The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Sam Vara
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara »

Lal wrote: Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:32 pm ...
I thought points 4 to 8 were well-expressed and made a lot of sense. Thank you! :anjali:
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Thank you, Sam!
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

1. In the previous post, I briefly mentioned the story of Ven. Angulimāla. Here we will analyze some key aspects of his life story that help us understand some key features in Buddha Dhamma.

I highly -recommend a fairly good account of the life story of Angulimāla here: "Angulimāla - A Murderer's Road to Sainthood":https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el312.html.
Reading that account first will help with the discussion below.

Account of Anugulimāla - Many Insights to Buddha Dhamma

Brief Summary of Angulimāla's Life

2. To summarize the key points in the story of Angulimāla:

- He was called Ahimsaka ("Harmless") as a boy and was an excellent student. He was the best in class at the premier learning institute of that day in Takkasila (Taxila). His peers were jealous and tried to convince the teacher that Ahimsaka was plotting to take his job.
- The teacher finally believed those false accusations and came up with a way to get Ahimsaka killed. When Ahumsaka finished his studies and asked how he can pay for his education, the teacher said: "You must bring me a thousand human little fingers of the right hand".
- That is how Ahimsika became a killer and came to be known as "Angulimāla", because he started wearing some of those cut fingers in a garland around his neck.

3. Angulimāla had killed 999 people and was about to kill his mother to get the last finger, when the Buddha intervened.

- The quick-witted Angulimāla was able to comprehend a few verses that the Buddha uttered and asked the Buddha to ordain him right there.
Ven. Angulimāla became an Arahant soon afterwards.
- Later on, the Buddha reminded Ven. Angulimāla that he had now been "born" an Āriya (Noble Person), even though he had killed so many people when he was a murderer. This concept of changing "bhava" even during a given existence is discussed below.

First Observation - Importance of Gati and Environment

4. The first thing we can see is that obedient and well-behaved Ahimsika became a murderer because of his teacher's influence. External influences can be a key factor in changing one's gati (pronounced "gathi") loosely translated as "character").

- This is why parents must always be on the lookout on what kind of friends a child has. Friends can be a huge influence on a child.
- This is also true for adults. One must get away from those who pull in wrong directions, and make new associations along “good directions”.
- Gati are discussed at: "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 that habits) on August 18, 2018 (p. 22); "How Habits are Formed and Broken – A Scientific View",  Nov 28, 2018 (p. 50).

Second Observation - There is no "unchanging self"

5. The second thing we can see is that there is no "unchanging self".

- Harmless Ahimsika became a violent murderer in Angulimāla and killed almost 1000 people.
- Then that violent Angulimāla the murderer became a Noble Person within a short time after meeting the Buddha, and within weeks Ven. Angulimāla became an Arahant too!

6. In the "bigger picture" of the "three lōkas" and "31 realms", we saw that the "lifestream of any living being" can change from "good to bad", "bad to good", "good to bad again", etc  an uncountable times in the beginning-less rebirth process.

- We all have been in the highest brahma realm and the lowest apāya too. But we all have spent most of that time in the suffering-filled apāyās.
- The only way get out of this "ceaseless wandering in the rebirth process (sansāra or samsāra)" is to become an Arahant, as Ven. Angulimāla did.
- The first step is to attain the Sōtapanna stage be free of at least the four lowest realms (apāyās).

Third Observation - There is a Causal Link ("Sort of a Self")

7. However, as we discussed in the previous post, it is not possible say that "there is no-self" either.

- Nothing happens without a reason or a cause (at least one, but normally many causes).
- A human is reborn an animal or a brahma due to a reason. There is a CONNECTION between two adjacent "bhava" or existences.
- Ahimsika did not become Angulimāla without causes. Those causes were the influence of his peers on the teacher and the influence of the teacher in turn on Ahimsika.
- But then all that was reversed due to the influence of the Buddha.

8. That is why it is also incorrect to say, "there is no-self". There is a always a "self" -- living at least momentarily -- that is responsible for how that "self" evolves in the future.

- But that "changing self" can and will change between "good' and "bad" based on many factors. Key factors are: self's own deeds and external influences on that "self" at any given time.

Fourth Observation - Two Types of "Bhava" or Existence

9. Another important point is that one could be born in a "temporary bhava" or "temporary existence" DURING this life. As we saw, Angulimāla switched "temporary bhava" from an innocent boy to a murderer, and back to an Arahant!

