The four noble truths - and craving.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:44 pm

Hi acinteyyo,

acinteyyo wrote:The puthujjana craves for actual existence of an illusory self. The puthujjana can't see the contradiction (the illusory self cannot exist, what can exist is just the illusion itself) because the puthujjana takes for granted what appears to him as his true self. Would the puthujjana see it, he wouldn't crave for existence, he wouldn't crave for being, he wouldn't wish to be in essence. By the way, he wouldn't crave for non-existence neither, if he could understand anatta. In fact the puthujjana's inability to see anatta is a reason why he's still a puthujjana.
I guess we could also say it is craving for an idea. For an idea based on personality-view, based on the belief in a self.


An excellent description! The best post yet on this thread.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:59 pm

Hi everyone,

On the question of whether or not there is a craving which is the cause of every wrong view of self, the Parileyya Sutta is interesting:

"That eternalist view is a formation. That formation what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises : thence that
formation is born."
"Thus, bhikkhus, that formation is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that craving is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that feeling is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that contact is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that ignorance is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen. When one knows and sees thus, bhikkhus, the immediate destruction of the asavas occurs."

Connected Discourses, Bhikkhu Bodhi, page 922. [ SN 22. 81] Parileyya Sutta.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:21 am

Hi acinteyyo,

acinteyyo : "The puthujjana craves for actual existence of an illusory self."

* 'Actual' from his POV, illusory from ours.
* 'illusory' from our POV, actual from his.

So from our POV he craves for the illusory existence of an illusory self.
From his POV he craves for the actual existence of an actual self.

What is this 'illusory self' ? - It can only be a 'view of an existing self'.
He takes this 'view of an existing self' to be 'a really existing self'.
So by perpetuating this view he 'continues in real existence' (from his POV).
Bhava tanha (existence-craving) is what produces bhava ditthi (existence-view).

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby ground » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:51 am

If we concede the self being the object designated depending on phenomena of experience ("aggregates") then the "self" is illusory or existent to the same extent a "car" is illusory or existent because "car" is the object designated depending on its parts wheels, roof, seats, etc. (and all these parts being matter can further be devided into smaller parts without there being a limit of divisability) but it does not really exist.
So if "car" has some sort of existence the "self" has too and if "self" is said to be completely non-existent the same must be said of "car" which would be rather non-conventional.
So the "kind of truth" of existence asserted seems to be crucial.

In a similar context the view of the "four noble truths" can be an instance of craving for views if it is invested with "real" inherent truth as if it existed from its own side indepedent of the subject holding this view due to causes and conditions.
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:47 pm

vinasp wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:"The puthujjana craves for actual existence of an illusory self."


* 'Actual' from his POV, illusory from ours.
* 'illusory' from our POV, actual from his.

So from our POV he craves for the illusory existence of an illusory self.
From his POV he craves for the actual existence of an actual self.

exactly
vinasp wrote:What is this 'illusory self' ? - It can only be a 'view of an existing self'.
He takes this 'view of an existing self' to be 'a really existing self'.
So by perpetuating this view he 'continues in real existence' (from his POV).
Bhava tanha (existence-craving) is what produces bhava ditthi (existence-view).

I don't know what this "illusory self" is. I think it can be everything, whatever the puthujjana takes for the "self". But I'm sure it is at least one or more of the five aggregates and the puthujjana is constantly changing the object which he takes for the "self" every time if necessary, so that this permanent "self", which he thinks he is (because he believes that there is such a self - attavada), continues to appear as the assumed permanent "self" in which he believes in. This act of switching the object depends on attavada.
TMingyur wrote:If we concede the self being the object designated depending on phenomena of experience ("aggregates") then the "self" is illusory or existent to the same extent a "car" is illusory or existent because "car" is the object designated depending on its parts wheels, roof, seats, etc. (and all these parts being matter can further be devided into smaller parts without there being a limit of divisability) but it does not really exist.
So if "car" has some sort of existence the "self" has too and if "self" is said to be completely non-existent the same must be said of "car" which would be rather non-conventional.
So the "kind of truth" of existence asserted seems to be crucial.

