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Offline icykalimu

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Abhidhamma in Daily life by Nina van Gorkom
« on: 01 July 2011, 07:18:14 PM »
Abhidhamma in Daily life
Preface

 The Buddha's teachings, contained in the 'Tipitaka' (Three Baskets) are: the Vinaya (Book of Discipline for the monks) , the Suttanta (Discourse) , the Abhidhamma.

All three parts of the Tipitaka can be an inexhaustible source of inspiration and encouragement to the practice, leading to the eradication of wrong view and eventually of the other defilements.

In all three parts of the Tipitaka we are taught about 'dhamma' , about everything which is real. Seeing is a dhamma, it is real. Colour is a dhamma, it is real. Feeling is a dhamma, it is real. Our defilements are dhammas, they are realities.

When the Buddha attained enlightenment he clearly knew  all dhammas as they really are. He taught Dhamma to us in order that we also may know realities as they are.

Without the Buddha's teaching we would be ignorant of reality. We are inclined to take for permanent what is impermanent, for pleasant what is sorrowful, for self what is not self. The aim of all three parts of the Tipitaka is to teach people the development of the way leading to the end of defilements.

The Vinaya contains the rules for the monks for the living to perfection of the 'brahman life'. The goal of the 'brahman life' is the eradication of all defilements.

Not only the monks, but also laypeople should study the Vinaya. We read about the instances that monks deviated from their purity of life; when there was such a case, a rule was laid down in order to help them to be watchful. When we read the Vinaya we are reminded of our own lobha (attachment), dosa (aversion) and moha (ignorance), they are realities. As long as they are not eradicated they can arise any time. We are reminded how deeply rooted defilements are and what they can lead to. When one considers this, one is urged to develop the Eightfold Path which leads to the eradication of wrong view, jealousy, stinginess, conceit and all other defilements.

In the Suttanta, Dhamma is explained to different people at different places. The Buddha taught about all realities appearing through the six doors, about cause and effect, about the practice leading to the end of all sorrow.

As regards the Abhidhamma, this is an exposition of all realities in detail. 'Abhi' literally means 'higher', thus ‘ Abhidhamma' means 'higher dhamma'. The form of this part of the Tipitaka is different, but the aim is the same: the eradication of wrong view and eventually of all defilements. Thus, when we study the many enumerations of realities, we should not forget the real purpose of the study. The theory (pariyatti) should encourage us to the practice (patipatti) which is necessary for the realization of the truth (pativedha). While we are studying the different namas and rupas and while we are pondering over them, we can be reminded to be aware of nama and rupa appearing at that moment. In this way we will  discover more and more that the Abhidhamma is about everything which is real, that is, the worlds appearing through the six doors.

This book is meant as an introduction to the study of the Abhidhamma. I hope that the reader, instead of being discouraged by the many enumerations and by the Pali terms which are used, will develop a growing interest in the realities to be experienced in and around himself.

Miss Sujin Boriharnwanaket has been of immense assistance and inspiration to me in my study of the Abhidhamma. She encouraged me to discover for myself that the Abhidhamma is about realities to be experienced through eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body-sense and mind-door. Thus I learnt that the study of the Abhidhamma is a process which continues all through life. I hope that the reader will have a similar experience and that he will be full of enthusiasm and gladness every time he studies realities which can be experienced!

I have quoted many times from the suttas in order to show that teaching contained in the Abhidhamma is no different from the teaching in the other parts of the Tipitaka. For the quotations I have mostly used the English translation of the 'Pali Text Society' (Translation Series). For the quotations from the 'Visuddhimagga' (Path of Purity) I have used the translation by Bhikkhu Nanamoli (Colombo, Sri Lanka,1964).

I have added some questions after the chapters which may help the reader to ponder over what he has read.

The venerable Phra Dhammadharo Bhikkhu gave me most helpful corrections and suggestions for the text of this book. Due to his effort the editing and printing of this book has been made possible.
 
 

The Hague                                                                             Nina Van Gorkom
Netherlands                                                                                               1975

Source: Abhidhamma.org
...

Offline icykalimu

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Re: Abhidhamma in Daily life by Nina van Gorkom
« Reply #1 on: 01 July 2011, 07:19:13 PM »
Chapter 1

        THE FOUR PARAMATTHA DHAMMAS

There are two kinds of reality: mental phenomena (nama) and physical phenomena (rupa). Nama experiences something; rupa does not experience anything. Seeing is, for example, a type of nama; it experiences visible object. Visible object itself is rupa; it does not experience anything. What we take for self are only nama and rupa which arise and fall away. The 'Visuddhimagga' ('Path of Purity', a commentary) explains (Ch. XVIII, 25):

    For this has been said: .
    'As with the assembly of parts
    The word "chariot" is countenanced,
    So, When the khandhas are present,
    'A being' is said in common usage'
    (Kindred Sayings I, 135. The five khandhas (aggregates) are nothing else but nama and rupa. See Ch.2.)
    …So in many hundred suttas there is only
    mentality-materiality which is illustrated, not a being,
    not a person. Therefore, just as when the component
    parts (of a chariot) such as axles, wheels, frame, poles...
    are arranged in a certain way, there comes to be the
    mere conventional term 'chariot', yet in the ultimate
    sense, when each part is examined, there is no
    chariot, ...so too,... there comes to be the mere
    conventional term 'a being', 'a person', yet in the ultimate
    sense, when each component is examined, there is
    no being as a basis for the assumption ' I am' or ' I ' ;
    in the ultimate sense there is only mentality-materiality.
    The vision of one who sees in this way is called correct vision.

All phenomena in and around ourselves are only nama and rupa which arise and fall away; they are impermanent. Nama and rupa are absolute realities, in Pali: paramattha dhammas. We can experience their characteristics when they appear, no matter how we name them. Those who have developed 'insight' can experience them as they really are: impermanent and not self. The more we know different namas and rupas by experiencing their characteristics, the more we will see that 'self' is only a concept; it is not a paramattha dhamma.

Nama and rupa are different types of realities. If we do not distinguish them from each other and learn the characteristic of each we will continue to take them for self. For example, hearing is nama; it has no form or shape. Hearing is different from ear-sense, but it has ear-sense as a necessary condition. The nama which hears experiences sound. Ear-sense and sound are rupas, which do not experience anything; they are entirely different from the nama which hears. If we do not learn that hearing, ear-sense and sound are realities which are altogether different from each other, we will continue to think that it is self which hears.

The 'Visuddhimagga' (XVIII, 34) explains:

    Furthermore, nama has no efficient power, it cannot occur by its own efficient power... It does not eat, it does not drink, it does not speak, it does not adopt postures. And rupa is without efficient power; it cannot occur by its own efficient power. For it has no desire to eat, it has no desire to drink, it has no desire to speak, it has no desire to adopt postures. But rather it is when supported by rupa that nama occurs; and it is when supported by nama that rupa occurs. When nama has the desire to eat, the desire to drink, the desire to speak, the desire to adopt a posture, it is rupa that eats, drinks, speaks and adopts a posture....

Furthermore (XVIII, 36) we read:

    And just as men depend upon
    A boat for traversing the sea,
    So does the mental body need
    The matter-body for occurrence.
    And as the boat depends upon
    The men for traversing the sea,
    So does the matter-body need
    The mental body for occurrence.
    Depending each upon the other
    The boat and men go on the sea.
    And so do mind and matter both
    Depend the one upon the other.

There are two kinds of conditioned nama: citta (consciousness) and cetasika (mental factors arising together with consciousness). They are namas which arise because of conditions and fall away again.

As regards citta, citta knows or experiences an object. Each citta must have its object of knowing, in Pali: arammana. The citta which sees has what is visible as its object. The citta which hears (hearing-consciousness) has sound as its object. There isn't any citta without an object (arammana). Even when we are sound asleep, citta experiences an object. There are many different types of citta which can be classified in different ways.

Some cittas are akusala (unwholesome), some are kusala (wholesome). Akusala cittas and kusala cittas are cittas which are causes. They can motivate unwholesome or wholesome deeds through body, speech or mind. Some cittas are vipakacittas, the result of unwholesome or wholesome deeds. Some cittas are kiriyacittas neither cause nor result.

Cittas can be classified by way of jati' (literally means 'birth' or 'nature'). There are four jatis: akusala, kusala, vipaka, kiriya.

It is important to know which jati a citta is. We cannot develop  wholesomeness in our life if we take akusala for kusala or if we take akusala for vipaka. For instance, when we hear unpleasant words, the moment of  experiencing the sound (hearing-consciousness) is akusala vipaka, the result of an unwholesome deed we performed ourselves. But the aversion which may arise very shortly afterwards is not vipaka, but it arises with akusala citta.

Another way of classifying citta is by plane of consciousness (bhumi). There are four different planes of consciousness: kamavacara citta, rupavacara citta, arupavacara citta, lokuttara citta.

The sensuous plane of consciousness (kamavacara cittas) is the plane of sense-impressions, for examples: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and receiving impressions through the body-sense. There are other planes of citta which do not experience sense-impressions. Those who cultivate samatha (tranquil meditation) and attain absorption (jhana), have jhanacittas. The jhanacitta is another plane of citta; it does not experience sense-impressions. The lokuttara citta ('supramundane' consciousness) is the highest plane of consciousness because it is the citta which directly experiences nibbana.

There are still other ways of classifying citta and if we consider the different intensities of citta there are many more differences between cittas. For instance, akusala cittas, which are rooted in lobha (attachment), dosa (aversion) and moha (ignorance), can be of many different intensities. Sometimes they may motivate deeds, sometimes they may not, depending on the degree of akusala. Kusala cittas too are of many different intensities.

There are altogether eighty-nine or one hundred and twenty-one types of citta. The classification by way of a hundred and twenty-one types includes the cittas of the ariyans who cultivated both jhana (absorption) and vipassana and who could experience nibbana with absorption.

The second paramattha dhamma is cetasika which is nama. As we have seen, citta experiences an object: seeing has what is visible as its object, hearing has sound as its object, thinking has what is thought about as its object. However, there is not only citta, there are also mental factors, cetasikas, which accompany a citta. One can think of something with aversion, with a pleasant feeling, with wisdom. Aversion, feeling and wisdom are mental phenomena which are not citta; they are cetasikas which accompany different cittas. There is only one citta at a time, but there are several cetasikas (at least seven) arising together with the citta and falling away together with the citta, citta never arises alone. For example, feeling, in Pali: vedana, is a cetasika which arises with every citta. Citta only knows or experiences its object; it does not feel. Vedana, however, has the function of feeling. Feeling is sometimes pleasant, sometimes unpleasant. When we do not have a pleasant or an unpleasant feeling, there is still feeling: at that moment the feeling is neutral or indifferent. There is always feeling; there isn't any moment of citta without feeling. For example, when seeing-consciousness arises, feeling (vedana) arises together with the citta. The citta which sees perceives only visible object; there is not yet like or dislike. The feeling which accompanies this type of citta is indifferent feeling. After seeing-consciousness has fallen away, other cittas arise and there may be cittas which dislike the object. The feeling which accompanies this type of citta is unpleasant feeling.

