The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:02 pm

Contact Between Āyatana Leads to Vipāka Viññāna


1. Vipāka viññāṇa arise due to kamma vipaka. In the previous post, we introduced the concept that our sensory experiences occur due to six internal rūpā and six external rūpā.

- Those six types of internal types of rūpā are “internal āyatana.” In mundane terms, those are our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and the mind.
- With those, we experience sights, sounds, smells, tastes, body touches, and dhammā (memories, concepts, and our hopes). Those rūpā are external to us, and they are “external āyatana.”
- You may wish to review the previous post, “Buddhist Worldview – Introduction.”

Awareness of Living Things and Living Beings

2. When we look at a tree, for example, that is contact between our internal āyatana (eyes or more correctly cakkhu pasada rupa) and external āyatana (tree in this case). That leads to a mental phenomenon that we call consciousness (in this case cakkhu viññāna). It just means we are “aware of that tree.”

- Humans and animals generate such “awareness” or consciousness when seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, external rūpā.
- However, we know that plants and trees also seem to be aware of the external world and can even respond in some cases. For example, a plant or a tree can “turn” towards sunlight. Their roots grow towards sources of water, and away from dry soil, etc.

3. There are a couple of “mental factors” (or cetasika) that are not exclusively “mental”. They can arise even without a mind. Those two are vēdanā and saññā.

- Vēdanā comes from (“vē” + “danā”) which means “වීම දැනවීම” in Sinhala. That means to “become aware of something.” When we make contact with an “external āyatana” via our six senses, we become aware of that external rūpā; that is vēdanā. See, “Vedana (Feelings).”
- At the fundamental level, Saññā means “recognition” of an object or a person or a concept, for example. In general, it is the recognition of an “external āyatana” or “external rūpā.” See, “Saññā – What It Really Means.”
- Therefore, plants and trees have a basic form of vēdanā and saññā. A plant can “feel” when sunlight falls on it (vēdanā), and recognize that as sunlight (saññā).

4. However, a plant CANNOT generate saṅkhārā (thoughts) about those vēdanā and saññā. One may ask: “Then how does a plant turn towards sunlight?.”

- Plants are like robots. A moving robot may have sensors that can detect obstacles in the way. That involves vēdanā and saññā in the elementary sense.
- That robot may also have a computer in it which can instruct how to go around an obstacle, for example.
- The working of a plant is very similar. A plant seed has necessary “programs” installed in its cells to deal with the external environment. We discussed this a little bit in my posts on “living cells.” See, the old posts in “Origin of Life.”
- Therefore, some “live things” like plants can generate vēdanā and saññā, but they CANNOT create saṅkhārā and viññāna. We remember that saṅkhārā and viññāna arise via, “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā” and “saṅkhārā paccayā viññāna.”

Two Types of Viññāṇa of a Living Being

5. A living thing like a tree may have vēdanā and saññā. But only a living being like a human or an animal has a full set of mental phenomena: vēdanā, saññā, saṅkhārā, and viññāna.

- In other words, only living beings have minds with which they can generate saṅkhārā (loosely called thoughts), which in turn leads to viññāna.
- Now we will focus on two types of viññāna that arise in a living being upon a sensory contact between one of its “internalāyatana” and the corresponding “external āyatana.”
- For simplicity, let us consider the contact between cakkhu and vanna rūpā (or rūpā rūpā or simply rūpā). In mundane terms, this means “contact” between eyes and a form or an object (such as a tree).
- However, It is essential to keep in mind that it is the cakkhu pasāda rūpā in the mental body (gandhabba) that “sees” the vanna rūpā or the image captured by the eyes. See, #11 through #14 in the post, “Buddhist Worldview – Introduction.”

Vipāka Viññāṇa – No Strong Kamma Done

All our INITIAL sensory experiences are due to the results of our past kamma, i.e., they are kamma vipāka.

6. When eyes (or more correctly cakkhu pasāda rūpa) and vanna rūpā come into contact, cakkhu viññāna arises. Cakkhu viññāna is “seeing.”

- Cakkhu viññāna arises due to kamma vipāka. In the same way, sōta, ghāna, jivhā, and kāya viññāna are ALL “vipāka viññāna.”
- Some manō viññāna are vipāka viññāna. For example, when we recall a past event that is a manō viññāna that cannot generate strong kamma.
- There is no strong kamma done by vipāka viññāna. By “strong kamma,” I mean kamma that can lead to future rebirths. Only manō saṅkhārā are involved in vipāka viññāna. I will discuss that in an upcoming post.
- What is essential at this point is to remember that only manō viññāna can be either vipāka viññāna or kamma viññāna (we discuss below the second category). The other five types of viññāna (cakkhu, sōta, ghāna, jivhā, and kāya viññāna) are only vipāka viññāna.

