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Title In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon
Publisher Wisdom Publications, Inc.
Copyright 2005, Bikkhu Bodhi - All rights reserved.

Summary

Bikkhu Bodhi, an American Theravada Buddhist monk, selected and arranged various discourses of the Buddha to create a framework to serve as a systematic introduction to the teachings of the Buddha, in the Buddha's own words.

A pdf of the book can be found here: In the Buddha's Words.pdf

Outline

The Human Condition

  1. Aging and death are rolling in on me.. such terrible destruction of human life, the human state of being so difficult to obtain. What should be done? live by the Dhamma, to live righteously, and to do wholesome and meritorious deeds. Three messengers old age, sickness ad death. I too am subject to old age, sickness and death and cannot escape it. Let me now do noble deeds of body, speech, and mind.

  2. Since he harbors no aversion toward a painful feeling, the underlying tendency to aversion toward a painful feeling does not lie behind this. While experiencing a painful feeling, he does not seek delight in sensual pleasure... because the noble disciple knows of an escape from painful feelings other than sensual pleasure. Since she does not seek delight in sensual pleasure, the underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feeling does not lie behind this. ---( the uninstructed) Being thus involved in likes and dislikes, she will not be freed from birth, aging and death from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and despair, he will not be freed from suffering... Thus the instructed noble disiciple will not be elated by gain, praise, fame, or pleasure and will not be dejected by loss, blame, disrepute or pain.    All these are impermanent, bound-up with suffering.

  3. Agitation through clinging. non agitation through non clinging. The unskilled and undisciplined in the Dhamma regards form and self, or self as form or self possessing form, or form in self or self as in form. that form of hers changes and alters with that change and alteration of form , her consciousness becomes preoccupied with the change of form. the mind is obsessed, frighted, distressed, anxious through clinging he becomes agitated. She  regards feelings as self, perception as self, volitional formations as self, consciousness as self, or self possessing consciousness or consciousness as in self or self as in consciousness. that consciousness alters and changes, with that change the mind is obsessed, frightened, distressed, anxious through clinging he becomes agitated. Non agitation through non clinging. She does not regard feelings as self, perceptions as self, volitional formations as self, consciousness as self, or self possessing consciousness. Despite change in consciousness, his consciousness does not become preoccupied with change in consciousness. no agitation.

  4. World in Turmoil. Why do people fight? Because of attachment to sensual pleasures, adherence to sensual pleasures, fixation of sensual pleasures, addiction to sensual pleasures, obsession .. holding firmly to sensual pleasures. Why do ascetics fight? attachment of views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views.

  5. Why do beings hate? hostility or enmity? Stinginess and envy arise from liking or not liking arises from desire arises from thinking - when the mind thinks about something desire arises. thinking arises from elaborate perceptions and notions. There is a "Dark Chain of Causality" in dependence upon Feeling there is Craving, Craving -> pursuit -> gain -> decision-making -> desire and lusts -> attachment -> possessiveness -> stinginess -> defensiveness -> Because of defensiveness various evil unwholesome things originate—the taking up of clubs and weapons, conflicts, quarrels, and disputes, insults, slander, and falsehood. Actions a greedy, hating , deluded person heaps up by deed, works, or thoughts- that too is unwholesome.their thoughts are controlled by them, inflicts under false pretext upon another - killing , imprisonment, theft, false accusations. The thought I have power, i want power is unwholesome.

  6. Samsara is without discoverable beginning (The World and the rounds of suffering  through birth and death, called Samsara)  Roaming and wandering on hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving. For such a long time , monks you have experienced suffering, anguish, and disaster and swelled the cemetery. It is enough to become disenchanted with all formations, become dispassionate toward them, enough to be liberated from them.

  7. A dog tied up to a post. it would just keep on running and revolving around that same post. So too the uninstructed worldling regard form as self, felling as self perceptions as self. She keeps on running around form, around feeling, around perception, around volitional formations, around consciousness. As he keeps running and revolving around them he is not freed from form, not freed from feeling, not freed from consciousness. He is not freed from birth, aging, and death. Not freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and despair, not freed from suffering.

The Bringer of Light

Mindful and clearly comprehending

The Blessed one had a lifespan in Tusita heaven and passed away and descended into his mothers womb. An immeasurable great radiance surpassing the divine majesty of the devas appeared in the world with its devas, Mara, and Brahma, in this populations with its ascetics and Brahmans, with its devas and human beings. And even in those abysmal world intervals of vacancy, gloom, and utter darkness,... there too a immeasurable great radiance surpassing the divine majesty of the devas appeared. And the beings reborn there perceived each other by that light. "so indeed there are other beings reborn here."

When the Blessed one descended into his mothers womb, four young devas cam to guard him at the four quarters so that no humans or nonhumans or anyone at all could harm the Bodhisatta or his mother.

The noble search she seeks the unaging, unailing, deathless, sorrow less, undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbana.

... And I sat down there thinking "this will serve for striving"

Being myself subject to birth, death, aging, sickness, death, sorrow... T attained the unborn, unaging, unailing, deathless, sorrow less, undefiled supreme security from bondage.

Ascetics who still do not live bodily withdrawn from sensual pleasures, and whose sensual desire, affection infatuation, thirst, and fever for sensual pleasure has not been fully abandoned and suppressed internally, even if painful... due to exertion, they are incapable of knowledge and vision and supreme enlightenment.

As to those ascetics who live bodily withdrawn from sensual pleasures, and whose sensual desire, affection, infatuations, thirst, and fever for sensual pleasures has been fully abandoned and suppressed internally, even if those good ascetics feel a painful, racking, piercing felling due to exertion, they are capable of knowledge and vision and supreme enlightenment.

with my teeth clenched and my tongue pressed against the roof of my mouth, i beat down, constrain, and crush mind with mind'

tireless energy aroused in me and unremitting mindfulness was established my body was overwrought and strained because I was exhausted by the painful striving.

First Jhana: which is accompanied by thought and examination with rapture and happiness born of seclusion

I am not afraid of that happiness that has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states.

Second Jhana: which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination and has rapture and happiness born of concentration.

Third Jhana: I dwelled equanimous and mindful and clearly comprehending. I experienced happiness with the body.

with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and displeasure I entered the

Fourth Jhana: which is neither painful nor pleasant and includes the purification of mindfulness by equanimity.

When my mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, maliable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability.

I directed it to the knowledge of the recollection of past lives.

I directed it to knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings .. with divine eye.. I understood how beings fare on according to their actions.

I directed it to the destruction of the taints. I directly knew this is suffering. This is the cessation of suffering. this is the way to the cessation of suffering.

These are the taints, This is the cessation of the taints. This is the way to the cessation of the taints.

my mind was liberated from the taint of sensual desire, existence, ignorance.

It is liberated. Birth is destroyed, the spiritual life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming back to any state of being.

aging and death has birth as its condition

birth has existence as its condition

existence has clinging as its condition

clinging has craving as its condition

craving has feeling as its condition

feeling has contact as its condition

contact has the six sense bases as its condition

the six sense bases have name and form as its condition

when there is consciousness name and for come to be. name and form have consciousness as its condition

When there is name and form consciousness comes to be.

Name and form have consciousness as its condition

aging and death < birth < existence < clinging < craving < feeling < contact < the six sense bases < name and form > consciousness > name and form

This population delights in attachment, takes delight in attachment, rejoices in attachment. It is hard for such a population to see the truth. Namely.

specific conditionality, dependent origination, and The stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbana.



Noble Eightfold Path

right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration

the 5 aggregates - subject to clinging and suffering

form, perception, feeling, volitional formations, consciousness

  1. The Buddha's Conception and Birth - A description of the Buddha's immediately preceding life as a Bodhisatva in Tusita Heaven, his mother's pregnancy, his birth, the presence of Devas and various miracles at his birth. All the descriptions are concluded with this: 
  2. The quest for enlightenment - There is an ignoble path, where one subject to birth, illness, aging and death seeks after things that are also subject to  birth, illness, aging and death. There is a noble path where one subject to birth, illness, aging and death seeks after something not subject to birth, illness, aging and death. The Buddha, when still a Bodhisattva, first sought the ignoble path, then realized its unsatisfactoriness and sought the noble path,mastered one path first with "... mere lip-reciting and rehearsal of his teaching went, I could speak with knowledge and assurance, and I claimed, I know and see" but then went on to understand that path with direct knowledge. He rejected this path as not leading to enlightenment, found another teacher and repeated the same process and again rejected it as not leading to enlightenment. Then "wandering by stages" he reached a place suitable  "for striving" and there attained " the unborn... unailing... unaging.. deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana". He described it saying "The knowledge and vision arose in me: 'My liberation is unshakable. This is my last birth. Now there is no more renewed existence.'"
  3. The first discourse - The middle way is between sensual pleasure and self mortification. It is the noble 8 fold path. 
The middle way gave rise to the 4 noble truths, their realization and completion. 

Approaching the Dhamma

Don't rely on any one else. We must each judge know for ourselves: "Do not go by oral tradition, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a collection of texts, by logic, by inferential reasoning, by reasoned cogitation, by the acceptance of a view after pondering it, by the seeming competence of a speaker, or because you think, 'The ascetic is our teacher.' But when you know for yourselves, 'These things are unwholesome; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; these things, if undertaken and practiced, lead to harm and suffering,' then you should abandon them. The 1st assurance ... If there is another world...[then] after death, I shall arise in a good destiation, in a heavenly world. The second assurance ...is ... 'If there is no other world, ...[then]... in this very life, I live happily, free of enmity and ill will.

A discourse on how truth is preserved, discovered and received.

The Happiness Visible in This Present Life

This chapter describes: the benefits of  "faith, moral discipline, generosity, and wisdom", advice on the proper relationships between various  roles in society, husbands, wives, children, workers and masters, priests and layeity, and how to live together harmoniousily.

Upholding the Dhamma in Society

A just and righteous king is co-regent with the Dhama. The Tathagata is the Dhama King, who teaches 'Such bodily action should be undertaken and such should not be undertaken. Such verbal action should be undertaken and such should not be undertaken. Such mental action should be undertaken and such should not be undertaken.' 

The Family

6 directions was a traditional worship practice even in the time of the Buddha, the Buddha reinterpreted it to make it about ways to minister to different relationship  The east denotes mother and father. The south denotes teachers. The west denotes wife and children. The north denotes friends and companions. The nadir denotes servants, workers, and helpers. The zenith denotes ascetics and brahmins.

The way for a husband and wife to be together in a future life is to have the same:

  • Faith
  • Moral discipline
  • Generosity
  • Wisdom

There are 7 kinds of wives:

  1. Slayer
  2. Thief
  3. Tyrant
  4. Mother
  5. Sister
  6. Friend
  7. Handmaiden

Present Welfare, Future Welfare 

For the present life:

  • Persistent effort
  • Accomplishment of protection
  • Good friendship
  • Balanced living

For future life

  • Faith
  • Moral discipline
  • Generosity
  • Wisdom

Right Livelihood

Don't be involved in:

  1. trading of weapons
  2. trading of living beings
  3. trading of meat
  4. trading of intoxicants
  5. trading of poisons

Proper use of wealth:

  1. Take care of self, parents, children, friends and colleagues
  2. Protect wealth from loss
  3. Make offerings to relatives, ancestors, kings and divinities (devas)
  4. Make offerings to seekers of enlightenment

The Woman of the Home

Describes quality for a woman (in the Buddha's time) "for victory in the present world and is successful in this world."

The Community

Six Roots of Dispute

... a monk is angry and resentful. Such a monk dwells without respect and deference toward the Teacher, the Dhamma, and the Sahgha, and he does not fulfill the training. A monk who dwells with- out respect and deference toward the Teacher, the Dhamma, and the Sahgha, and who does not fulfill the training, creates a dispute in the Sahgha, which would be for the harm and unhappiness of many, for the loss, harm, and suffering of devas and humans.


...there are these six principles of cordiality that create love and respect, and conduce to cohesion, nondispute, concord, and unity. What are the six? ...[one] maintains bodily acts of loving-kindness both in public and in private toward his companions in the holy life. This is a principle of cordiality that creates love and respect, and conduces to cohesion, nondispute, concord, and unity.

