The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

On Jan 07, 2021, I started a new series of posts on "Understanding the Terms in Paṭicca Samuppāda." However, a recent discussion on another thread here made it clear to me that most people (at least many of those who make comments) do not have the necessary background for such a deeper discussion. Thus, I will start a new series of posts under the same topic. I will try to explain the key terms in Paṭicca Samuppāda in a simpler way.
- Of course, my characterization of key concepts are just mine, but fully consistent with the Tipitaka. If one is offended by these explanations, just don't read my posts. Different people understand Dhamma in different ways. There is no need for those people to try to "respond" to my posts. There are enough threads at Dhamma Wheel to express your views. I will mostly stick to this thread. There seem to be enough people who would at least like to read my explanations. I will stop posting if there is not enough interest and/or if the response remains hostile. The Buddha said trying to persuade those who have made up their minds is a foolish errand. I could be doing more harm than good.

Sakkāya Diṭṭhi – Wrong View of “Me” and “Mine”

Sakkāya Diṭṭhi is the wrong view of an unchanging essence associated with a human. Materialists — who don’t believe in rebirth — believe the essence is one’s body. The other extreme is the belief that there is an unchanging “mental component” that survives the death of the physical body.

Definition of Sakkāya Diṭṭhi

1. In several suttas, sakkāya diṭṭhi is described as follows (Ref. 1): “.. uninformed ordinary persons who have not been exposed to the teaching of the Noble persons have one of the following views. One group has the wrong vision about rūpa (material form) in 4 ways: to regard rūpa as “mine”, or “I” as rūpa, or rūpa to be “in me”, or “I” to be “in rūpa.” Then there is the other group who regard one or more of the mental factors vedanā (feeling) … saññā (perception) … saṅkhāra ( ways of thinking) … viññāṇa (consciousness) as “mine”, or “I” as those, or them to be “in me”, or “I’ to be “in them”.”

- Materialists represent the first group today. They don’t believe in rebirth and thus just take one’s own body to be “me.” They have uccheda diṭṭhi. Let us call this view “materialism.”
- Those who belong to major religions today believe that the mind survives the death of the physical body and can be merged with the Creator leading to a permanent existence. The Buddha pointed out that the mind can be separated out into four components (vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, and viññāṇa. Each of those could be viewed as “mine” in 4 ways like for the rupa. Thus, they could have one or more of those 16 wrong views. Those have sassata diṭṭhi. For brevity, let us call this “soul-view.”
- Therefore, most people today can have one or more of the 20 types of wrong views about existence: vīsativatthukā sakkāya diṭṭhi.

Getting Rid of Sakkāya Diṭṭhi Is the First Step to Nibbāna

2. To understand why those are wrong views (per Buddha Dhamma,) first we need to clarify what kind of suffering that the Buddha said can be stopped.

- When an average human thinks about suffering, he/she would think about the FEELING of suffering. That could be physical suffering (injuries. sicknesses) or mental suffering like depression.
- But the Buddha taught that those kinds of sufferings can only be “managed” but cannot be stopped. They can be managed by eating well, exercising, etc., and by following medical advice for injuries/sicknesses. Mental sufferings can also be managed by living a simple, moral life.

3. However, the Buddha said we need to pay more attention to possible suffering in future lives. Those lives are yet to arise, and we have the ability to stop ALL suffering associated with future births. He taught that the death of the physical body does not end any type of suffering that we have experienced. One will be reborn either as human again or in one of 31 realms that include the animal realm.

- He said that most births in this process (called saṃsāra) are in the lowest four realms (apāyās) and that the animal realm is one of those four. Even though we cannot see those beings in the other realms, we can see the suffering of the animals, which is much harsher than for humans.
- The key point is that such future suffering can be stopped. That is Nibbāna.
- When one understands the futility of seeking happiness in this world, one gets rid of sakkāya diṭṭhi and becomes a Sotapanna. Then one follows the Noble Eightfold Path and becomes an Arahant and thereby attains Nibbāna.

The Worst Wrong View Is Uccheda Diṭṭhi (Materialism)

4. From the above discussion, it is quite obvious that Buddha Dhamma’s main benefit is to help people attain Nibbāna and thus to be free of future suffering in the rebirth process (saṃsāra.) The current body that we have is a “result” and vedanā that arise in that physical body cannot be totally stopped. That is why Ven. Moggalana was beaten to death. However, ALL suffering for Ven. Moggalana ended after his death (Parinibbāna.) For all others, there will be more future suffering after death.

- Thus it should be quite obvious that the worst wrong view is to assume that one’s life ends at death. If that is the case, there is not much benefit in studying Buddha Dhamma at a deeper level. One could be a “secular Buddhist” and just try to live a moral life. However, the term “secular Buddhist” is an oxymoron just like the term “alone in a crowd” or “walking dead.”
- Having the sassata diṭṭhi (believing in a permanent soul) is also bad and is the other extreme. They may be reluctant (or afraid) to engage in immoral deeds for the fear of being sent to hell permanently, but do not see any drawbacks in engaging in “legitimate sense pleasures.”
- I say that those with the uccheda diṭṭhi may be worse because they DO NOT NEED to have AN INTRINSIC moral compass. Even though most materialists DO live perfectly moral lives, they could be more susceptible to commit offenses on impulse (when temptations become strong enough.)

If There is No Soul, “What” Is Reborn?

5. The two views of materialism and soul-view are easy to understand.

Materialism means one just lives this life and when one dies that is the end of it. Those with the soul-view do their best to live a moral life and hope to be born in Heaven (Abrahamic religions) or in a Brahma realm which is supposed to be permanent (Hinduism.)

- Most people have difficulty in understanding the Buddha’s view. Since it involves rebirth, the difficulty is to see how it is different from the soul-view.
- One quick way to see the difference is to compare Buddha’s view with that of Hinduism. In Abrahamic religions, one will be born either in heaven or hell, i.e., there are not many rebirths. But in both Buddha Dhamma and Hinduism, there can be numerous rebirths. In Buddhism, that process ends when one attains Nibbāna (as an Arahant). In Hinduism, it ends when one is born in the realm of Mahā Brahma.
- The other key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism is the following. In Hinduism, future lives are “reincarnations” of the same ātman (similar to a soul in Abrahamic religions.) Reincarnation implies it is the same “essence” (as a soul) that just moves from one life to another.
- In Buddha Dhamma, there is no such soul or ātman that goes from life-to-life. Instead of “REINCARNATION”, it is REBIRTH. This is THE crucial difference.

How Is Rebirth Different From Reincarnation?

6. Reincarnation implies that there is SOMETHING unique AND unchanging in a human that is carried to the next life. The body can take different forms, but there is a “unique life force” (my characterization of “ātman“) that remains unchanged from life-to-life.

- In “Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 2, Verse 22” ( this is explained as, “As a person sheds worn-out garments and wears new ones, likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and enters a new one.”
- Thus, one may be born with a “different body” (outer garments) but the essence (personal identity or “ātman“) remains.
- The mechanism is very different in Buddha Dhamma. The process is intrinsically dictated by Paṭicca Samuppāda. “Personality” can undergo drastic changes from one existence (bhava) to another. I have tried to explain it in the post “What Reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream.” I will post that here in a few days.

Concept of a Bhava – No Personality Involved

7. In Buddha Dhamma, a key idea that needs to be grasped is the concept of a “bhava.” A “lifestream” makes transitions from bhava to bhava based SOLELY on kammic energy. There is NO “personality” that remains FIXED.

Different types of unwise thinking, speech, and actions (dictated by different types of saṅkhāra) lead to different types of bhava and jāti.

- However, in adjacent lives, there will be similarities in character/habits represented by the term “gati.” In fact, one’s gati will greatly influence the next bhava. For example, if one lived an immoral life suitable for an animal, it is likely that he/she WOULD BE born an animal.
- That is explained by Paṭicca Samuppāda. Saṅkhāra (one’s thoughts, speech, and actions) that arise due to avijjā is at the beginning of the Paṭicca Samuppāda process. Then towards the end, it leads to a certain type of bhava (existence), and birth (jāti) in that existence.
- For example, if a human cultivates arupāvacara jhāna (with āneñjābhisaṅkhāra), that will lead to existence as an arupāvacara Brahma. See #5 of “Saṅkhāra – What It Really Means” for an explanation of how different types of bhava arise due to three broad categories of abhisaṅkhāra.

