There are three akusala
dhammas which can arise only with dosa-mula-citta, citta rooted in aversion,
namely: envy (issa), stinginess (macchariya) and regret (kukkucca). Aversion
tends to arise often, both in sense-door processes and in mind-door processes,
because we have accumulated so much aversion. Dosa-mula-citta is always
accompanied by unpleasant feeling. We may notice that we have aversion
and unpleasant feeling, but we should also come to know other defilements
which can arise with dosa-mula-citta, namely: envy, stinginess and regret.
These akusala cetasikas can, one at a time, accompany dosa-mula-citta.
This does not mean that dosa-mula-citta is always accompanied by one of
these three akusala cetasikas. Sometimes dosa-mula-citta is accompanied
by one of these three and sometimes it is not accompanied by any of them.
I shall now deal with these three akusala cetasikas.
As regards envy or jealousy, this can arise when someone else receives
a pleasant object. At such a moment we may wonder why he receives a pleasant
object and why we don't. Envy is always accompanied by unpleasant feeling,
because it can only arise with dosa-mula-citta, with the citta which dislikes
the object which is experienced. We dislike unpleasant feeling, but merely
disliking it does not help us to have kusala citta instead of akusala citta.
We should know the different types of defilements which can arise with
akusala citta. It is useful to study their characteristics, functions,
manifestations and proximate causes. When we see how ugly defilements are
and when we understand their danger, we are reminded to develop satipatthana
which is the only way to eradicate them. There is no other way.
The Atthasalini (II, Book I, Part IX, Chapter II, 257) gives the
following definition of envy:
... It has
the characteristic of envying, of not enduring the prosperity of others,
the function of taking no delight in such prosperity, the manifestation
of turning one's rice yam such prosperity, the proximate cause being such
prosperity; and it should be regarded as a fetter.
(XIV, 172) gives a similar definition (1 Compare also Dhammasangani,
1121, and Vibhanga 893.)
The proximate cause of envy is someone else's prosperity. When there is
jealousy one cannot stand it that others receive pleasant objects. At that
moment there cannot be " sympathetic joy " ( mudita ). We may be jealous
when someone else receives a gift, when he receives honour or praise because
of his good qualities or his wisdom. When there is jealousy we do not want
someone else to be happy and we may even wish that he will lose the pleasant
objects or the good qualities he possesses.
Envy is dangerous. When it is strong it can motivate akusala kamma patha
(unwholesome course of action) and this is capable of producing an unhappy
rebirth. One may, because of jealousy, even kill someone else.
We all have accumulated jealousy and thus it is bound to arise. It is useful
to notice the moments of jealousy, also when it is of a slight degree.
We may be jealous when someone else is praised. We want to be praised ourselves
and we do not want to be overlooked, we find ourselves important. In reality
there is no self, only nama and rupa which arise because of their own conditions.
The sotapanna has right understanding of realities, he knows that there
is no person who can receive or possess pleasant objects. He realizes that
all experiences are only conditioned realities which do not stay and do
not belong to a self. He has no more conditions for jealousy, he has eradicated
When we see the disadvantages of envy we will cultivate conditions for
having it less often. Sympathetic joy, mudita, is the opposite of envy.
Mudita is sympathetic joy in someone else's prosperity and happiness. The
Buddha taught us different ways of developing wholesomeness and the development
of sympathetic joy is one of them. At first it may be difficult to rejoice
in other people's happiness, but when we appreciate the value of Sympathetic
joy there ate conditions for its arising. It can gradually become our nature
to rejoice in other people's happiness. When there is sympathetic joy,
the citta is kusala citta. Each kusala citta is accompanied by non-attachment,
alobha, non-hate, adosa, and it may be accompanied by right understanding
or without it. Envy cannot be eradicated by sympathetic joy, even if we
have many moments of it. Only right understanding of nama and rupa can
eventually eradicate envy.
Stinginess or avarice, macchariya, is another akusala cetasika which can
arise with dosa-mula-citta. It does not arise with every dosa-mula-citta,
but when it arises it accompanies dosa-mula-citta. When there is stinginess
there is also aversion towards the object which is experienced at that
moment and the feeling is unpleasant feeling. Stinginess cannot arise with
lobha-mula-citta or with moha-mula-citta.
The Atthasalini (II, Book I, Part IX, Chapter II, 257) gives the following
definition of avarice ( meanness ):
It has, as
characteristic, the concealing of one’s property, either attained or about
to be attained; the not enduring the sharing of one's property in common
with others, as function; the shrinking from such sharing or niggardliness
or sour feeling as manifestation; one's own property as proximate cause;
and it should be regarded as mental ugliness.
