The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Paticca Samuppāda – A “Self” Exists Due to Avijjā


1. The “Chacakka Sutta (MN 148)” discusses six parameters associated with six entities. The six parameters are internal āyatana, external āyatana, viññāṇa, phassa, vedanā, taṇhā. They are associated with each of the six types of internal āyatana we have: cakkhu, sōta, ghāna, jivhā, kāya, and manō. Thus, there are thirty-six entities discussed.

- We MAY get attached (taṇhā) to a ārammana coming through any of the six senses. That “getting attached or getting stuck” (taṇhā) to that ārammana happens, for example with cakkhu, via the following process. “Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ, tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso, phassa paccayā vedanā, vedanā paccayā taṇhā.”
- We discussed that process in detail in the earlier posts of the sub-section “Worldview of the Buddha.”: ... he-buddha/

Taṇhā (Getting Stuck to a Ārammana) Happens Instantaneously

2. An “eye-catching object” is a rupa ārammana or rupārammana (a new word). With a rupārammana, a cakkhu viññāṇa (sensation of seeing) arises via “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ.” (In the same way, saddārammana, ghānārammana, jivhārammana, kāyārammana, dhammārammana give rise to sōtaviññāṇa, ghanaviññāṇa, jivhāviññāṇa, kāyaviññāṇa, and manōviññāṇa.)

- Within a split-second of that, the mind COULD be stuck (taṇhā) in that ārammana.
- If that ārammana is mind-pleasing, the mind MAY attach (“getting stuck” could be a better way to say it) via greed. If it is repulsive, “getting stuck” MAY occur via anger. Even if it is a neutral ārammana, “getting stuck” can happen with ignorance.
- I know I keep repeating some things. But repetition is KEY to retention.
- Even though we focused on the Chacakka Sutta, the above sequence of events is in many suttā. Some of the prominent suttā are MN 18, SN 12.43 through SN 12.45, and several suttā in SN 35. It is critical to understand that this process happens automatically within a split-second.

Tanhā Arises Due to Sakkāya Diṭṭhi (Diṭṭhi Vipallāsa) AND Asmi Māna (Saññā Vipallāsa)

3. The sequence of events in #1, #2 does not require a “self.” That sequence happens in an instant without any CONSCIOUS thinking.

- IF an attachment or “getting stuck” (tanhā) results, that is because one has “gati” to attach to such a ārammana. That is there because one has wrong views of a “self” (sakkāya diṭṭhi or diṭṭhi vipallāsa) AND also the wrong perception (saññā vipallāsa) of a “self.”
- The wrong view of a “self” goes away at the Sōtapanna stage, and the incorrect perception of a “self” (saññā vipallāsa) goes away entirely only at the Arahant stage.
- With the removal of sakkāya diṭṭhi, the tendency to do “apāyagāmi deeds” will stop. However, until the Arahant stage, one will still have saññā vipallāsa, and thus asmi māna, and will be capable of doing less severe immoral deeds (akusala kamma).
- That was discussed together with the terms diṭṭhi vipallāsa and saññā vipallāsa in the post, “An Apparent “Self” Is Involved in Kamma Generation.” It may be a good idea to re-read that post and also the post, “Vision Is a Series of “Snapshots” – Movie Analogy.” There is no
self” in ultimate reality, but one will have a sense or perception of a “self” until attaining the Arahant stage.

Tanhā – The Origin of Suffering

4. The previous post (“Tanhā – The Origin of Suffering,”) I pointed out TWO critical facts:

- FIRST, tanhā (attachment or “getting stuck” to various ārammana) is the ORIGIN of suffering. That is the First Noble Truth on suffering. That tanhā could be due to a pleasing OR unpleasant ārammana.
- However, tanhā by itself, CANNOT AUTOMATICALLY lead to suffering. If that were the case, no one would be able to attain Nibbāna. That is because, as we have discussed, tanhā happens within a fraction of a second of capturing the ārammana.
- Therefore, the SECOND critical fact is the following. Unless one pulls that ārammana in and starts thinking about it (vitakka/vicāra), one WILL NOT accumulate abhisaṅkhāra (and thus kamma viññāṇa.) That would be done with avijjā (with the wrong perception of a ‘self.”)
- That second process takes place starting with the “tanhā paccayā upādāna” step in Paticca Samuppāda. We will discuss this below.

There is a “Self” Doing Kamma With Wrong Views and Wrong Perceptions

5. That is why it is not correct to say that there is “no-self.” For anyone who has not yet attained the Arahant stage, the perception of a “self” is there. See, “An Apparent “Self” Is Involved in Kamma Generation.”

- As we discussed, tanhā (getting attached to or “getting stuck” with a ārammana) NEVER arises in an Arahant based on ANY ārammana. That is automatic. It is not that he/she consciously avoids tanhā at that moment. The key is that an Arahant has removed ALL “gati” leading to any attachment (tanhā.)
- The key to understanding Paticca Samuppāda is to comprehend how gati can be removed (and thereby tanhā stopped). We will be discussing this in the next few posts.

Dukkha Nirodha (Stopping of Future Suffering) is Cessation of Tanhā

6. The Buddha defined the “stopping or the cessation of suffering” or “dukkha nirodhaya” (Third Noble Truth) as follows in his first discourse, “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11)“: “Idaṃ kho pana, bhikkhave, dukkhanirodhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ—yo tassāyeva taṇhāya asesavirāganirodho cāgo paṭinissaggo mutti anālayo.”

Translated:Bhikkhus, what is the Noble Truth of the cessation of suffering—it is the complete cessation of taṇhā, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it by losing all desires (also called “āsava“) for things in this world (anālayo).

- The word anālaya comes from na + ālaya or “not desiring.” As we have discussed, one attaches (taṇhā) to a ārammana via greed only because one craves for and desires things with kama guna. If one is blocked from getting that then one may “attach” with anger. Therefore, craving or desire is at the root of taṇhā. Dosa (or patigha) is the “second manifestation of lobha or greed. See, “Kāma Guṇa – Origin of Attachment (Tanhā).”
- That is why Nibbāna is also “āsavakkhaya” or “āsava” + “khaya” or “removal of “āsava.“
- I try to introduce these key Pāli words gradually and as needed.

Paticca Samuppāda – Both “Self” and “No-Self” Are Incorrect Approaches

7. It is not beneficial to start with the concept of either a “self” or “no-self.” But we HAVE TO use terms like “our thoughts”, “he spoke”, and “she did that,” etc. That is because those things ARE DONE by an average human with the perception of a “self.” Besides, we CANNOT communicate with each other without using such terminology. Even the Buddha said things like, “I will go there” or ” I was born in such an existence in the past.”

- But we need to “see” and understand the following. Causes ( old kamma) and conditions (paccayā) lead to results (kamma vipāka). Then, based on such vipāka, we take actions that create new kamma, which, in turn, will bring more vipāka. That is how the rebirth process continues!
- The wrong view (sakkāya diṭṭhi) and wrong perception (asmi māna) of a “self” leads to such activities. Paticca Samuppāda explains that process.
- As long as one has those wrong views and perceptions of a “self,” one will have certain gati (character.) Based on those gati, causes (kamma) for future results (vipāka) accumulated. When those vipāka bring results, more kamma generated. So, there is no end to this cyclic process. That is why there is no end to that cycle of kamma and vipāka!
- Those gati will diminish as one starts comprehending the true nature of this world. With that comprehension, wrong views and perceptions will lessen and eventually go away. That is the way to Nibbāna. It starts with Samma Diṭṭhi (removal of sakkāya diṭṭhi), seeing the true nature of this world. Of course, one must first get rid of the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi to get to mundane Samma Diṭṭhi. See, “Buddha Dhamma – In a Chart.”: ... n-a-chart/
- That discussion at Dhamma Wheel at: "Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty)" Oct 23, 2018  (p.42); this explains why one needs to complete mundane eightfold path before getting into the Noble Eightfold Path.

The sequence of Events In #1 Above Are in Paticca Samuppāda

8. The Pāli verse in #1 above from the Chackka Sutta is “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ, tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso, phassa paccayā vedanā, vedanā paccayā taṇhā.” The steps stated in that verse are the same as “salāyatana paccayā phassō, phassa paccayā vēdanā, vēdanā paccayā tanhā” in Paticca Samuppada.

- The steps “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ, tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso” in the Chacakka Sutta merely describe in more detail what happens with the “salāyatana paccayā phassō” step in Paticca Samuppada. Of course, “salāyatana” refers to all six sensory inputs, and cakkhu in “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ, tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso” refers to one of those six.
- Paticca Samuppāda cycle usually does not start with “avijjā paccayā sankhāra.” There must be a REASON to begin acting with avijjā. The reason is “getting attached to sensory input,” i.e., tanhā. And that happens because we have certain “gati” that have been built-up over past lives due to the ignorance of the Four Noble Truths, i.e., due to avijjā!
- Initial “attachment” (tanhā) ALWAYS happens with the steps discussed in the Chachakka Sutta and embedded in the above verse. Any of the six sensory inputs can trigger it, and the sixth one is manō: “mānañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manoviññāṇaṃ, tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso, phassa paccayā vedanā, vedanā paccayā taṇhā.”
- Therefore, it is essential to realize that in real life, Paticca Samuppada does NOT start with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā.” It begins with“salāyatana paccayā phassō and proceeds to “phassa paccayā vēdanā, vēdanā paccayā tanhā.”
- It is only at that stage that a given “person” may start acting with avijjā and thus start the complicated step, “tanhā paccayā upādāna.”

Based on Attachment (Tanhā), One Starts Acting With Avijjā

9. Let us discuss that critical step, “tanhā paccayā upādāna.”

- Tanhā means attaching or “getting stuck” with a particular ārammana. It is not correct to say that tanhā is “craving.” When one sees an enemy, one does not generate tanhā via craving. Instead, the mind gets “stuck” in that ārammana of an enemy with anger or dislike.
- If it is a “good ārammana,” the mind will try to enjoy it more. If it is distasteful, then it will try to stop that. Either way, mind MAY generate (abhi) saṅkhāra with kammic consequences.
- For example, a person with a tendency (gati) to engage in stealing may try to steal an “eye-catching item” from a store. Stealing is a bad kamma, and thus he/she will accumulate “bad kamma” that could bring “bad vipāka” in the future.

What Does Upādāna Mean?

10. Upādāna means “pulling the ārammana closer (in one’s mind)” (“upa” + “ādāna,” where “upa” means “close” and “ādāna” means “pull”).

- Once getting attached (tanhā) to a ārammana, we do not let it go. The mind “pulls that ārammana in.” First, we start consciously thinking about it and may talk about it. Both those involve vaci saṅkhāra (vitakka/vicāra).
- If we get “worked up,” we may take bodily actions. We may hug a person we like or hit a person we don’t like. Kāya saṅkhāra in mind LEAD TO such physical actions. The brain helps carry out actions according to those intentions that arise in mind. See, “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body.” ... -and-body/
- By the way, mano (or citta) saṅkhāra automatically comes to our minds. They involve vedana/saññā. They do not involve conscious thinking (vitakka/vicāra.)
- We will discuss saṅkhāra in detail in the next post.

All relevant posts are at, “[html] ... n-of-life/[/html].” At Dhamma Wheel, the series started on Jun 29, 2019, on p. 73:viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1080
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by 2600htz »

Lal wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:42 pm Tanhā – The Origin of Suffering

Tanhā Is Attachment, Not Craving

1. Tanhā is a badly misunderstood Pāli word. The common translation is “craving,” and that is wrong. The craving usually is associated with a pleasurable ārammana.

- Tanhā means attachment to ANY ārammana. It could be something that one likes OR dislikes OR even neutral (it may be just curiosity.)
- We may attach to a beautiful object or a person to varying degrees. It could just mean pausing to take a “second look” at something. It could be a much stronger attachment like “falling in love at first sight” with a person.
- But we also stop and take a second look at a person who just got run over by a car and died. That is not a pleasant sight, but we still got “attached” to that sight. We may think about it for a little while and then forget about it. But seeing one’s worse enemy on the street will lead to a stronger “attachment.” One may generate repulsive thoughts and may even say something harsh to that person.
- The point is that tanhā leads to further “mind action” or “conscious thoughts” about a ārammana. We discussed that in the following post in this series: “Kāma Guṇa – Origin of Attachment (Tanhā).”

Tanhā – The Origin of Suffering

2. Tanhā is also the origin of future suffering. The Buddha defined the “origin of suffering” or “dukkha samudaya” as follows in his first discourse, “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11)“: “Idaṃ kho pana, bhikkhave, dukkhasamudayaṃ ariyasaccaṃ—yāyaṃ taṇhā ponobbhavikā nandirāgasahagatā tatratatrābhinandinī, seyyathidaṃ—kāma taṇhā, bhava taṇhā, vibhava taṇhā.”

- Translated: “Bhikkhus, what is the Noble Truth of the origin of suffering—It is attachments (taṇhā) based on seeking delight (nandirāga) in various things here and there, which leads to rebirth —that is, attachments to sensual pleasures (kāma taṇhā), to the existence (bhava taṇhā), and the view of a single life (vibhava taṇhā.)
- The three types of tanhā discussed at “Kāma Tanhā, Bhava Tanhā, Vibhava Tanhā.” at

3. Interestingly, in the “Cūḷavedalla Sutta (MN 44), the same verse describes the origin of sakkāya diṭṭhi: “sakkāyasamudayo sakkāyasamudayo’ti, ayye, vuccati. Katamo nu kho, ayye, sakkāyasa¬mudayo vutto bhagavatā” ti? “Yāyaṃ, āvuso visākha, taṇhā ponobbhavikā nandīrāgasahagatā tatratatrābhinandinī, seyyathidaṃ—kāma taṇhā bhava taṇhā vibhava taṇhā; ayaṃ kho, āvuso visākha, sakkāyasamudayo vutto bhagavatā” ti.

- That is not surprising since all immoral actions originate with the wrong view that worldly pleasures need to be pursued at any cost.
- If one does strong immoral deeds (pāpa kamma), one will be eligible for suffering in the apāyās. Even the desire to enjoy sensory pleasures will bind one to the kāma loka. The desire for jhanic pleasures leads to getting trapped in rupa and arupa loka. But there is no long-term happiness anywhere in any realm.
- That is because regardless of where the next birth is, one is not free from the apāyās in the long run. The possibility of rebirth in the apāyās will be there until one attains the Sōtapanna stage by removing sakkāya diṭṭhi. All possible suffering ends when one fully comprehends dukkha samudaya at the Arahant stage. We will discuss that in detail in the future.

The Meaning of Tanhā (Pada Nirutti)

4. Many Pāli words have their meanings in the word itself. Uncovering the meaning of a word that way is “pada nirutti.” For example, “sakkāya” comes from “sath” + “kāya” or taking an aggregate of things or a collection (kāya) to be beneficial (sath.) That is why sakkāya diṭṭhi originates when one considers that the five aggregates to be one’s own and thus beneficial.

