The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Lal
Posts: 456
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sun Mar 15, 2020 10:12 pm

Rebirth is instant..
What do you mean by that? What happens at that instant of death?

When a human (say X) dies what happens at that moment?
a) Is X (or the lifestream of X) going to a mother's womb instantly to be reborn human?
b) Is X going to be born in a different realm at that instant?

If a gandhabba is not involved, one of the above two possibilities HAS to take place.

We need to logically think through the process without just making statements. Please take the time and respond. Please provide evidence from the Tipitaka to support your statements. Also, please do not quote others.

confusedlayman
Posts: 810
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:16 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by confusedlayman » Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:14 am

Lal wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 10:12 pm
Rebirth is instant..
What do you mean by that? What happens at that instant of death?

When a human (say X) dies what happens at that moment?
a) Is X (or the lifestream of X) going to a mother's womb instantly to be reborn human?
b) Is X going to be born in a different realm at that instant?

If a gandhabba is not involved, one of the above two possibilities HAS to take place.

We need to logically think through the process without just making statements. Please take the time and respond. Please provide evidence from the Tipitaka to support your statements. Also, please do not quote others.

do u agree that energy exposed from ur body (exothermic like) makes changes with energy around ur body which in turn changes enerugy in ur locality which in turn changes energy in ur country and to globe and to cosmos and to far cosmos and to place where mind cant comprehend? some of the energy cognized by instruments and expeirence and most of them not. first read about this in physics or chemistry and i shall explain next point.
non-agitation is highest peace
living unaffected by other cause and condition to suffering is true bliss
not associating with stupid people is immediate peace
- CL (confused layman)

Lal
Posts: 456
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Mar 18, 2020 10:39 am

first read about this in physics or chemistry and i shall explain next point.
Thank you. Yes. I am ready to hear your explanation of bhava and jati.
- I am also interested in the answers to the specific two questions in my last reply regarding what happens when person X dies.

Lal
Posts: 456
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:12 am

Fear of Nibbāna (Enlightenment)

Introduction

1. I have presented an outline of the Buddha Dhamma in the “Wider Worldview of the Buddha” subsection. As explained there, the key message of the Buddha is that future suffering can be stopped only by stopping the rebirth process, i.e., by attaining Nibbāna. Now I need to clarify a few things.

- The main issue that I want to address is the “fear of Nibbāna.” That arises with the wrong view of “I exist.” Then the implication is that by stopping the rebirth process “I will be extinct.” It is also a wrong view to say that “I do not exist.” It is true that “I exist now as a human.” In the future, I may exist as Deva, Brahma, or an animal, based on the cumulative effect of my kamma (causes) up to now.
- If I attain the Arahanthood in this life, then after my death I will not exist anywhere in the 31 realms of this world. I would merge with Nibbāna.
- These days there are many unfruitful discussions about whether a “self” exists or not. As the Buddha pointed out, that is the wrong starting point to discuss the life-cycle. A given life-stream evolves according to causes (kamma.) When the ability for past kamma to bring their vipāka is stopped (i.e., taṇhā or upādāna stopped,) then that process will stop and one merges with Nibbāna at the death of that last physical body.
- The Buddha clearly stated that Nibbāna exists. See, “Nibbāna “Exists”, but Not in This World.” in the next post in a couple of days.
- I have discussed the Buddhist concept that while a “self with gati” exists until one attains Nibbāna, that is NOT a “permanent self” like a soul. See, for example, previous posts on “Anattā (Mundane Interpretation) – No ‘Unchanging Self’,” “An Apparent “Self” Is Involved in Kamma Generation,” and “Paṭicca Samuppāda – A “Self” Exists Due to Avijjā.” Also see, “Yamaka Sutta (SN 22.85) – Arahanthood Is Not Annihilation but End of Suffering.” at puredhamma.net:https://puredhamma.net/sutta-interpreta ... ihilation/

2. We will re-visit that deeper concept in upcoming posts again, in a systematic way.

- First, I would like to explain in simple terms that there is no need to be fearful about “stopping the rebirth process.”
- I did a Google search and found the following comments by two people in online discussion forums. Those are representative of the comments of many others and thus I would like to address those.

First Myth – Fear of “Vanishing” or “Extinction” Equated to Nibbāna

3. The following are extractions from the comments of Person 1.

- “I started taking the Buddhist path not long ago, less than three years ago. At that time, life felt too heavy and it felt like it was pushing me towards not wanting to play the game anymore. So Buddhism seemed like the way to go.”
- “I can’t forget the first time I faced the idea of vanishing from this existence forever, the true death; never being able to come back once I ‘saw it’. Nevertheless, I kept investigating. “
- “Then I contemplated the idea of being trapped in this. Existence has no way out, anywhere you go there is still existence. In other words ‘What if it has been like this for millions, billions of years, maybe even for eternity?”
- “But if enlightenment is the only escape, I am afraid of never being able to come back. I am afraid everything is just an illusion, that there aren’t others, just images and I’m alone. Sometimes I fear there isn’t even enlightenment to save me. My question is: Am I going crazy? Am I getting it all wrong?”

There Are Those Who Want to “End the Existence”

4. First of all, think about the mindset of those who commit suicide. Why do those people want to leave this world? Most of them probably do not believe in rebirth. But they just “wanted out” because they could not bear whatever the suffering that they were experiencing.

- In fact, that is the mindset of living-beings in the apāyā. They just want to “end it all.” But no matter how much they “want out,” that will not happen. That is a good example of the suffering expressed by the Buddha in the verse, “yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃ,” or “not to get what one desires (icchā) is suffering”, in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11.)
- In the Saccavibhaṅga Sutta (MN 141), Ven. Sariputta explains the meaning of that verse: “Katamañcāvuso, yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃ? Jātidhammānaṃ, āvuso, sattānaṃ evaṃ icchā uppajjati: ‘aho vata mayaṃ na jātidhammā assāma; na ca vata no jāti āgaccheyyā’ti. Na kho panetaṃ icchāya pattabbaṃ.“
- Translated (the answer to the question asked): “In a living-being subject to (some) births the wish (desire) arises, ‘Oh, may I not be subject to such a birth, and may that birth not come to me.’ But such a desire will not be fulfilled (and thus one will be subjected to suffering.)”