Seven Principles of Social Stability

hold regular and frequent assemblies

meet in harmony, break up in harmony, and carry on their business in harmony

do not authorize what has not been authorized already, and do not abolish what has been authorized, but proceed according to what has been authorized by their ancient tradition?

honor, respect, revere, and salute the elders among them, and consider them worth listening to

that they do not forcibly abduct others' wives and daughters and compel them to live with them?

honor, respect, revere, and salute the shrines at home and abroad, not withdrawing the proper support made and given before

that proper provision is made for the safety of arahants, so that such arahants may come in future to live there and those already there may dwell in comfort


The Way to a Fortunate Rebirth

Because enlightment may take many lifetimes and because circumstances influence our ability to progress, we should take action to improve our circumstances in future lives. Karma, our volition actions, determine our rebirth. Meritous action generates bright Karma and leads to a fortunate rebirth. There are "three ways of making merit. What three? There are ways of making merit by giving, by moral discipline, and by the development of meditation." and "whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the liberation of mind by loving-kindness."

Earning merit is the Key to Good Fortune. There are three ways: giving, moral discipline and meditation.

Deepening One's Perspective on the World

Four Wonderful Things

Although People usually delight in attachment, conceit, restlessness and ignorance, when the Buddha teachs non-attachment, the abolition of conceit, peace and the abolition of ignorance, people wish to listen to it, lend an ear, and try to understand it.

Gratification, Danager and Escape

Whatever pleasure and joy there is in the world, this is the gratification in the world; that the world is impermanent, bound up with suffering, and subject to change, this is the danger in the world; the removal and abandoning of desire and lust for the world, this is the escape from the world

The Pitfalls of Sensual Pleasure

When the veil of ignorance is lifted on sees that "they provide much suffering and much despair, while the danger in them is still more. Having seen this thus as it really is with proper wisdom ... clinging to carnal things of the world utterly ceases without remainder."

The Path to Liberation

Why Does One Enter the Path?

The Buddha has not declared whether space is infinite, whether time is infinite whether the body and soul are the same or different or whether the Tathagata (an honorific title of a buddha) exists or does not exist after death. The spiritual life cannot be lead if views are held on these matters. Here is an excerpt of MN 63: the Culamaluhkya Sutta:







6. "Malunkyaputta, if there is the view "the world is eternal," the spiritual life cannot be lived; and if there is the view 'the world is not eternal,' the spiritual life cannot be lived. Whether there is the view 'the world is eternal' or the view 'the world is not eternal,' there is birth, there is aging, there is death, there are sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejections and despair, the destructions of which I prescribe here and now. If there is the view 'the world is finite'... 'the world is infinite' ...'the soul is the same as the body' ... 'the soul is one thing and the body another'... 'after death a Tathagata exists'... 'after death a Tathagata does not exist,' the spiritual life cannot be lived... If there is the view 'after death a Tathagata both exists and does not exist.' the spiritual life cannot be lived.,... 'after death a Tathagata neither exists not does not exist.'.. 'after death a Tathagata both exists and does not exist'...Whether there is the view 'after death a Tathagata neither exists not does not exist,'... 'after death a Tathagata neither exists not does not exist,' there is birth, aging, and death, there are sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejections, and despair, the destruction of which I prescribe here and now.

Therefore.. remember what I have left undeclared as undeclared, and remember what I have declared as declared. What have I left undeclared? "the world is eternal' - I have left undeclared/ 'The word is not eternal' - I have left undeclared. 'The world is finite' - I have left undeclared ...,'After death a Tathagata neither exists no does not exist' - I have left undeclared.

Why have I left that undeclared? Because it is unbeneficial, it does not belong to the fundamentals of the spiritual life, it does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. That is why I have left it undeclared.

And what have I declared? 'This is suffering' - I have declared/ 'This is the origin of suffering' - I have declared. 'This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering' -I have declared.

"Why have i declared that?" Because it is beneficial, it belongs to the fundamentals of the spiritual life, it leads to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. That is why I have declared it.

(2) The Heartwood of the Spiritual Life

The spiritual life does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end.

