The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Sam Vara
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:38 am

Thanks for this, Lal. I appreciate that there are other Suttas where the Buddha deals with post-mortem suffering due to unwanted rebirth. But you have not convinced me that this is the suffering which the Buddha is primarily concerned with. He might have been, but the references are insufficient to convince me that it is "the main type of suffering that the Buddha emphasized." The references just show me that sometimes he dealt with one thing, and sometimes with another, and the emphasis is what we subjectively choose to apply.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:22 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:38 am
Thanks for this, Lal. I appreciate that there are other Suttas where the Buddha deals with post-mortem suffering due to unwanted rebirth. But you have not convinced me that this is the suffering which the Buddha is primarily concerned with. He might have been, but the references are insufficient to convince me that it is "the main type of suffering that the Buddha emphasized." The references just show me that sometimes he dealt with one thing, and sometimes with another, and the emphasis is what we subjectively choose to apply.
Could you explain what suffering that the Buddha was able to overcome?

The Buddha was injured by Devadatta, had chronic backaches, and had another illness in the last days. One of his chief disciples, Ven. Moggallana (of course an Arahant) was beaten to death. So, the suffering that the Buddha was able to overcome was definitely not suffering in the current life.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:46 pm

Lal wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:22 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:38 am
Thanks for this, Lal. I appreciate that there are other Suttas where the Buddha deals with post-mortem suffering due to unwanted rebirth. But you have not convinced me that this is the suffering which the Buddha is primarily concerned with. He might have been, but the references are insufficient to convince me that it is "the main type of suffering that the Buddha emphasized." The references just show me that sometimes he dealt with one thing, and sometimes with another, and the emphasis is what we subjectively choose to apply.
Could you explain what suffering that the Buddha was able to overcome?

The Buddha was injured by Devadatta, had chronic backaches, and had another illness in the last days. One of his chief disciples, Ven. Moggallana (of course an Arahant) was beaten to death. So, the suffering that the Buddha was able to overcome was definitely not suffering in the current life.
I think that might be the difference between pain or unpleasant feeling, and suffering. The two arrows. I'm not sure if the Buddha ever referred to these things as suffering in the same sense that he used when talking about nirodha.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:44 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:46 pm
Lal wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:22 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:38 am
Thanks for this, Lal. I appreciate that there are other Suttas where the Buddha deals with post-mortem suffering due to unwanted rebirth. But you have not convinced me that this is the suffering which the Buddha is primarily concerned with. He might have been, but the references are insufficient to convince me that it is "the main type of suffering that the Buddha emphasized." The references just show me that sometimes he dealt with one thing, and sometimes with another, and the emphasis is what we subjectively choose to apply.
Could you explain what suffering that the Buddha was able to overcome?

The Buddha was injured by Devadatta, had chronic backaches, and had another illness in the last days. One of his chief disciples, Ven. Moggallana (of course an Arahant) was beaten to death. So, the suffering that the Buddha was able to overcome was definitely not suffering in the current life.
I think that might be the difference between pain or unpleasant feeling, and suffering. The two arrows. I'm not sure if the Buddha ever referred to these things as suffering in the same sense that he used when talking about nirodha.
Four Noble Truths: Dukkha Sacca (Truth about suffering, i.e., it exists in the rebirth porcess), Dukkha Samudaya (How that suffering originates, i.e. causes), Dukkha Nirodha (suffering stopped by eliminating those causes), Dukkha Nirodha Gamini Patipada Magga (the way to eliminate those causes, i.e., the Noble Eightfold Path).

The causes are of course lobha (greed), dosa (hate or “friction”), and moha (ignorance of the Four Noble Truths, or the real nature of this world, or anicca, dukkha, anatta).

So,everything is clearly explained in Buddha Dhamma.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:41 pm

Lal wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:44 pm
So,everything is clearly explained in Buddha Dhamma.
No, everything is clearly explained in your interpretation of the Buddha Dhamma, which is why I am not convinced.

For example,
Truth about suffering, i.e., it exists in the rebirth porcess
See what you did there? We call that "Begging the Question".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:33 pm

No, everything is clearly explained in your interpretation of the Buddha Dhamma, which is why I am not convinced.
My question is simple: What do you understand by Buddha's statement that he found a solution to the problem of suffering?

If my interpretation is not correct, what is the correct interpretation?

One needs to figure out what the Buddha meant by "suffering" AND what solution he came up with. It is a simple question.

I am not asking this to be contentious. I hope everyone agrees that it is time to figure out what Buddha Dhamma really is.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:17 pm

Lal wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:33 pm
No, everything is clearly explained in your interpretation of the Buddha Dhamma, which is why I am not convinced.
My question is simple: What do you understand by Buddha's statement that he found a solution to the problem of suffering?

If my interpretation is not correct, what is the correct interpretation?

One needs to figure out what the Buddha meant by "suffering" AND what solution he came up with. It is a simple question.

