Wrong English translations of Aniccha, Anatta, Sakkaya ditthi… etc

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    • #13720
      C. Saket
      Participant

      Hii everyone
      May the blessings of the Triple Gem be with you always !

      (1) From the current English translations of the Suttas, the commonly accepted perspective is that the Buddha taught that there is no “I” or there is no “me” or there is no “self” or it can be said that there is no “you” or there is no “me” in reality. The general consensus in the English translations is that – since there is no “I” to be found anywhere inside or outside the 5 khandhas therefore Buddha said that “this body is not me/mine/my self”… “these feeling is not me/mine/my self” … “these perceptions is not me/mine/my self”… “these mental formations is not me/mine/my self”… “these consciousness is not me/mine/my self”.

      (2) So people say that one has to realise this fact to achieve liberation. People think that until there remains this concept of “I” or “me” inside us there will be suffering because then we will identify ourselves with the 5 khandhas – this is what people say to be the “identity view” or “self view”. On the other hand people think that if we do not identify ourselves with the 5 khandhas as me/mine/my self then there will be no suffering and there will be freedom (liberation). So this is the reason why some people translate “anatta” as “no self” and they believe that Buddha taught this “no self” concept.

      (3) Now I would like you to please consider this :
      Actually Lord Buddha NEVER said that there is no “I” or “me” !
      Just think carefully about this for a moment – If there is no “I” then who is doing good/bad deeds ? Who is getting the results of good/bad deeds ? By following the Noble 8-fold path who will achieve Nibbana ? Suppose a person comes and suddenly pricks a needle into your finger. Now if you say there is no “me” then who is experiencing this pain ?

      (4) There must be “someone” who is suffering and this “someone” will achieve Nibbana when he/she follows the Noble 8-fold path. I hope you got my point.

      (5) So it is INCORRECT to say “this body is not me/mine/my self”… “this consciousness is not me/mine/my self”… etc.

      (6) Now you will ask who is that “someone” who experiences the pain/suffering ?
      The answer is – the “gandhabba” (inside your physical body) is the real “you” which experiences pain/pleasure, suffering/happiness,… etc. The gandhabba performs the actions of seeing/hearing/smelling/tasting/touching/thinking.

      (7) Without going into technical details (roughly speaking), a sentient being can be considered as a combination of “nama” and “rupa”. Gandhabba + the physical body is the “rupa” part. And Chitta + all its chetasikas is the “nama” part (which arises at the hadaya vatthu in the gandhabba). All these combined together makes up the 5 khandhas of any living being.

      (8) In reality it is much more complicated than this, but I have simplified it just for giving a simple explanation.

      (9) However Lord Buddha also said that there is no “permanent” or “unchanging” self (which is called “soul” or “athma”) that remains the same throughout different births. Hence Lord Buddha rejected both “permanent self” and “no self” concepts.

      (10) The gandhabba can be said to be a “dynamic” self which keeps on changing depending on one’s gathi.

      (11) Now lets us see what is the mentality behind the idea of “no self” and why people are attached to this wrong view that there is no “I” or “me” or “self”.

      (12) Suppose a family member or a close relative of “person X” unexpectedly dies due to accident. Now “X” will suffer (sadness, grief, crying etc) due to this event.

      (13) However if an unknown “poor man Y” (from any other country) dies due to accident, then in this case “X” will not suffer due to this incident because “Y” was not a family member/relative/friend of “X”. Hence “X” will not react to it and will generate neutral feelings after hearing the news of Y’s death because “X” does not have any kind of association with “Y”. In other words “X” do not suffer because “X” does not consider “Y” as “my relative”, “my friend”, “my family”… etc

      (14) In the same way the people who follow the “no self” view have the perception that if they do not associate the 5 khandhas as me/mine/my self then there will be relief (no suffering).

      (15) For example when a person (who believes in “no self”) gets sick by a disease then he will say to himself – “this body is not me/mine/my self”… “this feelings is not me/mine/my self”… etc.

      (16) In this process he generates neutral feelings. And hence sadness/fear/anxiety/depression etc (due to the disease) do not arise in him. He do not get upset due to this disease because he thinks “this body is not me/mine/my self”… etc

      (17) So by constantly saying that the 5 khandhas is not me/mine/my self or there is no “I” or “me”, one CAN get a sense of calmness/peace/relief which may also lead to (mundane) Samadhi which can further lead to upekkha. This is because the five hindrances are suppressed during this period.

      (18) However kilesas are ONLY suppressed and NOT removed from the mind ! The mental impurities remain deeply hidden inside (we think that kilesas are removed but in reality it is NOT). The asavas and anusayas can be permanently removed ONLY by understanding the true meaning of Aniccha, Dukkha,Anatta.

      (Note: Here Aniccha DOES NOT mean “impermanence” and Anatta DOES NOT mean “no self”).

      (19) Let us take another example. Suppose a person feels harsh pain (due to stomach ulcer). But the person doesn’t know that this pain is due to this stomach ulcer. So he takes a pain killer to subdue the pain. So now the pain is SUPPRESSED. Hence the person “believes” that he has gotten rid of the pain. However as soon as the effect of that pain killer fades away, that harsh pain comes back again ! This is because the causes of pain (stomach ulcer) is still there. So unless the real causes of that pain is diagnosed and treated, the pain (suffering) will NOT go away and it will come again and again.

      (20) In the same way, continuously saying that there is no “I” or “me” or the 5 khandhas is not me/mine/my self is just like taking a pain killer. One may think that the problem (suffering) is solved but in reality it is NOT. By following this technique, one may suppress the five hindrances and may even induce (anariya) jhanas and can get a sense of relief/calmness/peace/bliss and after death may even be born in deva/brahma lokas. However it is just a temporary solution like taking the pain killer. But as soon as the effect of pain killer goes away, the pain (suffering) will arise again.

      (21) As we have seen in the above example that the real cause of pain was due to the stomach ulcer and the solution is to diagnose the ulcer and get the right medical treatment. Similarly, the real cause of ALL our sufferings is “avijja” (not understanding true meaning of Aniccha,Dukkha,Anatta) and the ONLY solution to permanent remove suffering is to comprehend Aniccha,Dukkha,Anatta.

      (22) Buddha Dhamma is not about believing something like “there is no I” or “there is no me” or “there is no self”.

      (23) In the Anattalakkhana Sutta, Lord Buddha explained that if something (the 5 khandhas) has Aniccha nature i.e., if something CAN NOT be maintained to one’s liking (or desire) IN THE LONG RUN then that will EVENTUALLY lead to dukkha. And if something has Aniccha nature (which eventually leads to dukkha) and which is also a viparinama dhamma (changes unexpectedly) , then is it proper (or does it makes sense) to regard these things as “valuable”, “worthful”, “meaningful”, “useful”, “fruitful”, “purposeful”, “beneficial” ? Would you like to associate yourself with these things ? Does it makes sense to cling to these things ? Of course – NO !

      (24) That’s what Lord Buddha was trying to explain in the phrase – ‘‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’”ti ?”

      (25) Let us take an example. Suppose you purchase a pet dog and take it in your home. But this pet dog is very “disobedient” (not under your control), it does not listen to you, it always barks loudly 24*7 and create “disturbing noise” at your home. It has even “bitten” you many many times (and due to this you have to go to the hospital many times). Now is there any benefit (or is there any value) to still keep this pet dog in your home ? Would you still like to associate yourself (would you like to cling) with this pet dog ? Obviously – NO !

      (26) This is also true for all the rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana ! I hope you got my point.

      (27) Hence it is “pointless”, “meaningless”, “useless”, “futile”, “vain”, “unfruitful” to strive for these things that does not provide lasting happiness IN THE LONG RUN. This is the meaning of anatta.

      (28) We always end up in great suffering (both mental and physical) in trying to achieve (and maintain) these worldly things. If one still try to achieve (and maintain) these worldly things even at the cost of doing dasa akusala then one WILL become “helpless”. This is another meaning of anatta.

      (29) The message of Lord Buddha is this : as long as one has this wrong perception of niccha, sukkha, atta about this “world of 31 realms” then that person will INEVITABLY at some point of time will commit dasa akusala (to achieve and maintain worldly things) and as a result he/she INEVITABLY will be born in the apayas “most of the time”. This CAN NOT be avoided if one has “niccha sanna”. Hence that person is helpless and without refuge.

      (30) (Note : “niccha, sukkha, atta” means – the perception that things in this world can be maintained under one’s control or as per one’s wish/desire IN THE LONG RUN, and hence the perception that things in this world can provide lasting happiness IN THE LONG RUN, and hence the perception that things in this world are “valuable”, “worthful”, “meaningful”, “useful”, “fruitful”, “beneficial” to strive for)

      (31) In all the English translations, the word Aniccha is translated as “impermanence” which is NOT correct. Aniccha actually means : “it is not possible to maintain anything in this world of 31 realms as per one’s wish/liking/desire/satisfaction IN THE LONG RUN”.

