The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Hello 2600htz,

Yes. You are right. I should have written, "In general "Level of Suffering" Decreases With "Decreasing Matter".

That trend holds well for the realms above the human realm.
- The four lowest realms are more complex, especially the realm of the hungry ghosts. There are some petas (hungry ghosts) with subtle bodies. Nonetheless, their subtle bodies are also subjected to PHYSICAL suffering.

There is a sutta that describes a set of bhikkhus and their disciples (from the time of Buddha Kassapa) born petas at the time of Buddha Gotama. They had misused Buddha Sasana to receive offerings and live luxurious lives and that led to their rebirth as petas.
- Those petas had subtle bodies that only the Buddha Gotama and Ven. Moggallana could see. None of the other bhikkhus with abhinna powers were able to see them, because their "bodies" were extremely subtle. Still, their "bodies" were burning.
- The peta realm, in particular, is quite complex.
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confusedlayman
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by confusedlayman »

Lal wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 12:02 pm Hello 2600htz,

Yes. You are right. I should have written, "In general "Level of Suffering" Decreases With "Decreasing Matter".

That trend holds well for the realms above the human realm.
- The four lowest realms are more complex, especially the realm of the hungry ghosts. There are some petas (hungry ghosts) with subtle bodies. Nonetheless, their subtle bodies are also subjected to PHYSICAL suffering.

There is a sutta that describes a set of bhikkhus and their disciples (from the time of Buddha Kassapa) born petas at the time of Buddha Gotama. They had misused Buddha Sasana to receive offerings and live luxurious lives and that led to their rebirth as petas.
- Those petas had subtle bodies that only the Buddha Gotama and Ven. Moggallana could see. None of the other bhikkhus with abhinna powers were able to see them, because their "bodies" were extremely subtle. Still, their "bodies" were burning.
- The peta realm, in particular, is quite complex.
kindly tell name of sutta I never read it. must be interesting
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

There are a number of suttas starting with SN 19.1 that describe Ven. Moggalana "seeing" with his abhinna powers such petas.

https://suttacentral.net/sn19.1/en/sujato

Very brief descriptions of the other suttas are given for SN 19.2 and subsequent suttas.

- Note that Ven. Moggallana was with Ven. Lakkhana and the latter did not see those petas, even though Ven. Lakkhana also had abhinna powers. That is why Ven. Moggallana wanted to discuss it in the presence of the Buddha so that the Buddha could confirm it.
- In fact, the Buddha himself had not mentioned it to anyone since most others would not be able to see such petas.

I just searched past discussions here at Dhamma Wheel and found the following:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=32124&p=476544

There is a longer discussion on the specific set of petas that I mentioned in my comment above, but I cannot find it right now.
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Bhava and Punabbhava - Kammic Energy Giving Rise to Renewed Existence

Bhava is kammic energy. When a vipāka due to that kammic energy is grasped (upādāna), that leads to a new existence (punabbhava.)

Summary of the Previous Post

1. Bhava is kammic energy created by the mind. It can power a new existence in kāma bhava, rupa bhava, or arupa bhava. Those are three main types of bhava responsible for ALL births (jāti) in this world of 31 realms.

- As humans, we can generate all three types of energies that CAN power a new existence in those three bhava. Depending on the details of kammic energies (i.e., specific kamma committed,) they CAN lead to births (jati) in the 4 apāyās, the human realm, and 6 Deva realms in kāma bhava, or in 16 Brahma realms in the rupa bhava or in 4 Brahma realms in arupa bhava.
- See, "Bhava – Kammic Energy That Can Power an Existence."

Bhava and Punabbhava

2. Just because there are energies that CAN power a new existence, that second step of grasping (upādāna) a new existence (punabbhava) DOES NOT happen automatically. To be reborn in a new existence, bhava MUST become punabbhava ("puna" + "bhava," where "puna" is "repeat/renewed.") In other words, the mind must grasp (upādāna) that "stored energy" (bhava) to energize the next existence.

- For example, Angulimala killed 999 people just before he met the Buddha. So, he had created a strong kammic energy that could have led to a birth in the niraya, the lowest realm. That kammic energy was there in a "niraya bhava" to support existence in a niraya.
- To INITIATE that "niraya bhava," his mind must latch onto that energy at the cuti-patisandhi moment at the end of the human bhava. However, he learned Dhamma and became an Arahant. Therefore, Ven. Angulimala's mind had become purified and would not latch onto existence in the niraya.
- In fact, since he had attained the Arahanthood, his mind would not latch onto ANY existence (bhava) in this world. He probably cultivated jhanas before his death, but birth in a Brahma realm was also not possible.
- Thus, it is critical to understand the difference between bhava and punabbhava.

