A Concise Introduction

Are you a god?” they asked.“No.” “An angel?”“No.” “A saint?”“No.” “Then what are you?” Buddha answered, “I am awake.”

Sampuran Das

The decline & rediscovery of Buddhism in India The Pala Empire (750 AD to 1174 AD) was the last major Buddhist Dynasty in India. The Palas adherents to Mahayana Buddhism were generous patrons of Buddhist temples and Mahaviharas of Nalanda, Odantapura, Sompura and Vikramashila. It was through their missionaries that Buddhism was established in Tibet. Celebrated Buddhist monk Atisha- the Principal of Vikramshila reformed Tibetan Buddhism. The Palas maintained cordial relations with the Burma and Shailendras Dynasty of Indonesia. The Nalanda inscription (860 AD) mentions King Devapaladeva of Bengala had granted the request of Sri Maharaja of Suvarnadvipa (Buddhist Shailendra Dynasty of Sumatra) Balaputra, to build a Buddhist monastery near Bodh Gaya1. The Pala Empire disintegrated in the 12th century weakened by Hindu Sena dynasty followed by Islamic invasion under Bakhtiyar Khilji.2 In 1193 Buddhist Mahaviharas like Vikramshila, Odantapura, Somapura, and Nalanda was sacked by the fanatic Turkish Muslim invader Bakhtiyar Khilji. The Persian historian Minhaj-i-Sira records state thousands of monks were burned alive and thousands were beheaded as Khilji tried his best to uproot Buddhism and plant Islam by the sword. Nalanda’s library continued to burn for several months- "smoke from the burning manuscripts hung for days like a dark pall over the low hills."3 The last principal of Nalanda, Shakyashribhadra, fled to Tibet in 1204 CE at the invitation of the Tibetan translator Tropu Lotsawa. Mr. Hodgson was the English resident of Nepal from 1833 to 1843, and he was the first to collect original manuscripts on which a sober account of the religion could be based. He sent 85 bundles to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 85 to the Royal Asiatic Society of London, 30 to the India Office Library, 7 to the Bodleian Library of Oxford, and 174 to the Societe Asiatique in Paris. The genius of Eugene Burnouf breathed life into these dead manuscripts, and his "Introduction to the History of Indian Buddhism," published in 1844, was the first rational, scientific, and comprehensive account of the Buddhist religion. The fame of the eminent scholar and the great ability and philosophical acumen with which he treated the subject attracted the attention of learned Europe to this wonderful religion, and the inquiry which Burnouf started has continued to the present day. 4
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Cœdès, George (1996). The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press Scott, David (May 1995). "Buddhism and Islam: Past to Present Encounters and Interfaith Lessons Tabaquat-I-Nasiri History of Civilisation of Ancient India, Romesh Chunder Dutt


Alexander Csoma Korosi, Hungarian scholar, revived Buddhism from the Tibetian Buddhists literature. He set forth from Bucharest in 1820, without friends or money, and travelled on foot or by water on a raft to Bagdad, on caravan to Teheran and in 1822 he came to Kabul and he travelled through Kashmir to Ladakh, and settled in Tibet. In 1832 he came to Calcutta, where he was kindly received Mr. James Prinsep, and resided many years. In 1842 he left Calcutta again to go to Tibet, but died at Darjeeling. The Asiatic Society of Bengal has raised a monument on his grave in Darjeeling. Rev. Samuel Beal is credited for procuring a complete collection of Chinese works on Buddhism. The Japanese ambassador to England, on his return to Tokio ordered the entire collection known as "The Sacred Teaching of the Three Treasures" to be sent to England. The collection contains over 2000 volumes, and represents the entire series of sacred books taken during successive centuries from India to China, as also works and commentaries of native Chinese priests.

8th century Pala Period, Somapura Mahavihara, Bangladesh


Buddhism an agonistic philosophical system All Religions in Nietzsche’s view make a thousand promises but keep none; while Buddhism makes no promises but keeps them all. There are six typical features — authority, ritual, speculation, tradition, grace, and mystery — which contributes towards development of a systemized view or thought into a religion; as seen in all world religions.5 • Authority-Some people of superior spiritual content either by birth or through practice; who’s delivered counsel is to be followed by people. Fidelity to individual who occupy positions of power within religious institutions. Rituals- religion’s cradle, for anthropologist believe religion arose out of celebration. Speculation -Whence do we come, whither do we go, why are we here? Grace- Religion says that the best things are the more eternal things. Mystery. Being finite, the human mind cannot begin to fathom the Infinite, which it is drawn to.

• • • •

The fact that Buddhism as a religion emerged devoid of each of the above mentioned ingredients; without which we would suppose that religion could not take root, is a fact so striking that it warrants documentation. 1. Buddha preached a religion devoid of authority “Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon the consideration, ‘The monk is our teacher.’”. Rather, he said, test ideas and actions in your own laboratory of common sense: When you yourself know they lead to harm or ill, abandon them; when you yourself know they lead to benefit and happiness, adopt them.” 2. Buddha preached a religion devoid of ritual.


Buddhism a concise introduction by Smith & Novak


“Let persons (any caste) of intelligence come to me. Buddha preached a religion of intense self-effort. “To seek to win peace through others. nor on the authority of your traditional teachings. candid.” “It is because I perceive danger in the practice of mystic wonders that I strongly discourage it. he refused to allow his monks to play around with those powers. Buddha preached a religion devoid of tradition. honest. Work out your salvation with diligence. and if they practice as they are taught. is the same as if a stone were thrown into deep water. When you know of yourselves: ‘These teachings are not good: these teachings when followed out and put in practice conduce to loss and suffering’—then reject them. and now people. Buddha preached a religion that discouraged excessive metaphysical speculations 4.Buddha criticized Brahmin rites as superstitious petitions to ineffectual gods. “By this you shall know that a man is not my disciple—that he tries to work a miracle. though he concluded from his own experience that the human mind was capable of powers now referred to as paranormal. O dear stone!’ But the stone remains at the bottom. “Do not go by what is handed down. He condemned all forms of divination and forecasting.” 3. straightforward. as priests and sacrificers. O dear stone! Come to the surface. I will instruct them.” 6. Buddha preached a religion devoid of the supernatural. they will come to know for themselves and to realize that supreme religion and goal. praying and imploring and folding their hands.” 5 . came and knelt down all around saying: ‘Rise.” Buddha was against the notion that only brahmins could attain enlightenment.” 5. “Buddhas only point the way.

Buddha himself answer “Are you a god?” they asked.” “An angel?”“No. Buddhist Stupa (between Mazar-e Sharif and Kunduz).“No.” His answer became his title. for this is what “Buddha” from sanskrit root budh denotes both “to wake up” Takht-e Rustam. Afganistan 6 .” “Then what are you?” Buddha answered.” “A saint?”“No. “I am awake.

no sign was there. Who knows then whence it first came into being i̱yaṛ visṛ̍ṣṭi̱ryata̍ āabab ̱ hūva̱ yadi̍ vā da̱dhe yadi̍ vā ̱ na | yo a̱syādhya̍kṛaṛ para̱me vyo̍ma̱ntso a̱ṛga ve̍da̱ yadi̍ vā ̱ na veda̍ || 7 || He. breathless. he verily knows it. kāma̱stadagre̱ sama̍varta̱tādhi̱ mana̍so̱ reta̍ṛ pratha̱maṛ yadāsī̍t | ̍ ka̱vayo̍ manī̱ ṛṛ ||4|| sa̱to bandhu̱masa̍ti̱ nira̍vindan hṛ ̱ di pra̱tṛṛyā Thereafter rose desire in the beginning. the first origin of this creation. and where? what sheltered it? Was cosmic water there. unfathomed depth of cosmic water? ̍ sīda̱mṛta̱ṛ na tarhi̱ na rātryā na mṛ ̱ ahna̍ āasītprake̱taṛ | ̱ tyurā ̍ ̍ ānīdavā ̱ taṛ sva̱dhayā ̱ tadekaṁ ̱ tasmāddhā ̱ nyanna pa̱raṛ kiñca̱nāsa̍ ||2|| Death was not then. nāsa̍dāsīnno ̱ no vyo̍mā pa̱ro yat | ̱ sadā̍sītta̱dānīm ̱ nāsīdrajo ̱ kimāva̍rīva̱ḥ kuha̱ kasya̱ śarma̱nnaṁbha̱ḥ kimā̍sīdgaha ̍naṁ gabhīram ̱ ̱ ||1|| Then was neither being nor non-being. He who surveys it all from his highest heaven. It speculates on cosmology and the origin of the universe. there was no realm of air nor sky beyond.Progressive agnosticism in Indian philosophy The Nasadiya Sukta in Rigveda 10th Mandala. breathed by its own nature: apart from it there was nothing else tama̍ āasī̱ ttama̍sā gū ̱ ṛhamagre̍’prake̱taṛ sa̍li̱laṛ sarva̍mā i̱daṛ | ̍ ya̱taika̍ṛ || 3 || tu̱cchyenā ̱ bhvapi̍hitaṁ ̱ yadāsī̱ ttapa̍sa̱stanma̍hi̱nā jā Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness all was indiscriminate chaos. nor day's and night's divider. The hymn has been interpreted as one of the earliest accounts of skeptical inquiry and agnosticism. there were mighty forces. and what below it? There were seminal begetters. whence it was born and whence came this creation? The Gods are later than this world's creation. the primal seed and germ of spirit. nor was there aught immortal. similar to modern day understanding of Big Bang. Seers who searched their heart for wisdom discovered the kinship between the being and non-being ti̱ra̱ścīno̱ vita̍to ra̱śmire̍ṛāma̱dhaṛ svi̍dā ̱ ari̍ svidṛsṛ 3 t | ̱ s 3 dup ̍ t ||5|| re̱to̱dhā āa̍sanmahi̱māna̍ āasantsva̱dhā ā ̱ vastā ̱ tpraya̍tiṛ pa̱rastā Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then. That One being. free action here and energy up yonder ̍ tā ko a̱ddhā ve̍da̱ ka i̱ha pra vo̍ca̱tkuta̱ āajā ̱ kuta̍ i̱yaṛ visṛ̍ṣṭiṛ | a̱rvāgde̱vā a̱sya vi̱sarja̍ne̱nāthā ̱ hūva̍ ||6 || ̱ ko ve̍da̱ yata̍ āabab Who knows and who can say. oldest Aryan Text dating 1700 BC. or perhaps even he does not! Translation by Ralph T.H. whether he formed it all or did not. What covered it. 129th Sukta. desire. Griffith 7 . All that existed then was void and formless: by the great power of warmth was born that unit.

and then to another Udraka. His fame spread all round. about the age of eighteen. Gautama wandered towards the banks of the Niranjara. and rode away to become a poor student and a homeless wanderer. His faithful servant Channa asked to be allowed to stay with him and become an ascetic. daughter of the chief of Koli.-that wheel which not by any Saman or Brahman. near the site of the present temple of Buddha Gaya. he gave himself up to the severest penances and self-mortification. for the ignorant and the superstitious always admire self-inflicted pain but Gautama did not obtain what he sought. The first vassa or rainy season after attainment of enlightenment (522 BC) Buddha's old teacher Alara was dead. Gautama resolved to quit his home and his wife for the study of philosophy and religion. not by anyone in the universe. received his morning meal from the hands of Sujata. son of the rich Sethi (banker) of Benares. Ten years after his marriage. and Buddha with his new disciples and a thousand followers walked towards Rajagriha. Left alone in the world. but Gautama sent him back. in the hermitage of Migadaya (Sarnath) the Supreme Wheel of the Empire of Truth has been set rolling by the Blessed One. He renounced all this. At Uruvela. In Benares. was his first lay disciple. and for six years.The life of Sakyamuni Buddha The story which is told of the young Prince of Kapilavastu named Siddharta Gautama was married to Yasodhara.6 Vasa. and had high reputation as hermits and philosophers. not by any Brahma or Mara. Gautama attached himself first to one Alara. At last one day he fell down from sheer weakness and his disciples thought he was dead. can ever be turned back. a villager's daughter. not by any god. The conversion of the Kasyapas created a sensation. Buddha achieved distinguished success by converting three brothers named Kasyapa. and repaired alone to Rajagriha. who worshipped fire in the Vedic form. He retired therefore into the jungles of Uruvela. and sat himself down under the famous Bodhi tree or the tree of wisdom and attained enlightenment. the capital of 6 Dhamma Chakka Ppavattana Sutta 8 . and learnt from them all that Hindu philosophers had to teach. attended by five disciples. and he went therefore to Benares to proclaim the truth to his five former disciples.

according to custom. the king could not make out if that great Brahman had converted Gautama. "if I am of any value in his eyes. You and your family. with only two disciples with him. Buddha's son..Magadha. that has induced you. surrounded by numbers of Brahmans and Vaisyas. 0 inhabitant of Uruvela. held his feet. "What knowledge have you gained." retorted the king." answered Buddha. and 9 . with his numerous attendants. with a wife's grief and a wife's pride. "may claim descent from kings. he will himself come." The king took his son into the palace. and when.-her heart failed her." . and his old father expressed a desire to see him once before he died. asked Kasyapa. His father and relations came to see him there. Then. and in order to enlighten him. she rose and stood aside. who were renowned for your penances. and. and the next day Buddha himself went into the town. where all the members of the family came to greet him except his wife. remained in the grove outside the town. and not one of them has ever begged his bread. Gautama understood the king's perplexity. I can welcome him better here. it was the custom of his race. was converted. but Rahula. Yasodhara became one of the first Buddhist nuns. " But. declared himself an adherent of Buddha. The deserted Yasodhara. went to visit Buddha. begging alms from the people who once adored him as their beloved prince and master! The story goes on to say that the king rebuked Buddha for this act. The second vassa or rainy season after attainment of enlightenment (521 BC) The fame of Buddha had now travelled to his native town. "we are descended from an illustrious race of warriors. or if Gautama had converted the Brahman." Kasyapa replied that “ he had seen the state of peace.-a recluse with shaven head and yellow robes. Buddha accordingly went to Kapilavastu. to forsake your sacred fire. re­ membering the impassable gulf between them. Yasodhara remained in her house." Buddha understood this and went to her. She listened to his new doctrines. Buddha's father was much aggrieved at this. And when Yasodhara saw her lord and prince enter. but. subsequently. but Buddha replied. News of the new prophet soon reached the king Bimbisara. Seeing the distinguished Uruvela Kasyapas there." The king was struck and pleased. exclaimed. my descent is from the prophets (Buddhas) of old. she flung herself to the ground." and" took no more delight in sacrifices and offerings. Buddha was induced to establish an order of female Bhikkhunis. and invited him to take his meal with him the next day. At the time of which we are now speaking. and burst into tears.

