The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Hello 2600htz,

I am almost back to normal. Thank you!

Those "nine stages of a citta" go through in a billionth of a second. It is an extremely fast process and no one but a Buddha can see those steps. We can understand those steps once we are taught (they are discussed in the Abhidhamma Pitaka of the Tipitaka).
Basically, within that time one’s mind receives the input (say a visual input from the eyes), recognizes what it is, compares with past experiences, AND forms an opinion about it. All that happens within a small fraction of a second!
This is discussed in detail in the subsection: “Essential Abhidhamma – The Basics” at the site: ... he-basics/
- The first few subsections of the "Living Dhamma" section also discuss some of these basic concepts:

Yes. Those 9 stages happen due to Paticca Samuppada (Dependent Origination), but I have not discussed those processes even at
That is because we only need to understand the much slower Paticca Samuppada (PS) processes in order to cultivate the Path (via Satipatthana and Anapana meditations).
- The idapaccaya PS process that I am discussing now at Dhamma Wheel is a PS process that happens over seconds, minutes, hours, and days.
- The uppatti PS process (which leads to rebirth) happens over years and even over many lifetimes. I will discuss that next at Dhamma Wheel.

Those two processes describe how our CONSCIOUS thinking (vaci sankhara and kaya sankhara) lead to speech and actions, and generate kamma that can bring vipaka (corresponding results) in this life and also in future lives.

So, your second question is related to the first. The development of a citta from just basic awareness of seen something, to recognize it, to compare it with past experiences (that is how one knows that is a friend and not an enemy, for example), and then to form “feelings” (good or bad depending on that recognition), and even decide on whether to look again or to look away (or even to speak or to act), for example. All these happen within a fraction of a second. Only the mind of a Buddha can “see” that fast evolution of a citta.
- As we know by own experiences all those things happen within a fraction of a second upon seeing someone. But only a Buddha can "see' and separate out those steps.
- That is discussed in the posts in the subsection mentioned above.
- I would be happy to discuss further if you or anyone else have questions. But please read those posts, and refer to bullet numbers there if you have a question on a specific point.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

With this post, the idapaccayātā paticca samuppāda discussion is finished, and I will make a transition to the uppatti paticca samuppāda which describes the rebirth process. This is easiest with a discussion on how kammic energy for a new uppatti bhava takes place via MULTIPLE idapaccayātā paticca samuppāda processes.

Bhava paccayā Jāti....Jarā , Marana,...

1. In the previous post we discussed how repeated immoral actions of a teenager can bring about a specific type of existence (bhava) even during the current life and that this is called a kamma bhava.

- We also briefly discussed how such a kamma bhava can get stronger with time and become strong enough to lead to a whole new existence at death; this is called an uppatti bhava.
- Thus, there are two types of "bhava": those that can bring about "experiences" during the current life (kamma bhava) and those that become strong enough to power a whole new existence (uppatti bhava).
- This is explained in the "Paṭiccasamuppāda vibhaṅga" "Tattha katamo upādānapaccayā bhavo? Bhavo duvidhena—atthi kammabhavo, atthi upapattibhavo", i.e., "What is upādānapaccayā bhavo? Two types of bhava - kamma bhava and upppatti bhava".

2. Another way to look at the concept of a "bhava" is to treat it as a seed. As we discussed in the previous post, when we do any act with ignorance (and greed or hate), that leads to the generation of a kamma seed with some energy to bring about results in the future; this is the same as saying that a "bhava" was created by that action. The concept of a kamma seed is easier to comprehend.

- Just like a normal seed has the potential to give rise to a plant, a kamma seed (or a “bhava“) has the potential to bring about a "jāti" or a "birth", either during this life or a new life in future births.
- In most posts, I write it as jāti (to be consistent with convention), but it really is pronounced "jāthi".

3. Let us take the example of the teenager that we discussed in the previous post. Because of the influence of his friends, the teenager starts dealing and using drugs and gradually gets drawn into the gang to become a gang member, and eventually starts doing violent acts of beating and killing people.

- When he did the first beating his friends probably had to encourage or even force him to do it. Now let us suppose that he did not have a sansāric habit of doing that kind of violent acts. So, when he did the first act, a small kamma seed (or a "bhava") was energized.

4. The next time he did something similar, this initial kamma seed made it easier for him to do the second act. Once he did that, the seed got bigger, and the next time he may not need much encouraging, and so on. The more he does it, the more easily he can get into that "bhava", i.e., the stronger that kamma seed becomes.

This is none other than many idapaccayātā PS cycles running that start with “avijjā paccayā sankhāra” (doing immoral deeds due to avijjā), and leading to “upādāna paccayā bhava”, making that bhava (or kamma seed) strong.

- This is another way of expressing "habit (gati; pronounced “gathi”) formation" that I have discussed in many other posts. The more one does acts suitable for a certain "bhava", the viññāna for similar behavior grows, and it is easier for one to be "born" in a corresponding state; this is "pati+ichcha" leading to "sama+uppāda" as pointed out in the introductory post, "Paticca Samuppada – “Pati+ichcha”+”Sama+uppāda".
- Thus, the more the teenager does violent acts, it becomes easier for him to be "born in that state", i.e., easier for him to do similar acts.
- In other words, repeated sankhāra leads to strengthening the corresponding mindset or viññāna, and it propagates down the paticca samuppāda series to make "kamma bhava".

5. Now let us consider when that kamma seed or "kamma bhava" gives rise to a "jāti" in idapaccayātā paticca samuppāda. One day, his drug deal is sabotaged by a rival gang member, and he gets angry. Now he is easily "born" in that "animal-like violent state". He starts beating up that guy. This is "jāti" in this case.

- When the beating is almost done, that "jāti" is almost over with; it is at the "jarā" (decay) stage and when it is done that is the end or death ("marana") of that "jāti".
- Thus when that episode is over, that temporary "jāti" of "a violent existence" is over.
- The rest of it, "sōka, paridēva, dukkha, dōmanassa" or many forms of suffering comes later in that life or even in future births. The kamma seed that helped him do that act, itself got even stronger.

6. The kammic energy of that kamma seed was not spent giving rise to that jāti that happened during that particular instance. That is because that was not a case of kamma vipāka. Rather, that kamma seed got stronger, because the teenager did more apunna abhisankhāra (i.e., immoral deeds).

- Now, if during that confrontation with the other rival gang member he himself gets beaten up, then that is due to a kamma vipāka.
- In either case, that "birth" or 'jāti" (the confrontation with the rival gang member) would give him only misery at the end: "sōka, paridēva, dukkha, dōmanassa".
- Many such idapaccayātā paticca samuppāda cycles can operate during even a day and he may be "born" repeatedly in that confrontational state. Some may be minor, like getting mad at his friends but some could be violent. He has prepared the "bhava" and he can get into "jāti" or be "born in that bhava" easily. I am mixing up English and Pali words in order to make the meanings clear and to get used to those terms.
- Just like when a seed is made it is easy to get that seed to germinate, once we prepare a "bhava" it is easy to be born in that type of existence.

7. Now we can see that a "bhava" or a "kamma seed" is the potentiality for a particular kind of existence or a "state of mind" during the current life itself.

- He will be easily transitioned to that “state of mind” (or bhava). For example, he may be having a good time with his family and be with a “normal state of mind”. Then he gets a phone call from a fellow gang member asking for his help with a gang-related activity.
- He will instantly be transitioned to the “gang mentality” and be born a gang member. Then he will engage in whatever gang activity.
- But any birth (or jāti) will come to an end. When that activity is over, he may come home and be part of the family life.
- However, that “bad jāti” will ALWAYS lead to “jarā, marana, soka, parideva, dukkha domanassa”. Even if that particular was successful and he leaves there happily, that ACTIVITY will lead to suffering in the future. He had accumulated more kammic energy for that “bad bhava”.

8. But an important thing to remember is that "bhava paccya jāti" does not mean he is guaranteed to be born in that state. It is likely that he will be born in that state under suitable conditions, for example with provocation.

- But if he comes to his senses and realizes the perils of such actions, he can make an effort and slowly degrade the potency of that kamma seed. The first thing is to stop doing those more violent acts. If the teenager has enough determination and if he has moral support from his family, he may be able to get into the moral path. The key step of “upādāna paccayā bhava” may be avoided by losing “upādāna” or the liking for such a bhava.
- If he makes a determination to change, it will be hard in the beginning. It is like trying to stop a moving car. If the car has a lot of speed, it takes a bigger effort to stop. It is easier to stop a slowly moving car, before it gains speed. In the same way, it is easier to revert back if one realizes that one is on the wrong path early.

9. If the teenager does not change his ways, but only gets involved more and more with the violent activities, then that kamma seed (or kamma bhava) will grow bigger and can become strong enough to energize a whole new existence (rebirth) or "uppatti bhava". Or he can even make a single huge kamma seed by killing someone.
- We all are likely to have acquired several or even many such large bad kamma seeds (i.e., many bad "uppatti bhava") suitable to yield rebirths in the lowest four realms; we have no way of finding out.
- Of course, we are also likely to have many good kamma seeds (i.e., many good "uppatti bhava") suitable to yield rebirths in the higher realms.
We will discuss a bit more on “bhava” when we discuss “uppatti paticca samuppāda” in the next post.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Here we wrap up the series on Paticca Samuppāda. Please feel free to ask questions.

Uppatti Paticca Samuppāda (How We Create Our Own Rebirths)

1. In the previous post we discussed the existence of two types of “bhava” or “existences”: kamma bhava and uppatti bhava.

- Both types of bhava or existences arise due to the generation of (abhi)sankhara due to avijja. We remember that all types of kamma (kaya kamma, vaci kamma, mano kamma) are done with sankhara (kaya, vaci, and mano sankhara) or “how we think and then act on such thinking”.
- ALL sankhara arise in the MIND. As we see, they lead to future rebirths with physical bodies. This is why the Buddha said: “Mano pubbangamā dhammā..” or “ALL dhammā arise with the mind as precursor..”.
- When we generate (abhi)sankhara with a “future expectation”, we ALWAYS generate a kamma bhava, which is a “seed” to bring about a future existence in this life or in a future life.
- A kamma bhava can become an uppatti bhava if it becomes strong enough to give rise to a rebirth. For example, killing a parent WILL generate an uppatti bhava that WILL bring in a birth in an apaya in the very next rebirth.

2. That is basically the key difference between Idappaccayatā Paticca Samuppāda and Uppatti Paticca Samuppāda.

- Idappaccayatā Paticca Samuppāda generates kamma seeds or kamma bhava moment-to-moment.
- Those bhava (or kamma seeds or kamma bija) that bring kamma vipaka during a lifetime (whether in this life or WITHIN a future life) is called a “kamma bhava”.
- Some of those are strong enough to bring in a new future existence (whether in a bad realm or in a good realm) are called “uppatti bhava”.
- Regardless of whether it is a kamma bhava or an uppatti bhava they are generated every time we act with avijja and generate vinnana via the steps, “avijja paccaya sankhara” and “sankhara paccaya vinnana”.
- Then those bhava are generated with more Paticca Samuppāda steps and they invariably lead to “bhava paccaya jati” and “jati paccaya jara, marana, soka, perideva, dukkha, domannasa” or “the whole mass of suffering’.

3. We do not have any control over which "uppatti bhava" is selected at death. The strongest with the most "upādāna" associated with it gets to the front automatically. The Buddha gave a simile to explain how this selection of a "uppatti bhava" or a strong kamma seed happens at the cuti-patisandhi transition at death.
- Imagine a barn that keeps the cows in for the night. In the morning, all the cows are anxious to get out and roam around. But when the gate opens, it is the strongest cow that has come to front and is out of the gate when it is opened. The weaker ones don't even make an effort to be at the front.
- Just like that, it is the strongest "kamma seed" or a "patisandhi bhava" that wins at the cuti-patisandhi transition.
- In the case of the teenager that we discussed in the previous post, if the kamma seed that he nourished during this life as a violent person with "animal-like" behavior is the strongest one of all his accumulated kamma seeds, then it will bring about an animal existence at the cuti-patisandhi transition.

4. A Buddha could analyze such a patisandhi paticca samuppāda cycle in finer details to pin-point even what type of animal would it be. This is because a Buddha can see not only a person's whole history in the present life, but going back to many aeons; thus he could see which kamma seed will bring the next existence and exactly which kind of "gati" are embedded in that kamma seed. We can only discuss the general trends, and here we have discussed only the main ideas of how these paticca samuppāda cycles operate.

