Bodhitree, From Effort to Effortlessness, From Mundane to Supra-Mundane?

Some say the Buddha discovered the socalled Original Mind under the Bodhitree. And that’s how he got enlightend. Before that period he had not seen it yet. The state beyond. The Original State.

A long time the Buddha was involved in activity, effort. Trying to change his mind(set). If he felt suffering, he reacted upon that and tried to change his mind. He re-acted upon hate with metta, upon nicca, sukha, anatta with the anicca, dukkha and atta sanna. He reacted upon strong longing with contemplations on ugliness or foulness. The inner demons trying to controll. He used all kind of techniques or skills ot have some peace of mind. But did he succeed?

Some say, just some time before the Bodhitree, the Buddha realised that this effort, this trying to controll the inner demons with the weapons of skillful means, did not lead to the end of suffering, to his enlightment. He had not found the Path yet.

Under the Bodhitree Buddha did something completely different it is said. He stopped to change his mind(set). He let go the aspect of constant effort. Constant weaponing oneself against the demons. But do they disappear that way?

He was, according some, under the Bodhitree only observing in a state of mind of pure uncertaintly and amazement(?). That’s how he found the Path beyond. He stopped the inner judgements of “this is wholesome and unwholesome,” “moral and immoral”, wished-unwished, me and mine and not-me and mine etc. He stopped the battle.

The ordinaire mind, the one who battles, judges, prooved to be not the Path to enlightment.
While he did not battle anything, but loved everything, the battles were very quickly decided. The battlers became empty-handed. Everything grew cool right there, at the spot. That’s is how he found the state beyond, the Path, and got enlightend.

What do you think. Does this make sense?

Is this story about the Bodhitree (not the interpretation above) a late addition?

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On this forum we try to attribute things. If you want to have a good discussion, it’s better to say where you are getting your information from. From what I can tell, these things don’t come from the EBTs.


I cannot delete it, otherwise i would.

There is always effort:

"“Monks, even those who are arahants—whose effluents are ended, who have reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who are released through right gnosis—even they remain focused on the body in & of itself—being ardent, alert, unified, clear-minded, concentrated, & single-minded, disjoined from the body. They remain focused on feelings in & of themselves… the mind in & of itself… mental qualities in & of themselves—being ardent, alert, unified, clear-minded, concentrated, & single-minded, disjoined from mental qualities.”—SN 47.4

It’s not necessary to know anything about DO to fulfil the requirements of Satipatthana, but it is necessary to know the process of impermanence, this is spelt out within the sutta in the often repeated refrain, which describes three levels, the first the beginner, the second the learner:

“1) In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or externally on the body in & of itself, or both internally & externally on the body in & of itself. 2) Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the body. 3) Or his mindfulness that ‘There is a body’ is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by [not clinging to] anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself."—DN 22

Knowing the process of how things arise and how they are removed is important in the case of the hindrances:

“There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances? There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns, ‘There is sensual desire present within me.’ Or, there being no sensual desire present within, he discerns, ‘There is no sensual desire present within me.’ He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen.15 And he discerns how there is no further appearance in the future of sensual desire that has been abandoned. [The same formula is repeated for the remaining hindrances: ill will, sloth & drowsiness, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty.]"

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Hi @Viveka

There is a lot going on on Jhana. I did not realise this before i became a participant here. I am learning a lot.

That there is no contact in jhana is new for me. What i have learned is that there are no 5 hindrances. These are temporary suppressed even in first jhana. This absence of the five hindrances is the condition for calm and the relatieve unburdensome quality of abiding in jhana. The hindrances are described in the sutta’s as food for avijja. (AN10.61). This food is temporary absent. It is like one is cut of from ones disposition (anusaya’s) temporarily.

I have learened, (to me this seems reasonable) it is not contact that determines the difference between liberation and not-liberation but the nature of that contact. The nature of contact of an arahant is phassa. It is just contact, like in only knowing. It is not sanphassa, no defiled contact, i.e. a contact with avijja and active anusaya’s. That contact is much more then only knowing. Without contact one cannot live this life.

Yes, seeing things as they are, for me, means in practise only knowing. In the seeing only the seeing, in feeling only feeling etc. The mind is like a mirror. This is effortless. It is not that an arahant must put in effort to have a mind like a mirror. No, there is nothing that can defile contact so the mind has become mirror

This uprooting of anusaya is not the same as letting go.