      (32) In the “pet dog” example that we discussed, we can see that the pet dog causes suffering to the person because the pet dog has aniccha nature i.e., the pet dog can not be maintained as per the person’s wish or satisfaction (the person can’t maintain the pet dog under his control).

      (33) It will be ridiculous if we say that the person suffers from his pet dog because the pet dog is “impermanent”. Now you can see the absurdity in translating Aniccha as “impermanent”.

      (34) Actually the word “Anitya” means “impermanence” and NOT Aniccha. Anitya and Aniccha are two different words and have very different meanings.

      (35) Understanding that everything is impermanent (anitya) is not difficult and it has nothing special to it. However understanding Aniccha is not easy and the concept of Aniccha is found only in Buddha Dhamma and nowhere else. Hence it is special.

      (36) Even a scientist knows that everything in this universe is impermanent (anitya) i.e., nothing exists forever, in other words- anything that has arisen (taken birth) whether it is a human or animal or tree or planet or star or galaxy, etc everything will be destroyed one day. Hence it is easy to see that everything is impermanent (anitya).

      (37) However the scientists are not aware of the Aniccha nature of this world. The scientists have the wrong perception of niccha, sukkha, atta i.e., they have the wrong perception that things in this world can be maintained to one’s wish or satisfaction so they think that lasting happiness can be achieved from these material things and hence they perceive these material things are “valuable”, “worthful”, “meaningful”, “useful”, “fruitful”, “beneficial”.

      (38) Even a materialist person knows that everything is impermanent and we all are going to die one day. But the materialist person does not have the Aniccha sanna. The materialist person tries to enjoy all the sense pleasures to its fullest capacity as long as as he is alive because the materialist person believes that sense pleasures can be maintained to his liking or satisfaction and he believes that sense pleasures can provide lasting happiness and hence he perceives sense pleasures as something “valuable”, “worthful”, “meaningful”, “useful”, “fruitful”, “beneficial”. In other words he has wrong perception of niccha, sukkha, atta.

      (39) Now let us come to the topic of Sakkaya ditthi. In current English translations, Sakkaya ditthi is translated as “self view” or “personality view” or “identity view”, etc. However these all translations are NOT correct.

      (40) Sakkaya = Sath + kaya (Sathkaya)
      “Sath” means – extremely valuable or useful or fruitful (the word “sath” has been derived from “atta” or “artha” which means meaningful or useful).

      (41) And here the word “kaya” means the six pairs – the eye and the external sights, the ear and the external sounds, the nose and the external smells, the tongue and the external tastes, the body and the external contacts, the mind and the external dhammas. In other words here “kaya” means all the six internal rupa (sense faculties) together with all the external rupa.

      (42) Hence Sakkaya ditthi is a wrong view that- all these “kaya” (all the internal as well as external rupa) are “sath” i.e., highly valuable or useful or fruitful or benefical.

      (43) Hence Sakkaya ditthi is the opposite of Tilakkhana. In other words if Sakkaya ditthi is present then there is no understanding of Tilakkhana. But a Sotapanna has (basic) understanding of Tilakkhana, hence a Sotapanna has removed Sakkaya ditthi.

      (44) Now one may ask that why is it so difficult to “see” Anicha, Dukkha, Anatta nature of this world. The answer is – because of “vinnana”.

      (45) Vinnana = Vikrith + nana
      “Vikrith” means defiled or distorted. So vinnana means defiled/distorted nana. This is due to these vinnana that we wrongly perceive this world as having “niccha, sukkha, atta” nature. We regularly generate huge amounts of (kamma) vinnana which perpetuates this rebirth process over and over again.

      (46) This is why a Samma Sambuddha is needed to show us the Aniccha, Dukkha, Anatta nature of this world. We can not see this by ourselves. This is why a Samma Sambuddha is very special !

      (47) So now how to start on this path showed by Lord Buddha ? For a beginner point of view, one should stay away from dasa akusala and cultivate dasa kusala (and also should do meritorious deeds). Gradually one will experience the “niramisa sukha” or the “cooling down” of the mind.

      (48) And when you are convinced that staying away from dasa akusala IS REALLY BENEFICIAL and definitely provides the “cooling down” of the mind then you can proceed to comprehend the Tilakkhana and attain the “ultimate cooling” i.e., Nibbana by extinguishing the “fires” of lobha, dosa, moha permanently (forever) !

      (49) I am extremely grateful to Ven. Lal Sir for his kind and compassionate explanations through this website. He is doing a great noble work by spreading the true meanings of Buddha Dhamma.

      (50) The teachings of Lord Buddha(s) can be summarised in this Dhammapada verse :
      “Sabba pāpassa akaranan,
      Kusalassa upasampadā,
      Sacitta pariyō dapanan,
      Etan Buddhānasāsanan”

      I hope this long article helped you in your quest to Nibbana…
      I wish you all the best

      MAY ALL BEINGS ATTAIN NIBBANA !!!

    • #13723
      sybe07
      Spectator

      “There is happiness and detachment for the one who is satisfied,
      who has heard the Dhamma, and who sees,
      There is happiness for him who is free from ill-will in the world,
      who is restrained towards breathing beings.

      “The state of dispassion in the world is happiness,
      the complete transcending of sense desires,
      But for he who has removed the conceit ‘I am’—
      this is indeed the highest happiness.”

      https://suttacentral.net/en/ud2.1

      The removal of the conceit “I am” is also the topic of SN22.89. An arahant has removed this desire this underlying tendency and conceit “I am”. https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.89

      Siebe

    • #13725
      C. Saket
      Participant

      Hello Siebe Sir
      May the blessings of the Triple Gem be with you always !

      Thanks for your reply.

      At the Sotapanna stage, only 3 sanyojanas i.e., “Sakkaya ditthi”, “Silabbata paramasa” and “Vicikiccha” are removed.

      “Mana” is one of the last sanyojanas to be removed ONLY at the Arahant stage.
      I think “mana” can not be removed at the Sotapanna stage.

      My point is that – for attaining the Sotapanna stage, the necessary thing is the “correct understanding” of Aniccha, Dukkha, Anatta. This is the point that I was focusing in the above post.

    • #13727
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Hallo C. Saket,

      Yes, read your post with interest.

      I belief, the sutta’s transmitt that the sotapanna stage can be realised by applying the contemplation of anicca, dukkha and anatta to the khandha’s subject to clinging (SN22.122).

      In the patisambhidamagga (treatise on insight, §9, this is said: contemplate on the khandha’s: as impermanent, as painful, as a disease, as a boil, as a dart, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, as a plague, a disaster, a terror, a menace, as fickle, perishable, unenduring, as no protection, no shelter, no refuge, as empty, vain, void, not-self, as a danger, as subject to change, as having no core, as the root of calamity, as murderous, as duet o be annihilated, as subject to cankers, as formed, as Mara’s bait, as connected with the idea of birth, as connected with the idea of aging, as connected with the idea of ailment, as connected with the idea of death, as connected with the idea of sorrow, as connected with the idea of lamentation, as connected tot he idea of despair, as connected with the idea of defilement.

      What is the contemplation of anicca, dukka and anatta?

      Contemplation of dukkha

      as painful is contemplation of dukkha
      as disease is contemplation of dukkha
      as a boil is contemplation of dukkha
      as a dart is is contemplation of dukkha
      as a calamity is contemplation of dukkha
      as an affliction is contemplation of dukkha
      as a plague is contemplation of dukkha
      as a disaster is contemplation of dukkha
      as a terror is contemplation of dukkha
      as a menace is contemplation of dukkha
      as no protection is contemplation of dukkha
      as no shelter is contemplation of dukkha
      as no refuge is contemplation of dukkha

      as a danger is contemplation of dukkha
      as the root of calamity is contemplation of dukkha
      as murderous is contemplation of dukkha
      as subject to cankers is contemplation of dukkha
      as Mara’s materialistic bait is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of birth is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of aging is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of ailment is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of sorrow is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of lamentation is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected tot he idea of despair is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of defilement is contemplation of dukkha

      Contemplation of anicca

      As impermanent is contemplation of anicca
      As disintegrating is contemplation of anicca
      As fickle is contemplation of anicca
      As perishable is contemplation of anicca
      As unenduring is contemplation of anicca
      As subject to change is contemplation of anicca
      As having no core is is contemplation of anicca
      As due to be annihilated is contemplation of anicca
      As formed is contemplation of anicca
      As connected with the idea of death is contemplation of anicca

      Contemplation of anatta (=sunnatanupassana)

      As alien is contemplation of anatta
      As empty is contemplation of anatta
      As void is contemplation of anatta
      As not-self is contemplation of anatta

      In some way or the other those insight-meditations have to lead to disenchantment, to disillusion with the conditioned.

      A lot of sutta’s emphasize this turning of the mind. If one really understands anicca, dukkha and anatta, one will loose the usual interest in the conditioned. This leads to three gateways of liberation, the emptiness, the signless and desireless. The door opens as it were.

      I myself belief this itself is, however, not sotapanna stage. Maybe this loss of interest can be felt as cooling down, as some kind of happiness, because one really becomes less obsessed and less dreamy, more realistic, i feel this cannot be called sotapanna stage yet.

