The Buddha's path to liberation

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:47 pm

Following the above post:

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with the eye, disenchanted with forms, disenchanted with consciousness at the eye, disenchanted with contact at the eye, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with craving.

"He grows disenchanted with the ear...

"He grows disenchanted with the nose...

"He grows disenchanted with the tongue...

"He grows disenchanted with the body...

"He grows disenchanted with the mind faculty, disenchanted with mind objects, disenchanted with consciousness at the mind faculty, disenchanted with contact at the mind faculty, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with craving. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released." (MN 148)

I'm wondering if the confusion of regarding equanimity (dispassion) as nibbana arose due to the misunderstanding of the teaching "Through dispassion, he is fully released" and "this is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all volitions, the relinquishing of all attachments, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbana."

To my understanding, dispassion itself is not nibbana, but through dispassion ignorance is abandoned and true knowledge arises, which then puts an end to suffering:

"There is the case where a monk — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unwholesome states of mind — enters & abides in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by initial application & sustained application (to the meditation object). With that he abandons passion/lust. No passion-obsession gets obsessed there. There is the case where a monk considers, 'O when will I enter & abide in the dimension that the noble ones now enter & abide in?' In one who thus generates this yearning for the unexcelled liberations, there arises within him sorrow with that yearning as condition. With that he abandons resistance/aversion. No resistance-obsession gets obsessed there. There is the case where a monk, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of joy & distress — enters & abides in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. With that he abandons ignorance. No ignorance-obsession gets obsessed there."[6]

But exactly what's ignorance? Ignorance is the counterpart of true knowledge. What's the true knowledge?

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the assavas. I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is suffering’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ I directly knew as it actually is: ‘These are the assavas’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the origin of the assavas’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the cessation of the assavas’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of the assavas.’

“My mind, thus knowing, thus seeing, was liberated from the assava of sensual desire, from the assava of being, and from the assava of ignorance. When it was liberated, there came the knowledge: ‘It is liberated.’ I directly knew: ‘Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.’

“This was the third true knowledge attained by me in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was banished and (true) knowledge arose, darkness was banished and light arose, as happens in one who abides heedful, ardent, and resolute." (MN 4)

Metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:53 pm

More thoughts following the above posts:

Sections from http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/E ... ses-01.htm (with my notes and minor change)

"Realisation

‘This is suffering’ [/ ‘This is the arising of suffering’ / ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ / ‘This is the practice (path) leading to the cessation of suffering’], to me, monks, regarding these previously unheard-of things reflecting wisely and practising continuously, knowledge arose, vision arose, understanding arose, comprehension arose, intelligence arose, wisdom arose and light became manifest.

...

Now that to which “this is suffering” refers (i.e. suffering itself) is to be fully known [/Now that to which “this is the arising (origination) of suffering” refers (i.e. craving) is to be (completely) given up / Now that to which “this is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering” refers (i.e. Emancipation) is to be experienced/ Now that to which “this is the noble truth of the practice leading to the end of suffering” refers (i.e. the practice (path) itself) is to be (fully) developed], to me, monks, regarding these previously unheard-of things reflecting wisely and practising continuously, knowledge arose, vision arose, understanding arose, comprehension arose, intelligence arose, wisdom arose and light became manifest.

...

Now that to which “this is the noble truth of suffering” refers has been fully known [/Now that to which “this is the noble truth of the arising (origination)of suffering” refers has been given up / Now that to which “this is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering” refers to has been experienced / Now that to which “this is the noble truth of the practice (path) leading to the end of suffering has been developed”], to me, monks, regarding these previously unheard-of things reflecting wisely and practising continuously, knowledge arose, vision arose, understanding arose, comprehension arose, intelligence arose, wisdom arose and light became manifest.

...

Declaring the Awakening

For as long as to me, monks, in regard to these four noble truths reflected upon wisely and turned like this, in three ways, twelvefold, knowledge and insight (knowledge of the path and first three fruits) was (still) arising, for that long, monks, I did not declare that I was a Full and Perfect Sambuddha with unsurpassed complete awakening; but when knowledge and insight was no longer arising, and in regard to these four noble truths, monks, turned like this, in three ways, twelvefold, knowledge and insight had arisen (and I knew): sure is my liberation of mind, wisdom and liberation have been experienced, then I, monks, did declare that I was a Full and Perfect Sambuddha with unsurpassed complete awakening and knowledge and insight (final fruit knowledge) arose:

‘Destroyed is (re)birth for me,
accomplished is the spiritual life,
done is what ought to be done,
there is no more of this mundane state - this I know’."

