Download the » PDF file (955 K) to print your own booklets.
I have added Pāḷi diacritics to the online edition of the BPS while checking, that wherever quotations are used, they match the spellings used in the Pāḷi texts of the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana edition. There are some variant readings. The Sayādaw would have been familiar with the older edition from the fifth Saṅgāyana that is now housed in Mandalay, and known as The World’s Largest Book.
Words in bold dark blue text are quoted directly from the Pāḷi. This style of Nissaya, or word-by-word commentary, is common in discourses by Burmese Sayādaws.
I have made minor editions to the text, to modernise the language and make it gender neutral. The translation of saddhā is “faith” in some contexts and “confidence” in others. Initially, confidence in the teachings may waver, but when well-developed to the point of being a power or controlling faculty, it is steady and fully confident, since it is based on genuine insight and practical realisation.
A large part of the last section on the Heritage of the Sāsana is abridged in the BPS edition, so I have added this back from another source, and done my usual job of reducing the use of Pāḷi terms to make it easier for most to read and understand. The Simile of the Millionaire is also found in the Sayādaw’s Sāsana Dāyajja Dīpanī.
I have added an index (to the PDF Edition), which also replaces the glossary of Pāḷi words. I have removed some footnotes and added others, and added several hyperlinked cross-references to the Dictionary of Pāḷi Proper Names, the Dhammapada, and other quoted sources where available.
With the present volume we present to our readers another treatise by the eminent Burmese scholar-monk, the late Venerable Ledi Sayādaw, whose life sketch appears in a work of his, published earlier in this series, A Manual of Insight (Vipassanā Dīpanī).¹
We believe that this present treatise is one of the most helpful expositions of Dhamma which we have been privileged to publish in The Wheel series. It offers not only a wealth of information on many aspects of the Teaching, but is also a forcefully reasoned and stirring appeal to earnest endeavour towards the goal. We therefore wish to recommend this work to our readers’ close and repeated study and reflection.
This treatise has been reproduced from the journal The Light of the Dhamma (Rangoon), which regrettably has ceased publication. For permission of reprint we are grateful to the publishers, The Union of Burma Buddha’s dispensation Council, Rangoon.
In the present edition, many of the Pāḷi terms used in the original have been supplemented or replaced by the English equivalents, for facilitating the reading of the treatise. The last chapter has been condensed. Otherwise only minor changes have been made in the diction.
In the original publication, the term bodhipakkhiya-dhammā had been rendered by “factors leading to enlightenment,” which, however, resembles too closely the customary translation of the term bojjhaṅga by “factors of enlightenment” (see Section VII). Therefore the title of the treatise in the original translation and the rendering of the term in the body of the text have been changed into “Requisites of Enlightenment,” being one of the connotations of bodhipakkhiya-dhammā, as given in Section I. This nuance of meaning was chosen in view of the fact that this treatise does not deal with perfected constituents of enlightenment (bodhi) already achieved, but with the approach to that goal by earnest cultivation of those seven groups of qualities and practices that form the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment.
A detailed table of contents and a comprehensive index have been added to this edition, for facilitating the use of this book.
This edition is extensively indexed for study. Its index includes both Pāḷi and English references. Moreover, a glossary has been added.
The Index refers to the English equivalents of the Pāḷi words and phrases. The Glossary lists the words both in English and in Pāḷi for easy reference. In some instances one English translation serves two Pāḷi words; in others, the opposite occurs. Note is made when this occurs.
The Venerable Ledi Sayādaw’s works are well-known in Burma. They are widely known because they are clear expositions of the Buddha Dhamma couched in language easily intelligible to an ordinary educated Burman. Yet, the Venerable Sayādaw’s works are not meant for an absolute beginner of Buddhist studies. There are many Buddhist technical terms that require a certain amount of previous foundation in Buddhist tradition and practice.
The Venerable Sayādaw’s exposition contains many technical Pāḷi terms that are used by him as if they were ordinary Burmese words. Many of these terms have been incorporated into the Burmese language either in their original Pāḷi form or with slight variations to accord with Burmese euphony. These are words that Burmans have made no attempt to translate, but have preferred to absorb them into the normal usage of the Burmese language. I have similarly made no attempt to translate many of them into English in the present translation. I have use these words in their original Pāḷi form, though in all such cases an attempt has been made to append short explanatory footnotes in order to facilitate continuity in reading.
Though the translation is not verbatim, yet a careful attempt has been made to render as nearly a verbatim translation as in possible in the circumstances, having regard to differences in the construction of sentences between English and Burmese, to differences in the manner of presentation and to the Venerable Sayādaw’s penchant for sometimes using extremely long sentences.
Many of the subheadings are not in the original text, but have been introduced by the translator for assisting the English reader.
The Venerable Sayādaw was a prolific writer. His works number over a hundred. Each of these works was written at the specific request of one or more of his numerous disciples, either as an answer to certain questions put to him, or, as in the present case, to expound certain important points or aspects of the Buddha-Dhamma.
Sein Nyo Tun
135, University Avenue,
In compliance with the request of the Pyinmana Myo-ok Maung Po Mya and Trader Maung Hla, during the month of Nayon, 1266 Burmese Era (June, 1904 C.E.), I shall state concisely the meaning and intent of the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment (bodhipakkhiya-dhammā).
It is stated in the Puggalapaññatti (Pug.16, the “Book of Classification of Individuals,” (p. 160) and in the Aṅguttaranikāya (A.ii.135) that, of the beings who encounter the Teaching of the Buddha (sāsana), four classes can be distinguished, viz:–
Of these four classes of beings, one of quick understanding (ugghaṭitaññū) is an individual who encounters a Buddha in person,² and who is capable of attaining the paths and fruits merely through hearing a short discourse.
A clear-minded individual (vipañcitaññū) is not capable of attaining the paths and fruits merely through hearing a short discourse, but is capable of attaining them when a short discourse is expounded at some length.
One who can be taught (neyya) is an individual who is not capable of attaining the paths and fruits through hearing a short discourse or when it is expounded at some length, but is one for whom it is necessary to study and take careful note of the sermon and the exposition, and then to practise the provisions contained therein for days, months, and years, in order to attain the paths and fruits.
This teachable class of individuals can be subdivided into many other classes according to the period of practice that each individual needs to attain the paths and fruits, and which further is dependent on the perfections (pāramī) that each has previously acquired, and the defilements (kilesā) that each has surmounted. These classes of individuals include, on the one hand, those for whom the necessary period of practice is seven days, and on the other, those for whom the necessary period of practice may extend to thirty or sixty years.
Further classes also arise, as for example in the case of individuals whose necessary period of practice is seven days; the stage of an Arahant may be attained if effort is made in the first or second period of life,³ while no more than the lower stages of the paths and the fruits can be attained if effort be made only in the third period of life.
Then, again, putting forth effort for seven days means exerting as much as is in one’s power to do so. If the effort is not of the highest order, the period of necessary effort becomes lengthened according to the laxity of the effort, and seven days may become seven years or longer.
If the effort during this life is not sufficiently intense as to enable one to attain the paths and the fruits, then release from worldly ills cannot be obtained during the present Buddha’s dispensation while release during future Buddha’s dispensations can be obtained only if the individual encounters them. No release can be obtained if no Buddha’s dispensation is encountered. It is only in the case of individuals who have secured a sure prediction (niyata-vyākaraṇa) made by a Buddha, that an encounter with a Buddha’s dispensation and release from worldly ills is certain. An individual who has not attained a sure prediction cannot be certain either of encountering a Buddha’s dispensation or achieving release from worldly ills, even though he has accumulated sufficient perfections to make both of these achievements possible.
These are considerations in respect of those individuals who possess the capabilities of attaining the paths and the fruits by putting forth effort for seven days, but who have not obtained sure prediction.
Similar considerations apply to the cases of those individuals who have the potential to attain the paths and the fruits by putting forth effort for fifteen days, or for longer periods.
One who can know the word meaning at best (padaparama) is an individual who, though encountering a Buddha’s dispensation, and though putting forth the utmost possible effort in both the study and practice of the Dhamma, cannot attain the paths and the fruits within this lifetime. All that he or she can do is accumulate good habits and potential (vāsanā).
Such a person cannot obtain release from worldly ills during this lifetime. If he or she dies while practising tranquillity (samatha) or insight (vipassanā) and attains rebirth either as a human being or a deity (deva) in the next existence, he or she can attain release from worldly ills in that existence within the present Buddha’s dispensation.
Thus did the Buddha declare with respect to four classes of individuals.
In the same sources referred to above, the Buddha gave another classification of beings, dividing them into three classes resembling three types of sick persons,⁴ namely:–
Persons who obtained the sure prediction from previous Buddhas, and who as such are certain of obtaining release from worldly ills in this life resemble the first class of sick persons.
A padaparama individual resembles the second class of sick persons. Just as this second class of sick person has no chance of recovery from his illness, a padaparama individual has no chance of obtaining release from worldly ills during this life. In future lives, however, he or she can obtain release either within the present Buddha’s dispensation or within future Buddha’s dispensations. The story of the youth Chattamāṇava,⁵ of the frog who became a deva,⁶ and of the ascetic Saccaka⁷ obtained release from worldly ills in following existences within the present Buddha’s dispensation.
A neyya class of individual resembles the third class of sick persons. Just as a person of this third class is related to the two ways of either recovering or dying from the sickness, so is a neyya individual related to the two eventualities of either obtaining release from worldly ills during the present life, or failing to obtain such release.
If such a neyya individual, knowing what is good for him according to his age, discards what should be discarded, searches for the right teacher, and obtains the right guidance from him and puts forth sufficient effort, he can obtain release from worldly ills in this very life. If, however, he becomes addicted to wrong views and wrong ways of conduct; if he finds himself unable to discard sensual pleasures; if although able to discard sensual pleasures he does not obtain the guidance of a good teacher; if he is unable to evoke sufficient effort; if although inclined to put forth effort he is unable to do so through old age; if although young he is liable to sickness; in all these cases he cannot obtain release from worldly ills in this present life. King Ajātasattu,⁸ the millionaire Mahādhana’s son,⁹ bhikkhu Sudinna,¹⁰ are cases of persons who could not obtain release from worldly ills in this present existence.
King Ajātasattu failed to obtain release because he had committed parricide. It is stated that he will drift in saṃsāra for two incalculable aeons (asaṅkhyeyya, 10¹⁴⁰ years) after which he will become a Solitary Buddha (Paccekabuddha).
The millionaire Mahādhana’s son indulged himself so excessively in sensual pleasures during his youth that he was unable to attain tranquillity of mind when he grew older. Far from obtaining release from worldly ills, he did not even get the opportunity of associating with the Triple Gem (tiratana).¹¹ Seeing his plight at that stage, the Buddha said to Ānanda: “Ānanda, if this millionaire’s son had become a bhikkhu in my sāsana during his youth or first period of his life, he would have become an Arahant and would have attained final cessation (parinibbāna)¹² in this present life. If, otherwise, he had become a bhikkhu during the second period of his life, he would have become a Non-returner (anāgāmi),¹³ and on death would have been reborn in the Suddhavāsa brahma-loka,¹⁴ whence he would attain final cessation. In the next alternative, if he had become a bhikkhu in my dispensation at the beginning of the third period of life, he would have become either a Once-returner (sakadāgāmi) or a Stream-winner (sotāpanna) and would have attained permanent release from rebirth in the lower realms¹⁵ (apāya).” Thus said the Buddha to the Venerable Ānanda. Thus, although he (the millionaire Mahādhana’s son) possessed perfections ripe enough to make his present life his last existence, not being a person who had secured a sure prediction, he failed to obtain release from worldly ills in his present life because of the upheavals caused by the defilements within him, and this is despite the fact that he had the opportunity of encountering the Buddha’s dispensation. If, further, his period of existence in the lower realms is prolonged because of evil acts done in this existence, he would not be able to rise again and emerge out of those lower realms in time for the dispensation of the future Metteyya Buddha. After that, the large number of world-cycles that follow are world-cycles where no Buddhas appear, there being no world-cycles within the vicinity of the present world where Buddhas are due to appear.¹⁶ Alas! Far indeed is this millionaire’s son from release from worldly ills even though he possessed perfections ripe enough to make his present existence his last one.
The general opinion current at the present day is that if the perfections are complete, one cannot miss encountering a Buddha’s dispensation even if one does not wish to do so, and that one’s release from worldly ills is ensured even though one may not desire such release. Those of this view fail to pay attention to the existence of one who has obtained a sure prediction made by a Buddha (niyata-vyākaraṇa) and one who has not obtained a sure prediction made by a Buddha. Considering the two texts from the Tipiṭaka mentioned above, and the story of the millionaire Mahādhana’s son it should be remembered that trainable individuals without a sure prediction (aniyata neyya) can attain release from worldly ills in this life only if they put forth sufficient effort, even if they possess perfections sufficient to enable them to obtain such release. If industry and effort are lacking, the paths and the fruits cannot be attained within the present Buddha’s dispensation.
Apart from these classes of persons, there are also an infinite number of other beings who, like the ascetics Āḷāra and Udaka (M.i.170), possess sufficient perfections for release from worldly ills, but who do not get the opportunity because they happen to be in one or the other of the eight inopportune places (aṭṭhakkhaṇā)¹⁷ where it is not possible to attain the paths and the fruits.
Of the four classes of individuals mentioned, the ugghaṭitaññū classes can attain the path of Stream-winning and the other higher stages of wisdom — like Visākhā and Anāthapiṇḍika¹⁸ — through the mere hearing of a discourse. It is not necessary for such individuals to practise the Dhamma according to the stages of purification, such as purification of morality (sīla-visuddhi), of purification of mind (citta-visuddhi), and so on. Remember that this is also the case when deities attain release from worldly ills.
Hence it should be noted that the courses of practice such as purification of morality and mind, laid down in the Pāḷi Canon, are only for the neyya and padaparama classes of individuals before their attainment of the path of Stream-winning. These courses of practice are also for the first three classes of individuals prior to the achievement of the higher stages of the paths and the fruits. In the period after the attainment of Arahantship also, these courses of practice are used for the purpose of dwelling at ease in the present existence (diṭṭhadhamma-sukhavihāra),¹⁹ since Arahants have already gone through them.
After the passing of the first thousand years of the present Buddha’s dispensation, which constituted the times of Arahants possessing analytical knowledge (paṭisambhidā-ñāṇa), the period of the present Buddha’s dispensation comprises the times of the neyya and padaparama classes of individuals alone. At the present day, only these two classes of individuals remain.
Of these two classes of individuals, an individual of the neyya class can become a Stream-winner in this present life if he or she faithfully practises the bodhipakkhiya-dhammā comprising the four foundations of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna), four right efforts (sammappadhāna), etc. If lax in the practice, he or she can become a Stream-winner only in the next existence after being reborn in the deva planes. If he or she dies while still aloof from these requisites of enlightenment, he or she will become a total loss as far as the present Buddha’s dispensation is concerned, but can still attain release from worldly ills if encountering the dispensation of the next Buddha.
An individual of the padaparama class can attain release within this dispensation after rebirth in the celestial planes, if he or she can faithfully practise the requisites of enlightenment in the present existence.
All of the five thousand years of this dispensation constitute the age of saints, which will continue as long as the Tipiṭaka remains in the world. Padaparama individuals have to use the opportunity afforded by encountering the present Buddha’s dispensation to accumulate as much of the seeds of perfections as they can within this lifetime. They have to accumulate the seeds of morality (sīla), concentration (samādhi), and wisdom (paññā).
Of these three kinds of accumulations — morality, concentration and wisdom — the seeds of morality means the five precepts (pañca-sīla),²⁰ eight precepts with right-livelihood as the eighth (ājīvaṭṭhamaka-sīla),²¹ eight precepts as observed on Uposatha days (aṭṭhaṅga-uposatha-sīla),²² ten precepts (dasaṅga-sīla),²³ in respect of laymen and women, and the monks’ morality (bhikkhu-sīla).²⁴
The seeds of concentration are the efforts to achieve preparatory concentration (parikamma-samādhi) through one or other of the forty subjects of meditation, such as the ten meditation devices (kasiṇa), or, if further efforts can be evoked, the efforts to achieve access concentration (upacāra-samādhi), or, if still further efforts can be evoked, the efforts to achieve absorption concentration (appanā-samādhi).
The seeds of wisdom mean the cultivation of the ability to analyse the characteristics and qualities of material phenomena (rūpa), mental phenomena (nāma), the aggregates (khandhā), sense-faculties (āyatanā), elements (dhātu), truths (saccā), and dependent origination (paṭiccasamuppāda), as well as the cultivation of insight into the three characteristics (lakkhaṇa), namely, impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and not-self (anatta).
Of the three kinds of seeds of path-knowledge (magga-ñāṇa) and fruition-knowledge (phala-ñāṇa),²⁵ morality and concentration are like ornaments that permanently adorn the world and exist even in the empty world-cycles where no Buddhas arise. The seeds of morality and concentration can be obtained at will at any time. However, the seeds of wisdom, which are related to mind and matter, the aggregates, the sense faculties, the elements, the truths, and dependent origination can be obtained only when one encounters a Buddha’s dispensation. Outside of a Buddha’s dispensation one does not get the opportunity of even hearing the mere mention of words associated with wisdom, though an infinite number of empty world-cycles may have passed. Hence, those of the present era who are fortunate enough to be born into this world while a Buddha’s dispensation flourishes, if they intend to accumulate the seeds of path and fruition knowledge for the purpose of securing release from worldly ills in a future existence during a future Buddha’s dispensation, should pay special attention to the knowledge of ultimate realities (paramattha),²⁶ which is extremely difficult for one to come across, rather than trying to accumulate the seeds of morality and concentration. At the very least, they should attempt to gain insight into how the four great primaries (mahābhūta) — earth (pathavī), water (āpo), fire (tejo), and air (vāyo)²⁷ — constitute one’s body. If they acquire a good insight into the four primary elements, they obtain a sound collection of the seeds of wisdom, which are the most difficult to acquire, and this is so even though they may not acquire any knowledge of the other portions of the Abhidhamma. It can then be said that the difficult attainment of rebirth within a Buddha’s dispensation has been worthwhile.
Morality and concentration constitute conduct (caraṇa), while wisdom constitutes knowledge (vijjā). Thus are knowledge and conduct constituted. Knowledge resembles the eyes of a human being, while conduct resembles the limbs. Knowledge is like the eyes of a bird, while conduct is like its wings. A person who is endowed with morality and concentration, but lacks wisdom, is like one who possesses complete and whole limbs, but is blind in both eyes. A person who is endowed with knowledge but lacks conduct is like one who has good eyesight but is defective in his limbs. A person who is endowed with both knowledge and conduct is like a healthy person possessing both good eyesight and healthy limbs. A person who lacks both knowledge and conduct is like one defective in eyes and limbs, and is not worthy of being called a human being.
Amongst the persons living within the present Buddha’s dispensation, there are some who are fully endowed with morality and concentration, but do not possess the seeds of knowledge such as insight into the nature of material qualities, mental qualities, and the aggregates. Because they are strong in conduct they are likely to encounter the next Buddha’s dispensation, but because they lack the seeds of knowledge they cannot attain Enlightenment, even though they hear a discourse of the next Buddha in person. They are like Lāḷudāyī Thera,²⁸ Upananda Thera,²⁹ the notorious group of six monks, Chabbaggiyā,³⁰ and Pasenadi, the King of Kosala³¹ who all lived during the lifetime of the Omniscient Buddha. Because they were endowed with previously accumulated good conduct such as generosity and morality, they had the opportunity to associate with the Supreme Buddha, but since they lacked previously accumulated wisdom, the discourses of the Buddha, which they often heard throughout their lives, fell on deaf ears.
There are others who are endowed with knowledge such as insight into the material and the mental qualities and the constituent groups of existence, but who lack conduct such as generosity (dāna), constant morality (nicca sīla), and morality observed on Uposatha days (uposatha-sīla). Should these persons get the opportunity of meeting and hearing the discourses of the next Buddha they can attain enlightenment because they possess knowledge, but since they lack conduct it would be extremely difficult for them to get the opportunity of meeting the next Buddha. This is so because there is an intervening world-cycle (antara-kappa) between the present Buddha’s dispensation and the next.
In those cases where these beings wander within the sensuous sphere during this period, it means a succession of an infinite number of existences and rebirths; in these cases an opportunity to meet the next Buddha can be secured only if all these rebirths are confined to the happy course of existence. If, in the interim, a rebirth occurs in one of the four lower regions, the opportunity to meet the next Buddha would be irretrievably lost, for one rebirth in one of the four lower worlds is often followed by an infinite number of further rebirths in one or other of them.
Those persons whose acts of generosity in this life are few, who are ill-guarded in their bodily acts, unrestrained in their speech, and unclean in their thoughts, and who thus are deficient in conduct, possess a strong tendency to be reborn in the four lower worlds when they die. If, through some good fortune, they manage to be reborn in the happy course of existence, wherever they may be reborn they are, because of their previous lack of conduct such as generosity, likely to be deficient in riches, and likely to meet with hardships, trials, and tribulations in their means of livelihood, and thus encounter tendencies to rebirth in the lower realms. Because of their lack of the conduct of constant morality, and Uposatha day morality, they are likely to meet with disputes, quarrels, anger and hatred in their dealings with others, in addition to being susceptible to diseases and ailments, and thus encounter tendencies towards rebirth in the lower realms. Thus will they encounter painful experiences in every existence, gathering undesirable tendencies, leading to the curtailment of their period of existence in the happy course of existence and causing rebirth in the four lower worlds. In this way, the chances of those who lack conduct for meeting the next Buddha are very slim indeed.
In short, the essential fact is, only when one is endowed with the seeds of both knowledge and conduct can one obtain release from worldly ills in one’s next existence. If one possesses the seeds of knowledge alone, and lacks the seeds of conduct such as generosity and morality, one will fail to secure the opportunity of meeting the next Buddha’s dispensation. If, on the other hand, one possesses the seeds of conduct, but lacks the seeds of knowledge, one cannot attain release from worldly ills even though one encounters the next Buddha’s dispensation. Hence, those padaparama individuals of today, be they men or women, who look forward to meeting the next Buddha’s dispensation, should attempt to accumulate within the present Buddha’s dispensation the seeds of conduct by the practice of generosity, morality, and tranquillity meditation, and should also, at the very least, with respect to knowledge, try to gain insight into the four great primaries and thus ensure meeting the next Buddha’s dispensation, and having met it, to attain release from worldly ills.
When it is said that generosity is conduct, it comes under the category of confidence (saddhā), which is one of the seven attributes of good people (saddhamma), which again comes under the fifteen kinds of good conduct (caraṇa-dhammā). The fifteen are:–
12. to 15. The four absorptions (jhāna).
