The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:20 pm

Greetings Lal,

Wishing you all the best with your recovery.

Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:51 am

I've just caught up with this thread, having had some time away. I'm wishing you all the best for a speedy and successful recovery, Lal.

:heart: :anjali:

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:27 pm

Thank you very much, Paul and Sam!

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:41 am

Lal wrote:
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”
I had no idea. I am glad you managed to recover. Many are not so lucky and many end with serious disabilities that would prevent them from even posting on a Web forum, simple as that may seem.

I am glad that your practise has enabled you to overcome this trial and that your karma has allowed you to continue your endeavour. We have our disagreements, some of them strong, but I am glad that you are here to post given the alternative.
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:16 pm

Thank you, Coëmgenu!

Yes. It could have been worse. But I have no illusions. This physical body is subjected to the “anicca nature”, and anything can happen anytime. I may get hit by a car and die today.

We know that Ven. Moggallana was beaten to death. He got away from the attackers a few times using his abhinna powers, but then realized that it was inevitable due to a strong kamma vipaka from the past. Even the Buddha had back pains and some other ailments until the death of his physical body.

As long as there is a jati (meaning a physical body associated with the mental body), there will be “jara, marana, soka, parideva, dukkha, domanassa, upayasa”, or the “whole mass of suffering”. That is how suffering is defined in Paticca Samuppada or even in the first sutta: Dhammacakkappavattana sutta.

Thus even an Arahant will have to undergo some suffering due to past kamma, as long as his/her physical body is alive. All suffering ends only after the death of the physical body of an Arahant.

“Nibbanic bliss” is not a “sukha vedana” as some people believe. It is the absence of even a trace of suffering. And that is possible ONLY when any birth in any of the 31 realms in this world is stopped from arising. All births (jati) in the 31 realms of this world are associated with at least a trace of a physical body (it is just a suddhashtaka -- or the smallest unit of matter -- in the arupavacara brahma realms).
- Sukha vedana arise due to a physical body. However, there is a heavy price to pay for that sukha vedana, in terms of dukha vedana. This is easiest to see when people do immoral things to get sukha vedana.
- The "net effect" of having a physical body is much more suffering than any temporary sukha vedana. This is the hardest part for most people to understand.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by jagodage » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:17 am

Dear Lal

I would like to ask your opinion on the comment you have on 08.04.2019 @ 06.44 .

That one should remove all the 10 link in the P S. Suppose that one is able to break the chain of P S in any one of link, then he will got released from Samsara.Is it possible?

With Metta
S Jagodage

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:14 pm

All those links in the Akusala-mula Paticca Samuppada are broken at the Arahanthood.

However, the key step that is removed at the Arahanthood stage is avijja.

When one fully comprehends how suffering arises, one’s avijja is completely removed, i.e., one’s panna is optimized.
- After that one will not generate abhisankhara (i.e., new kamma). One’s vinnana will be replaced by panna (one will NOT lose consciousness), etc.
- Therefore, all the steps following avijja will not arise, and thus no more suffering will arise AFTER the death of the Arahant.
- This was briefly explained in the post, "Anulōma and Patilōma Paticca Samuppāda" on March 14, 2019.

However, there will be some physical suffering due to past kamma vipaka until the death of the physical body of the Arahant.
Please let me know if I should explain any of those steps following avijja.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:29 pm

Complexity of the Mind - Viññāna and Sankhāra

1. Even though science has made great progress in the understanding of the material world, science has achieved very little progress regarding mind phenomena.
- In fact, the words viññāna and sankhāra have no corresponding words in English. It is absurd to translate viññāna as "consciousness".I looked up the definition of consciousness.
- Normally it is defined as, "the state of being awake and aware of one's surroundings" or "the awareness or perception of something by a person". That is definitely not what is meant by viññāna.

2. As I have discussed recently, viññāna arises only when one acts with avijjā: "avijjā paccaya sankhāra" and "sankhāra paccaya viññāna". Thus, viññāna can arise only if one acts with avijjā or ignorance. The Buddha did not act with viññāna (i.e., did not generate kamma viññāna) after attaining the Buddhahood. But he had perfectly good consciousness.
- Viññāna is a very complex word. Even though I had simplified viññāna as "defiled consciousness", that is also not adequate. There are two types of viññāna: vipāka viññāna and kamma viññāna; see the post, "Two Types of Viññāna – We Have Control Over Kamma Viññāna” on August 21, 2018 (p. 23). viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=330

3. Sankhāra has a much deeper meaning than just "mental formations", even though that is better than the translation for viññāna.
- Sankhāra are defined in the Tipitaka as three kinds: manō sankhāra, vaci sankhāra, and kāya sankhāra. They all arise in the mind, but have differences:  thoughts that arise automatically in the mind are called manō sankhāra; when we consciously think about something, those are vaci sankhāra (speaking out is also included);see, "Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra", Nov 03, 2018 (p.43): viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=630
- When we move the body with our thoughts, those thoughts are kāya sankhāra.

