Kamma

Renderings

kamma: conduct

kamma: deed

kamma: accumulated merit

kamma: accumulated demerit

kamma: karmically consequential conduct

kamma: the operation of the karmic mechanism

kamma: legal act of an assembly of bhikkhus

kaṇhakamma: accumulated demerit

pāpakamma: accumulated demerit

Introduction

Kamma: conduct

Kamma often means ‘conduct’ or ‘deed’. For example:

• A noble disciple is endowed with blameless bodily conduct.
anavajjena kāyakammena samannāgato hoti (A.2.69-70).

• Although he may do an unvirtuous deed by body, speech, or mind, he is incapable of hiding it.
☸ Kiñcāpi so kammaṃ karoti pāpakaṃ kāyena vācā uda cetasā vā
Abhabbo so tassa paṭicchādāya
(Sn.v.230-232).

Kamma: the operation of the karmic mechanism

Kamma can mean ‘the operation of the karmic mechanism,’ called kammayanta at quotes below, Th.v.574 and Th.v.419.

• He is superstitious. He believes in luck, not in the operation of the karmic mechanism.
kotuhalamaṅgaliko hoti maṅgalaṃ pacceti no kammaṃ

• He is not superstitious. He believes in the operation of the karmic mechanism, not in luck.
akotuhalamaṅgaliko hoti kammaṃ pacceti no maṅgalaṃ (A.3.206).

Because merit and demerit is accumulated, it means that all but arahants are caught in the operation of the karmic mechanism:

• Thus does (one who is attached to) the (human) body take his course, driven by the operation of the karmic mechanism
Evāyaṃ vattate kāyo kammayantena yantito (Th.v.574).

• By destroying the origin of ignorance (of things according to reality), (the eightfold path, ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo, Th.v.421) is a destroyer of the operation of the karmic mechanism.
Aññāṇamūlabhedāya kammayantavighāṭano (Th.v.419).

PED (sv yanta) for kammayanta (Th.v.419) gives ‘the machinery of Kamma,’ and (sv yantita) renders kammayantena (Th.v.574) as ‘impelled by the machinery of Karma.’

Kamma: the field

Kamma is sometimes called ‘the field,’ which we take to mean ‘the (field of) operation of the karmic mechanism’:

• Thus Ānanda,

… the (field of) operation of the karmic mechanism is the field.
☸ kammaṃ khettaṃ

…the stream of consciousness, the seed.
☸ viññāṇaṃ bījaṃ

… craving, the moisture.
☸ taṇhā sneho.

… For beings (obstructed by) uninsightfulness into reality, and (tethered to individual existence) by craving.
☸ avijjānīvaraṇānaṃ sattānaṃ taṇhāsaṃyojanānaṃ

… the stream of consciousness is established in the low plane of existence.
☸ hīnāya dhātuyā viññāṇaṃ patiṭṭhitaṃ

… In this way renewed states of individual existence and rebirth occur in the future.
evaṃ āyatiṃ punabbhavābhinibbatti hoti (A.1.223-4).

English word karma

Karma means:

• the principle of retributive justice determining a person’s state of life and the state of his reincarnations as the effect of his past deeds

• the doctrine of inevitable consequence

• destiny or fate (Collins Dictionary).

We therefore avoid using the term because of the connotations of fatalism or fate. Nonetheless, we use ‘karmic’.

Merit and demerit: upacita

Where kamma is ‘accumulated’ (upacita) it stands for merit or demerit. For example:

• This is the first time that demerit whose consequence comes without delay has been accumulated by Devadatta.
idaṃ bhikkhave devadattena paṭhamaṃ ānantariyakammaṃ upacitaṃ (Vin.2.193).

• Venerable Cunda the metalworker has accumulated merit that is conducive to long life
Āyusaṃvattanikaṃ āyasmatā cundena kammāraputtena kammaṃ upacitaṃ (D.2.136).

The arahant: no further karmically consequential conduct

The arahant does not undertake karmically consequential deeds:

―What do you think, bhikkhus: can a bhikkhu whose āsavas are destroyed (khīṇāsavo bhikkhu) undertake a karmically consequential deed that is meritorious, demeritorious, or karmically neutral?
puññābhisaṅkhāraṃ vā abhisaṅkhareyya apuññābhisaṅkhāraṃ vā abhisaṅkhareyya āneñjābhisaṅkhāraṃ vā abhisaṅkhareyyā ti

―No, bhante (S.2.83).