These fifteen qualities are possessed by the highest attainer of absorption (jhāna-lābhī). So far as those individuals practising insight only (sukkha-vipassaka) are concerned, they should possess eleven of them, i.e., without the four absorptions (jhāna).
For those who look forward to meeting the next Buddha’s dispensation, generosity, morality of the Uposatha, and the seven attributes of good people are essential.
Those who wish to attain the paths and the fruits in this very life must fulfil the first eleven, i.e., morality, sense-faculty restraint, moderation in eating, wakefulness, and the seven attributes of good people. Herein, morality means the permanent practice of morality ending with right-livelihood (ājīvaṭṭhamaka-nicca-sīla) and sense-faculty restraint means guarding the six sense-doors — the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. Moderation in eating means taking just sufficient food to preserve the health of the body and being satisfied with that. Devotion to wakefulness means not sleeping during the day, sleeping only during one of the three watches of the night, and practising meditation during the other two periods.
For those who wish to become Stream-winners during this life there is no special necessity to practise generosity. However, let those who find themselves unable to evoke sufficient effort towards acquiring the ability to obtain release from worldly ills during the present Buddha’s dispensation make special attempts to practise generosity and morality on Uposatha days.
Since the work in the case of those who depend on and await the next Buddha consists of no more than acquiring accumulation of perfections, it is not strictly necessary for them to adhere to the stages of practice laid down in the Pāḷi texts, viz: morality, concentration, and wisdom. They should not thus defer the practice of concentration before the completion of the practice of morality, or defer the practice of wisdom before the completion of the practice of concentration. In accordance with the order of the seven purifications — 1) purification of morality (sīla-visuddhi), 2) purification of mind (cittavisuddhi), 3) purification of view (diṭṭhi-visuddhi), 4) purification by overcoming doubt (kaṅkhāvitaraṇa-visuddhi), 5) purification by knowledge and vision of what is path and not path (maggāmagga-ñāṇadassana-visuddhi), 6) purification by knowledge and vision of the course of practice (paṭipadā-ñāṇadassana-visuddhi), and 7) purification by knowledge and vision (ñāṇadassana-visuddhi), they should not postpone the practice of any course of purification until the completion of the respective previous course. Since they are engaged in the accumulation of as much of the seeds of perfections as they can, they should contrive to accumulate as much morality, concentration, and wisdom as lies in their power.
When it is stated in the Pāḷi texts that purification of mind should be practised only after the completion of the practice of purification of morality, that purification of view should be practised only after the completion of the practice of purification of mind, that purification by overcoming doubt should be practised only after the completion of the practice of purification of view, that the work of contemplating impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self) should be undertaken only after the completion of the practice of purification by overcoming doubt — the order of practice prescribed is meant for those who attempt the speedy realisation of the paths and fruits in this very life. Since those who find themselves unable to call forth such effort, are engaged only in the accumulation of the seeds of perfections, are occupied in gaining whatever they can of good practices, it should not be said in their case that the practice of purification of mind consisting of advertence of the mind to tranquillity should not be undertaken before the fulfilment of purification of morality.
Even in the case of hunters and fishermen, it should not be said that they should not practise tranquillity and insight meditation unless they discard their livelihood. One who says so causes an obstruction to the dhamma (dhammantarāya). Hunters and fishermen should be encouraged to contemplate the noble qualities of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha. They should be induced to contemplate, as much as is within their power, the characteristic of loathsomeness in one’s body. They should be urged to contemplate the liability of oneself and all creatures to death. I have come across the case of a leading fisherman who, as a result of such encouragement, could repeat fluently from memory the Pāḷi text and word-for-word translation (nissaya) of the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha, and the Paccaya Niddesa of the Book of Relations (Paṭṭhāna), while still following the profession of a fisherman. These accomplishments constitute very good foundations for the acquisition of knowledge.
At the present time, whenever I meet my lay supporters (dāyaka), I tell them, in the true tradition of a bhikkhu, that even though they are hunters and fishermen by profession, they should be ever mindful of the noble qualities of the Triple Gem and the three characteristics of existence. To be mindful of the noble qualities of the Triple Gem constitutes the seed of conduct. To be mindful of the three characteristics of existence constitutes the seed of knowledge. Even hunters and fishermen should be encouraged to practise such advertence of mind. They should not be told that it is improper for hunters and fishermen to practise advertence of mind towards tranquillity and insight. They should be helped towards better understanding, should they be in difficulties. They should be urged and encouraged to keep on trying. They are at that stage when even the work of accumulating perfections and good tendencies is to be extolled.
Some teachers, who are only aware of the existence of direct and unequivocal statements in the Pāḷi texts regarding the order of practice of the seven purifications, but who take no account of the value of the present era, say that in the practices of tranquillity and insight no results can be achieved unless purification of morality is first fulfilled, however intense the effort may be. Some misinformed ordinary people are beguiled by such statements. Thus an obstruction to the dhamma has occurred.
Because they do not know the value of the present era, they will lose the opportunity to attain the seeds of knowledge, which are attainable only when a Buddha’s dispensation is encountered. In truth, they have not yet attained release from worldly ills and are still drifting in saṃsāra because, though they have occasionally encountered dispensations of Buddhas in the inconceivably long saṃsāra, where Buddha’s dispensations more numerous than the grains of sands on the banks of the Ganges have appeared, they did not acquire the foundation of the seeds of knowledge.
When seeds are spoken of, there are seeds ripe or mature enough to sprout into healthy and strong seedlings, and there are many degrees of ripeness or maturity. There are also seeds that are unripe or immature. People who do not know the meaning of the passages they recite, or who do not know the right methods of practice, or even though they know the meaning, and customarily read, recite, and count their beads while performing the work of contemplating the noble qualities of the Buddha and the three characteristics, possess seeds that are unripe and immature. These unripe seeds may be ripened and matured by the continuation of such work in the existences that follow, if an opportunity for such continued work occurs.
The practice of tranquillity until the appearance of the preparatory sign (parikamma-nimitta)³² and the practice of insight (vipassanā) until insight is obtained into mind and matter even once, are mature seeds filled with pith and substance. The practice of tranquillity until the appearance of the acquired image (uggaha-nimitta)³³ and the practice of insight meditation until the acquisition of knowledge of comprehension (sammāsana-ñāṇa)³⁴ even once, are seeds that are still more mature. The practice of tranquillity until the appearance of the counterpart image (paṭibhāga-nimitta),³⁵ and the practice of insight meditation until the occurrence of the knowledge of arising and passing away (udayabbaya-ñāṇa) ³⁶ even once, are seeds that are yet more highly mature. If further efforts can be made in both tranquillity and insight meditation, still more mature seeds can obtained, bringing great benefit.
When it is said in the Pāḷi texts that only when there has been preparation (adhikāra) in previous Buddha’s dispensations, can the corresponding absorptions, paths, and fruits be obtained in the following Buddha’s dispensations. Thus the word preparation means planting successful seeds. Those who pass their lives with traditional practices that are just imitation tranquillity meditation and imitation insight meditation do not come within the purview of those who possess the seeds of tranquillity and insight that can be called preparation.
Of the two kinds of seeds, those who encounter a Buddha’s dispensation, but who fail to acquire the seeds of knowledge, suffer a grave loss indeed. This is so because the seeds of knowledge that are related to mental and physical phenomena can only be obtained within a Buddha’s dispensation, and that only when one is sensible enough to secure them. Hence, in the present era, those who find themselves unable to contemplate and investigate at length into the nature of mental and physical phenomena should, throughout their lives, undertake the task of committing the four great primaries to memory, then contemplating their meaning and discussing them, and lastly seeking insight into how they are constituted in their bodies.
Here ends the part showing, by a discussion of four classes of individuals and three kinds of individuals as given in the Sutta and Abhidhamma, that:–
Here ends the exposition of the three kinds of patient and the four kinds of individuals.
If the Tipiṭaka, which contains the discourses of the Buddha delivered during forty-five rainy seasons (vassa), be condensed and the essentials extracted, the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment are obtained. These thirty-seven constitute the essence of the Tipiṭaka. If these be further condensed, the seven purifications are obtained. If again the seven purifications be condensed, they become morality, concentration, and wisdom. These are called the dispensation of higher morality (adhisīla-sāsana), the dispensation of higher concentration (adhicitta-sāsana), and the dispensation of higher wisdom (adhipaññā-sāsana). They are also called the three trainings (sikkhā).
When morality is mentioned, the essential for laymen is constant morality. Those people who fulfil constant morality become endowed with conduct which, with knowledge, enables them to attain the paths and the fruits. If these individuals can add the refinement of morality observed on Uposatha days over constant morality, it is much better. For laymen, constant morality means eight precepts with right-livelihood as the eighth (ājīvaṭṭhamaka-sīla). That morality must be properly and faithfully kept. If, because they are ordinary persons (puthujjana) they break the morality, it can be re-established immediately by renewing the undertaking to keep it for the rest of their lives. If, on a future occasion, the morality is again broken, it can again be similarly cleansed, and every time this cleansing occurs, the person concerned again becomes endowed with morality. The effort is not difficult. Whenever constant morality is broken, it should be immediately re-established. In these days, many people are endowed with such morality.
However, those who have attained perfect concentration in one or another of the meditation exercises, or in the practice of meditation on loathsomeness (asubha-bhāvanā), etc., or who have attained insight into mental and physical phenomena, the three characteristics, etc., are very rare because these are times when wrong teachings (micchā-dhamma) are ripe that are likely to cause an obstruction to the dhamma.
By wrong teachings likely to cause obstruction to the Dhamma are meant such views, practices, and limitations as the inability to see the dangers of saṃsāra, the belief that these are times when the paths and the fruits can no longer be attained, the tendency to defer effort until the perfections ripen, the belief that persons of the present day are reborn with only two wholesome roots (dvihetuka paṭisandhi),³⁷ the belief that the great teachers of the past did not existent, etc.
Even though it does not reach the ultimate, no wholesome kamma is ever futile. If an effort is made, wholesome kamma is instrumental in cultivating perfections in those who do not yet possess them. If no effort is made, the opportunity to acquire perfections is lost. If those whose perfections are immature put forth effort, their perfections become ripe and mature. Such individuals can attain the paths and fruits in their next existence within the present Buddha’s dispensation. If no effort is made, the opportunity for the perfections to ripen is lost. If those whose perfections are ripe and mature put forth effort, the paths and the fruits can be attained in this life. If no effort be made, the opportunity to attain the paths and the fruits is lost.
If those who were reborn with only two wholesome roots put forth effort, they can be reborn with three wholesome roots (tihetuka-paṭisandhi)³⁸ in their next existence. If they do not put forth effort, they cannot ascend from the stage of two wholesome roots and will slide down to the stage of having no wholesome roots (ahetuka).³⁹ Suppose there is a certain person who plans to become a bhikkhu. If another person says to him, “Entertain the intention only if you can remain a monk for your whole life. Otherwise do not entertain the idea”—this would amount to causing an obstruction to the dhamma.
The Buddha said: “Cittuppādampi kho ahaṃ, Cunda, kusalesu dhammesu bahukāraṃ vadāmi, ko pana vādo kāyena vācāya anuvidhīyanāsu! I declare, Cunda, that the mere arising of an intention of performing good deeds is productive of great benefit, so what needs to be said regarding wholesome actions by body or speech‽” (M.i.43).
To disparage either the act of generosity (alms-giving) or to discourage the performer of generosity, may cause an obstruction to merit (puññāntarāya). If acts of morality, concentration, and wisdom, or those who perform them are disparaged, an obstruction to the dhamma may be caused. If an obstruction to meritorious deeds is caused, one is liable to be bereft of power and influence, of property and riches, and to be abjectly poor in the lives that follow. If an obstruction to the dhamma is caused, one is liable to be defective in conduct and behaviour and defective of knowledge, and thus be utterly low and debased in the existences that follow. Hence, let all beware!
Here ends the section showing how the rare opportunity of rebirth as a human being can be made worthwhile, by ridding oneself of the faults mentioned above, and putting forth effort in this life to close the gates of the four lower realms in one’s future round of rebirths, or to accumulate the seeds that will enable one to attain release from worldly ills in the next existence or within the next Buddha’s dispensation, through the practice of tranquillity and insight meditation, with resolution, zeal, and diligence.
I shall now concisely describe the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment,⁴⁰ which should be practised with energy and determination by those who wish to cultivate tranquillity and insight, thus making the rare opportunity of human rebirth in the present Buddha’s dispensation worthwhile.
The requisites of enlightenment consist of thirty-seven factors in seven groups:–
The bodhipakkhiya-dhammā are so called because they form part (pakkhiya) of enlightenment or awakening (bodhi), which here refers to the knowledge of the paths (magga-ñāṇa). They are mental phenomena (dhammā) with the function of being proximate causes (padaṭṭhāna), requisite ingredients (sambhāra) and bases, or sufficient conditions (upanissaya), of path knowledge (magga-ñāṇa).
The word satipaṭṭhāna is defined as follows:
“Bhusaṃ tiṭṭhati’ti paṭṭhānaṃ satipaṭṭhānaṃ.”
This means: “What is firmly established is a foundation; mindfulness itself is such a foundation.”
There are four foundations of mindfulness:–
Of the four, if mindfulness or attention is firmly established on a part of the body, such as on respiration, it is tantamount to attention being firmly established on all things. This is because the ability to place one’s attention on any object at will has been acquired. “Firmly established” means, if one desires to place the attention on the respiration for an hour, one’s attention remains firmly fixed on it for that period. If one wishes to do so for two hours, one’s attention remains firmly fixed on it for two hours. There is no occasion when the attention becomes released from its object on account of the instability of initial application (vitakka).
For a detailed account see the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta.⁴¹
Why is it incumbent on us to firmly establish the mind without fail on any object such as the respiration? It is because we need to gather and control the six types of consciousness (viññāṇa),⁴² which have been drifting tempestuously and untrained throughout the past inconceivably long and beginningless saṃsāra.
I shall make it clearer. The mind tends to flit about from one to another of the six sense objects, which lie at the approaches to the six sense-doors.⁴³
As an example, take the case of a madman who has no control over his mind. He does not even know the mealtime, and wanders about aimlessly from place to place. His parents look for him and give him his meal. After eating five or six morsels of food he overturns the dish and walks away. He thus fails to get a square meal. To this extent he has lost control of his mind. He cannot control his mind even to the extent of finishing the business of eating a meal. In talking, he cannot control his mind to the extent of finishing a sentence. The beginning, the middle, and the end do not agree with one another. His speech has no meaning. He cannot be of use in any undertaking worldly undertaking. He is unable to perform any task. Such a person can no longer be classed as a normal human being, and so has to be ignored.
This madman becomes a sane and normal person again, if he meets a good doctor and the doctor applies a cure. Thus cured he obtains control of his mind in the matter of taking his meals, and can now eat his fill. He has control over his mind in all other matters as well. He can perform his tasks till they are completed, just like others. Just like others, he can also complete his sentences. This is an example.
In this world, persons who are not insane but who are normal and have control over their minds, resemble such a mad person who has no control over his mind when it comes to the matter of tranquillity and insight. Just as the madman upsets the food dish and walks away after five or six morsels of food, although he attempts to eat his meal, these normally sane persons find their attention wandering because they have no control over their minds. Whenever they pay respects to the Buddha and contemplate his noble qualities, they do not succeed in keeping their minds fixed on those noble qualities, but find their attention being diverted many times to other objects of thought, and thus they even fail to reach the end of “Iti pi so Bhagava” — “Thus indeed is this Blessed One …”
It is as if a man suffering from hydrophobia who seeks water feverishly with parched lips, runs away from it with fear when he sees a lake of cool refreshing water. It is also like a diseased man who, when given a diet of relishing food replete with medicinal qualities, finds the food bitter to his taste and, unable to swallow it, is obliged to spit and vomit it out. In just the same way, these persons find themselves unable to approach the contemplation of the noble qualities of the Buddha effectively, and cannot maintain dwelling on them.
In reciting “Iti pi so Bhagava” if their recitation is interrupted every time their minds wander, and if they have to start afresh from the beginning every time such an interruption occurs, they would never reach the end of the text even though they keep on reciting for a whole day, a whole month, or a whole year. At present they manage to reach the end because they can keep on reciting from memory even though their minds wander elsewhere.
In the same way, there are those who, on Uposatha days, plan to go to quiet places to contemplate the thirty-two parts of the body, such as head hairs (kesa), body hairs (loma), etc., or the noble qualities of the Buddha, but who ultimately end up in the company of friends and associates because they have no control over their minds, and because of the upheavals in their thoughts and intentions. When they take part in group recitations, although they attempt to direct their minds to tranquillity meditation on the sublime abidings (brahmavihāra),⁴⁴ such as reciting the formula for diffusing loving-kindness (mettā), because they have no control over their minds, their thoughts are not concentrated, but are scattered aimlessly, and they end up only with the external manifestation of the recitation.
These facts are sufficient to show how many people resemble the insane while performing wholesome deeds.
“Pāpasmiṃ ramatī mano — The mind takes delight in evil.” (Dhp v 116)
Just as water naturally flows down from high places to low places, the minds of beings, if left uncontrolled, naturally approaches evil. This is the tendency of the mind.
I shall now draw, with examples, a comparison between those who exercise no control over their minds and the insane person mentioned above.
There is a river with a swift current. A boatman who is unfamiliar with the control of the rudder, drifts down the river with the current. His boat is loaded with valuable merchandise for trading and selling at the towns on the lower reaches of the river. As he drifts down, he passes stretches of the river lined with mountains and forests where there are no harbours or anchorages for his boat. He thus continues to drift down without stopping. When night descends, he passes towns and village with harbours and anchorages, but he does not see them in the darkness of the night, and thus he continues to drift without stopping. When daylight arrives, he comes to places with towns and villages, but not having any control over the rudder of the boat, he cannot steer it to the harbours and anchorages, and thus, inevitably, he continues to drift down until he reaches the great wide ocean.
The infinitely lengthy saṃsāra is like the swift-flowing river. Beings having no control over their minds are like the boatman who is unable to steer his boat. The mind is like the boat. Beings who have drifted from one existence to another in the empty world-cycles where no Buddhas appear, are like the boatman drifting down those stretches of the river lined by mountains and forests, where there are no harbours and anchorages. Sometimes these beings are born in world-cycles where a Buddha’s dispensation flourishes, but are oblivious to them because they happen to be in one or other of the eight inopportune situations. They resemble the boatman who drifts down stretches of the river lined by towns and villages with harbours and anchorages, but does not see them because it is night. When, at other times, they are born as human beings, devas or Brahmas, within a Buddha’s dispensation, but fail to secure the paths and the fruits because they are unable to control their minds and put forth effort to practise the insight meditation exercises of the four foundations of mindfulness thus continuing still to drift in saṃsāra, they resemble the boatman who sees the banks lined by towns and villages with harbours and anchorages, but is unable to steer towards them because of his inability to control the rudder, and thus continues inevitably to drift down towards the ocean.
In the infinitely lengthy saṃsāra, those beings who have obtained release from worldly ills within the dispensations of the Buddhas who have appeared, whose numbers exceed the grains of sand on the banks of the river Ganges, are beings who had control over their minds and who possessed the ability of sustaining their attention on any desired object at will through the practice of the foundations of mindfulness.
This shows the trend of the wandering in the course of existence of those beings who do not practise the foundations of mindfulness, even though they are aware of the fact that they have no control over their minds when it comes to the practice of tranquillity and insight.
Comparisons may also be made with the taming and training of bullocks for the purpose of yoking them to ploughs and carts, and to the taming and training of elephants for employment in the service of the king, or on battlefields.
In the case of the bullock, the young calf has to be regularly herded and kept in a cattle-pen, then a nose rope is passed through its nostrils and it is tied to a post and trained to respond to the rope’s control. It is then trained to submit to the yoke, and only when it becomes amenable to the yoke’s burden is it put to use for ploughing and drawing carts and thus effectively employed to trade and profit. This is the example of the bullock.
In this example, just as the owner’s profit and success depends on the employment of the bullock in the drawing of ploughs and carts after training it to become amenable to the yoke, so does the true benefit of lay persons and bhikkhus within the present Buddha’s dispensation depend on training in tranquillity and insight meditation.
In the present Buddha’s dispensation, the practice of purification of morality (sīla-visuddhi) resembles the training of the young calf by herding it and keeping it in cattle-pens. Just as, if the young calf is not herded and kept in cattle-pens, it would damage and destroy the property of others and thus bring liability on the owner, so too, if a person lacks purification of morality, the three kinds of unwholesome kamma⁴⁵ would run riot, and the person concerned would become subject to worldly ills and to the evil results indicated in the Dhamma.
The efforts to develop mindfulness of the body (kāyagata-sati) resembles the passing of the nose-rope through the nostrils and training the calf to respond to the rope after tying it to a post. Just as when a calf is tied to a post it can be kept wherever the owner desires it to be, and it cannot run loose, so when the mind is tied to the body with the rope of mindfulness, that mind cannot wander freely, but is obliged to remain wherever the owner desires it to be. The habits of a disturbed and distracted mind acquired during the inconceivably long saṃsāra, become weakened.
A person who performs the practice of tranquillity and insight without first attempting body contemplation, resembles the owner who yokes the still untamed bullock to the cart or plough without the nose-rope. Such an owner would find himself unable to control the bullock as he wishes. Because the bullock is wild, and because it has no nose-rope, it will either try to run off the road, or escape by breaking the yoke.
On the other hand, a person who first tranquillises and trains the mind with body contemplation before turning the mind to the practice of tranquillity and insight meditation will find that attention will remain steady and the work will be successful.
In the case of the elephant, the wild elephant has first to be brought out from the forest into the field hitched on to a tame, well-trained elephant. Then it is taken to a stockade and tied up securely until it is tamed. When it thus becomes absolutely tame and quiet, it is trained in the various kinds of work in which it will be employed in the service of the king. It is only then that it is used in state functions and on battlefields.
The realm of sensual pleasures resembles the forest where the wild elephant enjoys himself. The Buddha’s dispensation resembles the open field into which the wild elephant is first brought out. The mind resembles the wild elephant. Confidence (saddhā) and will (chanda) in the teachings of the Buddha resemble the tame, trained elephant to which the wild elephant is hitched and brought out into the open. purification of morality resembles the stockade. The body, or parts of the body, such as respiration resemble the post in the stockade to which the elephant is tied. Mindfulness of the body resembles the rope by which the wild elephant is tied to the post. The preparatory work towards tranquillity and insight resembles the preparatory training of the elephant. The work of tranquillity and insight resembles the king’s parade ground or the battlefield. Other points of comparison can also be easily recognised.
