Noble Path and it's relation to Samsara

I had a sudden realization that Noble 8 Fold path is part of Samsara until the enlightenment. In other words Noble path also follows the rules of desire,aversion,delusion and their positive counterparts(aloba,amoha,adosa).

For example, a person may seek more happiness and practice jhana to get that pleasure → Desire
Another person may feel aversion towards all the world and seek to find something that transcend(Nirvana) → Aversion

It’s interesting to see how Buddha has skillfully used desire,aversion,delusion as well as it’s positive counterparts to weave a path beyond Samsara.

Yes, that is a great realisation, i believe. I have seen this too, for what its worth.

The EBT texts distinguishes a noble path that is connected to merit but still not based or connected with purity (MN117). It is a Path of bright kamma leading to bright results in time such as relative health, long lifespan, wealth, beauty, higher rebirth. But an sich this is not a Path that frees from suffering and samsara. Because also those kamma vipaka’s, fruits, cease ofcourse.

Some believe this is only taught in MN117 and consider this sutta’s as fake, as late or something like that, but no, this distinction is everywhere and the base of Dhamma.

As you also know merit is also describes in EBT as a bond. An awakened mind is also beyond clinging to the bond of merit and demerit (dhp412). Merit leads, as it were, upwards in samsara, demerit downwards, but this is all mundane Path, not supra mundane.

There is also the Path, supra mundane, connected to purity, connected to the kamma that makes an end to bright kamma, dark kamma and mixed kamma. This is the stream. The above is not really the stream that leads to Nibbana.

That is also self-evident, because one has not entered the stream if one is born in a buddhist country and holds all these mundane right views, has good intention, speech, actions etc. There must also be some personal breaktrough in understanding. One cannot say that being on the noble mundane path one has entered the stream.

If the sutta’s talk about the noble path as the stream that leads to Nibbana that refers to the supra mundane path that one has found, meaning, i believe, one understand the difference between purity and impurity, mind with ego and mind without ego. One also understands now that no real quality is ones own. Not wisdom, not love, not compassion. Thinking that such qualities can be ones own, ones possession, is seen as delusional.

I also agree with you that Buddha does not reject the impure desires to want this or that for oneself.
And relate to the Dhamma as some investment into ones future. Alhtough impure the Buddha does not reject this. But is easy to know this is impure.

But, on the other hand, the texts are also very clear that reaching for higher rebirth or other wordly goals for oneself such as health, long life etc, is still being under the spell of Mara. I think that these goals do not really show understanding of Dhamma but Buddha apparantly also did not disapprove of it knowing how human nature is.

For me personally Dhamma is especially about recognising purity, the supra mundane path. I feel this is something that can be seen in any religion. All religions understand egocentric desires as not a Path to Truth and fulfillment and end of suffering. They all share this same truth.

The stream, the supra mundane is not buddhist at all. It is something beyond any religion, culture, raising and beyond merit and demerit. It is non-sectarian. Buddha only re-discovered it. Did not invent it.

I think even what is considered supra mundane or transcendent noble path also is based upon desire/aversion etc.
From AN10.1

) “Bhante, what is the purpose and benefit of wholesome virtuous behavior?”
(2) “Ānanda, the purpose and benefit of wholesome virtuous behavior is non-regret.”
(3) “And what, Bhante, is the purpose and benefit of non-regret?”
“The purpose and benefit of non-regret is joy.”
(4) “And what, Bhante, is the purpose and benefit of joy?”
“The purpose and benefit of joy is rapture.”
(5) “And what, Bhante, is the purpose and benefit of rapture?”
“The purpose and benefit of rapture is tranquility.”
(6) “And what, Bhante, is the purpose and benefit of tranquility?”
“The purpose and benefit of tranquility is pleasure.”
(7) “And what, Bhante, is the purpose and benefit of pleasure?”
“The purpose and benefit of pleasure is concentration.”

We can see that Joy leads to rapture → tranquility → pleasure → concentration. That is mind gets more concentrated due to pleasure.
It’s easy to see that mind may desire more pleasure and thus get concentrated. Or Mind may see imperfections(Aversion) of joy,tranquility which leads the mind to find a more stable pleasure thus leading to concentration. It’s also possible to find that meditation is true/good and more interesting via delusion/wisdom and that also leads to more concentration.


I do not see that this sutta describes the supra mundane noble Path.

I believe in Dhamma and real life there is always a huge difference between:

  • behaviour that is based upon force of habits, tendencies, inclinations (passions) that are over time ingrained and have become strong and are a cause for ones behaviour. This is always a fetter. It Never represents freedom. Those habits can be good or bad, wholesome or unwholesome. But habitual behaviour is not free and has also a different sphere, quality, then behaviour that is authentic and does not arise out of force of habit.

  • behaviour that does not arise because of longstanding conditioning, habitual force, inclination, tendency. It is connected to purity.