The arahant: destruction of merit and demerit

The scriptures sometimes suggest the arahant has destroyed all merit and demerit. For example:

• Whatever karmically consequential conduct was undertaken by me, whether small or great, all that (accumulated merit and demerit) is exhausted.
Yaṃ mayā pakataṃ kammaṃ appaṃ vā yadi vā bahuṃ;
Sabbametaṃ parikkhīṇaṃ
(Th.v.80).

• While I undertook much karmically consequential conduct of the kind which leads to (rebirth in) the plane of misery, yet its karmic consequence has reached me now. I enjoy my food free of karmic debt.
Tādisaṃ kammaṃ katvāna bahuṃ duggatigāminaṃ;
Phuṭṭho kammavipākena
anaṇo bhuñjāmi bhojanaṃ (M.2.105).

Yet the scriptures also unequivocably say the opposite, that till the time of their death arahants continue to receive the karmic consequences of previous karmically consequential conduct:

• The bhikkhu… who is free of perceptually obscuring states… undertakes no new karmically consequential conduct and nullifies previous karmically consequential conduct by the gradual experience (of its consequences).
bhikkhu… anāsavaṃ… so navañca kammaṃ na karoti purāṇañca kammaṃ phussa phussa vyantīkaroti (A.3.414).

And the body, too, is to be regarded as the consequences of previous karmically consequential conduct, even for arahants.
kāyo… purāṇamidaṃ bhikkhave kammaṃ… daṭṭhabbaṃ (S.2.64-5).

Therefore when the scriptures say arahants have exhausted their merit and demerit, it either means:

1) that they will have done so by the time of their final passing, or

2) that when accumulated merit and demerit is exhausted, there still remains the consequences of that merit and demerit.

The non-returner and demerit

A non-returner receives within his very lifetime all unpleasant karmic consequences of past conduct:

• Whatever demeritorious karmically consequential conduct was previously undertaken by this (wretched human) body born of deeds, all (the consequences of) that must be experienced now (in this lifetime); it will not (be able to) arise hereafter.’ Thus developed, the liberation (from perceptually obscuring states) through (unlimited) universal love leads to non-returnership for a wise bhikkhu here who has not penetrated to a more exalted liberation.
☸ yaṃ kho me idha kiñcī pubbe iminā karajakāyena pāpakammaṃ kataṃ sabbaṃ taṃ idha vedanīyaṃ na taṃ anugaṃ bhavissatī ti. Evaṃ bhāvitā kho bhikkhave mettācetovimutti anāgāmitāya saṃvattati idha paññassa bhikkhuno uttariṃ vimuttiṃ appaṭivijjhato (A.5.300).

A non-returner is therefore left to receive after death only pleasant karmic consequences.

Nullifying karmically consequential deeds

Karmically consequential deeds are nullified by experiencing their karmic consequence, a process described in these quotes:

• ’I declare that there can be no nullification of karmically consequential deeds which have been intentionally undertaken and karmically accumulated without experiencing (their karmic consequences), either in this life, or on rebirth, or in some other subsequent (existence).’
Nāhaṃ bhikkhave sañcetanikānaṃ kammānaṃ katānaṃ upacitānaṃ appaṭisaṃviditvā vyantībhāvaṃ vadāmi. Tañca kho diṭṭhe vā dhamme upapajje vā apare vā pariyāye (A.5.292).

• Previous karmically consequential conduct is nullified by the gradual experience (of its consequences)
purāṇañca kammaṃ phussa phussa vyantīkaroti (A.2.198).

The four types of deeds

There are four types of deeds. The first three types are:

• dark (kammaṃ kaṇhaṃ)

• bright (kammaṃ sukkaṃ),

• dark-and-bright (kammaṃ kaṇhasukkaṃ) (M.1.389).

Here, ‘dark’ means ‘a hostile karmically consequential deed’ (savyāpajjhaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ… vacīsaṅkhāraṃ… manosaṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkharoti, M.1.391) and ‘bright’ means ‘an unhostile karmically consequential deed’ (avyāpajjhaṃ M.1.391).

The karmic consequences of such deeds are also dark, bright, or dark-and-bright (kaṇhavipākaṃ sukkavipākaṃ kaṇhasukkavipākaṃ) where ‘dark’ means hostile sense impression (savyāpajjhaṃ vedanaṃ M.1.389) and ‘bright’ means unhostile sense impression (avyāpajjhaṃ vedanaṃ M.1.390).