Thus I have shown by the examples of the mad man, the boatman, the bullock, and the wild elephant, the main points of body contemplation, which is by ancient tradition the first step that has to be undertaken in the work of proceeding onwards from purification of morality within the dispensations of all the Buddhas who have appeared in the inconceivably long saṃsāra.
The essential meaning is that, whether it be by mindfulness of respiration (ānāpānasati), or by awareness of the four postures: going, standing, sitting, lying down (iriyāpatha), or by clear comprehension of all activities (sampajañña) or by attention to the elements (dhātu-manasikāra), or by perception of bones (aṭṭhika-saññā), one strives to acquire the ability of placing one’s attention on one’s body and its postures for as long as one wishes throughout the day and night as long as one is awake. If one can keep one’s attention fixed for as long as one wishes, then mastery has been obtained over one’s mind. Thus one attains release from the state of a mad man. One now resembles the boatman who has obtained mastery over his rudder, or the owner of the tamed and trained bullock, or the king who employs the tamed and trained elephant.
There are many kinds, and many grades, of mastery over the mind. The successful practice of body contemplation is, in the Buddha’s dispensation, the first stage of mastery over one’s mind.
Those who do not wish to follow the way of tranquillity, but who wish to pursue the path of pure insight (sukkha-vipassaka), should proceed straight to insight after the successful establishment of body contemplation.
If they do not want to practise body contemplation separately, but intend to practise insight with such industry that it carries body contemplation with it, they will succeed, provided that they really have the necessary wisdom and industry. The body contemplation that is associated with knowledge of arising and passing away (udayabbaya-ñāṇa), which clearly sees phenomena coming into existence and passing away, is very valuable indeed.
In the tranquillity method, by practising the body contemplation of respiration, one can attain up to the fourth absorption of the form sphere (catuttha rūpavacara jhāna); by practising attention to the appearance (vaṇṇa-manasikāra) of the thirty-two parts of the body, such as body hairs, head hairs, etc., one can gain all eight attainments (samāpatti),⁴⁶ and by practising contemplation of loathsomeness (paṭikkūla-manasikāra) of the same body contemplation one can attain the first absorption. If insight is attained in the process, one can also attain the paths and the fruits.
Even if completion is not arrived at in the practice of tranquillity and insight, if the stage is reached where one attains control over one’s mind and the ability to keep one’s attention fixed on wherever one wishes it to be, it was said by the Buddha that one can be said to enjoy the taste of the deathless (amata), i.e., nibbāna.
“Amataṃ tesaṃ, bhikkhave, paribhuttaṃ yesaṃ kāyagatāsati paribhuttā”ti. (A.i.45)
“Those who practice body contemplation, taste the deathless.”
Here, the deathless means great mental peace.⁴⁷
In its original untamed state, the mind is highly unstable in its attentiveness, and thus is parched and hot in nature. Just as the insects that live on capsicum are not aware of its heat, just as beings pursuing the realm of craving (taṇhā) are not aware of its heat, just as beings subject to anger and pride are not aware of the heat of pride and anger, so are beings unaware of the heat of unsettled minds. It is only when, through mindfulness of the body, the unsettled condition of the mind disappears, that they become aware of the heat of an unsettled mind. Having attained the state of the disappearance of that heat, they develop a fear of relapsing to that heat. The case of those who have attained the first absorption, or knowledge of arising and passing away through body contemplation, needs no elaboration.
Hence, the higher the attainments that one reaches, the more difficult does it become for one to be apart from mindfulness of the body. The Noble Ones use the four foundations of mindfulness as mental nutriment until they attain final cessation (parinibbāna).
The ability to keep one’s attention fixed on the body, such as on the respiration, for one or two hours takes one to the culmination of one’s work in seven days, or fifteen days, or a month, or two months, or three months, or four months, or five months, or six months, or a year, or two years, or four years, according to the intensity of one’s efforts. For the method of practising mindfulness of respiration, see my Ānāpāna Dīpanī.⁴⁸
There are many books by past teachers on the method of the thirty-two parts of the body. In this method, head hair (kesa), body hair (loma), nails (nakha), teeth (danta), skin (taco), are the group ending with skin as the fifth (taca-pañcaka). If attention can be firmly fixed on these five, the work of body contemplation is accomplished.
For analysis of the four great primaries (catudhātuvavatthāna), contemplation of physical phenomena (rūpa-vipassanā), and contemplation of mental phenomena (nāma-vipassanā), see my Lakkhaṇa Dīpanī, Vijjāmagga Dīpanī, Āhāra Dīpanī and Anatta Dīpanī.⁴⁹
Here ends a concise explanation of body contemplation, which is one of the four foundations of mindfulness, and which has to be established first in the work of mental development (bhāvanā) by individuals who can be taught (neyya) and those who can, at best, only know the word meaning (padaparama), for the purpose of attaining the paths and the fruits within a Buddha’s dispensation.
The word sammappadhāna is defined as follows:
“Bhusaṃ dahati vahati’ti padhānaṃ sammādeva padhānaṃ sammappadhānam.”
This means: padhāna is an effort carried out strongly, intensively; if carried out properly, rightly, it is sammappadhāna, right effort.
It is an effort that has not in it any element of unwillingness. It is also called zealous energy (ātāpaviriya). It is an effort that has the four characteristics spoken of in the following text:–
“Kāmaṃ taco ca nahāru ca aṭṭhi ca avasissatu, sarīre upasussatu maṃsalohitaṃ; yaṃ taṃ purisathāmena purisaviriyena purisaparakkamena pattabbaṃ, na taṃ apapuṇitvā viriyassa saṇṭhānaṃ bhavissati.”
“Let only my skin, and sinews, and bones remain and let my flesh and blood in the body dry up, I shall not permit the course of my effort to stop until I win that which may be won by human ability, human effort and human exertion.” (Ai.50)
These characteristics may be summed up as follows:
It is the effort that calls forth the determination, “If the end is attainable by human effort, I shall not rest or relax until it is attained, until the end is grasped and reached.” It is the effort of the kind put forth by the Venerable Soṇa⁵⁰ and the Venerable Cakkhupāla.⁵¹
It is only when absorption, the paths, and fruits are not attained after effort is put forth on this scale, as prescribed by the Buddha and throughout one’s life, that it can it be said that the cause of failure lies in the nature of the present times, or in one being reborn with only two wholesome roots (dvihetuka), or in one’s lack of sufficient previously accumulated perfections.
In this world, some individuals, far from putting forth the full scale of effort prescribed by the Buddha, do not even try to set up body contemplation effectively in order to cure their minds of aimless drifting, and yet they say that their failure to attain the paths and the fruits is due to the fact that these are times that preclude such attainment. There are others of the same class who say that men and women of the present day do not have the necessary accumulation of perfections to attain the paths and fruits. There are yet others of the same class who say that men and women of the present day are reborn with only two wholesome roots. All these people say so because they do not know that these are times of teachable individuals (neyya) who fail to attain the paths and the fruits because they are lacking in strenuous right effort.
If proper effort be put forth with a firm resolution (pahitatta) where a thousand put forth effort, three, four, or five hundred of them can attain the supreme achievement; if a hundred put forth effort, thirty, forty, or fifty of them can attain the supreme achievement. Here, a firm resolution, means the determination to adhere to the effort throughout one’s life and to die, if need be, while still making the effort.
The Venerable Soṇa Thera’s effort consisted of keeping awake throughout the three months of the rainy season, the only body postures adopted being sitting and walking. The Venerable Cakkhupāla’s effort was of the same order. The Venerable Phussadeva Thera⁵² achieved the paths and the fruits only after twenty-five years of the same order of effort. In the case of the Venerable Mahāsiva Thera⁵³ the effort lasted thirty years.
At the present day, there is a great need for such kind of strenuous effort. It happens that those who put forth the effort do not have sufficient foundations in learning (pariyatti), while those who possess sufficient learning live involved in obstacles (palibodha) of the business of bhikkhus; according as they live in towns and villages these include such matters as discussing the Dhamma, delivering sermons and discourses, and writing books on the Dhamma. They are persons who are unable to put forth strenuous effort for lengthy periods without a break.
Some persons are inclined to say that when their perfections become ripe for them to attain release from worldly ills they can easily obtain that release and that, as such, they cannot put forth effort now when they are not certain whether or not that effort will result in release. They do not appear to compare the suffering occasioned by thirty years’ effort now with the suffering they will encounter if, in the interim before they attain release, they are cast in the hell regions for a hundred thousand years. They do not appear to remember that the suffering occasioned by thirty years’ effort is not as bad as the suffering caused by just three hours in the hell regions.
They may say that the situation will be the same if no release is attained after thirty years’ effort, i.e., they will be no closer to release. However, if a person is sufficiently mature for release, they will attain that release through that effort. If they are not sufficiently mature, they will attain release in the next life. Even if they fail to attain release within the present Buddha’s dispensation, the habitual kamma of repeated efforts at mental development (bhāvanā āciṇṇa kamma) is a powerful kamma. Through it one can avoid the lower realms, and can meet the next Buddha after continuous rebirths in the happy course of existence (sugati). In the case of those who do not put forth the effort, they will miss the opportunity of release even though they are mature enough to obtain release through thirty years’ effort. For lack of effort they have nothing to gain and everything to lose. Let all, therefore, acquire the eye of wisdom, and beware of the danger of not making effort.
There are four kinds⁵⁴ of right effort:–
In the personality of every being wandering in saṃsāra, there are two kinds of unwholesome volitional actions, namely: arisen and unarisen.
The arisen unwholesome states means past and present unwholesome kammas. They comprise unwholesome volitional actions committed in the interminable series of past world-cycles and past lives. Among these there are some that have expired, having already produced rebirths in the four lower realms. There are others that await the opportunity of producing rebirths in the lower realms, which accompany living beings from world-cycle to world-cycle and from life to life.
Every being in whom personality-view (sakkāya-diṭṭhi) resides, be he a human being, a deva, or a brahma, possesses an infinitely large store of such past debts, so to say, consisting of unwholesome kamma that has the potential of producing rebirths in the lowest Avīci hell. Similarly, there is an infinite store of other kamma capable of producing rebirths in the other lower realms. These past kamma that awaits a favourable opportunity for producing rebirth resultants and which accompany beings from life to life until they are expended, are called arisen (uppanna).
These past arisen unwholesome kammas have their roots in personality-view. As long as personality-view exists, they are not expended without producing resultants. However, when one rids oneself of personality-view by gaining insight into the characteristic of not-self (anatta-lakkhaṇa), from that instant all the arisen unwholesome kammas lose their potential and disappear from the store of past unwholesome kamma. From that existence, one will no longer be subject to rebirth in the lower realms in future saṃsāra not even in one’s dreams.
Unarisen unwholesome kamma means future unwholesome volitional actions. Beginning with the next instant in this life, all the new evil and unwholesome acts that one commits whenever opportunity occurs in the course of this present life and in the succession of lives that are to follow, are called unarisen (anuppanna). The new unwholesome misdeeds that one can commit even during a single lifetime can be unlimited in number.
All these unarisen kammas have their origin in personality-view. If at any time personality-view disappears, all the new unarisen unwholesome kammas also disappear, even at that instant, from the personality of the beings concerned, leaving no residue. Here, “disappear” means that there will be no occasion, starting from the next instant, in the future succession of lives and the future succession of world-cycles, when new unwholesome kammas are perpetrated. Throughout future saṃsāra, those beings will not commit, even in their dreams, any unwholesome kamma such as killing living beings (pāṇātipāta).
If personality-view remains, even though he may be a Universal Monarch exercising sway over the whole world, he is, as it were, sandwiched between hell-fires in front and hell-fires behind, and is thus hedged in between the two types of arisen and unarisen unwholesome kammas. He is thus purely a creature of hell-fire. Similarly, the kings of the celestial realms, Sakka the king of Tāvatiṃsa, the Brahmas of the realms of form (rūpa-loka) and formless realms (arūpa-loka) are all purely creatures of hell-fire. They are creatures that are hitched on to the chains of hell and the lower realms. In the great whirlpool of saṃsāra, they are purely creatures who drift or sink.
In the infinitely long saṃsāra, beings have to cultivate the desire to encounter a Buddha’s dispensation, which is an extremely difficult achievement. Hedged in as they are, from before and behind, by the hell-fires of arisen and unarisen unwholesome kammas, they have to cultivate earnestly the desire to extinguish those fires once and for all. Hence, those beings who do encounter the dispensation of a Buddha have to make the extinguishing of the hell-fires of arisen and unarisen unwholesome kammas their sole task for their future welfare.
The task of extinguishing the unwholesome acts, arisen and unarisen consists of ridding oneself of personality-view and no more. If personality-view is uprooted, the two type of unwholesome kamma are entirely extinguished.
Bon-sin-san Stream-winners,⁵⁵ like Visākhā and Anāthapiṇḍika, who are infinitely numerous among humans, devas, and Brahmas, are beings who have obtained release from the state of sinking and drifting in the great whirlpool of saṃsāra (round of rebirths) from the moment personality-view was uprooted. They are beings who have attained the first stage of nibbāna with the five aggregates remaining (sa-upādisesa nibbāna).⁵⁶ Although they are liable to wander in the round of rebirths for many more lives and many more world-cycles, they are no longer worldly beings. Having become “Bon-sin-san” Noble Ones, they are beings of the supramundane sphere (lokuttara).
Here ends the part showing arisen and unarisen unwholesome kammas from which Stream-winners have obtained release.
I shall now show the division of wholesome kammas into arisen and unarisen, first with reference to the three qualities of morality, concentration, and wisdom, and second with reference to the seven purifications (satta visuddhi).
When it is said that saṃsāra is very terrifying, it is because of the evil deeds (duccarita), arisen in the past and present and unarisen, but still to arise in the future, which have wrong view (diṭṭhi) as their root. When it is said that there is no hiding place, no haven, on which one can depend, it is because of the self-same evil deeds and wrong views.
When wrong views are extinguished, both old and new evil deeds are also extinguished. When old and new evil deeds are extinguished, release from rebirth in the lower worlds is attained and only exalted states of humans, devas and Brahmas remain. Since beings have to cultivate a desire to encounter a Buddha’s dispensation to secure release from rebirth in the lower realms and from old and new evil deeds, now that they have encountered the Buddha’s dispensation in this very existence, it behoves them to make an attempt to extinguish the great evil of wrong views.
Wrong view is established in beings in three layers, viz:–
These layers are the realm of personality-view. They may be called coarse, medium, and fine aspects of wrong view.
I shall now discuss how the results of wrong view — the ten evil deeds — enter these layers.
The coarse layer of wrong view, comprises unwholesome kamma, committed through overt deeds and speech. The middle layer of obsession (pariyuṭṭhāna) comprises the evils that occur in thoughts. The subtlest, latent layer (anusaya), is the evil that lies latent in the personalities of beings throughout the beginningless round of rebirths (anamatagga-saṃsāra), though it may not yet result in manifestations of acts, speech, or thoughts.
It may be said that there are three kinds of fire in a match-box. The first is the fire that lies latent in a box of matches. The second is the fire that ignites a match when it is struck. The third is the fire that is transferred to another object when it is brought into contact with the flame. Such a fire is that which burns rubbish heaps, clothes, houses, monasteries, and villages.
This last fire, the fire that is transferred to another object, resembles the coarse wrong view, manifested in transgressions by acts and speech. The fire that burns the match resembles the medium wrong view of obsession, which is manifested in the mind every time it comes into contact with objects of thought. The fire that is latent in the box of matches resembles the latent wrong view that resides in the personalities of beings throughout the succession of lives in the unfathomable aeons of existence.
This fire that lies latent in the box of matches does not burst into flame as long as the match head is not rubbed with the surface of the match-box. It does not cause any harm even if it is kept in contact with highly flammable materials such as gunpowder. In the same way, the wrong view that lies latent in the personality does not manifest as long as it does not come into contact with evil objects of thought or other causes of evil. When, however, evil objects of thought or other causes impinge on the six sense-doors, the latent wrong view is agitated and begins to manifest in the mind-door, or in the plane of the obsession through the function of volition. If, at that time, the manifestations can be suppressed by good doctrines, they disappear from the obsessive plane and return to the latent plane, remaining there as latent tendencies. If they cannot be suppressed, they continue to manifest themselves as developing volitions. If they are further disturbed (in the obsessive plane), they manifest in the transgressive plane in the form of evil speech or evil deeds.
In this world, if one can control oneself in the transgressive and obsessive planes, and if thereby one’s acts, speech, and thoughts are unsoiled, one is called a good, pious, or moral person. However, such a person is not aware of the latent plane. If the latent plane is not destroyed, even if perfect control is exercised over the transgressive and obsessive planes, such control can only be of a temporary nature. If one is strong in the observance of moral principles, control can last for the whole life, but there can be no guarantee regarding the next life, when upheavals in these two planes may occur.
Greed (lobha), anger (dosa), and delusion (moha) also each have three planes. To destroy these three planes of wrong view completely, people have to cultivate the three trainings of morality, concentration, and wisdom. They have to practise the seven purifications.
As far as lay people are concerned, morality means the eight precepts with right-livelihood as the eighth, which is constant morality for them. The eight-precepts observed on Uposatha days and the ten precepts add refinement to constant morality. It is a good thing to observe them, but it does not matter much if they cannot be observed. For those people who assume the yellow garb of sages (isi),⁵⁸ the eight and ten precepts constitute morality. The eightfold Uposatha-day morality is included in the ten-precepts. For bhikkhus, the fourfold purifying morality constitutes morality.
Preliminary, access, and absorption concentration,⁵⁹ which are obtained by mindful body contemplation such as on respiration, or by meditating on the bones of the body (as one of thirty-two parts), constitute concentration.
The four mundane purifications,⁶⁰ together with supramundane purification by knowledge and vision (lokuttara-ñāṇadassana-visuddhi) — these constitute wisdom (paññā).
Among the three planes of wrong view, morality destroys the plane of transgression (vītikkama). This means that if one possesses the purification of morality (sīla-visuddhi), upheavals in deeds and speech cannot occur. Concentration (samādhi) can destroy wrong view on the plane of mental obsession (pariyuṭṭhāna). This means that if attention to meditative practice (bhāvanā-manasikāra) is firmly established, upheavals in thought cannot occur. Wisdom destroys wrong view on the latent plane. This means that, if insight is obtained into the entire personality as a mere group of mind and matter (nāmarūpa), which is impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self, then the latent store of wrong view that may manifest itself in the wrong notions of a person (puggala), living being (satta), permanent, pleasant (sukha), and self (atta), will disappear. So long as this latent tendency to wrong view (diṭṭhi-anusaya) exists, the destruction of the plane of transgression by morality and the plane of mental obsession by concentration, can be no more then temporary.
In the division of acts as arisen and not arisen, there are two methods: 1) division based on this life as the starting point, and 2) division based on the past infinite saṃsāra as the starting point.
I shall now show the method based on this life as the starting point. In those who have never undertaken to keep moral precepts (sīla) in this life, morality is unarisen. In those who at one time or other in this life have undertaken to keep precepts, such morality is arisen. The same applies to concentration and wisdom: what was attained in this life is arisen (uppanna), and what was never attained in this life is unarisen (anuppanna).
In the method based on the past saṃsāra as the starting point, there are two kinds of morality, mundane (lokiya) and supramundane (lokuttara). mundane morality is arisen there is no being who at one time or other in the past saṃsāra has not undertaken to keep the rules of mundane morality. However, supramundane morality, as far as unliberated ordinary persons (puthujjana) are concerned, is unarisen.
Concentration is also of two kinds, mundane and supramundane. Since mundane concentration had been attained on many occasions by beings in the past saṃsāra, it is arisen. Supramundane concentration in the case of ordinary persons, is unarisen.
Wisdom is likewise of these two kinds, mundane and supramundane. The four mundane purifications (lokiya-visuddhi)⁶⁰ are mundane wisdom, and are arisen for those who have encountered Buddha’s dispensations in the past and have practised these purifications; they are unarisen for those who have never encountered any Buddha’s dispensation in past saṃsāra. The purification by knowledge and vision (ñāṇadassana-visuddhi) is supramundane wisdom (lokuttara-paññā). As far as ordinary persons are concerned, it is unarisen for them since it was never attained by them in the past saṃsāra.
I shall now show the four modes of effort (padhāna).
Those beings who are destined to be a Solitary Buddha (Paccekabuddha) had first acquired the seeds of meditation on not-self during their encounter with a Buddha’s dispensation. When there is no Buddha’s dispensation in the world, even the mere sound of not-self is not heard. By the sound of not-self is meant the sound of such terms as formulate the impersonal nature of existence, such as mind and matter, the aggregates, the elements, the sense-faculties, and the law of dependent origination. The whole of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka is replete with the sound of not-self; and so is the whole of its compendium, the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha.⁶¹
The work of meditation on not-self consists of fulfilling purification of morality (sīla-visuddhi), then setting up body contemplation (kāyagatāsati), and after tranquillizing and controlling one’s madly tempestuous and unstable mind, of putting forth effort in the work of tranquillity and insight meditation. It is only when the plane of latent wrong views (diṭṭhi-anusaya) is destroyed through such effort that all the wrong views, arisen and unarisen and the evil deeds disappear.
Unarisen morality (anuppanna-sīla), which has never occurred in the life of ordinary persons throughout the past infinite saṃsāra, consists of three factors of the supramundane Eightfold Path: right speech, right action and right livelihood. They are comprised in the path of stream-winning (sotāpatti-magga) and have nibbāna as their object. This morality destroys the evil acts manifesting themselves in action, speech and wrong modes of earning a living. From the moment that this destruction has taken place, the evils appearing in those three forms, do not appear again even for an instant throughout the succession of many lives and many world cycles that follow.
This supramundane morality is achieved only when meditation on not-self is successfully practised. Beings must attempt to achieve this unarisen morality while living during a Buddha’s dispensation. This means that from the moment of setting up purification of morality, with body contemplation up to the successful completion of meditation on not-self, beings must attempt without relaxation to practise the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment.
Arisen morality (uppanna-sīla), which has often occurred in past infinite saṃsāra, means mundane morality (lokiya-sīla) or sense-sphere morality (kāmāvacara-sīla). When it is said that attempts must be made to attain the firm preservation of that morality, being the fourth right effort), it must be understood that there are two planes of mundane morality: stable (niyama) and unstable (aniyama). The state of Noble One is that of stability, while the state of an ordinary person (puthujjana) is that of instability.
The mundane morality of the sense-sphere attains to the plane of stability in the personalities of Stream-winners. Stream-winners do not transgress the eight precepts ending with right-livelihood (ājīvaṭṭhamaka-sīla) even in their dreams throughout the series of lives and world-cycles that follow until their final attainment of parinibbāna.
