Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

James Tan
Posts: 969
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by James Tan » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:17 am

Greetings ,

does ignorance originates from defilement ?
And vice versa ?
Please explain further ?

https://suttacentral.net/mn9/en/sujato

“ Ignorance originates from defilement. Ignorance ceases when defilement ceases.

The defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, and ignorance. Defilement originates from ignorance. Defilement ceases when ignorance ceases. ”
:reading:

santa100
Posts: 3125
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by santa100 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:53 am

They condition each other. From the same sutta:
MN 9 wrote:And what is ignorance, what is the origin of ignorance, what is the cessation of ignorance, what is the way leading to the cessation of ignorance? Not knowing about suffering, not knowing about the origin of suffering, not knowing about the cessation of suffering, not knowing about the way leading to the cessation of suffering—this is called ignorance. With the arising of the taints there is the arising of ignorance. With the cessation of the taints there is the cessation of ignorance. The way leading to the cessation of ignorance is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view…right concentration.

And what are the taints, what is the origin of the taints, what is the cessation of the taints, what is the way leading to the cessation of the taints? There are these three taints: the taint of sensual desire, the taint of being, and the taint of ignorance. With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of the taints. With the cessation of ignorance there is the cessation of the taints. The way leading to the cessation of the taints is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
And Ven. Bodhi's note:
It should be noted that while ignorance is a condition for the taints, the taints—which include the taint of ignorance—are in turn a condition for ignorance. MA says that this conditioning of ignorance by ignorance should be understood to mean that the ignorance in any one existence is conditioned by the ignorance in the preceding existence. Since this is so, the conclusion follows that no first point can be discovered for ignorance, and thus that saṁsāra is without discernible beginning.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 2992
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by DooDoot » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:17 am

No. Because ignorance is one of those defilements.
Bhikkhus, this is said: ‘A first point of ignorance, bhikkhus, is not seen such that before this there was no ignorance and afterward it came into being.’ Still, ignorance is seen to have a specific condition.

https://suttacentral.net/an10.61/en/bodhi

arunam
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:21 am

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by arunam » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:38 am

James Tan wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:17 am


does ignorance originates from defilement ?
And vice versa ?
Please explain further ?

This is how i understood it.

[https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html]

(Āsavasamudayā avijjāsamudayo. Āsavanirodhā avijjānirodho)
From the origination of fermentation comes the origination of ignorance. From the cessation of fermentation comes the cessation of ignorance

(Avijjāsamudayā āsavasamudayo. Avijjānirodhā āsavanirodho)
From the origination of ignorance comes the origination of fermentation. From the cessation of ignorance comes the cessation of fermentation

Application of the word "Āsava" in a non-Buddhist context:
PTS P-E Dictionary;
The intoxicating extract or secretion of a tree or flower.

In my country we have an alcoholic beverage made from the flower of the palm tree. So, when you first get the nectar from the flower it is a clear, sweet liquid. Then when you just leave it, after some time it becomes a opaque, bitter, frothing, intoxicating liquid. Nothing is added to the flower nectar. It seems to be internally generated. (Of course now due to modern science we know how this happens but in the ancient times it must have looked mysterious.)

We know that teachers such as Alara kalama thought they were enlightened. This could be because he could not find any explicit manifestation of craving in him self. But he was not enlightened. Hence, his Āsavas were not eradicated. His unknowing of this fact was his Avijja. After his death he would be reborn in one of the arupa-loka. But after exhaustion of kamma that kept him there he would again enter the cycle of samsara. So what seemed pure, again becomes defiled like the flower nectar.

But disciples of the noble ones discerns fully the Āsavas and eradicates them completely using the magga.
Hence, cessation of avijja leads to the cessation of Āsavas.
A path is made by walking on it

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 2992
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by DooDoot » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:22 pm

The Blessed One said, "Monks, ignorance is the leader in the attainment of unskillful qualities....

