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There are two suttas, SN 46.26 about destruction of craving and SN 46.27 about the cessation of craving.

I was thinking that destruction of craving is same as cessation of craving but the pali word for each of them is different(destruction of craving - taṇhakkhayāya ;cessation of craving -taṇhānirodhāya) . However I am not clear what difference does it make when we say cessation of craving instead of destruction of craving? In both the cases there should be cessation of suffering.

My question is : What is the difference between destruction of craving and cessation of craving?

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  • SN 22.47 could be a fake sutta because the term "tanhanirodha" is not found in any other sutta, apart from in suttas about dependent origination. legacy.suttacentral.net/… Jun 8, 2018 at 3:51
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    There are tanha's nirodha in everywhere of tipitaka. Ariyasacca and paṭiccasamuppāda are mentioning the same. Don't distort Tipitaka. legacy.suttacentral.net/…
    – Bonn
    Jun 8, 2018 at 4:32
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    SN 46.27 is cessation part of dependent origination in SN Nidāna vibhaṅgasutta 84000.org/tipitaka/read/v.php?B=16&A=33&Z=87
    – Bonn
    Jun 8, 2018 at 4:41

5 Answers 5

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According to Sanskrit dictionary, the two words have different connotations that I think are important for correct understanding of Buddhist doctrine.

Pali kkhaya or Sanskrit kṣayā (kshaya) means "destruction, termination, ruin, perish, wane, decay, end, vanish, disappear". (kṣayā-ya means "for destruction")

Pali and Sanskrit nirodha is made from the root rodha which basically means dam, fence, wall, barrier -- and prefix ni- that means "within", "down into" or niḥ- which means "out", "away". Combined with rodha, both prefixes seem to support the image of containment, blocking something from getting in or getting out. Hence the dictionary meaning of Sanskrit nirodha: "confine, imprison, restrain, control, suppress, obstruct, hinder, keep back". Interestingly, "Nirodh" is a condom brand in India. In modern-day Hindi - a language that grew out of Proto-Magadhi Prakrit, the word निरोध (nirodha) means "contraception", "protection", "detention", "control", "prevention", "restraint", "check", "repression", "preclusion", "obstruction", "constraint", "inhibition", and gives rise to such modern words as "insect repellent" (nirodhaka) and "stranglehold" (nirodhana).

So the meaning of nirodha is more like not allowing something to happen, while the meaning of kshaya is more like decaying, falling apart & vanishing from existence.

The common English translations of nirodha as "cessation" and kshaya as "destruction" have it a little backwards, in my opinion. A better translation IMO would be nirodha => "prevention" (to prevent, to arrest, to stop) and kshaya => "ending" (to end).

As I understand, Buddha of Pali Canon uses "nirodha" a lot more frequently than "kshaya" because he wants to make it clear that dukkha is something we actively prevent (by not giving rise to craving, by uprooting the ignorance, by developing signlessness, by abiding in suchness), instead of it simply ending by itself when we reach some fantasy meditative state.

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  • I have found a sutta which explains what is cessation. It explains here Jun 7, 2018 at 16:15
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – ChrisW
    Jun 8, 2018 at 11:47
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Re-read the topic What is Nirodha?

Based on this answer (which quotes fro a translation of the Visuddhimagga), and this answer (which quotes the PTS dictionary definitions of rodha and of ni) perhaps nirodha implies "escape from the prison of".

Also Piya Tan quotes Payutto saying that nirodha doesn't mean "cessation" (of something which has arisen), instead it means non-arising ... according to that interpretation, the third noble truth would be about the "non-arising" of dukkha.

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The semantic properties of these words are shared.

As an example, a champion may get destroyed by a contender in a fight which is then a cessation of the champion's reign.

In Dhamma the way we use words & construe meaning is akin to creating a map of understanding complete with elements properly conceived. Following this map we may arrive at a cessation or at a destruction which may essentially be the same truth & reality albeit apprehended & arrived at differently, think of the blind men and the elephant parable.

Removal denotes absence, Destruction denotes elimination, elimination is that by which the thing is removed having been destroyed. In the Dhamma that which is the destruction is also without that which is destroyed, it is a truth & reality which is in & by itself empty of taints and these unwholesome states utterly cease in one practicing the seeing & knowing of the destruction.

