May 14, 2018 at 10:57 am #15681
Anicca or the impossibility/inability of maintaining anything in this world to our entire satisfaction, which equates (imo) to try to rigidify / crystallize the phenomenal world (in which each one of us is included) according to asava and tanha. Such foolish try to crystallize phenomenon it’s more noticeable when it comes to mind-compounds, seeing that their «rise & fall» aspect it’s more accentuated – mental phenomenon are more volatile.
In other words ,we can’t maintain anything in this world to our entire satisfaction because such satisfaction is rooted on craving/asava, lobha, and self-consuming tanha.
Anatta or the inconsistency of the “I” as false-self or ego, resulting from both a) the attachment triggered by asava and by b) body-image identification*, which triggers a demeanour leading to helplessness.
*Body-image : socio-cultural conditioning & identification with the body mutually & noxiouly nourishing each other.
Dukkha or suffering, consuming reactivity or friction, resulting from both Anicca & Anatta. The less obvious forms of suffering, i see them more as friction or basic stress than as suffering in and of itself, seeing that the simple fact of existing implies a basic level of stress.
Any comment welcome
May 14, 2018 at 12:34 pm #15683
@Embodied: I am assuming that this is your description of Tilakkhana in the “mundane sense”, that you promised to do under another topic.
So, you do not believe in rebirth, but are trying to explain Tilakkhana within that framework.
Now think about the following situation. One is born healthy into a wealthy family. He lives for, say about 50 years, and dies in a sudden heart attack. During his life, he enjoyed a “full life” and also did not engage in any immoral activities (there was no need; he could have whatever he wanted and he did not need to make money). He of course enjoyed all sense pleasures approved by the norms of the society (good food, had a good married life, had good children, no illnesses, etc).
So, if he now dies suddenly, there is no more suffering for him, other than possibly some discomfort at the moment of death (because within your framework, there is no rebirth). So, within your framework, can you describe the anicca, dukkha, anatta that was experienced by this person? Please use simple terms.There is no need to use philosophical phrases that are meaningless.
May 14, 2018 at 1:53 pm #15685
…but to start to answer to your question “So, if he now dies suddenly, there is no more suffering for him, other than possibly some discomfort at the moment of death (because within your framework, there is no rebirth). So, within your framework, can you describe the anicca, dukkha, anatta that was experienced by this person? Please use simple terms.There is no need to use philosophical phrases that are meaningless.”
Answer : it’s not because someone isn’t aware of some thing,that such thing isn’t there, in this specific case mostly anatta, probably. Anatta isn’t just (to me) an “objective”/conscious experience of helplessness.
Alot of people is going through / living within the worst of Tilakhanna but they aren’t aware of it.
May 14, 2018 at 1:42 pm #15684
The philosophical phrases in question are meaningful to me AND they don’t come from mere intellectual understanding.
However right now i’m lacking time to conveniently comment your comment.
Right now I’ll just clarify that i never said that i definitely DON’T believe in rebirth.
What i wanted to mean was this : rebirthing whilst still in this body is as important as the “conventional” notion of rebirth.
In fact when i practice bhavana whatever the topic i always have rebirth in mind.
May 15, 2018 at 1:16 am #15689
My reply is with regard to trying to understand thilakkana without the need to believe in re-birth. This is something I mentioned under a different topic as well.
The truth of the Dhamma is said to be seen / experienced here and now. The Buddha told this to the Liccavi’s saying that if the dhamma is practiced properly it will not bring any bad outcomes, even if one doesn’t believe in a life after a death. So I’m trying to explain how I see the truth of anicca, dukka, anatta in this light. This is not to mean that, I don’t believe in rebirth or that one shouldn’t believe in it.
So let me try and explain. “Yadaniccan tan dukkan, Yan dukkan tadanatta”. If something is anicca, it is dukka (leads to / causes dukka). If something is dukka, it is (leads to) anatta. This is something we can see / experience and understand here and now.
If I cannot keep something to my satisfaction, then it causes distress / pain / unhappiness / sadness etc. If something causes distress etc. then there is no point in doing it. So when we realise that everything cannot be kept the way we like it, we realise that everything causes dukka and therefore everything is of no point / substance etc. I am not going to give any example because one can check this out with anything.
