Sutta's on Purification

Purification

“…there are these four factors of striving for purity that the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One, knowing and seeing, has rightly expounded for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the passing away of pain and dejection, for the achievement of the method, for the realization of nibbana. What four? 1. The factor of striving for purity of virtuous behavior; 2. the factor of striving for purity of mind; 3. the factor of striving for purity of view, and 4. the factor of striving for purity of liberation …” (AN4.194)

I have made an collection of sutta’s that deal with purification. I like to share this with you the coming days. I like to post it in parts. Each day a part. Maybe, if you like to discuss/debate it, we can start a separate thread? I foresee that this discussion will consists of 14 posts.

…”There are, Nigrodha, unwholesome things that have not been abandoned, tainted, conducive to rebirth, fearful, productive of painful results in the future, associated with birth, decay and death. It is for the abandonment of these things that I teach Dhamma. If you practice accordingly, these tainted things will be abandoned, and the things that make for purification will develop and grow, and you will all attain to and dwell, in this very life, by your own insight and realization, in the fullness of perfected wisdom …”.’ (DN25)

I have made a quit extensive selection of sutta fragment on purification, but it does not pretend to be complete. In this series of posts:

  • A Selection of Inspiring Texts on Purification
  • Striving for Purity
  • What is Purity?
  • Causes for the corruption and purification of beings
  • The Path to Purity, How to Purify and remain pure
  • Purification, a goal in itself?

The Buddha taught a Path to Purity (SN43.37). Pure, we are established in the core (AN3.93)

They’ve escaped clinging to both good and bad deeds; sorrowless, stainless, pure: that’s who I call a brahmin . (Dhp412)

I have made use of different translations and not consistent of one translator. I hope you find it
instructive. I do not present this as your teacher and a Dhamma expert😊 But i enjoy making it and sharing it.

Best Wishes

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A Selection of Inspiring Texts on Purification

"When a bhikkhu is virtuous, one who has abandoned immorality and remains secluded from it; when he is one of right view, who has abandoned wrong view and remains secluded from it; when he is one whose taints are destroyed, who has abandoned the taints and remains secluded from them, he is then called a bhikkhu who has attained the foremost, attained the core, one who is pure and established in the core. (AN3.93)

Pure in body, pure in speech,
pure in mind, without taints:
they call the pure one, accomplished in purity,
"one who has washed away evil ” (AN3.121)

Not to do any evil, but cultivate the good. To purify one’s mind, this the Buddhas teach (DN14)

Pure as the spotless moon, clear and undisturbed, they’ve ended delight and future lives: that’s who I call a brahmin. (Dhp413)

Enlightened was Mangala, free from lust;
Usabha cut the net, the root of suffering.
Uparuta attained the state of peace,
Purified, excellent, truly named . (MN116)

If defiling states disappear….nothing but happiness and delight develops, tranquility, mindfulness and clear awareness - and that is a happy state . (DN9)

He preaches the Dhamma which is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle, lovely in its ending, in the spirit and in the letter, and displays the fully perfected and purified holy life . (SN4.5 and many others)

"I am desireless, unattached, disengaged;
My vision of all things has been purified.
Having attained the auspicious–supreme enlightenment-
Self-confident, brahmin, I meditate alone. " (SN7.18)

By action, knowledge and Dhamma,
By virtue and noble way of life -
By these are mortals purified,
Not by lineage or wealth .(MN143)
By developing the path to enlightenment-
Virtue, concentration, and wisdom-
I have attained supreme purity:
You’re defeated, End-maker!" (SN4.1)

Make an island of yourself! Swiftly strive, learn to be wise! Purged of stains, flawless, you’ll go to the divine realm of the noble ones. (Dhp236)

Make an island of yourself! Swiftly strive, learn to be wise! Purged of stains, flawless, you’ll not come again to rebirth and old age. (Dhp238)

The worst stain is ignorance, the worst stain of all. Having given up that stain, be without stains, mendicants! (Dhp213)

"Therefore be pliant here and strenuous;
Having abandoned the hindrances, be pure.
Having entirely abandoned conceit,
Be an end-maker by knowledge, peacefu1 (SN8.3)
One pure in heart has evermore
The Feast of Spring, the Holy Day;
One fair in act, one pure in heart
Brings his virtue to perfection . (MN7)

Who, by transcending all ties here
About both merit and evil deeds,
Is sorrowless, stainless, and pure:
He is the one I call a brahmin.
Who, pure as the spotless moon,
Is clear and limpid, and in whom
Delight and being have been destroyed:
He is the one I call a brahmin . (MN98)

And just as a clean cloth from which all stains have been removed receives the dye perfectly, so in the Brahmin Pokkharasati, as he sat there, there arose the pure and spotless Dhamma-eye, and he knew: 'Whatever things have an origin must come to cessation." (DN3)

In the next post: Striving for Purity

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Striving for Purity

“…there are these four factors of striving for purity that the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One, knowing and seeing, has rightly expounded for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the passing away of pain and dejection, for the achievement of the method, for the realization of nibbana. What four?

  • Trying to pure in ethics, in virtuous behavior;
  • Trying to be pure in mind;
  • Trying to be pure in view,
  • Trying to be pure in liberation (AN4.194)

Striving for purity of virtue or morality

It’s when a mendicant is ethical, restrained in the monastic code, conducting themselves well and seeking alms in suitable places. Seeing danger in the slightest fault, they keep the rules they’ve undertaken. This is called purity of ethics. They think: ‘I will fulfill such purity of ethics, or, if it’s already fulfilled, I’ll support it in every situation by wisdom.’ Their enthusiasm for that—their effort, zeal, vigor, perseverance, mindfulness, and situational awareness—is called the factor of trying to be pure in ethics”. (AN4.194)

Striving for purity of mind

It’s when a mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption … second absorption … third absorption … fourth absorption. This is called purity of mind. They think: ‘I will fulfill such purity of mind, or, if it’s already fulfilled, I’ll support it in every situation by wisdom.’ Their enthusiasm for that—their effort, zeal, vigor, perseverance, mindfulness, and situational awareness—is called the factor of trying to be pure in mind”. (AN4.194)

In AN3.121 we can see that purity in mind is about not taking root of the 5 hindrances, knowing when they are present, knowing how to abandon them while present, and knowing how they do not arise anymore. Also that kind of striving for a pure mind. See next posts on purity of mind.

Striving for purity in view

Take a mendicant who truly understands: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering’. This is called purity of view. They think: ‘I will fulfill such purity of view, or, if it’s already fulfilled, I’ll support it in every situation by wisdom.’ Their enthusiasm for that—their effort, zeal, vigor, perseverance, mindfulness, and situational awareness—is called the factor of trying to be pure in view”. (AN4.194)

Striving for purity in liberation

“That noble disciple—who has these factors of trying to be pure in ethics, mind, and view—detaches their mind from things that arouse greed, and frees their mind from things that it should be freed from. Doing so, they experience perfect freedom. This is called purity of freedom. They think: ‘I will fulfill such purity of freedom, or, if it’s already fulfilled, I’ll support it in every situation by wisdom.’ Their enthusiasm for that—their effort, zeal, vigor, perseverance, mindfulness, and situational awareness—is called the factor of trying to be pure in freedom ”. (AN4.194)

For all of these striving: They think: ‘I will fulfill such purity or, if it’s already fulfilled, I’ll support it in every situation by wisdom.’ Their enthusiasm for that, their effort, zeal, vigor, perseverance, mindfulness, and situational awareness—is called the factor of trying to be pure in ethics, mind, view and liberation (AN4.194)

In the next post What is Purity?

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What is Purity?

The first post about this subject describes bodily, verbal and mental purity. The second one describes purity of livelihood. In the third other classifications of purity are described.

…”Three things a Tathagata has no need to guard against: A Tathagata is perfectly pure in bodily conduct, in speech and in thought. There is no misdeed of body, speech or thought which he must conceal lest anyone should get to hear about it…” (DN33)

" I say, Salha, that purification of virtuous behavior is one of the factors of asceticism. But those ascetics and brahmins who advocate austerity and disgust, who regard austerity and disgust as the essence, and who adhere to austerity and disgust are incapable of crossing the flood. Also, those ascetics and brahmins whose bodily, verbal, and mental behavior are impure, and whose livelihood is impure, are incapable of knowledge and vision, of unsurpassed enlightenment. The opposite also counts. (AN4.196)

Bodily, verbal and mental purity

Mendicants, there are these three kinds of purity. What three? Purity of body, speech, and mind.
And what is purity of body? It’s when someone doesn’t kill living creatures, steal, or commit sexual misconduct. This is called ‘purity of body’.
And what is purity of speech? It’s when someone doesn’t use speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. This is called ‘purity of speech’.
And what is purity of mind? It’s when someone is content, kind-hearted , and has right view. This is called ‘purity of mind’. These are the three kinds of purity .” (AN3.120)

In more detail:

Threefold Bodily Purity

“And how is purity threefold by way of body? It’s when a certain person gives up killing living creatures. They renounce the rod and the sword. They’re scrupulous and kind, living full of compassion for all living beings.
They give up stealing. They don’t, with the intention to commit theft, take the wealth or belongings of others from village or wilderness.
They give up sexual misconduct. They don’t have sexual relations with women who have their mother, father, both mother and father, brother, sister, relatives, or clan as guardian. They don’t have sexual relations with a woman who is protected on principle, or who has a husband, or whose violation is punishable by law, or even one who has been garlanded as a token of betrothal . (AN10.176)

Fourfold Verbal Purity

“And how is purity fourfold by way of speech? It’s when a certain person gives up lying. They’re summoned to a council, an assembly, a family meeting, a guild, or to the royal court, and asked to bear witness: ‘Please, mister, say what you know.’ Not knowing, they say ‘I don’t know.’ Knowing, they say ‘I know.’ Not seeing, they say ‘I don’t see.’ And seeing, they say ‘I see.’ So they don’t deliberately lie for the sake of themselves or another, or for some trivial worldly reason.
They give up divisive speech. They don’t repeat in one place what they heard in another so as to divide people against each other. Instead, they reconcile those who are divided, supporting unity, delighting in harmony, loving harmony, speaking words that promote harmony.
They give up harsh speech. They speak in a way that’s mellow, pleasing to the ear, lovely, going to the heart, polite, likable and agreeable to the people.
They give up talking nonsense. Their words are timely, true, and meaningful, in line with the teaching and training. They say things at the right time which are valuable, reasonable, succinct, and beneficial . (AN10.176)

Threefold Mind/Mental Purity

“And how is purity threefold by way of mind? It’s when a certain person is content. They don’t covet the wealth and belongings of others: ‘Oh, if only their belongings were mine!’
They have a kind heart and loving intentions: ‘May these sentient beings live free of enmity and ill will, untroubled and happy!’
They have right view, an undistorted perspective: ‘There is meaning in giving, sacrifice, and offerings. There are fruits and results of good and bad deeds. There is an afterlife. There are such things as mother and father, and beings that are reborn spontaneously. And there are ascetics and brahmins who are rightly comported and rightly practiced, and who describe the afterlife after realizing it with their own insight .’ (AN10.176, AN3.120)

In AN3.121 purity of mind is described like this:

And what is purity of mind?

“It’s when a mendicant who has sensual desire in them understands ‘I have sensual desire in me.’ When they don’t have sensual desire in them, they understand ‘I don’t have sensual desire in me.’ They understand how sensual desire arises; how, when it’s already arisen, it’s given up; and how, once it’s given up, it doesn’t arise again in the future.
When they have ill will in them they understand ‘I have ill will in me’; and when they don’t have ill will in them they understand ‘I don’t have ill will in me’. They understand how ill will arises; how, when it’s already arisen, it’s given up; and how, once it’s given up, it doesn’t arise again in the future.
When they have dullness and drowsiness in them they understand ‘I have dullness and drowsiness in me’; and when they don’t have dullness and drowsiness in them they understand ‘I don’t have dullness and drowsiness in me’. They understand how dullness and drowsiness arise; how, when they’ve already arisen, they’re given up; and how, once they’re given up, they don’t arise again in the future.
“When they have restlessness and remorse in them they understand ‘I have restlessness and remorse in me’; and when they don’t have restlessness and remorse in them they understand ‘I don’t have restlessness and remorse in me’. They understand how restlessness and remorse arise; how, when they’ve already arisen, they’re given up; and how, once they’re given up, they don’t arise again in the future.
When they have doubt in them they understand ‘I have doubt in me’; and when they don’t have doubt in them they understand ‘I don’t have doubt in me’. They understand how doubt arises; how, when it’s already arisen, it’s given up; and how, once it’s given up, it doesn’t arise again in the future . (AN3.121)

The sutta ends with this verse:

Purity of body, purity of speech,
and undefiled purity of heart.
A pure person, blessed with purity,
has washed off all bad things, they say .”