All Bhava Lead to Suffering

8. The akusala-mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process describes how any and all (abhi)saṅkhāra done with avijjā LEAD to various bhava and jāti. This is the first step in the akusala-mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process: “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” Towards the end, it leads to bhava.

- Those bhava lead to births (jāti) among the 31 realms. Without exception, any jāti ends up in suffering. That is the last step in the akusala-mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process: “jāti paccayā jarā, marana, soka-paridēva-dukkha-dōmanassupāyasā sambhavan’ti.”
- In upcoming posts, we will go through the steps in Paṭicca Samuppāda to further clarify how the wrong view of sakkāya diṭṭhi sustains this process that keeps one bound to saṃsāra, the rebirth process. That is not the reincarnation of a “soul.”
- Until one understands that process, one has avijjā, i.e., one is ignorant about the Four Noble Truths.
- There is one more aspect that needs to be understood. Let us discuss that now.

Difference Between Wrong Views and Wrong Perceptions

9. Most texts describe sakkāya diṭṭhi as “self-illusion” or “personality belief,” i.e., “belief that a self or I exist” (you can Google “sakkāya diṭṭhi” and see). Here it is essential to understand that there is a difference between “wrong view” and “wrong perception.” A Sōtapanna would have removed the wrong view (diṭṭhi), but not the false perception (saññā.)

- But this perception (saññā) of a “self” (or a “soul” which is also called “ātma“) is NOT sakkāya diṭṭhi per Tipiṭaka as we discuss below. That is a saññā (perception) that we have carried from life-to-life. For a discussion on saññā, see, “What is Sanna (Perception)?“.
- The deeply-embedded idea of a “self” or an innate sense of “me” is rooted in the māna cetasika.
- If one gets offended if treated with disrespect, that means one still has māna left. Even an Anāgāmi could be somewhat perturbed if he/she perceives to be treated badly. A component of māna — called asmi māna — is still left at the Anāgāmi stage. Māna is removed not at the Sōtapanna stage, but the Arahant stage.

A Sōtapanna Removes Only Wrong Views About an “Unchanging Soul”

10. What is removed at the Sōtapanna stage is the wrong view (diṭṭhi) that there is something unchanging and permanent like a “soul” is associated with oneself. That goes with the belief that lasting happiness can be achieved by just living a moral life (even though that is essential.)

- When one can see that there is no “real essence” (like a “soul” or a “ātma“) associated with a living being, this wrong view of sakkāya diṭṭhi goes away. A lifestream evolves, according to Paṭicca Samuppāda; see, “Anattā in Anattalakkahana Sutta – No Soul or an Ātma.”: ... l-no-atma/
- Therefore, it is incorrect to believe that the perception of a “self” will go away at the Sōtapanna stage. It is also dangerous because one is trying to do something that is not possible to do at that stage. It is like a child in primary school trying to get a Ph.D.


1. The following verse appears in many suttas, for example in the “Cūḷavedalla Sutta (MN 44) “: “assutavā puthujjano, ariyānaṃ adassāvī ariyadhammassa akovido ariyadhamme avinīto, sappurisānaṃ adassāvī sap­purisa­dhammassa akovido sap­purisa­dhamme avinīto, rūpaṃ attato samanupassati, rūpavantaṃ vā attānaṃ, attani vā rūpaṃ, rūpasmiṃ vā attānaṃ. Vedanaṃ … pe … saññāṃ … saṅkhāre … viññāṇaṃ attato samanupassati, viññāṇavantaṃ vā attānaṃ, attani vā viññāṇaṃ, viññāṇasmiṃ vā attānaṃ. Evaṃ kho, āvuso visākha, sakkāya diṭṭhi hotī.”
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

What Reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream

Reincarnation Versus Rebirth

1. Reincarnation is a Hindu concept, where the “ātma” (“ātman”) or the soul remains the same but takes a different form. The Rigveda compares it to a person discarding an old suit and wearing a new outfit. See the previous post, “Sakkāya Diṭṭhi – Wrong View of “Me” and “Mine.”

- In Buddha Dhamma, it is a rebirth since there is no soul to reincarnate. We have accumulated many “kamma seeds” (kamma bīja) which contain various “habits” and “character” (called “gati”) In our long journey through saṃsāra. Those lead to different types of rebirths; see, “Saṅkhāra, Kamma, Kamma Bīja, Kamma Vipaka.”
- At the end of this human existence, the kammic energy of the kamma seed for the present life is exhausted. At that moment, a new life starts with a new potent kamma seed. The selection of a new seed itself is a complicated process and depends on the potency of the available kamma seeds, but it happens within a thought-moment.
- Let us first summarize Buddha’s description of sentient life. The following facts are indisputable.

No Discernible Beginning to Saṃsāra (Rebirth Process)

2. During the night of attaining the Buddhahood, the Buddha looked back at his rebirth process. He was able to scan eons in mere moments, but no matter how far back he looked, he could not see a “beginning.” He has given many similes (analogies) to indicate the “unimaginable length of the rebirth process.”

- For example, Assu Sutta (SN 15.3) states: “Bhikkhus, this rebirth process has no discernible (na pannāyati) beginning. Beings whose minds are covered by ignorance and are bound to this rebirth process with bonds of craving.“
- Birth as a human is very rare among all those rebirths, as stated, for example, in the Nakha­sikha Sutta (SN 20.2). “bhikkhus, sentient beings reborn as humans are few as this bit of sand on my fingernail. But those not reborn as humans are many as the sand on this great Earth. Therefore, you should strive diligently and without delay to end this suffering in the rebirth process.”
- Further details at “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm.” on Oct 31, 2018 (p.43)

The Concept of a Lifestream

3. The Buddha used the term “satta” to describe a living-being going through that rebirth process. In the Satta Sutta (SN 23.2), Ven. Rādha asked the Buddha: “..they speak of this thing called a ‘sentient being.’ How is a sentient being defined?”

- The Buddha answered: “Rādha, when there is liking (chanda), strong liking ( rāgo), reveling (nandī), and the tendency to attach (taṇhā), then a ‘sentient being’ is spoken of.”
- In other words, as long as a ‘sentient being’ highly values things in this world, it will be reborn in this world. It could be reborn a human, an animal, a Deva, etc., at various times. Thus, it is NOT possible to label any such existence as THE defining entity. When born a human, a satta behaves like a human, and when born an animal it acts like an animal, etc.
- I use the English word to describe “satta” as a “lifestream.” The term “sentient being” is more suitable to refer to a “satta.” On the other hand, “a lifestream” refers to the whole process that a satta goes through in Saṃsāra.
- A given lifestream can take various forms in the rebirth process. There is no “core” or ‘soul” or "ātman” to talk about! On the other hand, as long as that fact is not understood, there is a satta in the rebirth process.

A Bodhisatta is a Special Satta

4. Buddha Gotama, like any other Buddha, made a heroic effort to become a Buddha through many eons. When he made enough progress, he was declared a “Bodhisatta” by Buddha Deepankara many eons ago.

- A Bodhisatta is a special satta destined to become a Buddha. “Bodhi” means “towards liberation/release.” When a satta has fulfilled enough paramitā to become a Buddha, he is declared a “Bodhisatta” by existing Buddhas. See, “Pāramitā and Niyata Vivarana – Myths or Realities?.” ... realities/
- Even after becoming a Bodhisatta, it is possible to be born in the animal realm (but NOT in the other three realms in the apāyās.)
- Therefore, a sentient being is born in any given bhava ONLY according to causes and effects. That is described in Paṭicca Samuppāda, which starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” and ends in “bhava paccayā jāti” and jāti paccayā jarā, marana, soka-paridēva-dukkha-dōmanassupāyasā sambhavan’ti.
- There is no reference to a “special/particular being” in that whole process. Future existences (bhava) and births (jāti) within that existence only depend on past kamma (saṅkhāra) done with avijjā!