Let me put it in a different way, and this is something I do most of the time. Every time we experience dukka, if we look to the cause of it, we see that it is because something has turned out in a way that we did not like it to be. We thought something would be one way, but when it turned out in a different way, that causes us dukka. This is always true. There is no one time that I have been able to say that the distress / unhappiness / anger that I have experienced is because of something other than anicca. So it is very very obvious to me that all the dukka we experience is only and simply because of anicca. Or more specifically that we thought we could have something the way we like but it didn’t turn out that way.
If you take the example of the man who was born into the wealthy family and lived a fulfilling life, can you say that he wasn’t sad or unhappy even for a second during his life. However fulfilling one’s life may seem there is no one who has not experienced sadness at least for a moment in his life. If he analyses that moment of sadness and the causes, he will see that the reason for that sadness is nothing but anicca.
There is no need to account for rebirth to see this. Whether rebirth is there or not, we can see that all dukka is because of anicca. And if something is dukka then it is anatta.
Saying this, the more one sees the truth of this, the more he will tend to believe in all other things that the Buddha has told as well. This is definitely the case for me especially since I have not been able to disprove or find any loopholes in the teachings.
May 15, 2018 at 1:42 am #15690
That’s it.Anyways what I wrote doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in rebirth at all- I REPEAT. Didn’t the Holy One said something like : “don’t accept what I’m saying just because I say it, test/discover things by yourself” ? So I stay prudent by exerting Dhamma in a way that covers both possibilities: with and without rebirth.
May 15, 2018 at 2:04 am #15692
But the Buddha’s key interest is to eradicate future suffering, rebirth suffering. No doubt we can validate Tilakkhana against our own life experiences and see how Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta unfold right in front of our very eyes. But if we don’t cultivate dispassion for worldly things, no matter how well we practise in this life, we are going to come back to Kama Loka to ‘enjoy’ sense pleasures over and over again. Each time we come back, for good or for bad, we need to grow old, fall sick, and die. We must see the urgency to adopt this transcendental view and the danger of clinging on to sense pleasures. Seeing rebirth is of utmost paramount importance if one is seriously keen to get out of sansara.
May 15, 2018 at 3:13 am #15693
Dispassion is not directly related to the post. Of course one should cultivate dispassion. But again I notice an unwillingness in catching certain nuances as for the topic in question – I already said a few times that I don’t deny rebirth.
Dispassion or any other teaching of the Buddha is valuable right here, right now,whatever the circumstances.
May 15, 2018 at 3:52 am #15695
I have no qualms about people believing in rebirth or not. I’m just saying, validating Tilakkhana against our current life experience is essential, but not good enough. We cultivate the path in accordance to Buddha Dhamma because we want to end suffering. Otherwise, learning philosophy from Lao Tze or Confucius would be a good enough option for us to cultivate an ethical lifestyle that ensues our current life unsatisfactoriness is kept at bay. But this alone can at most warrant a heavenly rebirth. Both Lao Tze and Confucius are deities in Taoism. Lao Tze being the founder of Tao (The Way).
May 15, 2018 at 4:23 am #15696
Since my teens that I’m acquainted with taoism and Chinese ancient culture so glad you also know about such personages. By the way they might have become deities for the masses which is about exoteric taoism and confucianism, meaning a reduced view compared to the esoteric dimension of both branches… Etc.
Now as for Buddha Dhamma I can’t blindly believe in something that I didn’t live personally, like Gotama lived. And now you’ll say ” but if you trust that the Buddha had a direct acquaintance of rebirth through Insight Meditation, then why don’t you “believe” in rebirth ?” Well to this question I already answered a few times… Did you read all my posts? It’s not that I don’t believe at all…
P.s.- “Direct acquaintance” it’s an extreme simplification of course for it certainly is the kind of transcendent experience difficult to explain verbally, even in Pâli…?
May 15, 2018 at 6:18 am #15699
In reply to Akvan,
I think dukkha can also be of the nature of kamma vipaka. I think this can also be true for phenomena like irritation, tension, fire in the mind. My impression is this can be of the nature of kamma vipaka too.
Sometime their seems to be no direct reason to be irritated or heated up. There are no direct circumstances, no frustrated desires etc. But still, mind can be in an irritated heated up state.
In my own life i can see a lot of dukkha that is of the nature of kamma vipaka. Lal also emphasizes this. If we do not stay away from immoral deeds, mind will heat up. This is true.
