of the Constituents of the Noble Path
by Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw, Aggamahapandita,
Translated into English by U Saw Tun Teik, B.A., B.L.
The English Editorial Board
Note to the electronic version:
electronic version is reproduced directly from the printed version The text is
an English translation from the original Burmese. No attempt has been made to
to change any of the English phraseology. The reason for putting this book into
electronic media is that the book is out of print and the text has been found
very a valuable source of inspiration to those practising Vipassana meditation,
despite using English language which is somewhat archaic.
bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Veneration to Him, the Most Exalted,
the Purified, the Supremely Enlightened Buddha.
The Eightfold Noble Path:
1. samma-ditthi -Right View
2. samma-sankappa -Right Thought
samma-vaca -Right Speech
4. samma-kammanta -Right Action
6. samma-vayama -Right Effort
7. samma-sati -Right Mindfulnes
8. samma-samadhi -Right Concentration.
of Right View or Right Understanding: kammassakata samma-ditthi--Right View or
Understanding that in the case of beings only two things, wholesome and unwholesome
actions performed by them, are their own properties that always accompany them
wherever they may wander in many a becoming or world-cycle; dasavatthuka samma-ditthi--
Right Understanding of the ten kinds of subjects; catu-sacca samma- ditthi--Right
Understanding of the four Realities or the Four Truths.
o Kammasakati Samma-ditthi
Sabbe satta kammassaka kammadayada, kammayoni, kammabandhu, kammappatisarana,
yam kammam karissanti kalyanam va papakam va tassa dayada bhavissanti.
satta kammassaka: Only the wholesome and unwholesome actions of all beings are
their own properties that always accompany them wherever they may wander in many
a becoming or world-cycle.
Kammadayada: Only the wholesome and unwholesome
actions of all beings are their inherited properties that always accompany them
wherever they may wander in many a becoming or world-cycle.
the wholesome and unwholesome actions of beings are the origin of their wanderings
in many a becoming or world-cycle.
Kammabadhu: Only thewholesome and unwholesome
actions of beings are their relatives and true friends that always accompany them
wherever they may wander in many a becoming or world-cycle.
Only the wholesome and unwholesome actions of beings are their real refuge wherever
they may wander in many a becoming or world-cycle.
Yam kammam karissanti kalyanam
va papakam va tassa dayada bhavissanti: If bodily, verbal and mental actions be
performed, whether wholesome or unwholesome, that kamma of theirs they will inherit
throughout their many a becoming or world-cycle.
o Dasavatthuka Samma-ditthi
Atthidinnam, atthiyittham, atthi hutam, atthi sukata dukkatanam kammanam phalam
vipako, atthi mata, atthi pita, atthi satta opapatika, atthi ayam loko, atthi
paroloko, atthi loke samana brahmana samaggata sammapatipanna ye imanca lokam
paranca lokam sayam abhinna sacchikatva pavedenti.
Atthi dinnam: There really
exists alms-giving (dana) as cause (kamma) and its result (vipaka)
There really exists offering on a large scale as cause and its result.
hutam: There really exists offering on a small scale as cause and its result.
Atthi sukata dukkatanam kammanam phalam vipako: There really exist wholesome
and unwholesome actions as causes and their results.
Atthi mata: There really
exist the good and the evil deeds done to one's mother as causes and their results.
Atthi pita: There really exist the good and the evil deeds done to one's father
as causes and their results.
Atthi sata opapatika: There really exist beings
who are born by apparitonal rebirth such as beings in purgatory, petas, devas,
sakkas and Brahmas who cannot ordinarily be seen by men.
Atthi ayamloko: There
really exists this world which is under our very eyes.
Atthi paroloko: There
really exist the other worlds or planes where one may arise after death. In another
way, there really exists this human world (ayamloko) and there really exists the
other worlds (paroloko: four lower worlds, six deva worlds and twenty Brahma worlds).
In another way, there really exists this universe consisting of the human
world, four lower worlds, six deva worlds and twenty Brahma worlds (ayamloko);
and there really exist other worlds which are infinite in all eight directions
Atthi loke samanabrahmana samaggata samma patipanna ye imanca
lokam paranca lokam sayam abhinna sacchikatva pavedenti: There really exist, in
this human world, persons like the Omniscient Buddha, monks and brahmins who practise
the True Dhamma and possess tranquility of mind and who, having seen and realised
this very world and other worlds through their own insight, impart their knowledge
o Catu-sacca Samma-ditthi
1. dukkhe nanam 2. dukkhe samudaye
nanam 3. dukkha nirodhe nanam 4. dukkha nirodhagaminipatipadya nanam.
nanam: penetrative insight into the Truth of Suffering.
2. dukkha samudaye
nanam: penetrative insight into the Truth of the Origin of Suffering.
nirodhe nanam: penetrative insight into the Truth of the Cessation of Suffering.
