The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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WorldTraveller
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by WorldTraveller » Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:03 pm

Ad hominem comment removed by moderator.
Sorry to the Mod for causing extra work :smile:
“Do not go by oral tradition, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a canonical tradition, by logical reasoning, by inferential reasoning, by reasoned cogitation, by the acceptance of a view after pondering it, by the seeming competence of a speaker, or because you think: ‘The ascetic is our guru.’”
- Kālāma-sutta

Lal
Posts: 238
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:23 am

Wrong Views (Miccā Ditthi) – A Simpler Analysis

Miccā means wrong or incorrect and ditthi means views.
- Here it is specifically about the wrong views about our world or our existence. It is the most basic reason why people cannot grasp the message of the Buddha, and that is unfortunate. We all are looking at the world through “colored glasses”; each one has his/her own set of beliefs or “ditthis“, so we cannot see the real nature.
- Some facts about nature are hard to believe, and it took the efforts of many scientists to change two common wrong views (ditthis) that had been with the humans up to recently: that the Earth is flat and it is at the center of the universe.

1. These days, most of us believe that the Earth moves around the Sun. But it is quite clear that it goes against our experience, and the accepted views were the opposites even a few hundred years ago. We do not have any direct experience of the motion of the Earth, either its rotation around its own axis or in its orbit around the Sun. And we see ample evidence to the contrary, i.e., for the Sun rotating around the Earth, because we experience a sunrise and a sunset everyday!

- If one looks at the speeds involved it becomes even more harder to believe that the Earth is moving: The Earth moves around its axis at a speed of about 1000 miles/hour at the equator (and zero at the North and South Poles) and it moves along its orbit around the Sun at an average speed of about 67,000 miles/hour. Thus it is surprising that we have no direct perception of such movements.
- Of course, we do not feel it because everything around us is also doing exactly the same thing. When we travel in a car, we “feel the ride” because we can see the scenery passing by (and because the ride may not be smooth; luckily, the Earth is very smooth in its motions). It is the “relative motion” that we perceive. If two cars are moving in parallel with the same speed, passengers in each car see the other car to be stationary.
- However, after Galileo invented the telescope, people made more precision measurements of the planets and the heliocentric model was needed to explain all those new findings.

2. But there are many people who still believe that the Sun goes around the Earth! To quote a passage from the Wikipedia article: "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocentric_model"

“..Morris Berman quotes survey results that show currently some 20% of the U.S. population believes that the sun goes around the Earth (geocentricism) rather than the Earth goes around the sun (heliocentricism), while a further 9% claimed not to know. Polls conducted by Gallup in the 1990s found that 16% of Germans, 18% of Americans and 19% of Britons hold that the Sun revolves around the Earth. A study conducted in 2005 by Jon D. Miller of Northwestern University, an expert in the public understanding of science and technology, found that about 20%, or one in five, of American adults believe that the Sun orbits the Earth. According to 2011 VTSIOM poll, 32% of Russians believe that the Sun orbits the Earth”.
And, there are even some who believe that the Earth is flat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_fla ... _societies

3. Therefore, sometimes it is very hard to get rid of certain “wrong views” because of our “experiences” and “gut feelings”. Yet, if one hangs onto such wrong views (in the face of contrary evidence) one cannot get a correct world view. This is why we always need to “look at the big picture”; the “bigger the picture”, the better it is. It is hard to see much details while walking on the ground, but one see a whole lot better looking down from a helicopter.
- Luckily, nowadays, we have the advantage of technology to confirm that the Earth is not flat and that it moves around the Sun.

4. Similarly, it is very hard for many people to believe that humans could be reborn as animals. One argument that was given in a book that refuted rebirth was that “..in that case, the human population should not be changing, but we see an increase of the human population over the past centuries”. Apparently, the author did not even consider that a human could be born an animal. Again, it is matter of a very narrow world view. There are innumerable beings in this world and they can be born in not only in the animal and human realms, but 29 other realms that we cannot see!

- When Darwin presented his theory of evolution, it made a huge psychological impact on the society, which was not ready to accept that humans evolved from animals. It is said that Darwin did not publish his now-famous volume, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, until 1859, more than 20 years after he had first formulated his theory because he knew that it would create an uproar.
- The theory of evolution is only partially correct according to Buddha Dhamma; we will discuss this in detail in the future. When conditions for a birth in certain realm are satisfied, the nature has come up with many ways to make that birth take place.
- Accepting the fact that human can be BORN in the animal realm is an even more shocking thing to contemplate for many people. But we should not just go by our instincts, because the world is much more complex than we perceive with our limited senses.
- Even though we consider the life of an animal as “useless”, life is the most important thing in the world even for the lowest worm. All living beings have craving to continue the life they have, regardless of how pathetic it appears to us. Our “smelly bodies” are said to be repulsive to the devas who have fine bodies that are free of diseases as well.

6. When the Buddha said, “..those who depart from the human realm, those will be reborn as humans or devas can be compared to the few grains of sand that I pick up on my fingernail. Those who are reborn in the lower four realms are exceedingly many, compared to the sand on this great Earth”, it appears to most people as an exaggeration.

- But as described in the post, “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm“, modern science is slowly proving that indeed the number of living beings, just in the animal realm, is unimaginably large, and that human population of about 7 billion is negligibly small. There are more living beings in your backyard soil.

7. Of course we cannot see the beings in the other three lower realms. But, just because they are not amenable to our senses, we cannot say they do not exist.

- Human vision is restricted to an almost infinitesimal sliver of 400 to 700 nanometers in the wavelength spectrum. Our ears can detect only 20 to 20,000 Hertz audio frequencies. Other animals use their own “bands” above and below that. Human beings have one of the poorest senses of smell of all the organisms on Earth., etc; see the book, “The Meaning of Human Existence” by Edward O. Wilson, who is a leading biologist.
- Another way to think about this is to contemplate on the fact that there are hundreds of TV or radios broadcasts that can be “tapped into” by having a TV or a radio set to the right channel. Just because we cannot “see” those electromagnetic waves with our eyes, we cannot say they are not all around us. There are other living beings all around us with such fine bodies, we just cannot see them.
- We have only begun “see” other hidden parts of “our world” with the aid of science; see, “Expanding “Consciousness” by Using Technology“.

8. Even though scientific progress has been impressive, it takes generations to move the “knowledge base” forward; see, “Dhamma and Science – Introduction“.

- On the other hand, by PURIFYING the mind, one can discern EVERYTHING that is of importance within a lifetime; see, “Expanding “Consciousness” by Purifying the Mind“, and the power of the mind in the posts starting with, “Power of the Human Mind – Introduction“.
- That is how the Buddha knew about not only the existence of innumerable planetary systems in the universe (many other examples are discussed in other posts), but also about the fact that this life of about 100 years in insignificant in the rebirth process.
- And there is compelling evidence for rebirth; see, “Evidence for Rebirth“.

9. Without the “correct view” of this world, we will be simply “groping in the dark”. When one has only a narrow and blurred vision, one cannot move forward. If one believes that this is the only life we have, then one could be making bad decisions, that could affect one’s future for billions of years to come.

- That is why it is worthwhile at least to examine the evidence of the “wider world view” of the Buddha, where both space and time are infinite. While modern science has confirmed the infinite extent of space, it has not yet “discovered” the fact that life does not end at physical death; it is just the end of one insignificantly small sliver of the time span of a sentient being.

10. Most people think the First Noble Truth is about suffering in the sense of just physical or mental suffering IN THIS LIFE; that is wrong. Those are RESULTS of past actions (kamma). But that suffering is NOT what the First Noble Truth is about; it is about the FUTURE suffering that CAN BE stopped.

- The First Noble Truth is about the suffering that is hidden and can manifest in the future. It is the unavoidable suffering for anyone in this cycle of rebirths, until one grasps the “correct world view”.
- This is why the Buddha said, “my Dhamma has never been heard before”. It is hard to grasp until one is willing to spend some time and examine the “bigger picture”. One should not just go by one’s instincts, but rather by the facts.

11. This is also why “Sammā Ditthi” or “correct view” comes first in both versions of the Eightfold Path. Yes. There are two versions of the path: One is mundane (lōkiya) and is easier to grasp. The other is transcendental (lōkōttara) and requires the comprehension of Tilakkhana or the Three Characteristics of this world, i.e., anicca, dukkha, anatta.

- Before trying to comprehend the Tilakkhana, it is imperative that one follows the mundane eightfold path and removes all ten types of miccā ditthi; they are discussed in “Maha Chattarisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty)“.
- When one starts understanding the validity of laws of kamma (i.e., deeds have consequences), rebirth must be true, and there are other realms that we cannot see, one begins to embrace the mundane version of Sammā Ditthi.

12. With that Sammā Ditthi, one realizes that it is not fruitful to: think immoral thoughts (miccā sankappa), utter inappropriate speech (miccā vācā), do inappropriate things (miccā kammanta), live an immoral life (miccā ājiva), to strive to achieve unfruitful things (miccā vāyāma), have an immoral mindfulness (miccā sati), and thus get into an immoral state (miccā samādhi).

- Even if we can “get away” from paying for misdeeds in this life, we will have to pay with interest in the future lives. Similarly, any good deeds will be rewarded in future lives, if not within this life itself.
- Thus, with correct views or Sammā Ditthi, one will be automatically following the mundane eightfold path: Sammā Sankappa, Sammā Vācā, Sammā Kammanta, Sammā Ājiva, Sammā Vāyāma, Sammā Sati, and thus get to Sammā Samādhi. It all starts with Sammā Ditthi, or the “correct views”.

13. It is not a world view that is amenable to our “experience”, because our sense faculties are limited as we discussed above. But as we make progress, our minds will become clear and we WILL be able to see for ourselves the true nature of this world.
- There is a lot of evidence that what the Buddha said about “the wider world” 2500 years ago are indeed true. We are lucky to be born at the time when efforts of many generations of scientists have confirmed many of his world views, and that should give us confidence (saddhā) to take those views serious enough to spend some time examining the evidence.
- My goal is to present evidence from many aspects, because different people comprehend different aspects.

14. Such a critical evaluation itself could be enough to dispel any wrong views. It is like lifting of a fog and being able to see clearly. When the mind becomes pure, one does not need “evidence from science” to confirm the worldview of the Buddha.

- The lōkōttara version of Sammā Ditthi (which requires the comprehension of Tilakkhana to some extent) and the corresponding Noble Eightfold Path is discussed in other posts in the “Seeking Nibbana” section. Also, see, “Buddha Dhamma – In a Chart” and the post referred to in that chart: “What is Unique in Buddha Dhamma?“.

Lal
Posts: 238
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:41 am

This post is an introduction to āsava and gati (pronounced "gathi", like in "three"), which are key concepts in Buddha Dhamma. I have not seen these, especially gati, discussed in English. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions.

