SUBJECT: II. Comprehensive Intro. to Buddhism (from the Buddha and B. Bodhi)
Topic: 7. Stages on the Path to Enlightenment
The currently selected QUESTION:
What are the stages (states) on the Path to Enlightenment?
Stages (states) on the Path to EnlightenmentAdded by Brad on Mon 26th January 2015 11.05AM
To Enlightenment, there are stages, each divided into 2 phases:
path phase: practicing for the attainment of a particular fruit
resultant phase: One is said to be established in that fruit (see above)
These phases are true of:
arahant -- in the last phase of this, one is considered beyond training
Four stages (above) defined in terms of :
defilements eradicated by the path leading to the fruit
destiny after death
Stream-enterer abandons first three (of 10) fetters:
identity view: view of truly existent self either identical with the 5 aggregates
or existing in-relation to them.
doubt (about the Buddha, Dhamma, or Sangha (and training)).
Thirdly, wrong grasp of rules and belief that external observances
can lead to liberation.
Once returner: eliminates the 3 fetters the stream-enterer has abandoned and, additionally:
attenuates the three unwholesome roots (lust, hatred, delusion).
Non-returner eradicates 5 lower fetters: (Those mentioned above) and: sensual lust and
ill-will. Without sensual lust, nothing binding to the sensual realm of existence.
(Rebirth to form realm -- better than the sense-sphere realm.)
Arahant (in addition) eliminates: desire for existence in the form realm
desire for existence in formless realm
(these are the 5 higher fetters)
Arahants have no ties to conditioned existence (they have destroyed all defilements
and are completely liberated through final knowledge).
Below the stream-enterer, you can be a Dhamma follower or Faith follower.
These are persons practicing for the realization of the fruit of stream entry
In Dhamma follower, wisdom is dominant; in faith follower, faith is dominant. They are
not differentiated in terms of energy, mindfulness, or concentration.
Lay disciple can reach arahantship on the brink of death or right before they enter
Non-returners can continue to dwell as householders (but they are celibate).
Lay stream-enterers are not necessarily celibate.
Minimum required for one (trainee) to be good for the multitude:
practicing the Path
endowed with precepts and observances
teaching the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and
good at the end
To reach stream entry, one should cultivate the 4 factors leading to stream entry:
association with wise guides
listening to the true Dhamma
attending carefully to things (e.g. by way of seeing gratification, danger, and
and practicing in accordance with the Dhamma by moral discipline,
concentration, and wisdom.
Some may ask: How common are stream-enterers? Here is an indication:
Buddha: "... among these 500 bhikkhus, even the least is a stream-enterer"
(Numerical Discourses, Book of Fours, sutta 76) and one need not be a monk to
be a stream-enterer: Buddha: "all those who have unwavering confidence in me
are strem-enterers" (... Book of Tens, sutta 64). I have read one person put
it in these simple terms: "stream entry is the experience of the nature of things
which thereafter always colors our view to a greater or lesser extent."
5 powers of the trainee: faith, moral shame, fear of wrong-doing, energy, and wisdom.
5 faculties of the trainee: faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom.
Dhamma, well-expounded : directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see,
worthy of application, to be personally experienced by the wise
The peak of training is the development of insight: the thorough contemplation of the
aggregates [and sense bases] and see elements as impermanent, bound up with suffering.
At the peak, one undergoes a transformation -- this marks entry upon a “fixed course
of righteousness” (the true 8-fold path that leads to enlightenment). Such a person will not
pass away without having realized the fruit of stream-entry.
Stream-enterers have confidence in the Three Jewels and moral virtues of noble ones
(including firm adherence to 5 precepts).
After 4 factors of stream entry are established, 6 further developments, through:
contemplating impermanence in all formations
perceive suffering in what is impermanent
perceive non-self in what is suffering
perceiving abandonment, fading away, cessation
It is also possible that a virtuous worldling with sharp faculties may advance directly
to non-returner (actually, they pass quickly through the first two stages and attain those
To abandon the 5 lower fetters a monk first attains one of the 4 jhanas (levels of
arahantship) OR one of the 3 lower formless attainments or the subtle 4th formless attainment.
He contemplates the 5 aggregates as marked by impermanence, suffering, and non-self.
[ According to some suttas in the Numerical Discourses: One does not eradicate all fetters and
all attachments to this world until he transcends the 4th formless jhana .
(Example: pp.1302-1305 Numerical Discourses, trans. by B. Bodhi (2012)) ]
To achieve the final goal, there are 2 routes, one harder, one smoother -- emphasis in
insight OR serenity.
About the “self”: 2 things: (1) “I ”: affirms enduring self in terms of &/or in-relation
to the 5 aggregates . This is eliminated by stream-entry.
(2) “view of self”, “I am” as vague, shapeless, but impervious sense of “I” as a
concrete reality (this can persist up to non-returner) (from a B. Bodhi Intro.,
... Anthology ..., 2005 p. 380).
The critical point when ignorance, craving, and conceit are eradicated, this marks
transition of non-returner to arhantship. While trainees see wisdom as the goal,
but cannot dwell in it; the arahant can dwell in it.
5 faculties : faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. Fulfill all 5
then one is an arahant.