I am not asking this to be contentious. I hope everyone agrees that it is time to figure out what Buddha Dhamma really is.
Thanks, but I'm not really interested in answering your questions. I was just pointing out that you had used a question-begging formula. I think my understanding of the Buddha-Dhamma is far from perfect, but would not at the moment be improved by answering your questions. So your avoidance of contentiousness is appreciated, and is complemented here by my avoidance of contention.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:24 am

I hope a “Buddhist who does not believe in rebirth” would answer my simple questions. What is the use of a discussion forum on Buddha Dhamma if we cannot even discuss what the Buddha meant by “suffering” that he was able to stop from arising?

On the other hand, I hope I am not scaring off people by pointing out that the end goal (or Nibbana) means “stopping the rebirth process”. Nibbana does NOT mean “extinction”.

Buddha Dhamma – A Sequential Approach

1. I realize that it may sound scary for some people when it is said that the end goal (or Nibbana) means “stopping the rebirth process”.

- However, Nibbana is NOT extinction. The Buddha said that Nibbana “exists”, but it cannot be expressed in the terminology of this world of 31 realms. Anyone interested can read the “Nibbana” subsection at the puredhamma.net site.

2. Even more importantly, if one understood that the real suffering is associated with births in the lowest four realms, then stopping the rebirth process will become one’s utmost goal.

- In any case, attaining the last stage of Nibbana (Arahanthood) is not an easy process. In fact, attaining the first stage (Sotapanna) is not easy either. There is absolutely no way of accidentally attaining any stage of Nibbana.
- One will be making progress only based on one’s understanding. For example, one becomes an Anagami only after one becomes totally convinced that any sense pleasure has bad consequences in the long run. Then one will abstain from sense pleasures NOT just to attain a magga phala, but BECAUSE one has “seen” the dangers of sense pleasures (Yes, even of harmless sense pleasures).

3. However, it would be foolish to try to suppress desires for "normal" sense pleasures until one gets to at least the Sotapanna stage; see, the post “Can or Should a Lay Follower Eliminate Sensual Desires?” published September 26, 2018 (p. 33).
- Advancement on the Path comes through understanding, not just by mechanically following precepts.

4. The first step is to contemplate on simple logic on how one should live one's life. Buddha's first advice was “don’t do anything to any other person that you don’t want them to do to you”. For example, no one likes to be misled about anything, or to be robbed of one’s belongings, for example. So, one should not mislead others and not steal from others.

- With that line of reasoning most of the dasa akusala are easy to understand. In particular, the need to abstain from those seven akusala done by the body and speech are self-evident this way.

5. The three akusala done by the mind are bit tricky, with the exception of vyapada (hate). It is not hard to see that anger is bad, and hate is much worse. But how can one’s greed hurt others IF one does not steal from others to satisfy one’s greed or cravings? The Pali word for the greed that comes in the dasa akusala is abhijja, which comes from “abhi + icca” (there is the key word "icca" again!), meaning “strong greed”. When one has strong greed, one may be tempted to steal, take bribes, etc. Also, if someone else gets in the way of one’s desire fulfillment, then hate/anger may arise towards that person.

- The most complex and the most important one of the dasa akusala is miccha ditthi or wrong views; see,"Ten Types of Miccha Ditthi Two posts on Nov 16, 2018 (p. 48).

6. Buddha Dhamma is based on causes and effect (hetu-phala), not merely kamma/kamma vipaka. But one needs first to see that kamma (one’s deeds) usually have vipaka (consequences).

- If one thinks about how kamma leads to kamma vipaka, that provides the first evidence for the rebirth process. If one lives a grand life by making a lot of money by doing immoral things without getting caught (stealing, killing, selling drugs, for example), and dies of old age, it would appear that he would not have suffered at all for his bad deeds. But he will pay with interest when he gets a bad birth. That basic fact of cause and effect is the foundation of Buddha Dhamma.
- Scientists tell us that nothing happens without a cause. A stone would not fly into air by itself. Someone has to pick it up and throw it up. A rich (poor) person just didn’t become rich (poor) by chance. Those things cannot be attributed to just previous kamma, but kamma vipaka play a significant role. An even more compelling case is of someone born with a handicap, say born blind. That one is very likely to be due to a bad kamma done from a previous life.
- Thus laws of kamma would not work without the rebirth process. And suffering will continue until one attains Nibbana, because we all have done an unimaginable number of kamma in our deep past.

7. As I have pointed out in my "summary of posts", the post on "Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty)" posted on Oct 23, 2018 (p.42) is important. This explains why one needs to complete mundane eightfold path before getting into the Noble Eightfold Path.

- Thus one starts by just living a moral life and learning the fundamentals of Buddha Dhamma: kamma, kamma vipaka, dasa kusala (moral deeds) and dasa akusala (immoral deeds), validity of the rebirth process, etc.
- With the comprehension of the fundamental aspects of Buddha Dhamma, those 10 types of miccha ditthi will fade away. Only at that point that one can actually start on the Noble Eightfold Path, as pointed out by the Buddha himself in the above sutta.
- It is good to get an idea of the "wider world view of the Buddha" that there are 31 realms in this world and the births in the lower ones are where most of the suffering is. See: "Pathama Niraya Sagga Sutta (AN 10.210): Causes for Rebirth in Good and Bad Realms" Nov 19, 2018 (p. 49) AND Tue Nov 20, 2018 (p. 50) and "How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm", on Oct 31, 2018 (p.43).
- Of course my recent several posts during the past couple of days summarized the Buddha Dhamma in terms of the Four Noble Truths.