At Kusinagara. there fell upon him a dire sickness. Lord. but the boar's flesh did not agree with him. Chunda. 7 The fifth vassa or rainy season after attainment of enlightenment (517 BC) Buddha revisited Kapilavastu and was present at the death of his father. are they capable of realizing the fruit of conversion or of the second path or of Arhatship? " "They are capable. Buddha converted a low-caste man Pukkusa. Ananda pleaded her cause and asked. the disease of dysentery. king of Koli. " Once had eaten the food prepared by Chunda. Buddha never refused the poor man's offering. had now no ties to bind them to the world. Buddha feIt that his death was near. and was reluctant to do so.the queen of Bimbisara was admitted to the Order. but is said to have been swallowed up by the earth shortly after."On his way from Pava to Kusinagara."Are women." replied the sage. Suprabuddha. publicly abused Buddha for deserting Yasodhara. invited him to a meal. and addressed a discourse to his cousin Mahanama. His widowed step-mother Prajapati Gautami. the successor of Suddhodana. under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Blessed One. and his no less widowed wife Yasodhara. then ninetyseven years old.asked Buddha to establish a rule that no one should be admitted to the Order without his parents' consent. bore it without complaint. capable when they have gone forth from the household life and entered the homeless state. Fifteenth vassa from the date of his proclaiming his creed. But the Blessed One. a goldsmith and ironsmith. The sage had not yet admitted women to the Order. as the king of the Sakyas. he visited Kapilavastu again. There. Mahapari Nibbana: the fourty fifth vassa or rainy season after attainment of enlightenment (477 BC) In Pava. Ananda. With that loving anxiety 7 8 lIfalulvagga Ctullamgga 10 . and sharp pain came upon him even unto death. who had succeeded Bhadraka. And Prajapati and the other ladies were admitted to the Order as Bhikkhunls. eighty miles due east from Kapilavastu. Buddha's father-in-law. mindful and self-possessed. But his mother was inexorable and followed him to Vaisali and begged to be admitted. and made a rule accordingly.8 In the sixth vassa Buddha returned to Rajagriha and Kshema. Buddha consented to this. the worker in metal. and gave him sweet rice and cakes and a quantity of dried boar's flesh. and insisted on joining the Order established by Buddha.

the Koliyas ofRamagrama. had overheard their conversation. Reality. The Lichchavis of Vaisali obtained another portion. He ordered the Brahman to be admitted. anderected a mound at that town. and with his dying breath explained to him the principles of his religion. and erected a mound over it at Rajagriha. In Indian thought. Edelglass and Garfield 11 . fearing that this might be wearisome to the dying sage. they paid honour and reverence and respect and homage to them with dance and song and music. but rather an assemblage of interlocking physical and mental processes that spring up and pass away subject to multifarious causes and conditions and that are always mediated by the cognitive apparatus embodied in the operation of the five aggregates (khandhas). A framework of thought that hinges on the ideas that sentient experience is dependently originated and that whatever is dependently originated is conditioned (sankhata). but that the humble smith's act.-" Decay is inherent in all component things. doesn’t contain persons and substances. the Mallas of Kusina­ gara. Subhadra. for seven days.which had characterized all his life. would not admit him. came to ask some questions. The Moriyans of Pipphalivana made a mound over the embers. the Mallas of Pava. however. a Brahman philosopher of Kusinagara. the great sage departed this life.-with the exhortation to his brother men still on his lips. subject to change. kindly meant.. and to good fortune. work out your salvation withdiligence. but Ananda. at the last watch of the night. to good birth. would redound to length of life. and shortly after. and with garlands and perfumes. Buddha. " The body of Buddha was cremated by the Mallas of Kusinagara who surrounded his bones "in their council­hall with a lattice-work of spears and with a rampart of bows. impermanent. the Bulis of Allakappa. and lacking independent selfhood. the way things are in reality. and a Brahman Vethadipaka obtained portions of the relics and erected mounds over them. 9 9 Buddhist Philosophy. and he would not turn back a man who had come for instruction. as seen in Buddhism.Essential Readings. Subhadra was the last disciple whom Buddha converted. he tried on the eve of his death to impress on his followers that Chunda was not to blame for the food he had supplied. Similarly the Sakyas of Kapilavastu. Dharma is the truth about the world: the underlying nature of things." It is said that the remains of Buddha were divided into eight portions. Ajatasatru of Magadha obtainedone portion. On the night of Buddha's death. and there. and theBrahman Dona made a mound over the vessel in which the body had been burnt.

the Supreme Light is without difference or distinction…. beyond Nirvana. which is the Buddhist's heaven and salvation. seemingly multiplied by reflection though really single. and like space apparently subdivided in vessels containing it within limits. place of Lord Buddha’s first sermon 12 . Buddha has not inspired in his followers any hopes of heaven. "the Buddhist heaven is not death.The Upanishads are essentially metaphysical speculation on the nature of reality conceptualized as Bramha -the Supreme Being as pure sense. intellect..there is none other but He" As Rhys Davids puts it. but on a virtuous life here and now”. "Like the sun and other luminaries. and it is not on death. thought. Sarnath (Isipatana deer park).

a liar. a libertine. the offspring was a mule." said Assalayana. is a sacrificer.." replied Assalayana. malevolent. Buddha.. not a Brahman. "Then if a Brahman is a murderer. snakes. and wearing his last body. too. And whoever amongst men lives by performing household ceremonials . and ants."Were there not differences in color among the people of adjacent countries like Bactria and Afghanistan. he is a husbandman. or of his origin from a particular mother……. endowed with holyworks. The man who like water on a lotus leaf. not a Brahman. For whoever amongst men lives by cow-keeping. him I call a Brahman. given to false doctrine.Buddha the reformer sage Buddha delivered discourses in which he emphatically rejected caste. violent or frivolous in speech. like any other caste?" Yes. him I call a Brahman" 10 Assalfiyana. . a "thief. is an artisan. but the offspring of a Kshatriya united to a Brahman resembled its parents. a slanderer. not a Brahman.. . is a servant." asked Buddha. is a soldier. and he also admitted that good works would lead to heaven irrespective of caste. And whoever amongst men possesses villages . and the 10 Vasettha Sutta 13 . the quadrupeds. the worms.. and masters as slaves. will he not after death be born to misery and woe. and that is his profession... Man.. .. And whoever amongst men lives by different mechanical arts . . virtuous.Buddha argue that when a mare was united with an ass. fishes. The man who is free from anger. not a Brahman. know this. And I do not call one a Brahman on account of his birth.. moths. “ The grass and the trees. And whoever amongst men lives by serving others. oh Vasishtha. in those countries? "Yes. covetous.but the one who is possessed of nothing and seizes upon nothing. ……. has his distin­guishing mark. "Yes. him I call a Brahman. . without desire. not a Brahman.And whoever amongst men lives by archery ." replied Assalayana. is a king. asked “Brahmans were not subject to all the disabilities of child­ birth like other women. subdued. does not cling to sensual pleasures.. And whoever amongst men lives by trade is merchant. not a Brahman…. and birds are all divided into species which are known by their distinguishing marks.. and yet could not slaves become masters. not a Brahman. or a mustard seed on the point of a needle. came to controvert Buddha's opinion that all castes were equally pure.

and Mahi when they reach the great ocean lose their old name and their old descent. self control. skill. scorcher of the foe. many” 11 12 Assalayana Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya Visuddhimagga Buddhaghosha’s famous fifth century commentary on the Vasetthasutta 14 . those from low castes…are unable to continue long in the order.-the Ganga.. and Sudras lose their distinctions when they join the Order” Compare this with Brahmanic religious books. Agriculture. Vaisyas. Calm. the actions are distinguished. are the natural-born actions of warriors. was an all-around cosmological–philosophical justification. Asiravatl. action that consists of service is likewise natural-born to a Sudra (Translation by Edgerton 1944: 87) A depiction of of membership of the Sangha 12: “Why does the Buddha mention the farmer caste first? Because farmers have the least pride and they are largest in number. however many they may be. Kshatriyas. and not fleeing in battle also. for a new Indian society based on varnashrama dharma. From the other families not very many become monks. 0 disciples.The Bhagavad Gita. and religious faith are the natural-born actions of brahmans.”11 “As the great streams. firmness. majesty. was that there was really no difference between a Brahman and a Kshatriya!. cattle-tending and commerce are the natural-born actions of Vaisyas. Of brahmans. and of Sudras. ksatriyas and Vaisyas. Heroism. Yamuna. from the farmer’s. According to the strands that spring from their innate nature. purity. the great Ocean"-so also do Brahmans. austerities. therefore. and bear only one name. But the young farmers plough their land while all their bodies are running with sweat…Therefore they are not proud…. theoretical and practical knowledge..obvious conclusion. intended for mass consumption and not just for the elite. patience and uprightness. Often the monks from a Ksatriya family are proud of their learning.. Sarabhu.

the king’s revenue will go up. The Samana cults and the Brahmanic tradition emerged as two major contending and conflicting forces in the Indian society of the first millennium BCE. Whosoever there may be in the king’s realm who devote themselves to keeping cattle and the farm. by supplying them with food 13 14 Kutadanata Sutta Buddhism in India.13 This depicts a society without much servitude. When his father makes an appeal.Gail Omvedt 15 . The term dasa-kammakara in the Buddhist texts simply indicates people doing the work of service (for pay or in bondage)14 In Rhys David’s translation of Dasakammakaras: In five ways does an Ariyan master minister to his servants and employees as the nadir:—by assigning them work according to their strength. to them let his majesty the king give wages and food. following each his own business. After Lord Rama’s return from the war with Ravana. (O’Flaherty 1983) Not only is Rama. pleased with one another and happy. Whoever there may be in the king’s realm who devote themselves to government service. will dwell with open doors (Digha Nikaya I. to them let his majesty the king give capital. it’s very modern.The story of Shambuk in the Ramayana illustrates the conflict. one of traders. a Shudra named Shambuk takes to asceticism in the kingdom of Ayodhya. he is also shown as killing the rakshasas of the forests at the urging of the Brahman Rishis. except for the absence of factories. 11).will no longer harass the realm. the ideal king. to them let his majesty the king give food and seed-corn. Whosoever there may be in the king’s realm who devote themselves to trade. All samana cults denied the authority of Brahmans and the Vedas.Buddha’s socio-economic vision Now there is one method to adopt to put a thorough end to this disorder. The difference with the ideals of Hindu varnashrama dharma is striking. and the populace. the country will be quiet and at peace. Lord Rama enforces the law of varnashrama dharma by killing Shambuk. depicted as killing Shambuk in order to protect the laws of varna. and because of this ‘sin’ a Brahman boy in the kingdom dies. dancing their children in their arms. Then those men. farmers and government employees.

employer relationship is humanized and especially when it transcends slavery with wages and labor rights. shes hould take care of the goods which he brings home. who does not hurt the flower. by giving her charge of the home. This indicates an acquisitive society and a phenomenal rate of reinvestment and savings growth suggesting a rapidly growing economy (Basham 1958: 125n) Buddhist ethics in household life: A husband should serve his wife as the western quarter in five ways. she should manage her servants well. by remaining faithful to her. by sharing with them unusual delicacies. And thus served by her husband as the western quarter a wife should care for him in five ways: she should be efficient in her household tasks. they do their work well. Buddhist ethics on creation of wealth: The wise and moral man shines like a fire on a hilltop. on one part he should live. with two expand his trade.: 26). by granting them leave at times [explained as constant relaxation so that they need not work all day. 30)15 15 Sigalavada Suttanta 16 . by tending them in sickness. making money like the bee. servants and employees love their master in five ways:— they rise before him. The man grown wealthy thus can help his family and firmly bind his friends to himself. Such a man makes his pile as an anthill. and the fourth he should save against a rainy day. and they carry about his praise and good fame’ Employee. and she should be skillful and untiring in all her duties…(Digha Nikaya III. In these ways ministered to by their master. by honoring her. (ibid. they are content with what is given to them. and by duly giving her adornments. He should divide His money in four parts. she should be chaste. and special leave with extra food and adornment for (festivals). theylie down to rest after him. gradually. by respecting her.and wages.

monks. and Sangha. . crying. the true Dhamma would have lasted one thousand years. then she stood there outside the porch. “Venerable sir. free of any subhuman rebirths. be this in this life. that will be her full Acceptance…(Buddha relents) “But. performed. non-returning. or subsequently. performed. “Why. if a woman were to go forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathagata. .this holy life will not last long. 18 16 17 18 Anguttara Nika¯ ya. the true Dhamma will last only ṛve hundred years. Venerable Ananda saw her standing there . that actions willed. She was the Blessed One’s aunt. and so asked her. the holy life would have lasted long. the Blessed One does not allow women’s going forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tathagata. . . she arrived at Vesali. The Tens. I declare”.In Buddhist systems of ethics. sad and unhappy. her face in tears. her feet swollen. foster mother. your face in tears?” “Because.16 Someone with such pure conduct. But now that they have gotten to go forth . Ananda. And as long as [the fruits of] these actions willed.(Buddha reluctantly agrees) “Ananda. and bound to attain enlightenment within a limited number of lives. with unshakeable confidence in the Buddha.” Anada said to the Blessed One. would she be able to realize the fruit of stream-entry. Gotami¯. if women had not obtained the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the doctrine and discipline made known by the Tatha¯gata. the cultivation of knowledge and wisdom is necessary for making informed ethical choices.17 Mahapajapati Gotami (Buddha’s foster mother) wandering in stages. in the next life. . will be a Stream-enterer. . Ananda. why are you standing here . venerable sir. or arahantship?” “Yes. Dhamma. there will be no making an end of suffering (dukkha-). her limbs covered with dust. Sutta From the Velu-dvareyya¯ Sutta (Discourse to People of the Bamboo Gate) Cullavagga 17 . nurse. she would” “In that case.. once returning. if Mahapajapati Gotami accepts eight rules of respect. “I declare. giver of milk…. and unbroken virtue. venerable sir. Mahapajapati Gotami has been of great service to the Blessed One. and accumulated will not become extinct as long as [their fruits] have not been experienced. and accumulated have not been experienced.

and that would be wearying and troublesome for me” …………. the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering. bhikkhus. takes delight in adhesion. unattainable by mere reasoning. cf.20 19 20 Majjhima Nikaya Samyutta Nikaya (Connected Discourse) 18 . and the truth of the path is like the medicine’ (Buddhaghosa 1999: 520. But this generation delights in adhesion [to sense pleasures]. If I were to teach the Dhamma. The Four Noble Truths are the centerpiece of the Buddha’s message. peaceful and sublime. the Buddha decided to teach what he had learned ‘out of compassion for beings’19 He was aged thirty-five and would spend the remaining forty-five years of his life teaching the Dhamma to all who would listen so that they themselves might achieve enlightenment and overcome suffering. death is suffering. illness is suffering. at that moment. An important commentary in the Theravada tradition. the Buddha was ‘inclined to inaction rather than to teaching the Dhamma. others would not understand me. aging is suffering. is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering. the Brahma Sahampati appeared and declared to the Buddha: “There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are wasting through not hearing the Dhamma. separation from what is pleasing is suffering. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma” In response to this appeal. the truth of origin is like the cause of the disease.Buddha’s Dhamma Buddha says “ This Dhamma that I have attained is profound. union with what is displeasing is suffering. rejoices in adhesion. . . not to get what one wants is suffering. . 1. M 615–16 and 867) First Noble Truth: Now this. It is hard for such a generation to see this truth . makes explicit what is clearly implicit in the presentation of these truths: ‘The truth of suffering is like a disease. hard to see and hard to understand.’ Legend say.Hence. the truth of cessation is like the cure of the disease. subtle. in brief. Buddhaghosa’s The Path of Purification. to be experienced by the wise.

aging and death. is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering:it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving. seeking delight here and there. I say” Third Noble Truth: Now this. Burning with birth. attitudes towards them. eye-consciousness is burning. It is this Noble Eightfold Path. The Buddha suggests that craving is like a fire that inflames every facet of our being: “ Bhikkhus.with the fire of delusion. is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence. and despair. Second Noble Truth: Now this. right effort. and whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as condition – whether pleasant or painful or neither painful-nor-pleasant– that too is burning. right concentration. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust. It is ordinarily translated into English as ‘suffering’. craving for sensual pleasures. right intention. non-reliance on it. forms are burning. right action. right speech. and extermination. right mindfulness. pain. Gowans draws a distinction between two conceptions of selves – substance-selves and process-selves – and suggest that the Buddha taught that substance-selves have no reality in any sense. eye-contact is burning.Key term dukkha. is the all that is burning? The eye is burning. is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. that is right view. We have arrived at the next Truth: We need to examine the meaning the term ‘craving’ translates – tanha– as well as the three spheres of craving here described: sensual pleasures. while process-selves have no independent reality but do have a form of 19 . craving for extermination. with the fire of hatred. bhikkhus. right livelihood. accompanied by delight and lust. with sorrow. Fourth Noble Truth: Now this. that is. This is correct in part. lamentation. bhikkhus. displeasure. all is burning. the giving up and relinquishing of it. existence. craving for existence. And what. but it is misleading. freedom from it. bhikkhus. bhikkhus.

