Printed and published by U Myint Maung, Deputy Director, Regd: (02405/02527) at the Religious Affairs Dept. Press. Yegu, Kaba-Aye P.O., Rangoon, Burma.
Translated from Pali into Burmese by Ledi Pandita U Maung Gyi, M.A.
Translated into English by the Editors of The Light of the Dhamma
Note to the electronic version:
This electronic version is reproduced directly from the printed version The text is an English translation from the original Burmese. No attempt has been made to to change any of the English phraseology. The reason for putting this book into electronic media is that the book is out of print and the text has been found very a valuable source of inspiration to those practising Vipassana meditation, despite using English language which is somewhat archaic.
By means of a ship named "The Noble Eightfold Path,"
the great leader of men, devas and brahmas has rescued beings,
who, entangled with wrong views,
were drifting aimlessly in the current of the ocean of craving.
To this exalted one I pay my deepest homage.
"O monks, there are three kinds of beliefs, addicted to which, discussing which, and making them their object, some samanas and brahmins reach the extremes and become akiriya-ditthi (holders of the "view of the inefficacy of action"). What are these three? They are:
The view that all sensations enjoyed by beings in the present existence are caused and conditioned only by the volitional actions done by them in their past existences.
"Monks, there are some samanas and brahmins who set forth and hold the following view: "All bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations and all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present existence are caused and conditioned only by the volitional actions done by them in their past existences." This view is known as pubbekata-hetu-ditthi.
The view that all sensations in the present existence are created by a supreme being or god.
"Monks, there are some samanas and brahmins who set forth and hold the following view: "All bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations and all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present existence are created by a supreme brahma or god." This is know as issaranimmana-hetu-ditthi."
The view of the"uncausedness and unconditionality" of existence.
"Monks, there are some samanas and brahmins who set forth and hold the following view: "All bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations and all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present life come into existence of their own accord and are not caused by jana-kamma (generative kamma) and upatthambhaka-kamma (sustaining kamma)." This is known as ahetu-apaccaya-ditthi."
Refutation of Pubbekata-hetu View
In the Anguttara Nikaya, Tika-nipata, we have the Omniscient Buddha"s words. "Monks, of these three views, there are some samanas and brahmins who hold and set forth the following view: 'All bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations and all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present existence are caused only by the volitional actions done by them in their past existences.'
I approach them and ask. 'Friends, is it true that you hold and set forth this view: "That all bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations and all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present life are caused only by the volitions done by them in their past existences ?'
To this those samanas and brahmins reply, 'Yes, Venerable sir.' Then I say to them: "Friends, if that be the case, there will be persons who, conditioned by volitional actions done by them in their past existences
"Monks, indeed, in the minds of those who confidently and solely rely on the volitional actions done by beings in their past existences and hold this view, there cannot arise such mental factors as chanda (desire-to-do) and vayama (effort), as to differentiate between what actions should be done and what actions should be refrained from.
"Monks, indeed, in the minds of those who cannot truly and firmly differentiate between what actions should be"done and what actions should be avoided, and live without the application of mindfulness and self-restraint, there cannot arise righteous beliefs that are conducive to the cessation of defilements.
"Monks, this is the first factual statement to refute the heretical beliefs and views advanced by those samanas and brahmins who maintain that all sensations enjoyed by beings in the present life are caused and conditioned only by the volitional actions done by them in the their past existences."
The Buddha declared: "Monks, of these three views, there are some samanas and brahmins who hold and set forth the following view: "All bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations and all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present existence are created by a supreme brahma or god."
"I approach them and ask: 'Friends, is it true that you hold and set forth this view: "That all bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations, and all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present life are created by a supreme brahma or god ? ' "
"To this those samanas and brahmins reply, 'Yes, Venerable sir.' Then I say to them: 'Friends, if that be the case, there will be persons who, owing to the creation of a supreme brahma or god
"Monks, indeed, in the minds of those who confidently and solely rely on the creation of a supreme brahma or god, there cannot arise such mental factors as desire-to-do and effort, as to differentiate between what actions should be done and what actions should be refrained from.
"Monks, indeed, in the minds of those who cannot truly firmly differentiate between what actions should be done and what actions should be refrained from, and live without the application of mindfulness and self-restraint, there cannot arise righteous beliefs that are conducive to the cessation of defilements.
"Monks, this is the second factual statement to refute the heretical beliefs and views advanced by those samanas and brahmins who maintain that all sensations enjoyed by beings in the present life are created by a supreme brahma or god."
The Buddha declared: "Monks, of these three views, there are some samanas and brahmins who hold and set forth the following view: "All bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations and all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present life come into existence of their own accord and without the intervention of generative or sustaining kamma."
'I approach them and ask: "Friends, is it true that you hold and set forth this view: 'That all bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations and all indifferent sensations enjoyed by beings in the present life come into existence of their own accord and are not due to the generative and sustaining kamma?' "
'To this those samanas and brahmins reply: "Yes, Venerable sir." 'Then I say to them: "Friends, if that be the case, there will be persons who, without any cause or condition
'Monks, indeed, in the minds of those who confidently and solely rely on "uncausedness and unconditionality" of existence, there cannot arise such mental factors as desire-to-do and effort, as to differentiate between what should be done and what should be avoided.
'Monks, indeed, in the minds of those who cannot truly and firmly differentiate between what should be done and what should not be done, and live without the application of mindfulness and self-restraint, there cannot arise righteous beliefs that are conducive to the cessation of defilements.
'Monks, this is the third factual statement to refute the heretical beliefs and views advanced by those samanas and brahmins who maintain that all sensations enjoyed by beings come into existence of their own accord and are not due to the generative and sustaining kamma.' "
In the world there are three evil views. They are:
These three wrong views have already been explained and were also expounded by the Omniscient Buddha in the Anguttara-Nikaya, Tikanipata- Dutiyapannasaka-Dutiya-vagga, first sutta and in the pannasanipata- Mahabodhi-paribbajaka jataka. In some of the suttas, the issara-nimmana view is known as issarakarana-vada (view that a supreme brahma or god has performed all these) or issarakuttika-vada (view that a supreme brahma or god has arranged all these). The Ommiscient Buddha refuted these three wrong views in conformity with the Truth. I shall therefore explain these three wrong views serially, in detail and more completely.
Beings enjoy all bodily and mentally agreeable sensations, all bodily and mentally disagreeable sensations and all indifferent sensations. They enjoy such sensations as relate to inferiority, superiority, foolishness, to one's influence being great or to one's influence being negligible. Those who hold the pubbekata-hetu view maintain as follows: "Conditioned soley by the volitional actions done by them in their past existences, people enjoy such things as agreeableness, disagreeableness, satisfactoriness and unsatisfactoriness of life. All these things are not created by anyone, nor are they caused by acts done diligently by people in the present existence."
As this view disclaims the effects of the acts done by the people in the present existence, it is unreasonable and grossly mistaken. Hence it is called a wrong view.
Suppose this pubbekata-vada were really true. There are people who kill living creatures, only because they are prompted by their past volitional actions. There are also people who, being conditioned by the wholesome volitional actions done by them in their past existences, have become samanas and brahmins endowed with good conduct. At times these samanas and brahmins are prompted by their past volitional actions to commit evil deeds. Then they, prompted by their evil actions, kill living creatures, take what is not given, indulge in illicit sexual intercourse, tell lies, carry tales, use harsh language, uselessly babble, are avaricious, maintain ill-will against others, and maintain wrong views.
In this world there are such things as "hearing the discourse delivered by the wise" and "wise consideration", which are the conditions to become wise and virtuous. Supposing all wholesome and unwholesome volitional actions done by people in the present life are solely caused by their past kamma, then those things such as "hearing the doctrine", and "wise consideration" will become fruitless and useless, because the holders of this view believe that "to become a wise man" or "to become a fool" is solely caused by their past kamma and by no other causes.
In reality, people are able to become virtuous samanas or brahmins only when they perform such wholesome volitional actions as "keeping company with the wise" and "hearing the doctrine", and not otherwise. We have noticed such states of affairs in our daily lives. As the pubbekata-hetu view disclaims the generative kamma and the sustaining kamma, it should be declared as a wrong view.
This is a way of refutation.
In the minds of these samanas and brahmins who confidently rely on the volitional actions done by them in their past existences and hold the same view, who hold that this pubbekata-hetu view only is the true view, and who hold that other views are false and useless, there cannot arise "desire-to-do" and "energy" by which they are able to differentiate between what should be done and what should be refrained from, because they believe that all present actions are caused by their past volitional actions and not by "desire-to-do" or "energy" exercised by people in the present life.
In reality, only when people have good intention and right effort are they able to perform what should be done and refrain from what should not be done, and not otherwise. We have noticed such states of affairs in our daily lives. The view held by those who reject all present causes, such as "desire-to-do" and "energy" and believe only in the past volitional actions, should be taken as a wrong view.
This is another way of refutation. .
If desire-to-do and energy to perform, what should be done and to avoid what should be refrained from do not arise in the minds of those people who hold the pubbekata-hetu view, they being, unable to perceive what is good and what is evil, remain without performing wholesome volitional actions which should be performed, and on the other hand perform unwholesome volitional actions which should be avoided. They having no mindfulness and self-restraint, their view cannot be a righteous samana-vada. In the world there are such conventional terms as "samana" (one endeavouring to extinguish the passions), "brahmana" (a person leading a pure, stainless and ascetic life), "virtuous people" and "people", because these are the people who perform what should be performed and avoid what should be avoided. The conventional terms of "righteous person", "persons leading a pure and stainless life" or a "sappairisa" (worthy man) cannot be applied to those who hold this pubbekata-hetu view, because to them there is no difference between what actions should be done and what should be refrained from, which courses of action are usually practised by householders, samanas and wise people alike.
In reality, there are actions which should be refrained from. Some people do not always perform wholesome volitional actions which should be done, and do those evil actions which should be abstained from. Such people are called pakati-manussa (worldlings). Some people, having mindfulness and self-restraint, perform good actions and abstain from evil actions. They are called "samana", "brahmana", or "sappurisa". If one differentiates between these classes of people--evil ones and wise ones--he is said to maintain the right samana view or the right brahmana view. As the pubbekata-hetu view disclaims all present causes such as mindfulness, etc., and firmly believes in the volitional actions performed by beings in their past existences, only their view should be regarded as a wrong view.
