Bhava doesn't mean 'becoming'

Thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed analysis, @Sunyo. I must admit you make a number of good points. In particular, your analysis of the meaning of AN3.76-77 is interesting. (Although I would have to look at it in a bit more detail to arrive at a final conclusion - one way or the other.)

To me the greatest weakness in your argument is that I do not think it makes a sufficiently good case for why the Buddha uses two words for the rebirth process, that is, both bhava and jāti.

Anyway, here are a few words in response.

Not really. The idea that we create kamma as a result of how we live is also implied by upādāna and the resulting inclination of the mind. I suppose the only difference is which term we use to explain this process. So I don’t have much vested interest in this, which should make it easier for me to let go! :grinning:

Except that in DO ponobhavika is covered by jāti. To my mind, your interpretation makes the distinction between bhava and jāti negligible.

Good one! Sunyo vs. Brahmali: 1 - 0.

Yes, but there needs to be some distinction between bhava and jāti. Otherwise one of them is redundant. In fact your whole argument here and below almost erases the distinction between the two. We need a clear explanation of why the Buddha used the two terms, including the conditional relationship between them.

The ideas of kamma and rebirth are mainstream, intermediate existence is not. True, there are only these two suttas, but they don’t really say anything new. They are just applying an existing scheme to a specific context.

The point here would simply be that as you exist in the sense sphere you tend to make sense sphere kamma. The doing is implied by the existence.


Thank you Venerable. I do not regard my questions as “silly”. It seems you sought to correlate the words “sensual” & “human”, which seems to have no basis in the EBTs; thus giving the impression to imply the Buddha lived a “sensual life”; or otherwise the Buddha was not “human”. While DN 30 seems to have the flavour of late Jataka inspired sutta, I already offered my view that “bhava” in DN 30 may refer to a “mode of behaviour/kamma”, as follows:

In some past births (jatim), past existences (bhavaṁ), past abodes the Realized One existed (samāno) as a human being (manussabhūto). He firmly undertook and persisted in skillful behaviors such as good conduct by way of body, speech and mind…

Similarly, you seemed to offer an idiosyncratic translation of “dukkham” as the characteristic of things; thus stating the aggregates are “suffering” rather than the aggregates “lack a pleasurable nature”. MN 115 seems to make it clear the characteristic of “dukkham” means there is no inherent pleasurableness in conditioned things, as follows:

‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to take any condition as permanent.

‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to take any condition as pleasant.

‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to take anything as self.

MN 115

You seemed to propose an undefined Path that must end the aggregates that is not the destruction of craving. Again, the suttas seem to have only one Path, which is the destruction of craving.

The above give the impression of attempting to give greater scope to Dependent Origination than was originally intended for that Teaching. As stated in my initial replies, there are only three bhava in Dependent Origination:

  1. Sensual
  2. Form
  3. Formless

Dependent Origination does not refer to human bhava. Therefore, DN 30, which seems to be a late Jataka style sutta, is probably unfit for the purpose of explaining bhava in core suttas such as SN 12.2. Regardless, as suggested from the start, the word “bhava” seems too broad to only be about the three ignorant bhava of Dependent Origination; as indicated in Iti 44. In Iti 44, the Arahants abide in the Nibbana With Remainder, which is not sensual, nor form; nor formless. Therefore, it seems when Iti 44 says “all bhava” ends in Nibbana Without Remainder, “bhava” here cannot refer to the three bhava of Dependent Origination but, instead, may simply mean the very broad term “being”. Keep in mind, SN 12.3 literally says Dependent Origination is the wrong path therefore the three bhava in DO cannot apply to Arahants. :slightly_smiling_face:


Dear All,

Please keep the discussion on topic and avoid combative, ad hominem statements. Remember the advice of the Araṇavibhaṅga Sutta (MN 139): Criticize ideas, not people.

With Metta,


A post was split to a new topic: Does kamma mean intention?

I found CurlyCarl’s question to be very relevant and not malicious.

Titho brilliantly wrote how to approach this topic. One should use the Buddha’s teachings for practical purposes. The term becoming moment by moment serves me very well. It shows me that the ego is an illusion. I change my kamme all the time. Kamma has suffering within it. The more emptiness, the less kamma - less suffering. After all, even in the highest states there is kamma that needs to be let go. Thank you for this discussion. Venerable Sunio for the topic. CurlyCarl for good arguments. Thito for wisdom.


