Permanent effect of magga citta

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    • #33991
      me1
      Participant

      Is there an explanation as to how a magga citta is able to permanently eradicate or attenuate defilements?

      Five cittā (vicikicca and the four greed-rooted citta associated with wrong view) arise because one does not know the true nature of the world, Tilakkhana, i.e, anicca, dukkha, anatta. […] Thus when one attains the Sotāpanna stage, these five citta cease to arise forever, and one WILL NOT BE ABLE to do any such grave kamma.

      Is there an explanation for exactly how magga citta stops forever these other citta? Why can’t ignorance rise again? Why is the effect of magga citta permanent?

    • #33992
      Lal
      Keymaster

      This requires a somewhat detailed explanation. I will think about how to explain it here.
      – In the meantime, if others have any ideas please free to post.

    • #34007
      Lal
      Keymaster

      1. Like everything else in this world, cittās also arise due to causes.
      – When a tempting arammana comes to the mind, cittās arise according to one’s gati. Those gati are related to one’s defilements (raga anusaya, dosa, anusaya, moha anusaya)

      2. Anusaya can be removed ONLY by wisdom (paññā).
      – Wrong views (and corresponding wrong cittās) arise due to not understanding the root causes of suffering: raga, dosa, moha.

      3.When one starts understanding Buddha Dhamma, those anusaya are removed in four stages. As anusaya are removed in stages, corresponding cittās are stopped from arising automatically. That is because those defilements are the root causes for the arising of such citta.

      I am not sure which post your quote came from. It is ALWAYS helpful to cite the post and relevant bullet numbers.

      Also see:

      Āsava, Anusaya, and Gati (Gathi)

      Conditions for the Four Stages of Nibbāna

      Akusala Citta and Akusala Vipāka Citta

      If things are not clear, please feel to ask questions. But refer to posts/bullet #s.

    • #34008
      me1
      Participant

      I guess I asked the question from a wrong perspective. Due to dependent origination, when the conditions for ignorance ceases to exist, ignorance ceases to exist. In the same way that life has no beginning, ignorance can’t begin from “nothing”. This is why the rebirth process has no discernible beginning (which is a logical concept but not very intuitive at first). When I asked the question I was thinking about citta as being separate phenomenas.

      Lal, would it be correct to say there is no discernible ending to ignorance in the world? There must be an infinite amount of lifestreams. If there was a specific, limited amount of lifestreams, then everyone would already have reached nibbana, since life had no beginning and sammāsambuddhas appear periodically.

    • #34018
      Lal
      Keymaster

      “would it be correct to say there is no discernible ending to ignorance in the world? ”

      There is an ending to ignorance.
      – That is called Nibbana, attained at the Arahanthood.

    • #34019
      me1
      Participant

      “There is an ending to ignorance. – That is called Nibbana, attained at the Arahanthood.”

      I meant for all beings who are part of this world. There will always be beings trapped in samsara. The arahant no longer is part of the “world” after death.

    • #34020
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Yes. There are infinite living-beings in this world.
      – Even if an infinite number attain Nibbana, there ALWAYS will be an infinite number left.

    • #34050
      TripleGemStudent
      Participant

      me1

      – You can also think of it this way, this comes from my own understanding and contemplations. Imagine yourself as cause and effect, how would you keep the party going or Sansara or effects? If there are no causes, can this universe exist? Who or what provides the causes for effects to take place?

      “Why can’t ignorance rise again?”

      – Based on what Lal said, as well you can find clues to your question on what is a Satta and what Sakkaya samudaya, sakkaya nirodha.

      – Ignorance doesn’t need to rise again, because ignorance is what this world is or cause and effect or Paticca Samuppada. This is how it is and always will be. This isn’t confirmed by anyone, just my belief as of this moment from my contemplation, observations and evidences that I see in the Buddha Dhamma. I believe this world or universe or cause and effect nature is avija (ignorance) and being in this world is very unfavorable for us living beings. The most obvious evidence pointing to this is the three characteristics of this world, Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta and others. The only saving grace of our existence is being able put a stop to the rebirth process, or being able to cultivate wisdom to remove the avija (ignorance) as a Satta. But ignorance will always remain and be a part of what this world is or cause and effect.

      Lal says:

      “Even if an infinite number attain Nibbana, there ALWAYS will be an infinite number left.”

      – I wonder why is that so. :) My answer would be what I have written above.

    • #34055
      Lal
      Keymaster

      TripleGemStudent wrote: “Even if an infinite number attain Nibbana, there ALWAYS will be an infinite number left.”
      – I wonder why is that so.”

