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INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA, BOOK I, PART 2 - Meditation

Meditation

 

6 - Right Understanding
7 - Vipassana Meditation

 

6 - RIGHT UNDERSTANDING

Buddhist Practice begins with Right Understanding (sammā-ditthi), otherwise called Right Views, and ends with Right Understanding of a higher stage.

This Chapter gives food for meditation, and meditation is always with knowledge. Buddhism is a religion of action, and there’s no time to waste.

The Buddha renounced his kingdom in order to solve the problem of Birth and Death. There is Death because of the arising of Birth.

As soon as we awake, the idea of Self begins. The 6-Door machine begins to work We perceive the outside world through the 6 Doors.

We all want pleasure and pleasurable feelings all the time. However, these pleasures cloy and turn to suffering.

The 5-Aggregates arise. They flash forth but are evanescent. They appear and disappear, arise and cease. They are sankhāra, one of the meanings of which is: Formed, Compounded, Conditioned. It is the same as Sankhata, and comprise all phenomena of existence.

Only sometimes arise the 6-Grasping Aggregates when there is unwise thinking, and produce mental suffering, like worry, grief, anxiety, etc. This is causal suffering and cause future existences. We must ensure the cessation of causal suffering at the stage of craving in order to stop future existence. This is done by Vipassanā Meditation.

In Vipassanā Meditation, we must know the difference between paramattha and paññatti. Paramattha deals with the ultimates. There are 82 ultimates, each having its own individual essence, called sabhāva.

In Vipassanā Meditation,

There must be knowledge of the ultimates of Mind and Matter, each having its individual essence;

We must know the cause and effect of the arising and ceasing of these ultimates;

We must know Anicca, Dukkha and Anattā with reference to these ultimates.

Eventually, we get Magga Wisdom, leading to Nirvana.

The first step is to become a Sotāpanna, which means the elimination of the Ditthi-self.

 

The Doctrine of Anattā can be understood as composed of 3 parts. 

1.      there is no soul,

2.      there is no self,

3.      there is no control over our body processes.

The human body does not exist in terms of paramattha; it is on a par with the statement in conventional truth that water exists, but water does not exist in terms of ultimate truth, that is, in reality. The Law of Anattā says that the human body carries out its bodily functions automatically and we have no control over it, and there’s no need to put a Self into it.

Once the Buddha understood that every thing in this world was anattā and that there was no creator, he developed an independence of Mind that was unique in the history of human thought.

The 2nd Noble Truth says that craving is the cause of Suffering. Craving is a Mind Constituent and arises along with Consciousness. Only when Consciousness arises can Craving arise Craving no longer arises with an Arahat, but with ordinary persons, Craving arises occasionally. As Craving arises with Consciousness, it is momentary and fleeting, but when it does arise, it creates havoc.

Craving arises because of ignorance of the 4 Noble Truths. Arahats know the 4 Noble Truths and they have practised them to perfection. Sotāpannas know the 4 Noble Truths but they have not practised them to perfection.

Buddha says that everything is anattā. This doctrine is uniquely his.

When anattā is realised, there is no more attachment to self. There is detachment from the 5-Aggregates.

In Western parlance, if we carry on a conversation and, say, are embarrassed, or do not like, the trend of the conversation we change the subject. In Abhidhamma. the same thing is called changing the object.

Most Meditation Centres begin with concentration on paññatti objects but they never seem to get beyond this point. Ordinarily you contemplate on paññatti objects, like dāna (charity), sīla (precepts) and samatha (concentration).

Some meditation centres start you on vipassanā practices of meditating on the sabhāvas of the paramattha objects, of which there are so many. But they can go no further correctly.

But when you do Vipassanā meditation in your body and contemplate on the arising and cessation of the 5-Aggregates you come to "see" the 3 characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anattā.

You "see" or are aware of the 3 characteristics in 3 different ways, namely, by Consciousness (viññāna), Perception (saññā) and Wisdom (pañña).

Firstly, in respect of awareness by viññāna. In the beginning it is cakkhu-viññāna, which is aware of just the seeing, of sotā-viññāna, which is aware of just the hearing, and so on. Then comes automatically mind-consciousness or mano-viññāna; first is mano-dhatu followed by mano-viññāna.

