Posts Related to “Distorted Saññā”

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    • #47402

      I am moving the draft post on Sakkāya and Sakkāya Diṭṭhi from the thread “Useful Essays from DRARISWORLD and Other Websites” to this new thread.

      • Since this draft post will be published in an ongoing series on “Distorted Saññā,” we can discuss any future posts on that subject here. That way, we can keep discussions on all posts related to that subject here.

      1. Until a Buddha appears in the world, humans know of only one way to overcome suffering: to seek more sensory pleasures. Even such a relief is only temporary. In cases of serious illnesses or severe depression, many people commit suicide to “escape the suffering.” 

      • Still, people pursue sensory pleasures with the wrong view that they can provide lasting happiness and avoid suffering (of course, most people are unaware of Buddha’s teachings.) That engagement is sakkāya, and the associated wrong view is “sakkāya diṭṭhi.”
      • Details in “Etaṁ Mama, Esohamasmi, Eso Me Attā’ti – What Does It Mean?
      What Is Sakkāya?

      2. When seeking worldly (sensory) pleasures, we crave/desire to experience mind-pleasing external rupa with all our senses.

      • For example, a man’s mind may attach to a “beautiful woman” or any other sensory input like mind-pleasing music, taste, smell, or touch. Such sensory experiences generate vedanā and saññā
      • Based on that attachment, the mind starts pursuing that sensory object from that very first instance. That leads to (abhisaṅkhāra generation with an expectation (kamma viññāṇa) to fulfill that desire.
      • Those five parameters (rupa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa) record that initial sensory experience. However, many more cittās arise based on that ārammaṇa, i.e., numerous such sets (rupa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa) arise in mind within a short time.  When we become aware of the sensory input, a “pile/aggregate” or a “khandha” of those five entities has accumulated. That is why we call them the pañca upādānakkhandha

      3.  A puthujjana (average human) believes that mind-pleasing sensory inputs (represented by pañca upādānakkhandha) are beneficial because they cause joy in the mind. 

      • The word “sakkāya” comes from “sath” + “kāya.” Here, “sath” means “good/beneficial,” and “kāya” means “a collection/pile.” 
      • In this context, “kāya” refers to “pañca upādānakkhandha,” which is conventionally called the “five grasping aggregates.” Here, “grasping” or “upādāna” implies “attachment.”
      • Thus, a puthujjana willingly attaches to “sakkāya” or “pañca upādānakkhandha.”
      • It is NOT that pañcakkhandha arises first, and then the mind attaches to it. Since a sensory event starts with the “distorted saññā” and the mind automatically attaches to it (based only on saṁyojana), it is always a “pañca upādānakkhandha” from the beginning. 

      4. A definition of sakkāya is in the “Sakkā­ya­pañhā Sutta (SN 38.15)“: “‘Sakkāyo, sakkāyo’ti, āvuso sāriputta, vuccati. Katamo nu kho, āvuso, sakkāyo” ti? “Pañcime, āvuso, upādā­nak­khan­dhā sakkāyo vutto bhagavatā, seyyathidaṃ—rūpupā­dā­nak­khan­dho, vedanupā­dā­nak­khan­dho, saññu­pādā­nak­khan­dho, saṅ­khā­ru­pādā­nak­khan­dho, viñ­ñāṇupā­dā­nak­khan­dho. Ime kho, āvuso, pañcu­pādā­nak­khan­dhā sakkāyo vutto bhagavatā ti.”

      Translated: “sakkāya is pañcu­pādā­nak­khan­dhā: rūpupā­dā­nak­khan­dha, vedanupā­dā­nak­khan­dha, saññu­pādā­nak­khan­dha, saṅ­khā­ru­pādā­nak­khan­dha, viñ­ñāṇupā­dā­nak­khan­dha”.

      • The same explanation is also in the “Cūḷavedalla Sutta (MN 44).”
      • Craving for “sakkāya” or “pañca upādānakkhandha” starts reducing at the Sotapanna Anugāmi stage but is completely removed only at the Arahant stage.
      What Is Sakkāya Diṭṭhi?

      5. Sakkāya Diṭṭhi is the wrong view that “sakkāya” is beneficial. 

      Removal of Sakkāya Diṭṭhi Not Enough to Remove Sakkāya

      6. Even after one can “see” that attachment to sensory inputs/pleasures only helps get a temporary pleasure (i.e., removal of sakkāya diṭṭhi,) the tendency to attach (sakkāya) remains at a reduced level.

      • For example, a Sotapanna, with the removal of sakkāya diṭṭhi, will automatically abstain from apāyagāmi actions (leading to rebirth in an apāya.) However, they will still engage in (and crave) sensual pleasures since they still have sakkāya or the “tendency to attach” (even though at a reduced level.)
      • Sakkāya diṭṭhi can be removed without understanding “distorted saññā.” However, understanding “distorted saññā” could be an easy way to remove sakkāya diṭṭhi. On the other hand, it would be impossible to remove sakkāya without understanding “distorted saññā.
      • an Arahant fully comprehends how that “distorted saññā” arises. That means not merely understanding the mechanism but also meditating/contemplating it to convince the mind that it is a “trick.” 

      7. Let me give an analogy for that distinction. An alcoholic may learn that drinking leads to health issues and even causes death (analogous to removing sakkāya diṭṭhi.) However, some alcoholics, even after comprehending that fact, still cannot get rid of their “drinking habit” (analogous to removing sakkāya.) They must continually contemplate the harmful consequences of drinking to get rid of that habitual drinking. 