What also is true, even when one stays away from dasa akusala one can still experience old negative kamma ripening. It is my experience this will happen. Staying away from dasa akusala helps preventing future suffering but it does not stop kamma vipaka from arising.
The sutta’s teach we must contact that ripening kamma and wear it out, not react and stay away from making new bad kamma.
May 15, 2018 at 9:55 pm #15718
The bodily pain arising due to the ripening of a kamma vipaka is not the dukka sacca the Buddha talks about. The Buddha eliminated all future suffering when he attained enlightenment. This means that he will not experience any dukka in this life time too. However he did experience kamma vipaka, which brought him bodily pain. So we can see that the bodily pain brought about by a ripening kamma vipaka is not the dukka he was referring to, when he said he eliminated all future dukka.
You said “sometimes there seems to be no real reason to be irritated or heated up”. Yes, I think we have all experienced something like this. But if we really sit back and look for the reason, it will turn out to be because of anicca. Most often the reason we don’t understand this is because we are too engrossed in this irritated state of mind, we are blinded by it that we can’t think properly. Either way I don’t think that an arahanth, someone who has completely eliminated future suffering, would get irritated and heated up like normal people do.
May 16, 2018 at 6:12 am #15720
Can bad kamma not ripen as mental pain, unhappiness, distress, like a mind that is: heated up, irritated, stressed, tense, dark, rigid?
May 16, 2018 at 10:37 pm #15741
Let me explain what I do if I am stressed or irritated or unhappy. I try and look back to see why I am irritated. There is always some cause we can pin point it to. And this cause invariably is due to something not being the way I like it to be i.e. anicca. I don’t think one will be unhappy, irritated, stressed without some kind of cause.
But saying this, there are times when we (or even certain people who) are more prone to get irritated. Either way there is some kind of cause for that irritation. And that is due to anicca. I have not been able to find any other reason for my unhappiness or irritation or stress, other than anicca. If you (or anyone) can find another cause please share it.
Do you think an arahanth would experience any kind of mental pain, unhappiness, distress? I don’t think so. And that mental pain, unhappiness and distress is exactly the suffering an arahanth will eliminate in this life time.
This is just the way I see it.
May 17, 2018 at 8:49 am #15755
@Akvan and @Siebe:
The key here is understand the difference between vedana that arise due to kamma vipaka and “samphassa ja vedana“.
An Arahant has those vedana of the first kind until death of the physical body. But an Arahant has no “samphassa ja vedana” once the Arahanthood is attained.
So, both types of vedana will cease at the Parinibbana of an Arahant.
Please read carefully the post, “Vēdanā (Feelings) Arise in Two Ways“.
May 17, 2018 at 9:13 am #15757
Seeing that samphassa is (summing up alot) to react to events through likings /dislikings and phassa is to react without likings and dislikings than a good gathi or the best possible gati would be pratically no gathi at all ?
Because without likes & dislikes implies neutrality or equanimity but are “good thoughts” neutral ? Even if good ?
May 15, 2018 at 5:22 am #15697
I am also brought up in a Taoist family and been exposed to esoteric practises if Taoism. Actually, Taosim and Hinduism share some commonalities.
Anyway, my reply to this thread is not directed at you, for accusing you of not having a firm belief in rebirth. If I had given you such an impression, please accept my sincere apologies. I have read your other posts and you have clearly stated that you do not not believe in rebirth.
May 15, 2018 at 5:54 am #15698
Ah I didn’t notice you repeating “not” twice… My turn to apologise. Yes I confirm that I didn’t say that I do not believe in rebirth.
May 15, 2018 at 6:31 am #15700
Akvan said: “If you take the example of the man who was born into the wealthy family and lived a fulfilling life, can you say that he wasn’t sad or unhappy even for a second during his life..”
No. I was merely out that in that case there is no real dukha experienced by that person, and he was definitely not in the anatta (totally helpless) state during his life.
If you want to see real dukha and real anatta, please watch the video “Earthlings” at this site:
I must warn that there are very disturbing scenes after about 10-15 minutes.