For those wishing to escape karmically consequential conduct there is a fourth type of deed called ‘neither-dark-nor-bright’ (kammaṃ akaṇhaṃ asukkaṃ) which leads to the destruction of karmically consequential conduct (kammakkhayāya saṃvattati). This deed involves

1) The intentionality to abandon karmically consequential conduct that is dark with dark karmic consequences
yamidaṃ kammaṃ kaṇhaṃ kaṇhavipākaṃ tassa pahānāya yā cetanā

2) The intentionality to abandon karmically consequential conduct that is bright with bright karmic consequences
yampidaṃ kammaṃ sukkaṃ sukkavipākaṃ tassa pahānāya yā cetanā

3) The intentionality to abandon karmically consequential conduct that is dark-and-bright with dark-and-bright karmic consequences.
yampidaṃ kammaṃ kaṇhasukkaṃ kaṇhasukkavipākaṃ tassa pahānāya yā cetanā (M.1.391).

This is called conduct that is neither-dark-nor-bright with neither-dark-nor-bright karmic consequences that leads to the destruction of karmically consequential conduct.
idaṃ vuccati puṇṇa kammaṃ akaṇhaṃ asukkaṃ akaṇhāsukkavipākaṃ kammakkhayāya saṃvattati (M.1.391).

The seven enlightenment factors are such conduct (kammaṃ kammakkhayāya saṃvattati, A.2.237). So is the eightfold path (sammādiṭṭhi… sammāsamādhī, A.2.237).

On making the suttas incomprehensible

The sutta we have just quoted can be made incomprehensible, if, instead of saying one should abandon karmically consequential conduct, the sutta is rendered to say that one should ‘abandon all conduct, whether dark or bright.’ This would contradict much of the Buddha’s teaching, which constantly praises the cultivation of good conduct:

• The refraining from everything unvirtuous; the undertaking of what is spiritually wholesome… this is the training system of the Buddhas.
sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ kusalassa upasampadā… etaṃ buddhānaṃ sāsanaṃ … (Dh.v.183).

• Do not be afraid of acts of merit. This is called what is pleasant, desirable, likeable, agreeable, and pleasing, namely meritorious deeds
Mā bhikkhave puññānaṃ bhāyittha sukhassetaṃ bhikkhave adivacanaṃ iṭṭhassa kantassa piyassa manāpassa yadidaṃ puññāni (It.14-16).

Merit is not obstructive

Although non-greed, non-hatred, and discernment of reality are bases for the arising of (meritorious) deeds (alobho… adoso… amoho nidānaṃ kammānaṃ samudayāya), when greed, hatred, and undiscernment of reality disappear, that merit is abandoned (lobhe… dose… mohe vigate evaṃ taṃ kammaṃ pahīṇaṃ hoti, A.1.134-5). If it was not abandoned, then merit would prevent one’s final liberation, because:

• I declare that there is no putting an end to sufferingwithout experiencing the consequences of karmically consequential deeds which have been intentionally undertaken and karmically accumulated.
Na tvevāhaṃ bhikkhave sañcetanikānaṃ kammānaṃ katānaṃ upacitānaṃ appaṭisaṃviditvā dukkhassantakiriyaṃ vadāmi (A.5.292).

Kamma in disciplinary procedures

In the context of discipline, kamma means ‘legal act of an assembly of bhikkhus.’

Illustrations

Illustration: kammena, conduct

A noble disciple (ariyasāvako) is endowed with

• blameless bodily conduct
anavajjena kāyakammena samannāgato hoti

• blameless verbal conduct
anavajjena vacīkammena samannāgato hoti

• blameless mental conduct
anavajjena manokammena samannāgato hoti (A.2.69-70).

Illustration: kammaṃ, conduct

The ignorant engage in spiritually unwholesome conduct that arises from attachment, hatred, and undiscernment of reality.
Rāgajañca dosajañca mohajañcāpaviddasu karonti akusalaṃ kammaṃ (A.2.72).

Illustration: kammassa, conduct/deed; kammānaṃ types of conduct

‘Of what conduct of mine is this the fruit, of what deed the karmic consequence, that I now have such great spiritual power and might?’
kissa nu kho me idaṃ kammassa phalaṃ kissa kammassa vipāko yenāhaṃ etarahi evaṃ mahiddhiko evaṃ mahānubhāvo ti.

