How should the Pāḷi word “pāpa” be properly understood. It is translated as “crime, evil, sin”. From my understanding there is no concept of evil or sin in the teachings. Ājāhn Brahm jokes that there is no original sin but just plain stupidity. The Buddha often uses the terms unskillful/non-beneficial when he talks about actions and results. Even Māra, I don’t feel he’s evil, he’s more like a trickster (being that he’s also subject to delusion) so he’s not really evil. So how should “pāpa” be really understood with regards to the practice?
Thank you very much for your continued guidance. They are truly appreciated.
There is the case where evil, unskillful thoughts — imbued with desire, aversion, or delusion — arise in a monk while he is referring to and attending to a particular theme. He should attend to another theme, apart from that one, connected with what is skillful.
Idha, gahapati, na kāyena pāpakammaṃ karoti, na pāpakaṃ vācaṃ bhāsati, na pāpakaṃ saṅkappaṃ saṅkappeti, na pāpakaṃ ājīvaṃ ājīvati—imehi kho ahaṃ, gahapati, catūhi dhammehi samannāgataṃ purisapuggalaṃ paññapemi sampannakusalaṃ paramakusalaṃ uttamapattipattaṃ samaṇaṃ ayojjhan”ti.
There is the case where he does no evil action with his body, speaks no evil speech, resolves on no evil resolve, and maintains himself with no evil means of livelihood. An individual endowed with these four qualities I describe as being consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments.
I agree, I have dispensed with “evil” for pāpa, and use “bad”, or maybe “wicked” on occasion.
To me pāpa is bad, not because of some intrinsic quality, but because it leads to suffering. That’s all. Which is very different from the idea of some essentially malign thing in the world that aims to destroy the good. Also, remember, Māra often wants people to do what is good! He doesn’t necessarily want people to suffer: he just wants them trapped.
Thank you very much for clarifying. I agree with you. Coincidentally, I have been using wicked when describing Māra to my young son. He likes the story of the Buddha very much and gets excited when he sees the part/illustration where where the Lord Buddha encounters Māra
Thank you for the praise! However I can’t take all the credit Just as you mentioned during the Early Buddhism course, it is amazing how young children absorb information and learn. They can retain so much information just by listening and watching.
Also, I have been using what I’ve learnt from you and Ajahn Brahm. Both of you have mentioned many times, children should just have fun, be playful, and be encouraged. There’s a lot of wisdom in those advice. From my perspective, we are both teacher and student of each other. I find that I can learn so much from him as I’ve noticed that he has so much emotional intelligence (something that we adults have lost along the way due to our conditioning).
Honestly, I can say that he is being raised with Dhamma. I just don’t know how to raise him any other way than with the help of Dhamma
As a Buddhist parent, my dream would really be for him to consider being a monastic. Whereas some Buddhist parents would cringe at that thought, I would be sincerely happy for him. Not that I would gain merit but just happy and hopeful that he may enter the quickest path to liberation, not to mention the many people he can help along the way. I don’t know if that’s going to be happen but I am hopey it will be he he he (this is where the subtle conditioning comes into play )