      • There is a definite “turning point” regarding “attaching to the distorted saññā.” As one contemplates the concept of “distorted saññā,” “kāma rāga” (one of the ten samyojana that bind one to the rebirth process) wears out gradually and eventually disappears.
      • That is when one gets to the Anāgāmi stage and is free of rebirths in kāma loka.
      • An Arahant has progressed even beyond that and removed “rupa rāga” (cravings for rupāvacara jhāna) and “arupa rāga” (cravings for arupāvacara samāpatti) as well. They are free of rebirths in rupa loka and arupa loka as well.
      • Therefore, one can remove both sakkāya and sakkāya diṭṭhi by comprehending how “distorted saññā” arises. 
      “Distorted Saññā” Leads to “Distorted Diṭṭhi” of “Sakkāya Diṭṭhi”

      7. As we have discussed in recent posts, external objects (people, sounds, food, aromas, body touches) DO NOT have mind-pleasing qualities (kāma guna) like beauty, taste, or sexual pleasure.

      8. Even before fully understanding, some people (saddhānusārī) can accept certain concepts based on faith (i.e., based on faith built up with other concepts, not blind faith.) See “Sōtapanna Anugāmi – No More Births in the Apāyās.”

      • However, it is always better to try to understand critical concepts fully. Therefore, let us explore this a bit more. Of course, there will be more posts on this subject. 

      9. The “mental picture” that arises in the mind of an external rupa is NOT an accurate representation of that external rupa. (in the suttās, by “rupa, the Buddha meant this “mind-made rupa.”

      • The first moment we experience an external sensory object (sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch), our minds generate a “distorted saññā” about it. We are born with that specific “distorted saññā.” 
      • The “mind-made rupa” is ALWAYS based on that “distorted saññā.” We can only remove the attachment to it via the cultivation of Satipaṭṭhāna; see below.

      10. For example, even though we say, “That is a beautiful woman,” there is no inherent “beauty” in a woman. In the same way, even though we DO taste sugar to be sweet, that sweetness in not inherent to sugar.

      • The “beauty of an object,” or “taste of a delicious dish,” or the “nice smell of a rose” is natural in the sense that we do get that sensation (called “saññā“) due to the way our physical bodies are formed by kammic energy.
      • Different species are born with different types of “distorted saññā.

      11. That can be easily verified by seeing how various animals respond differently to sensory inputs—pigs like the taste and smell of rotten meat, termites eat wood,  and some birds and reptiles eat rocks and pebbles. Humans don’t like the taste of any of that.

      • This is a deeper aspect of the laws of kamma (based on Paṭicca Samuppāda.)
      • The “biological body” of each living being forms via specific kammic energy responsible for bringing that existence. That is the kammic energy created in the “upādāna paccayā bhava” step in PS. The “kammic energy” for a specific bhava arises according to what was craved (upādāna.) That also manifests as specific gati of that living being.
      • See #5 and #6 in “Vedanā (Feelings) Arise in Two Ways.”
      Paṭisaṁvedī and Rāga Paṭisaṁvedī (Rāgappaṭisaṁvedī)

      12. Even an Arahant (while not in Arahant-phala or nirodha samāpatti) will see a “beautiful woman” as such and will taste the “sweetness of sugar” just like us. That automatic step of generation of the “distorted saññā” is called paṭisaṁvedi” and is a consequence of being born in the human bhava. Here, “paṭisaṁvedi” is to receive that “distorted saññā.

      • But an Arahant‘s mind will not get to the next stage of “rāgappaṭisaṁvedī,” i.e., to attach to that “distorted saññā” with rāga. 

      13. In the “Upavāṇasandiṭṭhika Sutta (SN 35.70)” the Buddha explains how to become a “sandiṭṭhiko” or “one who has seen “san” that gives rise to all suffering.” Here “diṭṭhiko” is “one who has seen.”

      • The linked verse says: “Idha pana, upavāṇa, bhikkhu cakkhunā rūpaṁ disvā rūpappaṭisaṁvedī ca hoti rūparāgappaṭisaṁvedī ca” OR “Upavāna, take a bhikkhu who sees a rūpa with their cakkhu. They experience both the “rūpa (with distorted saññā)” and ALSO the attachment to it.”
      • As I mentioned before, “cakkhu” does not mean “physical eyes,” and “rūpa” does not refer to the external rūpa. The translation in the link does not make that distinction.

      14. The next verse says: “Santañca ajjhattaṁ rūpesu rāgaṁ ‘atthi me ajjhattaṁ rūpesu rāgo’ti pajānāti” OR “They realize that “ajjhatta viññāṇa” with rupa rāga has arisen in them.”

      • As we will discuss in upcoming posts, “ajjhatta viññāṇa” arises at the very early “upaya stage” (also called the purāna kamma stage), and that can be experienced only by those who have cultivated Satipaṭṭhāna to a reasonable extent. This is related to ajjhatta kāya/bahidda kāya in Satipaṭṭhāna. I have discussed that to some extent in “Upaya and Upādāna – Two Stages of Attachment.”
      • That is when one becomes a “sandiṭṭhiko,” according to the sutta.

      15. It is a good idea to read the English translation of the whole sutta (with the corrections pointed out above). It repeats the above verse for all six types of sensory inputs. For example, @ marker 3.1: “Puna caparaṁ, upavāṇa, bhikkhu jivhāya rasaṁ sāyitvā rasappaṭisaṁvedī ca hoti rasarāgappaṭisaṁvedī ca” says “In the same way, Upavāna, a bhikkhu who tastes a rasa rūpa (i.e., taste) with their jivhā experience both the “rasa rūpa (with distorted saññā)” and ALSO the attachment to it.”

      • We will discuss more aspects, and the pieces of the larger puzzle will fall into place. But try to get the general idea.  
      • This is the deepest aspect of Buddha Dhamma that we can get into. So, don’t be discouraged if things are not crystal clear yet. But catching up later will be more difficult without making an effort now.
      • The best practice I follow is to take notes and fill in gaps as I read relevant material. Just reading posts is not enough.