5. Thus, it is only when faced with physical pain/mental stress that one wishes it would just go away. Many people become interested in Buddhism when they run into either physical problems (getting sick or starting various body ailments due to old age) or mental problems (day-to-day stresses or even depression.)

- They can, of course, get relief from those issues by living a simple life and abstaining from immoral deeds.
- But then they start reading about Nibbāna as “ending of one’s existence” and then they freak out. That is what happened to Person 1 above.

Life in “Good Realms” Is Short-Lived

6. We normally do not realize the kind of harsh suffering experienced by many living beings. Of course, we can see only the animal realm other than the human realm. Even then, we do not pay much attention to the suffering of animals. In fact, we are conditioned to “not see” or “not recognize” the suffering of many animals that is in full display.

- For example, people enjoy watching animal shows on TV where, for example, a tiger chases a deer, catches up with it and eats it alive.
- Those who enjoy fishing do not see the suffering of a fish that is subjected to excruciating pain, with its mouth pierced by the hook, and unable to breathe outside water. But unlike some animals, fish cannot show emotion, which is a part of their kamma vipāka.
- On the other hand, we can clearly see many animals showing their suffering by either yelling out or by their facial expressions.
- All those animals had been humans at some point in the rebirth process!

7. Suffering in the other three realms of the apāyā is much worse. Therefore, those are the births (jāti) that we would not want for sure.

- The point is that as long as we are in the rebirth process, such births cannot be avoided. Such births are much more likely than human birth just based on the statistics we can verify.
- For example, there are less than eight billion people on Earth. But there are a million times more ants on Earth! There are a trillion TYPES OF lifeforms on Earth; see, “The Largest Study of Life Forms Ever Has Estimated That Earth Is Home to 1 TRILLION Species.” :https://www.sciencealert.com/the-larges ... on-speciesThese are mind-boggling numbers! That is not counting the other three realms in the apāyā that we cannot see.
- That is why the Buddha said that a human bhava (existence) is VERY rare. Any “pleasures” that we experience as a human is of VERY SHORT duration. The suffering that the Buddha taught was the suffering in the rebirth process where a given living-being spends much more time in the apāyā.
- Now we turn to the issue of “fear of non-existence in this world.”

We Are “Effectively Not in Existence” During at Least a Third of a Day

8. Even though we may fear “extinction out of existence,” we are not aware of “our existence” during sleep. We are not conscious while we sleep, especially during the deep sleep cycle. Most of the time, we go to sleep and until we wake up the next morning, we are completely unaware of our existence in the world.

- We don’t think about that normally. But I became acutely aware of this fact when I was made unconscious for over 9 hours during my brain surgery. I remember losing consciousness after the injection of the drug. The next thing I was aware of was when I came out of the drug-induced unconsciousness state.
- While unconscious or in deep sleep, we are (effectively) “not in this world.”
- When an Arahant dies, it will be like in such an “unconscious state (as far as this world is concerned)” forever. But he/she would have merged with Nibbāna. The Buddha clearly stated that Nibbāna exists. We just cannot explain it in terms of the concepts (rupa, citta, cetasika) in this world. See, “Nibbāna “Exists”, but Not in This World.” in the next post.
- There is no overlap between “this world of 31 realms” and Nibbāna (full Nibbāna or Parinibbāna.) They are mutually exclusive. One is either “in this world” or “in Parinibbāna.” Either the Buddha or any of the Arahants who have passed away are not in this world anymore.
- Once an Arahant dies and merges with Nibbāna, there will be no more deaths. Attainment of Nibbāna is by removing ALL causes for the birth and death cycle (with complete removal of avijjā.) That is why Nibbāna is also called “deathless.”

Comments of Person 2

9. The second comment that I chose was from Person 2. Some of the selected parts are below.

- “..I was meditating yesterday and had this weird “experience.” It freaks me the hell out because it was like I was never there. I’m just feeling scared now after that experience. It felt extremely beautiful to me yesterday but right now I’m just freaking out for some reason. My mind is just racing with the thought “I don’t want to die” and I’m just having an existential crisis.”
- “I’m wishing I never did any of this meditation or consciousness work in the first place because it’s making me think that I can delude myself into thinking I’m alive but I’ve always been dead and have just been an empty void. I feel like I’m going insane. I’m just feeling a wave of negativity.”
- “I know that the way I’m phrasing it is silly but I’m just curious about people who are completely enlightened (if such a thing is 100% possible). Are these people like talking corpses? All these words can come out their mouth and it looks like they’re alive, but they’re really dead?”

Can One Lose Perception While Meditating?

10. The first part of Person 2’s comment is to do with meditation. What he experienced was a “perception-less meditative state” or an “asañña samādhi.”

- Such a state is reached by focusing on getting rid of ALL thoughts that come to the mind. That is NOT Buddhist meditation. In Buddhist meditation, one stops ONLY those thoughts that are immoral. One would CULTIVATE good or moral thoughts.
- One who cultivates such an anariya meditation may be reborn in the asañña realm. That realm has a very long lifetime and there are no thoughts arising. It is like being unconscious for a billion years! Of course, that life will also end and one would be back in another realm.

Is An Arahant a Zombie?

11. Now, let us discuss the second highlighted comment from Person 2. An Arahant does not lose perception like in the case above in #10. A living Arahant “engages with the external world” just like anyone else.

- The only difference is that a living Arahant WILL NOT generate greedy, angry, or unwise thoughts.
- But he/she will recognize people as his/her mother, friend, an attractive person/object. He/she will experience the sweetness of sugar or the bitterness of vinegar, etc. Until the death of the physical body, an Arahant will live like any other human.

Nibbāna is Escape From Suffering – Two Types of Nibbāna

12. The Sinhala word for Nibbāna is “Nivana” or “Niveema” (නිවන/නිවීම.) That means “a cooling down.”

- Ādittapariyāya Sutta (SN 35.28) is one of the early discourses of the Buddha. In that sutta, the Buddha said that the world is burning. That means the mind of anyone who embraces the world as good and fruitful is always “burning” or “under stress.” That stress goes away at the first stage of Nibbāna (saupādisesa Nibbaba) experienced by a living Arahant.
- However, a living Arahant has a physical body that arose due to past kamma. That body can experience bad kamma vipāka from the past. After the death of that physical body, an Arahant will not be reborn and that is the end of any and all suffering. That is anupādisesa Nibbāna or Parinibbāna (full Nibbāna.)

