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Buddhist Dictionary

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kabalinkáráhára: lit. 'food formed into balls', i.e. food formed into mouthfuls for eating (according to Indian custom); it denotes 'material food' and belongs, together with the three mental nutriments, to the group of four nutriments (s. áhára).

kalápa, 'group', 'unit': 1. 'corporeal unit' (s. rúpa-kalápa); 2. It has the meaning of 'group of existence' (khandha) in kalápasammasana (s. sammasana), i.e. 'comprehension by groups', which is the application of 'methodical (or inductive) insight' (naya-vipassaná) to the comprehension of the 5 aggregates (khandha) as impermanent, painful and not-self. It is a process of methodical summarization, or generalization, from one's own meditative experience that is applied to each of the 5 aggregates, viewed as past, present, future, as internal and external, etc. In Vis.M. XX, where the 'comprehension by groups' is treated in detail, it is said to constitute 'the beginning of insight' as it leads to the 'knowledge of rise and fall', being the first of the 8 insightknowledges (s. visuddhi VI). It is necessary for accomplishing the 5th purification (s. visuddhi V; Vis.M. XX, 2, 6ff.).

kalpa: (Skr) = kappa (q.v.).

kalyána-mitta: 'noble (or good) friend', is called a senior monk who is the mentor and friend of his pupil, "wishing for his welfare and concerned with his progress", guiding his meditation; in particular, the meditation teacher (kammatthánácariya) is so called. For details see Vis.M. III, 28,57ff. The Buddha said that "noble friendship is the entire holy life" (S. III, 18; XLV, 2), and he himself is the good friend par excellence: "Ananda, it is owing to my being a good friend to them that living beings subject to birth are freed from birth" (S. III, 18).

káma may denote: 1. subjective sensuality, 'sense-desire'; 2. objective sensuality, the five sense-objects.

1. Subjective sensuality, or sense-desire, is directed to all five sense-objects, and is synonymous with káma-cchanda, 'sensuous desire', one of the 5 hindrances (nívarana, q.v.); káma-rága, sensuous lust', one of the ten fetters (samyojana, q.v.); káma-tanhá, 'sensuous craving', one of the 3 cravings (tanhá, q.v.); káma-vitakka, 'sensuous thought', one of the 3 wrong thoughts (micchá-sankappa; s. vitakka). - Sense-desire is also one of the cankers (ásava, q.v.) and clingings (upádána, q.v.).

2. Objective sensuality is, in the canonical texts, mostly called káma-guna, 'cords (or strands) of sensuality'.

"There are 5 cords of sensuality: the visible objects, cognizable by eye-consciousness, that are desirable, cherished, pleasant, lovely, sensuous and alluring; the sounds ... smells ... tastes ... bodily impressions cognizable by body-consciousness, that are desirable .... " (D. 33; M. 13, 26, 59, 66).

These two kinds of káma are called 1. kilesa-káma, i.e. káma as a mental defilement, 2. vatthu-káma, i.e. káma as the object-base of sensuality; first in MNid.. I, p. 1, and frequently in the commentaries.

Sense-desire is finally eliminated at the stage of the Non-Returner (Anágámi; s. ariya-puggala, samyojana).

The peril and misery of sense-desire is often described in the texts, e.g. in stirring similes at M. 22, 54, and in the 'gradual instruction' (s. ánupubbí-kathá). See further M. 13, 45, 75; Sn. v. 766ff.; Dhp. 186, 215.