Transcending the “Satta State” to Attain Puggala Stages

5. All other living-beings (sattā) overcome the “satta state” by learning how to do that from a Buddha or a true disciple of a Buddha (Ariya.)

- There are 8 such Ariyās (Noble Persons) as described in the “Paṭhamapuggala Sutta (AN 8.59),” for example.
- They are: “Sotāpanno, sotāpattiphalasacchikiriyāya paṭipanno (sotāpanna anugāmi), sakadāgāmī, sakadāgāmiphalasacchikiriyāya paṭipanno (sakadāgāmi anugāmi), anāgāmī, anāgāmiphalasacchikiriyāya paṭipanno (anāgāmī anugāmi), arahā, arahattāya paṭipanno (arahant anugāmi).”
- Another special satta overcomes the “satta state” by his own efforts. That is a Pacceka Buddha. A Pacceka Buddha has not fulfilled ALL the paramitās to become a Sammāsambuddha like Buddha Gotama. Therefore, a Pacceka Buddha does not have the ability to explain Dhamma like a Sammāsambuddha. Not that many sattās can attain Nibbāna from a Pacceka Buddha.

All Sattās Are Trapped in the Rebirth Process

6. Therefore, until the Sotapanna Anugāmi stage is attained, all sentient beings (even in those good realms like human, Deva, and Brahma) are trapped in the rebirth process.

- They all have not overcome the “satta state” and thus could be born in the apāyās in the future.
- The lifestream of a satta in ANY of those 31 realms will flow ceaselessly until the fruitlessness AND danger in remaining in the rebirth process is comprehended.
- The danger is because most births in the rebirth process are in the lowest four realms (apāyās.) The reason for that is in the verse that describes a “satta” in #3 above: “Rādha, when there is liking (chanda), strong liking ( rāgo), reveling (nandī), and the tendency to attach (taṇhā), then a ‘sentient being’ is spoken of.”
- The Buddha referred to there was any sentient being’s attachment to “worldly pleasures”.

Rest of the Satta Sutta

7. After explaining to Ven. Rādha the meaning of a “satta,” Buddha explained to him why those sentient beings are trapped in the rebirth process filled with unimaginable suffering.

- Here is the English translation at Sutta Central (my revisions are in bold):

“Suppose some boys or girls were playing with sandcastles. As long as they’re not rid of greed, desire, fondness, thirst, passion, and craving for those sandcastles, they cherish them, fancy them, treasure them, and treat them as their own. But when they grow up they get rid of greed, desire, fondness, thirst, passion, and craving for those useless sandcastles. Then they scatter, destroy, and demolish them with their hands and feet, making them unplayable.

In the same way, you should scatter, destroy, and demolish the desire for mind-pleasing things in this world, and reject them. And you should practice for the ending of craving. You should scatter, destroy, and demolish the desire for feeling … perception … saṅkhāre … Viññāṇaṃ, making them unplayable. Taṇhākkhayo hi, rādha, nibbānan” ti (Rādha, Nibbāna is the elimination of taṇhā).”

Overcoming the Desire to Build Sandcastles

8. Thus the Buddha compared the behavior of any living-being in the “satta state” to children enjoying the building sandcastles in a beach. Due to their ignorance (avijjā) they don’t realize the futility of building sandcastles for enjoyment.

- In the same way, until one hears and comprehends actual teachings of the Buddha (Four Noble Truths/Paṭicca Samuppāda/Tilakkhana) one would not “see” the futility AND dangers in enjoying sense pleasures in this world. Children building sand castles only waste their time. On the other hand, sattās enjoying sensory pleasures pave the way to rebirths in the apāyās without realizing it.
- When one starts “seeing” the true nature of this world, one removed sakkāya diṭṭhi and becomes a Sotapanna Anugāmi. That “vision” is fully established when one also removes any doubts (vicikiccā) and also sees that rituals (silabbata parāmāsa) will not get one released from the rebirth process. One is at the Sotapanna stage at that point.
- However, that is only the beginning of the Noble Eightfold Path. Only the diṭṭhi vipallāsa (wrong vision) is removed yet. With that “new vision” (Sammā Diṭṭhi), one needs to follow the other seven steps and get to Sammā Samādhi to remove saññā vipallāsa at the Anāgāmi stage and the citta vipallāsa at the Arahant stage. See, “Vipallāsa (Diṭṭhi, Saññā, Citta) Affect Sankhāra.” ... =vipallasa
- What I described above in #8 is a summary. Don’t worry about the details if you have not comprehended those concepts yet. Hopefully, When we go through the steps in the Paṭicca Samuppāda process, they will become clear.

Puthujjano Is a Satta in the Human Realm

9. Finally, a human in the “satta state” (i.e., who has not comprehended the Four Noble Truths) is a “puthujjano.” Thus, a puthujjano (normally translated as “uninformed ordinary person” in many translations) is a human with sakkāya diṭṭhi.

- In the “Cūḷavedalla Sutta (MN 44),” Ven. Dhammadinnā is asked: “how does sakkāya diṭṭhi (identity view) come about?”
- She replied: “.. uninformed ordinary persons who have not been exposed to the teaching of the Noble persons have one of the following views. One group has the wrong vision about rūpa (material form) in 4 ways: to regard rūpa as “mine”, or “I” as rūpa, or rūpa to be “in me”, or “I” to be “in rūpa.” Then there is the other group who regard one or more of the mental factors vedanā (feeling) … saññā (perception) … saṅkhāra (ways of thinking) … viññāṇa (consciousness) as “mine”, or “I” as those, or them to be “in me”, or “I’ to be “in them”. (We discussed this in #1 of the previous post “Sakkāya Diṭṭhi – Wrong View of “Me” and “Mine”.)
- Thus, any living-being (human, Deva, Brahma, as well as any other living-being) who has not comprehended the “world vision” of how suffering arises, is a “satta.” A satta in the human realm is a puthujjano.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Anatta and Sakkāya Diṭṭhi – Two Different Concepts

Anatta is Not Sakkāya Diṭṭhi

1. As we discussed in the previous two posts, sakkāya diṭṭhi is the WRONG VIEW of “me” and “mine.” Please read them again as needed.

- New existences (bhava) arise due to specific kamma done with different types of abhisaṅkhāra (vaci abhisaṅkhāra and kāya abhisaṅkhāra.) That is a process dictated by Paṭicca Samuppāda. Those saṅkhārā arise with having that wrong view (part of avijjā.) That is why the PS process starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā.”
- When one understands the Paṭicca Samuppāda process, one will see that it is such saṅkhārā (thoughts) arise because one believes that experiences in this world can bring happiness. Such experiences come through the body and mind, and one takes those as “me.” Those external things that be likes, one takes them to be “mine.” (To emphasize again, saññā and citta vipallāsa of “me” and “mine” will be removed only at Anāgāmi and Arahant stages. Removal of sakkāya diṭṭhi only removes the wrong view. This was discussed in #8 of the previous post.)
- Those wrong views of a “me” and ‘mine” keep one bound to the rebirth process. There is a living-being (satta) AS LONG AS there is the wrong of a “me” and “mine” associated with that lifestream. We will discuss this in detail in upcoming posts.
- That wrong view is sakkāya diṭṭhi. As long as the sakkāya diṭṭhi is there, one will not overcome the “satta” state and become one of the 8 Ariya puggalā, as discussed in those previous two posts. Furthermore, a “me” will exist (in the rebirth process) until that wrong view is removed.
- That wrong view will be removed ONLY WHEN one sees nothing in this world TO BE CONSIDERED “me” or “mine.” Therefore, sakkāya diṭṭhi (the wrong view) is RELATED TO anatta (a characteristic of nature.)
- But anatta is NOT that wrong associated with a “me” or a “self.” Anatta means EVERYTHING in this world is devoid of value.

Anatta is Not “No-Self”!

2. Many people translate the word “anatta” as “no-self.” But the Buddha advised us to stay away from the following two extremes to describe a living-being (satta.)