It seems to me that this sutta elaborates the third true knowledge (wisdom, insight) that the Buddha attained in the last watch of the night of his enlightenment more completely, including the four noble truths "reflected upon wisely and turned like this, in three ways (phases), twelvefold". The Buddha had directly known (not through reasoning, imagining, doubting and so on, instead "knowledge arose, vision arose, understanding arose, comprehension arose, intelligence arose, wisdom arose and light became manifest") that he had fully comprehended the noble truth of suffering, he had abandoned the noble truth of the origination/arising of the suffering, and he had fully developed the practice (path) leading to the cessation of the suffering. I suppose when one attains the first fruit, he also directly knows that has comprehended the first fourfold of the 4NT.

Regarding "this is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all volitions, the relinquishing of all attachments, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbana", I tend to think cessation means cessation of ignorance (about the 4NT) with the arising of the above-mentioned true knowledge. The knowledge/wisdom/insight will destroy the cord (all modes) of being (existence), and all beings (existences) all together cease and hence no more "decay" (defiled states) in samsara:

http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/E ... ses-01.htm

"Where there is no imagining or doubt that is said to be wisdom,
Whatever comes from wisdom, in that there is no ignorance at all.
In whatever place there is cessation of ignorance,
There is a cessation of all decay and the factors of existence which are destroyed by decay (?)."

I was first confused about "the stilling of all volitions" as a practice to nibbana, but have realized that "the stilling of all volitions" is a description of nibbana which applies to arahants, not a way of practice to nibbana for trainers, as discussed in the following thread:

"Did the Buddha teach us to dwell only on the present?"

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=18131&p=272592#p272592

Merry Christmas and metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:14 am

Greetings!

Just to let you know that I've updated my understanding of the path again in the first post of this thread. I've realized that if one hasn't truly comprehended/penetrated all the 8 path factors, then he probably still hasn't entered the steam yet.

May all of us lots of progress on the path this year. Metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby yogya » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:56 am

Doing the right thing: Right understanding leads to right decision/choice, right thought to speech....

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby vishuroshan » Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:21 am

please read this . you can download this PDF.

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:35 am


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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:42 am

Greetings!

I happened to encounter Ven. Bodhi's following comments today:

"Considered from the standpoint of practical training, the eight path factors divide into three groups: (i) the moral discipline group (silakkhandha), made up of right speech, right action, and right livelihood; (ii) the concentration group (samadhikkhandha), made up of right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration; and (iii) the wisdom group (paññakkhandha), made up of right view and right intention. These three groups represent three stages of training: the training in the higher moral discipline, the training in the higher consciousness, and the training in the higher wisdom.

..Perplexity sometimes arises over an apparent inconsistency in the arrangement of the path factors and the threefold training. Wisdom — which includes right view and right intention — is the last stage in the threefold training, yet its factors are placed at the beginning of the path rather than at its end, as might be expected according to the canon of strict consistency. The sequence of the path factors, however, is not the result of a careless slip, but is determined by an important logistical consideration, namely, that right view and right intention of a preliminary type are called for at the outset as the spur for entering the threefold training. Right view provides the perspective for practice, right intention the sense of direction. But the two do not expire in this preparatory role. For when the mind has been refined by the training in moral discipline and concentration, it arrives at a superior right view and right intention, which now form the proper training in the higher wisdom."


As described in the first post of this thread:

1) "a preliminary type" of right view and right intention is the mundane right view [of law of karma] and mundane right intention [of striving for 1) non-unrighteous greed/non-covetousness, non-ill will, non-wrong view (of the law of karma), 2) non-bodily and then non-mental sensual desire, non-hatred/non-malevonance, non-cruelty/non-harming ], for the effacement of 10 unwholesome deeds, establishment of the 8 path factors, and the understanding of the 4 Noble Truths.

2) "a superior right view and right intention" is the noble right view of the 4 Noble Truths, and noble right intention/thinking of the perfection of non-sensuality, non-malevonance (hate, hostility, anger, ...), and non-harming.

The 8-factored path contains both the mundane path and the noble path; the mundane path, which is led by mundane right view and intention/thoughts, leads to the noble right intention/thoughts, which start the noble path.

