The Buddha's path to liberation

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

Post by starter » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:26 pm

Today I read an article on how to remove craving. It says mindfulness is the way -- objective observation and meditation on mindfulness of body, feelings, mind and Dhammas should be practiced; the Buddha said, “This is the only direct way for this purpose.”

It reminded me some other readings about Satipatthāna practice. Since at the end of MN 10 the Buddha's words were recorded as "If anyone would develop these four establishments of mindfulness in this way for seven days [up to seven years], one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging/sustenance — non-return." Some practitioners were diligently practicing these four mindfulness for many years but didn't become enlightened and were wondering why.

I believe that the Buddha's teaching on the four mindfulness was meant as part of the N8P, instead of practicing only the mindfulness in isolation, without the foundation of Sila (including not only observing precepts but more broad --- right view, right resolve/thinking, right speech/action/livelihood) and the establishment of Samadhi (also more broad as I understand -- including right effort, right mindfulness and right Samadhi). I believe that objective observation of body, feeling, mind and Dhammas alone wouldn't be sufficient for enlightenment, which needs the effacement of the unwholesome and the cultivation of the wholesome. I also wonder if the Buddha's teaching on Satipatthāna has been misunderstood/misinterpreted, and if emphasizing such mindfulness practice in isolation of the other path factors is the reason for the failure of enlightenment.

I believe the way to eliminate craving (the 3rd Noble Truth) is the complete N8P (the 4th Noble Truth), which starts from right view, is guided by right resolve/thinking, has fulfilled right speech/action/livelihood, and established right effort, right mindfulness and right Samadhi, which will lead to right knowledge/insight and right liberation -- ending of craving/Nibbana.

Your input would be appreciated. Thanks and metta!

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daverupa
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by daverupa » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:33 pm

starter wrote:I believe that the Buddha's teaching on the four mindfulness was meant as part of the N8P...
The term "samma-" isn't translated well by the English "right-", I think. I'm naught but a myopic Pali hobbyist, but I read samma- as "integrative", which is to say that each path aspect must integrate, support, and be found in a practical web of interaction with the other aspects.

So, "right mindfulness" is misleading - better might be "integrative mindfulness", mindfulness which integrates the preceding aspects of the Path and develops them into a proper foundation for what follows. There's a lot of feedback, back and forth, among aspects of the Path. Running and circling, as it were...
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:06 am

Greetings!

In the following suttas, the buddha clearly outlined the sequence of the practice for the path:

SN Chapter I - 45 Maggasamyutta Connected Discourses on the Path,

1 (1) Ignorance

“Bhikkhus, ignorance is the forerunner in the entry upon unwholesome states, with shamelessness and fearlessness of wrongdoing following along. For an unwise person immersed in ignorance, wrong view springs up. For one of wrong view, wrong intention springs up. For one of wrong intention, wrong speech springs up. For one of wrong speech, wrong action springs up. For one of wrong action, wrong livelihood springs up. For one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort springs up. For one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness springs up. For one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration springs up.

“Bhikkhus, true knowledge is the forerunner in the entry upon wholesome states, with a sense of shame and fear of wrongdoing following along. For a wise person who has arrived at true knowledge, right view (of 4NT) springs up. For one of right view, right intention (and thinking) springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up.”

2 (2) Half the Holy Life

“And how, Ānanda, does a bhikkhu who has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, develop and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path? Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu develops right view, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. He develops right intention (and thinking) … right speech ... right action ... right livelihood … right effort … right mindfulness … right concentration, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. It is in this way, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu who has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, develops and cultivates the Noble Eightfold Path.

Metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:05 pm

Greetings!

I truly realized today that one must have a sound understanding of the Buddha's teaching and path before walking the path. I previously thought that at least a practitioner can walk the path by first practicing dana/caga (and metta, ...) before comprehending the teaching and path, and practicing dana/caga (and metta, ...) would help him understand the teaching. But when I saw that some practitioner(s) might not be following (unknowingly) the Buddha's teaching on dana/caga (and metta, ...), and might get distracted, e.g. by trying to become a world saver, ..., I realized that in order to practice dana/caga (and metta ...) in the right way, one must first establish Right View of the Buddha's teaching on dana/caga (and metta ...) as one's guide. Before walking the path, one must understand the path well enough, otherwise one could easily go astray.