To Be Born in an Existence (Bhava)  It Must Be Grasped (Upādāna)

3. We all have done MANY of both good and bad kamma in this life and previous lives. At the end of the human bhava, one can bring a new existence (punabbhava.) For that to happen, the mind needs to go through the "upādāna paccayā bhava" step in Paṭicca Samuppāda at the cuti-patisandhi moment.

- However, depending on the "level of purity" of a given mind, it may not grasp certain types of bhava. For example, a Sotapanna's mind would not "grasp" (upādāna) a bhava in an apāya; such a bhava would not be compatible with the gati of a Sotapanna.
- Similarly, an Anāgāmi's mind would not grasp even a human or a Deva bhava. Since Anāgāmi has "seen" the perils of births in kāma loka (kāma bhava), "renewed bhava" (punabbhava) in the kāma bhava WILL NOT happen.
- The mind of an Arahant has seen the perils of ALL existences in this world. Thus, it would not grasp an existence in this world. At death, an Arahant will be released and will merge with Nibbāna.
- Even an Arahant would have accumulated many types of bhava (kammic energies), especially in previous lives. However, none of them will lead to punabbhava or "renewed existence" since that mind would not grasp any existence in this world. That mind has realized that no existence is free of suffering.

If There Is No New Existence (Punabbhava), There Is No Rebirth (Jāti)

4. Now we can clearly see what the Buddha stated in his first sutta, "Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11)": "Ñāṇañca pana me dassanaṁ udapādi: ‘akuppā me vimutti, ayamantimā jāti, natthi dāni punabbhavo’” ti

Translated: "The knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘Unshakable is the liberation of my mind. This is my last birth. Now there is no more renewed existence.’”

- There are many suttas with similar statements for Arahants. You can search for the verse "natthi dāni punabbhavo"  at Sutta Central Search. That phrase means, "now there is no more renewed existence."

"Upādāna Paccaya Bhava" Step in Pavutti Paṭicca Samuppāda 

5. We must understand many of the terms in Paṭicca Samuppāda, depending on the context. I have pointed out many times that "viññāṇa" in the "saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa" is ALWAYS a kamma viññāṇa and NOT a vipāka viññāṇa (like cakkhu viññāṇa or "seeing.")

- In Paṭicca Samuppāda cycles that run DURING a lifetime (Pavutti Paṭicca Samuppāda,) the "upādāna paccayā bhava" step leads to TWO effects. (1) It CREATES kammic energies (or bhava) that can manifest AT THAT TIME. One can get to that bhava temporarily and be "born" in that bhava temporarily. (2) Also, part of the kammic energy generated will be preserved as a kamma bīja in the viññāṇa plane.
- For example, when someone gets into a fight, that angry mindset generates kammic energy in his/her javana citta. Part of that energy leads to a "temporary angry bhava" and, thus, a "temporary angry jati." An onlooker can see the change in his/her body: face will transform to an "angry face." - Also, part of the kammic energy generated will either give rise to a new kamma bīja or strengthen an existing kamma bīja for a bhava in the apāyās. Of course, that will be a tiny kamma seed. If one kills a human, that kamma bīja (or bhava energy) will become much stronger and could become strong enough to bring in a punabbhava (new existence) in the apāyās.
- The more he/she engages in similar actions throughout life (even without killing anyone), such kamma bīja (bhava) will grow and could contribute to punabbhava.

"Upādāna Paccayā Punabbhava" Step in  Uppatti  Paṭicca Samuppāda

6. There are different types of Paṭicca Samuppāda cycles that run in different situations. A special type of Paṭicca Samuppāda cycle (Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda) operates at the moment when the kammic energy (or bhava energy) for the current bhava runs out.  That is when a new or "renewed existence" is grasped (upādāna.)

- In this particular case, the "upādāna paccayā bhava" step becomes "upādāna paccayā punabbhava."
- Therefore, in a Paṭicca Samuppāda cycle that runs at the cuti-patisandhi moment (at the end of the current existence), the step MUST BE interpreted as "upādāna paccayā punabbhava."

7. Note that neither type of Paṭicca Samuppāda cycles operate for an Arahant, since the steps "taṇhā paccayā upādāna" OR "avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra" WILL NOT take place for an Arahant.

- Various types of Paṭicca Samuppāda cycles and related concepts discussed in the "Paṭicca Samuppāda" section at Puredhamma.net: https://puredhamma.net/paticca-samuppada/
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Note:

The type of Paṭicca Samuppāda discussed under #5 is called "Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda" in Pāli instead of "Pavutti Paṭicca Samuppāda."
- I make this mistake often because it is normally called "Pavutti Paṭicca Samuppāda" (ප්‍රවුර්ති පටිච්ච සමුප්පාද) in the Sinhala language.