The texts often stress the fact that what fetters man to the world of the senses are not the sense-organs nor the sense-objects but lustful desire (chandarága). On this see A. VI, 63; S. XXXV, 122, 191. - (App.).

káma-bhava: 'sensuous existence'; s. bhava.

káma-cchanda: 'sensuous desire', s. nívarana, chanda.

káma-guna: s. káma.

káma-loka: 'sensuous world', s. loka.

káma-rága: 'sensuous lust', is one of the 10 fetters (samyojana, q .v .) .

kámásava: s: ásava.

káma-sukh'allikánuyoga: 'being addicted to sensual pleasures', is one of the 2 extremes to be avoided by the monk; s. majjhima-patipadá.

káma-tanhá: 'sensuous craving'; s. tanhá.

kámávacara: 'sensuous sphere'; s. avacara.

kámesu-micchácára: lit. 'wrong or evil conduct with regard to sensual things'; 'unlawful sexual intercourse' refers to adultery, and to intercourse with minors or other persons under guardianship. The abstaining from this unlawful act is one of the 5 moral rules (s. sikkhápada) binding upon all Buddhists. Through any other sexual act one does not become guilty of the above transgression, which is considered a great crime. The monk, however, has to observe perfect chastity.

In many Suttas (e.g. A.X., 176) we find the following explanation: "He avoids unlawful sexual intercourse, abstains from it. He has no intercourse with girls who are still under the protection of father or mother, brother, sister or relatives, nor with married women, nor female convicts, nor, lastly, with betrothed girls."

kamma: (wholesome or unwholesome) action; s. karma.

kamma-bhava: s. bhava, paticcasamuppáda.

kammaja-rúpa: 'karma-produced corporeality'; s. samutthána.

kammaññatá: 'adaptability', i.e. of corporeality (rúpassa; s. khandha, Summary I), mental factors (káya), and of consciousness (citta); cf. Tab. II.

kammanta, sammá-: 'right action'; s. magga.

kamma-paccaya: 'karma as condition'; s. paccaya (13).

kamma-patha: 'course of action', is a name for the group of 10 kinds of either unwholesome or wholesome actions, viz.

I. The tenfold unwholesome courses of action (akusala-kamma-patha):

3 bodily actions: killing, stealing, unlawful sexual intercourse;

4 verbal actions: lying, slandering, rude speech, foolish babble;

3 mental actions: covetousness, ill-will, evil views.

Unwholesome mental courses of action comprise only extreme forms of defiled thought: the greedy wish to appropriate others' property, the hateful thought of harming others, and pernicious views. Milder forms of mental defilement are also unwholesome, but do not constitute 'courses of action'.

II. The tenfold wholesome course of action (kusala-kamma-patha):

3 bodily actions: avoidance of killing, stealing, unlawful sexual intercourse;

4 verbal actions: avoidance of lying, slandering, rude speech, foolish babble; i.e. true, conciliatory, mild, and wise speech;

3 mental actions: unselfishness, good-will, right views.

Both lists occur repeatedly, e.g. in A. X, 28, 176; M. 9; they are explained in detail in M. 114, and in Com. to M. 9 (R. Und., p. 14), Atthasálini Tr. I, 126ff.

kamma-samutthána-rúpa: 'corporeality produced through karma'; s. samutthána.

kammatthána: lit. 'working-ground' (i.e. for meditation), is the term in the Com. for 'subjects of meditation'; s. bhávaná.

kamma-vatta: 'karma-round'; s. vatta.

kammáyúhana: s. áyúhana.

kámupádána: 'sensuous clinging', is one of the 4 kinds of clinging (upádána, q.v.).

kankhá: 'doubt', may be either an intellectual, critical doubt or an ethically and psychologically detrimental doubt. The latter may either be a persistent negative skepticism or wavering indecision. Only the detrimental doubt (identical with vicikicchá, q.v.) is to be rejected as karmically unwholesome, as it paralyses thinking and hinders the inner development of man. Reasoned, critical doubt in dubious matters is thereby not discouraged.

