AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

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AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

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AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi


https://suttacentral.net/en/an3.34

“Bhikkhus, there are these three causes for the origination of kamma. What three? Greed is a cause for the origination of kamma; hatred is a cause for the origination of kamma; delusion is a cause for the origination of kamma.

(1) “Any kamma, bhikkhus, fashioned through greed, born of greed, caused by greed, originated by greed, ripens wherever the individual is reborn. Wherever that kamma ripens, it is there that one experiences its result, either in this very life, or in the next rebirth, or on some subsequent occasion. [372]

(2) “Any kamma fashioned through hatred, born of hatred, caused by hatred, originated by hatred, ripens wherever the individual is reborn. Wherever that kamma ripens, it is there that one experiences its result, either in this very life, or in the next rebirth, or on some subsequent occasion.

(3) “Any kamma fashioned through delusion, born of delusion, caused by delusion, originated by delusion, ripens wherever the individual is reborn. Wherever that kamma ripens, it is there that one experiences its result, either in this very life, or in the next rebirth, or on some subsequent occasion.

“Suppose, bhikkhus, seeds that are intact, unspoiled, not damaged by wind and the sun’s heat, fecund, well preserved, were deposited in well-prepared ground in a good field and receive proper rainfall: in this way, those seeds would grow, increase, and mature. So too, any kamma that is fashioned through greed … hatred … delusion, born of delusion, caused by delusion, originated by delusion, ripens wherever the individual is reborn. Wherever that kamma ripens, it is there that one experiences its result, either in this very life, or in the next rebirth, or on some subsequent occasion.

“These are the three causes for the origination of kamma.

“Bhikkhus, there are these three other causes for the origination of kamma. What three? Non-greed is a cause for the origination of kamma; non-hatred is a cause for the origination of kamma; non-delusion is a cause for the origination of kamma.

(1) “Any kamma, bhikkhus, fashioned through non-greed, born of non-greed, caused by non-greed, originated by non-greed, is abandoned when greed has vanished; it is cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so that it is no more subject to future arising. [373]

(2) “Any kamma fashioned through non-hatred, born of non-hatred, caused by non-hatred, originated by non-hatred, is abandoned when hatred has vanished; it is cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so that it is no more subject to future arising.

(3) “Any kamma fashioned through non-delusion, born of non-delusion, caused by non-delusion, originated by non-delusion, is abandoned when delusion has vanished; it is cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so that it is no more subject to future arising.

“Suppose, bhikkhus, there are seeds that are intact, unspoiled, not damaged by wind and the sun’s heat, fecund, well preserved. Then a man would burn them in a fire, reduce them to ashes, and winnow the ashes in a strong wind or let them be carried away by the swift current of a river. In this way, those seeds would be cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so that they are no more subject to future arising. So too, any kamma that is fashioned through non-greed … non-hatred … non-delusion, born of non-delusion, caused by non-delusion, originated by non-delusion, is abandoned when delusion has vanished; it is cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so that it is no more subject to future arising.”

“These, bhikkhus, are the three causes for the origination of kamma.”
  • Whatever kamma an ignorant person has done
    born of greed, hatred, and delusion,
    whether what was fashioned by him be little or much,
    it is to be experienced right here:
    there exists no other site for it. [374]

    Therefore a wise person should abandon
    any deed born of greed, hatred, and delusion.
    A bhikkhu, giving rise to knowledge,
    should abandon all bad destinations. [375]
Notes

[372] There are some differences in the readings: Ce diṭṭhe vā dhamme,
upapajje vā, apare vā pariyāye; Be diṭṭhe vā dhamme upapajja vā apare
vā pariyāye; Ee diṭṭh’ eva dhamme upapajje vā apare vā pariyāye. Mp
says: “This is stated to show that the kamma is [of the type] either
to be experienced in this present life, or to be experienced follow-
ing rebirth, or to be experienced in some subsequent existence.”
For an Abhidhamma explanation of this triad, see CMA 205. [See next post.]