- For example, a person who drinks habitually is not drunk all the time. He is in a "drunken bhava" or "drunken existence" while he is intoxicated. The next day he is sober and would not be in a "drunken bhava" until he drinks again.
- In the same way, one is in an "angry bhava" when she gets angry. But after the anger subsides, she is not in that "existence" or "bhava" anymore.
- These temporary bhava are explained via "pavutti Paticca Samuppāda" processes (those effective during a given life) . Even though only one type of Paticca Samuppāda is presented in the text books today, there are different types.

10. When one habitually gets into such a "temporary bhava" repeatedly, then that becomes a cultivated gati or habit/character.

- In that case, it could lead to a new "uppatti bhava" (or "bhava associated with rebirth") too. For example, when one gets angry all the time and then one day kills a another human, that could lead to rebirth in an apāya. That is a "more permanent bhava" that can last a long time.
- This is the Paticca Samuppāda cycle that is discussed more commonly. It is called "uppatti Paticca Samuppāda".
We may discuss both type in the future as need arises, but there is a section on Paticca Samuppāda at the puredhamma.net that discusses different Paticca Samuppāda cycles.

Fifth Observation - Going Back and Forth in the Rebirth Process

11. So, there could be some spans of time in the rebirth process where one mostly does "good deeds", cultivates "good gati", and thus gets "good bhava" and thus "good births" (jāti). We discussed the difference between bhava and jāti in the post: "Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein", on Oct 27, 2018 (p. 43).

- Then, one's gati may change to "bad gati", especially when one comes under "bad influences and associates". In that case, one may start on a "downward path" and eventually one's gati will become bad to the extent that one will get a "bad bhava".
- We can see such examples around us. We all have seen good children becoming drug addicts and then becoming even murderers due to bad associations. The opposite happens too, when a violent person may change those bad gati and become a "good citizen" under right influences.
- This is what we all have been doing (going back and forth between good and bad existences), in this beginning-less rebirth process.

Sixth Observation - Angulimāla's Realization

12. When Angulimāla was chasing the Buddha and could not get even close to the Buddha. To quote from the account referenced above,  Angulimāla stopped and called "Stop, monk! Stop, monk!"

"I have stopped, Angulimala. You stop, too."

- This got Angulimāla to thinking and he started asking why the Buddha -- while still walking -- said that he had stopped. The Buddha explained that he had stopped his samasāric wandering (rebirth process) and had overcome all suffering.
- That is when Angulimāla gained insight and became Ven. Angulimāla.

13. Therefore, the critical point to understand is that it is NOT ENOUGH just to do "good deeds", even though that is a must.

- One MUST take another step and realize that we have been trapped in this rebirth process filled with (mostly) suffering due to two reasons.
- Let us briefly discuss those two CRITICAL points.

Seventh Observation - The Critical Discovery of the Buddha

14. First, until a Buddha comes to the world (meaning a human attains the Buddhahood by purifying the mind to the highest extent), the "wider world view" with "three types of lōkas" and 31 realms is not known to other humans.

- Even though one could be occasionally born in "good realms" at or above the human realm, beings are reborn mostly in the lowest four realms (apāyās) due to misdeeds done in seeking sense pleasures.
- Of course, there is suffering in any realm, but it is less in higher realms.
- Therefore, most of rebirths lead to much suffering. That is the essence of the First Noble Truth.

15. Secondly, until a Buddha comes to the world, it is not known how to escape from this endless rebirth process filled with suffering.

- There have been and there will always be teachers who realize that misdeeds lead to bad rebirths and good deeds lead to good rebirths, and teach that to others.
- But it is only a Buddha that can figure out that doing good deeds is not enough. One needs to see the anicca nature of this world of 31 realms. That means even if one gets a rebirth in the highest realm with long lifetimes of billions of years, one will end up in despair and eventual death.
- Then one gets back to the same cycle of rebirths, where one will inevitably do bad deeds (due to cravings or sense temptations) and will be born in the apāyās.

Eighth Observation - The Root Cause for Suffering

16. Therefore, the key is to realize that one needs to REMOVE the tendency to be tempted by sense desires.

- One needs to "see" that anicca nature, i.e., it is a waste of time to seek happiness in this world. That will sooner or later lead to rebirth in the apāyās (dukkha). Therefore, in the end one will become helpless (anatta), when born in an apāya.
- It is not possible to forcefully suppress cravings under "strong sense temptations".When one sees the "anicca nature" cravings are automatically removed (in four stages of Nibbāna)
- That really is the Second Noble Truth the cause of future suffering.

