Getting Rid of Asava - Defilements

Monday, 30 June 2008


Translated by Dr. Jenny Ko Gyi,
ITBMU, Myanmar.

Sato bhikkhave bhikkhu. Sato, being with mindfulness.
For worldlings, mindfulness is wholesome. For the Buddha and arahants it produces no results. This (being without resultant
outcome) is called kriya.
With mindfulness, covetousness and anger/hatred are to be got rid of.
Covetousness is greed. Ill-will is hatred. With mindfulness, greed and hatred are to be got rid of.
When there is perception as ‘I’, ‘others’, ‘man’, ‘woman’, there will be covetousness, hatred. With mindfulness, view of ‘I,
man, woman, etc,’ is dispelled; only then will covetousness, hatred be dispelled.
In-breath, out-breath is object of mindfulness.
Not knowing mind-matter (namarupa) is covetousness, hatred. Greed, hatred knows man. The Buddha, being of great wisdom,
man of long ago being of great wisdom, in the original Pali, there are not many words. Only when there is no perception as ‘man,
or names, or forms’ will greed, hatred be got rid of. There should be no greed, no hatred,
When the eye sees, when the ear hears, it is resultant (consciousness), vipaka. When the eye merely sees, when the ear merely
hears, greed, hatred, will not arise.
When friends joke, it is also to be taken as merely seeing, merely hearing.
Being alive is due to in-breath, out-breath. Being mindful (of in-breath, out-breath) is contemplation of the body.
Contemplating internal organs such as intestines is contemplation of the body; contemplating hair, nails, bones, flesh is also
contemplation of the body. Contemplation of the four postures, (sitting, standing, walking, lying down) is also contemplation of
the body. There is mindfulness.
Wrong view sees man, woman. This wrong view comes from ignorance, and it gives rise to covetousness, hatred.
Greed, wrong view, delusion, (lobha, ditthi, moha) comprise asava, cankers. Delusion moha sees man, woman. When greed,
wrong view, delusion are no more, asava, cankers are no more. Then there is attainment of arahantship, or Buddhahood.
When delusion sees man, it becomes wrong view, ditthi. Moving, sitting is not man. That which sits is matter, knowing it is mind.
It is mind-matter that sits. It is mind-matter that sits and meditates. Only then will view of man be dispelled. Wrong view, ditthi,
will be dispelled only when view of man, woman is dispelled.
When wrong view is dispelled, delusion is dispelled. When (visible-object) is taken as man, it is asava, canker, which consists of
greed, wrong view, delusion (lobha, ditthi,
moha). Recite, ‘this is asava’.
Taking (the object) as man, as woman, is ditthasava, canker which is wrong view. Who takes (the object) as man? It is delusion
that takes (the object) as man. According to the Dependent Origination – Paticcasamuppada, it is ignorance called avijja.
Greed, wrong view, delusion, are roots that are to be dispelled.
It is thought that the eye sees man, that the ear hears man, the nose smells man, that the body touches man. Mind thinks it is
man. All these support in the arising of delusion.
This is to be controlled by indriyasamvara sila, restraint of sense faculties. In the discourse on auspiciousness, Mangala sutta, it is
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Greed, hatred, delusion, arise related to eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body.
Greed, wrong view, delusion, are asava, cankers. Asava is like intoxicating drinks. Whenever (you) drink it, (you) get intoxicated
by it. (You) take intoxicants because you want to act like man, use abusive language like man. When (you) get drunk there come
greed, hatred; there is also wrong view. There is view of ‘I’. Greed, wrong view, delusion are brought about related to eyes,
ears, etc. Be careful.
Thinking it is man is delusion. With thought as man, there come greed/craving, lust, covetousness, ill-will/grudge, worries. View
of man, woman is wrong view/ditthi. Desire is greed, covetousness (lobha, abhijjha). According to Satipatthana (Foundations of
Mindfulness) it is called abhijjha. Then there is worry (you will have to worry for a living). Like man being intoxicated by
alcoholic drinks, in seeing, hearing, it is led to view of man. It is taken as man being seen, man being heard. When the eye sees,
there should be no man, no ill-will. In Pali, the original language of the Buddha’s time, it is said, ‘sato bhikkhave bhikkhu’. There
has to be mindfulness. It is mindfulness that knows that man does not exist. In contemplation of the body, kayanupassasna, if it is
recited, ‘flesh, skin, bone’, etc. there is no man. Only when there is no view of man, there will be no greed. Only when there is
no greed, there will be no hatred. Then this is mindfulness.
Practise mindfulness of in-breath, out-breath, so that there is no view of man. With mindfulness while going about, practice so
that there is no view of man. Contemplate bones, flesh, skin, head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, flesh, tendons, bone marrow. If
view of man is dispelled by contemplating these, then go ahead.