      I have re-written an old post that addresses this and related issues:

      The Infinity Problem in Buddhism

      If there are any questions, please refer to bullet #s.

    • #34060
      y not
      Participant

      TripleGemStudent:

      1) The number of beings has always been, is, and ever will be infinite.

      2) Therefore, the beings that are still in ignorance must be infinite.

      3) Likewise, the number of beings who have attained Nibbana must also be infinite.

      Though it is a rare occurrence indeed that a being anywhere attains Nibbana, yet the number of beings who have attained Nibbana and those who are still in ignorance is equal- both are infinite in number. Or, correctly stated, both are numberless. Just because the number of beings is infinite.

      Imagine a line of, say, white marbles along a line of infinite length. The number of marbles would be infinite. Now let us suppose we colour every tenth, or hundredth, or thousandth, or millionth or one in any number, however high, in a different colour, say blue; the number of blue marbles will not be less than the number of white marbles. Just because there is no end to the line, BOTH sets will be infinite in number.

      Taking this further, to the limit, it must follow that at any one moment an infinite number of beings attain Arahanthood (while still an infinite number of beings remain in ignorance), an infinite number of Buddhas are preaching the Dhamma on some planet somewhere in Infinity – just because the number of planets where Buddhas appear must also be infinite.

      I could go on infinitely, but my time here is finite.

      • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by y not.
      • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by y not.
    • #34070
      TripleGemStudent
      Participant

      Thanks for trying to explain this to me y not. I watched the youtube video’s on Lal’s post. Not an easy concept for me to understand with math and numbers especially when I’m a poor student in math. :) I’ll just keep things simple in regards to what y not and Lal said.

      “There are infinite living-beings in this world.
      – Even if an infinite number attain Nibbana, there ALWAYS will be an infinite number left.”

      That’s all I need to know for this topic :)

      Thank you for your time y not and Lal.

    • #34073
      me1
      Participant

      Another unique feature of the mind (or nāma loka or viññāṇa dhātu) is that there are no “spatial locations” or “spatial boundaries” in viññāṇa dhātu. We cannot ask WHERE it is located. It is everywhere and anywhere.

      If there are an infinite amount of Buddhas in the universe at any given time, does this mean that someone with iddhi powers could theoretically communicate with one of them?

    • #34075
      Lal
      Keymaster

      “If there are an infinite amount of Buddhas in the universe at any given time, does this mean that someone with iddhi powers could theoretically communicate with one of them?”

      No. That is not possible.
      Edited March 26, 2021: Our Solar system centered on the Sun is one of 1,000 such systems in what is called a “cūḷanikā lokadhātu” or a “small world system”.
      – Therefore, our Sun is one of 1,000 stars with planets and life.
      – This “small world system” of 1,000 planetary systems is HUGE. For example, the closest star to us is 4-5 light-years away. That means it takes light traveling at 3×10^8 m/s to reach that closest star 3-4 years! To put it in perspective, it takes only 8 minutes for the light from the Sun to reach Earth.
      – For most of us (even with iddhi powers), there can be no type of “communication” outside this “small world system”.
      – For example, Brahmas from other planetary systems can even visit Earth to listen to a Buddha.
      – But not even they can travel or communicate with other “small world systems” external to our “small world system”.
      – A Buddha is for just one “small world system”. Of course, there can be many Buddhas over long times, appearing periodically in a given “small world system”.

      There are an uncountable number of such “small world systemS” in the universe.
      – For example, modern science says there are billions of stars in a galaxy, and there are billions of such galaxies!
      – So, there are MANY “small world systems” in our Milky Way galaxy.

      • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by Lal.
    • #34077
      me1
      Participant

      8. […] A “world-system” is a set of planets associated with a star, where one planet would have life.

      A world-system must necessarily support life to be counted within this 10K planetary system group? If there is no life in the Alpha Centauri system, then it would not be counted amongst the 10K? Must it be currently inhabited or could it have been in the past to be counted? Theoretically all planet systems could be inhabited through the colonization of a sufficiently advanced spacefaring civilization (maybe in the future homo sapiens are able to colonize planets in the the Alpha Centauri system). Must life originate indigenously in a planetary system for it to be counted?

      8. […] The Buddha could travel anywhere among the 10,000 “world-systems” (dasasahassi lokadhātu).

      What is the obstacle that prohibits a Buddha from travelling beyond this set of 10k systems?

