Gathi and the 5 khandhas

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    • #23839
      y not
      Participant

      In:
      What Reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream“:

      8. If there is anything that is carried from life-to-life that is one’s habits (gathi) that mold one’s character and the mental impurities (kilesa); of course these also keep changing even during a lifetime. I call this the “dynamic personality” of a lifestream in the sense that it is in constant flux. This is another reason why the Buddha rejected “no-self” as well as “self” or “soul”.

      How does this tie in with the statement that ‘all a being is made up of are the 5 khandhas’? The gathi, the in-built character, is, if anything, MORE lasting and less fleeting than rupa, sanna, etc. There is one instance in the suttas, in the Jataka, where the Buddha is greeted by a brahmin and later by his wife with ‘ Where have you been, my son, all this time’ ? The Buddha later showed the connection : they had been His parents for 500 successive human births.

      Where in the being are these memories ‘lodged’? Not in vinnana. In one Sutta a bhikkhu is admonished by his fellow bhikkhus for harbouring the harmful misconception that vinnana travels from life to life and that that was misrepresenting the Buddha. And if in the kamma beeja, in the manomakaya, do these, and the gathi, not ‘constitute’ the being as well – even more than do the temporary and rapidly changing and limited-in-effect-to-one lifetime, 5 khandhas?

    • #23840
      Lal
      Keymaster

      These are questions that require some deep thinking.

      “all a being is made up of are the 5 khandhas” may give a wrong impression.

      Five khanadhas include EVERYTHING one has gone through from a beginning-less time.
      They are almost all our memories AND future plans.

      This is emphasized in the post, “Pancakkhandha or Five Aggregates – A Misinterpreted Concept“.
      – For example, rupakkhandha consists of 11 types of rupa: “Eleven types of rupa (mental impressions) are in the rupakkhandha: past, present, future, near, far, fine (sukuma), coarse (olarika), likes (panita), dislikes (appanita), internal (ajjhatta), and external (bahiddha)”.
      – Need to think about the above statement, “all a being is made up of are the 5 khandhas” with that in mind.

      You wrote: “There is one instance in the suttas, in the Jataka, where the Buddha is greeted by a brahmin and later by his wife with ‘ Where have you been, my son, all this time’ ? The Buddha later showed the connection : they had been His parents for 500 successive human births..”

      Yes. Those are the past pancakkhandha (memories about past rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana).

      You wrote: “Where in the being are these memories ‘lodged’?”

      They are in the “nama loka”, which is accessible by the mana indriya (i.e., recalling past memories).
      – This is similar to using the five physical senses (cakkhu indriya, etc) to see, hear, etc of rupa in the “rupa loka”.
      – More information at: “Our Two Worlds : Material and Mental

      This requires some extended thinking. I suggest to read those posts and ask more questions if needed. As I said, not many people have grasped these deeper points.

      If one really needs to get a good handle, one should read “The Five Aggregates (Pancakkhandha)
      -I have not had a chance to review those posts recently. This may be a good time to for an discussion.

    • #24638
      y not
      Participant

      Lal,

      Quite fortuitously, the discussion at ‘Kamma and Kamma Vipāka › Vipaka Sapa from Dhamma Loka’ is relevant here as well. There it is stated:

      “Vedana coming through the other four physical sense inputs are neutral. Any pleasant or unpleasant vedana that we may experience are ALL mind-made, and NOT due to kamma vipaka,” and:
      “Whatever somanassa/domanassa vedana that we make on our own are due to our gathi (or gati)… There are some kamma vipaka due to mano sankhara that arise even with vipaka vinnana. But they cannot bring rebirth”.

      Now going back to the instance of that brahmin and his wife, surely their exclamation, on SEEING the Buddha ‘where have you been, my son, all this time’ was made with vedana, and very strong vedana at that (somanassa, in this case). And the connections via relation lay in the deep past (vipaka) – the furthest as far back as 1,500 lifetimes, if the ones when they had been uncle/aunt and grand-father/mother are included. This does not accord with : “Vedana coming through the other four physical sense inputs are neutral. Any pleasant or unpleasant vedana that we may experience are ALL mind-made, and NOT due to kamma vipaka”. In fact, it clashes with this at all three points: that vedana was NOT neutral, it was NOT mind-made, and WAS due to kamma vipaka. Even if the records of all that are in nama loka, and it is the mana indriya that ‘recovers’ the event, once recovered it is then experienced as vedana.

      And, “Yes. Those are the past pancakkhandha (memories about past rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana).” So the pancakkhanda would be the ‘personal storehouse’ of a bieng’s past, and nama loka the collective, the mega repository of all pancakkhandhas of all beings? In that case, the pancakkhandha would suffice to account for the re-arising of feelings from the past from the vedanakkhanha alone; no need to bring the nama loka in at all.

      -“Vedana coming through the other four physical sense inputs are neutral”- But it is clear that even rupakkhandha can NOT be neutral.It was on SEEING the Buddha that the brahmin and his wife were overjoyed. The sight of Him was the trigger. Here both form, rupa (that of the Buddha) and the faculty of sight (of the brahmin and his wife) were there .Ja 68 Saketa jataka:

      – The man thy mind rests on, with whom thy heart
      Is pleased at first SIGHT,—place thy trust in him.-

      We have all experienced this immediate attraction or repulsion on first meeting certain people.

      Also the nama loka would only ‘register’ an event, an event where a particular feeling or feelings arose, then once located by the mana indriya, the vedana would be experienced; while the ruppakkhandha would have the feeling itself, intact, as it was experienced, it is immediate, it is ‘carried along’at all times in the being. This is NOT a statement, Lal. I need to get to the bottom of this.

      In Ja237. Saketa Jātaka : “Both the circumstances that suggested the story and the story itself have already been given in the First Book ” ( where the incident of the Buddha meeting the brahmin and his wife is given) . Ja237 goes on:

      – Why are hearts cold to one – O Buddha, tell! –
      – And love one another so exceedingly well? –
      The Master explained the nature of love by the second stanza:
      – “Those love they who in other lives were dear,
      – As sure as grows the lotus in the mere.”

      with infinite Gratitude,

    • #24639
      y not
      Participant

      Lal,

      Please read my last post again. I have made some additions in between.

      Thank you

    • #24653
      Lal
      Keymaster

      y not wrote: “Now going back to the instance of that brahmin and his wife, surely their exclamation, on SEEING the Buddha ‘where have you been, my son, all this time’ was made with vedana, and very strong vedana at that (somanassa, in this case). And the connections via relation lay in the deep past (vipaka) – the furthest as far back as 1,500 lifetimes, if the ones when they had been uncle/aunt and grand-father/mother are included. This does not accord with : “Vedana coming through the other four physical sense inputs are neutral. Any pleasant or unpleasant vedana that we may experience are ALL mind-made, and NOT due to kamma vipaka”.

      There is no contradiction.

      When they recall their past lives, the “vipaka vedana” that comes with the “vipaka vinnana” is neutral.
      – But then they start generating MIND-MADE pleasant vedana (called somanassa vedana) based on that recalled memory.

      Only bodily vedana (felt by the physical body) due to vipaka vinnana can bring sukha (or dukha).

      So, the key is to distinguish between the following:
      – sukha/dukha vedana that can arise due to kamma vipaka are felt only by the physical body. They can be body pains, injuries, cancer in the body, etc.
      – Somanassa/domanassa vedana are both mind-made. They arise when one starts “mentally enjoying/worrying” about some event.

      It is important to realize that somanassa/domanassa vedana will arise immediately following the recalling event. So, it may appear that they are intrinsically due to the recalling of the event.
      – One needs to think about the mental state of the person recalling the event. The Buddha, of course, recalled the same event but did not form any somanassa/domanassa vedana.

      This is somewhat relevant to the new post today, “Contact Between Āyatana Leads to Vipāka Viññāna

    • #24663
      y not
      Participant

      It will be impossible, because ‘inhumane’, to stop those ‘mind-made’ somanassa vedana from arising – UNLESS one has reached the Anagami stage.

      Nature works through these mental states of beings, for better or for worse. In our case, the Buddha would not have gone through the necessary experiences of those 1,500 lifetimes had that brahmin and his wife, AT WILL, at any point during that time, resisted, so to speak, the (no less than) overpowering urge to be together again for the umpteenth time by NOT ‘generating MIND-MADE pleasant vedana (called somanassa vedana) based on that recalled memory’. One can have no desire to spend even one lifetime with anyone if somanassa vedana is not there – what to say of 1,500 lives?

      What you are describing here, Lal, is what we should strive for, not how the matter stands for people in general, even for those on the Path at or below the Sakadagami stage.

