Sutta: DN 33.1.10(19) Three fetters: of personality belief, of doubt, of
attachment to rite and ritual.
Tii.ni sa.myojanaani - sakkaayadi.t.thi, vicikicchaa,
The Fetters or Samyojanas are a group of akusala dhammas. The
samyojanas "fetter" khandhas (in this life) to khandhas (of the
next), or kamma to its fruit. So long as there is the performing of
kamma there will be vipaka and thus life goes on. Or they fetter
beings to suffering... (Visuddhimagga XXII, 48). Through the fetters
we are tied to the cycle of birth and death.
There are different classifications of the fetters. In the Book of
Analysis (Chapter 17, 940) there is a distinction between "lower
fetters" and "higher fetters". There are five lower fetters
(orambhagiya-samyojana) which tie beings to the sensuous planes and
five higher fetters (uddhambhagiya-samyojana) which tie beings to the
higher planes, the rupa-brahma planes and the arupa-brahma planes.
The magga-citta of the sotapanna eradicates the three lower fetters
of personality belief, clinging to rules and rituals (wrong practice)
N: The Co. refers to the twenty kinds of personality view, four with
regard to each of the five khandhas. He identifies self with ruupa,
sees self as possessing ruupa, as being in ruupa and as the container
of ruupa, and in the same way for the four naamakkhandhas.
As to doubt, someone, while considering, doubts, he cannot come to a
conclusion, the Co explains.
The Co. refers to eight bases of doubt, such as doubt about the
This is explained in the Atthasaalinii (II, the summary, Triplets,
354): there may be doubt about the Buddha�s personality and
qualities, his specific bodily features; he may doubt about the
Dhamma, the Sangha, the threefold training in higher siila, higher
thought and higher wisdom, the past, the future, the Dependent
The subco: while investigating the characteristic of dhamma
(dhammasabhaava), he doubts, he becomes tired (kilamati).
N: This is doubt with regard to the dhamma that appears at the
When seeing, there is seeing and visible object, but one dhamma at a
time can be object of sati. Doubt may arise as to the characteristic
of dhamma that appears: is it naama or ruupa? When pa~n~naa is not
keen enough there is bound to be doubt. The sotaapanna has eradicated
As to clinging to rules and rituals, wrong practice, the subco
explains that he takes what is not the path of purity for the path of
sutta: Three intoxicants, to wit, the poisons of sensuality, future
life and ignorance.
Tayo aasavaa - kaamaasavo, bhavaasavo, avijjaasavo.
The Co states that the aasavas have been fermenting for a long time
(cirapaarivaasi). The Co refers to the Anguttara Nikaaya V, 113: � No
ultimate point of ignorance is apparent, bhikkhus, so that one may
say, �once there was no ignorance and it has since come to be�.� The
same is said of the clinging to becoming, the wrong view about becoming.
The Co states that the aasavas are flowing when visible object is
seen through the eyesense, sound through the earsense, and so on.
The Co explains that in the texts there are different classifications
of the aasavas. At some places they are classified as twofold: the
aasavas of the present and the future. The Atthasaalinii (I, The
Summary, 369): <In the Vinaya two heads are accepted:-the restraint
of the intoxicants in the present life, destruction of them in future
As threefold: as the aasavas of sensuality, becoming and ignorance,
as we find here in the Sangiitisutta.
In the Abhidhamma they are classified as fourfold, where the aasava
of wrong view is classified together with the other three. Or as
fivefold: leading to hell, to animal birth, to becoming as a ghost,
to human birth, to birth in the deva planes.
So long as the aasavas have not been eradicated there are conditions
Aasavas can be classified as six when seen as to be abandoned in six
ways, and here the Co refers to A III, 387: by restraint (of the six
doors), by use (for the monk: wisely using the requisites), by
endurance (adhivaasanaa, patience with regard to our living
conditions, such as enduring cold, heat, etc.), avoidance,
dispelling, developing (the factors leading to enlightenment, namely,
mindfulness, investigation of Dhamma, etc.).
The Co. states that in addition there is a seventh way according to M.
2 (Discourse on all the cankers): they are to be abandoned by insight
The Co then returns to the threefold classification. The intoxicant
of sense desire is attachment to the five strands of sense pleasure.
The intoxicant of becoming is eternity belief, or it is clinging to
rebirth. As to the intoxicant of ignorance, this is not knowing the
truth of dukkha, etc. Thus, not understanding the four noble Truths.
The subco explains that kusala kamma and akusala kamma are saasava,
with aasava. This means: they can be objects of the aasavas. The
aasavas do not arise together with kusala citta but kusala dhamma can
be the object of the aasavas when there is clinging to kusala or
clinging to an idea of �my kusala�.
In the Dhgs 1108, in the translation of U Kyaw Khine, we read under
saasavas: �What are the dhammaa which are objects of aasavas?�. Then
are mentioned kusala dhamma, akusala dhamma and indeterminate dhamma
of the three planes of citta (of the sense-sphere, of the planes of
ruupajhaana and aruupajhaana), included in the five khandhas.
Dhgs 1109 states that only the nine lokuttara dhammas (nibbaana and
the eight lokuttara cittas that experience it) are not objects of
Remark: The beginning of the aasavas cannot be discerned, as we read,
and this points to the fact that they are deeply rooted and have been
accumulated for countless times. They cannot be eradicated soon, but
when they appear they can be understood as conditioned dhammas. They
do not belong to a self, they have no owner.
They are �flowing from unguarded sensedoors�. But they can be
eliminated by the guarding of the doorways, that is, by mindfulness
and understanding of whatever appears through one of the six doorways.
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