Anicca in Abhidhamma

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  • This topic has 14 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by Lal.
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    • #38239

      Is there a detailed explanation of anicca in the Abhidhamma? please refer to the source of all the seven books of Abhidhamma.

    • #38242

      Following are various ways to analyse Aniccā. I don’t know abhidhamma reference, but, I think this are sufficient. Others can add their input/comments.

      pañcakKhanda and PañcaUpādānaKhandha are Aniccā.

      Case #1: You fulfill PañcaUpādānaKhandha, you strech you own Samsarā. You are bound to seperate from that Rūpa in PañcaUpādānaKhandha. Meanwhile immoral efforts to aquire much desired PañcaUpādānaKhandha Rūpa, would certainly lead to apāyā. Again apāyā is Aniccā. Seperation from liked Rūpa is Aniccā. Meeting unliked

      Case #2 Despite much efforts to possess desired Rūpa in PañcaUpādānaKhandha, you fail. Not meeting liked will produces distress. While still having kammā viññana for such Rūpa and doing sankhāra under that viññana, would again elongate your own Samsarā. Would leads to jati various bhava depending on type of saṅkhāra done for that desired Rūpa.

      So, both types of PañcaUpādānaKhandha would lead to birth, all births would lead to much suffering IN FUTURE, guaranteed. Unless ofcourse one is ariya. All Jeth would lead to old age, illness and death. All birth would lead to grief, pain, distress , despair, depression etc.


      So, saññā, vēdanā, viññana, Rūpa and saṅkhāra are all Aniccā, not to liking. Cannot be kept as one wishes.

      Six senses /internal rupa are Aniccā. We have unliked contacts through six senses, seperate from liked contacts producing dukkha.

      Six external Rūpa are Aniccā.
      We meet unliked arammana, seperate form liked arammana.

      Jati, viparinama, jara of any saṅkhata are not-to-liking/Aniccā

      All jati and/or bhava of any lifestream in 31 realms is subject to exhaustion/finite. So, they are Aniccā. Jara is certain. One’s new jati/bhava is Aniccā. Not as one wishes.

      Samphass is not to liking.
      (Consequences of samphassa is Aniccā)

      Upādāna is not to liking.
      (Consequences of upādāna is Aniccā)

      Tanha is not to liking.
      (Consequences of tanha is Aniccā)

      Having seperation from liked is Aniccā.

      Not meeting liked is Aniccā.


      In short, whatever not to liking would produces suffering hence, anicaa.

      Since, all saṅkhata goes through stage of jati, viparinama, jara; they are all not to liking. Hence, all saṅkhata will produces dukkhā, hence, no saṅkhata is worthy of calling mine. All things are saṅkhata in this world, except nibbanā, nibbanā is only asaṅkhata.

      Hence, whole world is Aniccā → produces dukkhā → not worthy of calling mine/not true refuge/cannot be controlled as one wishes/anattā.


      In short,

      Meeting/having unliked,
      Not meeting/seperating from liked,

      Whatever not to one’s desire/wishes,
      What not to one’s satisfaction,
      Whatever not to one’s expectations,



      All arammana, saṅkhata and saṅkhāra either having directly visible suffering or hideen suffering. They all produce suffering, either immediately or eventually.

    • #38247

      your reply is given in the context of sutta Pitaka but I have asked in reference to Abhidhamma because Abhidhamma analyzes in-depth at subtle. like when buddha knows the paṭiccasamuppāda in a profound way after attaining bodhi at Bodhimaṇḍa I would be thankful if anybody helps me to understand the in-depth analysis in respect of Abhidhamma Pitaka.

      • #38253

        There are infinite types of Paṭicca Samuppāda cycles. Buddha was able to know as many as he wanted to know. So, ofc it was big breakthrough for him.

        However, there are original commentaries included in tipitaka, in which Aniccā is analysed in various ways. Lal, created a post based on those commentary references.

        I am not able to find that reference post right now.

        Can you share that post @Lal?

        • #38254

          Let us not veer off the topic too far. I am waiting for a reply from Anshu64.

    • #38249

      Hello Anshu64,

      1. I do not know of such an “elemental analysis” of anicca (or dukkha, anatta, or the Four Noble Truths) in Abhidhamma. Do you know? If so, please give references in the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

      2. If you cannot provide such references, do you know why such analyses are not there in the Abhidhamma Pitaka?

    • #38257

      Hello lal,

      1.No, even I don’t know but anicca, dukkha, and anatta are the basis of the whole teaching then why Buddha didn’t describe them in detail although Abhidhamma is deep teaching comparatively suttanta.

