37 Requisites of Enlightenment

Requisites of Enlightenment


Venerable Ledi Sayadaw




With the present volume we present to our readers another treatise by the eminent Burmese scholar-monk, the late Venerable Ledi Sayadaw, whose Life Sketch appears in a work of his, published earlier in this series, “A Manual of Insight” (Vipassanà Dipani) (“The Wheel” No. 31/32).

We believe that this present treatise is one of the most helpful expositions of Dhamma which we have been privileged to publish in “The Wheel” series. It offers not only a wealth of information on many aspects of the Teaching, but is also a forcefully reasoned and stirring appeal to earnest endeavour towards the Goal. We therefore, wish to recommend this work to our readers’ close and repeated study and reflection.

This treatise has been reproduced from the journal The Light of the Dhamma (Rangoon), which regrettably has ceased publication. For permission of reprint we are grateful to the publishers, The Union of Burma Buddha Sàsana Council, Rangoon.

In the present edition, many of the Pàli terms used in the original translation have been supplemented or replaced, by the English equivalents, for facilitating the reading of the treatise. The last chapter has been condensed. Otherwise only minor changes have been made in the diction.

In the original publication, the term bodhipakkhiya-dhamma had been rendered by “Factors leading to Enlightenment”, which, however, resembles too closely the customary translation of the term bojjhanga, by “Factors of Enlightenment” (see here Chapter VII). Therefore the title of the treatise in the original translation and the rendering of the term in the body of the text have been changed into “Requisites of Enlightenment”, being one of the connota-tions of bodhipakkhiya-dhamma, as given in Chapter I. This nuance of meaning was chosen in view of the fact that this treatise does not deal with perfected constituents of Enlightenment (bodhi) already achieved, but with the approach to that goal by earnest cultivation of those seven groups of qualities and practices which form the 37 Bodhipakkhiya-dhammas.

Nyanaponika Mahathera
Editor, “The Wheel”
Kandy, Ceylon.
31 st. March, 1971






In compliance with the request of the Pyinmana Myo-ok Maung Po Mya and Trader Maung Hla, during the month of Nayon, 1266 Burmese Era (June, 1904 C.E.), I shall state concisely the meaning and intent of the thirty-seven Bodhipakkhiya-dhammas, the Requisites of Enlightenment.

Four Types of Capacity for Path Attainment

It is stated in the Puggala-Pannatti (the “Book of Classification of Individuals”, 160; Abhidhamma Pitaka) and in the Anguttara Nikàya (The Fours, No. 133) that, of the beings who encounter theSàsana, i.e. the Teaching of the Buddha, four classes can be distinguished, viz.:


1. Ugghàtitannu,
2. Vipancitannu,
3. Neyya, 
4. Padaparama.



Of’ these four classes of beings, an Ugghàtitannu (one who understands immediately) is an individual who encounters a Buddha in person [1] and who is capable of attaining the Paths and the Fruits through the mere hearing of a short concise discourse.

A Vipancitannu is an individual who has not the capability of attaining the Paths and the Fruits through the mere hearing of a short discourse, but who yet is capable of attaining the Paths and the Fruits when the short discourse is expounded to him at some length.

A Neyya is an individual who has not the capability of attaining the Paths and the Fruits through the hearing of a short discourse or when it is expounded to him at some length, but is one for whom it is necessary to study and take careful note of the sermon and the exposition, and then to practise the provisions contained therein for days, months, and years, in order that he may attain the Paths and the Fruits.

This Neyya class of individuals can again be sub-divided into many other classes according to the period of practice which each individual finds necessary before he can attain the Paths and the Fruits, and which further is dependent on the pàramis (Perfections) which each of them has previously acquired, and the kilesas (defilements) which each has surmounted. These classes of individuals include on the one hand those for whom the necessary period of practice is seven days, and on the other, those for whom the necessary period of practice may extend to thirty or sixty years.

Further classes also arise as for example in the case of individuals whose necessary period of practice is seven days; the stage of an Arahant may be attained if effort is made in the first or second period of life [2], while no more than the lower stages of the Paths and the Fruits can be attained if effort be made only in the third period of life.

Then, again, putting forth effort for seven days means exerting as much as is in one’s power to do so.If the effort is not of the highest order, the period of necessary effort becomes lengthened according to the laxity of the effort, and seven days may become seven years or longer.

If the effort during this life is not sufficiently intense as to enable one to attain the Paths and the Fruits, then release from worldly ills cannot be obtained during the present Buddha Sàsana (Dispensation of a Buddha’s Teaching) while release during future Buddha Sàsanas can be obtained only if the individual encounters them. No release can be obtained if no Buddha Sàsana is encountered. It is only in the case of individuals who have secured niyata vyàkarana (sure prediction made by a Buddha), that an encounter with a Buddha Sàsana and release from worldly ills is certain. An individual who has not attained “Sure prediction” (niyata vyàkarana) cannot be certain either of encountering a Buddha Sàsana or achieving release from worldly ills, even though he has accumulated sufficient pàramis to make both these achievements possible.

These are considerations in respect of those individuals who possess the capabilities of attaining the Paths and the Fruits by putting forth effort for seven days, but who have not obtained “sure prediction”.

Similar considerations apply to the cases of those individuals who have the potentiality of attaining the Paths and the Fruits by putting forth effort for fifteen days, or for longer periods.

A Padaparama is an individual who, though he encounters a Buddha Sàsana, and though he puts forth the utmost possible effort in both the study and practice of the Dhamma, cannot attain the Paths and the Fruits within this lifetime. All that he can do is to accumulate good habits and potentials(vàsanà).


Such a person cannot obtain release from worldly ills during this lifetime. If he dies while practisingsamatha (Tranquillity) or vipassanà (Insight), and attains rebirth either as a human being or a devain his next existence, he can attain release from worldly ills in that existence within the present Buddha Sàsana. Thus did the Buddha declare with respect to four classes of individuals.

Three Types of Patients

In the same sources referred to above, the Buddha gave another classification of beings, dividing them into three classes resembling three types of sick persons [3], namely:

(1) A person who is certain of regaining health in due time even though he does not take any medicine or treatment.

(2) A person who is certain of failing to make a recovery, and dying from the illness, no matter to what extent he may take medicines or treatment.

(3) A person who will recover if he takes the right medicine and treatment, but who will fail to recover and die if he fails to take the right medicine and treatment. These are the three kinds of sick persons.

Persons who obtained niyata vyàkarana (sure prediction made by a Buddha) from previous Buddhas, and who as such are certain of obtaining release from worldly ills in this life, resemble the first class of sick persons.

A Padaparama class of individual resembles the second class of sick persons. Just as this second class of sick person has no chance of recovery from his illness, a Padaparama class of individual has no chance of obtaining release from worldly ills during this life. In future lives, however, he can obtain release either within the present Buddha Sàsana or within future Buddha Sàsanas. The story of the youth Chattamànava [4], of the frog who became a deva and of the ascetic Saccaka [5] are illustrations of persons who obtained release from worldly ills in their next following existences within the present Buddha Sàsana.

Neyya class of individual resembles the third class of sick persons. Just as a person of this third class is related to the two ways of either recovering or dying from the sickness, so is a Neyyaindividual related to the two eventualities of either obtaining release from worldly ills during the present life, or failing to obtain such release.

If such a Neyya individual, knowing what is good for him according to his age, discards what should be discarded, searches for the right teacher, and obtains the right guidance from him and puts forth sufficient effort, he can obtain release from worldly ills in this very life. If, however, he becomes addicted to wrong views and wrong ways of conduct; if he finds himself unable to discard sensual pleasures; if although able to discard sensual pleasures he does not obtain the guidance of a good teacher; if although obtaining the guidance of a good teacher, he is unable to evoke sufficient effort; if although inclined to put forth effort he is unable to do so through old age; if although young he is liable to sickness, he cannot obtain release from worldly ills in this present life. King Ajàtasattu [6] the millionaire Mahàdhana’s son [7], Bhikkhu Sudinna [8], are cases of persons who could not have release from worldly ills in this present existence.

King Ajàtasattu failed to obtain release because he had committed parricide. It is stated that he will drift in future samsàra (round of rebirths) for two asankheyyas (unit followed by 140 ciphers) of world-cycles, after which he will become a paccekabuddha (Solitary Buddha).

The millionaire Mahàdhana’s son indulged himself so excessively in sensual pleasures during his youth that he was unable to attain tranquillity of mind when he grew older. Far from obtaining release from worldly ills, he did not even get the opportunity of associating with the Ti-ratana [9]. Seeing his plight at that stage, the Buddha said to Ànanda: “Ànanda, if this millionaire’s son had become abhikkhu in my sàsana during his youth or first period of his life, he would have become an Arahant and would have attained Parinibbàna [10] in this present life. If, otherwise, he had become abhikkhu during the second period of his life, he would have become an Anàgàmi [11] and on death would have been reborn in the Suddhàvàsa brahma loka [12], whence he would attain parinibbàna. In the next alternative, if he had become a bhikkhu in my sàsana at the beginning of the third period of life, he would have become either a Sakadàgàmi (Once-Returner) or a Sotàpanna (Stream-enterer) and would have attained permanent release from rebirth in the apàya lokas [13].Thus said the Buddha to the Venerable Ànanda. Thus, although, he (the millionaire Mahàdhana’s son) possessed pàrami ripe enough to make his present life his last existence, not being a person who had secured “sure prediction”, niyata vyàkarana, he failed to obtain release from worldly ills in his present life because of the upheavals caused by the defilements within him, and this is despite the fact that he had the opportunity of encountering the Buddha Sàsana. If further his period of existence in the Lower Regions (apàya loka) is prolonged because of evil acts done in this existence, he would not be able to rise again and emerge out of those apàya lokas in time for the sàsana of the future Metteyya Buddha. And, after that, the large number of world cycles that follow are world-cycles where no Buddhas appear,” [14] there being no world-cycles within the vicinity of the present world where Buddhas are due to appear. Alas! far indeed is this millionaire’s son from release from worldly ills even though he possessed pàrami (Perfections) ripe enough to make his present existence his last one.

The general opinion current at the present day is that if the pàramis are complete, one cannot miss encountering a Buddha Sàsana even if one does not wish to do so, and that one’s release from worldly ills is ensured even though one may not desire such release. These people fail to pay attention to the existence of niyata (i.e., one who has obtained a sure prediction made by a Buddha) andaniyata (one who has not obtained a sure prediction made by a Buddha). Considering the two texts from the Pitakas mentioned above, and the story of the millionaire Mahàdhanas’ son, it should be remembered that aniyata neyya individuals can attain release from worldly ills in this life only if they put forth sufficient effort, even if they possess pàramì sufficient to enable them to obtain such release.If industry and effort are lacking, the Paths and the Fruits cannot be attained within the present Buddha Sàsana.

Apart from these classes of persons, there are also an infinite number of other beings who, like the ascetics AÄàra and Uddaka (Majjh. 28), possess sufficient pàrami for release from worldly ills, but who do not get the opportunity because they happen to be in one or the other of the eight inopportune places (atthakkhanas) [15] where it is not possible to attain the Paths and the Fruits thereof.


Necessary Conditions of Practice for Neyya and Padaparama


Of the four classes of individuals mentioned, the Ugghàtitannù and the Vipancitannù classes can attain the Sotàpattimagga (Path of a Stream-winner) and the other higher stages of wisdom — like Visàkhà and Anàthapindika [16] through the mere hearing of a discourse. It is not necessary for such individuals to practise the Dhamma according to the stages of Purification, such as Purification of Virtue (sìla-visuddhi), of Consciousness (citta-visuddhi) and so on. Be it remembered that this is also the case when devas and brahmàs attain release from worldly ills.

Hence it should be noted that the courses of practice such as sìla-visuddhi and citta-visuddhi, laid down in the Pàli Canon, are only for the Neyya and Padaparama classes of individuals before their attainment of the Sotàpattimagga. These courses of practice are also for the first three classes of individuals prior to the achievement of the higher stages of the Paths and the Fruits. In the period after the attainment of Arahantship also, these courses of practice are used for the purpose of dittha-dhamma-sukha-vihàra (dwelling at ease in this present existence) [17] since Arahants have already gone through them.

After the passing of the first thousand years (of the present Buddha Sàsana), which constituted the times of the Patisambhidhà-patta Arahant (Arahant possessing Analy-tical Knowledge), the period of the present Buddha Sàsana comprises the times of the Neyya and Padaparama classes of individuals alone. At the present day, only these two classes of individuals remain.


Of these two classes of individuals, an individual of the Neyya class can become a Stream-winner(Sotàpanna) in this present life, if he faithfully practises the bodhipakkhiya dhamma comprisingsatipatthàna (four Foundations of Mindfulness), sammappadhàna (Right Exertion), etc. If he is lax in his practice, he can become a Sotàpanna only in his next existence after being reborn in the devaplanes. If he dies while still aloof from these (bodhipakkhiya) Dhammas, such as satipatthàna, etc., he will become a total loss so far as the present Buddha Sàsana is concerned, but he can still attain release from worldly ills if he encounters the Sàsana of the next Buddha.


An individual of the Padaparama class can attain release within the present Buddha Sàsana after rebirth in the deva planes in his next existence, if he can faithfully practice these (bodhipakkhiya)Dhammas in his present existence.

The Age of Ariyas (Noble Ones) still extant

The five thousand years of the present Buddha Sàsana constitute, all of them, the Age of Saints. This Age of Saints will continue to exist so long as the Tipitakas (canonical Scriptures) remain in the world. The Padaparama class of individuals have to utilise the opportunity afforded by the encountering of the present Buddha Sàsana to accumulate as much of the nuclii or seeds of Pàramias they can within this lifetime. They have to accumulate the seeds of sìla (Morality). They have to accumulate the seeds of samàdhi (Concentration). They have to accumulate the seeds of pannà(Wisdom).


Morality (Sìla)


Of these three kinds of accumulations, sìla (Morality), samàdhi (Concentration), Pannà (Wisdom), the seeds of sìla mean: Panca Sila [18], Ajìvatthamaka Sìla [19], Atthànga Uposatha Sìla [20],Dasanga Sìla [21], in respect of ordinary laymen and women, and the Bhikkhu Sìla [22] in respect of the bhikkhus.


Concentration (Samàdhi)


The seeds of samàdhi (Concentration) mean the efforts to achieve parikamma-samàdhi(Preparatory Concentration) through one or other of the forty objects of meditation, such as the tenkasinas (meditation devices), or, if further efforts can be evoked, the efforts to achieve upacàra-samàdhi (Access Concentration) or, if still further efforts can be evoked, the efforts to achieveappanà-samàdhi (Attainment Concentration).


Wisdom (Pannà)


The seeds of pannà mean the cultivation of the ability to analyse the characteristics and qualities ofrùpa (Material Phenomena), nàma (Mental Phenomena), khandhà (Constitituent groups of existence), àyatana (Bases), dhàtu (Elements), sacca (Truths), and the paticcasamuppàda(Dependent Origination), as well as the cultivation of insight into the three characteristics of existence(lakkhana), namely, anicca (Impermanence), dukkha (Suffering), anattà (Impersonality).

Of the three kinds of seeds of Path-Knowledge (magga-nàna) and Fruition-Knowledge (phala-nàna) [23] sìla and samàdhi are like ornaments that permanently adorn the world and exist even in the sunna (void) world-cycles, that is, world-cycles where no Buddhas arise. The seeds of sìla andsamàdhi can be obtained at will at any time. But the seeds of pannà, which are related to rùpa, nàma, khandhà, àyatana, dhàtu, sacca, and paticcasamuppàda can be obtained only when one encounters a Buddha Sàsana. Outside of a Buddha Sàsana one does not get the opportunity of even hearing the mere mention of words associated with pannà, though an infinite number of “sunna”world-cycles (void of a Buddha) may have passed away. Hence, those persons of the present day who are fortunate enough to be born into this world while a Buddha Sàsana flourishes, if they intend to accumulate the seeds of Path and Fruition-Knowledge for the purpose of securing release from worldly ills in a future existence within a future Buddha Sàsana, should pay special attention to the knowledge of the paramattha [24] (ultimate realities), which is extremely difficult for one to come across, more than attempting the accumulation of the seeds of sìla and samàdhi. At the least, they should attempt to obtain an insight into how the Four Great Primaries (mahà-bhùta) – pathavì, àpo, tejo and vàyo [25] constitute one’s body. If they acquire a good insight into the four great elements, they obtain a sound collection of the seeds of pannà which are most difficult of acquisition, and this is so even though they may not acquire any knowledge of the other portions of the Abhidhamma. It can then be said that the difficult attainment of rebirth within a Buddha Sàsana has been made worthwhile.


Vijjà (Knowledge), and Carana (conduct)


Sìla and samàdhi constitute Carana, while pannà constitutes Vijjà. Thus are vijjà-carana(Knowledge and Conduct) constituted. Vijjà resembles the eyes of a human being, while caranaresembles the limbs. Vijjà is like eyes in birds, while carana is like wings. person who is endowed with Morality and Concentration, but lacks Wisdom, is like one who possesses complete and whole limbs but is blind of both eyes. A person who is endowed with vijjà (Knowledge) but lacks carana(Conduct), is like one who has good eyesight but is defective in his limbs. A person who is endowed with both vijjà and carana is like a normally whole person possessing both good eyesight and healthy limbs. A person who lacks both vijjà and carana is like one defective in eyes and limbs, and is not worthy of being called a human being.

Consequences of having Carana only

Amongst the persons living within the present Buddha Sàsana, there are some who are fully endowed with Morality and Concentration, but do not possess the seeds of vijjà (Knowledge) such as Insight into the nature of Material Qualities, Mental Qualities and Constituent Groups of Existence. Because they are strong in carana they are likely to encounter the next Buddha Sàsana, but because they lack the seeds of vijjà they cannot attain Enlighten-ment, even though they hear the discourse of the next Buddha in person. They are like Làludàyì Thera [26], Upananda Thera [27], the Chabbaggìya bhikkhus [28], and the King of Kosala [29] who all lived during the lifetime of the Omniscient Buddha. Because they were endowed with the previously accumulated Good Conduct (carana)such as almsgiving and morality, they had the opportunity to associate with the Supreme Buddha, but since they lacked previously accumulated Knowledge (vijjà), the discourses of the Buddha which they often heard throughout their lives, fell, as it were, on deaf ears.

Of having Vijjà only

There are others who are endowed with vijjà such as Insight into the Material and Mental Qualities and the Constituent Groups of Existence, but who lack carana such as dàna (Almsgiving), nicca sìla (Permanent Morality) and uposatha sìla (Precepts observed on Fasting days). Should these persons get the opportunity of meeting and hearing the discourses of the next Buddha they can attain Enlightenment because they possess vijjà, but since they lack carana it would be extremely difficult for them to get the opportunity of meeting the next Buddha. This is so because there is an antara-kappa (intervening world-cycle) between the present Buddha Sàsana and the next.

In case these beings wander within the Sensuous Sphere during this period, it means a succession of an infinite number of existences and rebirths, and an opportunity to meet the next Buddha can be secured only if all these rebirths are confined to the Happy Course of Existence. If, in the interim, a rebirth occurs in one of the Four Lower Regions, the opportunity to meet the next Buddha would be irretrievably lost, for one rebirth in one of the Four Lower Worlds is often followed by an infinite number of rebirths in one or other of them.

Those persons whose acts of dàna (Almsgiving) in this life are few, who are ill-guarded in their bodily acts, unrestrained in their speech, and unclean in their thoughts, and who thus are deficient incarana (Conduct), possess a strong tendency to be reborn in the Four Lower Worlds when they die. If through some good fortune they manage to be reborn in the Happy Course of Existence, wherever they may be reborn they are, because of their previous lack of carana such as dàna, likely to be deficient in riches, and likely to meet with hardships, trials, and tribulations in their means of livelihood, and thus encounter tendencies to rebirth in the apàya lokas. Because of their lack of thecarana of nicca sìla and uposatha sìla, they are likely to meet with disputes, quarrels, anger and hatred in their dealings with other persons, in addition to being susceptible to diseases and ailments, and thus encounter tendencies towards rebirth in the apàya lokas. Thus will they encounter painful experiences in every existence, gathering undesirable tendencies, leading to the curtailment of their period of existence in the Happy Course of Existence and causing rebirth in the Four Lower Worlds.In this way the chances of those who lack carana, for meeting the next Buddha are very slight indeed.

The Essential Point

In short, the essential fact is, only when one is endowed with the seeds of both vijjà and carana can one obtain release from worldly ills in one’s next existence. If one possesses the seeds of vijjà alone, and lacks the seeds of carana such as dàna and sìla, one will fail to secure the opportunity of meeting the next Buddha Sàsana. If, on the other hand, one possesses the seeds of carana but lacks the seeds of vijjà, one cannot attain release from worldly iIls even though one encounters the next Buddha Sàsana. Hence, those Padaparama individuals of today, be they men or women, who look forward to meeting the next Buddha Sàsana, should attempt to accumulate within the present Buddha Sàsana the seeds of carana by the practice of dàna, sìla and samatha bhàvanà (Practice of Tranquillity), and should also, at the least, with respect to vijjà, try to practise insight into the Four Great Primaries and thus ensure meeting the next Buddha Sàsana, and having met it, to attain release from worldly ills.

When it is said that dàna is carana, it comes under the category of saddhà (Faith), which is one of the saddhammas or practical conduct of good people, which again come under the fifteen carana-dhammas. The fifteen carana dhammas are :

1. Sìla (Morality);
2. Indriya-samvara (Guarding the Sense-doors);
3. Bhojane mattannutà (Moderation in eating);
4. Jàgariyànuyoga (Wakefulness);
5-11. Saddhamma (The seven attributes of good and virtuous men);
12-15. Four Jhànas (Meditative Absorptions).

These fifteen dhammas are the property of the highest jhànalàbhi(Attainer of Jhànas). So far assukkhavipassaka (practising Insight only) individuals are concerned, they should possess eleven of the carana dhammas, i.e. without the four Jhànas.


For those persons who look forward to meeting the next Buddha Sàsana, dàna, uposatha-sìla, and the seven saddhammas are the essentials.

Those persons who wish to attain the Paths and the Fruits thereof in this very life must fulfil the first eleven carana-dhammas, i.e. sìla, indriyasamvara, bhojane mattannutà, jàgariyànuyoga, and the seven saddhammas. Herein, sìla means Ajìvatthamaka nicca sìla (Permanent practice of Morality ending with right livelihood), Indriyasamvara means guarding the six sense-doors — eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. Bhojane mattannutà means taking just sufficient food to preserve the balance of the corporeality group in the body and being satisfied therewith.Jàgariyànuyogo means not sleeping during the day, and sleeping only during one period (of the three periods) of the night, practising bhàvanà (Mental Concentration) during the other two periods.


Saddhamma means:

1. Saddhà (Faith),
2. Sati (Mindfulness),
3. Hiri (Moral Shame),
4. Ottappa (Moral Dread),
5. Bàhusacca (Great learning),
6. Vìriya (Energy; diligence),
7. Pannà (Wisdom).

For those who wish to become Sotàpannas during this life there is no special necessity to practisedàna (Almsgiving). But let those who find themselves unable to evoke sufficient effort towards acquiring the ability to obtain release from worldly ills during the present Buddha Sàsana make special attempts to practise dàna (Almsgiving) and uposatha-sìla (Precepts observed on Fasting Days).

Order of Practice and Those who await the next Buddha

Since the work in the case of those who depend on and await the next Buddha consists of no more than acquiring accumulation of pàrami, it is not strictly necessary for them to adhere to the order of the stages of practice laid down in the Pà1i Texts, viz., sìla, samàdhi and pannà. They should not thus defer the practice of samàdhi before the completion of the practice of sìla, or defer the practiceof pannà before the completion of the practice of samàdhi. In accordance with the order of the seven visuddhis (Purifications) such as (1) Sìla-visuddhi (Purification, of Virtue), (2) Citta-visuddhi(Purification of Consciousness), (3) Ditthi-visuddhi (Purification of View), (4) Kankhàvitarana-visuddhi (Purification by Overcoming Doubt), (5) Maggàmagganànadassana-visuddhi(Purification by Knowledge and Vision of What is and What is Not Path), (6)Patipadànànadassana-visuddhi (Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Way), and (7)Nànadassanavisuddhi (Purification by Knowledge and Vision), they should not postpone the practice of any course for a visuddhi until the completion of the respective previous course.


Since they are persons engaged in the accumulation of as much of the seeds of pàrami as they can, they should contrive to accumulate the largest amount of sìla, samàdhi, and pannà, that lies in their power.

When it is stated in the Pàli Texts that citta-visuddhi should be practised only after the completion of the practice of sìla-visuddhi, that ditthi-visuddhi should be practised only after the completion of the practice of citta-visuddhi, that kankhàvitarana-visuddhi should be practised only after the completion of the practice of ditthi-visuddhi, that the work of anicca, dukkhaand anattà bhàvanà (Contemplation of Impermanence, Suffering and Impersonality) should be undertaken only after the completion of the practice of kankhàvitarana-visuddhi, —– the order of practice prescribed is meant for those who attempt the speedy realisation of the Paths and the Fruits thereof in this very life. Since those who find themselves unable to call forth such effort and are engaged only in the accumulation of the seeds of pàrami, are persons occupied in grasping whatever they can, of good practices, it should not be said in their case that the work of samatha manasikàra citta-visuddhi (the practice of Purification of Consciousness consisting of advertence of mind to tranquillity) should not be undertaken before the fulfilment of sìla-visuddhi.


Even in the case of hunters and fishermen, it should not be said that they should not practisesamatha-vipassanàmanasikàra (advertence of mind towards Tranquillity and Insight) unless they discard their avocations. One who says so causes dhammantaràya (Obstruction to the Dhamma).Hunters and fishermen should, on the other hand, be encouraged to contemplate the noble qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. They should be induced to contemplate as much as is in their power, the characteristic of loathsomeness in one’s body. They should be urged to contemplate the liability of oneself and all creature to death. I have come across the case of a leading fisherman who, as a result of such encouragement, could repeat fluently from memory the Pàli Text and “nissaya” (word for word translation) of the Abhidhammattha Sangaha, and the Paccaya Niddesa of the Patthàna (Book of Relations), while still following the profession of a fisherman.These accomplishments constitute very good foundations for the acquisition of vijjà (Knowledge).

At the present time, whenever I meet my dàyaka upàsakas (lay disciples who contribute to a Bhikkhu’s upkeep), I tell them, in the true tradition of a Bhikkhu, that even though they are hunters and fishermen by profession, they should be ever mindful of the noble qualities of Three Jewels and three characteristics of existence.


To be mindful of the noble qualities of the Ti-Ratana (Triple Gem) constitutes the seed of carana.To be mindful of the three characteristics of existence constitutes the seed of vijjà.


Even hunters and fishermen should be encouraged to practise those advertences of mind. They should not be told that it is improper for hunters and fishermen to practise advertence of mind towards samatha (Tranquillity) and vipassanà (Insight). On the other hand, they should be helped towards better understanding, should they be in difficulties. They should be urged and encouraged to keep on trying. They are in that stage when even the work of accumulating pàramis and good tendencies is to be extolled.


Loss of Opportunity to attain the seed of Vijjà through Ignorance of the value of the present times


Some teachers who are aware only of the existence of direct and unequivocal statements in the Pàli Texts regarding the order of practice of the seven visuddhis (Purifications), but who take no account of the value of the present times, say that in the practices of samatha and vipassanà (Tranquillity and Insight) no results can be achieved unless sìla-visuddhi (Purification of Virtue) is first fulfilled, whatever be the intensity of the effort. Some of the uninformed ordinary folk are beguiled by such statements. Thus has the dhammantaràya (Obstruction to the Dhamma) occurred.

These persons, because they do not know the nature of the present times, will lose the opportunity to attain the seeds of vijjà which are attainable only when a Buddha Sàsana is encountered. In truth, they have not yet attained release from worldly ills and are still drifting in samsàra (round of rebirths) because, though they have occasionally encountered Buddha Sàsanas in their past inconceivably longsamsàra where Buddha Sàsanas more numerous than the grains of sands on the banks of the Ganges have appeared, they did not acquire the foundation of the seeds of vijjà.


When seeds are spoken of, there are seeds ripe or mature enough to sprout into healthy and strong seedlings, and there are many degrees of ripeness or maturity.

There are also seeds that are unripe or immature. People who do not know the meaning of the passages they recite or who do not know the right methods of practice even though they know the meaning, and who thus by custom or tradition read, recite, and count their beads while performing the work of contemplating the noble qualities of the Buddha, and anicca, dukkha and anattàpossess seeds that are unripe and immature. These unripe seeds may be ripened and matured by the continuation of such work in the existences that follow, if opportunity for such continued work occurs.

The practice of samatha (Tranquillity) until the appearance of parikamma nimitta [30] and the practice of vipassanà (Insight) until insight is obtained into rùpa and nàma (Matter and Mind) even once, are mature seeds filled with pith and substance. The practice of samatha until the appearance of uggaha-nimitta and the practice of vipassanà until the acquisition of sammasana-nàna [31]even once, are seeds that are still more mature. The practice of samatha until the appearance ofpatibhàga-nimitta [32], and the practise of vipassanà until the occurrence of udayabbayanàna[33] even once, are seeds that are yet more highly mature. If further higher efforts can be made in both samatha and vipassanà, still more mature seeds can be obtained bringing great success.

Adhikàra (Assiduous and successful practice)

When it is said in the Pàli Texts that only when there has been adhikàra in previous Buddha Sàsanas can relative Jhànas, the Paths and the Fruits be obtained in the following Buddha Sàsanas, the word“adhikàra” means “successful seeds.” Nowadays, those who pass their lives with traditional practices that are but imitation samatha and imitation vipassanà do not come within the purview of persons who possess the seeds of samatha and vijjà which can be called adhikàra.


Of the two kinds of seeds, those people who encounter a Buddha Sàsana, but who fail to secure the seeds of vijjà, suffer great loss indeed. This is so because the seeds of vijjà which are related torùpa and nàma dhamma (bodily and mental processes) can only be obtained within a Buddha Sàsana, and that only when one is sensible enough to secure them. Hence, at the present time, those men and women who find themselves unable to contemplate and investigate at length into the nature of rùpa and nàma dhamma, should throughout their lives undertake the task of committing the four Great Primaries to memory, then of contemplating on their meaning and of discussing them, and lastly of seeking insight into how they are constituted in their bodies.

Here ends the part showing, by a discussion of four classes of individuals and three kinds of individuals as given in the Sutta and Abhidhamma Pitakas, that

(1) those persons who within the Buddha Sàsana do not practise Samatha and Vipassanà but allow the time to pass with, imitations, suffer great loss as they fail to utilize the unique opportunity arising from their existence as human beings within a Buddha Sàsana,

(2) this being the time of Padaparama and Neyya classes of persons, if they heedfully put forth effort, they can secure ripe and mature seeds of Samatha and Vipassanà, and easily attain the supramundane benefit either within this life or in the deva loka (Deva abodes) in the next life — within this Buddha Sàsana or within the Sàsana of the next Buddha,

(3) they can derive immense benefit from their existence as human beings during the Buddha Sàsana.

Here ends the exposition of the three kinds and the four kinds of individuals.

A word of advice and warning

If the Tipitaka which contains the discourses of the Buddha delivered during forty-five vassas (rainy seasons) be condensed, and the essentials extracted, the thirty-seven bodhipakkhiya-dhamma(Requisites of Enlightenment) are obtained. These thirty-seven bodhipakkhiya-dhamma constitute the essence of the Tipitaka. If these be further condensed, the seven visuddhis (Purifications) are obtained. If

again the seven visuddhis be condensed, they become sìla (Morality), samàdhi (Concentration), and pannà (Wisdom). These are called adhisìla sàsana (The Teaching of Higher Morality),adhicitta sàsana (The Teaching of Higher Mentality), and adhipannà sàsana (The Teaching of Higher Wisdom). They are also called the three sikkhàs (Trainings).

When sìla is mentioned, the essential for laymen is nicca sìla (Permanent Morality). Those people who fulfil nicca sìla become endowed with carana (Good Conduct) which, with vijjà(Knowledge), enables them to attain the Paths and the Fruits. If these persons can add the refinement of uposatha sìla over nicca sìla, it is much better. For laymen, nicca sìla means àjivatthamaka sìla [34]. That sìla must be properly and faithfully kept. If because they are puthujjanas(worldlings) they break the sìla, it can be re-established immediately by renewing the undertaking to keep the sìla for the rest of their lives. If, on a future occasion, the sìla is again broken, it can again be similarly cleansed, and every time this cleansing occurs, the person concerned again becomes endowed with sìla. The effort is not difficult. Whenever nicca sìla is broken, it should be immediately re-established. In these days, persons endowed with sìla abound in large numbers.

But such persons are very rare who have attained perfect concentration in one or other of the kasinaexercises (meditation devices), or in the practice of asubha-bhàvanà (meditation of loathsomeness), etc., as also persons who have sometimes attained insight into physical and mental phenomena, the three characteristics, etc.


Such persons are very rare because these are times when Wrong Teachings (micchàdhamma) are ripe that are likely to cause dhammantaràya, (danger and obstruction to the Dhamma).

Wrong Teachings

By Wrong Teachings (micchà-dhamma) likely to cause Obstruction to Dhamma (dhammantaràya)are meant such views, practices, and limitations as the inability to see the dangers of samsàra, the belief that these are times when the Paths and the Fruits can no longer be attained, the tendency to defer effort until the pàramis ripen, the belief that persons of the present day are dvi-hetuka [35],the belief that the great teachers of the past were non-existent, etc.

Even though it does not reach the ultimate, no kusala kamma (wholesome volitional action) is ever rendered futile. If effort be made, a kusala kamma (wholesome volitional action) is instrumental in producing pàrami in those who do not possess pàrami. If no effort be made, the opportunity to acquire pàrami is lost. If those whose pàramis are immature put forth effort, their pàramis become ripe and mature. Such persons can attain the Paths and Fruits in their next existence within the present Sàsana. If no effort be made, the opportunity for the pàrami to ripen is lost. If those whosepàrami is ripe and mature put forth effort, the Paths and the Fruits can be attained within this life. If no effort be made the opportunity to attain the Paths and the Fruits is lost.

If persons who are dvi-hetuka put forth effort, they can become ti-hetuka [36] in their next existence. If they do not put forth effort, they cannot ascend from the stage of dvi-hetuka and will slide down to the stage of ahetuka [37] .

Suppose, there is a certain person who plans to become a bhikkhu. If another person says to him, “Entertain the intention only if you can remain a monk all your life. Otherwise do not entertain the idea”, — this would amount to dhammantaràya, an obstruction of Dhamma.

The Buddha said: “I declare that the mere arising of an intention of performing good deeds is productive of great benefit” (Majjh. No. 8).

To disparage either the act of dàna (alms-giving) or to discourage the performer of dàna, may invoke punnantaràya on such a person, i.e. he causes obstruction to the performance of meritorious actions. If acts of Morality, Concentration (meditation) and Wisdom, or those who perform them are disparaged, a dhammantaràya may be caused, i.e. an Obstruction to Dhamma. If Obstruction to Meritorious Actions is caused, one is liable to be bereft of power and influence, of property and riches, and be abjectly poor, in the lives that follow. If Obstruction to Dhamma is caused, one is liable to be defective in conduct and behaviour and defective of sense, and thus be utterly low and debased in the existences that follow. Hence, let all beware!

Here ends the section showing how the rare opportunity of rebirth as a human being can be made worthwhile, by ridding oneself of the wrong Dhammas mentioned above, and putting forth effort in this life so as to close the gates of the four Lower Worlds (apàya) in one’s future Samsàra (round of rebirths), or else to accumulate the seeds that will enable one to attain release from wordly ills in the next following existence or within the next Buddha Sàsana, through the practice of Tranquillity(samatha) and Insight (vipassanà), with resolution, zeal and diligence.


[1] This is not mentioned in the canonical texts referred to above, and their commentaries. (Ed.)


[2] Three periods of life are usually distinguished, viz. youth, middle-age, and old-age. See ‘Path of Purification’ (Visuddhi Magga), tr. by Nànamoli, p. 721.

[3] Puggala-Pannatti §100f; Anguttara, Tika-nipàta (The Threes) No. 22 (see “The Wheel” No. 155/158, p. 18).

[4] Vimàna Vatthu


[5] Majjhima Nikàya No. 36.

[6] Dìgha Nikàya No. 2: Sàmannaphala Sutta.

[7] Dhammapada Commentary — Peta Vatthu


[8] Vinaya Pitaka, Pàràjikà.

[9] Ti-ratana, “The Triple Gem”: Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha.

[10] Parinibbàna : “Full Nibbàna”. The death of an Arahant is known as attaining parinibbàna.


[11] Anàgàmi: a “Non-Returner”, the third of the four stages of sanctitude. He is no longer reborn in the world of sensuality (kàma-loka).


[12] Suddhàvàsa brahma loka: “Pure Abodes”, are a group of 5 heavens belonging to the Form-Sphere, where only the “Never-Returners” are being reborn, and in which they attain Arahantship and Nibbàna.


[13] Apàya lokas: The four Lower Regions of Misery. They are: the animal world, the ghost-world, the demon-world and hell.

[14] Sunna-kappas: “Zero” world-cycles.


[15] Dìgha Nikàya, Pàthika-vagga, Dasuttara Sutta; Anguttara Nikàya III; Atthaka-nipàta, Akkhana Sutta, p60; — (i) paccantaro – a border district where the Buddha Sàsana does not flourish; (ii) Arùpino – the four Brahma planes of the Formless-sphere; (iii) Vitalingo – persons with congenital defects such as idiocy, etc.; (iv) Asannasatta – a brahma plane of the Form-Sphere of non-consciousness.; (v) Micchàditthi – birth among people holding wrong views; (vi) Peta – theGhost world; (vii) Tiracchàna – the animal world; and (viii) Niraya – hell.

[16] Dhammapada Commentary, stories relating to verses 1 and 18.

[17] In an Arahant there arises the knowledge of his freedom, and he realises:”Rebirth is no more; I have lived the pure life; I have done what ought to be done; I have nothing more to do for the realisation of Arahantship.” Thus he lives at ease in this existence.

[18] The Five Precepts. They are basic and constitute the minimum which every man or woman must observe. They are: abstention from killing, stealing, improper sexual intercourse, telling lies, and taking intoxicants.

[19] The three constituents of the Morality-group of the Eightfold Path when considered in detail, become Ajìvatthamaka sìla (Morality ending with the practice of Right Livelihood) in the following way:1. I will abstain from taking life. 2. I will abstain from stealing. 3. I will abstain from indulging in improper sexual intercourse and taking intoxicant drugs. 4. I will abstain from telling lies. 5. I will abstain from setting one person against another. 6. I will abstain from using rude and rough words. 7. I will abstain from frivolous talk. 8. I will abstain from improper livelihood.

[20] The Eight Precepts are: Abstention from: (1) killing, (2) stealing, (3) unchastity, (4) lying, (5) intoxicants, (6) eating after mid-day, (7) dancing, singing, music and shows, garlands, scent, cosmetics and adornment etc. (8) luxurious and high beds.

[21] The Ten Precepts. This is the polished form of Attha-Sìla. No. 7 of the Eight Precepts is split into two parts, and No. 10 is “abstinence from accepting gold and silver.”

[22] Bhikkhu sìla: the four kinds of the monk’s Moral Purity (catupàri-suddhi-sìla) are :– (1) Restraint with regard to 227 Vinaya Rules; (2) Restraint of the senses; (3) Restraint with regard to one’s livelihood; (4) Morality with regard to the 4 requisites.

[23] Magga-nàna: Knowledge of the 4 Holy Paths, i.e. of Stream-entry, etc.:- Phala-nàna:Knowledge of the Fruits thereof.


[24] Paramattha: Truth in the ultimate sense; absolute truth. The Abhidhammattha Sangaha lists four paramattha dhammas, namely, Citta (Consciousness), Cetasika (Mental factors), Rùpa(Material qualities) and Nibbàna.


[25] Pathavì (Element of Extension), Àpo (Element of Liquidity or Cohesion), Tejo (Element of Kinetic Energy), and Vàyo (Element of Motion or Support); popularly called: earth, water, fire and wind.

[26] Dhammapada-Commentary, Story relating to Verse 64.

[27] Dhammapada-Commentary, Story relating to Verse 158 “Thc Greedy Monk.”

[28] Vinaya Pitaka, Mahàvagga


[29] Dhammapada- Commentary, Story relating to Verse 60.

[30] Nimitta is the mental image which arises in the mind by the successful practice of certain concentration exercises. The image physically perceived at the very beginning of concentration is called the Preparatory Image or Parikamma Nimitta.


The still unsteady and unclear image which arises after the mind has reached a certain degree of concentration is called Acquired Image or Uggaha-Nimitta. This is a mental image.

[31] Sammasana-nàna: Observing, exploring, grasping, determining all phenomena of existence as impermanent, miserable, and impersonal, which precedes the flashing up of clear Insight.

[32] The fully clear and immovable image that arises at a greater degree of concentration is called the Counter-image or Patibhàga-Nimitta. This also is a mental image.

[33] Knowledge arising from the Contemplation of Arising and Vanishing. It is the 1st of the 9 insight-knowledges constituting the Patipadànànadassana-Visuddhi (Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Way).

[34] Àjivatthamaka sìla — See Note 2, page 12.

[35] Dvi-hetuka-patisandhi. This refers to a rebirth with only two good root-conditions, viz. Non-greed (alobha) and Non-hate (adosa). Beings so reborn cannot attain the Paths and Fruitions in their present life, as they lack the third root-condition, Non-delusion (amoha).


[36] Tihetuka-patisandhhi: rebirth with all three good root-conditions alobha, adosa, amoha.


[37] Ahetuka : a being reborn without any of the good root-conditions.




The Requisites of Enlightenment

I shall now concisely show the thirty-seven Bodhi-pakkhiya-dhammas, the Requisites of Enlightenment, which should be practised with energy and determination by those persons who wish to cultivate Tranquillity and Insight and thus make worthwhile the rare opportunity of rebirth as a human being within the present Buddha Sàsana.

The Bodhipakkhiya dhammas consist of seven groups, namely:

1. Satipatthàna, Foundations of Mindfulness (4 factors)
2. Sammappadhàna, Right Efforts (4 factors)
3. Iddhipàda, Bases of Success (4 factors)
4. Indriya, Controlling Faculties (5 factors)
5. Bala, Mental Powers (5 factors)
6. Bojjhanga, Factors of Enlightenment (7 factors)
7. Magganga, Path Factors (8 factors)
(totalling 37 factors).


The bodhipakkhiya-dhamma are so called because they form part (pakkhiya) of Enlightenment or Awakening (bodhi) which here refers to the Knowledge of the Holy Paths (magga-nàna). They aredhammas (mental pheno-mena) with the function of being proximate causes (padatthàna), requisite ingredients (sambhàra) and bases, or sufficient conditions (upanissaya) of Path Knowledge(magga-nàna).



The Foundations of Mindfulness

The word satipatthàna is defined as follows:

Bhusam titthatì’ti patthànam; sati eva patthànam satipatthànam.

This means: What is firmly established is a “foundation”; mindfulness itself is such a foundation.

There are four Foundations of Mindfulness:

1. Kàyànupassanà-satipatthàna (Contemplation of the body as a Foundation of Mindfulness).
2. Vedanànupassanà-satipatthàna (Contemplation of Feelings as a Foundation of Mindfulness).
3. Cittànupassanà-satipatthàna (Contemplation of the Mind as a Foundation of Mindfulness).
4. Dhammànupassanà-satipatthàna (Contemplation of Mind-objects as a Foundation of Mindfulness).

1. Kàyànupassanà-satipatthàna means mindfulness which is firmly established on bodily phenomena, such as inhalation and exhalation.

2. Vedanànupassanà-satipatthàna means mindfulness which is firmly established on feelings (sensations).

3. Cittànupassanà-satipatthàna means mindfulness which is firmly established on thoughts or mental processes, such as thoughts associated with passions or dissociated from passions.

4. Dhammànupassanà-satipatthàna means mindfulness which is firmly established on phenomena such as the Hindrances (nìvarana), etc…

Of the four, if mindfulness or attention is firmly established on a part of the body, such as on out-breath and in-breath, it is tantamount to attention being firmly established on all things. This is because the ability to place one’s attention on any object at one’s will has been acquired.

“Firmly established” means, if one desires to place the attention on out-breath and in-breath for an hour, one’s attention remains firmly fixed on it for that period. If one wishes to do so for two hours, one’s attention remains firmly fixed on it for two hours. There is no occasion when the attention becomes released from its object on account of the instability of thought-conception (vitakka).

For a detailed account of the satipatthàna, see the Satipatthàna Sutta [1].

Why is it incumbent on us to firmly establish the mind without fail on any object such as the out-breath and the in-breath? It is because it is necessary for us to gather and control the six types of consciousness (vinnàna) [2], which have been drifting tempestuously and untrained throughout the past inconceivably long and beginningless samsàra (round of rebirths).

I shall make it clearer. The mind is wont to flit about from one to another of the six objects of the senses which lie at the approaches of the six sense-doors [3]

As an example, take the case of a mad man who has no control over his mind. He does not even know the meal-time, and wanders about aimlessly from place to place. His parents look for him and give him his meal. After eating five or six morsels of food he overturns the dish and walks away. He thus fails to get a square meal. To this extent he has lost control of his mind. He cannot control his mind even to the extent of finishing the business of a meal. In talking, he cannot control his mind to the extent of finishing or completing a sentence. The beginning, the middle, and the end do not agree with one another. His talk has no meaning. He cannot be of use in any undertaking in this world. He is unable to perform any task. Such a person can no longer be classed as a human being, and he has to be ignored.

This mad man becomes a sane and normal person again, if he meets a good doctor and the doctor applies stringent methods of cure. Thus cured he obtains control of his mind in the matter of taking his meals, and can now eat his fill. He has control over his mind in all other matters as well. He can perform his tasks till they are completed, just like others. Just like others, he can also complete his sentences. This is the example.

In this world, persons who are not insane but who are normal and have control over their minds, resemble such a mad person having no control over his mind, when it comes to the matter ofsamatha and vipassanà. Just as the mad man upsets the food dish and walks away after five or six morsels of food although he attempts to eat his meal, these normally sane persons find their attention wandering because they have no control over their minds. Whenever they pay respects to the Buddha and contemplate His noble qualities, they do not succeed in keeping their minds fixed on those noble qualities, but find their attention being diverted many times on to other objects of thought, and thus they even fail to reach the end of “Iti pi so” (a devotional text, beginning with these words, i.e. “Thus indeed is this Exalted One…”).

It is as if a man suffering from hydrophobia who seeks water feverishly with parched lips, yet runs away from it with fear when he sees a lake of cool refreshing water.

It is also like a diseased man who when given a diet of relishing food replete with medicinal qualities, finds the food bitter to his taste and unable to swallow it, is obliged to spit and vomit it out. In just the same way, these persons find themselves unable to approach the contemplation of the noble qualities of the Buddha effectively, and cannot keep on dwelling on them.

If in reciting the “Iti pi so” their recitation is interrupted every time their minds wander, and if they have to start afresh from the beginning every time such an interruption occurs, they will never reach the end of the text even though they keep on reciting a whole day, or a whole month, or a whole year. At present they manage to reach the end because they can keep on reciting from memory even though their minds wander elsewhere. In the same way, those persons who, on uposatha days, plan to go to quiet places in order to contemplate the thirty-two parts of the body, such as kesà (hairs of the head), lomà (hairs of the body), etc… or the noble qualities of the Buddha, ultimately end up in the company of friends and associates, because they have no control over their minds, and because of the upheavals in their thoughts and intentions. When they take part in congregational recitations, although they attempt to direct their minds to the samatha (Tranquillity) work of the brahma-vihàras (Sublime States) [4], such as reciting the formula for diffusing mettà (Loving-kindness), because they have no control over their minds, their thoughts are not concentrated but are scattered aimlessly, and they end up only with the external manifestation of the recitation. These facts are sufficient to show how many persons resemble the insane while performing kusala kammas (merits).

“Pàpasmim ramate mano” (The mind takes delight in evil, Dhp. 116).

Just as water naturally flows down from high places to low places, the minds of beings, if left uncontrolled, naturally approach evil. This is the tendency of the mind.

I shall now draw, with examples, a comparison between those who exercise no control over their minds and the insane person mentioned above.

There is a river with a swift current. A boatman not conversant with the control of the rudder, floats down the river with the current. His boat is loaded with valuable merchandise for trading and selling at the towns on the lower reaches of the river. As he floats down, he passes stretches of the river lined with mountains and forests where there are no harbours or anchorages for his boat. He thus continues to float down without stopping. When night descends, he passes towns and villages with harbours and anchorages, but he does not see them in the darkness of the night, and thus he continues to float without stopping. When daylight arrives, he comes to places with towns and villages, but not having any control over the rudder of the boat, he cannot steer it to the harbours and anchorages, and thus perforce he continues to float down until he reaches the great wide ocean.

The infinitely lengthy samsàra (round of rebirths) is like the swift-flowing river. Beings having no control over their minds are like the boatman who is unable to steer his boat. The mind is like the boat. Beings who have drifted from one existence to another in the “sunna” world-cycles, where no Buddha Sàsanas appear, are like the boatman drifting down those stretches of the river lined by mountains and forests, where there are no harbours and anchorages. When at times these beings are born in world-cycles where Buddha Sàsanas flourish, but are in ignorance of them because they happen to be in one or other of the eight atthakkhanas (inopportune situations), they resemble the boatman who floats down stretches of the river lined by towns and villages with harbours and anchorages, but does not see them because it is night. When, at other times. they are born as human beings, devas or Brahmas, within a Buddha Sàsana, but fail to secure the Paths and the Fruits because they are unable to control their minds and put forth effort to practise vipassanà (Insight) exercises of the satipatthànas (the four Foundations of Mindfulness) thus continuing still to drift insamsàra, they resemble the boatman who sees the banks lined by towns and villages with harbours and anchorages, but is unable to steer towards them because of his inability to control the rudder, and thus continues perforce to drift down towards the ocean. In the infinitely lengthy samsàra, those beings who have obtained release from worldly ills within the Sàsanas of the Buddhas who have appeared, whose numbers exceed the grains of sand on the banks of the river Ganges, are beings who had control over their Minds and who possessed the ability of retaining their attention on any desired object at will through the practice of the satipatthànas.

This shows the trend of the wandering, or “course of existence”, of those beings who do not practise the satipatthànas, even though they are aware of the fact that they have no control over their minds when it comes to the practice of samatha and vipassanà (Tranquillity and Insight).

Comparisons may also be made with the taming and training of bullocks for the purpose of yoking to ploughs and carts, and to the taming and training of elephants for employment in the service of the king, or on battlefields.

In the case of the bullock, the young calf has to be regularly herded and kept in a cattle-pen, then a nose-rope is passed through its nostrils and it is tied to a post and trained to respond to the rope’s control. It is then trained to submit to the yoke, and only when it becomes amenable to the yoke’s burden is it put to use for ploughing and drawing carts and thus effectively employed to trade and profit. This is the example of the bullock.

In this example, just as the owner’s profit and success depends on the employment of the bullock in the drawing of ploughs and carts after training it to become amenable to the yoke, so do the true benefit of lay persons and bhikkhus within the present Sàsana depends on training in samatha andvipassanà (Tranquillity and Insight).

In the present Buddha Sàsana, the practise of sìlavisuddhi (Purification of Virtue) resembles the training of the young calf by herding it and keeping it in cattle-pens. Just as, if the young calf is not so herded and kept in cattlepens, it would damage and destroy the properties of others and thus bring liability on the owner, so, if a person lacks sìla-visuddhi, the three kammas [5] would run riot, and the person concerned would become subject to worldly evils and to the evil results indicated in theDhamma.

The effort to develop kàyagatà satipatthàna [6] resembles the passing of the nose-rope through the nostrils and training the calf to respond to the rope after tying it to a post. Just as when a calf is tied to a post it can be kept wherever the owner desires it to be, and it cannot run loose, so when the mind is tied to the body with the rope of satipatthàna, that mind cannot wander but is obliged to remain wherever the owner desires it to be. The habits of a disturbed and distracted mind acquired during the inconceivably long samsàra, become appeased.

A person who performs the practice of samatha and vipassanà without first attempting Body-Contemplation, resembles the owner who yokes the still untamed bullock to the cart or plough without the nose-rope. Such an owner would find himself unable to drive the bullock at his desire.Because the bullock is wild, and because it has no nose-rope, it will either try to run off the road, or try to break loose by breaking the yoke.

On the other hand, a person who first tranquillises and trains his mind with Body-Contemplation before turning his mind to the practice of samatha and vipassanà (Tranquillity and Insight), his attention will remain steady and his work will be successful.

In the case of the elephant, the wild elephant has first to be brought out from the forest into the field hitched on to a tame trained elephant. Thence it is taken to stockade and tied up securely until it is tame. When it thus becomes absolutely tame and quiet, it is trained in the various kinds of work in which it will be employed in the service of the king. It is only then that it is used in state functions and on battle-fields. The realm of sensual pleasures resemble the forest where the wild elephant enjoys himself. The Buddha Sàsana resembles the open field into which the wild elephant is first brought out.The mind resembles the wild elephant. Faith (saddhà) and desire (chanda) in the sàsana-dhammaresemble the tame elephant to which the wild elephant is hitched and brought out into the open. Sìla-visuddhi (Purification of Virtue) resembles the stockade. The body, or parts of the body, such as out-breath and in-breath resemble the post in the stockade to which the elephant is tied.Kàyagatàsati [7] resembles the rope by which the wild elephant is tied to the post. The preparatory work towards samatha and vipassanà resembles the preparatory training of the elephant. The work of samatha and vipassanà resembles the parade ground or battlefield of the king.

Other points of comparison can now be easily recognised.

Thus have I shown by the examples of the mad man, the boatman, the bullock, and the elephant, the main points of Body Contemplation, which is by ancient tradition the first step that has to be undertaken in the work of proceeding upwards from sìla-visuddhi within the Sàsanas of all the Buddhas who have appeared in the past inconceivably long samsàra.

The essential meaning is, whether it be by out-breathing and in-breathing, or by iriyàpatha (four postures — going, standing, sitting, lying) or by sampajanna (clear comprehension) or by dhàtu-manasikàra (advertence of mind on the elements), or by atthika-sannà (contemplation of bones), one must put forth effort in order to acquire the ability of placing one’s attention on one’s body and its postures for as long as one wishes throughout the day and night at all waking hours. If one can keep one’s attention fixed for as long as one wishes, then mastery has been obtained over one’s mind. Thus does one attain release from the state of a mad man. One now resembles the boatman who has obtained mastery over his rudder, or the owner of the tamed and trained bullock, or the king who employs the tamed and trained elephant. There are many kinds, and many grades, of mastery over the mind. The successful practice of Body Contemplation is, in the Buddha Sàsana, the first stage of mastery over one’s mind.

Those who do not wish to follow the way of samatha (Tranquillity), but desire to pursue the path of pure vipassanà (Insight) which is the way of the sukkha-vipassaka [8] individual, should proceed straight to vipassanà after the successful establishment of Body Contemplation.

If they do not want to practise Body Contemplation separately and if they mean to practise Insight with such industry that it may carry kàyagatàsati with it, they will succeed, provided that they really have the necessary wisdom and industry. The Body Contemplation (kàyagatà-sati) that is associated with udayabbaya-nàna (Knowledge arising from contemplation of the arisings and vanishings of mental and physical phenomena, which clearly sees their coming into existence and passing away, is very valuable indeed.

In the samatha method, by practising the Body Contemplation of out-and in-breathing, one can attain up to rùpàvacara catuttha jhàna (the fourth Jhàna of the FormSphere); by practising vanna manasikàra [9] of the kàyagatàsati of the thirty-two parts of the body, such as kesà (hair of the head), lomà (hair of the body), etc…, one can attain all the eight samàpattis [10]; and by practisingpatikkùla manasikàra [11] of the same Body Contemplation one can attain the first Jhàna. Ifvipassanà (Insight) is attained in the process, one also can attain the Paths and the Fruits.

Even if completion is not arrived at in the practice of samatha and vipassanà (Tranquillity and Insight), if the stage is reached where one attains control over one’s mind and the ability to keep one’s attention fixed on wherever one wishes it to be, it was said by the Buddha that such a one can be said to be one who enjoys the savour of amata nibbàna [12].

“Amatam tesam paribhuttam, yesam kàyagatà sati paribhuttà.” [13]

“Those who enjoy mindful Body Contemplation (kàyagatàsati), enjoy the Deathless (Nibbàna).”

Here, amata (Nibbàna) means great peacefulness or tranquillity of mind. [14]

In its original natal state, the mind is highly unstable in its attentiveness, and thus is parched and hot in its nature. Just as the insects that live on capsicum are not aware of its heat, just as beings pursuing the realm of tanhà (Craving) are not aware of tanhà’s heat, just as beings subject to anger and pride are not aware of the heat of pride and anger, so are beings unaware of the heat of unsettled minds. It is only when through kàyagatà-sati, the unsettled condition of their minds disappear, do they become aware of the heat of unsettled minds. Having attained the state of the disappearance of that heat, they develop a fear of a relapse to that heat. The case of those who have attained the firstjhàna, or Knowledge of Rise and Fall (udayabbaya nàna), through Body Contemplation(kàyagatà satipatthàna), needs no elaboration.

Hence, the higher the attainments that one reaches, the more difficult does it become for one to be apart from kàyagate-sati. The ariya puggalas (Holy Ones) use the four satipatthànas as mental nutriment until they attain parinibbàna.

The ability to keep one’s attention fixed on parts of the body, such as out-breath and in-breath, for one or two hours takes one to the culmination of one’s work in 7 days, or 15 days, or a month, or 2 months, or 3 months, or 4 months, or 5 months, or 6 months or a year, or 2 years, or 4 years, according to the intensity of one’s efforts.

For the method of practising out-breathing and inbreathing, see my “Ànàpàna Dìpanì” [15].

There are many books by past teachers on the method of the thirty-two parts of the body. In this method, kesà (hair of the head), lomà (hair of the body), nakhà (nails), dantà (teeth), taco (skin) are known as taca pancaka (Group ending with taco as the fifth). If attention can be firmly fixed on these five, the work of kàyagatàsati (Body Contemplation) is accomplished.

For catu dhàtu vavatthàna (Analysis of the Four Great Primaries), rùpa vipassanà(Contemplation of Physical Phenomena), and nàma-vipassanà (Contemplation of Mental Phenomena), see my “Lakkhana Dìpanì”, “Vijjà-magga Dìpanì”, “Ahàra Dìpanì”, and “Anattà Dìpanì”. [16]

Here ends a concise explanation of kàyagatàsati bhàvanà, which is one of the four satipatthànas,and which has to be established first in the work of bhàvanà (Mental Contemplaltion) by Neyya andPadaparama individuals for the purpose of attaining the Paths and the Fruits within a Buddha Sàsana.


[1] Translation in “The Wheel” No. 18. — See also the Commentary to this Sutta in “The Way of Mindfulness”, translation by Soma Thera. Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy).

[2] Eye-consciousness, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body-, and mindconsciousness.

[3] Eye-door, etc…

[4] The 4 Sublime States, namely, mettà (loving-kindness), karunà (compassion), mudità (altruistic joy), and upekkhà (equanimity). See The Wheel No. 6.

[5] The 10 fold unwholesome action:-


Kàyakamma — 3 fold bodily action: killing, stealing, improper sexual intercourse;
Vacìkamma — 4 fold verbal action: lying, slandering, rude speech, foolish babble;
Manokamma — 3 fold mental action: avarice, ill-will, wrong views.

[6] Mindfulness with regard to the Body.

[7] Kàyagatàsati: “Mindful Contemplation directed on the Body.” In the following called, for short, “Body Contemplation.”

[8] One who practises Vipassanà (Insight) only.

[9] Attention to the colour or appearance, which is a part of the meditation of the 32 parts of the body.

[10] The 4 meditative Absorptions (jhàna) of the Form Sphere and the 4 of the Formless Sphere.

[11] Contemplation of Loathsomeness.

[12] The Deathless — a term for Nibbàna.

[13] Anguttara-Nikàya, Ekaka-nipàta; tr. in “The Wheel”, No.155/158, p. 6.

[14] This refers to kilesa-nibbàna, the “extinction of the defilements” during the life-time of the Arahant.

[15] Not available in English. — See “Mindfulness of Breathing”, by Nànamoli Thera (Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy).

[16] Not available in English translation.




The word sammappadhàna is defined as follows:

Bhusam dahati vahatì’ti padhànam sammadeva padhànam sammappadhànam.

This means: padhàna is an effort carried out strongly, intensively; if carried out properly, rightly, it issammappadhàna, Right Effort.

It is an effort that has not in it any element of unwillingness. It is also called “zealous energy” (àtàpa-vìriya). It is an effort that has the four characteristics spoken of in the following text:

Kàmam taco ca nahàru ca atthi ca avasissatu, sarìre upasussatu mamsalohitam; yam tam purisathàmena purisaviriyena purisaparakkamena pattabbam, na tam apàpunitvà vìriyassa santhànam bhavissati.

“Let only my skin, and sinews, and bones remain, and let my flesh and blood in the body dry up, I shall not permit the course of my effort to stop until I win that which may be won by human ability, human effort and human exertion.” (Anguttara Nikàya, Duka Nipàta; Wheel 155/158 p. 9)

These characteristics may be summed up as follows:-

1. Let the skin, remain,
2. Let the sinews remain,
3. Let the bones, remain,
4. Let the flesh and blood dry up.

It is the effort that calls forth the determination, “If the end is attainable by human effort, I shall not rest or relax until it is attained, until the end is grasped and reached.” It is the effort of the kind put forth by the Venerable Bhikkhu Sona [1] and the Venerable Cakkhupàla [2].

It is only when the Jhànas, the Paths, and the Fruits are not attained after effort is put forth on this scale, as prescribed by the Buddha, throughout one’s life, can it be said that the cause (of the failure) lies in the nature of the present times, or in one being dvi-hetuka (born with two root conditions only), or in one’s lack of sufficient previously accumulated pàrami.

In this world, some persons, far from putting forth the full scale of the effort prescribed by the Buddha, do not even try to set up Body Contemplation effectively in order to cure their minds of aimless drifting, and yet they say that their failure to attain the Paths and the Fruits is due to the fact that these are times that preclude such attainment. There are others of the same class who say that men and women of the present day have not the necessary accumulation of pàrami (Perfections) to enable them to attain the Paths and the Fruits. There are yet others of the same class who say that men and women of the present day are dvi-hetuka. All these people say so because they do not know that these are times of the Neyya class of individuals who fail to attain the Paths and the Fruits because they are lacking in sammappadhàna effort.

If proper sammappadhàna effort be put forth with dedicated intention (pahitatta) where a thousand put forth effort, three, four, or five hundred of them can attain the supreme achievement; if a hundred put forth effort, thirty, forty, or fifty of them can attain the supreme achievement. Here, pahitatta intention means “determination to adhere to the effort throughout one’s life and to die, if need be, while still making the effort.”

The Venerable Sona Thera’s effort consisted of keeping awake throughout the three months of thevassa (Rainy Season), the only body postures adopted being sitting and walking. The Venerable Cakkhupàla’s effort was of the same order. The Venerable Phussadeva Thera [3] achieved the Paths and the Fruits only after twenty-five years of the same order of effort. In the case of the Venerable Mahàsiva Thera [4], the effort lasted thirty years.

At the present day, there is a great need for such kind of sammappadhàna effort. It happens that those who put forth the effort have not sufficient foundations in the pariyatti (Learning of the Doctrine), while those who possess sufficient pariyatti foundations live involved in the palibodhas(obstacles) of the business of Bhikkhus, according as they live in towns and villages, such as discussing the Dhamma, delivering sermons and discourses, and writing books on the Dhamma.They are persons who are unable to put forth sammappadhàna effort for lengthy periods without a break.

Some persons are wont to say that when their pàramis become mature and the time becomes ripe for them to attain release from worldly ills, they can easily obtain that release and that as such, they cannot put forth effort now when they are not certain whether or not that effort will result in release.They do not appear to compare the suffering occasioned by thirty years’ effort now with the suffering they will encounter if, in the interim before they attain release, they are cast in the hell regions for a hundred thousand years. They do not appear to remember that the suffering occasioned by thirty years’ effort is not as bad as the suffering caused by just three hours in the hell regions.

They may say that the situation will be the same if no release is attained after thirty years effort. But if the person is sufficiently mature for release, he will attain that release through that effort. If he is not sufficiently mature, he will attain release in the next life. Even if he fails to attain release within the present Buddha Sàsana, his kamma of repeated efforts at mental development (bhàvanà àcinnakamma) — is a powerful kamma. Through it he can avoid the apàya regions, and can meet the next Buddha after continuous rebirths in the sugati existence (Happy course of existence).

In the case of those who do not put forth the effort, they will miss the opportunity of release even though they are mature enough to obtain release through thirty years’ effort. For lack of effort they have nothing to gain and everything to lose. Let all, therefore, acquire the Eye of Wisdom, and beware of the danger.

There are four kinds of sammappadhàna [5] namely:-

1. Uppannànam akusalànam dhammànam pahànàya vàyàmo,
2. Anuppannànam akusalànam dhammànam anup-pàdàya vàyàmo,
3. Anuppannànam kusalànam dhammànam uppàdàya vàyàmo,
Uppannànam kusalànam dhammànam bhiyyobhà-vàya vàyàmo.


1. Effort to overcome or reject evil unwholesome acts that have arisen, or are in the course of arising;
2. Effort to avoid (not only in this life but also in the lives that follow) the arising of unwholesome
acts that have not yet arisen;
3. Effort to arouse the arising of wholesome acts that have not yet arisen;
4. Effort to increase and to perpetuate the wholesome acts that have arisen or are in the course of arising.

Arisen and not arisen Unwholesome Acts

(Uppanna and Anuppanna Akusala Kamma)

In the personality of every being wandering in samsàra (round of rebirths), there are two kinds ofakusala kammas (unwholesome volitional actions), namely,

1. Uppanna akusala kamma, and
Anuppanna akusala kamma.


Uppanna akusala kamma (arisen unwholesome acts) means past and present akusala kammas.They comprise unwholesome volitional actions committed in the interminable series of past world-cycles and past lives. Among these akusala kammas, there are some that have spent themselves by having produced rebirths in the apàya-lokas (the four low and miserable regions of existence). There are others that await the opportunity of producing rebirths in the apàya-lokas, and thus constitute potentialities for rebirth in the apàya-lokas that accompany beings from world-cycle to world-cycle and from life to life.

Every being in whom sakkàya-dittthi (Personality-Belief) resides, be he a human being, or a deva,or brahmà, possesses an infinitely large store of such past debts, so to say, consisting of akusala kammas (unwholesome volitional actions) that have in them the potentiality of producing rebirths in the lowest Avìci Hell. Similarly, there are infinite stores of other kammas capable of producing rebirths in the other apàya-lokas. These past kammas which await a favourable opportunity for producing rebirth resultants and which accompany beings from life to life until they are expended, are called uppanna (arisen). These past uppanna akusala kammas have their roots in sakkàya-ditthi(Personality Belief). As long as sakkàya-ditthi exists they are not expended without producing resultants.

But when, with insight into the Anattà lakkhana (Characteristic of Impersonality), one rids oneself of sakkàya-ditthi (Personality Belief), from that instant all the uppanna akusala kammas lose their potentiality and disappear from the store of past akusala kammas. From that existence, one will no longer become subject to rebirth in the apàya-lokas in future samsàra even in one’s dreams.

Anuppanna akusala kammas (not arisen unwhole-some acts) means future akusala kammas.Beginning with the next instant in this life, all the new evil and unwholesome acts that one commits whenever opportunity occurs in the course of this present life and in the succession of lives that are to follow, arc called anuppanna. These new akusala duccarita kammas, (evil and unwhole-some volitional actions) that one can commit even during a single lifetime can be infinite in number.

All these anuppanna akusala kammas have their origin in Personality Belief.

If at any time Personality Belief disappears, all the new anuppanna akusala kammas also disappear, even at that instant, from the personality of the beings concerned, leaving no residue.Here, “disappear” means that there will be no occasion, starting from the next instant, in future succession of lives and future succession of world-cycles, when new akusala kammas are perpetrated. Throughout future anamatagga samsàra (beginningless round of rebirths), those beings will not commit, even in their dreams, any akusala kamma (unwholesome volitional action) such aspànàtipàta (killing any living being).

If Personality Belief remains, even though the being is a Universal Monarch exercising sway over the whole universe, he is, as it were, sandwiched between hell-fires in front and hell-fires at the back, and is thus hedged in between the two akusala kammas of uppanna and anup-panna (arisen and not-arisen). He is thus purely a creature of hell-heat. Similarly, the kings of the deva-lokas, Sakka, the king of the Tàvatimsa deva-loka, the Brahmàs of the Rùpa and Arùpa Brahma [6] worldsare all purely creatures of hell-heat. They are creatures that are hitched on to the chains of hell and theapàya regions. In the great whirlpool of samsàra, they are purely creatures who drift or sink in the infinitely long samsàra, beings have to cultivate the desire for encountering a Buddha Sàsana, which is an extremely difficult achievement. Hedged in as they are, from before and behind, by the hell-fires of uppanna and anuppanna akusala kammas, they have to cultivate earnestly the desire to extinguish those fires once and for all. Hence, those beings who do encounter Buddha Sàsanas have to make the extinguishing of the hell-fires of uppanna and anuppanna their sole task for their future welfare.

The task of extinguishing the unwholesome acts, arisen and not-arisen (akusala kammas ofuppanna and anuppanna) consists of ridding oneself of Personality Belief (sakkàya-ditthi) and no more. If sakkàya-ditthi is uprooted, the two akusala kammas (unwholesome volitional actions) are entirely extinguished. “Bon-sin-san” Sotàpannas [7] like Visàkhà and Anàthapindika, who are infinitely numerous among humans, devas, and brahmàs, are beings who have obtained release from the state of sinking and drifting in the great whirlpool of samsàra (round of rebirths) from the moment Personality Belief (sakkàya-ditthi) was uprooted. They are beings who have attained the first stage of Nibbàna called sa-upàdisesa nibbàna (Nibbàna with the five constituent groups of existence remaining). Although they are liable to wander in the round of rebirths for many more lives and many more world-cycles, they are no longer worldly beings. Having become “Bon-sin-san” Ariyas (Noble Ones), they are beings of the lokuttara (Supramundane) sphere. Here ends the part showinguppanna and anuppanna akusala kammas from which Sotàpannas have obtained their release.

Arisen and Not-arisen Wholesome Acts

(Uppanna and Anuppanna Kusala Kamma)

I shall now show the division of kusala kammas (wholesome volitional actions) into uppanna andanup-panna, first with reference to the three qualities of sìla (Morality), samàdhi (Concentration), and panna (Wisdom), and second with reference to the seven Purifications (satta visuddhi); see p. 21.

Wrong View (ditthi)

When it is said that Samsàra, the Round of Rebirths, is very terrifying, it is because of the Evil Deeds(duccarita), arisen (uppanna: past and present) and not-arisen (anuppanna: future, i.e. potential) which have Wrong Views (ditthi) as their root.

When it is said that there is no hiding place, no haven, on which one can depend, it is because of the selfsame Evil Deeds and Wrong Views.

When Wrong Views are extinguished, both old and new Evil Deeds (duccarita) are also extinguished. When old and new Evil Deeds are extinguished, release from (rebirth in) the lower worlds (apàya; see Note 5, page 7) is attained and only exalted states of humans, devas (celestials) and Brahmàs (higher divinities) remain. Since beings have to cultivate a desire for an encounter with a Buddha-Sàsana, in order to secure release from rebirth in the Lower Worlds, together with the old and new Evil Deeds (duccarita), now that they have encountered the Teaching of the Buddha (Buddha Sàsana) in this very existence, it behoves them to make an attempt of extinguishing the great evil of Wrong Views (ditthi).

Wrong View (ditthi) is established in beings in three planes or layers, viz,


– Vìtikkama, Transgression (in deeds or speech),


– Pariyutthàna, Obsession (of the mind by evil thoughts; mental involvement with the Stains or defilements, kilesa),


– Anusaya, Proclivity, or latent disposition to the Stains [8].

These layers are the realm of Personality Belief (sakkàya-ditthi). They may be called coarse, middling and fine aspects of Wrong View.

I shall now discuss how the offsprings of ditthi (Wrong View), the ten Evil Deeds (duccarita: see Note 1. page 40), enter into these layers of ditthi.

The coarse layer of Wrong View, “Transgression” (vìtikkama) comprises unwholesome kammic actions (akusala kamma), committed through overt deeds and speech. The middling layer of “Obsession” (pariyutthàna) comprises the evils that occur in thoughts. The finest layer, “Proclivity”(anusaya) is the evil that lies latent in the personalities of beings throughout the beginningless round of rebirths (anamatagga-samsàra), though it may not yet result in manifestations of act, speech or thoughts.

It may be said that there are three kinds of fire in a match-box. The first is the fire that lies latent in the whole box of matches. The second is the fire that ignites the match stick when it is struck. The third is the fire that is transferred to another object when it is brought in contact with the flame of the match stick. Such a fire is that which burns rubbish heaps, clothes, houses, monasteries and villages.

This fire, the fire that is transferred to another object, resembles the coarse vìtikkama ditthi,manifested in transgressions by acts and speech. The fire that burns the match stick resembles the middling pariyutthàna ditthi which is manifested in the mind every time it comes in contact with objects of thought. The fire that is latent in the box of matches resembles the anusaya ditthi that resides in the personalities of beings throughout the succession of lives in anamatagga samsàra, the unfathomable aeons of existence.

This fire that lies latent in the box of matches does not burst into flame so long as the match head is not rubbed with the nitrous surface of the match-box. It does not cause any harm even if it be kept in contact with highly inflammable articles such as gunpowder. In the same way, the anusaya ditthi lies latent in the personality and does not manifest itself so long as it does not come into contact with evil objects of thought or other causes of evil. When, however, evil objects of thought or other causes impinge on the six sense doors, the anusaya ditthi is disturbed and begins to make itself manifest in the mind-door, or in the plane of the pariyutthàna through the function of volition. If at that time the manifestations can be suppressed by good doctrines, they disappear from the pariyutthàna plane and return to the anusaya plane and reside there as latent natural tendencies. If they cannot be suppressed, they continue to manifest themselves developing volitions. If they are further disturbed (in the pariyutthàna plane), they manifest themselves in the vìtikkama plane in the form of evil speech or evil acts.

In this world, if a person can control himself in the vìtikkama and pariyutthàna planes, and if thereby his acts, speech, and thoughts are, so to say, clean and unsoiled, he is called a good, pious, or moral man. But such a person is not aware of the anusaya plane. If the anusaya plane is not destroyed, even if perfect control is exercised over the vìtikkama and pariyutthàna planes, such control can only be of a temporary nature. If the person is strong in the observance of good principles, the control can last for the whole of this life. But there can be no certainty about the next life, when upheavals in these two planes may recur.

Lobha (Greed), dosa (Hatred), and moha (Delusion) also have each of them three planes.

In order to destroy these three planes of ditthi completely, men have to put forth effort in the threesikkhàs (Trainings) of sìla (Morality), samàdhi (Concentration), and pannà (Wisdom). They have to practise the seven visuddhis (Purifications).

As far as lay folk are concerned, sìla means Àjivatthamaka-sìla which is nicca-sìla for them.

The Atthànga-uposatha-sìla and Dasanga-sìla add refinement to nicca-sìla. It is a good thing to be able to observe them; but it does not matter much if they cannot be observed. For those people who assume the yellow garb of Isis [10] the Àjivatthamaka-sìla and Dasanga-sìla constitute sìla.The Atthanga-uposatha-sìla is included in the Dasanga-sìla. For Bhikkhus, the Catupàrisuddhi-sìla constitutes Morality (sìla). [11]

Preliminary-, Access-, and Full-Concentration [12] which (e.g.) are obtained by mindful Body Contemplation (such as on out-and in-breath) or by meditating on the bones of the body (as one of the 32 Parts), these constitute Concentration (samàdhi).

The four mundane Purifications [13] together with Supramundane Purification by Knowledge and Vision (lokuttara-nànadassana-visuddhi) — these constitute Wisdom (pannà).

Among the three planes of Wrong View (ditthi), Morality (sìla) destroys the plane of Transgression(vìtikkama). This means that if one possesses the Purification of Morality (sìla-visuddhi), upheavals in deeds and speech cannot occur. Concentration (samàdhi) can destroy Wrong View on the plane of mental involvement (pariyutthàna). This means that if attention to meditative practice (bhàvanà-manasikàra) is firmly established, upheavals in thought cannot occur. Wisdom (pannà) destroys Wrong View on the anusaya plane of Proclivity. This means that, if insight is obtained into the entire personality as a mere grouping of mental and bodily processes (nàma and rùpa) and as a grouping that is impermanent, painful and without a self, then the latent store of Wrong View that may manifest itself in the wrong notions of a person (puggala), living being (satta), permanency (nicca), pleasure(sukha) and self (attà), will disappear. So long as this Proclivity to Wrong Views (ditthi-anusaya)exists, the destruction of the plane of Transgression (vìtikkama) by Morality (sìla) and of the plane of mental Obsession (pariyutthàna) by Concentration, can be no more than temporary.

In the division of acts as “arisen” and “not arisen” (uppanna, anuppanna), there are two methods, viz.

(1) division based on this life as the starting point, and
(2) division based on the past infinite Samsàra as the starting point.

I shall now show the method based on this life as the starting point. In those who have never undertaken to keep moral precepts (sìla) in this life, there is no Arisen Morality

(uppanna-sìla). In those who at one time or other in this life have undertaken to keep sìla, such Morality is “arisen” (uppanna-sìla). The same applies to Concentration and Wisdom: what was attained in this life is “arisen”, and what was never attained in this life is “not arisen”.

In the method based on the past Samsàra as the starting point, there are two kinds of Morality, mundane and supramundane (lokiya and lokuttara-sìla). Mundane Morality is “arisen” (uppanna),because there is no being who at one time or other in the past Samsàra has not undertaken to keep the rules of Mundane Morality. But Supramundane Morality (lokuttara-sìla), as far as unliberated Worldlings (puthujjana) are concerned, is “not arisen” (anuppanna).

Concentration (samàdhi) is also of two kinds, mundane and supramundane. Since mundane concentration had been attained on many occasions by beings in the past Samsàra, it is “arisen”.Supramundane Concentration, in the case of Worldlings, is “not arisen”.

Wisdom (pannà) is likewise of these two kinds, mundane and supramundane. The four mundane Purifications (lokiya-visuddhi; see Note 3, page 61) are Mundane Wisdom and are “arisen”(uppanna) for those who have encountered Buddha Sàsanas in the past and have practised these Purifications; they are “not arisen” (anuppanna) for those who have never encountered any Buddha Sàsana in past Samsàra. — The Purification by Knowledge and Vision (nànadassana-visuddhi) is Supramundane Wisdom (lokuttara-pannà). As far as Worldlings are concerned, it is for them “not arisen” since it was never attained by them in the past Samsàra.

I shall now show the four modes of Effort (padhàna).

(1) The opportunity of ridding oneself completely of arisen, i.e. old unwholesome Kamma (uppanna-akusala-kamma) obtains only when one encounters a Buddha Sàsana,

(2) The opportunity of preventing the appearance of new unwholesome Kamma (anuppanna-akusalakamma) in the series of existences that are to follow, is also one that can arise only through encountering a Buddha Sàsana. Even though one’s journey through Samsàra be infinitely long, if one does not encounter a Buddha’s Teaching, no opportunity of ridding oneself of these two classes of unwholesome Kamma can arise. This is because the task of ridding oneself of them is identical with the task of destroying the anusaya plane of Personality Belief (sakkàyaditthi), i.e. the latent disposition for such a wrong view. And the destruction of that anusaya plane is the work of anattà-bhàvanà, i.e., the meditation on Not-self, which appears only at the time of a Buddha Sàsana.

Those beings who are destined to be Solitary Buddhas (Pacceka-Buddha) had first acquired the seeds of anattà-bhàvanà (meditation on Not-self) during their encounter with a Sàsana. When there is no Buddha Sàsana in the world, even the mere sound of anattà is not heard. And by “the sound ofAnattà” is meant the sound of such terms which formulate the impersonal nature of existence, asrùpanàma, khandhadhàtu, àyatana, and paticca-samuppàda. The whole of theAbhidhamma-Pitaka is replete with the sound of Anattà; and so is the whole of its Compendium, the Abhidhammattha-Sangaha. The work of Anattà-bhàvanà (the development of the thought of Egolessness) consists, first, of fulfilling Purification of Morality (sìla-visuddhi), then of setting up Body Contemplation (kàyagatà-sati), and after tranquillizing and controlling one’s madly tempestuous and unstable mind, of putting forth effort in the work of samatha and vipassanà(Tranquillity and Insight meditation). It is only when the plane of Proclivity to Wrong Views (ditthi-anusaya) is destroyed through such effort that all the Wrong Views, arisen and not arisen (uppannaand anuppanna-micchà-ditthi) and the Evil Deeds (duccarita) disappear.

(3) The effort to cause the appearance in one’s personality ofwholesome actions (kusala kamma)which have not appeared before, and

(4) The effort to preserve and maintain in one’s personality the wholesome actions that have already appeared, — these efforts should be undertaken for a successful completion of Anattà-bhàvanà,after the establishment of Body Contemplation.

Arisen and not-arisen Morality

(Uppanna- and Anuppanna-Sìla)

Anuppanna-sìla, i.e. Morality which has never occurred in the life of Worldlings (puthujjana)throughout the past infinite Samsàra, consists of the three factors of the Supramundane Eightfold Path, Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood, which are comprised in the Path of Stream entry (sotàpatti-magga) and which have Nibbàna as their object. This Morality destroys the evil acts manifesting themselves in action, speech and wrong modes of earning a living. From the moment that this destruction has taken place, the evils appearing in those three forms, do not appear again even for an instant throughout the succession of many lives and many world cycles that follow. This class of Supramundane Morality is achieved only when Anattà-bhàvanà is successivelly practised.Beings must attempt to achieve this anuppanna-sìla while yet living at the time of a Buddha Sàsana.This means that from the moment of setting up Purification of Morality (sìla-visuddhi), together with Body Contemplation (kàyagatà-sati), up to the successful completion of Anattà-bhàvanà, beings must attempt without relaxation to practise the 37 Bodhipakkhiya-dhammà, the Requisites of Enlightenment.

Uppanna-sìla, which has often occurred in past infinite Samsàra, means Mundane Morality (lokiya-sìla) or Sense-sphere Morality (kàmàvacara-sìla). When it is said that attempts must be made to attain a fixation of that Sìla (i.e., its firm preservation, being the fourth Right Effort), it must be understood that there are two planes of Mundane Morality, viz. niyàma (stable, unchangeable) andaniyàma (unstable, changeable). The state of an Ariya (saint) is that of stability (niyàma), while the state of a Worldling (puthujjana) is that of unstability (aniyàma).

The Mundane Morality of the Sense-sphere attains to the plane of Stability in the personalities of Stream-winners (sotàpanna).

Saints who are Sotàpannas do not transgress the Ajivatthamaka-sìla [14] (the eightfold morality ending with Right Livelihood) even in their dreams throughout the series of lives and world-cycles that follow until the final attainment of Parinibbàna.

In the case of unliberated Worldlings (puthujjana), however, the Mundane Morality of the Sense-sphere is still on the plane of Unstability (aniyàma). These persons have been virtuous lay individuals on an infinite number of occasions in the past. They have also suffered in the Lower Worlds of Misery (apàya-loka) countless numbers of times. They have been virtuous hermits and Bhikkhus on other infinite occasions. In all their past existences, however, they have never been free from the danger of being liable to rebirth in the Lower Worlds of Misery. Even now, the number of beings in these Lower Worlds is countless, and so is the number of humans, devas and Brahmas who are on the brink of being born in the Lower Worlds of Misery.

Hence, those beings who possess Mundane Morality of the Sense-sphere (kàmàvacara-lokiya-sìla) which is still unstable (aniyàma), and which, so to say, resides in them for just a temporary short moment, should attempt, while there is yet opportunity within a Buddha Sàsana, to transform it into the plane of stability (niyàma). They should set up Body Contemplation, and having done so, should practise the Bodhipakkhiya-dhammas until the function of Anattà-bhàvanà is successfully completed.

Arisen and not-Arisen Concentration

(Uppanna and Anuppanna Samàdhi)

Concentration (samàdhi) as well as Wisdom (pannà), have likewise two planes, i.e. Stability(niyàma) and Unstability (aniyàma). The Full Concentration (of the Jhànas; appanà-samàdhi),which is identical with the eight or nine Meditative Attainments (samàpatti) [15], becomes “stable” only on attainment of the stage of a Non-returner (Anàgàmi). The Wisdom (pannà) that carries thetàdi quality (of equability) [16] becomes “stable” only at the stage of an Arahant.

I shall now show the Concentration and Wisdom that Sotàpannas achieve.

In accordance with the Cùla-Vedalla Sutta [17], Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration which are comprised within Sotàpatti-magga (Path of Stream-entry), having Nibbàna as object, are called Supramundane Concentration (lokuttara-samàdhi).

These three constituents of the Samàdhi group (within the supramundane Eightfold Path) can extinguish, once and for all, that is through Overcoming by Eradication (samuccheda-pahàna) [18],the mental evils of Covetousness (abhijjhà) and Ill-Will (vyàpàda) which have micchà-vàyàma(wrong effort), micchà-sati (wrong attention) and micchà,samàdhi (wrong concentration) as their roots. From the instance they are eradicated, those mental evils of Covetousness and Ill-will do not arise again throughout the manv lives and world-cycles that may follow. It is the kind of Concentration that can be achieved only within a Buddha-Sàsana, when meditative cultivation of the Anattà doctrine (anattà-bhàvanà) appeals. Hence, now that beings have encountered a Buddha Sàsana, they should endeavour to achieve that so far not arisen kind of Concentration (anuppanna-samàdhi), before they become severed from the Sàsana by the vicissitudes of wandering in Samsàra. This means, that, beginning with Body Contemplation, they should practise theBodhipakkhiya-dhammas until they attain the successful culmination of Anattà-bhàvanà.

Uppanna-samàdhi, which has occurred a countless number of times in infinite past Samsàra, consists of Concentration of the Sense-sphere (kàmàvacara-samàdhi), i.e. the Neighbourhood Concentration), of the fine-material (rùpàvacara-s.) and immaterial sphere (arùpàvacara-s.), When it was said that attempts must be made for the “stability” (niyàma) of Arisen Concentration it must be understood that this mundane Concentration has likewise two planes, viz. stability and unstability.The Mundane Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration, with which Ariyas (Noble Ones) are endowed, are on the plane of “stability” (niyàma). The Evil Deeds (duccarita) of Covetousness and III-will do not arise in them even in dreams throughout the succession of lives and world-cycles that follow until the final attainment of Parinibbàna.

The triple (Path-) group of Mundane Concentration with which Worldlings are endowed, is on the plane of “unstability” (aniyàma). In the infinite past Samsàra, these persons have been men ofsamàdhi, hermits (isis) of samàdhi, and Bhikkhus of samàdhi, endowed with jhànas and supernormal powers (iddhi), during countless existences. In the life-period of every world-system, there are four world-cycles (kappa), each of unfathomable duration. In three of these world-cycles, these Worldlings have been Brahmas in the Brahma worlds. In every one of these world-systems there have also appeared Apàya-worlds of Misery. And these worlds of misery have been filled by these self-same Brahmas and no others. These Worldlings have been Brahma Gods, Hungry Ghosts(peta), beings of hell, animals and Titans (asura). Compared with the infinitely long Samsàra, the life-period of each of these world-systems is just like the time of an eye-wink.

Thus it behoves us all to attempt the transformation on the instability of the three constituents of the Samàdhi group (which we temporarily acquired in the past on many occasions) to the stage of stability (niyàma), while we still have the opportunity now in the midst of an age in which the Buddha Sàsana exists. Hence we should, after first setting up Body Contemplation, practise theBodhipakkhiya-dhammas until successful completion of Anattà-bhàvanà.

Arisen and not-arisen Wisdom

(Uppanna and Anuppanna-Pannà)

In accordance with the Cùla Vedalla Sutta, Right Understanding (sammà-ditthi) and Right Thought(sammà- sankappa), which are comprised in Sotàpatti-magga and have Nibbàna as their object, are called Supramundane Wisdom (lokuttara-pannà). This Wisdom destroys the anusaya plane of Personality Belief (sakkàya-ditthi) completely, and dispels, by way of an Eradicating Abandonment(samuccheda-pahàna), every vestige of Wrong Understanding (micchà-ditthi) and Wrong Thought(micchà-sankappa), together with the Evil Deeds (duccarita) and Wrong Livelihood (duràjiva),once and for all. The old store accumulated by past kamma (duccarita kamma) also disappears completely. Release is obtained from the Apàya-Samsàra, i.e. rebirth in the Lower Worlds of Misery. From this instant, the evils of Wrong Views and Evil Deeds do not make an appearance throughout the series of future existence and future world-cycles.

This kind of Wisdom appears only during a Buddha Sàsana when Anattà-bhàvanà exists. Hence, as beings have now encountered a Buddha-Sàsana, they should endeavour to attain this Anuppanna-Pannà, a Wisdom so far not arisen to them, before they are bereft of this Sàsana (in future lives). This means that, starting with Body Contemplation, they should practise the Bodhipakkhiya-dhammàuntil they reach the successful culmination of Anattà-bhàvanà.

Those kinds of Wisdom that have often appeared (uppanna) in the past infinite Samsàra are: the Right Understanding that beings are owners of (or responsible for) their actions (kammassakatà-sammà-ditthi); all kinds of (mundane) knowledge and wisdom on the level of the Sense-sphere(kàmàvacara), and such Supernormal knowledges (abhinnà) as the Celestial Eye (dibba-cakkhu)and the Celestial Ear (dibba-sota) (i.e., Clairvoyance and Clair-audience). When it was said that attempts must be made for the “stability” (niyàma) of Wisdom it must be understood that this mundane-Wisdom has likewise two planes, viz. stability and unstability. The mundane Right Understanding and Right Thoughts of Ariyas (Noble Ones) are established on the plane of stability(niyàma). From the moment they are thus established in that stable Wisdom, and throughout the series of lives that follow until they attain Parinibbàna, they will always be in the possession of the Right Understanding of Ownership of Kamma (kammas-sakatà-sammà-ditthi), of Doctrinal Knowledge (pariyatti-nàna), Knowledge of Dhamma-practice (patipatti-nàna), and Knowledge of the Four Truths (catu-sacca-nànà).