Some scholars have argued from the variant readings that
only two alternatives are involved: either in this life or upon
rebirth. However, I translate in accordance with the commen-
tarial understanding. While the commentaries may be impos-
ing a later interpretation on more archaic texts that asserted
only two ways in which kamma can ripen, as a translator I feel
responsible to the text that has been transmitted rather than
to theories about a more archaic original. The recognition of a
threefold ripening of kamma is not exclusive to the Theravāda
school but is also found in the treatises of the Sarvāstivāda
Abhidharma system. Definitions of the three types—for example, in
the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣā Śāstra at T XXVII 592a 22 –593b 8 ,
and in the Abhidharmakośa at T XXIX 81c 10–16 —are exactly the
same as in the Pāli tradition and thus likely precede the division
of the schools.

[373] This statement has to be carefully interpreted. For an arahant—
who has abandoned greed, hatred, and delusion—kamma cre-
ated earlier, whether good or bad, is still capable of ripening
during the final life. But because there is no more rebirth, with his
passing all accumulated kamma from the past becomes defunct.
Thus the intention of this statement is not that an arahant’s past
kamma cannot ripen while the arahant lives, but that it becomes
defunct with the arahant’s passing; for there will be no further
continuum of existence within which its fruits might arise.

Brahmāli writes: “There must be a distinction here between
‘non-greed’ (alobha) and the situation when ‘greed has vanished’
(lobhe vigata). The former must refer to the motivation behind a
particular action, the latter to the full uprooting of greed, attained
only by the non-returner or even the arahant. Only in the light
of this distinction does this statement make sense.”

[374] I read with Ce and Be mohajañ cāpaviddasu, as against Ee’s mohajañ
cāpi ’viddasu. Mp (both Ce and Be) also reads mohajañ cāpaviddasu,
which it resolves into mohajañcāpi aviddasu. It paraphrases the
meaning thus: “Whatever kamma the blind, ignorant worldling
creates born of greed, hatred, and delusion—whether the kamma
so fashioned be little or much—it is to be experienced right here
(idh’eva taṃ vedaniyaṃ), that is, it is to be experienced by the fool
here in his very own being (idha sake attabhāveyeva); this means
that it ripens in his own individual being. There exists no other
site [for it] (vatthuṃ aññaṃ na vijjati): there is no other site for the
ripening of that kamma; for the kamma done by one person does
not ripen in another’s being.”

[375] Tasmā lobhaṃ ca dosaṃ ca, mohajaṃ cāpi viddasu. Ee reads the
last pāda mohañ cāpi ‘viddasu, which is missing a syllable. The
text does lack a verb and direct object qualifed by mohajaṃ. Mp
supplies these in its paraphrase: “Therefore a wise person does
not do that kamma born of greed and so forth” (yo vidū . . . taṃ
lobhajādibhedaṃ kammaṃ na karoti). It will be noted that Mp con-
siders lobhaṃ and dosaṃ to be truncated forms of lobhajaṃ and
dosajaṃ, and I translate accordingly. For the verb, I see jahe of
pāda d to implicitly extend up into pādas a and b, thus doing a
dual service.
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by mikenz66 »

Comprehensive Manual Of Abhidhamma passage mentioned above.

§20 By Time of Ripening
III. With respect to the time of taking effect, there are four kinds
of kamma, namely:
(i)immediately effective kamma;
(ii) subsequently effective kamma;
(iii) indefinitely effective kamma; and
(iv) defunct kamma.

Guide to §20
  • Immediately effective (ditthadhammavedaniya) kamma is kamma
    which, if it is to ripen, must yield its results in the same existence in
    which it is performed; otherwise, if it does not meet the opportunity to
    ripen in the same existence, it becomes defunct. According to the
    Abhidhamma, of the seven javanas in a javana process, the first javana
    moment, being the weakest of all, generates immediately effective
    kamma.

