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A Critical Study of The Puggala As Depicted in the Pañca Nikāya

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A Critical Study of The Puggala As Depicted in the Pañca Nikāya

phat thanh dao


By Bhikkhuni Thich nu Tinh Van





            Buddhism benefits not only one community, nation or region but each person everywhere. The Buddha’s teachings are open and show the way to individuals to live harmoniously in society. Buddhism has entered new and strange areas dispossessing any misleading thoughts and beliefs that were present before.


            As a matter of fact, Buddha-Dhamma is not only the basic teachings but also practical guidelines to make the Dhamma meaningful and applicable to daily life. Only one who lives with Dhamma will experience the Qualities of Dhamma. The method, which the Buddha proposed for this process of self-examination, is observation and critical study. His own philosophy was described as ehipassika and paccattaṃ veditabba. Thus, it is considered as a means to help a person cross the ocean of suffering, that is, saṃsāra and helps the person to steadily reach complete liberation (vimutti) from the edge of non-suffering.


            His teachings are like a raft which is left behind when one reaches the other shore, i.e., the Ultimate destination (Nibbāna), and is not carried along.


            In this research work, I have made an effort to show the description of the Puggala (Individual) in order to realize what a man really is. Additionally, after comprehending the factors of man, one can try the best to practise as well as apply the Buddha’s teachings to eradicate the tendencies of defilements for achieving the welfare not only for oneself but also for others.


            While doing the research work, I faced some obstructions, but with the enthusiastic encouragement of my Supervisor, Dr. Madam Subhra Pavagadhi, I advanced on the chosen topic:



 “A critical study of the Puggala

as depicted in the Pañca Nikāya”.


Gradually, I gained confidence, especially after the topic was admitted by the Board of Research Studies for the Humanities, University of Delhi, through its meeting held on October 6th, 1996.


The entire work has been divided into four parts:


            1. Introduction of the topic.

            2. Lord Buddha’s way of Education to alleviate human suffering, for truth and true happiness.

            3. Application of Lord Buddha’s teachings to individuals in society.

            4. Suggestions for a good way of life and happiness for individuals.


Dealing with the chosen work, I observe that a puggala has been present in the world because of dependent origination (paiccasamuppāda) or continuity of change (santāna). The five masses of elements (pañcakkhandhā), which constitute the puggala and the world around him, are without any substance (anattā), impermanent (anicca) and they are really causes of grief (dukkha)... Just as by the condition precedent of the co-existence of its various parts that the word ‘chariot’ is used, just so when the khandhā are there, we talk of a ‘puggala’. Again, the personal appearance or the idea of self (attā) is an imaginary, false belief which has no corresponding reality (sammuti), and it produces harmful thoughts of ‘me and mine’, selfishness, desire, craving, attachment, hatred, ill-will, conceit, pride, egoism and other defilements, impurities as well as problems. It is the source of all the troubles in the world from personal conflicts to wars between nations... In order to overcome attachments (upādāna) and craving (taṅhā) that the puggala comes in contact with in his day-to-day life, it is necessary to get true knowledge, i.e., seeing things as they really are, through the well-known formula ‘Na etaṃ mama - Na eso ahaṃ asmi - Na me so attā’.


            At the end, it is impossible to refer to and thank someone to whom I am indebted. First of all, I particularly thank Dr. Madam Subhra Pavagadhi for kindly help, encouragement as well as guidance the entire work. I would also like to express the sincere gratitude to Venerable Head of the Department of Buddhist Studies, University of Delhi, Dr. Bhikkhu Satyapala, and all other gurus of the Buddhist Studies Department for their valuable suggestion concerning the progress of the study.


            I would like to take this opportunity of making a full acknowledgement of my deep gratitude and obligation to my master Most Venerable Thich Minh Chau, for his moral suggestions and encouragement. My deepest respect also goes to another master of mine, late Most Venerable Thich Nu Dieu Khong. I am very grateful to the Vietnam Buddhist Saṅgha for given me the opportunities to study abroad.

            Finally, my sincere thanks are due to the authors of works that I consulted for my research and which has enabled me to complete this valuable project.





November 2nd, 1998 

Bhikkhuni Thich nu Tinh Van

 (Hoang Mai)

 Department of Buddhist Studies
University of Delhi

 Delhi – 110007








  1. Aṅgutta Nikāya


  1. Dīgha Nikāya


            Dh.                              Dhammapada


            Dhs.                             Dhammasaṅgaṇī


            Dhs.A.                         Dhammasaṅgaṇī Aṭṭhakathā


            It.                                 Itivuttaka


            Jāt.                              Jātaka


  1. Majjhima Nikāya


            M.A.                            Majjhima Nikāya Aṭṭhakathā


            Miln.                           Milinda-pañhā


            Pug.                             Puggala-paññatti


  1. Saṃyutta Nikāya


            Sn.                               Sutta-nipāta


            Ud.                              Udāna


            Vbh.                            Vibhaṅga


            Vbh.A.                        Vibhaṅga Aṭṭhakathā


            Vism.                          Visuddhimagga


            Vism.A.                       Visuddhimagga Aṭṭhakathā





Part one                      : General Introduction

Chapter 1: Introduction                                          

1. 1 :    Title and clarification of the topic                          

            1. 2 :    Scope of the topic                                                      

            Chapter 2: Lord Buddha’s way to Truth

                                    and True Happiness                                    

2. 1 : Indian thought and society before

                the advent of Lord Buddha                                          

                        - Indian thought before the

advent of the Buddha                                                 

- Buddhism and society                                             

            2. 2 :    Lord Buddha’s way to Truth

and True Happiness                                           

                        - Lord Buddha’s way to Truth                                   

                        - Lord Buddha’s way to True Happiness                   


Part two              :      Lord Buddha’s way of Education to

                                    alleviate human suffering, for Truth

                                    and True Happiness.

            Chapter 3: Non-Buddhist thought about

Individuals and the suffering

as well as happiness of the


            3. 1 :    World non-Buddhist thoughts

                        about what a man really is                 

                        - The concept of man in Greek thought                     

                        - The concept of man in Chinese thought     

                        - The concept of man in Indian thought                    

            3. 2 :    Non-Buddhist thoughts on Individual’s

                        problems of suffering and happiness 

                        - The sixty-two kinds of wrong views           

                        - Four pairs of extremes                                       

                        - Sassata-diṭṭhi and Uccheda-diṭṭhi  

Chapter 4: Lord Buddha’s teachings on

Individuals and the suffering

and happiness of Individuals                      

            4. 1 :    Lord Buddha’s teachings on

                        what a man really is                                                   

                        - The constituents of being                                        

                        - Buddhist theory of causation                                  

            4. 2 :    Lord Buddha’s teachings on the

                        way to the destruction of suffering

                        and to the Ultimate Truth                              

                        - The four Noble Truths as

                        starting point and logical frame

                        of the Buddha’s teachings                                         

                        - The threefold training                                             

Part three     : Application of Lord Buddha’s

teachings to Individuals in

human society

            Chapter 5: Lord Buddha’s teachings for

                                     each class in human society            

            5. 1 : For teenagers                                        

                        - Tisaraṇa                                                                                

                        - Pañca sīla                                                              

            5. 2 : For adults          

                        - Aṭṭhaṅga sīla                                                                        

                        - Dasa sīla                                                                              

                        - Brahma-vihāra                                                                     

                        - Pāramita                                                                  

            Chapter 6: Lord Buddha’s teachings

                                     to Individuals in society                             

            6. 1 : The layman’s duties to his associates               

            6. 2 : Individuals and Family education,       

                        Community and Social education                             

            6. 3 : Duties connected with means 

                        of  livelihood                                                 



Part four      : Conclusion

            Chapter 7: Summary of the entire thesis             

            Chapter 8: Suggestions for a good way of life

                                    and happiness for Individuals                    








Buddhavacana                                    chart 1                        


The three tendencies of the

Eightfold path and the spiral of

Progress                                                          chart 2                                                            

Pañcakkhandhā                                               chart 3                       


Eighteen dhātu                                                chart 4                    


The wheel of life                                            chart 5                    


The formula of Dependent

Origination                                                     chart 6            


Three rounds of existence                  chart 7                     


The actions and destinations              chart 8                    


The Four Noble Truths are the

general frame of the Buddhist

system                                                 chart 9            


Fourfold jhāna & fivefold jhāna         chart 10                      


Removing the five hindrances by

practising the five jhāna-factors         chart 11                      


From the preliminary jhānas

to realization of Nibbāna                    chart 12                      


Nibbāna                                                          chart 13                      


Pāramitā                                                          chart 14                                       


Part one




Chapter 1






            Puggala has its source from misunderstanding that everything is attā, everything is nicca which generates lobha, dosa, and moha. From this point of view, the attachment and craving increase more and more. But after examining, everything is relative, causal, temporary... and the Puggala is without attā. It is just a continuity of change (santāna). That is why the Puggala is known as the term of common usage ‘a person, a being, a man’ only... Say for other words, I am a puggala, He is a puggala, We are the puggala, and They are the puggala...


            The Buddha-Dhamma is to take lessons from day-to-day life, as the Buddha’s teachings are always rooted in the here and now, and relevant to human experience. The actual meaning of ‘Qualities of the Dhamma’ are not explained here in detail though a brief list is given, ‘Svākkhāto Bhagavatā dhammo (well-expounded by the Blessed One is the Dhamma), sandiṭṭhiko (having visible results in the present), akāliko (a timelessly true teaching), ehipassiko (a teaching to come-and-see for oneself), opanāyiko (leading inward from one excellence to another), paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī’ti (to be realised by the wise, each one for himself)’.[1] The method which the Buddha proposed for this process of self-examination of all knowledge is observation and critical study. His own philosophy was described as ehipassika, the meaning being come and observe or examine; and paccattaṃ veditabba means to be realised by each one independently. In this way, the Buddha gave due credit to human beings for using their common sense to lead a life free from sufferings.


            Nowadays many people are interested to search for the Truth, the solution or the way of life, i.e., the way out of universal suffering instead of following the blind belief without reason. Buddhism is known as rational and practical, devoid of esoteric doctrines, coercion, persecution or fanaticism. To a real Buddhist, a citizen of the world, there is no far or near; on having realised the right-understanding, the Buddha established the brotherhood in all living beings, in order to uplift the world to deliverance from suffering.

            The Buddha also explained our life is just like a piece of wood floating downstream, full of uncertainty. No one can say what will happen to us next day... Because life continues on in the form of an invisible force or energy which is called kamma. Although our bodies will decay, die and disappear, our kamma will continue to live on and be reborn in other physical bodies. The kamma accumulates the good and the bad deeds we have done in past lives, then continues to accumulate in the present in order to determine the future.

            With the profound teachings, Buddhism was given very early in its career, the epithet ‘vibhajjavāda’ meaning the doctrine of analysis. The Buddha’s position was also stated as a pointer of the way while each Puggala had to realise the truth for him. Such a critical study of the Puggala will be discussed throughout this thesis entitled:


“ A critical study of the Puggala as depicted

in the Pañca Nikāya”


            PUGGALA (individual): Man is a puggala, a psycho-physical person. The psycho-physical personality consists of five aggregates (pañcakkhandha) or nāma-rūpa. Rūpa is representing the physical elements while nāma, the mental ones. The mental elements are divided into four groups: (i) feelings (vedanā), (ii) perceptions (saññā), (iii) mental activities (saṅkhāra), and (iv) cognition or conception (viññāṇa). Rūpa (matter) and these four divisions of nāma (mind) are called khandhā, aggregates or groups. In short, the entire work is a critical analysis or a critical study of the ‘I’ or Individual (puggala). ‘Puggala’ or ‘Ahaṃ’ is only a conventional term, just like the word ‘chariot’ is used; because the conditional precedent of the co-existence of its various parts is composed. It is also the central study of the human beings into the elements of which his being is composed and this critical study has always played a very important part in the very life of the Buddha’s teachings. As a result of such critical study, the Buddha showed that the individual, conventionally called ‘I’, is a mass of physical and psychical elements, without any permanent entity behind them to keep them together, without any soul inheriting in them; the elements themselves being a mere flux (santāna), a continuity of changes.

            According to the Buddha, all the physical and material phenomena of the world are brought about by the combination of causes and conditions. Everything in the world is the result of a vast occurrence of causes and conditions, everything disappears as these conditions change and pass-away. The ever-revolving cycle of birth and death constitutes saṃsāra and is also considered as a condition of degradation and suffering (dukkha).

            The circle that saṃsāra describes is one of estrangement. It is a pattern of existence in which we are constantly one step removed from the immediacy and presence of our being as such. In fact, there is no literal spatial character to this state of estrangement and we are never actually removed from the immediacy of our being as such. It is just that as soon as we seek words with which to describe an awareness of this existential condition, we have no choice but to resort to the predominantly spatial and temporal concepts that make up our lexicon. Thus, estrangement is spoken of in term of distance, when in reality no distance is covered at all. Saṃsāra can be viewed as beginningless (anādi) in the same way all circles are beginningless. To say that it has no beginning could thus also be a way of expressing an experiential quality of its existential structure by means of the category of time.


                        ‘No God, no Brahma can be called

                        The Maker of this Wheel of Life:

                        Just empty phenomena roll on

                        Dependent on conditions all’.[2]


Ignorance, anxiety... in things never began at a particular moment in time in the same way that other events in our lives began.[3] As far back as we can conceive of our existence they were present as constitutive factors.


Dīghā jāgarato ratti, dīghaṃ santassa yojanaṃ

            Dīgho bālānaṃ saṃsāro, saddhammaṃ avijānataṃ


            Long is the night to the wakeful; long is the league to the weary; long is saṃsāra to the foolish who know not the Sublime Truth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dh. 60

            Having outlined the existential dimension of ignorance as consisting of anxiety in things, we should now be able to trace a comparable dimension for wisdom.

            As with ignorance, wisdom is essentially regarded as a cognitive attitude of an alternative pattern of existence to saṃsāra. This attitude is not just an isolated phenomenon that merely serves to correct an opposing erroneous attitude, it is also an inseparable fact of a particular pattern or movement of existence. This way of being has as its dynamic, a sense of returning and opening and as its mood a feeling of serenity. Furthermore, this experience is felt to be liberating, in contrast to the binding and restrictive character of saṃsāra. To incorporate the content of wisdom into life, it is necessary that it be continuously integrated into one’s experience through mindfulness, contemplative reflection and meditation. Otherwise it will persist merely as an alienated and disconnected body of knowledge, devoid of any transforming power.

            The practice of Buddhism is forged as it was, the one keeping us bound to a repetitive and painful cycle, the other breaking us out of this cycle along the path of the Dhamma. This path is one that no one else can tread for us. At times, it seems fraught with hindrances (nīvaraṇa) and unresolvable conflicts. And at times it is illuminated with hope and the way ahead seems clear. Yet however insurmountable the obstacles confronting us may appear, we should recall there is no one hindering our progress but ourselves, for every situation in life offers us the possibility of either succumbing to the familiar force of habit or attempting to transform that moment into the unrepeatable present that it always is.

            The cessation of suffering is called dukkhanirodha or Nibbāna. That is the basic crux and morality of this critical study; because Buddhism is defined as a religion which teaches defilement and its purification, or sufferings and the cessation of sufferings. Purifying, or good, or moral factors, or salvation, that lead to Nibbāna; while their opposites such as defiling elements and bad factors lead to saṃsāra.

             According to the Pañca Nikāya, Nibbāna is the only asankhata-dhamma (unconditioned and uncompounded); all other dhammā are sankhata or conditioned dhammā. The sankhata have four salient characteristics, they are such as anicca (impermanent), dukkha (suffering), anattā (non-substantial), and nirodha (quiescence in a final cessation). Nibbāna stands contrasted with such evanescent and patchwork phenomena - it is not conditioned, so neither arises nor exists due to conditions, nor passes-away. Nibbāna consists of two stages: (i) Sa-upādisesa Nibbāna and (ii) Anupādisesa Nibbāna.[4] When, by practising the Noble Eightfold Path, the process of the arising of craving has come to a stop, the grasping of the khandhā (aggregates), which form the individual will also cease. When the lust for life has ceased, rebirth will not take place; the highest state of sainthood (arahanthood) is attained. But when the lust for life has ceased, life itself will not disappear simultaneously. Just as the heat on the hot plate produced by fire, will remain for some time even after the fire is extinct, thus the result of the craving, which produced rebirth, may remain a while even though the fire of the passions be extinct. It is this state of Arahantship, which is called Nibbāna with residue (sa-upādisesa-nibbāna). His actions are free from likes and dislikes, again where no new kamma is produced, no results follow. Then when the result of previous kamma is exhausted and the arahant’s life comes to an end, this state is called Nibbāna without residue (anupādisesa-nibbāna).

            When the Third Noble Truth has been manifested, namely liberation, or the cessation of all sufferings, it is Nibbāna. Nibbāna has so often been discussed that there is no need to say much here...


            After the Mahāparinibbāna of the Buddha, the great council known as Paṭhama-saṅgīti was held under the leadership of Mahākassapa Thera, the Eldest monk of the time of Lord Buddha. The main function of this Saṅgīti was to collect the words of the Buddha from various sources, to examine the authenticity of these teachings, to recognise them as the Buddhavacana, to compile the Buddha’s words in a systematic order, to classify them in various orders and to design them collectively.

            The entire Buddhavacana in one way of classification which has been classified into three divisions. Each division of the Buddhavacana is called Piṭaka. Thus, there are three Piṭakas (Tipiṭaka). These Piṭakas are known as Vinaya Piṭaka;  Sutta Piṭaka; and Abhidhamma Piṭaka. Each Piṭaka has again many sub-divisions.

            It is because of the following two senses, the scholar calls it as Piṭaka:

                        (i) Pariyatti

                        (ii) Bhājana.

            The term Pariyatti means the teaching of the Buddha that is of two types namely Pariyatti and Patipatti. Pariyatti means oral teachings, discourses, etc. Patipatti means the experiences of practising meditation.

            The term Bhājana means container. Both the contents and the container are considered as Bhājana. Such senses are found in Vinaya Piṭaka, Sutta Piṭaka and Abhidhamma Piṭaka. In this process, the Buddhavacana was classified in various ways. However, in this thesis I have only mentioned the Nikāyavasena Pañcavidhaṃ, which is known as Sutta Piṭaka or the five collections (Pañca Nikāyas).


            PAÑCA NIKĀYA: is known as Sutta Piṭaka because Sutta Piṭaka consists of the five collections (nikāyas). The term Nikāya means group of similar teachings, articles, classes, items, etc. The entire Buddhavacana has also been classified with regard to the size, language, and style of the discourses. In this way the entire Buddhavacana has been classified into five Nikāyas.


The five Nikāyas are known as:

            1. Dīgha Nikāya: This collection of long discourses divided into three divisions:

            a) Sīlakkhanda vagga (the division concerning morality) contains thirteen suttas.

            b) Mahā vagga (the large division) contains eleven suttas.

            c) Pāthika vagga (the division beginning with the discourse on Pāthika, the naked ascetic) contains ten suttas.

The whole Dīgha Nikāya thus contains 34 suttas starting from the Brahmajāla sutta.


            2. Majjhima Nikāya: is the collection of medium-length discourses, containing 152 suttas starting with Mūlapariyāya sutta in three books known as paṇṇāsa. The first book, Mūlapaṇṇāsa, deals with the first fifty suttas in five vaggas. The second book, Majjhimapaṇṇāsa consists of the second fifty suttas, also in five vaggas. The last fifty-two suttas are dealt with in five vaggas of the third book, Uparipaṇṇāsa, which means more than fifty. The suttas in this Nikāya throw much light on the social conditions and institutions of those days, and also provide general information on the economic and political life.


            3. Sayutta Nikāya: is the collection of inter-related discourses. It deals with 7,762 suttas starting with Devatāsaṃyutta. It has been arranged according to the subject matter into five major divisions:

                        1) Sagāthā vagga.

                        2) Nidāna vagga.

                        3) Khandha vagga.

                        4) Saḷāyatana vagga.

                        5) Mahā vagga.

            Each major vagga is divided into fifty-six groups known as saṃyuttas, related subjects grouped together. The saṃyuttas are named after the subjects they deal with. For instance, Bojjhaṅga saṃyutta is a group of discourses connected with the seven factors of enlightenment. Kosala saṃyutta is a group of discourses concerning King Pasenadi of Kosala. Devatā saṃyutta deals with devas like Sakka, Indra, Brahmā. Sacca Saṃyutta deals with the first well-known discourse Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta delivered by Lord Buddha to the five monks in Deer Park.


            4. Aguttara Nikāya : is the collection of numerical sayings. It deals with 9,557 suttas in eleven chapters, such as Ekanipāta, Dukanipāta upto Ekadasanipāta. Each Nipāta is divided again into groups called vaggas, which usually contain ten suttas. The name Aṅguttara means ‘increasing by one item’. Hence, Aṅguttara Nikāya is made up of suttas with eleven items of Dhamma in each, called the Eleven.


            5. Khuddaka Nikāya : is the collection of minor works; a heterogeneous collection in 15 divisions of varying interest to the modern reader:

            1) Khuddaka Pāṭha : minor text, used as a novice’s hand-book.


            2) Dhammapada : verses on Dhamma, one of the most famous of Buddhist scriptures, an anthology in 26 chapters and 423 stanzas.


            3) Udāna : solemn utterances.


            4) Itivuttaka : thus it was said.


            5) Sutta Nipāta : collection of suttas or the group of discourses.


            6) Vimāna Vatthu : stories of the heavenly mansions.


            7) Peta Vatthu : stories of the departed or of hungry ghosts.


            8) Thera gāthā : verses of the male elders, i.e. the Arahants.


            9) Therī gāthā : verses of the female elders, i.e. the Arahants.


            10) Jātaka : birth-stories, i.e., tales (547) of former lives of the Buddha. Much used as parables, otherwise mainly of interest as folklore.

            11) Niddesa (Mahā, Cuḷa): exposition, an old commentary, ascribed to Venerable Sariputta, to parts of Sutta nipāta.


            12) Paṭisambhidāmagga : path of discrimination.


            13) Apadāna: tradition, i.e., legend. Tales of Arahants similar to Jātaka.


            14) Buddha Vaṃsa : chronicle of the Buddhas.


            15) Cariyāpiṭaka : basket of conduct.


All the teachings of the Buddha are collectively called Khuddaka Nikāya.


            Pañca Nikāya or Sutta Piṭaka was delivered to suit different occasions and different audiences with different temperaments. Although the discourses are mostly intended for the benefit of Bhikkhus as well as to deal with the practice of pure life and with the explanation of the teachings there are also several other discourses which deal with the material and moral progress of the lay disciples. The Sutta Piṭaka are found not only the fundamentals of the Dhamma but also practical guidelines to make the Dhamma meaningful and applicable to daily life.


            The term Piṭaka originally means basket. This term appears in many suttas alongwith the term Kuddāla (earth-diking instrument) and from this expression, Kuddāla piṭakaṃ. The purpose of the Piṭaka is to carry earth or any such type of item from one place to another, without loosing anything. The Piṭaka has two functions (i) to carry and (ii) to preserve. In this way, the Pūraṇacāriya (the ancient) has adopted this technical term to refer to the particular literature that preserves the words of the Buddha sincerely.


            A brief explanation of each Piṭaka has been given by the commentary as below:








    Piaka                     Desanā          Sāsana                           Kathā           Sikkhā


    Vinaya                  Āṇādesanā     Yathāparādha       Saṃvara-                     Adhisīla                                                                   sāsana     Asaṃvara kathā          sikkhā



     Sutta                   Vohāra                Yathānuloma        Diṭṭhi                   Adhicitta

        desanā                 sāsana             viniveṭhana kathā            sikkhā



 Abhidhamma             Paramattha     Yathādhamma     Nāma rūpa-           Adhipañña

                                    desanā              sāsana              paricchedakathā             sikkhā




                                                                                                                        (chart 1)


            The Sutta Piṭaka contains the Vohāra desanā, Yathā nuloma sāsana, Diṭṭhiviniveṭhana kathā and Adhicitta sikkhā of the Buddha.

            The term Vohāra means practical in day-to-day life. The teachings of the Buddha, which are very useful and applicable in the day-to-day life of followers without any discrimination as to their status, are called Vohāradesanā.

            Yathā means accordingly, Anuloma means suitable. The teachings have been delivered by the Buddha at various places to various learners or listeners according to their nature, character, family background, social background and their intention (ajjhāsaya) or their latency (anusaya). These teachings are called Yathānuloma  sāsana.

            Diṭṭhi means wrong view (micchādiṭṭhi). Viniveṭhana means disentangling. According to Buddhist point of view, there are sixty-two wrong views. The teachings contained in the Sutta Piṭaka help the listeners in distinguishing what is the nature, character, function of Micchādiṭṭhi and Sammādiṭṭhi, and they are collectively called  Diṭṭhi vinivehana kathā.

            The teachings of Lord Buddha, which have been preached for training in higher mentality, are called Adhicitta sikkhā. Such types of preaching are preserved in the Sutta Piaka.

            In short, Sutta Piṭaka or Pañca Nikāya is one of the three divisions of Buddhavacana in its original form and language, through the oral tradition handed down to the students by the teachers sincerely. The literature, which preserves Vinaya, is called Vinaya Piṭaka. Similarly the literature which preserves Sutta is called Sutta Piṭaka. And in the same way, the literature, which preserves the special teaching (Abhidhamma), is called Abhidhamma Piṭaka. Therefore, the meaning of each Piṭaka is as briefly follows:


            Vinaya Piaka: contains rules of discipline or regulations for the guidance of the Buddhist Saṅgha.


            Sutta Piaka: is a collection of the doctrinal expositions, large and small. It is the primary source of the doctrine of the Buddha.


            Abhidhamma Piaka: It is a collection of the special teachings which are scholastic doctrine and deal with the Ultimate Truth.





            In pre-Buddhist India, a learned man’s qualification was his knowledge of the three Vedas. Most teachers were described as masters in the Vedas. After the spread of Buddhism, scholarship began to be gauged by the knowledge of the Three Piṭakas. Hence, people came to be known as the master of one or more of the three Piṭakas.

            Again, the Buddhists have given us a clear conception that the constitution of man is essentially Nibbāna. Though somehow, through avijjā (ignorance) and kamma, the psycho-physical personality or puggala is formed. When it is analysed, the remainder after this analysis is the original Nibbāna. The nature of Nibbāna is nothing, void and suñya.


            ‘Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;

                        The path is, but no traveller on it is seen’.[5]


            The human personality and the external world with which it enters into relationship are thus divided into khandhā, Āyatana and dhātu. The generic name for all three of them are dhamma, which is translated as ‘element of existence’. In Buddhism, these dhammā are the only ultimate reality. There are two kinds of reality: the one, ultimate or pure reality (paramattha-sacca), consisting of bare point-instants (khaṇa), without definite position in time or space and with no sensible qualities; the other, empirical reality (sammuti-sacca), consisting of objectivized images, endowed by us with a position in time and space and with all the variety of sensible and abstract qualities.

            The individual, conventionally called ‘I’ must be identified with action. It is only the ‘I’ which can walk, sit, think, eat and sleep. But that ‘I’ is not a permanent, unchanging entity; it is identified with the action and is the action itself, it thus changes with the action. ‘I’ can not stay at home while I go out for a walk. It is the conventional language (sammuti) which has spoiled the purity of conception (paramattha); though in some cases, language does remain pure enough, as when we say ‘It rains’, it is meant ‘ there is rain’. Likewise, the concept should not be ‘I think’ but ‘there is thinking’. That is the teaching, which came to be known as the doctrine of anattā.

            The individual, according to Buddhism, is not an entity but a process of arising and passing away: a process of nutrition, of grasping, of combustion. A Puggala is considered as being something real, a fact (sacca) to him at any given moment, though the word ‘Puggala’ is only a popular label and does not correspond to any fixed entity in man. In the ultimate constituents of conditioned things, physical and mental, Buddhism has never held that reality is necessarily the permanent.

            The way to the highest realisation was pointed by the Buddha as the noble eightfold path leading to spiritual purification at three levels:

            Sīla :   moral purity through right conduct

            Samādhi :  purity of mind through concentration (samatha)

            Paññā :  purity of insight through Vipassana meditation

            With this insight knowledge, man discerns the three characteristics of the phenomenal world: anicca, dukkha and anattā.

            As he advances in his practice then his mind becomes more and more purified, firm; he also directs his mind to the knowledge of the extinction of moral impurities (āsavakkhaya ñāṇa). He truly understands dukkha, the cause of dukkha, the cessation of dukkha and the path leading to the cessation of dukkha. He comes to understand fully the āsavas as they really are, the cause of āsavas, the cessation of āsavas and the path leading to the cessation of the āsavas. With this knowledge of extinction of āsavas he becomes liberated. The knowledge of liberation arises in him. He knows that rebirth is no more, he has lived the holy life. What he has to do for the realisation of magga he has done. There is nothing more for him to do for such realisation.


            Thus, the Buddha taught the extinction of suffering and the release from conditioned existence by the practice of meditation, as well as insight as laid down in the numerous suttas of the Sutta PitÏaka. For the welfare of the many and for the happiness of the many (bahujana hitāya, bahujana sukhāya), these discourses, couched in ordinary day-to-day language, are exceedingly practical and edifying. They reflect a wisdom truly deep and a compassion indeed boundless.

            There are many things connectedss to this topic, but here I have just concentrated on the following discussions:

            - The Puggala theories on the basis of the Pañca Nikāya.

            - Lord Buddha’s way to the Truth and True Happiness.

            - Non-Buddhist thought about Puggala and the suffering as well as happiness of Puggala.

            - Teachings of Lord Buddha to the Puggala and the suffering as well as happiness of the Puggala.

            - Lord Buddha’s teachings to each class of the Puggala in society.

- The Buddhist concept of the Puggala for a good way of life and happiness for Puggala.


Chapter 2






            After attaining the Truth, the Buddha decided to spread His teachings by using different methods to suit the different background of the listeners, so that they may be freed from sufferings. The method adopted by the Buddhist teacher was direct training of the pupil’s mind and the development of his character. Correct thinking and right understanding were highly valued, it being the object of the teacher to bring out the highest powers latent in the individual so that he might attain perfection and enlightenment. This system of training was known as the Ariya Aṭṭhaṅgika Magga.


            Today, although the Buddha has left us, his teachings still remain after many generations for the benefits of countless human beings. For the study of Buddhism, if one has great confidence, correct understanding of Dhamma, practises Dhamma with endurance and endeavour, relating to truth and the pragmatic importance of things, one will remove sufferings by finding out the truth and true happiness as well as peace of mind, eventually attaining enlightenment, a sense of happy security.







            Before and during the time of the Buddha, Indian thinkers put forward a wide variety of views regarding the problem of the concept of man. The gradual development of the conception of the uniformity of nature was taken for granted by the later speculative thinkers. This speculative thought is to be sought in the tenth book (maṇḍala) of the Fgveda. An examination of the various theories will throw much light on the Buddhist theory of causality and enable a proper appreciation as well as evaluation of it, for forming the context in which Lord Buddha preached his doctrine of causality.


  • Indian thought before the advent of the Buddha


            Buddhism, which began to spread in India about 600 BC, presupposes not only the existence of the Vedic hymns but the whole Vedic literature, including the Brāhmaṇas and the Upaniwads. The Vedas are the oldest extant literary monuments of the Aryan mind. The origin of Indian philosophy may be easily traced in the Vedas.

       The name Vedas (knowledge) stands for the Mantras and the Brāhmaṇas. Mantra means a hymn addressed to some gods. The collection of the Mantras is called Samhita, which is said to be compiled for the smooth performance of the Vedic sacrifices. The Brāhmaṇas deal with the rules and regulations laid down for the performance of rites and sacrifices. The appendages to these Brāhmaṇas are called Āraṇyakas that mark the transition from the ritualistic to the philosophic thought.

            The Brāhmaṇas emphasise the sacrificial ritual shadowed forth in the hymns, the Upaniwads carry out their philosophical suggestions. The Brāhmaṇas include the precepts and religious duties. The Upaniwads and the Āraṇyakas are the concluding portions of the Brāhmaṇas, which discuss philosophical problems. The Āraṇyakas, coming between the Brāhmaṇas and the Upaniwads as their name implies are intended to serve as objects of meditation for those who live in forests. The symbolic and spiritual aspects of the sacrificial cult are meditated upon and this meditation takes the place of the performance of the sacrifice. The Brāhmaṇas are the work of the priests, whereas the Upaniwads are the meditations of the philosophers.


            The Upaniwads form the concluding portions of the Vedas and is the end of the Vedas, a denomination that suggests they contain the essence of the Vedic teaching. In view of the distinctive character of the hymns of the Fgveda and the Upaniwads’ contents, the Upaniwads are regarded as a class of literature independent of the Vedic hymns and the Brāhmaṇas. The simple faith in gods of the hymns was displayed by the mechanical sacerdotalism of the Brāhmaṇas.  In the Vedas the vast order and movement of nature draws attention. Their gods represent cosmic forces. In the Upaniwads we return to explore the depths of the inner world, the Upaniwadic teaching is a kind of monism, where a real being, Brahman, is assumed to be something eternal without beginning, change or end and man’s soul (Ātman) is assumed to be an integral part of that Being, Ātman and Brahman (neuter) being one. Ātman means the subject which knows, experiences and illuminates the objects which remain immortal and always the same. The true self has been the main topic of investigation in the Upaniwads. The Kaṭha Upaniwad says, ‘The wise one (Ātman) neither is born nor is dead. It has not come from anywhere, has not become anyone. Unborn, constant, eternal, primeval, it is not slain when the body is slain’.[6] Referring to the reincarnating individual self, the Svetasvatara Upaniwad says: ‘Coarse and fine many in number, the embodied one chooses forms (rūpa) according to his qualities’.[7] Thus, the nature of the physical form is determined by the actions or qualities of the soul or self (Ātman). Self is immortal, self is proved, self is luminous and can only be directly realised by transcending the empirical subject-object duality.

             The theories of self-causation, a metaphysical theory was intimately connected with the concept of self (attā) and conception of evolution, where one phenomenon gives rise to another phenomenon by its own inherent power in an orderly sequence.[8]

            The theories of divine creation, external causation, the concept of God, the creation of the world by an omniscient and omnipotent, arrived in the Vedas and Brāhmaṇas, involved two types of arguments.

            a) The cosmological argument is based on the assumption that the infinite regression of time is meaningless. The so-called cosmological argument led to a belief in an original being (sat) that possessed characteristics opposite to those of the world of experience, but the concept of a personal God as the creator of the universe did not appear. In one of the hymns of the Fgveda, things of the world are traced back to their causes.[9] The author of the hymn was not satisfied by explaining the origin and development of the world ‘using water as the first principle’ because behind its conception there was a higher principle. It was Prajāpati, the God of gods, who brought forth water and provided the generating principle and the ordaining power of things. This was the theory posed in reply to the question: “ What God should we adore with our oblations?”.[10]

            b) The teleological argument or the argument from design appears to be the basis of the conception of the creator God found in the hymn addressed to Visvakarman. Most of the theories of creation in the Fgveda include mechanical and organic views of creation. In the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa, Prajāpati is identified with Visvakarman.[11] Continuity in the cycle of creation is hinted at when it is said, at several places in the Satapatha Brāhmaṇas, that Prajāpati, after creating beings, became exhausted and was healed by the gods, by the power of the sacrifice.[12] Thus an attempt is also made to explain how Prajāpati created living beings of various species. In the Tāṇḍya Mahā Brāhmaṇa, Brahman (neuter) is said to be the ‘first born of the divine order’.[13]  In the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇas, the same is said in identical words with regard to Prajāpati.[14]  This suggests that the concepts of Brahman (neuter), Brahmā (masculine) and Prajāpati were used without much discrimination during the period of the Brāhmaṇas, which may be considered as a formative stage in the conception of a personal God.[15] The intentional method of verifying the existence of God appears to have been adopted during the time of the later Upaniwads. During this period, meditation was considered as the proper means of beholding God. The Svetasvatara Upaniwad says: ‘By making one’s own body the lower friction stick and the syllable ‘Om’ the upper friction stick, by practicing the friction of meditation (dhyāna), one may see the God (deva) who is hidden, as it were’.[16] The function of the creation of the world attributed to Brahmā in the earlier Upaniwads is transferred to īsvara in the Svetasvatara Upaniwad. So, Brahmā and īsvara were used synonymously in the later Upaniwads.


            Here, we see from the objective side that this ultimate reality is called Brahman. The word is derived from the root ‘Brh’ which means to grow or to evolve. It is the ultimate cause of this universe. This Brahman, the supreme Reality, transcends all, yet it underlies all as their background. The lower is not lost or annihilated, it is simply transformed in the higher. Matter is not lost in life; life is not lost in mind; mind is not lost in reason; reason is not lost in bliss, Brahman pervades them all. It is the immanent inner controller of all and the self of all. All beings, all gods, all worlds, all organs are contained in the universal self, the Brahman.[17] He who knows Ātman becomes Brahman.[18] This is the secret teaching. Only by knowing it can one cross the ocean of birth and death; there is no other way of liberation.

            The Upaniwads are rightly regarded as the fountain-head of all Indian philosophy. The Upaniwadic thinkers also believe in the theory of kamma, the Absolute standpoints, that the liberation of the cycle of birth and death can be attained by right knowledge. It can be said that most Indian philosophy is connected with Upaniwadic philosophy.


            The Jainas do not believe in God, they believe that every jīva (soul), in bondage now can follow his own efforts in order to attain freedom, perfection, omniscience and omnipotence as well as joy. According to the Jaina theory, the world consists of two kinds of reality, that is, living and non-living. Every living being has a composite of body and soul (jīva), the soul is the active partner, while the body is the inactive, passive one. In order to define jīva, it is said that: ‘What knows and perceives the various objects, desires pleasure, dreads pain, acts beneficially or harmfully, and experiences the fruit thereof, that is jīva’.[19] It is the soul that knows things, performs activities, enjoys pleasures, suffers pains and illumines itself as well as other objects. The soul is eternal at any given moment, but it also undergoes change of states. The Jainas conceive the soul primarily as a jīva, living being. Consciousness is found in every part of a living body, if consciousness be the character of the soul, then the soul should be admitted to be present in every part of the body. The body is made of particles of matter (puggala); matter or puggala is considered as follows: ‘Whatever is perceived by the senses, the sense organs, the various kinds of sarīras (bodies of jīvas), the physical mind, the kamma, etc., are mūrta (figured objects). These are all puggala’.[20] ‘Sound, union, grossness, fineness, shape, division, darkness, image with lustre and heat, are modifications of the substance known as puggala’.[21] Material substances can combine together to form larger and larger wholes can also break up into smaller and smaller parts. The smallest parts of matter that cannot be further divided, are called atoms (aṇu). Two or more such atoms may combine together to form compounds, khandhā (aggregates). Puggala therefore exists in the two forms of aṇu and khandha. Puggala bears on it the impress of self and the jīva is penetrated by matter.

            It is interesting to know the spiritual element of the jīva is said to possess an upward tendency, while the material element has a downward tendency. Avoidance of all injury (ahiṃsā) to life plays an important role in Jaina ethics. Jīva and puggala are efficient causes, which move from place to place. Because the soul, with its kamma-forces, is regarded by the Jaina as the organiser of the body (the efficient cause), whereas matter (puggala) is said to be its material cause.

            The Jainas had a highly developed theory of moral defilement and purification, a theory of spiritual existence extending not only to animals but also to plants and even to particles of dust, which are supposed to possess souls. All souls are not equally conscious. Some of them, like those in plants or dust-bodies, have only the sense of touch and have tactual consciousness alone. Some lower animals have two senses, others have three or four. Man and some higher animals have five senses, through all senses they know things. However, development the senses (may be the soul in bondage) is limited in knowledge, it is also limited in power and is subject to all kinds of miseries.

            Although the Jainas come to reject God as the creator of the world, they think it is necessary to meditate and worship the liberated, perfect souls. To meditate on those who are advanced on the path to liberation, the Jaina believes in the inexorable moral law of kamma that is not seeking for mercy or pardon. The consequences of the past misdeeds can be counteracted by generating within the soul strong opposite forces of right thought, right speech and right action. One more thing, man must work out his own salvation in his day-to-day life, because the liberated souls serve as beacon lights. This is why the liberated soul is called a jina, victor.

            The Jaina doctrine, though sharing certain similarities with the Buddha’s teaching, was held to be sufficiently mistaken in basic assumptions as to call for refutation from the Buddhist perspective, to be a necessary measure not only to sound a clear warning against tenets that were spiritually detrimental, but also to cut away the obstacles against the acceptance of right view, which known as the forerunner of the Buddha’s path was a prerequisite to progress along the path to final deliverance.


            To the continuous development of Indian thought, different people at different ages have brought their gifts. The doctrines of particular schools are relative to their environment and have to be viewed together. Otherwise they will cease to have any living interest for us and each system is an answer to a positive question that its age has put to itself.


            The Upaniwadic teachers at the time of the Buddha or slightly before him were fully engaged with the idea of the soul and were propagating it vigorously. At the same time, the Buddha arrived at the same conclusion through his famous doctrine of the Paṭiccasamuppāda. In addition, from the very beginning, the Buddha’s Anattā (non-self) doctrine was a positive phenomenon. The Buddha was a practical man, and realised that all actions, good or bad, done in this life generate their consequent results in the life after death; that is, the concept of Kamma and Punabbhava (kamma and rebirth). In the course of time, the worship of the Buddha became a cult, of which there are instances in the early Pāli texts.


            SIX CONTEMPORARY THINKERS: The Middle country of India in which the Buddha lived and taught in the sixth century BC teemed with a luxuriant variety of religious and philosophical beliefs propagated by teachers equally varied in their ways of life. The Pāli Canon frequently mentions six teachers in particular as contemporaries of the Buddha. The Majjhima Nikāya mentions both the set of six and separately states their individual doctrines. The connections between names and doctrines are made in the Sāmañña-phala Sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya.


            1) Pūraa Kassapa is always mentioned first in the list. He is said to have taught the doctrine of non-action or passivity of soul (akiriya-vāda), denying the result of good or bad actions. Any action done either moral or immoral does not give any result; immoral actions like killing or causing others to kill; harming or causing others to harm, cutting holes in the houses of others to rob property, telling lies, even killing sentient beings have no bad results. It is clear that Pūraṇa Kassapa propounded the doctrine of non-action. According to him, soul is inactive, hence it remains unaffected by the results of good or bad deeds. The teaching of Pūraṇa Kassapa may be classified as Addhicca-samuppannika-vāda, i.e., things happen fortuitously without any cause or condition, and have nothing to do with the soul.


            2) Makkhali Gosāla was the leader of the sect known as the Ājīvakas that survived in India down into the medieval period. He upheld the doctrine of Niyatisangativāda, i.e., a doctrine of fatalism that denied causality (ahetukavāda), that is, purity of a being without cause or condition (saṃsāra suddhiṃ vyākāsi). A being is helpless and is regulated by destiny. He cannot attain perfection by exertion. According to this doctrine, there is neither cause nor condition for the defiling being, a being is defiled without cause or condition. Similarly, there is neither cause nor condition for the purification of the being, a being is purified without cause or condition. All the beings are helpers, they are in the hand of fate or destiny (niyati). There is no power, no effects of the being to purify or make him defiled. But there is the process of going from one existence to another, and only by passing through these various forms of existence, one makes oneself free from the suffering. One cannot say that by moral, immoral precept or practising penance, one will make one’s unripe actions ripe.


            3) Ajita Kesakambali was a materialist who propounded the doctrine of Nihilism or Uccheda-vāda. He denied the effects of Kamma. Ajita Kesakambali held the view of nihilism as ucchedam vyākāsi. According to this doctrine, a being is annihilated after death, he is not reborn again. Everything ends in death. It is also said that giving alms and making sacrifices have no results. There is the fruit of neither good action nor bad action. Further, he propounded that there is neither this loka nor another. There are no parents, no samaṇas, brāhmaṇas who have realised this loka or another loka in reality. The man is just the composition of the four elements, namely., (i) Paṭhavi (earth), (ii) āpo (water), (iii) Tejo (fire), and (iv) Vāyo (air); after death each of them returns to the corresponding elements and the sense-faculties into Ākāsa. This doctrine is similar to the Cārvāka school. It is classified as Uccheda-vāda (the doctrine of annihilation after death) or Taṃ jīva taṃ sarīravāda (the doctrine of identity of the soul and body).


            4) Pakudha Kaccāyana upheld the doctrine of Sassata-vāda, i.e., eternalism, meaning the soul and the world are eternal. He was the leader of a big group of followers and preached the doctrine of no effect of seven bodies. According to this doctrine, a being is composed of seven bodies, which are everlasting and immutable, by nature. There are seven bodies which are uncreated, having no change, as tall and big as a mountain, as firm as a peak of a mountain, standing without change in static form just like a firmly fixed pillar. These seven bodies are the earth, water, fire, air, pleasure, pain and living force (soul). Each of them exists without any relation, neither of these effects in a good way nor in a bad way. Hence any action, good or bad, is ineffective, e.g., cutting of a man in two pieces means nothing more than passing a sword through some bodies. This teaching is classified as Sassata-vāda.


            5) Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta upheld the doctrine of Aññāna-vāda, meaning not giving any definite answer to questions dealing with ultimate problems. He was, therefore, criticized as an Amarāvikkhepika (Eel-wriggler). He propounded the theory known as agnosticism, Vikkhepaṃ vyākāsi. According to this doctrine, no definite answer can be given to any question related to mundane as well as supramundane problems. The question is:

                        - Is there another world?

                        - Is there fruit of good or bad actions?

                        - Is there reappearance of the Tathāgata ?.

He used to answer the question as follows:

                        I don’t think so - Evaṃ pi me no

                        I don’t say it is so - Tathā ti pi me no

                        I don’t say otherwise - Aññathā ti pi me no

                        I don’t say it is not - No ti pi me no

                        I don’t not say it is not - No no ti pi me no

Thus, they were called Vikkhepa-vāda.


            6) Nigaṇṭha Nataputta was better known as Mahāvīra, the historical progenitor of Jainism. He upheld the doctrine of Kiriyā-vāda, meaning one’s happiness or misery is due to one’s own deeds. It is not caused by others. To him, a soul transmigrates according to good or bad deeds. The Nigaṇṭha denotes the sense that he was free from knots, which mean the internal defiling factors. He propounded the doctrine of fourfold restraint (Cātuyāma saṃvaraṃ vyākāsi). The fourfold restraint has been described here in a symbolical manner as:

                        (i) Sabba-vāri-vārito ca hoti,

                        (ii) Sabba-vāri-yuto ca,

                        (iii) Sabba-vāri-dhuto ca,

                        (iv) Sabba-vāri-phuṭṭo ca.


            The Jainas do have a rule of restraint in regard to water. He lives restrained as regards (i) all water, (ii) all evil, (iii) all evil he has washed away and (iv) he lives suffused with the sense of evil held at bay. Such is his fourfold self-restraint. Thus, the Nigaṇṭha is called self-perfected (Gatatto), self-controlled (Yatatto), and self-established (Thitatto).


            The doctrine of the six heretical teachers relates not only to the world, the soul, and the summum bonum of a man’s life but also to the philosophical views found in the Upaniwads which are beyond the purview of the right views or Buddhist views.



  • Buddhism and society


            Buddhism is not only a philosophy for discussion by intellectuals in educated circles but also a practical way of life, which plays an important role in our day-to-day life. In the Buddha’s age, the caste system was only beginning to take shape in north-east India, had not yet spawned the countless subdivisions and rigid regulations that were to manacle Indian society through the centuries. Society was divided into four broad social classes, which latter became castes according to the needs of the society.


            1) The Brahmins were in charge of the academic and intellectual aspects of the society, as well as being the guardians of the religious cult, they performed the priestly functions. In non-Buddhist sources we often hear of the Brahmins as taking the leading place in society by propagating the thesis that Brahmins are the highest caste, the fairest caste.


            2) The Khattiyas (Ksatriya), the Noble or Warrior and Administrator class to which the Buddha Gotama belonged were the rulers and the fighters. It appears that while further west the Brahmins had already established their supremacy, this was not yet the case in the Ganges valley.


            3) The Vessas (Vaisyas) or agriculturists and merchants had permanent settlements and earned their living by agriculture and trade. They in fact were the producers of the wealth of the country, i.e., the farmers and businessmen.


            4) The Suddas (Sūdras) or workers, menials and serfs were the labourer or the working class.


            In the Indian society these divisions became a heritage, each class having its duty imposed upon it by birth. At the time of the Buddha, the Brahmins engaged the social statues as a privileged class while the rulers and warriors were drawn from Khattiya class.

            Below these there were some unfortunates of the class who later came to be known as untouchables, that is, below the Sudras mentioned as other low tribes and low trades (hina-jatiyo and hina-sippani). Among the first, we are told of workers in rushes, bird-catchers, and cart-makers; aboriginal tribesmen who were hereditary craftsmen in these three ways. Among the latter, there were mat-makers, barbers, potters, weavers and leather-workers. It is implied that there was no hard and fast line determined by birth. People could and did change their vocations by adopting one or other of these low trades.

            The Bhagavadgita says that Brahman, i.e., God, created these four classes or castes on the model of the divine society. At first only the Brahmins were created on the model of Brahman but Brahman found that Brahmins alone could not fulfil all the necessary duties on earth. So he created warriors on the model of the divine Indra and Varuṇa, the farmer and tradesman on the model of Vasu and Marut, the working class was modelled on Pusan. The emergence of the divisions in human society bears an analogy with the divine society. Yet Brahman was not pleased with his creations because he found that the power to appoint a King or a powerful ruler was missing. So he created Dhamma or the Truth, which gave any physically weak person the power to rule over others, may be much stronger physically as long as there is truth prevailing in the world. Then the physical strength of the ruler becomes immaterial.[22]


            By the way, the Buddha did not explicitly repudiate the group divisions of Indian society. However, within the Saṇgha, all caste distinctions were abrogated from the moment of ordination, instead became simply as disciples of the Buddha Sakyan son. It was the Buddha, who for the first time in history, emphatically declared in considering matters, in a wise fashion priority should be given to wisdom rather than to belief in solving any kind of day-to-day problems. According to the Buddha’s teachings it is purification, which was the result of conduct, and not because of birth, and was thus accessible to those of the four castes.