7. “Chachakka Sutta (MN 148)” describes the arising of such vipāka viññāna: “Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ, sōtañca paṭicca sadde ca uppajjati sotaviññāṇaṃ, ghānañca paṭicca gandhe ca uppajjati ghānaviññāṇaṃ, jivhāñca paṭicca rase ca uppajjati jivhāviññāṇaṃ, kāyañca paṭicca phoṭṭhabbe ca uppajjati kāyaviññāṇaṃ, manañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manoviññāṇaṃ.”

- For example, cakkhu viññāna arises when a rūpa makes contact (paticca) with cakkhu pasāda rūpā. As we discussed in #12 of the previous post “Buddhist Worldview – Introduction,” cakkhu here DOES NOT mean “eyes”; it means “cakkhu pasāda rūpa.”
- When the eyes capture an image of a tree, that image is processed by the brain and then passed along to the cakkhu pasāda rūpa that is in the mental body or manōmaya kāya. In the case of a human or an animal, manōmaya kāya is the same as gandhabba.
- Vipāka viññāna do not generate strong kamma. For example, cakkhu viññāna means just “seeing,” sōta viññāna means only “hearing,” etc. Just because one sees or hears, one does not do any strong kamma.

Vipaka Viññāna Could be “Consciousness”?

8. Therefore, vipāka viññāna DO NOT arise due to Paticca Samuppāda. They occur when our sense faculties come to contact with external rūpā, as described in #7 above. Those rupā can be six types: vanna rūpā, sadda, gandha, rasa, potthabba, and dhammā.

- The contact of an internal āyatana with an external āyatana leads to the “awareness” of that external rūpā.
- Therefore, vipāka viññāna could be the closest to the English word, “consciousness.” Even then, there are some manō saṅkhārāthat arise with a vipāka viññāna. Therefore, it is better not to refer to even vipāka viññāna as just consciousness.
- That is why the Buddha described viññāna as a magician. But this “magic show nature” is easier to see with kamma viññāna that we discuss below.
The mind on its own creates kamma viññāna.

9. When we become conscious of an external āyatana (or an external rūpā), we may get interested in it. (We need to remember that external rūpā include visible objects, sounds, smells, tastes, bodily touches, or memories),

- That is when we start generating NEW KAMMA. That will happen IF we get attached to that sensory experience via greed or anger, for example.
- Those CONSCIOUS thoughts (called saṅkhārā) lead to a new type of manō viññāna. Those viññāna arise via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā” followed by “saṅkhārā paccayā viññāna.” Such viññāna are kamma viññāna.
- Such kamma viññāna MAY arise as the next step following the generation of any of the six types of vipāka viññāna. That happens ONLY IF we get attached to the initial vipāka viññāna.

Kamma Viññāna – How We Create New Kamma

10. We do kamma when we start generating conscious thoughts (vaci and kāya saṅkhārā) with INTENTION. The Buddha said, “Cetanāhaṃ, bhikkhave, kammaṃ vadāmi” or, “bhikkhus, I say that kamma is one’s intention.” (Nibbedhika Sutta – AN 6.63.) When we think, speak, and act with specific INTENTION (good or bad) that leads to the generation of kamma (good or bad).

- However, those initial manō saṅkhārā (associated with vipāka viññāna) arise AUTOMATICALLY due to our gati. Since the intention is involved indirectly, those manō saṅkhārā cannot bring about rebirth.
- To generate strong kamma, we must CONSCIOUSLY and DELIBERATELY create saṅkhārā.
- Such “strong saṅkhārā” are vaci and kāya saṅkhārā. As we have discussed before, vaci saṅkhāra involves “talking to oneself” and also speech. Kaya saṅkhāra leads to bodily actions.
- In other words, we do vaci kamma and kāya kamma with those vaci saṅkhārā and kāya saṅkhārā. Of course, vaci kammāare lying, gossiping, etc., and kāya kammā are stealing, killing, etc.
- Stated yet another way, we generate speech and actions that can lead to future rebirths only via vaci and kāya saṅkhārā.

11. For those who are familiar with Abhidhamma (others can skip this and move on to #12): A sensory event discussed in #7 starts a pancadvāra citta vithi with 17 cittā. The vipāka viññāna occurs at the beginning of the citta vithi. For example, in a “seeing event,” it is a cakkhu viññāna.