This is the third way of refutation.
If this pubbekata-hetu-ditthi-vada (view of the inefficacy of action) be scrutinized or thoroughly analysed by the intelligence of wise people, it will be found that, according to this view, in all fields of actions there is nothing worthy for people to do but for them to follow the line of least resistance. How? It is in the following manner: those who hold this view reject all actions that should be done in the present life and also do not put forth the energy to be exercised by the virtuous. They also reject the functioning of energy and wisdom.
They maintain that the benefits relating to the present life and those relating to the next existence as declared by the wise are false. In the minds of those who hold this wrong view, there cannot arise the mental factors of desire-to-do and energy to perform all wholesome actions that should be performed by the virtuous. Thus this view becomes akiriya-ditthi (the wrong view of the uncausedness of existence).
Those who hold this pubbekata-hetu view are, therefore, good for nothing, and resemble a heap of refuse, or a piece of wood. For the reasons mentioned above, the Supreme Buddha was able to refute this wrong view.
Exposition of the Word-Kammassaka
(One whose kamma is his own property.)
A query--Here one may say to another: "Friend, if it is true that the Supreme Buddha had well refuted the pubbekata-hetu view, why and for what reason did the Buddha declare the following in the Subha-sutta?"
Kammassaka manavasatta kammadayada, kammayoni, kammabhandhu, kamma patissarana kammam satte vipajjati yadidam hina panita bhavaya.
Only the wholesome and unwholesome volitional actions done by beings are their own properties that always accompany them, wherever they may wander in many a becoming or kappa (world-cycle).
All beings are the heirs of their own kamma. Kamma alone is the real relative of all beings, Kamma alone is the real refuge of beings. Whatever wholesome and unwholesome actions are done by beings, bodily, verbally and mentally, kamma distinguishes them from one another as high and low, good and bad, and they become the heirs of their kamma.
The following are the replies to the above question:
Of these three, the Supreme Buddha, desiring to refute the issaranim- mana-vada (the view that all sensations in the present existence are created by a supreme brahma or god) and ahetuka-vada (the view of the "uncausedness and unconditionality" of existence), declared, "Kammassaka manavasatta kammadayada."
Another way of Explanation
The Buddha, in a general manner, declared: "Kammassaka satta kammadayada" and not specifically as "pubbekata kammassakd satta pubbekata kammadayada". Here, kammassaka means both past and present kamma of beings. If we truly interpret in this way, "kammassaka" will mean "past and present kamma of beings".
Here I shall explain the past and the present kamma. There exist three great spheres:
Kammasadhaniya-thana (sphere in which kamma operates). Kammasadhaniya-thana is subdivided into two parts:
The following resultant effects being caused and conditioned by the volitional actions done by beings in their past existences are called atita-kammasadhaniya-thana:
The actions performed by beings in the present life cannot cause such effects. The beings reborn in the happy course of existence by virtue of their past wholesome kamma cannot transform their bodies into those of the woeful course of existence by dint of their present actions, such as wisdom and energy without the dissolution of their bodies of the happy course of existence. In the same way, the beings who are reborn in the woeful course of existence by virtue of their past kamma cannot transform their bodies into those of the happy course of existence by means of their present kamma without the dissolution of their bodies of the woeful course of existence. No man, deva, brahma or god, by means of present kamma, such as wisdom and energy, is able to restore the eye-sight of a being whose optical organs have been impaired from the very moment of conception owing to that being"s past unwholesome kamma.
Again, when a being's optical organs which he obtained by virtue of his past kamma are utterly destroyed by some dangerous causes in the present life, no man, deva, brahma or god is able to restore his lost eye-sight by means of the man's, deva's, brahma's or god's wisdom and energy exercised by him in the present life. The same principle holds good for the audible organs, etc., that come into existence owing to the past kamma of beings.
Here, I shall first expound the paccupanna-kamma (present kamma). Briefly speaking, all bodily, verbal and mental actions performed by beings in the present life for their happiness or misery are all paccuppanna-kamma. Broadly speaking, there exist such actions as agriculture, cattle breeding, sheep-farming, trade and commerce. There also exist branches of study, such as various types of arts, crafts, etc. Besides, there exist the following arts:
Bhumi-vijja (the art of determining whether the site for a proposed house or garden is suitable or not), angavijja (the art of character reading from marks on the body), nakkhatta-vijja (astronomy), sutamaya-panna (knowledge based on learning), cintamaya-panna (knowledge based on thinking-philosophy); and bhavana-maya-panna (knowledge based on mental development). Those actions, crafts, arts and knowledge mentioned above are called paccuppanna-kamma (present volitional actions). Apart from the above-mentioned actions, there also exist a countless number of evil actions, stupidity and negligence which cause the destruction of life and property, injury to health, defamation and libel, injury to morality, and hindrance to progress of knowledge. All these actions are present kamma. So there really exist various kinds of actions, some of which are profitable and others disadvantageous in the present life. These two kinds of actions are within the paccuppanna-kammasadhaniya-thana (sphere in which the present kamma operate).
Composite method of exposition
Past kamma is subdivided into three:
Present kamma is also subdivided into three kinds:
Conditioned by their past major kamma, some people are reborn in families of kings, wealthy people and rich people. Of these, some people perform vuddhibhagiya-paccuppana-kamma (present kamma that will cause one to prosper). They are prosperous with worldly riches and authoritative powers. They rise up from the position they first attain do not go down to a lower position.
Some people perform thitibhagiya-paccuppanna-kamma (kamma that will keep one in normality). Their wealth and glory will be at a standstill; they neither rise up nor go down from their normal position.
Some people perform hanabhagiya-paccuppanna-kamma (kamma that will cause their wealth and position to decrease). They lose their property and glory; they are not able to keep their position at normality, nor are they able to improve their status.
Conditioned by their past medium kamma, some people are reborn in the families of moderately rich people. Of these, those who perform vuddhibhagiya-paccuppanna-kamma are prosperous with wealth and glory in the present life.
Those who perform thitibhagiya-paccuppanna-kamma will be in their normal position without having any progress or decrease in wealth and standing.
Those who perform hanabhdgiya-paccuppanna-kamma will lose their wealth and honour, being unable to keep themselves in normal position, let alone improve their status.
Conditioned by their past minor kamma, some people are reborn in the families of poor people. Of these, those who perform vuddhibhagiya-paccuppanna-kamma increase their wealth.
Those who perform thitibhagiya-paccuppanna-kamma remain in their normal position without any progress or decrease.
Those who perform hanabhdgiya-paccuppanna-kamma cannot remain even in their normal position, but will become poorer and poorer.
Thus there are two great spheres--atita-kammasadhaniya-thana (sphere in which the past kamma operates) and paccuppana-kammasadhaniya-thana (sphere in which the present kamma operates).
Viriyasidhaniya (sphere in which energy operates) and pannasadhaniya-thana (sphere in which wisdom operates).
Viriya (energy) and panna (wisdom) function to help the accomplishment of the two present kamma. The greater the energy and wisdom, the greater will be the mahanta-kamma (major kamma). If energy and wisdom be of medium strength, they are able to cause medium kamma. If energy and wisdom be feeble, they are able only to cause minor kamma. So, when two kinds of kammasadhaniya-thana (sphere in which kamma operates) are great, the spheres in which energy and wisdom operate also become great.
Relations Between Past and Present Kamma and Viriya (Energy) and Nana (Knowledge)
In the case of beings who are thus wandering in the round of rebirths, past and present kamma are the primary causes in conditioning happiness and suffering experienced by beings in the present life. Other causes such as kala (time), desa (locality, region), etc., are called secondary causes. The Buddha, therefore, expounded past and present kamma and declared: "Kammassaka manava satta kammadayada" [Only the wholesome and unwholesome volitional actions done by beings are their own properties that always accompany them, wherever they may wander in many a becoming or kappa (world-cycle). Beings are the heirs of their own kamma.]
When the Buddha expounded the primary causes, that exposition also related to the secondary causes. So when He declared "Kammassaka, etc.", and expounded the two kamma--past and present kamma--He had thereby explained that these two primary kamma are conditioned by such causes as "associating with the wise", "hearing the doctrine" and "practising the Dhamma". When the Omniscient Buddha declared "Kammassaka, etc.", it should be taken that the exposition of that declaration also included the exposition of their elements.
People like Subha came to the Buddha and related to him their (wrong) views on past kamma. With reference to these people the Buddha expounded past kamma in the Cula-kamma-vibhanga-sutta and the Maha-kamma-vibhanga-sutta of the Uparipannasa, Majjhima-nikaya.
People like Singala related to the Buddha their (wrong) views on present kamma. With reference to these types of people, the Buddha expounded the present kamma in the Singalovada-sutta of the Digha-nikaya and the Vasettha-sutta of the Sutta-nipata.
In the Attha-nipata and others of the Anguttara-nikaya, the Omniscient Buddha gave the explanation of both past and present kamma.
In regard to those people who do not realise the advantages of energy and wisdom the Omniscient Buddha expounded the advantages of energy and wisdom in many hundreds of Suttas.
Past and present kamma, which cause pleasurable sensations enjoyed by beings, cannot exist without the functioning of energy and knowledge. So when the Buddha expounded past and present kamma, it should be noted that energy and knowledge were also included in that exposition.
Energy and knowledge exist only for the coming into existence of, or for the accomplishment of those volitional actions. This statement is true, because, if there are no actions to be energised, where will energy function? And if there be no knowable things, what will knowledge know then? It should therefore be noted that where the Buddha expounded energy and knowledge, his exposition also included the two kamma caused by energy and knowledge.