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

TRobinson465
Posts: 513
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm
Location: United States

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by TRobinson465 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:10 am

No. It is a defilement. But having one increases the other. Like Right View and Right Meditation.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

Dinsdale
Posts: 5986
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:32 am

santa100 wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:53 am
They condition each other.
It does look that way, but is it significant that ignorance is the first nidana in DO?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

auto
Posts: 427
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:02 pm

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by auto » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:57 pm

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
SN 27.1: Cakkhu Sutta — The Eye
At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to the eye is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to the ear... the nose... the tongue... the body... the intellect is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."
as long that defilement is not abandoned ignorance prevails and knowledge cant arise.

santa100
Posts: 3125
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by santa100 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:49 pm

Dinsdale wrote:It does look that way, but is it significant that ignorance is the first nidana in DO?
Sure, but the 12 Nidanas should be viewed as items on a circle instead of on a line. Therefore, while it's common to view any item as having the preceding one as its immediate condition, but technically speaking, any item can serve as the condition for the subsequent item further down the endless samsaric circle (ie. craving -> clinging -> becoming -> birth -> aging/death -> ignorance; is just as valid as: ignorance -> volition -> consciousness -> name/form -> six sensebases -> contact -> feeling -> craving).

Dinsdale
Posts: 5986
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:31 am

santa100 wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:49 pm
Dinsdale wrote:It does look that way, but is it significant that ignorance is the first nidana in DO?
(ie. craving -> clinging -> becoming -> birth -> aging/death -> ignorance; is just as valid as: ignorance -> volition -> consciousness -> name/form -> six sensebases -> contact -> feeling -> craving).
Sorry but I don't get this. How does ignorance arise in dependence upon aging+death?

Isn't the point of DO that ignorance is the root cause/condition of suffering, while the proximate cause/condition is craving?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 1742
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by Bundokji » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:15 am

From my understanding, this is akin to asking which comes first, the hen or the egg.

The way i differentiate between them is by linking ignorance to knowledge, and linking the defilements to intentions.

The practice as i see it is a refinement of the desire for enlightenment. The more the desire for enlightenment takes the shape of a desire for knowing (as opposite to ending suffering which is connected to sensuality) the closer we are to the goal. In other words, if the practitioner feels that he is sacrificing sensual desires in order to attain liberation, he still has a lot to do. If the desire for knowing the truth consolidates all his passions, then sensuality is viewed as worthless distraction rather than something to be sacrificed.
A worse taint than these is ignorance, the worst of all taints. Destroy this one taint and become taintless, O monks!
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

santa100
Posts: 3125
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by santa100 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:12 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:31 am
Sorry but I don't get this. How does ignorance arise in dependence upon aging+death?

Isn't the point of DO that ignorance is the root cause/condition of suffering, while the proximate cause/condition is craving?
As pointed out by Bundokji, it's like the chicken/egg question. If you agree with the traditional interpretation that DO spans across multiple life times, then while it's true that ignorance is the root cause to suffering, that doesn't mean it has an original beginning. Remember that it is a circle, not a line, and so it's also valid to say that craving (from a previous life) conditions further ignorance, which starts the next cycle of life. And if one puts an end to craving in this life, then that leads to the end of ignorance, which can no longer start subsequent cycles.

Dinsdale
Posts: 5986
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:17 am

santa100 wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:12 pm
Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:31 am
Sorry but I don't get this. How does ignorance arise in dependence upon aging+death?

Isn't the point of DO that ignorance is the root cause/condition of suffering, while the proximate cause/condition is craving?
As pointed out by Bundokji, it's like the chicken/egg question. If you agree with the traditional interpretation that DO spans across multiple life times, then while it's true that ignorance is the root cause to suffering, that doesn't mean it has an original beginning. Remember that it is a circle, not a line, and so it's also valid to say that craving (from a previous life) conditions further ignorance, which starts the next cycle of life. And if one puts an end to craving in this life, then that leads to the end of ignorance, which can no longer start subsequent cycles.
I'm still not seeing a basis for your assertion that DO is a circle - could you explain this with reference to DO suttas? I think there is a basis for saying that some nidanas are cyclical internally, eg bhava represents a cycle of birth and death, but I don't see how DO as a whole is a circle.

Also I don't think it's correct to say that craving leads to ignorance, or that cessation of craving leads to cessation of ignorance - it's actually the other way round, ie ignorance leads to craving.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

Dinsdale
Posts: 5986
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:19 am

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:15 am
A worse taint than these is ignorance, the worst of all taints. Destroy this one taint and become taintless, O monks!
This does suggest that ignorance is the prime mover.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 1742
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: Does ignorance originates from defilement ?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:49 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:19 am
Bundokji wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:15 am
A worse taint than these is ignorance, the worst of all taints. Destroy this one taint and become taintless, O monks!
This does suggest that ignorance is the prime mover.
Yes, but it is also an outcome. I think of it as the root of a tree, if you cut the root the tree will die away, but the tree and the root are one system/structure.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider] and 14 guests