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Mental fermentations

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Āsava
(lit: influxes), 'mental fermentations', taints, corruption's, intoxicant biases.

There is a list of four (as in D. 16, Pts.M., Vibh.):

    the mental fermentation due to sense-desire (kāmāsava)

    of (desiring eternal) existence (bhavāsava)

    of (wrong views) (ditthāsava)

    of ignorance (avijjāsava)

A list of three, omitting the mental fermentation due to views, is possibly older and is more frequent in the Suttas, e.g. in M.2, M.9, D.33; A.III.59, 67; A.VI.63.

In Vibh. (Khuddakavatthu Vibh.) both the 3-fold and 4-fold division are mentioned. The fourfold division also occurs under the name of 'floods' (ogha) and 'yokes' (yoga).

Through the path of Stream-Entry, the mental fermentation due to views is destroyed; through the path of Non-Returning, the mental fermentation due to sense-desire; through the path of Arahant-ship, the fermentations of existence and ignorance. M. 2 shows how to overcome the fermentations, namely, through insight, sense-control, avoidance, wise use of the necessities of life, etc. For a commentarial exposition, see Atthasālini Tr. I, p. 63f: II, pp. 475ff.

Khīnāsava, 'one whose fermentations are destroyed', or 'one who is fermentation-free', is a name for the Arahat or Holy One. The state of Arahantship is frequently called Āsavakkhaya, 'the destruction of the fermentations'. Suttas concluding with the attainment of Arahantship by the listeners, often end with the words: "During this utterance, the hearts of the Bhikkhus were freed from the fermentations through clinging no more" (anupādāya Āsavehi cittāni vimuccimsū'ti).

Source

what-buddha-said.net