- Tanhā means getting “fused” or firmly attached (to an ārammana). The word tanhā comes from two words. “Tána” (pronounced like “thatch”) means “place” (තැන in Sinhala) and “” meaning getting fused/welded or attached (හා වීම in Sinhala). Note that “tan” in tanhā pronounced like in “thunder” and “” is pronounced like in “harm.”
- That is consistent with the meaning derived from the Chachakka Sutta. See “Kāma Guṇa – Origin of Attachment (Tanhā).”

Three Types of Tanhā

5. The verses in #2 and #3 refer to three types of tanhā. They are kāma tanhā, bhava tanhā, vibhava tanhā.

- Each category represents the origin of a particular way attachment can happen. As we can imagine, kāma tanhā originates due to our inherent kāma guna. There are sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and dhammā that we like to experience. If access to such things is blocked, we again get attached, but this time with anger.
- Bhava tanhā arises in those who believe in rebirth. They would like to be born as a human, deva, or a Brahma based on their gati.
- Those who do not believe in rebirth have vibhava tanhā.
- Let us discuss them briefly.

Kāma Tanhā

6. In kāma lōka, all five physical sense faculties are present. Getting attached to anything via the five sense faculties is kāma tanhā.

- Furthermore, attachment arising from the desire to enjoy taste, smell, and body touch can happen only in kāma lōka. Those three require a “solid body” as we can imagine.
- In the rūpa lōkas, living beings do not have “solid bodies.” Yet, they can see and hear without having physical eyes or ears.
- Therefore, in rūpa lōkas, tanhā arise only due to sights and sounds. Thus an Anāgami, who will be born in a rūpa lōka has some rūpa tanhā and sadda tanhā because he/she may like to see a Buddha statue or listen to a discourse.
- In arūpa lōkas, there is only the mind. Therefore, an attachment can be only to dhammā.

Bhava Tanhā

7. Bhava tanhā arises from attachment to “any existence.” Thus bhava tanhā is present in kāma lōka, rūpa lōka, and arūpa lōka, i.e., all 31 realms.

- Even in the kāma lōka, there may be people who do not enjoy the “kāma” or sense pleasures; but they still want to live a quiet, peaceful life. They mostly have bhava tanhā. They may like to be in a secluded place, cultivating jhāna; that is their desired “bhava.” If they develop jhānas, they will be born in rūpa lōka or arūpa lōka due to their new “gati.”
- There are other subtle forms of “bhava” too. Some like to become famous, earn a title, to get a high-profile job or a responsibility, etc. These attachments are not associated with sensual pleasures. They are due to bhava tanhā.

Vibhava Tanhā

8. Vibhava tanhā arises from the wrong view of materialism (uccēda ditthi in the time of the Buddha; uccēda pronounced “uchchēda”). One believes that life ends at death. Here the mind is assumed to be a byproduct of the body (brain). And thus, when the body dies, that is the end of the story.

- Therefore one believes that one needs to enjoy all possible pleasures of this life before dying. Such a person would typically have kāma tanhā as well as vibhava tanhā.
- It is easy to have vibhava tanhā in modern society. That is especially true if one has not heard about the Buddha’s message about a more complex world with 31 realms and a rebirth process. Our human sensory faculties cannot access such “hidden” aspects of this world. One believes only what one can see.

Tanhā Does Not Directly Lead to Rebirth

As we have seen in previous posts, for an average human, SOME ārammana WILL automatically generate tanhā within a split second. Only in an Arahant, tanhā would NOT arise for ANY ārammana. That is a crucial message of the Chacakka Sutta (MN 148.)

9. However, tanhā does not directly lead to rebirth (new existence). Paticca Samuppāda does not say, “tanhā paccayā bhavo.” Instead, it is, “tanhā paccayā upādāna,” followed by “upādāna paccayā bhavo.”

- To make a new existence (bhava), the mind needs to “pull that ārammana close” and start generating conscious thoughts about it. That happens because one either likes it or dislikes it. That is the “tanhā paccayā upādāna” step.
- That “tanhā paccayā upādāna” step is a bit involved. When the mind attaches to a ārammana, it starts “examining” that ārammana. That “examination” involves vitakka/vicāra or vaci saṅkhāra.
- That is when one STARTS acting with avijjā and generate saṅkhāra (and thereby kamma viññāṇa via “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa.”) That is the start of a new Paticca Samuppāda cycle.
- We will start discussing Paticca Samuppāda in the next post.

All relevant posts are at, “[html] ... n-of-life/[/html].” At Dhamma Wheel, the series started on Jun 29, 2019, on p. 73:viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1080
Hello Lal:

How would you say that the noble eightfold path leads to less Tanhā or "attachment" ?.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Hello 2600htz:
Hello Lal:

How would you say that the noble eightfold path leads to less Tanhā or "attachment" ?.
That is what will be explained in this series of posts. There is more to discuss.
I am discussing how to stop Tanhā or "attachment" from arising. That is done by following the Noble Path.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

To follow-up on the question by1600htz:

It may not be clear, but I am describing the Eightfold Noble Path systematically.

Before one starts on the Noble Path, one must complete the mundane eightfold path. The Buddha addressed that in detail in the Maha Cattarisika Sutta: I had discussed this some time back: Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty) Tue Oct 23, 2018 (p.42); this explains why one needs to complete mundane eightfold path before getting into the Noble Eightfold Path.
- I referred to that earlier post on Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta in my last detailed post two days ago (#7 on that post).

Once one has removed the ten types of miccha ditthi, per that earlier post, one could start removing the “deeper level of miccha ditthi.” That deeper level of miccha ditthi is sakkaya ditthi.
- I have discussed that in recent posts. When one gets rid of sakkaya ditthi, vicikicca and silabbata paramasa would be simultaneously removed and one would become a Sotapanna.
- So most of the discussion up to now in on Samma Ditthi. Both mundane samma ditthi and transcendental Samma Ditthi starting with the removal of sakkaya ditthi, i.e., after one becomes a Sotapanna.

Now I am covering more material that would help remove sakkaya ditthi. At the same time, I will be discussing both components in the two eightfold paths (mundane and transcendental).
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Kamma, Saṅkhāra, and Abhisaṅkhāra

Saṅkhāra Create Causes for Future Suffering

1. Paticca Samuppāda (PS) describes how future suffering arises due to saṅkhāra done with avijjā.

- The PS cycle starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā” and ends with “jāti paccayā jarā, marana, soka-paridēva-dukkha-dōmanassupāyasā sambhavan’ti.” And then it says, “Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayō hōti.“ or “that is how this whole mass of suffering arises.”
- Therefore, the PS cycle, in general, addresses ALL TYPES of future suffering. That includes bad kamma vipāka DURING a given life and also stronger kamma vipāka that lead to future REBIRTHS. In particular, rebirths in the four lowest realms (apāyā) lead to the worst kinds of suffering.
- All these FACTS appear in a long list of short suttā (plural of sutta) in the Anguttara Nikāya (10), starting with the “Sādhu Sutta (AN 10.134)” and ending at AN 236 (over one hundred suttā!)
-Edited:English translations for those suttas at Sutta Central: Dasakanipāta [html][/html]
-I have discussed several in the posts: "Dasa Kusala and Dasa Akusala – Fundamentals in Buddha Dhamma", Nov 21, 2018 (p. 50); "Dasa Kusala and Dasa Akusala – Fundamentals in Buddha Dhamma – Continued", Nov 22, 2018 (p. 50); "Part 1 (Nibbana): Three Kinds of Happiness", Nov 23, 2018 (p.50); "Part 2 (Nibbana): How Does Abstaining from Dasa Akusala Lead to Happiness?"  Nov 24, 2018 (p. 50); "Pathama Niraya Sagga Sutta (AN 10.210): Causes for Rebirth in Good and Bad Realms", Nov 19, 2018 (p. 49) AND Tue Nov 20, 2018 (p. 50).
- I mentioned the 10 types of miccha ditthi in the last post and its addendums. The following post discussed those: "Ten Types of Miccha Ditthi",  Two posts on Nov 16, 2018 (p. 48).

Suffering (and Pleasures) Arise Due to Kamma Vipāka

2. According to those suttā, suffering (dukkha) arises due to the vipāka (results) of akusala kamma or apuñña kamma (simply translated as immoral deeds.)

- In the same way, pleasures (sukha) result from kusala kamma/puñña kamma (simply translated as moral deeds.)
- There is a big difference between kusala kamma and puñña kamma. We will discuss that difference in the future after we discuss anicca and anatta.
- Until then, we may use kusala/puñña and also akusala/apuñña without much distinction. So, at this point, we are just assuming that kusala/puñña kamma are “good” and akusala/apuñña kamma are “bad.”
- Even though we loosely translate kusala/akusala kamma as moral/immoral deeds, kammā are done via bodily actions, speech, or thoughts.

Dasa Akusala – Seeds for Future Suffering

3. At a fundamental level, the Buddha identified three categories of akusala kamma. Those done with bodily actions (kāya kamma) are killing, stealing, sexual misconduct. There are four types of kamma done with speech (vacī kamma.) They are lying, slandering, harsh speech, and gossiping. Finally, three types done with thoughts (manō or citta kamma) are excess greed, excess anger, and wrong views.

- Those ten types of akusala kamma (dasa akusala) in Pali are: Pāṇātipāto, adinnādānaṃ, kāmesu¬micchā¬cāro, musāvādo, pisuṇā vācā, pharusā vācā, samphappalāpo, abhijjhā, byāpādo, micchā diṭṭhi.
- Those are the ten types of akusala kamma separated into three categories.

All Types of Kamma Originate In the Mind

4. When we look at the ten types akusala kamma, we can clearly see why kamma DOES NOT mean JUST bodily actions. The way of THINKING, as well as SPEAKING, contributes to the accumulation of kamma which can bring vipāka in the future.

- It is critically important to understand this point. Some people speak very nice words and even appear to be engaged in “good deeds” but have very bad intentions/mindsets. For example, someone may pretend to speak nicely but could be thinking bad thoughts to him/herself about the person they are talking to.
- Going through the motions of good actions/speech DOES NOT count for GENERATING good kammic energy.

The Buddha clarified this point very clearly. In the Nibbedhika Sutta (AN 6.63): “Cetanāhaṃ (cetanā aham), bhikkhave, kammaṃ vadāmi. Cetayitvā kammaṃ karoti—kāyena vācāya manasā.”

That means:Intention, I tell you, is kamma. One does kamma with intention (in mind)via body, speech, and thoughts.

- Therefore, kammic ENERGY for ALL ten types of kamma are GENERATED in the mind. Stated another way: MIND creates kammic energy associated with all ten types of kamma.
- I cannot emphasize enough the importance of understanding this CRITICAL point.

Intentions are in Saṅkhāra

5. It is cētanā in javana citta that PREPARES kamma viññāna or kamma bija using various types of cētasika. Such kamma viññāna or kamma bīja are PART OF dhammā.

- Some dhammā are just memories. This will be discussed in the next post. “Mind, Saṅkhāra, Dhammā, Kamma – Critical Connections.”

6. What we discussed in #4 above can be stated in Buddha’s terminology as follows. The mind generates three types of saṅkhāra: manō, vacī, and kāya saṅkhāra. All three types of saṅkhāra arise in the mind.

- How do those intentions end up as speech and bodily actions?
- It is the brain that “carries out” bodily movements and speech INTENDED in kāya saṅkhāra and vacī saṅkhāra. The brain gets the body parts to move, with the help of the muscles and the nervous system. Speech, similarly, generated via the movement of the tongue and the muscles in the mouth area.
- Therefore, kāya saṅkhāra LEAD to kāya kamma (killing, stealing, sexual misconduct.) Vaci saṅkhāra LEAD to vacī kamma (lying, slandering, harsh speech, and gossiping.) Manō (or citta) saṅkhāra LEAD to manō (or citta) kamma (excess greed, excess anger, and wrong views.)

Mind/Physical Body to Pilot/Airplane Analogy

7. The seat of the mind (hadaya vatthu) is where thoughts arise. The hadaya vatthu is part of the manōmaya kāya or mental body or the gandhabba. The hadaya vatthu is constant contact with the brain.

- In other words, the MIND decides what to do, and the brain carries out those commends. An analogy is how an airplane flies. The pilot makes decisions on where to go and the on-board computer carries out those commends.
- More details on that at, “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body.”: ... -and-body/
- Modern scientific evidence on the importance of the hadaya vatthu is only at an early stage. The following quote is from “Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance.”: ... unication/ “The heart is the most powerful source of electromagnetic energy in the human body, producing the largest rhythmic electromagnetic field of any of the body’s organs. The heart’s electrical field is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the electrical activity generated by the brain.”
- However, hadaya vatthu is NOT the heart. It is in the mental body (gandhabba) but close to the physical heart

Not All Saṅkhāra Will Have Kammic Consequences

8. Even though Paticca Samuppāda just states, “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā,” not all saṅkhāra will have kammic consequences. Stated in a different way: We do not act with avijjā all the time.

- For example, ANY bodily movement involves kāya saṅkhāra. If one’s mind decides to stand up, the brain gets that done by moving leg muscles. That does not have any kammic energy to bring future vipāka. Therefore, not all bodily actions have kammic consequences.
- Saṅkhāra with kammic consequences are “strong saṅkhāra” or “abhisaṅkhāra.“ Let us discuss that in detail first.

9. If you swing your arm, that is a kāya kammā, because that action involved moving a body part. That action was initiated by kāya saṅkhāra generated in the mind. But that does not have kammic consequences (except for the movement of the arm.)

- Now, if you swung your arm to get hold of a cup, that is also a kammically neutral action (kammā) or a just a saṅkhāra. You did not do either a moral or immoral act. The intention was to grab a cup, and that did not involve any sōbhana or asōbhana cētasika. That action is a kiriya (kriyā in Sanskrit or ක්‍රියා in Sinhala).
- On the other hand, if you swung your arm to hit someone, then it was done with anger. So, the dōsa cētasika (an asōbhana cētasika) was in your thoughts. Thus, it was an apuññābhisankhāra (apuñña abhisankhāra). That apuññābhisankhāra in the mind led to an akusala/apuñña kammā or an immoral deed.
- If you put your arms together to pay respects to the Buddha, it is a puññābhisankhāra (puñña abhisankhāra.) The saddhā cētasika (a sōbhana cētasika) is in the mind. We can also call it a kusala/puñña kammā or a moral deed.
- Therefore, “good or bad” cētasika (mental factors) are the ones that bring intention to thoughts. The cētanā cētasika is in ALL thoughts. The cētanā cētasika just incorporates the other relevant “good or bad” cētasika to a given thought to convey the “intention”.