Thanks for sharing. I hear what you’re saying regarding the practical aspects of the practice.

At the same time, per a Venerable on another topic: If final Nibbana is the cessation of the Khandas…? A question I've been pondering
"…the aggregates are suffering. If the mind hasn’t seen that, you can aim for the cessation of craving all you want, but attachments and craving for those aggregates will remain. Craving is there because of not understanding suffering. If you understand suffering, craving will automatically disappear, whether you want it to or not. "

This seems to be an important practical point worth considering and which can be verified in practice. Also, as quoted many times, see Iti44.

Yup. The comment was offered lightheartedly… :slightly_smiling_face:

As we know, the Buddha taught over and over again about the necessity of developing dispassion (virāga) for the mind to fully let go – > liberation.

So just for consideration: If the khandhas are seen as “OK in themselves”, a subtle clinging to them can remain which, practically speaking, can be an obstacle to liberation compared to an understanding, for example, that pain (in the kāya, body) is simply pain, pain = dukkha, and it all has to go, (parinibbāna).

As long as the khandas are present, form is present, and pain will be experienced through the khandhas of form, perception, feeling, and consciousness, even without clinging or identification with them.

If the khandhas, in themselves, are not suffering then why not be born again and again without clinging? By this definition, this would be the cessation of dukkha.
Are there any suttas that express this?

Instead, the Buddha’s N8FP is specifically about ending dukkha by ending rebirth.

With respect and all best wishes :pray:

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:slight_smile: But before you get too convinced, Ajahn, please see my later discussion with Bhante Sujato: I did change my mind somewhat on kittāvatā. (Although not a full turnaround.) My suggestion of ‘how’ was too simplistic. But on the other hand, kittāvatā also isn’t a clear definition.

I actually agree with this, to an extent. The two terms seem somewhat redundant. But then we might say the same about craving and taking up, which more or less imply one another. Or we could say the same about nāmarūpa and the six senses, which are pragmatically very much the same. As you know, DN15 even skips the six senses, which shows the near equivalence of these factors. So does every factor in DA have to mean something completely different, or do some of the terms also explain one another and overlap to some extent? I think the latter.

I don’t see that as a real problem. Because we can wonder why the Buddha said many things. But one thing he consistently did is explain concepts in terms of one another. That there are such explanations inside DA doesn’t surprise me much. So if this is the greatest weakness of “my” ideas, I’m very happy with that. :wink:

But then this same “problem” of redundancy would seem to exist if bhava were effectively kamma. Because then bhava moved very close to upādāna. As you said, “The idea that we create kamma as a result of how we live is also implied by upādāna and the resulting inclination of the mind.” In fact, I would feel the exact same thing you’ve said: to me it would make the distinction between the factors of bhava and upādāna (and craving) kind of indistinguishable. Although I’m sure we could pinpoint some difference, how pragmatic would it really be? Do we need three factors in a row (craving, upādāna, bhava) to point at the defilements?

That said, I think there is a difference between jati and bhava, which can also matter pragmatically. Because in a sense jati is a further “narrowing down” of bhava. Bhava (in this context of DA at least) implies more of a general existence in the three realms, as it is indeed repeatedly “defined”. But jati is more a specific incarnation in a certain body, which of course aligns with the definition of birth including “beings into an order of beings” and with the specific list of devas, humans, birds, etc. in DN15’s explanation of birth. So bhava is (sometimes) used more abstractly, in a sense, than jati. That alone, I’d say, makes for a pragmatic difference between bhava and jati. For example, those who’ve seen the second noble truth but aren’t enlightened (the sekhas) will know that if they keep craving, they will keep existing after death (i.e. they know they will have more bhava). But they don’t really know in what specific jati they may get reborn. So they can make the link ‘taking up > bhava’ more easily than they would ‘taking up > jati’. To what extent this is pragmatic will of course differ from person to person.