      It is a preparation-stage for sotapanna and it can culiminate into sotapanna stage when the three fetters are really eliminated.

      may we all realise sotapanna stage.

      Siebe

      • #13730
        C. Saket
        Participant

        Thanks Siebe Sir for your answer (and Sutta reference).

        Yes I agree with you that Sotapanna stage can be realised by comprehending Aniccha, Dukkha, Anatta nature of this world.

        May you attain Nibbana in this life itself !!!

    • #13728
      Akvan
      Participant

      Thank you Saket for the post. I thought of posting something related to this. This is something I heard some time back from a monk and I have been contemplating about it of late so I thought I should share it.

      What is the self? If someone asks “who are you?” and “what are you?”, what will be your answer? It will obviously include physical things like your body and conceptual things like your feelings, thinking, philosophy and most importantly your name etc. In addition to this there are extensions to one self, people; like “my parents”, my wife, my friends, objects like: my car, my house and even concepts like: my country, my religion etc.

      So what makes all of these things mine? Let’s start off with my friends. What makes a specific person your friend and someone else not your friend? Isn’t it simply the fact that, that person, is the way you like him to be. For example, he wishes you on your birthday, comes and helps you out in tough times, you can rely on him and all such things right. But if this person doesn’t do any of these things he becomes less of a friend to you. If this person acts in a way that I really dislike, for example he goes and says nasty things about me or my family to everyone, or steals some valuable thing from me, we simply drop him of our friends list. He is no more “my friend”.

      Isn’t this the same thinking that makes everything else mine as well? Anything that is the way I want it to be or the way I like it to be, is mine, while things that are not the way I want it to be and I have no control of, are not considered as mine. It is my hand because when I want to lift it, I can lift it. It is my car because when I want to drive it I can drive it. If it is not my car I cannot drive it the whenever I want to and need to ask someone if I can drive it, and if it is some else’s hand I need to ask that person to lift it.

      So, which means that the self (the me or the I) is created based on these things that I like, and the things that are there or behave / act the way I want it to. So, when one understands that one cannot keep anything to one’s liking or satisfaction this concept of self will fade away.

      There are three related sutta’s (SN22.154 – SN22.156) which are Miccaditti sutta, Sakkayaditti Sutta and Attanuditti Sutta. In all these sutta’s the Buddha explains why such ditti’s arise and he explains that if one comprehends aniccha and dukka he will not have these ditti.

      “That which is aniccha, dukka, viparinama dhamma, is it suitable to be reflected, `It is mine, I am that, it is my self’?”

      Here the question he asks is; “is it suitable to be reflected as mine”, not that “is it mine”.

      So, here when one says that there is no self (non-self), it doesn’t mean that there is no being or animal or mind or whatever. All of that is there, just like the person we call the friend or the car. Just that, that person or being or mind that we call me, mine or my-self is simply a concept each person makes up for himself based on if he can keep something or someone the way he likes it.

      So it is by comprehending the aniccha, dukka, anatta nature of the world that one moves away from miccha ditti, and gradually loses sakkaya ditti and later attanu ditti.

      Another aspect to consider is, if Sakkaya Ditti actually means the complete removal of the conceit “I am” (as translated and commonly understood in most instances), then why should there be other aspects like Attanu Ditti and Asmee maana, which are removed after sakkaya ditti is removed?

      • #13731
        C. Saket
        Participant

        Hello Akvan Sir
        Theruvan saranai

        Thanks a lot for your insightful explanations.

        You rightly said that : “So it is by comprehending the aniccha, dukka, anatta nature of the world that one moves away from miccha ditti, and gradually loses sakkaya ditti and later attanu ditti.
        Another aspect to consider is, if Sakkaya Ditti actually means the complete removal of the conceit “I am” (as translated and commonly understood in most instances), then why should there be other aspects like Attanu Ditti and Asmee maana, which are removed after sakkaya ditti is removed?”

        Yes I also agree with you. “Mana” is removed ONLY at the Arahant stage and not at the Sotapanna stage.

        May you attain Nibbana in this life itself !!!

    • #13733
      sybe07
      Spectator

      https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.89

      SN22.89 deals with two kinds of identity-views. The first is summoned as ‘this i am’, for example, ‘this body i am’. And the other identity view is still deeper and is summoned as ‘I am’. The sutta describes how both are progressively removed on the Path.

      It think Bodhi’s comment is interesting (great part of note 176)

      (…) “This passage clarifies the essential difference between the sekha and the arahant. While the sekha has eliminated identity view and thus no longer identifies any of the five aggregates as a self, he has not yet eradicated ignorance, which sustains a residual conceit and desire “I am” (anusaha-gato
      asmi ti mano asmi ti chando) in relation to the five aggregates. The arahant, in contrast, has eradicated ignorance, the root of all misconceptions, and thus no longer entertains any ideas of “I” and “mine.” The other elders apparently had not yet attained any stage of awakening and thus did not understand this difference, but the Venerable Khemaka must have been at least a stream-enterer [Spk-pf: some hold he was a nonretumer, others a once-retumer] and thus knew that the elimination of identity view does not completely remove the sense of personal identity. Even
      for the nonreturner, an “odour of subjectivity” based on the five aggregates still lingers over his experience”.

      This “odour of subjectivity” regarding whatever we experience is in essence the cause of all misconceptions and therefor suffering. It will be eliminated too. The sutta makes clear how.

      I also wanted to share this view with you and ask for your comment.

      Why is mind, or why are we, not the experienced body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousnesses? I belief, the Buddha had seen (experienced) that all such arising experiences, can end/cease, and still mind, one, does not die or end. So that must mean we are not that experienced body, feeling etc. In other words, the mirror of the mind is not its reflections. It exist also without. Not knowing this, not seeing this, means sakkaya ditthi does not become uprooted. Mind will stay under the influence of this habit to relate to what it experiences as ‘mine’ or as ‘who i am’. This seems to be going on since beginningless time.

      Therefor, i belief, it NOT some strategy to see those khandha’s as ‘not mine, not as who i am, not as myself’, but, it is how things really are.

      Anyway, may we all realise sotapanna stage!

      Siebe

    • #13735
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Siebe said: “Why is mind, or why are we, not the experienced body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousnesses?”

      This is the key to simplify the subtle points involved in this discussion. That is indeed what one feels until the Arahant stage; until then there is always one or more khandhas that “feels like mine”).

      Most people (including most scientists) today believe that one’s body is one’s “self”, i.e., rupakkhandha to be “self”. That is the hardest one to get rid of first and is removed only at the Anagami stage, NOT at the Sotapanna stage.

      When one “sees” (with wisdom) the anicca nature, one starts comprehending that it is not fruitful to take any of the five khandhas as “mine”. That “vision” or “understanding” starts at the Sotapanna Anugami stage and is permanently established in one’s mind at the Sotapanna phala moment. This is called “dasasanena pahatabba” in the “Sabbasava Sutta (MN 2)“. That is the beginning of the Noble Path.

      But “seeing” and actually experiencing that to be true are two different things (which may not be apparent to most people, but it is a critical point in Buddha Dhamma). If one truly “knows” that one’s khandhas are not one’s own, then one would not desire any sense pleasures that are associated with the rupakkhandha. A Sotapanna has not experienced the lifting of the burden associated with the cravings for sense pleasures. That is removed via two stages (Sakadagami, Anagami) by contemplation AND by experiencing the “niramisa sukha” by actually removing such cravings gradually (“bhavanaya pahatabba” in the Sabbasava Sutta).

      Since sense pleasures in the kama loka are associated mainly with the solid body (rupakkhandha), by the time one gets to the Anagami stage, one does not take one’s body to be “one’s own”. He/she has given up that notion and that is why an Anagami will never again be born with a solid body suitable to experience sense pleasures (I,e., will never be born again in kama loka).

      But an Anagami still enjoys the “pure mental pleasures”, especially learning Dhamma and possibly jhanic pleasures. So, it is best to not even worry about removing the cravings for “mental pleasures” until one gets to the Anagami stage. When those are also removed, then there is nothing left to be taken as “me” (asmi mana). That is why asmi mana and any left-over avijja are removed only at the Arahant stage.

      Khemaka Sutta (SN 22.89)” indeed shows this difference between Sakkaya Ditthi and Asmi Mana, and Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation provided by Siebe above is clear on that.

      It is not easy to understand the difference between “dassana” or “vision” and actually experiencing the results by “living it” (bhavana), which is what is meant by “bavanaya pahatabba”).

      Bhavana is not merely contemplation: “bhavanaya bahuleekataya” means practicing it and “living it” all the time, as much as possible. One lives it by doing Anapana or Satipatthana all the time (i.e., by being mindful and constantly “putting out fires in the mind”; see “Satipatthāna Sutta – Structure“).

      • #13737
        sybe07
        Spectator

        “Most people (including most scientists) today believe that one’s body is one’s “self”, i.e., rupakkhandha to be “self”. That is the hardest one to get rid of first and is removed only at the Anagami stage, NOT at the Sotapanna stage”. (Lal)

        I do not understand this Lal. In MN44 sakkaya ditthi is explained:

        …’he/she regards material form as self, or self as possessed of material form, or material form as in self, or self as in material form”.