For example, it is very different when someone acts out of habit friendly. That is more or less a soulless friendliness. Probably such a person had formed ideas in the past about what it means to be friendly and has practiced that idea of friendliness for long and made a habit of it. This never leads to real friendliness. Real friendliness is never habitual, an inclination, a tendency. The same with wisdom, compassion, love.

The supra mundane path is not about conditioning and habits but about total openess, dispassion.
When one acts out of total openess, such as a Buddha and arahant, that comes with real friendliness, compassion, love. In that total openess of heart no habitual forces (anusaya) rule. It is a oneness. There is also no estalbished sense of me, mine, my self in total openess of heart.

Tendencies and habits represent passion on a deep level. So this strenghtening of habits is never the Path to end samsara, slavery, unfreedom, suffering. At best it paves the Path.

Also for this reason it is important to accept the domain of unconditioned, i feel, because when one does not do this, one in fact believes that all behaviour is habitual, or avijja driven, and there is no escape to it.


This is from the same suttra.

“Thus, Ānanda, (1)–(2) the purpose and benefit of wholesome virtuous behavior is non-regret; (3) the purpose and benefit of non-regret is joy; (4) the purpose and benefit of joy is rapture; (5) the purpose and benefit of rapture is tranquility; (6) the purpose and benefit of tranquility is pleasure; (7) the purpose and benefit of pleasure is concentration; (8) the purpose and benefit of concentration is the knowledge and vision of things as they really are; (9) the purpose and benefit of the knowledge and vision of things as they really are is disenchantment and dispassion; and (10) the purpose and benefit of disenchantment and dispassion is the knowledge and vision of liberation. Thus, Ānanda, wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost.”

Sorry I think you have not read the sutra. If I am wrong, What’s the supra mundane path apart from (10) the purpose and benefit of disenchantment and dispassion is the knowledge and vision of liberation. ?

I agree an enlightened being is said to control his mind and think whatever he wants. Ven. Sariputta said they are able to abide in whatever jhana whenever they want.

But this is after being enlightened right? Buddha has also said to let go of the path when you attain nibbana, so what’s supra mundane path if it’s after achieving Nibbana? If you can practice supra mundane path during Samsara, doesn’t it also follow the dharma of samsara?

Yes I agree. The path is towards total freedom and away from habits. But it needs skillful management of current situation(i.e samsara).
Those with wisdom can directly see this is dhamma(samsara) and this is nirvana, thus they can directly become enlightened. I am not there and thus I think it helps to use ways of samsara to reduce Samsara.

Example: Buddha explains Nibbana is highest pleasure, total freedom, eternal → These are all positive qualities. Thus a desire arises in ordinary people to attain it.

Buddha also explains how we are in the prison of samsara, constantly going through different lives, experiencing joys & sorrows and how we have cried seas of tears. → These are all negative qualities and aversion arises in people who hear it.

Buddha has also refrained from explaining topics such as self, universe, etc because these topics probably doesn’t arouse dispassion towards Samsara or a desire for Nirvana.

In a similar vain, Buddha has described dhamma as an ocean with deeper and deeper depth as you practice. In my opinion this implies deeper and deeper insights to uncover. → It would also arouse delusion/wisdom and the desire to know more.

I had not read the sutta indeed, only the part you posted.

The role of desire? Kalu Rinpoche once compared this with traveling to a city. If one wants to arrive one must have a desire, a wish to go and arrive. But once one has arrived that desire ofcourse ceases.

Sutta’s, i feel deal in a different way with the role of desire.

For example in: “He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This first jhana is conditioned and volitionally produced But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints” (MN52)

I believe one can apply this to any temporary state one desires and want to make happen. If one truly sees that anything conditioned will also cease and one really stands upon that, one will loose desire for it, one will turn away from the desire to be in this or that temporary state. That is what is meant i believe. You to?

I do not see passion anymore as a true Path to Peace but because i am not free from passion i have to deal with it, and, make use of it in a positive way. By choice i cannot make it disappear.

I feel Buddha aligns also in this way to human nature. He known we are passionate and conceited beings which live almost 100% in a conceived world, and he does not expact that this can suddenly change and disappear. He makes skillfully use of our human nature of passion, conceiving, and being conceited. I believe that is also what you see right?

I do not believe this is really supra mundane path but i believe Buddha’s approach is wise and much wiser then, for example, making us feel bad about ourselves and others with all that passion and conceit.

I very much like this in the Buddha. He was not judgemental about human nature but made skillfully use of it.

But there are also times i feel very uncomfortable with this too, to be honest.

I feel Jesus was more judgemental, and i also like that. I also like preachers who come to tell mankind how we and life is meant to be lived. It is not meant to be lived strategically, like all in life is business, even morals. Or the idea that we must live our life as an investment in our future. Such ideas i feel are so delusional. So selfish. Like this would really be good for us! Nonsense. Cannot be.

