Reply To: Vipassana Meditation After Sotapanna Stage


Comment 1: Introduction

First a reminder. These comments assume that one has SEEN (with wisdom) the anicca, dukkha, anatta nature of this world. That is the same as understanding the Four Noble Truths and Paticca Samuppada.

1. It is a good idea to understand the meaning of “raga“. It means one gives preference to remaining in the rebirth process. If one has understood the dangers of remaining in the rebirth process, one would START LOSING that preference and turn the mind toward attaining Nibbana. It is a gradual process. Only at the Arahant stage is one totally separated from this world.

2. One cannot even think about preferring Nibbana if one has the 10 types of miccha ditthi. One of those is not believing in the rebirth process. If that is the case, then no point in pursuing any stage of Nibbana, let alone the Anagami stage.

3. Buddha’s main assertion is that one will be subjected to suffering (in the rebirth process) as long as one craves things in this world. We can just focus on the cravings for sensual pleasures because an Anagami would only lose such cravings, i.e., kama raga. Rupa raga and arupa raga are removed at the Arahant stage.

4. When one has “kama raga” one gives preference to be reborn in kama loka (not in the apayas, of course, but in human or Deva realms.) One will be born in the apayas if one commits highly immoral deeds. One will be reborn in human or Deva realms if one has not accumulated apayagami kamma AND if one has not given up the desire for sensual pleasures, i.e., if one has kama ragaOne has “kama raga” if one places a high value in sensory pleasures.

5. One can commit highly immoral deeds (apayagami deeds) ifkama raga is intense.  That apayagami level of kama raga PERMANENTLY goes away at the Sotapanna Anugami stage. Here is something CRITICAL to understand. A Sotapanna Anugami DOES NOT need to willfully refrain from such actions. Even under highly-tempting situations, a Sotapanna Anugami will not be CAPABLE of carrying out an apayagami action.

6. That means a Sotapanna Anugami has removed “ditthi vipallasa.” That cleanses that mind in getting rid of the “worst level” of avijja anusaya, which is “ditthi anusaya.” Of course, that is fully realized at the Sotapanna stage, but that is guaranteed.

7. Now we get to the Sakadagami/Anagami stages. Here the key factor is getting rid of the lower two levels of kama raga. At the Sakadagami stage, the tendency to “own stuff” that can bring sensual pleasures goes away, but the desire to enjoy such things will still be there. This is what we are going to be focused on. 

– This is the same as saying that even though “ditthi vipallasa” about the value of “sense-pleasing things” goes away at the Sotapanna Anugami stage, one will still have the tendency to “enjoy sensual pleasures.” This means one’s mind will still have a “strong level of attraction” to sensual pleasures.
– That WRONG PERCEPTION (sanna vipallasa) goes away in two stages. First, at the Sakadagami stage, the desire to “collect things that provide sensual pleasures” like houses, cars, etc goes away (vatthukāmā removed)
– But that sanna vipallasa completely goes away only at the Anagami stage (kilesakāmā removed). That is when one would lose all desires for any sensual pleasure.
– In either case, one does not need to willfully control one’s actions. The mind would not allow it, just like in #5 above.

8. I need to explain that last part. Most of the “desires” that we have are mind-made. That is why the Buddha called vinnana a magician.

– This “mind-made vedana” is “samphassa-ja-vedana.” It is critical to understand that. In Paticca Samuppada, “phassa paccaya vedana” is just the short form. It is really “samphassa paccaya samphassa-ja-vedana.”

– The point is that all these “urges” we have are truly mind-made. When the mind “sees” the futility of any action/speech/thought, it just would not go through with it. The mind will AUTOMATICALLY stop generating “samphassa” or “contacts with greed, anger, or ignorance” at that level of understanding.

9. In other words, the mind will stop attaching to sensual pleasures when it truly comprehends the anicca nature of such actions.

– To put it another way, the mind has to realize that anything associated with sensual pleasures is of NO VALUE. Not only that, it will prevent one overcome rebirths in kama loka. As long as one is kama loka, the possibility of rebirth in the apayas is there. That is the danger.

– The same is also stated as seeing the “asubha nature” of the world (in this case, the asubha nature of things that can bring sensual pleasures). Average humans perceive “luxuries” of nice houses, cars, as “subha” or auspicious nature. But an Ariya (Noble Person) needs to see their asubha nature. As long as one can see “value” in those things, one’s mind is not freed from kama loka.

10. The above is the foundation for getting to the Anagami stage.

– If there are questions, please refer to the bullet # unless it is a general question.