The two-fold Mundane Wisdom, however, with which Worldlings (puthujjana) are endowed, is on the plane of Unstability (aniyàma). In their wanderings through Samsàra, these Worldlings have sometimes been learned in the Dhamma, sometimes acquired fame through their learning, sometimes they were great Theras or great physicians, while at other times they have also been cockles, snails, worms, leeches, lice, bugs, maggots, ticks, etc. — creatures that could be said to be just alive.

Hence, while now the opportunity of an encounter with a Buddha-Sàsana offers itself, efforts must be made to transform unstable Wisdom (which is but a temporary acquisition) into stable Wisdom, in the way stated above.

This ends the exposition of the two types of Morality, Concentration and Wisdom, viz. as Arisen and Not-arisen.

Hence, those laymen, hermits and Bhikkhus who have encountered a Buddha-Sàsana in this life, who desire to rid themselves of evils in their future existences, and who wish to consolidate in themselves permanently such Dhammas as Purification of Virtue, etc., should practise appropriately the Foundations of Mindfulness (satipatthàna), applying energy of the type of the Right Efforts(sammappadhàna; see above), in order thus to destroy the anusaya plane of Personality Belief.

If they desire to free themselves from the insane and wild mind such as is possessed by the madman, the incapable boatman, the man afflicted with hydrophobia, and the sick man who vomits his medicines (as described in Chapter II on Satipatthàna), and desire to consolidate their Concentration or transform it to a stable condition (niyàma), so as to enable them to keep their attention tranquil, steady and fixed at will on any subject of meditation (kammatthàna), they should practise appropriately the Foundations of Mindfulness, with sammappadhàna energy in order to destroy thereby the anusaya plane of Personality Belief.

If they desire to free themselves from doctrines and conditions of Delusion (sammoha-dhamma)which can cast them into the utter darkness of the absence of Wisdom; which can extirpate all feelings of respect and reverence that they have harboured towards the infinite and noble qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Ariya Sangha, as also of the establishments of the Sàsana, leaving no trace in the existences that follow; if they desire to rid themselves of the great Wrong Doctrines(micchà-dhamma) that have led them in the past beginningless Samsàra to approach, respect and pay reverence to all manners of spurious Buddhas (or religious teachers), because as Worldlings(puthujjana) they were not in a position to know the true Buddha, the true Dhamma and the true Sangha; if they desire to attain, in the series of existences and world-cycles beginning with the present, that faith known as Firmly Established Faith, (adhigama-saddhà) and that wisdom known as Firmly Established Wisdom (adhigama-pannà), by virtue of which they can continue to evoke within themselves, without let or hindrance, respect and reverence for the true Buddha, the true Dhamma and the true Sangha; and if they desire to transform them to the level of “stability” (niyàma) — then they must practise appropriately the Foundations of Mindfulness, with sammappadhànaeffort, with a view of destroying Personality Belief on its plane of latent dispositions (anusaya-bhùmi). Here, the appropriate practice of Right Effort (sammappadhàna) means that energy which is accompanied by the determination:

“Let only my skin, and sinews, and bones remain, and let my flesh and blood in the body dry up, I shall not permit the course of my effort to stop until I win that which may be won by human ability, human effort and human exertion.”


[1] Vinaya Pitaka, Mahàvagga, V. 13. – Sammohavinodàni (Com. to Patisambhida Magga).

[2] Dhammapada Commentary, story relating to Verse 1.

[3] See Com. to Satipatthàna Sutta (The Way of Mindfulness, p68).

[4] See Com. to Sakkapanha Sutta (Dìgha Nik.).

[5] See Anguttara Nikàya., The Fours, No. 13L –”The Book of Analysis” (Vibhanga), tr. by U Thittila (Pali Text Society, London), p. 27lff.

[6] Rùpa and Arùpa — Fine-material and immaterial.

[7] Bon-sin-san is a term in the Burmese language, signifying a type of Stream-Winner (sotàpanna)that will reach final deliverance in Arahatship after numerous rebirths in successively higher stages of existences. This term has no equivalent in the Sutta texts where only those are called Sotàpannaswho have, at the utmost, seven rebirths before them, among men and deities. Bon-sin-san is a concept familiar in Burmese doctrinal tradition, for which reference is made to the following commentarial passages which are said to imply the sense of the term:

– Comy. to Indriya-SamyuttaChalindriya VaggaEkabiji Sutta, commenting on the word sattakkhattuparamo.


– Comy. to Dìgha NikàyaSakkapanha Sutta (at the end), commenting on the wordsso nivàso bhavissati.


– Comy. to Puggala-pannatti (Pancappakarana Atthakatha), Ekaka-niddesa, commenting on the word ekabiji.


For these references, and the following comments, the Editor is obliged to the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, Agga-Maha-Pandita, of Rangoon.

“It may be noted that a Bon-sin-san is of two kinds:

1) One becomes a Sotàpanna in the Kàmabhùmi (Sense-sphere) and achieves the higher three stages (Sakadàgàmi etc.) in Sàddhàvàsa (five planes) of Rùpa-loka (fine material world), after sojourn in the higher realms of Kàmaloka and Rùpaloka.

2) One becomes a Sotàpanna, Sakadàgàmi and Anàgàmi in Kàmabhùmi, and a Arahant in Suddhàvàsa (five planes).

“Hence the word Bon-sin-san, which means that one goes up the stages of existence one after another.

“These two types are obviously different from those mentioned in the Suttas: (1)Sattakkhattuparama Sotàpanna (“One with 7 Births at the utmost”), (2) Kolankola Sotàpanna(“One passing from one Noble Family to another”), (3) Ekabiji Sotàpanna (“One germinating only once more”).

“These three types become Sotàpannas in Kàmabhùmi and either in this very existence or later, not more than seven, become arahat in the same Bhùmi (sphere) —

See also Chapter VIII of this treatise, section on “Stream entry” — (Editor, The Wheel)

[8] It is an individual usage of the author, the Ven. Ledi Sayadaw, to apply the term sa-upadisesa-nibbàna also to the Sotàpanna (and here to the “Bon-sin-san” type). In the canonical and commentarial Pali texts, it is applied only to the Arhant who has destroyed all ten Fetters(samyojana), while the Sotàpanna has abandoned only the first three. This divergent usage may have been caused by the facts that the Sotàpanna is said to have the “first glimpse” (pathama-dassana) of Nibbàna and that his supramundane Path-and-Fruit-moments have Nibbàna as object (and not conditioned phenomena as all mundane consciousness). Hence he can be said to have a first experience of Nibbàna though still imperfect and temporary. (Editor, The Wheel) .

[9] See “Manual of insight” (The Wheel No. 31/32), p. 79ff.

[10] Isis — Hermits, recluses, rishis.

[11] The Pali terms occurring in this para are explained in the Notes 1-4, pages 12-13.

[12] parikamma-, upacàra-, appanà-samàdhi,– See “Path of Purification”, (Visuddhi Magga),Ch. 11,6, IV, 32.

[13] These are the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Purification of the list on p. 21.

[14] See note 2, page 12.

[15] The eight Meditative Attainments (attha-samàpatti) are the 4 meditative Absorptions of the Form Sphere (rùpajjhàna) and the 4 of the Formless Sphere (arùpajjhàna). The nine Attainments are these eight and nirodha-samàpatti, the temporary suspension of conscious mental activity.

[16] Tàdi (lit:. such-like, the same) is an equanimous state of mind that cannot be influenced by the ups and downs of life. It is also a designation of the Buddha and the Arahant.

[17] Yo ca Visàkha sammà-vàyàmo yà ca sammà-sati yo ca sammà-samàdhi, ime dhamma samàdhikkhandhe sangahità. – “And whatever there is of Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration, these things are comprised in the category of Concentration” (Majjh. Nik., No. 44).

[18] See “Manual of insight” (‘The Wheel’ No. 31/32), p. 79f.




I shall now give a brief description of the iddhipàdas the Bases of Success.


The word-explanation is: ijjhànam iddhi, which means that iddhi signifies the fact of having succeeded, completed or perfected [1].

In the Buddha Sàsana there are five iddhis. They are:-

1. Abhinneyyesu dhammesu abhinnà-siddhi, [2]
2. Parinneyyesu dhammesu parinnà-siddhi,
3. Pahàtabbesu dhammesu pahàna-siddhi,
4. Sacchikàtabbesu dhammesu sacchikiriya-siddhi,
. Bhàvetabbesu dhammesu bhàvanà-siddhi.


1.Completion of or success in acquiring special knowledge in those things in which special knowledge should be acquired, things such as rùpa (material phenomena),nàma (mental phenomena);

2.Completion of or success in acquiring full understanding in those things in which full understanding should be acquired, things such as dukkha sacca (the Noble Truth of Suffering);

3. Completion of or success attained in the task of abandonment of those things that should be abandoned, things such as samudaya sacca (the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering);

4.Completion of or success attained in the task of realization of those things that should be realized, things such as nirodha sacca (the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering);

5.Completion of or success attained in the task of development or cultivation of those things that should be developed or cultivated, things such as magga sacca (the Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering)-

These are the five essential iddhis within a Buddha Sàsana.

Abhinnà-siddhi means: the completion of the task of knowing of the paramattha dhammas(ultimate truths) which one had no knowledge of while one was beyond the pale of a Buddha Sàsana. A thorough knowledge of the Abhidhammattha Sangaha (a summary of all the essential doctrines of the Abhidhamma [3]) amounts to Abhinnà-siddhi.

Parinnà-siddhi means: the completion of acquiring full understanding of dukkha sacca (the Noble Truth of Suffering) either through a knowledge of their lakkhana (characteristics), rasa (functions), paccupatthàna (manifesta-tions), and padatthàna (proximate causes), or through a knowledge of the three characteristics of anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering), and anattà (impersonality), which they possess.

Pahàna-siddhi means: the completion of the task of abandoning (pahàna), i.e. destroying thekilesas (defile-ments) which are samudaya sacca (the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering). In this book, since the main emphasis is placed on the attainment of the lowest class of Sotapannas, namely the “Bon-sin-san” Sotàpannas, and not on the higher classes of ariyas (Noble Ones), the completion of the task of destroying sakkàya-ditthi (Personality-Belief) is pahàna-siddhi. The task of dispelling vicikicchà (sceptical doubt) is comprised within the task of destroying sakkàya-ditthi.

Sacchikiriya-siddhi means: the completion of the task of realizing nirodha sacca (the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering) both bodily and mentally. This task consists of the suppression and destruction of the kilesas (defilements).

Bhàvanà-siddhi means: the development of the three sikkhàs (Trainings) of sìla (Morality),samàdhi (Mental Concentra-tion) and pannà (Wisdom), until the attainment of lokuttara magga sacca (Supramundane Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering).

Also the seven Purifications, beginning with Morality, and their sub-divisions, constitute as many kinds of iddhi, in the sense of potencies in their respective fields.


The word-explanation is: iddhiyà pàdo iddhipàdo, i.e. root or basis of attaining completion or perfection (success or potency) [4].

There are four kinds of iddhipàdas. They are:-


1. Chandiddhipàdo (chanda)
2. Viriyiddhipàdo (viriya)
3. Cittiddhipàdo (citta)
4. Vimamsiddhipàdo (vimamsa 
or pannà).


By chanda is meant (the zeal or) desire to obtain, desire to attain, desire to reach, desire to fulfil, desire to accomplish. The desire indicated here is extreme or excessive desire. There is nothing within or without one’s personality that can obstruct that desire. It is the kind of desire that evokes the thought, “If I do not attain this accomplishment in this life, I shall not rest content. It is better that I die rather than that I shall not attain it.”

It is the kind of desire nurtured by King Dhammasonda [5] of Benares during the time of the Kassapa Buddha [6], when the king said to himself, “What use is there in my being king of Benares if I do not get the opportunity of hearing a discourse of the Kassapa Buddha?” The king, therefore, relinquished his throne and went out in search of one who could repeat to him a discourse of the Kassapa Buddha, no matter though that discourse consisted of a short stanza only.

Such desire is appeased if it is fulfilled, as in the case of King Bimbisàra [7], Visàkha, and Anàthapindika [8]. See Dhammapada Com., story relating to Verse 1.

It is only when there are faint indications that the desire can be attained but is not fulfilled, that the mind becomes troubled, and thoughts arise that it is better to die than live without attaining the desire.

Examples of such desire existed also in King Temiya [9] , King Hatthipàla [10], and kings, nobles, and rich men in the time of the Buddha who discarded their palaces, retinue and other luxuries to live the lives of Bhikkhus in the Buddha Sàsana.

Viriya (Energy) means sammappadhàna viriya together with its four characteristics (see Chapter II). A person with this viriya is infused with the thought that the aim can be attained by energy and effort. He is not discouraged even though it is said to him that he must undergo great hardships. He is not discouraged even though he actually has to undergo great hardships. He is not discouraged even though it is said to him that he must put forth effort for many days, months, and years. He is not discouraged even though he actually has to put forth effort for such long periods.

Those who are weak in energy recoil from their task when confronted with work requiring great energy and effort. They shrink when told that they will have to stay apart from friends and associates.They shrink from the prospect of the necessity to be frugal in sleep and food. They shrink from the prospect of long periods of concentration.

Citta (lit.: consciousness) means: attachment to iddhis when one comes in contact with the Sàsana and hears the Dhamma. It is attachment that is extremely ardent and strong.

Although one lives amidst the beauties and luxuries of the world, amidst acquired powers and fortunes, amidst the sacred books and the study of them, one is not allured, but one’s mind is always turned towards the iddhis. One attains satisfaction and tranquillity only when one’s mind is absorbed in matters connected with the iddhis. It is like the absorption of the alchemist engaged in the transmutation of the baser metals into gold or silver. Such an alchemist has no interest in anything else but his alchemy. He forgets to sleep or eat, or whether he had slept or eaten. He does not notice anything when out walking. Citta is great absorption, or attachment of this nature.

Vimamsà (investigation) means: knowledge or wisdom that can clearly perceive the greatness of the sufferings of hell, and of the sufferings attendant on the round of rebirths. It is knowledge that can clearly perceive the advantages and benefits of the iddhis. It is knowledge that can dwell on the deep and difficult dhammas, and on their nature. A person who possesses such knowledge can no longer find pleasure in any worldly pursuit except the pursuit of the iddhis. He finds gratification only in the acquisition of deep and profound iddhis. The deeper and more profound the dhammas, the greater is his desire to attain them.

Those who are endowed with any one of these four Bases of Success (iddhipàda) can no longer, during this life, admit or plead inability and remain without putting forth effort in the establishment of Body Contemplation (kàyagatàsati) and the higher stages of the Sàsana such as, the seven Purifications (visuddhi). It is only those who have never possessed any one of these Bases of Success, and who cannot differentiate between the shallowness and profoundness of life, between superficiality and depth of the dhamma, who admit or plead inability and remain without making any endeavour.

A person endowed with any one of these four iddhipàdas can attain, according to his pàrami, theiddhis until he reaches lokultara (supramundane) iddhi, either in this life or as a deva in the next life.The cases of those endowed with two, or three, or four iddhipàdas need no lengthy explanation.

In the cases of those persons who (far from possessing any of the iddhis) do not even possess any of the iddhipàdas, they should attempt to acquire one or other of these Bases. They admit or plead inability only because they have not the desire to acquire the higher benefits of the Sàsana, such as the satipatthànas. They should regard this very admission of inability as a highway to the Lower Worlds of Misery (Apàya-loka). Thus, they should study, think and ponder, over the Suttanta discourses that can arouse zeal (chanda). They should approach a teacher who can arouse zeal and rely on him.

Hence did the Buddha say:

Chandiddhipàdam bhàveti, Viriyiddhipàdam bhàveti, Cittiddhipàdam bhàveti, Vimamsiddhipàdam bhàveti.

(He cultivates zeal, energy, consciousness and invegtigation as the Bases of Success.”)

Some persons, far from attaining the iddhis, do not even try to attain the iddhipàdas. If they do not possess chanda, they do not even know that it is necessary to acquire such Zeal (chanda). They are persons who admit and plead inability and defeat. The same is true in the cases of viriya, citta, andvimamsa.

Steady application of the mind to kàyagatàsati amounts to setting up pàda. Studying the anecdotes conveying a sense of urgency (samvega) [11], applying oneself to the strict ascetic observances(dhutanga) and such other practices of the dhamma, is setting up of energy (viriya). Applying oneself to profound subjects of Dhamma, such as the Four Great Primaries (or Elements; mahà-bhùta) amounts to the setting up of vimamsa (Investigation).

If any one of the four Bases of Success is established, then it is certain that the respective iddhis [12] will be attained according to one’s Pàrami. Hence, it is stated in the Commentaries that persons who do not possess any of the Bases of Success, resemble the sons of a Candàla (a man of low class), while persons possessing one of the Bases of Success resemble the sons of an Emperor. The sons of a Candàla never even aim at becoming an Emperor because they have no basis, no pàda, for such an attainment. Sons of Emperors, however, always aim at becoming Emperors because they are endowed with the bases for attaining such an aim.

Hence, wise persons of the present day should attempt to acquire the four Iddhipàdas, the Bases of Success, so that they can destroy the great realm of Personality Belief (sakkàya-ditthi), and acquire, within the Sàsana, the benefits of the higher attainments that can be obtained according to one’s Pàramis.


[1] See further ‘The Path of Purification’ (Visuddhi Magga), tr. by Nanamoli Thera (2nd ed., Colombo 1964), Ch. XII, §§ 20-22, 44– As will be seen from the following, the terms iddhi andiddhipàda do not exclusively refer to Supernormal (Magical) Powers, as it is sometimes assumed. In the present context, they signify “success” in Dhamma-practice and the four basic conditions of such success. — In the following first part of this chapter, the Translator’s rendering of iddhi by “completion” has been retained while, for purposes of nomenclature, the preferable translation by “success” has been used. – The PTS Dictionary suggests “potency”. – (Editor)

[2] siddhi is identical with iddhi.

[3] See note 1, page 64.

[4] See “The Path of Purification”, ch. XII, 50-53; XXII, 36.

[5] Rasavàhini (Jambudipuppatti-kathà).

[6] A Buddha of a former age, preceding Gotama Buddha.

[7] See Com. to Tirokudda Sutta, in “Minor Readings” (Khuddakapatha), tr. by Nanamoli (PTS), p. 223ff.

[8] See Dhammapada Com., story relating to Verse 1.

[9] Mùgapakkha Jàtaka

[10] Hatthipàla Jàtaka.

[11] Samvega is a stirring up of the mind, caused by contemplating the dangers and miseries ofSamsàra.

[12] i.e. one of the five iddhis or siddhis, mentioned at the beginning of this chapter.




The word-explanation of the term indriya is:

Indassa kammam indriyam,

which means that indriya signifies the act of ruling or of controlling, by rulers. “The act of ruling by rulers” means that wherever the ruler rules, nobody can go against him.

In the present context, the control or rule that one exercises over one’s mind is the essential point in these Controlling Faculties.

There are five such Faculties [1]:

1. Saddhindriya(faith),
2. Viriyindriya(energy),
3. Satindriya(mindfulness),
4. Samàdhindriya(concentration),
5. Pannindriya(wisdom).


Saddhindriya is (to some extent,) synonymous with saddhà. But there are two kinds of saddhà,namely:


1. Pakati-saddhà, Ordinary Faith, and
2. Bhàvanà-saddhà, Faith Developed (or matured) by Meditation [2].

The Faith and Confidence (saddhà) that leads ordinary men and women to perform acts of Almsgiving (dàna), Morality (sìla) and “surrogate” (or rudimentary) Meditation (bhàvanà) [3], — is called Ordinary Faith (pakati-saddhà). Here, as was shown in the simile of the madman (Chapter 11), although such saddhà is to some extent a Controlling Faculty, its control does not extend to the capacity of controlling the unstable minds of ordinary folk in the work of meditation (bhàvanà).Control is exercised over the instability only to the extent of leading to acts of Almsgiving, Morality and rudimentary Meditation.

Without Faith and Confidence (saddhà), the mind never inclines to kusala-kamma (wholesome volitional actions), for ordinarily it takes delight only in evil acts. This holds true also for the effort to attain to the Purification of Virtue (sìla-visuddhi) or to engage in the study of the sacred texts. This is how ordinary wholesome acts (pakati-kusala-kamna) are produced by the control of Ordinary Faith (pakati saddhà), which is undeveloped (by genuine meditation: abhàvita).

In the work of attending to a subject of meditation (kammatthàna) for the practice of Tranquillity and Insight, Ordinary Faith has not sufficient control over the mind as the mind is apt to recoil and rebound from that Faith and to turn elsewhere. In meditative work, Ordinary Faith is not sufficient.

It is Developed Faith that prepares the seed bed, so to say, for the acquisition of great strength and power through the practice of meditation, such as Mindfulness of Breathing.

In the context of the “Requisites of Enlightenment” (bodhipakkhiya-dhamma), it is Developed Faith(bhàvanà-saddhà) that is called saddhindriya, the Controlling Faculty of Faith. In the field of meditative exercises, it represents the disappearance of unstable and oscillating attention and the appearance of a clear and steady mind [4]. The mind’s attention can be steadily fixed only on those objects which it finds clear and unbefogged. The practice of Body Contemplation (kàyagatà-sati),such as Mindfulness of Breathing, is the preparation of the seed-bed for bhàvanà-saddhà, i.e. Faith and Confidence, developed and matured by meditation. If the mind is fixed on the Contemplation of the Body, such as the out-and in-breaths, it amounts to the attainment of Developed Faith. If then the work is continued in the fields of Tranquillity (samatha) and Insight (vipassanà), the ability to destroy the three planes of Personality Belief (sakkàyaditthi) can be acquired even within this life.The work of samatha and vipassanà needs for their proper performance, the reliance on a teacher who is very learned in the Dhamma.


Viriyindriya is, to some extent, synonymous with viriya. But there are two kinds, or degrees, ofviriya, namely:


1. Pakati-viriya, Ordinary Energy, and
2. Bhàvanà-viriya, Energy developed by meditation.

Another classification is:


1. Kàyika-viriya, bodily energy, and
2. Cetasika-viriya, mental energy.

Ordinary Energy (pakati-viriya) can be easily recognized. Persons who possess much Ordinary Energy in worldly matters can easily attain Developed Energy (bhàvanà-viriya). The strict ascetic observances (dhutanga) of a monk are instances of Bodily Energy of a developed nature (kàyika-bhàvanà-viriya).

If, after setting up Developed Bodily Energy such as reducing sleep and being alert and energetic, there is still no Mental Energy (cetasika-viriya), such as enthusiasm in keen attention to meditation(bhàvanà-manasikàra), steady application to, or concentration on the objects of meditation(kammatthàna), such as Mindfulness on Breathing, cannot be attained, and the period of work is unduly lengthened without achieving clarity of mind and perception.