The function of citta is to cognize an object; citta is the 'chief in knowing'. Cetasikas share the same object with the citta, but they each have their own specific quality and function. There are altogether fifty-two kinds of cetasika. There are seven kinds of cetasika which arise with every citta; the other kinds do not arise with every citta.

Perception, in Pali: sanna, is a cetasika which arises with every citta. In the 'Visuddhimagga' (XIV,130) we read about sanna that it has the characteristic of perceiving:

...Its function is to make a sign as a condition for perceiving again that 'this is the same', as carpenters, etc., do in the case of timber…

Citta only experiences an object; it does not 'mark' its object. It is sanna (perception) which marks the object which is experienced so that it can be recognized later on. Whenever we remember things it is sanna and not self which remembers. It is sanna which, for example, remembers that this colour is red, that this is a house, or that this is the sound of a bird

Cetana, (intention), is another kind of cetasika which arises with every citta. There are types of cetasika which do not arise with every citta. Akusala (unwholesome) cetasikas arise only with akusala cittas. Sobhana (beautiful) cetasikas arise with wholesome cittas. (See Ch.19)

Lobha (attachment), dosa (aversion) and moha (ignorance) are akusala cetasikas which arise only with akusala cittas. For example, when we see something beautiful, cittas with attachment to what we have seen may arise. The cetasika which is lobha arises with the citta at that moment. Lobha has the function of attachment or clinging. There are several other akusala cetasikas which arise with akusala cittas, such as conceit (mana), wrong view (ditthi) and envy (issa).

Sobhana (beautiful) cetasikas accompanying wholesome cittas are, for example alobha (generosity), adosa (lovingkindness), panna (or amoha). When we are generous, alobha and adosa arise with the kusala citta, sanna may arise too with the kusala citta; and there are other kinds of sobhana cetasikas arising with the wholesome citta as well.

Although citta and cetasika are both nama, they each have different qualities. One may wonder how cetasikas can be experienced. When we notice a change in citta, a characteristic of cetasika can be experienced. For instance, when akusala cittas with stinginess arise after kusala cittas with generosity have fallen away, we can notice a change.  Stinginess and generosity are cetasikas which can be experienced; they have different characteristics. We may notice as well the change from attachment to aversion, from pleasant feeling to unpleasant feeling. Feeling is a cetasika we can experience, because feeling is sometimes predominant and there are different kinds of feeling. We can experience that unpleasant feeling is different from pleasant and neutral feeling. These different cetasikas arise with different cittas and they fall away immediately, together with the citta they accompany. If we know more about the variety of citta and cetasika, it will help us to see the truth.

There are not only mental phenomena, there are also physical phenomena. Physical phenomena (rupa) are the third paramattha dhamma. There are altogether twenty-eight classes of rupa. There are four principal rupas or 'Great Elements', in Pali: maha-bhuta-rupa. They are:

     1.  'Element of Earth' or solidity (to be experienced as hardness or softness)
     2.  'Element of Water' or cohesion
     3.  'Element of Fire' or temperature (to be experienced as heat or cold)
     4.  'Element of Wind' or motion (to be experienced as motion or pressure)

These 'Great Elements' arise together with all the other kinds of rupa, in Pali: upada-rupa. Rupas never arise alone. They arise in 'groups' or 'units'. There have to be at least eight kinds of rupa arising together. For example, whenever the rupa which is temperature arises, solidity, cohesion, motion and other rupas arise as well. Upada-rupas are, for examples, the physical sense-organs of eye-sense, ear-sense, smelling-sense, tasting-sense and body-sense, and the sense-objects of visible object, sound, odour and flavour.

Different characteristics of rupa can be experienced through eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body-sense and mind. These characteristics are real since they can be experienced. We use conventional terms such as 'body' and 'table'; both have the characteristic of hardness which can be experienced through touch. In this way we can prove that the characteristic of hardness is the same, no matter whether it is in the body or in the table. Hardness is a paramattha dhamma; 'body' and 'table' are not paramattha dhammas but only concepts. We take it for granted that the body stays and we take it for self, but what we call 'body' are only different rupas arising and falling away. The conventional term 'body' may delude us about reality. We will know the truth if we learn to experience different characteristics of rupa when they appear.

Citta, cetasika and rupa only arise when there are the right conditions, they are conditioned dhammas (in Pali: sankhara dhamma). Seeing cannot arise when there is no eye-sense and when there is no visible object. Sound can only arise when there are the right conditions for its arising. When it has arisen it falls away again. Everything which arises because of conditions has to fall away again when the conditions have ceased. One may think that sound stays, but what we take for a long, lasting moment of sound is actually many different rupas succeeding one another.

The fourth paramattha dhamma is nibbana. Nibbana is the end of defilements. Nibbana can be experienced through the mind-door if one follows the right Path leading towards it: the development of the wisdom which sees things as they are. Nibbana is nama. However, it is not citta or cetasika. Nibbbna is the nama which does not arise and fall away; it is the nama which is an unconditioned reality (in Pali:visankhara dhamma). It does not arise, because it is unconditioned and therefore it does not fall away. Citta and cetasika are namas which experience an object; nibbana is the nama which does not experience an object, but nibbana itself can be the object of citta and cetasika which experience it, Nibbana is not a person, it is not-self; it is anatta.

Summarizing the four paramattha dhammas, they are:

citta
cetasika  }     conditioned dhammas (sankhara dhamma)
rupa

nibbana        unconditioned dhamma (visankhara dhamma)

When we study Dhamma it is essential to know which paramattha dhamma such or such reality is. If we do not know this we may be misled by conventional terms. We should, for example know that what we call 'body' are actually different rupa-paramattha dhammas, not citta or cetasika. We should know that nibbana is not citta or cetasika, but the fourth paramattha dhamma. Nibbana is the end of all conditioned realities. When an arahat, passes away, there is no more rebirth for him.

All conditioned dhammas: citta, cetasika and rupa, are impermanent (anicca). All conditioned dhammas are 'dukkha' since they are impermanent.

All dhammas are anatta, not-self (in Pali: sabbe dhamma anatta). Thus, the conditioned dhammas are impermanent and dukkha. But all dhammas, that is, the four paramattha dhammas, nibbana included, have the characteristic of anatta, not-self.

 

  Questions

1.  What is the difference between nama and rupa?
2.  What is the difference between citta and cetasika?
3.  Do cetasikas experience an object?
4.  Is there more than one cetasika arising together with the citta?
5.  Can nibbana experience an object?
6.  Is nibbana a 'self'?
...

Offline icykalimu

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Re: Abhidhamma in Daily life by Nina van Gorkom
« Reply #2 on: 01 July 2011, 07:19:44 PM »
Chapter 2

        THE FOUR PARAMATTHA DHAMMAS

The Buddha discovered the truth of all phenomena. He knew the
characteristic of each phenomenon by his own experience. Out of compassion he
taught other people to see reality in many different ways, so that they would have a deeper understanding of the phenomena in and around themselves. When realities are classified by way of paramattha dhammas (absolute realities), they are classified as: citta, cetasika, rupa, nibbana.

Citta, cetasika and rupa are conditioned realities (sankhara dhammas). They
arise because of conditions and fall away again; they are impermanent. One
paramattha dhamma, nibbana, is an unconditioned reality (visankhara
dhamma); it does not arise and fall away. All four paramattha dhammas are
anatta, not self.

Citta, cetasika and rupa which are conditioned realities, can be classified by way of the five khandhas. Khandha means 'group' or 'aggregate'. They are:

                 1.   Rupakkhandha, which are all physical phenomena.
                 2.  Vedanakkhandha, which is feeling (vedana).
                 3.  Sannakkhandha, which is perception (sanna).
                 4.  Sankharakkhandha, comprising fifty cetasikas.
                 5.  Vinnanakkhandha, comprising all cittas.

The fifty-two kinds of cetasika are classified as three khandhas: a cetasika
which is feeling (vedana) is classified as one khandha, the vedanakkhandha; a
cetasika which is perception (sanna) is classified as one khandha, the sannakkhandha; as regards the other tiny cetasikas, they are classified all together as one khandha, the sankharakkhandha. For example, in sankharakkhandha are included the following cetasikas: 'intention' (cetana), attachment (lobha), aversion (dosa), ignorance (moha), lovingkindness (metta), generosity (alobha) and wisdom (panna). Sankharakkhandha is sometimes translated as 'activities' or ‘mental formations'.

As regards citta, all cittas are one khandha: vinnanakkhandha. The Pali terms
vinnana, mano and citta are three terms for the same reality: that which has the
characteristic of knowing or experiencing something. When citta is classified as
khandha the word vinnana is used. Thus, the five khandhas are grouped as one
rupakkhandha, and four namakkhandha. Three namakkhandhas are fifty-two
cetasikas; the other namakkhandha is eighty-nine or one hundred and twenty-one cittas.

Nibbana is not a khandha; it is void of khandha (in Pali: khandha-vimutti).

The ‘visuddhimagga' (XX,96) explains about the arising and falling away of
nama and rupa:

                 There is no heap or store of unarisen nama-rupa
                 (existing) prior to its arising. When it arises it does
                 not come from any heap or store; and when it ceases.
                 it does not go in any direction. There is nowhere any
                 depositor in the way of a heap or store or hoard of
                 what has ceased. But just as there is no store, prior
                 to its arising, of the sound that arises when a lute
                 is played, nor does it come from any store when it
                 arises, nor does it go in any direction when it ceases,
                 nor does it persist as a store when it has ceased, but
                 on the contrary, not having been, it is brought into
                 being owing to the lute, the lute's neck, and the man's
                 appropriate effort, and having been, it vanishes - - so
                 too all material and immaterial states (rupa and nama),
                 not having been, are brought into being, having been,
                 they vanish.

The khandhas are real; we can experience them. We experience
Rupakkhandha when, for example, we feel hardness. It does not stay;  it arises
and falls away. Not only rupas of the body, but the other physical phenomena are rupakkhandha as well. For example, sound is rupakkhandha; it arises and falls away, it is impermanent.

Vedanakkhandha (feeling) is real; we can experience feelings.
Vedanakkhandha comprises all kinds of feeling. Feeling can be classified in
different ways. Sometimes feelings are classified as threefold: pleasant feeling,
unpleasant feeling, neutral feeling.

Sometimes they are classified as fivefold: pleasant feeling, unpleasant feeling
and indifferent feeling, bodily pleasant feeling, bodily painful feeling.

Bodily feeling is feeling which has body-sense, the rupa which has the capacity
to receive bodily impressions, as condition. The feeling itself is nama, but it has
rupa (body-sense) as condition. When an object contacts the body-sense, the
feeling is either painful or pleasant; there is no indifferent bodily feeling. When
the bodily feeling is unpleasant it is akusala vipaka (the result of an
unwholesome deed), and when the bodily feeling is pleasant it is kusala vipaka
(the result of a wholesome deed).

Since there are many different moments of feeling arising and falling away it is
difficult to distinguish them from each other. For instance, we are inclined to
confuse bodily pleasant feeling which is vipaka and the pleasant feeling which
may arise shortly afterwards together with attachment to that pleasant bodily
feeling. Or we may confuse bodily pain and unpleasant feeling which may arise
afterwards together with aversion.