absolutely! on a non-conventional level there is no "car" and no "self" to be found. Those terms and definitions are part of the conventional world and thus only apply in a conventional context. "car" for example is just another word used instead of "wheels, roof, seats, etc. in a certain relation, so that one can move from one place to another quite quickly". This means "car" does not have any independent meaning without these "things" on which a "car" depends on. That's why an arahant is still able to talk about himself on an conventional level. That's why we can say that I wrote this. The conventional world is the world of terms and definitions, nothing else.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:04 am

Hi thereductor,


thereductor wrote:There is 'clinging to views' as one of the four forms of clinging... but what is a 'view'? It is a class of mental object comprised of the usual suspects: perception, thought and feeling - with form and consciousness acting as support. So at the time that a view is present, it is itself an element of the being as it currently is.


"...but what is a 'view' ?" That is a good question. I agree that it must be related to mental objects.

If I am trying to argue that bhava tanha is the craving which results in views of existence then clearly we need some understanding of what views are, and how they arise.

My knowledge is limited to the five nikayas, which do not describe views in a clear way. Are you basing your understanding of views on the nikayas, or a later teaching?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:38 am

Hi everyone,

I think that what I am trying to argue is that bhava tanha is the craving that produces, or results in, views of an existing self. So I need to explain my understanding of views. This is difficult because I am still working on this problem. But here is an outline of my present understanding of views:

"That eternalist view is a formation. That formation what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling ... is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises : thence that formation is born." Parileyya Sutta.

So the eternalist view is produced from a craving, that means that it belongs at the level of clinging in the D.O. formula. We know that one kind of clinging is 'view-clinging'.
My understanding in outline is this: When someone is clinging to an idea they are said to have a view. The idea itself is not a view. It is only when the mind becomes obsessed with the idea, and clings to it, that they speak of a view. This means that there is no view other than view-clinging. This should not be called 'clinging to views' - what is clung to is an idea. It's the clinging that makes it a view.
It follows that the craving that produces the view-clinging is not a 'craving for views' but a craving for ideas. The term 'view-craving' was used in some early discourses, but was later replaced by other terms. One of these is 'dhamma-tanha' or craving for mind-objects.

In MN 9. 38 craving (in D.O.) is said to be sixfold, craving for form, sounds, odours, flavours, tangibles and craving for mind-objects. The first five comprise the craving for sensual pleasures (kama-tanha). Which leaves one other kind of craving - craving for mind-objects. This is craving for ideas, and is the craving that produces view-clinging and therefore views.

This means that when talking about views we have to separate the 'conceptual content' aspect from the 'mental clinging' aspect. The content of the view is just an idea or a group of ideas. These are not, in themselves, a view. The mental clinging depends on craving, feeling, and contact with the idea. It is the mind becoming obsessed with that idea.
This is why I argue that 'views' are not 'normal beliefs' but what we would call delusions or obsessions.

I will argue that bhava tanha (existence craving) is the craving that produces views of an existing self. And that vibhava tanha (non-existence craving) produces views of a not-existing self. These are, therefore, special forms of dhamma tanha.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:56 am

Greetings Vincent,

vinasp wrote:I will argue that bhava tanha (existence craving) is the craving that produces views of an existing self. And that vibhava tanha (non-existence craving) produces views of a not-existing self. These are, therefore, special forms of dhamma tanha.


This doesn't seem quite right to me.

Bhava tanha is craving for something to exist.

Vibhava tanha is craving for something not to exist.

Kama-tanha is craving for something of the senses that is desirable. In retrospect, this could also be in the top-right corner of the matrix below.

All of these involve the establishment of a false dichotomy between experiencer and experience, and therefore result in jati.

Here you go, I've drawn you a matrix...

tanha.JPG
tanha.JPG (14.66 KiB) Viewed 529 times


Relevant quotation from SN 12.15
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.


