The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Pañca Upādānakkhandhā – Introduction

Pañca Upādānakkhandhā – Key Role of Upādāna

Pañca Upādānakkhandhā is normally translated as “five grasping aggregates.” That does not explain much.

1. The concept of Pañca Upādānakkhandhā plays a critical role in Buddha’s teachings. In his first sermon, “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11),” the Buddha summarized dukkha (or suffering) in a single verse. That is, “Saṃkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā.” The translation appears in most English texts as, “in brief, the five grasping aggregates are suffering”.

- That translation does not convey the meaning of the verse until we understand what is meant by “pañcupādānakkhandhā.”
- It is easy to see that the word “pañcupādānakkhandhā” comes from the combination of the three words: pañca, upādāna, and khandhā. Here, “pañca khandhā” means “five aggregates” and “upādāna” means “the tendency to keep close.” As you will see, “keeping close” is a better translation than “grasping” used in most translations.
- Therefore, that verse indicates that suffering in this world arises due to our tendency to “keep close” certain parts of those five “aggregates.”
- We have already discussed some features of those “five aggregates.” See the previous few posts in this series.

Upādāna – Keeping Close “in the Mind”

2. Upādāna means “pulling something closer” (“upa” + “ādāna,” where “upa” means “close” and “ādāna” means “pull closer”).

- It is critical to realize that upādāna happens ONLY in the mind.
- Paṭicca Samuppāda describes phenomena that take place in the MIND. We can summarize Paṭicca Samuppāda simply as follows. Attaching to an ārammaṇa is taṇhā (gets “bonded” to it.) That leads to upādāna (keep it close in one’s mind.) That is the step, “taṇhā paccayā upādāna.” Also, see, “Difference Between Tanhā and Upādāna.”
- Furthermore, we saw that even the rupakkhandha is in the mind. Many people have the perception that rupakkhandha is “collection of rupa.” But we clarified rupakkhandha in the post “Difference Between Rupa and Rupakkhandha.”

3. In that post, we also discussed how some parts of rūpakkhandha become parts of rūpa upādānakkhandha or rūpupādānakkhandha.

- Therefore, “pañcupādānakkhandhā” means “keeping those five aggregates (rupakkhandha, vedanākkhandha, saññākkhandha, saṅkhārakkhandha, viññāṇakkhandha) “close to one’s mind.” Then, one will be thinking, speaking, and taking actions based on particularly appealing parts of the five aggregates.
- Again, all of rūpakkhandha, as well as other four khandhā in pañca khandhā, are associated with the mind.
- Thus, ALL of pañcupādānakkhandhā is associated with the mind. Those are what one thinks about and plan accordingly. A good example is to re-create a past sexual experience and to enjoy that. Another is to create a future expected experience in mind and to enjoy that. Both those activities involve pañcupādānakkhandhā.
- As we can see, pañcakkhandhā is enormous, infinite. It has all our experiences from a beginning that cannot be discerned. But pañca upādānakkhandhā is a very small part of that.

Diṭṭhi and Taṇhā – Root Causes of Upādāna

4. We tend to keep something close to us if we believe it will be beneficial for us to do so. On the other hand, if we think something will be bad for us and can bring suffering, we would try to avoid it and try to keep it far away.

- For example, if we know there is a bomb inside a beautiful object, we would try to get far away from it, even though it looks appealing.
- Sometimes, we do not see dangers hidden in “things that appear to be appealing.”
- An example that I often give is a fish biting a worm on a hook. The fish cannot see the hidden hook or the fisherman holding the pole that is attached to the hook with a string. But we can see all that and we know what will happen to the fish if it bites that tasty bait.
- However, we are unable to see the hidden dangers in sensual pleasures. Only a Buddha can figure out WHY attaching to sensual pleasures is dangerous, even if no immoral actions are involved. The question is, why sense pleasures are bad even if immoral actions (dasa akusala) are NOT involved. There are “hidden dangers” in sense pleasures. See, “Kāma Assāda – A Root Cause of Suffering.”
- Have you seen ants getting stuck in spilled honey? They start drinking it and get stuck. They don’t see the “hidden danger” in a pool of tasty honey either.

Monkey Not Letting Go Even When the Life is in Danger

5. In the above example of the fish biting a “tasty bait” or the ants attracted to honey at least cannot see the “hidden danger.” However, look at what happens to the monkey in the following video (I am not sure how to open a new window for that video. So, please make sure to use the back button to get back to the post):
http://www.youtube.com/embed/IHdJVzYBBO ... autoplay=0
- The monkey could have let go of the grains in its fist, take its hand out, and run away when it saw the hunter coming. (Note; I have set the video to stop early to show only the relevant portion for our discussion. If you play it again, you can see the whole video. The hunter wanted to find where the monkey’s water source was. So, he fed the monkey with salty food and let it go, and followed it.)
- But it would not let go of the grains in its fist. It does not want to let go of its “tasty grains” even while seeing the danger. It is HOPING that it would be able to get the hand out WITH the grains.
- That is why even a Sotapanna has a hard time getting rid of the desire for sensual pleasures, even though he/she can SEE the dangers in them.
- However, a large part of upādāna has been removed for a Sotapanna. He/she would NOT engage in any immoral deeds to fulfill sensual desires. For example, he/she would not engage in sexual misconduct at any time. The desire for sensual pleasures will keep one bound to the kāma loka. But it is only IMMORAL DEEDS (dasa akusala) done to gain sensual pleasures that will make one eligible for rebirth in an apāya.
- In other words, a Sotapanna has not removed “kāma upādāna.” An Anāgāmi has removed “kāma upādāna.” Thus, the four types of upādāna need to be removed in stages.

Five Aggregates (Pañcakkhandhā) Fall into Two Main Categories

6. From our previous posts in “The Five Aggregates (Pañcakkhandha),” we know that the five aggregates can be separated out into two MAIN categories: past and present.

- There are 11 types of entities in each aggregate. See, “Difference Between Rūpa and Rūpakkhandha.” However, all of them belong to three time-frames: past, present moment, and future. The “present moment” is gone in a split second. The other categories (like internal and external or near and far) belong to each time-frame. Thus, effectively we have two MAIN categories in each aggregate.
- Those two are the “past aggregates” and “future aggregates.” Put in another way, the five aggregates encompass our “memories” and our ‘future expectations/hopes.”

[i]Pañca Upādānakkhandhā[/i] – Reliving Memories and Making Future Plans

7. Pañcupādānakkhandhā can be thought of as mainly the following. Significant “events” that happened in the past and also a set of events that we would like to see happen in the future. Put in simple terms, pañcupādānakkhandhā or “upādāna of pañcakkhandhā” means the following two cases.

- Our tendency to constantly think, speak, and act to re-create past experiences.
- In addition, we also do the same to fulfill future plans/hopes.
Those activities are done via mano, vaci, and kāya (abhi)saṅkhāra. We will discuss that in the next post.

Upādāna – Why Is It Easier to Recall Somethings Than Others?

8. Form our discussion so far in this series of posts, it is clear that records of ALL our past actions (and speech and thoughts) are “stored permanently” in “nāma loka.” You may want to refresh memory by reading “Memory Records- Critical Part of Five Aggregates.”

- However, we know that it is easier to recall some of the past events than most others. In fact, we cannot recall even some things that happened just yesterday!
- That is because there are events that we tend to “keep close” in our minds. That can happen out of greed, anger, or ignorance. If we eat tasty food, we would like to taste it again. If someone did something “bad,” we would like to remember that out of anger. We also tend to remember “funny things” of no significance (dirty jokes, for example) out of ignorance.
- In addition to just “a record” or “nāmagotta,” such “memorable” events leave energy in the “nāma loka.” Those are kammic energies and are in “kamma bhava.” They originate in kamma viññāṇa in javana citta. Such events involve abhisaṅkhāra.

The Difference Between “Nāmagotta” and “Kamma Bija

9. A record of any and all events go into “nāmagotta” as soon as that event is done. But some events involve “good” or “bad” strong kamma generated via abhisaṅkhāra. As we have noted, there are three types of abhisaṅkhāra: apuñña abhisaṅkhāra, puñña abhisaṅkhāra, and āneñja abhisaṅkhāra.

- Those are the types of abhisaṅkhāra in the “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā” step in Paṭicca Samuppāda. See, “Kamma, Saṅkhāra, and Abhisaṅkhāra“ on Nov 24, 2019 (on p. 77): https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... start=1140
- We can put it in another way by saying that such actions lead to the formation of kamma bija. They have the potential to bring kamma vipāka. Especially strong kamma vipāka can lead to rebirth.
- However, if such kamma bija do not get a chance to bring their vipāka, their energies run out over long times. At that point, they become just “nāmagotta” without any associated energy.
- A kamma bija, on its own, can bring us an ārammaṇa to the mind (i.e., bring back the memory of the event) even if we are not trying to recall it.
- While a kamma bija can bring an ārammaṇa to the mind on its own (due to its energy,) a “nāmagotta” NEEDS TO BE recalled. We will discuss that later.
- Furthermore, it is easier to recall those events associated with strong kamma bija. Such events are of importance to us, and thus, it is easy to recall them. Nāmagotta, on the other hand, are more difficult to recall. However, there are a handful of people who can do that in amazing detail (see below.

Proof That All Nāmagotta Remain Intact

10. Strong evidence is beginning to emerge that there is indeed a “complete record” of one’s past just like a videotape. These studies started with Jill Price, who contacted a team of scientists in the early 2000’s about her ability to recall anything from 1974 onward. Here is a video of her with Diane Sawyer on an ABC News program:


- Note that she says she can “see” in her mind what happened on any day from 1974. It is not like she is recalling a “summary” or the gist of what happened. She can actually recall the whole episode in detail. Even the day and date come out effortlessly.
- Note that she can remember ONLY those things SHE had EXPERIENCED. That means just the portion of HER pañcakkhandhā from 1974. For example, if she had not watched the TV series “Dallas,” she would not be able to say on which day “JR was shot.”
- Since then more people have provided similar accounts. See, “Recent Evidence for Unbroken Memory Records (HSAM).”
- This is why some children can recall their previous life. The ability to recall a previous life means that the memories could NOT have been in the brain, and were ‘stored” outside the physical body. See, “Evidence for Rebirth” and “Boy Who Remembered Pāli Suttas for 1500 Years.”
- Ancient yogis who could get to the eighth jhāna could see all past lives in the present eon or kappa. But the Buddha could see numerous eons within a short time.

Lal
Posts: 491
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Five Aggregates – Connection to Tilakkhaṇa

In the next few posts, we will look at the relationship between the five aggregates and suffering. Within this discussion, we will be able to clarify the three key Pāli words anicca, dukkha, anatta. Those terms describe the Three Characteristics of Nature or Tilakkhaṇa.

Five Aggregates and Tilakkhaṇa – Introduction

The Five Aggregates describe any Living Being’s “World”

1. The five aggregates (pañcakkhandhā) represent any living being together with its “external world.” It is not correct to say that the five aggregates are in one’s own “physical body.” Everything about a living being, including ALL past experiences and future expectations, is embedded in pañcakkhandhā. Furthermore, one’s gati, anusaya, etc., are all in pañcakkhandhā. Please read the previous posts in “The Five Aggregates (Pañcakkhandha).”