- Going back to the teenager, In this case it is the patisandhi paticca samuppāda cycle that operates, and "bhava paccayā jāti" here leads to the birth in a new existence as an animal using that uppatti bhava.

5. Once born in such an animal existence, that animal will grow and then start the old age ("jarā"), and eventually die ("marana").

- At that death, it is likely that the kammic energy of that kamma seed has not been depleted.
- Since most violent animals have shorter lifetimes, only a fraction of that kammic energy is likely to have been spent and "he" will keep going through many of similar births ("jāti") until the energy of that kamma seed is spent. It is said that many animals keep coming back to the same life many hundreds of times.

6. This is the difference between "bhava" and "jāti". Once one gets a new existence or "bhava", one could have many births ("jāti") in that existence until the energy of the kamma seed is totally spent.
- Thus, we can see that the last step of "jāti paccayā jarā, marana, sōka, paridēva, dukkha, dōmanassa" will be with that "teenager" for a long time to come. It is not just one birth but many that will correspond to that existence as that animal.
- For us also, in general, when one is in the human "bhava" one could be reborn many times before the energy of that "good kamma seed" is depleted. This is why those rebirth memories can be recalled from adjacent lives. A human bhava can last many thousands of years, but each human birth (jati) lasts only about 100 years.
- However, it is very difficult to get another "human bhava"; see, "How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm".

7. Before closing this section let us discuss another important point. We mentioned earlier than everyone has accumulated numerous good and bad kamma seeds strong enough to give rise to good and bad rebirths. Then the question arises: Does a person attain the Sōtapanna stage (i.e., make bad rebirths in the lowest four realms void) by eliminating all those corresponding bad kamma seeds?

- While it is possible to reduce the potency of kamma seeds and maybe even eliminate some, it may not be possible to remove all. Many kamma seeds may be removed by the Ariya metta bhavana discussed in the "Bhavana (Meditation)" section, but there could be left overs. It is said that the Buddha had 11 instances of bad kamma vipāka including a back problem.
- Therefore, it is very likely that we all have many good and bad kamma seeds strong enough to energize many good and bad rebirths.

8. What happens at the cuti-patisandhi moment involves the "upādāna paccayā bhava" step in the uppatti paticca samuppāda cycle. As we recall, this is the same step that is responsible for energizing a "kamma bhava" in the Idappaccayatā Paticca Samuppāda.

- The same step is involved in grasping the strongest "uppatti bhava" at the end of the current "bhava". If a person dies and if that was the last possible human birth for him/her, then at the dying moment, that comes closest and he/she will willingly grasp it because that will match the dominant "gati" of him/her.

9. Let us consider the case of the violent teenager again. Suppose he continued with his violent acts and built up an "uppatti bhava" suitable for a violent animal. Then, at the dying moment, he could see in his mind (like in a dream), a rival gang member trying to "steal a drug deal"; he will also see a gun close-by. By his natural instincts he will get angry, grab the gun, and shoot that person. This is an example of a "gati nimitta" or a "vision of next birth according to one's gati".

- That is the "upādāna paccayā bhava" step for the new existence. He has willingly grasped the mindset of an animal, and he will be born as an animal. His next thought moment is in that animal which comes out of that dead body of the teenager as a "gandhabba" with a fine body that cannot be seen.
- This is described in detail in other posts; it needs more background material in "manomaya kaya" for understanding the technical details, but that is not critical here. However, now we can see how a new existence is grasped at the end of a "bhava" in the patisandhi (uppatti) paticca samuppāda cycle.

10. Let us now go back to the question of how a Sōtapanna avoids such bad rebirths even if he/she has many bad kamma seeds. Suppose that Sōtapanna has the same kind of kamma seed as that teenager (could be from a previous life), and that it is the strong enough to come to forefront of his/her mind at the dying moment.

- What happens is that a Sōtapanna will not grab the gun and shoot that person even if it is his/her worst enemy doing something that could make him/her mad. His/her mindset or "gati" have been permanently changed. Thus "upādāna paccayā bhava" step will not be executed for that kamma seed.
- In that case now the next potent uppatti bhava will come to the forefront. If that is also a bad one suitable for rebirth in the lowest four realms, that will be rejected too. Eventually, he/she will grasp a rebirth that is compatible with his/her "gati" at that dying moment, which for a Sōtapanna will never be a "gati" of a being in one of the four lowest realms.
- This happens automatically and very quickly. We do not have any conscious control over it.

11. Thus one's rebirth will determined by BOTH the way one lives AND how one had lived previous lives.

- One would generate “kamma seeds” or “uppatti bhava” for possible future existences according to the way one lives a life.
- However, if one has changes one’s gati PERMANENTLY (via attaining at least the Sotapanna stage), then EVEN IF one had committed bad kamma suitable to bring in a “bad bhava”, that “bad bhava” will not be grasped at the cuti-patisabdhi moment.
- This is why paticca samuppāda means "pati + ichcha" leading to "sama" + "uppāda" or what one grasps willingly and habitually is what one that will operate automatically at the dying moment; see, "Paticca Samuppāda – “Pati+ichcha”+”Sama+uppāda".
- This is why it is better to use Paticca Samuppāda rather than using the English translation of "dependent origination". Most Pali word have "built-in" explanations. One just needs to understand what is meant by those words and just use the Pali words.
- I have explained this with sanna, sankhara, and vinnana as well. Those DO NOT have corresponding SINGLE English words. In particular it is WRONG to translate vinnana as just "consciousness".
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin

1. As I explained in my previous post, we ourselves CREAT OUR OWN future lives, as described by Uppatti Paticca Samuppada.

- Paticca Samuppada cycle starts with “avijja paccaya sankhara”. As long as there is avijja (no comprehension of the Four Noble Truths), there will be bhava and jati (i.e., rebirth), and that cycle will continue for ever (just as it had no beginning).
- This cycle ends ONLY WHEN one’s avijja is removed via comprehension of the real nature of this world of 31 realms and one voluntarily gives craving (tanha) for existence in this world of 31 realms. That is the attainment of Nibbana or Arahanthood.
- This understanding is the FOUNDATION of Buddha Dhamma.

2. Therefore, the question, “What is the origin of life?” is at the the foundation of Buddha Dhamma.

- Most scientists believe that our universe came tom existence only about 14 billion years ago with the “Big Bang”.
- Furthermore, current scientific theories say that life first formed in a primitive state (single-cell entities) and evolved to more complex life forms. And that humans came into existence less than five hundred thousand years ago.
- Scientists do not agree with the “Creation hypothesis” that is the foundation of Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) simply because it is not compatible with the Principle of Causality. Nothing can arise without a cause(s). If a Creator created life, how did that Creator come into existence?

3. According to the Buddha, life has no traceable beginning. Life has always existed, but planetary systems (like our Solar system) are destroyed periodically and re-formed over long times.

- This is the only explanation that is consistent with the Principle of Causality: There is no “first beginning to life”. Life always existed, and it evolves according to the Principle of Causality, which is Paticca Samuppada; see my previous post: “Uppatti Paticca Samuppāda (How We Create Our Own Rebirths)".
- If we go by the Principle of Causality (which is THE basis of modern science), there CANNOT be an origin of life, unless life can start with inert matter.
- What the video below explains is that it is NOT POSSIBLE to create EVEN A SINGLE CELL (basic building block of life) in the laboratory starting with inter matter. If it cannot be created in a laboratory under controlled conditions, it WILL NOT be possible for life to arise in a natural process starting with inert matter.

4.Here is a very brief explanation in the Agganna sutta: When the Solar system would be destroyed in about 5 billion years, only the lower realms (up to the second brahma realm) are destroyed. The higher realms have “very fine matter” at the suddhastaka level (which is the smallest unit of matter in Buddha Dhamma), and thus will not be destroyed.

- All living beings in the lower realms move up to higher realms over a long time, before those realms are destroyed.
- When the Solar system is re-formed after billions of years, those beings move down to the re-formed Earth.
- This process is described in the Agganna sutta, and I will not be able to discuss that complex process any time soon. But I have discussed the main points in the post:”Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)" :[html] ... nna-sutta/[/html]

5.The following presentation is by a scientist (Dr. James Tour) who has a different viewpoint than most other scientists. He provides solid evidence that life could not have evolved starting with inert matter. It is too complex to have been evolved by natural processes. I think you are likely to agree with him on that if you watch the whole presentation.

- At the end of the video, Dr. Tour comes to the conclusion that since life is too complex to evolve, it must have been CREATED by a Creator God. That is the other extreme view.
- According to Buddha Dhamma, life did not evolve from inert matter, nor it was created by a Creator God. Life always existed and it just takes different forms when a given “lifestream” is reborn a human, animal, deva, etc. We all have been born in most of 31 realms in our deep past!

6.Of course, it is very likely that Dr. Tour is not aware of the extensive and scientific explanation by the Buddha in the Agganna sutta: Life has ALWAYS existed. A given lifestream (you or I) have existed without a traceable beginning.

- It is just that we ourselves CREATE OUR OWN future lives, as described via Uppatti Paticca Samuppada (which I discussed in my previous post).

7. A cell is the building block of life. Setting aside a complex life form like a human (made of trillions of different types of cells), science WILL NOT be able to create even a single cell. In fact, even in any living being, individual cells are not formed. Instead, an existing cell divides to make two cells, and that is how more and more living cells come into existence!

- Each of our bodies started with just a single cell (zygote), and it became alive only when a gandhabba (or patisandhi vinnana) "descended to the womb" and merged with that single cell. It is cell division that led to the current physical body with trillions of cells; see, "Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception": [html] ... ha-dhamma/[/html]
- No scientist has been able to CREATE even a primitive single cell.
- As explained by Dr. Tour, a living cell is very complex and is like a working factory. He does a good job in his explanations.
Here is the presentation:
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Human Life – A Mental Base (Gandhabba) and a Material Base (Cell)

1. Here is a summary of current scientific understanding of the conception of a human baby.

- During mother’s menstrual cycle, one egg (ovum) is usually released from one of the ovaries and is swept into the funnel-shaped end of one of the fallopian tubes.
- After intercourse with the father, If a sperm penetrates the egg there, fertilization results and the fertilized egg (zygote) moves down the fallopian tube and ends up in the uterus. This zygote divides into two cells, those two to four cells, etc.
- This collection of cells enters the uterus in 3 to 5 days. In the uterus, the cells continue to divide, becoming a ball of cells called a blastocyst. Inside the uterus, the blastocyst implants in the wall of the uterus, where it develops into an embryo attached to a placenta and surrounded by fluid-filled membranes; see, ... fetus.html

2. This cell division is what causes that baby to grow (first inside the womb and then outside the womb) to become a full-grown human with trillions of cells. It is that first cell (which cannot even be seen with the naked eye) that is eventually multiplied to a mass of trillion of cells!

- However, there is much confusion about WHEN that zygote becomes alive, i.e., when it can be called "a human". This "time of conception" varies widely based on personal and religious beliefs.
- It varies from the moment of the merger of the egg and sperm (to form the zygote), to actual birth of the baby (i.e., coming out of the womb)!

3. According to the suttas as well as Abhidhamma in the Tipitaka, a new human existence (bhava) does not start in a womb. It starts at the cuti-patisandhi moment when the previous bhava comes to an end. For example, if a deva dies and becomes a human, a human gandhabba (fine mental body) will be formed at the time of death of that deva.

- A human bhava can last thousands of years. On the other hand, a physical human body lasts only about 100 years. In between successive births with “human bodies”, the gandhabba (mental body) lives in what is called “para lōka“. The para lōka co-exists with our human lōka, but we cannot see those fine mental bodies of gandhbbas; see, “Micchā Ditthi, Gandhabba, and Sōtapanna Stage“ at
- Then that human gandhabba will have to wait until suitable womb becomes available. By “suitable” it means that the gati (loosely related to character/habits) of the gandhabba have to match those of the parents, especially the mother. Gati is an important concept in Buddha Dhamma that has been ignored for a long time; see, "The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Asavas)" Oct 25, 2018 (p.43, and several posts up to p. 50.
- Anytime after the egg and sperm are merged to form the zygote, a "matching gandhabba" can descend to the womb and merge with it.