4. Sankhāra in "avijjā paccaya sankhāra" in akusala-mula Paticca Samuppada are really abhisankhāra that lead to rebirth.
- Even an Arahant will generate sankhāra (all three types of manō sankhāra, vaci sankhāra, and kāya sankhāra) in order to live in this world until the physical body dies. However, an Arahant will not generate any type of abhisankhāra.
- Abhisankhara are again divided into three categories of apunna abhisankhāra, punna abhisankhāra, and ānenja abhisankhāra. Those lead respectively to immoral actions (leading to births in the apāyās), moral actions (leading births in the good realms of human, deva, and rupāvacara brahma realms), and arupāvacara jhāna (leading to rebirth in arupāvacara brahma realms).
- Therefore, just translating sankhāra as "mental formations" is not very useful in describing what they really are; see, "Sankhāra – What It Really Means", Nov 01, 2018 (p. 43):viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=630

5. In order to understand the severity of this problem, let us examine a presentation by the philosopher John Searle, "Our Shared Condition - Consciousness".

6. In my opinion, John Searle is one of few philosophers who comes even close to understanding mind phenomena. Some philosophers/scientists do not even believe that consciousness is real. They say: "..Science is objective, consciousness is subjective, therefore there cannot be a science of consciousness". Whether there can be a "science of consciousness" or not, consciousness is real, as Searle points out.
- Some others object, "..Maybe consciousness exists, but it can't make any difference to the world. How could spirituality move anything?". In response, Searle points out: "..I decide consciously to raise my arm, and the damn thing goes up".

7. John Searle is also quite correct that consciousness is not an illusion. As he points out, only a conscious living being can decide to move a body part, say raise a hand.
- But to be perfectly correct, consciousness is not what moves an arm. One needs to make a "conscious effort" to move the arm, i.e., one makes a determination to raise the hand. That is what is called kāya sankhāra: conscious thoughts that lead to moving body parts.
- However, it is important to realize that the energy to raise the hand does not come from the mind. Mind just initiates the process and the brain sends the necessary commands to the muscles to raise the hand; energy for such muscle movements comes from the food we eat.
- Just like an on-board computer carries out the commands of the pilot flying a plane, the brain acts like a computer and carries out the commands given by the mind.

8. Kāya sankhāra are defined as "assāsa passāsā kāya sankhāra" or "breathing in and out is done with kāya sankhāra". Such kāya sankhāra are done by us all through our lives, and that is the most basic kāya sankhāra.
- Even though we do not realize it, breathing in and out involves "thinking at the lowest level" or with "atiparittarammana citta vithi". Those citta vithi do not have javana citta and thus we do not "feel them".
- Those kāya sankhāra involved in breathing stop when one gets into fourth jhāna samapatti. Then one is relieved of even the tiniest effort involved in breathing.
- Kāya sankhāra are involved in any bodily movement. Unless those bodily movements lead to kammic effects (good or bad), they do not become abhisankhāra leading to rebirth.

9. Vaci sankhāra also can be just sankhāra (thinking/speaking about normal activities) or abhisankhāra with kammic consequences.
- Both vaci and kāya abhisankhāra can lead to rebirth.
- Manō sankhāra -- which arise automatically -- do not lead to rebirths.

10. Modern science cannot explain sankhāra (more correctly how a person moves body parts or speaks on his/her volition). English language does not have an equivalent word for "sankhāra". Furthermore, as explained above, "consciousness" should not be used as the English translation for "viññāna".
- It is better to use those Pāli words (sankhāra and viññāna) and to learn what is meant by them.
- That is what has been the practice in Sinhala language. If you look at the Sinhala translation of the Tipitaka, the words viññāna and sankhāra are used without providing Sinhala translations for those two words. In fact, I do not believe that there are Sinhala words for viññāna and sankhāra.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Fri May 03, 2019 4:25 pm

To continue with the previous post:

Kamma Done with Sankhāra - Various Types of Sankhāra

Origin of the Words Sankhāra and Sansāra

1. As we saw in the previous post, sankhāra involves EVERYTHING that we do, to live in “this world” of 31 realms. These include breathing, walking, eating, pretty much everything we do.
- Anything anyone does, need to start as a thought in one's mind. For example, to raise a hand, one's mind needs to decide on that first, even though it appears automatic.
- Anything one does, starts with a thought of "san", i.e., something to do with "this world". All these belong to sankhāra ("san" +  "khāra" or action).
- Even an Arahant has to be engaged in sankhāra until Parinibbāna or death of the physical body.