Briefly, the benefits enjoyed by beings are as follows:
The Tipitaka--the teaching of the Buddha--is conditioned on these three classes of benefits. When the Buddha expounded the benefits to be enjoyed by beings in the present life, it should be remembered that present kamma is expounded in the Pitakas where those benefits are expounded. When he expounded the benefits to be enjoyed by beings in the future existences, it should be noted that past kamma is expounded in those Pitakas also. In some sermons he expounded khandha (groups of existence), ayatana (bases), dhatu (elements), sacca (Noble Truths,) and paticcasamuppdda (Dependent Origination) in connection with sunnata-dhamma (Doctrine of Unsubstantiality). It should also be noted that when the Omniscient Buddha expounded these, his exposition included supramundane benefits which are the absolute truths. These supramundane benefits also have some bearing on ditthadhammikattha (benefits enjoyed by beings in the present life) and samparayikattha (benefits to be enjoyed by beings in the future existences). Therefore it should be borne in mind that as the Omniscient Buddha expounded the dhamma relating to sunnata(unsubstantiality), the three Pitakas include past and present kamma, and that the whole Tipitaka is based on past and present kamma. For these reasons, wise people know that when the Buddha declared: "Kammassaka satta, kammadayada", He also meant thereby: "nanaviriyassaka-satta, nanaviriyadayada" (knowledge and energy are the properties of beings are the heirs of their knowledge and energy).
Exposition of Kammassaka, etc.
"Attano idanti sakam" (one's own is one's own property).
"Kamma eva sakam ete santi kammassaka." (volitional actions alone are the properties of their beings. So they are called "kammassaka".)
The explanation is as follows: People call gold, silver, wealth and jewels acquired by them their properties, because they are dealing with these properties and these belong to them and to no others. In reality, even then, they cannot call these properties their own simply because they belong to them, for they can enjoy these properties only in the present life and when they die they will have to leave all these properties behind, being unable to carry them to the next existence. In the present life also, beings alone are not dealing with their properties, but "water", "fire", "rulers", "thieves" and "enemies" are also dealing with (or have some bearing on) their properties by way of destroying them. In reality, only wholesome and unwholesome volitional actions done by a being are his own properties, in as much as these kamma accompany his life-continuum maybe for hundreds and thousands of existences to come, and hundreds and thousands of world-cycles to come, and relate to him and to no others, whether or not there be "water", "fire", "rulers", "thieves" or "enemies". To give such an interpretation, the Buddha declared: "kammassaka. satta". The same holds good for the next phrase "kammadayada".
Those who inherit from their parents are called heirs of their parents. These people who inherit from their parents cannot be called heirs in the true sense. Why? Because things like gold, silver, wealth and jewels last only temporarily. So those who inherit these temporary things cannot be called the true and real heirs. In reality, beings inherit wholesome and unwholesome actions committed by them. So they are the heirs of their own kamma.
Everyone has relatives and friends. They cannot be called the true and real friends, because they are so only temporarily. Kamma alone is, therefore, the only real relative of all beings.
"Kammeva patissaranam yesanti kammappatissarana" (kamma alone is the real refuge of all beings) whatever wholesome or unwholesome actions are done by beings bodily, verbally, or mentally, they become the heirs of that kamma.
t So-called gods like Vishnu, Rama, etc., are called patissarana because people go for refuge to them and rely on them, but they cannot be real refuges, for they themselves are not permanent. In fact, volitional actions, done by beings and which accompany their life-continua for however many world-cycles they may wander more in this round of rebirths and not any "god" whatsoever, are the only real refuge. This statement is true. People go for refuge to the Buddha. They do so to acquire wholesome merit and also to acquire the result of panna-patisamyutta-kamma (volitional actions connected with wisdom). In reality, only punna-kamma (merit of deeds) and panna-kamma (result of actions connected with knowledge or wisdom) which are attained by beings in taking refuge in the Buddha are their real refuge.
When the Buddha expounded kamma as a fundamental thing, that exposition covers the explanations of such other auxiliary causes as kalyana-mitta (friendship with the good and virtuous), panditasevana (association with the wise) and dhammapatipatti (practice according to the teaching of the Buddha), all of which are conducive to the accomplishment of that kamma.
A scientific explanation: By the declaration "kammassaka satta kammadayada", the Buddha also meant the following: "Wholesome and unwholesome actions performed once by a being during his lifetime, may ripen after a lapse of hundreds or thousands of existences or world-cycles or even a longer period. Thus the wholesome kamma that gives resultant effect of sukha (happiness) and unwholesome kamma that gives woeful result always accompany the life-continuum of a being."
One should therefore love and esteem "good conduct" more than one's own life and preserve it well. As regards "evil conduct", one should dread it more than the danger of death and refrain from evil deeds.
Refutation of Issaranimmana View
In the ekaccasassata-vada (eternity-belief with regard to some, and non-eternity-belief with regard to others) of the Brahmajala Sutta, Digha-nikaya; Brahmanimantana Sutta, Muilapannasa, Majjhima-nikaya; and the Brahma Samyutta of the Samyutta-nikaya, mention is made of the Great Brahma who first resided in the first jhana plane. This Great Brahma, may be regarded as the supreme being for the purpose of explaining this issaranimmana view.
Those who hold this wrong view maintain as follows: 'Indeed this being, the Brahma, the Great Brahma, the conqueror, the one who cannot be conquered by others, surely is all-seeing, all-powerful, the ruler, the creator of the three worlds--okasaloka, sattaloka and sankharaloka--the excellent, the almighty, the one who has already practised calm, the father of all that are and are to be. And he has created us'.
This issaranimmana view exists in this world on account of those samanas and brahmins who held the ekaccasassata-vada, the view held by those brahmas who having fallen from the brahma planes are reborn in the planes of men and devas, and are able to remember their last existence. This issaranimmana-vada has been clearly expounded in the Brahmajala Sutta. Before the rising of the Omniscient Buddha, this wrong view was maintained by many brahmins. When the Buddha arose, He fully refuted all wrong views, and this wrong view of issaranimmana-vada had no chance to thrive well in India.
Those who believe in the creation of a supreme being or god are called issaranimmana-vadi.
(The three modes of refutation of this issaranimmana view are the same as those in the case of pubbekata view).
Those who hold this issaranimmana view totally reject the right view expounded in the phrase 'kammassaka satta kammadayada'. Though they reject this right view, yet they do not realise that they have unconsciously entered into the spheres of 'kammasaka' and 'kammada-yada.' This statement is true. Those who believe in the creation of a supreme being or god also become the 'owners of their kamma' and 'heirs of their own kamma.' I shall clarify the matter.
In the matter of paccuppanna-kamma-sadhaniya (sphere in which present kamma operate), those who maintain the issaranimmana view earn their livelihood by cultivating the lands. Simply by the act of cultivating lands themselves they become the 'owners of their own properties-actions done by themselves.' It means that they have their properties in the form of 'cultivation'. Some of them earn their livelihood by trading. By the act of trading by themselves they become the 'owners of their properties--act of trading performed by themselves'. It means that they have their properties in the form of 'act of trading'. Some of the rest earn their living by serving under a government. Simply for their actions in serving under the government, they become the 'owners of their properties--act of serving under the government performed by themselves.' It means that they have their properties in the form of 'government service'. The same principle holds good for other spheres of actions, such as arts, sciences, etc.
There are some people who believe in an almighty god and take refuge in him. They are able to acquire wealth and glory only when they work for themselves in various walks of life. On the other hand, by simply having faith in the almighty god, they will not be able to acquire such wealth and glory.
There are others who do not believe in god and also repudiate him. They also will have to work for their livelihood and thus acquire wealth and glory. So the wise understand that only those actions performed by beings themselves can bestow wealth and glory and that no god can give anything whatsoever to them.
Those who believe in god, take refuge in him, have faith in him, and revere him throughout the whole of life. They believe that only those who have faith in god will be saved by him when they die, and that non-believers in god will not be saved by him.
Here, it is clear that only those who believe in god, have faith in him and take refuge in him will be saved by him, and not otherwise. This interpretation of issaranimmana view is perfectly clear. So, it is evident that only their actions in the form of 'believing in god', 'taking refuge in him' and 'revering him' can save them, and the almighty god cannot save them. This meaning is quite apparent.
In this very world, all people, believers and non-believers in god alike, have to follow various pursuits of life and earn their livelihood. There is no difference for any one in the 'sphere in which present kamma operate'. Thus we see with our naked eyes that people work for themselves to earn their living, thus themselves becoming the 'owners of their own kamma in the form of volitional actions in the present life'.
In the sphere in which past kamma operate also, there is no difference whatsoever. We see with our naked eyes that conditioned by their past kamma, they are also working to maintain life. We have never noticed that any other specific benefit comes into existence simply by the agency of god and without the operation of either past or present kamma.
In the world there are the following types of beings: well-bred people, low-bred people, wealthy people, poor and needy people, long-lived creatures, short-lived creatures, beings who seldom contract diseases, beings who often contract diseases, beautiful creatures, ugly creatures, moral people, immoral people, educated people, uneducated people, wicked people, thieves, robbers leprous people, blind creatures, deaf creatures, dumb creatures, persons who commit matricide, persons who commit patricide: murderers, thievish persons, persons who are in the habit of indulging in sexual misconduct, people who tell lies, people who slander, people who use harsh language, people who talk flippantly, avaricious people, people who have ill-will against others, and people who hold wrong views. So, in this world there are very few people who are righteous, but there are many who are base and mean.
Those who believe in both past and present kamma and their resultant effects maintain as follows: 'Relating to the sphere in which past kamma operate, because beings have performed wholesome actions in their past existences, they now enjoy the resultant effect in the form of becoming superior types of people; and because they have performed unwholesome actions in their past existences, they suffer the resultant effect of becoming inferior types of people. Again, as regards the sphere in which present kamma operate, because beings work well in the present life, they become superior types of people; and because they perform evil deeds, they become inferior types of people.'
Refutation of Ahetuka View.
Those who hold this ahetuka view maintain as follows: 'Everything in this world, such as the corruptness or purity of beings, is predestined by fate, and not by past or present kamma and energy and knowledge, and all of this has been explained in the chapter on the refutation of pubbekata view. Or in other words, they hold that everything in the world comes into existence of itself and is neither caused nor conditioned by past kamma, generative kamma and sustained kamma. The various physical and psychical phenomena of existence conventionally termed ego, personality, man, woman, animal, etc., are a mere play of blind chance, and not the outcome of causes and conditions. They come into existence of their own accord without being created by a creator, nor caused and conditioned by generative and sustained kamma. Such things as'richness','poverty', 'complacency', 'destruction', 'wickedness', 'cleverness', etc., come into existence of their own accord and not due to any cause or condition whatsoever.'