The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Asavas)

1. The saying, “Birds of a feather flock together”, is true and we can see that all around us.

- We can put people into various categories: sportsmen/sportswomen, thieves, politicians, murderers, church goers, environmentalists, liberals, conservatives, etc.
- In a school, kids tend to get in to different groups too: those who play sports, like partying, nerds, geeks, etc.
Of course, there may be some overlaps, but we can clearly see people tend to socialize with those who have common interests, likings, etc.

2. This is a universal principle. A basic rule in chemistry is that “like molecules” stay together.

- We all know that oil and water do not mix together; the two molecules are very different. On the other hand, water molecules stay together happily, as do oil molecules, by themselves.

3. Buddha Dhamma describes laws of nature. So it is not surprising that the law of attraction comes naturally out of Dhamma. There are three key words in Dhamma that are relevant: habits, character (gati; pronounced “gathi”, like in “three”), and cravings (āsavās); see, “Habits and Goals, and Character (Gathi)“. Actually, some of the habits we take from life-to-life, see, “Sansaric Habits, Character (Gathi) and Cravings (Asava)”.

4. The law of attraction can be explained with Paticca Samuppāda, the principle of cause and effect in Dhamma; see, “Paticca Samuppāda – Introduction“.

- “Pati + ichcha” means associate or bind with something one likes. “sama + uppāda” means what results (uppāda) from that is something similar (sama) in kind; i.e., that association leads to an outcome of the same kind.
- If a child hangs out willingly and enthusiastically with others who like to work hard and enjoy getting good grades, then the child will continue on that path to success. The more a child willingly hangs out with a criminal gang, his mentality becomes more attuned to criminal behavior, and becomes a criminal capable of doing atrocious crimes.
- Thus, in Buddha Dhamma it says, “gati (character) attracts a similar gati”. We will see this developed into a very deep meaning.

5. However, Dhamma says this law of attraction does not need to be fatalistic, i.e., one with a set of bad habits/cravings does not have to go down a slippery slope. One CAN change those habits/cravings GRADUALLY and thus change one’s character (gati).

However, a child is not capable of doing this on his/her own. That is why it is parents’ responsibility to direct the child:
- Parents can make a HUGE contribution in setting up good habits/cravings in a child starting from the point of conception. The love and care the parent feel towards each other IS FELT by the fetus. That is as important, perhaps more important, than the food consumed by the mother. A child born into an environment of abuse or violence may develop life-long problems.
- As the child grows, child’s behavior and habits are influenced HUGELY by the parents, friends, and the school environment. It is the responsibility of the parents and teachers to guide the child.
- The reason is that the manōmaya kaya of the child is aware of the surroundings even from the very early stages, even though it does not have any control over the situation; thus it is affected by the “environment”; see, “Manomaya Kaya (Gandhabba) and the Physical Body“.

6. When one becomes an adult, one has full control. Even if the child years were not good, and even if one has acquired a set of bad habits (or even sansāric habits that have molded one’s character in fundamental ways), it is POSSIBLE to change them.

- One can use the same Paticca Samuppāda principle to change direction.
- All one needs to do is to change the “pati+ichcha” part, i.e., to change one’s likings or habits. Then “sama+uppāda” will happen automatically. That is nature’s law.

7. First, though, one needs to convince one’s own mind that the current path will lead to a bad destiny; one needs to contemplate the bad consequences of staying on the same wrong path. AND one also needs to contemplate the benefits of cultivating good habits.

- For example, a smoker cannot just make a New Year resolution and stop smoking (a few can, but most cannot). Instead, it is better first to look at all the medical evidence out there that show strong evidence that one could die early, and also may be burdened in old age with lung problems if one continued smoking. One could talk to someone who has given up smoking and listen to that person’s “success story”, or think about not having to see the annoyance of those who are around when one lights a cigarette, etc.

8. When one acquires “good habits” (initially slowly and with effort), one is attracted to people, settings, work places, environments that further nurture and grow those habits, which in turn change one’s character; thus the process becomes self-feeding once started.

- This is the law of attraction as embedded in Paticca Samuppāda: “pati+ichcha” leading to “sama+uppāda“. Thus it is critical to develop a liking (chanda) and desire (citta) for what one wants to accomplish, and to critically analyze the situation (vimansa), and make an effort (viriya); see, “The Four Bases of Mental Power (Satara Iddhipada)“.
- When one embraces certain ways and activities (good or bad), those become habits. In Sinhala, it is said that, “නිතර කරන දෙය ගති වෙනවා”. When one keeps doing this over and over and possibly over numerous rebirths, they get deeply embedded as deep-seated cravings (āsavās). Those gati (character) also become “bhava” as well; whatever that is liked becomes one’s existence (bhava) or reality; in Sinhala, “තිබෙන බව”).
- When one has certain character (gati) it becomes easy to get into the corresponding “state” or existence; this is one meaning of bhava. For example, one with a “drinking habit” is easy to be “born” in that state, i.e., just the sight of a bar may cause that person to get drunk. This is the concept extended in Buddha Dhamma: It is easy to be “born” with those characteristics in a new birth (uppatti bhava) or even in daily activities (pavutti bhava). This a bit deeper concept discussed in the paticca samuppāda section; see, for example, “Akusala-Mula Paticca Samuppāda“.

9. The problem many people run into is that they would like to change quickly and that does not normally happen. Initial progress could be slow. However, when one gets traction, the process speeds up. It is like trying to reverse the direction of a moving car: one needs stop going in the wrong direction first. Then when one starts the car facing the right direction, it takes a little while to accelerate and ramp up the speed. See, “Habits, Goals, and Character (Gathi)“, and the links there. Let us consider two examples:

- If one wants to be a successful businessman, then one should try to “build up” habits that business people have: knowledge of the particular business, learning relevant skills, hard work, etc. THEN the law of attraction starts working and will pull one to others with similar interests and environments or conditions automatically.
- If a high-school kid wants to go to college, then he/she should make an effort to get into that mindset: Spending more time deciding what kinds of subjects to study, and then get “immersed” in it. The parent and teachers can make a big difference by encouragement and guiding in the correct path.
- If someone wants to attain “nirāmisa sukha” (see, “Three Kinds of Happiness – What is Niramisa Sukha?“), one needs to spend some time and first learn the true Dhamma. As one learns, one gets motivated to learn more, because one starts feeling the change in one’s character (gati).
- In all cases, one will be attracting external influences (friends, other interests, etc.) conducive to that effort automatically. AND one will lose some of the old influences too. Obviously, the ideal settings for the above examples could be different from each other, but not contradictory.
- Before trying to attain Nibbāna, a person with family responsibilities will need to fulfill those by making an income to support the family; a child needs to study well and find good employment. If one does not have the necessities of life (food, housing, clothing, and medicine) it is not possible to contemplate, let alone meditate.

10. Finally, the law of attraction works in the sansāric rebirth process too.

- Many are reborn to the same families, same geographic locations, etc (within the same "bhava", which I will explain in a future post).
- At the moment of death, one is automatically “pulled” to a “matching birth” according to one’s kamma vipāka and also one’s habits and tendencies. One who has lived an immoral life is likely get a similar outcome in the next life: one who “lives like an animal” is likely to become an animal. One who lives like a “Deva” (a being devoid of hate) or a “Brahma” (a being devoid of greed and hate), is likely to reborn a Deva, Brahma.
- Thus by cultivating good habits and getting rid of bad habits, one CAN change the direction of one’s current life (character) AND future lives too.
- The best way to do this is to be mindful all the time. See the bad consequences of bad actions and bad habits and avoid them; see the good consequences of good actions and good habits and embrace them. At the very basic level this is what is stated in the Anapanasati, Satipattana, and Sabbāsava sutta (taking in what is good and getting rid of what is bad).

11. Currently, there are several books written on the subject of the law of attraction and how one can use certain procedures to attain goals, build relationships, etc. The Buddha described those and more 2500 years ago.

12. Many people think kamma is deterministic, for example if one is born to poverty that is one’s destiny, but that is NOT the case. Kamma is not deterministic; see, “What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma?“) The human mind is very powerful, and if used right (by purifying it and then using it mindfully), the possibilities are endless: see, “Power of the Human Mind – Introduction” for more details.

whynotme
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by whynotme » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:27 pm

Lal wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:00 pm
Hello Mike,

So, are you saying that an Arahant generates new vinnana, just because his/her vinnanakkhanadha exists until Parinibbana?

An Arahant does have a vinnanakkhandha that has accumulated from a "beginning-less time". But that does not mean he/she generates NEW vinnana AFTER attaining Arahanthood.

As I pointed out above, all suffering (rebirths) are due to the generation of vinnana, and attaining Nibbana is the same as "vinnana nirodha", i.e., no NEW vinnana arise in an Arahant. If you translate that verse differently to mean something else, please explain what it means.
Hi Lai,

I read many of your articles, and quite respect your opinion. Your writing skill is so powerful, did you write all the articles in your website yourself? Quite a large volume, it must be very time consuming.

Here is the point that I think is not true. So, as you said, an arahant does not have conscious. If he does not have conscious, how can he feel anything?

My opinion is that, whenever there is feeling, there is perception, whenever there is perception, there is consciousness. It is from this "Mahavedalla Sutta"

"Feeling, perception, & consciousness, friend: Are these qualities conjoined or disjoined? Is it possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them?"

"Feeling, perception, & consciousness are conjoined, friend, not disjoined. It is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them. For what one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, that one cognizes. Therefore these qualities are conjoined, not disjoined, and it is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them."


So if an arahant has feeling, then he must have conscious, according to that sutta. So because sanna and feeling exist in all citta, consciousness must exist in all cita.

On the other hand, I think not only that, all vedana, sanna, vinnana and sankara co exist on every ctita, because the feature of sankara is creation. Without sankara, how can a citta or anything else can be formed? Everything is formed by sankara, both vinnana and sanna are formed by sankara. Vedana, sanna, sankara and vinnana are just the different sides of a single object, they are not separable.

This is the first point I want hear your view.

---------------------

The second point I want you to clear, is that you mentioned the Tipitaka is preserved perfectly from the Buddha, and is consistent with facts. But let's take a look at this text from Maha-parinibbana Sutta

The Grief of the Gods
7. At that time the Venerable Upavana was standing before the Blessed One, fanning him. And the Blessed One rebuked him, saying: "Move aside, bhikkhu, do not stand in front of me."

8. And to the Venerable Ananda came the thought: "This Venerable Upavana has been in attendance on the Blessed One for a long time, closely associating with him and serving him. Yet now, right at the end, the Blessed One rebukes him. What now could be the reason, what the cause for the Blessed One to rebuke the Venerable Upavana, saying: 'Move aside, bhikkhu, do not stand in front of me'?"

9-10. And the Venerable Ananda told his thought to the Blessed One. The Blessed One said: "Throughout the tenfold world-system, Ananda, there are hardly any of the deities that have not gathered together to look upon the Tathagata. For a distance of twelve yojanas around the Sala Grove of the Mallas in the vicinity of Kusinara there is not a spot that could be pricked with the tip of a hair that is not filled with powerful deities. And these deities, Ananda, are complaining: 'From afar have we come to look upon the Tathagata. For rare in the world is the arising of Tathagatas, Arahants, Fully Enlightened Ones. And this day, in the last watch of the night, the Tathagata's Parinibbana will come about. But this bhikkhu of great powers has placed himself right in front of the Blessed One, concealing him, so that now, at the very end, we are prevented from looking upon him.' Thus, Ananda, the deities complain."