Secondly, in respect of awareness by Perception (saññā). Saññā just marks and notes; it marks and notes the 3 characteristics of the 5-Aggregates.

Thirdly, in respect of awareness by Wisdom (paññā). Wisdom can know everything in the 31 planes of existence. It knows how the cakkhu-viññāna arises and sotā-viññāna arises, etc. It knows how mano-viññāna arises. It knows the sabhāvas of the elements, that water is H20. It knows phassa, vedanā and all the other 50 cetasikas separately. It knows how the 5-Aggregates arise and cease. It knows the anicca, dukkha and anattā of the 5-Aggregates. It knows that cakkhu-viññāna arises only if there is a sensitive eye. If there is a defective sensitive-eye or if the eye is closed, there is no sensitive-eye in actuality and there can be no mano-viññāna that would have arisen through cakkhu-viññāna. (There can, however, be a mano-viññāna arising through other sense-objects or mental-objects). It knows that sotā-viññāna arises only if there is a sensitive-ear in actuality. Again, if there is a defective sensitive-ear, there can be no sotā-viññāna and no mano-viññāna arising therefrom. And so on with the other sense organs which must not be defective.

And therefore you see that it is only through Wisdom that we reach our goal. So it is imperative that wisdom should arise, but it arises only through knowledge. Without knowledge, there can be no wisdom.

So you can see that saññā which marks and notes will not lead to wisdom. A life time spent on saññā will not lead to wisdom.

Nor will consciousness without knowledge turn to wisdom.

Then there is the question of the existence of a Soul (attā) or Self or "I". Because of the belief in attā, there have been millenniums and aeons of existences in samsāra in the 31 planes of existence.

Now, how does this idea of "I" arise? You speak of "I see", "I hear", "I smell", etc. You use the word "I" every time there is a thought.

Actually, it is "citta" that sees, and hears, and smells. etc. Only when there is a citta, does the idea of "I" arise.

When there is no citta, no idea of I "arises. We can then ask the question, is citta "I"? Most people will say that citta is "I". There’s anger because of the idea of "I". There’s worry because of the idea of "T". There’s every thing because of the idea of "I". But if there’s no citta, no idea of "I", soul, or attā or self arises. So can there be an attā, or soul or "T", which is believed to be a permanent entity?

We also confuse mano-viññāna with "I", or soul, or self or attā. But if there is no citta, there can be no mano-viññāna, because mano-viññāna cannot arise without cakkhu-viññāna, sotā-viññāna, etc., or a mental-object (dhamma-arammana). For a mano-vinyiññā arises only if there is a cause. Therefore it cannot be an attā, or soul, or self or "I". Accordingly there can be no soul or attā or self or "I".

In the 31 planes of existence, there is kāma-tanhā, (craving for sensual pleasures), bhava-tanhā, (craving for existence) and vibhava-tanhā (annihilation of existence). The idea of soul or self or "I" or attā arises because of these three beliefs. You have wandered a lot in samsāra because of this idea of soul, self, attā, or "I", because of Ignorance (avijjā) which begets kamma-sankhāra (karma productions) which begets the germinal force.

The germinal force in this existence ripens and dies, causing a fresh germinal force in the next existence, like the chicken and the egg in a non-ending series. It is this germinal force that separates the species and individuals of the species in plants and animals and humans and entities in the 31 planes of existence.

If you do samatha-concentration and reach a certain level of proficiency, you can see the arising and re-arising of these germinal forces.

And you realise the dukkha in all these existences, for all existence and life is dukkha.

But luckily the Buddha taught that there’s a release from birth and death and dukkha. By practising sammā-ditthi, you achieve anattā-wisdom. After achieving anattā-wisdom you are left only with the needs of the Ego-entity or personality or the 5-Aggregates, and no more with its wants. There is no more new existence, and you are free from kāma-tanhā, bhava-tanhā and vibhava-tanhā. And there’s no more dukkha. You are off the wheel of existence.

There are many aspects of sammā-ditthi. One aspect is that beings are the owners of their own karma.

Another aspect arises from a full comprehension of the 3 characteristics of anicca, dukkha, anattā of the 5-Aggregates.

Another aspect is the vipassanā-ñāna-sammā-ditthi, arising from perception with Insight-wisdom.

And finally the lokuttara-magga-phala-sammā-ditthi arising from the attainment of the Holy Paths and Fruition thereof.

You get vipassanā wisdom with the 5 dominant cetasikas of paññā (wisdom), saddha (faith), viriya (diligence), sati (mindfulness) and samādhi (concentration.)

Then you go beyond vipassanā citta. You get to magga-citta with the 8 cetasikas of the Noble Eightfold Path.

You see Nirvana. The magga-citta merges into Nirvana. Nirvana, incidentally, is not inside you but outside you.

Though this hook deals with ultimates, we must remember that we live in a molecular world. All manifestation is in terms of molecules, but we must not forget the ultimate constitution of molecules, namely, the atoms and atomic particles.

Every aggregation is molecular and therefore paññatti. We see atoms and atomic particles with the inner eye, but life exists only as molecules.

Descartes said, "cogito, ergo sum", meaning, "I think, therefore I am". He does not explain what is meant by "I", by "think" or "I am".

However Abhidhamma explains all this and more. It explains how consciousness arises, how mind is consciousness plus something, etc., etc.

"I" is the personalisation of consciousness, mind, or thought; these 3 words are used synonymously for citta in the Abhidhamma.

As for "think", the processes of thought, the courses of cognition, are explained in detail in the Abhidhamma.

"I am" means the 5-Aggregates, the Personality.

If we want to get at the Truth, we must know what citta is. Citta is a paramatta and cannot be "I", which is paññatti. Therefore, when we do Vipassanā Meditation, it must be done on paramatta and not on paññatti.

If we meditate on paññati objects, we just get merit in the worlds of kāma, rūpa and arūpa, but it does not lead to the stage of Sotāpanna which leads to magga Wisdom and to Nirvana.

We must know how consciousness arises. Consciousnesses arise through the 6-Doors, namely, l. visual consciousness, 2. auditory consciousness, 3. sound consciousness, 4. smell consciousness, 5. taste consciousness, and 6. mind consciousness.

They arise when there is conjunction with an object, namely, visual object, auditory object, sound object, etc. And thus arises awareness of an object.

What is the "I" with reference to the Mind? "I" can be deemed to be the "Agent" of the Mind. If that be so, whose "Agent" is the Mind? The answer is that Mind is the "Agent" of the 5 Aggregates.

In Vipassanā Meditation, we are meditating on the 5-Aggregates. And therefore we must know how and why the 5 Aggregates arise, and the characteristics of each Aggregate.

There are 5-Aggregates in all.

When consciousness arises,

there arises citta and cetasikas, and the citta-produced Aggregate, which is the Materiality Aggregate.

viññāna or consciousness Aggregate.

vedanā or feeling Aggregate.

saññā or perception Aggregate.

sankhāra Aggregate of willing and striving with the remainder of the 50 cetasikas.

In the mundane world, you use sati (mindfulness), viriya (effort or diligence), paññā (wisdom) all the time to get all your successes.

Similarly, in the supramundane world, it is sati, viriya, paññā in its supramundane forms.

As we get on with Vipassanā Meditation, we come eventually to Magga Wisdom and the Nirvanic Peace which passes all Understanding.

Buddha taught the Truth. He taught the Truth in line with a succession of Buddhas. He taught the truth of Birth and Death. He taught the truth of dukkha (suffering), and how to get out of this samsāra, that’s the Goal, namely, freedom from Rebirth.

It is a great thought to be liberated at last. After having been once a King, once a slave, once a rich man, and once a poor man, once a deva, once in purgatory and a non-ending series of rebirths, at long last, Freedom from Rebirth.

As soon as there is birth, any where and every where, there begins this round of dukkha. It is just dukkha and dukkha.

I for one would not relish the idea of being reborn into this world, for all is dukkha.

Similarly, in the other planes of existence. There may be temporary snatches of so-called happiness (sukkha), for example, when doing jhāna, but it is basically always dukkha and always back to purgatory.

The universe is molecular. It is mundane. But we are now dealing with the supramundane. One should not mix up the two.

Then come glimmerings of Freedom from the wheel of existence, Freedom from Rebirth.

After attaining to Nirvana, and before one’s demise, what sort of existence does one lead? One must understand that this is a world of paññatti.

What sort of existence did the Buddha lead? He could possibly have some annoyance or anger but without any craving, or some pleasures of taste, etc., without any craving.

And before we ourselves become Arahats, we could practise staying without any craving. During that time, we would be at peace. It be an exciting life.

And thus may Buddha’s teaching lead to Freedom from Rebirth for all in this Universe, for all in this World-System and all other World-Systems.


7 - VIPASSANA MEDITATION

The purpose of Vipassanā Meditation is to become a Sotāpanna in the first instance, the first of the Noble Ones, and then go on to the Second and Third Stage, culminating in becoming an Arahat. The method is to discover and penetrate into the actually existing ultimate realities, both of matter and mind, and to arrive at the anicca, dukkha, anattā characteristics of our 5 Aggregates. This leads to the different steps of Vipassanā Wisdom right up to the stage of Magga and Phala Wisdom and to Nirvana, the highest goal of Buddhism.

It is at the stage of gotrabhu that the vipassanā citta is automatically changed to that of magga citta. It is the change of lineage from that of a worldling and you become a Noble One.

The vipassanā citta has its complement of 34 cetasikas, including the 5 dominant Powers (balas) of paññā, saddha, viriya, sati, and samādhi. It has only 34 because the 3 Abstinences are counted as one, as only one of them functions, whenever called upon to function, two of them being always idle.

The magga citta has its full complement of 36 cetasikas, including the 8 cetasikas of the 8-fold Noble Path.

Eventually, you break the chain of causation, and you are on the "other shore", having left the Wheel of Existence.

It is only on the basis of the knowledge of the ultimates that final vipassanā wisdom can be obtained. For example, meditation on the anicca, dukkha, anattā characteristics of conventional things (paññatti) cannot produce magga Wisdom.

Suppose two lawyers were arguing before a Judge, all of them learned in the law, and one lawyer is making his legal points. His lawyer opponent is listening carefully, and all of a sudden he gets a flash of legal wisdom to counter the other lawyer’s argument. The legal wisdom cannot come without a knowledge of the law. Similarly when you meditate with Vipassanā knowledge, you get a flash of supramundane or transcendental wisdom.

Vipassanā is the study of cause and effect. It is essential that one be able to make a proper differentiation between paramattha (ultimate realities) and paññatti (concepts, ideas, terms, etc.); otherwise one will unknowingly fall into the trap of "meditation" on paññatti.

 

 There are 16 steps in Vipassanā Meditation:

 

1.      Nāma-rūpa pariccheda ñāna, being the knowledge arrived at by dissecting Mind and Body into their ultimate parts.

2.      Paccaya pariggaha ñāna, being the knowledge of the arisings and ceasings, being cause and effect.

3.      Samma-sana ñāna, being the knowledge of the arising and ceasing of the past, future and present.

4.      Udaya-vaya-nuppassanā ñāna, knowledge which reflects on the rise and fall of the 5-Aggregates through the 6-doors.

5.      Bhanga-nupassanā ñāna, knowledge which reflects on the breaking up or perishable nature of the 5-Aggregates.

6.      Bhaya-nūppassanā-ñāna, knowledge of the defects of the 5-Aggregates.

7.      ādinava-nupassanā-ñāna, knowledge which reflects on the dangers of the 5-Aggregates.

8.      Nibbida-nupassanā-ñāna, knowledge which reflects on the feeling of disgust aroused by the 5-Aggregates.

9.      Muñcitu-kamyatā-ñāna, knowledge of the desire for release from the 5-Aggregates which arouse feelings of disgust.

Patisankha-nupassanā-ñāna, knowledge which reflects on the detailed analysis of the 5-Aggregates in order to be released from them.

Sankhā-ruppekkhā-ñāna, knowledge of indifference towards the 5-Aggregates.

Anuloma-ñāna, Adaptive knowledge which arises in connection with the 4 Noble Truths.

Gotrabhu-ñāna, change of lineage of the consciousness that arises.

Magga-ñāna, burst of Wisdom that we are seeking.

Phala-ñāna, fruition-consciousness.

Pacca-vekkhana-ñāna, the post-phala meditation on magga, phala, and Nirvana.


1. Nāma-Rūpa Pariccheda ñāna

In your own body, and in another’s body, find out and penetrate into the actual existing phenomena:

1. The realities are paramattha (ultimate realities).

2. Non-realities exist as sammuti truth. It’s ordinary usage in conventional terms, like, man, woman, person, "I", a breathing body showing continuity; it is paññatti (concepts, ideas, terms, etc.).

My body is the manifestation of the 4-Mahā-Bhūtas (Primaries). They are bound together as one.

Meditate to ferret out the individual essences of:

1.      Pathavī - hardness, softness,

2.      āpo - coherence, inherence, growth.

3.      Tejo - heat (and absence of heat), and

4.      Vāyo - motion or resistance to motion, hardening with air-pressure.

Find out in your body, consisting of from the top of the head down to your toes, the facts of heat and cold, where cold is the lessening of heat.

Know that the manifestations of heat and cold, its individual essence, has no form or entity.

Tejo. Heat. Practise finding out heat and cold. It is rūpa (matter), and its changeability is the essence of matter.

Vāyo. Motion or resistance to motion. Find out in your body, motion, and resistance to motion. Know that changeability is the essence of matter.

āpo. Find out in your body the growth and the linking together of the 4 Primaries. āpo is coherence, inherence, fluidity. Remember that changeability is the essence of matter.

Pathavī. All the other 3 Primaries are based on Pathavī, namely, heat, motion and resistance to motion, coherence and liquidity. Know the individual essences and the characteristics of hardness and softness, know that it is constantly changing (transient).

Thus in every way, from top to bottom, and sideways left and right, know that changeability is the essence of matter (rūpa).

Then, along with the 4 Primaries, are the 4 derived qualities or properties, all arising and disappearing together:

·         a. colour,

·         b. smell,

·         c. taste,

·         d. nutriment.

It’s the Octad, all arising together. Add jīvita (psychic life) to the Octad and we get the nonad. Add the sensitive parts of the organs, which are the fruition of past karma, namely, depending on past karma. It’s the decad.

There are millions of such decad cells, all with ākāsa (space) in between.

Your whole body, outside and inside, is composed of these cells, of which you must know their essence severally.

Octad + jīvita = nonad.

·         With visual pasāda (sensitive eye), we have one kind of cell.

·         With hearing pasāda, we have another kind of cell.

·         With smell pasāda, we have another kind of cell.

·         With taste pasāda, another kind of cell.

·         With body pasāda, another kind of cell.

·         With heart pasāda, (hadaya-vatthu), another kind of cell.

So once again in your body, high and low, and sideways, know that changeability is the essence of matter. They are all changeable essences, a person or creature, nor "I", nor man, or woman.

 

 

Practice regarding the arising of Nāma

Taking heat as your object, 4 kinds of nāma Aggregates arise. One Aggregate knows, one feels, one notes, and one strives.

With body base, there arises body consciousness. In the feeling of heat, there is vedanā; there is feeling of different kinds, pleasurable or otherwise, and you note (saññā).

In the feeling, which is of different kinds, you have to strive continually to keep it arising: this is sankhāra aggregate.

These 4 aggregates arise together; they are the 4 nāma aggregates.

(NOTE): If there were only one, it would amount to attā, the admission of attā. There is nothing in the world that exists just by itself singly. There’s no attā.

Along with the 4 nāma aggregates, there arises mind-produced matter. It arises and disappears; it is transient, which is the essence of matter. Thus we have one aggregate for Body and 4 aggregates for Mind, making 5 Aggregates.

Everytime you see, remember, recall, note, know nāma-rūpa. Meditate on the fact, and be mindful of it.

Everytime you smell, meditate similarly.

Everytime you taste, do similarly.

Everytime you touch, do similarly.

Everytime you know, do similarly. 

Thus, a meditator meditates on his body and on another’s body, and knows that, except for the 5-Aggregates, there is no person or being or "I", or man or woman.

The aim is to know reality by severally dissecting its parts.

This is Nāma-Rūpa Pariccheda Wisdom.

In the wink of an eye, in a flash of lightning, during that period called khana, there’s uppatti (arising), thi (decay) and bin (ceasing).

 

Life of Nāma

Nāma exists for the 3 small khanas of arising, decay and ceasing. For one unit of rūpa ceasing, there are 17 units of nāma ceasing. 

Rūpa and Nāma are conditioned and therefore cannot be only one unit. The old gives place to the new.

The new are arising all the time, and it appears as if there’s one continuous appearing.

When you are doing Vipassanā Meditation and you don’t achieve Nāma-rūpa Pariccheda Wisdom, it will be an obstacle to understand the characteristic marks of anicca, dukkha and anattā.

 

There are so many rūpas:

1. Basic 4 Mahā-Bhūtas (Primaries) or Dhātus (Elements), arising in the whole body.

·         earth or solid-element pathavī-dhātu

·         water or cohesion āpo-dhātu

·         fire or heat-element tejo-dhāto

·         wind or motion-element vāyo-dhātu

2. Derived from the 4 Primaries, are the 4:

·         colour

·         smell

·         taste

·         nutriment āhāra

3. a. Jīvita rūpa that gives life to the body

·         b. Femininity itthi

·         c. Masculinity purisa

·         d. Body pasāda.

The above 12 are for the whole body.

4. 

·         Sensitive eye

·         Sensitive ear

·         Sensitive nose

·         Sensitive tongue

·         Sensitive body (hadaya-vatthu)

Sound rūpa occasionally arises with belly, throat, mouth, tongue, lips.

They lead to the idea of person, "I".

These 18 rūpas make this body, which has no sentience.

·         "Seeing", knowing visual form, depending on the sensitive eye;

·         "Hearing", knowing sound, depending on the sensitive ear;

·         "Smelling", knowing smell, dependent on the sensitive nose.

·         "Tasting", knowing taste, dependent on the sensitive tongue,

·         "Touching", knowing touch, dependent on the sensitive body,

·         "Knowing", dependent on the hadaya-vatthu, or heart base.

These 6 "knowings" are due to the taking of an object.

Understand that nāma and rūpa do not mix; they are separate, and should be thus meditated on. The 6 "knowings" are nāma, and the 6 doors are rūpa.

Meditate on this intermittently.

There are 10 rūpas on which you do not meditate.


2. Paccayā-parigaha-ñāna, Generators of Matter

1.      Karma

2.      Citta - Mind

3.      Utu - Temperature, heat-element

4.      āhāra - Nutriment, food

Karma means the past good and bad karma, which started with birth (patisandi) consciousness, and causes the karma-produced rūpa to arise; it is the seed of the rūpa.

Citta, starting after the patisandi consciousness, starting with the first bhavanga, causes the citta-produced rūpa to arise.

Utu causes both the internal and external body-formations.

āhāra causes the internal and external rūpas to arise.

 

Arising of 4 Nāma Aggregates

Eye pasāda (sensitive eye) + visual object + light and manasikāra (attention) cause to arise visual consciousness, and thus the 4 nāma Aggregates arise.

·         Sensitive ear + sound + medium + manasikāra produce auditory consciousness and the 4 nāma Aggregates.

·         Sensitive nose + smell + air + manasikāra produce smell consciousness.

·         Sensitive tongue, etc., similar.

·         Sensitive Body, etc., similar.

Mental pasāda + mental base + mental object produce mental consciousness and the 4 nāma-Aggregates.

Along with the 4 nāma-Aggregates arises citta-produced matter, making the 5th Aggregate. So each of the 5 Aggregates arises and ceases.

The knowing of the arisings and ceasings, being cause and effect, is Paccayā-Parigaha Wisdom.