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Since SN 46.26 & SN 46.27 are grouped together, any relationship between them should be investigated. While both suttas refer to the same outcome (thus destruction & cessation are synonymous here), in SN 46.26, khaya (destruction) is the final result of the Path; where as nirodha (cessation) in SN 46.26 is something the Path is dependent upon, as follows:

Bhikkhus, develop the path and the way that leads to the destruction of craving. And what is the path and the way that leads to the destruction of craving? It is: the seven factors of enlightenment. What seven? The enlightenment factor of mindfulness … the enlightenment factor of equanimity.”

When this was said, the Venerable Udayī asked the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, how are the seven factors of enlightenment developed and cultivated so that they lead to the destruction of craving?”

Here, Udayī, a bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness, which is based [dependent] upon seclusion, dispassion and cessation, maturing in release.

46.26

Therefore, it appears destruction (khaya) is a more absolute/permanent term; where as nirodha can be used more flexibly.

For example, in the teaching of Dependent Origination, nirodha is used for the 'cessation' of ignorance, formations, consciousness, body-mind, sense-bases, contact, feeling, craving, attachment, becoming, birth, aging-&-death and suffering.

However, if Dependent Origination is actually understood, it is understood consciousness, mind-body, sense-bases, contact & feeling do not literally 'cease' when ignorance ceases because consciousness, mind-body, sense-bases, contact & feeling continue to operate for a Buddha (refer to Iti 44; SN 22.53; MN 38; MN 148; MN 140; etc). Instead, what 'ceases' is the ignorance & defilement polluting/tainting consciousness, mind-body, sense-bases, contact & feeling.

Where as 'khaya' ('destruction') appears only used for literal destruction. Therefore, unlike the term 'viññāṇanirodhā' in Dependent Origination (which does not refer to the literal destruction of consciousness), if the term 'viññāṇakkhayo' was found, it appears it would refer to the literal destruction of consciousness.

In conclusion, as the final outcome of the Path, the words 'destruction' & 'cessation' appear synonymous in SN 46.26 & SN 46.27; but not within SN 46.26. However, in other suttas, it appears the words 'destruction' & 'cessation' may not be synonymous.

For example, in the stock definition of Nibbana (found in MN 26 below), the single word 'cessation' ('nirodha') appears a synonym for Nibbana where as 'khaya' alone is not but found within a compound. Instead, 'khaya' appears always added to something, such as craving.

It’s also hard for them to see this thing; that is, the calming of all activities, the letting go of all attachments, the destruction of craving, fading away, cessation, extinguishment.

Idampi kho ṭhānaṃ duddasaṃ yadidaṃ—sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭinissaggo taṇhākkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṃ.

MN 26

For example, in SN 43.14-43, the word 'khaya' is not found as a synonym for Nibbana. Instead, the word compound 'taṇhākkhaya' is found.

In summary, the word 'khaya' alone appears to never have any special meaning in Buddhism. Where as the word 'nirodha' can be used more flexibly yet when used alone appears to have a special supreme meaning (synonymous with Nibbana).

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The answer of this question

According to your quote, khayāya and nirodha mean same. It is synonym of each other for that context.

There are two suttas, one about destruction of craving and other about the cessation of craving.

Why buddha teach those both sutta by those difference words in the same meaning?

Because some word is understandable just for some listener. Similitude, if you say "give me barbie" in the Australian's restaurant, it may means "give me barbecue", not barbie doll, because "barbie" is a slang of barbecue in Australia. Also, buddha may teach the same paṭiccasamuppāda by the difference words for one from the northern and another one from the southern, because of their lingo.

Then how to know they are the same?

  1. Your quote suttas come together, the first is full, but the next is brief. That means the 1st saṅgāyana-members decided to brief the next sutta because of the previous sutta.
  2. The other sutta, which describing paṭiccasamuppāda as alike as your quoted sutta, use these 2 words as each other synonym, such as in Sutta. Saṃ. Ni. parivīmaṃsanasutta:

ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave bhikkhu sabbaso sammā dukkhak-khay-āya paṭipanno jarāmaraṇa-nirodh-āya.

This is called a mendicant who is practicing (paṭipanno) for(āya) the complete ending (khaya) of suffering (dukkha), for(āya) the cessation(nirodh) of old age and death (jarāmaraṇa).

