The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Nāma Loka and Rupa Loka – Two Parts of Our World

Nāma Loka Is One of Two Parts of Our World

1. We have a “mental world (nāma loka)” as well as a “material world (rupa loka).” The material world is the same for all of us. But each person creates one’s own mental world based on that material world. We briefly discussed that in the previous post, “Ārammaṇa Plays a Critical Role in a Sensory Event.”

- A mind experiences the material world with the help of the five physical senses. Then it will make plans to re-live any “pleasurable experiences” again and again. That is related to greed or lobha (a reduced version is kāma rāga or the craving for sensory pleasures.)
- If it were a “bad experience,” the mind would avoid any such future experiences by taking various actions. Such actions may involve dosa (hatred), or its reduced version is paṭigha (“friction” or “annoyance.”)
- Both of the above actions will lead to future suffering. That suffering can be greatly-enhanced if someone’s actions include strong dasa akusala. Such a “totally covered” mind has moha and can lead to immediate and harsh suffering.
- But even those who live moral lives cannot escape future suffering because they are not aware of the “real nature” of the world. They have a lower version of moha (i.e., avijjā), the ignorance referred to in the Four Noble Truths.

Previously Unknown Teachings

2. That last bullet point about the future suffering is unknown to the world in the absence of a Buddha. Only a Buddha can discover that our world is much more expansive (with 31 realms), where life in some of the realms can be full of suffering.

- Other religions teach that one would be guaranteed “future happiness” in heavenly worlds if one lives a moral life.
With his knowledge about a much wider world of 31 realms, the Buddha showed that there is no realm in this world where one can avoid suffering. - - Furthermore, suffering in the lowest four realms (apāyā) can be quite harsh.
- Therefore, the key question is, how is it possible that one who lives a moral life is still subjected to suffering in future births?
- The explanation is in the “previously unheard Dhamma” of a Buddha. In the current series of posts, we first need to understand our “nāma loka.” Of course, there are other ways to get there, mainly by just realizing the dangers of pursuing sense pleasures.

Everything in the World Belongs to One of Six Dhātu

3. The Buddha categorized everything in the world into six types of dhātu: pathavi, āpo, tejo, vāyo, ākāsa, and viññāṇa. The conventional translation of the word “dhātu” is “element,” but in this context “essence” may be a better translation.

- We are quite familiar with our “physical world” made of pathavi, āpo, tejo, vāyo spread out in space (ākāsa dhātu.) Therefore, those five dhātu associate with the rupa loka.
- The sixth, viññāṇa dhātu, is associate with the nāma loka.
- When one dissociates with the world of 31 realms, one merges with Nibbāna dhātu. See, “Nibbānadhātu Sutta (Iti 44).”

Viññāṇa Dhātu Is Nāma Loka

4. Viññāṇa dhātu INCLUDES all mental entities: vedana,saññā,saṅkhāra, and viññāṇa.

- Here, viññāṇa is a bit complex. It is of two types. (1) Vipaka viññāṇa arises when we experience something with any of the six senses. Thus, it can be one of the six types of viññāṇa: cakkhu, sota, ghāna, jivha, kāya, mano. They arise as kamma vipāka or RESULTS of kamma. (2) Kamma viññāṇa arises ONLY in mind as mano viññāṇa.
- Unlike vipāka viññāṇa, kamma viññāṇa has ENERGY. That energy arises in javana citta when we DO kamma.
- As we see, the experiences through any of the six senses give to “mental entities” that are in viññāṇa dhātu.
- In other words, it is the mind that experiences both parts of our world.

Viññāṇa Dhātu Is Very Different From Other Five Dhātu

5. According to modern science, our mental world is a byproduct of the material body (specifically the brain.) It only deals with the rupa loka and disregards the nāma loka (viññāṇa dhātu) altogether.

- Modern science is not equipped to tackle the mind yet. Unlike material objects that are inert and thus follow pre-set rules (like Newton’s laws of motion,) the mind of EACH PERSON is unique. Thus, while we can accurately predict the path of a rocket, we cannot predict any given person’s actions.
- The Buddha explained that the mind is the precursor to the material world. That is a complex subject, but I hope you are at least beginning to get the idea that our future rebirths (and thus any physical bodies in future births) arise due to our thoughts (specifically javana citta, which arise when we engage in strong kamma.)

No Spatial Boundaries In Nāma Loka (Viññāṇa Dhātu)

6. Another unique feature of the mind (or nāma loka or viññāṇa dhātu) is that there are no “spatial locations” or “spatial boundaries” in viññāṇa dhātu. We cannot ask WHERE it is located. It is everywhere and anywhere. See the previous post, “Ārammaṇa Plays a Critical Role in a Sensory Event.”

- The absence of spatial boundaries in nāma loka becomes apparent when we realize that we only access the nāma loka while dreaming.
- The arupāvacara Brahmas do not have access to the rupa loka. As we have discussed, they do not have any of the five physical senses or the corresponding five pasāda rupa. They have the hadaya vatthu, which can only recall memories. Those memories come directly to the hadaya vatthu since they don’t have brains.

The Best Way to Visualize Viññāṇa Dhātu – Dreams

7. When we dream, our minds are ONLY in the nāma loka. As we have discussed before, all five physical senses “go to sleep” while we sleep, which is when we dream.

- We see, hear, smell, taste, touch WITH OUR MINDS when we dream.
- As we know, there are no “spatial locations” in dreams. We see a dream. We cannot say where it was. If we see a jungle, our mind is there. We feel as if we are in a jungle.

Nāma Loka and Rupa Loka Co-Exist

8. When we dream, our five physical senses become inactive. In a primitive way, our minds detach from ākāsa dhātu. A mind is then in just viññāṇa dhātu. That is why we don’t perceive “locations” in dreams. We see people, buildings, trees, etc., but a location is not defined.

- Another way to state that is to say viññāṇa dhātu normally co-exists with the ākāsa dhātu. However, when we dream, the mind detaches from ākāsa dhātu (since the five physical senses are not active) and is engaged only with the viññāṇa dhātu (nāma loka.)

Mind Separates From Rupa Loka After the Fourth Jhāna

9. A mind detaches from the rupa loka when transcending the fourth jhāna, the highest rupāvacara jhāna. This is a technical point that can be skipped by those not familiar with Abhidhamma/jhāna.

- One is aware ONLY of the “infinite space” (no other rupa) when one gets to the fifth jhāna or the “ākāsānañcāyatana” (meaning “infinite space”.) - - When one transcends the ākāsānañcāyatana and gets to the viññāṇañcāyatana (or infinite viññāṇa.) This is when the mind (viññāṇa) “decouples” or “separates” from “space.” Now the mind has absolutely no awareness of space or the rupa loka.
- That is why the highest four jhānā are “arupāvacara jhāna.” Arupa means “without rupa.” The only rupa there would be a trace of matter associated with hadaya vatthu of arupāvacara Brahmā. Even in ākāsānañcāyatana, there is only space and no other “rupa.”

Kamma Bhava Is Also In Nāma Loka

10. The nāma loka encompasses (includes) kamma bhava. The appropriate bhava manifests under the right conditions. If we drink too much alcohol, we get drunk and get to a mindset of a drunkard. We may stay in that “drunkard existence” for a few hours.

- At the moment of death (if it is at the end of human bhava,) a mind will grasp a new bhava (existence) and instantaneously be born in that existence at the CORRESPONDING spatial location. For example, if one can grasp a Deva existence, one will be instantaneously born in that Deva realm a thousand miles above the Earth.
- That is also why a human can be born INSTANTANEOUSLY as a Deva in a Deva realm at the end of the human bhava. Grasping of a patisandhi viññāṇa of a Deva happens instantaneously at the corresponding spatial location (in a Deva realm). The viññāṇa dhātu does not have spatial restrictions. It is EVERYWHERE, so to speak!
- That happens because the viññāṇa dhātu is normally “merged with” ākāsa dhātu. They overlap. Thus, based on the type of patisandhi viññāṇa, one will automatically be born in the appropriate spatial location in ākāsa dhātu.
- That is a very brief description. But it is enough for now to get the basic idea.

A Gandhabba Is Totally Shielded From Both Loka While Inside a Physical Body

11. A gandhabba is totally shielded from both the rupa loka and the nāma loka while inside a human body.

- As discussed in previous posts, a gandhabba accesses the outside material world (rupa loka) using the five physical senses of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body. It accesses the nāma loka using the “transmitter” and “receiver” in the brain. See, “Brain and the Gandhabba.” It is good to review posts in that subsection.
- For a gandhabba inside a physical body, sensory signals from outside must come through the five “physical sensors” mounted on the body (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body.) The brain plays a vital role in transferring those signals to the gandhabba inside.
- In the same way, memories experienced by the gandhabba “go out” to the viññāṇa dhātu via a “transmitter” in the brain. Old memories in viññāṇa dhātu “come back” via a “receiver” in the brain. Recent findings in medical science allowed us to identify the “transmitter” as we discussed.

Consequences of a Gandhabba Trapped and Isolated Inside a Physical Body

12. Even though viññāṇa dhātu is everywhere, it is NOT present inside the physical human body. The “entrapment” of a gandhabba inside a physical body is a kammic effect, as we discussed before.

- This is also why an Arahant does not attain Parinibbāna until the death of the physical body. The “subtle body” of a gandhabba cannot “bear the Arahanthood” and dies instantly when it comes out of the dead body of an Arahant.
- That is also why there are no Arahants in Brahma loka. As soon as a Brahma attains the Arahanthood, the death of the subtle Brahma body follows.