In the next post I will continue the discussion on the brahma realms and the connection to attaining jhana. This will help us understand why our physical bodies play a secondary role. It is the mental body (manomaya kaya) that is much more important.
Last edited by Lal on Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:42 am

Lal wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:24 am
I hope a “Buddhist who does not believe in rebirth” would answer my simple questions.
Maybe one will turn up. There's always this guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_B ... r_(author) who is famous for not believing in rebirth.
What is the use of a discussion forum on Buddha Dhamma if we cannot even discuss what the Buddha meant by “suffering” that he was able to stop from arising?
You are free to discuss whatever you want, Lal.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by James Tan » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:09 am

To summarise ,
The cause of suffering is craving.
However , it seems the whole of existence is the field of dukkha .
The end product of practising dhamma is stopping the cycle of birth .
:reading:

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:31 am

James Tan wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:09 am
To summarise ,
The cause of suffering is craving.
However , it seems the whole of existence is the field of dukkha .
The end product of practising dhamma is stopping the cycle of birth .
That is a good summary.

1. However, getting out of the rebirth process (via getting rid of cravings) is not that easy. We can look at it this way.

- When a fish sees a worm on a hook, it does not see the hidden hook (hidden suffering), but only sees a tasty worm (immediate pleasures). However, looking at the whole scene with fisherman, his pole and the line with the worm impaled on the hook, we can clearly see what is going to happen to the fish if it bites.

2. Most people cannot see that craving for worldly sense pleasures is not that different from the fish craving for the worm on a hook. But the Buddha, upon his Enlightenment was able to see the suffering hidden in cravings for sense pleasures.

- He was able to see the whole of existence with the 31 realms, and how beings just move around those 31 realms (but mostly in the four realms), because of the immoral things they do to achieve those sense pleasures.

3. But one should be able to see at least the following aspect even without much knowledge about Buddha Dhamma: That if we do immoral things to get those sense pleasures, then those actions are unlikely to unpunished.

- As humans, we have an innate sense of what is right and what is wrong. Even though most of us can see that, we will still be tempted to do immoral things IF THE TEMPTATION is high enough.

- This basic understanding becomes solidified when one gets rid of the 10 types of wrong views (miccha ditthi) about this world: that one's deeds (kamma) do not have consequences (vipaka), those 31 realms exist and that one could be reborn in many of them based on one's actions (kamma vipaka), and that suffering is mostly associated with the lowest four realms, etc.

4. If one can comprehend the Three Characteristics of Nature (anicca, dukkha, anatta), one will be able to see without a doubt the dangers of such extreme actions. It is hard to explain in a single post, but at the moment of registering the Sotapanna phala citta (attainment moment), one’s mind will be able to “see” that truth.

- This is why a Sotapanna is called "dassanena sampannō": He/she has "seen" the bigger picture of how suffering originates via extreme cravings (abhijjā) and extreme hate (vyāpāda). So, the level of ignorance drops from mōha to just avijjā; see, "Lōbha, Dōsa, Mōha versus Rāga, Patigha, Avijjā Nov 11, 2018 (p. 44)".

- It is sort of getting the mind to an advanced stage, where one can clearly “see” those dangers in immoral actions without any doubt. After that, no matter how strong the sense input is, one will NEVER to such highly immoral actions that could make one reborn in the apayas.

5. However, a Sotapanna has not lost cravings for sense pleasures. He/she would still engage in sense-fulfilling activities that are not immoral, i.e., activities that would not harm others.

- So one would still engage in sex, but would not engage in sexual misconduct. He/she may still like to enjoy nice meals, listen to good music, etc. but would not do anything immoral to make money for such activities, for example.

6. Such desires for sense pleasures are lost in two stages: Sakadagami and Anagami. But one cannot start on those stages until one becomes a Sotapanna. It is a step-by-step process.

- After the Anagami stage one would still have some avijja left and may still crave for jhanic pleasures, for example.
- But one would see the unfruitfulness of even those jhanic pleasures and completely remove avijja only at the Arahant stage.
- By the way, one can get to anariya jhana even before becoming a Sotapanna by SUPPRESSING sense pleasures. That is what the yogis did even before the Buddha, using breath and kasina meditations. Those meditations CANNOT even get one's level of mōha down to the avijjā level.

That is a brief summary. But hopefully, it would give some idea that making progress on the Path is a gradual process. These days, many people try to skip the initial steps, and that is why they cannot make much progress.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:27 am

It is important to get an idea about the "manomaya kaya" or the "mental body" in many respects. Here I will continue that discussion.

I started the discussion with the following three recent posts: "31 Realms Associated with the Earth" Nov 30, 2018 (p. 51); "Types of Bodies in the 31 Realms and Manōmaya Kaya", Dec 01, 2018 (p. 51); "Anattā (Mundane Interpretation) - There is no "Unchanging Self", Dec 03, 2018 (p. 51).