2. Sankhāra become abhisankhāra when acting with greed, hate, and ignorance; see, “Nibbāna – Is it Difficult to Understand?“. The prefix “abhi” means “strong”. Actions done with such abhisankhāra can lead to future rebirths.
- An Arahant does not generate abhisankhāra, i.e., thoughts with greed, hate, and ignorance.As long as one keeps generating abhisankhāra one is not free from the rebirth process.
- As long as one is trapped in the rebirth process, one is not free of suffering.

3. Therefore, the sansaric process -- or the rebirth process -- is fueled by abhisankhāra
- The word sansāra comes from "san" +  "sāra" where  "sāra" means "beneficial".
- One will have the perception that "this world is beneficial or fruitful" as long as one cannot grasp the fact that most births in the this world are filled with suffering.
- Even though some realms (like human, deva, and brahma) may have long stretches of "pleasures", those are negligible compared to long stretches of suffering in the apayas (the four lower realms including the animal realm).
For a discussion on the key word "san", see,  "What is “San”? Meaning of Sansāra (or Samsāra)" Jan 09, 2019 (p. 59); Jan 10, 2019 (p. 59) to p. 60: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=26749&start=870

Connection Between Sankhāra and Kamma

4. kamma is any action by us via body, speech, and thoughts (kāya, vaci, and manō kamma).
- Those three types of kamma are initiated by our thoughts, i.e., kāya, vaci, and manō sankhāra.
- So, you can see that kamma and sankhāra are closely related.
- The Buddha said, "cetana ham Bhikkhave kammam vadami", i.e., "Bhikkhus, I say kamma is intention". That intention is in sankhāra, embedded in the types of cetasika (mental factors) as we will see below.
- "Intention" depends on the types of cetasika (mental factors) in a thought (citta). For example, in a thought with "greedy intention", will have the lōbha (greed) cetasika, but it may also have issa (jealousy) cetasika.

5. Let us take some examples to illustrate this relationship. If you swing your arm, that is a kāya kamma, i.e., that action involved moving a body part. That was initiated by kāya sankhāra (thought of swinging the arm) generated in the mind.
- Now, if you swung your arm to get hold of a cup, that is a kammically neutral action (kamma) or a just a sankhāra. You did not do either a moral or immoral act. The intention was to grab a cup, and that did not involve any immoral or moral action.
- On the other hand, if you swung your arm to hit someone, then it was done with anger. So, the dōsa cetasika (anger) was in your thoughts.  So, it was an apunnābhi sankhāra. It can also be called a akusala/apunna kamma or an immoral deed.
- If you put your arms together to pay respects to the Buddha at a temple, that was done with saddhā cetasika (out of reverence for the Buddha) and thus it was a punnābhisankhāra.  It can be also called a kusala/punna kamma or a moral deed.

6. Now we can see that kāya and vaci kamma are initiated by the mind (via kāya and vaci sankhāra).
- Manō sankhāra are thoughts that comes automatically to the mind when a sense object is experienced.
- Then if that object is of interest, we start generating conscious thoughts (speaking to ourselves) without talking and then we may speak out; both these are vaci sankhāra.
- If we then start moving body parts to respond, then those are done with kāya sankhāra.

7. Thus it is important to note that kāya sankhāra are also thoughts. They are responsible for body movements, i.e., kāya kamma.
- In other words, all sankhāra are generated by the mental body (gandhabba). It gives commands to the brain to move body parts or to move lips and tongue to speak; see, "Our Mental Body – Gandhabba" and other posts on gandhabba.
- Therefore, kāya kamma, vaci kamma, and manō kamma are all done by the respective types of sankhāra: kāya, vaci, and manō sankhāra.