The above five hindrances are said to weaken wisdom (MN27). When they arise and overwhelm the mind we become blind for what is wholesome and unwholesome. The sutta’s describe it like this:

Bhikkhus, suppose there were a pool of water that was cloudy, turbid, and muddy. Then a man with good sight standing on the bank could not see shells, gravel and pebbles, and shoals of fish swimming about and resting. For what reason? Because the water is cloudy. So too, it is impossible for a bhikkhu with a cloudy mind to know his own good, the good of others, or the good of both or to realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. For what reason? Because his mind is cloudy .” (AN1.45)

All those 5 hindrances cloud the mind and must be purified to know what is for our own good, the good of other and of both. (AN1.46) They are obstructions (AN5.51)

The fourth jhana is also considered as mental purity (DN2)

In de next post more info on Pure Livelihood

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Pure Livelihood

The virtue aspect of the Path consist of the pure bodily and verbal actions together with pure livelihood. Pure thought or intentions and view are reckoned to the wisdom aspect of the Path (MN44)

Livelihood is purified by abandoning all wrong livelihood and adopting right livelihood.

“And what, monks, is Right Livelihood? Here, monks, the Ariyan disciple, having given up wrong livelihood, keeps himself by right livelihood (DN22)

And what is failure in livelihood? It’s when a noble disciple has wrong livelihood and earns a living by wrong livelihood. This is called ‘failure in livelihood’. (AN3.119)

There are some ascetics and brahmins who make a living the wrong way, not avoiding wrong livelihood. This is the fourth thing that corrupts ascetics and brahmins so they don’t shine and glow and radiate. (AN4.50)

His livelihood is pure. So the Realized One has no wrong livelihood to hide, thinking: ‘Don’t let others find this out about me!’ (AN7.58)

Mendicants, relying on the wrong way leads to failure, not success. And how does relying on the wrong way lead to failure, not success? Wrong view gives rise to wrong thought. Wrong thought gives rise to wrong speech. Wrong speech gives rise to wrong action. Wrong action gives rise to wrong livelihood. Wrong livelihood gives rise to wrong effort. Wrong effort gives rise to wrong mindfulness. Wrong mindfulness gives rise to wrong immersion. Wrong immersion gives rise to wrong knowledge. Wrong knowledge gives rise to wrong freedom. That’s how relying on the wrong way leads to failure, not success.
Relying on the right way leads to success, not failure. And how does relying on the right way lead to success, not failure? Right view gives rise to right thought. Right thought gives rise to right speech. Right speech gives rise to right action. Right action gives rise to right livelihood. Right livelihood gives rise to right effort. Right effort gives rise to right mindfulness. Right mindfulness gives rise to right immersion. Right immersion gives rise to right knowledge. Right knowledge gives rise to right freedom. That’s how relying on the right way leads to success, not failure.” AN10.103

"Bhikkhus, you should train thus: 'Our livelihood shall be purified, clear and open, flawless and restrained, and we will not laud ourselves and disparage others on account of that purified livelihood. (MN39)

Abandoning Wrong Livelihood. What is Wrong Livelihood?

(A difference might be made between lay and monks but I do not do this here).

-“Abandoning wrong livelihood means not making a living by such base arts, such wrong means of livelihood as: palmistry, divining by signs, portents, dreams, body-marks, mouse-gnawing’s, fire-oblations, oblations from a ladle, of husks, rice-powder, rice grains, ghee or oil, from the mouth or of blood, reading the finger-tips, house- and garden-lore, skill in charms, ghost-lore, earth-house lore, snake-lore, poison-lore, rat-lore, bird lore, crow-lore, foretelling a person’s life-span, charms against arrows, knowledge of animals’ cries, the ascetic Gotama refrains from such base arts and wrong means of livelihood. "'Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins make their living by such base arts as judging the marks of gems, sticks, clothes, swords, spears, arrows, weapons, women, men, boys, girls, male and female slaves, elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, cows, goats, rams, cocks, quail, iguanas, bamboo-rats, tortoises, deer, the ascetic Gotama refrains from such base arts.

"‘Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins make their living by such base arts as predicting: ‘The chiefs’ will march out - the chiefs will march back’, ‘Our chiefs will advance and the other chiefs will retreat’, ‘Our chiefs will win and the other chiefs will lose’, ‘The other chiefs will win and ours will lose’, ‘Thus there will be victory for one side and defeat for the other’, the ascetic Gotama refrains from such base arts.

"'Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins make their living by such base arts as predicting an eclipse of the moon, the sun, a star; that the sun and moon will go on their proper course - will go astray; that a star will go on its proper course- will go astray; that there will be a shower of meteors, a blaze in the sky, an earthquake, thunder; a rising, setting, darkening, brightening of the moon, the sun, the stars; and ‘such will be the outcome of these things’, the ascetic Gotama refrains from such bas; arts and wrong means of livelihood.

"'Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins make their living by such base arts as predicting good or bad rainfall; a good or bad harvest; security, danger; disease, health; or accounting, computing, calculating, poetic composition, philosophizing, the ascetic Gotama refrains from such base arts and wrong means of livelihood.

"'Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins make their living by such base arts as arranging the giving and taking in marriage, engagements and divorces; [declaring the time for] saving and spending, bringing good or bad luck, procuring abortions, using spells to bind the tongue, binding the jaw, making the hands jerk, causing deafness, getting answers with a mirror, a girl-medium, a deva; worshipping the sun or Great Brahma, breathing fire, invoking the goddess of luck, the ascetic Gotama refrains from such base arts and wrong means of livelihood.

"'Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins, feeding on the food of the faithful, make their living by such base arts, such wrong means of livelihood as appeasing the devas and redeeming vows to them, making earth-house spells, causing virility or impotence, preparing and consecrating building sites, giving ritual rinsings and bathings, making sacrifices, giving emetics, purges, expectorants and phlegmagogues, giving ear-, eye-, nose-medicine, ointments and counter-ointments, eye-surgery, surgery, pediatry, using balms to counter the side-effects of previous remedies, the ascetic Gotama refrains from such base arts and wrong means of livelihood. " (DN1)

Sister, those ascetics and brahmins who earn a living by geomancy—a low lore, a wrong livelihood—are said to eat facing downwards. Those ascetics and brahmins who earn a living by astrology—a low lore, a wrong livelihood—are said to eat facing upwards. Those ascetics and brahmins who earn a living by running errands and messages—a wrong livelihood—are said to eat facing the cardinal directions. Those ascetics and brahmins who earn a living by palmistry—a low lore, a wrong livelihood—are said to eat facing the intermediate directions. (SN28.10)

'Monks, in whatever former life the Tathagata, …rejecting wrong livelihood, lived by right livelihood, refraining from cheating with false weights and measures, from bribery and corruption, deception and insincerity, from wounding, killing, imprisoning, highway robbery, and taking goods by force . (DN30)

"And what, bhikkhus, is wrong livelihood? Scheming, talking, hinting, belittling, pursuing gain with gain: this is wrong livelihood. (MN117)

Bhikkhus, a lay follower should not engage in these five trades. What five? Trading in weapons, trading in living beings, trading in meat, trading in intoxicants, and trading in poisons. A lay follower should not engage in these five trades.” (AN5.177)

One can also regard being a soldier and actor for a living as wrong livelihood. (SN42.2+3)

Right livelihood

For one of right livelihood, wrong livelihood is worn away. And the many bad, unskillful qualities that arise because of wrong livelihood are worn away. And because of right livelihood, many skillful qualities are fully developed . (AN10.106)

Right livelihood gives rise to right effort. Right effort gives rise to right mindfulness. Right mindfulness gives rise to right immersion. Right immersion gives rise to right knowledge. Right knowledge gives rise to right freedom. That’s how relying on the right way leads to success, not failure.” AN10.103

From this, I think, right livelihood can be seen as that livelihood that supports the practice, that does not defile, that does not conflict with the training. In short: that livelihood that makes it possible, and is directed upon, abandoning all bad, doing only good and purify mind. That livelihood conducive to the goal of Nibbana.

"And what, bhikkhus, is right livelihood? Right livelihood, I say, is twofold: there is right livelihood that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment; and there is right livelihood that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

"And what, bhikkhus, is right livelihood that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment? Here, bhikkhus, a noble disciple abandons wrong livelihood and gains his living by right livelihood: this is right livelihood that is affected by taints… .on the side of attachment.
"And what, bhikkhus, is right livelihood that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The desisting from wrong livelihood, the abstaining, refraining, abstinence from it in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right livelihood that is noble…a factor of the path . (MN117)

Motives for becoming a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni .

It is not that being a bhikkhu or bhikkuni is an sich right livelihood. It also depend on the intent and the way one makes use of this way of living.

“In the same way, there are those faithless people who went forth from the lay life to homelessness not out of faith but to earn a livelihood. They’re devious, deceitful, and sneaky. They’re restless, insolent, fickle, scurrilous, and loose-tongued. They do not guard their sense doors or eat in moderation, and they are not dedicated to wakefulness. They don’t care about the ascetic life, and don’t keenly respect the training. They’re indulgent and slack, leaders in backsliding, neglecting seclusion, lazy, and lacking energy. They’re unmindful, lacking situational awareness and immersion, with straying minds, witless and stupid. Venerable Sāriputta planes their faults with this exposition of the teaching as if he knows my heart with his heart!
But there are those gentlemen who went forth from the lay life to homelessness out of faith. They’re not devious, deceitful, and sneaky. They’re not restless, insolent, fickle, scurrilous, and loose-tongued. They guard their sense doors and eat in moderation, and they are dedicated to wakefulness. They care about the ascetic life, and keenly respect the training. They’re not indulgent or slack, nor are they leaders in backsliding, neglecting seclusion. They’re energetic and determined. They’re mindful, with situational awareness, immersion, and unified minds; wise, not stupid. Hearing this exposition of the teaching from Venerable Sāriputta, they drink it up and devour it, as it were. And in speech and thought they say: ‘It’s good, sirs, that he draws his spiritual companions away from the unskillful and establishes them in the skillful.’ (MN5, MN107)

Bhikkhus, this is the lowest form of livelihood, that is, gathering alms. In the world this is a term of abuse: ‘You alms-gatherer; you roam about with a begging bowl in your hand!’ And yet, bhikkhus, clansmen intent on the good take up that way of life for a valid reason. It is not because they have been driven to it by kings that they do so, nor because they have been driven to it by thieves, nor owing to debt, nor from fear, nor to earn a livelihood. But they do so with the thought: ‘I am immersed in birth, aging, and death; in sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. I am immersed in suffering, oppressed by suffering. Perhaps an ending of this entire mass of suffering might be discerned!’ (SN22.80, MN68)

Extra

The next things do not really relate to livelihood but more a general moral way of living, I feel. But are still good to mention. For example:

  • Honoring our parents who are very hard to repay for all they have done for us (AN2.33, AN3.31)

  • Being inclusive:Mendicants, there are these four ways of being inclusive. What four? Giving, kindly words, taking care, and equality. (AN4.32)

Instructions for lay for welfare and happiness in this life and beyond are:

Byagghapajja, these four things lead to the welfare and happiness of a gentleman in this life. What four? Accomplishment in initiative, protection, good friendship, and balanced finances.
These four things lead to the welfare and happiness of a gentleman in future lives. What four? Accomplishment in faith, ethics, generosity, and wisdom . For more info, see AN8.54

In the next post: Other Classifications of Purity

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Other Classifications of Purity and Purification

There is a classification in seven

  • Purity/purification of virtue or morality
  • Purity/purification of mind.
  • Purity/purification of view.
  • Purity/purification of overcoming doubt
  • Purity/purification of knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path,
  • Purity/purification of knowledge and vision of the way or modes of practice
  • Purity/purification of knowledge and vision (listed in MN24, DN33)

In DN34 two more are added:

  • Purity of wisdom,
  • Purity of deliverance.

In the next posts I will describe what I have found about these in the sutta’s.

Purity of virtue or morality and purity of mind

This is are already discusses, see above posts.

Purity of View. Purification of View
(ditthivisuddhi)

A lot can be said about views but I have made a short summary. Wrong views have to be abandoned of course. One must have right views.

‘Others will be of wrong view; we shall be of right view here’: effacement should be practiced thus. … One given to wrong view has right view by which to avoid it (MN8)

Now there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: hell or the animal realm. (MN57)

Importance of View

View is how we understand things. It precedes our intentions, speech, actions etc. Even when our intentions are good, if our understanding of things is wrong, the result is not wished for, suffering (AN1.314) View is the first factor of the Path. Above all the EBT portray the Buddha as a visionair.

These worthy beings who were ill-conducted in body, speech, and mind, revilers of noble ones, wrong in their views, giving effect to wrong view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a state of deprivation, in a bad destination, in perdition, even in hell; but these worthy beings who were well conducted in body, speech, and mind, not revilers of noble ones, right in their views, giving effect to right view in their**actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a good destination, even in the heavenly world .’ (MN51)

We must abandon all wrong views to purify view.

What are wrong views?

DN1 is famous for describing this. I am only going to mention these views here. For more details about all these specific views and the grounds upon which they arise, see the sutta.

The sutta’s describes different grounds for the arising of categories of wrong views of which is said: …”Now, these things are only the feeling of those who do not know or see, the anxiety and evasiveness of those under the sway of craving. Namely, when those ascetics and brahmins assert;

  • Eternalist views on four grounds
  • Partial Eternalist views on four grounds
  • Views that cosmos is finite or infinite on four grounds
  • Flip-flopping on four grounds
  • Origination by Change of the self and the cosmos on two grounds
  • Percipient life after death on sixteen grounds
  • Non-percipient life after death on eight grounds
  • Neither Percipient Nor Non-Percipient Life After Death on eight grounds
  • Annihilationism on seven grounds
  • Nibbana here and now on five grounds.

