Udayavaya (Udayabbaya) Ñāna – Introduction

Udayabbaya or udayavaya ñāna is the knowledge of the mechanism responsible for the arising of rebirth (i.e., suffering) and the way to stop such arising (i.e., end of suffering.)

February 12, 2016; revised October 23, 2018; November 23, 2020; re-written September 25, 2022

The udayavaya ñāna (ñāna pronounced “ngāna”; see the pronunciation guide in “Pāli Glossary – (L-Z)”) is also referred to as the udayabbaya ñāna.

  • The actual Pāli word is udayabbaya (I had inadvertently used the Sinhala word udayavaya). A description of the udayabbaya ñāna is in the Paṭi­sam­bhi­dā­magga Pakarana: “1.1.6. Udayab­baya­ñāṇa­niddesa“.
  • However, it is about the arising (udaya) and destruction (vaya) of a saṅkhata. This is another example of two Pāli words combining to sound differently: udayabbaya.

Pronunciation of udayavaya

This series of posts needs to be rewritten. It may take some time since I am busy these days with other things.

  • However, it is not urgent to study udayabbaya ñāna in detail. As I explain below, if one understands “Paṭicca Samuppāda,” one would have the udayabbaya ñāna.
What is Udaya (Arising)?

1. Things in this world do not arise without causes. Births in the 31 realms occur due to six causes, which reduces to three root causes lobha, dosa, and moha. That is because the mundane versions of alobha, adosa, and amoha that give rise to births in the “good realms” above the four lowest realms are milder versions of lobha, dosa, and moha. See “Six Root Causes – Loka Samudaya (Arising of Suffering) and Loka Nirodhaya (Nibbāna).”

  • The “milder versions” of lobha, dosa, and moha can be removed only by comprehending the teachings of the Buddha embedded in “Paṭicca Samuppāda, Tilakkhana, Four Noble Truths.”
  • The mechanism of the arising of any saṅkhata in this world is systematically described by “Paṭicca Samuppāda.” Upon his Enlightenment, this was the first part of ultimate knowledge gained by our Bodhisatta to become a Buddha: “Paṭhama Bodhi Sutta (Ud 1.1).”
  • This forward (or anuloma) Paṭicca Samuppāda describes the “udaya” part of the udayabbaya ñāna.
One Meaning of “Vaya” – Destruction

2. Anything that comes into existence in this world WILL be destroyed, without exception. That is one meaning of “vaya.

  • For example, any saṅkhata that comes into existence will exist for a certain duration (during which it will undergo unexpected changes) and then cease to exist. See, for example, “Ānanda Sutta (SN 22.37).”
  • That is one meaning of “vaya.” But that is not the meaning implied in the udayabbaya ñāna.
Second Meaning of “Vaya” – “Stopping of Arising” or Permanent Destruction

3. The second meaning of “permanent destruction” achieved via eliminating all root causes is implied in the udayabbaya ñāna.

  • A human being dies within about 100 years. That “death of a person” is the previous meaning of vaya for a human.
  • However, that “lifestream” does not end at the death of the physical body. If that human gandhabba has more lifetime left, it will get into a suitable womb and give rise to another human body.
  • Even when that human gandhabba dies, that lifestream will just “switch over” to another existence, such as Deva or animal.

4. A lifestream will come to an end ONLY at the Parinibbāna of an Arahant, i.e., when the rebirth process comes to an end. That is the meaning of vaya (complete and permanent stopping) in udayabbaya ñāna.

  • That is achieved by eliminating avijjā (ignorance of the Four Noble Truths), i.e., “avijjā nirodhā saṅkhāra nirodho” leads to “saṅkhāra nirodhā viññāṇa nirodho,” etc. ending in “bhava nirodhā jāti nirodho” and, thus, to the end of suffering: “Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hotī’ti.”
  • That is the reverse of the Paṭicca Samuppāda or the paṭiloma Paṭicca Samuppāda, the second part of the udayabbaya ñāna gleaned by the Buddha: “Dutiya Bodhi Sutta (Ud 1.2).”
Udayabbaya Ñāna – Fifty Types

5. The Paṭi­sam­bhi­dā­magga Pakarana analyzes the udayabbaya ñāna by describing 25 factors that lead to “udaya” of the five aggregates and 25 factors leading to their  “vaya: “1.1.6. Udayab­baya­ñāṇa­niddesa“.

  • Each of the five aggregates arises via avijjā, taṇhā, kamma, āhāra, and nibbatti lakkhaṇa. The last refers to the arising of a physical body (for rupa) according to kammic energy.
  • Each of the five aggregates ceases to arise with the cessation of avijjā, taṇhā, kamma, āhāra, and vipariṇāma lakkhaṇa. The last is the natural death of a physical body in the case of rupa. That happens at Parinibbāna of an Arahant.
  • That is the basic idea of the udayavaya or udayabbaya ñāna.
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