- It is NOT correct to say that a satta (with the wrong view of a “self”) does not exist. That satta will live in one of the 31 realms as long as having that incorrect view. Most importantly, life is real, and so is the suffering (together with infrequent happiness). Here, I am referring to the long rebirth process.
- On the other hand, in ultimate reality, there is no “self” or a “soul” or an “ātman” traveling the rebirth process (saṃsāra.) When that is understood, that satta will cease to exist IN THIS WORLD, i.e., that lifestream will merge with Nibbāna.
- Instead of having endless debates about whether a “self” exists or not, it pays to focus on how the Buddha explained the existence of a satta suffering much in the rebirth process.
- To repeat: abhisaṅkhāra ARISE in a mind BECAUSE a satta (living-being) acts with that wrong view. But if one understands this process, one can be mindful and stop such saṅkhārā from CONTINUING TO grow and LEAD TO new existences (bhava.) That is the basis of Satipaṭṭhāna.
- When one understands Paṭicca Samuppāda, one will see no need to follow either of those two extremes of whether there is a “self” or not.

What is Anatta?

3. The concept of anatta is intrinsically related to the other two: anicca and dukkha. Those three are the “three characteristics of nature.”

- None of those are DIRECTLY about a “person” (or a “puthujjano”) or a “satta” in general.
- Anicca, dukkha, anatta are related by “yadaniccam tam dukkham, yam dukkham tadanattā” (expanded:yad aniccam taṃ dukkham, yaṃ dukkham tad anattā.“) That means, “everything in this world” is of anicca nature; (craving for them) leads to dukkha; therefore, it is unfruitful to crave for anything in this world (anatta).”
- There are 12 suttas in the Aniccavagga of the Saṃyutta Nikāya 35 (SN 35.1 through SN 35.12), stating that anicca (and dukkha and anatta) nature is associated with everything in this world.
- There are 6 suttas in the Aniccavagga of the Saṃyutta Nikāya 2 (SN 22.12 through SN 22.17) stating the same and the above relationship among the three entities.

Inert Things Are of Anatta Nature Too!

4. The “Yadanattā Sutta (SN 22. 17)” states: “[i]Rūpaṃ, bhikkhave, anattā. Yadanattā taṃ ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ. Vedanā anattā …saññā anattā …saṅkhārā anattā …viññāṇaṃ anattā[/i].”

Translated:Bhikkhus, rupa is of anatta nature. It has no essence and is of no value. Any rupa (including external rupa) should be seen as it really is — with correct wisdom — thus: ‘This rupa is not mine, this I am not, this should not be taken as “me.” Then the same is stated for the four mental components.

- There are other suttas explicitly stating that the external world is also of anatta nature. For example, the “Bāhirāyatana anatta Sutta (SN 35.227)” says: “Rūpā, bhikkhave, anattā. Saddā … gandhā … rasā … phoṭṭhabbā … dhammā anattā. Evaṃ passaṃ … pe … nāparaṃ itthattāyāti pajānātī” ti.

Translated:Bhikkhus, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and dhammā are of anatta nature. Seeing this … (a Noble Person) understands: ‘There is no value in any of those… (for them) there is no return to any state of existence in this world (i.e., they will attain Nibbāna).’”

- Does it make sense to say, “sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and thoughts are not-self”? Is having a “self” a possibility for sights, sounds, etc.? But that is the exact English translation of this sutta at Sutta Central!
- Thus, it should be clear that ALL INERT THINGS in this world are also of anatta nature!
- It is unfruitful AND dangerous to value them and to attach (taṇhā) to them. However, that attachment CANNOT be stopped by sheer willpower. It will gradually fade away as one starts to understand the Paṭicca Samuppāda process.
- We will get to discuss this in detail in the future. But I just wanted to make the distinction between sakkāya diṭṭhi and anatta.

Sakkāya Diṭṭhi Is Related to Anatta

5. Of course, getting rid of sakkāya diṭṭhi and starting to comprehend Tilakkhana (including anatta nature) happens simultaneously at the Sotapanna stage. Those two concepts are related.

- This relationship is described in the “Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta (SN 22.59),” the second sutta delivered by the Buddha to the five ascetics.

Rūpaṃ, bhikkhave, anattā. Rūpañca hidaṃ, bhikkhave, attā abhavissa, nayidaṃ rūpaṃ ābādhāya saṃvatteyya, labbhetha ca rūpe: ‘evaṃ me rūpaṃ hotu, evaṃ me rūpaṃ mā ahosī’ti.” ORBhikkhus, form no value and should not be considered one’s own. If rupa (meaning one’s body in this case) belonged to oneself, one should be able to control it (without leading to sicknesses and injuries; one should be able to say: ‘Let my body be thus without affliction)”
- “Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, rūpaṃ anattā, tasmā rūpaṃ ābādhāya saṃvattati, na ca labbhati rūpe: ‘evaṃ me rūpaṃ hotu, evaṃ me rūpaṃ mā ahosī’ti. OR “But this body has the anatta nature, it leads to affliction, and it is not possible to have it thus: ‘Let my body be this way; let my body not be the other way.'” Therefore, “this body should not be considered as mine” is ONE ASPECT of the anatta nature.
- In other words, one’s body is just like any other rupa in this world. It is subject to the anatta nature dictated by Paṭicca Samuppāda. That is also why sakkāya diṭṭhi is wrong.
- The sutta explains that the same is true for the other four mental aggregates: vedanā anattā, saññā anattā, saṅkhārā anattā, viññāṇaṃ anattā.

Anattā AsārakaṭṭhenātiAnatta Means Anything in this World is Void of Value

6. Finally, the following verse is in the “3.1. Mahāpaññākathā the end) of Paṭisambhidāmagga in the Tipiṭaka: “Rūpaṃ atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ aniccaṃ khayaṭṭhena dukkhaṃ bhayaṭṭhena anattā asārakaṭṭhenāti..”

Translated: “any rupa belonging to the past, present, or future is of anicca nature and (attaching to them) will lead to one’s downfall (khaya); it is of dukkha nature because it is dangerous (bhaya); it is of anatta nature because it is useless (asāra.)“

- Thus it is evident that anatta CANNOT be translated as “no-self.”
- The next verse there is; “Rūpaṃ atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ aniccaṃ saṅkhataṃ paṭiccasamuppannaṃ khayadhammaṃ vayadhammaṃ virāgadhammaṃ nirodhadhammanti tulayitvā tīrayitvā vibhāvayitvā vibhūtaṃ katvā rūpanirodhe nibbāne khippaṃ javatīti—javanapaññā. Vedanā … pe … saññā … saṅkhārā … viññāṇaṃ … cakkhu … pe … jarāmaraṇaṃ atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ aniccaṃ saṅkhataṃ paṭiccasamuppannaṃ khayadhammaṃ vayadhammaṃ virāgadhammaṃ nirodhadhammanti tulayitvā tīrayitvā vibhāvayitvā vibhūtaṃ katvā jarāmaraṇanirodhe nibbāne khippaṃ javatīti—javanapaññā. Javanapaññatāya saṃvattantīti—ayaṃ javanapaññā. (14)”

- Here it is emphasized that EVERYTHING in this world, including all rupa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhārā, viññāṇa,cakkhu … through jarāmaraṇa, are all of anicca nature and arise via Paṭicca Samuppāda. They ALL lead to eventual suffering (dukkha). They ALL are of no real value (anatta.) See #3 above “yad aniccam taṃ dukkham, yaṃ dukkham tad anattā.“
- That is why we first need to understand the Paṭicca Samuppāda process.
- This post has many Pāli verses. But I wanted to quote directly from the Tipiṭaka to make things absolutely clear. It is critical to understand these fundamental concepts.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

NibbānaRāgakkhaya Dosakkhaya Mohakkhaya – Part 1

Nibbāna is defined as “rāgakkhayo dosakkhayo mohakkhayo—idaṃ vuccati nibbānan’ti” OR “Nibbāna is the ending of rāga, dosa, and moha.”

What Is Nibbāna?