consciousness is not self …. feeling is not self. friends. the Buddha says. eternal. Once enlightenment has been achieved. perception is not self. In the absence of these. This is what happens when Nibbana is fully attained: the relevant beliefs and attitudes are given up. Specifically. not subject to change. but may and should abandon. About himself. 2. Addressing his son.dependent reality.’ those who ‘describe the annihilation.’ for when you do this. there is no self at all. ‘develop meditation on the perception of impermanence. I-making. and so there is no longer a process-self.’ and those who ‘assert Nibbana here and now’ which is the middle path proposed by Buddha. Since there never was a substance-self. . there will no longer be occasion to think in terms of such self referring concepts as ‘I’and ‘mine’. there is no self at all.. Buddha maintains: ‘Material form is not self. seeing thus. it cannot happen that a person possessing right view could treat anything as self – there is no such possibility’ (M 928) 21 Majjhima Nikaya-232 20 . after death I shall be permanent.The self and the world are the same. ‘It is by knowing thus. that in regard to this body with its consciousness and all external signs. and the underlying tendency to conceit have been eradicated in me’(M 908). mine-making. Rahula. the process-self ceases to exist. the existence of a person’s process-self depends on certain beliefs and attitudes the person has. formations are not self. he says. all things are not self ’ (M 324) To conclude in words of the Buddha. then this standpoint for views like . Doctrine of Annata (or no Amta) Non Self or No Soul: Buddha says: “Since a self and what belongs to a self are not apprehended as true and established. destruction. I shall endure as long as eternity’ –would it not be an utterly and completely foolish teaching?21” (These views question the emerging ideas of the Upanisads) Buddha distinguishes three schools of thoughts those who ‘describe an existing self that is unimpaired after death. ‘the conceit “I am” will be abandoned’ (M 531). everlasting. and extermination of an existing being (at death). ‘It is impossible.

does one who regards Self regard it? (1) Regarding Self. venerable sir. ‘I am’?” [To this he would have to reply] “No. to his dismay. my Self feels.” (1) Now Ananda. “If. Ananda. twisted Deus. my Self is without experience.” “ In what ways. friend: pleasant. only neutral feeling. friend.St Francis Xavier arrived in Japan in 1549. When a neutral feeling is felt.” or (2) “My Self is not feeling. only pleasant feeling. Pleasant feeling is impermanent. it has the attribute of feeling. subject to destruction. “My Self is not feeling. thinks “This is my Self. “There are three kinds of feeling. it is not fitting to maintain “My Self is not feeling. think “My Self has departed!” The same applies to painful and neutral feeling. a mixture of pleasure and pain. into Daiuso. my Self feels. no pleasant or neutral feeling is felt. So anyone who. The same applies to painful and neutral feeling. friend. during discussions of the soul’s immortality with his Zen friend. Therefore it is not fitting to maintain “My Self is feeling. He was befriended by a Zen abbot. could there be the thought ‘this am 21 . Which of these three feelings do you regard as Self?” When a pleasant feeling is felt. but my Self is not without experience. if all feelings entirely and completely ceased without remainder. no painful or neutral feeling is felt. my Self is without experience. meaning “Great Lie. whoever thinks “My Self is feeling” is regarding as Self something that in this present life is impermanent. When a painful feeling is felt. could there be the thought. dependently originated. one who says “My Self is feeling” should be told. to cessation. on feeling a pleasant feeling. And Xavier was appalled by the Buddhist indifference to a personal Creator God. Thus. Only painful feeling.” (3) And anyone who says. he regards it to be feeling: “My Self is feeling.” (2) But anyone who says. The Japanese irked by Xavier’s proselytizing. to fading away. to passing away. painful. Xavier was uneasy with the apparent Buddhist denial of an eternal soul.” Therefore. but my Self is not without experience. no pleasant or painful feeling is felt. it has the attribute of feeling” should be asked. “My Self is not feeling. “Well. no feeling existed. at the cessation of that pleasant feeling. Xavier’s Latin term for God. conditioned. and neither-pleasant-nor painful [neutral].” must. the latter would sometimes say yes and sometimes no. my Self is without experience” should be asked.” or (3) “My Self is not feeling. subject to arising and passing away.

we attain Nibbana. His full teaching may be summarized as follows: We are not substance-selves in any sense. there is no more for this state of being. he personally experiences nirvana. we suffer through repeated rebirths. it is not fi tting to maintain “My Self is not feeling. what had to be done has been done. it has the attribute of feeling. not trembling. he clings to nothing in the world. The distinctive idea of the Buddha is that the dependent reality of process selves is the only reality of selves there is. We are process-selves in a dependent sense and hence have better or worse. Whereas the substance conception takes (apparently) discrete and stable objects such as moons and monoliths as 22 Mahanidana Sutta “Great Discourse on Causal Links” 22 . “Destroyed is (re-)birth.there are no substance-selves.” not so regarding. venerable sir. We are dependently process-selves because we mistakenly think we are substance-selves. or Self as without experience. when a monk no longer regards Self as feeling. my Self feels.I’?” [To this he would have to reply] “No.”22 It is important to remember that the not-self doctrine is only part of the Buddha’s teaching about the nature of human persons. and he understands. We are that which has the opportunity to escape the cycle of rebirth and attain Nibbana. but my Self is not without experience. Completely liberated from this delusion. rebirths in accord with the morality of our actions. it has the attribute of feeling.this view is further expanded in the doctrine of sunyata or emptiness by Nagarjuna. Ananda. the highest form of happiness Process conception of the self . Substance-selves have no reality. The world should be understood as consisting solely of processes. he does not tremble. but always unsatisfactory.” Therefore. As a result.” From the time. not clinging. Rather. or “My Self feels. the phenomena the previous account described as substances-selves are in fact process-selves. the holy life has been lived.

the process conception says a self is nothing but a Nexus of processes such as experiencing. thinking. But instead of describing these as necessary Properties of a substance. suffering. and so on. bhikkhus. all material form should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine. lawful causal development. venerable sir. Doctrine of Impermanence (anicca) of 5 aggregates: As there are scientific laws that govern the physical world. and subject to change. whether past. the doctrine of kamma(Karma) affirms such a law. and acting. fit to be regarded thus: “This is mine. feeling. this is my self ”?’ ‘No venerable sir. what do you think? Is material form permanent or impermanent?’ ‘Impermanent. this I am not. The Buddha continues: Therefore.’23 The Buddha regularly speaks of ‘the perception of non-self in all things without exception’ (N 177). But ordinarily a process is not random: it manifests an ordered.its paradigms of what is real.’ ‘Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?’ ‘Suffering. 23 Majjhima Nikaya-232 23 . or present. Specfically. are permanent. any kind of material form whatever. venerable sir. far or near. such as the law of gravity. interacting processes that are not ontologically distinct from other processes and that are in constant change in every respect.’ ‘Is what is impermanent. this is not myself. In fact. this I am. ‘Bhikkhus. imagining. Crucial to this claim is the contention that all things we experience in the world are impermanent (anicca). the process conception suggests that the proper paradigms are occurrences such as whirlpools and wind storms that are obviously interdependent on their environment and ever-changing. a process-self is a structured nexus of continuous. inferior or superior. remembering.’ The same exchange occurs concerning the other four aggregates. The specific processes that constitute the process-self are typically the aforementioned undergoings and doings of the self. future. gross or subtle. internal or external. The Buddha does not deny that there are unchanging laws that govern changes in the world. 3. desiring.

and it would appear to him to be void. and carefully investigates it. internal or external. whether originating from the mind or the body. that there is a red book in front of me). whatever kind of form there is. and carefully investigate it. inferior or superior. For what substance could there be in a lump of foam? So too. For what substance could there be in form?”24 24 Samyutta Nikaya (Connected Discourse) 24 . volitions. Consciousness (viññana) concerns the general fact that we are aware.are everything we typically take to be involved in a person. or present. either of the world. • Material form (rupa) concerns our physical nature. suppose that this river Ganges was carrying along a great lump of foam. though the five aggregates are distinguished. insubstantial. ponders it. bad. Feelings (vedana) have to do with our sensations. insubstantial. gross or subtle. or neutral (and thus are related to kamma). It refers to our entire body and in particular those aspects of it that make possible the five senses. or of ‘ourselves’ as having the other aggregates. hollow. whether past. A man with good sight would inspect it. future. far or near: a bhikkhu inspects it. and each of these aggregates is impermanent. bhikkhus. They are classified as being ethically good. or indifferent. hollow. The remaining aggregates are all mental in nature.Consider what the Buddha means by the aggregates (khandhas). Perceptions (sañña) go beyond sensations and involve judgments about the world (for example. • • • • Buddha’s contention is observation of meditation reveals that what is ordinarily regarded as a person is encompassed by one or more of the five aggregates. and so on. wishes. and their quality as pleasant. unpleasant. they interact with one another. and it would appear to him to be void. ponder it. “ Bhikkhus. Formations (sankhara) refer to anything that moves us to act desires.

and clung to. bones. and that wherein it is contained. Now space element in oneself and external space element are only space element … And space element has nowhere any standing of its own. In brief “When this exists. such as upgoing winds (forces). that comes to be. belonging to oneself.” (MN 62) The same point is made with respect to the other aggregates. grease. with the arising of this. airy. tears. gorge. 927). Now earth element in oneself and external earth element are only earth element. Now air element in oneself and external air element are only air element. chewed and tasted gets digested and assimilated. and clung to: that is called space element. mouth-door. or whatever else in oneself. is solid. that arises. Dependent Origination doctrine (paticca samuppada). 4. is solid. and is consumed. and clung to. lights. such as that whereby one is warmed. When this does not exist. that ceases” 25(M 655. drunk. such as head-hairs. spleen. heart. oil of the joints. drunk. and whereby what is eaten. solidified. “Whatever in oneself … is water. cf. spatial. pus. phlegm. fat. or whatever else in oneself … is space. Now fire element in oneself and external fire element are only fire element. or whatever else in oneself … is fire. or whatever else in oneself … is air. “Whatever in oneself. skin. bone-marrow. or whatever else in oneself … is water. watery. fiery. spatial. and clung to: that is called fire element in oneself. and clung to: that is called air element in oneself. bowels. Now water element in oneself and external water element are only water element. sweat. solidified. 25 Majjhima Nikaya-232 25 . snot. liver. winds (forces) in the belly and in the bowels. that does not come to be. down-going winds (forces). dung. kidneys. chewed. and clung to: that is called water element in oneself. and clung to. airy. teeth. spittle. and clung to (organic). Sariputta says understanding this doctrine is equivalent to understanding the Buddha’s teaching as a whole. belonging to oneself. “Whatever in oneself … is air. entrails. midriff. nose-hole. body-hairs. blood. nails. with the cessation of this. Buddha says. “Whatever in oneself … is fire. urine. such as bile. and that (aperture) whereby what is eaten. in-breath and out-breath. sinews. winds (forces) that pervade all the limbs.In another sutta. and tasted is swallowed. flesh. such as ear-hole. and clung to: that is called earth element in oneself. ages. and that whereby it passes out below. and clung to. fiery. “Also whatever in oneself … is space. watery.

With mentality-materiality as condition. a thought which was proposed in Abhidharma and Mahayana doctrines. the sixfold base (sala yatana) (the senses and the mind). mentality-materiality (namarupa). (Kaccana) this is one extreme. All does not exist. “How a bhikkhu can ‘be called skilled in dependent origination. The views expressed in the Upanishads that what appears to be our self may suffer. It is important to note that Buddha applied this to persons. aging and death (jara maran) sorrow. formations (sankhara) . pain. further the true self was thought to be both permanent and beyond. 26 27 Samyutta Nikaya (Connected Discourse)544 Majjhima Nikaya-927 26 .A process is always in a state of becoming: from not existing it arises into existence. With the sixfold-base as condition. however dependent origination may be applicable to all processes in the world. lamentation. contact (phassa). consciousness (viññana). With birth as condition. With consciousness as condition. birth (jati). Dependent origination in persons is elaborated by Buddha via a twelvefold formula of conditioning links27. clinging (upadana). with formations as condition. then ceases back into non-existence. being (bhava). On the metaphysical plane. the Buddha said “All exists. The middle way is the twelvefold formula of dependent origination. brahmic traditions) who held that our true self (Atman) is identical with the ultimate ground of reality (brahman).’ The Buddha responds: With ignorance (avijja) as condition (paccaya). grief. feeling (vedana). the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle”26 The two extremes refer to eternalism and annihilationism. craving (tanha) With craving ascondition. this is the second extreme. With clinging as condition. With contact as condition. and despair come to be Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering” Buddha’s argument is addressed to those in his culture (upanishadic. With feeling as condition. Without veering towards either of these extremes. but our true self (Atman) cannot suffer. comes to be. with being as condition.

and despair. This is called the noble truth of the cessation of suffering. with cessation of formations.Buddha establishes in the doctrine of (annata) that this alleged true-self cannot be found in connection with any of the aggregates and by showing that each of the aggregates is impermanent. ageing and deathcease. and hence no beyond suffering. grief. that is how there is a cessationto this whole aggregate mass of suffering. “With the remainderless fading and cessation of ignorance there is cessation of formations. pain. cessation of consciousness … with cessation of birth.” AN 3:61 27 . and also sorrow and lamentation.

the sinews. the skin. sire. yet it is but a denotation. . is it suitable to approve of that? . appellation. the intestines. If you say. there would be no onslaught on a living being for him. sire. venerable 28 Harvey.” “Is Nagasena material form. Cambridge University Press 28 . venerable sir?” “O no. . sire. Therefore. . the kidneys. . or the brain in the head. . no preceptor. venerable Nagasena. the heart. Are (any of them) Nagasena?” “O no. the bones. venerable sir.” “That the nails . the teeth. the saliva. “Sire. Also.” “But then. . there is no wholesome action. If. the phlegm. the urine. . practices meditative development. perception . the liver. sire.” “Is Nagasena feeling . nirvana? Who is it that kills a living thing? . or consciousness?” “O no. . the mesentery. . . If. “Good sirs . the mucus. the membranes. the stomach. the bile. Peter. sire. . since no person is apprehended here. or one who makes another act thus.” Then King Milinda spoke thus. . designation. who is it that makes use of them? Who is it that guards moral virtue. . who then is it that gives you the requisites of robe-material . the serum. It gives an excellent exposition of underlying Buddhist Philosophy and Ethics28 “How is the venerable one known?” . .’ what here is Nagasena? Is it. venerable Nagasena. no ordination. I am known as Nagasena. there is no fruit or ripening of action (karma) well or ill done. the synovic ṛ uid. ‘Fellows in the holy life address me. someone killed you. Values and Issues. the excrement. . the spleen.Milindapanha (Questions of Milinda) Milindapañha is a text that records a series of conversations between a Greco Bactrian King Milinda or Menandro (reigned 155–130 BCE) and the Buddhist monk Nagasena. (2000) An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations. no unwholesome action. the fat. . . . the marrow. the pus. for Nagasena is only a name. the tears. is Nagasena form-feelingperception-constructing-activities-and-consciousness?” “O no. venerable Nagasena. . the blood. the ṛ esh.” “But then.” “That the hairs of the body are Nagesena?” “O no. as Nagasena. . there is no doer of wholesome or unwholesome actions. sire. the person is not apprehended. the lungs. realizes . that the hairs of the head are Nagasena?” “O no. . you would have no teacher. sire. But though (my) parents gave (me) the name Nagesena or Surasena or Virasena or Sihasena. the constructing activities. current usage. venerable sir. the sweat.

