[Buddha-l] liturgical languages

Randall Jones rjones at cm.ksc.co.th
Wed May 11 04:27:34 MDT 2005

At 11:18 PM 5/10/2005, Richard Hayes wrote:

>Sanskrit and Pali distinguish between kriyaa and karman. The former is
>any action, such as an involuntary one or even the action of an
>inanimate object, such as a rock falling down a hill. The latter is for
>deliberate actions. In Buddhism it is for deliberate actions performed
>by an agent whose motive is some kind of personal benefit. So arhants do
>not do karma; they do, however, do kriyaa.

I'm still confused.  It doesn't seem to me that we "do" non-deliberate or 
involuntary actions.  I did falling down implies to me that I fell down 
deliberately.  So I don't really see how arhants (or anyone else) could 
"do" kriyas.  Or is it that any action, deliberate or not, not done for 
personal benefit, is a kriyaa.  But if that's the case, then the initial 
distinction between kriyaa and karman becomes even more obscure.

>I take it that no one but the agent of an action can know whether or not
>the action is a karman.

Whether it was done for personal benefit--maybe (though I'm not sure the 
agent always knows this).

Whether it was deliberate?  I think we can be pretty sure of this 
sometimes.  If you could observe me now, I think you could justifiably 
claim that what I am doing is deliberate.  Well, I guess I could be an 
automata--no, not really.  Could it be argued that somehow I might be being 
driven to type these words by forces beyond me and over which I have no 
control so that these movements and these words are involuntary 
kriyaa?  Hmmmmm, how much sense would "karman" make if this is the claim?

Maybe not still confused.  Maybe more confused.


Randall Jones
rjones at cm.ksc.co.th

PS:  If we can't tell whether actions are kriyaa or karman, how can we 
claim that actions could be enlightened?  I guess that's the question I'm 
trying to puzzle, but perhaps I'm not there yet.

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