The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Cloning and Gandhabba

Introduction – Cloning of Dolly the Sheep

1. Cloning of various types of animals has become common since Dolly was cloned in 1996. Three sheep contributed to the birth of Dolly. One provided the egg, another the DNA (donor), and a third (surrogate mother) carried the cloned embryo to term.

- Obviously, a clone has the most similarities with the donor and there is no “father” involved (no sperm is needed). Are these consistent with the Buddha Dhamma, and how does a gandhabba play a role?
- Also, there are some myths associated with cloning, such as whether “totally unexpected creatures or monsters” can result from cloning.
- Therefore, it is good to review the key steps in the cloning process and to clarify these issues.

What Happens in a Normal Conception?

2. But, first, we need to look at what happens in a “normal conception” where an egg and a sperm combine to form the unique cell called a zygote. This was explained in the previous post, “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception“. Here, we will first extend that discussion.

- The “material base” for a new life is a zygote. In a natural conception, the zygote is formed by the fertilization of a female egg by a sperm from a male. Then a gandhabba can come into the womb and provide the “mental basis” for the new life, as explained in the above post.
- There are two things REQUIRED to make a zygote. The first requirement is the egg that comes from the mother and is unique. However, eggs have only 23 chromosomes instead of 46 chromosomes in all other cells. Therefore, the second requirement is to somehow have 46 chromosomes in the nucleus of an egg.
- Let us discuss the two factors in a bit more detail since this was not discussed in the previous post.

An Egg Is Unique

3. Eggs are the most remarkable of cells. They can give rise to a completely new individual within a matter of days or weeks in some animals. No other cell in a higher animal has this ability. Egg cells also contain many mitochondria which supply the energy required for cell replication and division.

- However, an egg must be “activated” first in order to start the cell division process. It is activated only when its nucleus has a full complement of 46 chromosomes or 23 pairs.
- You can read more about the role of the egg at, “How Does a Single Cell Become a Whole Body?“: ... whole-body

Activation of the Egg by the Presence of 46 Chromosomes

4. Now, to the second factor. Most cells in a body have 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46. The egg and sperm are different. Each egg and each sperm has only one set of 23 chromosomes, not a pair.

- When fertilization occurs in normal conception, the 23 chromosomes from the egg combine with the 23 from the sperm to create a zygote or a fertilized egg with the full complement of 23 pairs of chromosomes. This is shown in the following diagram (courtesy of Shutterstock):


- In this case of normal conception, those two nuclei from mother and father will combine to form a single nucleus in the yellow cell (egg), which is now the zygote.
- So, we see that in normal conception, the nucleus of the zygote — or the result of the merger of the egg with the sperm — will be a cell with a nucleus that has half chromosomes from the mother and the other half from the father. Thus, DNA from mother and father BOTH contribute to the zygote in normal conception. This is why the baby will have bodily features from both parents (a mix).

Science Cannot Explain Why Some Zygotes Are “Duds”

5. When the above process is complete, the egg becomes a zygote. At this point, the cell division is supposed to activate. However, some zygotes do not activate and thus do not lead to a fetus or a baby.

- Scientists do not know why the zygotes formed by the union of some couples do not lead to cell division, i.e., why certain couples cannot have babies.

It Is a Gandhabba That “Activates” the Zygote!

6. The only difference in Buddha Dhamma is that the cell division starts ONLY IF (and when) a gandhabba descends to the womb and merges with that zygote.

- A new animal or human life cannot be initiated without a gandhabba (or the “mental body” or “manōmaya kāya“.)
- In the case of a natural conception, the matching gandhabba (or patisandhi viññāna) will descend to the womb and will be merged with that fertilized egg to complete the conception. However, if a previous kamma vipaka for the mother and father does not allow a conception, a gandhabba WILL NOT be drawn into the womb.
- Otherwise, a matching gandhabba with gati that are a mix of gati of mother and father will be drawn into the womb. That is why a child is likely to have gati which are a mix of the two parents. That is in addition to having physical features of the parents.

A Gandhabba (Mental Body) Makes the Zygote Alive

7. Without the “mental component” or the gandhabba, there is no life! A zygote is an inert cell and has no “sentient life”. The zygote that results from the merger of the egg and the sperm is just the “material base” and not a “new life”.

- It is only when the gandhabba descends to the womb and takes possession of that zygote that it “becomes alive”.

The Procedure of Cloning Versus Natural Conception

8. The zygote formation is different in cloning compared to the natural conception. In the case of cloning, a sperm from a father is not involved.

- Here the nucleus of the egg is REMOVED, and the nucleus of the “donor cell” with the full set of 46 chromosomes is INSERTED in the egg. That is the key difference in cloning. So, now the nucleus of the egg has the full set of chromosomes needed to start cell division. The basic process involved in cloning is nicely represented by the following diagram:


9. However, it seems that is not enough to initiate the cell division. An electric shock is required to activate the process (i.e., to initiate cell division of this artificially created zygote.) This is the second difference compared to the natural process.

- Therefore, the artificially modified egg is placed in the womb of the surrogate mother, and an electrical shock is applied to start the cell division.
- The above figure is from the article, “20 years after Dolly: Everything you always wanted to know about the cloned sheep and what came next”:[html] ... came-next/[/html] You may want to read that article too.

A Gandhabba Is Still Needed in Cloning

10. Even though that is the whole picture according to science, Buddha Dhamma says, there MUST be a gandhabba merging with that cell in order to “give it life”.

- Just like in the case of natural conception we discussed above, there is no “new life” created with cloning. It just created a suitable “temporary home” for the gandhabba.
- When that physical body dies, the gandhabba would come out and wait for another womb to be ready. Dolly has now died and it is possible that she was reborn as another sheep somewhere.

Genetic Material Is From One Cell in Cloning

11. The main thing from the above figure in #8 on cloning for our discussion is that the yellow cell is the egg from the mother. The other cell on the top is from the “donor.” It is not sperm but any kind of cell. No sperm is in the picture. Instead of half the genetic material coming from sperm and half from an egg, it all comes from a single cell.

- The unique feature of the egg from the mother is that it allows the growth of a whole animal (with many body parts for doing very different things) just starting with that single cell.
- However, the egg needs to have a full set of 46 chromosomes to form the zygote. In cloning, the whole set comes from the “donor” as shown in the above figure. In a natural conception, half of the chromosomes come from the mother (egg), and the other half comes from the father (sperm), as shown in the figure above in #4.
- When an egg starts cell division, it splits — first into 2, then 4, then 8, 16, 32, 64, and so on — it is not merely splitting. It is a complex process that produces descendant cells with a huge variety of shapes and functions: bone cells, nerve cells, red and white blood cells; the cells of the eyes, fingernails, stomach, skin, etc.

More Information From Scientific Studies

12. Now, in the case of cloning, the following should be clear, according to science:

- The mother that provides the egg, provides the all-important platform for cell division that leads to the formation of the new offspring.
- However, 99% of the DNA comes from the donor. Therefore, the physical resemblance of the offspring would be to the donor, as is the case with Dolly the sheep.
- The surrogate mother who carries the embryo to term would provide no real contribution to the physical appearance of the offspring, according to science.

No “Monsters” Will be Created With Cloning

13. Studies done over the past 20 years with different types of animals show that:

- Some people are afraid that cloning can lead to unexpected outcomes like “creating monsters.” However, from the above discussion, it is clear that monstrous creatures cannot be expected to form due to cloning. This is because the source of DNA is the donor. Therefore, the clone will look like the donor.
- It is not possible to clone an animal that is identical to the donor. Even if they look similar, their character traits are different.
- The success rate is low, around 10%.
- Those are observations from the cloning studies over the past 20 years. They are consistent with our picture of the gandhabba having gati close to that of the donor. No two animals can be the same. In the case of natural birth, gandhabba‘s gati will be close to those of both parents.

Additional Points From Buddha Dhamma

14. That is pretty much the picture in Buddha Dhamma too, but with the following exceptions:

- All three involved in the cloning process would contribute to some extent to the “mental qualities” in selecting a matching gandhabba (which happens automatically.) However, the major contribution is likely to come from the donor.
- Of course, we can only make a guess, since the Buddha never had to explain this particular case. The Buddha specifically mentioned that the “mental state of the mother” at the time of gandhabba descending to the womb is a factor. This is why even the most moral mother may, in a few cases, end up with a baby who turns out to have immoral gati.
- Therefore, the surrogate mother — within whose womb the actual descending of the gandhabba would occur — could play some minor role in determining the behavior of the baby, but not the physical appearance, i.e., the developing embryo would be affected by the mood and health of the surrogate mother.

Conclusion – New Life Cannot Be Created

15. The word “clone” is defined as, “an organism or cell produced asexually from one ancestor or stock, to which they are genetically identical.”

- However, a clone will NEVER be exactly the same as the “donor.” They are two different “lifestreams.” The Buddha taught that each lifestream has existed “forever” and we discussed Tipitaka references in, “Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin.” published on Jun 29, 2019: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=518755#p518755
- All living beings in existence now have been in the rebirth process forever. The Buddha said that there is no discernible beginning to any living being.

16. The main point from Buddha Dhamma is that a new life cannot be created by any means, whether in a laboratory or anywhere in the universe. This is the only inconsistency with science here, and it is a major inconsistency.

- Living beings just keep switching from realm to realm, but most are trapped in the lower realms. While in the human or animal realms, they spend a lot of time as gandhabbas; see, “Gandhabba – Only in Human and Animal Realms“: ... al-realms/
- So, an animal like Dolly would be switching from a “sheep gandhabba” to a sheep to a “sheep gandhabba” to a sheep…until the kammic energy for the “sheep bhava” or “sheep existence” runs out.
- When the kammic energy for the “sheep bhava” runs out, it will grasp another existence. There is no end to this process until reaching the Arahanthood.
- So, I hope it is clear that cloning itself is consistent with Buddha Dhamma, and specifically with the concept of gandhabba.
- We will continue the discussion on Paticca Samuppāda in the next post.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Paticca Samuppāda – From Mind to Matter

Where is the “Mind-to-Matter” Step in Paticca Samuppāda?

1. Akusala-mula Paticca Samuppāda starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” and ends with “bhava paccayā jāti, jāti paccayā jarā, marana,..”

- The first step involves generating defiled thoughts (manō, vaci, and kāya saṅkhāra) due to avijjā (not being aware of the Four Noble Truths.) In the end, that leads to births of physical bodies (jāti) that will then undergo old age and death.
- How do thoughts lead to the births of human beings and other living beings?

Javana Citta Create Energy!

2. I laid the foundation for this post in a recent post, “Dhammā, Kamma, Saṅkhāra, Mind – Critical Connections.” Please review that as needed.

- The critical point is that our thoughts (specifically javana citta) CREATE energy! That may be hard to believe.
- Even a few hundred years ago, many people thought that the Buddha taught some other things that were “hard to believe.” For example, Buddha taught that there are an uncountable number of planetary systems like our Solar system in the universe. However, before Galileo invented the telescope, people believed that Earth was at the center of the universe! See the “Geocentric model.”:
- Even after reading the previous post mentioned above, many of you may not have caught on to the fact that the mind creates energy. And that is what leads to the “arising of physical bodies” in future existences (rebirths.) You may want to read that post after reading this one, and things will become more clear.

Thoughts Create “Seeds” That Can Give Rise to Physical Bodies

3. In that previous post, we discussed that such minute amounts of energies created by our thoughts are PART OF dhammā (with a long “a” at the end.)

- Of course, such minute amounts of energy cannot DIRECTLY create massive/dense bodies like ours.
- When a living being grasps a new existence (bhava), only a “mental body” or “manōmaya kāya” for the new life appears. It is a “mental body” since it is mostly mental with only a trace of matter. Very little kammic energy is enough to create that “mental body.”
- This “mental body” or “manōmaya kāya” is the same as a gandhabba or a “patisandhi viññāṇa.” One creates one’s future via one’s saṅkhāra (i.e., the way oneTHINKS). Paticca Samuppāda describes that process.
- That is why it is CRITICAL to understand the previous three posts: “Dhammā, Kamma, Saṅkhāra, Mind – Critical Connections,” “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception,” and “Cloning and Gandhabba.”

4. The word “kāya” in Buddha Dhamma means a “collection.” Thus, this “body” that is created by kammic energy consists mostly of the four “mental aggregates.” It has only a trace of matter (much smaller than an atom in modern science.)

- However, it has all five aggregates of rūpa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, and viññāṇa. Of course, the “rūpa kāya” is unbelievable small, but the “four mental aggregates are the same as those experienced by a living person with a physical body.
- That “mental body” or “manōmaya kāya” is the same as gandhabba! However, after the initial formation, gandhabba can “solidify” somewhat by “taking in scents or aroma.” Hence the name “gandhabba” (“gandha” + “abba” or “taking in scents.”)
- For details on gandhabba, see, “Mental Body – Gandhabba” at or "Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipitaka" on Oct 28, 2018 (p.43).

It is Kamma Viññāṇa That Sets Up Energy for a New Existence (Bhava)

5. There are no “rūpa” in PS steps up to “viññāṇa.” As we have discussed, a kamma viññāṇa that arises via “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa” is a type of “rūpa” because it has “energy.” As Einstein showed with his famous equation, E = mc^2, energy is also a manifestation of matter. Again, see “Dhammā, Kamma, Saṅkhāra, Mind – Critical Connections.”

- Then at the next step, there is “nāmarūpa.” That is where a conventional “rūpa” becomes “live.” That is precisely what happens when a “patisandhi viññāṇa descends to a womb” and makes an inert zygote become alive! That occurs at the “viññāṇa paccayā nāmarūpa” step in Uppatti PS.
- The post “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” explains how a “patisandhi viññāṇa” leads to the creation of a “new human body.”
- Sexual intercourse only creates the “material basis” for a new life. An egg (from the mother) combines with sperm (from the father) to form a single cell, a zygote. That zygote is inert (a rūpa), just like the egg and the sperm. An existing “mental body” or a gandhabba (nāma with energy) needs to merge with that zygote to form the nāmarūpa or the fetus (with mind and body).
- Sexual intercourse is not necessary to form the zygote or the “material base” for a new “physical body.” A zygote can be created in a laboratory, but still requires eggs from the mother; see, “Cloning and Gandhabba.”