am not telling a lie. would be the more severely burnt. merely as a name. . . the constructing activities. you. Is the pole the chariot. was spoken by the nun Vajira face to face with the Blessed One. . . Of whom are you afraid that you speak a lie?” . I do not see the chariot. for whom is there a greater karmically harmful action: he who does an evil action knowingly.sir. show me the chariot. or the goad the chariot?” “O no. This. venerable sir. for it is dependent on (paticca) the pole. sire. designation. sire. . You came by chariot.” “Though I. For who here is Nagasena? You. sire. There is no chariot. are speaking an untruth. and on the hair of the body . What do you think about this. . . on perception. there is a greater karmically harmful action for one who does an evil action unknowingly. is there Nagasena apart from form-feeling-perception-constructing-activitiesandconsciousness?” “O no. ablaze. not come on foot. sire. that ‘chariot’ exists as a denotation. venerable sir. venerable sir. venerable sir.the body of the chariot. Nagasena is only a sound. appellation. a person is not apprehended here.” 29 .” Then the venerable Nagasena spoke thus to King Milinda: “You. There is no Nagasena.” “Though I. For what here is the chariot? You sire. there is a greater karmically harmful action for one who does an evil action unknowingly.” “Is the axle the chariot?” “O no. I do not see this Nagasena. aglow.” “Even so. delicately nurtured. sire. understand a chariot. a lying word. venerable sir. The King said: “Venerable Nagasena. venerable Nagasena. are a noble. a name.” “But then. sire.” “It is well. . or he who does an evil deed unknowingly?” Nagasena said: “Great King. You. and dependent on consciousness that ‘Nagasena’ exists as a denotation. the reins. Chariot is only a sound. venerable sire. venerable sir. designation. are speaking an untruth. sire. as a current usage. am asking you repeatedly. a lying word. the yoke. .” “But then. I came in a chariot. sire?” “O no. “I. and dependent on the brain in the head. as a current usage. . venerable sir. did you come on foot or in a conveyance?” “I. is the chariot the pole-axle-wheels-body-flagstaff-yoke-reins-and-goad?” “O no. and dependent on material form. . appellation. and on feeling. are the chief raja of the whole of India. sire. Even so is it for me. dependent on the axle [and the other parts] . venerable sire” “Are the wheels …. aṛ ame. . venerable sir. sire. But according to the highest meaning. sire? If one (person) should unknowingly take hold of a red-hot ball of iron. the flagstaff.which would be the more severely burnt?” “He who took hold of it unknowingly. Now. am asking you repeatedly.” “If. sire. it is dependent on the hair of the head. sire. sire. and another should take hold of it knowingly. is there a chariot apart from pole-axle-wheels-body-flagstaff-yoke-reinsand-goad?” “O no.

’ The second selection is a response to the apparent contradiction between the first passage and Vinaya passages that say that a monk cannot break a rule against killing an animal or human “unknowingly. It is not morally blameworthy (unless culpably careless) to perform an action that one does not know may bring harm to a living being and so kill it. It was with reference to the first of these that the Blessed One said. ‘There is no offense for one who does not know. there is a type of offense in which acquittal is not related to perception. However.” The issue hinges on what kind of “unknowing” is involved. there is a difference in meaning here. 30 . sire. . a type of offense where acquittal is related to perception. is to act in the most blameworthy way.“You are dexterous. to deliberately act when one knows that it is killing a sentient being. venerable Nagasena. nor does it break a monastic rule. but does not know or recognize this to be an evil act. What is this? There is.” “Sire . .

’ ‘the world is finite. bhikkhus.’ And if you are then asked ’But what inadequacy (danger) do you see in those things?’ you can answer: ’When a person is not without lust and desire and love and thirst and fever and craving for these things.’ ‘the world is infinite. which is more. to ceasing. to fading. to ceasing. to Nibbana. feeling.’ ‘the soul 31 . grief. to fading. this is the origin of suffering.’ That is what I have told you. and because it leads to dispassion. this is the way leading to the cessation of suffering. let your task be this: ’This is suffering. grief. pain. to stilling. Why have I told it? Because it brings benefit. and because they do not lead to dispassion. the things that I have known by direct knowledge are more: the things that I have told you are only a few. pain. sorrow and lamentation. to Nibbana. to direct knowledge. no sorrow and lamentation.’ And if you are then asked ’Removal of desire and lust for what?’ you can answer: ’Removal of desire and lust for form (and the rest). those in the wood are far more. to direct knowledge. then with their change and alteration. to enlightenment.’ ‘the world is not eternal. perception.’” SN 56:31 “When a bhikkhu travels in many countries. Lord. He picked up a few leaves in his hand. this is the origin of suffering. with their change and alteration. to enlightenment. Why have I not told them? Because they bring no benefit. Learned and inquiring people will ask ’What does the venerable one’s teacher tell. formations. this is the way leading to the cessation of suffering. he refused to make a declaration about the truth of the following ten propositions: ‘the world is eternal. the few leaves that I have picked up in my hand or those on the trees in the wood?” “The leaves that the Blessed One has picked up in his hand are few.So. this the cessation of suffering. and despair arise in him.” “So too.Qualifications of his teaching The Blessed One was once living at Kosambi in a wood of simapa trees. bhikkhus. That is why I have not told them. and he asked the bhikkhus: “How do you conceive this. this is the cessation of suffering. and despair arise in him. and consciousness.” SN 22:2 The Buddha did not claim to give a complete account of human nature. learned people of all stations will ask him questions. what does he preach?’ Rightly answering you can say: ’Our teacher preaches the removal of desire and lust. to stilling. And what have I told you? ’This is suffering.’ And if you are then asked ’And what advantage do you see in doing thus?’ you can answer: ’When a person is free from lust and desire and love and thirst and fever and craving for form. then. and advancement in the holy life. no advancement in the holy life. bhikkhus.

’ ‘the soul is one thing and the body another. cannot be discerned .’ ‘after death a Tathagata exists.254 Majjhima Nikaya-591 30 32 . once enlightened.’ The last six plainly concern human nature. the twelvefold formula is perplexing in several respects. Similarly. Ignorance. After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true. These are often referred to as the ‘undetermined questions. yet a specific condition of ignorance is discerned. After death a Tathagata does not exist. .anything else is wrong. only this is true. anything else is wrong. Two reasons are commonly given to explain the Buddha’s silence concerning these propositions. Knowing whether they are true or false does not enable us to overcome suffering: this is the explicit point of the simile of the man wounded by the arrow. After death a Tathagata both exists and does not exist: only this is true.’ ‘after death a Tathagata both exists and does not exist. the twelvefold series is incomplete. has its nutriment”29 (N 254) in this respect. The last six propositions contain a false presupposition – namely. First. 1. 29 Anguttara Nikaya (Numerical Discourses).’ ‘after death a Tathagata does not exist. But the Buddha does not think there are first causes.’ and ‘after death a Tat hagata neither exists nor does not exist’ (M 533). Despite its apparent importance. that a substance-self or soul now exists that stands in some relationship to the body and that. either will or will not exist after death.(jiva) is the same as the body. anything else is wrong. . . 2. too. it seems to imply that ignorance is the first cause of suffering. anything else is wrong. . and he clearly says: “A first beginning of ignorance . Buddha did not give any specific regarding these propositions (in the context of Nirvana)30 After death a Tathagata exists: only this is true.

inclines gradually. (The term ‘reappears ‘does not apply in any negative or positive form) The ultimate goal of the Eightfold Path is to become an Arahant. Paharada. to be experienced by the wise. gradual practice. subtle. According to the Buddha: Just as the great ocean slopes away gradually.’ The Buddha concludes: So. the north.31 31 Anguttara Nikaya (Numerical Discourses).’ He then offers a simile: if we asked about an extinguished fire ‘To which direction did it go: to the east. there is no penetration to final knowledge in an abrupt way. .203 33 . immeasurable. the Tathagata has abandoned that material form by which one describing the Tathagata might describe him . unattainable by mere reasoning. . he is profound. the west. gradual progress.’ the proper answer would be ‘That does not apply. Vacchagotta. not in an abrupt way like a precipice. or the south?.The Tathagata is liberated from reckoning in terms of material form. The once-returner (sakada gamin) The non-returner (anagamin) In each case.And the Buddha says his teaching is ‘hard to understand . . . is this Dhamma and Discipline: there is a gradual training. falls gradually. hard to fathom like the ocean. Vacchagotta. . However the Buddha envisioned three preliminary stages of progress towards this goal: The stream-enterer (sotapanna). too. even so. there is a distinction between both within this lifetime and through several lifetimes.

The enumeration of Eight Fold Path in the word of the Buddha To inquire into the meditative training that leads to this life. clinging. and insistence. but one such as this (who haright view). Instead of resorting to either 34 . ’(an) all does not exist’ is the other extreme. and such mental decision in the guise of underlying tendency tinsist. That is what ’right view’ refers to. this world depends upon the dualism of existence and nonexistence. the Buddha proposes the eight fold path: Wisdom (pañña) Right View (samma¯ditthi) Right Intention (samma¯ sankappa) Virtue (sila) Right Speech (samma¯vaca) Right Action (samma¯ kammanta) Right Livelihood (samma¯ajiva) Concentration (samadhi) Right Effort (samma¯vayama) Right Mindfulness (samma¯sati) Right Concentration (samma¯ samadhi) The Eightfold Path explained in the words of the Buddha: “Lord. ’right view. he has no doubt or uncertainty that what arises is only arising suffering. right view’ is said. But when one sees thworld’s origin as it actually is with right understanding. Kaccayana. and in this his knowledge is independent of others. there is for him none of (what is callednon-existence in the world. ’(An) all exists’ is one extreme. instead of clinging. such clinging. “Usually the world is shackled by bias. instead of allowing bias. and when he sees the world’s cessation as it actually is with right understanding. and instead of deciding about ’my selfwith such bias. there is for him none of (what is called) existence in the world. and what ceaseis only ceasing suffering. What does ’right view’ refer to?” “Usually.

but this my self is permanent. a Perfect One expounds the Dhamma by the middle way’It is with ignorance as condition that formations come to be. grief.’ This field of views is called the thicket of views. and he attains to happiness and pleasure dissociated from sensual desires and unwholesome states. abuse. with formations as condition. as it actually is. or to something higher than that. then he is no more interested in sensual desires. The untaught ordinary man bound by the fetter of views is not freed from birth. the fetter of views. this is called right speech.” “When a noble disciple has clearly seen with right understanding. what was I in the past? 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.” “He abandons slander: as one who is neither a repeater elsewhere of what is heard here for the purpose of causing division from these. consciousness. everlasting. I say. slander. the intention of non-ill will. and gossip. the wilderness of views. the intention of non-cruelty: this is called right intention. and despair: he is not freed from suffering. and will endure as long as eternity. ageing and death. with consciousness…’ (And so on with both arising and cessation.” MN 14 “What is right speech? Abstention from lying. then one of six types of view arises in him as true and established: ’My self exists’ or ’My self does not exist’ or ’I perceive self with self’ or ’I perceive not-self with self’ or ’I perceive self with not-self’ or some such view as ’This is my self that speaks and feels and experiences here or there the ripening of good and bad actions. what shall I be in the future?’ Or else he wonders about himself now in the presently arisen period in this way: ’Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Whence has this being come? Whither is it bound?’ “When he gives unreasoned attention in this way. how little gratification sensual desires provide and how much pain and despair they entail. not subject to change.extreme. and how great is their inadequacy. sorrow and lamentation. the vacillation of views. nor a repeater to these of what is heard 35 . the contortion of views. pain.)” SN 12:15 “The untaught ordinary man who has no regard for noble ones … gives unreasoned (uncritical) attention in this way: ’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.” MN 2 “What is right intention? It is the intention of renunciation.

and poisons. a promoter of friendships. He awakens desire for the abandoning of arisen evil unwholesome states. and perfecting. What are the five? He abstains from killing living beings. and livelihood (virtue or sila) constitute “is the preliminary stage of the path. and he will find himself in heaven as sure as if he had been carried off and put there. meat. and endeavours: this is called right effort. pleasing to the ear and lovable. misconduct in sensual desires: this is called right action. liquor. this is called wrong livelihood (for bhikkhus). rejoicing in concord. for which he makes efforts.”AN 5:172–73 What is Right Livelihood? “Scheming (to deceive). factual.… He awakens desire for the continuance. for which he makes efforts. from taking what is not given. living beings. What five? They are: trading in weapons. good. he lives with confidence in his house. which is reasoned. desired of many and dear to many. and pursuing gain with gain. belittling. for which he makes efforts. action.“He abandons gossip: as one who tells that which is seasonable. and from indulging in liquor. persuading.… He awakens desire for the arising of unarisen wholesome states. he becomes a speaker of words that promote concord. DN 22 36 . for which he makes efforts. as go to the heart. who is thus a reuniter of the divided. stealing. hinting.elsewhere for the purpose of causing division from those. enjoying concord. delighting in concord. he speaks in season speech worth recording. are civil. arouses energy. and fermented brews. right speech. from misconduct in sensual desires.” SN 45:8. “What is right effort? Here a bhikkhu awakens desire for the non-arising of unarisen evil unwholesome states. strengthening. non-corruption. “He abandons abuse: he becomes a speaker of such words as are innocent.” MN 117 “There are five trades that a lay follower should not ply.” “When a lay follower possesses five things. arouses energy.” MN 41 “What is right action? Abstention from killing living beings. maintenance in being. and connected with good. exerts his mind. wine. and endeavours. definite. from speaking falsehood. and the Dhamma and Discipline. ”AN 5:177 The group of factors. of arisen wholesome states. exerts his mind.

he understands ’I breathe out short. set his body erect. understands ’I make a short turn. This is called right mindfulness. ardent. having put away covetousness and grief for the world. “Or else mindfulness that ’There is a body’ is established in him to the extent of bare knowledge and remembrance of it while he 32 SN 45:8. ardent.’ or breathing out long. DN 22 37 . fully aware and mindful. he understands ’I breathe out long’.“What is right mindfulness?32 Here a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body. he trains thus: ’I shall breathe out experiencing the whole body (of breaths). just mindful he breathes in.… He abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects. or externally.’ so. the bhikkhu understands ’I breathe in long.’ “He abides contemplating the body as a body in this way either in himself. ardent. gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to a room that is void.’ He trains thus: ’I shall breathe in tranquillizing the bodily formation (function)’. or its factors of origination and fall. He abides contemplating feelings as feelings. breathing in long. understands ’I make a long turn. having folded his legs crosswise. he understands ’I breathe in short. when making a long turn. fully aware and mindful. As a skilled turner or his apprentice. breathing in short. having put away covertousness and grief for the world. or its factors of fall. and established mindfulness in front of him.’ or breathing out short.’ or when making a short turn. or in himself and externally.” “How does a bhikkhu abide contemplating the body as a body? Here a bhikkhu.… He abides contemplating consciousness as consciousness. ardent. “Or else he contemplates in the body either its factors of origination.’ He trains thus: ’I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body (of breaths)’. mindful he breathes out. sits down. he trains thus: ’I shall breathe out tranquillizing the bodily formation (function).