If I become distracted or go astray in the path, I would greatly appreciate the camaraderies' alert. Thanks and metta!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:46 pm

Just figured out why stream winners are destined to nibbana. It's because they have entered the stream of the Dhamma and have become independent of others in the Teacher's teaching -- they know how to rely on the Teacher's teaching to walk the path without being misled by others or going astray.

Thanks and metta!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by pegembara » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:27 am

Another epithet is opening the Dhamma eye. Once the view is established, it cannot be reversed.

Sabbe sankhara anicca, sabbe dhamma anatta.
What is it that this Eye of Dhamma sees? This Eye sees that whatever is born has ageing and death as a natural result. 'Whatever is born' means everything! Whether material or immaterial, it all comes under this 'whatever is born'. It refers to all of nature. Like this body for instance - it's born and then proceeds to extinction. When it's small it 'dies' from smallness to youth. After a while it 'dies' from youth and becomes middle-aged. Then it goes on to 'die' from middle-age and reach old-age, finally reaching the end. Trees, mountains and vines all have this characteristic.
http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Opening_Dhamma_Eye1.php
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:15 pm

Greetings and thanks to all your input!

I happened to hear/read the Mangala sutta today. It appears to me that the Buddha described the mundane path in detail (II-IX).

Mangala Sutta:

Thus have I heard:
Once while the Blessed One was staying in the vicinity of Saavatthi, in the Jeta Grove, in Anaathapindika's monastery, a certain deity, whose surpassing brilliance and beauty illumined the entire Jeta Grove, late one night came to the presence of the Blessed One; having come to him and offered profound salutations he stood on one side and spoke to him reverently in the following verse:

I
Many deities and human beings
Have pondered what are blessings,
Which they hope will bring them safety:
Declare to them, Sir, the Highest Blessing.

(To this the Blessed One replied):

II
With the foolish no company keeping.
With the wise ever consorting,
To the worthy homage paying:
This, the Highest Blessing.

[Associate with the wise; pay homage to the three gems]

III
Congenial place to dwell,
In the past merits making,
One's self directed well:
This, the Highest Blessing.

[Have suitable place to live, & set Right Resolve]

IV
Ample learning,
Skills in handicraft,
well-learned in vinaya,
And well-spoken words:
This, the Highest Blessing.

[Great learning (of the Dhamma) and proficiency in some practical skills (to earn one’s livelihood), well learned in vinaya, for gaining (mundane) Right View; practice Right Speech]

V
Mother, father well supporting,
Wife and children duly cherishing,
Types of work unconflicting:
This, the Highest Blessing.

[Support family, have Right Livelihood — that one's work leads to no harm for oneself or other beings.]

VI
By the Dhamma giving and living,
Relatives supporting,
Deeds blameless then pursuing:
This, the Highest Blessing.

[Practice dana/caga and live by the Dhamma; then pursue Right Action

VII
Avoiding evil and abstaining,
From besotting drinks refraining,
Diligence in Dhamma practicing:
This, the Highest Blessing.

[Practice Right Effort (and Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration?]

VIII
Right reverence and humility
Contentment and gratitude,
Hearing the Dhamma timely:
This, the Highest Blessing.

[Practice contentment and gratitude; study Dhamma timely]

IX
Patience, meekness [submissive] when corrected,
Meeting the Samanas (holy men), timely discuss about the Dhamma:
This, the Highest Blessing.

[Practice patience and compliance; discussing the Dhamma timely and penetrate the Dhamma]

X
Self-restraint and holy life,
All the Noble Truths in-seeing,
Realization of Nibbaana:
This, the Highest Blessing.

[Enter the stream and realize Nibbana: the Noble Path]

XI
Though touched by worldly circumstances,
Never his mind is wavering,
Sorrowless, stainless and secure:
This, the Highest Blessing.

XII
Since by acting in this way,
They are everywhere unvanquished [undefeated],
And everywhere they go in safety:
Theirs, the Highest Blessings.

[The translation is mainly based upon http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#ch2-3; with some changes]

Metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:26 pm

Greetings!

I'm pondering about the mundane path again. The practices leading to stream entry were encapsulated in four factors:

"Association with people of integrity is a factor for stream-entry.
Listening to the true Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry.
Appropriate attention/consideration/reflection is a factor for stream-entry.
Practice in accordance with the Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry."
— SN 55.5

How to "practice in accordance with the Dhamma"?

