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A little context to describe what I am looking for and why I am looking for it:

It is my strong intuition that "suffering" is a label that we give to a phenomenon that, upon deeper inspection, we discover to be an "inner conflict" between
(1) a part of us that craves a particular sensory experience (kāma)
and
(2) a part of us which desires to see things as they actually are (yathabhutañanadassana)

and that the resolution of these inner conflicts
by relinquishing sense-desires
in favor of clear seeing
is the means by which suffering is ended

and that the āsava are the biases
which keep us clinging to sense-desires
until we are strong enough to relinquish them
and that each resolution of an inner conflict of this nature
results in a destruction of the āsava (asavakkhaye ñana)

and that each such destruction brings us closer and closer to full awakening
wherein all āsava have been removed
inner conflicts no longer go unresolved
because avijjā (the choice to ignore uncomfortable truths) has been destroyed
i.e. we no longer respond to dukkha (the arrow in the heart who purpose is to alert us to that the map of the world we have constructed has made a misprediction that should be corrected)
by ignoring evidence that our views are compelling us to make bad decisions
in favor of clinging to sense-desires.

and that this works because
the sensory motor wherein all āsava have been removed
inner conflicts no longer go unresolved
because avijjā (the choice to ignore uncomfortable truths) has been destroyed
i.e. we no longer respond to dukkha (this discomfort of misprediction)
by ignoring evidence that our views are compelling us to make bad decisions. brain evolved because it enabled beings to respond to sensory experience with moves in the world that improved the probability of gene survival
i.e. the trait of making accurate predictions (saṅkhāra) originally served the master of the zero-sum game of gene-survival (aka "Māra)
but the zero-sum game intensified competition
which created selection pressure for ever more accurate predictions
leading to the point where clinging to the original gene-survival compulsions
actually become an impediment to clear seeing
and that the choice to relinquish this impediment
in favor the welfare of all living beings
was the choice the Buddha made
when he renounced Māra
and attained nibbana.

Although everything is a hypothesis,
and all hypotheses should be considered impermanent (sabbe saṅkhāra annicā),
and all hypothesis are subject to the discomfort of misprediction (sabbe saṅkhāra dukkha),
I have a very high degree of certainty that this hypothesis is correct.

Nevertheless, the "fly in the ointment" is the uncomfortable truth that I am not familiar with a Pali term to represent the concept of an "inner conflict" between these 2 parts.

My best guess is that
(1) I am attributing an incorrect meaning to a term that I already know which represents this concept
or
(2) The term was removed from the canon by the same forces who removed the 4 resolves (adhiṭṭhāna: sacca, pañǹa, cāga, upasama; which described how to actually resolve the unresolved conflict).

I'm hoping that (1) is true and that someone here can point me in the right direction.

7 Answers 7

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In pali, Lola means agitate.

Example, I agitated between doing good to a robber or doing bad to a robber.

From PTS Pali-English dictionary entry on lola:

Lola (Loḷa) Lola (Loḷa) (adj.) [fr. luḷ: see luḷati; cp. Epic & Classic Sk. lola] wavering, unsteady, agitated; longing, eager, greedy S iv.111; Sn 22, 922; J i.49 (Buddha -- mātā lolā na hoti), 111, 210, 339 (dhana -- loḷa); ii.319 (˚manussa); iii.7; Pug 65; Nd1 366; Dāvs iv.44; Miln 300. —alola not greedy, not distracted (by desire), self-controlled S v.148; Sn 65. -bhava greediness, covetousness ThA 16.

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From PTS Pali-English dictionary search on "agitation":

Āvilatta Āvilatta (nt.) [abstr. fr. āvila] confusion, disturbance, agitation Sn 967; Nd1 488.

Āluḷa Āluḷa (adj. [fr. ā + lul] being in motion, confusion or agitation, disturbed, agitated J vi.431.

Āloḷa Āloḷa [fr. ā + luḷ, cp. āluḷati & āloḷeti] confusion, uproar, agitation DhA i.38.

Ubbijjanā Ubbijjanā (f.) [abstr. fr. ubbijjati] agitation, uneasiness DA i.111. Cp. ubbega.

