Reply To: Post on “Namagotta, Bhava, Kamma Bīja, and Mano Loka (Mind Plane)”


I appreciate your efforts to learn Buddha Dhamma. I have been thinking about your situation. Before addressing your mechanisms above, let me make some general comments.

1. I think you are trying to learn Buddha Dhamma with a “top-down” approach, starting at suddhatthaka.

2. The main reason that you did that was you were not brought up in a Buddhist background. I remember that you mentioned it later on. Your situation is very similar to many Westerners. Of course, most of them do not try to understand suddhatthaka only because most English literature on Buddhism does not even mention suddhatthaka. You were exposed to such deeper analyses at the Korean Puredhamma website. Instead, most Westerners start with deep suttas translated word-by-word to English.

3. I learned about suddhatthaka AFTER I started the website. I was raised in a Buddhist family in Sri Lanka, where Buddhism was taught at home and in primary school. We learned the basics of dasa akusala, kamma, kamma vipaka, rebirth process, suffering in the apayas, etc.
– That is the “bottom-up” approach.
– That approach is critically important. You realize the importance of “mind over matter.” All our actions and speech happen according to the way we think. Kammic energy is produced in our thoughts. We engage in speech and actions ACCORDING TO such thoughts.
– When we act or speak with a certain goal in mind (especially while engaging in dasa akusala), our minds release “an unseen energy” to the nama loka (vinnana dhatu). That energy can bring vipaka during a lifetime or grasp the next birth in a different realm.
– It is critical to understand such basics first.
– As I mentioned, I only recently got into the deeper aspects of that process (how such kammic energies get deposited in vinnana dhātu as dhammā, how they become suddhātthaka, etc.)

4. So, I am beginning to think that I am also guilty of focusing on the deeper aspects of Buddha Dhamma. When I started the website, I wrote mostly about the basic concepts. But many of the posts in the last few years have been on getting into deeper aspects.
– In a way, it is hard to avoid it also because some people have gone through the basics and are ready to understand the deeper aspects.
– Please do not misunderstand me. You have an excellent analytical mind capable of understanding deep concepts. However, one must understand the basics first. Even if Einstein started learning Buddha Dhamma, he would need to understand the basics first. Otherwise, the deeper stuff may not make any sense at some point.

5. In my previous post, I advised learning the Paticca Samuppada process. But even before that, one needs to understand the terms involved there. What do the terms avijja, sankhara, bhava, jati, etc., represent?
– I did a quick search on Wikipedia and found the following: “According to a 2005 government survey, a quarter of South Koreans are practicing Buddhist.[49] However, the actual number of Buddhists in South Korea is ambiguous as there is no exact or exclusive criterion by which Buddhists can be identified, unlike the Christian population. With Buddhism’s incorporation into traditional Korean culture, it is now considered a philosophy and cultural background rather than a formal religion. As a result, many people outside of the practicing population are deeply influenced by these traditions. Thus, when counting secular believers or those influenced by the faith while not following other religions, the number of Buddhists in South Korea is considered to be much larger.[50] Similarly, in officially atheist North Korea, while Buddhists officially account for 4.5% of the population, a much larger number (over 70%) of the population are influenced by Buddhist philosophies and customs.”
– It seems that many South Koreans may not have a Buddhist background (you stated that you are a Korean.) Buddhism has become a “philosophical endeavor” for many, it seems. Your writings and approach fit that.

6. I would like to hear your thoughts on the above. Each person is different, and it would help to get an idea of their background first.
– Of course, I cannot do that on a personal basis for everyone. But I believe many people (especially those from non-Buddhist backgrounds) are in your situation. Most of them struggle to read deep suttas (in English) that have been mechanically translated without providing explanations.
– They also need first to understand the basic concepts I mentioned in #3 above.
– So, we can continue this discussion with others in a similar situation as you are also getting into the discussion (I hope).
– That would help me decide what areas to pay attention to. Of course, I will continue writing on deeper aspects as well. My goal is to have a website that will exist many years after my death and serve people with varying backgrounds.