Any kind of work will be properly and appropriately done only if the person performing it, obtains quick mastery over it. It will be improperly done if the work obtains mastery over the person. By “the work obtaining mastery over the person” is meant that the work is done without real energy, as a result of which no concrete results appear, and as days and months drag on, distaste (in meditation) and tedium ill body postures appear, leading to sloth. With the appearance of sloth, progress in the work glows down, and with the glowing down of progress, further sloth develops. The idea then appears that it would be better to change the form of the work. Thus constant changes in forms of work occur, and in that way the work obtains mastery over the person lacking energy.

In meditative work, quick success is obtained only by one endowed with both bodily and mental energy. From the moment when Body Contemplation is set up, the energy that develops day by day is bhàvanà-viriya, energy developed by meditation, and it is this energy that, in the bodhipakkhiya-dhammas, is called the Faculty of Energy, viriyindriya. It represents the disappearance of sloth and laziness in meditative work and the appearance of enthusiasm and vigor. The mind takes delight in dwelling on objects on which its attention is strong. Thence, the task of setting up Developed Energy, and graded development, is identical with that of the Faculty of Faith (saddhindriya).

The Faculty of Mindfulness (satindriya), in the context of the bodhipakkhiya-dhamma, means the setting up of mindful Body-Contemplation (kàyagatà-sati), e.g. on Out-and In-breath, and the development of bhàvanà-sati (meditative mindfulness), called Satipatthàna, until Supramundane Right Mindfulness (lokuttara-sammà-sati), as a supramundane Path-factor, is reached.

The Faculties of Concentration and Wisdom (samàdhindriya and pannindriya) may be defined and described similarly.

The Faculty of Concentration dispels the distraction of mind when it is applied in the work of Satipatthàna on such an object as the Mindfulness on Breathing. The Faculty of Wisdom dispels confusion and haziness.

The Faculties of Faith, Energy and Mindfulness, which precede those of Concentration and Wisdom, are like those who raise a king to kingship. They raise the latter two Facuties until the topmost excellence is attained.

After the setting up of Body Contemplation and the attainment of mastery over one’s mind, if theSamatha road is taken, the Faculty of Concentration becomes the eight meditative attainments(samàpatti or jhàna), while the Faculty of Wisdom becomes the five Higher Spiritual knowledges(abhinna) [5], such as the Supernormal Powers etc. If the Vipassanà road be taken, the Faculty of Concentration becomes the Voidness Concentration (sunnatà-samàdhi), Conditionless Concentration (animitta-samàdhi) or Desireless Concentration (appanihita-samàdhi), while the Faculty of Wisdom becomes the five Purifications (visuddhi) pertaining to Wisdom [6], the Knowledge of the three Contemplations (anupassanà-nàna) [7] the ten Insight knowledges(vipassanà-nàna) [8] the Knowledges pertaining to the four Paths and the four Fruitions and the nineteen of Reviewing (paccavekkhana-nàna) [9].

This shows how the five Faculties occur together.

The Predominance of the Faculties

It is now proposed to show where each of these Faculties forms a predominant factor.

The Sutta text says:

Kattha saddhindriyam datthabbam?
Catùsu sotàpattiyangesu ettha saddhindriyam datthabbam.

“Where should one look for the Faculty of Faith?
One should look for it in the four constituents of Streamentry.” [10]

This means that the Faculty of Faith predominates in the four constituents of Stream-entry. These four are:

1. Unshakeable faith in the noble qualities of the Buddha, such as Araham, sammà-sambuddho, etc.


2. Unshakeable faith in the noble qualities of the Dhamma, such as “Well proclaimed”(svàkkhàto), etc.

3. Unshakeable faith in the noble qualities of the Sangha, such as “Of good conduct”(supatipanno), etc.

4. Completely or perfectly endowed with the Foundation (or proximate cause;padatthàna) of Supramundane Concentration (lokuttara-samàdhi), which is “Purification of Morality” (sìla-visuddhi) [11].

These are the four factors that ensure the attainment of Sotàpatti-magga-nàna (Knowledge pertaining to the Path of Stream-entry), within the compass of this life.

In the Sutta passage “Buddhe aveccappasàdena samannàgato” [12], aveccappasàdo means “unshakeable faith”. It is the faith (saddhà) of those who have attained Access Concentration(upacàra-samàdhi) while reflecting on the noble qualities of the Buddha. Upacàra-samàdhi here means steady and fixed attention achieved while reflecting on the noble qualities of the Buddha.When one encounters such steady and fixed attention, one must know that the control by Faith is predominant. Such a person is one who attains mastery over his mind in the matter of Faith in the noble qualities of the Buddha. The same holds true in regard to the noble qualities of the Dhamma and Sangha.

“Foundation of Supramundane Concentration” (the fourth constituent; see above) means the “Permanent Morality ending with Right Livelihood as the Eighth Precept” (àjivatthamaka-nicca-sìla) which can enable one to attain Supramundane Concentration in this very life. When that sìla is unbroken and pure, it is free from the defilements of tanhà (craving), màna (conceit), and ditthi(wrong view), and in such case one must understand that saddhà is prominent in that sìla. Inability to observe the requirements of the sìla is called “breaking” it. Although the sìla may be technically unbroken, but if it is observed amidst ordinary worldly conditions, it is said to be “impure.” In accordance with the saying “the worth of a bull can be known only on the ascent from the bed of a stream to the banks,” lay persons and Bhikkhus who profess to be followers of the Buddha can know whether or not the turbulence and distractions latent in their minds have disappeared, i.e. whether or not they have obtained mastery over their minds, only when they arrive at these four constituents.


Kattha viriyindiryam datthabbam?
Catùsu sammappadhànesu ettha viriyindriyam datthabbam.

(Where should one look for viriyindriya? One should look for it in the four constituents of Right Effort (sammappadhàna).


Lay persons and Bhikkhus who profess to be followers of the Buddha can know whether or not the unsettledness and turbulence of their minds in the matter of viriya have disappeared and whether or not they are thus persons who have obtained mastery over their minds, only when they come to the four constituents of sammappadhàna.

“Let my skin remain, let my sinews remain, let my bones remain, let my blood dry up, I shall not rest until the realm of Personality Belief (sakkàya-ditthi), the realm of the duccaritas, and the apàya-samsàra, that are in my personality, are destroyed in this life.”

This is the singleness of determination and effort in sammappadhàna. It is the effort of the same order as the Venerable Cakkhupàla’s [13]. When one encounters such determination and effort, one must recognise in it the predominating control of viriya over the mind. In the matter of viriya, the unsettledness and turbulence of the mind have disappeared in such a person, and he is one within the Buddha Sàsana who has obtained mastery over his mind.

Kattha satindriyam datthabbam?
Catùsu satipatthànesu ettha satindriyam datthabbam.

(Where should one look for satindriya?
One should look for it in the four Foundations of Mindfulness, 


Lay persons and Bhikkhus who profess to be followers of the Buddha can know whether or not the unsettledness and turbulence of their minds in the matter of sati (mindfulness) have disappeared, and whether or not they are thus persons who have obtained mastery over their minds, only when they arrive at the four constituents of the satipatthàna. If the attention can be kept fixed on any part of the body, such as out-breath and in-breath, by the successful practice of mindful Body Contemplation (kàyagatàsati) for as long as is desired, then it must be recognised as the control exercised by Mindfulness (sati). The unsettledness and turbulence of the mind of such a person have disappeared. He is one who has obtained mastery over his mind.

Kattha samàdhindriyam datthabbam?
Catùsu jhànesu ettha samàdhindriyam datthabbam.

(Where should one look for samàdhindriya?
One should look for it in the four 


If in the work of samatha, such as out-breath and in-breath, the successful accomplishment in the least of upacàra samàdhi bhàvanà (contemplation of access-concentration) is attained, and if thereby the nivaranas (Hindrances) such as kàmacchanda (Sensuous Desire), byàpàda (Ill-will), etc. which in the past samsàra have continuously been running riot in the mind, are removed, the attention of the mind on the objects of samatha becomes specially steady and tranquil. This must be recognised as arising out of the function of the predominant control exercised by samàdhi. The unsettledness and disturbances of the mind in the matter of samàdhi have disappeared from such an individual. He is one who has obtained mastery over big mind.

Kattha pannindriyam datthabbam?

Catùsu ariyasaccesu ettha pannindriyam datthabbam.

(Where should one look for pannindrniya?
One should look for it in the Four Noble Truths.)”

Among persons who encounter a Buddha Sàsana, knowledge of the Four Noble Truths is of supreme value. Only when this knowledge is acquired can they obtain release from the realm ofsakkàyaditthi, and that of the duccaritas, and from the apàya samsàra. Hence, in order to acquire a knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, they should attempt at least to obtain insight into the sixdhàtus (or basic constituent elements) of pathavi, àpo, tejo, vàyo, àkàsa and vinnàna [14] or insight into their fleeting and unstable nature how they do not last for more than the twinkling of an eye at a time (so to say) and how they are continually being destroyed. They should attain to such insight through such methods of practice as studying, memorising, reciting, cogitating, listening, discussing, questioning, practising insight exercises, and contemplating. If a clear insight is obtained into these six elements, there is no necessity for special practice with regard to the remainingdhammas [15]. If the nature of anicca, (Impermanence) can be clearly realised, the realisation ofanattà (Impersonality) follows as a matter of course [16].

The realisation of the nature of dukkha (Suffering) can be accomplished in its entirety only when one attains the stage of arahatta phala (Fruition of Holiness).

Thus, after putting forth effort for lengthy periods, when insight is obtained into the nature of the six elements both within and without oneself, as well as into the nature of their Impermanency, fixity of attention on them is achieved. This must be recognised as arising out of the predominant control exercised by pannà. The unreliability that had been a feature of one’s mind throughout past infinitesamsàra gradually disappears.

Here, “unreliability of one’s mind” means the perception of permanency in things that are impermanent, of happiness in suffering, of pleasantness in loathsomeness, of self in non-self, of individuals in non-individuals, of beings in non-beings, of humans in non-humans, of devas, Sakkaand Brahmàs in non-devas, non-Sakka, and non-Brahmàs, of women, men, bullocks, buffaloes, elephants, horses in non-women, non-men, non-bullocks, non-buffaloes, non-elephants, and non-horses. Freedom from unreliability means perceiving the true reality after having obtained mastery over the mind within the Buddha Sàsana.

If dukkha-sacca, or the Noble Truth of Suffering, be clearly perceived, it follows as a matter of course that the other three Truths can also be clearly perceived. In the perception of these four Truths, the way that Worldlings (puthujjana) perceive them is known as “theoretical knowledge”(anubodha), while the way of the Noble (ariya, i.e. Stream-winners, etc.) is known as “penetrative understanding” (pativedha). “Theoretical knowledge” is like seeing a light at night but not the fire from which it originates. Although the fire cannot be directly seen, by seeing the reflected light one can know without doubt that there is a fire. Seeing the fire directly is like pativedha, the “penetrative understanding”.

Saddhindriyam bhàveti, Viriyindriyam bhàveti, Satindriyam bhàveti, Samàdhindriyam bhàveti, Pannindriyam bhàveti [17].

The meaning of this Pàli passage uttered by the Buddha, is that the five indriyas (mental faculties) should be practised and developed in order to facilitate the great work of samatha and vipassanà.

A person who has not developed these five indriyas, is like a country without a ruler or king. It is like the forests and mountains inhabited by wild tribes where no administration exists. In a rulerless country there is no law. There the people are unrestrained. Like animals, the strong prey on the weak. In the same way, the mind of a person who has not developed the five indriyas is distracted and runs riot with defilements. Just as a person possessed by evil spirits cannot bear to hear the sound of such recitations as “iti pi so” or “hetu paccayo”, when persons without developedindriyas hear talks connected with the cause of contentment (paccaya santosa) or with the practice of mental development (bhàvanà-rambha), they quickly discover antagonistic criticisms. In them, the desire to exert themselves in the work of samatha and vipassanà never arises.

On the other hand, a person who develops the five indriyas resembles a country ruled by a just and lawful king. It resembles the towns and hamlets of the majjhima desa (midcountry) where governmental administration exists. Such a person is not disturbed by the variegated theories of various persons. He is confirmed in the sole way of the Buddha’s teachings. When such a person hears talk connected with the cause of contentment, or the practice of mental development, his mind is clear and cool. He is confirmed in the desire to exert himself in the work of samatha andvipassanà.

In this way, the arising of the two kinds of desires in this world is not the work of beings or individuals, but depends on the existence or otherwise of development of the five indriyas. If there is no development of the indriyas, one kind of desire arisesIf there is development of the indriyas,that desire disappears and a new kind of desire invariably appears. The more the development of theindriyas proceeds, the more does this new desire increase and gather strength. When all the fiveindriyas are set up, the desire for the Paths and the Fruits will immediately appear. Thus must beings develop the five indriyas in order to raise them from their Ordinary level (pakati-saddhà, etc.) to the great heights of their Developed (or meditative) plane (bhàvanà-saddhà, etc.).


[1] On the Five Faculties, see “The Way of Wisdom”, by Edward Conze (The Wheel No. 65/66).

[2] In the following, called, for short, “Developed Faith”, similarly, “Developed Energy”.

[3] ‘Surrogate’ meditation. — The original text of the translation has here “imitation” bhàvanà,which sounds more deprecatory than the Author may have intended in this context. What is probably meant is a kind of very rudimentary meditation or contemplation that is not much more than a devotional or pensive mood maintained for some time, which, being of a discursive nature, does not reach, by itself, any marked degree of concentration. Being, in this context, one of the three “items of merit-making” (punna-kiriya-vatthu), it is nevertheless a beneficial practice that may well lead to concentration and meditation proper. – Editor.

[4] The aspect of saddhà that is especially active here, is Confidence, i.e., confidence in the method (and the Dhamma in general) and self-confidence. – Editor

[5] The five Higher Spiritual Knowledges (abhinnà) are:

1. Iddhividha, Super-normal Powers,
2. Dibba-sota, Celestial Ear (clair-audience),
3. Parassa ceto-pariyanàna, Knowledge of the minds of others,
4. Pubbe Nivàsànussati, Recollection of Former Lives.
5. Dibba-cakkhu, Celestial Eye (clairvoyance).

[6] These are the last five of the seven Purifications: see list on p. 21.

[7] These are the Contemplations on Impermanence, Suffering and Not-self.

[8] These are: Comprehension knowledge (sammasana-nàna), and the nine Insight-knowledges dealt with in Chapter XXI of “The Path of Purification”.

[9] These nineteen are enumerated in “The Path of Purification”, Chapter XXII, 20, 21.

[10] Sotàpannassa angàni; see Indriya Samyutta, Sutta 8, Datthabbasutta.

[11] In the Suttas, this fourth constituent of Stream-entry is usually formulated as “unbroken morality”.

[12] For instance, in Majjhima-Nikàya No. 9, The Discourse on Right Understanding.

[13] See Dhammapada Com. Story to verse 1.

[14] (1) Element of Extension, (2) Element of Liquidity or Cohesion (3) Element of Kinetic Energy (Fire), (4) Element of Motion or Support (Wind), (5) Element of Space, (6) Element of Consciousness. — On the meditation on the first four, see Ledi Sayadaw, Magga Dipani, in the section “How to establish the Wisdom Group”.

[15] Such classifications as Aggregates (khandha) or Sense-bases (àyatana).

[16] See Udàna, Meghiya Vagga, Sutta 1: “In him who perceives impermanence the perception of Not-self manifests itself. And he who perceives Not-self obtains the elimination of the conceit “I am” and reaches Nibbàna in this very life.”

[17] Samyutta Nikàya, Mahà Vagga, Indriya Samy., Vagga 6, Sutta 8.




The Mental Powers (balàni) are thus called because “they overpower opposing mental states” [1]. Or, as the commentaries explain: they are powerful in the sense of being unshaken(akampanatthena) by opposition [2].

Parallel to the Faculties, there are five Powers (bala):


1. Saddhà (Faith)
2. Viriya (Energy)
3. Sati (Mindfulness)
4. Samàdhi (Concentration)
5. Pannà (Wisdom).

They are like five generals or commanders engaged in destroying the hostile kingdom of Personality Belief. They are the fivefold strength on which Bhikkhus and layfolk can place their reliance.

As in the case of the Faculties, the Power of Faith (saddhà-bala) is of two kinds: 1. The Power of Ordinary Faith (pakati-saddhà), 2. the Power of Developed Faith (bhàvanà-saddhà).

“Ordinary Faith”, which has no development through specific practice, associates with Craving(tanhà) according to circumstances, and can thus produce only the ordinary good actions (pakati-kusala-kamma) of Almsgiving (Liberality; dàna), Morality (sìla), etc. The limited measure of strength it possesses, cannot overcome Craving. On the contrary, Craving (tanhà) keeps “Ordinary Faith” under its power.

This is how Craving keeps Ordinary Faith under its power:- The Pàli texts mention, with the greatest clarity, four “Traditional Practices of the Noble Ones” (ariya-vamsa) [3]. They are:

1. Being easily satisfied with food;
2. Being easily satisfied with clothing;
3Being easily satisfied with any dwelling place;
4. Finding pleasure and enjoyment in the work of bhàvanà (meditation).

They constitute the realm of saddhà [4]. In the present-day world, this great kingdom of saddhà lies hidden and submerged. Today, beings take pleasure and enjoyment in material things(paccayàmisa): they take pleasure and enjoy-ment in worldly rank, dignity, and honour (lokàmisa);they take pleasure and enjoyment in the attainment of the pleasant life, in worldly riches, and in power and dominion (vattàmisa); and thus is the great kingdom of tanhà established as clearly as the great ocean round the island. This shows the weakness of Ordinary Faith (pakati-saddhà) in this world.

It is Developed Faith which has its genesis in the successful practice of Body Contemplation (such as Mindfulness on Breathing) — being pursued until disappear-ance of the distraction and unsettled condition of the mind — that can dispel Craving (tanhà) which takes pleasure and enjoyment in the afore-mentioned three kinds of worldliness (àmisa). It is this Developed Faith (bhàvanà saddhà)that can save Bhikkhus and lay-folk who are in the course of being drowned and submerged in the ocean of the three Cravings [5], and that enables them to reach the island haven of the kingdom ofsaddhà, as manifested (e.g.) in the four Traditional Practices of the Noble (ariya-vamsa-dhamma).In the context of the Bodhipakkhiya-dhamma it is this Developed Faith that should be acquired.

Of the two kinds of Energy (viriya), Ordinary Energy, which is without development practice, associates with laziness (kosajja) according to the occasion and produces the ordinary good acts(pakati-kusala-kamma) of Liberality (Almsgiving), Morality, the study of the sacred texts, etc. This Ordinary Energy cannot dispel laziness. On the contrary, it is laziness which controls Ordinary Energy and keeps it under subjection.

When beings encounter a Buddha Sàsana, they acquire the knowledge that in the past unfathomable Samsàra they have been the kinsfolk of Personality Belief (sakkàya-ditthi), of Evil Deeds(duccarita) and the inhabitants of the Lower Worlds of Misery (apàya-loka). The Pàli texts clearly prescribe the method of the Ariya-vamsa, the Traditional Practice of the Noble, as a way of dispelling laziness; and the fourth of them, delight in meditation, should be practised until release from such a state of laziness (being Energy’s opposite) is attained.

The way of dispelling laziness may be thus described (in the case of a monk) [6]. Having equipped himself with the Sikkhàs (the Training Rules — which are the Buddha’s heritage) and which the monk undertakes in the Ordination Hall at the time of his becoming a Bhikkhu, he, in accordance with these Training Rules [7],

* makes the trees and bushes of the forest his dwelling- place,
* lives only on alms-food gathered on his alms-round, avoids company,
* observes the Dhutanga (strict ascetic practices),

and applies himself scrupulously to mindful Body Contemplation, — these are the acts of Energy that dispel the unwholesome volitional actions (akusala kamma) arising out of laziness (kosajja). They are acts comprised in the realm of viriya (energy).

This realm of Energy remains obscure and is unknown in the present-day world. Today, although Bhikkhus are aware that they belong to that class of beings still possessed of Personality Belief and evil deeds and liable to rebirth in lower worlds of misery, yet they live permanently in dwellings constructed in towns and villages by their donors; they take pleasure in the receipt of large gifts and benefits, they are unable to dispense with the company of other people, etc., all of which acts are comprised within the realm of Laziness (kosajja) and this realm of Laziness is as conspicuous as the sea that inundates an island. This shows the weakness of Ordinary Energy (pakati-viriya).

It is only Developed Energy (bhàvanà-viriya) — such as being satisfied with a minimum of sleep, being always alert and active, being fearless, being bold and firm in living alone, being steadfast in meditative practice — that can dispel Laziness. In the context of the Bodhipakkhiya-dhammà(Requisites of Englihtenment) it is this Developed Energy that should be acquired.

The detailed meaning of the Powers of Mindfulness, Concentration and Wisdom may be known by following the lines of the explanation given above. Here I shall just give a concise explanation.

The antithesis of Mindfulness (sati) is mutthasacca, confused Mindfulness or absentmindedness. It means inability to become absorbed in the work of Tranquillity Meditation (samatha bhàvanà) or of Insight Meditation (vipassanà-bhàvanà); inability to concentrate and to control one’s mind; the wandering of thoughts to objects other than the object of concentration. Ordinary Mindfulness that one possesses in a rudimentary state from birth cannot dispel that absentmindedness. Only Developed Mindfulness can do it.

The antithesis of Concentration (samàdhi) is Distraction (vikkhepa) of mind (i.e. wandering thoughts and idle fancies). It is the inability to concentrate, to control the mind and keep its attention fixed on one object. It is the arising of thoughts on objects other than the object of concentration. It is the unquiet and restless state of mind when applying itself to the work of meditation. Ordinary Concentration cannot dispel the unwholesome state of Distraction. Only Developed Concentration(bhàvanà-samàdhi) can do it.

The antithesis of Wisdom (pannà) is Delusion (sammoha). It is ignorance, lack of clarity, mistiness and absence of lucidity of mind. It is the darkness shrouding the mind. This Delusion cannot be removed by Ordinary Wisdom (pakati-pannà), nor by erudition (pariyatti-pannà), which may comprise knowledge of the whole Ti-Pitaka. It is only Wisdom Developed by Meditation (bhàvanà-pannà) that has set up mindful Body Contemplation, which can gradually dispel Delusion.

This shows the meaning of the five unwholesome opposites (patipakkha-akusala-dhamma)coupled with the respective Powers (bala).

These five unwholesome opposing forces are:

(1) Craving (tanhà),
(2) Laziness (kosajja), or inability to take pains (lassitude), or lack of fearlessness in Dhamma practice (patipatti),
(3) Absent-mindedness (mutthasacca),
(4) Distraction (vikkhepa), and
(5) Delusion (sammoha).