That text said that the deities complained that Ven Upavana did stand in front of the Buddha, concealing him, so they could not see the Buddha.

As far as I read your articles, you said that all deva, brahma, gandhabba, and human with super abilities use sanna to hear and see at distance, so they all can see through wall and physical objects. That article is the reason I respect your website and opinion, because not many people know this fact, especially scholars and scholarly monks. So how can the deities complain about the physical body of ven Upavana preventing them from seeing the Buddha, if they all use sanna to perceive the image?

This is clearly the evident that the Tipitaka is tampered by mundane people, without the sanna divine eye, who think that deities see by electromagnetic wave in straight line similar to human. And this must be not false. So the Tipitaka is tampered.

So can you please discuss on these two points?

Regards
Please stop following me

Lal
Posts: 238
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:01 am

Hi whynotme!

Yes. I have written all the posts at the websites.

Regarding your first question: "So, as you said, an arahant does not have conscious."

I have never said that an Arahant does not have consciousness.
This is an important issue (viññāna) that I have written a lot on this thread. There is a summery of a partial list of what I have written about on Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:14 am on p. 41. From that summary, I have written about viññāna at least in the following postings:
“Nine Stages of a Thought (Citta)” August 19, 2018 (p. 22).
“Two Types of Vinnana – We Have Control Over Kamma Vinnana” explained August 21, 2018 (p. 23).
“Amazingly Fast Time Evolution of a Thought (Citta)” explained September 18, 2018 (p. 31).
“Vinnana is not contact (phassa)” explained September 21, 2018 (p. 32).
Nibbana meaning explained October 1, 2018 (p. 34)

You may want to read those. Basically, the problem arises when viññāna is translated as "consciousness".
- Viññāna should be translated as "defiled consciousness'.

When one progresses on the Noble Path, one's viññāna will be purified in stages (Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami, Arahant). At the Arahant stage, it is totally purified. That means no defiled thoughts that have lobha (greed), dosa (anger), and moha (ignorance about the true nature of this world) arise in an Arahant.

In fact, an Arahant has the best awareness or consciousness.
- Because an Arahant has seen the "suffering -filled and unfruitful nature of this this world", he/she will not grasp a new existence at the time of death. Therefore, an Arahant will not be reborn in this this world of 31 realms. He/she will "merged with Nibbana".
- Therefore, at death an Arahant's consciousness cease to exist,i.e., he/she will not be reborn anywhere in this world of 31 realms. That is why it is called "Parinibbana" or "completed Nibbana" at the death of an Arahant.
- The Buddha has said that "Nibbana exists", but not in this world.
- Details can be found at: "https://puredhamma.net/key-hidden-dhamm ... nibbana-2/".

P.S. Regarding your second question:

In order to understand why a deva with a fine body would not be able to see the Buddha in the situation described in the Maha Satipatthana Sutta, we need to understand how “seeing” occurs in a such a being with a fine body.

In Buddha Dhamma, seeing actually happens in a human at the cakkhu pasada rupa located in the “mental body”, also called gandhabba. The physical eyes are just like a camera taking a picture. That signal is sent to the brain and is processed by the brain, and is sent to the cakkhu pasada rupa where the actual “seeing” takes place.

- However, when the mental body (gandhabba) of a human comes out of the physical body, that gandhabba can “see” without the aid of eyes. This happens in Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE). Such OBE experiences happens commonly during heart surgeries where the gandhabba is forced out of the physical body. The book “Consciousness Beyond Life”, by Pim van Lommel (2010) gives detailed accounts of case studies by a cardiologist.
Once outside the physical body, a human gandhabba can “see’ without eyes, and can “see” long distances as well.

That is how those devas and brahma with “fine bodies” can see “long distances” too.
- However, when a human gandhabba is inside the physical body, it loses that capability to see over long distances. The mental body (gandhabba) is shielded by the solid human body.

This is the same reason that a deva or a brahma would not be able to “see” when the Buddha was shielded by that bhikkhu’s physical body. A body of a brahma is essentially similar to that of a human gandhabba. A deva has a coarser body, but the “seeing mechanism” could be the same as that of a human gandhabba.

That “blocking” of course happens only in close proximity. The “line of vision” is blocked only close proximity. For example, if we put our hand right in front of our eyes, we would not be able to see much of what is in front of us. However, as we move the hand away from the eyes, we will be able to see more and more.

I know that most people are not even aware of the concept of a gandhabba (mental body). This is not something that can be understood with even a few posts. However, it is very important to understand the concept of a gandhabba, since the ignorance of it one of the 10 types of micca ditthi as pointed out in my recent post on Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty) on Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:29 am on p. 42 of this thread.

More information on gandhabba (mental boy or manomaya kaya) can be found in the following sections: https://puredhamma.net/abhidhamma/gandh ... maya-kaya/ and https://puredhamma.net/living-dhamma/me ... gandhabba/

I will have a introductory post on it tomorrow, that will show the relevance of gandhabba in clarifying the difference between bhava and jati. It is not possible to explain the difference between bhava and jati without the existence of a gandhabba (mental body).

whynotme
Posts: 505
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:52 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by whynotme » Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:59 am

Lal wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:01 am
Hi whynotme!

I have never said that an Arahant does not have consciousness.
This is an important issue (viññāna) that I have written a lot on this thread. There is a summery of a partial list of what I have written about on Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:14 am on p. 41. From that summary, I have written about viññāna at least in the following postings:
“Nine Stages of a Thought (Citta)” August 19, 2018 (p. 22).
“Two Types of Vinnana – We Have Control Over Kamma Vinnana” explained August 21, 2018 (p. 23).
“Amazingly Fast Time Evolution of a Thought (Citta)” explained September 18, 2018 (p. 31).
“Vinnana is not contact (phassa)” explained September 21, 2018 (p. 32).
Nibbana meaning explained October 1, 2018 (p. 34)

You may want to read those. Basically, the problem arises when viññāna is translated as "consciousness".
- Viññāna should be translated as "defiled consciousness'.

When one progresses on the Noble Path, one's viññāna will be purified in stages (Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami, Arahant). At the Arahant stage, it is totally purified. That means no defiled thoughts that have lobha (greed), dosa (anger), and moha (ignorance about the true nature of this world) arise in an Arahant.

In fact, an Arahant has the best awareness or consciousness.
- Because an Arahant has seen the "suffering -filled and unfruitful nature of this this world", he/she will not grasp a new existence at the time of death. Therefore, an Arahant will not be reborn in this this world of 31 realms. He/she will "merged with Nibbana".
- Therefore, at death an Arahant's consciousness cease to exist,i.e., he/she will not be reborn anywhere in this world of 31 realms. That is why it is called "Parinibbana" or "completed Nibbana" at the death of an Arahant.
- The Buddha has said that "Nibbana exists", but not in this world.
- Details can be found at: "https://puredhamma.net/key-hidden-dhamm ... nibbana-2/".
Thank you for your detailed answer,

So it seem what you want to say is that an arahant will still have conscious, but does not have vinnana, because, as you said, vinnana is mistranslated as conscious.

If that is the point, then how can you explain the sutta above, in Pali http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pal ... ali.bd.htm

"Yā c'āvuso vedanā||
yā ca saññā||
yañ ca viññāṇaɱ||
ime dhammā saɱsaṭṭhā no visaɱsaṭṭhā,||
na ca labbhā imesaɱ dhammānaɱ||
vinibbhujitvā||
vinibbhujitvā||
nānākaraṇaɱ paññāpetuɱ.|| ||

Yañ c'āvuso vedeti taɱ sañjānāti,||
yaɱ sañjānāti taɱ vijānāti,||
tasmā ime dhammā sasaɱṭṭhā no visaɱsaṭṭhā,||
na ca labbhā imesaɱ dhammānaɱ||
vinibbhujitvā||
vinibbhujitvā||
nānākaraṇaɱ paññāpetun" ti


So basically, when there is vedana, there is sanna, when there is sanna, there is vinnana. This is in Pali, where vinnana is not translated into conscious yet.

So, based on this sutta, if the arahant has sanna, the arahant has vinnana.

Do you agree on this point or not, that the arahant still has vinnana? I DO NOT say an arahant has conscious, but vinnana. Do you agree that an arahant still has vinnana? If not, then how do you explain that sutta?

--------------------

Thank you againn for you effort in explaining the second point. But I am not satisfied. Here is the problem:

You said that, the gandhabba vision is blocked by human physical body. But in one of your article, you said that, gandhabba and deva vision is not blocked by physical object like wall, house.. They just give the intention to perceive something when they want, and the visual appear.

Now, there is contradiction.

1/ The gandhabba and deva in general, has direct visual perception, that is not blocked by physical object (wall, house...)
2/ The deva vision is blocked by human physical body.

So how do you explain this?

The only explanation is that, the human body is not a physical object. But given any explanation, if someone thinks any object can block the vision of the deva, he does not know how the vision of the deva works.

The vision of the deva does not works by straight line physics, but perception, or sanna. Sanna is a sankara that build the perception, e.g. in the dream, every object in the dream is built by sanna and sankara. When some one wants to see at something in the dream, he just perceives it, without any straight line. Near or far, blocked by object or not, he just perceives it, that why it is called sanna.

Sanna is a virtual vision system. For example, let say a camera captures the image of the real world surronding. On top of this, someone can make a software that build a virtual object, and insert into the image from the camera. The virtual objects are built by sanna. This is how sanna works.

It inserts whatever it want, anywhere it wants. Like in a movie, where the filmmaker can insert any object at anywhere he wants. He can delete any object that block a scene and give the focus to the main character. That is how sanna works, it just creates the visual perception. Nothing can block sanna, distance, mountain, wall, house, time... nothing can block sanna.

Do you agree that nothing can block sanna, Lai? I do not say nothing can block a gandhabba, but it seems the reason the gandhabba vision is blocked when inside a human body, is because the gandabba can not access sanna any more. It is similar to an awaken (not dreaming) person, when awake, human can not access perception, because conscious is strong. When conscious is weak, like in a dream, the sanna is strong. The supervision is just the ability to suppress conscious and access sanna.

So how can a human body blocking sanna?

---------------------

Above are two points. But Lai, I am still curious, how do you get your knowledge about gandhabba and sanna? Where do you get it?

1/ You see it yourself, e.g. you see how sanna works, you see the world of the gandhabba and rebirth?
2/ You read it from a source, e.g. Tipitaka, or a book. But it seems this is not the case, as the evidence in the tipitaka is weak and rare. Even the information is very unique and rare. Not many people know it.
3/ You get it from a teacher.

Where do you get your information? I ask this question because I want to verify the credit of your infomation.

