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The Connection Between Atta and Dukkha
Buddhist Analysis of Human Experience and the Ways to Transcend Unsatisfactoriness

Bhikkhuni Dhammanandā
(Ven. Pham. T. Minh Hoa)

Colombo, Sri Lanka 2007

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Chapter VII. Buddhist Ways to Transcend Unsatisfactoriness

The Noble Eightfold Path and Threefold Training

Noble Lady, it is said the path to the cessation of the fabricated self, to what did the Blessed One say, the path to the cessation of that self? Friend, Visākha, the Blessed One declared the Noble Eightfold path, it is the path, for the cessation of the fabricated self: namely, right view, right thoughts, right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.[1]

In this chapter, we will further discuss how the Buddha’s teaching can be applied to different approaches to solve human problems at different levels, be they personal, interpersonal, social or religious. For an unshakable follower of the Buddhist path, this method leading to enlightenment and the eradication of all kinds of self-generated suffering is in no doubt. However, to many scholars, it is still a matter of debate and skepticism. In a recent publication, for example, Jack Engler writes:

I agree with this Buddhist analysis of the concept of self (as constructed and without ontological core- added). But I have never been satisfied with it. To my mind it still leaves the crucial question unanswered: Why would we represent ourselves to ourselves in just this way if it is only produces suffering, as Buddhism maintains? This does not make sense. We have to assume that every mental structure, every pattern of behaviour, emerges only because it is an attempt at adaptation, either to meet a specific developmental task or to deal with some internal or external need. The way we organize ourselves, the way we present and represent ourselves, always constitute a best effort to solve or negotiate some task or problem. Psychodynamically, our intent is never simply to crease more pain for ourselves, even this is often unintended outcome. The most maladaptive beliefs and behaviors have some adaptive intent, misguided and pathogenic though they may be.

Buddhist psychology does not address this issue. While it describes in great detail the processes of identification by which the experience of being a separate self can arise, Buddhist thinking does not explain why we construct our experience in this way. It is only interested in how this mistaken self-construct contributes to suffering and how its hold on the mind can be released. But if it isn’t necessary for healthy functioning, as Buddhism maintains, and if fully free and liberated action is not dependent on a sense of separate selfhood at all (...), then why is this sense of self so real and pervasive in our psychic life and our day-to-day experience?[2]

This question has been posed by many other Westerners who also seek to combine Buddhist psychology and meditation practice to eliminate the self-generated suffering with the help of western psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. In the question ‘is self an adaptation?’, the above inquirer seems to forget that in Buddhist philosophy, the self or personality is always presented as a composite, conditioned and dynamic set of aggregates. Moreover, being conditioned, one does not have a total freedom to choose how and what to be, since we are the heirs of karma, the result of past volitional actions in interaction with present self-will. This, however, is not sufficient to address the question of ‘why we construct our experience in this way?’[3] However, as human beings, we are endowed with a reasoning faculty or discriminative knowledge enabling us to choose a correct course of action to deal with different situations that we encounter in our daily lives. Buddhism does not hold that suffering and discontentment are due to the original sin, but rather that suffering is traced back to ignorance (avijjā) of the law of dependent arising (paṭiccasamuppāda). This kind of ignorance is not considered to be an ordinary kind, but in fact, the ignorance of the Four Noble Truths is consistently postulated in Buddhist philosophy. Therefore, the Buddhist path first seeks to deal with this fundamental question by offering ‘right view’ as the very first step on the path as I will explore in the following pages. Being gradual practice, according to the Theravada tradition, there are different stages of realization on the path and each eliminates certain kinds of bonds or fetters (samyojanā) binding one to conditioned or samsāric existence.

Regarding the failure of meditative exercises and an attitude of distrusting the human mind, or in a more specific term, consciousness that can be used as a tool to discern itself objectively, Mathew Recard writes:

The problem arises from the methods used. The first requirement for the practice of a contemplative science is to have a suitable tool at hand which to work. An unsuitable mind, perpetually in motion, or a mind weighted down by torpor, is of little use in such an undertaking. It is essentially to acquire mental stability and clarity, for without those qualities the mind is quite inadequate as an instrument with which to investigate its own nature. That is the obstacle confounding those few psychologists who, in the late nineteen century, attempted to study the mind introspectively. They lack the indispensable prerequisite of having mastered the mind, an achievement brought about only through long, sustained effort. Too little time spent on personal experience was that led one of the founders of modern psychology, William James, to declare that it was impossible to still the flow of discursive thoughts.[4]

Perhaps, this is a very good answer to those who are intellectually grounded and entertaining skeptical doubts as regards the viability of a practical path to end unsatisfactory experiences. We will see this accurate criticism of the Western psychologists in their attempts to integrate meditation and yoga practice with psychotherapy clearer in our detailed treatment of the Buddhist systematic trainings in this chapter. Their failure probably lies in their omitting to observe the training in morality and in meditation or concentration as an indispensable prerequisite to insight meditation which enables the practitioner to perceive the true nature of the human psychophysical complex. Without perceiving this, unconsciously, one continues to construct a self that detrimental to its own well-being and happiness. There is stress, pain, and suffering ranging from personal conflicts to interpersonal conflicts due to attachment and clinging to a fabricated self that is conceived of in terms of five aggregates (pañcupādānakkhandha- dukkhā). This fabricated self is also named sakkāyadiṭṭhi in other suttas.[5]

We have already discussed the self-motive and the process of becoming in relation to the Law of Dependent Arising (paticcasamuppāda). Sakkāya diṭṭhi, the belief in a permanent and unchanging self that abides in or presides over the five aggregates, is eliminated at the first stage of sainthood (sotapannamagga) together with all the impulses that prompt one to commit gross offences resulting in rebirth in the lower worlds. However, a self-centered tendency and an ambiguous feeling of an “I” separate from the rest still lingers on until the last stage on the path (Arahanta magga). As stated previously, a mere intellectual approach to the Anatta and Suññatā doctrine is not enough to negate ego-consciousness and a self-centered tendency. A Buddhist monk neatly puts this as follows:

The ignorance that gives rise to suffering occurs not because you do not know enough or are not philosophically sophisticated enough to understand the true meaning of emptiness. Rather, it comes from being unwilling to admit that what you are doing right before your very eyes is causing suffering. This is why awakening destroys conceit: it awakens you to the full extent of the willful blindness that has kept you complicit in unskillful behavior all along. It’s a chastening experience. The only honest thing to do in response to this experience is release. That is the emptiness that’s superior and unsurpassed.[6]

Hereafter, we will discuss the Noble Eightfold Path as a radical path and how it is arranged in threefold trainings as a systematic method to eradicate the cause of unsatisfactoriness. As we have indicated in the chapter on motivation, The Noble Eightfold Path is a distinguished Buddhist path consisting of eight factors, starting from right view as follows:

And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. [S.V. 56:11]

It is worthy to mention that this path is not revealed by deities or God, or by any superhuman phenomena, but it was discovered by a strong-minded truth seeker by contemplating on the human predicament with a clear, undivided and impartial mind. Penetrating to its deepest root, he saw that ignorance is the cause of this endless wandering in samsāra, therefore, he came to the realization that it is only light of wisdom which comprises the means to dispel the darkness of that ignorance. Defilements, the causes of birth, death and suffering are originated in the mind due to ignorance; therefore, it is in the mind that we should clear the cause(s).

Right View (sammā diṭṭhi )

Right view or right attitude (sammā diṭṭhi) is that first step but it requires many preceding acts or factors to reach that right view according to a Buddhist viewpoint.

We find a passage in Mahāvedallasutta (MN) as follow:

Dependent on two conditions, brother, right view arises: hearing sound from others (i.e. learning from teacher(s), and wise reflection. [Dve kho āvuso paccayā sammādiṭṭhiyā uppādāya: parato ca ghoso, yoniso ca manasikāro. Ime kho āvuso dve paccayā sammādiṭṭhiyā uppādāyāti.]

The passage is further illustrated by considering how right view is supported by other factors such as learning and discussing the doctrine (first condition), and by virtue, by calm abiding (samatha) and by steady awareness (vipassanā) – the second condition. A person is not born with a right view except he had learnt it from a previous birth; therefore, in this present birth, he must learn it from others and from his own experiences. A person who only learns it superficially without discriminative knowledge cannot succeed in attaining the right view. From intellectual knowledge gained through learning, he must reflect upon its content deeply, and then put it into systematic practice; and each step further solidifies his right view. These steps are corresponding to the three kinds of (acquiring) knowledge: sutamayañāṇa- knowledge via learning, cintamayañāṇa- knowledge via thinking, and bhāvanāmayañāṇa- knowledge via meditating (using calm and insight).

The fruit of mind’s release and the advantage of mind’s release through right view are supported by five factors. The fruit of liberation through wisdom and the advantage of such a liberation: here, friend, right view is supported by morality, by learning, by discussion (on dhamma), by calm, and by insight.”[7]

Although right view is the first factor on the Noble Eightfold Path, as the above passage reveals, but it does not mean that it is the first step; actually all the factors of the path involve each other. In the Threefold Training, right view is included in the training of wisdom, the last but not the least stage on the path. Though this may seem confusing at first glance, in the following analysis, this matter will be clarified.

As we have seen in the section on perception in Chapter Three, that perception leads to view, and view governs one’s motives. The kind of right view in Buddhism is a means to guide one to acquiring a proper perspective, i.e., it effectively deals with the cognitive process that will result in right intention, right action and moral motives. Therefore, right view is called the forerunner in all wholesome states[8], and wrong view, its opposite, is the very single factor that is responsible for all unwholesome states and suffering[9]. Mahācattārīsakasutta (M.117) shows that all eight factors of the Path are intertwined with each other. In the same discourse, the Buddha reveals what is right view and what is wrong view and the right view is the discriminative knowledge that examines what is right and what is wrong view. This is also in consonance with the discourse on right view the Sammādiṭṭhisutta (M.18). As a forerunner, right view is the guiding light throughout the path. There are two kinds of right views postulated in the early discourses: right view that pertaining to the mundane level and that pertaining to the supramundane level as follows:

Bhikkhus, what is right view? I say right view is twofold. There is right view with desires to share merit, which mature as substratum*(1).and right view, that is noble, without desires, transcends this world and is a feature of the path (2).

What is right view with desires to share merit, which mature as substratum? There are results for gifts, sacrifices and offerings. There are results for good and bad actions. There is this world, another world, mother, father, spontaneously arisen beings, there are recluses and priests who realizing this world and the other world declare it. This is right view with desires, to share merit, which mature as substratum.

Bhikkhus, what is right view that is noble, without desires and transcending this world is a feature of the path? The noble mind’s development of the enlightenment factor investigation of the Teaching without desires, together with the path factors of wisdom, the faculty of wisdom, the power of wisdom, is right view that is noble, transcending this world and is a feature of the path. He endeavors to dispel wrong view and gets established in right view that becomes his right Endeavour. He mindfully dispels wrong view and abides established in right view that becomes his right mindfulness. Thus these three things follow each other, turning in a circle. Such as right view, right endeavor and right mindfulness. [10]

This passage marks a very important turning point in Buddhist practices. It shows two different directions: one is that of a mundane level leading to worldly progress, prosperity and happiness, and the other way is beyond mundane standards, to the cessation of craving and attachment, to the cooling down and extinguishing of all passions that imprison us in samsāra.

According to this passage, right view on the first level is the belief in the efficacy of the law of karma. This view leads one to perform good or meritorious deeds in order to get good results in one’s future birth. We also can interpret this as the kind of right view that motivates people to improve their quality of life and even the world. This E.R. Johansson calls this ‘the double standard in Buddhism’. On the mundane level, right view also embraces a religious tendency as stated in the above passage. This religious practice is rather common for the masses, i.e., living a moral life, performing one’s family duties, accepting and conforming to social orders, and supporting religious persons to obtain merits. We can see that, this concept of right view in Buddhism is in conformity with common beliefs that are influenced by the Vedic standards of morality, social orders and worldly responsibility. To conform to a common belief and practice is also a mark of the ‘Middle Way’ or to be more precisely, the flexible way as declared by Buddhists. This way enables the followers of the Buddha to live harmoniously with other faiths, a characteristic of tolerance in Buddhism. This conformity is a virtue of Buddhists in some respects, i.e., it serves as a prudent attitude and motivates one towards modest behaviors; however, it also reflects a weak point of Buddhism. I will return to this critical point on Buddhism later.

The higher kind of right view is intended for a more serious practitioner whose motivation is to get beyond predicaments of worldly condition (samsāra). This is termed ‘anāsava sammādiṭṭhi’ in Pāli, that is the right view which is freed from self-motive, or self-interest principle. It is described as “noble, without taint, a constitution of the path transcending the world” (sammādiṭṭhi ariyā anāsavā lokuttarā maggaṅgā) while the former is described as “with taint or expectation to partake the worldly rewards that rooted in attachment” (sammādiṭṭhi sāsavā puññābhāgiyā upadhivepakkā atthi). The nobler kind of right view requires two other factors for accomplishing it, i.e., exertion (viriya) and mindfulness (sati). Only on this level, is right view qualified as the faculty of wisdom (paññindriya).

