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- inflow, influx, influence; Mental bias or canker, cankers that keep one bound to the World of Samsāra; used particularly in Jainism and Buddhism.:948
According to De Silva:
- The āsavas which are mentioned frequently are kāmāsava, bhavāsava, diṭṭhāsava and Avijjāsava. Horner translates these as the cankers of sense-pleasure, becoming, false views and Ignorance. The word canker suggests something that corrodes or corrupts slowly. These figurative meanings perhaps describe facets of the concept of āsava: kept long in storage, oozing out, taint, corroding, etc.:75
- 6. sadā jāgaramānānam, ahorattānusikkhinam
- nibbāṇam adhimuttānam, atthaṁ gacchanti āsavā 226
- Those who are ever vigilant, who discipline themselves day and night,
- and are ever intent upon Nibbana – their Defilements fade away.
- The āsavas or taints are a classification of Defilements considered in their role of sustaining the forward movement of the process of birth and Death. The commentaries derive the word from a root su meaning "to flow." Scholars differ as to whether the flow implied by the prefix ā is inward or outward; hence some have rendered it as "influxes" or "influences," others as "outflows" or "effluents." A stock passage in the suttas indicates the term's real significance independently of etymology when it describes the āsavas as states "that defile, bring renewal of existence, give trouble, ripen in Suffering, and lead to future birth, aging and Death" (MN 36.47; I 250). Thus other translators, bypassing the literal meaning, have rendered it "cankers," "corruptions," or "taints." The three taints mentioned in the Nikāyas are respectively synonyms for Craving for sensual pleasures, Craving for existence, and Ignorance. [The fourth āsava, attachment to views, appears in the commentaries.] When the Disciple's Mind is liberated from the taints by the completion of the path of arhantship, he reviews his newly won freedom and roars his lion's roar: "Birth is destroyed, the spiritual Life has been lived, what had to be done has been done; there is no more coming back to any state of being."