(The three ways of refuting the ahetuka view are the same as those in the case of pubbekata view.)
Before the rising of the Omniscient Buddha, this ahetuka wrong view was held by such heretical teachers as Gunakassapa as mentioned in the Narada Jataka. During the lifetime of the Buddha, this fatalistic 'view of uncausedness' of existence was taught by Makkhali-Gosala and Acelaka of India. Those who maintain this ahetuka wrong view reject the kammasakata view--'owners of their kamma are beings' which is the word of the Buddha. Although they reject this kammasakata view, they are not aware of the fact that they themselves thereby become the holders of the kammasakata view--'owners of their kamma are the beings.' If, according to this wrong view, all physical and psychical phenomena of existence be a mere play of blind chance and not the outcome of causes and conditions, then there will be no difference between the 'sphere in which past kamma operate' and the 'sphere in which present kamma operate.' Also there will be no difference whatsoever whether one commits small offences or grave offences, or whether one acts wickedly or cleverly, because all volitional actions are not the outcome of causes and conditions, but they come into existence of their own accord or as a general rule.
According to this ahetuka view, all desire-to-do, 'energy and volitional actions will be rendered useless and unproductive, because however lofty acts beings might perform, they would not obtain any specific resultant effect. It would be just the same as if they remained idle and did nothing at all. In reality, these dhamma--volitional actions, knowledge and energy--are not barren and unproductive. They are the dhamma that will surely give resultant effects. It is apparent that the greatness or smallness of present kamma depends on the degrees of desire-to-do, energy and wisdom exercised by the people.
Owing to the variety of these kamma there exist a variety or resultant effects. In regard to this matter, the wise people maintain this right view in this manner. 'In the sphere where present kamma operate, actions leading to 'complacency', 'destruction', 'richness', or 'poverty' experienced by beings in the present life are termed the 'root-conditions'. This state of affairs is quite evident in the present world, and in the future existence also, desire-to-do, energy and wisdom which cause the richness, poverty, complacency and destruction of beings, and good conduct and evil conduct will not remain unproductive. In fact, they will give appropriate resultant effects. As these mental factors are not barren and will surely give results, in the matter of the 'sphere in which past kamma operate', beings, conditioned by their various past kamma, will attain the various kinds of resultant effects in their future existences.'
For example, by seeing the various kinds of plants and vegetation we can determine that they have different kinds of seeds. In the same manner, by seeing the various positions of beings, such as complacency, destruction, richness and poverty, we should be able to judge the various kinds of kamma committed by them in their past existences.
The Tathagata knew all these. He had realised and seen face to face the functionings of all kamma in regard to the spheres in which past and present kamma operate, and also the resultant effects, such as richness and poverty--the vicissitudes of life. For these reasons he was able to refute this ahetuka view.
Further Explanation of Kammasaka-Vada
The phrase 'kammasaka' has been expounded in the chapter on 'pubbekataveda-niggaha' (refutation of the pubbekata view.) Now, I shall explain those things which have been left unexplained in that chapter. There are people who cultivate the lands. For the fructification or the destruction of their cultivation, there are causes or conditions. They are:
Of these three causes:
Here, if the paddy seeds are pure, the cultivation will be successful and the required crop will be obtained. If from the beginning the seeds be impure or inferior, the cultivation will not be successful and a poor crop will result. Even if the seed be pure and full of pith, the cultivation can be complete and successful only when the cultivator knows when to break the clods, till the soil, sow the seeds in the nursery, transplant the young plants and do all that is necessary for cultivation. Although the cultivator does all that is required for the cultivation, a good rainfall brings a good harvest and a bad rainfall brings a bad harvest, resulting in the destruction of the cultivation. Even if the rainfall be good, if there be no drainage or water-gates to feed the fields with water when required and to let out the water when the fields are flooded, the cultivation cannot be successful and will be liable to be destroyed. In the case of the fields which are irrigated by river water, the cultivator must know when to irrigate the lands and when not to. Otherwise the crops will be destroyed. The water in the river has to depend on the amount of rainfall that takes place in the mountains in the up-country. If there be no rainfall in the up-country or at the source of the river, the water in the river cannot rise. Rain can fall only when the necessary causes and conditions are fulfilled; otherwise no rain can fall.
We now notice that even in the matter of cultivation, there are thousands of causes and conditions either for the complete success of cultivation or its destruction.
The above is the brief explanation of what is actually happening in the world.
Past kamma that cause the pleasures and sufferings of beings in the next existence may have two kinds of effects: primary and secondary effects.
In this respect I shall first explain present kamma. For example, a person learns a great art or craft. Until and unless he finishes this course of training, he will have to undergo various kinds of suffering on account of this art or craft. But at times during the course of his training he may come across happiness. When he is successful in his training, he will earn plenty of money, or may be able to enjoy a high position in the government service. He will then acquire various kinds of happiness and wealth. Depending on this one man who is well learned, his other relatives and friends also will be able to enjoy various kinds of pleasures.
The amount of suffering which a person experiences before the completion of his training, and the benefits enjoyed by his friends and relatives on account of his art are not the primary effects of his training, but they are secondary effects.
After the completion of his training in any art or craft, if a person succeeds, he will be able to acquire great wealth or enjoy a good position in the government service or enjoy various kinds of pleasures. These are the primary effects of his learning the art.
Similarly, there are also two kinds of effect in the case of evil kamma. For example, a man murders another person. The enemies of the deceased may honour the murderer and esteem him; or they may present him with cash or kind. On the other hand, the relatives of the deceased may hate the murderer, and they may kill the murderer in revenge, or set the wheels of justice in motion so that the murderer may receive capital punishment. These resultant effects of the murderer's kamma--the evil action in killing a living person--are called the secondary effects.
This murderer, on the dissolution of his body after death, will be reborn in the lower worlds as the resultant effects of his evil kamma in killing a man, and undergo immense suffering. This is his primary effect.
If the murderer, conditioned by his past wholesome kamma, be reborn as a human being, he will, wherever he enters into existence, be of short life, have much sickness and encounter enmity with his rivals. These are the primary effects of his present kamma of killing a man.
Due to his act of murdering a man, his relatives will experience various kinds of suffering. These are the secondary effects.
The same principle holds good in the case of wholesome volitional actions done by beings.
This secondary effect is also subdivided into two kinds. They are:
Of these, the resultant effect which takes place at the time of the commission of an action is not 'regular'. The person who sustains the secondary effect due to wholesome kamma may experience 'suffering', while the person who sustains the secondary effect due to an evil action may experience 'happiness'. But when the relevant kamma ripens in a future existence, the secondary effect is 'regular', because evil kamma will give the resultant effect of 'suffering' and good kamma will give the resultant effect of 'happiness'.
Primary effect takes place surely, because morally good kamma will give a good resultant effect and not a bad one, and bad kamma will give a bad resultant effect and not a good one. Primary effect takes place in the life-continuum of the doer of a volitional action and not in the life-continuum of any other person. After experiencing the primary effects of his kamma, if a person dies, that primary effect also is exhausted and no reaction of it ever remains.
In the case of the secondary effect, it takes place in the life-continua of other persons. So even when the doer of kamma dies, the reaction of the secondary effect remains, either for the good or evil of others.
I shall explain it more clearly. Suppose a virtuous and powerful being who had fulfilled paramita in his previous births is conceived in the womb of a woman of a certain family. Since the conception of that supernormal child, his parents will be successful in all walks of life and find an increase in wealth, attendants and servants. If the family be a royal one, wise counsellors and valiant soldiers or generals will surely exist. The locality in which the child is conceived in his mother's womb will have sufficient rainfall, and the inhabitants of that country will enjoy prosperity. The country in all will become prosperous. This is the reaction of the effect due to that powerful and virtuous being.
In this connection the Dhammapada says:
Dullabho purisajanno na so sabbattha jayati, yattha so jayati dhiro tam kulam sukham edhati. -Verse 193
The thorough-bred man (Buddha) is rare; he is not born everywhere. Where that wise man is born, that family attains happiness.
Here, I shall explain this with an example. If an efficient person, by means of his manpower, wealth or technical knowledge, constructs arable lands, gardens, ponds, wells, dams, canals and metal roads, these constructions will remain for a great length of time for the benefit of many other people, and depending on these establishments, many people will be able to reap many pleasurable benefits.
Just as we see the secondary effect of present kamma with our own eyes, in the case of the sphere in which past kamma operate, many people can depend on one virtuous supenormal being. Again, due to the reaction of evil kamma done by a being in his existence, many people will have to undergo hardship and suffering.
Thus wise men believe that every being possesses past and present kamma with their respective primary and secondary effects.
The above is the brief exposition of how past and present kamma give various kinds of resultant effects.
Exposition of Atta-Ditthi (Personality-belief).
Various kinds of wrong views, various kinds of evil things and various kinds of kamma lie latent in and accompany the life-continua of beings who wander in the round of rebirths. On account of these unwholesome mental factors, the following conspicuously come into existence.
Beings wander in different planes of existence due to these bad mental factors. To say the least, even dogs and pigs, etc., of the four lower worlds in the course of the round of rebirths may become great brahmas. Sometimes they are reborn in the higher brahma planes, such as abhasara, subhakinha, vehapphala and formless spheres. Although they have opportunity to be reborn in these higher brahma planes, when their span of life comes to an end or when their merit is exhausted they have to be reborn in the four lower worlds. This is the way of the universe.
ukkhitta punnatejena, kamarupagatim gata, bhavaggatampi sampatta puna gacchanti duggatim.
Conditioned by their wholesome volitional actions, beings are reborn in the sensuous sphere, the form sphere and even in n'eva-sanna-nasannayatana (sphere of neither-perception-nor-non- perception), in the fine-material spheres. Even then, when their span of life expires or when their merit is exhausted, they are reborn in the woeful course of existence.