      The experiencing of, or, better said, the NON-STOPPING, the non-resistance to all that is good in us, because rooted in love, leads IN TIME to the highest – not of itself or by itself, of course. Then follows the understanding, the acceptance,and the practice of the Dhamma. But it is done in stages, as you yourself have pointed out many times. It is the basis, the foundation of all good that can ensue, including ultimately Nibbana. Love, the manifold forms and stages of it, from abstaining from outright killing to the slightest harm done by the mere utterance of a word is condensed in the 5 precepts. Love as we have here is the second highest expression of it, the gift of the Dhamma being of course the first. This is why I keep repeating how grateful I am to you for this Gift of gifts.

      This is what underlies what I am trying to say. All too often the implication naturally arises (I am not saying it is so implied by yourself) that, in the matter now under discussion, one, anyone, any participant or reader, SHOULD stop those mind-made somanassa vedana from arising TO STOP THE WHOLE REBIRTH PROCESS. (Or, at a single moment, all would attain Arahanthod!) And, seeing that they are unable to do so time after time, a sense of failure, of defeat sets in. Defeated, one may abandon ‘this whole Dhamma thing’. It is of course not so with me, but it may happen to others.

      I feel not enough emphasis has been placed on this all along. Please accept that in no way am I out to criticise, or even less to express disapproval of anything stated in Buddhadhamma. My aim is to understand ever more and more, but this concern has arisen of how others may be affected and possibly dissuaded from the Path by high self-expectations, irrealizable actually for anyone below the higher stages of the Path.

      with deepest Gratitude,

    • #24669
      Lal
      Keymaster

      “It will be impossible, because ‘inhumane’, to stop those ‘mind-made’ somanassa vedana from arising – UNLESS one has reached the Anagami stage.”

      Yes. That is true.
      – It is done by cultivating panna (wisdom).
      – Even a Sotapanna only KNOWS that such ‘mind-made’ somanassa vedana are bad. But until he/she comprehends the next level of Tilakkhana, such thoughts WILL arise.
      – That is why attaining the Anagami stage is so hard. No one said it is easy.

      The Path needs to be followed step-by-step. See, “Is It Necessary for a Buddhist to Eliminate Sensual Desires?
      – Also read, “Kāma Guna, Kāma, Kāma Rāga, Kāmaccanda

      Please read the posts that recommend. I cannot write everything in a single post. So, I provide links to other posts. This is a general comment to everyone.

    • #24673
      Christian
      Participant

      I explained on my group how to gradually attain Anagami stage based on Silavant Sutta, maybe someone find it useful. It’s not hard but it takes patience and the practice goes deeper with time

      How Ariyas should train after attaining Sotapanna:
      
      First we need that hate, greed and lust that arise in Ariya after Nibbana due ignorance is little different then in regular person. It's like heat of the fire, it arises and one feel the heat but because ignorance is dropped at the stage of Sotapanna (to some extent) one just feel this heat but not being burned by it as regular people is. Ariya person acknowledge this heat but this heat this not mean instantly that you should beat yourself up or anything like that. Many Ariyas here  overreact here because that arises, what Ariya need to do is acknowledge this hate, greed and lust arises as he would acknowledge going on sunbath or walking into near fire. Once tanha is acknowledged one realize the danger of this heat, one see it as incoming arrow, poison, not worth, unfruitful in nature, source of suffering, source of death, anatta nature, hopeless of following or going into this fire into those states, this is like tortures come to you asking "come with us", hell wardens, this fire is the fire of lower realms that hell wardens induces after death of regular people. After realizing nature of this heat (hate, greed and lust) one does not act on that and upon that after that one uproots and cuts off PS cycles. 
      Generally this 3-step method of cutting PS cycle which is 1) Acknowledge 2) Understand 3) Don't act upon it is the quickest and the direct way to uproot everything but there are couple factors to make it work the way Sariputta explains:
      
      1) One need already saw Anicca /Dukkha/Anatta to practice it in the right way (especially point 2) which means is for Sotapannas and above
      2) One need to understand Paticca Samupadda cycles
      3) One need to understand five aggregates

      1) Acknowledge is related to releasing unwholesome state of mind, as one would acknowledge heat of the fire, there is no need to panic or overreact when one feels the heat of tanha – it’s just started, acknowledging it helps it not develop it further ie. releasing. 2) Understanding here means contemplating Anicca Sanna, drawbacks of tanha and anything related to Ariya practices. 3) Do not acting upon it which means abandoning the unwholesome state of mind, do not following it anymore with any of section mind, speech, body etc. You can do it without any force or anything if you properly did the first step one and two.

      I’m pretty sure this can lead to Arahanthood relatively quickly if one just keep this up. This is the quickest and easiest approach but all it takes is patience. The hardest way is to build up enough wisdom (panna) to get it rolling properly but once you are there is like you have fresh driver license, you will get better with time.

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