The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Does Gandhabba Mean “Semen”?

Gandhabba (manomaya kāya), related to paṭisandhi viññāṇa, is a cornerstone concept in Buddhism (Buddha Dhamma.) This essay critiques a recent online discussion with the above title.


1. I wrote this essay after reading an essay by Bhikkhu Sujāto and the ensuing discussion: “Does gandhabba mean “semen”?” ( ... emen/26734) It is truly saddening to read the essay and the follow-up discussion. There are so many problems with this essay. I will address only three glaring issues.

(i) The first mistake is to define a sentient being with just the rupa aggregate (in this case, semen.)
(ii) Trying to make sense of the term “gandhabba” using Vedic literature.
(iii) Not comprehending paṭisandhi viññāṇa (and even the general concept of viññāṇa.)

The essay was written on October 24, 2022, and the mindless discussion (based on “semen” as the “seed of life”) continues as of today, November 7, 2022. We will first look at the three items listed above.

Rupa (or Rupa Aggregate) Alone Cannot Define a Lifestream in Rebirth Process

2. A sentient being (lifestream) is ALWAYS associated with five aggregates of rupa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, and viññāṇa.

- All five aggregates may not arise at all times for a living being. For example, only a rupa manifests for a being in the asañña realm because no thoughts arise there.
- However, “past components” of all five aggregates are associated with that asañña satta (being.) Five aggregates DEFINE a living being who has been in the rebirth process from a “beginningless beginning.”
- Semen has only the rupa aggregate. Where is the connection to paṭisandhi viññāṇa in semen?

Trying to Explain Buddha Dhamma with Vedic Literature

3. Vedic literature uses the Sanskrit word “gandharva.” The author of the essay that started the discussion, Bhikkhu Sujāto, spends most of his essay quoting the Upanishads.

- That leads to more confusion than clarity. It is like explaining Paṭicca Samuppada in Buddha Dhamma by discussing “Pratītyasamutpāda,” ( ... tp%C4%81da) the Vedic version.
- The Buddha spent much time trying to dispel wrong views like those. So, why even discuss Vedic literature?
- I think I know the answer. The author cannot connect paṭisandhi viññāṇa and gandhabba (manomaya kāya.) Thus, he is trying to incorporate things he has learned about gandharva from the Vedas, trying to make sense!

Does the Author Understand Viññāṇa and Paṭisandhi Viññāṇa?

4. The third point is the following. Bhikkhu Sujāto, as well as most English translators of the Tipiṭaka, first need to understand that Pāli words in the Tipiṭaka can have very different meanings depending on the context. To take just one example, viññāṇa SHOULD NOT be translated as “consciousness” in all the suttās. They are still doing it to this date! See “Distortion of Pāli Keywords in Paṭicca Samuppāda.” ... ha-dhamma/. This was posted a couple of weeks ago here at DW. You can look at the chart I posted in my previous post (Nov. 4, 2022) for a quick review.

- They should first understand the difference between vipāka viññāṇa (one of the six types of consciousness: cakkhu, sota, ghāna, jivhā, kāya, mano) and kamma viññāṇa, which is more than “consciousness”!
- Paṭisandhi viññāṇa is a special type of a kamma viññāṇa.
- Now, let us discuss some key concepts in Buddha Dhamma that can shine some light on this issue.

Any Viññāṇa Cannot Exist by Itself Without a Rupa

5. Viññāṇa (including the paṭisandhi viññāṇa in this case) CANNOT arise or be sustained without a rupa.

- Several suttās in SN 22 clearly state “coming and going of (kamma)viññāṇa, its passing away and reappearing, its growth, increase, and maturity” cannot happen in the absence of the other four aggregates (rupa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra). See the “Upaya Sutta (SN 22.53)” ( ... =latin#2.2) I have linked to the specific verse.
- Therefore, a rupa (made of suddhāṭṭhaka) MUST be present to accompany the paṭisandhi viññāṇa, i.e., “a paṭisandhi viññāṇa cannot descend to a womb” without accompanied by a rupa. That is the requirement for a gandhabba!
- Another specific reference is “1.6. Gatikathā” ( ... =latin#4.1) of the Paṭisambhidāmagga, which states, “Paṭisandhikkhaṇe pañcakkhandhā sahajātapaccayā honti,..” or “At the moment of Paṭisandhi all five aggregates (pañcakkhandhā) arise together (sahajāta)..”
- Translating “paṭisandhi viññāṇa descending to a womb” literally as “rebirth-consciousness descending to a womb” is similar to the error of translating viññāṇa as consciousness in all situations, as pointed out in “Distortion of Pāli Keywords in Paṭicca Samuppāda.” One needs to have a clear understanding of the fundamentals of Buddha Dhamma to correctly translate “succinct (uddēsa) verses” in some suttas. See “Sutta Interpretation – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa.”

Gandhabba (Manomaya Kāya) Is Related to Paṭisandhi Viññāṇa

6. Gandhabba (or manomaya kāya) is born when a being’s present existence (bhava) ends, and a new existence is grasped at the cuti-paṭisandhi moment. Cuti means the end of the current existence, and paṭisandhi is grasping another.

- For example, the moment of the end of human existence is the end of a lifetime for that human gandhabba (manomaya kāya) which could be many thousands of years. That gandhabba may be born with many such physical bodies within its lifetime. Between “two consecutive human bodies,” that lifestream is in the gandhabba state, with an invisible “manomaya kāya.”
- A manomaya kāya of a human has seven suddhāṭṭhaka-size rupa: hadaya vatthu, five pasāda rupa, and bhava dasaka. When that human has a physical human body, the gandhabba is inside it. As explained in the “Mahārāhulovāda Sutta (MN 62),” ( ... ript=latin) the physical body itself is lifeless unless a gandhabba is inside; see “Mahārāhulovāda Sutta and Ānāpānasati” posted on Oct 31, 2022 (last week).
- The cuti citta is immediately followed by the paṭisandhi citta that grasps the next existence. Thus, that paṭisandhi citta is the paṭisandhi viññāṇa (viññāṇa arising at the moment which grasps the next existence.)

7. Simultaneous with grasping the new existence (with paṭisandhi viññāṇa), kammic energy creates the manomaya kāya of the next existence. Regardless of the next existence, certain essential constituents are in that manomaya kāya, including a hadaya vatthu, the seat of mind for the next existence. It is “an energized suddhāṭṭhaka.” See #4 of “Manomaya Kāya (Gandhabba) and the Physical Body” ( ... ical-body/) and “Gandhabba – Only in Human and Animal Realms.” ... al-realms/

- For example, if the next existence is an arupāvacara Brahma, its manomaya kāya will have only a hadaya vatthu. That is the only rupa that Brahma would have. A rupāvacara Brahma will have hadaya vatthu and two pasāda rupa (cakkhu and sota), thus enabling it to see and hear. Devās will have seven suddhāṭṭhaka-size rupa, just like humans. But they also have instantaneous births (just like the Brahmās); thus, the term gandhabba is not used for any of those (Brahmās and Devās.)


Click to open the pdf file: Births in Different Realms ... alms-1.jpg

- Animals are more similar to humans, with the arising of an “animal gandhabba” at the paṭisandhi moment. That gandhabba will be born with a physical body by getting into a womb in the case of apes, dogs, etc., or an egg as in the case of chickens.

8. Everything within the Pāli Tipiṭaka is self-consistent. There is no need to resort to numerous ancient literature just because they exist. Many people believe that expanding to Vedic literature will show one’s scholarship. But for those who are interested in learning the actual teachings of the Buddha, those are distractions.

- If people find contradictions within the Tipiṭaka (as many do in discussion forums), it is due to a lack of understanding of basic concepts.
- I laid out the problem in translating viññāṇa as consciousness in the post “Distortion of Pāli Keywords in Paṭicca Samuppāda” posted here on Oct 22, 2022.
- How can anyone explain deeper concepts like gandhabba or many suttās on deep concepts without understanding viññāṇa?

Comparison to Author's Previous Translations

9. Bhikkhu Sujāto starts the essay by quoting a verse in the “Assalāyana Sutta (MN 93)” ... atin#18.61(I have linked to that verse)

Idha mātāpitaro ca sannipatitā honti, mātā ca utunī hoti, gandhabbo ca paccupaṭṭhito hoti; evaṁ tiṇṇaṁ sannipātā gabbhassa avakkanti hotī’ti.”

His translation: “An embryo is conceived when these three things come together—the mother and father come together, the mother is in the fertile part of her menstrual cycle, and the spirit being reborn is present.”

So, he has translated “gandhabba” as “the spirit being reborn.”

10. The second sutta that he mentioned in his opening essay, “Mahātaṇhāsaṅkhaya Sutta (MN 38)” ... latin#26.2 (I have linked to the same verse as in #9 above)

- His translation is the same as in #9 above.
- Note that there is no explanation of what that “spirit” is!

11. But after discussing the Upanishad‘s description of “gandharva” he has now changed his mind. To quote from the end of the essay (posted on October 24, 2022):

“Thus we should translate something like:
An embryo is conceived when these three things come together—the mother and father come together, the mother is in the fertile part of her menstrual cycle, and the virile spirit is potent.”
- Note that he has now changed his mind about the translations of MN 93 and MN 38 of the Pāli word “gandhabba” from “the spirit being reborn” to “the virile spirit is potent.”
- What made him to change his mind?

12. During the discussion, Bhikkhu Sujāto wrote: “The biggest single problem with the later Buddhist idea that “gandhabba = rebirth consciousness” is that there is then little role for the man.”

- He got a resolution from the Upanishads!
- To quote from that essay: “Rebirth has a cosmic and organic dimension that is absent from Buddhism. The Kausitiki says “the soul is produced from semen”. The atman is a complex and many-facted idea in the Upanishads, but it is crucial to understand that there is an important thread that sees the individual atman as a quasi-physical entity that is passed to the mother through the semen. It goes without saying that the mother is regarded as merely the incubator of the embryo, not as the source of its atman.”


13. To summarize Bhikkhu Sujāto’s essay: The “three things” needed for an embryo to be conceived are – the mother and father come together, the mother is in the fertile part of her menstrual cycle, and semen (virile spirit) from the father!

- He may still believe that paṭisandhi viññāṇa needs to “get in” for the conception (even though he left out paṭisandhi viññāṇa in the essay.) However, that still is not compatible with #5 above. It is a gandhabba that “gets in” or “merges with” the zygote produced by the mother’s egg and father’s sperm; see “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception.“ ... ha-dhamma/
- As discussed in #8 of “Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipiṭaka“ the bhāva dasaka – an indicator of the sex of the baby — also “descends to the womb” at the moment of conception. A gandhabba kāya consists of 7 suddhāṭṭhaka; see #9 of “Gandhabba – Only in Human and Animal Realms.”
- Thus, the correct summary is: The “three things” needed for an embryo to be conceived are – the mother and father come together to produce a zygote, the mother is in the fertile part of her menstrual cycle, and a gandhabba created by paṭisandhi viññāṇa! That gandhabba may have been created by kammic energy (in paṭisandhi viññāṇa) even years ago!

14. To illustrate this critical point, let us consider the following case. Suppose a Deva dies (at the end of Deva bhava) and is reborn a human in New York. That Deva grasps the human bhava while in that Deva realm (far above the Earth) with a paṭisandhi viññāṇa. Is he saying that the paṭisandhi viññāṇa then “descends” to the womb in New York at the moment of death of the Deva?

- No. All five aggregates must arise simultaneously at the moment of paṭisandhi (see #5 above.) A human gandhabba (with rupa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, and viññāṇa) shows up in the human realm at the moment that Deva dies (Here, rupa means the hadaya vatthu (seat of mind) and a set of pasāda rupa in the manomaya kāya of gandhabba.) Getting into a womb can happen even years later. Uncountable Gandhabbas are waiting for a womb!
- Conception in New York can occur precisely at that moment of paṭisandhi (unlikely) or much later (usually).
- The problem is not understanding that grasping human bhava happens at the cuti-paṭisandhi moment (with the creation of a gandhabba by kammic energy). In contrast, birth with a human body () starts later when that gandhabba enters a womb. See “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein.” ... s-therein/
- For a Tipiṭaka-based discussion on gandhabba with many sutta references, see “Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipiṭaka.“ I will post it here in a few days.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by rajitha7 »

Hello Lal,

Hope things are well. I have a science question if you have some time.

Can you let me know if

Avakasha = Ether

to form a sankata

Taking the formula -> e = mc2

e (Bhuta/Wave) -> vinnana -> mc2 (Dhatu/Particle) (Inside Ether)

in order to make a sankata, the vinnana takes on Bhuta (Wave) thus producing (Dhatu/Particle) ?

is this a possible explaination from a scientific point of veiw?

It's all -> here
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Hello Rajitha,

The "Ether (Aether) theory" was proposed by Newton, who proposed that an unspecified substance (ether) permeates space.
- But, that was shown to be incorrect by the Michelson–Morley experiment (1887).
- Following that, Einstein confirmed the absence of "ether" with his theories on relativity.
- So, modern science has rejected that theory. See "Luminiferous aether"

Your other proposal: "Taking the formula -> e = mc2
e (Bhuta/Wave) -> vinnana -> mc2 (Dhatu/Particle) (Inside Ether)
in order to make a sankata, the vinnana takes on Bhuta (Wave), thus producing (Dhatu/Particle) ?"

That is correct. It is the "kamma vinnana" (not "vipaka vinnana") generated via "avijja paccaya sankhara" and 'sankhara paccaya vinnana" that is the root of "creation of matter". Therefore, it is the mind that is ultimately responsible!
- Suddhatthaka (with the four maha bhutas) are produced in javana citta of "kamma vinnana."
- That is why the Buddha taught "Manōpubbangamā Dhammā.." Further details in ... ma-dhamma/

I opened the following thread for questions for me: "Questions/Comments on the Teachings of Waharaka Thero" viewtopic.php?t=42520
- Please ask any further questions or comments there. You are also still registered at the Pure Dhamma discussion forum. You can ask questions there too.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by rajitha7 »

Lal wrote: Thu Nov 10, 2022 1:50 pm - But, that was shown to be incorrect by the Michelson–Morley experiment (1887).
So what is Avakasa? Is it just space not in a vacuum?

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

Post by Lal »

The following is the post I promised in the post on "Does Gandhabba Mean 'Semen'?" on Nov 07, 2022. This comprehensive analysis is based solely on the Tipiṭaka. There is no need to discuss Vedic concepts that were rejected by the Buddha. The following analysis may be too technical for some, but it is imperative to compile a comprehensive analysis that can withstand scrutiny and illustrate the self-consistency of the Tipiṭaka.

Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipiṭaka


1. I will present extensive evidence from the Tipiṭaka that the gandhabba state is necessary for human (and animal) bhava. It is not an antarabhava (a state“in-between two bhava“). It is within the same human bhava.

- One’s mental body (gandhabba or manōmaya kāya) controls the physical body.
- Gandhabba will be alive through many successive human births within a human bhava (which can last thousands of years). When a given physical body dies, gandhabba can enter another womb when a matching one becomes available. Rebirth accounts confirm that mechanism. There are multiple births (jāti) within a human existence (bhava.)
- However, the gandhabba concept is different from the idea of a “soul.” A gandhabba (manomaya kāya) will keep changing during its lifetime. Furthermore, it will die at the end of human bhava, and a brand new manōmaya kāya for another existence (Deva, animal, etc.) will take place.

Clear Evidence from Paṭṭhāna

2. Those who believe that paṭisandhi takes place in a womb need to consult the “Paṭṭhānapakaraṇa” a section on Abhidhamma Piṭaka in the Tipiṭaka. ... ript=latin

- Paṭisandhi is the moment of grasping a new bhava, for example, a human bhava. At that moment, a human gandhabba is born.
- That gandhabba gets into a womb later, and that event is okkanti. Human bhava is long, many thousands of years, and that is the lifetime of a human gandhabba. During that time, many okkanti events could lead to rebirths with “physical human bodies.”
- Paṭisandhi takes place with kamma paccaya and okkanti takes place with sahajāta paccaya.
- We know that birth in the human realm (paṭisandhi) is rare. However, once in the human realm, a human gandhabba can be reborn with different “physical bodies” (via many okkanti events.) Otherwise, how can we account for so many rebirth accounts by children?


3. At the Third Buddhist Council, Moggaliputta Tissa Thēro proved that there is no antarābhava in a debate with the Mahāyānists. That correct interpretation is in the Kathavatthu of the Tipiṭaka.

- Most current Thervādins erroneously believe that the gandhabba state is an “antarābhava” state. That is incorrect; see “Antarabhava and Gandhabba” ( ... gandhabba/) and “Cuti-Patisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description.“ ( ... scription/)
- A human gandhabba exists within the human bhava.

4. A critical factor contributing to this erroneous belief that the gandhabba state is an “antarābhava” is the inability to distinguish between bhava and jāti. They erroneously believe that paṭisandhi takes place in the womb. But it is evident in the sutta passages above that it is okkanti (of the gandhabba) that happens, not paṭisandhi.

- A human existence (bhava) could last many thousands of years. Many human births (jāti) can occur during that time; see “Bhava and jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein.” ... s-therein/
- In rebirth accounts, there is always a “time gap” (typically several years) between successive human births (jāti). Between those successive lives, that lifestream lives as a gandhabba without a physical body.
- Even during a given human life (jāti), the gandhabba may come out of the physical body under certain conditions, see “Out-of-Body Experience (OBE) and Manōmaya Kāya.” ... ience-obe/
- The human bhava is hard to attain; see “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm“): ... ble-truth/. However, there can be many births within a given human bhava until the kammic energy for that human bhava runs out. Otherwise, how can one explain all these rebirth accounts, where a human is reborn only a few years after dying in the previous human life?

5. I understand the reluctance of many to discard the deeply embedded idea that gandhabba is a Mahāyāna concept. I used to have that wrong view too. But as I have discussed above, many things will be left unexplained, and many inconsistencies will exist without the concept of gandhabba.

- Most notably, rejecting the idea of a gandhabba (i.e., the existence of a para loka) is a micchā diṭṭhi. Thus one cannot even become a Sotāpanna Anugami with that micchā diṭṭhi; see “Micchā Diṭṭhi, Gandhabba, and Sotāpanna Stage” ( ... nna-stage/) and “Hidden World of the Gandhabba: Netherworld (Para Lōka).” ( ... -paraloka/) So, I urge everyone to sift through the evidence and make informed decisions.
- More evidence is in many other posts on There are two subsections of the gandhabba state: “Mental Body – Gandhabba” and “Gandhabba (Manomaya Kaya).”
- One can also use the “Search” box on the top right to locate all relevant posts by typing “gandhabba.”
- A simple description of human conception is in “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception.” ( ... ha-dhamma/) It could be helpful to read that first.

Three Conditions for Conception per Suttas

6. The Buddha has described how three conditions must be satisfied for a conception to take place. That includes how a gandhabba (nominative case is gandhabbō) descending to the womb. For example, in the “Mahā Tanhāsankhaya Sutta (MN 38)“( ... latin#26.1): “..Tiṇṇaṃ kho pana, bhikkhave, sannipātā gabbhas­sā­vakkanti hoti. Idha mātāpitaro ca sannipatitā honti, mātā ca na utunī hoti, gandhabbo ca na paccupaṭṭhito hoti, neva tāva gabbhas­sā­vakkanti hoti. Idha mātāpitaro ca sannipatitā honti, mātā ca utunī hoti, gandhabbo ca na paccupaṭṭhito hoti, neva tāva gabbhas­sā­vakkanti hoti. Yato ca kho, bhikkhave, mātāpitaro ca sannipatitā honti, mātā ca utunī hoti, gandhabbo ca paccupaṭṭhito hoti—evaṃ tiṇṇaṃ sannipātā gabbhas­sā­vakkanti hoti. Tamenaṃ, bhikkhave, mātā nava vā dasa vā māse gabbhaṃ kucchinā pariharati mahātā saṃsayena garubhāraṃ..“.

Here is the English translation from the Sutta Central website in the above link (I have slightly modified it): “..Bhikkhus, the descent to the womb takes place through the union of three things. Here, there is the union of the mother and father, but the mother is not in season, and the gandhabba is not present—in this case, no descent of an embryo takes place. Here, there is the union of the mother and father, and the mother is in season, but the gandhabba is not present—in this case, too, no embryo can result. All three following conditions must be met. Union of the mother and father, the mother is in season, and a gandhabba is present. That leads to the formation of an embryo. The mother then carries the embryo in her womb for nine or ten months with much anxiety, as a heavy burden..”.

- Even though the venerable Bhikkhus who manage the Sutta Central website do not believe in the concept of a gandhabba, they have at least correctly translated most of the Pāli verse.
- By the way, the Sutta Central site is a valuable resource. It provides access to not only the Pāli version but also translations into several languages. I encourage everyone to contribute to that website to maintain that valuable database.
- However, one must remember that some critical Pāli terms are mistranslated there. Those include anicca as impermanence and anatta as “no-self.” Furthermore, translating complex Pāli words like viññāna and saṅkhāra as just single words in English can lead to severe problems.

7. In the “Assalāya­na Sutta (MN 93)“ ( ... atin#18.57), there is more evidence that for conception to occur, a gandhabba needs to descend into the mother’s womb at the right time. That needs to happen within a few days of the parents’ union, and it needs to be during the mother’s season.

Here, the Buddha explains to Assalayaṃa how the seer Asita Devala questioned seven brahmanā who had the wrong view that they were heirs to Mahā Brahmā. Here are the questions that seer Asita Devala asked:

Jānanti pana bhonto—yathā gabbhassa avakkanti hotī’ti? “
- “But do you, sirs, know how there is a conception in the womb?”

Jānāma mayaṃ, bho—yathā gabbhassa avakkanti hoti ‘ti. Jānāma mayaṃ, bho – yathā gabbhassa avakkanti hoti. Idha mātāpitaro ca sannipatitā honti, mātā ca utunī hoti, gandhabbo ca paccupaṭṭhito hoti; evaṃ tiṇṇaṃ sannipātā gabbhassa avakkanti hotī’ti”.
- ‘We do know, sir, how there is conception. There is coitus of the parents, it is the mother’s season, and a gandhabba is present; it is on the conjunction of these three things that there is conception.’

Jānanti pana bhonto—taggha so gandhabbo khattiyo vā brāhmaṇo vā vesso vā suddo vā’ti?“.
- “But do you, sirs, know whether that gandhabba is a noble, brahman, merchant, or worker?”

Na mayaṃ, bho, jānāma—taggha so gandhabbo khattiyo vā brāhmaṇo vā vesso vā suddo vā’ti“.
- “We do not know, sir, whether that gandhabba is a noble, brahman, merchant, or worker.”

Therefore, the concept of a gandhabba was accepted even by other yōgis in Buddha’s time.

8. In the “Mahā Nidāna Sutta (DN 15)“ ( ... latin#21.1): “..Viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpan’ti iti kho panetaṃ vuttaṃ, tadānanda, imināpetaṃ pariyāyena veditabbaṃ, yathā viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṃ. Viññāṇañca hi, ānanda, mātukucchismiṃ na okkamissatha, api nu kho nāmarūpaṃ mātukucchismiṃ samuccissathā” ti?No hetaṃ, Bhante.” “Viññāṇañca hi, ānanda, mātukucchismiṃ okkamitvā vokkamissatha, api nu kho nāmarūpaṃ itthattāya abhi­nib­bat­tis­sathā” ti?No hetaṃ, Bhante.”

Translation: “.With consciousness as a condition, there is mentality-materiality (nāmarūpa). How that is so, Ānanda, should be understood in this way: If viññāṇa were not to descend into the mother’s womb, would mentality-materiality (nama rūpa) take shape in the womb?” “Certainly not, venerable sir.” “If the descended viññāṇa were to depart, would mentality-materiality be generated into this present state of being?” “Certainly not, venerable sir.”

- Here, it is clear that by “a viññāṇa descending to the womb,” the Buddha meant the descent of the manōmaya kaya (gandhabba), not the paṭisandhi citta. A paṭisandhi viññāṇa cannot come out (depart) of the womb! In #12 below, I will present evidence that the other four khandhas always accompany viññāna. That includes the rupakkhandha (and a gandhabba has all five khandhas).
- That is clear from the verse at marker 21.6, which says that “viññāṇa” has determined the sex of the baby (“kumārakassa vā kumārikāya vā” or “boy or girl.”) As pointed out in #12 below, a paṭisandhi viññāṇa(or any kamma viññāṇa) cannot exist without a rupa (i.e., at least a suddhāṭṭhaka.) - In this case, the bhāva dasaka (which indicates the sex of the child) also “descends to the womb” together with hadaya vatthu and pasāda rupa in the gandhabba.
- The Pāli word “Okkanti” is often mistranslated as “rebirth.” But it means the “descend” of an already formed manōmaya kaya (gandhabba). Rebirth happens (and a gandhabba is born) within a thought moment, at the cuti-paṭisandhi moment; see “Cuti-Patisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description.“ ... scription/

Further Details from Suttas

9. In the “Kutuhala Sutta (SN 44.9)“ ( ... =latin#6.4), Vacca asked the Buddha, “..Yasmiñca pana, bho gotama, samaye imañca kāyaṃ nikkhipati, satto ca aññataraṃ kāyaṃ anupapanno hoti, imassa pana bhavaṃ gotamo kiṃ upādānasmiṃ paññāpetī”ti? OR “..and, Master Gotama, when a being has given up this body but has not yet been reborn in another body, what food does it consume?”

- The Buddha answered, “..Yasmiṃ kho, Vacha, samaye imañca kāyaṃ nikkhipati, satto ca aññataraṃ kāyaṃ anupapanno hoti, tamahāṃ taṇhūpādānaṃ vadāmi“. OR “..“When, Vaccha, a being has given up this body but has not yet been reborn in another body, I declare that it uses craving as food.”
- Thus, when a gandhabba leaves one physical and is not yet reborn in another body, its life is sustained by taṇhā (craving). That is similar to a rupi Brahma using piti (mental happiness) as food. Both gandhabbā and rupi Brahmās have subtle bodies (smaller than an atom in modern science; only a few suddhāshtaka). However, some gandhabbās can inhale odors for food and become relatively denser.

10. In the “Sangiti Sutta (DN 33)“ ( ... n#1.11.175), it is described how a gandhabba can enter a womb in four ways: “..Catasso gabbhā­vakkan­tiyo. Idhāvuso, ekacco asampajāno mātukucchiṃ okkāmati, asampajāno mātukucchismiṃ ṭhāti, asampajāno mātukucchimhā nikkhamati, ayaṃ paṭhamā gabbhāvakkanti. Puna caparaṃ, āvuso, idhekacco sampajāno mātukucchiṃ okkāmati, asampajāno mātukucchismiṃ ṭhāti, asampajāno mātukucchimhā nikkhamati, ayaṃ dutiyā gabbhāvakkanti. Puna caparaṃ, āvuso, idhekacco sampajāno mātukucchiṃ okkāmati, sampajāno mātukucchismiṃ ṭhāti, asampajāno mātukucchimhā nikkhamati, ayaṃ tatiyā gabbhāvakkanti. Puna caparaṃ, āvuso, idhekacco sampajāno mātukucchiṃ okkāmati, sampajāno mātukucchismiṃ ṭhāti, sampajāno mātukucchimhā nikkhamati, ayaṃ catutthā gabbhāvakkanti“.

Translation: “…Four ways of entering a womb. Herein, bhikkhus, one unknowingly descends into the mother’s womb, abides there unknowing, and departs thence unknowing. That is the first class of conception. Another descends deliberately but abides and departs unknowingly. Another descends and abides deliberately but departs unknowingly. Lastly, another descends, abides, and departs knowingly“.

- That is okkanti (descending of the gandhabba) into the womb (gabba), as described in the Maha Tanhasankhaya Sutta discussed above.
- Almost the same description is in the “Sam­pasā­da­nīya Sutta (DN 28)“ ( ... ript=latin). Another relevant sutta is “Titthāyatana Sutta (AN 3.61).” ... ript=latin

11. It is a Bodhisattva in the last birth that “.. descends, abides and departs the womb knowingly”, the fourth way of entering a womb, mentioned above.

- In the “Mahāpadāna Sutta (DN 14)“ ( ... tin#1.17.1): “..Atha kho, bhikkhave, vipassī bodhisatto tusitā kāyā cavitvā sato sampajāno mātukucchiṃ okkami. Ayamettha dhammatā“.
- Translated: “…Now Vipassī bodhisattva, bhikkhus, left the Tusita realm and descended into his mother’s womb mindful and knowingly. That is a law of nature.”
- At the cuti-paṭisandhi moment in the Tusita realm, the deva died, and a human gandhabba was born, who entered the mother’s womb on Earth.
- That sutta describes in detail the last seven Buddhas, including Buddha Gotama, who have appeared in our cakkāvāla within the past 31 mahā kappa (great eons). English translation of the Sutta at Sutta Central provides a helpful summary in a table. ... ript=latin
- However, in this sutta, gabbhā­vakkan­tiyo and okkami are mistranslated at Sutta Central.

Patisandhi Viññāna Same as Gandhabba

12. In the “Bija Sutta (SN 22.54)“ ( ... =latin#3.2), it is clear that viññāna cannot exist or “travel” without the other four aggregates, including the rupakkhandha: “..Yo, bhikkhave, evaṃ vadeyya: ‘ahamaññatra rūpā aññatra vedanāya aññatra saññāya aññatra saṅkhārehi viññāṇassa āgatiṃ vā gatiṃ vā cutiṃ vā upapattiṃ vā vuddhiṃ vā virūḷhiṃ vā vepullaṃ vā paññāpessāmī’ti, netaṃ ṭhānaṃ vijjāti“.

Bhikkhus, I say that it is impossible for viññāṇa to exist, to grow, and to move at rebirth in the absence of form, feeling, perception, and saṅkhāra.”

- Therefore, descending of a paṭisandhi viññāna to a womb MUST be accompanied by all five khandas, which is the kammaja kāya of the gandhabba. Viññāna can never exist without a rūpa; even the Brahmās in arupa realms have hadaya vatthu, a suddhāshtaka made of four mahā bhuta.
- Another specific reference is “1.6. Gatikathā” ( ... =latin#4.1) of the Paṭisambhidāmagga, which states, “Paṭisandhikkhaṇe pañcakkhandhā sahajātapaccayā honti,..” or “At the moment of Paṭisandhi all five aggregates (pañcakkhandhā) arise together (sahajāta)..” There is a detailed description of paṭisandhi in that link from markers 4.1 through 4.9.

Antarāparinibbayi State and Gandhabba

13. The first seven samyōjana include kāma rāga, rūpa rāga, and arūpa rāga. In the absence of those three samyōjana, one cannot be reborn in any of the 31 realms in the kāma, rūpa, and arūpa lōka. For a discussion on samyōjana, see “Dasa Samyōjana – Bonds in Rebirth Process.” ... h-process/

- When a person dies, the gandhabba comes out of the dead body. If that person had removed the first seven samyōjana by the time he died, that gandhabba could not grasp a bhava in any of the 31 realms.
- However, since the last three samyōjana of māna, uddacca, and avijjā are still there, that person will not be able to attain Parinibbāna either. In other words, gandhabba cannot die either.
- “That person” will remain in the gandhabba state until his kammic energy for the human bhava runs out. That is called the “Anatarāpainibbiyāni” state.
- That is discussed in the “Samyojana Sutta (AN 4:131)“ ( ... =latin#7.1): “..Katamassa, bhikkhave, puggalassa orambhāgiyāni saṃyojanāni pahīnāni, upapat­ti­paṭi­lābhi­yāni saṃyojanāni pahīnāni, bhava­paṭi­lābhi­yāni saṃyojanāni appahīnāni? Antarā­pari­nib­bā­yissa”.
- The first five samyojanā are called orambhāgiyā saṃyojanā. Rūpa rāga and arūpa rāga are collectively called upapat­ti­paṭi­lābhi­yā saṃyojanā, and māna, uddacca, avijjā are collectively called bhava­paṭi­lābhi­yā samyōjana.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Preservation of the Buddha Dhamma

Tipiṭaka – The Pāli Canon

1. After the passing away of the Buddha, his teachings were handed down verbally from one generation to the next over three to four hundred years. Preservation in the written form took place 2000 years ago.

- Tipiṭaka was composed into a form suitable for easy verbal transmission, in many cases in SUMMARY form. See, “Sutta Interpretation – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa.” ( ... tiniddesa/) That is why it survived almost entirely in content over this long period.
- It was written down in Matale, Sri Lanka, at the turn of the first century, 2000 years ago. See “Welcome to Aluvihāra Rock Cave Temple” ( for information about where the Tipiṭaka writing took place.
- The other earliest written Buddhist documents are from Gandhāra in modern northwestern Pakistan; see “The Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhāra” by Richard Salomon (2018.) However, those do not provide a complete version of the Tipiṭaka; see p. 83 of the book.
- All other documents in Chinese, Tibetan, etc., date later and are derived from the Pāli Tipiṭaka.

Initial Oral Transmission

2. The discourses of the Buddha were said to have been delivered in the Māgadhi language. The written form was called Pāli. But Pāli does not have its script, so it was written down with Sinhala script.

- That provides a straightforward way of sorting out the Mahāyāna literature, written in Sanskrit and never written in Pāli. Mahāyānic philosophers wrote all the Sanskrit suttā in Sanskrit.
- Around the turn of the first millennium, translations of the Tipiṭaka to Chinese and Tibetan also took place. The original manuscripts in Pāli can be expected to contain most of the original discourses delivered by the Buddha.

3. Today, it is hard to fathom (especially for Westerners) that such accuracy would be possible in verbally transmitted material.

- However, we need to understand the background traditions and the monks’ determination over thousands of years that helped preserve most of the original teachings.
- Even today, some people have memorized large sections of the Tipiṭaka, especially in Myanmar (formerly Burma). In Myanmar, there are special examinations to test memorization. See “TIpitakadhara Sayadaws of Myanmar ( Burma ) in Five Decades.” ( Also, see “Memorizing the Tipiṭaka.” ... -in-burma/
- During oral transmission, groups of bhikkhus memorized (overlapping) sections of the Tipiṭaka. Then during a Sangāyanā (Buddhist Council), they all got together and compared each other versions to make sure they were all compatible.

It Took Three Councils to Finalize the Tipiṭaka

4. A significant reason for the assembly of the First Buddhist Council within three months of the Buddha’s Parinibbāna — around 480 BCE — was to organize the vast material.

- Within the next two hundred years, two more Councils were held to recite and verify the teachings and to finalize the Tipiṭaka in three broad categories (“ti” + “Piṭaka” or “three baskets”). The second was held about a century after the first one.
- The third was held in 250 BC at Pataliputra under the patronage of King Asoka. The “three baskets” were completed at this Council with the finalization of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka; see #15 below.
- This completed Tipiṭaka was written down in 29 BCE at the Fourth Buddhist Council in Matale, Sri Lanka. This was the last Council attended ONLY by Arahants. Thus, we can be assured of its authenticity. Since Pāli does not have its script, it was written in the Sinhala language.

Authenticity of the Tipiṭaka

5. Another critical point is hidden in the history of the Tipiṭaka. Even up to the 20th century, the whole Tipiṭaka was written on specially prepared ōla (palm) leaves. They typically deteriorate over 100 years or so and need to be rewritten. Even though that was a very labor-intensive process (about 60 large volumes in the modern printed version of the Tipiṭaka), it served the following essential purpose.

- Sinhala language (both spoken and written) changed over the past 2000 years. The need to re-write it every 100 or so years made sure to take account of the changes in the Sinhala script. Of course, the Pāli language has not changed.
- The following video gives an idea about the preparation process and the tools used to write:

- European Civil Servants saved existing Pali manuscripts of the Tipiṭaka in the 1800s. See “Misinterpretation of Anicca and Anatta by Early European Scholars.” ( ... -scholars/) The original documents on Palm leaves are still kept at the British Museum:

Most Suttās Are Condensed Versions of the Discourses

6. A critical point here is that a sutta is a CONDENSED version of discourse in many cases. For example, Dhamma Cakka Pavattana Sutta was delivered to the five ascetics overnight. Imagine how many written pages would be if written verbatim! Yet, it is summarized in a few pages. The same is true for all the deeper suttās. Otherwise, it would have been impossible to transmit all those thousands of suttās.

- The Buddha delivered most of his discourses in the Māghadhi (māghadhi = “maga” + “adhi” or Noble path) language. Tipiṭaka was written in Pāli with Sinhala script. Pāli is a version of Māghadhi suitable for writing down oral discourses in a summary form suitable for transmission.
- Each Pāli word is packed with a lot of information, and thus commentaries (called “Attha Kathā”) were written to expound on the meaning of critical Pāli words and to explain the key phrases in the suttās.

Importance of the Commentaries

7. Pāli suttās are not supposed to be translated word-by-word. see, “Sutta Interpretation – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa.” ( ... tiniddesa/) The Tipiṭaka was meant to be used with the commentaries. Commentaries compiled by Arahants at the time of the Buddha are still there with the Tipiṭaka: Patisambhidamagga, Petakopadesa, and Nettippakarana. Venerable Mahinda started compiling Sinhala Commentaries 200 years later.

- Sadly, those Sinhala commentaries were burned during the Anuradhapura era; see “Incorrect Theravada Interpretations – Historical Timeline.” ... -timeline/
- Fortunately, the three original commentaries prepared by the foremost disciples of the Buddha (Ven. Sariputta, Ven. Kaccayaṃa, etc.) during the Buddha’s time were included in the Tipiṭaka (in the Khuddhaka Nikāya) and thus survived. The current revival of pure Dhamma by Waharaka Thero in Sri Lanka was partially due to his perusal of these three documents (Patisambhidamagga, Petakopadesa, and Nettippakarana).

8. With the loss of most of the commentaries and the non-prominence of the surviving three commentaries mentioned above, people started translating the Tipiṭaka word by word. This insane practice continues to date: “Elephant in the Room” – Direct Translation of the Tipiṭaka.” ( ... -tipitaka/) The problem was compounded by the increasing usage of the Sanskrit language beginning around the first century CE.

- For example, “anicca” was translated first to Sanskrit as “anitya,” and then the same Sanskrit word “anitya” was ADOPTED as the Sinhala translation for anicca. Similarly, “anatta” was translated to Sanskrit as “anāthma” and again was adopted as the Sinhala word for “anatta.” This has prevented millions of people from attaining Nibbāna all these years; see “Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta – Wrong Interpretations.” ... ha-anatta/
- Another good example is the translation of Paṭicca samuppāda to Sanskrit as Pratītyasamutpāda; see “Paṭicca Samuppāda – “Pati+ichcha” +” Sama+uppäda” ( ... roduction/) and the Wikipedia article, “Pratītyasamutpāda.” ... tp%C4%81da
- It is NOT POSSIBLE to translate some critical Pāli words to Sanskrit, English, or any other language without losing their true meaning. In many cases, I prefer to keep the original words (e.g., anicca, anatta, taṇhā) and explain their meanings.

Buddha Prohibited Translation of the Tipiṭaka to Sanskrit

9. The Buddha foresaw this and warned not to TRANSLATE the Tipiṭaka to Sanskrit. There were two Brahmins by the names of Yameḷa and Kekuṭa who were experts on the Vedic Texts; they became bhikkhus and asked the Buddha whether they should translate the Pāli suttā to Sanskrit.

- The Buddha admonished them that Sanskrit was a language with musical overtones developed by the high-minded Brahmins. Thus, it was impossible to convey the true meanings of Maghadhi (Pāli) words in Sanskrit; see Chulavagga 5.33. ( He admonished them not to translate his teachings to Sanskrit.
- In the Sutta Central English translation, the Pāli word for Sanskrit (chandasa) is mistranslated as “metrical”; see “15. Minor matters (Khuddaka).” ( ... tin#33.1.1) The relevant Pāli text starts as “Tena kho pana samayena yameḷakekuṭā nāma…”.

10. One grave problem today is that many people try to translate a given sutta word by word to other languages. Thus the Dhamma Cakka Pavattana Sutta that we mentioned above is translated into a few pages.

- For a comprehensive translation of that sutta: “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.” ... ana-sutta/
- That is why most of the existing translations are inadequate at best and erroneous in most cases; see “Sutta Interpretation – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa.”

Buddhaghosa’s Commentaries

11. Finally, just before the burning of the Sinhala commentaries, Buddhaghosa translated and edited those commentaries back to Pāli in his Visuddhimagga and other books.

- Even though he had made many errors (like including kasina meditation and substituting the ānāpanasati bhāvanā with “breath meditation”), he had used the words anicca and anatta in the Pāli version of the Visuddhimagga; see, “Buddhaghōsa and Visuddhimagga – Historical Background” ( ... ackground/) and “Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhimagga – A Focused Analysis.” ... -analysis/
- Thus, the incorrect translations of the words “anicca” (as “impermanence”) and “anatta” (as “no-self”) may have happened more recently; see “Misinterpretation of Anicca and Anatta by Early European Scholars.” ... -scholars/
- Now, let us systematically review the timeline of the Tipiṭaka.

Timeline – First Buddhist Council

12. That first Buddhist council was held three months after the Parinibbāna at Rājagaha, the capital of Māgadha.

- Shortly after the Buddha passed away, Ven. Mahakassapa, the de facto head of the Saṅgha, selected five hundred monks, all Arahants, to meet and compile an authoritative version of the teachings.

13. The Cullavagga, one of the books of the Pāli Vinaya Piṭaka, gives an account of how the authorized texts were compiled at the First Buddhist Council:

- Based on Venerable Upāli’s recitation of Vinaya, the Vinaya Piṭaka, disciplinary matters were compiled.
- Venerable Ananda then recited “the Dhamma” or the Sutta Piṭaka, i.e., the discourses, and based on this recitation, the Sutta Piṭaka, the Compilation of Discourses, was compiled (Venerable Ananda was supposed to have an amazing memory and had memorized all the suttas preached by the Buddha).
- The Abhidhamma was rehearsed by all the Arahants present at the Council. Although they recited parts of the Abhidhamma at these earlier Buddhist Councils, it was not until the Third Council that it became finalized to its present form as the third and final Piṭaka of the Canon.

Finalization of Tipiṭaka at the Third Council

14. The Moggaliputta-Tissa Thero compiled the proceedings of the Third Council in the Kathavatthu, which became part of the Tipiṭaka (Three Baskets). During the Third Council, Arahants compiled the final version of the Tipiṭaka (as available today). It finalized the Abhidhamma Piṭaka and added several books on the Khuddhaka Nikāya and the Kathavatthu.

The composition of the Tipiṭaka is as follows:

(i). The Vinaya Piṭaka is composed of five books: Major Offenses (Prajika Pāli), Minor Offenses (Pacittiya Pāli), Greater Section (Mahavagga Pāli), Smaller Section (Culavagga Pāli), and Epitome of the Vinaya (Parivara Pāli).

(ii). The Sutta Piṭaka consists of five nikāyas: Digha Nikāya (Collection of Long Discourses), Majjhima Nikāya (Collection of Middle-Length Courses), Samutta Nikāya (Collection of Kindred Sayings), Anguttara Nikāya (Collection of Discourses arranged by a number), and Khuddaka Nikāya (Smaller Collection).

(iii). The Abhidhamma Piṭaka consists of the following categories: Dhamma Saṅghani (Classification of Dharmas), Vibhanga (The Book of Divisions), Kathavatthu (Points of Controversy), Puggala Pannatthi (Description of Individuals), Dhatukatha (Discussion regarding Elements), Yamaka (The Book of the Pairs), and Patthana (The Book of Relations). Venerable Moggaliputta Tissa COMPILED Kathavatthu at the Third Buddhist Council,

- That collection is the Tipiṭaka (Three Baskets) or the Pāli Canon that exists today.

Abhidhamma Piṭaka Finalized at the Third Council

15. The work on the Abhidhamma Piṭaka started during the time of the Buddha by Ven. Sariputta was not finalized until the Third Council. The Buddha only taught the basic framework to Ven. Sariputta. It was completed over roughly 250 years by the lineage of bhikkhus, starting with Ven. Sariputta. Of course, Ven. Sariputta was one of the two chief disciples of the Buddha: While Ven. Moggallana excelled in supernatural powers, Ven. Sariputta excelled in Dhamma. He was only second to the Buddha in Dhamma knowledge.

- The minute details on the structure of a citta vithi (a series of citta) of 17 thought moments, with each citta lasting sub-billionth of a second, can be seen only by a Buddha. The Buddha described only the underlying principles to Ven. Sariputta. Then Ven. Sariputta and his group of bhikkhus (and their subsequent lineage) completed the monumental task of categorizing the Abhidhamma, starting with the fundamental entities.
- Bhikkhu Bodhi describes the origins of Abhidhamma in his book, “Comprehensive_Manual_of_Abhidhamma,” (2000) ( ... dhamma.pdf); see pp. 9-11.
- As I mentioned, compiling Abhidhamma Piṭaka (after the Buddha described it in summary form to Ven. Sariputta) was not a trivial task. That is why it took 250 years to finalize that work. Anyone with even a little knowledge of Abhidhamma would realize that it must be the work of a Buddha. See the “Abhidhamma” section at
- The Abhidhamma Piṭaka is fully consistent with the Sutta Piṭaka. I would be happy to discuss any perceived inconsistencies.
- However, it is not necessary to learn Abhidhamma to attain magga phala. It is an additional tool for those who like to get into details. It is truly a joyful experience to “see” how phenomena can be explained at a deeper level.

Writing Down the Tipiṭaka at the Fourth Council

16. This enlarged Canon, completed at the Third Council, was committed to writing in Sri Lanka in the first century BCE (29 BCE) at the Aluvihara Monastery at the Fourth Buddhist Council. The material in Pāli was written down in the Sinhala language (Pāli does not have its script).

- Bhikkhus wrote on palm leaves with styluses, a pointed steel dagger-like instrument, which scratched the letters into the soft leaves. Ink made from berries was rubbed over the whole page and gently removed so that only the indentations retained the color. It is said that Tipiṭaka was also written down on gold leaves as well. These could be entombed inside stupās; see the Wikipedia article “Stupa“

Translation of the Tipiṭaka to Other Languages

17. It is to be noted that Theravada Buddhism was brought to Burma and Thailand from Sri Lanka in the first century CE. Over the next two centuries, it diffused into adjoining countries of Laos and Cambodia and survived in its purity in those countries as well to the present day. (In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s massacred most monks, and the Buddha Dhamma is virtually extinct).

- However, the Chinese/Tibetan versions of the Tipiṭaka seem to have come from India. The Tibetan version seems to have undergone many revisions/additions and, in some cases, is far removed from the original teachings.
- While the bhikkhus (with the aid of most of the kings) in Sri Lanka took pride and honor in keeping the teachings intact, Buddhism underwent many changes in India, China, Japan, and Tibet. It then finally disappeared altogether from India around 1200 CE.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

When I stopped posting back in April 2022, I was in the middle of a series of posts explaining "Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda." It is a version of Paṭicca Samuppāda that takes place during day-to-day activities.
- The first post on that series, "Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda – Bhava and Jāti Within a Lifetime," was on Mar 14, 2022 (p. 102). The last post was "Five Aggregates – Experiences of Each Sentient Being" on Apr 25, 2022 (p. 103).
- A few more posts remain in that series, starting with the following.

Pañcupādānakkhandha – Attachment to One’s Experiences

Even though pañcakkhandha includes many categories — including one’s all past experiences — we only attach to pañcakkhandha arising at the present moment, i.e., pañcupādānakkhandha.

We Attach to Pañcakkhandha That Arise at the Present Moment

1. Attachment to pañcakkhandha DOES NOT mean attachment to ALL OF accumulated pañcakkhandha.

- It just means attachment to the five aggregates that arise AT THAT MOMENT. That is a CRITICAL point to understand.
We discussed that at the start of this series in “Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda – Bhava and Jāti Within a Lifetime.“
Idappaccayā” comes from “ida” + “paccayā,” meaning “based on the conditions at this moment.”
- Let us discuss that carefully and systematically since it is a CRITICAL issue. Many say, “attachment to khandhas” with the idea of “attachment to ALL khandhas that define me.”
- We attach to “khandhas” that arise at the PRESENT MOMENT. There must be a “trigger” to be attached. Suppose you see, hear, taste, smell, touch, or think about something that you like/dislike or are unsure of. You may attach (taṇhā) or “get stuck with it” via greed/anger/uncertainty.
- Take a minute to contemplate that.

Arising of Pañcakkhandha Triggered by an Ārammaṇa

2. The trigger to “get attached to something” is an ārammaṇa. Let us think about what “triggers” an alcoholic (or even a casual drinker) to “have a drink.”

- A common trigger is if someone offers a drink. Even a casual drinker may accept the offer.
For an alcoholic, the idea of “having a drink” may come to mind as a kamma vipāka. They would have built up an “expectation” (kamma viññāṇa) to “have a drink at a certain time.”
- Regardless of how the idea of “having a drink” comes to the mind, that is accompanied by a “visual of a drink” (added to rupakkhandha), and the relevant mental aspects (vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa) associated with previous experiences of “having a drink” come to the mind. The latter “mental parts” are added to the vedanākkhandha, saññākkhandha, saṅkhārakkhandha, and viññāṇakkhandha. That is how the pañcakkhandha is added with an ārammaṇa, as we discussed in recent posts in detail.

How Do Pancakkhandha Become Pañcupādānakkhandha?

3. Now, an alcoholic will become “joyful,” and he will proceed to either accept the offer or make a drink for himself, depending on the two situations above. In other words, now pañcakkhandha has AUTOMATICALLY become pañcupādānakkhandha!

- But if the person doe not like to drink alcohol, such a “joyful mindset” will not take place in him, EVEN IF a drink is offered.
- Thus, for such an individual, pañcakkhandha would arise when someone offered a drink, i.e., rupa, vedanā. saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa ABOUT an alcoholic beverage will come to their mind. However, because he does not have gati to crave “alcoholic drinks,” it WILL NOT become pañcupādānakkhandha!
- That is the difference between pañcakkhandha and pañcupādānakkhandha!
- Just reading these words will not be enough to make progress. One must think through these concepts.

Samphassa-jā-Vedanā Arise Due to Gati

4. To put it another way, the alcoholic will automatically generate pañcupādānakkhandha, which will have “samphassa-jā-vedanā” in his vedanākkhandha.

- On the other hand, the other person (who does not like alcohol) WILL NOT have “samphassa-jā-vedanā” in his vedanākkhandha.
It is critical to understand what is meant by “samphassa-jā-vedanā.” See “Search Results for: samphassa vedanā.”

5. It is mainly the vedanā (that arises with pañcakkhandha) leading to the attachment. If it is sukha vedanā, one attaches with greed, and a dukkha vedanā leads to attachment with anger. A neutral vedanā ("adukkha asukha" or "adukkhamasukha") could also lead to attachment via ignorance (one does not understand the proper response to an ārammaṇa.)

- Following are examples. Eating tasty food gets one attached to it; they will try to figure out how to taste it again. Seeing an enemy succeeding in life, some people will try to get involved and put obstacles in their way. Seeing shadowy figures at night may cause anxiety.
- Let us analyze the example in the post, “Aggregate of Forms – Collection of ‘Mental Impressions’ of Forms,” to get more clarity.

Example With Many Ārammaṇa

6. Sometimes, many ārammaṇa run through our minds within minutes. In such cases, only one may lead to pañcupādānakkhandha even though all of them contribute to pañcakkhandha.

- We started in that post (in #3) with the following example. Suppose you are having a meal with a friend. We analyzed how many citta vithi run through your mind within a few minutes due to different ārammaṇa. To keep the discussion simple, let us bypass the citta vithi analysis.
- Your friend is talking, and you are listening. That is an ārammaṇa coming through sotadvāra or the ears. You see him too, and that ārammaṇa comes through cakkhudvāra (eyes). You taste the food (with jivhādvāra or tongue).
- The point relevant to the present discussion is that you see your friend’s face and have a specific “mindset” associated with that rupa. That mindset depends on both him and what he is talking about. We cannot break those mental aspects into two separate parts, one for just seeing his face and another for what he is talking about.

7. For example, suppose he started by saying that he had not seen you for several days and how glad he was to see you. The feelings that arise in you would be loving/sympathetic. Then he switched the subject to talk about a common enemy of the two of you, and the mental aspects that arise at that moment are more likely to be those of anger toward that other person.

- Thus, within a few minutes, your mental aggregates will change.
- Now you are eating your food at the same time. If the food tastes good, there will be “good feelings” about the food.
In a situation like that, what type of mental aspects become DOMINANT will depend on the RELATIVE STRENGTHS of the three ārammaṇa in that example.

We Attach Only to Certain Parts of Pañcakkhandha Arising at the Present Moment

8. If you become agitated about the “common enemy” the friend is talking about, that will primarily affect your mindset. You may even forget that you are eating. You may even stop eating and start talking about a bad incident with that person.

- Therefore, three types of mental aspects may arise within minutes. All those are part of pañcakkhandha that occur within those few minutes.
- However, you focused on that “common enemy” in this case. That became “pañcupādānakkhandha” at that time. Your mind did not “attach/focus” on your friend or the meal. It got “trapped/stuck” on only one ārammaṇa about the common enemy.
- That is a straightforward example of how pañcakkhandha arises and how a part of that pañcakkhandha can turn into pañcupādānakkhandha.

Attaching to Part of Pañcakkhandha Based on Gati

9. When an ārammaṇa comes to mind, that leads to accumulating the five aggregates (pañcakkhandha.)

- Even though pañcakkhandha includes ALL of one’s experiences in the past, we attach ONLY to pañcakkhandha that arise at that moment.
- However, whether one attaches to pañcakkhandha arising is influenced by one’s past experiences (a past component of pañcakkhandha) via one’s gati.
- The situation would have been different if you did not have the gati to become upset about the person your friend was talking about. You may try calming the friend down instead of encouraging him to criticize that person.

Gati Form Over Long Times Due to One’s Cumulative Experiences

10. It is necessary to get a good idea about the role of one’s gati. The Pali word “gati” (pronounced “gathi”) can loosely one’s character, which also defines one’s habits.

- You may want to read “The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Āsava)” ( ... gs-asavas/) and the posts referred to there.
‘”Good gati” lead to rebirths in the “good realms,” and “bad gati” read to rebirths in the “bad realms.” When one comprehends the Four Noble Truths/Paṭicca Samuppāda/Tilakkhana, one realizes that the goal is not JUST to develop “good gati” but to eventually “see” the fruitlessness of such efforts. An Arahant has removed all gati.
- However, one MUST remove the “bad gati” first. Then with wisdom, one will see how to remove all gati GRADUALLY. See “9. Key to Ānapānasati – How to Change Habits and Character (Gati).” ... cter-gati/

One Attaches Automatically According to One’s Gati

11. Whether one gets attached to a given ārammaṇa (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, thought) depends on TWO things. One is the ārammaṇa itself, and the second is that person’s “gati” (character/habits.)

- Each person has a unique set of ārammaṇa that lead to attachment. No two people will attach to the same types of ārammaṇa.
- Furthermore, as one’s gati change, that set will also change. Also, the ārammaṇa itself can change too. For example, X may dislike Y because of a particular characteristic, but if Y gives up that, X may start liking Y.
- Thus, what matters is one’s gati at the present moment when one is experiencing a certain ārammaṇa. That is the critical principle in Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda.

Kamma Viññāṇa Form When We Attach

12. Upon getting attached to an ārammaṇa, we make expectations. Those are kamma viññāṇa.

- Suppose a friend tells you he tasted a nice meal at a restaurant. You are impressed by his description and decide to taste that meal. That expectation of enjoying that meal is a jivhā viññāṇa.
- The conversation you had with the friend is a part of pañcakkhandha. You may have talked about other things; they are all part of pañcakkhandha. - But only part of that pañcakkhandha became a pañcupādānakkhandha and generated a kamma viññāṇa, a future expectation to do something. It usually is an expectation based on greed, anger, or ignorance.
- That expectation generated a kammic energy that is in that jivhā viññāṇa. It is in the kamma bhava (in viññāṇa dhatu) and can “come back to your mind” and remind you that you need to act on it. So, even a few days later, you will suddenly remember that conversation with your friend and may get the urge to taste that meal. You may call the restaurant and make a reservation.


13. I have tried to connect different concepts that we discussed in this new series on Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda with other concepts like kamma viññāṇa and gati that we have discussed many times before.

- Buddha Dhamma is fully self-consistent. The more you learn, the more faith you will have. But it requires an effort to review those concepts and make necessary connections or see the relationships among them.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Noble Truth of Suffering- Pañcupādānakkhandhā Dukkhā

The verse “saṅkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā” in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11) says that attachment to pañcakkhandha (i.e., pañcupādānakkhandhā) is the root cause of suffering.

Noble Truth of Suffering

1. The Noble Truth of suffering explains the ROOT CAUSE of suffering.

- It is expressed succinctly in the “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11)” ( ... ript=latin) as “saṅkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā” OR “In brief, the cause of suffering is attachment to one’s sensory experiences.”
- In the previous post, we discussed why pañcupādānakkhandhā MEANS “attachment to sensory experiences.” See the previous post, “Pañcupādānakkhandha – Attachment to One’s Experiences.”
- That post resulted from previous posts in the current subsection, “Paṭicca Samuppāda During a Lifetime.” If you are unable to see why pañcupādānakkhandhā means “attachment to sensory experiences,” please review all previous posts.
- That is the First Noble Truth. Thus, it is critical to understand it.

What You Do at the Present Moment Is What Counts

2. If you attach to an ārammaṇa at the present moment, TWO THINGS can happen.

(i) You “pull that ārammaṇa in.” The Pali word for that is “upādāna.” I have often explained that “upādāna” means " keeping something close in mind.” That is how one “grasps” a new existence at the end of the current existence. That is the mechanism of grasping a new existence in Uppatti (or Upapatti) Paṭicca Samuppāda.
(ii) When you grasp that “state of mind,” you start “living in that mindset.” Thus, you start thinking, speaking, and acting based on that ārammaṇa. That leads to kamma formation during life, i.e., via Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda.

- In other words, attachment to an ārammaṇa can play essential roles in Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda (i above) and Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda (ii above.)
- I discussed that in detail in: “Change of Mindset Due to an Ārammaṇa” a few posts back. Some people may not have understood that post at that time. It is a good idea to review that post in any case. Let me briefly summarize the two cases. You may want to read that post for details.

Change of Mindset Due to an Ārammaṇa

3. A mind is usually in the “natural bhavaṇga state” it received at the beginning of its existence (bhava.)

- However, when a strong ārammaṇa comes to mind, the mind switches over to a state compatible with that ārammaṇa. Depending on the strength of the ārammaṇa, that “temporary bhavaṇga state” could be there for a short time or many days.
- Getting into a “temporary bhavaṇga state” is the same as getting into a “temporary bhava.“
- For example, if you eat a tasty meal, you may have that “satisfied mindset” for a couple of hours. If you had a nice dinner at a restaurant and talked to someone later that day, you may recommend the meal to that person.
- However, some ārammaṇa can lead to a “changed mindset” for longer and also lead to harmful consequences. If an alcoholic who has been “sober” for several weeks is induced to take a drink, he/she could go back to the “alcoholic mindset” that may linger for a long time. If a husband catches his wife in bed with another man, that may get him to the mindset of a killer. He could be “born” in that mindset and may carry out the killing. When he returns to his senses (i.e., to the “natural bhavaṇga state”), the damage is done!

Born in a “Temporary Existence” via an Ārammaṇa

4. Let us think about the “sad state of mind” that arises upon hearing about a parent's death. One could be in that “sad existence” for many weeks. That “sad mindset” will affect one’s thoughts, speech, and actions during that time. One will not feel like going to a party or a movie.

- In the terminology of Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda, we can understand how one got “temporarily born” in a “sad state of mind” upon hearing that sad news. Those are “temporary bhava and temporary jāti” in Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda.
- I have explained that in detail in an earlier post in the current series: “Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda – Bhava and Jāti Within a Lifetime.”
- These concepts are very much interrelated. If you can “latch on” somewhere, you can pursue that and fully understand Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda.
- The Buddha advised Ven. Ananda to learn how life evolves moment-to-moment based on the causes and conditions AT any given moment. See, “Mahānidāna Sutta (DN 15).” ... ript=latin

Key Points of Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda

5. An Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda always starts with an ārammaṇa (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, memory recall) that comes to the mind as a vipāka viññāṇa. I have discussed this in different sections of the website and only will give some of the links below. I discussed it extensively in the “Origin of Life” series, starting with the post “Chachakka Sutta – Six Types of Vipāka Viññāna.” ... a-vinnana/

- In the example above, it is the hearing of the death of a parent is a sota viññāṇa that comes in via the sotadvāra (“ear door.”) The Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda process starts with “salāyatana paccayā phasso” where “salāyatana” is the “sota āyatana.” That can lead to contact or “phassa,” which is “samphassa” or “contact with one’s defilements.”
- That leads to the next several steps “samphassa paccayā samphassa-jā-vedanā“, “samphassa-jā-vedanā paccayā taṇhā,” “taṇhā paccayā upādāna,” “upādāna paccayā bhava,” “bhava paccayā jāti.”
- See “Difference between Phassa and Samphassa.” ... samphassa/

6. Thus, upon hearing the sad news, one will “temporarily get into a sad bhava” and be “born in that sad existence for a while.” That is a “temporary birth” lasting as long as “temporary bhavaṇga” lasts. It could last for many weeks, depending on the person.

- In this case, the ārammaṇa of the “sad news” may not lead to kamma accumulation.
- But there are cases where one will be temporarily born in a “greedy state” or an “angry state.” That can contribute to (i) generating kammic energy that can lead to rebirths in “bad realms” and (ii) “grasping a new bhava at the “cuti-patisandhi” moment in Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda. Let us discuss an example.

Implications for Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda (Grasping a New Bhava)

7. This is essentially the same as what happens in Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda described above, i.e., you “grasp that ārammaṇa” and “get into that mindset or the temporary bhavaṇga state.”

- But if that happens in the last citta vithi for the current existence, then that “temporary bhava” BECOMES the next existence (bhava.)
- For example, if the ārammaṇa brought in at the last citta vithi makes one angry, one will grasp an existence matching that “angry state mind.” Of course, the actual realm in the apāyās will be determined by “how angry one becomes.” If the angry mindset can kill a human, that may lead to grasping an existence in the niraya (similar to hell in Christianity.) If it is less, the next existence could be that of a vicious animal like a tiger.

8. Let us summarize the two PS cases of the result of grasping an ārammaṇa:

- Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda: That ārammaṇa is a special ārammaṇa brought in by kammic energy. It comes in with the last citta vithi arising based on the strongest kamma one has done up to that point. It could be from the current life or a previous life.
- Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda: These ārammaṇa arise due to daily sensory experiences. If one gets attached to one, that could lead to the accumulation of new kamma (kammic energies.)

Cetanā Sutta (SN 12.38) – Role of an Ārammaṇa

9. If we attach to an ārammaṇa with greed, anger, and ignorance, that is when “all the troubles start.” The sequences of events are as follows:

- An ārammaṇa brings in an external rupa. That rupa comes in as a rupakkhandha, i.e., it is the result of many citta vithi, each bringing in just a fraction of that sight, sound, etc.
- That gives rise to the four mental khandhas (aggregates) of vedanākkhandha, saññākkhandha, saṅkhārakkhandha, and viññāṇakkhandha.
- Thus, all five aggregates (pañcakkhandha) arise with an ārammaṇa. If the mind attaches to that particular pañcakkhandha, each khandha becomes a upādānakkhandha. In particular, viññāṇakkhandha becomes viññānupādānakkhandha, and the viññāṇa there is a kamma viññāṇa (it has an expectation.)
- Thus, pañcakkhandha becomes pañcupādānakkhandha.
- That leads to either accumulating more kamma (via a temporary existence) or grasping a new existence.

10. The “Cetanā Sutta (SN 12.38)” ( ... ript=latin) summarizes what we discussed above. Of course, that English translation does not explain anything and can be misleading.

Bhikkhus, if you pursue an ārammaṇa by thinking how good it is, and make plans accordingly, then a kamma viññāṇa (future expectation) is established. (“Yañca, bhikkhave, ceteti yañca pakappeti yañca anuseti, ārammaṇametaṁ hoti viññāṇassa ṭhitiyā.)

When you keep your mind on that ārammaṇa, that (kamma)viññāṇa becomes established. (Ārammaṇe sati patiṭṭhā viññāṇassa hoti.)

When that (kamma)viññāṇa (expectation) is established and grows, there is rebirth into a new state of existence in the future. (Tasmiṁ patiṭṭhite viññāṇe virūḷhe āyatiṁ punabbhavābhinibbatti hoti.)

When there is rebirth into a new state of existence in the future, future rebirth, old age, and death come to be, as do sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress. (Āyatiṁ punabbhavābhinibbattiyā sati āyatiṁ jāti jarāmaraṇaṁ sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā sambhavanti.)

That is how this entire mass of suffering originates. (Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.)

- That summary includes both the Idappaccayātā and Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.
- These suttas REQUIRE detailed explanations. Word-by-word translations are useless and can be misleading. Incorrect translation of words can magnify problems!
- In particular, just translating viññāṇa there as “consciousness” is a grave error. But those translators do not understand that viññāṇa can have different meanings depending on the context. Here it is a “kamma viññāṇa.”


9. It is critically important to understand the concept of ārammaṇa and the TWO main consequences of an ārammaṇa.

- Ārammaṇa is simply a sensory input that grabs your attention. It can come through one of the five physical senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body touch) or the sixth one, the mind (memory recall.)
- If you attach to the ārammaṇa that comes in with the last citta vithi in the current existence, and if your mind willingly grasps the corresponding mindset, you will be born in a new existence corresponding to that mindset. Note that it is NOT a conscious decision. At that moment, you are capturing a new existence automatically according to your gati. That happens in Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.
- If attachment to an ārammaṇa happens during daily life and gets one into a “temporary existence,” one will start accumulating kamma accordingly. Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda describes this process.
- The Buddha defined “sakkāya” to be pañcupādānakkhandhā. See "Cūḷavedalla Sutta (MN 44)." ... =latin#2.1
- “Sakkāya Diṭṭhi is the wrong view that sakkāya or pañcupādānakkhandhā leads to sukha (happiness). When one understands Paṭicca Samuppāda and realizes that pañcupādānakkhandhā leads to suffering, one would get rid of Sakkāya Diṭṭhi and becomes a Sotapanna.
- We will discuss that in the next post.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Sakkāya Diṭṭhi and Pañcupādānakkhandhā

Sakkāya diṭṭhi is the wrong view that there is an “unchanging personality” or some “permanent essence.”

Sakkāya = Pañcupādānakkhandhā

1. Several suttas explicitly state that the word “Sakkāya” means “pañcupādānakkhandha:” SN 38.15, SN 38.16, SN 22.105, SN 22.112, MN 14, MN 106, AN 4.33, and AN 6.61.

- In the “Sakkāyapañhā Sutta (SN 38.15)” ( ... ript=latin) Ven. Sariputta explains: “Reverend, the Buddha said that “Sakkāya” means “the five grasping aggregates (pañca upādānakkhandhā)” — rūpupādānakkhandha, vedanupādānakkhandha, saññupādānakkhandha, saṅkhārupādānakkhandha, viññāṇupādānakkhandha.”
- The other suttas listed give the same explanation.
- Let us briefly summarize the key steps in initiating “pañcupādānakkhandha.” That will help us understand the connection between sakkāya and sakkāya diṭṭhi. As we know, one becomes a Sotapanna by getting rid of Sakkāya diṭṭhi. Thus, it is critical to understand this process.

Ārammaṇa Recognized with a “Collection of Rupa” (Rupakkhandha)

2. Pancakkhandha arises when an ārammaṇa comes to mind. Quite simply, pañcakkhandha (five aggregates) are the rupa and the four mental components (vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa) arising due to that rupa.

But why are they called “aggregates”? It is because the “rupa” itself is seen, heard, tasted, smelled, felt, or comprehended as a result of many “automatic” steps, i.e., they DO NOT come to the mind “as a whole in one step.” Thus, the following are CRITICAL points:

(i) The mind understands the rupa only after receiving many “snapshots” of the rupa. Comprehension sets in with not just one “snapshot” but due to an aggregate of many such “snapshots.” In Pāli, it is a “rupa matta” where “matta” means “a trace.” (By the way, that is the “matta” in “diṭṭhe diṭṭha mattaṁ bhavissati” in the Bāhiya Sutta; see, #12 of “Five Aggregates – Experiences of Each Sentient Being.”) ... ent-being/
(ii) For example, only a faint image of the tree comes in first when one looks at a tree. That image gets sharper and clear in several steps. But that happens too fast for us those steps.
(iii) It is an automatic process without us being consciously aware of it. Only the vastly purified mind of a Buddha can see that extremely fast process.
(iv) The point is that a “person” is not consciously involved in that fast process. It takes place automatically.

3. I tried explaining that process in this series’s previous posts in the current series on “Paṭicca Samuppāda During a Lifetime.” In particular, see “Aggregate of Forms – Collection of “Mental Impressions” of Forms.” See #7 there.

- As I discussed there, it is necessary to hear the whole sentence “My Dad came to see me yesterday” to understand its meaning. However, the mind may receive it in several pieces of “my dad,” “came to,” “see me,” and “yesterday.” Those words could be separated by bits of other data coming through other senses, as discussed there. But the mind can collect and put together a data stream from each sensory input.
- We consciously become aware of that “rupa” (whether it is a visual, sound, taste, smell, touch, or a memory recall) only after that fast and automatic process occurs. That takes only a split second.
- But there is another critical process that also happens automatically and fast.

Pañcakkhandhā May Become Pañcupādānakkhandhā Instantly

4. By the time we become aware of the rupa (or ārammaṇa), the mind may have already attached to that ārammaṇa based on our gati.

- Thus, if one sees a figure compatible with one’s gati, the initial “attraction” has already taken place, and one is already taking a “second look” by the time one becomes aware of it.
- The whole idea behind “mindfulness” is to catch any “bad attraction/ārammaṇa” as early as possible and stop it. But we DO need to engage in “good ārammaṇa” that leads to moral thoughts/speech/actions.

5. In other words, what we discussed above is the initial sensory event (seeing someone, for example), getting attached to it automatically (taṇhā), and then pursuing that ārammaṇa with “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” step in Paṭicca Samuppāda.

- We have experienced a sensory event (ārammaṇa) and have already attached to it. That means “pañcakkhandha” has automatically turned into a “pañca upādānakkhandha.”

Sakkāya = Pañca Upādāna Khandha

5. But that will happen ONLY IF we (or our mind) perceive such an ārammaṇa to be beneficial to us. For example, one could be easily attracted to the opposite sex if one has “kāma gati.” Any man could find an attractive woman, i.e., pañcakkhandha, for that sight will arise in any man. However, attraction to that woman will not happen for an Anagami/Arahant, i.e., they will not generate pañcupādānakkhandha.

- The word “Sakkāya” comes from “sath” + “kāya,” where “sath” means “good/beneficial” and “kāya” is a “collection.” Since “khandha” also means a “collection,” we can see that “Sakkāya” means “beneficial collections/aggregates.”
- That is why “Sakkāya” means the same as “pañca upādāna khandha” (pañcupādānakkhandha), as stated in those suttas in #1 above.
- One would have “upādāna” only for those things that one deems to be beneficial.

We Can Stop the “Upādāna Paccayā Bhava” Step

6. In the above, we discussed that the mind could AUTOMATICALLY attach to an ārammaṇa without us being aware.

- As we know, that ārammaṇa comes through an āyatana via the “salāyatana paccayā phassa” step in Paṭicca Samuppāda. Then the next two steps of “phassa paccayā vedanā” and “vedanā paccayā taṇhā” also happen automatically.
- It is only at the step “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” that we become aware of that “attachment.” That is when we start accumulating new kamma via “upādāna paccayā bhava” step by acting with avijjā: “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.”
- That “upādāna paccayā bhava” step creates a “temporary bhava” (greedy bhava, angry bhava, etc.), and that is when we start doing new kamma (via abhisaṅkhāra.) See “Change of Mindset Due to an Ārammaṇa.” ... -arammana/It would be a good idea to review the previous posts in this series: “Paṭicca Samuppāda During a Lifetime.”
- At this step, we can deliberately and willfully stop new kamma (abhisaṅkhāra) accumulation. That is a critical point discussed in detail in “Difference Between Tanhā and Upādāna.” ... d-upadana/
- Now, let us get back to the issue of sakkāya diṭṭhi.

The View of Sakkāya Is “Sakkāya Diṭṭhi

7. As long as one has the wrong view that attachment to “worldly sensory inputs” can be beneficial, one has “sakkāya diṭṭhi.” In other words, sakkāya diṭṭhi is the view that pañcupādānakkhandhā lead to sukha.

Removal of Sakkāya diṭṭhi at the Sotapanna stage leads to the removal of “diṭṭhi vipallāsa.”

- However, as I have explained over and over, getting rid of that wrong view WILL NOT remove “saññā vipallāsa” and “citta vipallāsa.” Thus, a Sotapanna may still engage in pleasurable activities, including sex. However, a Sotapanna WILL NOT be tempted to do apāyagāmi deeds in pursuit of sensory pleasure.
- See details in “Vipallāsa (Diṭṭhi, Saññā, Citta) Affect Saṅkhāra.” ... nna-citta/ I may post that important post here in a few days.

8. Understanding the concepts of the five khandhas (pañcakkhandha) — and how they can become pañcupādānakkhandha — will help get rid of Sakkāya diṭṭhi.

- The concept of khandhas shows that at least the initial attachment DOES NOT involve a person. As I have explained in the posts in this section, experiencing sensory input is an automatic process.
- Furthermore, even the first stage of “attachment to a sensory event” (and to give rise to pañcupādānakkhandha) happens automatically, based on one’s gati.

Sakkāya Diṭṭhi = View that “There is an Unchanging Person” Experiencing the World

9. That means “there is no unchanging person.” As one’s gati changes, one will respond differently to sensory inputs. As one progresses on the Noble Path, one’s gati to be attracted to various ārammaṇa will decrease, and no “gati” will be left at the Arahant stage. Future births are according to dominant gati. An Arahant with no gati left will not be reborn in this suffering-filled world of 31 realms.

- That is a critical concept in Buddha Dhamma. There is no “permanent soul” as in Abrahamic religions. There is no “ātma” as in Hinduism.
- Note that even after the removal of Sakkāya diṭṭhi, the perception of a “me” or “I” will still be there. That goes away only at the Arahant stage with the removal of “māna” (or “asmi māna.“) While Sakkāya diṭṭhi is a samyojana removed at the Sotapanna stage, “māna” is a higher samyojana removed at the Arahant stage.
- The concepts of “atta/anatta” in Buddha Dhamma are NOT directly related to the concepts of “ātma/”anātma” in Sanskrit. There is so much confusion these days because many people incorrectly assume that anatta is the same as anātma.

Another way to Explain

10. Pancakkhandha (five “aggregates“) are the aggregates of rupa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, and viññāṇa that one experiences. We don’t EVER experience a rupa “in one instant.”

- For example, we don’t see a tree with one citta. For us to be AWARE of that tree, many cittās (many citta vithi) must go through the mind. The impression of a “tree” emerges gradually, with many cittas contributing a “partial image” of that tree. To recognize the tree, many such “partial images” must accumulate. That is a khandha or an aggregate. But since it happens VERY FAST, we feel like we see a tree “in one shot.” See “Seeing Is a Series of ‘Snapshots’” ... snapshots/
- Our mental “aggregates” also accumulate over many citta vithi. That is why they are also “aggregates.” The point here is that the idea of a “person” seeing a tree (and generating mental aspects based on it) is not what actually happens.
- Instead, it is the result of an automatic process with many steps taking place in the seat of the mind (hadaya vatthu.) But it happens according to one’s gati. We can control that automatic process only indirectly via changing gati.

11. Let us briefly review what happens when an ārammaṇa that gives rise to attachment via greed/anger/ignorance comes in via one of the six senses:

(i) The ārammaṇa comes in. That gives rise to rupakkhandha (a mental imprint of the rupa), and the other four mental aggregates, i.e., an ārammaṇa, give rise to pañcakkhandha.
(ii) If the mind attaches to that ārammaṇa (i.e., to the pañcakkhandha), it keeps that ārammaṇa “close to it and starts acting on it.” That means pañcakkhandha turned into pañcupādānakkhandha.
(iii) “Starts acting on that ārammaṇa” means generating mano, vaci, and kāya saṅkhāra. Subsequent speech and actions arise based on vaci and kāya saṅkhāra. They are abhisaṅkhāra If greed/anger/ignorance comes into play! It is critical to note that in Paṭicca Samuppāda, saṅkhāra in “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” are abhisaṅkhāra.

Why Would a Mind Attach to an Ārammaṇa?

12. Why would a mind attach to that ārammaṇa? That happens due to one of three possible reasons:

(i) That ārammaṇa (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or memory) is perceived to be beneficial/pleasurable. That gives rise to attachment with greed/liking (lobha).
(ii) If it blocks one’s pleasure, that leads to anger/hate (dosa.)
(iii) If the mind cannot understand whether that ārammaṇa can be beneficial or not. It is confused about how to respond due to ignorance (avijjā.)

- We pursue such an ārammaṇa because we value the six types of rupa in this world (sights, sounds, tastes, smells, touches, and memories of them.)
- However, if we act with lobha, dosa, and moha (avijjā) in that pursuit, we will generate abhisaṅkhāra with avijjā. That will inevitably lead to suffering in the future. Paticca Samuppada guarantees that.
- That suffering may not materialize in this life and may result in future life. That is why it is hard for most people to understand the laws of kamma, especially if they don’t believe in rebirth.

13. In #12 above, I didn’t ask, “Why Would a Person Attach to an Ārammaṇa?”

- That is because the initial attachment is spontaneous. You don’t do it consciously. It automatically happens ACCORDING to your gati. Since one’s gati can change, a “person with a fixed identity” does not exist.
- That is a critical point to understand and is the key to getting rid of Sakkāya diṭṭhi.
- There will be no instant attachment if someone does not have gati to be attracted to an ārammaṇa.
- One will start thinking about an ārammaṇa ONLY IF that initial attachment occurs. But that happens only after the AUTOMATIC attachment to that ārammaṇa!

14. It is essential to understand that there is no “unchanging personality” or a “permanent essence” within each of us. While we are humans in this life, one could be born a Deva, Brahma, an animal, or even worse. Sakkāya diṭṭhi goes away with that realization.

- That is the crucial step toward the Sotapanna stage.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Bhava and Jāti Within a Lifetime – Example

Bhava and jāti within a lifetime discussed with an example of how a "thief is born."

Paṭicca Samuppāda During a Lifetime

1. As the Buddha advised Ven. Ananda, in the “Mahānidāna Sutta (DN 15),” ( ... ript=latin) it is necessary to understand how one can be “born” in very different “births” during a lifetime. The Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda explains that process.

- The same principle operates in the Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda, which explains future births in various realms.
- We are at the last post in this subsection on the “Paṭicca Samuppāda During a Lifetime.” After reading this post, you can review the previous posts to “fill in” any gaps.
With the help of the material we discussed, let us discuss a couple of examples of “births within a lifetime.”

An Easy Way to Understand Paṭicca Samuppāda

2. There are many ways to analyze and understand Paṭicca Samuppāda. In the current section, I have discussed it a bit deeper. That analysis will help get rid of sakkāya diṭṭhi.

- But we can get the basic ideas behind Paṭicca Samuppāda by looking at the easy-to-understand relationships between causes and effects.
- The critical point is that we tend to engage in “mind-pleasing activities” without thinking about their consequences. Let us take an example.

No One Is Born a Thief – Birth Within a lIfetime

3. Let us consider a hypothetical situation. A man (say, person X) is in prison for stealing.

- X was NOT born a thief by birth. At birth, he was like any other human baby.
- If we ask X to explain how he became a thief, the explanation could be the following.
- “I now understand what happened to me. I was born into a good family, but I started associating with bad friends at school. Their influence led me to participate in immoral activities for fun. We started drinking, and then we got into drugs. When we ran out of money, we started stealing.

My parents worked, and it was too late by the time they found out and started advising me. But then, it was too late. I enjoyed the time with my friends, and we got deeper into drugs and stealing to pay for the drugs. Eventually, I got fed up with my parents’ ” interference ” and moved out of their house. I quit school and joined a gang. We resorted to selling drugs and stealing to make a living. Eventually, several of us were caught in a robbery and sent to prison.

I would not be a thief if I did not come under the influence of those bad friends. I could have been “saved” if my parents had intervened earlier.”

Connection to Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda

4. That is indeed a sad story. But it is also apparent that the person has now realized the basic principles of Idappaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda.

- When X started enjoying the “bad activities” with his friends, he never thought about the dire consequences of such actions. They were “fun activities.” He was probably too young to realize that such “fun activities” would have harmful consequences.
- His parents were too busy to notice him “going down the wrong path;” if they had realized what was happening to X early enough, they could have advised him about the bad consequences of drinking, taking drugs, and stealing.
- He was “born a thief” because his mindset changed to that of a thief, i.e., he engaged in activities matching the mindset of a thief. That led to cultivating “thief bhava” from his early school days.
- We can figure out the Pali terms in Paṭicca Samuppāda that contributed to X becoming a thief.

Understand the Pali Terms – Not Memorize

5. X went down the wrong path because he started liking the activities of his evil friends and was constantly thinking about such activities. That is the critical “upādāna” step, where such activities become priorities. Instead, he would engage in such activities rather than spend time at home or playing with other kids.

- He got attached to such activities (taṇhā) because he enjoyed such activities. Drinking and using drugs provided “good sensations” (vedanā.) X got attached to such vedanā: “vedanā paccayā taṇhā.” But that vedanā was a “mind-made vedanā.”
- Those are “mend-made vedanā” or “samphassa-jā-vedanā.”

Phassa and Samphassa

6. Now, we have traced back to the critical step. How did X start liking alcohol?

- We can understand the difference between “phassa” and “samphassa.” A natural sensory contact is “phassa.” That is the contact between the sensory input and the corresponding sensory faculty. In our example, contact (phassa) is alcohol touching the tongue.
- Most people don’t like that vedanā (taste of alcohol.) It is a bitter taste, especially for strong alcohol. So, our teenager was probably not attracted to that taste, and he may have even refused to drink at first. But he probably drank under “peer pressure” and got drunk. With more drinking, one gets used to the taste and likes the feeling of “being drunk.” Furthermore, the drunken mindset in a party atmosphere gets teenagers into the “party mood.”

8. With time, X’s mind generates not the natural “vedanā” but the mind-made “samphassa-jā-vedanā.”

- Thus, the “phassa paccayā vedanā” step in PS is only a brief version. The expanded version is “samphassa paccayā samphassa-jā-vedanā.”
- Thus, it was the “jivhāyatana” (jivhā āyatana) that mainly contributed to the “salāyatana paccayā samphassa” step leading to the “samphassa paccayā samphassa-jā-vedanā.” In other words, the taste of alcohol generated a “mind-made vedanā” of happiness, especially in a party atmosphere.

Once on the Wrong Path, It Is Hard to Change

9. Thus, it became a habit (gati) for X to get drunk and have a good time with his friends. Then one day, someone brought drugs to a party, and they all got hooked on drugs.

- Over time, X cultivated a “kamma viññāṇa” or an “expectation” to enjoy alcohol, drugs, and partying with friends. That kamma viññāṇa slowly got established as X started enjoying those activities more. His mind was constantly looking for opportunities to get together with friends and have a good time. That is the critical “upādāna” step.
- That means it became easier to get to that mindset with an ārammaṇa. All X needed was prompted by a friend. Even the sight of a familiar drug dealer may prompt him to buy some drugs and enjoy them by himself.
- Any bad habit (gati), when cultivated, leads to more bad habits. When X and his friends didn’t have money to buy alcohol/drugs, they resorted to stealing. That is how X was “born a thief.”

Most People Realize the Problem Only After Damage Is Done

10. It was only after getting caught stealing and sent to prison that X realized what had happened to him.

- Even though he was not born a thief when his mother gave birth to him, X is now known as a thief. Everyone knows him as a thief.
- Of course, he had no desire to become a thief. His goal was to “enjoy life” with his friends. But that way of enjoying life involved an immoral way of thinking, immoral speech, and immoral deeds.
- He unknowingly got paticca (“paṭi” + “icca” or “willingly attached”) to things that would inevitably lead to samuppāda (“sama” + “uppāda” or “corresponding births”), i.e., to be “born a thief.”
- In other words, his mind generated apuñña abhisaṅkhāra due to his ignorance (avijjā) of their consequences.
- Such apuñña abhisaṅkhāra arise as to mano, vaci, and kāya abhisaṅkhāra. They are immoral thinking, speech, and actions.

Need to Look at the Root Causes (Lobha, Dosa, Moha)

11. Note that X just focused on the immediate gratification of such activities. He never realized (and thus never thought about) the possible harmful consequences of such actions.

- Stealing was the secondary effect of X starting to drink, use drugs, and generally have a good time with his friends. The initial attraction was for the vedanā experienced with drugs and alcohol. Drinking alcohol led to craving that taste and the accompanying “feel good” mindset.
- X got attached or paticca (“paṭi” + “icca” or “willingly attached”) to things that gave immediate sensory pleasure. We could say that he was “born” in a “joyful state” at that time.
- However, in a deeper sense he got attached to immoral causes with much more drastic and dangerous “births” in the future. Those deeper causes would inevitably lead to samuppāda (“sama” + “uppāda” or “corresponding births”), i.e., to be “born a thief” later in life.
- But it does not end there. Part of that kammic energy can even bring future rebirths, depending on the severity of kamma done with that mindset. For example, if X killed someone during a robbery, that would definitely lead to a “bad rebirth.” That comes under Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.

Review of the Steps

12. Let us review the steps that led to X becoming a Thief.

- It all started with X starting his associating with bad friends. Under their influence, he started drinking due to his ignorance about bad future outcomes. That is “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” or, more precisely, “avijjā paccayā abhisaṅkhāra.”
- With frequent cultivation of abhisaṅkhāra, he developed a desire/future expectation (kamma viññāṇa) to enjoy drinking/partying. That is “(abhi) saṅkhāra paccayā (kamma)viññāṇa.
- His mind constantly visualized scenes of such get-togethers, alcohol, his favorite friends, etc. Those are the “nāmarupa” that arise in his mind with that kamma viññāṇa: “(kamma)viññāṇa paccayā nāmarupa.”
- When such nāmarupa arises in his mind, he will start using his sensory faculties. For example, he may call a friend to meet for a drink or organize a party. He may look for a drug dealer to get more drugs, etc. That is “nāmarupa paccayā salāyatana.”
- When such encounters occurred, he would fully engage in drinking, taking drugs, etc., and enjoy such experiences (samphassa-jā-vedanā.) That involves “salāyatana paccayā samphassa” and “samphassa paccayā samphassa-jā-vedanā.”
- The more he does those things, the more he will attach to such activities: “samphassa-jā-vedanā paccayā taṇhā.” That will make the “upādāna” stronger: “taṇhā paccayā upādāna.”
- With such a strong attachment to those activities, he would do it again and again with “avijjā paccayā abhisaṅkhāra,” and the whole cycle repeated repeatedly.

13. If he didn’t have money for such activities, he would steal. It probably started by stealing from his parents. As X got into drugs, he and his friends had to start stealing more. Thus they cultivated the gati of thieves and got into “thief bhava” and “thief jāti.”

- That “samphassa-jā-vedanā” can arise even without taking a sip of alcohol but seeing an alcohol bottle or even mentioning an upcoming party.
- One can understand the above steps even if one has not studied the formal Paṭicca Samuppāda.
- However, it is imperative to understand the meanings of those Pali words so we can understand them in other contexts.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

I will post a series of posts to discuss the difference between Dhamma and dhammā. That can transition into a series of posts on Tilakkahana (anicca, dukkha, anatta.)

Dhamma – Different Meanings Depending on the Context

Dhamma means teaching, and anudhamma means associated concepts. Even though dhamma could mean any teaching, it is commonly used to indicate Buddha’s teachings or “Buddha Dhamma.”


1. In the post “Yoniso Manasikāra and Paṭicca Samuppāda,” ( ... samuppada/) we discussed the four requirements for someone to attain the Sotapanna stage. There we discussed the first three requirements. The fourth is dhammā­nu­dhammap­paṭi­patti. It means “to follow Buddha Dhamma and associated concepts.”

- The Pāli word dhammā­nu­dhammap­paṭi­patti is the combination of three words: dhamma, anudhamma, and paṭi­patti. Note that when two Pāli words are combined and have “a”‘s at the joint, those two “a”s become a long “a.” Thus, the combination of dhamma anudhamma leads to “dhammā­nu­dhamma.”
- Therefore, we need to discuss the words “dhamma” and “anudhamma.” As we will see, “dhamma” can have different meanings based on the context.
- We have many examples in English where the same word gives different meanings based on the context. For example, the term “right” conveys unrelated things in “turn right” and “you are right.”
- That is why it is dangerous to translate Pāli texts word-by-word, as commonly done these days. I have pointed out such issues with specific examples. See “Distortion of Pāli Keywords in Paṭicca Samuppāda.” ... samuppada/

Different Types of Dhamma

2. Some people say, “I am learning Dhamma,” by which they mean, “I am learning Buddha Dhamma” or “Buddhism.”

- But Dhamma is the generic word applicable to any teaching or principle or a “path one follows.”
If we need to be specific, “sath Dhamma” (pronounced “saddhamma“) to indicate “good” (“sath“) Dhamma. The opposite of that is “adhamma.”
- Any teaching other than Buddha Dhamma teaches one how to “succeed in this world,” i.e., how to make money and live a happy life. Other “religious teachings” may teach how to be born in Deva or Brahma realms. They are “lokiya dhamma.”
- But Buddha Dhamma teaches that it is impossible to remove future suffering via any of those ways. No matter how successful one can become, that success will end in death. The same holds for births in any heavenly realm. Any birth in this world ends in death.
- Thus, Buddha Dhamma is saddhamma, and all other Dhamma in this world are adhamma. Of course, there are different levels of adhamma, as we will see below (#11.)

3. We can take an analogy to clarify. The Pāli generic word for “odor” is “gandha.” The words “sugandha” and “dugandha” must be used to indicate a pleasant or foul odor.

- However, it is common to use the word “gandha” to mean “dugandha” (the exact words are used in the Sinhala language too.)
- Even in English, we say “it smells” to indicate a “bad odor.” However, “smell” means “odor.” To indicate a foul odor, we should say, “it smells bad,” just like when we say, “it smells good” to indicate a pleasing odor.
- Thus, one must be aware of these common usages. In many cases, Buddha Dhamma is referred to as “Dhamma.”

Dhammo have rakkhati dhammacāriṁ

4. The verse, “Dhammo have rakkhati dhammacāriṁ” means “Dhamma will guide and protect those who follow Buddha Dhamma.”

- The result of following a Buddha Dhamma is to be free of future rebirths with suffering. Thus, the goal is to be free of even a trace of suffering.
If one follows adhamma, one will end up in an apāya sooner or later. That is explained in Paṭicca Samuppāda.

Adhamma and Saddhamma

5. “Dhamma Sutta (AN 10.182)” ( ... ript=latin) succinctly describes adhamma and saddhamma (note that the sutta uses “dhamma” to denote “saddhamma.”)

- Adhamma are the dasa akusala: Pāṇātipātā, adinnādāna, kāmesumicchācāra, musāvāda, pisunā vācā, parusā vācā, samphappalāpa, abhijjhā, vyāpāda, micchā diṭṭhi. They are: “killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slandering, harsh talk, empty talk, greed, hate, and wrong views.”
- The same sutta defines saddhamma as the avoidance of dasa akusala.
- There are subtle issues to discuss. But the above sutta provides the basic idea.

Anariyadhamma and Ariyadhamma

6. Sometimes, the words “anariya dhamma” and “Ariya dhamma” are used in place of adhamma and saddhamma.

- See, for example, “Ariyadhamma Sutta (AN 10.179).” ... ript=latin
- As we can see, they are defined based on dasa akusala, the same way as adhamma and saddhamma.
- Many other religions do not strictly teach avoiding killing animals. Furthermore, all other religions have several of the ten types of wrong views (micchā diṭṭhi.) Thus, only Buddha Dhamma is strictly saddhamma or Ariya dhamma.”
- These and related concepts are described in many suttas, some of which are discussed in “Dasa Akusala/Dasa Kusala – Basis of Buddha Dhamma.” ... ha-dhamma/

Asappurisa and Sappurisa

7. Those who follow saddhamma or Ariya dhamma are “sappurisa” (“sath” + “purisa.”) They are the eight types of Noble Persons (Ariyas) who are at or above the Sotapanna Anugāmi stage.