Na jaccā vasalo hoti, na jaccā hoti brāhmaṇo,

Kammanā vasalo hoti, kammanā hoti brāhmaṇo.


By birth is not one an outcast, By birth is not one a brahmin,

By deeds is one an outcast, By deeds is one a brahmin.[23]


            In the Aggañña sutta, the Buddha points out that the establishment of different ranks and scales of men living in a society is due solely to the needs of that society. There is a certain amount of duty that should be performed by each group or class but no group is more privileged than the other by birth. A man of a so-called lower class is born in exactly the same way as someone from the upper class because the physical constitution of the child is a combination of genetic factors derived from both the parents. It is important to note that the prenatal growth of the child takes place in conjunction with the psychic factor, constituting the impressions of former births. In addition to the effects of biological heredity and environment, there is the influence of the psychic factor on the development of the personality. This fact is also made use of in order to argue against the reality of caste. It is said that the psychic factor or the spirit-seeking rebirth (gandhabbo) cannot be considered as belonging to any particular caste;[24] so that the essence of one’s personality is beyond caste distinctions.

            Even the colour (vaṇṇa), hair (kesa), shape of nose (nāsa), or head (sīsa) were not castes at all because no one of them had any of the distinctive marks of a caste.

Na jaṭāhi na gottena, na jaccā hoti brāhmaṇo

Yamhi saccaṃ ca dhammo ca, so sucī so ca brāhmaṇo.


            Not by matted hair, nor by family, nor by birth does one become a brāhmaṇa. But in whom there exits both truth and righteousness, pure is he, a brāhmaṇa is he.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 393)                                                                                            

            As Asvaghosa says, ‘The distinctions between Brahmins, Khattiyas, Vessas and Suddas are founded merely on the observance of diverse rites and the practice of different professions’.[25] One who is engaged in trade was known as a merchant, one who administers the country is regarded as a king... It is not by birth one becomes merchant, or king but by the actions one performs or the jobs one does. Again, the Buddha also emphasised that a society or community becomes powerful and great if it is based on the practise of the Dhamma.[26]

            It is correct to say that the situation in India at the time of the Buddha was particularly favourable to the spread of his teaching, while the Teacher’s long life enabled this to become firmly established in his lifetime and under his direction. The practise of the Buddha’s Path lead to the attainment of Supreme Happiness.







            Depending on each situation, the environment of an individuals’ life as well as each faculty of person, the teaching of the Buddha is practically explained in different ways or in different words to different people, according to the stage of their development and their capacity to understand and follow Him. The aim is to let them attain the Truth and True Happiness through their life. Society or the world in general faces, the eight aspects of life (aṭṭhaloka dhammā) which are gain and loss, fame and defame, praise and blame, happiness and sorrow, the adherence of a righteous path is essential for the progress of a society. Man’s actions based on a righteous path are called the behaviour of grateful people; they are also known as kusala kiriya or puñña kiriya (the meritorious deeds). Life in this world thus becomes happy and pleasant if one lives according to the righteous path and one also enjoys a better life in a healthy sphere in the next birth. In our lives if we try our utmost to understand ourselves and our environment, it will help us to live a harmless life in which we can practise the superhuman qualities of loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy as well as equanimity.

            At the Buddha’s time, one day, the Buddha took a handful of leaves in the forest then declared that what he had taught was like those leaves in his hand. The Dhamma in its entirety was like all the leaves in the whole forest.[27] In fact, the Dhamma is so unimaginably vast while what the Buddha taught only the essentials which were necessary for the immediate task, that is, to end suffering, to gain liberation or to realise the way to Truth.


            But how can we end suffering? In order to get rid of suffering we have to spend whole lifetimes trying to cope with suffering, worries, grievances or conflicts, because they are the true nature of existence and the causes of suffering. For example, we want to keep our wealth, property, health and our youth, but all of these can be swept away by the course of time just like the flame of a candle in front of wind. One day when we notice that our beautiful, good looks are being replaced by wrinkles and white hair, we become worried and unhappy. That is why we should not refuse to accept the changing nature of things. The more thing is due to our ignorance and erroneous belief in a self we want to keep living in a permanent state without ever changing, though this never happens because of the universal law.



  • Lord Buddha’s way to Truth


            To contemplate on life’s problems, the teaching of Lord Buddha has illuminated the way for mankind to cross from a world blinded by lobha, dosa and moha so that one can reach a new world of light by sīla, samādhi and paññā.


            Lord Buddha’s way to Truth is called practising Dhamma according to Dhamma. Dhamma has two meanings:

            (i) It means the various methods adopted while training oneself. These methods may be given to one by a Teacher in the tradition but one still has to apply them for oneself.


            (ii) It means both the law and the goal. One sets oneself to do whatever one knows of Dhamma. Supposing that one has the tools of Moral Conduct, Concentration, Wisdom, and one has the instructions on how these are to be applied. With each tool one can clear the ground to a certain depth of the root of suffering by digging up.


            Morality or sīla is only the base. Starting with simple heedfulness by which one learns to be conscious of everything one does in all one’s waking moments, the process of exercising the mind advances through meditation on a variety of subjects to higher mental states called dhyānas. Here, the Buddha recognised the significance of individual differences and developed individualised courses of meditation for his disciples according to each one’s psychological make-up. Concentration of the mind to all training leads to the supreme knowledge (paññā). With this supreme knowledge the disciple reaches the highest attainment of the realm of deathlessness. At this time, the disciple leaves everything behind including the very teachings of the Buddha which were meant to serve only as a raft, a means of going across but not meant to be retained.


            The raft on which one goes is the Dhamma and the raft has to be bound together well, so the Dhamma must be well understood. It is also necessary to proceed in crossing a river with the correct direction, but not to drift along; meaning that Right View is needed to show one which way to go, it will prevent one drifting of course due to currents of worldly attachment. Once the Other Shore is reached, the Dhamma is known in one’s own heart and one has with the aid of Lord Buddha’s directions discovered it for oneself. The raft can now be dispensed with for after all it is not valuable. Thus, the realisation of Truth is attained by the threefold practice of sīla, samādhi and paññā; because one can remove the sources of lobha (greed), dosa (anger) and moha (foolishness), which are called the three fires of the world.


            * Greed arises from having wrong ideas of getting satisfied when one sees something one likes.


            * Anger arises from having wrong ideas of being dissatisfied when one sees something one dislikes.


* Foolishness arises from the inability to judge what correct conduct is.


            Sīla is discipline of both body and mind. Observance of morality will remove greed because morality is represented by the precepts. They are the rules and guidelines a Buddhist should follow to purify his body, speech and mind. Daily, actions of a person can be good or bad; possessing the precepts, one will eliminate bad deeds and cultivate good ones. But mere morality is not enough, it must be accompanied by mental development.


            Samādhi is the stilling of thought, the perfect equilibrium of mind, which is attained by jhāna. Right concentration of the mind will remove anger. By right concentration, it is the joy of having found a possibility of escape from the round suffering of birth, ageing, disease, and death. The increase of this joy becomes sheer delight, then gives place to a serene tranquillity and after next to a sense of security as well as equilibrium, the bliss of well being (sukha) which is the very opposite of insecurity and unbalanced striving. In the state of tranquillity, not disturbed by likes and dislikes, not made turbid by passions, not hazed by ignorance, it is like sunlight that penetrates a placid lake of clear water, so there arises the supreme insight (paññā).


            Paññā or wisdom can be understood as the realisation of the presence of error, foolishness. It proceeds to dispel ignorance through coming to a cognition of reality. Wisdom does not mean the common interpretation of human intelligence only, it signifies the great and complete wisdom achieved by concentrating on the characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anattā as well. This is the result when one can realise the Truth about life and the universe.


            To practise moral conduct, one must renounce the pleasures, which one seems to get from bodily misconduct such as killing sentient beings or from verbal misconduct such as lying and slandering. More renunciation is necessary if one would cultivate one’s mind. One cannot develop mindfulness and concentration and at the same time indulges to the full in worldly pleasures. These have to be given up if the deep states of collected meditation are to be experienced. The cultivation of wisdom means the renunciation of attachment to the various sorts of defilement, which afflict the heart. The more one is able to renounce the influence of passions and the defiling tendencies of the mind, the more wisdom will grow in one’s heart.


            In fact, morality has one function, concentration has another function and wisdom yet another function. These factors are like a wheel. Whenever the mind is calm it has collectiveness and restraint because of wisdom and the energy of concentration. As it gets more collected it becomes more refined, in return it gives morality the strength to increase in purity. In case morality becomes purer, it will help the development of concentration. When concentration is firmly established it helps the arising of wisdom. Morality, concentration and wisdom are inter-related. They all are linked together, each helps the cultivation of the others. The Eightfold Path aims at promoting and perfecting these three essentials of Buddhist discipline.


            Strictly speaking, wisdom (paññā) can only come to be when the practice of morality and concentration is complete. It might be useful to look at it for a moment in connection with the so-called Five faculties (indriyas) such as saddhā (faith), viriya (energy), sati (mindfulness), samādhi (concentration), and paññā (wisdom). In a sense, these factors epitomise the Path: energy, mindfulness and concentration correspond to the three meditative steps of right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. The last factor is wisdom, coming after these factors have been developed. We may say faith to represent here the lower or preliminary wisdom of the first two steps; the ethical step being here either omitted if we have indeed even fully reached and established it or perhaps subsumed under energy. All the steps of the Path are, of course, inter-linked. Let us just looks at some of them separately in order to see their application in daily life. The word ‘Sammā’ precedes the name of each step is given as right; it also means ‘in the right direction’. Suppose we want to go from our Hostel to University, our direction is not right or sammā, but at its simplest, that is, after the first step implies facing in roughly the right direction, then and only then we can start walking on with any hope of reaching the goal.


            The three tendencies of the eightfold path

and the spiral of progress


            1. sammādiṭṭhi                                    5. sammā-ājīvo

            2. sammāsaṅkappo                             6. sammāvāyāmo

            3. sammāvācā                                     7. sammāsati

            4. sammākammanto                           8. sammāsamādhi.



            Right understanding, the first step, is more literally called right seeing. It may involve an element of faith in sense of trust. At any rate it does mean that we see, for instance, some connections between craving and suffering, i.e., like in separation is suffering; dislike in seeing is also suffering... The second step, right thought implies the establishment of a state of favourable mind to the application of one’s seeing. We can say that the development of the preliminary wisdom involves seeing the right thing to do, and getting into the right frame of mind for doing it. This leads straight on to the stage of morality.

We can subsume morality either under the three steps of the Path (right speech, right action, and right livelihood) or under the five basic precepts. For one who is following the Path, as regards speech, it is not only abstention from uttering falsehoods but also abstention from slander, gossip, harsh words and useless speech. It will be noted that the fifth basic precept, namely, abstention from the use of intoxicants, is not specially mentioned in the three factors of the Path that comprises sīla. This has been taken as an excuse by some who claims to be leading a Buddhist way of life to take a little drink. But he does not know even a little drink leads to moral carelessness and can be habit forming. Rightly has it been said, firstly, a man takes a drink, next the drink takes a drink and after next the drink takes the man. That is why the Buddha has said, ‘right livelihood is abstaining from any livelihood that brings harm to other beings’. Additionally, he said, one of the five kinds of trades man should not follow is trading in intoxicants. Therefore, nothing more need be said here regarding the necessity to abstain completely from intoxicants if sīla is to be perfect.

In connection with sīla, the following verses of Dhammapada are quoted:


Yo pāṇaṃ atipāteti, musāvādaṃ ca bhāsati

Loke adinnaṃ ādiyati, paradāraṃ ca gacchati

Surāmerayapānaṃ ca,  yo naro anuyuṃjati

Idh’evam eso lokasmiṃ, mūlaṃ khaṇati attano


Whoso in this world destroys life, tells lies, takes what is not given, goes to others’wives, and is addicted to intoxicating drinks, such a one digs up his own root in this world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (Dh. 246, 247)


Evaṃ kho purisa jānāhi, pāpadhammā asaññatā.

Mā taṃ lobho adhamma ca, ciraṃ dukkhāya randhayuṃ.


            Know thus, O good man: ‘Not easy of restraint are evil things’. Let not greed and wickedness drag you to protracted misery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (Dh. 248)


A detailed explanation of morality would involve the law of kamma. If we cannot see it at all, we are lacking in right understanding or we may fail to live up to the ideal.


            Right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration are the steps which are included not only for overcoming wrong states of mind but also for maintaining wholesome states. If there is no right effort directed towards the aim to prevent unwholesome states and promote wholesome states, the mind will not be possible to practise right mindfulness nor will it be possible to lead the mind to tranquillity. Thus, right mindfulness is necessary to know whether the wholesome thoughts have arisen or not. Right concentration means fixing the mind on a single object.


            In order to develop mind it is firstly necessary to know the mind, then it can be protected and used for spiritual advancement. Mind is described as being fickle, fluttering, subtle, faring far and wide, hard to understand, hard to check and extremely swift.


Phandanaṃ capalaṃ cittaṃ, durakkhaṃ dunnivārayaṃ

Ujuṃ karoti medhāvī, usukāro’va tejanaṃ.


            The flickering, fickle mind, difficult to guard, difficult to control - the wise person straightens it as a fletcher straightens an arrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (Dh. 33)


Or :                Sududdasaṃ sunipuṇaṃ, yatthakāmanipātinaṃ

Cittaṃ rakkhetha medhāvī, cittaṃ guttaṃ sukhāvahaṃ


            The mind is very hard to perceive, extremely subtle, flits wherever it listeth. Let the wise person guard it, a guarded mind is conducive to happiness                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   (Dh. 36)


Again, it is mental development of two kinds: (i) Development of Tranquillity and (ii) Development of Insight. Both of them are in relation to the result of mind development, as in the following verse:


Yato yato sammasati, khandhānaṃ udayabbayaṃ

Labhati pīti pāmojjaṃ, amataṃ taṃ vijānataṃ.

Whenever he reflects on the rise and fall of the Aggregates, he experiences joy and happiness. To those who know that reflection is Deathless.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 374)


However, the Buddhist way of life awakening from ignorance to full knowledge, does not depend on mere academic knowledge but on a doctrine which has its practical counterpart, and is an interesting combination of theory and practice that leads the follower to enlightenment as well as to final deliverance. The attainment of the highest truth, for most people. At least, is a long task which may not be fully achieved in this lifetime. But those who are sincerely treading the Path will stand out, or be easily seen.


            For a man to be perfect, there are two qualities he should develop equally, compassion (karuṇā) on one side and wisdom (paññā) on the other side. If one develops only compassion neglecting wisdom, one may become a good-hearted fool, while to develop only wisdom and neglecting compassion one may turn into a hard-hearted intellectual without feeling for others. Here, compassion represents love, charity, kindness, tolerance and such noble qualities on the emotional side or qualities of the heart, while wisdom would stand for the intellectual side or the qualities of the mind. Both these qualities are inseparably linked together, they are also the aim of the Buddhist way of life to truth.






                                       (emotional heart)                                          

                                                                        (intellectual mind)





A perfect man


The purpose of following the Noble Eightfold Path is to attain Nibbāna, which is the cessation of sufferings. It is the way of Lord Buddha’s teaching to True Happiness.



  • Lord Buddha’s way to true happiness


            Among a very few things on which it is possible to satisfy men, there is only one thing that they want - It is happiness. Wisdom of course is very valuable, but happiness is always worth it; it is the pearl of great price because happiness is summed up as fulfilment of all the needs and all the desires of mankind.

            The enjoyment of sensual pleasures is the highest and only happiness to an average person. It is therefore true to say that even one’s pleasures, as they are momentary and give no lasting satisfaction while positively increasing our craving for further pleasures, are really sufferings. There is no doubt a momentary happiness in the anticipation, gratification and recollection of such material pleasures. For instance, material possessions cannot give one genuine happiness; if so, millionaires should not feel frustrated with life. We often see or hear that in a certain country, which has reached the zenith of material progress, a good number suffers from mental diseases.

            Again, people think that they can earn happiness in money, day as well as night they try their best to be wealthy by working like slaves. But when they are rich, are they really happy? - We are not sure to say wealthy people would be happier than the poor. Because those who have money, have no proper sleep, and often have the fear in their mind that if they are not wise enough to control their property, their wealth would be the cause of their downfall. Similarly, we have ever seen that name, fame and power... are not the main sources of happiness; they may be only happy to some extent but not to the fullest extent. People even think children might be happier than adults might but they do not know when children are separated from their parents, how much they are unhappy. For these reasons, people must realise physical sources or outside sources are not the true sources of happiness.

            However, the Buddha enumerates four kinds of happiness[28] for a layman.

            1) Atthi sukha, happiness of possession such as health, wealth, longevity, beauty, joy, strength, property and children...

            2) Bhoga sukha, source of happiness derived by the enjoyment of possessions (atthi sukha).

            3) Anana sukha, not falling into debt is another source of happiness. Debtors live in mental agony and are under obligation to their creditors. They feel relieved and are mentally happy when debt-free, though poor.

            4) Anavajja sukha, leading a blameless life is one of the best sources of happiness for a layman. A blameless person is a blessing to himself and to others. He is admired by all and feels happier, being affected by the peaceful vibrations of others. The noble-minded persons are concerned only with a blameless life.


            Truly speaking, the enjoyment of wealth lies not only in using it for us but also in giving it for the welfare of others. Because what we eat today is only temporary, but what we preserve for leaving and going by sharing... is unchangeable. So what we give we will receive the result through doing the good deeds.

            Delight in enjoying pleasures themselves is what the majority seek in this world while some others seek delight in renouncing them. As a fact, true happiness is found within, it is the mental state that can be attained only through peace of mind. ‘Non-attachment or the transcending of material pleasures is happiness to the spiritual.’[29]


Susukhaṃ vata jīvāma, verinesu averino

Verinesu manussesu, viharāma averino.


            Ah! Happily do we live without hate amongst the hateful; amidst hateful men we dwell unhating.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Dh. 197)


            Indeed, the more man frees himself from greed, hatred and ignorance, the greater will be his happiness. Nibbāna, which is defined by the Buddha as the perfect liberation from these fetters, is therefore called supreme happiness: ‘Nibbāna paramaṃ sukhaṃ’,[30]  a Refuge Secure.

            Nibbānic bliss is bliss of relief from suffering, is also the highest form of happiness. Because Nibbāna is a state of perfect mental health (aroga), of perfect happiness (parama sukha), calmness or coolness (sītibhūta), and stability (āneṃja), etc., it is attained in this life while one is alive. It is the nibbuti (final bliss) attained by every arahant, male and female, as described in the Thera-gāthā and the Therī-gāthā. After attaining this state, one enjoys perfect happiness until the end of one’s life. Most of us will probably not attain this supreme goal in this existence, but if who strives to become Anāgāmi, Sakadāgāmi, Sotāpanna it will be quite an achievement.


            Sotāpanna, a Stream Enterer who has entered the first stage of the Supramundane Path by severing the first three of the ten fetters (saṃyojanāni). These three fetters are (i) Sakkāyadiṭṭhi (Belief in existence of Soul), (ii) Vicikicchā (Sceptical Doubt) and (iii) Sīlabbataparāmāsa (Belief in getting purity by observing some rites and rituals). The Stream Enterer will never be born in the lower planes of existence, will have seven rebirths at the most and is destined to full enlightenment. Even if one cannot become a Stream Enter, there are other benefits to be experienced in this life by following the code outlined in the Noble Eightfold Path. There will be an increasing measure of contentment and equanimity, which help one to overcome the tribulations of life. Such a person is no danger to any form of sentient life and in fact, will be an asset to any society.


            Sakadāgāmi, the once-returner. It has also analysis of the previous equipment. That is, one has practised Sīla, Samādhi, realised Paññā, then entered into the Lokuttara bhūmi, finding both Kāmarāga (desire for sensual pleasure) and Paṭigha (ill-will) are very strong; one could not destroy them at an effort. Therefore in one’s first effort, one makes them weak; when these fetters are very weak, one becomes Sakadāgāmi. Thus, the very name is subjective of one’s previous practice, beginning from Sīla coming to the Lokuttara bhūmi.


            Anāgāmi is a person who never returns, if he does not get Nibbāna in this very life. He is born in the Rūpāvacara divine kingdom, the fourth jhāna Suddhāvāsa, from there he is emancipated. If we make the analysis of his personality it may be revealed that he has practised sīla, samādhi, paññā and thereby came to the Lokuttara bhūmi. He is a man of great ethical evolution through the severings of the five lower fetters (orambhāgiyāni-saṃyojanāni).


            Arahant, a noble one, an emancipated one who achieves freedom from the sources of pollution. He has practised sīla, samādhi, paññā and entering into the Lokuttara bhūmi, destroyed all the ten fetters, known as the five lower fetters (orambhāgiyāni-saṃyojanāni) and the five higher fetters (uddhambhāgiyāni- saṃyojanāni). The five higher fetters are (i) Rūparāga (desire to be in Rūpa-loka); (ii) Arūparāga (desire to be in Arūpa-loka); (iii) Māna (conceit); (iv) Uddhacca (restlessness) and (v) Avijjā (ignorance). This speaks of the evolution of a man from the ordinary to a force destination. In him, there remains no pollution at all. He is truly free from all pollutions.


            A definition of these four types of individuals is found in the fourth book of the Abhidhamma-Piṭaka.[31] Of the ten fetters (saṃyojanāni) by which the ordinary human being (puthujjana) is bound to the world. Because the Puthujjana does not know the goal of life. He belongs to a different category separated from the category of Ariya puggala, he cannot destroy the three fetters, he is not even exertion for his destruction. Such a person is called Anariya puggala or average person. He has to take rebirth in this Saṃsāra again and again. The Puthujjana can however develop himself to become Ariya puggala, Paccekabuddha puggala, Sammā-sambuddha puggala...


            Of these ten fetters, the ‘stream-enterer’ has overcome the first three:

            (i) sakkāyadiṭṭhi : the belief in a permanent personality.

            (ii) vicikicchā : doubt.

            (iii) sīlabbataparāmāsa : clinging to rites and rituals.


            The remaining seven fetters, which are overcome, as we have seen on the path to holiness, are:

            (iv) kāmarāga : sensual desire.

            (v) paṭigha : aversion.

            (vi) rūparāga : craving for existence in the world of Pure Form.

            (vii) arūparāga : craving for existence in the world of Non-Form.

            (viii) māna : pride.

            (ix) uddhacca : distraction.

            (x) avijjā : delusion.


            The first five are called the lower fetters (orambhāgiyāni-sayojanāni).[32] The five higher fetters (uddhambhāgiyāni- sayojanāni)[33] are only overcome by the Arahant. Here is a short summary:


            ARIYA PUGGALA                                        SAYOJANĀNI

            Sotāpanna                                                                   1 - 3

            Sakadāgāmi                                                    1 - 3; 4 & 5 partly

            Anāgāmi                                                                     1 - 5

            Arahant                                                                       1 - 10.

            Paccekabuddha:[34] It is a unique personality in Buddhist tradition. He with his own efforts is capable of breaking down the process of repeated existence of birth, death and rebirth; he attains the state of Pacceka Bodhi and becomes Paccekabuddha. He may not preach sermon to others, but for him, there is no question of his coming back into the existence. He is emancipated and becomes the Buddha. His presence is needed just like a flower, which spreads fragrance all over and does not ask anyone to receive it.


            Sammā-sambuddha:[35] He is a perfect enlightened one. He himself is omniscient, gives sermons to all for getting rid of sufferings. He himself is not only force out of the circle of repeated existence but also makes others force from the same as him. If we analyse his personality, it can be seen that he has completed sīla, samādhi, paññā; also completed the practices of Lokuttara bhūmi and attained, fulfilled the ten pāramitā. In the background of these he is a more powerful and ethically sound personality.


            The Buddha’s attitude towards life is not merely intellectual but practical. It is a realisation of what is good and beneficial. It makes an ethical perfection-cum-mental emancipation. This implies a cultivation of good emotions and an abandonment of the bad. Good emotions should always be blended with right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration, right knowledge (sammā-āa) or the knowledge pertaining to the fruit of arahantship and right deliverance (sammā vimutti), the arahant’s liberation from all defilements.

            In the final emancipation, all suffering ceases, and Nibbāna is where lobha, dosa and moha are not. The ideal situation should be realised not after death, but now in this very life. The Nibbāna here and now was stressed. When the knowledge of his emancipation (vimuttasmiṃ vimuttmiti ṃāṇaṃ) arises, a recluse knows, ‘Rebirth has been destroyed. The higher life has been fulfilled. What had to be done has been accomplished. After this present life there will be no beyond.’ [36]

            Such is Nibbāna, where the insight of non-self has taken the place of delusion and ignorance; where being will be seen as a mere process of becoming, and becoming as ceasing. Why? Because the deliverance and salvation from the self, from the misconceived ‘I’ will be realised. With this realisation, the last word has been said: Where craving has ceased, the process of becoming that is grasping has ceased also. Where there is no more coming, there is no more birth, with all its concomitants of sorrow, decay and death. Say for that, Nibbāna is the annihilation of lust, passions, craving and grasping for life. But on the other hand, where there is nothing to be annihilated, there can be no annihilation. That is, what constantly arises and arising is nothing, but a process of change and in changing also constantly ceases. What cannot be said to be destroyed; what merely does not arise again. Thus, Nibbāna is a positive, unconditioned state. Nibbāna is best described as deliverance, surpassing all understanding, above all emotion, beyond all striving, the non-created, the non-conditioned, the non-destructible, it may attain through insight and realisation. It is the culmination of the teaching of the Buddha just as the great ocean has only one taste, the taste of salt, so this doctrine and discipline has only one flavour, the flavour of emancipation.[37] It is very deep, profound and unfathomable to see, because Truth is not easy to see.


            In brief, the central theme of Buddhism is by following the right, one can free oneself from the bondage of existence to come to the realisation of the Supreme Truth, the attainment of enlightenment is identical with Nibbāna. All Buddhists agree that Enlightenment is their goal and it is attained by following the right Path. All forms of good and evil are present within them, they already know which path is the good one, which path is the shoddy one, so they all have to do are train their heart to hold on to the good path. Whatever is wrong, do not latch onto it. Let go of it. Finally, ‘Be your lamps to yourselves. Be a refuge to yourselves. Betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth as a lamp. Hold fast as a refuge to the Truth. Do not look for refuge to anyone beside yourselves’. [38]


Part two









            We may say Lord Buddha’s way of education about man and the world underlying His ethical teachings to alleviate human suffering, for Truth and True Happiness mainly depends on the Majjhima Paṭipāda (the Middle Path). 


            It is known as the Middle Path because it avoids two extremes: one extreme being the search for happiness through Sensual Pleasure (kāma-sukha), which is common, vulgar, unprofitable and low; the other being the search for happiness through Self-mortification (attā-kilamatha), which is painful, unholy, unworthy and unprofitable. The way that leads to alleviate human suffering is found in the Noble Eightfold Path, for Truth and True happiness is also found within.


            Wealth, power or honours... of course is only to be defined as happiness of such worldly possessions at any given moment. After that they instantly become a source of sorrow for the possessors because Lord Buddha’s way of education about non-attachment is Truth and True Happiness.



Chapter 3








            An ordinary man, when a pleasant feeling has arisen, it invades and continues to remain in his mind till that pleasant feeling ceases; as soon as the pleasant feeling ceases, a painful feeling arises, and immediately occupies the same mind of the man. He quickly sorrows, laments, grieves and becomes distraught. Such a man, it is said, is one in whom the body is not developed because his mind is held with the pleasant feeling. Similarly, it happens that when the painful feeling has arisen in the same man it invades and remains in his mind because his mind is not developed.

            When the body is touched by vulgar, sensual pleasure, the man is happy, i.e., without wisdom. He thinks that pleasant feeling is permanent and unchangeable, so he feels satisfied and enjoys that feeling. But in reality, there is nothing permanent, self and happy forever. He has to cope with the difficulties of the world in which he lives, and the painful feelings that arise. In this case he is suffering and cannot overcome the problems because his mind is undeveloped of concentration.


            In order to be perfect, man has to develop training in both body and mind equally, and the aim of Buddhist thought is that wisdom and concentration are inseparably linked together.







            Development of higher loyalty to the world community requires us to understand man behind all his activities, scientific, spiritual and ethical. As we know, man and his values need to be acknowledged by philosophy because the aim of philosophy is to guide man’s life to suggest and inspire a way of life.

            But how is man understood in different philosophic traditions? As Upaniwads declared ‘know thy self’ (Atmānam viddhi) or Confucius in China said ‘All thought as well as theories of human activity are to be based on a proper understanding of man’. So, from the different points of view of the different problems, man may have been understood differently by the cultural and physical milieu of the countries in which the philosophical traditions started. The value of any tradition can be appreciated with reference to man.

            Now we may study world non-Buddhist thoughts about what a man really is, as man is presented in traditions such as: The concept of man in Greek thought - The concept of man in Chinese thought - The concept of man in Indian thought.


  • The concept of Man in Greek Thought


            The writer on Greek philosophy starts usually with Thales of the seventh century BC, and ends with the Alexandrians of the third century AD It is true that Greek philosophy was absorbed into the Mediaeval and the modern; the Platonic and the Aristotelian traditions continue upto the present in some other forms. Yet they are so much modified by the Christian thought of the Middle ages and the rationalistic and scientific thought of modern times that we do not call the Mediaeval or modern thought Greek. The approach of the Greeks, being both rational and humanistic, gives Greek philosophy an advantage so far as philosophy goes; for Greek philosophy, or at least its way of approach to the philosophical problems, has become the standard for philosophical judgements in the East so; and even when Greek philosophy is criticised, it is its own standards which are often applied.

            In common sense, man is composed of a physical body which grows, decays as well as interacts with other processes. In addition, there is an awareness of pleasure and pain, as well as a relation of religious views of man, which interpret his whole being, so a man’s life is also dominated by different conceptions. Here, the concept of man in Greek thought will deal with four divisions, namely:

            1. The Sophists

            2. Socrates and Plato

            3. Aristotle

            4. The influence of Greek thought on religious traditions.


1. The Sophists: In the fifth century BC, the citizens in cities such as Athens together with the lower classes played a leading role in defeating the Persian invasion, under their famous ruler, Alexander.


            Man and nature: Sophists with special emphasis on the thought of Protagoras had the notion of being as very simple ‘A thing either is or it is not. The test of this is my sensation (my feeling is the test of truth). For instant, if I feel cold, then it is cold for me, though it may feel hot to another, or if I have a certain opinion, then this is so for me, no matter what others may think. Such sensing, opining, fearing, and loving are when I have them. When I do not have them they are not. Hence you or I, as individual men, are the measure of being, of things that are that they are, and of things that are not that they are not’.[39]

            As Plato says: The hidden roots of Protagoras’ philosophy are to be found in the dynamism of Heraclitus. To be is to be in becoming.[40] It is meant that there is the relation between subject of man and the central object of his concern as organs of perception.

            Each community should set up its own laws of morality and these laws are really fit as well as unchangeable. However, the natural law is normally conflicted with the conventional law of justice in theory.


            Man and society: The first men lived apart from one another. They banded together only later for the sake of mutual protection. As Glaucon develops this view in the second Book of Plato’s Republic,[41] social life and the rules of justice it requires are a necessary evil. As Hobbes pithily put the matter later in the state of nature, life is nasty, brutish and short. So, as a lesser evil, he met with his fellows and then agreed to make those sacrifices of natural liberty, which are necessary for community life.

            As such, each city will develop its way of life by practising moral conduct in order to bring men together for technical proficiency from this generation to that generation. Every member of a community or society tries his best by cultivating good actions for survival as well as the growth of society. Like Protagoras, who had the gift of persuasion, an expert in social change who can transform man from destructive habits to those which are better.[42]



            The divine: A divine origin of man is said to have been saved by the direct intervention of Zeus. In the explanation of the myth, Protagoras makes neither mention of divinity nor of any divine influence on human affairs.[43] There are two situations to these events: Those due to chance or nature that happen themselves, and those due to human contrivance.[44] Plato mentions the bane of human culture by Fore-thought (the demonic brothers Prometheus) and After-thought (Epimetheus) as pragmatic art.[45] While Protagoras considers ‘Man is a sheer accident of nature who has managed to survive by his technical skill which is always good’.

            There has also been another expression of Sophistic teaching which is found in a fragment of tragedy, Sysiphus, written by Plato’s uncle. According to this influential doctrine, religious belief is the invention of a wise statesman who wished to restrain men from secret and hidden vices. Hence he devised and cultivated the belief in an all-seeing and all-hearing observer located high in heaven, which is the source of thunder and lightning as well as of the gentle and fructifying rain.[46]


            Evolution and human history: The first origin of human history is the prehistoric forests. Later men developed gradually by living in cities together. Additionally, there were troubles and conflicts among them, so a  solution was needed.[47] Man’s nature is basically weak, but depending upon his creations and inventions, he becomes strong. Furthermore, step by step, he can advance from a stage of unknown society to a stage of developmental society for the perfect society in future.



            The human individual: Theory of Protagoras about the nature of the human individual is said, ‘Textbooks are worthless without practice, and practice without textbooks, which seems to imply a theoretical as well as a practical capacity in man’.[48] But theoretical apprehension is reduced to sensation. He asserted that the soul is nothing besides its sensations.[49] It means each individual came to know his feelings from the action of physical process on a sense organ in order to reduce sensory desire. The social life of human individual needs powers of each member in the city by co-operation and devotion. As a matter of fact, Rhetoric is the mastery of power of political life. The trained rhetorician learns how to attack any opposed position no matter how ‘true’ or how ‘strong’ it may be, and to defend any position, no matter how ‘false’ or how ‘weak’.[50] The aim of argument is not truth, but rather victory.



            Human ideals and ways of achieving them: The attitudes of man may not be good because they will lead him to non-qualification in ethics. But Protagoras was vague about the prevailing moral conceptions of a given community. According to his own view, one such conception is as true and therefore, as good as another.[51] This difficulty was seen by some of the other Sophists who began to appeal to nature as a fixed and stable norm.

            Almost the whole conception of a chaotic nature is implicit in the thought of Protagoras. As Antiphon’s view, he used arbitrary custom to attack different class, including slavery; to him an educated man should rather act in accordance with nature, which has made all men alike and akin.[52] In a world, the law of nature is the rule of might which became prominent among the later Sophists. And hence the tyrant is the happiest of men because the world is not a coherent order but an accidental array of conflicting forces.[53]  For Callicles, the real superior man is the man with power, and the law of nature is clearly proclaimed as might makes right.[54] That is, the achieving force in a human community is ideals and ways of human.


            Education: As the earlier Sophists had taught the subjects of the curriculum, the later Sophists also taught rhetoric history, literature, grammar and other arts but now considered as pure instruments of power. Such education is well for a young man in the techniques of debate by using his own language as well as his own culture to his contemporaries through persuasion. And, therefore, as Callicles points out that these subjects are sheer instruments of power, the time devoted to them should be strictly limited.[55] But in real life, ways of education for a youth or a child is different from a mature man because life is the place where men get the real power in order to satisfy their desires. Hence education is not the main means, but a subordinate one of power. It is the Sophistic view of education.


            2. Socrates and Plato: Socrates was a well-known and original teacher who laid the foundations as well as changed the entire direction of the Sophistic movement for a new way of thought which still remains in our day. While the tendency of Plato’s research that trusted the essential insights from his master and kept alive the Socratic Spirit, even in the middle dialogues. It is a difficult problem to separate out what is truly Socratic from what is Platonic.

            Now we will summarise the new Socratic view as well as suggest the developed view of Plato.


            Man and nature: The readers who follow Socrates in their constant attempt about man and nature have read Aristotle’s thought that, ‘Socrates made two basic contributions to rational methodology, inductive arguments and universal definition’.[56] In the fields of ethics and mathematics, Socrates used innumerable examples to distinguish certain fixed natures, which remain stable in the flux philosophy. They are stable with independent structure not only by sense but also by reason.

            As different from the previous thought of Sophists, Socrates found in man with the whole conception of an ordered array of interacting agencies, so each part of the human organism serves the whole other and benefit.

            In the Phaedo, Socrates speaks of the deep impression made upon him by the doctrine of Anaxagoras that, ‘the cosmos is governed by mind, and of his conviction that even though our knowledge may not often grasp it, everything really is ordered for the best’.[57] Thus, Socrates was led to the performing unique by bringing nature into light of understanding to awake life by voluntary activities and harmonious order of existence. Socrates was told by Xenophon that ‘our human reason must be part of a universal cosmic reason because our bodies are composed of the same matter which is found throughout the universe’.[58]

            Plato, the pre-eminent disciple of Socrates, established the essential insights which lay at the root of his thought to Socrates. He had supported these insights to many further fields at the end of his life.


            Man and society: Socrates had a profound feeling for the many benefits conferred on man by social life. He differed sharply with the Sophistic view[59] that men once lived dispersed without the bonds of society.

            In fact, Socrates referred to the universal value of legal conformity not only for the community as a whole, but for each individual as well. This is a necessity of nature, and man is social by nature for surviving as well as satisfying other basic needs of his nature. Here, the Socratic ideal is the rule of reason and the law of nature. Ruling is an art, which requires knowledge to be exercised effectively, because the genuine ruler is a shepherd of the people who knows how to make them happy.[60]

            Plato agreed with these ideas, i.e., the human community must be held at least by right opinion in the minds of all the citizens and loved by them. The law of nature is that common good be achieved by co-operative action. Meanwhile the school will be the central institution on which education in truth and goodness is the heart of sound community life. It may be able to offer us interesting solutions to problems for pressing solution now.


            The divine: Socrates was an intensely religious man who recognised the Divine through new discovery of rational intelligence and natural order. According to Socratic view, God is invisible, eternal and watches over the affairs of man.[61] Socrates was given to the practice of prayer and meditation is evidenced by the account of a long trance before the battle of Potidaea,[62] confirmed by his description of the ecstasy of love,[63] and of the divine madness in the Phaedrus.[64]

            Thus, in addition to the Socratic inferences, Plato adds and elaborates on development for a good and mortal changing being. Then he often summarises his ethics in conscious teaching as ‘not man but God is the measure of all things’.[65]


            Evolution and human history: The art of life, for which Socrates was seeking, we have no idea in Plato’s dialogues concerning history to Socrates. However, Plato did engage in such studies and increased towards the end of his life by rejecting both the traditional theory of an inevitable decline and the Sophistic theory of constant technological progress. Plato planned an account of the earliest pre-history of man, a great world history at the end of his life. It might be capable of setting up a sound and ending on a hopeful note.


            The human individual: Socrates considered the soul as the primary guiding part of the human person, by which he understands and consciously directs his life. Like God himself, this precious centre of human life is immaterial, invisible, and known only through its effects. This part of man can oppose and govern the body.[66]  From this point of view, Socrates is first to tend his own soul and next is to help others as it is possible in tending theirs. Again, man is a compound of a body together with a knowing in the light of knowledge. Therefore man is a union of physical body with non-physical soul.

            But how can these two elements be united in one single being? The individual human person is physically weak and his life very short. He has a soul or his knowledge only, which is far more worthy of respect. Knowledge has its values and is the most precious gift of nature of man. It guides human life and social effort towards what is really good, and all the techniques as well as arts depend upon such knowledge. Based on these insights of Socrates, Plato analysed and extended the mind-body problem more deeply. There are three levels of knowledge and desire, which Plato distinguishes as follows :[67]

            1. There is the pure knowledge (the love) which guides the loftiest mode of aspiration towards intelligible objects.

            2. There is the faculty of soul, which acts in harmony with reason to control the urges of desire at once when it is functioning properly.

            3. When mind assumes either of reason or of sense, the insatiable part of the soul will be led into inordinate or fixed obsession as fateful consequences for the person.[68]

            His solution was based on dualistic form. The soul is a steersman who may manoeuvre the ship where it needs to go. And the body is just a subordinate instrument which may be misused, but is not bad in itself. So the mind-body problem is as a sailor in a ship or soul in a body.

            To Plato’s view, each soul is free to choose its own mode of life. That is, a lazy soul will be punished by an ignorance form and an evil life will be punished by a lower form of human life. On the other hand, a hardworking soul will be taken at higher levels until eventually they are freed from the wheel of bodily life. Thus Plato accepted the eastern theory of rebirth.


            The human ideal and its achievement: Socrates’ analysis of the human ideal required it to realise it’s nature. Each distinct mode of being has an invariable nature which determines its basic tendencies.[69] On the basis of this, man must follow certain rules of action (virtue) which are founded on the nature of man. Virtue is knowledge for a new kind of ethics which lies at the central idea of Socrates.

            Based on Socratic insight, Plato analysed human nature into three distinct elements:

            1. Will or aspiration which is guided by rational insight.

            2. Spirit which is guided by imaginative hope and fear.

            3. Desire which is guided by sense and short-range imagination.[70]

            This third factor is fit to guide life to its natural end by far, the most far-reaching is, of course, invisible and intangible.

            However, human life is dependent upon not only knowledge of human nature but the world order in general. Wanting to possess the requisite intelligence, one demands to gain basic wisdom which underlies the other virtues. Courage is also meant to persist to overcome and lessen fears that should be withstood. Justice requires knowledge of the nature in words and deeds; it is necessary for the maintenance of life to be expressed in moderation. Besides that, passions and appetites are against the whole human life under domination of unjustification. Thus, without the guidance of knowledge, each of these life patterns is unstable.[71]

            In addition, man in the living of life ought to know the function to perform an instrumental value by himself depending upon his knowledge, like medicine, which is able to cure diseases; politics which maintains the community freedom, happiness and prosperity; education being to train knowledge alive in oncoming generations. And of course with pure insight which is guided by the whole enterprise.

            To achieve social stability, a social plan must be administered by those who are ready to face with both external and internal obstacles; social justice is judged for what it is and given its due. Every member of the community is satisfied by his duties, a common allotment of natural functions. At last, all members awake themselves to the purpose of community life at the level of opinion. Social harmony can be achieved not by the rule of any one group but also by nature for the common good.


            Education: Socrates expressed that community education must be the central institution. But to Plato, an ordered pattern of life is both ways of teaching useful techniques and eliciting a firm grasp of the good devotion. The child and teenagers must be told stories which implants moral attitudes in order to form right opinions because child is a creature of sense and imagination. At the age of eighteen, twenty he can gain an understanding of the real causes of things, he not only believes rational insight but can give right opinion, because at this age, he is ready for the pure scientific disciplines such as mathematics, physics and astronomy.[72] At the age of thirty he can realise the order of life, such as which is goodness itself, what is more ultimate. The age of thirty-five deals with living problems by his function as an administrator in the actual community. At fifty he is allowed to retire from this form of service, in order to engage in meditation and prayer, that pure contemplation of truth and especially of the good itself which alone can satisfy our human aspiration.[73]

            This is the Greek view of man. Plato trained young men in order to cultivate rational wisdom, that is the very heart for working of Greek society. From the time of Plato, many colleges and universities in the West have applied these rationalistic ideas as their basic aim to the practical problems of human life.


            3. Aristotle:  Aristotle was born in 384 BC, at Stagira in Thrace. He was certainly the most brilliant of Plato’s students, he studied in Plato’s Academy for almost twenty years, 367 - 347 BC

            At the time when Plato died in 347 BC, he left the Academy to pursue his own studies and became the tutor of Alexander the Great in 343 BC He returned to Athens in 335 BC, where he lectured as well as researched many different fields of his own school, the Lyceum. After the death of Alexander 323 BC, he was forced to leave Athens and died the next year on the island of Chalcis.

            It may be said that Aristotle reached the ideas of his master during his formative years in a definitely Platonic atmosphere. Aristotle was analysed to deepen and refine the theory of man by new insights and new distinctions but the basic insights still maintained, because of the awareness of human nature and human knowledge in its limitation and weakness.


            Man and nature: The most significant contribution of Aristotle is the process of advancement of human knowledge. The status of universality belongs only to the form in the mind, this form is an aspect of some concrete individual, and it is not an abstract. So, the way in which these universal tools of knowledge are logically related does not correspond to any real relations in nature.[74] With the analysis of Aristotle, human mind is able to gain some partial and incomplete understanding because universal essences are abstract and indeterminate.[75] Aristotle introduced the Platonic view as follows: Everything in nature is in flux. Natural substances not only suffer change, they also have active powers and exercise causal efficacy. Aristotle became deeply concerned with this phenomenon.[76]

            Aristotle’s view of the world is basically similar to Plato’s. For both of them the universe is a cosmos, or order of changing entities at different levels of being, inorganic things, plants, animals and men. All are dependent on an ultimate first principle, which Aristotle held was in perfect act. Man possesses reason which is directed to the apprehension of the forms of surrounding bodily things about which it needs to know something in order to survive. And hence, Aristotle was engaging in speculations concerning God, or purely spiritual beings above man.


            Man and society: Less conscious of instinctive needs, men are bound together into families and other small groups. It is difficult for Aristotle to believe that at a certain time all children who were born would ever be considered as brothers and sisters, and the whole community as a single family. However, he agreed with Plato that there was just common individual group-substance, and that social unity depends upon a common good with common respect. Thus, the ideal state is one where citizens are really good, and those who govern are good, too. The aim goes ahead of such a society as to enable the individual members living well in accordance with reason and virtue.

            In defining democracy, Aristotle’s political theory is in basic agreement with that of Plato. It avoids extremes of wealth and poverty through the guidance of practical reason in particular, and of theoretical reason. The fully developed society consists of individuals and families co-operating together for the sake of living well.[77]


            The Divine: Aristotle believed in the purest forms of the highest spiritual faculties of non-physical beings, thus the most divine thing is achieved by contemplation or meditative prayer. In our experience, the closest approximation to the observable hierarchy is found in our adherence to a fixed purpose through changes of life or circumstances, and in the continuous contemplation of a single truth. These reflections enabled Aristotle to correct Plato’s view that God is a self-moving cause.[78]  The view of God ‘He is, in fact, pure act’[79] indicated is less anthropomorphic and more transcendent than anything in the writings of Plato.

            All finite beings are dependent. Moreover, the Divine Being exists necessarily. Therefore, he must be intellectual, or a living God, for actual thought is a mode of life. His activity yields pleasure and the purest pleasures bring contemplation. It is difficult for us to describe such perfect existence because our thought is distinct from the reality it contemplates, i.e., it is its own object and it contemplates itself. At one point[80] Aristotle failed to see that God thinks only of Himself, and has no knowledge of lesser things. This mistake had to be later corrected. Together with the very incompleteness, this led the way to further sound enrichments.


            Evolution and Human history: In fact, change was recognised by Aristotle as the most pervasive fact of nature[81] and his categories can be understood only in the light of the role they play in different kinds of change. Change is the actualisation of some composite entity in so far as it is material or potential. There are four types of change according to the analysis of Aristotle. They are :[82]

                        (i) generation and destruction.

                        (ii) locomotion or change of place.

                        (iii) growth and decrease or change in size.

                        (iv) alteration or change in quality.

            Generation is the most fundamental among them, it is a new substance coming into being. Aristotle who was known through his observations on historic events, and subtle analysis of change led him to conclude that the basis of lower is the refuge of the higher and more complex forms of life.[83] As a result, he suggested that the lower species of life came first, and from these evolved the later and higher forms.[84] The purposive change, which is due to rational reflection and spontaneous choice, is peculiar to man.

            Aristotle probably agreed with Plato that his own age was one of social decay and corruption. It would come to an end in a great world cataclysm, then a new cycle would begin.[85]  He felt that this was something for the mind of God which transcends the capacities of our limited human intelligence.


            The human individual: A physical thing first of all is located in space and subject to the laws of motion. Then it is endowed with principle, which enabled it to nourish itself and to grow. For example, we have to eat in order to live, when we eat we have to choose which kind of food we shall take. Similarly, body and soul of the human individual are not two separate entities, but two interdependent principles, each of which exists only by virtue of the other.[86] Each is distinct but not separable from the other, i.e., without the human body, there would be no soul and on the other hand, without the soul, there be neither human body.

            Sense enables us to become aware of physical things around us so far as they possess these special sensible properties. Supposing we smell the rose fragrance as it is in the air around us or the green leaf we see as it ever is. But there are three radical defects known as (i) without physical light we cannot see, (ii) by only sense, we cannot distinguish clearly between colour and surface, or focus each form as it is in itself, (iii) sense is always perspectival. It gives us a partial view, never the whole of the thing as it really is. The first and third of these defects are remedied by the faculty of imagination which is under our control to the extent that it can conjure up images of objects once sensed, can alter and recombine them at will.[87] While the second cannot remedy, it is a confused blur of many distinct properties mixed together.

            Aristotle’s analysis of human intelligence is bound to a body and dependent upon sense.[88]  His notion of an active reason is to grasp the structure of a physical thing by constructive acts of its own. When presented with a confused object of sense, this active power first breaks it down into its formal constituents, then focuses each of them one by one. After the object has been broken down, it must be resynthesized as it really is. This is achieved by the judgement which predicates the definition of the individual thing. But judgements are true or false depending on whether the subject, reidentified with its artificially separated predicate and the predicate, are really one in nature.[89]

            A real entity is not first separated from its what, and then reidentified with it. Because one thing may cause another, but the effect is not a conclusion. Otherwise, our knowledge is very weak and limited in range. Our desires are deliberately chosen: sensory apprehension calls forth desire for material objects, while rational apprehension calls forth-voluntary aspiration for intelligible objects.


            Human ideals and the ways of achieving them: Like Socratic and Platonic ethics, the moral theory of Aristotle is founded on a dynamic ontology that he had refined and clarified. A good man possesses an inherent tendency towards realisation of its various capacities.

