Reply To: Post on Nirōdha and Vaya


Tobias questions:

1. In that post under #4 the word nirodha is explained: “…Nirōdha comes from nir+udaya, where “nir” means stop and “udaya” means “arise”. Thus nirōdha means to stop something from arising. …”
– Waharaka Thero explains it differently as “to stop rounding behind something, stopping the rotation of the cycle”. It is the opposite of “rodha”. I think this is the better explanation. Any thoughts?

Both usages for “nirodha” as “to stop something from arising” AND “stopping the rotation of the cycle” are correct. Which meaning is more applicable depends on the context.

A. As explained in #4 of “Nirōdha and Vaya – Two Different Concepts“, Nirōdha comes from “nir”+”udaya”, where “nir” means stop and “udaya” means “arise”. Thus nirōdha means stop something from arising.
– Particularly in Paticca Samuppada steps, this meaning is more applicable in the reverse of the steps. There we have for example, “bhava paccaya jati” step, and to stop jati from arising one needs to stop bhava, i.e., “bhava nirodha jati nirodho.”

B. In the stopping of the “cycle of rebirth”, nirodha is used to indicate the “stopping of that perpetual cycle”.
– This is explained in #13 of “Nibbāna – Is it Difficult to Understand?

The Sinhala wording for what you stated above is, “නියරෝධ කරනවා කියන්යන් රවුේ හන එක නතර කරනවා. ඊට පස්යස් ඒක රවුම් හන්යන් නෑ. අන්න නතර වුනා.” (Thanks to Janith Fernando for sending me the Sinhala transcript; that made it much easier).
– It could be translated in the given context as, “nirodha means to stop going around in the rebirth cycle. When one stops acting with avijja, that stops the rebirth cycle. That is nirodha.”

Many key Pali words like anicca and anatta have similarly several meanings that are inter-related. For example, anatta can mean “without refuge” AND “without essence”.

2. Tobias starting line should read, “Also on page 7 of Waharaka Thero discourse No. 6..”
The Sinhala version of what Tobias quoted is: “යම් ධර්මයක් “සාං” තහවේ “සාං + උදය – සමුදය” සාං කියන්තන් යමක් එක්වීම, ස ස් වීම. උදාපවනවා නම්, සකස් පවමින් උදාපවනවා නම්, “සබ් ං තං” – ඒ සියල්ලම “නිතරෝධ ධම්මාං” – රවුම් ෙහන්න වටින ඒවො තනතමයි! “නැතිතවන සුලුයි” කිවුතවොේ වැරදියි!”

I would translate that as “…‘Sañ’+ udaya = Samudaya’. ‘Sañ’ means incorporation or adding. If something X arises due to Y, then X can be stopped from arising by stopping Y. Everything in the world (‘sabbam tam’) arise due to avijja. Therefore, everything can be stopped from arising, they are all ‘nirodha dhammam’, not worthy of pursuing. If we just say ‘nirodha dhammam’ means perishable, that is wrong. because that only refers to the decay and destruction of EXISTING THINGS..”
– That refers to the fueling of the samsaric journey with avijja. The Paticca Samuppada cycle starts with “avijja paccaya sankhara” and ends with “jati paccaya jara, marana, ..and the whole mass of suffering.” Everything that arises will decay and vanish at some point, but the rebirth cycle will continue with another bhava and jati. It is only when avijja is REMOVED (stopped from arising), that the rebirth process will come to an end.

3. Again this refers to discourse #6.

Your question comes up because the term “exists” may be interpreted by different people in different ways. Let me try to explain it this way.

The “eternalists” believe that a “soul” exists. That means a permanent existence.
– The “materialists” believe that a “soul” does not exist, i.e., there is no permanent entity to be called “me” that will go on living forever in one form or another. In this case, there is not even a rebirth process. The death of the physical body is the END.

The Buddha said both are wrong.

So, I would translate that portion that you quoted as following:
“…As the meaning of this phrase, we have been taught that, if some phenomena arise, all those are perishable. Whatever arisen, will decay and perish. That’s how it has been clarified (for nirodha). But that is not nirodha.
Existent is one extreme, nonexistent is the other extreme. Association with either of the extremes, will not facilitate enlightenment.
We do not take it as “someone exists”. That could mean existence forever. ‘Samudaya’ means arising, arising of “a person” for example. When that person dies, “another living-being” will arise due to causes created by that person. If we take it as something existent, that would lean towards eternalism. Something existent would mean something existing eternally. These are things that are forming out of causality. That process can be stopped by removing avijja. …”

In other words, there is a continuance of life after death. But that should not be called eternal life.
– As we discussed above, that process can be stopped. It is COMPLETELY stopped when Arahanthood is attained and that Arahant’s physical body dies (i.e., Parinibbana.) That is nirodha.
– But until that happens, there is existence in some form (in the 31 realms).

It is not easy to express these concepts in words. But as we read more and more, we should be able to grasp the key ideas. As I explained, some words have different (but related) meanings.