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[Wolf Larsen] "... 'as I see it, a man does things because of desire. He has many desires. He may desire to escape pain, or to enjoy pleasure. But whatever he does, he does because he desires to do it.'

[Mr. Van Weyden] "'... temptation is temptation whether the man yield or overcome. Fire is fanned by the wind until it leaps up fiercely. So is desire like fire. It is fanned, as by a wind, by sight of the thing desired, or by a new and luring description or comprehension of the thing desired. There lies the temptation. It is the wind that fans the desire until it leaps up to mastery. That's temptation. It may not fan sufficiently to make the desire overmastering, but in so far as it fans at all, that far is it temptation. And ... it may tempt for good as well as for evil.'"

The Sea Wolf by Jack London, First published in book form by The Macmillan Co., New York, in 1904. A book that should be read as an exercise in the cultivation of ethical thinking.

Desire and Temptation

Taṇhā and Upādāna

Understanding that this is not a literal translation, just a useful one: Upādāna-K-khandhā = Storehouses of Temptation = the Chinese idea of the Warehouse-Consciousness. Piles of stuff which fan the flames of becoming when dwelt on without caution. Forms, sensations and sense experiences; perceptions, own-makings or 'things to do'; states of consciousness.

This is a very useful piece of information to have when reflecting on your meditation practice. What it means is that when you are sitting there with your mind focused on the mouth and the breathing, you are in effect "not-engaging" with temptations. This is the practice for 'samādhi' (serenity; being 'even-over'; blissfully above it all) in its highest form. It is not the same as, in fact it is the mirror opposite of the practice as found in [DN 22] the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta where the practice of minding the mouth and the breathing is directed at observing the origination, existence and passing away of things.

What has happened then, in practice, is that properly exercised, the Satipaṭṭhana Sutta will bring one to the perception that there is no thing there that does not change, bring pain and is only mistakenly taken for the self. The next logical step is to let go of 'things' and this is the practice for accomplishing that end.

Misunderstood, satipaṭṭhāna practice is being described as a concentration on the breathing, and is further being confused in the same way with samādhi practice, but even a casual reading without the blinders imposed by authorities will show you that the idea is not paying attention to the breathing in-and-of itself, it is understanding the breathing and all sorts of other phenomena encompassed under the headings of body, sense experience, mental states and the Dhamma, in terms of their origin, existence and passing away. Concentrated focus on the breathing as an end in itself, will result in going completely wacka-ding-hoy. Using the same focus on the mouth and the breathing when it is not the object in-and-of itself, but a tool for rising above all else does not lead to madness and does lead to serenity.

Summary: Satipaṭṭhāna practice begins with minding the breathing and there minding the breathing is intended to be a take-off point for analyzing body, sense experience, mental states and the Dhamma.

When insight into the nature of body, sense experience, mental states and the Dhamma has shown one that there is no thing there that does not change, bring pain and is the self, the practice moves on to the cultivation of serenity by way of using focus on the mouth and the breathing as a tool for rising above that which fans the fuel of becoming (temptations): desire for forms, sensations, perceptions, doing things, and consciousness itself.

One more time: When minding the breathing is focused outward it is satipaṭṭhana practice; when it is used to rise above outward focus it is samādhi practice.




See also The Load discussion
[48] Khandhā Suttaɱ, III.47

The Buddha defines what he calls the stockpiles (khandha) and what he calls the fueled stockpiles (upādāna-k-khandha).

A very important distinction is made here between khandha and upādāna-k-khandha.

It is not form, sense-experience, perception, the own-made, and consciousness themselves that are the fuel supporting existence and rebirth; it is the delight with, the obsession with the lust, anger and blindness associated with these things that is that fuel.

The distinction is being made between that which is already done, or that which exists externally, and that which is being contemplated, the subject of obsession, lust, anger and blindness.

