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The path the awakened one had walked


#1

Hi,
I would like to share a view about the path The Awakened One had walked.

7.12. THE PATH THE AWAKENED ONE HAD WALKED:

What was the path that The Awakened One had walked?

7.12.1. Sources of obvious evidences in the nikayas:

Discourses, in which The Awakened One told his experience, contain phrases like “Before my self-awakening”, “when I was still just an unawakened bodhisatta” (usually at the beginning of the discourse).

7.12.1.1. Before right concentration:

  • Life before renunciation: DN 14;
  • Seeking the path: MN 36;
  • Dividing thoughts into two sorts (skillful and unskillful), then training towards skillful direction: MN 19;
  • Overcoming hindrances, fear & terror: MN 4.

7.12.1.2. Contemplating on core contents:

  • Discovering dependent co-arising: SN 12.10;

  • Gratification, danger, escape from five clinging-aggregates: SN 22.26;

  • Gratification, danger, escape from six internal bases: SN 35.13;

  • Gratification, danger, escape from six external bases: SN 35.14;

  • Protection of awareness against five strings of sensuality: SN 35.117.

7.12.2. The Awakened One’s journey from birth to release in details:

7.12.2.1. What was The Awakened One’s release?

As stated in MN 36 (Thanissaro - “My heart, thus knowing, … There is nothing further for this world.’”), Gotama was released from dissatisfaction (stress, suffering, discontentment). This was due to he was released from their cause - effluents, namely: the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance.

Along with his release, he knew that he was released, with the knowledge “Released” and then “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world”.

7.12.2.2. How did The Awakened One achieve release?

As stated in MN 36 (Thanissaro - “My heart, thus knowing, … There is nothing further for this world.’”), his right release (from effluent of sensuality, becoming and ignorance) came from right knowledge.

7.12.2.3. What right knowledge?

As stated in MN 36 (Thanissaro - “When the mind was thus concentrated, … I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives … This is the way leading to the cessation of effluents.’”), three knowledges: firstly the knowledge of recollecting his past lives, then the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings, and finally the knowledge of the ending of effluents, in form of the four noble truths.

7.12.2.4. Where did that right knowledge come from?

As stated in MN 36 (Thanissaro - “When the mind was thus concentrated, … I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives … This is the way leading to the cessation of effluents.”), right knowledge came from the concentrated mind.

7.12.2.5. Where did the concentrated mind come from?

As stated in MN 36 (Thanissaro - “So when I had taken solid food and regained strength, then—quite secluded from sensuality, … neither pleasure nor pain. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. When the mind was thus concentrated … attained to imperturbability”), it was the result of the four jhanas.

7.12.2.6. How did Gotama initiate the practice of jhana?

What drove him into practicing jhana? As stated in MN 36 (Thanissaro - “I thought: ‘I recall once … So when I had taken solid food and regained strength, then—”), it was because he reflected on his past experience of entering and remaining in a state (later he called the first jhana) when he was still a prince. This reflection of that past experience made him certain it was the path to awakening.

7.12.2.7. What exactly was that past experience?

The famous story tells that prince Gotama was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, contemplating on what he saw during the ploughing festival held by his father: when the soil was ploughed, insects and worms living underground were wounded and dead due to the plough. Prince Gotama wondered why those creatures had to suffer this. As he was contemplating like that, his mind was secluded from sensuality and unskillful qualities and he experienced “rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation”. What was that thought directed to and evaluation of? The answer was the phenomena that he observed and contemplated on: suffering - as stated before.

7.12.2.8. What made Gotama recall that past experience?

As stated in MN 36 (Thanissaro - “In search of what might be skillful, seeking the unexcelled state of sublime peace, I wandered by stages in the Magadhan country … Could there be another path to awakening?’”), because he doubted and wondered if there could be another path to awakening. Why did he doubt? Because he realized that he hadn’t attained anything close to awakening and release, even when he had done the utmost of possible austerities that none could be greater than that.

7.12.2.9. What drove Gotama into practicing austerities?

As stated in MN 36 (Thanissaro - “In search of what might be skillful, seeking the unexcelled state of sublime peace, I went to Uddaka Rāmaputta … but only to reappearance in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.’ So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left.”), because Gotama was dissatisfied with the highest achievement he gained under training by Uddaka Rāmaputta - one of the foremost contemplative teachers.

7.12.2.10. What drove Gotama into coming and training under Uddaka Rāmaputta?

As stated in MN 36 (Thanissaro - “Having gone forth in search of what might be skillful, seeking the unexcelled state of sublime peace, I went to Āḷāra Kālāma … but only to reappearance in the dimension of nothingness.’ So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left.”), because Gotama was dissatisfied with the highest achievement he gained under training by Āḷāra Kālāma - one of the foremost contemplative teachers.

7.12.2.11. What drove Gotama into coming and training under Āḷāra Kālāma?

As stated in MN 36 (Thanissaro - “Why wouldn’t it have, Aggivessana? Before my self-awakening … Having gone forth in search of what might be skillful, seeking the unexcelled state of sublime peace, I went to Āḷāra Kālāma”), because Gotama was “Having gone forth in search of what might be skillful, seeking the unexcelled state of sublime peace”. He had determined that life gone forth (homelessness) was essential to seek awakening and release.

7.12.2.12. What drove Gotama into seeking awakening and release?

In DN 22 (Thanissaro - “Now what is the noble truth of stress? Birth is stressful … This is the stress of not getting what is wanted.”), and similarly in DN 14 (Sujato - “Ninety-one eons ago, The Awakened One Vipassī arose in the world … Meditating like this his mind was soon freed from defilements by not grasping.”) which tells the story of Vipassi The Awakened One but actually it was based on Gotama The Awakened One’s life, Gotama realized dissatisfaction (stress, suffering, discontentment) in life (part of which later he called the noble truth of stress): aging, illness, death, rebirth, endless cycle of birth and death (or samsara, according to the dominant belief at that time, eg in Brahmanism, or some people achieved concentration and saw their own past lives or others’), sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, despair, association with the unbeloved, separation from the loved, not getting what is wanted. Then he saw a potential hope for a way out.

7.12.2.13. What was the condition for that realization and the potential way out?

Similar to what is in DN 14 (Sujato - “Then, after many thousand years had passed, Prince Vipassī addressed his charioteer: … Then I celebrate the one called a renunciate, who celebrates principled and fair conduct, skillful actions, good deeds, harmlessness, and compassion for living creatures!’”), Gotama saw those sufferings while going out of the palace walls for the first time ever since he was born, usually depicted: an old man, a sick man, a corpse, he was shocked because it was the first time in his life he saw those. He wondered in fear and got confirmed by his charioteer that the people around him, his mother and father, his relatives, all were subject to aging, sickness and death. He was shocked even more to learn that he himself would inevitably go through aging, sickness and death. Then he saw a renunciate who practiced and nurtured morality in seeking enlightenment and release from sufferings. This gave Gotama hope after being shocked by sufferings he saw for the first time in his life.

7.12.2.14. Why the first time going out of the palace walls?

Similar to what is in DN 14 (Sujato - “When Prince Vipassī was born, they announced it to King Bandhumata … he was entertained by musicians—none of them men.”), Gotama went out of the palace walls for the first time in his life after his father - king Suddhodana of the Sakya kingdom, allowed him to since Gotama had requested his father’s permission for many times before. Why? He was curious about the world outside the walls that his father had kept him inside since he was born. Why did his father do that? His father was afraid that he would become a spiritually awakened master as a result of his journey seeking for enlightenment after renouncing the family, motivated by seeing the sufferings in life: an old man, a sick man, a corpse, and then a renunciate, which were found outside the palace walls, all just like the prophecy after he was born and his father didn’t like this. Among the prophecies, there was another scenario, which his father preferred, that he would become a wheel-turning monarch, an emperor who would rule a vast area of the world - the Indian sub-continent at that time. So his father “had three stilt longhouses built for him—one for the winter, one for the summer, and one for the rainy season, and provided him with the five kinds of sensual stimulation (to satisfy the five senses: eye with forms, ear with sounds, nose with aromas, tongue with flavors, body with tactile sensation). … stayed in a stilt longhouse without coming downstairs for the four months of the rainy season, where he was entertained by musicians—none of them men.”. This was to keep Gotama in satisfaction and prevent his tendency towards understanding the world, the truth (about suffering), hence, there would be less chance that he would choose the spiritual path.

