On September 22nd, Dr. Chandima Gangodawila discussed “Neutralizing Bad Karma within the Ethics of Theravāda Buddhism” as part of the Fall Public Lecture Series in conjunction with the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria.
The doctrine of karma holds that a person’s present happiness is a function of his past actions. In this lecture, I will use Nikāya, Abhidhamma, and post-canonical Theravāda texts to demonstrate what Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha taught about neutralizing the influence of past bad actions. These texts provide no incentive to do wrong with a view to neutralizing the effects later, but they do offer away for those who have already acted badly to compensate for it. This understanding opposes the fatalistic attitude according to which one must simply accept one’s unhappy state as the unavoidable result of some action one may have no memory of.
Dr. Chandima Gangodawila is a Visiting Research Fellow of the CSRS at the University of Victoria. He has a PhD in Sanskrit from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka.
Watch his talk here: