Jāti (and its various usages)

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Jāti (and its various usages)

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:58 am

Greetings,

I wanted to open up a discussion on the word 'jati' and its various meanings across the Tipitaka.

A definition from the Pali Text Society dictionary (http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... li.1286022)...

Jāti
Jāti (f.) [see janati & cp. Gr. genea/, ge/nesis; Lat. gens; Goth. kind -- ins]. -- Instr. jātiyā (Sn 423) & jaccā (D ii.8; J iii.395; Dh 393); abl. jātiyā (S i.88) & jātito (by descent: D ii.8); loc. jātiyaŋ (PvA 10) & jātiyā (PvA 78). -- 1. birth, rebirth, possibility of rebirth, "future life" as disposition to be born again, "former life" as cause of this life. Defined (cp. the corresp. expln of jarā) as: yā tesaŋ tesaŋ sattanaŋ tamhi tamhi satta -- nikāye jāti sañjāti okkanti abhinibbatti khandhānaŋ pātubhāvo āyataṇānaŋ paṭilābho D ii.305 =S ii.3=Nd2 257. -- Jāti is a condition precedent of age, sickness & death, and is fraught with sorrow, pain & disappointment. It is itself the final outcome of a kamma, resting on avijjā, performed in anterior births; & forms thus the concluding link in the chain of the Paṭicca -- samuppāda. Under the first aspect it is enumd in various formulae, either in full or abbreviated (see Nd2 258), viz, (a) as (1) jāti, (2) jarā, (3) vyādhi, (4) maraṇa, (5) sokaparidevadukkhadomanass' upāyāsa in the dukkhaŋ ariyasaccaŋ (the noble truth of what is misfortune) Vin i.10; A i.176; iii.416; ˚dhamma destined to be born, etc. M i.161 sq., 173; -- A v.216; Nd2 258, 304, 630, etc., in var. connections (referring to some dukkha). -- (b) as Nos. 1 -- 4: Nd2 254, 494b; J i.168, etc. -- (c) as Nos. 1, 2, 4 (the standard quotation, implying the whole series 1 -- 5): S v.224; A v.144; jātipaccayā jarāmaraṇaŋ Vin i.1; D ii.31, 57, etc.; ˚ika A ii.11, 173; ˚īya M i.280; Nd2 40. -- (d) to this is sometimes added (as summing up) saŋsāra: Nd2 282f; cp. kicchaŋ loko āpanno jāyati ca jīyati ca mīyati ca cavati ca uppajjati ca D ii.30. -- (e) as Nos. 1+4: pahīna -- jātimaraṇa (adj.) (=free from life & death, i. e. saŋsāra) A i.162; ˚bhayassa pāraga A ii.15; ˚kovida Sn 484; atāri ˚ŋ asesaŋ Sn 355 (cp. 500); ˚assa pāraga Sn 32. -- (f)=e+saŋsāra (cp. d): sattā gacchanti saŋsāraŋ jātimaraṇagāmino A ii.12=52; jātimaraṇasaŋsāraŋ ye vajanti punappunaŋ . . . avijjāy' eva sā gati Sn 729. -- (g) as Nos. 1+2, which implies the whole series: atāri so jātijaraŋ A i.133= Sn 1048; jātijar' upaga Sn 725=It 106; saŋyojanaŋ jātijarāya chetvā It 42; -- Sn 1052, 1060; Dh 238, 348; cp. jāti ādinā nihīna PvA 198. -- Other phrases & applications: Various rebirths are seen by one who has perfect insight into all happening & remembers his former existences (D i.81; iii.50; A i.164; M ii.20). Arahantship implies the impossibility of a future rebirth: see formula khīṇā jāti (M i.139; Sn p. 16, etc.) and arahant ii.A: jātiyā parimuccati S i.88; jātiŋ bhabbo pahātuŋ A v.144 sq. -- antimā jāti the last rebirth D ii.15 (cp. carima); purimā j. a former existence PvA 1; atītajātiyaŋ in a former life (=pure) PvA 10. On jāti as dukkha see Vism 498 -- 501. <-> 2. descent, race, rank, genealogy (cp. fuh/, genus), often combd w. gotta. Two grades of descent are enumd at Vin iv.6 as hīnā jāti (low birth), consisting of Candāḷa, Veṇa, Nesāda, Rathakāra & Pukkusa; and ukkaṭṭhā j. (superior birth), comprising Khattiyas & Brāhmaṇas. -- The var. meanings of jāti are given by Bdhgh at Vism 498, 499 in the foll. classification (with examples) bhava, nikāya, sankhata -- lakkhaṇa, paṭisandhi, pasūti, kula, ariya -- sīla. -- Kiŋ hi jāti karissati? What difference makes his parentage? D i.121; jāti -- rājāno kings of birth, genuine kings J i.338; na naŋ jāti nivāresi brahmalok' ûpapattiyā Sn 139; jātiŋ akkhāhi tell me the rank of his father & mother Sn 421, 1004; cp. 462; na jaccā vasalo hoti Sn 136; 142; id. w. brāhmaṇo Sn 650; with nāma & gotta in the description of a man jātiyā nāmena gottena, etc. Vin iv.6; jātito nāmato gottato by descent, personal & family name D ii.8; cp. jāti -- gotta -- kula J ii.3. See also j. -- vāda. -- 3. a sort of, kind of (cp. jāta 3): catujātigandha four kinds of scent J i.265; ii.291. <-> 4. (jāti˚) by (mere) birth or nature, natural (opp. artificial); or genuine, pure, excellent (opp. adulterated, inferior), cp. jāta 1 (b): in cpds., like ˚maṇi, ˚vīṇā, etc.
-- kkhaya the destruction of the chance of being reborn S v.168; A i.167; Sn 209, 517, 743; Dh 423. -- khetta the realm of rebirth PvA 138 (=dasa cakkavāḷasahassāni); -- thaddha conceited, proud of birth Sn 104 (+dhanatthaddha, gotta˚: proud of wealth & name); -- thera a Th. by rank D iii.218; -- nirodha the extermination of (the cause of) rebirth Vin i.1≈; -- pabhava the origin or root of existence Sn 728; -- puppha nutmeg J vi.367; -- bhaya the fear of rebirth A ii.121; -- bhūmi natural ground, in ˚bhūmaka, ˚bhūmika, ˚bhūmiya living on nat. gr. (vassaŋ vasati) M i.145; A iii.366; -- maṇi a genuine precious stone J ii.417; -- maya constituting birth, being like birth ThA 285; -- vāda reputation of birth, character of descent, parentage. The 1st of the 5 characteristics constituting a "well -- bred" brahmin: yāva sattamā pitāmahāyugā akkhitto anupakkuṭṭho jātivādena "of unblemished parentage back to the 7th generation" D i.120, etc. (=DA i.281); A i.166; iii.152, 223; Sn 315, 596. Cp. gotta -- vāda (e. g. D i.99); -- vibhanga a characteristic of birth, a distinction in descent Sn 600; -- vīṇā a first -- class lute J ii.249; -- sampanna endowed with (pure) birth (in phrase khattiyo muddhâvasitto j.˚) A iii.152; -- sambhava the origin of birth A i.142; iii.311; J i.168; -- sambheda difference of rank DhA i.166; -- saŋsāra the cycle of transmigration, the saŋsāra of rebirths (see above 1 d. f.): pahīna left behind, overcome (by an Arahant) M i.139; A iii.84, 86; ˚ŋ khepetvā id. Th 2, 168; vitiṇṇo j.˚ n' atthi tassa punabbhavo Sn 746; -- sindhava a well -- bred horse J ii.97; -- ssara the remembrance of (former) births (˚ñāṇa) J i.167; iv.29; DhA ii.27; iv.51; cp. cutûpapāta -- ñāṇa); -- hingulaka (& hingulikā) natural vermilion J v.67; VvA 4, 168, 324.


In Abhidhamma, jati doesn't refer to literal birth or rebirth, rather it points to the classification of a very momentary 'citta', as per Nina van Gorkom's "Abhidhamma In Daily Life" (http://www.zolag.co.uk/adlc1.html)

Cittas can be classified by way of jati (jati literally means birth or nature). There are four jatis:

kusala
akusala
vipaka
kiriya

Both kusala vipaka ( the result of a wholesome deed) and akusala vipaka (the result of an unwholesome deed) are one jati, the jati of vipaka.


In the context of paticcasamuppada (dependent origination) it is understood by the commentaries to refer to rebirth, but there are non-commentarial interpretations that give it a flavour closer to that of its application in the Abhidhamma, whereas in the Abhidhamma its duration would be momentary, it can for dependent origination be understood as 'birth of the "I" concept'.

I put this in this forum because it's a controversial subject, and one's understanding of what jati means significantly impacts how someone views the Buddha's teachings.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Jāti (and its various usages)

Postby Element » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:02 am

Idha bhikkhave, assutavā puthujjano ariyānaṃ adassāvī ariyadhammassa akovido ariyadhamme avinīto, sappurisānaṃ adassāvī sappurisadhammassa akovido sappurisadhamme avinīto rūpaṃ attato samanupassati. Yā kho pana sā, bhikkhave, samanupassanā saṅkhāro so. So pana saṅkhāro kiṃnidāno kiṃsamudayo kiṃjātiko kiṃpabhavo? Avijjāsamphassajena, bhikkhave, vedayitena phuṭṭhassa assutavato puthujjanassa uppannā taṇhā; tatojo so saṅkhāro.

There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form to be the self. That assumption is a fabrication. Now what is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that fabrication? To an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, touched by that which is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. That fabrication is born of that.

SN 22.81
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Re: Jāti (and its various usages)

Postby Element » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:14 am

I am not sure if this text is related to the subject of the thread:
32. "Sariputta, there are these four kinds of generation. What are the four? Egg-born generation, womb-born generation, moisture-born generation and spontaneous generation.

33. "What is egg-born generation? There are these beings born by breaking out of the shell of an egg; this is called egg-born generation. What is womb-born generation? There are these beings born by breaking out from the caul; this is called womb-born generation. What is moisture-born generation? There are these beings born in a rotten fish, in a rotten corpse, in rotten dough, in a cesspit, or in a sewer; this is called moisture-born generation. What is spontaneous generation? There are gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds; this is called spontaneous generation. These are the four kinds of generation.


Maha-sihanada Sutta
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Re: Jāti (and its various usages)

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:18 am

Greetings Element,

It may well be if the Pali underlying the translation uses the term jati.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Jāti (and its various usages)

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:41 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:In Abhidhamma, jati doesn't refer to literal birth or rebirth, rather it points to the classification of a very momentary 'citta', as per Nina van Gorkom's "Abhidhamma In Daily Life" (http://www.zolag.co.uk/adlc1.html)

Cittas can be classified by way of jati (jati literally means birth or nature). There are four jatis:

kusala
akusala
vipaka
kiriya

Both kusala vipaka ( the result of a wholesome deed) and akusala vipaka (the result of an unwholesome deed) are one jati, the jati of vipaka.


The sense of 'jāti' here doesn't really have anything to do with your point, for it carries the third meaning given in the entry from the PTS Dictionary: 'kind' or 'sort'. This derives from the second meaning: 'clan', 'caste' etc. And this in turn derives from the first meaning: 'birth', for in India one's birth determined one's caste.

However, since this is just one way that 'jāti' is used in the Abhidhamma, it would be going too far to say: "In Abhidhamma, jāti doesn't refer to literal birth or rebirth." In fact, jāti often refers to literal rebirth in the Abhidhamma.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Jāti (and its various usages)

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:46 am

Greetings venerable Dhammanando,
Dhammanando wrote:However, since this is just one way that 'jāti' is used in the Abhidhamma, it would be going too far to say: "In Abhidhamma, jāti doesn't refer to literal birth or rebirth." In fact, jāti often refers to literal rebirth in the Abhidhamma.

Thank you for the clarification. I would be interested in seeing an example or two, if you had the time to find them.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Jāti (and its various usages)

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:58 pm

Hi Retro,

Dhammanando: However, since this is just one way that 'jāti' is used in the Abhidhamma, it would be going too far to say: "In Abhidhamma, jāti doesn't refer to literal birth or rebirth." In fact, jāti often refers to literal rebirth in the Abhidhamma.

Thank you for the clarification. I would be interested in seeing an example or two, if you had the time to find them.


From the Vibhaṅga:

    "Therein [i.e. in the noble truth of suffering] what is birth (jāti)? That which for this or that being in this or that category of beings is birth, genesis, entry, full existence, the appearance of the aggregates, the acquiring of the bases. This is called birth."
    (Vibh. 99)

From the Abhidhammatthavibhāvinī:

    "Birth (jāti) is a being's obtaining of an individual existence in the various destinies etc."
    (Gethin, Exposition of the Topics of Abhidhamma 290)

And see Path of Purification xvii. 270-2 and chapter V of the Abhidhammatthasangaha.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: fabricated assumptions

Postby Will » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:29 pm

Element wrote:
Idha bhikkhave, assutavā puthujjano ariyānaṃ adassāvī ariyadhammassa akovido ariyadhamme avinīto, sappurisānaṃ adassāvī sappurisadhammassa akovido sappurisadhamme avinīto rūpaṃ attato samanupassati. Yā kho pana sā, bhikkhave, samanupassanā saṅkhāro so. So pana saṅkhāro kiṃnidāno kiṃsamudayo kiṃjātiko kiṃpabhavo? Avijjāsamphassajena, bhikkhave, vedayitena phuṭṭhassa assutavato puthujjanassa uppannā taṇhā; tatojo so saṅkhāro.