First jhana: seclusion from acquisition, abandoning unwholesome states, complete
tranquillization of bodily inertia, secluded from sensual pleasures and from
8-fold Noble way is the “stream”; possessing this, one is a stream-enterer.
contemplating unattractiveness of the body
perceiving the discontent
contemplating impermanence in all formations
(perception of death is well-established)
One beyond training dwells having contacted with the body that which is their
destination, their culmination, their fruit, their final good. And, having
pierced it through wisdom, sees.
Arahant incapable of :
transgression in regard to 9 things:
taking what is not given
engaging in sex act
telling of a deliberate lie
making use of “stored up” enjoyment (as in the past)
incapable of wrong action due to desire or on account of hatred, delusion,
or fear (this last line counts as 4)
Point of interest: the Buddha: "Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a tumor, conceiving
is a dart. By over-coming all conceivings, monk, one is called a sage at peace."
Powers and grounds of self-confidence :
understands possible as possible, impossible as impossible
results or actions undertaken by way of possibilities and causes
understands: ways leading to everywhere
understands : world with many different elements
understands how beings have different inclinations
understands the disposition of faculties of others
understands defilement and the cleansing and emergence in regard to :
jhanas, liberations, concentration, and attainments
has liberation by wisdom that is taintless
Since there are so many developments one must undergo on the Path, I thought I
would provide one possible example of a sequence of developments, one that worked
for one of the Buddha's advanced followers: HERE'S THE LINK
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|More of the Buddha's words on the PATH by Brad||What more did the Buddha say that brings further understanding of the Path?|
My major summary of Book V. (The Great Book) of the
Samyutta Nikaya, as translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi :
(All quotes of the Buddha, himself, except when [very rarely] indicated otherwise):
From a collection of suttas , roughly about the PATH in general :
“Ignorance is the forerunner in the entry upon unwholesome states, with shamelessness
and fearlessness of wrongdoing following along.”
“For an unwise person immersed in ignorance, wrong view springs up. For one of wrong
view, wrong intention springs up. For one of wrong intention, wrong speech speech springs
“... wrong speech, wrong action ... wrong action, wrong livelihood ... wrong livelihood,
wrong effort ,... wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, ... wrong mindfulness, wrong
“... true knowledge is the forerunner in the entry upon wholesome states, with a sense of
shame and fear of wrongdoing following along ... true knowledge, right view; right view,
right intention; ..., right speech; ..., right action; ..., right livelihood; ... , right effort;
..., right mindfulness; ..., right concentration.”
“When a bhikkhu has a good friend, good companion, a good comrade, it is to be expected
that he will develop and cultivate the Noble 8-fold Path. [Doing so] a bhikkhu develops right
view based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release [(<-- a very often
restated phrase, including: used with each aspect of the 8-fold Noble Path)].”
“This is a designation for this Noble 8-fold Path: 'the divine vehicle' and 'the vehicle of the
Dhamma' ... the path, when developed and cultivated has as its final goad the removal of
lust, the removal of hatred, the removal of delusion. ... this is the Path, this is the way for the
full understanding of suffering.”
The 8-fold Noble Path includes right view, etc. ...leading to the knowledge of the 4 Noble
Truths and with right effort: “a bhikkhu [(one in training on the Path)] generates desire for
the non-arising of unarisen evil, unwholesome states; he makes an effort, arouses energy,
applies his mind, and strives. He generates desire for the abandoning of evil, arisen
unwholesome states. ... He generates desire for the arising of wholesome states. He generates
desire for the maintenance of arisen wholesome states, for their non-decay, increase,
expansion,and fulfillment by development; he makes an effort, aroused energy, applies his
mind and strives.”
“... There is feeling with wrong view as a condition, also feeling with right view as condition
... [6 other Noble Path factors similarly dealt with here] ... feeling with wrong concentration
as condition and feeling with right concentration as condition. There is feeling with desire
as condition, also feeling with thought as condition, also feeling with perception as condition.
... when desire has subsided, and perception has subsided, there is also feeling with that as
condition. There is effort for the as-yet-unattained; when that stage has been reached, there is
also feeling with that as condition.”
“Whether it is a layman or one gone forth who is practicing rightly, because of undertaking
the right way of practice [(the 8-fold Noble Path)] he attains the method, the Dhamma ...”
“Worse than an inferior person ... someone of wrong view, wrong [ 6 others ] , wrong
concentration, wrong knowledge, wrong liberation. ... Better than a superior person ... is
someone of right view, right [ 6 others ], right concentration, right knowledge, right
Purpose of the holy life:
“for the abandoning of the fetters ... for the uprooting of the underlying tendencies ... for
the full understanding of the course ... 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 [and the end of suffering] .”
“The forerunner and precursor for the arising of the 8-fold Noble Path, that is accomplishment
in virtue ... accomplishment in desire ... accomplishment in self ... accomplishment in view ...
accomplishment in diligence ... accomplishment in careful attention.” “And how does a
bhikkhu who is accomplished in careful attention develop and cultivate the 8-fold Noble Path?
Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops right view which is based on seclusion, dispassion, and
cessation, maturing in release [same for the other 7 aspects of the 8-fold Noble Path].
[The Path] has right view, which has as its final goal the removal of lust, the removal of hatred,
the removal of delusion [same for the other 7 aspects of the 8-fold Noble Path].”