The Realized One understands this: ‘If you hold on to and attach to these grounds for views it leads to such and such a destiny in the next life.’ He understands this, and what goes beyond this. And since he does not misapprehend that understanding, he has realized extinguishment within himself. Having truly understood the origin, ending, gratification, drawback, and escape from feelings, the Realized One is freed through not grasping.
These are the principles—deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful, sublime, beyond the scope of logic, subtle, comprehensible to the astute—which the Realized One makes known after realizing them with his own insight. And those who genuinely praise the Realized One would rightly speak of these things . (DN1)

All these wrong views must be abandoned. We must see if we have those views and abandon them.

What is Right View?

Twofold Right View

“And what, bhikkhus, is right view? Right view, I say, is twofold: there is right view that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment; and there is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.
"And what, bhikkhus, is fight view that is affected by the taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment? ‘There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings who are reborn spontaneously; there are in the world good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ This is right view affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment.

"And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The wisdom, the faculty of wisdom, the power of wisdom, the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor, the path factor of right view in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path. (MN117)

I tend to see the ‘right views affected by the taint, but partaking of merit’, like having a right worldview. A right overview of life, as it were. A global and correct understanding of the world. But the sutta’s do not imply that these views are mere for skillful use. For example MN60 says:

Since there actually is another world, one who holds the view ‘there is no other world’ has wrong view. It also says that it is really a right view that there is a cause and condition for the defilement and purification of beings and a wrong view that there is not.

Right view that is noble, taintless

I believe this is the kind of right view like below:

Then one mendicant went up to another mendicant and asked, “Reverend, at what point is a mendicant’s vision well purified?”
“When a mendicant truly understands the origin and ending of the six fields of contact, at that point their vision is well purified.”
Not content with that answer, that mendicant went up to a series of other mendicants and received the following answers:
“When a mendicant truly understands the origin and ending of the five grasping aggregates, at that point their vision is well purified.”
“When a mendicant truly understands the origin and ending of the four primary elements, at that point their vision is well purified.”
“When a mendicant truly understands that everything that has a beginning has an end, at that point their vision is well purified .” (SN35.245)

The person in the sutta who hears these answers is not satisfied (feels they are different) and asks the Buddha for advice. The Buddha uses a simile of a tree that is described from different perspectives/angles/focus but all describe the same kind of tree. The message seems to be that although this knowledge seems different, they are all a message of reality, true from their own perspective. They are all arrived at by the eightfold noble path.

The last purified view: ” a mendicant truly understands that everything that has a beginning has an end” is also referred to as the Dhamma cakkhu. The opening of the Dhamma-eye and is generally seen as the kind of vision one has entering the stream.

Mendicants, a person accomplished in view can’t give rise to six things. What six? Substantialist view (sakkaya ditthi), doubt, misapprehension of precepts and observances, and forms of greed, hate, and delusion that lead to rebirth in places of loss. A person accomplished in view can’t give rise to these six things.” (AN6.91)

MN9 also describes how a person can be said to have arrived at true Dhamma and who’s view is straight. I believe also these are the right views that are in MN117 called noble and taintless.

Summarized from the sutta:

  • knowing the (un)wholesome and their roots
  • knowing nutriment, the origin of nutriment, the cessation of nutriment, and the way leading to the cessation of nutriment
  • knowing the Four Noble Truths (AN4.194)
  • knowing the nidana’s of PS, their origin, cessation and the way leading to the cessation, knowing their interdependency
  • knowing the asava’s, their arising, cessation and the way leading to their cessation

For more details see MN9

View is purified if we have abandoned all wrong views and have right views.

In the next post: Purity in Overcoming Doubt

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Purity in Overcoming Doubt
(kankhavitaranavisuddhi)

Doubt is one of the five hindrances that weaken wisdom. Those blind the mind for what is wholesome and unwholesome, skillful and unskillful, blameworthy, superior and inferior, dark or bright. One must make an effort to overcome doubt. Doubt is an impurity.

“So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time Venerable Revata the Doubter was sitting not far from the Buddha, cross-legged, with his body straight, reviewing his own purification through overcoming doubt. The Buddha saw him meditating there. Then, understanding this matter, on that occasion the Buddha expressed this heartfelt sentiment: “Any doubts about this world or the world beyond, about one’s own experiences or those of another: those who meditate give them all up, keenly practicing the spiritual life.” (Ud5.7)

“Abandoning doubt, he abides having gone beyond doubt, unperplexed about wholesome states; he purifies his mind from doubts . (DN2§68, DN25§16, MN39§13, MN51§19, MN107§9, MN125§21, AN5.75, AN9.40)

“…In the same way, there’s a time when your heart is overcome and mired in doubt and you don’t truly understand the escape from doubt that has arisen. At that time you don’t truly know or see what is good for yourself, good for another, or good for both (wisdom gets weakend, Green). Even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced. This is the cause, brahmin, this is the reason why sometimes even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced.
In the same way, there’s a time when your heart is not overcome and mired in doubt and you truly understand the escape from doubt that has arisen. At that time you truly know and see what is good for yourself, good for another, and good for both. Even hymns that are long-unpracticed spring to mind, let alone those that are practiced. This is the cause, brahmin, this is the reason why sometimes even hymns that are long-unpracticed do spring to mind, let alone those that are practiced . (SN46.55)

We also have to free ourselves from doubts about Four Noble Truths. (MN81)

Having doubts about the Three Jewels and training and being angry with companions in the holy life…this mind is not inclined towards ardor, devotion, persistence and effort. (DN33§2.1, AN5.205, AN10.14)

We must overcome all these doubts.

How does doubt arise ?

"And what fuels the arising of doubt, or, when it has arisen, makes it increase and grow? There are things that are grounds for doubt. Frequent irrational application of mind to them fuels the arising of doubt, or, when it has arisen, makes it increase and grow. (SN46.2, SN46.23/24, SN46.51)

These grounds for doubt I have not seen mentioned. But maybe it refers to what is described in SN46.51, (see further) or all kinds of speculative views about the world, the soul and body, a first beginning etc.

Mendicants, when you apply the mind irrationally, sensual desire, ill will, dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, and doubt arise, and once arisen they increase and grow.” (SN46.35)

Sometimes this is also translated as giving ‘unwise attention’ or ‘having careless attention’.

Overcoming Doubts

Mendicants, I do not see a single thing that prevents doubt from arising, or, when it has arisen, gives it up like rational application of mind. When you apply the mind rationally, doubt does not arise, or, if it’s already arisen, it’s given up. (AN1.20)

“And what starves the arising of doubt, or, when it has arisen, starves its increase and growth? There are qualities that are skillful and unskillful, blameworthy and blameless, inferior and superior, and those on the side of dark and bright. Frequent rational application of mind to them starves the arising of doubt, or, when it has arisen, starves its increase and growth . (SN46.51)

I think the most deep way to abandon doubt is described here:

“Just as a clean cloth with all marks removed would take dye evenly, so too, while the brahmin Brahmayu sat there, the spotless immaculate vision of the Dhamma arose in him: “All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation.” Then’ the brahmin Brahmayu saw the Dhamma, attained the Dhamma, understood the Dhamma, fathomed the Dhamma; he crossed beyond doubt, did away with perplexity, gained intrepidity, and became independent of others in the Teacher’s Dispensation . (MN91§36, AN8.12, AN8.21)

It can be said that the sutta’s describe that a dhammanusarin and saddhanusarain which have not yet entered the stream, but are on the path to become a sotapanna, both have already sufficient faith/trust in the impermanence, decaying, perishing character of the eye, ear, nose, body, tongue, mind. In what they sense. In the perishable character of the sense consciousnesses. Of the sense-contacts. What is felt and perceived. The intentions and cravings that arise based upon what is sensed and perceived. And also of the impermanence, decaying, perishing of the 5 aggregates and elements (SN25.1-10)

Summarized , Purity in Overcoming Doubt, in regard to:

  • The Three Jewels,
  • Four Noble Truths,
  • Doubts about this world or the world beyond,
  • Qualities that are wholesome and unwholesome, skillful and unskillful, blameworthy and blameless, inferior and superior, and those on the side of dark and bright,
  • Conditionally arising and ceasing of aggregates, elements, senses, sense-contacts, what is sensed, feelings, perception, intentions, cravings.

In the next post: Purity in Knowledge and Vision of what is the Path and what is Not the Path.

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Purity in Knowledge and Vision of what is the Path and what is Not the Path
(maggamaggananadassanavisuddhi)

General Info

"A dispute about livelihood or about the Patimokkha would be trifling, Ananda. But should a dispute arise in the Sangha about the path or the way, such a dispute would be for the harm and unhappiness of many, for the loss, harm, and suffering of gods and humans . (MN104)

“He who found for the sake of all beings
release from the snare of death;
who revealed the Dhamma, the method,
for the benefit of devas and humans;
he in whom many people gain confidence
when they see and listen to him;
the one skilled in the path and what is not the path,
the taintless one who accomplished his task;
the Enlightened One bearing his final body
is called "a great man of great wisdom’ (AN4.35)

Who with deep understanding, wise,
Can tell the path from the not-path
And has attained the goal supreme:
He is the one I call a brahmin . (MN98)

"Deep in wisdom, intelligent,
Skilled in the true path and the false,
Sariputta, of great wisdom,
Teaches the Dhamma to the bhikkhus (SN8.6)

I have made up this simile, Tissa, in order to convey a meaning. This here is the meaning: ‘The man unskilled in the path’: this is a designation for the worldling. 'The man skilled in the path’: this is a designation for the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One (SN22.84)

General Guideline

The sutta’s make use of a general guideline to distinguish Dhamma from not-Dhamma:

Gotamī, you might know that certain things lead to passion, not dispassion; to yoking, not to unyoking; to accumulation, not dispersal; to more desires, not fewer; to lack of contentment, not contentment; to crowding, not seclusion; to laziness, not energy; to being burdensome, not being unburdensome. Categorically, you should remember these things as not the teaching, not the training, and not the Teacher’s instructions.
You might know that certain things lead to dispassion, not passion; to unyoking, not to yoking; to dispersal, not accumulation; to fewer desires, not more; to contentment, not lack of contentment; to seclusion, not crowding; to energy, not laziness; to being unburdensome, not being burdensome. Categorically, you should remember these things as the teaching, the training, and the Teacher’s instructions .” (AN8.53)

What is not the Path?

The extremes of pursuing sensual pleasures and self-mortification

Bhikkhus, these two extremes should not be followed by one who has gone forth into homelessness. What two? The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures, which is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, unbeneficial; and the pursuit of self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble, unbeneficial. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the Tathagata has awakened to the middle way, which gives rise to vision, which gives rise to knowledge, which leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. (SN56.11)

No sense-restraint is not the Path

Bhikkhus, if in any bhikkhu or bhikkhuni desire or lust or hatred or delusion or aversion of mind should arise in regard to forms cognizable by the eye, such a one should rein in the mind from them thus: 'This path is fearful, dangerous, strewn with thorns, covered by jungle, a deviant path, an evil path, a way beset by scarcity. This is a path followed by inferior people; it is not the path followed by superior people. This is not for you.’ In this way the mind should be reined in from these states regarding forms cognizable by the eye. So too regarding sounds cognizable by the ear . . . regarding mental phenomena cognizable by the mind . (SN35.246)

Lust, the deviant Path

What is declared the deviant path?
What undergoes destruction night and day?
What is the stain of the holy life?
What is the bath without water?"
"Lust is declared the deviant path;
Life undergoes destruction night and day;
Women are the stain of the holy life:
Here menfolk are enmeshed.
Austerity and the holy life–
That is the bath without water .” (SN1.58, SN1.76)

“'He whose passions have been destroyed, who is free from pride, who has overcome all the path of passion, is subdued, perfectly happy (parinibbuta), and of a firm mind, such a one will wander rightly in the world. (Snp2.13)

The fearful deviant Path of lust, hatred and delusion

"Bhikkhus, if in any bhikkhu or bhikkhuni desire or lust or hatred or delusion or aversion of mind should arise in regard to forms cognizable by the eye, such a one should rein in the mind**from them thus: 'This path is fearful, dangerous, strewn with thorns, covered by jungle, a deviant path, an evil path, a way beset by scarcity. This is a path followed by inferior people; it is not the path followed by superior people. This is not for you.’ In this way the mind should be reined in from these states regarding forms cognizable by the eye. So too regarding sounds cognizable by the ear . . . regarding mental phenomena cognizable by the mind . (SN35.246)

The Wrong Eightfold Path, the Dark Path

“Starting with wrong view, wrong intention, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration (MN19). Sometimes added: wrong knowledge, wrong liberation.