- What I summarized in those few posts is the material in many suttā in the Khandha Saṃyutta in the Saṃyutta Nikāya. There are also relevant suttā in other parts of the Tipiṭaka.
- In those suttā, the Buddha describes any given living being in terms of pañcakkhandhā: rupakkhandha, vedanākkhandha, saññākkhandha, saṅkhārakkhandha, viññāṇakkhandha.
- Those are the five aggregates loosely translated as form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. As we have discussed, such translations are misleading. It is better to use the Pāli terms and learn their true BROADER meanings. For example, viññāṇa can be of two different types of kamma viññāṇa and vipaka viññāṇa.  See, "Mōha/Avijjā and Vipāka Viññāṇa/Kamma Viññāṇa."

Pañca Upādāna Khandhā (Five Clinging Aggregates) Is There Until Becoming an Arahant

2. We also discussed what is meant by pañca upādāna khandhā (loosely translated as “five clinging-aggregates”) in the section “The Five Aggregates (Pañcakkhandha).”

- Until attaining the Arahant stage, all living beings have pañca upādāna khandhā. A living Arahant has pañca khandhā but not pañca upādāna khandhā.
- An Arahant‘s pañca khandhā will also cease to exist at the death of the physical body. That means an Arahant will not be reborn anywhere in the 31 realms.

The Definition of an “Ignorant Living Being” or “Satta

3. The Buddha explained what is meant by a “satta” or a “living being” to Rādha in the “Satta Sutta (SN 23.2). “Rūpe kho, Rādha, yo chando yo rāgo yā nandī yā taṇhā, tatra satto, tatra visatto, tasmā sattoti vuccati. Vedanāya … saññāya … saṅkhāresu … viññāṇe yo chando yo rāgo yā nandī yā taṇhā, tatra satto, tatra visatto, tasmā sattoti vuccati
Translated (just the meaning): “Rādha, when there is desire (chanda), rāga, and a perception of high value (nandī) of material form (rūpa), there is clinging (satto), strong clinging (visatto) for form, and then an ignorant living-being (satto) is spoken of. Similarly, when there is desire (chanda), rāga, and a perception of high value (nandī) of vedanā … saññā … saṅkhāra … viññāṇa, then a living-being is spoken of.”

- Other translations at “Sentient Beings.”: https://suttacentral.net/sn23.2
- Note that the Pāli word “satta” means “clinging” or “attach.” A strong version of clinging is “visatta.”
- In other words, as long as there is upādāna for pañcakkhandhā (i.e., as long as there is pañcupādānakkhandhā) there is an “ignorant living being” or a “satta.” That living being has not comprehended the “real nature of this world” or “yathābhūta ñāṇa.”

Difference Between a “Satta” and “Puthujjano

4. We also need to see the difference between the terms “satta” and “puthujjano.” The name “puthujjano” applies to a human being who has not heard and comprehended yathābhūta ñāṇa. The term “satta” applies to any living being (includes Devā and Brahmā who have not attained any magga phala.)

- I use the term “ignorant person” to differentiate an Ariya puggala (Noble Person) who is also a “person,” but has started cultivating yathābhūta ñāṇa.
- Assāda Sutta (SN 22.129) defines the word “puthujjano” as, “an ignorant person (“puthujjano) does not truly understand the pleasures, the drawbacks/dangers, and the liberation when it comes to the five aggregates.”
- An Ariya puggala overcomes the “satta” status at eight levels (Sotapanna Anugāmi, Sotapanna, Sakadāgāmi Anugāmi, Sakadāgāmi, etc.)
- Also, a Bodhisatta is still a “satta,” but proceeding towards “Bodhi” or the “Buddhahood.” We remember that a Bodhisatta can be born even in some higher animal species, but not in the other three apāyā.
- Note that “satta” pronounced “saththa”.) See, “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 1″ and the second part referred to in there.

Overcoming the “Satta” Status With the Comprehension of Tilakkhana

5. Using the analyses of the five aggregates and the “five clinging-aggregates,” we can get some insights into Buddha’s explanation of “suffering inherent in this world of 31 realms.” That explanation comes via the understanding of the Tilakkhana or anicca, dukkha, anatta. We now look at the connection between the five aggregates and Tilakkhaṇa.

- The fourth characteristic of asubha appears in some suttā.
- However, in most suttā, only the three characteristics of anicca, dukkha, anatta are discussed.
- The essence of those characteristics is that craving for worldly things (rupa) with the perception of a “me” will only perpetuate the rebirth process leading to more suffering. We will discuss that in detail in upcoming posts.
- However, we can get an idea by just looking at the key concepts that we have learned. Let us briefly discuss anatta and anicca.

Does “Anatta” Mean “No-Self”?

6. The representation of any living being with the five aggregates makes it clear that a permanent “soul” or a “ātma” cannot exist.

- As we have discussed, none of those five aggregates has any “essence.” They all keep changing, even momentarily. In particular, they all undergo drastic changes when a living being moves from one realm to another. Such transitions have taken place an uncountable times in our deep past. We all have been born in the 26 realms (out of 31 realms, only Anāgāmis can be born in the five realms reserved for them.)
- All of us have been born in the highest nevasaññanasaññayatana Brahma realm as well as in the lowest niraya realm.
- If there were an unchanging “core” or “essence” as a soul was there, an Arahant would not be able to attain Parinibbāna. As we know, there is no trace of an Arahant in any of the 31 realms after Parinibbāna.
- However, until one reaches the Arahant stage, it is also NOT correct to say that a “self” or a “me” does not exist. There is an ever-changing “lifestream” thinking, speaking, and doing things based on the view and perception of a “me” or “self” with a set of ever-changing “gati.”
- Starting at the Sotapanna Anugāmi stage, one can begin to “see” that all those actions are based on Paṭicca Samuppāda. There is still a “self” with “gati” generating “abhisaṅkhāra” via “avijjā.” But that “avijjā” will decrease with higher magga phala. “Sammā Diṭṭhi” becomes complete, and the perception of a “me” goes away only at the Arahant stage.

Does “Anicca” Mean “Impermanence”?

7. It is quite common these days to see the Pāli word “anicca” translated as “impermanence.” We can see the error in such a translation by looking at a simple sutta.

- For example, the “Nandikkhaya Sutta (SN 22.51),” among others, state: “Aniccaññeva, bhikkhave, bhikkhu rūpaṃ aniccanti passati. Sāssa hoti sammādiṭṭhi.” or “A bhikkhu who sees rupa (form) as anicca has seen the anicca nature. He has Sammā Diṭṭhi.”
- Most English translations INCORRECTLY translate that verse as “A bhikkhu who sees form as impermanent has seen the anicca nature. He has Sammā Diṭṭhi.”
- Any reputable scientist knows that NO MATERIAL OBJECT in this world has permanent existence. See the following Scientific American article: “The Only Thing That Remains Constant Is Change.” : https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/ob ... is-change/ Does that mean those scientists all have “Sammā Diṭṭhi” and have attained Nibbāna? Of course not. Therefore, it must be clear that “anicca” CANNOT mean just “impermanence.”
- We will discuss the real meanings of anatta and anicca in detail in this series in future posts.

The Need to examine the Tipiṭaka Without Biases

8. We need to be able to resolve such issues by using common sense rather than mechanically repeating such incorrect translations as “the truth.” Just because such statements are in “reputable books” or are “the opinions of reputable bhikkhus/scholars” does not mean they are compatible with the Tipiṭaka. We need to remind ourselves that Devadatta was a bhikkhu with abhiññā powers. Nagarjuna and Buddhaghosa are considered “scholars” by those who do not even believe in rebirth (and thus have micchā diṭṭhi.)

- Their intentions may be good, but one needs to be able to accept errors in one’s thinking when clarified with substantial evidence.
- It is dangerous to teach “wrong Dhamma” which will have corresponding consequences. Ignorance of mundane laws is not an excuse in a court of law. In the same way, ignorance of “the true teachings” is not an excuse, especially when the correct teachings are clear with evidence from the Tipiṭaka.
- “Impermanence” is only a small part of the broad meaning of anicca. A single English word CANNOT convey the meaning of the word “anicca.” One needs to understand the meaning of the Pāli word and use that word.

Why Do Living Beings Crave Sensory Pleasures?

9. To “enjoy” sensory pleasures, the following two conditions must be met.

- There must be a “me” or a “self” to “enjoy any pleasure.”
- There must be contacts with five types of external rupa via the five physical senses. They are rupa rupa or "vaṇṇa rupa" (material objects), sadda rupa (sounds), gandha rupa (odors), rasa rupa (tastes), and phoṭṭhabba (body touches.) Furthermore, those rupa must be stable to provide long-lasting pleasures.
So, the average human makes the very best effort (and undergoes suffering) in seeking out such pleasures.
- Those struggles only lead to more suffering, since both of the above assumptions are wrong in ultimate reality.

Both Those Assumptions Are Wrong Per Buddha

10. The Buddha pointed out the following regarding those two features.

- There is no “me” or an “unchanging self” in ultimate reality. Any living being has a limited lifetime and subject to unexpected changes during its existence. There is no “core” or “substance” to any existence (like a “soul” or a “ātma.”) A given lifestream can be a Brahma, a Deva, or a human in some existences and an animal, a hungry ghost, or a “hell being” in other existences. Where is the “core”?
- Any type of external rupa in this world also has a limited lifetime. It will also undergo unexpected changes during its existence. Thus, all those material “things” that we acquire with great effort do not last long. Furthermore, they become a burden since one needs to continually struggle to maintain them in good condition (think of houses, cars, one’s own physical body, etc.)
Therefore, both requirements for perceived happiness (an “unchanging self” and “stable external rupa“) are illusory.
- That is one way to state the “previously-unheard Dhamma” (“pubbe ananussutesu dhammesu“) that the Buddha taught.

“Self” and “External Rupa” Have a Common Name – Sankata

11. Sankata is a key Pāli word. It comes from “san” + “kata.” As with many critically important Pāli words, the root “san” is there. A sankata is prepared via “san” or our tendency to “accumulate” things that only have a transient existence. A living being and what it enjoys are both sankata.

- Both arise (the Pāli word for “arise” is “samudaya“) due to our fruitless actions based on those two wrong views about nature per #9 and #10 above. The key Pāli word “samudaya” comes from “san” + “udaya” or “arising due to “san.” You may want to refresh memory with “What is “San”? Meaning of Sansāra (or Saṃsāra)” and “List of “San” Words and Other Pāli Roots.”
- Both types of sankata arise (samudaya) via the universal process of Paṭicca Samuppāda, which starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.”
- As we have discussed in many posts, the root cause of all suffering is abhi(saṅkhāra) that arise in our minds due to avijjā. Therefore, one way to explain the origin of suffering is ignorance (avijjā) of real nature or Tilakkhaṇa. That is the connection between the five aggregates and Tilakkhaṇa (and suffering.)