Thank Lai,

Regards
Please stop following me

Lal
Posts: 238
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:42 am

Whynotme asked: “Do you agree on this point or not, that the arahant still has vinnana? “

Yes. I said that an Arahant has pure, undefiled vinnana.
- The problem here is that we need to understand that vinnana has different levels. Yes. At the base level is about consciousness. But that consciousness is defiled and distorted for a normal human. One does not perceive the external world as it really is.
- We call it water, whether we refer to a purified water that we drink, or water in the ocean (which is salty), or in a drain (which is dirty). One needs to understand which context we use that word "water".

Vinnana should be thoughts of the same way. It can have many levels of “purity”. Also it can have many varieties too: cakkhu vinnana, sota vinnana, etc which refer to seeing, hearing; vipaka vinnana and kamma vinnana too.
- So, we need to realize which type of vinnana is being talked about, for example in the Maha Vedalla Sutta that you referred to.

Whynotme asked: “Where do you get your information? I ask this question because I want to verify the credit of your infomation.”
All my explanations are based on the Tipitaka. It is just that some parts of the Tipitaka have been ignored, because those are not compatible with current explanations. When people run into such cases, they just simply say that those specific parts must have been incorporated later.
What I am saying is that the problems arise when people try to backup THEIR explanations by quoting sources outside the Tipitaka. Then it becomes really jumbled up. No one knows what is right and what is wrong. My explanations are all from the Tipitaka and self-consistent.

Anyway, I want to move onto the issue of bhava and jati. This may also help clarify the fact that Tipitaka is self-consistent. Before I came across the desanas of Waharaka Thero, this was something I had a lot of problems with: what is meant by bhava and what is meant by jati, as discussed below. The picture became crystal clear with the concept of gandhabba or “mental body”.

Before anyone objects that gandhabba is to do with the Mahyana concept of “anatarabhava”, one needs to understand what is meant by “antarabhava”. It means “in between bhava”. Gandhabba is not a state in between bhava. A human gandhabba is WITHIN the human bhava. In the human bhava (human existence), one can be born (jati) many times with a human body. This is explained in detail below.

Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein

There is much confusion about the terms “bhava” and “jāti“. But that does not need to be the case. Here we will clarify these two important terms in the paticca samuppāda (PS) cycles: "bhava paccaya jati".

By the way, jāti is pronounced “jāthi” with “th” sound as in “three”.

1. In both Pāli and Sinhala, jāti means birth; bhava means “තිබෙන බව” in Sinhala, or “existence”.

- When one gets a “human existence” or a human bhava, that can last thousands of years. Within that time, one can be born (jāti) with a physical human body many times.
- When one gets a human existence at a cuti-patisandhi moment, what is formed first is a “mental body” with a mind-base (hadaya vatthu), and a set of pasāda rupa. That “mental body” is called a gandhabba.
- When the gandhabba comes out either at death of the physical body or in an “out-of-body experience” (OBE), the physical body becomes inert; see, “Manomaya Kaya and Out-of-Body Experience (OBE)“.
- Details are available in two subsections: “Mental Body – Gandhabba” and “Gandhabba (Manomaya Kaya)“.

2. In rebirth stories, there is always a “time gap” between successive human births (jāti). They are separated by many years or at least a few years. In between those successive lives, that lifestream lives as a gandhabba, without a physical body.

- In most rebirth stories, the previous human life was terminated unexpectedly, like in an accident or a killing. Therefore, the kammic energy for the human bhava had not been exhausted, and the gandhabba just came out of the dead body and waited for another womb to enter.
- Furthermore, the Buddha has described how difficult it is to get a human existence; see, “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm“. If “bhava” is taken to be “birth”, then all those rebirth stories cannot be true.

3. From the Ratana Sutta; “..Na te bhavaṃ aṭṭhamamādiyanti“, means, “(A Sōtapanna) will not be born in an eighth bhava“. But there could be many rebirths within those seven bhava.

- For example, King Bimbisāra who was a Sotapanna died and was to have 14 rebirths; see, “Jana­vasabha Sutta (DN 18)“.

4. Also, “bha” means “establish”. When we have strong feelings about something, say we like something and thoughts “wheel around” in our mind about how to get it, that is very potent abhisankhāra; this mental power gets established in the “kamma bhava” as a kamma beeja (seed).

- This is also why it is easy to make kamma beeja or kamma bhava based on our gati (habits/character). Each person likes certain kinds of things. So, we keeping strengthening existing kamma beeja/kamma bhava, which, if strong enough, can lead to a rebirth with such “gati” or “bhava“, because that is what is “gets attached to” or ‘likely to grasp” or “upādāna“.

5. Let us take some examples.

- An alcoholic drinks habitually, and thus people refer to him as a drunkard. He has a drinking habit (gati) and a craving (āsava) for it.
- But he is not in a state of intoxication all the time, only when he is drunk, i.e., only when he is born in that “jāti“. The mindset of liking for a state of intoxication is the “bhava” corresponding to his “gati” (habit); he has that gati or bhava and thus he can be “born” (jāti) in that state easily.
- This is the “bhava paccayā jāti” step in paticca samuppāda (PS) cycles that operates during this life, leading him to get drunk many, many times.

6. On the other hand, someone who does not like to drink may even have an aversion for drinking alcohol. That person does not have “gati” or “bhava” for intoxication and thus it is unlikely that he will be “born” in that state. Therefore, it is unlikely that he will get drunk, or “be born” in that condition. The “bhava paccayā jāti” step in the PS cycle does not happen here, because the condition or the cause, bhava, is not there.

- A person who has a really bad temper has a “gati” or “bhava” for that, and thus may be born in that, i.e., may flare up with the slightest provocation. Another may have a less strong “angry bhava“, and a third person who is very calm may have only a trace of that “angry bhava“. The stronger the “bhava“, the easier it is to be born (jāti) in that “bhava“.
- Similarly, a person who may have excess greed will have a “gati” or “bhava” for that. And such a “greedy bhava” may have focused areas: some are greedy for food, some for power, some for fame, money, etc.

7. Bhava is intimately connected to gati (habits/character). One “builds up” a given bhava by engaging activities that cultivates that bhava; this happens via repeated paticca samuppāda cycles during a given life.

- An alcoholic does this by associating with friends who are alcoholics, frequenting places where they all hang out, etc. This is discussed in the “Akusala-Mula Pavutti (or Pravutti) Paticca Samuppada“.
- People with similar habits (“gati“) tend to “hang together” (see, “The Law of Attraction, Habits (Gati), and Cravings (Asavas)“, which accelerates that whole process.

8. The above examples describe how “pavutti kamma bhava” are made, i.e., how one prepares a certain bhava in this life via engaging in relevant sankhāra or kamma repeatedly.

- An alcoholic does this via manō, vaci, and kāya sankhāra: such thoughts (manō sankhāra) come to his mind often. Then he consciously thinks about such activities and speaks about them (vaci sankhāra), i.e., engages in vitakka and vicāra that are focused on drinking activities). Of course, he will also physically engage in such activities with kāya sankhāra.
- The more he does those, the stronger the “drinking bhava” or “drinking habit” becomes.
- Someone who has cultivated such a kamma bhava for drinking can be easily born in that state (getting drunk) many times DURING a life time.

9. Let us take another example. A child may enjoy torturing a cat or a dog. If this habit is not stopped, he may start gaining pleasure by torturing humans too.

- The “pati+ichcha sama+uppāda” cycle will take him to an extreme if not disrupted early enough. He will build a habit for doing it (i.e., born in that state) many times during the same lifetime.
- Those two are examples of the pavutti bhava described in the “Akusala-Mula Pavutti (or Pravutti) Paticca Samuppada“.

10. Such kamma bhava can get strong enough to become “uppatti bhava“, leading to rebirth in a “good existence” (deva, brahma) or a “bad existence” (animal, peta, etc).

- This is the real danger. At the dying moment one will be drawn (“upādāna“) to an environment that is compatible with ones prominent habits (gati) or bhava.
- Because one got attached willingly (i.e., upādāna), a similar bhava will result: i.e., pati+ichcha leading to sama+uppāda or paticca samuppāda. This is the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step.
- Thus an alcoholic (when reborn within the same human bhava) is prone to be born to family where the father or mother (or both) are alcoholics. That is the most suitable environment for his upādāna and bhava.
- One who enjoys torturing animals/humans may be born in niraya (hell) where there is incessant torture. Depending on the nature of the bhava one could be born there to impart torture on others or to be subjected to torture.

11. On the other hand, one who has benevolent qualities of a deva (i.e., deva bhava) could acquire “deva bhava” and be born a deva; one who has cultivated compassion for other beings (i.e., brahma bhava) may acquire “brahma bhava” and be born a brahma.

- Similarly, one who has developed disgraceful qualities of a dog may be acquire a “dog bhava“, and be born repeatedly a dog until that kammic energy is spent.
- It is the universal principle of “pati+ichcha sama+uppāda” working to yield an existence that is similar to the actions that one willingly engaged in; see, “Akusala-Mula Paticca Samuppada” and “Kusala-Mula Paticca Samuppada“.

12. A kamma beeja (seed) is also related to bhava; when one develops a habit (gati) by keep doing things related to it, that bhava or the kamma beeja gets stronger. It leads to “bhava paccayā jāti” under suitable conditions many times during this life itself.

- In the case of the person who developed a bhava for torturing other living beings may have that kamma seed being the one selected for next bhava.
- In that case, he may be born in the niraya repeatedly (many jāti) until the kammic energy for that kamma bhava is spent. This is an example of an uppatti kamma bhava.

13. Thus it becomes clear that one needs to look at the root cause for having certain habits or behavior patterns.

- We can go backwards in the PS to find the causes. To be born in a drunken state, one needs to have a bhava of an alcoholic.
- That bhava was conditioned via upādāna (willing and forceful embracing), which in turn was due to tanhā (getting attached to drinking), which was due to feeling (i.e., he got to like the “drunk” feeling, the state of intoxication), which was due to (san)phassa or contact, salāyatana (using the six senses inappropriately), nāmarupa (associated visuals of names and activities), sankhāra (kāya, vaci, and manō sankhāra for that activity), and of course the starting point of avijja (ignorance of the consequences).

14. By examining these steps, we can see that the whole cycle can be stopped primarily at two places.

- By contemplating on the adverse consequences of drinking, he could remove ignorance (avijjā), and make a firm decision to stop.
- If he is mindful, whenever a thought about drinking comes to the mind, he can stop “wheeling around” (stopping manō/vaci sankhāra) and thus stopping multiple PS cycles; see, “Difference Between Tanhā and Upādāna“.

15. If one is able to get rid of that drinking habit (gati), one would have removed that bhava. Then it is unlikely that one will be born (jāti) in that intoxicated state.

- The “trigger level” needed to generate a birth will be higher if the bhava (or habit) is not strong. Someone who has not had an alcoholic drink may be reluctant to have one.
- When one has a strong habit for drinking (strong bhava), all needed could be the sight of a bottle of alcohol.