1. The above verse explaining Nibbāna appears in many suttas. The above quote is from “Nibbānapañhā Sutta (SN 38.1)”:

- There is a stronger version of rāga, i.e., lobha (extreme greed.) Someone with a lobha mindset CANNOT comprehend the Four Noble Truths. That is why Nibbāna is defined as above.
- All future suffering arise due to lobha, dosa, moha. But until lobha is reduced to the rāga level, one cannot comprehend the Noble Truths. See, “Lōbha, Dōsa, Mōha versus Rāga, Patigha, Avijjā” on Nov 11, 2018 (p. 44):viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=645
- Someone with a “moral mindset” who has removed the ten types of wrong views NORMALLY has reduced versions of rāga, patigha, avijjā. However, their mindsets can also be elevated to stronger lobha, dosa, and moha under some conditions (if the temptation is high enough.)
- Someone who has removed the ten types of wrong views can comprehend the Four Noble Truths and remove avijjā (ignorance about this world’s real - nature.) It happens in four stages culminating at the Arahant stage.
- That is a summary. We will discuss the details below and in upcoming posts.

Nibbāna Defined as Above Is the Ultimate Version

2. What is defined above is the ultimate version of Nibbāna or the “ultimate cooling down” via “eliminating ANY future suffering.”

- In the previous three posts in this series, I briefly laid out the key (and deeper) foundations of Buddha Dhamma. I did that so that one would see the outline. Of course, more explanations are needed to clarify them.
- We will gradually clarify those concepts.
- The way to do that is to realize that we CAN experience the early stage of “cooling down” by gradually reducing lobha, dosa, moha to the rāga, patigha, avijjā AND trying to maintain them there without re-elevating to the lobha, dosa, moha levels.
- A single Pāli word captures lobha, dosa, moha (and the reduced versions of rāga, patigha, avijjā.) That word is san.” See details on “San” starting with a post on Feb 20, 2019:viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=990

Sandiṭṭhikaṃ Nibbānan – One Needs to “See Defilements” to Get to Nibbāna

3. One first needs to “see defilements” or “see ‘san’” (san diṭṭhika) to be able to see the path to Nibbāna.

- That is why the Buddha Dhamma is “sandiṭṭhika.” In the verse that points out the virtues of Buddha Dhamma, “..bhagavatā dhammo sandiṭṭhiko akāliko ehipassiko opaneyyiko paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhīti” it is one of the qualities that makes Buddha Dhamma unique.
- One can experience the first stages of Nibbāna (cooling down of the mind) by “seeing the dangers of “san” and gradually getting rid of them.
- That is the Nibbāna that can be experienced in this life! It is easily reached, especially if one can see the drawbacks of “san” (greed, anger, delusion.)

4. That is what the Buddha explained to Jāṇussoṇi in the “Nibbuta Sutta (AN 3.55).” A reasonable English translation is “Nibbāna (AN 3.55)”:

- Jāṇussoṇi askes the Buddha, “Master Gotama, it is said: ‘Directly visible Nibbāna, directly visible Nibbāna.’ In what way is Nibbāna directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see, applicable, to be personally experienced by the wise?”
- As explained there, a mind with greed, hate, and delusion (ignorance about the real nature) “..experiences mental suffering and dejection.”
Thus if one can see the bad consequences of greed, hate, and delusion (or ‘san‘), one can reduce those and reach a “better state of mind.” It is a “cooled state of mind” with less agitation and would not experience depression.
- In particular, it is easy to recognize when greed and anger arise in one’s mind. The one should make an effort to control them. That is the basis of Ānāpāna and Satipaṭṭhāna meditations: “being mindful.”
- That is why Nibbāna is directly visible AND can be experienced in this life itself!

Ādittapariyāya Sutta (The Fire Sermon) Is About the “Fire in a Mind”

5. An English translation is at “Ādittapariyāya Sutta (The Fire Sermon)”: ... .nymo.html As with all English translations, it is a ‘word-by-word” translation without clarifying what is meant by that “fire.” (see other translations at Sutta Central: “Āditta Sutta (SN 35.28)“):

- It says, “The eye is burning, forms are burning, eye-consciousness is burning, eye-contact is burning, also whatever is felt as pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant that arises with eye-contact for its indispensable condition, that too is burning.” That may not make sense if one does not see that it is ATTACHMENT TO those 5 things that LEADS to “fires in the MIND.” Those 5 are associated with “seeing.”
- Even the direct translation says, “Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion.
Such 5 types of “sources of fire” arise with the other senses: hearing, tasting, smelling, body touches, and the mind itself.
- But all those 30 “sources of fire” ALWAYS lead to “fires in mind.” We MUST note that all 30 types of sensory experiences register in the mind!
It is the MIND that will burn (sooner or later) due to the actions one takes (kamma via saṅkhāra) with the desire for seeking pleasures with “seeing.’
- Some of that “burning” will materialize later in this life or even in future lives. That “potential to bring suffering” is deposited as “kammic energy,” and that is also the same as “bhava” (cause for future suffering)! That is a hard part of understanding. But we will get to that.

“Burning” (Tāpa) Has Root Cause in Rāga (Greed) and Dosa (Anger)

6. We attach to things that we like. This “attachment” is described in several ways by the Buddha: icchā, taṇhā, nandi, piya, kāma, etc. When exposed to such ‘likable things” in this world, we become joyful and try to get more of them, even using immoral deeds. Therein lies the problem.

- Those things in this world that lead to such attachment and joyful feelings are called “things with kāmaguṇa or “characteristics/sources of kāma.” We will discuss that soon.
- Even though they may provide temporary joy, they always lead to “heat/burning” (tāpa) in mind.
- The word “tappati” in the Dhammapada verse in #10 refers to a mind that is “heated/burning.”

Rāga and Dosa – Two Faces of a Coin

7. Rāga and dosa are like the two faces of a coin, and the coin itself is moha (avijjā.) As long as avijjā is there, rāga OR dosa can arise.

- Dosa (anger/hate/dislike) is the opposite of rāga (and lobha.) There are things that we don’t like in this world. Furthermore, we also dislike/hate people who get in our way in our efforts to seek more sensory pleasures.
- We tend to evaluate external objects (people or objects) based on their ability to provide us with enjoyment/happiness or whether they appear ugly/distasteful/tend to get in our way. Thus, we tend to put anything into one of those two categories: like/dislike. This is due to the root cause of moha. This explicit “measuring” or ‘evaluation” is “māna.”
- We do that “measuring” with the perception of “me” and trying to decide what will enhance “my enjoyment” and minimize “my displeasure.” - That is because of our avijjā or ignorance that such behavior will ONLY lead to future suffering.

Moha Is the Root Cause of Rāga and Dosa

8. Sometimes, the mind becomes uncertain (vicikicchā) about what to do. At other times, it becomes perturbed/excited (uddhacca) due to uncertainty about something. In such cases, only moha (or avijjā) is present.

- In other words, moha is the root cause of rāga, dosa, and all other asobhana cetasika.
- Furthermore, the deepest level of moha is in māna, uddhacca, avijjā. Those are removed only at the Arahant stage. It is one of the last five Saṃyojana (bonds to the saṃsāric process) of rupa rāga, arupa rāga, māna, uddhacca, avijjā.
- By the way, kāma rāga is removed at the Anāgāmi stage. When one becomes an “Arahant Anugāmi” at the next level, one loses rupa rāga and arupa rāga. It is only at the Arahant stage that one removes the last three: māna, uddhacca, and avijjā. Here, māna and uddhacca are the last traces of rāga and dosa left. Avijja is the last trace of moha removed that breaks ALL bonds to the rebirth process (saṃsāra.)

Avijjā and Taṇhā Go Together!

9. Because of our unwise perception of a “me,” we tend to attach to some things (rāga) and try to stay away from other things (dosa.) Either way, we are ‘mentally bound” to both types. We tend to think about ways to get likable things closer and to keep unlikable things away. Thus, taṇhā is involved in both cases. See, “Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance.” I will post this here in a few days since it is important.

- It is impossible to get rid of taṇhā as long as we do not comprehend the real nature of this world explained by the Buddha and thereby get rid of avijjā.
- The first step towards that understanding is to live a moral life and cleanse the mind. That will enable one to comprehend this ‘previously unheard” Dhamma: Why sensory pleasures (kāma) WILL invariably lead to future suffering.
- Therefore, we need to get to the next step of understanding dasa akusala and dasa kusala.
- Don’t worry too much about all these Pāli terms. They will become clear as we discuss further. There is no need to memorize. If you understand the concepts, they will become familiar.