It is interesting to note that, the first level of right view as postulated in the above quoted text is not freed from ignorance (avijjā) because it motivates one to acquire merits and deposit it in the store of consciousness as good seeds for a good harvest in a good field. We find a text in the A.IV which states that: kammaṃ khettaṃ, viññānaṃ bījaṃ, taṇhā sineho- “kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed, and craving is the water”. The word kamma (karma) expresses two aspects: as a passive resultant (kamma vipāka) and as an active performance (abhisaṅkhārā). Thus ‘the field’ indicates all potential actualizations or possibilities, ‘the seed’ is a product as well as a potentiality to produce its own result, and craving always serves as an active element that motivates and governs those potentialities. This is again confirmed in the Samyutta Nikāya thus:

If, oh, monks, a man is filled with ignorance (avijjā) performs a meritorious deed, then consciousness brings him merit. If he perform a demeritorious deed, then consciousness bring him demerit. If he performs an imperturbable karma, then his consciousness brings him imperturbability.[11]

All these three kinds of kamma or saṅkhārā are performed under the influence of ignorance (avijjā) of the four noble truths and therefore they are embedded into the consciousness (viññāṇa) as seeds. In time, when conditions are ripening for these seeds to sprout, they are actualized in terms of ‘birth’ (jāti). If conditions are not favorable, there seeds might have no chance to grow and bear their fruits, or they might be defaulted if the ‘field’ is barren. The conditions here are equated with one’s attitude, actions and reactions in a given context, be it due to one’s personality or one’s family or a particular social environment that one was born into. We have to bear in mind that in Buddhist philosophy, kamma is not fate because it subject to change in the here and now. What we inherit now may be the fruit(s) of our past actions, but still our attitude and reactions in a given condition also determine the outcome of the whole process.

The discourse continues to state that in those whose āsava are destroyed, they are no more performing meritorious or demeritorious deeds or karma as conditions to be reborn in the Brahma world (imperturbability). With the ceasing of karma formation, nothing is deposited in one’s consciousness as a future investment. This is termed the cessation of consciousness (as a crucial factor of rebirth). However, the consciousness, or the mind needs to be purified of its (former) tendencies or its accumulated seeds. Enlightenment does not come suddenly from nowhere but, rather, it needs to be cultivated systematically. Right view as the faculty of wisdom guides one to abandon what should be abandoned and to cultivate what should be cultivated.

Right Thought or Right Intention – Sammāsaṅkappo

Right thought is the thought absent of hankering after sensual pleasures, thought of ill-will and thought of harming oneself or others. This factor of the Buddhist path is often defined as thought of renunciation, thought of loving and caring, and thought of compassion for all living beings. As we have seen from chapter on motivation, right thought is the factor that guides one on a correct path of motivation. Any motivation springs from right thought is considered as wholesome or a pure motive. However, to keep one’s thoughts pure and wholesome is a difficult matter that needs assistances of many other factors such as right view, right effort and right mindfulness. In the threefold training, right intention is the right attitude concerning the use of material things as well as to one’s achievement on the path. This we have briefly discussed in some sections of the chapter on anatta. We will return to this in the following sections.

The path of purification is an inward journey termed Vipassanā- insight meditation. This journey is considered a gradual path, and it is often explained in many discourses as the cultivation of threefold trainings: Sīlasikkhā- training in morality, Samādhi sikkhā- training in concentration, and Paññā sikkhā- training in wisdom. Elsewhere, in AN, the three kinds of training are termed adhisīla sikkhā, or the higher training in morality, adhicitta sikkhā, or the higher training of the mind, and adhipaññā sikkhā, or the higher training in wisdom. Herein, a monk who excels in the training of morality is described as perfect with regard to restraint in accordance with the moral code for a monk (Paṭimokkhasamvarasīla), perfect in conducts and behaviors, with fear of the transgression even the slightest fault, thus training himself in the moral vows that he has taken. This is the training in higher morality. The higher training of the mind culminates in the attainment of the four Jhāna or mental absorptions: “Herein, a monk detached from sensuous objects, detached from karmic unwholesome states, enter into the first, second, third, and fourth Jhāna[12]. The higher training in wisdom is the realization of the Four Noble Truths: “herein, the monk understands according to the reality what suffering is, what the origin of suffering is, what the cessation of suffering is, and what the path is leading to cessation of suffering”[13]. To achieve the highest goal in Buddhist ideals, the destruction of all taints (avakkhāyāsava), the deliverance of the mind (cittavimutti) and the deliverance through wisdom (paññāvimutti), a practitioner has to practice perfect morality, be devoted to mental tranquility (samatha), able to enter upon mental absorption and practice insight meditation frequently in seclusion.[14]

Sammādiṭṭhisutta (MN), the discourse on right view elucidates what is right view according to Buddhist criteria. According to this sutta, firstly right view entails a belief in the law of karma or moral causality. This requires the knowledge of good (kusala) and bad (akusala), what actions or behaviors are considered as good, and what is contrariwise, bad; and lastly, what is the cause of these (kusalamūla and akusala mūla). Further, there is right view as regards to the Four Noble Truths, and the right view of seeing things as they are (yathābhūtaṃñāṇadassanaṃ). We might ask why is the first step so big that it covers almost the entire teaching of the Buddha? The answer is that, although right view is the fist step but it is not to be discarded once it was reached, as it is, in fact, the forerunner of all wholesome states and skilful actions, shining and guiding one from the beginning to the end of the path. This is the reason why right view is categorized in the higher training of wisdom (paññā sikkhā) which is preceded by the higher training in morality (Sīla sikkhā) and the higher training in mental power (samādhi sikkhā) that we have briefly discussed previously.

It is interesting to note that the noble eightfold path is not to be practiced step by steps but they are to be followed all at once. Though right view is intended to be in first place, as a forerunner it runs throughout the way, and even though right concentration is mentioned last but it is not the end of the Path. This makes the intellectual and practical method of Buddhism a unique one, a teaching that unheard of before the rise of the Buddha. We will return to this subject later.

How can we understand this Path in relation to the threefold training? A lay-man named Visākha asked the enlightened nun Dhammadinnā this question and the Arahant Bhikkhuni cleared the matter thus:

The three categories are not included under the noble eightfold path, friend Visākha, but the noble eightfold path is included under the three categories. Right speech, right action, and right livelihood come under the categories of morality. Right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration come under the categories of concentration. Right view and right thought come under the categories of wisdom.[15] [ MN 44]

In the threefold training, morality forms the foundation of concentration, and in turn, concentration serves as a pre-requisite for wisdom, nevertheless, morality and concentration are to be guided by wisdom. Thus, these three categories of training on the Buddhist Path have bee intended as co-operating and supporting each other. Wisdom that is born of concentration fortifies this right view which keeps the practitioners on the track of practicing morality with a right attitude. We have discussed this issue in chapter five, the social aspect of anatta doctrine. Hereafter I will focus on how morality is a pre-requisite for concentration in Buddhist Path.

I. The Higher Training in Morality

Practicing morality is intended for freeing one’s mind from remorse and disturbances due to wrongdoing. Another aspect of morality is not going against the current standards of one’s society; therefore, one will not be blamed, criticized, or persecuted by the authorities. Thus, a moral man is, to some degree, at peace with himself and at peace with others. Whenever he reflects on his conduct, a state of joyous, calm, and tranquility would pervade his mind. Joy (piti) and tranquility (passadhi) are the approximate conditions for concentration. A question that would arise is thus: is right concentration possible even without the support of morality? To answer this question, we have to consider what morality is first. The word morality is used in various ways. In the English Dictionary, morality is defined as: “The relation of conformity or nonconformity to the moral standard or rule; quality of an intention, a character, an action, a principle, or a sentiment, when tried by the standard of right.[16] This definition may not be very clear but at last it imparts a sense of the diversity of the usage of the word. Herein we will limit it to: (1) positive v. natural, i.e. the relation between the norms and standards which are valid merely because they are acts of divine or human legislation, and whose validity is independent of that[17]; (2) ethical v. the moral. The word moral comes from the Latin word moralis, coined by Cicero from mos (pl. more), meaning custom(s) corresponding to the Greek ethos- custom. This is why in many contexts, the two words are interchangeable, but in various ways, they are also used in a much more contrasting sense[18].

Morality is not a mere ethical code, for ethical codes vary according to different traditions, cultures and different religions, and also in different societies. An ethical code is a conventional set of rules and regulations, laws and customs found at a given time and in a particular society. Thus, an ethical code has its value only in relation to time and space, i.e. in its social context. Further more, being moral is not necessary as being good for goodness is pure and spontaneous but morality is preconditioned and entails calculation or prudence. In philosophy, morality is in relation to the theory of justice. Moral causation (kammaniyāma) as explained in Buddhism is also of this kind. In psychoanalysis, a sense of morality is a very similar to the concept of super ego.

Sīla as Precepts

In Buddhism, the word Sīla is often rendered as morality. As we have mentioned earlier, the Noble Eightfold Path is not a revelation by God or by any superhuman agent (divine beings). The codes to regulate the conduct of different groups of Buddhist followers is not predetermined, but comes into being in a naturally with the growth of each group of followers in their social context[19]. Therefore, it is more a natural morality than a positive (forced) morality. The practice of sīla as a prerequisite varies according to the practitioner’s status in the community. Laypeople (upāsaka and upāsika) are required to keep five precepts consisting in the training of (1) not killing or injuring, (2) not stealing or taking what is not given, (3) not lying or using words that have destructive consequences, (4) not to be led astray through sensual pursuits, and (5) not to be influenced by liquor and drugs. In uposatha- the observance days, the lay followers may take more vows, numbering nine as follows. Novice monks (samanera and samanerī) are obligated to keep ten precepts: five precepts as lay people do plus (6) not eating at an improper time, (7) not using luxurious things, (8) not decorating their bodies, (9) not indulging in worldly entertainments, (10) not accepting or keeping money, silver, gold and other valuable items. The novices’ fourth precept is different from that of lay people in that they are required to live a celibate life, and in addition, they should train themselves in seventy five sikkhā (training rules) to make their behaviors more refined. Monks (bhikkhu) and nuns (bhikkhunī) they have many more rules to regulate their self-disciplined and noble lives. There are a total of 220 rules for monks and 311 or 350 rules for nuns.[20]

Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood

Keeping precepts and behaving in an acceptable way is only parts of the Sīlasikkhā- the training in higher morality. When right speech (sammāvācā), right action (sammākamanta) and right livelihood (samm’ājīva) are arranged under the training of morality, meticulously following the precept is just a half, negative aspect (i.e. abstinence) of the higher training in morality. There are four abstinences in speech that a Buddhist should follow: conscious lies, harsh words, slandering, and idle chattering. The positive aspects of the noble training in speech are: truthfulness, using polite and gentle words, speaking with a loving attitude and a good intention to build up a harmonious community, and to speak constructive words timely. The standards of right speech must be justified according to the three qualities: truthfulness, being beneficial, and timely.

He unites the united, does not separate the broken, fond of uniting and not fond of separating; he talks words to unite and not to separate. Abstains from rough, angry words, and talks gentle words pleasant to the ear going straight to the heart and acceptable to many. Abstains from frivolous untimely, untruthful and useless words, talking according to the Teaching and the Discipline[21]

This standard of right speech is more applicable under the guidance of mindfulness and clear comprehension (sati-sampajaññā). Again, right view and right thought, even at a mundane level, serve as an intellectual foundation for the training or practice of morality. When we speak of right action, it covers the first, second, and fourth precept. Further, right actions are the actions that are guided by a compassionate mind, helping oneself and others to live a peaceful and harmless life.

Abandoning killing, he lives a harmless life without injury to any living being; putting down stick and weapon, he gives a sense of fearlessness to other beings; he dwells with a mind pervaded with compassion for all sentient beings.[22]

Right livelihood is the livelihood that does not engage in killing or injuring sentient beings such as trading in human beings or animals, dealing with weapons or poison, or doing business with harmful drugs and intoxicating substances. Right livelihood is a righteous and honest way of earning a living to support oneself and one’s family. The person who is accomplished in the training of morality is always confident everywhere and has no fear due to the protection afforded by his pure conduct. He experiences an inner happiness that is born of a pure mind.[23]

By keeping precepts, the practitioners are free from gross transgressions concerning to bodily and verbal conduct. Since the practice of morality is a prerequisite for the two other trainings, the higher training in morality is not only to train oneself to be virtuous and graceful, but also to help to stem the tendency towards greed and attachment. It is noteworthy that the higher training in morality according to the Buddha’s teaching is quite different from the common or superficial moral standards. The text reads:

Being endowed with wholesome karma with regards to body and speech, a pure livelihood, accomplished in morality, guarded in the sense-doors with mindfulness and clear comprehension, having contentment. [kāyakamma- vacīkammena samanāgato kusalena parisuddhājīvo sīla sampanno indriyesu gutta-dvāro satisampajaññena samanāgato santuṭṭho] [24]

Thus in the first stage, the higher training in morality is to check out the unwholesome karma with regard to bodily and verbal actions and to become mentally prepared for a higher training by guarding the senses through mindfulness and clear comprehension.