May 15, 2018 at 10:36 am #15706
“Earthlings” is some strong Dhamma medicine to remind us on the intense sufferings animals had gone through, are currently going through, and will be going through in future. I often reflect on this…why is it that I can be born a human in this life whereas an animal has to be born an animal? Which god in this universe will create animals to go through such horrific sufferings? I felt really sorry for the animals. In the documentary, the part where it was mentioned that 8.5 million chickens are culled every week in the United States, and that’s chicken alone in one country, let alone the massive varieties of animals out there roaming on Mother Earth. If we were to normalise all beings (say from the smallest ant to the largest whale) to the size of a human being and put everyone on the same level playing field, obviously we need a planet much much larger than our Earth to contain everyone of us! Imagine a mighty creator god were to give us a chance to reborn as a human. All we have to do is to throw a baseball into the crowd and see whether we get to hit on a human being. If we do, bingo, we get to be reborn as a human being again. Otherwise, we will be reborn as an animal. Just by using logical evaluation, from a probability point of view, we can see that the chance of us hitting on a human being is almost zero.
May 16, 2018 at 4:39 pm #15733
Siebe all your habitual obsession with the conditioned, please Siebe, it makes you helpless. Really, what do you expact? Siebe, how can anything conditioned last? How can it function as a safe harbour? Siebe, why? Why are you searching this way? What do you think you can find? What do you expact?
Yes Siebe, your sincere longing for safety, for a refuge, for truthful fearlessness, which is not just an attitude, is oke, but please, my friend, look more carefull, you now met the buddha-dhamma. You see. Your eyes are not completely closed anymore. Use your eyes.
Change your habits. Break the ocd habit to find happiness and refuge in the conditioned. All this craving, see, look at it. What does it provide? What can it provide? See? Do not act as a madman anymore? You have done that so many lives that you are up to this day full of madness.
There is no one in the world who can really help you Siebe. All the promises of the world, all it’s advertising of help, of freedom, of happiness, of health, of wealth, it is just Mara’s way of trowing his web on beings. See?
It only feeds craving but certainly not wisdom. Maybe it is not bad intented (sometimes it is) but in the end it only contributes to helplessness.
Yes, Siebe, one of the best advices of the Buddha is; make an Island to oneself, a refuge of oneself. Dear Siebe live in this spirit. Break with the habit to make yourself helpless. Weaken and end craving for this or that.
Do not invest and take so much trust in the conditioned, you will suffer.
Enter the unconditioned. This is the Path the Budddha showed.
Do not give up.
Siebe to Siebe
May 17, 2018 at 4:02 pm #15764Kalayanamitta1Participant
Hi.. There is a big difference between Dukkha feeling and the truth about it. That’s Dukkha ariya saccha.. and it is only visible via the Panna cetasika. It is essential we factor is the paticca samaupada when we are doing the anicca contemplation.. we are always slaves to asvada,because of that the suffering is hidden, will only be visible once you hear the noble truth. you will have to look at the draw backs of chasing after a mirage. Got e.g is the fish and bait, there wasnt anything more harmful for the fish, than the tiny bait.. There should be plenty of post on this site, so I’ll cut it short.
May 17, 2018 at 4:08 pm #15765
Can heat in the mind, tapa, be a kamma vipaka or is it Always a samphassa ja vedana, a domanassa vedana?
For me, it feels more like it can be vipaka, a dukha vedana. Like a dukha vedana it is felt like a burning kind of headache. (difficult to explain the sensation, i would say it feels like stressed mind, it feels like the brain/mind is in some way torn).
It can hold on a while and can disappear suddenly. Sometimes i think it also happens because there is to much mental striving, to much thinking. It sometimes looks like it also refers to metabolism or energy flow. I do not know really what is the cause as you see but i do not exclude it is a vipaka of being to much agressive, to much greedy earlier.
What do you think?
May 18, 2018 at 1:33 am #15780
“it is a vipaka of being too much aggressive…… Earlier”. Possibly anyway it seems somehow logical – from a rebirth viewpoint too. In my case I alternate anapana, Satipattana, contemplation both during formal sessions of during the day, I alternate all that with calming-the-mind-periods, be it by using breath or other – there are alot of tools.
November 30, 2018 at 4:11 am #20515
December 1, 2018 at 9:34 pm #20594
Informative video. It gives a good idea of how complex our bodies are.
Of course, it shows the overall anicca nature too. Each and every body is subjected to decay and death as well unexpected problems. And many things can go wrong with that complex body at any time.