Dasa Akusala and Dasa Kusala

10. The path to Nibbāna is to avoid immoral deeds or dasa akusala (“Ten Immoral Actions (Dasa Akusala)“) and to engage in meritorious deeds or dasa kusala (“Dasa Akusala/Dasa Kusala – Basis of Buddha Dhamma.”) Posts at Dhamma Wheel start on Nov 21, 2018:viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=735

The drawbacks of dasa akusala succinctly stated in the following Dhammapada verse:

Idha tappati, pecca tappati, - Agony now, agony hereafter,
pāpakārī ubhayattha tappati. - The wrong-doer suffers agony in both worlds.
Pāpaṃ me katan”ti tappati, - Agonized now by the knowledge that one has done wrong,
bhiyyo tappati, duggatiṃ gato. - one suffers more agony when gone to a state of woe.

In the same way, the benefits of dasa kusala will be evident in this life and future lives:

Idha nandati, pecca nandati, - Rejoicing now, rejoicing hereafter,
katapuñño ubhayattha nandati. - The doer of wholesome actions rejoices in both worlds.
Puññaṃ me katan”ti nandati, - Rejoicing now in the knowledge that one has acted morally,
bhiyyo nandati, suggatiṃ gato. - one rejoices more when gone to a state of bliss.

- We will discuss the relationship of rāga, dosa, moha to dasa akusala and dasa kusala in the next post.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

The following two short posts could be helpful in clarifying some key Pāli terms.

Lōbha, Rāga and Kāmacchanda, Kāmarāga

There are various names for greed in Pāli. Each has a different meaning, and the differences are significant. Let us look at the two terms “lōbha” and “rāga” first.

What is Lōbha?

1. Lōbha is the stronger term of the two. The word lōbha comes from “lo” + “bha” where “lo” implies “strong attraction” (like that of an ant to honey) and “bha” is for “bhava” (existence). One is firmly attached to this world with lōbha.

- Lōbha is an extreme form of greed. One can do highly-immoral deeds or “pāpa kamma” with lōbha. Such pāpa kamma could make one destined to the apāyā. See, “Kusala and Akusala Kamma, Punna and Pāpa Kamma.”)
- When someone has lōbha, it is exhibited in two ways:
(i) One wishes that all the “riches” should come to oneself and not to others (one may be already “rich” but wants more for oneself).
(ii) One is unwilling to donate even a little bit to the needy and does not share with even the family. It is said that no matter how much one has, some people want more. However, even poor people can have lōbha, especially for the things others have.

2. It is hard to quantify these, but the idea is that “lōbha” is the manifestation of the overbearing attachment to worldly things.

- Lōbha is one of 52 cētasika (mental factors).
- Abhijjhā (extreme greed) is the same as lōbha. The word abhijjhā comes from “abhi” + “icchā” or “strong liking/craving.”

Rāga is a Weaker Form of Lōbha

3. Rāga also arises because one believes there are pleasures to be had in staying in Saṃsāra (rebirth process). But one would NOT do highly-immoral things with just rāga. Here, “” means “giving priority” and “enjoying” a sensory experience. And “ga” means to touch or bind. One would like to keep enjoying that pleasure.

- When one is born rich (or acquires wealth) and enjoys life with sensory pleasures, that is not lōbha; that is just rāga. Such a person is not harming others. However, that rāga COULD lead to lōbha too.
- With lōbha, one could do highly immoral deeds (even if one is rich). If one is willing to kill, steal, lie, etc., to gain something one desires, then those are “apāyagāmikamma. One does not necessarily have to carry out these actions or speech. Just thinking about it and making abhisaṅkhāra (planning or even enjoying such thoughts) itself is lōbha. Thus even the poorest person can have lōbha.

What is Kāma and Kāma Rāga?

4. Pleasing things in this world are NOT kāma. Attaching to such things and generating conscious thoughts about them (saṅkappa) is kāma. In other words, kāma means attachment to the sensory pleasure available in the kāma lōka, i.e., those available to gratify the five senses. The word kāma is closely related to taṇhā and icchā.

- Then giving priority to kāma is kāma rāga.
- When one has kāma rāga, one likes to enjoy sense pleasures, but not at others’ expense. Thus when husband and wife engage in sexual activity, that is due to kāma rāga.
- Even the dēvas in dēva loka have kāma rāga. They like to enjoy sensory pleasures, but they don’t crave what others have. Thus, they do not have lōbha.
- Also, see, “Kāma Guna, Kāma, Kāma Rāga, Kāmacchanda” for more details.

Blinded by Kāma Is Kāmacchanda

5. Then there is kāmacchanda which is stronger than kāma rāga. It is like lōbha but focused on kāma.

-Kāmacchanda is the highest level of that attachment. Here one is willing to do abhorrent acts (killing, raping, etc.) to satisfy one’s desires.
- When one has developed kāma to the kāmacchanda level, one becomes unaware of the bad consequences of one’s actions. Kāmacchanda comes from kāma + iccha + anda, or “being blinded by sense attractions.” Here, “icchā” is liking, and “anda” is blind.
- It is said that “one loses one’s mind” when blinded by attachment to sense pleasures, i.e., one cannot think rationally when one has kāmacchanda.
- Thus, one needs to be mindful not to let one’s kāma rāga develop into kāmacchanda, which is one of the five hindrances that “cover the mind.”
- Inappropriate sexual activity (affairs outside marriage and rape) are done with kāmacchanda, i.e., when one becomes blind with kāma.
- Kāmacchanda is pronounced “kāmachchanda”.

Connection to Stages of Magga Phala

6. It is also helpful to see how these different levels of greed are removed at various stages of Nibbāna. This will give a better sense of differentiation.

- A Sōtapanna has permanently removed kāmacchanda and also does not have the worst level of lōbha. Thus he/she will not engage in “apāyagāmi” acts to gain sense pleasures. A Sōtapanna has not given up all three types of rāga: kāma rāga, rupa rāga, and arupa rāga.
- A Sakadāgāmi also has kāma rāga to a lesser extent; this is why he could be reborn in the kāma lōka for one more time.
- An Anāgami has removed kāma rāga; he will not return to any of the 11 kāma lōka realms, including the human and dēva realms, and will be reborn in a Suddhāvāsa realm in the rūpa loka, and will attain Nibbāna there.
- However, an Anāgami may still enjoy (but not attach to) sense pleasures, i.e., still has kāma; see #3 of, “Akusala Citta and Akusala Vipāka Citta.” This is a subtle point, but the point is that an Anāgami would still have the “four greed-based citta without wrong views,” and that is kāma. Those four akusala cittā are prevented from arising only for an Arahant.

7. Finally, some have given up the desire to enjoy pleasures in kāma lōka, but like jhānic pleasures. They are born in rūpa loka and arūpa loka and have rūpa rāga and arūpa rāga.

- Rūpa rāga and arūpa rāga are removed only at the Arahant stage, as discussed in “Akusala Citta and Akusala Vipāka Citta.”: ... aka-citta/
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Lōbha, Dōsa, Mōha versus Rāga, Paṭigha, Avijjā

Lōbha, Dosa, and Mōha

1. Lōbha is extreme greed; see the previous post, “Lōbha, Rāga, and Kāmaccanda, Kāmarāga.” One is willing to do any immoral act to get what one wants. One can become blind by greed, i.e., kāmacchanda can arise.

- Dosa (or dvesha in Sanskrit) is the ANGER that arises based on initial lōbha. Here, dvesha comes from “devana” + “vesha” — දෙවන වේශය — or second manifestation of lōbha. We get angry when someone else is in the way of getting what we want.

2. One acts with lōbha or dōsa because one has mōha. Mōha comes from “muva” + “” which symbolizes a vessel with its mouth closed. Thus one cannot see what is inside. Similarly, one acts with mōha because one is unaware that such immoral acts will have horrible consequences. One’s mind is blocked and dark (cannot “see” clearly).