Nāmarūpa Paccayā Salāyatana” in Uppatti Paticca Samuppāda

6. That “live person” or the fetus will grow for nine months to complete the formation of all six sensory faculties. That is the “nāmarūpa paccayā salāyatana” step in uppatti PS. As we know, “salāyatana” represents the “six sensory faculties” of a living being with a “body and mind.”

- Therefore, the transition starts with the step “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa,” Then, it goes through the “viññāṇa paccayā nāmarūpa” step, before finalizing the formation of a “human with six sensory faculties” at the “nāmarūpa paccayā salāyatana” step.
- However, it is essential to understand that a “patisandhi viññāṇa” leading to a rebirth must have been cultivated previously. Such a viññāṇa “builds up” over MANY “Idappaccayatā Paticca Samuppāda” cycles that take place DURING a life or even over many lives.

Example of an Alcoholic Making an “Animal Bhava

7. Let us consider an example to illustrate how one cultivates a patisandhi viññāṇa suitable for an animal over time. Let us consider an alcoholic/drug addict. I am not talking about a person who takes an occasional drink. Instead, this person has an addiction to alcohol or drugs.

- As we have discussed in recent posts on the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148), one starts thinking about a certain ārammana (in this case, drinking) when thought about that ārammana comes to mind as a vipāka viññāṇa. In this particular case, it could be seeing an alcohol bottle, hearing about an upcoming party, or just habitually remembering that “it is time to have a drink.”
- As explained in those posts, one’s mind quickly gets to “taṇhā” (or “getting stuck” in that ārammana.) Thus, a PS process would start at the “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step. See, “Icchā (Cravings) Lead to Upādāna and to Eventual Suffering.”
- That is when one starts THINKING about that ārammana that came to the mind. That is the “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” step of a new PS cycle.

Nāmarūpa in “Idappaccayatā Paticca Samuppāda” Are Just “Visuals”

8. Suppose the alcoholic/drug addict in our example is sitting at his desk at work. Due to his habit, an upcoming party may come to his mind via “manañca paṭicca dhammē ca uppajjati manōviññāṇaṃ.“

- Of course, he will be instantly “stuck in that ārammana,” and the “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step in PS gets him started on “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” Thus, he starts thinking about the experience that he is going to have in the upcoming party. Those are vaci saṅkhāra.
- That leads to the arising of a viññāṇa (anticipation or the expectation of the possible enjoyments) via “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa.” The javana citta in his thoughts start creating energy for that viññāṇa.
- That involves visualizing “party scenes” at the upcoming party and also his past experiences in similar situations. He will imagine the friends who will be there, what kind of alcohol, food, and other types of entertainment will be there. These are all “nāmarūpa” or visuals that arise in his mind. These nāmarūpa are very much like what we experience in a dream, just visuals.

Some of those Viññāṇa and Nāmarūpa Cultivated Could be Compatible with Animal Mindsets

9. Some of those viññāṇa and nāmarūpa cultivated by the alcoholic/drug addict in our example could be compatible with those of animals. That is a critical point.

- During some of these parties, alcohol or drug usage could get to extreme levels. Some people may pass out and could be unable to walk. They will be dragging themselves on the floor like animals.
- Some may be engaging in sexual misconduct. Such bodily actions are more potent than such cultivating vaci saṅkhāra. However, in most cases, it is the cultivation of vaci saṅkhāra (thinking about such activities with vitakka/vicāra) that lead to bodily actions.
- Both kinds of saṅkhāra lead to the growth of patisandhi viññāṇa suitable to bring about an animal birth in the future (in an Uppatti PS process.)

Nāmarūpa In “Viññāṇa Paccaya Nāmarūpa” Are Two Kinds

10. It is critical to note that the “nāmarūpa” discussed in #8 are different from those in #5.

- The nāmarūpa in #8 helps build that viññāṇa via the backward step, “nāmarūpa paccayā viññāṇa.” When the alcoholic is making those ‘visualizations,” he is cultivating that viññāṇa. Thus, each is helping grow the other. That often happens in “Idappaccayatā Paticca Samuppāda” cycles. See, "Nāmarūpa Paccayā Salāyatana in Idapaccayatā Paticca Samuppāda" posted on May 26, 2019: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=514169#p514169
- For example, Ven. Sariputta in the “Naḷakalāpī Sutta (SN 12.67)“: “Seyyathāpi, āvuso, dve naḷakalāpiyo aññamaññaṃ nissāya tiṭṭheyyuṃ. Evameva kho, āvuso, nāmarū¬pa paccayā viññāṇaṃ; viññāṇa paccayā nāmarūpaṃ;..” OR “Just as two sheaves of reeds might stand leaning against each other, so too, with nāmarūpa as condition, viññāṇa comes to be. With viññāṇa as condition, nāmarūpa comes to be..”
- On the other hand, the “viññāṇa paccayā nāmarūpa” step happens only once in uppatti PS cycles. That involves a special “patisandhi viññāṇa” (gandhabba.) When that patisandhi viññāṇa (or gandhabba) descends to the womb, it merges with the zygote and creates a new “nāmarūpa” or a “live fetus.” See, #5 above and the posts referred to there, “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” and “Cloning and Gandhabba.”

It Is Important to Review Related/Past Posts Often

11. Another thing to remember is that even a given PS cycle does not proceed in just one direction. All those steps, as with many others in PS, go backward too. For example, “viññāṇa paccayā nāmarūpa” and “nāmarūpa paccayā viññāṇa” steps may go back and forth strengthening each other in many cases (see #8, #9 above.)

- I have explained this in several previous posts in this series: “Paticca Samuppāda – Not ‘Self’ or ‘No-Self’” A vital case discussed in the post “Tanhā Paccayā Upādāna – Critical Step in Paticca Samuppāda.”
- There is a lot to grasp in this post. Please make sure to read the related posts mentioned above, so that these concepts are well-understood.
- It is critical to have a good idea about these concepts to see how one makes one’s future rebirths. Furthermore, the type of rebirth CORRESPONDS to the kind of abhi(saṅkhāra) cultivated with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.“
- That is how “mind to matter” transitions take place. And this is why the Buddha said that the mind is at the forefront.
- All relevant posts start with the post, “Origin of Life” on Jun 29, 2019: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=518755#p518755
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Ghost 1990 Movie – Good Depiction of Gandhabba Concept


1. I have been trying to get across the concept of a gandhabba (or mental body or manōmaya kāya) over several years now. But I don’t think many readers have a good grasp of the concept. One critical problem is that sometimes it is tough to explain a new concept with just words.

- Then a couple of days ago, I remembered that 1990 movie “Ghost” that I had watched at that time. I only had a vague recollection of the film, so I watched it again. It became instantly clear to me that it would help me make “some key clarifications” with the aid of that movie. After watching the movie, I abandoned the post that I was writing and started on this post.
- A description of the movie and the plot is in the Wikipedia article “Ghost (1990 film)”: However, one MUST watch the movie and read the following discussion to be able to get a good understanding of the gandhabba concept. A free version of the full movie is available online.

The Background (Up to 23 Minutes)

2. From the above article: “Sam Wheat, a banker, and his girlfriend Molly Jensen, a potter, renovate and move into an apartment in Manhattan with the help of Sam’s friend and co-worker Carl Bruner. One afternoon, Sam confides in Carl his discovery of unusually high balances in obscure bank accounts. He decides to investigate the matter himself, declining Carl’s offer of assistance. That night, Sam and Molly are attacked by a mugger who shoots and kills Sam in a scuffle before stealing his wallet. Sam sees Molly crying over his body and discovers he is now a ghost, invisible and unable to interact with the mortal world.”

- The ghost, of course, is the gandhabba or the manōmaya kāya of Sam. The movie clearly shows some of the features of the gandhabba that I have tried to explain with words. When Sam dies, his gandhabba comes out of the dead body. Initially, he does not even realize that he has died. By the way, if one dies such a sudden death, there is no time to feel the physical pain.
- So, Sam is confused when he sees his dead body and his girlfriend, Molly, crying. It takes him a little while to realize what happened. He sees his own bloodied body held up by Molly. He tries to touch the body, and his fingers “go through the dead body.” We can disregard the next few moments showing the “white light” coming to “take him to heaven.” This will be discussed in #12 below.
- When a human dies suddenly by a gunshot, likely, his “bhava” will not change. So, Sam probably has more time left in the human bhava, but he now has to stay in the “gandhabba state” until a matching mother’s womb becomes available for his next human birth. See the post, "Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein" on Oct 27, 2018 (p. 43).
- In any case, according to the movie script, Sam’s mind is focused on Molly, and thus the “white light” goes back without him.

Gandhabba Is Not a “Scary Misty Ghost”

3. Many of you may have imagined that a gandhabba is like a “scary misty ghost” as depicted in popular cartoons. However, a gandhabba coming out of a body is a “complete imprint” of that human including the clothes that he/she had been wearing.

- Thus, Sam’s ghost or Sam’s gandhabba looks just like Sam when he died, complete with whatever he was wearing. That is part of the “utuja kāya” or the “fine body” around the “mental body.” That mental body by itself is just a few suddhātthaka.
- However, when that gandhabba is pulled into a womb, the utuja kāya is shed and only the “pure mental body” of a few suddhātthaka merge with the zygote in the womb. See the two recent posts, “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” and “Cloning and Gandhabba.”

At the Hospital (Up to 26 minutes)

4. An ambulance takes Sam’s body to the hospital, and he keeps staying by the dead body trying to make sense of things. Of course, with that “mental body,” he can go anywhere he wishes.

- While he is sitting by his dead body, another gandhabba (old guy) comes and talks to him. They also watch another patient dying and his “ghost” or gandhabba taken to heaven with the “white light.” As the old guy says, most of the dead go to hell and not heaven. Then an attendant comes and takes his dead body “right through him.” That is what I try to say that a gandhabba has a “very subtle fine body.” It is just an “energy body” or a “force field.”
- His gandhabba body” has only a trace of matter. Solid objects can go right through, and “he” can go through solid objects!

Sam’s Ghost (Gandhabba) Learning About the Gandhabba World (Para Lōka) – (Up to 54 minutes)

5. Sam sees another “gandhabba woman” walking through a tombstone at his funeral. Later on, at Molly’s place, he goes “through a door” for the first time. Sam’s killer comes to Molly’s apartment, and Sam follows him back to the killers’ apartment. On the subway train ride, Sam meets a violent “subway ghost” who has learned how to move physical objects with mind power. Later on, Sam would learn from him how to focus mental energy and to move physical objects.

- That is possible per Buddha Dhamma. Even though most gandhabbas do not have such an ability, a few of them may also get such capability due to “puñña iddhi” or due to exceptional past kamma vipāka.

6. Anyway, Sam finds out that the name of his killer is Willie. In Willie’s neighborhood, Sam also meets psychic Oda Mae, a charlatan pretending to communicate with spirits of the dead. However, it turns out that Oda’s mother actually had such capabilities, and after the meeting with “Sam’s ghost,” Oda is also able to hear his voice.

- That is also possible per Buddha Dhamma. Some humans are born with puñña iddhi to be able to hear and/or see gandhabbas. It is possible that such accounts (over long periods) are responsible for the “cartoon versions” that we come across in books and movies such as this movie.
- Sam persuades Oda Mae to help him. They still have a hard time convincing Molly. But Molly is finally convinced by the personal details that Sam provides through Oda.

At this point, you may want to watch the movie. I will be revealing the whole stroyline from this point. If you want to enjoy the film, it is a good idea to finish watching the movie and then to read the rest of this post.

Sam’s Friend Carl – (Up to 72 minutes)

7. Molly decides to contact Carl, who was a friend and co-worker of Sam. She tells him that Sam’s ghost found out that his killer was Willie. Carl promises to check on that.

- Molly goes to the police, and they don’t believe the story either. The detective says there is no record on Willie, but Oda Mae has a history of deceiving people.
- Meanwhile, Carl goes to meet Willie and Sam follows him. Sam is shocked to find out that it was Carl who hired Willie. It turns out that Sam had a bank code in his wallet for an account that had four million dollars, and Carl wanted Willie to get Sam’s wallet. But things did not go as planned, and Willie shot and killed Sam.
- Later on, Carl goes back to Molly and tries to seduce her. Sam gets into a rage and lunges at Carl. Of course, he cannot make contact, but he was astonished to see that he was able to knock a picture off a table.

Sam’s Ghost Learns How to Make Bodily Contact – (Up to 78 minutes)

8. Sam then remembers the “subway ghost” who can move physical objects with mind power. He goes back to the subway and learns how to focus the mind power to move physical objects.

- In Buddha Dhamma, that is possible via cultivating jhāna. As we discussed before, there are rare cases where a gandhabba would be able to make physical contact via puñña iddhi. However, this aspect of the movie is unlikely to happen in real life.
- This is why it is not fun to be a gandhabba. Some gandhabbas (ghosts in the movie) can see and hear humans. But they are frustrated that they cannot touch, eat food, or smell like humans do. There is a scene in the movie where the “subway ghost” says he would give anything to smoke a cigarette (@ 76 minutes.)
- (I have mentioned in previous posts that a gandhabba can “take in various types of scents” and become a bit denser. That is a different mechanism than inhaling through the nose (a gandhabba only has an imprint of a nose and not a real nose.)

Mind Power – (Up to 78 minutes)

9. The “subway ghost” explains to Sam that he has no physical body even though he seems to be wearing clothes etc. He says, “you’ve got no body (meaning no physical body), son. It is all up here” and points to the head. (But of course, the seat of the mind is not in the head. It is close to where the physical heart normally is.)