The Buddha is cool. 8-)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:41 am

Hi retrofuturist,

retrofuturist wrote:Bhava tanha is craving for something to exist.


I do not see what is meant by this, can you give some specific examples? - thanks.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:39 am

Greetings Vincent,

vinasp wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Bhava tanha is craving for something to exist.


I do not see what is meant by this, can you give some specific examples? - thanks.


"I want to see Niagara Falls" (the sight of Niagara Falls does not currently exist for you but you want it to exist in your field of vision)

"I want to hear the new Pet Shop Boys album" (the sound of the new PSB album does not currently exist in your ears, but you want it to)

"I want to solve this mathematical problem" (the solution does not currently exist in your mind, but you want it to).

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:26 am

Hi retro,

In my understanding bhava does not mean ordinary existence, as in the existence of things in the external world. Although I have been talking of bhava tanha as 'existence craving' or 'craving for existence', what is meant is the existence of a being or a self. So bhava tanha is 'craving for (self) existence'. Bhava tanha is the cause of 'rebirth'.

I normally use 'existence' for bhava, but many others prefer 'being' or 'becoming', these may be less liable to be mis-understood.
It is possible that the idea that vibhava tanha means a craving to get rid of something is just a modern mis-understanding. Do you know of any passages in the nikayas which support such an interpretation?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:14 am

Greetings Vincent,

It is possible that the idea that vibhava tanha means a craving to get rid of something is just a modern mis-understanding. Do you know of any passages in the nikayas which support such an interpretation?


A quick look in the PTS Dictionary yielded few results for vibhava-tanha - http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... li.1131935

Is it a modern mis-understanding? I don't know... but I think it's the proper understanding. A quick search on the term via Google brings up some entries... and the following selection all understand it as a craving to get rid of something...

http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble12.htm
http://www.knowbuddhism.info/2009/02/lu ... nd-us.html
http://dharma.ncf.ca/introduction/truth ... uth-2.html
http://www.tricycle.com/insights/thirty ... rs-craving
http://www.chezpaul.org.uk/buddhism/articles/sacca2.htm
etc.

I normally use 'existence' for bhava, but many others prefer 'being' or 'becoming', these may be less liable to be mis-understood.


My preference is translated as 'becoming' , but for all intents and purposes, I think bhava and satta (here translated as "being") are similar in their intent...

SN 23.2: Satta Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then Ven. Radha went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "'A being,' lord. 'A being,' it's said. To what extent is one said to be 'a being'?"

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling... perception... fabrications...

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

"Just as when boys or girls are playing with little sand castles: as long as they are not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, that's how long they have fun with those sand castles, enjoy them, treasure them, feel possessive of them. But when they become free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, then they smash them, scatter them, demolish them with their hands or feet and make them unfit for play.

"In the same way, Radha, you too should smash, scatter, & demolish form, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for form.

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish feeling, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for feeling.

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish perception, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for perception.

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish fabrications, and make them unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for fabrications.

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish consciousness and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for consciousness — for the ending of craving, Radha, is Unbinding."


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:31 pm

Hi retro,

In the old PTS dictionary, under tanha (page 294) we find:

1. Systematizations; the three aims of tanha, kama * , bhava * , vibhava * , that is craving for sensuous pleasure, for rebirth (anywhere, but especially in heaven), or for no rebirth.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:24 pm

Hi retro,

In the discourse called 'The Burden' [SN 22. 22] these three cravings are mentioned. Bhikkhu Bodhi has an interesting note on this (page 1051, note 38) in which he quotes 'Spk', the main commentary, ascribed to Acariya Buddhaghosa.

Spk: Seeking delight here and there (tatratatrabhinandini): having the habit of seeking delight in the place of rebirth or among the various objects such as forms. Lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure is 'craving for sensual pleasures' (kamatanha). Lust for form-sphere or formless-sphere existence, attachment to jhana, and lust accompanied by the eternalist view: this is called craving for existence (bhavatanha). Lust accompanied by the annihilationist view is craving for extermination (vibhavatanha).

