The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Yes. The Buddha was an atheist if you define an atheist as a person who does not believe in a Creator.

It is apparent that you do believe in a Creator. There are two possibilities as I see it.

1. Do you believe that nothing can happen without a cause/causes?
- If so, I cannot continue this discussion. There is no point in discussing with those who do not believe in logic.

2. If you do believe that nothing can happen without a cause/causes, then I have the following question.
- How did that Creator come into existence?
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

I just realized that I need to add a bot more to the above post to make it complete (too late to edit it)

The Buddha is NOT an atheist in the sense of some atheists, who believe that this life is the only life that each of us has, i.e., there is no rebirth process.
- That is because such a hypothesis is also NOT compatible with the Principle of Cause and Effect.
- Nothing can happen without a cause (or causes).
- Rebirth process will continue until the root causes that give rise to life are eliminated.

Buddha Dhamma rejects both above wrong views. Those are the creation hypothesis and the hypothesis that life can arise without causes.
- As we can see both those hypotheses are not consistent with the Principle of Causation.

Those causes that led to the current life will bring more future lives to existence until those causes are removed. The causes that give rise to life are explained in the Four Noble Truths/Paticca Samuppada/Tilakkhana. All three are interrelated and self-consistent.
- Paticca Samuppada describes the Buddhist principle of causation.

This post revised.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

The following is a re-written post.

Difference between Phassa and Samphassa

Phassa and Samphassa - Incorrect Translations

1. No differentiation is made between "phassa" and "samphassa" in most current English translations of Paṭicca samuppāda. Both words translated as "contact" in English translations without making the distinction. See, for example, "Chachakka Sutta (MN 148)" and the English translations there:

- However, as we will see below, "samphassa" has a very different meaning than "phassa" and makes the connection of how our instinctive reactions to external sense experiences arise based on our "samsāric habits" or "gati."
- With the distinction made between "phassa" and "samphassa," the true meanings become clear in many suttā like "Chachakka Sutta (MN 148)" and the "Dutiya ­Bodhi Sutta (Udāna 1.2)" that I referred to recently on the other thread: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=39810.

Phassa Is in All Citta

2. When we see, hear, etc. a citta arises that recognize the sensory input. There are 7 cetasika (mental factors) that arise with ANY citta and phassa and vedanā are two of them. We will have no sensory experience without the phassa (contact) cetasika

- When the mind makes that contact with that image of the external object, a citta arises, and that is what we experience.
- Some of the 7 universal mental factors that arise with the citta instantaneously identify the object. These include vedanā and saññā. Both those are also universal cetasika.
- If samphassa takes place, there will be an additional vedanā, which is called "samphassa-jā-vedanā."

Samphassa - How Does It Arise?

3. An average human will form a like or a dislike for some of the sense inputs (but not for all).

- If a like or dislike is formed, then that sense contact is  "san phassa"("san" + "phassa," where "san" are defilements (greed, anger, ignorance); see, "What is "San"?"). It rhymes as "samphassa." 
- This "combination effect" or "Pāli sandhi" leads to the pronunciation of many "san" words with an "m" sound: "san" + "" to "sammā." In the same way, "san" "yutta" to "samyutta," "san" "bhava" to "sambhava," and "san" "sāra" to "samsāra"; see, "List of “San” Words and Other Pāli Roots." on Feb 20, 2019 (p. 67): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=990
- Thus, when one sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches something, whether there will be any likes or dislikes towards that sensory experience depends on that person, or more specifically, the "gati" (habits/character) of that person.

Examples of Samphassa

4. Let us discuss some examples to illustrate how "samphassa" arises. First, let us look at the connection with those people/things in the world that we have special relationships with or what we "upādana," i.e., like to either keep close to like to stay away from.

- Think about the worst "enemy" you have. When you even think about that person X, you generate distasteful feelings. But that person's family will have loving thoughts about that person. Here, you and X's child (for example) would have generated very different "samphassa" when thinking, seeing, hearing about X.
- When you travel by car or bus and looking out of the window, you may see zillion things, but those are just "seeing"; you don't pay much attention to them. They are "phassa." But now, if you happen to see a beautiful house, it piques your interest, and you may even turn back and take another good look at it and may be even thinking about how nice it would be to live in a house like that. That is "samphassa."

5. Now, let us see how one's perception of what is "valuable" can lead to "samphassa." Suppose someone inherits a valuable gem from his father. Every time he sees it or even thinks about it, he becomes happy. But his mind is also burdened by it since he is worried that he may lose it; he is keeping it in a safe and has put burglar alarms in the house to protect that gem.

- Now, suppose one day he asks a professional to evaluate the gem and finds out that it is not a gem. He may not even believe that initially, but once it sinks in that it is indeed worthless, he will become "detached" from it. He will no longer keep it in the safe and may even throw it away in disgust.
- Now he may be generating either neutral or hateful thoughts about the SAME OBJECT that he once loved so much. Nothing changed about the "gem"; it is still the same object as before. What has changed is his PERCEPTION of the value of that object. Whereas he generated "samphassa" on thinking or seeing that object before, now he may generate just "phassa" (neutral feelings) or "samphassa" with quite the opposite feelings of disgust.

Phassa Can Turn to Samphassa in an Instant

6. Let us take another example that Waharaka Thero gave. This one clearly shows how the transition from "phassa" to "samphassa" can happen very quickly.

The following happened many years ago in Sri Lanka. A mother had to go overseas when her son was less than a year old. She had been overseas for many years and came back to see her son. Apparently, she had not even seen any pictures of the boy, who was now a teenager. When she gets home, she is told that the boy is visiting a neighbor and starts walking there. On the way, she bumps into a teenager; the teenager apologizes, and she resumes walking. But then another person on the street says, "Don't you recognize your son? Well. How can you? You have been away all this time".  Hearing that, she says, "Oh, is that my son?" and immediately runs back and hugs him.

- She clearly saw the boy when he bumped into her and apologized. But at that time, he was just a teenager to her. That "seeing" event involved "phassa."
- But when someone pointed out that it was her son, her perception of the boy took a big leap in an instant. Now she looks at the same boy with the whole new set of "mental baggage." Now it is not just a teenager, but her son; there is attachment involved. Now when she looks at him, it is "samphassa" that is involved.

7. Now, we can also see how "samphassa" leads to an intensified vēdanā or feelings. This is called "samphassa jā vēdanā" or "vēdanā arising due to samphassa." This "mind-made defiled vēdanā" is different from the universal vēdanā mentioned in #2 above.

- She had neutral thoughts (may be even some annoyance) when the boy bumped into her apologized. But when she learned that it was her son, her feelings turned instantly to joy.
- To take a bit more further, if that teenager then got hit by a car after several minutes, that joy would turn instantly to sorrow.
These different types of "vēdanā" arise based on the type and level of "attachment" to a given object, in this case, the boy.

Samphassa - Connection to Gati

8.  "Samphassa" is intimately connected to one's "gati" or habits, most of which come from our past lives, even though some may be strengthened or weakened by what we do in this life. We may even start forming new "gati" in this life. Note that "gati" is pronounced "gathi" like in "Thailand."

- For example, a young lady looking at a dress may form a liking for it. Another person seeing his enemy will form a dislike. A teenager, upon hearing a song, may form a liking for it, etc.
- This "contact with san" (or samphassa) happens instantaneously. That initial samphassa arises automatically purely based on our "gati." But since our actions based on that initial reaction take some time, we still have time to control our speech or bodily actions. Even if bad thoughts come to our minds, we can stop any speech or bodily actions. That is kāyānupassanā in satipatthāna meditation.
- There are many posts at this site that discuss "gati," and at the fundamental level, both Ānapāna and Satipatthāna meditations are all about removing bad "gati" and cultivating good "gati"; see, "9. Key to Ānāpānasati – How to Change Habits and Character (Gati)".

An Arahant Has Phassa but Not Samphassa

9. Now, let us consider what happens when an Arahant sees or hears similar things (phassa or "contact" takes place.) He/she will see or hear the same thing as any other person.

- But an Arahant will not be attracted to it or repelled by it. There will be no samphassa. Thus, there will be no "samphassa jā vēdanā" either.
- To put it in another way, an Arahant sees, hears, etc. without any bias or samphassa.  He/she will also generate vēdanā, but not "vēdanā due to samphassa."
- An Arahant has removed all such defiled "gati," which are closely related to cravings or "āsava." An Arahant has removed all "āsava"; this is what is meant by "āsavakkhaya" at the Arahanthood. This is a technical detail that may not be clear to some, but don't worry about it if it does not.

10. We can now see the difference between "phassa" and "samphassa."

- In an Arahant's case, there is only "phassa" or mere contact with the external sensory input. An Arahant will thus "see" or "hear" or "smell" or "taste" or "feel" the same things as any other person. But an Arahant will not be attached or repulsed by that sensory experience.
- For example, the Buddha identified different people. But he did not give special treatment to Ven. Ananda (his personal assistant.) He did not treat Ven. Ananda any different from Devadatta, who tried to kill him. He treated the poorest person the same way as he treated a king.
- The Buddha ate the most delicious food offered by the kings and also ate meager meals offered by poor people.
In all those sense contacts, it was just "phassa" and not "samphassa."

Samphassa Leads to Samphassa-jā-Vēdanā

11. Therefore, now we can see that the step, "phassa paccayā vēdanā" in Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda really is "samphassa paccayā samphassa jā vēdanā." Such Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda processes do not operate for Arahants.

- More details on how "samphassa" leads to samphassa-jā-vēdanā at: "Vipāka Vēdanā and “Samphassa jā Vēdanā” in a Sensory Event" ON Sep 30, 2019: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1095
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Loka Sutta - Origin and Cessation of the World

In the Loka Sutta, the Buddha explained the arising and cessation of the "world of an individual." It does not directly refer to arising and cessation of the vast physical world.


1. The "Sabba Sutta (SN 35.23)" explains everything belonging to the world as, "Kiñca, bhikkhave, sabbaṁ? Cakkhuñceva rūpā ca, sotañca saddā ca, ghānañca gandhā ca, jivhā ca rasā ca, kāyo ca phoṭṭhabbā ca, mano ca dhammā ca—idaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, sabbaṁ."

Translated: "And what, bhikkhus, is the all? The eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and tactile objects, the mind and mental phenomena. This is called the all."

- Here, "the all" refers to "everything in the world." It is quite clear that the Buddha refers to the world per each individual. A given person has six sense faculties, and with them, he/she experiences the "world." One's world can be precisely stated as one's own body (loosely speaking) and whatever is experienced with those sense faculties.
- If you think carefully, you will see that this description is the same as saying that one's five aggregates (pancakkhandha) are the same same as one's world. The rupakkhandha includes one's body and any "rupa" that is experienced. The four mental aggregates include all mental phenomena that arise as a result of such sensory experiences.
- In both interpretations, one person's world is different from another. In the Loka Sutta, the Buddha describes how that world repeatedly arises in the rebirth process. Of course, the world experienced in different births are very different. Most births are into suffering-filled worlds, and that is why one would want to stop this recurring process.

Loka Sutta - Arising of One's World

2. Here is how the Buddha described the "arising of ones world" in the "Loka Sutta (SN 12.44)": “Katamo ca, bhikkhave, lokassa samudayo? Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ. Tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso. Phassa paccayā vedanā; vedanā paccayā taṇhā; taṇhā paccayā upādānaṁ; upādāna paccayā bhavo; bhava paccayā jāti; jāti paccayā jarāmaraṇaṁ sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā sambhavanti. Ayaṁ kho, bhikkhave, lokassa samudayo."

Translated: "And what, bhikkhus, is the origin of the world? In dependence on the eye and forms (rupa), eye-consciousness arises. That is followed by "contact with the three types of 'san'" or "samphassa." With samphassa as condition, samphassa-jā-vedanā come to be; with samphassa-jā-vedanā as condition taṇhā; with taṇhā as condition, upādāna; with upādāna as condition, existence (bhava); with bhava as condition, birth; with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. This, bhikkhus, is the origin of the world."