Uddhacca Uddhacca (nt.) [substantivised ger. of ud-dharati, ud + dhṛ, cp. uddhaṭa & uddhata. The BSk. auddhatya shows a strange distortion. BSk. uddhava seems to be also a substitute for uddhacca] over-balancing, agitation, excitement, distraction, flurry

Pakopa Pakopa [pa+kopa] agitation, effervescence, anger, fury Dhs 1060; Vism 235, 236.

Vipphandita Vipphandita (nt.) [pp. of vipphandati] "writhing," twitching, struggle M i.446; S ii.62; — (fig.) in diṭṭhi˚ combd with visūkāyita) "scuffling of opinion" (Mrs. Rh. D.), sceptical agitation, worry & writhing (cp. Dial. i.53) M i.8, 486; S i.123 (here without diṭṭhi˚; the C. expln is "hatthirājavaṇṇa sappavaṇṇ' ādidassa nāni" K.S. i.320); Dhs 381; Pug 22.

Saŋvega Saŋvega [fr. saŋ+vij] agitation, fear, anxiety; thrill, religious emotion (caused by contemplation of the miseries of this world) D iii.214; A i.43; ii.33, 114; S i.197; iii.85; v.130, 133; It 30; Sn 935; J i.138; Nd1 406; Vism 135=KhA 235 (eight objects inducing emotion: birth, old age, illness, death, misery in the apāyas, and the misery caused by saŋsāra in past, present & future stages); Mhvs 1, 4; 23, 62; PvA 1, 22, 32, 39, 76.

From PTS Pali-English dictionary search on "madness":

Ummāda Ummāda [ud + māda] madness, distraction, mental aberration S i.126 (˚ŋ pāpuṇeyya citta -- vikkhepaŋ vā); A ii.80; iii.119; v.169; Pug 69; PvA 6 (˚patta frantic, out of mind), 94 (˚vāta), 162 (˚patta).

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Although perhaps too low-level, anurodha,virodha, or a joining of the two, anurodhavirodhaṁ, may be suitable:

FROM MN38:

Being so full of favoring and opposing, when they experience any kind of feeling—pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral—they approve, welcome, and keep clinging to it.

So evaṁ anurodhavirodhaṁ samāpanno yaṁ kiñci vedanaṁ vedeti sukhaṁ vā dukkhaṁ vā adukkhamasukhaṁ vā, so taṁ vedanaṁ abhinandati abhivadati ajjhosāya tiṭṭhati. This gives rise to relishing.

used slightly differently in a few instances: AN8.5, AN8.6, SN36.6

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You are correct, the concept of conflict (or clash or mismatch) is subsumed under the concept of dukkha or dukkhata.

If you think about it, there's no suffering distinct from (apart from) conflict. Presence of conflict is the very suffering, and vice versa, suffering is mismatch between "is" and "should". That's why there's no need for a separate term.

Absence of conflict is happiness/dukkha and ultimately suchness/tathata.

Practice of the Eightfold Path, culminating in the practice of Jhanas, is all about methodically removing (arresting, preventing) causes of conflict, from coarser to finer, all the way until tathata.

Conflicts range from external social conflicts, to conflict of expectations, to subtle conflict coming from overgeneralizations, reifications, inaccurate models, to implicit conflicts inherent to all conceptual boundaries.

Buddha is called Tathagata - one living in suchness.

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  • Thanks. This is helpful. On suttacentral, I see that the term atathaṁ is used in DN15 & MN105. However, it seems to have the more general meaning of not-truth. May 14, 2022 at 4:22
  • I still feel unresolved conflict, however, because the absence of a term to represent this concept is inconsistent with sensory experience: i.e. (1) As a general rule, when we zero in on the cause of a problem we are seeking to solve (or a destination we are seeking to reach), the density of named concepts tends to increase as we get closer to the target in order to ensure that the target can be hit. (2) the volume of text in the suttas is considerable. May 14, 2022 at 4:45
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    Let me know what you find, I'll be interested to know.
    – Andriy Volkov
    May 14, 2022 at 10:37
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In Sanskrit there is a word called “Antar-Virodh”. It means “self contradictory”. It makes you unable to make a decision because of the conflicting situation or feeling or facts. In Pali same words “Antar” and “virodh” can be combined to create “antarvirodh”.

