mtshams med kyi las

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Inexpiable karma DKC

Discussion

Inexpiable karma is an action that is so heinous that immediately upon dying, a human who has committed it is born directly in hell without any other rebirth in between. There are five inexpiable karmas: killing one's mother, killing one's father, killing an arhat, drawing blood from the Buddha with a harmful intent, and creating a schism in the sangha.

The Tibetan word literally means "no boundary" and means that directly upon dying one is reborn in hell.

In the tradition of the Foundation Vehicle, there is said to be no way to purify inexpiable karma, which is why the term is commonly translated as inexpiable. In the Great Vehicle, however, it is said that one can confess and purify inexpiable karma. The example given is King Ajatashastru, who killed his father King Bimbisara but later regretted his actions, developed faith in the Buddha and became a devoted patron of the sangha. In the Theravada version of the story, even though he had a correct worldly view and later accumulated a great deal of merit, when he died he went directly to hell, but in the Great Vehicle version, he was able to confess and purify his misdeeds, see the dharma nature of the four truths and become an arhat.

In English, there does not seem to be an elegant and succinct way to say "no boundary" and so inexpiable karma seems the best translation even though it is not entirely consistent with all schools' interpretations. DKC