Then it occurred to me that it was the fruit and karmic consequence of three types of conduct, namely giving, inward taming, and restraint (in conduct).
Tassa mayhaṃ bhikkhave etadahosi tiṇṇaṃ kho me idaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ tiṇṇaṃ kammānaṃ vipāko yenāhaṃ etarahi evaṃ mahiddhiko evaṃ mahānubhāvo ti seyyathīdaṃ dānassa damassa saṃyamassā ti (It.14-16).

Illustration: kammaṃ, deed

Although he may do an unvirtuous deed by body, speech, or mind, he is incapable of hiding it.
☸ Kiñcāpi so kammaṃ karoti pāpakaṃ kāyena vācā uda cetasā vā
Abhabbo so tassa paṭicchādāya
(Sn.v.230-232).

Illustration: kammaṃ, conduct

What is conduct that is dark with dark karmic consequences?
Katamañca bhikkhave kammaṃ kaṇhaṃ kaṇhavipākaṃ?

In this regard, some person is a killer, a thief, an adulterer, a liar, or a drinker.
Idha bhikkhave ekacco pāṇātipātī hoti adinnādāyī hoti kāmesu micchācārī hoti musāvādī hoti surāmerayamajjapamādaṭṭhāyī hoti

And what is conduct that is bright with bright karmic consequences?
Katamañca bhikkhave kammaṃ sukkaṃ sukkavipākaṃ?

In this regard, someone refrains from killing, stealing, adultery, lying, and drinking alcohol.
Idha bhikkhave ekacco pāṇātipātā paṭivirato hoti adinnādānā paṭivirato hoti kāmesu micchācārā paṭivirato hoti musāvādā paṭivirato hoti surāmerayamajjapamādaṭṭhānā paṭivirato hoti (A.2.234-5).

Illustration: kamma, deeds

Killing is threefold, I declare: due to greed, hatred, and undiscernment of reality.
Pāṇātipātampahaṃ bhikkhave tividhaṃ vadāmi lobhahetukampi dosahetukampi mohahetukampi.

Stealing is threefold, I declare: due to greed, hatred, and undiscernment of reality.
Adinnādānampahaṃ bhikkhave kividhaṃ vadāmi lobhahetukampi dosahetukampi mohahetukampi.

Thus greed is a basis for the arising of karmically consequential deeds; likewise hatred and undiscernment of reality.
☸ Iti kho bhikkhave lobho kammanidānasambhavo doso kammanidānasambhavo moho kammanidānasambhavo.

The destruction of greed, hatred, and undiscernment of reality each produces the destruction of a basis of karmically consequential deeds.
☸ Lobhakkhayā kammanidānasaṅkhayo dosakkhayā kammanidānasaṅkhayo mohakkhayā kammanidānasaṅkhayo ti (A.5.262).

Illustration: kamma, conduct

Bhikkhus, not from conduct born of greed, hatred, and undiscernment of reality are there devas, men, and other fortunate beings to be discerned; but hell-beings, animals, ghosts, and other unfortunate beings.
☸ Na bhikkhave lobhajena kammena dosajena kammena mohajena kammena devā paññāyanti na manussā paññayanti yā vā panaññāpi kāci sugatiyo. Atha kho bhikkhave lobhajena kammena dosajena kammena mohajena kammena nirayo paññāyati tiracchānayoni paññāyati pettivisayo paññāyati yā vā panaññāpi kāci duggatiyo.

Bhikkhus, not from conduct born of non-greed, non-hatred, and discernment of reality are there hell-beings, animals, ghosts, and other unfortunate beings to be discerned; but devas, men, and other fortunate beings.
☸ Na bhikkhave alobhajena kammena adosajena kammena amoha jena kammena nirayopaññāyati. Tiracchānayoni paññāyati. Pettivisayo paññāyati yā vā panaññāpi kāci duggatiyo. Atha kho bhikkhave alobhajena kammena adosajena kammena amohajena kammena devā paññāyanti manussā paññāyanti yā vā panaññāpi kāci sugatiyo (A.3.338-9).