Ninth Observation - The Way to Nibbāna

17. Once the "big picture" of the 31 realms -- together with how one WILL BE born among them due to one's actions (kamma) -- is understood, one would have removed the 10 types of micchā ditthi.

- That is because, that "complete picture" requires the rebirth process, laws of kamma, etc.

18. Then one can begin to understand the "unfulfilling and dangerous nature of the wider world of 31 realms" or the "anicca nature".

- That "anicca nature" explains how "dukkha" or suffering arises, and one will become helpless (anatta) in the rebirth process. Those are three main characteristics (anicca, dukkha, anatta) that are called Tilakkhana (and they are inter-related).
- That is when one attains the Sōtapanna stage of Nibbāna.

19. This is why anicca has nothing to do with "impermanence" and "anatta" has nothing to do with a "self" or a "non-self".

- That knowledge about Tilakkhana or the "true nature of this world" is available only in Buddha Dhamma.
- Until a Buddha comes to world and DISCOVERS that "bigger picture", no one will be able to see that "bigger picture" and the dangers in remaining in this cycle of rebirths filled with suffering.

Tenth Observation - Kamma Vipāka Will be Effective Until Death

20. Even though Ven. Angulimāla had attained the Arahantood, he was constantly getting injured by "stone throwers". Most of the time, those were not directed at him, but he was getting hit accidentally.

- As described in the above essay, "with blood running from his injured head, with his bowl broken, and with his patchwork robe torn, the venerable - - Angulimala went to the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw him coming, and he told him: "Bear it, brāhmanā, bear it, brāhmanā! You have experienced here and now the ripening of kamma whose ripening you might have experienced in hell over many a year, many a century, many a millennium."
- If Angulimāla died without being saved by the Buddha, he would have suffered in the apāyās for an unimaginable time for killing all those people!

21. As we had discussed before, even a Buddha cannot avoid some of kamma vipāka from the past as long as the physical body is alive. The conditions for those kamma vipāka to materialize (i.e., the physical body) is still there.

- At the death of the physical body, there is no ore rebirths anywhere in the 31 realms. Then, there is no way for any kamma vipāka to materialize (come to fruition). That is why the physical death of an Arahant is called "Parinibbāna" or "complete Nibbāna".
- There will be absolutely no suffering after the Parinibbāna.

22. Therefore, we can see that there are many insights in some of these accounts of notable personalities in the Tipitaka. They are all consistent with the core teachings.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by WICKY »

Dear Lal,

Blessings of the Noble Triple Gem to you!

Yesterday I happened to stumble upon your website Pure Buddhism and I was delighted to see many posts on so many topics I have been listening to and reading. Among other topics I was very interested in the post on the gandabbas as it seemed to answer many questions I had on the subject. I came home today eager to get back on your site and learn more when to my extreme disappointment I discovered that your guru was the controversial Waharaka monk. I am saddened that today one has to work oneself through a convoluted maze of false teachings to get to the truth. Because of monks like this, today there is so much differences of opinion among Buddhists which we never had before. I see this new 'born again' Buddhism as yet another appalling prong in the Destroy Buddhism agenda of the American evangelist movement operating through NGOs. I am sorry to say that this kind of spreading a false version of the Buddha Dhamma is an apagatha karma. I hope and pray that the nirmala Buddha Dhamma continues to shine in our motherland and that those bogus Buddhist preachers, the followers of Waharaka, are exposed for what they are.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

WICKY said: “Yesterday I happened to stumble upon your website Pure Buddhism and I was delighted to see many posts on so many topics I have been listening to and reading. Among other topics I was very interested in the post on the gandabbas as it seemed to answer many questions I had on the subject.”

Thank you.

Then you say: “I came home today eager to get back on your site and learn more when to my extreme disappointment I discovered that your guru was the controversial Waharaka monk. I am saddened that today one has to work oneself through a convoluted maze of false teachings to get to the truth…” and all that nonsense that I have seen several people repeating.

I am just sad to see that you cannot see the contradiction in those two sections of your post.

If the explanations make sense, why does it matter who provided some of those key explanations which have been hidden for hundreds of years?

In any case, if you can provide evidence that what I have written here or at my website are not compatible with the Buddha Dhamma in the Tipitaka, then I can respond. Otherwise, such comments do not serve any purpose and I will not respond anymore.
- As I have stated before, I did not even get an opportunity to meet Waharaka Thero before he passed away. But I am forever grateful to him for clarifying some key unresolved issues that I had (I accessed his discourses via [html]https://waharaka.com/[/html]).
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by SkillfulA »

Had an email exchange with lal a few years back... :jawdrop: hopeless case. Would be surprising if he even stood just once corrected in 53 thread pages.