16. All above is valid for “good bhava” or “good habits” too. In order to cultivate that bhava, one needs to be engaged in as many PS cycles as possible. The more the cycle gets repeated, the stronger each step becomes (the neural connections in the brain for that habit will strengthen, in term of modern science; see, “How Habits are Formed and Broken – A Scientific View“).

- It is easy to see from the above discussion why it is important to instill good habits in children and also to break any bad habits that they start developing. It is much more easier to stop forming a bhava or habit (gati) at early stages; once the habit takes hold, it becomes harder to remove. And that is true for adults too.

So, instead of just mechanically translating a key Pali word to a single English word, it is better to try to understand what is meant by that Pali word, and, in many cases, just use that Pali word. Vinnana and bhava are two examples.

The second point here is that it is not possible to explain the difference between bhava and jati without the concepts a gandhabba or a mental body.

Lal
Posts: 238
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:43 am

To complete the previous post, I am providing evidence from the Tipitaka for the existence of a gandhabba (mental body). Even if you have read the previous post, you may want to re-read it after reading this post.

Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipitaka

Extensive evidence from the Tipitaka is presented that the gandhabba state is a necessary feature of human (and animal) bhava. It is not an antarabhava state (“in between two bhava“). It is within the same human bhava; see, my previous post, "Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein" published yesterday.

- One’s inert physical body is controlled by one’s mental body (gandhabba or manōmaya kaya) that is inside the physical body.
Gandhabba state remains through many successive human births within a given human bhava (which can last many hundreds of years). When a given physical body dies, gandhabba comes out of the dead body. Then the gandhabba has to wait (sometimes many years), before it is pulled into another womb, when a matching one becomes available. Rebirth stories confirm this account.

1. The Buddha has described how three conditions must be satisfied for a conception to occur — including a gandhabba (nominative case is gandhabbō) descending to the womb — in the Mahā Tanhāsankhaya Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 38): “..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 mahatā saṃsayena garubhāraṃ..“.

- Here is the English translation from the Sutta Central website (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 descent of the embryo takes place. But when there is the union of the mother and father, and the mother is in season, and the gandhabba is present, through the union of these three things the descent of the embryo takes place. 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 good resource, since not only the Pāli version but also translations into several languages is provided. I encourage everyone to make a contribution to that website in order to maintain that valuable database.
- One just needs to be careful to keep in mind that some key Pāli terms are translated incorrectly there, including anicca as impermanence and anatta as “no-self”.

2. In the Assalāya­na Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 93) , there is more evidence that for conception to occur, a gandhabba needs to descend to the mother’s womb at the right time: within a few days of the union of parents, it is the mother’s season.

- Here, the Buddha explains to Assalayana 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 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 or brahman or 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 or a brahman or a merchant or a worker.”

Therefore, it is clear that the concept of a gandhabba was accepted even by other yōgis at Buddha’s time.

3. In the Maha Nidana Sutta (Digha Nikaya 15): “..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”.

Translated: “..With consciousness as condition there is mentality-materiality (nāmarūpa). How that is so, Ānanda, should be understood in this way: If consciousness 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 consciousness were to depart, would mentality-materiality be generated into this present state of being?” “Certainly not, venerable sir.”

- Here, is it clear that by “a viññana descending to the womb”, the Buddha meant the descend of the manōmaya kaya (gandhabba), not the patisandhi citta. A patisandhi citta cannot come out (depart) of the womb! In #7 below, we will present evidence that viññāna is always accompanied by other four khandhas, including the rupakkhandha (and a gandhabba has all five khandhas).
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 cuit-patisandhi moment; see, “Cuti-Patisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description“.

4. In the Kutuhala Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya 44.9), 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 does Master Gotama declare to be its fuel on that occasion?”

The Buddha answered, “..Yasmiṃ kho, vaccha, samaye imañca kāyaṃ nikkhipati, satto ca aññataraṃ kāyaṃ anupapanno hoti, tamahaṃ 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 is fueled by craving”.
- Thus when a gandhabba leaves one physical and is not yet reborn in another body, its life is sustained by tanhā (craving), just like a rupi brahma lives by making use of piti (mental happiness) as food. Both gandhabbas and rupi brahmas have very fine bodies (smaller than an atom in modern science; only a few suddhāshtaka). However, some gandhabbas can inhale odors for food and become relatively more dense.

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

Translated: “..Four ways of entering the womb. Herein, bhikkhus, one descends into the mother’s womb unknowing, abides there unknowing, departs thence unknowing. This is the first class of conception. Next, another descends deliberately, but abides and departs unknowing. Next another descends and abides deliberately, but departs unknowing. Lastly, another descends, abides and departs knowingly“.

- This is the okkanti (descending of the gandhabba) into the womb (gabbha), as described in the Maha Tanhasankhaya Sutta discussed above.
Almost the same description is also given in the “Sam­pasā­da­nīya Sutta (Digha Nikaya 28)“.

6. 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 (Digha Nikaya 14): “..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 the rule.”
- At the cuti-patisandhi moment in the Tusita realm, the deva died and a human gandhabba was born, who entered the mother’s womb on Earth.
- By the way, this sutta describes in detail the last 7 Buddhas including Buddha Gotama, who have appeared in our cakkāvāta within the past 31 mahā kappa (great aeons). the English translation of the Sutta at Sutta Central provides a useful summary in a table.
However, in this sutta, gabbhā­vakkan­tiyo and okkami are translated incorrectly at Sutta Central.

7. In the Bija Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya 22.54), it is clearly stated that viññāna cannot “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 vijjati.

“Bhikkhus, Apart from form, apart from feeling, apart from perception, apart from volitional formations, I will make known the coming and going of consciousness, its passing away and rebirth, its growth, increase, and expansion’—that is impossible”.

- Therefore, the descending of a patisandhi viññāna to a womb, MUST be accompanied by all five khanddhas, which is the kammaja kaya of the gandhabba. Viññāna can never be supported without a rūpa; even the brahmas in arupa realms have hadaya vatthu, a suddhāshtaka made of satara mahā bhuta.

8. When a person removes the first seven samyōjana, but the last three samyōjana are still left with him when he dies, then the gandhabba comes out of the dead body, but cannot be born in anywhere in the 31 realms. For a discussion on samyōjana, see, “Dasa Samyōjana – Bonds in Rebirth Process“.

Those first 7 samyōjana include kāma rāga, rūpa rāga, and arūpa rāga. When those three samyōjana are removed, one cannot be reborn in any of the 31 realms in the kāma, rūpa, and arūpa lōka. However, since the last three samyōjana of māna, uddacca, avijjā are not completely removed, that person will not be able to attain Parinibbāna either.
Then “that person” will remain in the gandhabba state until his kammic energy for the human bhava runs out. This is called the “Anatarāpainibbiyāni” state.
- This is described in the “Samyojana Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya 4:131): “..Katamassa, bhikkhave, puggalassa orambhāgiyāni saṃyojanāni pahīnāni, upapat­ti­paṭi­lābhi­yāni saṃyojanāni pahīnāni, bhava­paṭi­lābhi­yāni saṃyojanāni appahīnāni? Antarā­pari­nib­bā­yissa”.
- It is to be noted that the first 5 samyojanā are called orambhāgiyā saṃyojanā; rūpa rāga and arūpa rāga are collectively called upapat­ti­paṭi­lābhi­yā saṃyojanā, and māna, uddacca, avijjā are collectively called bhava­paṭi­lābhi­yā samyōjana.

9. At the Third Buddhist Council, Moggaliputta tissa Thēro proved that there is no antarābhava in a debate with the Mahayanists. That correct interpretation is in the Kathavatthu of the Tipitaka.

- Most current Thervadins erroneously believe that gandhabba state is an “antarābhava” state. That is not correct; see, “Antarabhava and Gandhabba” and “Cuti-Patisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description“.

10. A critical factor that contributes to this erroneous belief that the gandhabba state is an “antarābhava” is the inability to distinguish between bhava and jāti. They erroneously believe that patisandhi takes place in the womb. But it is very clear in the sutta passages above, that the word patisandhi is not used; rather it is okkanti (of the gandhabba).

- A human existence (bhava) could be many hundreds or even thousands of years and many human births (jāti) can take place during that time; see, “Bhava and jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein“.
- In rebirth stories, there is always a “time gap” between successive human births (jāti). They are always separated by several years or at least few years. In 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, “Manomaya Kaya and Out-of-Body Experience (OBE)“.
- It is the human bhava that is hard to attain (see, “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm“), but within a given human bhava, there can be many births until the kammic energy for that human bhava runs out. Otherwise, how can one explain all these rebirth stories, where a human is reborn only a few years after dying in the previous human life?

11. 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. It is one of the 10 types of micca ditthi (i.e., the existence of a para loka of the gandhabbas); see my post, "Wrong Views (Miccā Ditthi) – A Simpler Analysis" published on Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:23 am. As I have discussed above, many things will be left unexplained and there will be many inconsistencies without it.

- More evidence is in many other posts at puredhamma.net. There are two subsections on gandhabba: “Mental Body – Gandhabba” and “Gandhabba (Manomaya Kaya)“.
- One can also use the “Search” box on top right to locate all relevant posts by typing “gandhabba”.

whynotme
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by whynotme » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:08 am

Thank Lai,

So I am happy that we can end a point in argument with agreement, unlike many discussions on this forum, where none of the single point is agreed.

It seems you ignore another point that bring up earlier. In the Maha-parinibbana Sutta, it is said that the deities were not satisfied because one of the bhikkhu standing in front of the Buddha, and conceals him, so they could not look upon him.

The point is that, how can the physical body of the bhikkhu block the vision of the deities?

As I read your answer, it seems your explanation is that, the human body can block the vision of the gandhabba. You said that because the gandhabba can not see anything while in human body, so human body can block the vision of the deva.

But I dont agree with this explanation. These are the reasons:

1/ The deva can see through wall and house, and physical objects like that.
2/ If that is the case then the human body must be more than just physical body, which you can not explain.
3/ Even if the human body is more than just physics, there is a sutta, I did not remember well but will try to find if you want. It is said that when the Bodhisatta was in the mother womb, his mother can see him with limbs and felt happiness. It shows that the mother can see through human flesh easily.

Do you agree that with sanna, it can see through the human body and flesh, as the mother of the bodhisatta does?

So, it seems the reason the gandhabba can not see the outside world isn't because of the physical body of the human, but because the gandhabba is trapped with desire, e.g. similar human with desire can not see the invisible world.

So, what do you think about the Maha-parinibbana Sutta? It said that the human body can conceal the Buddha, which is the evidence the Tipitaka is tampered? Do you agree or not?
Please stop following me

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:03 am

Whynotme said: “2. If that is the case then the human body must be more than just physical body, which you can not explain.”

You are trying to focus on just one point. I do not have time to go into any more details. It is not worthwhile to spend all this time talking about something which neither you or I can give a definite answer without diving into more details. There are other less complex issues that need to be resolved first. Discussing the characteristics of a gandhabba is like trying to tackle a complex mathematics problem without a good knowledge of algebra.