            Virtue, Aristotle defines as a firm habit of choice to avoid extremes in a certain field of behaviour, and to act in a rational way.[90] Again, human happiness is the activity in accordance with virtue for the whole span of human life.[91] There are two major groups: (i) the intellectual (ii) the moral for the aim of moral training. The intellectual virtues help us to understand being as it is[92] by reaching the goal through the ultimate directing insights or the purest and most lasting pleasure.[93]

            There are two basic genera of moral virtue: justice, which concerns the rational direction of our overt, social acts;[94] and passional virtue, which concerns the control of our own subjective passions.[95] The latter is a necessary condition for the former, which has no means. As Aristotle points out, justice is the highest level of moral action, and in its actual exercise involves all the other virtues, including the intellectual.[96] Passional virtues are achieved by the deliberate control of those natural tendencies that are aroused in us by external objects and events. Each of us tends to desire those particular objects which have given us pleasure or avoid objects which fear us. Living in a social environment, men require certain social virtues; the chief of these is deliberate sympathy, gentleness, truthfulness and tact.[97] The pathway to good life is to cultivate moral virtues or education.


            Man and education: Education should begin with discipline in moral, passional virtue, with intellectual virtue ever in view. In fact, virtue is in accordance with nature, but how can the virtuous acts be carried out by a child who is not actually virtuous by nature? Aristotle’s answer[98] is by distinguishing the virtuous act that agrees with the moral rule, and the way in which it is performed. Say for other words, from childhood children have to learn by rewards and punishments to perform virtuous acts. Parents and teachers should intervene in the life of the child setting up in him a habitual tendency which may grow into a genuine virtue. His education will depend upon three further steps which must be supplied.

            (i) He must learn why such an act is good.

            (ii) He has to choose good act for his own sake alone (not for some extraneous reward).

            (iii) He is self-aware and happy while performing good acts.

            After this essential moral training has begun, the intellectual training of the child should begin. But the tools of knowledge must be used in different ways in the acquisition of all the different types of knowledge. Since all knowledge involves abstractive acts of the mind, the kind of abstraction also required.

            Aristotle believed that reason alone can guide our lives to individual and social fulfilment. It has a natural kinship with being, and is the most divine thing in us. His chief contribution was not only to Greek theory of man but to Greek thought as a whole, especially, the profound sense of the limits of human knowledge.


            4. The influence of Greek thought on religious traditions: Greek philosophy was brought into relation with many alien influences, but by exerting later of Plato and Aristotle on the development of Mohammedanism and Christianity, these comments may be helpful in understanding the important influences.


            * The Greek view of man in Mohammedan Thought: The greater accuracy and penetration of the Aristotle texts was clearly recognised because philosophic learning soon became firmly established in the Arabian schools. Arabian culture was strictly dominated by the Mohammedan religion, divided into many different sects. The result was a new kind of philosophical synthesis which was finally presented in two very different and influential versions by the great thinkers, Avicenna (A.D 980 - 1037) and Averroes  (1126 - 1198).

            Avicenna’s view of man is probably closer to Aristotle’s own thought, but he held that a higher light is received by all human minds from the same source. Hence, the individual soul is distinct from the body, immaterial and immortal. This soul can dominate the body and choose its own acts voluntarily.

            His successor Averroes, though sticking very close to certain texts of Aristotle, rejected the distinction between essence and existence, which Aristotle certainly did not do. Pure possibility is a mental abstraction. Each real essence must exist. His psychology is even farther from Aristotle’s intent. According to him, both the active and the possible intellect are separate and transcendent. He interprets as the first contact of the former with the material imagination. And thus, his imagination has a passive capacity to be worked on by a higher agency. Although these doctrines led to conflicts with religious authority, he himself did not admit these conflicts. His expressed views are readily interpreted in terms of a theory of double truth; one for philosophy and another for religion.


            * The influence of Plato and Aristotle on Christian Thought: At the beginning of the thirteenth century, many syntheses of Avicenna with Augustinian thought were actually attempted. From the middle of this century Christian thought was dominated, especially in its treatment of the human soul and human knowledge. It has in fact continued the harmonious notions with religious tradition and practice down to the present day.

            The world is governed by necessary and determinate laws, and the human individual is a physico-chemical compound with material properties or powers. The one-sided interpretation of Aristotle, of course, was quite irreconcilable with the Christian Faith but it gained great headway. Later, Thomas Aquinas and his friend William of Moerbeke, on the basic translation from the original Greek made a new and far more accurate interpretation. Aquinas showed that there is no conflict in his major works but rather a profound harmony between the disciplined and empirical use of reason, and the Christian faith. Thus, since his time the thought of Aristotle mode has remained very active in the West as well as has been developed in many new ways.



  • The concept of Man in Chinese Thought


            According to Chinese thought, man is the measure of all things. Confucius (551 - 479 BC) believed that, ‘It is man that makes truth great but not truth that makes man great’.[99] And Mencius (371 - 289 B.C) was convinced that good men can make good laws but ‘Laws alone cannot operate themselves’[100]


The importance of man in Chinese culture: The all-importance of man can be seen not only in the Chinese concepts of government but also in art man has been the centre in China. From its earliest day, in the Book of Propriety it is declared, ‘Poetry is to express the Will’.[101] As a matter of fact, there have been nature poetry and religious poetry in China, but they are exceptions rather than the rule; and the purpose is chiefly to create a mood for the expression of human sentiments as well as social life.

            In the traditional classification of painting, one must understand the true meaning of Chinese landscape painting’s relation; because in Chinese painting there is poetry and in Chinese poetry there is painting. The two arts are not only related but also identical as far as their ultimate functions are concerned. Their aim is to create a mood so that the reader or onlooker becomes a nobler soul, a loftier spirit, a friendlier neighbour and, in short, a better human being.

            Man is not only the centre in Chinese government or the arts, but even in religion, which is supposed to be otherworldly and transcendental. The centre of religion is the human world, where man’s own body becomes important. Most Chinese Buddhists aspire to go to the ‘Pure land’, or Paradise. One of the most important transformations of Buddhism in China has been the change from the doctrine of salvation in Nibbāna after death to salvation on earth, and in this very body. Instead of ascending to heaven, he roams this earth and moves among men, guiding and helping them.

            From the Shang to the Chou Dynasty, the emphasis on human virtue instead of the power of spirits represented a radical transition, that is, personal power was supplanted by a self-existing moral law and through his moral deed man could control his own destiny.


            Doctrine of human nature: Generally speaking, the fundamental belief of the Chinese is that human nature is basically good. The doctrine of the original goodness of man was primarily the contribution of the Confucian school child. In the traditional educational system, the beginning sentences of the first primer read, ‘Man’s nature in the beginning is good’.


            Human nature according to the ancient Classics and Confucius: The word hsing (nature) does not appear in the oracle inscriptions of the Shang. According to Fu Sju-nien (1896 - 1950), all instances of hsing used in ancient Classics mean hseng, that is, what is inborn in man.[102]  From all these it is clear that the doctrine of the original goodness of man is not found in ancient Classics. Likewise, the doctrine did not originate with Confucius. In fact, Confucius did not advocate that human nature is originally good, because he was not interested in the metaphysical problem of what human nature originally is. Rather, he was interested in what to do with man’s nature. To him, it is practice to set people apart.[103] On the basis of his saying, the most intelligent or the most stupid do not change,[104] it is not because they cannot be changed but because they lack the will to change.

            From the above it is obvious that Confucius did not teach any doctrine about the original character of human nature except to note by nature men were near to one another,[105] so there is not the doctrine of original goodness in Confucius.


            Mencius’ doctrine of human nature: To Mencius, a good society depends on the moral consciousness of the individual. Man’s nature is originally good. In order to support his own idea, he pointed to the fact that, ‘When men suddenly see a child about to fall into a well, they all have the feeling of alarm and distress, not in order to gain friendship with the child’s parents, nor to seek the praise of their neighbours and friends, nor because they dislike the reputation (of being unvirtuous)’. Man possesses the four feelings:[106] love, righteousness, propriety and wisdom. Without these feelings, man is not a man at all. Love is the beginning of the feeling of commiseration; Righteousness comes from the feeling of shame and dislike; Propriety begins with the feeling of deference and complaisance; Wisdom analyses the feeling of right and wrong. Furthermore, these feelings are universal in the world, that is all.[107] So, man not only is goodness inherent in his nature or innate goodness but also does require no learning to practise it, or intuitive ability to know and do good are common to the human species. One more thing, man’s nature is good, it is that if man follows his essential character, he will be able to do well. Or in other words, seeking and he will find them (love, righteousness, propriety and wisdom), neglecting and he will lose them. But why does not man fully develop his original endowment? Mencius again turned to man himself. The failure is due to one’s ‘losing the originally good mind’.[108]  It is clear that man is the cause of his own downfall. Nevertheless, his emphasis on man’s own responsibility is unmistakable.


            Doctrines of human nature in Later Chou and Mediaeval times: By the time of the Neo-Confucianists of the Sung period (960 - 1279), some fourteen centuries later, the Confucian orthodoxy was finally elaborated and modified. In the meantime, Confucianists offered diverse theories of human nature. The development may be divided into four periods:


            1. The Later Chou period (till 256 BC): In ancient China, there were two opposite directions: one led by Mencius and the other by Hsun Tzu   (298 - 238 BC). Hsun Tzu, Mencius’junior, strongly attacked Mencius’doctrine and held that human nature was originally evil. He said ‘Man’s nature is originally evil and his goodness is the result of nurturing.’[109]

            Needless to say, Hsun Tzu’s arguments are as arbitrary as those of Mencius. Both of them departed from Confucius so far as the question of human nature is concerned and they have been the two arch Confucianists in Chinese history.

            Because of this doctrine, Hsun Tzu advocated strict discipline. Perhaps the harshness of his concepts led to their downfall and death with the Ch’in Dynasty, never to be revived. At any rate, the Chinese had not only suspicion, but fear of the doctrine of original evil.


            2. The former Han period (206BC - AD.9): Confucianists in this period interpreted human nature in dualistic terms, that is, nature is good but feelings are evil, or human nature is both good and evil. Tung Chung-shu (179BC - 104BC) in establishing Confucianism as the state cult, drew an analogy between human nature and the rice plant. Just as the plant may produce rice but requires external help; so man’s nature is not completely good. To him, there are both good and evil in human nature. It is like the universe, in which there are the two cosmic forces: (i) the yin, the passive or negative force; and (ii) the yang, the active or positive force.[110]  He equates nature with yang (the source of goodness) and feelings with yin (the source of evil). This theory did not gain universal acceptance. Yang Hsiung (53B.C - A.D18) believed like Kao Tzu that man’s nature involves both good and evil, and if one cultivates the good element, he will become a good man, whereas if he cultivates the evil element, he will become an evil man.[111] Such human nature is not evil but may lead to good or evil. There is no doubt that the dualistic view was widely held.


            3. From the Later Han through the Wei and Chin times (A.D.25 - 419): In this period, Han Yu (768 - 824) was the first to apply the term ‘three grades’ to the theory of human nature. It is stated that there are three grades of human nature, namely, the good nature, the neutral nature and the evil nature, as specially taught in Buddhism, in chapter five of the Treatise on the Completion of Ideation or the Ch’eng wei-shin lun (Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi), translated into Chinese by Hsuan-tsang (596 - 664) some fifty years before.

            In Lun-heng (Balanced Inquiries) Wang Ch’ung wrote, ‘I believe that when Mencius said ‘human nature was originally good’, he was thinking of people above the average; when Hsun Tzu said ‘human nature was originally evil’, he was thinking of people below the average; and when Yang Hsiung said ‘human nature was mixed with both good and evil’, he was thinking of average people.’[112]  Looked at from a different angle, the theory is an effort to go back to Confucius himself.


            4. The T’ang period (618 - 907): There was nothing new in the entire T’ang period so far as doctrines of human nature is concerned. There were the doctrines of Han Yu and Li Ao who opposed each other. While Han Yu echoed Wang Ch’ung’s doctrine of three grades, Li Ao (A.D.798) his friend and pupil, echoed the dualistic doctrine of Han Confucianists. In his treatise on recovering nature, he said that ‘it is man’s nature that enables him to become a sage and his feelings that lead his nature astray’.[113]  The source of Li Ao’s theory is also Confucianism.


            Neo-Confucian ideas on human nature and on the emergence of evil: The development of Confucian doctrines of human nature has been surveyed through the four periods. Of all the different theories, it was that of Mencius that triumphed and became the established Confucian teaching.[114] Because emotions are the natural expressions of life and essentially good, so they should be harmonised. Wittingly or unwittingly, Taoists and Buddhists helped to bring the doctrine of original goodness into prominence. The Taoists taught ‘all men possess Tao in their nature and therefore could attain sagehood’, while the Buddhists pointed out ‘all men had Buddha-nature in them and therefore could become Buddha’. Certainly they had in turn influenced the Neo-Confucianists that emotions were natural and good. By the time of the eleventh century, the concept of education was considerably enlarged. The ideal of man’s nature as originally good came to be accepted as the true and orthodox teaching of Confucianism.

            However, Mencius’ doctrine, like all others, failed to explain why feelings are evil, because in the first place it is not true to fact, and in the second place, it contradicts the central Confucian doctrine that feelings when harmonised, are good. Until the Neo-Confucian philosopher Chang Tsai (or Chang Heng-ch’u, 1020 - 1077) an earlier passage which reads, ‘In its original state of Great Vacuity (hsu, Void), Material Force is absolutely tranquil and formless’. Thus, the feelings of love and hate or the two fundamental elements of yin and yang are derived from the Great Vacuity.[115] In his famous dictum, it is expressed as, ‘Reality is One but it differentiates into the Many’.

            In the words of the greatest of all Neo-Confucianists, Chu Hsi, ‘The two forces of yin and yang sometimes mutually supplement each other and sometimes contradict each other... Sometimes their operation is even and easy but sometimes unbalanced. Hence there is evil and there is good.’[116]

            The Ch’eng brothers say, ‘it will not be complete to talk about the nature of man and things without including the Material Force, and it will be unintelligible to talk about Material Force without including the Nature.’[117]

            With the establishment of the doctrine of Chang and Ch’eng, the theories of human nature of all previous philosophers collapse,[118] because no one before this time had enunciated such a doctrine. The moral problem, then, is what to do with our physical nature. Chang Tsai said, ‘There is a great benefit in study, because it can transform our physical nature’.[119] But the most important way to transform one’s physical nature is by ‘enlarging the mind’. Thus his concept of the Great Vacuity is the necessary condition for the removal of oppositions and conflicts. It is in effect, a conversion of the Taoist concept from something negative to something positive.


            The concept of jen: The word jen is perhaps best translated as love. The Doctrine of the Mean and the Book of Mencius give it, ‘jen (love) is jen (man).’[120] For this reason, jen has been considered the highest good in the Chinese scheme of values. A man of jen is ‘respectful in private life, earnest in handling affairs, and loyal in his association with people.’[121] However, when a pupil asked Confucius about jen, he replied, ‘It is to love men.’[122]  Here, the key word to the Confucian doctrine is love (ai) or love for all.

            Jen means not only the love of all people but the love of all things as well. This doctrine received strong impetus in the form of the Ch’eng brothers. In his famous treatise on jen, Ch’eng Hao begins, ‘The student must, first of all, understand the nature of jen. The man of jen forms one body with all things comprehensively.’[123] His brother Ch’eng I also said, ‘The man of jen regards Heaven, Earth and all things as one body.’[124]  But what makes it possible for man to extend this love to cover the entire universe? As has been said before, Chang Tsai’s theory of Vacuity only provided a negative condition. For a positive explanation, we have to go to a new concept of jen, namely, jen as a dynamic process of creativity. This new concept was chiefly developed by the Ch’eng brothers.

            To the Ch’eng brothers the fundamental character of jen is ‘to grow, to create, to produce, to reproduce, and to give life’.[125] Because by nature jen is creative, therefore it will not stop until it covers the entire universe. Elsewhere Chu Hsi said, ‘Jen as the principle of love is comparable to the root of a tree and the spring of water.’[126] Jen as the life-giving force is therefore natural to him. Again, ‘Jen is man’ means the nature of man is life and to give life. Similarly, in the Han period it was said, ‘In man’s nature there is jen’[127] meaning that in man’s nature there is native to it this life-giving force.


            The individual: In Chinese thought, the doctrine was most clearly formulated by Chang Tsai, ‘The Principle is One but its function is differentiated into the Many’. This has become a keynote in the entire course of Confucianism during the last eight hundred years. While he asserts that ‘Nothing stands isolated,’[128] he at the same time maintains, ‘No two of the products of creation are alike.’[129] This is why Taoism and Buddhism were rejected in China as a guiding philosophy of life, for they either deny individual identity or consider it as an illusion. However, the Buddhist schools develop a similar approach in equating the One and the Many as Ocean and Waves. In the minds of Taoists and Buddhists, the waves are after all secondary.

            In this sense, the Chinese believe in the immortality of worth, work and words. This is best stated by an ancient teacher who said, ‘I have heard that the best is to establish virtue, next best is to establish achievement, and after next best is to establish words. When these are not abandoned with time, it may be called immortality.’[130]


            Man and society: Because man exists as an individual in society, so there need be the relation between man and society. The great emphasis on society came from the Confucianists, it will be recalled through the word jen (love). It is also clear that in the Chinese view no man exists in isolation but in relations. These relations, as described by Mencius, are the relations that have governed Chinese society from the first millennium to the present day, ‘Between father and son there should be affection. Between sovereign and minister, there should be righteousness. Between old and young there should be a proper order. Between friends there should be good faith.’[131] Of course in a modern society man has different relations, such as between an employer and an employee there should be a concern. Nevertheless, the basic ideas remain unchanged, i.e., man exists only in social relations and these relations must be defined in moral terms.


            Man and Nature: All major schools of Chinese thought practically advocate harmony between Nature and Man. These theories may be briefly outlined:

            The first theory is the correspondence between Man and Nature, especially in the Han era, adopted by both the Confucian and Taoist schools. According to Tung Chung-shu, the most outstanding Confucianist in the former Han, ‘In man’s body, his head is large and round, like the shape of Heaven. His hair is like the stars and the constellations. His ear and eye are brilliant and resemble the sun and moon. The inhaling and exhaling of his nostril and mouth resemble the wind and air. The penetrating intelligence lies within his breast resemble spiritual beings... The alternating opening and closing of his eye correspond to day and night. The alternation of hardness and softness correspond to winter and summer. The alternation of sorrow and joy, correspond to yin, the passive or negative principle; and to yang, the positive or active principle. The thinking and deliberation in his mind correspond to the calculation and measure in the universe. There being principles of social relations in his conduct corresponds to the relationship of Heaven and Earth... They all correspond to Nature’.[132] Through this theory, the belief is the correspondence between Man and Nature, they can influence each other. When the correspondence is out of balance, there will be misfortune and when the correspondence prevails, the result is auspicious.

            The second theory is the harmony of Nature and Man. There is some suggestion in Confucius’ aphorism, ‘The man of wisdom enjoys water; the man of love enjoys mountains.’[133] Suffice it to say that the Chinese look upon it as the highest of the arts, in which everything has its glory. Nature is the place where the human spirit enjoys its tranquillity and peace. It is also self-realisation in the best sense.

            The third theory is the forming a triad with Heaven and Earth. Centuries afterwards, it became the doctrine of ‘forming one body with Heaven and Earth’. In the meantime, the two great ancient Confucianists, Mencius and Hsun Tzu, had something different to say. Mencius’ discussion on human nature is the influence of external forces. He laid the chief emphasis on the human factor and felt that while man is affected by environment, he may transcend it so far as his moral development is concerned. While Hsun Tzu said, ‘To neglect Man and wishfully think about Nature is to misunderstand the nature of things.’[134]  It is said, Hsun Tzu’s doctrine of the control of Nature is as explicit as it is vigorous in the history of Chinese thought.


            Man and God: The Chinese term T’ien is literally Heaven. It has been used to denote Nature and the Divine Spirit. In reality Heaven (T’ien) and the Lord (Ti) are one and the same.[135]

            Both Confucian scholars and the educated Chinese believe in the Divine Spirit. It is called the Lord on High (Shang-ti). To the multitude, this deity is supervising their actions, accepting their offerings, listening to their prayers and sending down reward or punishment in accordance with their thoughts and deeds.


            The full realisation of human nature: There are two ways to achieve the full realisation of human nature. One is the subjective method of cultivating the mind. This is the thesis of the Idealistic wing of Neo-Confucianism, established by Lu Hsiang-Shan and later elaborated by Wang Yang-Ming. Lu Hsiang-Shan said, ‘There is only one mind. My friend’s mind, the mind of the sages thousands of years ago, and the mind of sages thousands of years to come are all the same. The reality of the mind is infinite. If one can completely develop his mind, he will become identified with Heaven. To acquire learning is to appreciate this fact.’[136] His ways of developing the mind include ‘learning the fundamental.’ ‘If in our effort to learn we will know the fundamentals, then all the Six Classics are my footnotes.’[137] It also includes ‘establishing yourself.’ ‘Establishing yourself and respecting yourself,’ he said, ‘do not follow other people’s footsteps nor repeat their words.’[138] It includes, ‘building up the nobler part of your nature.’[139]  It includes, ‘gathering your own spirit’ and ‘being your own master.’[140] These are simple words but they not only represented a vigorous way of life with deep insight and broad perspective, but also started a movement to get at the fundamentals, that is, to get at the innermost of the mind.

            Wang Yang-Ming was more specific. He said, ‘The main thing is for the mind to make effort to get rid of human desires and preserve the Principle of Heaven... The main thing is to use the brain... It is merely to endeavour to practise this mind.’[141]

            The opposite wing, represented by Ch’eng I and Chu Hsi, prefer the objective method. Ch’eng I recommended ‘reading, discussing truth and principles’, ‘talking about the people and events of the past as well as the present’, ‘distinguishing what is right, what is wrong’, ‘handling affairs’ and ‘settling them in the proper way’... all of which he considered to be proper ways to investigate the Principle of things exhaustively.[142]

            Chu Hsi followed Ch’eng I closely, he said, ‘the first step in the education of the adult is to instruct the learner from what knowledge he has, then investigate further until he reaches the limit. By exerting himself in this way for a long time, he will suddenly find himself possessed of a wide-cum-far reaching penetration. As a consequence, the qualities of all things whether external or internal, the subtle or the coarse, will all be apprehended, and the mind in its total reality as well as in its relations to things, will be perfectly intelligent. This is called the investigation of things. This is called the perfection of knowledge.’[143] The first one, stressing the moral nature of man and the other the rational principle of things.

  •       The concept of Man in Indian Thought


            Indian philosophy or Indian thought started sometime around 2,000 BC and has lasted up to the present day. The ideas of the Vedas and the Upaniwads are still considered as the source of Indians’ inspiration, but they are mostly influenced by western thought.

            If we include the Mohanjo-Daro civilisation, Indian thought has had a continuity of about four thousand years or even more, while Greek thought had a continuity of only about a thousand years, and Chinese thought also has continued for about three thousand years.

            Dealing with the concept of man, the main aim of almost all the Indian systems is to show the way to salvation. For a complete philosophy of man, first of all one has to turn to not only the systems including the Mīmāmsā, but also the early Vedas, the ethical codes, and the epics; then one can get a complete picture. The Mīmāmsā is the most orthodox of all the orthodox systems, accepted by every school so far as man’s relations to society are concerned. The Mīmāmsā is out humanistic and activistic, whereas the ethical codes and epics are meant for all men, they tell men what to do and how to do for the world. The ethical codes lay down the duties of castes and stages of life (āsramas) while the epics taught the Vedic ideal of life with the help of stories, anecdotes, histories... as they cover the whole life of man. Both the ethical codes and the epics hold the Mīmāmsā and the Vedānta sacrosanct and reconcile the metaphysical theories. The Mīmāmsā also permeates India’s outlook, furnishing the answer, ‘This world is a world of action if one wants life, one must act’.


            The Vedas are generally divided into four parts: The Mīmāmsā deals with the first two parts, (i) the Samhitās (hymns), and (ii) the Brāhmaṇas (ritual texts). The Vedānta with the next two, (iii) the Āraṇyakas (forest treatises), and (iv) the Upaniwads. The former preaches action while the latter non-action. Without the Mīmāmsā, the orthodox Vedānta would have disappeared or been modified and absorbed by the non- Vedāntic schools. Because Mīmāmsā is meant for immature minds, whereas the Vedānta is for the mature. But how can we have a contrasted pair of systems of metaphysics, if metaphysics itself is meant for the mature? - For metaphysics there can be no levels of maturity. One more thing, if the whole Vedas teach us philosophy of life, we have to remove the split and have one consistent philosophy of life only. Thus, the Vedas have an essentially humanistic approach, because man’s being has very deep foundations.[144] These foundations can be discovered only after affirming man. In other words, one is to present a detailed conception of man, one should take the Vedas, the ethical codes, the epics, and the systems into one’s consideration.

            For the sake of clearness, the concept of man in Indian thought will be dealt in three parts: (i) the Vedic conception of man, (ii) Man in Jainism and Buddhism (iii) Man in the orthodox schools and systems.


            1. The Vedic conception of man


            The Vedas: The Fgveda is the earliest, a part of it from the outside might have been brought by the Aryans into India (about 2,000 B.C). The Samhitās (hymns) are generally addressed to natural entities and forces conceived as so many gods. The Aryan religion, in which nature worship was predominant, came into contact with the yogic type. Nature worship is outward-looking for its deities, but yogic meditation is inward-looking. Out of the combination of these two was developed the Atharva Veda. After the Atharva, the Sāma and the Yajur Vedas seem to have been developed. The Brāhmaṇas (elaborate ritual of the Vedic sacrifices) were composed for each of the Vedas needed a detailed organisation. After a time, the Āraṇyakas have realised the meaninglessness of the ritual (because the Āraṇyakas contain their thoughts) some of the ancient thinkers took to a secluded and reflective life in the forests. Thus, the Upaniwads resulted when these thoughts took a definite form.


            Āsramas (stages): It is very likely that the early Aryans, thought of two stages of life, the student’s and the householder’s. When the Āraṇyakas were composed, the forest-dweller’s life (a third stage) might have been added. It is not clear whether the Upaniwads were originally meant only for the sanyāsins (those who renounce the world) or for everyone when he made up his mind to renounce the world. Dr Kane says that the word ‘āsrama’ does not even occur in the Samhitās and the Brāhmaṇas.[145] In the Chāndogya Upaniwads we find mention of only three.[146] The fourth stage, the sanyāsins, could have been accepted by the time of the Upaniwads. They all show that it is taken some centuries to develop the idea of āsramas. The four Vedas were chanted by four kinds of priests who officiated at the sacrifices and handed down from father to son and from teacher to pupil...


            Formation of Castes: The formation of the caste system was a very complicated process. The pre-Aryans knew agriculture, trade and had their own priests, while the Aryans knew the art of fighting and also had their own priests. But the Aryans would not accept the priests of the conquered, so they assigned priesthood the highest place. The warrior (khattiya) caste also remained Aryans, for the Aryans would not allow the conquered to learn the art of fighting. For the Aryan priests and the warriors to live by traders and agriculturists, there must have been some mixing of Aryans and non-Aryans at the traders (vessas) level. The Vessas came to be identified with trade and the Suddas with cultivation as well as service. Moreover, the castes were fluid at first. Still, a higher caste boy was allowed to marry a lower caste girl, but it did not often occur.[147] Long afterwards, a theological and an ethical justification was formulated, ‘The Brahmins were supposed to have been born from the forehead of the Godhead, the Khattiyas from the shoulders, the Vessas from the thighs, and the Suddas from the feet’. Next, the Bhagavadgītā said that the castes were created by God according to the character and activities of men. It has been observed that the early Fgvedic Aryans did not bother much about life after death, or salvation conceived as a state of existence beyond the reach of birth and death. But Indian thought now recognises four values of life: wealth (atthi), enjoyment (bhoga), duty (dhamma), and salvation (mokkha). Wealth is needed for life itself and is its very foundation in this world. Wealth is for enjoyment, enjoyment is within the ethical order, and morality becomes aimless without the ideal of salvation. Thus, wealth is subordinated to enjoyment, enjoyment to duty, and duty to salvation.

            Later on, with the rise of Jainism and Buddhism the high ideal of salvation could be attained by meditation.


            Man and religion: The early Aryans worshipped nature; nature was conceived as fully animated, for man did not distinguish between spirit and body within himself. But later, he made the distinction within himself and nature; the idea of presiding deities (adhistānadevatās) arose. Referring back to the two forms of religion, the outward-looking and the inward-looking, the Brhadāraṇyaka Upaniwads says that the light of the Ātman is the same as the light of the sun; the self within is the same as the sun without. Thus the correlation was established between man’s psychological nature and the physical world outside. The Ātman once existed alone and wanted to create the lords of the worlds. It created a form (world-person) and meditated on it. Hence the bases, the mind and the corresponding objects became the realms (āyatana) of the gods of the world. From the point of view, all the gods were subordinated to the Ātman.

            The narrative further says that fire became speech and entered the mouth of man; the sun became sight and entered the eye; in this way all the gods became the functions of man’s organs and entered him. At last, the external gods became internal to man. By chance, Buddhism retained this correlativity in its doctrine of āyatana (bases of experience).

            Man therefore became the meeting point of gods of the universe or its controlling forces. The highest controlling power was the Ātman, the source of light both internal and external, as finally accepted. In case, the Upaniwads accept that God is the innermost Spirit within man. The philosophical thought of the Upaniwads became inward-looking in its effort to find explanations.


            Creation of man: Man is the result of the creativity of the Ātman. The Ātman desired, willed, did penance and performed sacrifice, which is meant for strengthening the creativity of desire. In the Upaniwads, the Ātman is merely conceived as dynamic, full of bliss and consciousness, it is also static, because it is self-subsistent.

            The founder of the Lokāyata school, also called the Cārvāka school, a person of the Vedic times who maintained that man is a product of four material elements: earth, water, fire and air. When particles of these elements come together, life and consciousness emerge, because there constitute a particular structure. When the particles are separated, life and consciousness disappear. 


            Man and his environment: In the early Vedic and even Upaniwadic times, man thought was made because he could determine his own destiny, and he was his own master. Everything such as happiness or misery, heaven or hell depended on his own actions. He performed actions in order to accumulate merit; and once his merit was exhausted, he came back to the human world again performing actions.


            Kamma and activism: The early Aryans conceived the world as a world of action. But action produces effects. No action is ever lost. If it does not produce immediate effects, it will remain in a latent form until the proper occasion appears. It becomes what we now call potential energy. This fact produces the required forms of existence in the ethical world of the Vedic Aryans.

            In the early Vedic hymns, when once the theory was formulated, the Mīmāmsā said that the atoms were brought together by kamma and future kamma. In other words, the creation of the world was due to kamma. One point has to be noted here that, past kamma determined the present nature of the world; but present kamma may determine the future form of the world or may change its present form. Thus, man has the power to change environment through his action. This aspect of the kamma doctrine is central to the explanation of the universe. Scholars[148] believe that the early Aryans had no idea of transmigration, but they may have taken it over from the pre-Aryan inhabitants.

            By the time of Upaniwadis, however, the doctrine of transmigration was definitely accepted by the Aryans. Scholars believe the Vedas had an important foundation for morality in the conception of Varuṇa as the controller of Fta (right). The Right was not yet differentiated from the Good; and dhamma included both, by the time the Mīmāmsāsuttas were composed by Jaimini (about 400 BC). Until about the seventh century AD, Prabhākara gave primacy to the Right and Kumārila to the Good. Generally speaking, what is Good and Right is dhamma and Fta was thus absorbed by Dhamma.

            Later on, Fta became synonymous with satyam (truth), but the Upaniwads still distinguished the two terms. Saṅkara (about A.D.800) explains the word ‘Fta’ as meaning that which accords with the Vedas, with duty, and is well considered by reason.[149]  To us, we may translate it as the truth of practical reason as distinct from the truth of theoretical reason.


            The constitution of man: Man as he exists, is an integral unity of his physical body and ātman (body and spirit), which may be interpreted as different levels of reality accepted by the Upaniwads.

            The main interest of the Upaniwads centred on entity that is called the ‘I’. Like when we say ‘I am happy’, it is not the body that is happy, it is not even life, mind or reason. Similarly, when we talk about ‘my mind’ and say, ‘I observe my mind’s activities’, the ‘I’ is here farther back than ‘mind’. It is, thus, the significance of the Taittiriya account.

            In general communication, we often use the word ‘I’ to designate our physical body. The ‘I’ that is equated with the physical body is obviously false, while the body itself as a material body is not false; because there is a physical body we identify ourselves with it. Similarly, whether the identity of the body with the ātman is a truth or not; it seems to be a truth that many of us identify ourselves with, and it is also a truth that the body is regarded as material.[150]


            Man and evolution: Philosophically the doctrine of evolution has importance in inter-relating matter, life, mind, and spirit. As a source of ethical principles, spirit is necessary as the foundation of the world, of human life and activity; but as a basis of man’s physical life and as a field of his activity, we want matter. In case, however, evolution is derivation from some principles which are accepted as ultimately true and as objectively common to all men. If the world of Matter is common to all, according to someone; Spirit or God will be common to all, according to some others. So, both are justified so far as their ultimate objective principles go, in deriving other forms of reality from the ultimate principle, whether it is Matter or Spirit.


            Influence on religious traditions: There are many religious traditions in India. Most of them are founded on and connected with the Vedas as the fundamental philosophy. It is true that religion is considered as the highest refuge for the followers. For instance, Jainism is founded by Titthankāra Mahāvīra (Great Conqueror of one’s self) who was an older contemporary of the Buddha (sixth century BC). His teachings are the highest for his followers while the Buddha’s teachings are the highest for Buddhist followers.

            Hinduism is based on two kinds of scripture, the Vedas and the Āgamas. In any case, the Āgamas are latter than the Vedas, the earliest of them seem to belong to the second or third century BC Again, there are three forms of Hinduism: Smārtism, Saivisṃ and Vaisṇavism. Saivisṃ identifies the Brahman of the Upaniwads with Siva, Vaisṇavism identifies it with Visṇu, Smārtism follows the pure Vedic tradition and generally calls the Brahman by that name only. All the three sects worship the Mother-Goddess, called Sakti. Sakti is the material creative energy of the Brahman (the Supreme Spirit). Both are equally worshipped. Such worshippers are called Sāktas, their sect is called Sāktism or Sāktaism. The Supreme Spirit was called by different names such as Siva and Visṇu; but the name, unlike a dogma, was not considered to be important. This peculiarity of Indian religions can be appreciated if we understand how the religions grew. When religion is essentially spiritual realisation, its pure form can be had in inward psychological technique. And when man is essentially inter-related with the rest of the world, then the world must also have its inwardness: this is what the Aryans of the Upaniwadic times thought.

            By 600 BC, the ideal only depended on inward realisation. The Vedas teach ahiṃsā, although at the same time it preaches injury at the time of sacrifices. Jainism traces its origin to Rsabha, who is a Vedic personality; Rsabha teaches non-injury without exception and turns against Vedic sacrifice. Hence, Mahāvīra and Buddha had to reject the Vedas as an authority in guiding man’s life towards salvation.

            It must be said that after the rise of Jainism and Buddhism, the inwardness of India’s outlook became intensified. Certainly, the influence of the early Upaniwads and the later Upaniwads on these two religions is great.


            Education: Man’s life is meant for the realisation of the inward reality. Therefore, education has as its final aim helping man to realise his true inwardness. Birth brings man into society; he has relations and duties to all. Death takes him out of it and he is born again and again in society according to his merits. He has to learn how to keep them satisfied. One of the duties to learn, to educate oneself, or to educate others is to give rise to the idea of three debts,[151] (i) to gods (ii) to ancestors and (iii) to sages. Of course, one may enjoy worldly values within knowing or understanding one’s inward significance. The whole life of man was meant to be education for self-realisation. What is learnt from teachers is to help this self-realisation. When self-realisation was recognised as the highest aim of life, all forms of culture in the arts and sciences were directed towards it.

            Therefore, the aim of education was to enable man to realise the highest in him, that was, the Ātman. The world itself was the training ground, but the teachers enabled man to understand more readily the inter-relationships of its parts and thus accelerate the process of realisation through a proper grasp of the situation.


            2. Man in Jainism and Buddhism


            There appear Jainism and Buddhism in the Upaniwadic atmosphere of spiritual and social life. Both of them were Aryans (the noble, the sublime) and had the greatest respect. The Aryan path was the noble path and the Aryan was one who followed the path to salvation. To Jainism, anyone is an Aryan should follow the path of absolute non-injury (ahiṃsā), while every student of Buddhism is acquainted with the Aryan Truths (ariyasaccāni).

            The interest of Jainism and Buddhism was centred mainly in the monastic order by shifting the whole life of man to the monk’s life. Jainism, as it is now found, has no caste system within its fold; because its followers allow inter-marriages with the third caste of the orthodox society,[152] and thus, for practical purposes have became part and parcel of the Hindu society.

            Turning back to the matter, if both Jainism and Buddhism are Arya Dhamma, and if the Vedic religion is also an Arya Dhamma, then what is the difference between them? For these above religions, the centre of interest were the life of the monk, whereas for the orthodox it was the life of the householder, it was regarded as the sustainer of the cosmos.

            As a religion and philosophy of pure spiritual discipline, Buddhism is the religious excellence. This intense inwardness is its greatness because Buddhism could suit to all, social as well as political forms.


            Man and his environment: Man’s environment overemphasised inwardness. This overemphasis by Buddhism and Jainism naturally resulted in a condemnation of the world, whether Buddha and Mahāvīra foresaw it or not. For the world, Buddha showed great moderation, although Buddhism preached the world is misery. Jainism also showed and encouraged extreme disregard for the world and its values. Greater austerity and self-mortification cannot be found in any other philosophy as well as religion than in Jainism.

            Some scholars believe the Buddha did not deny the reality of the ultimate self (Ātman) but merely kept silent when the question was raised. However, his followers interpreted his silence as denial and held that the Ātman does not exist. On the other hand, to Jainism, there is no God, only gods, who are inferior to the man of self-realisation; the object of realisation is jīva in his transcendent purity and glory.


            Man and evolution: Unlike Buddhist metaphysics, Jaina metaphysics did not undergo much change. It firstly classifies the world into two categories, jīva (spirit) and ajīva (matter). Man is the jīva bound by ajīva (matter or the gross physical body). In its pure state the jīva is unbound, omniscient and less infinite. Then kamma enters it and gives it a determinate form. This entering of kamma is said to be due to the avijjā (ignorance) of the jīva. But how the jīva, which is originally pure, becomes ignorant is unknown. It is noted that the ignorance is anādi (beginningless); thus, the original nature of the jīva must also be ignorant. Modern evolutionism may say that the jīva is formed spontaneously by incessant activity within ajīva (matter) towards inwardization. Such a theory, however, would be foreign to the Jaina conception of the jīva, which is originally pure, omniscient and eternal.[153]   

            The conception of the formation of man found in Buddhism is more complex than Jainism.[154]  Buddhism retained in the derivation of the world from some spiritual principle akin to the Upaniwadic thought. The Upaniwads derived everything from the Ātman while the Buddhist from Nibbāna. In the Mahāyāna, this line of thought, is emphasised strongly. An impartial reader can see that the Vijñānavādins (one of the school of the Mahāyāna), conceived it nearly in the same terms of the Ātman and the Brahman of the Upaniwads.[155] The Vijñānavādins, among the Buddhists, called the highest reality by the name, Vijñāna (Consciousness, Reason and Mind). The name Vijñāna is of two kinds: Ālayavijñāna (storehouse consciousness) and Pravrttivijñāna (activity consciousness). It is the latter that transforms itself into the world of man and his environment. But how does it arise, if Ālayavijñāna is the original reality? - It arises through Ignorance.[156] Ultimately Vijñāna is the original principle out of which the world comes; it comes through man, his mind and senses.

            The Buddha, thus, preached the Cattāri Ariyasaccāni: (i) The world is misery, (ii) misery has its cause, (iii) misery can be removed (iv) there is the way for removing it. For our purpose, the second truth is very important, because everything in the world is momentary, relative, therefore the cause cannot continue to exist in the effect. The effect is a different entity. Yet the effect can come into being only with reference to the cause. Understanding causation (paṭiccasamuppāda) is understanding how man’s coming into being is explained by Buddhism.

            Thus, the Upaniwadic account is the lower coming out of the higher, while the Buddhist account is the derivation of misery. This derivation is a psycho-ethical causal process.


            Structure of the human individual: For Jainism, the jīva bound by kamma constitutes man. Mind is of two kinds: bhāvamanas (psychic mind), and dravyamanas (physical mind). The former, we may say, is the activity of consciousness. If bhāvamanas is a product of kamma, it also must be material, and if it is so, then the only distinction will be subtler than the other.

            Again, according to Jainism, ‘kamma is an aggregate of material particles which are very fine and are imperceptible to the senses.’[157]  Why could these particles enter the pure jīva? What is to prevent them from entering again even after liberation? - The difficulty now is after liberation, the ātman will evolve matter and man, because it is natural for it to do so. Or the kammic matter of Jainism can enter the pure soul. Moreover, the five causes constituting man, according to Jainism, are: (i) false knowledge (mithyādarsana), (ii) incontinence (avirati), (iii) negligence (pramāda), (iv) passion (kasaya: anger, egoity, deceitfulness, greed) and (v) action (yoga,[158] that is, taking in kamma). Thus, he is the jīva full of kammic matter; he has a mind, the five senses and organs of action.

            The constitution of man, according to Buddhism, consists of five aggregates (pañcakkhandhā), which will be mentioned in the next chapter. Now we have just noticed here that, the last aggregate (viññāṇakkhandha) is a product of pravrttivijñāna (activity consciousness). In the doctrine of the āyatanas (bases of experience), Buddhism correlated the senses to their objects. The idealistic conception, the senses and their objects are due to the same elements assuming the subjective and objective forms, is common to most of the Indian schools. Buddhism accepted the doctrine of kamma, but in a manner different to Jainism, as will be discussed in the following chapter.


            Life’s ideal: According to Jainism and Buddhism, life’s ideal is the realisation of the essential reality within man, and becoming one with it. Jainism, as a consequence of its theory believed that man is the jīva into that kammic matter entered, exhorted him to get rid of kamma. For separating the jīva from kamma, Jainism also exhorts man to practise three methods: (1) Right view (2) Right knowledge (3) Right conduct[159] (of five kinds: ahiṃsā (non-injury), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacarya (celibacy), and aparigraha (non-accceptance of gifts, etc). Among them, non-injury is the highest ideal for Jainism).

             To Buddhism, man is a product of ignorance and kamma, so man must get over them by analysing away the aggregates. What is the remainder after this analysis? - The original Nibbāna. What is the nature of Nibbāna? To the Mādhyamikas (one school of Mahāyāna): It is Nothing, Void, Suñya, because it was devoid of all determinations. But to the Vijñānavādins (another school of Mahāyāna) said that there must be consciousness in it in order to know it was devoid of all determinations, so Vijñāna is realised. The ideal of salvation was preached by Buddhism with missionary zeal. It rose so high that it resulted in the Bodhisatta ideal or Mahāyānist ideal. The Bodhisatta is a man of realisation, who postpones his own salvation (nibbāna) and works in the world until all the living beings were saved.

            With practising the Ariya Aṭṭhaṅgika Magga, man gets the highest realisation that is needed for the final result. In addition, man practises one of the six or ten pāramitā to perfection because a pāramitā is a virtue carried to the utmost peak of perfection.


Infuence of Jainism and Buddhism on religious traditions: Jainism and Buddhism spread very quickly throughout India. The orthodox tradition, particularly the Mīmāmsā school of Jaimini, which at first preached that the performance of positive duties was the highest aim of life and insisted man should recognise the ideal of sanyāsa (renunciation), had to fight hard against the new teaching. Jainism and Buddhism both removed these restrictions. Buddha, indeed, preached against unnecessary austerities and self-mortification. Yet he popularised the life of the monk. Mahāvīra, on the other hand, encouraged both self-mortification and the life of the monk. Hence, the influence of Buddhism on the Vedānta became stronger than Jainism.

            Both of them intensified the inward outlook of man. Salvation was for the individual, not for the whole world. The ideal of Arahantship or Paccekabuddhahood held that all couldn’t become Buddha or one with the Buddha-principle. As against this doctrine, the Mahāyānists held that all could become Buddha, the perfect transcendental principle. The Buddha became identified with the all-pervading reality towards all living beings whom were attracted. Truly speaking, the Buddha nature is the origin of the world, and the world returns into it when it is perfected. Thus the essential nature of the Buddha became similar to the Brahman of the Upaniwads.


            Here are some main reasons for the decline or disappearance of Buddhism from the land of its birth:

            - Those who merely wanted to escape the responsibilities of life entered the monasteries, though they were unfitted for the life of the monk, thus making the society was poorer and weaker.

            - The Great Kingdom of Magadha was full of monasteries and it came to be known as the land of vihāras.

            - The purely pacifist, meek monkish ideal.

            - Buddhist philosophy, through free self-development, approached the Vedānta very closely and was easily absorbed.


            Education: If it is true that every philosophy must be consistent with its theory of education, the Jaina and the Buddhist philosophies as well as their theories of education are consistent with each other. By its individual and social usefulness, a theory of education tests a philosophy. Education for Buddhism and Jainism, as for the orthodox schools, was meant to enable man to realize the highest within him.

            In the early Fgvedic Aryans, education consisted in training man how to enjoy the values of this world and the next one. Whereas Buddhism and Jainism tended to treat the world and its values with contempt. The whole system of education in the Buddhist Universities was geared to monastic life, not to secular life. While the Jaina centres of education do not seem to be as renowned as the Buddhist, both were equally monastic.

            The orthodox system of education was centred not in monasteries but in schools and hermitages as well. The study of the nature of the Brahman was, of course, considered to be the highest. In the Taittirīya Upaniwads,[160] the ideal of education can be understood upon four injunctions: (i) Speak the truth (ii) Do your duty (dhamma) to gods, ancestors, and sages (iii) Do what is useful (iv) Do not miss the opportunity of becoming great. As a result, no one can say this is an ascetic ideal of education.


            3. Man in the orthodox schools and systems


             The Indian systems of philosophy started more or less simultaneously developed through mutual criticism and clarification of concepts. The main schools - Nyāya, Vaisesika, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, Mīmāmsā and Vedānta, are nearly as old as the Upaniwads. The Brhadāraṇyaka Upaniwads is the earliest, which is generally assigned to the ninth century BC Since the Upaniwads preached the necessity of transcending kamma, the Brāhmaṇas the necessity of performing it according to their injunctions; there arose the nature of the two Vedic systems of thought (i) Jaimini composed Mīmāmsāsuttas and (ii) Bādarāyaṇa composed Vedāntasuttas. The former inquired into the nature of dhamma or right action, whereas the latter dealt with the nature of the Supreme Spirit or the Brahman. The Upaniwads are called the Vedānta because they form the ending part of the Vedas. Vedānta means not only the Upaniwads but also the systems of philosophy based on them. Besides the Vedas, the Āgamas arose and, of course, it is later than the Vedas.

            The Āgamas are mainly of two kinds, Saiva and Vaisṇava; but a third Sākta is added. The first makes Siva identical with the Brahman of the Upaniwads, the second gives high place to Visṇu. The third accepts both and emphasises the importance of Sakti. Through Sakti, man can recognise the Brahman. Furthermore, the Brahman becomes a person and an object of devotion and worship.

            Alongside the main Vedic tradition of the Mīmāmsā and Vedānta, there were both orthodox and heterodox traditions. The independent orthodox traditions are the Nyāya, Vaisesika, Sāṅkhya, and Yoga. The heterodox traditions are Jainism and Buddhism. All these schools have their suttas, which may have been composed between 400 BC and 400 AD. The ideas may have been earlier whereas some interpolations may have been later.


            Man and his environment: Man’s environment is not only material but spiritual and ethical as well. If man wants to be part of the world, he has to live a life of action according to the laws of duty. This idea was accepted by all schools (orthodox and heterodox), except the Cārvākas. The Cārvākas accepted something like atomise, but consistently with their principle that nothing imperceptible is to be accepted, they could not accept imperceptible atoms. Thus men are bound together in a common world: for early Mīmāmsa it is kamma only; for the Sāṅkhya it is Prakrti and kamma; for the other systems it is all three (kamma, Prakrti, God). Only the Cārvāka accepts the single role of material particles.

            Among the orthodox schools, the Sāṅkhya[161] did not accept God. However, it accepted the Vedic injunctions about duties and sacrifices. If man wanted to remain a member of the cosmos or he wanted salvation, he should realize his inner spirit. Whereas the Nyāya and the Vaisesika left the world as a pure plurality of atoms, of time and of space. There are no independent atoms for the Sāṅkhya. The Yoga of Patañjali accepted almost every doctrine of the Sāṅkhya and the two schools are called Sāṅkhya-Yoga.

            The orthodox schools accepted the reality of qualitatively different atoms while the Vedāntic schools followed the Upaniwads. According to these schools, man’s environment consists, on the whole, of the Brahman within and the material world outside. Balanced to say, all schools accepted the reality of the Ātman. The environment is necessarily for the world of action, that is the Nyāya and the Vaisesika preached first; the Mīmāmsā did later.


            Man and evolution: Evolution explained by science, is practically absent from Classical Indian thought. But from some ultimate principles, there are some theories of the evolution of man.

            The Upaniṣadic  account is accepted by all the Vedāntic schools, with some modifications introduced from the side of the Āgamas of the Pāsupata and the Pāñcarātra. The Pāñcarātra Āgamas identify the Brahman with Visṇu, the Pāsupata Āgamas with Siva; each of them is in a slightly different way from the Supreme Being. Both derivations incorporate the Sāṅkhya evolution with some modifications. Again, according to both of them, evolution is of three stages: pure, mixed (pure in impure), and impure.

            The Mīmāmsā, Nyāya, and Vaisesika, are strongly pluralistic, could not say much except that man and the world came into being when the atoms were brought together by human kamma existing latently even during the time of the dissolution of the world. The Sāṅkhya accepted two qualitatively different principles, Purusa (spirit), and Prakrti (primeval matter). This dualism corresponds to the qualitative dualism of Mind and Matter of Descartes. Spirit throws its reflection into Matter, and the latter begins to evolve the world.


On the whole, there are some points to be noted here:

            (i) The Vedāntins who interpret the Upaniwads from the side of the Pāsupata or the Pāñcarātra view, the world as a transformation of the very energy of the Brahman, made distinct from the Brahman for the sake of creation.

            (ii) The material world is explained as outward correlated to the inward nature of man, thus making man central to the explanation of his environment.