- The word samudaya comes from "san" + "udaya" which rhymes as "samudaya." There is "san" again! Now, "udaya" means to arise, and thus, "samudaya" means "arising due to san." This really means not the arising of the whole world with trillions of stars/planets, but the re-arising of the world at death. If "san" (or the defilements of greed, hate, ignorance) were to have been removed, one would not be reborn and experience this suffering-filled world again. See, "List of “San” Words and Other Pāli Roots" Feb 20, 2019 (p. 67) viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=990 and "San" is not clear? This may be helpful if one has an open mind", Feb 26, 2019 (p. 71) :viewtopic.php?f=46&p=504394#p504394
- Note that just a sensory experience CANNOT be the root cause of suffering. Rather it is the attachment to sensory experience with samphassa that is the root cause. That is the KEY POINT of this sutta. This is why I have bolded the verse, "tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso."
- Let us discuss the time sequence stated in the whole verse. Then my point will become clear.

Time Sequence in the Above Verse - The first Step Happens to Anyone

3. The whole process starts with a sensory input through one of the six senses. The above verse describes what happens when someone sees an object that he/she attaches to (other 5 sense faculties work the same way.) That attachment (taṇhā) eventually leads to suffering in some form.

- The process starts with "cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ." That means cakkhu viññāṇa arises when one sees an object. It just sees what that object is. No kamma generated here. That "seeing event" or cakkhu viññāṇa arises with the help of the phassa cetasikaThis phassa (contact) is that between cakkhu and rupa.
- As we have discussed, phassa cetasika is a universal cetasika that arises with ANY sensory event. Suppose you hear a sound or taste food; that involves the phassa cetasika. Any living being, including an Arahant, will experience all 6 sensory inputs.
- The next step is "tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso."

Tiṇṇaṁ Saṅgati Phasso - Misunderstood Key Verse

4. This short verse is commonly mistranslated as, "The meeting of the three is contact." See both English translations of the Loka Sutta at Sutta Central: "The World (SN 12.44)" :

- It does not make any sense to say "the meeting of cakkhu, rupa, and cakkhu viññāṇa." Rather, cakkhu viññāṇa (or seeing the object)" happens with the contact or meeting of cakkhu and rupa. There is no "meeting of the three."
- Instead, what happens at this second step is "contact with defiled gati" or "samphassa." Here samphassa is "san phassa"("san" + "phassa," where "san" are defilements (greed, anger, ignorance). It rhymes as "samphassa." To learn about "san" see the posts referred to in #3 above. Thus samphassa (contact with defilements) is an internal process that happens in the mind.
- There are three main "defiled gati": lobha, dosa, moha. Those are the "three" referred to in the verse.
- Also see the previous post, "Difference between Phassa and Samphassa." Then we can see that "phassa paccayā vedanā" really means “samphassa paccayā samphassa-jā-vēdanā.” Some deep suttas are in "summary form" and need to be explained in detail; see, "Sutta Interpretation - Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa." I will post this in a few days.

"Phassa Paccayā Vedanā" Is “Samphassa Paccayā Samphassa Jā-Vēdanā.”

5. Therefore, the third step, "phassa paccayā vedanā" that comes after the step "tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso" is "samphassa paccayā samphassa-jā-vēdanā.” This is a "mind-made vedanā" due to samphassa.

- Now it is clear that the fourth step of, "vedanā paccayā taṇhā" really is "samphassa-jā-vēdanā paccayā taṇhā." An Arahant has vēdanā, but not samphassa or samphassa-jā-vēdanā.
- One would attach to that ārammana ONLY because it led to "samphassa" with the step"tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso."

"Loka Samudaya" Will Not Take Place for an Arahant

6. Therefore, all steps after the first step of "seeing an object" will not arise for an Arahant because an Arahant would not generate samphassa. See #3 and #9 of the previous post "Difference between Phassa and Samphassa."

- Another way to state the same is to say that an Arahant does not have saṅgati ("san gati") or "defiled gati." An Arahant's mind is pure and is devoid of greed, hate/anger, and ignorance. Note that “gati” is pronounced “gathi” like in “Thailand.”
- For an Arahant, a 'seeing event" is just that. No attachment. Thus, any sensory event would be limited to just experiencing that sensory input. The critical step of "tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso" WILL NOT take place for an Arahant. Thus all other steps following it would not be there!
- That is why an Arahant is free from future suffering.

How Can Someone Get to the Arahanthood?

7. Now the question is: "How can someone attain Arahanthood, i.e., attain Nibbāna"?

- The Buddha provided the answer in the second part of the sutta: "Katamo ca, bhikkhave, lokassa atthaṅgamo? Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ. Tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso. Phassa paccayā vedanā; vedanā paccayā taṇhā. Tassāyeva taṇhāya asesavirāganirodhā upādāna nirodho; upādāna nirodhā bhava nirodho …pe… evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hoti. Ayaṁ kho, bhikkhave, lokassa atthaṅgamo."

Translated: "And what, bhikkhus, is the cessation/ending of the world? In dependence on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises. That is followed by "contact with the three types of 'san'" or "samphassa." With samphassa as a condition, samphassa-jā-vedanā come to be; with samphassa-jā-vedanā as condition taṇhā. But with the remainder-less fading away and cessation of taṇhā comes the cessation of upādāna; with the cessation of upādāna, cessation of existence (bhava); with the cessation of existence, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering. This, bhikkhus, is the cessation/ending of the world.

- Until one attains the Arahanthood, one COULD generate samphassa, depending on the sensory input. As one attains higher magga phala, there will be less and less ārammana that could lead to samphassa or "contact with defilements." For example, after attaining the Anāgāmi stage, one would not "attach to" any sensual pleasures available in kāma loka.
- An Arahant would have removed all defilements, and thus, the akusala-mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process starting with "avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra" would not be initiated. That is the cessation/ending of the world for that Arahant!

A Sensory Experience is a Trigger to Initiate a PS Process

8. As Loka Sutta points out, the accumulation of kammic energy to "power up" future existences starts with sensory experiences. Kamma generation in Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS) process takes place in the "taṇhā paccayā upādānaṁ" step in #2 above. 

- As discussed in the second part of the Loka Sutta, the critical point is the stopping of the sequence of events following a sensory experience at the arising of taṇhā due to "samphassa-jā-vedanā." Obviously, we cannot control it at that moment since it happens within a split second.
- (Additional information: Two critical things need to happen to reduce and eliminate taṇhā over time: (i) First, one must comprehend this whole process that we are discussing, and also how the Paṭicca Samuppāda process works. That is the "dassanā pahātabbā" step where a large fraction of wrong views are removed at the Sotapanna stage by getting rid of wrong views. (ii) Once getting to the Sotapanna stage, one needs to remove the tendency to attach to sensory pleasures with Ānāpāna and Satipaṭṭhāna Bhāvanā. One reaches higher stages of magga phala in this second stage of "bhāvanā pahātabbā" step. In the Sabbāsava Sutta (MN 2), "dassanā pahātabbā" is the "first removal" and "bhāvanā pahātabbā" is the "last removal.")
- We will discuss that in future posts again. But it has been discussed in some existing posts. See, for example, "Tanhā – The Origin of Suffering" and "Vipallāsa (Diṭṭhi, Saññā, Citta) Affect Saṅkhāra."

Paṭicca Samuppāda process Initiates With a Sensory Experience

9. Therefore, the akusala-mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process does not automatically start with "avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra." No one would act with avijjā WITHOUT a cause. The cause for acting with avijjā is a TEMPTATION brought up by a SENSORY EXPERIENCE.

- One can see that by combining the two suttas discussed in this post, the Sabba Sutta (SN 35.23) and the Loka Sutta (SN 12.44).
- In fact, this is the theme that one can see in many suttas, including the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148). I have discussed that sutta in detail in another series of posts on the "Worldview of the Buddha." viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1080 Just take a look at the introductory post of that series; "Buddhist Worldview – Introduction."
- The current series looks at the same issue with a different approach.

The Inability of Some People to Grasp Critical Concepts

10. Buddha Dhamma is deep. One needs to take time to examine a few key suttas in detail carefully. That way, one can grasp the meanings of key Pāli words like viññāṇa, samphassa, Ānapāna, anicca, and anatta. Instead, many translators assign a single English word for each of them.  However, such Pāli words CANNOT be translated as single English words. This is why people have been having the same discussions at discussion forums like the Dhamma Wheel for many years. They keep bringing up the same issues over and over without a resolution. A good example is a discussion on "Phassa and the cessation of phassa?" viewtopic.php?t=30370

- This unfortunate situation is clearly evident in the discussions going on at Dhamma Wheel even today. There could be two possible reasons. (i) Those who engage in those discussions have not read my posts, (ii) they do read these posts but cannot make the connections.
- Since they keep quoting from incorrect English translations, it is possible that those "bad translations" are keeping those people from seeing these critical connections.
- Having deeply embedded wrong views is like wearing colored glasses. No matter how much one looks, one would always see things through the same colored glasses. When I try to point out this sheer lunacy, some actually get upset, saying that I am not "compassionate enough" and have ulterior motives. See the recent discussion on viññāṇa and  phassa/samphassa: " Warning!!!" viewtopic.php?f=46&t=39810
- Of course, each person is free to have their opinion/interpretation. But one needs to show their interpretations are CONSISTENT with the Tipitaka. Otherwise, it is a waste of time for everyone. I have shown many examples of inconsistencies. There has been no logical response to those yet, other than empty statements/accusations. Just because someone does not like a given interpretation does not make that interpretation wrong. Just read the above link and see for yourself.
- That is quite unfortunate. This is not about winning a debate. It is all about clarifying and comprehending the teachings of the Buddha in a logically consistent manner. Unfortunately, hindering the progress of others will have kammic consequences.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Following is the post that I promised:

Sutta Interpretation – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa

Dhamma Concepts Explained at 3 Levels

1. Explanation of dhamma concepts in the Tipiṭaka comes under three categories: “uddēsa, niddēsa, paṭiniddēsa.” A fundamental concept is first stated (“uddēsa” or “utterance”). “Niddēsa” is a “brief explanation.” Finally, “paṭiniddēsa” explains in detail with examples to clarify complex or “knotty” points.

- For example, “yē dhammā hetuppabbavā..” is uddēsa. The fundamental characteristics of “this world” just stated that everything in this world arises due to causes.
- In the uddēsa version, Paṭicca Samuppāda is “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra, saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna,.……..” (all 11 steps): These are concise statements.
- In contrast, discourse (desana) is the paṭiniddēsa version of explanation: a detailed explanation with examples.
- Most people refer to the Sutta Piṭaka to learn dhamma concepts. But there are two other Pitaka, and especially the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, that need to be consulted.

Many Suttā Are in Uddēsa or Niddēsa Versions

2. Most suttā are in uddēsa or niddēsa versions (Digha Nikāya is an exception, even though some verses do have deeper meanings). They require detailed explanations. Translating word-by-word is not appropriate in many instances.

- For example, “anicca, dukkha, anatta” are only in the niddēsa version in Dhamma Cakka Pavattana Sutta and Anatta Lakkhana Sutta.
- However, each sutta took many hours to deliver. It was not possible to condense all that information in a sutta for mostly oral transmission that was available at the time. Each sutta is in a condensed form (most likely by the Buddha himself; see below).
- Thus the material in each sutta as written in the Tipiṭaka is in CONDENSED form in most cases. They are in the “uddesa/niddēsa” versions. They are in verse format for oral transmission.

Patiniddēsa (Detailed Explanation) in Commentaries

3. During the Buddha’s time, other bhikkhus explained each sutta in detail to audiences when they delivered discourses. That is the “paṭiniddēsa” version. Especially after the Buddha’s Parinibbāna, many Arahants started writing “Attakathā” or commentaries on essential suttā. But a few were also composed during the time of the Buddha. Of course, these were also composed in a way suitable for oral transmission, and thus, do not have lengthy explanations.

- Three original early commentaries remain preserved in the Tipiṭaka: Patisambidhā Magga Prakarana, Nettipparakana, and Petakōpadesa. Of these, the Patisambidhā Magga Prakarana consists of the analyses by Ven. Sariputta, one of the chief disciples of the Buddha, and the Nettipparakana by Ven. Maha Kaccāyana. Thus we are lucky to have these three original commentaries still with us.
- These three books contain “niddesa/paṭiniddēsa” versions of many essential suttā, which describe the keywords/phrases in a given sutta. All other such excellent commentaries are lost; see “Incorrect Thēravada Interpretations – Historical Timeline” and “Buddhaghōsa and Visuddhimagga – Historical Background.”

Most People Today Need Patiniddēsa (Detailed Explanation)

4. During the time of the Buddha, some could comprehend just the uddēsa version. For example, Upatissa and Kolita (who became Ven. Sariputta and Ven. Moggalana later) became Sōtapannas upon hearing the verse, “yē Dhamma hetupabbhavā..…”. They had done much in their past lives and needed “just a little push” to understand. They are called ugghaṭitañña or “persons with high wisdom.”