3. Sama-sana Wisdom 

Meditate on the arising and cessation of the 5-Aggregates in the past. Meditate on each singly and severally, with reference to the anicca, dukkha and anattā characteristics of existence. They arose because of the 6-Doors.

Similarly for the present arisings and cessations. Similarly for the future arisings and cessations.

These 5-Aggregates are no good at all. They arise and disappear all the time, and you can’t depend on them at all.

Each of the following eleven distinctions of these aggregates is no good, and they appear and disappear similarly.

1. In the past, they arose and disappeared. They have the characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anattā, and therefore are no good at all.

2. In the future, they will arise and disappear and have the 3 characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anattā.

3. In the present, the are no good at all. They are arising and disappearing all the time, having the 3 characteristics of existence.

4. Externally, also the 5-Aggregates of animals, etc. are arising and disappearing all the time, bearing the 3 characteristics.

5. Internally, also, they are no good, having the 3 characteristics.

6. They can be coarse. All these 5-Aggregates are bad. If there is arising of dosa, one has to be afraid.

7. They can be refined, and all are bad. They give the idea of getting you merit and that this will get you to the abodes of the Devas. Thus you are induced, for instance, to build a monastery. They induce you to made charity (dāna) and keep the precepts (sīla), promising kāma kusala (merit) and rūpa kusala and arūpa kusala, when actually these kusalas are anicca, dukkha and anattā. These 5-Aggregates are not dependable at all. They are bad.

8. They can be of the inferior kind, and full of lobha, dosa and moha.

9. They can be of the superior kind, but they are not dependable, replete with the 3 characteristics of anicca, dukkha, and anattā.

10. They can be of the distant kind. One can visualise them existing far away but the all exhibit the 3 characteristics, and are no good.

11. They can be of the near kind with the usual 3 characteristics.


4. Udaya-vaya-nupassanā-ñāna

From now, we stick to the present, and no more of the past and future. This applies to this and the remaining stages.

Udaya means arising, and

vaya means cessation.

We meditate on the arising and ceasing of the 5-Aggregates. They arise through the 6-Doors which are located all over the body. They arise from different causes, through the sensitive eye, the sensitive ear, sensitive nose, etc., at different doors, and after arising, they immediately disappear just where they had arisen at the different localities of the body.

The arising and ceasing shows their anicca quality, meaning not permanent.


5. Bhanga-nupassanā-ñāna

As you meditate, the arising and ceasing of the 5-Aggregates become fast. When fast, you will not see the arising but only the ceasing. Like you see the crumbling of a house built of the very edge of a river.

You will realise that craving or wanting, anything produces suffering. For example, you engage a servant. Later, he lets you down and there’s a theft and you have to go to Court. You come to realise that because you wanted a servant, you get trouble and suffering.

This craving causes the 5-Grasping Aggregates to arise and the result is suffering.

Another example. You want to eat a particular thing. Some one comes and gives you this particular thing. You eat and get unwell. You see that wanting to eat that thing is the cause of your trouble, your suffering. You see the cause and effect.

You see that attachment to the 5-Aggregates is bad, because the attachment or craving causes the arising of the 5-Grasping Aggregates, and thus you realise that suffering is caused.

From this stage of mental development onwards, you come to realise that suffering results because of your wanting anything, because of your craving.


6. Bhaya-nupassanā-ñāna

You see the dangers of the 5-Aggregates. In the simile of the house, you see the bank of the river disappearing with the consequent crumbling of the house.

You are in the swim of samsāra. You see decay, old age, death continually harassing you.

The cause of all this is craving that makes the 5-Grasping Aggregates to arise. Because you did not know the cause, which is craving, you are experiencing suffering all the time. You see danger in the arising of the 5-Aggregates.


7. Adhinava - nupassanā-ñāna

Means the faults or troublesome effects of the 5-Aggregates. You see the bad results. Suppose a person who is addicted to narcotics is continually asking for money and causes trouble. You see the trouble caused.