- When one has not removed the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi, one could act with mōha. The ten types of micchā diṭṭhi are discussed in “Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty).”
- In the pañca nīvaraṇa (five hindrances), abhijjhā and vyāpāda represent lōbha and dōsa. Those are synonymous terms for lōbha and dōsa; see, “Key to Calming the Mind – The Five Hindrances.”
- The word abhijjhā comes from “abhi” + “icchā” or “strong liking/craving.” The word vyāpāda comes from “vaya” + “pāda” or “on a downward path.”

Pāpa Kamma Done With Lōbha, Dosa, and Mōha

3. Actions carried out with lōbha, dōsa, and mōha are called pāpa kamma. They are stronger versions of akusala kamma. Such pāpa kamma makes one eligible to be born in the lower four worlds.

- Actions done with dōsa are the worst, with niraya (hell) as the possible destination, and lōbha is cause for rebirth in the preta (peta) lōka of hungry ghosts. Acts done with both lōbha and dōsa have all three “san” (since mōha is always there), and thus lead to rebirth in the animal or “tirisan” (“tiri”+”san” or all three “san”) realm.
- As one engages in moral actions and gets rid of one’s tendency (“gati”) to do immoral actions, one starts “cooling down,” and one’s likelihood of being born in the lower four realms diminishes.

Rāga, Paṭigha, Avijjā

4. However, lobha, dōsa, mōha permanently reduce to rāga, paṭigha, avijjā levels when one attains the Sōtapanna stage. All pañca nīvaraṇa permanently removed at the Sōtapanna stage.

- Of course, one is now able to “see” the real nature of the world (anicca, dukkha, anatta) to some extent (one is not blind), and thus mōha is reduced to avijjā level.
- As explained in the previous post, rāga is the craving for sense pleasures. See, “Lōbha, Rāga, and Kāmaccandha, Kāmarāga.”
- Of course, there are different levels here too, but in general, this level of greed makes one eligible only for birth in the human and deva worlds. Paṭigha is a lower level of hate, more like “friction.” One may get annoyed when someone and even say something in return, but will never do anything “horrible” that makes one eligible to be born in the lower four realms.

Kāma Rāga Is One Type of Rāga

5. At the next level of Nibbāna of the Sakadāgāmi level, kāma rāga, and paṭigha are both reduced to the extent that one will not be reborn in the human level, but only deva or higher realms.

- Kāma rāga is the rāga or craving for sense pleasures in the kāma lōka. There are two levels of kāma rāga: vatthu kāma (craving for OWNING objects that provide sense pleasures) and kilesa or kilesa kāma (craving for sense pleasures is there, but not necessary to “OWN THEM”). A Sakadāgāmi has lost the vatthu kāma, but still has kilesa kāma, i.e., he/she still craves for sense pleasures, but has no desire to “own them.” For example, a Sakadāgāmi may still like to live in a beautiful house with comforts, but the desire to “own the house” is not there.
- Above the human realm (in Deva and Brahma realms), beings have subtle bodies. They are not “solid” bodies like ours that are subjected to decay or diseases. Thus they never get sick or visibly old (but of course, death is inevitable to anyone anywhere in the 31 realms). That is why a Sakadāgāmi is said to be healthy forever (after human life).

Kāma Rāga is Removed at the Anāgāmi Stage

6. When one attains the Anāgāmi stage, both kāma rāga and paṭigha will no longer be present. Thus one will not even be offended by harsh words/acts and will not retaliate. An Anāgāmi will never be born anywhere in the kāma lōka including the deva worlds; they are reborn only in Brahma realms.

- While a Sōtapanna may still have some tendency to give priority to sense pleasures at certain times, all such habits are reduced at the Sakadāgāmi stage and removed at the Anāgāmi stage.

7. For an Anāgāmi, only rupa rāga and arupa rāga will be present. That means a desire for jhānic pleasures in the rupa and arupa lōka (the four rupa jhānā and four arupa jhānā). And he/she still has avijjā left to a certain extent together with māna (some level of pride) and uddhacca (some degree of sense of superiority).

- All these disappear at the Arahant stage. An Arahant is free from even a trace of defilements. Therefore, an Arahant will never be reborn in “this world” of kāma lōka, rupa lōka, or arupa lōka (anywhere in the 31 realms).
- That is why it is not productive to meditate, trying to eliminate the sense of “self” before the Sōtapanna stage. Many people incorrectly interpret anatta as “no-self.” But the feeling of “me” is removed only at the Arahant stage, after the Anāgāmi stage. As long as māna anduddhacca are there, the sense of “me” is still there.

Key to Getting to the Sōtapanna stage

8. To get to the Sōtapanna stage, one needs to realize the “three characteristics of nature.” One is the true meaning of anicca (that there is no point in hurting others to achieve temporary sense pleasures.) The second is that one will be subjected to much suffering (dukkha) without realizing the anicca nature. The third is that until one has that mindset, one is truly helpless in this round of rebirths (anatta). Until one comprehends them, it is POSSIBLE for any of the following to happen in the rebirth process:

- One could act with extreme greed (lōbha) to the extent of a hungry ghost (peta). Thus, one could get such a birth.
- Act with extreme hate (dōsa) in the heat of the moment and could even kill a human. That can lead to a rebirth in the niraya (hell).
One may not realize the unfruitfulness of depending on others. That includes cheating/stealing (without trying to make an honest living for oneself.) Thus, a birth in the asura realm is possible.
- It is even possible to cultivate “animal gati.” Those include having sex with young children or being able to kill/hurt others for one’s pleasure, etc. In this case, both lōbha and dōsa could be present. Thus one is not released from the animal realm.
- Those are the four lower realms. Thus one will be truly helpless (anatta) unless one removes such bad habits (“gati“). Until then, dukkha (suffering) will be there in the long-term, if not in this lifetime. Those are the true meanings of anicca, dukkha, anatta.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by confusedlayman »

hi lal,

how panca nivarana permanently off at 1st stage? if craving, ill will etc eradication 1st stage, what is there beyond that?
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 »

how panca nivarana permanently off at 1st stage? if craving, ill will etc eradication 1st stage, what is there beyond that?
I believe your question is: "If pañca nīvaraṇa permanently removed at the Sotapanna stage, what else is there to remove at the higher stages?"

Pañca nīvaraṇa are: abhijjhā, vyāpāda, thina middha, uddacca kukkucca, and vicikicchā.

As explained in the above two posts, at the Sotapanna stage abhijjhā is only REDUCED to the raga (kama raga, rupa raga, and arupa raga) level. Vyāpāda is REDUCED to the patigha level.
- Also, uddacca cetasika is NOT removed. The nivarana of "uddaccha kukkucca" is NOT the same as "uddaccha". It is only at the Arahant stage that the uddaccha is removed.
- Only the "bad or asobhana cetasika" of "thina", "middha", and vicikiccha" are removed at the Sotapanna stage.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Pañca Nīvaraṇa and Sensual Pleasures (Kāma)

Pañca Nīvaraṇa (Five Hindrances) are defilements that “cover the mind” and make the mind agitated or lethargic and susceptible to make bad decisions. Craving for sensory pleasures is the root cause for the covering of the mind.

Why Are They Called “Hindrances”?

1. These five are indicators for “mental states.” When they become elevated, one can easily make “bad decisions.” Furthermore, it is difficult for a mind to focus on any subject or comprehend new concepts with the five hindrances at high levels.

- Pañca nīvaraṇa does not cover a mind all the time. They can be triggered under the influence of temptations.
- In such instances, one could be tempted to engage in dasa akusala to ANY extent, depending on the temptation level. One may even do strong immoral deeds (pāpa kamma) that make rebirth in the apāyās possible.
- The possibility of pañca nīvaraṇa arising will permanently go away when one attains the Sotapanna stage.
- That is why a Sotapanna is permanently released from the apāyās.
- However, getting to the Sotapanna stage REQUIRES seeing (or understanding) that craving for sensory pleasures (kāma) is the root cause of all suffering. Of course, even after "seeing" it (i.e., removing the wrong vision) a Sotapanna would still enjoy sensual pleasures because he had not removed the wrong perception (saññā).