“Again.’ 38 .… “That also is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body.’ “He abides contemplating. as though a skilled butcher or his apprentice had slaughtered a cow and were seated at the four crossroads with it cut up into pieces. bones. sweat. snot. or when sitting. “Again. he understands ’I am standing’. flesh. red rice. “Or else mindfulness … not clinging to anything in the world. gorge. this is peas. so too. millet. or when standing. tears. “Or else he contemplates … the factors or origination and fall. “That also is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body. kidneys. in eating. a bhikkhu is fully aware in moving to and fro. “That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body. spleen. and tasting. and white rice. “Again. grease. and air element. drinking. “Again. and urine. when walking. in looking ahead and away. blood. and a man with good sight had opened it and were reviewing it: ’This is hill rice. skin. oilof-the-joints. body-hairs. lights. talking. chewing. liver. midriff. this is millet. the bowl and other robes. he understands it to be so disposed. dung. in whatever position a bhikkhu finds this body. he understands ’I am sitting’. peas. in flexing and extending the limbs. bonemarrow. “He abides contemplating. he understands ’I am lying down. bile. entrails. beans. a bhikkhu understands ’I am walking’. waking. this is red rice. this is beans. so too a bhikkhu reviews this body up from the soles of the feet and down from the top of the hair as full of many kinds of filth: ’There are in this body head-hairs. as though there were a bag with two openings full of many sorts of grain. or when lying down.’ Or whatever position his body is in. in wearing the outer cloak of patches.abides independent. such as hill rice. fat. he reviews it according to the elements: ’There are in this body earth element.… “That also is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body. not clinging to anything in the world. fire element. and he is fully aware and mindful in walking. “He abides contemplating the body as a body … externally. heart. bowels. pus. this is white rice’. phlegm. spittle. sinews. sitting. and keeping silent. standing. nails. water element. going to sleep. teeth. in evacuating the bowels and making water.

three-days dead. here a hand-bone. or their factors of fall. “He abides contemplating feelings as feelings in this way either in himself.… “And how does a bhikkhu abide contemplating feelings as feelings? “Here. When feeling an unmaterialistic pleasant feeling. he understands ’I feel a materialistic pleasant feeling’. held together by sinews:… bones without sinews. or externally. … (and so with the other two). “Again. “Or else mindfulness that ’There are feelings’ is established in him to the extent of 39 . there a shin-bone. he understands ‘I feel a neither-painful-norpleasant feeling. “Again.’ He abides contemplating. “Or else he contemplates in feelings either their factors of origination.… “That also is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body. jackals. when feeling a painful feeling. more than a year old: … bones rotted and crumbled to dust: ’This body too is of such a nature. will be like that.…“That also is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body. vultures. is not exempt from that. will be like that. a bhikkhu judges this same body as though he were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel ground. when feeling a pleasant feeling. being devoured by crows. he understands ’I feel a painful feeling’. a skeleton with flesh and blood. bloated. there a skull: … bones bleached white. and held together by sinews: … a fleshless skeleton smeared with blood and held together by sinews:… a skeleton without flesh or blood. there a thigh-bone. scattered in all directions. there a foot-bone.“He abides contemplating. dogs.’ “He abides contemplating. there a hip-bone. livid. or inhimself and externally. a bhikkhu understands ’I feel a pleasant feeling’.’ When feeling a materialistic pleasant feeling.or their factors of origination and fall. he understands ’I feel an unmaterialistic pleasant feeling’. and oozing with matter: ’This body too is of such a nature. one-day dead. and the multitudinous varieties of worms: … as though he were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel ground. there a back-bone. is not exempt from that. the colour of shells: … bones heaped up. a bhikkhu judges this same body as though he were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel ground. kites. two-days dead. … (and so with the other two). when feeling a neither painful-nor-pleasant feeling.

He understands exalted consciousness as exalted.bareknowledge and remembrance of it while he abides independent. “And how does a bhikkhu abide contemplating mental objects as mental objects? “Here. and distracted consciousness as distracted. How is that done? Here. he understands ’There is no desire for sensuality in me’. or in himself and externally. not clinging to anything in the world. he understands ’There is desire for sensuality in me’. and that unaffected by delusion as unaffected by delusion. and how there comes to be the abandoning of arisen desire for sensuality. a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in terms of the five hindrances. He understands concentrated consciousness as concentrated. When there is ill will in him … When there is lethargy and drowsiness in him … When there is agitation and worry in him … When there is uncertainty in him … he understands how there comes to be the future non40 . He understands consciousness affected by delusion as affected by delusion. and how there comes to be the future nonarising of abandoned desire for sensuality. He understands consciousness affected by hate as affected by hate. and that unaffected by hate as unaffected by hate. and that unaffected by lust as unaffected by lust. and that unliberated as unliberated. “That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating feelings as feelings. and also he understands how there comes to be the arising of unarisen desire for sensuality. “He abides contemplating consciousness as consciousness in this way either in himself. “Or else mindfulness that ’There is consciousness’ is established in him to the extent of bare knowledge and remembrance of it while he abides independent. He understands contracted consciousness as contracted. or its factors of fall. “That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating consciousness as consciousness. and that unsurpassed as unsurpassed. “Or else he contemplates in consciousness its factors of origination. when there is desire for sensuality in him. and that unexalted as unexalted. “And how does a bhikkhu abide contemplating consciousness as consciousness? “Here a bhikkhu understands consciousness affected by lust as affected by lust. or externally. and that unconcentrated as unconcentrated. or its factors of origination and fall. He understands liberated consciousness as liberated. He understands surpassed consciousness as surpassed. or when there is no desire for sensuality in him. not clinging to anything in the world.

“That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in terms of the five hindrances. such its origin. such is consciousness. when there is no mindfulness enlightenment factor in him. “He abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in himself. a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in terms of the six bases in oneself and external. such its origin. “Or else he contemplates in mental objects either their factors of origination. a bhikkhu understands ’There is the mindfulness enlightenment factor in me’. such its origin. “He abides contemplating. He understands the ear and sounds … the nose and odours … the tongue and flavours … the body and tangibles … the mind and mental objects and the fetter that arises owing to both. such are formations. or in himself and externally. he understands ’There is no mindfulness 41 . when there is the mindfulness enlightenment factor in him. such their origin. such their disappearance. “Again. How is that done? Here a bhikkhu understands the eye and visible forms and the fetter that arises owing to both. such its disappearance. How is that done? Here. “Again. a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in terms of the five aggregates affected by clinging. or their factors of fall. such its disappearance. How is that done? Here a bhikkhu understands: ’Such is form. and how there comes to be the abandoning of the arisen fetter.… “That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in terms of the six bases in oneself and external. such its origin. not clinging to anything in the world. such its disappearance. such its disappearance. he understands how there comes to be the arising of the unarisen fetter.… “That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in terms of the five aggregates affected by clinging. “Or else mindfulness that ’There are mental objects’ is established in him to the extent of bare knowledge and remembrance of it while he abides independent. or their factors of origination and fall. such is perception. and how there comes to be the future non-arising of the abandoned fetter. a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in terms of the seven enlightenment factors.’ “He abides contemplating. or externally.arising of abandoned uncertainty. “Again. … and he understands how comes to be the future non-arising of the abandoned fetter. such is feeling.

a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in terms of the Four Noble Truths. “Again. MN 10 42 .’ “He abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in himself. “That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in terms of the Four Noble Truths. or their factors of fall. or in himself and externally. then one of two fruits could be expected of him: either final knowledge here and now.… “That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating mental objects as mental objects in terms of the seven enlightenment factors. and he understands how there comes to be the arising of the unarisen mindfulness enlightenment factor and how there comes to be the development and perfection of the arisen mindfulness enlightenment factor. were anyone to maintain in being these four foundations of mindfulness for seven years … let alone for seven years … for seven days.enlightenment factor in me’. “Bhikkhus. When there is the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor in him … the energy enlightenment factor in him … the happiness enlightenment factor in him … the tranquillity enlightenment factor in him … the concentration enlightenment factor in him … the equanimity enlightenment factor in him … and he understands how there comes to be the arising of the unarisen equanimity enlightenment factor and how there comes to be the development and perfection of the arisen equanimity enlightenment factor. “Or else mindfulness that ’There are mental objects’ is established in him to the extent of bare knowledge and remembrance of it while he abides independent. or externally. or their factors of origination and fall. not clinging to anything in the world. or else non-return.” DN 22. How is that done? Here a bhikkhu understands according as it actually is: ’This is suffering’ and ’This is the origin of suffering’ and ’This is the cessation of suffering’ and ’This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering. He abides contemplating. “Or else he contemplates in mental objects either their factors of origination.

hatred (dosa) and delusion (moha) While wholesome states are those that foster enlightenment.. The abandoning of arisen evil unwholesome states.” MN 38 33 Majjhima Nikaya-1100 43 . strengthening. when he feels any feeling. “When he does not do that. Having thus abandoned favouring and opposing. that is how there is a cessation to this whole aggregate mass of suffering. cessation of being. cessation of clinging. and also sorrow and lamentation. non-disappearance. secluded from unwholesome states. ageing and death cease. he does not relish that feeling or affirm or accept it. with cessation of clinging. “On seeing a form with the eye. with cessation of being. He abides with mindfulness of the body established and a measureless state of mind while he understands as they actually are the deliverance of mind and deliverance by understanding wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. cessation of birth. with cessation of birth. tasting a flavour with the tongue. smelling an odour with the nose. and despair. and he has no ill will towards it if it is dislikable. his relishing of those feelings ceases. grief. mental imperfections that weaken understanding. and fulfilment by development of arisen wholesome states Unwholesome states are those that hinder the attainment of enlightenment: the root of unwholesome states is greed (lobha). hearing a sound with the ear. touching a tangible with the body. and non-delusion “Having abandoned the five hindrances. the Buddha says:33 • • • • The non-arising of unarisen evil unwholesome states. pain. non-hatred. The arising of unarisen wholesome states. while the root of wholesome states is non-greed.With Right Concentration. increase. he does not lust after it if it is likable. then quite secluded from sensual desires. With cessation of his relishing. The continuance. cognizing an idea with the mind. whether pleasant or painful or neither-painfulnor-pleasant. he enters upon and abides in the first meditation … the second meditation … the third meditation … the fourth meditation.

” The eight.’ With the abandonment of ‘pleasure and pain’ and the ‘disappearance of joy and grief. (aware that) ’there is nothing at all. by completely surmounting the base consisting of infinity of consciousness.to achieve enlightenment. with rapture and pleasure born of concentration. ‘He has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful.’ he enters upon and abides in the base consisting of nothingness.’ • • • These last three factors. still feeling pleasure with the body’ attains a jha¯na of which it may be said. (aware of) ’infinite consciousness. with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.” merely refinements of the fourth meditation. right effort. mindfulness.’ ‘With the stilling of applied and sustained thought.Buddha contends that by focusing fully and solely on the meditation object.34 • Secluded from both ‘sensual pleasures’ and ‘unwholesome states’ one attains a jhana ‘accompanied by applied and sustained thought.” which constitute the “certainty of rightness” attained with the path of stream entry.’ When rapture fades away. Before leaving the subject of concentration. there are four more stages attainable called. though. • “Again. one ‘abides in equanimity.’ he enters upon and abides in the base consisting of infinity of consciousness. The four “formless states” They are extra to “right concentration.’ one attains a jha¯na that ‘has neither-pain-norpleasure and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity. • 34 Majjhima Nikaya-1101 44 . the meditator would gradually ascend the Four jhanas (meditative absorptions or states) of right concentration. with right knowledge and right deliverance.’ one attains a jhana that ‘has self-confidence and singleness of mind without applied and sustained thought. by completely surmounting the base consisting of infinity of space. “Again. and concentration. are called the “ten rightnesses. together constitute “concentration. and mindful and fully aware.

by completely surmounting the base consisting of nothingness. he enters upon and abides in the base consisting of neither-perception-nornon-perception. they are called in the Noble One’s Discipline. The practice of them without right view leads only to heaven. MN 25 Takshashila Mahavihara (Ancient Gandhara) Taxila.”MN 8 None of these eight attainments is claimed as peculiar to the Buddhas’ teaching. The four formless states are not called effacement in the Noble One’s Discipline. “The four meditations are not called effacement in the Noble One’s Discipline. they are called in the Noble One’s Discipline.” is described as reached only in the two highest stages of realization and is thus peculiar to Buddhas and their disciples. quiet abidings. but not to Nibbana. A ninth attainment. a pleasant abiding here and now. The teaching peculiar to Buddhas is the Four Noble Truths.• “Again. Pakistan 45 . the “attainment of cessation.

the Beyond.Nirvana “Cessation of lust. the Wonderful.” SN 43:1–44 46 . the Unweakening. the End. the Everlasting. the Other Shore. the Taintless. Fading of Lust. the Subtle. Nondistress. the Undisintegrating. the Harbour. the Very Hard To See. the Naturally Non-distressed. the Undiversified. the Island. of hate. Purity. Nonaffliction (Unhostility). the Deathless. the Refuge. the Superior Goal. the Marvellous. the Blest. the Shelter. and of delusion is the Unformed (Unconditioned). Nibbana. the Truth. the Invisible. Exhaustion of Craving. Freedom. Peace. Safety. Independence of Reliance.

When we say “A fruit arises from a seed. then? There’s a certain development of the continuum. and it suggests that rebirth should be understood in terms of a causal continuity between a process-self in one life and in another life that is its rebirth. Vasubandhu debates with Devadatta. Nor do we mean that a seed immediately produces a fruit. as a fruit arises eventually from a seed. a power instilled in it by the seed. in many discourses have I not stated consciousness to be dependently arisen. we say “the result of an action arises. If it had not been preceded by that seed. Sati wonders whether ‘it is this same consciousness that runs and wanders through the round of rebirths. ultimately existing self (atman). it would not have been able to produce a fruit of the same type. stems. The response is that rebirth would also make sense if I were a process-self and not a substance-self. In the same way. arising in a regular order and ending with flowers. since without a condition there is no origination of consciousness?’ (M 350).” We don’t mean that continuum.) Instead. what is development. leaves. involving shoots. a hindu philosophers who unapologetically defend the existence of the atman. Why? It comes from a certain development the continuum. and so on. and what kind of development? The continuum is the progression of thoughts from one moment to the next that starts with the action. Vasubandhu clarifies the Buddhist view on transmigration in absence of soul (atman). why do we say “This is the fruit from that seed?” The flower arising in sequence has the power to produce the fruit. Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakosa examines the nature of the person and seeks to refute the view that the essence of each person is a real. to whom have you ever known me to teach the Dhamma in that way? Misguided man. not another. The Buddha rejects the claim that ‘this same consciousness’ is reborn (that is a version of the substance view. What.’ The Buddha replies: ‘Misguided man.” we don’t mean that it arises from a seed that has already ceased to exist. Since the fruit arises directly from the flower. the Buddha says we should think of consciousness in terms of dependent origination.Buddhist view on rebirth in the light of not-self doctrine The objection is that I could be reborn only if the substance-self (atman) that is now me were to exist in a later life. A dialogue with the bhikkhu Sati suggests that the Buddha accepted this view. When it arises in a 47 . This refers to the process view. “But we (Buddhist) don’t say that the result arises in the future from past action that has already ceased to exist.

after death. When the Buddha says there are no selves. he should be interpreted as referring to conventional truth. we call that “development. when the mind at death is attached. What is a Early in the history of Buddhism a distinction was drawn between ‘ultimate truth’ (paramattha sacca) and ‘conventional truth’ (sammuti sacca). Suppose someone chooses (1). What. ‘this good person is here and now censured by the wise as an immoral person. somewhat similar to Pascal’s ‘wager argument’ for believing in kamma and rebirth.different form. is the kind of development we mean. nor that it arises immediately after the action. Finally. For example. he will reappear in a state of deprivation’ 36 On the other hand. but it has such a long history that it is commonly regarded as an implicit feature of the Buddha’s teaching.” it arises from a past action that has already ceased to exist. .’ If there is another 35 36 Philosophy of Buddha an Introduction by Christopher Gowan Majjhima Nikaya-508 48 . one with right view. it is capable of producing a new rebirth. the Buddha gives an argument. and when he speaks as if there are selves.’ If there is another world. one of wrong view. The distinction between ultimate and conventional truth is not explicitly drawn in the Sutta Pitaka. ‘this person is here and now praised by the wise as a virtuous person. on the dissolution of the body. suppose the person chooses (2). If there is no other world.35 We are given a choice between: (1) being an immoral person who rejects kamma and rebirth. and . (2) is a better choice than (1). as in the doctrines of kamma and rebirth. then? It comes from a certain kind of development of the continuum. If there is no other world. The Buddha argues that. then the person ‘is censured by the wise here and now. It is sometimes said that this distinction may be employed to answer the consistency objection as follows. and (2) being a moral person who accepts kamma and rebirth. whether or not kamma and rebirth are true. he should be understood as expressing ultimate truth.” A certain particular development. the final one that is capable of immediately producing the result. .

after death. . on the dissolution of the body. then the person ‘is praised by the wise here and now. Uzbekistan 37 Majjhima Nikaya-509 49 . he will reappear in a happy destination’ 37 While there could be other choices. Old Termiz. it is easy to see why (2) is a better choice Fayaztepe Buddhist Stupa. .world. and . however in this any case.

approval. he could not achieve what can be achieved by one who has faith’ (M 706). honesty and sincerity. treasure it. each of these avenues is unreliable and insufficient for acquiring knowledge. For example.38 Bhikkhus. being energetic in ridding oneself of unwholesome states and acquiring wholesome ones.’ freedom from affliction and illness. if you do not adhere to it. purified and bright as this view is. would you then understand the Dhamma that has been 38 Philosophy of Buddha. and so none should be depended on to definitely conclude ‘only this is true[sacca]. hatred. cherish it. According to the Buddha. The Buddha said: ‘Let a wise man come. he should hear a presentation of the teaching and make sure the Buddha is purified of any states of greed. In recognition of this. reasoned cogitation.The Buddha rejected role for faith as a dogmatic belief Buddha identified five potential avenues of understanding: ‘faith. and possessing wisdom (M 707).Whether meditation actually results in objective knowledge is another question. oral tradition. Chrsitopher Gowans 50 . For example. or delusion: ‘Then he places faith in him’ (M 782). though it might also be rendered as ‘confidence’). I instruct him. a man of rectitude. The Buddha did speak about faith (the usual translation of ‘saddha’. ‘five factors of striving’ are described as ‘faith in the Tatha¯gata’s enlightenment. Hence. but that it does is a central contention of the Buddha’s teaching. and reflective acceptance of a view.anything else is wrong’(M 780). something accepted on that basis may be false and something not so accepted may be true. The term is often placed at the beginning of lists that end with wisdom. and treat it as a possession. the Buddha urged the would-be follower to seek some signs of the Buddha’s enlightenment before beginning the Eightfold Path. I teach him the Dhamma in such a way that by practicing as instructed he will soon know and see for himself (M664).he said. if the student ‘had no faith. one who is honest and sincere.’In each case.

“Bhikkhus. suppose I hoist it on my head or load it on my shoulder and go where I mean to go?’ Now would he be doing what should be done with a raft?” — no. not for grasping. he got safely across. how much more so bad teachings. not for the purpose of grasping? 39 Buddha’s teachings were pragmatic. supported by which. when he had got across.taught as similar to a raft. when he got across. whose near shore was dangerous and fearful and whose further shore was safe and free from fear. when you know the Simile of the Raft (then even good) teachings should be abandoned by you. So I have shown you how the Dhamma resembles a raft in being for the purpose of crossing over. suppose I haul it up on dry land or set it adrift on the water and go where I mean to go?’. Lord. he thought: ’This raft has been very helpful to me since by its means I got safely across. suppose a traveller saw a great expanse of water. being for the purpose of crossing over. and making efforts with his hands and feet. Bhikkhus. he collected grass and branches and twigs and leaves and bound them together into a raft. Then. but there was no ferry or bridge.” — “What should he do with it? If.” MN 22 (condensed) 39 Majjhima Nikaya 51 . he thought: ’This raft has been very helpful to me since by its means I got safely across. Then after considering this. then that is how he is doing what should be done with the raft.

still by that homage paid to the attainment of the Supreme good…do they themselves attain to one or other of the three glorious states. Rhy Davids in the 40 Digha Nikaya (‘Long Discourses’) 52 .” MN 22 With respect to the sacred. any who have simply faith in me. Kalupahana’s study of Buddhist philosophy argues that the paritta chants. In the later period book The Questions of Milinda teacher Nagasena specifically allows this for lay followers.’ However. These represented a kind of adaption of customary chants for protection against those bad spirits (yakkhas) that people believed in their time. even though it is meaningless to the Buddha himself: ‘If gods or men put up a building to contain the jewel treasure of the relics of a Tathagata who does not accept their gift. open. the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is frank. are destined for heaven. These were mentioned in the Questions of Milinda and their use was reluctantly admitted (213–19). like Tantric mantras. and death were to be places worthy of special reverence. There were no rituals designed for householders. evident. in an attempt to resolve an apparent contradiction in Buddhist teachings. According the Buddha. the Buddha emphasized the importance of his teaching rather than himself. first teaching. these places ‘should arouse emotion in the faithful’ and ‘any who die while making the pilgrimage to these shrines with a devout heart will. enlightenment. because Buddhism very consciously and firmly advocated the replacement of sacrifice and ritual by moral relationships. In this Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus.: 225–27). provided psychological satisfaction (ibid. simply love for me. the Buddha declared that his place of birth. However generally. he argues that it is only Bhikkhus who were included in the injunction not to worship relics. and stripped of padding.Veneration of relics and of stupas in popular Buddhism “Bhikkhus.(Milindapanha1963: 146). be reborn in a heavenly world’ 40(L 263–4). some compromises were made. for instance in the use of ‘protection chants’ called paritta. However. at the breaking-up of the body after death.

introduction to the Suttas on paritta chants. ‘does not abide with a mind obsessed and enslaved . Mahabodhi Temple (place where Buddha attained enlightenment) 53 . With ritualistic practices. ‘A well-taught noble disciple. . it is important to take into account comments the Buddha regularly made about what he called the ‘fetters’ (sam yojana) to enlightenment. . by adherence to rules and observances’ (M 538). rather the form of the chant was also was meant to cultivate loving-kindness towards the like all beings were seen to be as in a process of transition not only to new births but also Enlightenment itself. Rhys observes that Buddha never treated any kind of sentient being as evil.’ he declared (one of these fetters). We are not to be attached to the practice anymore than we are to be attached to anything else. non-attachment applies to everything.

that is their nature They come into being and pass away. face to face with the Blessed One I have heard and learned: "There are two offerings of food which are of equal fruition. For. this very Pali verse is recited by the Buddhist monks who perform the obsequies. the remorse of Cunda should be dispelled after this manner: 'It is a gain to you. friend Cunda. Even up to present times. friend. Which two? The one partaken of by the Tathagata before becoming fully enlightened in unsurpassed. 54 . supreme Enlightenment. glory. he fell ill (possibly from food poisoning) and realized he was dying. saying: "It may come to pass. of equal outcome. Then the Blessed One spoke to the Venerable Ananda. Ananda. heavenly rebirth. that it was from you the Tathagata took his last alms meal. Ananda. saying: 'It is no gain to you. with fortitude the deadly pains he bore. friend Cunda. but a loss. well being. I heard. "Come. Ananda. and then came to his end.Mahaparinibbana Aniccaa vata sa"nkhaaraa — uppaada vaya dhammino Uppajjitvaa nirujjhanti — tesa. from the sukara-maddava (pork) a sore and dreadful sickness came upon the Lord. and then came to his end. the remorse of Cunda the metalworker should be dispelled. They arise and cease. By his deed the worthy Cunda has accumulated merit which makes for long life. a blessing that the Tathagata took his last alms meal from you.' Then. Buddha’s Last Meal In his eightieth year. and sovereignty. thus reminding the congregation of the evanescent nature of life.m vuupasamo sukho Impermanent are all component things. and the one partaken of by the Tathagata before passing into the state of Nibbana in which no element of clinging remains. When he had eaten Cunda's food. exceeding in grandeur the fruition and result of any other offerings of food. But nature's pangs he endured. at every Buddhist funeral in Theravada countries. that someone will cause remorse to Cunda the metalworker."' Thus. beauty." was his dauntless word. let us go to Kusinara. Release from them is bliss supreme.

And that has been renounced. as to the body.” On the night of the Buddha’s death. the Buddha agreed to see him. Betake yourselves to no external refuge. become. am now grown old and full of years. O Ananda. given up. compounded. I have reached my sum of days. separation and alteration? So how could this be possible? Whatever is born. O mendicants. rejected. is liable to decay – that it should not decay is impossible. And how. The Tatha¯gata has said once for all:‘The Tatha¯gata’s final passing will not be long delayed. Ananda.’ he is the one who should lay down instructions concerning the Order. in the small village of Kushinagar. a wanderer named Subhadda asked to speak with him. Ananda. Hold fast to the Truth as a lamp. Over the objection of Ananda. Hold fast as a refuge to the Truth.‘It is I who will lead the brotherhood. the final personal disciple of the Buddha.’ or ‘The Order is dependent on me. Ananda? does the Order expect of me? I have preached the truth without making any distinction between exoteric and esoteric doctrines…Should there be any one who harbours the thought. is a brother to be a lamp unto himself. hereupon Subhadda became an arahant. forsaken: the Tatha¯gata has renounced the life-principle. Be ye a refuge to yourselves."The Buddha first informed Ananda:41 “Have I not told you before: All those things that are dear and pleasant to us must suffer change. The famous last words of the Buddha. a brother continues. my journey is drawing to its close. thinks not that it is he who should lead the brotherhood. so the body of the Tathagata can only be kept going by bandaging it up… Therefore. Look not for refuge to anyone besides yourselves. abandoned. or that the Order is dependent on him. thus gone one’ Mahaparinibanna sutta 55 . be ye lamps unto yourselves. Herein. Three months from now the Tatha¯gata will take final Nibba¯na. then. so to look upon the body that he remains strenuous. having overcome both the hankering and the dejection common in the world. Why then should he leave instructions in any matter concerning the Order? I too. can be kept going only with the help of thongs. He had a doubt he hoped the Buddha could dispel. self-possessed and mindful. 41 42 Tathagata.Now the Tathagata. I am turning eighty years old and just as a worn-out cart. Ananda. at the time he was facing his death:42 What. O Ananda. a epithet for the Buddha meaning literally ‘thus come one. a refuge to himself….

among my bhikkus. with Dhamma as your refuge. He also said to them that his teaching should be learned. whether now or after I am dead. but scientific effort to use intellect and experience in the most thorough and sophisticated way possible. No one frees us but ourselves. Buddhas only show the way 43 Digha Nikaya 56 . By ourselves is evil done. shall betake themselves to no external refuge. To them he addressed his final words: ‘All conditioned things are of a nature to decay – strive on untiringly’43. with no one else as your refuge. he remains strenuous. out of compassion for the world. who shall reach the very topmost height! But they must be anxious to learn (Digha Nikaya 2. he instructed the bhikkhus to being your own refuge. strive with diligence’ —urge control of self and struggling. 1941: 107–09). The final words of the Buddha— ‘All conditioned things are transitory. but rejection of the world. shall be a lamp unto themselves. nor on authority. These are radical words and very different from the teachings of any other founder of a well-known religion. self-possessed and mindful. and cultivated. having overcome both the hankering and the dejection common in the world. The Buddha was now confident all questions among the bhikkhus were resolved. The Buddha appointed no successor. Ananda. Through Ananda. We ourselves must tread the Path. By ourselves we cease from wrong. Ananda. but holding fast to the Truth as their lamp and holding fast as their refugee to the truth…it is they. And whosoever. practiced. with no other refuge.[Andin the same way] as to feelings…moods…ideas. so that this holy life may endure for a long time.and a refuge unto themselves. that it may be for the benefit and happiness of the multitude. developed. No one can and no one may. By ourselves we pain endure. The follower is urged to rely on himself – that means he she should not rely on scriptures. By ourselves become we pure.

and wander for the gain of many. Proclaiming the Dharma for fifty. drifting with the waves East and west continually.’ (MahavaggaI. 1) Makutabandhana Stupa (Lord Buddha’s cremation site) Kushinagar 57 . 11. still a bridge to cross over to the other shore” (Ryokan 1988). Universalism of Buddha’s teaching ‘Go ye now. no time for rest. for the welfare of many. Today. O Bhikkus. Bestowing the sutras as an eternal legacy. The words of the Japanese Zen monk-poet Ryokan poignantly capture Buddha’s achievement: “Even if a man lives a hundred years His life is like a floating weed.(Dhammapada see Smith 1998: 34). Sakyamuni renounced nobility and devoted his life to Preventing others from falling into ruin. out of compassion for the world…. On earth eighty years.

sasaddhammaganuttamam Abhivadiya bhasissam .Abhidhammatthasangaham The Fully Enlightened Peerless One. greater. the nature of lived experience as based on one's cognitive apparatus is to be contemplated by investigating the very nature of one's mind through the practice of meditation. From this perspective. According to the Atthasalini. Dhamma is a multi-significant term.or "visittha" distinguished. The best way to begin studying Abhidhamma is not to dive right into its two key books (Dhammasangani and Patthana) but to explore some of the more modern and readable commentarial texts. The Abhidhamma Pitaka has a well-deserved reputation for being dense and difficult reading. do I respectfully salute you and shall speak concisely of things contained in the Abhidhamma Buddhist texts called Abhidhamma collection is one of three sets of volumes known collectively as the Tipitaka. to support. that will help you get oriented to the Abhidhamma's challenging terrain: According to the Buddhist path. derived from the root dhar. exceeding . sublime.Abhidhamma – brief introduction to the higher doctrine Sammasambuddhamatulam . They deal with phenomenological psychology. are compiled in the approximate period 500 BC to 250 BC. special. Abhidhamma means the Higher Doctrine because it enables one to achieve one's Deliverance. with the Sublime Doctrine and the Noble Order. distinct. The astonishing detail with which Abhidhamma methodically constructs a quasiscientific model of the mind would make a modern systems theorist or cognitive scientist gasp in awe and insures its place in history as a monumental feat of intellectual genius. Abhidharma represents the theoretical counterpart to the practice of meditation. or because it exceeds the teachings of the Sutta Pitaka and Vinaya Pitaka 58 . to hold. Here the Pali term is used in the sense of doctrine or teaching. "abhi" signifies either "atireka" -higher.