In the case of unliberated ordinary persons, however, the mundane morality of the sense-sphere is still on the plane of instability (aniyama). These persons have been virtuous lay individuals on an infinite number of occasions in the past. They have also suffered in the lower worlds countless numbers of times. They have been virtuous hermits and bhikkhus on other infinite occasions. In all their past existences however, they have never been free from the danger of being liable to rebirth in the the lower worlds of misery. Even now, the number of beings in these lower worlds is countless, and so is the number of humans, devas and Brahmas who are on the brink of being born in the lower worlds of misery.
Hence, those beings who possess mundane morality of the sense sphere (kāmāvacara-lokiya-sīla) which is still unstable, and which, so to say, resides in them for just a temporary short moment, should attempt, while there is yet opportunity within a Buddha’s dispensation, to transform it into the plane of stability (niyama). They should set up body contemplation, and having done so, should practise the requisites of enlightenment until the function of meditation on not-self is successfully completed.
Concentration and wisdom also have two planes, stability (niyama) and instability (aniyama). The full concentration of the absorptions (appanā-samādhi), which is identical with the eight or nine meditative attainments (samāpatti),⁶² becomes stable only on attainment of the stage of a Non-returner (anāgāmi). The wisdom that carries the quality of equability (tādi)⁶³ becomes stable only at the stage of an Arahant.
I shall now describe the concentration and wisdom that Stream-winners achieve. In accordance with the Cūḷavedalla Sutta,⁶⁴ right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration, which are factors of the path of Stream-winning, having nibbāna as object, are called supramundane concentration (lokuttara-samādhi).
These three constituents of the concentration group (within the supramundane Eightfold Path) can extinguish once and for all, through abandoning by cutting-off (samuccheda-pahāna),⁶⁵ the mental evils of covetousness (abhijjhā) and ill-will (vyāpāda) which have wrong effort (micchā-vāyama), wrong mindfulness (micchā-sati) and wrong concentration (micchā-samādhi) as their roots. From the instant they are eradicated, those mental evils of covetousness and ill-will do not arise again throughout the many lives and world-cycles that may follow. It is the kind of concentration that can be achieved only within a Buddha’s dispensation, when meditative cultivation of the anatta doctrine (anatta-bhāvanā) appears. Hence, now that beings have encountered a Buddha’s dispensation, they should endeavour to achieve that so far unarisen kind of concentration before they become severed from the teaching by the vicissitudes of saṃsāra. This means, that, beginning with body contemplation, they should cultivate the requisites of enlightenment until they attain the successful culmination of meditation on not-self.
Arisen concentration (uppanna-samādhi), which has occurred countless times in the infinite past saṃsāra, consists of concentration of the sense-sphere (kāmāvacara-samādhi), i.e., neighbourhood concentration), of the fine-material (rūpavacara) and immaterial sphere (arūpavacara). When it was said that attempts must be made for the stability of arisen concentration it must be understood that this mundane concentration has likewise two planes, viz. stability and instability. The mundane right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration, with which Noble Ones are endowed, are on the plane of stability. The evil deeds of covetousness and ill-will do not arise in them even in their dreams throughout the succession of lives and world-cycles that follow until their final attainment of parinibbāna.
The triple (path) group of mundane concentration, with which ordinary persons are endowed, is on the plane of instability. In the infinite past saṃsāra, these individuals have had concentration. They have been hermits and monastics endowed with the absorptions and supernormal powers (iddhi) during countless existences. In the life-span of every world-system, there are four world-cycles, each of unfathomable duration. In three of these world-cycles, these ordinary persons have been Brahmas in the brahma worlds. In every one of these world-systems there have been lower realms of misery, and these worlds of misery have been filled by these self-same Brahmas, as hungry ghosts, beings of hell, animals, and jealous gods (asura). Compared with the infinitely long saṃsāra, the period of each of these world-systems is just like the blink of an eye. Thus it behoves us all to attempt the transformation of the instability of the three constituents of the concentration group (which we temporarily acquired in the past on many occasions) to the stage of stability, while we still have the opportunity now in the midst of an age in which the Buddha’s dispensation exists. Hence we should, after first setting up body contemplation, practise the requisites of enlightenment until successful completion of meditation on not-self.
In accordance with the Cūḷavedalla Sutta, right understanding and right thought, which are comprised in path of Stream-winning, having nibbāna as their object, are called supramundane wisdom. This wisdom destroys the latent plane of personality-view completely, and dispels, by way of abandoning by cutting-off (samuccheda-pahāna), every vestige of wrong view and wrong thought, together with the evil deeds and bad livelihood (durājīva),⁶⁶ once and for all. The old store accumulated by past evil kamma also disappears completely. Release is obtained from rebirth in the lower realms. From this instant the evils of wrong views and evil deeds do not reappear throughout future existences and future world-cycles.
This kind of wisdom appears only during a Buddha’s dispensation when meditation on not-self exists. Hence, as beings have now encountered a Buddha’s dispensation, they should endeavour to attain this unarisen wisdom, which so far has not arisen to them, before they are bereft of this teaching (in future lives). This means that, starting with body contemplation, they should cultivate the requisites of enlightenment until they reach the successful culmination of meditation on not-self.
Those kinds of wisdom that have often appeared in the past infinite saṃsāra are: the right view of ownership of one’s actions (kammassakatā-sammā-diṭṭhi); all kinds of mundane knowledge and wisdom on the level of the sense-sphere (kāmāvacara), and such higher knowledge (abhiññā) as the celestial eye (dibbacakkhu) and the celestial ear (dibbasota).
When it was said that attempts must be made for the stability of wisdom, it must be understood that this mundane wisdom has likewise two planes, viz. stability and instability. The mundane right understanding and right thoughts of Noble Ones are established on the plane of stability. From the moment they are thus established in that stable wisdom, and throughout the series of lives that follow until they attain parinibbāna, they will always possess the right understanding of ownership of kamma, of doctrinal knowledge (pariyatti-ñāṇa), knowledge of practice (paṭipatti-ñāṇa), and knowledge of the four truths (cātusaccā-ñāṇa).
The twofold mundane wisdom, however, with which ordinary persons are endowed, is on the plane of instability. In their wanderings through saṃsāra, these ordinary persons have sometimes been learned in the Dhamma, sometimes acquired fame through their learning, sometimes they were great monks or great physicians, while at other times they have also been cockles, snails, worms, leeches, lice, bugs, maggots, ticks etc., — creatures that could be said to be just alive. Hence, while the opportunity of an encounter with a Buddha’s dispensation is available, efforts must be made to transform unstable wisdom (which is but a temporary acquisition) into stable wisdom, in the way stated above.
This ends the detailed exposition of the two types of morality, concentration and wisdom, viz. as arisen and unarisen.
With this background, those laymen, hermits and bhikkhus who have encountered a Buddha’s dispensation in this life, who wish to rid themselves of evils in their future existences, and who wish to consolidate in themselves permanently such virtues as purification of morality, etc., should practise appropriately the four foundations of mindfulness, applying the right efforts, and so forth, to destroy the latent plane of personality-view.
If they wish to free themselves from the insane and wild mind such as is possessed by the madman, the incompetent boatman, the man afflicted with hydrophobia, and the sick man who vomits his medicines (as described above), and wish to consolidate their concentration or transform it to a stable condition, to enable them to keep their attention tranquil, steady, and fixed at will on any subject of meditation, they should practise appropriately the foundations of mindfulness with energy to destroy the latent plane of personality-view.
If they wish to free themselves from false doctrines (sammoha-dhamma) that can cast them into the utter darkness of the absence of wisdom; which can extirpate all feelings of respect and reverence that they have harboured towards the infinite and noble qualities of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha, as also of the establishments of the dispensation, leaving no trace in the existences that follow; if they wish to rid themselves of the great false doctrines that have led them in the past beginningless saṃsāra to approach, respect and pay reverence to all manners of spurious Buddhas (or religious teachers), because as ordinary persons they were not in a position to know the true Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha; if they wish to attain, in the series of existences and world-cycles beginning with the present, that faith known as firmly established confidence (adhigama-saddhā), and that wisdom known as firmly established wisdom (adhigama-paññā), by virtue of which they can continue to evoke within themselves, without let or hindrance, respect and reverence for the true Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha; and if they wish to transform them to the level of stability, then they must practise appropriately the four foundations of mindfulness, with the four right efforts, with a view to destroying personality-view on the latent plane. Here, the appropriate practice of right effort means that energy that is accompanied by the determination, “Let the skin remain; let the bones remain … etc.”
I shall now give a brief description of the four bases of success (iddhipāda).
The word-explanation if Iddhi is: “Ijjhānaṃ iddhi,” which means the fact of having succeeded, completed, or perfected.⁶⁷
In the Buddha’s dispensation there are five iddhis:–
These are the five essential attainments within a Buddha’s dispensation.
Abhiññā-siddhi means the completion of the task of knowing of the ultimate truths (paramattha-dhammā) which one had no knowledge of while one was beyond the pale of a Buddha’s dispensation. A thorough knowledge of the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (see note 61) (a summary of all the essential doctrines of the Abhidhamma) amounts to abhiññā-siddhi.
Pariññā-siddhi means the completion of acquiring full understanding of the Noble Truth of Suffering either through a knowledge of their characteristics (lakkhaṇa), functions (rasa), manifestations (paccupaṭṭhāna), and proximate causes (padaṭṭhāna), or through a knowledge of the three characteristics of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self, which they possess.
Pahāna-siddhi means the completion of the task of abandoning, i.e., destroying the defilements, which are the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering. In this book, since the main emphasis is placed on the attainment of the lowest class of Stream-winners, namely the “Bon-sin-san” Stream-winners, and not on the higher classes of Noble Ones, the completion of the task of destroying personality-view is pahāna-siddhi. Dispelling sceptical doubt (vicikicchā) is included in the task of destroying personality-view.
Sacchikiriyā-siddhi means: the completion of the task of realising the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering both bodily and mentally. This task consists of the suppression and destruction of the defilements.
Bhāvanā-siddhi means: the development of the three trainings in morality, concentration, and wisdom until the attainment of the supramundane path leading to the cessation of suffering. Also the seven purifications, beginning with morality, and their subdivisions, constitute as many kinds of iddhi, in the sense of potencies in their respective fields.
The word-explanation of Iddhipāda is: “Iddhiyā pādo iddhipādo,” i.e., root or basis of attaining completion or perfection (success or potency).⁶⁹
There are four kinds of Iddhipāda. They are:–
Chanda means the zeal or desire to obtain, desire to attain, desire to reach, desire to fulfil, desire to accomplish. The desire indicated here is extreme or excessive desire. There is nothing within or without one’s personality that can obstruct that desire. It is the kind of desire that evokes the thought, “If I do not attain this accomplishment in this life, I shall not rest content. It is better that I die rather than that I shall not attain it.”
It is the kind of desire nurtured by King Dhammasoṇḍa⁷⁰ of Benares during the time of the Kassapa Buddha,⁷¹ when the king said to himself, “What use is there in my being king of Benares if I do not get the opportunity of hearing a discourse of the Kassapa Buddha?” The king, therefore, relinquished his throne and went out in search of one who could repeat to him a discourse of the Kassapa Buddha, no matter that the discourse consisted of a short stanza only. Such desire is appeased if it is fulfilled, as in the case of King Bimbisāra,⁷² Visākhā, and Anāthapiṇḍika.⁷³ It is only when there are faint indications that the desire can be attained, but is not fulfilled, that the mind becomes troubled, and thoughts arise that it is better to die than live without attaining the desire. Examples of such desire existed also in King Temiya,⁷⁴ King Hatthipāla,⁷⁵ and kings, nobles, and rich men in the time of the Buddha who discarded their palaces, retinues and other luxuries to live the lives of bhikkhus in the Buddha’s dispensation.
Viriya means right effort together with its four characteristics (see The Four Right Efforts). Those with this kind of effort are infused with the thought that the aim can be attained by energy and effort. They are not discouraged even though told that they must undergo great hardships. They are not discouraged even though they actually have to undergo great hardships. They are not discouraged even though told that they must put forth effort for many days, months, and years. They are not discouraged even though they actually have to put forth effort for such long periods.
Those who are weak in energy recoil from their task when confronted with work requiring great energy and effort. They shrink when told that they will have to stay apart from friends and associates. They shrink from the prospect of the necessity to be frugal in sleep and food. They shrink from the prospect of long periods of concentration.
Citta (literally thought) means inquisitiveness to gain attainments when one comes in contact with the dispensation and hears the Dhamma. It is curiosity that is extremely ardent and strong.
Although one lives amidst the beauties and luxuries of the world, amidst acquired powers and fortunes, amidst the sacred books and the study of them, one is not allured, but one’s mind is always turned towards the attainments. One attains satisfaction and tranquillity only when one’s mind is absorbed in matters connected with the attainments. It is like the inquisitiveness of the alchemist engaged in the transmutation of base metals into gold or silver. Alchemists have no interest in anything else but alchemy. They forget to eat or sleep, or whether they have eaten or slept. They do not notice anything when out walking. Citta is great absorption of this nature.
Vimaṃsa (investigation) means: wisdom that can clearly perceive the greatness of the suffering of hell and that attendant on the round of rebirths. It is insight that can clearly perceive the advantages and benefits of the attainments. It is knowledge that can dwell on the deep and difficult teachings, and on their nature. One who possesses such knowledge can no longer find pleasure in any worldly pursuit, but only in the pursuit of the attainments. He or she finds gratification only in the acquisition of deep and profound attainments. The more profound they are, the greater is the desire to attain them.
Those who are endowed with any one of these four bases of success (iddhipāda) can no longer, during this life, admit or plead inability and remain without putting forth effort in the establishment of body contemplation (kāyagatāsati) and the higher stages of the dispensation such as the seven purifications. It is only those who have never possessed even one of these bases of success, and who cannot differentiate between the shallowness and profoundness of life, between the superficiality and depth of the dhamma, who admit or plead inability and remain without making any effort.
One endowed with even one of these four bases of success can achieve the attainments, according to the maturity of the perfections, until reaching the supramundane attainments, in this very life or as a deva in the next. The cases of those endowed with two, three, or all four need no lengthy explanation.
Those who do not possess even one of the bases of success, should attempt to acquire one or other of them. They admit or plead inability only because they have no desire to acquire the higher benefits of the dispensation, such as the four foundations of mindfulness. They should regard this very admission of inability as a highway to the lower realms. Thus, they should study and ponder over the discourses that can arouse zeal. They should approach a teacher who can arouse zeal and rely on him.
“Chandiddhipādaṃ bhāveti, viriyiddhipādaṃ bhāveti, Cittiddhipādaṃ bhāveti, vimaṃsiddhipādaṃ bhāveti.”
“He cultivates desire, energy, thought, and wisdom as the bases of success.”⁷⁶
Some, far from gaining the attainments, do not even try to attain the bases of success. If they do not possess desire (chanda), they do not even know that it is necessary to acquire such zeal. They admit and plead inability and defeat. The same is true in the cases of viriya, citta, and vimaṃsa.
Steady application of the mind to body contemplation, studying the anecdotes conveying a sense of urgency (saṃvega), applying oneself to the ascetic practices (dhutaṅga) and such other practices of the Dhamma, is setting up of energy. Applying oneself to profound subjects of Dhamma, such as the four great primaries, amounts to the setting up of wisdom.
If any one of the four bases of success is established, then it is certain that the respective attainments⁷⁷ will be achieved according to one’s perfections. Hence, it is stated in the commentaries that persons who do not possess any of the bases of success, resemble the sons of an outcaste (caṇḍāla),⁷⁸ while those possessing one of the bases of success resemble the sons of an emperor. The sons of an outcaste never even aim at becoming an emperor because they have no basis for such an attainment. Sons of emperors, however, always aim at becoming emperors because they are endowed with the bases for attaining such an aim.
Hence, wise persons of the present day should attempt to acquire the four bases of success (iddhipāda), so that they can destroy the great realm of personality-view and acquire, within this dispensation, the benefits of the higher attainments that can be obtained according to one’s perfections.
The word-explanation of the term Indriya is: “Indassa kammaṃ indriyaṃ.” This means the act of ruling, or of controlling, by rulers. “The act of ruling by rulers” means that wherever the ruler rules, nobody can go against him. In the present context, the control or rule that one exercises over one’s mind is the essential point in these controlling faculties.
These are the five faculties:–⁷⁹
Saddhindriya is to some extent synonymous with confidence (saddhā), but there are two kinds of saddhā, namely:–
The faith and confidence (saddhā) that leads ordinary men and women to perform acts of generosity, morality, and rudimentary meditation,⁸⁰ is called ordinary faith (pakati-saddhā). Here, as was shown in the simile of the madman, although such faith is to some extent a controlling faculty, its control does not extend to the capacity of controlling the unstable minds of ordinary folk in the work of meditation. Control is exercised over the instability only to the extent of leading to acts of almsgiving, morality, and rudimentary meditation.
Without faith and confidence, the mind never inclines to wholesome volitional actions (kusala-kamma), for ordinarily it takes delight only in evil deeds. This holds true also for the effort to attain to the purification of morality or to engage in the study of the sacred texts. This is how ordinary wholesome acts (pakati-kusala-kamma) are produced by the control of ordinary faith which is undeveloped (abhāvita) by genuine meditation.
In the work of attending to a subject of meditation (kammaṭṭhāna) for the practice of tranquillity and insight, ordinary faith has insufficient control over the mind as the mind is apt to recoil and rebound and to turn elsewhere. In meditative work, ordinary faith is not sufficient.
It is developed faith that prepares the seed-bed, so to say, for the acquisition of great strength and power through the practice of meditation, such as mindfulness of breathing.
In the context of the requisites of enlightenment it is developed faith that is called the controlling faculty of confidence. In the field of meditative exercises, it represents the disappearance of unstable and oscillating attention and the appearance of a clear and steady mind.⁸¹ The mind’s attention can be steadily fixed only on those objects that it finds clear and unobscured. The practice of body contemplation such as mindfulness of respiration, is the preparation of the seed-bed for faith and confidence developed and matured by meditation (bhāvanā-saddhā). If the mind is fixed on the contemplation of the body, such as the respiration, it amounts to the attainment of developed faith. If the work is continued in the field of tranquillity and insight the ability to destroy the three planes of personality-view can be acquired within this very life. The work of tranquillity and insight needs for their proper performance, reliance on a teacher who is very learned in the Dhamma.
Viriyindriya is to some extent synonymous with viriya, but there are two degrees of viriya, namely:–
Another classification is:
Ordinary energy can be easily recognized. Those who possess a lot of energy in worldly matters can easily attain developed energy (bhāvanā-viriya). The strict ascetic practices (dhutaṅga) of a monk are instances of bodily energy of a developed nature (kāyika-bhāvanā-viriya).
If, after setting up developed bodily energy (such as reducing sleep and being alert and energetic), there is still no mental energy (cetasikā-viriya), such as enthusiasm in keen attention to meditation (bhāvanā-manasikāra), then steady application to or concentration on the subjects of meditation (kammaṭṭhāna), such as mindfulness of breathing, cannot be attained, and the period of work is unduly lengthened without achieving clarity of mind and perception.
Any kind of work will be properly and appropriately done only if the person performing it obtains quick mastery over it. It will be improperly done if the work obtains mastery over the person. By “The work obtains mastery over the person” is meant that the work is done without real energy, as a result of which no concrete results appear, and as days and months drag on, distaste for meditation and slackness in body postures appear, leading to sloth. With the appearance of sloth, progress in the work slows down, and with the slowing down of progress, further sloth develops. The idea then appears that it would be better to change the form of the work. Thus constant changes in forms of work occur, and in that way the work obtains mastery over the person lacking energy.
In meditative work, quick success is obtained only by one endowed with both bodily and mental energy. From the moment when body contemplation is set up, the energy that develops day by day is developed energy, and it is this energy that, in the requisites of enlightenment, is called the controlling faculty of energy (viriyindriya). It represents the disappearance of sloth and laziness in meditative work and the appearance of enthusiasm and vigour. The mind takes delight in dwelling on objects on which its attention is strong. Thence, the task of setting up developed energy, and graded development, is identical with that of the controlling faculty of confidence (saddhindriya).
The controlling faculty of mindfulness (satindriya), in the context of the requisites of enlightenment, means the setting up of mindful body-contemplation, e.g., on respiration, and the establishing of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna), until supramundane right mindfulness (lokuttara-sammā-sati) as a path-factor, is attained.
The controlling faculties of concentration (samādhindriya) and wisdom (paññindriya) may be defined and described similarly.
The faculty of concentration dispels the distraction of mind when it is applied in the work of establishing mindfulness on an object such as the respiration. The faculty of wisdom dispels confusion and haziness.
The faculties of confidence, energy, and mindfulness, which precede those of concentration and wisdom, are like those who coronate a king. They raise the latter two faculties until the topmost excellence is attained.
After the setting up of body contemplation and the attainment of mastery over one’s mind, if the path of tranquillity is taken, the faculty of concentration becomes the eight meditative attainments (samāpatti), while the faculty of wisdom becomes the five higher knowledges (abhiññā),⁸² such as the supernormal powers, etc. If the path of insight is taken, the faculty of concentration becomes the voidness concentration (suññata-samādhi), signless concentration (animitta-samādhi), or desireless concentration (appaṇihita-samādhi), while the faculty of wisdom becomes the five purifications pertaining to wisdom,⁸³ the knowledge of the three contemplations (anupassanā-ñāṇa),⁸⁴ the ten insight knowledges (vipassanā-ñāṇa),⁸⁵ the knowledges pertaining to the four paths, the four fruits, and the nineteen of reviewing (paccavekkhaṇa-ñāṇa).⁸⁶
This shows how the five faculties occur together.
“Kattha saddhindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ? Catūsu sotā pattiyaṅgesu ettha saddhindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ.”
“Where should one look for the faculty of confidence? One should look for it in four constituents of stream-winning.” ⁸⁷
This means that the faculty of confidence predominates in the four constituents of stream-winning. These four are:–
These are the four factors that ensure the attainment of the path knowledge of stream-winning (sotāpatti-magga-ñāṇa) within this very life.
In the sutta passage⁸⁹ “Buddhe aveccappasādena samannāgato,” aveccappasādo means “unshakeable confidence.” It is the confidence of those who have attained access concentration while reflecting on the noble qualities of the Buddha. Access concentration here means steady and fixed attention achieved while reflecting on the noble qualities of the Buddha. When one encounters such steady and fixed attention, one must know that the control by confidence is predominant. Such a person is one who attains mastery over his mind in the matter of confidence in the noble qualities of the Buddha. The same holds true in regard to the noble qualities of the Dhamma and Saṅgha.
