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AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:57 am
by mikenz66
AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi


Bhikkhus, possessing three qualities and without having abandoned three stains, one is deposited in hell as if brought there. What three?
(1) One is immoral and has not abandoned the stain of immorality.
(2) One is envious and has not abandoned the stain of envy.
(3) One is miserly and has not abandoned the stain of miserliness.
Possessing these three qualities and without having abandoned these three stains, one is deposited in hell as if brought there.

“Bhikkhus, possessing three qualities and having abandoned three stains, one is deposited in heaven as if brought there. What three?
(1) One is virtuous and has abandoned the stain of immorality.
(2) One is not envious and has abandoned the stain of envy.
(3) One is not miserly and has abandoned the stain of miserliness.
Possessing these three qualities and having abandoned these three stains, one is deposited in heaven as if brought there.”

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:37 pm
by phil
Hi Mike, all

This seems confusing to me. Surely only the ariyan has abandoned such stains, but all who are not Ariyan are not deposited in hell. I thought it was only certain very bad deeds that are said to guarantee rebirth in the hell realm, killing one's parents etc.

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:53 pm
by santa100
phil wrote:This seems confusing to me. Surely only the ariyan has abandoned such stains, but all who are not Ariyan are not deposited in hell. I thought it was only certain very bad deeds that are said to guarantee rebirth in the hell realm, killing one's parents etc.
Hell must've been a crowded place and it's not only limited to those who committed the 5 heinous crimes. Even for the 5 precept violation, if one's indulged in and continue to pursue, there's a good chance one'd end up in there too, as per AN 8.40:
AN 8.40 wrote:Monks, the taking of life — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from the taking of life is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to a short life span.

Stealing... Sexual misconduct...

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:55 am
by phil
santa100 wrote:
phil wrote:This seems confusing to me. Surely only the ariyan has abandoned such stains, but all who are not Ariyan are not deposited in hell. I thought it was only certain very bad deeds that are said to guarantee rebirth in the hell realm, killing one's parents etc.
Hell must've been a crowded place and it's not only limited to those who committed the 5 heinous crimes. Even for the 5 precept violation, if one's indulged in and continue to pursue, there's a good chance one'd end up in there too, as per AN 8.40:
AN 8.40 wrote:Monks, the taking of life — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from the taking of life is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to a short life span.

Stealing... Sexual misconduct...
Thanks santa100. Yes, not only the heinous crimes, but other evil deeds "when indulged in, developed and pursued" (good way to put it for any transgression level defilements.)

It's an imponderable, I guess. We don't know which kamma from which lifetime is going to condition the rebirth citta so we should just try to keep our feet as clean as possible, so to speak, and keep our eyes on the present moment.

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:19 am
by mikenz66
phil wrote: It's an imponderable, I guess. We don't know which kamma from which lifetime is going to condition the rebirth citta so we should just try to keep our feet as clean as possible...
Yes, I think that's a useful way to approach these "Heaven and Hell" suttas.
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 93#p342393

:heart:
Mike

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:20 pm
by SDC
phil wrote:Hi Mike, all

This seems confusing to me. Surely only the ariyan has abandoned such stains, but all who are not Ariyan are not deposited in hell. I thought it was only certain very bad deeds that are said to guarantee rebirth in the hell realm, killing one's parents etc.
Hi Phil,

There is a good deal of space between heaven and hell, i.e. ghost, animal and human realms. With that, I think it is fair to assume that behavior that lands somewhere between those positions described in the two verses would correspond to something other than heaven or hell. I imagine the first verse has more to do with a lack of recognition - and therefore effort against - immorality, envy and miserliness; in that, those stains and qualities are not recognized as unwholesome and are fully embraced, whereas the second is that full abandonment. Surely one can live a mixed life which would avoid either direction.

Just my 2 pennies.

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:13 pm
by phil
SDC wrote:
phil wrote:Hi Mike, all

This seems confusing to me. Surely only the ariyan has abandoned such stains, but all who are not Ariyan are not deposited in hell. I thought it was only certain very bad deeds that are said to guarantee rebirth in the hell realm, killing one's parents etc.
Hi Phil,

There is a good deal of space between heaven and hell, i.e. ghost, animal and human realms. With that, I think it is fair to assume that behavior that lands somewhere between those positions described in the two verses would correspond to something other than heaven or hell. I imagine the first verse has more to do with a lack of recognition - and therefore effort against - immorality, envy and miserliness; in that, those stains and qualities are not recognized as unwholesome and are fully embraced, whereas the second is that full abandonment. Surely one can live a mixed life which would avoid either direction.

Just my 2 pennies.


Hi SDC

"A lack of recognition - and therfore effort against - immorality..." Well said.

As agreed with Mike above, no value in pondering probability of rebirth destination. Good to keep the possible implications of our behaviour in mind though - a way of recognizing poorly developed sila - that's why the teaching is there. And for the destinations that are aspired to as well.

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:51 pm
by SDC
phil wrote:Good to keep the possible implications of our behaviour in mind though - a way of recognizing poorly developed sila - that's why the teaching is there. And for the destinations that are aspired to as well.
Indeed, it is not a good idea to obsess over it, nor to behave for that sort of payoff. I mean, it would surely be better than hell, but it is not exactly something you can control. The suttas indicate time and time again how action will determine destinations, and even though we cannot predict it, I guess it is the best bet to do what would correspond to heaven (or just become an arahat ;) ).