13. Finally, if anyone has other issues related to this topic, this is a good time to discuss them. This kind of discussion will help clarify issues that I may not have thought about, but others may have.

Lal
Posts: 456
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:57 am

Nibbāna “Exists”, but Not in This World

Introduction

1. Misconceptions about Nibbāna arise because the true meaning of it had been hidden for many hundreds of years. In the previous posts in this series, I have described what Nibbāna is. See, “Nibbāna.” section at puredhamma.net: https://puredhamma.net/key-hidden-dhamm ... nibbana-2/

- The question many people have is, “what happens to an Arahant upon death?”. One simply is not reborn anywhere in the 31 realms of this world. It is called Parinibbāna (“pari” + Nibbāna“; meaning “full Nibbāna“).
- Until Parinibbāna, an Arahant lives like a normal person and is subjected to kamma vipāka. However, “stressful thoughts that arise due to greed, anger, and ignorance” do not arise in a living Arahant. Until the death of the physical body, an Arahant has saupadisēsa Nibbāna, i.e., Nibbāna is not complete.

2. It is not possible to “describe” Nibbāna (or more precisely what happens after Parinibbāna) in terms of the terminology rooted in “this world”. Not a single word that we use can be used to describe what Nibbāna is like.

- We simply do not have any “data” or “concepts” or “terminology” that pertain to Nibbāna because those would be totally foreign to us living in “this world”.
- One crude analogy would be trying to explain to a fish what life is like outside the water. A fish would not understand the need to breathe air instead of water.
- Another would be like trying to explain to a person who has time-traveled from thousand years ago, how radio or television works. He would not have sufficient “data” to be able to comprehend how radio or TV works.

Suttā on Nibbāna

3. But Nibbāna “exists” because one can attain it. But it does not exist in this world of 31 realms.

- There are four suttā in the Udāna section of the Anguttara Nikāya that explain Nibbāna (Udāna 8.1 through 8.4.)
- Once you open a sutta at the Sutta Central website, click on the left-most drop-down to choose one of several languages. This is a good resource; consider making a donation if you find it useful. Note: I am not associated with Sutta Central.
- Of source, the translations are incorrect frequently for key Pāli words, as is the case for many websites/books. But at least one can see the correct Pāli version.

Paṭhama Nibbāna Paṭisaṃyutta SuttaNibbāna Exists

3. Let us look at the first sutta, “Paṭhama Nibbāna Paṭisaṃyutta Sutta“:https://legacy.suttacentral.net/pi/ud8.1. It says, “Atthi, bhikkhave, tadāyatanaṃ, yattha neva pathavī, na āpo, na tejo, na vāyo, na ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ, na viññāṇañcāyatanaṃ, na ākiñcaññāyatanaṃ, na nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṃ, nāyaṃ loko, na paraloko, na ubho candimasūriyā. Tatrāpāhaṃ, bhikkhave, neva āgatiṃ vadāmi, na gatiṃ, na ṭhitiṃ, na cutiṃ, na upapattiṃ; appatiṭṭhaṃ, appavattaṃ, anārammaṇamevetaṃ. Esevanto dukkhassā”ti.”.

- Let us consider the first part: “atthi, bhikkhave, tadāyatanaṃ“. Here “atthi” means “exists”, and “tadāyatana” is another word for Nibbāna. Tadāyatana comes from “tath” + “āyatana“, where “tath” (pronounced “thath”) means “perfect” and “āyatana” means “faculties”. Phonetically, the combined word is “tadāyatana” (pronounced “thadaayathana”).
- It is a good idea to be familiar with how to spell Pāli words with the “Tipiṭaka English” convention. It is DIFFERENT from “Standard English.” See, “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 1 and “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 2" on Feb 08, 2020 (p. 78) : viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1155
- Thus the translation of “Atthi, bhikkhave, tadāyatanaṃ” is, “Bhikkhus, Nibbāna exists (where everything is perfect)”.

4. The second part in the blue says what can be said about Nibbāna. First, “appatiṭṭhaṃ, appavattaṃ, anārammaṇamevetaṃ” means, “It is without support (causes), unmoving, without any ārammaṇa (thought object.)” The last part in the blue, “Esevanto dukkhassā”ti” means, “it is the end of suffering.”
• Therefore, those sentences in the blue state ALL that one can say about Nibbāna.
• The rest of that verse (in the red) says what is ABSENT in Nibbāna.

Paṭhama Nibbāna Paṭisaṃyutta Sutta – What is Absent in Nibbāna

5. The first part marked in deep red is, “there is no patavi, āpo, tējo, vāyo (mahā bhūta) there; there is no ākāsānañcāyatana, no viññāṇañcāyatana, no ākiñcaññāyatana, no nevasaññānāsaññāyatana; furthermore, there is no “this world (that we experience), there is no para loka (where gandhabbā live, see, “Hidden World of the Gandhabba: Netherworld (para loka)”: https://puredhamma.net/abhidhamma/gandh ... para-loka/); and the Moon or the Sun would not arise there” (candimasūriyā is Moon and the Sun).

The second part marked in red says, “Bhikkhus, I say there is surely no coming and going between ayam loko and para loko, no living in either of those, no passing away (cuti), no birth.”

- The absence of patavi, āpo, tējo, vāyo means NOTHING made of matter that we see around us (people, animals, trees, other planets or stars) is there in Nibbāna.
- So, all that we experience (including jhāna) will not be there, after Parinibbāna, as discussed in #2 above.
- And, of course, there is no gandhabba going back and forth between “ayam loko” and “para loko.”
- Our terminology regarding ANYTHING AT ALL simply does not apply there.