- Then, the mind accepts that sensory input with sampaticcana and santirana citta. It is in the next citta of votthapana that our minds MAKE decisions on how to respond to that sense input BASED ON our gati (character qualities).
- Then based on that determination, seven javana cittā run consecutively. It is with javana cittā that we respond (think, speak, and act).
- That is a very brief summary. More details at “Citta Vithi – Processing of Sense Inputs.”: ... se-inputs/

Kamma Viññāna Are Those That Arise Due to Sankhāra

12. Suppose one sees an appealing object and gets attached to it. One may then start thinking, speaking, and even taking action on trying to enjoy that sight again and again. That leads to the generation of kamma via manō viññāna (generated via vaci and kāya saṅkhārā.)

- The same happens if one gets annoyed or angry about what one saw. Then one would be generating angry thoughts, speech, action. Those are also manō viññāna. Such manō viññāna are “kamma viññāna.”
- Of course, both those cases arise due to avijjā. We get attached (tanhā) to a given sensory input because we get attracted to it or repulsed by it. Both happen due to avijjā, not knowing the “true nature.” One comprehends the true nature when one attains “yathābhūta ñāṇa.”

13. We can sort out the difference by seeing that all kamma viññāna have saṅkhārā as precursors. They arise when we think, speak, act based on greed, anger, and ignorance. I will explain just the case of attachment (tanhā) via greed.

- For example, when we first see something attractive, we AUTOMATICALLY get the perception of “liking it.” Those INITIAL and AUTOMATIC thoughts are manō saṅkhārā. These arise due to our gati.
- If we start pursuing such thoughts CONSCIOUSLY AND WILLFULLY, then we are generating vitakka and vicara (which means consciously thinking about it). Those are vaci saṅkhārā. We may also speak out with such vitakka/vicara, and vaci saṅkhārā are also responsible for speech.
- If our mind gets firmly attached, we may take actions using the body. Those bodily actions are due to kāya saṅkhārā generated in mind.

14. Now, we can see the difference between vipāka viññāna and kamma viññāna. Vipāka viññāna do not have saṅkhārā involved.

- On the other hand, kamma viññāna ALWAYS arise due to saṅkhārā generated via avijjā. Those are the viññāna that can lead to future vipāka (and even rebirth) via akusala-mula Paticca Samuppāda.
- In other words, kamma viññāna are the viññāna arising via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā” followed by “saṅkhārā paccayā viññāna.”
- That process continues with “viññāna paccayā nāmarupa,” etc. and ends up in “bhava paccayā jāti, “jāti paccayā jarā, marana,” and “the whole mass of suffering.”
- That is why those created with saṅkhārā are kamma viññāna.


15. To summarize what we discussed in this post:

- Cakkhu, sōta, ghāna, jivhā, and kāya viññāna are ONLY vipāka viññāna. They cannot lead to new rebirths.
- Kamma viññāna are those viññāna that COULD lead to future rebirths.
- Manō viññāna can be “vipāka viññāna” or “kamma viññāna.”

16. We will discuss more details in the next post. I am proceeding slowly to emphasize these fundamental ideas. It is crucial to be able to understand what is MEANT by a given critical key Pāli word. Then we can use that Pāli word, without having to explain its meaning again.

- I hope by now you can appreciate why it is not correct to translate viññāna as just “consciousness’.
- In the same way, tanhā is NOT just greed. Tanhā includes getting attached via anger too; see, “Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance.” Also, see #12 above.
- There are several keywords like that, including anicca and anatta.
- It is critical to understand the meanings of such key Pāli words since there are no equivalent English words.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:18 am

How Do Sense Faculties Become Internal Āyatana?


1. Sense faculties are a key concept in Buddha Dhamma. In mundane usage, we are used to identifying sense faculties as eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and the body.

- However, in Buddha Dhamma, there are two different Pāli words depending on the usage of those sense faculties.
- The sense faculties of a normal human are “internal āyatana“. With those, an average person experiences the outside world AND forms attachments to them.
- Then those external rūpā become “external āyatana“ (for example, “my house”, “my friend”, etc); see the previous post “Contact Between Āyatana Leads to Vipāka Viññāna.” Therefore, external āyatana are the external rūpā that one gets attached to.

2. An Arahant has removed all greed, anger, and ignorance from the mind. The sense faculties of an Arahant are indriya. With his sensory faculties, an Arahant experiences “external rūpā“ such as “a house”, “a person”, etc. without any attachment. That house may be an elegant house where he lived some time back. But now it is just a house. That person could have been a “close friend” at that time, but now just another human being. Of course, the Arahant will recognize the house to be the one he lived in as a child and that the person was his friend.

