The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Lal
Posts: 383
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:58 am

James Tan quoted from the Jhana Sutta (AN 9.36): “"I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana...”

The Buddha was discussing Ariya jhana, which are attained by eliminating (khaya) defilements (in this case akusala and kāma rāga.

The Pali verse for the above that you quoted is: “Paṭhamampāhaṃ, bhikkhave, jhānaṃ nissāya āsavānaṃ khayaṃ vadāmi..”

You first need to understand what is meant by āsavā. It is directly related to anusaya that I mentioned in the previous posts. Just saying “mental fermentations” is not enough to get the idea.
- Those "fermentations" are like dirt at the bottom of a glass of water, for example. Water at the top may look clear if the glass is not disturbed. In the same way, a yogi's mind may APPEAR to be clean as long as no attractive sense inputs come in to "disturb the mind and get those mental fermentations to come to the surface".
- Once the "fermentations" or dirt is removed, the mind cannot be perturbed by ANY sense input, no matter how strong (i.e., tempting) it is. That is the mind of an Arahant.

Therefore, the difference in Buddha Dhamma is to eliminate (khaya) rather than just suppress all these defilements. - That cannot be done by breath meditation.
- One needs to follow the Noble Eightfold Path and do the correct Anapana/Satipatthana to get rid of those "mental fermentations".

As I mentioned above those anariya yogis attain jhana by SUPPRESSING and NOT ELIMINATING kāma raga. So, those "fermentations" remain hidden.

Finally, I want to point out that “san” lead to cultivation of those defilements. “Khaya” leads to their reduction, and eventual elimination. I mentioned in the main post on “san” that it comes from Sankhya, the Pali word of “numbers” that deal with “san” or addition (accumulation) and “khya” that deal with subtraction (deduction). Those are examples of real “roots” in key Pali words.

You wrote: “Anyway , everyone is entitled to their beliefs according to one's understanding .”

That is true. But that does not make it right. Anyway, I think I have explained enough on this topic. You can make your own decisions.

Lal
Posts: 383
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:09 am

Since it is very important to understand (and is not explained in simple terms in most current English translations), I will briefly explain how sankhara leads to vinnana.

"San" is not clear? This may be helpful if one has an open mind

1. Sankhara (san +khara or doing thing to accumulate "san") are our thoughts, speech, and actions with greed, anger, and ignorance, i.e., they can be mano, vaci, or kaya sankhara.

- When those sankhāra become strong, they are called "abhisankhāra" or "strong sankhāra" that can lead to rebirths.
- Apunnabhisankhara (apunna abhisankhara) lead to rebirth in the apayas; apunna means immoral.
- Punnabhisankhara lead to rebirth in the higher realms, punna means moral and meritorious deeds. These include moral deeds (punna kamma) that lead to rebirth in human and deva realms AND cultivation of the rupavacara jhana (first four) that lead to rebirth in rupavacara brahma realms.
- Anenjabhi sankhara lead to rebirths in the arupavacara realms attained via cultivation of the higher 4 arupavacara jhanas; anenja means "stable" or " no death". This term comes from ancient yogis who believed that those states are permanent, and one would live forever in those realms.

2. All those births eventually lead to death and one would end up in the apayas, unless one of the four stages of Nibbana is attained.

- When one does those abhisankhara, one's mindset adjusts accordingly: Apunnabhisankhara lead to the most defiled mindset. Then one is MORE LIKELY to do similar sankhara again and again and strengthen such vinnana or mindset. So, this is not just one time Paticca Samuppada process. It happens innumerable times.

3. But with the comprehension of true Dhamma, avijja can be gradually lessened, and that lead to reducing sankhara, since "avijja pavvaya sankhara".

- With the gradual decrease of sankhara leads to a less defiled mindset or vinnana.
- If one follows the Paticca Samuppada steps, this will eventually lead to stopping the "bhava paccaya jati" and thus "jati paccaya jara, marana,..", the whole mass of suffering.

4. However, just reciting "avijja paccaya sankhara" as "based on ignorance mental formations arises", "based on mental formations consciousness arises", etc does not explain the actual process.

- Furthermore, it is WRONG to say, "based on mental formations consciousness arises". Consciousness arises due to past vipaka, for a living Arahant, not due to sankhara.
- It is those abhisankhara (strong sankhara) that lead to rebirth per #1 above. Some abhisankhara are immoral and lead to rebirth in the apayas, and others lead to rebirth in higher realms.
- Therefore, any abhisankhara lead to the continuation of the rebirth process, and thus will eventually lead to suffering in the apayas (since it is impossible to avoid apunnabhisankhara in the long run, as long as one has asava/anusaya (mental fermentations) that we discussed yesterday.
- As pointed out yesterday, “san” lead to cultivation of those defilements. “khaya” leads to their reduction, and eventual elimination. I mentioned in the main post on “san” that it comes from Sankhya, the Pali word of “numbers” that deal with “san” or addition (accumulation) and “khya” that deal with subtraction (deduction). Those are examples of real “roots” in key Pali words.

5. Now we can also see the true meaning of samsara (sansara): "san" + sara". Here "sara" means one thinks that "san" are beneficial, that they provide happiness.

- Thus one does those mano, vaci, and kaya abhisankhara and end up in suffering. This is why "sansara" is called the rebirth process.
- Those who are ignorant of these basic ideas of Buddha Dhamma, are going to trapped in the "sansaric journey".
- Whether one likes or not, one will get rebirths according to one's own (abhi)sankhara and corresponding vinnana.

6. When one starts comprehending this process, one starts cultivating samma ("san" "ma") ditthi or "vision to remove san". The one thinks (samma sankappa), speaks (samma vaca), acts (samma kammanata), etc with that "new correct vision". That is the Noble Path to stop suffering.

- Therefore, by comprehending what is really meant by (abhi)sankhara and vinnana, one can begin to understand the suffering associated with the rebirth process, and how to work towards eliminating that future suffering. That is the key teaching of the Buddha.

7. The basic relationship between sankhara and vinnana was explained in the post, "Connection Between Sankhāra and Viññāna": [html]viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=840[/html]
- How that leads to the Paticca Samuppada cycle ending in suffering was discussed at: "Viññāna and Sankhāra – Connection to Paticca Samuppāda" in the post right after that.

For those of you, who are asking for direct references to the root "san":

1. Buddha Dhamma is not be spoon-fed. One must be able to think rationally and logically. Not everyone can comprehend the deep Dhamma, especially if one is not willing to spend the time and instead blindly follow the blind.

2. A good example is the misinterpretation of Anapana bhavana as breath meditation, by the same set of people.
They take the mundane meanings of "in and out breath" as "ana and apana".

- Again, if you ask me to find an explanation by the Buddha that literally says breath meditation is NOT Anapana, I have not seen that yet (Arittha Sutta, SN 54.6, comes close, where the Buddha tells Ven. Arittha that there two types of Anapana and one must follow the correct one).

3. Anyone with the required level of wisdom (panna) should be able to figure out that "focusing the mind on in and out breath" cannot be Anapana. If one reads correct translations of the two suttas MN 118 and DN 22, one can easily figure out that Anapana has nothing to do with the breath.  In fact, in the Ānapānasati Sutta (MN 118), Satipatthāna is mentioned specifically:

Ānāpānassati, bhikkhave, bhāvitā bahulīkatā mahapphalā hoti mahānisaṃsā. Ānāpānassati, bhikkhave, bhāvitā bahulīkatā cattāro satipaṭṭhāne paripūreti. Cattāro satipaṭṭhānā bhāvitā bahulīkatā satta bojjhaṅge paripūrenti. Satta bojjhaṅgā bhāvitā bahulīkatā vijjāvimuttiṃ paripūrenti."

