"When, friends, a noble disciple understands the taints (aasava), the origin of
the taints, the cessation of the taints, and the way leading to the
cessation of the taints, in that way he is one of right view, whose view
is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at
this true Dhamma."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/bps/ ... el377.html
Thus the term 'aasava' plays quite an important role.
The word itself is pre-Buddhist and meant originally a leak
through which defilements flow in.
Pali aasava has two meanings corresponding to two Sanskrit words:
- aasraava, discharge from a sore, effluent from flower or tree.
This meaning is quite literal and is not used figuratively.
- aasrava, inlet, leak in the doors of perception, through which
craving flows in. Mr. Rhys-Davids apparently has not found this
meaning in Sanskrit dictionary (marking it with asterick), yet it is
clearly explained in Monier-Williams dictionary and Jain texts.
(article from Monier-Williams dictionary)
aasrava - (with Jainas) the action of the senses which impels the
soul towards external objects (one of the seven Sattvas or
substances); it is twofold, as good or evil. Sarvad.
- a door opening into water and allowing the stream to descend
through it. Sarvad.
Some Jain sources:
There lived a family in a farm house. They were enjoying the fresh cool breeze coming through the open doors and windows. The weather suddenly changed, and a terrible dust storm set in. Realizing it was a bad storm, they got up to close the doors and windows. By the time they could close all the doors and windows, lots of dust had entered the house. After closing the doors and the windows, they started clearing the dust that had come in to make the house clean.
We can interpret this simple illustration in terms of Nav-Padartha ( Elements ) as follows:
1. Jivas are represented by the people.
2. Ajiva is represented by the house.
3. Punya is represented by enjoyment resulting from the nice cool breeze.
4. Pap is represented by discomfort resulting from the sand storm, which brought dust into the house.
5. Asrava is represented by the influx of dust through the doors and windows of the house which is similar to the influx of karman particles to the soul.
6. Bandh is represented by the accumulation of dust in the house, which is similar to bondage of karman particles to the soul.
7. Samvar is represented by the closing of the doors and windows to stop the dust from coming into the house, which is similar to the stoppage of influx of karman particles to the soul.
8. Nirjara is represented by the cleaning up of accumulated dust from the house, which is similar to shedding accumulated karmic particles from the soul.
9. Moksha is represented by the cleaned house, which is similar to the shedding off all karmic particles from the soul.
http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~pluralsm/af ... tattva.htm
http://www.jainworld.com/jainbooks/firs ... arma-1.htm
When we read a Buddhist definition of 'aasavaa' (Vibhanga .364):
914. Tattha katame tayo aasavaa? Kaamaasavo, bhavaasavo, avijjaasavo.
(a) tattha katamo kaamaasavo? Yo kaamesu kaamacchando kaamaraago
kaamanandii kaamata.nhaa kaamasineho kaamapari.laaho kaamamucchaa
kaamajjhosaana.m - aya.m vuccati "kaamaasavo".
(b ) tattha katamo bhavaasavo? Yo bhavesu bhavacchando …pe…
bhavajjhosaana.m - aya.m vuccati "bhavaasavo".
(c ) tattha katamo avijjaasavo? Dukkhe a~n~naa.na.m …pe… avijjaala"ngii
moho akusalamuula.m - aya.m vuccati "avijjaasavo". Ime tayo aasavaa.
we see mostly verbs of desire and infatuation.
Drawing parallels to Jaina metaphor we can say that 'dust' of craving for sense-impressions enters the sense-doors through 'aasavaa', some of it becomes 'upakkilesaa' which result in bondage through fetters - 'bandhanaa'.
This would explain a passage from Mahaniddesa 1.233:
Yesa.m esaa saatiyaa ta.nhaa appahiinaa tesa.m cakkhuto ruupata.nhaa
savati aasavati ‚ sandati pavattati, sotato saddata.nhaa… ghaanato
gandhata.nhaa… jivhaato rasata.nhaa… kaayato pho.t.thabbata.nhaa…
manato dhammata.nhaa savati aasavati sandati pavattati.
Visuddhimagga (ХХII, 56):
"Cankers (āsava): ... is a term for greed for sense desires, greed for becoming, wrong view, and ignorance, because of the exuding (savana) [of these defilements] from unguarded sense-doors like water from cracks in a pot in the sense of constant trickling, or because of their producing (savana) the suffering of the round of rebirths."
'Aasavaa' are 'openings' through which 'upakkilesaa' become possible. Thus it
becomes understandable why the final Unbinding is described as extinction of 'aasavaa', the very 'inlets' of craving in sense doors.