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The more we do wholesome deeds the more the inclination to do more good deeds and avoid unwholesome deeds. Wholesome deeds are encouraged but not unwholesome deeds. We need to keep doing wholesome actions, (attach to them) make them become our habit, the same thing with unwholesome actions if we do not want suffering.

So is avoiding unwholesome actions the same thing as aversion? It's said even Sakka Devaraja is not free from aversion. Is it normal and necessary to have or cultivate aversion toward unwholesome actions than toward wholesome actions?

  • Hmm, I don't know, but what I read from research and from reports about native people it seems to me that not only avoiding of unwholesome deeds is completely natural, but even an aversion against such deeds. However -whether it is normal and necessary to cultivate aversion : well, personally I don't believe that. And I think in Buddhism we have the tendency (and also the explicite will) to reduce/to emancipate from the emotional affect of aversion in favor of detachement and equianimity. – Gottfried Helms Sep 26 '15 at 12:34
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On the initial stages, cultivation of aversion towards unwholesome is normal, one might say even critical.

There are numerous examples in the Pali Canon suggesting cultivation of aversion to the unwholesome, many of them revolving around cultivation of disgust with the body as an antidote to lust:

Since your perception is distorted,
Your heart with passion is aflame.
The marks of beauty should you shun,
Bound up with lustful longing and desire.

Your mind, one-pointed and collected,
In seeing foulness should be cultivated.
With mindfulness directed on the body,
Dwell often in disgust concerning it.

But also more generally:

Having done a mental action, you should reflect on it: 'This mental action I have done — did it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Was it an unskillful mental action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it led to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it was an unskillful mental action with painful consequences, painful results, then you should feel distressed, ashamed, & disgusted with it. Feeling distressed, ashamed, & disgusted with it, you should exercise restraint in the future.

On the middling stages, once the separation from the coarse unwholesome qualities (habitual tendencies) has been accomplished, cultivation of aversion is substituted for cultivation of joy:

Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; just so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of [directed thought and evaluation on one's successful] withdrawal [from sensuality, from unskillful qualities].

And then on the advanced stages, cultivation of joy (and then equanimity) is superseded by cultivation of disenchantment:

... that he keep cultivating disenchantment with regard to form, that he keep cultivating disenchantment with regard to feeling, that he keep cultivating disenchantment with regard to perception, that he keep cultivating disenchantment with regard to fabrications, that he keep cultivating disenchantment with regard to consciousness.

From Kimattha Sutta:

Ananda: "And what is the purpose of disenchantment? What is its reward?"
Buddha: "Disenchantment has dispassion as its purpose, dispassion as its reward."
A: "And what is the purpose of dispassion? What is its reward?"
B: "Dispassion has knowledge & vision of release as its purpose, knowledge & vision of release as its reward.

Ananda, skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, freedom from remorse as their reward. Freedom from remorse has joy as its purpose, joy as its reward. Joy has rapture as its purpose, rapture as its reward. Rapture has serenity as its purpose, serenity as its reward. Serenity has pleasure as its purpose, pleasure as its reward. Pleasure has concentration as its purpose, concentration as its reward. Concentration has knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its purpose, knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its reward. Knowledge & vision of things as they actually are has disenchantment as its purpose, disenchantment as its reward. Disenchantment has dispassion as its purpose, dispassion as its reward. Dispassion has knowledge & vision of release as its purpose, knowledge & vision of release as its reward. In this way, Ananda, skillful virtues lead step-by-step to the consummation of arahantship.

These disenchantment and dispassion born of "the knowledge & vision of things as they actually are" is the very end of the path:

the Tathagata — the worthy one, the rightly self-awakened one, who from disenchantment with form, from dispassion, from cessation, from lack of clinging (for form and the rest of the five skandhas) is released — is termed 'rightly self-awakened.' And a discernment-released monk — who from disenchantment with form, from dispassion, from cessation, from lack of clinging (for form etc.) is released — is termed 'discernment-released.

Once "the knowledge & vision of release" has been achieved, there is no cultivation at all:

One who is dependent has wavering. One who is independent has no wavering. There being no wavering, there is calm. There being calm, there is no yearning. There being no yearning, there is no coming or going. There being no coming or going, there is no passing away or arising. There being no passing away or arising, there is neither a here nor a there nor a between-the-two. This, just this, is the end of stress.

And finally, total unbinding:

Any form (and the rest of five skandhas) by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification (of form etc.), Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea.

  • I think aversion and a sense of disgust are not only for initial stages. Knowledge of disgust (nibbida-ñana) is one of the knowledge among other knowledges such as knowledge of equanimity, etc.: Seeing thus the misery in conditioned things (formations), his mind finds no delight in those miserable things but is entirely disgusted with them... – B1100 Sep 27 '15 at 12:24
  • ...Even if he directs his thought to the happiest sort of life and existence, or to the most pleasant and desirable objects, his mind will not take delight in them, will find no satisfaction in them... (accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/mahasi/progress.html#ch6.8) – B1100 Sep 27 '15 at 12:24
  • In the big picture Knowledge of Desire for Deliverance and Knowledge of Disgust - are still rather initial stages. – Andrei Volkov Sep 27 '15 at 13:17
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Abiding amidst a multitude of mental afflictions, one should be vigorous in a thousand ways and unconquerable by the hosts of mental afflictions, like a lion by a herd of deer. ~Shantideva

Fear of the unholy born of an enthusiasm for virtue is justified. Otherwise, we would be like the buffalo that falls asleep among butchers.

However, it should not turn into aversion of those still afflicted by it.

The great and noble Shantideva, writes frequently on this subject in his guide to the Bodhisattva way of life ("Bodhisattvacharyavittara") -especially in the chapter on perfection of zeal.

[I just noticed the Theravada tag, apologies]

Rather than phrase your position as aversion to the unwholesome, it might be better to describe it as wise pursuit of the Dhamma.

Please see sections 7,8 of MN 139 Araṇavibhanga Sutta - The Exposition of Non-Conflict - one must neither extol nor disparage but teach only the Dhamma.

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