From NINA VAN GORKOM
Vis. Ch XVII, 117.
Also this section reminds us of the danger of different kinds of
wrong view that arise due to ignorance. One is bound to take
understanding and ignorance for self. Or one may believe in fatalism:
everything has been fixed by fate and this cannot be altered.
Text Vis.: When he is confused about dependently-arisen states,
taking the occurrence of formations to be due to ignorance, etc., he
figures that it is a self that knows or does not know,
Nina: He takes understanding and ignorance for self. The Tiika adds that
he has desire to have the quality of wisdom (buddhigu.na).
He desires to have the wisdom leading to enlightenment without
cultivating the right conditions leading to it.
Text Vis.: that acts and causes action, that appears in rebirth-linking,
Nina: The Tiika adds that he, hereafter, will experience happiness and
He thinks of a self who will be reborn and experience happiness and
Therefore, he performs kusala and akusala with the wrong view of self.
Text Vis.: and he figures that atoms, an Overlord, etc., shape its
body in the various states of the embryo and endow it with faculties,
Nina: As to the expression “shape his body” (sa.n.thapenta, shaping)
this refers to being generated, and the word “endow”(sampaadenta,
endowing) this refers to his desire.
When he is endowed with the sense faculties he clings to all the
sense objects that he experiences.
The Tiika comments on “he” (so) as a being with the wrong perception
Text Vis.: and that, when it has been endowed with faculties, it
touches, feels, craves, clings, and endeavours, and that it becomes
anew in the next becoming;
N: As to the expression, endowed with faculties (indriyasampanno),
the Tiika adds, with the eye etc. and it states that by this the
occurring of six aayatanas is taught. All this occurs according to
conditions (yathaapaccaya.m) and due to ignorance he performs kamma,
while he is bewildered with wrong view (di.t.thigatiko vimuyhati).
Text Vis.: or he figures thus, 'All beings … [are] moulded by fate,
coincidence and nature’ (D.i,53).
N: The Tiika compares being moulded by fate with a row of
unbreakable jewels strung along an uncuttable thread.
Fate (niyati) fixes beings destiny very firmly, according to a
person who has such belief.
The Tiika adds that (according to his belief) fate fixes the past and
the future pubbaapariya).
As to the expression ’ fate, coincidence and
nature’ (niyatisa�ngatibhaava), the text refers to D., no 2, The
Fruits of the Life of a Recluse. This is translated here (by Ven.
Bodhi) as: “undergoing transformation by destiny, circumstance and
The Commentary to this sutta explains circumstance (sangati) as:
“going here and there among the six classes of men.”
The Tiika to the Visuddhimagga elaborates that he comes to rebirth
among men or devas that are going through the air (manussadevavihanga).
The Commentary to the Diigha Nikaaya, explains “nature” (bhaava), as
the inner nature (sabhaava).
The translator, Ven. Bodhi, states in a footnote:
The words of the text, “instead of taking the occurrence of
formations to be due to ignorance, etc., he figures that it is a self
that knows or does not know” are a pertinent reminder not to take
both understanding and ignorance for self. These are realities of
daily life and when they occur they should not be neglected as
objects of awareness and understanding. There are bound to be many
moments of unawareness and ignorance but such moments can be realized
as dhammas arising because of their own conditions. Instead of trying
to change them they should be understood as they are. Gradually we
may be able to see the difference between the moments of unawareness
and of awareness. When it is understood what sati is, there are
conditions for its growth.
In this section it is explained that ignorance can lead to many kinds
of wrong view, such as the belief that atoms or a creator endows a
person with the sense faculties, or fatalism.
As we read, “when it has been endowed with faculties, it touches,
feels, craves, clings, and endeavours, and that it becomes anew in
the next becoming”. With these words, the Dependent Origination has
been rendered in brief, but due to wrong view it seems that a lasting
being traverses the cycle. We read that a person, endowed with the
faculties, experiences objects, and that due to phassa, contact,
there is feeling. Feeling leads to craving (tanhaa), and this leads
to clinging (upaadana), and this to activity. Kamma that is performed
produces rebirth. It is explained here that a person with wrong view
believes that a self contacts an object, feels, craves, clings, and
endeavours, and that it becomes anew in the next becoming.
Or, he figures, as the text states, that this whole process occurring
in the cycle is fixed by fate, circumstance and nature.
We are bound to think with anxiety of our next life and the
happiness or sorrow we shall experience in the future. However this
is not according to the truth.
Also at this moment there is no being that exists, there are nama and
rupa arising and falling away. Kusala and akusala arising in this
life are accumulated and will condition the arising of kusala and
akusala in the future, also in future lives. Right understanding of
conditions for whatever arises now and in the future will prevent
fatalism. The Buddha taught the eightfold Path and the right
conditions leading out of the cycle can be cultivated. We can begin
with its development from this moment on.