Also, to make the difference between jati and bhava bigger: I do like the translation ‘rebirth’ for jati at times, but translating it as ‘birth’ distances jati from bhava a bit more. Jati in the Buddhist context of course always implies rebirth, but I think it’s most basic meaning is still just ‘birth’. I mean, there must have been a word for ‘birth’ that the materialists also used, who didn’t belief in rebirth, and that word was probably jati. (Whether this is birth into the womb or into the world is irrelevant.) So it may be that the Buddha put bhava before birth to clarify that when he used jati, he was talking about rebirth, not just birth in the physical sense, not the kind of birth (jati) materialists could also see. In other words, he was saying jati happens after you already exist before (bhava), not out of nowhere.

Also, to directly link craving to jati may have been a bit too direct, perhaps, for those listeners who may have understood jati as physical birth. It wouldn’t have been explanatory enough. Perhaps they’d understand it as sensual craving of the parents leading to birth, or whatever. Just thinking out loud here. Just saying that “birth depends on craving” may needed some further clarification for some.

Anyway, instead of a third factor to describe the defilements, one on top of craving and taking up, I think we are better served with a factor that actually describes the deepest attachment, i.e. that to existence (bhava). And let’s not forget the cessation sequence! To specifically say that existence ceases is much more powerful than saying that birth ceases. That alone makes bhava worthy of inclusion, in my opinion, even if it were little different from jati. The cessatoin of existence would have challenged lots of people much more deeply than the cessation of (re)birth.

And on that topic, perhaps bhava did not necessarily imply jati either for people who believed in eternal existence outside samsara, like the brahmins. They could have believed in a state of existence (bhava) free from birth (jati). So it could be the Buddha wanted to say that bhava always leads to (re)birth. Perhaps this challenged some people who thought there was another kind of higher bhava free from jati.

Suffice to say, there may be many reasons for these links to both be included, even though they are closely connected.

To be born, you need to continue to exist after a past life. DN15’s explanation of this link between bhava and jati may be so terse and non-explanatory exactly because to the Buddhist this was so obvious. Perhaps it was not obvious to materialists and/or externalists, as I suggested, but then the link by itself would’ve explained how they were wrong. It didn’t need much further clarification.

‘Continued existence is a condition for (re)birth’—that’s what I said. And this is a way to understand how this is so. Suppose there were totally and utterly no continued existence for anyone anywhere. That is, continued existence in the sensual realm, the realm of luminous form, or the formless realm. When there’s no continued existence at all, with the cessation of continued existence, would (re)birth still be found?” “No, sir.” (DN15)

That’s a lot of words to effectively say: we may not know why the Buddha phrased things the way he did. But that doesn’t give a good reason to make terms more “complicated” than how he used them throughout the suttas. In this case bhava.


Well, in that case I must have been the one misunderstood and I apologize. :slight_smile: To me it came across like you (Carl) implied I suggested something dumb, something obviously wrong. But all I did was give a very standard (if not the standard) interpretation of these ideas, so I assumed you were aware of them. Next time, perhaps, can you explain your points instead of summarizing them as somewhat rhetorical questions which I have to guess what they mean? :+1:

Our main disagreement was whether enlightened ones still have bhava. Considering that the Buddha specifically specified them to do so (SN22.76), I do not feel a need to discuss this any further. Suffice to say, the suggestions that the eighth bhava of the stream enterer does not mean an eighth life but an eight fetter is very novel, and does not seem to work in the context. And the equation of ‘past bhava’ with “a mode of behaviour” where it is occurs in a list of synonyms including ‘past births’ and ‘past abode’ is not very convincing either, because then ‘past birth’ and ‘past abode’ are also a mode of behaviour.

These suggestions seem to me, with all respect, somewhat far-fetched. I’ll leave it at that. :slight_smile: Other readers can judge what they think.


In these cases it seems to me that there is a clear hierarchy. “Taking up” (upādāna) only happens when there is craving, not without it. On the other hand, it is possible to crave without taking up. Craving is more basic. And the way I understand bhava, it is a further development on upādāna. Once you take up a number of things, your life takes a definite shape, a kind existence. So I see a fairly clear evolution here.

The same is true for nāma-rūpa and the six sense spheres. Nāma-rūpa is there from the moment consciousness arises. The six sense spheres, on the other hand, take time to develop. I mean, initially you don’t even have eyes and ears, etc. So again, I discern a fairly obvious direction of development.