            (iii) Although the environment is regarded as a correlation of man’s inward nature, the world is often spoken of as misguiding him in his aspirations. It means when this correlativity is lost sight of, man thinks that the world is different from him, then he pursues it. Thus an ethico-spiritual problem is created.[162] The common view is due to ignorance, be it metaphysical or psychological cosmic or individual.


            Structure of the human individual: As far as the constitution of man goes, the Sāṅkhya view is generally accepted by the Yoga and the Vedāntic schools whereas the Mīmāmsā view is similar to the Nyāya and the Vaisesika.

            Taking the former group, we find that man is a spiritual and psycho-physical individual. But the nature of spirit, mind and body is differently understood by each of these schools. The Sāṅkhya understands the nature of the ātman as sat (existence) and as cit (consciousness) only, it does not include ānanda (bliss). While the Vedāntic conception includes bliss.

            The most important followers of the Mīmāmsā are Prabhākara and Kumārila. According to Prabhākara, the ātman is just the same as it is according to the Nyāya-Vaisesika; that is, it is many, and by itself, unconscious. But Kumārila holds that the ātman is conscious. In this respect, his position is similar to the Sāṅkhya. Some Mīmāmsākas[163] also attribute bliss to the ātman, like the Vedānta.

            To both the Mīmāmsā and the Nyāya-Vaisesika, the physical body of man is a group of atoms brought together by the latent kamma. Atoms are of four kinds earth, water, fire, and air. While the Nyāya-Vaisesika treats ether (ākāsa) and space as different, the Mīmāmsā treats them as one.


            Ideals of life according to the systems: Ideas found in the Vedas and Upaniwads are considered as systematizations. The orthodox schools accepted the four ideals of life such as wealth, enjoyment, duty and salvation. The main thing all the schools accepted was the view that the nature of future births depends on the nature of actions performed by man in his present, as well as past lives. But how were the actions that determine future births explained differently by the different schools? This difference seems as if it were verbal and unimportant. The early Mīmāmsā did not believe in God because human action itself was enough to create the necessary circumstances for the enjoyment of its fruits. Later Mīmāmsā accepted the reality of God by placing the path of action (kammamagga) over the epics and the ethical codes. To Nyāya, God supervises the creation of the world, and future births belong to the merit and demerit of man’s actions.

            As regards the nature of salvation, the schools differed from one another in very important respects:

            The general view of the Vedas and many Vedāntins is that man should renounce the world only after going through the first three āsramas. But Saṅkara maintained man could renounce the world even without going through the first three. Because Saṅkara classifies the four main ethical qualities of the individual are the means for seeking salvation, namely., (i) discrimination between the eternal and the non-eternal, (ii) renunciation of enjoyment in this world and the next, (iii) the group of six qualities and (iv) desire for salvation.

            In other case, the realisation of man’s original nature is necessary, but this nature contains an element of difference. It is possible by removing ignorance or by devotion and self-surrender to the Supreme Being, which is the Brahman.


            Influence of the schools on religious traditions: All religious sects say the imperfections and shortcomings of life can be removed completely by realising man’s relation with God or the Brahman. Again, every religious sect has its own philosophy which is either non-dualism (of the ātman and the Brahman or qualified non-dualism) or dualism, or dualism-cum-non-dualism. One may, therefore, say that the religious sects contributed to the schools by the way of clarification and systematisation.

            One more point needs to be mentioned here: Salvation means gaining eternal life. Salvation, according to all the schools which treat matter as different from spirit, consists in freeing spirit from matter; but according to the schools which matter is somehow part and parcel of spirit or has no reality apart from spirit, salvation consists in transforming matter into spirit or into its original form as part of spirit. The former schools may be interpreted as preaching escapism, while the latter as preaching transvaluation and sublimation.


            Education: The orthodox schools accepted what was contained in the Vedas and latter literature, that is man has to be trained for realising the four ideals of life, the highest is salvation. As a fact, the philosophies of the schools are concerned with the nature and method of salvation, not with the first three ideals.

            In brief, India is acquainted with western philosophy, not with the Chinese, in spite of China being a next-door neighbour, absorbing and preserving Buddhism for a long time. In order to appreciate each way of life as well as thought, some details need to be studied.


            (i) The earliest conception of man in the Fgveda, he is a wayfarer, became popular after the Buddha enunciated the doctrine of the Way the of Four Noble Truths. At last, three ways have been known as: (i) the way of knowledge (ñāṇamagga) by Asaṅga (ii) the way of devotion by Jainism (heterodox school) and (iii) the way of action by the orthodox schools formulated their own ways. For philosophy of life, the process of the world from the outward to the inward is most important.


            (ii) To the Mīmāmsā, the first two parts of the Vedas is the most  important concept of philosophy while to Buddhism it is the concept of Dhamma. Because for the Mīmāmsā, the important concept is action (kamma) according to the injunctions of the Vedas, this kamma is known as same as Dhamma. To Buddhism, the essential nature of the universe is  Dhamma, which is sometimes called Tathatā (suchness). That is, the way of the process of the world and of man. Because Dhamma is the highest reality, its realisation is the same as salvation. Thus, to acquire wealth is also the nature of man.


            (iii) All the Indian schools of thought, except the Cārvākas, exhort man to know his true self. As the Socratic ideal, ‘Know thy self’ becomes the ideal of Indian philosophy.


            (iv) According to the Indian thought, both spiritual life and rational life are universal. Spiritual life is universal because of spirit (ātman) and rational life is universal because of reason (buddhi). The former is higher than the latter. In such life, virtue is knowledge and knowledge is virtue.


            (v) Knowledge cannot have if it is without inner ethical and spiritual transformation.


            (vi) For the Nyāya and the Vaisesika, the ātman (self) in its pure state is beyond the reach of mind (mana) and intellect (buddhi). Jainism exhorts man to get rid of all kamma, the jīva in such a state can hardly be called a well-integrated unity of psychological characters. For Buddhism, salvation lies in the liquidation of personality (puggala), not in its integration.


            (vii) The central aim of Indian philosophy is to discover the true nature of the ‘I’ and the basis of the experience of the ‘I’.


            (viii) The most important of the developments of the Indian philosophy is towards idealism and monasticism. Idealism is obvious in the almost universal acceptance of the correlativity of the senses and their objects. The monastic systems go farther and derive the elements themselves from the Ātman or the Brahman. This correlativity is found in Buddhism. The significance of idealism for a study of the nature of man and his place in the universe is the link between the Supreme (as the inward reality) and matter (as the outward reality). The great significance of philosophy means man, it is also the centre of the universe.


            (ix) Men differ from one another in their emotional experiences and in the perspectives of the objects they see; yet the material world is said to be the same for all. Similarly, God or Supreme Spirit is the same for all. Again, we have the forms of Spirit, Mind, Life and Matter; we have to understand their relation in terms of evolution. Next, evolution can be explained theoretically in each direction. From spirit to matter, explanation meets our ethical and spiritual requirements. Thus each serves a useful purpose.


            (x) For the three schools Nyāya, Vaisesika and Mīmāmsā as well as for Jainism, the aim of discipline is to lift the ego above all activity. For Buddhism, the goal is liquidation of the ego, and whatever be the remainder after liquidation.


            (xi) During the Vedic period, the whole universe was regarded as the training ground for man, for producing inwardness. The avowed aim of traditional Indian education is to search for truth and salvation. Thus, the more the knowledge one has, the greater is the self-surrender and vice versa.


            (xii) After the Upaniwads were composed, a split in Vedic philosophy developed, the first two parts of the Vedas preaching a way of action and the next two parts teaching a life above action. It is now necessary to have a new development of philosophy in India which reconciles the Mīmāmsā and the Vedānta.


            (xiii) In the philosophies, the highest kind of education is to deepen man’s inwardness. By deepening inwardness, man can realize the spirit within himself and bring it to the level of Deity.


            (xiv) According to the opinion of the Upaniwads, man is the spirit (ātman), soul (jīva), mind, life (physical body) in an integral form. The safest interpretation of pious philosophers is ‘the welfare of man is the welfare of spirit’. Ethics and other sciences have to show how incidental to the life of man in society can be utilised in the different spheres. Indian philosophers might not have accomplished to the satisfaction of the 21st century man, thus a practice will lead man to miss elements of permanent value.









            There were sixty-two heretical teachings in Eastern India. They have been mentioned in the Buddhist text.

            According to Brahmajāla sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya, the Buddha described these sixty-two views as Micchadiṭṭhi, i.e., wrong views which were not helpful to bring good and welfare to the mankind at all; on the contrary they were hindrances in the path of attaining true knowledge and perfect happiness as well as peace of mind. The Buddha expounded on various non-Buddhist thoughts on individual’s problems of suffering and happiness by casting a wide perfect net. It is also the ostensible object of the sutta that is to give a bird’s eye-view of the non-Buddhist doctrine prevalent during the period of the Buddha. Anyway, in such an atmosphere, Gotama Buddha was born in India. The main division at the time was the brahmins and the samaṇas, or the non-brahmanic ascetics and the recluses.


            The Brahmins were the hereditary priesthood of India, the custodians of the ancient orthodoxy. They accepted the authority of the Vedas which they studied, chanted at countless rituals, sacrifices and ceremonies then turned towards it as the source of their philosophical speculations. Thus, they are characterised in the suttas as traditionalists, who teach their doctrines on the basis of oral tradition. However, the samaṇas did not accept the authority of the Vedas for this reason, from the perspective of the brahmins, they stood in the ranks of heterodoxy. They roamed the Indian countryside sometimes in groups, sometimes as solitaries, preaching their doctrines to the populace, debating with other ascetics, engaging in their spiritual practices which often involved severe austerities. The Buddha’s encounters with brahmins were usually friendly, their conversations marked by courtesy and mutual regard.



  • The sixty-two kinds of wrong views


            The Brahmajāla sutta enumerates a list of sixty-two forms of philosophical speculations about the origin, existence, the destiny of the world as well as man at the time of the appearance of Lord Buddha. They are traditionally known as the sixty-two wrong beliefs (Micchadiṭṭhiyo) as they cannot lead man to the realisation of the ultimate truth and liberation.


            The Buddha says that men believe in the existence of a soul or self, and try to justify their belief by claiming to be able to recall their previous lives. On this empirical foundation, they confidently assert that ‘man has an abiding and eternal soul’. The Buddha also offers an explanation for the origin of the idea of God by saying ‘At the end of each world-cycle, one of the Devas arrives first on the stage of the new cosmos; later on, others join him, and see the first arrival, mistakenly assume that he is their Lord and Creator’. The irony is obvious.

            The sixty-two wrong views may broadly be listed under the following heads:


            * There are eighteen wrong views that samaṇas and brāhmaṇas, speculated on the past, namely:


            (i) Four kinds of belief in Eternity, Sassata Diṭṭhi, for those who held that the self or soul and the universe are eternal.


            (ii) Four kinds of dualistic belief in Eternity and Non-eternity, Ekacca Sassata Diṭṭhi, for those who held that the soul and the universe are eternal in some respects and not eternal in some respects.


            (iii) Four views of the world being Finite or Infinite, Antānanta Diṭṭhi, for those who held that the universe is finite as well as infinite.


            (iv) Four kinds of ambiguous evasion, Amarāvikkhepa vāda, for those who equivocate about good and evil.


            (v) Two doctrines of non-causality, Adhiccasamuppanna vāda, for those who held that the soul and the world originate without a cause.


            * There were forty-four wrong views that samaṇas and brāhmaṇas speculated on the future, namely:


            (i) Sixteen kinds of belief in the Existence of Saññā after death, Uddhamāghātanika Saññī Vāda, for those who held that the soul is conscious after death.


            (ii) Eight kinds of belief in the Non-existence of Saññā after death, Uddhamāghātanika Asaññī Vāda, for those who held that the soul is unconscious after death.


            (iii) Eight kinds of belief in the Existence of Neither Saññā nor Non-Saññā after death, Uddhamāghātanika Nevasaññī Nāsaññī Vāda, for those who held that the soul is neither conscious nor unconscious after death.


            (iv) Seven kinds of belief in Annihilation, Uccheda Vāda, for those who held that the soul is extinct after death.


(v) Five kinds of Mundane Nibbāna as realizable in this very life, Diṭṭha dhamma Nibbāna Vāda, for those who held Nibbāna in earthly, in this life, not the Nibbāna are realised by the Buddha.



  • Four pairs of extremes


            All the sixty-two wrong views may also be grouped under four pairs of extremes,[164]  namely:


            (i) a.  Eternalist thesis: everything exists. This is one extreme.

                 b. Annihilationist antithesis: nothing exists. This is another extreme.

            Between these two extremes lay whole centuries of Metaphysical evolution.


            (ii) a. Determinist thesis: everything is pre-determined. This is one extreme.

               b. Fortuitist antithesis: nothing is caused and conditioned. This is another extreme.

            Between these two extremes lay whole centuries of Logical evolution.


            (iii) a. Individualist thesis: weal and woe are caused by the moral agent of an act. This is one extreme.

                    b. Fatalist antithesis: weal and woe are caused by other agents than self. This is another extreme.

            Between these two extremes lay whole centuries of Ethical evolution.


            (iv) a. Hedonist and Utilitarian thesis: adherence to pleasures of  the senses constitutes the path to the goal. This is one extreme.

                 b. Ascetic antithesis: self-mortification constitutes the path to final release. This is another extreme.

            Between these two extremes lay whole centuries of Socio-religious evolution.


            These ideas which haunt the imaginations of men are the product of perfectly natural and psychological causes. They all are conditioned by saṅkhāra Reality, and are therefore mere fantasies.

            The Buddha lists sixty-two different types of wrong view, all of them are based on contact of the six internal bases and the six external bases. Contact conditions craving, which in turn leads to clinging, to becoming, to birth, to ageing and death, and all manner of suffering. He also knew that those who held these wrong beliefs would be reborn. Whenever asked about all the philosophical problems, the Buddha’s answer basically to them, is exactly the same. As a foreseeing, the Buddha, not accepting these four pairs of extremes, preaches his doctrine of the Middle Way (Majjhimā paṭipadā). What is the Middle Way? It means not to constantly whine and complain about life, nor to waste away life by living in a constant state of daze. The Middle Way recommends the use of the vision of wisdom to remove life’s fears, anguishes and misunderstanding, to recognise the truth about life and to control one’s destiny. ‘Middle’ thus in this meaning may be defined as the transcending of all extremes by the Way of the Dhamma.



  • Sassata-diṭṭhi and Uccheda- diṭṭhi


This world usually leans upon a duality (i) the belief in existence (atthitā) or (ii) non-existence (natthitā). These two terms refer to the theories of eternalism (sassata-diṭṭhi) and annihilationism (uccheda-diṭṭhi), the basic misconceptions of actuality in various forms are repeated in the history of human thought.

Eternalism (sassata-diṭṭhi) is the belief in a permanent substance or entity, whether conceived as a multitude of individual souls or selves, created (or not) as a monastic world-soul, a deity of any description or a combination of any notions. Annihilationism (uccheda-diṭṭhi), on the other hand, asserts the temporary existence of separate selves or personalities, which are entirely destroyed or dissolved after death.


            In the very first discourse, Dhammacakkappavattana ‘The turning or the establishment of the wheel of Truth’, the Buddha speaks of two unprofitable and unworthy extremes for the conduct of those who have left their homes in order to take up a religious life. The two unprofitable and unworthy extremes are known as, one is the mortification of the body, while the other is indulgence in pleasures of the senses. The followers of the first extreme were known to the Buddha as eternalists (sassatavādino). There were some of them who held the idea of an eternal, individual soul, which after many existences would return to its genuine condition of free spirit as a result of accumulated merit. Others favoured a monastic view of the universe and believed in the attainment of a supreme bliss that consisted in the dissolution of personality in an impersonal, all-embracing Absolute. Some others stuck to the old sacrificial religion that promised blissful existence in heaven after death. These various views are described from the schools of idealism, had their counterpart in the India at the time of the Buddha. For subjective idealism, which holds that, it is the ‘I’ exists alone, all the rest being is just a modification of ‘my mind’. But to objective idealism which holds that all being, including the ‘I’ are mere manifestations of the Absolute.


            Again, the absolute idealism of Hegel, which informs us that only the relation between the subject and object, is real. Idealism, according to the Buddha, has but one reality only, that is, the liberation of the thinking of ‘self’. Additionally, to these varieties of idealism, self-mortification is merely the practical side of the speculations of idealism in which the self is sublimated with the natural consequence; the self, thus, must be liberated from matter, the soul must be freed from the bonds of the body. The passions of the body such as lobha, dosa, moha must be subdued by force of sīla, samādhi and paññā. While the body connects with right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration to be overcome by prayer, fast or other austerities.

            The followers of the second extreme, who denied any survival of the individual after death or any retribution for moral and immoral deeds, etc., is named annihilationists (ucchedavādino) by the Buddha. The annihilationists later came to be called the materialists had many varieties of belief in ancient India. This extreme, the Buddha said, only leads to desire for still more and the desire for more, leads or will lead to conflict and conquest. Therefore, he condemned materialism as despicable, vulgar, ordinary and leading to no good.


            As a matter of fact, it is useless to hold the opinion that, ‘The world is eternal or not eternal; the world is finite or infinite; the soul is the same as the body or the soul is one thing while the body is another; after death a Tathāgata exists, does not exist or neither exists nor does not exist.’[165] Both eternalist and annihilationist theory are theoretically opposed, both in their starting-point and in their goal, for self is their beginning and satisfaction is their end. Whenever the Buddha was asked about these problems he kept silent because both are fetters. Furthermore, between these two extremes, materialistic self-indulgence and idealistic self-denial, there is no comprise. The Buddha has repeatedly pointed out to avoid both extremes and formulated the Middle Way in tranquillity of mind as well as penetrative insight, leading to enlightenment and deliverance. Enlightenment with regard to the real nature of things, whereas deliverance from suffering as well as its cause.


            Again, one more thing should be noticed here that these two extreme views lose their basis entirely if life is seen in its true nature as a continuous flux of material and mental processes, arising from their appropriate conditions and ceasing only when these conditions are removed.


            In short, these sixty-two wrong views the Buddha expounded in Brahmajāla sutta with the purpose is to show us how to distinguish between doctrines of Lord Buddha and others. From clarifying his teachings, our duties must be awakened through our own experience of the Noble Path, because we are the Refuge for ourselves, the Buddha has just pointed the Way for us only.


Attā hi attano nātho, ko hi nātho paro siyā

Attanā’va sudantena, nāthaṃ labhati dullabhaṃ.


Oneself, indeed, is one’s saviour, for what other saviour would there be? With oneself well-controlled one obtains a saviour difficult to find.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (Dh. 160)


Chapter 4








            Living together in the world, each being usually chooses for him an ideal of life. If the chosen ideal is only served for the private purpose, it is considered as a common or selfish ideal. By training he to benefit of others be synonymous with bringing happiness to the many, it is known as supreme ideal, or ultimate ideal; it is also regarded as a means of liberation. By chance, a well-trained being is one of right view, who has perfected confidence in Lord Buddha’s teachings, arrived at the absolute Truth of Dhamma, ready to serve all beings without investigating whether they are worthy or not.







            In describing the dhammā in their various aspects, it is impossible to keep to absolute terms only. Conventional terms of everyday language have to be employed in order to keep the channels of communication open to all. There are two main types of conventional usage; the first type is concerned with a planned system of detailed analysis employing such terms as Khandha (Aggregates), Āyatana (Sense-spheres), Dhātu (Elements), Sacca (Truths), and Indriya (Controlling Faculties). These terms are mere designations that express things that exist in reality (paramattha) and are therefore classed as the conventional usage of the first type. To the second type of conventional usage belongs such expressions as Puggala, Attā, Satta, Jīva... which have no existence in reality (sammuti), but nevertheless are essential for communication of thoughts.


            Puggala[166]:Individual, Person, Individuality’, as well as their synonyms ‘Being (satta), Personality or Self (attā)’ etc. In short, all terms designating an entity, hence also I, you, he, man, god, house... all these, according to Buddhism, are mere names not corresponding to anything really existing. The term ‘puggala’ does not mean anything real. It is only sammutisacca (apparent truth) as opposed to paramatthasacca (real truth). In the ultimate sense (paramattha), there exist only ever-changing physical and mental phenomena, flashing up and dying every moment. Just as it is by the condition precedent of the co-existence of its various parts the word ‘chariod’ is used, just so is it that when the khandhā are there, we talk of a ‘being’.[167]


            Attā [168]:Self, Ego, Personality’, in Buddhism is a mere conventional expression (vohāradesanā) and no designation for anything really existing. With reference to this substitution of puggala for attā, it is said that, ‘It would almost appear as if attā had, at least for a time, come to signify merely the personal appearance or visible self’.[169] According to the Buddha, the idea of self is an imaginary, false belief which has no corresponding reality, it produces harmful thoughts of ‘me and mine’, selfishness, desire, craving, attachment, hatred, ill-will, conceit, pride, egoism and other defilements, impurities as well as problems...


            Satta [170]:Living being’. This term is just as attā, puggala, jīva, and all other terms denoting. ‘Ego-entity’, is to be considered as a merely conventional term (vohāra-vacana), not possessing any reality-value.


            Jīva [171]: ‘Life, Vital Principle, Individual Soul’. There are two common views of life, (i) Soul and body is identical and (ii) the soul is something different from the body. For a person who considers body and soul identical the life of a recluse is meaningless while the soul for him is eternal, unchangeable and immutable. In such a case the brahmacariyā will have no impact on the soul. Such attitude is considered to be short and empty, because living is waiting for death. Consequently, he remains sad and depressed all the time. On the other hand, for one who considers body and soul as two separate entities, this life of a recluse, brahmacariyā, or sāmañña was useless as there was no life hereafter for him and hence there was no possibility of any reward after death. With such attitude, the best course for him was to enjoy life as much as possible.

            These two frequently quoted views fall under the two kinds of Personality-Belief (sakkāyadiṭṭhi), i.e. the first one under the Eternity-Belief (sassata-diṭṭhi) and the second under the Annihilation-Belief (uccheda-diṭṭhi).


            Again, if one holds the view that the soul (life) is identical with the body, in that case a holy life is not possible. Because there is a soul corresponding to each of the six senses and even more. As long as they are one and because all subjects is Aniccā, such soul cannot possibly attain Nibbāna. Or if one holds the view that the soul is something quite different from the body, also in this case a holy life is impossible, because there is no eternal soul moves towards Nibbāna and attains it. Here, it can be said that the universal consciousness is Nibbāna. So, to both these extremes the Perfect One has avoided and shown the Middle Doctrine, which says, ‘On ignorance depends the Kamma-formations, on the Kamma-formations depend consciousness, etc., that is the cessation of taṇhā (craving) and upādāna (grasping).’[172]

            With the absolute wisdom, the Buddha has proclaimed, could be realised in this very life in the perfect-consciousness through cultimation of the blessedness and peace of Nibbāna. What he has revealed is compared with Sinsapa leaves in a handful, whereas what he has unrevealed is like the Sinsapa leaves in forest. From this point of view, the Buddha repeated many times in his teachings, ‘Bhikkhus, both formerly and now what I teach is suffering and the cessation of suffering’.[173]  The central point of his teaching is not a self but a mere conglomeration of factors, material and mental events, linked together in a process, that is dukkha; the cessation of dukkha is Nibbāna.



  • The constituents of being


            ĀHĀRA: ‘nutriment’ is to be understood here in a broad sense as a prominent condition for individual life-continuity. It is explained that there are four kinds of nutriment (āhāra)[174] for the maintenance of beings have already come to be or for the support of those seeking a new existence. They are:

            1. Ordinary material food (kabaliṅkārāhāra), gross or subtle, feeds the eightfold corporeality, having nutrient essence as its eighth factor, i.e., (i) the solid, (ii) liquid, (iii) heat, (iv) motion, (v) colour, (vi) odour, (vii) the tasteable and (viii) the nutrient essence.


            2. Contact of sense organs (phassāhāra) is a condition of the three kinds of feelings, i.e., (i) pleasant (sukha), (ii) painful (dukkha) and (iii) neutral (abyākata).


            3. Mental volition (mano-sañcetanāhāra) as nutriment nourishes (brings on) rebirth-linking in the three kinds of becoming.


            4. Consciousness (viññāṇāhāra) or cittaṃ; the cuti-citta (sentience acting at the close of one span of life) as cause, is followed by the paṭisandhi-viññāṇa (reconception consciousness) as effect at the first conscious moment in the new life.

            Now, when there is ordinary material food there is attachment, which brings peril; when there is nutriment as contact there is approaching, which brings peril; when there is nutriment as mental volition there is reappearance, which brings peril; when there is nutriment as consciousness there is rebirth-linking, which brings peril.[175] In order to show how do they bring fear, thus, ordinary material food should be illustrated by the simile of the child’s flesh  (S. II., 98), contact as nutriment by the simile of the hideless cow (S. II., 99), mental volition as nutriment by the simile of the pit of live coals (S. II., 99), and consciousness as nutriment by the simile of the hundred spears (S. II., 100).


            The Buddha states nutriments with dependent origination in order to show he knows not merely the five aggregates but the entire chain of conditions responsible for their being. Here, craving is called the origin of nutriment in case the craving of the previous existence is the base of the present individuality with its dependence upon and continual consumption of the four nutriments in this existence. With the arising of craving there is the arising of nutriment. With the cessation of craving there is the cessation of nutriment. The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is the Noble Eightfold Path.

            As soon as a learner has understood nutriment, the origin of nutriment, the cessation of nutriment and the way leading to the cessation of nutriment, he completely abandons the underlying tendency to greed, aversion and ignorance by giving up the view and conceit ‘I am’, arises true knowledge to make an end of suffering.


            SIX ELEMENTS (dhātu): The Buddha expounds that there are six elements which make up a person.[176] They are known as (i) the earth element, (ii) the water element, (iii) the fire element, (iv) the air element, (v) the space element and (vi) the consciousness element.


       1. The earth element (pahavi dhātu): Paṭhavi means earth. Paṭhavi dhātu means earth element. The earth element may be either internal or external. The earth, which is around us scattered on fields or houses, etc., is not the real earth. The real earth is the roughness we experience by touch. Anything we touch appears to be rough. However, there are some smooth things in comparison to smooth others, it is more rough. Thus, the roughness of the material body and whatever internally, belonging to oneself,[177] is solid, solidified and clung to, such as head-hairs, body-hairs, nails, teeth, skin, bones, heart, lungs, etc., it is called the internal earth element. Both the internal and external earth is simply known as earth element.


            2. The water element (āpo dhātu): Āpo means water. Āpo dhātu means water element. Here the water is not available in the well, tank, river or in ocean. But it has a different connotation, i.e., whatever internally belonging to oneself, is water, watery, and clung to, such as sweat, blood, tears, spittle, snot, urine... this is called the internal water element. Both the internal and external water elements are simply water element.


            3. The fire element (tejo dhātu): Tejo means fire. Tejo dhātu means fire element. By tejo, we do not mean the fire, which is available in the kitchen, nor the flames of fire burn the forest. What is the fire? The fire is the heat which we experience such as whatever internally, belonging to oneself, is fire, fiery and clung-to, that is, by which one is warmed, aged, consumed and by what is eaten, drunk, consumed and tasted gets completely digested... that is called the internal fire element. Both the internal and external fire element are simply fire element.


            4. The air element (vāyo dhātu): Vāyo means air. Vāyo dhātu means air element. Vāyo is a quality of maintaining the existence of a thing in a particular situation. When we feel there is air from all sides, there is no existence of a thing in touch, because of mobility. Whatever internally, belonging to oneself, is air, airy and clung-to, that is, winds going up, winds going down, winds in the belly, winds in the bowels, breath-in and breath-out or whatelse internally, that is called the internal air element. Both the internal and external air elements are simply air element.


            5. The space element (ākāsa dhātu): Ākāsa means space, ākāsa dhātu means space element. Whatever internally, belonging to oneself, is space, spatial, and clung to; that is, the holes of the ears, the nostrils, the door of the mouth and whereby what is eaten, drunk, consumed, tasted gets swallowed, and where it collects, and whereby it is excreted from below... this is called the internal space element. Both the internal and external space elements are simply known as space element.


            After all, there remains only consciousness (viññāa), purified and bright, the consciousness accomplishes the work of insight contemplation on the elements. Under the heading of consciousness, the contemplation of feeling is introduced, ‘This is pleasant, painful, neither pleasant nor painful’. Even the conditionality of feeling and its impermanence through the cessation on its condition, he cognises. Just as from the contact and friction of two fire-sticks, heat and fire are generated and produced. So are they, with the separation and disjunction of these two fire-sticks, the heat ceases and subsides.

            These six elements one should not neglect in wisdom, should preserve in truth, should cultivate for relinquishment and should train for peace. One should not neglect the wisdom born of concentration and insight in order to penetrate through the wisdom of Arahantphala. One should preserve truthful speech in order to realize the Ultimate Truth (Nibbāna). One should cultivate relinquishment in order to accomplish the relinquishing of all defilements by the Arahantmagga. At last, one should train for peace by the path of arahantship in order to pacify all defilements.


            In brief, a man is composed of these six elements. He analyses them and finds none of them is ‘mine (mama)’ or ‘me (asmi)’ or ‘myself (attā)’. Furthermore, he understands how does consciousness appear and disappear; how do pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings, appear and disappear. Through this knowledge his mind becomes detached, it makes the mind dispassionate towards the five elements.

            KHANDHA: the five aggregates constitute what is regarded as a being. These aggregates affected by clinging (pañcupādānakkhandhā) are the five groups of factors comprising the individual personality. Each of the components of these aggregates is, namely:


            1. Rūpakkhandha (material form) includes the physical body with its sense faculties and external material objects.

            2. Vedanākkhandha (feeling) is the affective element in experience pleasant, painful or neutral.

            3. Saññākkhandha (perception) is the factor responsible for noting the qualities of things and also accounts for recognition and memory.

            4. Sakhārakkhandha (mental formations) include all volitional (cetanā), emotive (phassa) and intellective aspects (manasikāra) of mental life.

            5. Viññāakkhandha (consciousness) is the basic awareness of an object indispensable to all cognition.


            The Buddha taught firstly, material form, which is gross, being the objective field of the eye, etc., and next feeling, which feels matter as desirable and undesirable; after next perception, which apprehends the aspects of feeling’s objective field, since ‘What one feels, that one perceives’ (M. I, 293); then formations, which form volitionally through the means of perception; and lastly, consciousness, which these things beginning with feeling have as their support, and which dominates them.[178]

            However, these five aggregates neither individually nor collectively constitute any self-dependent real Ego-entity or individual existence (attā), nor is there to be found any such entity apart from them.


‘When all constituent parts are there,

The designation ‘cart’ is used;

Just so, where the five aggregates exist,

Of ‘living being’ do we speak.’[179]


            Therefore, Bhikkhus, whatever is not yours, abandon it; when you have abandoned it, it will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.[180]


            Actually, the five groups of grasping (pañcupādānakkhandhā) are designated as a burden. It is craving for existence and non-existence that is responsible for heavy burden being borne along. The realisation of the Four Noble Truths is where the craving is totally eradicated and where the heavy burden is finally laid down.


The burden is indeed the fivefold mass,

The seizer of the burden, man,

Taking it up is sorrow in this world,


                                    The laying of it down is bliss.

                                    If a man lay this heavy burden down,

                                    And take not any other burden up,

                                    If he draw out that craving, root and all,

                                    No more an-hungered, he is free.[181]


            What is the distinction between aggregates and aggregates-as-objects-of-clinging? Firstly, aggregates are said without distinguishing. Aggregates of clinging are said distinguishing those are subjects to cankers and are liable to the clingings. According as it is said, ‘Whatever there is any kind of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near; these, bhikkhus are called the five aggregates.’[182] ‘Whatever there is any kind of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, that is subject to cankers and liable to the clingings, these are called the five aggregates (as objects) of clinging’.[183] Here, the meaning of the term ‘aggregates as objects of clinging’ should be regarded as ‘aggregates that are the resort of clinging are aggregates of clinging’. But all these taken together are intended as ‘aggregates’.


            Furthermore, it is explained that there are twenty kinds of personality views related to the five aggregates, which illustrate the four basic modes. They are:[184]


            * In regard to material form:

                                                a) Material form as self

b) Self as possessed of material form

                                                c) Material form as in self

                                                d) Self as in material form.

            * In regard to feeling:

                                                a) Feeling as self

                                                b) Self as possessed of feeling

                                                c) Feeling as in self

                                                d) Self as in feeling

            * In regard to perception:

                                                a) Perception as self

                                                b) Self as possessed of perception

                                                c) Perception as in self

                                                d) Self as in perception

            * In regard to formations:

                                                a) Formations as self

                                                b) Self as possessed of formations

                                                c) Formations as in self.

                                                d) Self as in formations.


            * In regard to consciousness:

                                                a) Consciousness as self

b) Self as possessed of consciousness

                                                c) Consciousness as in self

                                                d) Self as in consciousness.

            Aggregates are stated as five because this is the widest limit as a basic for the assumption of self and what pertains to self.


            The aim of the Buddha’s teachings of pañcakkhandhā is to show clearly that a being is only composed by the twofold divisions of the five groups of factors:







      Rūpa              Vedanā   Saññā   Sakhāra    Viññāa


      Rūpa                                                       Nāma



(chart 3)


            Constituted a human being is non-self (anattā), that constitution is always changed (anicca), whatever is anicca is dukkha ‘Yaṃ aniccaṃ taṃ dukkhaṃ’.[185] Again, a being if it has within itself the nature of arising it has also within itself the nature of cessation. This is meant and often found in original texts of Pāli in the well-known formula ‘Yaṃ kiñci samudayadhammaṃ sabbaṃ taṃ nirodhadhammaṃ’.[186]


            The five aggregates should be known twice as how to be seen (i) in brief and (ii) in detail. In brief, the five aggregates as objects of clinging should be seen as an enemy with drawn sword (S. IV., 174) in the snake simile, as a burden (S. III., 25) according to the Burden sutta, as a devourer (S. III., 87f) according to the To-be-devoured Discourse, and as impermanent, painful, non-self, formed, and murderous, according to the Yamaka Sutta (S. III., 112f). In detail, matter should be regarded as a lump of forth because it will not stand squeezing, feeling as a bubble on water because it can only be enjoyed for an instant, perception as a mirage because it causes illusion, formations as a plantain trunk because it has no core, and consciousness as a conjuring trick because it deceives (S. III., 140-2)


            Knowing and seeing each of them in regard to this body, the attachment to the five aggregates should be abandoned with proper wisdom, ‘This is not mine (n’etaṃ mama), this I am not (n’eso’haṃ asmi), and this is not my self (na me so attā)’.[187] When one knows and sees thus there is no underlying tendency to conceit ‘I-making or mine-making’. Through dispassion, his mind is liberated. When it is liberated there comes to the knowledge ‘It is liberated’. He understands ‘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’.[188]


            ĀYATANA: The Āyatana (bases) are twelve in number,[189]  that is to say, (i) Cakkhāyatana (the eye base) (ii) Rūpāyatana (visible object base) (iii) Sotāyatana (ear base) (iv) Saddāyatana (audible object) (v) Ghānāyatana (nose base) (vi) Gandhāyatana (odour object) (vii) Jivhā āyatana (tongue base) (viii) Rasāyatana (taste object) (ix) Kāyāyatana (body base) (x) Phoṭṭhabbāyatana (tangible object) (xi) Manāyatana (mind base) (xii) Dhammāyatana (mind object).


            The Cakkhāyatana has its visible object in nature. It may be a shape or a colour, which is called rūpa. The information of rūpa is received through the eye base. Red, white, black, etc., are the colours. The rectangle, round, square... are the shapes. Thus, the shape and the colour of various types represent the rūpāyatana or visible object.


            The Sota has got its object which is formed. Any kinds of sound may appear at the ear base is called Saddāyatana (audible object). The information of such object is received by Sotāyatana. Say for example, the sound of colt, pipe, drum, snowfall... may be its variety. All the various types of sound are collectively known as saddāyatana.


            Ghāna has its object which is odour or gandha. There are varieties of gandha available in our day-to-day life. The information about such gandha is received through Ghānāyatana. Gandhāyatana may be sugandha, dugandha or various types of gandha. The odour of the flower, fruit, leaf, bark... are the varieties of odour. They are all represented by gandhāyatana.



The Jivhā āyatana has got its object which is flavour. It may be sweet, sour, and bitter, sultry, salty or spicy... it is called Rasa. Rasāyatana which are relished by tongue are the varieties of flavour. The various types of flavour are understood through Jivhā āyatana.


Kāya has its object which is tangible, it can be touched. We understand in our day-to-day life that the Kāya touches which is rough, smooth, etc., it means Paṭhavidhātu. It also touches hot, cold or the balance of the truth, which means the fire element or the Tejodhātu. Kāya is also touched by the mobility that is Vāyodhātu. In this way, the paṭhavidhātu, tejodhātu, and vāyodhātu are touched by the body; they all are called Phoṭṭhabba. The information about such phoṭṭhabba is received through Kāyāyatana. Phoṭṭhabbāyatana that can be touched, maybe rough or smooth, cold or hot, mobility of various types. In this way the earth element, fire element, and air element are represented by the tangible object (phoṭṭhabbāyatana).


            Mana or mind knows its object, which is called Dhamma, or ideational object. The dhamma is a technical word which given five things namely, (i) Citta (ii) Cetasika (iii) Sukhumarūpa (iv) Paññatti and (v) Nibbāna.[190] The citta consists of 89 types or 121 types of consciousness.[191] The cetasika represents the 52 types of psychic-factors.[192] The sukhumarūpa denotes the 16 types of material qualities which are conceived by mind alone.[193] Paññatti means concept besides the Nāma and Rūpa.[194] Again, what do we have in our day-to-day life, they are the various types of concepts. Say for example, the concept of mother, teacher, friendliness, etc., it may be of hundreds of types. Nibbāna is regarded as the summum bonum of life, it is the object that the Buddhist thought is directed to know.[195] The five Citta, Cetasika, Sukhumarūpa, Paññatti and Nibbāna are collectively known as Dhammāyatana (ideational object). The information about dhamma is received by manāyatana.


In the reality, these twelve bases are expositions on the impermanent nature. With no attachment to any of them, there would come to liberation.


A following example for the six internal bases (ajjhatta āyatana) as impermanent, ‘suppose an oil lamp is burning, if its oil, wick and flame are impermanent and subject to change, its radiance must be impermanent, too’.[196] Similarly, an example of the six external bases (bahira āyatana) is given, ‘suppose a great tree is standing possessed of heartwood, if its root, trunk, branches are impermanent and subject to change, its shade must also be impermanent and subject to change’.[197]  As a result, the feelings of the twelve bases such as pleasant, painful, neither painful nor pleasant must be impermanent.


            DHĀTU: The three constituents comprise cognition are classified under the name dhātu (elements). There are the eighteen dhātu, that is to say, (i) Cakkhu dhātu (the eye element) (ii) Rūpa dhātu (visible object element) (iii) Cakkhu-viññāṇa-dhātu (eye consciousness element), (iv) Sota dhātu (ear element) (v) Sadda dhātu (audible object) (vi) Sota- viññāṇa-dhātu (ear consciousness) (vii) Ghāna dhātu (nose element) (viii) Gandha dhātu (odour object) (ix) Ghāna- viññāṇa-dhātu (nose consciousness) (x) Jivhā dhātu (tongue element) (xi) Rasa dhātu (taste object) (xii) Jivhā-viññāṇa- dhātu (tongue consciousness) (xiii) Kāya dhātu (body element) (xiv) Phoṭṭhabba dhātu (tangible object) (xv) Kāya- viññāṇa- dhātu (body consciousness) (xvi) Mano dhātu (mind element) (xvii) Dhamma dhātu (mind object) (xviii) Mano-viññāṇa- dhātu (mind consciousness).


            They are stated as eighteen for the purpose of eliminating the kind of perception to be found in those who perceive a soul in consciousness, the individual essence of which is cognising. The Blessed One, who was desirous of eliminating the long-inherent perception of a soul, has expounded the eighteen elements thus making evident to them not only consciousness’ multiplicity when classified as eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, consciousness elements, mind, and mind consciousness elements, but also its impermanence, which is due to its existing in dependence on eye-cum-visible object etc., as conditions.[198]


            Not only are the eye and visible object, etc., conditions for the eye consciousness element, etc., but light, etc., too. Hence, the Former Teachers said, ‘Conditioned through the eye, the visible object, light and attention, eye consciousness arises. Conditioned through the ear, the audible object, the ear-passage and attention, ear consciousness arises. Conditioned through the nose, the odour object, air and attention, nose consciousness arises. Conditioned through the tongue, the taste objects humidity and attention, tongue-consciousness arises. Conditioned through the body, the tangible object, the earth element and attention, body consciousness arises. Conditioned through the life-continuum mind,[199] the ideational object, and attention, mind consciousness arises.’[200]


            It is in this way the eighteen dhātu may be understood as below:



          Āyatana                                    Āyatana                                      Dhātu


  1.    Cakkhu (eye)                             Rūpa (visible)                         Cakkhu (eye)

  2.    Sota (ear)                                   Sadda (audible)                       Sota (ear)

  3.    Ghāna (nose)                              Gandha (odour)                               Ghāna (nose)

  4.    Jivhā  (tongue)                           Rasa (taste)                             Jivhā (tongue)

  5.    Kāya (body)                   Phoṭṭhabba (tangible)                                     Kāya (body)

  6.    Mano (mind)                  Dhamma (ideational)                          Mano  (mind)


                                                                                                (chart 4)


            In Majjhima Nikāya, one example is given as follows: ‘Suppose a skilled butcher with a sharp butcher’s knife, without damaging the inner mass of flesh and the outer hide, would cut the inner tendons, sinews, ligaments and after all would cover the cow again with that same hide, the cow is not joined to this hide as it was before.’[201] 

            Through the above example, the meaning of the simile conveys the following meaning:

            ‘The inner mass of flesh’ is synonym with the six internal bases.

            ‘The outer hide’ is synonym with the six external bases. 

            ‘The inner tendons, sinews, and ligaments’ are synonym with delight and lust.

            ‘The sharp butcher’s knife’ is synonym with noble wisdom.

With the noble wisdom, man can cut the inner defilements, fetters and bonds.


            The Buddha, thus, explains that each of the six internal bases and external bases is burning with the fire of lobha  (lust), dosa (hate), moha (ignorance). The six groups of consciousness arising in relation to each pair of these bases are also burning. When a living being who has practised the dhamma well and perceived them with proper wisdom, then insight into the true nature of twelve āyatanas and eighteen dhātus develops dispassion and disenchantment. Being disenchanted with them, there is no taṇhā (craving) and upādāna (grasping), thereby achieving the magga (path) as well as phala (fruition).

            In many suttas of Nikāya, we often learn the Buddha’s teachings about restraint of the senses as follows, ‘Bhikkhus, you should guard and undertake the restraint of the six sense bases as thus: On seeing a form with the eye, on hearing a sound with the ear, on smelling an odour with the nose, on tasting a flavour with the tongue, on touching a tangible with the body, on cognising a mind object with the mind, you will not grasp at its signs and features.’[202]


            But in another sutta given that, ‘The recluse Gotama is a destroyer of growth through the teaching restraint of the senses.’[203] With this criticism, the Buddha taught that those who abided, abide, or will abide free from thirst with a mind inwardly at peace, they might abandon craving with the six sense objects cognisable by the six sense bases and remove them. Later on, the Buddha uttered this exclamation:


            The greatest of all gains is health. Nibbāna is the greatest bliss.

            The eightfold path is the best of paths. For it leads safely to the             Deathless.[204]


Another similar advice of Lord Buddha was also heard as below:


Ārogyaparamā lābhā, santuṭṭhī paramaṃ dhanaṃ.

Vissāsaparamā ñātī, nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ.


Which translates as:


Health is the highest gain, Contentment is the greatest wealth.

The trusty are the best kinsmen, Nibbāna is the highest bliss.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 (Dh. 204)


            NĀMA - RŪPA: The word nāma originally meant ‘name’, but in the Pāli suttas it is used as a collective term for the mental factors associated with consciousness. The five mental factors, (i) vedanā (feeling) (ii) saññā (perception) (iii) cetanā (volition) (iv) phassa (contact) (v) manasikāra (attention)[205] mentioned under nāma are indispensable to consciousness and thus pertain to all conscious experience. 

            The Nāma in its generic sense stands for four immaterial aggregates: 1. Vedanākkhandha 2. Saññākkhandha 3. Saṅkhārakkhandha    4. Viññāṇakkhandha.


It is said that:


Katame dhammā arūpino?

Vedanākkhandho, saññākkhandho, saṅkhārakkhandho, viññāṇakkhandho,  asaṅkhata ca dhātu - ime dhammā arūpino.


            Rūpa is used in two major contexts in the suttas: (i) the first of the five aggregates (Rūpakkhandha) and (ii) the specific object of eye consciousness. The former is a broader category includes the latter as one among many other species of Rūpa. But when rūpa is used to signify the first of the five aggregates, it is changed to material form. The material form derived from the elements includes, according to the Abhidhamma analysis, the sensitive substance of the five sense faculties (i) eye, (ii) ear, (iii) nose, (iv) tongue and (v) body; five sense objects (i) colour (ii) sound (iii) smell (iv) taste (v) tangibles (being the three elements of earth, fire and air); the physical life faculty [nutritive essence (ojā)]; sex determination (femininity and masculinity) and other types of material phenomena.[206]


            In its generic sense, the four great elements[207] and the material shape derived from the four great elements, are called Rūpa.


Katame dhammā rūpino?

Cattāro ca mahābhūtā, catunnaṃ mahābhūtānaṃ

upādāya rūpaṃ, ime dhammā rūpino.


            Nāma-rūpa is the twofold division of the Pañcakkhandhā and is the fourth link in the formula of Paṭiccasamuppāda. Therefore, with the arising of consciousness, there is the arising of mentality-materiality.

            In more specific sense, nāma includes consciousness (citta), psychic factors (cetasika) and a state of eternal bliss (nibbāna). Rùpa remains the same. Thus, the man is the composition of the Citta, Cetasika and Rūpa. When these three facts are related with craving (taṇhā) and attachment (upādāna) the man suffers. He can get rid of suffering by removing the craving, the attachment and can reach in a state of eternal bliss.

It has been said:


‘It is ill alone that rises. Ill that remains, ill that departs,

Nothing rises else than ill. And nothing ceases else than ill’[208]


            So too, When there are the five aggregates of clinging, there comes to be the mere term of common usage ‘a being’, ‘a person’, yet in the ultimate sense, when each component is examined, there is no being as a basic for the assumption ‘I am’ or ‘I’; there is only ‘mentality-materiality’. The vision of one who sees in this way is called the correct vision.


            But when a man rejects this correct vision and assumes that a being exists, he has to conclude either it comes to be annihilated or it does not come. If he concludes that it does not come to be annihilated, he falls into the eternity view. If he concludes that it does come to be annihilated, he falls into the annihilation view. Why? Because the assumption precludes any gradual change like curd into milk.


Hence the Ancients said:


‘The mentality and materiality are really here,

But here there is no human being to be found,

For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll

Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks’[209]


            All states of the three planes[210] (i) the eighteen elements, (ii) the twelve bases, (iii) the five aggregates, man merely defines in the double way as ‘mentality-materiality’, and he concludes ‘This is mere mentality-materiality, there is no being, no person’. It is like when a space is enclosed with bones and sinews and flesh and skin, there comes to be the term ‘rūpa’.[211]


  • Buddhist theory of causation


            TI-LAKKHAA: The three characteristics of existence (Ti-lakkhaṇa) explain the features of all things in order to reveal them as they are. These three characteristics are also referred to the Universal characteristics, i.e., all things exist within current, which are combined interdependent things in constant series. They are really nothing to maintain, just only depending upon the relationship as natural law. The Ti-lakkhaṇa are known as:


(i) anicca (impermanence)

(ii) dukkha (suffering)

(iii) anattā (non-self).


            Anicca is usually treated as the basic for the other two, though anattā is sometimes founded on dukkha alone.


            At the moment of the Exalted One passing-away from existence, Brahmā Sahampati, uttered this stanza:


Sabbe’va nikkhipissanti bhūtā loke samussayaṃ,

Yathā etādiso satthā loke appaṭipuggalo,

Tathāgato balappatto sambuddho parinibbuto’ti.


Which is translated as:


All beings in the world, all bodies must break up

Even the Teacher, peerless in the human world,

The mighty Lord and perfect Buddha’s passed away.[212]


            Impermanent (anicca) because they are in the sense of rise and fall (uppāda-vaya), because they change, because they are temporary, and because they deny permanence (nicca)[213]


“Aniccā vata saṇkhārā, uppāda-vaya-dhammino,

Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti, tesaṃ vupasamo sukho.”


Impermanent is compounded things, prone to rise and fall,

Having risen, they are destroyed, their passing truest bliss.[214]


Indeed, human life is compared to a mountain stream that flows and rushes on, changing incessantly ‘nadi-soto viya’, like a flowing stream.[215]


            The general characteristic of suffering (dukkha) is most usually based on anicca ‘What is impermanent is suffering...’[216]


            Actually, everyone tastes something of dukkha as they go through life, either the occasional kinds as birth, decay, disease, death... or the three aspects of frequent dukkha which are, ‘Association with the disliked, separation from the liked, not getting what one wants’ or many kinds of suffering, namely., dukkha-dukkha, vipariṇāma-dukkha, and saṇkhāra-dukkha.[217]

            The concern of the Budha’s teachings is with the problem of dukkha and its purpose is to end dukkha. ‘Formerly as now what I describe is suffering and the cessation of suffering’.[218]


                        Puttā m’atthi dhanaṃ m’atthi, iti bālo vihaññati

                        attā hi attano natthi, kuto puttā kuto dhanaṃ.


            ‘Sons have I, wealth have I’: Thus is the fool worried. Verily, he himself is not his own. Whence sons? Whence wealth?

