“Difference Between Tanhā and Upādāna” in regard to PS cycle

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    • #37062

      Although I’ve been spending quite some time on the website, this is my first post.
      Much gratitude, Lal, for your amazing contribution. It has made a big difference.

      Now to get to my point:)
      In the post “difference between tanha and upadana, ” a chart shows the steps between tanha and upadana.

      It’s somewhat confusing to me in regard to the PS cycle, since there it’s avija paccaya sankhara, paccaya vinnana all the way to tanha paccaya upadana. But here, in the chart, it shows sankhara are happening in between these two steps.

      In the chart, either I’m missing some gaps in the form of cetasika at the start or the other PS cycle steps are there but simply not noted in the chart? Some clarification would be greatly appreciated.

      With Metta,


    • #37064

      Hello Jorg,

      You wrote: “It’s somewhat confusing to me in regard to the PS cycle, since there it’s avija paccaya sankhara, paccaya vinnana all the way to tanha paccaya upadana. But here, in the chart, it shows sankhara are happening in between these two steps.”

      Even though the PS cycle, in its standard form, starts with “avijja paccaya sankhara” that NEVER happens in practice.
      – We don’t just start acting with avijja without a reason.

      It is only if we get attached to a sensory input (arammana) that we start acting with avijja.
      – First, we attach with tanha.
      – Then it is at the “tanha paccaya upadana” step, that we start acting with avijja. “Upadana” means to “keep that arammana close” and try to get more enjoyment.
      – That is explained in #4 of the post.

      That is an important point. I tried to explain it systematically in the new series of posts:
      Paṭicca Samuppāda During a Lifetime

      If you read those starting with the first post there, it could be more clear.

      Please feel free to ask questions from any of those posts.

    • #37101

      Thanks for the directions.
      I’ve read those posts and a few others and there are still some questions lingering. Hopefully, you can address these. Any kind of answer/support is very much appreciated!

      1. You’ve mentioned sankhara happens in the tanha paccaya upadana, but also in upadana paccaya bhava. What, then, is the reason Buddha said it’s tanha paccaya upadana instead of tanha paccaya sankhara, sankhara paccaya upadana, upadana paccaya sankhara, sankhara paccayay upadana, etc.?

      2. If tanha happens and then we start acting with avija, does that mean two parts of the same cycle are running simultaneously? For example, let’s say tanha paccaya upadana is activated, then we start acting with avija, hence avija paccaya sankhara is initiated at the same time?

      3. You said, “We don’t just start acting with avijja without a reason.”
      But because there’s avija, there is tanha, so technically it precedes tanha. But here it is meant in a more active/conscious way as in starting the whole cycle then?

      4. If a cycle is always initiated with an arammana, why does it start then with avija and not with, let’s say, salayatana?

    • #37102

      1. The reason that the PS starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” is that avijjā is the root cause.
      – If one fully understands PS (an Arahant), one would have fully understood how future suffering arises by generating abhisaṅkhāra due to avijjā. That means an Arahant’s mind would not attach to any arammana regardless of how enticing it is.

      However, no one acts with avijjā at all times. Even the worst immoral person may engage in moral deeds sometimes.
      Thus, avijjā remains “hidden” most of the time. The Pali word is “anusaya.”

      That avijjā comes to surface when we get attached to an enticing sensory input (arammana).
      – That is why the PS is normally TRIGGERED by sensory input (arammana).

      That initial attachment is tanha.
      – Upon attaching, the mind will start trying to “get more of that arammana” by “keeping that arammana close”. That is the “tanha paccaya upadana” step.
      – That is when one starts acting with avijja by thinking defiled thoughts (mano and vaci abhisankhara), speaking, and doing unwise things (vaci and kaya abhisankhara).
      – Then the other steps will follow: “sankhara paccaya vinnana“, “vinnana paccaya namarupa“, etc.

      2. Sometimes it may not be clear that avijjā has been triggered by an arammana.
      – It is clear that we get attached to things that we see, hear, taste, smell, or touch (five physical senses). However, there is a sixth way that an arammana comes in and that is not always evident.
      – That sixth way is for an arammana to come directly to the mind. That is the case when we had ALREADY formed an expectation (i.e., had formed an attachment) with an arammana that came through the five physical senses sometime back. For example, one may have seen an attractive person a few days ago and had formed an expectation to date that person. Then that can come back to the mind as an arammana at any time.
      – Details on that at, “Chachakka Sutta – Six Types of Vipāka Viññāna“. That is a bit deeper post. The point is that an arammana can come in via one of the six senses as a vipaka vinnana. So, another way to say is: that the PS process is triggered by a vipaka vinnana. There are different ways to express the same concept.