- Subway ghost says, “If you want to move something, you’ve got to move it with your mind. You’ve got to focus all your anger, all your love, all your hate, and push from all the way here, from the middle of your stomach. And let it explode like a reactor.” (That turns out to be close to the right place!)
- That is a CRITICAL point. Even from our own experience, we know that when we try to do something hard, the “push” comes from the heart area, and not the head.
- The real power is in our thoughts (specifically javana citta.) That power can be highly focused when one is in a jhāna. But it is when one is in jhāna samapatti, that one can focus the mind power and even CREATE matter! You may want to re-read the post, "Mystical Phenomena in Buddhism?" on Jul 28, 2019 (p. 73):viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=523126#p523126

Oda Mae Is Now a Genuine Psychic Reader – (Up to 80 minutes)

10. Oda Mae is no longer a fake. She can make contact with many “ghosts” or gandhabbas in the para lōka. As you see, the para lōka co-exists with our the lōka; it is just that we cannot see those in the para lōka.

- However, she is now in trouble since Carl knows her identity. The story gets interesting now and there are no more “technical details” that need to be discussed here.
- If there are any questions, we can discuss them. This is a very complex subject, but I hope you get a general idea.

Other Relevant Points – Births in Different Realms

11. A human gandhabba (ghost in the movie) comes out of a dead body ONLY IF that person has more kammic energy left for human bhava. That is the case in many instances, especially if one dies by a gunshot as in this case.

- However, if the kammic energy for human bhava runs out at the moment of death, then an entirely different event takes place. Let us consider specific cases of a human dying and grasping an animal, Deva, and Brahma bhava.
- If the dying human grasps an animal bhava (say a dog), then instead of a “human ghost” it is a “dog ghost” or a “dog gandhabba” that comes out of the dead body. That “dog gandhabba” will not stay in that vicinity. It will be attracted to somewhere there are dogs with matching gati. Then it will stay there until a suitable womb becomes available, at which point it will be drawn into that womb.
- A very different thing happens if a Deva bhava is grasped by the dying human. In that case, there will no “ghost” or gandhabba coming out of the dead body. Instead, a full-blown Deva will appear in a matching Deva realm instantaneously. If a Brahma bhava is grasped, a Brahma will appear at the matching Brahma realm.
- What we discussed in that last bullet is a critical point. There is no “being” going from here to the Deva or Brahma realm (located far above the Earth.) The human dies here and Deva (or Brahma) is born there. Due to a past cause (kamma), a Deva or a Brahma is born at the appropriate location.

Other Misconceptions in the Movie

12. The movie shows that “good people” like Sam get to go to heaven (though the white light) and “bad people” like Carl and Willie are taken to hell by “hell beings.” But Buddha Dhamma has a different picture of rebirth.

- First, hell and heaven (Deva realms) are not the only two “destinations.” One can be born among any of the 31 realms, including the animal realm that we see.
- The second is that one’s human bhava does not normally end at death. A human bhava can last thousands of years and unless one has used up all that time, one could be reborn with a human body again. In that case, the “mental body” corresponding to the human bhava (i.e., human gandhabba) comes out of the dead body and has to wait until a matching womb becomes available.
- There is an exception to the rule in the last bullet. If one has done a ānantariya kamma (like killing a parent or cultivate a jhāna) then one’s human bhava will end at death even if there is more kammic energy left. In the first case, one will be born in hell and in the second (jhāna) one will be born in a Brahma realm.
- There are few other inconsistencies in the movie, but those are the major ones.

Pāli Word for Ghost is “Bhuta

13. Another interesting point is that the Pāli word for “ghost” is “bhūta“.

- Bhūta in Pāli (and Sinhala, බූත) means an entity that one cannot really grasp.
- For example, scientists are trying to figure out the fundamental “blocks” that all matter is made of. They initially thought an atom would be the smallest unit of matter. Then they found out that an atom is made of electrons, protons, and neutrons. They kept probing deeper and now are down to levels where it is hard to distinguish between “matter” and “energy.”
- The four great elements (cattāri mahābhūtāni) in Buddha Dhamma are paṭhavi, apo, tejo, vāyo. But they can NEVER be detected individually. They ALWAYS come in packets called “suddhātthaka.” A suddhātthaka has those four great elements and four more elementary units. Even that unit cannot be “seen” and is said to be at the “bhūta stage”.
- A gandhabba (ghost in the above discussion) has only three suddhātthaka (they are called dasaka because when vibrational and rotational “modes” are added to become “ten units each.”
- To be visible to our eyes, billions and billions of such suddhātthaka need to be piled up. Now we can see that a gandhabba hardly has any “matter.” That is why it is called “ghost” or a “bhūta.”

One Last Thing

14. At 109 minutes, Oda Mae “lets” Sam to get into her physical body so that Molly will be able to “touch him” for the last time.

- That is possible according to Buddha Dhamma. If a human is willing, a gandhabba can “get into” that physical body.
- Even if the human is not willing, but has a “weak mind,” a rogue gandhabba can “get in.” It is said that the human is now “possessed.” Such cases are still reported in Sri Lanka and the human is said to be “possessed by a demon.” But it is usually a gandhabba with bad character and not a demon.
- By the way, I was very much moved by that last scene. This is part of the suffering that we tend to be unaware of or even disregard. It is a good example of “piyehi vippayogo dukkho” OR “separation from what is loved is suffering.” We will all face that at least at the moment of death. We will have no choice but to leave all that we love.

There are many more details like that. But the above discussion should provide the basic ideas involved with a gandhabba. As the Buddha admonished, we will never be able to uncover and sort out all such complexities. But it is good to be aware of the general ideas involved.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Origin of Life – One Creates One’s Own Future Lives

Introduction – Origin of Life

1. In the first post in this series, I pointed out that there is no traceable “beginning” to the life of any existing living being. See, “Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin.” on Jun 29, 2019: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=518755#p518755

- However, any living being’s FUTURE LIVES are created by that living being.
- It is critical to understand how one’s mindset and thoughts (in particular abhisaṅkhāra) can lead to different types of rebirths. That is the basis of Buddha Dhamma and is explained in Paticca Samuppāda (PS.)
- In simple terms, “bad thoughts/mindset” lead to “bad births” and “good thoughts/mindset” lead to “good births.” The problem is that most are “bad births” and those infrequent “good births” do not last long.
- The Buddha said, “One who sees Paticca Samuppāda sees the Dhamma. One who sees the Dhamma sees Paticca Samuppāda”. See, “Paticca Samuppāda – “Pati+ichcha”+”Sama+uppāda”: ... roduction/

2. In the first several posts in “Origin of Life,” we discussed the background material necessary to understand how a complex physical body of a human starts with a single cell, a zygote.

- However, the most important part of a human is not the physical body, but the mental body. It goes by various names in Buddha Dhamma, manōmaya kāya and gandhabba being the most common. However, that mental body arises due to a paṭisandhi viññāṇa and remains as a kamma bīja until coming to the mind of a living being at the beginning of a new existence (bhava) as a dhammā.
- Average humans focus only on keeping the physical body in good condition. It is much more beneficial to improve the “mental body.” That way, one will be able to stop ALL FUTURE SUFFERING.

Critical Role of Paticca Samuppāda

3. The seed (kamma bīja) for a future existence (bhava) is the paṭisandhi viññāṇa cultivated via “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa” in PS. I briefly discussed/explained that with nine recent posts on Paticca Samuppāda (PS.) The last of those posts, “Paticca Samuppāda – From Mind to Matter” came to that conclusion.

- In many previous posts, we have discussed that paṭisandhi viññāṇa, gandhabba, kamma bīja, and dhammā are very similar terms. See, “Dhammā, Kamma, Saṅkhāra, Mind – Critical Connections.”
- When grasping a new human existence, that paṭisandhi viññāṇa becomes a human gandhabba with the complete blueprint of that human. See, “Dhammā, Kamma, Saṅkhāra, Mind – Critical Connections.”
- Then we discussed the 1990 movie “ghost” to provide visualization of a human gandhabba. A gandhabba has only a trace matter. An average human cannot see a gandhabba. However, it has the complete “blueprint” for a human. See, “Ghost 1990 Movie – Good Depiction of Gandhabba Concept.”
- That gandhabba then gives rise to a fully-grown human as explained in the two posts, “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” and “Cloning and Gandhabba.”

4. There is a lot of information summarized above using different terms. In the following, I will try to organize that in a systematic way and will also describe the “bigger picture” within the 31 realms of existence.

The General Process of Grasping an Existence (Bhava)

5. In broad terms, there are three main existences (bhava) but they branch out to thirty-one. Existence in the kāma bhava (i.e., 11 realms in kāma lōka), rūpa bhava (16 realms in rūpāvacara Brahma lōka), and arūpa bhava (4 realms in arūpāvacara Brahma lōka.) The 11 realms in kāma lōka are the 4 realms in the apāya, one human, and six Dēva realms.)

- Thus, there are 31 existences (bhava) in this world. Any living being belongs to one of those. Each such existence has a finite lifetime. Some are fixed and others are variable. Dēva and Brahama realms have fixed lifetimes. Lower realms starting with the human realm have variable lifetimes. See, “31 Realms of Existence.”: ... existence/
- However, when a living being grasps a new existence in ANY realm, the duration of that existence WILL BE fixed. For the human and lower realms, that lifetime depends on the kammic energy that “feeds” that particular existence. For example, one human may have that human existence for 10,000 years and another may have only 900 years.

Each Bhava Starts With a Mind-Made Body (Manōmaya Kāya)

6. Any living being (other than an Arahant) will grasp (or latch onto) a new existence when the current existence runs out of its lifetime. At that moment, kammic energy for the new existence creates a “mind-made body” or a manōmaya kāya.

- That transition from one existence (bhava) to another happens with an uppatti PS process. Specifically, that happens with the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step in that uppatti PS cycle.
- But it is a patisandhi viññāṇa” created via “sankhara paccayā viññāṇa” step in PS that is responsible for that new existence (bhava.)
- In other words, the kammic energy embedded in that patisandhi viññāṇa is the energy that creates the manōmaya kāya of the new existence (bhava.) Thus, manōmaya kāya has only a tiny bit of energy that was created by the mind.
- That manōmaya kāya does not die until the end of that bhava. Living beings in each and every realm will have a manōmaya kāya.
- Details are at the nine posts on PS in this series.

Brahma Realms Only Have Manōmaya Kāya

7. A manōmaya kāya has a hadaya vatthu (seat of the mind) and UP TO five pasāda rūpa (that enable experiencing the external world.) The hadaya vatthu is different for different realms and also has INDIVIDUAL characteristics. Thus even two humans will have different hadaya vatthu embedding their personal characteristics. The following is a brief summary of different realms.

- The four highest Brahma realms (arūpāvacara Brahma realms) have ONLY the hadaya vatthu. Those Brahmā can only think.
- Brahmā in the 16 rūpāvacara Brahma realms have hadaya vatthu and TWO pasāda rūpa: cakkhu and sōta pasāda rūpa. They can see and hear with just those pasāda rūpa. They do not have physical bodies, and thus do not have eyes and ears like us. Their “seeing” does not require light and they “see’ things far away. In the same way, they can hear sounds that are far away. But they need to "direct their attention" to a particular location to see or hear.
- All those Brahmā in the 20 Brahma realms have only manōmaya kāya.

Living Beings in Kāma Lōka Realms Have Denser Bodies In Addition to Manōmaya Kāya

8. Things become complex when we get to the 11 realms in the kāma lōka.

- Devā in the six Dēva realms have manōmaya kāya with hadaya vatthu and five pasāda rūpa. They also have “physical bodies” like ours but at a much finer level. Those “subtle bodies” are also created by kammic energy and thus Devā are born with their “full bodies.” That means they do not grow or get old but just die at the end of their lifetimes. There is only one “jāti” within a Brahma or Dēva bhava. We cannot see either Brahmā or Devā.
- Human “structure” is the same as that of the Devā but, of course, human physical bodies are much denser. Furthermore, human “structure” has many common features with the animal realm. The other three lower realms in the kāma lōka are more complex and we will not discuss them here.
- Let us briefly discuss the features of the human and animal realm. I will address only the human realm, but most of those features are the same for the animal realm.

There are Multiple Jāti Within a Human Bhava

9. A human also has a manōmaya kāya with a hadaya vatthu and five pasāda rūpa. But a human can exist in TWO forms.

- ONE: Much of the time in the human bhava, it stays with JUST the manōmaya kāya. That state is normally referred to as the gandhabba state. A gandhabba is like a Brahma in the following aspect. A gandhabba can see and hear without the aid of physical eyes and physical ears. Even though it has five pasāda rūpa, it cannot touch, taste, or smell since there is no dense physical body.
- TWO: A human will have a “dense physical body” only after that gandhabba (manōmaya kāya) gets into a womb and creates a physical human body.
- It is good to contemplate how such a tiny amount of energy in a manōmaya kāya can “build” a human body that can weigh over a hundred pounds (or many kilograms.)

A Gandhabba for a Human Body Is Like a Seed for a Tree

10. A good point to start is to think about how a tiny seed grows into a huge oak tree.

- That seed has the blueprint for the whole tree. The seed germinates and pulls in food and water from the soil to grow into a large tree. The tree trunk, limbs, and leaves are all made from the food and water extracted from the soil.
- In the same way, the “seed” for a full-grown human is a zygote, which is a single cell. But a zygote by itself cannot grow into a human. A “human mental body” (or a gandhabba) needs to merge with the zygote to start the process. See, “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” and “Cloning and Gandhabba.”
- The mental body or the gandhabba has the blueprint for a full-grown human. Some features of the physical body come from the parents via the zygote.

11. We saw that the seed takes all the “building material” from the soil to grow to a tree. A “live zygote” grows first by taking food from the mother to become a baby. Once outside the womb, that baby starts eating food and becomes a grown human.

