Moha - Ignorance of reality
We may know when we have akusala cittas rooted in lobha (attachment) or akusala cittas rooted in dosa (aversion), but do we know when we have akusala cittas rooted in moha (ignorance) ? What is the characteristic of moha? We may think someone ignorant who does not have much education, who does not speak foreign languages, who does not know anything about history or politics. We call someone ignorant who does not know what is happening in the world. Is that the kind of ignorance which should be eradicated? If that were true it would mean that there is more wholesomeness in one's life if one speaks foreign languages or if one knows about history and politics. We can find out that this is not true. 

 

In order to understand the characteristic of moha we should know what we

are ignorant of when there is moha. There is the world of concepts which in

our daily, ordinary language are denoted by conventional terms and there is

the world of paramattha dhammas or ultimate realities. When we think of

the concept which in conventional language is denoted by 'world', we may

think of people, animals and things and we call them by their appropriate

names. But do we know the phenomena in ourselves and around themselves

as they really are: only nāma and rūpa which do not stay?

 

The world of paramattha dhammas is real. Nāma and rūpa are paramattha

dhammas. The nāmas and rūpas which appear in our daily life can be directly

experienced through the five sense-doors and the mind-door, no matter how

we name them. This is the world which is real. When we see, there is the

world of visible object. When we  hear, there is the world of sound. When we

experience an object through touch there is the world of tangible object.

Visible object and seeing are real. Their characteristics cannot be changed

and they can be directly experienced; it does not matter whether we call

them 'visible object' and 'seeing', or whether we give them another name. But

when we cling to concepts which are denoted by conventional terms such as

'tree' or 'chair', we do not experience any  characteristic of reality. What is

real when we look at a tree? What can be directly experienced? Visible object

is a paramattha dhamma, a reality; it is a kind of rūpa which can be directly

experienced through the eyes. Through touch hardness can be

experienced; this is a kind of rūpa which can be directly experienced through

the bodysense, it is real. 'Tree' is a concept or idea of which we can think,

but it is not a paramattha dhamma, not a reality which has its own

unchangeable characteristic. Visible object and hardness are paramattha

dhammas and they can be directly experienced, no matter how one names

them.

Topic ID  180
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