“ ... whatever wholesome states there are, they are rooted in diligence, converge upon diligence,
and diligence is declared to be chief among them..”
“Whatever strenuous deeds are done, [they] are all done base upon the earth, established upon
the earth, so too, based upon virtue, established upon virtue.”
“When a bhikkhu develops and cultivates the 8-fold Noble Path, whenever evil, unwholesome
states have arisen, he intercedes to dispense and quell them ... When a bhikkhu develops and
cultivates the 8-fold Noble Path, then for him the 4 establishments of mindfulness go to
fulfillment by development; the 4 right strivings ... , the 4 bases of spiritual power ... ,
the 5 spiritual faculties ... , the 5 powers ... , and the 7 factors of enlightenment [all]
go to fulfillment by development.”
When one “develops and cultivates the 8-fold Noble Path, he understands by direct knowledge
those things that are to be fully understood by direct knowledge; he abandons by direct
knowledge those things that are to be abandoned by direct knowledge; he realizes by direct
knowledge those things that are to be realized by direct knowledge; he develops by direct
knowledge those things that are to be developed by direct knowledge.”
Question: What are the things to be fully understood by direct knowledge? Answer:
“... the 5 aggregates subject to clinging ... What are things to be abandoned by
direct knowledge? Answer: “Ignorance and craving for existence ... [ and what is ] to be
realized by direct knowledge?: true knowledge and liberation ... [ and what is ] to be developed
by direct knowledge: serenity and insight.”
For one who is “developing and cultivating the 8-fold Noble Path, it is impossible that he
will give up training and return to lower life ... because for a long time his mind has been
slanted, and inclined toward seclusion ... and inclines toward Nibbana.”
“... there are 3 searches ... the search for sensual pleasure, the search for existence, the search
for a holy life ... the 8-fold Noble Path is to be developed for direct knowledge of these three
searches ... full understanding of the 3 searches ... for the utter destruction of the 3 searches ... for the
abandoning of the 3 searches.” ... Likewise for 3 discriminations: 'I am superior', 'I am equal',
'I am inferior' (full understanding “ ... for their utter destruction, for their abandonment”)
More suttas on sets of 3 things, to be fully understood, utterly destroyed, and abandoned:
-- three taints: sensuality, the taint of existence, the taint of ignorance
-- The 3 kinds of existence: sense-sphere, form sphere, formless sphere
-- The 3 kinds of suffering: due to pain, due to formations, due to change
-- The 3 kinds of barrenness: barrenness of lust, barrenness of hatred, barrenness
of delusion (these 3 also known as the 3 stains, the 3 kinds of trouble)
-- the 3 feelings: pleasure, painful, neither pleasant or painful
-- the 3 cravings: for sensual pleasure, for existence, for extermination (also
know as the three thirsts)
Now, sets of 4 things to be fully understood, utterly destroyed, and abandoned:
-- 4 floods: of sensuality, the flood of existence, the flood of views, the flood of ignorance
-- similarly: the bonds of: sensuality ..., of existence ..., of views ..., of ignorance
-- the 4 kinds of clinging: clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to
rules and vows, clinging to a doctrine of 'self'
-- the 4 knots: of covetousness, of ill will, distorted grasp of rules and vows, adherence to
dogmatic assertions off truth
Sets of 5, to be fully understood, utterly destroyed, and abandoned:
-- 5 cords of sensual pleasure (based on 5 of the 6 senses -- the physical ones)
-- the 5 hindrances
-- the 5 aggregates
Also the 8-fold Noble Path is to be developed for direct knowledge (etc.) of the 5 lower
fetters and 5 higher fetters.
Then there are also the 7 underlying tendencies to be fully understood, utterly destroyed, and
-- tendency to sensual lust
-- tendency to aversion
-- tendency to views
-- tendency to doubt
-- tendency to conceit
-- tendency to lust for existence
-- tendency to ignorance
B. Bodhi tells us that out of the 29 OTHER aspects of the OVERALL path to
enlightenment, the 8-fold Noble Path can be seen to have counterparts in 24 of
these others (or, 32 out of the grand total of 37). Thus, among ALL the factors
needed for enlightenment, the 8-fold Noble Path is very important.
Suttas generally on the 7 factors of Enlightenment:
More bases of problems: CARELESS ATTENTION to:
-- nutrient of the hindrances
-- unarisen sensual desire
-- unarisen ill will
-- unarisen sloth and torpor
-- unarisen restlessness and remorse
-- unarisen doubt
Frequently giving careless attention to any of these is the nutriment for their
arising, increase, and expansion,
In contrast: frequently giving CAREFUL ATTENTION to each of the 7 factors of
enlightenment is nutriment for the arising of the unarisen enlightenment factors and
for the development of them.
When one dwells “thus withdrawn [one] recollects the Dhamma and thinks it over,
on that occasion the enlightenment factor of mindfulness is aroused” and [that factor]
“comes to fulfillment by development”. Similarly for each of the other 6 factors of
enlightenment -- arising in sequence, each having the one before it as its base.