It turns out that I am unable to edit the above post since it has been several hours since I posted it.
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

I will be discussing the Important concepts of upādāna and upādānakkhandha. First, we must understand rupa and rupa upādānakkhandha and then pañcakkhandha and pañca upādānakkhandha.

Difference Between Rūpa and Rūpakkhandha

Introduction

1. Translation of rūpakkhandha as “form aggregate,” may give the wrong impression that it is a “collection of solid objects.” It is critical to understand the difference Between rūpa and rūpakkhandha. Innumerable rupa exist in the world and only those experienced by a person are included in his/her rupakkhandha.

- Instead of memorizing Pāli words, we need to understand what is meant by such Pāli words and use the Pāli words when there is ambiguity. Many key Pāli words do not have equivalent English words.

What Is a Rupa?

2. Before we understand the difference between a “rūpa” and “rūpakkhandha,” we need to understand what the Buddha meant by a “rūpa.” The Pali word “rūpa” customarily translated as “form.”

- The definition of a rūpa is in many places in Tipiṭaka, for example, SN 22.56 and SN 22.57. In simple terms, ” A rūpa consists of the four great elements, or is derived from the four great elements.”
- A rūpa made of the four great elements is not necessarily a solid object like a tree (those are vaṇṇa rūpa.) Types of energy (like light and sound) are included in the rūpa category. All sensory inputs to the five physical senses are rūpa.
- The Buddha defined rupa as ALL those that can provide a sensory experience (viññāna.) Therefore, dhammā that we experience with the mind are also a type of rupa. See, “What are Rūpa? – Dhammā are Rūpa too!” https://puredhamma.net/living-dhamma/ru ... -rupa-too/That subject is a bit deep. Don’t worry about that right now if you are not familiar with it.

3. Therefore, we can see that light, sound, odors, taste, and touch are all types of rūpa. It is only within the past 100 years or so that scientists admitted that matter and energy are the same.

- In modern-day terms, rūpa are either “solid matter” (human bodies, trees, houses, etc.) OR “energy” (light, sound, heat, etc.). With Einstein’s formula of E = mc^2, modern science acknowledged that matter and energy are intrinsically the same.
- In terms of Buddha Dhamma, all those rūpa are collections of suddhāṭṭhaka, the “smallest unit of rūpa.” We usually call visible objects “matter.” And invisible energy forms (like heat, sound) “energy.” Both types consist of suddhāṭṭhaka. A suddhāṭṭhaka is the smallest unit of energy/matter in Buddha Dhamma. It is unimaginably tiny, billions of times smaller than an atom, or even an electron, in modern science.
- By the way, dhammā that we detect the mind are rupa below the suddhāṭṭhaka stage (just energy.)
- The 28 types of rūpa are listed in “Rupa (Material Form) – Table.” As we can see, especially the ten types of rūpa on the right-hand side of the Table are not what we usually think of as “matter.”

Khandha Is a “Collection” or an “Aggregate” of Rupa Experienced

4. Before we discuss rūpakkhandha, it also helps to understand what is meant by a “khandha.” In Pāli (and Sinhala), it means a “heap” or a “pile.” In Sinhala, a hill or a “pile of things” is called a “kanda” (කන්ද). So, aggregate is not a bad translation for khandha (ඛන්ධ in Sinhala for the Pāli word).

- Rūpakkhandha includes all types of rupa that one has experienced/one expects to experience/one is experiencing now, as we will discuss below.
- We see an object in a series of very fast “seeing events.” Those individual “snapshots” don’t register in our minds. Only the overall effect of a large number of snapshots is registered and added to rūpa khandha. It rhymes as “rūpakkhandha.” We have seen this kind of combination of words (sandhi) in Pāli terms like Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which is Dhamma Cakka Pavattana Sutta.
- Another example is dhammassavana. “Dhamma savana” rhymes as dhammassavana. “Dhamma savana” is listening to dhamma (discourse).”

Rūpakkhandha is All Mental

5. It is essential to realize that rūpakkhandha is all mental. It is NOT a “collection of material things” as the term “form aggregate” may imply. Towards the end of the “Mahāhatthipadopama Sutta (MN 28),” Ven. Sariputta explains rūpakkhandha.