The foundation of supramundane concentration (the fourth constituent of Stream-winning) means the “Constant morality ending with right-livelihood as the eighth,” which can enable one to attain supramundane concentration in this very life. When that morality is unbroken and pure, it is free from the defilements of craving (taṇhā), conceit (māna), and wrong view (diṭṭhi), and in such case one must understand that confidence is prominent in that morality. Inability to observe the requirements of morality is called breaking it. Although the morality may be technically unbroken, if it is observed amidst ordinary worldly conditions, it is said to be impure. In accordance with the saying “The worth of a bull can be known only on the ascent from the bed of a stream to the banks,” lay people and bhikkhus who profess to be followers of the Buddha can know whether or not the turbulence and distractions latent in their minds have disappeared, (i.e., whether or not they have obtained mastery over their minds) only when they arrive at these four constituents.
“Kattha viriyindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ? Catūsu sammpadhānesu ettha vīriyindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ.”
“Where should one look for the faculty of energy? One should look for it in the four constituents of right effort.”
Lay persons and bhikkhus who profess to be followers of the Buddha can know whether or not the unsettledness and turbulence of their minds in the matter of energy have disappeared and whether or not they are thus persons who have obtained mastery over their minds, only when they come to the four constituents of right effort: “Let my skin remain, let my sinews remain, let my bones remain, let my blood dry up, I shall not rest until the realm of personality-view, the realm of wrong deeds, and rebirth in the lower realms, that exist in my psyche, are destroyed in this life.” This is the singleness of determination and effort in right effort (sammappadhāna). It is the effort of the same order as that exerted by the Venerable Cakkhupāla.⁹⁰ When one encounters such determination and effort, one must recognise in it the predominating control of energy over the mind. In the matter of energy, the unsettledness and turbulence of the mind have disappeared in such a person, and he is one within the Buddha’s dispensation who has obtained mastery over his mind.
“Kattha satindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ? Catūsu satipaṭṭhānesu ettha satindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ.”
“Where should one look for the faculty of mindfulness? One should look for it in the four foundations of mindfulness.”
Lay persons and bhikkhus who profess to be followers of the Buddha can know whether or not the unsettledness and turbulence of their minds in the matter of mindfulness have disappeared, and whether or not they are thus persons who have obtained mastery over their minds, only when they arrive at the four constituents of mindfulness. If the attention can be kept fixed on any part of the body, such as the respiration, by the successful practice of mindful body contemplation for as long as is desired, then it must be recognised as the control exercised by mindfulness. The unsettledness and turbulence of the mind of such a person have disappeared. He is one who has obtained mastery over his mind.
“Kattha samādhindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ? Catūsu jhānesu ettha samādhindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ.”
“Where should one look for the faculty of concentration? One should look for it in the four absorptions.”
If in the work of tranquillity (such as mindfulness of the respiration) at least the successful accomplishment of access-concentration is attained, and if thereby the hindrances) such as sensual desire and ill-will (which in the past saṃsāra have continuously been running riot in the mind) are removed, the attention of the mind on the objects of tranquillity becomes specially steady and tranquil. This should be recognised as arising out of the function of the predominant control exercised by concentration. The unsettledness and disturbances of the mind in the matter of concentration have disappeared from such an individual. He is one who has obtained mastery over his mind.
“Kattha paññiṅdriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ? Catūsu ariyasaccesu ettha paññindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ.”
“Where should one look for the faculty of wisdom? One should look for it in the Four Noble Truths.”
Among those who encounter a Buddha’s dispensation, knowledge of the Four Noble Truths is of supreme value. Only when this knowledge is acquired can they obtain release from the realm of personality-view, and that of evil deeds, and from the lower realms. Hence, in order to acquire a knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, they should at least attempt to obtain insight into the six elements of earth (pathavī), water (āpo), fire (tejo), air (vāyo), space (ākāsa), and consciousness (viññāṇa),⁹¹ or insight into their fleeting and unstable nature — how they do not last for more than the blink of an eye and how they are continually being destroyed. They should attain to this insight through such methods of practice as studying, memorising, reciting, reflecting, listening, discussing, questioning, practising insight exercises, and contemplating. If a clear insight is obtained into these six elements, there is no need for special practice with regard to the remaining phenomena.⁹² If the nature of impermanence can be clearly realised, the realisation of not-self follows as a matter of course.⁹³ The realisation of the nature of unsatisfactoriness (dukkha) can be accomplished in its entirety only when one attains the fruition of Arahantship (Arahatta-phala).
Thus, after putting forth effort for lengthy periods, when insight is gained into the nature of the six elements both internally and externally, as well as into the nature of their impermanence, fixed attention on them is achieved. This must be recognised as arising out of the predominant control exercised by wisdom. The unreliability that had been a feature of one’s mind throughout the infinite past saṃsāra gradually disappears.
Here, “Unreliability of one’s mind” means the perception of permanence in things that are impermanent, of happiness in suffering, of pleasantness in loathsomeness, of self in non-self, of individuals in non-individuals, of beings in non-beings, of humans in non-humans, of devas, Sakka and Brahmas in non-devas, non-Sakka, and non-Brahmas, of women, men, bullocks, buffaloes, elephants, horses in non-women, non-men, non-bullocks, non-buffaloes, non-elephants, and non-horses. Freedom from unreliability means perceiving the true reality after having obtained mastery over the mind within the Buddha’s dispensation.
If the Noble Truth of Suffering be clearly perceived, it follows as a matter of course that the other three truths can also be clearly perceived. In the perception of these four truths, the way that ordinary people perceive them is known as theoretical knowledge (anubodha), while the way of the Noble Ones is known as realisation (paṭivedha). Theoretical knowledge is like seeing a light at night, but not the fire from which it originates. Although the fire cannot be directly seen, by seeing the reflected light one can know without doubt that there is a fire. Seeing the fire directly is like realisation.
“Saddhindriyaṃ bhāveti, viriyindriyaṃ bhāveti, satindriyaṃ bhāveti, samādhindriyaṃ bhāveti, paññindriyaṃ bhāveti.” ⁹⁴
The meaning of this passage uttered by the Buddha is that the five controlling faculties should be practised and developed to facilitate the great work of tranquillity and insight.
A person who has not developed these five controlling faculties is like a country without a ruler or king. It is like the forests and mountains inhabited by wild tribes where no administration exists. In a country without a ruler there is no law. There, the people are unrestrained. Like animals, the strong prey on the weak. In the same way, the mind of a person who has not developed the five controlling faculties is distracted and runs riot with defilements. Just as a person possessed by evil spirits cannot bear to hear the sound of such recitations as “Iti pi so Bhagava” or “Hetupaccayo, ārammaṇapaccayo” ⁹⁵ when persons without developed faculties hear talk connected with the cause of contentment (paccaya-santosa) or with the establishment of mental development (bhāvanārambha),⁹⁶ they quickly discover antagonistic criticisms. In them, the desire to exert themselves in the work of tranquillity and insight never arises.
On the other hand, a person who develops the five controlling faculties resembles a country ruled by a just and lawful king. It resembles the towns and hamlets of the Middle Country of India (Majjhimadesa) where governmental administration exists. Such a person is not disturbed by the variegated theories of various persons. He or she is confirmed in the sole way of the Buddha’s teachings. When such a person hears talk connected with the cause of contentment, or the practice of mental development, his or her mind is clear and calm. He or she is confirmed in the desire to exert in the work of tranquillity and insight meditation.
In this way, the arising of the two kinds of desires in this world is not the work of beings or individuals, but depends on the existence or otherwise of development of the five controlling faculties. If there is no development of the controlling faculties, one kind of desire arises. If there is development of the controlling faculties, that desire disappears and a new kind of desire invariably appears. The more the development of the controlling faculties proceeds, the more does this new desire increase and gather strength. When all the five controlling faculties are set up, the desire for the paths and the fruits will immediately appear. Thus must beings develop the five controlling faculties in order to raise them from their ordinary level of faith, energy, etc., to the great heights of developed faith, energy, etc.
Parallel to the five faculties, there are five powers:–
They are like five generals engaged in destroying the hostile kingdom of personality-view. They are the fivefold strength on which bhikkhus and lay people can place their reliance.
As in the case of the faculties, the power of confidence is of two kinds: 1) Ordinary faith (pakati-saddhā), and 2) Developed faith (bhāvanā-saddhā).
Ordinary faith, which has no development through specific practice, associates with craving according to circumstances, and can thus produce only the ordinary wholesome actions (pakati-kusala-kamma) of generosity, morality, etc. Its limited strength cannot overcome craving. On the contrary, craving keeps ordinary faith under its power.
The Pāḷi texts mention,⁹⁹ with great clarity, four traditional practices of the Noble Ones (ariyāvaṃsa). They are:–
They constitute the realm of confidence.¹⁰⁰ In the present-day world, this great kingdom of confidence lies hidden and submerged. Today, beings take pleasure and enjoyment in material things (paccayāmisa): they take pleasure and enjoyment in worldly rank, dignity, and honour (lokāmisa); they take pleasure and enjoyment in the attainment of the pleasant life, in worldly riches, and in power and dominion (vaṭṭāmisa); and thus is the great kingdom of craving established as clearly as the great ocean round the island. This shows the weakness of ordinary faith in this world.
It is developed faith which, having its genesis in the successful practice of body contemplation (such as mindfulness of breathing) and being pursued until the disappearance of the distraction and unsettled condition of the mind, can dispel the craving which takes pleasure and enjoyment in the aforementioned three kinds of worldliness (āmisa). It is this developed faith that can save bhikkhus and lay people who are in the course of being drowned and submerged in the ocean of the three cravings,¹⁰¹ and that enables them to reach the island haven of the kingdom of confidence, as manifested for example in the four traditional practices of the Noble Ones. In the context of the requisites of enlightenment it is this developed faith that should be acquired.
Of the two kinds of energy, ordinary energy that is undeveloped through meditation practice, is associated with laziness (kosajja) according to the occasion, and produces ordinary wholesome deeds of generosity, morality, the study of the sacred texts, etc. This ordinary energy cannot dispel laziness; on the contrary, it is laziness that controls ordinary energy and keeps it under subjection.
When beings encounter a Buddha’s dispensation, they acquire the knowledge that in the past unfathomable saṃsāra they have been the kinsfolk of personality-view, of evil deeds and the inhabitants of the lower realms. The Pāḷi texts clearly prescribe the method of the traditional practice of the Noble Ones as a way of dispelling laziness; and the fourth of them, delight in meditation, should be practised until release from such a state of laziness (being the opposite of confidence) is attained.
The way of dispelling laziness may be thus described (in the case of a monk).¹⁰² Having equipped himself with the training rules, (which are the Buddha’s heritage), which he has committed himself to follow in the ordination hall at the time of a bhikkhu, he makes the trees and bushes of the forest his dwelling-place,¹⁰³ lives only on alms-food gathered on his alms-round, avoids company, observes the ascetic practices and applies himself scrupulously to mindful body contemplation.
These are the acts of energy that dispel the unwholesome volitional actions arising out of laziness. They are acts comprised in the realm of energy. This realm of energy remains obscure and is unknown in the present-day world. Today, although bhikkhus are aware that they belong to that class of beings still possessed of personality-view and evil deeds and liable to rebirth in lower realms, yet they live permanently in dwellings constructed in towns and villages by their donors; they take pleasure in the receipt of large gifts and benefits; they are unable to dispense with the company of other people, etc., all of which acts are comprised within the realm of laziness and this realm of laziness is as conspicuous as the ocean that inundates an island. This shows the weakness of ordinary energy.
It is only developed energy — such as being satisfied with a minimum of sleep, being always alert and active, being fearless, being bold and firm in living alone, being steadfast in meditative practice — that can dispel laziness. In the context of the requisites of enlightenment it is this developed energy that should be acquired.
The detailed meaning of the powers of mindfulness, concentration and wisdom may be known by following the lines of explanation given above. Next I shall give a more concise explanation.
The antithesis of mindfulness is absentmindedness (muṭṭhasacca). It means inability to become absorbed in the work of tranquillity or insight meditation; the inability to concentrate and to control one’s mind; the wandering of thoughts to objects other than the object of concentration. Ordinary mindfulness that one possesses in a rudimentary state from birth cannot dispel that absentmindedness. Only developed mindfulness can do it.
The antithesis of concentration is mental distraction (vikkhepa) (i.e., wandering thoughts and idle fantasies). It is the inability to concentrate, to control the mind and keep its attention fixed on one object. It is the arising of thoughts on objects other than the object of concentration. It is the unquiet and restless state of mind when applying itself to the work of meditation. Ordinary concentration cannot dispel the unwholesome state of distraction. Only developed concentration can do it.
The antithesis of wisdom is bewilderment (sammoha). It is ignorance, lack of clarity, vagueness, and absence of lucidity. It is the darkness shrouding the mind. This delusion cannot be removed by ordinary wisdom, nor by erudition (pariyatti-paññā), even if that comprises knowledge of the whole Tipiṭaka. It is only wisdom developed by meditation that has set up mindful body contemplation, which can gradually dispel delusion.
This shows the meaning of the five unwholesome opposites (paṭipakkha-akusala-dhamma) coupled with the respective powers.
These five unwholesome opposing forces are: 1) craving (taṇhā), 2) laziness (kosajja), or inability to take pains (lassitude), or lack of fearlessness in Dhamma practice (paṭipatti), 3) absent-mindedness (muṭṭhasacca), 4) distraction (vikkhepa), and 5) bewilderment (sammoha). The five things that can counteract and dispel them are called powers (bala). If any one of these powers is weak and unable to dispel the respective opposite, than meditation, be it tranquillity or insight, cannot be very successful as far as teachable individuals (neyya) are concerned.
Hence, at the present day, some can emerge from the realm of craving because of the strength of their power of confidence. They are rid of attachment to material things and to worldly dignities and honours. However, as they are deficient in the other four powers, they are unable to rise above the stage of contentment (santuṭṭhī) with their living conditions.
Some can emerge from the realm of craving and laziness because they are strong in the powers of confidence and energy. They are constant in observing a life of contentment, and (if monks) resolute in dwelling in forests and mountains and in the observance of the ascetic practices as exemplifying their energy However, as they are weak in the other three powers, they are unable to practise body contemplation, or do the work of tranquillity and insight.
Others are strong in the first three powers and thus can perform the work of body contemplation, achieving concentration on respiration or on contemplating the bones of the body. However, being deficient in the other two powers, they cannot rise up to the task of tranquillity and insight.
Other persons can achieve the attainment of absorption (jhāna) because they are strong in the first four powers, but as their power of wisdom is weak, they cannot rise to the work of insight.
Some are strong in the power of wisdom as far as their learning in the Tipiṭaka is concerned. They are also wise in understanding the teachings on the ultimate realities. However, because they lack the support of the other four powers they cannot emerge from the realm of craving, lassitude, absent-mindedness, and distraction. They live and die within the confines of these unwholesome states. Thus, whenever one is deficient in any one of the powers, one cannot rise above the realm of the respective opposite force.
Of the five powers, those of energy and wisdom are also bases of success. Hence, if these two powers are strong and coordinated, it does not happen that one cannot rise up to the work of insight because of the weakness of the other three powers.
People who do not know the functions of the bases of success, the controlling faculties and the powers, do not know why their zeal is weak and which are the opposing forces that assail them. They do not know the qualities of mind which they have to cultivate, and hence the desire to cultivate them never arises. It is thus that the traditional practices of the Noble Ones are on the verge of disappearing at the present day.
I shall give an illustration. There is a species of bull called “Usabha.” It is a bull worth more than a thousand ordinary bulls. If the characteristics and distinctive signs of that bull are recognised, and it is reared and nurtured properly, its limbs and marks will develop, and its strength and powers will increase. It can then guard even a hundred cattle pens from the incursions of lions and leopards.
If the owner of such a bull is ignorant of its potential, and thus does not rear and nurture it properly, but keeps and tends it just as one would any ordinary bull; if it is employed in ploughing and drawing carts in company with other bulls; then its distinctive marks and limbs will fail to develop and its strength and powers will remain dormant. It will thus live and die just like any other bull.
A knowing owner, however, will separate such a bull from the rest and keep it in a specially constructed shed. He will cover the floor of the shed with clean sand and will fix a ceiling to the roof. He will keep the shed clean and will feed the bull with paddy and pulses fit for human consumption. He will wash and bathe it. In such a case, the distinctive marks and limbs will develop, and its strength and powers will increase enormously.
In this Buddha’s dispensation, individuals requiring training (neyya) resemble the owner of the bull. The five powers of these individuals resemble the Usabha bull. The Satipaṭṭhāna Vibhaṅga, Sammappadhāna Vibhaṅga, Iddhipāda Vibhaṅga, Indriya Vibhaṅga, Bojjhaṅga Vibhaṅga, and Maggaṅga Vibhaṅga, of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, and the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta, Satipaṭṭhāna Saṃyutta, Indriya Saṃyutta, Bala Saṃyutta, and Bojjhaṅga Saṃyutta of the Sutta Piṭaka, resemble the books that expound the distinctive signs, marks, and characteristics of Usabha bulls, the methods how such bulls are to be reared and taken care of, and the strength and powers that such bulls can attain if reared and nurtured properly.
Those trainable individuals who, due to ignorance, do not attempt to develop the five powers through the work of meditation and who thus remain satisfied with the lower attainments within the Buddha’s dispensation, such as generosity, morality, and the study of scriptures, resemble the ignorant owner of an Usabha bull who does not rear and nurture it properly.
In this world, there are many kinds of worldly undertakings. There are undertakings that can be accomplished by the strength of wealth, and there are undertakings that can be accomplished by the strength of knowledge. Even in the case of the cultivation of land, several kinds of strength are needed for its accomplishment. Sometimes the strength of wealth has to be gathered first, and at other times the strength of knowledge. Preparatory education and study constitute the gathering of the strength of knowledge.
Similarly, in the Buddha’s dispensation, there are five powers needed for the work of tranquillity, insight, and the attainment of the paths, the fruits, and nibbāna. It is only when these powers are first brought together that the great works mentioned can be undertaken. Those persons who do not possess even one of the five powers cannot evoke a desire to undertake these great tasks. It does not occur to them that those great tasks can be accomplished in this life. They live forgetfully and without determination. If it is pointed out to them that the tasks can be accomplished, they do not wish to hear it. They do not know that such untoward thoughts occur to them because they are utterly impoverished in their spiritual powers. They lay the blame at the door of immature perfections, or being reborn with only two wholesome roots (dvihetuka), or at unfavourable times.¹⁰⁴
If, however, these people set up work in one of the four foundations of mindfulness, such as in mindfulness of respiration, and if thereby they set up the three powers of confidence, energy, and mindfulness such untoward thoughts will certainly disappear. It is inevitable that new wholesome thoughts must arise. This is because they have developed their strength.
This is how their strength is developed. Although such a person cannot as yet attain insight into body and mind, the weak faith grows through the control exercised over craving for material things and worldly achievements. The weak energy grows through control of lassitude. Weak mindfulness grows through control of absentmindedness. Concentration and wisdom, too, gather strength through control of distraction and delusion. When these powers grow, it is inevitable that the meditator’s mind must change.
A person who is afflicted with a major disease has no desire to take an interest in the ordinary affairs and activities of the world. However, after taking proper medicine and treatment, the grave illness is gradually cured and the patient is aroused from apathy, it is then inevitable that he or she will again take interest in normal activities. Here, the five unwholesome opposing forces, i.e., craving, lassitude, etc., resemble major diseases. The work of tranquillity and insight meditation resembles the affairs and activities of the world. Work in establishing mindfulness, such as mindfulness of respiration, resembles the proper medicines and treatment taken. The rest of this comparison can be easily understood.
Hence the Buddha aid: “He develops the powers of confidence, energy, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom…”
In this world, the power of builders lies in good tools, such as awls, chisels, axes, knives, saws, etc. Only when equipped with such tools can they undertake to build. Similarly, in this dispensation, the tools of tranquillity and insight meditation for achieving the knowledge of the paths and fruitions consist of developed confidence, developed energy, developed mindfulness, developed concentration, and developed wisdom, which are developed through one of the four foundations of mindfulness, such as mindfulness of respiration. These five powers are the strength of meditators (yogavācāra). Hence these five powers must be developed to undertake successfully the work of tranquillity and insight meditation within the Buddha’s dispensation. This is the meaning of the word “bhāveti” (develops) in the text quoted.
“Catusaccadhamme suṭṭhu bujjhati’ti sambodhi; sambodhiyā aṅgo sambojjhaṅgo.”
The word-explanation given above, means: sambodhi fully awakens to the Four Truths, therefore it is called awakening (or enlightenment). Here, sambodhi signifies supramundane path knowledge (lokuttara-magga-ñāṇa). A constituent of such path knowledge is called a factor of enlightenment.
Birds are first delivered from their mothers’ wombs in the form of eggs. By breaking through the shells, they are then delivered for a second time. Finally, when they become fully fledged with feathers and wings, they are delivered from their nests and can fly wherever they please. Similarly in the case of meditators, they are first delivered from the distractions of mind which have accompanied them throughout beginningless saṃsāra, successfully setting up mindful body contemplation or by accomplishing the work of tranquillity meditation. Secondly, when they attain insight into body, mind, aggregates etc., they are free from coarse forms of ignorance. Finally, when the seven factors of enlightenment (bojjhaṅga), develop and mature, they become fully fledged by attaining the knowledge of the supramundane path (lokuttara-magga-ñāṇa) called sambodhi, and thus they are delivered from the state of ordinary persons (puthujjana), attaining the status of Noble Ones (ariya), i.e., of the supramundane nibbāna.
There are seven factors of enlightenment:–
The mental factor of mindfulness (sati-cetasikā), variously called the foundation of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna), the controlling faculty of mindfulness (satindriya), the power of mindfulness (sati-bala), right mindfulness (sammā-sati), the path factor of mindfulness (sat-maggaṅga), this is the enlightenment factor of mindfulness (sati-sambojjhaṅga).
The mental factor of wisdom (paññā-cetasikā), variously called wisdom as the basis of success (vimaṃsiddhipāda), the controlling faculty of wisdom (paññindriya), the power of wisdom (paññā-bala), the path factor of right-view (sammā-diṭṭhi-maggaṅga), all are the enlightenment factor of investigation of states (dhammavicaya-sambojjhaṅga). Alternatively, the five purifications pertaining to wisdom, the knowledge of the three contemplations, the ten insight knowledges,¹⁰⁵ are also called dhammavicaya-sambojjhaṅga. Just as cotton seeds are milled, carded, etc., so as to produce cotton wool, the process of repeatedly viewing the five aggregates in the light of insight knowledge is called the enlightenment factor of investigation of states.