Let me give an example that we are all familiar with. The “double-slit experiment” in physics cannot be explained in terms of classical physics. Even with quantum mechanics, there is no final full explanation that is accepted by all physicists.

There are zillions of other things in the Tipitaka that can be easily seen to be self-consistent, in particular regarding those issues that are relevant to Dhamma concepts like bhava and jati that is under discussion now. Those are things that we should focus on. I would be happy to answer such questions.

By the way, I have a request for those who do not agree with my explanation of bhava and jati. Please explain -- without providing links to others' works -- what is really meant by bhava and jati. These are two key concepts at the foundation of Buddha Dhamma.

This is a very important issue in another aspect: One cannot really explain bhava and jati without the concept of the gandhabba (mental body). This is why, not believing in the gandhabba and "para loka", is one of the 10 types of micca ditthi (see my previous post on the 10 types of micca ditthi).

Hamsavati
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Hamsavati » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:35 am

1/ The deva can see through wall and house, and physical objects like that.
Human body is not only physical object but contains gandhabbha which can block spiritual vision. Person on spiritual Path can be bright because his mind is bright so his "aura" can be bright as it's affected by the content of the mind. Energy follows mind-attention. (This can be easily proven)
2/ If that is the case then the human body must be more than just physical body, which you can not explain.
As above.
3/ Even if the human body is more than just physics, there is a sutta, I did not remember well but will try to find if you want. It is said that when the Bodhisatta was in the mother womb, his mother can see him with limbs and felt happiness. It shows that the mother can see through human flesh easily
This is proof that mind records everything. Bodhisatta having pure mind had pure aura which could be seen, those people are special because they cultivated paramits so if mind of Bodhisatta with pure mind and aura appeared in the womb obviously it will "glow" and "feel happy". As you can send somebody metta if you developed it well and person will feel happy around that person.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:43 am

Before trying to solve the problem of future suffering, one must realize what it is that the Buddha called “suffering”. It is associated with the rebirth process. Many people do not believe that people can be born as animals, but people can be born in much worse realms too.

Birth in the human realm is very rare. Furthermore, the appearance of a Buddha is a rare event too. The following post highlights both these facts, referring to many suttas in the Tipitaka.

So, we need to take this rare opportunity to be born human during a time when the teachings of a Buddha are still available (even though hidden to a large extent).

The following is an old post from the puredhamma.net, which I revised and updated yesterday.

How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm

Many people believe that if we live a “good, moral life”, a rebirth in the human or even higher deva worlds is guaranteed. This is a misconception because even if we do not accumulate any bad kamma in this life, we do not know what kinds of bad kamma we have accumulated in past lives. This is why it is very hard to even get a human existence (bhava).

Evidence for rebirth is presented in, “Evidence for Rebirth“. Rebirth can occur not only in as a human, but in any of the 31 realms. Most suffering in the cycle of rebirth occurs in the lowest four realms: niraya (hell), asura, animal, and peta realms. Of those four, only the animal realm is visible to us. They are collectively called the apayas.

Even though a “human existence (bhava)” is rare, once one grasps a human bhava, one could be born many times as a human until the kammic energy for that human bhava is exhausted. That is why children can recall past lives. In between consecutive human births, that life stream exists in the nether world or “para lōka” as a gandhabba with a fine body; see, “Hidden World of the Gandhabba: Netherworld (Para Lōka)“
- The 31 realms of existence are described in “The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma“.

1. From the Nakha­sikha Sutta (SN 20.2):
Translation:

At Sāvatthī. Then the Buddha, picking up a little bit of sand on his fingernail, addressed the bhikkhus: “What do you think, bhikkhus? Which is more: the little bit of sand on my fingernail, or this great Earth?”

“Bhante, the great earth is far more. The little bit of sand on your fingernail is tiny. Compared to the great Earth, those cannot be compared or even imagined, it is not even a significant fraction.”

“In the same way, bhikkhus, the sentient beings reborn as humans are few as this little bit of sand on my fingernail, while those not reborn as humans are many as sand on this great Earth. Therefore, you should strive diligently and without delay to end this suffering in the rebirth process”.

Let us make two points clear regarding the above simile of the Buddha:

1. When a being gets a human life, that “human bhava” has a certain kammic energy associated with it, say 1000 years worth. In that case, the person may be born a few times with a human body (this is the difference between “bhava” and “jati“). In between consecutive human births (not in between bhava or antarabhava) , that life stream exists in the nether world or “para lōka” as a gandhabba with a fine body. The cuti-patisandhi transition to a new “bhava” happens at the end of 1000 years; see, “Bhava and Jati – States of Existence and Births Therein“, and “Cuti-Patisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description“.

- What the Buddha refers to above is concerned with that new patisandhi at the end of the “human bhava“.
- It is extremely difficult to attain a human bhava, but once in a human bhava, one can be born tens or even hundreds of times as human. In the animal realm, a given animal may be reborn thousands or even millions of times to exhaust that kammic energy.

2. Even though the above simile seems to be out-of-proportion with the realities, it is not. This is why I am saying that modern science has given a boost to Buddha Dhamma, by making many things clear. Ordinary humans were not aware of the existence of innumerable microscopic living beings until the microscope was invented in the 1500’s. In 1676, Van Leeuwenhoek reported the discovery of micro-organisms: He observed numerous beings in a glass of water; see, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microscope
- Here is a short video showing numerous such microscopic beings:

https://youtu.be/pQ3LCdMPU3Q

- If you go out and dig a bit of dirt, there could be millions of living organisms there. In a household there may be a few humans, but possibly billions or even trillions of living beings. The oceans cover two-thirds of the Earths surface, and the living beings there are much more densely-packed. And there are beings in other 29 realms that we cannot see. Seven billion or so humans in this world are indeed a thumbful compared to innumerable beings that live associated with the Earth. Thus, as in many cases, modern science has helped verify Buddha’s words.

- Some of these realms could be in other dimensions; see, “Consciousness Dependence on Number of Dimensions“. In the string theory, scientists say there could be 10 dimensions instead of the three that we experience.

- However, one can actually “see” beings in other dimensions as well as microscopic beings in a glass of water if one develops abhiññā powers; see, “Power of the Human Mind – Introduction” and the follow up posts. One time, a bhikkhu who had developed abhiññā powers but had not becomes an Arahant, saw the presence of a large number of microscopic beings in a glass of water. He tried to filter them out but was unsuccessful, and became distraught. The Buddha told him that “it is not possible to live in this world without harming other beings. It is necessary to live this life to attain Nibbana“, and to drink the water. The INTENTION there is to quench the thirst; see, “How to Evaluate Weights of Different Kamma“.

- With more sophisticated instruments, science is finding out that there are millions of living beings on a single human body (as well as on any other large animal); see, “There are as Many Creatures on your Body as there are People on Earth!“.
- Thus modern science has indeed shown that the human population is negligible compared to just the animal populations (including microscopic beings). And we can experience only 2 realms (animal and human) compared to the 31 realms that the Buddha described.

2. Dutiya­chig­gaḷa­yuga ­Sutta (SN 56.48)
Translation:

“Bhikkhus, suppose that this great Earth had become one mass of water, and a man would throw a yoke with a single hole upon it. An easterly wind would drive it westward; a westerly wind would drive it eastward; a northerly wind would drive it southward; a southerly wind would drive it northward.

There was a blind turtle which would come to the surface once every hundred years. What do you think, bhikkhus, would that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole?”

“It would be an extremely rare occurrence, Bhante, that the blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, would insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole.”

“So too, bhikkhus, how extremely rare that one is born a human.

You have this rare chance now, bhikkhus, to be not only born a human but be born while a Tathāgata, a Perfectly Enlightened One has arisen in the world, While the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathāgata shines in the world.

Therefore, bhikkhus, you should strive without delay to understand: ‘This is suffering (dukkha), this is the cause of suffering (dukkha samudaya), this is how that cause can be stopped (dukkha nirōdhaya), and this is the way leading to the cessation of suffering (dukkha nirōdha gāmini patipadā).’”

- Many of these “hard to fathom” ideas about infinity are now being discussed by scientists who are unaware of the Buddha’s teachings. See, for example, “The Beginning of Infinity” by David Deutsch (2011).

- Most human beings head to the apayas because they are not even aware of the ten immoral actions; see, “Ten Immoral Actions – Dasa Akusala“, and “How to Evaluate Weights of Different Kamma“. It is also important to know the baseline procedure to avoid such immoral actions and to cultivate moral behavior; see, “Punna Kamma – Dāna, Sīla, Bhāvanā“.

- However, it must be emphasized that when a living being acquires a human bhava or human existence, that can last a long time (many hundreds to many thousands of years). Within that human bhava, there will be multiple human births; see, “Bhava and Jati – States of Existence and Births“.

3. Assu Sutta (SN 15.3)

Translation:

First, the Buddha made the famous statement: “Anamataggoyam bhikkhave, samsarō pubbā kōti na pannāyati avijja nivārananam sattānam tanhā-samyōjananam sandhāvatam samsāratam”

Translated: “Bhikkhus, this rebirth process, where beings whose minds are covered by ignorance and are bound to it by bonds of craving, has no discernible (na pannāyati) beginning”.
The rest of the sutta is as follows:

“What do you think, bhikkhus: Which is greater, the tears you have shed while trapped in this rebirth process — crying because of being born into a bad birth and being separated from loved ones in good births — or the water in the four great oceans?”

“As we understand the Dhamma taught to us by the Bhante, the tears we have shed while trapped in this beginning-less rebirth process is greater than the water in the four great oceans.”

“Excellent, bhikkhus. It is good that you thus understand the Dhamma taught by me. This is the greater: the tears you have shed while trapped in this beginning-less rebirth process — not the water in the four great oceans.

Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while trapped in this beginning-less rebirth process are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a father… the death of a brother… the death of a sister… the death of a son… the death of a daughter… loss with regard to relatives… loss with regard to wealth… loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed over loss with regard to disease trapped in this beginning-less rebirth process are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

Why is that? A beginning to this rebirth process is not discernible.”

- The Buddha many other analogies to describe how long the rebirth process is: it is infinite. In another analogy, the blood from uncountable times where one is killed when born a specific animal (deer or cow, for example) is more than the water in the four oceans.

- nfinity is a hard to comprehend. Scientists have only recently realized this; see, “Infinity – How Big Is It?“.

- In fact, there are many suttas in the “Anamatagga Saṃyutta (SN 15)“, “Opamma Saṃyutta (SN20)“, and, in ” in the “Sacca Saṃyutta (SN 56)” (SN 56.31 through SN 56.70) of the Samyutta Nikaya that provide many more similes/descriptions to illustrate the beginning-less rebirth process, during which an infinite amount of time has passed.

- In the above, I discussed only three out of about 70 such suttas in SN 15, SN 20, and SN 56.