- Just the presence of an object, a sound, odor, taste, or touch is not enough to be included in rūpakkhandha. For example, if X is sitting in a pitch dark room, X will not see anything there, even though there may be many objects in the room. If X shines a flashlight on a chair, then X will be able to see that chair. If the image of the chair registers in the mind of X, then it becomes a part of the rūpakkhandha for X.
- Let us take another example. Two people, X and Y, are in a room reading books, and X is fully absorbed in reading, but Y has not much interest in his book. Y hears a dog barking and that sound registers in his mind, i.e., the “dog bark” becomes a part of his rūpakkhandha. However, even though that sound would have reached X’s ears too, his attention was entirely focused on the book, and he did not hear the “dog bark.” Thus, the “dog bark” is NOT a part of X’s rūpakkhandha.
- Now it should be quite clear that each person has his/her rūpakkhandha.

Rūpakkhandha is Unimaginably Huge!

6. Let us look in a bit more detail to see that these rūpakkhandha are “mental impressions” of rūpa and NOT the rūpa that are out there.

- A critical point is that when we experience a rūpa, that present moment is quickly gone. Most of rūpakkhandha is what one has already experienced. In fact, everything that we have experienced in all our past rebirths are in the rūpakkhandha!
- Those rūpā that one has seen in the past are one’s atita rūpā, including anything that one ever saw (including in previous births). Obviously, these cannot be physical rupā. They are just memories of a rūpa that existed in the past. For example, one may remember a tree in the backyard when one was a child. That tree is no longer there, but one can still “see” that tree in one’s mind. Same for one’s dead parents or grandparents who may be no longer alive.
- Any rūpa about the future or an anāgata rūpa (for example, a sketch of the type of house one is thinking about building) can change with time. That does not even involve a real rūpa.
- Any rūpa that one sees at present (paccuppanna rūpa) goes to the category of atita rūpa in a split second. Even if we never see that object again, that memory will be there.

More Types of Rūpa in Rūpakkhandha

7. Internal (ajjhatta) rūpaare those that are part of oneself: all body parts, including the ones inside the body. External (bahiddha) rūpa, are, of course, anything outside of one’s body. Coarse (olārika) rūpa are what we call “solid matter,” and fine/subtle (sukuma) rūpa are “energy” (heat, sound, dhammā, etc.).

- There are rūpa that are “bad” (hīna), and there are others that are “good” (panita).
- Some rūpa are located far (dūre), and some are located near (santike).
- Therefore, we see that there could be some overlaps between these categories.
- Many of these in the rūpakkhandha we have not even seen. For example, we have a mental impression of our hearts, but we have not seen our hearts. We may not have seen some landmarks like the Chinese Great Wall, but only pictures of them. Yet, we do have mental impressions of those.
- Altogether there are 11 types included in rūpakkhandha. The Khandha sutta (SN 22.48) (among many other suttā) summarizes what is included in rūpakkhandha. “Yaṃ kiñci, bhikkhave, rūpaṃ atītā­nāgata­pac­cup­pan­naṃ (atita, anāgata, paccuppanna) ajjhattaṃbahiddhāoḷārikaṃsukhumaṃhīnaṃpaṇītaṃ vā yaṃ dūre santike vā, ayaṃ vuccati rūpakkhandho.”
- A crude translation of the 11 types: past, future, current, internal, external, coarse, subtle, good, bad, far, and near.

Difference Between Rūpa and Rūpakkhandha

8. Now we can see the main difference between rūpa and rūpakkhandha.

- A rūpa is either of the following two kinds. A solid object that one sees with one ‘s eyes or touches with one’s body (a person, a person’s body or a body part, a tree, a planet, star, etc.) Those are what we usually call “solid objects.” Then there are other sensory inputs coming through the other three sense doors (smells, tastes, or sounds).
- Rūpakkhandha are MENTAL IMPRESSIONS of all external rūpā that one has EXPERIENCED. Rūpakkhandha are NOT tangible or have any energy in them. One’s rūpakkhandha is INFINITE. It has records of ALL one has seen in ALL past lives going back and back in time without “an actual beginning.”
- That is why those with iddhi (supernormal) powers can recall events that took place billions of years ago. The Buddha, of course, recalled how he received first “niyata vivarana” or confirmation that he will become a Buddha trillions of years ago, from Buddha Deepankara. See, “Pāramitā and Niyata Vivarana – Myths or Realities?“https://puredhamma.net/myths-or-realiti ... realities/
- Some people have a natural ability to recall ANY event during the current life (for example, what one ate for lunch on a particular day 10 years ago.) We will discuss that in the next post.

9. Let us take another example to visualize this difference between actual rūpa and rūpakkhandha.

- The twin towers in New York destroyed in the 2001 terrorist attack.
- If someone had seen those twin towers in New York, those towers would be in that person's rupakkhandha. That person can still recall them in his mind. Those physical structures are not there anymore, but they are in his rūpakkhandha!
- But the actual rūpa (twin towers) that were there in New York are no longer there.
- Furthermore, if someone had not seen them while they were there, those towers would not be in that person's rupakkhandha.