Buddhist Model of Memory Preservation and Retrieval

13. All memories (from an untraceable beginning) are in nāma loka or viññāṇa dhātu, which may also be called “viññāṇa plane” or “nāma loka.” Of course, our kammic energies (kamma bija) are also in nāma loka.

- Those “physical entities” that we see, hear, etc. reside in ākāsa dhātu.
- We are quite familiar with our “physical world” spread out in space (ākāsa dhātu.) Thus, we automatically tend to carry over those concepts to viññāṇa dhātu. However, the viññāṇa dhātu is very different from the ākāsa dhātu. There are no spatial restrictions in viññāṇa dhātu.
- Thus, we cannot talk about a “specific location” for memories. They are just in nāma loka. That is why memories can be recalled without any effort, whether on Earth or the Moon.

Summary of Discussion So Far

14. We have been discussing the role of the brain in our mental activities; see, “Brain and the Gandhabba.” In this Buddhist model of human life, the human body is just a “shell” controlled by the “mental body” or gandhabba. See “Gandhabba in a Human Body – an Analogy.”

- Human existence is not limited to a single life of about 100 years with a human body. Like in many other realms, human existence can be very long, at least several thousand years. See, “Bhava and Jnāmati – States of Existence and Births Therein.” Therefore, each of us could have lived previous human lives within the current human existence (bhava.) If so, some of us may be able to recall one or two past lives. But it is very rare to recall a previous life in another existence, for example, a Deva bhava or an animal bhava.
- As we have discussed, the gandhabba can smell, taste, and touch only inside a physical body. The brain acts as the intermediary in all sensory interactions when the gandhabba is inside a physical body.
- The brain also helps recall memories in the nāma loka, as we discussed above—more details in future posts about that memory recall process.
- In a previous couple of posts, we discussed the role of the brain in some special situations, including total or partial “vegetative states.”

- Posts in this subsection at “Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach” started on Aug 02, 2020 (p. 84):
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by coconut »

Do you have a sutta source for any of things you wrote about Ghandhabbas?
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

coconut wrote: Fri Nov 06, 2020 1:08 pm Do you have a sutta source for any of things you wrote about Ghandhabbas?
"Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipitaka" posted on Oct 28, 2018 (p.43): ... &start=630
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Today, I will start a new subsection on a systematic approach to study the Tipiṭaka.

Tipiṭaka – The Uniqueness of Buddha Dhamma

The Need for a Systematic Approach

1. Tipiṭaka (Tripiṭaka in Sanskrit) is the Pāli Canon, which contains the teachings of the Buddha. It is self-consistent. It is also a vast collection of texts (in 57 volumes) divided into three sections (Piṭaka) of Sutta, Vinaya, and Abhidhamma.

- How would one even begin to understand that vast material? That is especially a daunting task for someone who has had no prior exposure to Buddha Dhamma.
- Two main issues need to be looked at. (1) Understand the primary and ultimate goal of a Buddhist, (2) Cultivate familiarity with key Pāli words that CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be translated into English.
- Just trying to understand various suttas (with the difficulty of comprehension in a wide range) could be a waste of time. First, one needs to focus on a few suttas that provide the Buddha’s key message. But that itself requires understanding the meanings of some key Pāli words.
- In the new section, “Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach,” I am trying to address both those issues. This new subsection will hopefully clarify some related issues.

The Uniqueness of Buddha Dhamma

2. A Buddha is a unique “being.” Even though born a human, he transcended his human birth and attained the Buddhahood. The Buddhahood is a title attained by those who can purify their minds to the utmost. For example, Einstein had a much higher level of “intelligence” than an average human, but a Buddha’s mind is infinitely superior. A Buddha appears in the world very rarely, once in many billions of years.

- A Buddha can “see” the true and complete characteristics of our world. Thus, Buddha Gotama revealed a world of 31 realms that is much more vast and complex than the two realms (human and animal) that are discernible to an average human.
- He also revealed to us a rebirth process that has no discernible beginning. A given “lifestream” evolves from one existence to another among the 31 possible realms.
- Rebirth is not a random process. It follows the principle of causation (causes lead to results; with the removal of causes, no results can manifest.) Translated to Buddha Dhamma, birth results from previous actions DONE WITH greed, anger/hate, and ignorance. With the removal of those “defilements” from a mind, the rebirth cycle will stop since necessary causes have been removed.
- But why would one want willingly to make an effort to stop the rebirth process? Before getting to that, we first need to look at the two main prevailing world views.

False Premise of Other Religions

3. World’s major religions are based on two fundamental premises: (1) If you live a moral life, you get to go to heaven forever, and (2) If you live an immoral life, expect to suffer forever in hell. Such a claim appear sound and logical, and most people are attracted to that simple premise. See, “Wrong View of Creationism (and Eternal Future Life) – Part 1 and Part 2” on Aug 11, 2019 and Aug 19, 2019: ... 26#p523126

- However, the Buddha taught that just living a moral life WILL NOT guarantee the removal of future suffering. Permanent removal of future suffering REQUIRES stopping the rebirth process.
- By living a moral life, one MAY get a “good birth” in the next life, but that WILL NOT stop future subsequent births with harsh suffering.
By the way, if someone says one “should not criticize other religions,” that statement is made out of ignorance. One needs to be able to criticize false premises, no matter where they are found. If one finds a similar issue in Buddha Dhamma, one should bring it up for discussion. I have discussed some such issues at, “Mystical Phenomena in Buddhism?” on Jul 28, 2019: ... 77#p522377 and “Myths or Realities?“ section at
- Real compassion is to help others understand the true nature of our complex world. That will enable one to get rid of an unimaginable amount of future suffering. Of course, it is up to each individual to decide whether to accept any given explanation about the world’s nature.
- The second major false premise is the view that life ends with the physical body’s death.

Rebirth is Not True? – Another False Premise

4. In the materialistic view, one lives only the present life, ending with the physical body’s death. In this view, there are absolutely no consequences to one’s actions (other than for breaking the mundane laws.) For example, if you kill another human, you may go to jail (if caught,) but there would be no other consequences.

- The book “Free Will” by the atheist intellectual Sam Harris provides the rationale of a “materialist.” At the beginning of the book, he described heinous crimes committed by two individuals, Hayes and Komeisarjevsky. Then on page 4, he writes, “as sickening as I find their behavior, I have to admit that if I were to trade places with one of these men, atom to atom, I would be him: There is no extra part of me that could decide to see the world differently or to resist the impulse to victimize other people.” (highlighting mine.)
- That quote embeds the essence of materialism. A person is just an assembly of atoms and molecules, nothing more. Also, see “Views on Life – Wrong View of Materialism” on Aug 04, 2019: ... 26#p523126
- But then the question arises, “why is Sam Harris NOT CAPABLE of such heinous crimes?” Those crimes were not done at the spur of the moment. They had planned those crimes. I don’t think Sam Harris or any other decent human is CAPABLE of committing such PLANNED crimes. One would first need to get into such a defiled mindset. Hitler planned and killed millions of Jews. Not many people are CAPABLE of such actions.
- Both types of major wrong views discussed above arise because one is not aware of the complex web of causes and effects discussed in detail in the Tipiṭaka. Can things happen without causes?

Nothing Happens Without Reasons/Causes

5. Modern science agrees that nothing happens without a cause(s). In the past, people believed that earthquakes, floods, floods, etc. happen due to the “will of the Creator God.” Now we know that there are natural causes for each of those, and there is no need to invoke a Creator.

- In the same way, if one wins a million dollars in a lottery or breaks a leg in an accident, that would not be the “will of a higher intelligence.” Those are results (vipāka) of previous good/bad actions (kamma.)
- Similarly, there are reasons (root causes) why some people are born healthy and wealthy, some are born at the opposite end, and an infinite variety in between. By the way, all those animals had been humans in past lives too.
- Therefore, just by using that causation principle, one can come to the reasonable conclusion that there must be causes for the diversity of births. One is born poor due to the causes (bad actions) from a previous life. Similarly, one is born an animal because one had behaved like an animal in human existence in the past. A Deva in a Deva realm is born there because of good deeds in past lives.
- There are also reasons why criminals like Hayes and Komeisarjevsky or Hitler are capable of acts of violence. Their defiled minds led them to behave like animals.
- There are reasons (causes) for anything to happen. It is just that finding those root causes is not easy because the world is complex. The rebirth process is necessary for the laws of kamma to bring forth such a variety of possible outcomes within life and from life-to-life.
- Only a Buddha can provide that complete picture. Out of that picture emerges the way to stop future suffering altogether.

Buddhist Explanation Requires a Wider World View

6. The principle of causation that explains all that is Paṭicca Samuppāda. That is at the heart of Tipiṭaka text. I have tried to explain it in various ways. See, for example, “Origin of Life” on Jun 29, 2019: ... 55#p518755

- I have recently started another, more fundamental approach in the series, “Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach.” But such approaches are needed ONLY IF one has doubts about the rebirth process or the other underlying aspects like laws of kamma.
- In the Buddha’s days, too, there were people with both wrong views discussed in #3 and #4. There were teachers like Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambali, Purana Kassapa, Pudhaka Kaccayana, Sanjaya Belatthiputta, and Nigantha Nataputta who taught various versions of wrong views as described in the Tipiṭaka.
- The Buddha engaged them in some occasions to illustrate the soundness of Buddha Dhamma. See, for example, “Brahmajāla Sutta (DN 1),” “Aggañña Sutta (DN 27),” and “Cūḷasaccaka Sutta (MN 35).”

