Detachment and Compassion in Early Buddhism
by Elizabeth J. Harris
Buddhist Publication Society
Bodhi Leaves Publication No. 141
© 1997 Elizabeth J. Harris
For free distribution only not for sale
© 1997 Elizabeth J. Harris
Buddhist Publication Society
Kandy, Sri Lanka
Transcribed from a file provided by the BPS,
with minor revisions in accordance with the Access to Insight style sheet.
Access to Insight Edition 2005
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PEOPLE looking at Buddhism through the medium of English, the
practice of compassion and detachment can appear incompatible,
especially for those who consider themselves to be socially and
politically engaged. In contemporary usage, compassion brings to mind outwardmoving
concern for others, while detachment suggests aloofness and withdrawal
from the world. Yet Buddhism recommends both as admirable and necessary
qualities to be cultivated. This raises questions such as the following:
If compassion means to relieve suffering in a positive way, and detachment
to remain aloof from the world, how can the two be practiced together?
Does detachment in Buddhism imply lack of concern for humanity?
Is the concept of compassion in Buddhism too passive, connected only with
the inward-looking eye of meditation, or can it create real change in
It is certainly possible to draw sentences from Buddhist writers which seem to
support a rejection of outward concern for others. For example, Edward Conze
has written, “The Yogin can only come into contact with the unconditioned when
he brushes aside anything which is conditioned.”1 Similarly, G.S.P. Misra writes,
“In the final analysis, all actions are to be put to cessation…. The Buddha speaks
of happiness involved in non-action which he further says is an integral part of the
Right Way (sammå pa†ipadå).2 Taken in isolation and out of context, these
remarks can give the impression that the path to Nibbåna implies developing a
lack of concern towards everything in saµsara. But is this inference sound? I
would argue that it is not.
This is an issue which touches on the whole question of transferring concepts
across linguistic barriers, in this case Påli and English. It calls not only for an
understanding of how the concepts are used within the framework of the Påli
Buddhist texts, but also for an awareness of how the English terms used in
translation function and whether they are adequate. Inevitably, a dialogical
approach between two linguistic frameworks is necessary.

Viveka and viråga are the two Påli words which have been translated as
“detachment.” The two, however, are not synonymous. The primary meaning of
viveka is separation, aloofness, seclusion. Often physical withdrawal is implied.
The later commentarial tradition, however, identifies three forms of viveka: kåyaviveka
(physical withdrawal), citta-viveka (mental withdrawal), and upadhiviveka
(withdrawal from the roots of suffering).
Kåya-viveka, as a chosen way of life, was not uncommon during the time of
the Buddha. To withdraw from the household life, renounce possessions, and
adopt a solitary mendicancy was a recognized path. The formation of the
Buddhist monastic Sangha was grounded in the belief that going out from home
to homelessness (agårasmå anagariyaµ pabbajati) could aid concentrated spiritual
effort. Yet to equate the renunciation which the Buddha encouraged with a
physical withdrawal which either punished the body or completely rejected
human contact would be a mistake.
The Buddha made it clear that the detachment of a noble disciple
(ariyasåvaka)—the detachment connected with the path—was not essentially a
physical act of withdrawal, let alone austerity. Kåya-viveka was valuable only if
seen as a means to the inner purging and mental transformation connected with
the destruction of craving. This is illustrated in the Udumbarika S¥hanåda Sutta in
which the Buddha claims that the asceticism of a recluse who clings to solitude
could lead to pride, carelessness, attention-seeking, and hypocrisy, if not linked to
the cultivation of moral virtues and the effort to gain insight through meditation.3
A further insight is given in the Nivåpa Sutta, which weaves a lengthy story
around the relationship of four herds of deer with a certain crop, representing
sensual pleasure, sown by the hunter (Måra) for the deers’ ensnaring. Both the
ascetics who crave for pleasure, and those who deny themselves any enjoyment in
an extreme way, are destroyed. Referring to the latter, the Buddha says:
Because their bodies were extremely emaciated, their strength and
energy diminished, freedom of mind diminished; because freedom of
mind diminished, they went back to the very crop sown by Måra—the
material things of this world.4
The message of the sutta is that ascetic withdrawal can reduce the mind’s
ability to discern. It can also lead to the repression of mental tendencies rather
than to their rooting out and destruction.
The detachment of which Buddhism speaks, therefore, is not an extreme
turning away from that which normally nourishes the human body. Neither is it a
closing of the eyes to all beauty, as is clear from the following:
Delightful, reverend Ónanda, is the Gosinga sal-wood. It is a clear
moonlit night; the sal-trees are in full blossom. Methinks deva-like
scents are being wafted around…5
This is an expression of delight uttered by Såriputta, an arahant, on meeting
some fellow monks one night.
One must look away from external acts and towards the area of inner attitudes
and motivation for a true understanding of the role of detachment in Buddhism.
Physical withdrawal is only justified if it is linked to inner moral purification and
meditation. In this light, citta-viveka and upadhi-viveka become necessary
subdivisions to bring out the full implications of detachment within Buddhist
spiritual practice. Upadhi-viveka, as withdrawal from the roots of suffering, links
up with viråga, the second word used within Buddhism to denote detachment.
Viråga literally means the absence of råga: the absence of lust, desire, and
craving for existence. Hence, it denotes indifference or non-attachment to the
usual objects of råga, such as material goods or sense pleasures. Non-attachment
is an important term here if the Påli is to be meaningful to speakers of English. It
is far more appropriate than “detachment” because of the negative connotations
“detachment” possesses in English. Råga is a close relation of upådåna (grasping)
which, within the causal chain binding human beings to repeated births, grows
from taˆhå (craving) and results in bhava—continued saµsaric existence. The
English word “non-attachment” suggests a way of looking at both of them.
The Buddhist texts refer to four strands of grasping (upådåna): grasping of
sense pleasures (kåmupådåna), of views (di††hËpådåna), of rule and custom
(s¥labbatupådåna), of doctrines of self (attavådupådåna). All of these can also be
described as forms of råga or desire. To destroy their power over the human
psyche, attachment to them must be transformed into non-attachment. Nonattachment
or non-grasping would therefore flow from the awareness that no
possession, no relationship, no achievement is permanent or able to give lasting
satisfaction; from the discovery that there is no self which needs to be protected,
promoted, or defended; and from the realization that searching for selfish sensual
gratification is pointless, since it leads only to craving and obsession. Phrases
which overlap with attachment in this context and which can help to clarify its
meaning are: possessiveness in relationships, defensiveness, jealousy,
covetousness, acquisitiveness, and competitiveness. Through non-attachment,
these are attenuated and overcome. There is nothing yet in this description which
points to a lack of concern for humanity or the world. The emphasis is rather on
inner transformation so that destructive and divisive traits can be destroyed,
making way for their opposites to flourish.
To take attachment to sense pleasures as an example, many suttas mention the
peril involved. The person attached to sense pleasures is likened to a “wet, sappy
stick” placed in water. As such a stick cannot be used to light a fire, so the one
addicted to sense pleasures cannot attain the “incomparable self-awakening”
(anuttaråya sambodhåya).6 He is one with whom Måra can do what he likes.7 He
is like one holding a blazing torch, which must be dropped if burning and pain is
to be avoided.8 In fact, it is stressed that attachment to sense pleasures destroys
the mind’s ability to think clearly and objectively. Viråga, on the other hand, is
linked to the practice of mindfulness (satipa††håna) and to seeing into the truth of
things. For Buddhists, therefore, non-attachment or detachment (viråga) does not
mean a withdrawal from striving for truth but a movement towards seeing the true
nature of things more clearly. In contrast, saråga (attachment) leads to biased and
false perceptions, since objects are sensed through a net of predispositions
towards attraction and aversion.
Seeing the truth through non-attachment can operate both at a mundane and a
higher level. At a mundane level, for instance, if greed always arises when an
opportunity for gaining quick wealth is glimpsed, wealth will never be seen
objectively as it really is—as transient, subject to change, and no answer to the
search for happiness. Because of råga, neither the consequences nor the
alternatives will be appreciated. In fact, if any decision has to be made, the
alternatives will not be seen clearly as long as the mind is clouded by råga.
Dishonesty and the manipulation of others in order to gain what is craved might
With reference to the higher stages of insight, satipa††håna, viveka, and viråga
are intertwined. Found in many suttas are words such as the following:
He (the monk) chooses some lonely spot to rest on his way—in the
woods, at the foot of tree, on a hillside… and returning there after
alms round, he seats himself, when his meal is done, cross-legged…
Putting away the hankering after the world, he remains with a heart
that hankers not, and purifies his mind of lusts.10
Aloof from the pleasures of the senses, aloof from unskilled states of
mind, he enters and abides in the first jhåna… (citta-viveka and
The ultimate results of such practices are the four jhånas or absorptions; the
verification, by direct vision, of the doctrine of karma; insight into the Four Noble
Truths; and eventually, the knowledge that release from rebirth has been gained.
Viråga is, in fact, a prerequisite for attaining nibbåna and the treatment of the
word in the texts implies that the two are almost synonymous.
At this point, it is worth looking at how the word “detachment” has been used
in the Western tradition. In colloquial usage, to say that a person is detached can
be derogatory, implying that the person is not willing to become involved with
others or that he or she is neither approachable nor sympathetic. This current
usage must be borne in mind. Three strands of meaning, however, emerge from
most dictionary definitions. Primarily, detachment refers to the action and process
of separating. Flowing from this has come the military usage to describe the
dispatch of a body of troops. More relevant to this study, however, is the third
body of meanings connected with detachment as an attitude of mind. “Aloofness”
and “indifference to worldly concerns” are phrases used to describe this attitude.
Although these might appear to conform to the above-mentioned contemporary
connotations, we find linked with this (in Webster’s Dictionary, for example)
“freedom from bias and prejudice.” Thus, in both the Western tradition and the
Eastern, “detachment” is linked with clarity of perception, nonpartiality, and fair
Voices supporting this come from the Christian mystical tradition and the
contemporary scientific world. Classical Christian mysticism saw indifference to
worldly and material concerns as an essential component of the movement
towards God. Fulfilling God’s will with total love and obedience was
accompanied by detachment from the worldly. In modern scientific research a
similar quality is emphasized. A commitment to truth is recognized but so is the
necessity for a mind detached from the results of research, detached from the wish
for a particular outcome. For it is known that if the scientist is searching for one
particular scientific result, he might unconsciously manipulate the experiments or
observations in order to obtain that result.
Therefore, when looking at the implications of “detachment,” it is worth
taking into account Western usage as well. The socially active person can be
quick to look down on those who appear either distanced from or untouched by
the social, economic, and political crises facing the world. But they should
remember that detachment can have a positive fruit even in relation to social
activism: the ability to see the truth more clearly and to judge more impartially.
To return to the Buddhist tradition: The Buddha was once faced with the
remark that the most worthy person is the one who speaks neither in dispraise of
the unworthy nor in praise of the praiseworthy. The Buddha disagreed with this.
He replied that, because of his ability to discriminate, the person who speaks in
dispraise of the unworthy and in praise of worthy is best.12 The Buddha rejects the
self-distancing which refuses to take sides or to speak out against what should be
condemned. He criticizes the desire to keep the truth inviolate and unspoken
through a wish not to become involved with society. Viveka and viråga therefore
do not imply the kind of withdrawal which is unconcerned with what is good or
bad for human welfare.
The fruits of non-attachment are not only linked with the gaining of
knowledge, the “incomparable self-awakening,” but are also related to creating a
just and harmonious society. The Mahådukkhakkhandha Sutta makes a direct
connection between attachment to sense pleasures and the movement towards
chaos in society. Greed for the possessions of another leads to disputes and
contentions at the level of both the family and nation, until “having taken sword
and shield, having girded bow and quiver, both sides mass for battle and arrows
are hurled and swords are flashing.”13 In the same sutta, theft, adultery, and
vicious corporal punishment are likewise attributed to sense pleasures and
attachment to them.
In other texts, attachment to views is spoken about as a cause of disputes,
especially in the religious community. Yet the point drawn is relevant to the
whole of society. The result of a person asserting, “This is the very truth, all else
is falsehood,” is dispute. And: “If there is dispute, there is contention; if there is
contention, there is trouble; if there is trouble, there is vexation.”14
Therefore, far from implying lack of concern for the welfare of others,
detachment from such things as sensual desires and the urge to assert dogmatic
views is seen as essential to it. We are back to the four strands of grasping and the
need to root these out.