                                                                                                            (Dh. 62)

            An account of the debate between the Buddha and Saccaka (the wandering ascetic) on the subjects of attā as follows: Saccaka maintained the Five aggregates as attā and ascribed this view to the ‘great multitude.’ The Buddha pointed out that none of the aggregates was attā because they lack one of the essential characteristics of selfhood, being is susceptible to the exercise of mastery.[219]


            Thus, material form (rūpa), feeling (vedanā), perception (saññā), formations (saṅkhāra) and consciousness (viññāṇa) are non-self (anattā), because man cannot exercise any such power over each aggregate as to say,  ‘let each my aggregate be thus; let each my aggregate not be thus’.[220] In such case, five aggregates are obviously impermanent. What impermanent is suffering. What is impermanent, suffering and subject to change, they do not fit to be regarded as thus, ‘This is mine, this I am, this is myself’.


‘Taṃ kiṃ maññatha bhikkhave, rūpaṃ, vedanaṃ, saññaṃ, saṅkhāraṃ, viññāṇaṃ niccaṃ vā aniccaṃ vā’ti ? Aniccaṃ bhante. Yaṃ panāniccaṃ, dukkhaṃ vā taṃ sukhaṃ vā’ti ? Dukkhaṃ bhante. Yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vipariṇāmadhammaṃ, kallaṃ nu taṃ samanupassituṃ etaṃ mama, eso’ham asmi, eso me attā’ti. No h’etaṃ bhante.’[221]


            Again, it is said that ‘there is a permanent soul existing in the personality of a being; a man exists because the existence of the soul. As a man gives up his old cloth and takes a new one; similarly the soul gives up the old body and takes up the new one.’[222]

            According to the Buddha’s teaching, there is no existence of a permanent soul. By examining the personality of a man and finding out the five aggregates only. Besides them, we do not find anything in the personality of a man. Say for example, depending upon the wheels, frames, horses, etc., there goes a name as chariot.[223] In the same way, depending on the presence of the five aggregates there appears a conventional name as man. These aggregates when analysed appear to be the composition of many factors, they are also changeful, because their such nature they cannot be a permanent soul. It is in this background that the Buddha told:


                      “Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā,

                        Sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā,

                        Sabbe dhammā anattā”

                                                            (Dh. 277 - 278 - 279)


            Knowing and seeing in this way, a man would not run back to the past as saying, “Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what did I become in the past?” Or a man would not run forward to the future as thus, “Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I become in the future?” Or a man would not now be inwardly perplexed about the present as follows, “Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where will it go?” [224]


            Furthermore, the Buddha taught us, ‘with the destruction, fading away, cessation, giving up, and relinquishing of all conceivings, all excogitations, all I-making, mine-making and the underlying tendency to conceit, the Tathāgata is liberated through not clinging.’[225]

            Here, one question is put: ‘When a bhikkhu’s mind is liberated where does he reappear after death? ’ The Buddha questioned him: ‘what do you think, Vaccha, suppose a fire was burning before you. Would you know? ’  - Yes, Master. If someone were to ask you, ‘What does this fire burning before you burn in dependence on? What would you answer? ’ I would answer, ‘This fire burning before me burns in dependence on grass and sticks.’ If that fire before you were to be extinguished, would you know? - Yes, Master. If someone were to ask you, ‘When that fire before you was extinguished, to which direction (the east, the west, the north, or the south) did it go? What would you answer? ’ It does not apply, Master, because the fire burned in dependence on its fuel of grass and sticks; being without fuel, it is reckoned as extinguished.[226]

            With the above simile of the extinguished fire which cannot be described as having gone to any direction, so the Tathāgata who has attained final Nibbāna cannot be described in terms of words. These terms such as profound, immeasurable, unfathomable point to the transcendental dimension of the liberation attained by the Accomplished One.[227]


            At last, all things have no self, their various forms come into being according to a flux and dependent causal factors; so one should develop loving-kindness towards all sentient beings with the realisation that through Saṃsāra, there is no being who has not been one’s mother, father, sister, brother or relative...

            Knowing it, well awakened beings who by day and night delight in right vision:


                        Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā’ti,

                        Sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā’ti,

                        Sabbe dhammā anattā’ti

                                    Yadā paññāya passati

                                    Atha nibbindati dukkhe

                                    Esa maggo visudhiyā.


            Transient are all conditioned things, sorrowful are all conditioned things. All dhammas are without a soul. When this, with wisdom, one discerns, then is one disgusted with will; this is the path to purity.

                                                                                                (Dh. 277-278-279)


            PAICCASAMUPPĀDA: The doctrine of Paṭiccasamuppāda (the law of Dependent Origination) is the foundation of all the teachings of the Buddha.  It is contained in the second Noble Truth which gives us the cause of suffering (dukkhasamudaya), and in the third Noble Truth which shows the cessation of suffering (dukkhanirodha). Suffering is saṃsāra, cessation of suffering is Nibbāna.  Both are only aspects of the same reality.

            Paṭiccasamuppāda tells us that in the empirical world dominated by the intellect everything is relative, conditional, dependent, subject to birth and death and therefore impermanent.[228]


            The importance of Paṭiccasamuppāda can be seen through the following words of the Buddha, ‘He who sees the Paiccasamuppāda sees the Dhamma, and he who sees the Dhamma sees the Paiccasamuppāda.[229] Failure to grasp it is the cause of misery. With its knowledge leads to the cessation of misery. 

            Troubled by the sight of birth, old age, disease and death, the Buddha left his home to find a solution for the misery of earthly life. Paṭiccasamuppāda is the solution found by him.

            In the doctrine of Paṭiccasamuppāda, the Buddha teaches both anuloma and paṭiloma :


                        Paiccasamuppāda (anuloma)


Avijjāpaccayā , Saṅkhāra

Saṅkhārapaccayā ,Viññāṇaṃ

Viññāṇapaccayā , Nāma-rūpaṃ

Nāma-rūpapaccayā , Saḷāyatanaṃ

Saḷāyatanapaccayā , Phasso

Phassapaccayā , Vedanā

Vedanāpaccayā , Taṇhā

Taṇhāpaccayā , Upādānaṃ

Upādānapaccayā , Bhavo

Bhavapaccayā , Jāti

Jātipaccayā , Jarāmaraṇaṃ

Soka parideva dukkha domanassupāyāsā sambhavanti.

Evaṃ etassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.


                        Because of ignorance, formations arise.

                        Because of formations, consciousness arises.

                        Because of consciousness, mentality-materiality arises.

                        Because of mentality-materiality, the sixfold base arise.

                        Because of the sixfold base, contact arises.

                        Because of contact, feeling arises.

                        Because of feeling, craving arises.

                        Because of craving, attachment arises.

                        Because of attachment, being arises.

                        Because of being, birth arises.

                        Because of birth, aging and death arise.

                        Sorrow, lamentation, suffering, grief, and despair come to be.

                        Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.[230]

                        Paiccasamuppāda (pailoma)


            Avijjāya tveva asesavirāganirodhā , Saṅkhāranirodho

Saṅkhāranirodhā , Viññaṇanirodho

            Viññāṇanirodhā , Nāma-rūpanirodho

Nāma-rūpanirodhā, Saḷāyatananirodho

            Saḷāyatananirodhā , Phassanirodho

            Phassanirodhā , Vedanānirodho

            Vedanānirodha , Taṇhānirodho

            Taṇhānirodhā , Upādānanirodho

            Upādānanirodha , Bhavanirodho

            Bhavanirodha , Jātinirodho

            Jātinirodha , Jarāmaraṇam

            Soka parideva dukkha domanassupāyāsā nirujjhanti.

            Evaṃ etassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hoti.


Because ignorance has been completely disgorged, formations are ceased.

                        Because formations are ceased, consciousness is ceased.

Because consciousness is ceased, mentality-materiality is ceased. Because mentality-materiality is ceased, the sixfold base is ceased.

                        Because the sixfold base is ceased, contact is ceased.

                        Because contact is ceased, feeling is ceased.

                        Because feeling is ceased, craving is ceased.

                        Because craving is ceased, attachment is ceased.

                        Because attachment is ceased, being is ceased.

                        Because being is ceased, birth is ceased.

                        Because birth is ceased, ageing and death is ceased, too.

                        Sorrow, lamentation, suffering, grief and despair cease.

                        Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.[231]


            It is obvious to see that, when the twelve links of the causal wheel of Dependent Origination arise, it is the origin of the whole mass of suffering. When the twelve links of the causal wheel of Dependent Origination cease, it is the cessation of the whole mass of suffering. It is named Paṭiccasamuppāda or the natural principle of Dependent Origination which is identified by the Buddha as follows:


            ‘Whether there be an arising of Tathāgata, or whether there be no such arising, in each this nature of things just stands, this causal status, this causal orderliness, the relatedness of this to that. Concerning that the Tathāgata is fully enlightened, that he fully understands. Fully enlightened, fully understanding he declares it, teaches it, reveals it, sets it forth, manifests, explains, makes it plain.’[232]


            The law of the Dependent Origination which is summarised by Lord Buddha is also a statement of the abstract principle as:


            Imasmiṃ sati, idaṃ hoti. Imassuppādā, idaṃ uppajjati.

            Imasmiṃ asati, idaṃ na hoti. Imassa nirodhā, idaṃ nirujjhati.


            When this is, that is. This having arisen, that arises.

            When this is not, that is not. This having ceased, that also ceases.[233]


            The Doctrine of Paṭiccasamuppāda not only appeared to be deep and profound but was so on four counts.[234]


            1. It was deep in meaning.

            2. It was deep as a doctrine.

            3. It was deep with respect to the manner in which it was taught.

            4. It was deep with regard to the facts on which it was established.


            The Buddha also emphasised the importance of this doctrine as follows:           

            “Ānanda ! Deep is this doctrine of events as arising from causes, and it looks deep, too. It is through not understanding this doctrine, through not penetrating it, that this generation has become a tangled skein, a matted ball of thread, like to Munja-grass and rushes, unable to overpass the doom of the Waste, the Woeful way, the Downfall, the Constant Round of transmigration.”[235]


            The twelve elements of Dependent Origination are given as below:[236]

            1. Jarāmaraa (ageing and death): The ageing of beings in the various orders of beings, their old age, brokers of teeth, greyness of hair, wrinkling of skin, decline of life, weakness of faculties, this is called ageing.  The passing of beings out of the various orders of beings, their passing away, dissolution, disappearance, dying, completion of time, dissolution of the aggregates, laying down of the body - this is called death.  So this ageing and this death are what is called ageing and death.


            2. Jāti (birth): The birth of beings in the various orders of beings (Āyatana), their coming to birth, precipitation in a womb, generation, manifestation of the aggregates, obtaining the bases for contact - this is called birth.


            3. Bhava (being): There are these three kinds of being (i) Kāma-bhava (sense-sphere being), (ii) Rūpa-bhava (fine-material being), (iii) Arūpa-bhava (immaterial being).


            4. Upādāna (clinging): There are these four kinds of clinging (i) Kāmupādāna (clinging to sensual pleasures), (ii) Diṭṭhupādāna (clinging to views), (iii) Sīlabbatupādāna (clinging to rules and observances), and (iv) Attavādupādāna (clinging to a doctrine of self).


            5. Tahā (craving): There are these six classes of craving (i) Rūpa-taṇhā (craving for visible objects), (ii) Sadda-taṇhā (craving for sounds), (iii) Gandha-taṇhā (craving for odours), (iv) Rasa-taṇhā (craving for flavours), (v) Phoṭṭhabba-taṇhā (craving for tangibles) and (vi) Dhamma-taṇhā (craving for mind objects).


            6. Vedanā (feeling): There are these six classes of feeling (i) Feeling born of eye-contact, (ii) feeling born of ear-contact, (iii) feeling born of nose-contact, (iv) feeling born of tongue-contact, (v) feeling born of body-contact and (vi) feeling born of mind-contact.


            7. Phassa (contact): There are these six classes of contact (i) Cakkhu phassa (eye-contact), (ii) Sota phassa (ear-contact), (iii) Ghāna phassa (nose-contact), (iv) Jivhā phassa (tongue-contact), (v) Kāya phassa (body contact) and (vi) Mano phassa (mind-contact).


            8. Saāyatana (six bases): There are these six bases (i) Cakkhāyatana (eye-base), (ii) Sotāyatana (ear-base), (iii) Ghānāyatana (nose-base), (iv) Jivhā āyatana (tongue-base), (v) Kāyāyatana (body-base), (vi) Manāyatana (mind-base).


     9. Nāma-rūpa (mentality-materiality): (i) Vedanākkhandha (feeling) (ii) Saññākkhandha (perception), (iii) Saṅkhārakkhandha (mental formations) and (iv) Viññāṇakkhandha (consciousness) or (i) Vedanā (feeling), (ii) Saññā (perception), (iii) Cetanā (volition), (iv) Phassa (contact) and (v) Manasikāra (attention), they all are called mentality. The four great elements and the material form derived from the four great elements - these are called materiality. So, this mentality and this materiality are what are called mentality-materiality.


            10. Viññāa (consciousness): There are these six classes of consciousness (i) Cakkhu-viññāṇā (eye consciousness), (ii) Sota-viññāṇā (ear consciousness), (iii) Ghāna-viññāṇā (nose consciousness), (iv) Jivhā-viññāṇā (tongue consciousness), (v) Kāya-viññāṇā (body consciousness) and (vi) Mano-viññāṇā (mind consciousness).


            11. Sakhāra (formations): There are these three kinds of formation  (i) Kāya-saṅkhāra (the bodily formation), (ii) Vacī-saṅkhāra (the verbal formation), and (iii) Citta or Mano saṅkhāra (the mental formation).

12. Avijjā (ignorance): Not knowing about suffering (dukkha), not knowing about the origin of suffering (dukkhasamudaya), not knowing about the cessation of suffering (dukkhanirodha) and not knowing about the way leading to the cessation of suffering (dukkhanirodhagāmiṇīpaṭipadā), it is called ignorance. Or in other words, we can say that not knowing about the Paṭiccasamuppāda, Anattā, it is called ignorance.


Out of these twelve links, the first two are related to past life, the last two to future life and the rest to present life.[237]


The following chart shows at a glance the wheel of life




                                                                          1. Avijjā





                                     11. Jāti                                          (formations)


                             10.Bhava                                    Past 

                              (being)                       Future                           3.Viññāṇa




                                                                                                     4. Nāma-rūpa

                             8.Taṇhā                                                              (mentality-

                             (craving)                       Present                   materiality)




                                     (feeling)                          5. Saḷāyatana

                                                                                     sixfold base)


                                                                   6. Phassa                              




(chart 5)

                                                                                                                                                Taking ignorance (avijjā) as the first element because it is considered as root cause for the taints (āsava). There are three taints, namely, Kāmāsava (the taint of sensual desire), Bhavāsava (the taint of being), and Avijjāsava (the taint of ignorance). Ignorance should be understood as the ignorance in any existence is conditioned by the ignorance in the preceding existence.

            Thus, Saṃsāra is without discernible beginning. Similarly, the growth of a plant does not only indicate by the existence of seed but also imply by the following elements such as soil, water, light, air and proper temperature, etc. Each of these conditions is a causal factor and is inter-related, it does not exist in any orderly process according to a certain time and place.


            There are different explanations about causes and effects of the twelve links:

            Taking the present life as a basic reference point, we can see the relationship between past causes: Avijjā, Saṅkhāra, and present effects: Viññāṇa, Nāma-Rūpa, Saḷāyatana, Phassa and Vedanā. For the future, take present causes Taṇhā, Upādāna and Bhava in order to see future effects, i.e., Jāti and Jarāmaraṇa. That is to look at Paṭiccasamuppāda through ‘three lives’: the past, the present and the future.





                            PAST         PRESENT                        FUTURE


 POTENTIAL KAMMA         I                                III                   

    (Active process)                  Avijjā              Taṇhā, Upādāna

    Kamma bhava                      Saṅkhāra            Bhava



  RESULTANT KAMMA                                   II                               IV

        (Reaction)                                             Viññāṇa                        Jāti

    Uppatti bhava                                             Nāma-rūpa                   Jarāmarāṇa                                                                             Saḷāyatana





                                                                                                    (chart 6)        


Again, it is explained by another researcher that: Avijjā and Saṅkhāra are past causes, Viññāṇa, Nāma-rūpa, Saḷāyatana, Phassa, Vedanā, Taṇhā, Upādāna and Bhava are the following effects in the present. In this sense, Taṇhā, Upādāna and Bhava with present causes point out the main factors are related to other elements. So, Jāti and Jarāmarāṇa are an effect in the future in order to point out that when sufficient present causes still remain, future effects will follow.


            It is also seen by different researchers through present causes and effects: By Avijjā, a man thinks he has an attā and then the following elements such as Saṅkhāra, Viññāṇa, Nāma-rūpa, Saḷāyatana, Phassa, Vedanā, Taṇhā, Upādāna, Bhava, Jāti and Jarāmarāṇa can be shown.


            Furthermore, it is true for the explanation of taṇhā and upādāna when avijjā is hidden or involved in the creation of a self, men become attached for the sake of the self. Therefore, when we talk about avijjā, it is always linked with taṇhā and upādāna. Because men do not know things as their true nature, they just get involved with them by means of taṇhā and upādāna and consider these things as theirs. That is why when talking about taṇhā and upādāna, it must be seen by including avijjā, too.


            From the previous explanation we can distinguish what we will call the three rounds of existence as below.

            1) Saṅkhāra (formations) or Kusala and Akusala (moral and immoral activities) and Bhava (being) are regarded as Kamma (actions).


            2) Avijjā (ignorance), Taṇhā (craving) and Upādāna (clinging) are regarded as Kilesa (defilements).


            3) Viññāṇa (consciousness), Nāma-rūpa (mentality-materiality), Saḷāyatana (six bases), Phassa (contact), Vedanā (feeling), Jāti (birth), Jarāmarāṇa (ageing and death) are regarded as Vipāka (effects).


            These consequences constitute the condition of a person’s life.





                                          (ignorance)                            Upādāna


                                    Viññāṇā                      Kilesa

                                  (consciousness)       (defilements)



 (mentality-                                                  Saṅkhāra

                                  materiality)       Vipāka        Kamma       (formations)

                                                      (effects)      (actions)


               (sixfold base)    

                  Phassa (contact)


                        Vedanā (feeling)                       (being)

                           Jāti (birth)                             






                                                                                                          (chart 7)

Thus avijjā, saṅkhāra, taṇhā, upādāna and bhava are the five causes of the past life which lead to the condition of five phalas viññāṇa, nāma-rūpa, saḷāyatana, phassa and vedanā in the present life. On the other hand, there is avijjā, saṅkhāra, taṇhā, upādāna and bhava of the present life which is the condition of the future life with the above five effects, namely., viññāṇa, nāma-rūpa, saḷāyatana, phassa and vedanā.

Buddhaghosa, therefore, says in his Visuddhimagga :

                        Five causes were there in the past,

                        Five fruits we find in present life,

Five causes do we now produce,

                        Five fruits we reap in future life.[238]


            These make the cycle of life unending (Saṃsāra), the cycle of birth and death from existence to existence. The cycle can be destroyed only by wisdom (paññā), which is the sole means of liberation.[239]


            The causal formula is: ‘This being, that arises, i.e., depending on the cause, the effect arises’.[240] Thus, every object of thought is necessarily relative. Because it is relative, it is neither absolutely real (for it is subject to death), nor absolutely unreal (for it appears to arise). All phenomenal things hang between reality and nothingness, avoiding both the extremes is the doctrine of ‘Paṭiccasamuppāda’. It is in this sense that the Buddha calls the doctrine of the Middle Path (Majjhimapaṭipadā).


            We can say the doctrine of Dependent Origination is the central teaching of Lord Buddha and his other teachings can be easily deduced from it as corollaries. 


            The theory of kamma : Our present life is due to the impressions of the kamma of the past life and it will shape our future life.


            The theory of momentariness : Things depend on their causes (hetu) and conditions (paccaya), because things are relative, dependent, conditional and finite, they must be momentary; when the cause is removed the thing will cease to be.


            The theory of Non-self: When everything is momentary, the self is also momentary and therefore there is no ego at all, it is just relative and causal.


            The theory that the so-called matter is unreal: Matter being momentary is relative and therefore ultimately unreal.


            The theory of causal efficiency: Because each preceding link is causally efficient to produce the succeeding link and thus the capacity to produce an effect becomes the criterion of existence.


            KAMMA:  Kamma (Pāli) or Karma (Sanskrit) derived from the root kf, it means to do. The literal meaning is ‘action’ or ‘doing’, but its specific meaning in the Buddhist theory is ‘volitional action (cetanā)’ by body (kāya), speech (vacī), and mind (mano). Without volitional action, it does not mean kamma,[241] it just means the result (kiriyā) of immoral actions. Thus, kamma is volitional action and the result of kamma is called kamma-phala or kamma-vipāka.

            Volition (cetanā) is a necessary condition of good (kusala), bad (akusala) or neutral (abyākata) when a desire may relatively be good, bad or neutral.[242] The individual consequences may be manifested in this life, in the next life or in future existences unless their potentialities get extinguished or they do not find an opportunity for fruition.

            Herein, kamma is fourfold (i) to be experienced here and now (ii) to be experienced on rebirth (iii) to be experienced in some subsequent existence and (iv) lapsed kamma.[243]

            ‘To be experienced here and now’ means kamma whose fruit is to be experienced in this present selfhood. ‘To be experienced on rebirth’ means kamma whose fruit is to be experienced next to the present becoming. ‘To be experienced in some subsequent existence’ means kamma whose fruit is to be experienced in some successive selfhood other than either that here and now or next to that here and now. ‘Lapsed kamma’ is kamma of which it has to be said ‘There has been kamma, but there has not been, is not, and will not be, kamma result’.


            Depending on the difference in kamma appears the difference in the births of beings as high and low, or the difference in the individual features of beings as beautiful and ugly, or the difference in worldly conditions of beings as influential and uninfluential...[244]


            Some man (or woman) kills living beings, he is murderous, merciless to living beings. After death, he reappears in an unhappy destination, even in hell or instead comes back to the human state, wherever he is reborn he is short-lived. In this case, the akusala kamma counteracts the kusala kamma responsible for human rebirth by engendering a specific type of misfortune corresponding to its own distinctive quality. 


            Someone is compassionate to all living beings. After death, he reappears in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world; but instead comes back to the human state, wherever he is reborn he is long-lived. Because the kusala kamma of abstaining from killing may be directly responsible for either the heavenly rebirth or the longevity in a human existence. 


            Someone else is given to injuring beings with the hand, a stick or a knife. After death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, but if instead he comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is sickly.


            Who is not given to injuring beings, after death, he reappears in a happy destination. If in a human state, he is reborn as healthy.


            Someone is angry and irritable character. Because of performing such actions, after death he will reappear in a state of deprivation. If he comes back to the human state, he is reborn as ugly.


            Someone is not angry and irritable in character. So, after death, he reappears in a happy destination. If instead he comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is beautiful.


            Who is envious, one whom envies and begrudges the gains, honour, respect, reverence and veneration received by others.  After death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, but if instead he comes back to the human state, wherever he is reborn he is uninfluential.


            One whom does not envy and begrudge the gains by others. After death, he reappears in a happy destination, but if instead he comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is influential.


            One does not give food, drink, cloths, beds, dwelling to recluses or brahmins. After death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, but if instead he comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is poor.


            Who gives food, dwelling and lamps to recluses. Because of such actions, after death he reappears in a happy destination, if instead he comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is wealthy.


            Who is obstinate and arrogant does not pay homage to whom should receive homage. After death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, but if instead he comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is lowborn.


            Someone is not obstinate and arrogant, pays homage to whom should receive homage. Because of undertaking such action he reappears in a happy destination. Or after death if he comes back to the human state, wherever he is reborn he is highborn.


            Who does not visit a recluse or a brahmin to ask what is kusala, what is akusala. What should be cultivated, not be cultivated... Performing such action, after death he reappears in a state of deprivation, or if he comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is stupid.


            One visits a recluse or a brahmin and asks what is wholesome, unwholesome. What should be cultivated not be cultivated. Performing such action, after death he reappears in a happy destination or if he comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is wise.


            Through these teachings we notice that the Buddha often encourages human beings to practise kusala (wholesomeness) for leading to welfare as well as happiness for a long time.  It is also clear that the theory of kamma is the theory of cause and effect of action and reaction; it is a natural law because each volitional action bears its effects. So, ‘volition (cetanā), O Monks, is what I call action’ (Cetanāhaṃ bhikkhave kammaṃ vadāmi),[245] for through volition one performs the action by body, speech or mind.


            In detail, the Buddha said, ‘Beings are owners of their actions, (kammassado), heirs of their actions (kammadayada); they originate from their actions, are bound to their actions, have their actions as their refuge. It is action that distinguishes beings as inferior and superior.’[246]


            Bhayabherava sutta opines the knowledge of recollection of past lives of Lord Buddha when he concentrated his mind, was thus purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, steady, malleable, he directed it to the knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings. With the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he saw beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate... He understood how beings pass on according to their actions.[247]


            In Kukkuravatika sutta, the Buddha declares, ‘there are four kinds of action proclaimed by him after realising them with the direct knowledge’.[248]


            1) Dark action with dark result, meaning someone generates an afflictive bodily, verbal and mental formation. Having generated these unwholesome actions he reappears in an afflictive world as one of the states of deprivation, hell, the animal kingdom...


            2) Bright action with bright result, that is, someone generates an unafflictive bodily, verbal and mental formation, after death, he is reborn in an unafflictive world as heavenly world.


            3) Dark and bright action with dark and bright result, i.e., someone generates a bodily, verbal and mental formation with both afflictive and unafflictive formations or the being engages in a medley of wholesome and unwholesome actions, none of which is particularly dominant. Doing such action, he is reborn in a world known as both afflictive and unafflictive in the lower worlds of some gods and some beings.


            4) Neither dark nor bright action with neither dark nor bright result (action that leads to the destruction of action). Therein, the cetanā in abandoning the kinds of action as: dark with dark result, bright with bright result, dark and bright with dark and bright result. This is called action neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, or action that leads to the destruction of action. It is the volition of the four-supramundane paths (lokuttara bhūmi) culminating in arahantship. Although the Arahant performs deeds, his deeds no longer have any kammic potency to generate new existence nor to bring forth results even in the present existence.


            Another fourfold classification of kamma is known as (i) weighty (ii) habitual (iii) death-threshold and (iv) kamma by being performed.[249]

            Herein, when there is weighty and unweighty kamma, the weightier, whether profitable or unprofitable, whether kamma consisting in matricide or kamma of the exalted spheres, takes precedence in ripening. Likewise when there is habitual and unhabitual kamma, the more habitual whether consisting in good or bad conduct, takes precedence in ripening. Death-threshold kamma is remembered at the time of death; for when a man near death can remember, he is born according to that. Kamma not included in the foregoing three kinds that has been often repeated is called kamma by being performed. This brings about rebirth-linking if other kinds fail.


             Thus, kamma theory is used to denote volitional actions, which find expression in thought, speech or physical behaviours, which are good, evil or a mixture of both, and are liable to give rise to consequences, which partly determine the goodness or badness of these actions. Of course, the central teaching of Buddhism should be to perform good kamma for the sake of good results in continued saṃsāric existence. And in order to do such good actions, the ideal of Buddhism teaches one to attain Sotāpanna by eliminating Sakkāyadiṭṭhi, Vicikicchā and Sīlabbataparāmāsa. From here, he tries to develop himself to become Ariya puggala by cultivating loving-kindness and understanding for its own intrinsic worth.

            Very briefly, kamma has as its source the misunderstanding that all things are self, from here the attachment, the desire, the will to be, to exist, to re-exist, to become, to grow, to accumulate increases more and more.

            The way leading to the liberation of kamma is an awakening as below ‘whatever is the nature of arising, it is the nature of cessation.’ (Yaṃ kiñci samudayadhammaṃ sabbaṃ taṃ nirodhadhammaṃ).[250] Turning back to the Buddha’s definition of kamma, it should be remembered here that, ‘O Bhikkhus, it is volition (cetanā) that I call kamma.’ So, if we keep our pure minds out of good and bad, there will be neither arising nor ceasing, there is neither coming nor going. This is also the central doctrine of kamma, which we can look for in Dhammapada as follows:


Attanā’va kataṃ pāpaṃ, attanā saṃkilissati.

Attanā akataṃ pāpaṃ, attanā’va visujjhati.

Suddhi asuddhi paccattaṃ, n’āñño annaṃ visodhaye.


            By oneself, indeed, is evil done; by oneself is one defiled.

            By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself, indeed, is one purified.

            Purity and impurity depend on oneself.  No one purifies another.                                                                                                                      (Dh. 165)


            REBIRTH: According to the Buddha’s teachings, all beings except the Arahants are subject to rebirth (punabbhava).[251]

            But how does it come to renew existence in the future? ‘It is craving, which brings renewal of being, is accompanied by delight and lust, and delights in this and that, that is, ‘kāma-taṇhā, bhava-taṇhā and vibhava-taṇhā’.[252] Taṇhā is the chief root of suffering and of the ever-continuing cycle of rebirths. It may be regarded as synoptic approaches to the entire twelvefold formula of dependent origination. With the fading away of ignorance, will, craving, desire, volition or thirst to exist, to continue and with the arising of true knowledge, renewal of being in the future is not generated.


            There is now another question arises, ‘what is reborn after death if there is no permanent or substance like ātman? ’ As we often repeat, what we call life is the combination of the Pañcakkhandhā or a flow of nāma-rūpa processes. These are constantly changing, when this physical body is no more capable of functioning, it does not die but continues to take other shape, which we call another life.


            In fact, a person who dies here and is reborn elsewhere is neither the same person nor another (na ca so na ca añño).[253] Such as a child grows up to be a man of sixty. Certainly the man of sixty is not the same as the child of sixty years old, nor is he another person.  It is just the continuity of the same series. Similarly, when we see a vast expanse of water in the sea, waves arise and dash against the shore, it changes every moment, it is a series continues unbroken. Strictly saying, there is no single wave comes from the deep sea to lose its identity on the shore. The series is nothing but movement because ‘sabbe saṅkhāra anicca.’

            The difference between death and birth is also like that; it is only a thought-moment, it looks like the wheel of life that has been fully explained by the Buddha in the Paṭiccasamuppāda formula. Because the last thought moment in this life conditions the first thought moment in the so-called next life. So, the process of rebirth essentially exhibits a definite lawfulness in ethical character.

            Mahākammavibhaṅga sutta is shown that the deeds a person performs in the course of a single life can be extremely varied, the type of rebirth lies ahead of him can be very unpredictable. There are four kinds of persons to be found existing in the world: [254]


            1) Some person does ten immoral deeds by body, speech and mind at the present life, holds wrong view and either earlier or later he did an evil action to be felt as painful, at the time of death he acquired and undertook wrong view. Because of such action, after death he has reappeared in a state of deprivation. If his evil kamma does not generate the mode of rebirth, it will still mature for him in some other way either in this life, next life or some more distant future life.


            2) Some person does ten immoral deeds by body, speech and mind at the present life; either earlier or later he did a good action to be felt as pleasant.  And at the time of death he acquired and undertook right view.  Because of that, after death he has reappeared in a happy destination.


            3) Some person who abstains from ten immoral conducts; either earlier or later he did a good action to be felt as pleasant. And at the time of death he acquired and undertook right view. Because of that, after death he has reappeared in a happy destination.


            4) Some person who abstains from ten immoral conduct; but earlier and later he did an evil action to be felt as painful. At the time of death, his wrong view is arisen. Because of that, after death he has reappeared in a state of deprivation.


            The following chart shows the actions people have done in past, present and future, at the time of death their destinations will be shown:


 Kinds of         Past                 Present           Future            At the         Rebirth

 persons                                                                                  time

                                    of death



        1.             akusala            akusala            akusala            micchā        duggati



        2.             kusala              akusala            kusala              sammā         sugati                                                               



        3.            kusala              kusala              kusala              sammā        sugati




        4.             akusala            kusala              akusala            micchā      duggati                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         diṭṭhi


                                                                                                            (chart 8)         


Through the above cases we notice that the mind at the time of death is very important. It will decide in which state we are reborn, because of:


                        Manopubbaṅgamā dhammā, manoseṭṭhā manomayā,

                        Manasā ce paduṭṭhena, bhāsati vā karoti vā

                        Tato naṃ dukkhamanveti, cakkaṃ’ va vahato padaṃ.


            Mind is the forerunner of (all evil) states. Mind is chief, mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with wicked mind, because of that, suffering  follows one, even as the wheel follows the hoof of the draught-ox.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 1)


                        Manopubbaṅgamā dhammā, manoseṭṭhā manomayā,

                        Manasā ce pasannena, bhāsati vā karoti vā

                        Tato naṃ sukhamanveti, chāyā’va anapāyinī


             Mind is the forerunner of (all good) states. Mind is chief, mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with pure mind, because of that, happiness follows one, even as one’ s shadow that never leaves.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 2)


            As long as blinded by avijjā, nīvaraṇas and taṇhā, beings have been passing from one existence to another and the cycle of saṃsāra has been going on. The saṃsāra represents the continuous arising and ceasing of khandhas, āyatanas and dhātus. The only way to cut off this round, which has neither beginningless past nor any end in the future, is by the Noble Eightfold Path or by practising Sīla, Samādhi and Paññā.









            All beings are trying to escape from dukkha and find out sukha, but few of us realize the origin of dukkha, that is, dukkha originates from attā that causes lobha, dosa and moha. By the destruction of taṇhā, upādāna and avijjā one is liberated from dukkha and reaches the Ultimate Truth, i.e, the ultimate holy life. Possessing such a will, one should train oneself in the Buddha’s teachings on the way to the destruction of suffering for leading to the ultimate truth through the following essential teachings.



  • The four Noble Truths as starting point


and logical frame of the Buddha’s teachings


            CATTĀRI ARIYASACCĀNI (the Four Noble Truths): The heart of the Buddha’s teaching lies in the Cattāri Ariyasaccāni.

            Firstly, sacca (truth) is the domain of noble knowledge as the real unmisleading actual state with its aspects of affliction (dukkha), production (dukkhasamudaya), quiet (dukkhanirodha), and outlet (dukkhanirodhagāmiṇīpaṭipadā).[255] The word sacca is met with in various meanings in such passages as ‘Let him speak truth and not be angry’ (Dh. 224) or ‘Truth is one, there is no second’ (Sn. 884).

            The Noble Truths (ariyasaccāni) are the truths that are noble. It is said, ‘Bhikkhus, these Noble Truths are real, not unreal, not otherwise, that is why they are called Noble Truths’.[256] They are stated as four at the most as occurrence and non-occurrence and the cause of each. Besides these meanings, ‘It is owing to the correct discovery of these four Noble Truths that the Perfect One is called accomplished, fully enlightened, and noble’.[257]


            The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which deals with these Four Noble Truths, was the first discourse delivered by Lord Buddha to the five monks in the Deer Park at Isipatana (modern Sarnath) near Benares.[258] These Four Noble Truths are :[259]

            1) Dukkha ariyasacca

            2) Dukkhasamudaya ariyasacca

            3) Dukkhanirodha ariyasacca

            4) Dukkhanirodhagāmiṇīpaṭipadā.


            * Dukkha ariyasacca : In the texts which record the words of the Buddha, we find one passage many times repeated in the range of Dukkha, ‘Jāti pi dukkhā, jarā pi dukkhā, byādhi pi dukkhā, maraṇam pi dukkhaṃ, soka-parideva-dukkha-domanass-upāyasā pi dukkhā, appiyehi sampa-yogo dukkho, piyehi vippayogo dukkho, yaṃ picchaṃ na labhati taṃ pi dukkhaṃ, saṃkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā’. 


            ‘Birth is suffering; ageing is suffering; disease is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering. Being attached to the unloved is suffering, being separated from the loved is suffering, not getting what one wants is suffering. In short, the five aggregates of grasping are suffering’.


             In whatever beings, of whatever group of beings, there is birth, coming to be, coming forth, the appearance of the aggregates, the acquisition of the sense bases (āyatanānaṃ paṭilābho) i.e., these six sense bases arise dependent on mind and body, that is called birth.


            In whatever beings, there is ageing, decrepitude, broken teeth, grey hair, wrinkled skin, decline of life, decay of the sense faculties, that is called ageing.


            In whatever beings, there is a passing-away, a removal, a disappearance, a death, a dying, an ending, a cutting-off of the aggregates, a discarding of the body, that is called death.


            Whenever by any kind of misfortune, anyone is affected by something of a painful nature, sorrow, mourning, distress, inward grief, inward woe, that is called sorrow.


            Whenever by any kind of misfortune, anyone is affected by something of a painful nature and there is crying out, lamenting, making much noise for grief, making great lamentation, that is called lamentation.


            Whatever bodily painful feeling, bodily unpleasant feeling, painful or unpleasant feeling results from bodily contact, that is called pain.


            Whatever mental painful feeling, mental unpleasant feeling, painful or unpleasant sensation results from mental contact, that is called grief.


            Whenever by any kind of misfortune, anyone is affected by something of a painful nature, despair, great despair, affliction with despair, with great despair, giving up hope, that is called despair (upāyāsa).


        Here, whoever has unwanted, disliked, unpleasant objects or whoever encounters ill-wishers, wishers of harm, of discomfort, of insecurity, with whom they have concourse, intercourse, connection, union, that is called being attached to the unloved.


       Here, whoever has what is wanted, liked, pleasant objects, or whoever encounters well-wishers, wishers of good, of comfort, of security, mother or father, brother or sister, younger kinsmen or friends, and then is deprived of such concourse, intercourse, connection, or union, that is called being separated from the loved.


            In beings subject to birth, ageing, disease, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. But this cannot be gained by wishing. That is, not getting what one wants.

            The five aggregates of grasping that are suffering in order to show in short how all suffering is present in any one of the five aggregates of grasping; in the same way just like the taste of the water in the whole ocean is to be found in a single drop of its water.


            Actually speaking, life and the world according to Buddhism is nothing but suffering, pain, sorrow, and misery... The Buddha does not deny happiness in life, when he says life is suffering. However, Buddhism tells one exactly and objectively what one is and what the world around one is.

            In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha admits different kinds of happiness, such as the happiness of family life, happiness of the life of a recluse, happiness of sense pleasures, happiness of renunciation, happiness of attachment and happiness of detachment; material or physical happiness and spiritual or mental happiness for each individual, layman as well as monk... but they all are included in dukkha, because: ‘Whatever is anicca is Dukkha’. Even the very pure spiritual states of higher meditation are also included in Dukkha. This conception of Dukkha may be viewed as of three kinds:[260]


1) Dukkha-dukkha : ordinary suffering.


2) Vipariāma-dukkha : suffering in change.


3) Sakhāra-dukkha: suffering due to formations through their continual arising and falling.


            One has to learn to accept dukkha. In the present, one is making kamma which will bear fruit in the future. If kamma is associated with the kilesa then one must expect to get more dukkha. Otherwise one trains oneself towards the lessening and the end of dukkha by practising Dhamma.


            * Dukkhasamudaya ariyasacca (the origin of suffering): It is craving (taṇhā) which gives rise to rebirth (punabbhava), bound up with pleasure and lust, finding fresh delight now here, now there: that is to say sensual craving (kāma-taṇhā), craving for existence (bhava-taṇhā), and craving for non-existence (vibhava-taṇhā).[261]


            It should nevertheless be understood as taṇhā is the first cause of the arising of dukkha.


                        Taṇhāya jāyati soko, taṇhāya jāyati bhayaṃ,

                        Taṇhāya vippamuttassa, natthi soko kuto bhayaṃ.


            From craving springs grief, from craving springs fear,

For him who is wholly free from craving, there is no grief, much less fear.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 216)


* Dukkhanirodha ariyasacca (the cessation of dukkha): It is the complete fading-away and extinction of this craving, its forsaking and abandonment, liberation from it, detachment from it.[262]

            There is dukkha as long as there is taṇhā. The cessation of dukkha comes about with the cessation of its origin. Hence it is said:


            Yathā’pi mūle anupaddave dalhe, chinno’pi rukkho punareva rūhati  

Evam pi taṇhānusaye anūhate, nibbattatī dukkhaṃ idaṃ punappunaṃ.


            Just as a tree with roots unharmed and firm, though hewn down, sprouts again, even so while latent craving is not rooted out, this sorrow springs up again and again.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 338)


            * Dukkhanirodhagāmiṇīpaṭipadā (the way leading to the cessation of suffering) : It is the Noble Eightfold Path, namely., right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.


            Finally, the Four Noble Truths are in Pāli termed Cattāri Ariyasaccāni because they were discovered by the Greatest Ariya, that is, one who is removed far from passions.


            Regarding the first Noble Truth, one’s function is to understand life as a fact clearly and completely, because it is common to all living beings.


            Regarding the second Noble Truth, one’s function is to destroy ‘craving.’ Because the truth of origin is given next to show its cause.


            Regarding the third Noble Truth, one’s function is to realise the Absolute Truth. With the cessation of the cause there is the cessation of the fruit.


            And regarding the fourth Noble Truth, one’s function is to follow and practice it. Because the truth of the path is to show the means to achieve the fruit.

            Now we will go in details to the Way leading to the cessation of suffering.


            ARIYA AṬṬHAGIKA MAGGA (the Noble Eightfold Path): There is only the way for the purification of beings who overcome sorrow and lamentation, removing completely pain and grief for attaining the right path as well as realize the ultimate Truth, Nibbāna. That is the way of practicing the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya Aṭṭhaṅgika Magga). This way is open to all monks as well as laymen who devote to the following eight steps,[263] they are:

            1. Sammādiṭṭhi (right view)

            2. Sammāsaṅkappo (right thought)

            3 Sammāvācā (right speech)

            4. Sammākammanto (right action)

            5. Sammā-ājīvo (right livelihood)

            6. Sammāvāyāmo (right effort)

            7. Sammāsati (right mindfulness)

            8. Sammāsamādhi (right concentration)


            Sammādiṭṭhi : is the knowledge of suffering (dukkha), the knowledge of the origin of suffering (dukkhasamudaya), the knowledge of the cessation of suffering (dukkhanirodha) and the knowledge of the way leading to the cessation of suffering (dukkhanirodhagāmiṇīpaṭipadā).


            Sammāsakappo : The thought of renunciation (nekkhamma), the thought of non-ill-will (abyāpāda), the thought of harmlessness (avihiṃsā).


            Sammāvācā : Refraining from lying speech (musāvādā), refraining from slanderous speech (pisuṇāvāca), refraining from harsh speech (pharusāvāca) and refraining from gossip (samphappalāpā).


            Sammākammanto : Refraining from taking life (pāṇātipātā), refraining from taking what is not given (adinnadānā), refraining from sexual misconduct (micchācārā).


Sammā-ājīvo : Having given up wrong livelihood (micchā-ājīvo), keeps oneself by right livelihood (Sammā-ājīvo).


            Sammāvāyāmo : (i) one rouses one’s will, makes an effort, stirs up energy, exerts one’s mind and strives to prevent the arising of unarisen evil, unwholesome mental states. (ii) to overcome evil, unwholesome mental states that have arisen. (iii) to produce unarisen wholesome mental states. (iv) to maintain wholesome mental states that have arisen, not to let them fade away, to bring them to greater growth, to the full perfection of development.


            Sammāsati : (i) one abides contemplating body as body (ii) feelings as feelings (iii) mind as mind (iv) mind objects as mind objects, ardent, clearly aware and mindful, having put aside hankering and fretting for the world.


            Sammāsamādhi : One detached from sense-desires, detached from unwholesome mental states, enters and remains in the first jhāna (paṭhama  jhāna), which is with thinking (vitakka) and pondering (vicāra), born of detachment, filled with delight (pīti) and joy (sukha).


             With the subsiding of vitakka and vicāra, by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind, he enters and remains in the second jhāna (dutiya jhāna) which is without vitakka and vicāra, born of concentration, filled with pīti and sukha.

            With the fading away of pīti, remaining upekkhā, mindful and clearly aware, he experiences in himself the joy of which the Noble Ones say, ‘Happy is he who dwells with equanimity and mindfulness’, he enters the third jhāna (tatiya jhāna).

             Having given up pleasure and pain, and with the disappearance of former gladness and sadness, he enters and remains in the fourth jhāna (catuttha jhāna), which is beyond pleasure and pain, purified by upekkhā and sammā sati.


            To sum up the Buddha’s ethical teachings, these essential points of the eightfold path aim at promoting as well as perfecting the three heads of Buddhist training and discipline, namely, (a) Ethical Conduct (Sīla), (b) Mental Discipline (Samādhi) and (c) Wisdom (Paññā). According to the capacity of each individual harmoniously cultivated, these points are all linked together and each helps the cultivation of the others. Here is the Noble Eightfold Path included under the three heads.




     1. Right View (Sammādiṭṭhi)

                                                                                                     III. Wisdom (Paññā).

     2. Right Thought (Sammāsaṅkappo)


     3. Right Speech (Sammāvāca)

     4. Right Action (Sammākammanto)                                      I . Morality (Sīla).

     5. Right Livelihood (Sammā-ājīvo)              


      6. Right Effort (Sammāvāyāmo)

     7. Right Mindfulness (Sammāsati)                                        II. Concentration (Samādhi).

     8. Right Concentration (Sammāsamādhi)


One may see Ariya Aṭṭhaṅgika Magga is a way of life to be followed and practised by each individual because it is the Path leading to the realization of Ultimate Reality to harness welfare and peace. Hence, the Dhammapada says :


                        The eightfold path is the best.

                        Follow this Path for purity

                        Following this path you can put an end to suffering

                        You must exert yourselves.[264]


            Maggān’ aṭṭhaṅgiko seṭṭho, saccānaṃ caturo padā

            Virāgo seeṭṭho dhammānaṃ, dipadānañ ca cakkhumā.


                        The best of paths is the Eightfold Path.

                        The best of Truths are the Four Noble Truths

                        Non-attachment is the best of states.

                        The best of bipeds is the Seeing One         

                                                                                                            (Dh. 273)


            On the whole, it will be useful to see the inseparable connection between the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the Twelvefold formula of Dependent Origination. The Four Noble Truths contain both the formula of Dependent Origination and the Eightfold Path. The latter, on the other hand, contains in its first step the Four Noble Truths and therefore it is necessarily for the formula of Dependent Origination as well. The Four Noble Truths are the general frame of the Buddhist system, in which the essential problem is outlined in the form of a thesis and its antithesis, which may be summarized under two headings : dukkha and sukha.

THESIS                                                                       ANTITHESIS

DUKKHA                                                                  SUKHA

I. Dukkha ariyasacca                                      III. Dukkhanirodha ariyasacca

                                                                                                 (sukha ariyasacca)

II. Dukkhasamudaya ariyasacca               IV. Dukkhanirodhagāmiṇīpaṭipada ariyasacca                                                                            (sukhasamudaya ariyasacca)


      BODHIPAKKHIYA-DHAMMA (the thirty seven requisites of enlightenment) : Bodhipakkhiya dhamma include the entire doctrines of the Buddha. Whole of the Buddha’s life, he stressed to the Saṅgha that the long endurance of his teaching in the world depended upon the accurate preservation of these factors. They are: [265]


             (i) The four foundations of mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna)

            (ii) The four right kinds of striving (Sammappadhāna)

            (iii) The four bases for spiritual power (Iddhipāda)

            (iv) The five faculties (Indriya)

            (v) The five powers (Bala)

            (vi) The seven Enlightenment factors (Bojjhanga)

            (vii) The Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya aṭṭhaṅgika magga)

            1. Satipaṭṭhāna is a compound term. Sati + upaṭṭhāna or paṭṭhāna. Sati originally meant ‘memory’, but in Pāli Buddhist usage it means ‘mindfulness’. Upaṭṭhāna means ‘setting up’ or ‘establishing’. Paṭṭhāna means ‘domain’ or ‘foundation’. Satipaṭṭhāna means foundation of mindfulness or the ways of setting up mindfulness. It is of four kinds because it occurs with respect to the body as a body (kāyanupassana), feelings as feelings (vedanānupassana), mind as mind (cittanupassana), and mind-objects as mind-objects (dhammanupassana).

            In this practice the body, feelings, mind or mind-objects should be contemplated as such, there is no ideas, emotions or feelings concerning it. And through this practising, the hindrances must be overcome for the success. Because Sati is the most important element of anything at any place ‘Satiṃ ca kho ahaṃ bhikkhave sabbatthikaṃ vadāmi’ [266]  is said by the Buddha. It may be said that Sati is more precious than knowledge. Because if there is no mindfulness, man cannot effectively use knowledge.


            2. Sammappadhāna is right endeavour (Sammappadhāna). It accomplishes the functions of abandoning arisen unprofitable things, preventing the arising of those not yet arisen, arousing unarisen profitable things, and maintaining those already arisen; thus it is fourfold.


            3. Iddhipāda: Power (iddhi) is in the sense of success (ijjhana). It is the road (pāda) to power (basic for success). It is fourfold as (i) zeal (chanda) and determined striving; (ii) energy (viriya); (iii) purity of mind (citta); and (iv) investigation (vimansa).


            4. Indriya: is in the sense of overcoming faithlessness, idleness, negligence, distraction, and confusion. It is fivefold as consisting in (i) the faculty of faith (saddhā), which leads to peace, leads to enlightenment; (ii) energy (viriya); (iii) mindfulness (sati); (iv) concentration (samādhi); (v) wisdom (paññā).


            5. Bala: is in the sense of unwaveringness. At certain times, each of these five balas will be more powerful than at other times. But at Magga-Phala times, all the five come together. It is fivefold as (i) the power of faith; (ii) energy; (iii) mindfulness; (iv) concentration; (v) wisdom, which leads to peace, leads to enlightenment.

            - The strength of the first power is seen in the four characteristic qualities (mettā, karuṇā, muditā, and upekkhā) of a stream-winner.

            - The strength of the second power is seen in the four right kinds of striving.

            - The strength of the third power is seen in the four foundations of mindfulness.

            - The strength of the fourth power is seen in the four Jhānas.

            - And the strength of the fifth power is seen in the perception of the phenomenon of constant arising and ceasing, an insight which will finally lead to Nibbāna.