Types of Bodies in 31 Realms - Connection to Jhāna

1. Even before the Buddha, people had three different basic ideas about "the essence" of a living being and specifically a human.

- Just like today, many people believed that the current physical body is all that is there. When one dies, that is the end of the story. One's body would decompose and be absorbed to the Earth. Nothing at all will be left over, either physical or mental. The physical body is called "karaja kaya" in Buddha Dhamma.
- However, there was another view that there is something that survives the physical death of the body. This is the same as the concept of a "soul" in major religions today. In Abrahamic religions today, it is believed that upon death, the soul will either go to heaven or hell and will forever remain there.
- So, those are the two main views about "the essence" of a human being today.

2. However, at the time of the Buddha, those with the second view of a surviving "mental body" were split into two camps. In order to understand that, we need to remember that there were yogis who were able to get into jhānās and also had some supernormal (abhiññā) powers.

- There are three kinds of "pleasures", as we discussed in the post, "Part 1 (Nibbana): Three Kinds of Happiness", Nov 23, 2018 (p.50). Two of these are "mundane pleasures", associated with the 31 realms of this world.
- One is of course the "physical sense pleasures": those associated with pictures, sounds, food, smells, and touches. That is what most humans experience. In fact, these are the pleasures associated with the 11 realms in the kāma lōka (four lowest realms, human realm, and the 6 deva realms).
- The second are the jhānic pleasures, and those are of two varieties: rūpāvacara jhāna and arūpāvacara jhāna.

3. If one can cultivate jhānās, one can experience "jhānic pleasures". Unlike the pleasures associated with the physical senses, jhānic pleasures are associated with less and less with the dense physical body as one gets to higher jhāna.

- Of course, jhānic pleasures have nothing to do with seeing nice objects, hearing nice music, eating tasty foods, smelling nice odors, or physical touching.
- In the first four jhānās, one just experiences fine bodily feelings (lightness in the body etc) as well as mental happiness. By the time one gets to the fourth jhāna, almost all "bodily sensations" fade out and only "rūpa" that is left is a "white soothing light". So, by the fourth jhāna, one loses any awareness of one's own physical body, i.e., the only "matter" one experiences is that of light.
- We must remember that light is a rūpa in Buddha Dhamma, even though it is a "very fine rūpa". In fact, in quantum mechanics, photons (light) and electrons (matter) are treated on the same footing.

4. The four rūpāvacara jhānās correspond to mental states of the rūpāvacara brahmas, i.e., those brahma in the rūpa lōka realms. Now we can see why those rūpāvacara brahmas do not have dense bodies.

- They do not need dense bodies! Brhamas do not eat, smell nice fragrances, or engage in sex.
- Those humans who can get to the fourth jhāna can cultivate the ability to separate the "brhama-like mental body" from the solid physical body. That means the "mental body" -- called monōmaya kaya -- can come out of the physical body.
- This monōmaya essentially has the seat of the mind (hadaya vatthu) and the five pasāda rūpa for sensing vision, sounds, smells, taste, and touch.
As we mentioned above, the physical body is called the karaja kaya.

5. The Buddha gave several analogies to describe this separation of the monōmaya kaya from the karaja kaya. In the Sāmañ­ña­phala ­Sutta (DN 2):

"..Seyyathā vā pana, mahārāja, puriso asiṃ kosiyā pavāheyya. Tassa evamassa: ‘ayaṃ asi, ayaṃ kosi, añño asi, aññā kosi, kosiyā tveva asi pavāḷho’ti. Seyyathā vā pana, mahārāja, puriso ahiṃ karaṇḍā uddhareyya. Tassa evamassa: ‘ayaṃ ahi, ayaṃ karaṇḍo. Añño ahi, añño karaṇḍo, karaṇḍā tveva ahi ubbhato’ti."

Translated: "..suppose a man were to draw a sword out from its scabbard (sheath). He would think: "This is the sword; this is the scabbard. The sword is one thing, the scabbard another, but the sword has been drawn out from the scabbard".  Or suppose a man were to pull a snake out from its old outer skin. He would think: "This is the snake; this is the old skin. The snake is one thing, the old skin another, but the snake has been pulled out from the old skin".
- Therefore, separating the monōmaya kaya from the karaja kaya is just like pulling out a sword from its sheath: sword is the "active element" and the sheath is like the karaja kaya. In the analogy: "A snake shedding its old skin", snake is like the monōmaya kaya and old skin is like the karaja kaya".
- Manomaya kaya is the "active or important element".

6. The bodies of the rūpāvacara brahmas are very similar to the monōmaya kaya of those yogis.

- The only difference is that the monōmaya kaya of the rūpāvacara brahmas do not have the three pasāda rūpa for smelling, tasting, or touch.
Rupavacara brahama's fine bodies have just the hadaya vatthu (seat of the mind) and two pasāda rūpa for seeing and hearing.
- Of course, they do not need eyes. They see and hear using a different method. Seeing by those brahmas is similar to how we see dreams with our eyes closed. We don't need eyes or light to "see" dreams.