Illustration: kammaṃ, conduct; kamma, karmically consequential conduct

Conduct produced from, born of, due to, originated by greed, hatred, and undiscernment of reality is spiritually unwholesome and blameworthy.
yaṃ bhikkhave lobhapakataṃ… dosapakataṃ… mohapakataṃ kammaṃ mohajaṃ mohanidānaṃ mohasamudayaṃ taṃ kammaṃ akusalaṃ taṃ kammaṃ sāvajjaṃ

It has unpleasant karmic consequences and leads to the (further) origination of karmically consequential conduct. It does not lead to the ending of karmically consequential conduct.
☸ taṃ kammaṃ dukkhavipākaṃ taṃ kammaṃ kammasamudayāya saṃvattati. Na taṃ kammaṃ kammanirodhāya saṃvattati.

Conduct produced from, born of, due to, originated by non-greed, non-hatred, and discernment of reality is spiritually wholesome and blameless.
yaṃ bhikkhave alobho… adoso… amohapakataṃ kammaṃ amohajaṃ amohanidānaṃ amohasamudayaṃ. Taṃ kammaṃ kusalaṃ taṃ kammaṃ anavajjaṃ

It has pleasant karmic consequences and leads to the ending of karmically consequential conduct. It does not lead to the origination of karmically consequential conduct.
☸ taṃ kammaṃ sukhavipākaṃ taṃ kammaṃ kammanirodhāya. Na taṃ kammaṃ kammasamudayāya saṃvattati (A.1.263).

Illustration: kammaṃ, conduct; karmically consequential conduct

What, bhikkhus, is conduct that is neither-dark-nor-bright with neither-dark-nor-bright karmic consequences that leads to the destruction of karmically consequential conduct?
Katamañca bhikkhave kammaṃ akaṇhaṃ asukkaṃ akaṇhāsukkavipākaṃ kammakkhayāya saṃvattati?

The eightfold path.
☸ Sammādiṭṭhi sammāsaṅkappo sammāvācā sammākammanto sammāājīvo sammāvāyāmo sammāsati sammāsamādhī (A.2.237).

Illustration: kammaṃ, karmically consequential conduct

He undertakes no new karmically consequential conduct
so navañca kammaṃ na karoti

As to previous karmically consequential conduct, he nullifies it by the gradual experience (of its consequences)
purāṇañca kammaṃ phussa phussa vyantīkaroti (A.2.197).

Illustration: kammaṃ, karmically consequential conduct

With the abandonment of craving, karmically consequential conduct is abandoned. With the abandonment of karmically consequential conduct, suffering is abandoned.
Taṇhāya pahānā kammaṃ pahīyati. Kammassa pahānā dukkhaṃ pahīyati (S.5.86-7).

Illustration: kammaṃ, conduct; kamma, karmically consequential conduct

And what is conduct that is dark with dark karmic consequences
Katamañca puṇṇa kammaṃ kaṇhaṃ kaṇhavipākaṃ

In this regard, some person undertakes a hostile karmically consequential deed by way of body… speech… mind
idha puṇṇa ekacco savyāpajjhaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ… vacīsaṅkhāraṃ… manosaṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkharoti.

And what, Puṇṇa, is conduct that is bright with bright karmic consequences?
kammaṃ sukkaṃ sukkavipākaṃ

In this regard, some person undertakes an unhostile karmically consequential deed by way of body… speech… mind
avyāpajjhaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ… vacīsaṅkhāraṃ… manosaṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkharoti

What, Puṇṇa, is conduct that is neither-dark-nor-bright with neither-dark-nor-bright karmic consequences that leads to the destruction of karmically consequential conduct?
☸ kammaṃ akaṇhaṃ asukkaṃ akaṇhāsukkavipākaṃ kammakkhayāya saṃvattati

The intentionality to abandon karmically consequential conduct that is dark with dark karmic consequences
yamidaṃ kammaṃ kaṇhaṃ kaṇhavipākaṃ tassa pahānāya yā cetanā

or intentionality to abandon karmically consequential conduct that is bright with bright karmic consequences
yampidaṃ kammaṃ sukkaṃ sukkavipākaṃ tassa pahānāya yā cetanā

or intentionality to abandon karmically consequential conduct that is dark-and-bright with dark-and-bright karmic consequences
yampidaṃ kammaṃ kaṇhasukkaṃ kaṇhasukkavipākaṃ tassa pahānāya yā cetanā

is conduct that is neither-dark-nor-bright with neither-dark-nor-bright karmic consequences that leads to the destruction of karmically consequential conduct.
idaṃ vuccati puṇṇa kammaṃ akaṇhaṃ asukkaṃ akaṇhāsukkavipākaṃ kammakkhayāya saṃvattati (M.1.391).