Assāsa Passāsa (Breathing) Is Kāya Saṅkhāra

10. The very basic kāya saṅkhāra are involved in breathing. It is also the most IMPORTANT kāya saṅkhāra since we cannot live without breathing.

- Any type of saṅkhāra involves cētanā and thus saṅkhāra involves citta vithi. It does not seem like we breathe intentionally. That is because no javana citta are present in those citta vithi that are associated with breathing. They are parittārammana citta vithi. That means they are “weak.”
- Of course, breathing has no kammic consequences. It is just a “bodily action,” but a critically important one.

Apuññābhi saṅkhāra, puññābhi saṅkhāra, and Āneñjābhisaṅkhāra

11. We introduced two new words above that are relevant in generating kammic energy: apuññābhisaṅkhāra and puññābhisaṅkhāra. Here, apuññābhi saṅkhāra lead to akusala (or apuñña or immoral) kamma. Good, moral deeds, speech, or thoughts with kammic energy involve puññābhisaṅkhāra.

- There is a third type of abhisaṅkhāra: āneñjābhisaṅkhāra (āneñja abhisaṅkhāra). These types of saṅkhāra are in the minds of those who cultivate arupāvacara jhāna, the highest four jhāna.
- Apuññābhisaṅkhāra leads to rebirth in the apāyā. These, of course, lead to akusala kamma.
- Puññābhisaṅkhāra leads to rebirth in the human, deva, and rupāvacara Brahma realms. Puñña kamma is done with such puññābhisaṅkhāra. Note that cultivating rupāvacara jhāna is a puñña kamma.
- Āneñjābhisaṅkhāra leads to rebirths in the arupāvacara Brahma realms.

Saṅkhāra in Paticca Samuppāda Are Abhisaṅkhāra

12. Even though the first step in Paticca Samuppāda is simply, “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā,” it really refers to abhisaṅkhārā.
Paṭiccasamuppāda Vibhaṅga, explains the term “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā” in akusala-mula Paticca Samuppāda (that leads to suffering) as follows: “Tattha katame avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā? Puññābhisaṅkhāro, apuññābhisaṅkhāro, āneñjābhisaṅkhāro, kāyasaṅkhāro, vacīsaṅkhāro, cittasaṅkhāro“.

Translated: “What is avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā? Puññābhisaṅkhāra, apuññābhisaṅkhāra, āneñjābhisaṅkhāra, kāyasaṅkhāra, vacīsaṅkhāra, cittasaṅkhāra“. (here, citta saṅkhāra is the same as manō saṅkhāra).

- Those are all abhisaṅkhāra, even though the verse is simplified as “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā“.
- Two categories of saṅkhāra are mentioned there. One category refers to types of kamma accrued (Puññābhisaṅkhāra, apuññābhisaṅkhāra, āneñjābhisaṅkhāra.)
- The other category points out the three modes: body, speech, or mind (kāya saṅkhāra, vacī saṅkhāra, citta saṅkhāra or manō saṅkhāra).
- This is clarified in several suttā as well. for example, Saṅgīti Sutta (DN 33): Tayo saṅkhārāpuññābhisaṅkhāro, apuññābhisaṅkhāro, āneñjābhisaṅkhāro.”

13. Therefore, the word saṅkhāra can have different meanings in different contexts. That is why saṅkhāra SHOULD NOT be translated as just “mental formations.”

- I hope you can see that translating saṅkhāra as just “mental formations” does not provide much insight. Once one understands the basic concepts discussed above, it will be easier to see the real meaning of different types of saṅkhāra.
- We will discuss kāya, vacī, and manō saṅkhāra in detail in the next post. Then the critical connection of vitakka/vicara with vacī saṅkhāra will become clear.
- Also, see "Complexity of the Mind - Viññāna and Sankhāra" April 27, 2019 (p.72) AND “Kamma are Done with Sankhāra – Types of Sankhāra.” on May 3, 2019 (p.72).

All relevant posts are at, “[html] ... n-of-life/[/html].” At Dhamma Wheel, the series started on Jun 29, 2019, on p. 73:viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1080
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

P.S. I have added #14 to the post a few hours after I published this post. Now #16 is the last bullet point instead of #15.

Vacī Saṅkhāra – Saṅkappa (Conscious Thoughts) and Vācā (Speech)


1. Vacī Saṅkhāra is looking into a ārammana deeper (vitakka), and, in detail (vicāra). We introduced that in a previous post but will discuss it in a bit more detail here.

- Vācā is, of course, speech. Saṅkappa has been translated as “thoughts or intention.” Here, we will see that saṅkappa means “thoughts with intention.” We will also discuss how vacī saṅkhāra relates to both vācā and saṅkappa.
- The first four steps in the Noble Eightfold Path are Sammā Diṭṭhi, Sammā Saṅkappa, Sammā Vācā, and Sammā Kammanta. One’s thoughts depend on one’s views, and one’s speech and actions depend on how one thinks. This is why Sammā Diṭṭhi comes first, and also why “having correct views” about the nature of this world is at the forefront.

2. There are various types of saṅkhāra. In the previous post, we discussed categorizing saṅkhāra in two different ways.

• Three types depending on whether they lead to bodily actions, speech, or thoughts: kāyasaṅkhāra, vacīsaṅkhāra, cittasaṅkhāra.
• There are three more types according to future vipāka: Puññābhisaṅkhāra, apuññābhisaṅkhāra, āneñjābhisaṅkhāra.
• Let us first review them and then focus on vacī saṅkhāra. I explained kāya and citta (or manō) saṅkhāra in recent posts.

Three Types of Saṅkhāra Responsible for Actions, Speech, and Thoughts

3. There are succinct statements in the Cūḷavedalla Sutta (MN 44) on the types of saṅkhāra generated in mind:

Tayome, āvuso visākha, saṅkhārā—kāyasaṅkhāro, vacīsaṅkhāro, cittasaṅkhāro” ti.
– There are three types of saṅkhāra kāya saṅkhāra, vacī saṅkhāra, citta saṅkhāra.

Katamo panāyye, kāyasaṅkhāro, katamo vacīsaṅkhāro, katamo cittasaṅkhāro”ti?
– What are kāya saṅkhāra, What are vacī saṅkhāra, What are citta saṅkhāra (or manō saṅkhāra)?

Assāsapassāsā kho, āvuso visākha, kāyasaṅkhāro, vitakkavicārā vacīsaṅkhāro, saññā ca vedanā ca cittasaṅkhāro”ti.
Assāsa passāsā are kāya saṅkhāra, vitakkavicāra are vacī saṅkhāra, saññā and vedanā constitute citta saṅkhāra.

Kasmā panāyye, assāsapassāsā kāyasaṅkhāro, kasmā vitakkavicārā vacīsaṅkhāro, kasmā saññā ca vedanā ca cittasaṅkhāro”ti?
– Why are the three types of saṅkhāra categorized in that way?

Assāsapassāsā kho, āvuso visākha, kāyikā ete dhammā kāyap¬paṭi¬baddhā, tasmā assāsapassāsā kāyasaṅkhāro. Pubbe kho, āvuso visākha, vitakketvā vicāretvā pacchā vācaṃ bhindati, tasmā vitakkavicārā vacīsaṅkhāro. Saññā ca vedanā ca cetasikā ete dhammā cittap¬paṭi¬baddhā, tasmā saññā ca vedanā ca cittasaṅkhāro”ti.
Assāsa passāsā (breathing in and out) is associated with the body (movements). Thus, assāsa passāsa is kāya saṅkhāra.
Vitakka/vicāra arise before speech “breaks out.” Therefore, vitakka/vicāra are vacī saṅkhāra.
Saññā and vedanā are associated with any citta. Thus, Saññā/vedanā are citta saṅkhāra.

No Kammic Consequences for Citta (Mano) Saṅkhāra

4. Citta (manō) saṅkhāra does not have strong kammic consequences that can result in rebirth. As mentioned above in #3, they encompass vēdanā and saññā, which are in ALL citta. Therefore, even vipāka cittā have citta (manō) saṅkhāra.

- As we discussed in the post, “Amazingly Fast Time Evolution of a Thought (Citta),” (September 18, 2018, p. 31) any thought goes through nine stages within a billionth of a second. The early stages are citta and manō. Those two stages already have vēdanā and saññā.
- Bad (asōbhana) or good (sōbhana) mental factors (cētasika) are incorporated to thought only in the latter stages of that nine-step process. Furthermore, such cētasika involve in those latter stages ONLY IF there is an attachment (tanhā) and one is consciously thinking about a ārammana.
- The six steps described in the Chacakka Sutta happen within a split second. There is no time to "think" and thus there cannot be any vacī or kāya saṅkhāra. See #5 below.

Vacī or kāya saṅkhāra Can Lead to Abhisankhara

5. Vacī or kāya saṅkhāra MAY ALSO lead to actions that do not have kammic consequences. Such “harmless” vacī or kāya saṅkhāra cannot become abhisaṅkhāra that can bring future vipāka including rebirths.

- Breathing or walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water involves such “harmless” kāya saṅkhāra. Thinking about what needs to be done at work tomorrow or talking to the spouse about dinner plans involve such vacī saṅkhāra.
- Other kāya and vacī saṅkhāra lead to actions and speech that have kammic consequences. Those lead to abhisaṅkhāra. Such abhisaṅkhāra “prepare or give rise to” sankata. Thus, sankata are entities that are “prepared” via saṅkhāra or “arise” due to saṅkhāra. Paticca Samuppāda describes that process and we will get to it.

No Vacī or Kāya Saṅkhāra Involved in Initial Sensory Experience

6. Some thoughts that have gone through the nine stages do not involve conscious thinking. Thus, no vacī or kāya saṅkhāra are possible in such thoughts. Those are the vipāka citta described in the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148.)

- As we discussed in the recent posts, the six steps in the Chachakka Sutta take place due to kamma vipāka. During that vipāka stage, first, one of the six types of viññāna experienced. They all are vipāka viññāna. They are cakkhu, sōta, ghāna, jivhā, kāya, and manō viññāna. The last step is “vedanā paccayā taṇhā.”
- In all those six steps, one does not get to think. They happen automatically. It is important to realize that one consciously generates vacī or kāya saṅkhāra with sōbhana or asōbhana cētasika. Only manō saṅkhāra (without kammic consequences) generated in those six steps.

Paticca Samuppāda Starts With “Salāyatana Paccayā Phassa

7. As we discussed in previous posts, the Paticca Samuppāda cycle starts not with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra,” but with “salāyatana paccayā phassa.” This is why we spent a lot of time discussing the Chacakka Sutta (MN 148.) It may be a good idea to review those posts.

- There has to be a ārammana strong enough to generate interest. For example, seeing an attractive/repulsive figure, tasting something tasty/bitter, hearing a soothing/loud noise, etc.

8. Such vipāka viññāna come about via, “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ” through “mānañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manoviññāṇaṃ” per Chacakka Sutta. We discussed in a previous post that those steps are equivalent to “salāyatana paccayā phassō, phassa paccayā vēdanā, vēdanā paccayā tanhā” steps in Paticca Samuppāda. See the post, “Paticca Samuppāda – A “Self” Exists Due to Avijjā.”

- In other words, during the vipāka stage, “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” followed by “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāna” DOES NOT take place, as we can clearly see.
- After getting to “vedanā paccayā taṇhā” with the initial sensory event on a new ārammana, the next step in the Paticca Samuppāda cycle starts. The next step is “tanhā paccayā upādāna.” That is when kamma viññāna arises because we start acting with avijjā.
- Let us see how vacī and kāya saṅkhāra arise once one gets attached and gets “stuck” in a ārammana (tanhā.) That is the beginning of a complex process involved in the “tanhā paccayā upādāna” step.

Vitakka/Vicara Initiate Abhisankhara

9. When one is “stuck” with a particular ārammana, one starts CONSCIOUSLY thinking about it. That involves vitakka and vicāra mental factors (cētasika.) That means one starts “looking into that ārammana deeper (vitakka), and, in detail (vicāra).

- We can get an idea with the following example. Suppose we go to a showroom to buy a car. If we get interested in a certain car, we examine it carefully. We ask questions from the salesman and get more information about that car. In the same way, when we get interested in any ārammana, we start thinking about different aspects of it.
- In particular, when we like a given ārammana (that car could be one), we start imagining how nice it would be to have it parked on the driveway. How the neighbors may be impressed by it. In many cases, we start “daydreaming” about how we will enjoy it. Those are all vacī saṅkhāra with vitakka and vicāra.
- Of course, we may also start talking about how good it is. Speaking out also involves vitakka/vicāra.
- If any of those thoughts involve “bad” (asōbhana) cētasika (like greed), then such conscious thoughts become vacī abhisaṅkhāra.

10. If we really get interested in a ārammana, we may take action too. We may go to other showrooms to look at similar models and compare prices. We may search the internet for other car dealers in the area, etc.

• Such actions involve moving body parts. As we will see below, kāya saṅkhāra lead to those actions.
• If those thoughts involve “bad” (asōbhana) cētasika, then such kāya saṅkhāra becomes kāya abhisaṅkhāra.
• More information at, “Vitakka, Vicāra, Savitakka, Savicāra, and Avitakka, Avicāra.” on March 8, 2019 (p.71):viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1050 I recommend reading that post to get further details and Tipitaka references.

Sankappa Means Thinking and Thus Vacī Saṅkhāra

11. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta (MN 117): “Katamo ca, bhikkhave, sammā saṅkappo ariyo anāsavo lokuttaro maggaṅgo? Yo kho, bhikkhave, ariyacittassa anāsavacittassa ariyamaggasamaṅgino ariyamaggaṃ bhāvayato takko vitakko saṅkappo appanā (fixing of thought on an object) byappanā cetaso abhiniropanā (application) vacī saṅkhāroayaṃ, bhikkhave, sammā saṅkappo ariyo anāsavo lokuttaro maggaṅgo. “

Translated: “What, bhikkhus, is sammā saṅkappa that is noble, blameless, supramundane, a factor of the noble path? The thinking, re-thinking, thinking with “san” (saṅkappa), absorption, absorption with defilements, directing of mind, verbal formation (vacī saṅkhāra) — in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is devoid of āsava (anāsavo), who is on the noble path. That is sammā saṅkappa that is noble and a factor of the path.

- Thus, it is very clear that Sammā Saṅkappa means generating thoughts focused on making progress on the Path.
- They are “Noble vacī saṅkhāra” with the comprehension of anicca, dukkha, anatta and thus focused on Nibbāna.
- By the way, such saṅkhāra arise in the "Kusala-Mūla Paticca Samuppāda” starting with “kusala-mūla paccayā saṅkhāra.” Note the difference from the Akusala-Mūla Paticca Samuppāda that starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” We will discuss the Kusala-Mūla Paticca Samuppāda in the future in this series. It is discussed in the Paticca Samuppāda section at “Kusala-Mula Paticca Samuppada.”