Without Nibbāna There Would Not Be an End to Suffering

6. The Tatiya Nibbāna Paṭisaṃyutta Sutta (Udāna 8.3) has the following key verse: “Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ. No ce taṃ, bhikkhave, abhavissa ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, na yidha jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyetha. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, atthi ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, tasmā jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyatī”ti

Translated:Bhikkhus, “not born”, “not formed”, “not made”, “not conditioned” exists. For Bhikkhus, if there had not been that which is “not born”, “not formed”, “not made”, “not conditioned”, an escape here from the born, become, made, and conditioned cannot be discerned. But Bhikkhus, since there is a “not born”, “not formed”, “not made”, “not conditioned”, an escape from the born, become, made, and conditioned is evident.”

- The “not born”, “not formed”, “not made”, “not conditioned” is Nibbāna. It is reached by eliminating all that is formed, made, and conditioned.
- In other words, “this world” comes to existence (for a given person) because of the bhava and jāti built via defiled thoughts (saṅkhāra) generated due to avijjā (in the Paṭicca Samuppāda process.) With the cessation of avijjā, that mechanism or process stops and no more rebirths will be possible. That results in Nibbāna.
- There are two more companion suttā that describe Nibbāna: “Dutiyanibbānapaṭisaṃyutta Sutta (Ud 8.2)” and “Catutthanibbānapaṭisaṃyutta Sutta (Ud 8.4).” The translations available there are good enough to get further insights. All four suttā can be accessed from the link in #3.

The Fire Analogy

7. One time, the inquisitor Vaccagotta (there is a whole series of suttā in the Vaccagottavagga of the Samyutta Nikāya about his probing questions put forth to the Buddha), asked the Buddha what happens to an Arahant upon death: “Where would he/she go?”.

- The Buddha showed him a burning fire, and asked him, “when this fire is extinguished, can you say where it went?”. Vaccagotta understood. When the fire is extinguished, it simply is not there anymore. That is all one can say. In the same way, when an Arahant dies, he/she is not reborn and thus cannot be “found” anywhere in the 31 realms.
- On the other hand, someone with abhiññā powers (with the cutūpapāda ñāna) can see where a normal person is reborn upon death. That life-stream exists somewhere in the 31 realms.

Rāgakkhayo Dosakkhayo MohakkhayoIdaṃ Vuccati Nibbānan

8. The Buddha could only explain to us the way to attain Nibbāna, by relinquishing our desire for worldly things based on the unsatisfactory nature (or the anicca nature) of this world.

- The Buddha said, “rāgakkhayo dosakkhayo mohakkhayoidaṃ vuccati nibbānan” ti“, i.e., one attains Nibbāna via getting rid of rāga, dōsa, mōha in ones' mind. Thus cleansing our minds is the only way to Nibbāna. See, for example, Nibbānapañhā Sutta (SN 38.1) and Sāmaṇḍaka Sutta (SN 39.1.)
- However, it is not possible to even start on “rāgakkhaya” until one gets to the Sōtapanna stage. “Rāgakkhaya” attained partially at the Anāgami stage (via removal of kāma rāga) and fully at the Arahant stage (via removal of rūpa rāga and arūpa rāga). A Sōtapanna reduces dōsa to paṭigha level (removed at the Anāgāmi stage), and mōha to avijjā level (removed at the Arahant stage).
- In the new section, “Living Dhamma“, we discuss these points and start from a basic level, even without referring to deeper concepts like rebirth.

Nibbāna Reached In Stages

9. The point is that Nibbāna is to be comprehended in stages.

- The very first stage of Nibbāna or “Niveema” or “cooling down” can be experienced even before getting to the Sōtapanna stage. In fact, it is not possible to get to the Sōtapanna stage by skipping this step.
- To attain the Sōtapanna stage one MUST comprehend the anicca nature of this world to some extent. In order for the mind to grasp that concept, it must be free of the “coarse defilements” or “panca nivārana” or “five hindrances” that cover one’s mind.
- For that one MUST live a moral life, start contemplating Buddha Dhamma, and experience the “cooling down” that results.

10. Many people try to attain or comprehend Nibbāna by reading about deep concepts about what it is. There are so many books out there on explaining what Nibbāna is, by people who may not have experienced even the basic “cooling down” or “nirāmisa sukha“.

- They try to explain concepts like sunyata or “emptiness” and bodhicitta; see, “What is Sunyata or Sunnata (Emptiness)?“. That is a complete waste of time because as we saw above, it is not possible to describe Nibbāna with words that we know.
- Rather, one starts experiencing Nibbāna in stages. One can start experiencing the RELIEF or COOLING DOWN that results when one starts living a moral life and start discarding dasa akusala in STAGES.
- Furthermore, it is important to understand that one does not start on the Path by first comprehending the anicca nature; the anicca nature will gradually become clear.
- The Buddha clearly stated the importance of following a gradual Path in the “Maha Chattarisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty)“. Also, see, “Buddha Dhamma – In a Chart“.
- Even a person who does not believe in rebirth can start from this level: “Living Dhamma“. This and any relevant post can be easily found at puredhamma.net by using the "Search" box on top right. Just enter the relevant word(s) in that box.

Nibbāna Is Not a Dhamma – It Is a Paramatta Dhamma

11. In the post, “The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma – Introduction“, we saw that everything that EXISTS, can be put into four ultimate constituents (paramatta dhamma):
(i) Thoughts (citta)
(ii) Thought qualities or mental factors (cētasika)
(iii) Matter (rūpa)
(iv) Nibbāna

- Any dhamma in this world is normally a COMBINATION of ALL THREE of the first three paramatta dhamma. Note that dhammā “bear” things in this world.
- The fourth paramatta dhamma in the list above, Nibbāna, does not exist within the 31 realms. But Nibbāna exists, i.e., it can be attained. An Arahant merges with Nibbāna at the death of his/her physical body.
- Nibbāna is NOT dhamma. It does not “bear” anything in this world.

Nibbāna Can Be Experienced in Nirōdha Samāpatti

12. Let us discuss some relevant characteristics of an Arahant, i.e., one who has attained Nibbāna. He/she cannot experience Nibbānic bliss (experience of full Nibbāna) unless getting into Nirōdha Samāpatti. An Arahant can experience Nirōdha Samāpatti for a maximum of seven days at a time.