Translated:
"“Bhikkhus, when Ānāpānassati is developed and cultivated, it is of great benefit leading to ultimate release. When Ānāpānassati is developed and cultivated, it fulfils cattāro satipaṭṭhāna (the four foundations of mindfulness). When the four foundations of mindfulness are developed and cultivated, they fulfill the seven enlightenment factors (satta bojjhaṅga). When the seven enlightenment factors are developed and cultivated, they fulfill ultimate knowledge and release (vijjāvimuttiṃ paripūrenti)".

Mahā Satipatthāna Sutta (DN 22) just describes in more detail the Ānapānasati bhavana that is in the Ānapānasati Sutta (MN 118).

As I have explained in detail over the past few weeks, Satipatthana "bhavana" must be done at all times, in all four postures. Is it possible to do the "breath mediation" while walking?

Also see, "Breath Meditation Is Addictive and Harmful in the Long Run", Jan 15, 2019, (p. 64) and "Ānapāna That Can Reduce and Eliminate Mental Stress Permanently", Jan 20, 2019, (p. 65): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=960

Lal
Posts: 383
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:20 am

I recently came across a sutta that clearly explains the how the Buddha transitioned from those anariya jhānās that learned from the two yogis, Alara Kalama and Uppdakarama Putta, to Ariya jhānās on the way to Enlightenment during the night of the Enlightenment.

Those yogis attained such anariya jhānās using breath meditation and kasina meditation, which only SUPPRESS kama raga on the way to jhānās. In the following sutta, the Buddha describes that one needs to ELIMINATE or REMOVE kāma rāga (and other defilements) in order to attain Ariya jhāna.

Tapussa Sutta (AN 9.41) – Transition from Anariya Jhānās to Ariya Jhānās and to Akuppā Cētōvimutti

1. Most suttas have been translated word by word, without paying attention to the context or to the underlying teachings. I hope this sutta translation will convey what I mean by that statement.

- This sutta basically explains why it is necessary to reduce cravings for sense pleasures and to stay away from dasa akusala — and eventually to get rid of them — if one wants to cultivate Ariya jhāna.
- Just suppressing sense cravings (kāma rāga) induces jhāna too . However, to attain Nibbāna (akuppā cetovimutti), one needs remove those cravings at each jhānic state; see, “Ascendance to Nibbāna via Jhāna (Dhyāna)“ at puredhamma.net. In this post, we discuss the step-by-step process.
- Still, getting rid of sense cravings (kāma rāga), is not an easy task. It needs to be done by contemplating on the drawbacks (and dangers) of them — called ādīnava (pronounced “aadeenava”) — , and also the benefits (ānisamsa) of giving up such cravings (renunciation); see, “Mundane versus Supramundane Jhāna“ at puredhamma.net.

2. One could follow the Pāli version while reading: “https://legacy.suttacentral.net/pi/an9.41” and the English and other translations at that same website. It is a useful website, but translations are not correct for some key Pāli words, and suttas are translated word-by-word without paying attention to the embedded teachings. That is actually the case for basically all current English translations.

- Suttas are designed to be extremely repetitive, and that enabled faithful oral transmission over the first 500 years. But, in the written form, it is not necessary to translate the whole sutta word-by-word to understand its message. In fact, that could be very boring reading.
- So, I will start off with lengthy translation at first, and cut it short as I proceed to the end in order to make it readable, yet (hopefully) provide the key ideas.
- We also need to keep in mind that the Bodhisatta before becoming the Buddha, had learned how to get to all the jhānās from other yogis. One can attain cetovimutti (highest jhāna) by such anāriya techniques like breath meditation, but those jhānās are not stable. As described below, the Buddha figured out to cultivate unbreakable (stable) jhāna and attained the Buddhahood with akuppā cetovimutti.
- That is the process described in this sutta, which we discuss now.

3. Thus I have heard. On one occasion, the Blessed One was staying in Malla near a Mallan town named Uruvelakappa. Then early in the morning the Blessed One, having put on his robes and carrying his bowl and outer robe, went to Uruvelakappa for alms. Having gone into Uruvelakappa for alms, after his meal, on his return from his alms round, he said to Ven. Ananda, “Stay here, Ananda, while I go to the forest for resting.”

“As you say, lord,” Ven. Ananda replied.
Then the Blessed One went to the forest and sat down at the root of a tree for resting.

4. Then Tapussa the householder went to Ven. Ananda and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Ananda: “Venerable Ananda, we are householders who indulge in sensuality, delight in sensual pleasures, enjoy sensual pleasures, rejoice in sensual pleasures. For us, staying away from sensual pleasures — or renunciation — seems like jumping off of a cliff (it is hard to contemplate). Yet I’ve heard that in this Buddha Sāsana there are young bhikkhus (monks) who have given up sense pleasures and have attained peace of mind and ultimate release from suffering. How are those bhikkhus different from most people like us?”

“This is true, householder. Let’s go ask the Blessed One to explain this”.

5. Then Ven. Ananda, together with Tapussa the householder, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. Then Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One: “Bhante, Tapussa the householder, here, has said to me, ‘we are householders who indulge in sensuality, delight in sensual pleasures, enjoy sensual pleasures, rejoice in sensual pleasures. For us, staying away from sensual pleasures — or renunciation — seems like unappealing as jumping off of a cliff. Yet I’ve heard that in this Buddha Sāsana there are young monks who have given up sense pleasures and have attained peace of mind and ultimate release from suffering. How are these monks different from most people like us?”

6. “So it is, Ananda. So it is. Even I myself, before attaining the Buddhahood, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, I thought: ‘abstaining from sensual pleasures (nekkhamma) is good, peace of mind (viveka) is good’. But such thoughts free of sense cravings (nekkhamme cittam) would not sink in (na pakkhandati), would not purify (na pasidati), would not calm down (na santitthati) my mind, and it would not become liberated (na vimuccati)”.

- Then a thought occurred to me: “What is the reason that such thoughts free of sense cravings (nekkhamme cittam) would not sink in (na pakkhandati), would not purify (na pasidati), calm down, would not calm down (na santitthati) my mind so that it would not become liberated (na vimuccati)?”.
- Then this thought occurred to me: “I have not seen the dangers/drawbacks (ādinava) of sensual pleasures; I have not contemplated the dangers/drawbacks of sensual pleasures at depth (abahulikato). I have not understood the rewards of renunciation (nekkhamme ānisamsa). I have not contemplated at depth (anāsēvita) the rewards of renunciation. That’s why my mind would not become liberated (na vimuccati)“.
- Then this thought occurred to me: “If, I see the dangers of sensual pleasures and the benefits of renunciation of sense pleasures, such thoughts free of sense cravings (nekkhamme cittam) will sink in (pakkhandati), will purify (pasidati), will calm down ( santitthati) my mind so that it will become liberated ( vimuccati)”.
My comment: One needs to pay attention here to the Buddha describing to Tapussa how he had thought about the above thought process. But, he figured out exactly how to do that only on the night of attaining the Buddhahood:

7. “At a later time —aparena samyena — (the night of attaining the Buddhahood), having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I pursued that theme; I contemplated on the drawbacks of sense pleasures, and understood the rewards of renunciation, and understood the solution of getting rid of cravings (āsāvās). Then my mind firmly held such a mindset, calmed down, and was released from such sensual thoughts.

- Above paragraph describes what happened on the night of the Enlightenment, when he finally realized āsavakkhaya ñāna, how to remove āsāvās by contemplating on Tilakkhana; see, “The Way to Nibbana – Removal of Asavas“.
- As we know, he went through six years of various types of suffering to discover āsavakkhaya ñāna.
Now we get back to the difficulties faced by the Bodhisatta in the intervening six years in trying to make the first jhāna unbreakable or stable.

8. “Withdrawn from sensuality (vivicca kāmehi), withdrawn from immoral (vivicca akusala dhammehi), I entered and remained in the vicinity of the first jhāna with rapture and pleasure born from that restfulness (vivekajam), accompanied by savitakka/savicara (nekkhamma/avihimsa thoughts)“.

“However, I was still beset with recurring perceptions of sensuality (kāmasahagatā sañ­ñāmana­sikārā samudācaranti). That was a suffering for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so those recurring sensual thoughts was an affliction for me”.

