ādīnava: danger

ādīnava: wretchedness

ādīnava: disadvantage


Illustration: ādīnavaṃ, danger

It would be better for the faculty of sight to be blotted out by a red-hot iron pin, burning, blazing, and glowing, than for one to grasp the features or aspects of a visible object known via the visual sense.

For if one’s stream of consciousness should stand tied to the sweetness of the features or aspects of the object, and if one should die on that occasion, it is possible that one will go to one of two places of rebirth: hell or the animal realm.

Seeing this danger I speak thus.
Imaṃ khvāhaṃ bhikkhave ādīnavaṃ disvā evaṃ vadāmi (S.4.168).

Illustration: ādīnavo, danger

When a bhikkhu is focusing on some meditation object that arouses unvirtuous, spiritually unwholesomethoughts then:

• he should examine the danger of those thoughts, that they are spiritually unwholesome, blameworthy, and have an unpleasant karmic consequence
☸ tesaṃ vitakkānaṃ ādīnavo upaparikkhitabbo itipime vitakkā akusalā itipime vitakkā sāvajjā itipime vitakkā dukkhavipākāti (M.1.120).

Illustration: ādīnavaṃ danger

Recognising this danger, that suffering arises dependent on karmically consequential deeds
Etamādīnavaṃ ñatvā dukkhaṃ saṅkhārapaccayā (Sn.v.731-2).

Illustration: ādīnavaṃ danger

―Ānanda, friend, do the bhikkhus teach the abandonment of attachment, hatred, and undiscernment of reality?’
rāgassa pahānaṃ paññāpetha dosassa pahānaṃ paññāpetha mohassa pahānaṃ paññāpethāti

―We do indeed, friend.

―Seeing what danger therein do you so teach?’
ādīnavaṃ disvā

―Why, friend, one who is overpowered and overcome by attachment, hatred, and undiscernment of reality, is intent upon his own harm, upon the harm of others, upon the harm of both, and so experiences psychological pain and dejection. But if attachment, hatred, and undiscernment of reality are abandoned he is not intent upon his own harm, upon the harm of others, upon the harm of both, and thus does not experience psychological pain and dejection (A.1.216-7).

Illustration: ādīnavaṃ danger

Suppose that I, being myself liable to defilement, knowing the danger of (seeking) what is liable to defilement, should seek the undefiled, the unsurpassed safety from (the danger of) bondage (to individual existence), the Untroubled.
kinnu kho ahaṃattanā saṅkilesadhammo samāno saṅkilesadhamme ādīnavaṃ viditvā asaṅkiliṭṭhaṃ anuttaraṃ yogakkhemaṃ nibbānaṃ pariyeseyyan ti (M.1.163).

Illustration: ādīnavā, danger

Five dangers of having faith which is based on a single individual
Pañcime bhikkhave ādīnavā puggalappasāde. Katame pañca:

When a person’s complete faith is based on a single individual (puggale puggalo abhippasanno hoti) and that person falls into an error such that the community of bhikkhus suspends him, then he will think: ‘The community of bhikkhus has suspended he who is beloved and dear to me.’ And he will be no more full of faith in the bhikkhus (bhikkhūsu appasādabahulo hoti), and from being without faith he will not follow other bhikkhus, and from not following other bhikkhus he will not hear the true teaching, and from not hearing the true teaching he will fall away from the true teaching (A.3.270).

Illustration: ādīnava, danger

And what, Ānanda, is the perception of the danger (of the body)?
Katamācānanda ādīnavasaññā

In this regard, Ānanda, a bhikkhu… reflects that this (wretched human) body is very unpleasant and a great danger.
bahu dukkho kho ayaṃ kāyo bahu ādīnavo.

Many illnesses arise in it, namely, illnesses of the eye, ear, nose… cold, heat, hunger, thirst, faeces and urine.
iti imasmiṃ kāye vividhā ābādhā uppajjanti seyyathīdaṃ cakkhurogo sotarogo ghānarogo… sītaṃ uṇhaṃ jighacchā pipāsā uccāro passāvo ti).

Thus he abides contemplating the danger of this (wretched human) body.
Iti imasmiṃ kāye ādīnavānupassī viharati (A.5.110).