The Need to Correctly Interpret the Tipiṭaka

7. Therefore, the basic framework to explain the deep and complex true nature of this world of 31 realms is in the Tipiṭaka. Various aspects are in all three sections (Piṭaka) of the Tipiṭaka: Sutta, Vinaya, and Abhidhamma.

- A Dhamma teacher needs to have the following qualifications: (1) Know the meanings of key Pāli words. (2) The ability to explain succinct and deep verses in the Tipiṭaka.
- Both those REQUIRE the translator to be an Ariya or a Noble Person who has attained the Sotapanna stage.
- Let me make an analogy to explain that.

8. Suppose a medical text needs to be translated from English to French.

- Would it be possible for a person well-versed in English and French to do a good job, UNLESS he/she is also a SPECIALIST in that particular field of medicine?
- Translating a text REQUIRES a deep understanding of the SUBJECT.
- Translating Pāli text in the Tipiṭaka to English REQUIRES much more than English proficiency and some knowledge in Pāli. A CLEAR understanding of the DEEP CONCEPTS in Buddha Dhamma is NECESSARY.
- It is not just a matter of learning Pāli grammar and to use various Pāli-English dictionaries that are available.
- In this particular case, the SPECIALIST is a Noble Person. One MUST be at least a Sotapanna to be able to explain even the basic concepts correctly.

Which Interpretation Is Correct?

9. Of course, the question arises: “How would one know whether anyone claiming to be an Ariya (Noble Person) is indeed one or not?” Any person can make that claim. The Buddha allowed one to make that declaration if one is certain that he/she has been “freed from the rebirths in the apāyā” or has attained the Sotapanna stage. See, for example, “Dutiyabhayaverūpasanta Sutta (SN 55. 29)”: The same passage appears in the “Mahāparinibbāna Sutta (DN 16).”

- That is where each person has to make the decision. If two teachers claim to have the “correct explanation” AND those two are very different, only one is right or closer to the truth. It is up to each person to decide who could be right based on the totality of writings from those two.
- Of course, even an Ariya can make mistakes. Unless one is a Sammā Sambuddha Like Buddha Gotama, one COULD make mistakes. However, those mistakes would be MINOR compared to the key mistakes that an anariya is BOUND TO make. One is an anariya until becoming at least a Sotapanna Anugāmi (who has begun to understand the Noble Truths on Suffering.)

Understanding the “Hidden Suffering”

10. To understand the key message of the Buddha, it is necessary to understand the “big picture” of a rebirth process among 31 realms. The Tipiṭaka explains it in detail. Without an idea of that big picture, it does not make sense to try to “attain Nibbāna.” Attaining Nibbāna MEANS “stopping the rebirth process.”

- One would NOT want to stop a “good thing” from happening over and over. If repeated births is a “good thing,” the Buddha would not have labored for 45 years to convince us that many future births for an anariya (one who has not understood the Noble Truths) will be filled with unbearable suffering.
- The Buddha explained that humans (and other living beings) are incapable of seeing the hidden dangers of the rebirth process.
- The average human perceives that worldly things bring happiness. In the contrary, craving for those worldly things can ONLY lead to unimaginable suffering in future lives. Such cravings CANNOT be willfully suppressed. Those cravings NATURALLY go away when one starts comprehending the real nature of this world.
- That is the “previously unheard Dhamma” of a Buddha. It goes against all the prevailing views that we discussed above.
We will continue that discussion in the next post.

- Posts in this subsection at “Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach” started on Aug 02, 2020 (p. 84):
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Pāli Canon Is Self-Contained but Requires Detailed Explanation

Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. That collection has all the necessary teachings of the Buddha. However, the key concepts need to be explained in detail by a Noble Person (an Ariya.)

Initial Oral Transmission

1. After the passing away of the Buddha, his teachings were handed down ORALLY from one generation to the next over about five hundred years. It had been prepared for easy oral transmission. That becomes clear when one listens to the recital of a given sutta. As a child, I had memorized several suttas without much difficulty.

- That is the reason for the Pāli Canon survived entirely in content over that long period of oral transmission. There were groups of bhikkhus who memorized overlapping sections and passed them down. 
- During that period of oral transmission, four Sangayanas (Councils) were recited, and the content was verified.
- That material was written down in that exact form when it became possible to preserve written material for a long time; see #2 below. 
- The Pāli Canon was written down at the Fourth Buddhist Council around 5 BCE. Details at “Sutta – Introduction.“ That is why the Pāli Canon (Tipiṭaka) can be trusted to have the Buddha's original teachings.

The Authenticity of the Tipiṭaka

2. After the initial writing, the whole Tipiṭaka was periodically re-written on specially prepared ōla (palm) leaves over the next 2000 years. The leaves deteriorated over time and needed to be re-written every 100 years or so. Even though that was a very labor-intensive process (there are 57 large volumes in the modern printed version of the Pāli Canon), it served another important purpose.

- Sinhala language (both spoken and written) changed over the past 2000 years. The need to re-write it every 100 or so years made sure that the Sinhala script changes were taken into account. That assured authenticity.
- The following video gives an idea about how those leaves were prepared and what tools were used to write with:

3. The fourth Buddhist Council was the last Council attended exclusively by Arahants. The writing of the Pāli Canon took place during that Council. That provides credence to the authenticity of the Tipiṭaka. Of course, no one can dispute that the three Piṭaka are inter-consistent and also consistent within each Piṭaka.

- The discourses of the Buddha were said to have been delivered in Māgadhi (“maga” + “adhi” or Noble path) language. The written form was called the Pāli. But Pāli does not have its own script, so it was written down with Sinhala script.
- That also provides a clear way of sorting out the Mahāyāna literature. They are all in Sanskrit and never in Pāli. Mahāyānic philosophers wrote all the Sanskrit suttā (more correctly sutrā) in Sanskrit.
- Furthermore, the Tipiṭaka was NEVER translated to Sanskrit. The Buddha prohibited that. See, “Preservation of the Buddha Dhamma.”

“Double-Meanings” of Many Keywords

4. The Sutta Piṭaka contains the bulk of the original discourses delivered by the Buddha. It had been specially put into a format suitable for easy oral transmission.

- The Buddha knew that Buddha Dhamma would be going through periods of decline where bhikkhus capable of interpreting the suttā will not be present. Thus the suttā were composed in a way that only the “conventional” meaning is apparent. That was a necessary step to preserve the suttā, especially before writing became commonplace.
- It is important to remember that Ven. Ananda had memorized all the suttā which he then recited at the First Buddhist Council, just three months after the Parinibbāna of the Buddha.
- Ven. Ananda was Buddha’s personal assistant over the last few decades of the Buddha’s life. It is likely that the Buddha condensed each sutta and Ven. Ananda memorized each of them. The Buddha synthesized each sutta in a “double meaning” way for them to survive the “dark periods.” That point will become clear as we discuss further.
- Then, at the first Buddhist Council, all the suttā were recited and were sorted into various categories (Nikāyās). We still have that same Sutta Piṭaka.
- The Vinaya Piṭaka also remains in the same original form. Only the Abhidhamma Piṭaka was finalized at the Third Buddhist Council. Then all three finalized Piṭakas were written down at the Fourth Council. See, “Preservation of the Buddha Dhamma.”

Need for Detailed Explanations

5. The critical point here is that a sutta is a CONDENSED version of discourse in many cases. For example, the Dhamma Cakka Pavattana Sutta was delivered to the five ascetics overnight. Imagine how many written pages would be if written verbatim! Yet, it was summarized in a few pages. The same is true for all the important suttā. Otherwise, it would have been impossible to transmit all those thousands of suttā.

- Each Pāli keyword (like ānāpāna, anicca, and anatta) is packed with a lot of information. Commentaries (called “Attha Kathā”) were written to expound on the meaning of important Pāli words and also to explain the key verses (like “yē dhammā hetuppabbavā..”)

Importance of the Commentaries

6. Thus, deep suttas were meant to be used with the commentaries. Many Pāli suttā are not supposed to be translated word-by-word.

- Most of those Sinhala commentaries were burned down in the Anuradhapura era; see, “Incorrect Theravada Interpretations – Historical Timeline.“
- Fortunately, three original commentaries written by the main disciples of the Buddha (Ven. Sariputta, Ven. Kaccayaṃa, etc.) during the time of the Buddha had been included in the Pāli Canon (in the Khuddhaka Nikāya) and thus survived. The current revival of pure Dhamma by Waharaka Thero and a few other Theros in Sri Lanka is partially due to their perusal of these three documents (Patisambhidamagga Pakarana, Petakopadesa, and Nettippakarana).
- Once the deeper meanings stay hidden for long times, only a few with the Patisambhidā Ñāna can understand AND explain even those three commentaries. Certain jāti Sotapannas are born with that the Patisambhidā Ñāna from time-to-time. Waharaka Thero was one of them. From the time of Buddhaghosa, the deeper meanings had been hidden until Waharaka Thero unearthed them in recent years.