"Bhikkhus, I will teach you the dark path and the bright path (147), the good Dhamma and the bad Dhamma (148, the Dhamma of a good person and that of a bad person (149) the Dhamma to be aroused and the one not to be aroused (150) the Dhamma to be pursued and the one not to be pursued’ (151) the Dhamma to be developed and the one not to be developed (152) the Dhamma to be cultivated and the one not to be cultivated (153) the Dhamma to be recollected and the one not to be recollected (154) the Dhamma to be realized and the one not to be realized. "And what, bhikkhus, is the Dhamma not to be realized? Wrong view, wrong intentions, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration, wrong knowledge and wrong liberation. This is called the Dhamma not to be realized. (AN10.146-154)

The Ignoble Path

"Bhikkhus, I will teach you the noble path and the ignoble path. Listen and attend closely… And what, bhikkhus, is the ignoble path? The destruction of life, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, harsh speech, idle speech, coveting possession of others, ill will and wrong view. This is called the ignoble path. (AN10.189)

Household life

Household life is not considered as a wrong Path but as: confinement, a path of dust, going forth is like the open air. It is not easy for one living at home to lead the perfectly complete, perfectly purified holy life, which is like polished conch (SN16.11)

What is the (true) Path?

The Noble Eightfold Path

Whatever recluses and brahmins have right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration, if they make an aspiration and they lead the holy life, they are able to procure fruit; if they make no aspiration and they lead the holy life, they are still able to procure fruit; if they both make an aspiration and make no aspiration and they lead the holy life, they are still able to procure fruit; if they neither make an aspiration nor make no aspiration and they lead the holy life, they are still able to procure fruit. Why is that? Because that [right path] is a proper method for procuring fruit.(MN26)

"And what, bhikkhus, is the way leading to the cessation of kamma/suffering? It is this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration . (SN35.146)

"And what, bhikkhus, is the noble path? Abstention from the destruction of life, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, harsh speech, idle speech, coveting possession of others, ill will and wrong view. This is called the noble path ." (AN10.189)

Of paths, the eightfold is the best; of truths, the four statements; dispassion is the best of things, and the Clear-eyed One is the best of humans. This is the path, there is no other for the purification of vision. You all must practice this. It is the way to baffle Māra. When you all are practicing this, you will make an end of suffering. I have explained the path to you for extracting the thorn with wisdom.
You yourselves must do the work, the Realized Ones just show the way. Meditators practicing absorption are released from Māra’s bonds . (Dhp273-276)

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is ofcourse part of the Noble Path. Regarding mindfulness, it is said: 'There is, monks, this one way to the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and distress, for the disappearance of pain and sadness, for the gaining of the right path, for the realization of Nibbana: - that is to say the four foundations of mindfulness. (DN22, MN10)

Four Paths to Arhantship

(1) "Here, a bhikkhu develops insight preceded by serenity. As he is developing insight preceded by serenity, the path is generated. He pursues this path; develops it, and cultivates it. As he is pursuing, developing, and cultivating this path, the fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies are uprooted.
(2) "Again, a bhikkhu develops serenity preceded by insight. As he is developing serenity preceded by insight, the path is generated. He pursues this path, develops it, and cultivates it. As he is pursuing, developing, and cultivating this path, the fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies are uprooted.
(3) "Again, a bhikkhu develops serenity and insight in conjunction. As he is developing serenity and insight in conjunction, the path is generated. He pursues this path, develops it, and cultivates it. As he is pursuing, developing, and cultivating this path, the fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies are uprooted.
(4) "Again, a bhikkhu’s mind is seized by restlessness about the Dhamma. But there comes an occasion when his mind becomes internally steady, composed, unified, and concentrated.
Then the path is generated in him. He pursues this path, develops it, and cultivates it. As he is pursuing, developing, and cultivating this path, the fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies are uprooted. (AN4.170)

The Path to Enlightment

"Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: 'I have discovered this path to enlightenment, that is, with the cessation of name-and-form comes cessation of consciousness; with the cessation of consciousness comes cessation of name-and-form; with the cessation of name-and-form, cessation of the six sense bases; with the cessation of the six sense bases, cessation of contact … Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering .’ (SN12.65)

So, if we have a clear understanding of the Path and what is not the Path we have arrived at Purity in Knowledge and Vision of what is the Path and what is Not the Path.

In the next post: Purity in Knowledge and Vision of Modes of Practice

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Purity in Knowledge and Vision of the Way, Different Modes of Practice
(patipadananadassanavisuddhi)

General Info

Progress is gradual

"Bhikkhus, I do not say that final knowledge is achieved all at once. On the contrary, final knowledge is achieved by gradual training, by gradual practice, by gradual progress. And how does there come to be gradual training, gradual practice, gradual progress? Here one who has faith [in a teacher] visits him; when he visits him, he pays respect to him; when he pays respect to him, he gives ear; one who gives ear hears the Dhamma; having heard the Dhamma, he memorizes it; he examines the meaning of the teachings he has memorized; when he examines their meaning, he gains a reflective acceptance of those teachings; when he has gained a reflective acceptance of those teachings, zeal springs up in him; when zeal has sprung up, he applies his will; having applied his will, he scrutinizes; having scrutinized, he strives; resolutely striving, he realizes with the body the ultimate truth and sees it by penetrating it with wisdom . (MN70)

"Just as the great ocean gradually shelves, slopes, and inclines, and there is no sudden precipice, so also in this Dhamma and Discipline there is a gradual training, a gradual course, a gradual progression, and there is no sudden penetration to final knowledge. Since, in this Dhamma and Discipline there is a gradual training,… this is the first wonderful and marvellous quality in this Dhamma and Discipline, seeing which bhikkhus delight in this Dhamma and Discipline. (Ud5.5)

Knowledge and Vision of the Way, Different Modes of Practice

Painful and pleasant practice, with quick and slow comprehension

“Also unsurpassed in the Blessed Lord’s way of teaching Dhamma in regard to the modes of progress, which are four: painful progress with slow comprehension, painful progress with quick comprehension, pleasant progress with slow comprehension, pleasant progress with quick comprehension. In the case of painful progress with slow comprehension, progress is considered poor on account of both painfulness and slowness. In the case of painful progress with quick comprehension, progress is considered poor on account of painfulness. In the case of pleasant progress with slow comprehension, progress is considered poor on account of slowness. In the case of pleasant progress with quick comprehension, progress is considered excellent on account of both pleasantness and quick comprehension. This is the unsurpassed teaching in regard to the modes of progress .(DN22, DN28, DN33, AN4.161)

AN4.162 relates the difference between painful and pleasant practice to the level of defilements we have. And quick/slow comprehension to the level of the five powers:

Mendicants, there are four ways of practice. What four?

-painful practice with slow insight,
-painful practice with swift insight,
-pleasant practice with slow insight, and
-pleasant practice with swift insight.

“And what’s the painful practice with slow insight? It’s when someone is ordinarily full of acute greed, hate, and delusion. They often feel the pain and sadness that greed, hate, and delusion bring. These five faculties manifest in them weakly: faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom. Because of this, they only slowly attain the conditions for ending the defilements in the present life. This is called the painful practice with slow insight.
And what’s the painful practice with swift insight? It’s when someone is ordinarily full of acute greed, hate, and delusion. They often feel the pain and sadness that greed, hate, and delusion bring. And these five faculties manifest in them strongly: faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom. Because of this, they swiftly attain the conditions for ending the defilements in the present life. This is called the painful practice with swift insight.
And what’s pleasant practice with slow insight? It’s when someone is not ordinarily full of acute greed, hate, and delusion. They rarely feel the pain and sadness that greed, hate, and delusion bring. These five faculties manifest in them weakly: faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom. Because of this, they only slowly attain the conditions for ending the defilements in the present life. This is called the pleasant practice with slow insight.
And what’s the pleasant practice with swift insight? It’s when someone is not ordinarily full of acute greed, hate, and delusion. They rarely feel the pain and sadness that greed, hate, and delusion bring. These five faculties manifest in them strongly: faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom. Because of this, they swiftly attain the conditions for ending the defilements in the present life. This is called the pleasant practice with swift insight.

These are the four ways of practice .” (AN4.162)

This is judged like this:

Of these, the painful practice with slow insight is said to be inferior in both ways: because it’s painful and because it’s slow. This practice is said to be inferior in both ways.
The painful practice with swift insight is said to be inferior because it’s painful.
The pleasant practice with slow insight is said to be inferior because it’s slow.
The pleasant practice with swift insight is said to be superior in both ways: because it’s pleasant, and because it’s swift. This practice is said to be superior in both ways . (AN4.166)

AN4.163 relates pain/pleasant practice to the objects of our meditation and slow/swift insight to the level of the powers.

Mendicants, there are four ways of practice. What four?

-painful practice with slow insight,
-painful practice with swift insight,
-pleasant practice with slow insight, and
-pleasant practice with swift insight.

"And what’s the painful practice with slow insight? It’s when a mendicant meditates observing the ugliness of the body, perceives the repulsiveness of food, perceives dissatisfaction with the whole world, observes the impermanence of all conditions, and has well established the perception of their own death. They rely on these five powers of a trainee: faith, conscience, prudence, energy, and wisdom. But these five faculties manifest in them weakly: faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom. Because of this, they only slowly attain the conditions for ending the defilements in the present life. This is called the painful practice with slow insight.
And what’s the painful practice with swift insight? It’s when a mendicant meditates observing the ugliness of the body, perceives the repulsiveness of food, perceives dissatisfaction with the whole world, observes the impermanence of all conditions, and has well established the perception of their own death. They rely on these five powers of a trainee: faith, conscience, prudence, energy, and wisdom. And these five faculties manifest in them strongly: faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom. Because of this, they swiftly attain the conditions for ending the defilements in the present life. This is called the painful practice with swift insight.
And what’s the pleasant practice with slow insight? It’s when a mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. As the placing of the mind and keeping it connected are stilled, they enter and remain in the second absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of immersion, with internal clarity and mind at one, without placing the mind and keeping it connected. And with the fading away of rapture, they enter and remain in the third absorption, where they meditate with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.’ Giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, they enter and remain in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness. They rely on these five powers of a trainee: faith, conscience, prudence, energy, and wisdom. But these five faculties manifest in them weakly: faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom. Because of this, they only slowly attain the conditions for ending the defilements in the present life. This is called the pleasant practice with slow insight.
And what’s the pleasant practice with swift insight? It’s when a mendicant … enters and remains in the first absorption … second absorption … third absorption … fourth absorption … They rely on these five powers of a trainee: faith, conscience, prudence, energy, and wisdom. And these five faculties manifest in them strongly: faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom. Because of this, they swiftly attain the conditions for ending the defilements in the present life. This is called the pleasant practice with swift insight.

These are the four ways of practice .” (AN4.163)

Other modes of practice are described:

Impatient practice, patient practice, controlled/taming practice and calming practice

Mendicants, there are four ways of practice. What four? Impatient practice, patient practice, taming practice, and calming practice.
And what’s the impatient practice? It’s when someone abuses, annoys, or argues with you, and you abuse, annoy, or argue right back at them. This is called the impatient practice.
And what’s the patient practice? It’s when someone abuses, annoys, or argues with you, and you don’t abuse, annoy, or argue back at them. This is called the patient practice.
And what’s the taming practice? When a mendicant sees a sight with their eyes, they don’t get caught up in the features and details. If the faculty of sight were left unrestrained, bad unskillful qualities of covetousness and displeasure would become overwhelming. For this reason, they practice restraint, protecting the faculty of sight, and achieving restraint over it. When they hear a sound with their ears … When they smell an odor with their nose … When they taste a flavor with their tongue … When they feel a touch with their body … When they know an idea with their mind, they don’t get caught up in the features and details. If the faculty of mind were left unrestrained, bad unskillful qualities of covetousness and displeasure would become overwhelming. For this reason, they practice restraint, protecting the faculty of mind, and achieving restraint over it. This is called the taming practice. (Sense restraint, Green)
And what’s the calming practice? It’s when a mendicant doesn’t tolerate a sensual, malicious, or cruel thought. They don’t tolerate any bad, unskillful qualities that have arisen, but give them up, get rid of them, calm them, eliminate them, and obliterate them. This is called the calming practice. These are the four ways of practice .” (AN4.164, DN33)

The impatient and patient practice is also described like this:

"And what’s the impatient practice? It’s when a mendicant cannot endure cold, heat, hunger, and thirst. They cannot endure the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and reptiles. They cannot endure rude and unwelcome criticism. And they cannot put up with physical pain—sharp, severe, acute, unpleasant, disagreeable, and life-threatening. This is called the impatient practice.
And what’s the patient practice? It’s when a mendicant endures cold, heat, hunger, and thirst. They endure the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and reptiles. They endure rude and unwelcome criticism. And they put up with physical pain—sharp, severe, acute, unpleasant, disagreeable, and life-threatening. This is called the patient practice . (AN4.165)

So, if we have a clear understanding of this different modes of practice, we have a purified Knowledge and Vision of the Way, of Different Modes of Practice.

In the next post: Purity of Knowledge and Vision

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Purity of Knowledge and Vision
(nanadassanavisuddhi, purification of knowledge and vision)

General esteem for the knowledge and vision of the Buddha

"Again, Udayin, my disciples esteem me for my excellent knowledge and vision thus: 'When the recluse Gotama says “I know,” he truly knows; when he says “I see,” he truly sees. The recluse Gotama teaches the Dhamma through direct knowledge, not without direct knowledge; he teaches the Dhamma with a sound basis, not without a sound basis; he teaches the Dhamma in a convincing manner, not in an unconvincing manner.’ (MN77)

The sutta have a kind of standard expression in regard to Knowledge and Vision. It is not about ordinary knowledge and vision but knowledge and vision of …any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. (MN12)

Some people in the time of the Buddha (and probably nowadays too) believed that for a human it is impossible to attain superhuman states, a distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones:

Master Gotama, the brahmin Pokkharasati of the Upamanna clan, lord of the Subhaga Grove, says thus: 'Some recluses and brahmins here claim superhuman states, distinctions in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. But what they say turns out to be ridiculous; it turns out to be mere words, empty and hollow. For how could a human being know or see or realize a superhuman state, a distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones? That is impossible .'” (MN99)

But Buddha teaches such is possible. It is a reason for praise and reason for embarrassment when one resp. has and has not come to distinction in knowledge and vision. One should always try to attain the yet unattained and reflect upon it like this:

"One who has gone forth should often reflect: 'Have I attained any superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones, so that in my last days, when I am questioned by my fellow monks, I will not be embarrassed ?’ (AN10.48)

What is this Distinctive Knowledge and Vision Worthy of the Noble Ones?

Based upon what I have read in the sutta’s (not in commentaries), distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of nobles relates to:

  • Knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path (DN34)
  • Knowledge and vision of the way or different modes of practice (DN34)
  • Knowledge and vision of liberation (DN33)
  • Knowledge and vision of the Four Noble Truths (SN56.11)
  • Knowledge and vision of the Fruits (MN118, DN12)
  • Knowledge and vision related to special abilities (MN26, seeing that someone has died), related to the Divine Eye (Seeing forms not visible to the eye (MN, note 347)
  • Knowledge and vision of the relation between view-deeds-rebirth. (DN1, MN12, MN76)
  • Jhana’s are also seen as a distinction in Knowledge and Vision (MN31, SN41.9) and also as superhuman states (MN65, SN41.9)
  • Knowledge and vision of how things actually/really are.

Regarding the last: Knowledge and Vision of Things as They Actually Are (yathabhutananadassana), i have made a separate post on this that follows after this post.

The sutta’s describe causes for lack of Knowledge and Vision, obstacles. I have made an overview of these obstacles, followed by an overview of the causes for Knowledge and Vision. Some are already discussed, but some repetition is not bad too, right?

Causes for lack of Knowledge and Vision, Obstacles

Regarding Austerity and Disgust as the Essence, Impurity in Actions and Livelihood

So too, Salha, those ascetics and brahmins who advocate austerity and disgust, who regard austerity and disgust as the essence, and who adhere to austerity and disgust are incapable of crossing the flood. Also, those ascetics and brahmins whose bodily, verbal, and mental behavior are impure, and whose livelihood is impure, are incapable of knowledge and vision, of unsurpassed enlightenment . (AN4.196)

"Yet, Sariputta, by such conduct, by such practice, by such performance of austerities, I did not attain any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. Why was that? Because I did not attain that noble wisdom which when attained is noble and emancipating and leads the one who practices in accordance with it to the complete destruction of suffering. (MN12)

“But by this racking practice of austerities I have not attained any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones . (MN36)

Five Hindrances, They Cloud the Mind

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rgjagaha on Mount Vulture Peak. Then Prince Abhaya approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: "Venerable sir, Purana Kassapa says: 'There is no cause or condition for lack of knowledge and vision; lack of knowledge and vision is without cause or condition. There is no cause or condition for knowledge and vision; knowledge and vision are without cause or condition. What does the Blessed One say about this?"

"There is, prince, a cause and condition for lack of knowledge and vision; lack of knowledge and vision is with cause and condition. There is a cause and condition for knowledge and vision; knowledge and vision are with cause and condition." "But, venerable sir, what is the cause and condition for lack of knowledge and vision? How is it that lack of knowledge and vision is with cause and condition?"
"On an occasion, prince, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by sensual lust, overwhelmed by sensual lust, and one either knows nor sees as it really is the escape from arisen, sensual lust: this is a cause and condition for lack of knowledge and vision; it is in this way that lack of knowledge and vision is with cause and condition. "Again, prince, on an occasion when one dwells with a mind obsessed by ill will . . . obsessed by sloth and torpor obsessedby restlessness and remorse . obsessed by doubt , overwhelmed by doubt, and one neither knows nor sees as it really is the escape from arisen doubt: this too is a cause and condition for lack of knowledge and vision; it is in this way too that lack of knowledge and vision is with cause and condition." “What is this Dhamma exposition called, venerable sir?”
“These are called the hindrances, prince.” "Surely they are hindrances, Blessed One! Surely they are hindrances, Fortunate One! One overcome by even a single hindrance would not know and see things as they really are, not to speak of one overcome by the five hindrances. (SN46.56, MN99)

When the mind is clouded with the hindrances, we are blinded to see our own good, the good of others and both.

Take a mendicant who has feeble and weak wisdom, not having given up these five obstacles and hindrances, parasites of the mind that weaken wisdom. It’s quite impossible that they would know what’s for their own good, the good of another, or the good of both; or that they would realize any superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. (AN5.51, AN1.45)

The hindrance of sensual lust

…”is tied to these five cords of sensual pleasure, infatuated with them and utterly committed to them; he enjoys them without seeing the danger in them or understanding the escape from them. That he could know or see or realize a superhuman state, a distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones - this is impossible. (MN99)

"So too, Aggivessana, as to those recluses and brahmins who still do not live bodily and mentally withdrawn from sensual pleasures, and whose sensual desire, affection, infatuation, thirst, and fever for sensual pleasures has not been fully abandoned and suppressed internally, even if those good recluses and brahmins feel painful, racking, piercing feelings due to exertion, they are incapable of knowledge and vision and supreme enlightenment; and even if those good recluses and brahmins do not feel painful, racking, piercing feelings due to exertion, they are incapable of knowledge and vision, and supreme enlightenment. This was the first simile that occurred to me spontaneously, never heard before . (MN36, MN99)

Not fulfilling the Training, self-critique and other-critique

"Here, Bhaddali, some bhikkhu does not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation. He considers thus: 'Suppose I were to resort to a secluded resting place: the forest, the root of a tree, a mountain, a ravine, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle thicket, an open space, a heap of straw - perhaps I might realize a superhuman state, a distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.’ He resorts to some such secluded resting-place. While he lives thus withdrawn, the Teacher censures him, wise companions in the holy life who have made investigation censure him, gods censure him, and he censures himself. Being censured in this way by the Teacher, by wise companions in the holy life, by gods, and by himself, he realizes no superhuman state, no distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. Why is that? That is how it is with one who does not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation . (MN65)

Other Obstacles for knowledge and vision

Mendicants, without giving up six qualities you can’t realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. What six? Lack of mindfulness and situational awareness, not guarding the sense doors, eating too much, deceit, and flattery. Without giving up these six qualities you can’t realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. (AN6.77)

The causes and conditions for Knowledge and Vision

These are the opposite. In short:

  • not regarding disgust and austerity as the essence (AN4.196)
  • fulfilling the training, not being critiqued by others and nothing to blame oneself (MN65)
  • giving up the five hindrances (AN5.51, AN1.46), (MN36 describes sensual pleasure)
  • giving up: lack of mindfulness and situational awareness, not guarding the sense doors, eating too much, deceit, and flattery (AN6.77)

About mindfulness :

Mindfulness leads to knowledge of vision As he thus dwells contemplating his own body as body, he becomes perfectly concentrated and perfectly serene. I Being thus calm and serene, he gains knowledge and vision externally of the bodies of others. He abides contemplating his own feelings as feelings,. . .he abides contemplating his own mind as mind,. . .he abides contemplating his own mind-objects as mind-objects, earnestly, clearly aware, mindful and having put away all hankering and fretting for the world. As he thus dwells contemplating his own mind-objects as mind-objects, he becomes perfectly concentrated and perfectly serene. Being thus calm and serene, he gains knowledge and vision externally of the mind-objects of others. These are the four foundations of mindfulness well pointed out by the Lord Buddha who knows and sees, for the attainment of that which is good .’ (DN18)

The Enlightment Factors as Cause

"But, venerable sir, what is the cause and condition for knowledge and vision? How is it that knowledge and vision are with cause and condition?" "Here, prince, a bhikkhu develops the enlightment factor of mindfulness, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation,
maturing in release. With a mind that has developed the enlightenment factor of mindfulness he knows and sees things as they really are. This is a cause for knowledge and vision; it is in**this way that knowledge and vision are with cause and condition…" Furthermore, a mendicant develops the awakening factor of investigation of principles … energy … rapture … tranquility … immersion … equanimity, which rely on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripen as letting go. They truly know and see with a mind that has developed the awakening factor of equanimity. This is a cause and reason for knowing and seeing. And this is how knowing and seeing have causes and reasons.”
“What is this Dhamma exposition called, venerable sir?” “These are called the factors of enlightenment, prince.” 'Surely they are factors of enlightenment, Blessed One! Surely they are factors of enlightenment, Fortunate One! One who possesses even a single factor of enlightenment would know and see things as they really are, not to speak of one who possesses the seven factors of enlightenment. (SN46.56)

Perception of light during day and night

"And what is the development of concentration that leads to obtaining knowledge and vision? Here, a bhikkhu attends to the perception of light; he focuses on the perception of day thus: 'As by day, so at night; as at night, so by day. Thus, with a mind that is open and uncovered, he develops a mind imbued with luminosity. This is the development of concentration that leads to obtaining knowledge and vision (AN4.41, AN6.29))

A purified knowledge and vision of light and regarding deities is described in AN8.64

This is what I have been able to find about knowledge and vision (nanadassanavisuddhi).
If we have arrived at distinctive knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones we have purified Knowledge and Vision.

Like I said earlier, I have made a separate post on: Knowledge and Vision of how things actually/really are (yathabhutananadassana). This is the subject of the next post.

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Knowledge and Vision of How Things Actually Are
(yathabhutananadassana)

This Knowledge and Vision of How Things Actually Are is described in the context of how things naturally develop on the Path, or relate to each other (see further) and in the context of vipassana.

Vision, the Big Picture

"Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are. " And what does he understand as it really is? The origin and passing away of form; the origin and passing away of feeling; the origin and passing away of perception; the origin and passing away of volitional formations; the origin and passing away of consciousness.

Origin and sustaining of the khandha’s and rebirth

"And what, bhikkhus, is the origin of form? What is the origin of feeling? What is the origin of perception? What is the origin of volitional formations? What is the origin of consciousness?
"Here, bhikkhus, one seeks delight, one welcomes, one remains holding. And what is it that one seeks delight in, what does one welcome, to what does one remain holding? One seeks delight in form, welcomes it, and remains holding to it. As a consequence of this, delight arises. Delight in form is clinging. With one’s clinging as condition, existence [comes to be]; with existence as condition, birth; with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. "One seeks delight in feeling . . . in perception . . . in volitional formations … in consciousness, welcomes it, and remains holding to it. As a consequence of this, delight arises… … Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. "This, bhikkhus, is the origin of form; this is the origin of feeling; this is the origin of perception; this is the origin of volitional formations; this is the origin of consciousness.

Passing away of the khandha’s, cessation of rebirth

"And what, bhikkhus, is the passing away of form? What is the passing away of feeling? What is the passing away of perception? What is the passing away of volitional formations? What is the passing away of consciousness? "Here, bhikkhus, one does not seek delight, one does not welcome, one does not remain holding. And what is it that one does not seek delight in? What doesn’t one welcome? To what doesn’t one remain holding? One does not seek delight in form, does not welcome it, does not remain holding to it. AS a consequence of this, delight in form ceases. With the cessation of delight comes cessation of clinging; with cessation of clinging, cessation of existence… . . Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering. "One does not seek delight in feeling . . . [15] … . in perception … . in volitional formations . . . in consciousness, does not welcome it, does not remain holding to it. As a consequence of this, delight in consciousness ceases… … Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering. ’ "This, bhikkhus, is the passing away of form; this is the passing away of feeling; this is the passing away of perception; this is the passing away of volitional formations; this is the passing away of consciousness . (SN22.5)

I feel this Vision refers to a basic understanding of the Four Noble Truths. How delight and craving are the fuel for rebirth and sustain/feed the cycle of suffering. And how the giving up, abandoning, relinquishing, cessation of that same delight and craving for the khandha’s, ends this .