      5. I want to develop this idea to show that kammic energy has instantaneous influence across the universe. If inert particles have this “connected-ness” in Nature, it is natural to extend it to the mental realm.

      I still don’t understand why it would not be possible, since there is no dimension of space in nama loka.

      If he wished, Ānanda, a Realized One could make his voice heard throughout a galactic supercluster, or as far as he wants.
      Ākaṅkhamāno, ānanda, tathāgato tisahassimahāsahassilokadhātuṁ sarena viññāpeyya, yāvatā pana ākaṅkheyyā”ti. Variant: tisahassimahāsahassilokadhātuṁ → tisahassiṁ mahāsahassiṁ lokadhātuṁ (sya-all, km); tisahassīmahāsahassī lokadhātuṁ (pts1ed)

      According to my understanding of this sutta, a Buddha has no limit to his ability to communicate with his mind. So a Buddha from one dasasahassi lokadhātu could communicate with a Buddha from another dasasahassi lokadhātu, or any being, anywhere in the universe, that is receptive.

    • #34081
      Lal
      Keymaster

      There is no ending to answering these types of questions.
      – While it is good to some understanding, most of these types of questions just lead to more questions.
      – I am trying to strike some balance. It is true that getting answers to some questions helps build faith in Buddha Dhamma.
      – However, it is far more beneficial to spend time learning about how to stop future suffering, as the Buddha advised.

      For example, you say ” If there is no life in the Alpha Centauri system..” But we cannot prove whether there is life there or not.
      – science cannot even prove whether there is life in ANY of the billions of planets they have discovered in recent years.
      – Even 100 years ago, the only planets that science knew about were the planets in our Solar system.
      – With time, science may or may not be able to determine whether there is life outside the Solar system. As I mentioned above, the enormous distances to planetary systems around other stars make that task very difficult.

      Anyway, here is a post that discusses some of these issues:
      Misconceptions on the Topics the Buddha “Refused to Answer”

    • #34082
      me1
      Participant

      Yes, my first set of questions was overly speculative. But do you know how to explain what seems to me to be a contradiction between the claim that a Buddha is limited to a dasasahassi lokadhātu and the fact that nama loka has no space dimension along with the sutta I quoted that says a Buddha can make his voice heard as far as he wants?

      Dhammacakkappavattanasutta:

      Itiha tena khaṇena tena layena tena muhuttena yāva brahmalokā saddo abbhuggacchi. Ayañca dasasahassilokadhātu saṅkampi sampakampi sampavedhi, appamāṇo ca uḷāro obhāso loke pāturahosi atikkamma devānaṁ devānubhāvanti.
      English: Thus at that moment, at that instant, at that second, the cry spread as far as the brahma world, and this ten thousandfold world system shook, quaked, and trembled, and an immeasurable glorious radiance appeared in the world surpassing the divine majesty of the devas.

      Is the above sutta the source for the claim that a Buddha cannot travel beyond a 10K world-system (dasasahassi lokadhātu)?

      Cūḷanikāsutta:

      Ākaṅkhamāno, ānanda, tathāgato tisahassimahāsahassilokadhātuṁ sarena viññāpeyya, yāvatā pana ākaṅkheyyā”ti.
      English: If he wished, Ānanda, a Realized One could make his voice heard throughout a galactic supercluster, or as far as he wants.

    • #34084
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I read the “Cūḷanikā Sutta (AN 3.80)” and made a correction to my March 25, 2021 comment above.
      – A “cūḷanikā lokadhātu” or a “small world system” has 1000 planetary systems like our Solar system.

      A “dvisahassī majjhimikā lokadhātu” has 1000 of such “cūḷanikā lokadhātu”.
      – A “tisahassī mahāsahassī lokadhātu” has 2000 of such “dvisahassī majjhimikā lokadhātu“.

      So, a Buddha has “access” to a “tisahassī mahāsahassī lokadhātu” or 2 million planetary systems like ours.
      – But all others (with abhinna powers) are limited to our “cūḷanikā lokadhātu” or a MAXIMUM of 1000 planetary systems like ours.

      Now regarding your question: “But do you know how to explain what seems to me to be a contradiction between the claim that a Buddha is limited to a dasasahassi lokadhātu and the fact that nama loka has no space dimension..”
      – What is the contradiction?