"here, monks, some clansman goes forth out of faith from the household life into homelessness, consider: 'I a am a victim of birth, agin, and death, of sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and despair; I am a victim of suffering, a prey to suffering. Surely an ending of this whole mass of suffering can be known.'When he has gone forth thus, he acquires gain, honor, and renown. Hi is not pleased with that gain, honor, and renown, and his intention is not fulfilled. He does not, on account of it, laud himself and disparage others. He does not become intoxicated with that attainment of_____. he does not grow negligent and fall into negligence. (and not being negligent he does not live in suffering.) Being diligent, he achieves ____

moral discipline... concentration..., perpetual emancipation. And it is impossible for that monk to fall away from that perpetual liberation.

"So the spiritual life , monks, does not have gain, honer, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is the unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood and its end."

(3) Fading Away of Lust

The purpose of the spiritual life is the fading away of lust. The path for fading away of lust is the noble 8 fold path

"and what, monks, is that path, that way for the fading away of lust? It is the Noble Eightfold Path, that is right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the path , the way for the fading away of lust, the abandoning of the fetters, for the uprooting of the underlying tendencies, for the full understanding of the course (of samsara), for the destruction of the taints, for the realization of the fruit of true knowledge and liberation, for the sake of knowledge and vision, for the sake of final Nibbana without clinging that the spiritual life is lived under the Blessed One.'

Analysis of the Eightfold Path

"And what, monks, is right view? Knowledge of suffering, knowledge of the origin of suffering, knowledge of the cessation of suffering, knowledge of the way leading to the cessation of suffering:this is called right view.

"and What, monks, is right intention? Intention of renunciation, intention of non-ill will, intention of harmlessness: this is called right intention.

"and what, monks , is right speech? Abstinence from false speech, abstinence from malicious speech, abstinence from harsh speech, abstinence from idle chatter, this is called right speech.

"and what monks, is right action? Abstinence from the destruction of life, abstinence from taking what is not given, abstinence from sexual misconduct: this is called right action.

"And what , monks is right livelihood? Here a noble disciple, having abandoned a wrong mode of livelihood, earns his living by a right livelihood.

right effort? .. generates desire for the nonarising of unarisen evil unwholesome states; he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, strives. He generates desire for the abandoning of arisen evil unwholesome states; ... He generates desire for the arising of unarisen wholesome states... He generates desire for the continuation of arisen wholesome states, for their non decline, increase, expansion, and fulfillment by development;he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives.

"And what , monks is right mindfulness?..a monk dwells contemplation the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed long and dejection in regard to the world. He dwells contemplation feelings in feelings, ardent clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed longing and dejection in regard to the world. He dwells contemplating mind in mind, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed longing and dejection in regard to the world. He dwells contemplating phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed longing and dejection in regard to the world This is called right mindfulness.

..right concentration? Here, monks , secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a monk eenters and dwell in the first jhana, which is accompanied by thought and examination, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion.With the subsiding of thought and examination, he enters and dwells in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. With the fading away as well of rapture, he dwells equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, he experiences happiness with the body; he enters and dwells in the third jhana of which the noble ones declare:"He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.' With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and dejection, he enters and dwells in the fourth jhana, which is neither painful nor pleasant and includes the purification of mindfulness by equanimity. this is called right concentration."


Good Friendship

By relying upon the Buddha as a good friend one learns the 8 fold path. By relying upon the Buddha as a good friend beings are freed from birth, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and despair.



The Graduated Training

Pilotika encounters Janussonni, who, driving a white chariot, refers to him as “Master Vacchayana”. Pilotika declines to declare the Buddha wise or to praise him, saying he is not worthy to make such an assessment. Janussonni asks him why not and Pilotika answers with the simile of an elephants footprint:

"Sir, suppose a wise elephant hunter were to enter an elephant wood and were to see in the elephant wood a big elephant's footprint, long in extent and broad across. He would come to the conclusion: 'Indeed, this is a big bull elephant.' So too, when I saw four footprints of the ascetic Gotama, I came to the conclusion: The Blessed One is perfectly enlightened, the Dhamma is well expounded by the Blessed One, the Sahgha is practicing the good way.

The four footprints Pilotike saw were that nobles, brahmin, learned householders and learned ascetics, who all sought to overturn the Buddha’s views, were converted by the Buddha’s teaching.