(Note that the Bodhisatta experienced this problem early, when he learned how to get to jhānās by his early anāriya teachers: Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta. He developed the pathway during those intervening six years, but successfully implemented it only on the night of Enlightenment via āsavakkhaya ñāna).

9. “At a later time (the night of attaining the Buddhahood), having seen the drawback of vitakka, I pursued that theme; I contemplated on the drawbacks of vitakka, and understood the rewards of avitakka, when I understood the benefits of getting rid of cravings (āsāvās). Then my mind firmly held such a mindset, calmed down, and was released from such sensual thoughts.

- Now we get back to the difficulties faced by the Bodhisatta with the second jhāna, before the night of the Enlightenment.

10. “Then I thought: ‘I should get to the samādhi-generated (samādhijam) second jhāna that is free of these thoughts burdened with (vitakka/vicāra)'”. Here it is important to realize that vitakka means to have the mind set on a defiled thought object and vicāra means to keep it there.

“However, in the second jhāna, such thoughts free of vitakka (i.e., avitakka) would not sink in, would not purify, calm down, would not calm down my mind so that it would not become liberated (avitakke cittaṃ na pakkhandati nappasīdati na santiṭṭhati na vimuccati)”.
Then this thought occurred to me: “I have not seen the dangers/drawbacks (ādinava) of vitakka; I have not contemplated the dangers/drawbacks of vitakka at depth (abahulikato). I have not understood the rewards of avitakka (avitakke ānisamsa). I have not contemplated at depth (anāsēvita) the rewards of avitakka. That’s why my mind would not become liberated (na vimuccati)”.
- Then I was able to enter and stay in the vicinity of the second jhāna that was supposed to be devoid of such defiled thoughts (vitakka) and with piti and sukha.

11. This is a recurring theme for the rest of the sutta. The difficulty encountered at each jhāna level starting from the next verse, and the solution found on the night of Enlightenment.

- I am going to skip a few repeating steps here, for the third and fourth jhāna.

12. I was able to enter and stay in the vicinity of the third jhāna that was devoid of piti but with sukha.

- However, even then perception of piti kept arising in me (pitisahagata sannamanasikara samudacaranti). That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so those recurring piti was an affliction for me.
- “At a later time (the night of attaining the Buddhahood), verse is skipped here.

13. I was able to enter and stay in the vicinity of the fourth jhāna that was devoid of sukha but with upekkha.

- However, even then perception of upekkha sukha kept arising in me (upekkhasukhasahagata sannamanasikara samudacaranti). That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so those recurring upekkha sukha was an affliction for me.
- “At a later time (the night of attaining the Buddhahood), verse is skipped here.
Now we get to the arupavacara jhāna, and the steps are basically the same.

14. I was able to enter and stay in the vicinity of ākāsānañ­cāyatana by thinking, “Infinite space,” and transcending of perceptions of rupa , with the disappearance of perceptions of patigha, and not heeding various arammana (‘yannūnāhaṃ sabbaso rūpasaññānaṃ samatikkamā paṭi­gha­saññā­naṃ atthaṅgamā nānat­ta­saññā­naṃ amanasikārā “).

- However, even in the vicinity of ākāsānañ­cāyatana, perceptions of rupa kept arising in me, and that was an affliction for me (..iminā vihārena viharato rūpasahagatā sañ­ñāmana­sikārā samudācaranti. Svassa me hoti ābādho).

15. “At a later time (the night of attaining the Buddhahood), having seen the drawback of forms (rupa), I pursued that theme; I contemplated on the drawbacks of rupa, and understood the rewards of ākāsānañ­cāyatana, when I understood the benefits of getting rid of cravings (āsāvās). Then my mind firmly held such a mindset, calmed down, and was released from such sensual thoughts.

16. I was able to enter what I thought was viñ­ñā­ṇañ­cāyatana, the infinitude of consciousness.

- “As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of space (ākāsānañ­cāyata­na­saha­gatā sañ­ñāmana­sikārā samudācaranti). That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of space that beset me was an affliction for me.

17. So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of the infinitude of space (ākāsānañ­cāyatana), I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness (viñ­ñā­ṇañ­cāyatana), I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, grew confident, steadfast, and firm, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, [perceiving,] ‘Infinite consciousness,’ I entered and remained in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness.

- The sutta goes through the rest of the arupavacara jhāna. At each stage, the Buddha on the night of Enlightenment was able to REMOVE each jhāna factor, not just bypass it as in anariya jhāna.
- This was done by contemplating on the anicca, dukkha, anatta nature of each jhānic state.

18. “So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception (neva­saññā­nā­sañ­ñāyata­na), I pursued that theme; … With the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I entered and remained in the cessation of perception and feeling (saññā­ve­dayi­ta­nirodha). And as I saw with discernment, the mental fermentations (āsavā ) were totally eliminated.

- It is important to note that saññā­ve­dayi­ta ­nirodha cannot be attained via anāriya jhāna. This is Nibbāna experienced by a living Arahant.

19. “Ananda, as long as I had not attained and emerged from these nine step-by-step dwelling-attainments in forward and backward order in this way, I did not claim to have attained the Buddhahood that is supreme in the cosmos with its Devās, Mārās, and Brahmas, with its contemplatives and brāhmans, with its royalty and common people.

- But as soon as I had attained and emerged from these nine step-by-step dwelling-attainments in forward and backward order in this way, then I did claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening supreme state in the cosmos with its Devās, Mārās, and Brahmas, with its contemplatives and brāhmans, its royalty and common people. Knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘My release is unshakable (akuppā me cetovimutti), This is the last birth and there is now no rebirths (ayamantimā jāti, natthi dāni punabbhavo’”ti).

20. That is the step-by-step process of getting to the “total detachment” from the 31 realms of this world via successive Ariya jhānic states. That ultimate release of the mind attained this way is called akuppā cetovimutti.

- Of course, one can get to the same ultimate state (Arahanthood), without going through jhāna, and that is called paññāvimutti; see, “Pannāvimutti – Arahanthood without Jhāna“ at puredhamma.net.
- It is also clear that a paññāvimutti Arahant cannot get to the saññā­ve­dayi­ta ­nirodha state during his/her lifetime.

21. The efforts by the Bodhisatta to figure out how to remove āsavā (including kāma rāga) — – mainly by inflicting many bodily sufferings — for six years, are described in detail in the following two suttas: “Bodhi­rāja­kumāra Sutta (MN 85)” and “Mahāsacca­ka Sutta (MN 36)“.

Lal
Posts: 383
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:28 am

There are many conceptions about what it feels like to be in different jhānic states. Therefore, it is good to have a description by the Buddha himself in order to get a good idea about the experience.

Jhānic Experience in Detail – Sāmañ­ña­phala Sutta (DN 2)

Introduction

1. The jhānic experiences in the first four jhāna are clearly described by the Buddha in the “Sāmañ­ña­phala Sutta (DN 2): https://legacy.suttacentral.net/pi/dn2.

- It is a long sutta, and I will just provide the English translation for the relevant sections of sutta. The Pāli version and several translations can be found in the link above.

2. Jhānic experiences in Ariya and anariya jhānās may have some common features, since these jhānās correspond to mental states of rūpavacara brahma realms. However, the Buddha clearly stated that anariya jhāna are “burdened” and not as peaceful as Ariya jhānās; see the previous post: “Tapussa Sutta (AN 9.41)– Akuppā Cētōvimutti“.

- In order to get into jhāna, one must transcend (elevate one’s mindset above) the sensual realms (kāma lōka).
- This means one’s mind needs to be devoid of any sensual thoughts (kāma rāga) and dasa akusala AND focused on thoughts of renunciation and compassion (savitakka/savicāra). In any sutta describing the jhānic experience, there is this phrase: “So vivicceva kāmehi, vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati..“.

Translated: “Withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from akusala thoughts, and engaged in thoughts of renunciation and compassion, he enters and remains in the first jhāna..”.