      3. The reason that I wrote the post that you brought up is the following. Sometime back, Upekkha100 asked about the difference between tanha and upadana at this discussion forum. It could be useful to read that discussion: “Difference between Tanha and Upadana

    • #37124
      Tobias G

      PS starts with the part “pati + icca” (getting attached to an arammana with like or dislike, until namarupa are established with vinnana paccaya namarupa), then it goes on with “sama + uppāda” (creating new bhava/existence, from namarupa paccaya salayatana). The step namarupa paccaya salayatana starts again with a similar object (arammana), hence sama uppada happens if not controlled with panna/sati etc.
      Namarupa are in the middle and contain objects of attachment. Whenever we contact similar objects those namarupa show the way how we like to “see” the object. Thus we get attached and add more fuel (san).

    • #37125
      Tobias G

      In terms of Abhidhamma one does akusala kamma always with those four cetasika:
      mōha (ignorance), ahiri (shamelessness), anottapa (fearlessness in wrong), uddhacca (restless mind).

      So we see, moha is always part of extending the journey in samsara.

    • #37126

      To add a bit to Tobias’s post:

      Moha is a strong version of avijja.
      – If one has the 10 types of miccha ditthi then one can act with moha. With moha, one cannot even comprehend Paticca Samuppada.
      – Someone who has overcome/removed 10 types of miccha ditthi can start comprehending the Noble Truths/PS/Tilakkhana if exposed to the correct versions.

    • #37141

      Appreciate all the help. While checking the referred thread I came across another post and I also came across a section in “buddha’s worldview” I had for some reason overlooked altogether :-S.

      I’ve been reading up on a lot of stuff and, everything (threads, posts, and replies in this thread) has cleared up quite a few things.

      There are a few posts I still haven’t read and they might still clear up one thing that’s on my mind.

      I’ll finish that first to prevent asking any unnecessary question at this stage.

    • #37142

      I am impressed with your motivation, Jorg. Perseverance is the key to learning Buddha Dhamma.

      Please feel free to ask questions as you read.

    • #37196

      Thanks Lal, “obsessed” is a better word to describe it, though haha.

      After some more reading, I’ve been working on a ppt slide that shows the steps of the PS, incl. the initial attachment via arammana + explanations and examples. It turned out to be quite massive as I’d like to show a few friends who would otherwise not do much reading on their own.

      But before I do, I was wondering if you could check it for inconsistencies and see whether my understanding is up to par regarding some of the details.

      I could screenshot it and post it here, but the font is tiny so I’m not sure how well that would work. Should I try to post or would it be possible to send it via email?

    • #37198

      Hi Jorg,

      If it is too small to be seen in the forum, please email it to me: [email protected].

      We can figure out a way to post it on the forum once it is finalized.

    • #37235

      The following post is from Jorg:

      Jorg has finalized his explanation chart on Idappaccayātā Paticca Samuppāda:

      Idappaccayātā Paticca Samuppāda – Jorg Wijnen

      Jorg has spent a lot of time preparing this chart and I think he has a very good understanding. I am very happy to see this.
      – Please print and read this beautiful explanation. He is asking for general comments and also suggestions for improvements.

    • #37237

      I converted it into images so its easier to share, great work

      View post on imgur.com

    • #37239

      Much appreciation, Lal.
      If anyone can spot any inconsistencies, or see something that could be clearer (especially description-wise) please do say so!

      Presentation-wise, I had one slide that I quickly turned into three, so I’ll deal with that sometime later on. Still open to suggestions, though.

    • #37240

      Thanks Christian, that’s awesome!

    • #37249

      Thanks Jorg for the Chart of Idappaccayatā Paṭicca Samuppāda.

      Minor mistakes on the Chart of Idappaccayatā Paṭicca Samuppāda.
      Pāli has three long vowels (ā, ī, and ū) and some toner consonants (ḍ, ḷ, ṇ, ṅ, ñ, ṁ [or ṃ or ŋ], ṭ).
      Below are some of the Pāli words which has mistake of the long vowel and toner consonants:
      saṅkhāra, taṇhā, ārammaṇa, nāmarūpa (one word as in Nāmarūpa paccayā Saḷāyatana), saḷāyatana, abhisaṅkhāra, viññāṇa, vedanā, nāma, rūpa, upādāna, bīja, vipāka, avija should be avijjā, paccayā, jā, jāti, vacī, Sotāpanna. There may be some more Pāli words which I have not spotted.

      You may use this dictionary for checking the Pāli word : https://dictionary.sutta.org

      On page 3, “9. Bhava paccaya Jati” should be “10. Bhava paccayā Jāti” and “10. Jati paccaya jarā, marana, soka, parideva, dukkha domanassa” should be “11. Jāti paccayā jarā, maraṇa, soka, parideva, dukkha domanassa”.

      With mettā, Seng Kiat

    • #37260

      Thank you Seng for going through it and for your corrections. I’ll go through it and adjust it accordingly!

    • #37262

      In samphassa paccaya window there is small mistake “Aharant” :)

    • #37281

      Thanks Christian, on it:)

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