        The same for the other khandha’s. In many sutta’s this is repeated. This viewing, sakkaya ditthi, comes with a lot of mental suffering.

        How is explained in SN22.1. A fragment:

        “How, householder, is one afflicted in body and afflicted in mind? Here, householder, the uninstructed worldling: who is not a seer of the noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who is not a seer of superior persons and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in
        form. He lives obsessed by the notions: ‘I am form, form is mine. As he lives obsessed by these notions, that form of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of form, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair”.

        The same is said for feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness.

        I know this is very true. It works this way. So, these identity-views cause really affliction in mind, distress, sorrow, despair, fear also. What the sutta’s say is that this is not going on anymore for a nobel person. He/she has this cause for mental suffering, sakkaya ditthi, eliminated.

        To see/view “rupakhandha as self” is an example of a sakkaya ditthi. And also the view that a self or me posseses material form is a sakkaya ditthi.
        All sakkaya ditthi is eliminated at sotapanna stage.

        So, i do not understand why viewing the body as yourself or ‘me’ and viewing the body as ‘mine’ are not sakkaya ditthi’s removed at Sotapanna stage but at Anagami stage.

        (What is your reference for this? Is this from a desana of your teacher?)

        kind regards,
        Siebe

    • #13736
      sybe07
      Spectator

      I think, the common base of the three contemplations on anicca, dukkha and anatta is that they all three, in their own way, deal with a app/depreciation proces (a getting wiser proces). Due to these three contemplations one starts to see more and more clear what is really fruitful, i.e. what is really in ones own interest and what is not. Each in their own way.

      All three kinds of contemplations are meant, do you agree Lal??, to turn the mind away from it’s usual longing and craving for the conditioned.

      I do not think the sutta’s instruct that one must first use anicca and then dukkha and then anatta. What is your opinion on this Lal?

      It seems like the sutta’s teach (Patisambhidamagga, Treatise on Liberations, §54-58) that people have a natural preference for some kind of contemplation dependend on their gati and abilities.

      People with great determination have a dominant faith faculty and they have a preference for anicca contemplation.
      People with great natural calm have a dominant concentration faculty and they have a natural preference for dukkha contemplation.
      People with natural great wisdom have a dominant wisdom faculty and they tend to contemplate on anatta or voidness.

      But i think the common base is seeing the unfruitfulness in grasping, in craving, in the desire and forming of the conditioned. I remember a sutta that this is also said of the jhana’s. Someone who really sees that they are conditioned states, gets a sense of the unfruitfulness of pursuing such temporary states. In fact this is true for all conditioned states, right?

      In this we can see, i belief, the Buddha-Dhamma in the core aims at letting go, at giving up, not striving, not accumulating, not constructing, not producing, not forming, because it cannot be of real help.

      I feel this is some kind of stress field with all those sutta’s which keep going on about the worth of accumulating, constructing, producing, forming of all kinds of states, thoughts etc.

      siebe

    • #13738
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Siebe said: “All three kinds of contemplations are meant, do you agree Lal??”.

      Yes. Most people get the breakthrough with anicca, some with dukkha, and fewer with anatta, as you mentioned (based on their gati).

      But the key point is that when one grasps one of those, one grasps all three withing a short time. They are intrinsically related to each other.

      And then it will never be lost, even in future lives. Just like a child who learned how to add will never lose that capability, the Three Characteristics of nature (Tilakkhana), once grasped by the mind, will never be lost.

      Then one’s thinking process will be AUTOMATICALLY driven by that perception (sanna) about the world of 31 realms. That is what is called “Samma Sankappa” (how “right” mano sankhara automatically arise).

      Then one will start generating vaci sankhara and kaya sankhara BASED ON such automatic thoughts. But that will happen in stages. Only “apayagami thoughts, speech and actions” will be stopped automatically for a Sotapanna. He/she will still need to control “kama sanklapana” with own effort, if to be released from the kama loka, etc.

      Therefore, it will be optimized only at the Arahant stage.

    • #13740
      Akvan
      Participant

      Siebe said, I do not think the sutta’s instruct that one must first use anicca and then dukka and then anatta.

      I also don’t think that one needs to first see one and then the others. It is said that if a person sees one of them he sees the other two.

      However, it is very clearly mentioned that anicca, dukka and anatta are related. For example in SN22.15 “Yadaniccaṃ taṃ dukkhaṃ; yaṃ dukkhaṃ tadanattā”, which I take to mean if something is anicca it is dukka, if something is duka then it is anatta. The relationship between the anicca, dukka, anatta is clearly mentioned.

      This has been translated as “What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is non-self.” If we simply go by this translation we can see that this doesn’t make any sense; just because something is impermanent it will not be suffering.

      The next phrase in the sutta is “yadanattā taṃ ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ”. This has been translated as “What is non-self should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’” Again, this translation is a bit confusing for me. If I understand that something is non-self (not me), then after I understand that it is non-self, I again need to understand that “it is not my-self”.

      So from these sutta’s and their translations it is clear to me that anicca does not mean impermanence and anatta does not mean non-self.

    • #13741
      sybe07
      Spectator

      I agree. When i once read such passages in the sutta’s the thought arose: ‘pain is impermanent’, how can this impermanence be suffering? We may be glad pain it is of the nature of impermanence, that’s a big relief. It would be really awful if pain would be permanent. This is also true for craving and for avajji. Just because they are impermanent there is a possible ending. So it is not logical to conclude that what is impermanent is suffering.

      But i have always seen that these contemplations on impermanance, suffering and not-self, also when translated that way in the sutta’s, are meant to cause a kind of disillusion with form, with feeling, with perceptions, with mental formations and with consciousness, i.e. the conditioned.

      How this works is, for example, mentioned in the three sutta’s SN22.12 -14 (from the translation of Bodhi)

      I summon the three sutta’s:

      Seeing thus (the khandha’s as impermanent, suffering and not-self) bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences revulsion towards form, revulsion towards feeling, revulsion towards perception, revulsion towards volitional formations, revulsion towards consciousness. Experiencing revulsion, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It’s liberated.’ He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.”‘

      I do not know the word ‘revulsion’ is correct translation. I think the goal is disillusion, seeing that all this obsession with the conditioned is of no help at all. Whatever conditioned state, it cannot be a refuge.
      This is why the Budddha was not satisfied with the high jhana’s his teacher felt as liberation. It was quit clear the Budddha would never be satisfied with some conditionally arising state. He was looking for the unconditioned.
      His goal is that we do that too. So any kind of longing for the conditioned is in the core a distraction to the real Path of the Unconditioned.

      Anyway it is quit clear that those three contemplations have to lead to a more dispassionate mind. We have to see the unfruitfullness, the helplessness of investing in the conditioned.

      I feel the emphasis in the training with those three contemplations is, especially to apply them to our own experiences of a body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousnesses.

      Our attitude towards experiences has to change, beginning by the ending of full identification and mine-making.

      This mechanism is explained in SN22.1

      …”He lives obsessed by the notions: ‘I am form, form is mine. As he lives obsessed by these notions, that form of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of form, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair”…this also for the other khandha’s.

      I belief this is true. We will never be freed from this mental suffering
      when our attitude towards what we experience does not change. How? I belief, it has to become less personal. The first major step in a decreasing personal involvement with what we experience is the elimination of sakkaya ditthi, i.e. viewing experiences as mine or who i am. But this goes on and on in the training and at the end we loose this personal coloured involvement with experiences totally because even the sense of I am ends. Then, in the seen there is only the seen, so no sense of an I-who-sees. In the felt, there is only the felt, so no an I-who-feels, etc.

      This is how i think it is described in the sutta’s.

      Siebe

    • #13751
      sybe07
      Spectator

      “Most people (including most scientists) today believe that one’s body is one’s “self”, i.e., rupakkhandha to be “self”. That is the hardest one to get rid of first and is removed only at the Anagami stage, NOT at the Sotapanna stage”. (Lal)

      I learned from MN44 that viewing the body as one’s self is a sakkaya ditthi. Why is this kind of viewing not removed at sotapanna stage?

      May we all realise sotapanna stage,

      Siebe

    • #13752
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Siebe said: “I learned from MN44 that viewing the body as one’s self is a sakkaya ditthi. Why is this kind of viewing not removed at sotapanna stage?”

      Which verse in MN 44 says that? Please be to the point.

    • #13753
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Hi Lal,

      In the English translation of Bodhi it refers to MN44§7+8:

      copy §7

      (PERSONALITY VIEW)
      7. “Lady, how does personality view come to be?” “Here, friend Visakha, an untaught ordinary person, who has no regard for noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who has no regard for true men and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards material form as
      self,
      or self as possessed of material form, or material form as in
      self, or self as in material form. He regards feeling as self, or self
      as possessed of feeling, or feeling as in self, or self as in feeling.
      He regards perception as self, or self as possessed of perception,
      or perception as in self, or self as in perception. He regards formations
      as self, or self as possessed of formations, or formations
      as in self, or self as in formations. He regards consciousness as
      self, or self as possessed of consciousness, or consciousness as in self or self as in consciousness”

      In MN Introduction page 28 Bodhi shows he has translated sakkaya ditthi in MN as ‘personality view’.

