by Ashin Janakabhivamsa | 66,666 words
English translation of "Abhidhamma in Daily Life" by Professor Ko Lay. Revised by Sayadaw U Silananda, International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Yangon, 1999...
Sincere wish is a mental factor called chanda, it is unlike lobha because there is neither craving nor attainment involved. It is merely a wish to do or to acquire which occurs prominently in all living beings. When an infant has a desire to go to his mother, he will gesture with outstretched arms. The wish to travel, to see, to eat, to touch, to know, to understand, all fall into the category of chanda.
When one wishes to realize Nibbána, to become a great disciple, a chief disciple, a Buddha, a King, a rich man, a Deva, a Brahma, a Bhikkhu, or hermit, to give charity, to observe precepts, to do good deeds, etc. all such wishes belong to the realm of chanda. Of course, there are feeble and vigorous degrees of chanda. Because of he Bodhisattva’s wish was very strong, he exerted diligent effort in fulfilling parami perfections and finally attained Enlightenment and became the Tathágata.
Those without an earnest wish to soar to great heights will not endeavor with due viriya. In order to instigate an eager wish, we must first think of the beneficial outcomes of a certain endeavor. Only when there is the incentive then there will be the propelling force that incites your effort. This first step of chanda is also called asa. Then we begin to realize that a desire cannot be fulfilled by merely wishing or praying. This finally leads to diligent effort which actually bears fruits.
Let us suppose you wish to travel to Yangon from Mandalay. This wish alone will take you to no where. You must be able to pay the fare for the journey. So you must acquire some money. Getting some money is effort (viriya). If you wish to realize Nibbána, or to achieve Arahatship or to attain Enlightenment, you must diligently fulfill the required perfections with zeal and vigor to the necessary extent.
Those at the zenith of society today, whether they be lay or clergy are not celestial beings endowed with power and ability, who have descended from heaven. There are people who try to have their chanda (fulfilled) through viriya (diligent effort). It is a rare chance to be born a human being. So if you have no wish for betterment of yourself, and remain indolent, indifferent, inefficient, you will not be much better from an animal. With wilful chanda you can find the key to prosperity in this life and also find the right path to Nibbána. It is imperative that you must cultivate both good asa and chanda everyday so as to reap the highest rewards.