'ignorance,' nescience, unknowing; synonymous with delusion (moha, s. mūla), is the primary root of all evil and suffering in the world, veiling man's mental eyes and preventing him from seeing the true nature of things. It is the delusion tricking beings by making life appear to them as permanent, happy, substantial and beautiful and preventing them from seeing that everything in reality is impermanent, liable to suffering, void of 'I' and 'mine', and basically impure (s. vipallāsa). Ignorance is defined as 'not knowing the four truths, namely, suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the way to its cessation' (S. XII, 4).
As ignorance is the foundation of all life-affirming actions, of all evil and suffering, therefore it stands first in the formula of Dependent Origination (paticca-samuppāda). But for that reason, says Vis.M. (XVII, 36f) ignorance should not be regarded as "the causeless root-cause of the world ... It is not causeless. For a cause of it is stated thus 'With the arising of cankers (āsava) there is the arising of ignorance' (M. 9). But there is a figurative way in which it can be treated as a root-cause; namely, when it is made to serve as a starting point in an exposition of the Round of Existence ... As it is said: 'No first beginning of ignorance can be perceived, Bhikkhus, before which ignorance was not, and after which it came to be. But it can be perceived that ignorance has its specific condition (idappaccaya)" (A.X.61). The same statement is made (A.X.62) about the craving for existence (bhava-tanhā; s. tanhā). The latter and ignorance are called "the outstanding causes of kamma that lead to unhappy and happy destinies" (Vis.M. XVII, 38).
As ignorance still exists - though in a very refined way until the attainment of Arahatship or Holiness, it is counted as the last of the 10 fetters (samyojana) which bind beings to the cycle of rebirths. As the first two roots of evil, greed and hate (s. mūla), are on their part rooted in ignorance, consequently all unwholesome states of mind are inseparably bound up with it. Ignorance (or delusion) is the most obstinate of the three roots of evil.
Ignorance is one of the cankers (āsava) and proclivities (anusaya). It is often called a hindrance (nīvarana; e.g. in S.XV.3; A.X.61) but does not appear together with the usual list of five hindrances.
'delusion', is one of the 3 unwholesome roots (mūla). The best known synonym is avijjā.
retrofuturist wrote:Are they completely identical in meaning?
nathan wrote:Does ignorance predominate in our individual lives and thoughts and/or in the state of affairs in the world, or not?
nathan wrote:What kind of a role does ignorance play in the lives of individuals and in the world overall and how does it express itself?
nathan wrote:What kinds of personal insights have you had into the nature of ignorance?
PeterB wrote:It seems to me that the word "ignorance" is being used in more than one way here. Avijja is more than an absence of knowledge concerning the factual, measurable world.
That's an interesting distinction. If we distinguish the one from the other along those lines it might then be useful to describe or define the learned ignorance (or 'self imposed' ignorance) as, say, 'delusion' as opposed to the general background ignorance of the generally and/or specifically unknown.PeterB wrote:Its not only that we are ignorant about things...although we may be and that might be significant in terms of our lives...its that the first link in the chain of dependant origination is Avijja. Its the bedrock of our false sense of self.
We could in fact be very learned in a particular sense, but our condition is still one of Avijja. Conversly we could be unlearned in a conventional sense and still break the chain of causation.
Avijja is a question of identity or identification. Its something we do...it is active.
It is not an absence of factual data or an inability to interpret such data.
Does ignorance predominate in our individual lives and thoughts and/or in the state of affairs in the world, or not?
Maybe, maybe not. There is a spectrum of thought on the subject in this thread already. Everything from ignorance narrowly defined as specifically ignorance of annata to ignorance quite broadly defined as the primary root of all evil and suffering in the world. I prefer the much wider definition and I think the examination and consideration of ignorance can be very beneficial in the widest possible context but I can also see why the Buddha would teach an approach to overtaking ignorance in the one place where it is perhaps most vulnerable, in the context of 'self'-delusion. One aspect of this that I find interesting is how broadly resilient ignorance is beyond the one context where it can most readily be undermined by the application of the eightfold path.appicchato wrote:Does ignorance predominate in our individual lives and thoughts and/or in the state of affairs in the world, or not?
Does, or is?...either way all one has to do is look around to answer that one...
appicchato wrote:Maybe, maybe not.
One size fits all?...this applies to everything in life...
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