      Feel free to ask questions.

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    • #47403

      The following comment by Gad on the above post is also moved to this thread:

      Thank you very much for giving an insight, sir Lal. The term patisamvedi intrigued me.

      Just to make sure I understand this concept.

      • According to the post, it is the distorted perception inherent in all beings, whether in relation to kāma loka, Rūpa Loka and Arūpa Loka. The post placed more emphasis on the perception of kāma loka.
      •  Anagami brahmas are the only type of ariyas free from the distorted perception of kāma loka, right? They will never see beauty or feel sweetness in anything, in the kāma loka.
      • If arahants have patisamvedi towards the elements of kāma loka, the same applies to rupa and arupa loka right? An arahant might voluntarily indulge in all jhanas, but he/she will not have ragapatisamvedi like an anagami or anariya yogi.
    • #47407

      Gad wrote: “If arahants have patisamvedi towards the elements of kāma loka, the same applies to rupa and arupa loka right? An arahant might voluntarily indulge in all jhanas, but he/she will not have ragapatisamvedi like an anagami or anariya yogi.”

      • Very good. You understood the concept.

      1. Yes. An Anāgāmi will undergo both “rūpa paṭisaṁvedī” and “rūpa rāga paṭisaṁvedī” for the rupāvacara jhānās.  But an Arahant will not go through the second step of “rūpa rāga paṭisaṁvedī” while in the jhānās.

      • Just like the task of a puthujjana/Sotapanna is to get rid of the step “kāma rāga paṭisaṁvedī,” the task of an Anāgāmi is to get rid of the tendency to attach to those rupāvacara jhānās, i.e., stop going through the “rūpa rāga paṭisaṁvedī.”  Note that here “rūpa rāga” is about rupāvacara jhānās. 

      2. Once an Anāgāmi gets through that step of “not attaching to rupāvacara jhānās, they will become “Arahant-phala Anugāmis” striving to attain the Arahanthood. Thus, they will get into arupāvacara samāpattis.

      • Now, their minds will automatically go through “arūpa paṭisaṁvedī” and “arūpa rāga paṭisaṁvedī.”  
      • Thus, the task of an”Arahant-phala Anugāmi is to get rid of the tendency to attach to those arupāvacara samāpattis.
      • Once that is done, they become Arahants and only experience “arūpa paṭisaṁvedī” and NOT “arūpa rāga paṭisaṁvedī.” 

      3. Therefore, it is a step-by-step process of getting released from “kāma loka,” “rupa loka,” and“arupa loka.”


      Now, we can try to address the following issue that I brought up in the previous thread.

      “2. Then the sutta mentions this question by the Buddha: “For Mālunkyaputta, an infant lying on its back, does not have even the concept of identity, so how could the self-identity view arise in him?”

      • Have you understood why that is the case?
      • The Pali verse is: “Daharassa hi, mālukyaputta, kumārassa mandassa uttānaseyyakassa sakkāyotipi na hoti, kuto panassa uppajjissati sakkāyadiṭṭhi?”
      • In Sutta Central translation, the same verse is translated as: “For a little baby doesn’t even have a concept of ‘substantial reality,’ so how could substantialist view possibly arise in them?” See “Mahāmālukya Sutta (MN 64.)

      Let me rephrase the question the following way (since now I have explained the difference between sakkāya and sakkāya diṭṭhi with a discussion on “distorted saññā.”)

      • “A little baby doesn’t even have a concept of ‘sakkāya,’ (i.e., attachment), so how could sakkāya diṭṭhi (wrong view about attachment) possibly arise in them?”
      • Can anyone explain that now?
    • #47411

      This is what I understood sir.

      • It is because of the patisamvedi which will move to the ragā patisamvedi stage. As the baby is exposed to strong sensory experiences, he will become attached,and old taints will surface.
      • As Yash explained in the other thread, it will grow with the environment, the gati and the baby’s surroundings. The baby will develop the erroneous view “There is a self that must enjoy sensual pleasures.”
      • This process is uncontrollable (anatta), because of the distorted sanna that is connected to human existence.
    • #47412

      The point is that a baby does not have any idea about  ‘sakkāya’ (i.e., attachment) or sakkāya diṭṭhi (wrong view about attachment). The question is, “Why is that the case?” or “How is that possible?” 

      • Has the baby removed all samyojana/gati/anusaya etc.?
      • Obviously, a baby has NOT removed all samyojana/gati/anusaya, etc. If that were the case, a baby would be born an Arahant
      • So, what explains the observation?
    • #47417

      I think it is because that the baby’s anusaya was not triggered by any arammana. Khandhānaṃ pātubhāvo, which is the stage of jati, was done. But āyatanānaṃ paṭilābho not yet. The conscious will about arammana did not work, so sakkaya ditthi did not come up the baby’s mind.

    • #47420

      I will give a hint :)

      • This is to with saññā.
      • Does the baby know ANYTHING about the world?
    • #47422

      The baby does know things about the world, in the sense that the baby was born with saññā (distorted), i.e. the baby was born with its own gati as part of its bhavanga state.

    • #47423

      That is not correct. A newborn does not know ANYTHING about the world. 

      • As the baby grows (and its brain develops), it gradually learns about the world. First, the baby learns about Mom and Dad and family; then, the family teaches the baby about colors, objects, what words mean, etc. 
      • It takes seven years for the brain to develop fully. It is not a coincidence that the youngest recorded Arahant is seven years old.

      The point is that the gandhabba inside the baby makes contact with the external world via the Brain.