“... developing mindfully, he discriminates that Dhamma with wisdom and makes
an investigation of it”
“... while he discriminates, energy is aroused ...
when energy is aroused, there aroused, there arises in him spiritual rapture ...
uplifted by rapture, the body becomes tranquil ... one who is tranquil and happy
becomes concentrated ... one [thereby] closely looks on with equanimity at the
mind thus concentrated.” [Each factor just mentioned above, “coming to fulfillment
by development” -- development, again, “based on seclusion, dispassion, and
cessation, maturing in release”.]
With the 7 factors (of enlightenment) developed and cultivated, one obtains “final
Three kinds of misconduct (bodily, verbal, and mental) : when seen via the proper kind of
restraint of the sense faculties (all 6), not greatly excited or dejected, but seen with a
steady, composed mind: this leads to the abandonment of the 3 kinds of misconduct.
And, when good conduct is developed and cultivated, this leads to the 4 establishments
of mindfulness: “... ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having removed
covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world, he dwells contemplating body-in-body,
feeling-in-feeling, mind-in-mind, and phenomenon-in-phenomenon “. The 4 factors of
mindfulness, when developed and cultivated, lead to the 7 factors of enlightenment, Once
they (the 7) are developed and cultivated, they fulfill true knowledge and liberation.
“A bhikkhu can know (by careful attention) for himself ... when arousing the enlightenment
factor of mindfulness [and all the other 6 factors, similarly]”.
Another precursor of the 7 factors of enlightenment is good friendship (it promotes
seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release -- each E.F. based on this sort
“It is in this way ... based on virtue, [one] develops and cultivates the 7 factors of
enlightenment.” Also: “these 7 factors, when developed and cultivated, lead
to utter revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to
enlightenment, to Nibbana”.
By giving frequent attention to things that are the bases of sensual lust, ill will,
sloth and torpor, restlessness and remorse, doubt -- this leads to each arising
and then increasing and expanding.
And yet, also: when one attends carelessly to sensual desire ETC, those unarisen
will arise and increase and expand. And the enlightenment factor of mindfulness
and all subsequent factors do not arise and those arisen cease.
Development and cultivation of the 7 factors of enlightenment lead to the destruction
of craving (and end of suffering). Each, when developed and cultivated (based on
seclusion, dispassion, cessation, maturing in release) become “vast, exalted,
measureless, without ill will”. Thus, craving is abandoned. And, with each factor,
one “penetrates and sunders the mass of greed that he has never penetrated before
[ and similarly for hatred and delusion] .”
A venerable follower of the Blessed One, said (and it was approved of):
“When I consider my devotion and reverence for the Blessed One and my sense of shame
and fear of wrongdoing, I went forth from the household into homelessness. The Blessed
One taught me the Dhamma, thus: such is form, its origin, such is its passing away; such is
feeling ...; ... perception ... ; ... volitional formations ...; ... consciousness, such is its origin,
such is its passing away. I directly knew, as it really is, 'this is suffering'; I directly knew, as it
really is, 'This is the origin of suffering'; ... 'this is the cessation of suffering'; ... 'this is the way
to the cessation of suffering'. I have made a breakthrough to the Dhamma ... obtained the Path ...
developed and cultivated it, and I have obtained the seven Factors of Enlightenment ...
and developed and cultivated [each]. ... Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived,
what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.”
“Bhikkhuss, as to internal factors, I do not see any other factor that is so helpful for
the arising of the 7 factors of enlightenment as this: careful attention.” With regard
to external factors: “I do not see any other factor that is so helpful for the arising of the
7 factors of enlightenment as:this: good friendship.”
The liberation of the mind through loving-kindness: “frequently giving careful
attention to it is the denourishment that prevents unarisen ill will from arising and
arisen ill will from increasing and expanding.”
“Arousal, the element of endeavor, the element of exertion: frequently giving careful
attention to them ... [that] is the denourishment that prevents sloth and torpor ....”.
Similarly: peacefulness of mind vs. restlessness and remorse.
“There are wholesome and unwholesome states, blameable and blameless states,
inferior and superior states with their counterparts: frequently giving careful attention to
them is the denourishment of doubt ... .”
Opposite of the above good results occur when not frequently giving careful attention to the
7 factors of enlightenment.
pp. 1605 - 1608 (of the B. Bodhi translation of the Samyutta Nikaya): “timely” and “untimely”
times to try to develop the various 7 factors of enlightenment.
“... abandon the 5 hindrances; fill the mind rather with loving-kindness, compassion,
altruistic joy, and equanimity” ... develop the 7 F.E. by accompanying each of the 7 F.E.
with the four great things just mentioned. In such states (the 4, just mentioned) “one can,
if one wishes”:
-- “perceive the repulsive in the unrepulsive”
-- “perceive the unrepulsive in the repulsive”
-- perceive both in the repulsive
-- perceive both in the unrepulsive
“OR he may perceive neither and may dwell equanimously mindful and clearly
The Buddha at least at one occasion said:
“one who possesses even a single factor of enlightenment would know and see
things as they really are.”
The Development of Mindfulness
While there are “timely” times for the development of 6 of the factors of enlightenment
(and “untimely times”), according to the Buddha: “mindfulness, bhikkhus, I say is
Thus, not only is mindfulness the first-occurring in the sequence of F.E., but it seems
to be the most pervasive and abiding.