7. This monōmaya kaya is the same one that enters the womb at conception.

- We remember that a gandhabba has a monōmaya kaya as well as fine, misty-like body due to inhaling aroma. When a gandhabba enters a womb, this "extra bit of matter" is shed and only the monōmaya kaya (of the size of a few suddhāshtaka) enters the womb.
- We also remember that these five pasāda rūpa are the actual sensing elements. When the monōmaya kaya is inside a physical body, they get the signals THROUGH the five physical senses: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and the body. Those signals are analyzed by the brain and transmitted to the monōmaya kaya inside the physical body.
- That can be compared to a human sitting inside a totally enclosed military tank seeing the outside with aid of cameras mounted on the body of the tank. Those who are interested can read details here: "Our Mental Body – Gandhabba": [html]https://puredhamma.net/living-dhamma/ou ... gandhabba/[/html].

8. In fact, this separation of the mental and physical bodies can happen to a normal human too, especially when undergoing heart operations.

- Just like a rūpāvacara brahma, these yogis who come out of the physical body with just the monōmaya kaya can “see” and “hear” over great distances.
- Of course we have hard time imagining that. But it can be compared to what happens when we see a dream. There is no need for eyes or light to see dreams; we see dreams when it is pitch black at night with our eyes closed; we do not “see” dreams with our eyes.

9. In some stressful situations (like heart operations), the monōmaya kaya can separate from the physical body, and that is what is called the “out-of-body experience (OBE)”.

- It also happens to some who had almost died, but "manage to come back to life". These are also called Near-Death Experiences (NDE).
- There are many books written on OBE and NDE.  “Consciousness Beyond Life”, by Pim van Lommel (2010) gives detailed accounts of case studies of OBE experienced by people undergoing heart operations.

10. This monōmaya kaya (with a hadaya vatthu and five pasāda rūpa) that can be separated from the karaja kaya was called "rupi monōmaya kaya" by those yogis at the time of the Buddha. A "rupi saññāmaya kaya" basically means a "fine body of matter with the ability to recognize/understand".

There is a second type of monōmaya kaya discussed by the Buddha in the Poṭṭha­pāda Sutta (DN 9).  This was called "arupi saññāmaya kaya". We will discuss that in the next post. These bodies or "kaya" are associated with arūpāvacara brahmas (and thus arūpāvacara jhānās).
- It could be a good idea to get refresh the memory on what is meant by saññā: "Saññā – What It Really Means” explained September 14, 2018 (p. 31).
- Basically, when one recognizes an object or understands a concept, then one has "an understanding" of what it is. That is what saññā is. So, an "arupi saññāmaya kaya" basically means a "body (almost) devoid of matter but has the ability to recognize/understand".

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by James Tan » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:13 pm

Lal wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:27 am


-But one would see the unfruitfulness of even those jhanic pleasures and completely remove avijja only at the Arahant stage.


- We remember that a gandhabba has a monōmaya kaya as well as fine, misty-like body due to inhaling aroma. When a gandhabba enters a womb, this "extra bit of matter" is shed and only the monōmaya kaya (of the size of a few suddhāshtaka) enters the womb.

1. Actually Ignorance not remove at arahant stage , according to cessation of paticasamuppada order , ignorance is being abandoned first following by sankhara etc etc !



2. FYI Gandhabba is the interval being .
:reading:

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:12 pm

We will continue our discussion from the last post.

Finest Manōmaya Kaya of an Arupavacara Brahma

1. As we discussed in the previous post, we can get some insights on "what survives the death of a physical body" by analyzing  jhānic experiences.

- As discussed there, one can experience for oneself that life is possible without a heavy, solid physical body. This can be experienced for oneself by cultivating jhāna.
- There are many people even today who can experience jhāna, especially up to the fourth jhāna.

2. When one gets to the first jhāna, one "transcends" (or go beyond) the kāma lōka or "sense sphere". Our human realm is one of 11 realms in the kāma lōka as we discussed before.

- There are 16 realms in "rūpa lōka" where rūpāvacara brahmas live and there are 4 realms in "arūpa lōka" where arūpāvacara brahmas live. Those are the 31 realms.
- In the Anupubbanirodha Sutta (AN 9.31): "Paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa   kāmasaññā niruddhā hoti" OR "“When one has attained the first jhāna, perceptions of sensuality stop from arising".
- That means kāma sankappa (or sensual thoughts) would not arise in the yōgi. However, the yōgi still feels his/her physical body. Those "bodily sensations" decrease as the yōgi from the first to the fourth jhāna.
- Those jhānic levels one through four correspond to the 16 rūpāvacara brahma realms.

3. If the yōgi can advance above the fourth jhāna, he/she next gets into the fifth jhāna which has a different mental experience. Jhānās fifth through eighth are called arūpavacara jhāna.

- The fifth jhāna or the first of the arūpavacara jhāna is called the ākāsānancāyatana.
- Even though those arūpavacara jhāna are labelled as fifth through eighth jhāna these days, in suttas they are just called by their names:  ākāsānancāyatana, viññāṇañcāyatana, ākiñ­cañ­ñā­yatana, neva­saññā­nā­sañ­ñāyata­na.
- The experiences of yōgis in arūpavacara jhāna are similar to those of arūpavacara brahmas in the highest 4 realms in the 31 realms.