      • While in the womb and probably for at least a few weeks, the baby’s mind (i.e., gandhabba‘s mind) is mainly in the “natural bhavanga” state.
      • As the brain grows, it can process more and more “external sensory data”  and pass them to the gandhabba. Thus, more thoughts (cittas) are generated by responding to more sensory inputs.
      • But it takes seven years to get to “full awareness/recognition.” That is when the gandhabba‘s hidden samyojana/anusaya can be fully “triggered” and also “changed.”
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    • #47425

      Maybe the manasikara cetasika is something with it. To activate sanna, the memory loading process is needed. But the baby has no experience to load. Therefore, there is no sakkaya, and sakkaya ditthi.

      So the initial experience of lifetime is important. Because it has a lot of effect on the baby’s early impression of the world. Is this topic related to psychoanalysis? Because I’ve had a familiar ring about this content.

    • #47427

      The “manasikara cetasika” comes into play only if cittas arise, and cittas can arise only if the gandhabba‘s mind comes out of the “natural bhavanga” state. That requires a processed sensory signal by the brain.

      • But until the brain develops at least to some extent, no external signals can be processed by the brain. Thus, the gandhabba (manomaya kaya/hadaya vatthu) inside the baby does not get any signals from the brain. All samyojana/anusaya are associated with the gandhabba (manomaya kaya/hadaya vatthu.)
      • This is a critical point to understand.
      • See “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body.”
    • #47428

      Umm.. the baby has no sakkaya ditthi outwardly but sakkaya ditthi anusaya. So even if there are no sakkaya and sakkaya ditthi in the baby’s mind, the baby is still satta. Because they still have nicca sanna about the samsara.

    • #47429

      To summarize, the baby is not aware of sakkaya, because of his immature gandhabba??

    • #47430


      • Where is the baby’s mind? 
      • Is it in the baby’s body/brain?


      • It is the same gandhabba that entered the womb of the mother of the baby. It does not need to “mature.”
    • #47431

      Thank you, Lal.

      I still have no idea yet about the topic at hand.

      For the previous point, I thought that a baby has kama saññā as a result of being born a human. For example, if we put one thing in the baby’s mouth it knows whether to accept that (as food, for example) and swallow it. But if we put another thing into its mouth then it’ll reject it.

      kama saññā still has to be taught, correct? I don’t have children, but I now remember that parents had to keep watch of their babies or toddlers in case they put strange things in their mouths.

    • #47434

      Lang wrote: “I still have no idea yet about the topic at hand.”

      This is a discussion about the last part of my comment on December 31, 2023 at 6:16 am. Let me reproduce that  below:

      Now, we can try to address the following issue that I brought up in the previous thread.

      “2. Then the sutta mentions this question by the Buddha: “For Mālunkyaputta, an infant lying on its back, does not have even the concept of identity, so how could the self-identity view arise in him?”

      • Have you understood why that is the case?
      • The Pali verse is: “Daharassa hi, mālukyaputta, kumārassa mandassa uttānaseyyakassa sakkāyotipi na hoti, kuto panassa uppajjissati sakkāyadiṭṭhi?”
      • In Sutta Central translation, the same verse is translated as: “For a little baby doesn’t even have a concept of ‘substantial reality,’ so how could substantialist view possibly arise in them?” See “Mahāmālukya Sutta (MN 64.)

      Let me rephrase the question the following way (since now I have explained the difference between sakkāya and sakkāya diṭṭhi with a discussion on “distorted saññā.”)

      • “A little baby doesn’t even have a concept of ‘sakkāya,’ (i.e., attachment), so how could sakkāya diṭṭhi (wrong view about attachment) possibly arise in them?”
      • Can anyone explain that now?
    • #47435

      A nice short video of a baby’s brain development:

    • #47436

      I admit that I no longer have any other ideas, Sir. If I refer to your video, it is over time that his brain grows that sakkaya ditthi will arise, right?

    • #47440

      I recommend reading the following post to understand the relationship between the brain and the gandhabba:

      Gandhabba in a Human Body – an Analogy.”

      • I wrote a series of posts on this subject some time back. I recommend reading that section for more information: “Brain and the Gandhabba.”
      • This is truly an exciting subject. I see that this section was somewhat hidden. So, it is possible that many of you may not have seen these posts. It is in another subsection: “Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach.”
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      • #47444

        Alright sir, thank you🙏🏿.

    • #47452

      I found some additional posts related to this current discussion.

      Response to a Sensory Stimulus – Role of Gati/Anusaya

      The Amazing Mind – Critical Role of Nāmagotta (Memories)


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    • #47455

      We should get this issue resolved before proceeding further.

      • There is no point in writing more about “distorted saññā” until people have a good understanding of what saññā means and how it arises.
      • I think a big “mental block” exists in many people’s minds to look at the gandhabba as an alien entity. You are your “mental body,” and the physical body is secondary. Your thoughts (cittās) arise in your mental body. However, the physical body (and the brain) play significant roles, while the mental body is entrapped in the physical body. Once outside the physical body, the mental body can see, hear, and think on its own; of course, it cannot taste, smell, or touch.
      • It has driven into our mind that our physical body (or the brain) creates thoughts. But the physical body is just a “shell” that becomes useless once the mental body (gandhabba) comes out of it.
      • As we have discussed, a human bhava (existence) may last many thousands of years. It is that “mental body” that lasts through that whole time.
      • Your essence is not your physical body or the brain but your mental body (gandhabba.However, the physical body and the brain play major roles, while the mental body is inside the physical body.

      Now that we have many specific posts on gandhabba and saññā to review, I will stop writing more new posts in the new series on “Sotapanna Stage via Understanding Perception (Saññā).” 