4. Therefore, the time of conception is very precise in Buddha Dhamma: It happens at the time when the life-less zygote becomes “alive” with the merging of the gandhabba. That is the time of conception and it happens very early, normally within a day after intercourse.

- In suttas, this is called “okkanti” (a gandhabba or a patisandhi viññāna descending to a womb); see, "Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipitaka" at
- The moral issues involving contraception and abortions are discussed in the post, "Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception" at

5. What happens in a womb (when an egg is fertilized with a sperm) is just to provide the “material basis” (zygote or the "first cell") for the gandhabba to start a new "human being" that will eventually grow to become an adult with trillions of cells.

- The “blueprint” for that physical body (i.e., the gandhabba) was created at the dying moment in the previous life. The gandhabba brings his/her own gati as well as set of kamma vipaka that would come into play during the existence of that human body.
- However, the physical body will also take into account the features of the mother and father via that zygote; see, #1 above.
- Therefore, the new baby will have complex mixture of physical and mental characteristics of all three.
- All this is discussed in more detail in several posts, including “Ghost in the Machine – Synonym for the Manomaya Kaya?“, “Manomaya Kaya (Gandhabba) and the Physical Body”, and a more technical description in “Cuti-Patisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description“ at

6. I will take this opportunity to point out that is it only series of events that lead to a "new human being". That gandhabba which led to a new life was really a "patisandhi viññāna", which is nothing other than a "packet of kammic energy" created in a previous life. Therefore, it was NOT an existing "living being" that "became the new human being".

- This is why the Buddha said there is no "self" traveling from life-to-life. Any living being just CREATES energy (kammic energy in terms of a patisandhi viññāna) to start a new "life form".
- However, there is "continuity of life" that was CAUSED in a previous life (when a strong kamma was done and this patisandhi viññāna was created). Therefore, it is not possible to say that there is "no-self" either. There is a causal connection between two adjacent lives (or more precisely between adjacent bhava, because within a human bhava, for example, there can be many births).
- If one can grasp this key point, that will help removing sakkaya ditthi (which is the key to the Sotapanna stage).

7. There is no NEW living being and there has not been a FIXED living being (i.e., a "soul" or an "ātma") either. Any living being just moves from one existence to another based on what types of patisandhi viññāna have been created in the past!

- For example, one may be born many times with a human body while in the "human bhava", but when the energy for that "human bhava" runs out, that lifestream gets hold of a new bhava (as a brahma, deva, animal, etc) which is the strongest patisandhi viññāna among many possibilities.
- If one is able to follow that "chain of past lives", one will go through billions of past lives per minute, but will never be able to find a "beginning" life!
- According to the Buddha, life has no traceable beginning. "Gaddulabaddha Sutta (SN 22.99)" is about how long the rebirth process. At the very beginning of the sutta: “Anamataggoyaṃ, bhikkhave, saṃsāro” means “bhikkhus, there is no discernible beginning to the rebirth process”. This verse is in many suttas including all the suttas in the "Anamatagga Saṃyutta".

8. A human life requires two basic components: a mental body (gandhabba/patisandhi viññāna) and a material body.
- A mental body or gandhabba (in different forms) has existed forever with any existing life-form, as explained in #6 and #7 above.
- The material body starts with a single cell created by the union of mother and father; that single cell (zygote) multiplies over time and the body of an adult has trillions of cells.

9. As I pointed out towards the end of the previous post, a cell is the basic building block of life. All living things (sentient beings and plants) are made of of cells.

- Each of these cells come into existence from existing cells! No new cells are produced individually. This is a very important point.
- Just as there is "beginning" to any sentient living being, there no "beginning" as to how a "first cell" came to existence!

10. Of course, there are many scientists today with the view that a "first cell" was created early in Earth's history, within a billion years of the formation of the Earth.

- This "first formation time" comes just from archeological studies. As new studies find fossilized cells going back to earlier rocks, the time it took form the "first cell" has now been pushed back within 300 million years of the formation of the Earth!
- However, a living is cell is too complex to be formed via "natural processes" no matter how long a time is given. It is an accepted fact in Biochemistry that all existing cells come from pre-existing cells!
- Just like a conscious life-form cannot be "created" (it can only continue from an existing life-form as discussed above), a cell cannot be created.

11. All life (whether sentient or not, i.e., whether have a mind or not) are made of cells.

- Some of them (plants) are not conscious, i.e., they do not have mind.
- On the other hand, humans and animals are also made of cells, but they have a mind too.

12. So, we must realize that being alive and being conscious are two different things. Plants are alive but they cannot think: plant cells just mechanically perform "pre-programmed" functions. On the other hand, humans and animals are also made up of cells, but there is an additional entity associated them: gandhabba or the mental body!

- It is amazing to see that even plant cells are very active, buzzing with activity. All cells are programmed for various functions. Of course, different types of cells are programmed for carrying out different tasks. This is an interesting topic that we do not want to get too much involved in, because that can be a real distraction to the main task of learning Dhamma and following the Noble Eightfold Path.
- However, having at least a rough idea about the complexities of life can be a motivation to learn more about Buddha Dhamma.

13. Here is a video that explains the current status of understanding of cells. I will get to more relevant aspects in the next post.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Living Cell - How Did the First Cell Come to Existence?

It may appear that I am taking off in a different direction and not focus on Buddha Dhamma. But I want to assure that this issue is very much relevant to Buddha Dhamma. This basic picture is essential to understand what is meant by "sansāric journey without a beginning" in many suttas, and thus to understand what suffering the Buddha taught how to stop. (Any sufferings that we encounter in this life are insignificant).

How Cells Come to Existence

1. Biochemistry says all cells existing now come from pre-existing cells. How did the first cells on Earth come to existence? Both creationists and evolutionists say those "first cells" could only have come from one of two possible places:

(i) Spontaneous creation - Random chemical processes created the first living cell.
(ii)Supernatural creation - God or some other supernatural power created the first living cell.

- However, both sides have not even realized that there is a third possibility, i.e., "first cells" were created via kammic energy, which is the same as "mental energy".

2. The Buddha taught that there is "no traceable beginning" to life. Therefore, it is not possible to trace back to a "first gandhabba (mental body)". When a human (or an animal) is born, it has a physical body in addition to the mental body. That physical body is made with cells.

- Of course, the Buddha did not talk about cells. I am just bridging that part of the puzzle, based on modern science and Aggañña Sutta; see, ”Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)“ at
- This is important because, now scientists are able to perform "cloning" of animals. That is not the same as creation of a new life form. What is done there is to basically make a zygote starting with existing cells and then an existing gandhabba can the "take possession" of that zygote. This is actually related to the observed "evolution of species" supporting Darwin's theory of evolution; see, "Cloning and Gandhabba" at

Origins of "First Cells" on Earth

3. It is important to realize that Darwin's theory of evolution is NOT about the "evolution of a cell". It is about the evolution of complex species of plants and animals STARTING WITH simpler lifeforms with a single cell.

- Most scientists who believe in the theory of evolution of SPECIES also believe that it MAY BE possible that A FIRST CELL also evolved starting with inert matter.
- Some scientists have concluded that a living cell is too complex to have been evolved -- but they erroneously conclude that therefore life must have been created by a Creator God.

4. Since Robert Hook discovered the existence of cells in 1665, scientists have uncovered a lot of information about cells. The current "cell theory" in biochemistry has two basic axioms:

i. All living things (living beings or a living plants) are made of cells,
ii. New cells are made by "cell division", i.e., by the division of existing cells.

Biochemistry books do not discuss how "first cells" came into existence!

5. Therefore, the question remains as to how the "first cells" on Earth came to existence. Evolutionists says they were created by random combinations of inert molecules.

- Despite what you may have heard in science fiction or popular science literature, scientists are NOT EVEN CLOSE to making even the simplest cell in a laboratory.
- In fact, they will NEVER be able to do so. Once we discuss the current status of cell research you will see why.
- On the other hand, creationists say all life was created by a Creator God.

Buddhist Explanation of Life

According to Buddha Dhamma, a sentient living being has both a mental body (gandhabba) and a physical body. An exception is in brahma realms where there are no physical bodies like ours (therefore no cells).

6. A NEW living being can never be created starting from scratch. A dying gandhabba gives rise to a new one. Any living being creates CAUSES and CONDITIONS that lead to the next existence (bhava)!

- For example, one may be born many times with a human body while in the "human bhava", but when the energy for that "human bhava" runs out, that lifestream gets hold of a new bhava (as a brahma, deva, animal, etc) because of a strong kamma done in the past, as we discussed in previous posts. Therefore, it is kammic energy that gives rise to a gandhabba!
- A gandhabba has ALWAYS been associated with our past rebirths. It is just that the form of the gandhabba keeps changing from bhava to bhava, i.e., an "animal gandhabba" or "brahma gandhabba" is different from a "human gandhabba", but the same lifestream can take all those different forms.
- If one is able to follow that "chain of past lives", one will go through billions of past lives a minute, but will never be able to find a "beginning" life! The Buddha did that upon attaining the Buddhahood, and reported that there is no "discernible beginning to life"; see, for example, "Gaddulabaddha Sutta (SN 22.99)":“bhikkhus, there is no discernible beginning to the rebirth process”.

7. A physical body for a human or an animal is made out of cells. That physical body starts with a single cell (called a zygote) and grows to a body with trillions of cells after a gandhabba (born of a patisandhi viññāna) "descends to the womb" and gets possession of that zygoye. For Tipitaka references, see, "Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipitaka" at

- On the other hand, a brahma has no physical body made of cells. It is just the mental body (gandhabba) with a trace of matter at suddhāshtaka level.
- The question of a how "first cells" on Earth came to existence is discussed below. We first need to discuss how complex a cell is.

Complexity of a Cell

8. Even the simplest cell is very complex and amazing. Even though nanotechnology has made great advances, it is nowhere close to be able to make a functioning cell.

- The key issue is not making new complex DNA molecules. Those DNA strands in a cell nucleus are "coded with information", just like a computer is programmed.
- Just like a computer program can run by itself and manage a factory, a cell's functions are controlled by information coded in those DNA strands in the nucleus of the cell.
- This "information" comes not by a Creator and not created via random jostling of molecules in early Earth. It comes from kammic energy, just like a gandhabba is created by kammic energy.

9. In the following video, one can good idea about the basic layout and the complexity of a cell.

10. It becomes even more impressive when we look at how small an animal cell is. Here are some rough numbers (in comparison, a mustard seed is 1 to 2 mm in diameter):
- Cell (per side) 0.050 mm (or 50 micrometers).
- Cell membrane 0.000007 mm thick.
- Nucleus (diameter) 0.007 mm.
- Nucleolus (diameter) 0.0025 mm.
- Endoplasmic reticulum: each layer 0.0002 mm (0.0001 mm gap between layers)
- Golgi complex 0.007 mm thick, each layer.
- Ribosomes 0.00003 mm (30 nanometers) in diameter.

11. But the most amazing thing is not that such a small cell has all that complexity. It is that a cell has a "built-in computer-like program" that manages all cell functions including what kind of proteins are to produced. Yes. A cell is a factory that makes proteins in addition to making copies of its own DNA.

- In humans, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus. The DNA from a single human cell has a length of ~1.8 m or about 6 feet (but at a width of ~2.4 nanometers).
- This genome has the blueprint for a given human (animal) body.

12. The machinery and the activities inside a cell -- which cannot be even be seen with the naked eye -- is truly amazing. As mentioned, a cell is a pre-programmed, very sophisticated factory. Whatever progress that nanotechnology has made cannot even come close to the level of a cell, as can be clearly seen with the following video:

First Cells on Earth Created via Kammic Energy (Same as a Gandhabba)

13. At the present time, new cells of different properties are formed via splitting of existing cells. A new human baby starts with a single cell (zygote) created by the merger of two cells from the mother and father.

- When the Earth was formed, the first cells were created by kammic energy. That happened a long time after the "first humans" who were without physical bodies. The first humans had very fine bodies (like brahmās), and thus they did not have physical bodies with cells. Hundreds of million years later, those early (brahma-like) humans got back their "human gati" and their bodies become visible with a physical body made of cells.
- The "first cells" come into existence via kammic energies from the past. Once they get started, then the "normal method" of cell division led to more cells (what we see now).
- In the same way, no new gandhabbas are created either. When an existing gandhabba dies (at cuti-patisandhi), a new gandhabba comes to existence because a new patisandhi viññāna (which is also kammic energy) is grasped via Paticca Samuppāda.
- Therefore, MIND is the precursor to EVERYTHING. Even plant life has origins in collective kammic energies of all conscious beings on Earth. We will get to that in the future. This is why the Buddha declared, "mind is at the forefront of everything in this world"; see, "Manōpubbangamā Dhammā..":[html] ... ma-dhamma/[/html].