When there is bodily pain, the painful feeling is vipaka, it accompanies the
vipakacitta which experiences the object impinging on the body-sense.
Unpleasant (mental) feeling may arise afterwards; it is not vipaka, but accompanies the akusala citta. It arises because of our accumulated dosa (aversion). Though 'bodily' feeling and 'mental' feeling are both nama, they are entirely different kinds of feelings, arising because of different conditions. When there are no more conditions for dosa there can still be bodily painful feeling, but there is no longer (mental) unpleasant feeling. The arahat may still have akusala vipaka as long as his life is not terminated yet, but he has no aversion.

We read in the 'Kindred Sayings' (I, Sagatha-vagga, the Marasuttas, Ch. II, par.
3, The Splinter):

                      Thus have I heard: The Exalted One was once
                       staying at Rajagaha, in the Maddakucchi, at the
                       Deer-preserve. Now at that time his foot was injured
                       by a splinter. Sorely indeed did the Exalted One feel
                       it, grievous the pains he suffered in the body, keen
                       and sharp, acute, distressing and unwelcome. He truly
                       bore them, mindful and deliberate, nor was he cast
                       down....

Feelings are sixfold when they are classified by way of the six doors: there is
feeling which arises through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the
body-sense and the mind. All these feelings are different;  they arise because of
different conditions. Feeling arises and falls away together with the citta it
accompanies and thus at each moment feeling is different.

We read in the 'Kindred Sayings' (IV, Salayatana-vagga, Part II, Kindred
Sayings about Feeling, par. 8, Sickness II) that the Buddha said to the monks:

                      …Monks, a monk should meet his end collected
                      and composed.
                      This is our instruction to you.

                      ...Now, monks, as that monk dwells collected,
                      composed, earnest, ardent, strenuous, there arises in
                      him feeling that is pleasant, and he thus understands:
                      'There is arisen in me this pleasant feeling. Now that
                      is owing to something, not without cause. It is owing
                      to this contact. Now this contact is impermanent,
                      compounded, arisen owing to something. Owing to
                      this impermanent contact which has so arisen, this
                      pleasant feeling has arisen : How can that be permanent?'
                      Thus he dwells contemplating the impermanence in
                      contact and pleasant feeling, contemplating their
                      transience, their waning, their ceasing, the giving of
                      them up. Thus as he dwells contemplating their
                      impermanence..  the lurking tendency to lust for contact
                      and pleasant feeling is abandoned in him.

                      So also as regards contact and painful
                      feeling...contact and neutral feeling....

There are still many more ways of classifying feelings. If we know about
different ways of classifying feelings it will help us to realize that feeling is only a
mental phenomenon which arises because of conditions. We are inclined to cling to the feeling which has fallen away instead of being aware of the reality of the present moment as it appears through eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body-sense or mind. In the passage of the 'Visuddhimagga' which was quoted above (XX, 96) nama and rupa are compared to the sound of a lute which does not come from any 'store' when it arises, nor goes in any direction when it ceases, nor persists as a 'store' when it has ceased. However, we cling so much to feelings that we do not realize that the feeling which has fallen away does not exist any more, that it has ceased completely. Vedanakkhandha (feeling) is impermanent.

Sannakkhandha (perception) is real; it can be experienced whenever we
remember something. There is sanna with every moment of citta. Each citta
which arises experiences an object and sanna which arises with the citta
remembers and 'marks' that object so that it can be recognized. Even when there
is a moment that one does not recognize something citta still experiences an
object at that moment and sanna which arises with the citta 'marks' that object.
Sanna arises and falls away with the citta; sanna is impermanent. As long as we
do not see sanna as it really is: only a mental phenomenon which falls away as
soon as it has arisen, we will take sanna for self.

Sankharakkhandha (the fifty cetasikas which are not vedana or sanna) is real;
it can be experienced. When there are beautiful mental factors (sobhana
cetasikas) such as generosity and compassion, or when there are unwholesome mental factors such as anger and stinginess, we can experience sankharakkhandha. All these phenomena arise and fall away: sankharakkhandha is impermanent.

Vinnanakkhandha (citta) is real; we can experience it when there is seeing,
hearing, smelling, tasting, receiving impressions through the body-sense or
thinking. Vinnanakkhandha arises and falls away;  it is impermanent. All
sankhara dhammas (conditioned phenomenal), that is, the five khandhas, are
impermanent.

Sometimes the khandhas are called the 'groups of grasping' (in Pali:
upadanakkhandha). The upadanakkhandhas are the khandhas which are the
objects of clinging. Those who are not arahats still cling to the khandhas. We take the body for self; thus we cling to rupakkhandha. We take mentality for self; thus we cling to vedanakkhandha, to sannakkhandha, to sankharakkhandha and to vinnanakkhandha. If we cling to the khandhas and if we do not see them as they are, we will have sorrow. As long as the khandhas are still 'objects of clinging' (upadanakkhandha) for us, we are like people afflicted by sickness.

We read in the 'Kindred Sayings' (III, Khandha-vagga, the First Fifty, par. I,
Nakulapitar) that the housefather Nakulapitar, who was an old, sick man, came
to see the Buddha at Crocodile Haunt in the Deerpark. The Buddha said to him
that he should train himself thus:  'Though my body is sick, my mind shall not be sick. ' Later on Sariputta gave him a further explanation of the Buddha's words:

                      Herein, housefather, the untaught many-folk... who
                      are unskilled in the worthy doctrine, untrained in the
                      worthy doctrine - - these regard body as the self, they
                      regard the self as having body, body as being in the
                      self, the self as being in the body. 'I am the body',
                      they say, 'body is mine', and are possessed by this
                      idea; and so, possessed by this idea, when body alters
                      and changes, owing to the unstable and changeful nature
                      of the body, then sorrow and grief, woe, lamentation
                      and despair arise in them. They regard feeling (vedana)
                      as the self… They regard perception (sanna) as the
                      self... They regard the activities (sankharakkhandha)
                      as the self… They regard consciousness (vinana) as
                      the self… That, housefather, is how body is sick and
                      mind is sick too.

                      And how is body sick, but mind not sick?
                      Herein, housefather, the well taught ariyan disciple...
                      regards not body as the self… He regards not feeling
                      (vedana) as the self... He regards not perception
                      (sanna) as the self... He regards not the activities
                      (sankharakkhandha) as the self... He regards not
                      consciousness (vinnana) as the self... As he is not so
                      possessed, when consciousness alters and changes
                      owing to the unstable and changeful nature of
                      consciousness, sorrow and grief, woe, lamentation and
                      despair do not arise in him. Thus, housefather, body
                      is sick, but mind is not sick.

As long as we are still clinging to the khandhas we are like sick people, but we
can be cured of our sickness if we see the khandhas as they are. The khandhas
are impermanent and thus they are dukkha (unsatisfactory). We read in the
'Kindred Savings' (III, Khandha-vagga, Last Fifty, par. 104, Suffering) that the
Buddha taught the 'Four Noble Truths' to the monks. He said:

                 Monks, I will teach You dukkha, the arising of
                 dukkha, the ceasing of dukkha, the way leading to the
                 ceasing of dukkha. Do you listen to it.
                 (In the English translation 'dukkha' is sometimes
                 translated as 'suffering', sometimes as'ill.
                 Here the English text has the word 'suffering'.)

                 And what, monks, is dukkha? It is to be called the
                 five khandhas of grasping. What five?  The
                 rupakkhandha of grasping, the vedanakkhandha of
                 grasping, the sannakkhandha of grasping,  the
                 sankharakkhandha of grasping,  the vinnanakkhandha
                 of grasping. This, monks, is called dukkha.

                 And what, monks, is the arising of dukkha? It is
                 that craving... that leads downward to rebirth... the
                 craving for feeling, for rebirth, for no rebirth... This,
                 monks, is called the arising of dukkha.

                 And what, monks, is the ceasing of dukkha? It is
                 the utter passionless ceasing, the giving up, the
                 abandonment of, the release from, the freedom from
                 attachment to that craving...

                  This, monks, is called the ceasing of dukkha.
                  And what, monks, is the way going to the ceasing
                  of dukkha?

                 It is this Ariyan Eightfold Path… This, monks, is the
                 way going to the ceasing of dukkha.

As long as there is still clinging to the khandhas there will be the arising of the
khandhas in rebirth, and this means sorrow. If we develop the Eightfold Path we
will learn to see what the khandhas really are. Then we are on the way leading to
the ceasing of dukkha, which means: no more birth, old age, sickness and death.
Those who have attained the last stage of enlightenment, the stage of the arahat,
will be, after their life-span is over, free from the khandhas.
 

Questions

             1.  Which paramattha dhammas are nama?
             2.  Which paramattha dhammas are sankhara dhammas (conditioned       realities)?
             3.  Which paramattha dhamma is visankhara dhamma (unconditioned reality)?
             4.  Which sankhara dhammas (conditioned realities) are nama?
             5.  Are all cetasikas sankharakkhandha?
             6.  Is vedana cetasika (feeling) a khandha?
             7.  Is sanna cetasika (perception) a khandha?
             8.  Is bodily painful feeling vipaka?
             9.  Is mental unpleasant feeling vipaka?
             10. Which khandhas are nama?
             11. Is seeing-consciousness a khandha?
             12. Is the concept 'human being' a khandha?
             13. Is sound a khandha?
             14. Which paramattha dhammas are khandhas? 
...

Offline icykalimu

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Re: Abhidhamma in Daily life by Nina van Gorkom
« Reply #3 on: 01 July 2011, 07:20:48 PM »
Chapter 3

       DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF CITTA

The Buddha spoke about everything which is real. What he taught can be proved by our own experience. However, we do not really know the most  common realities of daily life: the mental phenomena and physical phenomena which appear through eyes, ears, nose, tongue, bodysense and mind. It seems that we are mostly interested in the past or the future. However, we will find out what life really is if we know more about the realities of the present moment, and if we are aware of them when they appear.
 

The Buddha explained that citta (consciousness) is a reality. We may doubt whether cittas are real. How can we prove that there are cittas? Could it be that there are only physical phenomena and not mental phenomena? There are many things in our life we take for granted such as our homes, meals. clothes, or the tools we use every day. These things do not arise by themselves. They are brought about by a thinking mind, by citta. Citta is a mental phenomenon; it
knows or experiences something. Citta is not like a physical phenomenon which does not experience anything. We listen to music which was written by a composer. It was citta which had the idea for the music; it was citta which made the composer's hand move in order to write down the notes. His hand could not have moved without citta.

Citta can achieve many different effects. We read in the 'Atthasalini’ (a commentary to the Dhammasangani, which is the first book of the  Abhidhamma) Book I, Part II, Analysis of Terms, 64:
 

    How is consciousness (i.e.mind ) capable of
    producing a variety or diversity of effects in action?
    There is no art in the world more variegated than the
    art of painting. In painting, the painter's masterpiece
    is more artistic than the rest of his pictures. An artistic
    design occurs to the painters of masterpieces that such
    and such pictures should be drawn in such and such
    a way. Through this artistic design there arise operations
    of the mind (or artistic operations) accomplishing such
    things as sketching the outline, putting on the paint,
    touching up, and embellishing... Thus all classes of
    arts in the world, specific or generic, are achieved by
    the mind. And owing to its capacity thus to produce
    a variety or diversity of effects in action, the mind,
    which achieves all these arts, is itself artistic like the
    arts themselves. Nay, it is even more artistic than the
    art itself, because the latter cannot execute every design
    perfectly. For that reason the Blessed One has said,
    'Monks, have you seen a masterpiece of painting?' 'Yes,
    Lord.' 'Monks, that masterpiece of art is designed by
    the mind. Indeed, monks, the mind is even more artistic
    than that masterpiece.'