4. dukkha nirodhagaminipatipaddya nanam: penetrative insight into the Truth
of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering.
kinds of Right Thought:
1. nekkhama sankappa: right thought free from greed
and sensuous desire, aiming at an escape from the round of rebirths.
right thought for the welfare of all beings.
3. avihimsa-sankappa: right thought
for the non-injury of all beings.
Four kinds of Right Speech:
0. musavada, virati: refraining from telling lies.
1. pisunavaca virati:
refraining from backbiting and calumny.
2. pharusavaca virati: refraining
from using abusive language, words, speech hurtful to others.
virati: refraining from frivolous talk such as telling legends and fables or which
is fruitless for this world and the next.
of Right Action:
0. panatipata virati: refraining from killing and injuring
1. adinnadana virati: refraining from taking property which
is not given.
2. kamesumicchacara virati: refraining from taking intoxicants
and from unlawful sexual intercourse with those who are still in the care of parents
Four kinds of Right Livelihood:
micchajiva virati: in the case of laity, refraining from wrong livelihood by means
of immoral paysical and verbal actions.
1. anesana micchajiva virati: in the
case of monks and hermits, refraining from wrong livelihood, e.g. by means of
giving fruits and flowers to laymen to curry favour.
2. kuhanadi micchajiva
virati: in the case of monks and hermits, refraining from trickery and deceptions
by means of working wonders.
3. tiracchana vijja micchajiva virati: in the
case of monks and hermits, refraining from wrong livelihood, e.g. by means of
performing base arts such as reading signs and omens, which are against the rules
and practice of the Order.
Four kinds of Right Effort:
0. anuppannanam akusalanam dhammanam anuppadaya vayamo: making effort in the
practice of the Eightfold Noble Path so that those vices that have never arisen
during the present existence may not arise even for a moment in future existences.
1. uppannanam akusalanam dhammanam pahanaya vayamo: making effort in the practice
of the Eightfold Noble Path so that those vices that have already arisen or are
arising during the present existence may be dispelled and may not arise even for
a moment in future existences.
2. anuppannanam kusalanam dhammanam uppadaya
vayamo: making effort in the practice of the Eightfold Noble Path so that the
thirty- seven bodhipakkhiya-dhamma (factors pertaining to Enlightenment) that
have never arisen during the present existence may arise here and now.
uppannanam kusalanam dhammanam bhiyyo bhavaya vayamo: putting forth effort in
the practice of the Eightfold Noble Path so that the virtues such as morality
that have already arisen and are arising during the present existence-may develop
unceasingly until the attainment of anupadisesa-nibbana.
kinds of Right Mindfulness:
0. kayanupassana satipatthanam: application of
mindfulness to the contemplation of the body-group, such as in-breathing and out-breathing.
1. vedananupassana satipatthanam: application of mindfulness to the contemplation
of the feeling-group, such as painful and pleasurable feelings.
satipatthanam: application of mindfulness to the contemplation of the consciousness-group,
such as consciousness rooted in lust (saraga,) or in anger (sadosa), etc.
dhammanupassana satipatthanam: application of mindfulness to the contemplation
of mind-objects, such as sensuous lust (kammacchanda).
kinds of Right Concentration:
0. patthamajhana samadhi: concentration of the
first jhana produced by fixing one's attention on one of the objects of samatha
tranquillity such as kasina.
1. dutiyajjhana samadhi: concentration of
the second jhana produced by fixing one's attention on one of the objects of samatha,
such as kasina.
2. tatiyajjhana samadhi: concentration of the third jhana
produced by fixing one's attention on one of the objects of samatha such as kasina.
3. cututthajjhana samadhi: concentration of the fourth jhana produced by fixing
one's attention on one of the objects of samatha such as kasina.
of the Three Kinds of Samma-ditthi
kammadayada, kamayoni, kammabandhu kammappatisarana yam kammam karissanti kalyanam
va papakam va tassadayada bhavissanti.
Sabbe satta kammassaka: There exist
such properties as elephants, horses, vehicles, cattle, fields, buildings, gold,
silver, jewels, etc. Those properties can be said to belong to us in the present
existence before we pass away. But when we pass away those properties do not accompany
us beyond death. They are like properties which we borrow for some time for our
use. They are liable to destruction during the present existence. As those properties
which beings possess do not accompany them to their new existences, they cannot
be claimed as properties belonging to those beings. The Buddha therefore said,
'sabbe satta kammassaka.' The only property of all beings that accompanies them
is their own volitional action. Only the mental, verbal and physical volitional
actions of beings always accompany them in this as well as in future existences.
They are not liable to destruction by fire, water, thieves, robbers, etc.
physical action means all movements of such parts of the body as hands and legs,
etc. 'Vaci kamma' verbal action means all verbal expressions made by means of
the mouth, tongue and throat. 'Mano kamma' mental action means the functioning
of the mind. These physical, verbal and mental actions are known as three kamma
in the Buddhist teachings.