How ‘Knowledge and Vision of How Things Really Are’ functions in the organic development of mind is especially described in AN. I have combined AN5.24, AN6.50, AN7.65, AN 8.81 into the following overview in which we can see how all is related and naturally evolves:

Overview of organic development of the Path

When there is mindfulness and clear comprehension, one who has fulfilled mindfulness and clear comprehension, has fulfilled a vital condition for moral shame and moral dread. Moral shame and moral dread are a vital condition for sense-restraint. When there is sense restraint, one who has sense restraint, has fulfilled a vital condition for ethical conduct. An ethical person, who has fulfilled ethics, has fulfilled a vital condition for not having regrets. When there are no regrets, one who has no regrets, has fulfilled a vital condition for joy. When there is joy, one who has fulfilled joy, has fulfilled a vital condition for rapture. When there is rapture, one who has fulfilled rapture, has fulfilled a vital condition for tranquility. When there is tranquility, one who has fulfilled tranquility, has fulfilled a vital condition for bliss. When there is bliss, one who has fulfilled bliss, has fulfilled a vital condition for concentration. When there is concentration, one who has fulfilled concentration, has fulfilled a vital condition for Knowledge and Vision of Things as They Really Are. When there is Knowledge and Vision of Things as They Really Are, one who has fulfilled Knowledge and Vision of Things as They Really Are, has fulfilled a vital condition for disillusionment. When there is disillusionment, one who has fulfilled disillusionment, has fulfilled a vital condition for dispassion. When there is dispassion, one who has fulfilled dispassion, has fulfilled a vital condition for the knowledge and vision of liberation.

It is also described like this (summarized):

The purpose and benefit of wholesome virtuous behavior is no regret. With nothing to regret there is joy. The benefit and purpose of joy is rapture. The purpose and benefit of rapture is tranquility. The benefit and purpose of tranquility is bliss. The purpose and benefit of bliss is concentration. The purpose and benefit of concentration is the Knowledge and Vision of Things as They Really Are. The purpose and benefit of this Kowledge and Vision of Things as They Really Aree, is disillusionment. The purpose of disillusionment is dispassion. The purpose and benefit of dispassion is the knowledge and vision of liberation. (AN11.1)

This all evolves naturally, organically:

(1-2)"Bhikkhus, for a virtuous person, one whose behavior . is virtuous, no volition need be exerted: 'Let non-regret arise in me. It is natural that non-regret arises in a virtuous person, one whose behavior is virtuous.
(3) "For one without regret no volition need be exerted: 'Let joy arise in me. It is natural that joy arises in one without regret.
(4) "For one who is joyful no volition need be exerted: ‘Let rapture arise in me.’ It is natural that rapture arises in one who is joyful.
(5) "For one with a rapturous mind no volition need be exerted: ‘Let my body be tranquil.’ It is natural that the body of one with a rapturous mind is tranquil.
(6) "For one tranquil in body no volition need be exerted: 'Let me feel pleasure. It is natural that one tranquil in body feels pleasure.
(7) "For one feeling pleasure no volition need be exerted: 'Let my mind be concentrated. It is natural that the mind of one feeling pleasure is concentrated.
(8) "For one who is concentrated no volition need be exerted: 'Let me know and see things as they really are. It is natural that one who is concentrated knows and sees things as they really are.
(9) “For one who knows and sees things as they really are no volition need be exerted: 'Let me be disenchanted. It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted.
(10) "For one who is disenchanted no volition need be exerted: 'Let me become dispassionate’. It is natural, that one who is disenchanted becomes dispassionate.
(1 1 )" For one who is dispassionate no volition need be exerted: ‘Let me realize the knowledge and vision of liberation.’ It is natural that one who is dispassionate realizes the knowledge and vision of liberation.
"Thus, bhikkhus, (11)—(10) the knowledge and vision of liberation is the purpose and benefit of dispassion; (9) dispassion is the purpose and benefit of disenchantment; (8) disenchantment is the purpose and benefit of the knowledge and vision of things as they really are; (7) the knowledge and vision of things as they really are is the purpose and benefit of concentration; (6) concentration is the purpose and benefit of pleasure; (5) pleasure is the purpose and benefit of tranquility; (4) tranquility is the purpose and benefit of rapture; (3) rapture is the purpose and benefit of joy; (2) joy is the purpose and benefit of non-regret; and (1) nonregret is the purpose and benefit of virtuous behavior. "Thus, bhikkhus, one stage flows into the next stage, one stage fills up the next stage, for going from the near shore to the far shore .” (AN11.2)

So, here we see that the Knowledge and Vision of Thing How They really are, is the kind of Knowledge and Vision that cures the delight, the allure, the fewer, the desire, craving for things. That what is taught as the origin of the khandha’s and sustains samsara and suffering (see above). Knowlegde and Vision that sobers up.

How to give up that craving, that delight, that fever that fuels samsara and its suffering?

  • seeing rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana with wisdom as it actually is, namely, as not me, not mine, not my self (for example as in MN109)
  • or as it actually is: anicca, dukkha, anatta (for example in MN137, SN22)
  • or seeing the origin, disappearance, gratification, danger and escape of the khandha’s as it actually is (for example MN13)

Summarized : I believe this ‘Knowledge and Vision of How Things Really Are’, first of all refers to Knowledge and Vision of the Four Noble Truths. Like one knows and sees the big picture of how delight and craving actually is the origin of the khandha’s, fuels samsara and so sustains suffering. How the cessation of that same delight and craving actually is peace and the end of suffering. This Vision. And in practice one implements this Vision with viewing khandha’s as they actually are as: not me, not mine, not my self. And as viewing khandha’s as they acually are: anicca, dukkha, and atta.

My impression is that this all covers yathabhuta nana. Seeing things as they really are. It contributes to sobering up, and that to peace, dispassion, the cessation of taints, purity, the cessation of clinging, freedom, Nibbana.

In the next post: Purity of Knowledge and Vision of Liberation and Purity of Wisdom.

Purity in Knowledge and Vision of Liberation.
(Vimutti-visuddhi, purification of liberation)

This refers to having attained the goal, Nibbana, the end of clinging. It is often expressed like this:

The knowledge and vision arose in me: 'Unshakable is my liberation of mind; this is my last birth; now there is no more renewed existence.”’ (AN3.104, AN7.50, AN9.41, SN35.13)

Like we saw in the former post, this knowledge and vision of liberation is arrived at naturally when the Path is completely developed. A detail of it:

"For one who knows and sees things as they really are no volition need be exerted: 'Let me be disenchanted. It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted.
"For one who is disenchanted no volition need be exerted: 'Let me become dispassionate’. It is natural, that one who is disenchanted becomes dispassionate.
" For one who is dispassionate no volition need be exerted: ‘Let me realize the knowledge and vision of liberation.’ It is natural that one who is dispassionate realizes the knowledge and vision of liberation. (AN11.2)

For the complete overview, see former post.

Complete Knowledge of the Four Noble Truths

So long, bhikkhus, as my knowledge and vision of these Four Noble Truths as they really are in their three phases and twelve aspects was not thoroughly purified in this way, I did not claim to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Mara, and Brahma, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. But when my knowledge and vision of these Four Noble Truths as they really are in their three phases and twelve aspects was thoroughly purified in this way, then I claimed to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Mara, and Brahma, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. The knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘Unshakable is the liberation of my mind. This is my last birth. Now there is no more renewed existence.’” (SN56.11)

This three phases refer to:

  1. The arising of the vision: This is the Noble Truth of Suffering. 2. The arising of the vision: It should be completely understood. 3. The arising of the vision: It is completely understood.
  2. The arising of the vison: This is the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering. 2. The arising of the vision: It should be given up. 3. The arising of the vision: It is given up.
  3. The arising of the vision: This is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering. 2. The arising of the vision: It should be realized. 3. The arising of the vision: It is realized.
  4. The arising of the vision: This is the Noble Truth of the Practice that leads to the End of Suffering. 2. The arising of the vision: It should be developed. 3. The arising of the vision: It is developed.

Three phases per Noble Truth. All combined form twelve aspects. If there is Knowledge and Vision of all twelve aspects, there is purified knowledge and vision of liberation.

The end of the search

"Then, bhikkhus, being myself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, seeking the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being myself subject to ageing, having understood the danger in what is subject to ageing, seeking the unageing supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the unageing supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being myself subject to sickness, having understood the danger in what is subject to sickness, seeking the unailing supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the unailing supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being myself subject to death, having understood the danger in what is subject to death, seeking the deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being myself subject to sorrow, having understood the danger in what is subject to sorrow, seeking the sorrowless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the sorrowless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being myself subject to defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to defilement, seeking the undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbana. The knowledge and vision arose in me: 'My deliverance is unshakeable; this is my last birth; now there is no renewal of being .’ (MN26)

Has an Arahant constant knowledge and vision of the cessation of the taints?

As to that, Sandaka, I shall give you a simile, for some wise men here understand the meaning of a statement by means of a simile. Suppose a man’s hands and feet were cut off. Would he know ‘My hands and feet are cut off’ continuously and uninterruptedly, whether he is walking or standing or sleeping or awake, or would he know ‘My hands and feet are cut off’ only when he reviews this fact?"
“The man, Master Ananda, would not know ‘My hands and feet are cut off’ continuously and uninterruptedly; rather, he would know ‘My hands and feet are cut off’ only when he reviews this fact.” "So too, Sandaka, when a bhikkhu is an arahant with taints destroyed…his knowledge and vision that his taints are destroyed is not continuously and uninterruptedly present to him whether he is walking or standing or sleeping or awake; rather, he knows ‘My taints are destroyed’ only when he reviews this fact ." (MN76)

So, if we have arrived at liberation, our Knowledge and Vision of Liberation is purified. We know the Four Noble Truths in all twelve aspects, the taints are gone, and we know that rebirth is ended.

Purity of wisdom
(panna visuddhi, purification of wisdom)

This is mentioned in DN34. I have not found much direct info about this.

Wisdom comes to perfection when the corruptions gradually weaken and cease.

'Kassapa, a Tathagata arises in the world an Arahant, fully enlightened Buddha, endowed with wisdom and conduct, Well-Farer, Knower of the worlds, incomparable Trainer of men to be tamed, Teacher of gods and humans, enlightened and blessed. He, having realized it by his own super-knowledge, proclaims this world with its devas, maras and Brahmas, its princes and people. He preaches the Dhamma which is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle, lovely in its ending, in the spirit and in the letter, and displays the fully perfected and purified holy life. A disciple goes forth and practices the moralities (Sutta 2, verses 41-63). That is the perfection of morality. He guards the sense-doors, etc. and attains the four jhanas (Sutta 2 verses 64-82). [173-4] That is the perfection of the heart. He attains various insights and the cessation of the corruptions (Sutta 2, verses 83 -98). That is the perfection of wisdom. And, Kassapa, there is nothing further or more perfect than this perfection of morality, of the heart and of wisdom . (DN8)

'But I teach a doctrine for getting rid of the gross acquired Self (and the mind-made acquired self and formless self, Green), whereby defiling mental states disappear and states tending to purification grow strong, and one gains and remains in the purity and perfection of wisdom here and now, having realized and attained it by one’s own super knowledge. (DN9)

I believe we can say that Purity of Wisdom is arrived at when we have reached arahatship, and have the knowledge and vision of liberation. The arahant remains in the purity and perfection of wisdom.

By this the different kinds of purity have been described and the chapter “What is purity?” is finished.

In the next post Buddha’s view on: The causes and conditions for the corruption and purification of beings.

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Cause for the corruption and purification of beings

Can we defile ourselves, can we purify ourselves?

"Householders, there are some recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: 'There is no cause or condition for the defilement of beings; beings are defiled without cause or condition. There is no cause or condition for the purification of beings; beings are purified without cause or condition. There is no power, no energy, no manly strength, no manly endurance. All beings, all living things, all creatures, all souls are without mastery, power, and energy; moulded by destiny, circumstance, and nature, they experience pleasure and pain in the six classes .’ (MN60)

These views are attributed to a contemporary teacher Makkhali, ‘a bamboo staffed ascetic’ (DN2§20). Buddha was very concerned with his views, in as much that he declared:

Mendicants, I do not see a single other person who acts for the hurt and unhappiness of the people, for the harm, hurt, and suffering of many people, of gods and humans like that silly man, the bamboo-staffed ascetic. (Makkhali, Green). (AN1.319)

And:

…”I too, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha in the present, teach the efficacy of deeds, action, and energy. But the bamboo-staffed ascetic (Makkhali) opposes me by saying: ‘There is no power in deeds, action, or energy’. It’s like a trap set at the mouth of a river, which would bring harm, suffering, calamity, and disaster for many fish. In the same way that silly man the bamboo-staffed ascetic is a trap for humans, it seems to me. He has come into the world for the harm, suffering, calamity, and disaster of many beings .” ( AN3.137)

Here, I feel, also shows how serious Buddha was about views.

Buddha taught that there is power in deeds, and there is causality. Deeds have results. We are not totally powerless leaves governed by the winds of life. We are not without any strength, control and mastery. Our course in life is not fixed. We can make a difference with our choices and deeds.

"Since there actually is causality, one who holds the view ‘there is no causality’ has wrong view. Since there actually is causality, one who intends ‘there is no causality’ has wrong intention. Since there actually is causality, one who makes the statement ‘there is no causality’ has wrong speech. Since there actually is causality, one who says ‘there is no causality’ is opposed to those arahants who hold the doctrine of causality. Since there actually is causality, one who convinces another ‘there is no causality’ convinces him to accept an untrue Dhamma; and because he convinces another to accept an untrue Dhamma, he praises himself and disparages others. Thus any pure virtue that he formerly had is abandoned and corrupt conduct is substituted. And this wrong view, wrong intention, wrong speech, opposition to noble ones, convincing another to accept an untrue Dhamma, and self-praise and disparagement of others - these several evil unwholesome states thus come into being with wrong view as their condition (MN60)

So Makkhali, a contemporary teacher, is portrayed as a teacher that taught a kind of lack of power and a kind of fatalism. And he also taught that there is no cause for the defilement of beings and no cause for their purification. His views are presented in DN2.

