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Requisites of Enlightenment

Venerable Ledi Sayadaw



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 is sammappadhàna, 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 the vassa (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 àcinna kamma) -- 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 of akusala 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 as pànàtipàta (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] worlds, are all purely creatures of hell-heat. They are creatures that are hitched on to the chains of hell and the apàya 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 of uppanna 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 showing uppanna 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 and anup-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 three sikkhàs (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 of Anattà" is meant the sound of such terms which formulate the impersonal nature of existence, as rùpa, nàma, khandha, dhàtu, àyatana, and paticca-samuppàda. The whole of the Abhidhamma-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 (uppanna and 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) and aniyàma (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 the tàdi 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 the Bodhipakkhiya-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 of samàdhi, 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 the Bodhipakkhiya-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-dhammà until 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 sammappadhàna effort, 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, p. 68).

[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 Sotàpannas who 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-Samyutta, Chalindriya Vagga, Ekabiji Sutta, commenting on the word sattakkhattuparamo.

- Comy. to Dìgha Nikàya, Sakkapanha Sutta (at the end), commenting on the words so 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.


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Sincere thanks to Mr. Sunanda Pham Kim Khanh for supplying this electronic copy
(Binh Anson, 05-2002)

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updated: 11-05-2002