      Just because nama loka (vinnana plane) has “no space dimension” does not make anyone have access to ALL nama loka everywhere. The access of an average human is limited to just the kama loka in our Solar system.
      – For example, we know that many Arahants at the time of the Buddha (and even later) had the ability to visit certain Brahma realms. But they certainly could not access anything beyond our “cūḷanikā lokadhātu”. At least, there is no such account in Tipitaka. The above sutta says that the Buddha could access much bigger “tisahassī mahāsahassī lokadhātu“. That is all we know.

      P.S. However, the following is probably a good explanation.
      1. The vinnana plane also has ENERGY.
      – As I have explained, “material things” are made of suddhatthaka. A suddhatthaka is also energy ABOVE a certain level. As we know, Einstein confirmed that mass is related to energy via the equation, E = mc^2. See, “The Origin of Matter – Suddhāṭṭhaka
      – Therefore, accessing the vinnana plane corresponding to different realms is NOT trivial. One needs abhinna powers to access them.
      – A Buddha with the highest abhinna powers can access more.

      2. For example, the vinnana plane for the kama loka “resides” at kama loka. the Vinnana plane for the rupa loka “resides” at the rupa loka, and the same for arupa loka.
      – All three lokas in our planetary system are interlinked.
      – That is why a human grasping a Brahma existence (bhava) at the end of the human bhava is reborn INSTANTANEOUSLY in that Brahma realm.

      I will discuss this more in the current series of posts on “Paṭicca Samuppāda – Essential Concepts.”

      • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by Lal.
    • #34086
      y not
      Participant

      I had thought of questions like these myself, me1.

      When no answers are forthcoming from anywhere then you keep the questions there, on hold, as it were, reflecting on them, even if only passively. And it is not that the ‘answers’ are right first time around. The initial ones may only serve to ‘set the ground’ and to dispel any wrong implications taken for granted in the questions themselves.

      This is what I have ,and that only up to now because I stand to be corrected, either by others or by the facts themselves when these come to light. As Lal here and others never tire of repeating: it will be most beneficial, vital, indispensable that you concentrate your efforts where it truly matters – for your own future well-being and that of others, and that is, in striving to eliminate greed, ill-will and delusion. All answers that we get to these questions, be they correct or incorrect, will not help one bit in the quest of Ariya-hood, which is the greatest, and hardest, quest one can possibly pursue. And the time for that is now, during a Buddha sasana, during which it is extremely rare to find oneself in a human body. With that in mind, here are my views:

      There in nothing that is fortuitous or to no purpose in Existence. “Theoretically all planet systems could be inhabited”…granted, but we need not bring in extra-terrestrial involvement here at all, although I am certain myself that happens all the time, and that even Earth has been visited any number of times, and by more than one type of extra-terrestrial humans. And I am talking about visits in spacecraft and physical bodies. Consider: what would the Earth look like in its (re-)formation phase(s)? A ball of bubbling rock surrounded by impenetrable clouds of dust and gas most probably – making it a scientifically typical model of ‘ a planet unable to evolve life and sustain it’.

      “Theoretically all planet systems could be inhabited”.. yes, only omit ‘Theoretically’. Even those planets which science deems unable to sustain life because they orbit their parent stars outside the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – they will harbour life later as they must have in the past. Life will adapt to ANY prevailing conditions. We have proof enough of that here on this planet. We see lifeforms that thrive in Saharan temperatures, others in polar conditions, yet others in the depths of the oceans under tremendous pressure and in total darkness, and still others without the need of air(whether derived from the atmosphere or from water “There in nothing that is fortuitous or to no purpose in Existence”. So that answers your question: ‘Must it (a planet) be currently inhabited or could it have been in the past to be counted?’

      “Must life originate indigenously in a planetary system for it to be counted?” My view is that life originates in all planetary systems ,GIVEN TIME . And this view was there even before I came across the Dhamma. The Dhamma has embellished it, one may say.

      “What is the obstacle that prohibits a Buddha from travelling beyond this set of 10k systems?” Whoever said that the Buddha is prohibited? It has been stated that He could travel anywhere among the world-systems – now there is a sutta where the Buddha states that the number of beings he actually reaches is insignificant and can be compared as the dust on his fingernail to the great Earth, and that displeased Him without measure! I see it as a question of sheer numbers: if reaching all of the vast (and yet not infinite) number of beings in this one 1,000-star grouping is already a self-confessed impossible task for even a Buddha in his mere 45-year Ministry, why would He consider reaching beings in other star-groupings? So it is not that the Buddha is prohibited, either by way of limitation to his powers or by any one else, to travel beyond this 1,000-star system (taken as a unit). It is just that it would be superfluous to do so, seeing that few of even the beings ‘at home’ themselves can be reached, as much as He would have liked to reach many more of them out of His infinite Compassion. Besides the fact that most beings, at any time, are in the apayas, even those connected with Earth, so they too are ‘out of reach’ And as to other regions ,other realized Ones will take care of those. There are Buddhas aplenty, an infinite number of them.