I reject the whole idea that ones wellbeing is supported by being rational, strategic, a real diplomate, a businessman. All in me says this is wrong and will never turn out well in long term.
This is also my experience in real life.

It may seem reasonable that one is always concerned with others wellbeing but in practice this is often didactical. I have noticed this by myself . It is superiority conceit.

I had a friend with MS. She had some time a probe in her nose because she was not able to eat anymore. She was in wheelchair. We walked in a city. We passed a woman and i heard her reciting ohm many peme hoeng when she saw my friend. This mantra is of Tchenrezig who embodies compassion, but this was not compassion, but conceit. She felt pity. That is because of conceit. If she would not see any difference between herself and my friend, she would be compassionate. But almost always our relation to suffering people is didactical, ugly.

It is sometimes not easy to be Green with all these sentiments :yum:

Recently I overturned my previous assumption. It was my assumption that dispassion lead to non clinging and thus to nibbana.

All things are rooted in desire. They come into being through attention. They originate from contact. They converge upon feeling. Their headed(chief) by Samadhi(concentration). Mindfulness exercises authority over them. Wisdom is their supervisor. Freedom is their core. They culminate in the deathless. Their consummation is nibbana.

“Freedom is their core” - I think this implies every desire , I have also a desire to be free from it. I normally find temporary freedom by satisfying the desire(thus the desire goes away) or by denying it through analysis etc. Desire is a burning fire that I want to be rid of. But due to wrong wisdom(Overseer) I only see the options that lead to samsara.

When practicing meditation, I only found concentration or what I think is Jhana. But according to Buddha, Samadhi is to purify the views. Sila is for non-regret. I get that non-regret leads to happiness → to concentration.
But how does Samadhi leads to purifying the views or yoniso manasikara? Why do you need Samadhi for practicing wisdom?

I remember Buddha said, a person with wisdom should use wisdom to practice Samadhi, and samadhi should be used to practice Wisdom.

I have read that greatest love(Metta) is one that is rid of clinging. So a person who practice Metta should investigate how to love more - thus they find that clinging, pride etc works against them. So they abandon these qualities to generate more loving kindness.
I think @Green you practice Metta, so do you practice in this way? Gradually become more and more loving until you reach the point of “loving like a mother” or limitless?

I think the analog of this to Anapanasati(which I practice) is to focus more on the sati and not concentration. Anapanasati should lead to limitless Mindfulness. In doing so, a person would find qualities that hinders the mindfulness and abandon them.

Hi there,

As a fish we flounder on the dry land of being without direction, a goal, a Path, something to grasp and strive for, plans, intentions, desires. That is what i see in myself. In engagement I feel alive, existent, meaningful, useful, functional, and that feeds me. Also engaged in Dhamma. It is still not really the Path.

And non-engagement seems to be unbearable. How uncomfortable that dry land! See us floundering and running in all direction when we meet the dry land. Like we constant want to escape the Truth.

Ofcourse we say that we engage out of love for Dhamma or the world, compassion, enthousiasm, care, creativity, etc. but in the end, i believe this is not true. In the end we engage because without engagement we just feel lost. That’s all. We fear Nibbana.

“Only engaged my life has meaning. Only then I am someone! Only then i can be happy. Only then i can appreciate myself. Only engaged people also appreciate me”"

I feel this is the dart Buddha describes. This keeps us engaging, i feel.

I feed my self especially upon the wish to do something that is meaningful. Such as caring for people. Helping vulnerable people. Also this is addictive. Also this makes one becoming more and more uncomfortable with Nibbana. All ways of feeding oneself are not conducive to the goal of Nibbana.
That i know now.

The Buddha engaged with the world. He taught the dhamma. He told children to stop torturing a snake. The Buddha was not an eternalist nor an annihilationist.

The Buddha was happy. He was not an unfeeling zombie.

I agree.

Engagment due to 7 anusaya in Dhamma is always about **unvoluntairy fettering. Never per choice. But by force of habit the mind inclines towards sense objects in a certain way. Engages with sense obects emotionally or with conceptions like ‘this is me, mine, my self’. In Dhamma this engagement is always unvoluntairy, never a choice one consciously makes. Avijja rules here not a self.

In liberation nothing get lost but this fettering. A Buddha also still has as sense of me and mine but not as a result of instinctive grapsing at things with a vision of 'this is me, this mine, this is my self. But ofcourse a Buddha still has a notion that if he does something that will have results for him, like starting to teach and no one will understand him, or lying down to relax the back etc.

I described unvoluntairy engagement.

Totally agree. My Buddha is extremely sensitive but not sentimental. (Ps i tried to reach you with a personal mail but was not able to)

Thanks for letting me know about the PM failure. I definitely do not see anything.

Can you try PMing me again? I accidentally muted you. Not sure how I did that, but I know I have clumsy fingers.