There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form to be the self. That assumption is a fabrication. Now what is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that fabrication? To an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, touched by that which is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. That fabrication is born of that.

SN 22.81


I do not understand what the wrong assumption of a worldling being a fabrication has to do with the topic of jati, per se? Worldlings have nothing but wrong assumptions regarding everything - so what - we all agree to that.
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
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Re: Jāti (and its various usages)

Postby Element » Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:15 am

Dhammanando wrote:From the Vibhaṅga:

    "Therein [i.e. in the noble truth of suffering] what is birth (jāti)? That which for this or that being in this or that category of beings is birth, genesis, entry, full existence, the appearance of the aggregates, the acquiring of the bases. This is called birth."
    (Vibh. 99)

For me, i sense the meaning of 'birth' in the First Noble Truth is physical. However, in the First Noble Truth, i take 'dukkha' to literally mean 'difficult to bear'. Thus, the birth of a child is difficult to bear, both for itself & the mother. To have children is definitely a challenge. MN 38 and 130 state:
The mother then carries the embryo in her womb for nine or ten months with much anxiety, as a heavy burden. Then, at the end of nine or ten months, the mother gives birth with much anxiety, as a heavy burden. Then, when the child is born, she nourishes it with her own blood; for the mother’s breast-milk is called blood in the Noble One’s training.

The king of the underworld cross questions, asks for reasons and studies together with him thus. ‘Good man did you not see the first divine messenger among humans?’ He says ‘Sir I did not see.’ Then the king of the under world would ask him. ‘Good man didn’t you see a todler who stands and lies with difficulty, mingled in his own urine and excreta while lying?’
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Re: fabricated assumptions

Postby Element » Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:23 am

Will wrote:I do not understand what the wrong assumption of a worldling being a fabrication has to do with the topic of jati, per se? Worldlings have nothing but wrong assumptions regarding everything - so what - we all agree to that.

Hi Will,

To me, the Buddha appears to be referring to a mental birth in SN 22.81, that the assumption or wrong view of 'self' is something born in the mind as a result of various causes.

For example, often in English, we use phrases such as 'an idea is born', 'a nation is born' or 'a movie star is born'.

That is how I read it. It is an interesting passage.

With metta,

Element
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Re: Jāti (and its various usages)

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:27 am

Greetings venerable Dhammanando,

Thanks for the above examples.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Jāti (and its various usages)

Postby gavesako » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:01 pm

This teacher (Ajahn Thoon -- recently passed away) gives an interesting explanation of "birth":

Shut out other senses and focus your
mindfulness and wisdom on the mind. If you do not know where to locate the
mind, you can focus your mindfulness and wisdom on a feeling instead. When
you get the feeling focused, it is the same as focusing your concentration on
the mind.
A feeling will lead you to the mind---a name for a ‘knowing’ entity or an element
capable of ‘knowing’. Here is the place where practitioners will give anything to
know and see. This is where defilement, desire, and ignorance originate. This is an
entity that will take up a ‘life-form’ and starts a ‘birth’.
This is an entity that
will experience the resulting happiness. And this is an entity that will
experience the resulting suffering. It is this entity that will be born in heaven(s)
or Brahman-sphere(s). It is this entity that will go to hell(s). It is this entity that
will be born as Peta (hungry ghosts), Asurakaya (frightened ghosts), or animals. It
is this entity that will become people who flock into cinema halls, theatres, beer
gardens, or lunatic asylums. It is this entity that will become people whose
preoccupations are to procreate sons, daughters, nieces and nephews into this
world.
Thus, when you practitioners have discovered the place where ‘Ignorance of
Reality’ originates; or to state it differently, you have found the mind that is full
of delusion; you must then proceed to use your wisdom to re-educate the mind.
Make it learn about past mistakes. Make it learn about adverse and dangerous
consequences.

Traverse the Current
By Venerable Ajarn Thoon Khippapanyo

http://www.kpyusa.com/Resources.htm
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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