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MOST IMPORTANT PRACTICE OF THE BLESSED, NOBLE, AWAKENED ONE TO BE FOLLOWED BY ALL TRUE FOLLOWERS-Noble Eightfold Path-Wisdom-1) Right View-The Ten Fetters(Sa.myojana)-2) Right Intention(Right Thought)Right Thought-Ethical Conduct-3) Right Speech(Sammaa-vaacaa)-4) Right ActionSammaa-kammanta)-5) Right Livelihood(Sammaa-aajiva)-Mental Development-6) Right Effort(Sammaa-vaayaama)-7) Right MindfulnessSammaa-sati)-8) Right Concentration(Sammaa-samaadhi)-Jhanas-Stream-enterer-(The Sotapanna)-Once-returner- Non-returner-Arahant
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MOST IMPORTANT PRACTICE OF THE BLESSED, NOBLE, AWAKENED ONE TO BE FOLLOWED BY ALL TRUE FOLLOWERS

Noble Eightfold Path-Wisdom-

1) Right View

The Ten Fetters

(Sa.myojana)

2) Right Intention

Right Thought

(Sammaa-sankappa)

Ethical Conduct

3) Right Speech

(Sammaa-vaacaa)

4) Right Action

(Sammaa-kammanta)

5) Right Livelihood

(Sammaa-aajiva)

 

Mental Development

 

6) Right Effort

(Sammaa-vaayaama)

7) Right Mindfulness

(Sammaa-sati)

 

8) Right Concentration

(Sammaa-samaadhi)

 

Jhanas

 Stream-enterer

The Sotapanna or ‘Stream-Enterer’

Once-returner

 Non-returner

 

1) Right View

 

The Ten Fetters

(Sa.myojana)

There are ten ‘Fetters’-samyojana-by which beings are bound to the wheel of existence. They are:

Self-Illusion (sakkaaya-di.t.thi)

Scepticism (vicikicchaa)

Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual (siilabbata-paraamaasa)

Sensual Lust (kaamaraaga)

Ill-Will (vyaapaada)

Craving for Fine-Material Existence (ruupa-raaga)

Craving for Immaterial Existence (aruupa-raaga)

Conceit (maana)

Restlessness (uddhacca)

Ignorance (avijjaa).

The Noble Ones

(Ariya-puggala)

One who is freed from the first three Fetters is called a ‘Stream - Enterer’ (in Pali: Sotaapanna) i.e. one who has entered the stream leading to Nibbaana. He has unshakable faith in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, and is incapable of breaking the five Moral Precepts. He will be reborn seven times, at the utmost, and not in a state lower than the human world.

One who has overcome the fourth and the fifth Fetters in their grosser form, is called a Sakadaagaami, lit. ‘Once-Returner’ i.e. he will be reborn only once more in the Sensuous Sphere (kaama-loka), and thereafter reach Holiness.

An Anaagaami, lit. ‘Non-Returner’, is wholly freed from the first five Fetters which bind one to rebirth in the Sensuous Sphere; after death, while living in the Fine-Material Sphere (ruupa-loka), he will reach the goal.

An Arahat, i.e. the perfectly ‘Holy One’, is freed from all the ten Fetters.

Each of the aforementioned four stages of Holiness consists of the ‘Path’ (magga) and the ‘Fruition’, e.g. ‘Path of Stream Entry’ (sotaapatti-magga) and ‘Fruition of Stream Entry’ (sotaapatti-phala). Accordingly there are eight types, or four pairs, of ‘Noble Individuals’ (ariya-puggala).

The ‘Path’ consists of the single moment of entering the respective attainment. By ‘Fruition’ are meant those moments of consciousness which follow immediately thereafter as the result of the ‘Path’, and which under certain circumstances, may repeat innumerable times during life-time.

For further details, see B. Dict.: ariya-puggala, sotaapanna,etc.

Mundane And Super Mundane Understanding

M.117

Therefore, I say, Right Understanding is of two kinds:

1. The view that alms and offerings are not useless; that there is fruit and result, both of good and bad actions; that there are such things as this life, and the next life; that father and mother, as also spontaneously born beings (in the heavenly worlds), are no mere words; that there are in the world monks and priests, who are spotless and perfect, who can explain this life and the next life, which they themselves have understood: this is called the ‘Mundane Right Understanding’ (lokiya-sammaa-di.t.thi), which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.

2. But whatsoever there is of wisdom, of penetration, of right understanding conjoined with the ‘Path’ (of the Sotaapanna, Sakadaagaami, Anaagaami, or Arahat)-the mind being turned away from the world and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued: this is called the ‘Super mundane Right Understanding’ (lokuttara-sammaa-di.t.thi), which is not of the world, but is super mundane and conjoined with the path.

Thus, there are two kinds of the Eightfold Path:

1. The ‘mundane’ (lokiya), practiced by the ‘Worldling’ (puthujjana), i.e. by all those who have not yet reached the first stage of Holiness; 2. The ’super mundane’ (lokuttara) practiced by the ‘Noble Ones’ (ariya-puggala).

Conjoined With Other Steps

Now, in understanding wrong understanding as wrong and right understanding as right, one practices ‘Right Understanding’ (1st factor); and in making efforts to overcome wrong understanding, and to arouse right understanding, one practices ‘Right Effort’ (6th factor); and in overcoming wrong understanding with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in the possession of right understanding one practices ‘Right Mindfulness’ (7th factor). Hence, there are three things that accompany and follow upon right understanding, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness.

Free from All Theories

M. 72

Now, if any one should put the question, whether I admit any theory at all, he should be answered thus: The Perfect One is free from any theory, for the Perfect One has understood what corporeality is, and how it arises and passes away. He has understood what feeling is, and how it arises and passes away. He has understood what perception is, and how it arises and passes away. He has understood what the mental formations are, and how they arise and pass away. He has understood what consciousness is, and how it arises and passes away. Therefore I say, the Perfect One has won complete deliverance through the extinction, fading-away, disappearance, rejection, and getting rid of all opinions and conjectures, of all inclination to the vain-glory of ‘I‘ and ‘mine‘.

The Three Characteristics

A. III. 134

Whether Perfect Ones (Buddhas) appear in the world, or whether Perfect Ones do not appear in the world, it still remains a firm condition, an immutable fact and fixed law: that all formations are impermanent (Anicca), that all formations are subject to suffering (dukkha); that everything is without a Self (an-attaa).

In Pali: sabbe sankhaaraa aniccaa, sabbe sankhaaraa dukkhaa, sabbe dhammaa anattaa.

The word ’sankhaaraa’ (formations) comprises here all things that are conditioned or ‘formed’ (sankhata-dhamma), i.e. all possible physical and mental constituents of existence. The word ‘dhamma’, however, has a still wider application and is all-embracing, as it comprises also the so-called Unconditioned (’unformed’, asankhata), i.e. Nibbana.

For this reason, it would be wrong to say that all dhammas are impermanent and subject to change, for the Nibbaana-dhamma is permanent and free from change. And for the same reason, it is correct to say that not only all the sankhaaras (=sankhata-dhamma), but that all the dhammas (including the asankhata-dhamma) lack an Ego (an-attaa).

S. XXII. 94

A corporeal phenomenon, a feeling, a perception, a mental formation, a consciousness, which is permanent and persistent, eternal and not subject to change, such a thing the wise men in this world do not recognize; and I also say that there is no such thing.

A. I. 15

And it is impossible that a being possessed of right understanding should regard anything as the Self.

Views and Discussions About the Ego

D. 15

Now, if someone should say that feeling is his Self, he should be answered thus: ‘There are three kinds of feeling: pleasurable, painful, and indifferent feeling. Which of these three feelings do you consider as your Self?’ Because, at the moment of experiencing one of these feelings, one does not experience the other two. These three kinds of feeling are impermanent, of dependent origin, are subject to decay and dissolution, to fading-away and extinction. Whosoever, in experiencing one of these feelings, thinks that this is his Self, must after the extinction of that feeling, admit that his Self has become dissolved. And thus he will consider his Self already in this present life as impermanent, mixed up with pleasure and pain, subject to arising and passing away.

If any one should say that feeling is not his Ego, and that his Self is inaccessible to feeling, he should be asked thus: ‘Now, where there is no feeling, is it then possible to say: “This am I?”

Or, another might say: ‘Feeling, indeed, is not my Self, but it also is untrue that my Self is inaccessible to feeling, for it is my Self that feels, my Self that has the faculty of feeling’. Such a one should be answered thus: ‘Suppose that feeling should become altogether totally extinguished; now, if after the extinction of feeling, no feeling whatever exists there, is it then possible to say: “This am I’?”

M. 148

To say that the mind, or the mind-objects, or the mind-consciousness, constitute the Self, such an assertion is unfounded. For an arising and a passing away is seen there; and seeing the arising and passing away of these things, one would come to the conclusion that one’s Self arises and passes away.

S. XII. 62

1t would be better for the unlearned worldling to regard his body, built up of the four elements, as his Self, rather than his mind. For it is evident that the body may last for a year, for two years, for three, four, five, or ten years, or even for a hundred years and more; but that which is called thought, or mind, or consciousness, arises continuously, during day and night, as one thing, and passes away as another thing.

S. XXII. 59

Therefore, whatsoever there is of corporeality, of feeling, of perception, of mental formations, of consciousness whether past, present or future, one’s own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near: of this one should understand according to reality and true wisdom: ‘This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Self.’

To show the impersonality and utter emptiness of existence, Visuddhi-Magga XVI quotes the following verse:

Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found,

The deed is, but no doer of the deed is there.

Nirvana is, but not the man that enters it.

The path is, but no traveler on it is seen’.

Past, Present and Future

D. 9

If now, any one should ask: ‘Have you been in the past, and is it untrue that you have not been? Will you be in the future, and is it untrue that you will not be? Are you, and is it untrue that you are not?’ - you may reply that you have been in the past, and that it is untrue that you have not been; that you will be in the future, and that it is untrue that you will not be; that you are, and that it is untrue that you are not.

In the past only that past existence was real, but unreal the future and present existence. In the future only the future existence will be real, but unreal the past and the present existence. Now only the present existence is real, but unreal, the past and future existence.

M. 28

Verily, he who perceives the ‘Dependent Origination’ (pa.ticca-samuppaada), perceives the truth; and he who perceives the truth, perceives the Dependent Origination.

D. 8

For just as from the cow comes milk, from milk curd, from curd butter, from butter ghee, from ghee the skim of ghee; and when it is milk, it is not counted as curd, or butter, or ghee, or skim of ghee, but only as milk; and when it is curd, it is only counted as curd: just so was my past existence at that time real, but unreal the future and present existence; and my future existence will be at that time real, but unreal the past and present existence; and my present existence is now real, but unreal the past and future existence. All these are merely popular designations and expressions, mere conventional terms of speaking, mere popular notions. The Perfect One indeed makes use of these, without however clinging to them.

S. XLIV 4

Thus, he who does not understand corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness according to reality (i.e. as void of a personality, or Ego) nor understands their arising, their extinction, and the way to their extinction, he is liable to believe, either that the Perfect One continues after death, or that he does not continue after death, and so forth.

The Two Extremes (Annihilation and Eternity Belief) and the Middle Doctrine

S. XII. 25

Truly, if one holds the view that the vital principle (jiva; ‘Soul’) is identical with this body, in that case a holy life is not possible; and if one holds the view that the vital principle is something quite different from the body, in that case also a holy life is not possible. Both these two extremes the Perfect One has avoided, and he has shown the Middle Doctrine, which says:

Dependent Origination

(Pa.ticca-samuppaada)

S. XII. 1

On Ignorance (avijjaa) depend the ‘Karma-formations’ (sankhaaraa).

On the Karma-formations depends ‘Consciousness’ (vi~n~naa.na; starting with rebirth-consciousness in the womb of the mother).

On Consciousness depends the ‘Mental and Physical Existence’ (naama-ruupa).

On the mental and physical existence depend the ‘Six Sense-Organs’ (sa.l-aayatana).

On the six sense-organs depends ‘Sensorial Impression’ (phassa).

On sensorial impression depends ‘Feeling’ (vedanaa).

On feeling depends ‘Craving’ (ta.nhaa).

On craving depends ‘Clinging’ (upaadaana).

On clinging depends the ‘Process of Becoming’ (bhava).

On the process of becoming (here: kamma-bhava, or karma-process) depends ‘Rebirth’ (jaati).

On rebirth depend ‘Decay and Death’ (jaraa-marana), sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

Thus arises this whole mass of suffering. This is called the noble truth of the origin of suffering.

“No god, no Brahma can be called

The maker of this wheel of life:

Empty phenomena roll on,

Dependent on conditions all.”

(Quoted in Visuddhi-Magga XIX).

S. XII. 51

A disciple, however, in whom Ignorance (avijjaa) has disappeared and wisdom arisen, such a disciple heaps up neither meritorious, nor de-meritorious, nor imperturbable Karma-formations.

The term sankhaaraa has been rendered here by ‘Karma Formations’ because, in the context of the Dependent Origination, it refers to karmically wholesome and unwholesome volition (cetanaa), or volitional activity, in short, Karma.

The threefold division of it, given in the preceding passage, comprises karmic activity in all spheres of existence, or planes of consciousness. The ‘meritorious karma-formations’ extend also to the Fine-Material Sphere (ruupaavacara), while the ‘imperturbable karma-formations’ (ane~njaabhisankhaaraa) refer only to the Immaterial Sphere (aruupaavacara).

S. XII. 1

Thus, through the entire fading away and extinction of this ‘Ignorance’, the ‘Karma-formations’ are extinguished. Through the extinction of Karma-formations, ‘Consciousness’ (rebirth) is extinguished. Through the extinction of consciousness, the ‘Mental and Physical Existence’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of the mental and physical existence, the ‘Six Sense-Organs’ are extinguished. Through the extinction of the six sense organs, ‘Sensorial Impression’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of sensorial impression, ‘Feeling’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of feeling, ‘Craving’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of craving, ‘Clinging’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of clinging, the ‘Process of Becoming’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of the process of becoming, ‘Rebirth’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of rebirth, ‘Decay and Death’, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair are extinguished. Thus takes place the extinction of this whole mass of suffering. This is called the noble truth of the extinction of suffering.

Rebirth-Producing Kamma

M. 43

Truly, because beings, obstructed by ignorance (avijjaa) and ensnared by craving (tanhaa) seek ever fresh delight, now here, now there, therefore fresh rebirth continually comes to be.

A. III. 33

And the action (kamma) that is done out of greed, hatred and delusion (lobha, dosa, moha), that springs from them, has its source and origin in them: this action ripens wherever one is reborn, and wherever this action ripens there one experiences the fruits of this action, be it in this life, or the next life, or in some future life.

Cessation of Kamma

M. 43

However, through the fading away of ignorance, through the arising of wisdom, through the extinction of craving, no future rebirth takes place again.

A. III. 33

For the actions which are not done out of greed, hatred and delusion, which have not sprung from them, which have not their source and origin in them: such actions, through the absence of greed, hatred and delusion, are abandoned, rooted out, like a palm-tree torn out of the soil, destroyed, and not able to spring up again.

A. VIII. 12

In this respect one may rightly say of me: that I teach annihilation, that I propound my doctrine for the purpose of annihilation, and that I herein train my disciples; for certainly I do teach annihilation-the annihilation, namely, of greed, hatred and delusion, as well as of the manifold evil and unwholesome things.

The Pa.ticca Samuppaada, lit, the Dependent Origination, is the doctrine of the conditionality of all physical and mental phenomena, a doctrine which, together with that of Impersonality (anattaa), forms the indispensable condition for the real understanding and realization of the Buddha’s teaching. It shows that the various physical and mental life-processes, conventionally called personality, man, animal, etc., are not a mere play of blind chance, but the outcome of causes and conditions. Above all, the Pa.ticca-Samuppaada explains how the arising of rebirth and suffering is dependent upon conditions; and, in its second part, it shows how, through the removal of these conditions, all suffering must disappear. Hence, the Pa.ticca-Samuppaada serves to elucidate the second and the third Noble Truths, by explaining them from their very foundations upwards, and giving them a fixed philosophical form.

The following diagram shows at a glance how the twelve links of the formula extend over three consecutive existences, past, present, and future:

Past Existence

1. Ignorance (avijjaa)

Karma Process (kamma-bhava) 5 causes: 1, 2, 8, 9, 10

2. Karma-Formations (sankhaaraa)

Present Existence

3. Consciousness (vi~n~naa.na)

Rebirth-Process (upapatti-bhava) 5 results: 3-7

4. Mental and Physical Existence (naamaruupa)

5. 6 Sense Organs (sa.l-aayatana)

6. Sense-Impression (phassa)

7. Feeling (vedanaa)

8. Craving (ta.nha)

Karma Process (kamma-bhava) 5 causes: 1, 2, 8, 9, 10

9. Clinging (upaadaana)

10. Process of Existence (bhava)

Future Existence

11. Rebirth (jaati)

Rebirth-Process (upapatti-bhava) 5 results: 3-7

12. Decay and Death (jaraa-marana)

The links 1-2, together with 8-10, represent the Karma-Process, containing the five karmic causes of rebirth.

The links 3-7, together with 11-12, represent the Rebirth-Process, containing the five Karma-Results.

Accordingly it is said in the Patisambhidaa-Magga:

Five causes were there in past,

Five fruits we find in present life.

Five causes do we now produce,

Five fruits we reap in future life.

(Quoted in Vis. Magga XVII)

For a full explanation see Fund. III and B. Dict.

Right Intention

Right Thought

(Sammaa-sankappa)

D. 22

What, now, is Right Thought?

  1. Thought free from lust (nekkhamma-sankappa).
  2. Thought free from ill-will (avyaapaada-sankappa).
  3. Thought free from cruelty (avihimsaa-sankappa).

This is called Right Thought.

Mundane And Super Mundane Thought

M. 117

Now, Right Thought, I tell you, is of two kinds:

1. Thought free from lust, from ill-will, and from cruelty-this is called ‘Mundane Right Thought’ (lokiya sammaa-sankappa), which yields worldly fruits and brings good rcsu1ts.

2. But, whatsoever there is of thinking, considering, reasoning, thought, ratiocination, application-the mind being holy, being turned away from the world, and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued-these ‘verbal operations’ of the mind (vacii-sankhaaraa) are called the ‘Super mundane Right Thought’ (lokuttara-sammaa-sankappa), which is not of the world, but is super mundane, and conjoined with the path.

Conjoined with Other Factors

Now, in understanding wrong thought as wrong, and right thought as right, one practices Right Understanding (1st factor); and in making efforts to overcome evil thought and to arouse right thought, one practices Right Effort (6th factor); and in overcoming evil thought with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right thought, one practices Right Mindfulness (7th factor). Hence there are three things that accompany and follow upon Right Thought, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness.

Ethical Conduct

3) Right Speech

Right Speech

(Sammaa-vaacaa)

What now, is Right Speech?

Abstaining from Lying

A. X. 176

1. Herein someone avoids lying and abstains from it. He speaks the truth, is devoted to the truth, reliable, worthy of confidence, not a deceiver of men. Being at a meeting, or amongst people, or in the midst of his relatives, or in a society, or in the king’s court, and called upon and asked as witness to tell what he knows, he answers, if he knows nothing: ‘I know nothing’, and if he knows, he answers: ‘I know’; if he has seen nothing, he answers: ‘I have seen nothing’, and if he has seen, he answers: ‘I have seen’. Thus he never knowingly speaks a lie, either for the sake of his own advantage, or for the sake of another person’s advantage, or for the sake of any advantage whatsoever.

Abstaining from Tale Bearing

2. He avoids tale bearing, and abstains from it. What he has heard here, he does not repeat there, so as to cause dissension there; and what he has heard there, he does not repeat here, so as to cause dissension here. Thus he unites those that are divided; and those that are united, he encourages. Concord gladdens him, he delights and rejoices in concord; and it is concord that he spreads by his words.

Abstaining from Harsh Language

3. He avoids harsh language, and abstains from it. He speaks such words as are gentle, soothing to the ear, loving, such words as go to the heart, and are courteous, friendly, and agreeable to many.