    Subsequently effective (upapajjavedaniya) kamma is kamma which,
    if it is to ripen, must yield its results in the existence immediately fol-
    lowing that in which it is performed; otherwise it becomes defunct. This
    type of kamma is generated by the last javana moment in a javana proc-
    ess, which is the second weakest in the series.

    Indefinitely effective (aparapariyavedaniya) kamma is kamma
    which can ripen at any time from the second future existence onwards,
    whenever it gains an opportunity to produce results. This kamma, gen-
    erated by the five intermediate javana moments of a cognitive process,
    never becomes defunct so long as the round of rebirths continues. No
    one, not even a Buddha or an Arahant, is exempt from experiencing the
    results of indefinitely effective kamma.

    Defunct (ahosi) kamma: This term does not designate a special class
    of kamma, but applies to kamma that was due to ripen in either the
    present existence or the next existence but did not meet conditions con-
    ducive to its maturation. In the case of Arahants, all their accumulated
    kamma from the past which was due to ripen in future lives becomes
    defunct with their final passing away.
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by mikenz66 »

The following phrase:
Yaṃ, bhikkhave, lobhapakataṃ kammaṃ lobhajaṃ lobhanidānaṃ lobhasamudayaṃ, yatthassa attabhāvo nibbattati tattha taṃ kammaṃ vipaccati.

(1) “Any kamma, bhikkhus, fashioned through greed, born of greed, caused by greed, originated by greed, ripens wherever the individual is reborn. ...
Is discussed in this blog: Where One Becomes One’s Natural Self on http://justalittledust.com/.
In chasing down the suttas in which the phrase upapajja vā apare vā pariyāye appears, I’ve come across a sutta (AN 3.34 The Nidana Sutta) in which the Buddha talks about the results of kamma using a phrase I have not encountered before, “yatthassa attabhāvo nibbattati“:

yatthassa – reality, true nature
attabhāvo – personality; individuality (literally self-becoming)
nibbattati – is born; results; arises

so we find him speaking of the consequences of actions that are inspired by greed, aversion, and delusion coming to fruition where there is the arising of our natural self, that self being “attabhāvo” — the sense-of-self that arises out of the process described in Dependent Arising as “becoming”. It isn’t surprising to hear the Buddha saying that the results of actions are experienced where there is the arising of that sense of a lasting self — since it’s quite clear that the opposite is true, that when we are rid of that sense of a lasting self, we stop doing those sorts of actions, and so there will be no new “results” created — but I have never found it stated more clearly.

....
:anjali:
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by vinasp »

Hi mike,

That is a very interesting sutta, thank you for drawing our attention to it. Here is my interpretation of the first paragraph of this sutta.

“Bhikkhus, there are these three causes for the origination of kamma. What three? Greed is a cause for the origination of kamma; hatred is a cause for the origination of kamma; delusion is a cause for the origination of kamma."

Greed, hatred, and delusion, are said to be 'sign-makers'. The eye, forms, and eye-consciousness, are signs. It is greed, hatred, and delusion, in the previous cycle of existence which makes the signs in the present cycle.

Greed, hatred, and delusion, are ignorance and craving in the previous cycle, or in the present or future cycle.

The signs are made at the start of the present cycle, so contact, feeling, perception, volition, and thirst, arise in dependence on these signs. Kamma is volition, so greed is a cause for the origination of volition (kamma).

Previous cycle = 'previous life', 'past life', 'previous existence'.

Past, present, and future, are separated by moments in the Abhidhamma.

With kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Vincent,

I'm not sure what you mean by "signs" in this context, or where it is said that greed, hatred, and delusion are "sign makers". Could you provide a reference?

:anjali:
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by vinasp »

Hi mike,

Quote: - "I'm not sure what you mean by "signs" in this context, or where it is said that greed, hatred, and delusion are "sign makers". Could you provide a reference?"