Right Attitude Concerning Material Things

In addition, a virtuous practitioner reflects on the purpose of using the basic material things such as lodging, food, clothes, and medicine. This is to help him remain contented with the least requirements, unburdened by material things. The reflection is as follows:

- Wisely reflect, I use this robe in order to protect this body from cold and heat, from mosquitoes, flies, snakes, scorpions and the contact of other harmful things. This cloth helps me to cover the shameful parts of the body.[25]

- Wisely reflect, I take this food not as a kind of enjoyment, nor for decoration of this body, nor for its look more beautiful and attractive. This food is partaken only for maintaining the body to practice the holy life, to eliminate the past painful feelings (due to hunger), to check out the arising of new feelings (due to greed). Thus it gives me a joyful state of being without fault.[26]

- Wisely reflect, I use this lodging in order to protect (me) from the heat and cold, rains and winds; to guard off the harmful touch of insects such as mosquitoes and gadflies, snakes, and other seasonal elements; and I can stay harmlessly and joyfully.[27]

- Wisely reflect, I use these materials to comfort sickness as medicament only. They are provided for warding off the pains and uneasiness due to sickness, and freedom from disease is the highest gain.[28]

Thus having prevented himself from succumbing to the temptation of greed and rampant of desire, he lives comfortably with a life of simplicity. For developing concentration, the trainee voluntarily guards his senses as follows:

Having seen a form, he does not grasp at the general appearance, nor does he with the details of the object. Since he knows that if his eye(s) is unguarded, covetousness, grief and evil- unskillful tendencies might invade his mind. Therefore, he guards his eyes, and follows a right method of training with regard to the eye”.[29]

The same course of action is applied in the case of the other senses.

In conclusion, the training in Sīla stems all the gross behaviors as concerning bodily and verbal conducts. The first step in the noble training also has prepared the practitioner to have a pure mind that enables him to experience an inner happiness born of a pure conscience (ajjhattaṃ anavajja-sukhaṃ). Preventing oneself from viewing or hearing sensual media enables one to experience a more serene state born of seclusion from the five (disturbing) sensual channels (ajjhattaṃ avyāseka-sukhaṃ).[30] Thus, the practitioner physically and mentally has become prepared for the next step, the higher training in concentration. The Sīlakkhandha of Dīgha Nikāya mentions many aspects of morality, ranging from basic to more elaborated conduct; however, the Buddha said that these are only frivolous compliments praising him in the accomplishment of morality. There are greater and distinctive aspects which he himself had reached and taught to his followers are elaborated in the categories of concentration and wisdom or insight knowledge.

II. The Evolution of Consciousness:

The Discipline of the Mind

The second stage in the threefold training is the training in concentration popularly known as samādhi sikkhā or elsewhere adhicitta sikkhā, the higher training of the mind. In relation to the Noble Eightfold Path, this training covers three factors of the Path, i.e., right exertion (sammāvāyāmo), right mindfulness (sammāsati) and right concentration (sammāsamādhi)[31]. In many discourses, the training in concentration is elaborated in a systematic application to alter one’s consciousness or to enable the purposeful evolution of consciousness. The higher training of the mind is a process of purification of the mind from mental defilements (kilesas), and this process is compared to a gold-smith refining the gold by filtering it out from the dirt by passing it through water. Similarly, the art of refinement of the mind in the Noble Teaching is a gradual training passing through many stages. The text reads:

It is similar, monks, a practitioner who devotes himself to the training in the higher mind (knows that): there are (in his personality) gross impurities such as bad conduct of the body, speech and mind. Such conduct an earnest, capable practitioner abandons, dispels, eliminates and abolishes.

When s/he has abandoned these, there are still impurities of a moderate degree that cling to him, such are sensual thoughts, thoughts of ill-will, and violent thoughts. Such thought an earnest, capable practitioner abandons, dispels, eliminates and abolishes.

When s/he has abandoned these, there are still subtle impurities that cling to him, such are thoughts about his relatives, his home country, and his reputation. Such thought an earnest, capable practitioner abandons, dispels, eliminates and abolishes.

When s/he has abandoned these, there are still remaining thoughts of higher mental states experienced in meditation. That concentration is not yet peaceful and sublime; it has not attained to full tranquility, nor has it achieved mental unification; it is maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements.[32]

The commentary on the passage (AA) explains that the agitation or expectation in practice that described as “thoughts of higher mental states experienced in meditation” as quoted in the above text is a kind of subtle defilements (upa-kilesa). Accordingly, these discursive thoughts, although not unwholesome, might distill the mind, like a lake being touched by breezes causing small ripples on the surface. The training is further carried on until the cultivation reaches concentration as described in the text thus:

There comes a time when his mind becomes inwardly steadied, composed, unified and concentrated. That concentration is then calm and refined; it has attained to full tranquility and achieved mental unification; it is not maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements.[33]

Only in this state, is the mind an ideal tool for the discernment or investigation of itself in relation to one’s experiences. We will return to this subject in the section on the higher training in wisdom. Now, a look into the other factors of the path that conduce to the refinement of the mind deserved our attention. These factors are also termed ‘controlling faculties’ (indriya) elsewhere. They are mindfulness (sati), effort (viriya), and wisdom (paññā or sampajjaññā). In the Noble Eightfold Path, they are termed right mindfulness (sammāsati) and right exertion (sammāvāyamo).

Right Exertion (sammāvāyāmo)

This refers to the effort that eliminates the unwholesome factor that has arisen, to prevent the evil state from arising, to prepare for the arising of the unarisen beneficial factor, and to develop the beneficial factor that has arisen. In meditation, the five mental obstacles (nīvaraṇā) are unwholesome factors that are to be (temporarily) eliminated, made not arising, and the five jhāna factors are to be developed, to use as a means to achieve a higher and more refined happiness. To lead a moral life needs a lot of effort, and it is therefore sometimes called “going against the current”. In the mental discipline known as meditation, even more effort is needed; however, it should be used wisely to have a balanced mind. As a mental faculty (indriya), exertion should be balanced with samādhi, the concentration itself. When right exertion is well applied and working in concert with the other mental faculties (saddha, viriya = vāyama, sati, Samādhi, and paññā), the five hindrances (nīvaraṇā) are dispelled. The text reads: “When he sees himself free of these five hindrances, joy arises; to a joyful mind, rapture arises; in him those mind is enraptured, the body is tranquil; in a tranquil body, he feels blissful; and a blissful mind is concentrated[34].

Indriyas – Controlling Faculties

The art of concentration involves the exercise of five mental faculties known as indriyā. They are a group of five faculties among the thirty seven enlightenment factors (bodhipakkhiyādhammā) and among them faith (saddha) is the first faculty. This refers to the conviction in the Buddha, the Enlightened One, in his teaching (Dhamma) that leads to enlightenment, in the noble fellowship (Sangha) as a supportive environment, in the personal guidance of one’s mentor, and in one’s own ability to achieve enlightenment through the given method. This faith or confidence enables the practitioner to embark on the spiritual quest and make the necessary exertion. Next is the effort (viriya) which is equal to exertion (vāyama on the noble eightfold path). Effort is the factor that enables one to achieve the desirable goal in whatever endeavor, however, in meditation, this effort must be kept in balance with another faculty, that is of samādhi, the concentration itself. Mindfulness (sati) is the faculty keeping the other factors in well concerted state that produces concentration of the mind. Wisdom or discerning knowledge (paññā) is the last factor that should be balanced with saddha, the first factor to keep the practice on the right track.

Right Mindfulness –Sammā-sati

Herein Right Mindfulness especially refers to the four foundations of mindfulness termed satipaṭṭhāna. The Satipaṭṭthāna is the method that conduces to those states of the meditative experiences. The term satipaṭṭhāna can be broken down into sati + upa + ṭhāna some times is translated as the establishment of mindfulness or the application of mindfulness. Both are correct, according to the commentaries on the texts. The text reads:

And what, monks, is the right mindfulness? Herein, a monk dwells contemplating the body (kāya) in the body (kāye), ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief concerning the world. He dwells contemplating feeling (vedanā) in the feeling (vedanāsu)...states of mind (citta) in the states of mind (citte)...phenomena (dhammā) in the phenomena (dhammesu), ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief concerning the world.[35]

We should take note of the Pāli passages: kāye kāyānupassī, vedanāsu vedanānupassī, cite cittānupassī, dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati which are rather awkwardly translated into English in the above quoted text. However, there is an explicit implication in the Pāli text that the practitioner should apply his mind ‘here and now’ to the reality that is perceivable and in the present. He should either engage his mind with his body or feelings or with his moods or any phenomena that is present. In the Pali passages, mindfulness is always accompanied by clear comprehension.

The alertness or awareness of what is going on is called ‘sampajañña’ and the reflective knowledge is termed ‘sati’. Sati is often translated as ‘mindfulness’, and sampajañña stands for ‘clear comprehension’ or non- delusion. On the spiritual path, sati is one of the five faculties, one of the five powers, and one of the ‘factors of enlightenment’- satisambojhaṅga’. In the Noble Eightfold Path, sati stands for the seventh factor- sammāsati. In the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāṇa sutta (DN, MN) where sati plays an eminent role earning it the status of most important practice leading to liberation and enlightenment. This is solemnly declared by the Buddha thus:

This is the only way, monks, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and grief, for reaching the noble path, for the realization of Nibbāna, namely, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness [Ekāyano ayaṃ bhikkhave maggo sattānaṃ visuddhiyā sokaparidevānaṃ samatikkamāya dukkhadomanassānaṃ atthaṅgamāya ñāyassa adhigamāya nibbānassa sacchikiriyāya, yadidaṃ cattāro satipaṭṭhānā.][36]

In the noble eightfold path and the threefold training, sati represents for concentration (Samādhi) and sampajañña stands for wisdom (paññā). However, sati as represented in the above text is the establishment of mindfulness that is accompanied by clear comprehension and ātāpī is an ardent practice to remove covetousness and aversion concerning body, feeling, mind and dhammā or ideas. Thus, sati, sampajaññā, and ātāpi here are used as tools to refine the mind in its relation to experiences. Sati and sampajaññā is a pair that always goes together. How these two faculties work harmoniously to ensure the practitioner stays on the right path is succinctly and lucidly captured by Venerable Nyanapoṇika Thero as follows:

Let us take the example of a pleasant visual object which has aroused our liking. At first that liking might not be very active and insistent. If at that point the mind has already been able to keep still for detached observation or reflection (sati), the visual perception can easily be divested of its still very slight admixture of lust. The object becomes registered as “just something seen that has caused a pleasant feeling.” or the attraction felt is sublimated into a quiet aesthetic pleasure. But if that earlier chance has been missed, the liking will grow into attachment and into the desire to possess. If now a stop is called, the thought of desire may gradually lose its strength; it will not easily turn into an insistent craving, and no actual attempts to get possession of the desired object will follow. But if the current of lust is still unchecked, then the thought of desire may express itself by speech in asking for the object or even demanding it with impetuous words. That is unwholesome mental karma is followed by unwholesome verbal karma. A refusal will cause the original current of lust to branch out into additional stream of mental defilements, either sadness or anger. But if even at that late stage one can stop for quiet reflection or bare attention, accept the refusal, and renounce wish-fulfillment, further complications will be avoided. However, if clamoring words are followed by unwholesome bodily karma, and if, driven by craving, one tries to get possession of the desired object by stealth of force, then the karmic entanglement is complete and its consequences must be experienced in their full impact. But still, if even after the completion of the evil act, one stops for reflection, it will not be in vain. For the mindfulness that arises in the form of remorseful retrospection will prelude a hardening of character and may prevent a repetition of the same action.[37]

Of these two mental factors, sati stands for samādhi or being firmly grounded, and sampajaññā stands for wisdom in action. Ordinarily, almost everyone can be aware of their bodily movements and their actions, however, this superficial knowing is not called mindfulness (sati) in its technical sense. The awareness in meditation practice requires a more serious engagement of the faculty of wisdom (paññindriya). This differentiation is described as follows:

Mindfulness accompanied by clear comprehension, differs from ordinary awareness. Rather than seeing the conventional features of objects more clearly, mindfulness goes beyond them to perceive something quite specific – the ultimate characteristics common to all formations, good or bad. There are only three of these: impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self. (...) Mindfully noting mental and physical phenomena, we learn that they arise only to pass away. In the deepest sense, we cannot manipulate or actually own them.[38]

True mindfulness has arisen when there is only the action but no doer. With divided mindfulness we experience both, the one who is mindful and the one who is being watched. If we use precision in our attention, we see – even if only for a moment – that no person is embedded in our mind/ body proceed. We can never forget that experience.[39]

The practice of mindfulness and clear comprehension is an indispensable practice for the purification of the mind (sacitta pariyodāsana). In brief, this is the third step on the Buddhist Path to the ultimate happiness that all the Buddhas or Enlightened Ones recommend.[40] Sati and sampajaññā keep one’s mind in the present, not lurking into the past nor dreaming about the future. As the nature of an ordinary mind is flickering, vacillating and irritating, the task of sati is to pin it down and that of sampajañña to channel it into a correct course of action. Thus, under the discipline of sati and sampajaññā, the mind virtually stays in the present dhamma (physical and mental phenomena); this makes it lucid and alert. In the Satipaṭṭhāṇa Sutta, mindfulness and clear comprehension occupy one section, describing how meditation is carried on in one’s daily activities. This is a very important practice, for if these two mental controlling faculties do not exert their role in one’s bodily, verbal and mental activities in the daily basic practice, meditative attainments are impossible[41]. As at the beginning of this chapter, I have cited out the critique of a western practitioner (and also a scholar who is representative of many other half-hearted practitioners) that it is this lacking of persistence of making a daily practice out of applying the spirit of awakening in the diverse complication of circumstances that accounts for one’s failure.