Janussonni was greatly impressed and traveled on to meet the Buddha. He related his conversation with Pilotika to the Buddha. The Buddha completed the elephant footprint simile. Other signs that he is the Buddha are that his teaching (the Dhamma) is

...good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, with the right meaning and expression; he reveals a holy life that is perfectly complete and purified.

The Dhamma is described:

"Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech; he speaks truth, adheres to truth, is trustworthy and reliable, one who is no deceiver of the world. Abandoning malicious speech, he abstains from malicious speech; he does not repeat elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide [those people] from these, nor does he repeat to these people what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide [these people] from those; thus he is one who reunites those who are divided, a promoter of friendships, who enjoys concord, rejoices in concord, delights in concord, a speaker of words that promote concord. Abandoning harsh speech, he abstains from harsh speech; he speaks such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, and lovable, as go to the heart, are courteous, desired by many and agreeable to many. Abandoning idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter; he speaks at the right time, speaks what is fact, speaks on what is good, speaks on the Dhamma and the Discipline; at the right time he speaks such words as are worth recording, reasonable, moderate, and beneficial.

"He abstains from injuring seeds and plants. He eats only one meal a day,, abstaining from eating at night and outside the proper time. He abstains from dancing, singing, music, and unsuitable shows. He abstains from wearing garlands, smartening himself with scent, and embellishing himself with unguents. He abstains from high and large couches. He abstains from accepting gold and silver. He abstains from accepting raw grain. He abstains from accepting raw meat. He abstains from accepting women and girls. He abstains from accepting men and women slaves. He abstains from accepting oats and sheep. He abstains from accepting fowl and pigs. He abstains from accepting elephants, cattle, horses, and mares. He abstains from false weights, false metals, false measures. He abstains from accepting bribes, deceiving, defrauding, and trickery. He abstains from wounding, murdering, binding, brigandage, plunder, and violence.

He becomes content with robes to protect his body and with almsfood to maintain his stomach, and wherever he goes, he sets out taking only these with him. Just as a bird... Possessing this aggregate of noble moral discipline, he experiences within himself the bliss of blamelessness.

On seeing a form with the eye, he does not grasp at its signs and features. Since if he left the eye faculty unguarded, evil unwholesome states of longing and dejection might invade him, he practices the way of its restraint, he gards the eye faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the eye faculty.. On hearing a sound with the ear... On smelling an odor with the nose... On tasting a flavor with the tongue... On feeling a tactile object with the body.. On cognizing a mental phenomenon with the mind, he does not grasp at its signs and features. Since, if he left the mind faculty unguarded, evil unwholesome states of longing and dejection might invade him. ... Possessing this noble restraint of the sense faculties, he experiences within himself and unsullied bliss.

He becomes one who acts with clear comprehension when going forward and returning; who acts with clear comprehension when looking ahead and looking away; who acts with clear comprehension when flexing and extending his libs; who acts with clear comprehension when wearing his robes and carrying his outer robe and bowl; who acts with clear comprehension when eating, drinking, dhewing, and tasting, who acts with clear comprehension when defecating and urinating; who acts with clear comprehension when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, and keeping silent.

Possessing this aggregate of noble moral discipline, and this noble restraint of the faculties, and possessing this noble mindfulness and clear comprehension, he resorts to a secluded resting place: the forest, the root of a tree, a mountain, a ravine, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle thicet, an open space, a heap of straw.

On returning from his almsround, after his meal he sits down. folding his legs crosswise, setting his body erect, and establishing mindfulness before him. Abandoning longing for the world, he dwells with a mind free from longing; he purifies his mind from longing. Abandoning ill will and hatred, he dwells with a mind free from ill will, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings; he purifies his mind from ill will and hatred. Abandoning dullness and drowsiness, he dwells free from dullness and drowsiness, percipient of light , mindful and clearly comprehending; he purifies his mind from dullness and drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness and remorse, he dwells free from agitation with a mind inwardly peaceful; he purifies his mind from restlessness an remorse. Abandoning doubt, he dwells having gone beyond doubt, unperplexed about wholesome states, he purifies his mind from doubt.