Ven. Dhammanando s conclusion after analysing just a single page of lal s website, basically the same misleading stuff he posts also here, sums it up:
Dhammananda wrote: "The Pure Dhamma website offers a variety of revisionist readings of the Pali Suttas based upon the site-owner’s (or his guru’s) claimed re-discovery of supposed hidden meanings of key Pali terms.
These proposed hidden meanings, when not presented merely as bald assertions, are defended by resort to Pali philological analysis.
But since the site-owner is demonstrably incompetent in both Indic philology in general and Pali in particular his arguments are undeserving of credence. Rather than leading to the true understanding of the Dhamma via the revelation of higher (but long-concealed) meanings, they lead only to baloney. "


Hopefully one day someone will cross his path who is able to make him stand corrected. Such an educated capable dedicated firm hard working man... What a shame.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

SillfulA said: “Ven. Dhammanando s conclusion after analysing just a single page of lal s website, basically the same misleading stuff he posts also here, sums it up:

Dhammananda wrote:"The Pure Dhamma website offers a variety of revisionist readings of the Pali Suttas based upon the site-owner’s (or his guru’s) claimed re-discovery of supposed hidden meanings of key Pali terms.
These proposed hidden meanings, when not presented merely as bald assertions, are defended by resort to Pali philological analysis.
But since the site-owner is demonstrably incompetent in both Indic philology in general and Pali in particular his arguments are undeserving of credence. Rather than leading to the true understanding of the Dhamma via the revelation of higher (but long-concealed) meanings, they lead only to baloney. "

So, Ven. Dhammanando is the ultimate authority on Buddha Dhamma?

I hope Ven. Dhammanando or any other such “high authority” on Buddha Dhamma can explain many of the inconsistencies that I have pointed out (in this thread) with their explanations.

Let us just focus on one key issue first: What do they understand by the term “viññāna”?

I say viññāna is “defiled consciousness” and “viññāna nirōdha” is Nibbāna. When one attains Nibbana, he/she will still have consciousness, but it is not defiled.

In current English translations, viññāna is always translated as just “consciousness”. It may be OK to translate it generically as "consciousness" in some places where the emphasize may not be needed. But there are specific verses in suttas where that "real meaning" must be pointed out.

How can anyone attain Nibbana if one does not understand viññāna, since “viññāna nirōdha” is Nibbāna?
So, denying that viññāna is “defiled consciousness” is spreading adhamma.

We can easily settle this issue of who is spreading “adhamma" or “wrong Dhamma”, instead of just making statements without any merit or essence.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara »

Lal wrote: Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:47 pm SillfulA said: “Ven. Dhammanando s conclusion after analysing just a single page of lal s website, basically the same misleading stuff he posts also here, sums it up:

Dhammananda wrote:"The Pure Dhamma website offers a variety of revisionist readings of the Pali Suttas based upon the site-owner’s (or his guru’s) claimed re-discovery of supposed hidden meanings of key Pali terms.
These proposed hidden meanings, when not presented merely as bald assertions, are defended by resort to Pali philological analysis.
But since the site-owner is demonstrably incompetent in both Indic philology in general and Pali in particular his arguments are undeserving of credence. Rather than leading to the true understanding of the Dhamma via the revelation of higher (but long-concealed) meanings, they lead only to baloney. "

So, Ven. Dhammanando is the ultimate authority on Buddha Dhamma?
No, the point here is merely that he is very trustworthy indeed regarding Pali.

(He also happens to be a considerable authority on Buddha-Dhamma, but that's an entirely different question.)
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Sam Vara
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara »

Lal wrote: Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:47 pm

I say viññāna is “defiled consciousness” and “viññāna nirōdha” is Nibbāna. When one attains Nibbana, he/she will still have consciousness, but it is not defiled.

In current English translations, viññāna is always translated as just “consciousness”. It may be OK to translate it generically as "consciousness" in some places where the emphasize may not be needed. But there are specific verses in suttas where that "real meaning" must be pointed out.

How can anyone attain Nibbana if one does not understand viññāna, since “viññāna nirōdha” is Nibbāna?
So, denying that viññāna is “defiled consciousness” is spreading adhamma.