- And many could understand the niddēsa version. Those were vipañcitañña and needed a bit more explanation to grasp the concepts. Ugghaṭi­tañ­ñū Sutta (AN 4.133) discusses the four categories of persons — ugghaṭitañña, vipañcitañña, neyya, and padaparama.
- However, these days, most people are in the lower categories of neyya and padaparama. They need detailed explanations (i.e., paṭiniddēsa) to grasp a concept. They also belong to two groups. Those with tihetuka patisandhi (optimum births) can attain magga phala in this life. But those with dvihetuka patisandhi (inferior births) cannot achieve magga phala, but they can accrue merits to attain magga phala in future lives. Of course, there is no way for anyone to figure out (except for a Buddha) whether one has a tihetuka or dvihetuka patisandhi.
- It is essential to realize that those who are either ugghaṭitañña or vipañcitañña had been neyyas with dvihetuka patisandhi in previous lives. They had strived to gain more wisdom and now are benefitting in this life. Thus there is no point worrying about whether one a tihetuka or dvihetuka.

Erroneous Commentaries Are Harmful

5. There are many erroneous commentaries today. The best example is the Visuddhimagga of Buddhaghosa. It was written around 400 CE (where CE is “Current Era” or AD) when the “pure Dhamma” was already lost, and the conventional meanings were commonplace, just as now.

- The “pure Dhamma” has been lost for an extended period from about 200 CE up to now. See “Incorrect Thēravada Interpretations – Historical Timeline.” But the original suttā survived because people at least used and preserved them even if they used the “conventional” or “mundane” (“padaparama” in Pāli) meanings.
- Thus we can see why people have been translating suttā “word for word” and just getting the conventional meanings. Profound verses in suttā need detailed explanations.

Special Role of Jāti Sōtapannas With Patisambhidā Ñāna

6. From time to time, jāti Sōtapannas are born. They had attained the Sōtapanna stage in a previous life, possibly during the time Buddha was alive. They likely have had births in the deva loka for long times and are reborn humans now. Some of them have the unique capability to interpret the keywords/phrases in the suttā. This specialized knowledge is “Patisambhidā Ñāna.”

- At least one time previously, a Thero brought out the real meanings with the Patisambhidā Ñāna. But this is not the time to discuss that.
Waharaka Thero brought out these deeper meanings in recent years. See, “Parinibbāna of Waharaka Thēro.”

Tipiṭaka Was Compiled for Faithful Oral Transmission

7. The Buddha knew that Buddha Dhamma would be going through periods of decline where bhikkhus capable of interpreting deep suttā will not be present. Thus suttā were composed in a way that only the “conventional” meaning is apparent. That was a necessary step to preserve the suttā, especially before writing became commonplace.

- It is important to remember that Ven. Ananda had memorized all the suttā that he recited at the First Buddhist Council, just three months after Buddha’s Parinibbāna.
- Ven. Ananda was Buddha’s personal assistant over the last few decades of the Buddha’s life. I believe that the Buddha condensed each sutta and Ven. Ananda memorized each of them. The Buddha synthesized each sutta in a “double meaning” way for them to survive the “dark periods.”
- Then, at the first Buddhist Council, all the suttā were recited and were sorted into various categories (Nikāyās). That is my theory, and I believe that it will be proven to be accurate in the future.

Deeper Meanings May Stay Hidden for Long Times

8. There are times when jāti Sōtapannas with the Patisambhidā Ñāna are not born for long times. During such times, people use conventional interpretations. And that served the purpose of keeping the suttā intact, especially before written texts became common.

- A perfect example is the Ānāpānasati Sutta (some of which are also part of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta). As we discussed in “What is Anapana?” the conventional meaning is to tie up “āna” with breath inhaling and “āpāna” with breath exhaling.
- That was consistent with the breath meditation that has been there in the world at any time. Many yogis practiced it at the time of the Buddha. He learned those methods from such yogis before attaining the Buddhahood.

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

- The suttā seem to be designed to convey “conventional” meanings while keeping the “deep meanings” embedded in them.
It is those “deep meanings” that bring out the uniqueness of Buddha Dhamma.
- Word-to-word translation of suttā does not convey the message of the Buddha. Examples are critical Pāli words like anicca and anatta.
- The surviving three original commentaries in the Tipiṭaka can verify the deep meanings of the keywords/phrases.

Misinterpretation of Dhamma Concepts Is an Offense

10. It is an offense to misinterpret suttā (and dhamma concepts in general.) That is in several suttā in the Bālavagga of Aṅguttara Nikāya 2.

- For example, AN 2.25 ( is a short sutta that says: “Dveme, bhikkhave, tathāgataṃ ­nābbhā­cik­khanti. Katame dve? Yo ca neyyatthaṃ suttantaṃ neyyattho suttantoti dīpeti, yo ca nītatthaṃ suttantaṃ nītattho suttantoti dīpeti. Ime kho, bhikkhave, dve tathāgataṃ ­nābbhā­cik­khantī” ti.
Translation: “Monks, these two people slander the Tathagata. Which two? One who explains a discourse whose meaning needs to be explained in detail as one whose meaning has already been fully drawn out. The other explains a discourse whose meaning has already been fully drawn out as one whose meaning needs clarification. These are two who slander the Tathāgata.”
- Two perfect examples of the first type of slander say that the words anicca and anatta are fully explained by “impermanence” and “no-self.” Those two concepts require detailed explanations.

Checking for Inter-Consistency Among the Three Pitakas Is the Key

11. The Buddha advised to resolve any issues by consulting the three Pitaka: Sutta, Vinaya, and Abhidhamma.

- For example, a concept in the Sutta Piṭaka, for example, must be consistent with other places in the Sutta Piṭaka. It must also be consistent with explanations in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka and the Vinaya Piṭaka.
- But in the end, I will show how the lines in the sutta tally with this description. As the Buddha emphasized, what matters is to get the IDEA across and NOT to memorize the Pāli suttā. (Memorization is needed only for transmission purposes).

Good Resource for Pali Tipiṭaka

12. A useful resource for finding Pāli Tipiṭaka (and translations in several languages) is

- Once you open a sutta, click on the left-most drop-down to choose one of several languages. That is a useful resource; consider donating if you find it useful.
- Of source, the translations are incorrect frequently for critical Pāli words, as is the case at many sites. But at least one can see the correct Pāli version.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Dukkha Samudaya Starts With Samphassa-Jā-Vedanā

Dukkha samudaya means "origin of suffering."  Kammic energies for future suffering accumulate via Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS). We start acting with avijjā and initiate PS when sensory inputs trigger temptations and generate "samphassa-jā-vedanā" or "mind-made feelings."

Critical Conclusions from Loka Sutta (SN 35.23)

1. In the previous post "Loka Sutta – Origin and Cessation of the World" we reached the following conclusions. (you may want to print it and refer to it as we proceed.) 

- It is the Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS) process that describes the key steps leading to future suffering.
- However, that process DOES NOT initiate with "avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra." We don't AUTOMATICALLY start acting with avijjā!
- A sensory input triggers to activates the Paṭicca Samuppāda process: sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or the memory of a past event (dhammā.)
- If the mind attaches to such a sensory event (taṇhā) that attachment  leads to upādāna (keeping it in the mind and getting stuck in it.) Then while in the "upādāna paccayā bhava" step, we accumulate kammic energy for future births with mano, vaci, and kāya saṅkhāra. That is how the PS process gets to  "avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra."
- Before we discuss those details, it is critical to understand how this whole process starts with "getting attached" to certain sensory inputs (ārammaṇa) with "samphassa-jā-vedanā" or "mind-made feelings."
- By the way, "dukkha samudaya" is the same as "loka samudaya." That is why Nibbāna implies "stopping future rebirths" or "stopping the re-arising of this word." It may take time to sink in this critical point.

"Samphassa-jā-Vedanā" - Example 1

2. A sensory input comes through one of the six senses: eyes (sights), ears (sounds), nose (smells), tongue (tastes), body (touches), mind (memories). In Pāli they are the six types of vipāka viññāṇa.

- Let us consider a simple example starting with cakkhu viññāṇa. Suppose three people A, B, C are sitting in a small coffee shop. They are all facing the door, and person X walks in. Suppose that person X is a close friend of A, the worst enemy of B, and that C does not know X at all. We will also assume that all 4 are males.
- So, let us see what happens within a split second. A recognizes X as his friend, and a smile comes to his face. B recognizes X as his enemy, and his face gets darkened.
- On the other hand, X is just another person to C. He immediately goes back to whatever he was doing.

3. That is an example of a “cakkhu viññāna,” a “seeing event.” It is over within a split second, just like taking a photo with a camera takes only a split second, where the image in captured on the screen instantaneously.

- However, something very complicated happens in the human mind when a “seeing event” occurs.
- It is critically important to go slow and analyze what happens so that we can see how complicated this process is (for a human mind) to capture that “seeing event.” It is much more complicated than just recording “a picture” in a camera.

4. Within that split second, A recognizes X as his good friend, and joy arises in his mind, and he becomes happy. B recognizes X as his worst enemy, and bad emotions arise in his mind, and he becomes angry. On the other hand, no extra feelings arise in him. He goes back to whatever he was doing.

- As we can see such vastly varying feelings arise due to the three steps that follow the "seeing event" or cakkhu viññāṇa. As we remember from the previous post (refer to the printout) those three steps are "Tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso; Phassa paccayā vedanā; vedanā paccayā taṇhā." As we discussed, the last two steps really are "samphassa paccayā samphassa-jā-vedanā" and "samphassa-jā-vedanā paccayā taṇhā."
- The 3 people A, B, and C generate different "san gati" upon seeing X. Even though they all see the same person X, three different types of "samphassa-jā-vedanā": joy, anger, neutral feelings arise respectively in A, B, and C.
- How does the SAME “seeing event” (seeing X) lead to all these very different changes in the minds of three different people?  (and the emotions even show up on their faces!)

5. Since all three people A, B, C are average humans, they have not removed "san gati" or defilements from their minds. Such "san gati" remain hidden as "anusaya" in all three of them.

- However, a trigger is needed to bring those "san gati" to the surface. A has had "good experiences with X" and thus "affectionate san gati" arose in him upon seeing X. B's experiences with X were not good and those "bad memories" were triggered by seeing X.
- On the other hand, C has had no prior experiences with X. Thus, a trigger for "samphassa-jā-vēdanā" was not there. But if C sees a person he is familiar with, that may trigger his "san gati".
- If C was an Arahant, then he would not have any "san gati" left. Thus, affection or anger would not arise upon seeing ANY person.
The best way to comprehend this key point is to think about your own experiences.

Kamma Generation Depends on One's Actions Based on the Initial "Attachment"

6. Once bound to an event with "samphassa" that leads to a corresponding "mind-made feelings" or samphassa-jā-vedanā. Joyous feelings arose in A and angry feelings arose in B upon seeing X. Both A and B got "attached" to that event. Thus, taṇhā can arise via greed or anger.

- Person A may start talking to X with excitement, especially if X is a close friend. B's face may darken and many angry thoughts about his past experiences with X may arise in him. Both are "samphassa-jā-vedanā paccayā taṇhā" and "taṇhā paccayā upādāna."
- The next step of "upādāna paccayā bhavo" depends on what happens next. In this particular case, it is possible that B may start accumulating "bad kamma" just by cultivating "bad vaci saṅkhāra" in his mind, even if he does not say or do anything. Such "bad thoughts" arise via "avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra" where saṅkhāra are vaci saṅkhāra (not speaking out, but talking to himself.)
- But it could get worse if B's anger rises and he says something bad to X. That is also "bad vaci saṅkhāra". If X responds and the situation escalates, B may hit X. That is getting to the "bad kāya saṅkhāra" stage. All these lead to the accumulation of "bad kamma" for B.
- That is a brief example of how one could generate kammic energy for future existences, even if this particular action may not be strong enough to "power up" a new birth. However, if the situation escalates and B kills X, then that would certainly be a strong kamma leading to new birth in an apāya.

"Samphassa-jā-Vedanā" - Example 2

7. Let us clarify it further with an example since it is critical to understand this issue. Suppose a friend visits an alcoholic (X) and brings a bottle of alcohol. Again, let us follow the steps in #2 of the previous post.

