The Kamma of Arahants

Should an Arahant’s Actions Be Called Kamma, Kiriya, Both, or Neither?

While actions of worldlings (puthujjana) and trainees (sekha) produce future effects to be experienced in this, the next, or a subsequent life, the actions of Arahants do not. In order to distinguish between kammically productive actions that yield future results for the doer, versus actions that do not, the term “kamma” is commonly used to describe the former and the term “kiriya(-citta)” (functional mind) is commonly used to describe the latter.

This paper is meant to investigate the usage of these two terms within the context of the law of kamma, and thereby sets out to explore, from the perspective of the discourses, whether an Arahant’s actions should best be called

  1. kamma
  2. kiriya
  3. both
  4. neither
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