Illustration: kammaṃ, karmically consequential conduct/deeds

Intentionality is karmically consequential conduct, I declare.
Cetanāhaṃ bhikkhave kammaṃ vadāmi

In applying intention, one undertakes karmically consequential conduct by way of body, speech, or mind.
cetayitvā kammaṃ karoti kāyena vācāya manasā.

What is the basis for the arising of karmically consequential deeds?
Katamo ca bhikkhave kammānaṃ nidānasambhavo

Sensation is the basis for the arising of karmically consequential deeds.
phasso bhikkhave kammānaṃ nidānasambhavo

What is the diversity in karmically consequential deeds?
Katamā ca bhikkhave kammānaṃ vemattatā:

There is a deed (whose karmic consequence is) to be experienced in hell, or as an animal, a ghost, a human, or as a deva.
atthi bhikkhave kammaṃ nirayavedanīyaṃ atthi kammaṃ tiracchānayonivedanīyā atthi kammaṃ pettivisayavedanīyaṃ atthi kammaṃ manussalokavedanīyaṃ atthi kammaṃ devalokavedanīyaṃ.

What is the karmic consequence of karmically consequential deeds?
Katamo ca bhikkhave kammānaṃ vipāko

The karmic consequence of karmically consequential deeds is threefold: that which arises in this life, or on rebirth, or in some other subsequent (existence).
Tividhāhaṃ bhikkhave kammānaṃ vipākaṃ vadāmi diṭṭhevā dhamme upajje vā apare vā pariyāye.

What is the ending of karmically consequential deeds?
Katamo ca bhikkhave kammanirodho

The ending of sensation is the ending of karmically consequential deeds.
Phassanirodho bhikkhave kammanirodho (A.3.415).

Illustration: kammaṃ, deed; kammaṃ, karmically consequential conduct

What is previous karmically consequential conduct?
purāṇaṃ kammaṃ

The visual sense should be seen as (the consequence of) previous karmically consequential conduct, originated, arisen from intentionality, and to be necessarily experienced.
Cakkhu bhikkhave purāṇakammaṃ abhisaṅkhataṃ abhisañcetayitaṃ vedaniyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ

The auditory sense… The olfactory sense… The gustatory sense… The tactile sense… The mental sense should be seen as (the consequence of) previous karmically consequential conduct, originated, arisen from intentionality, and to be necessarily experienced.
mano purāṇakammo abhisaṅkhato abhisañcetayito vedaniyo daṭṭhabbo

This is called previous karmically consequential conduct.
☸ Idaṃ vuccati bhikkhave purāṇakammaṃ.

What is new karmically consequential conduct?
Katamañca bhikkhave navaṃ kammaṃ

Whatever deed one does in the present by way of body, speech, or mind.
yaṃ kho bhikkhave etarahi kammaṃ karoti kāyena vācāya manasā

What is the ending of karmically consequential conduct?
Katamo ca bhikkhave kammanirodho

He who attains liberation (from perceptually obscuring states) through the ending of karmically consequential conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, this is called the ending of karmically consequential conduct.
☸ yo kho bhikkhave kāyakammavacīkammamanokammassa nirodhā vimuttiṃ phusati. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave kammanirodho (S.4.132-3).

Illustration: kammānaṃ, karmically consequential deeds: kammaṃ, accumulated merit

There are three bases for the arising of karmically consequential deeds. What three?  
Tīṇi’māni bhikkhave nidānāni kammānaṃ samudayāya. Katamāni tīṇi:

• Greed is a basis for the origination of karmically consequential deeds.
☸ lobho nidānaṃ kammānaṃ samudayāya

• Hatred is a basis for the origination of karmically consequential deeds.
☸ doso nidānaṃ kammānaṃ samudayāya

• Undiscernment of reality is a basis for the origination of karmically consequential deeds.
☸ moho nidānaṃ kammānaṃ samudayāya.

Karmically consequential conduct produced from greed, born of greed, due to greed, originated by greed bears fruit wherever the rebirth of one’s individuality occurs.
Yaṃ bhikkhave lobhapakataṃ… mohapakataṃ kammaṃ mohajaṃ mohanidānaṃ mohasamudayaṃ yatthassa attabhāvo nibbattati tattha taṃ kammaṃ vipaccati..