Experience in the First Jhāna

3. “Withdrawn from sense pleasures, withdrawn from akusala thoughts, he enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by savitakka and savicāra (applied and sustained moral thoughts). His mind is filled with joy (piti) and whole body is suffused and filled with bodily happiness (sukha) born from withdrawal from sense pleasures (kāma) and akusala thoughts. There is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this rapture and happiness. (It should be noted that vitakka/vicāra or kāma and akusala thoughts are not completely removed in the first jhāna).

- “Great king, suppose a skilled bath attendant or his apprentice were to pour soap powder into a metal basin, sprinkle it with water, and knead it into a ball, so that the ball of soap-powder be pervaded by moisture, encompassed by moisture, suffused with moisture inside and out, yet would not trickle. In the same way, great king, the bhikkhu drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with the rapture and happiness born of seclusion, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this rapture and happiness. This, great king, is a visible fruit of a life abstaining from kāma and akusala.

Experience in the Second Jhāna

4. “Further, great king, with the removal of vitakka/vicāra (but savitakka/savicāra remain), the bhikkhu enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which is accompanied by internal confidence and unification of mind, is without applied and sustained thought, and is filled with the rapture and happiness born of concentration. He drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with this rapture and happiness born of concentration, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this rapture and happiness.

- “Great king, suppose there were a deep lake whose waters welled up from below. It would have no inlet for water from the east, west, north, or south, nor would it be refilled from time to time with showers of rain; yet a current of cool water, seeping through underground channels, would maintain the water level, so that the entire lake is filled to the brim. In the same way, great king, the bhikkhu drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with the rapture and happiness born of concentration, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this rapture and happiness. This too, great king, is a visible fruit of a life abstaining from kāma and akusala.

Experience in the Third Jhāna

5. “Further, great king, with the fading away of rapture ( piti or joy is lost), the bhikkhu dwells in equanimity, mindful and clearly comprehending, and experiences happiness with the body. Thus he enters and dwells in the third jhāna, of which the noble ones declare: ‘He dwells happily with equanimity and mindfulness.’ He drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with this happiness free from rapture, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this happiness.

- “Great king, suppose in a lotus pond there were blue, white, or red lotuses that have been born in the water, grow in the water, and never rise up above the water, but flourish immersed in the water. From their tips to their roots they would be drenched, steeped, saturated, and suffused with cool water, so that there would be no part of those lotuses not suffused with cool water. In the same way, great king, the bhikkhu drenches, steeps, saturates and suffuses his body with the happiness free from rapture, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this happiness. This too, great king, is a visible fruit of a life abstaining from kāma and akusala.

Experience in the Fourth Jhāna

6. “Further, great king, with the abandoning of bodily pleasure (sukha), the bhikkhu enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, which is neither pleasant nor painful and contains mindfulness fully purified by equanimity. He sits suffusing his body with a pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his entire body not suffused by a pure bright mind (one’s physical body no longer is felt, and only a “white light” is discerned; that white light is the only “rupa” left to be cognized).

- “Great king, suppose a man were to be sitting covered from the head down by a white cloth, so that there would be no part of his entire body not suffused by the white cloth. In the same way, great king, the bhikkhu sits suffusing his body with a pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his entire body not suffused by a pure bright mind. This too, is a visible fruit of a life abstaining from kāma and akusala.

The sutta now proceeds to describe what could be further accomplished by the bhikkhu.

- “With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge and vision. He discerns: ‘This body of mine is endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, born from mother and father, nourished with rice and porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, and dispersion. And this consciousness of mine is supported here and bound up here.’
- In other words, the bhikkhu can now see the ādinava (drawbacks) and the burden of carrying one's own physical body.

Essential Background to Attain Jhāna

7. Sāmañ­ña­phala Sutta is an excellent sutta which also discusses in detail how one can setup the necessary background to attain jhāna.

- It is too long a sutta to be discussed in a post. One could read Bhikkhu Bodhi’s English translation to get a good idea: “The Sāmaññaphala Sutta“:https://www.bps.lk/olib/mi/mi019.pdf . It is a pdf file that one can download.

8. Also note that while abandonment of the 10 types of micchā ditthi is needed for even anariya jhānās.

- Ariya jhānās require a level of comprehension of Tilakkhana in addition, and thus only Ariyas (Noble Persons) can attain them; see the previous post, “Tapussa Sutta (AN 9.41)– Akuppā Cētōvimutti“.

Eventual Outcomes of Ariya and Anariya Jhāna

9. Both types of jhāna lead to rebirth in corresponding brahma realms. However, those with anariya jhāna will come back to the human realm at the end of lifetime there, and could be born in the apāyās in the future.

- On the other hand, those who have cultivated Ariya jhānās will never come back to kāma lōka, let alone apāyās. They will attain Nibbāna (Arahanthood) in brahma realms.

10. This is clearly explained in the “Paṭha­ma­nānāka­raṇa Sutta (AN 4.123)” [html]https://legacy.suttacentral.net/pi/an4.123[/html] and several other suttas.

- For example, regarding those who have cultivated the first anariya jhāna: “Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco puggalo vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati. So tadassādeti, taṃ nikāmeti, tena ca vittiṃ āpajjati. Tattha ṭhito tadadhimutto tab­bahu­la­vihārī aparihīno kālaṃ kurumāno brahma­kāyikā­naṃ devānaṃ sahabyataṃ upapajjati. Brahma­kāyikā­naṃ, bhikkhave, devānaṃ kappo āyuppamāṇaṃ. Tattha puthujjano yāvatāyukaṃ ṭhatvā yāvatakaṃ tesaṃ devānaṃ āyuppamāṇaṃ taṃ sabbaṃ khepetvā nirayampi gacchati tiracchā­na­yonimpi gacchati pettivisayampi gacchati“.

Translated: “An individual, withdrawn from kāma rāga, withdrawn akusala, enters and remains in the first jhāna filled with joy (piti) and whole body is suffused and filled with bodily happiness (sukha). If he does not lose the jhāna at death, he is born among the Brahma­kāyika deavs, who have a life span of an eon. These normal humans (puthujjano), having used up all the life-span of those devas, may go to hell (niraya), to the animal realm, and to the state of the hungry ghosts (peta)“.

On the other hand, those who have attained the first Ariya jhāna: ” Bhagavato pana sāvako tattha yāvatāyukaṃ ṭhatvā yāvatakaṃ tesaṃ devānaṃ āyuppamāṇaṃ taṃ sabbaṃ khepetvā tasmiṃyeva bhave parinibbāyati“.

Translated: “But a disciple of the Blessed One, having stayed there, attains Nibbāna from there”.

11. The same is stated about those who have attained the second, third, and fourth anariya jhāna. None of them is free from the apāyās.

- On the other hand, those who have cultivated Ariya jhāna attain Nibbāna from those corresponding brahma realms.

12. Finally, this discussion about getting rid of (or at least suppressing) any sensual thoughts or kāma rāga may discourage those who are new to Buddha Dhamma.

That should not be the case; see, “Is It Necessary for a Buddhist to Eliminate Sensual Desires?” https://puredhamma.net/living-dhamma/tr ... l-desires/and “Starting on the Path Even without Belief in Rebirth“: https://puredhamma.net/living-dhamma/st ... n-rebirth/.

2600htz
Posts: 449
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by 2600htz » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:08 am

Hello Lal:

I like the "moral meditation" approach.
Question:

-In some suttas it seems people gain stream entry without hearing a discourse on “anicca, dukkha and anatta”, but on other topics.
What is your explanation for that?.

Regards.

Lal
Posts: 383
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:51 am

2600htz wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:08 am
Hello Lal:

I like the "moral meditation" approach.
Question:

-In some suttas it seems people gain stream entry without hearing a discourse on “anicca, dukkha and anatta”, but on other topics.
What is your explanation for that?.