All beings perform these three kamma at all waking
hours. All their work great or small is performed by means of these three kamma.
These three kamma become inert when a person is asleep. In the case of a dead
person the three kamma cease to function as far as that body is concerned. This
is how the three kamma operate in all beings.
These three kamma have two aspects:
three good kamma, and three bad kamma. There good kamma are of two kinds: good
kamma which has its result ripening during the present existence, and good kamma
which has its result ripening during the future existences. The three bad kamma
are of two kinds: bad kamma having its result ripening in this existence, and
bad kamma having its result ripening in future existences.
Analysis of the
Good and Bad Kamma
Ten kinds of immoral conduct:
1. panatitipata: injuring
and killing living beings
2. adinadana: taking or destroying animate and inanimate
properties which are not given
3. kamesumicchacara: committing sexual misconduct
4. musavada: telling lies
5. pisunavaca: backbiting and calumny
pharusavaca: using abusive language
7. samphappalapa: taking part in frivolous
8. abhijjha: covetousness
9. byapada: malevolence
miccha-ditthi: wrong views.
All kinds of physical, verbal and mental actions
that are free from these ten kinds of immoral conduct, comprising all kinds of
livelihood, acquiring wealth and seeking knowledge, are good volitional actions
which have to be performed for this very existence.
All kinds of physical,
verbal and mental actions that involve these ten kinds of immoral conduct and
that comprise all kinds of livelihood, are bad volitional actions which are performed
for this very existence.
Two Kinds of Kamma for Future Existences
types of kamma performed in this present existence, physical, verbal and mental,
with a view to ripening in future existences, are also divided into two kinds:
three good kamma (having result in future existences), and three bad kamma (having
result in future existences).
All kinds of physical, verbal and mental kamma
that are free from the ten kinds of immoral conduct and comprise alms-giving,
fast-day observance, conduct, practising meditation, taking refuge in and paying
respects to the Three Gems (Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha), are known as good kamma
done in this present life with a view to ripening in future existences, to being
reborn in a good abode.
If any one of the ten kinds of immoral conduct be
performed, whether for ripening in this existence or in the future, that kamma
leads one to the lower planes in future existences. So it is known as bad kamma
having its result ripening in future existence.
In this way one should differentiate
the good and bad kamma and contemplate all the three kinds of kamma which are
performed everywhere, on land, in water, and in the sky.
Having seen with
our eyes the three kamma which are performed in this world, we can also comprehend
that all beings, on land, in water and in the sky, have been performing these
three kamma in their past existences of endless world-cycles and will also perform
them in the future.
Like this universe there are in the four directions, infinite
universes in which all beings in water, and land and in the sky are performing
these three kamma.
Having discerned all these, it is quite apparent that all
beings live by these three kamma done by themselves. They enjoy happiness by virtue
of these three kamma. By performing the three good kamma they enjoy various beneficial
results and by performing the three bad kamma they encounter various kinds of
misery and suffering. The three kamma are their own property which can never be
destroyed by fire, water, thieves, robbers and so forth. Though one may own nothing,
not even a single coin, he can achieve happiness if he has mental kamma in the
form of knowledge and wisdom. So, the Buddha declared 'sabbe satta kammassaka.'
All beings have the three volitional kamma as their own property.
of Present Kamma
Those who wish to acquire worldly gains, such as wealth, governmental
standing and honour in this life, can achieve their wish if they exert themselves
to acquire education and knowledge, If it be that such worldly gains can be had
without acquiring education and knowledge and by merely worshipping God, the believers
in God may not perform physical, verbal and mental kamma such as trading, farming,
learning arts and sciences. Instead, they may perform only the act of worshipping
As a matter of fact, it is not so. Like the Buddhists, the Christians,
Mohammedans, etc., are performing the three kinds of kamma, and for this reason
they acquire worldly gains. It is not God but the three kinds of kamma that give
these to them.
The Result of Past Kamma
Just as we can see with our eyes
that in this life the worldly gains are not given by God but are acquired by one's
own kamma, similarly we can realise that beneficial results of being reborn in
a wealthy family or in the deva world are not by virtue of worshipping God but
by virtue of past kamma such as alms-giving, observance of morality and so forth,
performed in previous existences. One who is reborn in a wealthy family becomes
the owner of the riches of that family. That is, all his possessions are due to
his past kamma. Here, the analogy of vegetation should be given.
of the formation and growth of vegetation is commonly ascribed to the seed. According
to the Abhidhamma, the element of kinetic energy (tejo) which is known as caloricity
(utu) is said to be the cause. The seed is nothing but the element of kinetic
energy. That element of kinetic energy is the real seed.
At the beginning
of the world, before the existence of seeds, vegetation grew from tejo. Later
that vegetation produced fruits and seeds from which trees grew successively.
