Points of Controversy

12.3. Of Sound as Result of Karma

Controverted Point: That sound is a result of karma.

Theravādin: Now what can rightly be predicated of a “result of karma”? Such a result is a matter of feeling, pleasant, painful, or neutral; it is conjoined with feeling of these three kinds; it is conjoined with mental contact, feeling, perception, volition, thought; it goes with a mental object; with it go adverting, ideating, co-ordinated application, attention, volition, anticipation, aiming. Is sound anything of this kind? Is it not rather the opposite”?

Now mental contact is result of karma, and of mental contact it is right to predicate any of the foregoing characteristics, and wrong not to. But the opposite holds with regard to sound.

Mahāsaṅghikas: But if I am wrong, was it not said by the Exalted One:

“He through having wrought, having accumulated, having piled up, having increased such karma, becomes reborn with the voice of a Brahma god, like that of the karavika bird.”

Hence surely sound is a specific result of karma.