"... when associating with truly good people is brought to fulfillment, it fulfills [the conditions for] hearing the true Dhamma... conviction... appropriate attention/consideration/reflection... mindfulness & clear comprehension ... restraint of the senses... the three forms of right conduct... the four establishings of mindfulness... the seven factors for awakening. When the seven factors for awakening are brought to fulfillment, they fulfill [the conditions for] clear knowing & liberation. Thus is clear knowing & liberation fed, thus is it brought to fulfillment."
— AN 10.61

I suppose that when the seven factors for awakening are established in a practitioner, s/he becomes awakened to the 1st stage of awakening; when the seven factors for awakening are fulfilled, s/he becomes an arahant. The way to establish the awakening factors is the 8-fold path. We practice the path to gradually cultivate and culminate/fulfill the awakening factors. Although dana/caga is not mentioned in AN 10.61, I think it's included in the 2nd path factor Samma Sankapa, as the antidote for greed.

Metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:42 pm

Hi friends,

Just to let you know that I've updated my understanding of the Buddha's path in the first post of this thread.

Please correct me if you notice any mistake.

Thanks and metta,

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starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by starter » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:28 pm

Greetings!

Today I happened to encounter the following teaching from a famous master:

"The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be."

I wonder if this teaching is in accordance with the teaching of all the Buddhas:

"Cultivate the wholesome,
Abandon the unwholesome,
Purify the mind.
This is the teaching of all the Buddhas."
(修去众惡,修好诸善,清淨自心,是諸佛所教)。


Apparently all the Buddhas have taught us to become virtuous, pure persons instead of just let it (including the defilements) all be. Without the cultivation/perfection of sila (including right view, right resolve/thinking, right speech/action/livelihood, to my understanding), one can't obtain right samahi (which is equipped with the preceding seven path factors), and can't obtain right panna to eradicate ignorance.

It seems to me that some schools teach the methods to reach equanimity by overcoming love and hate (and considered this equanimity as nibbana), but ignored neutral feeling fueled by ignorance. Equanimity alone is not the end goal of the Buddha's path, although nibbana encompasses equanimity. Only giving up clinging to love and hate is not enough. We need to uproot "ignorance-obsession with regard to a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain" as well, to abandon ignorance and give rise to clear knowing, as taught in the following sutta:

MN 148 Chachakka Sutta: The Six Sextets

"Dependent on the eye & forms (the ear & sounds, the nose & aromas, the tongue & flavors, the body & tactile sensations, the mind faculty & mind objects) there arises consciousness at the eye (nose, ...). The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there arises what is felt either as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. If, when touched by a feeling of pleasure, one relishes it, welcomes it, or remains fastened to it, then one's passion-obsession gets obsessed. If, when touched by a feeling of pain, one sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats one's breast, becomes distraught, then one's resistance-obsession gets obsessed. If, when touched by a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one does not discern, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, or escape from that feeling, then one's ignorance-obsession gets obsessed. That a person — without abandoning passion-obsession with regard to a feeling of pleasure, without abolishing resistance-obsession with regard to a feeling of pain, without uprooting ignorance-obsession with regard to a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, without abandoning ignorance and giving rise to clear knowing — would put an end to suffering & stress in the here & now: such a thing isn't possible.

"...Dependent on the mind faculty & mind objects there arises consciousness at the mind faculty. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there arises what is felt either as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. If, when touched by a feeling of pleasure, one does not relish it, welcome it, or remain fastened to it, then one's passion-obsession [liking] doesn't get obsessed. If, when touched by a feeling of pain, one does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, beat one's breast or become distraught, then one's resistance-obsession [disliking] doesn't get obsessed. If, when touched by a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one discerns, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, & escape from that feeling, then one's ignorance-obsession doesn't get obsessed. That a person — through abandoning passion-obsession [liking] with regard to a feeling of pleasure, through abolishing resistance-obsession [disliking] with regard to a feeling of pain, through uprooting ignorance-obsession with regard to a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, through abandoning ignorance and giving rise to clear knowing — would put an end to suffering & stress in the here & now: such a thing is possible. ..."

Your input and correction would be appreciated, as always. Metta to all!
Last edited by starter on Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by 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

Post by 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?"

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 92#p272592

Merry Christmas and metta to all!

starter
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Re: The Buddha's path to liberation

Post by 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

Post by 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

Post by vishuroshan » Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:21 am

please read this . you can download this PDF. http://www.pathtonibbana.com

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