The mental factor of energy (viriya-cetasikā), variously called the four right efforts (sammappadhāna), energy as the basis of success (viriyiddhipāda), the controlling faculty of energy (viriyindriya), the power of energy (viriyabala), and the path factor of right effort (sammā-vāyama-maggaṅga), these are all the enlightenment factor of energy (viriya-sambojjhaṅga).
The joy and happiness that appears when the process of (truly) seeing and knowing increases by the practice of mindfulness, e.g., by mindful body contemplation, is called the enlightenment factor of joy (pīti-sambojjhaṅga).
The process of becoming calm and tranquil in both body and mind when the mental distractions, reflections and thoughts abate, is called the enlightenment factor of tranquillity (passaddhi-sambojjhaṅga). It is the mental factor of tranquillity of body (kāya-passaddhi) and of mind (citta-passaddhi).
The factors pertaining to concentration, called the controlling faculty of concentration (samādhindriya), the power of concentration (samādhi-bala), and the path factor of right concentration (sammā-samādhi-maggaṅga), are the enlightenment factor of concentration (samādhi-sambojjhaṅga). Alternatively, preliminary access and full concentration, or the eight absorptions, associated with the work of tranquillity and purification of mind (citta-visuddhi), and voidness concentration (suññata-samādhi) etc., associated with the purifications pertaining to wisdom, are also called the enlightenment factor of concentration. The concentration that accompanies insight knowledge (vipassanā-ñāṇa), or the knowledge of the paths and fruitions is called voidness concentration (suññata-samādhi), signless concentration (animitta-samādhi) and desireless concentration (appaṇihita-samādhi).
When work on the meditation object (kammaṭṭhāna) is not yet methodical or systematic, much effort has to be exercised both bodily and mentally. However, when the work becomes methodical and systematic, one is freed from such effort. This freedom is the mental factor of equipoise (tatramajjhattata cetasikā), and this is the enlightenment factor of equanimity (upekkhā-sambojjhaṅga).
When a meditator becomes endowed with these seven characteristics of enlightenment (sambodhi) equally, he enjoys the happiness and joy of a recluse (samaṇa) in the Buddha’s dispensation — a happiness and joy unequal and unlike any worldly pleasure. Thus it is said in the Dhammapada:–
“The monk who has retired to a lonely abode and has calmed his mind, experiences joy transcending that of men, as he clearly perceives the Dhamma.
“Whenever he reflects on the rise and fall of the aggregates, he experiences joy and happiness. To “those who know” that (reflection) is the deathless.” (Dhp vv 373-374)
There are texts and stories wherein it is related that ailments and major diseases have been cured merely by listening to the recitation of these seven factors of enlightenment.¹⁰⁶ However, these ailments and diseases can be cured only when the listeners are fully aware of the meaning of these factors, and great and clear confidence arises in them. When these seven factors of enlightenment are acquired in a balanced way, the meditator can rest assured that there will be no deficiency in mindfulness directed to the body; no deficiency in the perception of impermanence and not-self, nor in mental and bodily energy. Because the mind is firm regarding these three factors (sati, dhammavicaya, viriya), one experiences joy (pīti) in the knowledge that the light of nibbāna, which had never appeared before in the beginningless saṃsāra, not even in dreams, can now be perceived. Because of that joy and mental bliss (sukha), application to the meditation object becomes calm (passaddhi), and equanimity (upekkhā) arises, which is free from the anxieties and efforts for mindfulness (sati), to investigate (dhammavicaya) the perception of impermanence and not-self, and the necessity to arouse energy (viriya).
All the above statements are made with reference to the stage at which the factors of enlightenment are in harmony and their respective functions are well performed. However, even at the stage of ordinary practice, from the moment that mindfulness directed to the body is set up, qualities such as mindfulness are known as the factors of enlightenment.
The Blessed One has said (in the Bojjhaṅga Saṃyutta):–
“Satisambojjhaṅgaṃ bhāveti, vivekanissitaṃ, virāganissitaṃ nirodhanissitaṃ, vossaggapariṇāmiṃ; dhammavicaya-sambojjhaṅgaṃ … upekkhā-sambojjhaṅgaṃ bhāveti, vivekanissitaṃ virāganissitaṃ nirodhanissitaṃ vossagga-pariṇāmiṃ.”
“He develops the enlightenment factors mindfulness … equanimity, dependent on detachment, on absence of lust, on cessation, and culminating in relinquishment.”
This means that, in the ordinary course (referred to by the words “He develops …”) the process of setting up mindful body contemplation amounts to the setting up of the seven factors of enlightenment. The distinctive and higher cultivation of them is indicated by the words “dependent on detachment …” ¹⁰⁷
The meaning of the Pāḷi passage quoted above, is: One should practice the enlightenment factors of mindfulness, etc. This is dependent on the absence of all other activities and anxieties, on the absence of lust and greed, of the suffering attendant upon the round of rebirths and on the relinquishment of the four substrata of existence (upadhi).¹⁰⁸
The eight factors or constituents of the path are:
All these eight path factors are present in the supramundane purification by knowledge and vision (lokuttara-ñāṇadassana-visuddhi). In the preceding mundane purifications, right speech, right action and right livelihood are present only in the purification of morality (sīla-visuddhi). They are not present in purification of mind (citta-visuddhi) and the rest.
Hence, in the context of the requisites of enlightenment, purification of morality (sīla-visuddhi) is by nature “Dependent on detachment” (viveka-nissita), etc., in accordance with the following text from the Maggaṅga Vibhaṅga:–
“He develops right speech, dependent on detachment, dependent on absence of lust, dependent on cessation, culminating in relinquishment. He develops right action … right livelihood, dependent on detachment …”
It does not refer to morality (sīla) that has leanings towards happy forms of existence (bhava-sampatti) and is dependent on the round of rebirths (vaṭṭa-nissita). The purification of morality of those who have consciously given up attempts at attaining the holy paths and fruits in this life, is not genuine virtue belonging to the essence of the holy life (ādibrahmacariyaka-sīla) and thus is not of the genuine bodhipakkhiya class. If effort be made, however, towards the attainment of nibbāna in the next life, it can be the perfection of morality, which is part of morality tending towards the ending of the round of rebirths (vivaṭṭanissita-sīla).
The path factors of right speech, right action and right livelihood are purely of the morality group (sīlakkhandha) and hence constitute genuine perfection of morality. They are also called the three mental factors of abstinence (virati-cetasikā).
Right thought (sammā-saṅkappa) is the mental factor of initial application (vitakka-cetasikā). As it is the harbinger of wisdom, it is included in the wisdom group (paññākkhandha) of the eightfold path. It is threefold, namely: thoughts of renunciation (nekkhamma-saṅkappa), of non-ill-will (abyāpāda-saṅkappa) and non-harming (avihiṃsa-saṅkappa). Just as a person incarcerated in prison or besieged by enemy troops or encircled by a forest fire, or as a fish caught in a net, tank or trap, or a bird caught in a cage, will be absorbed (without being able to sleep or eat) in the one thought of how to escape from confinement, so are the attempts of those who contrive with energy of the sammappadhāna type to escape from the confinement of the old and infinitely numerous arisen unwholesome kamma (uppanna-akusala-kamma) and the infinitely numerous unarisen unwholesome kamma (anuppanna-akusala-kamma) that is due to arise in the future. The thoughts of such a person are the path factor of right thought of renunciation (nekkhamma-saṅkappa-maggaṅga). It is the sort of thought that looks for the way to escape from the suffering of the round of rebirths (vaṭṭa-dukkha).
The thought associated with absorption on loving-kindness (mettā jhāna) is called right thought of non-ill-will (abyāpāda-saṅkappa). If associated with absorption on compassion (karuṇā-jhāna), it is called right thought of non-harming (avihiṃsa-saṅkappa). The thought associated with the remaining absorptions is called right thought of renunciation.
The four path factors of right view, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration have been dealt with in the chapter on the enlightenment factors.
The morality of eight precepts with right-livelihood as the eighth (see note 21) that is taken and observed with the purpose of destroying the great kingdom of the latent tendency to wrong view (diṭṭhi-anusaya) belongs to the path factors of the mundane morality group (lokiya-sīlakkhandha-maggaṅga). It is also purification of morality. That eightfold virtue is twofold: for lay people and for monks. Abstention from the three kinds of evil deeds (kāya-duccarita) and fourfold evil speech (vacī-duccarita) comprise that eightfold morality for lay people. The eight or ten precepts (see notes 22 and 23) are refinements of that virtue.
For monks, that virtue is constituted by the observance of the 227 Vinaya rules, which cover bodily and vocal kamma. The remaining rules laid down in the Vinaya Piṭaka are refinements of it.
Just as trees grow in the soil, so the last six purifications beginning with purification of mind, develop in the soil of the first, the purification of morality (sīla-visuddhi). In particular, the purification of morality does not mix with the five middle (mundane) purifications, but supports them by securing antecedent purity. In the case of the seventh purification — the supramundane purification of knowledge and vision — the purification of morality operates in conjunction with it, being identical to the three constituents of the morality group of the (supramundane) eightfold path. The reason is that, in the case of the purification of morality, the objects of attention are different from those of the five middle purifications, but they are identical with those of the supramundane purification, operating together with it as co-existent (sahajāta).
With reference to the concentration group (samādhikkhandha) of the path, there are two courses of action. Firstly, the way of one who practises pure insight (suddha-vipassanā-yānika). After fulfilling purification of morality and setting up mindful body contemplation, if one does not follow the way of tranquillity, but the way of pure insight such as purification of view, etc. Secondly, there is the course of one who practises both tranquillity and insight (samatha-vipassanā-yānika). After attaining the first absorption etc., one takes up the practice of insight, by way of purification of view, etc.
Of these two: 1) In the practice of pure insight, the three path factors of the concentration group (samādhikkhandha) fulfil the functions of tranquillity and purification of mind (citta-visuddhi), through the three kinds of concentration known as emptiness concentration, signless, and desireless concentration. 2) In the practice of tranquillity followed by insight, the three path factors of the concentration group fulfil the functions of tranquillity and purification of mind, by way of the three stages of concentration, namely preparatory concentration (parikamma-samādhi), access concentration (upacāra-samādhi) and absorption concentration (appanā-samādhi). Thereafter, at the insight stage, the above two functions are fulfilled by emptiness concentration, etc.
During the period of the preceding practice of purification of morality and of mindful body contemplation, however, the three constituents of the concentration group fulfil the functions of momentary concentration (khaṇika-samādhi).
The two constituents of the wisdom group fulfil the functions of wisdom in the ways of both the practice of pure insight and that preceded by tranquillity, after the setting up of the purification of morality and of mindful body contemplation. These remarks apply to both the mundane and the supramundane path factors.
I shall now show the path of stream-winning (sotāpatti-magga) in the supramundane path factors. It should be remembered that this book is aimed at the lowest of the stages of sanctity, namely the “Bon-sin-san” sukkha-vipassaka-sotāpanna (see note 55). At the present time there are countless numbers of beings such as Visākhā, Anāthapiṇḍika, Sakka the ruler of Tāvatiṃsa, the four Great Kings (Cātummahārājika-deva) etc., who still continue to derive pleasure and ease within the round of rebirths, inhabiting their respective celestial abodes. They are beings who have before them seven more rebirths in the sense-desire worlds (including the lower celestial worlds of the sense sphere) and one rebirth each in the six worlds on the level of the fourth jhāna or the Vehapphala brahma worlds. The number of births in the brahma worlds of the first, second, and third jhāna is undetermined.
Why are they called Stream-winners (sotāpanna)? The five great rivers and the five hundred lesser ones that have their source in the Himalayas, do not flow up, but flow continuously down to the great ocean. Hence they are called streams. Similarly, Noble Ones do not fall back to the state of ordinary persons but proceed continuously until they attain cessation with no remainder of the aggregates (anupādisesa-nibbāna). In the case of the ordinary persons, although they may attain rebirth in the highest celestial realms, they possess still the liability to be reborn in the lowest Avīci hell. However, in the case of Noble Ones, wherever they may be reborn, they do not fall into the lower realms, but possess a continuous tendency of being reborn in a higher world. Though ordinary persons may attain the state Brahmas reborn with three wholesome roots (tihetuka)¹⁰⁹ in the fine-material (rūpa) or formless (arūpa) realms, they still possess the liability of being reborn with no wholesome roots (ahetuka)¹¹⁰ in an unhappy form of existence (duggati) as creatures such as dogs or pigs.
Whether it be the place of rebirth or the status attained in each rebirth, Noble Ones do not regress, but proceed higher and higher from one world to the next, or from one status to another, until after many rebirths and many worlds have passed, they reach the highest worlds and the highest status, when they discard the five aggregates entirely and attain to cessation without remainder. The process by which this straight path of ascent is traversed is called the stream of Dhamma (dhammasota). It comprises the stream of right view (sammā-diṭṭhi-sota) the stream of right thought (sammā-saṅkappa-sota) and so forth up to the stream of right concentration (sammā-samādhi-sota).
The stream of right view means the establishment of the great realm of right view where the light of the Four Noble Truths can be clearly perceived. This great realm of right view is established by destroying the great latent plane of personality-view. This resembles the rising of the sun after the night is over, when darkness is dispelled and light is established. In the same way the great kingdom of light of right view remains established throughout many lives and many world cycles until the attainment of cessation without remainder. This light increases and becomes more and more firmly established from one rebirth to another.
It also resembles a person born blind due to cataracts covering both eyes, who, on receiving good treatment, is cured of the cataract and gains sight. From the moment the cataract disappears, the view of the earth, the mountains, the sky with sun, moon and stars, etc., is revealed and remains so throughout one’s life. Similarly, the noble Stream-winners gain the view of the three characteristics of existence (tilakkhaṇa) and of the Four Noble Truths, and do not lose it. This is how the path factor “right view” is firmly established.
“Sammādiṭṭhissa sammāsaṅkappo pahoti.” ¹¹¹
“In him who has right view, right thought arises.” ¹¹²
According to this, if right view is established, right thought, which consists of the intention to escape from worldly ills and to protect others from harm and suffering, also becomes established and thrives from one rebirth to another until the attainment of the final goal. This is how right thought is established.
“Sammasaṅkappassa sammāvācā pahoti.”
“In him who has right thought, right speech arises.”
When the intention and plan to escape from worldly ills and to see others happy and unharmed is established, there will be right speech free from the four faults of evil speech (vacī-duccarita) and this will become progressively established. This is how right speech is established.
“Sammāvācāssa sammākammanto pahoti.”
“In him who has right speech, right action arises.”
If speech free from verbal misconduct is established, bodily acts free from the threefold evil deeds (kāya-duccarita) will become progressively established. This is how right action is established.
“Sammā-kammantassa sammā-ājīvo pahoti.”
“In him who has right action, right livelihood arises.”
When views, intentions, speech and deeds become pure, the forms of livelihood will also be pure and one will never resort to low and base forms of livelihood. This is how right livelihood is established.
“Sammā-ājīvassa sammā-vāyāmo pahoti.”
“In him who has right livelihood, right effort arises.”
When views, intentions, speech, acts and livelihood become pure, energy and effort of a kind that is never devoted to misconduct or wrong livelihood becomes permanently established. This is how right effort is established.
“Sammā-vāyāmassa sammā-sati pahoti.”
“In him who has right effort, right mindfulness arises.”
Similarly, right mindfulness that has its root in the efforts for morality, concentration and wisdom, becomes firmly established from one rebirth to another. This is how right mindfulness is established.
“Sammā-satissa sammā-samādhi pahoti.”
“In him who has right mindfulness, right concentration arises.”
In the same way right concentration which is rooted in mindful attention to the work of morality, concentration, and wisdom also becomes permanently established and thus becomes endowed with great power over the mind. This is how Right concentration is established.
It is in this way that the eight path factors (maggaṅga), called dhamma streams, become progressively established throughout many lives and many worlds, from the moment a being attains the stage of a Stream-winner until he attains final cessation without remainder (anupādisesa-nibbāna).
Although from the moment when body contemplation is set up, there is such progress as has been shown earlier, yet so long as the state of stability is not reached, that being is not yet a Noble One. It is the path of Stream-winning that is the starting point of the stream of Noble Ones. As soon as beings reach the path of Stream-winning, they enter the domain of the Noble Ones. Hence it is said:–
“Sotam ādito pajjiṃsu pāpuṇiṃsu’ti soṭāpannā.”
“They are called Stream-winners as they enter or reach the holy stream for the first time.”
This ends the answer to the question, “Why are they called Stream-winners?”
As soon as beings reach the stage of Noble Ones, they transcend the state of ordinary persons. They are no longer beings of the mundane (lokiya), but have become beings of the supramundane (lokuttara). They are no longer committed to the suffering of the round of rebirths (vaṭṭa-dukkha), having become beings of nibbāna. Throughout the series of many existences that may still be before them, they will never fall back from the first stage of their realisation of nibbāna, which they have achieved as Stream-winners. They are no longer liable to return to the latent plane of personality-view or to the state of ordinary persons. They are firmly established on the first stage leading to the final cessation realised during life (sa-upādisesa-nibbāna), and will, during their remaining existences, enjoy at will the happiness of humans, devas, and Brahmas.
These eight path factors occur simultaneously to these noble ones only at the instant of their attainment of a path or fruition (i.e., in supramundane consciousness). Where, however, mundane wholesome volitional acts (lokiya-kusala-kamma) are concerned, the three constituents of the morality group associate only with wholesome. However, the three constituents of the concentration group and the two of the wisdom group associate with many kinds of wholesome kamma.
Although the three path factors of the morality group associate only with wholesome kamma of morality, they are firmly established in Noble Ones as non-transgression (avītikkama) throughout their remaining lives.¹¹³
Beings who encounter a Buddha’s dispensation have to set up purification of morality first and then strive to acquire the requisites of enlightenment, to enter the stream of the Noble Ones.
I shall now give a brief description of how the practice should be undertaken.
The practice of the seven purifications amounts to practising the requisites of enlightenment (bodhipakkhiya dhammā).
In particular, the purification of mind concerns only persons who follow the way of tranquillity practice.¹¹⁴
The purification by knowledge and vision of what is path and not path concerns only those highly conceited (or self-deceiving) persons (adhimānika)¹¹⁵ who think that they have attained the holy paths and the fruits when really they have no such attainment.
The purification of morality, the purification by overcoming doubt, the purification by knowledge and vision of the way, the supramundane purification by knowledge and vision, all these apply to many different types of persons.
Of these five purifications, that of morality has been dealt with in the chapter on the path factors, under the morality group. It consists of keeping the precepts that have right livelihood as the eighth (ājīvaṭṭhamaka-sīla).
Purification of mind may be undertaken by practising mindful body contemplation. For that purpose, some take up mindfulness of respiration and, generally, it may be said that if attention can rest on the respiration whenever one wishes and in whatever the bodily posture may be, then mindful body contemplation is established. Some practise that contemplation by way of the four postures of the body (iriyāpatha), in accordance with the text in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta: “When going, he is aware “I am going,” etc. Others take up clear comprehension (sati-sampajañña) of bodily activities. Others, practise body contemplation by attention to the thirty-two parts of the body. The first five are head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, and are called the skin pentad (taca-pañcaka). If attention can be firmly and steadily placed on these parts at will, in a bodily posture, body contemplation is established. Attention can also be directed to the bones of the body. Body contemplation will be established if attention can be steadily and firmly placed on the bones of the head, the skull. If, from the beginning, the physical and mental processes (nāma-rūpa) connected with the body (i.e., its functions and the attention given to all these processes) can be analytically discerned, and if attention to such work is firm and steady, the work of body contemplation is accomplished. This gives concisely the method of mindful body contemplation.
The work of purification of view can be considered accomplished if the six elements (see note 91) can be analytically perceived.
In the work of purification by overcoming doubt (kaṅkhāvitaraṇa-visuddhi), if the causes for the appearance of the six elements mentioned above can be clearly perceived, it is accomplished. It must be clearly perceived that the causes for the appearance of earth, water, fire, air, and space are kamma, consciousness, temperature, and nutriment,¹¹⁶ and that the causes for the appearance of the six types of consciousness are the corresponding six objects of perception.
By the purification by knowledge and vision of the way (paṭipadā-ñāṇadassana-visuddhi) is meant the three characteristics of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not-self. If these are clearly perceived in the six elements mentioned above, this purification is attained.
The supramundane purification by knowledge and vision (lokuttara-ñāṇadassana-visuddhi) consists of the knowledge pertaining to the four holy paths of stream-winning, etc.
This shows concisely the five (middle) purifications.
I shall now examine what constitutes the heritage of the Buddha’s dispensation (sāsana-dāyajja), which means the act of receiving heritage.¹¹⁷
Dātabban’ti dāyaṃ: That which is given as heritage is called an inheritance, i.e. property given as a heritage by parents to their children.
Dāyaṃ ādadatī’ti dayādo: Fit to receive heritage, hence it is called dāyado. Children or heirs who are fit to receive a heritage. Dāyadassa kammaṃ dāyajjaṃ: The act of receiving the inheritance by heirs. Hence it is called dāyajjaṃ.
Sāsanassa dāyajjaṃ sāsanadāyajjaṃ: The act of receiving the heritage of the dispensation. Hence it is called the inheritance of the dispensation. It is also called Buddhadāyajja: The act of receiving the heritage of the Buddha.
First, I shall show the nature of the heritage. In this dispensation there are two kinds of heritages, namely material things (āmisa) and Dhamma.
The four requisites of a bhikkhu, namely, alms-food, robes, dwellings, and medicines, are called the material heritage. The three trainings of morality, concentration, and wisdom, the seven purifications, such as purification of morality and purification of mind, the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment, such as the four foundations of mindfulness and the four right efforts, are called the Dhamma heritage.
There are two kinds of Dhamma heritage, namely:–
The mundane training in morality, concentration, and wisdom, the six mundane purifications, and the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment associated with the mundane purifications, are called the mundane Dhamma heritage. The training associated with the Paths and Fruits, the supramundane purification by knowledge and vision, and the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment are called the supramundane Dhamma heritage.
The Mundane Dhamma heritage may be further divided into:–
The practice of morality, concentration, and wisdom directed towards the attainment of worldly positions such as being the mentor or teacher of kings, or towards the acquisition of power, retinue, and property, or towards the attainment of rebirth as noble and highly placed humans and devas, is called the Dhamma heritage dependent on the round of rebirth.
There are three forms of rounds of rebirths: the round of defilements (kilesa-vaṭṭa), the round of volitional activities (kamma-vaṭṭa), and the round of resultants (vipāka-vaṭṭa). Vivaṭṭa means nibbāna, which is the end of these rounds of rebirth. The practice of morality, concentration, and wisdom directed towards the ending of the three forms of rounds of rebirths is called vivaṭṭa nissita dhamma heritage.
