Reply To: Who cannot practice Ānāpānasati and Satipaṭṭhāna?


The following post is from Jorg:

Thank you kindly, Lal.
Everything you said is very clear. Samphassa-ja-vedana always precede dhammā (kamma bīja). Without Samphassa-ja-Vedana, there’s no way of kamma bija developing.

Still, I had some questions lingering about that particular phrase because it’s such a key component in this tradition which I used to practice for about six years until I got hold of the deeper dhamma truths. I feel it’s my duty to understand so that I can communicate this with that proper understanding. So, I checked the corresponding suttā of the phrase for some context. After some contemplation, along with what Lal said, some things cleared up, and I realized why it was originally interpreted that way.
Maybe this is also helpful for other members who have a background in this tradition.

The context of 2 out of 3 suttā starts with Buddha asking the following questions:
AN 8.83 (This one has 8 Q & A)
AN 10.58 (This one lists 10 Q & A)

“‘kiṁmūlakā, āvuso, sabbe dhammā, kiṁsambhavā sabbe dhammā, kiṁsamudayā sabbe dhammā, kiṁsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā, kiṁpamukhā sabbe dhammā, kiṁadhipateyyā sabbe dhammā, kiṁuttarā sabbe dhammā, kiṁsārā sabbe dhammā’ti, kiṁ ogadhā sabbe dhammā, kiṁ pariyosānā sabbe dhammâ ti.”

To which he then, himself, answers:
“‘chandamūlakā, āvuso, sabbe dhammā, manasikārasambhavā sabbe dhammā, phassasamudayā sabbe dhammā, vedanāsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā, samādhippamukhā sabbe dhammā, satādhipateyyā sabbe dhammā, paññuttarā sabbe dhammā, vimuttisārā sabbe dhammā’ti, amat’ogadhā sabbe dhammā, nibbāna pariyosānā sabbe dhammâ ti.”

Let me arrange them in the corresponding order, adding the answer to the question, and add my comment below each Q & A:
Q: kiṁmūlakā sabbe dhammā?
A: chandamūlakā sabbe dhammā.
“What is the root of all dhammā (kamma bīja)? Kamachanda are the root.”

Kamachanda are the root cause of suffering, and they lead to new existences. Since Buddha dhamma is all about knowing this and doing something about it (with nibbana as the end goal as mentioned as #10), chanda must mean kamachanda, therefore with dhammā, kamma bīja is meant, not necessarily namagotta (memory records).

Q: kiṁsambhavā sabbe dhammā?
A: manasikārasambhavā sabbe dhammā.
I assume the question is something like: “How do these kamma bīja end up getting established in the kamma bhava (sambhavo = kamma bhava?) and, thus, lead to a new existence? Because of anyoniso manasikara.”

Since we indulge in/desire sense pleasures (kamachanda), we act with ayoniso manasikara, the opposite of yoniso manasikara. In other words, we act with ignorance of Paticca Samuppada and Tilakkhana.

Q: kiṁsamudayā sabbe dhammā?
A: phassasamudayā sabbe dhammā.
How do kamma bīja arise? They arise because of contact with san (samphassa).”

Here, I thought it was extra clear that Buddha is referring to kamma bīja because phassa cannot lead to the formation of kamma bīja. Phassa only results in the formation and storage of namagotta. In other words, “samphassa” is meant, which aligns with the previous use of ayoniso manasikara and kamachanda.

Q: kiṁsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā?
A: vedanāsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā.

In Lal’s first translation “all types of vedana coming together to lead to each and all dhamma,” Lal used “coming together” which coincides with Sutta central’s definition.
In the last response, Lal mentioned that “sarana” means something like help/depend on.
“Samo” means similar or equal?
This question must then mean something like:
– What are kamma bīja (equally) dependent upon?
– What converges into kamma bīja (in the same way/according to the same process)?
Answer: They all depend (in the same way) on the generation of samphassa-ja-vedana.
Since there’s samphassa, “samphassa paccaya samphassa-ja-vedana” step in the PS must happen.
And only this type of vedana leads to the establishment of kamma bīja (in the kamma bhava).