14. It is important to realize that the heavy physical body, say of a human being, is not directly created by mind energy.

- Mind energy just provides the two seeds: gandhabba and the first cell, zygote. Even there, only the first cells on Earth had direct connection to kammic energy when the first human bodies "emerged from brahma-like fine bodies". These days, a zygote is formed by the union of two cells from mother and father.
- When a gandhabba merges with a zygote in a womb, that starts a process where no more kammic energy is needed. That first "live cell" multiplies and leads to more and more cells using energy from the mother and that is how an embryo grows. After birth, a baby grows by eating its own food.

15. Another important point is that the cells of ALL LIVING THINGS are similar and they depend on each other.

- Cells of humans and animals are very similar. The differences come from the variations in the genome (DNA that is inside the cell nucleus).
- Even cells of plants are not that different. The main difference in a cell plant is the presence of chloroplast which generates energy using sunlight.
- In fact, energy to sustain bodies of humans and animals can be traced back to plants. Even though humans and animals do eat other animals, it is those animals like cows who first extract energy from plants.
- Now we can see how inter-related and inter-dependent ALL LIFE is. And how complex life is, even at the physical level.
- The mental body (gandhabba) is even more complex, which is based on Paticca Samuppāda. Only a Buddha can sort out these complexities of life. We are fortunate to live at a time when modern science helps us clarify some of his teachings. More will be confirmed with time.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Clarification of “Mental Body” and “Physical Body” – Different Types of “Kāya”


1. There are words in Pāli that can have similar meanings. But one word may be better than another word in a certain situation. This is also true in English or any other language.

- In Buddha Dhamma, there are several Pāli words used in different contexts regarding the “mental body”: manōmaya kāya, kammaja kāya, gandhabba, and patisandhi viññāna. I will try to make things a bit clear in this post.
- We need to keep in mind that mind is very complex, and living beings in different realms have different types of “mental bodies”. It is good to have a basic idea of these differences.

2. Most important here is to realize that these “mental bodies” are very different from the “physical bodies” we see in humans and animals.

- In particular, a brahma does not have a physical body at all. The how can a brahma see and hear without physical eyes and ears, and a brain to process those signals? These are questions that naturally arise in our minds, since we are not used to the concept of a “living being” without a tangible body.
- The following discussion lays out a simple picture (with a few omissions to keep it simpler). I am writing this post because based on the discussions at the forum, I can see that I may have inadvertently use the “wrong term” to refer to the “mental body” in a few cases. I will try to stick to this format in future posts.

Mental Body and Physical Body

3. All living beings have a “mental body” (“manōmaya kāya“). Living beings in some realms also have a “physical body” (āhāraja kāya).

- So, the very first thing we need to realize that such a “kāya” is not the same as a “physical body” that we are used to, weighing tens of kilograms or hundreds of pounds. The Pāli word “kāya” means a collection. Actually, even in English “body” is sometimes used for a collection: “body of evidence” or “a body of water”.
- “Manōmaya” means, “made by the mind”. Therefore, a manōmaya kāya is a collection of very fine parts (hadaya vatthu and several pasāda rūpa) that are absolutely necessary for any living being. A manōmaya kāya arises out of kammic energy created in our thoughts (citta). Abhidhamma is even more specific, and says that this energy is created in our javana citta.
- Therefore, the manōmaya kāya is sometimes referred to as “kammaja kāya“: This is because “created by the mind” is the same as “created by kammic energy”.

4. Now we can look at the two words kammaja kāya and āhāraja kāya. Here each composite word is made from two parts: The common component in this case is “ja“, which means “generated by” or “born due to”.

- The collection of parts that arise due to kammic energy is “kammaja kāya“. This “kāya” or “body” is very fine. A whole “kammaja kāya” is a billion times smaller than an atom. But as we will see, this “kāya” is the more powerful one. That is where the seat of the mind (hadaya vatthu) and the five real sensing elements of “pasāda rūpa” are located.
- Those six elements are at the magnitude of smallest units of matter (suddhāshtaka) in Buddha Dhamma.
- Therefore, a whole “kammaja kāya” is unimaginably small, by our standards. One would not be able to see one even with an electron microscope. As we see below, that is all a brahma has!

5. “Āhāra” means ‘food”, and thus āhāraja kāya is the “collection of body parts” that grows via eating food. In humans and animals this is the “physical body” that we see.

- Therefore, an “āhāraja kāya” is a “collection of heavy components of a body” like the head, arms, legs, eyes, ears, etc. That is what we call the “physical body”. Sometimes it is called a “karaja kāya“.
- A physical body grows by using energy intake from the food we eat. Eyes and ears, for example, do not actually see or hear. They just pass those signals to the brain, where those signals are processed and sent to the corresponding pasāda rūpa in the manōmaya kāya; see, “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body“: [html] ... -and-body/[/html].
- In other words, for beings like us with physical bodies, the sensory signals received to the five physical senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body) are processed by the brain and those data are sent to the manōmaya kāya. Those signals are actually sensed by the manōmaya kāya.
- As we have discussed in recent posts in this series, a physical body (of a human or an animal) starts with a single cell called a zygote. The development of a complete human body starting with that one cell is another fascinating story. Scientists have no idea how that happens via a program that is encoded in that single cell. Who designed that program? In the previous post, I pointed out that this was done by kammic energy created by the mind itself.

Beings in Brahma and Deva Realms

6. Brahmas do not have an āhāraja kāya, and just have the kammaja kāya. The kammaja kāya of a brahma has only a hadaya vatthu and TWO pasāda rūpa (cakkhu and sōta) for seeing and hearing. Still they can see and hear with that ultra-fine “body” without having any eyes or ears (and brains) like ours. Of course, it is very hard for us to imagine such a living being.

- Therefore, a brahma with just a manōmaya kāya has a mass less than that of an electron. We cannot see even a cell or an atom, let alone an electron. Now we can understand why we should not think of “brahma bodies” in the sense that we are used to.
- Those brahmas do not have the ability taste food, smell odors, or to touch things physically like we do (i.e., they do not have ghāna, jivhā, and kāya pasāda rūpa).
- By the way, brahmas do not need food; their lives are sustained by kammic energy (only the hadaya vatthu and the two pasāda rūpa of cakkhu pasāda and sōta pasāda need to be maintained).

7. Dēvās do have āhāraja kāya, but that is much more fine and we would not a dēva if we come face-to-face with one.

- They have all five senses and their food is just a drink called “amurta” (this is probably not the correct Pāli word, but that is the Sinhala — and probably Sanskrit — name for it).
- Therefore, we need to be careful not carry over our perceptions of “heavy bodies” to bodies of other beings in other realms. It is said that millions of dēvas and brahmas were present to hear the first discourse by the Buddha. However, those five ascetics probably did not even realize that at that time.

What is a Gandhabba?

8. A human (or an animal) has a both a manōmaya kāya and a āhāraja kāya. But the manōmaya kāya of a human has a special name of gandhabba due to the following reason.

- A human bhava starts with the generation of a manōmaya kāya (or kammaja kāya) by kammic energy. For example, if an animal dies and gets a human bhava (which is extremely rare), a human manōmaya kāya will come out of that dead animal. If a dēva dies and gets a human bhava, a human manōmaya kāya will appear in the human realm.
- That human manōmaya kāya has a hadaya vatthu and five pasāda rūpa as mentioned above. However, it has the ability to absorb aroma (scents from plants and even food), and to get a bit more dense (unlike a brahma). Thus the name gandhabba(“gandha” + “abba” or “inhaling aroma”) for the manōmaya kāya of a human (or an animal).
- Therefore, the name gandhabba is used only for the manōmaya kāya of humans and animals.
- This relatively dense “body” of a gandhabba still cannot be seen by normal humans, even though they live among us. They are said to be in the “para lōka” (which is within the human realm).

What is the Connection of Gandhabba to Patisandhi Viññāna?

9. Another phrase used in some suttas to indicate a manōmaya kāya of a human or animal (i.e., a gandhabba) is patisandhi viññāna.

- As we had discussed before, a human gandhabba could live for thousands of years until the end of that human existence of “human bhava“. During that time, it can give rise to many “human lives” (jāti) with different physical bodies.
- For example, suppose one of those human jāti ends. At that moment, the gandhabba comes out of the dead body and waits for another “matching womb” (gati of the gandhabba has to match those of the parents, especially the mother). When such a womb becomes available, gandhabba is drawn to that womb. This is described in the post, “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception“: [html] ... ha-dhamma/[/html].
- In the Mahā Tanhāsankhaya Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 38), this is stated as, “descending of the gandhabba to the womb”. In the Maha Nidana Sutta (Digha Nikaya 15) it is stated as “patisandhi viññāna descending to the womb”. This is because that gandhabba was created by a patisandhi viññāna. This is discussed in detail in the post, “Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipitaka“:[html] ... -evidence/[/html].

Manomaya Kaya of Humans and Animals is Shielded by the Physical Body

10. A question may have come up in the mind of some readers: Why cannot a gandhabbas in a human physical body directly sense the outside world without the help of the five physical senses (eyes, ears, etc), if the brahmas can do that?

- When a manōmaya kāya is trapped inside a heavy physical body, that manōmaya kāya is shielded from the external world. As long as the gandhabba is inside the physical body, it is unable to get those “sense inputs” directly. Those sense inputs come through our “sense doors”, eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and the body. Those signals are then analyzed by the brain and sent to the gandhabba (manōmaya kāya) to be sensed; see, “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body“: [html] ... -and-body/[/html].
- We can compare this situation to a human operator inside a totally enclosed military tank. That operator cannot see or hear anything outside. Audio and video equipment mounted on the tank send those signals to an on-board computer, which analyzes and displays them for the operator.
- In this analogy, the video camera and the audio equipment mounted on the tank are like the eyes and ears of a human. The computer is like the brain. Without getting those signals, the operator is totally blind and deaf to the outside world. In the same way, if the eyes are ears are damaged, or the brain is damaged, the manōmaya kāya cannot get those sense inputs.
- A detailed discussion at: “Our Mental Body – Gandhabba“: [html] ... gandhabba/[/html].

11. But that manōmaya kāya can be “kicked out of the physical body” in a traumatic situation, mostly in cases of heart operations; such cases are categorized as “out-of-body experiences” (OBE). In such cases, those people report being able to see doctors perform operations on their own bodies from the ceiling (with their manōmaya kāya).

- It may also happens to people whom the doctors thought had died, but “come back to life” within a short time, and report being able to travel with their manōmaya kāya. Such cases are categorized as “near-death experiences” (NDE).
- Some others report being able to do “astral travel” with their manōmaya kāya on a regular basis; see, "Astral projection" : [html][/html]. At least some reports in this category seem to be valid, as I pointed out in the post referred to below. Reports of OBE and NDE are more trustworthy, because doctors and nurses confirm the accounts of those patients.
- These are discussed in the post, “Manomaya Kaya and Out-of-Body Experience (OBE)“: [html] ... ience-obe/[/html].
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Mystical Phenomena in Buddhism?


Phenomena are labeled "mystical" or "incomprehensible" because there are no rational explanations. However, logical explanations can become available with gains in knowledge.

1. There are two essential points to make regarding my ongoing series of posts on the "origin of Life," and in general, regarding Buddha's teachings.

- Some characteristics of the other 29 realms in this world may not be compatible with our ordinary sensory experiences. Some phenomena are not “perceivable” or “easily understood” to humans. (Pāli word for "perceivable" is "gōcara" pronounced "gōchara").
- The second issue is how kammic energy can create a manōmaya kāya with the ability to "see" and "hear" without physical eyes or ears, and also create those "first cells" on Earth.
- However, with the advances made in science, it is now possible to convince ourselves that such phenomena are scientifically plausible. There are no contradictions with science, at least theoretically (i.e., in principle).
- We are fortunate to live at a time when scientific findings show that some of the "hard-to-believe" phenomena discussed in the Tipitaka are consistent with science. In this post, I will start with a couple of such issues (associated with "supernormal powers").

