ancientbuddhism wrote:My understanding and appreciation of Venerable Ñāṇavīra’s work is his analysis of Dhamma. And errors notwithstanding, what I gained from it, as with Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, was an interpretation of DO in present existence, that is, without the three lifetime theory. How he arrived at that has been controversial, as is common knowledge of his work, but in the last analysis, I think he was correct.
Let's start there then.Notes on Dhamma
- Note 10
Upādānapaccayā bhavo; bhavapaccayā jāti; jātipaccayā jarāmaranam... With holding as condition, being; with being as condition, birth; with birth as condition, ageing-&-death...
The fundamental upādāna or 'holding' is attavāda (see Majjhima ii,1 <M.i,67>), which is holding a belief in 'self'. The puthujjana takes what appears to be his 'self' at its face value; and so long as this goes on he continues to be a 'self', at least in his own eyes (and in those of others like him). This is bhava or 'being'. The puthujjana knows that people are born and die; and since he thinks 'my self exists' so he also thinks 'my self was born' and 'my self will die'. The puthujjana sees a 'self' to whom the words birth and death apply.[d] In contrast to the puthujjana, the arahat has altogether got rid of asmimāna (not to speak of attavāda—see MAMA), and does not even think 'I am'. This is bhavanirodha, cessation of being. And since he does not think 'I am' he also does not think 'I was born' or 'I shall die'. In other words, he sees no 'self' or even 'I' for the words birth and death to apply to. This is jātinirodha and jarāmarananirodha. (See, in Kosala Samy. i,3 <S.i,71>, how the words birth and death are avoided when the arahat is spoken of.
Atthi nu kho bhante jātassa aññatra jarāmaranā ti. N'atthi kho mahārāja jātassa aññatra jarāmaranā. Ye pi te mahārāja khattiyamahāsālā... brāhmanamahāsālā... gahapatimahāsālā..., tesam pi jātānam n'atthi aññatra jarāmaranā. Ye pi te mahārāja bhikkhu arahanto khīnāsavā..., tesam pāyam kāyo bhedanadhammo nikkhepanadhammo ti.)
-- For one who is born, lord, is there anything other than ageing-&-death?—For one who is born, great king, there is nothing other than ageing-&-death. Those, great king, who are wealthy warriors... wealthy divines... wealthy householders...,—for them, too, being born, there is nothing other than ageing-&-death. Those monks, great king, who are worthy ones, destroyers of the cankers...,—for them, too, it is the nature of this body to break up, to be laid down.
The puthujjana, taking his apparent 'self' at face value, does not see that he is a victim of upādāna; he does not see that 'being a self' depends upon 'holding a belief in self' (upādānapaccayā bhavo); and he does not see that birth and death depend upon his 'being a self' (bhavapaccayā jāti, and so on). The ariyasāvaka, on the other hand, does see these things, and he sees also their cessation (even though he may not yet have fully realized it); and his seeing of these things is direct. Quite clearly, the idea of re-birth is totally irrelevant here.
I think this is one of the most important aspects of Venerable Ñāṇavīra interpretation of PS. I have thought about this often and compared it with Venerable Punnaji's interpretation and this is how I see it:
Tanha (because experience so directly both physically and mentally) has brought about the idea of things belonging to the body, of the body belonging to something (upadana/holding/clinging/presonalizing). This is an idea that something is there, that it is responsible for the urge(craving), that there is some central force in which all this originates. So there comes the belief in a self (bhavo) that it all belongs to...a central figure. Now the body and all the things in it are "I". "I" am. Upon analysis of this of this situation, you see where "I" is in the present, where "I" came from in the past (jati/birth) and where "I" will be going to in the future (jaramarana/ageing and death). This process constantly recreates and strengthens the idea of a self, and due to the rules that the self is seen to abide by, there is the thought that "I" was born and the "I" am going to die. So without this belief in self, no longer will there be birth nor death.
Of all the times I have gone over this in my head I think this is the clearest I have have seen it and the best I have explained it. Although I am sure it could be explained far better. Please let me know what you all think.