      The last point you mention becomes relevant here:
      “If he wished, Ānanda, a Realized One could make his voice heard throughout a galactic supercluster, or AS FAR AS HE WANTS.”. So, certainly, he is in no way prohibited. Further along in the sutta (AN 3.80) it goes: ” “First, Ānanda, a Realized One would fill the galactic supercluster with light….When sentient beings saw the light, the Realized One would project his call so that they’d hear the sound.”

      “So a Buddha from one dasasahassi lokadhātu could communicate with a Buddha from another dasasahassi lokadhātu, or any being, anywhere in the universe, that is receptive.” No Buddha communicates with another Buddha, because to what purpose? Who will help whom on the Path? What Path? Both are already enlightened. As to ‘communication with other beings anywhere in the universe’ he COULD do that ,but He does not, for the reason given above.

      Enough said. Perhaps more than enough- the range and scope of Buddhas is one of the four imponderables. AN 4.77: “Monks, these four things are unthinkable. They should not be thought about, and anyone who tries to think about them will go mad or get frustrated”

      with Metta

      • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by y not.
    • #34088
      Christian
      Participant

      There are many interesting topics in Dhamma for sure, we can ask endless questions about those things especially on the cosmic matter and things beyond scope of our mind and technology. One needs to keep that in check and by “that” I mean that mind-pattern that looking for some cosmic argument to practice Dhamma. It’s like a first-grader trying to challenge a mathematician about his own ignorance and limited information glued into what he “thinks and believes to be such and such” – the life experience will verify everything and a person will grow for certain things giving up on this pattern.

      What I mean here you may be looking for validation in the wrong room that will cause more mess in understanding. Everything starts always from the base or root understanding, first, you learn numbers, the meaning of the numbers, and basic calculation to move further but if you want to go into “cosmic” matters “on the go” you will be at a disadvantage. People need to understand that – they will not able to grasp it all. You can’t have it all, but what is essential in Dhamma is very graspable for anyone willing and anyone with goods roots for it.

    • #34089
      Lal
      Keymaster

      That is quite correct, Christian.

      If I try to answer some of these questions, those answers may either not sit well, or are not easy to comprehend.
      – That is why the Buddha refused to answer some questions, as I pointed out in another thread recently. The following is what I wrote there:

      So, you are still being bothered by other people’s actions in an indirect way. This time you are worried about their OPINION of you.
      – Of course, it is human nature to be liked and praised. But we need to be realistic.
      – We know that there are all kinds of people with vastly differing opinions. Some have correct opinions based on correct views/knowledge. Others have wrong opinions based on wrong views and misunderstandings.

      When those people, who may have wrong opinions of your views, figure out that they had looked at those issues incorrectly, they will turn around. They may even start having a high opinion of your views.

      There is a good example in the Tipitaka. Vacchagotta used to visit the Buddha frequently and asked many questions. There is a whole set of suttas based on his questions.
      – During the initial interactions with the Buddha, Vacchagotta was building confidence in the teachings of the Buddha. But on several occasions, the Buddha refused to answer some questions or gave answers that did not sit well with Vacchagotta. One time, he told the Buddha that he was displeased with the answers given by the Buddha.
      – Yet, letter on, Vacchagotta started comprehending the correct world view, became a bhikkhu, and attained the Arahanthood.

      The only thing you need to worry about is whether YOUR own views are correct or not.
      – Keep learning and you will build confidence.
      – Then you will not be bothered by the opinions of others.

      For example, I know that I may offend some people when I answer questions. But I cannot just “go with the flow” and try to please others. I have to say what I see to be correct. Of course, in some cases, I would have to change my statements. Anyone can make a mistake.
      – We all will make fewer mistakes as we learn more. Keep learning!

      Again, here is a post that discusses some of these issues:
      Misconceptions on the Topics the Buddha “Refused to Answer

    • #34153
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Here is an interesting video on how scientists find information about planetary systems based on faraway stars:

      There is no ending to this process. It will take many years — if ever– scientists can find whether life exists on such planets.
      – They are making very crude measurements right now.
      – No information is available on whether any of these planets support life.

    • #34487
      ZenLife
      Participant

      This is wonderful, thank you so much!

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