The Visuddhimagga (XIV,
173) gives a similar definition.
When there is stinginess there is a cramped state of mind, one cannot stretch
out one's hand in order to give a gift. The proximate cause of avarice
is one's own property, Whereas, as we have seen, the proximate cause of
envy is someone else's prosperity. When there is avarice one is unable
to share what one has (or will acquire) with someone else.
There are five kinds of objects on account of which stinginess can arise.
We read in the Dhammasangani (1122) in its definition of the fetter
The fire meannesses,
(to wit) meanness as regards dwelling, families, gifts. reputation, dhamma-
all this sort of meanness, grudging, mean spirit, avarice and ignobleness,
niggardliness and want of generosity of heart- this is called the fetter
(II, Book II, Part II, Chapter II, 376), in its explanation of the words
of the Dhammasangani, states that the mean person also hinders someone
else from giving. Stinginess can motivate one to try to persuade someone
else, for example one's husband or wife, to give less or not to give at
all. We read in the Atthasalini :
... and this
also has been said,
As regards the five kinds
of objects one can be stingy about (1 compare also Vibhanga, Chapter
17, 893, for these five kinds of objects.), the Atthasalini (II,
Book II, Part II, Chapter II, 373-375) explains about these five kinds
and mentions that there is no stinginess if one does not want to share
these things with a person who will use them in the wrong way or with a
bhikkhu who will disgrace the Sangha.
Such men hinder the
feeding of the poor...
A "niggardly" person
seeing mendicants causes his mind to shrink as by sourness. His state is
"niggardliness". Another way (of definition ):- "niggardliness is a "spoon-feeding".
For when the pot is full to the brim, one takes food from it by a spoon
with the edge bent on all sides; it is not possible to get a spoonful;
so is the mind of a mean person bent in. When it is bent in, the body also
is bent in, recedes, is not diffused- thus stinginess is said to be niggardliness.
"Lack of generosity of heart" is the state of a mind which is shut and
gripped, so that it is not stretched out in the mode of making gifts, etc.,
in doing service to others. But because the mean person wishes not to give
to others what belongs to himself, and wishes to take what belongs to others,
therefore this meanness should be understood to have the characteristic
of hiding or seizing one’s own property, occurring thus: "May it
be for me and not for another"...
As regards stinginess about dwelling, the "dwelling" can be a monastery,
a single room or any place where one stays, no matter whether it is big
or small. We can be stingy with regard to any place where we are comfortable,
such as a corner in a room or a seat.
As regards stinginess about "family", this can be a family of servitors
to a monastery or one's relatives. A bhikkhu who is stingy does not want
another bhikkhu to approach a family he usually visits, because he does
not want to share with someone else the goods he receives. We may be stingy
not only with regard to things, but also with regard to words of praise.
For example, when we, together with others, have accomplished a work of
charity, we may only want to be praised ourselves; we may not want to share
honour and praise with others, although they deserve to be praised as well.
We should scrutinize ourselves as to this form of stinginess; we should
find out whether it is easy for us to praise others. If we understand that
praising someone's virtues is an act of generosity, we will more often
remember to do this when the opportunity arises. When we praise someone
else there is no room for stinginess. There are many different ways of
kusala and in out daily life there are opportunities fight at hand for
one kind of kusala or other, no matter whether we are alone or with other
Someone may be stingy as to Dhamma. He may not want to share Dhamma with
others because he is afraid that they will acquire the same amount of knowledge
as he himself or even more. The sotapanna who has realized the four noble
Truths, has eradicated all forms of stinginess. He wishes everyone to know
and realize the Dhamma he has realized himself. Those who are non-ariyans
may have stinginess as to Dhamma. However, there may be good reasons for
not teaching Dhamma, One should not teach Dhamma to someone who is bound
to abuse the Dhamma and to interpret it wrongly, or to someone who will
erroneously take himself for an arahat because of his knowledge. There
is no stinginess if one does not teach Dhamma to such persons, because
one acts then out of consideration for the Dhamma or out of consideration
In the ultimate sense there ate no things we can possess, there are only
nama and rupa. If we remember this we can see that it is foolish to think
that realities which arise and fall away belong to us and that we can keep
them. Why are we stingy about what does not belong to us? We cannot take
our possessions, our money with us when we die. Human life is so short
and we waste many opportunities for kusala because of our stinginess. In
the absolute sense there is no self, no person who can possess anything.