- First, X sees that his friend has brought a bottle of alcohol, his favorite kind. This is the "seeing event" in this example: "cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ." This cakkhu viññāṇa is a vipāka viññāṇa and no kamma generated. Even an Arahant would see the bottle.
- Next is the CRITICAL step "tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso" where X's mind instantly makes the "san phassa" or "defiled contact" with his "alcoholic gati." 
- Note the two types of "contacts" in the above two processes. In the first, the "phassa cetasika" in cakkhu viññāṇa makes the "contact" between cakkhu and rupa (alcohol bottle) to give rise to cakkhu viññāṇa (seeing the bottle.) In the second it is a "defiled contact" (samphassa) that arises due to his craving for alcohol.
- On the other hand, if someone brought a bottle of alcohol to an Arahant he would also see the bottle, i.e., cakkhu viññāṇa with the "phassa cetasika" will also arise in him. But there would no "tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso" and, thus, the process will stop there. 

8. Once X got "attached" to the bottle of alcohol with samphassa he becomes joyful and that joyous feeling is samphassa-jā-vēdanā: Samphassa led to "Samphassa-jā-vedanā"

- Therefore, the "extra vedanā" made up by the mind is the "samphassa-jā-vedanā." Here, "" means "generated with." That vedanā was generated by samphassa (san phassa).
- Suppose X's wife is also at home when the friend brings the bottle. She would not be happy to see the bottle, especially if she is trying to break the "drinking habit" of her husband. She may even get angry with the friend. That is also a samphassa-jā-vedanā.
- On the other hand, the Arahant will also see the bottle and will identify it as such. But there will be no joy or dismay. There will be no samphassa-jā-vedanā

9. The "samphassa-jā-vedanā" of joyous feelings in X makes him attach (taṇhā) which immediately leads to the next step of upādāna. Which means his mind is now focused on the alcohol bottle.

- If his wife is opposed to him having alcohol often, she may become agitated. Even if she may not say anything, she could get mad with the friend for bringing the alcohol bottle. Does he not know that he is easily tempted? Did the two of them plan to 'have a drink" without her knowing? She also gets to the "taṇhā" and "upādāna" stages.
- Of course, an Arahant would not "get attached" or "get stuck" (no taṇhā or upādāna.)

Generating Kamma Starts With the “Taṇhā Paccayā Upādānaṁ” Step

10. Therefore, once getting attached with taṇhā, the next step of "getting stuck and proceeding along" is likely to happen with "taṇhā paccayā upādāna" and "upādāna paccayā bhavō" steps.

- This is where X started getting ready to "have a good time with the friend." He would think, speak, and act to have a "good time " with his friend.
However, it is possible to stop the process at that point by acting mindfully. If X has seen the dangers of keeping his "drinking habit" he can think about the bad consequences of engaging in that practice and tell the friend that he is trying to get rid of his drinking habit. Thus he could start acting with "vijjā" (or wisdom) and NOT engage in "avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra."
- That is the basis of the correct Ānāpānasati or Satipaṭṭhāna Bhāvanā.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Here is a post that further explains the difference between the two types of vedana discussed in the previous post.

Vēdanā (Feelings) Arise in Two Ways


1. The word vedanā comes from (“” + “danā”) which means “වීම දැනවීම” in Sinhala. Which means to “become aware.” When an ārammana comes to the mind (via any of the six senses), we become aware of it.

Vedanā can arise in two ways:

(I) One type of vedanā is a consequence of having a physical body due to the previous kamma, i.e., a kamma vipāka.
(ii) The second is a direct consequence of generating saṅkhāra or defiled thoughts (due to our gati at present).

- For example, when one gets a “pleasant feeling” while eating a piece of cake offered by a friend, that is a vipāka vedanā. Then, if we start thinking about how to eat that cake in the future, with such thinking, we generate “pleasant feelings” about such future experiences. Those are “mind-made” or "samphassa-ja-vedanā" associated with greedy thoughts.
- You can find further details on the two types of vedanā at, “Vipāka Vēdanā and “Samphassa jā Vēdanā” in a Sensory Event.” But let us discuss them briefly below.

Vēdanā Arising from Kamma Vipāka

2. Vedanā (feelings) due to kamma vipāka are three kinds: Sukha vedanā (pleasant or joyful feeling), dukha vedanā (unpleasant or painful feeling), and adukkhamasukha (without being painful or joyous, just neutral.) The word adukkhamasukha is a combination of adukkhama and asukha.

- Those three types of vedanā are felt only by the body (kāya.) All vedanā initially coming through the other five sense faculties are neutral.
- Kamma vipāka leading to sukha vedanā and dukha vedanā happen to everyone with a physical body, including Arahants. While everyone can live mindfully (taking necessary precautions) to avoid some of such dukha vedanā, others are too strong to be able to avoid.
- For example, the Buddha himself had physical ailments later in his life as kamma vipāka. Moggallana Thero was beaten to death because of a bad kamma that he did many lives before.

3. However, kamma vipāka are not certain to happen. We can avoid some (see, “Kamma, Debt, and Meditation.”) Many vipāka can be reduced in strength with time if one starts acting with mindfulness.

- We can avoid some kamma vipāka by preventing conditions for them from arising just using common sense. For example, going out at night in a bad neighborhood provides fertile ground for past bad kamma vipāka to appear. Many kamma vipāka CANNOT take place unless the conditions are right. See, “Anantara and Samanantara Paccayā.”
- We all have done innumerable kamma (both good and bad) in past lives. If we act with common sense, we can suppress bad kamma vipāka and make conditions for good vipāka to arise.
- Also see the discussion on kamma bīja in, “Sankhāra, Kamma, Kamma Bīja, Kamma Vipāka“.
- Now let us look at the second type of vedanā.

Vēdanā Arising from saṅkhāra (“Samphassa-ja-Vēdanā“)

4. These are vedanā that we generate on our own. These are the vedanā that do not arise in an Arahant.

- Based on vipāka vedanā, we may generate more types of “mind-made” vedanā called sōmanassa and dōmanassa vedanā as we discuss below.
- In #2 above, we saw that vipāka vedanā are felt only by the body (kāya.)
- Some of the vedanā coming through the other senses feel as “pleasant” or “unpleasant” NOT because of kamma vipāka, but due to another reason. Those are associated with each realm and are “kāma guṇa.” See, “Kāma Guṇa – Origin of Attachment (Tanhā).” For example, all humans taste sugar to be sweet. But some people get addicted to eating sweets full of sugar. That second category is “mind-made.”
- We may generate “samphassa-ja-vedanā” starting with initial vedanā due to both mentioned above. But most samphassa-ja-vedanā have kāma guṇa as the cause.

Some Examples of "Samphassa-ja-Vēdanā"

5. Samphassa-ja-vedanā arise due to attachment via greed or hate, at that moment (i.e., due to one’s gati); see, “Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance.”

- These are the vedanā (feelings) that Arahants do not feel. Since they do not have any “bad gati,” they do not commit any (abhi)saṅkhāra, an Arahant avoids any kind of feeling arising from saṅkhāra. The easiest way to explain this kind of vedanā is to give some examples:
(a) Three people are walking down the street. One has an ultra-right political bias (A), the second has an ultra-left preference (B), and the third is an Arahant who does not have special feelings for anyone (C). They all see a famous politician hated by the political right coming their way. It is a given that the sight of the politician causes A to have displeasure and B to have a pleasurable feeling. On the other hand, sight does not cause the Arahant to generate any pleasure or displeasure. Even though all three see and identify the person, they produce different types of feelings. It is essential to realize that the feelings were created in A and B by themselves.
(b) Two friends go looking for treasure and find a gem. Both are overjoyed. It seems quite valuable, and one person kills the other so that he can get all the money. Yet when he tries to sell the “gem,” he finds out that it was not that valuable. His joy turns to sorrow in an instant. Nothing had changed in the object. It was the same piece of colored rock. What has changed was the perception of it.
(c) What could happen if an Arahant found the same gem lying on the road? (he would not have gone looking for one). He might think of donating it to a worthy cause.

Another Example of Samphassa-ja-Vēdanā

6. A loving couple had lived for many years without any problems and were happy to be together. However, the husband slaps his wife during an argument (this is a kamma vipāka). The physical pain from the slap itself did not last more than a few minutes. But for how long would the wife suffer mentally? Those feelings arise due to saṅkhāra, i.e., sadness and hate. Even the husband, who did not feel any physical pain, would suffer for days if he loved his wife. In both cases, the real mental pain was associated with the attachment to each other. The wife could have dropped something on her foot and would have suffered about the same amount of physical pain. But she would not have had any lingering mental pain associated with that.

- In all the above cases, the initial sense contact was due to a kamma vipāka. That by itself did not generate any kammic energy.
- However, based on that sensory contact, we tend to pursue it. That is when we start generating kamma. For example, if we see our “worst enemy” that is just “seeing.” But if we start thinking about how bad a person he is, then we will be generating “bad vaci saṅkhāra” and thus “bad kamma.”
- A deeper analysis at, “Avyākata Paṭicca Samuppāda for Vipāka Viññāna.”

Samphassa-ja-Vēdanā Arise Due to Taṇhā

7. Thus it is clear that in all the above examples, the “extra” happiness or suffering (other than due to kamma vipāka) arose from within one’s mind. And taṇhā (attachment via greed or hate) was the cause of it. See, “Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance.”

- When we generate such “mind-made vedanā,” we also do kamma (via abhisaṅkhāra) that will bring more suffering in the future.
- The Buddha pointed out that when he described dukkha in the Dhammacakka Pavattana Sutta. See, “Essence of Buddhism – In the First Sutta.”

8. Thus, all these feelings arise due to taṇhā, some form of attachment: greed (craving, liking) or hate (dislike); all these are due to manō/vaci/kāya saṅkhāra. The feelings (or rather, the perceptions that give rise to feelings) reside INSIDE oneself. It does not come from outside. We use external things to CAUSE happiness or suffering by our own volition.

- There is no inherent suffering or happiness in ANYTHING external; the sensory contact with an external thing CAUSES pain or happiness depending on our gati and āsāvās. An Arahant, who has removed all āsāvās, will be free of such emotional responses.

Connection to Paṭicca Samuppāda

9. It is also clear how the accumulation of saṅkhāra via Paṭicca Samuppāda leads to such varied feelings: If we attach to something with a “like” or a “dislike,” we generate a mindset accordingly. That is Paṭicca Samuppāda (pati + icca leading to sama + uppāda; see, “Paṭicca Samuppāda – Introduction“).

- If we attached to something with “greed,” we act with that “greedy mindset.” We will be happy if we get what we wanted. If we got “attached” to something with anger, we would have an “angry mindset” and would be happy if we remove whatever caused that anger.
- In either case, the strength of the feeling is also proportional to the strength of the “like” or “dislike”: Sama uppāda or Samuppāda means both in quality and quantity; the higher the strength of “pati + ichcha,” the higher the strength in “sama + uppada.”
- This is how we form habits (“gati“) too. A teenager drinking alcohol with friends gets attached to that setting and looks forward to having the same experience again. The more he repeats that activity, the more he gets “bonded” and thus forms a drinking habit. See “Habits and Goals” and “Saṃsāric Habits and Āsavas.”
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Key Steps of Kammic Energy Accumulation

Here we discuss the key steps in kamma accumulation. Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS) explains how we create our own future with our actions (kamma generated via saṅkhāra.) However, that kamma accumulation process starts not at the beginning of PS, but in the middle of PS with a sensory experience.

Chronological Order of Kamma Accumulation

1. Let us first list the key steps involved.

(i) A sensory experience with one of the six sense inputs (seeing, hearing, smell, taste, touch, memory recall) is the first step.

(ii) Attachment (taṇhā) to that sensory experience based on our habits/character (gati.)

(iii) Embracing (willingly getting involved) in that sensory experience with certain goals.

(iv) Thinking, speaking, and doing things to accomplish that goal or goals.

- During that last step, we accumulate kammic energy to bring about future rebirths and all other types of kamma vipāka.

Matching the Steps in Paṭicca Samuppāda

2. We experience those sensory inputs with our 5 physical senses and the mind. In Pali, those six are “salāyatana” or “all āyatana.”)

