Post on “Mahārāhulovāda Sutta and Ānāpānasati”

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    • #41103

      Another insightful post! This may be the only place, at least in English, where one can learn the true anapanasati.

      The part about the air element reminded me of a teaching from a thero; the thero taught anapanasati as being mindful of the air element, that it was possible to observe the air element in the body, more than just in-breath and out-breath.

      With this post I know what the air element includes, so the thero taught an anapanasati somewhat broader than those who teach mindfulness of just in-breath and out-breath.

      A speculation from me: a mind sensitive enough to observe the air element in the body must be at a deeper samadhi, mundane samadhi that is, and that it must be very pleasant.

      Regardless of my speculation, we here are fortunate to learn that anapanasati has nothing to do with inhalation or exhalation or the air element.

      In the context of this post, it is easy to ask the question: “What is so special about the air element? Why not observing the heat element, for example.

      It is not encouraging for Theravada Buddhism to see theros giving a teaching like this, just like in another thread Lal mentioned a discussion about ghandabba and semen, which was also brought up by a thero.


    • #41107

      Thank you, Lang, for bringing up this question on the “air element” or “vāyo.”

      First, I moved Lang’s post from the “Questions About Puredhamma Posts” to the “Posts on ‘Elephants in the Room’” because the post in question is in the “Elephant in the Room 3 – Ānāpānasati” section. Of course, Lang could not see that because for this first week of posting as the “Home page” the breadcrumbs at the top of the post does not show the section.

      Regarding the main question on “vāyo:”

      There is a bit deeper explanation of the terms pathavi,āpo, tejo, and vāyo.
      I just revised #7 of the post “The Origin of Matter – Suddhāṭṭhaka” as follows.

      – The word āpo comes from the tendency to “attach or get attracted to worldly things” (“bandena gatiya” or “බැඳෙන ගතිය” in Sinhala means the “bind together,” which leads to liquidity in science). Tejo comes from “fiery or energetic” (“théjas gati” or “තේජස් ගතිය” in Sinhala), and vāyo refers to “motion/vacillation” (“salena gatiya” or “සැලෙන ගතිය” in Sinhala). They are all created in javana citta that arise in mind in minute quantities that cannot be detected. However, yogis with abhiññā powers can generate large amounts of matter like a flower.
      Added October 29, 2022: There is a deeper explanation: According to the above explanations, āpo, pathavi, and tejo can be attributed to lobha, dosa, and moha. Vacillation in vāyo represents uncertainty; that represents mundane alobha, adosa, amoha, or the ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. See “Six Root Causes – Loka Samudaya (Arising of Suffering) and Loka Nirodhaya (Nibbāna).”

      Thus, we can say that vāyo is the “better element” compared to āpo, pathavi, and tejo. The latter three can be attributed to the “kāma loka” and vāyo can be taken to represent rupa loka lying above the kāma loka.
      P.S. Thus, we can indirectly connect to anariya yogis getting into anariya jhāna with breath mediation (by overcoming lobha, dosa, and moha, temporarily, i.e., without removing anusaya.)

    • #41111

      Thank you, Lal. This is profound!

      When these words are translated into another language, such as my native language of the equivalent of earth, water, fire, air, it gives the impression of very distinct entities from mind.

      Yet, there is an intimate connection between “matter” and mind (rupa and nama), fueling each other:

      We know that cittā (with their accompanying cetasikā) come from the vibration of hadaya vatthu (which is rupa), and that vibration (in javana cittā), in turns, create rupa based on lobha, dosa, moha, alobha, adosa, amoha.

      So, that’s why lobha, dosa, moha, alobha, adosa, amoha are the six root causes.

      Let’s say we look at an arahant “at this level”. The six root causes are no more, so there is no fuel for another hadaya vatthu when the current hadaya vatthu perishes.

    • #41112

      I am glad that you understood the deeper aspects, Lang!

      We can look at this from many different angles. I will briefly discuss two.

      1. The density of matter is highest in kama loka. That is where pathavi, apo, and tejo are strongest.
      – As we go to higher realms (six Deva realms), those births arise with much less lobha, dosa, and moha; thus, the density of their bodies and environment is much less. That is why scientists can’t see those realms.
      – Births in Brahma realms are possible at even smaller lobha, dosa, and moha levels.

      2. When an average human attains the Sotapanna stage,lobha, dosa, and moha reduce substantially to raga, patigha, and lower levels of avijja. Thus, pathavi, apo, and tejo in the suddhatthaka generated by the Sotapanna is much less in proportion. Accordingly, any anger, greed, and ignorance arising in a Sotapanna are not enough to engage in highly immoral deeds. That is how a Sotapanna avoids rebirth in apayas.
      – By the Anagami stage, that trend will lead to the disappearance of kama raga and patigha. Thus, an Anagami would not act with anger or kama raga. Thus, pathavi and tejo in the suddhatthaka generated by an Anagami would be much less proportioned. That is why an Anagami would be born only in a Brahma realm.
      – By the Arahant stage, no gati is left to generate any kamma bija (or hadaya vatthu) with even a trace of suddhatthaka. No rebirths for an Arahant.

      That is a very brief outline.

    • #41181

      “āpo, pathavi, and tejo can be attributed to lobha, dosa, and moha…”

      “– By the Anagami stage, that trend will lead to the disappearance of kama raga and patigha. Thus, an Anagami would not act with anger or kama raga. Thus, pathavi and tejo in the suddhatthaka generated by an Anagami would be much less proportioned. ”

      Is this the right connection:

      apo — lobha
      pathavi — dosa
      tejo — moha

    • #41189

      I have not seen them specifically attributed like that. But I have heard some discourses by Waharaka Thero, where he mentioned such possible connections.

      Normally, pathavi, apo, tejo, and vayo are attributed to avijja (moha) and vanna, gandha, rasa, oja to tanha. I think this categorization is more standard.

      However, it seems logical to attribute apo to greed (but one can also attach via anger) and pathavi (and tejo) to anger. It is also logical to attribute tejo to avijja (moha) since uddacca is removed only at the Arahant stage with a last bit of avijja.
      – Vayo is not likely to be associated with lobha or dosa but more with avijja (uncertainty).

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