- When an Arahant is in Nirōdha Samāpatti, there are no citta or thoughts flowing through his/her mind. There is no breathing and is not very different from a dead body (other than the fact that the body of the Arahant will have normal body temperature.) The point is, that Arahant will not be able to explain to us “the experience of Nibbāna“. In our terminology, all he/she can say is that he/she did not experience any “worldly thoughts”.
- At other times, an Arahant will be experiencing “this world” just like another human: he/she will recognize people/things, sounds, smells, etc. The only exception is that thoughts burdened with rāga, dōsa, mōha cannot arise: Asobhana (non-beautiful) cetasika are absent in those thoughts; see, “What Are Kilesa (Mental Impurities)? – Connection to Cetasika“.
- But he/she will be engaged in puñña kriya (meritorious deeds like delivering discourses), just like the Buddha did; they are just “actions”, and are not puññābhisaṅkhāra or puñña abhisaṅkhāra.

Nibbāna and Parinibbāna

13. Here is another interesting point. Some Arahants may have kammic energy for the “human bhava” left when he/she dies; see, “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein“ on Oct 27, 2018 (p. 43): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=630. But still, there will not be another rebirth for any Arahant in this world of 31 realms.

- The reason is that the “status of the Arahanthood” could not be borne (or sustained) by any other “finer body” than a dense human body. For example, if he/she were to be reborn human, then a human gandhabba need to come out of the dead human body; see, “gandhabba (Manomaya Kaya)“. But the fine body (trija kaya) of the gandhabba cannot “bear” the energy associated with an Arahant.
- In the same way, the fine, subtle “bodies” of a Deva or a Brahma also cannot sustain the mind of an Arahant. Thus, if a Deva or a Brahma attains the Arahanthood, they will immediately attain Parinibbāna. In other words, there are no living Arahants in Deva or Brahma realms.

14. We can consider the following analogy to make clear what happens. A heater-coil is immersed in water, can “bear” the current that passes through it, while immersed in boiling water. But if we take a coil out of the water, it will burn. The heater coil cannot “bear” the current passing through it unless immersed in water.

- In the same way, the “Arahanthood” can be “borne” or be “sustained” only with a solid human body. Once the gandhabba comes out of that body –upon the death of that physical body — the “Arahanthood” cannot be “borne” by that very fine body. In fact, the “Arahanthood” cannot be “borne” by an even a layperson for more than 7 days. Once attaining the “Arahanthood“, one must become a Bhikkhu within 7 days, or one will die because a layperson cannot “bear” the “Arahanthood“.
- With Parinibbāna (death of an Arahant)” the Nibbāna is complete”. The Sinhala word is “pirinivana“, where “nivana” is Nibbāna and “piri” means “full” or “complete”.
- Therefore, Nibbāna exists. But one who has attained “full Nibbāna” or Parinibbāna will no longer be in this world of 31 realms. One would be totally free of any and all sufferings in this world, including harsh sufferings in the apāyā.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:49 am

Kamma and Paṭicca Samuppāda – Introduction

The uniqueness of Buddha Dhamma (Buddhism)

Kamma and Paṭicca Samuppāda are closely related, with saṅkhāra bridging the gap. We will get to the role of saṅkhāra in the next post.

1. Many Eastern religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism) believe in kamma and rebirth. So, what is the difference in Buddhism?

- Abrahamic religions do not believe in rebirth. But they also teach that the way to get to a state of permanent happiness is to live a moral life. That means one needs to do good kamma and avoid doing bad kamma.
- On the other hand, all religions other than Buddhism are based on finding a permanent existence of happiness in a heavenly world. Buddha Dhamma does not promise sensory pleasures in a heavenly realm. Attachment to sensory pleasures is what leads to future suffering.
- By the way, Buddhism is not a religion. It is a fully self-consistent world view. When one comprehends that world view, one can see a permanent solution to the problem of suffering.
- Understanding the Four Noble Truths first requires understanding that suffering exists in the rebirth process. That understanding will reveal three more truths at the same time. (i) The Causes of future suffering, (ii) that those causes CAN BE REMOVED, and (iii) the WAY to stop that suffering from arising. Therefore, it is necessary to first understand the “previously unknown suffering” that the Buddha revealed to the world.

2. Buddhism (Buddha Dhamma) says the following.

(i) There is no existence in this world where suffering is absent permanently. There are existences in higher-realms that are almost suffering-free, but they also have limited lifetimes.
(ii) Even if one does good deeds and lives a moral life, one can have bad future births because of kamma from previous lives.
(iii) On the other hand, even if one has lived immorally in this life, it is possible to attain Nibbāna in this life.

- Those three points may not be clear. In the next few posts, I will address those issues.
- The answers to those questions will also clarify the following. The Buddha taught that it is not a good starting point to insist on whether a “self” exists or not. Instead, we need to start by investigating how future births (and thus future suffering) arise. Just like in science,
- Like science, Buddha Dhamma is based on the Principle of Causality. Nothing can happen without causes. Yet, NOT all causes inevitably lead to their outcomes. That is a crucial point to understand too.

Causes and Conditions Bring Future Births

3. If all causes just lead to their consequences, then kamma would lead to deterministic outcomes. For example, some religions teach that immoral deeds WILL lead to their results. So, they try to find ways to remove existing bad kamma. That is what the Buddha also tried to do for six years while striving to attain the Buddhahood.

- On the night of his Enlightenment, the Buddha discovered that causes could bring their effects (results) ONLY if the right conditions are there. That is Paṭicca Samuppāda, the Principle of Causes and Conditions. But one must understand what those conditions are. That is why Paṭicca Samuppāda is a profound concept.
- By the way, Paṭicca Samuppāda pronounced, “patichcha samuppaada.” The way Pāli words are written is different from standard English; see, “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 1” and “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 2” on Feb 08, 2020 (p. 78): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1155
- Paṭicca Samuppāda explains how causes lead to their effects UNDER suitable conditions. Therefore, we do not need to remove past kamma. We can purify our minds so that CONDITIONS for those bad kamma to bring vipāka will be absent. That is how Angulimāla, who killed almost a thousand people, was able to attain the Arahanthood; see below.
- Since this principle of CAUSES and CONDITIONS is a crucial point, let us discuss this a bit more with that analogy of a seed.

