Nibbida versus Aversion

And this is why this exploration is so important - so that one can clearly understand :slight_smile:


Looking at the AN10.60 sutta With Girimananda, there is the following passage

“And what is the perception of non-desire for all conditions? It’s when a mendicant is horrified, repelled, and disgusted with all conditions. This is called the perception of non-desire for all conditions.” - Sujato translation

  1. “And what, Ānanda, is the perception of impermanence in all conditioned phenomena? Here, a bhikkhu is repelled, humiliated, and disgusted by all conditioned phenomena. This is called the perception of impermanence in all conditioned phenomena." - Bodhi translation

Is this Nibbida for the conditioned?

So this Nibbida can also be really strong ‘horrific, repellent, repulsive, disgusting, humiliating’, regarding everything conditioned. (And hence zero desire for rebirth of any kind in any realm, ever).

I had some confusion as I had assumed Nibbida did not get quite so strong, and when it got to the level of revulsion, disgust etc that it must have crossed over into aversion. But I see now that the key to it is the absence of Kilesas together with seeing clearly :slight_smile:


Hi @Viveka and @Akaliko,

I’ve been rereading this thread and notice with interest that nothing has been said about the vedanā attached to each. It doesn’t seem possible for aversion to be without negative vedanā (in English at least a negative feeling is part of the definition of the word). I would assume that nibbidā (since it develops out of samādhi and clear-seeing (?sampajañña) carries neutral vedanā.

Is this right? Or is it more a case of upekkha replacing vedanā altogether? EG

4.1Those ascetics and brahmins who have directly known form in this way—and its origin, its cessation, and the practice that leads to its cessation—and are practicing for disillusionment, dispassion, and cessation regarding form [etc]: they are practicing well.
Ye hi keci, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā evaṃ rūpaṃ abhiññāya, evaṃ rūpasamudayaṃ abhiññāya, evaṃ rūpanirodhaṃ abhiññāya, evaṃ rūpanirodhagāminiṃ paṭipadaṃ abhiññāya rūpassa nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya paṭipannā, te suppaṭipannā.

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There is definitely a feeling attached to recognition of impermanence in the developing stages, later it becomes equanimity. But that feeling (loathing) must be kept in balance by other subjects of contemplation, in particular the breath.

“But if, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of inconstancy, his mind shrinks away from gains, offerings, & fame, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have developed the perception of inconstancy; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.’ In that way he is alert there.”—AN 7.46

Step-by-step distinction= 8 insight knowledges.

The path utilizes conditioned phenomena, and it is the feeling of loathing that deflects the mind towards the unconditioned.


I’m not sure vedana is related, exactly because it’s not clear how it relates to ‘emotion’/‘feeling’ in English. Nibbida, because it is so close to nibbana, should be beyond vedana.

Also see suttas like MN 74

Seeing this, a learned noble disciple grows disillusioned with pleasant, painful, and neutral feelings. Being disillusioned, desire fades away. When desire fades away they’re freed. When they’re freed, they know they’re freed.

Evaṃ passaṃ, aggivessana, sutavā ariyasāvako sukhāyapi vedanāya nibbindati, dukkhāyapi vedanāya nibbindati, adukkhamasukhāyapi vedanāya nibbindati; nibbindaṃ virajjati, virāgā vimuccati. Vimuttasmiṃ, vimuttamiti ñāṇaṃ hoti.


I believe Vedana is tied to craving/aversion - ( pleasant, unpleasant or neutral) - that stimulates ‘movement’ as a reaction/response.

My understanding is that Nibbida is about seeing things clearly, not related to having the like/don’t like response, but recognising the ‘unwholesome’ for what it is, and, from a point of wisdom, not associating with it, seeing cause and effect clearly. So from this perspective it evokes disgust, distaste etc

Here is a response from Mat that may be helpful :slight_smile:

Also the linked chart may be useful

Some useful stuff here as well :slight_smile:

Metta, and happy exploring :smiley: :sunflower:


Given discernment is one of the 7 treasures

couldn’t the two examples be seen as more a reflection of discernment than different responses to nibbida?

In the first case, where monks are fighting and not responding to his skillful means to reconcile, he rightly discerns the actions are deserving of nibbida.

In the second case, a person is going through a perfectly normal bodily function. Buddha rightly discerns there is no cause for nibbida. Nibbida never comes up in his thinking.

Thank you for sending me off looking up words in
Pali and pondering your question! :smiley: And everyone, please feel welcome to correct whenever my contributions are wrong or simplistic. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Really well put :slight_smile: I think you’re spot on. Nibbida is a result of discernment. Of clearly seeing the causes and effects and discerning wholesome, from unwholesome, and feeling repelled from the unwholseome. Aversion is a reaction based on ‘pleasant, unpleasant, neutral’ perceptions.

IMHO this is a great community for this. When I first found my way here, less than 3 years ago - I didn’t even know what an EBT was :smile: Personally, integrating prior practice and experience into the context of EBT’s, has been an incredible gift… All the disparate bits of the jigsaw start to make sense, and the beautiful message/teaching of the Buddha Dhamma takes shape :slight_smile:

As such, I have boundless gratitude to the members of this community, for being good kalyanamittas, and it is a pleasure to serve, to make sure it is available to all others intersted in the Buddha Dhamma :thaibuddha: :dharmawheel: :revolving_hearts:

May your journey be swift and joyful :pray:


Whilst I’ve found what’s been said about nibbida and aversion very helpful, and it’s perfectly reasonable to ask what the Buddha said and very useful to collect up what the texts say about what the Buddha gave as his reasons for going away. :pray:

I remain a bit on the fence about the way the discussion developed in the thread; there seems to be a premise that assumes we can know what the Buddha had in his mind behind the words he spoke. Please correct me if I’ve misread the thread.

It would be good if you could elaborate on this :slight_smile:

Certainly my recent comments have not been about that initial question at all… That was just one of the initiating triggers for exploring the issue, and the discussion has evolved from there. Looking at it now, I see that the initial questions really highlighted, and then clarified, some misunderstandings that I had.

If however, the statement below appears too confident.

I take your point on board, and should clarify that this is just how I understand this at this point in time… perhaps my current understanding is just as deluded as the initial questions were :smile: :smiley: :smiley:

I was referring to comments that I think were made by your interlocutors rather than by yourself. I’ll come back and read the whole thread again soon, and answer properly then. :slight_smile: