You may ask, as it has frequently been asked - Why three stages -why not one stage only as a basis? The reason is, we have three stages of defilements -
(impurities) such as
etc.Each of the 10
(defilements) has three stages. For instance, greedor anger has three stages. The first stage, the root, is called in
At this stage the defilements such as craving, anger, etc. are lyinglatent in each of us. They do not become manifest up to the level of thoughts. feelings and emotions, yet they lie latent in each of us. We can prove it. The fact that we can be made excited and angry shows that wehave certain tendencies like anger, hatred - though for ordinary purposeswe may be called 'good' people. We are good only when other people aregood; otherwise we can be made angry and emotional. This proves that wehave certain tendencies.If one's actions are according to the law of Morality, then that is RightAction. When your action not only is harmless but also helpful - of greatservice to you as well as to others, then you can say your action is right.There are many things which we think to be good but they are only good tous, good only from our own standpoint.In order to do right your mind must be free from selfishness, ill-will,hatred, jealousy. etc. When your mind is pure you can see and know thingsas they really are. Take for instance the case of a pot which is filled withwater. It is filled in three stages - the bottom, the middle and the topmost parts.
is the first or the root stage where the evil tendencies arelying latent. The fact that you can provoke a person into anger clearlyshows that there is anger, or the root of anger, lying latent within him. Thisfirst stage is very quiet - so quiet that we seem to be sacrosant.Even at the second stage -
we are still in the realm of thoughts. feelings. The English saying 'Silence is Golden' is not alwaysright. We may say that mere silence is sometimes far more dangerous thana big noise.Then in the final stage we become fierce, dreadful. uncontroll able both in words as well as in actions.
That is the top part of our defilements. So
- these are the threestages of defilements.Buddhism teaches a method of how to control, how to overcome theseevil tendencies lying latent in us. To exercise this control we need threestages of training towards development -
-Morality. Concentration, Insight.First comes
Morality, the observance of precepts. Theobservance of precepts would enable one to overcome only the last stage -