Continuing the discussion from Different interpretations of jāti and maraṇa:
(Continued from Unobserved suffering of sansāra existence…)
We discussed how all the dukhās Lord Buddha discussed can be explained, to have been caused by us having to come in contact with the world in ways that we do not desire:
“yampicchaṃ na labhati tampi dukkhaṃ”
This type of dukhā will be perceived only by followers of the Buddha. The main difficulty persuading us to put effort towards nivana is sansāra dukhā. Which consists of jāti, jarā, maraṇa, soka, parideva, dukhā, domanassa, upāyāsā. Lord Buddha saw sansāra dukhā and the reason for sansāra dukhā through Paṭiccasamuppāda. Which must be understood with paññā (wisdom).
avijjā -> sankhārā -> viññāṇa -> nāmarūpa -> saḷāyatana -> phassa -> vedanā -> taṇhā -> upādāna -> bhava -> jāti (birth) -> sansāra dukhā -> jarā, maraṇa….
We can see the root of sansāra dukhā is avijjā from the flow chart. To stop sansāra dukhā that is driven by avijjā (avijjā as condition sankhārā, sankhārā as condition viññāṇa… etc), we must get rid of avijjā (nivana). Avijjā is not seeing the catūariyasacce (four noble truths). The method of reasoning(nyāya) for catūariyasacce (four noble truths) is tilakkhaṇena (Nettipakarana page 249):
Unable to see catūariyasacce, for a long period of time dwelled in different jāti. (jāti sansārana). In that grasped the catūariyasacce. Eradicated bhava tanha. Eradicated all roots of dukhā. Now there is no rebirth (punarbhava); this is the desana with completed wisdom. What is the completed wisdom? Completed wisdom of rūpa anicca, vedanā anicca, saññā anicca, sankhārā anicca, viññāṇa anicca.
This shows the nyāya (rule or method of reasoning) of catūariyasacce is Tilakkhaṇena. If one doesn’t grasp tilakkhaṇena correctly, one cannot understand catūariyasacce. Therefore we can say avijjā is not correctly grasping tilakkhaṇena. Let’s take a few more steps of the paṭiccasamuppāda and see how dukhā is created.
It has been shown that avijjā as condition sankhārā comes to exist. In other words not realising anicca, sankhārā gets created.
- “avijjāpaccayā sankhārā”
- “sankhārapaccayā viññāṇaṃ”
- “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjāti cakkhuviññāṇaṃ” SN12.45 (Cakkhu:eye)
In the second line, it says sankhārā as condition viññāṇa comes to exist. In the third line instead of the sankhārā, it says cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca. So it can be deduced sankhārā = cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca. Thereby uncovering the meaning of cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca, should show what is sankhārā. Here sotāñca,ghānañca,jivhañca, kāyañca or manañca could have been used instead of cakkhuñca.
Example: “sotāñca paṭicca sadde ca uppajjāti sotāviññāṇaṃ…”
Now let’s investigate cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca:
Cakkhu (A) + Rūpe (B:) + Getting tied down by rāga or devesha © = Cakkhuviññāṇa
The process of ABC coming together creates cakkhuviññāṇa. It should be understood that the process of ABC coming together is sankhārā or (san + kirima: san + realisation). Also that san kirima is the process of eye and rūpe(sights) coming together with lobhā, devesha and moha. There are many examples of san being used in sinhala language (due to influence of pali) to mean a collection. In the ariya tradition this is used to mean the mixing (collection) of rāga, devesha and moha. Let’s see how the word san is used in buddha dhamma. Buddha desana have been described in this way in the Cūḷahatthipadopama sutta MN27:
“Te samaṇo gotamo dhammiyā kathāya sandasseti samādaseti samuttejeti sampahaṃseti”
san dasseti : makes desana about san
san mada seti (samadaseti) : teaches about separation from san
san muttejeti : getting liberated from san
san pahaṃseti : rejecting san
We saw that sankhārā means getting tied down by rāga, devesha and moha. One is tied down with rāga and devesha to keep rūpa (formations of the four great elements) as one likes (icca) and delight in it. One gets tied down like this because they don’t grasp they cannot maintain rūpa as they desire. In other words one gets tied down by desire (patticca) because they don’t realise they cannot keep it as they desire(anicca). Not grasping anicca is avijjā.
By getting tied down to a world that one cannot maintain as they desire creates dukhā. The activity of getting tied down in such a way is san + kirima or sankhārā. One should grasp the result of this binding process is viññāṇa. In other words viññāṇa is (vikurthi nānā) consciousness created through this activity of getting tied down by rāga and devesha. (viññāṇa is compared to an illusionist)
Let’s think of a household receiving an alcohol bottle. Given the husband enjoys drinking, he gets tied down with rāga(desire), but the wife not wanting the husband to drink get’s tied down by devesha, hoping to get what she wants. The husband creates a rāga viññāṇa and delights in it, while the wife creates a devesha viññāṇa and dwells in dukhā. However it was the same alcohol bottle that created the rāga viññāṇa in the husband and devesha viññāṇa in the wife. So isn’t sukhā or dukhā experienced due to mano rooted rāga viññāṇa or devesha viññāṇa? Therefore are their impressions of the alcohol bottle pure? Or some contaminated version of it? Isn’t it delusional? Which is why we compare viññāṇa to an illusionist.