Body as seen objectively and body as seen in conjunction with the idea 'my'

If one is going to use the translation 'grasping' or 'clinging' for 'upadana', then the translation of 'upadana-k-khandha' would be 'grasped-after-form...' or 'clung-to-form.' Woodward here uses 'factor that has to do with grasping' which passes, elsewhere he has used 'grasping-heaps' which gives the wrong sense: the heap is not grasping! That's something out of a horror movie.

Bhk. Bodhi has 'subject to clinging' and has used 'affected by clinging' both of which are misdirections: the idea is that it is clinging to, or grasping after or the fueling based on or connected with body, etc, that gives rise to existence; this is not pointing to a thing there that is a clinging-affected body or a body that has been subjected to clinging. ... or maybe it is.

Body is something that has become by way of clinging. But then if this term is to stand for both the obsessing that arises based on body and the body that arises based on obsessing, the term to be found must reflect both sides of the picture.

PTS: The Factors, III.41
WP: Aggregates, I.886
ATI: Aggregates
BD: The Stockpiles, Olds, trans.



In SN 4.35.60 the Buddha delivers a lecture on a method for the complete understanding of all that is comprised under the heading of upādāna; the things one does in response to sensation in order to re-experience the sensation or in order to get away from the sensation through other experiences.

Here what is being spoken of is the entire spectrum of things that go into the blind setting up of rebirth: what it is that is to be understood in order to understand the real nature of setting up further existence.

That is: it is through understanding the way sense experience arises that one conceives a distaste for sense experience and with that distaste thirst to re-experience or to escape by way of some other experience falls away and when this thirst falls away one is free, and in freedom the recognizing of that freedom is the freedom from setting up future rebirth.

Why does knowing/seeing that the eye and visible objects coming into contact giving rise to visual consciousness and that the union of the three is contact cause 'nibbindati'?

PED: to get wearied of; to have enough of, be satiated, turn away from, to be disgusted with.

The term needs to be neutral.

Woodward's 'repulsion' is a reaction. Reacting one is not free. The same applies to Bhk. Bodhi's 'revulsion'. It could be 'distaste' or 'disgust', meaning 'not having a taste for', which is not a 'doing'. The word is virtually identical in definition to 'satisfaction'. The idea at work is that seeing the senses in this way free's one from the notion that sense-experience is arising 'in me' or is being produced 'by me' or 'is me'. This is a solution, an escape from the problem of existing that we have been seeking. So it satisfies and there is naturally no further arising of any desire to jump back into the fire or the maelstrom. We don't need to see the whole world as 'revolting', we just need to see it as a trap that we have escaped.



In SN 4.35.61 The Buddha delivers a lecture on a method for the complete breaking open of all that is comprised under the heading of 'set-ups' or 'fuel' for further existence.

Pariyādinna. PED: exhausted, finished, put an end to, consummated -pp. of pariyādiyati PED: 1. to put an end to, exhaust, overpower, destroy, mastery, control. 2. to become exhausted, give out; >pari = all around; ādiyati = to split or join (adhere) which meaning comes closer to what this sutta is teaching which is the (exhaustion of the grip of the senses by way of) observation of the unity of the parts of sense experience. To break them apart or to see their unity.

See also: SN 4.35.62



Closely Related:

Anusaya: Reaction: The Follow-on Experience



In SN 4.35.110 The Buddha defines that which supports life distinguishing between the thing (the senses) that supports and the supporting which is desire and lust.

See also for this idea: SN 3.22.121.

Because of the distinction made here between the fuel and the thing that makes the fuel fuel living, or between that which supports life and that which makes those supports support life, these are very good suttas to use to batter out your personal um ... grasp/understanding/translation of 'upādāna'.

Grasping works. 'The eye is the thing grasped, the lust is the grasping." Bhk. Bodhi: 'The eye is a thing that can be clung to, the desire and lust for it is the clinging there.'

But I don't think the idea is 'clinging' either in regard to the khandhas or in its place in the paṭicca samuppāda. This word must stand for 'going after or supporting or fueling getting' or 'going towards, supporting, fueling making' not trying to keep, hang on to, what has already been got.

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