Pali Term: Āsava

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Pali Term: Āsava

Postby Dmytro » Thu May 20, 2010 6:11 am

Hello Pali friends,

"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.jinvani.com/eng/philosophy/padarth.htm
http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~pluralsm/af ... tattva.htm
http://www.jainworld.com/jainbooks/firs ... arma-1.htm
http://www.jaintirth.org/jainism/philosophy_text.htm

When we read a Buddhist definition of 'aasavaa' (Vibhanga .364):

tayo aasavaa

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.

Metta, Dmytro
Last edited by Dmytro on Thu May 20, 2010 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby Dmytro » Thu May 20, 2010 6:18 am

There's a relevant discussion in the book:

"Mindfulness in Early Buddhism" by Tse-fu Kuan
http://books.google.com/books?id=ZEk2rp ... frontcover

http://dharmadana.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/ch-4/

See attached image.
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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 20, 2010 2:04 pm

:thumbsup:

Another important Pali term; the Āsava are mentioned frequently in the poems of the arahant bhikkhus and bhikkhunis in the Theragatha & Therigatha of the Pali Canon of how they conquered the taints.
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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby alan » Sat May 22, 2010 1:59 am

Taint and fermentation--I have never understood what these two words have in common.
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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat May 22, 2010 2:29 am

Taints is sometimes defined as to infect, contaminate, corrupt, or spoil. I suppose in that way it might be similar to the term 'fermentation.'
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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby Anicca » Sat May 22, 2010 2:50 am

alan wrote:Taint and fermentation--I have never understood what these two words have in common.

Unplug your refridgerator ~ leaving the door closed ~ for a few weeks. Open the door and receive understanding - especially in Florida in the summertime!

Any chance the oil spill will come near?

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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby alan » Sat May 22, 2010 3:06 am

Hmm. I'm going to have to ponder that. When I think taint I associate it with "the taint of corruption".
Fermentation, on the other hand, gives bread, beer, and wine. I can see how thoughts can "bubble up" through some inner fermentation.

As for the oil, now there is a fermentation we all can agree should be stopped by any measures available!http://globalwarming.house.gov/
-edited to provide a better link. This has been overwhelmed by visitors since it first went up today--hope it works.
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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby alan » Sat May 22, 2010 3:44 am

When I became fed up with Mahayana I decided to take a look at the original teachings. Bhikku Bodhi's entire translations seemed a bit daunting, so I got Thanissaro's anthology and decided to read the damn thing and make up my own mind. I loved it. There were of course some new ideas and concepts to learn...
"Fermentations" was a concept I had not encountered, but after awhile I (think) I came to get the idea. Imagine my surprise then when BB says "taints". There may be some correlation between the two words but I don't get it.

One of the best things about DW is being able to ask a question to those who understand this better than I do. So--
Would anyone care to share their understanding of this elusive word, ASAVA?
Thanks!
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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby mydoghasfleas » Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:13 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu seems to favor the use of the word "effluents" for asava in his translations. Even though I love his translations, I find "effluents" just as inscrutable as asava.

In a footnote in his translation of the Digha Nikaya (footnote 134, page 546), Maurice Walshe notes that asava is variously translated as 'biases', 'intoxicants', 'influxes', 'cankers', or Deadly Taints'. But he uses 'corruptions' in his text.

Of these choices, biases or intoxicants seem the most meaningful to me, though perhaps neither word fully conveys the meaning of asava.
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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:23 am

In one of his "In the Buddha's Words" talks viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2392 Bhikkhu Bodhi noted that when he edited Ven Nanamoli's MN translation "Taints" was one of the translations he did not change (he changed a lot of others to be more consistent with Ven Nanamoli's Visuddhimagga translation and the other translations from Ven Nyanatiloka and his students) and so he used it in the SN and upcoming AN translations for consistency. But he now wishes he'd changed it to a more literal rendering such as "influxes". Unfortunately, apparently the direction of the flow is not completely clear from the word, and some of the Ajahn Chah students, such as Ajahn Brahm, translate it as "outflows", though Ven Bodhi argued for "in" rather than "out" on the strength of examining mundane statements about fluid flow in the Suttas.

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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby Dmytro » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:37 pm

Hello,

CPD article on āsava gives a numder of relevant glosses, connecting this term with flowing in:

Expressions conveying the idea of flowing or invading: āsavantī ti āsavā, Ps I 61,13 — Mp II 182,28 = Vism-mhṭ Be (1960) II 495,23; purisaṁ dukkhavedaniyā āsavā anvāssaveyyuṁ, All 196,26 (Ee assaveyyuṁ); . . . tathāsato viharāmi yathāsataṁ viharantaṁ āsavā nânusavanti (v. l. nânusayanti), S II 54,3; āsavagocchake āsavantī ti ~ā, As 48,9 ≠ Moh 95,5; "Vism 683,31;


http://pali.hum.ku.dk/cpd/search.html

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Re: Pali Term: Āsava

Postby Freawaru » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:42 pm

mikenz66 wrote:In one of his "In the Buddha's Words" talks viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2392 Bhikkhu Bodhi noted that when he edited Ven Nanamoli's MN translation "Taints" was one of the translations he did not change (he changed a lot of others to be more consistent with Ven Nanamoli's Visuddhimagga translation and the other translations from Ven Nyanatiloka and his students) and so he used it in the SN and upcoming AN translations for consistency. But he now wishes he'd changed it to a more literal rendering such as "influxes". Unfortunately, apparently the direction of the flow is not completely clear from the word, and some of the Ajahn Chah students, such as Ajahn Brahm, translate it as "outflows", though Ven Bodhi argued for "in" rather than "out" on the strength of examining mundane statements about fluid flow in the Suttas.

Mike


I would like the literal term "leak" as a translation. Gives sense to other metaphors like "guarding the (sense) doors" etc.
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