Not All Sankhārā Are Due to Avijjā (and Tanhā)

12. Now we can see how one starts doing saṅkhāra due to avijjā only IF one is attached via tanhā. That is the beginning of a Paticca Samuppāda cycle: “avijjā paccayā sankhārā.”

• However, not all saṅkhāra create kamma viññāna that can bring good or bad kamma vipāka. For example, one may get thirsty (that is due to a ārammana too) and may decide to go to the kitchen to get a glass of water. Walking to the kitchen involves kāya saṅkhāra (to get the body to move.) But that intention is neither good nor bad. It is kammically neutral. It was not due to avijjā.
• All bodily activities, including breathing, are done with kāya saṅkhāra. But “avijjā paccayā sankhārā” comes into play ONLY IF bad or defiled intentions are in the mind. There is no avijjā or tanhā involved in breathing or the activities mentioned above (thus they DO NOT lead to abhisaṅkhāra).

Apunna Abhisankhārā Done with Avijjā (and Tanhā)

13. Now let us consider the actions of a thief. A person is in the waiting room to see a doctor and sees that someone has dropped a wallet. The moment he sees the wallet, his mind attaches to it (tanhā). Then he thinks that there could be some money in the wallet and that it is an easy way to get some “free money.” Those conscious thoughts are vacī saṅkhāra. Then he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. That last step involves kāya saṅkhāra.

- Here he did bodily actions with kāya saṅkhāra. He did that because he did not realize the future bad consequences of stealing. Thus “avijjā paccayā sankhārā” generated bad thoughts of picking the wallet AND putting it in his pocket.
- While he was doing that he had “bad saṅkhāra” (with bad cetana) in his mind. The cetana (intention) was to steal. Such bad saṅkhāra are apunna abhisaṅkhāra. Both vacī and kāya saṅkhāra, in this example, were apunna abhisaṅkhāra.

Punna Abhisankhārā Also Done with Avijjā (and Tanhā)

14. In the previous post, "Kamma, Saṅkhāra, and Abhisaṅkhāra" (under #12) I pointed out briefly that puññā­bhi­saṅ­khāra and āneñjā­bhi­saṅ­khāra are also done with avijjā.

Paṭic­ca­samup­pāda ­Vibhaṅga, explains the term “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā” in akusala-mula Paticca Samuppāda (that leads to suffering) as follows: “Tattha katame avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā? Puññā­bhi­saṅ­khāro, apuññā­bhi­saṅ­khāro, āneñjā­bhi­saṅ­khāro, kāyasaṅkhāro, vacīsaṅkhāro, cittasaṅkhāro“.

Translated: “What is avijjā paccayā saṅkhārāPuññā­bhi­saṅ­khāra, apuññā­bhi­saṅ­khāra, āneñjā­bhi­saṅ­khāra, kāyasaṅkhāra, vacīsaṅkhāra, cittasaṅkhāra“. (here, citta saṅkhāra is the same as manō saṅkhāra).

- Puññā­bhi­saṅ­khāra are, of course, Moral and good deeds. 
- Āneñjā­bhi­saṅ­khāra involve cultivating arupavacara jhāna.  
- When a person who has not comprehended anicca, dukkha, anatta engage in those two types of "good saṅ­khāra," they are still done with avijjā! That is because one has not yet grasped the dangers in remaining in the rebirth process.
- To get the basic idea, let us briefly consider the following example.

15. Now let us consider the same scenario with another average human. But this person has good, moral gati. He is always trying to do moral things and tries to abstain from doing immoral things.

- This person will pick up the wallet and take it to the receptionist. The person who dropped the wallet may come back looking for it. It is possible that the wallet had not only his driver’s license but possibly credit cards and money. So, our good samaritan saved a lot of stress and work for the wallet owner.
- That is an example of a punna abhisaṅkhāra. But if it is an abhisaṅkhāra, that MUST have been done via “avijjā paccayā sankhārā.” Is that not a contradiction since he did a “good deed”?
- To get the answer to that question we need to understand the difference between the mundane eightfold path and the Noble Eightfold Path.

Two Eightfold Paths – Mundane Eightfold Path and the Noble Eightfold Path

16. The Buddha said that there are two eightfold paths (Mahā­cat­tārīsa­ka Sutta, MN 117). One is the mundane path, where one does good deeds without the comprehension of the “real nature of this world (yathābhūta ñāna).” One gets to the mundane path by first getting rid of the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi. I have discussed the two paths in the post, "Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty)", Oct 23, 2018  (p.42). Also see, "Wrong Views (Miccā Ditthi) – A Simpler Analysis", Oct 24, 2018 (p.43) and "Ten Types of Miccha Ditthi",  Two posts on Nov 16, 2018 (p. 48).

- Once one gets rid of the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi, there is another critical step involved before one can get to the Noble Eightfold Path. One must learn the “real nature of this world” or the anicca, dukkha, anatta nature from a Noble person who learned that from a Noble person too. That lineage goes back all the way to the Buddha. See, “Four Conditions for Attaining Sōtapanna Magga/Phala.” at
- Only a Buddha can discover the anicca, dukkha, anatta nature by himself. All others need to learn that from a Noble person (Ariyā.) That is why most people are only exposed to the mundane eightfold path.
- We will get to discuss the anicca, dukkha, anatta nature in upcoming posts, once we finish going through the steps in Paticca Samuppāda. Of course, it has been discussed in the sub-section, “Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta.” at The current series on “Origin of Life” is an attempt to get there in a systematic way.

All relevant posts are at, “[html] ... n-of-life/[/html].” At Dhamma Wheel, the series started on Jun 29, 2019, on p. 73:viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1080
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Summary on Vitakka/Vicāra, Savitakka/Savicāra, and Avitakka/Avicāra

I realized that it may be a good idea to summarize the key ideas that I discussed in two previous posts, "Vacī Saṅkhāra – Saṅkappa (Conscious Thoughts) and Vācā (Speech)" and "Vitakka, Vicāra, Savitakka, Savicāra, and Avitakka, Avicāra." We can discuss any questions anyone may have. But please refer to those previous posts and quote from any of my posts to point out any inconsistencies.

1. In simple terms, vitakka/vicāra means the following.

- Examining various aspects of a ārammana (vitakka.)
- Examining a given aspect in depth (vicāra.)

2. It is a good idea to explain what I mean by those highlighted terms above. Let us take an example. Suppose person X is waiting to see a doctor in a doctor's office and sees that someone had left a wallet on a nearby chair. In this case, that wallet is the ārammana that his mind was attracted to.

- No one else is in the room and X starts thinking "various aspects" of his possible actions. His "moral side" says he should handover the wallet to the receptionist so that the owner who is likely to come back looking for the wallet will get it back.
- But his greed may take over. He may start thinking that there could be a lot of money in that wallet.
- So, those are two possible "aspects" that he may think about. That is what is meant by "vitakka".

3. If the greedy aspect takes over, then the "going back and forth among two or more aspects" is no longer there, i.e., no more vitakka.

- Then he will be thinking about what he can do with that money. He may think about how to pick up the wallet so that no one would see. He will look to whether the receptionist will be able to see. Those are vicāra or looking into further aspects of that particular aspect of picking up the wallet and keeping it to himself.
- That is a very simple explanation of vitakka and vicāra.

4. In principle, a ārammana could be one that leads to akusala kamma or kusala kamma. Therefore, vitakka/vicāra could be “good or bad.”

- There are, of course, "neutral ārammana" that would not lead to akusala or kusala kamma.
- What we discussed above is a simple example.
- There could be many aspects (vitakka) that one may consider based on a given ārammana that catches one's attention. One may look deeper (vicaāa) into more than one of those aspects.

5. The words vitakka  and vicāra are reserved normally for “exploring various bad aspects” and “examining such aspects in detail”. Such “bad vitakka” and “bad vicāra” are those involving kāma vitakka, ­byāpā­da­ vitak­ka, vihiṃ­sā­ vitak­ka (sensual aspects, unwise aspects leading in a "downward path", hateful aspects).

- In the same way, the words savitakka and savicāra are normally used for “exploring various good thoughts” and “examining such thoughts in detail”.  Such “good vitakka” and “good vicāra” are nekkhamma vitakka, ­abyāpā­da­ vitak­ka, avihiṃ­sā­ vitak­ka (aspects, unwise aspects leading in a "downward path", hateful aspects).
- Furthermore, avitakka vicāramatta means the ABSENCE of vitakka (“exploring various bad thoughts”) WITH A TRACE of vicāra (“examining any remaining bad thoughts in detail”) left.
- Finally, the words avitakka and avicāra mean the COMPLETE ABSENCE of “bad thoughts” and “examining such thoughts in detail.” The key point here is that it DOES NOT mean the absence of savitakka/savicāra or “allowing good thoughts” and “examining such thoughts in detail”. In the contrary, when one is in a second or higher jhana, one is FOCUSSING on savitakka/savicāra.

6. The above summary is clearly confirmed in the steps leading to samadhi and jhana at the end of the “Upakkilesa Suatta (MN 128)“: “ ..So kho ahaṃ, anuruddhā, savitakkampi savicāraṃ samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, avitakkampi vicāramattaṃ samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, avitakkampi avicāraṃ samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, sappītikampi samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, nippītikampi samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, sāta­saha­gatampi samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, upekkhā­saha­gatampi samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ..”

Translated: “Anuruddha, I systematically cultivated the following samādhi in this order. Savitakka savicāra samādhi, avitakka vicāramattaṃ samādhi (absence of vitakka with a trace of vicāra left), avitakka avicāra  samādhi (absence of vitakka and vicāra), sappītikampi samādhi (with piti or joy), nippītikampi samādhi (absence of piti or joy), sāta­saha­gatampi samādhi (with only sukha left), and upekkhā­saha­gata samādhi (sukha also removed to be in the upekkha state)”.

- What the Buddha described above is getting to the first jhāna with savitakka savicāra, and then to the second jhāna with the absence of vitakka with a trace of vicāra left, third with the absence of vitakka and vicāra (with piti and sukha),fourth jhāna with just sukha (joy removed), and the fifth jhāna with sukha also removed and with just upekkha).
- Note that the above analysis uses the five-fold (rupāvacara) jhāna instead of the normally-used four-fold (rupāvacara) jhāna states.
- For a description of Ariya jhāna with jhānānga removed at each successive stage, see, “Rahogata Sutta (SN 36.11)“, for example.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote: Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:47 pm - Examining various aspects of a ārammana (vitakka.)
I think,
ārammana is supporting condition. wrote:Take a mendicant who is focusing on some foundation of meditation that gives rise to bad, unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate, and delusion. That mendicant should focus on some other foundation of meditation connected with the skillful.
Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno yaṃ nimittaṃ āgamma yaṃ nimittaṃ manasikaroto uppajjanti pāpakā akusalā vitakkā chandūpasaṃhitāpi dosūpasaṃhitāpi mohūpasaṃhitāpi, tena, bhikkhave, bhikkhunā tamhā nimittā aññaṃ nimittaṃ manasi kātabbaṃ kusalūpasaṃhitaṃ.
here nimitta has same function as ārammana. It is theme, like sunset on a beach. And vitakka are the thoughts what arise dependent on that theme. wrote:I, a monk, went to a charnel ground “Bhikkhu sivathikaṃ gantvā,
and saw a woman’s body abandoned there, Addasa itthimujjhitaṃ;
discarded in a cemetery, Apaviddhaṃ susānasmiṃ,
full of worms that devoured. Khajjantiṃ kimihī phuṭaṃ.

Some men were disgusted, Yañhi eke jigucchanti,
seeing her dead and rotten; mataṃ disvāna pāpakaṃ;
but sexual desire arose in me, Kāmarāgo pāturahu,
I was as if blind to her oozing body. andhova savatī ahuṃ.
abandoned woman's body in a cemetery is ārammana or nimitta. Sexual desire what arose is akusalā vitakkā. Manasikara connected with the lobha, dosa, moha. wrote:Quicker than the cooking of rice Oraṃ odanapākamhā,
I left that place! tamhā ṭhānā apakkamiṃ;
Mindful and aware, Satimā sampajānohaṃ,
I retired to a discreet place. ekamantaṃ upāvisiṃ.
discreet place, is new or different ārammana. wrote:Then the realization Tato me manasīkāro,
came upon me—yoniso udapajjatha;
the danger became clear, Ādīnavo pāturahu,
and I was firmly disillusioned. nibbidā samatiṭṭhatha.
and the realization and disillusionment is kusalā vitakkā. Yoniso manasikara. wrote:Then my mind was freed—Tato cittaṃ vimucci me,
see the excellence of the teaching! passa dhammasudhammataṃ;
I’ve attained the three knowledges Tisso vijjā anuppattā,
and fulfilled the Buddha’s instructions. kataṃ buddhassa sāsanan”ti.
the mind is freed, is cessation of vitakkavicara.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » wrote:
Take a mendicant who is focusing on some foundation of meditation that gives rise to bad, unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate, and delusion. That mendicant should focus on some other foundation of meditation connected with the skillful.
Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno yaṃ nimittaṃ āgamma yaṃ nimittaṃ manasikaroto uppajjanti pāpakā akusalā vitakkā chandūpasaṃhitāpi dosūpasaṃhitāpi mohūpasaṃhitāpi, tena, bhikkhave, bhikkhunā tamhā nimittā aññaṃ nimittaṃ manasi kātabbaṃ kusalūpasaṃhitaṃ.

here nimitta has same function as ārammana.
Yes. Nimitta is very close to ārammana.
- However, nimitta is usually used to denote a "thought object" that one PLACES one's mind on. In the verse auto quoted above, it says, "nimittaṃ manasikaroto" or "keeping the mind on the nimitta".
- For example, when one decides to do an anariya (non-Buddhist) kasina bhavana, one may take a particular kasina object (say, a clay ball) as the nimitta. Many people take breath to be the nimitta in breath meditation.

The word ārammana is normally used to show the change in thought object due to a sensory event coming through one of the six senses as I discussed in the previous post.

The sutta that auto quoted, MN 20, is a good one. I may discuss that in the future. The instructions given in that sutta are the ones one should use in the correct Anapanasati meditation (to remove bad thoughts and to cultivate good thoughts).
- That will be mentioned at the end of the post that I will post today.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Tanhā Paccayā Upādāna – Critical Step in Paticca Samuppāda

We Do Have Control Over Our Destiny

Tanhā Paccayā Upādāna” is a critical step in Paticca Samuppāda (PS). That is where we can take CONTROL of the PS process. Before addressing that it is a good idea to review the actual progression of events leading to the PS process.

1. We started this series by discussing the Chacakka Sutta. That sutta describes the initial events that trigger the PS process. As we saw, “salāyatana paccayā phassa” step is where a new PS cycle gets started. See, “Buddhist Worldview – Introduction.”