Rūpakkhandha Is Personal

10. Since we have seen very different things in our lives (and in past lives), our rūpakkhandha are very different. Each has his/her rūpakkhandha.

When experiencing a rupa through any of the six sense faculties leads to the generation of vedana, saññā, saṅkhāra, and viññāna. That is discussed in many suttās, and we have discussed in detail the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148). See, “Chachakka Sutta – No “Self” in Initial Sensory Experience.” on Oct 20, 2019 viewtopic.php?p=530971#p530971

- We can also see that each has his/her vēdanākkhandha, saññākkhandha, saṅkhārakkhandha, and viññānakkhandha.
- All of them can be analyzed in the same way. That is how the pañcakkhandha (five aggregates) arises. Therefore, pañcakkhandha is also unique to each person.
- We will discuss an important example to crystalize the concept of rūpakkhandha in the next post.
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Where Are Memories “Stored”? – Connection to Pañcakkhandha

Records of our memories (nāmagotta) are permanent. A handful of people worldwide have autobiographical memories, i.e., they can recall their past experiences in great detail. These memory records are the same as “atīta pañcakkhandha.”

Memory Versus Autobiographical Memory

1. An average human can only recall relatively very few memories from even from this life. During our waking hours, we experience many things. How many events from yesterday can you recall in detail? If you are asked what you ate for lunch or what you wore to work on a specific day last month, can you recall?

- There are only a handful of people in the world who CAN recall such things in great detail. They can recall anything that THEY experienced on any given day for many years in the past. That is a special ability, and the scientists call it “Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory” or HSAM.
- Note that this is not an ability of memorization. As we see below, some of these people CANNOT memorize a poem, for example. They can recall whatever they saw, heard, stated, smelled, touched, or thought about. That is why it is called “autobiographical memory.”
- They can recall ONLY those things that they experienced. Suppose they had watched a TV show on a certain day, even several years ago. They can “bring back that memory” in their mind and re-live through that experience. It is like “playing back” that TV show again in their mind!
- If you ask them what they ate for lunch on a specific day back in 1980, for example, they can “playback” that scene of them eating lunch on that day: They can tell you not only what they ate, but what the weather was like, and who they were with, etc. It is as if their brain is a video recorder, and they can play back any past event from their life. But the brain cannot “store” events in such detail.
- The key point here is that those with HSAM capability are RECALLING those memories from a depository. There is no way that such details can be stored in the brain. Scientists are “stuck” and have not been able to explain the phenomenon of HSAM; see the review article at the end of the post.
- Whatever ALL OF US experience goes into a depository in the viññāna plane (nāma loka) as we will discuss below. But different people have varying capabilities to retract that information.

First Recorded Case of Autobiographical Memory

2. That AMAZING ability first came to light with Jill Price, who contacted a team of scientists in the early 2000’s about her ability to recall anything from 1974 onwards. Here is a video of her with Diane Sawyer on an ABC News program in 2008:



- She cannot recall all of her life, but just those events after around 1974. The ability of HSAM just “turned on” when she was a teenager.

The Amazing Recalling Ability of Jill Price

3. Let us discuss the main points from the above video.

@1:10 minutes: She remembers everything since she was 14 years old.

@2:50 minutes: Diane Sawyer tests Jill’s ability to recall past events. She passes all tests.

@4:20 minutes: Jill says she has a “split-screen” in her head. She is talking to Diane while “watching” the playback of whatever past event she recalls. She describes what she had for lunch on May 27, 2006. Remember that the above interview was recorded in 2008. Since she kept a detailed diary, anyone can check these accounts. One may think she has memorized all those detailed records, but that is impossible, especially since she can’t memorize even a poem.

Connection to Nāmagotta and Atita Pañcakkhandha

4. Let us pause and make the connection to Buddha Dhamma.

- As discussed in the post, “Difference Between Rūpa and Rūpakkhandha,” rupakkhandha is 11 types. But all 11 types are in 3 main categories: atīta, anāgata, paccuppanna (past, future, current.) All other types are included in these three types. For example, internal (related to one’s own body) and external rupa must be of past, future, or at the present moment.
- The paccuppanna (or current) rupa are those that one is experiencing right now. In a moment, it will go to the past and will be added to the category of atīta (past) rupa. The category of anāgata (future) rupa are those that we hope/expect to experience in the future.
- As we can see, it is the category of atīta (past) rupa that dominates one’s rupakkhandha. By the way, it is also clear that rupakkhandha is one’s own; it is what one has experienced. One person’s rupakkhandha is different from someone else’s.
- Furthermore, those atīta (past) rupa (i.e., atīta rupakkhandha) are just RECORDS of past rupa that one has experienced. They are PERMANENT. Whatever happened cannot be changed.