Sankhāra and Kamma Can be Good or Bad

8. Sankhāra can be understood in a deeper sense by realizing that types of sankhāra  generated are defined by the types of cetasika (mental factors) in one's thoughts. 
- Some citta (thoughts) do not have either good (sōbhana) cetasika or bad (asōbhana) cetasika. Such citta are said to have kammically neutral sankhāra. These kammically neutral sankhāra involve only the types of cetasika like vedana, saññā, viriya that do not belong to either sōbhana or  asōbhana categories.
- Kammically relevant sankhāra (or abhisankhāra) involve either sōbhana cetasika (for kusala kamma or moral deeds) or asōbhana cetasika (for akusala kamma or immoral deeds).
- Therefore, it is easy to see that abhisankhāra that involve sōbhana cetasika  are punna abhisankhāra or punnābhisankhāra. Those that involve asōbhana cetasika are apunnābhisankhāra; see, "Cetasika (Mental Factors)".

9. Knowing a bit of Abhidhamma can be helpful in clarifying certain key dhamma concepts. It is not hard to learn. Since Abhidhamma was finalized after the Parinibbāna of the Buddha (see, "Abhidhamma – Introduction"), these details are not in the Suttās.
- Now we can get a new perspective for cetasika, in terms of "san". As we know, "san" is what keep us in the rebirth process or sansāra; see, "What is “San”? Meaning of Sansara (or Samsara)".
- We can see that those asōbhana cetasika are what give rise to "san" in apunnābhi sankhāra, lead to rebirth in the bad realms.
- On the other hand, sōbhana cetasika are what give rise to "san" in punnābhi sankhāra, lead to rebirth in the good realms.

Do We Need to Avoid Good Sankhāra (Punna Abhisankhāra)?

10. However, this does not mean we should stay away from punnābhi sankhāra. In fact, we MUST engage in punnābhi sankhāra, in order to avoid rebirth in the bad realms and also to cultivate morality and also to prepare the necessary environment (especially to be healthy and to avoid poverty).
- The Buddha has emphasized the need to engage in meritorious deeds (punnābhi sankhāra) in many Suttās; see, for example, "Sumana Sutta (AN 5.31)":
- Nibbāna is attained via realizing the fruitlessness in rebirth anywhere in the 31 realms, and for that one needs to comprehend anicca, dukkha, anatta, and for that one needs to attain the correct mindset by engaging in punna kamma (punnābhi sankhāra).

Punnābhisankhāra Are Also Done With Avijjā

11.  In "Paṭic­ca­samup­pāda ­Vibhaṅga"(, the term “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā” in akusala-mula Paticca Samuppāda (that leads to suffering) is explained as follows: “Tattha katame avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā? Puññā­bhi­saṅ­khāro, apuññā­bhi­saṅ­khāro, āneñjā­bhi­saṅ­khāro, kāyasaṅkhāro, vacīsaṅkhāro, cittasaṅkhāro“.
Translated: “What is avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā? Puññā­bhi­saṅ­khāra, apuññā­bhi­saṅ­khāra, āneñjā­bhi­saṅ­khāra, kāyasaṅkhāra, vacīsaṅkhāra, cittasaṅkhāra“. (here, cittasaṅkhāra is the same as manōsaṅkhāra).

- It needs to be noted that these are all abhisaṅkhāra, even though the verse is simplified as "avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā".
- There are two categories of saṅkhāra mentioned there: one category refers to types of kamma accrued (three types of abhi­bhi­saṅ­khāra). The other refers to whether they are done by the body, speech, or the mind ( kāyasaṅkhāra, vacīsaṅkhāra, cittasaṅkhāra).
- Therefore, sankhāra has a much deeper meaning than just "mental formations", even though that is better than the translation for viññāna as consciousness.

Instead of Punnābhisankhāra an Arahant will do Punna Kiriyā

12. A question may arise how puññā­bhi­saṅ­khāra (or meritorious thoughts) arise with avijja.
- A simple answer is that until one FULLY comprehends anicca, dukkha, anatta (i.e., that anywhere in this world of 31 realms is not devoid of suffering), one does even meritorious deeds with expectation of "good outcomes/ good rebirths" in this world.

13. Once one FULLY comprehends anicca, dukkha, anatta (i.e., when one becomes an Arahant), one's punnābhi sankhāra will turn into punna kiriyā without kammic consequences. Thus one will do meritorious deeds without any expectations (this is what is meant by "vinññāna nirōdha" too).
- Then those meritorious actions will not lead to rebirth even in the "good realms". An Arahant does not wish to be reborn in any realm, because he/she has seen the "anicca nature" of all 31 realms. This is a subtle point.This last part may not be clear to everyone. This is the "previously unheard Dhamma"  that is hard to grasp ("pubbe ananussutesu dhammesu" that the Buddha mentioned in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta).
- As we get into further details, it will become clearer.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sat May 11, 2019 6:12 pm

Viññāna – Much More Than Just Consciousness

1. Viññāna means “without ñāna” or without wisdom, i.e., with ignorance. Viññāna could also mean “defiled viññāna”, i.e., not knowing the consequences of doing dasa akusala.
- When one attains the Arahanthood, when one's paññā (wisdom) will be optimized and one will have “undefiled or clear viññāna”
- there are many suttās that clearly state “viññāna nirōdha“, or stopping the arising of viññāna (defiled viññāna) leads to Nibbāna.