Tipiṭaka Transmitted With Mundane Meanings During “Dark Periods”

7. Therefore, there are “dark periods” when bhikkhus with the Patisambhidā Ñāna are not born for long times. During such times, people use conventional interpretations. And that served the purpose of keeping the suttā intact, especially before written texts became common. Even though people understood only the mundane versions, the text was faithfully transmitted.

- A perfect example is the Ānāpānasati Sutta (some of which are also part of the Mahā Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta). As we discussed in “What is Anapana?”, the conventional meaning of the word ānāpāna is to tie up “āna” with breath inhaling and “āpāna” with breath exhaling. That was consistent with the breath meditation that has been there in the world at any time. Many yogis practiced it at the time of the Buddha. He learned those methods from such yogis before attaining the Buddhahood.
- Other examples are the translation of the keywords of anicca and anatta as impermanence and “no-self.” Even though those two meanings are embedded in the correct meanings, the deeper meanings are broader. There is no English word that has the same meaning as anicca (or anatta.) - Even the word “dukkha” DOES NOT refer to just the suffering that one feels. Rather, Dukkha Sacca (Noble Truth on Suffering) is about the CAUSES of FUTURE suffering.
- The true meanings of those words will EMERGE as we systematically go through the upcoming posts.

Explanation of Dhamma – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Patiniddēsa

8. A deep dhamma concept may appear in the Pāli Canon (especially in the Sutta and Abhidhamma) as just an “uddēsa” or “utterance.”

- “Niddēsa” is a “brief explanation” that appears in one of the three commentaries mentioned above. Finally, “patiniddēsa” means explaining in detail with examples to clarify complex or “knotty” points by a bhikkhu (or a knowledgeable layperson) during a discourse (or in a text today.) See “Sutta – Introduction.”
- For example, in the suttas on Anulōma Paṭicca Samuppāda it is stated in the uddēsa version: “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā, saṅ­khā­ra ­pac­cayā viññāṇaṃ, .. ending in “.. Evametassa kevalassa duk­khak­khan­dhassa samudayo hotī” ti OR “the whole mass of suffering.” The STOPPING of the “the whole mass of suffering” is stated in the niddesa version in Patilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda as, “avijjā nirodhā saṅ­khā­ra­ nirodho, saṅ­khā­ra ­nirodhā viññāṇa nirodho,..” ending with “end of the whole mass of suffering.”
- However, both saṅkhāra and viññāṇa arise in an Arahant. That seems to be a contradiction when it is stated that saṅ­khā­ra ­nirodhā (cessation of saṅ­khā­ra) and viññāṇa nirodhā (cessation of viññāṇa.)
- In the commentary Patisambhidamagga Pakarana, it is clarified in the short form (niddēsa) to say that those saṅkhāra removed by an Arahant are [i]abhisaṅkhāra[/i] and that only kamma viññāṇa do not arise in an Arahant.
- Then, that needs to be explained in detail (patiniddēsa) as in the post, “Anulōma Patilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda – Key to Sōtapanna Stage.” posted on March 14, 2019 (p.71): ... start=1050

It Is an Offense to Misinterpret Buddha Dhamma

9. It is an offense to misinterpret suttā or other material in the Pāli Canon. That is in several suttā in the "Bālavagga of Aṅguttara Nikāya 2":

- For example, AN 2.23 is a short sutta that says: “Bhikkhus, these two misrepresent the Buddha. What two? One who explains what was not spoken by the Buddha as spoken by him. And one who explains what was spoken by the Buddha as not spoken by him. These two misrepresent the Buddha. These are two who slander the Tathāgatā.”


10. The following are the key points from the above discussion that I wish to emphasize:

- Many suttā are designed to convey “conventional” meanings while keeping the “deep meanings” embedded in them.
- It is those “deep meanings” that bring out the uniqueness of Buddha Dhamma.
- Word-to-word translation of the suttā does not convey the message of the Buddha. Examples are critical Pāli words like ānāpāna, anicca, and anatta.
- The surviving three original commentaries in the Pāli Canon (Tipiṭaka) can verify the keywords/phrases’ deep meanings. Once a Noble Person clarifies them with Patisambhidā Ñāna, any other Noble Person can explain those meanings to others.

Posts in this subsection at “Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach” started on Aug 02, 2020 (p. 84): ... 63#p573863
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

A correction (shown in red) for #8 of the above post:

8. A deep dhamma concept may appear in the Pāli Canon (especially in the Sutta and Abhidhamma) as just an “uddēsa” or “utterance.”

Niddēsa” is a “brief explanation” that appears in one of the three commentaries mentioned above. Finally, “patiniddēsa” means explaining in detail with examples to clarify complex or “knotty” points by a bhikkhu (or a knowledgeable layperson) during a discourse (or in a text today.) See “Sutta – Introduction.”
- For example, in the suttas on Anulōma Paṭicca Samuppāda it is stated in the uddēsa version: “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā, saṅ­khā­ra ­pac­cayā viññāṇaṃ, .. ending in “.. Evametassa kevalassa duk­khak­khan­dhassa samudayo hotī” ti OR “the whole mass of suffering.” The STOPPING of the “the whole mass of suffering” is stated also in the uddēsa version in Patilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda as, “avijjā nirodhā saṅ­khā­ra­ nirodho, saṅ­khā­ra ­nirodhā viññāṇa nirodho,..” ending with “end of the whole mass of suffering.”
- However, both saṅkhāra and viññāṇa arise in an Arahant. That seems to be a contradiction when it is stated that saṅ­khā­ra ­nirodhā (cessation of saṅ­khā­ra) and viññāṇa nirodhā (cessation of viññāṇa.)
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Vinaya Piṭaka – More Than Disciplinary Rules

Vinaya Piṭaka contains much more information than Vinaya rules for bhikkhus/bhikkhunis.

Introduction – Need to Consult All Three Piṭaka

1. The Buddha said that if there is any doubt or a concept that is not clear, one should check with Sutta, Vinaya, and Abhidhamma. These basically refer to the Tipiṭaka (three baskets) of Sutta Piṭaka, Vinaya Piṭaka, and Abhidhamma Piṭaka.

- Most people refer to the Sutta Piṭaka and forget about the other two. Abhidhamma Piṭaka is a bit hard to understand, and without a firm grasp of basics, it is harder.
- Most people think that the Vinaya Piṭaka is just for the bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. But there are sections in the Vinaya Piṭaka that have details that are not in the other two Piṭaka.
- The following article provides details of the Vinaya Piṭaka: “Vinaya Piṭaka – The Basket of the Discipline.” We will only discuss some key features :
- For someone who is “new to Buddhism,” the introductory article by Bhikkhu Bodhi could be useful: “The Buddha and His Dhamma.” ... el433.html

A Balanced Approach – Importance of the Vinaya Piṭaka

2. It is prudent to use a balanced approach to learn Buddha Dhamma. Instead of diving into analyzing deep suttas, one needs first to get an idea about the Buddha, the necessary moral background, and basic concepts like kamma and rebirth.

- In the beginning, both the Sutta Piṭaka and Vinaya Piṭaka can be quite helpful. One should get into Abhidhamma only after getting a good idea about the background, key concepts, and the ultimate goal.
- While the Sutta Piṭaka discusses dhamma concepts, the Vinaya Piṭaka provides the background settings for the following two cases: (1) for many suttas, and (2) for many Vinaya rules.

Background for Key Suttas

3. The Vinaya Piṭaka provides an illuminating background account for many suttas.

- For example, the Mahāvagga ( of the Vinaya Piṭaka has a chronological account of the events following Buddha’s Enlightenment. The English translation at Sutta Central is good: “On Awakening” :
- That account describes in detail Buddha’s daily activities following the attainment of the Buddhahood. It also explains in detail how the Buddha delivered and discussed, over several days, the material condensed in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11) to the five ascetics.
- That is why some highly-condensed suttas SHOULD NOT be translated word-by-word. It takes many posts to discuss in detail, even just the key verses of a deep sutta. See, “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta” : ... ana-sutta/

Background for Vinaya Rules

4. For many years after the Buddha’s Enlightenment, there were no rules for the bhikkhus. Those who ordained as bhikkhus in those early years had fulfilled most of their “pāramitā” and did not need much clarification of dhamma concepts. They also were ‘self-disciplined,” and it was not necessary to impose rules.

- Most Vinaya rules were set up to handle particular situations where one or more bhikkhus had done things that were not appropriate. The Vinaya Piṭaka provides background accounts for many such cases. Such accounts provide insights into dhamma concepts as well as providing reasons for enacting such rules.
- For example, there was no rule for the bhikkhus to abstain from eating after Noon. There were few other reasons to impose that rule, but one reason was to discipline those who started wearing robes to “live an easy life.” That rule was enacted probably after 20 years or so, and by that time, most people had become faithful followers of the Buddha. They held bhikkhus in high regard and took care of all their needs.
- There is an account in the Vinaya Piṭaka for another reason for that rule. One bhikkhu went for an alms-collection after dark, and a woman had thrown dirty water from a cooking pot at the bhikkhu because she could not see him.

5. Here is another example. Any bhikkhu commits a pārājika offense (which is one of the four most serious offenses) by declaring supermundane attainments like jhana or magga phala (uttarimanussadhamma), knowing that he does not have such attainments.