The five things that can counteract and dispel them are called Powers (bala). If any one of these Powers is weak and unable to dispel the respective opposite, meditation, be it Tranquillity or Insight, cannot be very successful as far as Neyya individuals are concerned, i.e. those in need of guidance.

Hence, at the present day, some persons can emerge out of the realm of Craving (tanhà) because of the strength of their Power of Faith (saddhà-bala). They are rid of attachment to material things and to worldly dignities and honours. But as they are deficient in the other four Powers, they are unable to rise above the stage of contentment (santuttthi) with their living conditions.

Some persons can emerge out of the realm of Craving and Laziness because they are strong in the Powers of Faith and Energy. They are constant in keeping to a life of contentment, and (if monks) firm in keeping to forest — and hill dwellings and in the observance of the strict ascetic practices(dhutanga; as exemplifying their energy). But as they are weak in the other three Powers, they are unable to practise mindful Body Contemplation, or do the work of Tranquillity and Insight meditation.

Some persons, again, are strong in the first three Powers and thus can rise up to the work of mindful Body Contemplation (kàyagatà sati), achieving concentration, e.g., on out-and in-breath or in contemplating the bones of the body. But being deficient in the other two Powers, they cannot rise up to the task of Jhàna and Insight.

Other persons can achieve the attainment of Jhàna because they are strong in the first four Powers, but as the Power of Wisdom is weak in them, they cannot rise to the work of Insight (vipassanà).Some persons are strong in the Power of Wisdom as far as their learning in Dhamma and Ti-Pitaka is concerned. They are also wise in understanding the teachings on the ultimate realities (paramattha dhamma). But because they lack the backing of the other four Powers they cannot emerge from the realm of Craving, Lassitude, Absent-mindedness and Distraction. They live and die within the confines of these unwholesome states. In this way, whenever one is deficient in anyone of the Powers, one cannot rise above the realm of the respective opposite force.

Of the five Powers, those of Energy and Wisdom are also Iddhipàdas, “Bases of (Spiritual) Success”. Hence, if these two Powers are strong and coordinated, it does not happen that one cannot rise up to the work of Insight (vipassanà) because of the weakness of the other three Powers.

People who do not know the functions of the Bases of Success (iddhipàda), the Controlling Faculties (indriya) and the Powers (bala), do not know why their zeal is weak and which are the opposing forces (patipakkha) that assail them. They do not know the qualities of mind which they have to cultivate, and, hence, the desire to cultivate them never arises. It is thus that the Traditional Practices of the Noble (ariya-vamsa) are on the verge of disappearing at the present day.

I shall give an illustration. There is a species of bull called usabha. It is a bull worth more than a thousand ordinary bulls. If the characteristics and distinctive signs of that bull be recognised, and it be reared and nurtured properly, its limbs and marks will develop, and its strength and powers will increase. It can then guard even a hundred cattle pens from the incursions of lions and leopards.

If the owner of such a bull is ignorant of all these, and if thus he does not rear and nurture it properly but keeps and tends it just as he would any other ordinary bull; if he employs it in ploughing and drawing carts in company with other bulls; its distinctive marks and limbs will fail to develop, and its strength and powers will remain dormant. It will thus live and die just like any other bull.

A knowing owner, however, will separate such a bull from the rest and keep it in a specially constructed shed. He will cover the floor of the shed with clean sand and will fix a ceiling to the roof.He will keep the shed clean and will feed the bull with paddy and pulses fit for human consumption.He will wash and bathe it. In such a case, the distinctive marks and limbs will develop, and its strength and powers will increase enormously.

In this Buddha Sàsana, Neyya individuals (requiring guidance) resemble the owner of the bull. The five Powers of these Neyya individuals resemble the usabha bull. The Satipatthàna Vibhanga, Sammappadhàna Vibhanga, Iddhipàda Vibhanga, Indriya Vibhanga, Bojjhanga Vibhanga, and Magganga Vibhanga, of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, and the Mahà-satipatthàna Sutta, Satipatthàna Samyutta, Sammappam dhàna Samyutta, Iddhipàda Samyutta, Indriya Samyutta, Balam Samyutta, and Bojjhanga Samyutta of the Sutta Pitaka, resemble the expository books which expound the distinctive signs, marks and characteristics, of usabha bulls, the methods how such bulls are to be reared and taken care of, and the strength and powers that such bulls can attain if reared and nurtured properly.

Those Neyya individuals, who through ignorance do not attempt to develop the five Powers through the work of meditation and who thus remain satisfied with the lower attainments within the Sàsana, such as dàna, sìla, and the study of scriptures, resemble the ignorant owner of an usabha bull who does not rear and nurture it properly.

In this world, there are many kinds of worldly undertakings. There are undertakings that can be accom-plished by the strength of wealth, and there are undertakings that can be accomplished by the strength of knowledge. Even in the case of the cultivation of land, several kinds of strength are needed for its accomplishment. Sometimes the strength of wealth has to be garnered first, and at other times the strength of knowledge. Preparatory education and study constitute the garnering of the strength of knowledge.

Similarly, in the Buddha Sàsana, there are five Powers needed for the work of samatha, vipassanà,and the attainment of the Holy Paths and Fruits and Nibbàna. It is only when these Powers are first accumulated that the great works mentioned can be undertaken. Those persons who do not possess even one of the five Powers cannot evoke a desire to undertake these great tasks. It does not occur to them that those great tasks can be accomplished in this life. They live forgetfully and without determination. If it is pointed out to them that the tasks can be accomplished, they do not wish to hear it. They do not know that such untoward thoughts occur to them because they are utterly impoverished in their spiritual Powers. They lay the blame at the door of pàrami, or dvihetuka, or at the unfavourable times [8].

If, however. these people set up work in one of the satipatthàna, such as in ànàpàna sati, and if thereby they set up the three Powers of saddhà, viriya, and sati, such untoward thoughts will certainly disappear. It is inevitable that new wholesome thoughts must arise. This is because they have developed their strength.

This is how the strength is developed. Although such a person cannot as yet attain an insight into Body and Mind, the weak Faith grows through the control exercised over Craving (tanhà) for material wants (paccayàmisa) and worldly achievements (lokàmisa). The weak Energy grows through control of lassitude. Weak Mindfulness grows through control of absent-mindedness.Concentration and Wisdom, too, gather strength through control of distraction and delusion. When these Powers grow, it is inevitable that there must be a change in the mind of the meditator.

A person who is afflicted with a major disease has no desire to take an interest in the ordinary affairs and activities of the world. But if, after taking proper medicine and treatment, his grave illness is gradually cured and he is aroused from his apathy, it is inevitable that he will again take interest in normal activities. Here, the five unwholesome opposing forces, i.e. craving, lasssitude, etc., resemble major diseases. The work of Tranquillity and Insight meditation resembles the affairs and activities of the world. Work in the field of Satipatthàna, such as Mindfulness of Breathing, resembles the proper medicines and treatment taken. The rest of this comparison can be easily understood.

Hence did the Buddha say: “He develops the Powers of Faith, Energy, Mindfulness, Concentration and Wisdom” (saddhàbalam bhàveti …).

In this world, the strength of builders lies in good tools, such as awls, chisels, axes, knives, saws, etc.Only when equipped with such tools can they undertake to build. Similarly, in the Sàsana, the tools of Tranquillity and Insight meditation (samatha and vipassanà) for achieving the knowledge of the Paths and Fruitions of Sainthood (magga-and phala-nàna) consist of Developed Faith, Developed Energy, Developed Mindfulness, Developed Concentration and Developed Wisdom (bhàvanà-saddhà, etc.), which are developed through one of the Satipatthànas, such as Mindfulness of Breathing. These five Powers are the strength of meditators (yogàvacara). Hence these five Powers must be developed in order to undertake successfully the work of Tranquillity and Insight meditation within the Buddha Sàsana. This is the meaning of the word bhàveti (he develops) in the text quoted above.


[1] Paramattha Dipani, by Ledi Sayadaw

[2] Com. to Anguttara-Nikàya, Ekaka-nipàta.

[3] Anguttara-Nikàya, Catukka Nipata (The Fours), Ariyavamsa-Sutta. Translated in “With Robes and Bowl”, by Bhikkhu Khantipàlo (The Wheel No. 83/84), p. 70.

[4] This in the sense of confidence in these traditional values of simple living and mental culture, which, in such a general formulation, apply also to lay followers. – Editor.

[5] The 3 Cravings are: Sensual Craving, Craving for Existence and Craving for self-annihilation.

[6] In the case of layfolk, the principles underlying the four “Traditional Practices” (ariya-vamsa)should be applied to their circumstances of life as strictly as possible. These principles may be summarized in a popular phrase as “simple living and high (meditative) thinking”. – Editor.

[7] For instance, the ‘Four Supports’ (nissaya) of a monk’s life, among which is the undertaking to live “at the foot of a tree” (though, in the same formula, also monasteries, hermitages, etc., are said to be permissible, i.e. for those unable to live the stricter life). – (Ed.)

[8] Some believe that these are times when the Holy Paths and the Fruits thereof can no longer be attained, and tend to defer effort till the pàramis ripen. Some believe that persons of the present day are dvi-hetuka (i.e. beings reborn with two root-conditions, namely Detachment and Amity), and as such they cannot attain the Holy Paths and the Fruits thereof in the present life.




Catusaccadhamme sutthu bujjhatì’ti sambodhi; sambodhiyà ango sambojjhango.

The word-explanation as above, means: because sambodhi fully awakens to the Four Truths, therefore it is called “Awakenment” (or Enlightenment). Sambodhi signifies here the Knowledge of the Supramundane Path (lokuttara-magga-nàna). A constituent of such Path Knowledge is called a Factor of Enlightenment.

Birds are first delivered from their mothers’ wombs in the form of eggs. By breaking through the eggs, they are then delivered for a second time. Finally, when they become fully fledged with feathers and wings, they are delivered from their nests and can fly wherever they please. Similarly in the case of meditators, they are first delivered from the distractions of mind which have accompanied them throughout the beginningless Samsàra, through successfully setting up mindful Body Contemplation or by accomplishing the work of Tranquillity meditation. Secondly, when they attain Insight (vipassanà)into Body, Mind, Aggregates (rùpa, nàma, khandhà) etc., they are free from coarse forms of ignorance. Finally, when the seven Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhanga) develop and mature, they become fully fledged by attaining the Knowledge of the Supramundane Path (lokuttara-magga-nàna) called sambodhi, and thus they are delivered from the state of Worldlings (puthujjana),attaining the state of Noble Ones (ariya) — of the Supramundane (lokuttara) or Nibbàna.

There are seven Bojjhangas, viz. the Factors of Enlightenment:

1. Mindfulness (sati-sambojjhanga),
2. Investigation of Dhamma (dhammavicaya-samboj- jhanga),
3. Energy (viriya-sambojjhanga),
4. Joy (pìti-sambojjhanga),
5. Tranquillity (passaddhi-sambojjhanga),
6. Concentration (samàdhi-sambojjhanga),
7. Equanimity


The mental factor “mindfulness” (sati-cetasika), called diversely satipatthàna, satindriya, sati-bala, sammà-sati magganga, this is Sati-sambojjhanga, the Enlighten-ment-factor “Mindfulness”.

The mental factor “wisdom” (pannà-cetasika), diversely called vimamsiddhipàda, pannindriya, pannà-bala, sammà-ditthi magganga, all are dhammavicaya-sambojjhanga, the Enlightenment-factor “Investigation of Dhamma”. — Alternatively, the five Purifications pertaining to Wisdom, the Knowledge of the three Contemplations, the ten Insight knowledges [1], are also calleddhammavicaya-sambojjhanga. Just as cotton seeds are milled, carded, etc., so as to produce cotton wool, the process of repeatedly viewing the five Aggregates (khandha) in the light ofVipassanà-nàna (Insight knowledge) is called Dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga, the Enlightenment-factor “Dhamma-investigation”.

The mental factor “energy” (viriya-cetasika), called diversely sammappadhàna, viriyiddhipàda, viriyindriya, viriya-bala, and sammà-vàyàma magganga, these are Viriya-sambojjhanga, the Enlightenment-factor “Energy”.

The joy and happiness that appears when the process of (truly) seeing and knowing increases by the practice of Satipatthàna, e.g., mindful Body Contemplation, is called Pìti-sambojjhanga, the Enlightenment-factor “Joy”.

The process of becoming calm and tranquil in both body and mind when the mental distractions, reflections and thoughts abate, is called Passaddhi-sambojjhanga, the Enlighterunent-factor “Tranquillity”. It is the mental factor (cetasika) of Tranquillity of Body and of Mind (kàya-passaddhi, citta-passadhi).

The factors pertaining to “Concentration”, called samàdhindriya, samàdhi-bala, and sammà-samàdhi mag-ganga, are samàdhi-sambojjhanga, the Enlightenment-factor “Concentration”.Alternatively, Preliminary, Access and Full Concentration, or the eight Jhànas, associated with the work of Tranquillity (samatha) and Purification of Mind (citta-visuddhi) and Voidness Concentration (sunnatà-samàdhi) etc., associated with the Purifications pertaining to Wisdom, are also called samàdhi-sambojjhanga. The Concentration that accompanies Insight knowledge(vipassanà nàna), or the knowledge of the Paths and Fruitions is called Voidness Concentration(sunnatà-samàdhi), Conditionless Concentration (animitta-samàdhi) and Desireless Concentration(appanihita-samàdhi).

When work on the subject of meditation (kamma-tthàna) is not yet methodical or systematic, much effort has to be exercised both bodily and mental. But when the work becomes methodical and systematic, one is freed from such effort. This freedom is called tatramajjhattatà cetasika, the mental factor of equipoise. And this is upekkhà-sambojjhanga, the Enlightenment-factor of Equanimity.

When a meditator becomes endowed with these seven characteristics of sambodhi equally, he enjoys the happiness and joy of a monk (samana) in the Buddha Sàsana — a happiness and joy unequalled and unparallelled by any worldly pleasure.Thus it is said in the Dhammapada:

“The Bhikkhu who has retired to a lonely abode and has calmed his mind, experiences joy transcending that of men, as he clearly perceives Dhamma.

“Whenever he reflects on the rise and fall of the Aggregates, he experiences joy and happiness. To “those who know”, that (reflection) is the Deathless.” (Verses 373, 374.)

There are texts and stories wherein it is related that ailments and major diseases have been cured by the mere listening to the recitation of these seven Factors of Enlightenment (See Bojjhanga Samyutta). But these ailments and diseases can be cured only when the listeners are fully aware of the meaning of these factors; and great and clear Saddhà (Faith) arises in them.

When these seven Factors of Enlightenment are acquired in a balanced manner, the meditator can rest assured that there will be no deficiency in his Mindfulness directed to the Body (kàyagatà sati);no deficiency in his perception of Impermanence and Not-self (anicca and anattà-sannà), nor in his mental and bodily energy (viriya). Because his mind is set at rest in regard to these three factors(sati, dhammavicaya, viriya), he experiences joy (pìti) in the knowledge that he can now perceive the light of Nibbàna which had never appeared to him in the beginningless past Samsàra, not even in his dreams. Because of that joy and ease (sukha) of mind, his application to the Kammatthàna objects (samàdhi) becomes calm and steady (passaddhi), and equanimity (upekkhà) arises, which is free from the anxieties and efforts for mindfulness (sati), perception of anicca and anattà (dhammavicaya) and the necessity to rouse energy (viriya).

All the above statements are made with reference to the stage at which the Factors of Enlightenment are in unison with one another and their respective functions are well performed. But even at the stage of ordinary practice, from the moment “Mindfulness directed to the Body” is set up qualities such as mindfulness are known as Bojjhangas (Factors of Enlightenment). The Enlightened One has said (in the Bojjhanga Samyutta):

Satisambojjangam bhàveti, vivekanissitam, viràganissitam, nirodhanissitam, vossaggaparinàmim; dhammavicayasambojjhangam…upekkhà-sambojjhangam bhàveti, vivekanissitam viràganissitam nirodha-nissitam vossaggaparinàmim.

“He develops the Enlightemnent-factors “Mindfulness” …. “Equanimity”, dependent (based) on detachment, dependent on absence of lust, dependent on cessation, culminating in relinquishment.”

This means that, in the ordinary course (referred to by the words “He develops …” ), the process of setting up Mindful Body Contemplation amounts to the setting up of the seven Factors of Enlightenment. The distinctive and higher cultivation of them is indicated by the words “dependent on detachment …” [2]

The meaning of the Pàli passage quoted above, is: One should practice the Enlightenment-factor “Mindful-ness” (etc.), which is dependent on absence of all kinds of activities and anxieties, absence of lust and greed, of the suffering attendant upon the round of rebirths and on the relinquishment of the four substrata of existence (upadhi) [3].


[1] See footnotes 1, 2 and 3, page 91.

[2] Explained in the Commentary to the Bojjhanga Vibhanga.

[3] The 4 Substrata (upadhi) are1) Sense-pleasures (Kàmàpadhi), 2) mental defilements(Kilesùpadhi), 3) Kamma (Kammùpadhi), and 4) the 5 Aggregates (Khandhùpadhi).




The eight factors or constituents of the Path are:

1. Right View (sammà-ditthi)
2. Right Thought (sammà-sankappa)


4. Right Action (sammà-kammanta)
3. Right Speech (sammà-vàcà)
5. Right Livelihood (sammà-àjìva)




6. Right Effort (sammà-vàyàma)
7. Right Mindfulness (sammà-sati)
8. Right Concentration(sammà-samàdhi)




All these eight Path Factors are present in the “Supramundane Purification by Knowledge and Vision” (lokuttara-nànadassana-visuddhi). In the preceding mundane Purifications, Right Speech, Right Action and Right Liveli-hood are present only in the Purification of Virtue (sìla-visuddhi). They are not present in Purification of Mind (citta-visuddhi) and the rest.

Hence, in the context of the Requisites of Enlightenment (bodhipakkhiya-dhamma), Purification of Virtue (sìla-visuddhi) is of the nature “dependent on detachment” (viveka-nissita), etc., in accordance with the following text (from the Magganga Vibhanga):

“He develops Right Speech, dependent on detachment, dependent on absence of lust, dependent on cessation, culminating in relinquishment. He develops Right Action … Right Livelihood, dependent on detachment…”

It does not refer to virtue (sìla) that has leanings towards happy forms of existence (bhava-sampatti) and depends on the round of rebirths (vatta-nissita). The sìla-visuddhi of those who have consciously given up attempts at attaining the Holy Paths and Fruits in this life, is not genuineàdibrahmacariyaka-sìla, “‘Virtue belonging to the essence of the Holy Life”, and thus is not of the genuine bodhipakkhiya class. If effort be made, however, towards the attainment of Nibbàna in the next life, it can be pàrami-sìla, which is part of vivattanissita sìla “Virtue tending towards the ending of the round of rebirths”.

The Path factors of Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood are purely of the class of Morality (sìlakkhandha) and hence constitute genuine Perfection of Virtue. They are also called the three virati-cetasikà, mental factors of (vocal and bodily) abstention.

Right Thought (sammà-sankappa) is the mental factor “Thought-conception” (vitakka cetasika).As it is the harbinger of Wisdom, it is included in the Wisdom category (pannàkkhandha) of the Eightfold Path. It is threefold, namely: thoughts of renunciation, of non-hate and non-harming(nekkhamma-, abyàpàda-, and avihimsà-sankappa). Just as a person incarcerated in prison or besieged by enemy troops or encircled by forest fire, or as a fish caught in a net, tank or trap, or a bird caught in a cage, will be absorbed (without being able to sleep or eat) in the one thought how to escape from these confinements, so are the attempts of persons who contrive with energy of thesammappadhàna-type to escape from the confinement of the old and infinitely numerous, unwholesome kamma arisen in the past, (uppanna akusala kamma) and the new infinitely numerous “unwholesome kamma not yet arisen”, (anuppanna akusala kamma) that is bound to arise in the future. The thoughts of such a person are the Path factor “Thoughts of Renunciation” (nekkhammasankappa magganga). It is the sort of Thought (sankappa) which looks for the way to escape from the sufferings of the round of rebirths (vatta-dukkha).

The Thought that associates with Mettà Jhàna is called abyàpàda-sankappa,”‘the thought of non-hate”; if associated with Karunà Jhàna it is called avihimsà-sankappa, “the thought of non-harming”.The thought that associates with the remaining Jhànas is called “Thought of Renunciation”.

The four Path Factors of Right View, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration have been dealt with in the Chapter on the Enlightenment Factors.

The àjìvatthamaka-sìla (see Note 2, page 12) that is taken and observed with the purpose of destroying the great kingdom of ditthi anusaya (proclivity to wrong views) belongs to the Path factors of the mundane Morality category (lokiya sìlakkhandha magganga). It is also Purification of Virtue.

That eightfold virtue ending with Right Livelihood (àjivatthamaka-sìla) is twofold: for layfolk and for monks. Abstention from the threefold evil conduct in deeds (kàya-duccarita) and fourfold in words (vacì-duccarita) comprise that virtue for layfolk. The eight or ten Precepts [1] are refinements of that virtue.

For monks, that Virtue is constituted by the observance of the 227 Vinaya rules, which cover bodily and vocal Kamma. The remaining rules laid down in the Vinaya Pitaka are refinements of it.

Just as trees grow in the soil, so the last six Purifications beginning with Purification of Mind, develop in the soil of the first, the Purification of Virtue (sìla-visuddhi). In particular, the Purification of Virtue does not mix with the five middle (Mundane) Purifications, but supports them by securing antecedent purity. In the case of the seventh Purification, the supramundane Purification of Knowledge and Vision, the Purification of Virtue operates in conjunction with it, being identical with the three constituents of the Morality Group (sìlakkhandha) of the (supramundane) Eightfold Path. The reason is that, in the case of the Purification of Virtue, the objects of attention are different from those of the five middle Purifications; but they are identical with those of the supramundane Purification, operating together with it as co-existent (saha-jàta).

This ends the explanation of the Sìla category of the Path Factors.

With reference to the Samàdhi category of the Path, there are two courses of action. Firstly, the way of one who practises pure Insight only (suddha-vipassanà-yànika). He, after fulfilling Purity of Virtue and setting up mindful Body Contemplation, does not follow the way of Tranquillity(samatha) but the way of Pure Insight such as Purification of View, etc. Secondly, there is the course of one who practises both Tranquillity and Insight (samatha-vipassanà-yànika). He, after attaining the first Jhàna etc., takes up the practice of Insight, by way of Purification of View, etc.

Of these two,

(1) in the practice of Pure Insight, the three Path Factors of the Concentration category(samàdhikkhandha) fulfill the functions of Tranquillity and Purification of Mind (citta-visuddhi),through the three kinds of Concentration known as Emptiness Concentration, Conditionless and Desireless Concentration.