Kāyanupassanā, Contemplation on the Body

Contemplation on the body serves the purpose of dispelling misapprehending the body as the self. At the grossest level, people take their body to be their self, then cling and attach to it, thereby giving an overdue regard to the body. This tendency inevitably causes unnecessary worry and distress when the body changes its appearance, getting sick, old-aged and finally disintegrating. Most of man’s pleasures are extracted from the body and man gratifies his / her carnal desires, seeing it as beautiful, attractive, enticing, etc. Contemplation on the body consists of the mindfulness of breathing, analysis of the four primary elements, the postures, the 32 parts of the body, and the nine stages of the disintegration of a corpse. This helps in discerning the impure and vulnerable nature of the body. The knowledge gained through contemplation of the material aspect of one’s being acts to dispel the illusion of beauty and attractiveness, and this is a good therapy for narcissism and hedonistic addictions.

We have seen in Chapter Three how the metaphysical speculation postulates breath for the self or soul (prāṇa ātman). In order to see the connection of the breath with the living body as merely functional, the first exercise offered in this method of training is Ānāpaṇasati or mindfulness of breathing. This is the most popular meditative practice, and it is common both to Yoga (Hinduism) and Buddhism. The practice of mindfulness of breathing according to Buddhist technique does not require the breath control as in Yoga which is termed prāṇayana. Buddhist texts describe this theme in 16 steps, which again can be divided into four Tetrads modeling itself on the Satipaṭṭhāna method. The first Tetrad which deals with the contemplation of the body is described as follows:

1) Breathing in long, one knows, ‘I breathe in long’; or breathing out long, one knows, ‘I breathe out long’.

2) Breathing in short, one knows, ‘I breathe in short’; or breathing out short, one knows, ‘I breathe out short’.

3) “Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in”, thus one trains oneself; “Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out”, thus one trains oneself.

4) “Calming the bodily formation, I shall breathe in”, thus one trains oneself”; “Calming the bodily formation, I shall breathe out”, thus one trains oneself.”

The second Tetrad is described with a shift of attention to the feelings that the contemplation on breath in a deep absorption would entail (in the first and second jhāna according to the commentary on this discourse). The text reads as follows:

5) “Experiencing rapture, I shall breathe in”, thus one trains oneself; “Experiencing rapture, I shall breathe out”, thus one trains oneself.[42]

6) “Experiencing bliss, I shall breathe in”, thus one trains oneself. “Experiencing bliss, I shall breathe out”, thus one trains oneself.

7) “Experiencing the mind- activities, I shall breathe in”, thus one trains oneself; “Experiencing the mind- activities, I shall breathe out”, thus one trains oneself.

8) “Calming the mind- activities, I shall breathe in”, thus one trains oneself; “Calming the mind- activities, I shall breathe out”, thus one trains oneself.

The third Tetrad is the contemplating on the mind while the main object of exercise is still the in- and out- breath. However, the awareness is sharper so that it is capable of encompassing the wholeness in the experiencing of the mind-body relationship. The text reads:

9) “Experiencing the mind, I shall breathe in, thus one trains oneself; “Experiencing the mind, I shall breathe out, thus one trains oneself.

10) “Gladdening the mind, I shall breathe in, thus one trains oneself; “Gladdening the mind, I shall breathe out, thus one trains oneself.”

11) “Contemplating the mind, I shall breathe in, thus one trains oneself; “Contemplating the mind, I shall breathe out, thus one trains oneself.”

12) “Liberating the mind, I shall breathe in, thus one trains oneself”; “Liberating the mind, I shall breathe out, thus one trains oneself.”

The fourth Tetrad entails the contemplation of mental objects or Dhammas as follows:

13) “Contemplating impermanence, I shall breathe in, thus one trains oneself; “Contemplating impermanence, I shall breathe out, thus one trains oneself.”

14) “Contemplating fading away”, I shall breathe in, thus one trains oneself; “Contemplating fading away”, I shall breathe out, thus one trains oneself.

15) “Contemplating cessation, I shall breathe in, thus one trains oneself; “Contemplating cessation, I shall breathe out, thus one trains oneself.

16) “Contemplating relinquishment, I shall breathe in, thus one trains oneself; “Contemplating relinquishment, I shall breathe out, thus one trains oneself.[43]

Mindfulness of breathing can also be applied in developing concentration (samatha) as well as for insight meditation (vipassanā). It can lead up to the fourth Jhāna in the Buddhist meditative classification. Developing insight knowledge, as we have seen from the above prescribed exercise, it gradually leads to the understanding, transforming and transcending the conditioned experience in this very human body through the transformation of both consciousness and mind. The text reads:

And how developed, monks, how repeatedly practiced, does respiration-mindfulness perfect the four foundations of mindfulness? On whatever occasion, [...the 1st tetrad, 1-4] – on that occasion, monks, a practitioner abides contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having put away covetousness and grief regarding the world.[44]

From a therapeutic perspective, the first tetrad is recommended for the people who have a distracted mind as this exercise helps to keep the mind firmly on one object; thus the mind will become focused and unified, not scattered here and there and thus losing energy. A unified mind is more healthy and penetrative, and this mind can thereby become a good tool to examine the mental contents of one’s being. Mindfulness of breathing can be practiced everywhere and all the times because one’s breath is always available, and it even helps a great deal for relaxation at the office or working place, in the examination hall, in a tense meeting, etc. If even for some brief moments, practicing mindfulness of breathing can so beneficial, one can just imagine how, as a long term practice, it could be even more helpful. The phrase “having put away covetousness and grief regarding the world” indicates a state of non-reaction such as bodily attraction or repulsion. There are many benefits one may gain through the practice of the Mindfulness of the body. The text reads:

In him who thus lives earnest, ardent and resolute, worldly memories and inclinations will fade away, and through their fading his mind will become firm within, will be calm, harmonious and concentrated. In that way, monks, a practitioner develops mindfulness of the body.[45]

Vedanānupassanā- Contemplation on the Feelings

Contemplation on feelings helps one to discover the true nature of human experience at the sensational and emotional level. This exercise is a good therapy for those who regarding feeling as the self, and as a sequel, are attached to feelings and emotions, thus being in a state of constant inner turmoil produced by their uncontrolled feelings and emotions. As we have seen in the previous chapters, feelings form the basis of all of one’s reactions (vedanā paccayā taṇhā). “The world is led by feeling”[46], said a Buddhist master. People crave pleasant feelings and shun unpleasant feelings. Most of man’s activities are governed by these two principal survival apperceptions.

In recent times in western psychotherapy, there have been many reports of alienation in which the patient feels ‘not himself’ or ‘not-herself’. This symptom has its cause in the misrepresentation of one’s real feelings to oneself. This is a kind of defense mechanism that has subconsciously originated from a period of difficulty in one’s personal development; however, it is ‘out of fashion’ or no longer suited to one’s present situation. In an attempt to avoid painful feelings and blindly searching for pleasant feelings, one has cut oneself off from one’s real feelings. All of these, in Buddhist terms, happen because of one not comprehending of the true nature of feelings, and this makes one’s journey in samsāra a long and painful one. Contemplation on feelings is the best therapy for this mental illness.

To practice contemplation of the feeling (vedanānupassanā), the practitioner is requested to pay close attention at the sensation that is accruing in the body. There are three kinds of feelings at the sensational level, i.e., pleasant, unpleasant and neutral which have originated from the contact of sense organs with their respective objects. At the emotional level, feelings are classified in fivefold as regards to worldly emotion and spiritual emotion. Whatever sensation or feeling there is, one should mentally note it without reaction. If a reaction arises such as like or dislike, or ignoring, this is saṅkhārakkhandha and one should mentally note it as it is. Like or dislike or attraction or repulsion to bodily sensations are emotions, and they belong to the fourth khandha, the aggregate of mental formations. If one is not aware of these reactional occurrences, they may develop into negative emotions such as lust, hatred, daydreaming, etc. Being aware of them is called the contemplation on the mind. With a keen awareness, one will see that feelings are of a fleeting nature arising and fading away in rapid succession, and therefore, all feelings are unsatisfactory (dukkha). They are not fit to be held for the self or the core of one’s being. They are not self, and therefore holding on to them only yields unsatisfactory experiences. The text read:

Whatever feeling there is, pleasant or painful or neither pleasant nor painful one; whether it is internal or external (feeling) that has been felt. By having known that is unsatisfactory, a deluded state, decaying. Seeing its ephemeral nature moment by moment (i.e., coming in touch with the impermanence of feelings), thus become detached from it. Realizing the destruction of feelings, the practitioner thus no more hankering after feeling, and becomes perfectly at peace.[47]

Furthermore, this practice can lead to liberation from all limited and conditioned experiences. When a practitioner exercises mindfulness and clear comprehension, feelings are understood as they arise, understood as they remain or present, understood as they are passing away. Thoughts are understood as they arise, as they present, and as they disolved. Perceptions are understood as they arise, as they present and as they pass away.[48] Elsewhere, feelings, as instructed by the Buddha, should be experienced in seven modes. It is stated that when a noble disciple feels a painful feeling, s/he does not react with distraught or aversion towards that unpleasant feeling, thus the underlying tendency to hatred (paṭighānusaya) is abolished; when s/he experiences a pleasant feeling, this is known, and it can not tempt him/her to taking delight in it, thus the underlying tendency to lust (rāgānusaya) is abolished; when s/he experiences a neutral feeling, this is known, therefore it is experienced with non-delusion. “Because the instructed noble disciple knows of an escape from painful feeling other than sensual pleasure...[49] He understands it as it really is the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of these feelings. Since he understands these things, the underlying tendency to ignorance in regard to neither- pleasant- nor-painful feeling does not lie behind this.”[50] Herein, the escape from feelings is the detached attitude towards feelings. This detachment is the distinction between worldly and the noble ones in the teaching and discipline of the Buddha [S. 36, 6:6, the dart].

Cittānupassanā- Contemplation on the Mind

Contemplation on the mind encompasses the awareness of every thought that occurs in the mind; this includes both saṅkhārakkhandha and viññāṇakkhandha. The texts give a list of 16 states of mind that a practitioner has to be aware of or honestly acknowledged. These states include the mind with lust or the mind without lust, the mind with hatred or the mind without hatred, the mind with delusion or the mind without delusion, the contracted mind or the distracted mind, the developed mind or the undeveloped mind, the surpassable mind or the unsurpassable mind, the concentrated mind or the unconcentrated mind, the freed mind or the not-freed mind. Of them, perhaps most frequently occurring to the ordinary persons are the first ten states of mind. A contracted mind is one that has shrunken due to encounters with undesirable elements, whereas a distracted mind is one that is agitated and wandering here and there without aiming or purpose. A developed mind is the state of mind in meditation, usually denoting the different stages of mental absorption (mahaggatā), whereas the undeveloped mind is one not in concentration, or a momentary mind.

Practical advice for contemplation of the mind in its interaction with the environment was given by the Buddha as follows:

Herein, Upavāna, a practitioner having seen a visible object with his own eyes, is aware of the form and aware of his desire for (or aversion to) the form. Of the desire for (or aversion to) the form, he knows: ‘there is in my mind a desire (or aversion) for the form”. If a practitioner having seen a form is aware of the form and being aware of the desire (or aversion) for the form, knowing that desire (or aversion) for form is present in his mind, in so far, the teaching (Dhamma) is visible here and now, is of immediate result, inviting to see, onward-leading, directly experiential by the wise.[51]

The same observation is prescribed for encountering sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects, and the ideas that originated in the mind. If one can be alert to whatever occurs in one’s mind through the interaction with the inner (ajjhattaṃ) and outer (bahiya) environment, being aware of every impingement on the mind is called the contemplation of the mind in the mind (citte cittānupassī viharati).

Dhammānupassanā or Contemplation of the Dhamma

The word Dhammā in the Dhammānupassanā compound denotes the mind’s objects. Citta signifies state of mind, and dhamma, the idea that occurs in the mind. Cittā are saṅkhārā but not all dhammā are saṅkhāra (see the dhamma chart on page 16). An enlightened mind is the asaṅkhāra cittaṃ. Contemplation on perception belongs to the fourth category of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Dhammānupassanā. This contemplation ranges from all saṅkhārā dhammā to asaṅkhāra dhamma. The text divides them into five groups of Dhammā:

1) Contemplation on the five mental hindrances (sense-desire, anger, sloth and torpor, agitation and worry, and doubt), seeing them as cetasikā, i.e., mental properties, or qualities that occur with the arising of consciousness (citta).

2) Contemplating on the five aggregates of clinging: “Thus is the material form, thus is the arising of material form, thus is the passing away of material form; thus is feeling...; thus is the perception...; thus is the mental formation...; thus is the consciousness, thus is the arising of consciousness, thus is the passing away of consciousness.” This observation must be done passionlessly so that the five aggregates are seen objectively as not I, nor as me or not mine. They are virtually dhammā that has originated and dissolved in the mind-body interaction.

3) The six internal and six external sense-bases denote once again contemplation on the interaction between senses and their respective object whenever there is a contact, i.e., the meeting of at least three elements: sense, stimulation and attention. Whatever ‘happens there’, the meditator must be aware of them, and by this keen awareness, the process will not grow into papañca or mental proliferation.

4) With a keen awareness, the meditator’s mind is now consists of only wholesome factors that termed “The seven factors of enlightenment” (sattabojjhaṅga). They are sati or mindfulness, dhammavicaya or selecting of a suitable means, viriya or energy, piti or spiritual joy, passaddhi or tranquility, samādhi or concentration, and upekkhā, equanimity. Rather than all of these occurring together when one is practicing, but any one or a group of these enlightenment factors can in fact, occur at any given time. The practitioner must know its (or their) presence, its (or their) absence, the cause and condition(s) that giving rise to their occurrence(s) and the cause(s) and condition(s) causing its (or their) disappearance.

5) The Four Noble Truths: whatever occurs, it is seen in the light of the Four Noble Truths encompassing all ranges of human experiences. This contemplation belongs to the third training, the training in wisdom (paññā sikkhā) which we will return to shortly latter in the third section of this chapter.

Sammāsamādhi or Right Concentration

Etymologically, the word samādhi comes from prefix sam plus ā, and the root dhā literally means ‘the state of mind being firmly fixed’. In M.44, it is explained as ‘one-pointedness of the mind’ (cittass’ekaggatā). According to the Abhidhamma, samādhi or concentration is a mental factor that participates in all mental activities. Thus there might be wholesome concentration or unwholesome concentration. Herein, only wholesome concentration is intended because it is modified by the word ‘sammā’, ‘right’ (opposed to ‘micchā’, wrong). The word samādhi is also translated as meditation in many contexts. Meditation does not always mean mental absorptions or Jhāna states in which all mental activities are gradually suspended. Although Right Concentration is the last factor on the Noble Eightfold Path, however, it is not the end of the Path as we have seen in the earlier analysis. In Mahācattārīsakasutta (M.III) we find the following definition:

Bhikkhus, what is noble right concentration together with the means and accessories? It is right view, right thoughts, right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right endeavor and right mindfulness. Bhikkhus, one-pointedness of the mind that endowed with these seven factors is called noble right concentration together with the means and the accessories.[52]

Thus, the eight factors of the Path are involved in only a single factor, right concentration. In the noble training, concentration must be led by right view, and it is a result of the right application of thoughts (vitakka, vicāra), being preceded by a firm grounding in morality that is formulated as right speech, right action and right livelihood, and it is accomplished by means of right mindfulness and right exertion.

Jhāna or Mental Absorption

Right concentration also exclusively refers to the four jhāna, or mental absorptions. The first stage of this higher training is requires the displacement of the five mental hindrances (pañca nīvaraṇa) by developing the five jhāna factors. Etymologically, the word jhāna (Sans. Dhyāna) comes from jhāyati which has two meanings: to meditate and jhāpeti (causative) to burn up, set on fire. In Visuddhimagga, Ven. Buddhaghosa gives this definition: āramman’ūpanijjhānato paccaṇīka-jhāpanato vā jhānaṃ, meaning (it is) “called jhāna from meditation on the objects and from burning up anything adverse”[53]. Hence jhāna is often translated into English as meditation, absorption, trance, etc. This is referring to the four mental absorptions.

In the first jhāna when the five hindrances are suppressed by five jhāna factors, the practitioner experiences a kind of happiness that is born of withdrawal from sensuous desires and disassociated with unwholesome states. The Text reads:

He enters upon the first jhāna which is absent of sensual desires and removed of unwholesome states, with application of thought and pondering (repeatedly on the meditation object), dwell in the joy and happiness born of seclusion. [So vivic’eve kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pīti-sukhaṃ paṭhamajhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.] [54]

As it is described in the above text, the first jhāna requires some measure of mental exertion, using application of thought (vitakka) and pondering or sustaining thought (vicāra) in order to get rid off the disturbances of the mind known as the hindrances (nīvaraṇa). In the first jhāna, the mind becomes free of all the unwholesome factors enabling the practitioner to enjoy a purer happiness called vivekajaṃ pīti-sukhaṃ.

The Five Mental Hindrances (Pañca nīvaraṇa)

There are five mental hindrances frequently mentioned in the texts as follows: (1) sensual desire (kāmacchanda), (2) ill-will (vyāpāda), (3) sloth and torpor (thīna-middha) (4) restlessness and remorse (uddhacca-kukkucca), and (5) doubt (vicikicca). In the Samaññāphala sutta (D.2) sensual desire is compared to being in debt (and thus one has to endure harassment), ill-will is similar to being ill (so that one can not enjoy even delicious foods), sloth and torpor is likened being imprisoned (one is kept in dullness or darkness due to lethargy), restlessness and remorse are compared to a slave who has no freedom (being pushed and pulled), and skeptical doubt is as uncertain and frightening as being in a desert. The ordinary mind is preoccupied by one or others of these hindrances most of the time. When the mind rests on a single object of meditation (ekaggata), sensual desire is burnt up; the application of the thought (vitakka) on the meditation object helps to dispel slothfulness; joy (piti) displaces remorse and happiness or serenity (sukha) replace restlessness; the pondering (vicāra) on the meditation object burns up doubt. In this sense, it is said the jhānas burn up their adversaries.

In the second jhāna, the mind of the practitioner becomes more refined by the dropping off of the first two jhāna factors of vitakka and vicāra that are considered as gross instruments. The text reads:

vitakka-vicārānaṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ sampasādānaṃ cetaso ekodībhāvaṃ avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ samādhijaṃ pīti-sukhaṃ dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati –having calming down the application and pondering thought, experiencing an inner tranquility of the oneness of the mind, he dwells with joy and happiness born of concentration, without application and pondering thought.[55]

We can see that, the art of living happily (diṭṭhadhamma sukhaṃ viharati) in the Buddhist system of meditation is not achieving through acquisition but rather through relinquishment. The training in morality is to relinquish the external obstacles and gross behaviors. In the next preparatory step, the practitioner mindfully exercises the guarding his senses. The five sense media are subdued even to the extent that they are totally shut down. There remains only the mind door, which is considered as the inner sense in Buddhist psychology. The training in concentration is intended for the removal of internal obstacles from the unwholesome to the neutral and even the wholesome states when they are no more necessary. Vitakka and vicāra are mano saṅkhārā[56], mental activities and they are rather neutral, i.e., depending on their application they are either seen as wholesome or as unwholesome. In the mental discipline as in this context, they are wholesome mental factors used to combat with the unwholesome hindrances. However, even this wholesomeness should eventually be dropped for a more refined application. In the second jhāna, when the mind has been unified (cetaso ekodībhāvaṃ) the first two factors (vitakka and vicāra) naturally disappear. This enables the practitioner to experience an inner tranquility without the disturbance of the thoughts.

The third jhāna is even more subtle in which joy or rapture (piti) is considered as gross factor and has to be calmed down. There is only happiness, the highest state of mundane happiness that one can reach, which is experienced on this third level of absorption. It is described as follows:

After the fading away of rapture he dwells in equanimity, mindful, clearly conscious, and he experiences in his body that feeling in which the noble ones say, ‘happy lives the man of equanimity and attentive mind’; thus he enters the third absorption.[57]

The happiness that is experienced in this degree of mental absorption is born of equanimity (upekkhajā-sukhaṃ) while in the preceding state, joy and happiness are born of concentration (samādhijaṃ pīti-sukhaṃ).

In the fourth jhāna, the practitioner feels no pain or pleasure; he has a total control over bodily sensations. Further, it is a state that is absent of emotions, and he feels neither joy, nor grief. The text reads:

After having given up pleasure and pain, and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond pleasure and pain. It is the fourth absorption, which is purified by equanimity and mindfulness.[58]

Iddhipāda – Supernormal powers

The process of psychological reduction in jhānas leads the mind to be unified, progressively more refined and more subtle. It is described in the text thus:

His mind is concentrated, pure, radiant, unblemished, free from defilements, soft, pliant, wieldy, steady, and attained to the imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to creating a mind-made body. From this body he creates another body having material form, mind make, having complete in all its parts, not lacking any faculties. [So evaṃ samāhite citte parisuddhe pariyodāte anaṅgaṇe vigatūpakkilese mudubhūte kammaniye ṭhite āneñjappatte manomayaṃ kāyaṃ abhinimminanāya cittaṃ abhinīharati abhininnāmeti. So imamhā kāyā aññaṃ kāyaṃ abhinimmināti rūpiṃ manomayaṃ sabbaṅgapaccaṅgiṃ ahīnindriyaṃ][59]

This pure, radiant and flexible state of mind is an ideal ground to exercise the wonder called iddhi, the supernormal powers or miracles. When the mind has reached fourth jhāna, it is possible to develop psychic powers (iddhipāda). It is noteworthy that, in Buddhist practice, psychic powers are only the byproducts of a right practice. Samaññaphala (DN) gives a full account of different achievements called wonders or miracles (iddhipāda) such as traveling by air (without an aircraft), creating multiple bodies from one, diving into earth as if it were space, walking on water as if it were solid earth, reading another person’s mind, etc. In Sampasādanīya sutta (D 28, D.III. 112), it is stated that there are two kinds of supernormal powers: “one is that bound up with corruption and attachment, which is called ‘not-ariyan’, the other is that of ‘ariyan’, free from corruption and not bound up with attachment”[60]. It is of the first type, in D11, Kevaṭṭa sutta, that the Buddha confessed that: “It is because of I see danger in the practice of these mystic powers that I loath and abhor and I am ashamed thereof”[61]

As byproducts, those powers are thus not encouraged to be displayed, neither for gain nor fame. Once, the Buddha accompanied by a large group of monks came to a town named Nālanda, a citizen of that town came to pay his respects to him and requested the Buddha commending his great disciples to exhibit miracles so that all inhabitants of prosperous Nalanda city would become his followers. The Buddha rejected his request and on this occasion, he stated that of the three well - known psychic powers that he himself had mastered, the miracle of instruction was the best (anusāsanī-pāṭihāriya)[62]. This miracle is nothing other than the act of education and the course of training to transform one’s low motives and vulgar gratifications into a nobler and more refined enjoyment. On this point, we can see that in the Buddhist systematic scheme of teaching and training, there are many options when it comes to the pursuit of the noble life. Practitioners can choose either passive withdrawal happiness in jhāna or an active life of engagement in education and instruction for personal and social transformation. However, the latter is generally encouraged only after the practitioner, has, to some degrees, mastered his or her own mind.[63]

Ariya-Iddhi – The Miracle of Noble Ones

If jhāna attainment is the art of deduction to unburden the mind of mental activities, there is another kind of wonder or miracle that is termed the noble wonder or the miracle of the noble ones (ariya iddhi) that does not require the practitioner to master jhāna or mental absorptions. This is considered to be a rational way to transform emotions. As we have seen in the section on motivation, cognitive and emotive processes intertwine in the human experience of the subjective or objective world (all termed dhammā). To an ordinary person, an attractive object or a pleasant experience always remain as a drawing force, i.e., a force that is enticing, inviting, and provoking taṇhā in the mind. From the perception of beauty or pleasantness comes the emotion of liking, loving, and attachment. The opposite emotional reaction arises when the object is perceived as unattractive or disgusting, provoking disliking, loathing and aversion. All these bi-polar states are termed akusala dhammā, unskillful states. The method of guarding against these sense faculties offers a passive counter to the invasion of unwanted emotions or unskillful states imported through sense–impingements (paṭighasamphassa). An active way of dealing with the possibility of the arising of unwanted emotions is a radical turning of one’s attitude toward the object. The text reads:

What is the Ariyan supernormal powers? Here a monk if he whishes: “Let me abide with disgusting not feeling disgust”, can so abide, and if he whishes: “Let me abide with the non-disgusting with feeling disgust”, he can so abide, also feeling either disgust or non-disgust in the present of both... or: “Ignoring both the disgusting and the non-disgusting may I abide in equanimity, mindful and clearly aware” he can so abide.[64]

In common language, this passage can be translated as: he might regard the beautiful object as unattractive, the ugly object as lovable, and consider both the beautiful as well as the ugly as repulsive. He dwells in both a beautiful object or a repulsive object with equanimity. This ability makes the noble person lives with a sound mind that imbibed with wisdom, compassion and equanimity. In other words, the Ariyan lives immune from the bombardments of sense-impressions. In psychological terms, he is unaffected by experiences, whether good or bad, positive or negative.