Our life consists of nama and rupa which arise and fall away, life is actually
one moment of experiencing an object; this moment falls away and is succeeded
by a next moment which is different again. We cannot possess visible object
or hardness. They are only rupas Which do not stay and do not belong to
us, When understanding has been developed more there will be less stinginess.
The sotapanna who sees nama and rupa as they are, as impermanent and not
self, has no more conditions for stinginess.
We should find out why we are stingy. We do not want to give things away
because we fear that our possessions will decrease, but then we are likely
to suffer from the very things we are afraid of. The experience of objects
through the senses is vipaka, the result of kamma. We read in the Kindred
Sayings (I, Sagatha-vagga, Chapter I, The Devas, Part 4, 2, Avarice)
that devas of the Satullapa group came to see the Buddha and spoke to him
about avarice and generosity, One among them said:
... That which
the miser dreads, and hence gives not,
The five kinds of avarice
can motivate akusala kamma which is capable of producing an unhappy rebirth
or akusala vipaka in the course of one's life: one may have to endure hardship,
poverty, disease and dishonour. The Atthasalini, in the section
about meanness (375) speaks about the unpleasant results produced by the
five kinds of stinginess and states about the results of stinginess with
regard to praise and to Dhamma:
To him not giving
just that danger it is:
Hunger and thirst-
for this the thing he dreads-
Just this the doom
that does befall the fool
In this and also in
some other world.
Hence should he avarice
suppress, and make
Offerings of charity,
mastering the taint. ,
Sure platform in some
other future world
Rewards of virtue
on good beings wait.
... one who
extols his own praises and not those of others; who
The person who has a mouth
dripping with saliva cannot speak in a pleasant way and is ugly to look
at, therefore people do not like to listen to him. Further on the Atthasalini
states that the result of stinginess with regard to praise can also be
that one is born without beauty or reputation. Owing to stinginess with
regard to Dhamma one may also be reborn in one of the hell planes, the
"hot-ash hell". So long as one has not become a sotapanna there are opportunities
for the arising of stinginess. Some people have stinginess more often than
others, or someone may have stinginess as to certain objects, such as money,
but not as to other objects, such as praise or Dhamma; it all depends on
people's accumulations. But even if someone is very stingy by nature, his
attitude can be changed. Through right understanding one can learn to develop
mentions this and
that fault or anyone saying. "What praise does he
deserve?" and does
not impart any doctrine of learning to him.
becomes ugly, or has
a mouth dripping with saliva...
We read in the comment to the Sudhabhojana-Jataka (Jatakas, Book
V, no. 535) about a monk in the Buddha's time who practised the utmost
generosity. He gave away his food and even if he received something to
drink which was merely sufficient to fill the hollow of his hand, he would,
bee from greed, still give it away. But formerly he used to be so stingy
that he would not give so much as a drop of oil on the tip of a blade of
grass. The Buddha spoke about one of this monks former lives when he was
the miser Kosiya and this is the story of the "Sudhabhojana Jataka".
Kosiya did not keep up the tradition of alms giving of his ancestors and
lived as a miser. One day he had craving for rice-porridge. When his wife
suggested that she would cook rice-porridge not only for him but also for
all the inhabitants of Varanasi, he felt "just as if he had been struck
on the head with a stick". As we have read in the definition of avarice
in the Atthasalini, its manifestation is "the shrinking from such
sharing, or niggardliness or sour feeling..," When there is avarice there
is always unpleasant feeling there cannot be any happiness.
We then read in the Jataka that Kosiya's wife subsequently offered to cook
for a single street, for the attendants in his house, for the family, for
the two of them, but he turned down all her offers He wanted to cook porridge
only for himself, in the forest, so that nobody else could see it. We should
remember that the characteristic of stinginess is the concealing of one’s
property. One wants to hide it because one does not want to share it.
We then read in the Jataka that the Bodhisatta who was at that time the
god Sakka wanted to convert him and came to him with four attendants disguised
as brahmins. One by one they approached the miser and begged for some of
his porridge, Sakka spoke the following stanza, praising generosity (387):
one should little give, from moderate means likewise.
Kosiya reluctantly offered
some porridge to them, Then one of the brahmins changed himself into a
dog. The dog made water and a drop of it fell on Kosiya hand, Kosiya went
to the river to wash and then the dog made water in Kosiya's cooking pot,
When Kosiya threatened him he changed into a "blood horse" and pursued
Kosiya. Then Sakka and his attendants stood in the air and Sakka preached
to Kosiya out of compassion and warned him of an unhappy rebirth. Kosiya
came to understand the danger of stinginess. He gave away all his possessions
and became an ascetic.