Lal
Posts: 238
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:14 pm

There is a lot of confusion about whether humans have free will. In order to understand why humans DO HAVE free will, we first need to understand what is meant by the key Pāli word, "sankhāra". I have removed the latter part of the post at puredhamma.net, which provides more information based on Abhidhamma. The following extracted section is sufficient to get an idea of of what is meant by "sankhāra".

As I keep saying, it is not possible to translate these key Pāli words (such as saññā, sankhāra, and viññāna) as single English words. One needs to understand what is meant by such key Pāli words, and just use those Pāli words.

Sankhāra – What It Really Means

1. Sankhāra is conventionally translated as “formations” and “mental formations”. Certainly the latter is a better translation. But it is much better to grasp the idea of sankhāra and just use that word. I recommend the same for most key Pāli words like saññā and viññāna.

- It comes from “san” + “kāra” or actions that involve “san“; see, “What is “San”? Meaning of Sansāra (or Samsāra)“.
- Therefore, “san” is associated with anything that is associated with the world of 31 realms. They are responsible for a wide variety of effects ranging from giving rise to future births (as in abhisankhāra) to just getting things done to living the current life.

2. Let us look at some example now.

- Thinking about going to the bathroom is a vaci sankhāra (kammically neutral). One gets the body to move to the bathroom using kāya sankhāra.
- Thinking about killing a human being and carrying it out is a sankhāra with high kammic consequences or a vaci abhisankhāra; doing the actual killing is done with kāya abhisankhāra. Those can lead to a birth in the apāyās, because both are based on immoral or apunna abhisankhāra (or apunnābhisankhāra).
- On the other hand, punna abhisankhāra (or punnābhisankhāra) (thoughts responsible for good speech and actions) have good kammic consequences and can lead to “good births”. Even more importantly, they are essential for making progress on the Path.
- Good or bad kammā are done via those types of sankhāra. They can bring results (kamma vipāka) immediately, in this life, or in future lives. However, not all kammā lead to kamma vipāka; see, “What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma?“.

3. The word sankhāra is commonly used to indicate those with kammic consequences, as in “avijjā paccayā sankhāra“, where it really means, “avijjā paccayā apunnābhi sankhāra” or “avijjā paccayā punnābhi sankhāra“.

- Here abhi sankhāra means “strong sankhāra”, and the word apunnābhi comes from “apunna” + “abhi“, which combine to rhyme as apunnābhi. Here “apunna” means “bad” or “immoral”.Thus,apunnābhi sankhāra means strong immoral sankhāra.
- In the same way, punna + abhi + sankhāra becomes punnābhi sankhāra (for strong good sankhāra).
- So, one really needs to pay attention to exactly what meaning need to be taken in a given case.

4. All our thoughts, speech, and bodily actions are based on sankhāra that arise in the mind. Therefore, it is important to realize that vaci sankhāra and kāya sankhāra also arise in the mind. One speaks, and acts based on those such thoughts.

- Sankhāra are thoughts. Kammā are actions based on such thoughts.
- Kāya sankhāra are “conscious thoughts” that make our bodies move. Killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct are due to apunnābhi kāya sankhāra.
Vaci sankhāra are “conscious thoughts that we silently generate” and also those thoughts that lead to speech by moving the lips, tongue etc. Hate speech is due to apunnābhi vaci sankhāra. Thinking about a Dhamma concept is a punnābhi vaci sankhāra; see, “Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra“.
- On the other hand, manō sankhāra are “unconscious thoughts” that arise automatically. We are not aware when they arise. They arise due to our gati (character/habits) and can indicate our level of mōha or avijjā. Since they arise unconsciously, manō sankhāra are unlikely to be abhisankhāra that have strong kammic consequences.
- The fact that cetanā plays a key role is clear when we look at the following definitions: “kāya sancetanā kāya sankhāra“, “vaci sancetanā vaci sankhāra“, and “manō sancetanā manō sankhāra“.

5. Let us take some examples to illustrate these three types of sankhāra.

- In order to move the physical body, the mind or the mental body or the gandhabba must first generate thoughts about moving the body. Then that thought is executed with the help of the brain that sends necessary signals to the leg muscles, say, to move the legs.
- So, those kāya sankhāra are responsible for moving the legs. Now, if the purpose to move the body was to go somewhere to commit a bad deed, then it becomes an apunna abhisankhāra. These thoughts would have asōbhana cetasika (like greed or hate) in them.
- If the purpose was to go somewhere to do a good deed, then it would become a punnābhi sankhāra. These thoughts would have sōbhana cetasika (like faith and compassion) in them.
- If the purpose was to go the bathroom (kammically neutral), then it would be just a kāya sankhāra, not an abhisankhāra. In fact, breathing involves moving body parts (lungs), which is done without conscious thinking, but they are kāya sankhāra too. Those thoughts would not have sōbhana or asōbhana cetasika in them.
- This is why the kammic nature of an act is decided by the intention that is in the mind, i.e., type of cetasika (mental factors) that arise with those thoughts; see, “What is Intention in Kamma?“.

6. Now, if person X gets angry at another person, X may not move any body parts, but may be generating very bad thoughts (saying to himself “I wish I could hit this person right now”); those are vaci sankhāra. This is explained in “Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra“.

- When those vaci sankhāra get strong, one may actually say those words out. They are still called vaci sankhāra.
Whether one is just talking to oneself or actually speaks out such bad words, they are both apunna abhisankhāra.
- Of course vaci sankhāra can be punna abhisankhāra too. Person X watching a good deed by person Y, may be generating good thoughts about Y; those are punna vaci sankhāra.
- Those also will be distinguished by the type of cetasika as in kāya sankhāra above.

7. Whether they are vaci or kāya sankhāra, if they have asōbhana cetasika in them, they have the tendency to “heat up” or “stress” the mind (Pali word is “thāpa“).

- On the other hand, if sōbhana cetasika arise as vaci or kāya sankhāra, they have the tendency to “cool” a mind.
- In the earlier post, “What Are Kilesa (Mental Impurities)? – Connection to Cetasika “, it was discussed in detail why understanding this fact is the pre-requisite for the Satipattana bhāvanā; see, “Satipattana Sutta – Relevance to Suffering in This Life“, and “Satipatthāna Sutta – Structure“.
- Just by comprehending this fact, one can start cultivating nirāmisa sukha.

8. All other thoughts that arise in the mind without conscious thinking are manō sankhāra.

- For example, when one gets hit by a cane, say, one feels the pain associated with it, and one realizes that the pain was caused by another person hitting with a cane. So, the manō sankhāra that are involved at the beginning have two cetasika of saññā (recognition of what happened) and vēdanā (pain caused). Another way to say it: manō sankhāra are involved in the vipāka stage.
- However, based on that “sense input” of getting hit, now one could start generating vaci sankhāra and even kāya sankhāra. Those vaci sankhāra may involve just generating bad thoughts about that person or actually saying bad things to him. If the pain was strong, one may start generating bad kāya sankhāra and hit that person.

9. So, it is important to realize that whether one is just thinking (manō sankhāra and early stages of vaci sankhāra), or speaking out or just “talking to oneself” (vaci sankhāra), or using the body movements (kāya sankhāra), they all involve thoughts (citta).

- Those thoughts arise in the gandhabba (mental body), and become the commands to the brain to carry out the tasks of speaking and body movement. That is how the mental body (gandhabba) controls the physical body; see, “Our Mental Body – Gandhabba“.

10. The initial manō sankhāra is triggered by a kamma vipāka and are automatically generated in the mind due to one’s gati. Then subsequent vaci and kāya sankhāra are generated and we do have control over those; see, for example, “Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra“.

- So, the seeds for thinking, speaking, and acting start at the instant of the first sense input, say, seeing something or hearing something that gets one’s attention.
- If the sense input is strong (and one gets interested in it via like or dislike), one will start many such citta vithi in a short time, and generate corresponding vaci and kāya sankhāra to “talk to oneself”, speak out, or to do bodily actions.

11. All this is put together at the viññāna stage (viññāna is the overall sense experience which includes vedana, saññā, and sankhāra). In fact, it may make more sense to read my earlier posts on viññāna after reading this post and that on saññā that I posted more recently.

Lal
Posts: 238
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:45 am

This is a little bit advanced post. It is difficult to explain the differences among mano, vaci, and kaya sankhara without getting into how the mind or the mental body (gandhabba) controls the physical body with vaci and kaya sankhara.

Things will become more clear in the next post, where I will discuss free will.

Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra

1. Many people believe that vacī sankhāra are involved only in speech, i.e., when one speaks out. However, vacī sankhāra are defined as “vitakka vicārā vacī sankhāra“, which means “vacī sankhāra are vitakka and vicārā“. This is in, for example, “Cūḷa­ve­dalla­ Sutta (MN 44)“.

- In the following we will see that vacī sankhāra are our conscious, deliberate thoughts in addition to speech.
Furthermore, this post explains how our minds initiate all our actions and speech via javana citta.

2. Vitakka is the cētasika that points the mind to a given thought object (ārammana). Vicāra cētasika keeps the mind engaged on that thought object, i.e., generating new thoughts about it. In Abhidhamma, this has been compared to a bee flying to a certain flower (Vitakka) and then buzzing around that flower (vicāra) while drinking nectar.

- In the same way, when we focus the mind on a certain object, and then keep the mind there, we generate many thoughts about that object; these are conscious, deliberate thoughts, and not manō sankhāra that arise automatically.
- For example, if we start thinking about an enemy, we could be spending a many minutes or even hours thinking bad thoughts (vacī sankhāra) about that person. We do most of that in our minds, just talking to ourselves. But we may also get some of those thoughts out as actual words.

3. However, vitakka and vicāra involve defiled thoughts or at least thoughts about getting things done to live this life.

- When one generates thoughts that specifically do not involve kāma rāga or other akusala -- but the opposites (nekkhamma/kusala) -- those are called savitakka and savicāra.
- That is how one gets into jhāna: By eliminating (or suppressing) vitakka/vicāra and cultivating savitakka/savicāra.
- This is clearly seen in any sutta that describe jhāna. For example, in “Tapussa Sutta (AN 9.41)“: “..So kho ahaṃ, ānanda, vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharāmi.” When one is a jhāna, vitakka/vicāra with kāma rāga/akusala are absent and only savitakka/savicāra will be present.
- In the above verse, “vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi” means kāma rāga/akusala are absent in the mind while in jhāna.

4. In contrast, when we first thought about that person in the example of #2 above, only manō sankhāra were AUTOMATICALLY generated according to our gati. We don’t have any control over manō sankhāra other than by changing our gati over time.

- This is a key point to grasp, and is discussed in detail in the posts, “How Are Gathi and Kilesa Incorporated into Thoughts?” and “Suffering in This Life and Paticca Samuppada” as well as other posts in the “Living Dhamma” section.
- My goal in this post is to point out this critical difference between manō and vacī sankhāra, and to clarify why both our non-automatic, conscious thoughts — as well as speech — are included in vacī sankhāra.