            6. Bojjhanga: (i) the mindfulness (sati); (ii) investigation-of-states  (dhamma-vicaya); (iii) energy (viriya); (iv) rapture (pīti); (v) tranquillity (passaddhi); (vi) concentration (samādhi); (vii) equanimity (upekkhā), as factors in a being who is becoming enlightened. When the seven enlightenment factors are developed and cultivated thus, are made much of thus, they bring to fulfil true knowledge and deliverance because breathing is considered as mundane; the mundane mindfulness of breathing perfects the mundane foundations of mindfulness, and these foundations perfect the supramundane enlightenment factors, these factors fulfil true knowledge, i.e., the fruit of Nibbāna.


            7. Ariya aṭṭhagika magga: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration are the ‘Eight Factors Path’ in the sense of being an outlet.

            The eightfold path is the qualities of Arahant. Besides these qualities, his acts of body, speech and mode of livelihood have been well purified. Thus this Noble Eightfold Path comes to fulfilment in him by development.[267]


            When a man develops the Noble Eightfold Path, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness also come to fulfil, the Four Right Kinds of Striving, Four Bases for Spiritual Power, Five Faculties, Five Powers, and Seven Enlightenment Factors also come to fulfil. And thus, the analysis of thirty seven requisites of enlightenment brings to light, the central base of the factors such as: energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. The man after understanding Dhamma, tries to achieve the goal by the first two of the eightfold path, then he accepts the moral conduct through speech, action and livelihood. Finally, with these virtues as a basic he applies his mind to cultivate the four foundations of mindfulness, and issues in deepened concentration as well as arrives at wisdom by investigation. He will be freed of the mental intoxicants, without any attachment.

            Truly speaking that in these thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment, each individual should be trained in concord with mutual appreciation. While the man is training in concord, he should examine ‘I shall not be troubled and the other person will not be hurt’, then he can realize Nibbāna. That is why it is interesting to remember here that pīti (joy), one of the seven Bojjhangas, is the essential qualities to be cultivated for the realization of Nibbāna.



  • The threefold trainning


            TISIKKHĀ are set in the order of sīla (morality), samādhi (concentration) and paññā (wisdom), they relate to Ariya Aṭṭhaṅgika Magga (the Eightfold Path).

            * Sammāvācā, sammākammanto and sammā-ājīvo are called Pakati-sīla (natural or genuine morality). Pakati sīla is laid down for either laymen or monks as distinguished from the outward rules of conduct. The latter is the so-called Paṇṇatti-sīla (prescribed morality) which is prescribed by the Buddha as kammically neutral.

            The five moral rules are the basic steps of training and binding on most Buddhist laymen as: 1) refraining from killing any living being 2) refraining from stealing 3) refraining from unlawful sexual intercourse 4) refraining from lying and 5) refraining from the use of intoxicants.


            The next step which is binding on novices includes the ten rules : 1) refraining from killing 2) refraining from stealing 3) refraining from sexual intercourse 4) refraining from lying 5) refraining from the use of intoxicants 6) refraining from eating after noon 7) refraining from dancing, singing, listening music and shows 8) refraining from using garlands, scent, cosmetics... 9) refraining from luxurious beds and 10) refraining from accepting gold and silver.


            On full moon days as well as new moon days almost all lay followers observe the eight rules. They are the first six precepts of novices, the seventh is refraining from singing and using perfume and the eighth is refraining from sitting or lying down on luxurious beds.

            These precepts are called sikkhāpada (steps of training)[268] or moral rules. These moral precepts, when followed properly, help the man to proceed on the virtuous path.


            In the Visuddhimagga, first of all light has been thrown on Sīla. Sīla    has been defined as the base, foundation of the holy life  ‘Sīle  patiṭṭhāya  sīle ṭhatvā sīlaṃ paripūrayamano yeva cettha sīla thito ti vuccati’.[269]

            Further on this has been defined as ‘Sīlana atthena sīlaṃ, sira atthena sīlaṃ, sītala atthena sīlaṃ’.[270] When it is called sīlana atthena sīlaṃ, it means that sīla has been used in the sense of base (ādhāra), like the trees or plants grow on the earth. Similarly, all the moral states develop on sīla. When it is called sira atthena sīlaṃ, it is spoken that sīla has been stated as the beginning. This is the beginning or the first in doing moral deeds. When it is considered as sītala atthena sīlaṃ, it is characterized as sīla has got the character of making the man calm. Whenever there arises the waves of upādāna, avijjā or kilesa, etc., they are cut down by sīla. Because sīla functions as the wave of cold water, it removes the burning created by sīla.


             Marking the basic function of sīla, it may be stated that sīla is of four types, namely:[271]


            1) Pāimokkha-savara sīla: The literal meaning of the word Pāṭimokkha is to grant protection from the immoral deeds. Therefore it is told that ‘Taṃ hi yo naṃ, pāti rakkhati taṃ mokkheti mocayati apāyikādīhi dukkhehi, tasmā pāṭimokkham ti vuccati, saṃvaranaṃ saṃvaro.’


            The Pāṭimokkha contains rules for regulating the life of monks and nuns properly. There are 227 rules for monks and 331 rules for nuns. One does not commit transgression and regulates him following each rule faithfully as well as sincerely.


            2) Indriya-savara sīla: Indriya means the sense organs. Each sense organ has got one object to catch. On appearance of an object is not bad but indulging in and relishing the object is morally bad. Therefore, it has been advised that one takes the object as it has come without paying any attention towards it.[272] One should see and see only, should not develop any kind of attachment towards it. Such the rest of the appearance of the objects (as hear, smell, taste, touch...) should not be any kind of indulgence towards it.


            3) Ājīva-pārisuddhi-sīla: Ājiva means livelihood; parisuddhi means purification. The sīla related to the purification of livelihood is called Ājiva-parisuddhi sīla. As regards abstinence from wrong livelihood as entails the evil states beginning with ‘Scheming (kuhanā kuhāyanā kuhitattaṃ), i.e., rejection of requisites by indirect talk; talking round or continual persuading; hinting or giving a sign; belittling or backbiting; pursuing gain with gain or going in search of ’.[273]


            4) Paccaya-sannissita-sīla: The word Paccaya here stands for requisite. The monks have been prescribed to utilize four requisites, namely., Piṇñapāta (food), Cīvara (robes), Senāsana (dwelling place) and Gilānapaccaya bhesajja parikkhāra (medicine). Monk is to have these four requisites with restriction, though he abandons the domestic life and takes up the life of a recluse.

            The teachings of Lord Buddha, which have been preached for training in higher morality of disciples is, called adhisīlasikkhā. Through these definitions, one can understand how can sīla help the practitioner to achieve the following ideals:


                        Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,

                        Kusalassa upasampadā



                                                Not to do any evil,

                                                To cultivate good,

                                                To purify one’s mind.

                                                                                                (Dh. 183)


            * With the development of sīla, a psychological base is prepared for training in samādhi. From the Noble Eightfold Path one can turn briefly to see how does samādhi fit in with their constituents, that is, sammāvāyāmo, sammāsati and sammāsamādhi.

            In the suttas, samādhi is defined as mental one-pointedness           (cittass’ ekaggatā).[274] The essence of concentration is non-distractedness. From strict psychological standpoint, samādhi can be present in unwholesome states of consciousness, it is called micchā-samādhi; in wholesome states, it is associated with sammā-samādhi; and in neutral states where the term is not differentiated by sammā or micchā; however, samādhi is limited to one-pointedness of the wholesome kind.


            In samādhi, the mind is not only directed towards the subject, but also penetrates it, is absorbed in it and becomes one with it. Anything is the object of attention can be the subject for concentrative meditation. Concerning the activities of mind, one should be aware of all movements of mind such as whether one’s mind is lustful, given to hatred and deluded or not. Regarding to the ideas one should know their nature and know how do they appear and disappear, how are they developed, suppressed, destroyed and so on.[275]

            The Buddha knew the diversity of character and mental make-up of each individual and the different temperaments as well as inclinations of those who approached him for guidance. Depending on the need of each individual, the Buddha recommended different methods to different persons to suit the special character. The Visuddhimagga enumerates forty meditation subjects (kammaṭṭhāna) [276] for the diversity of them. They are known as :


            - Ten kasinas, contemplation devices, are external devices used to compose the mind or focus concentration, namely., paṭhavī (earth), āpo (water), tejo (fire), vāyo (air), nīla (blue), pīta (yellow), lohita (red), odāta (white), āloka (light), ākāsa (bounded space).


            - Ten asubhas, corpses at different stages of decay.


            - Ten reflections or bases of mindfulness (anussati), such as: the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Saṅgha and so on.

            - Four boundless states of mind (appamaññā): loving kindness (mettā), compassion (karuṇā), sympathetic joy or joy in the success of others (muditā) and equanimity (upekkhā).


            - Four formless jhāna (arūpa-jhāna): the sphere of Infinite Space (ākāsānañcāyatana), the sphere of Infinite Consciousness (viññāṇañcāyatana), the sphere of Nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatana), the sphere of Neither-Perception nor Non - Perception (nevasaññānāsaññāyatana).


            - The loathsomeness of food and meditation on the four physical elements (dhātu-kammaṭṭhāna): paṭhavī, āpo, tejo, vāyo as abstract forces.


            Each of these subjects will reap different results, and can serve as the base for developing concentration to the depth necessary for attaining the nibbānic state.

            There are two types of samādhi: Rūpasamādhi and Arūpasamādhi. In Rūpasamādhi it is seen that there are five jhāna-factors namely; Vitakka, Vicāra, Pīti, Sukha and Ekaggatā. When there is the presence of the five jhāna-factors, the first jhāna (paṭhama-jhāna) is maintained. When there is the presence of Pīti, Sukha and Ekaggatā, the second jhāna (dutiya-jhāna) is maintained. When there is the presence of Sukha and Ekaggatā, the third jhāna (tatiya-jhāna) is maintained. When there is the presence of Upekkhā and Ekaggatā, the fourth jhāna (catuttha-jhāna) is maintained.[277] This is according to the fourfold reckoning of jhāna; however he is developing fivefold jhāna by this way: the second in the fourfold reckoning becomes the second and third in the fivefold reckoning by being divided into two. And those which are the third and fourth in the former reckoning become the fourth and fifth in this reckoning. The first remains the first in each case.[278]



Fourfold jhāna                                              Fivefold jhāna


  1.       Vitakka, Vicāra,  Pīti,                                     Vitakka, Vicāra,  Pīti, 

                Sukha, Ekaggatā                                         Sukha, Ekaggatā


  2.       Pīti, Sukha, Ekaggatā                                     Vicāra,  Pīti, Sukha, Ekaggatā


  3.       Sukha  and  Ekaggatā                                     Pīti, Sukha, Ekaggatā


  4.      Upekkhā and Ekaggatā                                                Sukha  and  Ekaggatā


  5.                                                                               Upekkhā and Ekaggatā



(chart 10)


Upekkhā and Ekaggatā in Rūpa-jhāna are also available in Arūpa-jhāna.[279]


            One realizes and then removes the five hindrances (nīvaraṇa), namely., (i) kāmachanda (lustful desires) (ii) vyāpāda (ill-will) (iii) thīna-middha (torpor) (iv) uddhacca-kukkucca (restlessness and worry) (v) vicikicchā (sceptical doubts) by the five jhāna factors, it is the beginning of samādhi, which will further develop till it attains one-pointedness of mind.


            Each jhāna-factor will remove each hindrance by this way:



      Five jhāna-     Vitakka           Vicāra             Pīti                 Sukha         Ekaggatā




           Five             thīna-

     hindrances      middha                             vyāpāda             uddhacca-        kāmachanda


                                                vicikicchā                                    kukkucca    



                                                                                                         (chart 11)


            The results ultimately in one-pointedness of mind when practice the mental cultivation are known as concentrative meditations (samādhi-bhāvanā). This meditation, when developed and expanded, leads to: (a) Happiness here and now (diṭṭhadhamma-sukha), (b) Gaining knowledge and vision (ñāṇa-dassana-paṭilābha), (c) Mindfulness and clear awareness (sati-sampajañña) and (d) The destruction of the corruptions (āsavānaṃ khaya).[280]

             The teachings of Lord Buddha, which have been preached for training in higher mentality, are called Adhicittasikkhā. The Buddha indeed teaches how to develop concentration for one who understands things as they really are. From that point of view, concentration provides the foundation for wisdom (paññā).

            * To opine the benefits of developing concentration, the Blessed One has described the five kinds of mundane direct-knowledge (abhiññā).[281] They are named (i) the kinds of Supernormal Powers (Iddhi-vidhā) (ii) the knowledge of the Divine Ear Element (Dibba-sota) (iii) the knowledge of Penetration of the Minds of others (Ceto-pariya-ñāṇa) (iv) the knowledge of Recollection of Past Life (Pubbe-nivāsānussati-ñāṇa) (v) the knowledge of the Passing away and Reappearance of Beings (Cutūpapāta- ñāṇa). And one supermundane power is attainable through penetrating insight, i.e., (vi) the knowledge of the Destruction of defiling fetters (Āsavakkhaya-ñāṇa).


            Paññā (wisdom) reaches its climax in the four magga and phala, then issues in final liberation from suffering.

            There are four path consciousness (maggacitta) and four resultant consciousness (phalacitta). Maggacitta and Phalacitta are the name of the consciousness Lokuttara bhūmi in nature. The Yogāvacara reaching this Lokuttara bhūmi makes the analysis of his consciousness. In doing so, he finds that there are ten fetters (saṃyojanāni) existing with it, then he makes efforts to destroy them.

            In his first effort he destroys the first three fetters, namely:             Sakkāyadiṭṭhi, Vicikicchā and Sīlabbataparāmāsa. There are two stages in such destruction namely., Sotāpatti maggacitta and Sotāpatti phalacitta. In the second effort he determines to make Kāmarāga and Paigha weak. And here there are two stages, namely., Sakadāgāmi maggacitta and Sakadāgāmi phalacitta. In the third effort he destroys the weakened Kāmarāga and Paigha, there are two stages, namely., Anāgāmi maggacitta and Anāgāmi phalacitta. Finally, he destroys the remaining five fetters : 1)  Rūparāga 2) Arūparāga 3) Māna 4) Uddhacca and 5) Avijjā in his fourth effort. There are also two stages namely., Arahanta maggacitta and Arahanta phalacitta.[282] The maggacitta is called Kusala citta and the phalacitta is called Vipāka citta.


            In other ways, sammādiṭṭhi and sammāsaṅkappo of the Noble Eightfold Path go to constitute Paññā; the former being an equivalent term for proper wisdom while the latter being its accompaniment.

            Sammādiṭṭhi is the view of the Four Noble Truths that explain things as they really are. While sammāsaṅkappo denotes the thoughts of love or non-violence, which are extended to all beings. Paññā is, therefore, the meaning of understanding, knowing, wisdom, insight. This understanding when it gets the highest wisdom will see the ultimate reality.

            There are two kinds of understanding according to the Buddhist point of view: [283]

            1. To know the object which appears in the range of the sense organs, it means when the objects appear, paññā knows it. This is called ‘knowing accordingly’ (anubodha).

            2. Paññā manifests the absence of avijjā or āsava or kilesa... it means seeing a thing in its true nature, it is also called penetration (paṭivedha), and it is real, deep understanding.


            Regarding the condition of its arising, there are three kinds of wisdom:[284] a. based on thought (cintāmaya paññā) b. based on learning or hearing (sutamaya paññā) and c. based on mental development meditation       (bhāvanāmaya paññā).

            The teachings of the Buddha, which help the intellectual learners in training in higher wisdom, are called Adhipaññāsikkhā.


From the brief account of Tisikkhā, each individual after observing sīla, attaining samādhi, advances his mind to the knowledge of the extinction defiling fetters (āsavakkhaya ñāṇa). With the insight knowledge he discerns the Ti-lakkhaṇa and then becomes liberated. When the knowledge of liberation arises in him, he knows that rebirth is no more, he has lived the holy life. He has done what he has to do for the realization of magga. There is nothing more for him to do for such realization.


            In brief, purification from the defilement of misconduct is shown by       sīla; purification from the defilement of craving, by samādhi; and purification from the defilement of false views, by paññā.[285]






Preliminary jhānas


Paṭhama jhāna (first jhāna)

 Dutiya jhāna (second jhāna)

                  Tatiya jhāna (third jhāna)

  Catuttha jhāna (fourth jhāna)






          Higher jhāna                                       Higher paññā


      Ākasanañcāyatana                Cintāmaya paññā                       Iddhi-vidha

 (sphere of Infinite space)           (knowledge based               (supernormal power)

                                                      on thought)             


                                                     Sutamaya paññā                         (divine ear

                                                  (knowledge based                        element)

        Viññāṇañcāyatana                    on learning           

       (sphere of Infinite                    and hearing)                   Ceto-pariya ñāṇa

          consciousness)                                                                   (penetration

                                                Bhāvanāmaya paññā                     of minds)

                                                (knowledge based on                      

                                                 mental development           Pubbe-nivāsānussati                                              meditation)                              ñāṇa                                                                                                      (recollection

        Ākiñcaññāyatana                                                               of past life)

   (sphere of Nothingness)                                                     


                                                                                            Cutūpapāta ñāṇa


                                                                                            and reappearance)


 (sphere of Neither Perception                                   

     nor Non Perception)                                                           





     Saññāvedayitanirodha                                     Āsavakkhaya ñāṇa

    (cessation of perception                           (knowledge of the destruction

            and feeling)                                              of defiling fetters)




      Cetovimutti                                                                Paññāvimutti,

 (freedom of thought)                                                     Paññāya vimutti

                                                                             (freedom through insight)




Realization of Nibbānā

                                                                                                       (chart 12)

            NIBBĀNA: In Buddhism, the goal of all spiritual endeavour is Nibbāna. Nibbāna or Nirvāna (sanskrit) is composed of ‘ni’ and ‘vāna’. Ni is a negative particle, Vāna is variously interpreted. It can mean craving. This craving serves as a cord to connect one life with another. So, Nibbāna is known by the term Taṇhakkhaya or extinction of craving.[286] Nibbāna is also explained as the extinction of the fire of lobha, dosa and moha,[287] i.e., Asankhata ‘Dimension of the Unconditioned’,[288] or Nirodha ‘Cessation of defilement’s burning’, or Viraga, ‘Absence of desire’.[289] And because Nibbāna is expressed in negative terms, people may easily get a wrong notion, that is, self-annihilation. But in this sense, it is definitely the annihilation of ignorance, the wrong idea of self.[290]


            Nibbāna, thus, is the object of the Supramundane states of consciousness (Lokuttara) which transmute the personality. Nibbāna is the object of the Maggacitta and Phalacitta. The Maggacitta is the instruments by which Nibbāna is realized (sacchikaraṇa), it is able for one to acquire; while the Phalacitta is sublime states of absorptions by which the blissful condition of Nibbāna is experienced, it is able for one to taste (Sukhanubhāvanam).


            We may get some idea about Nibbāna in Majjhima Nikāya as follows: When a man does not cling to anything in this world, he personally attains Nibbāna. He understands thus: ‘Birth is destroyed, holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, and becoming a non-returner’. And there are two kinds of Nibbāna-element: [291]


            (i) When he feels a feeling terminating with the body, he understands, ‘I feel a feeling terminating with the body.’ That is, the Arahant’s abiding in the Nibbāna with a residue remaining of the factors of conditioned existence (Sa-upādisesa Nibbāna). Though he continues to experience feelings, he is free from lobha towards pleasant feeling, from dosa towards painful feeling and from moha towards neutral feeling. This takes place at the attainment of Arahantship, or perfect holiness (ariya puggala).

            (ii) When he feels a feeling terminating with life, he understands, ‘I feel a feeling terminating with life’. He understands, ‘On the dissolution of the body, with the ending of life, all that is felt, not being delighted in, will become cool or enjoy tranquillity right here’. ‘Called cool is getting rid of craving here.’[292] His attainment of the Nibbāna with the cessation of all conditioned existence (Anupādisesa Nibbāna) with final passing-away. It takes place at the death of the Arahant. Just as oil lamp burns in dependence on oil and a wick; if it does not get any more fuel, it is extinguished. Similarly, it is Upekkhā (equanimity) which a man finds within him a pure and then can direct towards the attainment of any high spiritual state.


            Nibbāna has been classified as Sa-upādisesa Nibbāna and Anupādisesa-Nibbāna.[293]

            Sa-upādisesa Nibbāna: Upādi means Pañcakkhandhā. Sesa means remain. Upādāna means desire. When the desire is associated with these five khandhā, it is called Pañcupādānakkhandhā (the five aggregates with pollution). The five khandhā remain intact, there is no pollution in them, it is called Pañcakkhandhā or the pollutions of these five aggregates are removed, they remain only pure form. This state of Nibbāna is called Sa-upādisesa Nibbāna. It is the Jīvanamutti, that is, the man lives here and attains Nibbāna. Such attainment takes place in the lifetime: the body exists with the force of the previous kamma, but the man is free from all pollutions.


            Anupādisesa Nibbāna: Ana means not. Upādi means five aggregates. Sesa means remain. It means a state of Nibbāna is achieved when there remains no pollution at all, no five aggregates exist. Say for other words, it is the coming to rest, or rather the ‘no more continuing’ of this physical-mental process of existence. With the disappearing of the five aggregates, a state of Nibbāna is achieved, that is called Anupādisesa Nibbāna.


            Enjoyment of Deliverance through the Rūpavacara jhāna is occasioned by experiencing Nibbāna in three forms, namely (a) Suññataṃ Nibbānaṃ, (b) Animittaṃ Nibbānaṃ and (c) Appanihitaṃ Nibbānaṃ.[294]


            Nibbāna is stated to be Suññataṃ because no Kilesa finds association with Nibbāna and it is devoid of all the polluting factors. It is for this reason that it is called Suññataṃ Nibbānaṃ.


            Nibbāna is also described as Animitta Nibbānaṃ. Here, Nimitta means the sign to point out anything. Say for instance, a flower is red, redness is the sign to point out the flower. The table is long and the length is the sign for understanding of the table. With the same way, in Nibbāna, there is no sign at all to designate Nibbāna is like this; no sign can be a sign of Nibbāna. For this reason it is called Animitta Nibbāna.


            The third form is Appanihita Nibbāna. Panihita is accumulation. We have done moral and immoral deeds in the day-to-day life, and thereby accumulated the impression of such deeds. Such accumulations are destroyed before the attainment takes place and no accumulation remains. Therefore, Nibbāna is free from accumulations. In this case Nibbāna is appanihita which means accumulationless. Hence, it is called Appanihitaṃ Nibbānaṃ.




Nibbāna (Asankhata dhātu)





Magga (path)                                                         Phala (result)

Sacchikaraṇa                                                  Sukhanubhāvanam

             (realization)                                                       (enjoying the bliss)





Nirodha (cessation)                           Vimokkha (deliverance)


        1) Sa-upādisesa Nibbāna                                    1) Suññataṃ Nibbānaṃ

           (body exists, mind is free)                            (without kilesas)


        2) Anupādisesa Nibbāna                                     2) Animittaṃ Nibbānaṃ

    (body disappears)                                       (signlessness)


                                                                                    3) Appanihitaṃ Nibbānaṃ



                                                                                                                 (chart 13)


            Nibbāna is Sacca, a man should be endowed with this Absolute Truth by realizing Ti-lakkhaṇa, i.e., to see things as they are (yathābhūtaṃ) without avijjā. That is also the extinction of craving, and the cessation of dukkha. [295]

            Some persons have misunderstood that Nibbāna can be attained only after death. In fact, Nibbāna can be realized in this very life, there is no need to wait till the time people die to ‘attain’ it. The meaning of Nibbāna here is the highest spiritual state or the happiest being in the world, because he is free from all worries, troubles and enjoys things in the purest sense; he gains nothing because he lives without the ignorance, craving.

            Furthermore, the Buddha said : Whenever anyone has attained to the stage of deliverance called ‘the Beautiful’, he knows it is beautiful. [296]


            In the Udāna the Buddha refers to Nibbāna as follows: ‘There is, O Bhikkhus, an unborn (ajāta), unoriginated (abhūta), unmade (akata) and non-conditioned state (asaṃkhata). If, O Bhikkhus, there were not this unborn, unoriginated, unmade and non-conditioned, an escape for the born, originated, made and conditioned, would not be possible here. As there is an unborn, unoriginated, unmade, and non-conditioned state, an escape for the born, originated, made, conditioned is possible.’[297]

            Nibbāna is therefore described precisely as profound, hard to see and understand, peaceful and sublime, subtle and to be experienced by the wise.


In brief, there are two ways to attain Nibbāna :

                        (i) Concentration meditation (samatha).

                        (ii) Insight meditation (vipassana).


            * If concentration meditation (samatha) is developed, the mind is also developed and passion is disappeared in liberation of mind.

            * If insight meditation (vipassana) is cultivated, wisdom is also cultivated and ignorance is gradually disappeared in liberation by knowledge.


            Nibbāna is to be explained and expressed in positive terms, while the cessation of Dukkha is to point out the positive meaning of Nibbāna. If we are likely to grasp an idea associated with these positive terms, which may be quite the contrary.







     [1] A. IV, 453.

     [2] Vism. XIX

     [3] S. II., pp. 178 - 9

     [4] It. 44

     [5] Vism. XVI

     [6] R.E.Hume, The thirteen Principal Upaniṣads (Oxford University Press, London, 1921)., p. 349

     [7] S. Radhakrishnan, Principal Upaniwads., 5.12  ‘sthūlāni sūksmāni bahūni caiva

rūpāni dehī svaguṇair vrṇoti’.

     [8] Fgveda with Sayana’s commentary, ed. Max Muller (6 vols), (W.H. Allen, London, 1849-1874), 10. 129.

      [9] Ibid. 10. 121

     [10] Ibid.

    [11] Taittirìya Brāhmaṇa (of the Black Yajurveda) with the commentary of Sayana Acarya, ed. Rajendralala Mitra (3 vols), Bibliotheca Indica, (Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, 1859)., 3. 7. 9

     [12] Satapatha Brāhmaṇa, ed. V.S. Gauda, C. Sharma and S.V. Sastri (2 vols), (Acyuta Granthamala Karyalaya, Benares, 1922-1937), 1. 6. 3. 35 ff

    [13] Tāṇḍya Mahā Brāhmaṇa, with the commentary of Sayana Acarya, ed. Anandacandra Vedantavagisa (2 vols), Bibliotheca Indica (Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, 1870-1874), 21. 3. 7

     [14] Ibid. 8. 1. 3-4

     [15] Jayatilleke. K.N, Early Buddhist Theory of  Knowledge (George Allen & Unwin, 1963)., pp. 178 ff

     [16] Cf. Hume, Upaniwads., p. 396

     [17] S. Radhakrishnan, The principal Upaniwads (Harper Collins publishers, India, 1994)., pp. 52 - 3

     [18] Bfhad - āranyaka Upaniwad. I . 4. 10

     [19] S. Radhakrishnan, Indian philosophy I, (Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1989)., p. 314

     [20] Ibid.,  p. 317

     [21] Ibid.

     [22] S. Radhakrishnan, the Bhagavadgita (London, 1948), p. 160

     [23] Sn., Vasala sutta

     [24] M. I., Mahātaṇhāsaṇkhāya suttam

     [25] Quoted from H.H.Wilson, Indian caste (London, 1877)., pp. 303 - 4

     [26] D. I., Samañña-phala sutta

     [27] A. II., 20

     [28] Ibid., p. 77

     [29] A. I., p. 74

     [30] Dh. 203 - 4

     [31] Pug. 47 - 50

     [32] A. IV., 459

     [33] Ibid., 460

     [34] Pug., 29

     [35] Ibid., 28

     [36] D. I., Samañña-phala sutta

     [37] M. II , Aggivacchagotta sutta., p. 166

     [38] D. II., Mahāparinibbāna sutta

     [39] S. Radhakrishnan and P.T. Raju, The concept of man (Harper Collins publishers, India, 1995)., p.45

     [40] Ibid.

     [41] Ibid., pp. 46 - 7

     [42] Ibid., p. 47

     [43] Ibid., p. 48

     [44] Ibid.

     [45] Ibid.

     [46] Ibid.

     [47] Ibid., p. 49

     [48] Ibid.

     [49] A. I., 51

     [50] Op. cit., p. 50

     [51] Ibid., p. 51

     [52] Ibid.

     [53] Ibid.

     [54] Ibid.

     [55] Ibid., p. 53

     [56] Ibid., p. 54

     [57] Ibid., p. 55

     [58] Ibid.

     [59] Ibid., p. 56

     [60] Ibid., p. 58

     [61] Ibid., p. 60

     [62] Ibid., p. 59

     [63] Ibid.

     [64] Ibid.

     [65] Ibid., p. 60

     [66] Ibid., p. 62

     [67] Ibid., p. 64

     [68] Ibid.

     [69] Cf. Wild, Plato’s Modern Enemies and the Theory of  Natural Law (University of Chicago Press, 1953), Ch.5

     [70] Op. cit., p. 66

     [71] Ibid., p. 68

     [72] Ibid., p. 71

     [73] Ibid., p. 72

     [74] Ibid., p. 77

     [75] Ibid.

     [76] Ibid., p. 78

     [77] Ibid., p. 81

     [78] Ibid., p. 82

     [79] Ibid, p. 83

     [80] Ibid.

     [81] Ibid., p. 84

     [82] Ibid., p. 85

     [83] Ibid.

     [84] Ibid.

     [85] Ibid., p. 86

     [86] Ibid., p. 87

     [87] Ibid., p. 88

     [88] Ibid., p. 89

     [89] Ibid., p. 90

     [90] Ibid., p. 92

     [91] Ibid.

     [92] Ibid., p. 93

     55 Ibid.

     [94] Ibid.

     [95] Ibid.

     [96] Ibid.

     [97] Ibid., p. 94

     [98] Ibid., p. 96

     [99] Analects , 15/28

     [100] The book of  Mencius, 4A/1

     [101] The Li Chi (Book of Propriety), ch. 19, sec. 15; see English Translation, vols. XXII and XXVIII, by James Legge, The Li Ki, Sacred Books of the East, Claredon Press, vol. XVII, Oxford, 1885., p. 112

     [102] Hsing-ming ku-hsiian pien-cheng (Critical studies of Classical Interpretations of Nature and Destiny), Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1940., 1/1a, 4b

     [103] Analects, 17/2

     [104] Yen-ching shih chi (Collections of the Classics - Studying Studio), First Series, Szu-pu ts’ung-k’an edition, Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1929, 10/16b

     [105] Analects, 17/2

     [106] See the Book of  Mencius., 2A/6

     [107] Ibid., 7A/15

     [108] Ibid., 6A/8

     [109] Hsun Tzu, ch. 23; cf. English translation by Homer H.Dubs, the Works of Hsuntze, Arthur Probisthain, London, 1928., pp. 305 - 8

     [110] Ch’un-ch’iu fa lu (Luxuriant Crown Gems of the Spring and Autumn Annals)., ch. 35

     [111] Fa - yen (Model Sayings), ch. 3; cf. German translation by E. von Zach, ‘Yang Hsiung’s Fa-yen (Worte Strengen Ermahung)’, Sonilogische Beitrage, vol. IV, 1939., p. 11.

     [112] Lun-heng, Bk. 3, Ch. 4; Cf. English translation by Alfred Forke, Lun-heng, Mitteilungen des Seminars fur Oreintalische Sprachen, vol. X (1907), also Lun-heng, Luzac, London, 1907., p. 384.

     [113] Li Wen-kung chi (Collected Works of Li Ao), Szu-pu ts’ung-k’an edition, Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1929., 2/5a.

     [114] The Book of Mencius, 7A/1

     [115] Chang-meng (Correct Discipline for Beginners), Cheng-i-t’ang ch’uan-chi edition, 2/10a.

     [116] Chu Tzu ch’uan-shu (complete Works of Chu Hsi), Palace edition, 1713, 42/4a

     [117] Ts’ui-yen (Pure Words), in the Complete Works of the Two Ch’engs, 2/21b.

     [118] Commentary on the Cheng-meng, 3/8a.

     [119] Cheng-meng, 3/7b.

     [120] The Book of Mencius, 7A/16.

     [121] Analects , 13/19

     [122] Ibid., 12/22

     [123] I-shu (Literary Remains), in the Erh-Ch’eng ch’uan-shu (The Complete Works of the Two Ch’engs), Szu-pu pei-yao editions, Chunghua Book Co., Shanghai, 1933., 2A/3a

     [124] Ts’ui-yen, 1/7b

     [125] I - shu, 11/3a - b

     [126] Chu Tzu ch’uan-shu (Complete Works of Chu Hsi), Palace edition, 1713., 47/37a

     [127] Po-hu t’ung, ed. by Pan ku (32 - 92), Szu-pu ts’ung-k’an edition, 1929, 8/1a; see English translation by Tjan Tjoe Som, Po Hu T’ung, The Comprehensive Discussions in the White Tiger Hall, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1949, vol.II, 1952., p. 565

     [128] Cheng - meng , 3/2a

     [129] Ibid., 2/10b

     [130] Tso chuan (Tso’s Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals), Duke Hsiang, twenty-fourth year.

     [131] The Book of Mencius, 3A/4

     [132] Analects, 6/21

     [133] Chuang Tzu, ch. 6; see English translation by Herbert A. Giles, Chuang Tzu, Keely & Walsh, Shanghai, 1926.

     [134] The Book of  Mencius., ch. 17

     [135] Ibid.

     [136] Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi (The Complete Works of Lu Hsiang-shan), Szu-pu pei-yao edition, Chunghua Book Co., Shanghai, 1934, 1/3b

     [137] Ibid., 35/10a

     [138] Ibid., 35/1b

     [139] Ibid., 35/22a

     [140] Ibid., 34/5a

     [141] Ibid., 34/5a

     [142] Ch’uan-hsi lu (Record of Instructions for Practical Living), in the Yang-ming ch’uan-shu, 2/2a - b

     [143] Ibid., 18/5b

     [144] Activistic Tendency in Indian Thought, The Vedanta Kesari., 1955

     [145] History of the Dharmasastra, Vol. II, part I (The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1941)., p. 418.

     [146] II ., 23, I

     [147] For a detailed account of these practices, see P.V.Kane, History of the Dharmasastra., Vol. IV 

     [148] P.S. Deshmukh: Religion in Vedic Literature (Oxford University Press, Bombay, 1933)., pp. 214 - 8.

     [149] Yathasastram yathakartavyam buddhau supariniscitam. Commentary on the Taittiriya Upaniwads, I, 1

     [150] In the further development of the Upaniwadic ideas, later commentaries got into insoluble difficulties, as they carried over these conceptions of truth and falsity into their epistemologies. This two-valued logic, when they had to deal with several levels of man’s being with intimate inter-connections, did not serve them.

     [151] See Satapada Brahmana, 1 , 5 , 5.

     [152] In Rajasthan, which is a stronghold of Jainism, the Jaina monks are called Baniya monks or Vaisya monks.

     [153] Cf. the first Sāṅkhyakarika.

     [154] Buddhism first is divided into two main branches: the Hinayāna, which is really the early Buddhism, and the Mahāyāna, which is the later Buddhism (See Idealistic Thought of India, the two chapters on Buddhism). Each vehicle has many schools and on some point or other they differ from each other. But what is generally common to all schools may be given here.

     [155] See Idealistic Thought of India, the section on Asanga.

     [156] Ibid., the sections on Asanga, Vasubandhu and the Bhutatathata school.

     [157] M.L. Mehta: Outlines of  Jaina Philosophy, (Jaina Mission Society, Bangalore ,1954)., p. 134

     [158] This term yoga which means control of mind etc., for self-realisation.

     [159] Umaswami: Tattvarthasutra (Govt. Branch Press, Mysore, 1944)., I, 1.

     [160] I, II.

     [161] The Sāṅkhya, as expounded in the epics, accepts God and is practically the same as the philosophy of Patañjali.

     [162] This problem is implicit in all idealism including Berkeley’s. For if essence is percipient, why should man struggle for obtaining material things? Why should there be an ethical problem, if my mind is everything? Similarly, why should there be a spiritual ideal at all like the realisation of God ?

     [163] Radhakrishnan : Indian philosophy, Vol. II ., p. 423

     [164] Ryudo Yasui, Theory of  Soul in Theravâda Buddhism (Atisha memorial publishing society, Calcutta, 1994)., p. 62

     [165] M. II., No. 63.

     [166] Nyanatiloka, Buddhist dictionary (Island hermitage publication, Colombo, 1956)., p. 134

     [167] Miln. II. 1. 2., p. 43

     [168] Ibid., p.  22

     [169] Pug., p. viii

     [170] Ibid., p. 152

     [171] Ibid., p. 67

     [172] S. II., p.9

     [173] M. III , No 141

     [174] Vism. XI

     [175] Vism.A., (p. 355) explains attachment here as craving which is ‘perilous because it brings harm’ (see. D.II., 58-9), or in other words ‘greed for the five aggregates (lust after five aggregate experience).’ It cites the following, ‘Bhikkhus, when there is physical nutriment, there is greed (lust), there is delighting, there is craving; consciousness being planted therein, grows. Wherever consciousness being planted grows, there is the combination of mind-and-matter. Wherever there is the combination of mind-and-matter, there is ramification of formations. Wherever there is ramification of formations, there is production of further becoming in the future. Wherever there is there is production of further becoming in the future, there is future birth, ageing and death. Wherever there is future birth, ageing and death, bhikkhus, the end is sorrow, I say, with woe and despair’ (S., II, 101; cf. S. II, 66). Approaching is explained as ‘meeting, coinciding, with unabandoned perversions (of perception) due to an object (being, perceived as permanent, etc., when it is not)’. That is ‘prelious since it is not free from the three kinds of suffering’. The quotation given is’ Bhikkhus, due to contact of the kind to be felt as pleasant, pleasant felling arises. With that feeling as condition there is craving, thus there is the arising of this whole mass of suffering’ (Cf. S. IV, 215). Reappearance is ‘rebirth in some kind of becoming or other. Being flung into a new becoming is perilous because there is no immunity from the risks rooted in reappearance’. The following is quoted: ‘Not knowing, bhikkhus, a man forms the formation of merit, and his rebirth consciousness accords with the merit (he performed) he forms the formation of demerit,... he forms the formation of the imperturbable,...’ (S. II., 82). Rebirth-linking is ‘the actual linking with the next becoming, which is perilous since it is not immune from the suffering due to the signs of (the impending) rebirth-linking’. The quotation given is: ‘Bhikkhus, when there is consciousness as nutriment there is greed, there is delighting...’ (S. II., 102).

     [176] This is given in two ways: (i) in brief, in the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna (D. II, No 22) and (ii) in detail, in the Mahāhatthipadupama (M. I, No 28), the Mahārahulovāda (M. II, No 62) and the Dhātuvibhaṅga (M. III, No 140).

     [177] Internally in oneself (ajjhattaṃ paccattaṃ). ‘What occurs in attendance (adhikicca) upon self (attā) by its pertaining to the state that may be taken as ‘self’ because it is included in one’s own continuity as internal (ajjhatta) (Vism.A.347). And it is called in oneself (paccattaṃ because it occurs owing to self (attānaṃ paṭicca).

     [178] Consciousness dominates because of the words ‘Dhammas have mind as their forerunner’ (Dh. 1), and ‘Dhammas that have parallel turn-over with consciousness’ (Dhs. 1522), and ‘The king, lord of the six doors’ (Vism.A. 503).

     [179] S. I., 135.

     [180] M. III., No 109.

     [181] S. III., p. 24

     [182] M. III., No 109

     [183] S. III., 47

     [184] M. I., No 44

     [185] Ibid., No 13

     [186] M. III., p. 280

     [187] Ibid., No 109

     [188] Ibid., No 112

     [189] Vism. XIV., 32

     [190] Narada, A manual of Abhidhamma ., p. 181.

     [191] Ibid., p. 62 - 3.

     [192] Ibid., p. 76

     [193] Ibid., p. 187

     [194] Ibid.

     [195] Ibid., p. 317

     [196] M. III., No 146

     [197] Ibid.

     [198] Vism. XV., 32.

     [199] ‘Life-continuum mind’ or bhavanga-mano is the life-continuum consciousness occurring twice in disturbance (Vism.A. 516)

     [200] Vism. XV., 39 .

     [201] M. III., No 146

     [202] M. I., No. 39

     [203] M. II., No. 75

     [204] Ibid.

     [205] M.A. I., 221 says that among the khandhā these last three form the saṅkhāra.

     [206] Narada, A manual of Abhidhamma., p. 287 - 8

     [207] Extension, cohesion, heat and mobility. See Vism. 443

     [208] S. I., 135

     [209] Vism. XVIII

     [210] ‘All states of the three planes’ is said all-inclusively owing to the necessity not to omit anything suitable for comprehension. Vism.A said, ‘Wherever the verbal meaning of self is expressed by some such metaphor as world-soul (purisa), self (attā, ātman), soul (jīva), etc., these being themselves conceived in their various ways on the basic of mere mentality-materiality, are mere mentality-materiality, too.’ (Vism.A. 754 - 5).

     [211] M. I., 190

     [212] D. II., Mahā parinibbāna sutta

     [213] Vbh.A., 41

     [214] D. II., Mahā parinibbāna sutta, pp. 175 - 6

     [215] A. IV., 137

     [216] S. IV., 1

     [217] Ibid., 259

     [218] Cf. M. I., 140

     [219] M. I., Cūḷasaccaka sutta.

     [220] Ibid.

     [221] M. I., No 35

     [222] Brhad-aranyaka Upaniwad , IV., 4

     [223] The questions of King Milinda, ed. By  N.K.G. Mendis, (Buddhist publication society, Kandy, 1993).,p. 31

     [224] M. I., No. 22

     [225] M. II , Aggivacchagotta Sutta., pp. 164 - 5

     [226] Ibid.

     [227] Ibid.

     [228] S. II., 78 - 9

     [229] Ibid.,  27 - 8

     [230] S. II., pp. 1 - 2

     [231] Ibid.

     [232] S. II., p. 21

     [233] Ibid., 27 - 8

     [234] D. II ., Mahā-nidāna

     [235] Ibid.

     [236] M. I., Sammādiṭṭhi sutta

     [237] Vism. XVII ., 284

     [238] Ibid., 219

     [239] Sn. V., 730

     [240] M. I., 190 - 1

     [241] Ibid., p. 209 (manosancetana’ ti cetana eva vuccati)

     [242] Ibid., p. 210

     [243] Vism. XIX., 14

     [244] M. III., Cūlakammavibhaṅga sutta.

     [245] A. III., p. 415

     [246] M. III, Cūlakammavibhaṅga ., p. 249

     [247] M. I., No. 4

     [248] M. II., No 57

     [249] Vism. XIX., 15

     [250] M. III ., p. 280

     [251] Miln. I , 6 (One who has defilements takes rebirth, one who is without defilements does not take rebirth)

     [252] M. I., No 43

     [253] Miln. II., 1

     [254] M. III., No 136

     [255] Vism. XVI., 24.

     [256] S. V., 435

     [257] Ibid., 433

     [258] M. III, Saccavibhaṅga sutta., p. 295

     [259] D. II., Mahā-Satipatthāna suttanta

     [260] S. IV., 259

     [261] D. II, Mahā-Satipatthāna suttanta., pp. 339 - 40

     [262] M. I., 139

     [263] M. III., Saccavibhaṅga sutta

     [264] Dh., p. 220

     [265] M., Mahā-sakuludayi sutta.

     [266] M. I., No. 10

     [267] M. Mahāsalayatanika sutta., pp. 337 - 8

     [268] Vism. I., 40

     [269] Ibid., 20

     [270] Ibid., 19

     [271] Ibid., 42

     [272] M. I., 180

     [273] M. III., 75

     [274] Vism. III ., 2

     [275] M. I., No 10

     [276] Vism. III., 60

     [277] Ibid., 21

     [278] Ibid., 202

     [279] M. I ., No 19

     [280] D. Sangiti sutta., p. 215

     [281] D. I., 77

     [282] Pug., 47 - 50

     [283] Vism. XII., 2

     [284] D. Sangiti sutta., p. 212

     [285] Vism. I ., 13

     [286] S. V., p. 421

     [287] S. IV., p. 359

     [288] Ud. (Colombo, 1929)., p. 129

     [289] S. I., p. 136

     [290] S. IV., p. 251

     [291] M. III , Dhatuvibhanga sutta ., p. 291

     [292] Sn. 1109., p. 161

     [293] It. 44

     [294] A manual of Abhidhamma., p. 319

     [295] M. I., p. 191 (Sariputta’s words)

     [296] D. III , Patika sutta ., p. 31

     [297] Cf. It., p. 142

Part three






            Life as historically manifested is twofold, individual and social as well. The teachings of the Buddha are meant as much for the building of a social order as for the harmonious ordering of an individual’s personal life. Buddhism is concerned with the cessation of suffering, it must necessarily teach the way to the cessation of social suffering no less than the suffering of each individual, that is precisely what we discover in the teachings of Lord Buddha.


            The Buddha’s teachings are not restricted to any particular time or place but are applicable to everybody, everywhere at all times as well as they can be practised by any society for its own well-being. The threefold practices of Dāna, Sīla and Bhāvanā (mental development) are essential for everybody in order to make their lives worth living. These principles will help human beings to contribute a great deal to constitute a healthy and a progressive society, both materially and psychologically.


            In the Nikāyas, the parable of the lotus in the pond is referred as follows: The lotus stalk is born in mud at the bottom, it grows up all the while nourished by mud and unclean water. When it appears on the surface of the water it ends its upward journey with a bud and then blossoms forth in all its multi-petalled purity and glory untouched by their impurity.

            Through the above parable of the lotus in the pond, we notice that the lotus of the individual can blossom forth only in the pond of human society. The unclean mud is symbolic of the impurity at the birth of man. The unclean water of the pond is symbolic of the worldly circumstances into which man is born. In his growth to adulthood through infancy and childhood, man cannot divest himself of Lokadhammas, i.e., gain and loss, happiness and misery, fame and defame, praise and blame... Just as the stalk gives birth to the pure and glorious lotus. Even so the individual can rise above the circumstances of misery and conflict in order to realize his purity and greatness.


                        Yathā saṅkāradhānasmiṃ, ujjhitasmiṃ mahāpathe

                        Padumaṃ tattha jāyetha, sucigandhaṃ manoramaṃ

                        Evaṃ saṅkārabhūtesu, andhabhūte putthujjane

                        Atirocati paññāya, sammāsambuddhasāvako

            As upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, a sweet-smelling, lovely lotus may grow, even so amongst the worthless of beings, a disciple of the Fully Enlightened One outshines the blind worldlings in wisdom.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 58, 59)



Chapter 5






            One could develop Brahma-vihāra and the Bodhipakkhiya dhamma in deed, word and thought until one has cut off one’s fetters of defilements, removed the obstacles of ignorance by attaining the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths in this very life.

            As a matter of fact, the teachings of Lord Buddha explain further that: the nobility of a person is decided not by his birth and lineage but by his morality and knowledge of the Noble Truths. The practical Way of living is to be realized through self-experience only, just as one who eats will know the taste.

            Thus, Buddhism is based on absolute freedom and true equality, it is rational, liberal, concrete, positive and applicable at all levels. From that point of view, each one may realize one’s ability how the Dhamma can be best practised, given the situation one is in.

            Actually, the Teachings of the Buddha are for everyone. It depends upon the individual Buddhist and his circumstances whether he remains a layman or becomes a monk. The benefit that each class in human society derives from the other is mutual. The laymen give robes, food, shelter, and medicine to the monks. The monks, on their part, give something most valuable to the laity, that is, the dhamma as they have studied and practised it. And so, a balance is preserved, each group giving to the other something necessary for livelihood.





            There is an art of upbringing the children in a proper way that parents have to shoulder their responsibilities.

            Most parents simply allow their children to behave, as they like without giving them any moral instruction when they are young. Later on the same parents worry themselves when their children do not care for them.

            In a child growth and development, parents need to accept a child as a child by helping the child to do his best as well as guiding him not only in conduct but also in the development of mind. Nowadays, counselling of parents seems to have become more necessary than children because a child’s development needs to be handled with a lot of care by both parents and teachers, and supported by the society. Then it is on the wings of self-confidence that the child will eventually leave the nest one-day.


            In Kosala Saṃyutta, the Buddha said that there are four things should not be looked down and despised because they are young. They are like:


                        (i) a young prince.

                        (ii) a serpent.

                        (iii) a fire.

                        (iv) a bhikkhu.


            - A young prince of noble parentage should not be despised because he might one day become a powerful ruler and wreak royal vengeance.

            - A writhing snake moves very fast, it might attack and bite a heedless man very painful.

            - A small fire when heedlessly ignored might grow in intensity and cause untold damage.

            - A man treating a virtuous bhikkhu with contempt might bring upon himself unwholesome results.


            Praising a young novice for his psychic powers, the Buddha uttered this verse:


                        Yo have daharo bhikkhu, yuñjati buddhasāsane

                        So imaṃ lokaṃ pabhāseti, abbhā mutto’va candimā


            The Bhikkhu who, while still young, devotes himself to the Buddha’s Teaching, illuminates this world like the moon freed from a cloud.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 382)


            Hence, helping children to see and to understand the suffering of human beings as well as other living beings means to nourish compassion and understanding within them.


            As a result, Buddhism is not a religion for men just to follow but to learn, to understand, to practise, to gain experience as well as bliss... When men come to know the Buddha’s teaching and perhaps practise it to some extent, sometimes they wish to make the Dhamma their direction in life or their guide through life. At that time, their thoughts turn to becoming a Buddhist.


            The Buddhist way of education leads one to transcendental ideals by making one try to surpass oneself constantly so that one may incorporate oneself into life in its totality. The ultimate goal is to lead one to become a complete person.

            Buddhists practise the Noble Path in order to realise what is at first, believed. In this way belief is not divorced from practice, therefore they take Refuge in, or go for guidance to the Triple Gem; because they see therein the marks of supreme and fearless Truth.


            The following declarations are made:


                        (a) They accept the guidance of the Buddha.

                        (b) They accept the guidance of the Doctrine.

                        (c) They accept the guidance of the Order.



  • Tisaraa ( the Three Refuges)


            To take refuge in the Triple Gem is a conscious response to anxiety. The response to anxiety cannot be external, it must stand in a direct dynamic relation to ourselves. In case, to be effective objects of refuge, the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha must be connected to us in an existentially significant way.