A Buddha Does Not Speculate on Anything

12. A Sammasambuddha, like Buddha Gotama, does not teach anything that he had not experienced/verified firsthand.

- Several suttā in the Tipiṭaka discuss that. See, for example, the Vīmaṃsaka Sutta (MN 47).
- There are many suttā in the Tipiṭaka that describe visits by the Buddha and some of his disciples to Brahma and Deva realms. I have discussed one of those, the “Brahmanimantanika Sutta (MN 49),” in the post, “Anidassana Viññāṇa – What It Really Means.”
- There are many aspects in the teachings of the Buddha that are not discernible to an average human (puthujjano). Many of these phenomena can be verified by those who make progress on the path. They are also consistent with new findings by modern science. I have discussed some of them in “Mystical Phenomena in Buddhism?“
- Many people do not see the uniqueness of a Buddha. For them, he is just another philosopher. That assumption is wrong. A Buddha does not speculate on anything. But of course, each person needs to verify that. That is why I make an effort at puredhamma.net to show the self-consistency within the Tipiṭaka and with many new findings in science.

In upcoming posts, we will continue the discussion on the connection between the five aggregates and Tilakkhaṇa (and suffering.)
- I am going to save some time for me by not providing links for posts at puredhamma.net. The easiest way to find a given post is to just copy the title and enter that in the "Search" box at the top right of puredhamma.net. The first search result is normally the post in question. Furthermore, one can also see other relevant posts for those keywords. The "Search" function strips off irrelevant words like "and", "the" etc.
- Some of those posts have also been posted here at Dhammawheel.

Lal
Posts: 491
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Icca, Nicca, Anicca – Important Connections

Icca, Nicca, Anicca

1. We will discuss the critical relationships among icca, nicca, and anicca. That will help us understand the true meaning of anicca.

- The pronunciations of those in that order:
[html]https://puredhamma.net/wp-content/uploa ... anicca.mp3[/html]

- It is important to note that the Pāli words in the Tipiṭaka are NOT written the way they are pronounced. See, “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 1″ and “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 2.”
- Very briefly, the meanings are as follows. Icca means desire. If we believe that it is possible to fulfill that desire and totally content, that is the perception of nicca. The opposite of nicca is anicca.
- Buddha taught us that our world is of anicca nature. That means we will never be content with “any existence in this world.” We may be able to fulfill some expectations in this life, but all that will have to be given up at death. Then we start all-over in new birth.
- We note that the word “icca” plays a key role in Paṭicca Samuppāda. The word “Paṭicca” comes from “paṭi” + “icca.” Future existences in the rebirths process have origins in “attaching to worldly pleasures with desire (icca).” See, “Paṭicca Samuppāda – ‘Pati+ichcha’ + ‘Sama+uppāda’.”

Icca and Anicca Sometimes Written as Iccha and Aniccha

2. The word “iccha” with the emphasis on the last syllable indicates “strong icca” or “strong desire.” In the same way, “aniccha” with the emphasis on the last syllable puts emphasis on the “anicca nature.”

- In the Sinhala language, the words icca, anicca, and iccha, aniccha are written as ඉච්ච, අනිච්ච, and ඉච්ඡ, අනිච්ඡ.
- In the Tipiṭaka, mostly iccha, nicca, anicca appear. Note that iccha is normally used in Pāli as “icchā.” Thus, the “strong version” is used only with iccha. But there are a few exceptions. We saw one such exception in “icca” in #1; another for “aniccha” in #14 below.
- The five words icca, anicca, iccha, icchā, and aniccha are pronounced:
[html]https://puredhamma.net/wp-content/uploa ... niccha.mp3[/html]

Icchā and Taṇhā Closely Related

3. The “Kalahavivādasuttaniddesa“ of the mahāniddesa of the Tipiṭaka states, “Icchā vuccati taṇhā” (see section SC88) or “Icchā means taṇhā.” That is because icchā leads to taṇhā.

- When we attach (taṇhā) to something due to our liking for it (icchā), we tend to keep it close in our minds (upādāna.) Paṭicca Samuppāda describes how that leads to future suffering. See, “Icchā (Cravings) Lead to Upādāna and to Eventual Suffering.”
- The use of many Pāli terms could be confusing to some. It may be helpful to print the relevant posts mentioned and refer to them as needed.

What Do We Desire (Icchā)?

4. Our desires belong to two categories. First, we would like to have a healthy and robust body (stay young forever!.) We would also like to have anything that we own or related to us to be similarly long-lasting and not subject to unexpected calamities.

- We have that perception that such desires (icchā) for “stability of long-lasting happiness” can be achieved. That perception is nicca.
- With that perception of a “nicca nature,” we work hard to acquire “things” that we perceive to provide sensory pleasures.
- While doing our best to achieve such pleasures, knowingly or unknowingly, we engage in activities that lead to future births filled with suffering.

Icchā – A Root Cause of Suffering

5. The Buddha’s described the Noble Truth on Suffering in his first discourse, “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56.11).”

- The complete verse in that sutta is as follows. “Idaṃ kho pana, bhikkhave, dukkhaṃ ariya saccaṃjātipi dukkhā, jarāpi dukkhā, byādhipi dukkho, maraṇampi dukkhaṃ, appiyehi sampayogo dukkho, piyehi vippayogo dukkho, yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃ—saṃkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā.”
- I have discussed the description in plain bold in the post, “Essence of Buddhism – In the First Sutta.”
- We discussed the verse, “Saṃkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā” in recent posts in “The Five Aggregates (Pañcakkhandha).” As explained there, the Buddha succinctly attributed future suffering to “upādāna” for the five aggregates (pañcakkhandhā.) We learned that “upādāna” means “keeping close in one’s mind.”
- Here, we will discuss how that “upādāna” relates to “icchā”, simply translated as “desire.” Then we will discuss the connection to anicca, which is often INCORRECTLY translated as “impermanence.” That connection is in, “appiyehi sampayogo dukkho, piyehi vippayogo dukkho,yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃ.
- Let us discuss that verse in two steps.

Appiyehi sampayogo dukkho, piyehi vippayogo dukkho

6. That means: “having to associate with things that one does not like is suffering, and, having to separate from those things one likes is suffering.”

- One WOULD LIKE to keep the body of a young person (say, 15 to 25 years of age), without getting old or sick, and never die. But we will NEVER get it.
- Even with human birth, we have to suffer when we get old, when getting sick, and finally when dying. There is no way to dissociate from those things that we do not like.
- We have no choice but to associate with those three things that we do not like highlighted above.
- Worst of all, we will have rebirths in realms we do not like. That will happen until we comprehend anicca nature.

Yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃMost Important Verse

7. “Yampiccam nalabhati tampi dukkhaṃ” captures the essence of anicca nature how it leads to suffering. It provides the key to understanding the Buddha’s message and led to the attaining the Sōtapanna stage by the five ascetics.

- “Yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃ” is a shortened version of the verse is “Yam pi icchāṃ na labhati tam pi dukkhaṃ.”
- “Yam pi icchāṃ” means “whatever is liked or craved for.” “Na labhati” means “not getting.” “tam pi dukkhaṃ” means “that leads to suffering.”
- Therefore, that verse simply says: “If one does not get what one craves or likes, that leads to suffering.“

8. That is a more general statement and applies in any situation. What we discussed in #6 above is summarized in the short verse, “yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃ.”

- We can see that in our daily lives. We like to hang out with people we love, and it is a stress to be with people that we do not like.
- The more one craves something, and the more suffering one will endure at the end. That is because we tend to do immoral deeds to “get what we crave.” But kammic energies that we generate in such wicked deeds lead to rebirths that we do not like.
- Thus, we end up with two types of suffering. Our expectations are not fulfilled (whatever happiness gained is temporary.) Furthermore, we end up getting unfortunate rebirths.

Icchā Keeps One Bound to “This World”

9. There are many suttā in the Tipiṭaka that discuss icchā. The “Icchā Sutta (SN 1.69)” summarizes the importance of icchā. One time, a deva came to the Buddha and asked:

Kenassu bajjhatī loko, “By what is the world bound?
kissa vinayāya muccati; By the removal of what one is freed?
Kissassu vippahānena, What is it that one must abandon
sabbaṃ chindati bandhanan” ti. To cut off all bondage?”

The Buddha replied:

Icchāya bajjhatī loko, “By cravings, one is bound to the world;
icchāvinayāya muccati; By the removal of desire one is freed
Icchāya vippahānena, Craving is what one must give up
sabbaṃ chindati bandhanan” ti. To cut off all bondage.”

Our Actions Based on Iccha (Taṇhā) Lead to Suffering

10. Paṭicca Samuppāda process describes how our actions based on icchā (taṇhā) leads to future births and suffering. We have discussed that in detail in two main sections. See, “Paṭicca Samuppāda” and “Paṭicca Samuppāda – Not ‘Self’ or ‘No-Self’“

- In brief, the Buddha pointed out that our perception of a “nicca nature” where we can fulfill our desires is an illusion.
- No matter how much we strive, it is not possible to attain long-lasting happiness in the rebirth process. If one believes that there is no rebirth process, then one may not worry about any such suffering beyond the present life.
- That is why one first needs to get rid of the ten types of wrong views (micchā diṭṭhi) before trying to comprehend the fact that our perception of a nicca nature is not correct.
- Thus, the reality of this world is not “nicca,” but the opposite. that is anicca.

Inability to Fulfill Iccā/Icchā Means Anicca/Aniccha Nature

11. The inability to get what one desires is the opposite of “icca” or “na icca” or “anicca.” That is the same way that “na āgāmi” becomes “Anāgāmi” (“na āgāmi” means “not coming back”; but in the context of Anāgāmi, it means “not coming back to kāma lōka or the lowest 11 realms. Both these are examples of Pāli sandhi rules (connecting two words).

- In some suttā, like the “Girimānanda Sutta (AN 10.60),” we see the word aniccha, as we will discuss below. As we mentioned above, icchā is a strong version of icca, and the words niccha and aniccha are the corresponding strong versions” of nicca and anicca.
- Other than in such specific cases, we will stick to the words nicca and anicca.
- The intrinsic nature of this world is “anicca,“ i.e., we will never get what we crave for, and thus at the end (at least at death), we will leave all this behind and suffer, that is dukkha.

Impermanence Is a Significant Part of Anicca

12. Anicca does NOT mean just “impermanence” is clear in the definition of anicca in many suttā. For example, the “Anicca Sutta (SN 22.12)” states: “rūpaṃ, bhikkhave, aniccaṃ, vedanā aniccā, saññā aniccā, saṅkhārā aniccā, viññāṇaṃ aniccaṃ.”

