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Sep 21, 2009

Global Pagoda and the Kamma Inheritance

Ananthapindika and Prince Jeta: A painting depicting an event in Gotama the Buddha's life, to be displayed in the Information Gallery of the Global Pagoda, Mumbai, India. These intricate paintings on the Buddha's life would comprise the single largest thematic collection of paintings in the world.

The core purporse of the Global Pagoda, in Mumbai, India, is share the benefits of Vipassana, the practical, universal path to liberation from all suffering.

Residential 10-day Vipassana courses are held in Dhamma Pattana, the Vipassana centre at the Global Pagoda, as well as over 150 worldwide locationsVipassana courses of longer duration are offered to students more established in the practice of Vipassana, as well as in Dhamma service.

The following are excerpts from discourses given by Sayagyi U S. N. Goenka for Vipassana long course students: 
Kammassaka, bhikkhvave, satta kammadayada, kammayoni, kammabandhu, kammapatisarana, yam kammam karonti-kalyanam va papakam va-tassa dayada bhavanti - A.X.206

O meditators, beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs of their deeds, born of their deeds, kin to their deeds; their deeds are their refuge. Whatever actions they perform, whether good or evil, such will be their inheritance.

Kammassakā: beings are the owners of their deeds. 

The law of paticca samuppāda (dependent origination) is the universal law of cause and effect: As the action is, so the result will be. Mental volition is the driving force for action at the vocal or physical level. If this driving force is unwholesome, the vocal and physical actions will be unwholesome. If the seeds are unwholesome, then the fruits are bound to be unwholesome. But if this driving force is wholesome, then the results of the actions are bound to be wholesome.

For a Vipassana student who develops the ability to observe this law at the level of direct experience, the answer to the question "Who am I?" becomes so clear. You are nothing but the sum total of your kamma, your sankhāra. All your accumulated actions together equal "I" at the conventional level.

Kammadāyādā: the heirs of their deeds.
In the worldly, conventional sense, one says, "I received this inheritance from my mother or my father or my elders," and yes, at the apparent level this is true—but what is one’s real inheritance? Kammadāyādā. One inherits one’s own kamma: the results, the fruits of one’s own kamma.

Whatever you are now, the present reality of this mind-matter structure is nothing but the sum total of and the result of your own accumulated past kamma. The experience of the present moment is the sum total of all that is acquired, inherited—kammadāyādā.

Kammayonī: born of their deeds.
One says, "I am the product of a womb, I have come out of the womb of my mother," but this is only apparent truth. Actually, your birth is because of your own past kamma. You come from the womb of your own kamma. As you start understanding Dhamma at a deeper level, you realise this. This is kammayonī, the womb which every moment produces the fruit of the accumulated kamma.

Kammabandhū: kin of their deeds. 

None other is your relative, not your father, your mother, your brother nor your sister. In the worldly way we say, "This is my brother, my relative, or my near or dear one; they are so close to me." Actually, no one is close to you; no one can accompany you or help you when the time comes.

When you die, nothing accompanies you but your kamma. Whomever you call your relatives remain here, but your kamma continues to follow you from one life to another. You are not in possession of anything but your own kamma. It is your only companion.

Kammapatisaranā: their deeds are their refuge. 

Refuge is only in one’s own kamma. Wholesome kamma provides a refuge; unwholesome kamma produces more suffering. No other being can give you refuge. When you say "Buddham saranam gacchāmi" (I take refuge in Buddha), you understand fully well that a person by the name of Gotama the Buddha cannot give you refuge. Your own kamma gives you refuge. Nobody can protect you, not even a Buddha. Refuge in Buddha is refuge in the quality of Buddha, the enlightenment, the teaching that he gave. By following the teaching, you can develop enlightenment within you. And the enlightenment that you develop within you, that is your wholesome kamma. This alone will give you refuge; this alone will give you protection.

Yam kammam karonti—kalyānam vā pāpakamvā—tassa dāyādā bhavanti: Whatever actions they perform, whether good or evil, such will be their inheritance.

This should become clear to one who is on this path. This law of nature should become very clear. Then you will become inspired to take responsibility for your own kamma. Remain alert and on guard each moment, so that every action, physical or mental, is wholesome. 

You will not be perfect, but keep trying. You may fall down, but see how quickly you get up. With all the determination, with all the inspiration, with all the encouragement, get up and try again. This is how you become stable in Dhamma. 
May all beings be happy.