As to culaavuso's helpful comments (http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 4&start=40) concerning the sequence of the practice, here are my two cents:

I agree that the relationship between the path factors is not purely linear, but often intertwined (e.g. right mindfulness and right effort should be practiced for developing all the other path factors), and incorporates feedback loops. But again, I tend to think that during the course of the gradual training we should probably try to concentrate our effort on developing and perfecting each factor sequentially ("step-by-step"), while also practicing the other factors. It's not that we only practice one factor at a time. It's also not that we practice all the factors with equal emphasis at once.

To my understanding, the following teaching outlines the sequence of perfection of the path factors, which also teaches us the sequence of practice:

AN 10.103: Micchatta Sutta

"In a person of right view, right resolve comes into being. In a person of right resolve, right speech. In a person of right speech, right action. In a person of right action, right livelihood. In a person of right livelihood, right effort. In a person of right effort, right mindfulness. In a person of right mindfulness, right concentration. In a person of right concentration, right knowledge. In a person of right knowledge, right release."

Thanks for all your input and metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby culaavuso » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:51 am



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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:27 am

Hello culaavuso,

Nice to have you in the forum and thanks for your input. To my understanding, the complete aranhant path has 10 factors [the 8 path factors plus right knowledge and right deliverance]:

“Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? In one of right view, right intention comes into being; in one of right intention, right speech comes into being; in one of right speech, right action comes into being; in one of right action, right livelihood comes into being; in one of right livelihood, right effort comes into being; in one of right effort, right mindfulness comes into being; in one of right mindfulness, right concentration comes into being; in one of right concentration, right knowledge comes into being; in one of right knowledge, right deliverance comes into being. Thus, bhikkhus, the path of the disciple in higher training possesses eight factors, the arahant possesses ten factors." (MN 117 http://suttacentral.net/mn117/en)

The right view you refer to as discernment appears to mean the 9th factor -- right/complete knowledge (of the 3 ways and 12 folds of the 4 Noble Truths), which eradicates ignorance.

The right view I refer to mean the 1st path factor, the comprehension of the first one of the three ways, and the first 4 folds of the 12 folds of 4 NT):

‘This is suffering’, ‘This is the arising of suffering’, ‘This is the cessation of suffering’, ‘This is the practice (path) leading to the cessation of suffering’.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. Mega metta!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby culaavuso » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:56 am



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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:41 am

Hello culaavuso,

Here is my understanding of the "upward spiral" of the path:

→ Mundane ("preliminary type" of tainted) Right View of the law of karma
→ Mundane Right Resolve/Thinking [still tainted; 1) striving for and culminating intention/thoughts of non-unrighteous greed/non-covetousness, non-ill will, non-wrong view (of the law of karma); 2) striving for intention/thoughts of non-bodily and then non-mental sensual desire, non-malevonance, non-cruelty/non-harming]
→ Mundane Sila [still tainted]: striving for
Right speech
Right conduct
Right livelihood
→ Mundane Right effort [still tainted]
→ Mundane Right mindfulness [still tainted]
→ Mundane Right Samādhi [still tainted; singleness of mind equipped and supported with the previous 7 factors]

→ Mundane Right Knowledge [the All are anicca/dukkha/anatta]

→ Gain Noble Right View (the first one of the three ways, the first 4 of the 12 folds of the 4 Noble Truths)
→ Noble Right Resolve/Thinking [perfection of the resolve and thinking of non-sensuality, non-malevonance, non-cruelty/non-harming; taintless]
→ Noble Sila: [taintless]
Noble Right Speech
Noble Right Conduct
Noble Right Livelihood
→ Noble Right Effort [taintless]
→ Noble Right Mindfulness [taintless]
→ Noble Right Samādhi [the 4 jhanas, equipped and supported with the previous 7 path factors; taintless]

→ Right knowledge (comprehension of the four Noble Truths in three ways and twelve folds & cessation of ignorance)
-- Nibbana

To my understanding, the noble right samadhi is obtained after the culmination of the noble right resolve:

SN 36.31: Niramisa sutta
And what is rapture not of the flesh? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana

Mundane right samadhi could help with the practice/perfection of the noble right resolve (and other path factors).

By the way, to me AN 11.2 (Cetana Sutta) does not necessarily mean that the first step of the path is virtue. This particular sutta seems to teach how sila is important for and leads to samadhi and final liberation. Although noble right view and the other path factors were not mentioned in this sutta, I believe it was taught to the noble disciples who had already possessed noble right view and noble right resolve/thinking, who were perfecting their sila and samadhi. If sila were taught as the first step of the Path without the first two (and other) path factors, then it wouldn't lead to right samadhi, right knowledge and nibbana.