Say a man goes to a forest full of fearful things, like snakes and tigers, etc. You are fearful. Similarly the causes of the arising of the 5-Aggregates make you fearful. You fear sankhāra, the arising of the 5-Aggregates.

They are full of lobha, dosa and moha. They are the cause of decay, old age and death.


8. Nibhida - nupassanā-ñāna

You see the bad points of the 5-Aggregates. You see the defects, and you get fed up with sankhāra. All is dukkha, suffering.

When you have a bad wife, you will hate her and also disgust will arise, etc. You decide that you must divorce her.


9. Muñcitu Kamyata ñāna

You want to get out of the clutches of the 5-Aggregates. You want release from them


10. Pati-sankha-nupassunā-ñāna

You want your release and you must act. You work it out in detail.

There are 40 kinds in the 3 characteristics of

·         Anicca ... 10

·         Dukkha ... 25

·         Anattā ... 5

Total ... 40

As there are 5-Aggregates, this makes 200 Insights in all.


11. Sankhāruppekhā-ñāna

The Aggregates arise by themselves and they cease by themselves. They arise with their own causes. You are now indifferent to every thing. You are no longer affected by the good and evil in this world.

Whilst meditating, the sankhāras, the 5-Aggregates disappear.

This feeling of indifference (uppekkha) is fostered by the balance of the mind or equanimity (tatra majjhatata).


12. Anuloma-ñāna

When the Insight of Sankhāruppekhā matures, it changes itself into the insight of adaptation (anuloma-ñāna).

We are now nearing Magga. Out of anicca, dukkha, anattā, one becomes predominant, whichever is fitting in the circumstances, but always pertains to Magga.

Your wisdom becomes very alert, very strong, very quick.


13. Gotrabhu-ñāna

You have finished with meditation on the 5-Aggregates. Change of lineage knowledge arises taking Nirvana as object.

It’s the knowledge that sees the freedom from cause and effect.

It sees Nirvana, but not yet the 4-Noble Truths simultaneously.


14. Magga-ñāna

This is the moment you have been striving for. In a flash of Magga Wisdom, you comprehend the 4-Noble Truths simultaneously.


15. Phala-ñāna

Knows that Magga has been achieved.

You are now a Sotāpanna, a Stream winner. You have overcome the first 3 Fetters, which are:

·         belief in a permanent personality,

·         clinging to rules and rituals, and

·         doubt (scepticism).

You have 7 more Fetters to overcome. But you can rest on your oars, knowing there are only 7 more existences for you at a maximum, and you cannot be born in the lower planes.


16. Pacca-vekkhana-ñāna

This is like the after-taste. You meditate on Magga and Phala and also on Nirvana.

When you reach the stage of Sotāpanna, you know that 3 kilesas have been eliminated.

You know that 7 more are remaining. You meditate on the remaining kilesas not yet eliminated.

As a Sotāpanna, you have the added experience and wisdom that will make it easier to become a Sakadāgāmī and an Anāgāmī.

Every time you begin at the udaya-vaya-ñāna. You meditate again on the 5-Aggregates, but with higher and better Insight.

But when you come to the stage that had previously been Gotrabhu, it becomes vodāna. Thereafter the sequence is anuloma, then vodāna, then magga and phala of Sakadāgāmī.

The next time it is of a Anāgāmī. And lastly you become an Arahat. You have reached your Goal.


 

Publications

'Publications' section includes a tab 'Book Collection' which contains a collection of books on core material of Budddha Dhamma for present-day Buddhists and those who would want to learn Buddhism. Most of the books are available for download as PDF documents and as printed texts at book shops.

 

'Documents and Downloads' gives a list of books and documents on core material of Budddha Dhamma. Some are available for download as PDF documents.

 

'Introducing Buddhist Abhidhamma' tab contains the full text of the book Introducing Buddhist Abhidhamma written by Kyaw Min, U. Abhidhamma is the 3rd and last part of the Buddhist Pali Canon.

Read related sub-pages on

INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA, BOOK I, Part 1 - Abhidhamma, introduction

INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA, BOOK I, PART 2 - Meditation

INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA, BOOK II - Concentration

INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA, BOOK III - Miscellaneous Papers