- A sensory experience starts with the “salāyatana paccayā phasso” step in PS. That verse means “making contact with one of the six āyatana.”
- Here, it is critical to see that an Arahant does not have “āyatana” but only “indriya.” An Arahant‘s 6 senses only capture a sensory experience. An Arahant has indriya, but they DO NOT become “āyatana.” Indriya become āyatana when rāga, dosa, moha (or “san“) come into play.
- So, IF someone’s mind “gets involved” with a sensory experience and starts the “salāyatana paccayā phasso” step, that person’s indriya becomes āyatana. That is the beginning of a PS process based on that ārammana. Then the mind automatically goes to the next few steps of “phassa paccayā vedanā,” “vedanā paccayā taṇhā,” and “attaches” (taṇhā) to that ārammana. As we discussed in previous posts, “vedanā” here really is “samphassa-ja-vedanā.” See “Loka Sutta – Origin and Cessation of the World” and “Dukkha Samudaya Starts With Samphassa-Jā-Vedanā.”
- Once “attached,” the mind automatically “pulls it close (upādāna)” and will start thinking, speaking, and acting on it. That is the “upādāna paccayā bhavo” step.
- Let us take an example to illustrate this critical point.

Example of “Salāyatana Paccayā Phasso” Leading Automatically to “Upādāna Paccayā Bhavo” Step

3. Husband and wife are walking down the street, and the wife stops and looks at a beautiful painting on display in a store window. The husband looks at it, shrugs his shoulders, and wants to move on. But the wife is “attached” to that painting. So, she asks the husband whether they can go inside and take a good look at it.

- In this particular case, both saw the painting, i.e., “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ” took place for both. But the critical step of “tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso” DID NOT take place in the husband’s mind. Note that this is the sequence of events described in the Loka Sutta. See, “Loka Sutta – Origin and Cessation of the World.”
- The same sequence of events are stated in a slightly different way in the PS process (for the wife.) It starts with “salāyatana paccayā phasso” and immediately went through “phassa paccayā vedanā,” “vedanā paccayā taṇhā,” and "taṇhā paccayā upādāna” steps. Now she is “stuck” with that ārammana or the painting. See, Dukkha Samudaya Starts With Samphassa-Jā-Vedanā.”
- It is a good idea to have both those posts printed out for reference.
- Now, the wife is at the “upādāna paccayā bhavo” step in PS and the Loka Sutta steps. I hope you can see that the steps in the two versions describe the same processes that the wife’s mind went through.

Kamma Accumulation in the “Upādāna Paccayā Bhavo” Stage

4. At this point, the wife starts acting with avijjā and starts generating kamma via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra,” “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna,” “viññāna paccayā namarupa,” etc ALL THE WAY down to “upādāna paccayā bhava” again!

- Before we discuss those details, let me digress a bit to address some related issues.

Additional Details

5. Here, I want to emphasize an important point. Getting attached to painting is not an immoral deed. But in a deeper sense, such actions keep one bound to the kāma loka and away from Nibbāna. That is why it falls under avijjā. But only Sotapannas who are trying to attain the Anāgāmi stage automatically avoid such actions. I am just taking an example that everyone can understand.

- They both saw the same painting as a vipāka vedanā. Here, one should not assign such “vipāka vedanā” to a single past kamma. Our physical body is the result of incalculable past kamma. A “mundane event” CANNOT be traced back to a SINGLE kamma done in the past. Only strong kamma (like killing a human) can lead to a specific vipāka (like getting a bad rebirth.)
- That was just the “seeing event,” and as discussed in Abhidhamma, most vipāka vedanā are neutral, like seeing or hearing. The exceptions are bodily contacts — either bodily dukha vedanā (like an injury or a headache) or sukha vedanā (like getting a massage or being in an air-conditioned room on a hot day) — depending on whether it is a bad or a good vipāka.
- Now let us get back to our example.

Upādāna Paccayā Bhavo” Stage Explained With the Above Example

6. Let us continue with our example to see how the wife keeps accumulating kamma with different types of saṅkhāra with the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step in PS.

- The painting is expensive, so the wife is thinking about whether they can afford it right now, but she would really like to buy it. Husband has no interest in it and thinks that it is a waste of money. Those are saṅkhāra done with avijjā, i.e., “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” Now we can see how the PS process starts from the beginning starting with the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step.
- Now, any “happy feeling” in the mind of the wife would be due to her “san gati” that come to play at the “tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso” stage of getting attached to a sensory event; see the post, “Dukkha Samudaya Starts With Samphassa-Jā-Vedanā.” This is also called kāma assāda.
- Such a “happy feeling” did not arise in the husband’s mind. This is an important point. The “happy feeling” in the wife could not have been a property of the painting; if so, it should have given the same “happy feeling” to the husband! Only the wife had “taṇhā” and “upādāna” for the painting.
- Now that she is “attached” to the painting, the wife keeps looking at it for a while. Not only that, she will be enjoying “kāma assāda” about that picture even after they left that place by thinking back about it. Now she has made a “viññāṇa” and a “bhava” for it.

Repeated PS Cycles Based on One Āramanna

7. Numerous such Paṭicca Samuppāda cycles can operate for her based on that ārammana even several days later.

- For example, that “kāma assāda” can resurface with Paṭicca Samuppāda cycles that involve only the mind when she is at home. It can now start with “manañca paṭicca dhammē ca uppajjāti manōviññāṇaṃ,” i.e., she just remembers the painting while washing dishes. How does she start thinking about the painting when she was busy with some other task?
- One way to explain that is to say that “she had ‘cultivated’ a viññāṇa” for that painting, and now it can sometimes resurface even without a prompt. This is sometimes known as the “subconscious”; see, “3. Viññāṇa, Thoughts, and the Subconscious“.
- Another way to explain it by saying that she had made a “bhava” for liking that painting and it is a dhamma that can come back to the mind when the conditions are right: “manañca paṭicca dhammē ca uppajjāti manōviññāṇaṃan.”

8. Of course, that “manañca paṭicca dhammē ca uppajjāti manōviññāṇaṃ” step will be followed by, “tiṇṇaṁ san gati phasso” and “(san)phassa paccayā vedanā“; see, “Difference between Phassa and Samphassa.” Her “gati” for liking such pictures will make her mind “samphassa,” which in turn will lead to “samphassa paccayā vedanā” or more accurately “samphassa paccayā samphassa-jā-vedanā.”

- As long as that “kamma viññāna” (expectation to own the painting) is present in her, the possibility of cultivating more saṅkhāra with that ārammana (painting) will be there. Again, “cultivating saṅkhāra” here means to think and act on the desire to own the painting; see “Saṅkhāra – What It Really Means.”
- However, that particular dhamma or concept or thought would never come back to her mind if she were listening to a discourse or thinking about a key concept like anicca. But such a “subconscious viññāṇa” gets an opportunity to come to the surface while doing a mundane task (washing dishes in this case.)

One Way That Kamma Viññāna May be Removed from Her Mind

9. One way that can happen is IF IT BECOMES CLEAR that it would be impossible for her to fulfill her expectation due to events beyond her control. Suppose that a week later they are walking by the same store. The wife looks for the painting but finds that it is no longer there; someone had bought it. Now, think about what happens to the two of them.

- The wife will be distraught: “I should have bought it; now I may not be able to find such a nice painting.” But the husband will not have any bad feelings, except may be some bad feelings about his wife not been able to get what she wanted.
- This is the suffering that we can stop from arising even in this life. It is not a vipāka vedanā but a “samphassa-jā-vedanā.” The wife got distraught only because she got attached to that painting, but the husband did not.
- I have discussed this example and more in the post, “Kāma Assāda Start with Phassa Paccayā Vedanā or Samphassa-Jā-Vedana.”

10. Once it becomes clear to the wife that it is no longer possible to own that painting, that expectation will automatically disappear from her mind. In other words, that “viññāna to own the painting” will no longer be there.

- Therefore, she will no longer think or act based on that viññāna. Since that viññāna is no longer there to trigger the step “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” and the rest of the steps in PS will also stop.
- However, it is important to note that her “san gati” have not changed. A similar viññāna can re-appear in her mind if that painting is returned to the store and will become available to purchase. Another similar painting could also do it.

Second Way That Kamma Viññāna May be Removed from Her Mind

11. The second way she could lose that desire for the painting (and thus that viññāna “to own the painting”) is if she attained the Anāgāmi stage. This time, the removal is permanent with no “san gati” or “anusaya” left for sensual pleasures.

- One gets to the Anāgāmi stage by realizing the fruitlessness of “owning such sense-pleasing objects.”
- At that stage, she will have no desire to own ANY “sense-pleasing objects.” In other words, her “san gati” (or anusaya) would have been permanently removed from her mind.
- That is a deeper discussion involving the “anicca nature.”
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Generating Kammic Energy in the “Upādāna Paccayā Bhava” Step

Bhava is the energy that powers mindsets, existences, and rebirths. That energy is produced in the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step in Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS). That is also where we cultivate “bad gati” to attach to various sensory inputs. That is the process we need to control to gradually reduce taṇhā to attain Nibbāna with Ānāpānasati and Satipaṭṭhāna meditations.

Sensory Trigger Is “salāyatana paccayā phassō” step in PS

1. In the past two posts (“Loka Sutta – Origin and Cessation of the World” and “Dukkha Samudaya Starts With Samphassa-Jā-Vedanā“), we discussed the fact that it is an ārammaṇa through one of the 6 “sense doors” that triggers PS processes. The Pāli verse that describes such a trigger is, “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ..” Let us call this “trigger description 1.”

- We did not specifically say it, but it is easy to see that this is the same thing that happens at the “salāyatana paccayā phassō” step in the “moment-to-moment PS” or the “Idapaccayatā PS.” See, “Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda.” Let us call this “trigger description 2.”
- In “trigger description 1” we have the first few steps of “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ, tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso, phassa paccayā vedanā; vedanā paccayā taṇhā.”
- In “trigger description 2” the corresponding steps are, “salāyatana paccayā phassō, phassa paccayā vēdanā, vēdanā paccayā taṇhā,”
- The two processes highlighted in blue are the same. That becomes clear when we see that salāyatana (all “āyatana“) takes into account “contact with defiled gati” or saṅ phassa” or “samphassa.”
- Please make sure you understand that point by reading the recent previous posts in “Concepts of Upādāna and Upādānakkhandha.”
By the way, there are many suttās that discuss “trigger description 1” and “trigger description 2.” See, “315 results for tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati” ( ... %B9%85gati) and “738 results for paṭicca AND uppajjati.” ( ... 0uppajjati)

Samphassa Is Already Included in “Salāyatana Paccayā Phassō” Step in PS

2. The above key point is also explained in “Paṭiccasamuppāda vibhaṅga”( in one of the original commentaries: “Tattha katamo saḷāyatana paccayā phasso? Cakkhusamphasso sotasamphasso ghānasamphasso jivhāsamphasso kāyasamphasso manosamphasso—ayaṁ vuccati “saḷāyatana paccayā phasso.”

Translation: “What is saḷāyatana paccayā phasso? It is cakkhusamphasso sotasamphasso ghānasamphasso jivhāsamphasso kāyasamphasso manosamphasso.”

Thus, contact with an “āyatana” MEANS a “defiled contact.” An Arahant DOES NOT have 6 āyatana (cakkhayatana and so on). Instead, an Arahant has 6 indriya (cakkhu indirya and so on.) Thus an Arahant can see, hear, etc. But his mind will not make contact with “saṅ gati” because “saṅ gati” are absent. That means the step “tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso” will not occur as we discussed in the previous two posts.

- As I explained in the post, “Sutta Interpretation – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa,” a fundamental concept is first stated succinctly (“uddēsa” or “utterance.”) That is the version of PS in most suttās where the 11 steps are briefly stated.
- Then a “niddēsa” is a “brief explanation” that can be found in the commentaries (the above verse is a good example. Of course, one should rely on the 3 original commentaries and NOT on more recent commentaries like Visudhimagga; see the above post.
- Then the concept needs to be explained in detail with examples (“paṭiniddēsa”) My explanation of “samphassa” in the post “Dukkha Samudaya Starts With Samphassa-Jā-Vedanā” is an example of that.

Importance of the “Upadana Paccaya Bhava” Step

3. In other words, we start acting with avijjā ONLY IF we get attached to a sensory event (also called ārammaṇa.)

- Attachment (taṇhā) to an ārammaṇa directly leads to “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” and “upādāna paccayā bhava” steps.
- It is at the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step that we start acting with avijjā via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” That is when we start generating “kammic energy” for a corresponding existence (bhava.) That “kammic energy seed” can germinate in the future and give rise to a corresponding birth (jāti.) Each jāti ends up in old age, disease, and death.
- (Note that the term “jāti” could also mean a “temporary birth” DURING a lifetime. For example, someone can get drunk and be “born” in a “drunken state” for a few hours.)
- Thus, the origin of future suffering starts (i.e., the PS cycle starts at the beginning) WITHIN the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step. A trigger is a sensory event. Let us discuss this critical issue.

