Book of Analysis, the enlightenment factors (Vb 10): translator's introduction

By Waltham St. Lawrence

(10) Analysis Of The Enlightenment Factors (Bojjhaṅgavibhaṅga).

Making the Four Bases of Accomplishment the stepping off point for attaining to a greater degree of progress along the one path specified by the Buddha, the student of mental development makes stronger and more secure those four bases of Wish, Energy, Consciousness and Reason by yet further and more energetic [xlvii] practice. Since the states of consciousness which he will be striving to maintain and strengthen at that time are classified among those states which are good (kusala), not only will his consciousness become more and more clear and steady but so also will the mental factors with which that consciousness is normally and correctly associated by their particular functions. Now these Four Bases of Accomplishment can each become what is known as a Condition of Dominance (adhipatipaccaya), so that by the rule of one of these states at a time certain other conditions which have up to that moment existed in a more or less undeveloped degree as mental factors can arise to the special level of becoming Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhaṅga). Of these Enlightenment Factors there are seven detailed in the text of the tenth vibhaṅga. However, as a preliminary indication of their mode of development, and to emphasize the feature of their arising so far as classification is concerned by way of causal relationship from preceding states, it would be well at this point to summarize what is the manner of their arising. If the student, with Wish as Basis of Accomplishment, develops strongly enough that mindfulness which the Buddha stressed in Satipaṭṭhānavibhaṅga as being the primary consideration for entering the Path, there arises within that student a more stable and potent aspect of that mental factor of mindfulness known as Mindfulness-Enlightenment-Factor (satisambojjhaṅga). With the support of that enhanced factor he develops further one of his previously acquired and carefully maintained stepping off points, i.e., Reason as Basis of Accomplishment. Making this a condition of dominance he thereby strengthens the mental factor and controlling faculty of Wisdom (paññindriya) to create what is called Truth Investigation-Enlightenment-Factor (dhammavicayasambojjhaṅga), By the directing of striving to the further stimulating of Energy as Basis of Accomplishment to the condition of dominance there will arise in him Energy-Enlightenment-Factor (vīriyasambojjhaṅga). Where this enlightenment factor is present the mental factor of Zest (pīti) will grow and develop to a degree which is not of a mundane order. This will indicate the arising of Zest-Enlightenment-Factor (pītisambojjhaṅga). Where this aspect of zest is present all the relevant mental factors, together with consciousness, work in so unified a manner that they gain, quite automatically, a special quality of calmness and stability. This indicates the arising of Calmness-Enlightenment- [xlviii] Factor (passadhisambojjhaṅga). In this new and enhanced state of calmness and steadiness the student is capable of concentrating more strongly and one-pointedly than ever before, and is able to strengthen still further Consciousness as a Basis of Accomplishment to a condition of dominance, and to the point where with the further strengthening of Wisdom there arises Concentration-Enlightenment-Factor (samādhisambojjhaṅga). With consciousness thus concentrated and in absolute control of its dependent mental factors there comes to be a condition of great stability and balance. This is the attainment of Equanimity-Enlightenment-Factor (upekkhāsambojjhaṅga), Thus it is that depending on the proper initial practice of mindfulness there arise the Four Right Strivings. Depending on the proper practice of these there arise the Four Bases of Accomplishment. By correct and systematic application there arises depending on these accomplishments the more advanced degree of attainment in the gaining of the Seven Enlightenment Factors.

So it is that with a practical action as cause, further states become apparent. From these, by further practice and by direct causal connection, rise the still more advanced stages. This is the mode of continuity of process in all things, but as with right practice progress will take place in a favourable direction, so also if wrong practice occurs the obvious causal outcome will not be directed toward the cessation of suffering but will result in its increase, and with that the consequent discomfiture arising from all the concomitant states attendant thereon.

The Seven Enlightenment Factors are, in this tenth vibhaṅga, analysed in accordance with the methods of Suttanta, Abhidhamma and Interrogation.