An Example of the Requirement of Conditions

4. 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.
- Furthermore, when an apple seed is planted, a mango tree will not result from that, only an apple tree. The RESULT (vipāka) is according to the CAUSE (kamma or more specifically kamma bīja).

Example From Tipiṭaka – The account of Angulimāla

5. In the same way, someone who attains the Arahanthood may have done highly immoral deeds even in the present life. But he/she would have eliminated the CONDITIONS that can bring the results of those deeds to fruition.

- The account of Angulimāla is a good example to illustrate this point. He had killed almost a thousand people. Thus he had done enough bad kamma to be born in the apāyā many times. Yet he was able to attain the Arahanthood in a few weeks! See, “Account of Angulimāla – Many Insights to Buddha Dhamma.” at puredhamma.net: https://puredhamma.net/three-levels-of- ... -insights/ This is an important post, and I will post it here in a few days.
- 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. We will discuss how such a kamma seed is created by one’s powerful thoughts (javana citta.)
- However, unlike in the case of plant seed, even potent kamma CANNOT bring vipāka to an Arahant to bring rebirth. In the case of Angulimāla, the strong bad kamma of killing almost a thousand people was done in the same life that he attained Parinibbāna. At his death, those kammic energies were there, but his mindset would not grasp them, i.e., the “upādāna paccāyā bhava” step in PS would not take place.
- Of course, we need to discuss that last point in detail in the upcoming posts.

6. Furthermore, the result (if it manifests) is compatible with the kamma. That is analogous to only an apple tree arising due to an apple seed. Akusala kamma (an immoral deed) will only lead to a birth in the apāyā. 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 apāyā. It will only lead to a birth in a good realm.
- Most importantly, even if the causes are there, corresponding results (vipāka) would not materialize if necessary conditions are not fulfilled.
- We all have done uncountable kusala and akusala kamma in our previous lives. We need to be mindful to make conditions for good kamma to bring their vipāka AND for bad kamma not to bring their vipāka.
- So, we can see why both CAUSES and CONDITIONS play roles in our daily life and in the rebirth process.

“Self” and “No-Self” Are Misleading Concepts

7. We can get some insights about the concept of a “self” from the fact that an Arahant would not have a rebirth. If a permanent “self” existed, it would be impossible for an Arahant to attain Parinibbāna and to end the rebirth process. That means there was no everlasting “self” like a “soul” or an “Atman” or “ātma.”

- However, that Arahant was possibly born in most of the 31 realms uncountable times in the past. During a human existence, for example, there was a “self” living his/her life. He/she was making his/her decisions.
- When that Arahant was born an animal, it would have had the mindset of an animal. When born In a Deva realm, that Deva would have enjoyed sensual pleasures for a long time.
- Therefore, the idea that there is “no-self” while one is living life does not make sense either. There is obviously “a self,” making decisions about how to live life. Even a wild animal has to decide how to get the next meal.

8. We can summarize as follows. While we live this life, we cannot deny that we exist. On the other hand, the idea of a “self” is a temporary one. That ‘self” keeps changing even during life, but will change drastically when grasping a “new bhava.” Thus, it is also not correct to talk about an “everlasting self.”

- The “sense of a self” goes away entirely only at the Arahant stage. Until then, we need to try to comprehend WHY it is unfruitful to take anything in this world to be “mine.”
- That does not mean one needs to start giving away everything that one owns. We have responsibilities to fulfill. Furthermore, the “giving” and “letting go” will happen AUTOMATICALLY as the mindset changes. I have personally experienced that.
- Another critical point is that having the “big picture” helps clarify many issues. That may sound contradictory, but that is true. See, “The Framework of Buddha Dhamma.”

The Bigger Picture of 31 Realms

9. As we discussed in many previous posts, our world is much more complicated than what we can experience with our limited senses. I will summarize some relevant key points to the current discussion.

- The 31 realms in our world belong to three types of “lōka” or “worlds.” The “kāma lōka” has 11 realms, including the human realm. There are 16 realms in “rūpa lōka” where rūpāvacara Brahmā live. Then, there are four realms in “arūpa lōka” for arūpāvacara Brahmā.
- Those higher-lying two lōkā are the simplest. In those 20 realms, there is only jhānic pleasure. A human can experience all those by cultivating jhāna. The lower four jhānā correspond to the jhānic experiences of the 16 rūpāvacara Brahma realms. The higher four correspond to the four arūpāvacara Brahma realms. All those Brahmā do not have “dense bodies” like ours. Their “bodies” have very little matter. They are even harder to “see” than even gandhabbā.
- The remaining 11 realms are in the kāma lōka. Sensory pleasures associated with eating, smelling, and body touches are available only in those 11 realms. Living beings in those 11 realms have relatively “dense solid bodies” or karaja kaya. There is a complex variety of “bodies” in kāma lōka. We can see very high complexity even within the animal realm. In general, Devā in the six realms have “bodies” much lighter than ours but denser than Brahma.

What Leads to Rebirth in Different Realms?

This has answers from the close relationship between kamma and Paṭicca Samuppāda, where saṅkhāra plays a key role.

10. To be born in those higher 20 realms, a human must cultivate jhānā.

- It is not necessary to follow Buddha Dhamma to cultivate either type of jhānā 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.
- However, that birth in a Brahma realm lasts only for the duration of the life 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.
- Rebirths in various realms in the kāma lōka are much more complex. We will discuss those in the next post, where we will discuss the role of saṅkhāra.