Illustration: ādīnavo, danger

Then Yasa, having awoken sooner than usual saw his retinue asleep: one with a lute in her arm, one with a tabor under her chin, one with a drum under her arm, one with dishevelled hair, one who was dribbling, and others who were muttering. One would think it was a charnel ground before one’s eyes. Seeing this, the danger (of sensuous pleasure) became apparent to him. His mind was established in disillusionment (with sensuous pleasure).
Atha kho yaso kulaputto paṭigacceva pabujjhitvā addasa sakaṃ parijanaṃ supantaṃ. Aññissā kacche vīṇaṃ. Aññissā kaṇṭhe mudiṅgaṃ. Aññissā kacche ālambaraṃ. Aññaṃ vikkesikaṃ aññaṃ vikkhelikaṃ. Aññā vippalapantiyo. Hatthappattaṃ susānaṃ maññe. Disvānassa ādīnavo pāturahosi. Nibbidāya cittaṃ saṇṭhāsi (Vin.1.15).

Illustration: ādīnavo, danger

What is the danger of sensuous pleasures?
☸ Ko ca bhikkhave kāmānaṃ ādīnavo?

Firstly, due to whatever craft by which a noble young man makes his living… he is exposed to cold and heat, he is injured by contact with horseflies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and snakes, facing death from hunger and thirst. This is the danger of sensuous pleasures, a mass of suffering discernable in this lifetime (ādīnavo sandiṭṭhiko dukkhakkhandho), having sensuous pleasure as its cause, its source, its basis, its cause being simply sensuous pleasure (M.1.85-7).

Illustration: ādīnavaṃ, danger

The Blessed One delivered a graduated discourse on generosity, on morality, on heaven, explaining the danger, degradation, and defilement of sensuous pleasures, and the advantage of the practice of unsensuousness.
☸ bhagavā ānupubbīkathaṃ kathesi seyyathīdaṃ dānakathaṃ sīlakathaṃ saggakathaṃ kāmānaṃ ādīnavaṃ okāraṃ saṅkilesaṃ nekkhamme ca ānisaṃsaṃ pakāsesi (D.1.109).

Illustration: ādīnavaṃ, danger

Seeing danger in sensuous pleasures, and safety in the practice of unsensuousness
Kāmesvādīnavaṃ disvā nekkhammaṃ daṭṭhu khemato (Thī.v.226).

Illustration: ādīnava, danger

He takes that almsfood without being ensnared by, infatuated with, or clinging to it, but seeing the danger of it, discerning deliverance.
So taṃ piṇḍapātaṃ agathito amucchito anajjhopanno ādīnavadassāvī nissaraṇapañño paribhuñjati (M.1.369).

Illustration: ādīnavaṃ, danger

The Blessed One Buddha Vipassī explained the danger, degradation, and defilement of originated phenomena and the advantage of the Untroubled.
saṅkhārānaṃ ādīnavaṃ okāraṃ saṅkilesaṃ nibbāne ca ānisaṃsaṃ pakāsesi (D.2.44).

Illustration: ādīnavaṃ, wretchedness

They considered him wise when he was committed to faring alone, but now that he is devoted to sexual intercourse he is harassed as a fool.
Paṇḍito ti samaññāto ekacariyaṃ adhiṭṭhito
Athāpi methune yutto mandova parikissati

Recognising the wretchedness of all this, the sage for his whole life resolutely lives the religious life by himself. He does not pursue sexual intercourse.
Etamādīnavaṃ ñatvā muni pubbāpare idha
Ekacariyaṃ daḷhaṃ kayirā na nisevetha methunaṃ

Illustration: ādīnavo, wretchedness

Bhikkhus, if there were no sweetness in the five aggregates, beings would not be attached to them
No cedaṃ bhikkhave rūpassa… viññāṇassa assādo abhavissa nayidaṃ sattā rūpasmiṃ… viññāṇasmiṃ sārajjeyyuṃ

If there were no wretchedness in the five aggregates beings would not be disillusioned with them.
No cedaṃ bhikkhave rūpassa… viññāṇassa ādīnavo abhavissa nayidaṃ sattā rūpasmiṃ… viññāṇasmiṃ nibbindeyyuṃ (S.3.30).

Illustration: ādīnavo, wretchedness

The physical and psychological pleasure that arises from sense impression is the sweetness of sense impression.
Yaṃ vedanaṃ paṭicca uppajjati sukhaṃ somanassaṃ ayaṃ vedanāya assādo.