Tendency to Attach to Ārammaṇa Is Cultivated in the “Upādāna Paccayā Bhava” step

4. Thus, it is at the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step that the full PS cycle starts as follows:avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra; saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna; viññāna paccayā nāmarūpa, nāmarūpa paccayā salāyatana, salāyatana paccayā phassō, phassa paccayā vēdanā, vēdanā paccayā taṇhā, taṇhā paccayā upādāna, upādāna paccayā bhavō, bhava paccayā jāti, jāti paccayā jarā, marana, soka-paridēva-dukkha-dōmanassupāyasā sambhavan’ti.” See “Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda.”

- But the above verse is in the “uddesa” version. It is a highly condensed statement of a complex process. It needs to be explained at least in “niddesa” (brief explanations) and in the “patiniddesa” version, preferably in a verbal discourse with many examples as needed to clarify subtle issues. My posts are somewhat in between niddesa and patiniddesa.
- For details on that see, “Sutta Interpretation – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa.”
- Let us re-visit an example to clarify what we discussed above in the “patiniddesa” version.

Re-Visiting a Previous Example

5. At #7 of the post, “Dukkha Samudaya Starts With Samphassa-Jā-Vedanā,” we discussed the case of an alcoholic (X) tempted by the seeing of an alcohol bottle.

- As soon as X saw the alcohol bottle, his “saṅ gati” (craving for alcohol) emerged via “tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso.” Then he immediately started generating saṅkhāra via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.”
- With such saṅkhāra, he started cultivating a viññāna (expectation to have a drink) with “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna.” Note that the “trigger event” for the whole process was a “vipāka viññāna” (cakkhu viññāna.) Now, he is cultivating a “kamma viññāna” (expectation to have a drink) via “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna.”

“Feeding the Viññāna” – Generating Kammic Energy for “Kāma Bhava

6. All of X’s conscious thoughts (vaci saṅkhāra) and actions (kāya saṅkhāra) lead to a kamma viññāna via the “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna” step. All these saṅkhāra strengthens his “alcoholic mindset.” His thoughts, speech, and actions are based on that mindset.

- Note that until he gets drunk, he is not committing any immoral deeds. Yet, his desire to get drunk leads to a corresponding mindset. To put it differently, someone cultivating jhāna WOULD NOT get into such a situation because that person knows that such a mindset is not compatible with rupa/arupa realms (i.e., rupa/arupa jhāna.) It is compatible with realms in kāma loka, at least in the human realm.
- As long as one cultivates saṅkhāra compatible with kāma loka, it is impossible to be freed from kāma loka. Even seeking “harmless sense pleasures” binds one to kāma loka. This is a deep and critical point.

If Immoral Saṅkhāra Generated, Suffering Will be Higher

7. Now, if X gets really drunk, he could start acting like an animal. In an extreme case, he and his friend could get drunk (and may be even using drugs) and become totally incoherent, and they may not be able to stay upright. That is getting into the mindset of animals. At some “wild parties,” immoral deeds like rapes could happen with such a mindset. If so, X could be cultivating the mindset suitable for an animal. This is called “establishing viññāna suitable for animal bhava.” That sets up a possible birth in a lower realm of kāma loka.

- That is the meaning of “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna.” Such kamma viññāna are “fed” by strong saṅkhāra or “abhisaṅkhāra.”
- The key point is that repeatedly engaging in unwise behaviors will feed both “bad gati” and “kamma viññāna.” As we can see, “bad gati” directs one to engage in more similar actions. That feeds “kamma viññāna” or “kamma bija” that can become strong enough to bring about a ‘bad jāti” such as one in the animal realm, and thus to future suffering.
- That is a brief going-over of the whole PS cycle ending up with future suffering.
- One can think about how other types of activities (triggered by sensory inputs) can lead to different PS cycles. For another example see, “Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda.”

Samphassa Takes Place Because of “Saṅ Gati

8. From the recent posts so far, we see that “getting attached to an ārammaṇa” starts with the “tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso” step. That happens because of “saṅ gati” or “defiled gati,” as discussed in #6 of that post.

- For example, someone who has an “angry character” is more likely to be triggered with an insult. A “greedy character” is easy to be bribed. An alcoholic is easily tempted to “have a drink.” Therefore, the critical step of “tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso” or “samphassa” is closely associated with one’s gati (character/habits.)
- An Arahant has no “saṅ gati” left, and thus his/her mind does not attach to ANY such sensory event (ārammana). Of course, all sensory events like “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ” takes place for an Arahant, i.e., he/she will see, hear, etc. But tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso” will not take place. An Arahant has removed taṇhā!
- The key to eliminating taṇhā is to gradually reduce “saṅ gati” in the 4 stages of Nibbāna and eventually eliminate it at the Arahant stage!
- To get rid of such “saṅ gati,” one needs to see the bad consequences in engaging in related activities. Thus, an alcoholic needs to understand the bad consequences in two ways: (i) drinking alcohol can lead to health problems and also can get one to engage in immoral activities, (ii) these activities involve “bad saṅkhāra” that can lead to births in lower realms.

Clarification of Saṅkhāra

9. Most people are familiar with the phrase “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” but do not comprehend the meaning of that phrase. Translation of “saṅkhāra” as “mental formations” may not convey the real meaning. Let me go through the example to make it clear.

- Let us look briefly at the actions of X once he is “attached.” Now, he wants to have a “drink” with his friend with snacks and watch a game on TV.
- All such activities are done with mano, vaci, kāya saṅkhāra. First, he automatically thinks about such activities (mano saṅkhāra.) Then he will come up with a plan and starts speaking about such activities (vaci saṅkhāra). He then starts working to put that plan in action with kāya saṅkhāra. Note that all 3 types of saṅkhāra arise in mind.
- Kammic energy is generated in such saṅkhāra and lead to kamma viññāna. Thus, “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna” is really “abhisaṅkhāra paccayā kamma viññāna.” Sometimes, especially in Sinhala, it is also stated as “abhisaṅkhāra paccayā abhiviññāna,” where “abhiviññāna” just means “strong kamma viññāna.”
- The point is that this viññāna (that arises in the PS process) is DIFFERENT from the vipāka viññāna that arises in a sensory event like “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ.” That cakkhu viññāṇa was a vipāka viññāṇa and had no kammic energy in it.


10. The initial trigger for kamma accumulation is a vipāka viññāna that arises with sensory input (ārammaṇa.) That can be described in two ways: (i) “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhu viññāṇaṁ (any one of the six types of vipāka viññāna)..”OR (ii) the “salāyatana paccayā phassō” in the PS cycle. Both describe the same process.

- If that person attaches to that sensory event (i.e., if it matches a “saṅ gati“), then he/she will start thinking/acting to engage with that experience. That starts PS processes at “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” and leads to the progression of that cycle ALL THE WAY to the end.
- That process is AUTOMATIC. We don’t have control over the initial steps of “getting attached.”
- The only way to control is to reduce one’s “saṅ gati" gradually. The key here is to realize that one is “attached” and is “generating saṅkhāra” and to stop generating such “bad saṅkhāra” once one becomes aware of it.
- If that alcoholic understood the PS process, he/she would realize that one needs to control one’s urges. This is what is meant by “being mindful” in the Ānāpānasati or Satipaṭṭhāna meditations.
- If X becomes good at controlling his urges, his “saṅ gati” (craving alcohol) will gradually diminish, and he will be free of that addiction over time.
- That is the way to break any bad habit (“saṅ gati".) On the other hand, one should willingly engage in activities that cultivate “good gati.” Those are the “āna” and “āpāna” in Ānāpānasati. See, “Anāpānasati Bhāvanā (Introduction).” ... roduction/
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

The following is a recent youtube video “Time to Take the ‘Big Bang’ out of the Big Bang Theory? (May 5, 2021)” by a scientist, Paul Steinhardt, who claims that the Big Bang Theory about the origin of the universe is not correct:

He has co-authored a book on this subject too, where they argue against the proposed “Big Bang Theory”:
“Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang” by Paul J. Steinhardt, Neil Turok (2007).

As we know, the Buddha taught that only parts of the universe are destroyed and re-emerge periodically:
"Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)" ... nna-sutta/
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda

Akusala-mūla upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda (that describes future rebirths) is the only version of Paṭicca samuppāda (PS) described in even the current Theravada texts, even though the other versions are in the Tipiṭaka. Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda is a critically important one that describes kamma accumulation in real-time.

Idappaccayātā – At a Given Moment

1. Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda is another important teaching that has been hidden for hundreds of years. The word “Idappaccayātā” comes from “ida” for “here,” and the closest English word for “paccayā” is “condition.” Thus Idappaccayātā implies “based on this condition at this moment.”

- Therefore, Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda describes how “pati icca” leads to “sama uppāda” moment by moment based on the conditions present at that moment; see, “Paṭicca Samuppāda – “Pati+ichcha”+” Sama+uppāda.”
- The additional “p” in “idappacayatā” comes from the combination of “ida” and “paccayā.” This is similar to “dammacakka” and “pavattana” combined to yield “dhammacakkappavattana” in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.
- Another important point is that “‘The first point of ignorance, bhikkhus, is not seen such that before this there was no ignorance. Afterward, it came into being. Ignorance arises at any time when the conditions are right” or “Purimā, bhikkhave, koṭi na paññāyati avijjāya: ‘ito pubbe avijjā nāhosi, atha pacchā samabhavī’ti. Evañcetaṃ, bhikkhave, vuccati, atha ca pana paññāyati: ‘idappaccayā avijjā’ti.
- See “Avijjā Sutta (AN 10.61)” for details.

Idappaccayātā Versus Upapatti Paṭicca samuppāda

2. As mentioned in earlier posts, Paṭicca samuppāda (PS) or “cause and effect” can describe various stages of life in multiple ways. At a deeper level, 16 PS cycles operate inside a thought-moment.

- The Buddha said that the PS is deep as a deep ocean and can apply it to any situation because everything “in this world” obeys the basic principle of cause and effect. It is no wonder that only one PS has been studied for over a thousand years while the true Dhamma remained hidden.
In the previous post, we discussed the upapatti PS, which describes that latter process, i.e., how the PS cycle operates between lives; see, “Akusala-Mūla Upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.” ... samuppada/
- The other extreme of a swift PS process involved within a thought moment (citta) is very complex, and we do not need to examine it right now. We can learn it, but it can be “seen” only by a Buddha.
- This post will discuss the idappaccayātā PS cycle, which describes phenomena in real-time without getting into what happens within a citta (within a thought moment). This process — just like the PS cycle operates between lives — can also be easily understood by anyone.

Pati+icca Leading to Sama+uppāda

3. As mentioned in the introduction to PS, whenever we willingly grasp something, whatever results from that action has a corresponding nature. Because one got attached willingly, a similar bhava will result: i.e., pati+icca leading to sama+uppāda or Paṭicca samuppāda (PS). Here, “icca” is pronounced “ichcha.”

- In the most fundamental sense, a “greedy state of mind” will result when we get attached with greed, i.e., one develops a habit or gati or bhava corresponding to that state of mind; a “hateful state” (habit/gati/bhava) results via hateful attachment; acts of greed and/or hate are always done with ignorance.
- Three examples of upapatti bhava for those three cases illustrate the principle: An excessively greedy person is likely to get a “peta bhava” and be born as a peta (hungry ghost); a person who is often engaged in hateful actions towards other beings is likely to develop a “hateful bhava” and is likely to be born in the niraya (hell) where there is a lot of hate due to extreme suffering; an animal bhava has developed with both greed and hate. - Since ignorance is always there, an animal bhava is cultivated with all three “sans“; this is the root of the word “tirisan = three sans” for an animal in Sinhala.

An Example of Idappaccayātā PS

4. Now, let us look at the idappaccayātā PS, which describes how we develop certain habits or bhava or gati during a given lifetime. It is often easier to use an example to illustrate these PS cycles. Let us examine how a teenager becomes an alcoholic.

- The teenager becomes friendly with a group of other teenagers who are into drinking. Initially, he may be reluctant to join in, but due to ignorance, he joins them and starts drinking.
- If a good friend or a family member came to know about the situation, they could have prevented the teenager from associating with such bad company, i.e., ignorance could have been dispelled by explaining to him the adverse effects of drinking but also of associating with such a group.