- Of course, any bhikkhu (or a layperson) can declare genuine attainment if the need arose. But if it is done without really having such attainments that is a pārājika offense for a bhikkhu. He must give up the robes since he would not be able to make progress.
- That Vinaya rule was enacted after a group of bhikkhus decided to make such claims to receive alms during a famine. That account is described in the Vinaya Piṭaka: “The training rule on telling truthfully” :
- There were reasons for enacting each of the 227 rules for bhikkhus and 311 rules for bhikkhunis. Those accounts are given in the Vinaya Piṭaka.

“The Life of the Buddha” Is a Good Resource

6. The book, “The Life of the Buddha” by Bhikkhu Nānamoli is good to read and keep as a reference for two reasons:

- It provides a chronological record of the Buddha’s life (after the Buddhahood),
- Detailed accounts of significant events by combining accounts in the suttā with those taken from the Vinaya Piṭaka.

7. For example, it provides the background for delivering some major suttā or verses.

- For example, there is a detailed account (pp. 55-60) of how the Buddha had to perform even a few miracles to convince Uruvela Kassapa, his two brothers, and 1000 of their followers before they agreed to listen to the Āditta Pariyāya Sutta (SN 35.28) or the Fire Sermon (page numbers quoted are for the 2001 First BPS Pariyatti edition.)
- So, we can see that it was not easy in those early days for the Buddha to convince some of the ascetics who had their own beliefs of what Nibbāna was about.

8. The subsequent chapters provide a good chronological account of what happened until the Parinibbāna. One can get a sense of which major suttā were delivered at around what time.

- There are accounts on the two chief disciples, and short accounts of other important personalities such as Anāthapiṇḍika, Angulimāla, Visākha, etc. Chapter 7 describes the formation of the order of bhikkhunis.
- Several encounters with the Māra Devaputta are scattered throughout the book.
- One paragraph on p. 109 is on how the Buddha visited the Tāvatimsa deva realm and delivered Abhidhamma. A summary was conveyed to Ven. Sariputta expanded it with the help of his students to the form that we have today.
- There is a chapter on Devadatta, which describes events that are not found in suttā: For example, how he attained (anāriya) jhānās and iddhi (super-normal powers) powers and using those iddhi powers how he appeared on the lap of Prince Ajatasattu as a baby wrapped in snakes.
It provides a good account of Devadatta’s efforts to take the life of the Buddha and how he lost all those super-normal powers and jhānās at the end.
- More at “The Life of the Buddha” by Bhikkhu Nānamoli” : ... -nanamoli/

An Example From the Book

9. I will provide the following as an example of what is in this book that is not available in any sutta. It describes how the five ascetics attained the Sōtapanna stage over several days with the delivery and discussions of the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.

Here is a direct quote from p. 45 of the book (starting from the point where the Buddha had just finished the first delivery of the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta):

“Then Aññata Koṇḍañña, who had seen and reached and found and penetrated the Dhamma, whose uncertainties were left behind, whose doubts had vanished, who had gained perfect confidence and became independent of others in the Teacher’s Dispensation, said to the Blessed One: “Blessed One, I wish to go forth under the Blessed One and to receive the full admission?”

“Come, bhikkhu,” the Blessed One said, “The Dhamma is well proclaimed. Live the holy life for the complete ending of suffering.” And that was his full admission.

Then the Blessed One taught and instructed the rest of the bhikkhus with a talk on the Dhamma. As he did so, there arose in the venerable Vappa and the venerable Bhaddiya, the spotless, immaculate vision of the Dhamma. All that is subjected to arising is subjected to cessation. They, too, asked for and received the full admission.

These, having seen dhamma, attained dhamma, knowing dhamma … having attained without the help of another full confidence in the teacher’s instruction, spoke thus to the Blessed One: “May we, Blessed One, receive the going forth in the Blessed One’s presence, may we receive ordination?”

Then living on the food they brought to him, the Blessed One taught and instructed the rest of the bhikkhus with a talk on the Dhamma. All six lived on the food brought back by the three of them. Then there arose in the venerable Mahānāma and the venerable Assaji the spotless, immaculate vision of the Dhamma, and they too asked for and received the full admission”.

More Resources on Background Material

10. The following is also a good resource: “A Sketch of the Buddha’s Life: Readings from the Pali Canon” :

That post has extractions for various suttas and provides accounts before and after the Enlightenment.
Another one (presumably tailored to young children) is: “A Young People’s Life of the Buddha” :
In the next post, I will provide an overview of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Barry8888 »

Reading this thread, made me really sad...

Searching through various ideology and religions, finally landed on Buddha Dhamma. It is the Dhamma that stopped me from wandering here and there searching for meaningless status...

I thought the Buddha Dhamma that flourished in the buddhist land: Thailand and Sri Lanka would be a good place for further learning the Dhamma. Well, things not going well...

In Thailand, there exists numerous buddhist cults that selling amulets or black magics stuffs, and there is even a senior Thai monk called Luang Phor Reusi Lingdam claimed to receive direct teachings from the First Buddha (to which it is not found in Suttas or even history).

And now Sri Lanka, there exists this group of people claim to 'rediscover' Buddha Dhamma and making false claims on Buddha's fundamental teachings on impermanence. What a shame! Distorting the Dhamma and relabeling Buddha's great teachings to some sort of eternalism, yet think themselves on the side of Truths, not knowing they are preparing themselves for Great Schism soon.

I guess just like what Buddha said, trust no one and strive diligently by yourself according Dhamma. Dhamma (Suttantapitaka) would be the final resort.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Abhidhamma Piṭaka – Deeper Analyses of Concepts

Abhidhamma Piṭaka Goes Into Fine Details

1. The Abhidhamma Piṭaka plays a critical role in the Tipiṭaka. Abhidhamma encompasses the deeper and detailed accounts of the material in the Sutta Piṭaka. We can consider the following analogy to get an idea of the role of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.

- To drive a car, one needs to learn how to use various car components. Even more importantly, one needs to practice driving. That is how one needs to use the Sutta Piṭaka. It is necessary to learn the key concepts in suttas AND to practice what one learns.
- In that analogy, Abhidhamma plays the role of a detailed account of how the car is assembled and the role played by each part. If the car breaks down, a knowledgeable technician can refer to that technical manual and figure out the problem. Similarly, someone knowledgeable in Abhidhamma can clarify a deep concept that needs a full and detailed analysis.
- In most cases, it is not necessary to learn Abhidhamma in detail. However, it helps to have a cursory background in Abhidhamma to understand deep suttas better.
- The following article provides a brief description of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka: “Abhidhamma Piṭaka – The Basket of Abhidhamma” : ... index.html

Historical Background

2. The Abhidhamma Piṭaka was finalized at the Third Buddhist Council held about 200 years after the Parinibbāna (passing away) of the Buddha. Many English scholars (and texts) say that the Abhidhamma Piṭaka was a late addition to the Tipiṭaka. That is a misunderstanding.

- In the Introduction to his book, “A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma,” Bhikkhu Bodhi provides a detailed account of the history of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka; see pp. 9-11 of Ref. 1. An account with a few more details is given in Ref. 2. That can be summarized as follows.
- In the seventh year after attaining the Buddhahood, the Buddha visited the Tāvatiṃsa Deva world. There he delivered the material in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka to Devas where the chief recipient was his mother Mahåmåyå Devi, who had been born there. The material was delivered over three months, and each day the Buddha would descend to the human world for food. Each day, he would provide a synopsis of the teaching given to the Devas on that day to Ven. Sariputta.
- Having learned the key aspects of the Abhidhamma, Ven. Sariputta taught it to his 500 pupils, and thus the basis of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka was established. They needed to work out a detailed account of the material in a way that others could understand.
- It took several generations of bhikkhus of the lineage of Ven. Sariputta — over 200 years — to finalize the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.
- Reference 2 provides a list of bhikkhus who contributed that effort, including Ven. Moggaliputta Tissa, who apparently contributed to the final version at the Third Buddhist Council.

3. At the First Buddhist Council, just three months after the Parinibbāna of the Buddha, only a framework of the Abhidhamma theory was recited. More was added at the second Council, and the task was completed only at the third Council led by Ven. Moggaliputta Tissa.

- That completed Tipiṭaka that was written down in 29 BCE at the Fourth Buddhist Council; see, “Preservation of the Buddha Dhamma.”
- It is essential to realize that hundreds of Arahants at the Fourth Council wrote down the whole Tipiṭaka. That included the complete Abhidhamma Piṭaka. Therefore, we can be confident about the authenticity of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka AND the whole Tipiṭaka.
- That is why it is incorrect to say that Abhidhamma was “invented” by bhikkhus after the Parinibbāna of the Buddha.
- Those who make such statements have not studied Abhidhamma or have not understood the in-depth analyses in Abhidhamma. The minute details of the very fast citta vithi are discernible only to the mind of a Buddha. No one else can even invent such concepts. It is the inter-consistency that makes ALL the material in the Tipiṭaka trustworthy. See, “Buddha Dhamma: Non-Perceivability and Self-Consistency.” : ... nsistency/

The Enormity of the Material in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka

4. The Abhidhamma Piṭaka contains about the same dhamma groups (dhammakkhandha) as the Sutta Piṭaka and Vinaya Piṭaka COMBINED. It is said to contain 42,000 dhamma groups compared to 21,000 for each of the other two. Thus, there are 84,000 dhamma groups in the Tipiṭaka.