7.12.3. Analyzing and evaluating the middle path:

7.12.3.1. The turning point:

So, the turning point was when Gotama started attempting for jhanas under the bodhi tree.

Gotama had trained with the most advanced practices of that time: the foremost contemplative (dimension of nothingness taught by Alara and dimension of neither perception nor non-perception taught by Uddaka) and the foremost austerities. But none of them gave him the answer to enlightenment and release that he sought. There were no other paths available for him because the best available practices failed him.

So, how did Gotama discover the right path? By remembering his past experience when he was still a prince, based on that and developing jhanas.

7.12.3.2. Confirming the path:

But what exactly did he do to achieve jhanas? There are discourses that tell Gotama’s experience to prepare for jhanas:

  • Dividing thoughts into two sorts (skillful and unskillful), then training towards skillful direction: MN 19;
  • Overcoming hindrances, fear & terror: MN 4;

And discourses that tell Gotama’s experience of the content he contemplated on:

  • Discovering dependent co-arising: SN 12.10;

  • Gratification, danger, escape from five clinging-aggregates: SN 22.26;

  • Gratification, danger, escape from six internal bases: SN 35.13;

  • Gratification, danger, escape from six external bases: SN 35.14;

  • Protection of awareness against five strings of sensuality: SN 35.117.

Do they look familiar? From these discourses, it can be confirmed that the path The Awakened One had walked was exactly the same as that of a disciple’s, in other words, the noble eightfold path. So, before achieving jhanas - right concentration, which had four establishings of mindfulness as content (theme) Gotama had to start with right view - the four noble truths or to be more specific, discovering dependent co-arising. This made sense because it was the natural flow of the mind intellectually, of rationality, of wisdom. For one that had seen suffering in life, especially aging and death, one would ask the inevitable question: Why? Why are there such sufferings? Where do they come from? Is there a way out? If yes, how? Other seekers (theists such as Brahmins, or atheists such as ancient materialists, contemplatives) all asked those very questions but each had a different answer. Some supposed creationism that the supreme deity (deities) determined sufferings and happiness of living beings. Some supposed ancient materialism that consciousness arose from material (physical body) and ceased by the physical death, no life before conception and after death. And there were also other views such as non-existence, non-causality, non-consequential, …

7.12.3.3. Realizing sufferings:

So how was Gotama different? How did he find the right path? As stated in SN 12.10 (Thanissaro - “[beginning] … From what as a requisite condition comes aging-&-death?”), at that time, with the assumption of the dominant belief in endless cycles of death and rebirth (eg in Brahmanism, or some people achieved concentration and saw their own past lives or others’), the first step was that Gotama realized dissatisfaction (stress, suffering, discontentment) in life (aging, sickness, death and then rebirth in endless cycles, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, despair, association with the unbeloved, separation from the loved, not getting what is wanted). This was part of the noble truth of stress - the first of four noble truths.

7.12.3.4. Tracing backwards the origin of sufferings:

7.12.3.4.1. Asking the right question and appropriate attention:

Then, just like others, he asked the same question but actually it seemed different: ‘Aging-&-death exists when what exists? From what as a requisite condition comes aging-&-death?’. How different? He traced backwards the origin of suffering, aging and death through a process of conditions, which later he called dependent co-arising, no one else had ever done that before. As stated in SN 12.10 (Thanissaro - “Then the thought occurred to me, ‘Aging-&-death exists … From birth as a requisite condition comes aging-&-death.’”), after appropriate attention, he had the breakthrough of discernment: ‘Aging-&-death exists when birth exists. From birth as a requisite condition comes aging-&-death.’.