In Majjhima-Nicaaya No. 21, the Buddha says: ‘Even, O monks, should robbers and murderers saw through your limbs and joints, whosoever should give way to anger thereat would not be following my advice. For thus ought you to train yourselves:

‘Undisturbed shall our mind remain, no evil words shall escape our lips; friendly and full of sympathy shall we remain, with heart full of love, and free from any hidden malice; and that person shall we penetrate with loving thoughts, wide, deep, boundless, freed from anger and hatred’.

Abstaining from Vain Talk

A. X. 176

4. He avoids vain talk, and abstains from it. He speaks at the right time, in accordance with facts, speaks what is useful, speaks of the law and the discipline: his speech is like a treasure, uttered at the right moment, accompanied by arguments, moderate and full of sense.

This is called Right Speech.

Mundane and Super Mundane Speech

M. 117

Now, Right Speech. I tell you, is of two kinds:

1. Abstaining from lying, from tale-bearing, from harsh language, and from vain talk; this is called ‘Mundane Right Speech’ (lokiya-sammaa-vaacaa), which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.

2. But the avoidance of the practice of this fourfold wrong speech, the abstaining, desisting. refraining there from-the mind being holy, being turned away from the world, and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued-this is called the ‘Super mundane Right Speech’ (lokuttara-sammaa-vaacaa), which is not of the world, but is super mundane, and conjoined with the path.

Conjoined with Other Factors

Now, in understanding wrong speech as wrong, and right speech as right, one practices Right Understanding (1st factor); and in making efforts to overcome evil speech and to arouse right speech, one practices Right Effort (6th factor); and in overcoming wrong speech with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right speech, one practices Right Mindfulness (7th factor). Hence, there are three things that accompany and follow upon Right Speech, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness.

 

4) Right Action

(Sammaa-kammanta)

A. X. 176

What, now, is Right Action?

Abstaining from Killing

1. Herein someone avoids the killing of living beings, and abstains from it. Without stick or sword, conscientious, full of sympathy, he is desirous of the welfare of all living beings.

Abstaining from Stealing

2. He avoids stealing, and abstains from it; what another person possesses of goods and chattels in the village or in the wood, that he does not take away with thievish intent.

Abstaining from Unlawful Sexual Intercourse

3. He avoids unlawful sexual intercourse, and abstains from it. He has no intercourse with such persons as are still under the protection of father, mother, brother, sister or relatives, nor with married women, nor female convicts, nor lastly, with betrothed girls.

This is called Right Action.

Mundane And Super Mundane Action

M. 117

Now, Right Action, I tell you, is of two kinds:

1. Abstaining from killing, from stealing, and from unlawful sexual intercourse: this is called the ‘Mundane Right Action’ (lokiya-sammaa-kammanta) which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.

2. But the avoidance of the practice of this threefold wrong action, the abstaining, desisting, refraining there from-the mind being holy.  Being turned away from the world, and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued-this is called the ‘Super mundane Right Action’ (lokuttara-sammaa-kammanta), which is not of the world, but is super mundane, and conjoined with the path.

Conjoined With Other Factors

Now in understanding wrong action as wrong, and right action as right, one practices Right Understanding (1st factor): and in making efforts to overcome wrong action, and to arouse right action, one practices Right Effort (6th factor); and in overcoming wrong action with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right action, one practices Right Mindfulness (7th factor).  Hence, there are three things that accompany and follow upon Right Action, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness.

5) Right Livelihood

(Sammaa-aajiva)

What, now, is Right Livelihood?

D. 22

1. When the noble disciple, avoiding a wrong way of living, gets his livelihood by a right way of living, this is called Right Livelihood.

In the Majjhima-Nikaaya, No. 117, it is said: ‘To practice deceit, treachery, soothsaying, trickery, usury: this is wrong livelihood.’

And in the Anguttara-Nikaaya, V. 1 77, it is said: ‘Five trades should be avoided by a disciple: trading in arms, in living beings, in flesh, in intoxicating drinks, and in poison’.

Included are the professions of a soldier, a fisherman, a hunter, etc.

Now, Right Livelihood, I tell you, is of two kinds:

Mundane and Super mundane Right Livelihood

M. 117

1. When the noble disciple, avoiding wrong living, gets his livelihood by a right way of living: this is called ‘Mundane Right Livelihood’ (lokiya-sammaa-aajiva), which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.

2. But the avoidance of wrong livelihood, the abstaining, desisting, refraining there from-the mind being holy, being turned away from the world, and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued-this is called the ‘Super mundane Right Livelihood’ (lokuttara-sammaa-aajiva), which is not of the world,  but is super mundane, and conjoined with the path.

Conjoined with Other Factors

Now. in understanding wrong livelihood as wrong, and right livelihood as right, one practices Right Understanding (1st factor); and in making efforts to overcome wrong livelihood, to establish right livelihood, one practices Right Effort (6th factor); and in overcoming wrong livelihood with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right livelihood, one practices Right Mindfulness (7th factor). Hence, there are three things that accompany and follow upon Right Livelihood, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness.

Mental Development

 

6) Right Effort

(Sammaa-vaayaama)

A. IV. 13, 14

What, now. is Right Effort?

There are Four Great Efforts; the effort to avoid, the effort to overcome, the effort to develop, and the effort to maintain.

I. The Effort to Avoid

(Sa.mvara-ppadhaana)

What, now is the effort to Avoid? Herein the disciple rouses his will to avoid the arising of evil, unwholesome things that have not yet arisen; and he makes efforts, stirs up his energy; exerts his mind and strives.

Thus, when lie perceives a form with the eye, a sound with the ear, and an odor with the nose, a taste with the tongue, an impression with the body, or an object with the mind, he neither adheres to the whole, nor to its parts. And he strives to ward off that through which evil and unwholesome things, greed and sorrow, would arise, if he remained with unguarded senses; and he watches over his senses, restrains his senses.

Possessed of this noble ‘Control over the Senses’ he experiences inwardly a feeling of joy, into which no evil thing can enter.

This is called the effort to avoid

2. The Effort to Overcome

(Pahaana-ppadhaana)

What, now, is the effort to Overcome? There the disciple rouses his will to overcome the evil, unwholesome things that have already arisen; and he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.

He does not retain any thought of sensual lust, ill-will or grief, or any other evil and unwholesome states that may have arisen; he abandons them, dispels them, destroys them. causes them to disappear.

Five Methods of Expelling Evil Thoughts

M. 20

If, whilst regarding a certain object, there arise in the disciple, on account of it, evil and unwholesome thoughts connected with greed, hatred and delusion, then the disciple (1) should, by means of this object, gain another and wholesome object. (2) Or, he should reflect on the misery of these thoughts; ‘Unwholesome, truly, are these thoughts! Blamable are these thoughts! Of painful result are these thoughts!’ (3) Or he should pay no attention to these thoughts. (4) Or, he should consider the compound nature of these thoughts. (5) Or, with teeth clenched and tongue pressed against the gums, he should with his mind restrain, suppress and root out these thoughts; and in doing so these evil and unwholesome thoughts of greed, hatred and delusion will dissolve and disappear; and the mind will inwardly become settled and calm, composed and concentrated.

This is called the effort to overcome.

3. The Effort to Develop

(Bhaavanaa-ppadhaana)

A. IV. 13, 14

What, now, is the effort to Develop? Herein the disciple rouses his will to arouse wholesome things that have not yet arisen; and he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.

Thus he develops the ‘Elements of Enlightenment’ (bojjhanga), based on solitude, on detachment, on extinction, and ending in deliverance, namely: ‘Mindfulness’ (sati), ‘Investigation of the Law’ (dhamma-vicaya), ‘Energy’ (viriya), ‘Rapture’ (piiti), ‘Tranquility’ (passaddhi), ‘Concentration’ (samadhi). and ‘Equanimity’ (upekkhaa).

This is called the effort to develop.

4. The Effort to Maintain

(Anurakkha.na-ppadhaana)

What, now, is the effort to Maintain? Herein the disciple rouses his will to maintain the wholesome things that have already arisen, and not to allow them to disappear, but to bring them to growth, to maturity and to the full perfection of development (bhaavanaa); and he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.

Thus, for example, he keeps firmly in his mind a favorable object of concentration that has arisen, such as the mental image of a skeleton, of a corpse infested by worms, of a corpse blue-black in color, of a festering corpse, of a corpse riddled with holes, of a corpse swollen up.

This is called the effort to maintain.

M. 70

Truly, for a disciple who is possessed of faith and has penetrated the Teaching of the master, it is fit to think: ‘Though skin sinews and bones wither away, though flesh and blood of my body dry up, I shall not give up my efforts till I have attained whatever is attainable by manly perseverance, energy and endeavor.’

This is called Right Effort.

A. IV. 14

The effort of Avoiding, Overcoming,

Of Developing and Maintaining:

These four great efforts have been shown

By him, the scion of the sun.

And he who firmly clings to them,

May put an end to suffering.

 

7) Right Mindfulness

(Sammaa-sati)

What, now, is Right Mindfulness?

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

(Satipa.t.thaana)

D. 22

The only way that leads to the attainment of purity, to the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, to the end of pain and grief, to the entering upon the right path and the realization of Nibbana, is by the ‘Four Foundations of Mindfulness’. And which are these four?

Herein the disciple dwells in contemplation of the Body, in contemplation of Feeling, in contemplation of the Mind, in contemplation of the Mind-Objects; ardent, clearly comprehending them and mindful, after putting away worldly greed and grief.

1. Contemplation of the Body

(kaayaanupassanaa)

But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body?

Watching Over In- and Out-Breathing

(aanaapaana-sati)

Herein the disciple retires to the forest, to the foot of a tree, or to a solitary place, seats himself with legs crossed, body erect, and with mindfulness fixed before him, mindfully he breathes in, mindfully he breathes out. When making a long inhalation, he knows: ‘I make a long inhalation’; when making a long exhalation, he knows: ‘I make a long exhalation’. When making a short inhalation, he knows: ‘I make a short inhalation’: when making a short exhalation, he knows: ‘I make a short exhalation’. ‘Clearly perceiving the entire (breath-) body, I shall breathe in’: thus he trains himself; ‘Clearly perceiving the entire (breath-) body, I shall breathe out’: thus he trains himself. ‘Calming this bodily function (kaaya-sankhaara), I shall breathe in’: thus he trains himself; ‘Calming this bodily function. I shall breathe out’: thus he trains himself.

Thus he dwells in contemplation of the body, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both, he beholds how the body arises; beholds how it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of the body. A body is there-

‘A body is there, but no living being, no individual, no woman, no man, no self, and nothing that belongs to a self; neither a person. nor anything belonging to a person. (Comm.)

this clear awareness is present in him, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body.

‘Mindfulness of Breathing’ (aanaapaana-sati) is one of the most important meditative exercises. It may be used for the development of Tranquility (samatha-bhaavanaa), i.e. for attaining the four Absorptions (jhana; see “The Four Absorptions” on page 67), for the development of Insight (vipassanaa-bhaavanaa) or for a combination of both practices. Here, in the context of satipa.t.thaana, it is principally intended for tranquillization and concentration preparatory to the practice of Insight, which may be undertaken in the following way.

After a certain degree of calm and concentration, or one of the Absorptions, has been attained through regular practice of mindful breathing, the disciple proceeds to examine the origin of breath. He sees that the inhalations and exhalations are conditioned by the body consisting of the four material elements and the various corporeal phenomena derived from them, e.g. the five sense organs, etc. Conditioned by fivefold sense-impression arises consciousness, and together with it the three other ‘Groups of Existence’, i.e. Feeling, Perception, and mental Formations. Thus the meditator sees clearly: ‘There is no ego-entity or self in this so called personality, but it is only a corporeal and mental process conditioned by various factors’. Thereupon he applies the Three Characteristics to these phenomena, understanding them thoroughly as impermanent subject to suffering, and impersonal.

For further details about Ânaapaana-sati, see M. 118.62: Visuddhi-Magga VIII, 3.

The Four Postures

And further, whilst going, standing, sitting, or lying down, the disciple understands (according to reality) the expressions; ‘I go’; ‘I stand’; ‘I sit’; ‘I lie down’; he understands any position of the body.

‘The disciple understands that there is no living being, no real Ego, that goes, stands, etc., but that it is by a mere figure of speech that one says: “I go”, “I stand” and so forth’. (Comm.)

Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension

(sati-sampaja~n~na)

And further, the disciple acts with clear comprehension in going and coming; he acts with clear comprehension in looking forward and backward; acts with clear comprehension in bending and stretching (any part of his body); acts with clear comprehension in carrying alms bowl and robes; acts with clear comprehension in eating, drinking, chewing and tasting; acts with clear comprehension in discharging excrement and urine; acts with clear comprehension in walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, awakening; acts with clear comprehension in speaking and keeping silent.

In all that the disciple is doing, he has a clear comprehension: 1. of his intention, 2. of his advantage, 3. of his duty, 4. of the reality. (Comm.)

Contemplation of Loathsomeness

(pa.tikuula-sa~n~naa)

And further, the disciple contemplates this body from the sole of the foot upward, and from the top of the hair downward, with a skin stretched over it, and filled with manifold impurities: ‘This body has hairs of the head and of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, stomach, bowels, mesentery, and excrement; bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, lymph, tears, skin-grease, saliva, nasal mucus, oil of the joints, and urine.’

Just as if there were a sack, with openings at both ends, filled with various kinds of grain-with paddy, beans, sesamum and husked rice-and a man not blind opened it and examined its contents, thus: ‘That is paddy, these are beans, this is sesamum, this is husked rice’: just so does the disciple investigate this body.

Analysts of Four Elements

(dhaatu)

And further, the disciple contemplates this body, however it may stand or move, with regard to the elements; ‘This body consists of the solid element, the liquid element, the heating element and the vibrating element’. Just as if a skilled butcher or butcher’s apprentice, who had slaughtered a cow and divided it into separate portions, were to sit down at the junction of four highroads: just so does the disciple contemplate this body with regard to the elements.

In Visuddhi Magga XIII, 2 this simile is explained as follows:

When a butcher rears a cow, brings it to the place of slaughter, binds it to a post, makes it stand up, slaughters it and looks at the slaughtered cow, during all that time he has still the notion ‘cow’. But when he has cut up the slaughtered cow, divided it into pieces, and sits down near it to sell the meat, the notion, ‘cow’ ceases in his mind, and the notion ‘meat’ arises. He does not think that he is selling a cow or that people buy a cow, but that it is meat that is sold and bought. Similarly, in an ignorant worldling, whether monk or layman, the concepts ‘being’, ‘man’, ‘personality’, etc., will not cease until he has mentally dissected this body of his, as it stands and moves, and has contemplated it according to its component elements. But when he has done so, the notion ‘personality’, etc., will disappear, and his mind will become firmly established in the Contemplation of the Elements.

Cemetery Meditations

1. And further, just as if the disciple were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel-ground, one, two, or three days dead, swollen up, blue-black in color, full of corruption-so he regards his own body: ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it.’

2. And further, just as if the disciple were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel-ground, eaten by crows, hawks or vultures, by dogs or jackals, or devoured by all kinds of worms-so he regards his own body; ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it.’

3. And further, just as if the disciple were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel-ground, a framework of bones, flesh hanging from it, bespattered with blood, held together by the sinews;

4. A framework of bone, stripped of flesh, bespattered with blood, held together by the sinews;

5. A framework of bone, without flesh and blood, but still held together by the sinews;

6. Bones, disconnected and scattered in all directions, here a bone of the hand, there a bone of the foot, there a shin bone, there a thigh bone, there a pelvis, there the spine, there the skull-so he regards his own body: ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it.’

7. And further, just as if the disciple were looking at bones lying in the charnel-ground, bleached and resembling shells;

8. Bones heaped together, after the lapse of years;

9. Bones weathered and crumbled to dust-so he regards his own body: ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it.’

Thus he dwells in contemplation of the body, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both.  He beholds how the body arises; beholds how it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of the body. ‘A body is there’: this clear awareness is present in him, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world.  Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body.

Assured Of Ten Blessings

M. 119

Once the contemplation of the body is practiced, developed, often repeated, has become one’s habit, one’s foundation, is firmly established, strengthened and perfected; the disciple may expect ten blessings:

1. Over delight and discontent he has mastery; he does not allow himself to be overcome by discontent; he subdues it, as soon as it arises.

2. He conquers fear and anxiety; he does not allow himself to be overcome by fear and anxiety; he subdues them, as soon as they arise.

3. He endures cold and heat, hunger and thirst; wind and sun, attacks by gadflies, mosquitoes and reptiles; patiently he endures wicked and malicious speech, as well as bodily pains that befall him, though they be piercing, sharp, bitter, unpleasant, disagreeable, and dangerous to life.

4. The four Absorptions’ (jhana), which purify the mind, and bestow happiness even here, these he may enjoy at will, without difficulty, without effort.

Six ‘Psychical Powers’

(Abhi~n~naa)

5. He may enjoy the different ‘Magical Powers (id.dhi-vidhaa).

6. With the ‘Heavenly Ear’ (dibba-sota), the purified, the super-human, he may hear both kinds of sounds, the heavenly and the earthly, the distant and the near.

7. With the mind he may obtain ‘Insight into the Hearts of Other Beings’ (parassa-cetopariya-~naa.na), of other persons.

8. He may obtain ‘Remembrances of many Previous Births’ (pubbe-nivaasaanussati-~naa.na).

9. With the ‘Heavenly Eye’ (dibba-cakkhu), purified and super-human, he may see beings vanish and reappear, the base and the noble, the beautiful and the ugly, the happy and the unfortunate; he may perceive how beings are reborn according to their deeds.

10. He may, through the ‘Cessation of Passions’ (aasavakkhaya), come to know for himself, even in this life, the stainless deliverance of mind, the deliverance through wisdom.

The last six blessings (5-10) are the ‘Psychical Powers’ (abhi~n~naa). The first five of them are mundane (lokiya) conditions, and may therefore be attained even by a ‘worldling’ (puthujjana), whilst the last Abhi~n~naa is super-mundane (lokuttara) and exclusively the characteristic of the Arhat, or Holy One. It is only after the attainment of all the four Absorptions (jhana) that one may fully succeed in acquiring the five worldly ‘Psychical Powers’. There are four iddhipaada, or ‘Bases for obtaining Magical Powers’, namely: concentration of Will, concentration of Energy, concentration of Mind, and concentration of Investigation.

2. Contemplation of the Feelings

(vedanaanupassanaa)

D. 22

But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the feelings?

In experiencing feelings, the disciple knows: ‘I have an agreeable feeling’; or: ‘I have a disagreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have an indifferent feeling’; or: ‘I have a worldly agreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have an unworldly agreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have a worldly disagreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have an unworldly disagreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have a worldly indifferent feeling’, or: ‘I have an unworldly indifferent feeling’.

Thus he dwells in contemplation of the feelings, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the feelings arise; beholds how they pass away; beholds the arising and passing away of the feelings. ‘Feelings are there’: this clear awareness is present in him, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the feelings.

The disciple understands that the expression ‘I feel’ has no validity except as a conventional expression (vohaaravacana); he understands that, in the absolute sense (paramattha), there are only feelings, and that there is no Ego, no experiencer of the feelings.

3. Contemplation of the Mind

(cittaanupassanaa)

But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind?

Herein the disciple knows the greedy mind as greedy, and the not greedy mind as not greedy; knows the hating mind as hating, and the not hating mind as not hating: knows the deluded mind as deluded and the undeluded mind as undeluded. He knows the cramped mind as cramped, and the scattered mind as scattered; knows the developed mind as developed, and the undeveloped mind as undeveloped; knows the surpass able mind as surpass able and the unsurpassable mind as unsurpassable; knows the concentrated mind as concentrated, and the unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated; knows the freed mind as freed, and the un-freed mind as un-freed.

Citta (mind) is here used as a collective term for the Cittas, or moments of consciousness. Citta being identical with vi~n~naa.na, or consciousness, should not be translated by ‘thought’. ‘Thought’ and ‘thinking’ correspond rather to the ‘verbal operations of the mind’: vitakka (thought-conception) and vicaara (discursive thinking), which belong to the Sankhaara-kkhandha.

Thus he dwells in contemplation of the mind, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how consciousness arises; beholds how it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of consciousness. ‘Mind is there’; this clear awareness is present in him, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind.

4. Contemplation of the Mind-Objects

(dhammaanupassanaa)

But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of mind-objects?

Herein the disciple dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects, namely of the ‘Five Hindrances.’

The Five Hindrances

(niivara.na)

1. He knows when there is ‘Lust’ (kaamacchanda) in him: ‘In me is lust’; knows when there is ‘Anger’ (vyaapaada) in him: ‘In me is anger’; knows when there is ‘Torpor and Sloth’ (thiina-middha) in him: ‘In me is torpor and sloth’; knows when there is ‘Restlessness and Mental Worry’ (uddhacca-kukkucca) in him: ‘In me is restlessness and mental worry’; knows when there are ‘Doubts’ (vicikicchaa) in him: ‘In me are doubts’. He knows when these hindrances are not in him: ‘In me these hindrances are not’. He knows how they come to arise; knows how, once arisen, they are overcome; and he knows how they do not rise again in the future.

For example, ‘Lust’ arises through unwise thinking on the agreeable and delightful. It may be suppressed by the following six methods: fixing the mind upon an idea that arouses disgust; contemplation of the loathsomeness of the body; controlling one’s six senses; moderation in eating; friendship with wise and good men; right instruction. Lust and anger are for ever extinguished upon attainment of Anaagaamiiship; ‘Restlessness’ is extinguished by reaching Arhatship; ‘Mental Worry’, by reaching Sotapanship.

The Five Groups of Existence

(khandha)

And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects, namely of the five ‘Groups of Existence’.  He knows what ‘Corporeality’ (ruupa) is, how it arises, how it passes away; knows what ‘Feeling’ (vedanaa) is, how it arises, how it passes away; knows what ‘Perception’ (sa~n~naa) is, how it arises, how it passes away; knows what the ‘Mental Formations’ (Sankhara) are, how they arise, how they pass away; knows what ‘Consciousness’ (vi~n~naa.na) is, how it arises, how it passes away.

The Sense-Bases

(aayatana)

And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects, namely of the six ‘Subjective-Objective Sense-Bases’. He knows the eye and visual objects, ear and sounds, nose and odors, tongue and tastes, body and bodily impressions, mind and mind-objects; and the fetter that arises in dependence on them, he also knows. He knows how the fetter comes to arise, knows how the fetter is overcome, and how the abandoned fetter does not rise again in future.

The Seven Elements of Enlightenment

(bojjhanga)

And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects, namely of the seven ‘Elements of Enlightenment’, He knows when there is in him ‘Mindfulness’ (sati), ‘Investigation of the Law’ (dhammavicaya), ‘Energy’ (viriya), ‘Enthusiasm’ (piiti), ‘Tranquility’ (passaddhi), ‘Concentration’ (samadhi), and ‘Equanimity’ (upekkhaa). He knows when it is not in him, knows how it comes to arise, and how it is fully developed.

The Four Noble Truths

(ariya-sacca)

And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects, namely of the ‘Four Noble Truths’. He knows according to reality, what Suffering is; knows according to reality, what the Origin of suffering is; knows according to reality what the Extinction of suffering is; knows according to reality, what the Path is that leads to the extinction of suffering.

Thus he dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects either with regard to his own person, or to other persons or to both. He beholds how the mind-objects arise, beholds how they pass away, beholds the arising and passing away of the mind-objects. ‘Mind-objects are there’: this clear awareness is present in him, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind-objects.

The only way that leads to the attainment of purity, to the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, to the end of pain and grief, to the entering upon the right path, and the realization of Nibbana, is by these four foundations of mindfulness.

These four contemplations of Satipa.t.thaana relate to all the five Groups of Existence, namely: 1. The contemplation of corporeality relates to ruupakkhandha; 2. the contemplation of feeling, to vedanaakkhandha; 3. the contemplation of mind, to vi~n~naanakkhandha; 4. the contemplation of mind-objects, to sa~n~naa- and sankhaara-kkhandha.

For further details about Satipa.t.thaana see the Commentary to the discourse of that name, translated in The Way of Mindfulness, by Bhikkhu Soma (Kandy 1967, Buddhist Publication Society).

Nibbaana Through Aanaapaana-Sati

M. 118

Watching over In - and Out-breathing (aanaapaana-sati), practiced and developed, brings the Four ‘Foundations of Mindfulness’ to perfection; the four foundations of mindfulness, practiced and developed, bring the seven ‘Elements of Enlightenment’ to perfection; the seven elements of enlightenment, practiced and developed, bring ‘Wisdom and Deliverance’ to perfection.

But how does watching over In- and Out-breathing, practiced and developed, bring the four ‘Foundations of Mindfulness’ (satipa.t.thaana) to perfection?

I. Whenever the disciple (1) mindfully makes a long inhalation or exhalation, or (2) makes a short inhalation or exhalation, or (3) trains himself to inhale or exhale whilst experiencing the whole (breath-) body, or (4) whilst calming down this bodily function (i.e. the breath)-at such a time the disciple dwells in ‘contemplation of the body’, full of energy, comprehending it, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief. For, inhalation and exhalation I call one amongst the corporeal phenomena.

II. Whenever the disciple trains himself to inhale or exhale (1) whilst feeling rapture (piiti), or (2) joy (sukha), or (3) the mental functions (cittasankhaara), or (4) whilst calming down the mental functions-at such a time he dwells in ‘contemplation of the feelings’, full of energy, clearly comprehending them, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief. For, the full awareness of In- and Out-breathing I call one amongst the feelings.

III. Whenever the disciple trains himself to inhale or exhale (1) whilst experiencing the mind, or (2) whilst gladdening the mind, or (3) whilst concentrating the mind, or (4) whilst setting the mind free–at such a time he dwells in ‘contemplation of the mind’, full of energy, clearly comprehending it, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief. For, without mindfulness and clear comprehension, I say, there is no Watching over In- and Out-breathing.

IV. Whenever the disciple trains himself to inhale or exhale whilst contemplating (1) impermanence, or (2) the fading away of passion, or (3) extinction, or (4) detachment-at such a time he dwells in ‘contemplation of the mind-objects’, full of energy, clearly comprehending them, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief. Having seen, through understanding, what is the abandoning of greed and grief, he looks on with complete equanimity.

Watching over In- and Out-breathing, thus practiced, and developed, brings the four Foundations of Mindfulness to perfection.

But how do the four Foundations of Mindfulness, practiced and developed, bring the seven ‘Elements of Enlightenment’ (bojjhanga) to full perfection?

1. Whenever the disciple dwells in contemplation of body, feelings, mind and mind-objects, strenuous, clearly comprehending them, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief-at such a time his mindfulness is undisturbed; and whenever his mindfulness is present and undisturbed, at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Mindfulness’ (sati-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

2. And whenever, whilst dwelling with mindfulness, he wisely investigates, examines and thinks over the ‘Law’ (dhamma)-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Investigation of the Law’ (dhammavicaya-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

3. And whenever, whilst wisely investigating, examining and thinking over the law, his energy is firm and unshaken-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Energy’ (viriya-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

4. And whenever in him, whilst firm in energy, arises super-sensuous rapture-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Rapture’ (piiti-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

5. And whenever, whilst enraptured in mind, his spiritual frame and his mind become tranquil-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Tranquility’ (passaddhi-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

6. And whenever, whilst being tranquillized in his spiritual frame and happy, his mind becomes concentrated-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Concentration’ (samaadhi-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

7. And whenever he looks with complete indifference on his mind thus concentrated-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Equanimity’ (upekkhaa-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

The four Foundations of Mindfulness, thus practiced and developed, bring the seven elements of enlightenment to full perfection.

And how do the seven elements of enlightenment, practiced and developed, bring Wisdom and Deliverance (vijjaa-vimutti) to full perfection?

Herein the disciple develops the elements of enlightenment: Mindfulness, Investigation of the Law, Energy, Rapture, Tranquility, Concentration and Equanimity, based on detachment, on absence of desire, on extinction and renunciation.

The seven elements of enlightenment thus practiced and developed, bring wisdom and deliverance, to full perfection.

M. 125

Just as the elephant hunter drives a huge stake into the ground and chains the wild elephant to it by the neck, in order to drive out of him his wonted forest ways and wishes, his forest unruliness, obstinacy and violence, and to accustom him to the environment of the village, and to teach him such good behavior as is required amongst men: in like manner also should the noble disciple fix his mind firmly to these four Foundations of Mindfulness, so that he may drive out of himself his wonted worldly ways and wishes, his wonted worldly unruliness, obstinacy and violence, and win to the True, and realize Nibbana.

8) Right Concentration

(Sammaa-samaadhi)

M. 44

What, now, is Right Concentration?

Its Definition

Having the mind fixed to a single object (cittekeggataa, lit. ‘One-pointed ness of mind’): this is concentration.

‘Right Concentration’ (sammaa-samaadhi), in its widest sense, is the kind of mental concentration, which is present in every wholesome state of consciousness (kusala-citta), and hence is accompanied by at least Right Thought (2nd factor), Right Effort (6th factor) and Right Mindfulness (7th factor). ‘Wrong Concentration’ is present in unwholesome states of consciousness, and hence is only possible in the sensuous, not in a higher sphere.  Samadhi, used alone, always stands in the Sutta, for sammaa-samaadhi, or Right Concentration.

Its Objects

The four ‘Foundations of Mindfulness’ (7th factor): these are the objects of concentration.

Its Requisites

The four ‘Great Efforts’ (6th factor): these are the requisites for concentration.

Its Development

The practicing, developing, and cultivating of these things: this is the development (bhaavanaa) of concentration.

Right Concentration (sammaa-samaadhi) has two degrees of development; 1. ‘Neighborhood Concentration’ (upacaarasamaadhi). which approaches the first absorption without, however, attaining it; 2. ‘Attainment Concentration’ (appanaasamaadhi), which is the concentration present in the four Absorptions (jhana). These Absorptions are mental states beyond the reach of the fivefold sense-activity, attainable only in solitude and by unremitting perseverance in the practice of concentration. In these states all activity of the five senses is suspended. No visual or audible impressions arise at such a time, no bodily feeling is felt. But, although all outer sense-impressions have ceased, yet the mind remains active, perfectly alert, fully awake.

The attainment of these Absorptions, however, is not a requisite for the realization of the four Super mundane Paths of Holiness; and neither Neighborhood-Concentration nor Attainment-Concentration, as such, possesses the power of conferring entry to the four Super mundane Paths: hence they really have no power to free one permanently from evil things. The realization of the Four Supermundane Paths is possible only at the moment of deep ‘Insight’ (vipassanaa) into the Impermanency (aniccataa), Miserable Nature (dukkhataa) and Impersonality (anattataa) of this whole phenomenal process of existence. This Insight, again, is attainable only during Neighborhood-Concentration, not during Attainment Concentration.

He who has realized one or other of the Four Super mundane Paths without ever having attained the Absorptions, is called Sukkha-vipassaka, or Suddhavipassanaa-yaanika, i.e. ‘one who has taken merely Insight (vipassana) as his vehicle’. He, however, who, after cultivating the Absorptions, has reached one of the Super mundane Paths is called Saniathayaanika, or ‘one who has taken Tranquility (samatha) as his vehicle (yaana)’.

For samatha and vipassana see Fund IV. and B. Diet.

The Four Absorptions

(jhaana)

D.22

Detached from sensual objects, detached from evil things, the disciple enters into the first Absorption, which is accompanied by Thought Conception and Discursive Thinking, is born of detachment, and filled with Rapture and Happiness.

This is the first of the Absorptions belonging to the Fine-Material Sphere (rupaavacarajjhaana). It is attained when, through the strength of concentration, the fivefold sense activity is temporarily suspended, and the five Hindrances are likewise eliminated.

See B. Dict.: kasina, nimitta, samadhi.

M. 43

This first Absorption is free from five things, and five things are present. When the disciple enters the first Absorption, there have vanished (the five Hindrances): Lust, Ill-Will, Torpor and Sloth, Restlessness and Mental Worry, Doubts; and there are present: Thought Conception (vitakka), Discursive Thinking (vicaara), Rapture (piiti), Happiness (sukha), Concentration (citt’ekaggataa = samadhi).

These five mental factors present in the first Absorption, are called Factors (or Constituents) of Absorption (jhaananga). Vitakka (initial formation of an abstract thought) and vicaara (discursive thinking, rumination) are called ‘verbal functions’ (vaci-sankhaara) of the mind; hence they are something secondary compared with consciousness.

In Visuddhi-Magga, vitakka is compared with the taking hold of a pot, and vicaara with the wiping of it. In the first Absorption both are present, but are exclusively focused on the subject of meditation, vicaara being here not discursive, but of an ‘exploring’ nature. Both are entirely absent in the following Absorptions.

And further: after the subsiding of Thought-Conception and Discursive Thinking, and by the gaining of inner tranquility and oneness of mind, he enters into a state free from Thought-Conception and Discursive Thinking, the second Absorption, which is born of concentration (samadhi), and filled with Rapture (piti) and Happiness (sukha).

In the second Absorption, there are three Factors of Absorption: Rapture, Happiness, and Concentration.

And further: after the fading away of Rapture, he dwells in equanimity, mindful, with clear awareness: and he experiences in his own person that feeling of which the Noble Ones say: ‘Happy lives he who is equanimous and mindful’-thus he enters the third Absorption.

In the third Absorption there are two Factors of Absorption: equanimous Happiness (upekkhaa-sukha) and Concentration (citt’ekaggataa).

And further: after the giving up of pleasure and pain, and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond pleasure and pain, into the fourth Absorption, which is purified by equanimity and mindfulness.

In the fourth Absorption there are two Factors of Absorption: Concentration and Equanimity (upekkhaa).

In Visuddhi-magga forty subjects of meditation (kamma.t.thaana) are enumerated and treated in detail. By their successful practice the following Absorptions may be attained:

All four Absorptions. through Mindfulness of Breathing (see Vis. M. VIII. 3), the ten Kasina-exercises (Vis. M. IV, V. and B. Dict.); the contemplation of Equanimity (upekkhaa), being the practice of the fourth Brahma-vihaara (Vis. M. IX. 4).

The first three Absorptions: through the development of Loving-Kindness (mettaa), Compassion (karunaa) and Sympathetic Joy (muditaa), being the practice of the first three Brahma-vihaaras (Vis. M. IX. 1-3,).

The first Absorption: through the ten Contemplations of Impurity (asubha-bhaavanaa; i.e. the Cemetery Contemplations, which are ten according to the enumeration in Vis. M. VI); the contemplation of the Body (i.e. the 32 parts of the body; Vis. M. VIII, 2); ‘Neighborhood-Concentration’ (upacaara-samaadhi): through the Recollections on Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, on Morality, Liberality, Heavenly Beings, Peace (=Nibbana) and death (Vis. M. VI. VII); the Contemplation on the Loathsomeness of Food (Vis. M. XI. I); the Analysis of the Four Elements (Vis. M. IX. 2).

The four Immaterial Absorptions (aruupa-jjhaana or aaruppa), which are based on the fourth Absorption, are produced by meditating on their respective objects from which they derive their names; Sphere of Unbounded Space, of Unbounded Consciousness, of Nothingness, and of Neither-Perception-Nor-Non-Perception.

The entire object of concentration and meditation is treated in Vis M. III-XIII; see also Fund. IV.

8. XXII. 5

Develop your concentration: for he who has concentration, understands things according to their reality. And what are these things? The arising and passing away of corporeality, of feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness.

M. 149

Thus, these five Groups of Existence must be wisely penetrated; Ignorance and Craving must be wisely abandoned; Tranquility (samatha) and Insight (vipassana) must be wisely developed.

S. LVI. II

This is the Middle Path which the Perfect One has discovered, which makes one both to see and to know, and which leads to peace, to discernment, to enlightenment, to Nibbana.

Dhp. 275

“And following upon this path, you will put an end to suffering.

Jhanas

 Stream-enterer

The Sotapanna or ‘Stream-Enterer’

And by thus considering, three fetters vanish, namely; Self-illusion, Scepticism, and Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual.

M. 22

But those disciples, in whom these three fetters have vanished, they all have ‘entered the Stream‘ (sotaapanna).

Dhp. 178

More than any earthly power,

More than all the joys of heaven,

More than rule o’er all the world,

Is the Entrance to the Stream.

Once-returner

  • Once-returner: After you become a stream-enterer, your practice includes reminding yourself of your new realization of “no-self,” as well as paying attention to the ways that you’re still attached and your resistance to life as it unfolds. After a period of time (generally years of devoted practice) in which your concentration gets even stronger and your mind becomes even more tranquil, you have another direct insight into no-self. (Remember, knowing this truth as a concept or memory is one thing, but experiencing it directly, beyond the conceptual mind, is something else entirely.)
    This insight (essentially the same as the first but even stronger and clearer) brings a significant reduction in attachment and aversion and the suffering that accompanies these states of mind. For example, occasional irritation and preference replace hatred and greed, which no longer have any hold over the once-returner. Someone who reaches this stage has only one more rebirth before becoming completely enlightened — hence the name once-returner.

     Non-returner

    Bhikkhu Pesala

    Where Have You Come From?

     

    The Buddha’s daily routine was extraordinary, he slept for only a few hours in the early hours of the morning. We divide the night into three watches: from 6pm to 10pm, from 10pm to 2am, and from 2am to 6am. In the first watch, after bathing, the Buddha taught the community of monks. At the end of the first watch, the monks would return to their quarters. Then celestial beings approached the Buddha to ask questions. The Buddha spent the middle watch answering their questions.

    During the first part of the last watch the Buddha practised walking meditation to relieve the stiffness caused by sitting since the morning. In the second part, the Buddha lay down mindfully and slept. In the third part, he enjoyed the bliss of nibbāna. After abiding in the absorption of great compassion in the fourth part, at dawn he considered who was ready to be taught the Dhamma.

    Question Mark

    The Weaver’s Daughter

    One morning he perceived in his divine eye the daughter of a poor weaver whose wife had just died. Realising that the young girl needed to hear his teaching, the Buddha went on foot to the village where she was staying. Seeing the Buddha arrive, the villagers invited him for the meal, and the Buddha gave a discourse after the meal to all the villagers, including the young girl. The essence of his teaching was as follows: “Death is certain, life is uncertain. Contemplate death constantly to overcome the fear of death. As one who enters the jungle armed with a stick is not afraid on seeing a snake, one who contemplates death constantly is not afraid if death comes suddenly.” The villagers all appreciated the Buddha’s discourse, and for several days meditated seriously on death. However, after a week or so every one of them had forgotten the Buddha’s advice, and was carrying on just as heedlessly as before — except, that is, for the young girl. Because her mother had recently died, she could not forget the Buddha’s words. She meditated constantly on death, for months and years afterwards.

    Three years later the Buddha reconsidered the situation of the weaver’s daughter and, seeing that she now had mature insight, he went to her village to teach her again. She was now sixteen, and had to work hard to help her father, who had no other children. On the day that the Buddha arrived, the weaver had been working all night to finish an urgent job, and his daughter was busy spinning more thread for her father. Hearing that the Buddha had arrived she considered what she should do. She decided to go to see the Buddha as soon as she had finished her spinning, then she would take the newly spun thread to her father.

    The villagers offered the meal to the Buddha, but as the girl was not present, the Buddha sat in silence after the meal waiting for her to arrive. The villagers were obliged to wait in silence too, out of respect for the Buddha. Finally, the young girl arrived, and the Buddha asked her the following four questions:

      “Young girl, where have you come from?”
      “I do not know, Lord” she replied.

      “Young girl, where are you going to?”
      “I do not know, Lord” she replied.

      “Do you not know?”
      “I know, Lord” she replied.

      “Do you know?”
      “I do not know, Lord” she replied.

    The villagers were baffled by her answers. Some thought she was being cheeky, and started scolding her, “Why don’t you tell the Buddha that you came from the spinning-shed, and are going to your father’s house?”

    The Buddha silenced them and asked the girl to explain her answers. The girl replied:

      “When you asked, ‘Where have you come from?’ you didn’t want to know that I came from the spinning-shed; you meant to ask from which existence I came to this one. So I replied that I do not know.”

      “When you asked, ‘Where are you going to?’ you meant to ask to which existence I am going after this one, so I again replied that I do not know.”

      “When you asked, ‘Do you not know?’ you meant to ask, ‘Do you not know that you will die?’ so I replied that I know I will die.”

      “When you asked, ‘Do you know?’ you meant to ask, ‘Do you know when you will die?’ so I replied that I do not know when I will die.”

    The Buddha praised the girl for her intelligent answers, and the villagers were amazed. The Buddha then spoke the following verse:

      “Blind is this world, only a few can see clearly.
      Like birds that escape from a net, only a few go to a blissful state.”

    The girl realised nibbāna and became a Stream-winner on hearing this verse.

    The young girl then went to her father’s house and put the newly spun skein of thread down by the loom. After working the whole night, her father had fallen asleep at the loom. When his daughter came in, he woke up with a start, and accidentally swung a heavy beam on the loom. The beam struck the girl hard, and she died on the spot. The father was totally distraught, and hurried to the Buddha to seek consolation. The Buddha explained the truth of suffering to him, and the weaver asked for ordination, later attaining Arahantship.

    The Buddha’s love and compassion was unlimited. For the benefit of one poor girl and her father, he twice went on a long journey to teach the Dhamma, and he did not forget about the girl after the first visit, but returned as soon as he knew that she needed his help. Though he had many thousands of disciples including kings and ministers, and also taught celestial beings, the Buddha always had time for anyone who would benefit from his teaching, even including beggars and slaves.

    This story is very interesting for the Buddhist because it shows that although we do believe in rebirth we do not need to remember our previous lives to gain nibbāna, the goal of Buddhism. The weaver’s daughter could not tell the Buddha from which existence she had come to be reborn as a weaver’s daughter, but the Buddha was pleased with her answers. She had understood about the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death after three years of meditation. That understanding enabled her to attain nibbāna while listening to the verse.

    One who has attained nibbāna no longer has any doubts such as “Am I?” “Am I not?” “What am I?” “How am I?” since the egocentric way of thinking has been removed by insight. It is not unlike the case of someone who has grown up and lost interest in football. He is no longer disappointed when his football team loses, or elated when they win. Even if he hears that his former football team has been relegated to the second division, it no longer matters since he doesn’t follow the team avidly any more.

    Self-view is hard to remove entirely. We identify with our family, our school, our neighbourhood, our local football team, our country, or our racial group. If we hear any good or bad news about anything that we regard as ours then we feel elated or depressed. If we hear someone say something critical about us personally, then we may feel terrible. However, we should not take it too much to heart. There is a saying in the Dhammapada:

      “They blame those who speak too much,
      They blame those who speak too little,
      They blame those who remain silent.
      No one escapes blame in this world.”

    Similarly, if someone praises us we should not become conceited because of that. If we work hard we will get a good result, that is only natural, but there is always someone who can do better than us, at least in other ways. It is hard to remove pride and conceit, but we must do it if we want to gain the highest happiness. The Buddha described how his pride and intoxication vanished, when he was still an unenlightened bodhisatta. “On seeing an old man, all pride and intoxication in youth vanished. On seeing a sick man, all pride and intoxication in health vanished. On seeing a dead man, all pride and intoxication in life vanished.”

    How can we remove self-view, pride, and conceit? We must develop mindfulness or awareness. Whatever thoughts or feelings arise within us should be observed as they occur from moment to moment. We should not allow ourselves to be heedless even for an instant. Heedlessness allows defilements like self-view, pride, and conceit to enter the mind and dominate it. Perhaps you have enjoyed watching a cartoon like Tom and Jerry. How did the ideas “Tom” and “Jerry” arise? When one watches a cartoon, one become absorbed in the story and soon begins to believe and feel what one imagines Tom and Jerry are feeling. Actually, Tom and Jerry exist only in our imaginations. A cartoon is only drawings that are displayed on the screen in rapid succession. However, the mind arises and passes away much more rapidly than the cartoon pictures, so it can put together the dialogue, sound effects, and pictures to create the illusion that Tom really is bashing Jerry over the head with a frying-pan, so we are emotionally affected by what we see.

    Real life is like this too. We see and hear things so rapidly that our mind constructs a mental picture, which we regard as real. If someone abuses us, we may feel like they are bashing us over the head, they are making bad kamma, but we suffer. Why is this? It is due to the mental formations that we create. We cannot easily stop this natural process because it is the result of previous kamma. Having abused others in the past, we have to suffer abuse in the present. However, we can sharpen our awareness of the process to the point where we can separate the mental impressions from the experience of hearing. Eventually, we will realise that all these impressions do not happen to anyone, they just happen. Then we will realise that the idea of a self, a person, a ‘me’, or a ‘you’, is just an illusion.

    Self-view is deeply rooted and cannot be removed by the unmindful person. The average, unmindful person dwells with self-view dominating his or her mind for the entire life. The mindful meditator can disrupt it temporarily while engaged in meditation, but after stopping meditation it will gradually reassert itself unless the meditator has gained deep insight. If a meditator gains deep insight and attains the first path of a Stream-winner, self-view is completely destroyed, and will never arise again. Such a person may be heedless to some extent, but can never be careless enough to break any of the five precepts. He or she is absolutely free from rebirth in the four lower realms of hell, hungry ghosts, demons, and animals, and will attain final nibbāna (Arahantship) within seven lives at the most. Having seen nibbāna personally, he or she has unshakeable confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, and is truly worthy of offerings and homage. The weaver’s daughter was a Stream-winner.

    After attaining nibbāna, the Dhamma becomes central to the life of a Stream-winner. They are not yet free from sensual desire and anger, so they can lead a fairly normal family life. Whenever they wish to enjoy the peace of nibbāna they can meditate again, developing concentration, and attaining the fruition of the first path. If their concentration is strong, they may remain in the attainment of fruition for quite long periods, say, an hour or two. If they wish to attain the higher path, they should go into retreat for meditation and resolve not to attain the fruition of the first path during that period, and strive to attain the higher path. If they are successful and attain the second path of a Once-returner, they will be reborn on this earth only once more at the most before attaining the final liberation of Arahantship.

    The second path destroys strong forms of lust and anger, but some of these deep-rooted defilements remain, so they still have some sensual attachment and ill-will. If the Once-returner strives again in meditation and attains the third path of a Non-returner, all traces of lust and anger are uprooted. Since they have no sensual attachment at all they will not be born in the womb again, and will take rebirth only in the Suddhāvāsa Brahmā realms. These realms are the Theravāda ‘Pure Land’ because only Non-returners are reborn there. The bodhisattas are not reborn there either, because they are still worldlings who have not yet gained even the first path of a Stream-winner.

    Non-returners seem to be extremely rare these days. Saya Thetgyi, a Burmese lay meditation teacher, who taught U Ba Khin (Goenkaji’s teacher), was reputed to be a Non-returner. The Venerable Ledi Sayādaw praised him and asked him to teach meditation to his own monk disciples. A Non-returner will be naturally inclined to lead a monastic life, having no sexual desire at all, but may be obliged to remain as a lay person to support relatives. The potter honoured by Buddha Kassapa in the Ghatīkāra Sutta (Majjhimanikāya, Sutta 81) was a Non-returner. Though he was a humble potter, he was the chief supporter of Buddha Kassapa, and looked after his own blind and aged parents. He did not use money, but let people take his pots, leaving whatever goods they wished to in exchange. Knowing that he was a good supporter of the Buddha, they donated generously so he didn’t need any other source of income. Refusing to dig the earth himself, he gathered clay from river banks or that had been dug up by animals. Thus, though a layman, he lived on ten precepts like one gone forth.

    The Non-returner has to strive again in meditation to attain the final goal of Arahantship. Only then is all rebirth and suffering finally destroyed. Not even the subtlest defilements remain, so the Arahant is worthy of the highest honour. The word ‘Araham’ means ‘worthy’. There have been a few monks in Burma and Thailand in recent years who are reputed to have attained the final path. Venerable Ledi Sayādaw was thought to be one, but it is hard to be sure, since Arahants are extremely modest about their attainments.

    A certain monk was living in dependence on an elder who was an Arahant. Living in dependence meant in those days that the pupil shared a cell with his teacher, looked after his robes, studied at his feet, and accompanied him on the daily almsround. Teacher and pupil lived liked a good father and devoted son. One day, while walking for alms, the pupil asked his teacher, “Venerable Sir, how can one know an Arahant?” The elder, who was an Arahant, replied, “It is not easy friend, to know an Arahant. Even if one were to live in dependence on an Arahant, doing all the duties for him, and accompany him on his daily almsround, one might not know that he was an Arahant.” Yet even when given such a broad hint by his teacher, the pupil did not realise that the elder was an Arahant.

    Due to excessive devotion, pious people are inclined to elevate their revered teacher to the status of an Arahant, though he may still be a worldling or Stream-winner at best. To eradicate all lust, anger, conceit, and attachment to life is no easy task. First one should aim to attain the stage of Stream-winning in this very life. If one succeeds in doing that, one may perhaps then be able to distinguish between a worldly person and a saint, since one will be free from doubt and superstition.

    It is my belief that most intelligent people could attain Stream-winning in this very life if they really tried hard. However, very few really strive hard in meditation. Since confidence and effort are lacking, the goal cannot be attained. Though she was only thirteen years old, the weaver’s daughter practised meditation relentlessly for three years to attain the path. These days, people think that a ten-day intensive vipassanā course is really a bit over the top, but striving in meditation throughout the whole day and late into the night is not self-mortification. It is the minimum amount of effort required to attain deep insight or nibbāna. If we want to sleep at least six or seven hours, the goal is still far away.

    To motivate oneself, one should meditate seriously on death. There is no guarantee that one will not die today. Perhaps one can avoid paying taxes if one lives like a monk, but no one can avoid death. Each breath brings death nearer. Please think seriously about this — do not imagine for one minute that it will never happen to you. If you postpone meditation until you are old — assuming that you live to old age — your attachment will have grown stronger, and your health and vitality will have grown weaker. It is best to meditate in the prime of youth, before the clutter of household life traps you in its vice-like grip. In Burmese, the expression for getting married means, literally, “to fall into house prison.” The Burmese have the right attitude. Married life is a comfortable prison from which it is hard to escape. Even if one partner freely permits the other to go to meditate for a few weeks, or to ordain permanently, most will not want to go.

    When the bodhisatta heard that his son had been born he murmured “A fetter has arisen” so his father Suddhodana named his new grandson ‘Rāhula’ meaning fetter, hoping that the baby would prove an impediment to the bodhisatta’s renunciation of household life. Fortunately for us, the bodhisatta’s mind was already made up, and the news of Rahula’s birth was the final spur to make him decide, “It must be done at once, before I get attached.” So he left the palace on the same night without even setting eyes on his newborn son.

    Attachment is very sticky stuff. Many monks who fall back to household life do so because of sexual desire. To get free from sensual attachment, one must meditate either on death or on the repulsive aspects of the body. One should consider what all human bodies contain. If we opened one up and took a look inside, it would be hard to become lustful. It is just a foul smelling carcase of meat, blood, and bones that we have to carry around the whole day and night. If there was no skin or clothes to cover it up, what a horrible sight it would be. One would need to carry a stick to drive off the dogs and crows that would come sniffing around looking for something to eat. Yet people think very highly of their own bodies, and those of others. What folly it is to lust after another person’s body, but delusion fools us completely when we are heedless.

    At one time a certain nun fell in love with the Venerable Ānanda and, pretending to be ill, she arranged for him to visit her in her quarters. Venerable Ānanda was then still only a Stream-winner, so he was not yet free from lust, but he was wise enough not to allow desire to arise. He did not get angry with her either, but admonished her, “Sister, sexual intercourse is the cause of birth. From birth, old age, disease, and death arise.” Realising that Venerable Ānanda knew about her ulterior motives, she confessed her offence to him, and regained her sense of shame.

    To gain liberation from suffering, there has to be renunciation at some point. Desire and attachment will not just disappear of their own accord. We have to pluck them out as we remove a splinter or thorn stuck under the skin. It is painful, but when it is done we can dwell at ease again. The most effective way to remove desire is to practise mindfulness meditation relentlessly throughout the whole day without a break until insight knowledge arises. On seeing things as they really are, desire and attachment will vanish.

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    Arahant

    Arhat: At this stage, the path bears ultimate fruit in nibbana — any residual trace of a separate self falls away for good. The experience, frequently accompanied by unimaginable bliss, has been compared to falling into the depths of a cloud and disappearing. At this point, the circumstances of life no longer have the slightest hold over you; positive or negative experiences no longer stir even the slightest craving or dissatisfaction. As Buddha said, all that needed to be done has been done. There’s nothing further to realize. The path is complete, and no further rebirths are necessary.

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    Majjhima Nikaya 72

    Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta

    To Vacchagotta on Fire

    Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
    For free distribution only.

    Introduction:  Does an arahant reborn or does he reappear some where after his death. Why are we paying reverence to him, since he has passed away? Buddha refused to answer to this question stating that it is beyond our layman knowledge to perceive what happened to Arahat after his death. The simile given here is a fire and after you extinguished the fire, no body knows where that fire has gone. It is for the wise to comprehend what happened after the arahant passed away.

    Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta

    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi, at Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings and courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: “How is it, Master Gotama, does Master Gotama hold the view:

    ‘The cosmos is eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless’?”

    “…no…”

    “Then does Master Gotama hold the view: ‘The cosmos is not eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless’?”

    “…no…”

    Then does Master Gotama hold the view: ‘The cosmos is finite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless’?”

    “…no…”

    “Then does Master Gotama hold the view: ‘The cosmos is infinite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless’?”

    “…no…”

    “Then does Master Gotama hold the view: ‘The soul and the body are the same: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless’?”

    “…no…”

    “Then does Master Gotama hold the view: ‘The soul is one thing and the body another: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless’?”

    “…no…”

    “Then does Master Gotama hold the view: ‘After death a Tathagata exists: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless’?”

    “…no…”

    “Then does Master Gotama hold the view: ‘After death a Tathagata does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless’?”

    “…no…”

    “Then does Master Gotama hold the view: ‘After death a Tathagata both exists and does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless’?”

    “…no…”

    “Then does Master Gotama hold the view: ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless’?”

    “…no…”

    “How is it, Master Gotama, when Master Gotama is asked if he holds the view ‘the cosmos is eternal…’… ‘after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless,’ he says ‘…no…’ in each case. Seeing what drawback, then, is Master Gotama thus entirely dissociated from each of these ten positions?”

    Vaccha, the position that ‘the cosmos is eternal’ is a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. It is accompanied by suffering, distress, despair, and fever, and it does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding.

    “The position that ‘the cosmos is not eternal’…

    “…’the cosmos is finite’…

    “…’the cosmos is infinite’…

    “…’the soul and the body are the same’…

    “…’the soul is one thing and the body another’…

    “…’after death a Tathagata exists’…

    “…’after death a Tathagata does not exist’…

    “…’after death a Tathagata both exists and does not exist’…

    “…’after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist’… does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding.”

    Does Master Gotama have any position at all?”

    “A ‘position,’ Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: ‘Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception… such are mental fabrications… such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.’ Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading out, cessation, renunciation, and relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making and mine-making and obsession with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released.”

    “But, Master Gotama, the monk whose mind is thus released: Where does he reappear?”

    “‘Reappear,’ Vaccha, doesn’t apply.”

    “In that case, Master Gotama, he does not reappear.”

    “‘Does not reappear,’ Vaccha, doesn’t apply.”

    “…both does and does not reappear.”

    “…doesn’t apply.”

    …neither does nor does not reappear.”

    “…doesn’t apply.”

    “How is it, Master Gotama, when Master Gotama is asked if the monk reappears… does not reappear… both does and does not reappear… neither does nor does not reappear, he says, ‘…doesn’t apply’ in each case. At this point, Master Gotama, I am befuddled; at this point, confused. The modicum of clarity coming to me from your earlier conversation is now obscured.”

    “Of course you’re befuddled, Vaccha. Of course you’re confused. Deep, Vaccha, is this phenomenon, hard to see, hard to realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. For those with other views, other practices, other satisfactions, other aims, other teachers, it is difficult to know. That being the case, I will now put some questions to you. Answer as you see fit. How do you construe this, Vaccha: If a fire were burning in front of you, would you know that, ‘This fire is burning in front of me’?”

    “…yes…”

    “And suppose someone were to ask you, Vaccha, ‘This fire burning in front of you, dependent on what is it burning?’ Thus asked, how would you reply?”

    “…I would reply, ‘This fire burning in front of me is burning dependent on grass and timber as its sustenance.’”

    “If the fire burning in front of you were to go out, would you know that, ‘This fire burning in front of me has gone out’?”

    “…yes…”

    “And suppose someone were to ask you, ‘This fire that has gone out in front of you, in which direction from here has it gone? East? West? North? Or south?’ Thus asked, how would you reply?”

    “That doesn’t apply, Master Gotama. Any fire burning dependent on a sustenance of grass and timber, being unnourished — from having consumed that sustenance and not being offered any other — is classified simply as ‘out’ (unbound).”

    “Even so, Vaccha, any physical form by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, like an uprooted palm tree, deprived of the conditions of existence, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of form, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. ‘Reappears’ doesn’t apply. ‘Does not reappear’ doesn’t apply. ‘Both does and does not reappear’ doesn’t apply. ‘Neither reappears nor does not reappear’ doesn’t apply.

    “Any feeling… Any perception… Any mental fabrication…

    “Any consciousness by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, like an uprooted palm tree, deprived of the conditions of existence, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of consciousness, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. ‘Reappears’ doesn’t apply. ‘Does not reappear’ doesn’t apply. ‘Both does and does not reappear’ doesn’t apply. ‘Neither reappears nor does not reappear’ doesn’t apply.”

    When this was said, the wanderer Vacchagotta said to the Blessed One: “Master Gotama, it is as if there were a great sala tree not far from a village or town: From inconstancy, its branches and leaves would wear away, its bark would wear away, its sapwood would wear away, so that on a later occasion — divested of branches, leaves, bark, and sapwood — it would stand as pure heartwood. In the same way, Master Gotama’s words are divested of branches, leaves, bark, and sapwood and stand as pure heartwood.

    “Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or were to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has Master Gotama has — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha of monks. May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life.”

    The Ten Fetters

    The ten fetters referred to in Buddhist scriptures are what bind beings to the cycle of birth and death. The first five are referred to as the ‘lower fetters’ and the second five as the ‘higher fetters’.

    1. Personality-Belief
    This refers to the mistaken belief - from a Buddhist perspective - that the self is a permanent, unchanging essence or soul. Buddhism teaches that what we call the self or personality is made up of five factors - corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations (including volition or will) and consciousness. To cling to the idea of a permanent self, therefore, is erroneous. (See teaching on
    Not-Self or Anatta)

    2. Skeptical Doubt
    This is to have doubts about
    the three jewels, namely the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha; about what is morally wholesome and what is not; about the nature of religious training outlined by the Buddha and about the conditionality of all things.

    3. Clinging to Rites and Rituals
    Although rites and rituals form a part of Buddhist practices in various schools, the Buddha taught that there was no point in clinging to them for their own sake. Rites and rituals are a means of giving form to the expression of heart and mind, otherwise they are empty vessels.

    4. Sensuous Craving
    On one level this refers to lust but it has a broader meaning in terms of craving for pleasant sensations, those that our senses bring to us: sounds, sights, smells, tastes and touch.

    5. Ill-will
    This encapsulates feelings of enmity, even hatred, towards others. It is the opposite of
    loving-kindness (metta).

    6. Craving for Fine-Material Existence
    In the development of meditation, refined, rapturous states known as jhanas can be experienced. But even attachment to these is ultimately unwholesome to progress. This relates to the first four of eight
    jhanas.

    7. Craving for Immaterial Existence
    This fetter calls for the abandonment of subtle attractions to those states of mind experienced in the final four jhanas .

    8. Conceit
    This is sometimes interpreted as pride but it is likely something more subtle is intended, namely, attachment to the idea of self on an experiential level, even if the belief in an enduring self has been abandoned intellectually.

    9. Restlessness
    Restlessness or agitation suggests that true peace and contentment have still not been achieved in full.The mind is still unsettled.

    10. Ignorance
    At the core of the Buddha’s teaching is the idea that we live in a state of unknowing, of sleep, of ignorance. The whole Buddhist approach is aimed at dispelling our ignorance which is synonymous with waking up to truth. It is not surprising then that this is the final fetter.

    The removal of the first three fetters makes one a ’stream-enterer’, one whose final awakening is assured within seven further rebirths. The removal of the first three fetters and the dilution of the next two makes one ‘a once-returner’; in other words, there will only one more rebirth as a human being before enlightenment. The compete abandonment of the first five fetters makes one a ‘non-returner’ and therefore leads to rebirth in one of the Buddhist ‘Pure Abodes’ where final awakening will be assured. An arahat or ’saint’ is one in whom all ten fetters have been destroyed.