- A mind does not arbitrarily start generating saṅkhāra (corrupt or immoral thoughts) due to avijjā. That is why I say that a PS cycle does not begin with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” See the previous post, “Vacī Saṅkhāra – Saṅkappa (Conscious Thoughts) and Vācā (Speech).”
- Our focus is on the types of abhisaṅkhāra that can bring “bad kamma vipāka” in the future. Therefore, we are discussing the “akusala-mūla PS.”

Paticca Samuppāda Initiated by “Salāyatana Paccayā Phassa

2. First, there must be a reason for a mind to generate abhisaṅkhāra (evil or immoral thoughts.) The Buddha pointed out that there are three primary reasons: lōbha (greed), dōsa (hate or anger), and mōha (not knowing about kamma/vipāka and rebirth at the base level and not realizing the anicca, dukkha, anatta nature at a deeper level.)

- One MUST be tempted by greed or anger to do such bad kamma. That happens ONLY IF there is a STRONG sensory input coming through the six senses. For example, one generates angry thoughts if one sees an enemy. One may think about stealing only if one sees a valuable item and generates greed.
- That is why “salāyatana paccayā phassa” is the step that INITIATES kamma generation via the PS cycle. Salayatana means the six internal āyatana or the six sense faculties (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind.) Phassa means “contact,” and such contacts are with external āyatana. Then the mind quickly goes through the “phassa paccayā vēdanā” and “vēdanā paccayā taṇhā” steps to end up with “taṇhā” or “attachment to that ārammana” in a split-second! We CANNOT stop those steps. They are automatic. They can take place as long as we have taṇhā.
- We discussed that at length in several posts in discussing the Chacakka Sutta. See the earlier posts in this series.
- Removing taṇhā involves controlling the next step in PS: “taṇhā paccayā upādāna.” That is what we will focus on now.

Difference Between Mōha and Avijjā

3. Once one gets “attached” to a ārammana, one is CAPABLE of doing akusala kamma (immoral deeds.) Some people are not even aware that immoral acts (bad kamma) can lead to unpleasant vipāka in the future. Some of those bad kamma can lead to suffering-filled rebirths in apāyā. That is the base level of mōha, where one is morally blind. Someone with mōha could do such immoral deeds without any remorse. See, “Lōbha, Dōsa, Mōha versus Rāga, Patigha, Avijjā.” posted on Nov 11, 2018 (p. 44).

- Mōha is reduced to the avijjā level when one gets rid of the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi. Even at the lower level of avijjā, one is still CAPABLE of doing such “apāyagāmi actions” if the sensory input is strong enough. One could live a “moral life” most of the time but could end up taking a large bribe or engage in sexual misconduct if the ārammana is strong enough. For example, one may not have taken a bribe for most of the life, but be tempted “if the price is high enough.”
- Even after one attains the Sōtapanna stage, one may still do some akusala kamma, but one’s mind WILL NOT allow doing any “apāyagāmi deeds.” We will discuss that in the future.
- Right now, we are focusing on understanding how an average human accumulates bad kamma starting at the “salāyatana paccayā phassa” step in Akusala-Mūla PS. By an average human, I mean a “moral person” who has removed the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi but has not yet comprehended Tilakkhana (anicca, dukkha, anatta.)

A “Moral Person” May Be Tempted to Do Apāyagāmi Deeds

4. Such a “moral person” has reduced mōha to the avijjā level, but still is capable of doing “apāyagāmi” deeds. Even though he/she may act morally most of the time, he/she has “hidden defilements” (āsava) that can come to the surface (as anusaya), if triggered by a tempting sensory input. That is what we discussed in #3.

- I hope you can get an idea of what is meant by āsava and anusaya by re-reading #3 and #4. Āsava means “sleeping defilements.” They can be “awakened” by a robust sensory input (ārammana) and brought up to the mind as “anusaya.” See, “Āsava, Anusaya, and Gati (Gathi).”[html] ... %20anusaya[/html]
- Āsava is like the gun powder in a matchstick. Striking that match on a rough surface will produce light. In the same way, when a defiled mind (with avijjā) comes into contact (phassa, or more accurately samphassa) with a strong ārammana (say an attractive person), that could make greed or desire (anusaya) comes to the mind.
- Having such āsava is the same as having “bad gati.” As one reduces āsava (by following the Eightfold Path), one’s undesirable gati will also decrease.

Taṇhā Is There As Long as One Has Bad Gati and Āsava

5. The critical point in the Chacakka Sutta is the following. One MAY get attached (taṇhā) to a given ārammana as long as one has “defiled gati” or the four types of āsava: diṭṭhāsava, kamāsava, bhavāsava, avijjāsava. All of them have greed, anger, and ignorance (of the Four Noble Truths) as their origins. See, “Conditions for the Four Stages of Nibbāna.”[html] ... f-nibbana/[/html]
• Within a split-second of that ārammana coming to the mind, the mind gets attached (taṇhā.) Then, if one acts unwisely (ayonisō manasikāra), one will go through the “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step in PS and will accumūlate NEW kamma.
• However, an Arahant will not get attached to ANY ārammana, and that is why the Akusala-Mūla PS process does not take place for an Arahant.
• Therefore, the key to Nibbāna is to see how one can get rid of taṇhā. I hope you can see that this is equivalent to removing gati, āsava (and thereby anusaya or cravings.)

Connection to the Eightfold Path

6. The key to getting to Nibbāna is to understand what happens in the “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step. That is the first step after the last step, “vēdanā paccayā taṇhā” discussed in the Chacakka Sutta.

- Any bad kamma that one had done in the past is embedded in one’s taṇhā. As we saw above, as long as one has “defiled gati” or āsava, one WILL have taṇhā. The way to reduce and eventually remove taṇhā is to reduce and eliminate one’s bad gati.
- Please go through the above material and previous posts to make sure the above conclusions are understood. We cannot remove taṇhā by sheer will power. We need to follow the Eightfold Path to reduce and eliminate WRONG views, thoughts, speech, actions, way of living, efforts, and wrong mindfulness that will direct one towards wrong samādhi (mindest.) In Pali, those who are on the “wrong or immoral path” have micchā diṭṭhi, micchā saṅkappa, micchā vācā, micchā kammanta, micchā ajiva, micchā vāyāma, micchā sati, and micchā samādhi.
- When one understands the PS process (including the critical “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step), one will be able to see the need to get rid of those wrong eight factors. Then one will cultivate “Sammā” versions of them: sammā diṭṭhi, sammā saṅkappa, sammā vācā, sammā kammanta, sammā ajiva, sammā vāyāma, sammā sati, and sammā samādhi.

Vaci Sankhāra Responsible for Upādāna

7. When one gets “attached” or “get stuck” in a ārammana due to taṇhā, the FIRST THING that happens is that DEFILED thoughts arise in one’s mind AUTOMATICALLY. Those are manō (or citta) saṅkhāra.

- For example, if one sees a beautiful person, one may generate lustful thoughts automatically. If one sees one’s arch-enemy, one may create angry thoughts, etc. Such defiled arise due to “hidden defilements” (āsava) or “bad gati.”
- However, within moments, we become aware of such thoughts. At that stage, many of us continue to generate similar defiled thoughts CONSCIOUSLY. As soon as we become aware of them, they are now vaci saṅkhāra. At this stage, we are analyzing that ārammana in various ways (vitakka/vicāra.) We may also start speaking about it. Both types are vaci saṅkhāra. We have discussed that in detail in several posts. See, “Vacī Saṅkhāra – Saṅkappa (Conscious Thoughts) and Vācā (Speech),” “Difference Between Tanhā and Upādāna” and “Vitakka, Vicāra, Savitakka, Savicāra, and Avitakka, Avicāra.” The last one was posted at Dhamma Wheel on March 8, 2019 (p.71).
- With vitakka/vicāra (vaci saṅkhāra), our interest in that ārammana will get stronger. Then we may take physical actions involving kāya saṅkhāra.
- By the way, vaci saṅkhāra (talking to oneself without speaking) is the same as saṅkappa. Vaci saṅkhāra also leads to speech (vācā) as we discussed before.
- Of course, kāya saṅkhāra leads to bodily actions.

8. We start accumulating new kamma when we start generating vaci and kāya saṅkhāra.

Per #7, vaci saṅkhāra lead to micchā saṅkappa and micchā vācā. Kāya saṅkhāra leads to micchā kammanta. Now we can tie those up with the following that I have discussed in previous posts.

- Manō (citta) saṅkhāra arise first (and automatically) and do not involve conscious thinking. They DO NOT have kammic consequences.
- However, both vaci and kāya saṅkhāra that may follow WILL HAVE kammic consequences. In other words, micchā saṅkappa, micchā vācā, micchā kammanta are “bad kamma.”

Avijjā Is the Ignorance of Bad Consequences of Taṇhā

9. What we discussed above in #6 through #8 are all associated with the “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step in PS. When the mind automatically “attach to a ārammana” (taṇhā), it starts generating saṅkhāra via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” That is how new PS processes get starts.

- If one does not realize the harmful consequences of getting attached via greed, anger, or ignorance, that means one is acting with avijjā AT THAT TIME.
- It is critical to note that a “given person” DOES NOT act with avijjā all the time. Whether one will start thinking and acting with avijjā depends on the nature of the ārammana (whether it matches his/her gati) and how strong the ārammana is.
- If one does get “attached” or “get stuck” with a ārammana, then one will start “pulling it closer.” One wants to think about it, speak about it, and take action.
- Upādāna means “pulling it closer (in one’s mind)” (“upa” + “ādāna,” where “upa” means “close” and “ādāna” means “pull”).

10. That is how the “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step starts a new PS cycle with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.”

- One will start generating vaci saṅkhāra without speaking first. Those are micchā saṅkappa. For example, upon seeing an enemy, a person X may generate evil thoughts about that person.
- If emotions become stronger, X may speak out. In the above example, X may say something harsh to that person. Those are micchā vācā.
- If that person also responds in kind and the situation escalates, X may hit that person. That is a micchā kammanta.That action initiated by kāya saṅkhāra.
- All those vaci and kāya saṅkhāra arise via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.”

Paticca Samuppāda May Not Proceed Linearly

11. Now we can see how complicated the “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step is. It went back to the “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” step to initiate a new PS cycle.

- Now, those vaci saṅkhārā and kāya saṅkhārā lead to kamma viññāṇa, via “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa” (and the rest of the PS cycle ending in “the whole mass of suffering”.)
- Such kamma viññāṇa are focused on hurting that person in the example of #10. That viññāṇa, in turn, leads to more vaci and kāya saṅkhāra via “viññāṇa paccayā saṅkhāra.” Note that this is the reverse of “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa.”
- Therefore, PS steps do not necessarily go just one way. They can go backward. They can jump to different places in the cycle. As we saw, it jumped from the “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step to the “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” step.
- However, when one understands the basic concepts, one will be able to figure out or “make sense” of such complexities.

Connection to Ānāpānasati and Satipaṭṭhāna

12. That is also why it is CRITICAL to stop the vaci saṅkhāra that arise immediately following the manō saṅkhāra. In that initial stage, speech has not “broken out yet.” We just become aware that we are generating lustful/hateful thoughts.

- We MUST stop vaci sankhārā as they start arising. Then they will not lead to “bad speech” (via more vaci saṅkhāra) or “bad actions” (via kāya saṅkhāra.) This is discussed in the “Vitakkasaṇṭhāna Sutta (MN 20).”
- That is the key to doing the correct Ānāpānasati bhāvanā and Satipaṭṭhāna bhāvanā! See, "Breath Meditation Is Addictive and Harmful in the Long Run", Jan 15, 2019, (p. 64) and "Ānapāna That Can Reduce and Eliminate Mental Stress Permanently", Jan 20, 2019, (p. 65): [html]viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=960[/html]
- We will discuss that and more steps in PS in the upcoming posts.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Mōha/Avijjā and Vipāka Viññāṇa/Kamma Viññāṇa

Summary of Discussion Up To Now

1. From the post “Buddhist Worldview - Introduction,” on August 27, 2019, we have been discussing how the Buddha explained the sensory experience. More importantly, the Buddha taught how a “living being” generates kammic energies for future existences (bhava) based on “attachment” (taṇhā) to a given sensory experience. As we have discussed, “attachment” can happen due to greed, hate, or an unwise mindset.

-First, we discussed how a sensory event starts when a ārammana (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, dhammā) comes to the mind when one of the six senses (internal āyatana) comes into contact with an external āyatana. Becoming aware of sensory input is one of the six types of vipāka viññāṇa: “cakkhu viññāṇa, sōta viññāṇa, ghāna viññāṇa, jivhā viññāṇa, kāya viññāṇa, manō viññāṇa.”
- Those six types of viññāṇa, including manō viññāṇa, are vipāka viññāṇa. They DO NOT generate kammic energy. They are “experiences.”

2. Then, one MAY “attach to” or “get stuck in” that sensory experience INSTANTLY. That means generating taṇhā. Then the “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step automatically follows. That is a step in the middle of the Paticca Samuppāda (PS) cycle.

- One will attach (taṇhā) only if one has “defiled gati.” That means one likes or dislikes that sensory experience (could be connected with ignorance too.) If one attaches, then one will start thinking and speaking (with vaci saṅkhāra) and even may take actions (with kāya saṅkhāra) with a DEFILED MIND. That means those saṅkhāra arise via, “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” That is part of “upādāna” or “pulling that ārammana close.”
- Therefore, what we summarized here in #2 is how the “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step in PS initiates a new PS process that starts at “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” That is how the PS cycle begins in real life, beginning with a ārammana (as detailed in the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148).

Summary in Charts

3. Since it is CRITICAL to understand what we discussed above, I have made the charts below to help us with the discussion.


One can download the charts for printing:  "Response to a ārammana with Mōha ... dana-2.pdf," "Response to a ārammana with Avijjā ... dana-1.pdf," and "Response to a ārammana by an Arahant ... dana-4.pdf."

- Paticca Samuppāda referred to in ALL the charts is the “Akusala-Mūla Paticca Samuppāda.” That PS process leads to future suffering.
- Therefore, saṅkhāra that do not arise in an Arahant are ONLY “bad or immoral saṅkhāra.” An Arahant will still generate manō, vaci, and kāya saṅkhāra to think, speak, and take actions. He/she will be engaged in “puñña kriyā” or “moral deeds.” Such “moral deeds” are NOT “puñña abhisankhara” because one does them with full comprehension of the anicca nature. We will discuss this critical point later.

Difference Between Mōha and Avijjā

4. Let us start with the first chart above. That chart is for an extreme case of a “totally morally-blind” person. That mind is covered with defilements (mōha.) Such a person would, just like an animal, go along with any temptation that comes to the mind. His/her “bad gati” will only get stronger.

