Reply To: Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta in relation to dhamma and various types of sankhara


I think it is good to try to clarify the following in a bit more detail.

Upekkha wrote: “Sabbe sankhara dukkha=all sankhara ARE suffering.
So does that mean bad kamma vipaka and rebirths in the apayas is NOT implied in the verse “all sankhara are suffering” then?”

Yes. I clearly stated in previous replies that all sankhara are suffering.
This suffering comes in two ways.
– There is suffering (at least striving) while doing the deed. That is the sankhara stage.
– For apunnabhisankhara, the stronger suffering is in the future, as a kamma vipaka, per Paticca Samuppada.

So, those who are suffering in the apayas NOW, are suffering due to the PREVIOUS sankhara. The current suffering in the apayas is due to vipaka.

We can take three examples to clarify.

1. Suppose X kills another person by stabbing.
– That killing ORIGINATED due to kaya sankhara that arose in X’s mind. Those thoughts then were translated to the action of killing (kaya kamma) that REQUIRED an effort. Furthermore, those thoughts also were not good thoughts and made X’s mind very agitated, which is also a part of the suffering at the moment of doing the bad deed.
– However, much worse suffering comes in a future rebirth in an apaya DUE TO that bad kamma. That future rebirth results from the uppatti PS process.

2. Now let us take an example of X doing a good deed (say building a hospital) with punnabhisankhara, but without comprehension of Tilakkhana.
– That effort of building the hospital and related planning etc is the “suffering” at that moment. Some of that “suffering” will be counter-balanced by the “good state of mind.”
– But the kamma vipaka that come in the future could lead to a birth in a Deva realm.
– Yet, that return is “temporary.” After “getting paid” for the good deed, X will be back to where he was on the rebirth process.

3. On the other hand, if X was a Sotapanna (and built that hospital with some comprehension of Tilakkhana), that will help X to advance to the next stage of Nibbana. Then there is progress towards ending future suffering.

In ALL three cases, there was suffering (striving) at the time of doing the deeds (i.e., at the time of GENERATING sankhara.)
– That is what is meant by “sabbe sankhara dukkha”
– After Parinibbana, no more “sankhara” and no more suffering.
– By the way, that is the other part, “sabbe sankhara anicca.” All “good and bad sankhara” come to an end with Parinibbana.