Herein, the contemplation on the repulsive aspects of human bodies is a rational way to counteract with carnal desires. Among the kammaṭṭhānā or the subjects of meditation, twelve are devoted to this kind of practice. This practice enables the practitioner to live amidst the beautiful objects but not to be distracted by the attractive qualities of the objective world. The cultivation of loving kindness (metta bhāvanā) enables one to treat even a naturally repulsive object or unlovable qualities with kindness and care. The contemplation on the purposeful use of the four basic requisites (food, clothes, shelter and medicine) is useful to prevent the rampant desires as regards to the material objects. The contemplation on equanimity (upekkha Bhāvanā) offers one an equally balanced state of mind to all kinds of objects. This is considered as the noble art of living pertaining to the noble-minded persons (Ariyā-iddhi).

Abhiññā or the Higher Knowledge

Abhiññā comes from the root -/jñā meaning to know and the prefix abhi, usually denoting intensity, or a higher degree /quality. We have discussed on saññā, viññāṇa, and paññā which also come from the same root, but with different prefixes, and therefore, they convey different meanings. Abhiññā in the early discourses of the Buddha denote six kinds of higher knowledge gained through the successful practice of meditation. They are as follows:

1. Iddhi-vidhā, manifold of supernormal powers such as diving into the solid materials (ground, wall, etc,), similar to iddhi-pāda described above.

2. Dibba-sota, or Divine Ear that enables the person to understand the language of different species, including the divine beings.

3. Ceto-pariya-ñāṇa, or The understanding of the other’s mind.

4. Dibba-cakkhu, or Divine Eye that sees invisible objects to the normal eyes.

5. Pubbe-nivāsānussati, the ability to recall many previous existences.

6. Āsavakkhayañāṇa, the knowledge of the extinction of cankers.

Of the six, only the last one is supra-mundane knowledge gained through insight meditation (vipassanā).

In the Poṭṭhapāda Sutta (D. 9) where the Buddha patiently explained to the wandering ascetic Poṭṭhapāda how to reach the state of culmination of consciousness in the noble teaching and discipline (i.e., the Buddha’s Dhamma), which is called ‘the cessation of the refined perception’ (abhisaññā nirodho). This course of training is purposefully prescribed for dispelling the illusion of a permanent self or soul that identified with saññā or consciousness in this context.

The text further describes the four arūpajhāna, the immaterial attainments termed ākāsānañcāyatana, the attainment of which the perception of space has disappeared, allowing the practitioner to experiences the infinite space. The next is a state of attainment in which he perceives the infinity of consciousness (anantaṃ viññānaṃ) that is termed viññāṇañcāyatana. The third attainment is a state in which all conceptions have disappeared (n’atthi kiñci), and herein the practitioner dwells in a state of nothingness termed ākiñcaññāyatana. Even in this highest state of consciousness (saññagge), he knows in his own person that it is not satisfied (papiyo), and it is better to be in “acetayamānassa”- a non-volitionally-mindless state. This denotes the gradual process to complete cessation (anupubbābhisaññā-nirodha-sampajjāna-samāpatti).[65]

We have, hitherto, cited many sources describing different states of mind during meditative exercises or training in concentration, and also what lies at the end of these attainments. If the practitioner is fortunate enough, at the culmination of this training, she or he would view them as non-satisfactory as did the ascetic Gotama (Buddha) prior to his enlightenment. Discontentment or disappointment comes about when the practitioner sees that they, too, are impermanent, and therefore, unsatisfactory. This realization incites the spiritual seekers to find another method which might be more conducive to lasting inner peace. This newly discovered method is termed Vipassanā, or the analytical method, elsewhere it is known as the training in wisdom.

III. Adhipaññā-sikkhā or The Higher Training in Wisdom

What we observe is not nature in itself, but nature exposed to our methods of questioning”.[66]

In relation to the Noble Eightfold Path, the training in wisdom or the discipline of insight knowledge consists of the first two factors of the path, i.e., Right View and Right Thought as we have discussed on the previous pages. The definition of the third method applied on the path to enlightenment is described as follows:

What, Monks, is the higher training in wisdom? Herein, monks, a practitioner who has extinguished of the intoxicated factors (āsava), being without āsava, the one liberated of the mind (and) liberated by wisdom in this very life having realized, entered and dwell in the higher knowledge. This, monks, is the higher training in wisdom. [Katamā ca, bhikkhave, adhipaññāsikkhā? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu āsavānam khayā anāsavam cetovimuttim paññāvimuttim dittheva dhamme sayam abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharati. Ayam vuccati, bhikkhave, adhipaññā sikkhā].[67]

Elsewhere, the higher training in wisdom is defined as the discernment of the Four Noble Truths. This aspect of the third training is described in details in the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāṇa Sutta that we have already dealt with in a concise discussion in the section on right mindfulness. According to the Visuddhi Magga, the Path of Purification (Vism XVII), the field of paññā or wisdom consists in the discernment of the Law of Dependent Origination in its different modes. This qualification is in accordance with the Dhamma, i.e., Buddha’s teaching in his early discourses that recorded in the five Nikāya. It is reported that, the Bodhisatta got enlightenment when he turned his meditative power to analyze human experience and discovered its causal occurrences, a process he termed Paṭiccasamuppāda or the ‘dependent arising’[68].

Etymologically, the term is coined by the combination of paṭi meaning ‘dependent’ or ‘against’ and eti (being a causative case of the root -/ī, ‘to go’), plus ‘saṃ’ meaning ‘together’ (equivalent to the prefix syn- in Gr. or con- in Latin) and uppāda meaning ‘arising’. Literally, it is translated as ‘having depended, it’s arising’ or ‘due to arising together’. There are many modes of dependent arising, such are expressed as “because of this is, that arises” (imasmim sati idaṃ hoti), or “because of ignorance, karmic activities (are performed)” (avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā), or ‘due to the eye and the visible object, eye-consciousness arises” (S.II. 72; M.I.8), etc. Paññā (Pa and -/jñā ‘to know’) here means the wisdom that sees the dependent origination of phenomena (dhammā). Seeing the arising, one will not hold fast to the nihilist view, seeing the dissolving (of the arisen dhamma), the tenacious clinging to eternality is shattered. This is the highest level of the sammādiṭṭhi or the right view exempting one from the two extremes of nihilism and eternalism or the hedonistic practice of materialism or the self-mortification of the asceticism. At this level, right view keeps one’s practice on the right path leading straight to the extinction of delusion, greed and hatred that culminates in lasting inner peace of Nibbāna.

To people endowed with a sharp faculty in wisdom who are able to discern the dependent arising of phenomena and realize the Four Noble Truths, the liberation is called paññāvimutti. However, there are many practitioners who have developed a gradual practice of mind-cultivation (bhāvanā) to reach different stages of the purification (of the mind or the purposeful evolution of consciousness) as we have discussed in the section on the Samādhi sikkha. There are still many other approaches presented in the early discourses (suttas) such as Sabbāsava Sutta (M. I.2), Vitakka saṇṭhāna Sutta (M.I. 18) and Dwedhavitakka sutta (M.I.19). For example, in Sallakha Sutta (M.I.8), the Buddha explained to Ven Mahā Cunda how various kinds of wrong views concerning the self (atta) and the world (loka) can be removed through vipassanā or insight meditation only. Jhānic attainment is explained not as an austere practice that enables one to remove mental defilements, but rather, it is a mere practice leading to a blissful existence. Hereafter, this training is presented in a different fashion.

Living in the Present

A theme of practice that is rather popular among the practitioners of the Buddhist Path is Bhaddekaratta. It is reported that a deva (an angel) was surprised when s/he came to know that a certain monk did not know what this theme was. The celestial being asked the monk to go to see the Buddha in order to learn more about it; accordingly, the monk went to see the Buddha who explained to him what the ideal solitude practice is. Subsequently, there were three suttas (discourses) in Majjhima Nikāya devoted to the theme of bhaddekaratta. The name of these suttas is a scholarly controversy.[69] The commentary on the Majjhima Nikaya explains: vipassanānuyoga samannāgatattā bhaddakassa ekarattassa- of the one who is fortunate to devote one night to the practice of vipassanā. It is true that the expositions in these suttas are of vipassanā practice or insight meditation, a practice consisting in letting go of the past, not yearning for the future, and being attentive to the present, which allow one to live moment to moment anew. The texts reads:

Atītaṃ nānvāgameyya - nappaṭikaṅkhe anāgataṃ
yadatitaṃ pahīnaṃ taṃ; appattañca anagataṃ.
Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ, tattha tattha vipassati

Let one not long for the past; or expect things in the future.
That which is in the past is no more; yet, the future has not come.
That what is present he discerns, that when it comes.

This art of dwelling in the present and not moving back and forth between the past and the future, gives one a sense of perfect happiness here and now. A related teaching is recorded in SN when a Deva asked the Buddha why his complexion was so bright, his face so calm, and his manners so composed, as are those of his monks who live deep in the forest, eating but only one meal a day. The Buddha said: “They live in the present, they do not sorrow over the past events; they do not yearn for or excite in what has not come (the future). Hence, their complexion is so serene. Through hankering for the future, and sorrowing over the past, fools dry up and wither away as a green reed cut down.”[70] To live in the present is to let go of things, to surrender one’s will and cease controlling or manipulate in regard to one’s own experiences in relation to the world. We have seen this subject in the terms of sati-sampajañña and the domains of a practitioner in the section on right mindfulness. The art of living happily is further explained in another sutta of SN ii, Theranāmo sutta thus:

Idha thera yaṃ atītaṃ taṃ pahīnaṃ. Yaṃ anāgataṃ paṭinissaṭṭhaṃ. Paccuppannesu ca attabhāvapaṭilābhesu chandarāgo suppaṭiviṇito. Evaṃ kho thera ekaviharo vitthārena paripuṇṇo hoti.- Here, Elder, whatever is past, that is abandoned. Whatever is yet to come (the future), that is relinquished. And the desire and love in the present for a personality is well removed. It is with regard to this (mode of living) the living- alone is fulfilled.[71]


The word Vipassanā is a technical term often appearing in the texts along with the term samatha which means a state of calmness and tranquility. In D.33, 34, MN. 6 (quoted) and in A.II, Vipassanā and Samatha are the dhammā that should be cultivated. The cultivation of samatha (more or less a synonym of samādhi) leads to the tranquility of the mind and hence it belongs to the higher training of consciousness or the art of concentration. This training suppresses defilements, compared to the way a chemical to clear the water does and similarly, the practice of samatha makes the mind calm and clear (of disturbances-kilesa or hindrances- nīvaraṇa). When the mind is thus freed from defilements or hindrances, it is called ‘cetovimutti’- the liberation of the mind (quoted text). The practice of Vipassanā or insight meditation is to dispel the ignorance and hence it is described as “liberated through wisdom” (paññāvimutti).