Memories Are the Same as Atita Pañcakkhandha (Past Experiences)

5. Now, here is another KEY point to remember. Whenever an event (registering of one of six kinds of rupa) registers in the mind, corresponding mental aggregates (vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāna) also register. Thus all five aggregates (pañcakkhandha) arise and immediately go into atīta pañcakkhandha.

- For example, suppose we hear a pleasing sound, for example. It may register as a sukha vedanā, and we recognize what that sound is (saññā.) Then we think about it (saṅkhāra) and the overall sensory experience is viññāna (in this case, sota viññāna.)
- Thus not only that sound (sadda rupa) is registered in the mind, but also those mental components are also registered. Thus, a rupakkhandha ALWAYS arises with the other four khandhas (aggregates.) In other words, pañcakkhandha arises with any sensory event and is immediately recorded as atīta pañcakkhandha.
- Those records (atīta pañcakkhandha) are in the viññāna plane (nāma loka) and can be recalled at any time in the future. They are called “nāmagotta.”
- Details at “Arising of Five Aggregates Based on an Ārammaṇa” and “Our Two Worlds: Material and Immaterial.”
- Please note that it is necessary to read and understand the posts that I refer to if one really wants to understand these concepts. Just reading a post or two will not do.

People With Iddhi (Supernormal) Powers Can Recall Past Lives

6. Now, we can see how the Buddha could “look back” and recall his past lives extending to trillions of years to the past.

- Just like Jill Price can recall any event that took place in HER life, the Buddha was able to recall any event that happened in his life. The only difference is that Jill Price can recall ONLY her current life from 1974. The Buddha could recall any event that took place in his ANY previous life!
- By the way, anyone who can cultivate the fourth jhāna (Ariya or anariya jhāna) would be able to recall at least a few past lives. Even before the Buddha, many yogis were able to recall several past lives. Note that some children can remember events from their previous life.
- One can recall past lives only because records of all past experiences are preserved in the viññāna plane (nāma loka). Those memories are NOT stored in the brain, but the brain plays a role in “bringing those memories back.” A discussion on this subject is at “Brain and the Gandhabba.”
- When an average human recalls (some of) past events, it is those nāmagotta that they recall. It is just that an average human can recall only significant events of his/her life. A handful of people with HSAM can recall all events from the current life.

Nāmagotta (Atita Pañcakkhandha) Has Records of One’s Life Experiences

7. Let us go back to discussing the video of #2 above.

@5:15 minutes: Jill Price says she was not “good in school” and could not memorize even a simple poem. She meant that she was an average student who was not exceptionally intelligent. What she has is not KNOWLEDGE, but an ability to RECALL memories. As she explains, her memory is autobiographical, i.e., she can recall ONLY those events she has experienced (seen, heard, tasted, smelled, touched, and thought about.)

@6:40 minutes: She says that she “travels in her head.” That means she can travel to the past and re-live an experience as if it is happening at the present moment!

@6:40 minutes: She says she will not be able to go on the TV show “Jeopardy” and win because she does not have general knowledge about the world. She can recall ONLY those EVENTS that she experienced, for example, by watching TV. This is a critical point that I want to emphasize. It is not knowledge that she has, but just the ability to RECALL past events in great detail!

Summary

8. All our memories (including those from previous lives) are preserved in the viññāna plane (nāma loka.)

- The ability to recall memories is a complex subject. A Buddha can recall events from ANY life in the past. An average human can recall only bits and pieces from the current life. In between those two extremes, there is a huge variety of that capability.
- Recalling a memory means to playback that old experience in one’s mind. Recalling an “experience” recreates that whole past event. That includes that part of the rupakkhandha and the mental attributes (other four aggregates) of that event. Thus, it plays back that part of the “atīta pañcakkhandha.”
- The five aggregates (pañcakkhandha) are one’s own. It has one’s past experiences, experiences happening at the present moment, and hopes/expectations of future experiences.

Implications

9. Each person is automatically attached (taṇhā) based on one’s past experiences. Those are the things that one would like to “keep close,” i.e., have “upādāna” for. Those past experiences (atīta pañcakkhandha) influence one’s character/habits (gati.) That is how “pañca upādānakkhandha” arises. All these concepts are interrelated. I hope you can at least begin to appreciate these relationships.

- To break bad gati and to avoid taṇhā/upādāna for things that can get one into trouble, one must be able to clarify these concepts and “see” how future suffering arises due to them.
- The “cooling down of the mind” can result ONLY via gaining knowledge of this process. Following moral guidelines (precepts) is essential to get to the right mindset. But it is paññā (wisdom) that eventually leads to the right vision (Sammā Diṭṭhi) at the Sotapanna stage.