Buddha had a very different, opposite, view on all this. He not only taught that beings are with energy and with powers, and can shape their future, but Buddha also taught that there is a reason and cause for the corruption and also purification of beings. What is this cause and reason?

Cause of Corruption

But sir, what is the cause and reason for the corruption of sentient beings? How are sentient beings corrupted with cause and reason?”
“Mahāli, if form were exclusively painful—soaked and steeped in pain and not steeped in pleasure—sentient beings wouldn’t be aroused by it. But because form is pleasurable—soaked and steeped in pleasure and not steeped in pain—sentient beings are aroused by it. Since they are aroused by it, they’re caught up in it, and so they become corrupted. This is a cause and reason for the corruption of sentient beings. This is how sentient beings are corrupted with cause and reason.
If feeling …
perception …
choices …
consciousness were exclusively painful—soaked and steeped in pain and not steeped in pleasure—sentient beings wouldn’t be aroused by it. But because consciousness is pleasurable—soaked and steeped in pleasure and not steeped in pain—sentient beings are aroused by it. Since they are aroused by it, they’re caught up in it, and so they become corrupted. This is a cause and reason for the corruption of sentient beings. This is how sentient beings are corrupted with cause and reason .”

(Bodhi translates: Beings delight in it, are enamored with it, captivated by it and by this they are defiled. The message is clear).

Cause of Purification

Mahāli, if form were exclusively pleasurable—soaked and steeped in pleasure and not steeped in pain—sentient beings wouldn’t grow disillusioned with it. But because form is painful—soaked and steeped in pain and not steeped in pleasure—sentient beings do grow disillusioned with it. Being disillusioned, desire fades away. When desire fades away they are purified. This is a cause and reason for the purification of sentient beings. This is how sentient beings are purified with cause and reason.
If feeling …
perception …
choices …
consciousness were exclusively pleasurable—soaked and steeped in pleasure and not steeped in pain—sentient beings wouldn’t grow disillusioned with it. But because consciousness is painful—soaked and steeped in pain and not steeped in pleasure—sentient beings do grow disillusioned with it. Being disillusioned, desire fades away. When desire fades away they are purified. This is a cause and reason for the purification of sentient beings. This is how sentient beings are purified with cause and reason .” (SN22.60)

Defilement, corruption leads in this and future life’s to misery, if not purified. So it is good to strive for purity.

Him I call deluded, Aggivessana, who has not abandoned the taints that defile, bring renewal of being, give trouble, ripen in suffering, and lead to future birth, ageing, and death; for it is with the non-abandoning of the taints that one is deluded. Him call undeluded who has abandoned the taints that defile, bring renewal of being, give trouble, ripen in suffering, and lea d to future birth, ageing, and death; for it is with the abandoning of the taints that one is undeluded. The Tathagata, Aggivessana, has abandoned the taints that defile, bring renewal of being, give trouble, ripen in suffering, and lead to future birth, ageing, and death; he has cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, done away with them so that they are no longer subject to future arising. Just as a palm tree whose crown is cut off is incapable of further growth, so too, the Tathagata has abandoned the taints that defile…done away with them so that they are no longer subject to future arising .” (MN36)

Conclusion

So, the khandha’s have an aspect of gratification. But that same aspect arouses craving, desire, fewer for it. When that increases we are becoming more and more defiled, loaded and therefor easily agitated when we sense something. We gradually deviate from the path of peace and being at ease in the world. By feeding our usual fewer we also fuel the rebirth process.

The khandha’s have also an aspect of suffering, pain, misery. That makes it possible that we become disillusioned towards it. When we give up, abandon, relinquish and make an end to the fewer, desire for khandha’s, we gradually become cool, at ease. We purify ourselves until all defilements are uprooted. The fuel for rebirth comes to an end.

This is the global course at it were. In the next post: The Path to Purity. How do we arrive at Purity in Practice?

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The Path to Purity

In this chapter sutta info about how we purify ourselves. How do we arrive at purity? What must we do for this? But first a post with some general info which I think is useful as introduction.

General info

Purity does not depend on caste or wealth

Even though a person mutters many chants,
he cannot become a brahmin just by his high caste birth,
if he is filthy and corrupt within,
supporting himself by fraud.
“Regardless of whether one is a royal caste person,
or a brahmin high caste person,
merchant, worker, an outcast or an untouchable,
if he is energetic and dedicated to the Dhamma path,
always firm in striving,
he will attain the highest happiness, Nibbāna.
Know that for a fact, Suddhika
.” (SN7.7)

"Action, knowledge, righteousness,
Virtue, an excellent life:
By this are mortals purified,
Not by clan or wealth . (SN1.48, SN2.20, )

No one can purify another, one must purify oneself

For it is by oneself that evil’s done, one is corrupted by oneself. It’s by oneself that evil’s not done ,one is purified by oneself. Purity and impurity are personal matters, no one can purify another. (Dhp165)

From selfishness come grief and avarice; The Bhikkhu who has turned away from the world and wanders about houseless, is independent, and does not wish for purification through another . (Snp4.6)

Philosophy cannot purify

No one is purified by philosophy, those devoted to philosophy run from one teacher to another, but the wise are not led by passion, and do not embrace anything in the world as the highest . (Snp4.4)

Disputants brand each other as fools, they wish for praise, but being repulsed they become discontented; one is not purified by dispute, but by keeping to Buddha, who has shaken off all sin, not attached to any view, not inclined to war debates . (Snp4.8)

Mâgandiya says that purity comes from philosophy, Buddha says from ‘inward peace.’ The Muni is a confessor of peace, he does not dispute, he is free from marks. (Snp4.9)

Philosophers cannot lead to purity, they only praise themselves and stigmatize others. But a Brâhmana has overcome all dispute, he is indifferent to learning, he is appeased . (Snp4.13)

Outward observances do not purify

A bad mind and wicked deeds are what defiles a man; no outward observances can purify him . (Snp2.2) Also such things a fire rituals and bathing in holy rivers does not purify. (AN7.21, Ud1.9).

For experts say no purity is gained by one who seeks it outwardly. (SN7.9)

Sequence of purification from coarse to subtle

Purification happens from removing coarse defilements first, then the middle, then the more subtle. This is likened to purifying gold. (AN3.101).

What are the coarse defilements in the teachings of the Buddha? These are bad bodily, verbal, and mental conduct. The middling and subtle defilements now still remain. What are the middling defilements? These are sensual, malicious, or cruel thoughts. Known as wrong intentions. Fine defilements still remain and also an effort must be made to remove these. The fine defilements are: thoughts of family, country, and being looked up to. When also these are removed only thoughts of the teachings are left. (AN3.101)

(I think it is realistic. To immediately purify most subtle defilements, like ego-conceit, ego-longings, that is probably not going to work).

The general means to purify

How does one cross over the flood?
How does one cross the rugged sea?
How does one overcome suffering?
How is one purified?"
[The Blessed One:]
"By faith one crosses over the flood,
By diligence, the rugged sea.
By energy one overcomes suffering,
By wisdom one is purified ." (SN10.12, Snp1.10)

How do you cross the flood? How do you cross the deluge? How do you get over suffering? How do you get purified?”
“By faith you cross the flood, and by diligence the deluge. By energy you get past suffering, and you’re purified by wisdom.” “How do you get wisdom? How do you earn wealth? How do you get a good reputation? How do you hold on to friends? How do the departed not grieve when passing from this world to the next?” “One who is diligent and discerning gains wisdom by wanting to learn, having faith in the perfected ones, and the teaching for attaining Nibbana (Snp1.10)

"Bhikkhus, this is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the surmounting of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and grief, for the attainment of the true way, for the realisation of Nibbana - namely, the four foundations of mindfulness. (MN10)

About mindfulness . In the gradual training or development all starts with mindfulness and clear comprehension. That shows its importance. It is described like this:

When there is mindfulness and clear comprehension, one who has fulfilled mindfulness and clear comprehension, has fulfilled a vital condition for moral shame and moral dread. Moral shame and moral dread are a vital condition for sense-restraint. When there is sense restraint, one who has sense restraint, has fulfilled a vital condition for ethical conduct. An ethical person, who has fulfilled ethics, has fulfilled a vital condition for not having regrets. When there are no regrets, one who has no regrets, has fulfilled a vital condition for joy. When there is joy, one who has fulfilled joy, has fulfilled a vital condition for rapture. When there is rapture, one who has fulfilled rapture, has fulfilled a vital condition for tranquility. When there is tranquility, one who has fulfilled tranquility, has fulfilled a vital condition for bliss. When there is bliss, one who has fulfilled bliss, has fulfilled a vital condition for concentration. When there is concentration, one who has fulfilled concentration, has fulfilled a vital condition for Knowledge and Vision of Things as They Really Are. When there is Knowledge and Vision of Things as They Really Are, one who has fulfilled Knowledge and Vision of Things as They Really Are, has fulfilled a vital condition for disillusionment. When there is disillusionment, one who has fulfilled disillusionment, has fulfilled a vital condition for dispassion. When there is dispassion, one who has fulfilled dispassion, has fulfilled a vital condition for the knowledge and vision of liberation.
(combined: AN5.24, AN6.50, AN7.65, AN 8.81)

The practice of mindfulness is explained in: MN10, DN22. MN51, SN47.1

This ends the introduction. In the next post sutta instructions on how we purify ourselves and arrive at purity, dispassion, Nibbana.

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How do we purify ourselves?

This has become quit a long post but I feel it is best to present it as a whole.

Being restraint by Patimokkha or lay precepts

To commit oneself to the training rules, for example, promises not to kill, steal, lie etc. is a powerful and practical way to avoid bad unwholesome actions. The sutta’s often use this sentence: …”restrained with the restraint of the Patimokkha, perfect in conduct and resort, and seeing fear in the slightest fault, train by undertaking the training precepts." (MN6, MN53)

AN10.31 describes 10 grounds for Buddha’s laying down of the Patimokkha. Two of them are: for the restraint of taints pertaining to this present life; for the dispelling of taints pertaining to future lives.

How we purify all actions

MN61 describes this in a nice and practical manner. In short: we should constantly check if our actions with body, speech and mind are hurtful to ourselves, others or both? Is it unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result? We should do this check while we are going to act in body, speech and mind, while acting, and also afterwards.

The sutta says: “Rahula, whatever recluses and brahmins in the past purified their bodily action, their verbal action, and their mental action, all did so by repeatedly reflecting thus. Whatever recluses and brahmins in the future will purify their bodily action, their verbal action, and their mental action, all will do so by repeatedly reflecting thus. Whatever recluses and brahmins in the present are purifying their bodily action, their verbal action, and their mental action, all are doing so by repeatedly reflecting thus. Therefore, Rahula, you should train thus: 'We will purify our bodily action, our verbal action, and our mental action by repeatedly reflecting upon them .'” (MN61)

So we must always have in mind the wellbeing of ourselves, others and, both and check if our intentions, speech and deeds align with it in the three phases, and make changes if not.

Develop empathy

A very nice sutta is SN55.7. Simple and very effective. In short: Do not inflict upon another what you yourself do not want to experience. We do not want to die, so do not kill other beings. We do not want to be cheated, so do not lie and deceive others. We do not want to be hurt, in pains, so do not hurt others. Etc. ‘The thing that is disliked by me is also disliked by another. Since I dislike this thing, how can I inflict it on another?
This is said in relation to: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, harsh speech, talking nonsense, divisive speech.