- That is evident in the “Sappurisadhamma Sutta (AN 10.192).” ( ... ript=latin) Another synonym for adhamma is introduced in that sutta, “asappurisadhamma,” indicating that an asappurisa engages in dasa akusala. The opposite, “sappurisadhamma,” is the same as “saddhamma.”
- As we know, one of the four conditions to attain the Sotapanna stage is to associate with a sappurisa or “Sap­purisa­saṃ­sevo.” See #3 of “Four Conditions for Attaining Sōtapanna Magga/Phala.” ... gga-phala/
- Thus, it is clear that a “sappurisa” is a Noble Person (Ariya), not merely a “good person” as translated in “Sappurisadhamma Sutta (AN 10.192).” ... ript=latin

Why Are “Moral People” Not Included in “Sappurisa“?

8. We tend to think that most people are moral. But then there are cases where a person entirely accepted as a “moral person” commits a highly-immoral deed such as rape or taking a large bribe.

- Any person who has not attained at least the Sotapanna Anugāmi stage can be tempted to engage in an immoral deed. Anyone with sakkāya diṭṭhi can be triggered to commit an apāyagāmi deed (an action that can lead to rebirth in an apāya)!
- This can be explained easily with an analysis of a citta vithi. A citta vithi runs based on an ārammaṇa. If the ārammaṇa is strong enough, the “decision to engage” is made at the vottapana citta and carried out with the subsequent javana citttās. Suppose the person has not overcome the first three saṁyojana (including sakkāya diṭṭhi). If the ārammaṇa is strong enough, the “decision to engage” is made within a split second, even without conscious decision-making.
- I have explained the basic process in “Avyākata Paṭicca Samuppāda for Vipāka Viññāṇa.” ... a-vinnana/I plan to write more about that in the future.

Paṭicca Samuppāda Is Buddha Dhamma!

9. The “Mahāhatthipadopama Sutta (MN 28)” ( ... ript=latin) ends with the statement, “Yō Paṭiccasamuppādam passati, so Dhammam passati; yo Dhammaṁ passati so paṭiccasamuppādaṁ passatī”ti.” That means, “One who sees paṭicca samuppāda sees the Dhamma; one who sees the Dhamma sees paṭicca samuppāda.” To understand Buddha Dhamma, one needs to know how future suffering arises via the paṭicca samuppāda process.

- In the above verse, “Dhamma” refers to Buddha Dhamma or “saddhamma.”
- In other words, Paṭicca Samuppāda is the same as Buddha Dhamma. It describes the Four Noble Truths.
- See, for example, “Titthāyatana Sutta (AN 3.61).” ... latin#15.1

Dhamma and Anudhamma

10. Dhamma is the “principle/main Dhamma,” and anudhamma refers to “minor/related Dhamma.”

- Paṭicca Samuppāda is the Dhamma in Buddha Dhamma. See #9 above.
- All other related teachings/concepts, like Tilakkhana, are anudhamma.
- There are four suttas, starting with the “Anudhamma Sutta (SN 22.39)” ( ... ript=latin) that describe various “anudhamma” like anicca, dukkha, and anatta.

All Other Dhamma Are Lokiya Dhamma

11. Regarding lokiya dhamma that sustains worldly entities, dasa akusala leads to rebirths in the four lowest realms (apāyās.) These are also called “pāpa kamma.” These are listed in the “Paṭhamaadhamma Sutta (AN 10.171)” ( ... ript=latin) as “killing living creatures, stealing, and sexual misconduct; speech that is false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical; greed, ill will, and wrong view.”

- The same sutta lists the avoidance of the above ten types as dhamma, i.e., “good dhamma.”
- Thus, we can see that teachings in other religions have many “good dhamma” but also have “adhamma,” especially in terms of wrong views (e.g., the view of an eternal self/soul/ātman.)

12. Then what are the “anudhamma” in those cases of “lokiya dhamma“? There are three anudhamma associated with each (a)dhamma.

- For example, killing living beings is an adhamma. Helping others in killings, encouraging others to kill, and praising killings by others are the anudhamma associated with that adhamma. While personally making a killing is the worst, helping others to kill, encouraging others to kill, and praising killings by others also count as evil deeds and will have dire kammic consequences.
- Avoiding killing living beings is a (good) dhamma. Not helping others in killings, not encouraging others to kill, and not praising killings by others are anudhamma and also count as “good deeds.”

Lokiya Dhamma and Buddha Dhamma

13. Another way to categorize Dhamma is as “lokiya dhamma” and Buddha Dhamma.

- “Lokiya” means “belonging to this world of 31 realms. Dhammā (with a long “a”) that “bear things in this world” arise via Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda. See “What are Rūpa? – Dhammā are Rūpa too!“ We will discuss dhammā (with a long “a”) and the difference between Dhamma and dhammā in the next post.
- As we know, that process starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” and leads to “upādāna paccayā bhava” and “bhava paccayā jāti.” That is how anything in this world is born (jāti.)
- To be precise, Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda explains how existences and rebirths arise due to the accumulation of “lokiya dhamma.” Some lokiya dhammas lead to rebirths in the “good realms;” teachings of other religions belong to this category.
- However, they also fall under the Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda, starting with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra,” i.e., actions based on avijjā or ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. See “Saṅkhāra – What It Really Means.” ... lly-means/

14. On the other hand, the Kusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process starts with “kusala-mula paccayā saṅkhāra” and leads to “adhimokkha paccayā bhava” and “bhava paccayā jāti.” But here, only “Ariya jāti” can arise, i.e., only the eight types of Noble Persons are “born.” Of course, these “births” happen during a lifetime. For example, an average human can become a Sotapanna.

- Comprehension of both versions of Paṭicca Samuppāda will lead to stopping future rebirths (bhava uddha = Buddha) and attaining Nibbāna. Thus, Buddha Dhamma means “Dhamma that leads to bhava uddha or stopping rebirths.” That is the “lokuttara dhamma,” or the deeper version of Dhamma.

Arahanthood Is Not Annihilation

15. Some people are terrified of “losing their existence” with Nibbāna. They ask, “Will I be annihilated/eradicated?” That question is asked with the wrong view of an “everlasting soul/ātman.”

- Only a person with sakkāya diṭṭhi with raise that question. When one removes sakkāya diṭṭhi, one knows there is no “me” or “I” traversing the rebirth process. Rebirths are according to existing causes and conditions.
- In any case, why worry if there is indeed an everlasting “I” or “me”? If that is the case, there should be no fear of losing something permanent.
- There is nothing everlasting to be annihilated or eradicated! Anuloma PS leads to existences, and Paṭiloma PS leads to the stopping of that process; see “Paṭilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda – Key to Nibbāna.” ( ... atiloma%20) Also, see “Yamaka Sutta (SN 22.85) – Arahanthood Is Not Annihilation but End of Suffering.” ... ihilation/

16. However, the description in #15 DOES NOT say we do not exist. It is wrong to translate “anatta” as “no-self.” We do exist as long as we have ignorance (avijjā) and experience much more suffering than brief spans of happiness in the rebirth process.

- The Buddha pointed out that we commit immoral deeds and are born in suffering-filled realms BECAUSE of the wrong view and wrong perception of an everlasting soul/ātman. Avijjā (ignorance of Noble Truths/Paṭicca Samuppāda/Tilakkhana) is the cause of both.)
- One gets rid of that wrong view (sakkāya diṭṭhi) at the Sotapanna stage. But the perception (saññā) of an everlasting soul/ātman goes away at the Arahant stage. Suffering stops entirely at the Parinibbāna (passing away) of the Arahant. See “Vipallāsa (Diṭṭhi, Saññā, Citta) Affect Saṅkhāra.” ... nna-citta/
- As I emphasized in #15, one should not worry about “being annihilated” if their view of an everlasting soul/ātman is correct. But the Buddha proved with Paṭicca Samuppāda that such an everlasting entity does not exist. See “Paṭilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda – Key to Nibbāna.” ... atiloma%20
- Reading and understanding all the posts linked above is essential if one has the desire and drive to comprehend Buddha Dhamma.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Dhamma and Dhammā – Different but Related

Dhammā means to “bear or give rise to things in this world,” and Dhamma explains how. Buddha Dhamma explains how such dhammās arise and how to stop them from arising.

Introduction – Different Types of Dhamma

1. In the previous post, “Dhamma – Different Meanings Depending on the Context,” we briefly mentioned that Dhamma generally means “various teachings/principles about our world.” But most of the discussion was focused on Buddha Dhamma, the teachings of the Buddha.

- All other types of dhamma are “lokiya dhamma.” They express various viewpoints about the world.
- Most religious teachings say that a Supreme being created the world, a Creator God; if one lives a moral life, one will be born in a heavenly realm with a permanent existence. Otherwise, one will be born in hell for eternity. People who follow such teachings are “theists.”
- Others believe that life ends with the death of the physical body; there is no afterlife. Because they don’t believe in a Divine entity creating life, they are called “atheists.”
- Buddha Dhamma has a unique position away from both above worldviews. It says rebirth happens according to the merits of deeds (laws of kamma.) Furthermore, it says most rebirths lead to much suffering. That suffering-filled rebirth process can be ended by understanding the causes/conditions for rebirth and removing necessary conditions. The endpoint is Nibbāna with no more suffering. Buddhists do not belong to either of the above two camps.

Underlying Principles for Various Teachings/Worldviews

2. The idea of a Creator can neither be proven nor disproven. It is faith-based. According to that belief held by theists, the Creator created both the physical world and humans.

- Atheists believe that the physical body defines life and that our thoughts originate in the brain. When the physical body dies, that is the end of life. The world originated with the “Big Bang,” and life evolved from inert matter over billions of years.
- Buddhists believe that life arises due to causes and suitable conditions for those causes to lead to their corresponding effects. The world itself and each sentient being (not only humans) have existed for eternity, i.e., but a beginning is not discernible. That is the natural conclusion for a theory based on cause and effect. There would be no “First Cause” as in the case of a Creator, where the Creator is the First Cause. The world does not arise without a cause as in the “Big Bang theory” either.

Three Worldviews – Details of the Theories

3. How do things (people, animals, plants, mountains, oceans, etc.) come into existence? A self-consistent worldview needs to explain that.

- The “Creator theory” is the easiest to state but impossible to verify. It says the Creator created the world and the humans in it. Of course, it cannot be proven scientifically.
- Atheists’ position on the origin of the material world is the “Big Bang Theory” proposed by scientists. It states that everything in the universe originated in a “Big Bang,” where all the matter came into existence some 15 billion years ago. However, scientists cannot explain what happened before or at the moment of the “Big Bang.” Furthermore, it says that sentient beings evolved from inert matter over time; but the transition from inert matter to living sentient beings with minds has not been explained.
- Buddha Dhamma has a self-consistent theory. Summarizing that worldview in a paragraph or even a single post is impossible.
- I have dedicated a section to discuss all three worldviews, where the worldview of the Buddha is discussed in detail. See “Origin of Life.” ... n-of-life/I will extract some critical elements from that to elaborate on the topic of this post.

4. Now, we can see the main arguments of the theists and atheists against each other.

- Theists say that consciousness cannot and does not arise from inert matter in the brain (as claimed without proof by scientists.)
- Atheists argue that there is no proof that a Creator can create everything in this world, including living beings.
- Buddha Dhamma teaches that there is no Creator and consciousness does not arise from inert matter. However, no permanent entity like a soul goes to the next life. Everything in this world (including our rebirths) arises via Paṭicca Samuppāda, the Principle of Causation in Buddha Dhamma.
All three worldviews are discussed in detail in the section “Origin of Life.”

What Are “Dhammā” in the Three Worldviews (Dhammas)?

5. Buddha Dhamma is the teachings/worldview of the Buddha followed by Buddhists. They believe that dhammā” or “kammic energies” bear things (inert and living) in this world.

- In that sense, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism are examples of other “religious Dhammas” followed by the theists. They are Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, etc. Except for Hinduism, in other religions, the Creator “bears everything in this world.“ Hinduism is a hybrid of a Creator (Mahā Brahma) but also believes in the laws of kamma (even though not the same as Buddhism.)
- Modern science is an example of a “non-religious Dhamma” followed by many atheists. In modern science, laws of physics “bear things made of inert matter.” How all that matter was created at the “Big Bang” is unresolved. Even though modern science can explain many material phenomena, it cannot explain the origin of consciousness either.

6. Let us briefly discuss some contradictions/implausibilities with the worldviews (Dhammas) of the theists and atheists.

- Theists say the world (the Earth) was created in a day and is supposed to remain forever. But we know the Earth will be destroyed in a few billion years. Also, the Creator only created only a man and a woman. Where did billions of other people come from? If only the DNA in the original couple is responsible (without each human having a soul,) where did the other souls come from? That is a direct contradiction to their view of an unchanging soul that survives death.
- Atheists say that mental phenomena arise in the brain. But they have not made ANY progress in providing evidence for that. Also, they cannot explain numerous Near-Death Experiences (NDE) tabulated by heart surgeons and other physicians. Of course, there are numerous rebirth accounts from countries all over the world. Also, they cannot explain how all these galaxies came into existence in one moment some 15 billion years ago in a “Big Bang.”
- I have discussed these in detail in “Origin of Life.”

Dhammā – What “Bear” Things in the World

7. In Buddha’s detailed theory, dhammā” (with a long “a” and usually starting with a lowercase “d”) means “to bear things in this world.” For example, “Ye dhammā hetuppabhavā” means “those dhammā that sustain the rebirth process or samsāra.”

- See “Ye Dhammā Hetuppabhavā.. and Yam Kiñci Samudaya Dhammam..“ ... a-dhammam/
- Dhammās are kammic energies created by abhisaṅkhāra. Such dhammā with kammic energies are created in javana citta while cultivating abhisaṅkhāra; see “Javana of a Citta – The Root of Mental Power.” ... tal-power/
- Such kammic energies are strengthened in the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step. Such kammic energies (also called kamma bija) can bring kamma vipāka during a lifetime or lead to rebirths (jāti.) Thus, dhammā, kammic energy, bhava, and kamma bija are closely related.
- Those dhammā are the kammic energies we all have accumulated through the rebirth process. We accumulate kammic energies with the Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process, starting with “avijjā paccayā (abhi)saṅkhāra.”

8. Such kammic energies are established in the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step, where the PS cycles loop back to the “avijjā paccayā (abhi)saṅkhāra” step repeatedly, thus initiating many PS cycles. It is good to understand the: “Difference Between Tanhā and Upādāna.” ... d-upadana/

- Such kammic energies (also called kamma bija) can bring kamma vipāka during a lifetime or lead to rebirths (jāti.) Thus, dhammā, kammic energy, bhava, and kamma bija are closely related.
- Everything in this world arises based on “dhammā” based on various types of adhamma. Buddha Dhamma or saddhamma does not give rise to dhammā. Instead, Buddha Dhamma help neutralizes/deactivates the dhammā that “sustains the world of 31 realms.”

Dhammā May Include Everything in This World

9. Dhammā is a complex world that embeds different meanings in different contexts.

- The second meaning of dhammā is a watered-down version of “bearing something in this world.” The Buddha explained that to Ven. Ananda in the “Ānanda Sutta (SN 22.21).” ... latin#1.14
- For example, our physical body or any other material object (at present) bears the results of causes that led to its arising. The Buddha says: “Rūpaṁ kho, ānanda, aniccaṁ saṅkhataṁ paṭiccasamuppannaṁ khayadhammaṁ vayadhammaṁ virāgadhammaṁ nirodhadhammaṁ..”
Translated: “Ānanda, any rūpa is of anicca nature, prepared (by the mind), originated via Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS,) is a khaya dhamma, a vaya dhamma, a nirodha dhamma.“

- That verse needs to be explained in detail. The word-by-word translation in the above link, as follows, is WRONG or INCOMPLETE: “Ānanda, form is impermanent, conditioned, dependently originated, liable to end, vanish, fade away, and cease.”
- We will discuss in detail what is meant by “khayadhammaṁ vayadhammaṁ virāgadhammaṁ nirodhadhammaṁ” in upcoming posts.
- For example, a nirodha dhamma can be stopped from arising. The five types of dhamma discussed in this sutta arise via Anuloma PS and can be stopped arising via Patiloma PS. All those entities stop arising at the Parinibbāna of an Arahant. See “Paṭilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda – Key to Nibbāna” ... atiloma%20and “Distortion of Pāli Keywords in Paṭicca Samuppāda.” ... atiloma%20

10. Next, the Buddha states that any vedanā, saññā, saṅkhārā, and viññāṇa arising at any moment are also dhammā since they “bear” the mental states at that time.

- Therefore, rupa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhārā, and viññāṇa arising are also dhammā. Note that dhammā can be plural of dhamma. Also, note that Dhamma (not italicized and without a long “a”) refers to teaching or explanation.
- In a series of suttas, “Aniccādisuttanavaka (35.43–51),” ( ... ript=latin) the Buddha stated that anything in this world (sabba) is of anicca, dukkha, and anatta nature. Note that dukkha and anatta nature are listed below the main text on anicca. (By the way, “Sabbaṁ, bhikkhave, anattā” is a direct statement that contradicts the interpretation of anatta as “no-self.” The translator translates that as “Mendicants, all is not-self. …” in the English translation, there: “Aniccādisuttanavaka (35.43–51).” ( ... ript=latin) Does that make any sense? How can we talk about a “self” for any rupa, including a tree or a rock? But that is not the topic of this post.)

Dhammā Arising via Abhisaṅkhāra Responsible for All Dhammā

11. As we saw in #9 and #10 above, the Buddha stated, “Ānanda, any rūpa (or vedanā, saññā, saṅkhārā, or viññāṇa) is of anicca, dukkha, anatta nature, prepared (by the mind), originated via Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS,) is a khaya dhamma, a vaya dhamma, a nirodha dhamma.“

- All types of “secondary dhammā” (discussed in #9, #10) arise via the main type of dhammā (kammic energy, bhava, kamma bija) created in Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS) processes. These are the dhammā that bring vipāka via, “manañca paṭicca dhammē ca uppajjāti manō viññāṇaṃ.” These kammic energies are created in javana cittās with abhisaṅkhāra.
- As we have discussed, three types of abhisaṅkhārā initiate the creation of kammic energies (bhava) that can give rise to existences in the 31 realms in kāma loka, rupa loka, and arupa loka. Any rūpa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhārā, or viññāṇa arising in any realm have root causes in those kammic energies (dhammā.)
- A basic description at “Six Root Causes – Loka Samudaya (Arising of Suffering) and Loka Nirodhaya (Nibbāna).” ( ... nirodhaya/) Many sections provide detailed explanations; see, for example, “Basic Framework of Buddha Dhamma.” ( ... ha-dhamma/) Also see various subsections in “Paṭicca Samuppāda.”
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Difference Between Dhammā and Saṅkhāra

We discuss dhammā and saṅkhāra in the context of “sabbē saṅkhārā aniccā, sabbē saṅkhārā dukkhā, and sabbē dhammā anattā.”

Dhammā May Include Everything in This World

1. A word meaning different things in different contexts is common in any language. For example, in English, “I object to the ruling” and “Moon is an object in the sky” mean two different things for the word “object.” The word dhammā may mean somewhat different things.