Summary

11. We have discussed other ways of looking at the basic principles in Buddha Dhamma before. See, for example, “The Framework of Buddha Dhamma.” on Feb 23, 2020 (p.78) : viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=1155

- The above is a simple summary of yet another way. We will continue to explore the connection between kamma and Paṭicca Samuppāda in the next post.
- It is essential to grasp the basic framework from different “vantage points.” Then we can slowly get into more profound aspects.
- Reviewing the “bigger picture” from different angles is necessary to get an idea of the beginning-less rebirth process. The world is complex, and understanding it is like putting together a big jigsaw puzzle. It takes a real effort, but it becomes joyful when one gets some traction.
- Once one starts understanding the essential aspects, one will see the value of the Buddha, his Dhamma (teachings), and the Sangha, who understood this profound Dhamma and transmitted it faithfully over 2500 years. That is real faith (saddhā.)
- This series of posts on posts started with the post, "Origin of Life – There is No Traceable Origin" on Jun 29, 2019 (p. 73): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&p=518755#p518755

Lal
Posts: 456
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:19 am

Account of Angulimāla – Many Insights to Buddha Dhamma

Introduction

1. Angulimāla had killed 999 people but was able to attain the Arahanthood within a few weeks after meeting the Buddha. His life story can help us understand how and why even vipāka for such highly immoral deeds can be overcome.

Even though the laws of kamma play an important role in Buddha Dhamma, one can overcome the consequences of such highly immoral actions. That is by comprehending the more fundamental principle of causality: one can bypass all such kamma vipāka (all future suffering) by getting rid of avijjā and taṇhā (the root causes).
The following two posts at puredhamma.net also discuss kamma and kamma vipāka: “What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma?” and “How to Evaluate Weights of Different Kamma.” It is easy to find relevant posts by entering a keyword ("kamma" in this case) at the Search box on the top right.

2. I highly -recommend a good account of the life story of Angulimāla here: “Angulimāla – A Murderer’s Road to Sainthood.”
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el312.html

- Reading that account first will help with the discussion below.

Brief Summary of Angulimāla’s Life

3. To summarize the critical points in the story of Angulimāla:

- He was called Ahimsaka (“Harmless”) as a boy and was an excellent student. He was the best in class at the premier learning institute of that day in Takkasila (Taxila). His peers were jealous and tried to convince the teacher that Ahimsaka was plotting to take his job.
- The teacher finally believed those false accusations and came up with a way to get Ahimsaka killed. When Ahimsaka finished his studies and asked how he can pay for his education, the teacher said: “You must bring me a thousand human little fingers of the right hand.”
- That is how Ahimsaka became a killer and came to be known as “Angulimāla” because he started wearing some of those cut fingers in a garland around his neck.

4. Angulimāla had killed 999 people and was about to kill his mother to get the last finger when the Buddha intervened.

- The quick-witted Angulimāla was able to comprehend a few verses that the Buddha uttered and asked the Buddha to ordain him right there.
Ven. Angulimāla became an Arahant soon afterward.
- Later on, the Buddha reminded Ven. Angulimāla that he had now been “born” a Āriya (Noble Person), even though he had killed so many people when he was a murderer. This concept of changing “bhava” even during a given existence discussed below.

First Observation – Importance of Gati and Environment

5. The first thing we can see is that obedient and well-behaved Ahimsaka became a murderer because of his teacher’s influence. External influences (family, friends, etc.) can be a crucial factor in changing one’s gati (pronounced “gathi”) loosely translated as “character.” (Note that Pāli words are written not in “standard English,” but with an adopted “Tipiṭaka English” convention. See, “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 1″ and “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 2.”)

- That is why parents must always be on the lookout on what kind of friends a child has. Friends can have a considerable influence on a child.
- That is also true for adults. One must get away from those who pull in wrong directions and make new associations along “good directions.”
- Gati are discussed in many posts at this site. One can find a list of relevant posts by entering “gati” in the “Search” box on the top right.

Second Observation – There is no “unchanging self“

6. The second thing we can see is that there is no “unchanging self.”

- Harmless Ahimsaka became a violent murderer in Angulimāla and killed almost 1000 people.
- Then that violent Angulimāla, the murderer, became a Noble Person within a short time after meeting the Buddha and within weeks Ven. Angulimāla became an Arahant too!

7. In the “bigger picture” of the “three lōkas” and “31 realms”, we saw that the “lifestream of any living being” can change from “good to bad,” “bad to good,” “good to bad again,” etc an uncountable times in the beginning-less rebirth process.

- We all have been in the highest Brahma realm and the lowest apāya too. But we all have spent most of that time in the suffering-filled apāyās.
- The only way to get out of this “ceaseless wandering in the rebirth process (sansāra or samsāra)” is to become an Arahant, as Ven. Angulimāla did.
- The first step is to attain the Sōtapanna stage to be free of at least the four lowest realms (apāyā).

Third Observation – There is a Causal Link (“Sort of a Self”)

8. However, as we discussed in the previous post, it is not possible to say that “there is no-self” either.

- Nothing happens without a reason or a cause (at least one, but usually many causes).
- A human is reborn an animal or a Brahma due to a reason. There is a CONNECTION between two adjacent “bhava” or existences.
- Ahimsaka did not become Angulimāla without causes. One cause was the influence of his peers on the teacher. Then Ahimsaka blindly followed the instructions of the teacher.
- But then all that reversed due to the influence of the Buddha.

9. That is why it is also incorrect to say, “there is no-self.” There is always a “self” — living at least momentarily — that is responsible for how that “self” evolves in the future.

- But that “changing self” can and will change between “good’ and “bad” based on many factors. Key factors are self’s deeds and external influences on that “self” at any given time.

Fourth Observation – Two Types of “Bhava” or Existence

10. Another critical point is that one could be born in a “temporary bhava” or “temporary existence” DURING this life. As we saw, Angulimāla switched “temporary bhava” from an innocent boy to a murderer, and back to an Arahant!

- For example, a person who drinks habitually is not drunk all the time. He is in a “drunken bhava” or “drunken existence” while he is intoxicated. The next day he is sober and would not be in a “drunken bhava” until he drinks again.
- In the same way, one is in an “angry bhava” when she gets angry. But after the anger subsides, she is not in that “existence” or “bhava” anymore.
- Temporary bhava (or transient existences) explained via “Idapaccayātā Paṭicca Samuppāda” processes (those operate during a given life). Even though only one type of Paṭicca Samuppāda is presented in the textbooks today, there are different types.

11. When one habitually gets into such a “temporary bhava” repeatedly, then that becomes a cultivated gati or habit/character.