In the same way all beings have kamma as their seeds of becoming: wholesome
kamma as alms-giving, morality, etc; and unwholesome kamma as taking others' lives,
The process of becoming as men and animals is due to the past kamma in
previous existences. On account of the wholesome kamma, etc., they are reborn
as men and devas, and because of the unwholesome volitional kamma they are reborn
in four lower worlds: hell, animal world, peta world, and asuraka world.
vegetation produces seeds from which fresh vegetation rises. Thus seeds from the
tree and trees from the seeds appear successively: a cycle of seeds and trees.
Similarly, beings have seeds of kamma in their previous existences. From these
seeds of kamma new existences appear. Thus beings perform kamma which in turn
gives rise to new becomings successively.
Trees have physical phenomena only.
A tree yields many fruits from which many trees are grown. In the case of beings,
they have two kinds of phenomena: physical and mental phenomena. Of these two,
the mental factor is the chief. One mental factor can produce not more than one
new mental factor (i.e. the patisandhivinnana rebirth consciousness). Therefore,
although beings have many seeds of wholesome and unwholesome kamma in one existence,
one mental factor of the previous existence, i.e. volition (cetana) produces in
the next existence only one mental factor. Since many new mental factors are not
produced, one corporeality-group of the past existence gives rise to not more
than one corporeality-group in the next becoming.
Earth, water, sun, moon,
stars, and so forth, come into existence from the seeds of kinetic energy which
go under the name of caloricity. It is not that they were created by God. Beings
such as men, animals, etc., come into new successive existences because of the
seeds of their past kamma performed in previous world-cycles of existences. Such
view is known as Right View (samma-ditthi). To hold that God creates them is wrong
view (miccha-ditthi). It is the wrong view of those who, not knowing fully the
operative power of kamma and utu, imagine that they were created by God. Thus
with a view to making people abandon wrong view, and rely upon kamma, knowledge
and wisdom, the Buddha said, 'sabbe satta kammassaka'.
Now there are such
things as legacies and heirs. These legacies can be called our property only before
we die; but when we pass away we have to leave them behind. They do not accompany
us to the next existence. They are also liable to be destroyed by fire, water,
thieves and robbers before our death, or they may be exhausted by us.
the three kinds of kamma performed by beings, they are alwavs theirs in their
future existences. They are never destroyed bv fire, etc. For this reason, kamma
is said to be the only property inherited by beings. Beings are sure to reap the
results of their own kamma in future existences. The wholesome kamma performed
by feeding dogs, pigs, fowls and birds can result in a hundred happy existences.
The wholesome kamma performed by feeding virtuous monks can give rise to a countless
number of happy existences as man and deva. Giving alms worth about a quarter
of a kyat in this present life can yield beneficial results worth more than a
thousand kyats in future existences. If a person kills an animal, such as a fish,
fowl or pig, he may be killed in more than a thousand future existences.
this world, if a tiny banyan seed is planted, a big banyan tree will grow up bearing
innumerable fruits in more than a thousand years. Similarly, if a mango seed or
a jack-fruit seed is planted, big mango trees and big jack-fruit trees will grow
and bear more than a hundred thousand fruits for many years.
Thus in the case
of trees, a small seed is able to yield more than hundred thousand fruits, leaves,
branches and twigs. Similarly, a seed of wholesome kamma such as alms-giving,
morality, meditation, practised at one time, can yield more than a hundred thousand
good results successive future existences. A seed of unwholesome kamma by killing
a being can yield evil and painful results in numerous following existences.
banyan seeds, mango seeds and jack-fruit seeds may be compared to the seed of
physical, verbal and menal actions. A small seed from which arise numerous leaves,
fruits, branches and twigs may be compared to a seed of kamma that produces many
effects in the following successive existences.
If a person performs one kamma,
the effects always accompany him in many existences yielding good or bad results
at the opportune moments. One can never get rid of that kamma, but he has to enjoy
or suffer its results under appropriate circumstances. So the Buddha declares,
'sabbe satta kammadayada'.
Sabbe Satta Kammayoni
There are several causes
for the growth of a banyan tree: the banyan seed, the earth, and the water. Of
these causes, the banyan seed is the primary cause; the earth and water are the
secondary causes. In the same way, in getting wages by working as a labourer,
the present kamma, i.e working as a labourer, is the primary cause. The place
for working, the spade, the basket and the employers who pay wages are the secondary
The wholesome past kamma, i.e. alms-giving, morality, etc., which
causes one to be reborn as a human being, and the unwholesome kamma by taking
others lives, etc., which cause one to be reborn as an animal are the primary
causes similar to the banyan seeds. The parents are the secondary causes, just
as the earth and water are for the growth of a banyan tree.
In the same way,
with regard to the present good and evil results, one's own kamma performed in
the present existence with wisdom and knowledge or otherwise is the primary cause.
So also, one's own wholesome kamma as alms-giving, morality, etc., and unwholesome
kamma as killing beings, performed in previous existences, are the primary causes
of good and evil results. The parents are not the primary causes, nor is it anything
to do with God, For this reason, the Buddha said, 'sabbe satta kammayoni.'
Now, there are parents, brothers, sons, relatives, teachers
and friends whom we love and rely upon, but they can be loved and relied upon
only for a short period, i.e. before our death. However, one's own physical, verbal
and mental kamma are constant companions which accompany one and give happiness
and prosperity to one in future existences. So the wholesome kamma alone is one's
real relative or friend which should be esteemed and relied upon. Therefore, the
Buddha declares, 'sabbe satta kammabandhu.'
Sabbe Satta Kammappatisarana
this phrase, 'refuge' means reliance upon or taking shelter for protection against
troubles and dangers. In the world those who wish to enjoy, long life have to
rely upon food and drink. Food and drink protect persons from the danger of starvation.
The danger of starvation cannot befall those who have sufficient food and drink.
Similarly it is necessary to rely upon doctors and medicine for protection against
ailments and diseases, and to rely upon weapons for protection against enemies.
In the same way, all kinds of refuge are resorted to for different purposes.
does not mean only worshipping. It also has the meaning of reliance upon and taking
shelter or protection, as mentioned above. We take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma,
Sangha, teachers and those who are nobler than us by paying homage to them.
this life a man without property will soon get into trouble. Fearing that trouble,
we have to rely upon kamma by doing such work as will give us money and property.
Lack of wholesome kamma will lead to the lower worlds where one has to suffer
greviously. Fearing such suffering, one has to perform wholesome kamma which can
lead one to be reborn as a man or deva in the existences to come. The present
kamma of working with knowledge and wisdom can save us from danger in the present
life, and wholesome kamma such as alms-giving and moraliy can save one from the
lower worlds in future existences.
We have to rely, on the present kamma of
working for avoiding dangers in this present existence. We have to rely on wholesome
kamma also for avoiding suffering in the lower worlds in future existences.
Buddha, therefore, preaches 'sabbe satta kammappatisarana.'
Herein we should
analyse several kinds of refuge. In Buddhism there are four kinds of taking refuge
for the future:
1. taking refuge in the Buddha
2. taking refuge in the
3. taking refuge in the Sangha
4. taking refuge in one's own wholesome
For example, there are in this world four kinds of refuge for sick
1. refuge in a chief doctor
2. refuge in good medicine
refuge in assistant doctors
4. refuge in following their directions with faith.
Of the above-mentioned four refuges, the chief doctors and the assistants
are the refuge of the patient as they are capable of prescribing good and suitable
medicines for particular diseases. The medicine is the refuge of the patient in
that it can cure him of his disease. The patient's sensible action in following
the directions are also his refuge, as without such actiom on his part the other
three refuges would be ineffective for the cure of the disease. So all four are
the real refuges of the patient.
Those who commit evil deeds and indulge in
sensual pleasures resemble sick persons; the Buddha resembles the chief doctor
who is expert in curing diseases; the monks resemble the assistant doctor; and
the Dhamma resembles the medicine. The physical, verbal and mental wholesome kamma
resemble the sensible action of the patient in following the directions. In this
way there are four kinds of refuge in Buddhism. The three refuges of the above
four: Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha exist only during the Buddha Sasana. They do
not exist outside it.
The refuge of wholesome kamma exists both within and
outside the Buddha Sasana. We can never be free from kamma which is operating
all the time in this universe as well as in other innumerable universes.
discourse of 'sabbe satta kammassaka' is also applicable to all the universes
both within and outside the Buddha Sasana. It is for this reason that the refuge
of kamma alone and not the three refuges of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha is dealt
with in this discourse.
These are the four kinds of refuges to rely upon with
a view to acting wisely in this existence and being reborn in happy existences.
Saranam, usually translated 'refuge', means that which can save, give support
or protection. Thus food and drink are the support of beings for long life. Medicines
and diet are the support for the cure of diseases. Kings or rulers are protection
against the danger of dacoits and robbers. Buildings are the refuge for living
comfortably and safely. Boats and steamers are for sea and riverine voyages. The
earth is for support. Similarly water, fire and air are the supports for respective
purposes. In this way there are numerous refuges in this existence. This is the
exposition about the different kinds of refuge in Buddhism.
In other religions
only one refuge, the refuge of God, is known. So whatever comes into existence
or is destroyed is attributed to God. I shall make this more clear. In other religions,
such as Christianity and Mohammedanism, the true meaning of refuge is not understood
and the respective followers regard God as their only refuge. Since they believe
only in one refuge, they take it for granted that the appearance and disappearance
of the world and of beings are due to the power of God. They believe that God
saves those who have faith in him by his supernormal power. With this power he
can wash away all sins and evils of beings and give them eternal happiness and
eternal life after death. The good and evil results of beings depend on the will
They disbelieve in kamma thinking that kamma is not the cause of such
results. It is most surprising that those who are really performing kamma entirely
disregard their own acts. Kamma means physical, verbal and mental actions of practising
the teachings of a particular religion. The auspicious act of baptism, worshipping
and praying to God daily, obeying his commandments, etc., are really kamma. These
people believe that God saves only those who perform such deeds but not those
who do not do so; but they do not realise that such deeds are really 'kamma'.