But where were that question and appropriate attention in the noble eightfold path? They were directed thoughts and evaluation, the tools to gain knowledge and wisdom. Thoughts directed to seclusion (away) from sensuality and unskillful qualities, and associated evaluation are factors of the first jhana, which together with the other three jhanas constitutes right concentration - the eighth factor of the noble eightfold path. In addition, thoughts directed away from sensuality and unskilful qualities, and associated evaluation are right resolve - the second factor of the noble eightfold path. So, that question and appropriate attention were elements to achieve right concentration in the noble eightfold path.

7.12.3.4.2. Tracing to the very root:

Next, as stated in SN 12.10 (Thanissaro - “Then the thought occurred to me, ‘Birth exists … From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.”), based on birth as the answer for requisite condition of aging & death, he then continued tracing backwards further, similarly, requisite condition of birth, becoming, clinging, craving, feeling, contact, six sense media, name-&-form, consciousness, fabrication. After appropriate attention, he had the breakthrough of discernment: ‘Fabrications exist when ignorance exists. From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.’. He discerned that ignorance was the very root cause of dissatisfaction (stress, suffering, discontentment).

7.12.3.4.3. Systemization:

As stated in SN 12.10 (Thanissaro - “Thus: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications … Then the thought occurred to me, ‘Aging & death don’t exist”), he then expressed the twelve-link chain in forward order: ignorance, fabrication, consciousness, name-&-form, six sense media, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, becoming, birth, aging & death (along with sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress & despair). Then he concluded “Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering”. This was summary of what he just discovered, a form of wisdom from generalization into a law of how things work: “Origination, origination. Vision arose, clear knowing arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never before heard.”. This was also the noble truth of origination of suffering - the second of four noble truths.

7.12.3.5. Tracing backwards the cessation of sufferings:

7.12.3.5.1. Continue asking the right question:

Then, what next? Understanding origination of suffering gave him clues and confidence to look for cessation of sufferings. As stated in SN 12.10 (Thanissaro - “Then the thought occurred to me, ‘Aging & death don’t exist … From the cessation of birth comes the cessation of aging & death.’”), similar to how he traced backwards the origin of suffering, he traced backwards the cessation of suffering (later he called dependent co-arising) by asking: ‘Aging & death don’t exist when what doesn’t exist? From the cessation of what comes the cessation of aging & death?’. After appropriate attention, he had the breakthrough of discernment: ‘Aging-&-death doesn’t exist when birth doesn’t exist. From the cessation of birth comes the cessation of aging & death.’.

7.12.3.5.2. Continue tracing to the very root:

Next, as stated in SN 12.10 (Thanissaro - “Then the thought occurred to me, ‘Birth doesn’t exists … From the cessation of ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications.”), based on cessation of birth as the answer for requisite condition of cessation of aging & death, he then continued tracing backwards further, similarly, requisite condition of cessation of birth, cessation of becoming, cessation of clinging, cessation of craving, cessation of feeling, cessation of contact, cessation of six sense media, cessation of name-&-form, cessation of consciousness, cessation of fabrication. After appropriate attention, he had the breakthrough of discernment: ‘Fabrications don’t exist when ignorance doesn’t exists. From the cessation of ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications.’. He discerned that the cessation of ignorance was the very root cause of cessation of dissatisfaction (stress, suffering, discontentment).

7.12.3.5.3. Continue systemizing:

As stated in SN 12.10 (Thanissaro - “Thus: From the cessation of ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. … [end]”), he then expressed the twelve-link chain in forward order: cessation of ignorance, cessation of fabrication, cessation of consciousness, cessation of name-&-form, cessation of six sense media, cessation of contact, cessation of feeling, cessation of craving, cessation of clinging, cessation of becoming, cessation of birth, cessation of aging & death (along with cessation of sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress & despair). Then he concluded “Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering”. This was summary of what he just discovered, a form of wisdom from generalization into a law of how things work: “Cessation, cessation. Vision arose, clear knowing arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never before heard.”. This was also the noble truth of cessation of suffering - the third of four noble truths.

