The Wings to Awakening

PART II: H. THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH

The noble eightfold path is the most standard description of the Buddhist way of practice. The Buddha taught it to his first disciples and to his last [240], as well as to the majority of those in between. It is called noble because when all of its factors come together in a fully developed form, they stand on the threshold to stream-entry, the first of the noble or transcendent attainments.

The image of "path" used for the factors of this set has two major implications, which we have already encountered in II/D. First, the image implies that these factors are means to an end, not an end in themselves; second, they lead to, rather than cause, the goal. In the context of this set, this image has two levels of meaning: On the beginning level, the path is a series of qualities that one must consciously develop, step by step, in order to bring oneself nearer to the goal. On the ultimate or "noble" level, it is a convergence of those qualities, fully developed, within the mind at the point of non-fashioning, leading inexorably to the Deathless. On the beginning level, one must work at following the path, but on the noble level the path becomes a vehicle that delivers one to the goal.

The eight factors of the noble eightfold path fall under the "aggregates" of discernment, virtue, and concentration (paa-khandha, sila-khandha, samadhi-khandha): right view and right resolve fall under the discernment aggregate; right speech, right action, and right livelihood under the virtue aggregate; and right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration under the concentration aggregate. Passage 105 states that although the factors of the noble path fall under the three aggregates, the three aggregates do not fall under the factors of the noble path. What this means is that not every instance of discernment, virtue, or concentration within the mind would count as a factor of the noble path. To begin with, there are such things as wrong virtue, wrong concentration, and wrong discernment [see, for example, 152]. Secondly, even right virtue, concentration, and discernment count as noble only when they are brought to a point of advanced development. This point is reflected in 106, which distinguishes mundane and noble levels for each factor of the path. Even though the mundane factors counteract blatant cases of wrong view, wrong resolve, etc., they still are conjoined with subtle levels of mental effluents and can lead to further becoming. Nevertheless, one must first nurture the mundane levels of the eight factors before they can develop into their noble counterparts.

On the mundane level, the first five factors of the path correspond to the faculty of conviction. Right view on this level means believing in the principle of kamma and trusting that those who have practiced properly truly understand the workings of kamma in this life and the next. In the Buddha's words, this level of right view holds that "There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits and results of good and bad actions. There is this world and the next world. There is mother and father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests and contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves." What this passage means is that there is merit in generosity; the moral qualities of good and bad are inherent parts of the cosmos, and not simply social conventions; there is life after death; one has a true moral debt to one's parents; and there are people who have lived the renunciate's life properly in such a way that they have gained true and direct knowledge of these matters. These beliefs are the minimum prerequisites for following the path to skillfulness, as they necessarily underlie any solid conviction in the principle of kamma. Mundane levels of right resolve then build on right view, as one resolves to act in ways that will not create bad kamma; mundane right speech, right action, and right livelihood result naturally as one follows through with one's resolve. Right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration, on this level, correspond to the faculties of persistence, mindfulness, and concentration. Right concentration, in turn, provides a basis for insight into the four noble truths, which counts both as the faculty of discernment and the noble level of right view.

Once right view reaches the noble level, it brings the remaining factors of the path up to the noble level as well. One of the striking features of this level of the path is that it consists primarily of discernment and concentration [see the "qualities that are to be developed" in 111], with the boundaries between the two increasingly blurred. The noble level of right resolve, part of the discernment aggregate, consists of directed thought, evaluation, and mental singleness, all of which are factors of jhana. The noble level of right speech, right action, and right livelihood differ from the mundane levels of those factors in that the emphasis here is on the state of mind of the person abstaining from wrong speech, action, and livelihood. Although 106 does not define the noble levels of right effort, mindfulness, and concentration, it seems safe to assume that they are equivalent to the fifth factor of noble right concentration [150], to be discussed under III/E and III/F, in which all three of these factors converge with right view and right resolve in a state of full development. In fact, their mutual reinforcement is what makes these factors all "right." This point is confirmed by 111, which states that when the noble eightfold path goes to the culmination of its development, tranquility and insight act in concert. This point also explains the statement at the beginning of 106 to the effect that the path consists primarily of right concentration, with the remaining factors as its supports and requisite conditions: These supports and conditions not only lead to right concentration, but when they all become noble, all eight factors coalesce in the mind in a state of solid oneness. Whereas on the mundane level the path factors, though interconnected, were separate, on the noble level they form a single, unified path.