As these wrong evil mental factors and evil kamma accompany the life-continua of beings, although they become Great Brahmas, they are puthujjanas (worldlings); they are the inhabitants of the mundane sphere. Just as stones and spears thrown up into the sky fall down to the ground by the force of gravity, beings are liable to be reborn in the four lower worlds. As their life-continua are fully laden with hellish mental factors they are 'beings bound for (impermanent) hades'; as the wicked mental factors accompany their life-continua, they are evil-minded beings destined to do evil deeds; as they exist in the sphere where evil kamma abound, they are the inhabitants of that sphere; as they exist in the sphere where most beings have no 'eyes of wisdom', they are the inhabitants of that sphere.
Which are kanha-bhumi (plane where evil kamma abound) and andhabala-bhumi (plane where beings being blinded by folly have no 'eye of wisdom')? The above-mentioned papa-ditthi (wrong views), papa-dhamma (wickedness; evil habit) and papa-kamma (unwholesome deeds) manifest in these two planes (or spheres): kanha-bhumi and andha-bala-bhumi. The next question is: Why do even Great Brahmas exist in these two planes? Because they profess the eternity-belief or personality-belief--'I am, I am.'
The root-cause of all wrong views, evil mental factors and evil kamma is atta-ditthi. So long as these papa-ditthi exist in the life-continuum of a being, papa-ditthi, papa-dhamma and papa-kamma will exist there also. So long as these papa-ditthi, etc., accompany his life-continuum, he will be termed as 'one bound for hell', 'evil-doer', 'inhabitant of kanha-plane' and 'inhabitant of andha-bala-plane'. Once this atta-ditthi ceases, all these three will be extinguished along with all kinds of evils.
Those beings who cannot eradicate atta-ditthi will become heirs of papa-ditthi. In what manner? Because a being who professes atta-ditthi (personality-belief) cannot get rid of these untold and uncountable papa-ditthi, etc., which he has been holding for many world-cycles and existences in the round of rebirths.
Although beings whose life-continua are accompanied by atta-ditthi are reborn in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, these papa-ditthi, etc., will give them appropriate resultant effects and undoubtedly drag them to the lower worlds.
So long as beings cannot dispel this atta-ditthi, they will have to become the victims of these papa-ditthi, etc., in their future existences. And in whichever future existence they may arise, they will profess all kinds of wrong views that may arise, perform all sorts of 'evil conduct' they may have opportunity to do, and commit such weighty kamma as matricide, etc.
In the present life also, those who profess atta-ditthi will generally have a tendency to profess wrong views, entertain evil mental factors and do evil deeds.
It is true that issaranimmana view comes into existence on account of this atta-ditthi. On account of this atta-ditthi the Great Brahma who does not know whence he came from and when he will fall from that Brahma plane thinks himself to be permanent, immutable, eternal, not subject to change and remain as something eternal. He thinks to himself: 'I am Brahma, the Great Brahma, the conqueror, the one who cannot be conquered by others, surely all-seeing, all-powerful, the ruler, the creator, the excellent, the almighty, the one who has already practised calm, the father of all that are and all that are to be.' Occasionally he makes his appearance in the planes of the Brahmas who have shorter spans of life and says: 'I am permanent; I am almighty; I create you all'.
When those Brahmas hear him say those words, they believe in him and thus become the holders of this view. Not to say of those beings who are reborn in the planes of devas and the world of men.
(Those who maintain this issaranimmana view regard him as their creator god. Conditioned on the words spoken by that Great Brahma, this view came into existence in this world).
So long as one is not able to get rid of atta-ditthi, although he may become a Great Brahma who declares himself to be a creator god, he will not be able to get out of the entanglement of papa-ditthi, etc., that had already arisen in his life continuum in the past existence, that arise in the present existence and also that will exist in his future births also, and he will surely be reborn in the lower worlds in his future births.
They are thus the mere inhabitants of kanha-plane, just as fishes and turtles inhabit the great ocean. As they do not possess 'eyes of wisdom', they are the inhabitants of andha-bala plane.
Those beings who are reborn at present in the lower worlds due to their past unwholesome kamma, anyone amongst them may, in a future existence, become a Great Brahma who declares himself as almighty god, when his past wholesome kamma ripen. Thus it should be borne in mind that, if atta-ditthi lies latent in the life-continua of beings, they will not be able to find happiness while wandering in the round of rebirths, and will not be able to find an escape from the samsara (round of rebirths).
Benefits Derived from the Total Destruction of Atta-Ditthi.
When the beings are able to eradicate atta-ditthi which is the root-causes of papa-ditthi, etc., these mental phenomena which had accompanied their life-continua in the past, accompany it in the present, and would accompany the life-continua of the beings in future existences, will be totally destroyed.
They then become the heirs of the wholesome volitional actions done by them in the past existence, which are being done in the present existence, and would be done by them in the future existence. Once the beings have expelled atta-ditthi, all wrong views, evil mental factors and evil kamma which would lead them to the lower worlds will disappear along with atta-ditthi. They will no more be reborn in the lower worlds and will be out Of the grip of the lower worlds in their future existences. As they will be doing no more evil actions, they will forever be free from all evil.
The full extinction of defilements including papa-ditthi, etc., and the total extinction of evil kamma with the groups of existence still remaining is called sa-upadisesa-nibbana or the supramundane sphere or the sphere of the holy ones.
Sa-upadisesa-nibbana-the state of the extinction of defilements such as papa-ditthi, etc., with the groups of existence still remaining, never gets spoiled, destroyed or deteriorates in the world-cycles to come. This state is permanent and eternal; it never changes; it never decays; it does not dissolve; and it does not disappear. This state has no 'dissolving moment', and so it is called amata.
Those who have attained such state of extinction of the defilements and the root-cause-atta-ditthi-will find that this state of extinction is never destroyed in the future. Papa-ditthi, etc., cannot arise in their minds again. The state of their total abstinence from doing evil that would lead them to the lower worlds will never be destroyed, nor will it decay. They will no more be reborn.
This state of the extinction of defilements being amata-dhatu (the state where there is no more death or rebirth) is called asankhata-dhatu (the Uncreated; the Unoriginated; Nibbana).
Since the time atta-ditthi is extinguished in the minds of those people who have attained sa-upddisesa-nibbana, they have passed the stage of puthujjana (worldlings) and are no more within the sphere of worldlings. They begin to exist in the plane of holy ones and become the inhabitants of that plane. As they have passed the mundane stage, they are in the supramundane sphere and become the inhabitants of that sphere.
These people who have eradicated atta-ditthi will pass amongst heavenly and human beings only at most seven times more through the round of rebirths and finally attain Nibbana. (Note--This refers to sotapanna.)
However, there is no number-limit for some of these people who are reborn or who are to pass amongst the Brahmas, because they have become uddhagami-puggala (beings who will pass through higher stages).
They may pass amongst the Brahmas for hundreds, thousands and hundreds of thousands of existences and world-cycles; but they will never be reborn in the lower worlds, nor will they pass amongst devas and men.
Conditioned by their past and present wholesome kamma, these holy ones will fare-on in the happy course of existence. In the future also they will only perform wholesome volitional actions and never dream of performing unwholesome volitional actions. Atta-ditthi, which is the root-cause of papa-dhamma and papa-kamma, have been totally extinguished by them.
These people who have dispelled atta-ditthi become the heirs of their present kamma. They possess wholesome kamma which will lead them to the happy course of existence and are bound for that course only. As they are endowed with exalted dhamma, they become exalted ones. As they exist in the sphere where wholesome and pure kamma abound, they become inhabitants of that sphere. As they possess the 'eye of wisdom' by means of which they can realize the Four Noble Truths, they are Noble Ones. In whichever existence they may wander in the future, they will be endowed with ariyapanna (wisdom pertaining to the Holy Ones)--they are ariya (Noble Ones). As they pass the stage of those puthujjana who are not able to dispel atta-ditthi, they become ariya--the inhabitants of the supramundane sphere.
During the lifetime of the Omniscient Buddha, in Savatthi, Banares, Vesali, Rajagaha, there were many householders who, after having dispelled atta-ditthi, became sotapanna.
It is said that Sanankumara, king of Brahmas, once revealed that there had been a countless number of Holy Ones.
Those people who became sotapanna during the lifetime of the Buddha are now conspicuously existing in the six deva planes. These sotapanna, being uddhamsota-puggala (persons who are going upwards in the stream of life) will never be reborn in a lower plane.
In the ten thousand universes within the jati-khetta (realm of rebirth), there are decillions and decillions, an incalculable number, of catumaharajika devas who are sotapanna. There is also an incalculable number of sotapanna in each of the five other planes of devas and in the Brahma planes, such as brahmaparisajja plane. These sotapanna, being uddhagami-puggala (persons who are going upwards in the stream of life), will never be reborn in a lower plane.
Beings who are accompanied by soul-belief, having inclinations to perform evil actions, have to wander through the ceaseless round of rebirths. The moment they are able to extinguish soul-belief, that moment are they established in purity and nobility and they will wander peacefully in the round of rebirths free from all dangers.
One may question: 'Why is soul-belief the root-cause of evil views, evil thoughts and evil deeds, and why is destruction of this belief the origin of the cessation of these?'
lt may be answered in this way: for example, a certain king has a great attachment to his kingship, pomp and grandeur. To preserve his kingly status and glory, he will have to exercise all evil thoughts and evil deeds in his power. Even a king, if he has a great attachment to his kingly power and glory, has to protect himself by entertaining all kinds of evil thoughts and performing all kinds of evil actions.
Some time later that king sees shortcomings and blemishes in his kingly duties and glory. From that time his attachment to his kingship diminishes, and he has a great desire to abdicate his throne and become a samana. Then he has a mind to keep aloof from all evil actions that are necessary for the preservation and protection of his kingly power and glory, and henceforth will refrain from performing evil actions.
Still some time later he will go forth from the house-hold life into that of a samana. Although he becomes a samana, he delusively considers his mind and body-the five constituent groups of existence-as his soul, which is full of essence or substance and which belongs to him. Thus he delusively considers the five constituent groups of existence as his soul and clings to it. So long as he is attached to this soul-belief and is not able to put it away, he will undoubtedly have to preserve his soul by entertaining evil thoughts and performing evil actions as occasion arises.