We then read about the many different things which are accomplished by citta: good deeds such as deeds of generosity and bad deeds such as deeds of cruelty and deceit are accomplished by citta and these deeds produce different results. There is not just one type of citta, but many different types of cittas.

Different people react differently to what they experience, thus, different types of citta arise. What one person likes, another dislikes. We can also notice how different people are when they make or produce something. Even when two
people plan to make the same thing the result is quite different. For example, when two people make a painting of the same tree, the paintings are not at all the same. People have different talents and capacities; some people have no difficulty with their studies, whereas others are incapable of study. Cittas are beyond control; they have each their own conditions for their arising.

Why are people so different from one another? The reason is that they have different experiences in life and thus they accumulate different inclinations. When a child has been taught from his youth to be generous he accumulates generosity. People who are angry very often accumulate a great deal of anger. We all have accumulated different inclinations, tastes and skills.

Each citta which arises falls away completely and is succeeded by the next citta. How then can there be accumulations of experiences in life, accumulations of good and bad inclinations? The reason is that each citta which falls away is succeeded by the next citta. Our life is an uninterrupted series of cittas and each citta conditions the next citta and this again the next, and thus the past can condition the present. It is a fact that our good cittas and bad cittas in the past
condition our inclinations today. Thus, good and bad inclinations are accumulated.

We all have accumulated many impure inclinations and defilements (in Pali:kilesa). Kilesa is for instance greed (lobha), anger (dosa) and ignorance (moha). There are different degrees of defilements: there are subtle defilements or latent tendencies, medium defilements and gross defilements. Subtle defilements do not appear with the citta, but they are latent tendencies which are accumulated in the citta. At the time we are asleep and not dreaming there are no akusala cittas but there are unwholesome latent tendencies. When we wake up akusala cittas arise again. How could they appear if there were not in each citta accumulated unwholesome latent tendencies? Even when the citta is not akusala there are unwholesome latent tendencies so long as they have not been eradicated by wisdom. Medium defilement is different from subtle defilement since it arises with the citta. Medium defilement arises with cittas rooted in lobha, dosa and moha. Medium defilement is, for example, attachment to what one sees, or ears or experiences through the body-sense, or aversion towards the objects one experiences. Medium defilement does not condition ill deeds. Gross defilement conditons unwholesome actions (akusala kamma) through body, speech and mind, such as killing, slandering or the desire to take away other people's possessions. Kamma (intention) is a mental phenomenon and thus it can be accumulated. People accumulate different defilements and different kammas.

Different accumulations of kamma are the condition for different results in life. This is the law of kamma and vipaka, of cause and result. We see that people are born into different circumstances. Some people live in agreeable surroundings
and they have many pleasant experiences in their lives. Other people may often have disagreeable experiences; they are poor or they suffer from ill health. When we hear about children who suffer from malnutrition, we wonder why they have to suffer while other children receive everything they need. The Buddha taught that everyone receives the result of his own deeds. A deed or kamma of the past can bring its result later on, because akusala kamma and kusala kamma are
accumulated. When there are the right conditions the result can be brought  about in the form of vipaka. When the word 'result' is used, people may think of the consequences of their deeds for other people, but 'result' in the sense of vipaka has a different meaning. Vipakacitta is a citta which experiences something unpleasant or something pleasant and this citta is the result of a deed we did ourselves. We are used to thinking of a self which experiences unpleasant
and pleasant things. However, there is no self; there are only cittas which experience different objects. Some cittas are cause; they can motivate good deeds or bad deeds which are capable of bringing about their appropriate results. Some cittas are result or vipaka. When we see something unpleasant, it is not self which sees; it is a citta, seeing-consciousness, which is the result of an unwholesome deed (akusala kamma) we performed either in this life or in a past life. This kind of citta is akusala vipaka. When we see something pleasant, it is a citta which is kusala vipaka the result of a wholesome deed we performed. Every time we experience an unpleasant. object through one of the five senses, there is akusala vipaka Every time we experience a pleasant object through one of  the five senses there is kusala vipaka.

lf one is being hit by someone else, the pain one feel is not the vipaka (result) of the deed performed by the other person. The person who is being hit receives the result of a bad deed he performed himself; for him there is akusala vipaka through the body-sense. The other person's action is only the proximate cause of his pain. As regards the other person who performs the bad deed, it is his akusala citta which motivates that deed. Sooner or later he will receive the result of his own bad deed. When we have more understanding of kamma and vipaka we will see many events of our life more clearly.

The 'Atthasalini' (Book I, Analysis of Terms, Part II, 65) explains that kamma of different people causes different results at birth and all through life. Even bodily features are the rest of kamma. We read:
 

    ...ln dependence on the difference in kamma appears
    the difference in the destiny of beings without legs
    with two legs, four legs, many legs, vegetative, spiritual.
    with perception, without perception, with neither
    perception nor without perception. Depending on the
    difference in kamma appears the difference in the births
    of beings, high and low, base and exalted, happy and
    miserable. Depending on the difference in kamma
    appears the difference in the individual features of beings
    as beautiful or ugly, high-born or low-born, well-built
    or deformed. Depending on the difference in kamma
    appears the difference in the worldly conditions of beings
    as gain and loss, fame and disgrace, blame and praise,
    happiness and misery.


Further on we read:
 

    By kamma the world moves, by kamma men
    Live, and by kamma are all beings bound
    As by its pin the rolling chariot wheel,


The Buddha taught that everything arises because of conditions; it is not by chance that people are so different in bodily features and characters, and that they live in such different circumstances. Even the difference in bodily features
of animals is due to different kamma. Animals have cittas too; they may behave badly or they may behave well. Thus they accumulate different kammas which produce different results. lf we understand that each kamma brings about its own result, we will know that there is no reason to be proud if we are born into a rich family or if we receive praise, honour or other pleasant things. When we have to suffer we will understand that suffering is due to our own deeds. Thus we will be less inclined to blame other people for our unhappiness or to be jealous when others receive pleasant things. When we understand reality we know that it is not self who receiver something pleasant or who has to suffer; it is only vipaka a citta which arises because of conditions and which falls away immediately.

We see that people who are born into the same circumstances still behave differently. For example, among people who are born into rich families, some are stingy, others are not. The fact that one is born into a rich family is the result of kamma. Stinginess is conditioned by one's accumulated defilements. There are many different types of conditions which play their parts in the life of each  person. Kamma causes one to be born into certain circumstances and one's
accumulated tendencies condition one's character.

One may have doubts about past lives and future lives, since one only  experiences the present life. However, in the present life we notice that different people experience different results. These results must have their causes in the past. The past conditions the present and the deeds we perform now will bring about their results in the future. In understanding the present we will be able to know more about the past and the future.

Past, present and future lives are an unbroken series of cittas. Each citta which arises falls away immediately to be succeeded by the next citta. Cittas do not last, but there isn't any moment without citta. If there were moments without citta the body would be a dead body. Even when we are sound asleep there is citta. Each citta which arises falls away but it conditions the next citta and even so the last citta of this life conditions the first citta of the next life, the
rebirth- consciousness. Thus we see that life goes on and on. We are moving in a cycle, the cycle of birth and death.

The next citta cannot arise until the previous citta has passed away. There can be only one citta at a time, but cittas arise and fall away so rapidly that one has the impression that there can be more than one citta at a time. We may think that we can see and hear at the same time, but in reality each of these cittas arises at a different moment. We can verify through our own experience that seeing is a type of citta which is different from hearing; these cittas arise because of different conditions and experience different objects.

A citta is that which experiences something; it experiences an object. Each citta must experience an object, there cannot be any citta without on object. Cittas experience different objects through the six doors of eyes, ears, nose, tongue,
body-sense and mind. Seeing is a citta experiencing that which appears through the eyes. We can use the word 'visible object' for the object which is seen but it is not necessary to name it 'visible object'. When visible object contacts the
eye-sense there are conditions for seeing. Seeing is different from thinking about what we see ; the latter is a type of citta which experiences something through the mind-door. Hearing is a citta which is different from seeing; it has different conditions and it experiences a different object. When sound contacts the ear-sense, there are conditions for a citta which experiences sound. There have to be the right conditions for the arising of each citta. We cannot smell through the ears and taste with the eyes. A citta which smells experiences odour through the nose. A citta which tastes experiences flavour through the tongue. A citta which experiences a bodily impression experiences this through the body-sense. Through the mind-door citta can experience all kinds of objects. There can be only one citta at a time and citta can experience only one object at a time.

We may understand in theory that a citta which sees has a characteristic which is different from a citta which hears, and that citta is different from a physical phenomenon which does not experience anything. Knowing this may seem  quite simple to us, but theoretical knowledge is different from knowing the truth by one's own experience. Theoretical knowledge is not very deep; it cannot eradicate the concept of self. Only in being aware of phenomena as they appear through the six doors, will we know the truth by our own experience. This kind of understanding can eradicate the concept of self.

The objects which we experience are the world in which we live. At the moment we see, the world is visible object. The world of visible object does not last, it falls away immediately. When we hear, the world is sound, but it falls away again. We are absorbed in and infatuated by the objects we experience through eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body-sense and mind-door, but not one of these objects lasts. What is impermanent should not be taken for self.

In the 'Gradual Savings' (Book of the Fours, Ch.V,par. 5, Rohitassa) we read that Rohitassa, a deva, asked the Buddha about reaching the world's end. He said to the Buddha:
 

    'Pray, lord, is it possible for us, by going, to know, to
    see, to reach world's end, where there is no more
    being born or growing old, no more dying, no more
    falling (from one existence) and rising up (in another)?'

    'Your reverence, where there is no more being born
    or growing old, no more dying, no more falling from
    one existence and rising up in another, I declare that
    that end of the world is not by going to be known,
    seen or reached.'

    'It is wonderful, lord! It is marvellous, lord, how
    well it is said by the Exalted One: "Where there is
    no more being born… that end of the world is not by
    going to be known, seen or reached!’’  ‘

    'Formerly, lord, I was the hermit called Rohitassa,
    Bhoja's son, one of psychic power, a sky-walker… The
    extent of my stride was as the distance between the
    eastern and the western oceans. To me, lord, possessed
    of such speed and of such a stride, there came a longing
    thus: I will reach world's end by going.'

    'But, lord, not to speak of (the time spent over)
    food and drink, eating, tasting and calls of nature, not
    to speak of struggles to banish sleep and weariness,
    though my life-span was a hundred years, though I
    lived a hundred years, though I travelled a hundred
    years, yet I reached not world's end but died ere that.
    Wonderful indeed, lord! Marvellous it is, lord, how well
    it has been said by the Exalted One: "Your reverence,
    where there is no more being born… that end of the
    world is not by going to be known, seen or reached." '

    'But, your reverence, I declare not that there is any
    making an end of ill without reaching world's end.
    Nay, your reverence, in this very fathom-long body,
    along with its perceptions and thoughts, I proclaim the
    world to be, likewise the origin of the world and the
    making of the world to end, likewise the practice going
    to the ending of the world.

