What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

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auto
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What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by auto » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:11 pm

?

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Sam Vara
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Re: What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:37 pm

There is obviously some overlap, and I have always thought of them as dealing with the same issues in a slightly different way. I have encountered most talk about hindrances in discussions to do with meditation, and in practice they are often seen as mental factors which are inimical to jhanas or mental cultivation in general. Within the suttas, though, they are sometimes treated more generally as the things which hinder progress towards the goal. The fetters seem to be presented in a more abstract philosophical way, as things which tie us to existing sufferings rather than as obstacles to be overcome. My guess is that they were originally used for the same purpose, but were differentiated according to the understanding and needs of the audience. It's interesting that different levels of spiritual attainment (Sotapanna, Arahant, etc.) are normally presented in terms of which fetters have been cut or dissolved, whereas this is not, as far as I know, the case with the hindrances.

santa100
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Re: What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by santa100 » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:12 pm

Some resources with definition and explanation: Hindrances def., Sutta refs. and Comys., Fetters def.

JohnK
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Re: What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by JohnK » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:51 pm

My recollection of main difference as it stood out to me (perhaps from Bhikkhu Bodhi's In The Buddha's Words?): hindrances can be temporarily suppressed or overcome (w/o a total cutting of the fetters); the fetters are eventually to be completely cut -- suggesting that any hindrance that arises from a specific fetter, does not arise again when that fetter is cut -- freedom -- (sorry, no sutta citation right now -- looks like you've got that above anyway!).
Last edited by JohnK on Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Re: What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by paul » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:34 pm

It's a matter of perspective. The fetters and the hindrances are part and parcel of the same thing, but as their names suggest, the hindrances are so-called in the context of attaining the jhanas, whereas the fetters are removed in the context of total release.

The fetters are divided into five lower, and five higher. The lower fetters bind to the sensual realm, while the higher fetters bind to the fine-material and immaterial realms.

The fetters can be reduced to the three influxes (asava):

personality view, doubt, attachment to rules and rituals, sensual lust, repulsion} influx of sense desire

greed for fine-material existence, greed for formless existence} influx of existence

conceit, restlessness, ignorance} influx of ignorance

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DooDoot
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Re: What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by DooDoot » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:20 pm

auto wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:11 pm
?
I would guess a hindrance is a hindrance to samadhi. Where as a fetter is something that gives rises to self-views & blocks Nibbana.

For example, the hindrance of sensual desire will prohibit the development of jhana. Where as a once-returner that has developed & can enter jhana may still have the fetter of sensual desire in relation to some sense objects when not in abiding in jhana, such as food.

The teachings on the fetter of sensual desire of the once-returner say sensual desire has been "reduced". Thus, the fetter of sensual desire does not appear to be a "hindrance". The fetter of sensual desire appears relevant to a Noble Stream-Enterer thus should not be a hindrance to a Noble Practitioner.

auto
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Re: What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by auto » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:29 am

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
"No, my friend. The eye is not the fetter of forms, nor are forms the fetter of the eye. Whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there. The ear is not the fetter of sounds... The nose is not the fetter of aromas... The tongue is not the fetter of flavors... The body is not the fetter of tactile sensations... The intellect is not the fetter of ideas, nor are ideas the fetter of the intellect. Whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there.

If i smell badly, it is disgusting.
Then
Person sitting next to me is hindered if he is fettered.

?
*There is a second body apart from physical?

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DooDoot
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Re: What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:14 pm

The Blessed One said: "These five are obstacles, hindrances that overwhelm awareness and weaken discernment. Which five?

Sensual desire is an obstacle, a hindrance that overwhelms awareness and weakens discernment. Ill will... Sloth & drowsiness... Restlessness & anxiety... Uncertainty is an obstacle, a hindrance that overwhelms awareness and weakens discernment. These are the five obstacles, hindrances that overwhelm awareness and weaken discernment. And when a monk has not abandoned these five obstacles, hindrances that overwhelm awareness and weaken discernment, when he is without strength and weak in discernment: for him to understand what is for his own benefit, to understand what is for the benefit of others, to understand what is for the benefit of both, to realize a superior human state, a truly noble distinction in knowledge & vision: that is impossible.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
vs
The fetters for getting reborn (upapattipaṭilābhiyāni) or the fetters for getting a continued existence (bhavapaṭilābhiyāni).

https://suttacentral.net/an4.131/en/sujato

paṭilābha
masculine
attainment; acquisition; obtaining.
Last edited by DooDoot on Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

James Tan
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Re: What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by James Tan » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:19 pm

The hindrances are obstacles to the path need to be overcome before progress further .
The fetters are the "binder" which ties us to the cycle of birth and death .
:reading:

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Re: What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:36 pm

I'm wondering if the hindrances are like the "symptoms" of the fetters?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: What is the difference between hindrances and fetters?

Post by JohnK » Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:06 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:36 pm
I'm wondering if the hindrances are like the "symptoms" of the fetters?
I think, yes, in that a hindrance is what one actually experiences. However, the absence of a hindrance in any moment does not indicate the removal of the associated fetter. While "symptom" seems to be a reasonable analogy, I don't think it is necessary. In fact, it might be better to stick with the more essential disease analogy of suffering/stress being the symptom of ignorance and craving.

More such "wondering:" Continuing with the disease analogy (the one I just dis-recommended above!), there are antidotes to the hindrances (e.g., metta for ill-will), which suggests an active awareness and treatment of them in experience. I'm wondering, by contrast, if the fetters are more generally treated by the eightfold path, that following the path results in the eventual weakening/dissolution of the fetters vs. actively/consciously prying/cutting specific fetters. Another way to frame that: could liberation happen w/o knowledge of the fetters themselves? Suttas say that there needs to be knowledge of release -- but does that mean conscious knowledge of specific fetters? I suspect there were "liberations" before there were teachings on the fetters (or hindrances for that matter). It is often said that the Buddha taught to the needs of the audience -- perhaps teachings on the fetters were for those who needed to get their head around "how liberation works." And the word "fetter" itself is a metaphor to help shine a light (another metaphor!) on the mechanics (yikes, another metaphor) of liberation. (One does not need to know how a car works in order to drive it.)
Thanks DW for providing an outlet for such "wondering" -- I hope it is not in gross contradiction to my signature block!
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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