            The expression ‘going for refuge’ is meant to convey; in addition, the idea of knowing and understanding. We may now define the going for refuge as a conscious act of will directed towards liberation, based upon knowledge and inspired by faith (saddhā), or briefly a conscious act of determination, understanding and devotion.


            The act of taking refuge is regarded as the decisive moment at which one enters the Buddhist community of faith. It is sometimes described as the gateway to Buddhism by uttering these three declarations as below:


1. Buddha saraa gacchāmi     

(I take refuge in the Buddha).

2. Dhamma saraa gacchāmi

(I take refuge in the Dhamma).

3. Sagha saraa gacchāmi

(I take refuge in the Sagha).


            ‘Saraṇaṃ’ means refuge, but in no sense can the declaration of taking the Three Refuges be interpreted as an undertaking to comply with blind, unreasoning obedience to a series of orders or commandments. The person who goes for refuge to the Triple Gem, by right wisdom and insight perceives the Four Noble Truths - this is the safe Refuge, this is the best Refuge. Having come to this Refuge one is free from all suffering. There are two types of refuge (i) the refuge of causation and (ii) the refuge of fruition.


            To take refuge in the Buddha is to refer to the person who has been enlightened, identifying him as the supreme teacher, and trusting that no one else can guide one on the path to liberation.


            ‘Itipi so Bhagavā (Thus indeed is the Lord), Arahaṃ (a Worthy  One), Sammāsambuddho (a Perfectly Enlightened One), Vijjācarana-sampanno (possessed of Wisdom and good Conduct), Sugato (Well-gone to Nibbāna), Lokavidū (Knower of worlds), Anuttaro (Unexcelled), Purisadamma-sārathī (Trainer of men who desire training), Satthā-devamanussānaṃ (Teacher of men and gods), Buddho (the Awakened), Bhagavā’ti (the Blessed Lord).’[1]


            It does not primarily mean to take refuge in the historical Buddha Sākyamuni but means to take refuge in Buddhahood. Buddhahood is the optimum mode of being that can be reached within human existence. It is a state in which the questions of human life are effectively solved and the possibilities of our existence brought to their highest level of actualisation. Thus, Buddha or Buddhahood is a particular entity related to our present existence.


            Secondarily one may find the most secure Refuge, the most secure refuge is refuge sought in the historical Buddha and his followers. Because it is through them Buddhahood is the attainment of which the Buddha attained. Yet, to take refuge in the Buddha is only to acknowledge him as one who indicates the way to Buddhahood through establishing a living possibility. It needs to take refuge in the Doctrine (Dhamma) as well.


            Taking refuge in the Dhamma is on two levels: (i) confidence in the law of kamma and its fruits; (ii) confidence in the Noble Truths.


            The first one means that one understands that wholesome intentional actions produce the fruit of happiness, good opportunities, intelligence, health and so on, while unwholesome intentional actions produce the fruit at mental and physical sufferings as well as obstructions of many kinds. If one really understands that the Dhamma is comprised of the actual stages of insight and the enactment of that insight in a concrete world of relations that one oneself has to realize as it were. It is in this sense that the Dhamma provides us with the real refuge, the way out of Dukkha.


            The second one is related to the Noble Truths. One already knows something of one’s own dukkha; the cause of dukkha; the cessation of dukkha and the path leading to the cessation of dukkha. Thus the Dhamma in which one seeks refuge is intimately related to one’s own lives, it is a dynamic pattern of existence to commit oneself to actualize. However, one also takes refuge in the verbal and written instructions given by the Buddha and his disciples that describe from personal experience how to realize the Dhamma.


            Through the instructions we gain the knowledge necessary for our own practice. They are considered as part of the Dhamma refuge. In other words, the Dhamma, and also the Buddha, are really Refuges to be sought within and not in exterior manifestations, though the latter may be and usually are very helpful aids for the real Refuge.


            Refuge in the Sagha: The Buddha established a noble Saṅgha that has continued in an unbroken succession throughout the ages until this present day. So, the sacred teachings have been perfectly preserved. We can consider the noble Saṅgha our companions on the path because they are skilled in helping us practice the teachings of the Buddha. When we are unable to practice, the noble Saṅgha gives us encouragement and urges us along the path.


            In Buddhist terminology, the Saṅgha is one assembly and one only, namely., the Order of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, this Order is without distinction of race, nationality, caste or age. Wherever there was a residence of the monks or nuns, there was provision made for education of those who lived near them. In the Buddhist Order two paths are open to members: (i) Some undertook to teach while leading the life of discipline, (ii) others devoted most of their time to mental development.


Again, within the Saṅgha the only distinction is the ariya saṅgha and the sammuti saṅgha. The ariya sagha are those whose the fetters have been destroyed and are not returned to become wrong view persons (micchādiṭṭhika puggala). Such persons are said to be Ariya puggala or Ariya saṅgha, the Noble Ones. There are four pairs of persons and eight classes of individuals,[2]  namely.,


(i) Sotāpatti magga.                            (ii) Sotāpatti phala.

(iii) Sakadāgāmi magga.                     (iv) Sakadāgāmi phala.

(v) Anāgāmi magga.                           (vi) Anāgāmi phala.

(vii) Arahant magga.                           (viii) Arahant phala.


            The first seven men are called Sekkha puggala (one who has to learn is called learner). The eighth one is called Asekkha puggala (unlearned person).[3] So the Ariya puggala means the Noble person who does not make any harm to any being but helps all beings. Even such a layman would be a member of the ariya saṅgha but not of the sammuti saṅgha.


            The saṅgha, in the sense of the sammuti sagha, consists exclusively of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, it does not include upāsakā and upāsikā. The ariya saṅgha is represented conventionally by the sammuti saṅgha; but in the ariya saṅgha the Buddhist takes his Refuge since it consists of those who have realized the Truth and are able to teach it from their own experience.

            It is only possible to find true refuge in the Saṅgha through one’s own active participation in the inner life of the Buddhist community as a whole.


            The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha are essentially the three principles that stand in direct relation to ourselves as the objects of our ultimate concern. By taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha we move to a place of security and protection from anxiety as well as from the vicissitudes of the cycle of birth and death.

            The Buddha is the inner aim of our existence, the Dhamma is the process of realizing that aim, and the Saṅgha is the supportive community within which such a process is made possible. We head towards the Buddha, by means of the Dhamma, within the Saṅgha; by thus structuring our lives around these three principles we are able to adopt a mode of living that fully accepts the endeavour to actualize its potentials to the optimum degree.



  • Pañca sīla (the Five Precepts)


            Having taken the Three Refuges in conducting his life, the Buddhist layman is advised to fulfil three basic conditions:


                        (i) To avoid evil (sabba pāpassa akaraṇaṃ).

                        (ii) To be good (kusalassa upasampadā).

                        (iii) To purify the mind (saccitta pariyodapanaṃ).


            - To avoid evil is to keep the body pure by not destroying any lives, stealing or committing adultery.

            - To be good is to keep the speech pure by not engaging in improper talks.

            - To purify the mind is to keep the mind pure by removing all greed, anger and false judgement.


            For our own happiness as well as for others, Lord Buddha advises us to observe certain rules of training as the precepts are called. Practising sīla, one returns to one’s own basic goodness, the original state of normalcy, unperturbed and unmodified. Thus, sīla is to train in preserving one’s true nature, not allowing it to be modified or overpowered by negative forces as anger, greed, and ill-will.

            Observance of the five precepts constitutes the minimum moral obligation or the basic category for laymen. The five precepts are stated as follows:


            1. Pāātipātā veramaī sikkhāpada samādiyāmi,

            I undertake the rule of training to refrain from killing living beings.


            2. Adinnādānā veramaī sikkhāpada samādiyāmi,

            I undertake the rule of training to refrain from taking what is not given.


            3. Kāmesu micchācārā veramaī sikkhāpada samādiyāmi,

I undertake the rule of training to refrain from wrong conduct in sexual relations.


            4. Musāvādā veramaī sikkhāpada samādiyāmi,

            I undertake the rule of training to refrain from false speech.


5. Surā - meraya - majja - pamādatthānā veramaī sikkhāpada samādiyāmi.

 I undertake the rule of training to refrain from intoxicants such as liquors, etc., causing carelessness.


            The first precept: “I undertake the rule of training to refrain from                                                    killing living beings”.


            Comparing one’s own life with other beings, the Buddha taught that: ‘Everyone fears violence, everyone likes life; comparing oneself with others one would never slay or cause to slay.’[4] By undertaking this precept one minimises the sufferings that one will cause and one intends to lead a life free from violence. Here the Buddhist undertakes to abstain from destroying, causing to be destroyed or sanctioning the destruction of a living being. This is based on the principle of goodwill and respect for the right to life of all living beings. Living beings, which are killed when one goes for a walk, digs the garden or just breathes the air, are not counted, because there is no intention to kill them so no unwholesome kamma is made.

            Observing this precept one sees others’ suffering as one’s own and endeavours to do what one can by helping alleviate their problems. Personally, one cultivates love and compassion; socially, one develops an altruistic spirit for the welfare of others.


The second precept: “I undertake the rule of training to refrain from taking what is not given”.


            Adinna means what is not given. Adāna means taking. The immoral volition to take others’ belongings is known as the immoral act of stealing (adinnādāna-akusala-kamma). For instance, ‘careless borrowing, will be included here when subconsciously, one does not have any intention to return the article. Also embezzlement and the fraudulent business dealings such as the adulteration of food, which some shop-keepers and merchants practise, should be included. The under-payment of employees is another case where this precept is broken’.[5]


            There are five factors, which constitute the immoral act of stealing, namely:[6]


            (i) Others’property.

(ii) Awareness of the fact that it is others’property but still try to steal.

            (iii) The immoral volition of stealing.

            (iv) The employment of a device to steal.

            (v) The act of removing the property.


            Whatever device is employed, so long as others’belongings are taken without the consent of the owner, it is the path of retributive kamma (adinnādāna-kamma-patha) that is committed. This kamma may also be caused through the door of speech, since the act of stealing may be performed on receipt of instructions from another person.

             Thus the second precept signifies respect for others’ rights to possess wealth and property. Observing this precept, one refrains from earning one’s livelihood through wrongful means, such as by stealing or cheating. This precept also implies the cultivation of generosity, which on a personal level helps to free one from attachment and selfishness, and on a social level contributes to friendly co-operation in the community.


The third precept:                  “I undertake the rule of training to refrain from wrong conduct in sexual relations”.


            Kāma means lustful attachment. Micchācāra means wrong conduct. Kāmesu micchācāra is wrong conduct with regard to the five sensual organs. The five sensuous objects, namely: (i) visible object, (ii) sound or audible object, (iii) odour object, (iv) taste object (v) tangible object. The fifth factor of Kāma is body impression has been interpreted as unlawful sexual intercourse, indulging in sexual misconduct includes rape, adultery, sexual promiscuity, and all forms of sexual aberration. This precept illustrates very well the practical nature of Buddhist ethics.


            The Buddha said, ‘A wise man should avoid unchastity as if it were a pit of burning cinders. One who is not able to live in a state of celibacy should, at least, not break the purity of another man’s wife’.[7] Because family life represents the aspiration of the bulk of mankind and is by no means to be condemned out of hand.

            This precept teaches one to respect one’s own spouse as well as those of others. It also encourages the practice of self-restraint, which is of utmost importance in spiritual training. Generally speaking, marriage must be recognized as a respectable and honourable state. Breaking up any loving relationship will bear very heavy fruits for the one who does it.

            To achieve complete observance of the precept, one must desist from the five forms of self-indulgence, both directly and indirectly. This precept is intended to instill in us a degree of self-restraint and a sense of social propriety, with particular emphasis on sexuality and sexual behaviour.


The fourth precept : “I undertake the rule of training to refrain from false speech”.


            It includes not only lying but harsh speech, backbiting and idle gossip also. Musāvāda implies the accepting as truth in one’s own mind comparative with what one knows to be untrue, lack of diligence in searching out the truth of a statement.

            Musāvāda veramaṇī concerns abstention from falsehood. Falsehoods only gain one a reputation for unreliability, while truthfulness leads others to trust. Not to tell lies or resort to falsehood is an important factor in social life and dealings. It aims at inculcating a respect for truth in the mind, implying both one’s own obligations as well as the rights of other people to truth. Because ‘lying is applied to the effort of the body and speech, on the part of one who is deceitful to destroy the good of others; the volition setting up the bodily and vocal effort to deceive with intent to cheat others’.[8]


            There are four constituent factors [9] in this offence:

            (i) The untruth itself.

            (ii) The intent to deceive.

            (iii) The effort so involved.

            (iv) The act of communicating the untruth.


            By resorting to falsehood, one not only becomes dishonest but also shows disrespect to the truth; moreover one who tells lies discredit oneself and becomes untrustworthy. However, speaking the truth may cause more harm than untruth, especially if it is done with malicious intent. In this case, there are instances where silence is more appropriate than speech and one may choose this way as an alternative to prevarication and falsehood.

            Thus, the Buddha taught that one should speak the truth that is useful and conducive to the Dhamma, should avoid which is useless to cause unwholesome kamma to oneself and others. Practising this precept helps to preserve one’s credibility, trustworthiness as well as honour.


            The fifth precept: “I undertake the rule of training to refrain from                                      intoxicants such as liquors...causing carelessness”


            This precept covers all intoxicants, including narcotics that alter the state of consciousness and are physiologically addictive. Drinking intoxicants causes carelessness that is the opposite of mindfulness and wisdom, these twin qualities when cultivated brighten up the mind.

            In modern society, drinking intoxicants is not part of the Buddhist culture, although it seems to have become a widespread phenomenon. Those who advocate drinking as a factor for promoting friendship forget to take account of the reality that so many friendships have been drowned in those intoxicants. Truly speaking, friendship founded on compassion and mutual understanding is much more desirable than which is based on alcohol.

            This fifth precept is very important, when it is broken, a person is likely to act rashly and without due consideration or forethought. Otherwise, the other four precepts can be broken, too. Breaking of these precepts causes ruin or disadvantages such as loss of wealth, quarrels, a poor state of health, a source of disgrace, shamelessness and weakened intelligence...


            ‘Imāni pañcasikkhāpadāni sīlena sugatiṃ yanti, sīlena bhogasampada, sīlena nibbutim yanti, tasmā sīlaṃ visodhaye’.


Which translates as:

            These are the five precepts of training by which one attains a good rebirth, by which one possesses wealth of the ordinary sort or of the Dhamma, by which one goes to the cool Peace of Nibbāna; therefore these Precepts should be kept in purity.[10]

            Thus, the whole of the Buddha’s teaching is based on one’s growth that is when mindfulness is present, the five precepts can be kept easily. It makes meditation successful and then wisdom can arise and sees things as they really are.


            Every precept clearly shows that it is not commandments, but indeed moral codes of conduct lay Buddhists willingly undertake out of clear understanding and conviction that they are good for both themselves as well as for society.

            On the personal level, abstention from intoxicants helps to maintain sobriety and a sense of responsibility. Socially, it helps to prevent accidents that can easily take place under the influence of intoxicating drink or drugs.


            Again, the five precepts are the first step along the Buddha’s path for those who wish to follow his way, they would provide an excellent basis of virtue. Each person has the opportunity to practise to the best of his abilities until he becomes more mature and is spiritually ready to give up unwholesome kamma. In any case, whether one or all precepts are broken, one must be renewed by taking them again from a monk or one’s own teacher.





            The moral code of the Buddhist religion is not an end in itself but is practised as a stepping-stone to reach Enlightenment. Without a moral base, there can be no spiritual liberation. What is the Way? For the ordinary individual it is the path of righteousness. When it has been rightly practised, one becomes fit to proceed higher.


            A purposeful, intelligible, meaningful life is one that is alert and active, everlearning and constantly growing, because certain distinctive qualities mark an individual or character. One holds specific convictions regarding one’s purpose in life and in the way in which one means to live that life. One has formulated an ideal upon which one bases a personal code of ethics. It is in this way that the Buddhist ethics (sīla) are founded upon the three important principles as follows:


            1) Non-violence (ahisā): Ahiṃsā is regarded as a guarantee for the safety of life not only of man, but even of life in various other forms. True morality depends on neither bringing harm upon oneself nor on others. When one does apply ahiṃsā to one’s life it will be possible to live harmoniously in one’s surroundings.


            2) Compassion (karuā): Buddhist compassion is not only sympathizing with the sufferings of others (it is a rather passive attitude) but it is actively making an effort to remove those sufferings through friendliness, generosity, contentment, truthfulness and mindfulness.


            3) Effort (viriya): The very goal of Buddhist endeavour depends upon an initial and sustained effort to maintain and to strengthen the emotional attitude which declares that sincere moral conduct depends upon non-violence, to oneself and of others.


            There are different classes of precepts for Buddhists following the teachings at different levels.

            Besides the Five Precepts just mentioned above, lay Buddhists may take the opportunity to observe the Eight Precepts as a means of developing higher virtues and self-control on Full Moon days, New Moon days and intermediate holy days in the lunar month. Of course, these can be practised as often as one wishes, especially the more important ones, i.e., the three months period of rainy retreat and even special events connected with one’s life.



  • Aṭṭhaga Sīla (the Eight Precepts)


            The Eight Precepts are generally observed by devotees for one day after they take back upon themselves the five precepts. Five of these eight precepts are identical with the five precepts mentioned above. Three additional precepts form the Aṭṭha sīla or Uposatha sīla. The three additional precepts are:


            6. Vikālabhojanā veramaī sikkhāpada samādiyāmi,

            I undertake the rule of training to refrain from taking untimely meals.


            7. Nacca - gīta - vādita - visūkadassana - mālāgandha - vilepana - dhāraa - mañana - vibhūsanaṭṭhānā veramaī sikkhāpada samādiyāmi,

            I undertake the rule of training to refrain from dancing, singing music, watching grotesque mime, from using garlands, perfumes, cosmetics and personal adornments.


            8. Uccāsayana - mahāsayanā veramaī sikkhāpada samādiyāmi.

            I undertake the rule of training to refrain from the use of large and luxurious beds.


            Concerning the sixth precept, on days aṭṭha sīla is observed, the layman takes his main meal at mid-day only. The seventh precept is self-explanatory. The eighth may connect with the assumption of high rank such as high beds, high chairs of personal importance.


            For a layman observing the Eight Precepts, he has a chance to stay in some quiet place, often in a monastery and at there to devote his time in meditation, study or listen to the teachings of monks, all these may be difficult for him to do at other times at his home.


            A significant advance in the Aṭṭhaṅga Sīla consists in the practice of celibacy. That is, the layman observing the Eight Precepts must practise complete celibacy; he must not live attached to his family since the observation constitutes a form of temporary renunciation essentially. While the daily observance of the Five Precepts preserves the status of family life and only prevents the layman from indulging in unlawful sensual acts.


            Thus, the Five Precepts or the Eight Precepts guide the practice of the Dhamma special days of training such as the Uposatha. In particular cases and on particular occasions, the Buddhist laymen are extended even ten precepts. The Ten Precepts of a novice and the many precepts practised by monks and nuns.



  • Dasa Sīla (the Ten Precepts)


            Ten precepts were laid down by the Buddha for sāmaṇeras or for the more pious of the laity who could remain unattached to their families and also for those who could observe them for a certain period.

            The former Eight precepts are made into nine by splitting the precept on shows and ornaments, that is, the seventh precept of the Uposatha Sīla is divided into two parts as below:


            The seventh precept: “I undertake the rule of training to refrain from dancing, singing music and watching grotesque mime”.


            The remainder:

            The eighth precept: “I undertake the rule of training to refrain from using garlands, perfumes, cosmetics and personal adornments”.


            The ninth precept: concerns the use of high seats as in the aṭṭha sīla. While another precept is added as the tenth, which exists only in the dasa sīla, stating :


            The tenth precept: “I undertake the rule of training to refrain from handling gold and silver”.

            Jāta - rūpa - rajata - paiggahanā veramaī sikkhāpada samādiyāmi.


            This last precept is not allowed to monks who are in their practice of the Teaching and who do not have the chance to handle money, simply by never possessing it. Because when one is without money, it is very wholesome to cultivate the excellent virtue. If one possesses money, desires may be increased from the delusion that money can buy what one wants. Of course, this precept is especially for the monk’s way of life only.


            At the age of twenty, a novice may ordain many rules by observing the 227 precepts and become a monk or 311 precepts for a nun. Generally, these are the precepts of the special code into which the above Ten Precepts are incorporated.

            All these precepts have their function, the restraint of the body from evil acts, the restraint of the tongue from evil speech and the restraint of the mind from evil thought. These three unwholesome roots may be swept away by sincerely keeping the Precepts, whereby happiness will be experienced in making an effort as well as the chance to develop wisdom. Thus moral conduct is the hallmark of true spiritual attainment. One must start with oneself if one has to train someone. Others will naturally follow what they see. Furthermore, both morality and wisdom together reveal the height of the world. It is just as one should wash one hand with the other.

The Lakkhaṇa Sutta of the Dīgha-Nikāya describes the high standard of conduct maintained by the Buddha in his previous existences, still keeping to the strictly ethical side of conduct, referring to the performance in right action of body, speech and thought, in generosity, virtuous conduct, observance of fasts, in honouring father and mother, ascetics and Brahmins, the head of the clan, and in various other proper activities... As a matter of fact, precepts contain the accumulated experience of many ages and provide the necessary guidance for the development of character. They must be built on a deep, inner attitude towards life and living. It is the attitude that constitutes a spiritual man as well as an intellectual man.


            To observe the precepts is like putting up a fence to protect the house against robbers. Morality becomes the most important aspect for everybody in life. Without virtue, life cannot stand and without love, life is dead. In other suttas, the Buddha teaches that one should in the meantime develop the Four Sublime States (Brahma-vihāra) towards all sentient beings with the realization that, during the immeasurable long passage through the saṃsāra, there is being who has ever been one’s mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, relative or friend...



  • Brahma-vihāra (the Four Sublime States)


            The four sublime states of mind have been taught by the Buddha known as:


                        (i) Loving-kindness (mettā).

                        (ii) Compassion (karuṇā).

                        (iii) Sympathetic joy (muditā).

                        (iv) Equanimity (upekkhā).


            These virtues tend to elevate man, they can transform man into a superman. If each one tries to cultivate these virtues, there will be a paradise where all live in perfect peace and harmony as ideal citizens of the world.   

            Buddhist ideals of society are expressed in a number of important discourses addressed by Lord Buddha to lay people and in them the development of the individual is always stressed as a very necessary factor. Those who take up the cultivation of these virtues find out for themselves how much they help to solve life’s problems.


            Metā (loving-kindness, love, goodwill): should be taken as the fundamental principle in our social life. Mettā opens up a path to the divine heights. It alongwith three other kindred qualities are collectively referred to as Brahma-vihāra which literally means living a divine life (Brahma).

            Mettā is an unselfish love which can be extended to everyone without any kind of discrimination. Generally, people only love the few people to whom they are specially attached by ties of family, etc. Such is limited love or sensual attachment. A love without attachment is scarcely conceivable to many people but such love is much superior to the former because there is no possession and no possessor in the ultimate sense. Such love is a sublime nobility of heart and intellect that knows, understands and is ready to help. It is strength and gives strength.


                        ‘I visited all quarters with my mind,

                        Nor found I any dearer than myself,

                        Self is likewise to every other dear,

                        Who loves himself will never harm another’.[11]


            The culmination of mettā is the identification of oneself with all beings, small and great, far and near, good or evil, noble-minded or low-minded... The noble and the good are embraced because love is flowing to them spontaneously. The low and evil-minded are included because they are those who are most in need of love. Only a man who constantly leads an upright and peaceful life is really dear to himself, for he does actions, which are of great profit, of great happiness. Person who has mettā never thinks of harming others, nor does he disparage or condemn others. Such the person is neither afraid of others nor does he try to instil fear in others. Otherwise he is interested in promoting the welfare of others.

            Mettā cannot co-exist with the antithesis as anger or vengeful conduct. For an example, when a person looks at a mirror with a smiling face, a similar face will greet him. On the contrary, if he looks with a wry face, he will see a similar reflection.

            Thus, person who practises mettā goes to sleep with a loving heart, he awakes with an equally loving heart.


            Karuā (compassion): is taking note of the sufferings of other beings. Every sentient being experiences suffering. In other words, all living creatures have experienced sufferings. Therefore, all these creatures are the objects of compassion.

            In the Vibhaṅga it is said, ‘And how does a Bhikkhu dwell pervading one direction with his heart endued with compassion? - Just as he would feel compassion on seeing an unlucky, unfortunate person, so he pervades all beings with compassion’.[12]

            Like mettā, we should extend our compassion to all living beings who are in trouble and affliction, including dumb animals as well as fertile eggs. In day-to-day life, the practice of compassion is very helpful. First, persons should try to develop a compassionate mind towards their friends or relatives, and then extend this compassion to others. Through contemplating the suffering of neighbours, fellow citizens or those whom in prisons and hospitals... persons can gain an understanding of how much others experience suffering.

            Sometimes it is difficult to generate compassion for those who are very rich, who achieve high positions in society or who are more fortunate than ourselves. In this case, we should remember that there is no being who never falls down from high to low status, no one holds a high position permanently, that is the law of saṃsāra. Thinking in this way, we try to cultivate a compassionate mind towards the wealthy and even powerful ones. And what about enemies? Those who try to harm us, they must experience terrible suffering through their thoughts with angry minds. They lose their mental peace and happiness. Day as well as night they are forced by delusion to act against us. That is why we also develop compassion for our enemies.

Development of compassion for all human beings is not yet enough. Persons should extend compassion to animals and fertile eggs. Those who practise karuṇā are ready to serve others expecting nothing in return, not even gratitude.

            Applying karuṇā to our life through this method, when we are faced with sufferings, we should remember that we are among only a few individuals, no matter how much we suffer, while others are of infinite number. How wonderful it would be if all these countless beings were relieved of their sufferings. From this point of view, persons will receive benefits equal to the number of beings visualised. Hence, it is basically needed to direct efforts as well as energies towards achieving the mind of karuṇā.


            Muditā (sympathetic joy): is to rejoice with others over their successes, gains and happiness. Very often some people cannot bear to see or hear the successful achievements of others. Instead of praising and congratulating the successful person, they in the contrast try to ruin, condemn and vilify them.


            A person who develops sympathetic joy attracts many friends who are devoted to him, in such a way he lives in harmony. Sympathetic joy has the power to increase experience by producing happiness and joy as well as solace to others.

            ‘And how does a bhikkhu dwell pervading one direction with his heart endued with sympathetic joy? - Just as he would be joy on seeing a dear and beloved person, so he pervades all beings with sympathetic joy’.[13] In fact, life will gain in joy by sharing the happiness of others as if it were ours. As a result, it is not mere sympathy but appreciative joy, which tends to destroy jealousy.


            The practice of mettā and karuṇā is easier than the practice of muditā, the practice of muditā demands both great effort and strong will-power. The more sublime and noble the joy of others, the more justified will be our own sympathetic joy. This is the very reason why individuals and groups in human society should practise appreciative joy if they wish to sublime themselves and be internally happy.


            The chief characteristic of muditā is welfare and happiness in others’success here and in lives hereafter. Therefore, muditā embraces all prosperous beings and is the congratulatory attitude of a person. In addition, muditā relieves the tension of mind, soothes the painful burning of the compassionate heart, and it develops compassion into active sympathy. Further, sympathetic joy is the divine smile on the face of the person, a smile that gives solace and hope, fearlessness and confidence.


            Upekkhā (equanimity): is a perfect, unshakeable balance of mind, rooted in insight.

            Look at the world around us or look into all the vicissitudes of life between contrasts such as rise and fall, success and failure, gain and loss, honour and blame, we feel how our hearts respond to all things, i.e., with happiness and sorrow, delight and despair, satisfaction and disappointment, hope and fear. How shall we erect the building of our lives in the midst of this ever restless ocean of existence if we do not stand constantly on the island of equanimity.


            Equanimity is the crown and culmination of the four sublime states. It is the most difficult and the most essential for laymen who have to live in an unbalanced world amidst fluctuating circumstances. Just looking into our own heart, we see clearly how difficult it is to attain and maintain balance of mind. As soon as thoughts of ‘mine, self, I-making’ are forsaken, upekkhā will enter our hearts. Thus, the teaching of anattā will be our guide on the path to deliverance and to perfect equanimity.


            We all have ever heard the Buddha teach that he is wise, whom amidst such vicissitudes of life, stands unmoved like unto a firm rock, exercising perfect equanimity. Its perfection is not due to an emotional emptiness, but to a fullness of understanding, to its being complete in itself. Its unshakeable nature is not the immovability of a dead stone, but the manifestation of the highest strength. Like the lotus that is unsoiled by the mud from which it springs, one should live unaffected by worldly temptations, ever calm, serene and peaceful. Such equanimity is discerning rightly, impartially without attachment, or disfavour. It means even-mindedness, gives to love an even, unchanging firmness and loyalty. It endows with the great virtue of patience. ‘No greater thing exists than be patient’.[14]


            Those who wish to be divine in this life itself may daily cultivate these Brahma-vihāra which are dormant in all. ‘Mettā is the escape from ill-will, karuṇā is the escape from cruelty, muditā is the escape from aversion (boredom) and upekkhā is the escape from greed.’[15] These four attitudes are said to be Brahma (sublime) because they are the right or ideal way of conduct towards living beings (sattesu sammā paṭipatti). They should be understood in the sense of best and in the sense of immaculate. They are called vihāra (abodes) because these abidings are the best in being the right attitude towards beings.

            In Visuddhimagga, chapter IX, it is said that through developing the Four Sublime States (Brahma-vihāra) he who wishes to perfect himself and compassionately work for the welfare of all beings in the course of his countless births in Saṃsāra, may strenuously develop the ten perfections (pāramitā) and ultimately become a Perfect One, a Buddha. Because Buddhists believe that it is very difficult to be born as human beings, if one realises what a great privilege, one would try to make use of one’s life to the highest happiness (Nibbāna). More and more practising Buddha-Dhamma, more and more seeing into one’s own nature and to become a Buddha.



  • Pāramitā (the Perfections)


            The word pāramitā or pāramī has been translated as perfect virtue, transcendental virtue, and highest perfection... The pāramitā are so-called because they are supremely pure in nature and acquired during a long period of time. The virtues, which are listed as pāramitā, are ethically commendable since they elevate the individual to a higher plane.

            The ideal persons in Theravāda Buddhism such as the Buddha, the Paccekabuddha and the Arahant are expected to cultivate these virtues in the environment of society till they reach the Summum Bonum of the path selected. Because society is necessary for the performance of virtues. The ten perfections are required:


            1) Dāna (generosity): giving alms to all beings without investigating whether they are worthy or not so that they may be happy. Practising dāna is to eliminate craving lies dormant within himself. The joy of service, its attendant happiness and the alleviation of suffering... are other blessings of generosity.


            2) Sīla (virtuous conduct): is discipline. Rightly discerning the law of action and reaction of his own accord; he refrains from any harm, evil and does good, benefits to the best of his ability. He considers virtuous conduct his duty to be a blessing to himself and others, and not a curse to any whether man or animal.


            3) Nekkhamma (renunciation): to lead a life of perfect purity and selfless service, no other mode of life affords such great opportunities as the life of an ascetic. He is ready to sacrifice his happiness for the sake of others. Nekkhamma implies both renunciation of worldly pleasures and the temporary inhibition of nīvaraṇa (hindrances).


            4) Paññā (wisdom): is the right understanding of the nature of the world in the light of anicca, dukkha and anattā. It is the first factor of the Noble Eightfold Path (sammādiṭṭhi), or one of the seven factors of enlightenment (dhamma vicaya bojjhanga). It is one of the four means of accomplishment (vimansa iddhipāda), or one of the five powers (paññābala) and one of the five controlling faculties (paññindriya). It is the wisdom leads to purification and to final deliverance.


            5) Viriya (energy or perseverance): It is defined as the persistent effort to work for the welfare of others, both in thought and deed. In one who treads the Noble Eightfold Path, right effort (sammāvāyāmo or viriya) suppresses the arising of evil states, eradicates those evil states which have arisen, stimulates good states, and perfects those good states which have already arisen.


            6) Khanti (forbearance): It is the patient endurance of suffering inflicted upon oneself by others, and the forbearance of others’ wrongs. One tries to seek the good and beautiful in all by practising patience and tolerance, instead of seeing the ugliness in others.


            7) Sacca (truthfulness): It means the fulfilment of one’s promise. He acts as he speaks, he speaks as he acts. There is perfect harmony in his thoughts, words and deeds. His private life accords with his public life. He makes truth his guide, and holds truth as his bounded duty to keep to his words.


            8) Adhiṭṭhāna (resolute determination): Without this firm determination the other perfections cannot be fulfilled. This will-power forces all obstructions out of his path, no matter may come to him such as sickness, grief or disaster.


            9) Mettā (loving-kindness): is defined as the wish for the happiness of all beings without exception. Mettā should be extended towards oneself equally with others. With universal love realised through understanding, a Bodhisatta establishes the brotherhood of all living beings. He is a true citizen of the world, ever kind, friendly and compassionate.


            10) Upekkhā (equanimity): is the most difficult and essential of all perfections, especially for a layman who has to live in an unbalanced world. A Bodhisatta who practises upekkhā metes out justice to all without being influenced by chanda (desire), dosa (hatred), bhāya (fear) and moha (ignorance).

            Besides these ten pāramitā, it should be remembered that there is a different list of ten pāramitā. Six pāramitā are recognized in the Mahāyāna Buddhist Literature, which a Bodhisatta practises. They are mentioned:


                        (i) Dāna (charity).

                        (ii) Sīla (morality).

                        (iii) Khanti (patience).

                        (iv) Viriya (energy).

                        (v) Dhyāna (contemplation).

                        (vi) Paññā (wisdom).


            Four pāramitā are latter added to the original:


                        (i) Upāya (skilful means).

                        (ii) Praṇidhāna (resolution).

                        (iii) Bala (strength).

                        (iv) Jñāna (knowledge).


            Of these four, the most important is Upāya. Such ten transcendental virtues every Bodhisatta practises regularly in order to gain supreme insight as well as shedding some light upon its nature.










            Pāramitā                                Mahāyāna                                          Theravāda


(i)                                Dāna                                                    Dāna

(ii)                               Sīla                                                      Sīla

(iii)                              Khanti                                                 Nekkhamma

(iv)                              Viriya                                                  Paññā

(v)                               Dhyāna                                                Viriya

(vi)                              Paññā                                                  Khanti

(vii)                             Upāya                                                  Sacca

(viii)                            Praṇidhāna                                          Adhiṭṭhāna

(ix)                              Bala                                                     Mettā

(x)                               Jñāna                                                   Upekkhā



                                                                                    Pāramitā (chart 14)



            Let service and perfection becomes our noble ideal. Thus Buddhism with its broad outlook on life has a sympathetic attitude to all living beings including the life of animals and the plant-world. If Buddhism is correctly understood and put into practice, it would definitely bring much solace to those who need the attention of others.



Chapter 6






            There are some persons who believe that Buddhism is so lofty and sublime, a system that cannot be practised by ordinary men and women in this workaday life. They further think that one has to retire into a temple or into a cave or forest and lead a life cut off from society if one desires to be a true Buddhist. This thought is truly due to a lack of understanding of the teaching of Lord Buddha.

            The standards and methods of education adopted at various epochs in a nation’s history depend partly on the requirements of the times and partly on the culture of the people. The system of education in Buddhist and pre-Buddhist India is sufficient to prove the high culture of the time. The Buddhist influence brought free education within the reach of all.


            The vast majority of people in the world cannot become monks or retire to quiet places. Buddhism would be useless to the masses of mankind if people could not follow it in their daily life in the world of today. But understanding correctly the spirit of Buddhism, people can certainly follow as well as practise it while living the life of an ordinary man.

            The Buddha’s teaching is based on love, compassion and service to others. It is meant not only for monks in monasteries but also for ordinary men and women living at home with their families. Each member of a society has a part to play. A noble society can be created by avoiding harm to others and cultivating truthfulness and other ethical qualities. This cultivation would be a basis for mutual understanding.

            It is said that moral precepts provide a wholesome foundation for personal and social growth. They are practical principles for a good life and the cultivation of virtues. If we understand the objectives of sīla and realise its benefits, we will see moral precepts as an integral part of life rather than as a burden that we are compelled to shoulder. Sīla is a course of training willingly undertaken in order to achieve a desired objective. We practise sīla for our own good and for the general benefit of society. As individuals, we need to be trained in morality to lead a noble life. On the social level, we need to help in maintaining peace and harmony.

            The practice of moral precepts is essential in Buddhism because sīla consists of duties that one should perform (cāritta) and should practise (vāritta). These duties are towards an individual’s education, family education as well as both community and social education. The circumstances of delivery are described in detail in the Sigālovāda sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya.


            Sigālovāda sutta was given by the Buddha at Rājagaha for the edification of a young man named Sigālaka. The young Sigālaka, in obedience to the last advice given by his dying father, used to worship the six quarters, east, south, west, north, the nadir and the zenith. As a preface to this explanation, the Buddha speaks of the necessity of abandoning the four defilements of actions (dhammānusārī), by not doing evil from the four causes, by not following the six ways of wasting one’s substance (saddhānusārī). [16]


            The four defilements of actions (dhammānusārī) consist in the violation of the precepts (i) not to take life, (ii) not to take what is not given, (iii) not to commit sexual misconduct and (iv) not to lie in speech.


            The four causes of evil from which one should refrain are required: (i) evil action springs from desire (chanda), (ii) evil action springs from hatred (dosa), (iii) evil action springs from ignorance (moha) and (iv) evil action springs from fear (bhāya).


            The six ways of wasting one’s substance (saddhānusārī) are known as (i) indulgence in intoxicants, (ii) haunting the streets at unfitting times, (iii) attending fairs, (iv) being addicted to gambling, (v) associating with evil companions (vi) habitual idleness.


            According to the Buddha’s teachings, he explained to the young man that, the six directions were considered: (i) The East standing for parents (ii) The South standing for teachers (iii) The West standing for wife and children (iv) The North standing for friends and companions (v) The Nadir standing for servants, workers, and helpers (vi) The Zenith standing for samaṇas (ascetics) and brāhmaṇas (brahmins). Further the Buddha explained that the six social groups mentioned in the discourse were to be regarded as sacred and worthy of respect and worship. By which way should it be practised? - One should worship the six directions by performing one’s duties towards them.







            Children and parents: The Buddha confirmed and emphasized the family relationship, exhorting all persons who decided to remain in the worldly life to maintain the family ties together with the honour and dignity of a social unit.

            The Aṅguttara Nikāya records that the great approval is accorded to families where the parents are held in high respect. ‘Those families where mother and father are worshipped in the home are reckoned like unto Brahma. Those families where mother and father are worshipped in the home are ranked with the ancient teachers. Worthy of offerings are those families where mother and father are worshipped in the home’.[17]

            It is a fact that the mother and father do much for their children. They bring them up (āpādakā), nourish (posakā) and introduce them to the world (lokassa dassetāro). The Buddha says, ‘Parents are called Brahma’ (Brahmāti mātā-pitaro).[18] The term ‘Brahma’ denotes the highest conception in Indian thought; and in this term, the Buddha includes parents. It is said that Parents are sacred to their children. So at the present time, children of good Buddhist families should worship their parents everyday.

            Again, there are three things that have been enjoined by the wise and the good:[19] (i) charity (dāna) (ii) going forth (pabbajjā) and (iii) support of mother and father. Because the debt to one’s parents is, in general, impossible to repay. Only under one circumstance can it be discharged, that is, when the child arouses in his parents confidence in the Triple Gem by establishing them in Sīla, Samādhi and Paññā.[20]


            Sigālovāda sutta gives five ways in which a son should minister to his mother and father as the eastern direction by performing certain duties towards his parents according to the noble discipline:


Having been supported by parents,


(i) I will support them.

                        (ii) I will perform their duties for them.

                        (iii) I will keep up the family tradition.

                        (iv) I will be worthy of my heritage.

                        (v) I will distribute gifts on their behalf (after my parents’deaths)


In return, the parents should show their love for their children as :

                         (i) Parents will restrain him from evil courses.

                        (ii) Support him in doing good and profitable activities.

                        (iii) Training him for a profession.

                        (iv) Arranging a suitable marriage for him.

                        (v) Hand over to him their inheritance at the proper time.


            This spirit is one of loving acceptance, the parents are committed to guarding, supporting and guiding the children equally in pleasure and pain; success and failure...


            Teacher and pupil: In Buddhism, the relationship between the teacher and the pupil is one, which is very highly valued. The teacher first should take the pupils like his sons and make efforts for their all-round development. This norm is not binding only on the part of the teacher but also on the part of the pupils, i.e., the pupils should also develop the fatherly consciousness in their teacher. It is the establishment of the pupil-teacher relationship.

            As considerable sympathy and understanding are necessary on the part of the teacher helping the pupil to rid himself of avijjā (ignorance), relation of the pupils towards their teacher should be well-conditioned. By the way, there are five ways in which the pupils should respect and be obedient to their teachers as the southern direction:


                        (i) The pupil should rise from his seat to greet them.

                        (ii) Wait on the teachers.

                        (iii) Be attentive.

                        (iv) Render them personal service.

                        (v) Master the skills they teach.


            These five duties of the pupils stated hereabove might be construed literally. In the figurative sense, these may be taken as displaying energy, understanding the teacher, paying attention, showing obedience, and preparing the work thoroughly.


            There are also five ways in which the teachers ministered to by their pupils as the southern direction, will reciprocate.


                        (i) Teach and train them in the best discipline.

(ii) Make sure they have grasped what they should have duly grasped.

                        (iii) Give them a thorough grounding in all skills.

                        (iv) Introduce them to their friends and associates.

(v) Make them secure in every way including the knowledge of their duties to persons represented by the other directions.


            These are the five ways in which a pupil should conduct himself towards the teacher and five ways in which the teacher should conduct himself towards the pupil.


            Husband and wife: The relation between husband and wife is considered almost sacred. It is called brahmacariyā (sacred family life). The term ‘Brahma’ here should be understood in the sense of highest respect given to the relationship.

            One should understand marriage is a blessing that is why poverty is not the main cause of an unhappy married life. Husband and wife must learn to share the pleasure as well as pain of everything in their daily life. For everyone, mutual understanding is the secret of a happy family life. The story of Nakula’s parents is a case of relationship between husband and wife since they were to be considered by their children as devas. By what means? By establishment of confidence, virtue, charity and wisdom. The Buddha said, ‘Herein, householders, if both wife and husband desire to behold each other both in this very life and in the life to come, and both are matched in faith, matched in virtue, matched in generosity, matched in wisdom; then do they behold each other in this very life and in the life to come.’[21]


            Again, wife and husband should be faithful, respectful and devoted to each other. For interpretation of Sigālovāda’s adoration to the direction of the west, the sutta gives certain duties towards each other. There are five ways in which a husband should minister to his wife as the western direction:


                        (i) The husband should always honour his wife.

                        (ii) Not despise her.

                        (iii) Not be unfaithful to her.

                        (iv) Hand over authority to her.

                        (v) Provide her with adornments.


            The fact to be noticed here that the Buddha, the Great Master did not forget to mention even such a thing as the presents a husband should make to his wife, shows how much understanding and sympathetic were his human feelings towards ordinary human emotions.


The wife, in her turn, who is thus ministered to by her husband should:

                        (i) Perform her duties in perfect order.

                        (ii) Be hospitable to their relatives.

                        (iii) Be faithful to her husband.

                        (iv) Take care of his wealth.

                        (v) Be skilful and diligent in all she has to do.


            Although the husband is the breadwinner of the family, he should not treat the wife as a servant. It is his duty whenever he is free to help the wife in the house holdchores. On the other hand, the wife should not always nag or grumble at her husband whenever there is any shortage at home. She should also not be suspicious of her husband. Even though he may have really weaknesses, she should correct him by talking it over with him kindly. Additionally, the Buddha said, there are four ways of living together.[22] They are known as:


                        (i) a vile man lives alongwith a vile woman.

                        (ii) a vile man lives alongwith a devi.

                        (iii) a deva lives alongwith a vile woman.

                        (iv) a deva lives alongwith a devi.


            Furthermore, he teaches that a man may have these seven kinds of wives.[23] What are seven?

                        (i) Wife likes a slayer (vadhakasama).

                        (ii) Wife likes a robber.

                        (iii) Wife likes a mistress (ayyasama).

                        (iv) Wife likes a mother.

                        (v) Wife likes a sister.

                        (vi) Wife likes a companion.

                        (vii) Wife likes a handmaid.


            In its explanation the Buddha expounded that: The executioner wife was pitiless and corrupt, a prostitute. The thief robbed her husband of his gains. The lazy gossip and shrew with a loud voice was a mistress. The mother-wife cared for her husband and his possessions as she would care for an only son. The sister-wife behaved like a younger sister to an elder. The companion-wife behaved as the term would indicate, a companion. The slave-wife endured all things, remaining calm, pure in heart, and obedient. Finally, the last four kinds of wife would, at death, wander in a heavenly world. In common, a wife has to tolerate a lot of things without bothering her husband.


            According to a certain religion, a man may marry more than one wife while another religion is in favour of a monogamous marriage. Buddhism although remains uncommitted in this respect, man can understand through his own experience, whether he gets more pleasure or displeasure by the increase in the number of wives. However, it seems to be that man invites more worries and burdens throughout his life for a momentary pleasure by possessing more than one wife. Married couples should also exercise greater control of their will-power in order to have only a sufficient number of children for leading a happy family life.


            Friends and companions:


                        Na bhaje pāpake mitte, na bhaje purisādhame

                        Bhajetha mitte kalyāṇe, bhajetha purisuttame.


                        Associate not with evil friends, associate not with mean men,

                        Associate with good friends, associate with noble men.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 78)


            By Buddhist standards, traditionally, a good friend or companion is said to have saddhā (faith), be virtuous, learned, and be wise. It is, indeed, very rare in this day and age to find such a friend. Because a friend is a person with whom he associates frequently, wants to do so and enjoys doing so.


            You should understand that the thought arising in your mind also arises in other’s. For example, a man is your friend because you have created in his mind thoughts like yours. That is called the law of friendship. The cardinal relation between friends is called friendship. Then, friendship implies as a rule the friendly disposition felt or shown in one’s relationship with those who we call friends. Physiologically, the world is perpetuated by the family relationship, but the Buddha has also given the quality of making friends as one that is instrumental in making the world go round.


                                    Making friends, and keeping them,

                                    Welcoming, no stingy host,

                                    A guide, philosopher and friend,

                                    Such a one may honour gain.

                                    Giving gifts and kindly speech,

                                    A life well-spent for others’good,

                                    Even-handed in all things,

                                    Impartial as each case demands:

                                    These things make the world go round

                                    Like the chariot’s axle-pin.[24]


            As a matter of fact, in our daily life, a friend is one joined to another in intimacy and mutual benevolence. Aptitude for friendship is willingness to bring service and support as well as quickness to respond to the other person. In the case of good companions where a mutual friendship is established, certain duties are incurred. A true friend is someone who will readily share anything he has with others, and may even lay down his life for his friends if need be.


            In a discourse of the Majjhima-Nikāya, we find a very beautiful passage illustrating the concept of friendship in Buddhism: ‘The three monks Anuruddha, Nandiya and Kimbila lived together, served one another. They were watching for any opportunity for being of service in silence, helping one another without interrupting their silence and their silent contemplation on account of such occasional services. They dispensed with attendants, did all the work of maintaining their hermitage tidy and clean, sharing any extra gifts of almsfood, washing up, sweeping as well as cleaning the place. Every fifth night, they spent in discussing any point of the Teaching. The Buddha visited them and praised them on their way of living, practising the holy life with perfect harmony and concord amongst themselves, thus forming an adornment to the lovely forest hermitage’. [25]


            Returning to the simile of the quarters, Sigālovāda Sutta, giving as the northern direction as the ministrations of friends and companions, asserts the following.

            There are five ways in which a man should minister to his friends and companions by:

                        (i) Generosity.

                        (ii) Kindly words.

                        (iii) Looking after their welfare.

                        (iv) Treating them like himself.

                        (v) Truthfulness.


            And there are five ways in which friends and companions, in turn ministered to by a man, should:

                        (i) Protect him when he is heedless.

                        (ii) Protect his property when he is heedless.

                        (iii) Be a refuge when he is afraid.

                        (iv) Not desert him when he is in danger.

                        (v) Show concern for his children.


            In this way, the northern direction is covered, making it at peace and free from fear.

            In Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha said : Monks, let a monk cultivate, follow, honour a friend who is endowed with seven things,[26] even though he is driven away. They are: He is genial, pleasant, grave, cultured, a speaker, bland, profound in speech, he urges one not untimely (no ca aṭṭhāne niyojeti).


            Generally speaking, a person’s morality should be assessed with consideration over a long period, similarly with regard to his purity, strength in distress, and wisdom in conversation. For example, one is born, lives in the world, acquires a personality; in so far as in the being born, living in the world and acquiring a personality, eight things of the world (such as losing and getting, defame and fame, blame and praise, suffering and happiness) keep the world turning and on the contrary the world keeps turning on eight things. In his affliction a man may be overwhelmed with distress and utterly bewildered, or a man so afflicted may not grieve or he becomes confused. By conversation with a man one comes to know his uncertainty. One sees whether he utters profound words, calming, beyond the realm of logic and reasoning. Concerning his conversation on the Buddha-Dhamma one comes to know whether he is able to offer explanations, analyse and clarify matters or not. Thus a person’s actions may prove over a spell of time, to be inconsistent in character.

            Intimacy with a person may lead one to see that he behaves in one way with some persons and in quite another with others. To sum up, the Buddha’s advice is to associate with the wise:


No ce labetha nipakaṃ sahāyaṃ

saddhiṃ caraṃ sādhuvihāridhīraṃ

Rajā’va raṭṭhaṃ vijitaṃ pahāya

eko care mātaṅgaraññ’eva nāgo.