Wherever that karmically consequential conduct bears fruit, there one experiences the karmic consequences of one’s conduct, either in this life, or on rebirth, or in some other subsequent (existence).
Yattha taṃ kammaṃ vipaccati tattha tassa kammassa vipākaṃ paṭisaṃvedeti diṭṭhe vā dhamme upapajje vā apare vā pariyāye.

There are three bases for the arising of karmically consequential deeds
Tīṇi’māni bhikkhave nidānāni kammānaṃ samudayāya. Katamāni tīṇi:

• Non-greed is a basis for the origination of karmically consequential deeds.
☸ alobho nidānaṃ kammānaṃ samudayāya

• Non-hatred is a basis for the origination of karmically consequential deeds.
☸ adoso nidānaṃ kammānaṃ samudayāya

• Penetrative discernment is a basis for the origination of karmically consequential deeds.
☸ amoho nidānaṃ kammānaṃ samudayāya

But with the disappearance of greed, hatred, and undiscernment of reality, that accumulated merit is abandoned.
lobhe… dose… mohe vigate evaṃ taṃ kammaṃ pahīṇaṃ hoti.

It is chopped down at the root, completely and irreversibly destroyed, never to arise again in future.
☸ Yaṃ bhikkhave alobhapakataṃ kammaṃ alobhajaṃ alobhanidānaṃ alobhasamudayaṃ lobhe vigate… dose vigate… mohe vigate evaṃ taṃ kammaṃ pahīṇaṃ hoti ucchinnamūlaṃ tālāvatthukataṃ anabhāvakataṃ āyatiṃ anuppādadhammaṃ (A.1.134-5).

Comment:

If the merit of good conduct was not automatically abandoned in this way, then doing good deeds would block one’s final liberation because one is obliged to receive the karmic consequences of all conduct.

Illustration: kamma, karmically consequential conduct

This Venerable is owner of his karmically consequential conduct, inheritor of it, born of it, intimately related to it, has it as his refuge. He is the inheritor of whatever karmically consequential conduct he undertakes whether meritorious or demeritorious.
Kammassako ayamāyasmā kammadāyādo kammayonī kammabandhū kammapaṭisaraṇo. Yaṃ kammaṃ karissati kalyāṇaṃ vā pāpakaṃ vā tassa dāyādo bhavissatī ti (A.3.185).

Illustration: kamma, karmically consequential conduct

He was resolute in applying himself to spiritually wholesome factors… By undertaking that karmically consequential conduct, heaping it up, lavishly and abundantly, with the demise of the body at death he was reborn in the realm of happiness, in the heavenly worlds.
daḷhasamādāno ahosi kusalesu dhammesu… so tassa kammassa katattā upacitattā ussannattā vipulantā kāyassa bhedā parammaraṇā sugatiṃ saggaṃ lokaṃ upapajjati (D.3.145-6).

Illustration: pāpakammā, accumulated demerit; pāpaṃ pubbe kataṃ, demerit

A brahman told the bhikkhunī Puṇṇikā that whoever does a demeritorious deed (pāpakamma pakubbatī) is released from the accumulated demerit by water ablution(dakābhisecanā sopi pāpakammā pamuccati).

Puṇṇikā replied that if rivers could carry off one’s accumulated demerit(pāpaṃ pubbe kataṃ vahuṃ), they would carry off one’s accumulated merit as well (puññampimā vaheyyuṃ) (Thī.v.236-251).

Illustration: pāpakammaṃ kataṃ, demeritorious conduct

Previous demeritorious conduct whose karmic consequence has not yet ripened.
pubbe pāpakammaṃ kataṃ avipakkavipākaṃ (A.2.196).

Illustration: kaṇhakammo, accumulated demerit

The stream Bāhumatī: a fool may bathe there forever yet will not purify himself of accumulated demerit.
bāhumatiṃ nadiṃ niccampi bālo pakkhanno kaṇhakammo na sujjhati (M.1.39).

Illustration: kammaṃ, legal act of an assembly of bhikkhus

A legal act done with an incomplete assembly of bhikkhus (vaggakammaṃ) is invalid (‘reversible, not fit to stand,’ kuppaṃ aṭṭhānārahaṃ) (Vin.1.316).