another birth in heaven with all the deva glory.

This is why in Buddha teaching is past has gone, nothing can be done, present is always here, so don’t neglect to practice. Don’t go to future too, because future hasn’t been determined yet.

See example MN 86 Ven Angulimala. A killer, but attain arahanthood, never go to hell. But got to experience the hell moment in his last human life.

Then Venerable Aṅgulimāla robed up in the morning and, taking his bowl and robe, entered Sāvatthī for alms. Now at that time someone threw a stone that hit Aṅgulimāla, someone else threw a stick, and someone else threw gravel. Then Aṅgulimāla—with cracked head, bleeding, his bowl broken, and his outer robe torn—went to the Buddha.

The Buddha saw him coming off in the distance, and said to him, “Endure it, brahmin! Endure it, brahmin! You’re experiencing in this life the result of deeds that might have caused you to be tormented in hell for many years, many hundreds or thousands of years.”


I really dont understand why you would post a translation from Thanissaro when this is a discussion board for a site that provides the original Pali with high standard translations that completely avoid the difficulties that Thanissaro’s translations have:

“Mendicants, suppose you say:
“Yo, bhikkhave, evaṁ vadeyya:

‘No matter how this person performs a deed, they experience it the same way.’ This being so, the spiritual life could not be lived, and there’d be no chance of making a complete end of suffering.
‘yathā yathāyaṁ puriso kammaṁ karoti tathā tathā taṁ paṭisaṁvediyatī’ti, evaṁ santaṁ, bhikkhave, brahmacariyavāso na hoti, okāso na paññāyati sammā dukkhassa antakiriyāya.

Suppose you say:
Yo ca kho, bhikkhave, evaṁ vadeyya:

‘No matter how this person performs a deed, they experience the result as it should be experienced.’ This being so, the spiritual life can be lived, and there is a chance of making a complete end of suffering.
‘yathā yathā vedanīyaṁ ayaṁ puriso kammaṁ karoti tathā tathāssa vipākaṁ paṭisaṁvediyatī’ti, evaṁ santaṁ, bhikkhave, brahmacariyavāso hoti, okāso paññāyati sammā dukkhassa antakiriyāya.


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Dear josephzizys

Good point! I found this passage in Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s book, which cites it as ‘Lonaphala Sutta, AN 3.99’. When I searched ‘Lonaphala Sutta, AN 3.99’ at Sutta Central, the result looked like a totally different sutta. That’s why I had to copy & paste Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s text. I still don’t know what’s going on with the numbering system of EBT and what I should do if I want to compare different translations.

Anyway, many many thanks to all three of you including CurlyCarl and Joe.C. Your replies resolved my question.


Numbering for AN especially is very inconsistent across editions.

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