    Buddhist Publication Society
    Newsletter

    2nd Mailing 1995                                                                                                        No. 30

    Towards a Threshold of Understanding - I

    Pope John Paul II’s recent book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope is a collection of reflections primarily on issues of Christian faith; but the book also features the Pope’s assessment of other religions, including a short chapter on Buddhism. The Pontiff s words in this chapter are far from appreciative. The release of the book in Sri Lanka on the eve of the Pope’s visit to this country this past January stirred up waves of indignation in the Buddhist community that spread as far as the Vatican. The Buddhist prelates announced that they would not attend an inter-religious meeting requested by the Pope unless he formally retracted his unfavourable remarks about Buddhism. Although on arrival the Pope tried to appease the feel­ings of Buddhist leaders by declaring his esteem for their religion, even quoting the Dhammapada, he fell short of proffering a full apology, and this did not satisfy the Sangha elders.

    The following essay is intended as a short corrective to the Pope’s demeaning characterization of Buddhism. It addresses the issues solely at the level of ideas, without delving into the question whether ulterior motives lay behind the Pope’s pronouncements. The essay is based on an article written for a Polish publisher, Source (Katowice), which is presently compiling a book on the Buddhist response to the Pope’s book.

    The Pope states that “the Buddhist tradition and the methods deriv­ing from it have an almost exclusively negative soteriology (doc­trine of salvation).” Such a view of the Buddhist teachings was widespread among Christian missionaries in Asia during the 19th century, serving to justify their evangelical incursions into the heartlands of Buddhism. Serious scholars of comparative religion have long recognized this view to be a misrepresentation, rooted, in the case of the early missionaries, partly in misunderstanding, partly in deliberate distortion. It is therefore puzzling that the present head of the Catholic Church, otherwise so well informed, should repeat these worn-out lines, particularly at a time when greater mutual understanding is expected from the leaders of different religions.

    The Pope does not explain exactly why he regards Buddhist soteriology as negative. Most likely, he takes this view because the Buddhist path of deliverance does not recognize a personal God as the agent and end of salvation. Like beauty, however, what is nega­tive and what is positive lies in the eye of the beholder, and what is negative for one may turn out to be another’s supreme ideal. If one seeks an everlasting union between one’s eternal soul and a creator God, then a doctrine that denies the existence of an eternal soul and a Divine Creator will inevitably appear negative. If one regards everything conditioned as impermanent and devoid of self, and seeks deliverance in Nibbana, the Deathless Element, then a doctrine of everlasting union between God and the soul will seem-not nega­tive perhaps—but founded upon wishful thinking and unacceptable articles of faith. For the ordinary reader, however, the word “nega­tive,” when applied to Buddhism, will suggest something far differ­ent from a philosophically acute way of approaching the Ultimate, conjuring up pictures of a bleak doctrine of escapism aimed at per­sonal annihilation. Behind the Pope’s words we can detect echoes of the ancient texts: “There are, monks, some recluses and brahmins who charge me with being an annihilationist, saying that the recluse Gotama teaches the annihilation of an existent being. That is false misrepresentation. What I teach, in the past as also now, is suffering and the cessation of suffering” (MN 22).

    Even more worrisome than the Pope’s characterization of the Bud­dhist doctrine of salvation as negative is his contention that “the Buddhist doctrine of salvation constitutes the central point, or rather the only point, of this system.” The conclusion implied by this pro­nouncement, left hanging silently behind the lines, is that Buddhism is incapable of offering meaningful guidance to people immersed in the problems of everyday life; it is an otherworldly religion of escape suited only for those of an ascetic bent.

    While Western scholars in the past have focused upon the Buddhist doctrine of salvation as their main point of interest, the living tradi­tions of Buddhism as practised by its adherents reveal that this atti­tude, being one-sided to begin with, must yield one-sided results. The Buddhist texts themselves show that Buddhism addresses as wide a range of concerns as any other of humanity’s great religions. Nibbana remains the ultimate goal of Buddhism, and is certainly “the central point” of the Dhamma, but it is by no means “the only point” for which the Buddha proclaimed his Teaching.

    According to the Buddhist texts, the Dhamma is intended to pro­mote three types of good, each by way of different but overlapping sets of principles. These three goals, though integrated into the frame­work of a single internally consistent teaching, enable the Dhamma to address individuals at different stages of spiritual development, with varying capacities for comprehension. The three goods are:

    (i) the good pertaining to the present life (ditthadhammattha), i.e. the achievement of happiness and well-being here and now, through ethical living and harmonious relationships based on kind­ness and compassion;

    (ii) the good pertaining to the future life (samparayikattha), i.e. a favourable rebirth within the round of existence, by practising generosity, observing the precepts, and cultivating the mind in meditation; and

    (iii) the ultimate good (paransattha), i.e. the attainment of Nib­bana, by following the complete training defined by the Noble Eightfold Path.

    For most Buddhists in their day-to-day lives, the pursuit of Nibbana is a distant rather than an immediate goal, to be approached gradu­ally during the long course of rebirths. Until they are ready for a direct assault on the final good, they expect to walk the path for many lives within samsara, pursuing their mundane welfare while aspiring for the Ultimate. To assist them in this endeavour, the Bud­dha has taught numerous guidelines that pertain to ethically upright living within the confines of the world. In the Sigalovada Sutta, for example, he enumerates the reciprocal duties of parents and children, husband and wife, friends and friends, employers and em­ployees, teachers and students, religious and laity. He made right livelihood an integral part of the Noble Eightfold Path, and explained what it implies in the life of a busy lay person. During his long ministry he gave advice to merchants on the prudent conduct of business, to young wives on how to behave towards their husbands, to rulers on how to administer their state. All such guidance, issu­ing from the Buddha’s great compassion, is designed to promote the welfare and happiness of the world while at the same time steer­ing his followers towards a pleasant rebirth and gradual progress towards final liberation.

    Yet, while the Buddha offers a graduated teaching adjusted to the varying life situations of his disciples, he does not allow any illu­sion to linger about the ultimate aim of his Doctrine. That aim is Nibbana, which is not a consoling reconciliation with the world but irreversible deliverance from the world. Such deliverance cannot be gained merely by piety and good works performed in a spirit of social sympathy. It can be won only by renunciation, by “the relin­quishment of all acquisitions” (sabb’upadhipatinissagga), includ­ing among such “acquisitions” the bodily and mental processes that we identify as our self. The achievement of this end is necessarily individual. It must be arrived at through personal purification and personal insight, as the fruit of sustained effort in fulfilling the en­tire course of training. Hence the Buddha did not set out to found a church capable of embracing all humanity within the fold of a sin­gle creed. He lays down a path—a path perfect in its ideal formula­tion—to be trodden by imperfect human beings under the imperfect conditions that life within the world affords. While the quest for the highest goal culminates in deliverance from the world, this same ideal “bends back” towards the world and spells out standards of conduct and a scale of values to guide the unenlightened manyfolk in their daily struggles against the streams of greed, hatred, and delusion. Nibbana remains the “chief point” and the omega point of the Dhamma. But as this goal is to be experienced as the extinction of greed, hatred, and delusion, it defines the condition for its reali­zation as a life devoted to overcoming greed through generosity, to overcoming hatred through patience and loving kindness, and to overcoming delusion through wisdom and understanding.

    Bhikkhu Bodhi

    Part II of this essay will appear in the next BPS newsletter.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ** New teaching and mediation series with Lama Rabten Tshering **
    “The Six Paramitas” begins Sunday, January 6 @ Maitrivana
    4610 Earles Street in Vancouver
    Everyone welcome - by donation
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Nalandabodhi Vancouver is pleased to announce a new series of
    teachings and mediation sessions with our resident lama,
    Lama Rabten Tshering.

    The series begins on Sunday morning, January 6, and will run every
    second Sunday thereafter (please see our on-line calendar to confirm
    dates). The format for Sunday sessions is:

    9:30 am -10:30 am: Meditation
    10:30 am -12:00 pm: Teaching on the Paramitas

    ** The Paramitas **
    The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche has asked the Nalandabodhi sangha to
    continuously practice the six Paramitas, the transcendent actions
    or virtues that are the basis of Mahayana practice.

    The Paramitas are:
    Generosity, Morality (Discipline), Patience, Diligence, Mediation,
    and Wisdom (Prajna).

    Rinpoche suggests that we study, practice, and meditate on one
    Paramita per month, repeating the cycle in the second half of the year.

    In January, Lama’s teachings will focus on Generosity; in February on
    Morality, and so forth.

    The purpose of Paramita practice and contemplation is to develop a
    strong sense of compassion and loving kindness, as well as mental
    discipline.

    The Paramita teachings originate in the Sutras, the original teachings
    of Buddha Sakyamuni.

    All are welcome to the Sunday morning sessions. Lama Rabten’s
    approach will be beneficial to both beginners and more seasoned
    practitioners.

    We especially welcome newcomers to the dharma - Lama’s teachings will
    be a wonderful opportunity to meditate and learn with others. The
    sessions are by donation, and you are welcome to attend all or some
    of them.

    ** Check Out Nalandabodhi’s On-Line Calendar **
    Please visit our calendar at:
    http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=J1mcq&m=1fX9oQuIZEWy09&b=uG5wvFdGNRd5wXTSx3cikA

    You’ll find information about Lama Rabten’s future teaching dates,
    plus other programs and special events at Maitrivana, Nalandabodhi’s
    Garden of Loving Kindness.

    To view pictures of past events, go to our slideshow at:
    http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=J1mcq&m=1fX9oQuIZEWy09&b=xcRHnRKnhMwEI5RRO3Cftw.

    Hope to see you on Sunday morning! And feel free to pass this
    message on.

    Sincerely,

    Sanghatoday.org team

    800 Kelly Road Victoria, BC V9B 6J9, Canada

     

     

     

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Noble Eightfold Path-Wisdom-Right View
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Noble Eightfold Path

Wisdom

Right View

The Ten Fetters

(Sa.myojana)

There are ten ‘Fetters’-samyojana-by which beings are bound to the wheel of existence. They are:

Self-Illusion (sakkaaya-di.t.thi)

Scepticism (vicikicchaa)

Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual (siilabbata-paraamaasa)

Sensual Lust (kaamaraaga)

Ill-Will (vyaapaada)

Craving for Fine-Material Existence (ruupa-raaga)

Craving for Immaterial Existence (aruupa-raaga)

Conceit (maana)

Restlessness (uddhacca)

Ignorance (avijjaa).

The Noble Ones

(Ariya-puggala)

One who is freed from the first three Fetters is called a ‘Stream - Enterer’ (in Pali: Sotaapanna) i.e. one who has entered the stream leading to Nibbaana. He has unshakable faith in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, and is incapable of breaking the five Moral Precepts. He will be reborn seven times, at the utmost, and not in a state lower than the human world.

One who has overcome the fourth and the fifth Fetters in their grosser form, is called a Sakadaagaami, lit. ‘Once-Returner’ i.e. he will be reborn only once more in the Sensuous Sphere (kaama-loka), and thereafter reach Holiness.

An Anaagaami, lit. ‘Non-Returner’, is wholly freed from the first five Fetters which bind one to rebirth in the Sensuous Sphere; after death, while living in the Fine-Material Sphere (ruupa-loka), he will reach the goal.

An Arahat, i.e. the perfectly ‘Holy One’, is freed from all the ten Fetters.

Each of the aforementioned four stages of Holiness consists of the ‘Path’ (magga) and the ‘Fruition’, e.g. ‘Path of Stream Entry’ (sotaapatti-magga) and ‘Fruition of Stream Entry’ (sotaapatti-phala). Accordingly there are eight types, or four pairs, of ‘Noble Individuals’ (ariya-puggala).

The ‘Path’ consists of the single moment of entering the respective attainment. By ‘Fruition’ are meant those moments of consciousness which follow immediately thereafter as the result of the ‘Path’, and which under certain circumstances, may repeat innumerable times during life-time.

For further details, see B. Dict.: ariya-puggala, sotaapanna,etc.

Mundane And Super Mundane Understanding

M.117

Therefore, I say, Right Understanding is of two kinds:

1. The view that alms and offerings are not useless; that there is fruit and result, both of good and bad actions; that there are such things as this life, and the next life; that father and mother, as also spontaneously born beings (in the heavenly worlds), are no mere words; that there are in the world monks and priests, who are spotless and perfect, who can explain this life and the next life, which they themselves have understood: this is called the ‘Mundane Right Understanding’ (lokiya-sammaa-di.t.thi), which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.

2. But whatsoever there is of wisdom, of penetration, of right understanding conjoined with the ‘Path’ (of the Sotaapanna, Sakadaagaami, Anaagaami, or Arahat)-the mind being turned away from the world and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued: this is called the ‘Super mundane Right Understanding’ (lokuttara-sammaa-di.t.thi), which is not of the world, but is super mundane and conjoined with the path.

Thus, there are two kinds of the Eightfold Path:

1. The ‘mundane’ (lokiya), practiced by the ‘Worldling’ (puthujjana), i.e. by all those who have not yet reached the first stage of Holiness; 2. The ’super mundane’ (lokuttara) practiced by the ‘Noble Ones’ (ariya-puggala).

Conjoined With Other Steps

Now, in understanding wrong understanding as wrong and right understanding as right, one practices ‘Right Understanding’ (1st factor); and in making efforts to overcome wrong understanding, and to arouse right understanding, one practices ‘Right Effort’ (6th factor); and in overcoming wrong understanding with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in the possession of right understanding one practices ‘Right Mindfulness’ (7th factor). Hence, there are three things that accompany and follow upon right understanding, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness.

Free from All Theories

M. 72

Now, if any one should put the question, whether I admit any theory at all, he should be answered thus: The Perfect One is free from any theory, for the Perfect One has understood what corporeality is, and how it arises and passes away. He has understood what feeling is, and how it arises and passes away. He has understood what perception is, and how it arises and passes away. He has understood what the mental formations are, and how they arise and pass away. He has understood what consciousness is, and how it arises and passes away. Therefore I say, the Perfect One has won complete deliverance through the extinction, fading-away, disappearance, rejection, and getting rid of all opinions and conjectures, of all inclination to the vain-glory of ‘I‘ and ‘mine‘.

The Three Characteristics

A. III. 134

Whether Perfect Ones (Buddhas) appear in the world, or whether Perfect Ones do not appear in the world, it still remains a firm condition, an immutable fact and fixed law: that all formations are impermanent (Anicca), that all formations are subject to suffering (dukkha); that everything is without a Self (an-attaa).

In Pali: sabbe sankhaaraa aniccaa, sabbe sankhaaraa dukkhaa, sabbe dhammaa anattaa.

The word ’sankhaaraa’ (formations) comprises here all things that are conditioned or ‘formed’ (sankhata-dhamma), i.e. all possible physical and mental constituents of existence. The word ‘dhamma’, however, has a still wider application and is all-embracing, as it comprises also the so-called Unconditioned (’unformed’, asankhata), i.e. Nibbana.

For this reason, it would be wrong to say that all dhammas are impermanent and subject to change, for the Nibbaana-dhamma is permanent and free from change. And for the same reason, it is correct to say that not only all the sankhaaras (=sankhata-dhamma), but that all the dhammas (including the asankhata-dhamma) lack an Ego (an-attaa).

S. XXII. 94

A corporeal phenomenon, a feeling, a perception, a mental formation, a consciousness, which is permanent and persistent, eternal and not subject to change, such a thing the wise men in this world do not recognize; and I also say that there is no such thing.

A. I. 15

And it is impossible that a being possessed of right understanding should regard anything as the Self.

Views and Discussions About the Ego

D. 15

Now, if someone should say that feeling is his Self, he should be answered thus: ‘There are three kinds of feeling: pleasurable, painful, and indifferent feeling. Which of these three feelings do you consider as your Self?’ Because, at the moment of experiencing one of these feelings, one does not experience the other two. These three kinds of feeling are impermanent, of dependent origin, are subject to decay and dissolution, to fading-away and extinction. Whosoever, in experiencing one of these feelings, thinks that this is his Self, must after the extinction of that feeling, admit that his Self has become dissolved. And thus he will consider his Self already in this present life as impermanent, mixed up with pleasure and pain, subject to arising and passing away.

If any one should say that feeling is not his Ego, and that his Self is inaccessible to feeling, he should be asked thus: ‘Now, where there is no feeling, is it then possible to say: “This am I?”

Or, another might say: ‘Feeling, indeed, is not my Self, but it also is untrue that my Self is inaccessible to feeling, for it is my Self that feels, my Self that has the faculty of feeling’. Such a one should be answered thus: ‘Suppose that feeling should become altogether totally extinguished; now, if after the extinction of feeling, no feeling whatever exists there, is it then possible to say: “This am I’?”

M. 148

To say that the mind, or the mind-objects, or the mind-consciousness, constitute the Self, such an assertion is unfounded. For an arising and a passing away is seen there; and seeing the arising and passing away of these things, one would come to the conclusion that one’s Self arises and passes away.

S. XII. 62

1t would be better for the unlearned worldling to regard his body, built up of the four elements, as his Self, rather than his mind. For it is evident that the body may last for a year, for two years, for three, four, five, or ten years, or even for a hundred years and more; but that which is called thought, or mind, or consciousness, arises continuously, during day and night, as one thing, and passes away as another thing.

S. XXII. 59

Therefore, whatsoever there is of corporeality, of feeling, of perception, of mental formations, of consciousness whether past, present or future, one’s own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near: of this one should understand according to reality and true wisdom: ‘This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Self.’

To show the impersonality and utter emptiness of existence, Visuddhi-Magga XVI quotes the following verse:

Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found,

The deed is, but no doer of the deed is there.

Nirvana is, but not the man that enters it.

The path is, but no traveler on it is seen’.

Past, Present and Future

D. 9

If now, any one should ask: ‘Have you been in the past, and is it untrue that you have not been? Will you be in the future, and is it untrue that you will not be? Are you, and is it untrue that you are not?’ - you may reply that you have been in the past, and that it is untrue that you have not been; that you will be in the future, and that it is untrue that you will not be; that you are, and that it is untrue that you are not.

In the past only that past existence was real, but unreal the future and present existence. In the future only the future existence will be real, but unreal the past and the present existence. Now only the present existence is real, but unreal, the past and future existence.

M. 28

Verily, he who perceives the ‘Dependent Origination’ (pa.ticca-samuppaada), perceives the truth; and he who perceives the truth, perceives the Dependent Origination.

D. 8

For just as from the cow comes milk, from milk curd, from curd butter, from butter ghee, from ghee the skim of ghee; and when it is milk, it is not counted as curd, or butter, or ghee, or skim of ghee, but only as milk; and when it is curd, it is only counted as curd: just so was my past existence at that time real, but unreal the future and present existence; and my future existence will be at that time real, but unreal the past and present existence; and my present existence is now real, but unreal the past and future existence. All these are merely popular designations and expressions, mere conventional terms of speaking, mere popular notions. The Perfect One indeed makes use of these, without however clinging to them.

S. XLIV 4

Thus, he who does not understand corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness according to reality (i.e. as void of a personality, or Ego) nor understands their arising, their extinction, and the way to their extinction, he is liable to believe, either that the Perfect One continues after death, or that he does not continue after death, and so forth.

The Two Extremes (Annihilation and Eternity Belief) and the Middle Doctrine

S. XII. 25

Truly, if one holds the view that the vital principle (jiva; ‘Soul’) is identical with this body, in that case a holy life is not possible; and if one holds the view that the vital principle is something quite different from the body, in that case also a holy life is not possible. Both these two extremes the Perfect One has avoided, and he has shown the Middle Doctrine, which says:

Dependent Origination

(Pa.ticca-samuppaada)

S. XII. 1

On Ignorance (avijjaa) depend the ‘Karma-formations’ (sankhaaraa).

On the Karma-formations depends ‘Consciousness’ (vi~n~naa.na; starting with rebirth-consciousness in the womb of the mother).

On Consciousness depends the ‘Mental and Physical Existence’ (naama-ruupa).

On the mental and physical existence depend the ‘Six Sense-Organs’ (sa.l-aayatana).

On the six sense-organs depends ‘Sensorial Impression’ (phassa).

On sensorial impression depends ‘Feeling’ (vedanaa).