Non-Perceivability of Some Phenomena

2. First, let me clarify what I mean by “perceivable” or “easily understood.” Our six senses can “detect” only a tiny fraction of the “our world.”

- We directly experience only the human and animal realms, where living beings can be "seen with our eyes." We do not have any experience with what kind of "bodies" those living beings in other realms have. If we visit a brahma or a dēva domain, for example, we may think that there is "no one there." Their bodies are too wispy to be seen with our eyes.
- Even when scientists probe the universe with their best equipment, they also see only a small fraction of "things" out there. At a base level, science today can account for only 4 percent of the mass of our universe; see, “The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality”, by Richard Panek (2011).
- Many things have not been “discovered” by science yet. In particular, nothing significant about the MIND.

3. Trying to gauge the validity of Buddha Dhamma with just what we can see with our eyes is foolish. This is like a blind man trying to figure out what an elephant is like, by touching just a leg of the elephant; see, “How do we Decide which View is Wrong View (Ditthi)?“.

- A frog living in a well does not know anything about the wider world. Similarly, an average human -- including scientists -- faces the problem of trying to figure out the “reality” by only using data available through our limited six senses. With the help of scientific instruments, we are making progress.
- Thus a scientific theory can't be ever “complete” as proven by the mathematician Kurt Gödel; see, “Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem.“ However, science is helping to clarify some concepts.
- Unless one attains abhiññā powers and can visit those realms, one would not be able to verify such characteristics of other domains. For example, we cannot see their ultra-fine bodies; see, "Clarification of “Mental Body” and “Physical Body” – Different Types of “Kāya.”
- However, if one spends time learning Dhamma, one would be able to see the truth of them. We will discuss a few examples below.

Touching the Sun – Is That Possible?

4. Some phenomena described in the Tipitaka seem to be "mystical" or "beyond comprehension," but can be shown to be entirely feasible based on the advances in science. I will discuss a couple of examples in the Tipitaka to illustrate this point. In the "Sāmaññaphala Sutta (DN 2)", it is stated, ".. imepi candimasūriye evaṃmahiddhike evaṃma¬hānu¬bhāve pāṇinā parāmasati parimajjati.." or, ".. he touches and strokes the Sun and the moon, so mighty and powerful..".

- This verse describes the powers of a yōgi with supernormal capabilities (Iddhividha ñāṇa). How can one "touch and stroke the Sun?" Isn't the Sun supposed to be at an extremely hot?
- Here, the yōgi is in the manōmaya kāya, not with his physical body. Of course, a physical body will burn well before it gets close to the Sun. The key is to note that the manōmaya kāya has just a few suddhāshtaka. For example, a human manōmaya kāya has a hadaya vatthu and five pasāda rūpa (where the five sense inputs of seeing, hearing, etc. are detected); see, "Clarification of “Mental Body” and “Physical Body” – Different Types of “Kāya.”
- A suddhāshtaka is the smallest unit of matter in Buddha Dhamma and is billion times smaller than an atom in modern science. Therefore, the manōmaya kāya of a yōgi is unimaginably tiny; it is a "packet of energy."

5. An entity at the level of suddhāshtaka will not be affected by the Sun's high temperatures or even by a supernova explosion that will eventually destroy the whole Solar system. We can understand that from modern science as follows: A regular fire can burn dense things like wood or paper. At higher temperatures, melting ovens can melt steel bars. But neither of those can burn molecular gases like hydrogen or nitrogen. Those gases burn at even higher temperatures.

- However, even at the temperatures generated by a supernova explosion (basically blowing up of the Sun at the end of a mahā kappa or an eon), matter at the suddhāshtaka level is not affected.
- When the Earth and the Sun are destroyed at the end of a mahā kappa, all brahma realms lying at or above the Abhassara brahma realm are NOT destroyed. Those Brahmas have very fine bodies (with only a trace of matter) that are not affected even by a supernova; see, "Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)".
- Well before that destruction, all living beings in our world move up to the Abhassara brahma realm.
- Now we can see how a yōgi with a manōmaya kāya of a brahma CAN indeed touch the Sun. That is not a miracle. It is just that a manōmaya kāya is so fine that it is not affected by even a supernova, which has much more power than the Sun.

6. The same sutta (and many other suttas) also describe the ability of yōgis with iddhi powers to go through walls and dive into the Earth and come out from a different location, among others. To explain that this is theoretically possible, let me first discuss some aspects of atoms and molecules uncovered by modern science.

The following verse appears in many suttas in the Iddhipāda Saṃyutta of the Saṃyutta Nikāya (SN 51.11 through SN 51.32): "Ye hi keci, bhikkhave, etarahi samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā anekavihitaṃ iddhividhaṃ paccanubhonti—ekopi hutvā bahudhā honti, bahudhāpi hutvā eko honti; āvibhāvaṃ, tirobhāvaṃ; tirokuṭṭaṃ tiropākāraṃ tiropabbataṃ asajjamānā gacchanti, seyyathāpi ākāse; pathaviyāpi ummuj¬jani¬mujjaṃ karonti, seyyathāpi udake; udakepi abhijjamāne gacchanti, seyyathāpi pathaviyaṃ; ākāsepi pallaṅkena kamanti, seyyathāpi pakkhī sakuṇo; imepi candimasūriye evaṃmahiddhike evaṃma¬hānu¬bhāve pāṇinā parimasanti parimajjanti; yāva brahmalokāpi kāyena vasaṃ vattenti, .."

Translated: "Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu or a brāhmana who has developed supernormal powers (iddhi) wields various psychic powers: He can become many copies of himself. He appears and vanishes. He travels unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains, and dives in and out of the Earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were earth. Sitting cross-legged, he travels through space like a winged bird. With his hand, he touches and strokes the Sun and the Moon, so mighty and powerful. He displays mastery as far as the brahmā-realms..".

- It is also evident in this verse that it could be anyone who can cultivate these powers, not just Buddhists.
- Let us first clarify a few things with science, and then we will discuss how it is possible to "go through walls and dive into the Earth."

An Atom is Virtually Empty!

7. Here is a simplified version of some relevant properties of an atom: An atom can be pictured as a tiny nucleus with 99.9% of the mass (or "weight" in ordinary language), surrounded by an "electron cloud" that takes up almost all the "space occupied by the atom." An atom is analogous to a miniaturized version of our Solar system, where the massive Sun is at the center, and several planets revolve around the Sun.

- The main difference is that those electrons are not in circular orbits. They have complicated "orbitals," and the easiest is to visualize an "electron cloud" around the nucleus.
- The nucleus is tiny but has all the mass of the atom essentially. Electrons are spread out in a large volume around the nucleus.
- To get a perspective on the size of an atom compared to the nucleus, we can use the following analogy. If a mustard seed with a millimeter diameter represents the nucleus, the "electron cloud" would occupy a volume with 100 meters in diameter. We could say a nucleus would be like a grain of sand in the chamber of a large cathedral or a football stadium.

8. Therefore, an atom (or a molecule) is mostly empty. That means our bodies that we think are very solid are also basically empty. Even steel or diamond would be similarly "empty."

- P.S. If it is possible to take out all that empty space in our bodies (which of course is not possible), all the matter in the bodies of 9 billion humans in the world today can be fit inside a sugar cube!
- If our atoms are mostly space, why can’t we pass through walls like those ghosts in movies?
- Electrical repulsion among the electron clouds of neighboring atoms forces them to stay away without getting close.
- Therefore, we cannot go through walls or any other "solid object" with our physical bodies.

Go Through Walls and Dive Into the Earth?

9. Even though our physical bodies cannot go through other "solid objects," our manōmaya kāya (gandhabba) made of very fine suddhāshtaka can!

- That level of "matter" is much more refined and subtle than even electrons. Furthermore, those "particles" at the suddhāshtaka level are not electrically charged. So, they do not have any problem going through the electron cloud.
- Therefore, modern science (physics) helps us understand why this is not a miracle at all.

10. Those objects that appear to be "highly condensed" -- such as walls or even steel -- are mostly hollow at the atomic level. An atom has a tiny nucleus surrounded by an "electron cloud." The size of the atom is defined by the electron cloud, which is spread out over a relatively large volume. Two adjacent atoms cannot come too close to each other because of the mutual repulsion between their electron clouds.

- Therefore, an atom is "virtually empty." The dense nucleus takes only a little volume, and the electron cloud is far away. Therefore, a manōmaya kāya made of only a few suddhāshtaka can freely move through "solid matter" made of atoms and molecules.
- A yōgi with such abhiññā powers could use the manōmaya kāya to travel through "solid objects."
- One with even more developed abilities may be able to reduce one’s physical body to the suddhāshtaka level, go through the “solid object” and then “reassemble” at the other end. That sounds like science fiction (“teleportation”), but that is precisely how it may be done in the future with further progress in science. Of course, one with such abhiññā powers would be able to do that right now.
- P.S. An account from the Tipitaka regarding “teleportation”: Ven. Ananda attained the Arahanthood only the day before the first Buddhist Council held 3 months after the Parinibbana of the Buddha. Only Arahants were allowed to participate. Everyone was waiting for the arrival of Ven. Ananda. In order to remove any doubts of those who were present that he had indeed attained the Arahanthood — complete with all iddhi powers — Ven. Ananda is said to have entered the room through the keyhole. So, this is an example of teleportation.

Summary and Other Implications

11. Other "mysterious phenomena" in verse in #6 above can also be explained to be consistent with science. As science makes progress, these clarifications will have more support.

- I will be discussing some of those other phenomena in the future after covering necessary background material.

12. On a side note, this clarification also helps us understand that our concept of "touching someone" is not as intimate as we think. It is only the outer electrons of the atoms (molecules) on our body "touching" the same on the other object or person.

- I am very serious about this. Suppose you are blind-folded and someone touches you on the arm. If you think it is your girl (boy) friend, that will make you generate sensual thoughts. If you are under the impression that it is your parent, you will feel only affectionate feelings of a different kind. If you think it is a total stranger (and not good looking!), you may barely notice it (which happens a lot).

13. I must also emphasize that the Buddha not only discouraged but banned in most cases, display of such supernormal powers by bhikkhus. The main reason for that was explained to Kevatta by the Buddha in the Kevaṭṭa Sutta (DN 11). The English translation there: "To Kevaṭṭa (DN 11)": [html][/html].

- So, there were people at the time of the Buddha who could do such "miracles" using special techniques like "Gandhāra magic trick" (gandhārī nāma vijjā). Some others cultivated supernormal powers via anariya jhāna. Then such people can put down Buddha Dhamma, saying that "I can also do those things without Buddha's teachings."
- Even today, some magicians perform such "miracles." Here is a video showing "Criss Angel walks on water": [html][/html]

Of course, it is an illusion. But it looks real! Criss Angel discusses these illusions or magic tricks in his book, "Mindfreak" (2007).

- However, only Buddha Dhamma can make it possible to stop future suffering, and that is not possible with magic tricks!
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Views on Life - Wrong View of Materialism


The issue of the origin of life is critical to Sakkāya Ditthi, which is one of the key wrong views to be removed to attain the Sōtapanna stage. I have discussed some background material in the past several posts. It is time to take an in-depth look at each of the three views on the origin of life.

1. As I have already mentioned in the past few posts, there are two wrong views regarding life.

- The materialistic view says life has origins in inert matter. Science says 108 or so atoms make everything in this world. Somehow consciousness with feelings, perceptions, desires, and hopes arise out of inert matter. Many scientists and atheists hold this view.
- Those who are faithful followers of the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) or Hinduism believe that there is a separate "mental component" that makes the inert physical body "alive" with feelings, perceptions, desires, and hopes (four mental aggregates). A Creator God or Mahā Brahma created life according to them.

2. We also need to keep in mind the "endpoints of a life" according to those two views.

- In the materialistic view, one lives only the present life, and it all ends with the death of the physical body. This view was called "uccēda ditthi" by the Buddha because here the life ends (uccēda means "cut off") with the death of the physical body.
- In the opposite view, the "mental body" survives even after the physical body dies. In Abrahamic religions, the "soul" either is born in heaven or "hell" forever. In Hinduism, the "ātma" keeps going through the rebirth process until one is born in the Mahā Brahma realm, which is again eternal. In either case, one will eventually live forever (in heaven, hell, or the Brahma realm). This view was called "sāssata ditthi" by the Buddha.