- Philosophers talk about mind and matter as the two basic entities in the world. Scientists have studied the matter in great detail. But neither scientists nor philosophers have any idea of even how to BEGIN to describe the mind. We have discussed that in “Theories of Our World – Scientific Overview” posted on Aug 09, 2020: ... 19#p576819
- Abhidhamma breaks down all rupa to be combinations of 28 elementary rupa. Those 28 types of rupa are in the physical bodies of living beings and all inert matter.
- Then the mind is described in terms of citta (loosely translated as “thoughts”) and cetasika (mental factors.) There are 81 (or 121 depending on categorization) types of citta, which arise with different combinations of 52 types of cetasika. Thoughts of any living being can be described in terms of those entities.
- To analyze the concepts in the suttas in terms of those “basic entities” is an exhilarating experience. Concepts can be investigated to depths as much as one wishes (and is willing to spend the time and effort).

Introduction to Abhidhamma – Current Standard Text

5. The Abhidhamma Piṭaka consists of the following categories: Dhammasaṅghani (Classification of Dhammas), Vibhaṅga (The Book of Divisions), Kathāvatthu (Points of Controversy), Puggala Paññatti (Description of Individuals), Dhātukathā (Discussion about Elements), Yamaka (The Book of the Pairs), and Paṭṭhāna (The Book of Relations). Kathāvatthu provides an in-depth account of controversial issues discussed at the Third Buddhist Council compiled by venerable Moggaliputta Tissa. Mahayāna concepts like “antarābhava” were shown to be inconsistent, for example. See “Antarābhava and Gandhabba” : ... gandhabba/

- There is a vast and complex material in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. This is why it took so long to finalize that material per #2 and #3 above.
- It is doubtful that anyone in recent years has read and comprehended all the material in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, especially Paṭṭhāna or the Yamaka.
- Most people try to understand one summarized text to get a basic idea about the contents in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. That standard text is "Abhidhammatta Sangaha", a summary of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka compiled by Ven. Anuruddha, an Indian bhikkhu. That text does not go to deeper issues but provides the fundamentals.
- That Pāli text was translated to English by Ven. Narada in 1956 (Ref. 3.) Subsequently, it was revised by Bhikkhu Bodhi in 1993 (Ref. 1.)

Critical Aspects of Buddha Dhamma

6. Even if one can understand the whole of the Abhidhamma theory, one MAY NOT understand the Buddha’s message. One must first understand the Four Noble Truths (same as understanding Paṭicca Samuppāda or the true meanings of anicca, dukkha, anatta.)

- Abhidhamma only facilitates one to analyze situations to deep levels ONLY IF one starts with understanding the Buddha’s message. That message is that there is a rebirth process where most rebirths happen in the four lowest realms where there are harsh levels of suffering. The only way to escape future suffering is to stop the rebirth process and to attain Nibbāna.
- Once one has that basic understanding, Abhidhamma helps make that picture very clear. One can resolve any remaining issues/doubts by studying the detailed analyses in Abhidhamma. In a way, one cannot even begin to grasp the value of a Buddha until one can see deep concepts explained in an amazingly consistent way from many different angles.
- Abhidhamma can solidify and “fill-in-the-blanks” of Buddha Dhamma from the suttā, which can be an exhilarating experience.

Benefits of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka

7. Even though it is not necessary to have a deep knowledge of Abhidhamma, a basic understanding can be quite valuable.

- Abhidhamma starts at a basic level and proceeds to get to deeper levels systematically. Therefore, one can get a good understanding of key concepts like kamma, cetana, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa, etc., by studying introductory Abhidhamma.
- Even if one does not wish to study Abhidhamma in detail, those basic concepts need to be well-understood.
- We will start discussing those essential concepts next.

The other two Piṭakas were discussed in the previous three posts.


1. “Bhikkhu_Bodhi-Comprehensive_Manual_of_Abhidhamma,” by Bhikkhu Bodhi (2000): ... dhamma.pdf. This is a revised and updated version of Ref. 3 below.

2. Dhammasaṅghani (first of the Abhidhamma books) in the Buddha Jayanthi Edition of the Tipiṭaka (2005); pp. XIII-XIV (in the Sinhala language.) Here is a link to an online version of the “Buddha Jayanthi Edition of the Tipiṭaka” : ... i-edition/

3. “A Manual of Abhidhamma” by Narada Thero (1956):
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

I mentioned the following post in the previous post. Since it is a topic of wide interest, I thought of posting it here.

Antarābhava and Gandhabba

What Is Antarābhava?

1. There are many misinterpretations about the term “antarābhava.” Just two to three hundred years after the Parinibbana of the Buddha, Mahāyānists started saying that there is an antarābhava because they thought gandhabba belonged to an antarābhava.

- At the Third Buddhist Council, Moggaliputta Tissa Thero proved that there is no antarābhava in a debate with the Mahāyānists. That correct interpretation is in the Kathavatthu of the Tipiṭaka.

2. Antarābhava (“antara” + “bhava,” where antara is “in-between”) means in between bhava or existences. For example, when a living being in the human bhava exhausts its kammic energy for that human existence, it grasps a new existence (bhava) at the cuti-paṭisandhi moment. Suppose the next existence or bhava is existence as a deer, for this example.

- The transition from human existence to an existence as a deer happens in a billionth of a second from the cuti citta (dying moment in the human bhava) to the paṭisandhi citta (first thought-moment in existence as a deer).
- Therefore, indeed there is no antarābhava. The time-lapse from the cuti citta to the paṭisandhi citta is negligibly small; see, “Cuti-Paṭisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description.” That was the point made by Moggaliputta Tissa Thero at the Third Buddhist Council: there is no “antarābhava” between the “human bhava” and the “deer bhava” in the above example.
- Gandhabba is in the same “human bhava” until the human bhava’s kammic energy runs out (which could be many hundreds of years, compared to about 100 years of a lifetime for a human). In between successive human births within that human bhava, it is the gandhabba that lives in “para lōka; see, “Hidden World of the Gandhabba: Netherworld (Para Loka).”

Bhava and Jāti Are Two Different Concepts

3. The critical point is that bhava and jāti are two different things. That is why in Paṭicca Samuppāda, there is a step, “bhava paccayā jāti.” There can be many “jāti” or births as a human within a single human bhava; see, “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein” posted on Oct 27, 2018 (p. 43): ... &start=630

- Living beings in human and animal realms are not born with fully-formed physical bodies. In all other 29 realms, beings are born with fully-formed bodies called ōpapātika or instantaneous births. Thus a deva or Brahma is born with fully-formed bodies.
- That means a deva or Brahma will have the same body during that bhava, even though that body will change. For them, there are only ONE jāti within that bhava.

Humans (and Animals) Have Many Jāti Within That Bhava

4. In our example above, a human could have kammic energy supporting human existence (bhava) for many thousands of years. However, a physical human body can last only for about 100 years.

- The kammic energy of a human bhava is not in the physical body (karaja kāya) but is in the “mental body” or the manōmaya kāya of the gandhabba. There is a whole section on the gandhabba at this site; see, “Gandhabba (Manomaya Kaya).”
- As explained in the post, “Manomaya Kaya (Gandhabba) and the Physical Body,” a gandhabba will inherit “many physical bodies” during a given human existence.
- As discussed in the post, “Ghost in the Machine – Synonym for the Manomaya Kaya?“, the physical body is inert, and it is the gandhabba that “gives life” to that inert body.
- Some of that material is in the discussion at Dhamma Wheel following the above-mentioned post on Oct 27, 2018 (p. 43): ... &start=630

Āyukkhaya Marana and Kammakkhaya Marana

5. That is why the physical body’s death does not necessarily mean that there is a cuti citta at that dying moment of a human, i.e., one is NOT released from the human bhava. One will lose the human bhava only if it is a “kammakkhaya marana” or death where the kammic energy is exhausted (“marana” in Pail or Sinhala is for death).

- But most human deaths are “āyukkhaya marana,” i.e., the end of life for the physical body (here “āyu” means the lifetime of a physical body). More kammic energy for the human bhava left. There is no cuti citta at that time. In that case, there is no change in the gandhabba at the moment of death of the physical body.
- That gandhabba would come out of the dead body and wait for another womb.
- A housefly lives for about a week or so. But the “fly bhava” may last for thousands and millions of years. When a fly dies, a “fly gandhabba” comes out of that dead body. It will get into an egg laid by another fly and soon be born a fly. That process will repeat an uncountable number of times during that “fly bhava” (or the existence as a fly.)

6. Thus, if it is a “āyukkhaya marana,” the gandhabba comes out of that dead body and waits for another womb. It is improbable that there will be a matching womb appearing precisely at the death of a human physical body. In most cases, the gandhabba has to wait months and more likely years before a matching womb becomes available (gati of the gandhabba have to match those of the parents).

- Most deaths due to accidents are not due to “kammakkhaya marana,” i.e., just the physical body dies. The human in question will be reborn with a new human body at a later time. That is why many rebirths accounts describe death in a previous life due to an accident, murder, etc.
- Of course, one could die with āyukkhaya marana even at old age.

Mahāyāna Concept of Antarābhava

7. The reason that the Mahāyānists say that there is an antarābhava is that they believe that the gandhabba is not human and is an “in-between state.”