In those religions also, as in Buddhism, there are four kinds of refuge. In
Buddhism they are the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha and kamma. But in those religions
1. refuge in God
2. the commandments of God
such as Christ and Mohammed, and priests
4. their own kamma in the performance
of their religious rites and duties.
The priests and missionaries of those
religions do not realise that in their religions also there are several kinds
of refuge. So they regard God as their only refuge and disregard their kamma.
Consequently they believe that the good and evil, prosperity and ruin, happiness
and suffering of all beings are created only by God and are not due to any other
cause. They do not know that there are various and different causes for these.
In this world, is it simply by worshipping and praying to God that the poor
who desire wealth can get it, or would they get it by the present kamma of working
diligently as a labourer, farmer, trader, etc.? The answer is: wealth is not usually
obtained by worshipping and praying to God. On the other hand, acquisition of
property by performing the present kamma is quite evident in this world. Therefore,
it is believeable that acquiring property in this life is due to the present kamma
and has nothing to do with God.
God has no power to give property to anyone.
Only the present kamma can do so. If God had such power to give wealth, his faithful
followers would have no occasion to perform present kamma, they would be enjoying
riches given by him; and those who are not his followers would not get any property
although they were diligently performing the present kamma. But it is not so.
The devout followers of God have to perform the present kamma in order to acquire
wealth and property; and those who are not his followers also can acquire it,
if they desire, by performing the present kamma. For this reason, the acquisition
of wealth in this life is the result of the present kamma. It is not the gift
Similarly, if one desires education and knowledge, one can get it
by performing the present kamma of studying and learning. They cannot, as a rule,
be acquired by worshipping God. If one wishes to be a government officer, one
will have to study government rules and regulations. Government posts cannot,
as a rule, be obtained by worshipping and praying to God. Thus we can see with
our eyes that all the worldly gains are obtainable only by the power of the present
kamma and not by the power of God.
The believers in God believe that by worshipping
God faithfully they are freed from all their sins and evils. However, as a rule
the sick are not cured by taking refuge in God only. On the other hand we have
seen with our own eyes that the present kamma of medicine and diet has cured them.
What a surprising thing it is to hold that they would be freed from the result
of their sins in the next existence by worshipping God while even a disease such
as ringworm, is not usually cured by praying to God in this life. Again, since
even trifling wealth cannot as a rule be acquired by merely praying to God in
this life, it is also surprising that they believe they would by praying to God
go after death to heaven, where they can enjoy a life of eternal happiness.
having seen with our own eyes that wealth and happiness that have not previously
been attained in this life are achieved by virtue of present kamma and not by
favour of God, we can fully believe that there is no other refuge than the present
kamma for acquisition of wealth and happiness in this life. In the same way we
can believe that the attainment of the higher planes of existence after death
is also due to the wholesome kamma. It has nothing to do with God. God cannot
make one who is without such wholesome kamma to be reborn on a happy plane of
existence. Those who have such kamma can attain the higher states of existences
although they do not pray to God.
Various beneficial results in the next existence
means either rebirth as a member of a well-to-do or ruling family, or rebirth
in the deva and Brahma world as a powerful deva, sakka or Brahma and so forth.
Hence the Buddha declares, 'sabbe satta kammappatissarana.'
[Note on kammadayada:
A being has two khandha: rupakkhanda and namakkhandha (corporeality-group and
mind-group). The corporeality group consists of head, hands, legs, etc. Mind-group
means thoughts and consciousness.
Of these two, the corporeality group comes
to dissolution once in each existence. It has different shapes or forms in each
existence. As for the mind-group, there is no break in its process. It continually
arises in succession from one existence to another. Good kamma causes it to arise
in successive happy existences. Wherever the mind group arises, there a new and
different corporeality-group comes to be formed. The bad kamma causes the mind-group
to arise in lower states of existence.]
Here ends the discourse on 'kammassakata
Ten kinds of right understanding:
1. Atthi dinnam: Right Understanding that alms-giving, if performed with benevolence,
in a previous existence, yields beneficial results in subsequent existences.
Atthi yittham: Right Understanding that liberality, if extended with belief in
past kamma and with faith in and respect for the virtuos qualities of recipients,
yields beneficial results in future existences.
3. Atthi hutam: Right Understanding
that, gifts, even on a small scale, (ahuna, pahuna) if made in previous existences
with good will, beneficial results in future existences
4. Atthi sukata dukkatanami
kammanam phalam vipako: Right Understanding that cruel deeds done to beings in
previous existences yield bad results in subsequent existences, and that refraining
from such evil acts yields beneficial results.