      • Instead, we need to discuss and clarify any questions that may arise while reading those posts that are specified above, including those posts in the new series. Of course, there are many more on the website.
      • Please refer to the post in question and the specific bullet numbers when asking questions.
      • Of course, you can ask any other related question too, on this thread.
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    • #47458

      The following comment is by Saket:

      We are quite familiar now with the meaning of Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta : “nothing in this world of 31 realms can be maintained to our wish (icca) in the long run. Hence if we attach to this world, we are bound to get suffering and hence this world is of no essence/no value.”

      There is also a deeper meaning of Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta based on the understanding of “distorted sanna”.

      Due to distorted sanna, the mind presents a false picture of the world around us. We think that the sights, sounds, smells, taste, touch, from the outside world are pleasurable. But actually our mind is playing a trick with us all the time!

      In reality, the outside (as well as the inside) world is NOT  what we think it is…  This world is FAKE and is an ILLUSION  in the sense that it DOES NOT offer what it claims to offer (happiness). Instead, it gives us only suffering! (because we attached to it and fell in the trap)

      We have been cheated and deceived by our own mind all this time in the infinite Sansaric journey, falsely believing that this world of 31 realms has happiness to offer! So, we took this world to be something of value or having an essence.  (see how our own mind is the biggest fraud!)

      But in reality, the world is like a foam, like a bubble, like a mirage… having no essence, having no substance, having no value.  Our mind gives “value” to things in this world due to the illusion created by distorted sanna!

      This is the deeper meaning of Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta. 

      If this understanding truly sinks in our mind and our minds accept this TRUTH wholeheartedly, then all our defilements (anusaya, sanyojana, kilesa) will be removed forever!

      This is the same as having “yathabhuta nana” (the knowledge of things AS THEY REALLY ARE) !!!

      My note: Even though this comment could be in the forum that Saket posted on, I moved it here because it is related to “Distorted Saññā.” Saket is correct in his statements. But yathābhuta ñānagets firmly established only when we can “see” (with wisdom or paññā) how that “distorted saññā” arises due to the gati. We cannot make that connection until we understand that “distorted saññā” arises in the mental body or gandhabba AND the role of the brain in that process.

      • Those “gati” are in the gandhabba (specifically, associated with the hadaya vatthu) and have been cultivated over many lives to be born with that specific set of gati
    • #47460

      Thank you for the wonderful discussion and for the series of posts on distorted/defiled saññā. I have gone through that series several times and am still making my way slowly through them; I did have a thought, however, of a possible connection between these concepts and paṭicca samuppāda, which I’d like to share here to see if it makes sense.

      Let’s start with paṭicca samuppāda (PS), and let’s focus on just akusala-mula PS for this discussion:  “avijja paccaya sankhara……bhava paccaya jati…..

      We see that 3 of the 4 mental khandā are in PS: sankhara, vinnana, vedana. Saññā is not.

      Reading about distorted/defiled saññā, I had the idea that saññā is the mechanism or condition that moves PS from one step to the next. I sort of see it in the “vedana paccaya tanha” step.

      In other words, distorted/defiled saññā is the “paccaya” in paṭicca samuppāda.



    • #47463

      That is a good suggestion, Lang.

      • The “distorted saññā (sañjānāti)” certainly plays a role in the “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” step. But the initial application of that is subtle and not direct. 
      • I plan to discuss this in detail in a future post. But let me give the basic idea.

      1. As we have discussed, the “distorted saññā” comes into play at the very beginning or the initiation of the sensory input. 

      • Let us consider eating a cake. The initial step is “ jivhāñca paṭicca rase ca uppajjāti jivhā viññāṇaṃ.“ Here, jivhā viññāṇa is what we call a “vipaka vinnana.” No strong kamma with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” takes place here.
      • However, the initial attachment to the taste (with “distorted saññā”) happens there. That step includes several steps, even though it happens in a single citta: (i) the mind automatically makes a “rasa rupa” based on the “distorted saññā,” (ii) it also attaches to that rasa rupa (unless one is an Arahant or Anāgāmi.) But, here avijjā is not directly involved (this “subtle attachment” happens automatically as long as the mind has kāma rāga samyojana/anusaya, i.e., if one is NOT an Anāgāmi/Arahant.) 

      2. In subsequent steps in a citta vithi, the mind gets increasingly attached to that taste. The complete sequence is “Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ, tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso, phassapaccayā vedanā, vedanāpaccayā taṇhā.” See “Chachakka Sutta (MN 148).” That sequence is for a visual input; the same sequence holds for taste, as indicated @ marker 9.6.

      • If a mind gets to the next critical step of “taṇhā paccayā upādāna,” strong kamma accumulation starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.This is where “avijjā” directly comes into play with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” See #12, #13 of “Taṇhā Paccayā Upādāna – Critical Step in Paṭicca Samuppāda.” That is where the “Akusala-mūla uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda” process (that can lead to rebirths) starts.

      3. By being mindful (with insight/wisdom), one can stop the progression at two places: (i) At the latter stage of “taṇhā paccayā upādāna.” This is the “nava kamma” stage where “strong kamma accumulation” with javana citta occurs. (ii) But the whole process could be stopped earlier where the “distorted saññā” leads to the “initial attachment” (in #1 above) with the cultivation of the deeper version of Satipaṭṭhāna. This earlier stage is called the “purāna kamma” stage.

      4. I briefly discussed the “purāna kamma” and “nava kamma” stages in #10 of “Mūlapariyāya Sutta – The Root of All Things.” 

      • I plan to discuss this in detail in a future post but feel free to ask questions.


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    • #47469

      It is critical to understand that perception (saññā) does not happen in the physical body but in the “mental body” or gandhabba.