Karuˆå is the Påli word translated as compassion. Contemporary writers have
spoken of it thus:
It is defined as that which makes the heart of the good quiver when
others are subject to suffering, or that which dissipates the suffering of
Compassion is a virtue which uproots the wish to harm others. It
makes people so sensitive to the sufferings of others and causes them
to make these sufferings so much their own that they do not want to
further increase them.16
This (compassion) isn’t self-pity or pity for others. It’s really feeling
one’s own pain and recognizing the pain of others… Seeing the web of
suffering we’re all entangled in, we become kind and compassionate
to one another.17
The above definitions vary. Yet central to all is the claim that karuˆå concerns
our attitude to the suffering of others. In the Buddhist texts the term often refers to
an attitude of mind to be radiated in meditation. This is usually considered its
primary usage. Nevertheless, the definitions of Buddhist writers past and present,
as well as the texts themselves, stress that it is also more than this. Anukampå and
dayå, often translated as “sympathy,” are closely allied to it.18 In fact, at least
three strands of meaning in the term “compassion” can be detected in the texts: a
prerequisite for a just and harmonious society; an essential attitude for progress
along the path towards wisdom (paññå); and the liberative action within society of
those who have become enlightened or who are sincerely following the path
towards it. All these strands need to be looked at if the term is to be understood
and if those who accuse Buddhist compassion of being too passive are to be
answered correctly.
The foundation for any spiritual progress within Buddhism is the Five
Precepts. Rites, rituals, ascetic practices, and devotional offerings are all
subservient to the morality they stress. Compassion for the life, feelings, and
security of others is inseparably linked with the first, second, and fourth precepts.
1. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from injury to living things
(påˆåtipåtå veramaˆ¥ sikkhapadaµ samådiyåmi).
2. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from taking what is not
given (adinnådånå veramaˆ¥ sikhapadaµ samådiyåmi).
3. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from false speech
(musåvådå veramaˆ¥ sikkhapadaµ samådiyåmi).
For instance, the ideal of ahiµsa (non-harming) of the first must flow from
compassion if it is to be effective. The Vasala Sutta makes this relationship
explicit, although the word dayå, usually translated as sympathy or compassion, is
used and not karuˆå:
Whoever in this world harms living beings, once-born or twice-born,
in whom there is no compassion for living beings—know him as an
(Ekajaµ vå dijaµ vå pi yo påˆåni hiµsati, yassa påˆe dayå n’atthi
taµ jaññå ‘vasalo’ iti.)
Important to the exercising of this kind of compassion is the realization that
life is dear to all, as shown in the following Dhammapada verse:20
All tremble at violence
Life is dear to all
Putting oneself in the place of another
One should neither kill nor cause another
to kill.
(Sabbe tasanti daˆ?assa
Sabbesaµ j¥vitaµ piyaµ
Attanaµ upamaµ katvå
Na haneyya na ghåtaye.)
Here, non-harming and compassion flow both from a sensitivity to our own
hopes and fears and the ability to place ourselves in the shoes of others.
Compassion towards self and compassion towards others are inseparable.
The Buddha’s teachings about statecraft and government also embody
compassion as a guiding principle. The Cakkavatti S¥hanåda Sutta describes a
state in which the king ignores his religious advisers and does not give wealth to
the poor. Poverty becomes widespread and, in its wake, follow theft, murder,
immorality in various forms, and communal breakdown. The culmination is a
“sword period” in which men and women look upon one another as animals and
cut one another with swords. In this sutta, lack of compassion for the poor leads to
the disintegration of society. Lack of social and economic justice leads to disaster.
In contrast, the ideal Buddhist model for society, as deduced from the texts, would
be one in which exploitation in any part of its structure is not tolerated. Such a
society would be rooted in compassion. Compassion is its prerequisite.
To move to the second strand, I have already stated that the word “karuˆå”
was most often mentioned in the texts in the specialized context of meditation to
denote an important form of mind training. Here the emphasis is on each person’s
pilgrimage towards Nibbåna rather than on interaction with other beings.
For example, the Kandaraka Sutta describes the path of a person who “does
not torment himself or others.” Moral uprightness is stressed initially but the final
stages of the path are seen purely in terms of meditation and mind-training. At
this point, no mention is made of outgoing action:
By getting rid of the taint of ill-will, he lives benevolent in mind; and
compassionate for the welfare of all creatures and beings, he purifies
the mind of the taint of ill-will.21
In this context, the development of karuˆå plays an essential part in the
meditation practice that leads towards wisdom (paññå) and the destruction of
craving. The importance of this must not be underestimated. The development of
a compassionate mind is a direct preparation for right concentration (sammå
samådhi) and a prerequisite of Nibbåna:
If from a brahman’s family… if from a merchant’s family… if from a
worker’s family… and if from whatever family he has gone forth from
home into homelessness and has come into this dhamma and
discipline taught by the Tathågata, having thus developed friendliness
(mettå), compassion (karuˆå), sympathetic joy (muditå), and
equanimity (upekkhå), he attains inward calm—I say it is by inward
calm that he is following the practices suitable for recluses.22
Karuˆå is one of the four “brahma-vihåras” or sublime states, along with
mettå, muditå, and upekkhå. The higher stages are seen to rest on them because
they have the power to weaken the defilements of lust, ill-will, and delusion and
to bring the mind to a state of peace. Rarely is meditation mentioned without
reference to them.