3. In refuting those two views, the Buddha taught that there is a "mental component" to life, but that is not a "soul" or "a ātma" going from one life to the next.
- That is because everything in this world arises due to causes. Life can many different forms (human, deva, brahma, animal, peta, hell-beings, etc.). When one such existence ends another of those arise depending on which causes (kamma vipāka) come into play.
- "Good" or "bad" forms of life arise due to "good" or "bad" actions done in the past, and the net result of existence in the "long term" is suffering (mainly because most kammā lead to "bad births").
- There is no "soul" or a "ātma" that can be considered to be "me" or "my essence." As long as one has that perception, the rebirth process will continue with much suffering.
- When one realizes the truth of this reality, one will stop grasping (upādāna) new existences.

The Conception and Birth of a Baby

4. Let us focus on human life. When the fertile mother (i.e., who has ovulated) has sex with the father, that leads to seed for a new life. The following is a summary extracted from "Stages of Development of the Fetus."

- During each normal menstrual cycle, one of the ovaries release an egg. The release of the egg is called ovulation. The egg enters the funnel-shaped end of one of the fallopian tubes.
- Within 5 minutes of having sex, sperms from the father move from the vagina to the fallopian tube.
- If a sperm penetrates the egg, fertilization results. The fusion of the egg and sperm produces a new cell called a zygote, which is the "seed of life" for a brand new baby.

5. Tiny hairlike cilia lining the fallopian tube propel the zygote toward the uterus. The cells of the zygote repeatedly divide as the zygote moves down the fallopian tube. The zygote enters the uterus in 3 to 5 days.

- In the uterus, the cells continue to divide, becoming a hollow ball of cells called a blastocyst. Between five and eight days after fertilization, the blastocyst attaches to the lining of the uterus, usually near the top. This process, called implantation, is completed by day 9 or 10. The inner cells develop into the embryo, and the outer cells develop into the placenta.
- Some of the cells from the placenta develop into an outer layer of membranes (chorion) around the developing blastocyst. Other cells develop into an inner layer of membranes (amnion), which form the amniotic sac. When the sac is formed (by about day 10 to 12), the blastocyst is considered an embryo. The amniotic sac fills with a clear liquid (amniotic fluid) and expands to envelop the developing fetus, which floats within it.

6. Most internal organs and external body structures get built in this stage. Most organs begin to form about three weeks after fertilization, which equals five weeks of pregnancy. (Doctors date pregnancy from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period, which is typically two weeks before fertilization).

- At the end of the 8th week after fertilization (10 weeks of pregnancy), the embryo is considered a fetus. Almost all organs are entirely formed by about ten weeks after fertilization (which equals 12 weeks of pregnancy). The exceptions are the brain and spinal cord, which continue to form and develop throughout pregnancy.
- By about 24 weeks: The fetus has a chance of survival outside the uterus. The lungs continue to mature until near the time of delivery. The brain accumulates new cells throughout pregnancy and the first year of life after birth.

Materialistic View

7. The above process describes the steps in the formation of the "physical body" of a new human being. It cannot identify the time "when the mental stuff" is activated, i.e., when that inert zygote becomes alive.

- Some say "life of the new baby" starts when the heartbeat starts, and at the other extreme some say when the baby is capable of surviving outside the womb; see, for example, "When Does a Human Life Begin? 17 Timepoints".
- According to Buddha Dhamma, the new life starts when a gandhabba (or patisandhi viññāna) "descends to the womb and takes possession of the zygote." That happens very early, within a day or two of the formation of the zygote; see, "Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception."

8. Besides the above hurdle, the materialistic view cannot explain how that single cell or the zygote gives rise to a complex human with many trillions of different types of cells.

- Even though we all start with a single cell, the cells in different parts of our bodies are very different. Liver cells are different from heart cells, and the cells in the brain -- called neural cells or neurons -- are much more diverse.
- Furthermore, how do these cells know when to start building different cells for liver, heart, brain, arms, legs, etc.?

9. These issues have been studied in detail even since Watson and Crick discovered the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule back in 1953. We have discussed the complexity of a cell, so now we can summarize these findings as follows:

- DNA strand in a cell has the necessary "code" (similar to computer code) to how to build the whole body consisting of trillions of cells.
- This DNA, or the blueprint for the whole body, is in every cell. However, the proteins and body parts generated by each cell are different. How does each cell "know" which part of the "code" to read?
- I am skipping a lot of details. Those who are interested should read two excellent books (References 1 and 2 below). The former is by an evolutionist and the latter by a creationist. However, it is not necessary to study this complex issue in detail; it is enough to "get the basic idea."

Fundamental Problems with the Materialistic View

10. Two key issues remain unresolved. The first is, how did this complex DNA structure evolve, starting with simple molecules?

- In 1953, Stanley Miller and Harold Urey mixed chemicals in a simulated "early-Earth atmosphere" and produced amino acids -- precursors of DNA. It received much publicity as a significant clue to the origin of life. But that is a far cry from making a working cell in a laboratory. No one has even come close to that in the 65 years following that "breakthrough."
- The videos in my previous posts discuss this problem at length; see, "Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin" and "Living Cell – How Did the First Cell Come to Existence?".

11. There is an even more critical issue: Is it even possible for such a complex "genetic code" to evolve?

- Those of us who have written computer programs know that even a simple program requires "planning" and would not work unless it is free of "bugs." Even though it is relatively easy to "fix a bug" with KNOWLEDGE of the code, it is unimaginable that a bug in such a sophisticated program can "get fixed" via a random "trial and error" process. In such a random process, it is more likely to "add more errors" to code than fixing an existing error.
- The following review paper summarizes current status: "Koonin and Novozhilov- Origin and Evolution of Universal Genetic Code - 2017",
- For those who like to find more details, I recommend Ref. 3 below. The author is offering 10 million dollars to anyone illustrating the feasibility of the evolution of genetic code; see, "Evolution 2.0". I recommend watching the video there. It is not really about the prize; he explains why it is an impossibility.

12. Darwin's original theory of evolution predicted a "gradual evolution" of SPECIES, i.e., simple lifeforms evolving to complex lifeforms. However, "neo Darwinism" of the present time is trying to tackle the following key issues.

- Recent studies reveal that the GENETIC CODE is virtually the same for many species, ranging from mice to humans (in animals with a few cells, the genome is small). In other words, the DNA in mice essentially has the code to start a human life, but those sections in the program are NOT TRIGGERED for mice; see Ref. 1 for details.
- That is a critical point. The CODE Is virtually the same in many lifeforms, but the "correct sections of the code" must be triggered for each species. It is as if someone had planned for all lifeforms in advance!
- It is just that different parts of the code get activated for different species! That raises the second issue. WHO (or WHAT in the code) triggers specific genes to be enabled in different species AND at the right time (e.g., fingers come after the arms)?
- That is possibly why some evolutionist scientists are switching to the creationist side (Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project is an example). There has not been a third alternative (because most people do not know -- or understand -- Buddha's version).

In the next post, I will discuss problems associated with the creationist view (sāssata ditthi).

1. "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" by Sean B. Carrol (2005).
2. "Signature in the Cell" by Stephen C. Meyer (2009).
3. "Evolution 2.0: Breaking the Deadlock Between Darwin and Design" by Perry Marshall (2017).
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Wrong View of Creationism (and Eternal Future Life) – Part 1


1. The concept of eternal future life is built into most of the religions today. It comes in two varieties.

- In Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), one is born only once. Then at the end of this life, one is either taken to heaven or hell for eternity.
- In Hinduism, one has born before, will reborn again and again, until one is born in the Mahā Brahma realm. Then one will live there forever.
- Both varieties require a Creator (God or Mahā Brahma).
- (Please note that the intent of my post is just to lay down the facts (to my knowledge). If I have miswritten something, please post a comment or send me an email at [email protected]. I would be happy to correct any errors.)

2. In the time of the Buddha, there was only the latter view associated with a future eternal life. However, in both the above cases, the expectation is that one will have eternal life at the end. Such a view of eternal life was called sassata ditthi by the Buddha ("sassata" means eternal).

- As we recall from my previous post, "Views on Life – Wrong View of Materialism," this is the opposite of the wrong that life ends with death in this life. That was called uccēda ditthi ("uccēda" means cut off) by the Buddha.
- As we know, the Buddha explained 62 types of wrong views in the Brahmajāla Sutta (DN 1). However, the two main wrong views REGARDING LIFE are the above. Some of those 62 wrong views are on whether the world is eternal or not, and whether the world is finite or not.

Eternal Life in Hinduism and Abrahamic Religions

3. In the Brahmajāla Sutta (DN 1), the Buddha explained how some people at that time concluded eternal soul or atta (ātma in Sanskrit/Hinduism).

- There were yogis, even before the Buddha, who could attain (anariya) jhāna and with them the ability to recall past lives. Some were able to recall hundreds and thousands of past lives. One may change the form of birth (human, deva, etc.), but each birth associated with "oneself."
- Some of them had cultivated abhiññā powers to higher levels, where they could "see" very far back. They could see many destructions/re-construction of the world (i.e., many mahā kappās). Even for such long times, they could see their "ātma" or "atta" taking different forms, but it was the "same self" who acquired such various forms.
- The Buddha gave an analogy in the Brahmajāla Sutta. A person may live in a particular city for several years during childhood, move to another to go to school, get a job in a yet another city, and eventually retire in yet a different country. But that person has the perception that it was "me" who was at all those different places, with different physical bodies. Going through different lives is similar; there is a perception of "me" or "self" or "soul" (ātma/atta).

4. Now we can see a difference in views of Abrahamic religions and Hinduism.

- The concept of rebirth is firmly in Hinduism. That is coming for a long time even before the Buddha Gōtama. It is based on the experience of ancient yōgis who had cultivated the ability to look at past lives.
- On the other hand, rebirth is entirely absent in Abrahamic religions. So, the origin of human life in Abrahamic religions is purely materialistic. The only requirement is to have a zygote created by the union of the mother's egg and father's sperm. Therefore, there is some overlap here with the materialistic view of life; see, "Views on Life – Wrong View of Materialism".
- However, as far as the end of life is concerned, both Abrahamic religions and Hinduism have a similar view. That one attains eternal life at the end.

Issues Only Relevant to Abrahamic Religions

5. The other difference between Abrahamic religions and Hinduism is that in the former, one is born only once AND gets only this life to work towards getting eternal life in heaven. If one misses that opportunity, one will be committed to the hell for eternity.
- The Bible clearly says one dies only once and then faces judgment (Hebrews 9:27: The Bible never mentions people coming back as different people or animals. Matthew 25:46 ( explicitly that believers go on to eternal life while unbelievers go onto eternal punishment. As I understand, Judaism and Islam have the same concept.
- I wonder what happens to a baby dying very young. Does it go to heaven or hell? What about a mentally disabled person? It does not seem to be fair if they are committed to hell for eternity. If they do get qualified to be born in heaven, it would be better to skip this life (be killed as a baby) and be born in heaven right away.
- I may not be aware of the details on that issue. But it is an important issue. As I mentioned earlier, I welcome comments. The goal is to have a clear and correct picture of different world views.

6. Since this is the "first life" for any human alive today (since there is no rebirth process in Abrahamic religions), the following question arises. Why is it that people are born healthy/with disabilities, poor/rich, beautiful/ugly, etc.?

- To put it another way, is each of us a "new creations of the Creator"? If so, why did he choose to create some of us with disabilities, for example? If we did not have prior lives, there was no basis to differentiate among new births.
- Furthermore, was the "soul" of an existing individual created at the time of his/her conception or birth?
- There are simple questions that need answers, in my opinion.

7. I do understand that the Creator God is supposed to have "breathed life" to Adam and Eve made them in his image. But not to animals; they do not have a soul in Abrahamic religions).

- Animals are made of the same "stuff" as humans. As I discussed in the previous post, many animals have DNA that is 99% the same as those for humans; see, "Views on Life – Wrong View of Materialism."
- Animals are supposed to be there for the consumption of humans. That also does not seem to be logical.

Issues Only Relevant to Hinduism

8. The Purush-Sukta, a section of the Rig Veda, describes the divine origin of human beings into the four social groups, or castes, that comprise Hindu society: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Sudra. According to the Purush-Sukta, brahmins born from the mouth of the Brahma, kshatriya from the arms, vaishya from the thighs, and sudra from the calves.