- In brief, a sense faculty is an indriya if there is no “attachment”. It becomes an internal āyatana if one is attracted to it or repulsed by it. In the same way, an external rūpa becomes an external āyatana if one becomes attached to it.
- The Pāli word for attachment is “tanhā“. It is critical to realize that one can get attached via greed, anger, revulsion, or ignorance. When one gets attached, one just keeps thinking about it (i.e., start generating sankhāra; see below). Also, see “Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance“. ... ignorance/

How Do Indriya Become Internal Āyatana?

3. First, let us further clarify the difference between an internal āyatana and an indriya.

- We have six sense faculties, not just the five mentioned above. They are eyes (cakkhu), ears (sōta), nose (ghāna), tongue (jivhā), body (kāya), and the mind (manō).
- Our initial sense inputs (what we see, hear, etc) are due to kamma vipāka. At the moment we experience them, we are using our sense faculties as indriya. For example, when we see an attractive person while on the road, that is just “seeing the event” with the cakkhu indriya.
- However, based on those initial sense experience, we may INTENTIONALLY use those indriya to enjoy that sensory experience again and again. Then those indriya become āyatana. In the above example, if we get attached to that attractive person and keep looking at that person, then we are using our eyes as cakkāyatana (cakkhu āyatana rhymes as cakkāyatana.)
- Therefore, an initial sensory event is captured by an indriya. But just after receiving that sensory input, we tend to use that sense faculty as an internal āyatana. That happens if we get attached or form “tanhā“; see #2 above.
- There is no equivalent English word for āyatana, so we will keep using indriya and āyatana from now on.

4. Let us take the example of two people eating a delicious cake. Here the sense faculty is taste (jivhā). Let us say X is an average human and Y is an Arahant.

- Both X and Y will generate the same kind of jivhā viññāna when they first taste it. That is just the taste of the cake. If the sensory elements in the tongue and the brain are working normally, both will be likely to find that cake “tasty”. That “good taste” is a kamma vipāka. (By the way, there is an infinite number of kamma vipāka waiting to bear fruit, including such a “small vipāka” as tasting a piece of cake.)
- The difference becomes apparent just after tasting the cake. The Arahant (Y) would forget all about that taste, even though he/she would have felt the “good taste”. It was just a sensory experience and thus Y was using that sense faculty as an indriya.
- On the other hand, X may “fall in love” with that tasty cake. She may ask for another serving. Now she is using that sense faculty as an āyatana. She will be accumulating NEW kamma with such actions.

How One Indriya Can Lead to Many Āyatana (Salāyatana)

5. In many cases, when we experience a sensory event due to one indriya, we may start using some or all of the six indriya as āyatana. Then the set of indriya becomes salāyatana.

- In the above example of a tasty cake (which is a kamma vipāka for both X and Y), they both experience “a tasty cake”. While Y will not have any more thoughts about that taste, X may be just getting started. She may ask for another piece even if she is not hungry.
- Let us analyze the situation carefully. The Arahant (Y) may ask for a second piece if he is hungry. That request was not made because of a greedy thought. Thus, the tongue (or more precisely the jivhā pasāda) has NOT become an āyatana.
- If X asks for another piece even if she is not hungry, that is definitely due to craving for that taste. Then her tongue has become an āyatana. If she is hungry, her request could be based on BOTH hunger and craving. So, now her tongue (more precisely jivhā pasāda) is still an āyatana, but the difference is not as clear cut.

6. Whether or not X’s jivhā pasāda rūpā (internal indriya for tasting) has truly become an āyatana or not may become more clear if she takes further action.

- She may smell it and say, “it smells good too”. She may keep saying how good the taste is, and ask for the recipe or inquire about where to buy one.
- Now many of her sense faculties have become āyatana. Ghana pasāda rūpā (for smelling) has now become ghānāyatana (ghāna+ āyatana).
- She is thinking about how to go about tasting that cake again. Therefore, the mind (mana) has become manāyatana (mana + āyatana).
- If she starts writing down the recipe, her body (kāya) is helping out too, acting as a kāyāyatana (kāya + āyatana).
- Therefore, when more than one āyatana become engaged, the set of āyatana (called salāyatana), may come into play. But it all started with just one sensory input, in this case eating a piece of cake.

Indriya Become Āyatana With Sankhāra

7. The easiest way to figure out whether an indriya has become an āyatana or not is to check whether one has started generating CONSCIOUS thoughts about that sensory input or experience.

- One could get interested in a sensory input if one gets attached to it via greed, revulsion, or ignorance.
- If one smells good perfume, one may start thinking about buying it for oneself. If one sees an enemy coming his way, one may generate angry thoughts and look another way. In some situations, one may get confused about what to do and make the wrong decisions.
- Such CONSCIOUS thoughts are vaci and kāya sankhāra.
- With vaci sankhāra one “talks to oneself” and also may speak out. Here one may just generate greedy/angry/ignorant thoughts, or may also speak out (lying, gossiping, etc).
- With kāya sankhāra, one takes bodily actions, for example, hitting, stealing, killings, etc. Here one would be using salāyatanasince one would need to look and hear in addition to moving body parts.

8. Most of the time we use our sense faculties as indriya: we see, hear, etc many things in a day but ignore most of them. But when we experience something we have a craving for, then we start using our sense faculties as āyatana.

- The akusala-mula Paticca Samuppāda cycle operates only when we use our sense faculties as āyatana.
- Those sankhāra do not arise in an Arahant. That is because such sankhāra arise due to avijjā, i.e., they arise via “avijjā paccayā sankhāra”.
- An Arahant ALWAYS uses his/her sense faculties as indriya. He/she will see, hear, etc just like us, but will not get “attached to” anything. Therefore, the akusala-mula Paticca Samuppāda cycle does not operate for an Arahant.

Abhisankhāra Are Stronger Versions of Sankhāra

9. Some of those “extra activities” that we do with āyatana could be abhisankhāra. Just eating a cake is not abhisankhāra; see, “Kāma Guna, Kāma, Kāma Rāga, Kāmaccanda”. ... amaccanda/

- The distinction between sankhāra and abhisankhāra is clear-cut when those conscious thoughts (and therefore speech and actions) become immoral.
- Generating thoughts of anger on a person is abhisankhāra. Then telling a lie about that person is also abhisankhāra. Both are vaci kamma done with vaci (abhi)sankhāra.
- Stealing something or hitting someone is a kāya kamma done with kāya (abhi)sankhāra.
- Therefore, obviously immoral thoughts, speech, and actions are based on abhisankhāra. They are apunnābhisankhāra (apunna + abhi + sankhāra) or immoral strong sankhāra.

10. We can get some insights by analyzing the case of a young person (Z) becoming an alcoholic due to association with bad friends. As a child, Z may see a bottle of alcohol and would not generate any second thoughts about it. It would just be a “seeing event’ and Z would be only using his eyes (or more precisely cakkhu pasāda rūpā) as cakkhu indriya.

- But Z had some bad friends and they persuaded him to start drinking. He has now become an alcoholic. If he sees a bottle of alcohol now, he would immediately think about having a drink. Of course, he would have a drink If he is at a party. If he is at home, and the bottle belongs to his father, he may steal a drink from it. If he is traveling by himself and sees a bar, he may go in and have a drink.
- It could get even worse. He may be drinking at a party and may get into an argument with someone. Suppose that leads to a fight and he kills that person. He may get the death sentence or at least go to jail for a long time. But a much worse outcome awaits him at his death. He would be born in an apāya.
- I hope you can see that vaci and kāya sankhāra are behind all those. In fact, they are strong sankhāra. They are thus abhisankhāra. If he kills someone, that is due to an apunnābhisankhāra. That would qualify him to be born in an apāya.

11. There are also punnābhisankhāra (punna + abhi + sankhāra) or moral strong sankhāra.

- For example, feeding a hungry person or giving to charity are kāya kamma done with strong kāya sankhāra. They are both punnābhisankhāra.
- Such strong punna kamma done with punnābhisankhāra lead to good rebirths (in human and higher realms).

How Do External Rupā Become External Āyatana?

12. The moment an indriya becomes an internal āyatana, the corresponding external rūpā becomes an external āyatana.

- Let us consider the following example. You are walking down a street and see a person coming toward you at a distance. Without recognizing who it is, your eyes are working only as indriya. But as the person gets closer, you recognize him as one of your friends. At that moment, your cakkhu indriya has become a cakkhayatana. At the same time, that external rūpā of a “person” has now become a “friend”.
- To take that one step further, suppose after some time you get into an argument with that friend and it escalates to the point that he has become an enemy. Now if you see him on the road, you will recognize him as an enemy. At that moment of seeing him, your cakkhu indriya will again become an internal āyatana, and his body that you see will become an external āyatana.
- However, those two external āyatana are very different. In one case you saw a friend and in the other an enemy, even though that external rūpā (body of that other person) was the same.

13. We can find many examples in our daily lives to see how our an indriya becomes āyatana. In another example, suppose you park the car on the side of the road and go to a restaurant to eat. When you come back, you see that someone has bumped his car into it and there is a scratch on it. You, of course, get upset.