Regards.
1. Anicca, dukkha, anatta may not be specifically mentioned. But to gain stream entry, one needs to realize that it is fruitless to strive to seek happiness in the rebirth process, and that a permanent happiness is possible only in attaining Nibbana; that is what is embedded in the "anicca nature".

2. As I have explained many times, most Tipitaka suttas have been condensed for easy oral transmission. One needs to discuss a given sutta in detail, and that is when one can see that most suttas indeed relate to anicca, dukkha, anatta nature.
- So, one may not see the connection if a given sutta is translated word-by-word.

3. I have explained this in previous posts using the Dhammacakkappavattana sutta: Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta  Oct 10, 2018 (P. 37) AND Oct 11, 2018 (p. 37) AND Oct 15, 2018 (p. 39) AND
Maha Satipatthana Sutta: " Mahā Satipatthāna Sutta – Structure" Jan 25, 2019 (p. 66): viewtopic.php?f=46&p=499408#p499408
"How a Mind Can Be Purified with Satipatthāna - Fundamentals",  Jan 30, 2019 (p. 66): viewtopic.php?f=46&p=499408#p499408
"What is Sati in Satipatthana? - Two Meanings of Sati", Feb 02, 2019 (p. 66): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=975
- "Satipatthāna - Section on Postures (Iriyāpathapabba)", Feb 07, 2019 (p. 66);viewtopic.php?f=46&p=500916&sid=377b712 ... d1#p500916
- "Kayānupassanā- Section on Habits (Sampajānapabba)", Feb 11, 2019 (p. 66);viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=501576#p501576
- "Other "Kāya" in Kāyānupassanā - The Other Three Sections in Kāyānupassanā" Feb 18, 2019 (p. 66);viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=502442#p502442

- As I explained, Dhammacakkappavattana sutta was delivered over several nights, yet all that material was condensed into just a few pages. In the old days, these suttas were explained in lengthy discourses section-by-section.
- And I only briefly discussed the Kayanupassana section in the Maha Satipatthana Sutta. Did not even get to vedananupassana, cittanupassana, and dhammanupassana sections.
- I did very little explanation on the Dhammacakkappavattana sutta. The word anicca appears there only once or twice, but the embedded message is all about the anicca nature of this world of 31 realms. So, one first needs to believe in the rebirth process among the 31 realms. Most people don't even know that many of those 31 realms are listed in that sutta.

4. This is a main problem we have today. Deep suttas are translated word-by-word, without providing detailed explanations of key ideas involved.
- For example, if one does not understand what is meant by vinnana, there is absolutely no way that one can even begin to understand many of those suttas.

5. Furthermore, one needs to understand the basics before trying to understand anicca, dukkha, anatta. My post on "Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty)" Oct 23, 2018  (p.42) explains this point.

Lal
Posts: 383
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:14 pm

Thinking about the comment by 2600htz a bit more, I realize that there could be two conflicting factors that may lead to confusion:

1. There are some accounts in the Tipitaka where a few people were able to grasp the Dhamma and attain Magga phala by just listening to a single discourse or even a single verse.

2. On the other hand, the Buddha upon attaining the Buddhahood, realized how difficult it would be for most people to understand this deep Dhamma. Below, I am providing relevant sections from two suttas that clearly state this initial reluctance of the Buddha to try to teach his newly-discovered Dhamma.

The short answer is in two parts:

1. This process of comprehending Dhamma started in our deep past in the rebirth process. There have been an infinite number of Buddhas in the past and all living beings have had exposure in the past. Those who are closer to the end need only a "little push" to make it. And that happens mostly while a new Buddha is alive.

2. For the majority of living beings, whatever is learned from a given Buddha may be mostly lost over time and they basically "start over", even though there would be some who can, with some effort, get back on the Path quickly. This is why it is easier for some and harder for others.

The bottom line is that, 2500 years after the passing away of the Buddha, it is not an easy task to grasp the Dhamma. Certainly, it is not possible to learn Dhamma by reading word-by-word translations of deep concepts.

- Of course, many parts of suttas (especially long suttas) can be translated word-by-word (like the passages below). 
- What cannot be directly translated is verses like, ”viññāṇāṁ anidassanaṁ anantaṁ sabbato pabhaṁ..” appears in the Brahma­niman­tanika Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 49).


Here are the relevant sections of two suttas that makes it clear that the Buddha himself hesitated to teach his new found Dhamma because he realized that most people would have a hard time understanding it.
- I am not trying to discourage anyone, but just trying to point out that it should not be taken lightly.

Bodhi­rāja­kumāra Sutta (MN 85).

Here is the relevant part of a translation there "With Prince Bodhi (MN 85)":https://suttacentral.net/mn85/en/sujato
"..When my mind had immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward knowledge of the ending of defilements. I truly understood: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering’. I truly understood: ‘These are defilements’ … ‘This is the origin of defilements’ … ‘This is the cessation of defilements’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of defilements’. Knowing and seeing like this, my mind was freed from the defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, and ignorance. When it was freed, I knew it was freed. I understood: ‘Rebirth is ended; the spiritual journey has been completed; what had to be done has been done; there is no return to any state of existence.’ This was the third knowledge, which I achieved in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute.

Then it occurred to me: ‘This principle I have discovered is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful, sublime, beyond the scope of reason, subtle, comprehensible to the astute. But people like attachment, they love it and enjoy it. It’s hard for them to see this thing; that is, specific conditionality, dependent origination. It’s also hard for them to see this thing; that is, the stilling of all activities, the letting go of all attachments, the ending of craving, fading away, cessation, extinguishment. And if I were to teach the Dhamma, others might not understand me, which would be wearying and troublesome for me.’ 

And then these verses, which were neither supernaturally inspired, nor learned before in the past, occurred to me:
‘I’ve struggled hard to realize this, enough with trying to explain it! 
This teaching is not easily understood by those mired in greed and hate.

Those caught up in greed can’t see what’s subtle, going against the stream, 
deep, hard to see, and very fine, for they’re shrouded in a mass of darkness.

’And as I reflected like this, my mind inclined to remaining passive, not to teaching the Dhamma.

Then Brahmā Sahampati, knowing what I was thinking, thought: ‘Oh my goodness! The world will be lost, the world will perish! For the mind of the Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha, inclines to remaining passive, not to teaching the Dhamma.’ Then Brahmā Sahampati, as easily as a strong person would extend or contract their arm, vanished from the Brahmā realm and reappeared in front of the Buddha. He arranged his robe over one shoulder, knelt on his right knee, raised his joined palms toward the Buddha, and said: ‘Sir, let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! Let the Holy One teach the Dhamma! There are beings with little dust in their eyes. They’re in decline because they haven’t heard the teaching. There will be those who understand the teaching!’ That’s what Brahmā Sahampati said. 

Then he went on to say:
‘Among the Magadhans there appeared in the past an impure teaching thought up by those still stained. 
Fling open the door to the deathless! Let them hear the teaching the immaculate one discovered.

Standing high on a rocky mountain, you can see the people all around. 
In just the same way, all-seer, wise one, ascend the palace built of Dhamma!

You’re free of sorrow; but look at these people overwhelmed with sorrow, oppressed by rebirth and old age.
 Rise, hero! Victor in battle, leader of the caravan, wander the world without obligation. 
Let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! There will be those who understand!’

Then, understanding Brahmā’s invitation, I surveyed the world with the eye of a Buddha, because of my compassion for sentient beings. And I saw sentient beings with little dust in their eyes, and some with much dust in their eyes; with keen faculties and with weak faculties, with good qualities and with bad qualities, easy to teach and hard to teach. And some of them lived seeing the danger in the fault to do with the next world, while others did not. It’s like a pool with blue water lilies, or pink or white lotuses. Some of them sprout and grow in the water without rising above it, thriving underwater. Some of them sprout and grow in the water reaching the water’s surface. And some of them sprout and grow in the water but rise up above the water and stand with no water clinging to them. 