- As pointed out in the previous post, “Dhamma and Dhammā – Different but Related,” dhammā may include everything in this world, in general; see #9 and #10 there. Also, see the three suttas on anicca, dukkha, and anatta starting with “Sahetuanicca Sutta (SN 22.18)” ( ... ript=latin) explicitly stating that.
- Anything can exist only if there is energy to sustain its existence. In that sense, anything in existence is a “dhammā” and is “bearing the causes” that gave rise to it.
- Our physical bodies can live for only up to about 100 years. Our human gandhabbas (the mental body) may live for thousands/millions of years depending on the kammic energy acquired at the paṭisandhi moment of “grasping this human existence.” A star, like our Sun, may last billions of years.
- The shortest existing entity in this world is a citta. It lasts less than a billionth of a second. There must be a “seat of the mind” or a hadaya vatthu to provide energy to give rise to a citta.

2. Thus, any mental or physical entity that arises (uppāda) stays in existence (ṭhiti) and dies (bhaṅga.) These entities are rupa (alive or inert) and the mental states (vedanā, saññā, saṅkhārā, and viññāṇa) associated with rupa with sentient life. Those entities (rupa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhārā, and viññāṇa) are, thus, also called saṅkhata (prepared.) See “Saṅkhatalakkhaṇa Sutta (AN 3.47).” ... ript=latin

-(By the way, we NEVER experience a single citta but only experience trillions of citta (aggregates or khandha), even over a short time. Even seeing a rupa happens one trace at a time, and we experience only rupakkhandha. See “Vision Is a Series of “Snapshots” – Movie Analogy.” ... e-analogy/)
-Thus, in a way, all saṅkhata are dhammā in general.

Dhammā With Embedded Kammic Energy

3. However, a specific type of dhammā (kammic energies arising via abhisaṅkhāra) is the root cause of all dhammā; see #11 of “Dhamma and Dhammā – Different but Related .” That is a deeper meaning of dhammā, the root cause of all dhammā.

- Those dhammās are the kammic energies we all have accumulated through the rebirth process. We accumulate kammic energies with the Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process, starting with “avijjā paccayā (abhi)saṅkhāra.”
- Thus, a specific type of dhammā (kammic energies arising via abhisaṅkhāra) is the root cause of all dhammā. They eventually lead to all dhammā, including those in #1.

4. The Buddha taught that everything in this world has eventual causes in mind: “Manōpubbangamā Dhammā..” ( ... ma-dhamma/) The verse, “manōpubbangamā dhammā” means “all dhammā in this world have mind as the precursor.”

- That is why the famous verse: “Ye dhammā hetuppabhavā, Tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha; Tesañca yo nirodho, Evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo” captures the essence of the Four Noble Truths, as pointed out in the Peṭakopadesa, one of the three original commentaries included in the Tipiṭaka.
- See “1. Ariyasaccappakāsanapaṭhamabhūmi,” ( ... latin#89.1) where I have pointed to that verse. It says that the verse represents the Four Noble Truths (Tattha katamāni cattāri ariyasaccāni?.)
- I have discussed that in the post “Ye Dhammā Hetuppabhavā.. and Yam Kiñci Samudaya Dhammam..“ ( ... a-dhammam/)
- Now we have the proper background to examine three famous Dhammapada verses in proper context. They refer to specific dhammā, the root cause of all dhammā, i.e., kammic energies arising via abhisaṅkhāra.

Famous Dhammapada verses

5. The following three sentences appear in the Dhammapada verses 277,278, and 279:

Sabbē saṅkhārā aniccā“ or “all saṅkhāra are anicca (they give rise to saṅkhata that we cannot maintain to our satisfaction in the long run). A deeper interpretation is that it is futile to seek a “permanent happy existence” in the rebirth process.
Sabbē saṅkhārā dukkhā“ or “all saṅkhāra eventually lead to dukkha (suffering).”
Sabbē dhammā anattā“ or “all dhammā generated via such (abhi)saṅkhāra are without substance (not fruitful) at the end.”

6. An often-asked question is why the first two verses refer to saṅkhāra and the third to dhammā.

- That question is reasonable because, as we saw in #1 above, everything in this world has the three characteristics: anicca, dukkha, and anatta. Thus, in general, saṅkhāra is included in dhammā too. Therefore, “Sabbē saṅkhārā anattā“ and “Sabbē dhammā aniccā“ are also correct statements.
- The point here is to highlight the fact that it is fruitless to engage in saṅkhārā and to generate the specific type of dhammā with kammic energies to give rise to future existences! That is what we discussed in #3 above.
- Because of that implication, those three famous verses in #5 also appear in several suttas. See, for example, “Uppādā Sutta (AN 3.136).” ( ... latin#26.2) There it is emphasized that those three statements are inviolable; they are dhammaniyāma: “Uppādā vā, bhikkhave, tathāgatānaṁ anuppādā vā tathāgatānaṁ, ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā” or “Bhikkhus, whether a Buddha arises or not, these are the laws of nature that always hold.”

Dhamma and Dhammā

7. We discussed Dhamma and dhammā in “Dhamma and Dhammā – Different but Related.” The word “Dhamma” is related to “dhammā” (with a long “a” indicating plural.)

- First, “Dhamma” (with uppercase “D” and a short “a”) means “teaching.” Thus Buddha Dhamma is “teachings of the Buddha“ or “teachings that can lead to Nibbāna (“bhava uddha” or “stopping bhava and thus rebirth.”) See “A Buddhist or a Bhauddhayā?“ ... houddhaya/
- “Dhammā” (with a long “a”) is a broad category meaning “to bear things in this world.”

8. Everything in this world arises based on dhammā” (with kammic energies) created via various types of adhamma.

- Buddha Dhamma or saddhamma does not give rise to dhammā; instead, Buddha Dhamma help neutralizes/deactivate dhammā. We will address that below. In other words, dhammā are associated with anything in this world, and Buddha Dhamma help transcend this world and attain Nibbāna, “the deathless state.”
- A short sutta, “Dhamma Sutta (AN 10.182),” ( ... ript=latin) clarifies Buddha Dhamma or saddhamma and adhamma. It says, “taking a life, stealing, abusing sense pleasures, speaking untruth, slandering, harsh speech, gossiping, greed, ill-will, wrong views” belong to adhamma. Those are dasa akusala; see “Kusala and Akusala Kamma, Punna and Pāpa Kamma.” ( ... nna-kamma/) Abstaining from dasa akusala is saddhamma.
- Another short sutta, “Dhamma Sutta (AN 10.138),” ( ... ript=latin) describes adhamma as: “Wrong views, wrong thoughts, wrong speech, wrong actions, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindset, wrong samadhi, wrong understanding, wrong vimutti.” The opposite, Sammā Diṭṭhi through Sammā Vimutti, is saddhamma.
- However, saddhamma with Sammā Diṭṭhi through Sammā Samādhi has two versions followed by the mundane and Noble Eightfold Paths. Those on the Noble Path have comprehended “Paṭicca Samuppāda, Tilakkhana, Four Noble Truths.” ... le-truths/

Adhamma and Mundane Version of Saddhamma Give Rise to Rebirths

9. In the post “Dhamma – Different Meanings Depending on the Context,” we discussed different types of Dhamma.

(i) “Deva dhammās” bear energy to sustain a Deva existence (bhava.) Thus, if one lives with “Deva Dhamma“ and accumulates “Deva dhammā,” one is likely to be born a Deva. Similarly, manussa dhammā and Brahma dhammā, for example, bear energies to sustain human and Brahma existences.

(ii) In the same way, if one lives an immoral life, according to “animal Dhamma,” one is likely to be born an animal; one living with niraya dhamma (engaged in killings, rapes, etc.) one can be born in a niraya (hell.) One would accumulate “niraya, peta, asura, animal dhammā” by living an immoral life or living by adhamma.

- The first category is “mundane saddhamma” per the “mundane eightfold path” mentioned in #8. The second category is adhamma.
- It is essential to understand that any dhammā “bears and sustains” things in this world of 31 realms; see #1 above.
Both categories do not lead to Nibbāna, but the first category is NECESSARY to cultivate the Noble Path to Nibbāna.

Dhammā With Kammic Energies Responsible for Rebirth

10. At the moment of death, a strong kamma bija or a dhammā comes to the mind via “manañca paṭicca dhammē ca uppajjāti manō viññāṇaṃ.” That new viññāna is the paṭisandhi viññāna for the new life; see, “What are rūpa? – Dhammā are rūpa too!“.( ... -rupa-too/) (However, “manañca paṭicca dhammē ca uppajjāti manō viññāṇaṃ” can also bring kamma vipāka and memories during a lifetime as well; those are the “general type of dhammā.”)

- Therefore, a new life is now formed due to potent dhammā (or kamma bija) originated via abhisaṅkhāra. This new lifeform is also a saṅkhata because it arose due to that abhisaṅkhāra.
- Details at “Icchā (Cravings) Lead to Upādāna and to Eventual Suffering” ( ... suffering/) and “Difference Between Tanhā and Upādāna.“ ( ... d-upadana/)
- After Arahanthood, the generation of dhammā with kammic energy stops because the Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process, starting with “avijjā paccayā (abhi)saṅkhāra,” would not operate for an Arahant. However, the “general type of dhammā” will bring kamma vipāka and memories until the death of an Arahant.
- That is why all dhammās are “nirodha dhammā” or “dhammā that can be stopped from arising.” Of course, that happens with the total elimination of avijjā and the stopping of Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda processes starting with “avijjā paccayā (abhi)saṅkhāra.“

Sankhārā Are Our Thoughts Leading to Speech and Actions

11. Sankhārā are involved in thinking, speaking, and acting based on our intentions, hopes, and dreams. It is essential to realize that ALL sankhārā are based on our thoughts.

- “Sankhāra” include all three types (kāya saṅkhāra, vaci saṅkhāra, manō saṅkhāra) that lead to any action, speech, or just thought (in that order). They all arise in citta (our thoughts).
- We say “hello” to someone with vaci saṅkhāra. If we walk from the living room to the kitchen to get a drink, that is done with kāya saṅkhāra. But those do not initiate kamma vipāka and are kammically neutral.
- But if such thoughts involve lobha, dosa, and moha, they become strong saṅkhāra (abhisaṅkhāra.) More on saṅkhāra at “Saṅkhāra – What It Really Means.” ... lly-means/
- Abhisaṅkhāra (potent or strong saṅkhāra) gives rise to kamma bija, which belongs to the primary type of dhammā.

Buddha Dhamma Does Not Lead to New Dhammā

12. At the beginning of the post, I mentioned that “dhammā” bear everything in this world of 31 realms. In #9 above, we discussed how rebirths in other realms arise via different types of dhammā created by following corresponding paths or Dhamma.

- Any teaching/way of life other than Buddha Dhamma is based on attempts to seek happiness while remaining in this world of 31 realms.
Most people don’t even go that far. They only seek happiness in this life. The basic idea for most people is to get a good education and a job. That is all most people are concerned with.
- Then there are “religiously motivated people” who believe in an afterlife and follow a religion seeking to be born in a heavenly realm. They believe that will be a permanent existence full of happiness. But there is a “theory” that explains any reasoning behind that belief.
- In contrast, Buddha Dhamma is a “self-consistent theory” that explains the reasoning. That analysis is in the Sutta Piṭaka in the form of an outline but is more thorough in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. The Abhidhamma analysis is the ultimate “Grand Unified Theory” that Einstein was seeking. However, he was very much off the track since such analysis MUST be based on mental phenomena, not material phenomena.

Buddha Dhamma Leads to Stopping of Arising (Nirodha) of Dhammā

13. Buddha Dhamma teaches how to stop potent dhammā from bringing rebirths.

- As discussed above, dhammā are kammic energies created as bhava in the Akusala-Mula (or anuloma) PS processes.
- Those processes are initiated by an ārammaṇa coming to mind via one of the sensory inputs. Such processes lead to the creation of new dhammā and the grasping of new bhava (existence) at the cuti-paṭisandhi moment, i.e., at the end of the current bhava.
- That process is reversed in the “Paṭilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda – Key to Nibbāna” ( ... samuppada/), leading to Nibbāna. Also, see “Distortion of Pāli Keywords in Paṭicca Samuppāda.” ... samuppada/
- As a Noble Person progresses through the Sotapanna, Anāgāmi, and Arahant stages, the possibility of grasping existence in an apāyās, kāma loka, and all 31 realms are removed respectively. Rebirth in any realm WILL NOT lead to the end of suffering.

14. That is why it is “bhava uddha” (Buddha) Dhamma. Instead of creating new dhammā, a Noble Person strives to “stop the accumulation of new dhammā” and “de-energize” existing dhammā! That is the correct meaning of “nirodha dhammāin #9 of “Dhamma and Dhammā – Different but Related.”

- Stopping (nirodha) of any saṅkhata at the Parinibbāna of an Arahant. After that, nothing of this world can arise, and thus, Nibbāna is the asaṅkhata or the “unconditioned” as translated commonly. See the second half of the “Saṅkhatalakkhaṇa Sutta (AN 3.47).” ( ... ript=latin) Nibbāna does not arise due to causes and conditions; it is what results when all conditions to bring the results (vipāka) of past causes (kamma) are removed. Those conditions are lobha, dosa, moha, and the mundane versions of alobha, adosa, and amoha.
Also, see “Nirōdha and Vaya – Two Different Concepts.” ... -concepts/
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

In a series of posts, I plan to discuss the relationships among Ānapānasati, Satipaṭṭhāna, Paṭicca Samuppāda, and Tilakkhana (anicca, dukkha, anatta).

Breath Meditation Is Addictive and Harmful in the Long Run

Many people insist that breath meditation “works.” Breath meditation can indeed provide a relief that can be exhilarating for those who have not experienced a “permanent cooling down.”

Breath Meditation – Not Addressing the Root Causes

1. Doing breath meditation to get “temporary relief” from the “suffering in this world” is like taking an aspirin, Tylenol, or a sleeping pill to relieve a headache. If that headache has a root cause in the onset of cancer in the body, then suppressing the symptoms with aspirins will only allow the tumor to grow. In the same way, breath meditation does nothing to remove the root causes (greed, anger, ignorance) of saṁsāric suffering.

- One needs to get long-term medical treatment to get rid of cancer. Then the headaches will also subside with those treatments. Thus, addressing the root causes will solve all problems!
- In the same way, to stop future suffering from arising, one must remove defilements (greed, hate, and ignorance) from one’s mind. During that process, mental stresses will also subside gradually. Even though this is not a “quick fix,” the gains will last long too.
- It makes sense to get temporary relief from a symptomatic headache using a pill, but one MUST start working on a long-term solution for the root cause of cancer.
- In the same way, it is OK to do a bit of breath meditation to deviate the mind from a stressful situation, but it is unwise to use it as a long-term solution. Some people do it for hours, which is a complete waste of time.

2. The problem here is that many people are “addicted” to the breath meditation, just as a drug addict starts an addiction by getting used to “taking a pill” to get to an “ecstatic state of mind” for a few hours.

- The problem is that the drug addict will have to keep increasing the dose with time to get the “same effect.”
- Even though breath meditation is not directly harmful like drug addiction, it is dangerous because it will shift the focus from the primary goal of a permanent solution to the “problem of suffering.”
- Furthermore, breath meditation can lead to anariya jhāna if one can avoid sensory pleasures. Once they start enjoying jhāna, some even equate that to Nibbāna. It becomes a trap.
- The Buddha analyzed a given problem in detail to provide a clear picture. So, let us analyze the causes of the agitation of the mind.

The Root Causes of All Suffering

3. The concept of Nibbāna is straightforward: “rāgakkhayo dosakkhayo mohakkhayo—idaṁ vuccati nibbānan”ti. See “Nibbānapañhā Sutta (SN 38.1.)“ ... =latin#2.3

- However, rāga, dosa, and moha are not always present. They remain as hidden defilements or anusaya. One must follow the Noble Eightfold Path to remove such anusaya from the mind; see “Āsava, Anusaya, and Gati (Gathi).” ... saya-gati/
- As long as the seven types of anusaya are not removed, a strong sensory input can “awaken” one or more of the hidden anusaya and make one’s mind perturbed; see #6 of the above post.
- How can focusing the mind on breath remove any of the anusaya?

Can Breath Meditation Get Rid of Anusaya from a Mind?

4. When pressed with this question, some say, “one needs to do vipassanā following breath mediation.” However, the “Ānāpānassati Sutta (MN 118)” ( ... latin#15.2) directly says: “Ānāpānassati, bhikkhave, bhāvitā bahulīkatā cattāro satipaṭṭhāne paripūreti. Cattāro satipaṭṭhānā bhāvitā bahulīkatā satta bojjhaṅge paripūrenti. Satta bojjhaṅgā bhāvitā bahulīkatā vijjāvimuttiṁ paripūrenti.”

- Thus, if one engages in the correct Ānāpānassati (and not “breath mediation”), there is no need to do an additional vipassanā step! Ānāpānassati fulfills Satipaṭṭhāna, Satta Bojjhaṅga, and leads to Nbbāna (vijjā vimutti.)
- This fact, by itself, confirms that “breath meditation” is not Buddha’s Ānāpānassati.
- The problem is that even the translator of “Ānāpānassati Sutta (MN 118)” did not understand that; thus, the wrong English title for the sutta! "Mindfulness of Breathing (MN 118)": ... ript=latin
- Breath meditation is NOT a Buddhist meditation. Hindus practiced breath meditation even before the Buddha. See “Pranayama.”

Summary of Ānāpānasati

5. Ānapāna:Āna” or “taking in” and “Āpāna” for “discarding.” Depending on what is “taken in”/”discarded,” it can lead to different effects at three levels.

Level 1: For those who have no understanding of Buddha Dhamma: Ānapānasati means focusing the mind on “breathing in and out.” Of course, that is a crude form of “meditation” for calming the mind. It cannot cleanse a mind—no connection to Paṭicca Samuppāda.

Level 2: Ānapānasati can be done with “Āna,” or “taking good morals and good habits in,” and “Āpāna,” or “discard bad morals and bad habits.”
– This step is necessary to set up the background to comprehend the Deeper Buddha Dhamma (Four Noble Truths, Paṭicca Samuppāda, and Tilakkhana) leading to Nibbāna.

Level 3: Noble version of Ānapānasati to be practiced to get to Nibbāna after comprehending the Four Noble Truths, Paṭicca Samuppāda, and Tilakkhana (anicca, dukkha, anatta.) That requires learning the correct versions of those from someone who has understood them.
– In this version, “Āna” or “taking in” is the Kusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda that leads to Nibbāna. ” Āpāna” or “to discard” is the Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda that sustains the rebirth process (Samsāra). A summary is in “Distortion of Pāli Keywords in Paṭicca Samuppāda.” ... samuppada/

It Is Unwise to Spend Time on “Breath Meditation”

6. There is no question that “breath meditation” can calm a mind and lead to a “state of peace and calm.” If one can abstain from sensual pleasures, it can lead to anariya jhāna too.