5. Atthi mata: Right Understanding
that good and evil deeds done to one's mother yield good and evil results respectively
in subsequent existences.
6. Atthi pita: Right Understanding that good and
evil deeds done to one's father yield good and evil results respectively in subsequent
7. Atthi satta opapatika: Right Understanding that there really
exist beings by apparitional rebirth who are invisible to human eyes. Beings by
apparitional rebirth means those that do not take conception in the womb of a
mother. Due to the force of their previous kamma they are born complete with the
limbs and organs of the body which will not develop further but remain as they
Beings suffering in eight hells; peta, asuraka, earthly devas, ogres,
nagas and garudas; devas of the six heavenly worlds, the Brahmas of the twenty
Brahma planes consisting of three planes of the first jhana, three planes of the
second jhana, three planes of the third jhana, seven planes of the fourth jhana,
and four arupa planes; all these beings are known as 'beings by apparitional rebirth'.
Of the twenty Brahma planes, the Brahma of great power lives in the lowest
three planes of the first jhana. That Brahma is regarded as god in other religions
in which higher planes existing above those three are not known.
moon, stars and constellations in the sky are the heavenly mansions of devas.
By seeing these heavenly abodes one can visualise the existence of higher planes
of the devas, sakkas, and Brahmas.
Even when men are close to these beings,
they are unable to see them with their human eyes. Only when these beings make
their forms visible, and then only can men see them. They are invisible to human
eyes like the god, angels and devils in other religions.
The belief that there
really exist such beings by apparitional rebirth is called samma-ditthi.
Atthi ayam loko and
9. atthi paroloko: Right Understanding that this world
(ayam loko) is the human world, and the other world consists of the four lower
worlds (hell, the worlds of animals, petas and asurakas), the deva worlds and
the Brahma worlds.
In other religions, hell, the worlds of petas and asurakas,
and the higher deva and Brahma planes are not known properly.
is that there are in this universe the human world, the four lower worlds, and
the heavenly deva and Brahma worlds which are termed as 'ayam loko'. Similarly
to the east, west, south and north of this universe there are infinite universes
which are termed 'paro-loko'. These universes are not known in other religions.
10. Atthi loke samanabrahmana samaggata sammapatipanna ye imanca lokam paranca
lokam sayam abhinna sacchikatva pavedenti. There are higher spiritual knowledge
(abhinna) and omniscience (sabbannuta-nana). Monks and brahmins who exert themselves
diligently in fulfilling the perfections (paramita) and practising samatha and
vipassana bhavana in this human world can achieve such nana. Personages who have
achieved such nana appear in this world from time to time.
Of these two kinds
of nana, some are capable of gaining only abhinna and they can see with this nana
the four lower worlds, the six deva worlds, and some of the Brahma worlds, as
if with their natural eye. Some are capable of achieving both abhinna and sabbannuta-nana
and they can see clearly all of the countless beings, infinite worlds and universes.
Personages who have both nana are called 'Buddha'.
These two kinds of personages
appear in this human world from time to time and impart their knowledge of this
world and the other worlds, but it is only a Buddha who can explain the round
of rebirths and existence of universes.
Three kinds of belief, namely: belief
that those personages of higher spiritual knowledge and omniscience appear in
this world from time to time, belief in them and their teachings, and belief in
the existence of the other worlds, constitute the right understanding or view.
Those who have this right understanding entertain no doubt that the Buddha, appears
only in the human world, and not in the heavenly worlds.
In other religions,
where there is no such right understanding, they imagine that the all-knowers,
the all-seers, the omniscient ones appear only in the highest heavens and not
in the human world.
However, there are two kinds of power: the power of kamma
and the power of nana. In the case of kamma, the power of jhana is most effective.
It can cause one to arise in the highest plane as a Brahma with a long span of
life. It cannot, however, cause one to become an Omniscient Buddha. That Brahma
has no nana with which he can see all and know all.
Only in this human world
can one work for sabbannuta-nana, and only one who perseveres diligently to achieve
that nana can become omniscient.
It is only in the Buddha Dhamma that profound,
sublime and wonderful Teachings exist, and it is because they belong to the sphere
of nana (knowledge and wisdom).
In this life, to strive to become a wealthy
person is one way, and to acquire insight-knowledge and thus become a teacher
of beings is another way. To strive to become a great Brahma is similar to striving
to become a wealthy man, and to strive as a bhikkhu or hermit for acquiring insight-knowledge
is like striving to become a great teacher. Another example is: birds have wings
to fly about in the sky but they do not possess knowledge and wisdom like man.
Men have knowledge and wisdom but they have no wings and are unable to fly about
in the sky.
The Brahma's kamma of jhana resembles the wings of birds. The
insight-knowledge of the monks and hermits resembles the knowledge and wisdom
The Brahmas and the devas live in the highest planes of existence
due to the power of jhana and kamma, but they have no insight-knowledge and omniscience.