Front much give much:
of giving nought no question can arise.
This then I tell thee.
Kosiya, give alms of that is thine:
Eat not alone, no
bliss is his that by himself shall dine,
By charity thou mayst
ascend the noble path divine.
At the end of the Jataka the Buddha said: "Not now only, monks, but of
old also I converted this niggardly fellow who was a confirmed miser".
Right understanding sees the danger of akusala and it conditions the development
of Kosiya. When we still cling so much to our possessions and are stingy
with regard to them it will be all the more difficult to became detached
from the self. We should develop generosity in giving away useful things
and also in praising those who deserve praise. We should see the value
of all kinds of kusala. When the citta is kusala citta there is no stinginess,
but stinginess can only be eradicated by the development of right understanding
of any reality which appears.
Regret or worry, kukkucca, is another akusala cetasika which can
arise with dosa-mula-citta. It does not arise with every dosa-mula-citta,
but when it arises, it arises only with dosa-mula-citta. It cannot arise
with lobha-mula-citta or with moha-mula-citta. When there is regret there
is also aversion towards the object which is experienced at that moment.
Therefore, the feeling which accompanies kukkucca is always unpleasant
The Atthasalini (II, Book II, Part IX, Chapter III, 258) gives the
following definition of kukkucca:
... It has
repentance as characteristic, sorrow at deeds of commission and omission
as function, regret as manifestation, deeds of commission and omission
as proximate cause, and it should be regarded as a state of bondage.
The Visuddhimagga (XIV,
174) gives a similar definition.
of kukkucca is repentance. Repentance is generally considered a virtue,
but the reality of kukkucca is not wholesome, it arises with dosa-mula-citta.
Kukkucca which "regrets" the commission of evil and the omission of kusala
is different from wholesome thinking about the disadvantages of akusala
and the value of kusala. The conventional term "worry" which is also used
as translation of kukkucca may not be clear either. When we say that we
worry, it may not be the reality of kukkucca but it may be thinking with
aversion about an unpleasant object without there being kukkucca. For example,
we may worry about the way how to solve a problem in the future; this kind
of worry is not the reality of kukkucca.
If we take note of the proximate cause of kukkucca we will better understand
what kukkucca is. The proximate cause of kukkucca is akusala kamma through
body, speech and mind which has been committed and also kusala kamma through
body, speech and mind which has been omitted. We read in the Dhammasangani
(1304 and 1305):
Which are the states that conduce to remorse?:
The Atthasalini (II, Book II, Part II, Chapter II, 389, 390) explains
this passage of the Dhammasangani:
Misconduct in act, word and thought. Besides,
all bad states
conduce to remorse.
Which are the states that do not conduce to
Goad conduct in act, word and thought. Besides,
no good states (absence of good states) conduce to remorse.
In the exposition of the couplet of what "conduces to remorse"
(Dhammasangani, 1304), "remorse" arises from what has been done
and what has been left undone. Acts of misconduct burn from commission,
acts of good conduct burn from omission. Thus a person feels remorse (literally:
burns) at the thought, "I have misconducted myself", "I have left undone
the right act", "I have spoken amiss", ...I have left undone the right
thoughts", Similarly with what does not "conduce to remorse" Thus a person
doing goad does not feel remorse over acts of commission or omission.
When we have slandered or spoken harsh words there may be remorse about
it afterwards. There can also be remorse about our neglectfulness of kusala,
we often waste opportunities for kusala. We may be stingy when there is
an opportunity for giving or for praising someone who deserves praise.
Or we are neglectful as to the development of fight understanding of realities.
As a consequence of our omission of kusala regret may arise.
We read in the Middle Length Sayings (III,
129, Discourse on Fools and the Wise) about the anguishes which may be
experienced by a fool who has done wrong deeds through body, speech and
mind. He experiences anguish because other people talk about his akusala,
and thus he acquires a bad name. He fears punishment for his evil deeds
and therefore he experiences anguish. Moreover, he has remorse because
of his evil deeds and his neglectfulness as to kusala. we read:
And again, monks. while a fool is on a chair or bed or lying
on the ground, at such a time those evil deeds that he has formerly wrongly
done by body, speech and thought rest on him, lie on him, settle on him.
Monks, as at eventide the shadows of the great mountain peaks rest, lie
and settle on earth, so, monks, do these evil deeds that the fool has formerly
wrongly done by body, speech and thought rest, lie and settle on him as
he is on a chair or bed or lying on the ground. Thereupon, monks, it occurs
thus to the fool: indeed what is lovely has not been done by me, what is
stilled has not been done, no refuge against fearful (consequences) has
been made, evil has been done, cruelty has been done, violence has been
done. Insofar as there is a bourn for those who have not done what is lovely,
ham not done what is stilled, have not made a refuge against fearful (consequences),
who ham done evil, cruelty and violence, to that bourn I am going hereafter".