The text reads:

Monks, there are two conditions lead to knowledge. What (are) two? Samatha and Vipassanā. If cultivated, what benefit does samatha confer? The mind is developed. What benefit does result from a cultivated mind? All lust is abandoned. Monks, if Vipassnā is cultivated, what benefit does it confer? Insight is developed. If insight is developed, what is the benefit? All ignorance is abandoned. A mind is perturbed by lust is not set free; nor can insight defiled by ignorance be developed. Indeed, monks, the freedom from lust leads to release of the tranquility of mind, the freedom from ignorance leads to the release of the insight.[72]

The word vipassanā comes from the prefix ‘vi’ plus passanā. The verb vipassati stands for ‘discerns’ (quoted text). The word Vipassanā means analytical knowledge or introversion since ‘vi’ means diffuse, manifolds, different and hence, vipassanā is seeing in different ways. What are those ‘different ways’? They are to see phenomena as impermanent (anicca), unsatisfactory (dukkha) and non-substantial (anatta).[73]

Returning to the previous suttas that mention the art of living happily in the present, it must be noted that they do not mean indulgence with a nihilistic attitude. This is a very important point which differentiating the Buddhist practitioners from hedonists. As the above qualifications of the verb ‘vipassati’ imply, one can not really see the past as it’s gone and one can not really visualize the future as it’s not yet come. What is in the present also does not stand still as it is passing away, too, being part of a process, a dynamic state that is constantly undergoing change (anicca). When we see its true nature, we know it is unstable (dukkha) and non- substantial (anatta). The knowledge of this discernment is termed ‘vipassanāñāṇa’, or ‘paññā’. This direct vision helps the practitioner to keep chandorāgo- or narcissism under control because narcissism is the result of a blindness of the true nature of phenomena.

Vipassanā Ñāṇa or Insight Knowledge

Post canonical texts such as Paṭisambhida Magga, the Path of analytical Discernment and Visuddhi Magga, the Path of Purification mention many stages of insight knowledge. Herein, my concern is not with the numerical accounts which can be gleaned from these books. The realization is, after all, personal and subjective experiences, therefore, the variation of the stages is possible. It is meaningless to argue on the number of the insight knowledge as it is with the number of dukkha in life. Each time one experiences dukkha one recognizes that it is a dukkha experience, the knowing is insight knowledge. Knowledge is of many varieties such as sensory knowledge as we have discussed in the section on vedanā, saññā and viññāṇa, and learning (suta), thinking (cinta) and also through systematic development called bhāvanā. Therefore, the last stage of the knowledge is called the ‘true knowledge of deliverance’ and according to M. 112, Chabbidhodhana sutta, this knowledge can be tested as regards to:

(1) The insight into the four dimensions of personal perception:

- Telling the seen as it is seen;
- Telling the heard as it is heard;
- Telling the sensed as it is sensed; and
- Telling the cognized as it is cognized.

“As regard the seen, one abides unattrached, unrepelled, independent detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid off barriers.” The same statement applies also to experiences through other channels, which has been lived by saints spontaneously and naturally.

(2) Insight into the five aggregates of clinging;

(3) Insight as regards the six elements (paṭhavi, apo, tejo, vāyo, okāsa, and viññāṇa);

(4) Insight into this body with its consciousness and external signs (i.e., nāma-rūpa) to end I-making (ahaṃkāra), mine-making (mamaṃkāra) and the latent tendency to conceit (mānānusaya).

When one’s concentrated mind is purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfections (upakkilesa), malleable, wieldy, steady and attained to imperturbability (i.e., having emerged from fourth jhāna), one directs it to the knowledge of the destruction of taints (āsavakkhayañāṇa). One directly knows as it has come to be (yathābhūtaṃ ñānadassanaṃ) “this is suffering... this is the cause of suffering... this is the end of suffering, this is the way to end suffering.”[74]

Sammāñāṇa or Right Knowledge

Right knowledge is the knowledge relating to deliverance (from the round of samsāra). In many discourses, it is referred to as pariññā (pari + -/jñā) meaning complete knowing. In M.I. 11:17, true knowledge is defined as the knowledge that comprehends four kinds of clinging (upādāna). And in one who “no longer clings to sensual pleasures, no longer clings to views, no longer clings to rules and observances, no longer clings to the doctrine of self (sakkāyadiṭṭhi), he is freed from clinging. In whom without clinging not agitated and he personally attains nibbāna.”[75]

However, a person who says ‘I am at peace, I have attained Nibbāna, I am without clinging is actually still clinging”[76]. Liberation, in this light, is without clinging to anything (sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya).[77]

There three facets of the complete knowledge (pariññā): (1) ñātapariññā is the realization (of what should be realized) by knowledge; (2) tiranapariññā is the realization (of what should be realized) through practice; and (3) pahānapariññā is the realization (of what should be realized) by actual eradication (of defilements). ‘What should be realized’ here refers to the Four Noble Truths[78]. The first truth, the fact of unsatisfactoriness should be understood by knowledge or by personal experiences. The second truth, the cause of unsatisfactoriness should be abandoned. The third truth, the lasting inner peace of nibbāna, literally the extinction of all burning forces, should be realized. The fourth truth is the Path which should be followed or practiced. When the practitioner has gone through these three stages of realization, his / her knowledge has completed its functions. Then one personally knows that there is nothing more to be done, the burden (five aggregates) has been laid down, his liberation is true and real (sammāvimutti) and samsāra has ended.



Vimuttiñāṇa, the knowledge of liberation from:






Sotapatti-magga eliminates:

sakkāyadiṭṭhi (1)

vicikicchā (2)


Diṭṭhānusāvo (1)



5 factors of defilements.

Diṭṭhāsavo (1) and those of kāmāsavo and bhavāsavo cause rebirth in the

subhuman worlds.

Sakadāgami-magga makes weaken:

Gross-Kāmarāga (lust) and Paṭigha (aversion)



4 factors of defilements

Kāmāsavo (2)

Bhavāsavo (3)

Anāgami-magga eliminates:

Subtle Kāmarāga (4)

And Paṭigha (5)


Paṭighānusayo (4).

4 factors of defilements associated with 5 lower fetters.

Kāmāsavo and

those of Bhavāsavo and avijjāsavo

share its goal.

Arahatta-magga eliminates:

Rūpārāgo (6)



Uddhacca (9)

Avijjā (10)




Avijjānusayo (7)

8 factors of defilements associated with 5 upper fetters.


Avijjāsavo (4)

all cankers are destroyed.




 (According to Paṭisambhida-magga, I. 13, 32)

[1] MN, Cūlavedallasutta: Sakkāyanirodhagāminī paṭipadā sakkāyanirodhagāminīpaṭipadāti ayye vuccati. Katamā nu kho ayye sakkāyanirodhagāminīpaṭipadā vuttā bhagavatāti? Ayameva kho āvuso visākha ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo sakkāyanirodhagāminīpaṭipadā vuttā bhagavatā seyyathīdaṃ: sammādiṭṭhi sammā saṅkappo sammāvācā sammākammanto sammāājīvo sammāvāyāmo sammāsati sammāsamādhiti. [PTS P. 704]

[2] Jack Engler, Being Somebody and Being nobody: a Reexamination of the Understanding of Self in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism; Psychoanalysis and Buddhism, Ed. By Jeremy D. Safran; Wisdom Publication 2003, P. 52-3; the italic in the quoted passage are added.

[3] A Buddhist categorical answer would be “it is because of ignorance”. The elaborate answer has been provided in this thesis in the Introduction Chapter, p. 2-3.

[4] Recard, Mathew: On the relevance of a Contemplative Science, Buddhism and Science (Delhi 2004), p. 263.

[5] Ibid .“How does the self view arise? Here, friend, Visākha, the not learned ordinary man who has not seen the noble ones and Great Beings, not skillful in their Teaching and not trained in their Teaching, considers matter in self, or a material self, or in self matter, or in matter self. Considers feelings in self, or a feeling self, or in self feelings, or in feelings self. Considers perceptions in self, or a perceiving self, or in self perceptions, or in perceptions self. Considers determinations in self, or a determining self, or in self determinations, or in determinations self. Considers consciousness in self, or a conscious self, or in self consciousness, or in consciousness self. Friend, Visākha, thus arises the self view-sakkāyadiṭṭhi.

[6] Thanissaro Bhikkhu: The Integrity of Emptiness, an article in Buddhadharma, The practitioner’s Quarterly, Winter 2006. USA.

[7] MN, Mahāvedalla sutta: Pañcahi kho āvuso aṅgehi anuggahītā sammādiṭṭhi cetovimuttiphalā ca hoti cetovimuttiphalānisaṃsā ca. Paññāvimuttiphalā ca hoti paññāvimuttiphalānisaṃsā ca: idhāvuso sammādiṭṭhi sīlānuggahītā ca hoti, sutānuggahitā ca hoti, sākacchānuggahītā ca hoti, samathānuggahītā ca hoti, vipassanānuggahītā ca hoti.

[8] M.117: Tatra bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi pubbaṅgamā hoti. Kathañca bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi pubbaṅgamā hoti: micchādiṭṭhiṃ micchādiṭṭhīti pajānāti. Sammādiṭṭhiṃ sammādiṭṭhīti pajānāti. Sāssa hoti sammādiṭṭhi.

[9] AN. I. 16:2: Monks, there is no a single factor that is so responsible for unwholesome state as wrong view, and there is no single factor that enhance all the wholesome states as right view.

[10] M.117: Katamā ca bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi: sammādiṭṭhimpahaṃ bhikkhave, dvayaṃ vadāmi: atthi bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi sāsavā puññābhāgiyā upadhivepakkā atthi bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi ariyā anāsavā lokuttarā maggaṅgā.

Katamā ca bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi sāsavā puññabhāgiyā upadhivepakkā: atthi dinnaṃ, atthi yiṭṭhaṃ, atthi hutaṃ, atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko, atthi ayaṃ loko, atthi paro loko, atthi mātā, atthi pitā, atthi sattā opapātikā, atthi loke samaṇabrāhmaṇā sammaggatā sammāpaṭipannā, ye imaṃ ca lokaṃ paraṃ ca lokaṃ sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā pavedentīti. Ayaṃ bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi sāsavā puññabhāgiyā upadhivepakkā.

Katamā ca bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi ariyā anāsavā lokuttarā maggaṅgā: yā kho bhikkhave, ariyacittassa anāsavacittassa ariyamaggasamaṅgino ariyamaggaṃ bhāvayato paññā paññindriyaṃ paññābalaṃ dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo sammādiṭṭhi maggaṅgaṃ ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave, sammādiṭṭhi ariyā anāsavā lokuttarā maggaṅgā. So micchādiṭṭhiyā pahānāya vāyamati sammādiṭṭhiyā upasampadāya. Svāssa hoti sammāvāyāmo. So sato micchādiṭṭhiṃ pajahati. Sato sammādiṭṭhiṃ upasampajja viharati. Sāssa hoti sammāsati. Itissime tayo dhammā sammādiṭṭhiṃ anuparidhāvanti anuparivattanti. Seyyathīdaṃ: sammādiṭṭhi sammāvāyāmo sammāsati.

[11] SN 12: 51: Avijjāgatoyaṃ bhikkhave, purisapuggalo puññaṃ ce saṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkharoti, puññopagaṃ hoti viññāṇaṃ. Apuññaṃ ce saṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkharoti, apuññopagaṃ hoti viññāṇaṃ. âneñjaṃ ce saṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkharoti, āneñjopagaṃ hoti viññāṇaṃ.

[12] AN. 3:38, 89; a translation of Venerable Nyanatiloka Thera; 5th edition. BPS 2000.

[13] Ibid. p 50

[14] MN. 6

[15] MN, Cūḷavedallasutta: Na kho āvuso visākha ariyena atthaṅgikena maggena tayo khandhā saṅgahītā. Tīhi ca kho āvuso visākha khandhehi ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo saṅgahīto: yā cāvuso visākha sammāvācā yo ca sammākammanto yo ca sammāājīvo, ime dhammā sīlakkhandhe saṅgahītā. Yo ca sammāvāyāmo yā ca sammāsati yo ca sammāsamādhi, ime dhammā samādhikkhandhe saṅgahītā. Yā ca sammādiṭṭhi yo ca sammāsaṅkappo, ime dhammā paññākkhandhe saṅgahītāti. 

[16] English Dictionary; Webster 1913. E-edition. CD LACVIET 2002, A Dictionary of English-Vietnamese; Vietnamese-English.

[17] Ref. The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy. 2000. P. 366

[18] Ibid. p. 365.

[19] We can see this in The Books of Discipline, Vinaya pitaka translated by Ms. I.B. Horner. PTS

[20] According to the Pāḷi version of Patimokkha- the Disciplined Code for monks and nuns, there are 227 rules for monks, and 311 rules for nuns; but in the Chinese version which is a translation from Sanskrit of the Dharmaguptra sect, there are 350 rules for nuns.