    Not to be reached by going is world's end.
    Yet there is no release for man from ill.
    Unless he reach world's end -Then let a man
    Become world-knower, wise, world-ender,
    Let him be one who lives the holy life.
    Knowing the world's end by becoming calmed.
    He longs not for this world or another’.
    (In Pali: brahmacariya.)

The Buddha taught people about the 'world' and the way to reach the end of the world, that is, the end of suffering. The way to realize this is knowing the world, that is, knowing 'this very fathom-long body, along with its perceptions and
thoughts', knowing oneself.
 

  Questions


1.    People are born in different circumstances: some are born rich, others are
born poor. What is the cause of this?
2.  People behave differently: some are stingy, others are generous. By what is this conditioned?
3.  Each citta which arises falls away completely. How is it possible that defilements (kilesa) can be accumulated?
...

Offline icykalimu

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Re: Abhidhamma in Daily life by Nina van Gorkom
« Reply #4 on: 01 July 2011, 07:21:30 PM »
Chapter 4

       THE CHARACTERISTIC OF LOBHA
Cittas are of different kinds. They can be classified as akusala cittas (unwholesome cittas), kusala cittas (wholesome cittas), vipakacittas (cittas which are result) and kiriyacittas (cittas which are neither cause nor result). These kinds of cittas arise in a day, yet we know so little about them. Most of the time we do not know whether the citta is akusala, kusala, vipaka or kiriya. If we learn to classify our mind we will have more understanding of ourselves and of others. We will have more compassion and lovingkindness towards others, even when they behave in a disagreeable way. We do not like the akusala cittas of others; we find it unpleasant when they are stingy or speak harsh words. However, do we realize at which moments we ourselves have akusala  cittas? When we dislike other people's harsh words, we ourselves have akusala cittas with aversion at that moment. Instead of paying attention to the akusala cittas of others we should be aware of our own akusala cittas. If one has not studied the Abhidhamma which explains realities in detail, one may not know what is akusala. People may take what is unwholesome for wholesome and thus accumulate unwholesomeness without knowing it. If we know more about different types of citta we can see for ourselves which types arise more often and thus we will know ourselves better.

We should know the difference between kusala and akusala. The 'Atthasalini (Book I, Part I, Ch.1, 38) speaks about the meaning of the word 'kusala'. The word 'kusala' has many meanings;  it can mean 'of good health',  'faultless',  'skillful', 'productive of happy results'.

When we perform dana (generosity), sila (morality) and bhavana (mental development), the citta is kusala. All different kinds of wholesomeness such as the appreciation of other people’s good deeds, helping others, politeness, paving respect, observing the precepts, studying and teaching Dhamma, samatha (tranquil meditation) and vipassana (development of ‘insight’), are included in dana, sila or bhavana. Kusala is ‘productive of happy results'; each good deed will bring a pleasant result.

The 'Atthasalini' (Book I, Part I, Ch.I, 39) states about akusala:

    'Akusala' means 'not kusala'. Just as the opposite
    to friendship is enmity, or the opposite to greed, etc,.
    is disinterestedness, etc., so 'akusala' is opposed to
    'kusala'...

Unwholesome deeds will bring unhappy results. Nobody wishes to experience an unhappy result, but many people are ignorant about the cause which brings an unhappy result, about akusala. They do not realize when the citta is unwholesome and they do not always know when they perform unwholesome deeds.

When we study the Abhidhamma we learn that there are three groups of akusala cittas. They are:

    1. Lobha-mula-cittas, or cittas rooted in attachment (lobha)
    2. Dosa-mula-cittas, or cittas rooted in aversion (dosa)
    3. Moha-mula-cittas, or cittas rooted in ignorance (moha)

Moha (ignorance) arises with every akusala citta. Akusala cittas rooted in lobha (attachment) actually have two roots: moha and lobha. They are named lobha-mula-cittas', since there is not only moha, which arises with every akusala citta, but lobha as well. Lobha-mula-cittas are thus named after the root which is lobha. Akusala cittas rooted in dosa (aversion) have two roots as well: moha and dosa. They are named 'dosa-mula-cittas' after the root which is 'dosa'. There is more than one type of citta in each of the three classes of akusala cittas because there is such a great variety of cittas.

As regards lobha-mula-cittas, there are eight different types. When we know more about the characteristic of lobha and realize when it arises we may notice that we have different types of lobha-mula-cittas. Lobha is the paramattha dhamma (absolute reality) which is cetasika (mental factor arising with the citta); it is a reality and thus it can be experienced.

Lobha is 'clinging' or 'attachment'. The 'Visuddhimagga' (XIV, 162) states:

    ....lobha has the characteristic of grasping an object,
    like birdlime (lit. 'monkey lime'). Its function is sticking,
    like meat put in a hot pan. It is manifested as not
    giving up, like the dye of lampblack. Its proximate cause
    is seeing enjoyment in things that lead to bondage.
    Swelling with the current of craving, it should be
    regarded as taking (beings) with it to states of loss,
    as a swift-flowing river does to the great ocean.

Lobha is sometimes translated as 'greed' or 'craving'; it can be translated by different words, since there are many degrees of lobha. Lobha can be coarse, medium or subtle. Most people can recognize lobha when it is very obvious, but not when it is of a lesser degree. For example, we can recognize lobha when we are inclined to eat too much of a delicious meal, or when we are attached to alcoholic drinks and cigarettes. We are attached to people and we suffer when we lose those who are dear to us through death. Then we can see that attachment brings sorrow. Sometimes attachment is very obvious, but there are many degrees of lobha and often we may not know that we have lobha. Cittas arise and fall away very rapidly and we may not realize it when lobha arises on account of what we experience in daily life through the six doors, especially if the degree of lobha is not as intense as greed or lust. Every time there is a pleasant sight, sound, odour, taste or impression through the body-sense, lobha is likely to arise. It arises countless times a day.

Lobha arises when there are conditions for its arising; It is beyond control. In many suttas the Buddha speaks about lobha points out the dangers of it and the way to overcome lobha. The pleasant objects which can be experienced through the five senses are in several suttas called the 'five strands of sense-pleasures'. We read in the 'Maha-dukkhakkhandha -sutta’ ('Greater Discourse on the Stems of Anguish', Middle Length Saying I, No. 13) that the Buddha, when he was staying near Savatthi, in the Jeta Grove, said to the monks:

    And what, monks, is the satisfaction in pleasures
    of these senses? These five, monks, are the strands of
    sense-pleasures. What five? Material shapes cognisable
    by the eye, agreeable, pleasant, liked, enticing,
    connected with sensual pleasures, alluring. Sounds,
    cognisable by the ear... Smells, cognisable by the
    nose…. Tastes, cognisable by the tongue… Touches,
    cognisable by the body, agreeable, pleasant, liked,
    enticing, connected with sensual pleasures, alluring.
    These, monks, are the five strands of sense pleasures.
    Whatever pleasure, whatever happiness arises in
    consequence of these five strands of sense-pleasures,
    this is the satisfaction in sense-pleasures.

The satisfaction in sense-pleasures in not true happiness. Those who do not know the Buddha's teachings may think that attachment is wholesome, especially when it arises with a pleasant feeling. They may not know the difference between attachment and lovingkindness (metta), phenomena which may both arise with a pleasant feeling. However, a citta accompanied by pleasant feeling is not necessarily kusala citta. When we learn more about akusala cittas and kusala cittas and when we are mindful of their characteristics, we will notice that the pleasant feeling which may arise with lobha-mula-citta (a citta rooted in attachment) is different from the pleasant feeling which may arise with kusala citta. Feeling (vedana) is a cetasika which arises with every citta. When the citta is akusala, the feeling is also akusala, and when the citta is kusala, the feeling is also kusala. We may be able to know the difference between the characteristic of the pleasant feeling arising when we are attached to an agreeable sight or sound, and the characteristic of the pleasant feeling arising when we are generous.

The Buddha pointed out that lobha brings sorrow. When we have to part from people who are dear to us or when we lose the things we enjoy, we have sorrow. If we are attached to a comfortable life we may have aversion when we have to endure hardship or when things do not turn out the way we want them to be. We read in the 'Greater Discourse on the Stems of Anguish' which was quoted above, that the Buddha spoke to the monks about the sorrow due to pleasures of the senses:

    And what, monks, is the peril in sense-pleasures?
    In this case, monks, a young man of family earns his
    living by some craft... He is afflicted by the cold, he
    is afflicted by the heat, suffering from the touch of
    gadflies, mosquitos, wind, sun, creeping things, dying
    of hunger and thirst. This, monks, is a peril in pleasures
    of the senses that is present, a stem of ill....

    If, monks, this young man of family rouses himself,
    exerts himself, strives thus, but if these possessions
     do not come to his hand, he grieves, mourns,
     laments, beating his breast and wailing, he falls into
    disillusionment, and thinks: 'Indeed my exertion is vain,
    indeed my striving is fruitless.' This too, monks, is a
    peril in the pleasures of the senses that is present....

    And again, monks, when sense-pleasures are the
    cause... kings dispute with kings, nobles dispute with
    nobles, brahmans dispute with brahmans, householders
    dispute with householders, a mother disputes with her
    son, a son disputes with his mother, a father disputes
    with his son, a son disputes with his father, a brother
    disputes with a brother, a brother disputes with a sister,
    a sister disputes with a brother, a friend disputes with
    a friend. Those who enter into quarrel, contention,
    dispute and attack one another with their hands and
    with stones and with sticks and with weapons, these
    suffer dying then and pain like unto dying. This too,
    monks, is a peril in the pleasures of the senses that
    is present. . . .

We then read about many more perils in pleasures of the senses, and about the bad results they will cause in the future. The Buddha also explained about the satisfaction and peril in 'material shapes'. We read:
 

    'And what, monks, is the satisfaction in material
    shapes? Monks, it is like a girl in a noble's family or a
    brahman's family or a householder's family who at the
    age of fifteen or sixteen is not too tall, not too short,
    not too thin, not too fat, not too dark, not too fair - - is
    she, monks, at the height of her beauty and loveliness
    at that time?'

    'Yes, Lord.'

    'Monks, whatever happiness and pleasure arise
    because of beauty and loveliness, this is satisfaction
    in material shapes.

    And what, monks is peril in material shapes? As to
    this, monks, one might see that same lady after a time,
    eighty or ninety or a hundred years old, aged, crooked
    as a rafter, bent, leaning on a stick, going along palsied,
    miserable, youth gone, teeth broken, hair thinned, skin
    wrinkled, stumbling along, the limbs discoloured...

    ....And again, monks, one might see that same
    lady, her body thrown aside in a cemetery - dead
    for one, two or three days, swollen, discoloured,
    decomposing. What would you think, monks? That
    that which was former beauty and loveliness has
    vanished, a peril has appeared?'

    'Yes, Lord.'

    'This too, monks, is a peril in material shapes....'