4. Those arūpavacara brahmas cannot even see or hear, unlike the rūpavacara brahmas.

- Those arūpavacara brahmas have just a trace of matter: a hadaya vatthu, which is the seat of the mind. However, unlike rūpavacara brahmas, they do not have pasāda rūpa for seeing and hearing.
- They only have an awareness (saññā) of existence. In the Poṭṭha­pāda Sutta (DN 9) (and other suttas) this "third type of body" is called an "arupi saññāmaya kaya".
- Arupi means "without rūpa" (it actually has a trace of rūpa, just the hadaya vatthu). Saññāmaya means "with saññā", i.e., one can still experience that one is still alive, one has perception (saññā).

5. It may be a good idea to re-read the following recent posts just to firmly grasp these key ideas. Then it would be easier to follow the upcoming discussions.

- "31 Realms Associated with the Earth",Nov 30, 2018 (p. 51); "Types of Bodies in the 31 Realms and Manōmaya Kaya",Dec 01, 2018 (p. 51); "Anattā (Mundane Interpretation) - There is no "Unchanging Self", Dec 03, 2018 (p. 51); "Types of Bodies in 31 Realms - Connection to Jhāna", Dec 08, 2018 (p. 52)

6. Now we can summarize what we have figured out so far: Any living being is born with a basic manōmaya kaya that comes in three basic varieties:

- Those in kāma lōka have a manōmaya kaya with hadaya vatthu and five pasāda rūpa (i.e., all six "sensing elements". That manōmaya kaya is "enclosed in" in a solid physical body (karaja kaya) that allows one to experience "sense pleasures".
- In the 16 rūpavacara brahma realms, the manōmaya kaya has two pasāda rūpa (for vision and hearing), in addition to the seat of the mind (hadaya vatthu).
- The finest manōmaya kaya is in the arupa lōka (4 arūpavacara brahma realms), which only has the hadaya vatthu.

7. There are 11 realms in kāma lōka (four apāyās, human realm, and 6 dēva realms).

- The six dēva realms belong to the kāma lōka, and all those devas have "physical bodies" (karaja kaya) but they are finer than those of humans.
Of course, a solid physical body (karaja kaya) is not there for either a rūpavacara or an arūpavacara brahma.

8. By the way, we can now see how suffering decreases as one starts at the lowest realms (apāyās) and move up to human, dēva, and brahma realms. Human realm is where both suffering and happiness are present. Sense pleasures are optimum in dēva realms.

- However, sense pleasures are not available in brahma realms. But the jhānic pleasures in those brahma realms are much better than sense pleasures.
- Thoughts of greed and hate/anger cannot arise in any brahma, including rūpavacara brahmas. This is why their minds are at peace.

9. That is also true of those who can get into the corresponding jhānās. While in those jhāna, thoughts of greed or hate/anger do no arise.

- This is as close as one can get to Nibbāna, without even comprehending Buddha Dhamma. As we know, yōgis were able to get to those jhānās even before the Buddha by using breath or kasina meditations.
- If those yōgis do not lose the ability to get into jhāna until death, they will be born in the corresponding brahma realms. However, since they have only SUPPRESSED greed and hate, they will come back down to the human realm at the end of "brahma bhava". Subsequently, they can eventually end up in the lowest four realms (apāyās).

10. So, now we can see that there are two types of jhānic pleasures, and that those two varieties give rise to "two types of mental bodies or manōmaya kaya" (in addition to the dense body or the karaja kaya that we are familiar with).

- However, a human who cultivates jhāna and even get to the highest arūpavacara jhāna (8th jhāna), will still have the human manōmaya kaya that he/she was born with.
- If a yōgi comes out of the physical body with that manōmaya kaya, it would have five pasāda rūpa and a hadaya vatthu.

11. Therefore, that manōmaya kaya that can be separated from the physical body of a human would have all five pasāda rūpa that are the actual "sensing elements" for seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. Of course the "seat of the mind" -- or the hadaya vatthu -- would also come out with those five pasāda rūpa.

- This is because it is not possible to separate any pasāda rūpa form the manōmaya kaya that is born at the beginning of the human bhava.
- In fact, it is that manōmaya kaya that lives as a gandhabba in between two adjacent human births (jāti) until a suitable womb becomes available for it to enter.

12. In Buddha Dhamma, the closest equivalent of a "soul" is the "manōmaya kaya" or the "mental body". However, it is not the same an unchanging soul.

- As we saw, manōmaya kaya will take fundamentally different forms in the three types of lōka that encompasses the 31 realms: kāma lōka, rūpa lōka, and arupa lōka.
- Furthermore, even during the human bhava, the manōmaya kaya can undergo drastic changes. When one attain jhāna or magga phala, it will undergo significant changes. In the case of magga phala, those changes are permanent.

13. In the next post, we will summarize the information that we have discussed so far with reference to key sections in the Poṭṭha­pāda Sutta (DN 9).