- This is why the physical body is secondary to the mental body (gandhabba.) All mental activities are with the gandhabba. Furthermore, a gandhabba is fully human. It just does not have a dense body to be able to touch, eat, or to smell odors. See, “Ghost 1990 Movie – Good Depiction of Gandhabba Concept.”
- The physical body is just a shell. The gandhabba makes all the decisions. The physical body is needed for the gandhabba to experience touches, tastes, and odors. See, “Gandhabba Sensing the World – With and Without a Physical Body.” ... ical-body/

The Lifetime of a Gandhabba Is the Length of Human Bhava

12. Therefore, within a human bhava, there can be many “human births” (jāti.) See, “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein.”

- When a physical body dies, the gandhabba comes out and waits for another womb. However, that gandhabba state in between two human lives is not an antarābhava because it is within the SAME human bhava. See, “Antarābhava and Gandhabba.” ... gandhabba/
- A human jāti lasts around a hundred years, but a human bhava may last thousands of years.
- Those different human births (jāti) within a human bhava will have similar characteristics. The physical appearance will change since those of parents influence via the zygote. But the successive lives usually have similar gati and also tend to have close geographic locations of birth.
- A good example is Dhammruwan, who is now a Sri Lankan, but was born in India at the time of Buddhaghosa 1500 years ago; see, “Boy Who Remembered Pāli Suttas for 1500 Years.”: ... 500-years/ More rebirth accounts at, “Evidence for Rebirth.”

How Does a Gandhabba (or a Brahma) See and Hear Without Eyes and Ears?

13. In the movie “ghost” we saw that a gandhabba can see not only other gandhabbā (which is the plural for gandhabba) but also humans and anything else in the world. See, “Ghost 1990 Movie – Good Depiction of Gandhabba Concept.” How is that possible without having physical eyes and ears?

- Our understanding of nature is extremely limited. Before modern science made some technical breakthroughs within the past hundred years or so, we would not have believed that it would be possible to “see” an event happening thousands of miles away, in real-time. Yet, we do that with televisions now and don’t think twice about it.
- These days we can record such visuals with micro-sensors that are so small that they are hard to see. Details at, “Gandhabba Sensing the World – With and Without a Physical Body.”

14. When a human gandhabba is born (at a cuti-paṭisandhi moment of grasping a new bhava), the following amazingly miniature “sensors” are made by kammic energy.

- They are hadaya vatthu (seat of the mind) and five pasāda rūpa (cakkhu, sōta, ghāna, jivhā, kāya.) Of course, the ghāna, jivhā, and kāya pasāda rūpa REQUIRE signals from a physical body (of odors, tastes, and touches) to function.
- The cakkhu and sōta pasāda rūpa can detect visuals and sounds without the aid of eyes and ears. The cakkhu pasāda rūpa is the smallest entity that can “see.” Sōta pasāda rūpa is the smallest entity that can hear.
- Evidence for the existence of gandhabba (manōmaya kāya) has accumulated over the recent years, as we discuss now.

Seeing and Hearing With the “Mental Body” (Gandhabba)

15. People who had Near-Death Experiences (NDE) say they could see and hear even though their physical bodies (and the brains) were “clinically dead.” They say they were watching doctors operating on their bodies from the ceiling. Their “mental bodies” (gandhabbā) had come out of the physical body. The book “Consciousness Beyond Life” by physician Pim van Lommel (2010) gives detailed accounts of case studies of NDE experienced by people undergoing heart operations. Here is a youtube video on the subject:

- Some people can have Out-of-Body Experiences at will; see, “Manōmaya Kāya and Out-of-Body Experience (OBE).” ... ience-obe/ They can remove their gandhabba kāya from the physical body at will. Then they do not need eyes and ears to see and hear.
- Even though there are people who say they can teach others how to do that, I don’t think that is possible. That ability is due to a puñña iddhi or due to past good kamma.

16. It is critical to realize that there phenomena that cannot be explained with our ordinary sensory experiences. Only a Buddha can discover these “hidden” facts about a wider world with 31 realms.

- However, the Buddha said that average humans are not capable of fully comprehending the characteristics of living beings in various realms. It is good to know the basic facts, but it does not serve any purpose to try to rationalize them with the limited sensory faculties we have.
- Yet any average human is capable of figuring out that these explanations are self-consistent and help clarify many of our experiences. That confidence will grow as one starts following the Path (i.e., not only living a moral life but also learn the true nature of this world.) The mind becomes purified and is able to ‘see” at deeper levels.

Why Do We Have Physical Bodies?

17. We need physical bodies to be able to touch (and for sex), taste foods, and to smell odors. But a physical body comes with a price. We have to endure all kinds of diseases including cancer, body aches, the decay of body parts, etc. Brahmā and Dēvā do not experience those, but of course, death is inevitable to all.

- Furthermore, it is a burden to “carry around” this heavy body. As I have mentioned before, even breathing requires an effort (but only asthma patients feel that.) It is such a relief to come out of the physical body, as described by those who have had NDE or OBE experiences.
- However, if one is forced to stay with the gandhabba body for a long time, one will start “missing” the ability to touch, taste, and smell. That is why all human gandhabbā desperately wish to be able to get into a womb to get a human birth.
- The point is that a gandhabba with an unimaginably small “body” can experience everything better, except the ability to touch, taste, and smell.

Why Are There So Many Different Terms for Kammic Energy?

18. Even though viññāṇa, kamma bīja, dhammā, and gandhabba are related, those terms are used in different contexts. Here is one way to remember how these different terms appear in different situations.

- First, energy for future vipāka (including future rebirths) created via “(abhi)saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa.”
- Such tiny amounts of energies stay in the “nāma lōka” (out there in the universe) as kamma bīja (kamma seeds.) See, “Our Two Worlds: Material and Immaterial.” ... mmaterial/
- When the conditions are right, a strong kamma bīja can give rise to a new existence (bhava) when those kammic energies come back to the mind as dhammā.
- Such a new existence are grasped as paṭisandhi viññāṇa. That paṭisandhi viññāṇa gives rise to a manōmaya kāya, which has a special name of gandhabba for human and animal realms.
- Manōmaya kāya means “a body made by the mind.” That is how we create our own future lives!
- If you do not fully understand the above, you can read the previous posts in this series, or ask questions. It may take a little while to fully comprehend all relationships.

19. We have now finished the first phase of Buddha Dhamma dealing with the origin of life. Life is not created by a Creator. It does not arise arbitrarily either. We discussed those two extreme views earlier in this “Origin of Life” series, starting with the post, "Views on Life - Wrong View of Materialism" on Aug. 4, 2019 (p. 73):viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=523126#p523126

- Those concepts discussed above could be new to many, and thus may take some time to understand or get used to. But I assure that there is complete self-consistency of what I have described and also consistency with the Tipitaka. My suggestion is to print out this series of posts and to have them ready for quick reference. If there are any questions, please ask them below or send me an email: lal
- We will discuss several significant implications that can be reached with this “correct world view” of the Buddha in future posts.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by 2600htz »

Hello Lal:

If the mind and brain are two different things, and it is the brain what is unable to keep up with the speed of the mind, should not out of body experiences be experienced with a "super mind" ? ( a mind that is able to work thousand time faster without the limitation of a physical body ), what about arupa beings.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Hello 2600htz,

A gandhabba comes out of the dead physical body of a human. The mind of that gandhabba is the same as that human at the moment that it comes out. Thus, a gandhabba does not have a “supermind.” It just does not have the ability to speak or do bodily actions.

The gandhabba cannot do any physical actions, because it does not have a physical body. It cannot speak either. But, of course, it can "speak to other gandhabbas" but that also comes under vaci sankhara; see below. Therefore, a gandhabba mainly does not have the ability to commit bad kamma via the body.

A human who has a physical body can do any bad kamma or bad speech. But as you have pointed out, having the brain as an intermediary between thinking about speaking or bodily actions “puts a break” in the process. IF THE HUMAN KNOWS about figuring out the consequences of bad speech/actions, THEN he can slowly cultivate the ability to control bad speech/bad actions. That is the basis of Anapana/Satipatthana meditations.

However, there is no “break” in generating “bad thoughts” in the mind for EITHER a gandhabba OR one with a human body (i.e, a “normal human” we are used to). Therefore, there is no difference between a gandhabba or a normal human as far as such vaci sankhara are concerned.

If the normal human (with a physical body) had the ability to speak or move body parts WITHOUT the brain as an intermediary, that human WILL commit many more “bad deeds” via actions/speech, especially upon receiving strong sensory inputs (i.e., based on impulse). That is why having a brain as an intermediary is a good thing.

Therefore, a gandhabba can generate bad vaci sankhara just as a "normal human" can.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by 2600htz »

Lal wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:32 pm Hello 2600htz,

A gandhabba comes out of the dead physical body of a human. The mind of that gandhabba is the same as that human at the moment that it comes out. Thus, a gandhabba does not have a “supermind.” It just does not have the ability to speak or do bodily actions.

The gandhabba cannot do any physical actions, because it does not have a physical body. It cannot speak either. But, of course, it can "speak to other gandhabbas" but that also comes under vaci sankhara; see below. Therefore, a gandhabba mainly does not have the ability to commit bad kamma via the body.

A human who has a physical body can do any bad kamma or bad speech. But as you have pointed out, having the brain as an intermediary between thinking about speaking or bodily actions “puts a break” in the process. IF THE HUMAN KNOWS about figuring out the consequences of bad speech/actions, THEN he can slowly cultivate the ability to control bad speech/bad actions. That is the basis of Anapana/Satipatthana meditations.

However, there is no “break” in generating “bad thoughts” in the mind for EITHER a gandhabba OR one with a human body (i.e, a “normal human” we are used to). Therefore, there is no difference between a gandhabba or a normal human as far as such vaci sankhara are concerned.

If the normal human (with a physical body) had the ability to speak or move body parts WITHOUT the brain as an intermediary, that human WILL commit many more “bad deeds” via actions/speech, especially upon receiving strong sensory inputs (i.e., based on impulse). That is why having a brain as an intermediary is a good thing.

Therefore, a gandhabba can generate bad vaci sankhara just as a "normal human" can.
Hello Lal, thank you:

I guess my question is WHY a human with a brain and a gandhabba without brain experience in the same way the mind door. Maybe its because u said the gandhabba is more like a human blueprint, even of the mind, i don´t know. So the human/gandhabba mind does not become more "rid of barriers" without the body.

I was mainly asking because had some curiosity on how the subject of "intelligence" fits in buddha-dhamma, or "how intelligence develops in the 31 realms", a subject that i think havent heard once. My guess is that probably devas and brahmas because of having such pure minds have great intelligence, but they dont have the inclination to solve problems, because well they dont have any haha. So they might have great imagination, retentiveness and a mind without boundaries, very quick ..

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Hello 2600htz,

The mind-door is the hadaya vatthu in both cases. Thoughts arise in the hadaya vatthu in the gandhabba, even when the gandhabba is INSIDE a physical human body.

In the same way, “seeing” happens in the cakkhu pasada rupa in the gandhabba.
- When outside a human body, that cakkhu pasada can see by itself.
- When inside a human body, that cakkhu pasada is shielded by the body. In that case, the visual signal needs to come through the eyes, processed by the brain, and that signal is transmitted to the cakkhu pasada rupa.

That holds true for all five senses. Those signals are first processed by the brain before the signals arrive at the corresponding pasada rupa. Then that pasada rupa transfers the signal to the hadaya vatthu and it is the hadaya vatthu that really “sees”, “hears”, etc.

In some cases, people are born with the cakkhu pasada rupa, but the optic nerve (or the physical eye itself) may be damaged. In that case, they cannot see because the brain is not getting a signal from the eyes. But if the gandhabba can come out of the body, it can see by itself. The following video clearly illustrates this situation.

However, in other cases, one may be born blind because one may not have the cakkhu pasada rupa. In that case, even if the gandhabba comes out of the body, it would not be able to see.

Regarding your other question: “Intelligence” is associated with the particular realm in a broad sense. For example, humans are more advanced than any animal. But within the animal realm, monkeys are more advanced than worms, etc. As we know, even within the human realm “intelligence” varies from person to person.

However, above the human realm, it is not really possible to categorize intelligence. It is categorized more along the lines of the “experience.” Devas live happy lives (no illnesses, etc) enjoying sensory pleasures. Brahmas only have “jhanic” types of experiences. But humans, Devas, and Brahmas all are able to comprehend Buddha Dhamma.

We need to remember that any living being can be reborn in any other realm, in general. The next existence ALWAYS depends ONLY on the most potent kamma in line for that “living being.” A Deva, for example, could be reborn as an animal if that is the strongest kamma vipaka in line for that Deva.
- That is why it is not correct to assume that there is an “unchanging self.” But of course, there is someone who is doing a kamma. Thus, it is not correct to say that there is “no-self” either.
- It does not make sense to analyze in terms of a “self” or “no-self.” It is all causes and corresponding effects. That is Paticca Samuppada.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Mental Body Versus the Physical Body

Essential Facts for this post

1. The mental body is far more important than the physical body. Let me first summarize the relevant conclusions from the “Origin of Life” section for this post. That series started on Jun 29, 2019:viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=518755#p518755

- The mind does not exist by itself. There must be at least a trace of matter for the mind to exist. That is a critical point in Buddha Dhamma that many people do not realize. The “seat of the mind” is called “hadaya vatthu.” It is unbelievably small and is created by kammic energy when a living being grasps a new existence. In addition to hadaya vatthu, up to five “pasāda rūpa” are created by the kammic energy at that time.
- That package, hadaya vatthu together with the set of pasāda rūpa is the “smallest unit of existence”. It is called the “manōmaya kāya” because the energy for the creation of it comes from the kammic energy based on a strong past kamma. See, “Origin of Life – One Creates One’s Own Future Lives.” (the last regular post.)
- In the 20 Brahma realms (out of 31 realms in this world) that “manōmaya kāya” is all they have. They do not need a physical body with “flesh and blood” because those Brahmā do not experience taste, smell, or touch.
- When a living being is born in the human realm, it is born with that “manōmaya kāya” which is given a special name of gandhabba. When a suitable womb with “matching gati” appears, that gandhabba is drawn into it and merges with the zygote there. That “living zygote” first grows into a baby (by taking in food from the mother.). After born, that baby grows into an adult with a body weighing a hundred plus pounds (or tens of kg.) Details in #4 below.
- Thus, it is clear that virtually all physical matter in a human body comes from food.