With bhava and jāti, I still fail to see this. You are right, of course, that the two terms complement each other. The terms bhava adds to our understanding of the process. But I do not see any sequential development from one to the other. (Unless bhava refers to the antarabhava, “intermediate existence”, which I have argued seems unlikely.)

In any case, I am not sure if there is much point in discussing this any further. We seem to agree on the actual process, which is what matters. That we give slightly different names to some of the stages does not seem particularly important. Or is it?


From SN 12.67

But I also understood you to say: ‘No, Reverend Koṭṭhita, consciousness is not made by oneself, nor by another, nor by both oneself and another, nor does it arise by chance, not made by oneself or another. Rather, name and form are conditions for consciousness.’

How then should we see the meaning of this statement?”

“Well then, reverend, I shall give you a simile. For by means of a simile some sensible people understand the meaning of what is said. Suppose there were two bundles of reeds leaning up against each other.

In the same way, name and form are conditions for consciousness. Consciousness is a condition for name and form. Name and form are conditions for the six sense fields. The six sense fields are conditions for contact. … That is how this entire mass of suffering originates. If the first of those bundles of reeds were to be pulled away, the other would collapse. And if the other were to be pulled away, the first would collapse.

In the same way, when name and form cease, consciousness ceases. When consciousness ceases, name and form cease. When name and form cease, the six sense fields cease. When the six sense fields cease, contact ceases. … That is how this entire mass of suffering ceases.”

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

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How can you be born without clinging? Seems like a direct contradiction in terms.

If you’re not clinging to something, then by definition you wouldn’t want to have it, correct?

If you cling to something, then by definition you don’t want to let it go, agreed?

So to answer your question, if you’re indifferent about something, why would you want to have it? Seems like a direct contradiction in definition.

Likewise, if you don’t care about having the khandas in the present moment, then obviously you wouldn’t want to have them again in the future (rebirth).

I never said that the khandas should be seen as “ok”. I said the problem doesn’t lie with the khandas, in and of themselves, but the addiction to them, thus a perception of disgust must be employed against a perception of desire, for the sake of removing addiction (craving & clinging). Cigarettes can’t harm you if you don’t pick them up and put them in your mouth. Khandas can’t harm you if you don’t misuse them.

The world is not the problem, the problem is the poison that misapprehends the world, and thus misuses and abuses the world.

Notice below it says “the wise eliminate their hankering for them”, i.e. the problem lies with craving, not the things in the world.

There are five varieties of sensuous pleasure.

pañcime bhikkhave kāmaguṇā

Visible objects known via the visual sense…​ tangible objects known via the tactile sense, all of which are likeable, loveable, pleasing, agreeable, connected with sensuous pleasure, and charming

cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā…​ kāyaviññeyyā phoṭṭhabbā iṭṭhā kantāmanāpā piyarūpā kāmupasaṃhitā rajaniyā.

These however are not sensuous yearnings.

Apica kho bhikkhave nete kāmā

In the [terminology of the] Noble One’s training system they are called the varieties of sensuous pleasure.

kāmaguṇā nāmete ariyassa vinaye vuccanti

The sensuous yearning of a man is his thoughts bound up with attachment.

Saṅkapparāgo purisassa kāmo

The world’s attractive things are not sensuous yearning

Nete kāmā yāni citrāni loke

The sensuous yearning of a man is his thoughts bound up with attachment.

Saṅkapparāgo purisassa kāmo

The world’s attractive things remain as they are

Tiṭṭhanti citrāni tatheva loke

The wise eliminate their hankering for them

Athettha dhīrā vinayanti chandan ti.

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(continuated from previous post, sorry, I wanted to edit my previous post to include more sutta examples, but you can’t edit posts in slow mode)

In addition to my previous sutta reference on the things in the world being neutral, and removing hankering for them:

"Develop the meditation in tune with water. For when you are developing the meditation in tune with water, agreeable & disagreeable sensory impressions that have arisen will not stay in charge of your mind. Just as when people wash what is clean or unclean in water — feces, urine, saliva, pus, or blood — the water is not horrified, humiliated, or disgusted by it; in the same way, when you are developing the meditation in tune with water, agreeable & disagreeable sensory impressions that have arisen will not stay in charge of your mind.