- The chart below applies to a wide range of humans with avijjā. Avijjā is a lower form of mōha. When one removes the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi, mōha reduces to the avijjā level. Any human who knows right from wrong is an average human. It also includes those who are Ariyas (Sōtapanna Anugāmi and above) but not yet attained Arahanthood.


- Of course, any Ariya (Noble Person) is INCAPABLE of doing apāyagāmi deeds. An Anāgāmi is INCAPABLE of craving for sensual pleasures, etc. Therefore, as one moves to higher stages of Nibbāna, one will “attach to” less and less ārammana (sensory inputs.)
- But any average human — no matter how “moral” by conventional standards — is CAPABLE of doing even an apāyagāmi deed. The ārammana must be strong enough to be tempted.
- An Arahant has a totally-purified mind and has no “bad gati” left. Therefore, he/she WILL NOT initiate an “Akusala-Mūla Paticca Samuppāda” cycle under ANY circumstance. That is indicated in the third chart below.


Difference Between Vipāka Viññāṇa and Kamma Viññāṇa

5. Above charts also help us clarify the difference between vipāka viññāṇa and kamma viññāṇa. Any sensory EXPERIENCE is a vipāka viññāṇa. Vipāka viññāṇa can come in through any of the six sense faculties, as shown at the top of the charts. Every living being, including an Arahant, experiences vipāka viññāṇa. In other words, ANY living-being can see, hear, etc.

- If one attaches (taṇhā) to a ārammana, then that initiates the step “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step in PS. That means one starts “pulling that ārammana close (upādāna).” First, one starts thinking about it with vaci saṅkhāra. One does that with the sense of a “me” involved in the sensory experience. As we have discussed, there is no need for a “me” or a “self” to experience a sensory input. See, “Chachakka Sutta – No “Self” in Initial Sensory Experience.”
- Therefore, at the beginning of that “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step, one starts generating saṅkhāra about that ārammana with the “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” step in PS. That is when a PS cycle starts at the “beginning” and then runs through the end.
- The next step in PS after the “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” step is “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa.” That viññāṇa is a kamma viññāṇa. Since it arises ONLY in mind, that is a manō viññāṇa. This kamma viññāṇa appears at the bottom of the FIRST TWO charts. An Arahant does not generate kamma viññāṇa. Therefore, kamma viññāṇa is absent in the third chart.

Kamma Viññāṇa Generated with the View and Saññā (Perception) of “Me” or a “Self”

6. From the last bullet of #5, it is clear that one’s mind will NOT go through the Akusala-Mūla PS at ANY TIME only if one is an Arahant.

- That is because it is ONLY an Arahant would have “seen” the futility of attaching to ANY sensory input (ārammana.) There is no sense of a “me” or a “self” in an Arahant.
- That is a point that we will discuss in detail in upcoming posts. But it is good to know about that point ahead of the time. It is CRITICAL to understand the material presented so far to be able to “keep up” with the upcoming posts when we discuss sakkāya diṭṭhi.
- As we can see, ANYONE below the Arahant stage WILL attach to at least a few sensory inputs. That is because anyone below the Arahant will have at least a trace of avijjā anusaya left.
- It is impossible for an average human even to comprehend that. That is why the Buddha emphasized that it is not correct to say that a “self” does not exist. The point is that for ANYONE below the Arahant stage of Nibbāna, a “self” with “gati” exists!
- However, anyone above the Sōtapanna Anugāmi can “see” that it is unfruitful to take anything in this world to be “mine,” and also can lead to future suffering. That “seeing” is “with wisdom” and is lōkuttara (or lōkōttara) Sammā Diṭṭhi. A fish biting the tasty bait on a hook does not “see” that it will be subjected to much suffering. Just like that, an average human cannot “see” the suffering hidden in sensual pleasures. We will discuss details in future posts.
- One becomes a Sōtapanna Anugāmi when one comprehends Tilakkhana (anicca, dukkha, anatta) to some extent. Even after that, the saññā (perception) of a “me” will be there. That perception will reduce with higher stages of magga phala and will disappear at the Arahant stage.

Starting with a “Self” or “No-Self” is not the correct approach

7. As we summarized in #5 above (and discussed in the post mentioned there), attachment to a ārammana happens instantly. That requires no conscious thinking and thus is NOT possible to stop. As long as one has “bad gati,” one MAY attache to some sensory inputs (ārammana.)

- The way to eliminate taṇhā is to reduce and finally remove one’s “bad gati.” Luckily, humans have the ABILITY to do that by understanding the PS process.
- Indeed, there is a “self” is in the PS process. However, that is not an unchanging “self” like a “soul” or a “ātma.” I call it a “dynamic self,” see “What Reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream.” That “self” disappears when one attains the Arahant stage!

8. Therefore, until one becomes an Arahant, there is a “self” that CAN make decisions on how to respond to sensory input. As shown in the middle chart above, anyone can stop any “bad vaci saṅkhāra” that arises when tempted by a given sensory input. If that fails, one can stop kāya saṅkhāra that lead to physical actions. In simple words, that means one should stop any bad conscious thoughts, bad speech, or bad (immoral) deeds as soon as one becomes aware of them.

- When one becomes a Sōtapanna Anugāmi by comprehending Tilakkhana to some extent, one’s “apāyagāmi gati” will disappear.
- Until then, one can practice Ānāpānasati or Satipaṭṭhāna Bhāvanā to stop some temptations. One does not need to have formal meditation sessions. It is utterly useless to have formal meditation sessions and not to act with mindfulness when one goes through daily activities. That is when one generates most of the defiled thoughts and actions.
- Formal meditations become more relevant after getting to the Sōtapanna stage. That is why “bhāvanāya pahātabbā” comes last in the Sabbāsava Sutta (MN 2). There, “dassanena pahātabbā” of “removal via correct vision” is first on that list. That is the “correct vision” required to be a Sōtapanna. One must first understand what to meditate on!

Kamma Viññāṇa Have Future Expectations

9. What is the real difference between a vipāka viññāṇa and a kamma viññāṇa?

- [i]Vipāka viññāṇa[/i] provide the sensory experience. One sees with cakkhu viññāṇa, hears with sōta viññāṇa, tastes with jivha viññāṇa, smells with ghana viññāṇa, feels touch with kāya viññāṇa, and thoughts coming to the mind with manō viññāṇa.
- On the other hand, kamma viññāṇa arise via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” When one gets attached to a ārammana via greed or hate, for example, one has an EXPECTATION. If one likes the ārammana, one wants more of it. If one dislikes it, one wants it to go away.
- Thus when one consciously thinks (vaci saṅkhāra) and takes actions (kāya saṅkhāra), there are “expectations” embedded in such saṅkhāra. Those saṅkhārā lead to kamma vinnana via “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa.”

10. Those “expectations” in Kamma viññāṇa are energies generated by the mind in javana citta. They stay “out there in the world” as dhammā. Those are part of the dhammā in “manañca paṭicca dhammē ca uppajjati manō viññāṇaṃ.”

- Therefore, just like the other five types of rūpa are “out there in the world,” dhammā are “out there,” too. They can be detected by the mana indriya, just like a sound detected by the sōta indriya, for example. That is how our future expectations periodically come back to our minds, i.e., how we remember our plans for the future. Sigmund Freud called that the “subconscious.” Of course, he had no idea about the actual mechanism.
- Dhammā are rūpa too. But they are just energies that are below suddhātthaka. They are “anidassanaṃ appaṭighaṃ dhammāyatana pariyāpannaṃ.” They “cannot be seen or touched.” See, “What are Rūpa? – Dhammā are Rūpa too!“
- The other five types of rūpa sensed via the five physical sense faculties are above the suddhātthaka level. Modern science is only aware of those five types.
- We will discuss dhammā in detail in the next post.

All relevant posts are at, “[html] ... n-of-life/[/html].” At Dhamma Wheel, the series started on Jun 29, 2019, on p. 73:viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1080
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Icchā (Cravings) Lead to Upādāna and to Eventual Suffering

Upādāna Is a Key Concept That Has Been Hidden

1. The Buddha declared that his Dhamma or teachings on suffering “has not been known to the world” before him. In his first discourse, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11), he “defined” dukkha or suffering.

Idam kho pana, bhikkhave, dukkham ariyasaccam:

jātipi dukkhā, jarāpi dukkhā, byādhipi dukkho, maraṇampi dukkhāṃ, appiyehi sampayogo dukkho, piyehi vippayogo dukkho, yampicchaṃ (yam pi iccham) na labhati tampi dukkhāṃ—saṃkhittena pañcu­pādā­nak­khan­dhā (panca u­pādā­na ­khan­dhā) dukkhā.

Translated: Bhikkhus, What is the Noble Truth of Suffering?

“Birth is suffering; getting old is suffering; getting sick is suffering; dying is suffering. Having to associate with things that one does not like is suffering and having to separate from those things one likes is suffering. If one does not get what one wants/craves (icchā), that is suffering – in brief, the origin of suffering is the “pulling close” (u­pādā­na) of the five aggregates of rūpa, vedanā, saññā, sankhāra, viññāna (pancupādānakkhandha).

- Any person knows that “Birth is suffering, getting old is suffering, getting sick is suffering, dying is suffering. Having to associate with things that one does not like is suffering. Having to separate from those things one likes is suffering.” That part is known to the world.
- May be it is a bit harder to understand birth to be suffering, but ANY birth ends up with decay and death at the end, so it is not that difficult to “see.”

The “Hard-To See” Suffering That Is Hidden

2. What is “previously unheard” is that craving (icchā) for sensory attractions leads to suffering eventually. When one craves something, one would start thinking and speaking (vaci saṅkhāra), and doing things (with kāya saṅkhāra) to “get possession” of it. That “pulling close” of “mind-pleasing” things is “upādāna” (“upa” + “ādana” as we discussed before.)

- Since we do not “see” that hidden suffering, we tend to immoral deeds to get possession of such “mind-pleasing” things. That means generating saṅkhāra due to our avijjā (ignorance of the core teachings of the Buddha, including the Paticca Samuppāda process.)
- The harsh consequences of such immoral deeds (kamma vipāka) may not be seen immediately, or even in this life. That is why it is hard to “see” this hidden suffering.
- That is contrary to our daily experiences. We do everything to get live a luxurious life with a beautiful house, an attractive spouse, a nice car, etc. We do not see “any bad consequences” of the efforts that we put in the pursuit of those “mind-pleasing things.”

A Fish Does Not “See” the Hidden Suffering in a Delicious Bait

3. As we will discuss, we are not any different than a fish biting into a tasty bait, say, a worm. That fish does not see the hook hidden in the “delicious worm.” It will be subjected to much suffering once it bites the worm, and the hook attaches to its mouth.

- The difficulty in our case is that the deeds we do to get those sensory pleasures may not show their CONSEQUENCES in this life. That is why it is useless to follow Buddha Dhamma if one does not believe in rebirth or kamma/vipāka.
- All that we tend to crave (icchā) are PARTS OF the five aggregates (pancakkhandha). That small part is pancupādānakkhandha. We like certain types of rupa (people and things), certain types of vēdanā (feelings), etc.
- That is why it is critical to understand how “pulling close” (u­pādā­na) of sensory inputs (ārammana) lead to future suffering. The akusala-mūla Paticca Samuppāda (PS) ends up in “jarā, marana, sōka, paridēva, dukkha, dōmanassa,..” or the “whole mass of suffering.”

Craving (Icchā) Starts the Paticca Samuppāda Process That Leads to Suffering

4. In the previous two posts, we discussed how an external sensory input (ārammana) triggers the “tanhā paccayā upādāna” step in the PS. See, “Tanhā Paccayā Upādāna – Critical Step in Paticca Samuppāda” and “Mōha/Avijjā and Vipāka Viññāṇa/Kamma Viññāṇa.”

- Continuing on that discussion, let us look at how that future suffering arises. The following chart summarizes what we discussed. It shows all the steps in the PS process, starting with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” to the end, “jarā, marana, sōka, paridēva, dukkha, dōmanassa,..” or the “whole mass of suffering.”


Open pdf for viewing or printing: “Icchā to Upādāna to Suffering.”[html] ... fering.pdf[/html]

Idappaccayatā Paticca Samuppāda Example

Idappaccayatā Paticca Samuppāda explains phenomena occurring in real-time, as they happen. That is easier to interpret compared to uppatti Paticca Samuppāda, which describes events leading to future lives, especially in rebirths.

5. Let us revisit a simple example that we discussed in #13 of the recent post, “Vacī Saṅkhāra – Saṅkappa (Conscious Thoughts) and Vācā (Speech).”

- A person is in the waiting room to see a doctor and sees that someone has dropped a wallet. The moment he sees the wallet, his mind attaches to it (tanhā). Then he thinks that there could be some money in the wallet and that it is an easy way to get some “free money.” That happens within moments of him seeing the wallet.

- “Seeing the wallet” is a cakkhu viññāna that resulted via, ”Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhu viññāṇaṃ.” Within a split-second, he attaches to it (tanhā) as we discussed in the posts on Chachakka Sutta (MN 148.)
- Then he starts thinking about how much money can be in that wallet, and how to pick it up without being noticed. Those are vaci saṅkhāra that arise due to his ignorance (avijjā) about the harmful consequences of them. Thus, his mind has generated “upādāna” for the wallet because he has a craving (icchā) for money.
- Thus, his mind starts the step, “tanhā paccayā upādāna” in Paticca Samuppāda (PS.)

Initiation of a new Paticca Samuppāda Process

6. Therefore, the “tanhā paccayā upādāna” step now leads to the start of a brand new PS process with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra”. We discussed that in the previous post, “Mōha/Avijjā and Vipāka Viññāṇa/Kamma Viññāṇa.“

- Those conscious thoughts about the wallet are vacī saṅkhāra. Now those saṅkhāra lead to a NEW kamma viññāna. That viññāna has the expectation of picking up the wallet and keeping it for himself. That is a manō viññāna that arises in his mind, and is different from the cakkhu viññāna of “seeing the wallet.”
- Now, that kamma viññāna leads to “nāmarūpa formation” in his mind. He runs various scenarios in his mind (vitakka/vicāra), both regards to picking up the wallet without being noticed and also what he can do with the money in the wallet. That is “viññāna paccayā nāmarūpa.”
- That immediately leads to the involvement of several internal āyatana. For example, he may look around to see whether anyone is watching. He may stand up and see whether the receptionist can see that area where he is sitting, etc. That is “nāmarūpa paccayā salāyatana.”
- That, in turn, leads to “salāyatana paccayā (sam)phassa.” The defilements (or “san“) in his mind affect all his thoughts and activities. That generates mind-made vēdanā )”phassa paccayā (samphassa jā) vēdanā) followed by “vēdanā paccayā tanhā” and “tanhā paccayā upādāna.” Those are the steps described in the Chachakka Sutta. See, the previous posts in this series starting from: “Buddhist Worldview – Introduction.” on Aug 26, 2019 (p. 73) :[html]viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1080[/html]

Strengthened Upādāna Leads to a Temporary Bhava

7. His mind is now back to the “tanhā paccayā upādāna” step in the PS process, and it reinforces that upādāna. The above steps may be repeated many times in his mind as he sits there and contemplates various aspects. Those, by the way, are vitakka/vicāra.