(2) In the practice of Tranquillity followed by Insight, the three Path Factors of the Concentration category fulfill the functions of Tranquillity and Purification of Mind, by way of the three stages of Concentration, namely Preparatory Concentration (parikamma samàdhi), Access Concentration(upacàra-samàdhi) and Full Concentration (appanà-samàdhi); and thereafter, at the Insight stage, the above two functions are fulfilled by Emptiness Concentration, etc.

During the period of the preceding practice of Purity of Virtue and of mindful Body Contemplation, however, the three constituents of the Concentration category fulfil the functions of Momentary Concentration (khanika-samàdhi).

This ends the explanation of the Samàdhi category.

The two constituents of the Wisdom category fulfil the functions of Wisdom in the ways of both the practice of Pure Insight and that preceded by Tranquillity, after the setting up of the Purification of Virtue and of mindful Body Contemplation. These remarks apply to both the mundane and the supramundane Path Factors.

Stream-entry (sotàpatti)

I shall now show the Path of Stream-entry (sotàpatti-magga) in the Supramundane Path Factors. It should be remembered that this book is aimed at the lowest of the stages of Sanctity, namely the“Bon-sin-san” sukkha-vipassaka sotàpanna (see Note 1, page 55). At the present time there are countless numbers of beings such as Visàkhà, Anàthapindika, Sakka the Ruler of Devas, the four Divine Great Kings (càtummahàràjika-deva) etc., who still continue to derive pleasure and ease within the round of rebirths, inhabiting their respective celestial abodes. They are beings who have before them seven more rebirths in the Sense-desire worlds (including the lower celestial worlds of the Sense Sphere) and one rebirth each in the six worlds on the level of the Fourth Jhàna or the Vehapphala Brahma worlds. The number of births in the Brahma worlds of the first, second and third Jhàna is undetermined.

Why are they called Stream-enterer (sotàpanna)? The five great rivers and the five hundred lesser ones that have their source in the Himalayas, do not flow up, but flow continuously down to the great ocean. Hence they are called sota (stream or current). Similarly, Noble Ones (ariya) do not fall back to the state of Worldlings (puthujjana) but proceed continuously (as ariyas) until they attain Anupàdisesa Nibbàna (where there is no remainder of the Aggregates of existence). In the case of the puthujjanas, although they may attain rebirth in the highest celestial worlds, they possess still the liability to be reborn in the lowest avìci hell. But in the case of Ariyas, wherever they may be reborn, they do not fall into the lower worlds of misery, but possess a continuous tendency of being reborn in a higher world. Though Worldlings may attain the state of tihetuka brahmas [2] in the fine-material(rùpa) or non-material (arùpa) worlds, they still possess the liability of being reborn in an unhappy form of existence (duggati) as ahetuka [3] creatures such as dogs or pigs.

Whether it be the place of rebirth or the status attained in each rebirth, Noble Ones (ariya) do not regress, but proceed higher and higher from one world to the next, or from one status to another, until after many rebirths and many worlds have passed, they reach the highest worlds and the highest status, when they discard the five Aggregates entirely and attain to Anupàdisesa-Nibbàna. The process by which this straight path of ascent is traversed is called dhammasota, the Stream of Dhamma. It comprises the Stream of Right View (sammà-ditthi-sota), the Stream of Right Thought(sammà-sankappa-sota) and so forth up to the Stream of Right Concentration (sammà-samàdhi-sota).

The “Stream of Right View” means the establish-ment of the great realm of Right View (sammà-ditthi) where the light of the Four Noble Truths can be clearly perceived. This great realm of Right View is established by replacing the great anusaya plane of Sakkàya-ditthi, the proclivity for Personality-belief.

This resembles the rising of the sun after the night is over, when darkness is dispelled and light is established. In the same way the great kingdom of light of Right View remains established throughout many lives and many world-cycles until the attainment of Anupàdisesa-Nibbàna. This light increases and becomes more and more firmly established from one rebirth to another.

It also resembles a person born blind due to cataracts covering both his eyes, who, on receiving good treatment, is cured of the cataract and gains sight. From the moment the cataract disappears, the view of the earth, the mountains, the sky with sun, moon and stars, etc., is opened to him and remains so throughout his life. Similarly, the Noble Stream-winners (sotàpanna ariya) gain the view of the three characteristics of existence (ti-lakkhana) and of the Four Noble Truths (and do not lose it).

This is how the Path Factor “Right View” is firmly established.

The canonical text says: [4]

Sammà-ditthassa sammà-sankappo pahoti. [5]
“In him who has Right View, Right Thought progresses.”

According to this, if Right View is established, also Right Thought, which consists of intention and plan to escape from worldly ills (nekkhamma) and to protect others from harm and suffering, becomes established and thrives from one rebirth to another until the attainment of the final goal. This is how Right Thought is established.

Sammà-sankappassa sammà vacà pahoti.

If the intention and plan to escape from worldly ills and to see others happy and unharmed, is established, there will be Right Speech free from the four faults (the vacì-duccarita) and this will become progressively established. This is how Right Speech is established.

Sammà-vàcassa sammà-kammanto pahoti.

If speech from verbal misconduct is established, the acts will be free from the threefold bodily misconduct (kàya-duccarita) and this will become progressively established. This is how Right Action is established.

Sammà-kammantassa sammà-àjìvo pahoti.

When views, intentions, speech and acts become pure, the forms of livelihood will also be pure and one will never resort to low and base forms of livelihood. This is how Right Livelihood is established.

Sammà-àjìvassa sammà-vàyàmo pahoti.

When views, intentions, speech, acts and livelihood become pure, energy and effort of a kind that is never devoted to misconduct or wrong livelihood becomes permanently established. This is how Right Effort is established.

Sammà-vàyàmassa sammà-sati pahoti.

Similarly, Right Mindfulness that has its root in the efforts for Morality, Concentration and Wisdom, becomes firmly established from one rebirth to another. This is how Right Mindfulness is established.

Sammà-satissa sammà-samàdhi pahoti.

In the same way also Right Concentration becomes permanently established, which is rooted in mindful attention to the work of Morality, Concentration and Wisdom, and thus become endowed with a great control over the mind. This is how Right Concentration is established.

It is in this way that the eight Path Factors (magganga), called Dhamma streams (dhamma-sota),become progressively established throughout many lives and many worlds, from the moment a being attains the stage of a Stream-winner (sotàpanna) until he finally attains Anupàdisesa-Nibbàna.

Although from the moment when Body Contemplation is set up there is such progress as has been shown earlier, yet so long as the state of Stability (or constancy of progress; niyàma) is not reached, that being is not as yet a Noble One (ariya). It is the Path of Stream-entry (sotàpatti magga) that is the starting point of the ariya-sota, the Holy Stream. As soon as beings reach the Path of Stream-entry, they enter the domain of the Noble Ones. Hence it is said:

Sotam àdito Pajjimsu pàpunimsù’ ti sotàpannà.

“They are called Stream-enterers as they enter or reach the Holy Stream for the first time.”

This ends our answer to the question, “Why are they called Sotàpannas?”

As soon as beings reach the stage of Noble Ones, they transcend the state of Worldlings(puthujjana). They are no longer beings of the “world”, the Mundane, but have become beings of the Supramundane (lokuttara). They are no longer committed to the sufferings of the round of rebirths (vattadukkha), having become “beings of Nibbàna”. Throughout the series of many existences that may still be before them, they will never fall back from the first stage of their realization of Nibbàna, which they have achieved as Stream-winners. They are no longer liable to return to the anusaya plane of Sakkàya-ditthi, the proclivity for Personality Belief, or to the state of Wordlings. They are firmly established on the first stage of Sa-upàdisesa-Nibbàna, the Nibbàna realised during life-time, and will, during their remaining existences, enjoy at will the happiness of humans, devas and Brahmàs.

These eight Path Factors occur simultaneously to these Noble Ones only at the instant of their attaimnent of a Path or a Fruition (i.e. in supramundane consciousness). Where, however, mundane wholesome volitional acts (lokiya-kusalakamma) are concerned, the three constituents of the Sìla category associate only with sìla-kusala-kamma. But the three constituents of the Samàdhi category and the two of the Pannà category associate with many kinds of kusala kamma.

Although the three Path Factors of the Sìla category associate only with sìla-kusala-kamma, they are firmly established in Noble Ones as “non-contravention” (avitikkama) throughout their remaining lives.

This ends the explanation of the eight Path Factors.

The “pure phenomena” (sobhana cetasika) involved in the 37 Bodhipakkhiya-dhamma, are 14, namely:

1. Zeal (or desire: chanda),
2. Consciousness (citta),
3. Equipoise (tatramajjhattatà = upekkhà),
4. Faith (saddhà),
5. Tranquillity (passaddhi),
6. Wisdom (pannà),
7. Thought-conception (vitakka=sankappa),
8. Effort (viriya),
9. Right speech (sammà-vàcà),
10. Right action (sammà-kammanta),
11. Right livelihood (sammà-àjìva),
12. Mindfulness (sati),
13. Joy (pìti),
14. One-pointedness of mind 
(ekaggatà = samàdhi).



[1] See notes 4, page 12 and note 1 page 13.

[2] The term tihetuka refers to rebirth consciousness having all three wholesome root conditions(hetu), i.e. Non-greed, Non-hate, and Non-delusion.

[3] Ahetuka refers to a rebirth consciousness without any of the three wholesome root conditions.

[4] Magga Samyutta, 1. Vagga, 1. Sutta.

[5] According to Commentary, the word pahoti has the meaning of vaddhati, to grow, to increase.




Beings who encounter a Buddha Sàsana have to set up Purification of Virtue (sìla-visuddhi) first and then strive to acquire the Requisites of Enlightenment (bodhipakkhiya-dhamma), in order to enter the Stream of the Noble Ones (ariya-sota).

I shall now give a brief description of how the practice should be undertaken.

The practice of the seven Purifications (satta visuddhi) amounts to practising the Bodhipakkhiya Dhammà.

In particular, the Purification of Mind (citta-visuddhi) concerns only persons who follow the way of Tranquillity practice (samatha) [1].

The “Purification of Knowledge and Vision of What Is and What Is Not Path” (maggàmagga-nànadassana-visuddhi) concerns only those highly conceited (or self-deceiving) persons(adhimànika) [2] who think that they have attained to the Holy Paths and the Fruits although they have no such attainment.

The Purification of Virtue, the Purification by Overcoming Doubt, the Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Way, the supramundane Purification by Knowledge and Vision, — these apply to many different types of persons.

Of these five Purifications, that of Virtue has been dealt with in the Chapter on the Path Factors, under the Sìla category. It consists of keeping the “Precepts that have Right Livelihood as the eighth”(àjìvatthamaka-sìla).

Purification of Mind (citta-visuddhi) may be undertaken by practicing mindful Body Contemplation(kàyagatà-sati). For that purpose, some take up Mindful-ness on Breathing (ànàpàna sati); and generally, it may be said that if attention can rest on the out-and-in-breath whenever one wishes and in whatever the bodily posture may be, then mindful Body Contemplation is established. Some persons practise that Contemplation by way of the four postures of the body (iriyàpatha), in accordance with the text (Satipatthàna Sutta): “When going, he is aware ‘I am going’” , etc. Others take up “Clear Comprehension” (sati-sampajanna) of bodily activities (see Satipatthàna Sutta).Others, again practise Body Contemplation by attention to the 32 parts of the body. The first five are hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, and are called taca-pancaka, the skin-pentad. If attention can be firmly and steadily placed on these parts at will, in whatever bodily posture, Body Contemplation is established. Attention can also be directed to the bones of the body. Body Contemplation will be established if attention can be steadily and firmly placed on the bones of the head (skull). If, from the beginning, the physical and mental processes (nàma-rùpa) connected with the body (its functions and the attention given to all these processes) can be analytically discerned, and if attention to such work is firm and steady, the work of Body Contemplation is accomplished.This gives concisely the method of mindful Body Contemplation.

The work of Purification of View (ditthi-visuddhi) can be considered accomplished if the six elements (dhàtu; see Note 1, page 97) can be analytically perceived.

In the work of the Purification by Overcoming Doubt (kankhàvitarana-visuddhi), if the causes for the appearance of the six elements mentioned above, can be clearly perceived, it is accomplished. It must be clearly perceived that the causes for the appearance of pathavi, àpo, tejo, vàyo and àkàsaare Kamma, consciousness (citta), temperature (utu) and nutriment (àhàra) [3], and that the causes for the appearance of the six types of consciousness (citta; eye-consciousness, etc.) are the corresponding six objects of perception.

By the “Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Way” (patipadà-nànadassana-visuldhi) is meant the three characteristics of Impermanence, Suffering and Not-self. If these three are clearly perceived in the six elements mentioned above, this Purification is attained.

The supramundane Purification by Knowledge and Vision (lokuttara-nànadassana-visuddlii)consists of the knowledge pertaining to the four Holy Paths (of Stream-entry, etc.; magga-nàna).

This shows concisely the five (middle) Purifications.


[1] According to the Visuddhi Magga, also Access Concentration (upacàra-samàdhi) is included in citta-visuddhi. It is this quality of concentration that is required for insight meditation. – (Ed.)

[2] See the kindred term adhimànika, explained in The Wheel 61/62, page 43 (Note 3 to the Discourse on Effacement). – (Ed.)

[3] See “Manual of Insight” (Wheel 31/32), p. 47




[This chapter has been abridged. (Ed.)]

These thirty-seven Requisites of Enlightenment (bodhipakkhiya-dhamma) treated in the preceding chapters, are the heritage of the Buddha. They are the heritage of the Sàsana. They constitute gems of the Sàsana that are priceless and invaluable.

I shall now examine what constitutes this Heritage of the Sàsana (sàsana-dàyajja).

By “heritage” is meant property given as legacy by parents to their children who are fit to receive it as heirs (dàyàda). This applies also to the Heritage of the Sàsana (sàsana-dàyajja) which is the Buddha’s heritage (Buddha-dàyajja).

As to the nature of that Heritage, there are two kinds of it: worldly (àmisa) and Dhamma heritage.

The worldly heritage consists of the four requisites of a Bhikkhu, namely, alms-food, robes, dwelling place, and medicines. The Dhamma heritage are the three Trainings (sikkhà: sìla, samàdhi, pannà),the seven Purifications, and the thirty-seven Requisites of Enlightenment.

There are two kinds of Dhamma Heritage, namely mundane (lokiya) and supramundane (lokuttara).The mundane one consists of the above three Trainings on the mundane level, the six mundane Purifications and the Requisites of Enlightenment as far as associated with those mundane Purifications. — The supramundane Dhamma heritage consists of the three Trainings on the supra-mundane level, the supramundane seventh Purification, and the supramundane Requisites of Enlightenment.

Mundane Dhamma Heritage may be divided into

(1) that dependent on the round of rebirths (vatta-nissita), and
(2) that tending towards the ending of the Round of Rebirths


or into:

(1) stable Dhamma heritage (niyata)
(2) unstable Dhamma heritage 


The practice of the three Trainings (Morality etc.) if directed towards the attainment of worldly positions such as mentor or teacher of kings (or governments), or towards the acquisition of dignity (titles, degrees), power, retinue, and property, or towards the attainment of rebirth as noble and highly placed humans and devas, — this is called “Dhamma heritage dependent on the round of rebirths”.

There are three forms of the Round of Rebirth: the Round of Defilements (kilesa-vatta), the Round of Kamma (kamma-vatta), and the Round of Kamma Resultants (vipaka-vatta). Vivatta means Nibbàna which is the end of these three Rounds of Rebirths. The practice of Morality, Concentration and Wisdom directed towards the ending of these Rounds of Rebirths is called “Dhamma heritage tending towards the ending of the Round of Rebirths” (vivatta-nissita-dhammadàyajja).

With reference to the classification of “stable” (niyata) and “unstable” (aniyata), the great realm of “proclivity towards Personality Belief” (sakkàya-ditthi anusaya) in which Worldlings (puthujjana)are involved, is like a great and deep ocean of burning hot embers. The Morality, Concentration and Wisdom occasionally practised by Worldlings can be compared to droplets of rain falling into that great ocean of burning hot embers. Such utterances as “I fulfil sìla, I possess sìla. I practicesamàdhi. I know. I am wise and clever. I perceive Mind and Matter (nàma-rùpa). I contemplate Mind and Matter” are declarations about Morality, Concentration and Wisdom, which revolve around the Personality-Belief which is concerned with “I”, and thus resemble the rain drops falling into the great ocean of red-hot embers. Just as the heat of those embers absorbs the rain drops and makes them disappear, so does the great kingdom of Personality-Belief absorb the Worldling’s acts of Morality, Concentration and Wisdom and makes them disappear as they are “unstable” (aniyata).Though Worldlings may possess Morality, Concentration and Wisdom, their possession of them is temporary (tadanga).

In the case of Sotàpannas, their mundane Morality of keeping the mundane “Precepts with Right Livelihood as the eighth” (lokiya-àjivatthamaka-sìla); their mundane Concentration firmly directed to the noble Qualities of the Triple Gem; and their mundane Wisdom perceiving the Four Noble Truths — all these are of the rank of stability (niyata). They are like rain drops falling into a great lake and never disappear even throughout many lives. This shows the nature of the mundane (lokiya)Dhamma heritage.

The supramundane states of Morality, Concentration and Wisdom, the supramundane seventh Purification and the 37 Requisites of Enlightenment (bodhipakkhiya dhamma) accompanying the eight kinds of supramundane consciousness are vivatta-nissita and are stable. Also the mundane Morality etc., in the case of Noble Ones (ariya) who also have attained their supramundane state, are likewise “stable”. In such persons, there is no longer any possibility of their becoming dussìla(immoral), asamàhita (uncomposed), duppanna (unwise) or andhabàla (foolish).

… Persons who lack Faith (saddhà) and Zeal (chanda) do not even conceive the idea that the higher attainments of the Purifications are the heritage which they can acquire in this very life. Because they lack Energy (viriya), they are reluctant to put forth effort that involves privations. They are liable to reject such effort as impossible. Because they are weak of will, their minds are not fixed on such kind of work.

They change their mind whenever they listen to various theories and expositions. Because they lack knowledge and wisdom, they reject such work as being beyond their capabilities.

Therefore the Buddha has urged all beings to strengthen their weak Iddhipàdas (Bases of Success), such as Zeal (chanda) etc. Then only can new desires and new thoughts arise.

Only those who possess one or other of the four Iddhipàdas as foundation can enjoy the full benefits of the Buddha’s heritage. Others who are without any of these Iddhipàdas, will get the opportunity to enjoy only some of the superficial benefits, without the chance of enjoying the essence of the heritage.Some may not even have the opportunity to enjoy those superficial benefits because they have squandered their heritage and thus become severed from the Buddha’s and the Sàsana’s heritages.

The heirs of the Sàsana may be classified into

1. Stable or constant heirs (niyata)
2. Unstable or inconstant heirs 


People who never obtained knowledge of Impermanence and Not-self within themselves, are called unstable heirs. They may be disciples or heirs of the Buddha today and may become disciples or heirs of another teacher to-morrow. They may scorn and harm the Buddha Sàsana. Even in the present world there are persons who have changed their faith from the Buddha Sàsana to other religions, and who scorn and undermine the Sàsana. How easily they can change, after death, in another birth, can be imagined.

One can be a disciple of the Buddha this month and the disciple of another teacher next month. One can be a disciple of the Buddha this year and the disciple of another teacher next year. One can be a disciple of the Buddha this life and the disciple of another teacher in the next.

Therefore it was said that Puthujjanas (Worldlings) are so called because they look up to the faces of various teachers.

This means that, in the unfathomable past Samsàra, Worldlings have never been constant in the choice of a teacher in whom they have taken refuge. The occasions on which they have approached a Buddha and taken refuge in him, are very few indeed. Sometimes they took refuge in Brahmà, sometimes in Sakka (Indra), sometimes in various deities, sometimes in planets, spirits and ogres, and they have done so as if these “refuges” were almighty. The number of false teachers is very numerous in the world, and so is the number of existences in which Worldlings have taken refuge in such false teachers. While worldlings continue to wander and drift in Samsàra, replete with false attachments to Personality Belief, they will continue to change their teachers. How frightful, terrible and repellent is the state of a Worldling!

Whenever a Worldling changes his teacher and refuge, a change alsooccurs in the doctrines and principles on which he dependsfor his guidance. Sometimes World-lings accept the Purified morality(adhisìla) of a Buddha, but more often the moral of numerous other teachers. Also in the matter of views, the existences in which they accept Right View are extremely few, while the lives in which they depend on wrong views are extremely numerous. Of the countless errors and perversities possessed by Worldlings, that of seeking refuge in false teachers is one of the gravest errors causing them great harm.

This is because taking refuge in wrong teachers leads to wrong Moral principles and practices, and thus the precious and rare achievement of rebirth as a human being (manussatta-dullabha) becomes entirely like a tree producing the evil fruits of rebirth in the worlds of misery, instead of being like a great Wishing Tree bearing the fruits of good rebirths. This shows the future path of unstable heirs of the Sàsana.

But those persons who perceive in themselves the characteristics of impermanence (anicca) and not-self (anattà), are freed from the realm of Personality Belief. They become heirs of the Sàsana.“Stable” (niyata) means here that throughout their future lives in Samsàra they are no longer inclined to seek refuge in false teachers. They become true children and heirs of the Buddha throughout the future succession of their rebirths. They become members of the “Bon-sin-san” family (see Note 1, page 55). Their views of the incomparable qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha become clearer and brighter from one rebirth to another. All the Dhamma heritages will prosper and increase in their minds, i.e. the three Path categories (Morality, etc.), the seven Purifications and the thirty-seven Requisites of Enlightenment. They are beings who will invariably ascend toAnupàdisesa-Nibbàna, the Extinction of Defilements without any Groups of Existence remaining.This shows the undeviating path of stable heirs of the Sàsana.

Good and virtuous persons did not put forth effort in past existences because they desired to become heirs of bad heritages of the Sàsana. They did not practice Morality, Concentration and Wisdom, because they desired to become heirs of the unstable temporary heritages, but because they wished to become heirs of the stable heritages.

Taking these facts into account, and taking heed of the fact that the Buddha disapproved of the bad heritages of the Sàsana, those persons who have now become disciples of the Buddha should not permit themselves to become bad heirs, nor to become temporary, unstable heirs. They should attempt to become heirs of the good heritages which are the Requisites of Enlightenment, the Bodhipakkhiya-dhammas. They should attempt to become stable heirs.

As regards persons deficient in wisdom, the mere performance of good and meritorious acts has to be encouraged as beneficial. But as to those persons who possess wisdom, if they desire to become stable heirs either in this life or the next, then they should establish in themselves firmlyÀjìvatthamaka-sìla (see Note 2, page 12), set up mindful Body Contemplation (kàyagatà sati)and try (for at least three hours a day) to achieve perception of the three Characteristics of Existence in the five aggregates of “personality”. If they perceive any of the three Characteristics, they can become “stable” (niyata) heirs and attain to the status of a “Bon-sin-san” — Streamwinner.



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