The Critical “Body” Is Not “Physical Body” But “Mental Body” (Manōmaya Kāya)

2. Therefore, in most of the realms below the Brahma realms, there is an “additional body,” the “physical body.”

- That physical body is required ONLY to provide sensory inputs on tastes, smells, and touches.
- In contrast to the physical body, the mental body has “something extra” that makes it ALIVE, as we will discuss below. It is quite clear that the “physical body” is secondary to the “mental body” (manōmaya kāya or the gandhabba.)
- In fact, the mental body can perform the other functions (seeing and hearing) BETTER if it is not trapped inside the physical body.
- The lady in the following video was born blind. She could not see only because there was something wrong with her PHYSICAL eyes, the optic nerve, or the visual cortex in the brain. Once the gandhabba (mental body) came out, she was able to see for the first time in her life:

- In the previous post, “Origin of Life – One Creates One’s Own Future Lives,” there is another relevant video. Both these videos present powerful evidence of not only the existence of gandhabba but also why it is the “essence of a human.” The physical body is just a shell.
- All mental activity occurs in the gandhabba or the mental body. However, we cannot taste, smell, or touch without that physical body.

Relevance to Satipaṭṭhāna BhāvanāPaṭikūlamanasikāra Pabba

3. In the Mahā Satipatthāna Sutta (DN 22,) the Buddha allocated several sections under the Kāyānupassanā section to discuss the physical human body: ... ana-sutta/

- The subsection on 1.4. Kāyānupassanā Paṭikūlamanasikāra Pabba describes the 32 parts of the human body. That title is incorrectly translated as “Applying the Mind to Repulsiveness of the Body.” That section is there to show that the physical body of a human is just a “collection of parts.”
- The Buddha never emphasized “repulsiveness” of anything. (He only emphasized the “unfruitfulness” of getting attached to “mind-pleasing” things in this world.)
- If one starts contemplating that one’s body is repulsive (as many people mistakenly do,) that only leads to patigha (friction) in the mind. Such a mindset is not conducive to meditation.

Relevance to Satipaṭṭhāna BhāvanāDhātumanasikāra Pabba

4. The next subsection, 1.5. Kāyānupassanā Dhātumanasikāra Pabba points out that the physical body only has four great elements (pathavī dhātu, āpo dhātu, tejo dhātu, vāyo dhātū.) Bodies of any other living beings are, as well as inert objects, also have the same four great elements. There is NOTHING in the PHYSICAL BODY of a human being that is different compared to an animal or an inert object.

- In the language of modern science, all those have the same atoms and molecules.
- There is nothing special about the composition of the human body. The basic unit of a living cell is the same for a human as an animal. See the video in #9 of the post, “Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin.” That post started the series of posts on “Origin of Life.” We will be referring back to those posts often.
- If there is anything “special” in a human or animal body, that is the cell. We remember that a human physical body starts with just a single cell (zygote) and, of course, a gandhabba. See, “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” and “Cloning and Gandhabba.”
- By the way, plants have cells too. A tiny seed grows to a big tree because of cell division. However, only humans and animals have mental bodies, that set them apart from plants. Plants cannot think.

Relevance to Satipaṭṭhāna BhāvanāNavasivathika Pabba

5. Then the section on 1.6. Kāyānupassanā Navasivathika Pabba is about contemplating on what happens to that physical body after one dies.

- Once the gandhabba or the manōmaya kāya leaves a dead physical body, that physical body is no different from a log of wood.
- It is the manōmaya kāya that keeps a physical body “live” and “warm.” As soon as the gandhabba leaves for good, the physical body loses the “aliveness.” Our dog died several years ago, and I was shocked when I touched its dead body. It was cold and rigid, just like a piece of wood. The body warmth may be there for a little while because it takes some time to lose the body heat.
- In the days of the Buddha, most dead bodies were taken deep into the forests and discarded. Then wild animals would come and eat those bodies. If a body is not eaten by animals, it will start decaying and will start smelling bad. Then it will lose the flesh over time, and only the bones would be left. Even those bones will degrade and become dust in the long term.
- This Navasivathika Bhāvanā needs to be done in that fashion, to realize the unfruitfulness of getting overly attached to the physical body. Of course, we need to keep it in good shape by eating healthy and exercising regularly. If the physical body becomes out-of-shape that will lead to illnesses and much discomfort. We need to live a comfortable (not luxurious) life in order to be able to make progress on the Path.

The Uniqueness of the Mental Body (Manōmaya Kāya)

6. It helps a lot to realize that one’s physical body cannot be taken as one’s essence.

- Even the mental body does not have an essence since that also will be discarded when a new existence (bhava) is grasped.
- However, the mental body is ESSENTIAL to make progress on the Path. The mental body of human existence is “hard to get” and thus we should utilize it now that we have that rare opportunity.

Why Is Mental Body Unique?

7. The mental body (gandhabba) is VERY DIFFERENT from the physical body. The mental body has a few of the smallest units of matter (suddhātthaka) TOGETHER with the essential elements of LIFE. Those ESSENTIAL elements are the hadaya vatthu and a set of five pasāda rūpa. Those are the only LIVE things in a human (or an animal.)

- The hadaya vatthu is the “seat of the mind” and where thoughts (citta) arise.
- We experience the five physical sensory inputs with the five pasāda rūpa.
- Those essential items (collectively called gandhabba) are created by kammic energy and sustain the human bhava.

How the Mental Body Controls the Physical Body

8. A live physical body has a gandhabba (mental body) in it. In the post “Our Mental Body – Gandhabba,” we discussed a good analogy of how the mental body controls the physical body (see #8 in that post.) ... gandhabba/

- That gandhabba consists of a UNIQUE set of seven items called “dasaka” or “packages of tens.” Those are listed in #9 of the post “Gandhabba Sensing the World – With and Without a Physical Body.” ... ical-body/
- In many posts, I often refer to six entities: hadaya vatthu and five pasāda rūpa.
- Different types of dasaka are formed just by incorporating one mode of spin (bramana) and one mode of rotation (paribramana) to a suddhātthaka (smallest unit of matter.) That is how an inert suddhātthaka becomes ALIVE. When the kammic energy wears out, those motions stop, and that is the end of that existence (bhava.)
- Details are in the two posts, “Our Mental Body – Gandhabba,” and “Gandhabba Sensing the World – With and Without a Physical Body.” One can get a deeper understanding by reading those posts. It is good to have at least a general idea.

The Mental Body Is Created by Kammic Energy

9. In fact, as we have discussed, when ANY living being grasps ANY new existence a corresponding mental body is created by the kammic energy. That mental body matches the particular kamma that was responsible for the new existence (bhava.)

- If that kamma was a pāpa kamma done with anger (say the killing of a human,) then the new bhava could be in a niraya (hell.) If that kamma was a puñña kamma done with compassion (say taking care of an invalid or sick person,) then the new bhava could be in a Deva realm. See, “Kusala and Akusala Kamma, Puñña and Pāpa Kamma.”: ... nna-kamma/
- Both those two scenarios could be true of ANY person who is below the Sōtapanna Anugāmi stage.
- The point is that even if one did not kill a human in the CURRENT life, that could have been done in a previous life. We have no idea what we have done in our previous lives. That is the danger in the rebirth process.

Gandhabba (Mental Body) Is Unique to Human and Animal Realms

10. We started the series with five posts (“Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin” to “Cloning and Gandhabba” that laid the basic foundation of the Buddha’s description of life. As summarized in that first post, Buddha taught that there is no “traceable beginning” to life. That means each of us has existed (among the 31 realms of this world) “forever.”

- The next four posts specifically dealt with life in the human realm. It is a bit complex because human life involves a physical body (collection of material body parts) in addition to the mental body created by kammic energy. That same picture also holds for the animal realm.
- Living beings in all other realms just have “one integrated body.” For example, a Brahma only has a “body” very similar to the human mental body (gandhabba.) Such a “body” is “mostly mental” and the amount of matter is million-times smaller than a mustard seed. Of course, it expands to the size of the human body while inside the human body (it is like an energy field.)
- A Deva has a bit more dense “material body,” but is still invisible to us. Again, it has no gandhabba-type separate mental body.
- Beings in the lower realms may have denser bodies, but again do not have separate mental bodies.
- We need to focus more on human life. The growth of a “human body” starting with an inert single cell in the mother’s womb cannot be explained without the concept of gandhabba. That is why I published those four posts on gandhabba at the beginning of the series.


11. It is the mental body that is much more important than the physical body due to the following reasons.

- The “essence of a human” is the mental body that has the hadaya vatthu (seat of the mind) and the five pasāda rūpa (that “sense” visuals, sounds, tastes, smells, and touches.) Those entities are what constitute “the mind.” The ONLY WAY those can be created is via our kammic energy in our thoughts (specifically javana cittā.)
- The mental body (gandhabba) controls the physical body.
- A physical body lives only about a hundred years, while the mental body (gandhabba) may last many hundreds of years.
- However, we also need a healthy physical body to live a healthy life. We especially need a healthy brain since all external sensory inputs are first processed by the brain.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 1


1. Just three months after the Parinibbāna (passing away) of the Buddha, the First Buddhist Council (Dhamma Sangāyanā) took place. The leading disciples of the Buddha realized the importance of organizing the teachings of the Buddha accumulated over 45 years. That process was organizing the material into “three baskets” (Tipiṭaka) was completed only at the Third Council held 200 years after the Parinibbāna of the Buddha.

- The material in the Tipiṭaka was transmitted mostly verbally from one generation to the next over roughly the first four hundred years. It was only at the Fourth Council that the Tipiṭaka was written down.
- The Tipiṭaka (or the Pāli Canon) was written down at the turn of the first century, 2000 years ago, in Matale, Sri Lanka. Pāli is a spoken language and does not have its own script. The Tipiṭaka was written with the Sinhala script.
- See details at “Preservation of the Buddha Dhamma.”: ... ha-dhamma/

Writing Pāli Words in English – Different Convention

2. There are two specific issues in writing Pāli words in any language. Note that this is not regarding translation to English.

- Pāli is a phonetic language, meaning words need to provide the original sounds. Many words have their meanings explicit in the way they sound. See, “Why is it Necessary to Learn Key Pāli Words?“ on Oct 08, 2018 (p. 36).
- However, In “Standard English,” the same letter combinations may yield different sounds. For example, “th” is pronounced differently in “them” than in “thief.” Therefore, “Standard English” writing will lead to problems in writing Pāli words.
- The second problem is that Pāli words written with “Standard English” become very long. I see many Sri Lankans writing “anicca” as “anichcha” (අනිච්ච in Sinhala) because that is how it is pronounced. I also used to write “gati” as “gathi” since that is how it is pronounced.
- However, we need to adhere to the convention adopted by the Early Europeans (in the late 1800s) to avoid confusion.

3. When the early Europeans started writing the Pāli Tipiṭaka using the English alphabet (which originated from the Latin alphabet), they realized the necessity to represent the original sounds in an “unambiguous and efficient” way.

- We will call the convention they adopted “Tipiṭaka English.”
- That “Tipiṭaka English” convention is DIFFERENT from “Standard English.”
- Let us first address the “sound” issue.

English “th” Sound Depends on the Word

4. We know that “th” represents a different sound in the word “them” than in “thief.”

- A phoneme is the smallest contrastive segment in a language. In other words, they are the smallest building blocks that make the difference between two different words. The term digraph describes a combination of two letters that represent only a single phoneme.
- In words like them, father, and writhe, the digraph is th (voiced), and the phoneme is /t͟h/. This is the “ද” sound in Sinhala, as we will see below.
- On the other hand, in words like thief, Catholic, and both, the digraph is th (voiceless) and the phoneme is /th/. This is the “ත” sound in Sinhala.
- Don’t worry about the above technical terms. The point here is that one MUST be aware of the correct “Standard English” when pronouncing those English words.
- That was one reason to adopt a new “Tipiṭaka English” convention. Now, let us discuss the second reason.

Pāli Words can become very long in “Standard English”

5. Now let us see why the “Standard English” convention leads to long words written with the English (Latin) alphabet. Let us take a simple Pāli word, “citta“. In the original Tipiṭaka, it was written as “චිත්ත” in Sinhala.

The “ch” sound in English is seen, for example, in “china” and “chain.” It takes two English letters to produce the “ච” sound. In the same way, the “ත” sound requires two letters, “th,” in English as in “Thailand” or “both.”

- Therefore, in “Standard English,” “චිත්ත” would be reproduced as “chiththa.”
- As you can see, to write that word using “Standard English,” it would take eight letters instead of five letters in “citta.”
- With more complex Pāli words, the corresponding “Standard English” reproduction would be cumbersome. That seems to be the second reason for using a different “Tipiṭaka English” convention; see below.

Evolution of “Tipiṭaka English”

To address both the above issues, a “Tipiṭaka English” convention was adopted in the 1800s, as we discuss below. If you have not grasped what I am trying to get to, you will see it below.

6. I came across an old book, by James D’Alwis, published in 1870 (Ref. 1), that describes the historical process of cataloging the Pāli literature found in Sri Lanka (called Ceylon at that time.) The book is available at Amazon.

