Articles by alphabetic order
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0


From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
(Redirected from Cling)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Upādāna is a word used in both Buddhism and Hinduism.


The Views of Six Samana in the Pali Canon
(based on the Sāmaññaphala Sutta)
Question: "Is it possible to point out the fruit of the
contemplative life, visible in the here and now?"1
samaṇa view (diṭṭhi)
Amoralism: denies any reward or
punishment for either good or bad deeds.
Fatalism: we are powerless;
suffering is pre-destined.
with death, all is annihilated.
Eternalism: Matter, pleasure, pain and
the soul are eternal and do not interact.
Restraint: be endowed with, cleansed by
and suffused with the avoidance of all evil.2
Agnosticism: "I don't think so. I don't think in
that way or otherwise. I don't think not or not not."
Notes: 1. DN 2 (Thanissaro, 1997; Walshe, 1995, pp. 91-109).
2. DN-a Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi, 1995, pp. 1258-59, n. 585).

Upādāna is the Sanskrit and Pāli word for "clinging," "attachment" or "grasping", although the literal meaning is "fuel." Upādāna and tṛṣṇā (Skt.; Pali: taṇhā) are seen as the two primary causes of suffering. The cessation of clinging leads to Nirvana.

Types of clinging

In the Sutta Pitaka, the Buddha states that there are four types of clinging:

The Buddha once stated that, while other sects might provide an appropriate analysis of the first three types of clinging, he alone fully elucidated clinging to the "self" and its resultant suffering.

The Abhidhamma and its commentaries provide the following definitions for these four clinging types:

  1. sense-pleasure clinging: repeated craving of worldly things.
  2. wrong-view clinging: such as eternalism (e.g., "The world and self are eternal") or nihilism.
  3. rites-and-rituals clinging: believing that rites alone could directly lead to liberation, typified in the texts by the rites and rituals of "ox practice" and "dog practice."
  4. self-doctrine clinging: self-identification with self-less entities (e.g., illustrated by MN 44, and further discussed in the skandha and anatta articles).

According to Buddhaghosa, the above ordering of the four types of clinging is in terms of decreasing grossness, that is, from the most obvious (grossest) type of clinging .(sense-pleasure clinging) to the subtlest (self-doctrine clinging).

Meaning of Upadana is raw material. For example, Upadana of a pot is soil. After Tanha is generated in Satta or creature, it gathers Upadana khandas as upadanas, as raw materials. Using upadana khandas it tries to generate required vedanas. As there are five setsor kinds of upadanas they are called panch upadana khandas. All the Upadana things are clssified in five upadana khandas, five sets or categories. Only after gathering of upadanas satta — creature can manifest itself. Hence after upadana there comes a link of Bhava. So the meaning 'clinging' is wrong.

Interdependence of clinging types


Buddhaghosa further identifies that these four clinging types are causally interconnected as follows:

  1. self-doctrine clinging: first, one assumes that one has a permanent "self."
  2. wrong-view clinging: then, one assumes that one is either somehow eternal or to be annihilated after this life.
  3. resultant behavioral manifestations:
    1. rites-and-rituals clinging: if one assumes that one is eternal, then one clings to rituals to achieve self-purification.
    2. sense-pleasure clinging: if one assumes that one will completely disappear after this life, then one disregards the next world and clings to sense desires.

This hierarchy of clinging types is represented diagrammatically to the right.

Thus, based on Buddhaghosa's analysis, clinging is more fundamentally an erroneous core belief (self-doctrine clinging) than a habitualized affective experience (sense-pleasure clinging).

Manifestations of clinging

In terms of consciously knowable mental experiences, the Abhidhamma identifies sense-pleasure clinging with the mental factor of "greed" (lobha) and the other three types of clinging (self-doctrine, wrong-view and rites-and-rituals clinging) with the mental factor of "wrong view" (ditthi). Thus, experientially, clinging can be known through the Abhidhamma's fourfold definitions of these mental factors as indicated in the following table

characteristic function manifestation proximate cause
greed (lobha) grasping an object sticks, like hot-pan meat not giving up enjoying things of bondage
wrong view (ditthi) unwise interpreting presumes wrong belief not hearing the Dhamma

To distinguish craving from clinging, Buddhaghosa uses the following metaphor:

"Craving is the aspiring to an object that one has not yet reached, like a thief's stretching out his hand in the dark; clinging is the grasping of an object that one has reached, like the thief's grasping his objective.... [T]hey are the roots of the suffering due to seeking and guarding."

Thus, for instance, when the Buddha talks about the "aggregates of clinging," he is referring to our grasping and guarding physical, mental and conscious experiences that we falsely believe we are or possess.

  The 12 Nidānas:  
Name & Form
Six Sense Bases
Old Age & Death

As part of the causal chain of suffering

In the Four Noble Truths, the First Noble Truth identifies clinging (upādāna, in terms of "the aggregates of clinging") as one of the core experiences of suffering. The Second Noble Truth identifies craving (tanha) as the basis for suffering. In this manner a causal relationship between craving and clinging is found in the Buddha's most fundamental teaching.

In the twelve-linked chain of Dependent Origination (Pratītyasamutpāda, also see Twelve Nidanas), clinging (upādāna) is the ninth causal link:

"With Craving as condition, Clinging arises".
"With Clinging as condition, Becoming arises."

According to Buddhaghosa, it is sense-pleasure clinging that arises from craving and that conditions becoming.

Upādāna as fuel

Professor Richard F. Gombrich has pointed out in several publications, and in his recent Numata Visiting Professor Lectures at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), that the literal meaning of upādāna is "fuel". He uses this to link the term to the Buddha's use of fire as a metaphor. In the so-called Fire Sermon (Āditta-pariyāya) (Vin I, 34-5; SN 35.28) the Buddha tells the bhikkhus that everything is on fire. By everything he tells them he means the five senses plus the mind, their objects, and the operations and feelings they give rise to — i.e. everything means the totality of experience. All these are burning with the fires of greed, hatred and delusion.

In the nidana chain, then, craving creates fuel for continued burning or becoming (bhava). The mind like fire, seeks out more fuel to sustain it, in the case of the mind this is sense experience, hence the emphasis the Buddha places on "guarding the gates of the senses". By not being caught up in the senses (appamāda) we can be liberated from greed, hatred and delusion. This liberation is also expressed using the fire metaphor when it is termed nibbāna (Sanskrit: Nirvāṇa) which means to "go out", or literally to "blow out". (Regarding the word Nirvāṇa, the verb is intransitive so no agent is required.)

Probably by the time the canon was written down (1st Century BCE), and certainly when Buddhaghosa was writing his commentaries (4th Century CE) the sense of the metaphor appears to have been lost, and upādāna comes to mean simply "clinging" as above. By the time of the Mahayana the term fire was dropped altogether and greed, hatred and delusion are known as the "three poisons".

Meaning of Upadana in Hindu literature is 'raw material'. Upadana has the same meaning in Buddhist literature. Soil is the upadana for a pot. Similarly Panch Upadana khandas are taken by, possessed by Satta - Jeeva - creature for manifestation of its own. After Tanha arises in satta- creature, it gathers Panchupadanas (Rup, Vedana, Sanna, Sanskara and Vinnana) for fulfillment of its Tanhas. So 'clinging' is the wrong meaning of Upadana.

From Pali

'clinging', according to Vis.M. XVII, is an intensified degree of craving (tanhā).

The 4 kinds of clinging are:

(1) "What now is the sensuous clinging? Whatever with regard to sensuous objects there exists of sensuous lust, sensuous desire, sensuous attachment, sensuous passion, sensuous deluded ness, sensuous fetters: this is called sensuous clinging.

(2) What is the clinging to views? 'Alms and offerings are useless; there is no fruit and result for good and bad deeds: all such view and wrong conceptions are called the clinging to views.

(3) "What is the clinging to mere rules and ritual? The holding firmly to the view that through mere rules and ritual one may reach purification: this is called the clinging to mere rules and ritual.

(4) "What is the clinging to the personality-belief? The 20 kinds of ego-views with regard to the groups of existence (s. sakkāya-ditthi): these are called the clinging to the personality-belief" (Dhs.1214-17).

This traditional fourfold division of clinging is not quite satisfactory. Besides kamupādāna we should expect either rūpupādāna and arūpupādāna, or simply bhavupādāna. Though the Anāgāmī is entirely free from the traditional 4 kinds of upādāna, he is not freed from rebirth, as he still possesses bhavupādāna. The Com. to Vis.M. XVII, in trying to get out of this dilemma, explains kāmupādāna as including here all the remaining kinds of clinging.

"Clinging' is the common rendering for u., though 'grasping' would come closer to the literal meaning of it, which is 'uptake'; s. Three Cardinal Discourses (WHEEL 17), p.19.