He grieves, mourns, laments, beats his breast, wails and falls into disillusionment.
The committing of akusala kamma and the omitting of kusala kamma is a condition
for remorse and because of this remorse one is unhappy, one does not have
peace of mind. Akusala kamma can produce an unhappy rebirth and also unpleasant
experiences through the senses in the course of life. Regret is one of
the "hindrances" (nivaranas) and as such it forms a pair with restlessness,
uddhacca. The "hindrances" are akusala cetasikas which hinder the performing
of kusala. When regret arises there cannot be kusala at that moment. we
read in the definition of regret that it should be regarded as a state
of bondage. The citta with regret is not free, it is enslaved. At such
a moment there is no peacefulness, no happiness. If one has not studied
the Dhamma and if one does not know about the different types of am which
arise there are less conditions for the cultivation of kusala. If kusala
is not developed there are more akusala cittas and thus also more opportunities
for the arising of remorse.
The monk who has to observe the rules of the Vinaya may have worry with
regard to his observance of these rules. He may have scruples and he may
even wrongly assume that he transgresses a rule or that he observes a rule,
worry and doubt may arise because of this. We read in the Dhammasangani
(Chapter IX, 1161):
What is worry (kukkucca)?
Consciousness of what is lawful in something that is unlawful;
It is hard to eradicate regret. Even the sotapanna may still have regret,
although he has no conditions for regret on account of akusala kamma which
is of the intensity to produce an unhappy rebirth; he has eradicated the
tendencies to such evil deeds. The sotapanna still has lobha-mula citta,
dosa-mula-citta and moha-mula-citta. He does not have dosa-mula-citta with
envy or stinginess, but dosa-mula-citta still arises, and sometimes it
may be accompanied by regret. He may speak harshly, or he may have laziness
as to the performing of kusala, and on account of this regret can arise.
The sotapanna is bound to have regret less often than those who are non-ariyans.
When one has not attained enlightenment one may be often inclined to brood
over the past. The sotapanna has developed the four "Applications of Mindfulness",
and thus he has less conditions than the non-ariyan to worry about the
past. When regret arises he realizes that it is only a conditioned dhamma,
sankhara dhamma, and he does not take it for self.
consciousness of what is unlawful in something that is lawful (1 Referring
to rules pertaining to things such as kinds of food or the how of the meal.);
consciousness of what is immoral in something that is moral;
consciousness of what is immoral in something that is immoral- all
sort of worry, fidgeting, overscrupulousness, remorse of conscience,
mental scarifying- this is what is called worry.
We still consider regret as "my regret".
We regret out akusala and our lack of mindfulness. If we realize that thinking
with worry is not helpful it may be a condition to cultivate kusala. When
there is forgetfulness of realities we should remember that is a conditioned
reality, not self. We should know the characteristics of akusala dhammas
which arise as not self. Then there will be less regret.
According to the Visuddhimagga (XXII,
71) the anagami has eradicated regret completely (2 According to the Atthasalini
(Book II. Part II, Chapter II, 384) the sotapanna has eradicated regret,
the sotapanna has eradicated regret pertaining to coarse defilements, whereas
the anagami has eradicated regret which also pertains to subtle defilements.)
For him dosa-mula-citta does not arise anymore and thus regret cannot arise
We should not only know the characteristic
of dosa, but also the characteristics of other akusala cetasikas which
can arise with dosa-mula-citta: envy, stinginess and regret. As we have
seen, dosa-mula-citta can be accompanied by only one of these three akusala
cetasikas at a time; they cannot arise simultaneously. They may or may
not arise when dosa-mula-citta arises. Sometimes there is dosa-mula-citta
without any of these three akusala cetasikas, sometimes there is dosa-mula-citta
accompanied by one of these three. We will come to know the characteristics
of the different defilements more clearly by being mindful of them.
I Why can envy arise only
II Why is it helpful to cultivate
the wholesome quality of Sympathetic joy (mudita)?
III Who has eradicated envy?
IV Can suffering from hunger and thirst be
a result of stinginess?
V Can those who are very stingy by nature
learn to become less stingy? In what way?
VI Who has eradicated stinginess?
VII Who has proximate cause of regret?
VIII In what way can akusala kamma cause sorrow both in this
world and the next?
IX Who has eradicated regret completely?