- The irony is that many current Theravadins even refuse to believe the EXISTENCE of a gandhabba, simply because they do not want to be seen as taking the side of the Mahāyānists. Those Theravadins believe that when a human dies — and is going to be reborn human — the second human fetus starts INSTANTANEOUSLY in a womb. In other words, the previous human dies at the cuti moment, and a billionth of a second later appears as a new baby in a human womb (paṭisandhi).
- However, that approach leads to many inconsistencies: (i) That kind of timing is an impossibility. (ii) The step “bhava paccayā jāti” in Paṭicca Samuppāda does not make sense: Is that new human birth a new bhava?. (iii) Paṭisandhi or grasping a new bhava happens within a thought-moment. However, the birth of a human body occurs via a series of steps described in #8 below. (iv) As discussed in #9 – #11 below, rebirth accounts are also not compatible with rebirth occurring in the womb. (v) There is more evidence from the Tipiṭaka, as discussed in #12, #13 below.

A Physical Human Body Versus Manōmaya Kāya (Gandhabba)

8. According to the Tipiṭaka, a full-pledged human appears via a series of steps: “jāti sañjāti okkanti abhinibbatti khandhānaṃ pātubhāvo āyatanānaṃ paṭilābho.” See “Vibhaṅga Sutta (SN 12.2)” and “Manomaya Kaya (Gandhabba) and the Physical Body.”

- Here, jāti is the paṭisandhi moment, when the kammaja kāya for the new bhava appears in a thought-moment. Moments later, that kammja kāya is augmented by the cittaja kāya and a utuja kāya, and a manōmaya kāya (gandhabba) results. That is the sañjāti moment. This gandhabba comes out of the dead body in the previous life (bhava).
- When that gandhabba goes into a suitable womb, that is the okkanti moment. In many suttā, that is described as “viññāṇa of a boy or a girl descending into a womb.” Note that by the time descending into a womb, the sex is already determined. It is a human gandhabba that comes into a womb.
- There is no place in the Tipiṭaka that says paṭisandhi happens in a womb. Rather it says, “…gandhabba okkanti hoti“.

9. Many rebirth account features are consistent with that correct interpretation where the manōmaya kāya (gandhabba) inherits many successive (but time separated) physical bodies.

- There is always a “time gap” between successive human births (jāti). They are separated by several years or at least a few years. In between those successive lives, that lifestream survives as a gandhabba. The Buddha told Vacchagotta that the gandhabba survives that intervening time by using tanha as āhāra. Some gandhabbā can “inhale” aroma from plants, too.
- We all know that human existence is extremely difficult to get; see, “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm.” If each human birth is a “brand new human existence or bhava,” that would be inconsistent since human existence is a rare event.

Human Births Within the Human Bhava

10. Then another question may arise, “Why do people look different in successive rebirths?”. The physical body in each human life (within the same human bhava) arises from the parents’ contributions to that life.

- Even though the gandhabba brings in his/her gati (habits), āsava (cravings), kilesa (mental impurities), etc., from the previous life, the physical body for the new life has significant contributions from the parents. The DNA of the physical bodies of two successive lives will be very different due to this reason. For details, see “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” on Jan 05, 2020: ... start=1140

Gandhabba‘s Gati Will Change With Time

11. Furthermore, even the mental body of the gandhabba WILL change in the next life. Thus gati (habits), āsava (cravings), kilesa (mental impurities), etc., will also change as one grows up in a new environment under a different set of influences.

- For example, one could have lived a moral life in the previous birth but may be born into a family of drug addicts due to a bad kamma vipāka. In that case, the new life could drastically change to an immoral life.
- However, in most cases, the successive lives are not that drastically different unless one makes drastic changes during life. If one could attain the Sōtapanna stage, then one will not be born into an immoral family. If one reaches the Anāgāmi stage of Nibbāna, one will never be born a human and born in the Brahma realm.
- On the other hand, even if one is born in a moral family but under the influence of bad friends becomes a drug addict and commits crimes, one is likely to be born into an immoral family in the next birth. If one commits a ānantariya pāpa kammā (say by killing a parent), then one will be born in the apāyā at death, even if there is more kammic energy left in the human bhava.

More Evidence From Tipiṭaka

12. Now, let us discuss more evidence from the Tipiṭaka. During the night of his Enlightenment, the Buddha (or more accurately the ascetic Siddhartha) first attained the “pubbe nivāsānussati ñāna,” before attaining the “cutupapāda ñāna” and finally the “āsavakkhaya ñāna.” It is the āsavakkhaya ñāna that led to the Buddhahood; see, “The Way to Nibbāna – Removal of Āsavā.”

- The first two pieces of knowledge (ñāna; pronounced “ghana”; ) can be attained even with anariya jhānā (with limited capabilities). Both those deal with the ability to look back at previous lives. But with the first one, pubbe nivāsānussati ñāna, one could only look at the previous human births.
- Here, “pubbe” means “previous,” “nivasa” means “house,” and “anussati” means “recall,” i.e., the knowledge to recall successive residences of a given gandhabba. In a given human bhava, a gandhabba could have many different “houses,” i.e., physical bodies. Thus with this ñāna, one could look at human births in the past, in multiple human bhava going back to very long times, depending on the yogi’s capability.
- The second one, cutupapāda ñāna, extends the capability to see all previous rebirths in any realm. Here cutupapāda (cuti means the end of a bhava and upapāda means birth) refers to all types of rebirths in various realms (niraya, animal, deva, etc.) in the past.

Connection to Pubbe Nivāsānussati Ñāna

13. Furthermore, the Buddha described how he saw human gandhabbā moving from one physical body to the next (in a single human bhava) with the pubbe nivāsānussati ñāna. He explained that with the following simile: If one is in an upper level of a multi-story building (yes, there were multi-storied buildings at the time of the Buddha) located at a busy junction, one could see people meandering in the streets below.

- Some people stay on the street, sometimes sitting in a bench or standing by the road, etc.; this is analogous to gandhabbā just waiting for a physical body (i.e., a womb).
- Sometimes, a person enters a house and stays there for a long time; this is comparable to a gandhabba in a physical body for a long time, i.e., until old age.
- Other times, a person may enter a house and come out after a few hours. That is comparable to death at a young age.
- Also, a person could enter a house and immediately come out. That corresponds to abortion or an unsuccessful pregnancy.

14. Thus, the pubbe nivāsānussati ñāna is limited to looking at past human lives. That is an excellent example that the Buddha clearly stated the concept of the gandhabba. The cutupapāda ñāna extends the capability to see all previous rebirths in any realm.

- In the Tirokudda Sutta, the gandhabba is called a “tirokudda“; see, “Hidden World of the Gandhabba: Netherworld (Para Loka).”

Change of Bhava

15. If a human dies at the end of the kammic energy for the human bhava, then the cuti-paṭisandhi transition happens at the death moment. In the specific example of a human to deer transition, now a “deer gandhabba” comes out of that dead body and has to wait for a matching “deer womb” to become available.

- However, if the human was to become a deva, then a fully formed deva will appear instantaneously in a deva realm, the moment the human dies in a kammakkhaya marana. A gandhabba is involved only in human and animal realms; see, “Gandhabba – Only in Human and Animal Realms.”

Connection to Astral Travel

16. Another interesting piece of information comes from how the Buddha (and others with iddhi powers) traveled to deva or Brahma lōka with the manōmaya kāya (which is the same as gandhabba.) Here, the physical body is left behind. Yet, the physical body does not die and is kept alive by the rupa jivitindriya (kammic energy.) Upon returning, the gandhabba can re-enter the physical body.

- Those who attain the fourth jhāna can develop iddhi powers to be able to separate the manōmaya kāya from the physical body and travel far with that manōmaya kāya. The Buddha stated that just as a sword comes out of its sheath, those with iddhi powers can pull the manōmaya kāya out of the physical body. There are many suttas in the Digha Nikāya with that exact statement.
- That manōmaya kāya can then go to distant places within very short times (this is what is called “astral travel” in the present day; see the Wikipedia article, “Astral projection”: A gandhabba is the same as an “astral body.”
- In many suttā, it is stated that the Buddha visited deva or Brahma lokā “within the time that takes a bent arm to be straightened.”
- Some yogis with iddhi powers can travel with the physical body. Of course, the Buddha did that too. That involves a different mechanism that is not relevant to this discussion.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by 2600htz »

Hi Lal:

From this interpretation, the statement found in suttas "a sotappana will be reborn at most only seven times before attaining nibbana",
do you take it as 7 jati or 7 bhavas?

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Hello 2600htz,
From this interpretation, the statement found in suttas "a sotappana will be reborn at most only seven times before attaining nibbana",
do you take it as 7 jati or 7 bhavas?
There is a verse in the Ratana Sutta (Snp 2.1) ( that clearly states it.

"Na te bhavaṃ aṭṭhamamādiyanti"

OR "there is no eighth bhava"

Therefore, a Sotapanna would attain the Arahanthood within seven bhava.
- But there can be many births (jati) within those seven bhava.

However, seven is the MAXIMUM number of bhava it would take.
- It can happen in the same bhava or even within a single jati (meaning one could attain Arahanthood as the same human who attained the Sotapana stage).
- During the time of the Buddha, there were many who attained all four stages within a single discourse!
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by confusedlayman »

2600htz wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:00 pm Hi Lal:

From this interpretation, the statement found in suttas "a sotappana will be reborn at most only seven times before attaining nibbana",
do you take it as 7 jati or 7 bhavas?

jati vs brava what difference?
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

jāti vs bhava. What is the difference?
I have been trying to explain this in many posts. However, I realize that it is a bit hard to comprehend for many people.

Let me try a different approach. In the following video, Jeffrey Gordon and General John Gordon have the same gandhabba.