      I have understood, but maybe wrong?, that the above are 20 kinds of sakkaya ditthi, or identity view or personality view. It is also called embodiment view: https://suttacentral.net/en/mn44

      These views are also mentioned in, for example, SN22.1 (and others)
      https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.1

      There it becomes clear how those identity-views cause mental suffering.

      kind regards,
      Siebe

    • #13754
      Lal
      Keymaster

      The verse from the “Culavedalla Sutta (MN 44)“:
      “Kathaṃ panāyye, sakkāyadiṭṭhi na hotī”ti?
      “Idhāvuso visākha, sutavā ariyasāvako, ariyānaṃ dassāvī ariyadhammassa kovido ariyadhamme suvinīto, sappurisānaṃ dassāvī sap¬purisa¬dhammassa kovido sap¬purisa¬dhamme suvinīto, na rūpaṃ attato samanupassati, na rūpavantaṃ vā attānaṃ, na attani vā rūpaṃ, na rūpasmiṃ vā attānaṃ. Na vedanaṃ … pe … na saññaṃ … na saṅkhāre … pe … na viññāṇaṃ attato samanupassati, na viññāṇavantaṃ vā attānaṃ, na attani vā viññāṇaṃ, na viññāṇasmiṃ vā attānaṃ. Evaṃ kho, āvuso visākha, sakkāyadiṭṭhi na hotī”ti.

      Bhikkhu Bodhi translation (per Siebe): “Lady, how does personality view come to be?”
      “Here, friend Visakha, an untaught ordinary person, who has no regard for noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who has no regard for true men and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards material form as
      self, or self as possessed of material form, or material form as in
      self, or self as in material form. He regards feeling as self, or self
      as possessed of feeling, or feeling as in self, or self as in feeling.
      He regards perception as self, or self as possessed of perception,
      or perception as in self, or self as in perception. He regards formations
      as self, or self as possessed of formations, or formations
      as in self, or self as in formations. He regards consciousness as
      self, or self as possessed of consciousness, or consciousness as in self or self as in consciousness”.

      Sutta Central translation: “But what, Noble Lady, is embodiment view?”
      “Here, friend Visākha, an unlearned worldling, one who doesn’t meet the Noble Ones, who is unskilled in the Noble Dhamma, untrained in the Noble Dhamma, one who doesn’t meet Good People, who is unskilled in the Good People’s Dhamma, untrained in the Good People’s Dhamma, views bodily form as self, or self as endowed with bodily form, or bodily form as in self, or self as in bodily form.”

      My translation: “Lady, how is Sakkaya ditthi NOT established?”
      Here, friend Visaka, a knowledgeable disciple (sutava ariyasavako), who has “seen” Ariya Dhamma and is well-informed in Dhamma and is with good conduct ( ariyānaṃ dassāvī ariyadhammassa kovido ariyadhamme suvinīto), same for moral qualities (sappurisānaṃ dassāvī sap¬purisa¬dhammassa kovido sap¬purisa¬dhamme suvinīto), WILL NOT SEE rupa as mine (na rūpaṃ attato samanupassati), etc

      I am not sure how both those translations missed the “na” or NOT. The other key word is samanupassati (sees according to), related to passati (sees).

      Even more perplexing, how did they translate “sutava ariyasavako” as “unlearned worldling”?? No drastic harm was done since “na” was missed in all the places.

      But the point of importance to the current discussion is the difference between “seeing” and “verifying and experiencing”. As I have discussed at length, “seeing” and “verifying it be true by experience” are two different things. Please re-read my post on January 18, 2018 at 7:48 am above: “But “seeing” and actually experiencing that to be true are two different things (which may not be apparent to most people, but it is a critical point in Buddha Dhamma)..”

      That is the difference between the Sotapanna stage and the Arahant stage; that is a HUGE difference!

      In response to my post on January 18, 2018 at 7:48 am above, you said you agreed. And then you just go back to bringing the same issue again in a different way (by saying anicca is impermanence?)!

      I don’t think there is anything else I can do, unless you can point out a specific contradiction in my explanation.

      • #13768
        sybe07
        Spectator

        Hi Lal,

        MN44 §7 is about how sakkaya ditthi is establised and §8 how it is not established. Maybe you have translated §8?

        I think i agree with your explanation in which you emphasize there is a huge difference between seeing the body as not mine and really experiencing the body as not mine etc. I belief this is indeed also the topic of SN22.89.
        https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.89

        The monk Khemaka who is in great pain, sick, afflicted does not regard anything among these five aggregates subject to clinging as self or as belonging to self (no sakkaya ditthi) but he has still a notion “I am” in relation to these five aggregates subject to clinging.

        In short, apparantly Khemaka does not see the pain he feels as ‘who he is’ (full identification with the pain), nor as his-pain (mine-making) but he also is not completely detached from that pain. This is because in him there still lingers a derire, underlying tendency and conceit “I am” in regard to that painful feeling. He is not an arahant yet.

        Therefor i belief, it is correct what you see, indeed, yes i belief you are right. Although Khemaka does not regard/see the pain as his pain he still experiences it as his pain or as pain he has to bear, because of that remaining “I am” desire, underlying tendency and conceit.

        So, indeed, i think this sutta’s want to express there is indeed a huge difference between ending sakkaya ditthi and really experience in a detached manner.

        This makes sense for me. Thanks al lot Lal!

        Siebe

        • #13769
          Lal
          Keymaster

          Siebe said: “MN44 §7 is about how sakkaya ditthi is establised and §8 how it is not established. Maybe you have translated §8?”

          Yes. I had inadvertently looked at the wrong paragraph. So, both Bhikkhu Bodhi’s and Sutta Central translations DO NOT have those inherently incorrect translations.

          However, as I pointed out the key point is the translation of “samanupassati”, as just “seeing”.

          Siebe said: “So, indeed, i think this sutta’s want to express there is indeed a huge difference between ending sakkaya ditthi and really experience in a detached manner.

          This makes sense for me.”

          I am glad to hear that. This is a subtle point, yet it makes a huge difference in grasping the difference between the Sotapanna stage (removing Sakkaya Ditthi) and the Arahant stage (removing asmi mana, the “perception of “me”).

    • #13755
      C. Saket
      Participant

      I will restate what I have said earlier:

      This innate and inherent tendency of “I am” or “me” is a very subtle and deeply ingrained perception in all of us. Hence “asmi mana” – the perception or concept of “I am” or “me” is one of the last sanyojanas that can be removed ONLY at the Arahant stage and NOT at the Sotapanna stage.

      It is not possible to forcibly remove this perception (no matter how hard one tries). It will get removed only when one reaches the Arahant stage.

      At the Sotapanna stage, only the 3 lower fetters – Sakkaya ditthi, silabbata paramasa & vicikiccha are removed.

      Here Sakkaya ditthi (or Sath-kaya ditthi) is the belief or the view that these “kaya” (both internal and external rupa) are “sath” (extremely useful, meaningful, fruitful, beneficial, valuable, worthful).

      Without ACTUALLY REALISING the “useless”, “unbeneficial”, “unfruitful”, “unsatisfactory”, “uncontrollable”, “disease ridden” and “dangerous” nature of the 5 khandhas , it is not possible for us to remove the perception of “me”, “mine” or “I am” in relation to any (or all) of the 5 khandhas.

      And this is done through “dasasanena pahatabba” and “bhavanaya pahatabba”.

      This is why first the “Sakkaya ditthi” is removed (at the Sotapanna stage) and then “asmi mana” is removed at the last (Arahant) stage.
      Hence we can see that, in English translations Sakkaya ditthi is incorrectly translated as “self view”, “personality view”, “identity view”, etc.

      Now I want to point out one more critical thing here. The topic of this discussion is “Wrong English translations of Aniccha, Anatta, Sakkaya ditthi…etc” . This is the important point that I was focusing in my original post. The critical point is that many key concepts (and important Pali words) have been INCORRECTLY translated in the English versions of the Suttas. So we CAN NOT blindly trust the English translations of the Suttas (we can get stuck in the wrong meanings).

      So reading the English translated Suttas may not take us too far. These English translated Suttas may not convey the right meanings of what a Sutta is trying to explain.

      Initially when I was researching about Buddhism, I also used to read a lot of Suttas (in English) and I was also stuck in the wrong meanings. But when I found this website, then I realised my mistake.

      So before reading the English translations of Suttas, please first consider these important facts :

      (1) Lord Buddha preached all his teachings in “Magadhi” language.

      (2) Pali is a form of Magadhi which is made suitable for oral transmissions.

      (3) Pali (just like Magadhi) is a phonetic language. The meanings come from the “sound” of the word. Hence the focus is given on the pronunciation of Pali words.