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(1) a part of us that craves a particular sensory experience (kāma) and (2) a part of us which desires to see things as they actually are (yathabhutañanadassana)

The above simply sounds like the hindrance (nivarana) & fetter (saṁyojana) of 'doubt' or a lack of faith.

and that each resolution of an inner conflict of this nature results in a destruction of the āsava (asavakkhaye ñana)... and that each such destruction brings us closer and closer to full awakening

I am not sure the word khaya here means a gradual lessening. Generally, my impression is the destruction of the āsava is the product of full awakening. More research is required here.

You seem to be referring to the gradual destruction of the 'fetters' ('saṁyojana').

and that the āsava are the biases which keep us clinging to sense-desires

The word 'asava' means 'outflow' of in-born & conditioned tendencies (anusaya). It does not mean 'bias' ('agati').

wherein all āsava have been removed inner conflicts no longer go unresolved

When the fetter of doubt is destroyed by a stream-enterer, this appears the ending of inner conflict.

because avijjā (the choice to ignore uncomfortable truths)

Ignorance is not a 'choice' ('cetana'). Ignorance is an anusaya (underlying tendency) & asava (outflow).

and all hypotheses should be considered impermanent (sabbe saṅkhāra annicā), and all hypothesis are subject to the discomfort of misprediction (sabbe saṅkhāra dukkha),

The Laws of Dhamma/Nature are fixed (AN 3.136). Their realisation brings comfort.

(1) I am attributing an incorrect meaning to a term that I already know which represents this concept

Inner-conflict is a lack of faith or otherwise blind faith. If the mind still lusts for sensual pleasures yet believes it must attain Nibbana, this sounds like blind faith in religion.

(2) The term was removed from the canon by the same forces who removed the 4 resolves (adhiṭṭhāna: sacca, pañǹa, cāga, upasama; which described how to actually resolve the unresolved conflict).

The four resolves in are in the canon, such as in MN 140:

Paññādhiṭṭhāno, saccādhiṭṭhāno, cāgādhiṭṭhāno, upasamādhiṭṭhāno.

The foundations of wisdom, truth, generosity, and peace.

MN 140

If we wish to advance in the Dhamma, it is said we must abide in the moral precepts (MN 6). No watching porn, no believing casual sex is OK, no drugs & alcohol.

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  • The hindrance/fetter of vicikicchā does not mean "doubt". This is a mistranslation by people who have not sufficiently restrained their compulsion for immediate gratification in favor of seeing things as they actually are. A more precise translation would be the "split thinking" which precedes the perception of doubt. vicikicchā and papaǹca are 2 different perspectives of the same phenomenon. 1st person and 3rd person. It is the "flight of the hero" in response to the first arrow. Dec 7, 2023 at 19:24
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The Pali term which seems to most closely represent the concept of “the inner conflict which gives rise to suffering and whose resolution leads to the end of suffering” is the term “dhammas”.

Ajahn Sucitto explains …

2023-09-03: video: BuddhaDhamma Foundation: Luang Por Sucitto: Vassa ‘23 Dhamma Streams (at 26 mins 15 seconds)

Direct Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqf9kHJXYmc&t=26m15s

However, let's be more precise. Dhamma means "sensory motor map that guides our movements through sensory experience". Dhamma is our "sensory motor predictive model of sensory experience".

Our maps contain errors.

This is explained by the Buddha in the opening lines of chapter 1 of the Dhammapada (Yamakavagga):

Mind precedes the map
Mind is first
Mind constructs [the map]
Speak or act with a corrupted mind,
And suffering follows
As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.

Mind precedes dhamma
Mind is first
Mind constructs [dhamma]
Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
And happiness follows Like a never-departing shadow.

The first arrow in the heart is a "notification of misprediction in the sensory motor predictive model".

i.e. the sensory experience "observed" is different than the sensory experience "predicted".

This is the difference between "external" and "internal" that the Buddha guided us to focus on in MN 10.

Sati is the skillful response to the first arrow.

Sati is the tool we use to find and correct the error.

When the error is corrected, all suffering is ended.

Why is this?

Because avijjā, AKA denial, the refusal to see things as they actually are is the root cause of the dependent orgination of suffering.

The dhammas that Ajahn Sucitto is referring to are the dhammas which still contain the uncorrected error. The mind ruminates upon these so that we will make the correction.

This is explained more fully here.

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