Some time during his life as a samana he realises the blemishes and miseries in the five constituent groups of existence, he, having rightly viewed through insight-wisdom that there is no essence or substance in the five constituent groups of existence-that there is no soul--will have no soul--attachment. From that moment he will not entertain any evil thought or commit any evil action, by means of which he has formerly preserved what he has considered as his soul and will preserve himself only by acts of virtue.
He will never deviate from the path of virtue to protect himself. As a matter of fact, he will sacrifice himself dauntlessly to preserve the principles of virtue. From the above analogy it should be understood that soul-belief is the root cause of all evil and that destruction of this belief is the origin of the cessation of evil.
Atta means 'self, ego, personality, soul-essence'; anatta means 'non-ego, not-self, absence of soul-essence'. The word anatta is used to convey the following three interpretations:
Of the three interpretations as shown in the text, I shall first expound the phrase 'asarakatthena-anatta'.
Atta in the ordinary sense means essence or substance. Those beings who are not able to discern the momentary arisings and dissolutions of the physical and mental phenomena of the five constituent groups of existence and thus are not able to realise the characteristic of anicca (impermanence) maintain: 'The corporeality-group is the essence and therefore atta of beings; the sensation-group is the essence and therefore atta of beings; the perception-group is the essence and therefore atta of beings', the formation-group is the essence and therefore atta of beings; and the consciousness-group is the essence and therefore atta of beings.' This kind of view is known as soul-belief.
I shall explain the above with an example. There are such things as wooden bowl, earthen bowl, brass bowl, silver bowl and gold bowl. A bowl made of wood has wood as its substance and is called a wooden bowl; a bowl made of earth has earth as its substance and is called an earthen bowl; a bowl made of iron has iron as its substance and is called an iron bowl; a bowl made of silver has silver as its substance and is called a silver bowl, and a bowl made of gold has gold as its substance and is called a gold bowl.
Here, the world 'bowl' is merely the name by which is indicated a certain pictorial idea (santhana-pannatti), and this conventional term of 'bowl' possesses no essence or substance as an ultimate thing. Only the conventional terms of 'wood', 'earth', 'gold', etc., possess essence or substance (at least for this purpose). By simply hearing the sound 'bowl' one is able to understand the pictorial idea of a bowl and not its essence or substance. Only when one hears the conventional terms of 'wood', 'gold', etc., is one able to know the essence or substance of that bowl.
A question may be asked: 'Why is "wood", "earth" or "gold" the essence or substance of the bowl ?'
I shall explain it clearly. In calling a thing 'wooden', 'wood' is the essence or substance of the pictorial idea of the bowl, and is therefore its atta. Without the substance of wood, the conventional term of 'bowl' cannot exist. Only a piece of wood that is made in the form of a bowl is called a wooden bowl. This wooden bowl will last as long as the wood is durable, and it will be valuable according to the class of wood. If it is a bowl made of teak wood, it will he valuable according to the price of teak. If it be made of aloes wood, it will be valuable according to the price of that wood. If it be made of sandalwood, it will be valuable according to the value of sandalwood. As regards the utility, too, a teak bowl will be used where it is fit to be used, and so too a bowl made of aloes wood or sandalwood. As regards the worthiness, too, the teak bowl and the sandalwood bowl will be worthy according to their standards. Thus when we say 'the wooden bowl', the wood is the essence or substance of the bowl. The same principle follows in the cases of earthen bowl, gold bowl, etc.
Similarly a being is composed of the corporeality group and has this group as his essence or substance. What has this group as its essence or substance is called a being.
A being is composed of the sensation-group and has this group as his essence or substance. What has this group as its essence or substance is called a being.
A being is composed of the perception-group and has this group as his essence or substance. What has this group as its essence or substance is called a being.
A being is composed of the mental-formation-group and has this group as his essence or substance. What has this group as its essence or substance is called a being.
A being is composed of the consciousness-group and has this group as his essence or substance. What has this group as its essence or substance is called a being.
In brief, every being is composed of the five constituent groups of existence and has them as his essence or substance.
In this analogy, a bowl resembles a being and the substance of a bowl resembles the five constituent groups of existence which form the essence or substance of a being.
Some maintain the following view: 'So long as the five constituent groups of existence last, do not decay or dissolve, beings last, do not decay nor dissolve. They live up to one hundred or one thousand years without decay, death and dissolution, and for such periods of time the constituent groups of existence which are their essence or substance do not decay nor dissolve.' This view is soul-belief.
Some people understand that the essence or substance of the wooden bowl is wood, but they cannot penetrate the truth and discern that this piece of wood comprises an immense number of atthakalapa-rupa. So they can only superficially understand that the essence or substance of the wooden bowl is wood.
Some people penetrate the truth and realise that the essence or substance of the wood is but a collection of corporeal groups and that these are also causally-conditioned, arising-and-vanishing physical phenomena. They realise in the following manner: The state of extension is conspicuous in a piece of wood which assumes the shape of a bowl and these elements of extension are undoubtedly the ultimate truth of pathavi-dhatu (the element of extension), and not 'wood' at all. In the same way, the state of cohesion found conspicuously in that form or shape is the characteristic of apo-dhatu (the element of cohesion); the state of heat or cold found in that shape is the characteristic of tejo-dhatu (the element of kinetic energy), and the state of support or motion found in that shape is the characteristic of vayo-dhatu (the element of motion). These four elements are known as the four great primaries or the four great essentials (maha-bhuta).
In like manner, the colour of that piece of wood is vanna (the element of colour), the smell is called gandha (the element of smell), the taste is called rasa (the element of taste), and the nutriment is called oja (the element of nutriment). Thus some wise people penetrate the truth and realise it.
When they have so penetrated the truth, they realise: 'Only physical phenomena roll on and no wood exists; and if there be no wood, how can there be the wooden bowl in the ultimate sense?'
When the piece of wood which we conventionally call 'bowl' is affected by cold or warm wind, or struck by a stick, or pierced by a spear, or thrown upward and downward, the physical phenomena contained in that wood will change, yielding place to newer ones, and having arisen will also disappear then and there. Some of the phenomena decay, some dissolve and some arise again by conditions, some increase, some decrease and some remain normal.
When they have realised in this manner they clearly understand that there is no wood apart from these physical elements. Now, when the wood itself does not exist in the ultimate sense, how can the wood possess the essence or substance of the bowl? How can momentarily arising-and- passing-away corporeal groups become the essence or substance of the wood? Thus they penetrate to the truth.
Here, the conventional term of 'bowl' resembles the conventional term of 'being'. The corporeal groups contained in the wood resemble the five constituent groups of existence. This is the analogy.
(As regards the mentality-group, it has no form. When an object contacts any part of the body, then consciousness arises and disappears immediately. The bhavangasota ('the stream of subconsciousness') incessantly arises and vanishes in the heart. The stream of subconsciousness can be broken only when a new object comes into contact with it.)
The continuity of 'seeing' is dassana-santati.
The continuity of 'hearing' is called savan-santati.
The continuity of 'smelling' is called ghayana-santati.
The continuity of 'tasting' is called sayana-santati.
The continuity of 'thinking' is called cintana-santati, and so on.
Some people understand only the various kinds of shapes or forms and various kinds of continuity, but they do not penetratingly discern the physical and mental phenomena which are the essence or substance of these concepts of shape and continuity. Also, they are not able to realise the momentary decay and death of these physical and mental phenomena. They consider these concepts as the essence or substance of beings and delusively take them as the atta of beings.
When, through insight-wisdom, people penetratingly understand the real nature of pathavi(elements of extension), the phenomena of eye-consciousness, etc., and realise that these five constituent groups of existence are subject to momentary decay, death and rebirth, it will, dawn upon them that these five constituent groups of existence have no essence or substance and that they are very far from being the essence or substance of beings.
I shall clarify the matter. People think that beings live for a day, a month, a year, a hundred years or a thousand years, and that during those periods there is no such thing as momentary decay, death and rebirth. In fact, the physical and mental phenomena contained in the five constituent groups of existence which people take as the essence or substance, arise and dissolve more than one hundred thousand crores of times during the blink of an eye or the period occupied by a flash of lightning.
If it be alleged that the corporeality-group has atta (essence or substance), the sensation-group has atta (essence or substance), the perception-group has atta (essence or substance), the mental-formation- group has atta (essence or substance), the consciousness-group has atta (essence or substance), it will mean that beings decay, die and are reborn through conditions every moment. Why? Because the essence or substance of beings are the groups of existence which are subject to momentary decay, death and rebirth.
In reality, just as it is not appropriate to rely on the rapidly arising-and-vanishing flashes of lightning and use them as things of substance, it is also not appropriate to rely on the momentarily arising-and-vanishing physical and mental phenomena as things of substance and to regard them as the essence or substance of oneself. So the five constituent groups of existence are purely anatta, (without essence or substance).
So according to the phrase asamikatthena-anatta, the five constituent groups of existence are anatta.
The arising of these flashes of lightning is due to the relevant causes and conditions, and has nothing to do with the desire of any 'person', so these flashes of lightning do not yield to the wishes of anyone. The arising of the five constituent groups of existence is due to the causes and conditions which bring them about and has nothing to do with the desire of anyone, so these five constituent groups of existence do not yield to the wishes of anybody. Just as it is not fit to think that these flashes of lightning will yield to one's wishes, so it is not fit for one to think that the five constituent groups of existence yield to one's wishes and to regard them as one's essence or substance.
So according to the phrase avasavattanatthena-anatta, the five constituent groups of existence are anatta in the sense that they do not yield to the wishes of anyone.
Attassa idam attaniyam--attaniyam means 'the property of atta'.
Attana sambandhanti attaniyam--attaniyam means 'objects connected with atta'.
According to the above interpretation, all animate and inanimate objects connected with atta are called attaniya. But these objects become attaniya only when one is attached to and takes delight in them through craving and accepts them as 'my own', 'these are mine'. When, through insight-wisdom, people are able to discard these animate and inanimate objects freely as they are not attached to and take no delight in them, these objects cease to be attaniya.
One is not attached to these objects which naturally have nothing to do with atta and are quite apart from it; so they are not attaniya.