7.12.3.6. Practicing to really end sufferings:

7.12.3.6.1. Deficiency and the need to practice:

Then, what next? As stated in SN 12.68 (Thanissaro - “My friend, although I have seen properly with right discernment … but he would not dwell touching it with his body … not an arahant whose effluents are ended.”), understanding of dependent co-arising - twelve-link chain of origination and cessation of suffering, or long story short, the knowledge that “cessation of becoming is unbinding”, was not sufficient for total release.

7.12.3.6.2. What to practice?

So what else did Gotama need to do? The tasks that were laid out by the map - dependent co-arising: Practice to really end ignorance, end fabrications (bodily, verbal, mental) that had ignorance as requisite condition, and end craving. This requires thorough and comprehensive change in view, resolve, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, concentration. So he practiced the “right” version of those eight factors, in other words, the noble eightfold path. When he sat under the bodhi tree to practice jhana, it was already convenient conditions since he didn’t have to speak with anyone, do things like working hard for a living, and his livelihood relied merely on food given by other people. Basically, this was convenient for developing and fulfilling morality (right speech, right action, right livelihood) with little to no distraction from outside. The task was narrowed down to right view, right resolve, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

7.12.3.6.3. How Gotama practiced the middle path:

DN 14 (Sujato - “Then as Vipassī, the one intent on awakening, was in private retreat … Meditating like this his mind was soon freed from defilements by not grasping.”) describes the practice of Vipassi The Awakened One which was actually, for most of it, based on the practice of Gotama The Awakened One as it is stated in SN 12.10. This quotation from DN 14 is basically the same as SN 12.4, excepts the requisite condition for consciousness (Sujato - eg: “When name and form exist there’s consciousness. Name and form are a condition for consciousness.”) and the paragraph “Some time later Vipassī meditated observing … his mind was soon freed from defilements by not grasping.”. Particularly, after gaining insight into dependent co-arising, Gotama continued by contemplating on four establishings of mindfulness, especially contemplation of rise and fall in five clinging-aggregates. This contemplation was based on the knowledge of dependent co-arising and led to total release. However, in terms of right mindfulness, was contemplating on five clinging-aggregates alone sufficient or did Gotama contemplate the entire four establishings of mindfulness? The answer was the latter, he contemplated all core contents, such as five clinging-aggregates (SN 22.26), six sense bases (SN 35.13; SN 35.14).

In addition, as stated in MN 4 and MN 19, he also overcame hindrances, which was also a practice in four establishings of mindfulness. Why did he need to overcome hindrances? Because contemplating on the four noble truths, or to be more specific, dependent co-arising, five clinging-aggregates, six sense bases, required concentration to discern and gain knowledge of things as they really are. As stated in MN 19 (Thanissaro), “thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.’ So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.”.

What did he thought and pondered about? As stated in MN 19, thinking imbued with renunciation, non-ill will, harmlessness arose in him and became the inclination of his awareness. On the other hand, when thinking imbued with sensuality, ill will, harmfulness arose in him, he discerned its consequences, then it subsided.

Why was there this practice based on two sorts of thinking? As stated in MN 19, because he divided his thinking into two sorts. But why? Because it helped him see clearer, away from the mess of mixed thinkings.

In addition, as stated in MN 4, he reflected that whatever hindrances caused fear and terror, he had abandoned those causes, he had opposite qualities, so he overcame fear and terror.

Consequently, he achieved four jhanas - right concentration, which had four establishings of mindfulness as content/theme.

7.12.3.7. Result of Gotama’s practices:

With a concentrated mind after the fourth jhana, Gotama directed it to the three knowledges. Firstly, he attained the knowledge of recollecting his past lives, which confirmed the truth of the endless cycle of death and rebirth that he experienced, showed him how causality worked on him in his past lives, what he had done and corresponding consequences he got. Then, he attained the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings, which confirmed the truth of the endless cycle of death and rebirth that sentient beings experienced, showed him how causality worked on them, what they had done and corresponding consequences they got. Then he attained the knowledge of the ending of effluents, in form of the four noble truths, which showed him the most comprehensive version of the four noble truths, including his journey on the middle path, what he practiced and consequently, how effluents were destroyed in him. This knowledge led to his total release along with the knowledge “Released” and then “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.”.

7.12.4. The appearance of an awakened one:

7.12.4.1. Principle of the middle path and science:

Does the way Gotama traced backwards the origin and cessation of suffering look familiar? How did he come up with that method after the highest attainments of meditation at that time (dimension of nothingness and dimension of neither perception nor non-perception) and the most extreme austerities all failed him? Was it just by luck? The answer is his method of tracing backwards is the scientific way of discovering the truth, the law of nature. It is by analyzing from the current state of phenomena and looking for what causes that, examining the process of multiple stages: “When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this, that arises. When this does not exist, that does not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases” (SN 12.37 - Bodhi). The doctrine of dependent co-arising The Awakened One taught was about the four noble truths: sufferings, origination of sufferings, cessation of sufferings, the way of practice leading to the cessation of suffering. This is much compatible with a science in particular: psychology. But, applying the principle on a wider scale, for other areas, like the universe, then it’s science, or to be more specific in this case: physics.

7.12.4.2. Steps of the middle path and science:

The dominant belief of that time (eg in Brahmanism, or some people achieved concentration and saw their own past lives or others’), the belief in endless cycle of death and rebirth is like a hypothesis. Gotama’s task was to test it, check it, infer, reason, analyze it, find evidence, trace its through clues and signs, examine it, experience it, prove/disprove it, realize it, discern it, gain knowledge and insight into it, experiment it. The ultimate mean was concentration. The question he was trying to solve was whether the belief was true or not. If it was true, based on that, what caused suffering? When would suffering end? What was the way to end suffering? Basically, Gotama was a scientist finding the truth about suffering, it was a phenomenon happening in real life that everyone experienced. He was also a doctor (medical science) that dealt with dissatisfaction (stress, suffering, discontentment) as a disease, sickness. First stage was to examine current conditions via symptoms: sufferings in life. Second stage was to diagnose the cause: origination of suffering. Third stage was to lay out what requisite conditions to treat the sickness: cessation of suffering. Fourth stage was how to achieve those requisite conditions: the way of practice leading to cessation of suffering. So the four noble truths had similar format with steps a doctor used to treat patients.

7.12.4.3. Personal background:

But, did Gotama miraculously come up with those scientific methods? No, he learned those when he was a prince. As the crown prince of Sakya clan, he received comprehensive education that was the best of the time, taught by foremost teachers in the kingdom of Sakya. He excelled in various areas: science, art, literature and languages, physical education (eg sports, archery, horse-riding, swordmanship, martial art), philosophy (eg debate), …

7.12.4.4. Social background:

He lived in a time of achievements, ancient India at that time was sixteen kingdoms. There was democracy - Vesali, supposedly even before the Greece and Romans. There were advances, as compared to periods before that, in science (maths, physics, astronomy) and technical improvements. There was also astrology and fortune-telling, religions and spirituality: the dominant organized polytheist Brahmanism/modern Hinduism and the atheist contemplatives such as ancient materialists, Jainism (led by Mahavira/Nigantha Nataputta) and many other sects, each had different view on the world and the ego. The movement of renunciation and seeking spiritual awakening was proliferating at the time. Mahavira (Nigantha Nataputta in the nikayas), founder of Jainism, had things in common with Gotama: a prince who gave up the throne for seeking spiritual awakening, then discovering a new path supposed to be leading to enlightenment and release from suffering, then for the rest of his life, teaching the doctrine and helping disciples to achieve enlightenment. Mahavira renounced his family years before Gotama. Possibly this or the general movement of renunciation inspired Gotama to renounce his family and seek enlightenment.

7.12.4.5. Inheritance:

Gotama inherited the best achievements of that historical period. When all best practices available failed him, he stepped further than the peak of them, a step by his own foot and inherited the spirit of science. He used scientific methods that he had learned before - logic, the natural flow of rationality, of wisdom. It was this step that set him on the right path to awakening and release. It was not by chance, not by luck, but a gradual accumulation of the whole civilisation’s core values through history. Due to the level of development and achievement in all areas listed above, all essential preparations gathered and narrowed down the gap to the right path to awakening. The gap got smaller and smaller and eventually there had to be someone who would break the limit - most likely the one on top of the best achievements available.