The 16 doubts enumerated in the Suttas (e.g. M. 2) are the following: "Have I been in the past? Or, have I not been in the past? What have I been in the past? How have I been in the past? From what state into what state did I change in the past? - Shall I be in the future? Or, shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? From what state into what state shall I change in the future? - Am I? Or, am I not? What am I? How am I? Whence has this being come? Whither will it go?"

kankhá-vitarana-visuddhi: 'purification by overcoming doubt', is the 4th of the 7 stages of purification (visuddhi, q.v.).

kappa (Sanskrit kalpa): 'world-period', an inconceivably long space of time, an aeon. This again is subdivided into 4 sections: world-dissolution (samvatta-kappa) dissolving world), continuation of the chaos (samvatta-ttháyí), world-formation (vivatta-kappa), continuation of the formed world (vivatta-ttháyí).

"How long a world-dissolution will continue, how long the chaos, how long the formation, how long the continuation of the formed world, of these things; o monks, one hardly can say that it will be so many years, or so many centuries, or so many millennia, or so many hundred thousands of years" (A. IV, 156)

A detailed description of the 4 world-periods is given in that stirring discourse on the all-embracing impermanence in A. VII, 62.

The beautiful simile in S. XV, 5 may be mentioned here: "Suppose, o monks, there was a huge rock of one solid mass, one mile long, one mile wide, one mile high, without split or flaw. And at the end of every hundred years a man should come and rub against it once with a silken cloth. Then that huge rock would wear off and disappear quicker than a world-period. But of such world-periods, o monks, many have passed away, many hundreds, many thousands, many hundred thousands. And how is this possible? Inconceivable, o monks, is this samsára (q.v.), not to be discovered is any first beginning of beings, who obstructed by ignorance and ensnared by craving, are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths."

Compare here Grimm's German fairy-tale of the little shepherdboy: 'In Farther Pommerania there is the diamond-mountain, one hour high, one hour wide, one hour deep. There every hundred years a little bird comes and whets its little beak on it. And when the whole mountain is ground off, then the first second of eternity has passed."

karma (Sanskrit), Páli: kamma: 'action', correctly speaking denotes the wholesome and unwholesome volitions (kusala- and akusala-cetaná) and their concomitant mental factors, causing rebirth and shaping the destiny of beings. These karmical volitions (kamma cetaná) become manifest as wholesome or unwholesome actions by body (káya-kamma), speech (vací-kamma) and mind (mano-kamma). Thus the Buddhist term 'karma' by no means signifies the result of actions, and quite certainly not the fate of man, or perhaps even of whole nations (the so-called wholesale or mass-karma), misconceptions which, through the influence of theosophy, have become widely spread in the West.

"Volition (cetaná), o monks, is what I call action (cetanáham bhikkhave kammam vadámi), for through volition one performs the action by body, speech or mind. . There is karma (action), o monks, that ripens in hell.... Karma that ripens in the animal world.. Karma that ripens in the world of men.... Karma that ripens in the heavenly world.... Threefold, however, is the fruit of karma: ripening during the life-time (dittha-dhamma-vedaníya-kamma), ripening in the next birth (upapajja-vedaníya-kamma), ripening in later births (aparápariya-vedaníya kamma) ...." (A.VI, 63).

The 3 conditions or roots (múla, q.v.) of unwholesome karma (actions) are greed, hatred, delusion (lobha, dosa, moha); those of wholesome karma are: unselfishness (alobha), hatelessness (adosa = mettá, good-will), undeludedness (amoha = paññá, knowledge) .

"Greed, o monks, is a condition for the arising of karma; hatred is a condition for the arising of karma; delusion is a condition for the arising of karma ...." (A. III, 109).

"The unwholesome actions are of 3 kinds, conditioned by greed, or hate, or delusion.

"Killing ... stealing ... unlawful sexual intercourse ... lying ... slandering ... rude speech ... foolish babble, if practised, carried on, and frequently cultivated, leads to rebirth in hell, or amongst the animals, or amongst the ghosts" (A. III, 40). "He who kills and is cruel goes either to hell or, if reborn as man, will be short-lived. He who torments others will be afflicted with disease. The angry one will look ugly, the envious one will be without influence, the stingy one will be poor, the stubborn one will be of low descent, the indolent one will be without knowledge. In the contrary case, man will be reborn in heaven or reborn as man, he will be long-lived, possessed of beauty, influence, noble descent and knowledge" (cf. M. 135).