If by contemplating in-breath, out-breath, view of man is not dispelled, then (you) can go on to contemplate large intestines,
small intestines, liver, ingested food, digested food, brain, etc. If by contemplating flesh, tendons, bones, (you) can dispel view
of man, then go ahead with this practice. When going about, that which goes is matter, that which knows is mind. It is only
mind-matter. Go ahead with any method that will help (you) get rid of view of man. It is sato bhikkhave bhikkhu. If view of man
is not dispelled, then mindfulness is not there. (There has to be) mindfulness, effort, knowledge/wisdom. Covetousness, hatred
will be got rid of only when view of man is got rid of.
The world is actually the aggregate of clinging upadanakkhandha. The aggregate of clinging which is the world means seeing by
the eye, hearing by the ear. The eye sees, the
ear hears, the nose smells, these are aggregates called the aggregate of clinging.
What the eye sees, what the ear hears are not to be taken as man.
What the ear (hears) arises and passes away. The ear is impermanent, it is suffering. It is the aggregate of clinging, then (view
of) man will be dispelled.
What the eye (sees) is impermanent, suffering. There is no man. (Understanding this) is wisdom. (It leads to) attainment of
When it is known that seeing by the eye, hearing by the ear, smelling by the nose, are impermanence and suffering view of man
is dispelled, wrong view is dispelled. Only when man is skillful in craftsmanship, in business, he earns well. So also, when it is
known how meditation is practiced, it will be fruitful. Only when view of man is dispelled, only when there is no covetousness,
there is well being. I can only teach (you). (You) have to do it yourself. Only when view of man is dispelled, covetousness is
Covetousness is greed, it is called raga. Seeing women, men want to make them their wives, and vice versa. This has become
ingrained. Desiring women, desiring men, and songs are composed about this. This is asava, cankers. Thinking it is man, getting
angry with others, is ditthasava, cankers that come with wrong view.
There are kamasava (cankers that come with desire for sensual pleasure), bhavasava (cankers that come with desire for
existence), ditthasava (cankers that come with wrong view), avijjasava (cankers that come with ignorance). Hatred is not
mentioned here. But it is there. Only when view of man is dispelled there is attainment of the first stage of deliverance
(sotapanna). When greed is no more one attains the third stage of deliverance (anagami).
When view of man is no more, covetousness, hatred is no more. When covetousness, hatred is no more, resultant (rebirth) in the
four woeful planes is no more. View of man, deities is no more and there is attainment of the third stage of deliverance
(anagami). There is rebirth in suddhavasa brahma plane. It means brahma who are pure, brahma who are purified of
covetousness, hatred.
Greed, wrong view, delusion (lobha, ditthi, moha) are called asava, cankers that gives rise to intoxication. They are like
intoxicating drinks, and keeps (one) intoxicated. So also asava cankers make (one) go on desiring for sensual pleasures.
There is constant desire for men, women.
Therefore satova, (be) with mindfulness; sampajano, (be) with wisdom.
The Buddha says there is no man, there is no soul. When the eye sees, if it is thought to be man, there is asava. Then there is
asava as soon as the eye opens. When the ear hears, if it is thought to be man, there is asava, cankers – greed, wrong view,
delusion. Delusion thinks it is man. Therefore be mindful at the eye, at the ear. But you keep wishing for these, and there are
(resultant) eyes, etc. But the Buddha does not wish for these. When sitting, greed, wrong view, delusion, thinks it is man sitting,
it is ‘I’ sitting.
When there is no mindfulness, there is delusion. Thinking it is man, there is man-talk. Mindfulness and comprehension suppresses
asava, be mindful. Covetousness and hatred are lobha, dosa which are extinguished only when wrong view ditthi is extinguished.
Why is there wrong view? There is wrong view because of ignorance and delusion (avijja moha). This delusion thinks that there is
man, that there are fluid, flesh and bones. Therefore be mindful. Be aware of flesh, bones. Also be aware when going about. Be
aware of in-breath, out-breath. This is the foundation of mindfulness called contemplation of the body, kayanupassana.
Contemplation of feeling is vedananupassana. Contemplation of consciousnesses is cittanupassana. But (the methods) tend to
become many. Just practice so that view of man is dispelled. (Contemplate) ‘that which knows is mind, that which sits is
matter.(It is only) mind-matter’. Knowing that there is only mind-matter, (view of) man is no more. (When it is understood that)
there is only mind-matter, (it comes to be understood) that there are eyes, ears, etc. Eyes, ears, etc. tend to give rise to asava.