- General Gordon died in the Civil war.
- He was reborn as Jeffrey Kean in recent years.
- They are two "human bodies" that resulted from the same gandhabba (mental body or manomaya kaya). Those two births (as General Gordon and Jeffrey Kean) are within the same "human bhava."
- General Gordon died, and the gandhabba came out of that dead body. Then that gandhabba was in the "para loka" waiting for a suitable womb.
- Many years later, that gandhabba was pulled into Jeffrey Kean's mother's womb, and that is how he was born.

Therefore, both General Gordon and Jeffrey Kean belong to the "same human bhava". That gandhabba has been in the "human bhava" or 'human existence" for all these years.
- Within that "human bhava" that same gandhabba was reborn (jāti) twice (as General Gordon and Jeffrey Kean).

One can also go back and read the previous post on Dec 07, 2020, on "Antarābhava and Gandhabba" and it may become clear.

It is VERY important to get this basic idea. Please feel free to ask questions if not clear.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

I have expanded my previous two replies on bhava and jāti in the post below. It provides a bridge to the next post on the antarābhava.

Antarābhava – No Connection to Gandhabba

Antarābhava – Need to Understand the Terminology

1. Antarābhava is not a concept in Buddha Dhamma. Antarābhava (“antara” + “bhava“) means “in-between bhava.” There are no such “gaps” between two existences (bhava.) It was a heretical view that existed even before the formal emergence of Mahāyāna.

- Some current Theravadins have the misconception that the gandhabba state (mental body or manomaya kāya) is the same as antarābhava, and thus needs to be rejected.
- However, the gandhabba state encompasses the whole of the “human bhava,” within which there are many rebirths with physical human bodies.
- I will use two rebirths accounts to clarify the terminology and also to clarify this hugely misunderstood issue.

Rebirth Account of Jeffrey Keene

2. General John Gordon died in the Civil war. He was reborn as Jeffrey Keene in recent years.

- They are two “human bodies” that resulted from the same gandhabba (mental body or manomaya kāya). Those two births (as General Gordon and Jeffrey Keene) are within the same “human bhava.”
- When General Gordon died, the mental body (gandhabba) came out of that dead body. Then that gandhabba was in the “paraloka” waiting for a suitable womb.
- Many years later, gandhabba was pulled into Jeffrey Keene’s mother’s womb, which is how he was born (jāti) with that physical body.
- Therefore, both General Gordon and Jeffrey Keene are in the same “lifestream.” They belong to the “same human bhava.”
- This clearly explains the position of the Buddha about rebirth. Jeffrey Keene is NOT the same as General Gordon. However, Jeffrey Keene’s life is irrevocably connected to that of General Gordon. Therefore, it is also NOT correct to say that there in no connection between them.
- It is the same HUMAN mental body (gandhabba) that was reborn (jāti) with physical human bodies twice (as General Gordon and Jeffrey Kean).

3. A few more observations may be helpful.

- Even though the physical bodies of General Gordon and Jeffrey Keene were remarkably close, that does not happen all the time. Parents’ physical features (their DNA) also contribute to the physical features of any child.
- There is a large time gap between those two lives. It is possible that there could have been more births with physical bodies in between.
- The time gap between successive lives can vary hugely. In some cases, there may be only days or months, but more typically, there are gaps of several years.
- The gandhabba does not have the choice of “selecting a womb.” When a zygote is created in the womb of a woman following sexual intercourse, a gandhabba matching the parents’ general gati is pulled into the womb. See “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” on Jan 05, 2020: ... start=1140

Rebirth Account of James Leininger

4. The relevant points are noted below.

@ beginning: The narrator asks: “Could we come back as someone else”?

- It is not “someone else” that comes back or reborn. It is the same lifestream with a different appearance (physically.) Those successive births (jāti) are within the same human bhava. In other words, it is the same “lifestream.” See, “What Reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream.”

@ 0.3 minutes: James Houston, Jr. was shot down over the Pacific Ocean on March 3, 1945. James Leininger was born some 60 years later and started talking about “getting shot by the Japanese.”

@ 3:20 minutes: The narrator says, “dead can be reborn.”

- That is not the right way to describe the situation. It is the same lifestream that is reborn with a different physical body!

@ 4 minutes: Usually, a child’s memories of a previous life fades away around 7-8 years.

@ 5 minutes: James Leininger’s own account of getting shot.

@ 7:30 minutes: James Leininger provided the name of a friend, Jack Larson, from his previous life, and correctly says that his plane took off from the ship “Natoma.” This is STRONG evidence.

@ 8:20 minutes: He describes himself as James 3 because, in his previous life, he was James Houston, Jr (i.e., James 2).

@ 10:40 minutes: The dad, Bruce Leininger, says that he thinks his son came back because “he had something to finish.”

- No. We all come back. We can come back in human form and also in other forms corresponding to any of the 31 realms.

@ 10:55 minutes: Comments of Anne Barron, sister of James Houston, Jr.

@ 11:30 minutes: Comments of Prof. Kurtz, who does not believe in rebirth, says the account of James Leininger (a two-year-old) is made up. It is, of course, up to each person to make that decision. There are many more rebirth accounts and other types of evidence as Near-Death Experiences and Out-of-the Body Experiences; see “Evidence for Rebirth.”

Are Those Successive Births in Different Bhava?

5. The above two accounts provide us with the opportunity to clarify the two concepts of human bhava and human jāti.

- Those who question the gandhabba state must answer the following questions: “Are James Houston and James Leininger in two different bhava?“
If they answer “yes,” then the following must be true: In between those two human bhava, that lifestream must have been in a different bhava, such as animal bhava or Deva bhava.
- However, the Buddha clearly stated getting a human bhava is extremely difficult. There could be millions or even billions of years between successive human bhava. See, “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm.” on Oct 31, 2018 (p.43): ... &start=630
- Therefore, it is clear that those two successive births (jāti) are within the same human bhava. Further details at, “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein.” on Oct 27, 2018 (p. 43), just before the previous link.

The “Antarābhava” Issue Raised at Third Buddhist Council Was a Different Issue

6. The concept of an antarābhava was discussed and rejected at the Third Buddhist Council. It is documented in the Kathāvatthu section of the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

- There was no discussion on gandhabba regarding that issue. I will discuss that in detail in the next post, “Antarābhava Discussion in Kathāvatthu – Not Relevant to Gandhabba.”
- Therefore, it is a critical error to identify the gandhabba state as an antarābhava. Rather, the gandhabba state encompasses a whole human bhava.

Insights on “Self” and “No-Self” Issue

7. This is also a good opportunity to get insights into the “Self” and “No-Self” Issues.

- Is James Leininger the SAME as James Houston? Of course not. They lived very different lives and did not look the same either. Is Jeffrey Keene the same as General Gordon in #2 above? Even though there were some physical resemblances, they were very different and lived different lives. As we can see clearly, the physical bodies of those two individuals are entirely different. James Houston’s physical body had disintegrated a long time ago. - At some point in the future, that “lifestream” may be born a Deva, Brahma, animal, etc. No ESSENCE propagates from life-to-life, especially from bhava-to-bhava. A Deva bhava is vastly different from a human bhava or animal bhava. That is why the Buddha rejected the idea of an unchanging “self” or “soul.”
- However, there is obviously a STRONG CONNECTION between the two lives in each of those cases. There would be no James Leininger if there were no James Houston. James Leininger is a descendant of that same “lifestream.” As we can see clearly, the physical bodies of those two individuals are entirely different. James Houston’s physical body had disintegrated a long time ago. However, there is an UNBROKEN connection in the mental body. In fact, James Leininger must have inherited SOME of the mental characteristics– such as anusaya — of James Houston (there would have been some changes in the intervening time.) Thus, the Buddha rejected the idea of “no-self” as well. As long as the saṃsāric process is there, an unbroken (mental) lineage exists between any two stages within that lifestream.

Nothing In This World Worthwhile to be Taken as “Mine”

8. The real issue is whether there is anything in this world that is worthwhile to be “taken to be mine.” Immoral actions done with such vision/perception can create kammic energies leading to “bad bhava” such as animal bhava. That is what we need to be concerned with. That is what the Buddha stated in his very first discourse by, “saṃkhittena pañcu­pādā­nak­khan­dhā dukkhā” OR “in brief, the origin of suffering is the craving for the five aggregates of rūpa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāna (pancupādānakkhandha).”

- Even though human bhava is much longer than 100 years, living beings spend most of their time in other existences (bhava) with unimaginable suffering because of not seeing that “big picture” of the long rebirth process that spans not only human bhava but much worse bhava.
- When the human bhava ends and a “bad bhava” (for example an animal bhava) is grasped, that animal is NOT the preceding human. But it has a “cause and effect connection” to the previous human bhava. When in animal bhava, for example, that animal cannot even think about these issues; but it still has the perception of “me and mine.” But that animal is totally helpless. That is anatta nature! This is the outcome of having the wrong view of “‘This is mine, I am this, this is my self’”. That is the meaning of the Pāli verse, “etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’” ti
- That change of bhava happens at the cuti-paṭisandhi moment, at the end of the human bhava. There could be many “deaths” of human bodies before that. For example, General Gordon and Jeffrey Keene in #2 above were just two births (jāti) within a single human existence (bhava.) That is the difference between bhava and jāti, in this context. See, “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein.”
- These are complex issues. The key is to get some traction, and then it will become easier.
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