Thus, a collection of suttas on the 4 factors of mindfulness seems very appropriate
and a summary of these suttas is coming now:
“How are the 3 kinds of good conduct developed and cultivated so they fulfill
the 4 establishments of mindfulness? ... abandoning bodily misconduct, a bhikkhu
develops good conduct [likewise for verbal misconduct, etc. and mental misconduct, etc.]”
“How are the 4 establishments of mindfulness developed and cultivated so that they
fulfill the 7 factors of enlightenment? ... [dwell] contemplating body-in-body, ardent
clearly comprehending, and mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure
in regard to the world [and same for feeling-in-feeling, mind-in-mind and
“... this is the one-way path for the purification of beings, for overcoming sorrow and
lamentations, for passing away of pain and displeasure, for the achievement of the method
for the realization of Nibbana.”
Clear comprehension is exercised “when going forward and returning, when looking ahead
and looking aside ... etc [(i.e. basically: at all times)]”
“... bhikkhus, how do you purify the very starting point of wholesome states? ... [by]
virtues that is well-purified and view that is straight ...” contemplate internally,
externally, and internally and externally: body-in-body, felling ... , mind ..., and
“[Those] not long gone forth, recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline, should be
exhorted, settled, and established by you in the development of the 4 establishments.”
“[Those] liberated through final knowledge: they too dwell contemplating body-in-body,
ardent, clearly comprehending, unified, with limpid mind, concentrated, with one-pointed
mind, detached from the body [similarly for: feeling-in-feeling, mind-in-mind and
“What is NOT, bhikkhus, our resort, but the domain of others? It is the 5 cords of sensual
pleasure [(5 of the 6 sense bases -- the physical ones)].”
“ ... a bhikkhu's resort, his own ancestral domain, is the 4 establishments off mindfulness.”
“[if] while he dwells contemplating and his mind does not become concentrated, his corruptions
are not abandoned he does not pick up on the signs [of body-in-body, ETC.] If he
does become concentrated he does pick up the sigh for each.” Yet: “by non-attention to all
signs and by the cessation of certain feelings, the Tathagata (the Buddha) dwells in the
signless concentration of the mind, on that occasion.”
“[One] should direct his mind towards some inspiring sign; when he directs his mind towards
some inspiring sigh, gladness is born; when gladdened, rapture is born; when the mind
is uplifted by rapture, the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body experiences happiness.
The mind of one who is happy becomes concentrated. He reflects thus: 'The purpose for
which I directed my mind has been achieved. Let me now withdraw it; so he withdraws and
does not think or examine. He understands: 'Without thought and examination, internally I am
“I have taught by direction. I have taught without direction. Whatever should be
done, a compassionate teacher, out of compassion for his disciples [does] ...”
“[As one] dwells contemplating body-in-body , ETC, the mind becomes dispassionate and
by non-clinging it is liberated from the taints.”
Sariputta: “I have understood by inference the Dhamma; whatever arahants ... arose in the
past, all those Blessed Ones had first abandoned the 5 hindrances, corruptions of the mind
and weakness of wisdom, and then with their minds well-established in the 4 establishments
of mindfulness, they developed correctly the 7 factors of enlightenment.” This statement
was directly approved of by the Buddha.
Having accomplished the goal of mindfulness: “[one] dwells with yourself as your own island.”
When you correctly develop the 4 establishments of mindfulness: “you may expect only growth
in wholesome states, not decline... the 4 establishments of mindfulness, when developed and
cultivated are noble and emancipating; they lead one who acts upon them out to the complete
destruction of suffering.”
“... by protecting oneself, one protects others ... by protecting others, one protects oneself. By
patience, harmlessness, loving-kindness, and sympathy ... thus should the establishments
of mindfulness be practiced.”
“It is because the 4 establishments of mindfulness are not developed and cultivated that the
true Dhamma does not endure long ... [it is] because the 4 establishments of mindfulness
are developed and cultivated that the true Dhamma endures long after the Tathagata has
attained final Nibbana.” AND: “It is because one has completely developed the 4
establishments of mindfulness that one is beyond training.”
When the contemplation of the body-in-body, [ETC.] has been developed “thus bhikkhus,
in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true
knowledge, and light.”
“The 4 establishments of mindfulness: when developed and cultivated, lead to utter
revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment,
Exercising clear comprehension: “feelings are understood as they arise, understood as they
remain present, understood as they pass away [similarly for thoughts and perceptions].”
“What bhikkhus, is the development of mindfulness? ... a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the
nature of the origination of the body; he dwells contemplating the nature of the vanishing of
the body; he dwells contemplating the nature of the origination and vanishing of the body --
ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful ... [similarly for feelings, mind, and for phenomenon]”
“With the origination of contact, there is origination of feeling. With the cessation of
contact there is the passing away of feeling. With the origination of name-and-form
there is the origination of mind. With cessation of name-and-form there is passing
away of mind. With the origination of attention, there is the origination of
phenomenon. With the cessation of attention, there is cessation of phenomenon.”
“What is the way leading to the establishment of mindfulness? It is the 8-fold Noble
“Dwell restrained ... in good conduct ... seeing danger in the slightest faults ... based
upon virtue, you should develop the 4 establishments of mindfulness.”
Collection of suttas on the “5 faculties”: “... of faith, ... of energy, ... of mindfulness ... ,
of concentration , ... of wisdom.”