- With the strengthening of the upādāna, now he is born in the existence (bhava) of a thief. That is “upādāna paccayā bhava.” Then immediately, he is “born” (jāti) a thief. That is “bhava paccayā jāti,” By the way, in uppatti Paticca Samuppāda, jāti can happen much later. The “bhava” remains energized as dhammā; see below.
- Now that “thief” goes and picks up the wallet and puts it in his pocket. Now, “stealing of the wallet” is accomplished. That is the “marana” or “death” of that particular jāti as a thief.
- However, there is more to it than just marana. “Jarā, marana, sōka, paridēva, dukkha, dōmanassa,..” will also follow.
- Even though he got what he wanted, his mind is very agitated. Even though there was no one else in the waiting room, he wonders whether the receptionist somehow saw his act. Also, now a new thought comes to his mind as to whether there is a video camera in the room. That “mental stress” is part of dōmanassa.

The Process Is Over, but the Consequences Will Prevail

8. It is possible that there was a video camera in the room. If so, he could be charged with theft a few days later. Those are part of the “mass of suffering” due to that immoral act of stealing.

- But the critical point is the following. Even if he did not get caught, he would definitely be paying for his immoral action in the future. The kammic energy of that immoral deed will follow him, waiting for an opportunity to bring a corresponding “bad vipāka” at some point.
- Kammic energy is in dhammā (with long “a” at the end, not as in Buddha Dhamma.) Let us address that in brief.

Dhammā Are Energies Created by Mind – With Kamma Viññāṇa

9. Dhammā are the underlying energies (or “kamma seeds” or “kamma bīja“) created by the mind.

- A seed has the POTENTIAL to give rise to a tree under proper conditions like good soil, water, and sunlight. In the same way, dhammā (a kamma bīja) has the POTENTIAL to give rise to things (both living and inert) in this word.
- That is how such dhammā (or kamma seeds) can bring vipāka in the future.
- Just like an ordinary seed needs soil, water, and sunlight to germinate and bring about a tree, dhammā need proper conditions to bring about corresponding vipāka. That is also why kamma is not deterministic. For example, Angulimala killed 999 people. That kammic energy was there even after Ven. Angulimala attained Arahantship. However, with that Arahantship, his mind became pure, and any conditions to bring about the vipāka of those bad kamma could not materialize. See, “Angulimala: A Murderer's Road to Sainthood.”: [html] ... el312.html[/html]
- I will discuss the role of dhammā in the next post.

Icchā (Cravings) Lead to Upādāna and to Eventual Suffering

10. What we discussed above is the key message embedded in the First Noble Truth of Dukkha Sacca.

- It is craving (icchā) for “mind-pleasing sensory attractions in the world” that lead to tanhā and upādāna and to eventual suffering.
- Based on icchā, we get “stuck in attractive sensory inputs” (tanhā), and try to keep that ārammana as close as possible in the mind(upādāna.) We do that in our minds by generating unwise thoughts (vaci saṅkhāra), that leads to unwise speech (more vaci saṅkhāra) and immoral actions (based on kāya saṅkhāra). That is the start of an akusala-mula PS process, “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.”
- That process, of course, inevitably leads to the last step in the PS process, “jarā, marana, sōka, paridēva, dukkha, dōmanassa,..” or the “whole mass of suffering.”

11. The “Icchā Sutta (SN 1.69)” summarizes the importance of the icchā. One time, a deva came to the Buddha and asked:

Kenassu bajjhatī loko, “By what is the world bound?
kissa vinayāya muccati; By the removal of what one is freed?
Kissassu vippahānena, What is it that one must abandon
sabbaṃ chindati bandhanan”ti. To cut off all bondage?”

The Buddha replied:

Icchāya bajjhatī loko, “By cravings, one is bound to the world;
icchāvinayāya muccati; By the removal of desire one is freed
Icchāya vippahānena, Craving is what one must give up
sabbaṃ chindati bandhanan”ti. To cut off all bondage.”

- But, of course, craving for “mind-pleasing things” cannot be removed by just will power. One must understand the bad consequences of such cravings. That understanding comes through via moral living AND learning true and correct Buddha Dhamma.
- That is why Sammā Diṭṭhi comes first in the Noble Eightfold Path. The other steps in the Path will follow once one comprehends the teachings. But a badly corrupt mind is unable to grasp those teachings and that is why moral living is a pre-requisite.

P.S. I had written a series of posts related to sankhāra, viññāna, and Paticca Samuppāda starting with the post "Complexity of the Mind - Viññāna and Sankhāra" on Apr 27, 2019 (p. 72): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=512253#p512253
- One could solidify the understanding by reviewing those posts.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote: Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:35 am ..“Birth is suffering; getting old is suffering; getting sick is suffering; dying is suffering. Having to associate with things that one does not like is suffering and having to separate from those things one likes is suffering. If one does not get what one wants/craves (icchā), that is suffering – in brief, the origin of suffering is the “pulling close” (u­pādā­na) of the five aggregates of rūpa, vedanā, saññā, sankhāra, viññāna (pancupādānakkhandha)...
.. wrote: When they experience pleasant feeling they become full of lust for it.So sukhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno sukhasārāgī ca hoti sukhasārāgitañca āpajjati.
Then that pleasant feeling ceases.Tassa sā sukhā vedanā nirujjhati.
And when it ceases, a painful feeling arises.Sukhāya vedanāya nirodhā uppajjati dukkhā vedanā.
When they experience painful feeling, they sorrow and pine and lament, beating their breast and falling into confusion.So dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno socati kilamati paridevati urattāḷiṃ kandati sammohaṃ āpajjati.

Because their physical endurance is undeveloped, pleasant feelings occupy the mind. And because their mind is undeveloped, painful feelings occupy the mind.Tassa kho esā, aggivessana, uppannāpi sukhā vedanā cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati abhāvitattā kāyassa, uppannāpi dukkhā vedanā cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati abhāvitattā cittassa.
undeveloped mind can't pariyādāya the cessation, absence, separation of a pleasant feeling, then dukkha feeling uppannāpi the mind.
Pleasant feeling occupying the citta = being full of lust = undeveloped kāya.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Dhammā, Kamma, Saṅkhāra, Mind – Critical Connections


1. From the previous posts on Paticca Samuppāda in this series, we can make the following conclusions:

- The MIND generates different types of saṅkhārā. They are involved in all thoughts (manō and vacī saṅkhārā), speech (vacī saṅkhārā), and bodily actions (kāya saṅkhārā.)
- Therefore, saṅkhārā (generated with avijjā) are responsible for all ten types of akusala kamma. Of those ten, three with the mind, four with speech, and three with the body.
- Such kamma create energies (or kamma bija) that are released to the world as “dhammā.” We will discuss some details here. This word dhammā is different from dhamma (teachings) in Buddha Dhamma.
- Please review those previous posts as needed, especially the discussion on Paticca Samuppāda starting with the post, "Tanhā – The Origin of Suffering" on Nov 10, 2019 (p. 76): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1125

Manōpubbangamā Dhammā – Mind Is the Precursor of All

2. The first Dhammapada verse is “Manōpubbangamā Dhammā..” There are, in fact, two verses that go together. Those two verses have the following meanings:

- All things and phenomena have mind as their forerunner. They all are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with an evil mind (i.e., engages in dasa akusala), then suffering (dukkha) will follow just as the wheels of a cart follow the footsteps of the ox that is pulling the wagon.
- All things and phenomena have mind as their forerunner. They all are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with a purified mind (i.e., engages in dasa kusala and puñña kamma), happiness (sukha) follows one like one’s own shadow.

Dhammā Are Energies Created by Mind – With Mano Viññāṇa (Kamma Viññāṇa)

3. As I briefly stated in a previous post, dhammā are the underlying energies (or “kamma seeds” or “kamma bīja“) created by the mind. See, “Mōha/Avijjā and Vipāka Viññāṇa/Kamma Viññāṇa.”.”

- A seed has the POTENTIAL to give rise to a tree under proper conditions like good soil, water, and sunlight. In the same way, dhammā (a kamma bīja) has the POTENTIAL to give rise to things (both living and inert) in this word.
- Paticca Samuppāda describes the complex process of a dhammā (a kamma bīja) giving rise to future lives. It also explains the arising of the external world that sustains life as well. We will address just the first part for now.
- The “seeds” here — dhammā (a kamma bīja) — are “created and fed” by “kamma viññāṇa.“
- Only the mind can generate kamma viññāṇa. Such kamma viññāṇa arise via, “saṅkhārā paccayā viññāṇa” in Paticca Samuppāda. Since that happens ONLY in mind, kamma viññāṇa are ALWAYS manō viññāṇa. A kamma viññāṇa has ENERGY. Such kamma viññāṇa encompass our future hopes and expectations.
- All the other five types of viññāṇa (cakkhu viññāṇa, sota viññāṇa, ghāna viññāṇa, jivhā viññāṇa, kāya viññāṇa) are ALWAYS vipāka viññāṇa. Mano viññāṇa could be EITHER vipāka or kamma viññāṇa. To recall how vipāka viññāṇa arise, see, “Chachakka Sutta – No “Self” in Initial Sensory Experience.”
- Vipāka vedana that we experience arise with vipāka viññāṇa. See, “Vipāka Vēdanā and “Samphassa jā Vēdanā” in a Sensory Event.” posted around September 30, 2019.

An Example Of a “Mild” Kamma Viññāṇa

4. Let us consider an example of how a kamma viññāṇa arises and how it could grow with saṅkhārā.

- Suppose X needs to buy a car. He saw a car in a showroom and “fell in love with it.” Here the impactful ārammana was that moment of seeing his “dream car.” A kamma bīja was born at that time with that expectation via “saṅkhārā paccayā viññāna.”
- He goes home and thinks about how to finance the purchase. He talks to his friends about how beautiful the car is, etc. All those are vacī saṅkhārā based on that car. Then he may go back to the showroom to look at it again and even to get a better price for the car. Those would involve kāya saṅkhārā.
- Every time he thinks, speaks and acts on issues relating to that car, he is “feeding that viññāṇa” for buying the vehicle. That happens with “saṅkhārā paccayā viññāṇa,” and makes that viññāṇa stronger. We could also say that the kamma bīja or dhammā associated with that viññāṇa would grow.
- The stronger that viññāṇa becomes, the more often will it “come back” to his mind (as a dhammā) via “manañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manoviññāṇaṃ.” That is what Sigmund Freud called “the subconscious.” Of course, Freud had no idea of the working of the subconscious via kamma viññāṇa.
- Now, one day, X buys the car. At that time, the kamma viññāṇa (kamma bīja) for that expectation will go away. Even if he did not buy the car, that kamma viññāṇa (kamma bīja) would have died if he lost his job unexpectedly and realized that he could not afford the car. In either case, it would no longer be in his “subconscious.”

An Example Of a “Strong” Kamma Viññāṇa Associated with a Pāpa Kamma

5. In the above example, we considered a relatively “mild” kamma. Even though there was some greed involved, that kamma (buying a car) was not a pāpa kamma. A pāpa kamma is a strong akusala kamma that could make one eligible for rebirth in the apāyā. Let us consider an example.

- Suppose X now wants to kill another human out of anger. The moment that he decides on that, his vacī saṅkhāra creates a new kamma bīja (and a kamma viññāṇa) on deciding to kill. His mind is “stuck with the idea of killing that person.” That is tanhā. The conventional translation of tanhā as “craving” is not quite right.
- From that moment, any time that X is thinking about how to carry out the killing, that kamma bīja (kamma viññāṇa) will grow. It happens via “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa,” where saṅkhāra are vacī saṅkhāra involved in his planning. This is “upādāna” (“upa” + “ādāna” or “keeping it close in the mind.” He often thinks about how to kill that person. He dwells on it.
- Then, one day, X decides to shoot that person. Then he may go and buy a gun. That involves kāya saṅkhāra, and those will also contribute to the growth of that viññāṇa (kamma bīja.)
- Then X shoots and kills that person. That is the strongest kamma and it is a kāya kamma done with kāya saṅkhāra. But all those vacī and kāya saṅkhāra involved were abhisaṅkhāra.
- However, unlike in the previous case in #4 above, that kamma viññāṇa (kamma bīja) does not go away. That is because it is an akusala kamma. Even though the expectation accomplished, that kamma viññāṇa will instead be “established in the kamma bhava.” It will “follow him” just as the wheels of a wagon follow the footsteps of the ox in #2 above. That kamma viññāṇa will be “with him” for billions of years waiting for an opportunity to bring its results (vipāka.)

Abhidhamma Explanation

6. The following information is relevant but not essential. I include it for those who are familiar with Abhidhamma. It is a good idea to read it in any case, to get the basic idea. Our minds create ENERGY when we focus on ārammana. When a mind “gets strongly attached” to a ārammana, a particular type of citta vithi (atimahantārammana or mahantārammana) that runs in the mind.

- Towards the end of such a citta vithi, seven especially powerful citta (javana citta) arise. Those javana cittā generate and release kammic ENERGY to the world. Those ENERGIES are dhammā or kamma bīja.
- Such ENERGIES generate in the steps, “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā, saṅkhārā paccayā viññāṇa, viññāṇa paccayā nāmarupa” in Paticca Samuppāda. That, of course, takes place during citta vithi.
- These kammic energies generated in javana citta lie below the suddhātthaka level. A suddhātthaka is the smallest unit of matter in Buddha Dhamma. See, “The Origin of Matter – Suddhātthaka.”: ... dhatthaka/
- That is a very brief explanation. One could read about citta vithi in Bhikkhu Bodhi’s book, “Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma.” As I said, it is not necessary to fully understand that process. But that could fill “some gaps in the picture.”

Dhammā Are Rūpa Too!

Dhammā are also rūpa in Buddha Dhamma. As we have discussed, dhammā are pure energy that lies below “tangible matter” above the suddhātthaka stage.

7. Those energies released to the “unseen world” or “immaterial world” stay there as dhammā. Therefore, dhammā are “out there” in the world, just like other types of rūpa.