A succinct statement can be found in the “Dvaya­tānu­passa­nā­sutta (Sutta Nipata 3.12)“:“Yaṃ kiñci dukkhaṃ sambhoti,Sabbaṃ viññāṇapaccayā;Viññāṇassa nirodhena,Natthi dukkhassa sambhavo“.

Translated: “Whatever suffering that arises, all that arises due to viññāṇa; With not arising of viññāṇa, there is no existence with suffering“.
- A detailed explanation is at, “Anidassana Viññāṇa – What It Really Means“ at
- Here, I will introduce the concept of viññāṇa in a simple way. In the simplest form, viññāṇa is any type of expectation even without moral/immoral implications.

2. Viññāna includes or encompasses the following: our feelings (vēdanā), perceptions (saññā), and a set individual mental factors (cētasika). They all arise  together, and the set of cētasika that arise is dependent on each person’s gati (habits/character). If you are not familiar with Abhidhamma, don’t worry about it. I will take a simple example to illustrate viññāna below.
- Five of the six types of viññāna are strictly vipāka viññāna. These are the five types of viññāna associated with the five physical senses.
- We become aware of something in our physical world via cakkhu viññāna (seeing), sōta viññāna (hearing), ghāna viññāna(smelling), jivhā viññāna (tasting), and kāya viññāna (touching); these are due to past kamma vipāka.
- When one of our five physical senses detects something in our physical world, one of those five types of viññāna arise. If we get interested in them, we start generating manō viññāna and doing kamma.
- Let us take a simple example to clarify those basic ideas.

3. When a man X sees a young woman (Y), that is called a “seeing event” or cakkhu viññāna. Suppose  the woman has just come to X’s workplace as a new employee.
- With that cakkhu viññāna, X recognizes Y as an attractive female and that is called saññā; X may generate “happy feelings” when seeing Y and that is vēdanā.
- If X gets interested in Y, then X may also generate lust in his mind with subsequent manō viññāna, and start generating manō, vaci, and kāya sankhāra; see the previous post.

4. With the establishment of this new viññāna, there is now an expectation in X’s mind of getting a date to go out with Y, and may be getting to marry Y someday.
- That is a manō viññāna that stays hidden in X’s mind. It has the expectation of getting an opportunity to have a close relationship with Y.
- That idea will remain hidden in X’s mind and can re-surface at appropriate times, especially when seeing Y again, or when someone mentions Y’s name for example. This is "viññāna paccayā sankhāra" in Paticca Samuppāda.
- The more X will engaging in generating such sankhāra, that viññāna will also strengthen; that is the "sankhāra paccayā viññāna" in Paticca Samuppāda.

5. Thus both "sankhāra paccayā viññāna" and "viññāna paccayā sankhāra" will be operating back and forth, and will keep strengthening that viññāna.

This is what is meant in many suttas by saying that "viññāna will grow" as one keeps doing sankhāra. 

For example, in the "Cetanā Sutta (SN 12.38)" " Yañca, bhikkhave, ceteti yañca pakappeti yañca anuseti, ārammaṇametaṃ hoti viññāṇassa ṭhitiyā. Ārammaṇe sati patiṭṭhā viññāṇassa hoti. Tasmiṃ patiṭṭhite viññāṇe virūḷhe āyatiṃ punabbha­vā­bhi­nib­batti hoti. Āyatiṃ punabbha­vā­bhi­nib­bat­tiyā sati āyatiṃ jāti jarāmaraṇaṃ soka­pari­deva­duk­kha­do­manas­supāyāsā sambhavanti. Evametassa kevalassa duk­khak­khan­dhassa samudayo hoti".

Translated: "“Bhikkhus, what one intends, and what one plans, and whatever one has a tendency towards: this focus (ārammaṇa) a basis for the maintenance of viññāna. When there is an ārammaṇa there is a support for the establishing of viññāna. When viññāna is established and grown, there is the arising of future renewed existence (punabbha­va). When there is the future renewed existence, future birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering".