“A noble disciple understands as they really are the gratification, the danger, and the
escape in the case of these 5 faculties, then he is called a stream-enterer, no longer bound
to the nether world.”
He is “liberated by non-clinging”, “one whose taints are destroyed”,
“one who has done what had to be done ... reached his goal.” “... utterly destroyed the
fetters of existence, one completely liberated by final knowledge.”
“[one must] understand the faculty of faith, its origin, its cessation, the way leading to
cessation [similarly for: energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom].”
“ Faith is seen in the 4 factors of stream-entry [(coming up)]”
“Energy is seen in the 4 right strivings [(coming up)]”
“Mindfulness in the establishments of mindfulness”
“Concentration in the 4 jhanas”
“Wisdom in the 4 Noble Truths”
The noble disciple has wisdom “directed to the arising and passing away, which is noble
and penetrating, leading to the complete destruction of suffering.”
The “noble disciple ... dwells with energy aroused for the abandoning of unwholesome
states, firm in exertion, not shirking the responsibility of cultivating wholesome states ...
[he] generates desire for non-arising of evil, unwholesome states, he makes an effort,
arouses energy, applies his mind, strives ... [likewise] he generates desire for the arising
of unarisen wholesome states and for the maintenance of arisen wholesome states ...
[and their] increase, expansion, and fulfillment.”
Noble, wise disciple: completely understands the 4 Noble Truths.
There is another set of 6 faculties : the 6 sense bases. [one] must understand gratification,
danger, and escape with regard to each and the origin and passing away, then one is a
YET other “faculties”, 5 of them:
-- pleasure (born of body contact) (ceases in the third jhana)
-- pain (born of body contact) (ceases in the first jhana)
-- joy (born of mind contact)(ceases in the fourth jhana)
-- displeasure (born of mind contact) (ceases in the second jhana)
-- equanimity (body or mental)(ceases when one dwells with the cessation
of perception and feeling, after the fourth jhana)
One wants to fully understand each and have them “cease and subside”.
“5 faculties become the 5 powers [(coming up)] and the 5 powers become the 5 faculties.”
“because he has developed one faculty a bhikkhu who has destroyed the taints, declares
final knowledge ... that one faculty: wisdom: faith that follows from it becomes stabilized
[likewise for energy, mindfulness, and concentration]. ... For the the noble disciple with
wisdom: his noble liberation is his faculty of concentration.”
“The remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance, the mass of darkness: this is the
peaceful state, this is the sublime state that is the stilling of all formations, the relinquishment
of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbana ... that is his
capacity of wisdom.”
“... established in one thing, all 5 faculties are developed, well-developed; that one thing:
diligence: guards the mind against the taints and tainted states; thus faith goes to
fulfillment by development [and same for the other 4 faculties].”
“5 faculties, when developed and cultivated, lead to the uprooting of the underlying tendencies.”
One develops the 5 faculties [again, as with other things] based upon seclusion, dispassion,
cessation, maturing in release.”
Interesting statements (distinctions):
The Buddha at least once said: “... because he has developed *4* faculties he has
destroyed the taints.” These four are: energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom
[(faith is not listed here)]; of course on many other occasions, all 5 were said to be required;
yet on another occasion only 3 needed faculties were cited as necessary for 'final knowledge',
[(these being mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom.)]
4 right strivings:
-- generate desire for unarising of unarisen evil unwholesome states
-- generate desire for abandoning of arisen evil, unwholesome states
-- generate desire for the arising of unarisen wholesome states
-- generate desire for the maintenance ... expansion ... of wholesome states ...
“... One makes and effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, strives”
“... based upon virtue, established upon virtue, ... one develops and cultivates the
4 right strivings.”
Summary of suttas on the 5 powers
[in a way, the same as the 5 faculties]
5 powers: power of faith, power of energy, power of mindfulness, power of concentration,
power of wisdom.
“a bhikkhu who develops these powers slants, slopes, and inclines toward Nibbana.”
[As with other things,] they develop “based on seclusion, dispassion, cessation, maturing
The powers have as their final goal: the removal of lust, the removal of hatred, the removal
Summary of suttas on the bases of spiritual power
Bases and development of spiritual powers : THESE HAVE TO DO WITH
CONCENTRATION (based on various (4) things) AND STRIVING.
“basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to desire and
volitional formations of striving”
“basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to energy and
volitional formations of striving”
“basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to mind and
volitional formations of striving”
“basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to investigation and
volitional formations of striving”
When these bases are developed and cultivated, “[they] lead to utter revulsion,
to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment,
“... by the destruction of taints, in this very life, [those who] entered and dwell
in the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, realizing it for themselves,
with direct knowledge, all did so because they had developed and cultivated
these 4 bases for spiritual power.”
Also, in the case of each power: “in regard to things unheard before, there arose ...
vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light ...”
One develops each spiritual power that possesses concentration by [some factor] and
“volitional formations of striving AND THOUGHT”
“... desire [etc.] will neither be too slack nor too tense and it will be neither constricted
internally nor distracted externally ... [(5 cords of sensual pleasure, major distractions)].”
“... such a person “dwells perceiving after and before: 'as before, so after', 'as after, so before;
'as below, so above', 'as above, so below' ...”