      (4) Pali does not have fixed grammar rules.

      (5) A Sutta is a “condensed form” or a “concise version” of a long discourse (generally of many hours) that Lord Buddha actually taught to the people at his time. A sutta is packed with a lot of information.

      (6) Many times a given Pali word has more than one meanings which depends on the context in which it is being used. Even a simple Pali word like “Aniccha” contains a very vast and deeper meanings. It can take hours to describe what Aniccha means to a new person.

      (7) Hence it is NOT POSSIBLE to translate a Sutta word-by-word in English (or in any language).

      (8) In fact, a Sutta is NOT MEANT to be translated word-by-word ! But a Sutta is meant to be explained in detail.

      (9) This is why original commentaries (attha-katha) were made at the time of Lord Buddha (and even after his passing away) by the fully enlightened Arahants – to explain the deeper meanings embedded in a Sutta to general public.

      (10) So a Sutta is meant to be read with its “original commentaries” to get the right meanings out of the Sutta.

      (11) But unfortunately all those original commentaries have been lost long ago. So we only have the Pali Tipitaka with us as the authentic source. However 3 original commentaries (in Pali) have survived because they have been included in the Tipitaka itself.

      (12) Another most important point (which many people ignore) is that – A true Noble disciple (Sotapanna/Sakadagami/Anagami/Arahant) has a special kind of knowledge called “patisambhida nana” which means the ability to extract the actual deeper meanings of Pali words in the Suttas.

      (13) So only a person with “patisambhida nana” can explain the true deeper meanings behind a Sutta.

      (14) Hence reading English translated Suttas is not of much benefit. You will find lot of mistakes.

      Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratnalankara Thero in Sri Lanka was such a special person with “patisambhida nana”. However all his discourses are in Sinhala language.

      Ven. Lal Sir is also such a person with “patisambhida nana”. He is extracting the hidden (deeper) meanings of key Pali words and concepts in Buddha Dhamma and he is explaining them in simple English through this website.

      Although I have never met him personally, but I will be forever grateful to him for all I have learned through this website.

    • #13756
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      Impermanence gives rise to suffering? If this is true, the reverse logic must also be true: Permanence gives rise to happiness. Take a moment to evaluate the credibility of these 2 statements. Recall back the times when you were down with prolonged illness or some other ordeal which seemed like eternity. Relatively speaking, the duration of our suffering back then appeared to be very long. So much so that we felt as if we were suffering ‘permanently’. Now look back at the statement ‘permanence gives rise to happiness’. How can something that is tormenting us ‘permanently’ give us happiness? Aren’t we hope for a brief moment of ‘impermanence’ to our rescue? So how can impermanence always gives rise to suffering? In this case, impermanence did in fact give rise to happiness when our problems are resolved. Imagine those hell beings and pretas who are suffering for millions of years. The duration of our perceived suffering is NOTHING compared to theirs.

      Let us contemplate deeper into the issue of wrong translation of Anicca. When our Buddha was still a Bodhisattva, He spent 6 years undergoing very tough austerity practices which did not bring him any enlightenment. Eventually, the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. Which implies that everything should be ‘permanent and happy’ the day Buddha attained enlightenment, right?! But wait. Look around us, what do you observe? Traffic is moving, people are ageing and suffering, children are growing up, flora and fauna are arising and perishing…cosmic activities are happening out there in outer space…our own anti-bodies are fighting against harmful bacteria in our bodies to keep us healthy…changes are everywhere. What are all these? Impermanence at work! No one moment is the same. If Anicca implies impermanence, then it does not make sense for the Bodhisattva to have attained enlightenment and became a Buddha. Because no one, absolutely no one including a Buddha, can alter the comic law of impermanence. If a Buddha could do that, the day He attained enlightenment would mean impermanence has to cease. Why? Because He would have control over impermanence to end suffering. What would be a result of this? It would imply that you and me and everyone else in this universe would have become enlightened just like the Buddha! But we all know this is not true. So, what actually went wrong? The only logical and sensible explanation is that Anicca has been wrongly translated to mean impermanence. The Buddha had not, and would not be able to control impermanence, just like any other being.

      • #13788
        sybe07
        Spectator

        I do not have any knowledge of Pali but i belief the statement ‘what is impermanent…is suffering’ is probably only introduced as a very condensed formula within a more bigger picture/teaching in which people allready know that anything that is impermanent is also conditioned, dependently arisen, subject to destruction, to vanishing, to fading away, to cessation and therefor cannot provide lasting happiness and cannot function as a refuge.
        Clinging to such impermanent things is unskillful, suffering.

        Nice feelings, for example, come with a certain happiness but when they vanish also with a certain unhappiness because they are gone and one wants them to be there again. So even when states are nice, even jhana, their nature of impermanance comes also with suffering as long as there is longing and irrealistic expactations of conditioned states.

        Therefor the very condensed formula…what is impermanent is suffering, can be useful and truthful too, but one must see it in the context, like anything.

        I think Lal’s explanation of anicca, dukkha and anatta will lead to the same mindset, but i belief that it will probably take less time when anicca is translated as ‘one cannot maintain anything like one wishes’.

        My (small) objection to this translation is that this is very close, or almost the same, as what dukkha also means.

        But, in the end, i feel, the expressed message is the same.
        Siebe

    • #13770
      sybe07
      Spectator

      It would be great if anyone could translate Patisambhidamagga, Treatise on Insight, §9 (Nanamoli) from Pali to English because i belief there are those three contemplations explained, and then we can see what falls under anicca, dukkha and anatta. I belief it is like this:

      Contemplation of dukkha

      as painful is contemplation of dukkha
      as disease is contemplation of dukkha
      as a boil is contemplation of dukkha
      as a dart is is contemplation of dukkha
      as a calamity is contemplation of dukkha
      as an affliction is contemplation of dukkha
      is contemplation of dukkha
      as a plague is contemplation of dukkha
      as a disaster is contemplation of dukkha
      as a terror is contemplation of dukkha
      as a menace is contemplation of dukkha
      as no protection is contemplation of dukkha
      as no shelter is contemplation of dukkha
      as no refuge is contemplation of dukkha
      as a danger is contemplation of dukkha
      as the root of calamity is contemplation of dukkha
      as murderous is contemplation of dukkha
      as subject to cankers is contemplation of dukkha
      as Mara’s materialistic bait is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of birth is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of aging is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of ailment is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of sorrow is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of lamentation is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected tot he idea of despair is contemplation of dukkha
      as connected with the idea of defilement is contemplation of dukkha

      So, in the above you can see that contemplating the khandha’s as no refuge, no protection, no shelter is not anatta contemplation but dukkha.

      Contemplation of anicca

      As impermanent is contemplation of anicca
      As disintegrating is contemplation of anicca
      As fickle is contemplation of anicca
      As perishable is contemplation of anicca
      As unenduring is contemplation of anicca
      As subject to change is contemplation of anicca
      As having no core is is contemplation of anicca
      As due to be annihilated is contemplation of anicca
      As formed is contemplation of anicca
      As connected with the idea of death is contemplation of anicca

      In the above you see that all kind of synonims are use for impermanence, like perishable, enunduring, subject to change etc. So this seems to refer to anicca nupassana.

      Contemplation of anatta (=sunnatanupassana)

      As alien is contemplation of anatta
      As empty is contemplation of anatta
      As void is contemplation of anatta
      As not-self is contemplation of anatta

      But maybe this is completely misunderstood by me or maybe completely wrong translated from the Pali.

      Siebe

    • #13771
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Dear C. Saket,

      -“he regards material form as self, or self as possessed of material form, or material form as in self, or self as in material form” (MN44§7)…
      (so also for the other khandha’s)

      Please tell me, what is really the problem with calling these 20 views identity or personality-views?

      When one graps at the body as ‘mine’ there arises at that moment that identity view. So it works.

      SN22.155

      Idenfity View
      “At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, when what exists, clinging to what,
      by adhering to what, does identity view arise?
      “Venerable sir, our teachings are rooted in the Blessed One.. . .”
      “When there is form, bhikkhus, by clinging to form, by adhering
      to form, identity view arises. When there is feeling … perception
      . . . volitional formations . . . consciousness, by clinging to consciousness,
      by adhering to consciousness, identity view arises.”. . .

      Siebe

      • #13776
        C. Saket
        Participant

        Dear Siebe Sir

        First of all, uncountable thanks to you, because through your questions I have also benefited myself.

        I am becoming a fan of your honesty and sincerity! I appreciate your genuine efforts towards discovering the meanings of the Suttas for the benefit for all.

        Now let me be truly honest.

        I have neither attained any magga-phala nor do I have any special knowledge.
        I started searching about Buddhism from January 2014 (at a young age of 20). I also used to read many Suttas (in English). At that time, I believed these English translations to be correct.

        But in July 2015, I came across this website. After that my perceptions about the accuracy of the English translated Suttas changed a lot.
        I developed strong faith in Ven. Lal Sir and his essays on this website.

        So whatever comments I have made in this forum till now is strongly influenced by the essays in this website.

