'Gradual training' summary chart

by Leigh Brasington

HTML version with comments is at Chart of the Factors of the Gradual Training


Neat! Thanks.

Doesn’t this table assume that the 4 immaterial attainments are a progression of the path? I’ve heard elsewhere (most recently on the topic of Polak’s jhanas) that these attainments aren’t necessarily leading further down the path and are not necessary. Furthermore, the 4 satipatthanas have been described to me, also on the Polak thread, as being part of anapanasati and not a preliminary practice before it.


Is this table suggesting a linear path which may not align with the suttas?

By my interpretation such a reading would be a bit unnecessarily… ‘strict’ and might miss the chart’s much more general purpose. I understand it to be a tool for developing a loose overview of the key components that feature in descriptions of the gradual training across the canon (a more in depth engagement with the various aspects and their subtitles is naturally required for proper understanding).

At the same time, I think keeping in mind the dangers of getting locked into an excessively linear view is very important. I likewise think that it is definitely possible to read the chart as suggesting a fixed linear path, but to me that’s more a matter of mode of interpretation.


as evident from the chart the immaterial attainments in the context of the Gradual training are only mentioned in 2 suttas out of 32 which may indicate their insignificance for the accomplishment of the path

the table is actually based on the suttas and so obviously does align with them, another matter is that this progression of the path may happen to not be in complete alignment with its expositions found in some other suttas


I think the Gradual Training lists in the MN & DN were built from the SN & AN. On that note, something quite interesting was pointed out in another thread:

Interesting! I think the second point you highlight (from LXNDR) is a good example of the potential limits of taking too linear a view. Sure, the general direction of movement is towards clear comprehension, but as far as I can tell the three mentioned… thingamabobs… are mutually supportive and are in a certain respect are developed in tandem with each other. It strikes me as reasonably relatable to circular (or perhaps spiral, or perhaps network) nature of the eightfold path which, of course, begins with right view — the end of the path.

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gathered into one file all suttas featuring in the chart

Gradual training suttas (1.6 MB)


I am enjoying your work.