7.12.4.6. Breakthrough:

7.12.4.6.1. The first realization:

And this someone, the seeker who sought awakening and release, after learning what was wrong, only had a final option: the way of rationality. It had been always accompanying mankind though history but only the one who used rationality with the right object, in the right way, could break the limit of predecessors and set the first step on the the right path to enlightenment: asking the right question ‘Aging-&-death exists when what exists? From what as a requisite condition comes aging-&-death?’. Next was realizing the right answer for that question: ‘Aging-&-death exists when birth exists. From birth as a requisite condition comes aging-&-death.’. While birth, aging & death and their connection could be observed in one lifetime, becoming - the requisite condition for birth was more difficult to realize because it dealt with the previous live. Then there was the next thing: clinging in the previous live was a requisite condition for becoming before birth in this lifetime. The chain that involved name-&-form, six sense media, contact, feeling, craving, clinging was obvious since they were all in one lifetime. The next thing, a difficult one, was consciousness in the previous lifetime as a requisite condition for the formation of name-&-form in this lifetime. The rest, the chain of ignorance, fabrication, consciousness was obvious since they were all in one lifetime.

7.12.4.6.2. The rest of the path:

Once the seeker had discovered dependent co-arising, the twelve-link chain on origination of suffering, dependent co-arising on cessation of suffering could be realized at ease as it was similar to the format of origination of suffering. Then, the task to determine what to do became clear: end ignorance, end fabrications born of ignorance, and end craving. And then, the way to do it also became clear: practicing right mindfulness - contemplating on four establishings of mindfulness, including five clinging-aggregates, six sense bases, consequently practicing right concentration - the four jhanas with four establishings of mindfulness as content/theme. During the path, if there were hindrances, naturally the seeker had to abandon and overcome them - whatever weakened the mind, to gain a bright and concentrated mind - a requisite condition for discernment into core contents mentioned before.

7.12.4.6.3. Result of the practices:

As a result of this path, right knowledge and right release came to be. After achieving the fourth jhana, with a concentrated mind, the seeker directed it to the three knowledges. The knowledge of recollecting the seeker’s own past lives and the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of other sentient beings respectively confirmed that: the dominant belief of that time in the endless cycle of death and rebirth (eg in Brahmanism), as a hypothesis at the starting point of the path to enlightenment, was right in the seeker’s case and in other sentient beings’ case. These two knowledges also respectively confirmed the law of causality that worked on the seeker in his past lives and on other sentient beings, what they had done before and corresponding consequences they got. The last of the three knowledges, the knowledge of the ending of effluents was the most comprehensive version of the four noble truths. It confirmed the path the seeker had walked was right and showed how effluents had been destroyed in the seeker.

7.12.4.7. Inevitability:

So the first thing was to ask the question about requisite condition of aging & death. Only the one who had a science mind (logic) could ask such question. So eventually, someone with a science mind at the peak would be able to become the first one to awaken. In this case, it was Gotama. And if it wasn’t him, there would be another one eventually because it was the natural flow of developing rationality throughout mankind’s history. The key was reasoning and this was the feature of development of the human mind during history. So, as human society kept moving forward and advancing further and further, eventually someone like Gotama would appear and achieve awakening.

7.12.5. Conclusion:

The Awakened One had walked the middle path - the noble eightfold path. Regarding to content, he firstly discovered dependent co-arising, then contemplated on five clinging-aggregates, six sense bases. By practicing right mindfulness - contemplating on four establishings of mindfulness, he overcame hindrances, then achieved the four jhanas - right concentration, which had four establishings of mindfulness as content/theme. Then he attained three knowledges: firstly the knowledge of recollecting his past lives, then the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings, and finally the knowledge of the ending of effluents, in form of the four noble truths, which resulted in total release. This path was discovered by scientific method which rooted in Gotama’s science background since he was a prince, and in social background with advanced core values of that time.

Thank you for your patience,
Cheers

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