6. So, let us assume that X has been seeing Y for a few days and may be even got to talk to her a few times (vaci and kāya sankhāra are associated those activities). Each time X interacts with Y, that “viññāna for having a close relationship with Y” will grow in X’s mind.
- Furthermore, X will be thinking about Y often (which is generating vaci sankhāra), that will also help make that “viññāna for having a close relationship with Y” to grow.
- That happens via “sankhāra paccayā viññāna” step in Paticca Samuppāda.

7. Several days later, X finds out that Y is married, when her husband comes to meet her at work.
- He could clearly see that she is happily married and there is no point in even thinking about having a relationship with her.
- In an instant, X’s “viññāna for having a close relationship with Y” will be eliminated. (for most people).
- When the reality of the situation is comprehended by the mind, corresponding viññāna will be stopped. This is what is meant by "viññāna nirōdha".

8. Therefore, it is important to see that a viññāna (or an expectation) will be eliminated as soon as one realizes the futility (or the dangers) of that expectation.

- At a deeper level, all of one's highly immoral types of viññāna will be permanently removed when one will be able to see the futility/dangers in engaging in immoral deeds. That is when one attains the Sōtapanna stage via comprehending Tilakkhana.
- Next, one’s expectation for seeking pleasures in this world will be totally removed when one realizes the futility — and dangers — in seeking such sense pleasures. That is when one attains the Anāgāmi stage of Nibbāna.
- Once one becomes an Anāgāmi, one is at a stage where one can start seeing the futility of jhānic pleasures and start getting rid of rupa rāga and arupa rāga (or the futility of born in the rupāvacara and arupāvacara realms. That is when one becomes an Arahant.
- Therefore, the way to Nibbāna is a step-by-step process; see, “Is It Necessary for a Buddhist to Eliminate Sensual Desires?“ at

9. There are many types of viññāna that we can have. The minor ones are just expectations of getting something done or buying something or getting new job, etc.
- Sankhāra or “thinking of that expectation and making plans to get it done also by speaking and doing things (that includes vaci sankhāra and kāya sankhāra)” will make that viññāna to grow. This comes via the “sankhāra paccayā viññāna” step.
- In another example, suppose X is thinking about buying a certain type of car. That idea or expectation will be “at the back of his mind” all the time. If he sees a car like that on the road, then that viññāna will be awakened, and he will start thinking about it again. Now, one day X buys that car. Then that viññāna will also disappear since he will no longer interested in buying a car. That expectation has been fulfilled.
- Therefore, a viññāna will “take hold in the and grow” only as long as one has a desire AND one believes that it can be fulfilled.

10. I gave those two examples to illustrate the basic concept. But more complex types of viññāna can grow based on certain types of activities that X engages in, and those can become patisandhi viññāna that can lead to rebirths.
- For example, if X constantly engages in helping others, donating time and money to charities, etc, he would be cultivating the mindset of a dēva (even without knowing). Then that “moral viññāna” would grow with time and may lead to a rebirth in a dēva realm.
- If one is constantly thinking and planning to make money by exploiting/deceiving others, he/she is doing vaci/kāya sankhāra that will be feeding a "bad viññāna" that can lead to a birth in the apāyās.
- Therefore, viññāna can be various types.
- However, there are six basic types of viññāna. The above examples all belong to “manō viññāna“, except the cakkhu viññāna that was involved when X saw Y.

11. As we discussed in #2, there are five basic types of viññāna just bring external sense objects (pictures, sounds, tastes, smells, and touches) to our mind.
- Then manō viññāna takes over, and will decide to act on it — and if needed — makes “future expectations” or “future plans”. Therefore, it is the manō viññāna that has expectations for the future.
- We ignore most of the things we see, hear, etc. But if we get attracted to something, then we will be going back to see, hear, etc and may be making other related plans too. That is all done with manō viññāna.

12. Obviously, patisandhi viññāna is a very important manō viññāna. It can determine future births.
- This is a complex subject, but when one engages in highly immoral deeds, the patisandhi viññāna that grows may not be what one desires.
- For example, suppose X is a serial rapist. He gets a temporary sense satisfaction by raping women. What he does not know is that he is cultivating a viññāna that is appropriate for an animal. So, he could get an animal birth because of that immoral viññāna he is cultivating.
- So, hopefully you can see the connection between viññāna and gati (pronounced “gathi”) too. Gati (character qualities/habits) is an important concept that has been hidden in recent years.