            If you do not get a prudent companion to live with you, who behaves well and is wise, then like a king who leaves a conquered kingdom, you should live alone as an elephant does in the elephant forest.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 329)


            Servants, workers and helpers: At the human level, the lessons man can learn by realizing his position in the world are not only that he needs to be humble but also he need not despair, since he has the power to understand the world and overcome it. Both the lessons, the realization of our common plight and the potentialities within each of us, teach us but only one moral conduct, that is, everyone’s duty is to help his fellow beings and no one has any right or valid grounds to despise another.


            According to Sigālovāda Sutta, there are five ways in which a master (ariyaka) or noble man should minister to his servants, workers and helpers as the nadir by:

(i) Arranging their work according to their strength and capabilities.

                        (ii) Supplying them with food and wages.

                        (iii) Looking after them when they are sick.

                        (iv) Sharing special delicacies with them.

                        (v) Letting them off work at the right time.


            There are five ways in which servants, workers and helpers, thus ministered to by their master as the nadir, will reciprocate:

                         (i) They will get up before him.

                        (ii) Go to bed after him.

                        (iii) Take only what they are given.

                        (iv) Do their work properly.

                        (v) Be bearers of his praise and good repute.


            Samaas and brāhmaas: (literally, ascetics and brahmins). This is the relation between the religious and the laity. Samaṇas and brāhmaṇas are members who represent the embodiment of the Dhamma and they have been, by and large, responsible for the preservation and promotion of the religion.


            Literally, the members of ascetics, brahmins or monks mean community. In its broadest sense, the term covers both the laity and the religious communities. From the doctrinal perspective, it refers to those who have achieved any of the spiritual attainment by virtue. Thus, anyone who has attained to higher level is qualified to be included in this category of community. In the Saṃyutta Nikāya, Sakka [the king of the gods (devas)] declares that he worships not only the monks who live a virtuous holy life, but also lay disciples (upāsakā) who perform meritorious deeds, who are virtuous and maintain their families righteously.[27]


            Far more important as all practical applications of a number of important educational devices are the Buddha’s views on teaching and learning and related subjects. An interesting passage in the Sigālovāda Sutta enumerates the duties of the religious and the laity in which a man should minister to ascetics and brahmins as the zenith, by five ways:


(i) Kindness in bodily deed.

                        (ii) Kindness in speech.

                        (iii) Kindness in thought.

                        (iv) Not closing the doors against them.

                        (v) Supplying their material needs.


And then, the ascetics and brahmins ministered to by him as the zenith, will reciprocate in five ways:

                        (i) They will restrain him from evil.

                        (ii) Encourage him to do well.

                        (iii) Be benevolently compassionate towards him,

                               teach him what he has not heard.

                        (iv) Clarify what he has already heard.

                        (v) Point out to him the way to a heavenly state.


            These duties mean to be obligations between religious teachers and their lay disciples in a religious setting, the same sutta also lays down a similar set of duties between teacher and pupil in a secular setting. Here the ethical content of what is taught is emphasised interestingly an obligation is cast on the lay disciples to make themselves accessible to their teachers. In both cases of secular and religious education, the obligation cast on the pupil or disciple regards as learning is very important. The pupil is expected to listen to everything that the teacher says with respectful attention. The lay disciples similarly are asked to minister to their teachers with respectful attention in their deeds, words as well as thoughts.

            Buddhist education promotes the development of an emotional and moral bond between the teacher and the teaching. It requires the teacher to be held in respect. As such the teacher is required not only to protect the pupil from all kinds of danger, but also to introduce the pupil to friends and spread his reputation.


            A significant corollary to this fact is that the pupil’s accomplishments and success add to the reputation of the teacher. The interpersonal relations so-promoted between the teacher and the pupil generate a wholesome atmosphere for study and search for knowledge. So, wife-love is largely motherly. Parents, wife, friend, master, teacher and all religious rank in the Buddha’s social Vinaya, are for that matter in India generally, as little gods. So great is the responsibility attaching to these six positions, so fine is the opportunity for exercising compassion, tender care, and protection. In the six reciprocal aspects there is an element of childhood. The child under compassionate protection feels safe and confident as does the believing worship. Ideally, such childlike security and confidence is the attitude of student to teacher, wife to husband, friend to friend, servant to master.[28]







            In the days of the Buddha as today, there were rulers who governed their countries unjustly. People were oppressed and exploited, tortured and persecuted; excessive taxes were imposed and cruel punishments were inflicted. The Buddha had shown how a whole country could become corrupt, degenerate and unhappy when the heads of its government become corrupt and unjust. It must have a just government for a country to be happy.

            The Buddhist concept stresses that the greatness of a government lies in its righteousness. The Kūṭadanta and Aggañña Suttas of the Dīgha Nikāya set out eight attributes of a righteous ruler. They are required as follows:


                        (i) The Head of the Government must be just.

                        (ii) He must be a philanthropist who honours the clergy.

                        (iii) He must engage himself in beneficial activities.

                        (iv) He must be intelligent

                        (v) He must be educated

(vi) He must look at any problem reviewing the past, present, and future.

                        (vii) He must not be arrogant

                        (viii) He must be sagacious.


The ruler must be kind to his subjects in the same manner, as a father is kind to his children.


            Buddhism teaches that a country should be governed in accordance with the Ten duties of the King (dasa-rāja-dhamma) [29] as given in the Jātaka, namely.,


            (i) Dāna (liberality). The ruler should give away property for the welfare of the people.


            (ii) Sīla (morality). The ruler must at least observe the five precepts of the layman.


            (iii) Pariccāga (sacrificing everything for the good of the people). He must be prepared to give up all personal comfort even his life in the interest of the people.


            (iv) Ajjava (honesty and integrity). He must be free from fear or favour in the discharge of his duties, must be sincere in his intentions, and must not deceive the public.


            (v) Maddava (kindness and gentleness). He must possess a genial temperament.


            (vi) Tapa (austerity in habits). He must have self-control.


            (vii) Akkodha (freedom from hatred, ill-will and enmity). He should bear no grudge against anybody.


            (viii) Ahiṃsā (non-violence). He should not only harm nobody, but also try to promote peace.


            (ix) Khanti (patience, tolerance). He must be able to bear difficulties without losing his temper.


            (x) Avirodha (non-obstruction). He should rule in harmony with his people.


            The term King (rājā) of ancient period should be replaced by Government today. Therefore, the ten duties of the King apply today to all those who constitute the government such as the head of the state, ministers, political leaders, administrative officers... In this way, the Buddha taught righteous government for the good of the people. He aims at creating a society where life in peace and harmony in a world of material contentment, is directed towards the highest and noblest aim.

            Out of all forms of government, democratic form is the ideal. The object of such a government is to bring about mundane and supramundane well-being of the people. The political, religious, personal freedom and economic security must be ensured and every able-bodied person must be provided with employment. According to Buddhism this matter must be founded upon a righteous process.


            Then, we see the lay life with its family and social relations is included in the noble discipline, is within the framework of the Buddhist way of life, as the Buddha envisaged it. In a society where morality prevails members are conscious of their roles, there will be general security, mutual trust, and close co-operation, these rules in turn leading to greater progress and prosperity.

            Without morality there will be corruption and disturbance, and all members of society are adversely affected. It is not enough to know what is good or evil, we need concrete guidelines to follow proper deed provided by the Buddhist moral precepts. Most of the problems society experiences today are connected, directly or indirectly, with a lack of good morality. For a moral life to be meaningful questions of morality concern the issues of right and wrong; good and evil must not remain mere theoretical principles, but should be translated into practice.


            Within Buddhism is to be found a comprehensive system of transcendental metaphysics embracing a sublime psychology. It satisfies all temperaments. To the simple minded it offers a code of morality, which consists in gaining material satisfaction here and going to heaven hereafter, as contained in the Sigālovāda Sutta, the practice of which will strengthen the solidarity of a community. Beyond the personal level and the emancipation of the individual, Buddhism recognises the family as a unit of society and nation. It maintains the right relations between its family members, employers and employees to live in harmony in society without leading useless life. Such a teaching provides for diligent practice that is the mark of a truly social being. On the other hand, the advanced person who realizes the hindrances of the household life can resort to a higher code of morals and ethics, as contained in the rules of the Holy Order, known as the Vinaya. The concept of training in Buddhist tradition ensures the proper development of theoretical and practical knowledge side by side.


            Aṅguttara-Nikāya recognizes five ways of growth, that is, (i) growth in confidence based on knowledge and personal experience (saddhā), (ii) in morality (sīla), (iii) in learning (suta),  (iv) in the practice of giving up things or generosity (cāga) and (v) in wisdom (paññā).[30] As the Way was taught by Lord Buddha in different ways, according to the capacity of individuals, so the practice should differ according to the abilities and requirements of one’s character. That is all a man needs, for goodness is above all.

            Again, society itself is a chain of individuals in which if one link is broken, the rest naturally is effected. Many ideas for the advancement of society as well as duties and obligations both by the family and society for their mutual benefit are mentioned in the Sigālovāda sutta. Hence, the individual needs to relate to the society in which he lives. Each individual lives primarily to support, guard and guide the other. In the family, there is a natural order of relations that arises from mutual respect. The relation between the individual and the society occupies an important position, for a person becomes ethically higher and spiritually more advanced by reacting to society in an ethically commendable way. The happiness of a whole society is the happiness of the family, too. For the family and for the community of monks, the Buddha prescribed the very same recipe of success as for the state. Within the community of the Saṅgha, rank was determined solely by length of membership. The Buddha took the line that, with the cultivation of the Moralities any person of any social rank could improve, and be successful in the mundane sense if he kept the Sīla.

            This way of life vibrates with caring and with taking care. It guards tradition. Heart, mind and body are given to the creation of happiness for others, here and now.







            No less demand is made in the conduct and management of one’s professional or business affairs, and moreover, it is recognized that a moral person should expect and achieve success in his ventures.

            One who lives according to the Buddha-Dhamma must learn how to live, that is called the righteous way of living by giving up occupations or trades that involve unwholesome kamma. The Buddha has told in a generic way that, ‘Sabbe sattā āhāraṭṭhitika’. It explains that both the monks and the householders are subject to livelihood.


            The monks abandon the domestic life and live the life of a recluse, they also have to earn some livelihood by right means in order to maintain their life. Monks should train to be possessed of shame (hiri) and fear (ottappa) of wrong doing because they serve as the foundation of morality.[31] Shame (hiri) has the characteristic of disgust with evil, it is dominated by a sense of self-respect, and manifests itself as conscience. Fear (ottappa) of wrong doing has the characteristic of ‘dread of evil’, it is dominated by a concern for the opinions of others and manifests itself as fear of doing evil. In doing so, they should be conscious or cautious in getting Piṇñapāta (food), Cīvara (cloth), Senāsana (the dwelling place) and Gilānapaccaya bhesajja parikkhāra (the medicine).


            In the Visuddhimagga, Buddhaghosa is careful in noting down such practices to make the life of a monk pure through Ājīvapārisuddhi sīla. Ājīva means livelihood. Pārisuddhi means purification. The Sīla related to the purification of livelihood is named Ājīvapārisuddhi sīla.

            Earning livelihood by pure means, one should give up and never try to get something by wrong ways. The wrong practices, which have been enumerated here, are (i) Kuhanā (ii) Lapanā (iii) Nemittikatā (iv) Nippesikatā and (v) Lābhena lābha nicikiñchanatā. They may very briefly be stated as follows:


            1) Kuhanā : means cheating someone by some wrong ways or using such methods to earn a livelihood. It also means deceiving someone by showing attractive posture, or by pretending to be good while not actually being so. Thus, Kuhanâ is deceiving others by way of artificial figure.


            2) Lapanā : The literal meaning of the word ‘Lapanā’ is telling something. Deceiving someone by means of using attractive words is known as Lapanā.


            3) Nemittikatā : Nemitti means sign. Earning a livelihood by making some signs to attract others is called Nemittikatā.


            4) Nippesikatā : Earning a livelihood by means of scolding, condemning, rebuking or making cutting jokes, etc., to get something.


            5) Lābhena lābha nicikiñchanatā :  It means giving up the smaller gains for getting the higher gains or giving up the things of little value and taking what is more valuable. It is the act known as Lābhena lābha  nicikiñchanatā.

            These are the five tricks of earning livelihood by wrong way, which are best avoided. The Buddha has clearly spoken that one should be always mindful in giving up the wrong way of earning livelihood in order to accept only the right means for one’s life.


            Additionally, the Buddha directed his attention even towards the serious problem of government through Karuṇā with a view to promote a form of justice that would not harm and hurt the people. Justice should prevent suffering under the tyranny and the heavy taxes imposed on them by unrighteous rulers.

            There are, however, certain trades and pursuits that the householder should not follow.[32] They are enumerated as: (i) trade in weapons (satthavāṇijjā) (ii) trade in human beings (satta) (iii) trade in flesh (iv) trade in intoxicants and (v) trade in poison. From the foregoing, the householder is merely advised that he must try to make a success of his chosen work.

            Apart from these suggestions, a shopkeeper is recommended to be alert, capable and dependable. His clear-sightedness consists in judging the possibility of sale and the amount to be obtained thereby, and his capability in technique as a salesman. A shopkeeper should be (i) shrewd, (ii) supremely capable and (iii) he should inspire confidence.[33] Possessed of the three characteristics, a shopkeeper in no long time attains greatness and increase in wealth.


            In Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha gave five reasons[34] why a moral person should desire to be possessed of means:

            - Firstly, by his work diligence and clear-sightedness he could make happy himself, his parents, wife and children, servants as well as workpeople.

            - Secondly, he could make happy his friends and companions.

            - Thirdly, he would be able to keep his property from the depredations of fire, water, rulers, robbers, enemies and heirs.

            - Fourthly, he would be able to make suitable offerings to his kin, guests, deceased (petas), kings and devas.

            - Fifthly, he would be able to institute, over a period, offerings to recluses and others who abstain from pride and negligence, who are established in patience and gentleness, and who are engaged in every way in perfecting themselves.

            At the same time, whether his wealth increases or whether it does not, he should not be disturbed in his mind if he knows that his reasons for trying to amass it were good.


                        To mother, father dutiful, to child and wife.

                        A blessing ever, for the weal of both:

                        Of those within the home and those who live

                        By him, moral and wise in word is he.

                        For him, for those gone on before, for such

                        As live e’en here, for samaṇa and brāhman,

                        Breeder of welfare doth the wise become,

                        (In that) by Dhamma in the home he lives.

                        Author of lovely (conduct) worshipful

                        Doth he become, and worthy praise E’en here

                        Men praise him, and to the hereafter gone,

                        In the bright world he dwells in happiness.[35]


            All of these wish him long and protected life, and by reason of his virtue it may be expected that he will not go into decline.


            Advice to one agricultural worker is stated that his fields should be well-ploughed and well-prepared, sowing and watering should take place at the proper time, and the worker should be quick at his work.[36] The Buddha taught the people the value of earning wealth and the importance of economic development for their well-being and happiness.


            Again, the Cakkavatti Sīhanāda Sutta in the Dīgha Nikāya clearly states that poverty is the cause of crime and immorality. In a poverty stricken country, people find it difficult to spare the time to concentrate on developing good qualities. The economic strength of a country is very important so that people might enjoy the goodness, which is in their hearts. In the Kutadanta Sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya, the Buddha also expounded that crimes such as stealing could not be stopped by punishment. For such crimes to be adequately, properly controlled and stopped, opportunities should be provided for the people to be happily engaged in their occupations, enabling them to lead comfortable lives. But whatever the nature of one’s occupation, one must be diligent. By one own energy and effort, one successfully amasses wealth by lawful as well as honourable means, enjoys ownership (atthi-sukhaṃ), wealth (bhoga-sukhaṃ), independence in the sense that one does not run into debt (anana-sukhaṃ), and blamelessness (anavajja-sukhaṃ).[37]


Talking about profiting the family, four reasons are given for failure [38] to do, namely, (i) failing to seek what has been lost (natthaṃ) (ii) not repairing what is decayed (iii) eating and drinking to excess (aparimitapānabbo janā) (iv) putting immoral and unreliable men or women in responsible positions. To achieve one’s work, one must exercise all the moral and physical effort of which one is capable, and if at times one is unsuccessful, one must take for consolation the thought that he has acted rightly as far as such action could be judged under the circumstances. Both squandering and hoarding of wealth are therefore deplored.


            The Buddha also confirmed that one’s property would have been the natural order of events in the opposite circumstances. When the wealthy man would have allocated his wealth properly, he would have been happier himself, would have made others happy. His charitable deeds and almsgiving would have been productive of a happy future state. Then, his riches would not have been wasted. The ideal disposition lies in a division into four parts:[39]


                        He should divide his wealth in four

                        (This will most advantage bring).

                        One part he may enjoy at will,

                        Two parts he should put to work,

                        The fourth part he should set aside

                        As reserve in times of need.


            It is noticeable that no mention is made here for charitable contributions, because it is considered that the omission was intended since the amount of these is always left to the discretion and inclination of the giver. Therefore, the wise man discerning this enjoys his goods and gives his benefits as he is able, used and shared, blameless he would attain to rebirth in a happy place.[40]


            On one occasion when the Buddha was dwelling at the Koliyans’ market-town of Kakkarapatta, he was approached by one Dīghajānu who remarking that he and other householders were absorbed in the affairs of the present world. They wished to know the things which would be for their advantage and happiness here on earth (present time), for their advantage and happiness in the world to come (future time).

            The Buddha gave the four things [41] leading to happiness here on earth as (i) achievement in alertness (utthāna-sampadā) (ii) achievement in watchfulness (ārakkha-sampadā) (iii) association with people of high moral standing (kalyaṇa-mittatā) and (iv) leading a balanced life (samajīvitā).


            The first is understood that, whatever one’s occupation, whether by the plough, by trading, by cattle-herding, by archery, or he is a civil servant or craftsman... one should be skilful and industrious, be possessed of an inquiring mind, able to arrange and carry out his work. This is called achievement in alertness.


            The second one, achievement in watchfulness, should be interpreted as care of one’s possessions so that one would not be stolen or taken from other or come to any harm.


            The third, by associating with friends of high moral standing, one should rear in virtue, full of faith (saddhā), morality (sīla), charity (cāga) and wisdom (paññā), displayed by the best of one’s associates.


            The fourth, regarding leading a balanced life, whether one is experiencing an easy or difficult time, one should neither be unduly elated nor depressed; further, one should order one’s affairs according to one’s income. The four things leading to welfare and happiness in the world beyond were given by the Buddha as confidence based on understanding and experience. They also are the four that the layman should seek in his associates. Here, saddhā is the certainty of the qualities of the Buddha. Achievement in virtue lies in the keeping at least the basic precepts. Achievement in generosity (charity) lies in the freeing of thought from avarice and the practising of giving up things. Achievement in wisdom lies in the penetration of the Noble Way leading to complete destruction of suffering and making wisdom arise leading to welfare as well as happiness.[42]


            Finally, in order to sum up the duties connected with means of livelihood, the Buddha taught:


                        Faith, virtue, conscientiousness and fear of blame,

                        Listening and bounty, yea and wisdom seventh -

                        Who hath these treasures - woman, man - hath here

                        Great treasure which no deva, man can mar;

                        Wherefore faith, virtue, grace, the Dhamma-view

                        Wise men pursue, minding the Buddha’s word.[43]


Part four




Chapter 7




            We all know Buddha-Dhamma. We also know what is the Puggala. Constituted a Puggala is anattā. The constitution is often change (aniccā). What is aniccā is dukkha. Though, in some cases the Puggala is something real (sacca) at any given moment. So what we have to do with this body for the welfare of many, for the happiness of the many. It is the main point, it is the embodiment of this thesis.


                        Kiccho manussapṭilābho, kicchaṃ maccāna jīvitam

                        Kicchaṃ saddhammasavaṇaṃ, kiccho buddhānaṃ uppādo.


            Rare is birth as a human being. Hard is the life of mortals. Hard is the hearing of the Sublime Truth. Rare is the appearance of the Buddhas.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 182)


            In fact, all of us bear a human body, which is something, most valuable. If we do not know how to use our body, it is similar to someone who has a large wealth and instead of using it for the benefit of others, he harms them through it.

            The commendable action is one that is beneficial to both parties (i) the doer and (ii) the person affected as the case may be. Therefore, an action has to be viewed in a very broad perspective. No action, which is one-sided either selfish or altruistic, is the detriment of the doer will be encouraged by the Buddhist.


            In other words, there are two ideas of morality: to be good and to do good; the first one is the real morality that the Buddhist ideal states whereas the second may be only a means to an end. As a result, our body is extremely rare, it signifies that we can achieve ultimate happiness by using it properly. The method for achieving such ultimate happiness is learning, understanding and practising the teachings of Lord Buddha (the Dhamma). Because only the Dhamma can solve and directly protect living beings from their sufferings.


            * The Dhamma is like a medicine. If various kinds of medicine are needed to treat a variety of diseases, Buddhism also needs to propose various dhammas for people of different circumstances. The teachings and practices found in Buddhism may appear quite different but they all aim at liberating the mind. Everybody is ready to learn throughout his entire life by observing reality in himself and in the world at all times. Buddhism is thus concerned with the true nature of man and the world around him. It emphasises a spirit of inquiry for each human being irrespective of caste, creed or station in life.


            * How does the Dhamma protect us directly? First of all, the realisation of the Dhamma eradicates our inner problems and leads us to the ultimate peace. That is, through patience, it will solve the problem of anger.


                        ‘No higher rule, the Buddha say, than patience,

                        And no Nibbāna higher than forbearance’.[44]


Through compassion, it will solve the problem of jealousy.


            Yo appaduṭṭhassa narassa dussati, suddhassa posassa anaṅganassa

            Tam eva bālaṃ pacceti pāpaṃ, sukhumo rajo paṭivātaṃ’va khitto.


            Whoever harms a harmless person, one pure and guiltless, upon that very fool the evil recoils like fine dust thrown against the wind.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 125)


And through non-self, it will eliminate the problem of sufferings...


                        ‘Puttā m’atthi dhanaṃ m’atthi, iti bālo vihaññati

                        attā hi attano natthi, kuto puttā kuto dhanaṃ’.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 62)


Next, the Dhamma has the quality of being one’s actual refuge that one cannot look for anywhere else. In reality, there are many problems one cannot solve easily, even one’s friends or relatives cannot help in such situation. Only the person who lives with the Dhamma will recognise how much benefit he gets through his experience.


            There are three kinds of meaning to be obtained through practising the Dhamma in this life:


            (i) The highest meaning is to reach liberation.

            (ii) Another meaning is to achieve self-liberation from saṃsāra.

            (iii) The least meaning is to try to obtain a peaceful mind by solving inner problems and at least not to be reborn in the lower realms.


            Human beings can reach the height of perfection unbound by practising the five faculties (pañcindriya), for both material and spiritual gain. The practice of these five faculties brings harmony in the practitioner and generates effort for higher achievement. They are mentioned:


            1. Saddhā indriya : In a general sense, saddhā is used for confidence, respect or honor, etc. In the particular sense, it has a different meaning. Its function is to purify the faculties in the consciousness. All darkness like attachment, hatred, ignorance, jealousy, conceive... are washed away. After the arising of saddhā, by washing them away, it makes the mind clear. Saddhā has also the characteristic of generating inspiration. It inspires the Yogācara to proceed for higher spiritual gain such as Sotāpanna, Sakadāgāmi, Anāgāmi and Arahant... Therefore it has been defined Sampasādana-lakkhana-saddhā.


            2. Viriya indriya : The literal meaning of the word ‘Viriya’ is energy. It supports the mind to fight against immoral deeds. Similarly, supported by viriya, the mind develops moral actions and prevents immoral ones. It has been defined as Upatthambhana-lakkhana-viriya, or that viriya is characteristic of grounding support.


            3. Sati indriya : The meaning of ‘Sati’ is mindfulness, mental awareness. Here it has been used in two senses (i) it is to be in the mind of man for his value (ii) it is in the mind of man for advising him to receive his value. In this way it has been defined as Apilāpana-lakkhana-sati. It inspires the Yogācara to receive these human values and practice them in their life. Then, it is further defined as Upagahana-lakkhana-sati, or mindfulness which has the characteristic of receiving.


            4. Samādhi indriya : The literal meaning of the word samādhi is one-pointedness or concentration. Samādhi has got the characteristic to train the mind to lead towards moral gain. All spiritual gain, therefore, has been defined as Pamukha-lakkhana-samādhi which samādhi has the characteristic of facing towards.


            5. Paññā indriya : The meaning of paññā is understanding to know or to examine. It has the characteristic of cutting down the darkness of ignorance. When the ignorance is removed, there is the appearance of wisdom. In this case, it has been defined as Chedana-lakkhana-paññā.


            Among these five faculties, each one has a different definition, function; but they all have common objective, that is, to destroy the pollution of the mind. These individual qualities are again called ‘indriya’ in the sense of leading principles. They refer to the same qualities as the five powers  (pañca bala) when they are strongly developed they cannot be crushed by their opposite or inimical states.


            Buddhism emphasises on the ethical conduct of right speech, right action and right livelihood; on concentration of mind through right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration; and inseparably on wisdom through right view as well as right thought.

            The virtue is a part of the technique of skilful and noble living. Without an ethical discipline, there cannot be a purification of the defilements of sentient existence. Moreover, the goal of spiritual advancement of man can come only by the process of man in respect of things within him. It gives importance to individual human beings and on their thinking. Frankly speaking, human beings should have the knowledge and power to understand things as they really are. The meaning is: ‘Not to dwell in the past which was gone, nor to seek the future which was unattained yet, but to perceive the Dhamma in the phenomena presently occurring and at the same time not to become involved in and attached to them.’[45]


                        Let not a person revive the past

                        Or on the future build his hopes [46]

                        For the past has been left behind.

                        And the future has not been reached.

                        Instead with insight let him see.

                        Each presently arisen state,[47]

                        Let him know that and be sure of it,

                        Invincibly, unshakeably.[48]

                        Today the effort must be made;

                        Tomorrow Death may come, who knows?

                        No bargain with Mortality

                        Can keep him and his hordes away,

                        But one who dwells thus ardently,

                        Relentlessly, by day, by night

                        It is he, the Peaceful Sage has said [49]

                        Who has one fortunate attachment.


            With mind at peace, one will live in a heaven of one’s own creation. Even those who interact with a person of peaceful mind will also experience that bliss. In case one habitually feels loving-kindness and demonstrates it in words and deeds. Distinctions gradually disappear, and the I is absorbed in the All. Finally, one will be able to identify oneself with all, the culmination of mettā.



Chapter 8







  • Practising and seeing the advantages of Kusala


            Since life means movement and action, Buddhism recognises man as a source of all action which rejects evil, is bound to be good and positive. Once wrong and evil deeds have been abandoned, it becomes more natural to do well.

            Indeed, Buddhism treats the principle of right and wrong most meticulously and most comprehensively. One may do good deeds either in positive or negative ways, and good deeds may either produce good kamma (kusala kamma) or bad kamma (akusala kamma) or be entirely free from kamma (abyākata kamma). If one practices good deeds actively and energetically, it is said to be working in the positive way; if one refrains from doing evils, it is said to be doing good in the negative way.


            Doing good, the first and foremost thing is to realise the true meaning of good and evil, before one chooses what to do. After discerning the good and evil correctly, it is necessary to have good understanding of the fundamental truth of equality. In general way, we believe that life can stand between a man and the consequences of his action, it is like a rotten mango seed will never result in a healthy mango tree with healthy and sweet fruits. So, it is we ourselves who make human beings, who will shape our future. And it is in us the power that lies to make ourselves happy or unhappy.


            The well-known Kesamutti Sutta, also known as Kālāma Sutta, said that the Buddha at a small town in the kingdom of Kosala exhorted the inhabitants (Kālāmas) of the town as follows:[50] ‘Do not be led by reports, traditions, or hearsay. Do not be led by the authority of religious texts, nor by mere logic or inference, nor by considering appearances, nor by speculative opinion, nor by seeming possibilities, nor because one’s own teacher has said so. Oh Kālāmas, when you know for yourselves certain things which are wrong, unwholesome, bad, then give them up; when you know for yourselves that certain things are right, wholesome, good, then accept them, follow them’...

            Thus, abandoning all evil deeds and doing only wholesome deeds, one can escape from unhappy consequences and look forward to a better future.


                        Yathā’pi puppharāsimhā, kayirā mālā guṇe bahū.

                        Evaṃ jātena maccena, kattabbaṃ kusalaṃ bahuṃ.


            As from a heap of flowers many a garland is made, even so many good deeds should be done by one born a mortal.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 53)



  • Purifying mind in order to reject the Kilesas


            Each of us must practise responsibility for the world. Responsibility is a measure of our awakening to our true nature. We must come to the ethical level of that truth. Moral self-protection will safeguard others, individuals and society against our own unrestrained passions and selfish impulses.


            The Buddha like a good physician, having seen the suffering of mankind which is the first Noble Truth realised by him, proceeds to the second Noble Truth, the cause of suffering. Suffering is the result of a wrong attitude towards the world and our experiences in it. Thus he advises one to establish the threefold good conduct in deed, word, and thought in order to reject the three poisons or the three unwholesome roots. At the same time, he shows to the world by His own self: how man, simple as he may be, with many endeavours can develop himself and work out his salvation. The importance of happiness can only come about when one lives in harmony with the natural laws, which bring one health, success, contentment, tranquillity as well as peace of mind.


                        Anekajāti saṃsāraṃ, sandhāvissaṃ anibbisaṃ

                        Gahakārakaṃ gavesanto, dukkhā jāti punappunaṃ.


            Through many a birth I wandered in saṃsāra, seeking, but not finding, the builder of the house. Sorrowful is it to be born again and again.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 153)


                        Gahakāraka diṭṭho’si, puna gehaṃ na kāhasi

                        Sabbā te phāsukā bhaggā, gahakūtaṃ visaṅkhitaṃ

                        Visaṅkhāragataṃ cittaṃ, taṅhānaṃ khayam ajjhagā.


            O house-builder ! Thou art seen. Thou shalt build no house again. All thy rafters are broken. Thy ridge-pole is shattered. My mind has attained the unconditioned. Achieved is the end of craving.

                                                                                                            (Dh. 154)



  • Don’t worry - Take it easy


            Worry and fear are quite natural in every human life. If one feels fearful and worried, one is miserable. In contrast, if one is miserable, one is worried and fearful. In case, one must overcome them by one’s own human efforts, correctly directed with determination and patience.

            One should, furthermore, try to purify oneself with proper understanding as well as attain perfection. For example, when things happen, one should have the courage to bear and find out where the cause lies in. The danger of refusing to face the truths of life (such as old age or death...) is made one get more suffers in the long run. That is why through realising the nature of life that is based upon facts, one can make up one’s mind and subdue miseries.


            It is clear to say that one of the means whereby one can find real peace and happiness is to cultivate his heart to forget about attā (self) in order to be of service and use to humanity. Actually, looking at life one notices how is it changing, continually moving between contacts. These mighty waves of emotion carry one up, fling one down, and no sooner one is in the power of a new wave again and again...


            Thus, the currents of life are always streaming in one direction. One must adapt oneself to this flow of life and consider it as a reward when one finds complete harmony; that is: take it easy. How nice it would be if one could maintain one’s smiling face in spite of all the difficulties confronting one. Knowing the purpose of life is growth, progress from ignorance to enlightenment and from unhappiness to happiness as the Buddha’s teachings state, it can be tested and verified by one’s own personal experiences.


            If one lives in accordance with the natural law, leads a righteous way of life, purifies the atmosphere through the merits of his virtues and radiates his loving-kindness towards other living beings, one can change the atmosphere by bringing about better results, because the human life provides the opportunity for acquiring the virtues of goodness as well as wisdom which are the prerequisites to the highest happiness.



  • Seeing things as they are


            To see things as they really are means to see them consistently in the light of the three characteristics (ti-lakkhaṇa). These three basic facts were first formulated over 2,500 years ago by the Buddha, who was rightly called ‘The Knower of the World (lokavidū)’.


            Of these three, anicca and anattā apply directly to inanimate existence as well as to the animate, for every concrete entity by its very nature undergoes change and is devoid of substance. Dukkha is of course only an experience of the animate to all conditioned things.


            The Buddha teaches that life can be correctly understood only if these three basic facts are understood. Actually, this understanding must take place, not only logically, but in confrontation with one’s own experience. On the mundane level, the clear comprehension of anicca, dukkha and anattā will give one a saner outlook on life. It will free one from unrealistic expectations, bestow a courageous acceptance of suffering and failure; and from this point of view it will protect one against the lure of deluded assumptions and beliefs.


            With growing clarity, all internal or external things will be seen in their true nature. Insight-wisdom, which is the ultimate liberating factor in Buddhism, consists in just the experiential understanding applied to both one’s own bodily and mental processes, as well as deepened and matured in meditation. By seeing thus, detachment will grow, bringing greater freedom from egoistic clinging and culminating in Nibbāna, mind’s final liberation from all defilements.



  • Positive listening to relieve the suffering of others


            Nowadays, the terms positive and negative are very much in practise. According to general conception, positive means striving, bold, going forward and discontented in contrast. Negative means indolent, timid, retreating and discontented.


            Positive listening is very crucial. Instead of finding out the cause, one should listen with the willingness to relieve the suffering of other person, not to judge or argue with him at all. One should not use flattery to win the heart of other, should not exalt oneself to win his admiration, should not hide his defects or vainly exhibit his virtues. One should listen with all one’s attention, what is praiseworthy one praises without malice, what is blameworthy one blames judiciously. For instance, when one hears something that is not true, one continues listening deeply and keeps listening only, so that other can express his pain as well as release his tensions. It is said to correct his perception after sometime only when he has a good chance. Again in another case, even the truth one does not always utter because one honours the word of others as one honours one’s own. By chance, such utterance should not be conducive to the good and happiness of others, one remains silent. If any truth seems beneficial to others, one utters it, even though detrimental to oneself it maybe.


            Positive listening can carry on one’s spiritual cultivation vigorously with a positive heart. Developing a good heart, one naturally finds some inner peace. Without cultivating a good heart, one will never find pure peace. And what does constitute a positive heart? A positive heart has beneficial intentions towards others such as compassion, loving-kindness, generosity, tolerance and moral discipline...


            Furthermore, the heart wishes to gain concentration or to realise emptiness, or the heart, which wishes to attain Enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings, is positive heart. The positive heart has great power to solve other’s problem because it gives happiness to oneself and also produces happiness for others.

            May we, having crossed, lead others across; ourselves free set others free; ourselves comforted give comfort to others; ourselves released, give release to others. May this come to pass for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the sake of the great multitude, and for the welfare and happiness of gods and men.[51]



  • Training individuals for developing

community as well as society


            Each individual is a member of the family. He is also a social human being. So, a person being, a social being has to think of the well-being of other fellow beings even for the sake of his own interest. To build one’s character is to have self-respect and self-affirmation. By virtue or well-training, one becomes a noble citizen of one’s nation; by the same qualities one also becomes a noble citizen of the globe.


            Community life means to be inter-being. One must always keep open the channel of communication with others for mutual understanding. It is said that ‘positive listening’ is an essential principle of community life. Because each being of this world directly or indirectly has to depend on someone else. In fact, each individual has his own responsibility to resolve his own problem but not to do it at the cost of others’ happiness. A community of a particular place has to think of the citizens belonging to the same community and residing in the neighbouring state for the protection of their present as well as future generations.

            The Mettā Sutta is the most popular one; it forms an important part of the Paritta (protection). It states that everyone needs to practise respect, tolerance and dedication in order to maintain social purification and racial harmony in the community. The Buddha has ever advised the seekers towards attaining a harmonious social life and the Supreme Bliss of life by cultivating the most of living a life (Brahma-vihāra). Thus, there has to be harmony and reconciliation; if people around us are suffering, we will not of course be happy at all.


            In addition, Buddhism refers to four cardinal principles of social life (sagahavatthu),[52] bases of sympathy, acts of doing favours, principles of service, virtues making for group integration and leadership. These principles consist of:


                        (i) Dāna :  giving, generosity, charity.

                        (ii) Piyavācā : kindly speech, convincing speech.

                        (iii) Atthacariyā : useful conduct, rendering services, life of service, doing good.

                        (iv) Samānattatā : even and equal treatment, equality consisting in impartiality, participation and behaving oneself properly in all circumstances.


            - Dāna stresses the equitable distribution of wealth and a society free from exploitation.


            - Piyavācā brings happiness to people.


            - Atthacariyā helps in material prosperity and social well-being of people.


            - Samānattatā is non-distinction on the basis of caste, creed or parentage.


            A society or a nation in itself becomes good or bad because of its policies, which are related to its internal and external affairs as determined by the leaders of that society or nation. By the practice of Brahma-vihāra alongwith Sagahavatthu, the practitioner becomes dearer to other members of his family or community as well as society.


            Finally, on the understanding that all sentient beings are fundamentally of one entity and equal with one another; we can realise that as long as one makes no distinction between oneself and others, therefore, to liberate others is equal to liberating oneself and to help others is same as helping oneself. In such case, Buddhism is a religion that is taking an active part in serving humanity and it is giving its services unconditionally.


            As a rule, correct judgement is also very important because it takes a man of integrity and ability to handle a great and successful job. The character aspect having been dealt with education, technical skill and wisdom. Traditionally, two categories of mundane wisdom are given ‘Hearing wisdom’ and ‘Thinking wisdom’. The first is the accumulation of raw facts through learning while the second is the relating of them together to form new knowledge. In this way, two aspects of mental activity are developed memory and intellectual effort. Both of these combining in worldly wisdom, whatever school one supports, is primarily to appreciate the necessity of doing something about one’s life and only those who make right judgement may be successful in their great accomplishments.


            At last, from knowledge which gives courage, and from culture which gives patience, we can acquire perseverance. Thus, knowledge and culture are two components of great responsibilities without fear, whereas one exerts great effort without fail. Only by patience, one may remove various Kilesas in one’s way and free oneself from craving as well as selfish desires, one finally would make good progress in walking through the Path of Enlightenment.




Primary sources: Texts and Translations


A. Canonical Texts


            1. Dīgha Nikāya, ed. by T.W. Rhys Davids and J.E. Carpenter, 3 vols, PTS, 1932-1947. Dialogues of the Buddha, tr. by T.W. Rhys Davids, C.A.F. Rhys Davids, and F. Max Muller, 3 vols, 1989-1992. The long discourses of the Buddha, MauriceWalshe, 3 vols, Wisdom publications, London, first published 1987; reprinted 1995.


            2. Majjhima Nikāya, ed. by V. Trenckner and Robert Chalmers, 3 vols, PTS, 1954-1959. The Middle Length Sayings, tr. by I.B. Horner, 3 vols, 1987-1990. The Middle Length discourses of the Buddha, Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, 3 vols, Wisdom publications, London, first published 1995.


            3. Sayutta Nikāya, ed. by M. L. Feer, 5 Vols, PTS, 1975-1991. The book of the Kindred Sayings, tr. by C.A.F. Rhys Davids and F.L. Woodward, 5 vols, PTS, 1917-1930.


            4. Aguttara Nikāya, ed. by R. Morris and E. Hardy, 5 vols, PTS,  1885-1900. The book of the Gradual Sayings, tr. by E.M. Hare and F.L. Wordward, 5 vols. PTS, 1932-1936.


            5. Dhammapada, ed. by S. Sumangala, PTS, 1914., tr. by Narada  Thera, Colombo,  1972.


            6. Itivuttaka,  ed. by E. Windisch, PTS, 1889. As it was said, tr. by  F. L. Woodward, PTS, London, 1985.


            7. Sutta Nipāta, ed. by V. Fausboll, PTS, London, 1948. The Sutta  Nipāta, tr. by V. Fausboll, PTS , London, 1985.


            8. Thera and Therī Gāthā, ed. by Hermann Oldenberg and Richard Pischel, PTS, 1883. Psalms of the Brethren and the Sisters, Mrs. Rhys Davids, PTS, London, 1948-1951.


            9. Jātaka or Stories of the Buddha’s former births, ed. by E.B. Coweli, 6 books in 3 vols, PTS, London, 1957.


            10. Udāna, ed. by Paul Steinthal, PTS, 1948. Verses of uplift, tr. by F.L. Woodward, PTS, London, 1985.


            11. Dhammasaganī, ed. by Edward Muller, PTS, 1885. A Buddhist manual of Psychological ethics, tr. by Caroline A.F. Rhys Davids, Oriental Books Reprint Corporation, New Delhi, 1975.


            12. Puggalapaññatti, ed. by Rev. Richard Morris, PTS, 1883. Designation of Human types, tr. by Bimala Charan Law, London, 1924.


            13. Vibhaga, ed. by T.W. Rhys Davids, PTS, 1904. The book of analysis, tr. by Paṭhamakyaw Ashin Thiṭṭila (seṭṭhila), PTS, London, 1969.



B. Non Canonical Texts


            14. Aṭṭhasālinī, ed. by T.W. Rhys Davids, tr. by Pe Maung Tin, Buddhaghosa’s commentary on the Dhammasaī, the first book of the Abhidhamma pit?aka, PTS, London, 1976.


            15. Vibhaga Atthakathā, ed. by A.P. Buddhadatta Thero, PTS, London, 1980. The dispeller of delusion tr. by Ñāṇamoli, PTS, London, 1987.


            16. Papañcasuødanī Majjhima Nikāya Aṭṭhakathā, ed. by J.H. Woods, D. Kosambi and I.B. Horner, 4 parts, PTS, London, 1976-1979.


            17. Abhidhammatthasagaha, ed. by T.W. Rhys Davids, PTS, London, 1984., tr. by S.Z. Aung and C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Compendium of Philosophy, PTS, London, 1910., tr. by Narada Maha Thera, A Manual of Abhidhamma, PTS, Kendy, 1975.


            18. Milindapañhā, ed. by Mendis N.K.G., Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1993. The question of king Milinda, tr. by T.W. Rhys Davids, Delhi:  Motilal Banarasidass, 1992.


            19. Visuddhimagga, ed. by C.A.F. Rhys Davids, 2 Vols, PTS, 1920-1921. The path of Purity, tr. by  Pe Maung Tin, 2 Vols, PTS, 1923-1931. The path of Purification, tr. by  Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, PTS, 1979.


            20. Visuddhimagga with Paramatthamañjusāīka (3 parts), ed. by Dr. Rewatadhamma, Research Institute, Varanaseya Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya, Varanasi, 1969.


            21. A history of Pāli literature, Bimala Churn Law, Indological Book House, Varanasi, 1983.


            22. Pāli language and literature, Kanai Lal Hazra, Delhi, 1994.


            23. Guide to Tipiaka, U Ko Lay, Indian books centre, Delhi, 1990.



Secondary sources


1. Alfred Forke, tr., Lun-heng, Mitteilungen des Seminars fur Oreintalische Sprachen, vol. X, 1907, also Lun-heng, Luzac, London, 1907.


2. Anandacandra Vedantavagisa, ed., ñya Mahā Brāhmaa with the commentary of Sayana Acarya, Bibliotheca Indica Asiatic, Society of Bengal, Calcutta, 1870 - 1874.


3. Chandradhar Sharma, A critical survey of Indian philosophy, Motilal Banarsidass publishers, Delhi, 1991.


4. Chu Tzu ch’uan-shu, Complete Works of Chu Hsi, Palace edition, 1713.


5. David J. Kalupahana, Causality: The central philosophy of Buddhism, The University press of Hawaii, Honolulu, 1963.

6. Deshmukh P.S., Religion in Vedic Literature, Oxford University Press, Bombay, 1933.


7. E. von Zach, tr., Yang Hsiung’s Fa-yen, Worte Strengen  Ermahung, Sonilogische Beitrage, 1939.


8. Gauda V.S., Sharma C. and Sastri S.V., ed., Satapatha Brāhmaa, Acyuta Granthamala Karyalaya, Benares, 1922 - 1937.


9. Herbert A.Giles, tr., Chuang Tzu, ch. 6, Chuang Tzu, Keely & Walsh, Shanghai, 1926.


10. Homer H. Dubs, tr., The Works of Hsuntze, Arthur Probisthain, London, 1928.


11. Hsing-ming ku-hsiian, Critical studies of Classical pien-cheng Interpretations of Nature and Destiny, Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1940.


12. Hsiang-shan ch’uan-chi, The Complete Works of Lu Hsiang-shan, Szu-pu pei-yao edition, Chunghua Book Co., Shanghai, 1934.


13. Hume R.E., The thirteen Principal Upaniwads, Oxford University Press, London, 1921.


14. James Legge, The Li Ki, Sacred Books of the East, Claredon Press, Oxford, 1885.


15. Jayatilleke K.N, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, George Allen & Unwin, 1963.


16. Kane P.V., History of the Dharmasastra, The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1941.


17. Khantipālo, Buddhism explained, Social science association press, Bangkok, 1968.


18. Lama Anagarika Govinda, The psychological attitude of early Buddhist philosophy, London, 1961.


19. Li Wen-kung chi, Collected Works of Li Ao, Szu-pu ts’ung-k’an edition, Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1929.


20. Malalasekera. G.P, Dictionary of Pāli proper names, London, 2 vols, PTS, 1960


21. Max Muller, ed., Rgveda with Sayana’s commentary, W.H.  Allen, London, 1849 - 1874.


22. Mehta M.L., Outlines of Jaina Philosophy, Jaina Mission Society, Bangalore, 1954.


23. Nārada, The Buddha and his teachings, Buddhist meditation centre, Singapore.


24. Nyanaponika, The vision of Dhamma, Buddhist writings of Nyanaponika Thera, London, 1986.


25. Nyanatiloka, Buddhist dictionary, Island hermitage publication, Colombo, 1956.


26. Pan ku, ed., Po-hu t’ung, Szu-pu ts’ung-k’an edition, 1929, English translation by Tjan Tjoe Som, Po Hu T’ung, ‘The Comprehensive Discussions in the White Tiger Hall’, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1949, vol II, 1952.


27. Paul Deussen, The Philosophy of the Upanisads, New Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1979.


28. Radhakrishnan S., The Principal Upanisads, Harper Collins publishers, India, 1994.


29. Radhakrishnan S. and Raju P.T., The Concept of man, Harper Collins publishers, India, 1995.


30. Radhakrishnan S., Indian philosophy, Oxford University press, Delhi, 1992.


31. Rajendralala Mitra, ed., Taittirīya Brāhmaa of the Black Yajurveda with the commentary of Sayana Acarya, Bibliotheca Indica, Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, 1859.


32. Rhys Davids T.W., Buddhist India, Calcutta, 1903.


33. Ryudo Yasui, Theory of Soul in Theravāda Buddhism, Atisha memorial publishing society, Calcutta, 1994.


34. Saddhatissa H., Buddhist ethics, essence of Buddhism, London, 1970.


35. Szu-pu pei-yao, ed., The Complete Works of the Two Ch’engs in the Erh - Ch’eng ch’uan - shu, Chunghua Book Co., Shanghai, 1933.


36. Walpola sri Rahula, What the Buddha taught, Haw Trai Foundation, Bangkok, 1990.


37. Warder A.K., Indian Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidass publishers, Delhi, 1991.


38. Wild, Plato’s Modern  Enemies  and  the Theory of Natural Law, University of Chicago Press, 1953.


39. Wilson H. H., Indian caste, London, 1877.


40. Yen-ching shih chi, Collections of the Classics - Studying  Studio, First Series, Szu-pu ts’ung-k’an edition, Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1929.



     [1] D. I., Ambattha sutta.

     [2] Pug. 21 & 22

     [3] Ibid.,  23 - 25

     [4] Dh. 130

     [5] Ven. Khantipalo Bhikkhu, Buddhism explained (Social science association, Thailand, 1968)., p. 89

     [6] Dhs.A., 130

     [7] Sn. V., 396

     [8] Dhs.A., 130

     [9] Ibid., 131

     [10] D. III., Sigalovada sutta.

     [11] S. I., 75

     [12] Vbh. 273

     [13] Ibid., 274

     [14] S. I., 222

     [15] D. III., 248

     [16] Ibid., p. 174

     [17] A. I., pp. 114 - 5

     [18] Ibid., p. 115

     [19] Ibid., p. 134

     [20] Ibid., (Duka Nipata) 33 & 34

     [21] A. II., p. 70

     [22] Ibid., p. 68

     [23] A. IV., p. 56

     [24] D. III., pp. 183 - 4

     [25] M. I., No 31

     [26] A. IV., p. 18

     [27] S. I., p. 234

     [28] D. III., p. 172

     [29] Jat. I., No. 260

     [30] A. III., p. 66

     [31] M. I., Maha-assapura sutta

     [32] A. III., p. 153

     [33] A. I., p. 100

     [34] A. III., pp. 37 - 8

     [35] Ibid., p. 64

     [36] A. I., p. 219

     [37] A. II., p. 77

     [38] Ibid., pp. 254 - 5

     [39] D. III., Sigalovada sutta

     [40] S. I., p. 42

     [41] A. IV., pp. 187 - 8

     [42] S. V., pp. 337 - 8

     [43] A. IV., p. 5.

     [44] D. II., 49

     [45] M. III., No. 131.

     [46] The first two lines would be elucidated in the expository passage of the sutta : Let not a person run back to the past or live in expectation of the future.

     [47] Each presently arisen state, he should contemplate just where it has arisen, with insight into its impermanence.

     [48] The invincible, the unshakeable is used as a description of Nibbâna or of the liberated mind. But Asamhiram asankuppam here seems to refer to a stage in the development of insight, because it is not vanquished or shaken by lust and other defilements.

     [49] The Peaceful Sage (santo muni) is the Buddha.

     [50] A. (the fifth sutta in the Maha Vagga of the Tika Nipata)., para 66.

     [51] J. J. Jones, Mahavastu, III., p. 134.

     [52] A. II., p. 253

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Nguyện đem công đức này, trang nghiêm Phật Tịnh Độ, trên đền bốn ơn nặng, dưới cứu khổ ba đường,
nếu có người thấy nghe, đều phát lòng Bồ Đề, hết một báo thân này, sinh qua cõi Cực Lạc.

May the Merit and virtue,accrued from this work, adorn the Buddhas pureland,
Repay the four great kindnesses above, andrelieve the suffering of those on the three paths below,
may those who see or hear of these efforts generates Bodhi Mind, spend their lives devoted to the Buddha Dharma,
the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

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