- The English translation at Sutta Central “12. Impermanence” is: “form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness are impermanent.”
- Is it not evident that especially the mental qualities (vedanā, saññā, saṅkhārā, viññāṇa) are impermanent? They change even moment-to-moment. That is a BAD translation. Of course, the other translation at Sutta Central and in many other texts is the same.
- Correct translation is to say that all five of those entities are of anicca nature, i.e., that they cannot be maintained to one’s expectations.
- There is no single word in English that can express the meaning of anicca. Impermanence is just one aspect of anicca nature.
- The Pāli words for permanence and impermanence are dhuva and addhuva. For example, the “Vepullapabbata Sutta (SN 15.20)” says, “Evaṃ aniccā, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā; evaṃ addhuvā, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā; evaṃ anassāsikā, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā” meaning, “saṅkhārā are anicca AND impermanent, they should not be taken in (“na“+ “assāsikā.”) By the way, this also shows that “assāsa” does NOT mean “breathing in.” For details, see, “Is Ānāpānasati Breath Meditation?“

Girimānanda SuttaAnicca Nature of Saṅkhāra

13. In the “Girimānanda Sutta (AN 10.60)” the Buddha described the perception of anicca nature to Ven. Ānanada as follows. ” Katamā ca Ānanda, anicca saññā? Idha Ānanda, bhikkhu araññagato vā rukkhamūlagato vā suññāgāragato vā iti paṭisañcikkhati: ‘rūpaṃ aniccaṃ, vedanā aniccā, saññā aniccā, saṅkhārā aniccā, viññāṇaṃ aniccan’ti. Iti imesu pañcasu upādānakkhandhesu aniccānupassī viharati. Ayaṃ vuccatānanda, aniccasaññā."

- The parts highlighted in bold say that all five entities “rupa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhārā, viññāṇa are all aniccā“ and that “one lives contemplating the anicca nature of the ‘five clinging-aggregates’ (pañca upādānakkhandha.)
- The first part is the same that we discussed above. The second part is even more clear. As we know, pañca upādānakkhandha is all mental. See, “Pañca Upādānakkhandhā – Introduction.”
- There is nothing “permanent” there anyway. What the Buddha meant was to contemplate the “fruitlessness of clinging to one’s memories or to future expectations.”

14. In a subsequent verse in the sutta, the Buddha clarifies that “unfruitfulness” in vivid detail: “Katamā ca Ānanda, sabbasaṅkhāresu anicchā saññā? Idhānanda, bhikkhu sabba saṅkhāresu aṭṭīyati harāyati jigucchati. Ayaṃ vuccati ca Ānanda, sabba saṅkhāresu anicchā saññā."

- The first highlighted part in bold says, “all saṅkhāra make one tired at the end, just like a dog does not get any nutrition by chewing on a bone but only gets tired (aṭṭīyati.) One should be ashamed (harāyati) of engaging in such fruitless endeavors. One should reject them like feces and urine (jigucchati.) Note that the word “iccha” is in “jigucchati” which comes from “ji” +”gu” + “iccha” or “liking urine and feces.”
- I have discussed that verse in detail in “Anicca – The Incessant Distress (“Pīḷana”).” Other meanings of anicca are discussed at, “Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta.”
- Therefore, the word anicca has a much deeper and expansive meaning than just “impermanence.” The cause of anicca is related to impermanence, but anicca means a perception that needs to be cultivated. The above verse provides further aspects associated with the key idea of “inability to maintain anything to one’s satisfaction.”
- Impermanence is not directly connected to any of the three meanings of anicca in that verse.
- At the end of the verse, we see the word anicchā used to emphasize anicca nature.

Grasping of Anicca Removes Micchā Diṭṭhi

15. Grasping of anicca characteristic of nature requires getting rid of ALL of one’s wrong views.

That is clearly stated in the “Micchaditthipahana Sutta (SN 35.165)“: “Cakkhuṃ kho, bhikkhu, aniccato jānato passato micchā diṭṭhi pahīyati. Rūpe aniccato jānato passato micchā diṭṭhi pahīyati. Cakkhuviññāṇaṃ aniccato jānato passato micchā diṭṭhi pahīyati. Cak¬khu¬samphas¬saṃ aniccato jānato passato micchā diṭṭhi pahīyati … pe … yampidaṃ mano¬samphassa¬paccayā uppajjati vedayitaṃ sukhaṃ vā dukkhaṃ vā adukkhamasukhaṃ vā tampi aniccato jānato passato micchādiṭṭhi pahīyati. Evaṃ kho, bhikkhu, jānato evaṃ passato micchā diṭṭhi pahīyatī”ti.
We can make two critical deductions from this verse.

- First is that whereas only five entities are listed in # 12, this verse enumerates many more related entities, and they all have the anicca nature. Anything and everything in this world has the anicca nature.

16. Then the second part of the verse says the following. If one comprehends the anicca nature of all those entities, then one has removed micchā diṭṭhi. The first level of micchā diṭṭhi to be removed is the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi.

- Ten types of micchā diṭṭhi include not believing in the rebirth process. See, “Micchā Diṭṭhi, Gandhabba, and Sōtapanna Stage.” Therefore, IF anicca means impermanence, THEN one would have removed all wrong views IF one has understood that everything in this world is impermanent.
- As we discussed in the previous post, any scientist knows that nothing in this world is permanent. See, “Five Aggregates and Tilakkhaṇa – Introduction.”
- By that definition of anicca, those scientists SHOULD NOT have any of the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi. That is a contradiction since most scientists do not believe in rebirth.

Summary

17. Future suffering cannot be stopped until one’s cravings for worldly things (icchā, taṇhā, upādāna) are lost.

- Those cravings cannot be removed from one’s mind until one realizes the futility and danger (future suffering) associated with such cravings.
- Those cravings may be TEMPORARILY suppressed by engaging in the mundane “breath meditation.”
- However, via understanding the true anicca nature, one can realize the futility and danger (future suffering) associated with such cravings. A deeper analysis at, “Icchā (Cravings) Lead to Upādāna and to Eventual Suffering.”
- That is why comprehending the anicca nature is a REQUIREMENT for attaining Nibbāna. Furthermore, anicca is closely related to dukkha and anatta, as we will see in future posts.
- As always, anyone is welcome to correct me (with evidence from the Tipiṭaka.)

I am going to save some time for me by not providing links for posts at puredhamma.net. The easiest way to find a given post is to just copy the title and enter that in the "Search" box at the top right of puredhamma.net. The first search result is normally the post in question. Furthermore, one can also see other relevant posts for those keywords. The "Search" function strips off irrelevant words like "and", "the" etc.
- Some of those posts have also been posted here at Dhammawheel.

Lal
Posts: 491
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Does Impermanence Lead to Suffering?

The following INCORRECT statements are in frequent use in most books in both Mahāyāna and current texts on Theravada:

1. "We suffer because our bodies are impermanent; they are subject to decay and death."
2. "We suffer because those things we get attached to are impermanent."
3. "If something is impermanent, that leads to suffering."
4. "Since everything in this world is impermanent, everything is suffering", etc.

Is there a direct correlation between impermanence and suffering? Let us examine those statements.

1. "We suffer because our bodies are impermanent; they are subject to decay and death."

- WE indeed suffer because OUR bodies are impermanent and are subject to decay and death. But if it is an enemy, do we suffer when that enemy gets sick or die? We suffer if someone we LIKE gets ill or dies, but it is cause for celebration for most people when someone they dislike gets ill or dies.
- The suffering/happiness is directly proportional to the attachment/dislike we have for that person. Suffering due to a loss of one's child is more compared to the loss of a distant relative. Happiness due to Bin Laden's death was higher compared to the death of an unknown terrorist. (For a follower of Bin Laden, his death would have led to suffering).

Suffering arises when things do not proceed as we like. It is human nature to want the loved ones to be unharmed, and the enemies to come to harm. When either does not happen, that leads to suffering. That is what anicca means: the inability to maintain things to our liking.

2. "We suffer because those things we get attached to are impermanent."

- Many things in this world cause us suffering because they will not stay in the same condition or are destroyed. That is true.
- BUT there are many other "permanent" things in this world (at least relative to our lifetime of 100 years), that are associated with suffering. If one has an illness and that becomes "permanent" would that not be suffering?
- A gold necklace is not impermanent, i.e., it will last for thousands of years. But the woman who owns one may be robbed of it, and in the process could get hurt too. She could not "maintain that necklace as she desired."

If ANYTHING causes US suffering, that is because we cannot maintain it to OUR satisfaction, OUR liking.

3. "If something is impermanent, that leads to suffering."

The following is the conventional (incorrect) translation of Buddha's words: "yad aniccam taṃ dukkhaṃ", i.e., "if something is not permanent, that leads to suffering". But the correct translation is, "if something cannot be maintained to our liking, that leads to suffering". Let us consider some examples:
- If we have a headache, and if it is not permanent (i.e., it goes away), does that cause suffering? No. However, if the headache becomes permanent, that will lead to suffering.
- If we come down with cancer, wouldn't it cause happiness if it becomes impermanent? i.e., if it goes away?
- If a relative (that we do not like) come to stay with us, would it lead to happiness if the stay becomes permanent or impermanent? Of course, it will cause us happiness if the stay is not permanent and the person leaves.

4. "Since everything in this world is impermanent, everything is suffering"

The Buddha never said everything in this world leads to suffering. If everything is suffering then everyone will be looking to attain Nibbāna as soon as possible. The reality is that there are sensory pleasures to be had in this world. Most people do not understand why one should go to all this trouble to "give up all these sense pleasures and seek Nibbāna".

- Taking the "big picture", out of the 31 realms in this world, there are many realms where suffering is much less. See, "The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma".
- But there is unimaginable suffering in the lowest four realms, AND that is what we need to avoid. Even though there are 31 realms, MOST LIVING BEINGS (99.99%+) are in the lowest four realms.
- Thus what is true is that this saṃsāric journey is filled with UNIMAGINABLE suffering. However, one cannot see that unless one learns true Dhamma.
- Even in this life, there is much suffering, especially as one gets old. The suffering is highest close to death if the death is due to an ailment. If one enjoys sex, that ability to enjoy sex will fade away as one gets old. It does not matter how much money one has. Even our taste buds will not give us the same enjoyment from foods as we get old. All our sense faculties will start performing less and less as we get old. That is anicca. We cannot maintain things to our satisfaction in the long run.
- Even if we are born in a higher realm where there is much happiness, that existence cannot be maintained. One day, that life will be over, and one WILL end up in a lower realm at some point, and then it will be very hard to get out of there. That is anicca.
- Furthermore, if the cause of suffering is impermanence, then it cannot be eliminated, see, "Would Nibbāna be Possible if Impermanence is the Cause of Suffering?".

In Pāli (or in Sinhala), the word "icca" (pronounced "ichcha") means liking. Thus anicca (pronounced "anichcha") means not to like.

Correct Interpretations

Therefore, the correct translation of "yad aniccam taṃ dukkhaṃ" is "if something cannot be maintained to our satisfaction, that leads to suffering". You can take any example you like and verify for yourself that it is a universal principle, an unchanging characteristic of this world, as the Buddha stated.

Without understanding the three characteristics of "this world", it is not possible to grasp the message of the Buddha. Those three characteristics are anicca, dukkha, anatta. These are the words in the Tipiṭaka, that was written down more than 2000 years ago, in 29 BCE.