When the noble eightfold path is attained, the mind reaches the level of stream-entry, the first of the four levels of Awakening [107]. Thus the noble eightfold path represents the culmination of all seven sets in the Wings to Awakening [111]. To attain each of the next two levels of Awakening-once-returning and non-returning-the eight noble path factors must converge again in the mind. However, to attain the highest level-Arahantship-the eight noble factors must converge together with two more: right knowledge and right release. Right knowledge is nowhere defined per se in the Canon, but 195 would seem to indicate the following relationship between it and right view: Right view is realization of the four noble truths and the duties appropriate to each, while right knowledge is the realization that the duties have been brought to fulfillment. The conjunction of right knowledge and right release reflects, on a higher level, the conjunction of discernment and concentration on the noble level of the eightfold path. Passage 76 indicates that release here can be considered as analogous to concentration, albeit totally unshakable. Right knowledge would include awareness of the unshakability of the release [195], while the release would remain unshaken even in the face of that knowledge.

At this point, even the path can be abandoned, for one has reached the goal [113]. Abandoning, here, does not mean that one reverts to wrongs views, wrong action, etc.; rather, one no longer needs to use right view, etc., as a means to a further attainment. As M.107 and S.XXII.122 state, the Awakened one continues practicing meditation and exercising right view as pleasant dwellings for the mind, conducive to mindfulness and alertness, and leads a moral life both for its inherent pleasure and for the sake of the example it offers to those still on the path.

The noble eightfold path, like the seven factors of Awakening, is explicitly explained both as a causal loop and as a holographic formula. We have already described the causal loop above, in showing how the development of the mundane and noble path factors follows the pattern of the five faculties [see also 101]. Passage 106 presents a holographic pattern, in which the development of each factor needs three main supporting factors: right view, which acts as the leader so as to know what the right and wrong versions of the factors are; right effort, which makes the effort to abandon the wrong version and develop the right; and right mindfulness, which keeps the task of right effort in mind. Thus three factors that we have identified as essential to the development of skillfulness-discernment, mindfulness, and effort [I/A]-are involved at each step along the path. As a result of that involvement, they grow stronger to the point where they can help turn mundane right concentration-the fourth factor essential to the development of skillfulness-into noble right concentration. In this sense, they play a role analogous to that of heedfulness in the five faculties and appropriate attention in the seven factors of Awakening. In fact, they seem to be a complete working out of the elements implicit in those two qualities.

A quick review of the seven sets will show that all of them develop both in a linear and in a holographic way. Even the "holographic" sets-the frames of reference, right exertions, and bases of power-contain implicit versions of causal loops, in that all three must follow the three stages of frames-of-reference meditation. Even the linear causal-loop sets-the five faculties and strengths, the seven factors of Awakening, and the noble eightfold path-contain implicit holographic formulae, in that the dynamic of their development is inherent in specific qualities or clusters of qualities: heedfulness in the case of the faculties and strengths, appropriate attention in the case of the factors of Awakening, and the cluster of right view, right mindfulness, and right effort in the case of the noble eightfold path. This combination of linear and holographic patterns grows more complex as we remember that each of the first two stages of frames-of-reference meditation can form linear causal loops within themselves [II/B], while two of the factors in the three-part cluster that develops the eightfold path-right mindfulness and right effort-are equivalent to the holographic sets of the frames of reference and the right exertions.

