Lōbha, Dōsa, Mōha versus Rāga, Paṭigha, Avijjā

Revised January 2, 2019; revised November 8, 2019; February 23, 2021

Lōbha, Dosa, and Mōha

1. Lōbha is extreme greed; see, “Lōbha, Rāga, and Kāmaccanda, Kāmarāga.” One is willing to do any immoral act to get what one wants. One can become blind by greed, i.e., kāmacchanda can arise.

  • Dosa (or dvesha in Sanskrit) is the ANGER that arises based on initial lōbha. Here, dvesha comes from “devana” + “vesha” — දෙවන වේශය — or second manifestation of lōbha. We get angry when someone else is in the way of getting what we want.

2. One acts with lōbha or dōsa because one has mōha. Mōha comes from “muva” + “” which symbolizes a vessel with its mouth closed. Thus one cannot see what is inside. Similarly, one acts with mōha because one is unaware that such immoral acts will have horrible consequences. One’s mind is blocked and dark (cannot “see” clearly).

  • When one has not removed the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi, one could act with mōha.  The ten types of micchā diṭṭhi are discussed in “Mahā Cattārisaka Sutta (Discourse on the Great Forty).”
  • In the pañca nīvaraṇa (five hindrances), abhijjhā and vyāpāda represent lōbha and dōsa. Those are synonymous terms for lōbha and dōsa; see, “Key to Calming the Mind – The Five Hindrances.”
  • The word abhijjhā comes from “abhi” + “icchā” or “strong liking/craving.” The word vyāpāda comes from “vaya” + “pāda” or “on a downward path.”
Pāpa Kamma Done With Lōbha, Dosa, and Mōha

3. Actions carried out with lōbha, dōsa, and mōha are called pāpa kamma. They are stronger versions of akusala kamma. Such pāpa kamma makes one eligible to be born in the lower four worlds.

  • Actions done with dōsa are the worst, with niraya (hell) as the possible destination, and lōbha is cause for rebirth in the preta (peta) lōka of hungry ghosts. Acts done with both lōbha and dōsa have all three “san” (since mōha is always there), and thus lead to rebirth in the animal or “tirisan” (“tiri”+”san” or all three “san”) realm.
  • As one engages in moral actions and gets rid of one’s tendency (“gati”) to do immoral actions, one starts “cooling down,” and one’s likelihood of being born in the lower four realms diminishes.
Rāga, Paṭigha, Avijjā

4. However, lobha, dōsa, mōha permanently reduce to rāga, paṭigha, avijjā levels when one attains the Sōtapanna stage. All pañca nīvaraṇa permanently removed at the Sōtapanna stage.

  • Of course, one is now able to “see” the real nature of the world (anicca, dukkha, anatta) to some extent (one is not blind), and thus mōha is reduced to avijjā level.
  • As explained in the previous post, rāga is the craving for sense pleasures. See, “Lōbha, Rāga, and Kāmaccandha, Kāmarāga.”
  • Of course, there are different levels here too, but in general, this level of greed makes one eligible only for birth in the human and deva worlds. Paṭigha is a lower level of hate, more like “friction.” One may get annoyed when someone and even say something in return, but will never do anything “horrible” that makes one eligible to be born in the lower four realms.
Kāma Rāga is One Type of Rāga

5. At the next level of Nibbāna of the Sakadāgāmi level, kāma rāga, and paṭigha are both reduced to the extent that one will not be reborn in the human level, but only deva or higher realms.

  • Kāma rāga is the rāga or craving for sense pleasures in the kāma lōka. There are two levels of kāma rāga: vatthu kāma (craving for OWNING objects that provide sense pleasures) and kilesa or kilesa kāma (craving for sense pleasures is there, but not necessary to “OWN THEM”). A Sakadāgāmi has lost the vatthu kāma, but still has kilesa kāma, i.e., he/she still craves for sense pleasures, but has no desire to “own them.” For example, a Sakadāgāmi may still like to live in a beautiful house with comforts, but the desire to “own the house” is not there.
  • Above the human realm (in Deva and Brahma realms), beings have subtle bodies. They are not “solid” bodies like ours that are subjected to decay or diseases. Thus they never get sick or visibly old (but of course, death is inevitable to anyone anywhere in the 31 realms). That is why a Sakadāgāmi is said to be healthy forever (after human life).
Kāma Rāga is Removed at the Anāgāmi Stage

6. When one attains the Anāgāmi stage, both kāma rāga and paṭigha will no longer be present. Thus one will not even be offended by harsh words/acts and will not retaliate. An Anāgāmi will never be born anywhere in the kāma lōka including the deva worlds; they are reborn only in Brahma realms.

  • While a Sōtapanna may still have some tendency to give priority to sense pleasures at certain times, all such habits are reduced at the Sakadāgāmi stage and removed at the Anāgāmi stage.

7. For an Anāgāmi, only rupa rāga and arupa rāga will be present. That means a desire for jhānic pleasures in the rupa and arupa lōka (the four rupa jhānā and four arupa jhānā). And he/she still has avijjā left to a certain extent together with māna (some level of pride) and uddhacca (some degree of sense of superiority).

  • All these disappear at the Arahant stage. An Arahant is free from even a trace of defilements. Therefore, an Arahant will never be reborn in “this world” of kāma lōka, rupa lōka, or arupa lōka (anywhere in the 31 realms).
  • That is why it is not productive to meditate, trying to eliminate the sense of “self” before the Sōtapanna stage. Many people incorrectly interpret anatta as “no-self.” But the feeling of “me” is removed only at the Arahant stage, after the Anāgāmi stage. As long as māna and uddhacca are there, the sense of “me” is still there.
Key to Getting to the Sōtapanna stage

8. To get to the Sōtapanna stage, one needs to realize the “three characteristics of nature.” One is the true meaning of anicca (that there is no point in hurting others to achieve temporary sense pleasures.) The second is that one will be subjected to much suffering (dukkha) without realizing the anicca nature.  The third is that until one has that mindset, one is truly helpless in this round of rebirths (anatta). Until one comprehends them, it is POSSIBLE for any of the following to happen in the rebirth process:

  • One could act with extreme greed (lōbha) to the extent of a hungry ghost (peta). Thus, one could get such a birth.
  • Act with extreme hate (dōsa) in the heat of the moment and could even kill a human. That can lead to a rebirth in the niraya (hell).
  • One may not realize the unfruitfulness of depending on others. That includes cheating/stealing (without trying to make an honest living for oneself.) Thus, a birth in the asura realm is possible.
  • It is even possible to cultivate “animal gati.” Those include having sex with young children or being able to kill/hurt others for one’s pleasure, etc. In this case, both lōbha and dōsa could be present. Thus one is not released from the animal realm.
  • Those are the four lower realms. Thus one will be truly helpless (anatta) unless one removes such bad habits (“gati“). Until then, dukkha (suffering) will be there in the long-term, if not in this lifetime. Those are the true meanings of anicca, dukkha, anatta.
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