- This categorization comes at the beginning of the Agganna Sutta (DN 27). Vāseṭṭha, himself a brahmin, tells the Buddha that other brahmins say to him that he should not associate with lower-caste people. Followers of the Buddha came from all four castes. They tell him that, "Only brahmins are genuine children of Brahmā, born of his mouth, offspring of Brahmā, created by Brahmā, heirs of Brahmā."
- The Buddha tells Vāseṭṭha that all people today are womb-born.
- Then he proceeded to give an account of how all "first humans" at the beginning of this Mahā Kappa were born instantaneously (ōpapatika births) with brahma-like bodies, and how they "evolved" over the past several billions of years to end up with "womb-born births"; see, "Buddhism and
Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)".
- The current series on the "Origin of Life" will provide more details from that sutta. Darwin's theory of evolution is somewhat correct for the appearance of increasingly complex animal species over time. It is not right to say that humans have "evolved from animals." Furthermore, a "first living cell" can't evolve from inert matter to form the primitive animal species either, as we have discussed in recent posts.

9. As in the case of a Creator God in Abrahamic religions, why did Mahā Brahma create four classes of humans at the beginning, per #7 above? Why not create them all equal?

- Did Mahā Brahma also create animals as well? Can humans be born as animals? If so, do animals have a ātma?
- I may be ignorant of these issues. One problem that I have had with Hinduism is that there are so many different versions. One good example is that in some Hindu temples animal sacrifice is carried out regularly. On the other hand, there are other Hindus who abstain from eating meat, let alone killing animals!

I will discuss apparent problems associated with all creator-based religions in the next post.
Last edited by Lal on Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by sunnat »

Comments invited, so: only because you wrote : "The Bible never mentions people having a second chance at life" and "rebirth is entirely absent in Abrahamic religions"
jc : "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again"
Then there are numerous references to jc's being a once returner.

Perhaps clearer definitions.?
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Thanks for pointing that out.

I have revised the wording as follows:
" The Bible clearly says one dies only once and then faces judgment (Hebrews 9:27: The Bible never mentions people coming back as different people or animals. Matthew 25:46 ( explicitly that believers go on to eternal life while unbelievers go onto eternal punishment."

P.S. You wrote: "Then there are numerous references to jc's being a once returner."

Are you referring to Jesus Christ (jc)? That is just one time for a special person. I am talking about people in general not getting another chance.
- But I guess my revised version is fine.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

In the previous post, “Wrong View of Creationism (and Eternal Future Life) – Part 1“, we discussed some problems associated with creationism. We will continue that discussion.

Wrong View of Creationism (and Eternal Future Life) – Part 2

How Did the Creator Come to Existence?

Now we can get to the issues which are common to Abrahamic religions and Hinduism.

1. First of all, the inevitable question is, how did the Creator (God or Mahā Brahma) come to existence? The Principle of Causality, the foundation of modern science, says things do not happen or materialize without causes.

- The idea of a Creator as “the First Cause” has a long history; see the Wikipedia article, “Cosmological argument.”: ... e_argument
- Logically it cannot be defended, but it has come to be a belief for those who have faith in a Creator.

2. In the previous post, we saw a crucial difference between Buddhism and Hinduism. (Even though the concept of rebirth is there in both.) In Hinduism, there is the belief of an everlasting existence in the Mahā Brahma realm (or reunification with the Brahman).

- Of course, a similar concept is there with Abrahamic religions too, with eternal life in heaven or hell.
- However, the idea of rebirth is absent in Abrahamic faiths.
- Let us now focus on the issue of “eternal life” after death, which is in Abrahamic religions and Hinduism.

3. In Abrahamic religions, the Creator God lives in the heavens. If one lives a moral life, one will get to live “in the heavens” forever; see the Wikipedia article, “Heaven in Christianity.”:

- In Hinduism, the Creator Brahma lives in a Brahma realm; see the Wikipedia article, “Brahma.”:
- One can be born there, by living a moral life and by cultivating jhāna.
- Therefore, all Creator-based religions assume the existence of a heavenly plane where life is permanent. Once born there, one will live forever without ever dying.

Nothing in This World Is Forever

4. Stars in the heavens appear to be serene and shiny. Even though we see beautiful and calm “starry nights,” the outer space is a violent place.

- In reality, a typical star converts millions of tons of mass into energy every second, with each gram releasing as much energy as an atomic bomb!
- Within the range of our telescopes, there are several supernova explosions per second. A supernova is the explosion of a star at the end of its lifetime.
- Therefore, even though our ancestors thought that Gods reside among those nice-looking stars, and the heavens are stable and peaceful, the reality is very different.

5. The Buddha’s world view (which is based on experience, as we will discuss in upcoming posts) is that no existence is everlasting. Life in any heavenly realm (Dēva or Brahma realms) is finite, even though some can be very long lifetimes.

-At the time of the Buddha, Abrahamic religions were not there. He has addressed the issue of everlasting life in the Mahā Brahmarealm in several suttas. We will discuss that in future posts.
- Before that, let us look at the scientific evidence that any type of matter (which essential for life) has a finite lifetime.

6. A permanently-existing heavenly body is in contradiction with modern science as well as with Buddha’s description of 31 realms where every life ends at some point. Even though Dēva and Brahma realms have long lifetimes, they are not free of death.

- In current scientific theories, the whole universe will run down in several billion years.
- Furthermore, each star is either destroyed in a violent blast (some are called “supernova”) or will be subjected to “heat death” reaching the white dwarf stage; see the Wikipedia article, “Star.”: ... _evolution
- In Buddha Dhamma, clusters of star systems (cakkavāla) get destroyed periodically. Even though higher-lying realms do survive, living beings in those realms also have finite lifetimes. After many billions of years, those star systems re-form. So, it is a cyclic process where destruction is followed by rebirth (re-formation), just like for a living being; see, “Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)“: ... nna-sutta/

The Problem of Suffering

7. Then there is the critical issue of why would a Creator let the man that he created to suffer? He could have created a suffering-free world.

- The general explanation in Christianity is that Adam and Eve sinned.
- But the Creator could have made it not possible for Adam and Eve to sin. Furthermore, it does not make sense for the descendants to punished for the sins of Adam and Eve.
- And why is it that some are born to suffer (mentally retarded or handicapped, for example)? What is the explanation for some people born that way? Also, why are some born poor, compared to others who are born rich?

8. As I mentioned in a previous post, “Views on Life – Wrong View of Materialism,” some scientists like Francis Collins and James Tour have given up belief in the theory of evolution. They have become proponents of creationism since they do not see another option.

- We discussed James Tour’s views in the post, “Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin.”

9. Francis Collins has written a book about why he changed his views to become a creationist. I have written a post to critically examine the issues that he could not explain with creationism: “The Language of God” by Francis Collins.”: ... s-collins/ Details are in that post, but the following are the key points.

- As I pointed out there, Dr. Collins faced the same difficulties as C. S. Lewis in trying to explain why God left room for suffering.
- Why would God allow the existence of Satan and the associated immoral behavior by people? The main conclusion was that God chose to give the man free will, and the man abused it. But God could have given free will without the existence of Satan or the ability to sin.
- The existence of “Moral Law” (the ability to differentiate right from wrong) is the fundamental basis for his belief in God. However, that argument works for all religions.
- These are critical issues that do not have answers in creationism world views.

Debate Between Materialists and Creationists

10. In the last few posts, I presented the two sides as Evolutionists and creationists. However, some creationists do not have a problem with Darwin’s theory of evolution if it just pertains to the “evolution of species.”

- The critical issue for them is about the “origin of life” and not the evolution of species. In other words, many creationists agree that once life got started with simple life-forms, more complex life-forms evolved gradually.
- In fundamental terms, the critical question is, “how did the first cell come to existence”?

11. Of course, the evolutionists believe that the first living cell also evolved, starting from inert atoms and molecules.

- However, evolutionists have very little to say about how a first cell came to existence. I have read many books by evolutionists, and they mainly discuss just the evolution of species. They have very little evidence or even feasibility of how complex DNA molecules assembled, starting with simple atoms and molecules in random chemical reactions.
- They have even less to say about how the genetic code could have evolved. As I emphasized in previous posts, it is hard to imagine how such a program could develop in a random process. We know that computer codes do not “evolve.” Furthermore, any accidental changes in the working computer code will only break that code, not make it better!

Intelligent Design Argument

12. As I mentioned above, some scientists have convinced themselves that a living cell with DNA code can’t evolve. However, they are not comfortable with the concept of a Creator God.

- They have come up with the concept of “intelligent design.” They do not explicitly invoke a Creator God but insist that a higher intelligence must have designed a living cell.
- That is also called the “Teleological argument.” See the Wikipedia article, “Teleological argument.”:

13. As explained in that Wikipedia article, the phrase “argument from design” was first used by William Paley, an English clergyman, in 1802. He said that if one finds a clock on the beach, one can safely conclude that the watch must have had a designer. In the same way, complex living beings must have had a “designer.”

- Modern advocates of the intelligent design argument point out that a cell is much more complicated than a watch, and that it could not have evolved due to random processes.
- However, that does not solve the problem. Such a “designer” must have super-human capabilities, and thus is not that different from the idea of a Creator. The idea of a creator or a designer runs contradictory to the Principle of Causation, upon which science is based (see #1 above).


14. The existence of permanent life and suffering are two critical problems with the creator-based origin of life. However, there are many related issues.

- Can the life of a human arise randomly? In other words, why are humans born under very different conditions of health, wealth, beauty, etc.? Neither evolutionists nor creationists (or “intelligent designers”) can explain it. They all say, “it just happens that way.”
- The second issue has to do with the origin of life (not the evolution of species). How did life originate? For example, how did the first cell with its complex double-helix DNA structure AND the genetic code come to existence? The two sides have different explanations for that issue.

15. Materialists believe that a living cell can arise via random jostling of atoms and molecules which are inert “matter.” The critical question here is, is it at all possible for that to happen in a random process? Another significant issue that we have not even discussed is: How can feelings, perception, desires, hopes, etc. arise from “dead matter”?

- Creationists (and those who believe that a creator or a designer with super-human intelligence in “intelligent design”) created living cells. That creator gave life to inert matter. There the question is, how did that creator or designer come to existence?

Buddhist Explanation

16. In Buddha Dhamma, this “intelligent designer” is none other than Nature. The life itself was not created but has existed forever. That is consistent with the Principle of Causality. Of course, Buddha provided (indirect) evidence in terms of a fully self-consistent “theory.”

- Furthermore, the mental qualities of a human are the CAUSES of existence (rebirth): It is not possible to create a life-stream. All existing life-streams have ALWAYS existed. That life-form takes different forms in different existences (not only human and animal, but among 31 possible realms). See, “What Reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream“.
- Future existences of a given life-stream DEPEND on the “mental qualities” (and actions, speech, thoughts that arise BASED ON those mental qualities) of that life-stream.
- Suffering and pleasure exist in this world. Both arise due to previous actions (kamma). And one’s deeds are based on one’s mental state at that time.

17. When one understands those key concepts, one will “see” that there is no “attā” or “soul” or “ātma” going from birth-to-birth. That is the first stage of Sammā Ditthi. Causes (kamma) and conditions lead to corresponding outcomes (kamma vipāka) per Paticca Samuppāda. That understanding is the key to removing “sakkāya ditthi.”

- We will first discuss those “mental qualities” next. It is essential to understand those to discuss Buddha’s teachings of life. His world views were not speculation but based on his ability to “see” how life progressed over trillions of years in the past. It is NOT JUST a logical or philosophical argument, even though it is self-consistent.
- It is critical to understand the essential points discussed so far to continue with upcoming posts. I recommend re-reading #16 and #17 until those key ideas are grasped at least vaguely.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Buddhist Worldview – Introduction


1. The Buddhist worldview is somewhat complicated but is self-consistent. In the previous three posts, we discussed the two dominant world views of evolutionism and creationism. The Buddha categorized them respectively as uccheda ditthi and sassata ditthi in the “Brahmajāla Sutta (DN 1)“. When one removes both those wrong views, one would have removed sakkāya ditthi and attained the Sōtapanna stage of Nibbāna.

