|The Wings to Awakening (Ven. Thanissaro/goodreads.com)|
The WINGS to AWAKENING:
An Anthology from the Pali Canon
Translated and explained by Ven. Thanissaro (Geoffrey DeGraff), 7th edition, revised 2013
- the Four Foundations of Mindfulness,
- the Four Right Efforts,
- the Four Bases of Power,
- the Five Faculties,
- the Five Strengths,
- the Seven Factors of Enlightenment,
- the Noble Eightfold Path (MN 103).
The Buddha was able to reach Awakening only by developing skillful kamma; this is the “how.” His understanding of the process of developing skillful kamma is what sparked the insights that constituted Awakening; this is the “what.”
- the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (here called the four frames of reference),
- the Four Right Efforts,
- the Four Bases of Power,
- the Five Faculties,
- the Five Strengths,
- the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, and
- the Noble Eightfold Path.
Table of 37 Requisites
- Remaining focused on the body in and of itself -- ardent, alert, and mindful [not evaluating or thinking but simply remaining aware at every moment in the here and now] -- putting aside greed and distress with regard to the world.
- Remaining focused on feelings (sensations)...
- Remaining focused on the mind...
- Remaining focused on mental formations...
- Generating desire [motivation, keen interest, enthusiasm], endeavoring, arousing persistence, upholding and exerting one’s intent for the sake of the non-arising of unwholesome, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
- ...abandoning unwholesome, unskillful qualities that have arisen.
- ...exerting one’s intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
- ...exerting one’s intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, and culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen.
- Developing the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire and the formations of exertion.
- ...persistence (energy)...
- ...concentration (collectedness)...
- ...discrimination (wisdom)...
- the faculty of confidence (saddha-indrıya)
- ...persistence (energy, effort, exertion) (viriya-indrıya)
- ...mindfulness (sati-indrıya)
- ...concentration (samadhi-indrıya)
- ...discernment (wisdom, insight, understanding) (pañña-indrıya)
- the strength of confidence (saddha-bala)
- ...persistence (energy) (viriya-bala)
- ...mindfulness (sati-bala)
- ...concentration (samadhi-bala)
- ...discernment (wisdom) (pañña-bala)
- mindfulness as a factor of enlightenment (sati-sambojjhanga)
- analysis of qualities [keen investigation of phenomena]... (dhamma-vicayasambojjhanga)
- persistence (energy)... (viriya-sambojjhanga)
- rapture... (pıti-sambojjhanga)
- calm... (passaddhi-sambojjhanga)
- concentration... (samadhi-sambojjhanga)
- equanimity... (upekkha-sambojjhanga)
- right view (samma-ditthi)
- right resolve (intention, thought) (samma-sankappa)
- right speech (samma-vaca)
- right action (samma-kammanta)
- right livelihood (samma-ajıva)
- right effort (samma-vayama)
- right mindfulness (samma-sati)
- right concentration (mental collectedness) (samma-samadhi)
The Buddha’s Enlightenment/Awakening
|Maybe the meditative-absorptions are the way to enlightenment, Siddhartha realized.|
According to his own account, the search began many lifetimes ago, but in this lifetime it was sparked by the realization of the inevitability of aging, illness, and death. In his words:
"I lived in refinement, utmost refinement, total refinement. My father even had lotus ponds made in our palace: one where red lotuses bloomed, one where white lotuses bloomed, one where blue lotuses bloomed, all for my sake. I used no sandalwood that was not from Varanasi (Kasi). My turban was from Varanasi, as were my tunic, my lower garments, and my outer cloak. A white sunshade was held over me day and night to protect me from cold, heat, dust, dirt, and dew.
"I had three palaces: one for the cold season, hot season, and rainy season. During the four months of the rainy season I was entertained in the rainy-season palace by [female] minstrels without a single man among them, and I did not once come down from the palace. Whereas the servants, workers, and retainers [slaves?] in other people’s homes are fed meals of lentil soup and broken rice, in my father’s home the servants, workers, and retainers were fed wheat, rice, and meat.
"Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: ‘When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person [uninstructed, ignorant worldling], subject to aging, not beyond aging, sees another who is aged, one is horrified, humiliated, and disgusted, oblivious to the fact that one is also subject to aging, not beyond aging. If I -- who am subject to aging, not beyond aging -- were to be horrified, humiliated, and disgusted on seeing another person who is aged, that would not be fitting for me.’ As I noticed this, the (typical) young person’s intoxication with youth entirely fell away.
"Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: ‘When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, oneself subject to illness, not beyond illness, sees another who is ill, one is horrified, humiliated, and disgusted, oblivious to the fact that one is also subject to illness, not beyond illness.
"And if I -- who am subject to illness, not beyond illness -- were to be horrified, humiliated, and disgusted on
seeing another person who is ill, that would not be fitting for me.’ As I noticed this, the (typical) healthy person’s intoxication with health entirely fell away.
"Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: ‘When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, oneself subject to death, not beyond death, sees another who is dead, one is horrified, humiliated, and disgusted, oblivious to the fact that one is also subject to death, not beyond death.
"And if I -- who am subject to death, not beyond death -- were to be horrified, humiliated, and disgusted on seeing another person who is dead, that would not be fitting for me.’ As I noticed this, the living person’s (typical) intoxication with life entirely fell away" (AN 3:38).
Prince Siddhartha once thought...
"The thought occurred to me: ‘Why am I, being subject myself to birth…defilement, seeking what is subject to birth…defilement? What if I…were to seek the unborn, unaging, unailing, undying, sorrowless, undefiled, unexcelled security from bondage -- nirvana?’
"So at a later time, when I was still young, black-haired, endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life, I shaved off my hair and beard -- though my parents wished otherwise and were grieving with tears on their faces -- and I put on the saffron robe and went forth from the home-life into the left-home-life (MN 26).
These passages are universal in their import, but a fuller appreciation of why the young, rich, handsome prince left home for the life of a wandering ascetic requires some understanding of the beliefs and social developments of the time.
...Prince Siddhattha [Sanskrit, Prince Siddhartha Gautama] lived in an aristocratic republic in northern India during the sixth century B.C.E., a time of great social upheaval. A new monetary economy was replacing the older agrarian economy. Absolute monarchies, in alliance with the newly forming merchant class, were swallowing up the older aristocracies.
As often happens when an aristocratic elite is being disenfranchised, people on all levels of society were beginning to call into question the beliefs that had supported the older order, and were looking to science and other alternative modes of knowledge to provide them with a new view of life.
The foremost science in North India at that time was astronomy. New, precise observations of planetary movements, combined with newly developed means of calculation, had led astronomers to conclude that time was measured in aeons, incomprehensibly long cycles that repeat themselves endlessly.
Taking up these conclusions, philosophers of the time tried to work out the implications of this vast temporal frame for the drama of human life and the quest for ultimate happiness.
These philosophers fell into two broad camps, some who conducted their speculations within the traditions of the Vedas [ancient Indus Valley Civilization sacred texts that became] early Indian religious and ritual texts that provided the orthodox beliefs of the old order, and others (independent, unorthodox groups) called the Samanas (shramans, wandering ascetics, contemplatives), who questioned the authority of the Vedas.
|Prince Siddhartha sees a wandering ascetic (samana) and decides to follow the ascetic path.|
Many of these forms of contemplation required that one abandon the constraints and responsibilities of the home life and take up the life of a homeless wanderer. This was the rationale behind Prince Siddhattha’s decision to leave the home life in order to see if there might be a true happiness beyond the sway of aging, illness, and death.
Already by his time, philosophers of the Vedic and Samana schools had developed widely differing interpretations of what the laws of nature were and how they affected the pursuit of true happiness. Their main points of disagreement were two.
1) Survival beyond death. Most Vedic and Samana philosophers realized that a person’s identity extended beyond this lifetime, aeons before birth back into the past and after death on into the future, although there was some disagreement as to whether one’s identity from life to life would change or remain the same.
The Vedas had viewed rebirth in a positive light, but by the time of Prince Siddhattha the influence of the newly discovered astronomical cycles had led those who believed in rebirth to regard the cycles as pointless and restrictive, and release as the only possibility for true happiness.
There was, however, a Samana school of hedonist materialists, called Lokayatans, who denied the existence of any identity beyond death and insisted that happiness could be found only by indulging in sensual pleasures here and now.
2) Causality. Most philosophers accepted the idea that human action [karma] played a causative role in providing for one’s future happiness both in this life and beyond. Views about how this causal principle worked, though, differed from school to school. For some Vedists, the only effective action was ritual. The Jains, a Samana school, taught that all action fell under linear, deterministic causal laws and formed a bond to the recurring cycle.
Present experience, they said, came from past actions; present actions would shape future experience. This linear causality was also materialistic: physical action created asavas (defilements)... More