5), 6), 7), 8), 9), 10).
From here on I’m not familiar with many of the terms.
Let me arrange each Q & A on the same line this time:

5.    kiṁpamukhā sabbe dhammā? samādhippamukhā sabbe dhammā.
6.    kiṁadhipateyyā sabbe dhammā? satādhipateyyā sabbe dhammā.
7.    kiṁuttarā sabbe dhammā? paññuttarā sabbe dhammā.
8.    kiṁsārā sabbe dhammā’ti? vimuttisārā sabbe dhammā’ti.
9.    kiṁ ogadhā sabbe dhammā? amat’ogadhā sabbe dhammā.
10.   kiṁ pariyosānā sabbe dhammā ti? nibbāna pariyosānā sabbe dhammā ti

Sutta central translation:
“Immersion is their chief. Mindfulness is their ruler. Wisdom is their overseer. Freedom is their core. They culminate in the deathless. And extinguishment is their final end.”

That translation is vague, but if the definition of the words comes close, I think what the Pali sutta is trying to convey is that we need samma sati and samma samadhi to develop wisdom, leading to the eradication of defilements, thus removing the conditions for these kamma bīja to ever give rise to a new existence, i.e., be freed from them, which eventually leads to nibbana.
But not sure why sati and samadhi are listed in this order (samadhi before sati).

The third sutta is slightly different but necessary to include here. AN 9.14

It’s very similar to the answers given (except the first two), but the questions are related to “sankappavitakka,” not “dhammā” (kamma bīja).

“Kimārammaṇā, (samiddhi), purisassa saṅkappavitakkā uppajjantī”ti?
“Nāmarūpārammaṇā, bhante”ti.
Te pana, samiddhi, kva nānattaṁ gacchantī”ti?
Dhātūsu, bhante”ti.

After this, it goes on similarly as the other two suttā, shown in bold (but all related to sankappavitakka):

“Te pana, samiddhi, kiṁsamudayā”ti? Phassasamudayā, bhante”ti.
Te pana, samiddhi, kiṁsamosaraṇā”ti? Vedanāsamosaraṇā, bhante”ti,
” etc.

Please correct me if I’m mistaken, but I assume the question means:
Q: “How do miccha sankappa arise after an arammana has come in contact with the sense doors?”
This should be micchā sankappa because we need to free ourselves of wrong thoughts (Micchā Saṅkappa, Apuññabhisaṅkhāra ) to reach Nibbana.
A: “They arise due to the expectation created (in the kamma viññāṇa by abhisaṅkhāra), which leads to ‘kamma viññāṇa paccaya nāmarūpa’ (in the Paṭicca Samupādda).”

The next part:
Te pana, samiddhi, kva nānattaṁ gacchantī”ti? Dhātūsu, bhante”ti.

Sutta central translation:
“Where do they become diversified? In the elements.”
Maybe this is something to do with salayatana. (I’m not sure, I don’t know the words in the question).
Because of namarupa, our senses cannot be used objectively and cannot see things for what they truly are. Elements are not merely elements anymore, they become valuable, and one becomes hopeful and delusional due to this nicca perception.

To finish off, to avoid any gaps surrounding the key phrase “Vedanāsamosaraṇā”:

“Te pana, samiddhi, kiṁsamudayā”ti? Phassasamudayā, bhante”ti.
Te pana, samiddhi, kiṁsamosaraṇā”ti?
Vedanāsamosaraṇā, bhante”ti,”

I assume this means that our defiled thoughts (miccha sankappa, apuññabhisaṅkhāra) arise because of samphassa.
Then, we start generating samphassa-ja-vedana, which all lead to more and more of similar defiled thoughts (because of taṇhā). These thoughts/sankappa/saṅkhāra are all dependent upon samphassa-ja-vedana. Without it, they (sankhara) won’t arise. (but that means we need to get rid of avijā first, so that we can stop the “avijā paccaya saṅkhāra” step in PS).
“Coming together,” or “converge,” seems a bit less appropriate in this context. Though, in the end, these saṅkhāra create dhammā and eventually get established (automatically) in the kamma bhava.

I understand now better why “vedanāsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā” gets translated as:
-     “Whatever arises in mind is accompanied by sensations”; or
-     “Everything that arises in mind starts flowing with a sensation on the body.”

That’s because “samosarana” gets translated as “coming together,” and so it’s easy to think that dhammā come together and manifests as vedana. Dhammā are interpreted as mental phenomena, which is unfortunately not a precise description, leading to various interpretations.
Also, because of samphassa-ja-vedana, we start generating abhisaṅkhāra, and these abhisaṅkhāra generate more samphassa-ja-vedana. Then, when samphassa-ja-vedana is seen as simply “vedana,” or “sensations,” that logic actually holds up. In turn, this solidifies the idea of the translation, “Whatever arises in mind is accompanied by sensations.”

I hope this was helpful.

Lal, or anyone else, would you be able to help me fill in the gaps with the translations I missed?
And, of course, if I made an error anywhere, feel free to point it out.

With Metta