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    • #47501

      I think the issue is understanding how the gandhabba (mental body) trapped inside the physical body experiences the external world. That must be understood before understanding how gandhabba recognizes things in the external world (saññā).

      So, the first step is: How does the gandhabba receive information about the external world? How does it see someone standing in front of the physical body?


      1. Gandbabba consists of only a hadaya vatthu (seat of the mind) and five pasada rupa (cakkhu, sota, ghana, jivha, kaya.
      2. If the gandhabba is OUTSIDE the physical body (as in out-of-body experiences OBE/NDE), it can see, hear, and think. Here, seeing and hearing happen via mechanisms we don’t understand.
      3. But when the gandhabba is INSIDE the physical body, it is fully shielded. Take just vision first. To see something, the physical eyes must work. And that light signal must be transmitted to the brain via optical nerves and processed by the brain. The brain MUST pass that information to the gandhabba (by a mechanism we don’t fully understand.)
      4. Sometimes, via accidents or due to other medical reasons, one of those three components (physical eyes, optical nerves, brain function) may permanently or temporarily stop.
      5. If the brain function stops (temporarily) then the patient cannot see, hear, or respond in any way. That is what happened to the woman in the following video. She temporarily lost brain function. 


      1. The woman’s gandhabba may have come out of the paralyzed body at some point. It was in the room when Dr. Greyson came and followed him to the other room where her friend was. The gandhabba was watching and listening to the conversation between her friend and Dr. Greyson.

      • So, she was able to see with her gandhabba body. Can there be any doubts about that?

      2. Once medical treatment restored her brain function, she was able to recall the conversation and tell Dr. Greyson it in great detail. She not only heard but also saw the full details. That is why she noticed the stain on Dr. Greyson’s tie!

      • The gandhabba coming out of the physical body is not of common occurrence.  However, he mentioned (maybe in another video) that about 10% of all people have experienced such an OBE. It is more common when patients undergo heart operations because the hadaya vatthu in the mental body overlaps the physical heart.
      • If anyone in this forum has experienced OBE, it would be nice to hear from them.

      Ask if there are any questions. In the next comment, I will go to the next step. This is critical to understand.  

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    • #47503

      So everything happens in the Gandhabba. Is it then correct to say that sakkaya dithi appears in the baby, following strong sensory input?

    • #47505

      We have not yet discussed how the gandhabba sees when inside the physical body, Gad.

      • The brain must process a visual captured by the eyes and then direct it to the gandhabba inside.
      • I will go through that step next. I want to make sure to get this fully clarified. If anything about my comment above or the video is unclear, we need to clear that up first. I will wait until tomorrow and post the next step of clarification.
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    • #47510

      The above cartoon explains how the gandhabba sees while being outside or inside a physical body.



      1. While being OUTSIDE the physical body, the gandhabba sees using a different mechanism that does not involve light. 

      • It is possible that the brain converts the image received from the eyes (via the optic nerve) to a type of signal used by the gandhabba while being OUTSIDE.

      2. A gandhabba (while being INSIDE the physical body) will also not see if the eyes are damaged, even if the brain works. 

      3. The point is that while INSIDE the physical body, a gandhabba CAN NOT see on its own. It also cannot hear, smell, etc., if the brain is not functioning.

      • That is also true for recalling memories “stored” in the external world (in viññāna dhātu). They also need to come through the brain. Therefore, a gandhabba is totally isolated from the world while INSIDE a physical body. The brain plays a critical role. See “Memory Recall for Gandhabba in a Human Body.” It is a good idea to read this post. It talks about how the brain uses a transmitter and a receiver to exchange information with viññāna dhātu (bullet #4). We will use that in the next step.
      • That also happens while we are sleeping. The brain goes into an inactive mode while sleeping. But the gandhabba never goes to sleep. If it does not get a signal from the brain, it cannot experience anything.

      There are more steps. Feel free to ask questions from all my comments/explanations above. Try to keep track because this is a complex subject. I have discussed this before, but the information is spread over many posts. Also, I did not go into this much detail.

      P.S. It should be “optic nerve” and not “optical nerve.”

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    • #47515

      The following figure shows why a “baby” or a “grown adult” is the COMBINATION of the mental body (gandhabba) and the physical body.

      • A human gandhabba may live for many thousand of years. During that time, it can be born with many different physical bodies.
      • The gandhabba is fully shielded from the outside world by the physical body. That way, gandhabba‘s experience is limited to only those sensory inputs that can come via the physical body. Being trapped in a physical body is a consequence of one’s craving to enjoy “close contact” like tastes, smells, and touch (sex.) But that limits the capabilities for seeing and hearing.
      • A gandhabba can see and hear at long distances if it comes out of the physical body; it can also travel far by merely thinking about where to go.


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    • #47516



      Dhammapada verse 37

      Dūrangamaṁ ekacaraṁ,

        Asariraṁ guhāsayaṁ,

        ye cittaṁ saññamessanti,

        mokkhanti mārabandhanā.”

      “The mind wanders far alone,

        without a body, hidden in the cave of the heart,

        those who restrain the mind,

        will be released from the bonds of the Māra.

      Can we link this verse to what you said above?

    • #47517

      Yes. You got it.

      • It is about the gandhabba who can travel far by himself (when he comes out of the physical body or “sarira.”
      • Asariraṁ” means “when without a physical body.” But it also resides in a “cave” (guhāsayaṁ), referring to when trapped in the physical body.
      • It is us, burdened with heavy physical bodies that are  “hard to be moved.” 
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    • #47520

      1. A newborn (just born) has not seen anything yet and, thus, has no idea about her milk bottle. She gets used to seeing it with time, and neural connections are made in her brain to identify it. She understands that it has her food. In the same way, neural networks will be established in her brain (which keeps growing) to identify Mom, Dad, and others in the family, her toys, etc.