"Having fully understood everything, he sees all signs differently. He sees the eye differently, he sees forms differently … whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … that too he sees differently." [BB, SN 35.80]

"Lust is a maker of signs, hate is a maker of signs, delusion is a maker of signs 456. In a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed, these are abandoned, cut of at the root .... no longer subject to future arising..."
[MN 43.37 - BB, MLDB.]

With kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by mikenz66 »

OK, thanks. I wasn't sure if you meant nimmita (sign) or not.
Here's some recent discussion on SN 35.80:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 80#p384155

As for MN 37, here is Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation and comment:
37. “Lust is a maker of signs, hate is a maker of signs, delusion is a maker of signs. In a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed, these are abandoned, cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, done away with so that they are no longer subject to future arising. ....
  • MA interprets the phrase “maker of signs” (nimittakaraṇa ) to mean that lust, hate, and delusion brand a person as a worldling or a noble one, as lustful, hating, or deluded. But it may also mean that these defilements cause the mind to ascribe a false significance to things as being permanent, pleasurable, self, or beautiful.
:anjali:
Mike
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Vincent,

I don't see the logic of this. Perhaps I'm missing something.
vinasp wrote: The signs are made at the start of the present cycle, so contact, feeling, perception, volition, and thirst, arise in dependence on these signs. Kamma is volition, so greed is a cause for the origination of volition (kamma).
The current sutta states:
(1) “Any kamma, bhikkhus, fashioned through greed, born of greed, caused by greed, originated by greed, ripens wherever the individual is reborn. Wherever that kamma ripens, it is there that one experiences its result, either in this very life, or in the next rebirth, or on some subsequent occasion.
MN 37, quoted above, says:
“Lust is a maker of signs, hate is a maker of signs, delusion is a maker of signs. In a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed, these are abandoned, cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, done away with so that they are no longer subject to future arising.
It seems to me that these are lust, hate, and delusion. The signs (nimmita) are the result, not cause.

:anjali:
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by vinasp »

Hi mike,

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi: - "But it may also mean that these defilements cause the mind to ascribe a false significance to things as being permanent, pleasurable, self, or beautiful."

Greed, hatred, and delusion are continuously present for a worldling, they only vanish for an Arahant.

So the worldlings mind is ascribing a false significance to things continuously. This false significance is called - the sign. What things? Everything. This includes the actual eye, actual visible form, actual seeing, and so forth.

The worldling ascribes permanence, pleasure, and selfhood, to the actual eye. This continuous process of ascribing is called - the eye.

The worldling is instructed to see 'the eye' as impermanent, suffering, and non self (the opposite of what he is already doing).

As a result 'the eye' vanishes. The 'eye-sign' ceases.

And everything that has arisen based on the eye-sign also ceases.

With kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by vinasp »

Hi mike,

Quote: - "I don't see the logic of this. Perhaps I'm missing something."

Or it could be that I missed something in my explanation.

Quote: - "It seems to me that these are lust, hate, and delusion. The signs (nimmita) are the result, not cause."

First sentence is correct. Second sentence is half true. The signs are a result of past causes, but are also a cause of future results.

When switching from literal rebirth to a moment by moment rebirth, that which would cease in the next life ceases in the next moment. And that which is a result of craving in the (literal) past life, is now a result of craving in the previous moment.

I will attempt an interpretation of the second paragraph of AN 3.34, which you quote.

With kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by vinasp »

Hi mike,

OK - let's attempt the second paragraph, this is difficult.

“Any kamma, bhikkhus, fashioned through greed, born of greed, caused by greed, originated by greed, ripens wherever the individual is reborn.

Wherever that kamma ripens, it is there that one experiences its result, either in this very life, or in the next rebirth, or on some subsequent occasion."

First sentence simplified: Any kamma (volition) born of greed, ripens wherever one is reborn.

Literal reading: Actions born of greed in any life, ripen in one's following life.