“ ... with a mind that is open and unenveloped, he develops the mind imbued with
luminosity ...” “... having been one, he becomes many, having been many, he becomes
one ... he understands the minds of other human beings and persons, having
encompassed them with his own mind. He understands a mind with lust, as a mind
with lust, [ETC.].” He generates desires for wholesome states and desires to rid
unwholesome states (as noted before) <-- with regard to each of the powers.
“[This] is the path, the way for abandoning desire ... [yet] it is impossible that one
can abandon desire by means of desire ... Thus, after accomplishments, the desire
associated with each power, subsides [(just naturally subsides in one on the path
Because one “has developed and cultivated the 4 bases of spiritual power that ...
by the destruction of taints, in this very life dwells in the taintless liberation of
mind ... wisdom ... realizing ... with direct knowledge.”
“path and practice that leads to gaining spiritual power, to obtaining spiritual power,
... and what is the way leading to the development of the bases? ... It is the 8-fold
“4 bases of spiritual power are to be developed for the direct knowledge of the 5 higher
fetters ... for the full understanding of them, for their utter destruction and for their
Summary of suttas (discourses) on Breathing and Meditation:
Meditative Mindfulness of Breathing
What the meditator thinks: breathing in ... breathing out ...
“having folded his legs crosswise, straightened his body, and set up mindfulness
in front of him, just mindful he breathes in and breathes out --” noting one important
experience or another on each occasion (cycle) of breathing in and breathing out.
Such meditation promotes the development of the 7 factors of enlightenment.
Arittha: “abandoned sensual desire for past sensual pleasures ... I have gotten rid of
sensual desire for future sensual desires and I have thoroughly dispelled perceptions of
aversion towards things internally and externally. Just mindful, I breath in; mindful,
I breathe out.”
The Buddha responded:
“... That is mindfulness of breathing ... But as to how mindfulness of breathing is fulfilled
in detail, Arittha, listen and attend closely and I will speak ... .”
“... if a bhikkhu wishes: 'may I, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome
states, enter and dwell in the first jhana, which is accompanied by thought and
examination, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion,' this same concentration by
mindfulness of breathing should be closely attended to ...” [Similarly when one attains each of the 3
subsequent jhanas and beyond.]
“... when ... the concentration of breathing has been developed and cultivated, in this way,
if he feels a pleasant feeling he understands: 'It is not to be held to'; he understands: 'It
is not to be delighted in' [similarly for a painful feeling and when he feels a neither
The mindfulness of breathing meditation is also excellent for contemplation of body-in-body,
“The concentration by mindfulness of breathing, when developed and cultivated, leads to
the destruction of taints.”
“Concentration by mindfulness of breathing, Ananda, is the one thing, which when
developed and cultivated, fulfills the 4 establishments of mindfulness ...” “... [when
these are] developed and cultivated: [that] fulfills true knowledge and liberation.”
“It is in this way ... that concentration by mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated
so it leads to the abandoning of fetters, the uprooting of the underlying tendencies, to fulfill
the understanding of the course, to the destruction of the taints”
Summary of suttas on Stream-Entry:
Stream-entry is when one “taps” into the Dhamma and one is irrevocably on the path
toward liberation and enlightenment.
4 things the stream-enterer has:
-- confirmed confidence in the Buddha, that “he is an arahant, perfectly enlightened,
accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world,
unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed ...”
-- confidence in the Dhamma thus: “The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed
One, directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see, applicable, to be
personally experienced by the wise.”
-- confirmed confidence in the Sangha (his path companions; peers) thus:
“the Sangha of Blessed One's disciples is practicing in a good way, practicing in
the straight way, practicing in the true way, practicing the proper way ...”
-- He “possesses virtues dear to noble ones -- unbroken, unblemished, unmottled, freeing,
praised by the wise, ungrasped, leading to concentration.”
“... established upon these four factors of stream-entry, you should develop 6 further
things that partake of true knowledge: ... contemplating impermanence in all
formations, perceiving suffering in what is impermanent, perceiving non-self in what
is suffering, perceiving abandonment, perceiving fading away, perceiving cessation.
It is in such a way that you should train yourself.”
The stream-enterer has:
“association with superior persons ... Hearing the true Dhamma ... careful attention ...
practice in accordance with the Dhamma”, so said Saripatta (a venerable disciple)
, and his statement was approved of by the Buddha.
The “stream” the stream-enterer enters (truly) is the 8-fold Noble Path.
A noble disciple is diligent. “A noble disciple ... dwells at home with a mind devoid
of the stain of stinginess, freely generous, open-handed, delighting in relinquishment,
one devoted to charity, delighted in giving and sharing.”
A noble disciple abstains from: taking of life, taking what is not given, abstains from
sexual misconduct, abstains from false speech, divisive speech, harsh speech,
frivolous speech, and idle chatter. With regard to each, the noble disciple reflects: “How
can I inflict upon another what is displeasing and disagreeable to me?” With regard
to each of these good practices, he exhorts others to do likewise.