- The seed for the project was a request by a government agent in 1868 to the “Chief Translator to Government” to assist with a project in India to collect and compile Sanskrit literature.
- In 1869, the Chief Translator to Government replied that nearly all Sanskrit manuscripts in Ceylon were “importations from India.” He suggested that it would be worthwhile to initiate a similar effort to collect and compile the Pāli and Sinhalese manuscripts that existed in Ceylon.
- That proposal was approved in early 1870. James D’Alwis, who had done some work on Pāli/Sinhalese literature and Buddhism, was selected to collect and compile such manuscripts mainly from Buddhist temples (“pansalas.)”
- Mr. D’Alwis was a civil servant of the British Government at that time. At that time, there was a concerted effort by the English civil servants to recover and preserve all ancient literature that they came across in the Asian countries. See, “Background on the Current Revival of Buddhism (Buddha Dhamma).”: ... -dhamma-2/
- The above background is confirmed by Dr. Malalasekera’s account in Ref. 2, pp. xv-xvii.

The Original Convention for “Tipiṭaka English”

7. The goal was to collect all Pāli manuscripts and write them with the English (Latin) alphabet. The early work by Mr. D’Alwis followed (as quoted from p. xxvii of the book) “the system sanctioned by Government in the Minute, which is published in the Appendix.”

- A full-page in the Appendix has the complete alphabet of the Sinhala language (and the corresponding English script adopted.) Download here: Complete Orthography – Sinhala to English[html] ... h-FULL.jpg[/html]
- That page (on p. 234 of the book) has the Sinhala alphabet, together with the Latin letters adopted to represent those sounds (adopted on August 28, 1866.) That was the first version of the “Tipiṭaka English” convention. As we will see below, one more change was adopted based on a recommendation by D’Alwis.
- It may be difficult to read that page. The following is an enlarged section containing the consonants.


- Now, let us discuss some of the adopted conventions in “Tipiṭaka English.”

Only “t” Represents the “” Sound

8. The letter “” in Sinhala represents the sound “th” is in Thailand or north. But the “Tipiṭaka convention” is to use “t.”

- Therefore, Thailand in “ordinary English” becomes “Tailand” in “Tipiṭaka English.”
- The word “gati” is pronounced as “gathi,” where the sound “th” is in Thailand. But the “Tipiṭaka English” convention is to write as “gati.”
- The word “Tipiṭaka” also starts with the “” sound. In “Standard English,” it would be, “Thipiṭaka.“
- Anatta in “Standard English” would be “anaththa.”
- Therefore, words become significantly shorter with the “Tipiṭaka English” convention. With more complex words with the “ch” and “th” sounds, the corresponding English words can become very long.

Only “d” Represents the “” Sound

9. Another is the “” sound, pronounced like “this.” In “Tipiṭaka English,” the letter “d” represents the “th” sound in “this” or “that.“

- For example, the Pāli word “ස” in “Tipiṭaka English” is “dasa.” which needs to be pronounced like the “th” sound in “the” or “that.”
- Of course, the word “dasa” appears in “dasa akusala” for “ten immoral deeds.”
- More examples are sadda, hadaya and Dēva.

The “” Sound In the Above Table is With “ch

10. It is interesting to see that the above Table (in #7) has the “” sound In the represented with “ch” as in “Standard English.” Thus the decision to just use “c” to represent the “ච” sound was made later on.

- The text in D’Alwis’s book represented that “mixed convention.” On p. 136, for example, the name “Kacchchāna” appears. In modern texts, it is “Kaccāna.”
- The word “vivicchati” (විවිචිඡති in Sinhala) appears on p. 73 as “vivichchhati,” where “ch” represented the “ච” sound and “chh” represented the “ඡ” sound. We can see why they decided to make that change too!
- By the time “The Dhammasangani” by Edward Müller came out in 1885 (Ref. 3), they had adopted the current convention to use “c” to represent the “ච” sound.

Current Convention – Only “c” Represents the “” Sound

11. For example, the letter “” frequently appears in Pāli verses, and it has the “ch” sound (as in chai tea). In “ordinary English,” the Pāli word anicca (අනිච්ච) would be “anichcha.” You can see why that would lead to very long words in English. I used to do that too, and I still see some Sri Lankans writing words that way.

- Therefore, in almost all cases, a single English letter “c” represents the “ch” sound in “Tipiṭaka English.”
- Note that “chai tea” would be “cai tea” in “Tipiṭaka English”!

Tipiṭaka English” Conventions Hold Everywhere

12. The “” sound is ALWAYS represented by “t,” and, following are some examples that we use often.
- Atta, Anatta, gati, sōta, tanhā, tējō, Tilakkhana, Tisarana, āyatana

The “” sound is ALWAYS represented by “d” as in the following:
- Hadaya, sadda, dōsa, Deva, desanā, diṭṭhi, dukkha, dugati, pasāda

Finally, the “” sound is ALWAYS represented by “c” as in the following:
- Anicca, citta, cakkhu, cuti, paccayā, sacca, rūpāvacara, cētasika, cetanā

The above words are pronounced in the audio below:
[media] ... Post-1.mp3[/media]


1. James D’Alwis, “A Descriptive Catalogue of Sanskrit, Pāli, and Sinhalese Literary Works of Ceylon, Volume I” (1870)
2. G. P. Malalasekera, “Pāli Literature of Ceylon” (2010 edition; first edition 1928)
3. Edward Müller, “The Dhammasangani” (1885)

I will discuss a few more important features of the “Tipiṭaka English” convention in the next post. I have been thinking about the need to address this issue for a few months. We will get back to the “Origin of Life” series after the next post completes the discussion on this issue.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

“Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 2


1. In the previous post, we discussed the reasons for the adoption of a “Tipiṭaka English” convention to write Pāli words by the European scholars in the 1800s. It is necessary to read that post above first: “‘Tipiṭaka English’ Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 1.”

- As we discussed, those early European scholars realized the importance of the need to preserve the “Pāli sounds” as much as possible. Of course, the other requirement was to keep the corresponding English version short.
- In that post, we discussed the adoption of “t,” “d,” and “c” to represent the “,” “,” and the “” sounds in Pāli.
- Here we will continue that discussion. The “” (with a”dot” underneath the “t”) represents the “” sound in Pāli.
- Then there are aspirated sounds “th“, “dh“, “ch“, and “ṭh” respectively for the “t“, “d“, “c“, and “” sounds. SOME of those “aspirated words” represent “emphasized versions” of the “unaspirated words.” I will explain it below.

We Need to Be Familiar With the “Tipiṭaka English” Convention

2. As I mentioned in the previous post, the above convention went into effect before the year 1900. Thus all Pāli documents compiled by the Pāli Text Society are consistent with this convention.

- It seems that the Pāli texts (with the English alphabet) available at the Sutta Central website are directly from the Pāli Text Society. Those texts are accurate. For example, here is the “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11)” which was the first discourse delivered by the Buddha.
- It is an excellent idea to examine that sutta (and try pronunciations of those Pāli words) with the guidelines provided with my two posts on the “Tipiṭaka English” Convention.
- Many of my posts at the website are not entirely consistent with the “Tipiṭaka English” Convention, but I will try to make them compatible gradually. I have been trying to “upgrade” several posts each week in recent months.
- Of course, as I have repeatedly pointed out, many English translations of Pāli words at Sutta Central site are not correct. Examples include anicca, anatta, Ānāpāna Bhāvanā, and viññāna. See, for example, “Misinterpretation of Anicca and Anatta by Early European Scholars.” ... -scholars/
- Now let us continue with the introduction to the “Tipiṭaka English” convention.

Only “” Represents the “” Sound

2. The “” sound in Pāli is the “ta” sound in English, as in “Tom.” The “” sound in Pāli is ALWAYS represented by “.” Note the “dot” underneath the “t.”

- Some examples are Paicca, paigha, pailoma, paisandahi, paipadā.
- In the previous post, we saw that the “” sound is ALWAYS represented by “t” (without the “dot” underneath the t.)
- The word Tipiaka is an excellent example of both sounds, the “t” and the “.” I hope you can catch the difference in the audio in #4 below.

Aspirated Versions

3. Now let us consider the “aspirated versions” of those four sounds that we have discussed so far. We need to keep in mind that we are dealing with “Tipiṭaka English” and NOT “Standard English.”

- The aspirated version accompanies a forceful expulsion of air. If you hold a thin piece of paper in front of the mouth, it should move when you make an “aspirated sound.”
- The following video explains that for English words. But it is the same idea.

Putting Emphasis on “” Sound to Make the “” Sound

4. The “” (““) sound, when aspirated with “ṭh,” becomes the “” sound. It is not that common to have the “ṭh” by itself. An example is ṭhapetvā, meaning “placement.”

- In most cases, the “” sound is in a word just before the “ṭh” sound as in aṭṭha (අට්ඨ for number 8.)
- Here are more examples of the “” (““) AND “ṭh” (““) sounds coming together: diṭṭhi (දිට්ඨි for view), sandiṭṭhika (සන්දිට්ඨික for “seeing ‘san‘”), aṭṭha as in aṭṭha purisapuggalā and aṭṭhaṅgika, kammaṭṭhāna, satipaṭṭhāna.
- In #2, we mentioned some example words with the “” sound: Paicca, paigha, pailōma, paisandhi, paipadā.
- Compare all those with the following words with just the “t” (““) sound: atta (අත්ත for the truth), satta (සත්ත for living being; note that Bōdhisatta is a living being who is striving to attain the Buddhahood.)
- Here is the pronunciation of the unaspirated paicca, paigha, pailoma, paisandhi, paipadā AND aspirated ṭhapetvā. Both aspirated and unaspirated in aṭṭha, diṭṭhi, sandiṭṭhika, aṭṭhaṅgika, kammaṭṭhāna, and satipaṭṭhāna. Also, Tipiaka.

[media] ... st-2-1.mp3[/media]

Putting Emphasis on “” Sound to Make “” Sound

5. The sound “th” is the “aspirated version” of “t” as in Samatha (සම in Sinhala) in Samatha Bhāvanā. The word ratha (ර for “vehicle”) is another.

- Here are more words with both the “t” and the “th” sounds: tathāgata (තථාගත), natthi, atthi, yathābhūta, hadaya vatthu.

6. There are a few words with both aspirated and unaspirated versions. For example, when the “atta” (අත්ත) refers to the meaning “truth,” it is (the “true-ness”) emphasized with the word “attha” (අත්ථ).

- There are a few words like that where the meaning is emphasized with the aspirated version. We will discuss that with examples from the Tipiṭaka later on. Two more such words addressed in #8 below.
- Many other words do not have such an “emphasized” and “non-emphasized” versions. Here are some examples with ONLY the “th” sound: vithi, Itthi, Samatha, Thēro, For example, there are no words as viti, Itti, Samata, or Tēro.
- Here is the pronunciation of Samatha, ratha, tathāgata, natthi, atthi, yathābhūta, hadaya vatthu, vithi, Itthi, Samatha, Thēro. ... st-2-2.mp3

Putting Emphasis on “” Sound to Make the “” Sound

7. The sound “dh” is the “aspirated version” of “d” as in Dhamma (ම්ම). More examples of words with the “dh” sound: Dhamma, adhamma, dhātu, gandha, gandhabba, middha, nirōdha, saddhā, andha, sandhi, sādhu, paṭisandhi, samādhi.

- Both the unaspirated and the aspirated sounds are in words, Dhammapada (ම්මප in Sinhala) and Buddha (බුද්ධ), i.e., both the dh and d sounds appear. More examples: passaddhi, iddhi, middha.
- Here is the pronunciation of Dhamma, adhamma, dhātu, gandha, gandhabba, middha, nirōdha, saddhā, andha, sandhi, sādhu, paṭisandhi, samādhi, Dhammapada, Buddha, passaddhi, iddhi, middha. ... st-2-3.mp3

Putting Emphasis on “” Sound to Make the “” Sound

8. The sound “ch” (““) is the “aspirated version” of “c” (““) as in chanda (න්ද) meaning “desire.” The unaspirated is in calana (ලන), meaning “movement.”

- Most Pāli words with the “ch” sound also have the “c” sound coming first. Some examples are, iccha, vicikicchā, appiccha (appa iccha), macchariya, micchā, micchācāra, micchāvācā, pariccheda, gacchati, uccheda.
- Two more critical Pāli words have the aspirated version emphasizing the meaning of the unaspirated version, just like in the case of atta/attha discussed above in #6.
- Those two are icca/iccha (ඉච්ච/ඉච්ඡ) and anicca/aniccha (අනිච්ච/අනිච්ඡ). The two aspirated words emphasize the meanings of unaspirated words. We will discuss that in the next post.
- Here is the pronunciation of chanda, calana, iccha, vicikicchā, appiccha, macchariya, micchā, micchācāra, micchāvācā, pariccheda, gacchati, uccheda, icca, iccha, anicca, aniccha. ... st-2-4.mp3

Connection to Key Concepts in Buddha Dhamma

9. The next post will focus on some specific subtleties in Pāli that will help clarify some key concepts, including anatta.

- Over the past year, I have realized that many misconceptions could be easily avoided by looking at a few Pāli words and their inherent meanings.
- For example, the Pāli word atta has two different meanings. Furthermore, the word attha emphasizes just one of those two meanings.
- Similarly, the meanings of the words icca and anicca become emphasized in iccha and aniccha.

Many of Posts at May Not be Up To “Tipiṭaka English” Convention

10. I became aware of this issue gradually over the past several months. During that time, I have progressively taken into more of the above rules. I will try to stick to this convention in future posts and will gradually revise old posts to be compatible too. That will take some time.

- All Pāli literature at the Sutta Central website seems to be compatible with the “Tipiṭaka English” convention. The “legacy site” with the Pāli Tipiṭaka is at “SuttaCentral.”
- Once you select a sutta, you can access translations to several languages using the “hamburger icon” on the top left.
- Of course, all translations there have errors, especially with keywords like anicca, anatta, Ānāpāna Bhāvanā, and viññāna. I have discussed all those in previous posts.

Singular to Plural in Pāli

11. The following issue is not somewhat unrelated, and many people could be aware of it. But I would mention it here since it is essential to know.