- Suppose after a while you sell that car. Then a few days later, you see that it has been totally destroyed in an accident. But now you are not upset about the same car getting destroyed. When you see that badly-damaged car, your cakkhu indriya does not become an internal āyatana. And that external rūpa (the car) does not become an external āyatana.
- The only difference was that you had given up the attachment to that car the moment you sold it. It is no longer “your car”. It became just another car, the moment you gave up the “ownership” of the car.

How to Stop Indriya Becoming Āyatana?

14. That last example illustrates how one ends suffering at the Arahanthood. When on longer attaches to ANYTHING in this world, one’s mind will not be perturbed by anything. That includes knowing that one day one’s own body will die.

- However, that state of Arahanthhod cannot even be comprehended by an average human. It is a long process form being an average human to an Arahant.
- We must follow the path step-by-step. Those attachments to “worldly things” CANNOT be forcefully removed from one’s mind. The first step is to comprehend the unfruitful-ness and danger of doing IMMORAL things in order to get sensory enjoyment. See, “Is It Necessary for a Buddhist to Eliminate Sensual Desires?“. ... l-desires/
- However, it is good to get an overview of the “big picture” or the fundamentals of Buddha Dhamma at the beginning. That is necessary to discard the wrong views about this world including kamma/kamma vipāka, and the validity of the rebirth process. With wrong views about such fundamental concepts, one cannot even start on the Noble Eightfold Path.
- That is why this series on “Origins of Life” is so important. One must evaluate all existing views (which we summarized in the early posts in this series). The Buddhist view is more complex and it will take several more posts to complete.

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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:13 am

Indriya Make Phassa and Āyatana Make Samphassa

Summary of “Worldview of The Buddha” So Far

1. We are discussing the “Chachakka Sutta (MN 148)” that describes in detail the sensory experience in the Buddhist worldview. As we will see, this sutta explains how each person’s world arises due to his/her actions.

- Each living being’s existence as a human, deva, animal, etc. has arisen due to past actions. Those previous actions (kamma) resulted due to sensory experiences at that time.
- If one does immoral actions (pāpa kamma) to gain/maintain sensory pleasures, kamma vipāka of those kamma lead to rebirths in “bad realms” called dugati. The word dugati comes from “du” + “gati” or “bad gati.”
- On the other hand, meritorious deeds (puñña kamma) lead to rebirths in “good realms” or sugati realms. The word sugati comes from “su” + “gati” or “good gati.”
- However, due to ignorance, living beings tend to do many more immoral deeds than moral ones. Therefore, more than 99% of the rebirths are in dugati realms. That is why the rebirth process is “filled with suffering.” See, “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm.” ... in-suttas/

How We Respond to Sensory Experiences Determine Our Future Rebirths

2. Our sensory experiences constitute “our world.” We experience six types of sensory inputs (rūpa rūpa, sadda rūpa, gandha rūpa, rasa rūpa, phottabba rūpa, dhammā rūpa) with six kinds of indriya we have (cakkhu, sōta, ghāna, jivhā, kāya, manō). When the corresponding pairs make “contact” (phassa), six matching types of viññāna arise (cakkhu, sōta, ghāna, jivhā, kāya, and manō viññāna.) Those are vipāka viññāna. See, “Buddhist Worldview – Introduction.”

- Average humans go beyond experiencing vipāka viññāna. They deliberately make more sensory contacts to “enjoy them more.” Then the six indriya become six internal āyatana, and the six types of external rūpa become external āyatana. See, “Contact Between Āyatana Leads to Vipāka Viññāna.”
- An indriya makes “just contact” or “phassa.” When sensory contacts are done “with attachment or tanhā,” those indriya become internal āyatana. That is the crucial concept explained in the previous post, “How Do Sense Faculties Become Internal Āyatana?.”
- You may want to re-read the above posts if something is not clear. Of course, I would be happy to answer any questions.

The Transition from Just a Sensory Contact to Kamma Formation

3. Even for an average human, the INITIAL CONTACT between an internal āyatana and an external āyatana does not lead to the generation of strong kamma. For example, only when we see a beautiful thing or a person (called rūpa rūpa or just rūpa), that we become aware of that rūpa. (There are manō sankhāra that arise automatically, but they cannot lead to strong kamma responsible for rebirth. We will discuss that later.)

- However, for anyone who has not reached the Arahant stage, sense faculties are labeled as “internal āyatana,” and external rūpa are labeled “external āyatana.” That is evident in the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148).
- Only an Arahant uses his/her sense faculties as indriya all the time.

4. In the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148), that initial contact — for example between cakkhāyatana (cakkhu) and rūpāyatana (rūpa) — is stated as Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhu viññāṇaṃ.” Similar statements are there for other five pairs, the last one being “manañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati mano viññāṇaṃ.”