- The problem started when these words were translated to Sanskrit as anitya, dukha, anātma; this started probably as far back as in the first or second century CE.
- Then those Sanskrit words were translated to English as impermanence, suffering, and "no-self". The two worst translations are impermanence and "no-self". See, "Misinterpretation of Anicca and Anatta by Early European Scholars."
- Those two Sanskrit words, anitya and anātma, are being used by many in Sri Lanka today as Sinhala words representing the translations of the "Pāli words,", anicca and anatta. Furthermore, the Pāli word nicca (pronounced "nichcha")was translated to Sanskrit as "nitya" (pronounced "nithya") which means "permanent." The Pāli word nicca means "something can be maintained to one's satisfaction and, thus, is fruitful."
- However, nicca, anicca, and anatta are "old Sinhala" words with entirely different meanings than nitya, anitya, and anātma. Those words are not in common use today, but when explained, a Sinhala-speaking person can see the meaning. Indeed old ladies in villages in Sri Lanka still say "ane aniccan" (අනේ අනිච්චං) to express the futility of something.

The Buddha stated that those three characteristics, anicca, dukkha, and anatta, are related:
yad aniccam taṃ dukkham, taṃ dukkhaṃ tad anattā”, or,
"if something is not nicca, dukkha arises, and because of that, one becomes helpless"
- In the long-term, not realizing the anicca nature leads to rebirths in the four lower realms (apāyā.)

As mentioned above, as one gets old or gets disabled, these three characteristics will be easier to see for oneself. But then it would be too late because the mind gets weaker as we get old One needs to learn Dhamma BEFORE the mind (and the body) become weak. Here is a set of pictures that show this clearly: "Celebrities Who Have Aged the Worst": https://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list ... HOW&page=1

Also, see, "Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta", and "Why is Correct Interpretation of Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta so Important?" for more details.

I am going to save some time for me by not providing links for posts at puredhamma.net. The easiest way to find a given post is to just copy the title and enter that in the "Search" box at the top right of puredhamma.net. The first search result is normally the post in question. Furthermore, one can also see other relevant posts for those keywords. The "Search" function strips off irrelevant words like "and", "the" etc.
- Some of those posts have also been posted here at Dhammawheel.

Lal
Posts: 491
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Anicca – Worthlessness of Worldly Things

Different Meanings of Anicca

1. Anicca (pronounced “anichcha”) is a profound concept that has several meanings (impermanence is only a small part of it). We discussed one interpretation as “it is not possible to maintain anything in this world to one’s satisfaction”; see, “Anicca – Inability to Keep What We Like.”

- Another interpretation is the following. Whatever that seems to provide lasting happiness arises and destroyed. Anything is subjected to unpredictable changes (viparināma) while it lasts. See, “Anicca – Repeated Arising/Destruction.”
- Here we discuss another: There is nothing in this world that is valuable and can provide lasting happiness. Not only that, but more craving can only lead to more suffering!

We Like to Get Hold of Things That We Like (Crave)

2. The desire (iccā or icchā; pronounced “ichchā”) for any object depends on the value that one places for that object. If one realizes that the object does not have any significant value, then one would not have any desire for that object.

- One has iccā for a given object which one perceives it to be of “nicca” (pronounced “nichcha”) nature, i.e., that one thinks has value and can provide happiness.
- If one realizes that a given object does not have a real value, one loses craving for that. The anicca nature means NOTHING in this world has real value. Of course, full comprehension comes only at the Arahant stage. The starting point is to see that immoral actions MUST BE avoided regarding even “seemingly high-value things.”

The Perception of "Value" Depends on One's Level of Understanding

3. Suppose you give the following choices for a five-year-old. A giant chocolate bar or the title to a brand new house (written to his/her name so that the child will be the owner of the house).

- What will the child choose? Of course, the child will want chocolate, and he/she will have no idea how a piece of paper can be more valuable than tasty chocolate! Thus the child has the perception of nicca for the chocolate, i.e., that it can bring happiness whereas the happiness from the house is hard to be grasped by the child.
- However, when that same child grows up and becomes an adult, he/she will choose the title to the house without hesitation. By that time, he/she would have realized that a house is much more valuable than a bar of chocolate. The adult will recognize the “anicca nature” of the chocolate: it can only bring happiness only for a few minutes!
- Did anyone have to explicitly tell that adult that the title to the house is much more worth than chocolate? No. One would realize that when one learns more about the world.
- Just the same way, when one learns Dhamma, one will AUTOMATICALLY realize that nothing in this world has real value. But that realization comes gradually.

The Tendency to Do Immoral Deeds Based on Cravings

4. All immoral deeds (dasa akusala) are done because of the “value” that one places on worldly things. A child may hit another over that chocolate. An adult may be willing to lie, steal, or even kill to get possession of a house.

- When that adult grasps the critical message of the Buddha, he/she will realize the “anicca nature” of the house too. That even craving for a house is not worth compared to the “cooling down” one can gain by getting rid of the cravings associated with the house. Of course, one does not need to get rid of the house.
- He/she would realize that collecting “valuables” like houses, cars, etc. or making a lot of money (much more than one needs) can bring only suffering at the end (and lose precious time one could have spent on learning Dhamma and making progress towards Nibbāna).

Adverse Consequences of Cravings

5. Craving for sense objects can have adverse consequences in a wide range. At a lower level, just enjoying sense pleasures without harming others will make one bound to the kāma lōka (via “pati icca sama uppada” or “what one likes is what one gets”); see, “Paṭicca Samuppāda – “Pati+ichcha” + “Sama+uppāda.”

- However, if one does immoral deeds (dasa akusala) to get such “valuables,” then one will be subjected to dukkha dukkha (direct suffering) in the apāyā in future lives; see, “Introduction -2 – The Three Characteristics of Nature“. That is the worst kind of future suffering, and one would not be able to comprehend that if one does not believe in rebirth or that kammā vipāka, i.e., if one has micchā diṭṭhi.
- Once one gets rid of micchā diṭṭhi, it will be easier to see one aspect of the anicca nature. That is aniccaṃ khayaṭṭhena,” which means “anicca nature leads to one to the downside,” i.e., to do immoral acts and to end up experiencing unimaginable suffering (dukkha dukkha) in the apāyā.
- Thus anicca nature not only means that one cannot maintain things to one’s satisfaction in the long run but ALSO, it can lead to much suffering in the future.

The Understanding Leads to the Sotapanna Stage

6. One can get to the Sōtapanna stage by comprehending the above harsh consequences of anicca nature.

- Buddha also said, “dukkhaṃ bhayaṭṭhena” or “one should be fearful of the dukkha nature” when describing the characteristic of dukkha. At the Sōtapanna stage, one can see that not comprehending the anicca nature can lead to suffering in the apāyā. But he/she may still not realize that much suffering (even though less than in the apāyā) can also arise due to just being attached to sense pleasures, i.e., kāma rāga.
- The full impact of “dukkhaṃ bhayaṭṭhena” is realized only at the Anāgami stage (having seen a glimpse of it at the Sakadāgāmi stage). That is when one realizes the dukkha associated with just the craving for sensual pleasures.
- Craving for sense-pleasures lead to saṅkhāra dukkha and viparināma dukkha, as explained in detail in the post, “Introduction – What is Suffering?“.

7. At the Sōtapanna stage, one comprehends the “anicca nature” at a preliminary level and grasps the dukkha dukkha. Even though one can see the truth of the other two types of dukkha (saṅkhāra dukkha and viparināma dukkha), one does not “truly grasp their effects.” Those two aspects of dukkha are present in the higher realms of kāma lōka (human and deva realms).

- One truly starts comprehending saṅkhāra dukkha and viparināma dukkha at the Sakadāgāmi stage, and it will be completed only at the Anāgami stage. That leads to further strengthening of “dukkhaṃ bhayaṭṭhena.” One can see the danger in the types of dukkha arising from attachment to sense pleasures (even without engaging in immoral acts).
- Comprehending the bad consequences of sensual pleasures is much harder than seeing the dangers associated with immoral deeds. That is why a Sōtapanna is still “not free” from rebirths in kāma lōka.

Cravings for Sense Desires Lost Only at the Anāgami Stage

8. By the time one gets to Anāgami stage, one would have removed the lower five types of bonds (ōrambhagiya samyōjana) that bind one to the realms in the kāma lōka; see, “Dasa Samyōjana – Bonds in Rebirth Process.”

- There are five higher samyōjana associated with higher rupa and arupa realms. First one removes rupa rāga (attachment to rupa jhāna) and then arupa rāga (attachment to arupa jhāna).
- The rupa and arupa realms (highest 20 realms) mostly have rupa and arupa jhānic pleasures. In those realms, dukkha dukkha and saṅkhāra dukkha are mostly absent, and only the viparināma dukkha (death at the end) is present. One lives with jhānic pleasure until the end when one becomes helpless and could end up even in the apāyā.

9. In comprehending the Three Characteristics of nature, the critical step is in realizing that collecting “valuables” (houses, money, etc.) as an adult is as foolish as collecting candy wrappers as a child.

- To make that step of “higher wisdom” per Buddha Dhamma, one needs first to understand the “world view of the Buddha,” that the world is of anicca nature, i.e., CRAVING for those “valuables” only lead to suffering in the long run. “Long-run” involves not only this life but future lives.
- That is why belief in rebirth is an important requirement to even start on the mundane Path.

The World is of Anicca Nature, Not Nicca Nature

10. It is an illusion to believe that ANY object in this world will have the nicca” nature. That there are things in this world that have real, lasting value. The reality is the opposite expressed by the word “anicca.” One meaning of “anicca” is that there is nothing in this world of value that can bring lasting happiness.

- However, it is challenging for one to comprehend this “anicca nature” unless one believes in the laws of kammā. That one’s actions will have consequences. A natural extension of the laws of kammā is the validity of the rebirth process.
- Many actions committed in this life do not bring their results in this life. But they will appear in future lives. Therefore, the laws of kammā necessarily REQUIRE the rebirth process.
- One has more “iccā” (or more attachment) for an object that one perceives to be of high value. Then one would have the perception of “nicca” nature for that object. He/she thinks that it can provide happiness.
- But the reality is that either that object loses its value OR one dies, making any perceived value zero at the end. One of those two outcomes is inevitable.

It is Impossible to Comprehend Anicca Nature Without Belief in Rebirth Process

11. If one does not believe in the rebirth process, then one could be compelled to do immoral deeds to get possession of valuable objects. That is a hidden defilement (anusaya) that may not manifest unless the temptation is high.

- For example, one may not steal anything for a lifetime but could be tempted to take a bribe of a million dollars.
- Or, a drug addict could say, “I am just going to enjoy inhaling drugs until I die from it,” thinking that there will not be any consequences after the physical body dies.
- However, one’s outlook on such things will dramatically change if one can see the reality of the rebirth process. Most people just believe what “science says” and do not even bother to look at the ever-increasing evidence for the rebirth process. See “Evidence for Rebirth.”
- Science agrees that causes lead to corresponding effects. Any action has a reaction. However, since science does not know much about how the mind works, it is unable to provide answers to issues that involve the mind. Kammā and kamma vipāka are causes and corresponding effects.