Then I replied in verse to Brahmā Sahampati:
‘Flung open are the doors to the deathless! Let those with ears to hear decide their faith. 
Thinking it would be troublesome, Brahmā, I did not teach the sophisticated, sublime Dhamma among humans.

’Then Brahmā Sahampati, knowing that his request for me to teach the Dhamma had been granted, bowed and respectfully circled me, keeping me on his right, before vanishing right there.

"Pāsarāsi (Ariya Pariyesana) Sutta (MN 26)". 

Here is the English translation of the relevant section from Bhikku Bodhi ("26. Ariyapariyesanā Sutta: The Noble Search"):https://www.wisdompubs.org/book/middle- ... sana-sutta
(Enlightenment)
18. “Then, bhikkhus, being myself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, seeking the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna, I attained the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being myself subject to ageing, having understood the danger in what is subject to ageing, seeking the unageing supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna, I attained the unageing supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being myself subject to sickness, having understood the danger in what is subject to sickness, seeking the unailing supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna, I attained the unailing supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being myself subject to death, having understood the danger in what is subject to death, seeking the deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna, I attained the deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being myself subject to sorrow, having understood the danger in what is subject to sorrow, seeking the sorrowless supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna, I attained the sorrowless supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being myself subject to defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to defilement, seeking the undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna, I attained the undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna. The knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘My deliverance is unshakeable; this is my last birth; now there is no renewal of being.’
19. “I considered: ‘This Dhamma that I have attained is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in worldliness, takes delight in worldliness, rejoices in worldliness. It is hard for such a generation to see this truth, namely, specific conditionality, dependent origination. And it is hard to see this truth, namely, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna. [168] If I were to teach the Dhamma, others would not understand me, and that would be wearying and troublesome for me.’ Thereupon there came to me spontaneously these stanzas never heard before:
‘Enough with teaching the Dhamma That even I found hard to reach;
For it will never be perceivedBy those who live in lust and hate.

Those dyed in lust, wrapped in darkness Will never discern this abstruse Dhamma
Which goes against the worldly stream,Subtle, deep, and difficult to see.’   

Considering thus, my mind inclined to inaction rather than to teaching the Dhamma.

20. “Then, bhikkhus, the Brahmā Sahampati knew with his mind the thought in my mind and he considered: ‘The world will be lost, the world will perish, since the mind of the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened, inclines to inaction rather than to teaching the Dhamma.’ Then, just as quickly as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm, the Brahmā Sahampati vanished in the Brahma-world and appeared before me. He arranged his upper robe on one shoulder, and extending his hands in reverential salutation towards me, said: ‘Venerable sir, let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma, let the Sublime One teach the Dhamma. There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are wasting through not hearing the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.’ The Brahmā Sahampati spoke thus, and then he said further:
‘In Magadha there have appeared till now Impure teachings devised by those still stained.
Open the doors to the Deathless! Let them hear The Dhamma that the Stainless One has found.

Just as one who stands on a mountain peakCan see below the people all around,
So, O Wise One, All-seeing Sage,Ascend the palace of the Dhamma.
Let the Sorrowless One survey this human breed,Engulfed in sorrow, overcome by birth and old age. [169]

Arise, victorious hero, caravan leader,Debtless one, and wander in the world.
Let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma,There will be those who will understand.’ 
 
21. “Then I listened to the Brahmā’s pleading, and out of compassion for beings I surveyed the world with the eye of a Buddha. Surveying the world with the eye of a Buddha, I saw beings with little dust in their eyes and with much dust in their eyes, with keen faculties and with dull faculties, with good qualities and with bad qualities, easy to teach and hard to teach, and some who dwelt seeing fear in blame and in the other world. Just as in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses that are born and grow in the water thrive immersed in the water without rising out of it, and some other lotuses that are born and grow in the water rest on the water’s surface, and some other lotuses that are born and grow in the water rise out of the water and stand clear, unwetted by it; so too, surveying the world with the eye of a Buddha, I saw beings with little dust in their eyes and with much dust in their eyes, with keen faculties and with dull faculties, with good qualities and with bad qualities, easy to teach and hard to teach, and some who dwelt seeing fear in blame and in the other world. Then I replied to the Brahmā Sahampati in stanzas:
‘Open for them are the doors to the Deathless,Let those with ears now show their faith.
Thinking it would be troublesome, O Brahmā,I did not speak the Dhamma subtle and sublime.’   

Then the Brahmā Sahampati thought: ‘I have created the opportunity for the Blessed One to teach the Dhamma.’ And after paying homage to me, keeping me on the right, he thereupon departed at once.

2600htz
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by 2600htz » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:36 pm

Hello:

Thank you Lal for the answers.

Regards.

Lal
Posts: 383
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:42 pm

2600htz wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:36 pm
Hello:

Thank you Lal for the answers.

Regards.
You are welcome!

Lal
Posts: 383
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:51 pm

It is critically important to understand the meanings of vitakka, vicāra, savitakka, savicāra, and avitakka, avicāra. In particular, savitakka and savicāra are commonly translated incorrectly as “with vitakka and vicāra”.

Vitakka, Vicāra, Savitakka, Savicāra, and Avitakka, Avicāra

1. As always, one MUST start with the basics. Trying to extract the meanings of such key words from deep suttas is counter-productive.
What we need to do is to start with the basic definitions and THEN verify that the meanings of verses in deeper suttas CAN BE figured out using these basic definitions. I have seen that this method ALWAYS works within the Tipitaka.

- In fact, if someone can point out a sutta in the Tipitaka that is not consistent with this post, we can discuss that.
Possible inconsistencies MAY arise if one tries to make them compatible with late commentaries like the Visuddhimagga.

2. The words takka, vitakka, vicāra (තර්ක, විතර්ක, විචාර in Sinhala; the closest English words could be “think one way”, further/counter analysis, investigate in depth) are associated with vaci sankhāra; all these are associated with conscious thinking about a thought object (ārammana). One either silently “talks to oneself” or speaks out while analyzing the situation in the mind.

- A clear explanation is given in Abhidhamma, in the discussion on kāma dhātu, byāpāda dhātu, vihiṃsā dhātu, nekkhamma dhātu, abyāpāda dhātu, avihiṃsā dhātu, in the following section: “Dhātuvibhaṅga“:https://legacy.suttacentral.net/pi/vb3

- For example, “Tattha katamā kāmadhātu? Kāmapaṭi­saṃ­yutto takko vitakko saṅkappo appanā byappanā cetaso abhiniropanā micchā saṅkappo—ayaṃ vuccati kāmadhātu”.
Translated: “What is the element of kāma (indulgence)? takka, vitakka, saṅkappa, appanā, byappanā (remaining there, which is related to vicāra), which lead to establishing wrong views. This is called the element of desire/indulgence”.
- In other words, when one is constantly generating such thoughts, kāma rāga build up.

3. The opposite, element of nekkhamma is defined as: “Tattha katamā nekkhammadhātu? Nekkham­ma­paṭi­saṃ­yutto takko vitakko,saṅkappa, … pe … sammā saṅkappo—ayaṃ vuccati “nekkhamma dhātu”.

Translated: “what is the element of renunciation? takka, vitakka, saṅkappa, appanā, byappanā (remaining there, which is related to vicāra), which lead to establishing correct views (leading to removal of defilements). This is called the element of renunciation”.
- In other words, when one is constantly generating such thoughts, kāma rāga is diminished.
- Similarly, byāpāda dhātu, vihiṃsā dhātu, and the opposites abyāpāda dhātu, avihiṃsā dhātu are defined.

4. We can now see what is meant by kāma (abhijjā) sankappa, byāpāda (or vyāpāda) sankappa, vihiṃsā sankappa, which are all “bad” vaci sankhāra. They are closely associated with greed, hate, and ignorance.

- Their opposites are associated with Sammā Sankappa: nekkhamma, abyāpāda, and avihiṃsā sankappa.