[21] MN. 114, Sevitabba- asevitabba sutta : iti bhinnānaṃ vā sandhātā sahitānaṃ vā anuppadātā, samaggārāmo samaggarato samagganadī samaggakaraṇiṃ vācaṃ bhāsitā hoti. Pharusaṃ vācaṃ pahāya pharusāya vācāya paṭivirato hoti. Yā sā vācā nelā kaṇṇasukhā pemaṇīyā hadayaṅgamā porī bahujanakantā bahujanamanāpā, tathārūpiṃ vācaṃ bhāsitā hoti. Samphappalāpaṃ pahāya samphappalāpā paṭivirato hoti. Kālavādī bhūtavādī atthavādī dhammavādī vinayavādī nidhānavatiṃ vācaṃ bhāsitā hoti kālena sāpadesaṃ pariyantavatiṃ atthasaṃhitaṃ evarūpaṃ bhante, vacūsamācāraṃ sevato akusalā dhammā parihāyanti, kusalā dhammā abhivaṇṇahanti.

[22] D 9: BPS. P. 181: Idha ...bhikkhu pāṇātipataṃ pahāya pāṇātipātā paṭivirato hoti, nihita-daṇdo nihita-sattho lajjī dayāpanno sabbapāṇābhūtaṃ-hitānukampī viharati.

[23] D. 9. PTS p. 181: Atha kho ... evaṃ sīla-sampanno na kuto ci bhayaṃ samanupassati yadidaṃ sīla-saṃvarato... So iminā ariyena sīlakkhandhena samannāgato ajjhattaṃ anavajja-sukhaṃ paṭisamvedeti.

[24] D. 9; PTS. P.181

[25] AN: Paṭisankhā yoniso cīvaraṃ paṭisevāmi yāvad-eva sītassa paṭighātāya, unhassa paṭighātāy daṃsamakasavātātapasiriṃ sapasamphassānaṃ paṭghātāya, yāvad-eva hirikopīnapaṭicchādanatthaṃ.

[26] AN: Paṭisankhā yoniso piṇdapātaṃ paṭisevāmi, neva davāya na madaya na maṇdanāya na vibhūsanāya. Yāvad-eva imassa kāyassa ṭhitiyā yāpanāya vihiṃsūpatiyā brahmacariyā nuggahāya. Iti purānañ ca vedanaṃ paṭihaṅkhāmi, navañ ca vedānaṃ na uppādesāmi, yātrā ca me bhavissati. Anavajjatā ca phāsu vihārocāti.

[27] AN: Paṭisankhā yoniso senasānaṃ patisevāmi yāvad-eva sītassa paṭighātāya, unhassa paṭighātāy daṃsamakasavātātapasiriṃ sapasamphassānaṃ paṭghātāya, yāvad-eva utuparissayavinodanaṃ paṭisallānārānatthaṃ.

[28] AN: Paṭisankhā yoniso gilānapaccayabhesajjaparikkhāraṃ patisevāmi, yāvad-eva uppannānam veyyābādhikānam vedanānaṃ paṭighātāya abyāpajjhaparamatāyāti.

[29] D.9. PTS. D. I. 181: cakkhumnā rūpaṃ disvā na nimittaggāhī hoti nānuvyañjanaggāhī. Yatvādhikaranaṃ enaṃ cakkhundriyaṃ asamvuttaṃ viharantaṃ abhijjhā-domanassā pāpakā akusala dhammā anvāssaveyyuṃ, tassa samvarāya paṭipajjati, rakkhti cakkhundriyaṃ, cakkhundriye saṃvaraṃ āpajjati. Sotena saddaṃ sutvā...

[30] D.9; PTS D. I. 182: So iminā ariyena indriya saṃvarena samannāgato ajjhattaṃ avyāseka-sukhaṃ patisaṃvedeti.

[31] See M.44, Cūlavedalla sutta.

[32] A. III, 100; 1:10: Evamevaṃ kho, bhikkhave, santi adhicittamanuyuttassa bhikkhuno olārikaṃ upakkilesaṃ kāyaduccaritaṃ vacīduccaritaṃ manoduccaritam, tamenam sacetaso bhikkhu dabbajātiko pajahati vinodeti byantīkaroti anabhāvam gameti. Tasmim pahīne tasmim byantīkate santi adhicittamanuyuttassa bhikkhuno majjhimasahagatam upakkilesam kāmavitakko byāpādavitakko vihimsāvitakko, tamenam sacetaso bhikkhu dabbajātiko pajahati vinodeti byantīkaroti anabhāvam gameti. Tasmim pahīne tasmim byantīkate santi adhicittamanuyuttassa bhikkhuno sukhumasahagatā upakkilesāñātivitakko janapadavitakko anavaññattipaṭisamyutto vitakko, tamenam sace taso bhikkhu dabbajātiko pajahati vinodeti byantīkaroti anabhāvam gameti.

Tasmim pahīne tasmim byantīkate athāparam dhammavitakkāvasissati ‚09. So hoti samādhi na ceva santo na ca panīto nappaṭippassaddhaladdho na ekodibhāvādhigato sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato hoti.

[33] A. III, 100:1:10: So, bhikkhave, samayo yam tam cittam ajjhattamyeva santiṭṭhati sannis²dati ekodi hoti samādhiyati. So hoti samādhi santo panīto paṭippassaddhiladdho ekodibhāvādhigato na sasaṅkhāranigga yhavāritagato.

[34] D. 2: Tassime pañca nīvaraṇe pahīṇe attani samanupassato pāmojjaṃ jāyati. Pamuditassa pīti jāyati. Pītimanassa kāyo passambhati. Passaddhakāyo sukhaṃ vedeti. Sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati.

[35] D. 22: Katame ca bhikkhave sammāsati: idha bhikkhave bhikkhu kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. 

Vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ,

Citte cittānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ, 

Dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. 

[36] DN, Mahāsatipaṭṭḥāṇa sutta

[37] Nyanaponika Thera: The Power of Mindfulness; BPS 2005. The Wheel Publication No. 121/122. p. 30

[38] Cynthia Thatcher: What is so great about now? – an article in the Tricycle Journal, P. 35; Winter 2006- USA.

[39] Ibid, P. 75

[40] Dhp: Sabba pāpassa akarānaṃ; kusalassa upasampada; sacittapariyodāpānam – etaṃ buddhānaṃ sāsanaṃ.

[41] The researcher have heard of many complains of failures in achieving the mental unification ( access absorption and jhāna) as well as the failure in carrying on the purification yielded by concentration in the context outside the meditation centre. This, the researcher also have personally experienced until following the advices of the meditation masters, to incorporate the practice of sati-sampajaññā into all daily activities.

[42] Ven. Ñāṇamoli: Mindfulness of Breathing and its commentary; Vism: “herein rapture is experienced in two ways, as object and as non-delusion. How is rapture experienced as object? He enters into the first two jhānas in which rapture is present. Owing to his obtaining of jhāna, at the moment of attaining it, rapture is experienced by him as object, because of the experiencing of object. How as non-delusion? Having entered into the two jhānas in which rapture is present, and emerged therefrom, he masters the rapture associated with jhāna (by contemplating it) as destructible and perishable. By his penetration of its characteristics at the moment of insight, rapture is experienced by him as non-delusion.” (BPS 6th Edition 1998), p 44.

[43] M 118: Mindfulness of Breathing (Anāpanasati) and its commentary, Adapted from the translation of Ven Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, (BPS 6th Edition 1998).

[44] Ibid, p. 7.

[45] S.V. 47: The Discourse on the Mindfulness of the Body; Ven. Ñānaponika Thera; The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, BPS 1992, p.159.

[46] Ven. Buddhadasa, Dhamma talks for foreigner retreat in Thailand 1987.

[47] Suttanipātapāli: versẻs738-9: Sukhaṃ vā yadi vā dukkhaṃ, adukkhamasukhaṃ saha. Ajjhattañca bahidhā ca, yaṃ kiñci atthi veditaṃ. Etaṃ dukkhanti ñātvāna, mosadhammaṃ palokinaṃ. Phussa phussa vayaṃ passaṃ, evaṃ tattha vijānati. Vedanānaṃ khayā bhikkhu, nicchāto parinibbuto’ti; also at S.IV, 36:1.

[48] S. V, Mahāvaggapāli, satisutta: Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno viditā vedanā uppajjanti, viditā upaṭṭhahanti, viditā abbhatthaṃ gacchanti. [...] Evaṃ kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sampajāno hoti.

[49] S.IV, 36:6, Vedanāsaṃyutta, The Dart.

[50] Ibid; Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation 1265, Wisdom Publications 2000.

[51] SN, The Visible Teaching Discourse; The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, p. 176.

[52] M. 117: Katamo ca bhikkhave, ariyo sammāsamādhi saupaniso saparikkhāro, seyyathīdaṃ: sammādiṭṭhi sammāsaṅkappo sammāvācā sammākammanto sammāājīvo sammāvāyāmo sammāsati. Yā kho bhikkhave, imehi sattaha'ṅgehi cittassa ekaggatā parikkhatā ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave, ariyo sammāsamādhi saupaniso itipi, saparikkhāro itipi

[53] Vism. 150; also PTS Pāli-English Dictionary, P. 286

[54] D.2; D.9; PTS D. I. 182

[55] D.9; PTS, p. 182

[56] In M.44, these two factors is categorized under vācī saṅkhārā, verbal activity.

[57] D.9; PTS D. I, p. 183: Bhikkhu pītiyā ca virāgā upekkhako ca viharati sato ca sampajāno, sukhañca kāyena paṭisaṃvedeti yaṃ taṃ ariyā ācikkhanti: “upekkhako satimā sukha vihārī ti” tatiyajjhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.

[58] D.9: Bhikkhu sukhassa pahānā dukkhassa ca pahānā pubb’eva somanassa-domanassānaṃ atthagamā adukkhaṃ-asukhaṃ upekkhā-sati-parisuddhiṃ catutthajjhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.

[59] D.2, Samaññāphalasutta

[60] D III, 112: .Dvemā, bhante, iddhividhāyo atthi, bhante, iddhi sāsavāsa-upadhikā, ‘no ariyā’ti vuccati. Atthi, bhante, iddhi anāsavā anupadhikā ‘ariyā’ti vuccati.

[61] D I, 213

[62] DN, Kevaṭṭa sutta; AN III, 60. Three kinds of supernormal powers or miracles: Iddhipada- dive into the earth, fly on the sky, etc; paracitta ñāṇa- thought reading, and anussāsani- the miracle of instruction “you should think in this way and not in that way! You should attend to this and not to that! You should give up this and should dwell in the attainment of that.”

[63] Ref. Sallekha Sutta, M.I.8.

[64] D III. 113: “Katamā pana, bhante, iddhi anāsavā anupadhikā, ‘ariyā’ti vuccati? Idha, bhante, bhikkhu sace ākaṅkhati– ‘paṭikūle appaṭikūla saññī vihareyyan’ti, appaṭikūlasaññī tattha viharati. Sace ākaṅkhati– ‘appaṭikūle paṭikūlasaññī vihareyyan’ti, paṭikūlasaññī tattha viharati. Sace ākaṅkhati– ‘paṭikūle ca appaṭikūle ca appaṭikūlasaññī vihareyyan’ti, appaṭikūlasaññī tattha viharati. Sace ākaṅkhati ‘paṭikūle ca appaṭikūle ca paṭikūlasaññī vihareyyan’ti, paṭikūlasaññī tattha viharati. Sace ākaṅkhati– ‘paṭikūlañca appaṭikūlañca tadubhayaṃ abhinivajjetvā upekkhako vihareyyaṃ sato sampajāno’ti, upekkhako tattha viharati sato sampajāno.

[65] D.I. 184

[66] Heisenberg, Werner: Physic and Philosophy – the Revolution of modern Science, New York [Happer and Row] 1962; p. 58.

[67] AN. III, The Discourse on Gradual Training.

[68]D.I, Mahā Nidana sutta; S.II, 12:10, Discourse on Origination and Cessation.

[69] See Ven. Ñāṇananda Bhikkhu: Ideal Solitude, An exposition of the Bhaddekaratta Sutta. The Wheel Publication No. 188; also I.B. Horrner. M.L.S. III, Introduction, pp XXVI.

[70] SN. I. 21:10

[71] SN. II. 282

[72] A.I. p. 58

[73] Dhp.....: Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā’ti; yadā paññāya passati...

Sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā’ti; yadā paññāya passati...

Sabbe dhammā anattā’ti. Yadā paññāya passati.

Atha nibbindati dukkhe. Esa maggo visuddhiyā.

All formations are impermanent; thus one sees with wisdom..

All formations are unsatisfactory; thus one sees with wisdom...

All things are non- substantial. Thus one sees with wisdom.

Seeing thus one becomes fed up with suffering. This is the way of purification.

[74] M. III, 908; M.112.

[75] M.I. 163.

[76] M.I, 102.

[77] MN., 1255; ref. Concept and Reality by Ven Ñāṇananda, BPS 1997, p. 57.

[78] M.III, Saccavibhanga Sutta defines sammādiṭṭhi as the knowledge of the four Noble Truths.


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Sincere thanks to Venerable Nguyen Huong Dhammananda for giving the digital files (Binh Anson, 01-2009).

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