What the Buddha told the monks may sound crude to us, but it is reality. We find it difficult to accept life as it really is: birth, old age, sickness and death. We cannot bear to think of our own body or the body of someone who is dear to us as being a corpse. We accept being born, but we find it difficult to accept the consequences of birth, which are old age, sickness and death. We wish to ignore the impermanence of all conditioned things. When we look into the looking-glass and when we take care of our body we are inclined to take it for something which stays and which belongs to ourselves. However, the body is only rupa, elements which fall away as soon as they have arisen. There is no particle of the body which lasts.

Taking the body for self is a form of wrong view, in Pali: ditthi. Ditthi is a cetasika which can arise with lobha-mula-cittas (cittas rooted in attachment). There are eight types of lobha-mula-citta and of these types four are accompanied by ditthi. When lobha-mula-citta with ditthi arises there is wrong view at that moment.

There are different kinds of ditthi. The belief in a 'self' is one kind of ditthi. When we take mental phenomena or physical phenomena for 'self' there is ditthi. Some people believe that there is a self which exists in this life and which will continue to exist after this lifespan is over. This is the ‘eternity-belief’. Others believe in a self which, existing only in this life, will be annihilated after this lifespan is over. This is the 'annihilation- belief'. Another form of ditthi is the belief that there is no kamma which produces vipaka, that deeds do not bring their results. There have always been people in different countries who think that they can be purified of their imperfections merely by ablution in water or by prayers. It is their belief that the results of ill deeds they committed can thus be warded off. They do not know that each deed can bring about its own result. We can only purify ourselves of imperfections if the wisdom is cultivated. If one thinks that deeds do not bring about their appropriate results one may easily be inclined to believe that the cultivation of wholesomeness is useless. This kind of belief may lead to ill deeds and to the corruption of society.

Of the eight types of lobha-mula-citta four types arise with wrong view (ditthi); they are called in Pali: ditthigata-sampavutta (sampayutta means: associated with). Four types of lobha-mula-dtta arise without wrong view; they are ditthigata-vippayutta (vippayutta means: dissociated from).

As regards the feeling which accompanies the lobha mula-citta, lobha-mula-cittas can arise either with pleasant feeling or with indifferent feeling, never with unpleasant feeling. The lobha is more intense when it arises with pleasant feeling. Of the four types of lobha-mula-citta which are accompanied by ditthi, two types arise with pleasant feeling(somanassa), they are somanassa-sahagata (accompanied by pleasant feeling) ; two types arise with indifferent feeling (upekkha, they are upekkha-sahagata. For example, when one clings to the view that there is a self which will continue to exist, the citta can be accompanied by pleasant feeling or by indifferent feeling. Of the four lobha-mula-cittas arising without ditthi, two types are accompanied by pleasant feeling (somanassa-sahagata) and two types are accompanied by indifferent feeling (upekkha-sahagata). Thus, of the eight types of lobha-mula-citta, four types arise with pleasant feeling and four types arise with indifferent feeling.

In classifying lobha-mula-cittas there is yet another distinction to be made. Lobha-mula-cittas can be 'asankharika' (unprompted) or 'sasankharika' (prompted). Asankharika is sometimes translated as 'not induced', 'unprompted' or 'spontaneous'; sasankharika is translated as 'induced' or 'prompted'. The 'visuddhimagga' states about lobha-mula-citta that it is sasankharika 'when it is with consciousness which is sluggish and urged on'. The lobha-mula-cittas which are sasankharika can be prompted by the advice or request of someone else, or they arise induced by one's own previous consideration. Even when they are 'prompted' by one's own consideration, they are sasankharika; the cittas are 'sluggish and urged on'. Thus, when lobha is asankharika it is more intense than when it is sasankharika.

Of the four lobha-mula-cittas arising with ditthi, two types are asankharika and two types are sasankharika. As regards the lobha-mula-cittas arising without ditthi, two types are asankharika and two types are sasankharika. Thus, of the eight lobha-mula-cittas, four types are asankharika and four types are sasankharika.

It is useful to learn the Pali terms and their meaning, because the English translation does not render the meaning of realities very clearly.

The eight types of lobha-mula-citta are:

    1.  Accompanied by pleasant feeling, with wrong view,
         unprompted. (Somanassa-sahagatam ditthigata
         -sampayuttam, asankharikam ekam)

    2.  Accompanied by pleasant feeling, with wrong view,
         prompted. (Somanassa-sahagatam , ditthigata
         -sampayuttam, sasankharikam ekam)

    3.  Accompanied by pleasant feeling, without wrong
         view, unprompted. (Somanassa-sahagatam,
         ditthigata-vippayuttam , asankharikam ekam )

    4.  Accompanied by pleasant feeling, without wrong
         view, prompted. (Somanassa-sahagatam, ditthigata
         -vippayuttam, sasankharikam ekam)
     

     5.  Accompanied by indifferent feeling, with wrong
          view, unprompted. (Upekkha-sahagatam, ditthigata
         -sampayuttam, asankharikam ekam)

    6.  Accompanied by indifferent feeling, with wrong
         view, prompted. (Upekkha-sahagatam, ditthigata
         -sampayuttam, sasankharikam ekam)

    7.  Accompanied by indifferent feeling, without wrong
         view, unprompted. (Upekkha-sahagatam, ditthigata
         -vippayuttam, asankharikam ekam)

    8.  Accompanied by indifferent feeling, without wrong
         view, prompted. (Upekkha-sahagatam, ditthigata
         -vippayuttam, sasankhhrikam ekam)

As we have seen, lobha-mula-cittas can be asankharika (unprompted) or sasankharika (prompted). The 'Atthasalini'  225 gives an example of lobha-mula-cittas, accompanied by ditthi, which are sasarikharika (prompted). A son of a noble family marries a woman who has wrong views and thus he associates with people who have wrong views. Gradually he accepts those wrong views and then they are pleasing to him.

Lobha-mula-cittas without ditthi which are sasankharika arise, for example, when one, though at first not attached to alcoholic drink, takes pleasure in it after someone else persuades one to drink.

As we have seen, lobha-mula-cittas can be accompanied by pleasant feeling or by indifferent feeling. Lobha-mula-cittas without ditthi, accompanied by pleasant feeling, can arise for example, when we enjoy ourselves when seeing a beautiful colour or hearing an agreeable sound. At such moments we can be attached without taking what we see or hear for 'self'. When we enjoy beautiful clothes, go to the cinema, or laugh and talk with others about pleasurable things there can be many moments of enjoyment without the idea (of self) but there can also be moments with ditthi, moments of clinging to a ‘self'.

Lobha-mula-cittas without ditthi, accompanied by indifferent feeling may arise, for example, when we like to stand up, or like to take hold of different objects. Since we generally do not have happy feeling with these actions, there may be lobha with indifferent feeling at such moments. Thus we see that lobha often motivates the most common actions of our daily life.
 
 

  Questions

1.     When there is lobha (attachment) is there always somanassa (pleasant feeling) as well?
2.  Does ditthi (wrong view) arise only with lobha-mula-citta?
3.  How many types of lobha-mula-citta are there? Why is it useful to know this?
...

Offline icykalimu

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Re: Abhidhamma in Daily life by Nina van Gorkom
« Reply #5 on: 01 July 2011, 07:22:14 PM »
Chapter 5

       DIFFERENT DEGREES OF LOBHA
Lobha, attachment, leads to sorrow. When we really understand this, we would like to eradicate lobha. The eradication of lobha, however, cannot be done at once. We may be able to suppress lobha for a while, but it will appear again when there are the right conditions for its arising. Even though we know that lobha brings sorrow, it is bound to arise time and again. However, there is a way to eradicate it: it can be eradicated by the wisdom which sees things as they are.

When we study cittas more in detail it will help us to know ourselves. We should know not only the coarse lobha but also the degrees of lobha which are more subtle. The following sutta gives an example of lobha which is more subtle. We read in the 'Kindred Sayings' (I, Sagatha-vagga IX, Forest Suttas,par.14):

     A certain monk was once staying among the Kosalese
     in a certain forest-tract. Now while there that monk,
     after he had returned from his alms-round and had
     broken his fast, plunged into the lotus-pool and sniffed
     up the perfume of a red lotus. Then the deva who
     haunted that forest-tract, moved with compassion for
     that monk, desiring his welfare, and wishing to agitate
     him, drew near and addressed him in the verse:

    'That blossom, water-born, thing not given,
    You stand sniffing up the scent of it.
    This is one class of things that may be stolen.
    And you a smell-thief must I call, dear sir.'

    The Monk :
    'Nay, nought I bear away, I nothing break.
    Standing apart I smell the water's child.
    Now for what reason am I smell-thief called?
    One who does dig up water-lilies, one
    Who feeds on lotuses, in motley tasks
    Engaged: Why have you no such name for him?'

    The Deva :
    'A man of ruthless, wicked character,
    Foul-flecked as is a handmaid's dirty cloth:
    With such the words I say have no concern.
    But this it is meet that I should say (to you):
    To him whose character is void of vice,
    Who ever makes quest for what is pure:
    What to the wicked but a hair-tip seems,
    To him does great as a rain-cloud appear....'

We should also know the more subtle lobha which arises when we enjoy a fragrant smell or beautiful music. It seems that there are no akusala cittas when we do not harm others, but also the more subtle lobha is akusala; it is different from generosity which is kusala. We cannot force ourselves not to have lobha, but we can get to know the characteristic of lobha when it appears.

Not only the suttas, but the Vinaya (Book of Discipline for the monks) also gives examples of lobha which is more subtle. Each part of the teachings, the Vinaya, the Suttanta and the Abhidhamma can help us to know ourselves better. When we read the Vinaya we see that even the monks who lead a life of contentment with little, still have accumulated conditions for lobha. Every time there was a case where monks deviated from their purity of life, a rule was laid down in order to help them to be more watchful. Thus we can understand the usefulness of the rules, which go into even the smallest details of the monk's behaviour. The rules help the monk to be watchful even when performing the most common actions of daily life such as eating, drinking, robing himself and walking. There are rules which forbid seemingly innocent actions like playing in the water or with water (Pacittiya 53), or teasing other monks. Such actions are not done with kusala cittas, but with akusala cittas.

We read in the Vinaya ('Suttavibhanga', Pacittiya 85) that the monks should not enter a village at the wrong time. The reason is that they would indulge more easily in worldly talk. We read:

    Now at that time the group of six monks, having
    entered a village at the wrong time, having sat down
    in a hall, talked a variety of worldly talk, that is to
    say: talk of kings, of thieves, of great ministers, of
    armies, of fears, of battles, of food, of drink, of clothes,
    of beds, of garlands, of scents, of relations, of vehicles,
    of villages, of little towns, of towns, of the country,
    of women, of strong drink, of streets, of wells, of those
    departed before, of diversity, of speculation about the
    world, about the sea, on becoming and not becoming
    thus and thus....

This passage is useful for laypeople as well. We cannot help talking about worldly matters, but we should know that our talking, even if it seems innocent, often is motivated by lobha-mula-cittas or by dosa-mula-cittas (cittas rooted in aversion). In order to know ourselves we should find out by what kind of citta our talking is motivated.

Every time a lobha-mula-citta arises lobha is accumulated. When the conditions are there, lobha can motivate ill deeds through body, speech or mind. When we see to what kind of deeds lobha can lead we shall feel a stronger urge to eradicate it.