- An excellent example from the Tipiṭaka is Devadatta, who remained a bhikkhu until his death, even though he attempted to take the life of the Buddha. Before that, Bhikkhu Devadatta attained anariya jhāna and mighty iddhi powers too. Using those iddhi powers, he impressed King Ajātasattu. After his attempts on Buddha’s life, he lost the ability to get into jhānās and iddhi powers and was reborn in a niraya (lowest of the apayas.)
- A reasonable summary is in the “Theravāda portrayals of Devadatta” section in the Wikipedia article “Devadatta.”
- Furthermore, yogis like Āḷārakālāma and Uddaka Rāmaputta attained arupāvacara jhānās and were born in the arupāvacara Brahma realms. But since they had not removed even a single anusaya, they will return to the human realm and may even be reborn in apayas. Until at least the diṭṭhi anusaya is removed from the mind, rebirth in an apaya remains open. Ditthi anusaya is removed at the Sotapanna stage, and all seven types of anusaya are removed only at the Arahant stage.
- That is why it is unwise to spend time cultivating “breath meditation”!
- But it is informative to look at why people get “addicted” to breath meditation.

How Does “Breath Meditation” Lead to a “Peaceful Mindset”?

7. One aspect of the stress generated is due to too many sensory inputs.

- The brain must process all those sensory inputs before sending that information to the seat of the mind (hadaya vatthu.) Thus, the brain processing sensory data coming through the six senses is analogous to a computer processing data stream; see “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body.” ... -and-body/
- Scientists say the brain uses 25% of the energy produced by food. All that energy goes into sensory processing. Just thinking hard about something can be stressful to the brain.
- For example, when watching a movie, we also hear the dialogue and think about the movie’s plot. If we are eating popcorn, we can touch, smell, and taste popcorn too. The brain must process all those sensory inputs. The brain gets overworked from watching too many movies or television programs. We will likely get a massive headache if we watch even two movies without a break.

8. During a typical day, we get bombarded with sensory inputs. The brain needs to process all that information. An overworked day can lead to a massive headache.

- Breath meditation stops the mind from exploring all other sensory inputs. Focusing the mind on one ārammaṇa relieves all that stress on the brain. But it does not do anything to eliminate anusaya.
- There is also a second way that “breath meditation” can bring temporary relief.

Suppression of Heating of the Mind Due to Greed, Hate, and Ignorance

9. Another type of “heating” happens with greedy, hateful, and ignorant thoughts. Here, not only the brain but the mind itself can become stressed. Even if one focuses on one thing (say anger on someone), the mind gets heated internally, which is called “tāpa” in Buddha Dhamma.

- Do you remember the last time you got angry? How did that feel? You get hot. The whole body becomes hot and agitated; blood pressure goes up; the face becomes dark because the blood becomes dark (By the way, this is clear evidence that the mind can affect the body).
- This “burning up” is called “tāpa” in Pāli (pronounced “thāpa”; තාප in Sinhala) and is due to greed, hate, and ignorance. “Ātāpi” means the opposite, “cooling down via getting rid of those defilements.”
- That is the “fire” discussed in detail in the Ādittapariyaya Sutta (SN 35.28). ... ript=latin

10. When one acts with greed, “heating up” still happens, but to a lesser extent than when one is angry. As a kid, I felt heated and uncomfortable when stealing something at home.

- The same is true when one acts with ignorance too. One is unsure whether that is the right thing to do; the mind goes back and forth: is this right or wrong? Should I do it or not? That is called “vicikicchā” in Pāli. Because one does not know, one is not confident, one becomes anxious, and the body gets heated up.

11. Focusing on the breath stops both “heating mechanisms” described in #7 through #10. As long as we maintain that “isolation of the mind,” workload on the brain will reduce, and the mind will not get agitated!

- When people go to “breath meditation retreats,” they do that all day long for several days at a stretch. Thus, by the end of the retreat, the mind seems to be in an excellent “peaceful state.”
- Therefore, “breath meditation” is only a temporary solution. (There is no “meditation” involved!) After returning from the retreat, they return to the “rat race” of daily activities. The agitation of the mind comes back, and they look forward to attending another retreat!
- That is not different from taking aspirin to relieve a headache caused by cancer (see #1 above.)

Correct Ānāpānasati

12. Meditation is all about purifying one’s mind. In the first stage, one must get rid of the wrong views and immoral gati by “taking in good habits (including learning Dhamma)” and “discarding immoral habits.” See “9. Key to Ānapānasati – How to Change Habits and Character (Gati).“ ... cter-gati/

- That sets up the required background to comprehend the Four Noble Truths (via Paṭicca Samuppāda) and to realize the anicca, dukkha, and anatta nature of this world. See “Paṭicca Samuppāda, Tilakkhana, Four Noble Truths.” ... le-truths/


13. Despite the explanation above, many people could have difficulty getting rid of the habit of “meditating on the breath.” But it is a harmful habit that MUST BE broken if one is interested in the long-term rewards of stopping the suffering in the rebirth process.

- It is similar to the situation faced by an alcoholic or a drug addict. Some of them realize it is harmful, but they do not have the willpower to break it.
- One solution is to actively learn the correct Buddha Dhamma and gradually reduce the time spent on breath meditation. Once one gets some traction, Dhamma will guide one on the correct path: “Dhammo have rakkhati dhammacāriṁ” means “Dhamma will guide and protect those who follow Buddha Dhamma.”
- Also, see the summary in #5 above.
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Ānāpānasati – Overview

Evidence from the Tipiṭaka shows that Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā is not breath mediation. The former can lead to Nibbāna, while the latter cannot. We will also discuss the connection between Ānāpānasati and Paṭicca Samuppāda.

Connection Between Ānāpānasati and Paṭicca Samuppāda

1. In the post “Difference Between Dhammā and Saṅkhāra,” we discussed our actions (kamma) with abhisaṅkhāra (involving lobha, dosa, and moha) lead to rebirths and future suffering.

- As discussed there, dhammā are kammic energies created as bhava in the Akusala-Mula (or Anuloma) Paṭicca Samuppāda process: “Akusala-Mūla Upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.”
- That process is reversed in the “Paṭilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda – Key to Nibbāna” leading to Nibbāna. Here a different type of saṅkhāra (“kusala-mūla paccayā saṅkhāra) helps deactivate the dhammās created via the Akusala-Mula (or Anuloma) PS process.
- The two PS processes are discussed side-by-side in “Distortion of Pāli Keywords in Paṭicca Samuppāda.” ... samuppada/
- The Buddha stated in the Ānāpānasati Sutta (MN 118) that cultivation of Ānāpānasati leads to Nibbāna. Thus, Ānāpānasati must be fulfilling the Paṭilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda.
- How can the “breath meditation” do that? It cannot. We will uncover some clues on the actual connection in this series of posts.
- The problem is that current translations of Tipiṭaka references on both Ānāpānasati and Paṭicca Samuppāda have grave errors.

Elephants in the Room – Obvious Errors in Translations

2. In the series on “Elephants in the Room,” ( I discuss many blatant misinterpretations of the Tipiṭaka under three categories: “Word-for-Word Translation of the Tipiṭaka,” “Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā,” and “Tilakkhana.” The first category includes problems with Paṭicca Samuppāda translations.

- I call these “Elephants in the Room” for the following reason. I have tried to point out many contradictions in current English translations of the Tipiṭaka. Those who have followed this website are aware of these issues.
- However, I encountered strong opposition when I pointed out these issues at a well-known discussion forum. Anicca as impermanence and Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā as “breath meditation” seem to be ingrained into the minds of many people. It is difficult for them to “remove the dark glasses” and “see the truth.”

3. Some say, “I don’t know enough Pāli to determine who has the correct interpretations, you or those well-established teachers.” However, knowledge of Pāli is not necessary to see many contradictions.

- For example, see “Distortion of Pāli Keywords in Paṭicca Samuppāda.” Even a child should be able to see such apparent contradictions!
- I understand that getting rid of firmly-embedded wrong views is not easy, especially when the current “Theravada establishment” is behind such interpretations. I will do what I can to the best of my ability. (Of course, I learned these interpretations from the late Waharaka Thero.)
- It is a relief to see that some people have understood, as I can see from the comments in our discussion forum and even in the other forum mentioned above.

First Elephant in the Room – Word-for-Word Translation of the Tipiṭaka

4. I have already posted under the “Word-for-Word Translation of the Tipiṭaka” category and will post more later.

- The primary sutta on Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā is “Ānāpānassati Sutta (MN 118).” ... ript=latinI will be discussing the main verses of this sutta in the future posts. Before that, I need to provide some background, as laid out below. Note that in Pāli, the two words Ānapāna and sati combine as “Ānāpānassati.” Thus, you may see both Ānāpānasati and Ānāpānassati.
- I will be using the English translation in the above link for comparison. I chose this particular translation because it has the English and Pāli verses side-by-side, so it is easy for anyone to compare with my translation of a specific verse. Of course, most current English translations are similarly incorrect; for example, “Anapanasati Sutta: Mindfulness of Breathing (MN 118.).” ... .than.html

Second Elephant in the Room – Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā is Not Breath Meditation

5. The point that I will be making is the following. “Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā” is NOT “Mindful of Breathing.” Breath meditation is NOT a Buddhist meditation. Hindus practice breath meditation. See “Pranayama.”

- Some people try to cheat by saying Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā is the first step as a Samatha Bhāvanā, and then one needs to do “insight meditation.” However, I will present evidence from many suttas to show that Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā, by itself, is all one needs to attain Arahanthood. See #9 below.
- Furthermore, one CAN NOT do the CORRECT insight mediation if one does not even understand that Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā is not breath meditation!
- The Buddha has clearly stated in the Ānāpānasati Sutta that if one completes the steps in Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā, one will be fulfilling the steps in the Satipaṭṭhāna Bhāvanā. Satipaṭṭhāna Bhāvanā discusses the same steps in more detail.
- An Introduction to Ānāpānasati is in posts #5 through #8 in “Bhāvanā (Meditation).” following is an overview of topics in posts in the “Elephant in the Room 3 – Ānāpānasati“ subsection.

Breath Not Mentioned in Ānapāna Vagga in Saṁyutta Nikāya

6. There is a small collection of suttas in the Ānapāna Vagga of Saṁyutta Nikāya BEFORE the section on Ānāpānasati. That is to give an idea of what is involved in Ānapāna, which comes from “Āna” + “āpāna,” where two words mean “taking in (kusala)” and “discarding (akusala or defilements).”

- That section in the Ānapāna Vagga has several suttas starting with the “Aṭṭhikamahapphala Sutta (SN 46.57)” ( ... ript=latin) and ending with the “Ānāpāna Sutta (SN 46.66).” ... ript=latin
- You can read the English translations in the above links and see that the word “breath” is NOT there! Of course, the INCORRECT English translation of “Ānāpānassati” as “mindfulness of breathing” in SN 46.66 does not mean the word “breathing” is mentioned in that sutta! That INCORRECT translation is in the Sutta Central translation in the above link. (Note: I usually provide the “side by side” Pāli and English translations from Sutta Central. That does NOT mean I agree with their translation. One should always be cautious about the INCORRECT translation of many words in Sutta Central translations).
- Instead, those suttas briefly describe some KEY CONCEPTS that one needs to understand to correctly “take in “and “discard” (Ānapāna) to cultivate Ānapāna Sati.

7. For example, the first sutta explains that one needs to understand how to cultivate “aṭṭhika saññā.” That is the “anicca or unfruitful” nature of this world. It is amusing to see that the English translation in the first link above translates “aṭṭhika saññā” as “perception of a skeleton”!

- Word-by-word translations can lead to such ridiculous statements.
- The word “aṭṭhi” can mean “bone.” But that verse only gives an analogy, as I will explain later.
- Other suttas in that series briefly mention several types of meditations in Satipaṭṭhāna, and the series ends with “Ānāpāna Sutta (SN 46.66)” ( ... ript=latin) which briefly states, “Bhikkhus, when Ānāpānasati is developed and cultivated it’s very fruitful and beneficial.”

Is a Bhikkhu a “Begger”?

8. Another common problem with Sutta Central translations is that the translator translates “bhikkhu” as “mendicant” all the time.

- See the definition of a “mendicant: “mendicant definition.” A bhikkhu is NOT a “beggar.” It is an insult to call a bhikkhu a “beggar”!
- In some dictionaries, a second definition is “often capitalized: a member of a religious order (such as the Franciscans) combining monastic life and outside religious activity and originally owning neither personal nor community property.” See “mendicant.” But why use obscure definitions? - Furthermore, there is no “capitalization” in Sutta Central translations (mostly mendicant, not Mendicant.)
- To understand the term “bhikkhu,” read the suttas in “11 results for bhikkhusutta.”
- The easiest solution regarding words like bhikkhu, anicca, and anatta is to use the same Pāli word, as done in the Sinhala language. There are no single words for such Pāli words in any language!

Ānapāna Saṁyutta Says Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā — by Itself — Leads to Arahanthood

9. There are twenty suttas in the Ānapāna Saṁyutta of Saṁyutta Nikāya DIRECTLY stating that Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā — by itself — can lead to Arahanthood.

- The series starts with the “Ekadhamma Sutta (SN 54.1).” ( ... ript=latin) Ekadhamma means “one dhamma,” implying that this is all one needs to get to Arahanthood.
- The series ends with a short sutta stating that Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā will lead to the removal of all saṁyojana, anusaya, and āsava. There is no question that it leads to Nibbāna! See, “Āsavakkhaya Sutta (SN 54.20).” ... ript=latin
- Thus, this series of suttas provides enough evidence by itself.
- Incredibly, the translator in the link (and other “well-known” teachers) did not realize this while they did these translations. As I keep saying, sutta translation has become a mindless, mechanical process. It is a dangerous practice. Many suttas with deeper meanings require detailed explanations. See, “Sutta Interpretation – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa.”

Ānāpānassati Sutta (MN 118)

10. The Buddha discussed the Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā in the “Ānāpānassati Sutta (MN 118.).” ( ... ript=latin) Let me make two quotes from the sutta that should be enough to make the case.

Ānāpānassati, bhikkhave, bhāvitā bahulīkatā cattāro satipaṭṭhāne paripūreti.
Translation:Ānāpānasati (Bhāvanā), when developed and cultivated, fulfills the four sections of the satipaṭṭhāna (Bhāvanā.)

Nāhaṁ, bhikkhave, muṭṭhassatissa asampajānassa ānāpānassatiṁ vadāmi.”

Translation: “I do not teach this Ānāpānasati (Bhāvanā) to those who do not have (sammā) sati.”

- Anyone who has not understood the Four Noble Truths/Paṭicca Samuppāda/Tilakkhana would not have sammā sati.

The English translation in the above link translates that Pāli verse as: “There is no development of mindfulness of breathing for someone who is unmindful and lacks awareness, I say.”

- As I have explained, it is not about “breathing in and out.” Any person should be able to “mindfully breathe in and out”! The translator does not understand “sati” is that “Sammā Sati.” Only a Noble Person at or above the Sotapanna stage has Sammā Sati. See, for example, “Mālukyaputta Sutta (SN 35.95)” ( ... latin#12.1) at the marker I have linked to where it says: “‘Rūpaṁ disvā sati muṭṭhā” OR “mindfulness is lost upon seeing an attractive sight (for those who don’t have Sammā Sati).” That can happen with all six senses, as the sutta explains below.

Assāsa/Passāsa in Ānāpānasati Is not About the Breath but Kusala/Akusala

11. How did those translators miss the above critical points? I am not quite sure. I cannot even imagine how ALL OF THEM missed such crucial verses.

- As you can see, the English translations in the above links do not contradict my statements. But from their manner of writing, it is clear that they did not grasp the meanings.
- They must have been intent on cranking out as many suttas as possible without really paying attention to check self-consistency.
One possibility is the following. No one in recent years had understood the deeper meanings of assāsa and passāsa (in the context of cultivating the Eightfold Noble Path.) So, they mechanically used the ordinary meanings of inhaling and exhaling.
- There is no question that even breath meditation can lead to a calm mind. Yet, that will NOT lead to rāgakkhaya, dosakkhaya, mohakkhaya (i.e., Nibbāna.)

12. One word with two or more meanings (depending on the context) is common in all languages.

- Let us consider a simple example in English. “Turn right at the next junction” and “You are right” are perfectly correct statements. The word “right” has very different meanings in the two contexts.
- These translators of the Tipiṭaka suttas have not understood the meanings of assāsa and passāsa in cultivating the Eightfold Noble Path.

Ānāpānassatikathā – Detailed Explanation in Paṭisambhidāmagga

13. There is a detailed explanation of Ānāpānasati Bhāvanā in the Tipitaka commentary Paṭisambhidāmagga: “1.3. Ānāpānassatikathā.” ... ript=latin

- One can write a book translating this detailed explanation! In future posts, I will use this resource to explain keywords used in the Ānāpānassati Sutta (MN 118).

Mundane Version of Ānāpānasati

14. Obviously, any fool can do “breath meditation” since that involves only focusing the mind on the breath!

- There are two types of “correct Ānāpānasati.” The “mundane version” of Ānāpānasati completes the mundane eightfold path described in the “Mahācattārīsaka Sutta (MN 117).” ( ... =latin#6.2) That sutta describes two versions of the first five steps in the Eightfold Path: mundane and Noble. I have linked to the start of the description of the two versions of Sammā Diṭṭhi at marker 6.2. Two versions of the following four steps are at markers 12.2, 18.2, 24.2, and 30.2. Those then lead to DIFFERENT states of Sammā Samādhi in the two paths. (Also note that this sutta comes just before the Ānāpānasati Sutta (MN 118.))
- The “mundane version” of Ānāpānasati includes the following: Taking in good morals and cultivating “good gati, “discarding bad gati, learning (taking in) correct teachings of the Buddha, discarding wrong views by contemplating those teachings and related material (like rebirth accounts, Out-Of-Body experiences, Near- Death Experiences), etc.
- Completing the mundane version will enable one to comprehend the Noble Truths/Paṭicca samuppāda/Tilakkhana and start on the lokuttara (Noble) Path and practice the Ānāpānasati described in the Ānāpānasati Sutta (MN 118.)


15. I hope I have given enough information to make the case without writing another post on the issue of whether Ānāpānasati is “breath meditation.”

- Further information will be in future posts too. However, I need to focus on the issue of switching from the mundane path to the Noble Path.
- Switching to the Noble Path essentially requires getting rid of Sakkāya Diṭṭhi. That connection is not in the Ānāpānasati Sutta (MN 118) but in other suttas and also in the Tipitaka commentary Paṭisambhidāmagga mentioned in #13 above.
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