        It seems that there are two kinds of Sakkaya ditthi :
        please read this – Sakkaya Ditthi is Personality (Me) View ?

        My comments were based on this essay.

    • #13783
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Dear C. Saket,

      Thanks for your kind words. I hope we all realise sotapanna, me en you too.

      I am also very glad i have found Lal’s website. Lal emphazises very much the unfruitfullness of samsara and seeing the total picture. I am grateful that i am getting a glimps.

      Sakkaya ditthi
      For me the teachings on sakkaya ditthi are meant to express the fact that (since beginningless time) mind has become very familiar with the sense of a body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousnesses. It has become so familiar with those experiences that it regards those instinctively as ‘mine’ and as ‘this i am’. One does not do this ‘self’. It arises conditionally.

      It is like mind wears five kinds/layers of clothing and has never seen her own nakedness and thinks ‘ i am those five kinds of clothing’ or ‘i am not without those five kind of clothing’.

      Anyway, mind has become very intimately related to what it experiences and this has the form of views (‘i am what i experience’ or ‘those experiences are mine’). I belief, those views are called sakkaya ditthi’s and at the moment i have no problem to call them identity-views.

      My mind was once so focussed that i lost the sense of a body. When i became aware of this, fear arose. I instinctively touched things, a sense of embodiment came back. Why did fear arise? I belief, because of a sakkaya ditthi. Because of the view ‘i am the experienced body’. So when one looses this experience of a body one becomes afraid. This is the netto-result of identification which is a form of viewing, a sakkaya ditthi.

      Maybe this looks very theoretical for some people but for me it isn’t.

      Sakkaya ditthi’s are a real obstacle for deeply relaxing the mind and body, letting go, for stress-release, for ending fear, ending panic. The neurotic mind, like mine, has strong sakkaya ditthi’s.

      Siebe

    • #13804
      Akvan
      Participant

      Siebe said: My small objection to this translation (aniccha – one cannot maintain anything like one wishes) is that it is very close, or almost the same, as what Dukkha means.

      As mentioned earlier it is said that if one sees aniccha, he also sees dukkha and anattha at the same time. As per the sutta’s if something is aniccha, it is dukkha and if something is dukkha, it is anattha. So from these it makes sense that the true meaning of aniccha has to be very close or the same as dukka.

      Can you also give a link to this; Patisambidamagga, Treatise on insight, or the relevant pali text.

    • #13807
      SengKiat
      Moderator

      Here is the dowload link for the book “The Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga) by Nanamoli (2009)“.

      The relevant text in Pali from Sutta Central is “Paṭisambhidāmagga Paññāvagga 3.9. Vipassanākathā“.

    • #13810
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Apart from what is the best translation, which i cannot judge, i feel, the way Lal treats the Tilakkhana is the best.

      It has become quit obvious to me that teachings on the Tilakkhana have to lead to the understanding that we cannot maintain anything conditioned to our satisfaction or wish. The conditioned, in the end, cannot provide happiness too and cannot function as a refuge.

      A sutta desribes this understanding of the Buddha in this way that he destinguished a not noble search and a noble search. The nobel search is describes as (in my own words); self being subject to birth, aging, sickness and death one has to search of what is not subject to birth, aging, sickness and death.

      Most people do not search that. They aim there hopes and expactions on the conditioned, this world.

      The teachings on the Tilakkhana, i belief, have to turn the mind to this right, nobel search and end the not nobel search, because that is in the end useless. The right search is the search for the Unconditioned, the deathless, Nibbana.

      The teachings on the Tilakkhana will make us more realistic, at least that is, i belief, what can happen. Our wordly desires can decrease. We can see more clearly what is beneficial. But i know from experience the habit to keep on dreaming is strong.

      If someone would teach this tilakkhana just as three objective facts of life, without really making the connection with ourselves, with our desires, with our hopes, it is quit useless. I think this is what happens a lot in buddhism.

      Lal’s explanation makes that connection immediately. That is, i find, very very good. It is very beneficial. I am grateful to have seen this and learned this from Lal.

      Siebe

    • #13821
      Akvan
      Participant

      The following is based on my understanding, of the dhamma and also languages. So please point out any mistakes.

      The pali in this section is as follows. Aniccatoti, aniccā¬nu¬passanā. Which I take to mean, seeing it as aniccha is contemplation of aniccha. So each pali word is linked to the contemplation of aniccha, dukka and anatta.

      Siebe said: In the above you see that all kinds of synonyms have been used to explain impermanence.

      I don’t think these words can simply be taken as synonyms but regarded as different ways of seeing / understanding / contemplating aniccha. So, seeing things as perishable, subject to change etc. are different ways of understanding aniccha. But aniccha does not simply mean that it is perishable or subject to change. If perishable simply meant aniccha then the following don’t make any sense Aniccatoti, aniccā¬nu¬passanā. Dukkhatoti, duk¬khā¬nu¬passanā. Anattatoti, anattā¬nu¬passanā.

      Under anattanupassana, the contemplation of anatta, the following are given; Rittatoti, Tucchatoti, Suññatoti, and Anattatoti, anattā¬nu¬passanā. These have been translated as empty, void, having no core and not-self respectively (I believe that Sunnatoti has been mistakenly placed under dukka, when it should be under anatta).

      Here I don’t agree with the translation of Tuccha as void. I understand tuccha to mean something lowly and something to be disgraced of. Also I would say that a better way of explaining sunna would be to say having no value / substance. Sunna (Shunya) means empty and if we say something is empty the emptiness is always relative. For example if we say a glass is empty, what we actually mean is that the glass is empty of milk. But there can be air in it, but for our intents and purposes it is empty. So even here sunna (empty) does not mean that it is absolutely empty but that it is empty of any value or substance.

      Asārakatoti, anattā¬nu¬passanā is also mentioned but I did not see it in Siebe’s list. I take asaraka to mean having no value to take / having nothing good to extract.

      Of course, each one of us will understand aniccha, dukka and anatta in different ways, based on our backgrounds and ways of looking at things. Therefore, it is important that we don’t just stick to one single word (impermanence and non-self) to understand aniccha and anatta. Like Lal has mentioned these words are packed with meaning and it is hard to explain it using a single synonym. I would go on to say that aniccha, dukka and anatta is actually an understanding rather than just a simple word.

    • #13833
      sybe07
      Spectator

      I agree Akvan, those words, like ‘unenduring’ and ‘perishable’ etc are not really meant as synonims. Your right. It are different ways of contemplating anicca, as you say.

      “no protection”, “no shelter”, no refuge’ is, i belief, in lal’s explanation not really belonging to dukkha nupassana like in patisambhidamagga, but more tending to anatta, the helplessness-perception. But maybe Lal thinks otherwise?

      “as having no core” is contemplation of anicca in patisambidhamagga…this i would personally see as a kind of anatta or sunnatanupassana, without essence or core.

      Siebe

    • #13863
      SengKiat
      Moderator

      Greetings!

      There is a likelyhood of a mistake on the Pali text from Sutta Central or Tipitaka on “Paṭisambhidāmagga Paññāvagga 3.9. Vipassanākathā“ at the location SC22 which listed Asārakatoti as anattānupassanā which should be aniccānupassanā as seen from the “Paṭisambhidāmagga-aṭṭhakathā – Sariputta” text.

      In the “Paṭisambhidāmagga-aṭṭhakathā – Sariputta” text at page 318 it is mentioned that the aniccānupassanā has the following:

      Paññāsāti ‘‘aniccato palokato calato pabhaṅguto addhuvato vipariṇāmadhammato asārakato vibhavato saṅkhatato maraṇadhammato’’ti ekekasmiṃ khandhe dasa dasa katvā pañcasu khandhesu paññāsaṃ aniccānupassanā.

      At the end of the “Paṭisambhidāmagga Paññāvagga 3.9. Vipassanākathā” at “SC26” it also mentioned “Paññāsa aniccā­nu­passanā;” which means “50 of the khandha’s aniccā­nu­passanā objects” and thus confirmed that there should be 10 aniccānupassanā objects.

      So, Asāraka should be a aniccānupassanā contemplation object. @Akvan also pointed out in above post that he did not see Asāraka in the lists of anattānupassanā which should be a aniccānupassanā.

      With metta,

      Seng Kiat

    • #13869
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Hi SengKiat, thanks.

      I understand asaraka should be listed in the categorie of anicca. What does asaraka mean ?

      What do you think, are the anatta-nupassana’s correctly translated as:
      alien, empty, void and not-self?

      Anatta refers, i still belief, to the fact that in the end there is no entity inside us, no self or ego or entity-I, which is in control.

      I mostly refer to this notion as the common daily notion there is some kind of being inside our head, a man or woman, a person Siebe. It is like there is some kind of figure inside our head living, right?

      In earlier days they refered to this daily common experience with the concept of the homunculus. See:
      http://what-buddha-said.net/gallery/index.php/Dhamma-illustrations/Homunculus-Drawing

      I belief, this is exactly what the belief in a self (atta) means. It is the belief there is a being inside our head, which is control, which does the seeing, hearing, thinking, walking, living etc. That is the most common daily and very strong impression.