- In that sutta, the Buddha explained those three types of "kaya" to Potthapāda, who was asking whether there exists an "absolute, unchanging, self" or an attā in the deeper sense (just like a "soul" that would have a "permanent existence" in heaven or hell in Abrahamic religions today).
- It must be kept in mind that the above descriptions provide only the basic framework of the three types of lōka (kāma lōka, rūpa lōka, and arupa lōka), that encompass the 31 realms.
- However, that is sufficient to get a good idea about the key differences among the 31 realms.
- Furthermore, it explains a deeper meaning of "attā".

Lal
Posts: 269
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:32 pm

I was going to continue the discussion on the Potthapāda Sutta, but I think it is better to take a few more posts and setup the necessary background. There are many deep concepts involved and it is better not to rush through them.

Basic Principles of Buddha Dhamma - Introduction to Paticca Samuppāda

1. As we discussed in the previous several posts, our world is much more complex than what we can experience with our limited senses. I will summarize the key points first. You can read those posts for more information.

- There are three types of "lōka" with 31 realms in our world. Our human realm is one of 11 realms in the kāma lōka. 
- Those 11 realms in the kāma lōka lead to "sense pleasures" as well sufferings associated with "dense solid bodies" or karaja kaya.
- There are 16 realms in "rūpa lōka" where rūpāvacara brahmas live and there are 4 realms in "arūpa lōka" where arūpāvacara brahmas live. Those two lōkas have two different kinds of jhānic pleasures, and no bodily sufferings (because there are no solid bodies). Whatever suffering is associated with just the mind.

2. To be born in those higher 20 realms, a human must cultivate jhānās (first 4 jhānās correspond to the 16 rūpāvacara realms and the higher 4 jhānās correspond to the  4 arūpāvacara realms.

- It is not necessary to follow Buddha Dhamma to cultivate either type of jhānās and to be born in those higher 20 realms. Anāriya (or non-Noble) meditation techniques (breath and kasina meditations can be used to cultivate those anāriya jhāna.
- With those anāriya jhānās, kāma rāga is only SUPPRESSED. If the sense temptations are high enough, kāma rāga can re-surface and those anāriya jhānās can be lost. If those anāriya jhānās are not lost before one dies, one WILL BE born in a brahma realm.
- However, that birth in a brahma realm lasts only for the duration of the lifetime there. Then one will be born back in the kāma lōka based on the strongest kamma vipāka that comes to the mind of that brahma at the dying moment.

3. This is why we all have been just moving from one realm to the another in a rebirth process that has no beginning.

- However, a living being spends most of the time in the rebirth process in the apāyās, due to immoral actions done to gain sense pleasures. That is done with avijjā, or not being aware of this "bigger picture".
- Birth in any given realm is not by chance, but due to causes and conditions, which is the principle of Paticca Samuppāda (Dependent Origination) in Buddha Dhamma.

4. Now, Paticca Samuppāda is based on two aspects: CAUSES and CONDITIONS.

- The CAUSES are previously done kamma. However, unless suitable CONDITIONS are present, those cannot bring vipāka.
- That is why kamma are not deterministic in Buddha Dhamma. Just because one has done bad (good) kamma in the past, they cannot bring bad (or good) results or vipāka, UNTIL suitable CONDITIONS become available.

5. The story of Angulimala is a good example to illustrate this point. He had killed almost 1000 people. Thus he had done enough bad kamma to be born in the apāyās. When one does a bad kamma, a kamma bīja (kamma seed) is created. Under suitable conditions, that kamma seed can "germinate" and lead to a new birth, just as a seed can lead to the birth of a plant.

- However, on the first encounter with the Buddha, he became a Sōtapanna, and within a couple of weeks attained the Arahanthood too.
- So, the conditions for those bad kamma vipāka to materialize (to get a birth in the apāyās) were not present in his mind at his death. His bad kamma seeds were not able to "germinate".
- In fact, conditions to re reborn anywhere in the 31 realms were not preset at his dying moment. Even though he had also cultivated jhānās, those could not bring a birth in a brahma realm either. Thus,  his good kamma seeds were also not able to "germinate".
- Therefore, he was not reborn anywhere in the 31 realms, and he attained "full Nibbāna" or "Parinibbāna". His mind was released from the suffering-filled 31 realms.

6. Since this principle of CAUSES and CONDITIONS is an important point, let us discuss this a bit more with that analogy of a seed.

- An apple seed has the POTENTIAL to bring an apple tree to life, so the CAUSE is there in the seed.
- Suppose one prepares a plot by preparing the soil, providing water, and plants the seed there. If sunlight is also available, the apple seed will germinate and an apple tree will grow. Those are the necessary CONDITIONS for that apple seed to germinate and give rise to an apple tree.
- However, if one keeps the apple seed in a cool, dry place, it will not germinate, i.e., necessary CONDITIONS are not present in that case for an apple tree to come to life. After a long time, the seed will become a "dud" and will never be able to give rise to a tree.