5. The PS cycle thus starts with “avijjā paccayā sankhārā“ (of course triggered in a party setting). Due to ignorance of the adverse results, the teenager starts drinking with that group (sankhārā = “san +khāra” or actions of accumulating, in this case, bad kamma).

- The more he is involved with such drinking activities, the more he thinks about it and develops a “mindset” or viññāna for that activity. This is “sankhārā paccayā viññāna“; see, “Kamma are Done with Sankhāra – Types of Sankhāra.”

6. When he really begins to like drinking, he starts thinking about it even while doing other things. This is “viññāna paccayā nāmarupa“.

- In this case, nāmarupa are the mental images associated with that viññāna, i.e., the names and shape of particular alcohol bottles, the places where he normally drinks, the friends who drink with him, etc.
- He thinks about the next “event” and visualizes the scene; all these are associated with nāmarupa. Thus, here nāmarupa are the mental images of “things” and “concepts” that one would like to enjoy.

7. Now, his six senses become “involved” to provide reality to those nāmarupa; to provide the desired sensory pleasures.

- In Pāli, the six indriya (senses) become “āyatana.” For lack of a single English word, I will call an “āyatana” an “import/export facility” and really get involved in the actions associated with drinking events.
- His mind is often thinking about the next “event” (where, when, with whom, etc.), he makes necessary preparations for the “event” using all six senses (now āyatanas.), That happens per the nāmarupa in the previous step, i.e., “nāmarupa paccayā salāyatana,” where salāyatana means the six āyatana: the eye is now not merely for seeing, it has become an assistant in the lookout for a “good drink” or a “good friend to chat with,” etc.

8. Thus, we have “salāyatana paccayā phassa,” i.e., all six āyatana become actively engaged making contact with relevant sense objects. His eyes are on the lookout for a favorite drink or a favorite person to chat with, etc.

- However, “salāyatana paccayā phassa” is just the “uddesa” or short version given in the standard PS steps. It needs to be explained in detail; see “Sutta Interpretation – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa.”
- Here instead of phassa, it is really called “samphassa” (= “san” + “phassa“), where “san” implies it not just contact, but a “san” contact; see, “What is “San”? Meaning of Sansāra (or Saṃsāra)“.

9. Such “samphassa” lead to vedanā, i.e., “(san)phassa paccayā vedanā.” He experiences “good (but immoral) feelings” with all those sense contacts.

- Because of such “good feelings,” he gets further attached: “vedanā paccayā taṇhā“; see, “Taṇhā – How We Attach via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance.”

10. Now comes, “taṇhā paccayā upādāna“. Upadana means “grabbing or pulling it close,” like an octopus grabbing its prey with all its eight legs.

- In the present case, the teenager wants very much to re-live this experience. He gets immersed in it; when he is experiencing the event, his mind is totally absorbed; he does not think and does not have the mindset to think about any adverse consequences.
- This is the critical “habit-forming” or “bhava forming” step.
- If this habit becomes very strong, it could lead to a new bhava as an animal via the upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda process; see, “Akusala-Mūla Upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.”

11. So, the next inevitable step is “upādāna paccayā bhavo“; this particular state of getting drunk becomes more and more ingrained in his mind. It becomes “a bhava” or “existence” or habit that is of importance to him. He very much wants to re-live that experience.

- And that is exactly what he gets: “bhava paccayā jāti.” This “bhava” or the kamma seed is now well established, and he can be born in that “drunken state” quite easily. All he needs is an invitation from a friend, or even a sight of a bar while traveling, for example.
- It is natural to get into that state or be “born” in that state. So, he gets drunk at every opportunity. See “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein” for more details.

12. However, like everything else, any birth is subjected to decay and suffering: “jāti paccayā jarā, marana,… dukkhakkhanda samudhayō hōti“. This happens in many stages, as we describe below.

- But in the case of a single drinking event, that state of intoxication comes to an end, possibly with a big headache and a huge hangover. That episode ends with nothing to show for it but a hangover.
- Even worse, now he is “hooked.” He has formed a bad habit, which only strengthens even more if he does it repeatedly. Because each time the PS runs, the viññāna for that habit gets more fuel, and the bhava gets stronger.

Uncountable Idappaccayātā PS Cycles During a Lifetime

13. It is important to realize that the above PS cycle does not run to its conclusion when the drinking “event” is over. Rather the cycle can repeatedly occur unless it is stopped willfully, deliberately.

- And the way to do that is to learn Dhamma and develop good habits and become a “sampajannō“; see, “Kāyānupassanā – The Section on Habits (Sampajanapabba).”
- However, if the teenager keeps his bad habit, he gets trapped in that bhava, the more jāti that occurs, i.e., more frequently he will be drunk. - When one gets really drunk, one tends to behave like an animal without any sense of decency, and the long-term consequences could be rebirth as an animal; see below.
- Furthermore, such Idappaccayātā PS cycles run numerous times, even during a day, whenever we act with avijjā.

Memories Can trigger Idappaccayātā PS Cycles

14. And it is not even necessary to participate in a “drinking event” to run another PS cycle. He may be sitting at a desk trying to study and may start going through the PS cycle just by recalling a past event or a scheduled future event.

- He would start with mano sankhārā and vaci sankhārā (vitakka/vicara or planning), thus generating (and strengthening) the viññāna for drinking, generating nāmarupa (visuals of places, friends, alcohol bottles, etc.), and thus going through the rest of the cycle: salāyatana, samphassa, vedanā, taṇhā, upādāna, bhava, jāti (“living it”), repeatedly.
- Thus numerous such PS cycles can run at any time, probably increasing their frequency as the bhava or the habit builds up.
- The stronger the bhava or habit is, it will be harder to break it. This is why meditation, together with another good habit to work on, should be undertaken to replace a bad habit. While in meditation, one can contemplate the adverse consequences of the bad habit. Developing a good habit will keep the mind away from the bad habit. See “Habits and Goals” and also “Bhavana (Meditation).”

Connection to Upapatti PS Cycles

15. if the teenager keeps his bad habit, that “viññāna of a drunkard” will only grow with time. If it stays strong at the cuti-patisandhi moment (at the end of his human bhava), it could lead to a new upapatti bhava via the upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda process mentioned in #1 above “Akusala-Mūla Upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.”

- Such a viññāna is likely to give rise to rebirth in the animal realm, as mentioned in # 13.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by confusedlayman »

Hi lal.

The above post can u give example for one observing present moment awareness of whats happening? Will there be rebirth?
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

The above post can u give example for one observing present moment awareness of whats happening? Will there be rebirth?

Your question is not clear. I am not sure what you are asking. The following answer is based on my guessing what the question is.

Being mindful means being aware of one's actions. In the example discussed, the teenager should have contemplated what would happen in the long run if he kept drinking heavily.

Most of our actions do not lead to one-for-one direct kamma vipaka.
- Of course, one single strong kamma (action) like killing a human, can be enough to lead to a bad rebirth.

Telling a lie or killing an animal may not directly lead to a bad rebirth. But if someone keeps lying habitually or hunts animals regularly for sport, etc. such kamma keep adding up.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Akusala-Mūla Upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda

Akusala-mūla upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda describes how our present actions dictate the rebirth process among the 31 realms.

Six Root Causes That Determine Future Births

1. One is born in this world due to the six root causes.

- One is born in the apāyā or dugati (and also subjected to suffering even when born in good realms) due to bad gati arising mainly due to lōbha, dōsa, mōha. The two main versions of akusala-mula PS operate when actions, speech, and thoughts occur with these three root causes; see #2.
- One is born in the remaining “good realms” or sugati (and also experience mundane sense pleasures) due to good gati due to alobha, adosa, amoha. The kusala-mula PS operates when actions, speech, and thoughts occur with these three root causes; see "Kusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda."

Two Types of PS Processes Based on Lōbha, Dōsa, Mōha

2. Akusala-mūla PS describes the PS process when one acts with lōbha, dōsa, mōha, the three root causes that bring "bad outcomes." It is also two-fold:

- The upapatti  PS describes how a "lifestream" or a being makes the saṁsaric journey via repeated births in the 31 realms.
- The idappaccayātā PS describes the moment-to-moment progression of a "lifestream" or a being. This is discussed at "Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda."
- It is important to note that Buddhaghosa (in Visuddhimagga) described only the upapatti PS. In recent times, Waharaka Thero has discussed the idappaccayātā PS in detail.

Upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda Process

3. Let us now discuss the upapatti PS, which describes how the PS cycle goes through a new birth at the end of current life. The steps in this cycle are:

"avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra; saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna; viññāna paccayā nāmarūpa, nāmarūpa paccayā salāyatana, salāyatana paccayā phassō, phassa paccayā vēdanā, vēdanā paccayā taṇhā, taṇhā paccayā upādāna, upādāna paccayā bhavō, bhava paccayā jāti, jāti paccayā jarā, marana, soka-paridēva-dukkha-dōmanassupāyasā sambhavan'ti"

- And that is how this whole mass of suffering arises: "Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayō hōti."
- Let us briefly discuss those steps.

Saṅkhāra – Thoughts, Speech, Actions Due to Avijjā

4. With ignorance of the Four Noble Truths as a condition, one thinks, speaks, and acts with those "bad root causes" of lōbha, dōsa, mōha. Such thoughts, speech, and actions arise due to mano, vaci, and kāya saṅkhāra. We must note that these are really abhisaṅkhāra, i.e., they are strong saṅkhāra; "abhi" means "strong." See, "Saṅkhāra – What It Really Means."

- When born, we are born without ANYTHING material other than our tiny baby body, which actually started as a single cell in the mother's womb. - We grow up and start acquiring "stuff" both material and non-material: knowledge, material things, friends, spouse, children, fame, etc.
- While we acquire these "things," we also acquire new habits (gati) or strengthen ones that we brought from previous lives; these take place according to the idappaccayātā PS at every moment: "pati+ichcha sama uppāda," i.e., we do things that we like and get similar kind of results.
- When we die, we take with us only the kamma seeds (both good and bad) from our actions; the habits (gati)and cravings (āsavas) are embedded in them. These are in the manōmaya kaya, and the manōmaya kaya(or gandhabba) leaves the dead physical body with those "updated" kamma seeds. This is basically the "net result" of our life here.
- One of the existing kamma seeds (from this life or previous lives) gives rise to the next life, where we acquire more of them BASED ON the gati and āsavas. So the cycle perpetuates.

Viññāna in Upapatti PS Is Patisandhi Viññāna

5. With saṅkhāra as a condition, energy for a new bhava or a patisandhi viññāna arises.

- This viññāna of the new life arises according to the nature of the kamma seed that gave rise to it. If that kamma seed was due to some hateful act(s), then the viññāna will be matching: "pati+ichcha sama uppāda." If it is a seed due to an act of generosity done with loving kindness, it could be the viññāna of a Brahma.
- Thus the "base level of viññāna" for animal life is VERY DIFFERENT from that of human life, even for the same "lifestream," i.e., when a human is reborn as an animal, the  "base level of viññāna" makes a huge downward transition. This is why it is NOT correct to say that "viññāna is transferred from life to life." See, "What Reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream."

What Are Nāmarūpa?

6. With viññāna as condition, nāmarūpa arise.

- Nāmarūpa in the upapatti PS is different from those come to play in the idappaccayātā PS.
- For clarification of nāmarūpa, see "Viññāna Paccayā Nāmarūpa." I will post this at Dhamma Wheel in a few days.
- A deeper discussion at, "Kamma Viññāṇa and Nāmarūpa Paricceda Ñāṇa."

Salāyatana Means To Use the Sensory Faculties With an “Unpurified Mind”

7. With nāmarūpa as a condition, salāyatana arises.

- In upapatti PS, salāyatana (six sense doors) refers to those that arise for the new existence.  For example, six sense doors arise for an animal while just three sense doors (eye, ear, and mind) arise for a Brahma.
- See, "Nāmarūpa Paccayā Salāyatana" for details.