For the above 10-fold wholesome and unwholesome course of action, see kamma-patha. For the 5 heinous crimes with immediate result, s. ánantarika-kamma.

"Owners of their karma are the beings, heirs of their karma, their karma is their womb from which they are born, their karma is their friend, their refuge. Whatever karma they perform, good or bad, thereof they will be the heirs" (M. 135).

With regard to the time of the taking place of the karma-result (vipáka), one distinguishes, as mentioned above, 3 kinds of karma:

1. karma ripening during the life-time (dittha-dhamma-vedaníya kamma);

2. karma ripening in the next birth (upapajja-vedaníya-kamma);

3. karma ripening in later births (aparápariya-vedaníya-kamma).

The first two kinds of karma may be without karma-result (vipáka), if the circumstances required for the taking place of the karma-result are missing, or if, through the preponderance of counteractive karma and their being too weak, they are unable to produce any result. In this case they are called ahosi-kamma, lit. 'karma that has been', in other words, ineffectual karma.

The third type of karma, however, which bears fruit in later lives, will, whenever and wherever there is an opportunity, be productive of karma-result. Before its result has ripened, it will never become ineffective as long as the life-process is kept going by craving and ignorance.

According to the Com., e.g. Vis.M. XIX, the 1st of the 7 karmical impulsive-moments (kamma javana; s. javana) is considered as 'karma ripening during the life-time', the 7th moment as 'karma ripening in the next birth', the remaining 5 moments as 'karma ripening in later births'.

With regard to their functions one distinguishes:

1. regenerative (or productive) karma (janaka-kamma),

2. supportive (or consolidating) karma (upatthambhaka-kamma),

3. counteractive (suppressive or frustrating) karma (upapílaka-kamma),

4. destructive (or supplanting) karma (upaghátaka- or upacchedaka-kamma).

(1) produces the 5 groups of existence (corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness) at rebirth as well as during life-continuity.

(2) does not produce karma-results but is only able to maintain the already produced karma-results.

(3) counteracts or suppresses the karma-results.

(4) destroys the influence of a weaker karma and effects only its own result.

With regard to the priority of their result one distinguishes:

1. weighty karma (garuka-kamma),

2. habitual karma (ácinnaka- or bahula-kamma),

3. death-proximate karma (maranásanna-kamma),

4. stored-up karma (katattá-kamma).

(1, 2) The weighty (garuka) and the habitual (bahula) wholesome or unwholesome karma are ripening earlier than the light and rarely performed karma. (3) The death-proximate (maranásanna) karma - i.e. the wholesome or unwholesome volition present immediately before death, which often may be the reflex of some previously performed good or evil action (kamma), or of a sign of it (kamma-nimitta), or of a sign of the future existence (gati-nimitta) - produces rebirth. (4) In the absence of any of these three actions at the moment before death, the stored-up (katattá) karma will produce rebirth.

A real, and in the ultimate sense true, understanding of Buddhist karma doctrine is possible only through a deep insight into the impersonality (s. anattá) and conditionality (s. paticcasamuppáda, paccaya) of all phenomena of existence. "Everywhere, in all the forms of existence ... such a one is beholding merely mental and physical phenomena kept going by their being bound up through causes and effects.

"No doer does he see behind the deeds, no recipient apart from the karma-fruit. And with full insight he clearly understands that the wise ones are using merely conventional terms when, with regard to the taking place of any action, they speak of a doer, or when they speak of a receiver of the karma-results at their arising. Therefore the ancient masters have said:

'No doer of the deeds is found,

No one who ever reaps their fruits;

Empty phenomena roll on:

This view alone is right and true.