- Many Pāli nouns ending in “short a (/ə/)” converted to plural by replacing that “short a” with a “long a” or ā.
- For example, Deva, Brahma, sutta, citta, apāya, gandhabba, jhāna are singular and the corresponding plural are Devā, Brahmā, suttā, cittā, apāyā, gandhabbā, jhānā.
- Finally, Pāli Glossary pages with pronunciation available at “Tables and Summaries”:
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

The Framework of Buddha Dhamma - The Wider Worldview


The framework of Buddha Dhamma identifies the critical foundation upon which Buddha’s teachings can be understood.

1. We have finished the section on “Worldview of the Buddha.” That subsection started at Dhammawheel on Aug 26, 2019 (p. 73): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1080 There we discussed Buddha’s analysis of sensory events, i.e., how we experience the external world. However, we have not addressed the “real nature” of that external world.

- With this post, I will be starting a new section on the “Wider Worldview of the Buddha.” This section describes a world that includes 29 more realms than the two that we are familiar with, i.e., human and animal realms. The Buddha explained how any living being keeps moving from one realm to another in the rebirth process that has no discernible beginning (and no end until attaining Nibbāna.)
- The First Noble Truth on suffering is NOT about the suffering that we feel due to diseases, bodily pains, etc. even though that is a tiny fraction. It is about the much worse possible suffering in future lives, where most suffering will be in “undesirable realms.”
- To understand the “suffering” that the Buddha said we could stop, it is essential to understand that “wider worldview.”
- The Buddha laid out the critical components of that framework in the first two discourses that he delivered. In the word-by-word translations of the sutta, this “wider worldview” of the Buddha is just glossed over. No one seems to pay much attention to these key concepts, without which there is no point in doing further analysis. It is like trying to learn calculus without learning addition/subtraction first.

The First Two Discourses of the Buddha

2. Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11) was the first discourse delivered by the Buddha. The five ascetics Koṇḍañña, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahānāma, and Assaji, listened to it several days after the Buddha attained Enlightenment (Buddhahood.) All five ascetics reached the Sōtapanna stage after several days of explaining by the Buddha.

- Then with the delivery of the second sutta, Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta (SN 22.59), all five ascetics attained the Arahanthood.
- Later on, Ven. Sariputta delivered the Saccavibhaṅga Sutta (MN 141) to a gathering of bhikkhus to explain further details of the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.
- Therefore, a good understanding of Buddha Dhamma is possible with a discussion of those three suttā.

The Framework of Buddha Dhamma

3. Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta has most of the essential concepts, even though it is in a highly condensed form.
In the document, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta - Printout [media] ... utta-3.pdf[/media], I have divided the sutta to 14 sections, You may want to download and print for reference. We will discuss that document first. It has the framework of Buddha Dhamma.

- The name of the sutta comes from the combination of three terms: Dhamma, Cakka, and Pavattana. Dhamma here means the Buddha Dhamma or the true nature of existence. Cakka means “wheel.” Pavattana means to “set in motion” AND to “maintain.”
- Therefore, this first sutta “gets the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion.” It has all the critical concepts of Buddha Dhamma.
- As in many Pāli terms, the word “dhammacakkappavattana” comes from the combination of three above words, with an additional “p” just before pavattana. As we discussed before, pancakkhandha is the combination of panca with khandha with an extra k in tying up the two words.
- Sometimes the sutta referred to as the Dhamma Cakka Pavattana Sutta without combining those three words.
- Let us go through the sutta from the beginning. I will refer to sections #1 through #14 in the document above. We will first go through the main ideas without going to detail.

The “Middle Path” Recommended by the Buddha – Sections 1 and 2

4. Section #1 can be summarized as follows. “Bhikkhus, two extremes should not be followed by you. What two? The pursuit of sensual pleasures, which is low, vulgar, the way of the average ignorant person. The other is the pursuit of rituals that involve subjecting one to extreme hardships. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathāgata followed the middle way of living a simple life leading to Nibbāna.”

- That middle path is the Noble Eightfold Path of Sammā Diṭṭhi, Sammā Saṅkappa, Sammā Vācā, Sammā Kammanta, Sammā Ājīva, Sammā Vāyāma, Sammā Sati, and, Sammā Samādhi.

Four Noble Truths -Section 3

5. The First Noble Truth of suffering: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering; death is suffering. Union with what is undesirable is suffering. Separation from what is desirable is suffering. Not to get what one wants (icchā) is suffering. In brief, clinging (upādāna) to the five aggregates is suffering.

- The Second Noble Truth of the origin of suffering: It is this taṇhā which leads to repeated rebirths. That taṇhā is three-fold: kāma taṇhā, bhava taṇhā, vibhava taṇhā.
- The Third Noble Truth of the cessation of suffering: It is the remainderless fading away and cessation of the three types of taṇhā.
- The Fourth Noble Truth of the way to the cessation of suffering: It is the Noble Eightfold Path or the Middle Path of Sammā Diṭṭhi, Sammā Saṅkappa, Sammā Vācā, Sammā Kammanta, Sammā Ājīva, Sammā Vāyāma, Sammā Sati, and, Sammā Samādhi.

The Previously Unheard Dhamma (Teaching) of Suffering in The Wider World – Sections 4 – 7

6. Sections 4 through 7 state how the Buddha attained the Buddhahood via comprehending — through Paticca Samuppāda — the tiparivatta (three ramparts or walls of bondage to this world) that has never been known to the world (except during the times of previous Buddhā): “..pubbe ananussutesu dhammesu..”.

- We will discuss Sections 4 through 7 in more detail later. Right now, we are taking a quick look at the framework of Buddha Dhamma outlined in the sutta.
- However, it is essential to discuss the verse, “..pubbe ananussutesu dhammesu cakkhuṃ udapādi, ñāṇaṃ udapādi, paññā udapādi, vijjā udapādi, āloko udapādi,” that appears 12 times in the Sections 4 through 7. It is critical to understand this verse.

7. When the Buddha attained the Buddhahood via comprehending this Dhamma that has never been known to the world, five unique pieces of knowledge arose in him at that moment: cakkhu, ñāṇa, paññā, vijjā, and aloka.

- Here “cakkhu” is the “Dhamma eye,” the ability to “see” the true nature of this world. We can loosely translate ñāṇa and paññā as “knowledge” and “wisdom.”
- The next one is “vijjā” (the Sanskrit word is “vidyā“). That is the “ultimate science” about the world, what I called the “Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma.“: ... of-dhamma/ A Buddha Is the greatest scientist that comes to the world very infrequently.
- Simultaneously with the comprehension of vijjā, one is removed from “this material world” or “aloka” (“a” + “lōka“). The word “aloka” has other meanings, including “light,” which we will discuss later.

Three “Rounds” or Bondage to Overcome – Section 8

8. “Tiparivaṭṭa” means the three rounds of bondage. One may visualize a living-being trapped inside the inner wall, a prison with three concentric walls or ramparts. To be freed (i.e., to get to Nibbāna,) all three barriers must be overcome. The 31 realms of this world (discussed below) divide into three sections with those three walls.

- The first is to be released from the apāyā (four lowest realms), via the Sōtapanna stage, by removing the wrong views about existence in the 31 realms. This requires the first stage of Sammā Diṭṭhi or grasping the framework of Buddha Dhamma that we are discussing now.
- In the second round, one overcomes the kāma lōka (realms 5 through 11, which include the human realm and 6 Deva realms). That happens via two stages. A Sakadāgāmi will not be reborn with bodies subjected to diseases. Thus there will be no more rebirths for a Sakadāgāmi in the five lowest realms (apāyā and the human realm.) Then, at the Anāgāmi stage, kāma rāga and paṭigha go away, and one is released from births anywhere in the kāma lōka.That means complete cessation of kāma taṇhā
- In the third round, any linkage to anywhere in the 31 realms removed. The mind becomes free of attachment to any trace of matter, and the Arahant stage attained. See, “What Are Rūpa? (Relation to Nibbāna).”: ... o-nibbana/ That is complete cessation of bhava taṇhā and vibhava taṇhā.

The Result of Arahanthood (Parinibbāna) Is No More Rebirths – Section 9

9. The rebirth process among the 31 realms in this world is a crucial concept to understand. More details in #13 below. The “suffering” in the First Noble Truth is the harsh levels of suffering in the four lowest realms (apāyā.) Even if one spends millions of years in a Deva realm, that “pleasurable time” is insignificant because one will spend much more time in the apāyā in the LONG RUN.

- We will discuss that in detail, with Tipiṭaka references, as we proceed. But here I want to point out that the verse, “Ñāṇañca pana me dassanaṃ udapādi: ‘akuppā me vimutti, ayamantimā jāti, natthi dāni punabbhavo’” ti.
- There, ayamantimā is “ayam antima,” where “ayam” is “this” and “antima” means “last”), and punabbhavo is “puna bhava,” where “puna” is “repeated,” and “bhava” is “existence in THIS WORLD.”
- Thus, the above verse means: “The knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘Unshakable is the liberation of my mind. This is my last birth. There will be no more rebirths for me.’”
- Upon Parinibbāna, one is no longer born anywhere in the 31 realms of THIS WORLD. One is free of any future suffering.

Venerable Kondañña Attains The Sōtapanna Stage – Section 10 and 14

10. At the end of the discourse, Venerable Kondañña attained the Sōtapanna stage of Nibbāna. Venerable Kondañña understood the essence of the “framework of Buddha Dhamma”: “yaṃ kiñci samudaya dhammaṃ sabbaṃ taṃ nirōdha dhamman” ti.

- That verse means: “Whatever dhammā that give rise to things in this world are subject to cessation.” Therefore, it is possible to stop any existence in this world from arising.”
- We all have gone through innumerable lives filled with suffering in the rebirth process because we never understood how to stop future lives from arising. Of course, until a Buddha is born in the world, humans are NOT AWARE of the existence of the other 29 realms, including the four lowest realms (apāyā) filled with suffering.
- Many of you must be wondering WHY would one ever want to stop future lives! That is an important issue that we will discuss in the next post.
- That involves the rebirth process in the “wider world of 31 realms” that only a Buddha can “see” upon Enlightenment. That is the “..pubbe ananussutesu dhammesu..” or “previously unknown nature of this world” that we discussed in #6 above.

11. At the end of the sutta (in Section 13), it says that the Buddha saw that Ven. Kondañña has attained the Sōtapanna stage and declared: “Koṇḍañña has understood! Koṇḍañña has indeed understood!”

- That is how Venerable Koṇḍañña acquired the name “Añña Koṇḍañña—Koṇḍañña Who Has Understood.”

The Wheel of the Dhamma Set in Motion – Section 11 and 12

12. With the Wheel of the Dhamma set in motion by the Blessed One, the earth-dwelling devā (bhummā devā) belonging to the cātumahārājikā devā realm raised a cry. “At Baraṇasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Wheel of the Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One. It cannot be stopped by any ascetic or brahmin or Deva or Māra or Brahma or by anyone in the world.”

- That Wheel of the Dhamma is still in motion. It is supposed to be in effect for roughly 2500 more years for a total of 5000 years.
- Those bhummā devā are part of the Cātumahārājika Deva realm but reside among humans (even though we cannot see them). They first became aware of the dēsanā and notified their higher-lying main realm with their cries.
- Devā of the higher-lying cātumahārājikā devā realm then repeated that cry which then progressively transmitted to the other Deva realms lying further away from the Earth.

The 31 Realms of Existence – Section 13

13. Section 13 is long and takes a significant part of the sutta. That section names the 6 Deva realms and 15 out of 16 rupi Brahma realms. See the document, "Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta - Printout" above. Most of this section missing in many published versions of the sutta, including that at Sutta Central. However, this section is essential for a couple of reasons.

- First, it clearly shows that the Buddha indeed described a “wider world” than experienced by us, consisting of 31 realms; see, “The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma” mentioned above and “31 Realms of Existence.”: ... existence/
- Second, it says that many Devā/Brahmā from those realms listened to the dēsanā. Starting from the 6 Deva realms, it lists 15 rupi Brahma realms (except the asañña realms, where beings have only a physical body and thus cannot listen to a dēsanā). Numerous Devā and Brahmā attained various stages of Nibbāna.
- Note that the Buddha discussed the contents of the sutta in detail with the five ascetics overnight, until Ven. Kondañña reached the Sōtapanna stage. It took further discussions over several days before all five reached the Sōtapanna stage. Delivery of the second sutta, Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta (SN 22.59), took place after that.

14. Section 13 lists how the news progressively propagated to higher-lying realms, and eventually, Devā from all those 21 realms came to listen to the dēsanā.

- As you can see those realms match the names listed in the “31 Realms of Existence” mentioned above.
- Note that all of those realms referred to as Deva realms in the sutta, regardless of whether they belong to the 6 Deva realms or the rupi Brahma realms.
- Of course, only five humans (the five ascetics) were present. Any living-being in the lowest four realms cannot comprehend Dhamma. Also, Brahmā in the four arupi realms do not have ears to listen to. Thus section 13 lists 21 realms. Not listed are the four lowest realms, the asañña realm, and the four arupi Brahma realms. Many other suttā mention those other realms.

P.S. I just realized that I had written a post on Dhammawheel about the 31 realms: "31 Realms Associated with the Earth" on Nov 30, 2018 (p. 51): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=750

We will discuss the details of this “framework of Buddha Dhamma” in upcoming posts.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by confusedlayman »

Lal wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:49 pm I have a read some posts above.
Since they are old, these issues may have been resolved. In case there are still unresolved issues with the gandhabbaya (antarabhava) concept, I just wanted to say a few words.
There is a big difference between bhava (existence) and jathi (births). When a human dies that may may may not be the end of human bhava: ... s-therein/" onclick=";return false;

Thus, a cuti-patisandhi may not happen when a human dies. The manomaya kaya belonging to the human bhava (gandhabbaya) comes out and waits for another suitable womb. Until a suitable womb becomes available, that gandhabbaya may stay in that "fine body" for even years. That is why there is a "gap" between adjacent lives in the rebirth accounts. There are many posts at the site on the gandhabbaya, since it is an important concept that help explain many issues like the gap between adjacent lives. One could use the "Search" box on the top right with key word(s) to find relevant topics on a given subject.