The interior water element and the exterior water element are just the water element. This should be truly seen with right understanding like this: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’ When you truly see with right understanding, you reject the water element, detaching the mind from the water element.

i.e. the right understanding results in equanimity (neither liking nor disliking) the aggregates. When a perception of disgust neutralizes a perception of delight/desire, the result is equanimity which cannot co-exist with clinging and craving aka addiction, you cannot be both indifferent and clinging at the same time. Thus to answer your earlier question again, you cannot be born without clinging.

The elements which make the khandas are neutral, neither good nor bad, they exist in the world, it’s perversion of perception born of ignorance that misuses and abuses them.


Thanks for your comments.

I think we’re talking past each other a bit.

This was offered merely as a theoretical example representing how, in the view of a number of practitioners, dukkha does not utterly cease while the khandhas are present. It was not offered as an analysis of how clinging could or could not work in this particular situation.

In other words, if there’s no dukkha when the khandas are present then endless rebirth would not be a problem, even if it arose randomly or by chance. But the point of the N8FP is the complete ending of rebirth which the Buddha explained was the utter ending of dukkha, (parinibbāna).
The example wasn’t meant as a point for detailed debate, but rather as a kind of “metaphor” for how the ending of all rebirth and the khandhas is the goal, rather than any existence with the khandhas, even without clinging.
But I don’t think it’s worth getting caught up dissecting the example itself.

In one sense, the khandhas are just naturally changing phenomena and the ending of attachment, craving, and identification with them is the cessation of much dukkha and the ending of rebirth.
At the same time, as written before, the body is still present, so pain will still be present, and pain is uncomfortable, especially severe pain, and that can be seen as a form of dukkha. This appears to be the crux of the issue and the main area of disagreement.

True, the “mind” of an arahant will not be suffering with the second arrow of aversion, fear, anger, etc. But I don’t think anyone has argued that pain won’t be experienced in and of itself.
Again, some don’t see this as a kind of dukkha. Others do, as in SN 22.76, "What’s impermanent is suffering. Yad aniccaṁ taṁ dukkhaṁ; " and many other suttas in which the khandhas are shown to be impermanent and hence suffering. Sabbe sankhāra dukkha. Here, sankhāra points to all conditional phenomena.

So we may wish to consider: is pain, intrinsic to the presence of the khandhas whether clinging and ignorance are present or not, a form of *dukkha (*the first arrow), or not? You and others appear to say, “No.” Ok.
But could that first arrow and pain be present after the death of an arahant (parinibbāna) when all the khandhas have utterly ceased? I think there will be agreement: No.
And if the extinguishment of pain and the first arrow after parinibbāna is understood as a relief (even just from the physical), compared to the presence of pain while the khandas are present then…

I understand and respect the points you and others have made regarding this issue and appreciate the Dhamma-exercise of sharing about these and other issues as a form of practice. :slightly_smiling_face:

I offer my respect and gratitude to you and others who continue to share on this forum in this way!

On we go… :pray:

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Hi Jusedho,

sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā
sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā
sabbe dhammā anattā

Nibbana is not saṅkhārā, Nibbana is anattā, unconditioned. So when one has attained Nibbana, there are no conditioned phenomena, because they are understood as impermant, not-self and dukkha. But since Nibbana is experienced ‘alive’, this begs the question as to how it can be that when one has attained Nibbana that there are no conditioned phenomena? I explained this in a post above.

When one has attained Nibbana, and one stubs his toe, one cannot say that one suffers, because one must first identify oneself in order for suffering to be applied, even though the pain is felt. Since upon attaining Nibbana one is not-self, no suffering can be applied.

Warm regards,

Hi Peter,

Agree, and I don’t think anyone is saying otherwise.
Sabbe sankhāra dukkha was cited in the last post specifically to support the fact that the khandhas, being conditional/impermanent, are dukkha.

While the latter part of this is true, the former part about “no conditional phenomena” does not apply to niibbāna realizedcwhile an arahant is still alive. A number of posts in this thread attest to this, including that existence, bhava, is still present.

Iti44 differentiates between nibbāna with residue (khandhas, conditional phenomena; sa-upādisesa nibbāna dhatu) and nibbāna without residue or conditions (anupādisesa nibbāna dhatu). It’s important to know which is being pointed to in a given teaching.