Greed Comes from the Perception of Nicca Nature

12. Lōbha (abhijjhā) is the greed generated in a mind that puts a “very high value” for an object. One is willing to do immoral acts to get possession.

- One with just kāma rāga (desire for sensual pleasures) has the desire to enjoy sensual objects but would not hurt others to get them. Most “moral people” belong to this category UNLESS the temptation becomes high. A Sōtapanna has kāma rāga but will not succumb to ANY temptation to do apāyagāmi deeds.
- A Sakadāgāmi has lost the desire to “own” such sensual objects but still likes to enjoy them.
- Any desire for sensual pleasures goes away at the Anāgami stage.

13. In other words, one starts losing the value that one places for “mind-pleasing” objects as one progresses to higher stages of Nibbāna.

- But the critical point to understand is that one LOSES such desires AUTOMATICALLY. One does not need to, and one CANNOT, lose such desires by sheer will power. One needs to “see” the dangers of such cravings by developing the “dhamma eye,” or paññā (wisdom) by learning and contemplating on the Tilakkhana.
- Even if one forcefully keeps such desires SUPPRESSED, such desires will just stay dormant (remain as anusaya.) Those anusaya WILL resurface later in this life or future lives. They can only be removed by comprehending Tilakkhana. See, “Āsava, Anusaya, and Gati (Gathi).”
- With gradual cleansing of the mind, one will start seeing the worthlessness of worldly things.

Lal
Posts: 491
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Anicca – Inability to Keep What We Like

Anicca in the First Noble Truth

1. The First Noble Truth clearly states that anicca nature is the root cause of suffering. Let us look at how the Buddha summarized the First Noble Truth about suffering in that very first sutta he delivered.

Idam kho pana, bhikkhave, dukkham ariya saccam:
jātipi dukkhā, jarāpi dukkhā, byādhipi dukkho, maraṇampi dukkhāṃ, appiyehi sampayogo dukkho, piyehi vippayogo dukkho, yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhāṃ—saṃkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā
.

Translated: Bhikkhus, What is the Noble Truth of Suffering?
Birth is suffering, getting old is suffering, getting sick is suffering, dying is suffering. Having to associate with things that one does not like is suffering and having to separate from those things one likes is suffering. If one does not get what one likes, that is suffering – in brief, the origin of suffering is the craving for the five aggregates of rūpa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāna (pancupādānakkhandha). Pancupādānakkhandha (upādāna or the "tendency to keep close" of pancakkhandha) include all that we crave for in this world.

Analysis of the First Noble Truth

2. The first part in bold indicates what we consider to be forms of suffering: Birth, getting old, getting sick, and dying.

- We may not remember, but birth is a traumatic event, just like the dying moment. Coming out of the birth canal is a traumatic event for both the mother and the baby. More importantly, all births LEAD to suffering, because getting old, getting sick, and eventual death is built-in with ANY birth. Each and every birth ends up in death. That is another, inevitable suffering associated with birth.
- We also DO NOT LIKE to get old, to get sick, and we definitely do not like to die. If we have to experience any of them, that is suffering.
- What we WOULD LIKE is to stay young, not get old, not get sick, and not to die ever. If we can have those conditions fulfilled we will be forever happy.
- Therefore, the suffering that the Buddha taught in his first discourse was associated with the rebirth process.

3. That is what the second part of the verse in #1 (not in bold) says: Having to associate with things that one does not like is suffering and having to separate from those things one likes is suffering.

- We all have experienced sorrow when separating from those who we like. We also feel distressed when we have to associate with those who we do not like.
- If we can be born instantaneously at a young age (say, 15 to 25 years), and stay at that age without getting old or sick and never die, that is what we WOULD LIKE. But no matter how much we would like to associate with such a life, we will NEVER get it.
- Instead, we have to suffer through each life. Each birth ends up in death. Furthermore, we suffer when getting old, when getting sick/injured, and finally when dying. There is no way to dissociate from those four things that we do not like.
- But that is not the end of it. We keep doing this over and over in the rebirth cycle. Furthermore, things can get much worse in the lowest four realms, including the animal realm.

We Suffer When We Do Not Get What We Desire

4. Both those parts are combined into one succinct statement in the third part of the verse in #1 (in bold): “Yampiccam nalabhati tampi dukkham“.
Yampiccam nalabhati tampi dukkham” is actually a shortened version of the verse (that rhymes).

The full sentence is “Yam pi iccam na labhati tam pi dukkham“.
- “Yam pi iccam” means “whatever is liked or craved for”. “Na labhati” means “not getting”. “tam pi dukkham” means “that leads to suffering”.
- Therefore, that verse simply says: “If one does not get what one craves or likes, that leads to suffering”.
- This is a more general statement and applies in any situation. We can see that in our daily lives. We like to hang out with people we like and it is a stress to be with people that we do not like.
- Furthermore, the more one craves something, the more suffering one will endure at the end. But this requires a lot of discussions.

Anicca – The Inability to Fulfill Our Desires

5. The negation of the word “nicca” is “anicca” (“na” + “icca“), just like the word Anāgāmi comes from “na” + “āgāmi“. Therefore, even though we would like the Nature to be “nicca“, in reality, it is “anicca“, i.e., it is not possible, in the long run, to have, to be with, what we like, and that is the root cause of suffering. One may live most of one’s life happily, but one would have to leave all that behind when one dies.

- A deeper point is that we all like to born in good realms, but most future births will NOT be to our liking, but are based on “Paṭicca Samuppāda“.
- By the way, Pāli words “icca” and “anicca” are pronounced “ichcha” and “anichcha”.
- Not getting what one desires or craves is the opposite of “icca” or “na icca” or “anicca“. This is the same way that “na āgami” becomes “Anāgāmi” (“na āgami” means “not coming back”; but in the context of Anāgāmi, it means “not coming back to kā¬ma lōka or the lowest 11 realms. Both these are examples of Pāli sandhi rules (connecting two words together).

6. Therefore, “yampiccam nalabhati tampi dukkham” is the most important verse in the first sutta delivered by the Buddha, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. It provides the key to understanding the Buddha’s message and led to the attaining the Sōtapanna stage by the five ascetics.

- Note that icca and iccha (ඉච්ච and ඉච්ඡ in Sinhala) appear in the Tipiṭaka under different suttā. The word “iccha” with the emphasis on the last syllable is used to indicate “strong icca” or “strong attachment”.
- The word “icca” (liking) is closely related to “taṇhā” (getting attached). Tanhā happens automatically because of icca.
- The intrinsic nature of this world is “anicca“, i.e., we will never get what we crave for, and thus at the end (at least at death) we will leave all this behind and suffer, that is dukkha.

Nicca – The Wrong Perception We Have

7. It is important to realize that nicca is the PERCEPTION that one can maintain things that one likes to one’s satisfaction.

- If this is indeed the case, then one is happy, i.e., sukha arises, or at least suffering does not arise. In that case, one is in control, and there is something fruitful to be had, i.e., atta. Thus even if one needs to work hard to get something that can be maintained to one’s satisfaction, in the end, one can find permanent happiness, and one is in control of one’s own destiny.
- Humans normally have that nicca saññā and work hard to gain material things. But at death, one has to leave behind all those possessions, and thus one’s life ALWAYS ends in despair and suffering (in addition to suffering due to old age).
- Until one realizes the true “anicca nature”, one will be trapped in the rebirth process, and will be subjected to much suffering because of that inherent “anicca nature”. The Buddha advised cultivating the anicca saññā.
- More information on anicca as the opposite of “nicca“: “Three Marks of Existence – English Discourses“.

Root Cause of Suffering Is Anicca Nature

8. Thus the root cause of suffering is NOT impermanence, even though it does play a role.

- The world is inherently impermanent (see, “The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma“). However, impermanence by itself does not lead to suffering. If that is the case, since no one can change that fact, no one will be able to end the suffering (and to attain Nibbāna).
- It is the wrong PERCEPTION (saññā) of nicca that leads to suffering. We struggle to find lasting happiness in a world that intrinsically has anicca nature.
- That wrong perception CAN BE changed by learning and contemplating on Dhamma, i.e., by cultivating the anicca saññā.
- The CORRECT PERCEPTION of anicca (once accepted by the mind), will lead to cessation of suffering (via the four stages of Sōtapanna, Sakadāgāmi, Anāgāmi, Arahant).
Also see, “Does Impermanence Lead to Suffering?“, ………..

Things We Like Cannot Be Kept That Way for Too Long

9. The above point can be illustrated with the following video:



- We need to realize that we all will go through such inevitable changes as we get old; no matter how hard we try, it is not possible to maintain ANYTHING to our satisfaction. It is the nature of “this world”.
- Now, of course, any of these celebrities (or their fans) would be saddened to see the comparison. They have not been able to maintain their bodies to their satisfaction.
- However, a person who is in bad terms with any of these celebrities could be happy to see the picture, because that person’s wish is to see something bad to happen to the celebrity (in this case to lose their “looks”).
- Thus “impermanence” is something that is inevitable; it is a property of anything in this world. But the perception of “anicca” is in someone’s mind. In the above case, bodies of celebrities ARE impermanent; but that did not necessarily cause suffering to ALL. Even those celebrities, If they realize that anicca nature cannot be avoided, would not undergo additional suffering by subjecting themselves to plastic surgeries, botox treatments, etc. Most of all, depression can be avoided.
- T anicca nature leads to suffering for ALL. But many go through added suffering by trying to "overcome it." More importantly, one can stop future suffering by comprehending the anicca nature.

Root Cause of Depression

10. When one realizes that one cannot maintain something that desired after a long struggle, one becomes distraught, depressed, unsatisfied (“yam pi iccam na labati tam pi dukkham”, where “na labati” means “not get”). Thus the wrong perception of nicca (or a sense of fulfillment of one’s desires) ALWAYS leads to dukha or suffering at the end.

- The mindset is that even if something is not permanent and breaks down, one can always replace it with a new one and feel a sense of fulfillment one desires. It is not the impermanence that gives a sense of invincibility but the mindset that one can always find a replacement for it and maintain one’s happiness.
- But if one carefully examines the wider world view of the Buddha, one can easily see that this mindset of the possibility of “long-lasting happiness in this world” is an illusion.
- No matter what we achieve in this life, we HAVE TO leave it all behind when we die.
- And in the new life, we start all over; this is what we have been doing from beginning-less time.
- Of course, we make it worse by doing immoral things “trying to maintain things to our satisfaction” and thus generating bad kamma vipāka, leading to immense suffering in the four lowest realms (apāyā).