Bodhi comments: This explanation of the last two kinds of craving seems to me too narrow. More likely, craving for existence should be understood as the primal desire to continue in existence (whether supported by a view or not), craving for extermination as the desire for a complete end to existence, based on the underlying assumption (not necessarily formulated as a view) that such extermination brings an end to a real "I".

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:50 pm

Greetings Vincent,

I'm not surprised the commentaries say that, and I think that Bhikkhu Bodhi is right to respectfully challenge them, though I personally don't think he goes far enough.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:15 am

Hi retro,

It was the widespread mis-representation of these three cravings at many websites, and also in many books by academics, which prompted me to start this thread. It is a serious mis-representation from my point of view, but I could be wrong, of course. It may be that these cravings are not explained in the nikaya's, which could make it difficult for either side to 'prove' their case.

Anyway, I have found another reference to bhava tanha:

"Monks, the extreme point of craving-to-become is not apparent, so that one may say: "Craving-to-become was not before; it has since come to be." And, monks, this statement is made. Nevertheless this thing is apparent: Craving-to-become is
conditioned by this or that.
I declare, monks, that craving-to-become has its nutriment; it is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment of craving-to-become? "Ignorance" should be the reply. (continued) [ A 10, 62 PTS AN v, 116 ]

This is the old PTS translation by F. L. Woodward, I will see if I can find a more modern translation.

The idea expressed here is that bhava tanha is the primary cause of continuation in samsara, the main craving which causes rebirth.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:24 am

Greetings Vincent,

vinasp wrote:The idea expressed here is that bhava tanha is the primary cause of continuation in samsara, the main craving which causes rebirth.

That depends on what you take jati to mean, doesn't it?

If to you jati means rebirth and you thereby adopt the three-lifetime commentarial model of dependent origination, I can see how you come to that conclusion... treating "becoming" as becoming a new sentient being.

Alternatively, as I suggested before, if those various forms of bhava occur on account of either an attraction towards something deemed desirable, or the rejection of something deemed undesirable, then they involve the establishment of a false dichotomy between experiencer and experience, and therefore result in jati and all the sufferings that follow.

Of course, ignorance is the nutriment for this whole process... to that end, we're in agreement.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:33 am

Hi everyone,

Perhaps we should look at the entire second truth, to provide a context for the three cravings:

"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming."

Translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. [SN 56. 11, PTS: S v 420].

The craving mentioned first is 'the craving that makes for further becoming'. This is bhava tanha the craving that produces continuing self existence. The craving for sense pleasures is secondary to the main craving. Craving for non-becoming is a
modified form of bhava tanha, it is the craving for continuing self existence in one who believes that an existing self ends with the death of the body.

Of particular interest is the compound 'ponobbhavika' often translated as "giving rise to rebirth" or something similar. Thanissaro's "makes for further becoming" is, I think, closer to the intended meaning.

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby vinasp » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:54 am

Hi retro,

retrofuturist wrote:That depends on what you take jati to mean, doesn't it?


I should have put rebirth in quotation marks! For the record I am agnostic on the question of literal rebirth. But I think that the Buddha did teach it, or allowed some people to understand his teaching in that way. As for 'jati' it can be understood in various ways. For me, it means 'birth' but in dependent origination it can be understood in two ways. For those who follow the three-lives interpretation, it will be understood as birth or rebirth. I do not follow that interpretation myself. For me, 'jati' in D.O. is the view that 'self was born'.

Are you understanding 'jati' as happening continuously?

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Re: The four noble truths - and craving.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:03 am

Greetings Vincent,

vinasp wrote:For me, 'jati' in D.O. is the view that 'self was born'.


Do you see this as different to the expression I have used a few times, namely "a false dichotomy between experiencer and experience".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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