The Essential Scripture...

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The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

Sūtra on the Differences in the Karmic Recompenses of Action

Section 29

“Furthermore, there are those actions that can cause sentient beings to experience a state in which their lives may come to an end but their actions [that led to that rebirth] have not come to an end. This is like a sentient being who dies in the hells but ends up in turn being reborn back into the hells; it would also be the same for animals and hungry ghosts, on up to humans, heavenly beings, and asuras. This is called a state in which ‘their lives may come to an end but their actions have not come to an end.’
“Furthermore, there are those actions that can cause sentient beings to experience a state in which their actions may come to an end but their lives have not come to an end. This is like a sentient being who when his happiness comes to an end he receives suffering, and when his suffering comes to an end he receives happiness, and so forth. This is called a state in which ‘their actions may have come to an end but their lives have not come to an end.’
“Furthermore, there are those actions that can cause sentient beings to experience a state in which their actions and their lives both have come to an end. This is like a sentient being who ceases to be in the hells and is then reborn among the animals or hungry ghosts, on up to humans, heavenly beings, or asuras. This is called a state in which ‘their actions and their lives both have come to an end.’
“Furthermore, there are those actions that can cause sentient beings to experience a state in which neither their actions nor their lives have come to an end. This is like a sentient being who brings all the afflictions (kleśa) to an end; he is what is called a śrotaāpanna [stream-enterer], sakṛdāgāmin [once-returner], anāgāmin [nonreturner], or arhat. This is called a state in which ‘neither their actions nor their lives have come to an end.’