We can easily settle this issue of who is spreading “adhamma" or “wrong Dhamma”, instead of just making statements without any merit or essence.
Your conclusion - that denying "viññāna" is "defiled consciousness" equates to spreading adhamma - may well be true, but unfortunately it is again supported by a textbook example of question-begging, or petitio principii.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Your conclusion - that denying "viññāna" is "defiled consciousness" equates to spreading adhamma - may well be true, but unfortunately it is again supported by a textbook example of question-begging, or petitio principii.
The definition of petitio principii is :"a fallacy in which a conclusion is taken for granted in the premises; begging the question".

Vinnana is a key concept of Buddha Dhamma. It should NOT be something that can be a premise. My description is not a conjecture. That is how it is described in suttas.

The question is what is meant by Viññāna. If someone gets it wrong, one CANNOT make much progress. So, if one gets it wrong, one WILL BE making adhamma to be Dhamma.

Hope you can explain the following verse in the Kevaṭṭa Sutta (DN 11):
‘Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ,
anantaṃ sabbatopabhaṃ;
Ettha āpo ca pathavī,
tejo vāyo na gādhati.

Ettha dīghañca rassañca,
aṇuṃ thūlaṃ subhāsubhaṃ;
Ettha nāmañca rūpañca,
asesaṃ uparujjhati;
Viññāṇassa nirodhena,
etthetaṃ uparujjhatī’”ti


I have explained it in detail at: "Anidassana Viññāṇa – What It Really Means" at Puredhamma.net. If interested, you can read it there. Just type in "anidassana vinnana" in the search box, you will get a few posts and this should be one.

OR, the “Dvaya­tānu­passa­nā­sutta (Sutta Nipata 3.12)“:

“Yaṃ kiñci dukkhaṃ sambhoti,
Sabbaṃ viññāṇapaccayā;
Viññāṇassa nirodhena,
Natthi dukkhassa sambhavo“
.
Translated: “Whatever suffering that arises, all that arises due to viññāṇa; With the not arising of viññāṇa, there is no existence with suffering“.

There are many, many suttas.
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Sam Vara
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara »

Lal wrote: Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:24 pm
Your conclusion - that denying "viññāna" is "defiled consciousness" equates to spreading adhamma - may well be true, but unfortunately it is again supported by a textbook example of question-begging, or petitio principii.
The definition of petitio principii is :"a fallacy in which a conclusion is taken for granted in the premises; begging the question".

Vinnana is a key concept of Buddha Dhamma. It should NOT be something that can be a premise. My description is not a conjecture. That is how it is described in suttas.
If you use a statement to support a conclusion, then it is a premise, regardless of whatever role it plays elsewhere. That's exactly how you are using it.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Sam Vara said :
If you use a statement to support a conclusion..
My EVIDENCE clarifies a key foundation of Buddha Dhamma. Nibbana is closely related to vinnana.

In any case, please give us your translation of the verses that I quoted. Just making statements is of no value to the discussion.
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Sam Vara
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara »

Lal wrote: Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:14 pm Sam Vara said :
If you use a statement to support a conclusion..
My EVIDENCE clarifies a key foundation of Buddha Dhamma. Nibbana is closely related to vinnana.
Whatever you claim a premise to be, capitalised or uncapitalised, using it the way you did constitutes begging the question.
In any case, please give us your translation of the verses that I quoted. Just making statements is of no value to the discussion.
I'll decide what I post, thanks, along with what I consider to be of value.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

I'll decide what I post, thanks, along with what I consider to be of value.
OK. This is exactly what happened in the past too. People (including bhikkhus) just bow out of the discussion when they do not have answers.

In my opinion, vinnana is a key concept. If one wants to understand what Nibbana is, one needs to understand what vinnana is. THE key concept of Buddha Dhamma is Nibbana.

Anyway, I have no problem with your position. But when someone says I am stating wrong facts, I have to ask them what the correct facts are.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara »

Lal wrote: Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:44 pm
I'll decide what I post, thanks, along with what I consider to be of value.
OK. This is exactly what happened in the past too. People (including bhikkhus) just bow out of the discussion when they do not have answers.

In my opinion, vinnana is a key concept. If one wants to understand what Nibbana is, one needs to understand what vinnana is. THE key concept of Buddha Dhamma is Nibbana.

Anyway, I have no problem with your position. But when someone says I am stating wrong facts, I have to ask them what the correct facts are.
I'm not bowing out of any discussion. I'm perfectly prepared to discuss whether you have engaged in question-begging arguments. I'm not saying at all that you are stating wrong facts - I was very clear about that. I'm saying that your argument is fallacious.

Feel free to explain your views on Viññāṇaṃ. If it's of interest, I might comment. But you need to understand that you can't dictate how people respond to your posts. Nobody signed up to be your pupil here.
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