Reply To: Post On Kāma Guṇa – Origin of Attachment (Tanhā)


“(A) My question is, are there any sense objects rūpā, saddā, gandhā, rasā, phoṭṭhabbā “by itself” (without the mind or citta) that can definitely be said to have the “inherent / intrinsic” qualities or characteristics of “iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā” or that’s “agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, enticing, and leading to desire?”

  • The answer is no. External things (rūpā, saddā, gandhā, rasā, phoṭṭhabbā) do not have kāmaguṇa.
  • Kāmaguṇa arise (in varying degrees) of those who have not attained Arahanthood.

“(B) Would it be appropriate to say that Kāma Guṇa is more associated with tanha, while Kāma or kāmā, kāmehi is more associated with upadana?”

  • Tanha arises due to kāmaguṇa, and kāma/kāmā arise due to kāmaguṇa (kāmehi means “in/about kāma.”)
  • We attach to things in this world because we perceive that happiness cannot be achieved without them. The Buddha taught that it is precisely the opposite. We tend to do immoral deeds trying to accumulate those things (i.e., wealth), which leads to suffering (via kamma vipaka.)
  • A deeper point is that the “intrinsic nature of the mind” (pabhassara citta) corresponds to “Nibbanic Bliss.” We cover that “pure mind” with defilements (raga, dosa, moha) and move away from the suffering-free pure mind. 

Yes. What you quoted from the Uttiya Sutta confirms the above.

  • Average humans believe that the kāmaguṇa (“iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā”) are in external things (rūpā, saddā, gandhā, rasā, phoṭṭhabbā)
  • If that is the case, we will never be able to remove them from those external things and attain Nibbana!
  • One is able to remove them only because they arise in one’s own mind. 
  • In the next post, I will start addressing these issues. It is a new approach using the pabhassara citta as the basis: “Pabhassara Citta, Radiant Mind, and Bhavaṅga.” However, I will minimize Abhidhamma so that most people will be able to understand.