This formal convergence of two causal patterns in the development of the path reflects not only the dual principle of this/that conditionality, but also a very practical point in the task of developing the skills of the mind. The holographic pattern reflects the fact that all the skillful qualities needed for the path are already there in the mind and continually interact along the path. All that is needed is for them to be ferreted out and nourished, their coordination fine-tuned, and they can deliver the mind to the goal. The causal loop pattern reflects the fact that the process must take place over time, as specific qualities are stressed at specific junctures and strengthened by being put to use, and as different skillful qualities need to alternate in helping one another, step by step, along the way. An analogy can be made with learning how to walk: A child who can't yet walk already has all the muscles needed to walk, but she must locate them and exercise them in a coordinated way, so that the right and left leg can help and receive help from each other, in order to move from the first tentative step to the point where walking seems natural and can be done with grace.

101. Monks, ignorance is the leader in the attainment of unskillful qualities, followed by lack of conscience and lack of concern. In a unknowledgeable person, immersed in ignorance, wrong view arises. In one of wrong view, wrong resolve arises. In one of wrong resolve, wrong speech....In one of wrong speech, wrong action....In one of wrong action, wrong livelihood....In one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort....In one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness....In one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration arises.
Clear knowing is the leader in the attainment of skillful qualities, followed by conscience and concern. In a knowledgeable person, immersed in clear knowing, right view arises. In one of right view, right resolve arises. In one of right resolve, right speech....In one of right speech, right action.... In one of right action, right livelihood....In one of right livelihood, right effort....In one of right effort, right mindfulness....In one of right mindfulness, right concentration arises.
S.XLV.1

102. Analysis of the Path. Monks, what is the noble eightfold path? Right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
And what is right view? Knowledge with regard to stress, knowledge with regard to the origination of stress, knowledge with regard to the cessation of stress, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called right view. [184-240]

And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve.

And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, from stealing, and from sexual intercourse: This is called right action.

And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a noble disciple, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood. This is called right livelihood.

And what is right effort? There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, arouses persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen...for the sake of the abandoning of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen...for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen...(and) for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, and culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This is called right effort. [49]

And what is right mindfulness? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself-ardent, alert, and mindful-putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in and of themselves...the mind in and of itself...mental qualities in and of themselves-ardent, alert, and mindful-putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world. This is called right mindfulness. [30]

And what is right concentration? There is the case where a monk-quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful [mental] qualities-enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. With the stilling of directed thought and evaluation, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation-internal assurance. With the fading of rapture he remains in equanimity, mindful and alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters and remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous and mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure and pain-as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress-he enters and remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called right concentration. [150]
S.XLV.8

103. More on Right Action and Right Speech. Having thus gone forth, following the training and way of life of the monks, abandoning the taking of life, he abstains from the taking of life. He dwells with his rod laid down, his knife laid down, scrupulous, merciful, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings. Abandoning the taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. He takes only what is given, accepts only what is given, lives not by stealth but by means of a self that has become pure. Abandoning uncelibacy, he lives a celibate life, aloof, refraining from the sexual act that is the villager's way. Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world. Abandoning divisive speech he abstains from divisive speech. What he has heard here he does not tell there to break those people apart from these people here. What he has heard there he does not tell here to break these people apart from those people there. Thus reconciling those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord. Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing and pleasing to people at large. Abandoning idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, what is in accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, and the Vinaya. He speaks words worth treasuring, seasonable, reasonable, circumscribed, connected with the goal.
A.X .99

104. More on Right Action and Right Speech for Lay People. Abandoning sensual misconduct, he abstains from sensual misconduct. He does not get sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man.

Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his relatives, his guild, or of the royalty [i.e., a royal court proceeding], if he is asked as a witness, 'Come and tell, good man, what you know': If he doesn't know, he says, 'I don't know.' If he does know, he says, 'I know.' If he hasn't seen, he says, 'I haven't seen.' If he has seen, he says, 'I have seen.' Thus he doesn't consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward. [This paragraph is missing in the PTS translation.]
A.X.176

105. Visakha: Is the noble eightfold path compounded or uncompounded?
Sister Dhammadinna: The noble eightfold path is compounded.
Visakha: And are the three aggregates [of virtue, concentration, and discernment] included under the noble eightfold path, or is the noble eightfold path included under the three aggregates?
Sister Dhammadinna: The three aggregates are not included under the noble eightfold path, but the noble eightfold path is included under the three aggregates. Right speech, right action, and right livelihood come under the aggregate of virtue. Right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration come under the aggregate of concentration. Right view and right resolve come under the aggregate of discernment.
M.44

106. And what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors-right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness-is called noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions.

[1] Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view.

And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions; and there is noble right view, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, and results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits and results of good and bad actions. There is this world and the next world. There is mother and father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests and contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, and results in acquisitions.

And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, the path factor of right view in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

One tries to abandon wrong view and to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view and to enter and remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities-right view, right effort, and right mindfulness-run and circle around right view.

[2] Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong resolve as wrong resolve, and right resolve as right resolve. And what is wrong resolve? Being resolved on sensuality, on ill will, on harmfulness. This is wrong resolve.

And what is right resolve? Right resolve, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right resolve with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions; and there is noble right resolve, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

And what is the right resolve that has effluents, sides with merit, and results in acquisitions? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness. This is the right resolve that has effluents, sides with merit, and results in acquisitions.

And what is the right resolve that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The thinking, directed thinking, resolve, mental absorption, mental fixity, focused awareness, and verbal fabrications in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right resolve that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

One tries to abandon wrong resolve and to enter into right resolve: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong resolve and to enter and remain in right resolve: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities-right view, right effort, and right mindfulness-run and circle around right resolve.

[3] Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong speech as wrong speech, and right speech as right speech. And what is wrong speech? Lying, divisive tale-bearing, abusive speech, and idle chatter. This is wrong speech.

And what is right speech? Right speech, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right speech with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions; and there is noble right speech, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

And what is the right speech that has effluents, sides with merit, and results in acquisitions? Abstaining from lying, from divisive tale-bearing, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter. This is the right speech that has effluents, sides with merit, and results in acquisitions.

And what is the right speech that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of the four forms of verbal misconduct in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right speech that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

One tries to abandon wrong speech and to enter into right speech: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong speech and to enter and remain in right speech: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities-right view, right effort, and right mindfulness-run and circle around right speech.

[4] Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong action as wrong action, and right action as right action. And what is wrong action? Killing, taking what is not given, illicit sex. This is wrong action.

And what is right action? Right action, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right action with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions; and there is noble right action, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

And what is the right action that has effluents, sides with merit, and results in acquisitions? Abstaining from killing, from taking what is not given, and from illicit sex. This is the right action that has effluents, sides with merit, and results in acquisitions.

And what is the right action that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of the three forms of bodily misconduct in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right action that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

One tries to abandon wrong action and to enter into right action: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong action and to enter and remain in right action: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities-right view, right effort, and right mindfulness-run and circle around right action.

[5] Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, and pursuing gain with gain.

This is wrong livelihood.

And what is right livelihood? Right livelihood, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right livelihood with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions; and there is noble right livelihood, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

And what is the right livelihood that has effluents, sides with merit, and results in acquisitions? There is the case where a noble disciple abandons wrong livelihood and maintains his life with right livelihood. This is the right livelihood that has effluents, sides with merit, and results in acquisitions.

And what is the right livelihood that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of wrong livelihood in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right livelihood that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

One tries to abandon wrong livelihood and to enter into right livelihood: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood and to enter and remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities-right view, right effort, and right mindfulness-run and circle around right livelihood.

Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, right resolve comes into being. In one of right resolve, right speech comes into being. In one of right speech, right action....In one of right action, right livelihood....In one of right livelihood, right effort....In one of right effort, right mindfulness....In one of right mindfulness, right concentration....In one of right concentration, right knowledge....In one of right knowledge, right release comes into being. Thus the learner is endowed with eight factors, and the Arahant with ten.

Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, wrong view is abolished. The many evil, unskillful qualities that come into play with wrong view as their condition are also abolished, while the many skillful qualities that have right view as their condition go to the culmination of their development. (Similarly with the remaining factors up through:) In one of right release, wrong release is abolished. The many evil, unskillful qualities that come into play with wrong release as their condition are also abolished, while the many skillful qualities that have right release as their condition go to the culmination of their development.
M.117

107. The Buddha: 'The stream, the stream,' it is said. Now what is the stream?
Sariputta: Just this noble eightfold path is the stream: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

The Buddha: Well said, Sariputta, well said. Just this noble eightfold path is the stream....'Streamwinner, streamwinner,' it is said.

Now what is a streamwinner?

Sariputta: Whoever is endowed with this noble eightfold path is called a 'streamwinner.'

The Buddha: Well said, Sariputta, well said. Whoever is endowed with this noble eightfold path is called a 'streamwinner.'
S.LV.5

108. Monks, just as a pot without a stand is easy to tip over, and a pot with a stand is hard to tip over, so too the mind without a stand is easy to tip over, and a mind with a stand is hard to tip over. And what is the mind's stand? Just this noble eightfold path.
S.XLV.27

109. It is possible that a well-aimed spike of bearded wheat or bearded barley, if pressed by a hand or foot, will cut into the hand or foot and draw blood. Why is that? Because the spike is well aimed. In the same way, it is possible that if one's views are well aimed, one's development of the path is well aimed, they will cut into ignorance, give rise to clear knowing, and lead to the realization of Unbinding. Why is that? Because one's views are well aimed.

And how do well-aimed views and a well aimed development of the path cut into ignorance, give rise to clear knowing and lead to the realization of Unbinding? There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops right resolve...right speech...right action... right livelihood...right effort...right mindfulness...right concentration dependent on seclusion...dispassion...cessation, resulting in letting go. This is how well aimed views and a well aimed development of the path cut into ignorance, give rise to clear knowing, and lead to the realization of Unbinding.
S.XLV.154

110. Just as many kinds of wind blow in the air-east winds, west winds, north winds, south winds, dusty winds, dustless winds, cold winds, warm winds, gentle winds, and strong winds-in the same way, when a monk develops the noble eightfold path, pursues the noble eightfold path, the four frames of reference go to the culmination of their development, the four right exertions...the four bases of power...the five faculties...the five strengths...the seven factors of Awakening go to the culmination of their development.
S.XLV.155

111. Knowing and seeing the eye as it actually is present, knowing and seeing forms...eye-consciousness...eye-contact as they actually are present, knowing and seeing whatever arises conditioned through eye-contact-experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain-as it actually is present, one is not infatuated with the eye...forms...eye-consciousness...eye-contact...whatever arises conditioned by eye-contact and is experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain....

Knowing and seeing the ear....Knowing and seeing the nose.... Knowing and seeing the tongue....Knowing and seeing the body....

Knowing and seeing the intellect as it actually is present, knowing and seeing ideas...intellect-consciousness...intellect-contact as they actually are present, knowing and seeing whatever arises conditioned through intellect-contact-experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain-as it actually is present, one is not infatuated with the intellect...ideas...intellect-consciousness...intellect-contact...whatever arises conditioned by intellect-contact and is experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain.

For him-uninfatuated, unattached, unconfused, remaining focused on their drawbacks-the five aggregates for sustenance head toward future diminution. The craving that makes for further becoming-accompanied by passion and delight, relishing now this and now that-is abandoned by him. His bodily disturbances and mental disturbances are abandoned. His bodily torments and mental torments are abandoned. His bodily distresses and mental distresses are abandoned. He is sensitive both to ease of body and ease of awareness.