[jarāmaraṇa=dukkha follow to SN Dhammacakkappavattanasutta and SN Paṭiccasamuppādavibhaṅgasutta]

There are another example of the same case in Vinaya. Mahāvi (1) Paṭhamapārājikakaṇḍaṃ as well

The side answer in this question

It is very easy to take two piece of jigsaw, then say "whole of jigsaw-pieces in this box is not united, because these 2 pieces can not connect together". And people who addicts drama-movie often love&like to act like this.

But it is uncountable hard to relate and connect a thousand pieces of jigsaw together by the right way. It is harder when that jigsaw has changed the box more than 2,600 times through 2,600 years.

However, if one in 2,600 years later can done that jigsaw to be unity. It's means the fist box owners already marks the numbers at each piece of jigsaw very clearly, and they also wrote the manual "how to connect the jigsaw together", then sent it from the previous generation the the next generation for 2,600 years.

From another answer that has now been deleted:

I was once taught the Pali word "atthaṅgama" refers to a temporary cessation where as "nirodha" refers to a permanent cessation.

Atthaṅgamo can refer to a permanent cessation, too. Such as in DN Nidāna. Dukkasuttaṃ:

  1. “Monks, what is the fading (Atthaṅgamo) of unpleasantness?
  1. “Monks, on account of eye and forms arises eye-consciousness. The coincidental arising of the three is contact. On account of a contact are feelings. On account of feelings is craving. With the cessation of that craving without a remainder holding ceases. With the cessation of holding being ceases. With the cessation of being birth ceases. With the cessation of birth, decay, death, grief, lament, unpleasantness displeasure and distress cease. Thus ceases the complete mass of unpleasantness.

From another answer that has now been deleted:

Therefore, I think the suttas should be researched to affirm or refute this idea that "nirodha" refers to a permanent cessation.

Sāriputta already done it, but the anti-abhidhammist often ignore it. So, according to Ven. Payutto and Sāriputta-mahāsāvaka, there are 5 type of cessations using in tipitaka that appears in various difference words:

[224] Nirodha 5 = extinction; cessation of defilements.

  1. Vikkhambhana-nirodha — extinction by suppression.
  1. Tadaṅga-nirodha — extinction by substitution of opposites.
  1. Samuccheda-nirodha — extinction by cutting off or destruction.
  1. Paṭipassaddhi-nirodha — extinction by tranquillization.
  1. Nissarana-nirodha — extinction by escape; extinction by getting freed.

These example words have the same meaning as well: Pahāna 5 (abandonment 5), Vimutti 5 (deliverance 5), Viveka 5 (seclusion 5), Virāga 5 (detachment; dispassionateness), Vossagga 5 (relinquishing), etc.

Actually, atthakathā already researched and often specified one of these 5 meaning for each nirodha-word found in each sutta. But the anti-abhidhammist ignore them, never try to study abhidhamma and atthakathā as they are and by the ancient study system. So although the research already done, they still never know the existence of that research.

From another answer that has now been deleted:

The word "kkhayo" ("destruction") definitely refers to a permanent cessation or "uprooting". When the Buddha 1st uttered his awakening, he referred to the destruction of craving

  1. There is no kkhaya-word in pāli. Pāli has only khaya. But -k- of taṇha-k-khaya (taṇha+khaya) is a word merging as alike as -t- of get-t-ing (get+ing).
  2. Khaya not used only as a permanent cessation, there are many khaya used as temporary cessation, such as in Sutta. Saṃ. Kha. Ānandasutta:
  1. “Ānanda, matter is impermanent, compounded and arise dependently and it is of the normal of withering(khaya), fading (vaya), loosing interest (virāga) and ceasing (nirodha[temporary]). The cessation(nirodha[permanent]) of that is cessation.

From another answer that has now been deleted:

Another contra argument against synonymity is it is impossible for "kkhayo" ("destruction") to be used in Paticcasamuppada because "nirodha" in Paticcasamuppada refers to the extinguishing of ignorance that taints consciousness, mind-body, sense bases and contact rather than the destruction of consciousness, mind-body, sense bases and contact.