Vedanā created by interacting with rūpa using these contaminated viññāṇa are known as samphassa ja vedanā. Vikurthi (delusional or contaminated) ñāṇa + cakkhu (eye) + rūpa(sights)! cakkhuviññāṇa ! cakkhusamphassa ! cakkhusamphassa ja vedanā!. Cakkhusamphassa is explained by “tinnam sangatiya phasso”(three give rise to contact). Throughout sansāra one have done the san (collection of rāga, devesha due to moha) realisation process. In other words developing sankhārā. One should now grasp, how by creating sankhārā, developing viññāṇa…. developing jāti, we continue to be in this sansāra existence. Therefore for cessation (nirodha) of jāti, what should we do? separation from san. The word that describes separation or liberation in pali is “ma”. Example: Ma + me balla samagamo : May I separate from association of balla(lower quality) beings. Therefore we can think of separating from san as san + ma (samma).
In order to get liberated from sansāra dukhā, one must stop developing jāti. san + ma ( liberation from lobhā,devesha & moha) will stop viññāṇa. Which means all the other steps in the paṭiccasamuppāda will stop. Therefore jāti will not be developed.
The view (diṭṭhi) that liberates (ma) from lobhā, devesha and moha (san) is samma diṭṭhi. A person who comes to this samma diṭṭhi have more left to do by practicing: samma sankappa, samma vaca , samma kammanta, samma-ajiva, samma-vayama , samma-sati and samma-samadhi. One must first recognise samma diṭṭhi and get into that view. It’s mentioned in the Sāriputta sutta SN 8.6, if one gains samma diṭṭhi, one is Sotāpaññā:
‘Soto, soto’ti hidaṃ, sāriputta, vuccati. Katamo nu kho, sāriputta, soto”ti? “Ayameva hi, bhante, ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo soto, seyyathidaṃ—sammādiṭṭhi, sammāsankappo, sammāvācā, sammākammanto, sammāājīvo, sammāvāyāmo, sammāsati, sammāsamādhī”ti. “Sādhu sādhu, sāriputta. Ayameva hi, sāriputta, ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo soto, seyyathidaṃ—sammādiṭṭhi … pe … sammāsamādhi.
‘Sotāpanno, Sotāpanno’ti hidaṃ, Sāriputta, vuccati. Katamo nu kho, sāriputta, Sotāpanno”ti? “Yo hi, bhante, iminā ariyena aṭṭhaṅgikena maggena samannāgato ayaṃ vuccati Sotāpanno
Soto, Soto have been said Sāriputta, what is Sotā? Bhante, ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga (noble eightfold path) is soto, which is samma diṭṭhi… samma samadhi. Sādhu, sādhu Sariputta, ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga is Sotā.
Sotāpañño, sotāpañño have been said sariputta, what is sotāpaññā? If one is of the ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga, one is said to be sotāpaññā.
So what must one fundamentally grasp to become sotāpaññā? The world is anicca, dukhā and anatta. Anyone having the view the world is desirable, pleasurable and meaningful (valuable) is avijjā. One wishes to adjust the world as they desire and enjoy it. One get’s tied down with desire (paṭicca) to eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind looking for pleasures. The process of getting tied down with rāga, devesha and moha(san) is sankhārā. As long as sankhārā exist one will develop all the other steps of paṭiccasamuppāda upto jāti. Because of that, one inherits jarā, maraṇa, sokaparideva, dukhā, domanassa, upāyāsā dukhās that belongs to jāti.
By understanding san, and understanding the tilakkhaṇena nyāya (method of reasoning of tilakkhaṇena), by not producing san and getting liberated from san, one will stop developing jāti. Therefore won’t be exposed to jarā…upāyāsā dukhā. One should see that to grasp samma diṭṭhi, two of the main nyāyas of buddha dhamma have been used. Tilakkhaṇena and paṭiccasamuppāda. In other words if one have samma diṭṭhi, one has seen ariya nyāyas with wisdom.
One who is sotāpana or with samma diṭṭhi have three fetters (sakkāyadiṭṭhi, vicikicchā, sīlabbataparāmāsa) removed from them.
Original author : Dr R. G Weerasinghe
I sense these interpretation have helped me progress on the path immensely. I am making them available by translating for the benefit of any other person with a similar mindset out of compassion. Not with the intention of coming in conflict with the teachings of any other great teachers on this forum.
I will not join in on the discussion since I don’t feel I have completed wisdom about some of the topics covered in the article. However, if there are any great teachers out there who sees through these interpretation (desana), please share your views out of compassion