Any view belonging to one who has come to be like this is his right view. Any resolve, his right resolve. Any effort, his right effort. Any mindfulness, his right mindfulness. Any concentration, his right concentration: just as earlier his actions, speech, and livelihood were already well-purified. Thus for him, having thus developed the noble eightfold path, the four frames of reference go to the culmination of their development. The four right exertions...the four bases of power...the five faculties...the five strengths...the seven factors of Awakening go to the culmination of their development. [And] for him these two qualities occur in concert: tranquility and insight.

He comprehends through direct knowledge whatever qualities are to be comprehended through direct knowledge, abandons through direct knowledge whatever qualities are to be abandoned through direct knowledge, realizes through direct knowledge whatever qualities are to be realized through direct knowledge, and develops through direct knowledge whatever qualities are to be developed through direct knowledge.

And what qualities are to be comprehended through direct knowledge? 'The five aggregates of clinging/sustenance,' should be the reply. Which five? Form as an aggregate of clinging/sustenance...feeling...perception... fabrications...consciousness as an aggregate of clinging/sustenance....

And what qualities are to be abandoned through direct knowledge? Ignorance and craving for becoming....

And what qualities are to be developed through direct knowledge? Tranquility and insight....

And what qualities are to be realized through direct knowledge? Clear knowing and release....
M.149

112. Just as when there is a guest house where people come from the east to take up residence, from the west...the north...the south to take up residence: Noble warriors come there to take up residence, brahmins... commoners...vassals come there to take up residence. In the same way, when a monk develops the noble eightfold path, pursues the noble eightfold path, he comprehends through direct knowledge whatever qualities are to be comprehended through direct knowledge, abandons through direct knowledge whatever qualities are to be abandoned through direct knowledge, realizes through direct knowledge whatever qualities are to be realized through direct knowledge, and develops through direct knowledge whatever qualities are to be developed through direct knowledge.
S.XLV.159

113. 'Suppose that a man, in the course of traveling along a path, were to come to a great expanse of water, with the near shore dubious and risky, the further shore secure and free from risk, but with neither a ferryboat nor a bridge going from this shore to the other. The thought would occur to him, "Here is this great expanse of water, with the near shore dubious and risky, the further shore secure and free from risk, but with neither a ferryboat nor a bridge going from this shore to the other. What if I were to gather grass, twigs, branches, and leaves and, having bound them together to make a raft, were to cross over to safety on the other shore in dependence on the raft, making an effort with my hands and feet?" Then the man, having gathered grass, twigs, branches, and leaves, having bound them together to make a raft, would cross over to safety on the other shore in dependence on the raft, making an effort with his hands and feet. Having crossed over to the further shore, he might think, "How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my hands and feet, I have crossed over to safety on the further shore. Why don't I, having hoisted it on my head or carrying on my back, go wherever I like?" What do you think, monks: would the man, in doing that, be doing what should be done with the raft?'

'No, lord.'

'And what should the man do in order to be doing what should be done with the raft? There is the case where the man, having crossed over, would think, "How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my hands and feet, I have crossed over to safety on the further shore. Why don't I, having dragged it on dry land or sinking it in the water, go wherever I like?" In doing this, he would be doing what should be done with the raft. Even so monks, I have taught you the Dhamma like a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Knowing the Dhamma to be like a raft, you should let go even of [skillful] qualities, to say nothing of those that are not.'
M.22

114. The great expanse of water stands for the fourfold flood: the flood of sensuality, the flood of becoming, the flood of views, and the flood of ignorance. The near shore, dubious and risky, stands for self-identity. The further shore, secure and free from risk, stands for Unbinding. The raft stands for just this noble eightfold path: right view...right concentration. Making an effort with hands and feet stands for the arousing of persistence.
S.XXXV.197


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