Anicca Nature Leads to Suffering and Helplessness

11. In the Samyutta Nikāya (Anicca Vagga), many suttā including Ajjhattanicca Sutta (SN 35.1), Bahiranicca Sutta (SN 35.4), and Yadanicca sutta (SN 22.15), the Buddha stated that the three characteristics of “this world” (anicca, dukkha, anatta) are RELATED to each other:

yadaniccam tam dukkham, tam dukkham tadanatta” (expanded to “yad aniccam tam dukkham, tam dukkham tad anatta”), or,
“if something cannot be maintained (or managed depending on the case) to one’s satisfaction, suffering arises, therefore one is helpless in the end”.

Impermanence Does Not Always Lead to Suffering

12. Let us consider the same examples that we considered in bullet #6 of the introductory post “Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta – Wrong Interpretations“.

- If we take a “headache” as the “something”, the statement now reads as follows. “if a headache cannot be managed to one’s satisfaction (i.e., if one cannot get rid of the headache), suffering arises, therefore one is helpless”.
- Similarly, you can substitute anything that we considered in the previous post and see that it will hold.
- On the other hand, if anicca means “impermanence”, the statement reads: “if a headache is impermanent, suffering arises, therefore one is helpless”. That is obviously not correct. Suffering would arise only if the headache becomes permanent!

Anicca Nature Is There in All the Realms of This World

13. No existence in “this world” is exempt from these three characteristics. It applies to all 31 realms. Even though one may be able to find happiness at certain times, nothing we do can get us out of the realities of getting old, sick, and finally dying. Then the cycle repeats in the next life, and next, ….

- Furthermore, any such “happy times” are insignificantly small in the sansaric time scale; see, “The Four Stages in Attaining Nibbāna“, and “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm“.

14. But the good news is that we can gain a kind of happiness that will not go away by comprehending the anicca nature, especially if one attains at least the Sotāpanna stage of Nibbāna; see, “Three Kinds of Happiness – What is Niramisa Sukha?“, and “Nibbāna – Is it Difficult to Understand?“.

Lal
Posts: 491
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

“Me” and “Mine” – The Root Cause of Suffering

Brief Summary of Pancakkhandhā

1. The five aggregates (pancakkhandhā) is unique to each person. Yours is different from anyone else’s.

- Pancakkhandhā includes one’s past experiences with rupa in this world and anticipated future experiences with rupa (rupakkkhandhā.)
- Those, of course, include mental qualities (vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa.) They are in the four “mental aggregates” or vedanākkhandha, saññākkhandha, saṅkhārakkhandha, viññāṇakkhandha.
- Thus all five components of pancakkhandhā are, in effect, our past experiences and future expectations. They are unique to each person.

Brief Summary of Pancupādānakkhandhā

2. We have upādāna for only a tiny fraction of pancakkhandhā. That part is pancupādānakkhandhā.

- Pancupādānakkhandhā includes only those past experiences that we liked. For example, if X saw an attractive person last week, X would remember that person and would have formed a certain set of feelings, perceptions, and saṅkhāra about that person. Those then lead to possible expectations (asking for a date, for example) and that is part of viññāṇa upādānakkhandha.
- It is critical to realize that all these are “mental.” They are BASED ON the external world, but they are one’s own mental experiences/expectations.
- If another person (Y) saw the same person at the same time, Y’s mental impressions would be different from X’s. Furthermore, Y may not even remember that person. If so, that event is not even a part of Y’s upādānakkhandha.
- Pancupādānakkhandhā arise based on the perception of “me” and “mine.”
- It is a good idea to read the previous posts on “The Five Aggregates (Pañcakkhandha)” until the above facts are understood.

Major Components of the Five “Clinging” Aggregates (Pancupādānakkkhandhā)

3. First, we need to see which parts of the five aggregates that we “cling to” (or “keep close” or upādāna.) Then we will be able to see how that upādāna for the five aggregates CAN LEAD TO suffering.

- Something that we experience during every waking moment is our body and mind. Therefore, the physical body and all mental entities that arise contribute to the feeling of “me” or “mine.”
- Then there are parents, a spouse, children. They are precious parts of “me.” Then there are relatives, friends, etc.
- Of course, one may own a house, cars, other real estate, businesses, etc.
- Then the list expands to include the neighborhood, city, country, and different things in the world.
- Each person may have his/her order a bit differently, but you get the idea.

Major Components of Pancupādānakkkhandhā Are Centered Around “Me” or “Mine”

4. Think about what you are mostly thinking, speaking, and working on. They all are related to what we mentioned in #3 above. They all involve “me” and “mine.”

- Of course, anger towards someone has origins in the view/perception of that person. He/she must have done something opposing “me” or something related to “mine.”
- An average human spends a significant portion of time watching useless movies, playing video games, getting drunk, etc. One would say those things are done to “keep me entertained.” However, in a deeper sense, it is not that much different from a fish biting into a tasty bait on a hook. One is unable to “see” the bad consequences of such apparently “harmless” actions.
- That last one is a more profound point that cannot be seen until one starts comprehending Tilakkhaṇa.
- That way of “seeing” (diṭṭhi) and perception (saññā) arises because one is unaware of the true nature of this world or yathābhūta ñāṇa. We can express that in several different ways. Being unaware of the Four Noble Truths, not comprehending Tilakkhaṇa, not comprehending Paticca Samuppāda, etc.

Yathābhūta Ñāna – Understanding of the Reality About the World

5. All our actions based on greed, anger, and ignorance are based on not having yathābhūta ñāṇa.“ In other terms, it means not knowing how and why “good and bad things” happen to us.

- “Good and bad things” happen due to corresponding actions (kamma.) And kammā are done based on saṅkhāra (the way we think.) Strong kamma (that can bring good and bad outcomes and also future rebirth) happen due to (abhi)saṅkhāra.
- Paticca Samuppāda describes the principle of cause-and-effect in Buddha Dhamma, .
- However, the results of most kamma appear only later, sometimes in future lives. That is why it is hard for many to believe in kamma/kamma vipāka. Also, that is why it is not possible to make progress on the path until one can see the truth of the rebirth process.
- Until that true nature (yathābhūta ñāṇa) is comprehended, there is a “satta” or a “living being” generating saṅkhāra based on avijjā.
- Note that “satta” is pronounced “saththa.”

The Definition of a “Living Being” or “Satta

6. The Buddha explained what is meant by a “satta” or a “living being” to Rādha in the “Satta Sutta (SN 23.2).” “Rūpe kho, Rādha, yo chando yo rāgo yā nandī yā taṇhā, tatra satto, tatra visatto, tasmā sattoti vuccati. Vedanāya … saññāya … saṅkhāresu … viññāṇe yo chando yo rāgo yā nandī yā taṇhā, tatra satto, tatra visatto, tasmā sattoti vuccati

Translated (just the meaning): “Rādha, when there is desire (chanda), rāga, and a perception of high value (nandī) of material form (rūpa), there is clinging (satto), strong clinging (visatto) for form, and then a living-being (satto) is spoken of. Similarly, when there is desire (chanda), rāga, and a perception of high value (nandī) of vedanā … saññā … saṅkhāra … viññāṇa, then a living-being is spoken of.”

- Other translations at, “Sentient Beings.”: https://suttacentral.net/sn23.2
- Note that the Pāli word “satta” means “clinging” or “attach.” A strong version of clinging is “visatta.”
- Therefore, any living-being (whether a Deva, Brahma, or a human) is a “satta” as long as the futility of craving for sense pleasures is not understood. A “satta” has the perception of “me” and “mine.”

7. In other words, as long as there is upādāna for pañcakkhandhā (i.e., as long as there is pañcupādānakkhandhā) there is a “living being” or a “satta.“

- Also, note that one transcends the “satta” status when one becomes an Ariya puggala.” A pugggala has overcome the “satta” status at eight levels (Sotapanna Anugāmi, Sotapanna, Sakadāgāmi Anugāmi, Sakadāgāmi, etc.)
- Also, a Bodhisatta is still a “satta,” but proceeding towards “Bodhi” or the “Buddhahood.”
- Note that “satta” is pronounced “saththa”.) See, “Tipiṭaka English” Convention Adopted by Early European Scholars – Part 1″ and the second part referred to in there.
- Now, let us see how what we discussed above ties up with Paticca Samuppāda.

Paticca Samuppāda Process Only Depends on Avijjā

8. Paticca Samuppāda process does not care WHO is doing (abhi) saṅkhāra. The results are determined by WHAT KIND of saṅkhāra are involved. That saṅkhāra generation is associated with pañcupādānakkhandhā or ones’ cravings/desires/expectations (related to anusaya, āsava, gati, etc.) Results are according to actions. Doing a particular type of action (kamma via saṅkhāra) will lead to the fruits (kamma vipāka.)

- There is no need to invoke a “me” or a “self” in Paticca Samuppāda. But, of course, such (abhi)saṅkhāra are generated BECAUSE there is a sense of “me” or “self.” The critical step is to realize the fruitlessness of acting with a sense of “me.”
- Another way to say that is, actions are based on one's gati (habits/character.)
- Instead, these days, people spend countless hours debating whether there is a “self” or not. That time would be better spent if one tried to understand WHY acting with the view and perception of a “me” will lead to suffering.
- There is a perception of a “me” and “mine” until one’s defiled gati are removed.

9. The ultimate truth is that there is no “self.” That can be seen easily from the fact that an Arahant is not reborn after death. If there was an “unchanging self,” that Arahant would still have to exist in one of the 31 realms after death.

- However, until one FULLY comprehends that fact (at the Arahant stage,) one does not FULLY realize that there is no “self” involved in this whole process. Until then there is the perception of a “me” and “mine.”
- Therefore, there will be a “self” generating (abhi)saṅkhāra and making conditions for future suffering until the Arahant stage.
- Another way to say that is there will be a pañcupādānakkhandhā associated with any living-being (satta.) An Arahant will have pañcakkhandhā until death but would have no upādāna left for it. Thus, there is no pañcupādānakkhandhā for a living Arahant.

Sankhāra Lead to Pañca Upādāna Khandhā (Pancupādānakkkhandhā)

10. There is nothing wrong with recalling past events. The problem arises when we attach to them and start re-creating those events in our minds to generate abhisaṅkhāra.

- Kammā (which lead to kamma vipāka) generated in three ways: manō kamma, vaci kamma, and kāya kamma. They are done via manō saṅkhāra, vaci saṅkhāra, and kāya saṅkhāra. See, “Sankhāra – What It Really Means.”
- Mano kamma (our spontaneous thoughts) arise automatically according to our gati.
- Vaci kamma (“talking to ourselves” and speech) arise due to conscious thoughts (done with vitakka/vicāra.)
- kāya kamma also arise due to conscious thoughts and have the highest javana power because they involve moving bodily actions; see, “Javana of a Citta – The Root of Mental Power.”
- Many people think “talking to ourselves,” or “daydreaming” is not bad because we don’t physically do anything. Even though they are less potent than kāya kamma, vaci kamma can add up and lead to strong kamma vipāka, as we discuss next.

“Thinking to Oneself” Is Vaci Saṅkhāra

11. When we “talk to ourselves” (i.e., consciously think about something,) we mostly recall a significant past event. Then we analyze that event with vitakka/vicāra and either “re-live” that experience or “make future plans” based on that previous event. Vitakka/vicāra means analyzing it in detail and incorporating our desires. That leads to generating more and more vaci saṅkhāra on that event; see, “Correct Meaning of Vacī Sankhāra.” Of course, if we “really get into it,” we may do kāya saṅkhāra too.