Yet a distinction must be made between mettå and karuˆå. The two are linked
together at one level through the brahma-vihåras. Yet, in the texts, mettå
constantly remains a disposition, an interior attitude. Karuˆå is more than this.
Significant here is Buddhaghosa’s treatment of the word in the Visuddhimagga.
When referring to the brahma-vihåras, he treats karuˆå in a similar way to mettå.
Yet, in a later definition, his words can be translated as:
When there is suffering in others it causes good people’s hearts to be
moved, thus it is compassion. Or, alternatively, it combats (kiˆåti)
others’ suffering and demolishes it, thus it is compassion. Or,
alternatively, it is scattered upon those who suffer, or extended to them
by pervasion, thus it is compassion.23
Bhikkhu Ñåˆamoli, in the notes to his translation, stresses that kiˆåti here
does not come under the usual meaning of “to buy” but is linked with the Sanskrit
krˆåti, to injure or kill. Therefore he chooses to translate it as “combat,”
unmistakably connecting Buddhaghosa’s definition of karuˆå with action.
In a later paragraph, Buddhaghosa adds that compassion succeeds “when it
makes cruelty subside and it fails when it produces sorrow.”24 To Buddhaghosa,
karuˆå was both a deliverance of the mind and liberative action or, more exactly,
a quality compelling people towards such action.
This emphasis on liberative action is seen supremely in Ócariya
Dhammapåla’s words about the great compassion (mahåkaruˆå) and wisdom
(paññå) of the Buddha.25 The passage is structured in a series of parallel
sentences, each one contrasting and comparing the fruits of the two qualities. The
following are selected from the longer whole:
It is through understanding (= wisdom) that he fully understood
others’ suffering and through compassion that he undertook to
counteract it… It was through understanding that he himself crossed
over and through compassion that he brought others across…
Likewise it was through compassion that he became the world’s helper
and through understanding that he became his own helper.
In the above passage, paññå or wisdom is connected with knowledge and
insight, and karuˆå or compassion with liberative action. The two are held in
corrective balance, counteracting the view that karuˆå is linked only with the
passivity of meditation. For the Enlightened One, karuˆå was what impelled him
to remain in society as teacher and liberator. He saw the need of the murderer,
Angulimåla, and a destructive life was put on another course.26 For forty-five
years, he preached in the face of criticism, opposition, and misunderstanding, in
the knowledge that the Dhamma would be understood only by a few. He did not
hide the fact that suffering is universal, but made compassion the reverse side of
this truth, as is shown in the traditional stories of his encounters with Pa†åcårå,27
Kisågotam¥,28 and the slave girl Rajjumålå.29 He was not slow either to admonish
monks who were unwilling to tend the sick among them or to do the tending
himself, however distressing the illness was: “Whoever would attend on me
should attend on the sick” (yo maµ upa††haheyya so gilanaµ upa††haheyya) has
come down the centuries as words he said on one such occasion.30
This ideal was placed before the whole monastic Sangha. Although many
members of the Sangha may have failed to reach it, it is certain that some attained
a stage where compassionate, loving action had replaced selfishness. In the final
stage of the path, there is a sense in which action ceases. Yet it is the kind of
action which is dictated by attraction or aversion which must stop, action which
has kammic results, not that which flows from a purified mind filled with
compassion. The mission he set for himself and for the Sangha was one of
compassionate, liberative action. The first sixty arahants were sent out with the
Go forth, bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the
many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, benefit, and
happiness of gods and men. Let not two go by the same way.31
Mahåkassapa is praised because “he teaches the doctrine to others out of pity,
out of caring for them, because of his compassion for them.”32
For the above disciples, all that had to be done for their release had been done.
They now embodied compassion. Compassion was their nature—Mahå-karuˆå,
great compassion, rather than the elementary compassion which the novice on the
path attempts to radiate and practice. For these disciples, all desire for selfpromotion
and self-achievement had been replaced with outward-moving energy.