People are generally concerned with what they consider to be as themselves or their own on account of the concept of attaniya, and their bodily, verbal and mental acts are based on and are conditioned by that concern. So the root of all vice for the foolish concern is 'self' and one's own'. People mistake what is not attaniya to be attaniya as they have these hallucinations, namely, that what are not their children are their children, that what is not their son is their son, that what is not their daughter is their daughter, and that what is not their gold, silver or other property is their gold, silver or other property.
In the ultimate sense there does not exist one's own atta, and that being the case, how then can there be any attaniya?
So the Dhammapada says:
'Putta m'atthi dhanam m'atthi' 'Sons have I, wealth have I' iti balo vihannati, Thus a fool worries himself. atta hi attano natthi Verily, one's self does not exist. kuto putta kuto dhanam?' Whence sons? Whence wealth? --Verse 62, Bala-vagga, Dhammapada.
Owing to the misconception of attaniya, fools are tired and fatigued like a deer which follows a mirage thinking it to be a pool of water. In fact, one's self does not exist. How then can there be one's sons and how can there be one's wealth?
People do not perform bodily, verbal and mental acts, which are conditioned by craving, on account of things which they do not regard as themselves or their own and they accordingly do not feel any concern. There is no likelihood of their committing any vice or sin on account of such things. This is quite clear from what we see and experience in this world.
Only those people who entertain soul-belief have attaniya. Those who have no soul-belief really have no attaniya. As regards these, let alone external things, they have no delusive perception of attaniya even in respect of the parts of their bodies, such as eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind, and they don't have any misconception of attaniya in respect of visible object, sound, etc.
As regards those people who have already eradicated soul-belief, although they procure wealth and maintain their family, they do so not due to attaniya-sanna (perception of attaniya), but due to residual craving.
Those people who have totally extinguished soul-belief will never dream of performing hell-leading deeds on account of their craving for their own persons or external objects, nor will they dream of performing such vile actions as would cause them to arise in the woeful course of existence.
They will attain sa-upadisesa-nibbana (Nibbana with the constituent groups of existence still remaining), after passing through the planes of men, devas and brahmas for many world-cycles. They will not fall back to the level of common men. In reality, they are beings who are bound to attain higher and higher stages of sanctity. (Note--This refers to sotapanna.)
When they desire to attain the knowledge of the 'once-returner', they will strive for and attain sakadagami-magga (the holy path of 'once-returner') and will reach the second stage of sanctity. Established in that stage they will pass through brahma-planes for many world-cycles, enjoying themselves as Great Brahmas.
When they desire to attain anagami-magga (holy path of 'non-returner') they will strive for and attain that holy path and reach the third stage of sanctity. Established in that stage they will pass through the planes of brahma for many world-cycles, enjoying themselves as Great Brahmas.
When they feel that there is nothing to be contented with or attached to even in being Great Brahmas (when they detest being Great Brahmas like sputum), they will strive for and attain arahatta-magga, the fourth and final stage of sanctity, and become arahats. There they need not strive further because they have become khinasava-dakkhineyya- arahanta (arahats who have extinguished all defilements and are worthy of all alms and offerings). They will remain as arahats in the fourth stage of sanctity for many world-cycles; on death they will discard the five constituent groups of existence and attain anupadisesa-nibbana.
In this connection, the asankhata-nibbana (Nibbana--the beyond of all becoming and conditionality) is called sa-upadisesa-nibbana. The reason why it is called sa-upadisesa-nibbana is that it is attained while the constituent groups of men, devas and brahmas still remain. 'Nibbana without the constituent groups of existence remaining' or the 'no-more-continuing of this physico-mental process of existence' is called anupadisesa-Nibbana.
These two are not different in principle and both are asankhata (the Uncreated, the Unoriginated) and amata (Deathless). Animitta-dhamma, which has no beginning nor end, is of one kind only and not two.
During the present time also, those virtuous people who desire to reach the supramundane sphere should strive to establish themselves in the following five kinds of sammaditthi.
Of these, lokuttara-sammaditthi is subdivided into the following:
In the Buddha's Sasana, the above four are consolidated into one. So there are five kinds of sammaditthi only.
The kammassakata-sammaditthi has already been expounded. It exists in innumerable universes and world-cycles even though an Omniscient Buddha does not arise.
Owing to the conspicuous existence of this kammassakata-sammaditthi in the world, the happy planes of existence, namely, the worlds of men devas and brahmas exist. Chief-disciples-to-be, Pacceka-Buddhas-to-be and Omniscient Buddhas-to-be also exist on account of this kammassakata-sammdditthi.
Those who have wisdom arising from this kammassakata-sammaditthi are free from all kinds of wrong views. It is the 'great eye' of the mundane sphere. However, the soul-belief of those who merely have this sammaditthi remains intact and unaffected.
[Note--Atta-ditthi (wrong view of self, ego, personality), sakkaya-ditthi (personality belief), attanuditthi (wrong view following personality-belief) and attavadupadana (attachment to the ego-belief) are the same dhamma with different names.]
This soul-belief is again subdivided into four kinds:
Of these sammaditthi, right view arising from full comprehension of respective characteristics of the physical and mental phenomena of existence is called nama-rupa-pariggaha-sammaditthi. Right view arising from full comprehension of the root cause and other causes of the physical and mental phenomena, of the dependent origination of these phenomena is called hetu-paccaya-pariggaha-sammaditthi. Right view arising from meditation on impermanency (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and impersonality (anatta) is called vipassana-nana-dassana-sammaditthi. Knowledge arising from the attainment of the holy paths and the fruitions thereof is called lokuttara-magga-phala-sammaditthi.
These four sammaditthi can be attained only during the Buddha's Sasana. They cannot, be attained at any other time.
Some beings maintain that the five constituent groups of existence are atta or jiva (life, individual, or personality). Some maintain that apart from the five constituent groups of existence there is a soul which has sway over them. All those kinds of delusions are known as ati-olarika-atta-ditthi. Those who have the nama-rupa-pariggaha-samma- ditthi are able to get rid of this false view.
[Note--Nama-rupa-pariggha-nana (wisdom arising from full comprehension of the characteristics of the physical and mental phenomena), namarupa-vavatthana-nana (wisdom in determining the physical and mental phenomena) and ditthi-visuddhi (wisdom arising from clearness of view) are the same. They are mere synonyms of nama-rupa-pariggaha- sammaditthi. With reference to this sammaditthi, it has been stated in the Paramattha-Sankhepa: 'The self-belief will be dispelled and clearness of view will arise if one can determine name and form (nama-rupa) with reference to their respective nature, function, essence, tendency (or propensity) and basis.]
Some people delusively maintain that there is a 'doer of the deeds' and also 'one who takes the consequences'. These delusions of karaka-ditthi (wrong view that there is a sufferer of consequences) are called coarse olarika-atta-ditthi.
Those who have paccaya-pariggaha-sammaditthi can dispel karaka-ditthi and vedaka-ditthi. They can also dispel ahetuka-ditthi maintained by those who hold the 'view of the uncausedness' of existence, and visama-hetu-ditthi (mistaken view as to causes) held by those who believe that the Supreme Being is the Creator. They are also able to exterminate eight kinds of sceptical doubt and sixteen kinds of intellectual or ethical doubt.
[Note--paccaya-pariggaha-nana and kankhavitarana-visuddhi-nana (wisdom arising from full comprehension of the root-cause and other causes 'of the physical and mental phenomena of existence and wisdom arising from purity due to all doubts having been dispelled are the same. They are mere synonyms of paccaya-pariggaha-sammaditthi.]
The Venerable Ledi Sayadaw in his Paramattha-sankhepa (A Short Treatise on the Ultimate truths) says: 'If one thoroughly understands the dependent origination of the physical and mental phenomena of existence, he will attain the knowledge relating to purity rising over all doubt, dispelling sixteen kinds of doubt, eight kinds of sceptical doubt and various kinds of wrong views.'
The two kinds of sammaditthi--nama-rupa-pariggaha-sammaditthi and hetu-paccaya-sammaditthi--are able to root out the coarse atta-ditthi which are actually or actively arising in beings. But they are not able to root out the subtle soul-beliefs that lie latent in beings, nor are they able to root out the tendency to sceptical doubt. This proclivity--the subtle soul-belief--is the root-cause or the seed of all wrong views.
When the sotapatti-magga-phala-sammaditthi (insight-knowledge arising from the path of stream-winner and the fruition thereof) which is the first of the four lokuttara-sammaditthi arises, the extremely subtle atta-ditthi and latent sceptical doubts are expelled. When soul-belief and sceptical doubts are dispelled completely, the evil and mean deeds that would cause one to arise in the four lower worlds or in the woeful course of existence are also completely extinguished. From that moment there will permanently and steadfastly arise in them the 'eye of wisdom' by means of which they can penetratingly realise the Four Noble Truths; also the thirty-seven 'things pertaining to enlightenment' will also be permanently established in them. Although they may pass through the planes of men, devas and brahmas in the round of rebirths, they will wander as good and virtuous people who have established themselves in right view, morality, concentration and wisdom, all of which will be permanent and will never be destroyed. They will always be good and virtuous people who belong to the higher stages, enjoying great wealth, glory and having numerous attendants. They will always be able to penetrate the Four Noble Truths.
[Note--This is the exposition of the benefits of the Buddha's Sasana enjoyed by sotapanna (stream- winners) who have attained the first holy path and the fruition thereof.]
I shall give an example. Suppose a certain person obtains a substantial iron bowl which is very rusty. He will then strip off the outer rust by means of a chisel and will find the dark-coloured iron. Again for a second time he polishes the dark surface of the iron bowl with powdered rock and brick and brick-dust, when he will find the original colour of the iron bowl. Thirdly, he polishes the remaining impurities on the surface of the iron bowl by means of very fine powdered rock so that the surface of the bowl becomes much brighter. The iron bowl will be free from the coarse impurities on the surface.