That sense impression is unlasting, intrinsically unsatisfactory, destined to change, is the wretchedness of sense impression.
Yā vedanā aniccā dukkhā vipariṇāmadhammā ayaṃ vedanāya ādīnavo (S.4.220).

Illustration: ādīnavo, wretchedness; ādīnavo, wretchedness

What is the wretchedness of bodily forms?
Ko ca bhikkhave rūpānaṃ ādīnavo?

In this regard, one might see that same woman, eighty or ninety or a hundred years old…
☸ Idha bhikkhave tameva bhaginiṃ passeyya aparena samayena āsītikaṃ vā nāvutikaṃ vā vassasatikaṃ vā jātiyā…

What do you think, bhikkhus? Has her former loveliness and beauty vanished and a wretchedness become evident?
☸ Taṃ kiṃ maññatha bhikkhave yā purimā subhā vaṇṇanibhā sā antarahitā ādīnavo pātubhūto ti?

Yes, bhante
☸ Evaṃ bhante.

This is the wretchedness of bodily forms.
☸ Ayampi bhikkhave rūpānaṃ ādīnavo

Illustration: ādīnavo, wretchedness

That bodily form is unlasting, intrinsically unsatisfactory, destined to change, is the wretchedness of bodily form
Yaṃ rūpaṃ aniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vipariṇāmadhammaṃ ayaṃ rūpassa ādīnavo (S.3.102).

Illustration: ādīnava, wretchedness

Bhikkhus, when one abides contemplating the wretchedness of things conducive to grasping, craving ceases.
Upādāniyesu bhikkhave dhammesu ādīnavānupassino viharato taṇhā nirujjhati (S.2.85).


The contemplations on wretchedness that lead to the ending of craving are likely those listed in this quote:

‘Bhikkhus, whatever ascetics and Brahmanists in the past regarded that in the world which is agreeable and pleasing
ye ca kho ke ci bhikkhave atītamaddhānaṃ samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā yaṃ loke piyarūpaṃ sātarūpaṃ taṃ

• as unlasting
aniccato addakkhuṃ

• as intrinsically unsatisfactory
dukkhato addakkhuṃ

• as void of personal qualities
anattato addakkhuṃ

• as an illness
rogato addakkhuṃ

• as full of danger
bhayato addakkhuṃ

they abandoned craving
te taṇhaṃ pajahiṃsu (S.2.110).

Illustration: ādīnavā, disadvantage

Bhikkhus, there are these five disadvantages of a campfire.
ādīnavā aggismiṃ

It is bad for the eyes, causes a bad complexion, causes weakness, promotes gregariousness, leads to gossip.
Acakkhusso dubbaṇṇakaraṇo dubbalakaraṇo saṅgaṇikāpavaddhano tiracchānakathāpavattaniko (A.3.256).

Illustration: ādīnavā, disadvantage

Bhikkhus, there are five disadvantages in not chewing tooth-wood:
ādīnavā dantakaṭṭhassa akhādane

• (Bad mouth hygiene) is unsightly,

• The mouth stinks,
mukhaṃ duggandhaṃ hoti

• One’s taste buds are not cleansed
rasaharaṇiyo na visujjhantī

• Bile and gastric mucus smother one’s food
pittaṃ semhaṃ bhattaṃ pariyonandhati

• One’s food is not pleasing
bhattamassa nacchādeti

There are five advantages in chewing tooth-wood:
ānisaṃsā dantakaṭṭhassa khādane

• (Good mouth hygiene) is sightly,

• The mouth does not stink, etc.
mukhaṃ na duggandhaṃ hoti (Vin.2.137; A.3.250).

Illustration: ādīnavā, disadvantage

Bhikkhus, there are these five disadvantages for one who engages in lengthy and unsettled wandering. What five?
Pañcime bhikkhave ādīnavā dīghacārikaṃ anavattha cārikaṃ anuyuttassa viharato. Katame pañca:

One does not hear what one has not heard; one does not clarify what one has heard; one is not perfect in the portion that one has heard; one contracts a severe illness; and one has no friends.
Assutaṃ na suṇāti sutaṃ na pariyodapeti sutenekaccena avisārado hoti bāḷhaṃ rogātaṅkaṃ phusati na ca mittavā hoti (A.3.257).