Ill deeds are called in Pali: akusala kamma. Kamma is the cetasika (mental factor arising with the citta) which is 'intention' or 'volition’, in Pali: cetana. However, the word 'kamma' is also used in a more general sense for the deeds which are intended by cetana. The term 'kamma-patha' (literally 'course of action') is used as well in this sense. There are akusala kamma-pathas and kusala kamma-pathas, ill deeds and good deeds, accomplished through body, speech and mind. As regards akusala kamma-patha, there are ten akusala kamma-pathas and these are conditioned by lobha, dosa and moha. Moha, ignorance, accompanies every akusala citta, it is the root of all evil. Thus, whenever there is akusala kamma-patha, there must be moha. Some akusala kamma-pathas can sometimes be performed with lobha-mula-citta and sometimes with dosa-mula-citta. Therefore, when we see someone else committing an ill deed we cannot always be sure which kind of citta motivates that deed.

The ten akusala kamma-pathas are the following:

      1.    Killing
      2.    Stealing
      3.    Sexual misbehaviour
      4.    Lying
      5.    Slandering
      6.    Rude speech
      7.    Frivolous talk
      8.    Covetousness
      9.    Ill-will
    10.   Wrong view (ditthi)

Killing, stealing and sexual misbehaviour are three akusala kamma-pathas accomplished through the body. Lying, slandering, rude speech and frivolous talk are four akusala kamma-pathas accomplished through speech. Covetousness, ill-will and wrong view are three akusala kamma-pathas accomplished through the mind. As regards akusala kamma-patha through the body, killing is done with dosa-mula-citta. Stealing can sometimes be performed with lobha-mula-citta and sometimes with dosa-mula-citta. It is done with lobha-mula-citta if one wishes to take what belongs to someone else in order to enjoy it oneself. It is done with dosa-mula-citta if one wishes someone else to suffer damage. Sexual misbehaviour is Performed with lobha-mula-citta.

Of the akusala kamma-pathas through speech, lying, slandering and frivolous talk are performed with lobha-mula-citta if one wishes to obtain something for oneself, or if one wishes to endear oneself to other people. As regards lying, we may thing that there is no harm in a so-called 'white lie' or a lie said for fun. However, all kinds of lies are motivated by akusala cittas. We read in the 'Discourse on an exhortation to Rahula at Ambalatthika’ (Middle Length Sayings II, no. 61, Bhikkhu-vagga) that the Buddha spoke to his son Rahula about lying. The Buddha said:

    Even so, Rahula, of anyone for whom there is no
    shame at intentional lying, of him I say that there is
    no evil he cannot do. Wherefore, for you, Rahula,
    'I will not speak a lie, even for fun' - - this is how
    you must train yourself, Rahula.

Lying can also be done with dosa-mula-citta and this is the case when one wants to harm someone else.

As regards slandering, we all are inclined to talk about other. When there is no intention to harm the reputation of others, there is no akusala kamma-patha. However, when talking about others becomes a habit, there can easily be an occasion for akusala kamma-patha. This kind of akusala kamma-patha is performed with lobha-mula-citta if one slanders in order to obtain something for oneself or to please others. It is performed with dosa-mula-citta if one wants to harm someone else. We will be less inclined to talk about others or to judge them when we see ourselves and others as phenomena which arise because of conditions and which do not stay. At the moment we talk about other people's actions, these phenomena have fallen away already; What they said or did exists no more.

Rude speech is performed with dosa-mula-citta.

Frivolous talk is talk about idle, senseless things. This kind of talk can be performed with lobha-mula-citta or by dosa-mula-citta. Frivolous talk is not always akusala kamma patha. It can be done with by akusala citta which does not have the intensity of akusala kamma-patha.

As regards akusala kamma-patha through the mind, ill-will, the intention to hurt or harm someone else is performed with dosa-mula-citta and covetousness and wrong view are performed with lobha-mula-citta. There is akusala kamma-patha which is covetousness when one intends to obtain what belongs to someone else by dishonest means. As regards ditthi (wrong view), there are many kinds of ditthi; however, three kinds of ditthi are akusala kamma-patha through the mind. One of them is ahetuka-ditthi, the belief that there is no cause for the existence of beings and no cause for their purity or corruption.

Another wrong view which is akusala kamma-patha through the mind is akiriya-ditthi, the belief that there are no good and bad deeds which produce their results.

The third wrong view which is akusala kamma-patha through the mind is natthika-ditthi or nihilism. Natthika-ditthi is the belief that there is no result of kamma and that there is no further life after death.

All degrees of lobha, be it coarse or more subtle, bring sorrow. We are like slaves as long as we are absorbed in and infatuated by the objects which present themselves through eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body-sense and mind. We are not free if our happiness depends on the situation we are in, and the way others behave towards us. One moment people may be kind to us, but the next moment they may be unpleasant. If we attach too much importance to the affection of other, we shall be easily disturbed in mind, and thus become slaves of our moods and emotions.

We can become more independent and free if we realize that both we ourselves and other people are only nama and rupa, phenomena arising because of conditions and falling away again. When others say unpleasant things to us there are conditions which cause them to speak in that way, and there are conditions which cause us to hear such words. Other people's behaviour and our reactions to it are conditioned phenonomena which do not stay. At the moment we are thinking about these phenomena, they have already fallen away. The development of insight is the way to become less dependent on the vicissitudes of life. When there is mindfulness of the present moment, we attach less importance to the way people behave towards us.

Since lobha is rooted so deeply, it can only be eradicated in different stages. Ditthi has to be eradicated first and then the other kinds of attachment can be eradicated. The  sotapanna (the person who has realized the first stage of enlightenment) has eradicated ditthi; he has developed the wisdom which realizes that all phenomena are nama and rupa, not self. Since he has eradicated ditthi, the lobha-mula-cittas with ditthi do not arise any more. As we have seen, four types of lobha-mula-citta arise with ditthi (they are ditthigata-sampayutta) and four types arise without ditthi (they are ditthigata-vippayutta). As for the sotapanna, the four types of lobha-mula-citta without ditthi still arise; he has not yet eradicated all kinds of attachment. The sotapanna still has conceit. Conceit can arise with the four types of lobha-mula-citta which are without ditthi (ditthigata-vippayutta). There may be conceit when one compares oneself with others, when one, for example, thinks that one has more wisdom than others. When we consider ourselves better, equal or less in comparison with others we may find ourselves important and then there is conceit. When we think ourselves less than someone else it is not necessarily kusala; there may still be a kind of upholding of ourselves and then there is conceit. Conceit is rooted so deeply that it is eradicated only when one has become an arahat.

The person who has realized the second stage of enlightenment, the sakadagami (once-returner), has less lobha than the sotapanna. The person who realized the third stage of enlightenment, the anagami (never-returner), has no more clinging to the objects which present themselves through the five senses, but he still has conceit and he clings to rebirth. The arahat has eradicated lobha completely.

The arahat is completely free since he has eradicated all defilements. We read in the 'Kindred Sayings' (IV, Salayatanavagga, Kindred Sayings on Sense, Third Fifty, Ch. IV, par. 136, Not including), that the Buddha said to the monks, while he was staying among the Sakkas at Devadaha:

    Devas and mankind, monks, delight in objects, they
    are excited by objects. It is owing to the instability,
    the coming to an end, the ceasing of objects, monks,
    that devas and mankind live woefully. They delight
    in sounds, scents, savours, in touch, they delight in
    mindstates and are excited by them. It is owing to
    the instability, the coming to an end, the ceasing of
    mindstates, monks, that devas and mankind live woefully.

         But the Tathagata, monks, who is Arahat, a
         fully-enlightened one, seeing as they really are, both
         the arising and the destruction, the satisfaction, the
         misery and the way of escape from objects, - - he delights
         not in objects, takes not pleasure in them, is not excited
         by them. It is owing to the instability, the coming to
         an end, the ceasing of objects that the Tathagata dwells
         at ease.. .
 
 


 

Questions




1.  When the objective is not dana (generosity), sila (morality) or bhavana (mental development), can talking be done with kusala citta?
2.  Which cetasika is kamma?
3.  Which are the ten akusala kamma-pathos?
4.  Are all kinds of ditthi akusala kamma-patha?
5.  Why does attachment always lead to sorrow?
6.  Who has eradicated all kinds of lobha?
...

Offline icykalimu

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Re: Abhidhamma in Daily life by Nina van Gorkom
« Reply #6 on: 01 July 2011, 07:22:48 PM »
Chapter 6

THE CHARACTERISTIC OF DOSA

When we are angry with other people we harm ourselves by our anger. The Buddha pointed out the adverse effects of anger (dosa). We read in the 'Gradual Sayings' (Book of the Sevens, Ch.VI, par. 10, Anger) about the ills a rival wishes his rival to have and which are actually the ills coming upon an angry woman or man. The sutta states:

    ...Monks, there is the case of the rival, who wishes
    thus of a rival: 'Would that he were ugly!'. And why?
    A rival, monks, does not like a handsome rival. Monks,
    this sort of person, being angry, is overwhelmed by
    anger; he is subverted by anger: and however well
    he be bathed, anointed, trimmed as to the hair and
    beard, clad in spotless linen; yet for all that he is ugly,
    being overwhelmed by anger. Monks, this is the first
    condition, fostered by rivals, causing rivals, which comes
    upon an angry woman or man.

    Again, there is the case of the rival, who wishes
    thus of a rival: 'Would that he might sleep badly!' And
    why? A rival, monks, does not like a rival to sleep
    well. Monks, this sort of person, being angry, is
    overwhelmed by anger... and in spite of his lying on
    a couch, spread with a fleecy cover, spread with a
    white blanket, spread with a woollen coverlet, flower
    embroidered, covered with rugs of antelope skins, with
    awnings above; or on a sofa, with crimson cushions
    at either end; yet for all that he lies in discomfort,
    being overwhelmed by anger. Monks, this is the second
    condition....

We then read about other ills a rival wishes for his rival, which come upon an angry woman or man. We read that a rival wishes his rival to be without prosperity, wealth and
fame. Further we read that a rival wishes a rival to be without friends and this happens to someone who is an angry person.

The text states:

    'Monks, this sort of person, being angry... whatever
    friends, intimates, relations and kinsmen he may have,
    they will avoid him and keep far away from him, because
    he is overwhelmed by anger...'

    A rival wishes his rival to have an unhappy rebirth
    and this can happen to an angry person. We read:

    ‘…..Monks, this sort of person, being angry... he
    misconducts himself in deed, in word and thought; so
    living, so speaking and so thinking, on the breaking
    up of the body after death he is reborn in the untoward
    way, the ill way, the abyss, hell....'


We would like to live in a world of harmony and unity among nations and we are disturbed when people commit acts of violence. We should consider what is the real cause of war and discord between people: it is the defilements which people have accumulated. When we have aversion we think that other people or unpleasant situations are the cause of our aversion. However, our accumulation of dosa is the real cause that aversion arises time and again. If we want to have less dosa we should know the characteristic of dosa and we should be aware of it when it arises.