The practice of wholesome deeds directed towards the ultimate attainment of nibbāna, as of worldly benefits and pleasant rebirths in the interim before nibbāna is attained, is related to both vaṭṭa and vivaṭṭa, and hence is called ubhāva-nissita. In the Pāḷi texts, however, only vaṭṭa and vivaṭṭa are mentioned. Those who are more inclined to the attainment of results in saṃsāra may be said to perform kamma dependent on the round of rebirth, while those who are more inclined to the attainment of results not dependent on rebirth may be said to perform wholesome kamma that is not dependent.
With reference to the classification of stable and unstable, the great realm of latent personality-view that ordinary persons possess is like a great, wide and deep pit of hot burning embers. The morality, concentration, and wisdom that occasionally occur to an ordinary person may be compared to drops of rain falling on that great pit of burning embers. “I fulfil morality, “I possess morality,” “I develop concentration,” “I know,” “I am wise,” “I am clever,” “I perceive mind and matter,” “I contemplate mind and matter,” are declarations of acts of morality, concentration, and wisdom,which revolve around personality-view that is “I,” and thus resemble the droplets of rain falling on the great pit of burning embers. Just as the great pit of burning embers scorch and dry-up the drops of rain and cause their disappearance, so does the great kingdom of personality-view cause the disappearance of such morality, concentration, and wisdom. Hence, the morality, concentration, and wisdom appearing in ordinary people are of the unstable class. Although ordinary people may possess morality, concentration, and wisdom, their possession is only temporary.
The mundane morality of eight precepts with right-livelihood as the eighth observed by Stream-winners, their mundane concentration, which resides steadily on the noble and incomparable qualities of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha, and their mundane wisdom, which perceives the Four Noble Truths are of the stable class, Like drops of water falling on a great lake, such mundane morality, concentration, and wisdom do not disappear throughout many lives and many world-cycles.
This shows the nature of the mundane Dhamma heritage.
The supramundane Dhamma of morality, concentration, and wisdom, purification by knowledge and vision, and the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment, which accompany the eight kinds of supramundane consciousness are not dependent on the round of rebirth. They are stable. The mundane morality, concentration, and wisdom which occur to Noble Ones who have attained supramundane morality, concentration, and wisdom, also reach the stable stage. In such individuals there is no longer any possibility of their becoming immoral, uncomposed, unwise, and blind fools.
This shows the heritage of the dispensation.
The heirs of the dispensation are: monks (bhikkhu), nuns (bhikkhuṇī), novices (sāmaṇera), female novices (sāmaṇerī), female probationers (sikkhamānā), male lay disciples (upāsaka), female lay disciples (upāsikā).
Of the above seven heirs, the first five are called colleagues within the dispensation. Men, deities, and Brahmas who are not colleagues within the dispensation, but who are established in the Three Refuges (Tisaraṇa), are included in male and female lay disciples.
Among the seven heirs, the material heritage of the four requisites can be received only by colleagues within the dispensation. The mundane and supramundane Dhamma heritages, however, can be received by all seven. In the receipt of such heritages, there are special considerations in respect of the heritage of mundane morality. There are special considerations with respect to the heritages of mundane and supramundane concentration and wisdom.
The special considerations with respect to mundane morality arise because the five colleagues within the dispensation receive the heritages of both the monastic discipline (Vinaya) and morality of the discourses (Suttanta-sīla), while male and female lay disciples receive only the latter.
The morality of the discourses means: in respect of the five colleagues within the dispensation, the morality enumerated in the Brahmajāla Sutta.¹¹⁸
In respect of male and female lay disciples it means the eight precepts with right-livelihood as the eighth and the ten precepts.
The morality of the ascetic practices (dhutaṅga-sīla), and morality of reflection on the use of the requisites (paccayasannissita-sīla) are also morality of the discourses.
Right speech, right action, and right livelihood, included in the supramundane path factors, are called supramundane morality. These can be received by the five colleagues within the dispensation and also by male and female lay disciples. Hence no special considerations arise with respect to supramundane morality. The same is the case in the two kinds of heritages of concentration and wisdom. The seven purifications and the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment are included within these.
Of the seven heirs of the dispensation, the five colleagues who are in the service of the dispensation, are heirs for their own benefit as well as heirs who act as caretakers of the heritage of the dispensation so that the Tipiṭaka and the other requisites of the dispensation may endure for the duration of 5,000 years. The remaining two are heirs of the dispensation only for their own benefit.
The status of caretakers of the dispensation, on whose shoulders rest the responsibilities of the dispensation, is much higher than that of the status of being merely heirs. Thus, a householder who has been a Noble One for sixty years has to pay respect and obeisance to a novice of seven years of age who has been initiated for only a day. Thus also, a bhikkhu who is an Arahant has to pay respect and obeisance to an ordinary bhikkhu who was ordained just an hour before him.
This shows the heirs of the dispensation.
The three training, the seven purifications, and the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment, are practices that are in consonance with the nine supramundane states,¹¹⁹ and hence are called practices in accordance with the Dhamma (dhammānudhammāppaṭipatti). The seven heirs of the dispensation who practise these Dhamma well are called those who practice well (suppaṭipanna). They are also those who practice uprightly (ujuppaṭipanna), who wisely (ñāyappaṭipanna), and dutifully (sāmīcippaṭipanna).¹²⁰ Although they may be ordinary people, they are included among those in training for the path of Stream-winning, who constitute the first group of the eight Noble Ones. They constitute those who practice in accordance with the Dhamma. However, since they are still ordinary people they are not yet Noble Ones in the ultimate sense.
I shall substantiate what I say. In the Sekkha Sutta,¹²¹ Buddha said: “Iminā ariyena sīlakkhandhena samannagato hoti,” meaning thereby that the practices comprised within the requisites of enlightenment, such as the eight precepts with right livelihood as the eighth, constitute noble morality, noble concentration, and noble wisdom. Hence, in the Buddha’s dispensation, the male and female lay disciples who are permanently confirmed in the eight precepts and in the Three Refuges, are partly endowed with the quality of those who practice well, who practice uprightly, and who practice in accordance with the Dhamma.
When these qualities are enumerated coupled with the name of the Saṅgha, such as in: “Saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi,” “Suppaṭippanno bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho,” etc., only the monks and nuns who are morally good and virtuous ordinary persons should be understood. In the matter of the Vinaya, all persons other than ordained Saṅgha are excluded.
A person who practises in accordance with the Dhamma, which may also be called the requisite of enlightenment, is called a recluse or priest in the discourses, although he or she may be only an lay disciple.
Thus it is said in the Dhammapada, verse 142:–
“Alaṅkato cepi samaṃ careyya, santo danto niyato brahmacārī;Sabbesu bhūtesu nidhāya daṇḍaṃ, so brāhmaṇo so samaṇo sa bhikkhu.”
“Though gaily decked, if he lives in peace, (with passions) subdued, (and senses) controlled, certain (of the four Paths), perfectly pure, laying aside the rod towards living beings, a priest is he, a recluse is he, a monk is he.”
This passage shows that a person who practises in accordance with the Dhamma, which are the requisites of enlightenment, and lives with pure mind and body, can be called a bhikkhu even though he wears the clothes of a layman. This shows the nobility and high status of the heirs of the dispensation. In the matter of heritage of the dispensation there are two kinds of heirs — good and bad heirs.
I shall here show the essentials in the Dhammadāyāda Sutta,¹²² Mūlapaṇṇāsa, Majjhimanikāya.
“Dhammadāyādā me, bhikkhave, bhavatha, mā āmisadāyādā. Atthi me tumhesu anukampā — ‘Kinti me sāvakā dhammadāyādā bhaveyyuṃ, no āmisadāyādā’ti.”
“Monks! May you be heirs of the Dhamma. May you not be heirs of material requisites. I have compassion and concern for you. How do I have this compassion and concern? How can my disciples become heirs of the Dhamma? How can they avoid becoming heirs of material requisites? It is thus that I have compassion and concern for you.”
The meaning of this passage is as follows: The Buddha’s heritage consists of the two kinds: material heritage and Dhamma heritage. Material heritage is of three kinds, namely: monks’ requisites (paccayāmisa), status (lokāmisa), and favourable rebirths (vaṭṭāmisa). The benefits consisting of alms-food, robes, dwelling place and medicines, are called monks’ requisites. World renown, grandeur, dignity, power, worldly positions such as teachers and mentors to kings, ministers, persons of wealth and influence, and possession of followers and retinues, are called status. Pleasant rebirths such as rebirth in high stations, rebirth in affluent families, or rebirth in circumstances where one’s wants are fulfilled, are called the material benefits of favourable rebirths (vaṭṭāmisa). I have already expounded about Dhammāmisa.
The Buddha foresaw that after his attainment of parinibbāna the dispensation would be overwhelmed by the excessive increase of the three categories of material heritage, in just the same way as islands within the ocean are overwhelmed and submerged by the three waves of rising floods. Hence did he leave behind the exhortation: “Dhammadāyādā me, bhikkhave, bhavatha, mā āmisadāyādā.” “Anukampā” means the concern nurtured by the Buddha.¹²³ The Buddha’s concern was that, just as when the flood-waters of the ocean rise, the people inhabiting the islands are submerged and cast adrift, his disciples in the dispensation would, in time, be submerged and cast adrift by the rise and expansion of the material heritage, thus severing them from the invaluable heritage of the Dhamma. Hence did he leave behind the exhortation: “Kinti me sāvakā dhammadāyādā bhaveyyuṃ, no āmisadāyādā’ti.”
The three material heritages are therefore heritages that caused concern in the Buddha, and thus are heritages that the Buddha discouraged. Hence, these three material heritages are bad heritages. On the other hand, the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment, such as the four foundations of mindfulness, are heritages that the Buddha extolled with a mind free from concern, and thus are good heritages.
Having shown good and bad heritages, good and bad heirs should also be examined. In particular, it must be remembered that there are certain heritages in the material category that the Buddha extolled. They are alms-food, robes made out of rags and cast away cloth such as from rubbish heaps, dwelling places at the root of a tree, and urine of cattle used as medicine. These four are called the Buddha’s heritage. They are the four great heritages of which the Buddha approved.
If that is the case, it needs to be explained why the Buddha permitted the acceptance of additional acquisitions (atireka lābha) given by lay donors, as when he said:–
“Additional acquisitions — dwelling-place, dwelling with a peaked roof, multi-storeyed dwelling, long building with an upper storey, or a brick hut, log-cabin, or cave.” ¹²⁴
The dispensation of learning (pariyatti sāsana) consisting of the Tipiṭaka as the foundation of the practice (paṭipatti) and realisation (paṭivedha). Only when the dispensation of learning is firmly established can the other two also be firmly established. The burden of preserving the teachings for 5,000 years is indeed great, since these are times of a waning world-cycle when the life-span of men is also on the wane. The physical and mental strength of the members of the Saṅgha, who are the servants and caretakers of the dispensation, are as a result on the wane too. The Buddha thus foresaw that it would not be possible for these servants and caretakers, in the future, to shoulder the burden of preserving the teachings and at the same time live in lonely places under trees — without the concession of additional acquisitions. This is one reason.
In the case of those whose perfections are immature, the Buddha foresaw that the opportunity afforded to them of practising the work consisting of acquiring learning, performing charity, observing morality, and giving assistance in kind extensively, would secure for them escape from the lower realms in the next birth, and enable them to obtain release from worldly ills during the next Buddha’s dispensation. This is another reason.
It may be argued here that if what has been said above is true, it would amount to the Buddha himself having contrived to submerge beings and cast them adrift in material heritage. In this particular, it may be pointed out that the Buddha prescribed and left behind the practice of purification by reflecting on the use of requisites (paccavekkhaṇa-pārisuddhi), such as “Wisely reflecting I use this robe only to ward off cold and heat… etc., which should be practised with proper care and attention, so that the servants and caretakers of the teaching who have to associate themselves unavoidably with material requisites and worldly status may not be overwhelmed and submerged in craving for material things. Hence, if such persons ride the ship which consists of the wisdom arising out of the volition to reflect on the use of requisites according to the prescription in purification by reflection on the use of requisites (paccavekkhaṇa-pārisuddhi) that is free from the association of two kinds of craving for material things, they cannot become submerged and be cast adrift in the ocean of material things although they are obliged to live in association with them.
The meanings of the expressions “submerged” and “cast adrift” are as follows: The non-appearance of awareness of dangers (ādīnava-ñāṇa) in the three material gains is what is meant by “submerged.” To be unaware of these dangers for a lengthy period, and to derive joy and pleasure in the three material gains throughout the whole life, is what is meant by “cast adrift.” Hence, to prevent being “submerged” and “cast adrift” the Buddha said in the Dhammapada, verse 157:–
“Attānañce piyaṃ jaññā, rakkheyya naṃ surakkhitaṃ;Tiṇṇaṃ aññataraṃ yāmaṃ, paṭijaggeyya paṇḍito.”
“If one holds oneself dear, one should protect oneself well. At least in one of the three ages of life a wise man should be vigilant.”
This means that if one is “submerged” and “cast adrift” in the first period of life, one should attempt to purify oneself during the second period. If, however, one continues to remain “submerged” and “cast adrift” during the second period of life, one should attempt to purify oneself in the third period.
Here, “purifying oneself” means establishing oneself in the requisites of enlightenment after ridding oneself of the attachments to material heritages. It means establishing oneself well in the four practices of the Noble Ones:–
The Buddha said that if one remains “submerged” and “cast adrift” within the material heritages during the whole of the three periods of life, one will be cast into the lower realms. Thus in the Dhammapada verse 240, he said:–
“Ayasāva malaṃ samuṭṭhitaṃ, tatuṭṭhāya tameva khādati;Evaṃ atidhonacārinaṃ, sāni kammāni nayanti duggatiṃ.”
“As rust sprung from iron eats itself away when arisen, even so his own deeds lead the transgressor to states of woe.”
This discourse was delivered by the Buddha in connection with a bhikkhu who died in the Jetavana Monastery, and who was reborn as a louse in his robes, because he harboured an attachment to those robes just before he died. lf the attachment to a set of robes can cast one in the lower realms, what more need be said on greater attachments?
The robes were received as a share from property belonging to the Order, and hence were lawful property. The bhikkhu in question was also one who scrupulously observed the 227 Pātimokkha training rules. Thus it may be said that a set of lawful robes cast a bhikkhu endowed with the 227 precepts into the lower realms. What more need be said about properties acquired with lust and greed by ordinary lay people endowed with only five precepts? It is thus that one should contemplate and acquire spiritual urgency (saṃvega). ¹²⁵
I shall now give an illustration.
There was a wealthy man who possessed many millions¹²⁶ worth of silver, many millions worth of gold, and many millions worth of gems. In order that these properties might not be lost during bad times, he buried the bulk of them in the ground, and kept only sixty-thousand worth of money, rice, paddy, wearing apparel, and ornaments for immediate and ready use.
This wealthy man had six sons. On his death, the six heirs divided the properties among themselves in six equal shares. The properties buried beneath the earth were also similarly allocated. These buried properties could be secured by the heirs only if the owners personally dug them out of the ground.
One of the sons was full of greed. he was not content with the property he could immediately use. He was satiated with the desire for the buried property and could not bear to wait long in order to get it. He therefore exerted himself and dug up the property, thus becoming a wealthy man.
One of the sons was full of energy. He did not look on the prospect of having to exert himself for days and months as burdensome. He therefore put forth effort and applied himself to the work of unearthing the buried treasure, thus becoming a wealthy man.
One of the sons was an obsessive thinker. From the moment he received the heritage, his mind ways always on the property. Sleep and food were of no consequence, so greatly was his mind attached to the property. He thus put forth effort and dug up the buried property, becoming a wealthy man.
One of the sons was clever and ingenious. He contrived to construct machinery and dug up the buried property, thus becoming a wealthy man.
One of the sons lacked greed. He imagined himself to be well-off with even ten thousand worth of property. He had no desire to acquire the buried property. He was satisfied with the property that he received for his immediate use.
One of the sons was a spendthrift. He squandered all the property, not even leaving the price of a spade for the exhumation of the buried property. He sank into bad ways and was eventually banished from his native place.
In this illustration, the Buddha resembles the wealthy father. Purification of morality (sīla-visuddhi) and learning (pariyatti) resemble the treasure available for immediate use. Absorption (jhāna) and higher knowledge (abhiññā), which constitute purification of mind (citta-visuddhi), resemble the buried silver treasure. The four mundane purifications, such as purification of view (diṭṭhi-visuddhi), resemble the buried gold treasure. The supramundane purification by knowledge and vision resembles the buried gems treasure. The lay people and bhikkhus of the Buddha dispensation resemble the six sons who are the heirs of the wealthy man.
Those within the dispensation who are filled with the bases of success of desire (chandiddhipāda) resemble the first son who was filled with greed. Those with this basis of success are not satisfied with the mere acquisition of purification of morality and scriptural learning. They do not think that by such acquisitions they have encountered the Buddha’s dispensation, or that they have become heirs of the dispensation. They nurture great desire for attaining the higher purifications and will not rest until they are achieved.
Those who possess the basis of success of energy (viriyiddhipāda) resemble the second son who was full of effort. Such persons are happy and at ease only when they are engaged in trying to acquire higher achievements, which they do not as yet possess.
Those who possess the basis of success of thought (cittiddhipāda) resemble the third son who was an obsessive thinker. Whenever such individuals come to know of work productive of great benefits, they become obsessed with it, and their minds do not wander to any other matter.
Those who possess the basis of success of wisdom (vimaṃsiddhipāda) resemble the fourth son who was clever and ingenious. Such persons attain happiness and ease of mind only when they are engaged in the attempt to acquire great knowledge that is difficult of acquisition, deep, and productive of great benefits.
Those who do not possess any of the bases of success, who possess only inferior desire, energy, thought, and wisdom, resemble the fifth son who was easily satisfied with the unburied property. Such individuals who lack confidence and desire do not even possess the idea that the higher attainments of the purifications are the heritages that they can acquire in this very life. Because they lack energy, they are reluctant to put forth effort that requires the encountering of privations. They are liable to reject such effort as impossible. Because they are weak in their volitions, their minds are not fixed on such kinds of work. They change their minds whenever they listen to various theories and lack knowledge and wisdom, they reject such work as beyond their capabilities. It is because the Buddha had such individuals in mind that he urged all to strengthen their weak bases of success, such as desire to succeed, etc. Then only can new desires and new thoughts arise.
In the Buddha’s dispensation, lay people and bhikkhus who are defective in their moral conduct resemble the sixth son. Among lay people, those persons who are defective in the establishment of the Tisaraṇa, and the constant morality of the five precepts and eight precepts with right livelihood as the eighth, do not possess the qualities of male or female lay disciples, who only are the heirs of the dispensation. Among monks and novices, those who commit the offences of defeat (pārājika) do not possess the qualities of a good monk or a good novice, who only are the heirs of the dispensation. If lay people vow that they would keep the five precepts or the eight precepts with right livelihood as the eighth from today, they can immediately become heirs of the dispensation.
This illustration shows how, of the many persons who are truly in the line of heritage of the one father (the Buddha), only those who possess one or other of the four bases of success as a foundation can enjoy the full benefits of the heritages. Persons who do not possess even one of the four only get the opportunity to enjoy some of the superficial benefits of the heritages. They do not get the opportunity to enjoy the real essence of the heritages. Some do not get the opportunity of enjoying even the superficial benefits because they squander their heritages and thus become severed from the heritage of the Buddha and his teaching.
The heirs of the dispensation may also be classified into:-
Those who have never once obtained knowledge of impermanence (aniccānupassanā-ñāṇa) and knowledge of not-self (anattānupassanā-ñāṇa) within themselves are called unstable heirs. Unstable means that they may be the disciples of the Omniscient Buddha today, but they may become the disciples and heirs of another teacher tomorrow. They may even scorn and destroy the dispensation of the Omniscient Buddha. Even in the present world there are those who have changed their faith from Buddhism to Christianity, and who scorn and undermine the Buddha’s teaching. How easily they can change after death in another birth can be imagined.
One can be a disciple of the Omniscient Buddha this month, and the disciple of another, teacher next month. One can be the disciple of the Omniscient Buddha this year, and the disciple of another teacher the next. One can be the disciple of the Omniscient Buddha in the first period of life and the disciple of another teacher in the second. One can be the disciple of the Omniscient Buddha in the second period of life and the disciple of another in the third. One can be the disciple of the Omniscient Buddha in this life and the disciple of another teacher in the next.
“Puthu satthārānaṃ mukhullokikāti puthujjanā.”
“An ordinary person (puthujjana) is so called because he looks up to the faces of various teachers.” ¹²⁷
The meaning of this passage is that in the infinite past saṃsāra, ordinary persons have never been constant in the choice of the teachers in whom they have taken refuge. It has been one teacher today and another tomorrow. One teacher this month and another the next. One teacher this year and another the next. One teacher this life and another the next. The number of occasions on which they have approached and taken refuge in the Omniscient Buddha during the infinite past saṃsāra is very few indeed. Sometimes, they have taken refuge in Brahma, sometimes in Sakka, sometimes in various deities, sometimes in the sun, the moon, or in planets, spirits of the earth, or in ogres, and they have done so as if these refuges were almighty.
In the world, the number of false teachers is very numerous. The number of existences in which ordinary people have approached and taken refuge in these false teachers is also very numerous. Sometimes they have taken refuge in Nāgas, Garuḷas, rivers, mountains, forests, trees, hillocks, in fire, and sometimes in water.¹²⁸ Thus, in nature, the number and kinds of teachers that ordinary people afflicted with personality-view have approached and taken refuge in are extremely numerous. The more they approach and take refuge in these false teachers, the more do they sink into the lower realms.
If further, beginning with this life, they continue to wander and drift in saṃsāra replete with false attachments of personality-view, they will continue to change the teachers whom they approach and take refuge in. How frightful, terrible, and dreadful is the state of ordinary person. This is the meaning of the passage, “Puthu satthārānaṃ mukhullokikāti puthujjanā.”
On every occasion that an ordinary person changes teachers and refuges, a change also occurs in the doctrines and principles depended on for guidance. Sometimes they have depended on the purified morality expounded by the Omniscient Buddha; sometimes on imitating the practices of cattle or of dogs; sometimes on the practices of horses; and sometimes on the practices of elephants. Thus the moral practices which they have adopted and depended on are also very numerous. In the matter of views, the number of existences in which they have adopted and depended on right views are extremely few. On the other hand, the number of existences in which they have adopted and depended on wrong views are extremely numerous. The more they have adopted and depended on these wrong views and practices, the more have they sunk deeper and deeper into the lower realms.
