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Bhanga: the dissolution of the ego.

Can it be described as a synonym of wisdom (panna)? As the realization (experiential seeing and knowing) of the tilakkhana (anicca; dukkha; and anatta)?

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Modern Buddhism refers to 'magga-phala-nibbana'. 'Magga' is 'path', 'phala' is 'fruition'; 'Nibbana' is final outcome. To quote an opinion:

magga-phala-nibbana, path, fruition and nibbana: this compound (although the three terms appear separately throughout the Pali texts, their compound is found only in Thai) refers to the three activities that occur in rapid succession in the realization of Dhamma. Magga (path) is the activity of vipassana cutting through defilements. Phala (fruit) is the successful completion of that cutting, the result of magga. Nibbana is the coolness which appears once the defilements are cut.

Glossary of terms

Based on the definition above, the final dissolution of the defilement of ego-delusion is a fruition.


An examination of Pali suttas finds at least the following:

(13) He trains himself; constantly contemplating impermanence (unsatisfactoriness & not-self) I shall breathe in. He trains himself; constantly contemplating impermanence I shall breathe out.

(14) He trains himself; constantly contemplating fading away (dispassion) I shall breathe in. He trains himself: constantly contemplating fading away I shall breathe out.

(15) He trains himself: constantly contemplating quenching (nirodha) I shall breathe in. He trains himself: constantly contemplating quenching I shall breathe out.

(16) He trains himself: constantly contemplating tossing back (relinquishment) I shall breathe in. He trains himself: constantly contemplating tossing back I shall breathe out.

MN 118

Here, the dissolution of ego-delusion (fading away & relinquishment) is a result of the realization of the tilakkhana (anicca; dukkha; and anatta). Therefore, realisation of the tilakkhana comes first, followed by the result or fruition, which includes the dissolution of ego-delusion.

Or SN 22.59, about the tilakkana:

Seeing (the three characteristics) thus , the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

Again, seeing or realising the three characteristics comes first. This is wisdom. As a result, there is 'dispassion' (dissolution of craving & ego) and the ending of 'birth'. This is fruition. The Pali word 'birth' ('jati') actually means the 'birth' of the ego-delusion (rather than birth from a woman's womb).

The 'unborn' is also a synonym for Nibbana, so all these dhammas are very close.

Then, monks, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, seeking the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Nibbana, I reached the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Nibbana. MN 26


In summary, the dissolution of ego is not a synonym of wisdom (panna) nor is it the realization (experiential seeing and knowing) of the tilakkhana (anicca; dukkha; and anatta). Instead, the dissolution of ego is a result or fruition of wisdom & realization.

An analogy is using medicine to cure an illness. Ego is the illness. Wisdom is the medicine. By taking the medicine the illness is ended. What remains is the wisdom & freedom from illness.

  • Thank you. However, I am not sure it is completely correct. I might revise it later. – Dhammadhatu Dec 7 '16 at 22:35
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Bhanga: the dissolution of the ego.

Bhanga is the experience of total dissolution of the body and not necessary ego. Everywhere in your body you experience arising and passing. This experience can be vivid like vibration, bubbling, electric pulses running through you body, or even feel the body is a cluster of particles caught in brownian motion like vibrations.

Can it be described as a synonym of wisdom (panna)?

This itself is a level of wisdom but still you wisdom to realise is not complete.

As the realization (experiential seeing and knowing) of the tilakkhana (anicca; dukkha; and anatta)?

At Bhanga you start seeing anicca but this is not realization, though some teachers teach it as such, but a step before realisation.

For more on this see: Page 51, A Meditator's Handbook by Bill Crecelius, A Map of the Journey by Sayadaw U Jotika, The Progress of Insight by The Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw

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Bhanga can be meant to refer to Bhanga-ñana, "the knowledge of dissolution" defined in Vissudhimagga as #5 within the 16-stages progress of insight. Some Vipassana lineages (Thai and Mahasi, those I know of and have first-hand experience with) use the 16-stages model extensively. This stage of the naturally occuring progression is often accompanied by (see e.g. http://www.vipassanadhura.com/sixteen.html#fourb) feelings of losing ground (hence "dissolution") and sadness.

By acknowledging these conditions, insight into 3 characteristics is strenghtened. Experiencing sadness is by itself not insight, only a condition of the practice, which does not lead to wisdom without being acknowledged.

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Bhaṅga means the last arising phases of aggregate.

According to A.N.Tikanipāta Saṅkhatalakkhaṇasutta, each form's and mind's arising consists of three phases - uppāda-khaṇa (genesis-phase), thiti-khaṇa (continuum-phase), and bhanga-khaṇa (dissolution-phase or cessation-phase).

Bhaṅga-ñāṇa means wisdom focusing just that bhaṅga-khaṇa. Bhaṅga-ñāṇa is a high class of insight-meditation that the practitioner will practice after his insight meditation can perfectly and clearly focus in 3 characters, without any doubt or any other unwholesome mind's arising.

The beginner practitioner must avoid Bhaṅga-ñāṇa at first because this class can be a cause of suicide.

For more information about insight meditation class, you can use "Bhaṅga" to search inside this link. For the meaning is inside this link.

However, the main description is in Tipitaka K.N. Paṭisambhidāmagga by sāriputta-aggasāvaka.

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