Dosa has many degrees; it can be a slight aversion or it can be more coarse, such as anger. We can recognize dosa when it is coarse, but do we realize that we have dosa when it is more subtle? Through the study of the Abhidhamma we learn more about the characteristic of dosa. Dosa is an akusala cetasika (mental factor) arising with an akusala citta. A citta rooted in dosa is called in Pali: dosa-mula.citta. The characteristic of dosa is different from the characteristic of lobha. When there is lobha, the citta likes the object which it experiences at that moment, whereas when there is dosa, the citta has aversion towards the object it experiences. We can recognize dosa when we are angry with  someone and when we speak disagreeable words to him. But when we are afraid of something it is dosa as well, because one has aversion towards the object one is afraid of. There are so many things in life we are afraid of: one is afraid of the future, of diseases, of accidents, of death. One looks for many means in order to be cured of anguish, but the only way is the development of the wisdom which eradicates the latent
tendency of dosa.

Dosa is conditioned by lobha: we do not want to lose what is dear to us and when this actually happens we are sad. Sadness is dosa, it is akusala. If we do not know things
as they are, we believe that people and things last. However, people and things are only phenomena which arise and fall away immediately. The next moment they have changed already. If we can see things as they are we will be less overwhelmed by sadness. It makes no sense to be sad about what has happened already.

In the 'Psalms of the Sisters' (Therigatha, 33) we read that the king's wife Ubbiri mourned the loss of her daughter Jiva. Every day she went to the cemetery. She met the
Buddha who told her that in that cemetery about eighty-four thousand of her daughters (in past lives) had been burnt.

The Buddha said to her:

    'O, Ubbiri, who wails in the wood
    Crying, O Jiva! O my daughter dear!
     Come to yourself! See, in this burying-ground
     Are burnt full many a thousand daughters dear,
     And all of them were named like unto her.
     Now which of all those Jivas do you mourn?'

After Ubbiri pondered over the Dhamma thus taught by the Buddha she developed insight and saw things as they really are; she even attained arahatship.

There are other akusala cetasikas which can arise with cittas rooted in dosa. Regret or worry, in Pali: kukkucca, is an akusala cetasika which arises with dosa-mula-citta at the moment we regret something bad we did or something good we did not do. When there is regret we are thinking of the past instead of knowing the present moment. When we have done something wrong it is of no use having aversion.

Envy (issa) is another cetasika which can arise with dosa-mula-citta. There is envy when we do not like someone else to enjoy pleasant things. At that moment the citta does
not like the object it experiences. We should find out how often envy arises, even when it is more subtle. This is a way to know whether we really care for someone else or whether we only think of ourselves when we associate with others.

Stinginess (macchariya) is another akusala cetasika which may with dosa-mula-citta. When we are stingy there is dosa as well. At that moment we do not like someone
else to share in our good fortune.

Dosa always arises with an unpleasant feeling (domanassa vedana). Most people do not like to have dosa because they do not like to have an unpleasant feeling. As we develop
more understanding of realities we want to eradicate dosa not so much because we dislike unpleasant feeling but rather because we realize the adverse effects of akusala.

The doorways through which dosa can arise are the five sense-doors and the mind-door. It can arise when we see ugly sights, hear harsh sounds, smell unpleasant odours, taste
unappetizing food, receive painful bodily impressions and think of disagreeable things. Whenever there is a feeling of uneasiness, no matter how slight, it is a sign that there is
dosa. Dosa may often arise when there are unpleasant impressions through the senses, for example, when the temperature is too hot or too cold. Whenever there is a slightly
unpleasant bodily sensation dosa may arise, be it only of a lesser degree

Dosa arises when there are conditions for it. It arises so long as there is still attachment to the objects which can be experienced through the five senses. Everybody would like to experience only pleasant things and when we do not have them any more, dosa can arise.

Another condition for dosa is ignorance of Dhamma. If we are ignorant of kamma and vipaka, cause and result., dosa may arise very easily on account of an unpleasant
experience through one of the senses and thus dosa is accumulated time and again. An unpleasant experience through one of the senses is akusala vipaka caused by an unwholesome deed we perforrned. When we, for example, hear unpleasant words from someone else we may be angry with that person. Those who have studied Dhamma know that hearing something unpleasant is akusala vipaka which is not caused by someone else but by an unwholesome deed we performed ourselves. A moment of vipaka falls away immediately, it does not stay. Are we not inclined to keep on thinking about an unpleasant experience? If there is more awareness of the present moment one will be less inclined to think with aversion about one's akusala vipaka.

When we study the Abhidhamma we learn that there are two types of dosa-mula-citta; one is asarikharika (unprompted) and one is sasankharika (prompted). Dosa is sasankharika prompted) when, for example, one becomes angry after having been reminded of the disagreeable actions of someone else. When dosa is sankharika (unprompted) it is more intense than when it is sasankharika. Dosa-mula-cittas are called patigha.sampayutta, or accompanied by patigha, which is another word for dosa. Dosa.mula-cittas are always accompanied by domanassa (unpleasant feeling). The two
type of dosa-mula-citta are:

    1. Accompanied by unpleasant feeling, arising with
       anger, unprompted (Domanassa-sahagatam,
       patigha-sampayuttam, asankharikam ekam)

    2. Accompanied by unpleasant feeling, arising with
       anger, prompted (Domanassa-sahagatam,
       patigha-sampayuttam, sasankharikam ekam)

As we have seen, there are many degrees of dosa; it may be coarse or more subtle. When dosa is coarse, it causes akusala kamma-patha (unwholesome deeds) through body, speech or mind. Two kinds of akusala kamma-patha through the body can be performed with dosa-mula-citta: killing and stealing. If we want less violence in the world we should try not to kill. When we kill we accumulate a great deal of dosa. The monk's life is a life of non-violence; he does not hurt any living being in the world. However, not everyone is able to live like the monks. Defilements are anatta (not
self); they arise because of conditions. The purpose of the Buddha's teachings is not to lay down rules which forbid people to commit ill deeds, but to help people to develop the wisdom which eradicates defilements.

As regards stealing, this can either be performed with lobha-mula-citta or with dosa-mula-citta. It is done with dosa-mula-citta when there is the intention to harm someone else. Doing damage to someone else's possessions is included in this kamma-patha.

Four kinds of akusala kamma-patha through speech are performed with dosa-mula-citta: lying, slandering, rude speech and frivolous talk. Lying, slandering and frivolous talk can
either be done with lobha-mula-citta or with dosa-mula-citta. Slandering, for example, is done with dosa-mula-citta when there is the intention to cause damage to someone else, such as doing harm to his good name and causing him to be looked down upon by others. Most people think that the use of weapons is to be avoided, but they forget that the tongue can be a weapon as well, which can badly wound. Evil speech does a great deal of harm in the world; it causes discord between people. When we speak evil we harm ourselves, because at such moments akusala kamma is accumulated and it is capable of producing akusala vipaka. We read in the 'Sutta Nipata' (the Great Chapter, 'Khuddaka Nikava'):

         Truly to every person born
         An axe is born within his mouth
         Wherewith the fool cuts himself
         When he speaks evil.

As regards akusala kamma-patha through the mind performed with dosa-mula-citta, this is the intention to hurt or harm someone else.

People often speak about violence and the ways to cure It. Who of us can say that he is free from dosa and that he will never kill? We do not know how much dosa we have
accumulated in the course of many lives. When the conditions are there we might commit an act of violence we did not realize we were capable of. When we understand how ugly dosa and to what deeds it can lead we want to eradicate it.

In doing kind deeds to others we cannot eradicate the latent tendency of dosa, but at least at those moments we do not accumulate more dosa. The Buddha exhorted people
to cultivate lovingkindness (metta). We read in the 'Karaniya Metta-sutta’ (Sutta Nipata, vs. 143-152 : I am using the translation by Nanamoli Thera, Buddhist Publicafion Society, Kandv, Sri Lanka.) what one should do in order to gain the 'state of peace'. One should have thought of love for all living beings:

    . ...In safety and in bliss
    May creatures all be of a blissful heart.
    Whatever breathing beings there may be,
    No matter whether they are frail or firm,
    With none excepted, be they long or big
    Or middle-sized, or be they short or small
    Or thick, as well as those seen or unseen,
    Or whether they are dwelling far or near,
    Existing or yet seeking to exist,
    May creatures all be of a blissful heart.
    Let no one work another one's undoing
    Or even slight him at all anywhere;
    And never let them wish each other ill
    Through provocation or resentful thought.

    And just as might a mother with her life
    Protect the son that was her only child,
    So let him then for every living thing
    Maintain unbounded consciousness in being,
    And let him too with love for all the world
    Maintain unbounded consciousness in being
    Above, below, and all around in between,
    Untroubled, with no enemy or foe....

The Buddha taught us not to be angry with those who are unpleasant to us. We read in the Vinaya (Mahavagga X, 349 : Translation by Nanamoli Thera.) that the Buddha said to the monks:

    They who (in thought) belabour this: That man
    has me abused, has hurt, has worsted me,
    has me despoiled: in these wrath is not allayed.
    They who do not belabour this: That man
    has me abused, has hurt, has wosted me,
    has me despoiled: in them wrath is allayed.
    Nay, not by wrath are wrathful moods allayed here
    (and) at any time,
    but by not-wrath are they allayed: this is an (ageless)
    endless rule....

At times it seems impossible for us to have metta instead of dosa. For example, when people treat us badly we may feel very unhappy and we keep on pondering over our misery. When dosa has not been eradicated there are still conditions for it to arise. In being mindful of all realities which appear the wisdom is developed which can eradicate dosa.

Dosa can only be eradicated stage by stage. The sotapanna (who has attained the first stage of enlightenment) has not yet eradicated dosa. At the subsequent stage of enlightenment, the stage of the sakadagami (once-returner), dosa is not yet eradicate completely. The anagami (non-returner, who has attained the third stage of enlightenment) has eradicated dosa completely; he has no more latent tendency of dosa.

We have not eradicated dosa, but when dosa appears, we can be mindful of its characteristic in order to know it as a type of nama, arising because of conditions. When there is no mindfulness of dosa when it appears, dosa seems to last and we take it for self; neither do we notice other namas and rupas presenting themselves. Through mindfulness of namas and rupas which present themselves one at a time, we will learn that there are different characteristics of nama and rupa, none of which stays; and we will also know the characteristic of dosa as only a type of nama, not self.

When a clearer understanding of realities is developed we will be less inclined to ponder for a long time over an unpleasant experience, since it is only a type of nama which does not last. We will attend more to the present moment instead of thinking about the past or the future. We will also be less inclined to tell other people about unpleasant things which have happened to us, since that may be a condition both for ourselves and for others to accumulate more dosa. When someone is angry with us we will have more
understanding of his conditions; he may be tired or not feeling well. Those who treat us badly deserve compassion because they actually make themselves unhappy.

Right understanding of realities will help us most of all to have more lovingkindness and compassion towards others instead of dosa.
 
 

  Questions

1.  Why is lobha a condition for dosa?
2.  Lying, slandering and frivolous talk are akusala kamma-patha through speech which can be performed either with lobha-mula-citta or with dosa-mula-citta. When are they
performed with dosa-mula-citta?
3.  Is there akusala kamma-patha through the mind performed with dosa-mula-citta?
...