13. When one attains the Sōtapanna stage of Nibbāna, one would see the futility of such immoral and briefly-lived sense pleasures. Then such types of “immoral viññāna” would not be cultivated in his mind.
- In other words, one’s “hidden immoral gati” will be permanently removed at the  Sōtapanna stage.
- That is comparable to X losing the “viññāna for having a close relationship with Y” in #3 to #7 above. In that case, X clearly saw the uselessness of having that viññāna, and it died.
- It would be a good idea to read and understand posts on gati:
The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Asavas) Thu Oct 25, 2018 (p.43)Post on habits (Pali word “gati”, but gati is more that habits) on August 18, 2018 (p. 22).How Habits are Formed and Broken – A Scientific View  Nov 28, 2018 (p. 50)Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein Sat Oct 27, 2018 (p. 43)Gati to Bhava to Jāti – Ours to Control Nov 15, 2018 (p. 47).

14. I made this discussion simple in order to get two main ideas across, which are:
- Viññāna is a complex concept. This is why it not appropriate to translate viññāna as just “consciousness”.
- Manō viññāna arise due to sankhāra (“san” + “khāra“). We cultivate  those via “sankhāra paccayā viññāna” in the Paticca Samuppāda cycles.
- This is why “san” is a key root word in Pāli; see, "What is “San”? Meaning of Sansāra (or Samsāra)", Jan 09, 2019 (p. 59); Jan 10, 2019 (p. 59) to p. 60 and "List of “San” Words and Other Pāli Roots", Feb 20, 2019 (p. 67).

15. As I have said many times, Buddha Dhamma is deep. It takes an effort to learn. Just translating deep suttas word-by-word or just reading those translations will not be of much benefit in the long run.
- Of course some suttas can be translated word-by-word, like the Kalama Sutta (AN 3.65): Those are basic suttas that provide guidelines to live a moral life. But deep suttas that discuss anicca, anatta, or Nibbāna require a more deeper knowledge of the basics like what is meant by saññā, viññāna, sankhāra, etc.
- It is best to learn the meanings of these key words and just use them, instead of translating them as a single English word. I hope you can see why, with the above discussion on viññāna.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Sun May 19, 2019 11:36 am

I am using more and more Pali words now. But if you have been keeping up with past posts, it should not be difficult to understand the material. As I have emphasized many times, there are no equivalent English words for many key Pali words.

Now we are at the third step of Paticca Samuppada.

Viññāna Paccayā Nāmarūpa” in Idappaccayā Paticca Samuppāda

1. Nāmarupa can have different, but related, meanings in different contexts. Namarupa in the standard Paticca Samuppāda is different from the “nāmarūpa” involved in idappaccayā Paticca Samuppāda which takes place moment-to-moment.

- Basically, idappaccayātā means “what happens at this moment depending on the conditions at this moment”. Thus, it describes “events in real time” that bring vipāka in real time, as well as vipāka in the future.
- The standard Paticca Samuppada process describes how vinnana energy created within this lifetime leads to future births (i.e., vipāka in future lives via future births).

2. Therefore, the standard Paticca Samuppada can be called “uppatti Paticca Samuppāda” and the other can be called idappaccayā Paticca Samuppāda; here “uppatti” means “birth”.
- We will discuss the “uppatti Paticca Samuppada” later.
- Let us first discuss the namarupa involved in idappaccaya Paticca Samuppada, i.e., how a jāti can arise in the current life, based on one’s avijjā (ignorance) and sankhāra (thoughts, speech, and actions).
- Jāti is not restricted to “births as a human, a deva, an animal”. Many different jati (births) arise during the current life itself:
- We will discuss two examples below which explain how a “thief” and a “drunkard” are “born” during the current life itself.

3. The “nāmarūpa” involved in idappaccaya Paticca Samuppada mainly refer to those “visual images” created by the person when forming an “expectation” (viññāna) to achieve/maintain a certain goal.
- Here, “nāma” refers to whatever the “name” given to the subject involved in the Paticca Samuppada process, and “rupa” are the associated objects themselves. Thus, the corresponding “namarupa” are the mental images of the subjects in question.

4. Let us take an example. When a thief plans to steal something (say a watch from a store), the process starts with “avijjā paccayā sankhāra”; he starts thinking about the plan because of his ignorance of the consequences.
- Here “nama” or the name is “watch” and “rupa” is the watch itself. But “namarupa” is the mental image of that watch: That is formed in HIS MIND.
- He starts doing vaci sankhara first: thinking to himself about how to go about stealing the watch. This is “sankhāra paccayā viññāna” and that gives rise to viññāna for stealing the watch.