I would not call this effort. Effort is described, mainly, as the effort to abandon unwholesome states and develop wholesome states. To maintain wholesome states. To prevent the arising of unwolesome states.

It is no effort for the purified mind to know and be disjoined from what it knows. If this would be an effort it cannot be called samma vimutti. Samma Sati is also not the same as Samma Vimutti.

There are so many texts who describe the need for effort and development, and apparantly it is seen that way that i denie the need for effort and development, but this is not true.

But i also feel that one must see the limits of effort. Ofcourse, Dhamma is really not about trying ones whole life to be in a wholesome state, any day of your life, abandoning the unwholesome, developing the wholesome. That is not core Buddha-Dhamma. This is just mundane or wordly Path. Almost all people do this.

One must go beyond. That is Dhamma. This needs seeing, wisdom and not only effort. Which seeing? For example: Also wholesome formations are not me and mine. Does the Buddha not teach that any sankhara must be seen: this is not mine, not Me, not my self?

I can see, for myself, that, in the end, all this effort (and longings) to change body and mind from this to that state, is not really conducive to the goal. It is still based on an idea of controll, of atta, nicca, sukha too.

I have moved this thread out of the Discussion category, which is reserved for discussion of Early Buddhist Texts as no text was nominated for discussion in the opening post.

Please review and scroll down to In Which Category Do I Post My Topic?


I think it might be compared to clothing. Clothing is not really Me. And what does it mean it’s mine?

But i need some protection, some warmth. And i can better put on the clothing which suits me well. Which is really heart-warming. Clothing like metta, karuna, panna, patience, simplicity. That is nice clothing. I can feel that.

The clothing of hate, greed, jalousy, agression, pride, etc, which is also part of my wardrobe, is above all painful to wear.

But i think, in the end, it is all clothing. In the end all is not really me and mine.

Please forgive my perhaps naive observations born of a stubborn and bold grasping of self:

Absolute truth may be ‘not observed’ in a rather curious and empirical way.

I often return to the ‘empty set’ analogy. The empty set is a thing, the empty set contains no things,
being a thing, the empty set is contained in the non-empty set. Yikes.

‘Empty’ exists only in that it does not ‘exist’ without contradictions, which is the nature of the eclipse of the absolute in the mirror of convention.
Existance is the domain of convention, as is ‘the self’

Perhaps, the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā tries to teach this, with assertions of ‘is not’

If the self is convention, and consciousness is absolute, then empirical methods can ease our effort toward ‘not grasping’.
Like the parable of the raft used to cross the stream, left behind for another’s use.

My grasping-self suffers less after meditation on the idea that ‘words’ can only dance around like blind men around the fire, since absolute truth cannot be misunderstood, since it cannot ‘be’.
Everything conventional, in contrast, can never be absolutely true because ‘absolute has no cause’

Dharmakirtri’s teachings, are perhaps a ‘raft left behind’ for those of us deeply imprinted by empirical exposure, and who’s grasping-self struggles to not struggle. :wink:

Be present with a compassionate heart-mind.


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Welcome to the Forum @CloudShaper :pray:

@CloudShaper ,

Welcome. I find it hard to see what you are really expressing but i think you also have some feeling for the struggle. Dharmakirti i do not know.

The endless struggle to have body and mind and world in this or that condition. I belief this is the nature of mundane life, our lives. Wanting a perfect body and also a perfect soul (mind). Always busy. Trying to change things. Changing mind. Changing body. Never ever is it oke.

I had this very strong sense of (im)perfection. I now think it is a deep delusion. This need for perfection i had (and still have sometimes) is only a deep longing for grip and seeking grip in a world one experiences as imperfect including oneself and others.

How can one not-suffer that way, if oneself, the world, others are never ever good just as they are?
There is always this inner darkness, this disappointment, with how you yourself are, others are, the world is. This is sadness, grief. One can never enjoy life this way, or one must be drunk.

This is, i feel, is the cause of all this mental suffering. There is some grief about how life is, and also how we ourselves are and others too. One just cannot live with imperfection or one has a constant sense of imperfection and therefor seeks grip in an idea of perfection such as a perfect Buddha, a perfect mind and body, a perfect livelihood, a perfect action etc.

Life becomes and is and endless struggle when the heart longs for perfection.