- In both those world views, there is the idea of an “existing person.” Evolutionists say that “a person” ends with the death of the physical body. Creationists say that the “soul” or the “ātma” of “a person” will get an “everlasting life” at some point. See the previous posts on “Origin of Life.”
- The Buddha taught that the existence of such “a person” is illusory. At each moment, there is an experience that arises due to past causes AND based on prevailing conditions. That “conditional cause and effect” or the Principle of Causality is called Paticca Samuppāda. However, those experiences and any physical sufferings are real.

2. Thus, in the Buddhist worldview, “a person,” at a given time, may be defined as a “set of gati” or “character qualities.” Those gati are the conditions to bring about the results (vipāka) of past actions (kamma). When one gets rid of those “gati,” that will lead to the stopping of those sense experiences burdened with suffering. That is Parinibbana or “full release from suffering.” However, the perception (saññā) of such “a person” will be there until one attains the Arahanthood.

- That is a very brief summary. With this post, we will start discussing the details.

3. The “material or physical world” takes precedence in current dominant world views of evolutionism and creationism. Evolutionists consider mental aspects as secondary and to arise from inert matter. Thus, they believe the mind is an emergent phenomenon.

- Even the creationists do not pay much attention to the diverse mind phenomena. They believe that the mind is separate from matter and that the Creator created both.
- Buddha has taught material aspects briefly but focused on the mind in great detail. Furthermore, he has explained that the opposite of materialism is the correct worldview. That is, instead of mind phenomena arising from inert matter, the mind is the precursor to matter.
- That may sound astounding. That is why we need to go through the steps slowly. But it is essential first to remind ourselves that it is not possible to create a brand-new “life-stream” or a “new living being.”

A Life-Stream (Rebirth Process) Has No Beginning

4. All living beings (an infinite number of them) have lived from a time that has “no traceable beginning.” That is a cornerstone of the Buddhist worldview.

- The Buddha declared that as, “Anamataggoyaṃ, bhikkhave, saṃsāro”. That means “bhikkhus, there is no discernible beginning to the rebirth process”. This statement is in every sutta in the “Anamatagga Saṃyutta” in Saṃyutta Nikāya (SN).
- You and I have existed “forever.” We will continue to live in one of the 31 realms until we attain the Arahanthood and then attain Parinibbana. Parinibbana means “complete Nibbāna.” That is completely separating from this world of 31 realms. No more rebirths in this world. No more suffering.
- I have discussed this in detail in the post, “Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin.”

5. The above statement of a life existing from a time with no traceable beginning may seem to be contradictory to the fundamental concept that nothing in this world lasts forever. There is no contradiction.

- At any time, a given “life-stream” has a hadaya vatthu (seat of mind) and several pasāda rūpa ranging from zero (in arūpavacara realms or planes) to five (in kāma realms). Hadaya vatthu and a set of pasāda rūpa are the “manōmaya kāya” that every living being has. It is unimaginably small (smaller than an atom in modern science). That manōmaya kāya keeps changing as the life-stream moves among the 31 realms.
- The manōmaya kāya is a “mental body.” But “body” here means a “collection,” the collection of hadaya vatthu and a set of pasāda rūpa. One’s “mental body” weighs much less than a mustard seed. In fact, at the moment of conception (“patisandhi viññāna descending to the womb), our “physical body” consists only of a single cell (zygote), as we discussed in “Clarification of “Mental Body” and “Physical Body” – Different Types of “Kāya.”
- In humans and animals, this manōmaya kāya is the same as gandhabba. For brahmas, manōmaya kāya is all they have!
- The “mental body” (gandhabba) is what controls the massive physical body of a human or an animal.

A Worldview Based on Experience

6. The Buddhist worldview is not a theory or speculation. He could “see” each of the 31 realms of this world. He could “see” how a life-stream moves from one realm to another based on kamma vipāka and prevailing conditions, i.e., Paticca Samuppāda.

- One time, a brahmin came to the Buddha and asked whether the Buddha believes in the existence of devas, brahmas, apāyās, etc. The Buddha told him that he “sees” them and communicates with them. If someone remembers the name of that sutta, please let me know: [email protected]. I will add that reference here.
- Many suttas describe Buddha’s and his disciples’ visits to brahma and deva planes. Others describe visits of brahmas and devas to the human world (mainly to listen to the discourses of the Buddha and to ask questions from the Buddha).
- For example, in the Vinaya Pitaka, it is described that billions of devas and brahmas were there to listen to the first discourse of the Buddha, Dhammacappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11). The Brahma¬niman¬tanika Sutta (MN 49), describeS how the Buddha visited the realm of the Mahā Brahma to explain to him that his existence is not eternal; see, “Anidassana Viññāṇa – What It Really Means.”

7. The Buddha, more than 2500 years ago, also described the “physical world” consisting of billions of galaxies with billions of stars in each galaxy (with different names of course).

- On the other hand, even a few hundred years ago, modern science’s view of the universe was that it included only the Solar system.
- In the early 1600s, Galileo invented the telescope. He first saw that the Moon is similar to the Earth in composition, that the stars are no different from our Sun. With more powerful telescopes, we now know that there is an unbelievable number of stars (with planets around them) out there.

8. However, the Buddha taught that studying the physical structure of the universe is not beneficial. While it is an exciting subject, studying that would not solve the “problem of suffering.” We have only a limited time in this life, and we must focus on the task of removing future suffering.

- Regarding that aspect, one should focus on one’s inner world. In particular, on the issue of how suffering-filled rebirths materialize due to one’s thoughts, speech, and actions. We do not need telescopes or other fancy instruments for that. We can use our minds.
- By the way, by focusing on the mental phenomena, one can also find much more about the physical world with billions of galaxies WITHOUT any scientific instrument. That is how the Buddha knew more about the universe than modern scientists.
- Therefore, the Buddhist worldview can provide a complete description of how our world. The Buddha explained how an infinite number of “life-streams” takes different forms in a rebirth process that has no beginning.

What is One’s World?

9. A given person’s world is what he/she experiences. What exactly do we experience?

- We see forms with our eyes, hear sounds with ears, taste with tongues, smell with the nose, body touches with physical bodies. Those are the five physical sense faculties and the five types of “external entities” experienced by them. Modern science still thinks the mind is an “emergent phenomenon” arising from the brain.
- However, in Buddha Dhamma, the mind is much more critical than those five physical senses, and we will see why.

10. With the mind, we remember past events, think about concepts like mathematics or Buddha Dhamma, and plan for the future. That latter is the most crucial task by the mind. We think about, plan, and initiate activities by generating sankhāra in mind.

- Most such activities start due to ignorance (avijjā) about the real nature of this world. That is why the akusala-mula Paticca Samuppāda cycle begins with “avijjā paccayā sankhāra.” We create good/bad kamma via sankhāra, which lead to defiled viññāna via “sankhāra paccayā viññāna.”
- When viññāna become strong enough, they can become patisandhi viññāna that fuel the rebirth process. We will discuss this later. That is how the mind creates future existences in the Buddhist worldview.

Our World Consists of Twelve Āyatanas

11. The “Chachakka Sutta (MN 148)” describes in detail the sensory experience in the Buddhist worldview. For an English translation see, “The Six Sets of Six (MN 148)“:[html][/html]. We will discuss this sutta in detail.

- In that sutta, the Buddha labeled our six types of internal sense faculties as six “internal āyatana” (ajjhattikāni āyatanāni). Furthermore, he called the six external entities sensed by them as “external āyatana” (bāhirāni āyatanāni). From now on, we will use the terms “internal āyatana” and “external āyatana.”
- As I emphasize often, it is best to learn what is meant by some critical Pāli words and use those Pāli words. In many cases, there are no exact English translations. Note that in the above English translation of the sutta, the word “āyatana” translated as “base.”When we start discussing Paticca Samuppāda, you will see why it is better to use the Pāli term, āyatana.
- In summary, our world consists of twelve āyatana. Material wise, there is NOTHING ELSE in the world. The Buddha called those twelve “sabba” or “all”; see, Sabba Sutta (SN 35.23).

12. The Āyatanavibhaṅga (; English tranlation there: details on the twelve āyatana. For example: “Tattha katamaṃ cakkhāyatanaṃ? Yaṃ cakkhu catunnaṃ mahābhūtānaṃ upādāya pasādo attabhāvapariyāpanno anidassano sappaṭigho, yena cakkhunā anidassanena sappaṭighena rūpaṃ sanidassanaṃ sappaṭighaṃ passi vā passati vā passissati vā passe vā, cakkhumpetaṃ cakkhāyatanampetaṃ cakkhudhātupesā cakkhundriyampetaṃ lokopeso dvārāpesā samuddopeso paṇḍarampetaṃ khettampetaṃ vatthumpetaṃ nettampetaṃ nayanampetaṃ orimaṃ tīrampetaṃ suñño gāmopeso. Idaṃ vuccati “cakkhāyatanaṃ.”

Translated:What is cakkhāyatana? It is that cakkhu pasāda derived from the four great elements. It is invisible (anidassano), makes contact (sappaṭighena) with visible (object).”

- I have just translated the first part with an important fact: One cannot see the cakkhāyatana. It is NOT the eyes. We will discuss in the next post how eyes act like cameras, just capturing the signal from the object. The brain processes that signal, which then is passed on to the cakkhāyatana.
- In the same way, sotāyatana, ghānāyatana, jivhāyatana, kāyāyatana are all invisible. Those five are the pasāda rūpa that I mentioned above. They are in the manōmaya kāya, around the hadaya vatthu (seat of mind). Also see, “Rupa (Material Form).”
- The hadaya vatthu and five pasāda rūpa are in the manōmaya kāya overlap the heart in the physical body. That is why the manōmaya kāya comes out when the heart is stressed, like during some heart operations; see, “Manomaya Kaya and Out-of-Body Experience (OBE).”

Internal and External Āyatana

13. The six INTERNAL āyatana (cakkhu, sōta, ghāna, jivhā, kāya, and mana) are responsible for detecting sensory inputs.

- They are all very fine rūpa (traces of matter) at the suddhātthaka level, i.e., they are the smallest units of matter.
- However, their ability to detect external rūpa comes from the kammic energy embedded in them. Those kammic energies induce rotation and spin modes, i.e., those suddhātthaka start turning and spinning just like electrons in an atom. That is why they called units of ten or dasaka. For example, cakkhu rūpa is called a cakkhu dasaka. It has a suddhātthaka (eight units of matter) and two units of energy (one in rotation and one in spin). See, “The Origin of Matter – Suddhātthaka.”
- Yes. The Buddha knew about rotation and spin before modern science. “Energy” can be in spin (bramana in Pāli; bramana or බ්‍රමණ in Sinhala) and rotation (paribbramana in Pāli; bramana or පරිබ්‍රමණ in Sinhala). See, “31 Realms Associated with the Earth“.

14. There are six types of EXTERNAL āyatana (vanna rūpa, sadda rūpa, gandha rūpa, rasa rūpa, pottabbha rūpa, and dhamma rūpa or dhammā).

- Most times, vanna rūpa are called rūpa rūpa or just rūpa. In the Chachakka Sutta, they are just called rūpa. Those are the ones we see with our eyes. Many people assume that those are the only rūpa. That is because they do not perceive sound as a form of rūpa, for example. But a sound-wave carries energy.
- Even modern science accepted that energy and matter are indistinguishable only after Einstein found the connection between energy and matter with his famous equation, E = mc^2.
- Gandha or smell is associated with fine particles of odor that flow through the air and get into our noses. Rasa or taste comes from the food we eat. Potthabba or touch is with solid matter. So, those are also rūpa.
- Yes. Some of dhamma rūpa or dhammā (sensed by the mind) are also rūpa. Dhammā are called sukuma rūpa because they are below the suddhātthaka stage. See, “What are Rūpa? – Dhammā are Rūpa too!“. Also, the mind can detect memories (nama gotta) and concepts (like mathematics) too.

15. We have discussed all types of matter (and energy) in our world within the Buddhist worldview. In the next post, we will discuss how our mental experience (through vedana, saññā, sankhāra, and viññāna) arise when internal āyatana come into contact with external āyatana.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Re: #6 of my post above, a reader has sent me a reference: "Devadūta Sutta (MN 130)":

An English translation: "Devaduta Sutta: The Deva Messengers": ... .than.html

P.S. There are 81 suttas in "Devatā Saṃyutta" ( and 111 suttas in "Devaputta Saṃyutta" ( in the Saṃyutta Nikāya that describe visits of various devas to ask questions from the Buddha and to discuss Dhamma.
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