December 10, 2018 at 8:02 am #20706
A recent overseas trip has inspired me to contemplate deeper on Tilakkhana. What strikes me is that the allure of fireworks doesn’t really lie in its permanence (or impermanence). We all know the most beautiful part of fireworks display is the climax. But without udayavaya, the climax alone is not that captivating. Suffice to say, without the accompanying rising and perishing moments of the fireworks, the climax cannot shine. Imagine a fireworks display with only the climax. Think of it like a static television display. It just lacks the visual impact. We often find fireworks captivating because its most precious moment doesn’t last – Scarcity makes the heart grow fonder. What we think is precious will always be held dear to our heart. So how can something that is so ephemeral bring us perceived happiness if Anicca is translated to impermanence in this regard? The issue here is not so much about permanence or impermanence for it is just a property of every phenomena. Our deluded nature thinks that our overall sense experience values permanence just as much as impermanence. An arahant and a normal being watching the fireworks display will not have the same feeling and mental states even though the beginning till the end of the fireworks display arises out of conditions. It is our inability to maintain the sense experience consistently the way we want it to be and the helplessness towards this whole sense experience that is the problem. Not surprisingly, Anicca and Anatta! However much we cling to the view of our dukkha arising from permanence or impermanence, we can’t absolutely reason out what exactly is the problem. Also, we cannot say the precious moment of the captivating fireworks is due to the conditions that give rise to the fireworks. Otherwise, the arahant would feel exactly like the normal being does (emotions and unwholesome mental states are often evoked). The tail end of the fireworks viewing experience has ramnants of solitude and emptiness. No matter how delightful a sense experience can be, there is always a shadow of dukkha lurking at the back of our perceived happiness so long we are engulfed in the fog of delusion.
December 14, 2018 at 5:34 am #20739YeosParticipant
@Johnny_Lim ” It is our inability to maintain the sense experience consistently the way we want it to be and the helplessness towards this whole sense experience that is the problem”
Helplessness only when one attempts to “crystallize” what’s happening according one’s preferences ? Which is to say according one’s clingings ? Otherwise there will be no dukkha. Because you see it’s fine to say “Anicca : we can’t maintain anything according our satisfation” but it’s even finer to understand WHY. Same goes for “anatta: …and then we become helpless” (because of anicca according puredhamma).
It’s not wrong to feel satisfied as much as we are aware that human satisfaction it’s fragile feeling – like any other feeling.
I enjoyed the fireworks as much as i already forgot it – both the fireworks and the joy i already forgot them.
Again it’s clear that to define Anicca and Anatta in only one way it will impoverish the understanding of both. Because both have alot of facets and both are commutable – since (as the Buddha said) “everything is mind wrought”.
December 14, 2018 at 8:51 am #20744
I think your post is lost in transit.
@Johnny_Lim ” It is our inability to maintain the sense experience consistently the way we want it to be and the helplessness towards this whole sense experience that is the problem”
Helplessness only when one attempts to “crystallize” what’s happening according one’s preferences ? Which is to say according one’s clingings ? Otherwise there will be no dukkha. Because you see it’s fine to say “Anicca : we can’t maintain anything according our satisfation” but it’s even finer to understand WHY. Same goes for “anatta: …and then we become helpless (because of anicca according puredhamma).
I would reckon it’s easier to appreciate Anicca and Anatta on sense inputs which have a resonance with our gathi. Of course this contemplation is only one aspect of Tilakkahana.
December 14, 2018 at 11:07 am #20779YeosParticipant
“Of course this contemplation is only one aspect of Tilakkahana.” Sorry not sure to which contemplation you’re referring, yours or mine? Both perhaps.
Well any contemplation on Tilakhanna not coming from a Buddha will surely be incomplete. On the other hand my own understanding on Tilakhanna isn’t limited to the definitions given here, even if they are right in and of themselves.
Renounce to everything while still living a common life within society will drive you mad as much as excess/overindulgence.To introduce detachment within healthy and honest usufruct is the true Middle Way for lay people. And what’s to introduce detachment within honest and healthy usufruct of life ? “I enjoyed the fireworks (with a clean mind) as much as i already forgot it; both the fireworks and the joy i already forgot them – thus preventing bad kamma”.
December 14, 2018 at 7:34 pm #20785
Was referring to the contemplation on the contemplation on the ephemeral nature of the fireworks. Yes, we have to balance our practice well in order to arrive at our spiritual goal safely.
December 14, 2018 at 9:34 am #20776
February 13, 2019 at 4:36 am #21927
Glad to discover another bhante who has the right understanding of Anicca and Anatta. Link to the discourse below for your perusal. Starting from 01:41:51.
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