On feeling depends ‘Craving’ (ta.nhaa).

On craving depends ‘Clinging’ (upaadaana).

On clinging depends the ‘Process of Becoming’ (bhava).

On the process of becoming (here: kamma-bhava, or karma-process) depends ‘Rebirth’ (jaati).

On rebirth depend ‘Decay and Death’ (jaraa-marana), sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

Thus arises this whole mass of suffering. This is called the noble truth of the origin of suffering.

“No god, no Brahma can be called

The maker of this wheel of life:

Empty phenomena roll on,

Dependent on conditions all.”

(Quoted in Visuddhi-Magga XIX).

S. XII. 51

A disciple, however, in whom Ignorance (avijjaa) has disappeared and wisdom arisen, such a disciple heaps up neither meritorious, nor de-meritorious, nor imperturbable Karma-formations.

The term sankhaaraa has been rendered here by ‘Karma Formations’ because, in the context of the Dependent Origination, it refers to karmically wholesome and unwholesome volition (cetanaa), or volitional activity, in short, Karma.

The threefold division of it, given in the preceding passage, comprises karmic activity in all spheres of existence, or planes of consciousness. The ‘meritorious karma-formations’ extend also to the Fine-Material Sphere (ruupaavacara), while the ‘imperturbable karma-formations’ (ane~njaabhisankhaaraa) refer only to the Immaterial Sphere (aruupaavacara).

S. XII. 1

Thus, through the entire fading away and extinction of this ‘Ignorance’, the ‘Karma-formations’ are extinguished. Through the extinction of Karma-formations, ‘Consciousness’ (rebirth) is extinguished. Through the extinction of consciousness, the ‘Mental and Physical Existence’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of the mental and physical existence, the ‘Six Sense-Organs’ are extinguished. Through the extinction of the six sense organs, ‘Sensorial Impression’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of sensorial impression, ‘Feeling’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of feeling, ‘Craving’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of craving, ‘Clinging’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of clinging, the ‘Process of Becoming’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of the process of becoming, ‘Rebirth’ is extinguished. Through the extinction of rebirth, ‘Decay and Death’, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair are extinguished. Thus takes place the extinction of this whole mass of suffering. This is called the noble truth of the extinction of suffering.

Rebirth-Producing Kamma

M. 43

Truly, because beings, obstructed by ignorance (avijjaa) and ensnared by craving (tanhaa) seek ever fresh delight, now here, now there, therefore fresh rebirth continually comes to be.

A. III. 33

And the action (kamma) that is done out of greed, hatred and delusion (lobha, dosa, moha), that springs from them, has its source and origin in them: this action ripens wherever one is reborn, and wherever this action ripens there one experiences the fruits of this action, be it in this life, or the next life, or in some future life.

Cessation of Kamma

M. 43

However, through the fading away of ignorance, through the arising of wisdom, through the extinction of craving, no future rebirth takes place again.

A. III. 33

For the actions which are not done out of greed, hatred and delusion, which have not sprung from them, which have not their source and origin in them: such actions, through the absence of greed, hatred and delusion, are abandoned, rooted out, like a palm-tree torn out of the soil, destroyed, and not able to spring up again.

A. VIII. 12

In this respect one may rightly say of me: that I teach annihilation, that I propound my doctrine for the purpose of annihilation, and that I herein train my disciples; for certainly I do teach annihilation-the annihilation, namely, of greed, hatred and delusion, as well as of the manifold evil and unwholesome things.

The Pa.ticca Samuppaada, lit, the Dependent Origination, is the doctrine of the conditionality of all physical and mental phenomena, a doctrine which, together with that of Impersonality (anattaa), forms the indispensable condition for the real understanding and realization of the Buddha’s teaching. It shows that the various physical and mental life-processes, conventionally called personality, man, animal, etc., are not a mere play of blind chance, but the outcome of causes and conditions. Above all, the Pa.ticca-Samuppaada explains how the arising of rebirth and suffering is dependent upon conditions; and, in its second part, it shows how, through the removal of these conditions, all suffering must disappear. Hence, the Pa.ticca-Samuppaada serves to elucidate the second and the third Noble Truths, by explaining them from their very foundations upwards, and giving them a fixed philosophical form.

The following diagram shows at a glance how the twelve links of the formula extend over three consecutive existences, past, present, and future:

Past Existence

1. Ignorance (avijjaa)

Karma Process (kamma-bhava) 5 causes: 1, 2, 8, 9, 10

2. Karma-Formations (sankhaaraa)

Present Existence

3. Consciousness (vi~n~naa.na)

Rebirth-Process (upapatti-bhava) 5 results: 3-7

4. Mental and Physical Existence (naamaruupa)

5. 6 Sense Organs (sa.l-aayatana)

6. Sense-Impression (phassa)

7. Feeling (vedanaa)

8. Craving (ta.nha)

Karma Process (kamma-bhava) 5 causes: 1, 2, 8, 9, 10

9. Clinging (upaadaana)

10. Process of Existence (bhava)

Future Existence

11. Rebirth (jaati)

Rebirth-Process (upapatti-bhava) 5 results: 3-7

12. Decay and Death (jaraa-marana)

The links 1-2, together with 8-10, represent the Karma-Process, containing the five karmic causes of rebirth.

The links 3-7, together with 11-12, represent the Rebirth-Process, containing the five Karma-Results.

Accordingly it is said in the Patisambhidaa-Magga:

Five causes were there in past,

Five fruits we find in present life.

Five causes do we now produce,

Five fruits we reap in future life.

(Quoted in Vis. Magga XVII)

For a full explanation see Fund. III and B. Dict.

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Noble Eightfold Path-Wisdom-Right Intention
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Noble  Eightfold Path

Wisdom

Right Intention

Right Thought

(Sammaa-sankappa)

D. 22

What, now, is Right Thought?

  1. Thought free from lust (nekkhamma-sankappa).
  2. Thought free from ill-will (avyaapaada-sankappa).
  3. Thought free from cruelty (avihimsaa-sankappa).

This is called Right Thought.

Mundane And Super Mundane Thought

M. 117

Now, Right Thought, I tell you, is of two kinds:

1. Thought free from lust, from ill-will, and from cruelty-this is called ‘Mundane Right Thought’ (lokiya sammaa-sankappa), which yields worldly fruits and brings good rcsu1ts.

2. But, whatsoever there is of thinking, considering, reasoning, thought, ratiocination, application-the mind being holy, being turned away from the world, and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued-these ‘verbal operations’ of the mind (vacii-sankhaaraa) are called the ‘Super mundane Right Thought’ (lokuttara-sammaa-sankappa), which is not of the world, but is super mundane, and conjoined with the path.

Conjoined with Other Factors

Now, in understanding wrong thought as wrong, and right thought as right, one practices Right Understanding (1st factor); and in making efforts to overcome evil thought and to arouse right thought, one practices Right Effort (6th factor); and in overcoming evil thought with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right thought, one practices Right Mindfulness (7th factor). Hence there are three things that accompany and follow upon Right Thought, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness.

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Noble Eightfold Path-Ethical Conduct-Right Speech
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Noble Eightfold Path

Ethical Conduct

Right Speech

Right Speech

(Sammaa-vaacaa)

What now, is Right Speech?

Abstaining from Lying

A. X. 176

1. Herein someone avoids lying and abstains from it. He speaks the truth, is devoted to the truth, reliable, worthy of confidence, not a deceiver of men. Being at a meeting, or amongst people, or in the midst of his relatives, or in a society, or in the king’s court, and called upon and asked as witness to tell what he knows, he answers, if he knows nothing: ‘I know nothing’, and if he knows, he answers: ‘I know’; if he has seen nothing, he answers: ‘I have seen nothing’, and if he has seen, he answers: ‘I have seen’. Thus he never knowingly speaks a lie, either for the sake of his own advantage, or for the sake of another person’s advantage, or for the sake of any advantage whatsoever.

Abstaining from Tale Bearing

2. He avoids tale bearing, and abstains from it. What he has heard here, he does not repeat there, so as to cause dissension there; and what he has heard there, he does not repeat here, so as to cause dissension here. Thus he unites those that are divided; and those that are united, he encourages. Concord gladdens him, he delights and rejoices in concord; and it is concord that he spreads by his words.

Abstaining from Harsh Language

3. He avoids harsh language, and abstains from it. He speaks such words as are gentle, soothing to the ear, loving, such words as go to the heart, and are courteous, friendly, and agreeable to many.

In Majjhima-Nicaaya No. 21, the Buddha says: ‘Even, O monks, should robbers and murderers saw through your limbs and joints, whosoever should give way to anger thereat would not be following my advice. For thus ought you to train yourselves:

‘Undisturbed shall our mind remain, no evil words shall escape our lips; friendly and full of sympathy shall we remain, with heart full of love, and free from any hidden malice; and that person shall we penetrate with loving thoughts, wide, deep, boundless, freed from anger and hatred’.

Abstaining from Vain Talk

A. X. 176

4. He avoids vain talk, and abstains from it. He speaks at the right time, in accordance with facts, speaks what is useful, speaks of the law and the discipline: his speech is like a treasure, uttered at the right moment, accompanied by arguments, moderate and full of sense.

This is called Right Speech.

Mundane and Super Mundane Speech

M. 117

Now, Right Speech. I tell you, is of two kinds:

1. Abstaining from lying, from tale-bearing, from harsh language, and from vain talk; this is called ‘Mundane Right Speech’ (lokiya-sammaa-vaacaa), which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.

2. But the avoidance of the practice of this fourfold wrong speech, the abstaining, desisting. refraining there from-the mind being holy, being turned away from the world, and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued-this is called the ‘Super mundane Right Speech’ (lokuttara-sammaa-vaacaa), which is not of the world, but is super mundane, and conjoined with the path.

Conjoined with Other Factors

Now, in understanding wrong speech as wrong, and right speech as right, one practices Right Understanding (1st factor); and in making efforts to overcome evil speech and to arouse right speech, one practices Right Effort (6th factor); and in overcoming wrong speech with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right speech, one practices Right Mindfulness (7th factor). Hence, there are three things that accompany and follow upon Right Speech, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness.

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Noble Eightfold Path-Ethical Conduct-Right Action
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Noble Eightfold Path

Ethical Conduct

Right Action

Right Action

(Sammaa-kammanta)

A. X. 176

What, now, is Right Action?

Abstaining from Killing

1. Herein someone avoids the killing of living beings, and abstains from it. Without stick or sword, conscientious, full of sympathy, he is desirous of the welfare of all living beings.

Abstaining from Stealing

2. He avoids stealing, and abstains from it; what another person possesses of goods and chattels in the village or in the wood, that he does not take away with thievish intent.

Abstaining from Unlawful Sexual Intercourse

3. He avoids unlawful sexual intercourse, and abstains from it. He has no intercourse with such persons as are still under the protection of father, mother, brother, sister or relatives, nor with married women, nor female convicts, nor lastly, with betrothed girls.

This is called Right Action.

Mundane And Super Mundane Action

M. 117

Now, Right Action, I tell you, is of two kinds:

1. Abstaining from killing, from stealing, and from unlawful sexual intercourse: this is called the ‘Mundane Right Action’ (lokiya-sammaa-kammanta) which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.

2. But the avoidance of the practice of this threefold wrong action, the abstaining, desisting, refraining there from-the mind being holy.  Being turned away from the world, and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued-this is called the ‘Super mundane Right Action’ (lokuttara-sammaa-kammanta), which is not of the world, but is super mundane, and conjoined with the path.

Conjoined With Other Factors

Now in understanding wrong action as wrong, and right action as right, one practices Right Understanding (1st factor): and in making efforts to overcome wrong action, and to arouse right action, one practices Right Effort (6th factor); and in overcoming wrong action with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right action, one practices Right Mindfulness (7th factor).  Hence, there are three things that accompany and follow upon Right Action, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness.

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Noble Eightfold Path-Ethical Conduct-Right Livelyhood
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Noble Eightfold Path

Ethical Conduct

Right Livelyhood

Right Livelihood

(Sammaa-aajiva)

What, now, is Right Livelihood?

D. 22

1. When the noble disciple, avoiding a wrong way of living, gets his livelihood by a right way of living, this is called Right Livelihood.

In the Majjhima-Nikaaya, No. 117, it is said: ‘To practice deceit, treachery, soothsaying, trickery, usury: this is wrong livelihood.’

And in the Anguttara-Nikaaya, V. 1 77, it is said: ‘Five trades should be avoided by a disciple: trading in arms, in living beings, in flesh, in intoxicating drinks, and in poison’.

Included are the professions of a soldier, a fisherman, a hunter, etc.

Now, Right Livelihood, I tell you, is of two kinds:

Mundane and Super mundane Right Livelihood

M. 117

1. When the noble disciple, avoiding wrong living, gets his livelihood by a right way of living: this is called ‘Mundane Right Livelihood’ (lokiya-sammaa-aajiva), which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.

2. But the avoidance of wrong livelihood, the abstaining, desisting, refraining there from-the mind being holy, being turned away from the world, and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued-this is called the ‘Super mundane Right Livelihood’ (lokuttara-sammaa-aajiva), which is not of the world,  but is super mundane, and conjoined with the path.

Conjoined with Other Factors

Now. in understanding wrong livelihood as wrong, and right livelihood as right, one practices Right Understanding (1st factor); and in making efforts to overcome wrong livelihood, to establish right livelihood, one practices Right Effort (6th factor); and in overcoming wrong livelihood with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possession of right livelihood, one practices Right Mindfulness (7th factor). Hence, there are three things that accompany and follow upon Right Livelihood, namely: Right Understanding, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness.

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Noble Eightfold Path-Mental Development-Right Effort
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Noble Eightfold Path

Mental Development

Right Effort

Right Effort

(Sammaa-vaayaama)

A. IV. 13, 14

What, now. is Right Effort?

There are Four Great Efforts; the effort to avoid, the effort to overcome, the effort to develop, and the effort to maintain.

I. The Effort to Avoid

(Sa.mvara-ppadhaana)

What, now is the effort to Avoid? Herein the disciple rouses his will to avoid the arising of evil, unwholesome things that have not yet arisen; and he makes efforts, stirs up his energy; exerts his mind and strives.

Thus, when lie perceives a form with the eye, a sound with the ear, and an odor with the nose, a taste with the tongue, an impression with the body, or an object with the mind, he neither adheres to the whole, nor to its parts. And he strives to ward off that through which evil and unwholesome things, greed and sorrow, would arise, if he remained with unguarded senses; and he watches over his senses, restrains his senses.

Possessed of this noble ‘Control over the Senses’ he experiences inwardly a feeling of joy, into which no evil thing can enter.

This is called the effort to avoid

2. The Effort to Overcome

(Pahaana-ppadhaana)

What, now, is the effort to Overcome? There the disciple rouses his will to overcome the evil, unwholesome things that have already arisen; and he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.

He does not retain any thought of sensual lust, ill-will or grief, or any other evil and unwholesome states that may have arisen; he abandons them, dispels them, destroys them. causes them to disappear.

Five Methods of Expelling Evil Thoughts

M. 20

If, whilst regarding a certain object, there arise in the disciple, on account of it, evil and unwholesome thoughts connected with greed, hatred and delusion, then the disciple (1) should, by means of this object, gain another and wholesome object. (2) Or, he should reflect on the misery of these thoughts; ‘Unwholesome, truly, are these thoughts! Blamable are these thoughts! Of painful result are these thoughts!’ (3) Or he should pay no attention to these thoughts. (4) Or, he should consider the compound nature of these thoughts. (5) Or, with teeth clenched and tongue pressed against the gums, he should with his mind restrain, suppress and root out these thoughts; and in doing so these evil and unwholesome thoughts of greed, hatred and delusion will dissolve and disappear; and the mind will inwardly become settled and calm, composed and concentrated.

This is called the effort to overcome.

3. The Effort to Develop

(Bhaavanaa-ppadhaana)

A. IV. 13, 14

What, now, is the effort to Develop? Herein the disciple rouses his will to arouse wholesome things that have not yet arisen; and he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.

Thus he develops the ‘Elements of Enlightenment’ (bojjhanga), based on solitude, on detachment, on extinction, and ending in deliverance, namely: ‘Mindfulness’ (sati), ‘Investigation of the Law’ (dhamma-vicaya), ‘Energy’ (viriya), ‘Rapture’ (piiti), ‘Tranquility’ (passaddhi), ‘Concentration’ (samadhi). and ‘Equanimity’ (upekkhaa).

This is called the effort to develop.

4. The Effort to Maintain

(Anurakkha.na-ppadhaana)

What, now, is the effort to Maintain? Herein the disciple rouses his will to maintain the wholesome things that have already arisen, and not to allow them to disappear, but to bring them to growth, to maturity and to the full perfection of development (bhaavanaa); and he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.

Thus, for example, he keeps firmly in his mind a favorable object of concentration that has arisen, such as the mental image of a skeleton, of a corpse infested by worms, of a corpse blue-black in color, of a festering corpse, of a corpse riddled with holes, of a corpse swollen up.

This is called the effort to maintain.

M. 70

Truly, for a disciple who is possessed of faith and has penetrated the Teaching of the master, it is fit to think: ‘Though skin sinews and bones wither away, though flesh and blood of my body dry up, I shall not give up my efforts till I have attained whatever is attainable by manly perseverance, energy and endeavor.’

This is called Right Effort.

A. IV. 14

The effort of Avoiding, Overcoming,

Of Developing and Maintaining:

These four great efforts have been shown

By him, the scion of the sun.

And he who firmly clings to them,

May put an end to suffering.

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Noble Eightfold Path -Mental Development- -Right Mindfulness
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Noble  Eightfold Path

Mental Development

Right Mindfulness

Right Mindfulness

(Sammaa-sati)

What, now, is Right Mindfulness?

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

(Satipa.t.thaana)

D. 22

The only way that leads to the attainment of purity, to the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, to the end of pain and grief, to the entering upon the right path and the realization of Nibbana, is by the ‘Four Foundations of Mindfulness’. And which are these four?

Herein the disciple dwells in contemplation of the Body, in contemplation of Feeling, in contemplation of the Mind, in contemplation of the Mind-Objects; ardent, clearly comprehending them and mindful, after putting away worldly greed and grief.

1. Contemplation of the Body

(kaayaanupassanaa)

But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body?

Watching Over In- and Out-Breathing

(aanaapaana-sati)

Herein the disciple retires to the forest, to the foot of a tree, or to a solitary place, seats himself with legs crossed, body erect, and with mindfulness fixed before him, mindfully he breathes in, mindfully he breathes out. When making a long inhalation, he knows: ‘I make a long inhalation’; when making a long exhalation, he knows: ‘I make a long exhalation’. When making a short inhalation, he knows: ‘I make a short inhalation’: when making a short exhalation, he knows: ‘I make a short exhalation’. ‘Clearly perceiving the entire (breath-) body, I shall breathe in’: thus he trains himself; ‘Clearly perceiving the entire (breath-) body, I shall breathe out’: thus he trains himself. ‘Calming this bodily function (kaaya-sankhaara), I shall breathe in’: thus he trains himself; ‘Calming this bodily function. I shall breathe out’: thus he trains himself.

Thus he dwells in contemplation of the body, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both, he beholds how the body arises; beholds how it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of the body. A body is there-

‘A body is there, but no living being, no individual, no woman, no man, no self, and nothing that belongs to a self; neither a person. nor anything belonging to a person. (Comm.)

this clear awareness is present in him, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body.

‘Mindfulness of Breathing’ (aanaapaana-sati) is one of the most important meditative exercises. It may be used for the development of Tranquility (samatha-bhaavanaa), i.e. for attaining the four Absorptions (jhana; see “The Four Absorptions” on page 67), for the development of Insight (vipassanaa-bhaavanaa) or for a combination of both practices. Here, in the context of satipa.t.thaana, it is principally intended for tranquillization and concentration preparatory to the practice of Insight, which may be undertaken in the following way.

After a certain degree of calm and concentration, or one of the Absorptions, has been attained through regular practice of mindful breathing, the disciple proceeds to examine the origin of breath. He sees that the inhalations and exhalations are conditioned by the body consisting of the four material elements and the various corporeal phenomena derived from them, e.g. the five sense organs, etc. Conditioned by fivefold sense-impression arises consciousness, and together with it the three other ‘Groups of Existence’, i.e. Feeling, Perception, and mental Formations. Thus the meditator sees clearly: ‘There is no ego-entity or self in this so called personality, but it is only a corporeal and mental process conditioned by various factors’. Thereupon he applies the Three Characteristics to these phenomena, understanding them thoroughly as impermanent subject to suffering, and impersonal.