'And whilst the deeds and their results

Roll on, based on conditions all,

There no beginning can be seen,

Just as it is with seed and tree.' " (Vis.M. XIX)


Karma (kamma-paccaya) is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya, q.v.) (App.: Kamma).

Literature: Karma and Rebirth, by Nyanatiloka (WHEEL 9); Survival and Karma in Buddhist Perspective, by K.N. Jayatilleke (WHEEL 141/143); Kamma and its Fruit (WHEEL 221/224).

karma-accumulation: áyúhana (q.v.).

karma-formations: sankhára, i.e. wholesome or unwholesome volitions (cetaná) manifested as actions of body, speech or mind, form the 2nd link of the formula of dependent origination (paticca-samuppáda, q.v.).

karma-process: s. bhava, paticcasamuppáda.

karma-produced corporeality: s. samutthána.

karma-result: vipáka (q.v.).

karma-round: kamma vatta (s. vatta).

karmically acquired corporeality: upádinnarúpa (q.v.).

karmically wholesome, unwholesome, neutral: kusala (q.v.), akusala (q.v.) avyákata (q.v.); cf. Tab. I.. .

karuná: 'compassion', is one of the 4 sublime abodes (brahma-vihára, q.v.).

kasina: (perhaps related to Sanskrit krtsna, 'all, complete, whole'), is the name for a purely external device to produce and develop concentration of mind and attain the 4 absorptions (jhána q.v.). It consists in concentrating one's full and undivided attention on one visible object as preparatory image (parikamma-nimitta), e.g. a colored spot or disc, or a piece of earth, or a pond at some distance, etc., until at last one perceives, even with the eyes closed, a mental reflex, the acquired image (uggaha-nimitta). Now, while continuing to direct one's attention to this image, there may arise the spotless and immovable counter-image (patibhága-nimitta), and together with it the neighbourhood-concentration (upacára-samádhi) will have been reached. While still persevering in the concentration on the object, one finally will reach a state of mind where all sense-activity is suspended, where there is no more seeing and hearing, no more perception of bodily impression and feeling, i.e. the state of the 1st mental absorption (jhána, q.v.).

The 10 kasinas mentioned in the Suttas are: earth-kasina, water, fire, wind, blue, yellow, red, white, space, and consciousness. "There are 10 kasina-spheres: someone sees the earth kasina, above, below, on all sides, undivided, unbounded .... someone see the water-kasina, above, below, etc." (M. 77; D. 33) Cf. abhibháyatan, bhávaná; further s. Fund. IV.

For space and consciousness-kasina we find in Vis.M. V the names limited space-kasina (paricchinnákása-kasina; . . . s. App. ) and light-kasina (áloka-kasina).

For full description see Vis.M. IV-V; also Atthasálini Tr. I, 248.

katattá-kamma: 'stored-up karma'; s. karma.

káya (lit: accumulation): 'group', 'body', may either refer to the physical body (rúpa-káya) or to the mental body (náma-káya). In the latter case it is either a collective name for the mental groups (feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness; s. khandha), or merely for feeling, perception and a few of the mental formations (s. náma), e.g. in káya-lahutá, etc. (cf. Tab. II). Káya has this same meaning in the standard description of the 3rd absorption (jhána, q.v.) "and he feels joy in his mind or his mental constitution (káya)", and (e.g. Pug. 1-8) of the attainment of the 8 deliverances (vimokkha, q.v.); "having attained the 8 deliverances in his mind, or his person (káya)." - Káya is also the 5th sense-organ, the body-organ; s. áyatana, dhátu, indriya.

káya-gatá-sati: 'mindfulness with regard to the body', refers sometimes (e.g. Vis.M. VIII, 2) only to the contemplation on the 32 parts of the body, sometimes (e.g. M. 119) to all the various meditations comprised under the 'contemplation of the body' (káyánupassaná), the 1st of the 4 'foundations of mindfulness' (satipatthána, q.v.), consisting partly in concentration (samádhi) exercises, partly in insight (vipassaná) exercises. On the other hand, the cemetery meditations (sívathika, q.v.) mentioned in the Satipatthána S.(M. 10) are nearly the same as the 10 contemplations of loathsomeness (asubha-bhávaná, q.v.). of Vis.M. VI, whereas elsewhere the contemplation on the 32 parts of the body is called the 'reflection on impurity' (patikkúla-saññá).