Psychological reading: Greed in any moment, is a cause of volition in the next moment, which produces its result in the following moment.
[This is mental volition, not body or speech volition,]

Second sentence simplified: Where the action (volition) ripens, where one is reborn, there one experiences the result, in this life, or the next, or later.

Literal reading: Action ripens and produces its result in the following life, which could be this life, or the next, or later.

Psychological reading: Volition in any moment produces its result in the next moment, which could be this moment, or the next, or later.
[Each moment is the 'world' in which one is 'reborn'.]

With kind regards, Vincent.
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Re: AN 3.34 Nidāna Sutta. Causes.

Post by Sylvester »

mikenz66 wrote:The following phrase:
Yaṃ, bhikkhave, lobhapakataṃ kammaṃ lobhajaṃ lobhanidānaṃ lobhasamudayaṃ, yatthassa attabhāvo nibbattati tattha taṃ kammaṃ vipaccati.

(1) “Any kamma, bhikkhus, fashioned through greed, born of greed, caused by greed, originated by greed, ripens wherever the individual is reborn. ...
Is discussed in this blog: Where One Becomes One’s Natural Self on http://justalittledust.com/.
In chasing down the suttas in which the phrase upapajja vā apare vā pariyāye appears, I’ve come across a sutta (AN 3.34 The Nidana Sutta) in which the Buddha talks about the results of kamma using a phrase I have not encountered before, “yatthassa attabhāvo nibbattati“:

yatthassa – reality, true nature
attabhāvo – personality; individuality (literally self-becoming)
nibbattati – is born; results; arises

so we find him speaking of the consequences of actions that are inspired by greed, aversion, and delusion coming to fruition where there is the arising of our natural self, that self being “attabhāvo” — the sense-of-self that arises out of the process described in Dependent Arising as “becoming”. It isn’t surprising to hear the Buddha saying that the results of actions are experienced where there is the arising of that sense of a lasting self — since it’s quite clear that the opposite is true, that when we are rid of that sense of a lasting self, we stop doing those sorts of actions, and so there will be no new “results” created — but I have never found it stated more clearly.

....
Hi Mike

It would be quite interesting to see how translators have grappled with the term attabhāva. The favoured translation seems to approximate "individual existence", translating each member of the compound quite literally (atta is taken to be the self-reflexive pronoun 'himself', rather than the loaded "Self").

But then, there are 2 rather semantically related words -

- attabhāvapaṭilābha - the acquisition of attabhāva. Eg:
That being, bhikkhus, used to be a cattle butcher in this same Rājagaha. Having been tormented in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years, for many hundreds of thousands of years as a result of that kamma, [256] as a residual result of that same kamma he is experiencing such a form of individual existence (attabhāvapaṭilābha).

SN 19.1
- attapaṭilābha - the acquisition of self/Self? So far, I've traced this only to DN 9 :
Potthapada, there are these three acquisitions of a self (attapaṭilābha): the gross acquisition of a self, the mind-made acquisition of a self, and the formless acquisition of a self.

transl BB
Following this, is a long exposition of the 3-fold classification, before the Buddha sums up with -
“In the same way, when there is a gross acquisition of a self … it’s classified just as a gross acquisition of a self. When there is a mind-made acquisition of a self … When there is a formless acquisition of a self, it’s not classified either as a gross acquisition of a self or as a mind-made acquisition of a self. It’s classified just as a formless acquisition of a self.

“Citta, these are the world’s designations, the world’s expressions, the world’s ways of speaking, the world’s descriptions, with which the Tathagata expresses himself but without grasping to them.”
The context suggests that the Buddha was prepared to talk in terms of a "self" to Potthapada, given that the final bit above was the Buddha's signal that this sort of talk was just going by a worldly convention.

Should attabhāva therefore be translated less conservatively, on the proviso that it would be understood as conventional speech?

PS - Linda should have translated yatthassa as being the relative pronoun "wherever", given that it is followed by the demonstrative pronoun tattha (it is there).
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