- Also, one could make up a “future event” that one would LIKE TO experience and that also becomes a part of pancakkhandha (this is the “anāgata” or “future” component of the 11 components of any of the five aggregates).
- All the above involve “pancaupādānakkhandha” (pañca upādāna khandha). In other words, one is now “pulling that event back, close to one’s mind” and consciously generating more vaci (and possibly kāya) saṅkhāra.
- That is why “upādāna” is such a critical step in a Paṭicca Samuppāda cycle. The two stages of “taṇhā paccayā upādāna” and “upādāna paccayā bhava” really involves many, many Paṭicca Samuppāda cycles running inside them. See, “Tanhā Paccayā Upādāna – Critical Step in Paṭicca Samuppāda.”

Status of an Arahant – Wrong Point to Start

12. Many people are afraid of Nibbāna, thinking that it leads to the “extinguishment” of oneself. See, “Yamaka Sutta (SN 22.85) – Arahanthood Is Not Annihilation but End of Suffering.”

- But the deeper point is that we go through so much suffering in the rebirth process BECAUSE of our wrong view and perception of a “me” and “mine”. Inevitable temptations lead to highly-immoral actions (pāpa kamma) that will trap us in the four lower realms (apāyā) with unimaginable suffering.
- Such pāpa kamma are stronger versions of akusala kamma. See, “Kusala and Akusala Kamma, Puñña and Pāpa Kamma.”
- The first step is to see “anicca nature.” Accumulating things perceived to be “valuables” makes no sense in two ways. We have to struggle to maintain those and will have to abandon them at least when we die. See, “Icca, Nicca, Anicca – Important Connections.”
- The second point is that if we do immoral deeds to get them, those deeds will lead to bad rebirths and suffering.
- We can see only one part of the apāyā, the animal realm. Even then we mostly see our own pets, and not the unimaginable suffering that animals (in forests, jungles, and especially in the oceans) go through. There are no “old animals” there. Any old animal is eaten alive as soon as it becomes old and a bit slow.

Buddha Did Not Teach Anything That He Did Not Verify by Himself

13. Some of the above discussion may not be clear to everyone. It is a “previously unheard worldview” that only a Buddha can discover. However, learning Dhamma and living a moral life will gradually make those things clear.

- There are several suttā where the Buddha stated that he did not declare attaining the Buddhahood until he verified for himself the “real nature” of this world. For example, he verified the existence of the 31 realms and how a given being dies in one realm, and the rebirth takes place in another. Furthermore, he saw how that happens via the natural Paticca Samuppāda process.
- As we learn Dhamma, more and more will become clear. At some point, one would have developed “unbreakable faith” in Buddha Dhamma. That is when one has “saddhā.” That will become solidified when one starts understanding that all suffering has roots in the perception of a “me” and “mine.”
- Also see, “Mystical Phenomena in Buddhism?“

I am going to save some time for me by not providing links for posts at puredhamma.net. The easiest way to find a given post is to just copy the title and enter that in the "Search" box at the top right of puredhamma.net. The first search result is normally the post in question. Furthermore, one can also see other relevant posts for those keywords. The "Search" function strips off irrelevant words like "and", "the" etc.
- Some of those posts have also been posted here at Dhammawheel.

auto
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Sense of self is same as taste of an apple. You don't need sense of self(sakkaya) to be present(diṭṭhi), if can use mind to evoke the sense of self. If you can't do that then you will follow the stream.
https://suttacentral.net/an4.5/en/sujato wrote:And who is the person who goes with the stream? It’s a person who takes part in sensual pleasures and does bad deeds. This is called a person who goes with the stream.
The idea of watching shows, entertaining oneself is because the need of sakkaya to be present, hence the sakkaya ditthi.
Bad deed means unskillful. That is of having no idea about mind made body and how to use it for to get rid of craving, the origin of sakkaya.

That said,
In contrast your article seem to be about annihilation of self.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

In contrast your article seem to be about annihilation of self.
The point is that there is no "permanent self" to be annihilated. See, #9 above.

I will have more to say in the next post.

auto
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:24 pm
In contrast your article seem to be about annihilation of self.
The point is that there is no "permanent self" to be annihilated. See, #9 above.

I will have more to say in the next post.
Above idea still sounds like annihilation.

Read this:
https://suttacentral.net/mil5.5.4/en/tw_rhysdavids wrote: ‘It is, O king, as when a mother brings forth from her womb the child that is already there, and the saying is that the mother has given birth to the child. Just so, O king, did the Tathāgata, having gained a thorough knowledge of it by the eye of his wisdom, bring into life, and make passable again, a way that was already there, though then broken up, crumbled away, gone to ruin, closed in, and lost to view.
also,
https://suttacentral.net/sn45.139/en/sujato wrote: “Mendicants, the Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha, is said to be the best of all sentient beings—be they footless, with two feet, four feet, or many feet; with form or formless; with perception or without perception or with neither perception nor non-perception.“Yāvatā, bhikkhave, sattā apadā vā dvipadā vā catuppadā vā bahuppadā vā rūpino vā arūpino vā saññino vā asaññino vā nevasaññīnāsaññino vā, tathāgato tesaṃ aggamakkhāyati arahaṃ sammāsambuddho;

In the same way, all skillful qualities are rooted in diligence and meet at diligence,evameva kho, bhikkhave, ye keci kusalā dhammā, sabbe te appamādamūlakā appamādasamosaraṇā;
Bhudda is appamāda of all sattas.
http://dictionary.sutta.org/browse/a/appam%C4%81da wrote:appamādaBuddhist Dictionary by NYANATILOKA MAHATHERA
appamāda:'zeal',non-laxity,earnestness,diligence,is considered as the foundation of all progress.

Just as all the footprints of living beings are surpassed by the footprint of the elephant,and the footprint of the elephant is considered as the mightiest amongst them,just so have all the meritorious qualities zeal as their foundation,and zeal is considered as the mightiest of these qualities'' (A. X,15)
appamāda is presence, literally non-absence.
Cf. the Chapter on Zeal (Appamāda Vagga) in Dhp.,and the Buddha's last exhortation:"Transient are all formations. Strive zealously!" (appamādena sampādetha:D. 16) - In the commentaries,it is often explained as the presence (lit. 'non-absence') of mindfulness (satiyā avippavāsa).
all formations are transient, so you should train non-absence, the negative 1, other side of zero.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Above idea still sounds like annihilation.


1. Do you believe in the rebirth process? Yes or No?
- If not, we can stop the discussion there. I cannot explain Buddha Dhamma to you. Buddha Dhamma is all about stopping future suffering in the rebirth process.

2. If you do believe in rebirth, what happens to an Arahant when the Arahant dies? Is the Arahant going to be reborn?
Yes or No?

If you want to continue the discussion, please answer those two questions with a simple yes or no.
- Otherwise, please assume that I have no interest in continuing this discussion.

auto
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:53 am
Above idea still sounds like annihilation.


1. Do you believe in the rebirth process? Yes or No?
- If not, we can stop the discussion there. I cannot explain Buddha Dhamma to you. Buddha Dhamma is all about stopping future suffering in the rebirth process.

2. If you do believe in rebirth, what happens to an Arahant when the Arahant dies? Is the Arahant going to be reborn?
Yes or No?

If you want to continue the discussion, please answer those two questions with a simple yes or no.
- Otherwise, please assume that I have no interest in continuing this discussion.
1. yes
2. no

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Good.
So you agree that an Arahant is not reborn after death.

Is that what you called "annihilation"?

If not, what did you call "annihilation"? What is the issue that you are trying to bring up?
- Please don't quote statements by others.
- Just write in your own words what you believe.

auto
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:17 pm
Good.
So you agree that an Arahant is not reborn after death.

Is that what you called "annihilation"?

If not, what did you call "annihilation"? What is the issue that you are trying to bring up?
- Please don't quote statements by others.
- Just write in your own words what you believe.
No, i didn't call that annihilation.
The issue is with the ideology of yours what neglects sense of self. You seem are relying on the knowledge what depends on existence or absence of the self.

what i believe?
Follow the reason here,

Sense of self ceases to exist after the heart desire is satisfied.
What desire?
Same desire what the person satisfies with the act of copulation(physical) and delight(mental) happens and due the act the person within the person is conceived.
In short,
'sense of self' is the absence of the self.

Sense of self is required for to realize concentration what as a result does the same thing what copulation does but without atta conceived.

*i want to say that the sense of self is requirement for the concentration. For the learner.

For who have comprehended the dhamma has different conduct and also concentration is different compared to the sekha. It is something you mentioned too. But still you seem going with the wisdom what is weird.

Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Let me try to explain the basic idea without any Pāli.
What I am saying (and what I think the Buddha was saying) is the following:

1. There is no “me” or a 'self" in the absolute sense. That is because there in nothing in a given “person” that can be said to be “one’s own”. That is why the Buddha analyzed a “person” in terms of all possible attributes of a “person”. That is the “five aggregate analysis” that I am discussing now.

2. However, we all know that an average human does have an innate feeling of “me.” That is because the average human has not understood the “five aggregate analysis” of the Buddha.

3. It is not easy to really understand the “five aggregate analysis” of the Buddha. That is really the “previously unheard Dhamma”.

4. An average human who learns about this analysis would first “see” the truth of that analysis. That is when one becomes a Sotapanna. But a Sotapanna would still have a perception of the feeling of a “me.”

5. That perception of a “me” or “self” reduced a lot at the Anagami stage and goes away only at the Arahant stage.

6. That is why the Buddha said that it is also incorrect to say that there is “no-self.” There is a “self” (or the feeling/perception of a “me”) until one attains the Arahant stage.
- To put it in another way, that is the "middle path" of the Buddha.
- Those who believe that the current physical body is all that is there, are the ones that the Buddha called "ucchedavādī." Most scientists fall into that category. They say, when the body dies, that is the end of the story. That there is no "self" other than the physical body itself. That gives rise (at least in the subconscious mind) that one should enjoy life while it lasts (kāmasukhallikānuyoga.)
- The other extreme is those who believe in an "eternal soul" or a "permanent self." In their quest to seek "permanent happiness in heaven (or in a Brahma loka)", they (sassatavādī) may go to the other end by staying away from sensory pleasures (attakilamathānuyoga)

The only thing I can recommend is to go through the posts on the Five Aggregates (and any and all my posts; they are all inter-related) and see whether it makes sense. Just disregard existing ideas about “self’ and “no-self” and contemplate what I have written at least while reading them.
-If some people cannot comprehend the material, I cannot do anything about it. Some agree and others do not. I will have a few more posts, so I recommend reading those too.
-As the Buddha himself out, not everyone can understand the true and correct Dhamma. It is really a “previously unheard Dhamma or teaching.”

You can comment if you like, but I don't think I have anything else to say (other than my upcoming posts) on this particular issue.

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