      2.It may be some connection with Paṭṭhāna, I’m not sure about it.

    • #38258

      3. anicca is not to intellectualize or just to grasp/mind on detached from all Vedanā and remains equanimous so that why if not then I will be delighted if you enlighten me on “why buddha didn’t give much description of anicca in Abhidhamma?”

    • #38259

      This is a good issue to discuss since it can give some insights. Thanks for bringing it up.
      – I am going to put it in the point form. If anyone has questions, please refer to specific bullet numbers.

      1. Abhidhamma starts at a basic fundamental level. Rupā are categorized into 28 types, cittā into 81 (121) types, etc. Such a detailed analysis provides a solid foundation for Buddha Dhamma.
      – However, Abhidhamma cannot “break down” subtle concepts like anicca or the Noble Truths to that level directly; see #4 below.

      2. An analogy is as follows. Physics (in particular elementary particle physics) provides the backbone for science in general.
      – However, physics CAN NOT explain how living cells arise. Biology starts not with physics, but with the ASSUMPTION that living cells exist. They don’t know how living cells came into existence. Even though living cells are made of atoms and physics understands atoms, there is a gap from there to a living cell that has not been explained.
      – I discussed that in the “Origin of Life” section.

      3. However, Buddha Dhamma can explain how living cells arise. They come into existence via the laws of kamma, dictated by Paticca Samuppada (as I explained in that section on “Origin of Life.”)

      4. In the same way, Tilakkhana and Four Noble Truths cannot simply be analyzed in terms of 81 (121) citta, 52 cetasika, and 28 types of rupa.
      – However, it is again Paticca Samuppada that is the bridge between those fundamental entities and deep concepts of Tilakkhana and Four Noble Truths.

      5. Paticca Samuppada is explained in the Sutta Pitaka: SN 12.1 through to the end.
      – Paticca Samuppada is explained in DETAIL in the “Vibhaṅgapakarana” (of the Abhidhamma Pitaka) in the “Paṭiccasamuppāda vibhaṅga” section.

    • #38261

      I have one more concern that Abhidhamma explains how the mind turns into the matter and matter turns into mind (Tikapatthana), please write on it. The great thing about Buddha is that he knows the thing at ultimate through analysis, then analysis until it comes in pure form and does not remain any traces unknown, but those were not explained like he taught only a leave while the whole amazon like a forest untold, unfortunately.

    • #38262

      Anshu64 wrote: “I have one more concern that Abhidhamma explains how the mind turns into the matter and matter turns into mind..”

      That is explained in Paticca Samuppada (PS). We can see that as follows.

      1. PS cycles start with “avijja pacccaya sankhara” and end up with “bhava paccaya jati” leading to suffering.
      – So, the “seeds” for that jati (birth) were sowed in the mind, with “avijja pacccaya sankhara”.

      2. In the step of “bhava paccaya jati” it is the manomaya kaya (gandhabba in the case of a human or an animal) that is first born.
      – That manomaya kaya has a suddhatthaka-size hadaya vatthu. Our thoughts arise in that hadaya vatthu.
      – So, that is where “matter turns into mind.”

      3. Thus, it is a cyclic process. As long as the “avijja paccaya (abhi)sankhara” step is there, the PS cycle will continue.
      – The solution is to comprehend the Four Noble Truths/ Tilakkhana by understanding the PS process that leads to rebirth (Akusala-mula PS) AND then to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.
      – Then one will be on the reverse PS (Kusala-mula PS) that starts with “avijja nirodha sankhara nirodha” ending with “bhava nirodha jati nirodha”. That is the end of suffering.

    • #38263

      Thanks Lal sir.

    • #38264

      You are welcome. Thanks for the questions. Hopefully, it will help many.

    • #38267
      Tobias G

      Abhidhamma explains how the world is made and how it functions. The mind must understand that every birth leads to old age, suffering, death (Paticca Samuppada). With this understanding the mind needs to judge if it is good to be reborn. There comes the conclusion that it makes no sense to do so, which is expressed as tilakkhana.

    • #38280

      Yes. Well stated, Tobias!
      – Another point is the following. Even though the goal is future happiness, most people are tempted to engage in immoral deeds seeking such goals. The results are NOT according to one’s WISHES but according to the types of kammic energies created by the mind.
      – Mind is the most powerful entity in this world: “Manōpubbangamā Dhammā..

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