- Another name for kamma viññāṇa or dhammā is kamma bīja. In Buddha Dhamma, such energies also come under the category of “rūpa.” More on that below.
- While scientists can detect any of the other five kinds of rūpa with their instruments, dhammā can be detected only by the mana indriya in the brain.
- Let me first clarify what I mean by “unseen world” or “immaterial world.” The world that we can “see” or “interact with” consists of the following. There are solid objects (people, animals, trees, houses, etc.) that we “see” with our eyes. They are “rūpa rūpa” or simply “rūpa.” There are sounds that we hear (sadda rūpa.) Things that we smell are odors (gandha rūpa.) We taste the essence (rasa rūpa) in the food we eat. And we touch solid objects (a phoṭṭhabba rūpa.)
- Dhammā are in a different category compared to other types of “tangible rūpa.” It may be a good idea to read the post “Our Two Worlds: Material and Immaterial.“: ... mmaterial/

8. Long before Einstein made the connection between matter and energy via his famous E = mc^2 equation, the Buddha treated both matter and energy as “rūpa.”

- With advances in physics, now it is well-established that matter and energy are indistinguishable. For example, now scientists accept that light consists of particles (photons.)
- Some of those “rūpa” we can directly see, and we also know how others arise. For example, “sadda rūpa” are sound energy. Still, scientists know that sound propagates through the air via “pressure waves.” We are familiar with the five types of “rūpa” that we sense with our five physical senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body.)
- Scientists have not been able to detect dhammā, and are unaware of them. They think memories are “stored in the brain.” That definitely is not compatible with the ability to recall past lives by many, including some children. Of course, the Buddha was able to recall past lives as far back as he wished (without seeing a “beginning”.) See, “Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin.”

Dhammā Are Anidassana Rūpa

9. The following information is relevant but not essential. It is a good idea to read it in any case, to get the basic idea. The Buddha stated that “dhammā cannot be seen or made contact with (other than with the mana indriya.) Dhammā are “Vedanākkhandho … pe … viññāṇakkhandho, yañca rūpaṃ anidassanaṃ appaṭighaṃ dhammāyatana pariyāpannaṃ..“

- That verse is in “2.3.2. Dukanikkhepa” ( the Dhammasaṅgaṇī under the subsection Sanidassanaduka.
- The critical point to remember is that dhammā include our memories (which are just records without energy) AND viññāṇa (which include kamma viññāṇa with kammic power.)

10. There is a lot to grasp here, but the main points are the following.

1. Dhammā (used normally in plural) include kamma viññāṇa or kamma bīja.
2. Dhammā also include memories from the past, including those from past lives. It is just that one may not be able to recall past lives until one attains jhāna and cultivates “pubbenivāsānussati ñāṇa.“
3. Those dhammā (including memories or “nāma gotta‘) are “out there” too, just like the other five types of rūpa are “out there.” But an average human is unaware of dhammā. It takes a Buddha (with a perfectly purified mind) to uncover such details about the world.
- That is why I stated that dhammā are in the “unseen world” or “immaterial world.” Details at “Our Two Worlds: Material and Immaterial.”

Dhammā Behave Differently Compared to “Normal Rūpa

11. Rūpa or “matter” behaves very differently below the suddhāṭṭhaka level. Again, we do not need to get into details, but it is essential to make that connection. For those who are interested, details at “The Origin of Matter – Suddhātthaka.”

- As we discussed, those “gross or dense rūpa” that we detect with the five senses are the only rūpa that modern science is aware of.
- However, when scientists started studying “matter’ at very low density (like electrons and photons), they ran into problems. “Matter” at the sub-atomic level behaves very differently, and those investigations led to the discovery of quantum mechanics. For example, electrons and photons do not obey the same laws as large particles like stones or tennis balls.
- Even though scientists have made progress with quantum mechanics, they are still unable to explain some phenomena at the sub-atomic level. One key issue is that such “quantum particles” like electrons and photons seem to be interacting instantaneously across long distances. This phenomenon is known as “quantum entanglement.” See, “Quantum Entanglement – We Are All Connected.”: ... connected/

12. Those dhammā are kamma bīja lie below the suddhāṭṭhaka level. They interact with the mana indriya instantaneously.

- All other types of rūpa detectable with the five physical senses are above the suddhāṭṭhaka level. However, some sub-atomic particles (closer to the suddhāṭṭhaka level) like electrons display the ability to interact instantaneously among themselves, just like dhammā. See, “Quantum Entanglement – We Are All Connected.” Quantum physicists are mystified by this effect.
- However, the Buddha explained all that 2500 years ago. That is what I have tried to explain to the physics community over the past few years. They do not see that connection yet. But at some point, they will have to. For those of you who have a physics background, “Quantum Mechanics and Dhamma.”: ... ha-dhamma/

Those Dhammā Could Bring Vipāka via Vipāka Viññāṇa

13. Under proper conditions (paccayā in Paticca Samuppāda,) kamma viññāṇa (or dhammā) COULD bring corresponding results (vipāka) and the associated viññāṇa are vipāka viññāṇa. That happens via all SIX sense faculties. As we discussed in previous posts, “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhu viññāṇaṃ” through “mānañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manō viññāṇaṃ.” All those are vipāka viññāṇa.

- In other words, vipāka viññāṇa materialize via all six sense inputs (eyes, ears, tongue, nose, body, and mind.) We discussed that in several earlier posts on the Chacakka Sutta (MN 148.)
- As we discussed in #2, #3 above, ONLY manō viññāṇa can also be kamma viññāṇa. Such kamma viññāṇa arise via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra, saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa.“


14. It is the MIND that generates saṅkhārā with INTENTIONS to do, speak, or think. Such kāya, vaci, and manō saṅkhārā lead to kamma done with actions, speech, and mind.

- The strong saṅkhārā or abhisaṅkhārā generates kammic energy that are released to the world. Such energies are alternatively referred to as dhammā, kamma bija, or kamma viññāṇa. They can bring vipāka during a lifetime or bring future rebirths.

15. We have covered a lot of material in this post. It is not possible to go to details (if we do, we will not get to finish the discussion on Paticca Samuppāda for a long time!)

- Feel free to ask questions. That is the only way for me to gauge whether I am proceeding too fast.
- It is not necessary to try to learn Abhidhamma in a rush. However, it is a good idea to try to understand the basic concepts.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception


This post is necessary to continue our discussion on Paticca Samuppāda. That discussion started with the post, "Tanhā – The Origin of Suffering" around November 10, 2019, on p. 76: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1125

1. Buddhist explanation of conception is in several Tipitaka suttas. Following is a simple account based on those suttas. It is compatible with modern science but provides more details than science.

- Moral issues regarding abortion and birth control have clear answers in Buddha Dhamma. In particular, at what stage of pregnancy does a human life first appear in a womb?
- Modern science cannot determine the “time of conception” or “when a human life starts in a womb.”
- Let us first review the current scientific knowledge base.

Current Scientific Knowledge

2. First of all, there must be a fertilized egg (zygote) in the womb. The fertilization happens when a sperm from the father combines with an egg from the mother to form a zygote or a fertilized egg.

- During the mother’s menstrual cycle, one egg (ovum) is usually released from one of the ovaries and swept into the funnel-shaped end of one of the fallopian tubes.
- After intercourse with the father, If a sperm penetrates the egg there, fertilization results, and the fertilized egg (zygote) moves down the fallopian tube toward the uterus.
- The “live zygote” enters the uterus in 3 to 5 days. In the womb, the cells continue to divide, becoming a hollow ball of cells called a blastocyst. Inside the womb, the blastocyst implants in the wall of the uterus, where it develops into an embryo attached to the placenta and surrounded by fluid-filled membranes.
- See, "Stages of Development of the Fetus": ... -the-fetus

3. It is important to note that science does not have an answer to the question of why all zygotes do not result in pregnancies, and why some couples who could not have babies for many years all of a sudden have success.

- Science cannot explain how an inert zygote (a cell) becomes “alive” and a living baby comes out of the womb.
- Furthermore, science cannot say WHEN that inert cell, zygote, becomes alive. Some say a live baby is there as soon as a zygote is formed, and others say there is no life there until a heartbeat can be seen.
- For more details on the controversy on the “time of conception” see, ... ontroversy

Buddhist Explanation – Mind is in the “Mental Body” or Manōmaya Kāya

4. We humans have two “bodies.” Manōmaya kāya is the “mental body” (with a trace of matter) born at the beginning of the human existence or human bhava.

- Here is “body” means a “collection.” The physical body is a collection of “physical body parts.” The mental body has only a trace of matter and is a collection of “mental parts” (vedanā, saññā, Saṅkhāra, and viññāṇa.) For details, see “Human Life – A Mental Base (Gandhabba) and a Material Base (Cell)” and “Clarification of “Mental Body” and “Physical Body” – Different Types of ‘Kāya’.” Those two were posted earlier in this series of posts.
- The mental body is referred to as “gandhabba” in the Tipitaka. See, “Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipitaka.”
- Thus, a “human gandhabba” has only a trace of matter, and thus, we cannot see it. Some suttas refer to the gandhabba state as “patisandhi viññāṇa.” See, “Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipitaka.”

A Human Existence Can Last Thousands of Years

5. A human existence (bhava) can last thousands of years, and that is the lifetime of the gandhabba or the mental body.

- On the other hand, a physical human body lasts only about 100 years. With the death of the physical body, the gandhabba comes out and waits for another womb. Thus, there can be many births (jāti) as a human within a given human existence (bhava). See, “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein.” posted on Oct 27, 2018 (p. 43)
- In between successive births with “human bodies,” the gandhabba (mental “body”) lives in the “para lōka.” The para lōka co-exists with our human lōka, but we cannot see those subtle “mental bodies” of gandhabbas.

6. A new human existence (bhava) does not start in a womb. It begins at the cuti-patisandhi moment when the previous bhava comes to an end. For example, if a deva dies and becomes a human, a human gandhabba (fine “mental body”) will be formed at the time of death of that deva.

- Then that human gandhabba will have to wait until a suitable womb becomes available. By “suitable,” it means that the gati (loosely related to character/habits) of the gandhabba have to match those of the parents, especially the mother.
- Gati is an essential concept in Buddha Dhamma. But it is absent in modern texts. Search “gati” on the top right search box to find about “gati.” I have discussed gati with Tipitaka references in several posts. See posts on August 18, 2018 (p. 22), Oct 25 and Oct 27, 2018 (p.43), Nov 15, 2018 (p. 47), and Nov 28, 2018 (p. 50).

A Zygote Becomes Alive When a Gandhabba Takes Possession of It

7. With the above background, now we can make the connection to current scientific understanding and extend that understanding. As science has shown, human life arises with a single cell called a zygote; see #2 and #3 above.

- A gandhabba may have to wait for even many years until a suitable womb becomes available. Then, kammic energy will pull it into that womb. And the gandhabba will merge with the zygote in the womb that was created by a sperm fertilizing an egg.
- A gandhabba entering a womb is sometimes referred to as “patisandhi viññāṇa descending to a womb” as stated in the Mahā Nidāna Sutta (DN 15.) In the Mahā Tanhāsankhaya Sutta (MN 38) it is stated as, “a gandhabba descending to a womb.”
- As we saw above, Nature automatically matches the “gati” of the parents (we can say that matching the zygote that was formed by the union of the mother and father), and a “matching” gandhabba will be “pulled in” by the kammic energy.
- However, the gandhabba concept is different from the idea of a “soul.” A gandhabba will keep changing during its lifetime. Furthermore, it will make a drastic change when the lifetime of the human bhava comes to an end. At that time, it can become an animal, a Deva, a Brahma, etc.

8. Therefore, a zygote just provides the “material basis” (zygote) for the gandhabba to form a physical body. (That zygote develops when an egg combines with a sperm.)

- The “blueprint” for that physical body (i.e., the gandhabba) is in the patisandhi viññāṇa. However, the physical body will also take into account the features of the mother and father via that zygote; see #3 and #4 above.
- If the mother (and father) are unable to have a child due to a previous kamma vipāka, the resulting zygote will be a “dud.” Thus no gandhabba can “descend to the womb,” i.e., pregnancy is not possible.
- All this is discussed in more detail in several posts at, including “Ghost in the Machine – Synonym for the Manomaya Kaya?“, “Manomaya Kaya (Gandhabba) and the Physical Body,” and a more technical description in “Cuti-Patisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description. “

The ‘Time of Conception” is Precise

9. A gandhabba can take hold of that fertilized egg (zygote) any time after its formed.

- Therefore, the conception of a new baby happens when the life-less zygote becomes “alive” with the merging of the gandhabba. That is the time of conception, and it happens very early, generally within a day after intercourse.
- Once a gandhabba merges with the zygote, the cells of the zygote start repeatedly dividing as the zygote moves down the fallopian tube. Thus cell division and the formation of a baby DOES NOT start unless and until a gandhabba merges with the zygote.

Effects of Condoms/Birth Control Pills

10. Now let us see what happens with a condom or with birth control pills.

- With the use of a condom, an egg will not be able to come to contact with a sperm to form a zygote. Thus there will be no “material basis” or a zygote in the womb.
- If the mother is taking birth control pills, again, that will prevent the formation of a zygote for a gandhabba to start a new life.
- Thus it is clear that there are no moral issues involved in either of those two cases. Terminating a life does not happen in either case.

If a Gandhabba Is in the Womb, There Is a Human There

11. On the other hand, once a gandhabba “is in the womb,” then there is a living being in the womb.

- Any procedure to remove the live gandhabba after this “real conception” is equivalent to killing a human. The exact time of the removal procedure does not matter. It could be a month before the birth of the baby or just a day after the gandhabba came into the womb.
- The only uncertainty about the “time of conception” is a few days. Conception happens when the gandhabba takes hold of the zygote. That could happen immediately after intercourse or a few days after sex.
- Thus Buddha Dhamma provides an unambiguous picture of the moral issues involved in the birth control process.

Other Aspects

12. The death of a physical body of a human does not mean its existence as a human has ended. If there is remaining “kammic energy” for the human bhava left, the mental body (gandhabba) will come of the dead physical body and will wait for another suitable womb.

- However, if the “kammic energy for the present human bhava” is exhausted at the time of death, then the transition to the next “bhava” or existence happens at the dying moment. If that new existence is that of a cat, a “cat gandhabba” will leave the dead body.
- Here again, the “cat gandhabba” will have to wait until a suitable “cat womb” becomes available. At that time it will go into the womb of the “cat mother.” And a baby cat will be born later on.
- However, except for humans and animals, a gandhabba is not involved in most other realms. That is true, for example, in Deva and Brahma realms.

13. Sometimes the child may have different “gati” compared to the parents. For example, a “fairly moral” couple may have a child with violent character qualities. That could be due to a drastic change in the mindset of the mother during that “conception window.” (Between the formation of the zygote and a gandhabba “descending” to the womb.) Violent rape is one possibility.

- Furthermore, this is also why mothers who could not get pregnant for years, suddenly get pregnant. This happens during a time when the mother most likely has a “personality shift” or a significant change in her mental state.
- I will publish another relevant post, “Cloning and Gandhabba” in a few days before making the connection to Paticca Samuppāda.
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