or memories. 6. Yamaka (The Book of Pairs) 7. ayatana (sensespheres) and dhatu (elements) 3. or laws of conditionality. and that interact with the five externally directed sensory modalities (visual. Ultimately. describes the 24 paccayas. thus comprehending and conceptualizing it. to a larger set or mass of ideas already possessed. as the objects of mental cognitive awareness. auditory. Vibhanga (Divisions) There are 18 divsions each dealing with a subject. While the analogy of atoms may be useful here. through which the dhammas interact.TheAbhidhamma Pitaka consists of seven treatises 1. dharmas may be rendered apperceptions: rapid consciousness-types (citta) that arise and cease in sequential streams. over 6. Kathavatthu (Points of Controversy) The authorship of this treatise is ascribed to Venerable Moggalliputta Tissa Thera. Presided at the third Conference held at Patalaliputta (Patna) in the 3rd century BC. then. Longest single volume in the Tipitaka. Patthana.Rather. etc. These laws. who flourished in the time of King Dhammasoka. Dhatukatha (Discussion with reference to Element) 4. dharmas are all that there is: all experiential events are understood as arising from the interaction of dharmas. the first three are the most important khandha (aggregates). give rise to all knowable experience. One who patiently reads this treatise cannot but admire the profound wisdom and penetrative insight of the Buddha. as psychophysical events with diverse capacities by means of which the mind unites and assimilates a particular perception. especially one newly presented. each having its own object. and are generally 59 . This is the most important and the most voluminous book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. There is no doubt of the fact that to produce such an elaborate and earned treatise one must certainly be an intellectual genius. Dhammasangani (Classification of Dhammas) (a) Citta (b) Rupa 2. The canonical Abhidharma texts portray dharmas.) of cognitive awareness. Puggalapaññatti (Designation of Individual) 5. concepts. The term as used in Abhidhamma Dhammas (Dharmas) are not merely mental objects like ideas.000 pages in the Siamese edition. when applied in every possible permutation with thedhammas described in the Dhammasangani. dharmas notably embrace both physical and mental phenomena.

called vithi . or dynamic properties rather than enduring substances. The first level consists of a discrete.” The Abhidhamma describes an intricate model of consciousness on three levels. The Abhidharma exegesis thus attempts to provide an exhaustive account of every possible type of experience—every type of occurrence that may possibly present itself in one's consciousness—in terms of its constituent dharmas. Each such fash is called a ceta. A ceta has the three phases of arising. The overarching inquiry subsuming both the analysis of dharmas into multiple categories and their synthesis into a unified structure by means of their manifold relationships of causal conditioning is referred to as the “dharma theory. How this is done depends partly on the object captured by the present ceta. Secondly. is to contribute to the determination of future cetas. but comes in discrete packages of consciousness fashes. serial stream of `atoms of awareness' called cetas. a linear sequence of cetas may form a `molecule'. that describes the mechanism of conditioning by `kamma' between these cetasikas and cetas. discrete dharmas and clarifying their relations of causal conditioning. each ceta has a substructure of conscious mental factors (`elementaryparticles'). called cetasikas. This enterprise involves breaking down the objects of ordinary perception into their constituent. a certain visual object can be the data of a ceta with desire and attachment.understood as evanescent events. existing and disappearing. with disgust and hatred or with loving kindness and compassion. covering about 2600 pages. being a cognitive-emotional conscious unit. We call this the kammic effect of the ceta. The duration of a ceta is short. A ceta is said to be directed towards a certain object. acting in parallel. What a ceta does further. For example. Cetas: mental `atoms' The main thesis in the Abhidhamma model is that consciousness is not continuous. the main task of a ceta is to be concerned with some object. Both the type and the 60 . An important part of the Abhidhamma is the Patthana. occurrences. Finally.

Further cetas area classified into three spheres of consciousness: Sensual sphere of consciousness (kama): consists of those ceta types directed to pleasant feeling coming from the physical senses. beautiful sights or erotic pleasures. caused by input from good food. Unwholesome cetas lead to attachment and increased suffering (dukkha). come partly from: Physical senses: sight. These types are divided into two major subgroups: those ceta types with strong kamma that has a direct effect without the need of supporting kamma. taste and touch. This leads to accumulated kamma.object of the future cetas depend on those of the past ones.g. The consequence of their 44 The Abhidhamma Model of Consciousness and some of its Consequences. often accompanied by bliss and rapture. The Abhidhamma distinguishes 89 types of cetas. Sublime sphere of consciousness (mahaggatta): consist of those ceta types directed to mental pleasures like mystical states. and those with only indirect (supporting) effect.44 Objects of consciousness (input data). The 4 wholesome supramundane cetas are called maggaceta (path consciousness) and have nibbana as object. smell. e. It is emphasized in the practice of vipassana (insight meditation) that mystical consciousness may be pleasant. The ceta types with producing kamma can be subdivided into unwholesome and wholesome. Wholesome cetas lead to freedom and decreased suffering. This type of input is called rupa (material form) Other input to consciousness comes from consciousness itself. but does not lead to purification Supramundane sphere of consciousness (lokuttara): These ceta types are directed towards nibbana or pure consciousness. Henk Barendregt (2006) Radboud University Nijmegen 61 . Consciousness as input is called nama (mind). transferred and augmented from ceta to ceta. sound.

Each mundane ceta may be considered as being composed of cetasikas mental `elementary particles'. Universal Occasional 4 10 14 7 6 13 19 6 25 30 22 52 Classes and numbers of mental factors (cestikas) The Abhidhamma Model of Consciousness and some of its Consequences. The sensual and sublime cetas together are called the `mundane' cetas. do not occur in space but in time. One can have these cetas only once during one's existence. Henk Barendregt (2006) Radboud University Nijmegen 45 62 . After the occurrence of the 4 maggacetas one is an Arahat. unlike the material atoms. Spheres of Ceta Sensual Sublime Supramundane Direct Effect Unwholesome Wholesome 12 8 9 4 12 21 Indirect Effect 34 18 4 56 54 27 8 89 Sphere of consciousness and type of their elements (Ceta)45 The cetas may be compared to atoms of consciousness that.occurrence is that some of the unwholesome consciousness types will no longer be available.

The fifty two cestikas at a glance: 63 .

the consciousness. meaning of the term ‘object’ is different from that in daily life and science. Concepts can be thought to emerge from the vitthis. in other words. or. Finally 2 cetas are used to terminate the vitthi. When a person is in a state of profound sleep his mind is said to be vacant. forming a so called vitthi (for rupa) • • • The first 8 cetas in a vitthi serve to start the process and to receive input. We always experience such a passive state when our minds do not respond to external objects.Vitthis: cognitive-emotional processing ( molecular level of consciousness. Then follow 7 cetas (javanas) of the same type containing strong kamma. in a state of bhavanga. Similarly there are vitthis for nama. 46 In Abhidhamma. The initial and final phase of a vitthi starts from and return to bhavanga. Thereupon the sense-door consciousness (pañca-dvaravajjana) arises and ceases. This flow of bhavanga is interrupted when objects enter the mind. receives objects from within and without. Then the bhavanga consciousness vibrates for one thought-moment and passes away. modeled as a sequence of 12 cetas Though Process The subject. There are exactly two other kinds of objects (a) concepts and (b) nibbana. Thus as discussed. Matter (rupa) forms an object46 for consciousness and Mind (nama) or previous consciousness as an object or current consciousness. consisting in a serial collaboration of cetas) In Abhidhamma – the entering of physical input (rupa) is modeled as a sequence of 17 cetas. 64 .

On the other hand several vithis together. on time and all the time" as a good meditation teacher will instruct. Therefore the meditative practices are not to be found in the Abhidhamma but in the Suttas. mind existing Concept.Conditioned (sankhata) Absolute (Paramattha) Conceptual (Pannati) matter. After that. as it depends on the myths of a certain culture how such an animal is imagined. as a long train of cetas.one at the time. constitute the cognitive emotional process. The Abhidhamma model has been obtained while traversing through the path of purication or attainment of nibbana. similar to learn how to sail on the ocean. sharper mindfulness will reveal to the meditator a clear vision of the the ceta process. When expounded it forms a vitthi. Similarly concept (existing) of fashion is dependent on culture and individual’s affinity to certain collective prejudices which creates the notion of attractiveness or unattractiveness. Slightly extending the analysis in the Abhidhamma one can put mathematical ideas also among the unconditioned ones example: mathematical concepts. 65 . The right mindfulness (samma sati). dukkha. non-existing concept Unconditioned (asankhata) nibbana mathematical (Eg: Prime Numbers) Traditionally only nibbana is considered as unconditioned object. A (non existing) concept like ‘dragon' is conditioned. like prime number do not depend on any conditions and are permanent. One is able to observe the three characteristics of existence: anicca. all cetas contain the cetasika of feeling. In this way all the hidden corners of the mind can be reached and purified. is able to be present as cetasika in the cetas directly. The aim is to develop mindfulness in such a way that “it addresses the cetas. firstly enlarged by the 7 cetas (javanas). Thus as stated before. It is emphasized that the path is a practical one.

restlessness. The Sarvastivada-Vaibhaṣika proposed a fully-fledged doctrine of momentariness according to which all physical and mental phenomena are momentary. Albeit not a topic in its own right in the Buddha's discourses. definite unit of time that cannot be subdivided. Purification happens in four consecutive stages. surpassing each stage the meditator is brought closer to full enlightenment. At the last stage one becomes an arahat. At the second stage of a once-returner the sharp force of greed and hatred is attenuated. the length of which came to be equated with the duration of mental events as the briefest conceivable entities. the meditator becomes a stream-enterer who has eliminated the cetasikas of wrong view. The Buddhist schools used the characteristics of conditioned phenomena as a hermeneutic tool with which to reinterpret impermanence in terms of momentariness. • • • • In the first stage. There is 66 .anatta that usually are rendered as impermanence. suffering and non soulness or egolessness. the doctrine of momentariness appears to have originated in conjunction with the principle of impermanence (anicca) This idea is basic to the Buddha's empirically-oriented teaching about the nature of sentient experience: all physical and mental phenomena are in a constant process of conditioned construction and are interconnected. The Sarvastivadins use the term “moment” (kṣaṇa) in a highly technical sense as the smallest. being dependently originated. having no more pride. desire for mystical states or existence and ignorance. Both the Sarvastivada and the post-canonical Theravada constructed a radical doctrine of momentariness (khanavada) that atomizes phenomena temporally by dissecting them into a succession of discrete. sleepiness. momentary events that pass out of existence as soon as they have originated. At the third stage one has eliminated the use of greed and hatred and becomes a non-returner.

but operates in accordance with the specific capability and function of each atom. material reality (rupa-dharma) is reduced to discrete momentary atoms. This process is not random. Atomic reality is understood as constantly changing: what appears to us as a world made up of enduring substances with changing qualities is. then they have to be placed near each other). as it is obtained through meditative experience. Goethe on the other hand held that colors form a 3D phenomenon. One may wonder whether the Abhidhamma model has anything to do with reality. Goethe could The Abhidhamma Model of Consciousness and some of its Consequences. The spirit of this atomistic analysis of material reality applies equally to mental reality: consciousness is understood as a succession of discrete consciousness moments that arise and cease extremely rapidly. Bernays and others. in fact. Within the Sarvastivada framework. but one needs a mental judgment whether a calculation does apply and whether a proof is correct. He took a bag of 125 cubes each with a different color and wanted to order them in the `Montessori way' (such that if their colors are similar. Second Argument: Newton-Goethe dispute about colors These two gentlemen did not live at the same time: they represent the position of the physicist and of the phenomenologist in a historic controversy about the nature of colors. can be seen as a phenomenological enterprise. which is a form of trained introspection (trained phenomenology)47 First Argument Mathematics. as emphasized by Husserl. Newton held that colors are a 1D (one dimensional) phenomenon. Godel. light comes with a wavelength and different wavelengths correspond to different colors. a series of moments that arise and perish in rapid succession. While results are based on calculations and proofs. Henk Barendregt (2006) Radboud University Nijmegen 47 67 . Indeed. but the texts indicate figures between 0.no Sarvastivadin consensus on the length of a moment.13 and 13 milliseconds in modern terms.

Shailendra Dynasty (825 AD) Indonesia 68 . Hence light has both a 1D and a 3D aspect. in the 19-th century. Then one wavelength ¸ gives rise to a triplet of reactions in the three different kinds of receptors. nor in a plane. The moral is that both science and (trained) phenomenology are important and can reinforce each other. depending on whether one considers its production or its perception. Candi Borobudur. But then. For a while the two positions seemed to be irreconcilable. Later the hypothesis of the three kinds of receptors turned out to be correct and the controversy was settled. Goethe held that colors are a 3D phenomenon.not do this putting the cubes in a linear array. Therefore. a solution was proposed by the physician Young and the physicist Helmholtz. each with its own sensitivity for the light spectrum. They independently stated the hypothesis that the sensitive eye has three different kinds of receptors for color vision. but with the cubes placed in a 3D fashion (in a 5x5x5 cube) this was possible.

Sariputta Stupa. Nalanda Mahavihara (500 AD to 1170 AD) 69 .

Forum and Century: Living Philosophies 84: 1934. or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves..A. as a meaningful unity. natural and spiritual.49 Annus Mirabilis Historians call the year 1905 as the “annus mirabilis” or “miracle year”. So. D. time and space. Albert Einstein: The Human Side. “If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs. time and gravitation had fundamentally changed and deepened our understanding of the physical and philosophical conception of the universe. A. Hoffman B..R. it covers both the natural and spiritual.1954. Einstein's March paper treated light as particles. cherish such thoughts”. Wallace. motion. from fear or absurd egoism.Buddhism. Emptiness and Relativity. matter. let feeble souls. ed.. The world as I see it. it would be Buddhism”.. 49 Dukas. NJ: Princeton University Press 70 . In June 1905. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death. “I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures. Berkeley.. ed. Princeton. CA: University of California Press Einstein. His theory of relativity with its profound modifications of the notions of space. because in that year the renowned scientist Albert Einstein published four remarkable scientific papers addressing fundamental problems about the nature of energy. 48 Finkelstein. and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things. B. 2001. God & the Modern Interpretation of Reality Einstein’s Views on Creator God Modern physics bears the impact of Albert Einstein more than that of any other physicist. H. 1931. Einstein observed light both as wave and particle. but special relativity estimated light as a continuous field of waves. Einstein proposed his concept of special relativity. avoids dogmas and theology.48 In Albert Einstein’s opinion Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God.

In Sarvāstivāda tradition: an atom is considered to be the smallest unit of a single unitary material element and it is so minute that it actually lacks spatial dimension.Later in 1905 came an extension of special relativity in which Einstein proved that energy and matter are linked in the most famous relationship in physics: E=mc2. This equation predicted an evolution of energy roughly a million times more efficient than that obtained by ordinary physiochemical means.kalāpa”. 71 . It was a radical vision where space was no longer considered to be the box to enclose the universe. Buddhism had developed views on matters related to the universe and its contents. where every cluster is delimited by an intervening space. (The energy content of a body is equal to the mass of the body times the speed of light in vacuum squared). Einstein completed the General Theory of Relativity and showed that matter and energy actually mold the shape of space and the flow of time. the Visuddhimagga. the Pali commentaries. This led to the theory of the conservation of energy. What we feel as the 'force' of gravity is simply the sensation of following the shortest path we can through curved. the Kālacackra Tantra and in the literature on Buddhist epistemology. This Buddhist concept of matter is very close to Einstein’s concept of quantum as smallest 50 These phenomena were discussed in detail in Abhidhamma Pitaka. Although it can only be changed from one form to another. this energy cannot be created or destroyed. Mahāvibhāṣā-śāstra. which stated that the total amount of energy in any isolated system always remains constant. so that they do not touch each other. four-dimensional space-time. space and time along with matter and energy are all locked together in the most intimate embrace. in the form of the first law of thermodynamics. During 1915. based on pure logical and rational thinking and not rigorous scientific methodology.50 In the Theravāda Abhidhamma tradition: An atom ‘paramāṇu’ is considered to be the smallest unit of matter which is an aggregate of a number of unitary material elements called as a “cluster of material elements” or “rūpa. Instead.

unit of energy in the universe and also the modern theory of quarks which are hypothesized as mere geometrical points in space that make up the protons and neutrons of an atom. Quantum and the Concept of Matter in Abhidhamma Pitaka51 The Abhidhamma analysis of matter assumes there are in all 28 rupa-dhammas or material elements into which material existence can be analyzed. These 28 material elements represent not only the matter that enters into the composition of internal/organic matter, but also external/inorganic matter. Matter is defined as that which has the characteristic of ‘ruppana’ which means the susceptibility to being modified or receptivity to change due to the impact of the contrary forces. This change is defined as ‘visaduppatti’ or the ‘genesis of dissimilarity’. The concept of meant the disappearance of one material element and the appearance of another material element in its place; and not mere alteration between two stages of a single material element. The four primary elements of matter recognized in Buddhism are: (a) Earth element – represents solidity and extension, (b) Water element – represents viscidity and liquidity, (c) Fire element – represents the temperature of cold and heat and (d) Air element – represents distension, fluctuation and mobility. These four primary elements are necessarily co-nascent and inseparable. These elements arise together, exist together and cease together and they cannot be separated from one another. Though there is no quantitative difference among these elements that enter into composition of material things, but the only difference is of intensity.