- In that case, it could lead to a new “uppatti bhava” (or “bhava associated with rebirth”) too. For example, when one gets angry all the time and then one day kills another human, that could lead to rebirth in an apāya. That is a “more permanent bhava” that can last a long time.
- That is the more common Paṭicca Samuppāda cycle, i.e., the “Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.”
- The section on “Paṭicca Samuppāda” is a must-read.https://puredhamma.net/paticca-samuppada/

Fifth Observation – Going Back and Forth in the Rebirth Process

12. So, there could be some periods in the rebirth process where one mostly does “good deeds,” cultivates “good gati,” and thus gets “good bhava” and therefore “good births” (jāti). We discussed the difference between bhava and jāti in the post: “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein.”

- Then, one’s gati may change to “bad gati,” especially when one comes under “bad influences and associates.” In that case, one may start on a “downward path” and eventually one’s gati will become harmful to the extent that one will get a “bad bhava.”
- We can see such examples around us. We all have seen good children becoming drug addicts and then becoming even murderers due to evil associations. The opposite happens too, when a violent person may change those bad gati and become a “good citizen” under the right influences.
- That is what we all have been doing (going back and forth between good and bad existences), in this beginning-less rebirth process.

Sixth Observation – Angulimāla’s Realization

13. When Angulimāla was chasing the Buddha and could not get even close to the Buddha. To quote from the account referenced above, Angulimāla stopped and called out, “Stop, monk! Stop, monk!”

“I have stopped, Angulimala. You stop, too.”

- That got Angulimāla to thinking, and he started asking why the Buddha — while still walking — said that he had stopped. The Buddha explained that he had stopped his samsāric wandering (rebirth process) and had overcome all suffering.
- That is when Angulimāla gained insight and became Ven. Angulimāla.

14. Therefore, the critical point to understand is that it is NOT ENOUGH just to do “good deeds,” even though that is a must.

- One MUST take another step and realize that we have been trapped in this rebirth process filled with (mostly) suffering due to two reasons.
- Let us briefly discuss those two CRITICAL points.

Seventh Observation – The Critical Discovery of the Buddha

15. First, until a Buddha comes to the world (meaning a human attains the Buddhahood by purifying the mind to the greatest extent), humans are unaware of the “wider world view” with “three types of lōkas” and 31 realms.

- Even though one could be occasionally born in “good realms” at or above the human realm, beings are reborn mostly in the lowest four realms (apāyās) due to misdeeds done in seeking sense pleasures.
- Of course, there is suffering in any realm, but it is less in higher realms.
- Therefore, most of rebirths lead to much suffering. That is the essence of the First Noble Truth.

16. Secondly, until a Buddha comes to the world, it is not known how to escape from this endless rebirth process filled with suffering.

- There have been, and there will always be teachers who realize that misdeeds lead to unfortunate rebirths and good deeds lead to good rebirths, and teach that to others.
- But it is only a Buddha that can figure out that doing good deeds is not enough. One needs to see the anicca nature of this world of 31 realms. That means even if one gets a rebirth in the highest realm with long lifetimes of billions of years, one will end up in despair and eventual death.
- Then one gets back to the same cycle of rebirths, where one will inevitably do evil deeds (due to cravings or sense temptations) and will be born in the apāyā.

Eighth Observation – The Root Cause for Suffering

17. Therefore, the key is to realize that one needs to REMOVE the tendency to be tempted by sense desires.

- One needs to “see” that anicca nature, i.e., it is a waste of time to seek happiness in this world. That will sooner or later lead to rebirth in the apāyā (dukkha). Therefore, in the end, one will become helpless (anatta), when born in an apāya.
- It is not possible to forcefully suppress cravings under “strong sense temptations.” When one sees the “anicca nature,” cravings are automatically removed (in four stages of Nibbāna).
- That is the Second Noble Truth, the cause of future suffering.

Ninth Observation – The Way to Nibbāna

18. Once the “big picture” of the 31 realms — together with how one WILL BE born among them due to one’s actions (kamma) — is understood, one would have removed the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi.

- That is because that “complete picture” requires the rebirth process, laws of kamma, etc.

19. Then one can begin to understand the “unfulfilling and dangerous nature of the wider world of 31 realms” or the “anicca nature.”

- That “anicca nature” explains how “dukkha” or suffering arises, and one will become helpless (anatta) in the rebirth process. Those are three main characteristics (anicca, dukkha, anatta) that are called Tilakkhana (and they are inter-related).
- That is when one attains the Sōtapanna stage of Nibbāna.

20. That is why anicca has nothing to do with “impermanence,” and “anatta” has nothing to do with a “self” or a “non-self.”

- That knowledge about Tilakkhana or the “true nature of this world” is available only in Buddha Dhamma.
- Until a Buddha comes to this world and DISCOVERS that “bigger picture,” no one will be able to see that “bigger picture.” Thus humans are unaware of the dangers in remaining in this cycle of rebirths filled with suffering.

Tenth Observation – Kamma Vipāka Will be Effective Until Death of an Arahant

21. Even though Ven. Angulimāla had attained the Arahanthood, he was getting injured by “stone-throwers” regularly. Most of the time, those stones were not directed at him, but he was getting hit accidentally.

- As described in the above essay, “with blood running from his injured head, with his bowl broken, and with his patchwork robe torn, the venerable Angulimala went to the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw him coming, and he told him: “Bear it, brāhmanā, bear it, brāhmanā! You have experienced here and now the ripening of kamma whose ripening you might have experienced in hell over many a year, many a century, many a millennium.”
- If Angulimāla died without being saved by the Buddha, he would have suffered in the apāyā for an unimaginable time!

22. As we had discussed before, even a Buddha cannot avoid some of kamma vipāka. The physical body in this life arose due to past kamma, and many aspects associated with that body cannot be changed.

- At the death of the physical body, there are no more rebirths anywhere in the 31 realms. Then, there is no way for any kamma vipāka to materialize (come to fruition). That is why the physical death of an Arahant is called “Parinibbāna” or “complete Nibbāna.”
- There will be absolutely no suffering after the Parinibbāna.

23. Therefore, we can see that there are many insights in the accounts of notable personalities in the Tipiṭaka. They are all consistent with the core teachings.

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