      • Unless the brain fully grows and most neural connections are established, the baby’s understanding (or perception or saññā)
        about the external world will not be complete.
      • Until the ability to identify (saññā) a specific item in the world is established, the baby cannot form a like or dislike for it.

      2. First, the baby will identify the Mom and start bonding with her. That is the first type of “rāga” or attachment in this world. Thus, with time, the baby will start attaching to more things. In the same way, if she does not like a specific food, she may form a dislike (patigha) for it.

      • That is why the Buddha said a newborn has no idea about ditthi, defilements, etc.
      • Of course, the gandhabba inside the physical body of the baby has all ditthi, samyojana, and anusaya intact (unless it is a jāti Sotapanna.)

      3. For such ditthi, samyojana, anusaya, etc., to be triggered, the baby must first recognize things (saññā) and form a like or dislike for them.

      • Even when the brain is fully formed around seven years of age, strong kāma rāga (of sexual nature) will not arise in a child. That saññā will grow over time. In other words, a strong kama raga of sexual nature is not likely to be triggered in a seven-year-old, even though they will have the kāma rāga anusaya/samyojana intact.

      That is what I wanted to explain. I hope the explanation is clear enough. Feel free to ask questions if I missed something. There could be other issues that I did not think about.


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    • #47522

      The reason why I could not solve it is that I didn’t understand what the question was asking. Therefore, I approached this topic to find some connections between distorted sañña belonging to uppatti bhavanga and the mechanism of the information transfer system from physical body to manomaya kaya. I only thought about sañña as a form, not as a content like mother sañña, chocolate sañña or anicca sañña. The explanation is enough to know it for me.

      And while solving this problem, I learned that the sanna can be analyzed into form and content.

      For example, I understand sañña as below. The three general types of content of sañña.

      First is the value(the usage of mathematics or physics) of something, like the shape value(round, squared, etc), sound value(high tone, low voice, etc.), and so on. 

      Second is recognition of something. Using the first type of sanna, one can distinguish things like ‘this is a car, that is a rose‘. So naming or chunking of information is within sanna’s work.

      Third is the value(worth) of something. Like anicca sañña or nicca sañña. This type of sañña is related with the way one deals with the first and second type of sañña, but not the content of them.

      The sanna we should cultivate is the third type. Distorted sañña is only about the first and second type. We have to do nothing about them. But we only have to cultivate anicca sañña. This is why arahant do things without defilement even if they still have distorted sañña.

      The only important content of sañña is the third type. So we try to question to find out what is the best way to value something correctly. That is the whole purpose of vipassana bhavana.

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    • #47524

      Yes. It is a bit of a complex subject.

      • I realized it may be better to use pictures rather than text to get the ideas across.
      • The “distorted  saññā” is “built-in” to our mental AND physical bodies by kammic energy (via Paticca Samuppada.) That is why it is hard to figure out that it is a “mirage” or a “trick,” as the Buddha emphasized in the “Pheṇapiṇḍūpa Sutta (SN 22.95).”
      • Understanding how the gandhabba and the physical body are interconnected also helps.
      • To all: Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. Understanding this will go a long way in comprehending the “previously unknown teachings” of the Buddha and eliminating future suffering.
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    • #47525
      Sammasambodhi Gami

      Distorted sanna arises in the “hadaya vatthu” (or seat of the mind, where citta arises) of all sentient beings.

      Hadaya vatthu and the pasada rupa (in each bhava) is created due to the kammic energies generated in the past.

      Kammic energies were generated in the past lives due to the set of gathi present at that time.

      Hence, our own defiled gathi is responsible for the arising of the “distorted sanna”. 

      If we don’t remove our defiled gathi, we would continue to generate kammic energies, creating hadaya vatthu (and hence distorted sanna) for the future, thereby perpetuating suffering filled Sansaric journey.

      Removing all kinds of gathi is what is done in the Sathipatthana/Anapana Sati bhavana.

      When one reaches Arahant stage, all kinds of gathi are removed, hence the possibility of any future lives is eliminated. Although all gathi are removed but still distorted sanna arises in an Arahant because the old hadaya vatthu is still present. But since an Arahant has optimum panna (wisdom), he/she does not get deceived by the distorted sanna anymore, hence CAN NOT generate any kammic energy, since avijja is completely removed. In other words, an Arahant has “yathabhuta nana”. 

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    • #47526

      Yes. It is a good summary. Thank you, Saket.

      • The following is an essential point that Saket emphasized: “When one reaches Arahant stage, all kinds of gathi are removed, hence the possibility of any future lives is eliminated. Although all gathi are removed but still distorted sanna arises in an Arahant because the old hadaya vatthu is still present.”
      • I would add that the “old physical body” that Arahant lives with still plays a critical role in bringing the “distorted saññā” to Arahant‘s mind. However, the hadaya vatthu has gotten rid of all anusaya/samyojana. Thus, Arahant‘s mind would not attach to that “distorted saññā” presented by the physical body.
      • P.S. Another way to say the above:Arahant‘s (and also Anāgami‘s) mind gets to the “ma dhātu” stage but not to “kāma bhava.”
      • Note that “gathi” there refers to “gati” as written in English/Latin alphabet in “Tipitaka English.” 
      • Gati” is pronounced as “gathi.”
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    • #47528
      Sammasambodhi Gami

      One more point that I forgot to mention.

      Distorted sanna DOES NOT arise when an Arahant is in “Arahant pala samapatti” (which is the same as pabhassara citta). 

      This state is the purest state of a citta. An Arahant enjoys the bliss of Nibbana in this state. 

      Furthermore, even the pabhassara citta stops arising in Nirodha samapatti (sanna vedayita nirodha). This is the most peaceful state of Nibbana.