- We will focus on the progression of what happens due to the contact between cakkhu and rūpa (eyes and an external object in mundane terms.) Other types of contacts will lead to similar results.
- The “kamma formation” step in the sutta starts with the next paragraph in the sutta. Regarding the contact between cakkhu and rūpa, it says, Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhu viññāṇaṃ, tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso.” (Note that each successive paragraph of the sutta adds the next step that the mind takes.)

What is “tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso”?

5. The phrase “tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso” is commonly mistranslated as “the meeting of the three is contact.” What are those three? Are they cakkhu, rūpa, and cakkhuviññāṇa? That is not right, because the “contact” (phasso) leads to “phassa paccayā vedanā” as we will discuss below. This “phassa paccayā vedanā” arises AFTER cakkhu viññāṇa.

- That short verse is a KEY verse in the whole sutta. It expresses how an indriya becomes āyatana due to one’s gati. Those are the gati for attachment (tanhā) via craving or dislike.
- “Tinnan” is three and “sangati” (“san” + “gati“) are “gati contaminated with san“. Normal humans have gati based on three fundamental root causes: lōbha (greed), dōsa (anger/hate), and mōha (no comprehension of the Four Noble Truths). That is why “san” is a keyword in Buddha Dhamma; see, “What is “San”? Meaning of Sansāra (or Samsāra).” on Jan 09, 2019 (p. 59) and "San" is not clear? This may be helpful if one has an open mind Feb 26, 2019 (p. 71).
- Just like the word “san,” another critical Pali word that has lost its significance over the years is “gati.” I have explained this word in detail in many posts. See, for example, “The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Asavas)” on Oct 25, 2018 (p.43), Post on habits (Pali word “gati”, but gati is more that habits)" on August 18, 2018 (p. 22); "How Habits are Formed and Broken – A Scientific View  Nov 28, 2018 (p. 50),
"Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein", Sat Oct 27, 2018 (p. 43), "Gati to Bhava to Jāti – Ours to Control", Nov 15, 2018 (p. 47)

Phassa in “Tiṇṇaṃ Saṅgati Phasso” Is Samphassa

6. Therefore, following that initial sensory contact, one MAY form a like/dislike for the seen, heard, smelled, tasted, touched, or memory that came to mind (dhammā). But it happens within a fraction of a second of the initial cakkhu viññāṇa.

- For example, a young lady looking at a dress may form a liking for it. Another person seeing his enemy will develop a dislike. A teenager may get attached to a particular song, etc.
- Such mental contacts — with likes/dislikes or “san” — happen instantaneously, due to our “gati.“ We do not have any control over it.
- However, since our actions based on that initial reaction take some time, we still have time to control our speech or bodily actions. Even if bad thoughts come to our minds, we can stop any speech or bodily actions. That is what is we do in “kāyānupassanā” in Satipatthāna meditation.
- Those contacts (phassa) done with “san” are samphassa. Here, “san” + “phassa” combine to rhyme as “sanphassa.” But “samphassa” rhymes better. In the same way, “sansāra” (“san” + “sāra” or “good”) is commonly pronounced — and written — as “samsāra“.

No Samphassa for an Arahant

7. An Arahant has no “gati” left. All defiled “gati” arise due to lōbha, dōsa, mōha. Therefore, an Arahant does not attach (tanhā) to any sensory event. In other words, “tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso” does not take place in an Arahant’s mind. Also, note that attachment (tanhā) can be due to attraction (liking) or aversion (dislike). See, “Tanhā – How We Attach Via Greed, Hate, and Ignorance.” ... ignorance/

- That is why an Arahant will never elevate his indriya to “internal āyatana.” Therefore, any external rūpa sensed by a given indriya will be “just a rūpa.” No matter how attractive a person is or how tasty a given food, etc. there will be no attachment to it. A bribe of any value will not be able to entice an Arahant.
- In the same way, even if someone cuts his/her arm off, there will be no anger generated in an Arahant‘s mind.
- Such a mindset is incomprehensible to an average human. That is WHY one should not even contemplate that far on the Path. When one is on a long journey on foot, one needs to focus on the next mile, not the final stretch hundreds of miles down the road. However, it is good to have a general idea about the whole terrain.

8. The state of mind of an Arahant could seem “hard-to-achieve” even to an Anāgāmi, even though it may no longer seem incomprehensible.