Of the countless and infinite number of errors and perversities possessed by ordinary people wandering and drifting in saṃsāra, the error of seeking refuge in false teachers is one of the greatest errors conducive of causing them great harm. This is because the error of seeking refuge in wrong teachers leads to wrong moral principles and practices, and the difficult achievement of rebirth as human beings, which may be compared to a great wish-fulfilling tree producing the fruits of good rebirths, becomes in its entirety a tree producing the evil fruits of rebirths in the hell regions. This shows the future path of unstable heirs of the dispensation.
Those who perceive the characteristics of impermanence and not-self in themselves are freed from the kingdom of personality-view. They become the stable heirs of the dispensation. Stable (niyata) means that they are freed from the susceptibility of approaching and seeking refuge in erroneous teachers throughout future infinite saṃsāra. They become the true children of the Omniscient Buddha throughout the future succession of rebirth. They become members of the “Bon-sin-san” family, and though they may pass through many rebirths and many world-cycles in saṃsāra, their views of the unbounded and incomparable qualities of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha, become clearer and brighter from one rebirth to another.
The three dispensations of morality, concentration, and wisdom, the seven purifications, such as purification of morality, and the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment are dhamma heritages that prosper and increase in their minds from one rebirth to another. The three dispensations of learning, practice, and realisation become permanently established in them throughout the succession of rebirths and the succession of world-cycles.
Although they continue to wander in saṃsāra enjoying the joys and pleasures of humans, devas, and Brahmas, they are no longer beings of the world who change their teachers and refuges from one existence to another. They continue to wander in saṃsāra as beings of the supramundane, or the region of the Noble Ones. They are no longer beings of saṃsāra liable to the miseries inherent in the round of rebirths, and who thus are subject to being submerged, suffocated, exhausted, and cast adrift in saṃsāra’s great whirlpool. They have become the true beings of the first stage of nibbāna with the aggregates remaining. They will invariably ascend to final cessation without remainder through the joys and pleasure of “Bon-sin-san” existences.
In infinite saṃsāra, all wise humans, devas, Brahmas, desire to become stable heirs who are the only true heirs of the Omniscient Buddhas, and thus they hope and look forward to encountering the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha. They have to perform many acts of charity and establish the wish that such acts may lead to such an encounter. They have to perform many acts of morality and establish the wish that such acts may lead to such an encounter. They have to perform many acts of meditation and establish the wish that such acts may lead to such an encounter. This shows the undeviating path of the stable heirs of the dispensation.
“Tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā sotāpanno, hoti avinipātadhammo niyato sambodhiparāyano.”¹²⁹
“Because the three fetters have ceased, he becomes a Stream-winner. He becomes free from rebirth in states of suffering. He becomes confirmed as an heir of the bodhipakkhiya-dhammā. He finds rest and support in the higher Paths and Fruits.”
Note: The three fetters are personality-view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi), doubt (vicikicchā), and attachment to rites and rituals (sīlabbataparāmāsa). Of these, personality-view is the essential or ruling factor.
This ends the part showing the unstable and stable heirs.
Good and virtuous persons who perceive what constitutes good heritage and bad heritage, what is stable heritage, and what is unstable heritage, who are good and bad heirs, who are heirs of fixed heritage and heirs of unstable heritage, these good and virtuous persons did not put forth effort in past successive existences and successive worlds because they desired to become heirs of bad heritages of the Buddha’s dispensation. They put forth effort because it was their wish to become heirs of the good heritages. They did not practise charity, morality, and meditation, because they wished to become heirs of the unstable temporary heritages, but because it was their wish to become heirs of the stable heritages.
Taking these facts into account, and taking heed of the fact that the Buddha disapproved of the bad heritages of the dispensation, those who have, in this existence, become the disciples and heirs of the Buddha should not permit themselves to become bad heirs. They should not permit themselves to become temporary, unstable heirs. They should attempt to become heirs of the good heritages which are the requisites of enlightenment. They should attempt to become stable heirs.
In the lengthy period of the series of rebirths known as saṃsāra, whenever acts of charity, morality, and meditation are performed, it is usually because beings desire that by virtue of these good acts they may in a future existence as a human being encounter a Buddha and attain release from worldly ills, or attain Path Knowledge, Fruition Knowledge, and nibbāna. Thus it is usual for them to wish for the heritages of the Dhamma. It is not usual for them to desire that by virtue of these good deeds they may in future existence encounter a Buddha and attain worldly riches and worldly positions. It is not usual for them to wish for these material heritages. It is not usual for them to desire the gaining of opportunities for the performance of good deeds leading to the attainment of existences, wealth, and power.
However, at the present day, the bad heritages of craving for material requisites, status, and favourable rebirths are the ruling factors. Modern men and women do not like to hear the mention of the four practices of the Noble Ones, which are the antitheses of the three types of craving mentioned. The four traditional practices of Noble Ones which are, as has already been mentioned previously, being easily satisfied with almsfood, robes, and dwelling place, and deriving joy and pleasure in the work of meditation. They are called ariyāvaṃsa-dhamma because they are practices on which the Buddhas, the disciples of Buddhas, and the heirs of Buddhas, should not relinquish. This is a reminder to those who possess wisdom.
As regards persons deficient in wisdom, the mere performance of many good and meritorious acts has to be extolled as good.
Those who are endowed with wisdom, however, should, if they wish to become heirs of the stable dhamma heritages either in this life or in the next in the celestial realms, establish the eight precepts with right livelihood as the eighth, set up body contemplation, and try for at least three hours a day to achieve perception of the three characteristics of existence in the five aggregates. If they perceive either of the three characteristics in the five aggregates, they can become stable heirs and achieve the status of a “Bon-sin-san” Stream-winner.
For this purpose, see my Lakkhaṇa Dīpanī, Vijjāmagga Dīpanī, Āhāra Dīpanī, and Kammaṭṭhāna Dīpanī. For the path of stable “Bon-sin-san” individuals, see my Cātusaccā Dīpanī, and the chapter on nibbāna in my Paramattha Saṅkhitta.
Here ends the Manual of the Requisites of Enlightenment
1. The Wheel No. 31/32.
2. This is not mentioned in the canonical texts referred to above, and their commentaries. (Editor)
4. Pug.27; A.iii.120, see The Wheel No. 155–158, p.18.
12. The final cessation of suffering. The death of an Arahant is known as attaining parinibbāna.
13. A non-returner, one who has attained the third of the four stages of sanctitude, who is no longer reborn in the sensual realm (kāma-loka).
14. The Pure Abodes are a group of five heavens belonging to the form-sphere, where only the non-returners are reborn, and in which they attain Arahantship and nibbāna.
15. The four lower worlds of misery. They are: the animal world, the ghost-world, the demon-world and hell.
16. Empty world-cycles (suñña-kappa).
17. DN 33.3.2, DN 34.2.1 p. 60; (1) a border district where the Buddha’s dispensation does not flourish (paccantaro); 2) the four brahma planes of the formless-sphere (arūpino); 3) persons with congenital defects such as no sex organs (vītaliṅgo); 4) a brahma plane of the form-sphere of non-consciousness (asaññasatta); 5) birth among people holding wrong views (micchādiṭṭhi); 6) the realm of hungry ghosts (peta); 7) the animal realm (tiracchāna); and 8) in hell (niraya).
19. In an Arahant there arises the knowledge of his freedom and he realises: “Rebirth is no more; I have lived the pure life: I have done what ought to be done; I have nothing more to do for the realisation of Arahantship.” Thus he lives at ease in this existence.
20. They are the minimum which every man or woman must observe. They are: abstention from killing, stealing, improper sexual intercourse, telling lies, and taking intoxicants.
21. The three constituents of the morality-group of the eightfold path, when considered in detail, become morality with right livelihood as the eighth (ājīvaṭṭhamaka-sīla) in this way: 1) I will abstain from taking life, 2) I will abstain from stealing, 3) I will abstain from indulging in improper sexual intercourse and taking intoxicating drugs, 4) I will abstain from telling lies, 5) I will abstain from setting one person against another, 6) I will abstain from using rude and rough words, 7) I will abstain from frivolous talk, 8) I will abstain from improper livelihood.
22. The eight Uposatha precepts are: abstention from 1) killing, 2) stealing, 3) unchastity, 4) lying, 5) intoxicants, 6) eating after midday, 7) dancing, singing, music and entertainments, garlands, scents, cosmetics and adornment, etc., and 8) luxurious and high beds and seats.
23 This is the refined form of the eight precepts. The seventh of the eight precepts is split into two parts, and the tenth is abstinence from accepting gold and silver.
24. The four kinds of the monk’s moral purity (catuparisuddhi-sīla) are: 1) restraint in the 227 Pātimokkha training rules, 2) sense-faculty restraint, 3) morality of right-livelihood, and 4) morality with regard to the use of four requisites.
25. Knowledge of the four paths, i.e., Stream-winning, etc., and knowledge of the fruits thereof.
26. The Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha lists four ultimate realities, namely, consciousness (citta), mental factors (cetasikā), material phenomena (rūpa), and nibbāna.
27. The elements of extension, liquidity or cohesion, kinetic energy, and motion or support; popularly called: earth, water, fire, and air.
31. DhA.ii.12, v 60.
32. A nimitta is the mental image that arises in the mind by the successful practice of certain concentration exercises. The image physically perceived at the very beginning of concentration is called the preparatory image (parikamma-nimitta).
33. The still unsteady and unclear image that arises after the mind has reached a certain degree of concentration is called the acquired image (uggaha-nimitta). This is solely a mental image.
34. Observing, exploring, apprehending, and determining all phenomena as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self, which precedes the arising of clear insight.
35. The fully clear and immovable image that arises at a greater degree of concentration is called the counterpart-image (paṭibhāga-nimitta). This also is a mental image.
36. Knowledge of arising and passing away. It is the first of the nine insight knowledges constituting the purification by knowledge and vision of the course of practice.
37. This refers to a rebirth with only two good root-conditions, viz. non-greed (alobha) and non-anger (adosa). Beings so reborn cannot attain the paths and fruitions in their present life, as they lack the third root-conditions, non-delusion (amoha).
38. Rebirth with all three good root-conditions non-greed (alobha), non-anger (adosa), and non-delusion (amoha).
39. A being reborn without any of the wholesome root-conditions.
42. Eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body- and mind-consciousness.
43. Eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body- and mind-door.
44. The four sublime states, namely loving-kindness (mettā), compassion (karuṇā), sympathetic-joy (muditā), and equanimity (upekkhā). See The Wheel No. 6.
45. The ten unwholesome actions by body, speech, and thought.
46. The four absorptions of the form sphere and the four of the formless sphere.
47. This refers to the extinction of defilements (kilesā-nibbāna) during the lifetime of an Arahant.
48. Translated as Manual of Mindfulness of Breathing, The Wheel No. 431/432. See also Mindfulness of Breathing, by Ñāṇamoli Thera (BPS, Kandy) for a work covering this subject.
50. Vin.i.178; Sammohavinodanī (Commentary: to Paṭisambhidāmagga).
52. DA.i.189. Commentary to the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta.
53. DA.iii.730. Commentary to the Sakkapañha Sutta.
54. See A.ii.15, Padhāna Sutta ff. “The Book of Analysis” (Vibhaṅga), tr. by U Ṭhittila (Pali Text Society, London), p. 271ff.
55. “Bon-sin-san” is a Burmese term signifying a type of Stream-winner (sotāpanna) who will reach the final deliverance of Arahantship after numerous rebirths in successively higher existences. This term has no equivalent in the Pāḷi texts where only those are called Stream-winners who have, at the utmost, seven rebirths before them, among mankind and deities. Bon-sin-san is a concept familiar in the Burmese doctrinal tradition, for which reference is made to the following commentarial passages which are said to imply the sense of the term.
56. It is an individual usage of the author, the Ven. Ledi Sayādaw, to apply the term sa-upādisesa-nibbāna also to the Stream-winner (and here to the “Bon-sin-san” type). In the canonical and commentarial Pāḷi texts, it is applied only to the Arahant who has destroyed all ten fetters (saṃyojana), while the Stream-winner has abandoned only the first three. This divergent usage may have been caused by the facts that the Stream-winner is said to have the first glimpse (paṭhama-dassana) of nibbāna and that his supramundane path and fruit moments have nibbāna as object (and not conditioned phenomena, as with all mundane consciousness). Hence he can be said to have a first experience of nibbāna, though still imperfect and temporary. (Editor).
57. See the Manual of Insight (The Wheel No. 31/32), p. 79ff.
58. Hermits, recluses, and seers (rishi).
62. The eight meditative attainments (attha-samāpatti) are the four meditative absorptions of the form sphere (rūpajjhāna) and the four of the formless sphere (arūpajjhāna). The nine attainments are these eight and the attainment of cessation (nirodha-samāpatti), the temporary suspension of conscious mental activity.
63. Tādi (lit:. such-like, the same) is an equanimous state of mind that cannot be influenced by the ups and downs of life. It is also a designation of the Buddha and the Arahant.
64. Yo ca sammāvāyāmo yā ca sammāsati yo ca sammāsamādhi ime dhammā samādhikkhandhe saṅgahitā. “And, Visākha, whatever there is of right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration, these things are in the group of concentration.” (M.i.301)
65. See Manual of Insight (The Wheel No. 31/32), p. 79f.
66. It is noteworthy that the Sayādaw here uses durājīva instead of the usual micchā-ājīva (wrong livelihood). The word is not found in any Pāḷi texts, Commentaries, or Subcommentaries, but only in the Sayādaw’s own works, the Paramatthadīpanī and the Anudīpanīpāṭha. The prefix du° means bad, difficult, etc., as in dukkha or duccarita. I assume that it would include livelihoods such as a comedian, soldier, or prostitute, which though not included under the wrong livelihoods listed in the Vaṇijja Sutta (A.ii.81), nevertheless would involve doing unwholesome deeds. See PTS dictionary on prefix du°. (Bhikkhu Pesala)
67. See The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga), tr. by Ñāṇamoli Thera Ch. XII, § 20-22, 44. As will be seen from this chapter the terms iddhi and iddhipāda do not exclusively refer to supernormal powers, as it is sometimes assumed. In the present context, they signify success in Dhamma practice and the four basic conditions of such success. Also, in the first part of this chapter, the translator’s rendering of iddhi by “completion” has been retained while, elsewhere the preferable translation by “success” has been used (Editor).
68. Siddhi is identical with iddhi.
72. See Commentary to Tirokuḍḍa Sutta, in Minor Readings (Khuddakapāṭha), tr. by Ñāṇamoli Thera (PTS), p. 230ff.
76. This exact passage was not found. It seems to be a paraphrase of a stock passage that occurs in many places, D.ii.213, M.i.103, S.v.254, et al. “Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu chandasamādhippadhānasaṅkhārasamannāgataṃ iddhipādaṃ bhāveti, vīriyasamādhippadhānasaṅkhārasamannāgataṃ iddhipādaṃ bhāveti, cittasamādhippadhānasaṅkhārasamannāgataṃ iddhipādaṃ bhāveti, vīmaṃsāsamādhippadhānasaṅkhārasamannāgataṃ iddhipādaṃ bhāveti. Ime kho, bhikkhave, cattāro iddhipādā bhāvitā bahulīkatā apārā pāraṃ gamanāya saṃvattantī’’ti. (Bhikkhu Pesala)
77. That is, one of the five iddhi or siddhis, mentioned at the beginning of this chapter.
78. The caste system was prevalent in the time of the Buddha, but the Buddha did not discriminate on the basis of caste, accepting candidates for ordination whether they were princes or beggars. The Buddha defined an outcaste based on character, not based on one’s parentage. See the Caṇḍāla Sutta. (Bhikkhu Pesala)
80. The original text of the translation has here “imitation meditation,” which sounds more deprecatory than the author may have intended in this context. What is probably meant is a kind of very rudimentary meditation or contemplation that is not much more than a devotional or pensive mood maintained for some time, which, being of a discursive nature does not reach, by itself, any marked degree of concentration. Being, in this context, one of the three items of merit making (puñña-kiriya-vatthu), it is nevertheless a beneficial practice that may well lead to concentration and meditation proper. (Editor).
81. The aspect of saddhā that is especially active here, is confidence, i.e., confidence in the method (and the Dhamma in general) and self-confidence. (Editor).
82. The five higher knowledges are: 1) supernormal powers (iddhividha), 2) the divine-ear (dibbasota), 3) mind-reading (cetopariya-ñāṇa), 4) recollection of former lives (pubbenivāsānussati-ñāṇa), and 5) the divine-eye (dibbacakkhu).
84. These are the contemplations on impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self.
87. Sotāpannassa aṅgāni; see S.v.196, Indriya Saṃyutta, Sutta 8, Daṭṭhabba Sutta.
88. In the suttas, this fourth constituent of stream-winning is usually formulated as “Unbroken morality.”
89. For instance, in the Majjhimanikāya Sutta 9, translated in The Discourse on Right View (Sammādiṭṭhi Sutta, The Wheel no. 377/379).
91. The six elements: extension; liquidity or cohesion; fire or kinetic energy; wind, motion, or support; space; and consciousness. Regarding meditation on the first four, see the Maggaṅga Dīpanī, in the section “How to Establish Wisdom.”
92. Such as the aggregates (khandhā) or sense-bases (āyatanā).
93. See Ud.33, Meghiyavaggo, Meghiyasuttaṃ: “PIn him who perceives impermanence the perception of not-self manifests itself, and he who perceives not-self obtains the elimination of the conceit ‘I am’ and reaches nibbāna in this very life.”
94. S.v.233, Saṃyuttanikāya, Mahāvagga, Indriyasaṃyutta, Sūkarakhatasuttaṃ.
95. The 24 Conditional Relations at the start of the first book of Paṭṭhāna. (Bhikkhu Pesala)
96. A more common phrase is “Stirring up energy (viriyārambha ).” (Bhikkhu Pesala)
100. This in the sense of confidence in these traditional values of simple living and mental culture, which in such a general formulation, apply also to lay followers. (Editor).
101. Sensual craving, craving for existence, and craving for non-existence.
102. In the case of lay people, the principle underlying the four traditional practices should be applied to their circumstances of life as strictly as possible. These principles may be summarized in a popular phrase as “Simple living and noble thinking.” (Editor).
103. For instance, the four supports (nissaya) of a monk’s life, among which is the undertaking to live at the foot of a tree (though, in the same formula, monasteries, hermitages, etc., are also said to be permissible, that is for those unable to live the stricter life). (Editor).
104. Some believe that these are times when the paths and fruits can no longer be attained, and tend to defer effort until the perfections ripen. Some believe that persons of the present-day are reborn with two root-conditions only, namely non-attachment (alobha) and non-anger (adosa), and as such they cannot attain the paths and the fruits thereof in the present life.
106. See the Bojjhaṅga Saṃyutta, Saṃyuttanikāya, S.v.62.
107. Explained in the Commentary to the Bojjhaṅga Vibhaṅga.
108. The four substrata of existence are 1) sense pleasures (kāmūpadhi), 2) mental defilements (kilesūpadhi), 3) kamma (kammūpadhi), and 4) the five aggregates (khandhūpadhi).
109. The term tihetuka refers to rebirth consciousness having all three wholesome root conditions (hetu), i.e., non-greed (alobha), non-anger (adosa), and non-delusion (amoha).
110. Ahetuka refers to a rebirth without any of the three wholesome root conditions.
111. S.v.1, Maggasaṃyutta.
112. According to the Commentary, the word pahoti has the meaning of vaddhati, to grow, to increase. (In fact, the commentary at SA.iii.116 says: Pahotīti hoti uppajjati — “Originates means to arise out of,” so I have translated pahoti as “arises.” Bhikkhu Pesala).
113. The beautiful mental states (sobhaṇa-cetasikā) involved in the thirty-seven bodhipakkhiya-dhammā are 14, namely: 1) zeal or desire (chanda), 2) consciousness (citta), (3) equipoise (tatramajjhattatā), 4) confidence (saddhā), 5) tranquillity (passaddhi), 6) wisdom (paññā), 7) initial application (vitakka) or thought (saṅkappa), 8) effort (viriya), 9) right speech (sammā-vācā), 10) right action (sammā-kammantā), 11) right livelihood (sammā-ājīva), 12) mindfulness (sati), 13) joy (pīti), 14) one-pointedness (ekaggatā).
114. According to the Visuddhimagga, access concentration (upacāra-samādhi) is included in citta-visuddhi. It is this quality of concentration that is required of insight meditation. (Editor)
115. See the kindred term abhimānika, explained in The Wheel 61/62, p.43 (Note 3 to the Discourse on Effacement). (Editor)
116. See Manual of Insight (Wheel 31/32), p. 47.
117. This chapter was abridged in the BPS edition. I have reinstated it from the copy at Dhammaweb.net editing it in my usual way to reduce the use of Pāḷi and modernise the English to make it easier to understand for most readers (Bhikkhu Pesala).
118. See the Light of the Dhamma, Vol. III, No.2, and the Brahmajāla Sutta published by the Union Buddha Sasana Council.
119. The four paths, the four fruits, and nibbāna.
121. S.v.14, Sekkha Sutta. The reference given in the original to page 12 of the Myanmar Edition is named the Sekkhasuttaṃ in the CST4 Tipiṭaka, not the Sekhasuttaṃ, which is at S.v.129. In neither place can I find the text quoted by the Sayādaw. However, the quoted passage is found in many places such as the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (D.i.70) where a bhikkhu endowed with the morality of the Noble Ones enjoys the bliss of blamelessness. (Bhikkhu Pesala).
123. The original had “Anxiety or concern.” Anxiety would mean attachment and worry, which are unwholesome mental states. Compassion and concern for the welfare of his disciples are wholesome mental states. If the Buddha lacked these virtues he would not have bothered to teach anything at all unless specifically requested to teach. However, on many occasions he did admonish his disciples, and urged them to be diligent. (Bhikkhu Pesala)
124. V.i.58, Vinaya Mahāvagga.
125. Dread caused by contemplation on the miseries of this world. See The Light of the Dhamma, Vol. VII, No. 3, p. 17.
The above references are mostly to the page number in the Roman script edition of the Pāḷi text, as published by the Pali Text Society. In the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana Tipiṭaka, these page numbers are displayed in the status bar at the bottom of the window. So, for example, the reference in note 122 to M.i.12, in the Majjhimanikāya, Mūlapaṇṇasa which is the passage from the Dhammadāyāda Sutta urging monks to be heirs to the Dhamma, not to material requisites, will look something like this if found from a search.
In the Translations, such as that by Bhikkhu Bodhi published by Wisdom Publications, the Pāḷi text references are displayed in the header by the spine, or the page number is shown in [square brackets] the body of the text. The PTS Translation by I.B. Horner uses the same standard reference method.