      This is, i belief, what an-atta wants to denie. Nowhere inside our head lives a being like that, although this is our daily impression. Neuroscientist do not find such a being inside our head when they examin it.
      It is very easy to understand this impression of a being inside our head must be some creation of the brain/mind but it feels like we are that creation, isn’t ? This is the effect of avijja.

      I belief, the Budddha refered to this daily strong perceptions of an real ego inside us, some indepedent and powerful entity as atta. And his teachings of anatta, denie the existence of such an powerful independent existing entity.

      I belief, the Buddha discovered the notion ‘I am’, i.e. the notion there is a homuncules inside my head which is in control, is the greatest and strongest delusion of beings. There is nothing so strong as this notion “I am”. Nothing that fetters mind that much as this “I am” notion and desire.

      The daily perception that there is an ego or self or I in our heads, comes with a feeling that this does the seeing, hearing, feeling etc. It comes also with the perception it is control. Especially when we get things happen our way. This does in fact contribute to our happiness and the joy of life, but in the end this notion of an I-in-control is an illusion. Anatta is true.
      This becomes very clear when becoming sick, old and dying.

      It is not an entity-I who does the seeing, smelling, walking, talking, thinking etc. It is ruled by conditionally arising formations not by a self in our head.

      I see no objection to relate in this way to the meaning of anatta, as no self, as no entity in our head or mind which is in controll.
      There is no homuncules.

      The idea there is an ego or self inside us that is in control is a kind of intoxication. Anatta-nupassana wants to end this delusion and intoxication which comes with so much suffering. Anyone who strongly beliefs that there is a atta, a homuncules inside, and we are that, he/she becomes really helpless.

      Siebe

    • #13876
      SengKiat
      Moderator

      Thanks @Siebe for your comment.

      From the Pali Text Society dictionary the meaning of “asāraka” is as below:
      Asāraka,(adj.) [a + sāraka] unessential,worthless,sapless,rotten

      Thanks to Lal comments below, I have make corrections to the meaning of some words. (27Jan2018)

      Below are the lists of 40 contemplation objects:

      For the aniccānupassanā, 10 listed below:
      Anicca (anicca) as contemplation of anicca.
      Disintegrating (paloka) as contemplation of anicca.
      Fickle (cala) as contemplation of anicca.
      Perishable (pabhaṅgu) as contemplation of anicca.
      Impermanent (addhuva) as contemplation of anicca.
      Subject to unexpected change (vipariṇāmadhamma) as contemplation of anicca.
      Non-existence (vibhava) as contemplation of anicca.
      Conditioned (saṅkhata) as contemplation of anicca.
      Worthless (asāraka) as contemplation of anicca.
      Subject to death (maraṇadhamma) as contemplation of anicca.

      For the dukkhānupassanā, 25 listed below:
      Dukkha (dukkha) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Disease (roga) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Boil (gaṇḍa) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Dart (salla) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Calamity/misfortune (agha) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Affliction (ābādha) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Plague (īti) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Disaster (upaddava) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Fear (bhaya) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Menace (upasagga) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Without protection (atāṇa) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Without shelter (aleṇa) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Without refuge (asaraṇa) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Full of wretchedness (ādīnava) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Root of calamity (aghamūla) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Murderous (vadhaka) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Moral corruption (sāsava) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Prey of Māra (mārāmisa) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Subject to birth (jātidhamma) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Subject to ageing (jarādhamma) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Subject to ailment (byādhidhamma) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Subject to sorrow (sokadhamma) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Subject to lamentation (paridevadhamma) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Subject to despair (upāyāsadhamma) as contemplation of dukkha.
      Subject to defilement (saṃkilesikadhamma) as contemplation of dukkha.

      For the anattānupassanā, 5 listed below:
      Anatta (anatta) as contemplation of anatta.
      Lowly (para) as contemplation of anatta.
      Empty (ritta) as contemplation of anatta.
      Despicable (tuccha) as contemplation of anatta.
      Void (suñña) as contemplation of anatta.

      First look at the dukkhānupassanā and the 24 objects (beside dukkha) described suffering.
      Then look at the aniccānupassanā and the 9 objects (beside anicca) described without satisfaction.
      Then look at the anattānupassanā and the 4 objects (beside anatta) described without refuse.

      If you look carefully, all the terms are adjectives which is to denote a quality of the thing named, to indicate its quantity or extent, or to specify a thing as distinct from something else while “non-self” is a noun that does not fit into the category.

      With metta,

      Seng Kiat

    • #13877
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Just to elaborate on a few categories listed by SengKiat:

      Unenduring (addhuva) as contemplation of anicca.

      Dhuva means permanent and addhuva means impermanent. Thus, it is clear that taking anicca as “impermanence” is only one aspect of anicca.

      This term, “dhuva” comes in the Brahma­niman­tanika Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 49), where the Baka Brahma says his existence is permanent; see #12 of
      Anidassana Viññāṇa – What It Really Means

      Anatta (anatta) as contemplation of anatta.
      Here anatta means “without refuge”.

      Beyond (para) as contemplation of anatta.
      A better translation for “para” here is “lowly”, or very low moral standards. Beyond applies better in the case of “paralowa“. (“para” + “lowa“, or beyond this world).

      “Vain (tuccha) as contemplation of anatta.”
      Tucca is stronger than just vain; despicable is a better translation.

    • #13883
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Thanks Lal and SengKiat.
      Kind regards,
      Siebe

    • #13971
      sybe07
      Spectator

      This material is meant as research and discussion material. I do not want to cause conlficts but i want to investigate what is meant by anicca, dhukka and anatta nupassana.

      I have collected some fragments from the book; ” In this very life, the liberation teachings of the Buddha, Sayadaw U Pandita

      Dhukka nupassana (p.293)

      “Dukkhānupassanā-ñāṇa, the insight that comprehends suffering, also occurs at the moment when one is contemplating the passing away of phenomena, but it has a different flavor from aniccānupassanā-ñāṇa. One is suddenly seized by a great realization that none of these objects is dependable. There is no refuge in them; they are fearsome things”.

      I can see this insight that there is no refuge in conditioned phenomena is also in Patisambhidamagga (Treatise on Insight §9) related to dhukka-nupassana. It is not related specifically to anatta nupassana.

      Anatta nupassana (p.294)

      “Automatically now, one appreciates anatta, that no one is behind these processes. Moment to moment, phenomena occur; this is a natural process with which one is not identified (this i am not, not mine, not myself, Siebe). This wisdom relating to the absence of self in things, anattānupassanā-ñāṇa, also is based on two preceding aspects, anatta itself and anatta lakkhaṇa. Anatta refers to all impermanent phenomena which possess no self-essence — in other words, every single element of mind and matter. The only difference from anicca and dukkha is that a different aspect is being highlighted. The characteristic of anatta, anatta lakkhaṇa, is seeing that an object does not arise or pass away according to one’s wishes.
      All the mental and physical phenomena that occur in us come and go of their own accord, responding to their own natural laws. Their occurrence is beyond our control. We can see this in a general way by observing the weather. At times it is extremely hot, at other time freezing cold. At times it is wet, at other times dry. Some climates are fickle, such that one does not know what will happen next. In no climate can one adjust the temperature to suit one’s comfort. Weather is subject to its own natural laws, just like the elements that constitute our minds and bodies. When we fall ill, suffer, and eventually die, are these processes not contrary to our wishes? While conscientiously watching all the mental and physical phenomena arising and passing away within, one may be struck by the fact that no one is in control of the process. Such an insight comes quite naturally. It is not affected or manipulated in any way. Nor does it come from reflection. It simply occurs when one is present, observing the passing away of phenomena. This is called anattānupassanā-ñāṇa. When one is unable to see the momentary arising and passing away of phenomena, one is easily misled to think that there is a self, an individual unchanging entity behind the process of body and mind. With clear awareness, this false view is momentarily eliminated”

      at this moment i, indeed, belief this corresponds to the sutta’s and commentaries like Patisambhidamagga. Atta is the idea of an unchanging governing self (see anattalakkhana suta. A self who governs all these mental, verbal, and physical formations. Anatta nupassana sees, momentarily, so not philosphically, that this is not true. Also the notion I am arises and ceases out of control. There arises no entity but the notion “I am” is itself a formations caused by (longstanding) craving. The notion “I am” can, i belief, the best be understood as the notion of an existing ego.

      Siebe

    • #16260
      inflib
      Participant

      Thank you all so much for your posts!

      The combination of Lal’s post Key to Sotapanna Stage – Ditthi and Vicikicca, the uncontrollable biting dog example and the unfruitful khandha “mines” cleared enough “gold” dust off the Path to see it clearly. I say “gold” dust b/c where I live we are having pollen storms from all the pine trees here. So, I’m continously wiping away the “gold” dust.

      Also, “gold” is associated with high value (fruitfulness), but the truth is the more valuable rupa and nama are in this world of 31 realms, the harder it is to leave behind, thus more suffering.

      Many thanks to all of you here…You are my Sangha!

      With much metta!

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