5. Now we can also see the connection to vaci sankhāra as defined clearly in the “Cūḷa­ve­dalla Sutta (MN 44)“: “.. vitakka vicārā vacī saṅkhāro” OR “vacī saṅkhāra are vitakka vicārā”.

- 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“ posted on Nov 03, 2018 (p.43).

6. Another important sutta where this is discussed is, “Mahā­cat­tārīsa­ka Sutta (MN 117)“:

Katamo ca, bhikkhave, sammāsaṅkappo ariyo anāsavo lokuttaro maggaṅgo? Yo kho, bhikkhave, ariyacittassa anāsa­va­cittassa ariya­magga­samaṅ­gino ariyamaggaṃ bhāvayato takko vitakko saṅkappo appanā byappanā cetaso abhiniropanā vacīsaṅkhāro—ayaṃ, bhikkhave, sammāsaṅkappo ariyo anāsavo lokuttaro maggaṅgo..”

Translated: ““And what, bhikkhus, is Sammā Saṅkappa that is Noble, without āsava, supramundane, a factor of the Noble Path? Those are Noble thoughts (ariyacittassa) that are devoid of cravings (anāsa­va­cittassa), belong to the Noble Path (ariya­magga­samaṅ­gino ariyamaggaṃ bhāvayato) with takko vitakko saṅkappo appanā byappanā cetaso abhiniropanā vacī saṅkhāro: that is Sammā Saṅkappa that is Noble, a factor of the Noble Path”.

7. Succinct explanations can also be found in the “Vitakka Sutta (SN 56.7)“.

Here is the basic idea of the whole sutta:

“Bhikkhus, do not engage in evil unwholesome thoughts which are: sensual thoughts, thoughts of ill will, thought of harming others (pāpake akusale vitakke vitakkeyyātha, seyyathidaṃ— kāma vitakkaṃ, ­byāpā­da­ vitak­kaṃ, vihiṃ­sā­ vitak­kaṃ).
- For what reason? These thoughts, bhikkhus, are without real substance (Nete, bhikkhave, vitakkā atthasaṃhitā) , irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and do not lead to escape from the sense world, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
- When your mind starts such thoughts, bhikkhus, you should think: ‘This will lead to suffering’.
- Instead, you should think: ‘These are the causes of suffering’; you should think: ‘The way to cessation of suffering by cultivating thoughts of renunciation and compassion”
- Such thoughts will lead to escape from the sense world, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna“.

8. In many instances, the words vitakka and vicāra are used specifically to indicate “bad thoughts” or defiled thoughts.

- However, in some cases, they are used to indicate “all kinds of thoughts good or bad”.
- Therefore, one must be able to identify which meaning to use. It will be clear in the context that the words are used, as explained in the above examples.

9. When one generates thoughts that specifically do not involve kāma rāga or otherakusala — 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.

10. 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.”

Translated: “Ananda, when one stays away from vitakka/vicāra with kāma rāga and akusala AND cultivates savitakka/savicāra, one will get into the first jhāna”.
- However, vitakka/vicāra with kāma rāga and/or akusala may come to the mind once in a while in the first jhāna.

11. The absence of any “bad thoughts” is indicated by avitakka, avicāra. In this case, one would only have savitakka, savicāra (good thoughts).

- That happens in the second jhāna, where only savitakka/savicāra remain.
- Therefore, it is important to realize that avitakka/avicāra DOES NOT mean “without thoughts”; is just means the absence of bad thoughts.

12. This is very clear at the end of the “Upakkilesa Suatta (MN 128)“: “ ..So kho ahaṃ, anuruddhā, savitakkampi savicāraṃ samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, avitakkampi vicāramattaṃ samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, avitakkampi avicāraṃ samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, sappītikampi samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, nippītikampi samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, sāta­saha­gatampi samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ, upekkhā­saha­gatampi samādhiṃ bhāvesiṃ..”

Translated: “Anuruddha, I (systematically) cultivated the savitakka savicāra samādhi, avitakka vicāramattaṃ samādhi (absence of vitakka with a trace of vicāra left), avitakka avicāra samādhi (absence of vitakka and vicāra), sappītikampi samādhi (with piti or joy), nippītikampi samādhi (absence of piti or joy), sāta­saha­gatampi samādhi (with only sukha left), and upekkhā­saha­gata samādhi (sukha also removed to be in the upekkha state)”.
- What the Buddha described above is getting to the first jhana with savitakka savicāra, and then to the second jhana with absence of vitakka and vicāra (with piti and sukha), third jhana with just sukha (joy removed), and the fourth jhana with sukha also removed and with just upekkha).
- For a description of Ariya jhana with jhānānga removed at each successive stage, see, “Rahogata Sutta (SN 36.11)“, for example.

13. “Akusala Vitakka Sutta (SN 9.11)” provides another example: “Tena kho pana samayena so bhikkhu divāvihāragato pāpake akusale vitakke vitakketi, seyyathidaṃ—kāma vitakkaṃ, ­byāpā­da­ vitak­kaṃ, vihiṃ­sā­ vitak­kaṃ“.

Meaning: “That bhikkhu was engaged in generating highly immoral (pāpa) and akusala vitakka during his resting time – they were: sensual,with ill-will, and cruel.
- Another verse in the same sutta: “Ayoniso manasikārā, so vitakkehi khajjasi..” or “with wrong mindset (ayoniso manasikara), he is burdened with such defiled thoughts”.

14. Sankhāra are different types, so it is necessary to get an idea of how to use these basic definitions of vitakka, vicāra, savitakka, savicāra and avitakka, avicāra, in terms of different types of sankhāra: punnābhisankhāra, apunnābhisankhāra, anenjābhisankhāra; see, “Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra” on Nov 03, 2018 (p.43) and “Sankhāra – What It Really Means“ on Nov 01, 2018 (p. 43).

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:34 pm

Just before his Enlightenment, the Buddha figured how beings are born endlessly due to their own way of thinking. That knowledge is embedded in Paticca Samuppāda, translated as, "Dependent Origination". It describes the origins of different types of living beings, according to their own thought processes (saṅ­khā­ra) based on the level of avijjā (ignorance of the real nature).

Anulōma and Patilōma Paticca Samuppāda

1. Anulōma and patilōma Paticca Samuppāda describe the forward progression of events leading to eventual suffering and going backwards to see that indeed avijjā must be removed (by cultivating wisdom or paññā) in order to stop future suffering from arising.

- "Paṭha­ma­ Bodhi Sutta (Udāna 1.1)":https://legacy.suttacentral.net/pi/ud1.1 and "Dutiya ­Bodhi Sutta (Udāna 1.2)":https://legacy.suttacentral.net/pi/ud1.2 state how the Buddha comprehended anulōma and patilōma Paticca Samuppāda during the night of the Enlightenment.
- Most people are quite familiar with how suffering originates with saṅ­khā­ra generation due to the ignorance of the Four Noble Truths (avijjā), and then goes through the familiar steps: "avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, saṅ­khā­ra­pac­cayā viññāṇaṃ, ..and ends with ".. Evametassa kevalassa duk­khak­khan­dhassa samudayo hotī”ti OR "the whole mass of suffering".

2. It is also important to trace the steps backwards and see how future suffering can be stopped by cultivating paññā and "avijjānirodhā saṅ­khā­ra­nirodho, saṅ­khā­ra­nirodhā viññāṇanirodho, viññāṇanirodhā nāmarūpa­nirodho, nāmarūpa­nirodhā saḷāya­tana­nirodho, saḷāya­tana­nirodhā phassanirodho, phassanirodhā vedanānirodho, vedanānirodhā taṇhānirodho, taṇhānirodhā upādānanirodho, upādānanirodhā bhavanirodho, bhavanirodhā jātinirodho, jātinirodhā jarāmaraṇaṃ soka­pari­deva­duk­kha­do­manas­supāyāsā nirujjhanti. Evametassa kevalassa duk­khak­khan­dhassa nirodho hotī'ti".