Thus the right understanding (nana, knowledge or wisdom) which enables one
to believe: that the Buddha who sees all and knows all appears only in this human
world and not not in the higher planes of existence; that only the monks and brahmins
of the human race who are endowed with abhinna and subbannuta can clearly discern
the condition of the kappa and universes, the beings who are running the round
of samsara and how the wholesome and unwholesome kamma operate; that the teachings
of those monks and brahmins in the Sutta, Vinaya and Abhidhamma are true, is known
as'atthi loke samanabrahamana samma-ditthi'.
The wrong understanding or belief
(miccha-ditthi) is that the God who knows all and sees all cannot appear in the
human world but only in the highest heavenly abode, and that there cannot be many
gods but only one, and that God, being the highest and noblest, must be eternal
and free from old age, disease, death, etc.
Detailed explanations of the wrong
views are given in our Samma-ditthi Dipani, The Manual of Right Views.
Thirty-two kinds of talk obstructing fruition and rebirth in higher planes.
1. rajakatha--talk about kings
2. corakatha--talk about robbers
mahamattakatha--talk about ministers of state
4. senakatha--talk about armies
5. yuddhakatha--talk about battles
6. annakatha--talk about food
panakatha--talk about drinks
8. vatthakatha--talk about clothing
10. malakatha--talk about garlands
12. natikatha--talk about relations
14. gamakatha--talk about villages
about market towns
16. nagarakatha--talk about towns
18. itthikatha--talk about women
20. visikhatha--talk about streets
about watering places
22. pubbapetakatha--talk about relatives who have passed
24. lokakkhayikakatha--talk about
the origin of the world
25. samuddakkhayikakatha--talk about the origin of
26. (numbers 27 to 32 are known as itibhavabhavakatha)--talk about
27. talk about annihilation belief
28. talk about worldly
29. talk about worldly loss
30. talk about self-indulgence
talk about self-mortification.
Twenty-one kinds of wrong livelihood
1. vejjakammam karoti--medical practice
2. dutakammam karoti--acting
as a messenger
3. pahinakammam karoti--doing things at the behest of laymen
4. gandam phaleti--lancing boils
5. arumakkhanam deti--giving oil for
6. uddham virecanam deti--giving emetics
7. adho virecanam
8. natthutelam pacati--preparing oil for nose-treatment
9. pivanatelam pacati--preparing oil for medicine
10. veludanam deti--presenting
11. pattadanaml deti--presenting leaves
12. pupphaddnam deti--presenting
13. phaladanam deti--presenting fruits
14. sinanadanam deti--presenting
15. dantakatthadanam deti--presenting tooth-sticks
deti--presenting water for washing the face
17. cunnamattikadanam deti--presenting
18. catukamyam karoti--using flattering speech
karoti--acting like half-cooked bean soup (speaking half-truths)
21. janghapesaniyam karoti--running errands.
Kuhanadi micchajiva--wrong living by means of trickery and deception.
kuhana--making people have an unduly high opinion of oneself to get alms:
by pretending that one does not want to receive alms, but accepts only for the
sake of the donors
2. by pretending that one has attained jhana, magga and
3. by feigning deportment so as to make people think one is an ariya.
2. lapana--talking to please donors with a view to acquiring gain, honour
3. nemittikata--inviting offerings by giving all kinds of hints
4. nippesikata--harassing so as to induce offerings
5. labhenalabham nijigisanata--giving
something with a view to getting something more.
1. KASINA is the name for a purely external device to produce and
concentration of mind and attain the four trances (jhana).
It consists in
concentrating one's full and undivided attention on
one visible object as
preparatory image (parikamma-nimitta). let
us say, a coloured spot or disc,
or a piece of earth, or a pond at
some distance, etc , until at last one
perceives, even with the
eyes closed, a mental reflex, the so-called acquired
(uggaha-nimitta.) Now, while continuing to direct one's attention
to this image, there may arise the spotless and immovable
(patibhaga-nimitta), and together with it
the neighbourhood concentration
(upacara-samadhi) will have been
reached. While still perservering in the
concentration on the
object, one finally will reach a state of mind where
sense-activity is suspended, where there is no more seeing and
no more perception of bodily impression and feeling, i e.
the state of the
first mental absorption, or (jhana) trance. The
ten kasina mentioned in the
Suttas are: earth-kasina, water, fire,
wind, blue, yellow, red, white, space,
and consciousness. 'There
are ten kasina-spheres: a certain one sees the
above, below, on all sides, undivided, unbounded; a certain
sees the water-kasina, above, below, etc.' (D. 33). (Nyanatiloka's
about men is omitted in accordance with Majjhima Pannasa
6th. Synod Edition.
Nikaya, Majjhima Pannasa Atthakatha 1) Gahapati Vagga,
6th. Synod Edition pg.4