Kaya-word was not directly used in Paṭiccasamuppādavibhaṅgasutta. But Kaya-word was used instead of cease-word, (nirodha-paṭiccasamuppāda) directly in various suttas and in many relation with paṭiccasamuppāda, such as:

“Sir, a mendicant who is perfected—with defilements ended, who has completed the spiritual journey, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, achieved their own goal, utterly ended the fetters of rebirth, and is rightly freed through enlightenment—is dedicated to six things. They are dedicated to renunciation, seclusion, kindness, the ending of craving, the ending of grasping, and mental clarity (no-ignorant).

“Yo so, bhante, bhikkhu arahaṃ khīṇāsavo vusitavā katakaraṇīyo ohitabhāro anuppattasadattho parikkhīṇabhavasaṃyojano sammadaññāvimutto, so cha ṭhānāni adhimutto hoti— nekkhammādhimutto hoti, pavivekādhimutto hoti, abyāpajjādhimutto hoti, taṇhāk-khayā-dhimutto hoti, upādāna-kkhayā-dhimutto hoti, asammohādhimutto hoti.

From another answer that has now been deleted:

Also, the term "tanhanirodha" appears to be not found in any other sutta, apart from in suttas about dependent origination.

This gives rise to two different conclusions:

  1. SN 46.27 is a fake sutta. Generally, when "permanent nirodha" is referred to, the term "asesa" ("remainderless") is also included. Since SN 46.27 does not include the term "asesa", it could be a fake sutta.

The fact is: only in the cessation noble truth that taṇhā-nirodha come with "asesa" as "yo tassaāyeva taṇhāya asesavirāganirodho" . even in Paṭiccasamuppādavibhaṅgasutta "asesa" come with only avijjā as "avijjāya tveva asesavirāganirodhā". But taṅhā come with nirodha without "asesa".

When craving ceases, grasping ceases.

taṇhānirodhā upādānanirodho; (no "asesa")

Actually, we all know that the meaning of "asesa" also included by the context relation. But, it was fail, if someone said 'when "permanent nirodha" is referred to, the term "asesa" ("remainderless") is also included'.

So, this fail can not prove "it could be a fake sutta."

From another answer that has now been deleted:

  1. SN 46.27 explains how to achieve the "cessation" mentioned in SN 46.26; upon which the factors of enlightenment depend on. In other words, the "destruction" in SN 46.26 is about final Nibbana where as the "cessation" in SN 46.26, which the factors of enligthenment are dependent upon, is the non-final cessation from starting the Path.

The fact is: If one think 'SN 46.27 has to have "asesa" to be "final Nibbana"'. According to that idea, SN 46.26 can not be "final Nibbana" as well, because AN 46.26 also doesn't have "asesa" as well.

So, this fail can not prove "it could be a fake sutta.", because the logic are fail at both.

From another answer that has now been deleted:

Therefore, the respective terms "kkhayo" and "nirodha", as used in SN 46.26 and SN 46.27, may not be synonymous.

Therefore, those all reasons can not prove '"kkhayo" and "nirodha", as used in SN 46.26 and SN 46.27'.

So, what happen in SN 46.26 and SN 46.27?

The possible case is "some of the listening-bhikkhu came form the other state, they didn't understand and did confuse of "khaya" in SN 46.26, while Buddha had be teaching. Because of that confusing, they couldn't memorize that sutta. Then they ask the buddha for repeat again "Please, repeat again, because I confuse of 'khaya'-word in 'taṇhakkhayā kammakkhayo kammakkhayā dukkhakkhayoti', so I can't memorize this sutta". Then the buddha know and repeat as SN 46.27.

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    interesting theory Jun 8, 2018 at 17:14
  • @DheerajVerma It's rule, not theory. Theravāda-monk's leaders still doing like that. Because sutta and vinaya force theravāda members to do continuous like that. See: unmixedtheravada.blogspot.com/2017/09/…
    – Bonn
    Jun 9, 2018 at 4:17
  • Khaya not used only as a permanent cessation sound wrong Mar 3, 2022 at 1:21
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    @StopObama-BidenStopWar I will not argue about khaya, pali problem, with one who never memorize even only DN22 in pali because it requires very high level pali skill and memorizing skill to understand the answer. So, you can tag me after you already remember every related suttas about khaya in pali form.
    – Bonn
    Mar 3, 2022 at 3:33
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    @StopObama-BidenStopWar also, ven. Payutto wrote what you quoted when he was young.
    – Bonn
    Mar 3, 2022 at 3:35

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