- By stopping jāti, it is possible to stop suffering from arising (at the end).  Now we just go backwards: Jati (births) stopped by stopping bhava, which is stopped by stopping upādānataṇhā, vedanā, phassa, saḷāya­tana, nāmarūpa, viññāṇa, and saṅ­khā­ra. When one gets to the first step: saṅ­khā­ra cannot be stopped from arising without eliminating avijjā (and thus getting rid of ALL gati).
- In fact, if one really investigates this process, one can get some deep insights.

3. It is quite clear that in order to stop "the whole mass of suffering", one MUST stop each of those 10 factors (jāti, bhava,upādāna,  taṇhā, vedanā, phassa, saḷāya­tana, nāmarūpa, viññāṇa, and saṅ­khā­ra) from arising.

- Thus one can clearly see that nirōdha means "stop from arising".
- One can also see that can be done ONLY by removing avijjā, which is the same as  cultivating paññā.
- The removal of avijjā (and cultivation of paññā) is done by following the Eightfold path, which has two components as we discussed before. There are no shortcuts!

4. We concluded in #3 above that in order to stop future suffering from arising we must stop those 10 terms from arising. This appears not to make sense with some of those terms when we try to reconcile that with the fact that an Arahant has stopped those from arising.

- In particular, one could object in particular that vēdanā, phassa, viññāna, and saṅ­khā­ra still arise in a LIVING Arahant.
- As I have explained in many posts scattered throughout the website (especially in the "Paticca Samuppada" section), those terms are in the "uddēsa" version. This is explained in detail in the post, "Sutta – Introduction" (sorry, I do not have time to provide links; but these are available at puredhamma.net and also in my previous posts here).
- Let us discuss briefly a few of those terms.

5. Basically all current English translations just provide word-by-word translations of that "uddēsa version" without any explanation. For example, the English translation of the first sutta in #1 above states, "..because of consciousness: mind and body, because of mind and body: the six sense spheres, because of the six sense spheres: contact, because of contact: feeling, because of feeling... because of continuation: birth, because of birth: old age, death, grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair all arise, and so there is an origination of this whole mass of suffering.".; see, "The First Discourse about the Awakening Tree(UD 1.1)" https://legacy.suttacentral.net/en/ud1.1.

- According to the second sutta, all those terms (consciousness, sex senses, contact, feeling) should not arise in an Arahant!
- Furthermore, it is not clear what is meant by continuation (for bhava), which leads to jāti (births), and thus "this whole mass of suffering".

6. For example, the step, "avijjā paccayā saṅ­khā­ra" really should be "avijjā paccayā abhisaṅ­khā­ra".

- As is explained in the post, "Sankhāra – What It Really Means", an Arahant generates saṅ­khā­ra, but NOT abhisaṅ­khā­ra.
- It is those abhisaṅ­khā­ra that lead to future births and thus future suffering!

7. The next step is written in suttas as "saṅ­khā­ra paccayā viññāna" and  that is the uddēsa version.

- It needs to be explained as "abhisaṅ­khā­ra paccayā viññāna", where viññāna means "defiled consciousness".
- An Arahant would have "purified viññāna" and NOT "defiled viññāna". This is explained at, "Vipaññāna Aggregate".

8. Another confusing step could be "nāmarūpa paccayā salāyatana", where "salāyatana" or "six āyatana" are normally translated as "six sense faculties". Of course, a living Arahant has perfectly good sense faculties (indriya).

- Those six indriya (or sense faculties) become salāyatana when one acts with avijjā and use them to accumulate "san"; see, "Nāmarūpa paccayā Salāyatana".

9. In next step of "salāyatana paccayā phassa", it is really "salāyatana paccayā samphassa". When those indriya are used as āyatana, one "makes contact with a defiled mind" and that defiled contact is "samphassa" ("san" + "phassa").

- This is discussed at, "Difference between Phassa and Samphassa".
- Therefore, an Arahant would have only "phassa" and NOT "samphassa".

10. Now when those sense inputs are evaluated with a defiled mind, one generates "mind-made vēdanā" or "samphassa ja vēdanā". These are greedy, angry, jealous, types of vēdanā generated due to the defilements in the mind.

- Such "defiled and mind-made vēdanā" are absent in an Arahant. An Arahant will, however, generate vēdanā due to the contacts with the six indriya.
- For example, if someone hits an Arahant, he/she will feel the pain. Spoiled milk would taste bitter and a piece of cake would taste sweet, etc. But an Arahant would not generate angry thoughts about someone offering spoiled milk and would not generate cravings for the cake.
- This explained in detail in the post, "Vēdanā (Feelings) Arise in Two Ways".

11. The next confusion is at the step, "bhava paccayā jāti", which is translated in #5 as, "because of continuation: birth".  I am not sure what is meant by "continuation" there.

- The correct interpretation is given at, "Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein".

12. If one can spend some time reading those posts and the links given in them, one should be able to get a good idea of how different types jāti originate via abhisaṅ­khā­ra (one's own thoughts).

- The Sōtapanna stage of Nibbāna is attained by getting rid of the wrong way of looking at one's body (and actions) are due to an unchanging "soul".
- However, one's bhava and jāti arise due to one's own abhisaṅ­khā­ra. We are humans in this life because of good abhisaṅ­khā­ra cultivated in a previous life.
- If we do bad (or apunna) abhisaṅ­khā­ra in this life, we may be born as animal or worse. If we do good (or punna) abhisaṅ­khā­ra in this life, we may be born as devas, brahmas, or humans again.

13. However, there in no birth in the 31 realms that can bring a permanent state of happiness. Any deva or brahma existence will come to an end, and then one could be born in the apāyās.

- Permanent state of happiness (which means absence of ANY suffering) is attained by stopping this never-ending rebirth process. That is key message of the Buddha.
- When one truly understands that, one has the "vision" of a Sōtapanna, i.e., one would have gotten rid of sakkāya ditthi (and vicikiccā and silabbata parāmāsa all at the same time).

14. I have encountered an unexpected medical emergency (that is the anicca nature). If I recover, I will be back in several weeks.There is a lot of material published at this thread, and this post basically summarizes it all.

- There is much more at  puredhamma.net. In particular, the "Living Dhamma" section there is an attempt to provide a systematic approach to learn and practice Buddha Dhamma (of course, with more details in other sections).
- May you all attain Nibbāna!

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Dhammanando
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:07 pm

Lal wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:34 pm
I have encountered an unexpected medical emergency (that is the anicca nature). If I recover, I will be back in several weeks.
Wishing you a speedy recovery.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:35 pm

Thank you very much, Bhante!

sentinel
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by sentinel » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:21 pm

I hope you are not having some very serious condition !
Wishing you all well .
:buddha1:

Lal
Posts: 383
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:44 pm

It has been 3 weeks since I underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor in the frontal lobe. I just wanted to provide an update and to thank everyone for having such “compassionate thoughts”.

It was a fairly large tumor, roughly 4.5 cm X 3.5 cm X 2 cm, and it took roughly about 8 hours for the surgeons to remove the material without disturbing the sensitive areas around it. It was closest to the olfactory nerves, so it is possible that my “smelling” could be affected somewhat.
– If it was not detected, the tumor could have grown more and could have affected other critical functions like vision and hearing.

Furthermore, it was not a cancerous growth, so that also reduces future risks. I will just need to be taking brain scans every 6 months or so, just to make sure that it does not grow back.

It may take me a few more weeks to “get back to normal”. I have had time to think about this experience and I hope to share some new perspectives in the coming weeks.
- In the meantime, I would be happy to answer any questions on the material that I have discussed so far. In particular, one should seriously think about what was discussed in the very last post, "Anulōma and Patilōma Paticca Samuppāda" of Mar 14, 2019.
- Specifically, # 3 of that post: "It is quite clear that in order to stop "the whole mass of suffering", one MUST stop each of those 10 factors (jāti, bhava,upādāna, taṇhā, vedanā, phassa, saḷāya­tana, nāmarūpa, viññāṇa, and saṅ­khā­ra) from arising".

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