5. Kāya sankhāra involves kamma done with bodily actions. So, it is possible for one to come to the wrong conclusion that speech also is kāya sankhāra, since body parts (tongue, lips and associated facial muscles) are moved during speech.

- I automatically came to that wrong conclusion when I first analyzed these terms, without contemplating deeply on them. The key is that speech originates via types of rūpa that are different from those rūpa that lead to other bodily movements (like walking or moving arms).
In order to understand this, one needs to have some idea of how our body parts move according to our thoughts.

6. Our physical body parts are really mechanical parts. There is no “life” in them unless a gandhabba controls that body. gandhabba is an important concept in Buddha Dhamma, but has been neglected simply because it is not discussed in the infamous Visuddhimagga and other literature by Buddhaghosa, who single-handedly distorted Buddha Dhamma; see, “Incorrect Thēravada Interpretations – Historical Timeline“.

- The concept of Gandhabba is an essential element in Buddha Dhamma; see, “Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipitaka“.
Without the concept of Gandhabba, it is not possible to explain the difference between bhava and jāti: “Bhava and Jati – States of Existence and Births Therein“, and not believing it a miccā ditthi: “Micca Ditthi, Gandhabba, and Sotapanna Stage“.
- Tirokudda sutta is a famous sutta that describes the gandhabba as “tirokudda“; see, “Antarabhava and gandhabba” and posts referred to there.

7. Let us briefly discuss how the mind of the gandhabba controls a physical body. The physical body is composed of 32 body parts just like a robot is made out of its various parts. What gives life to this physical body is the gandhabba, a very fine body smaller than an atom in modern science.

- Even though the gandhabba is negligibly small in “weight”, it has this fine body that spreads over the physical body like a fine mesh; it is more like an energy field. There is a fine nervous system associated with the gandhabba that overlaps the physical nervous system consisting of billions of nerve cells.
- Gandhabba also has the seat of mind (hadaya vatthu) and five pasāda rūpa (that receive signals from the five physical senses via the brain) located close to the physical heart; see, “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body” for details.

8. How can such a negligibly small gandhabba move a heavy physical body? gandhabba is more like a signal source that gives appropriate commands. It is the brain (which is a very sophisticated computer) that translates those commands into actual signals given to the physical nervous system.

- The energy to move those body parts comes from the food that we eat.
- In the post, “Ghost in the Machine – Synonym for the Manomaya Kaya?“, and other related posts this is discussed in more detail. But let us discuss the concept using an example, without getting into those details.

9. When someone decides to move his arm, it is actually the mind that resides in the gandhabba that makes that decision (and generates corresponding vacī sankhāra). Then that signal is sent to the brain and the brain converts that “mental signal” into chemical signals that are transmitted through the nervous system to the muscles in the arm, which in turn move the arm.

- The energy produced by the digestion of our food goes into energize the brain, as well as to move body parts.
So, the energy spent by the gandhabba is a negligible fraction of the energy that is needed to move body parts and to keep the brain functioning.
- This can be compared to the tiny amount of energy spent by a computer in controlling a fighter jet. The fighter jet gets its energy from the fuel burned, just like our physical body gets its energy from the food digested.
- We generate that small energy in our thoughts — via javana citta — as we discuss below.

10. The commands from the gandhabba are signals or tiny amounts of energy, and these come in two varieties: kāya viññatti rūpa and vacī viññatti rūpa. These are two of the 28 types of rūpa in Abhidhamma.

- The kāya viññatti rūpa control bodily movements, and vacī viññatti rūpa control speech.
- These “rūpa” or “energy signals” are created in javana citta that arise in our thought streams or citta vithi. Again, more information can be found in the Abhidhamma section.

11. Speech — done with vacī viññatti rūpa — is different from moving body parts. Speech involves complex muscle movements that are not yet understood by science. Moving body parts — done with kāya viññatti rūpa — is simpler.

- What is behind vacī viññatti rūpa are vitakka and vicārā cētasika that are in those javana citta responsible for speech. However, when we just “talk to ourselves”, the javana citta responsible are weaker than those responsible for actual speech. But those two cētasika are in both types of javana citta.
- Those javana citta that are responsible for physical action (like raising an arm or walking) involve kāya viññatti rūpa, and the javana citta that generate those are even stronger.
- Therefore, both vacī sankhāra (whether talking to oneself or actually speaking) and kāya sankhāra (bodily actions) involve javana citta. All kamma that can be controlled directly by us are done via javana citta; see, “Amazingly Fast Time Evolution of a Thought (Citta)” and “Javana of a Citta – The Root of Mental Power“.

12. The initial decision to generate vacī or kāya sankhāra actually happens at the vottapana citta, which comes just before the seven javana citta in a citta vithi, which has 17 citta in total; see, “Citta Vithi – Processing of Sense Inputs“, and other related posts in the Abhidhamma section.

- That “initial reaction” to a sense input comes AUTOMATICALLY in the vottapana citta, and the nature of that reaction depends on one’s gati. Thus, the AUTOMATIC manō sankhāra are generated in that vottapana citta.

13. If you are not familiar with Abhidhamma, don’t be discouraged by these details. I wrote this post to provide undeniable evidence that vacī sankhāra are generated not only during speech but also while “talking to oneself” or "consciously thinking about it".

- But for those who are familiar with Abhidhamma, the relationship between terminology and concepts could become much more clear with this discussion.

14. Now let us take a couple of examples to illustrate this without Abhidhamma. When one is doing a kammattana (i.e., meditation recital), one could either say the phrase(s) out loud or one could recite in one’s head. Both involve vaci sankhāra.

- A kammatthāna can be done in either of those two ways, and both involve vacī sankhāra.
- Furthermore, the more one understands the concepts behind the meditation phrase, the more powerful those javana citta will be, and thus more effective the meditation session becomes.
- By the way, when one is starting on meditation, it is better to say the phrases out loud because it is easier to keep the mind on that topic. When one gets better at it, one could just recite it internally, without getting the words out.
- This is an example of a punnābhi sankhāra (meritorious deed) that involves vacī sankhāra.

15. Now let us consider an apunnābhi sankhāra (immoral deed) that involves vacī sankhāra, where one starts generating bad thoughts about an enemy or a person that one dislikes. One could be generating a lot of such vacī sankhāra internally, without saying a single word. However, when the feelings get strong, the words may just come out because the javana power of those javana citta could become uncontrollable.

- Even though the javana power involved in “silent vacī sankhāra” are less than those involved in speech, one could be generating much more of those “silent vacī sankhāra” and thus could be generating more kamma vipāka.
- Just like in the earlier example, the “power” behind those javana citta with vacī sankhāra will be higher when the degree of hate associated with that person is higher. That is why it is harder to control oneself, when one is dealing with a person that one really hates.

16. In the Noble Eightfold Path, Sammā sankappa deals with only one component of vacī sankhāra, those conscious thoughts without speech. Getting rid of all vacī sankhāra involve both Sammā Sankappa and Sammā Vācā.

- “Sankappa” in Pāli or “sankalpanā” in Sinhala means conscious thoughts that involve “san” or things that contribute to the sansaric journey (rebirth process). Here “sankalpanā” comes from “san” + “kalpana“, where “kalpanā” means conscious thoughts. When one keeps thinking about something, those thoughts are called “sankalpanā“.
- Of course “san” is a key Pāli term in Buddha Dhamma; see the posts in the subsection, “San“. Sammā means to get rid of, as discussed in the same section.
- Therefore, samma sankappa or Sammā sankalpanā means removing bad conscious and deliberate thoughts, and cultivating moral thoughts.
Sammā vācā involves stopping immoral speech and generating moral speech.

17. The main point to be extracted from this discussion is that one needs to be very careful about generating hateful (or greedy) conscious thoughts for long times. When one becomes aware of such thoughts, one CAN stop them. This is the basis of both Anapana and Satipattana bhavana.

- We always think conscious thoughts (vacī sankhāra of the first kind) before acting on them, either via speech (vacī sankhāra of the second kind) or via bodily actions (kāya sankhāra)!
- This is discussed in detail in, “How Are Gathi and Kilesa Incorporated into Thoughts?“, “Suffering in This Life and Paticca Samuppada“, “Satipattana Sutta – Relevance to Suffering in This Life“, as well as other posts in the “Living Dhamma” section.
- Experiencing pleasing sense objects (called kāma guna) is not kāma. Generating vaci sankhāra (or kāma sankalpanā) about them is kāma; see, “Kāma Guna, Kāma, Kāma Rāga, Kāmaccanda“.

whynotme
Posts: 505
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by whynotme » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:43 am

Lal wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:03 am
Whynotme said: “2. If that is the case then the human body must be more than just physical body, which you can not explain.”

You are trying to focus on just one point. I do not have time to go into any more details. It is not worthwhile to spend all this time talking about something which neither you or I can give a definite answer without diving into more details. There are other less complex issues that need to be resolved first. Discussing the characteristics of a gandhabba is like trying to tackle a complex mathematics problem without a good knowledge of algebra.

Let me give an example that we are all familiar with. The “double-slit experiment” in physics cannot be explained in terms of classical physics. Even with quantum mechanics, there is no final full explanation that is accepted by all physicists.

There are zillions of other things in the Tipitaka that can be easily seen to be self-consistent, in particular regarding those issues that are relevant to Dhamma concepts like bhava and jati that is under discussion now. Those are things that we should focus on. I would be happy to answer such questions.

By the way, I have a request for those who do not agree with my explanation of bhava and jati. Please explain -- without providing links to others' works -- what is really meant by bhava and jati. These are two key concepts at the foundation of Buddha Dhamma.

This is a very important issue in another aspect: One cannot really explain bhava and jati without the concept of the gandhabba (mental body). This is why, not believing in the gandhabba and "para loka", is one of the 10 types of micca ditthi (see my previous post on the 10 types of micca ditthi).
I did read a lot of your gandabba articles. You said your information came from the Tipitaka, and even provide some quotes. But from my understanding, much of your information is not described in Tipitaka.

For example, as I known, there is no description of how the gandabba works in sutta or Abhidhamma. So your information must be composited from somewhere else. While your quote from the sutta only give the hint that it may exist, it does not describe in detail how it works like your article. I must repeat, your information must come from somewhere else.

here is what your wrote:
All my explanations are based on the Tipitaka. It is just that some parts of the Tipitaka have been ignored, because those are not compatible with current explanations
Is this a deliberated lie, that all your explanation are from Tipitaka? Because there is no description of how gandhabba works in Tipitaka. It may have the hint that gandhabba state exists, as your give evidence from the Tipitaka.

While I think your information is not from Tipitaka, I still consider it valuable. If your information is true, then it is a very important missing piece to understand the rebirth process, which leads to the question, why didn't it described in the sutta and abhidhamma?

Also you information can explain why there seems to be a gap, yes, it seems there is a gap in some rebirth stories, and there is a mystery in why people can reborn as human in continuous lives, which contrast to the ratio to be reborn as human.

So please explain, how did you get your explanation? It is not from the Tipitaka.
Please stop following me

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