There remain different viewpoints as to whether pain itself is a form of dukkha, even without clinging or identification, or whether it isn’t. My last post asked if there would be any relief when the khandhas fully cease in parinibbāna compared to having to experience any pain. And if so, then…

Examples have been offered for both sides. Everyone can choose for themselves, of course. :slightly_smiling_face: :pray:

With all best wishes

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Hi Jasudho,

This is irrelevant, because Nibbana is unconditioned. The commentaries explain Nibbana in this way, whereby the nature of Nibbana as explained in the suttas is changed, in order to make a coherent story out of their wrong understanding of DO. The commentaries hold DO to be speaking of insight into the workings of the universe as to how human child-birth comes to be, which is impossible to know, because we can never have any understanding beyond our own cognition. Instead, actually, DO explains how the process of cognition leads to the appropriation of that what is cognized as child-birth to be that of the self.

The first, wrong, understanding leads to liberation from suffering only at death, and until death, life in its entirety is experienced as suffering.

The second, right, understanding leads to liberation from suffering at the moment anatta is understood.

Indeed, people should determine for themselves what might be the actual teaching and worthwhile to follow.

In my previous post I explained that this is impossible when one has attained Nibbana.

All the best to you.

Warm regards,

Hi again,

We may wish to be careful before making statements like:

Probably no one on this forum is an arahant and since only arahants have unsurpassable Right View/Understanding…
I mean, someone saying the Dhamma is about stealing and clinging – sure, obviously mistaken. But more subtle aspects are probably best approached with open-hearted curiosity and consideration. Just saying…

Also, we may also wish to consider that a number of very experienced Venerables take the former position, the one you label as “wrong.”

For example, in a different topic a Venerable wrote:

"Suffering is more than just craving. The khandhas themselves are suffering too.

“You should abandon desire for what is suffering. And what is suffering? Form, feeling, perception, will (sankhāras), and consciousness are suffering.” (SN22.140)

So if you want to end suffering, the khandhas have to end. That’s why final nibbāna is stated to be the cessation of existence. Because only that is the complete end of suffering."

Now we may agree or disagree with this, and we may agree to disagree! :slightly_smiling_face:

That’s ok.

With best wishes :pray:


What if the khandhas have 10% suffering. And clinging to khandhas is 90%? Or other numbers. You both may be right.

I think this was all taken in the light of genuine desire for discussion around an issue that @Sunyo quite adeptly identified. He is talking about momentary, intentional, sequential conscious, which in consideration of many things … is quite an advanced approach, and he is objecting to it as an interpretation, perhaps even a doctrine common to certain abhidhamma. He’s taken in up in a way that, to me, seems designed to make his thoughts as simple as possible.

He led me to some questions, for instance, what does ‘viññāṇāhāro āyatiṁ punabbhavābhinibbattiyā paccayo, tasmiṁ bhūte sati saḷāyatanaṁ, saḷāyatanapaccayā phasso’”ti. in SN 12.12 actually mean …

This punabbhavābhinibbattiyā is causing me problems as a first stop.

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@Brahmali. Hmmm, I’m a bit sad now! I thought I almost made you see the light, Ajahn. :smiley: :wink: Haha! But no worries. Because of course I also have no vested interest in these kinds of things. Otherwise I’d just be asking for headaches! :face_with_head_bandage:

Thanks for your thoughts!

OK, it’s true these factors are not the exact same. But then still, the idea of the six senses developing after nāmarūpa is also not explained very often or clearly in the suttas, nor is it pragmatically very relevant. In other words, these links, still set a precedence for bhava > jati as I understand it, in that they mainly give us different ways to contemplate the same general idea, instead of being truly distinct ideas. And the sequential idea here is not too different, actually, from bhava leading to birth as I see those factors. For one thing, because the definition of birth also mentions ‘obtaining the ayatanas’ which seems to mean the six senses, so I wouldn’t rule out that it also includes physical birth. Which bhava precedes.