- For a Sōtapanna, the mindset of an Anāgāmi seems “out-of-reach.” As we know, one gets to the Anāgāmi stage by getting rid of cravings for sensory pleasures. It is not easy to remove our deeply-embedded desires for sensory pleasures. For an average human, this would be impossible. But a Sōtapanna has seen the "anicca nature".
- However, once getting to the Sōtapanna stage, one will not be tempted to do immoral actions to enjoy sensory pleasures. Even though one could be living a normal life of a “householder,” one will NEVER engage in any “apāyagāmi actions.” Those are immoral deeds that would make one eligible to be born in the apāyās, such as having extra-marital affairs.

Phassa Paccayā Vedanā” Is Actually “Samphassa jā Vedanā

9. Now we get to the next verse in the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148): “Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhu viññāṇaṃ, tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso, phassa paccayā vedanā.

- (I hope you see the way the sutta makes gradual progression. “Phassa paccayā vedanā” is the third step in the progress of the sensory experience. But all these steps — including more steps in the rest of sutta — happen within a split second. Only a Buddha can “see” these details in this fast process that occurs in mind.)
- From the above discussion, it is clear that “phassa paccayā vedanā” should be “samphassa paccayā vedanā.” In some suttas, it is written as “samphassa jā vedanā.” Here “jā” means “born due to.” In other words, it is a vedanā that arises due to “samphassa.“
- Therefore, this is the SECOND TYPE of vedanā that can arise due to a sensory event. That CAN BE stopped from arsing. That type of vedanā does not occur in an Arahant.

The difference in Sensory Experience Between an Average Human and an Arahant

10. Therefore, “tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso” and “phassa paccayā vedanā” are two critical steps in the progression of the sensory experience.

- Those two steps state how anyone without full comprehension of Tilakkhana (anicca, dukkha, anatta nature) COULD generate additional types of vedanā.
- Now we need to recall something important from the earlier posts, “Contact Between Āyatana Leads to Vipāka Viññāna” and “How Do Sense Faculties Become Internal Āyatana?.” In those two posts, we discussed the initial sensory contact, for example, cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhu viññāṇaṃ.” That gave rise to a vedanā that was common to both an average human and an Arahant.
- As we discussed in the previous post, both an average human and an Arahant would feel a piece of cake to be tasty. You may want to go back and read those two posts to refresh memory.
- Now it is those two steps of tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso and phassa paccayā vedanā that COULD generate ADDITIONAL vedanā of attachment (to the cake in that example) in an average human. Such vedanā DO NOT arise in an Arahant.


11. I am taking the two extreme cases of an average human and an Arahant to explain the key concepts in the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148). In many key suttas, key ideas are just briefly stated, i.e., they are in either “uddēsa” or “niddēsa” versions. See “Sutta – Introduction.” ... roduction/

- I hope you can see that key suttas like the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148) need detailed explanations. That is the “patiniddēsa” version of a sutta.
- That is why it is of minimal benefit to translate such a sutta word-by-word. There is no need to study many suttas. If one can truly understand a few suttas in detail, one can understand the core teachings of the Buddha.
- Therefore, it is essential to understand these fundamental ideas. If something is not clear, I would be happy to explain further.

12. We will discuss the types of vedanā that can arise due to phassa paccayā vedanā or more accurately, samphassa jā vedanā in the next post.

An Aside (Extra Information)

13. The steps we have discussed so far, Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhu viññāṇaṃ, tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso, phassa paccayā vedanā are just a part of the more general statement, “saḷāyatanapaccayā phasso; phassapaccayā vedanā,..” in Paticca Samuppāda.

- In the Vibhaṅga Sutta (SN 12.2), the terms “phassa” and “vedanā” are clarified as samphassa and samphassa jā vedanā.” That applies only in the case of average human acting with avijjā (i.e., in Paticca Samuppāda and for the Chachakka Sutta (MN 148).
- “Phassa” in Paticca Samuppāda is explained in the Vibhaṅga Sutta (SN 12.2): “Katamo ca, bhikkhave, phasso? Chayime, bhikkhave, phassakāyā - cakkhusamphasso, sotasamphasso, ghānasamphasso, jivhāsamphasso, kāyasamphasso, manosamphasso. Ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, phasso.
- “Vedana” in Paticca Samuppāda is explained in the Vibhaṅga Sutta (SN 12.2): “Katamā ca, bhikkhave, vedanā? Chayime, bhikkhave, vedanākāyā— cakkhusamphassa jā vedanā, sotasamphassa jā vedanā, ghānasamphassa jā vedanā, jivhāsamphassa jā vedanā, kāyasamphassa jā vedanā, manosamphassa jā vedanā. Ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, vedanā.”
- If you do not see the connection, don’t worry about it. We will discuss all types of vedanā in the next post. I just mentioned it for the benefit of those who may be able to see the connection. Everything in the Tipitaka is self-consistent.

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