Developing insight as path to purity

From insight grows disillusionment. For one who is disillusioned, growing dispassionate is natural. For one being dispassionate, the knowledge and vision of liberation is natural. (AN11.2)

What is dispassion?
To whatever extent there are phenomena conditioned or unconditioned, dispassion is declared the foremost among them, that is, the crushing of pride, the removal of thirst, the uprooting of attachment, the termination of the round, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbana. (AN4.34)

So impermanent are formations, bhikkhus, so unstable, so unreliable. It is enough, bhikkhus, to experience revulsion/disillusionment towards all formations, enough to become dispassionate towards them, enough to be liberated from them . (SN15.20, AN7.66)

All sankhara are impermanent—when this is seen with wisdom, one grows disillusioned with suffering: this is the path to purity. (Dhp277)
All sankhara are suffering—when this is seen with wisdom, one grows disillusioned with suffering: this is the path to purity. (Dhp278)
All dhamma are not-self—when this is seen with wisdom, one grows disillusioned with suffering: this is the path to purity. (Dhp279)

Summary of ways to grow disillusioned and dispassionate (pure) via insight:

  • Seeing that the senses are impermanent, what is sensed is impermanent, the 6 sense-consciousnesses are impermanent, the sense contacts, the feelings based upon sense contacts, the volition that arises upon the feelings, all that is impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is not-self. What is not-self must be seen as it actually is with correct wisdom: ‘this is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self. Seeing thus… one becomes disillusioned and dispassionate towards it. For one dispassionate it is natural to have the knowledge of liberation. (SN35.121)
  • Seeing that the senses, the sensed, the consciousnesses, the sense contacts, the feelings arising, all that is burning with lust, hatred, delusion, birth, aging and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure and despair. Seeing thus….(SN35.28)
  • Seeing Paticca Samuppada, how from ignorance a whole mass of suffering arises is enough to become dispassionate. (SN12.61)
  • Seeing khandha’s are impermanent. Whether past, future, present, internal or external, gross of subtle, inferior or superior, far of near. What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is not fit to be regarded as: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’. So it must be seen as it really is: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self’. It will lead to disillusionment and dispassion. (MN22)
  • For long we have experienced loss of loved ones, loss of wealth, for long we have been united with the disagreeable, we have shed endless tears, and this is all without discoverable beginning, enough to become disillusioned and dispassionate…(SN15.3)
  • Seeing the elements as impermanent …etc…(SN18.9)
  • Carefully inspecting the khandha’s they appear void, hollow, insubstantial…becoming disillusioned…etc. (SN22.95)
  • Khandha’s are (like) hot embers…(SN22.136)

The purifying power of reflection

And what, mendicants, is the power of reflection? It’s when someone reflects: ‘Bad conduct of body, speech, or mind has a bad, painful result in both this life and the next.’ Reflecting like this, they give up bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and develop good conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, keeping themselves pure. This is called the power of reflection . (AN2.11-13)

Mendicants, there are these four fears. What four? The fears of guilt, shame, punishment, and going to a bad place.
And what, mendicants, is the fear of guilt? It’s when someone reflects: ‘If I were to do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind, wouldn’t I blame myself for my conduct?’ Being afraid of guilt, they give up bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and develop good conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, keeping themselves pure. This is called the fear of guilt.
And what, mendicants, is the fear of shame? It’s when someone reflects: ‘If I were to do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind, wouldn’t others blame me for my conduct ?’
Being afraid of shame, they give up bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and develop good conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, keeping themselves pure. This is called the fear of shame.
And what, mendicants, is the fear of punishment? It’s when someone sees that the kings have arrested a bandit, a criminal, and subjected them to various punishments—whipping, caning, and clubbing; cutting off hands or feet, or both; cutting off ears or nose, or both; the ‘porridge pot’, the ‘shell-shave’, the ‘Rāhu’s mouth’, the ‘garland of fire’, the ‘burning hand’, the ‘bulrush twist’, the ‘bark dress’, the ‘antelope’, the ‘meat hook’, the ‘coins’, the ‘caustic pickle’, the ‘twisting bar’, the ‘straw mat’; being splashed with hot oil, being fed to the dogs, being impaled alive, and being beheaded.
They think: ‘If I were to do the same kind of bad deed, the kings would punish me in the same way.’ … Being afraid of punishment, they don’t steal the belongings of others. They give up bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and develop good conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, keeping themselves pure. This is called the fear of punishment.
And what, mendicants, is the fear of rebirth in a bad place? It’s when someone reflects: ‘Bad conduct of body, speech, or mind has a bad result in the next life. If I were to do such bad things, when my body breaks up, after death, I’d be reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.’ Being afraid of rebirth in a bad place, they give up bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and develop good conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, keeping themselves pure. This is called the fear of rebirth in a bad place. These are the four fears .” (AN4.121)

Recollections, such as recollection of the qualities of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha and others (AN1.296-305) contribute to dispassion.

Developing certain perceptions such as: of unattractiveness, death, non-delight in the entire world and others weaken the desire, the fewer for things. (AN1.465-474)

Three kinds of Purification by wearing away

In AN3.74 is described how a certain Jain leader held the view that kamma must be worn away by mortification and no new kamma must be produced.

So with the ending of karma, suffering ends; with the ending of suffering, feeling ends; and with the ending of feeling, all suffering will have been worn away. This is how to go beyond suffering by means of this purification by wearing away in this very life. What, sir, does the Buddha say about this?”

This is what the Buddha says about purification by wearing away:

It’s when, Abhaya, a mendicant is ethical, restrained in the monastic code, conducting themselves well and seeking alms in suitable places. Seeing danger in the slightest fault, they keep the rules they’ve undertaken. They don’t perform any new deeds, and old deeds are eliminated by experiencing their results little by little. This wearing away is apparent in the present life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know it for themselves.
Then a mendicant accomplished in ethics, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption … second absorption … third absorption … fourth absorption. They don’t perform any new deeds, and old deeds are eliminated by experiencing their results little by little. This wearing away is apparent in the present life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know it for themselves.
Then a mendicant accomplished in immersion realizes the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements. They don’t perform any new deeds, and old deeds are eliminated by experiencing their results little by little.
This wearing away is apparent in the present life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know it for themselves.
These are the three kinds of purification by wearing away that have been rightly explained by the Buddha … in order to realize extinguishment.”

Seven qualities that keeps oneself pure

Just as a king’s frontier citadel has a pillar with deep foundations, firmly embedded, imperturbable and unshakable, to defend those within and repel those outside, in the same way a noble disciple has faith in the Realized One’s awakening: ‘That Blessed One is perfected, a fully awakened Buddha, accomplished in knowledge and conduct, holy, knower of the world, supreme guide for those who wish to train, teacher of gods and humans, awakened, blessed.’ A noble disciple with faith as their pillar gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the first good quality they have.
Just as a citadel has a moat that is deep and wide, in the same way a noble disciple has a conscience. They’re conscientious about bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and conscientious about having any bad, unskillful qualities. A noble disciple with a conscience as their moat gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the second good quality they have.
Just as a citadel has a patrol path that is high and wide, in the same way a noble disciple is prudent. They’re prudent when it comes to bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and prudent when it comes to acquiring any bad, unskillful qualities. A noble disciple with prudence as their patrol path gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the third good quality they have.
Just as a citadel has stores of many weapons, both projectile and hand-held, in the same way a noble disciple is very learned. They remember and keep what they’ve learned. These teachings are good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased, describing a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. They are very learned in such teachings, remembering them, reciting them, mentally scrutinizing them, and comprehending them theoretically.
A noble disciple with learning as their weapon gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the fourth good quality they have.
Just as many kinds of armed forces reside in a citadel … in the same way a noble disciple is energetic. They live with energy roused up for giving up unskillful qualities and embracing skillful qualities. They are strong, staunchly vigorous, not slacking off when it comes to developing skillful qualities. A noble disciple with energy as their armed forces gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the fifth good quality they have.
Just as a citadel has a gatekeeper who is astute, competent, and intelligent, who keeps strangers out and lets known people in, in the same way a noble disciple is mindful. They have utmost mindfulness and alertness, and can remember and recall what was said and done long ago. A noble disciple with mindfulness as their gatekeeper gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the sixth good quality they have. Just as a citadel has a wall that’s high and wide, covered with plaster, to defend those within and repel those outside, in the same way a noble disciple is wise. They have the wisdom of arising and passing away which is noble, penetrative, and leads to the complete ending of suffering. A noble disciple with wisdom as their wall gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the seventh good quality they have. These are the seven good qualities that they have. (AN7.67)

Summarized, How to Purify Ourselves?

  • Restraint by the Patimokkha, or lay precepts, fearing slightest faults, not being negligent.
  • Always being committed to the wellbeing of ourselves, others and both. Checking our intentions, speech, deeds in three phases. Is wellbeing served? If not, make changes.
  • Develop empathy: do not inflict upon another what one does not want to experience oneself.
  • Vipassana, insight will lead to disillusionment and dispassion, to purity, liberation.
  • Making use of certain reflections or recollections.
  • Develop conducive perceptions such as of death and unattractiveness (but revulsion may never been seen as essence of the Path!, see post on Knowledge and Vision)
  • Wearing away old kamma by gradually experiencing the ripening results of former bad deed. Accepting the vipaka’s and not creating any new kamma upon that vipaka.
  • Being with faith, conscientious, being learned, with energy/effort, ever mindful we keep ourselves pure.

This finishes the Chapter on The Path to Purity, How to purify ourselves?

In the next and last post: Is Purification a goal in itself?

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Purification, A Goal in Itself?

This is treated in MN24. I let the sutta speak for itself. I use the translation of Bodhi

Is the holy life lived under our Blessed One, friend?" -“Yes, friend.” - “But, friend, is it for the sake of purification of virtue that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One?” - “No, friend.” - “Then is it for the sake of purification of mind that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One?” - “No, friend.” - “Then is it for the sake of purification of view that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One?” - “No, friend.” - “Then is it for the sake of purification by overcoming doubt that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One?” - “No, friend.” - “Then is it for the sake of purification by knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One?” - “No, friend.” - “Then is it for the sake of purification by knowledge and vision of the way that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One?” - “No, friend.” - “Then is it for the sake of purification by knowledge and vision that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One?” - "No, friend.”

The suttas continues with the questions: are all these purifications the same as final Nibbana without clinging? Can Nibbana be attained without these purifications?

All these purification are not the same as final Nibbana without clinging, and final Nibbana without clinging cannot be attained without it. How must this be understood?

“Friend, if the Blessed One had described purification of virtue as final Nibbana without clinging, he would have described what is still accompanied by clinging as final Nibbana without clinging. If the Blessed One had described purification of mind…purification of view…purification by overcoming doubt…purification by knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path…purification by knowledge and vision of the way…purification by knowledge and vision as final Nibbana without clinging, he would have described what is still accompanied by clinging as final Nibbana without clinging. And if final Nibbana without clinging were to be attained without these states, then an ordinary person would have attained final Nibbana, for an ordinary person is without these states.

How must this all be understood? The Buddha now uses at this moment the simile of a journey in 7 stages to finally arrive at the destiny.

So too, friend, purification of virtue is for the sake of reaching purification of mind; purification of mind is for the sake of reaching purification of view; purification of view is for the sake of reaching purification by overcoming doubt; purification by overcoming doubt is for the sake of reaching purification by knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path; purification by knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path is for the sake of reaching purification by knowledge and vision of the way; purification by knowledge and vision of the way is for the sake of reaching purification by knowledge and vision; purification by knowledge and vision is for the sake of reaching final Nibbana without clinging. It is for the sake of final Nibbana without clinging that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One .”

See MN24 for the complete text.

The Risk of Intoxication by Knowledge and Vision

MN29 describes how people can become intoxicated with knowledge and vision. It says*: On*
account of it he lauds himself and disparages others thus: ‘I live knowing and seeing, but these other bhikkhus live unknowing and unseeing.’ He becomes intoxicated with that knowledge and vision, grows negligent, falls into negligence, and being negligent, he lives in suffering .

This also shows how knowledge and vision is not a goal in itself. It can even become a support for impurity, for conceit and self-praise and dispraising others.

The goal of the holy life, unshakable deliverance of mind

So he arouses no desire to act, he makes no effort for the realization of those other states that are higher and more sublime than knowledge and vision; he hangs back and slackens. What are those states higher then knowledge and vision? The rupa and arupja jhana and cessation. And his taints are destroyed by seeing with wisdom. This too is a state higher and more sublime than knowledge and vision. These are the states that are higher and more sublime than knowledge and vision.
"So this holy life, brahmin, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of virtue for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakeable deliverance of mind that is the goal of this holy life, its heartwood, and its end . (MN28, MN30)

"I understand, venerable sir, that it is not for the sake of purification of virtue that the Dhamma has been taught by the Blessed One." “If, bhikkhu, you understand that the Dhamma has not been taught by me for the sake of purification of virtue, then for what purpose do you understand the Dhamma to have been taught by me?”
“Venerable sir, I understand the Dhamma to have been taught by the Blessed One for the sake of the fading away of lust.” "Good, good, bhikkhu! It is good that you understand the Dhamma to have been taught by me for the sake of the fading away of lust. For the Dhamma is taught by me for the sake of the fading away of lust . (SN35.74)

"If, bhikkhu you understand that the Dhamma has not been taught by me for the sake of purification of virtue, then for what purpose do you understand the Dhamma to have been taught by me?" “Venerable sir, I understand the Dhamma to have been taught by the Blessed One for the sake of final Nibbana without clinging.” "Good, good, bhikkhu! It is good that you understand the Dhamma to have been taught by me for the sake of final Nibbana without clinging. For the Dhamma is taught by me for the sake of final Nibbana without clinging. (SN35.75)

Conclusion

Purification of virtue/actions, of livelihood, of mind, of view, of knowledge and vision, all these are like necessary stages on a spiritual journey to arrive at the true goal of (final) Nibbana without clinging, the cessation all tanha. On the raft to the other shore there is still clinging. There is always the risk of self-praise and other-dispraise upon our purity in virtue, views, knowledge and vision. We must not lose the awareness of what really counts, what is the true goal of Dhamma, (final) Nibbana without clinging.

The series of posts on purification is now finished.

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@Green
Thank you for all that work and sharing it! I was looking forward to this every evening and enjoyed it very much. My evenings will be empty now :wink: :grinning:

Much metta to you :polar_bear:

I was always glad to receive your likes :smiley: I am just still like a child. But thanks very much @Alex70 for sharing your appreciation. I enjoyed making it and sharing it.

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