Next on the path past stream-entry:
“with the utter destruction of the 5 lower fetters and with the diminishment of greed,
hatred, and delusion”
[ The stream-enterer has eliminated the 3 fetters: identity view, doubt, and wrong grasp
of rules and observances. To eliminate all 5 lower fetters, sensual lust and ill will must
be eliminated. ]
“A foolish course does not lead to revulsion, dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to
direct knowledge ... the way going upward for the Noble Disciple [is] that way that
leads to utter revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to
enlightenment, to Nibbana.”
“... for those for whom you have compassion and who think you should be heeded ...
these you should exhort, settle, and establish in the 4 factors of stream-entry”
“when a person's mind has been fortified over a long time by faith, virtues, learning,
generosity, and wisdom ... that goes upward, goes to distinction ... when a lay follower
has gone for refuge over a long time to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, how
could he go to the nether world?”
And this is interesting:
“... [About] some person who does not possess confirmed confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma,
and the Sangha ; he is not one of joyous wisdom, not one swift of wisdom, and has not obtained
liberation ... yet if he has the 5 faculties ... and the teaching proclaimed by the Tathagata [(the
Buddha)] are accepted by him after being pondered to a sufficient degree with wisdom. This
person too is one that does not go to hell ...”
The 4 Streams of Merit:
“... confirmed confidence in the Buddha ... This is the first stream of merit, stream of the
wholesome, nutriment of happiness ...
The Dhamma, well-expounded by the Blessed One ... to be personally experience by the
wise. This is the second stream of merit. ...
The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is practicing the good way, ... the unsurpassed
field of merit for the world. This is the third stream of merit ...
possessing virtues dear to the Noble Ones [(the 8-fold Noble Path)] unbroken, leading
to concentration. This is the fourth stream of merit ...
These are the 4 streams of merit, streams of the wholesome, nutriments of happiness.”
[ Note: At least once, the Buddha cites another fourth stream of merit:
“ the disciple [that] is wise, he possesses wisdom directed to arising and passing away,
which is noble and penetrative, leading to the complete destruction of suffering” ]
How is the lay follower accomplished :
-- in virtue: he has the 5 abstinences
-- in faith: he places faith in the enlightenment of the Buddha
-- in generosity: “devoid of stinginess, freely generous, open-handed, delighting
in relinquishment, one devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing”
-- in wisdom: “[he] possesses wisdom directed to arising and passing away, which is
noble and penetrative, leading to the complete destruction of suffering”
A noble disciple, who dwells diligently:
“has confirmed confidence in the Buddha ... he makes further effort for solitude,
night and day ... when he dwells diligently gladness is born. When he is glad,
rapture is born. When the mind is uplifted by rapture, the body becomes tranquil.
One tranquil in body experiences happiness. The mind that is happy becomes
concentrated ... phenomenon become manifest ...”
“[Also:] ... there is no difference between a lay follower who is thus liberated in mind
and a bhikkhu who has been liberated in mind for 100 years.”
FINALLY, Summary of the suttas on the Truths:
“A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are” (big example:
the 4 Noble Truths.)
“An exertion should be made to understand ... make an exertion in seclusion.”
In brief the 5 aggregated subject to clinging are suffering.
Origin of suffering: “it is this craving that leads to renewed existence, accompanied by
delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is craving for sensual pleasures, craving for
existence, craving for extermination ... the origin of suffering is to be abandoned [and
when it has been, that is the cessation of suffering]”
Cessation of suffering: “it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same
craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, non-reliance on it.”
Way leading to the cessation of suffering: “it is the 8-fold Noble Path ... [there are
no alternative ways to the cessation of suffering]”
A venerable disciple, Kondanna, said:
“Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.” The Blessed One declared:
“Kondanna has indeed understood.”
“ ... This noble truth of the origin of suffering is to be abandoned ...
“ ... This noble truth of the cessation of suffering is to be realized ...
“ ... This noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering is to be developed .”
With regard to each of these things: “ ... in regard to things unheard before, there arose in
the Tathagata : vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.”
“... One who sees the origin of suffering also sees the way leading to the cessation of
suffering, also sees the cessation of suffering, [And also: “seeing” any of the last 3
Noble Truths, leads to seeing them all.]”
“... without having made a breakthrough in the noble truth of suffering as it really is ...
completely making an end to suffering is impossible ...”
“in order to make a breakthrough to the 4 Noble Truths ... one should arouse
extraordinary desire, make an extraordinary effort, stir up zeal and enthusiasm, be
unremitting, and exercise mindfulness and comprehension. ... the breakthrough
to the 4 Noble Truths is accompanied by happiness and joy. ... a forerunner and
precursor to the breakthrough to the 4 Noble Truths as they really are is right view .”
“Those who do not understand as it really is [suffering, the origin, the cessation, and
the way to cessation] -- they delight in volitional formations ... Delighting in such
volitional formations, they generate volitional formations that lead to birth ...
aging ... sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair, not freed from suffering ...
[those] having not generated such volitional formations, they do not tumble down the
With regard to the 6 senses, one sees, one hears, ... , each should be seen as “undesirable,
never desirable; unlovely, never lovely; disagreeable, never agreeable”
Yet more “terrible and frightening is not seeing suffering ... way to the cessation of
suffering -- delighting in volitional formations [etc.].”
“For a person accomplished in view who has made a breakthrough, the suffering that has
been utterly destroyed and eliminated is more, while that which remains is trifling.”
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