Although the iron bowl is devoid of the coarse impurities on the outer surface, the subtle and the extremely subtle impurities that lie latent in the inside of the bowl remain intact, or remain as they were: they do not disappear. These subtle and extremely subtle impurities which lie latent in the interior of the bowl are the root-causes of the coarse impurities which may be formed on the outer surface of the bowl. Sometimes when the iron bowl is moistened with water and comes in contact with acid or saline water, which are the causes of forming impurities, the subtle and extremely subtle impurities contained in the bowl will help the growth of coarse and very coarse impurities on the surface of the bowl, and the iron bowl will once more become completely dark-coloured.
The owner of the bowl which has been previously polished on the outer surface then soaks it in acid or chemical solution many times, and places it in a crucible heated to a high temperature. Then the subtle impurities contained in the iron bowl are purified: but the extremely subtle impurities which lie latent in the iron bowl do not disappear and they remain as they were. The bowl is not devoid of all impurities. If it comes in contact with conditions to form new impurities, a new layer of impurities will form on the surface.
Finally, the owner of that bowl which has been somewhat purified before, soaks it again in a very powerful acid or chemical solution of a special recipe for seven days and bakes it again in a very great fire for seven days and seven nights. Then all the extremely subtle impurities contained in the iron bowl become absolutely removed. From that moment there is no opportunity for the impurities to form again in the iron bowl. The bowl now becomes a stainless bowl possessing an ever-brilliant lustre. It becomes a bowl which is magnificent and which is as brilliant as a moon or a sun.
The bowl on which rust has accumulated for such a long time resembles the common people who hold the soul-belief in the endless round of rebirths.
The iron bowl, the very thick coarse impurities of which have been stripped off by a chisel, resemble the common people who have eradicated the pubbekata-hetu-ditthi (view that all sensations enjoyed by beings in the present existence are caused and conditioned by the volitional actions done by them in their past existences), issaranimmana-hetu- ditthi (view that all sensations in the present existence are created by a Supreme Being or God), and ahetuka-ditthi (view of the 'uncausedness and unconditionality' of existence) by means of kammassakata-sammaditthi (right view in holding that beings are the owners of their own kamma).
The iron bowl which has its outer surface polished by means of powdered rock and brick-dust, resembles the worldlings who have rooted out the very coarse soul-belief by means of nama-rupa-pariggaha- sammaditthi (right view arising from full comprehension of the characteristics of the physical and mental phenomena of existence).
The iron bowl which is again highly polished by means of very fine powder or sand resembles a worldling or being who has dispelled the less coarse soul-belief by means of hetu-paccaya-sammaditthi (right view arising from full comprehension of the root-cause and other causes of the physical and mental phenomena of existence).
The iron bowl in which the subtle impurities lie latent and are purified to a certain extent by treating with powerful acid and chemical solution of a special recipe and heating to a high temperature in a crucible, resembles one who has eradicated soul-belief by means of vipassana-nanadassana-sammaditthi (right view arising from perception with insightwisdom).
The bowl which has been transformed into a stainless bowl by treating it with very powerful acid and chemical solution for seven days and seven nights and which has been baked in a very great fire for seven days and seven nights, thus absolutely driving out all impurities from the bowl, resembles a Holy One who belongs to the Supramundane sphere, and who has eradicated the extremely subtle soul-belief by means of lokuttara-magga-phala-sammaditthi (right view arising from the attainment of the holy paths and the fruitions thereof).
Those virtuous people who desire to enjoy the benefits of the Buddha's Sasana should strive their best to realise these five kinds of sammaditthi.
Of the five kinds of right views, the method of acquiring kammassakata-sammaditthi has been expounded clearly in a former chapter. Those who desire to strive for nama-rupa-pariggaha-sammaditthi (right view arising from full comprehension of the characteristics of the physical and mental phenomena of existence) should very well note and contemplate a mental phenomenon, which is prominent amongst the psychic phenomena, which is also a principal phenomenon, and which is inseparably associated with all consciousness.
If one develops his mental faculties by concentrating on a fundamentally important mental factor, which is inseparably associated with all consciousness, the other mental phenomena will be covered by this contemplation, and they need not be separately contemplated.
This statement is true: In the Nidanavagga of the Samyutta-nikaya, the Buddha declared that if one is able to fully comprehend phassa-ahara (the condition of sense-contact), he will realise the three kinds of sensation--agreeable, disagreeable, indifferent--and will achieve the Goal.
The Buddha also declared that if one fully comprehends mano- sancetanahara (the condition of mental volition), he will realise the three kinds of craving and achieve the Goal; and if one fully comprehends vinnanahara (the condition of consciousness), he will realise mind and matter and will achieve the Goal. [The exposition of these three kinds of ahara (causes) may be taken from the Ahara-dipani by the late Venerable Ledi Sayadaw.]
In the Maha-tanhasankhaya-sutta also, the Buddha preached to Sakka, King of Devas, that if one is able to comprehend vedana (sensation), he is able to achieve the Goal. [The exposition of vedana may be taken from Kammatthana-dipani and Anatta-dipani by the late Venerable Ledi Sayadaw.]
Besides, there are many other Suttas where the Buddha declared the method of contemplation based on just one mental phenomenon.
In the contemplation of physical phenomena too, if one contemplates the Great Primaries which are conspicuous, the other physical phenomena also come within the scope of this contemplation. [The Four Great Primaries have been dealt with in Lakkhana-dipani, Vijja-magga-dipani, Somanassupekkha-dipani, and Bhavana-dipani by the late Venerable Ledi Sayadaw.]
In the chapter on Ditthi-visuddhi in the Visuddhi-magga Atthakatha, the process for full comprehension of the characteristics of physical and mental phenomena has been set out at great length and in great detail, but what has been set out there is only for those who are highly intelligent and who have specially grasped the Abhidhamma. It is not for the beginner in the practice of meditation.
This statement is true: The Omniscient Buddha did not teach in the world of men this Abhidhamma Pitaka wherein He fully dealt with such dhamma as wholesome volitional actions, the five constituent groups of existence, etc. He taught this only to the Devas in the Tavatimsa Deva world.
In the world of men, the Omniscient Buddha declared only such physical and mental phenomena as will be suitable to these beings, and as will enable them to attain lokuttara-sammaditthi-nana by contemplating the same. He did not teach them all the physical and mental phenomena in full.
When one is prosecuting his studies in Buddhist literature, one should understand all the Teachings in the Abhidhamma Pitaka. However, when one is contemplating mental and physical phenomena for the purpose of acquiring vipassana-nana-dassana-sammaditthi (right view of anicca, dukkha and anatta through insight-wisdom), it is not necessary for one to know all that is contained in the Abhidhamma Pitaka. One should think out which suttanta-method among the methods declared in the Majjhima-nikaya and Samyutta-nikaya, is best suited for one's purpose and should try and attain nama-rupa-pariggaha-nana by that method.
In doing so, he should first get instructions from a competent kammatthana teacher who has already attained nama-rupa-pariggaha-nana. Otherwise, if he simply depends on his intellectual power and contemplates as he pleases, he may be able to achieve the desired goal only after a very long period, or may not be able to achieve that goal at all.
In trying to attain hetu-paccaya-pariggaha-sammaditthi (right view arising from full comprehension of the root-cause and other causes of the physical and mental phenomena of existence), one should contemplate the following in accordance with such texts as 'ahara-sammudaya rupa sammudayo', etc.
In developing one's mental faculties to attain insight-wisdom, one should contemplate as follows:
Thus whenever the causes cease, the consequences also cease.
According to the declaration 'yadaniccam, tam dukkham', a dhamma is really anicca (impermanent), is utterly devoid of sukha (pleasure), and in reality it is dukkha (suffering) pure and simple.
According to the declaration 'yam dukkham tadanatta', a dhamma which is suffering pure and simple should not be relied on as atta. This dhamma which is suffering pure and simple should not be relied on as a dhamma which can be swayed by one's will. So it really is anatta.
[The exposition of Vipassana-nana-dassana-sammaditthi appears in many other books written by the Venerable Ledi Sayadaw.]
Here 'The Manual of Right Views' comes to a close. It was originally written in Pali by the Venerable Ledi Sayadaw and the Burmese translation of it was carried out by Ledi Pandita U Maung Gyi, M.A. at Thaton.
FOOTNOTES:  Note--This is the 'Doctrine of the Elect' held by certain sects in some faiths even today.  Uparipannasa, Vibhanga-vagga, 5th Sutta; also known as Culakamma Sutta.  There are four kinds of Rebirths. They are: 1. upapatti-patisandhi (spontaneously-manifesting beings); 2. samdedaja-patisandhi (moisture-born beings) 3. andaja-patisandhi (beings born from eggs); 4, jalabuja-patisandhi (beings born from a womb).  And this applies of course to all "gods" under whatsoever name they are worshipped and whatever powers are attributed to them by the more devout of their followers.  Okasaloka: world of space. Sattaloka: world of beings. Sankharaloka: world of formations.  View that all sensations enjoyed by beings in the present existence are caused and conditioned only by the volitional actions done by them in their past existences.  Vibhanga has been translated as 'Distinctions', 'Classifications' 'Distribution'. The late Venerable Nyanatiloka Mahathera in his 'Guide Through the Abhidhamma Pitaka' says: 'By reason of its first three treatises, Vibhanga, in a certain measure, is supplementary to Dhammasangani and, at the same time, a foundation to the Dhatu-Katha (two other books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka). Those three treatises are entirely devoted to an exhaustive investigation of three categories of the highest importance or a real understanding of Buddhist Philosophy.'  Atthakalapa-rupa means 'pure eightfold group' consisting of 1. the element of extension, 2. the element of liquidity or cohesion, 3. the element of kinetic energy, 4. the element of motion, 5. the element of colour, 6. the element of smell, 7. the element of taste, 8. the element of nutriment.  Crore=ten millions.  Pacceka-buddha: Individual or silent Buddha, is called an Arahat who has realised Nibbana without ever in his life having heard from others the Buddha's doctrine. He does not possess the faculty to proclaim the doctrine to the world.  Samyutta-nikaya, Nidana-sanyutta, Maha-Vagga, Putitamanata Sutta. Chattha Sangayana Edn. 322.  Majjhima-nikaya, Mulapannasa... Mahayamaka vagga... Mahatanhasalikhyasutta. Chattha Sangayana Edn. p. 323.
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