For further details about Ânaapaana-sati, see M. 118.62: Visuddhi-Magga VIII, 3.

The Four Postures

And further, whilst going, standing, sitting, or lying down, the disciple understands (according to reality) the expressions; ‘I go’; ‘I stand’; ‘I sit’; ‘I lie down’; he understands any position of the body.

‘The disciple understands that there is no living being, no real Ego, that goes, stands, etc., but that it is by a mere figure of speech that one says: “I go”, “I stand” and so forth’. (Comm.)

Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension

(sati-sampaja~n~na)

And further, the disciple acts with clear comprehension in going and coming; he acts with clear comprehension in looking forward and backward; acts with clear comprehension in bending and stretching (any part of his body); acts with clear comprehension in carrying alms bowl and robes; acts with clear comprehension in eating, drinking, chewing and tasting; acts with clear comprehension in discharging excrement and urine; acts with clear comprehension in walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, awakening; acts with clear comprehension in speaking and keeping silent.

In all that the disciple is doing, he has a clear comprehension: 1. of his intention, 2. of his advantage, 3. of his duty, 4. of the reality. (Comm.)

Contemplation of Loathsomeness

(pa.tikuula-sa~n~naa)

And further, the disciple contemplates this body from the sole of the foot upward, and from the top of the hair downward, with a skin stretched over it, and filled with manifold impurities: ‘This body has hairs of the head and of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, stomach, bowels, mesentery, and excrement; bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, lymph, tears, skin-grease, saliva, nasal mucus, oil of the joints, and urine.’

Just as if there were a sack, with openings at both ends, filled with various kinds of grain-with paddy, beans, sesamum and husked rice-and a man not blind opened it and examined its contents, thus: ‘That is paddy, these are beans, this is sesamum, this is husked rice’: just so does the disciple investigate this body.

Analysts of Four Elements

(dhaatu)

And further, the disciple contemplates this body, however it may stand or move, with regard to the elements; ‘This body consists of the solid element, the liquid element, the heating element and the vibrating element’. Just as if a skilled butcher or butcher’s apprentice, who had slaughtered a cow and divided it into separate portions, were to sit down at the junction of four highroads: just so does the disciple contemplate this body with regard to the elements.

In Visuddhi Magga XIII, 2 this simile is explained as follows:

When a butcher rears a cow, brings it to the place of slaughter, binds it to a post, makes it stand up, slaughters it and looks at the slaughtered cow, during all that time he has still the notion ‘cow’. But when he has cut up the slaughtered cow, divided it into pieces, and sits down near it to sell the meat, the notion, ‘cow’ ceases in his mind, and the notion ‘meat’ arises. He does not think that he is selling a cow or that people buy a cow, but that it is meat that is sold and bought. Similarly, in an ignorant worldling, whether monk or layman, the concepts ‘being’, ‘man’, ‘personality’, etc., will not cease until he has mentally dissected this body of his, as it stands and moves, and has contemplated it according to its component elements. But when he has done so, the notion ‘personality’, etc., will disappear, and his mind will become firmly established in the Contemplation of the Elements.

Cemetery Meditations

1. And further, just as if the disciple were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel-ground, one, two, or three days dead, swollen up, blue-black in color, full of corruption-so he regards his own body: ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it.’

2. And further, just as if the disciple were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel-ground, eaten by crows, hawks or vultures, by dogs or jackals, or devoured by all kinds of worms-so he regards his own body; ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it.’

3. And further, just as if the disciple were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel-ground, a framework of bones, flesh hanging from it, bespattered with blood, held together by the sinews;

4. A framework of bone, stripped of flesh, bespattered with blood, held together by the sinews;

5. A framework of bone, without flesh and blood, but still held together by the sinews;

6. Bones, disconnected and scattered in all directions, here a bone of the hand, there a bone of the foot, there a shin bone, there a thigh bone, there a pelvis, there the spine, there the skull-so he regards his own body: ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it.’

7. And further, just as if the disciple were looking at bones lying in the charnel-ground, bleached and resembling shells;

8. Bones heaped together, after the lapse of years;

9. Bones weathered and crumbled to dust-so he regards his own body: ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it.’

Thus he dwells in contemplation of the body, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both.  He beholds how the body arises; beholds how it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of the body. ‘A body is there’: this clear awareness is present in him, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world.  Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body.

Assured Of Ten Blessings

M. 119

Once the contemplation of the body is practiced, developed, often repeated, has become one’s habit, one’s foundation, is firmly established, strengthened and perfected; the disciple may expect ten blessings:

1. Over delight and discontent he has mastery; he does not allow himself to be overcome by discontent; he subdues it, as soon as it arises.

2. He conquers fear and anxiety; he does not allow himself to be overcome by fear and anxiety; he subdues them, as soon as they arise.

3. He endures cold and heat, hunger and thirst; wind and sun, attacks by gadflies, mosquitoes and reptiles; patiently he endures wicked and malicious speech, as well as bodily pains that befall him, though they be piercing, sharp, bitter, unpleasant, disagreeable, and dangerous to life.

4. The four Absorptions’ (jhana), which purify the mind, and bestow happiness even here, these he may enjoy at will, without difficulty, without effort.

Six ‘Psychical Powers’

(Abhi~n~naa)

5. He may enjoy the different ‘Magical Powers (id.dhi-vidhaa).

6. With the ‘Heavenly Ear’ (dibba-sota), the purified, the super-human, he may hear both kinds of sounds, the heavenly and the earthly, the distant and the near.

7. With the mind he may obtain ‘Insight into the Hearts of Other Beings’ (parassa-cetopariya-~naa.na), of other persons.

8. He may obtain ‘Remembrances of many Previous Births’ (pubbe-nivaasaanussati-~naa.na).

9. With the ‘Heavenly Eye’ (dibba-cakkhu), purified and super-human, he may see beings vanish and reappear, the base and the noble, the beautiful and the ugly, the happy and the unfortunate; he may perceive how beings are reborn according to their deeds.

10. He may, through the ‘Cessation of Passions’ (aasavakkhaya), come to know for himself, even in this life, the stainless deliverance of mind, the deliverance through wisdom.

The last six blessings (5-10) are the ‘Psychical Powers’ (abhi~n~naa). The first five of them are mundane (lokiya) conditions, and may therefore be attained even by a ‘worldling’ (puthujjana), whilst the last Abhi~n~naa is super-mundane (lokuttara) and exclusively the characteristic of the Arhat, or Holy One. It is only after the attainment of all the four Absorptions (jhana) that one may fully succeed in acquiring the five worldly ‘Psychical Powers’. There are four iddhipaada, or ‘Bases for obtaining Magical Powers’, namely: concentration of Will, concentration of Energy, concentration of Mind, and concentration of Investigation.

2. Contemplation of the Feelings

(vedanaanupassanaa)

D. 22

But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the feelings?

In experiencing feelings, the disciple knows: ‘I have an agreeable feeling’; or: ‘I have a disagreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have an indifferent feeling’; or: ‘I have a worldly agreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have an unworldly agreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have a worldly disagreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have an unworldly disagreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have a worldly indifferent feeling’, or: ‘I have an unworldly indifferent feeling’.

Thus he dwells in contemplation of the feelings, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the feelings arise; beholds how they pass away; beholds the arising and passing away of the feelings. ‘Feelings are there’: this clear awareness is present in him, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the feelings.

The disciple understands that the expression ‘I feel’ has no validity except as a conventional expression (vohaaravacana); he understands that, in the absolute sense (paramattha), there are only feelings, and that there is no Ego, no experiencer of the feelings.

3. Contemplation of the Mind

(cittaanupassanaa)

But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind?

Herein the disciple knows the greedy mind as greedy, and the not greedy mind as not greedy; knows the hating mind as hating, and the not hating mind as not hating: knows the deluded mind as deluded and the undeluded mind as undeluded. He knows the cramped mind as cramped, and the scattered mind as scattered; knows the developed mind as developed, and the undeveloped mind as undeveloped; knows the surpass able mind as surpass able and the unsurpassable mind as unsurpassable; knows the concentrated mind as concentrated, and the unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated; knows the freed mind as freed, and the un-freed mind as un-freed.

Citta (mind) is here used as a collective term for the Cittas, or moments of consciousness. Citta being identical with vi~n~naa.na, or consciousness, should not be translated by ‘thought’. ‘Thought’ and ‘thinking’ correspond rather to the ‘verbal operations of the mind’: vitakka (thought-conception) and vicaara (discursive thinking), which belong to the Sankhaara-kkhandha.

Thus he dwells in contemplation of the mind, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how consciousness arises; beholds how it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of consciousness. ‘Mind is there’; this clear awareness is present in him, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind.

4. Contemplation of the Mind-Objects

(dhammaanupassanaa)

But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of mind-objects?

Herein the disciple dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects, namely of the ‘Five Hindrances.’

The Five Hindrances

(niivara.na)

1. He knows when there is ‘Lust’ (kaamacchanda) in him: ‘In me is lust’; knows when there is ‘Anger’ (vyaapaada) in him: ‘In me is anger’; knows when there is ‘Torpor and Sloth’ (thiina-middha) in him: ‘In me is torpor and sloth’; knows when there is ‘Restlessness and Mental Worry’ (uddhacca-kukkucca) in him: ‘In me is restlessness and mental worry’; knows when there are ‘Doubts’ (vicikicchaa) in him: ‘In me are doubts’. He knows when these hindrances are not in him: ‘In me these hindrances are not’. He knows how they come to arise; knows how, once arisen, they are overcome; and he knows how they do not rise again in the future.

For example, ‘Lust’ arises through unwise thinking on the agreeable and delightful. It may be suppressed by the following six methods: fixing the mind upon an idea that arouses disgust; contemplation of the loathsomeness of the body; controlling one’s six senses; moderation in eating; friendship with wise and good men; right instruction. Lust and anger are for ever extinguished upon attainment of Anaagaamiiship; ‘Restlessness’ is extinguished by reaching Arhatship; ‘Mental Worry’, by reaching Sotapanship.

The Five Groups of Existence

(khandha)

And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects, namely of the five ‘Groups of Existence’.  He knows what ‘Corporeality’ (ruupa) is, how it arises, how it passes away; knows what ‘Feeling’ (vedanaa) is, how it arises, how it passes away; knows what ‘Perception’ (sa~n~naa) is, how it arises, how it passes away; knows what the ‘Mental Formations’ (Sankhara) are, how they arise, how they pass away; knows what ‘Consciousness’ (vi~n~naa.na) is, how it arises, how it passes away.

The Sense-Bases

(aayatana)

And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects, namely of the six ‘Subjective-Objective Sense-Bases’. He knows the eye and visual objects, ear and sounds, nose and odors, tongue and tastes, body and bodily impressions, mind and mind-objects; and the fetter that arises in dependence on them, he also knows. He knows how the fetter comes to arise, knows how the fetter is overcome, and how the abandoned fetter does not rise again in future.

The Seven Elements of Enlightenment

(bojjhanga)

And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects, namely of the seven ‘Elements of Enlightenment’, He knows when there is in him ‘Mindfulness’ (sati), ‘Investigation of the Law’ (dhammavicaya), ‘Energy’ (viriya), ‘Enthusiasm’ (piiti), ‘Tranquility’ (passaddhi), ‘Concentration’ (samadhi), and ‘Equanimity’ (upekkhaa). He knows when it is not in him, knows how it comes to arise, and how it is fully developed.

The Four Noble Truths

(ariya-sacca)

And further: the disciple dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects, namely of the ‘Four Noble Truths’. He knows according to reality, what Suffering is; knows according to reality, what the Origin of suffering is; knows according to reality what the Extinction of suffering is; knows according to reality, what the Path is that leads to the extinction of suffering.

Thus he dwells in contemplation of the mind-objects either with regard to his own person, or to other persons or to both. He beholds how the mind-objects arise, beholds how they pass away, beholds the arising and passing away of the mind-objects. ‘Mind-objects are there’: this clear awareness is present in him, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness; and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind-objects.

The only way that leads to the attainment of purity, to the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, to the end of pain and grief, to the entering upon the right path, and the realization of Nibbana, is by these four foundations of mindfulness.

These four contemplations of Satipa.t.thaana relate to all the five Groups of Existence, namely: 1. The contemplation of corporeality relates to ruupakkhandha; 2. the contemplation of feeling, to vedanaakkhandha; 3. the contemplation of mind, to vi~n~naanakkhandha; 4. the contemplation of mind-objects, to sa~n~naa- and sankhaara-kkhandha.

For further details about Satipa.t.thaana see the Commentary to the discourse of that name, translated in The Way of Mindfulness, by Bhikkhu Soma (Kandy 1967, Buddhist Publication Society).

Nibbaana Through Aanaapaana-Sati

M. 118

Watching over In - and Out-breathing (aanaapaana-sati), practiced and developed, brings the Four ‘Foundations of Mindfulness’ to perfection; the four foundations of mindfulness, practiced and developed, bring the seven ‘Elements of Enlightenment’ to perfection; the seven elements of enlightenment, practiced and developed, bring ‘Wisdom and Deliverance’ to perfection.

But how does watching over In- and Out-breathing, practiced and developed, bring the four ‘Foundations of Mindfulness’ (satipa.t.thaana) to perfection?

I. Whenever the disciple (1) mindfully makes a long inhalation or exhalation, or (2) makes a short inhalation or exhalation, or (3) trains himself to inhale or exhale whilst experiencing the whole (breath-) body, or (4) whilst calming down this bodily function (i.e. the breath)-at such a time the disciple dwells in ‘contemplation of the body’, full of energy, comprehending it, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief. For, inhalation and exhalation I call one amongst the corporeal phenomena.

II. Whenever the disciple trains himself to inhale or exhale (1) whilst feeling rapture (piiti), or (2) joy (sukha), or (3) the mental functions (cittasankhaara), or (4) whilst calming down the mental functions-at such a time he dwells in ‘contemplation of the feelings’, full of energy, clearly comprehending them, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief. For, the full awareness of In- and Out-breathing I call one amongst the feelings.

III. Whenever the disciple trains himself to inhale or exhale (1) whilst experiencing the mind, or (2) whilst gladdening the mind, or (3) whilst concentrating the mind, or (4) whilst setting the mind free–at such a time he dwells in ‘contemplation of the mind’, full of energy, clearly comprehending it, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief. For, without mindfulness and clear comprehension, I say, there is no Watching over In- and Out-breathing.

IV. Whenever the disciple trains himself to inhale or exhale whilst contemplating (1) impermanence, or (2) the fading away of passion, or (3) extinction, or (4) detachment-at such a time he dwells in ‘contemplation of the mind-objects’, full of energy, clearly comprehending them, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief. Having seen, through understanding, what is the abandoning of greed and grief, he looks on with complete equanimity.

Watching over In- and Out-breathing, thus practiced, and developed, brings the four Foundations of Mindfulness to perfection.

But how do the four Foundations of Mindfulness, practiced and developed, bring the seven ‘Elements of Enlightenment’ (bojjhanga) to full perfection?

1. Whenever the disciple dwells in contemplation of body, feelings, mind and mind-objects, strenuous, clearly comprehending them, mindful, after subduing worldly greed and grief-at such a time his mindfulness is undisturbed; and whenever his mindfulness is present and undisturbed, at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Mindfulness’ (sati-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

2. And whenever, whilst dwelling with mindfulness, he wisely investigates, examines and thinks over the ‘Law’ (dhamma)-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Investigation of the Law’ (dhammavicaya-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

3. And whenever, whilst wisely investigating, examining and thinking over the law, his energy is firm and unshaken-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Energy’ (viriya-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

4. And whenever in him, whilst firm in energy, arises super-sensuous rapture-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Rapture’ (piiti-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

5. And whenever, whilst enraptured in mind, his spiritual frame and his mind become tranquil-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Tranquility’ (passaddhi-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

6. And whenever, whilst being tranquillized in his spiritual frame and happy, his mind becomes concentrated-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Concentration’ (samaadhi-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

7. And whenever he looks with complete indifference on his mind thus concentrated-at such a time he has gained and develops the Element of Enlightenment ‘Equanimity’ (upekkhaa-sambojjhanga); and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.

The four Foundations of Mindfulness, thus practiced and developed, bring the seven elements of enlightenment to full perfection.

And how do the seven elements of enlightenment, practiced and developed, bring Wisdom and Deliverance (vijjaa-vimutti) to full perfection?

Herein the disciple develops the elements of enlightenment: Mindfulness, Investigation of the Law, Energy, Rapture, Tranquility, Concentration and Equanimity, based on detachment, on absence of desire, on extinction and renunciation.

The seven elements of enlightenment thus practiced and developed, bring wisdom and deliverance, to full perfection.

M. 125

Just as the elephant hunter drives a huge stake into the ground and chains the wild elephant to it by the neck, in order to drive out of him his wonted forest ways and wishes, his forest unruliness, obstinacy and violence, and to accustom him to the environment of the village, and to teach him such good behavior as is required amongst men: in like manner also should the noble disciple fix his mind firmly to these four Foundations of Mindfulness, so that he may drive out of himself his wonted worldly ways and wishes, his wonted worldly unruliness, obstinacy and violence, and win to the True, and realize Nibbana.

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Noble Eightfold Path -Mental Development-Right Concentration
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Noble Eightfold Path

Mental Development

Right Concentration

Right Concentration

(Sammaa-samaadhi)

M. 44

What, now, is Right Concentration?

Its Definition

Having the mind fixed to a single object (cittekeggataa, lit. ‘One-pointed ness of mind’): this is concentration.

‘Right Concentration’ (sammaa-samaadhi), in its widest sense, is the kind of mental concentration, which is present in every wholesome state of consciousness (kusala-citta), and hence is accompanied by at least Right Thought (2nd factor), Right Effort (6th factor) and Right Mindfulness (7th factor). ‘Wrong Concentration’ is present in unwholesome states of consciousness, and hence is only possible in the sensuous, not in a higher sphere.  Samadhi, used alone, always stands in the Sutta, for sammaa-samaadhi, or Right Concentration.

Its Objects

The four ‘Foundations of Mindfulness’ (7th factor): these are the objects of concentration.

Its Requisites

The four ‘Great Efforts’ (6th factor): these are the requisites for concentration.

Its Development

The practicing, developing, and cultivating of these things: this is the development (bhaavanaa) of concentration.

Right Concentration (sammaa-samaadhi) has two degrees of development; 1. ‘Neighborhood Concentration’ (upacaarasamaadhi). which approaches the first absorption without, however, attaining it; 2. ‘Attainment Concentration’ (appanaasamaadhi), which is the concentration present in the four Absorptions (jhana). These Absorptions are mental states beyond the reach of the fivefold sense-activity, attainable only in solitude and by unremitting perseverance in the practice of concentration. In these states all activity of the five senses is suspended. No visual or audible impressions arise at such a time, no bodily feeling is felt. But, although all outer sense-impressions have ceased, yet the mind remains active, perfectly alert, fully awake.

The attainment of these Absorptions, however, is not a requisite for the realization of the four Super mundane Paths of Holiness; and neither Neighborhood-Concentration nor Attainment-Concentration, as such, possesses the power of conferring entry to the four Super mundane Paths: hence they really have no power to free one permanently from evil things. The realization of the Four Supermundane Paths is possible only at the moment of deep ‘Insight’ (vipassanaa) into the Impermanency (aniccataa), Miserable Nature (dukkhataa) and Impersonality (anattataa) of this whole phenomenal process of existence. This Insight, again, is attainable only during Neighborhood-Concentration, not during Attainment Concentration.

He who has realized one or other of the Four Super mundane Paths without ever having attained the Absorptions, is called Sukkha-vipassaka, or Suddhavipassanaa-yaanika, i.e. ‘one who has taken merely Insight (vipassana) as his vehicle’. He, however, who, after cultivating the Absorptions, has reached one of the Super mundane Paths is called Saniathayaanika, or ‘one who has taken Tranquility (samatha) as his vehicle (yaana)’.

For samatha and vipassana see Fund IV. and B. Diet.