Eyes, etc. tend to give rise to asava. Therefore do not see as man, do not think it is man. When (it is known that) there is
mind-matter, (it is also known) that there are eyes, ears, etc. (and that there is no man). Then asava will be extinguished,
ignorance avijja will be got rid of. When ignorance is got rid of, wisdom arises, and there will be freedom from defilements,
kilesa. This freedom is called vijja, vimutti.
It is taught so that freedom (from defilements) will be attained. It has been taught for a year, for two years, and still (you) do
not get it. The Lord Buddha taught these for forty five years so that there will be no more cankers (in us). Keep reciting ‘ime
asava - this is canker’.
Ime – these greed, wrong view, delusion, asava – are cankers. Why are they called asava? Because they keep one intoxicated,
like alcoholic drinks. Lustful desires are greed. This is (like keeping you) intoxicated. When women see one other, there is
jealousy. This is (also like keeping you) intoxicated. It is asava.
What the eye sees is only visible object, do not (get into a state which is like being intoxicated).
What the ear hears is sound. Get rid of asava.
When the eye sees, if there is mindfulness, there will be no clinging (to that person). When this state (which is like being
intoxicated) is extinguished, (one can even become) the Buddha or an arahant.
Asava which are greed, wrong view, delusion, (lobha, ditthi, moha) keeps the mind intoxicated, and are therefore like alcoholic
drinks. Man, and animals alike, become lustful when they are intoxicated. This is asava.
Not knowing asava is ignorance (avijja).
That which knows asava is mindfulness (sati). Knowing as man is wrong view (ditthi). It goes round like a whirlpool. When view of
man is dispelled, asava cankers that come with wrong view (ditthasava) is dispelled.
When ditthasava (cankers that come with wrong view), hatred, are lessened, there is attainment of (anagami) the second stage
of stream-entry (into the stream of noble persons who have entered the stream of deliverance from suffering). Seeing as man,
it will be like one who has taken intoxicating drinks. (He) gets drunk in the evenings and says all things frivolous.
Why does (he) want to drink in the evenings? When the time comes, he wants to drink because of greed and desire.
Cankers themselves are causes for further arising of more cankers. Wanting to get drunk in the evenings is greed. This greed is
(taken as) man. Wanting to get drunk is delusion. This delusion is (viewed as) man. Cause of (further) cankers is greed, this is the
noble truth of cause of suffering. `
Not developing mindfulness is cause of arising of cankers. When (the thirty two body parts such as) hair, nails, skin, etc., when
matter or rupa when going about, is not contemplated, when it is viewed as ‘I am sitting’, then this is not mindfulness.
Without mindfulness, it again becomes cause of arising of cankers. It is not man, but it disguises as man.
Greed again wants to drink. Hatred/anger again becomes angry. Wrong view thinks it is man. This wrong view is caused by
delusion, moha. Delusion is cause of cankers asava. Wrong view disguises as delusion. For example, spies and detectives mingle
among man, then which man arrests whom? So also asava itself becomes cause of arising of further asava.
It is not man, but it disguises as man. Disguise as man is wrong view ditthi. Disguised as man (among other ordinary men), (he
goes) looking for suspect, he wants suspects. Wanting is greed. It arises from delusion.
Disguise as man, woman, arise from asava. These are to be contemplated as impermanence, suffering. But these are actually
viewed as man in fine clothes.
Asava disguises as man. Asava disguises as woman in make ups. Then man desires this woman.
But the wise knows women as disguises of asava. It is (not man but) bones, flesh, intestines, undigested food, digested food.
When the thirty body parts are known, think, is it asava, is it woman, is it man?
The Buddha (-to-be) (contemplated) in this way. Having renounced the palace, he practiced in this way. (You think) ‘I am wise, I
know’. But this is asava in disguise.
That which knows is mind, that which sits is matter. Is it man, woman? That which does not exist is taken as that which does.
When this disguise is known there will be no more asava. While doing business, it should be done with this knowledge. This is the
practice on asava. It is mindfulness and comprehension. But you have been doing this for one year, two years, and still have not
got it.
View of man is wrong view.
Viewing as man, there is greed. There is desire to get intoxicated, spending money on drinks, not knowing (you are) being
deceived by asava. Man, woman is asava in disguise. Eyes, ears help asava to arise. They are also asava in disguise. When there is
no disguise, there is no asava.
When disguises are known, it is cause of cessation of asava. Recite ‘this is cessation of asava’.
All relatives, family, are disguises which you take to be real.
When man, deities, etc. are known to be asava in disguise, it becomes right view (sammaditthi). Now there arises right thought
(sammasankappa). Then this asava does not arise again.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 July 2008 )


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