Bulletpoint Buddhism: Kamma

This is the second of my attempts to express Buddhist Concepts as completely and succinctly as possible. As with the first bulletpoints, this is my interpretation and it is incomplete.

I hope you like:)

  1. What Kamma is not:
    1. Kamma is not currency.
      1. It is not earned and spent and exchanged.
        1. In some Buddhist cultures Kamma as merit has emerged but this idea is not in the Core Dhamma.
    1. Kamma is not justice.
      1. It does not make judgments.
      2. There is no absolute morality with which Kamma could be somehow entwined.
    2. Kamma is not energy/matter/force
      1. There is no force of Kamma that flows through life effecting things.
      2. There is no wave of Kamma good or bad that can wash over you.
    3. Kamma is not the results of actions.
      1. It is not the fruit (vipaka)
  1. What Kamma is:
    1. Logically
      1. All causes have effects
      2. Some causes are moral
      3. Some effects are moral
      4. Some moral causes have moral effects.
      5. All effects are causes
        1. Kamma is moral causation.
          1. Etiology with moral quantifications and conditionals.
    2. Mentally
      1. Mental events events can cause other mental events.
        1. Eg: If I see a sunrise, one mental event, that can cause a change of emotion, another mental event.
      2. Mental states and systems are variously balanced between progressive/productive states and regressive/disruptive states.
          1. Eg: Mental States can be "good" (happiness, mindfulness...) or "bad"...
        1. The term "balance" represents the manifold systems and aggregates of mind such that the realised product, the experience settles one macro-state.
          1. Its as if the experience of all the merging causes the experience of now as it is becoming and that experience becomes realised as one particular quality of experience.
            1. Just as the many and various tributaries of a river become that river.
            2. The kamma I create comes back to me in many ways, but it all becomes just the one experience of any given moment.
      3. If a Mental state B is an effect of a Mental state A then there will be a consistent and contiguous distribution of balance between A and B.
        1. This is saying that the mentality of an individual will not not have any random changes of balance between productive and disruptive states.
        2. The disposition/satisfaction/contentment of individuals flows continuous and connected.
          1. There are no gaps in the mental/moral/physical causal chains.
        3. Eg: If I am very happy today, sad tomorrow and quite happy the day after, then this transition will be a continuous and connected change in my mental states.
        4. Think of how a vista of clouds will change when watched. Each new state leads into the next but there are never points of discernible transition or sudden changes of kind.
      4. Disruptive states will most likely produce more disruptive/bad/unwanted states.
      5. Productive states will most likely produce more productive/good/desired states.
    3. Socially
      1. The interconnected systems of individuals and groups has many paths for moral causation.
        1. This interconnected web of moral/other causation is the closest there is to a "force" of Kamma.
      2. Disruptive causes are more likely to have disruptive future effects.
      3. Positive causes are more likely to have positive future effects.
      4. We can think of decisions we make as having social feedback.
        1. Well intentioned decisions will have more positive social feedback than bad.
          1. This feedback may be extant and obvious
            1. Eg: Mary is a good person because she saved the orphans and this fact causes other people to be good to her and her to feel good about her self and other people to be good to others.....
          2. The feedback may be subtle
            1. Eg: The smile from a stranger causes you to.....
      5. Understanding the karmic relationship you have with others is essential to following Dharma.
    4. Altruistically
      1. Good actions have more ways to benefit the doer than bad actions.
      2. Kamma is the motivation/intention.
        1. It is not the fruit (vipaka)
    5. Individually
      1. Only the individual has awareness of the mental states they experience.
      2. Only the individual has potential causal control over their mental states.
      3. Mental states and decisions are causes.
      4. Only the individual can choose to cause a change in their mental states.
    6. Philosophically
      1. Kamma emerges when there is a sufficient depth/complexity of interconnected systems with choice/morality/self-interest to allow for macroscopic changes in the mental states of individuals.
        1. EG: You may feel "glum" for no reason you can pinpoint but there will be antecedent reasons/decisions of immense complexity that entail this "glumness".
          1. Antecedent causes could be material (more selenium!), sensory (my back aches) or more directly to do with thought and consciousness (life is rubbish today!) and there is a compatibility between them.
      2. Kamma supervenes upon/emerges from mental-moral-social systems where decisions are the significant motivator.