Therefore, any statement which describes the enlightened Buddhist disciple as
distant from society would be false, or, more exactly, would be using
inappropriate categories. The strength of the concept of compassion within
Buddhism is that it is both a powerful form of mental purification and a form of
liberative action.
Final Reflections
This paper began with questions raised by observers about the Buddhist notions of
detachment and compassion. They center around two main points: that the two
concepts seem to represent contradictory forces, the one moving away from
society and the other towards it; that the Buddhist concept of compassion is not
active enough, being more connected with personal spiritual growth than the
altruistic reformation of society.
Part of the problem is the linguistic framework and the modern connotations
surrounding such concepts as “detachment.” The question would not arise in the
same form for those thinking exclusively in Påli and using the terms viråga and
karuˆå. It would be evident to them that viråga does not imply apathy and
indifference but a freedom from passion and attachment that is necessary if
actions are not to become biased or partial. For what passes as compassion can
cloak emotions of a very different kind, such as anger, attachment, or the wish to
With reference to the second point, a distinction in terms must be made. There
is a form of concern for self which is compatible with and even essential to
altruism. The care for oneself which enables one to feel empathy with others can
be termed “autism.” Autism is necessary for altruism, since it is necessary to be
able to accept and even love oneself before one can show true empathy and
compassion for others, before one can feel what they feel. Autism is not egoism.
Egoism is the enemy of both autism and altruism. Egoism seeks to use others for
the material welfare and gain of self. Its “love” is possessive and manipulative.
Egoism has to be destroyed if karuˆå is to develop.
Viråga, viveka, karuˆå and anukampå are inter-related terms within Buddhism.
Compassion needs the clear insight that viragå can bring. The challenge for
Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike is to realize this in our lives. All societies need
the active, liberative compassion which seeks to relieve the suffering of others,
establish greater justice, and assert the dignity and equality of human beings.
Karuˆå should certainly be seen in its concentrated meditative form as a powerful
and peace-giving discipline of the mind and an important part of any spiritual path.
But it should never be confined to this framework. It breaks the framework as
liberative action to relieve suffering and oppression.

1 Edward Conze, Buddhist Thought in India, 1960, Ch.5.
2 G.S.P. Misra, Development of Buddhist Ethics, p. 44.
3 D Sutta No. 25.
4 M I 156.
5 Ibid.
6 M I 240–42.
7 M I 173.
8 M I 130.
9 D I 67, etc.
10 D I 68, etc.
11 D I 73.
12 A II 100–1.
13 M I 86.
14 M I 499.
15 Nårada Mahåthera, The Buddha and His Teachings (BPS, 1988), p.372.
16 Edward Conze, op. cit., Ch.6.
17 Joseph Goldstein, The Experience of Insight (BPS, 1980), pp.125–26.
18 Harvey Aronson in Love and Sympathy in Theravada Buddhism (Motilal
Banarsidass, Delhi, 1980) looks at the relationship between karuˆå and
anukampå and quotes Buddhaghosa (SA II 169) to indicate that anukampå and
karuˆå are similar (p.11).
19 Sn 117.
20 Dhp. v, 130. Trans. by Acharya Buddharakkhita.
21 M I 347.
22 M I 284.
23 The Path of Purification, Bhikkhu Ñåˆamoli trans. (BPS, 1975), IX 92.
24 Ibid., IX 94.
25 From ParamatthamañjËså, his commentary to the Visuddhimagga; quoted at
Path of Purification, Ch. VII, n.9. This passage has been studied by Aloysius
Peiris in “Some Salient Aspects of Consciousness and Reality in Pali
Scholasticism as reflected in the Works of Ócariya Dhammapåla,” 1971.
26 M II 97.
27 See E.W. Burlingame, Buddhist Legends (PTS, 1969).
28 Ibid., 2:257–60.
29 Vimånavatthu, No. 50.
30 Vin I 302.
31 Vin I 20.
32 S II 199–200

About the Author
Elizabeth J. Harris studied Buddhism in Sri Lanka from 1986 to 1993 and
obtained a Ph.D. degree from the Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist
Studies, University of Kelaniya. She is now Secretary for Inter-faith Relations in
The Methodist Church in London. Her previous BPS publications include
Violence and Disruption in Society (Wheel No. 392/393) and Journey into
Buddhism (Bodhi Leaves No. 134).