What Is the “Previously Unheard Dhamma (Teachings)?”

2. The Buddha, in his first discourse, declared that his teachings had not been known to the world (in the absence of another Buddha.) That is the meaning of the verse, “‘Idaṃ dukkhaṃ ariyasaccan’ti me, bhikkhave, pubbe ananussutesu dhammesu.” OR “bhikkhus, this is the noble truth of suffering that was not heard before..” That highlighted part of the verse appears 12 times in the sutta (3 times each for the Four Noble Truths)!

- The “previously unheard teaching” is that even though sensory experiences can provide short-lived pleasures, they ALWAYS lead to suffering in the long-term (during this life and especially in the rebirth process.)
- The root cause for that suffering is the wrong view/perception of a “me” or sakkāya diṭṭhi. That view AND perception, in turn, arises because of the perceived “pleasure” in sensory experiences.
- We attach to worldly pleasures (with icchā/taṇhā) with that wrong view/perception BECAUSE we think they can provide long-lasting happiness. But the Buddha explained that there is hidden suffering in those pleasures. See the previous posts in “Sakkāya Diṭṭhi and Paṭicca Samuppāda.”
- Upon attaining the Buddhahood, the Buddha was able to see the minds of countless living-beings and was first discouraged that most of them would not be able to comprehend his teachings. Then he realized that some have the ability to comprehend his deep Dhamma.

Kāmato Jāyatī Soko Kāma Is a Root Cause of Suffering

3. “Dhammapada Verse 215“ ( provides the key idea:

Kāmato jāyatī soko - From desire, arises grief,
kāmato jāyatī bhayaṃ; - from desire arises fear;
Kāmato vippamuttassa, - Completely free from desire,
natthi soko kuto bhayaṃ. - there is no grief; how can there be fear?

- The above verse is the 7th verse in that link. The verses 4th through 8th are the same verses with synonymous words for kāma: piya, pema, rati (pronounced “rathi”), and taṇhā. We have discussed that icchā is also the same as taṇhā. In English, we can use words like desire, attachment, craving, liking, etc., to express the same meaning.
- There are pleasurable experiences. Those are NOT kāma. More details at, “What is “Kāma”? It is not Just Sex.” It is critical to read that post. I will post it here in a few days.
- The desire to accumulate more such experiences is kāma. That desire has no bounds. If temptations are high enough, we may take extreme immoral actions to fulfill such desires. That is when we get into trouble. But the key is to figure out how to stop such temptations. That CANNOT be done with willpower.
- With that in mind, let us look into pañca nīvaraṇa.

What Are Pañca Nīvaraṇa?

4. Pañca nīvaraṇa are: Kāmacchanda, vyāpāda (or byāpāda), thina-middha, uddhacca-kukkucca, and vicikicchā. See “Āvaraṇanīvaraṇa Sutta (SN 46.38).”:

- In the sutta, the Buddha used two words, “āvaraṇā" and "nīvaraṇā” to describe these five. The word “āvaraṇā” means “to cover (the mind.)” When the mind is covered, it cannot grasp Buddha’s teachings, and thus Nibbana (or cooling down) is prevented (the meaning of “nīvaraṇā.”)
- When a mind is “covered,” one cannot clearly see the consequences of one’s actions. It is like looking through a fog. One cannot see what lies ahead.
- Removing pañca nīvaraṇa from one’s mind is like lifting a fog. One can see far ahead with much clarity.
- But how do those 5 things cover a mind? We need to figure that out before we can remove them.

Kāmacchanda Is the Main Nīvaraṇa

5. Kāmacchanda is stronger than kāma rāga. It is like lōbha but focused on kāma.

- Kāmacchanda is the highest level of attachment. Here one is willing to do abhorrent acts (killing, raping, etc.) to satisfy one’s desires.
- When kāma rises to the kāmacchanda level, one becomes unaware of the bad consequences of one’s actions. Kāmacchanda comes from kāma + icchā + anda, or “being blinded by sensory attractions.” Here, “icchā” is liking, and “anda” is blind.
- It is said that “one loses one’s mind” when blinded by attachment to sense pleasures, i.e., one cannot think rationally when one has kāmacchanda.
- See, “Lōbha, Rāga and Kāmacchanda, Kāmarāga.”

Vyāpāda Is a Consequence of Kāmacchanda

6. The second nīvaraṇa, vyāpāda, arises because of kāmacchanda. But it is a different manifestation. Instead of becoming lustful, one becomes hateful and angry.

- That anger arises when one is prevented from satisfying one’s desire for sensual pleasures. Patigha (or displeasure) is a lower level of vyāpāda and is not a nīvaraṇa. One does not do “apāyagāmi deeds” with patigha.
- We have heard about people killing others to get their wealth or their spouses or other loved ones. That happens when one’s mind becomes overwhelmed with kāmacchanda.
- Dosa (or dvesha in Sanskrit or Sinhala) is the ANGER that arises based on initial lōbha. Here, dvesha comes from “devana” + “vesha” — දෙවන වේශය — or second manifestation of lōbha. We get angry when someone else is in the way of getting what we want. This statement is from “Lōbha, Dōsa, Mōha versus Rāga, Paṭigha, Avijjā.“
- With dosa, one will inevitably take a “downward path.” That is the meaning of vyāpāda (“vaya” or ‘downward”+ “pāda” or “direction.”) Thus, vyāpāda is the same as dosa.

Other Three Nīvaraṇa Also Have Roots in Kāmacchanda

7. When one gets attached to sensory pleasures, one’s mind becomes dull (Pali word is thina.) Because of that, the mind gets stuck (middha.)

- Thus, thina-middha refers to a mind that has become lethargic and stuck. Such a mind would not be able to focus on anything, let alone difficult concepts. A good example is those addicted to watching movies, TV, sports, etc., all day. Their minds are stuck. Some people forget even to eat.
- A different manifestation is uddhacca-kukkucca. Here, one becomes “high-minded” (uddhacca) with perceived wealth or power and starts doing lowly deeds (kukkucca.) For example, a powerful politician or a wealthy person may engage in “lowly deeds” like bribery, rape, etc.
- A mind is susceptible to cravings for sensory pleasures because it has no true faith in Buddha Dhamma. It is not certain that the concepts in Buddha Dhamma are correct. For example, there are doubts about the laws of kamma or rebirth. Having such doubts is vicikicchā. Such doubts will go away only when one comprehends the Four Noble Truths.
- Further details at, “Key to Calming the Mind – The Five Hindrances.”

Noble Truth on Suffering – Kāma Is the Root Cause of Suffering

8. A key aspect of comprehending Noble Truths is to see that kāma (craving for sensory pleasures) is the root cause of future suffering.

- It is embedded in the verse that describes the root cause of suffering: "yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhāṃ" (“Yam pi icchaṃ na labhati tam pi dukkhaṃ”. See, "Essence of Buddhism – In the First Sutta."
Yam pi icchaṃ“ means “whatever is liked or craved for”. “Na labhati” means “not getting”. “tam pi dukkhaṃ” means “that leads to suffering”.
- Therefore, that verse simply says: “If one does not get what one craves or likes, that leads to suffering.”
- Note that kāma arises due to icchā.

Importance of Getting Rid of Micchā Diṭṭhi

9. Micchā Diṭṭhi has TWO levels. Not knowing that kāma is the root cause of suffering is the deeper level of micchā diṭṭhi

- First, one needs to get rid of the 10 types of wrong views that include not believing in the laws of kamma and rebirth. The deeper level of wrong views is removed when one becomes a Sotapanna and realizes that attachment to worldly things only leads to future suffering, i.e., understand the Four Noble Truths.
- That deeper level of micchā diṭṭhi starts fading away when one becomes a Sotapanna. At that point, ALL FIVE nīvaraṇa are removed permanently.
- An average human (puthujjano) thinks exactly the opposite way; That one should live FOR sensory pleasures. That is why it is so hard to change that ingrained mindset. But it is not that different from the mindset of a fish who only thinks about the tasty bait and does not see the hidden dangers in biting into that tasty bait.
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