Bhikkhu Anālayo: The Influxes and Mindful Eating

This is Bhikhu Anālayo’s new article on the term āsava (translated as ‘influxes’) in November Insight Journal .

He is pointing to the story where the Buddha teaches king Pasenadi how to lose weight, thereby making the point that the modern use of mindfulness techniques ‘merely’ for health purposes does indeed have a precedent in the EBTs. And also, in the relevant sutta we see the world’s first professional mindfulness trainer being established in his position! :grin: :rofl:


Thank you. EBT Weight Watchers! I had a friend who used this approach to mindfulness in order to lose weight.

Tangentially, I had not seen the term “influxes” before. Bhante Sujato translates these as “defilements”

Tayo āsavā—kāmāsavo, bhavāsavo, avijjāsavo. (20)
Three defilements–sensuality, desire for continued existence, and ignorance.

Pali dictionary:

‘inflowing’, influence (the concerns, attitudes, predispositions, listed as kāma, bhava, avijjā, and sometimes, ditthi, which form an obstacle to the realization of the truth.
affliction, pain (so commentary).

The word “influx” is outcome-neutral in English. The goodness/badness is contextual. The influx of suttas is good for my practice. The influx of cake is not. Bhante Sujato’s translations focus on the later part of the definition. His use of “defilement” aligns with “obstacle to the realization of the truth”. Indeed, his use of defilement causes one to be immediately wary.

But I hadn’t thought of the “influx” part of the definition till I read the article.


If I’m remembering correctly, Bhikkhu Bodhi uses “influxes” and gives a convincing explanation behind his choice in the YouTube series of talks on the Majjhima Nikaya.


Āsava is one of those hard words in Pāɭi, apparently. The Jains also have an āsava concept, if I’m not mistaken. Since there is an element of “flow” in the sense of the word, there is the natural question of whether it’s flowing ‘in’ or ‘out’, and ‘from where’?


It’s said when the asava are destroyed enlightenment is reached. Khinasava(?) is a name for an arahanth. The knowledge of having gained full enlightenment is ‘Asavakkhaya nyana’.

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