5. With that vinnana (expectation), now he starts visualizing the stealing process. How he would find a suitable time, and may be distract store employees someway and to pick it up.
- Now more namarupa become involved: he also makes visuals of how he will be actually doing the stealing: “nāmarūpa” are the visuals he has in his mind to get the job done.

6. The more he thinks and makes plans (i.e., makes more and more nāmarūpa in his mind, that future expectation for stealing that object (i.e., the viññāna for it) will get stronger.
- Here the Paticca Samuppada process runs backwards, “namarupa paccaya vinnana”. This is called an “aññamañña paticca samuppāda”.
- These forward and backward steps may run back and forth while he is planning the robbery, and the Buddha said that both vinnana and namarupa get stronger due to this feedback. They depend on each other and feed on each other.
- The more he thinks about it, the stronger those viññāna and nāmarūpa get.
- Ven. Sariputta provided a simile for this inter-dependence between vinnana and namarupa saying it is like two bundles of hay leaning against each other and supporting each other without any other support.

7. Let us take another case of a teenager who is influenced by his peers to drink alcohol. Because of his ignorance about the consequences, he engages in such activities and also in planning activities: “avijjā paccayā sankhāra”.
- Here sankhāra include not only drinking activities but also planning. Therefore, all three types of sankhara are involved: mano, vaci, and kaya sankhara.
- While he is participating in drinking he is doing kaya sankhara; he will be constantly talking about having such parties and those are vaci sankhara; it is also in the subconscious and many times a day they come back to his mind as mano sankhara. All these are included in “sankhāra paccayā viññāna”.
- By the way, what Sigmond Freud called the "subconcious" is really this viññāna. It is an expectation that remains hidden even when the teenager in this case is occupied with other activities.

8. Most people do not realize it, but that process of “thinking and talking to oneself” (vaci sankhara) can make a big impact in the formation of namarupa and the cultivation of vinnana. Many people spend hours and hours doing that assuming it does not contribute to “vinnana (or kamma) formation”; but it does play a strong role (Vaci sankhara was discussed in the post, "Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra", Nov 03, 2018, p.43).

- In the above example, even when he is not drinking, those mano sankhara come to the mind automatically and he starts consciously thinking about drinking activities: he visualizes pictures of “party scenes”, including friends, bottles of his favorite drink, any food that goes with it, etc.
- That conscious thinking is also vaci sankhara, and those also strengthen the vinnana via, “sankhara paccaya vinnana”.
- Now those mental pictures that arise during that process are nāmarūpa that arise due to “viññāna paccayā nāmarūpa”. Therefore, Paticca Samuppada steps do not just flow in one way. They can run forward and backward.

9. If the teenager keeps his bad habit of drinking, he gets trapped in that bhava (state of mind of a drunkard), the more jāti that occurs, i.e., more frequently he will be drunk. When one gets really drunk, one tends to behave like an animal without any sense of decency, and the long-term consequences could be rebirth as an animal.
- If that "viññāna of a drunkard" stays strong to the time of death (cuti-patisandhi moment at the end of his human bhava), it could lead to a new uppatti bhava via the uppatti Paticca Samuppāda process mentioned in #1 above. Such a strong viññāna is called a patisandhi viññāna.
- The important point is that such a patisandhi viññāna is likely to give rise to rebirth in the animal realm. We will discuss the patisandhi viññāna later in the discussion of uppatti Paticca Samuppāda.

10. In both these examples, it is clear that those reverse steps also occur: “nāmarūpa paccayā viññāna“, can happen, and does happen, together with “viññāna paccayā nāmarūpa”. The more one visualizes related nāmarūpa, the stronger that viññāna gets.
- As we saw above, this happens in other steps too (for example, “sankhara paccaya vinnana” and “vinnana paccaya sankhara”) and such is referred to as an “aññamañña paticca samuppāda step”. Here “aññamañña” means “inter-dependent”.
- This is especially true also for the “sankhāra paccayā viññāna”. The more stronger the viññāna gets, one is more likely to engage in same kind of acts, i.e., sankhāra, i.e., “viññāna paccayā sankhāra”. They feed on each other. This happens a lot in habit (gati) formation.
- We have discussed the concept of gati (habits/character) previously: "The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Asavas)", Oct 25, 2018 (p.43); Post on habits (Pali word “gati”, but gati is more that habits) on August 18, 2018 (p. 22); "How Habits are Formed and Broken – A Scientific View",  Nov 28, 2018 (p. 50).

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