Excellent Sinhala Discourses – Nibbidā

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      Lal
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      1. I listen to Sinhala discourses by various bhikkhus/laypeople in my spare time. I am very impressed by the ever-increasing quality and depth of the new discourses. That is a good sign because each individual can see a “bit more” of the Buddha’s deep and profound Dhamma.

      • The following is a summary of a January 2024 six-day retreat compiled by the “Nibbidā” group. It is especially suited for those who are starting on the journey. It is in the Sinhala language.

      2. With a previous set of discourses from the same group, I started incorporating a “cone” to represent the expansion of viññāṇa based on an ārammana. See #4 of “Purāna and Nava Kamma – Sequence of Kamma Generation.”

      • In the same way, I try to incorporate “little nuggets” wherever I can find them; if they are significant enough, I acknowledge that too. We all need to depend on each other to optimize our understanding and to share with others.
      • I periodically update new groups/individuals who offer discourses; see #4 through #9 of “Parinibbāna of Waharaka Thēro.”
      • Of course, there are definitely more groups/individuals who deserve to be added. My apologies to those I missed to mention.

      While acknowledging the “good,” I would also like to express my opinion about two issues. The first is a disagreement, and the second is a concept that may not have been explicitly discussed/explored in detail up to now.

      (1) First, many Sinhala discourses that I listened to (including those from Nibbidā) emphasize that jhānās are essential to gain magga phala. I believe that is incorrect.

      • Jhānās are two types: Ariya and anariya. Many yogis attained the latter even before the Buddha. Jhānic states correspond to the mental states in the rupāvacara Brahma loka. Cultivating a jhāna is an ānantarika kamma, i.e., one will be reborn in the corresponding Brahma realm at death. But a Brahma birth is another rebirth (though in a good realm.) 
      • However, even an anariya jhāna can help cultivate the path because it helps suppress the pañcanivarana. Yet, there is a danger of “getting attached to the jhānic sukha,” which is a type of “distorted saññā” that I discuss in (2) below.
      • My main point is that it is almost impossible for a layperson or a “householder ” to cultivate “Ariya jhāna.” While an anariya jhāna can be attained by suppressing kāma rāga, even the first Ariya jhāna requires ELIMINATING kāma rāga. That means one must be an Anāgāmi to be able to get into the FIRST Ariya jhāna. Unlike the Sotapanna stage (which may be harder to verify), it is easier to verify whether one is an Anāgāmi: Watch an X-rated movie and see whether sensual thoughts arise. 
      • If you read the suttas that describe jhāna, almost ALL were delivered to bhikkhus. The Buddha encouraged bhikkhus to cultivate jhāna. But he advised “householders” to live a moral life AND to comprehend the Noble Truths/Paticca Samuppada/ Tilakkhana and become a Sotapanna. Of course, one can remain a householder and become an Anāgāmi by “living like a bhikkhu” (Angārika) by abstaining from sex altogether. There were some Anāgāmi householders at the time of the Buddha who lived a celibate life.
      • Furthermore, one can even attain Arahanthood without a single jhāna, as in the case of Ven. Bahiya, Minister Santati, King Suddhodana, for example. Arahanthood (or any magga phala) is also possible starting with any anariya/Ariya jhāna; that is how 89 types of cittas can be expanded to 121 cittas in Abhidhamma; see #15 through #17 of “The 89 (121) Types of Citta.” I have discussed these issues in detail: Paññāvimutti Arahanthood (without jhāna) in “Pannāvimutti – Arahanthood without Jhāna.” Details on Ubhatovimutti Arahants (with jhāna) in “Tapussa Sutta (AN 9.41)– Akuppā Cētōvimutti.

      (2) Second: I came to realize the critical importance of the concept of “distorted saññā” when I was looking into the origin of “saññā vipallāsa.” Even though the Buddha described saññā” as a mirage and the viññāṇa as a magician in the “Pheṇapiṇḍūpama Sutta (SN 22.95)” that idea has not been pursued to my understanding. We are born with a biological body to provide a “distorted saññā.”  I described the main idea in #3 of the post “Fooled by Distorted Saññā (Sañjānāti) – Origin of Attachment (Taṇhā)” as follows:

      “When we see an external object, the mind generates its version of that rupa based on the mindset associated with the specific realm we are in; that mindset is called uppatti bhavaṇga, but don’t worry about not fully understanding what that means. 

      • Therefore, living beings in different realms see and perceive the same object differently. For example, when a human sees a pile of feces (excrement or poop), it is a distasteful sight; however, to a pig, it is an attractive sight because that is food for it. In the same way, even though humans perceive the smell of poop as repulsive, it is an attractive, mind-pleasing smell for a pig.
      • Therefore, the pile of poop does not have a built-in “repulsiveness” or “attractiveness.” The respective perceptions (saññā) originated in the minds of a human and a pig!
      • Believing those “made-up” perceptions are REAL, a mind automatically generates expectations for repeatedly enjoying such sensory inputs, i.e., generates “defiled viññāṇa,” which the Buddha called a “magician.”

      This issue needs to be studied in detail. I have written a series of posts in  the section “Sotapanna Stage via Understanding Perception (Saññā).” One can first read the “Posts” listed at the bottom. If needed, the required background is indicated above those posts. 

      (3) I am willing to discuss both of the above issues. I could be wrong on one or both issues. But the only way to decide is to look at all the evidence from the Tipitaka and come to a logical conclusion.

      • Please don’t hesitate to “poke holes” in my explanations. 
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