Reply To: “Upadana” for Dhamma — Waharaka Thero sermon


Very good, Jorg. You caught one of the very few instances where Wharaka Thero stated something not quite right. That is one of the early discourses, and I had also noticed that.

1. An Arahant does not follow either kusala-mula PS or akusala-mula PS. That was a misstatement.

2. According to “pada niruttiāneñjābhisaṅkhāra are kammically neutral; thus, in that sense, āneñjābhisaṅkhāra are kammically neutral. However, the term ” āneñjābhisaṅkhāra” for the “arupavacara samapatti” got stuck even during the time of the Buddha.

3. Abhisaṅkhāra are three kinds, as mentioned above:

  • Some actions lead to bad consequences during life and also to bad rebirths in the four lowest realms (apāyā). These are “apunnābhi saṅkhāra” or immoral deeds: apuñña abhi sañ khāra.
  • Actions that lead to good consequences in life and also to good rebirths are called “punnābhi saṅkhāra” or meritorious deeds; these lead to birth in good realms (human, deva, and the rūpa lōkas), thus avoiding rebirth in bad realms where one could get trapped for many eons. Thus it is important to accumulate punnābhi saṅkhāra: puñña abhi sañ khāra.
  • When one cultivates “lōkiya jhānā” or mundane higher meditative states (arūpa jhāna leading to rebirth in the highest four arūpa lōka realms), via breath meditation, for example, one can be reborn in the four higher Brahma worlds. These also prolong sansāra, and are called “āneñjābhi saṅkhāra“: āneñja abhi sañ khāra.
  • It is interesting to note that “āneñja” means “no more rebirths” and thus “permanent”: the ancient yogis (including Alara Kalama and Uddakarama Putta) thought these realms have infinite lifetimes and equated the births there to the “ultimate release.” Of course, the Buddha discovered that those also have finite lifetimes, even though extremely long, lasting eons (billions of years). That is how the term came to be associated (incorrectly) with “āneñjābhi saṅkhāra.” But that is how it is used even in the Tipiṭaka.  “Paṭiccasamuppāda Vibhaṅga” explains the step “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” as, “Tattha katame avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā? Puññābhisaṅkhāro, apuññābhisaṅkhāro, āneñjābhisaṅkhāro.”
  • Here those yogis can temporarily suppress all desires for kāma lōka and rupa lōka existences. However, since they had not comprehended the anicca nature, they still have “hidden avijjā” or “avijjā anusaya.”

In later discourses, Waharaka Thero explained the above regarding āneñjābhisaṅkhāra. 

P.S. Also see “Rebirths Take Place According to Abhisaṅkhāra.”

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