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01/25/08
The Buddha’s First Teaching-Noble Eightfold Path-Wisdom-1)Right View-The Ten Fetters((Sa.myojana)
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The Buddha’s First Teaching

Wisdom-

1)Right View-The Ten Fetters((Sa.myojana)

 

 

 

The Components of the Noble Eightfold Path
The Lord Buddha explained that the Noble Eightfold Path comprises:

1. Right View [Sammaa Di.t.thii]
2. Right Intention [Sammaa Sa”nkappa]
3. Right Speech [Sammaa Vaacaa]
4. Right Action [Sammaa Kammanta]
5. Right Livelihood [Sammaa Aajiiva]
6. Right Effort [SammaaVaayaama]
7. Right Mindfulness [Sammaa Sati]
8. Right Concentration [Sammaa Samaadhi]

You can define the components of the Eightfold Path in terms of practice at two levels: low (mundane) (see more detail Chapter Eight) and high (transcendental) (see more detail Chapter Seven).

1.1 Right View (mundane): At low level Right View means having the discretion to believe in the working of karma [kammassakataa~naa.na]: that doing good deeds will merit good outcomes and that evil deeds will cause unfortunate retribution.

1.2 Right View (transcendental): At high level Right View means the ultimate wisdom, based on an attainment of Nirvana, which is devoid of any further influence of ignorance1 [avijjaa] or subtle defilements1 [anusaya].

2.1 Right Intention (mundane): At low level Right Intention means having the wholesome intention to be generous, keep the Five Precepts, renounce the world to become a monk, avoid taking advantage of other people or animals.

2.2 Right Intention (transcendental): At high level Right Intention means the intention to dedicate oneself entirely to the attainment of Nirvana.

3. Right Speech: Right Speech means avoiding the four types of False Speech:

1. Telling Lies [musaavaada];
2. Divisive Speech [pisu.naavaacaa];
3. Harsh Speech [pharusavaacaa];
4. Idle Chatter [samphapphalaapa].

4. Right Action: Right Action means practising the three wholesome physical deeds [kaayasucarita], namely:

1. Refraining from killing or physically torturing other living beings [paa.naatipaataa];
2. Refraining from stealing or obtaining things in a dishonest way [adinnaadaanaa];
3. Refraining from sexual relations outside marriage (committing adultery) [kaamesumicchaaraa].

Furthemore, one must not consume intoxicants such as alcohol that lead to heedlessness.

5. Right Livelihood: Right Livelihood means earning one’s living in an honest way - and in a way that avoids evils like telling lies or deception. In the Tipi.taka, in many places2, the Buddha exhorts even his monks, to earn their living by the monk’s equivalent of Right Livelihood, by avoiding such evils as fortune telling, sacrifices or interpreting dreams, because these are all ‘low arts’ [tiracchaanavijjaa]. The Buddha even prohibited monks from making medicines or from earning their living as a physician. As for householders, in the Va.nijja Sutta, the Buddha prohibits Buddhist laypeople from the following trades:

1. Selling weapons;
2. Selling people (as slaves);
3. Selling animals (live ones for slaughter);
4. Selling alcohol or drugs;
5. Selling poison.

6. Right Effort: Right Effort means endowing oneself with four sorts of striving:
1. Avoidance of evils not yet done;
2. Abandonment of evils already done;
3. Development of virtues not yet done;
4. Maintenance of virtues already mastered.

7.1 Right Mindfulness (mundane): At low level Right Mindfulness means a mindfulness that keeps our mind on wholesome thoughts like that of meritorious actions like generosity, keeping the Precepts, thinking of the Triple Gem, thinking of those to whom you have a debt of gratitude like your parents or teachers.

7.2 Right Mindfulness (transcendental): At high level Right Mindfulness means cultivating the Four Foundations of Mindfulness [satipa.t.thaana] - that is to concentrate one’s mind to see and know four aspects of reality:

1. mindfulness of the body [kaayaanupassanaasatipa.t.thaana]: Continuously seeing and knowing the body in the body - that is to see and know the subtle inner bodies that lie hidden within our physical body: the astral body (sometimes called ethereal, dream or subtle body) through to the various bodies of enlightenment [dhammakaaya].

2. mindfulness of the feelings [vedanaanupassanaa-satipa.t.thaana]: Continuously seeing and knowing the feelings in the body in the inner bodies - that is to see what is happiness, what is suffering and what is neither happiness-nor-suffering in the physical body and the inner bodies. ‘Outer feelings’ means the feelings of the physical body while ‘inner feelings’ means the feelings of the inner bodies.

3. mindfulness of the mind [cittaanupassanaasatipa.t.thaana]: Continuously seeing and knowing the ‘minds within minds’ in the physical body and in the inner bodies - that is continually to see and know the state of mind - knowing when the mind is caught up with defilements or knowing when the mind has become free of the action of defilements. ‘Outer mind’ means the mind of the physical body while ‘inner mind’ means the mind of the inner bodies.

4. mindfulness of the dhammas (mental phenomena) [dhammaanupassanaasatipa.t.taana]: Continuously seeing and knowing the ‘mental phenomena within mental phenomena’ in the physical body and in the inner bodies - that is continually to see and know the sphere of dhamma which gives rise to our physical body. ‘Outer mental phenomena’ means the sphere of dhamma of the physical body while ‘inner mental phenomena’ means the sphere of dhamma of the inner bodies.

7.1 Right Concentration (mundane): At low level Right Concentration means determination of mind to be generous, keep the Precepts, meditate or listen to Dhamma sermons. Such determination is a precursor of concentration called ‘kha.nika-samaadhi’.

7.2 Right Concentration (transcendental): At high level Right Concentration means attaining neighbourhood concentration [upacaara-samaadhi] and access concentration [appanaa-samaadhi] - the former means concentrating the mind to the degree that it is so stable that it rests on the brink of the ‘absorptions’ and the latter means attaining the absorptions, from the first absorption upwards.

The Dhammacakka: Transport to Nirvana
The word ‘cakka’ means a ‘wheel’ - a wheel in just the same way as a cartwheel or a car wheel. Any wheel has three important components: hub, spokes and rim. For as long as the components are separated, they could not be called a wheel. Just as a skilled wheelwright can assemble the components to make a strong wheel ready to be put to work, the Buddha, through his preaching of the three groupings of Dhamma to the pa~ncavaggiya, and relating them, gave rise to a ‘Dhammacakka’ which would bear the practitioner towards benefit and ultimately liberation. The Dhammacakka was also composed of these three components - the Lord Buddha compared the

* the hub to the Thirty-Seven Factors of Enlightenment
* the spokes to the Links of Dependent Origination
* the rim to the Four Noble Truths

The close relationship between these three sets of Dhamma teachings is manifested by their relationship in the Dhammacakka - the sets of Dhammas rely on each other for their strength in just the same way as the different components of a wheel lend each other mutual support. The sermon wouldn’t have been called ‘Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta’ if only the Four Noble Truths or Dependent Origination or the Factors of Enlightenment were important - thus by the name of the sermon, we know that the important thing about the sermon is the way it shows the interconnection between these three Dhamma groups - as if the Buddha himself were the wheelwright who had assembled the fragments into a coherent and usable whole. Thus even if only some parts of the wheel are specifically mentioned in the sermon, as students we should look beyond to the implications for the Thirty-Seven Factors of Enlightenment and the Links of Dependent Origination too.

 

 

 

 
 

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