7. Furthermore, when an apple seed is planted a mango tree will not result from that but only an apple tree: the RESULT (vipaka) is according to the CAUSE (kamma or more specifically kamma bīja).

- In the same way, an akusala kamma (an immoral deed) will only lead to a birth in the apāyās. It will not lead to a birth in the human realm or a higher realm.
- Similarly, a kusala kamma (a good deed) will not lead to a birth in the apāyās. It will only lead to a birth in a good realm.
- So, we can see why both CAUSES and CONDITIONS play roles in the rebirth process.

8. If laws of kamma were deterministic, one will never be able able to become free of the rebirth process, because we all have done innumerable good AND bad kamma in the past.

- We can overcome those kamma by purifying our minds.
- A highly defiled mind makes conditions suitable for existing bad kamma bīja to germinate.
- A "mundane moral mind" will make conditions suitable for existing good kamma bīja to germinate and lead to rebirth in "good realms". But the critical point to realize is that any such "existence" will be over some day.
- Then, because of one's tendency to commit bad kamma (especially under strong sense attractions), one will eventually end up in the apāyās, and undergo much suffering.
- Even though one can only see the dangers/suffering in the apāyās at the beginning, suffering associated with higher realms will become clear as one gets to the higher and higher stages of Nibbāna.

9. The above is a simple summary of the basic principles in Buddha Dhamma. It is important to grasp these basics. Then we can slowly get into deeper aspects.

- The overview that I presented over the past several posts may appear to be somewhat complex. However, that  "bigger picture" is necessary to get an idea of the beginning-less rebirth process.

10. The principle of Paticca Samuppāda can show how one's mindset (or gati) leads to specific births in specific realms. These gati have been discussed in, "The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Asavas)" of Oct 25, 2018 (p.43), post on August 18, 2018 (p. 22), and "How Habits are Formed and Broken – A Scientific View" on Nov 28, 2018 (p. 50).

- Let us consider person X making plans to kill Y to marry his wife. Person X’s goal is to marry Y’s wife and live a happy life with her. And X does not understand that it will lead to bad consequences for him in the future, i.e., bring a birth in the apāyās (one of the four lowest reals, most likely the lowest realm, niraya or hell).
- That immoral deed X did gives rise a highly potent kamma bīja (seed).
- However, if his mindset has become purified by the time of the cuti-patisandhi moment (grasping a new bhava), then that kamma bīja will not be "planted" in his mind. This is what is meant by "upādāna" or grasping.

11. That is exactly what happened in the case of Ven. Angulimala that we discussed above. There were many kamma seeds waiting to be germinated. But his mindset at the time of death would not grasp such kamma seeds.  His purified mind was NOT a fertile ground for the germination or even "accepting" of such seeds.

- That is not done consciously. That grasping (upādāna) happens AUTOMATICALLY within a split second due to one's gati (mindset) at the moment of death.
- Therefore, there is no need to worry about what kind of bad things we have done not only in this life, but in past lives.
- All we need to do is to discard "bad gati", cultivate "good gati", and purify our minds. That is achieved by following the Noble Eightlfold Path.
- But as we discussed before, that is a step-by-step process; see, for example, "Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty)" on Oct 23, 2018  (p.42), and “Can or Should a Lay Follower Eliminate Sensual Desires?” on September 26, 2018 (p. 33).

12. When one attains the Sōtapanna stage, one's mind is purified to the extent that the CONDITIONS for those highly-immoral deeds to bring vipāka go away permanently (these are sakkāya ditthi, vicikiccā, silabbata parāmāsa). So, a Sōtapanna will never be born in an apāya.

- When one attains the Sakadāgami stage, one's mind is purified to the extent that the CONDITIONS (vatthu kāma) for rebirths in the realms at the human realm will also be removed permanently. So, a Sakadāgami  will never be reborn at or below the human realm.
- Upon attaining the Anāgāmi stage, one's mind is purified to the extent that the CONDITIONS (kāma rāga and patigha) for rebirths anywhere in the kāma lōka will be removed permanently. So, a Anāgāmi  will never be reborn in any of the 11 realms in kāma lōka.
- Finally, at the Arahant stage, one's mind will be totally purified and there will be no grasping (upādāna) for any births anywhere in the 31 realms (remaining five conditions or samyōjanā of rūpa rāga, arūpa rāga, māna, uddacca, avijjā removed). Then one will merge with Nibbāna at the death of the physical body. There will be no more suffering ever.

13. Therefore, we see that cultivating the Noble Path really involves removing the CONDITIONS for one to be born at various realms in successive steps.

- This is done by first grasping the "bigger picture" that we have discussed, and then working towards removing those CONDITIONS step-by-step.
- That requires a good knowledge of Dhamma, including key terms in the Paticca Samuppāda like sankhāra, viñ­ñāna, upādāna, etc.
- Before that, we need to finish our discussion on the Potthapāda Sutta. That will provide more insights.

14. As I have mentioned before, Buddha Dhamma is deep. But if one is willing to spend time learning, one can make good progress. That will invariably lead to a niramisa sukha (or non-sensual happiness) that comes with understanding deeper aspects of the Nature, and the accompanying change in one's mindset.

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