      Nibbana has two elements: 

      (i) Saupadisesa Nibbana dhatu– The element of Nibbana that is experienced while still having the five aggregates.

      (ii) Anupadisesa Nibbana dhatu– The element of Nibbana which is reached after the five aggregates of an Arahant stops arising (which is also called Parinibbana or complete Nibbana). An Arahant is said to be “merged” with Nibbana dhatu forever, hence attaining the Supreme peace.

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    • #47530

      That is correct.

      • To get to either the Arahant phala samāpattior the “Nirodha samāpatti,” an Arahant‘s mind needs to transcend ma dhātu (i.e., ma loka), rupa dhātu (i.e., rupa loka), and arupa dhātu (i.e., arupa loka.)
      • While in either of those samāpatti, an Arahant‘s mind does not receive any sensory inputs.
      • No cittās arise in “Nirodha samāpatti,let alone saññā.
      • Arahant phala samāpattiis where only PURE cittās with undefiled saññā (i.e., without “distorted saññā“) arise.

      Those are technical points. If anyone is unfamiliar with those terms, don’t worry about it. It is not necessary to understand those. 

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    • #47715
      Tobias G

      The new post Purāna and Nava Kamma – Sequence of Kamma Generation states that an Arahant has saññā vipallāsa or “distorted saññā”.


      • The mind of anyone born a human (including an Arahant) starts at the kāma dhātu stage. That physical body (and the brain) will automatically present to the mind an “altered rupa” instead of a “true representation of the external rupa.” That is why a “distorted saññā” (e.g., the sweetness of sugar) arises in an Arahant as well as for a puthujjana.

      That is against the statements in this post: Vipallāsa (Diṭṭhi, Saññā, Citta) Affect Saṅkhāra

      #14: … All vipallāsa go away entirely only at the Arahant stage. 

      It is strange that the “sweetness of sugar” is called “distorted sanna.” But vipallasa is about not fully grasping the true nature of this world in relation to ditthi, sanna, citta. Can someone clarify?


    • #47716

      These are issues with words. It is not easy to convey meanings with words.

      1. The main point is the following:

      • saññā vipallāsa” is NOT the same as “distorted saññā.” 
      •  “distorted saññā” is the “made-up saññā” presented to the mind by the physical body.
      • When a puthujjana‘s mind believes in that “made-up saññā” that is “saññā vipallāsa.”  
      • An Arahant (unless in a jhana or samapatti) and a puthujjana BOTH RECEIVE “distorted saññā.”
      • But “saññā vipallāsa” DOES NOT arise in an Arahant.

      2. In the new post, the following appears at the beginning:

      1. Kamma accumulation happens in two distinctive stages. 

      1. In the first stage, the mind of a puthujjana attaches automatically to sensory input ( ārammaṇa) based on the “distorted saññā” we discussed in recent posts. That attachment is “saññā vipallāsa” or “fooled by the distorted saññā”; see  “Fooled by Distorted Saññā (Sañjānāti) – Origin of Attachment (Taṇhā).” 

      Would it be better to say: That attachment is DUE TO “saññā vipallāsa”…?

      • Or is it still unclear?

      3. It is good to discuss these subtle points. I may be able to rewrite a sentence to convey the idea better. 

      P.S. Vipallāsa” implies “being fooled.” As we discussed, viññāna is a magician presenting a magic show utilizing “distorted saññā.”

      • While a puthujjana‘s mind falls for that “trick,” Arahant‘s mind would not.
    • #47718
      Tobias G

      I know what you mean, Lal.

      The Arahant still perceives the “altered rupa” as “sweet” or “tasty” (that is “distorted sanna”), but does not attach to it. The puthujjana  will attach, if there is suitable gati.

      The problem is really with the words, especially compared with the two posts mentioned at #47715

      Regarding your question above: Yes, the attachment of the puthujjana  is due to saññā vipallāsa.

    • #47719
      Yash RS

      The point is that Our Human Body was “made” by the Gandhabba having the blue print of this current body.

      It grew with time from zygote to the present state via the food we take.

      The point is the mind created this body when it had those samyojanas responsible for one to be born in the Kama Loka. So the mind had “distorted sanna” ( of this bhava) before the grasping of this bhava, so it created this body to feel the external world in that way!

      So even after a human attains the Arahant stage, he will physically experience this world to be the same as it was created by the mind having distorted sanna in the past.

      But the “present mind” of the Arahant will not attach to those experiences.

      Therefore if a Deva or Brahama attains the Arahant stage, his body will instantly die as it is not suitable with the mind and will attain parinibbana instantaneously.

      But since our human bodies are very dense, this “sudden death” doesn’t take place and the external world is still presented to our mind with that “distorted sanna” via our bodies and brain.

      Sanna vipallasa is the mind attaching to those experiences ,perceiving them to be happiness.

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    • #47720

      Excellent, Yash.

      • Sādhu! Sādhu!! Sādhu!!!
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    • #47722

      I revised #1 of the new post “Purāna and Nava Kamma – Sequence of Kamma Generation” as follows:

      1. Kamma accumulation happens in two distinctive stages. 

      1. In the first stage, the mind of a puthujjana attaches automatically to sensory input ( ārammaṇa) based on the “distorted saññā” we discussed in recent posts. That attachment is due to “saññā vipallāsa.” Thus, “saññā vipallāsa” arises ONLY IF “fooled by the distorted saññā”; see  “Fooled by Distorted Saññā (Sañjānāti) – Origin of Attachment (Taṇhā).”

      P.S. Comprehension of ” distorted saññā” and “saññā vipallāsa” plays a significant role in cultivating “yathābhūta ñāna.”

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