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:55 am
by L.N.
mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:57 am
Bhikkhus, possessing three qualities and without having abandoned three stains, one is deposited in hell as if brought there. What three?
(1) One is immoral and has not abandoned the stain of immorality.
(2) One is envious and has not abandoned the stain of envy.
(3) One is miserly and has not abandoned the stain of miserliness.
Possessing these three qualities and without having abandoned these three stains, one is deposited in hell as if brought there.

“Bhikkhus, possessing three qualities and having abandoned three stains, one is deposited in heaven as if brought there. What three?
(1) One is virtuous and has abandoned the stain of immorality.
(2) One is not envious and has abandoned the stain of envy.
(3) One is not miserly and has abandoned the stain of miserliness.
Possessing these three qualities and having abandoned these three stains, one is deposited in heaven as if brought there.”
Brings to mind the following:
There are these four types of people to be found existing in the world. Which four? One in darkness who is headed for darkness, one in darkness who is headed for light, one in light who is headed for darkness, and one in light who is headed for light.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

The "stain" brings to mind "darkness," and the contrast between immoral/virtuous etc. brings to mind the direction in which one is headed.

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:28 am
by Sein
Hi all,
I have a few questions.
1. What is immoral then? Is it just violate of the Patimokkha/or the 5 Precepts or include the whole bunch of sila restraint of senses, reflect on food, medicine, etc,... ?
2. I understand envy is bad. But why miserly? Surely a person/monk who live a minimalist life could be a little stingy? For example, if I'm down on my luck, hungry and have a last bowl of rice. If someone beg for it, sure I could be miserly?

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:06 pm
by Dhammanando
Sein wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:28 am
1. What is immoral then? Is it just violate of the Patimokkha/or the 5 Precepts or include the whole bunch of sila restraint of senses, reflect on food, medicine, etc,... ?
The commentarial gloss is dussīlabhāvo dussīlyaṃ, "state of immoral conduct, immorality". The first term generally refers to the ten unwholesome courses of kamma, the second to transgressions of the five precepts. So combining the two, avoiding the stain of bad sīla would mean practising the ten kusala kammapatha + abstaining from intoxicants.

Sein wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:28 am
2. I understand envy is bad. But why miserly? Surely a person/monk who live a minimalist life could be a little stingy? For example, if I'm down on my luck, hungry and have a last bowl of rice. If someone beg for it, sure I could be miserly?
The five forms of stinginess:
“Monks, there are these five forms of stinginess. Which five? Stinginess as to one’s lodgings (āvāsa-macchariya), stinginess as to one’s family [of supporters] (kula-macchariya), stinginess as to one’s gains (lābha-macchariya), stinginess as to one’s status (vaṇṇa-macchariya), and stinginess as to the Dhamma (dhamma-macchariya). These are the five forms of stinginess. And the meanest of these five is this: stinginess as to the Dhamma.”
(Macchariya Sutta)
Fourfold description of stinginess:
‘Stinginess’ is the state of being stingy. It has, (1) as characteristic, the concealing of one’s property, either attained or about to be attained; (2) the not enduring the sharing of one’s property in common with others, as function; (3) the shrinking from such sharing, or niggardliness or sour feeling as manifestation; (4) one’s own property as proximate cause; and it should be regarded as mental ugliness.
(Atthasālinī)
However, not every instance of non-sharing is necessarily an instance of stinginess, for prudential non-sharing may proceed from an undefiled intention. For example, regarding stinginess as to one’s lodgings:
The whole monastery, a cell, a single room, and night and day chambers are called lodgings. Those living in such live at ease, get the requisites. A certain bhikkhu does not desire the coming there of a certain dutiful and amiable bhikkhu, and thinks, ‘Now that he has come may he go away quickly!’ This is called ‘stinginess as to one’s lodgings’. But it is not called this in one who is adverse to the arrival there of quarrelsome ascetics.
(Atthasālinī)
Many other examples are given of things that may look like macchariya but are not.

Re: AN 3.10 Mala Sutta. Stains.

Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:14 pm
by santa100
Sein wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:28 am
Hi all,
I have a few questions.
1. What is immoral then? Is it just violate of the Patimokkha/or the 5 Precepts or include the whole bunch of sila restraint of senses, reflect on food, medicine, etc,... ?
2. I understand envy is bad. But why miserly? Surely a person/monk who live a minimalist life could be a little stingy? For example, if I'm down on my luck, hungry and have a last bowl of rice. If someone beg for it, sure I could be miserly?
1. Probably the 5 Precepts at the fundamental level. Obviously if one is a monk, then there's more stringent requirements for the bar is set higher for monastics.

2. Again, depends on where one is on the Path. But even at the fundamental level of a decent moral lay person, s/he should at least shows some understanding/empathy toward that fellow human being who is also down on his luck, hungry, and worse than you, does not have that last bowl of rice. Matter of fact, only during the darkest and most challenging time would it'd be possible to truly distinguish the moral from the immoral. It's so easy to be moral when everything is nice and rosy.