Title- ☸☸☸ A Discourse On What Path To Take In Life By Ajahn Brahm ☸☸☸

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Title- Anottappa (Moral Fearlessness)

Lack of moral dread is having no fear, no dread (anottappa). In other words anottappa means devoid of moral dread. Evil deeds are like an open flame. Anottappa is like the moths. In fact the open flame is to be very much dreaded. However, moths do not think the open flame as dreadful and recklessly fly into it. Just so, evil deeds cause a variety of sufferings; so they are indeed to be dreaded. But moha (delusion) conceals those resultant sufferings; and anottappa does not see them as dreadful. Those factors prompt the doing of evil deeds boldly. With regard to evil deeds, the following dangers are impending.

1. Attanuvada-bhaya: the danger of blaming or accusing oneself, losing self-respect and having no self-esteem. Such a person will be oppressed by the thought, “Though many people think I am a virtuous gentleman, I know myself: I am not a virtuous man as they think. I am a wicked man who does evil deeds stealthily.” (atta = oneself + anuvada = blame, accuse)

2. Paranuvada-bhaya: the danger of being blamed, being accused by others in this way, “You are a wicked person, doing unwholesome, evil deeds.” (para = by others; anuvada = blame, accuse )

3. Danda-bhaya: the danger of suffering and punishment such as being killed by others for having committed murder; being beaten by the owner for having stolen his property; being killed for committing adultery; being imprisoned for various criminal acts.

4. Duggati-bhaya: the danger of suffering from great remorse over one’s evil deeds on one’s deathbed and the prospect of being reborn in the four woeful abodes in the next existence.

Through artfulness, guile and cunning, one may be able to avoid the first three dangers brought about by one’s evil deeds, but one will not be able to avoid the danger of falling into the four planes of misery in the next existence. Hence evil deeds are very dreadful indeed. However, when anottappa steps in, even the wise who normally dread evil acts are inclined to commit fearful deeds without shame or dread.

Note on the Story of Haritaca

Herein, the case of the Bodhisatta (the hermit Haritaca) should be reviewed. There are so many dreadful things in the story. Needless to say, the hermit suffered from the danger of blaming himself and losing self-respect (attanuvada-bhaya). As the bad news, “The king’s teacher, the hermit, had done wrong with the queen”, spread over the whole town during the absence of the king, he suffered from the danger of being blamed by others (paranuvada-bhaya).

If the king, the would-be Ananda, were not a virtuous man fulfilling Paramis (Perfections), he would not have cared for the hermit’s life as much as a blade of grass for his transgression. It was on account of the king’s virtue that he narrowly escaped from being sentenced to death. As anottappa came in, the hermit dared to commit such an immoral act without fear of capital punishment. The mind which arises together with this recklessness is called anottappa-citta.

Just as the village swine does not abhor faeces, so the shameless man is not ashamed of his evils. Just as the moth does not fear the open flame, so the man void of ottappa (dread of sin) does not fear evil deeds.
                                                                                                                  {From Vibhavini Tika}

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