The Four Absorptions

(jhaana)

D.22

Detached from sensual objects, detached from evil things, the disciple enters into the first Absorption, which is accompanied by Thought Conception and Discursive Thinking, is born of detachment, and filled with Rapture and Happiness.

This is the first of the Absorptions belonging to the Fine-Material Sphere (rupaavacarajjhaana). It is attained when, through the strength of concentration, the fivefold sense activity is temporarily suspended, and the five Hindrances are likewise eliminated.

See B. Dict.: kasina, nimitta, samadhi.

M. 43

This first Absorption is free from five things, and five things are present. When the disciple enters the first Absorption, there have vanished (the five Hindrances): Lust, Ill-Will, Torpor and Sloth, Restlessness and Mental Worry, Doubts; and there are present: Thought Conception (vitakka), Discursive Thinking (vicaara), Rapture (piiti), Happiness (sukha), Concentration (citt’ekaggataa = samadhi).

These five mental factors present in the first Absorption, are called Factors (or Constituents) of Absorption (jhaananga). Vitakka (initial formation of an abstract thought) and vicaara (discursive thinking, rumination) are called ‘verbal functions’ (vaci-sankhaara) of the mind; hence they are something secondary compared with consciousness.

In Visuddhi-Magga, vitakka is compared with the taking hold of a pot, and vicaara with the wiping of it. In the first Absorption both are present, but are exclusively focused on the subject of meditation, vicaara being here not discursive, but of an ‘exploring’ nature. Both are entirely absent in the following Absorptions.

And further: after the subsiding of Thought-Conception and Discursive Thinking, and by the gaining of inner tranquility and oneness of mind, he enters into a state free from Thought-Conception and Discursive Thinking, the second Absorption, which is born of concentration (samadhi), and filled with Rapture (piti) and Happiness (sukha).

In the second Absorption, there are three Factors of Absorption: Rapture, Happiness, and Concentration.

And further: after the fading away of Rapture, he dwells in equanimity, mindful, with clear awareness: and he experiences in his own person that feeling of which the Noble Ones say: ‘Happy lives he who is equanimous and mindful’-thus he enters the third Absorption.

In the third Absorption there are two Factors of Absorption: equanimous Happiness (upekkhaa-sukha) and Concentration (citt’ekaggataa).

And further: after the giving up of pleasure and pain, and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond pleasure and pain, into the fourth Absorption, which is purified by equanimity and mindfulness.

In the fourth Absorption there are two Factors of Absorption: Concentration and Equanimity (upekkhaa).

In Visuddhi-magga forty subjects of meditation (kamma.t.thaana) are enumerated and treated in detail. By their successful practice the following Absorptions may be attained:

All four Absorptions. through Mindfulness of Breathing (see Vis. M. VIII. 3), the ten Kasina-exercises (Vis. M. IV, V. and B. Dict.); the contemplation of Equanimity (upekkhaa), being the practice of the fourth Brahma-vihaara (Vis. M. IX. 4).

The first three Absorptions: through the development of Loving-Kindness (mettaa), Compassion (karunaa) and Sympathetic Joy (muditaa), being the practice of the first three Brahma-vihaaras (Vis. M. IX. 1-3,).

The first Absorption: through the ten Contemplations of Impurity (asubha-bhaavanaa; i.e. the Cemetery Contemplations, which are ten according to the enumeration in Vis. M. VI); the contemplation of the Body (i.e. the 32 parts of the body; Vis. M. VIII, 2); ‘Neighborhood-Concentration’ (upacaara-samaadhi): through the Recollections on Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, on Morality, Liberality, Heavenly Beings, Peace (=Nibbana) and death (Vis. M. VI. VII); the Contemplation on the Loathsomeness of Food (Vis. M. XI. I); the Analysis of the Four Elements (Vis. M. IX. 2).

The four Immaterial Absorptions (aruupa-jjhaana or aaruppa), which are based on the fourth Absorption, are produced by meditating on their respective objects from which they derive their names; Sphere of Unbounded Space, of Unbounded Consciousness, of Nothingness, and of Neither-Perception-Nor-Non-Perception.

The entire object of concentration and meditation is treated in Vis M. III-XIII; see also Fund. IV.

8. XXII. 5

Develop your concentration: for he who has concentration, understands things according to their reality. And what are these things? The arising and passing away of corporeality, of feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness.

M. 149

Thus, these five Groups of Existence must be wisely penetrated; Ignorance and Craving must be wisely abandoned; Tranquility (samatha) and Insight (vipassana) must be wisely developed.

S. LVI. II

This is the Middle Path which the Perfect One has discovered, which makes one both to see and to know, and which leads to peace, to discernment, to enlightenment, to Nibbana.

Dhp. 275

“And following upon this path, you will put an end to suffering.

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Jhanas-Stream-enterer
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Jhanas

 Stream-enterer

The Sotapanna or ‘Stream-Enterer’

And by thus considering, three fetters vanish, namely; Self-illusion, Scepticism, and Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual.

M. 22

But those disciples, in whom these three fetters have vanished, they all have ‘entered the Stream‘ (sotaapanna).

Dhp. 178

More than any earthly power,

More than all the joys of heaven,

More than rule o’er all the world,

Is the Entrance to the Stream.

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Jhanas-Once-returner
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Jhanas

Once-returner

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Jhanas

 Non-returner

Bhikkhu Pesala

Where Have You Come From?

 

The Buddha’s daily routine was extraordinary, he slept for only a few hours in the early hours of the morning. We divide the night into three watches: from 6pm to 10pm, from 10pm to 2am, and from 2am to 6am. In the first watch, after bathing, the Buddha taught the community of monks. At the end of the first watch, the monks would return to their quarters. Then celestial beings approached the Buddha to ask questions. The Buddha spent the middle watch answering their questions.

During the first part of the last watch the Buddha practised walking meditation to relieve the stiffness caused by sitting since the morning. In the second part, the Buddha lay down mindfully and slept. In the third part, he enjoyed the bliss of nibbāna. After abiding in the absorption of great compassion in the fourth part, at dawn he considered who was ready to be taught the Dhamma.

Question Mark

The Weaver’s Daughter

One morning he perceived in his divine eye the daughter of a poor weaver whose wife had just died. Realising that the young girl needed to hear his teaching, the Buddha went on foot to the village where she was staying. Seeing the Buddha arrive, the villagers invited him for the meal, and the Buddha gave a discourse after the meal to all the villagers, including the young girl. The essence of his teaching was as follows: “Death is certain, life is uncertain. Contemplate death constantly to overcome the fear of death. As one who enters the jungle armed with a stick is not afraid on seeing a snake, one who contemplates death constantly is not afraid if death comes suddenly.” The villagers all appreciated the Buddha’s discourse, and for several days meditated seriously on death. However, after a week or so every one of them had forgotten the Buddha’s advice, and was carrying on just as heedlessly as before — except, that is, for the young girl. Because her mother had recently died, she could not forget the Buddha’s words. She meditated constantly on death, for months and years afterwards.

Three years later the Buddha reconsidered the situation of the weaver’s daughter and, seeing that she now had mature insight, he went to her village to teach her again. She was now sixteen, and had to work hard to help her father, who had no other children. On the day that the Buddha arrived, the weaver had been working all night to finish an urgent job, and his daughter was busy spinning more thread for her father. Hearing that the Buddha had arrived she considered what she should do. She decided to go to see the Buddha as soon as she had finished her spinning, then she would take the newly spun thread to her father.

The villagers offered the meal to the Buddha, but as the girl was not present, the Buddha sat in silence after the meal waiting for her to arrive. The villagers were obliged to wait in silence too, out of respect for the Buddha. Finally, the young girl arrived, and the Buddha asked her the following four questions:

    “Young girl, where have you come from?”
    “I do not know, Lord” she replied.

    “Young girl, where are you going to?”
    “I do not know, Lord” she replied.

    “Do you not know?”
    “I know, Lord” she replied.

    “Do you know?”
    “I do not know, Lord” she replied.

The villagers were baffled by her answers. Some thought she was being cheeky, and started scolding her, “Why don’t you tell the Buddha that you came from the spinning-shed, and are going to your father’s house?”

The Buddha silenced them and asked the girl to explain her answers. The girl replied:

    “When you asked, ‘Where have you come from?’ you didn’t want to know that I came from the spinning-shed; you meant to ask from which existence I came to this one. So I replied that I do not know.”

    “When you asked, ‘Where are you going to?’ you meant to ask to which existence I am going after this one, so I again replied that I do not know.”

    “When you asked, ‘Do you not know?’ you meant to ask, ‘Do you not know that you will die?’ so I replied that I know I will die.”

    “When you asked, ‘Do you know?’ you meant to ask, ‘Do you know when you will die?’ so I replied that I do not know when I will die.”

The Buddha praised the girl for her intelligent answers, and the villagers were amazed. The Buddha then spoke the following verse:

    “Blind is this world, only a few can see clearly.
    Like birds that escape from a net, only a few go to a blissful state.”

The girl realised nibbāna and became a Stream-winner on hearing this verse.

The young girl then went to her father’s house and put the newly spun skein of thread down by the loom. After working the whole night, her father had fallen asleep at the loom. When his daughter came in, he woke up with a start, and accidentally swung a heavy beam on the loom. The beam struck the girl hard, and she died on the spot. The father was totally distraught, and hurried to the Buddha to seek consolation. The Buddha explained the truth of suffering to him, and the weaver asked for ordination, later attaining Arahantship.

The Buddha’s love and compassion was unlimited. For the benefit of one poor girl and her father, he twice went on a long journey to teach the Dhamma, and he did not forget about the girl after the first visit, but returned as soon as he knew that she needed his help. Though he had many thousands of disciples including kings and ministers, and also taught celestial beings, the Buddha always had time for anyone who would benefit from his teaching, even including beggars and slaves.

This story is very interesting for the Buddhist because it shows that although we do believe in rebirth we do not need to remember our previous lives to gain nibbāna, the goal of Buddhism. The weaver’s daughter could not tell the Buddha from which existence she had come to be reborn as a weaver’s daughter, but the Buddha was pleased with her answers. She had understood about the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death after three years of meditation. That understanding enabled her to attain nibbāna while listening to the verse.

One who has attained nibbāna no longer has any doubts such as “Am I?” “Am I not?” “What am I?” “How am I?” since the egocentric way of thinking has been removed by insight. It is not unlike the case of someone who has grown up and lost interest in football. He is no longer disappointed when his football team loses, or elated when they win. Even if he hears that his former football team has been relegated to the second division, it no longer matters since he doesn’t follow the team avidly any more.

Self-view is hard to remove entirely. We identify with our family, our school, our neighbourhood, our local football team, our country, or our racial group. If we hear any good or bad news about anything that we regard as ours then we feel elated or depressed. If we hear someone say something critical about us personally, then we may feel terrible. However, we should not take it too much to heart. There is a saying in the Dhammapada:

    “They blame those who speak too much,
    They blame those who speak too little,
    They blame those who remain silent.
    No one escapes blame in this world.”

Similarly, if someone praises us we should not become conceited because of that. If we work hard we will get a good result, that is only natural, but there is always someone who can do better than us, at least in other ways. It is hard to remove pride and conceit, but we must do it if we want to gain the highest happiness. The Buddha described how his pride and intoxication vanished, when he was still an unenlightened bodhisatta. “On seeing an old man, all pride and intoxication in youth vanished. On seeing a sick man, all pride and intoxication in health vanished. On seeing a dead man, all pride and intoxication in life vanished.”

How can we remove self-view, pride, and conceit? We must develop mindfulness or awareness. Whatever thoughts or feelings arise within us should be observed as they occur from moment to moment. We should not allow ourselves to be heedless even for an instant. Heedlessness allows defilements like self-view, pride, and conceit to enter the mind and dominate it. Perhaps you have enjoyed watching a cartoon like Tom and Jerry. How did the ideas “Tom” and “Jerry” arise? When one watches a cartoon, one become absorbed in the story and soon begins to believe and feel what one imagines Tom and Jerry are feeling. Actually, Tom and Jerry exist only in our imaginations. A cartoon is only drawings that are displayed on the screen in rapid succession. However, the mind arises and passes away much more rapidly than the cartoon pictures, so it can put together the dialogue, sound effects, and pictures to create the illusion that Tom really is bashing Jerry over the head with a frying-pan, so we are emotionally affected by what we see.

Real life is like this too. We see and hear things so rapidly that our mind constructs a mental picture, which we regard as real. If someone abuses us, we may feel like they are bashing us over the head, they are making bad kamma, but we suffer. Why is this? It is due to the mental formations that we create. We cannot easily stop this natural process because it is the result of previous kamma. Having abused others in the past, we have to suffer abuse in the present. However, we can sharpen our awareness of the process to the point where we can separate the mental impressions from the experience of hearing. Eventually, we will realise that all these impressions do not happen to anyone, they just happen. Then we will realise that the idea of a self, a person, a ‘me’, or a ‘you’, is just an illusion.

Self-view is deeply rooted and cannot be removed by the unmindful person. The average, unmindful person dwells with self-view dominating his or her mind for the entire life. The mindful meditator can disrupt it temporarily while engaged in meditation, but after stopping meditation it will gradually reassert itself unless the meditator has gained deep insight. If a meditator gains deep insight and attains the first path of a Stream-winner, self-view is completely destroyed, and will never arise again. Such a person may be heedless to some extent, but can never be careless enough to break any of the five precepts. He or she is absolutely free from rebirth in the four lower realms of hell, hungry ghosts, demons, and animals, and will attain final nibbāna (Arahantship) within seven lives at the most. Having seen nibbāna personally, he or she has unshakeable confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, and is truly worthy of offerings and homage. The weaver’s daughter was a Stream-winner.

After attaining nibbāna, the Dhamma becomes central to the life of a Stream-winner. They are not yet free from sensual desire and anger, so they can lead a fairly normal family life. Whenever they wish to enjoy the peace of nibbāna they can meditate again, developing concentration, and attaining the fruition of the first path. If their concentration is strong, they may remain in the attainment of fruition for quite long periods, say, an hour or two. If they wish to attain the higher path, they should go into retreat for meditation and resolve not to attain the fruition of the first path during that period, and strive to attain the higher path. If they are successful and attain the second path of a Once-returner, they will be reborn on this earth only once more at the most before attaining the final liberation of Arahantship.

The second path destroys strong forms of lust and anger, but some of these deep-rooted defilements remain, so they still have some sensual attachment and ill-will. If the Once-returner strives again in meditation and attains the third path of a Non-returner, all traces of lust and anger are uprooted. Since they have no sensual attachment at all they will not be born in the womb again, and will take rebirth only in the Suddhāvāsa Brahmā realms. These realms are the Theravāda ‘Pure Land’ because only Non-returners are reborn there. The bodhisattas are not reborn there either, because they are still worldlings who have not yet gained even the first path of a Stream-winner.

Non-returners seem to be extremely rare these days. Saya Thetgyi, a Burmese lay meditation teacher, who taught U Ba Khin (Goenkaji’s teacher), was reputed to be a Non-returner. The Venerable Ledi Sayādaw praised him and asked him to teach meditation to his own monk disciples. A Non-returner will be naturally inclined to lead a monastic life, having no sexual desire at all, but may be obliged to remain as a lay person to support relatives. The potter honoured by Buddha Kassapa in the Ghatīkāra Sutta (Majjhimanikāya, Sutta 81) was a Non-returner. Though he was a humble potter, he was the chief supporter of Buddha Kassapa, and looked after his own blind and aged parents. He did not use money, but let people take his pots, leaving whatever goods they wished to in exchange. Knowing that he was a good supporter of the Buddha, they donated generously so he didn’t need any other source of income. Refusing to dig the earth himself, he gathered clay from river banks or that had been dug up by animals. Thus, though a layman, he lived on ten precepts like one gone forth.

The Non-returner has to strive again in meditation to attain the final goal of Arahantship. Only then is all rebirth and suffering finally destroyed. Not even the subtlest defilements remain, so the Arahant is worthy of the highest honour. The word ‘Araham’ means ‘worthy’. There have been a few monks in Burma and Thailand in recent years who are reputed to have attained the final path. Venerable Ledi Sayādaw was thought to be one, but it is hard to be sure, since Arahants are extremely modest about their attainments.

A certain monk was living in dependence on an elder who was an Arahant. Living in dependence meant in those days that the pupil shared a cell with his teacher, looked after his robes, studied at his feet, and accompanied him on the daily almsround. Teacher and pupil lived liked a good father and devoted son. One day, while walking for alms, the pupil asked his teacher, “Venerable Sir, how can one know an Arahant?” The elder, who was an Arahant, replied, “It is not easy friend, to know an Arahant. Even if one were to live in dependence on an Arahant, doing all the duties for him, and accompany him on his daily almsround, one might not know that he was an Arahant.” Yet even when given such a broad hint by his teacher, the pupil did not realise that the elder was an Arahant.

Due to excessive devotion, pious people are inclined to elevate their revered teacher to the status of an Arahant, though he may still be a worldling or Stream-winner at best. To eradicate all lust, anger, conceit, and attachment to life is no easy task. First one should aim to attain the stage of Stream-winning in this very life. If one succeeds in doing that, one may perhaps then be able to distinguish between a worldly person and a saint, since one will be free from doubt and superstition.

It is my belief that most intelligent people could attain Stream-winning in this very life if they really tried hard. However, very few really strive hard in meditation. Since confidence and effort are lacking, the goal cannot be attained. Though she was only thirteen years old, the weaver’s daughter practised meditation relentlessly for three years to attain the path. These days, people think that a ten-day intensive vipassanā course is really a bit over the top, but striving in meditation throughout the whole day and late into the night is not self-mortification. It is the minimum amount of effort required to attain deep insight or nibbāna. If we want to sleep at least six or seven hours, the goal is still far away.

To motivate oneself, one should meditate seriously on death. There is no guarantee that one will not die today. Perhaps one can avoid paying taxes if one lives like a monk, but no one can avoid death. Each breath brings death nearer. Please think seriously about this — do not imagine for one minute that it will never happen to you. If you postpone meditation until you are old — assuming that you live to old age — your attachment will have grown stronger, and your health and vitality will have grown weaker. It is best to meditate in the prime of youth, before the clutter of household life traps you in its vice-like grip. In Burmese, the expression for getting married means, literally, “to fall into house prison.” The Burmese have the right attitude. Married life is a comfortable prison from which it is hard to escape. Even if one partner freely permits the other to go to meditate for a few weeks, or to ordain permanently, most will not want to go.

When the bodhisatta heard that his son had been born he murmured “A fetter has arisen” so his father Suddhodana named his new grandson ‘Rāhula’ meaning fetter, hoping that the baby would prove an impediment to the bodhisatta’s renunciation of household life. Fortunately for us, the bodhisatta’s mind was already made up, and the news of Rahula’s birth was the final spur to make him decide, “It must be done at once, before I get attached.” So he left the palace on the same night without even setting eyes on his newborn son.

Attachment is very sticky stuff. Many monks who fall back to household life do so because of sexual desire. To get free from sensual attachment, one must meditate either on death or on the repulsive aspects of the body. One should consider what all human bodies contain. If we opened one up and took a look inside, it would be hard to become lustful. It is just a foul smelling carcase of meat, blood, and bones that we have to carry around the whole day and night. If there was no skin or clothes to cover it up, what a horrible sight it would be. One would need to carry a stick to drive off the dogs and crows that would come sniffing around looking for something to eat. Yet people think very highly of their own bodies, and those of others. What folly it is to lust after another person’s body, but delusion fools us completely when we are heedless.

At one time a certain nun fell in love with the Venerable Ānanda and, pretending to be ill, she arranged for him to visit her in her quarters. Venerable Ānanda was then still only a Stream-winner, so he was not yet free from lust, but he was wise enough not to allow desire to arise. He did not get angry with her either, but admonished her, “Sister, sexual intercourse is the cause of birth. From birth, old age, disease, and death arise.” Realising that Venerable Ānanda knew about her ulterior motives, she confessed her offence to him, and regained her sense of shame.

To gain liberation from suffering, there has to be renunciation at some point. Desire and attachment will not just disappear of their own accord. We have to pluck them out as we remove a splinter or thorn stuck under the skin. It is painful, but when it is done we can dwell at ease again. The most effective way to remove desire is to practise mindfulness meditation relentlessly throughout the whole day without a break until insight knowledge arises. On seeing things as they really are, desire and attachment will vanish.

Kindly visit:

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