Thanks and metta!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:39 am

Just to add the following teaching, which indicates that the other 7 path factors must be culminated before reaching noble right samadhi:

“What, bhikkhus, is noble right concentration with its supports and its requisites, that is, right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness? Unification of mind equipped with these seven factors is called noble right concentration with its supports and its requisites." (MN 117)

Metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:23 pm

Greetings!

I happened to study MN 24 and tried to translate the following paragraph based upon my personal understanding:

MN 24. Ratha-vinita Sutta: Relay Chariots

“… In the same manner (as the relay of chariots),

sīlavisuddhi (precepts/morality purity) is for citta­visuddhatthā (mind purification [samadhi]),

citta-visuddhi (mind purity) is for diṭṭhi-visuddhatthā (view purification [Understanding the three characteristics (anicca/dukkha/anatta) and breaking of the fetter of self view]),

diṭṭhi-visuddhi (view purity) is for kaṅkhāvitaraṇa-visuddhatthā (doubt-overcoming purification [breaking the fetter of doubt about the Buddha and the Dhamma]),

kaṅkhāvitaraṇa-visuddhi (purity from doubt) is for maggāmaggañāṇadassana­ visuddhatthā (purification of path/non-path knowledge [gaining the noble right view of the 4NT in one of the three ways and four of the twelve folds, breaking the fetter of grasping sila and rituals]),

and maggāmaggañāṇadassana­visuddhi (purity of path/non-path knowledge) is for paṭipadāñāṇadassana-visuddhatthā (purification of knowledge of the [NOBLE 8-fold] path),

paṭipadāñāṇadassana-visuddhi (purity of knowledge of the path) is for ñāṇadassana-visuddhatthā (purification of [liberating] knowledge and insight [comprehension of the four noble truths in three ways and twelve folds & cessation of ignorance]),

ñāṇadassana-visuddhi (purity of knowledge and insight) is for final Nibbana without grasping.

It is for Nibbana without grasping that the holy life is lived in the dispensation of the Blessed One.”

Ven. Sariputta and Ven. Punna Mantaniputta summarized the sequence of the practice very well, which is in complete agreement with the Buddha's teaching (of course). I feel a pity that this sequence of the practice appeared to have been misinterpreted by some commentators and practitioners, and the commentaries (instead of the Buddha's words) have been used to guide their practice.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks and metta!
Last edited by starter on Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:55 pm

Hi Starter,

Since this sutta was used by Buddhaghosa as a basis for his classification of The Path of Purification, Visuddhimagga, downloadable here: it would be logical to compare your understanding with the traditional classification.

You might also find Ven Analyo's article about the Visuddhimagga and the Vimuttimagga useful, as he discusses the relationships to the suttas:


:anjali:
Mike

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:02 am

Hello Mike,

Thanks for the information. I've to admit that I don't feel like that I can read the Visuddhimagga now; I suppose that this diagram (http://paauktawyausa.org/dhamma/the-tea ... -training/) is a good summary of it. I'm amazed how it could have become such an influential "bible", in replacement of the suttas. Why have so many practitioners chosen to follow it instead of the Buddha's teaching?

Metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:23 am

Yes, that's a discussion of the progress of insight. I thought this thread was in the Classical Theravada section, which is why I mentioned the Visuddhimagga, but I seem to be mistaken. To answer your question, many people obviously find the Theravada commentaries on the Suttas, which summarise knowledge and analysis of ancient practitioners, to be as helpful as modern ones. I would have thought that it would be interesting for you to compare your commentary to that of the ancients, as well as comparing it with modern commentators (which would include those who post on this forum).

There are some examples of the practical advice that is encapsulated in the Visuddhimagga on this thread. This particular post I have compared advice with a modern teacher:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=20969#p294902

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby starter » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:59 am

Hello Mike,

Please be sure that your input has always been appreciated, and your suggestions as well. I'm surely interested in comparing my "commentary" to that of the ancients, as well as that of the modern commentators. It's just that I felt disappointed about the Visuddhimagga's interpretation of the wisdom section (from view purification to knowledge and vision purification). But I agree with you that the practical advice encapsulated in the Visuddhimaggaon (such as on samadhi as mentioned on your thread) could be helpful. By the way, thanks for sharing your interesting comparison and knowledge with us. I've always been impressed by your knowledge and helpfulness.

Any more suggestions/comments would be sincerely welcome. Mega metta!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:24 am


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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:40 pm



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