Phassa, in This Case, Is “Defiled Contact” or Samphassa

8. With salāyatana as a condition, phassō arises.

- The meaning of the root word "phassa" is "contact." Any living being sees with eyes, hears with ears, etc.
- However, in akusala-mula PS, phassa is really "samphassa" or "saṅ phassa." See #9.
- This is why this Akusala-mūla Paṭicca Samuppāda is not applicable for an Arahant (and also for other Ariyā too at most times). An Arahant does not generate "samphassa" but just "phassa" without "saṅ."
- Many posts on the website on this important concept; see, "Search Results for samphassa" :

Vēdanā Is Samphassa-Jā-Vedanā

9. With (saṅ)phassa as condition, vēdanā arise.

- The root level of vedanā arises due to phassa for living beings, including Arahants.
- It is important to realize that NOT all vēdanā play a role in akusala-mula PS. Only those vēdanā that arise due to samphassa ("samphassa ja vēdanā") play a role here.
- When greed, anger, or ignorance take over, a mind generates samphassa-jā-vedanā
- Such "samphassa ja vēdanā" depend on the gati and āsavas: see, "Vēdanā (Feelings) Arise in Two Ways." Also, see step #3 in "Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance."
- We discussed this recently in the post, "Dukkha Samudaya Starts With Samphassa-Jā-Vedanā."

“Attaching” or Taṇhā

10. With samphassa-jā-vedanā as a condition, taṇhā arise.

- Taṇhā arise when one gets "attached," or 'fused" into a thing or situation: with sukha vēdanā, one attaches with greed; with displeasure, one attaches with hate; one also attaches with not knowing what to do (with a highly agitated mind); see, "Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance."

The Key Step of Upādāna

11. With taṇhā as condition, upādāna arise.

- At the moment of death, in the last citta vīthi, the dying person gets a kamma nimitta. This is normally a vision or a sound that depicts the nature of the strong kamma seed that came to the forefront of the mind.
- For example, if the kamma seed that is about to give the next birth was due to killing, then the person may see a gun or hear the sound of it, or even see himself as getting ready to shoot; thus, the person will have the same hateful thoughts arise and just like at the time of the crime, the person embraces that situation automatically (upādāna) because one has such "gati" or habits.
- I highly recommend the subsection on "Concepts of Upādāna and Upādānakkhandha" that will also clarify the previous steps.

Kammic Energy Accumulation in the Step “Upādāna Paccayā Bhavō

12. With upādāna as a condition, a new existence (bhava) is grasped at the cuti-paṭisandhi moment.

- The next citta vīthi starts with the new existence or "bhava" matching that state of mind: "pati+ichcha sama uppāda." Depending on the kamma nimitta that was grasped, a matching existence, a human, animal, deva, etc., arise; see, "Paṭicca Samuppāda - "Pati+ichcha"+"Sama+uppäda."
- More details in "Concepts of Upādāna and Upādānakkhandha." A deeper analysis of "Difference Between Tanhā and Upādāna."

Bhava Paccayā JātiKammic Energy Giving Rise to Rebirth in a New Realm

13. With bhava as a condition, jāti (new birth) arises. Note that except for human and animal realms, bhava and jāti are essentially the same. See, "Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein" posted Oct 27, 2018 (p. 43): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=630

- At this step, a birth matching the bhava starts for the human and animal realms. The duration of the selected "human/animal bhava" will last until the kammic energy associated with that kamma seed is exhausted, as explained in the above post.
- Thus, if the kamma seed has the potential for thousands of years of life, the next birth will still be in the human realm when the current life ends.

Each Birth Ends Up With “Various Types of Suffering”

14. With jāti as condition, "jarā, marana, soka-paridēva-dukkha-dōmanassupāyasā sambhavan'ti".

- jāti inevitably results in decay and eventual death. Therefore, this process describes how dukkha arises in the rebirth process.
- No matter where one is born in the 31 realms, one grows old and eventually dies. During that time, one goes through all kinds of suffering, particularly in the human realm and below. Aging and death are certainties.
- And at death, the whole cycle re-starts unless the Arahanthood had not been realized. One WILL BE born somewhere in the 31 realms, and the whole process will continue.

15. The above steps describe the upapatti PS. The other aspect, i.e., what happens during a given lifetime, is described in "Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda" as described in the previous post.
- Of course, ALL kamma accumulation happens in the Idappaccayātā PS. 
- The upapatti PS explains how rebirths take place according to such accumulated kammic energies.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Viññāna Paccayā Nāmarūpa


1. Nāmarūpa can have different but related meanings in different contexts. Nāmarūpa in the standard upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda is different from the “nāmarūpa” involved in idappaccayā Paṭicca Samuppāda which takes place moment-to-moment.

- Basically, idappaccayā means “what happens at this moment depending on the conditions at this moment.” Thus, it describes “events in real-time” that bring vipāka in real-time, as well as vipāka in the future. See, “Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda.”
- The upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda process describes how viññāna energies created up to and within this life lead to future births (i.e., vipāka in future lives via future births). Here “uppatti” means “birth.” See, “Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.”

Nāmarūpa in Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda

2. Let us first discuss nāmarūpa involved in idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda, i.e., how a jāti can arise in the current life, based on one’s avijjā (ignorance) and saṅkhāra (thoughts, speech, and actions).

- Jāti is not restricted to “births as a human, a deva, an animal.” Many different jāti (births) arise during the current life itself; see, “Jātidham­mā­di­ Sutta­ Dasaka (SN 35.33)“.
- We will discuss two examples below, which explain how a “thief” and a “drunkard” are “born” during the current life itself.

Viññāna Paccayā Nāmarūpa” During a Lifetime

3. “Nāmarūpa” involved in Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda mainly refer to those “visual images” created by the person when making an “expectation” (viññāna) to achieve/maintain a certain goal.

- Here, “nāma” refers to whatever the “name” given to the subject involved in the Paṭicca Samuppāda process, and “rūpa” are the associated objects themselves. Thus, the corresponding “nāmarūpa” are the mental images of the subjects in question.

4. Let us take an example. When a thief plans to steal something (say a watch from a store), the process actually starts with the step “salāyatana paccayā phasso;” see, “Generating Kammic Energy in the ‘Upādāna Paccayā Bhava’ Step.” That corresponds to him seeing the watch on display and realizing that he could take it without anyone seeing it.

- That is when he starts acting with avijja initiating a PS cycle at “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra”; he starts thinking about the plan because of his ignorance of the consequences.
- Here “nāma” or the name is “watch,” and “rūpa” is the watch itself. But “nāmarūpa” is the mental image of that watch: That is formed in HIS MIND. In addition, various other types of nāmarūpa related to the plan will go through his mind.
- For example, he may also make visuals of how he will be actually doing the stealing: “nāmarūpa” are the visuals he has in his mind to get the job done.
- He starts doing vaci saṅkhāra first: thinking to himself about how to go about stealing the watch. This is “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna” and that gives rise to viññāna for stealing the watch.

5. The more he thinks and makes plans (i.e., makes more and more nāmarūpa in his mind, that future expectation for stealing that object (i.e., the viññāna for it) will get stronger.

- Here the Paṭicca Samuppāda process runs backward, “nāmarūpa paccayā viññāna.” This is called an “aññamañña Paṭicca Samuppāda”.
- These forward and backward steps may run back and forth while he is planning the robbery, and the Buddha said that both viññāna and nāmarūpa get stronger due to this feedback. They depend on each other and feed on each other.
- The more he thinks about it, the stronger those viññāna and nāmarūpa.
- Ven. Sariputta provided a simile for this inter-dependence between viññāna and nāmarūpa, saying it is like two bundles of hay leaning against each other and supporting each other without any other support.

A Second Example

6. Let us take another case of a teenager whose peers influence him to drink alcohol. Because of his ignorance about the consequences, he engages in such activities and also in planning activities: “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.”

- Here saṅkhārā includes not only drinking activities but also planning. Therefore, all three types of saṅkhāra are involved: manō, vaci, and kāya saṅkhāra.
- While he is participating in drinking, he is doing kāya saṅkhāra; he will constantly be talking about having such parties and those are vaci saṅkhāra; it is also in the subconscious, and many times a day they come back to his mind as manō saṅkhāra. All these are included in “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna.”

7. Most people do not realize it, but that process of “thinking and talking to oneself” (vaci saṅkhāra) can make a big impact in the formation of nāmarūpa and the cultivation of viññāna. Many people spend hours and hours doing that assuming it does not contribute to “viññāna (or kamma) formation”; see, “Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra.”

- In the above example, even when he is not drinking, such manō saṅkhāra come to the mind automatically, and he starts consciously thinking about drinking activities: he visualizes pictures of “party scenes,” including friends, bottles of his favorite drink, any food that goes with it, etc.
- That conscious thinking is also vaci saṅkhāra, and those also strengthen the viññāna via, “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna.”
- Now those mental pictures that arise during that process are nāmarūpa that arise due to “viññāna paccayā nāmarūpa.” Therefore, Paṭicca Samuppāda steps do not just flow in one way. They can run forward and backward.

8. If the teenager keeps his bad habit of drinking, he gets trapped in that bhava (state of mind of a drunkard), the more "drunken jāti" will result, i.e., more frequently he will be drunk. When one gets really drunk, one tends to behave like an animal without any sense of decency. The long-term consequences could be rebirth as an animal.

- If that “viññāna of a drunkard” stays strong to the time of death (the cuti-paṭisandhi moment at the end of his human bhava), it could lead to a new uppatti bhava via the uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda process mentioned in #1 above. We will discuss this second type of Paṭicca Samuppāda.
- The important point is that such a paṭisandhi viññāna is likely to give rise to rebirth in the animal realm, as mentioned above.

9. In both these examples, it is clear that those reverse steps also occur: “nāmarūpa paccayā viññāna, “can happen, and does happen, together with “viññāna paccayā nāmarūpa.” The more one visualizes related nāmarūpa, the stronger that viññāna gets.

- As we saw above, this happens in other steps too (for example, “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna” and “viññāna paccayā saṅkhāra”) and such is referred to as an “aññamañña Paṭicca samuppāda step.” Here “aññamañña” means “inter-dependent.”
- This is especially true also for the “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna.” The stronger the viññāna gets, one is more likely to engage in the same kind of acts, i.e., saṅkhāra, i.e., “viññāna paccayā saṅkhāra.” They feed on each other. This happens a lot in habit formation; see, “9. Key to Ānāpānasati – How to Change Habits and Character (Gati)“.

Viññāna Paccayā Nāmarūpa at Paṭisandhi (in Upapatti PS)

10. At the end of existence (bhava), a given lifestream makes a jump from one kind of existence to another. The easiest to visualize is the case of a Brahma to a Deva transition. The “nāma” part changes from that of a Brahma to a Deva and the “rupa” part changes from 2 pasada rupa for the Brahma to 5 for the Deva.

- That transition happens in the latter part of the last citta vīthi of the life of the Brahma. At that cuti-patisandhi moment, the “Brahma nāmarupa” dies and a “Deva nāmarupa” is created by kammic energy. This is discussed in a bit more detail in the post “Cuti-Paṭisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description.”

11. For humans and animals the situation is a bit more complex because the first type of “human nāmarupa” created is a human/animal gandhabba.

- In the cases of a human or an animal, there is a second type of nāmarupa formed when that gandhabba merges with a zygote in a womb. That nāmarupa is the basis for the physical human body. So, it depends on the particular case at hand.
- Let us consider the case of a human dying and born a deer.

Example of a Human to Deer Transition

12. In general, as soon as the viññāna for the next existence was determined at the last citta vīthi by the step “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna,” the next step of “viññāna paccayā nāmarūpa” gives rise to the nāmarūpa for the next life.

- When human life ends, that "human gandhabba" will die, and at that cuti-paṭisandhi moment a "deer gandhabba" will arise.
- Thus here “nāma” includes the basic level of viññāna for the new deer existence, which is much different from the “nāma” of a human. Obviously, the “rūpa” is that of a deer and not of a human. Thus “nāmarūpa” makes a huge transition at the end of the “bhava” from human to that of a deer.
- Of course, now that "deer gandhabba" needs to be pulled into the womb of a female deer (i.e., doe) to be born a deer.

13. I have discussed previously how a deer gandhabba could be reborn many times as a deer until the kammic energy of the “deer bhava” is exhausted; see, “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein.”

- In such instances, at the death of the deer, another “deer gandhabba” emerges from the dead body and waits for a suitable womb for the “deer mother” to become available. Here the new “nāmarūpa” may be somewhat different, but still, that of a deer so that any change would be minor.
- Therefore, the “viññāna paccayā nāmarūpa” gives rise to a new set of “nāmarūpa” only at the paṭisandhi to a new existence.

Viññāna is a key concept in Buddha Dhamma. We can analyze it at various levels, and a deeper analysis is at “Viññāna Aggregate.”
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