Rays of Dhamma



Meaning of Kamma

The Pali term ‘Kamma’ and sanskrit term ‘Kamma’ means work.action or doing. Any kind of internal action whether mental, verbal or physical

is regarded as Kamma. But in the context of Dhamma, we define it more specifically as action based on intention (cetana) or dee3ds willfully done. Action that is free of intention is not considered to be Kamma in the Buddha’s teaching. Kamma is simply action. Within animated organisms, there is a power which is given different names such as instinctive tendencies

consciousness,etc. This inborn propensity forces every conscious being to move. He move3s mentally or physically. His motion is action. The repetition of actions is habit and habit becomes his character. In Buddhism, this process is called Kamma. The Buddha says,

“ O Bhikkhus I say, volition is Kamma, having willed one acts by body, speech and thought.

Mind precedes all mental states. The mind is their chief. They are all mind-made. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts, suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

Mind precedes all mental states. The mind is their chief, they are all mind-made. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows him like his never departing shadow.

We can consider from the above verses, that Kamma means both good and bad mental action or volition. So Kamma is not an entity but a process. Action, energy or force..Some interpret this force is action ‘action-influence. It is our own doings reacting on ourselves The pain and happiness man experiences are the results of his own deeds, words and thoughts produce our prosperity and failure, our happiness and misery.

Therefore, the word Kamma is used to denote volitional acts which find expression in thought, speech or physical deeds.which are good, evil or a mixture of both and are liable to give rise to consequences, which partly determine the goodness or badness of these acts.


Ignorance is the chief cause of Kamma. Dependence on ignorance arises Kammic activities(avijja paccaya samkhara) thye Buddha said in the law of dependent origination (Paticca Samuppada). The other root of Kamma is craving (tanha). Evil actions are conditioned by these two causes.All good deeds of a worldling, though associated with the three wholesome roots of generosity (alobha)goodwill (adosa) and knowledge (amoha) are nevertheless regarded as Kamma because the two roots of ignorance and craving are dominant on him. The moral types of supramundane path-consciousness are not regarded as Kamma, because they tend to eradicate the two root causes.


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