Further Information

10. It is impossible to put all necessary information into one post. If one desires to comprehend these concepts, one must spend some time reading all related posts. I have mentioned some above.

- Other related posts: “Recent Evidence for Unbroken Memory Records (HSAM),” “Autobiographical Memory – Preserved in Nāma Loka,” “Rupa and Rupakkhandha, Nāma and Nāmagotta.”
- Here is a recent review article on the subject of memory recall: “Individual Differences in Autobiographical Memory – Daniela J. Palombo et al.-2018.”: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... e_2018.pdf
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

I see that some people are making baseless accusations in another thread here.
- If you look at the first post on that thread, there is only a long rant about Abhaya Thero. I am sure Abhaya Thero can defend himself.
- Even though the title refers to "puredhamma.net", there is NOTHING there that provides any evidence of "wrong interpretation of Buddha Dhamma at puredhamma.net."

There have been long discussions on the Dhamma concepts on THIS thread. It is not my fault that some people are not able to grasp deep (and even not so deep) concepts.
- See, for example:viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=165

Without getting into too many issues, we can just take one concept to see whose views are not correct.
- Sutta Central (and many other websites) still translate viññāṇa as just "consciousness."
- I have discussed in detail why this is wrong. There are TWO types of viññāṇa: vipaka vinnana and kamma viññāṇa (generated via abhisankhara).

1. Anulōma and patilōma Paticca Samuppāda describe the forward progression of events leading to eventual suffering and going back to see that indeed avijjā must be removed (by cultivating wisdom or paññā) in order to stop future suffering from arising.

- "Paṭha­ma­ Bodhi Sutta (Udāna 1.1)":https://suttacentral.net/ud1.1/pli/ms and "Dutiya ­Bodhi Sutta (Udāna 1.2)":https://suttacentral.net/ud1.2/pli/ms state how the Buddha comprehended anulōma and patilōma Paticca Samuppāda during the night of the Enlightenment.
- Most people are quite familiar with how suffering originates with saṅ­khā­ra generation due to the ignorance of the Four Noble Truths (avijjā), and then goes through the familiar steps: "avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā, saṅ­khā­ra ­pac­cayā viññāṇaṃ,..and ends with ".. Evametassa kevalassa duk­khak­khan­dhassa samudayo hotī”ti OR "the whole mass of suffering".

2. It is also important to trace the steps backwards and see how future suffering can be stopped by cultivating paññā and "avijjā nirodhā saṅ­khā­ra­nirodho, saṅ­khā­ra ­nirodhā viññāṇa nirodho, viññāṇa nirodhā nāmarūpa ­nirodho, nāmarūpa­ nirodhā saḷāya­tana ­nirodho, saḷāya­tana­ nirodhā phassa nirodho, phassa nirodhā vedanā nirodho, vedanā nirodhā taṇhānirodho, taṇhā nirodhā upādāna nirodho, upādāna nirodhā bhava nirodho, bhava nirodhā jāti nirodho, jāti nirodhā jarāmaraṇaṃ soka­pari­deva­duk­kha­do­manas­supāyāsā nirujjhanti. Evametassa kevalassa duk­khak­khan­dhassa nirodho hotī'ti".
- The English translation at Sutta Central states: "When ignorance ceases, choices cease. When choices cease, consciousness ceases."
- See https://suttacentral.net/ud1.2/en/sujato

One who has attained Nibbana must have removed only "kamma viññāṇa", but still would have vipaka viññāṇa (i.e., seeing, hearing, etc).
But Sutta Central and other English websites do not make this distinction, simply because they DO NOT understand that there are two types of vinnana.
- Wasn't the Buddha able to see, hear, etc after attaining the Buddhahood? So, he had cakkhu viññāṇa, sota viññāṇa, etc fully functional.
- But he stopped generating "kamma viññāṇa" with the akusala-mula Paticca Samuppada: "avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā, saṅ­khā­ra ­pac­cayā viññāṇaṃ,
- When are those WRONG translations are going to be corrected?