Anyway, I would be happy to answer any questions on this topic or any other.
With metta, Lal
how to personallly verify this claim. give me technique
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

how to personallly verify this claim. give me technique
I have explained that in detail in that post and in several others. Please see my many posts on Paticca Samuppada. See, for example, "Uppatti Paticca Samuppāda (How We Create Our Own Rebirths)" at Dhammawheel on Jun 23, 2019 (p. 73): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=518755#p518755

I have not seen anyone providing a consistent explanation of the "bhava paccayā jāti" step in Paticca Samuppāda.
- What is your explanation?
- What is "bhava" and what is "jāti"?
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

The Suffering (Dukkha) in the First Noble Truth


1. In the previous post, “The Framework of Buddha Dhamma” we discussed the framework of Buddha Dhamma as laid out by the Buddha in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11.) That is the “view from the 30,000 feet.”

- The “30,000-foot view” is a common phrase that describes getting to a high enough level to see the “big picture.” The next time you are in a commercial airplane and cruising around 30,000 feet, take a look out the window and note what you see—some clouds, large swaths of land, maybe a mountain range. The reality is you’re too high up to see much of anything with any precision.
- Take a helicopter-ride between 500 to 1,000 feet, and you’ll be able to recognize what you’re looking at, with the benefit of seeing it from a new, higher perspective.
- Starting with this post, we will take a “1000-foot view” of the Buddha Dhamma by getting into a bit more detail, specifically on the First Noble Truth.
- First of all, we need to figure out “the suffering” that the Buddha wanted us to understand.
- By the way, I have discussed these ideas previously over the past five years at However, the website now has over 500 posts. Therefore, this series of posts is an excellent way to present a systematic approach. I will refer to existing posts as needed. Please make sure to read them.

What Is the “Previous Unheard” Suffering (Dukkha)?

2. In #6 and #7 of the previous post, we mentioned that the verse, “..pubbe ananussutesu dhammesu cakkhuṃ udapādi, ñāṇaṃ udapādi, paññā udapādi, vijjā udapādi, āloko udapādi,” that appears 12 times in Sections 4 through 7 of the sutta. See, "Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta – Printout" provided in the previous post.

- The word “ananussutesu” comes from “na” + “anussuta” or “not heard.” Pubbe means “previous,” and thus “..pubbe ananussutesu dhammesu..” means a Dhamma (teaching) that has never been known to the world (except during the times of previous Buddhā.)
- The First Noble Truth is “Dukkha Sacca” so it should state “the previously unheard suffering.” That is in Section 3 of the printout and #5 of the previous post. Remember that “sacca” is pronounced as “sachcha.” See the two recent posts on “Tipitaka English” at “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 1″ and “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 2.”
- The First Noble Truth of suffering: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering; death is suffering. Union with what is undesirable is suffering. Separation from what is desirable is suffering. Not to get what one wants (icchā) is suffering. In brief, clinging (upādāna) to the five aggregates is suffering.

First Noble Truth of suffering

3. In the above statement on the First Noble Truth of suffering, I have highlighted in blue the “previously unheard parts.”

- Anyone knows that “aging is suffering, illness is suffering; death is suffering. Union with what is undesirable is suffering. Separation from what is desirable is suffering.”
- Anyone would also agree that “Not to get what one wants (icchā) is suffering.” But it has more profound implications that an average human would not contemplate. One needs to know the “broader worldview” to see those more profound implications, as we will see later.
- But why did the Buddha say that “Birth is suffering”? Why did he state that “In brief, clinging (upādāna) to the five aggregates is suffering”?
- It is NOT correct to translate the word saṃkhittena” as “in brief.” The verse, "saṃkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā” has a deeper meaning than “In brief, clinging (upādāna) to the five aggregates is suffering”? We will discuss that later.
- Instead, it is easier to get started with Section 8 of the printout on “Tiparivaṭṭa.” We discussed that briefly in #8 of the previous post. We will expand it a bit more here.

Tiparivaṭṭa – The Three Rounds of Bondage

4. The word “tiparivaṭṭa” comes from “ti” for three and “vaṭṭa” for “round” (actually a circular wall.) A “parivaṭṭa” is a complete circular wall. Thus, the word tiparivaṭṭa provides a good visualization of a living-being trapped in the middle of a prison with three concentric walls.

- Most suffering is within the first barrier or the first round. Once one overcomes the first barrier, one is free from the four lowest realms (niraya, peta, asura, and animal.)
- The next reduced level of suffering is in between the first and second walls, which correspond to seven realms (human and six Deva realms.) Suffering and happiness both present in the human realm. The six Deva realms have much less suffering and much higher levels of “pleasures” compared to the human realm.
- The twenty Brahma realms lie between the second and third “walls.”. Sixteen of those are in the rupāvacara Brahma realms and the other four in higher arupāvacara Brahma realms. There is hardly any suffering in these higher realms. Even humans, who can cultivate jhāna, can experience such “jhānic pleasures.”
- The 31 reams discussed in “31 Realms of Existence”: ... existence/ and “31 Realms Associated with the Earth.” on Nov 30, 2018 (p. 51):viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=750

Much More Suffering Than Pleasures in the Rebirth Process

5. So, why don’t we just do good deeds (kamma) and be born in a Deva realm and enjoy such “heavenly pleasures”? Or, cultivate jhāna, be born in a Brahma realm, and enjoy jhānic pleasures” for millions of years? The problem is that such “pleasures” are very short-lived (in the rebirth process.) The overall rebirth process subjects any living-being to much more suffering due to the following reasons.

- Any given living-being spends MUCH MORE time in the lowest four realms compared to the higher-lying reams. In particular, getting a human existence is VERY rare. See “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm.“ on Oct 31, 2018 (p.43)viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=630
- Suffering in the lowest four realms is unbearable, as described in many suttā, for example, Devaduta Sutta (MN 130.) The animal realm is relatively better than the other three, and we can see the suffering in that realm.

Power of Kammic Energy

6. Birth in any realm is due to one’s deeds (kamma.) Good deeds lead to “good births” and evil deeds to “bad births.” There is a high-level of “mental energy” (kammic energy) associated with strong (good or bad) kamma.

We can get a good idea of this “kammic energy” by looking at an angry person. Angry thoughts manifest as changes in the physical body. His/her face becomes distorted and unpleasant to look at. That angry person also has “pumped up” energy” to strike another person or even to kill another person.

- Such “powerful thoughts” (javana citta) can arise while doing bad or good deeds. They are the source of kammic energy that gives rise to births in different realms.
- The lifetime in any realm depends on the strength of the corresponding kammic energy.
- Humans tend to do immoral deeds (akusala kamma) in their desire (icchā) to “enjoy life.” Akusala kamma lead to rebirths in the lowest four realms (apāyā.) Thus it is essential to learn about the laws of kamma. However, they are NOT deterministic, as we will discuss.
- A good sutta to read about rebirths in bad realms due to dasa akusala and also rebirths in good realms due to the avoidance of dasa akusala is “Paṭhamanirayasagga Sutta (AN 10.211).”: That link gives two English translations.
- Also, see “Anguttara Nikāya – Suttā on Key Concepts” where dasa akusala and dasa kusala discussed with many short suttā. That post and more discussions around Nov 19, Nov 22, 2018 (p. 50): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=735

Wider Worldview Is Necessary to Understand the “Previously Unheard Suffering”

7. From the above, it must be clear that “suffering” in the First Noble Truth is NOT what we perceive to be suffering. Everyone KNOWS about that “mundane suffering” associated with aches and pains, diseases, injuries, etc.

- As we saw in #4 above, we need to be MOST concerned with possible future suffering in the four lowest realms (apāyā.) Thus, we first need to figure out how to stop rebirths in the apāyā. As we saw in the previous post, that is accomplished by reaching the Sōtapanna stage of Nibbāna.
- Some people engage in “breath mediation” to alleviate their day-to-day stresses, or even to cultivate mundane jhāna. Although that will give temporary relief, that is not the “suffering” that the Buddha was concerned with.
- To put it in a different way, the “mundane suffering” is included in vedanā. Specifically, it is the “kāyika dukkha vedanā” associated with the physical body or “dōmanassa vedanā” associated with mental stress. Even “jhānic pleasures” are vedanā and belong to “this world” (specifically to Brahma realms.)
- But one needs to “see” the “previously unheard suffering” in future rebirths (especially in the apāyā) with wisdom (paññā.) That is “lokuttara Sammā Diṭṭhi” needed to comprehend the First Noble Truth.

How Can We Believe This “Previously Unheard Teachings” of the Buddha?

8. This is another critical issue that we need to discuss. Many concepts discussed above are not self-evident. We have not seen first hand any harsh suffering in the apāyā, except for in the animal realm.

- We do that by first looking at the “preliminary material” taught by the Buddha. When we can see the self-evident truth in them, our confidence in Buddha’s teachings on things that we cannot see for ourselves will grow. That is building faith/confidence (or saddhā) in the Buddha and his teachings (Buddha Dhamma.)
- One needs to go through primary and secondary schools before being eligible for a college education. In the same way, one needs to learn the fundamental principles in Buddha Dhamma first.
- Understanding the laws of kamma, the validity of the rebirth process and associated concepts are essential. That is cultivating “conventional Sammā Diṭṭhi.”
- Only after that one can comprehend “lokuttara Sammā Diṭṭhi” (and the ability to “see” the harsh sufferings in the apāyā.)
- The Buddha clarified that in the Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta (MN 117). I will discuss it in the next post.

Good or Bad Deeds May Bring Their Results Much Later

9. That is another CRITICAL issue. We tend to think only about “near-term results” of our actions. For example, person X may kill someone while robbing that person’s house. X may not be caught and live a luxurious life with the valuables stolen from that house.

- However, person X’s immoral deed (kamma) will not go unpunished by Nature. The corresponding result (kamma vipāka) can materialize in a future life, if not in this life. A strong bad kamma like killing a human can even be responsible for rebirth in one of the four lowest realms. In the same way, one who does a good kamma like engaging in compassionate deeds may be reborn in a Deva realm.
- Kammic consequences of either kind of action (good and bad) are stringent. Nature enforces them automatically. There is no “higher-being” reviewing one’s deeds. There is a built-in mechanism in Nature to take into account various complexities automatically. Such laws of kamma can be complicated, but we can get a good general idea. We will discuss them in the future.
- But most people tend to believe just what they can experience for themselves. Not believing in rebirth is a strong wrong view that, by itself, can lead to rebirth in the apāyā. That is why one needs to remove the ten types of wrong views well before being able to grasp the “previously-unheard teachings” of the Buddha.

There is No Permanently “Good” or “Bad” Person

10. No one is a PERMANENTLY “good person” or a “bad person” forever. Until one becomes at least a Sōtapanna Anugāmi, one’s character/habits (gati) can change. Gati (pronounced “gathi”) is a crucial Pali word even though very few people are aware of it these days. So, that is another topic that I will be discussing in detail.

- One with “good gati” is likely to do more “good deeds,” and another with “bad gati” is likely to do more of “bad deeds.”
- However, even one with “good character” may do evil deeds if the temptation is high enough. For example, we often hear about “good people” arrested for bribery or rape charges.
- In the same way, even a person labeled as a “bad person’ may do meritorious deeds under certain conditions.
- One’s family, friends, and associates play significant roles in the formation of new gati and getting rid of old gati (good or bad.)
- More details at, “9. Key to Ānapānasati – How to Change Habits and Character (Gati).”: ... ter-gathi/
- I have discussed gati in several posts at Dhamma Wheel. See, for example, "The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Asavas)" Oct 25, 2018 (p.43), "Post on habits (Pali word “gati”, but gati is more than habits)" on August 18, 2018 (p. 22), and "How Habits are Formed and Broken – A Scientific View"  Nov 28, 2018 (p. 50.)

Having Wrong Views Is a Major Akusala Kamma

11. Any realm has a finite lifetime. One will NEVER live in a “good realm” forever or be trapped forever in a “bad realm.” Each of us has been in most of the 31 realms, many times over. The rebirth process has no discernible beginning. See, “Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin” on Jun 29, 2019:viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=518755#p518755

- In general, meritorious deeds (kusala kamma) lead to good rebirths (those in the human and higher realms.) Evil deeds (akusala kamma) lead to bad existences (the lowest four realms or the apāyā.)
- One key factor that many people are not aware of is the following. Even if one does not do any “conventional immoral deeds,” just having wrong views about the world is one of the dasa akusala. See “Ten Immoral Actions (Dasa Akusala)”: ... a-akusala/
- Most people consider immoral deeds to be only “bad bodily deeds” (killing, stealing, sexual misconduct) and “bad speech” (lying, gossiping, slandering, harsh speech.) But one can do three akusala kamma with the mind (greedy and hateful thoughts, AND wrong views.)
- That is the key to understand the first stage (first round in the tiparivaṭṭa) of the First Noble Truth.

12. There are three akusala kamma done with the mind, i.e., just with one’s THOUGHTS. Those are greedy thoughts (abhijjā), angry thoughts (vyāpāda), and wrong views (micchā diṭṭhi).

- Those three kinds of evil THOUGHTS lead to bad speech and bodily actions. Furthermore, wrong views are the root cause of greed and anger as well, as we will see.
- It may be hard to believe, but wrong views are the main reason that most humans are reborn in the apāyā. See “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm“ on Oct 31, 2018 (p.43):viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=630
- With this post, we are just expanding the worldview a bit more. Some people may be aware of these facts, but many people are not aware of them. I want to make sure everyone is on-board.

In the upcoming posts, we will discuss the above issues in detail. It is not beneficial to try to understand deep suttā without having a good understanding of the “essential fundamentals.”
Last edited by Lal on Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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