But is this really the main reason, then, to give bhava this meaning of changes within life? That’s not the best reason of all time, I think you can agree. :slight_smile:

Because the problem remains, as I said before, that the idea doesn’t fit bhava as it is used throughout the suttas. Stream enterers not taking an eighth bhava, for example, clearly doesn’t mean that their lives can only “take shape” a maximum of seven times. It fits none of the examples I’ve given at the start (putting aside AN3.76-77 for a moment, on which we disagree). They all talk about rebirth and/or bhava in a the sense of a whole life. None are about a change of “existence” in this life. (Except perhaps the sutta on arahants being the highest bhava, which, being about arahants, doesn’t fit your ideas of bhava = kamma either, is quite clearly a pun on bhava, and also equates it to ‘abode’.)

I’ve asked everybody here for examples of bhava happening or changing in this life or being directly linked with kamma, but nobody has supplied any, nor could I find any myself. Aside from you mentioning AN3.76-77, but I showed how it can be interpreted differently. Even if I got kittāvatta wrong, the suttas still specifically mention punabbhava at the conclusion and therefore are also about rebirth.

It may be a rare concept. But significantly, the suttas that do talk about it in some detail actually specifically use bhava (AN4.131) and craving + upādāna (SN44.9). I don’t think it’s far-fetched to assume the words are used here in the same general sense as in DA. In fact, it would be strange to not do so, since the context is essentially the same: that of rebirth.

I’m not sure if we agree on the process! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: But, yes, I think the noble truths suffices to get insight into the dhamma, and I also think even arahants may get technical or linguistic details about DA completely wrong. So in that sense it doesn’t matter.

But it does change where we direct our contemplation. Your interpretation moves these factors away from contemplating rebirth. (And is, as far as I’m aware, not much different from some people’s ideas of “becoming”.) But to me these factors of Dependent Arising really intent to convey how rebirth occurs. Rebirth occurs because, out of craving we take up (upādāna) the aggregates again after death. (Which is one reason they are called upādānakkkhanhas, aggregates which are taken.) This leads to further existence after death and then to birth. This is analogous to the second noble truth on the origin of suffering: it is the that craving leads to punabbhava. I see bhava in DA as the functional equivalent of punabbhava in the second noble truth. That makes contemplating this truth and these factors of DA essentially the same, namely about rebirth.

(Also, if bhava were to be changes or karmic processes in this life, how does punabbhava mean rebirth? If bhava changed within one life, than literally speaking you can also have punabbhava (another bhava) within a single life. The word is much more naturally read as “again existence” i.e. “another life”, with bhava meaning a life that starts after death, essentially.)

It takes away from the depth of DA too. The stream enterer’s insight of DA is insight into rebirth. That’s something very different from seeing how our craving influences the way we live our lives (or how our life takes shape), which is something everybody can kind of understand. You need no jhanas or deep insights for that. Also, any such processes in life do not really lead to birth. But continued existence (after death) does very directly lead to rebirth. And so that’s what I think bhava means.

Anyway, I suppose you have considered most of this before. I see you wanted to end the discussion, so let’s, as they say, agree to disagree! I’ll consider your ideas again in future. :slight_smile:

Much metta and be safe on your travels, doctor! :laughing: :nerd_face: :face_with_monocle: :hospital:

Continuing in the same post because of the 30 minute thing…

Hey, :wave: perhaps this helps:

As Ven. Bodhi notes, bhute must refer here to the being that is reborn. So my translation is: "The nutriment of consciousness is a condition for the production of continued existence in a future life. When the being is born, there are the six senses.” The idea is that consciousness needs to continue from a past life in order for there to be rebirth. It explains, as the sutta starts, how the nutriment of consciousness “help[s] those that are about to be born.”

Punabbhavābhinibbattiyā is somewhat clumsy to translate, because the temrs punabbhava and abhinibbatti are very similar. In my translation they are more or less: “production (abhinibbatti) of continued existence (bhava) in a future life (ayatiṃ)”.

Ven. Sujato has: “Consciousness is a fuel that conditions rebirth into a new state of existence in the future. When that which has been reborn is present, there are the six sense fields.”
Ven. Bodhi has: “The nutriment consciousness is a condition for the production of future renewed existence. When that which has come into being exists, the six sense bases come to be; with the six sense bases as condition, contact.”

The idea is the same.

But to come back to the topic, in this compound also bhava refers to a future life, not to “becoming”.