Instead of making false accusations, one should be able to discuss real issues about concepts.
plabit
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by plabit »

Lal wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 3:33 pm Without getting into too many issues, we can just take one concept to see whose views are not correct.
- Sutta Central (and many other websites) still translate viññāṇa as just "consciousness."
- I have discussed in detail why this is wrong. There are TWO types of viññāṇa: vipaka vinnana and kamma viññāṇa (generated via abhisankhara).
Lal wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 3:33 pm - When are those WRONG translations are going to be corrected?
Coming at this by an analogy to Christian scripture and translation, Paul sometimes criticizes nomos (the law) and sometimes praises nomos (the law). Its obvious that the "Law of Moses" is in view. But why in one place does he say "the law is spiritual" and in another "the law is the strength of sin"? Obviosuly because in one place "the law" means "the moral side of the law" and in another "the ceremonial side of the law." This is sussed out by later Christian interpreters (i.e. Justin Martyr). But Paul didn't write those adjectives. To properly understand him, you must figure this out or have access to the commentatorial tradition that figured it out. But its not exactly what he wrote. He could have spared everyone a great deal of headache had he learned to use adjectives, but sadly he didn't.

Is this not the same situation? Its one thing to interpret a text and another to literally translate it. Instead of arguing that the translators are wrong for not interpretting the text, interpreters should provide a coherent interpretation that is able to be digested easily.
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Instead of arguing that the translators are wrong for not interpretting the text, interpreters should provide a coherent interpretation that is able to be digested easily.
Am I not providing a coherent interpretation? Is that what you are saying?
plabit
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by plabit »

Lal wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:21 am
Instead of arguing that the translators are wrong for not interpretting the text, interpreters should provide a coherent interpretation that is able to be digested easily.
Am I not providing a coherent interpretation? Is that what you are saying?
No. But in general Buddhist explanations lack coherence. So if you don't provide a coherent explanation, who can blame you?
Lal
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Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

No. But in general Buddhist explanations lack coherence.
That is a very general statement. Can you explain why you say that?
plabit
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by plabit »

Lal wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:43 pm
No. But in general Buddhist explanations lack coherence.
That is a very general statement. Can you explain why you say that?
The no self doctrine vitiates all. As a result nobody is able to coherently exposit Buddhism. Rebirth? Fogit about it! Gonna end up being denied to save the no soul doctrine. And without rebirth none of the rest of the doctrine makes sense, so it all falls apart.
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

I understand your frustration. It is initially a bit difficult for people from other religious backgrounds to "get a foothold."

That is because Buddha Dhamma is not really a religion. There is no savior. One needs to understand the teachings of the Buddha and try to understand how nature really works.
- The Buddha was, in a way, like a scientist of the present day. He wanted to figure out how nature works.
- But he realized that one cannot truly understand the nature of our world by studying material phenomena. He realized that one is able to clarify many things with a mind that is not contaminated with greed and hate/anger.
(What he found out was that our world is much more complex than what is easily accessible to us. For example, long before modern science revealed that there are uncountable stars with planetary systems like ours, the Buddha taught that. He figured that out not by becoming an astronomer, but by purifying his mind. That is not easy to explain but may be later on I can direct you to some posts.)

So, Buddha's Dhamma is based on the mind.
- The "rebirth process" that you referred to is not easy to understand. It does not involve a "soul" taking different forms.

I recommend reading the following section at puredhamma.net.
"Paṭicca Samuppāda in Plain English" : https://puredhamma.net/paticca-samuppad ... n-english/
plabit
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2021 2:49 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by plabit »

Lal wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:54 am I understand your frustration. It is initially a bit difficult for people from other religious backgrounds to "get a foothold."

That is because Buddha Dhamma is not really a religion. There is no savior. One needs to understand the teachings of the Buddha and try to understand how nature really works.
- The Buddha was, in a way, like a scientist of the present day. He wanted to figure out how nature works.
- But he realized that one cannot truly understand the nature of our world by studying material phenomena. He realized that one is able to clarify many things with a mind that is not contaminated with greed and hate/anger.
(What he found out was that our world is much more complex than what is easily accessible to us. For example, long before modern science revealed that there are uncountable stars with planetary systems like ours, the Buddha taught that. He figured that out not by becoming an astronomer, but by purifying his mind. That is not easy to explain but may be later on I can direct you to some posts.)

So, Buddha's Dhamma is based on the mind.
- The "rebirth process" that you referred to is not easy to understand. It does not involve a "soul" taking different forms.

I recommend reading the following section at puredhamma.net.
"Paṭicca Samuppāda in Plain English" : https://puredhamma.net/paticca-samuppad ... n-english/
If he was an atheist materialist he would have just thrown in the towel and said death ends all suffering. Therefore he did not teach no soul. After all you can't find him actually teaching it.

All physical things are impermanent, suffering, not-the-self. (Dh 277-279)

That doesn't say there is no soul. Maybe DN1 implies it, but DN1 is not very believable, and aside from it, nothing gets close to saying it. Closest is a Sanjaya style noncommitalism of "I won't say there is one nor that there isn't one." Arguing that he actually said "there is no soul" involves immense fakery.
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