In such texts as: 'One thing, o monks, developed and repeatedly practised, leads to the attainment of wisdom. It is the contemplation on the body' (A.I), the reference is to all exercises mentioned in the 1st Satipatthána.

Vis.M. VIII, 2 gives a detailed description and explanation of the method of developing the contemplation on the 32 parts of the body. This exercise can produce the 1st absorption only (jhána, q.v.) The stereotype text given in the Satipatthána Sutta and elsewhere - but leaving out the brain - runs as follows:

"And further, o monks, the monk contemplates this body from the soles of the feet upward, and from the tops of the hairs downward, with skin stretched over it, and filled with manifold impurities: 'This body has hairs of the head, hairs of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, intestines, bowels, stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin grease, spittle, nasal mucus, oil of the joints, and urine ...."

Vis.M. VIII, 2 says "By repeating the words of this exercise one will become well acquainted with the wording, the mind will not rush here and there, the different parts will become distinct and appear like a row of fingers, or a row of hedge-poles. Now, just as one repeats the exercise in words, one should do it also in mind. The repeating in mind forms the condition for the penetration of the characteristic marks.... He who thus has examined the parts of the body as to colour, shape, region, locality and limits, and considers them one by one, and not too hurriedly, as something loathsome, to such a one, while contemplating the body, all these things at the same time are appearing distinctly clear. But also when keeping one's attention fixed outwardly (i.e. to the bodies of other beings), and when all the parts appear distinctly, then all men and animals moving about lose the appearance of living beings and appear like heaps of many different things. And it looks as if those foods and drinks, being swallowed by them, were being inserted into this heap of things. Now, while again and again one is conceiving the idea 'Disgusting! Disgusting!' - omitting in due course several parts - gradually the attainment - concentration (appaná-samádhi, i.e. the concentration of the jhána) will be reached. In this connection, the appearing of forms ... is called the acquired image (uggaha-nimitta), the arising of loathsomeness, however, the counter-image (patibháganimitta)."

káya-kamma: 'bodily action'; s. karma, kammapatha.

káya-kammaññatá, k.-lahutá, k.-mudutá, k.-páguññatá, k.-passaddhi, k.-ujukatá; s. Tab. II. For passaddhi, s. further bojjhanga.

káya-lahutá: agility or lightness of mental factors (s. lahutá).

káyánupassaná: 'contemplation of the body', is one of the 4 foundations of mindfulness; s. satipatthána.

káya-passaddhi: tranquillity of mental factors, s. bojjhanga.

káya-sakkhi: 'body-witness', is one of the 7 noble disciples (s. ariya-puggala, B.). He is one who "in his own person (lit. body) has attained the 8 deliverances (vimokkha, q.v.), and after wisely understanding the phenomena, the cankers have partly come to extinction" (Pug. 32). In A. IX, 44 it is said: "A monk, o brother, attains the 1st absorption (jhána, q.v.), and as far as this domain reaches,- so far he has realized it in his own person. Thus the Blessed One calls such a person a body-witness in certain respects. (The same is then repeated with regard to the 7 higher absorptions). Further again, o brother, the monk attains the extinction of perception and feeling (s. nirodha-samápatti), and after wisely understanding the phenomena, all the cankers come to extinction. Thus, o brother, the Blessed One calls such a person a body-witness in all respects."

káya-viññatti: s. viññatti.

khalu-pacchá-bhattik'anga: s. dhutanga.

khana: 'moment'; s. citta-kkhana.

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