"Having thus abandoned these five hindrances, defilements of the mind that waken wisdom, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, he enters and dwells in the first jhana, .. second jhana, third jhana, .. forth jhana

When his mind is thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement,malleable, wiedly, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives. He recollect his manifold past lives, that is one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many eons of world-contraction and expansion; there i was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, i was reborn here.' Thus with their aspects and particulars he recollects his manifold past lives.

When his mind is thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs it to knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings. With the dive eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate. He understands how beings pass on according t their actions thus: These beings who behaved wrongly by body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong view, and undertook actions based on wrong view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a state of misery, in bad destination, in the lower world, in hell; but these beings who held right view, and undertook action based on right view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world... according to their actions. This too, brahmin, is called a footprint of the Tathagata... but ta noble disciple does not yet come to the conclusion: "The Blessed One is perfectly enlightened..'

When his mind is thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs it to knowledge of the destruction of the taints. He understand as it really is "This is suffering. This is the origin of suffering. This is the cessation of suffering. This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.' He understands as it really is: 'These are the taints, This is the origin of the taints, This is the cessation of the taints. This is the way leading to the cessation of the taints.'

"This too, brahmin, is called a footprint of the Tathagata,... but a noble disciple still has not yet come to the conclusion: ' The Blessed One is perfectly enlightened., the Dhamma is well expounded by the Blessed One, the Sangha is practicing the good way.' Rather, he is in the process of coming to this conclusion.

When he knows and sees thus, his mind is liberated from the taint of sensual desire, from the taint of existence, and from the taint of ignorance. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge:'It is liberated.'He understands:'Birth is destroyed, the spiritual life has been lived, what had to be done haas been done, there is no more coming back to any state of being.'

"this too, brahmin, is called a footprint of the Tathagata, ... It is at this point that a noble disciple has come to the conclusion: 'The Blessed One is perfectly enlightened, the Dhamma is well expounded by the Blessed One, the Sangha is practicing the good way.


The Higher Stages of Training with Similes

The five hinderances compared to being in debt, being ill, being in prison, being a slave, or crossing a desert. The Jhanas are described.

Mastering the Mind

Describing the practice of meditation and the development of wisdom.

The Mind is Key

1. "I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that is so unwieldy as an undeveloped mind. An undeveloped mind is truly unwieldy.

2. "I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that is so wieldy as a developed mind. A developed mind is truly wieldy.

3. "I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that leads to such great harm as an undeveloped mind. An undeveloped mind leads to great harm.

4. "I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that leads to such great benefit as a developed mind. A developed mind leads to great benefit.

9. "I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that when unde- veloped and uncultivated entails such great suffering as the mind. The mind when undeveloped and uncultivated entails great suffering.

10. "I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind. The mind when developed and cultivated entails great happiness."

Another translation is here .

Refinement of the Mind

Just as there are stages in the purification of gold, there are stages in the purification of the mind. Once the mind is purified, one may accomplish miraculous mental and physical feats, among which are the ability to recollect past lives, understand how beings fare according to their actions and enter and dwell in taintless liberation of the mind.

The Removal of Distracting Thoughts

When pursuing the higher mind, some times something we attend to may cause to arise in us evil, unwholesome thoughts. There are five ways to dispel such thoughts.

  1. Pay attention to something else that is wholesome (for example, metta bhanvana ).
  2. If that doesn't work, examine the danger of the thought, what evil might result from it.
  3. If that doesn't work, try to drop the thought, just forget it.
  4. If that doesn't work, examine why the thought has arisen, and why whatever prompted the thought happen and so forth.
  5. Finally, if all the preceding methods have failed, surprise the thought by force of will

When ... any such evil unwholesome thoughts are abandoned in him and subside, and with their abandoning, his mind becomes steadied internally, composed, unified, and concentrated. This monk is then called a master of the courses of thought. He will think whatever thought he wishes to think and he will not think any thought that he does not wish to think. He has severed craving, flung off the fetters, and with the complete penetration of conceit he has made an end of suffering.

This sutta is the Vitakkasanthana Sutta

Shining the Light of Wisdom

The Planes of Realization 

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