Lopez, D.S. 2008. Buddhism & science: A guide for the perplexed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Karunadasa, Y. 1996. The Dhamma Theory: Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. Karunadasa, Y. 1989. Buddhist Analysis of Matter (Second Edition). Singapore: Buddhist Research Society. Richard M., Thuan,T.X. 2001. The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet. New York: Crown Publishers: 127-39.


In Abhidhamma, the earth-element ‘pathavi-dhātu’ has three dimensional spatial occupation or the notion of a solid body is obtained when matter occupies the three dimensions of space. The ‘pathavi-dhātu’ is said to be present in every instance of matter; characterized by solidity (whatever be the degree) and extension (whatever be the extent). The Sarvāstivāda concept of solid matter is ‘pratighata’ which is the resistance or impenetrability. In the Sarvāstivāda tradition ‘paramāṇu’ atom is considered to be the smallest unit of a single unitary material element and it is so minute that it actually lacks spatial dimension. This concept is very close to Einstein’s concept of quantum as smallest unit of energy in the universe and also the modern theory of “quarks” which are hypothesized as mere geometrical points in space that make up the protons and neutrons of an atom. According to the Theravāda Abhidhamma tradition, an atom ‘paramāṇu’ itself is an aggregate of a number of unitary material elements or ‘rūpa- kalāpa’- a ‘cluster of material elements’. Every ‘rūpa- kalāpa’ is delimited by an intervening space (they do not touch each other); the attractive force of the air-element keeps the atoms together from escaping. In modern science, this indicates the possibility of existence of some kind of an electro-magnetic force present between these elements which hold them in clusters without touching each other. Einstein demonstrated the existence of atoms as smallest particles of matter; later atoms was further divisible into its charged components of protons, electrons and neutrons which are separated from each other due to their respective electrical charges. The modern theory of “quarks” which are hypothesized as mere geometrical points in space that make up the protons and neutrons of an atom also exist as clusters to give definite shape to these structures. Thus, Theravāda Abhidhamma also perceived further divisibility of atoms into ‘cluster of material elements’ Quantum Theory and the Buddhist Concept of Dynamic Flux


Based on Buddha’s famous doctrine of momentaryness ‘ksanikavada’ Abhidhamma considered events as space-time representations of a continuous dynamic flux. Nothing is considered to be static and permanent, but everything is in a state of constant change in our universe of experience. There there is no single enduring changing entity, but there exist a series of momentary changes. 52 The Quantum field theory also considers physical phenomena as transient manifestations of an underlying fundamental unity. The Buddhist counterpart is the doctrine of Dependent Origination - everything in this universe that we are able to perceive though our sense organs are impermanent and are subjected to constant change. This concept of dynamic flux was illustrated by Einstein wherein he demonstrated the spontaneous and random movements of atoms, called Brownian motion. All the particles in this universe are in dynamic motion with relation to each other and their tendency to execute the random movements are restricted due to the strong gravitational and electromagnetic forces of each other.53 Abhidhamma Perspective on Einstein’s Notion of Escape Velocity and Black Holes According to Einstein the speed of light is the ultimate speed limit in the universe, nothing can travel faster than light. A black hole is a star that has collapsed so much that its escape velocity is greater than the speed of light. As there is no force known to modern science that can resist the inward tug of gravity, the star would continue to compress until it collapses into a black hole; all the matter in what was once the star is compressed into singularity. The singularity has the same mass as the core of the star that collapsed into the black hole, compressed into a radius and volume of zero and has infinite density. The distance from the singularity to where the escape velocity equals the speed of light is called the Schwarzschild radius or event horizon. The Schwarzschild radius of a black hole, ten times as massive as the Sun, is 30 kilometers. Schwarzschild
Wallace,B.A., ed., 2003. Buddhism & science: breaking new ground.New York: Columbia University Press. Wallace, B.A.1996. Choosing Reality: A Buddhist View of Physics and the Mind. Ithaca, N.Y.: Snow Lion Publications: 18-27.

53 Jammer, Max. 1999. Einstein and religion: physics and theology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


predicted this effect from Einstein's general theory of relativity. Although nothing can escape from inside the event horizon, it is possible to orbit a black hole without falling in.54 In the Sarvāstivāda Abhidhamma tradition, an atom is considered to be the smallest unit of a single unitary material element and it is so minute that it actually lacks spatial dimension. So, the Sarvāstivādins believe that an atom is devoid of parts and exempt from resistance or impenetrability. Keeping this concept in background, if we presume that atoms touch each other totally and without any intervening space in between, then they would all collapse into one and all would occupy the same locus. This Abhidhamma concept of complete collapse of elementary particles of matter relates to the theory of origination of dimensionless dark holes with enormous celestial mass.55 In Madhyamika tradition the concept of emptiness or ‘sunyata’ proposed by Nagarjuna also suggests that except the “Nibbana” and “Space”, whatever we perceive through our sense organs is virtual. Black holes have enormous celestial mass and gravitational force but lack dimension and are mere points in the universe. They could be regarded as dimensionless virtual mass, in spite of having real existence. We might not be able to locate 90% of matter in the universe which are in the form of dark matter. We see only about 10% of the total mass of the clusters in the form of the individual galaxies in the clusters56 Buddhist Doctrine of Dependent Origination The general theory of dependent origination, taught by the Buddha, is as follows: “When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this, that arises. When this does not exist, that does not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases.” (Connected Discourses, p. 575) Everything arises and ceases depending on causes and conditions which themselves arise due to causes and conditions. There is no ultimate ground or primordial
54 Bharucha, Filita P. 1992. Buddhist theory of causation and Einstein's theory of relativity. Delhi, India: Sri Satguru Publications. 55 Richard M., Thuan,T.X. 2001. The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet. Crown Publishers 56 Jammer, Max. 1999. Einstein and religion: physics and theology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Time: A Psychological Concept Observing the irreversibility or asymmetry between the past and future. 1999. It is called conventional because it is only established nominally on the basis of words and thoughts. but a network of causes and conditions. the term “non-associated” means that it is neither physical nor mental and “composite” means that time is dependent on other factors and is impermanent. time fits in a third class of phenomenon technically referred to as “non-associated composite phenomena. but rather perceived it through designations on things that are not time. Princeton.”Here. 76 . Apart from these concepts of time. NJ: PrincetonUniversity Press. when one actually analyzes time. An example of the shortest possible divisions of time is the time it takes 57 Jammer. 57 From the Buddhist perspective. We cannot point at the “time” in reality. Max. like the clock which is a substantial entity.cause. In Einstein’s theory of relativity. Example others might experience as only an instant. Dependent origination is the true nature of reality. it is the way things are and the Buddha had simply realized it and confirmed it to others. Buddhist concept of “psychological time” is similar to Einstein’s perception that time is illusory. it has been argued that time is uni-directional and is also associated with the experience of “psychological time”. The faster one travels or the closer one is to an object with a very strong gravitational pull. present. time elapses more slowly. Therefore. Time is a conventional truth ‘paññatti’ a conceptual designation which is imputed onto experiences of a past. the Buddhist schools had also identified the shortest possible divisions of time that is required to perform an act and the shortest division of time in general. Einstein himself had felt the uni-directionality of time and considered the concept of time to be an illusion. could be experienced by a person meditating as a much longer period of time. time (with space) becomes relative and contingent both on speed and gravity. Buddhism recognize that time can be experienced as moving faster or slower in certain situations. Einstein and religion: physics and theology. it is found to not really exist. and future.

depending on the source) the duration of a finger snap.A. Buddhism & science: breaking new ground. the counterpart of space element is referred to as ākāśa-dhātu. Hong Kong: The Centre of Buddhist Studies. Buddhism & science: A guide for the perplexed.B. which freely exists therein.. what the Sarvāstivādins call unconditioned space is the space considered absolutely real and as serving as a receptacle for the existence and movement of material phenomena. But it carefully avoids the use of the term “unconditioned” (asańkhata) and relates space as neither conditioned nor unconditioned. Y. 2009. The University of Hong Kong. for it cannot be dislodged by matter. Buddhist theory of causation and Einstein's theory of relativity. Thus. Delhi. In the Sarvāstivāda Abhidhamma.S.to blink our eye. 1992. It is also not obstructed by matter. physicists. Filita P. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. It does not obstruct matter. a number which one Buddhist scholar has calculated roughly as one millisecond. It is defined not as space bound by matter. Karunadasa. The shortest division of time is considered to be 1/60th (or even 1/365th. D. 2008. 2008. D. Lopez.S. and cosmologists is the nature of empty space and cosmogony. Time and Space. ed. 77 . India: Sri Satguru Publications.New York: Columbia University Press. The Theravādins include the space element concept in the objective field of mental objects (dhammāyatana) which means that it is not visible but can be cognized only as an object of mind-consciousness. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. but as that which provides room for the movement of matter (yatra rūpasya gati). The space element is either light (āloka) or darkness (tamas) and therefore it is included in the objective sense-field of the visible (rupāyatana). Buddhism & science: A guide for the perplexed. 2003.. They are two conceptual constructs without any corresponding objective reality.59 58 Bharucha. The concept of Time and Space in relation to Buddhism are the two varieties of paññatti. 59 Lopez.58 Space: The Concept of “Sunyata” or “Emptiness” Another major area of discussion for Buddhists. the Sarvāstivādins recognize another kind of space which is called ākāśa and not ākāśa dhātu. the only two things which are considered to be independent of kamma or of causes or of season are namely Nibbāna and space. Wallace. Besides this. In Milindapañha. which is called a moment.

In the Madhyamaka system Nagarjuna had explained the Buddhist Doctrine of Dependent Origination in the light of “Sunyata” which means “void or emptiness”. independent and permanent existence. It is found that this planet revolves around the sun of some other unknown solar system. N.A. they can come into existence.1996. 1983. While this is still an area of controversy and mystery within theoretical physics. The space in universe is also intimately connected to this Buddhist concept of śūnyatā or emptiness. Buddhist Cosmology: From Single World System to Pure Land: Science and Theology in the Images of Motion and Light. Just as nothing can exist without space. the last planet in our solar system. In Mahayana tradition. The presence of more than one solar system in the universe is now confirmed by mapping the orbital path of the planet Pluto. W. it is believed that there are hundred thousand galaxies in the entire universe and each galaxy is holding at least one Buddha (Sun) at a given point of time. the cosmos are explained to be oscillating or continuously forming.: Snow Lion Publications: 18-27. it makes for a rough parallel to the Buddhist concept of empty-particles and the universe arising out of space. so too can nothing exist without emptiness. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. B. change their forms and pass on. enduring for a time. and then undergoing a final period of destruction. 78 .Y. there are highly developed mathematical theories which suggest the empty space of a vacuum actually contains an infinite amount of energy. We should realize the “absolute truth” behind the concept of “emptiness” as absence of self-entity and attachment and accept the fact that interdependence is the nature of reality. Ithaca. Because all phenomena are empty of a static. It is speculated that this energy has a role in the evolution in the universe.R. Choosing Reality: A Buddhist View of Physics and the Mind. Kloetzli. In physics. Concept of Co-existence of Multiple Solar Systems In Buddhist literature. Wallace.

all five are equally denied: “O Subhuti. the detached and entirely passive observer of the world.” The same is said concerning the others. with their absolutist doctrines of a person. it does not exist by virtue of any intrinsic distinguishing characteristic. objective form is empty of inherent existence. including consciousness. then why would the mahatman declare. and taught them both in the Abhidharma. making distinctions between their general and particular characteristics. Candrakirti’s Madhyamaka¯vatara or Entry into the Middle-Way. Form and the other 5 psychophysical constituents are all taught in the Abhidharma. . This is established both in scripture and through recourse to reason.E. and so forth: Who speaks of that (atman) which transcends existence and nonexistence? It is the buddhas who offer the profound. 60 Candrakirti (c. 79 . non-arising. in the same text. ambrosial teaching that transcends existence and nonexistence: Know that only this is the Dharma” Candrakirti says. Therefore. . The problem of Upanisadic dualism is diffculty in presenting a satisfying account of the interaction between these two fundamentally distinct and independent realities of the observer and the observed. is considered as definitive introduction to Nagarjuna’s ideas. Candrakirti60 clarifies. In Tibetan tradition. where consciousness is described as the “witness” (saksin). of aggregates. In this view. Buddhist position is non-dualistic. consciousness is pure awareness—a kind of mirror—in which. the teaching that permeates the scriptures of all the Buddhas is characterized by emptiness. form does not’ this is taught to deny the importance of form and so forth. non-duality. Candrakirti says “ Inquire of the various philosophical schools (including Samkhyas). that mind is produced from delusion (moha) and volitional action (karman)? In the Dasabhumika sutra. “when the scripture says ‘mind alone exists. And in the scriptures on perfect wisdom. consciousness is said to have as its causes spiritual ignorance and the prenatal dispositions (samskaras). or for which.Buddhism and the great divide The roots of Indian dualism may be found in the early Upanisads (c. . If Buddha intended to deny the existence of objective reality when he said that [the world] is mind alone. 600–650). the world appears.). and lack of any distinguishing characteristic. not to negate their very existence. Candrakirti says “The Buddha rejected both of them (viewing matter and mind existing permanently) in the scriptures on perfect wisdom. 800–500 B.C.

We welcome the Russian Revolution because it aims to produce equality. You must take the stand which Guru Nanak took. 80 . as did Buddha and Nanak. liberty and equality. fraternity.You must take the stand that Buddha took. In the last analysis. It seems that these three can coexist only if one follows the way of the Buddha” (Ambedkar 1987). the main source of India’s social evils: “ You must…destroy the sacredness and divinity with which Caste has become invested. You must not only discard the Shastras. The political revolution of the Sikhs was preceded by the religious and social revolution led by Guru Nanak (Ambedkar 1979) Hinduism itself had to be questioned because it supported chaturvarna. this means you must destroy the authority of the Shastras and the Vedas…. India needed not an economic revolution. The French Revolution…failed to produce equality.Social Revolution & Buddhism “French revolution.: 69). the basic thrust of modernity: Society has been aiming to lay a new foundation as was summarized by the French Revolution in three words. You must have courage to tell the Hindus that what is wrong with them is their religion – the religion which has produced in them this notion of the sacredness of Caste (ibid. The political revolution led by Shivaji was preceded by the religious and social reform brought about the (bhakti) saints of Maharashtra. But it cannot be too much emphasized that in producing equality society cannot afford to sacrifice fraternity or liberty. but a social–religious one: “The political revolution led by Chandragupta was preceded by the religious and social revolution of Buddha. you must deny their authority.

I was beaten. I was robbed!’ Abandon such thoughts and hatred will end. By freedom from hatred they cease: This is the eternal dhamma61 61 Dhammapada 81 .‘I was abused. I was hurt. For never in this world Do hatreds cease by hatred. I was hurt. I was robbed!’ Harbor such thoughts and hatred will never cease. I was beaten. ‘I was abused.