The Pali Line

The Seventh Lesson

Satta Nama Kim? What is Seven?

What seven concepts, when seen to the root with penetrating knowledge, and understood to the broadest limits, such that their repellant nature is seen as it really is and one has released them in their entirety, can bring one to the uttermost freedom of detachment?

Satta Sambojjhanga —
The 7 Dimensions of Self-Awakening

Sam = one's own bo = >Bodhi>awakened knowledge, wisdom, enlightenment, jjh = the stuff of, anga = limb, branch, angle, dimension
most often translated The Seven Limbs of Wisdom

1. Sati: Memory, Mind,

The dimension of self-awakening that is memory is rooted in solitude, in calm, in ending and letting go.

The setting up of Memory is accomplished by careful observation of the origins, sustenence and ending of phenomena organized into four broad categories: what happens with body, the nature of sensation, the states of the heart (mental states, states of mind), and the cultivation and understanding of ideas which organize the mind, otherwise known as 'The Dhamma'. Observation should be to the point where one has become completely detached, free of any wanting or disappointment.

2. Dhamma-Vicaya: Dhamma research, investigation, study.

This includes coming into the presence of a teacher, listening, remembering, thinking about, testing, and evaluation of the results of testing.

The dimension of self-awakening that is Dhamma investigation is rooted in solitude, in calm, in ending and letting go.

This is investigation of the Dhamma once one has determined what is Dhamma.

Today we have an additional task: sorting out what is Dhamma from what is not Dhamma.

In making the determination of what is and what is not Dhamma there are two basics:

First, we are instructed to determine what is Dhamma by comparing sutta to sutta. This means that within the Sutta Pitaka (Digha Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya, and Samyutta Nikaya), if you have found something that you believe is inconsistant, that issue should be put to one side, reserving judgment until the matter becomes clear to you, the rest is Dhamma. If you are judging some doctrine outside the Sutta Pitaka to doctrine within the Sutta Pitaka and you find a disagreement you should make the assumption that the doctrine as stated within the Sutta Pitaka is Dhamma and the doctrine in apparent contradiction is not Dhamma. Later experience may change one's judgment.

Second, one must test in actual practice.

One must gain "book learning" knowledge of the system; understand the instructions. This, for those of us using English, is a very difficult task in itself in that to be scrupulous, we need to learn at least the important Pali words and relate them to our English vocabulary.

In this there is no more important dictum than the saying:

"In the same way that the sea,
in all ways and throughout
tastes of salt,
the Dhamma,
in all ways and throughout
tastes of vimutti, Freedom.

Next we must think about what must be done to put the knowledge into practice.

Then we must examine the consequences (did good conditions — conditions relative to the goal, that is: things that reduce lust, being, and blindness — increase and bad conditions decrease?).

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

3. Viriya: The science of energy building. (>virility, vigor)

The dimension of self-awakening that is energy building is rooted in solitude, in calm, in ending and letting go.

And what is the food that nourishes the dimension of self-awakening that is energy building so as to cause it to arise if not present in the here and now, or to cause it to increase if present in the here and now?

See SN 5.46.51 Ahara Sutta for these descriptions of the various foods for the Dimensions of Awakening.

It is putting forth effort, exertion, striving.

To gain or increase energy, exert energy. Try it.

One of the classic ways of stimulating energy is to think about death. Conjure any thoughts and images you have of death and then reflect that your body too is made in such a way that it has not escaped death, will end in death. Again, reflect on the fleeting nature of time and about how little of it one really has to get properly prepared for death. If you think you know all about it and have no concern, you need to know that you are fooling yourself ... unless, of course, you are an Arahant.

4. Piti: The science of creating excitement, passion, enthusiasm.

The dimension of self-awakening that is enthusiasm, is rooted in solitude, in calm, in ending and letting go.

Pīti is a broad general category that includes a spectrum of emotional states from mild interest to rapture. Initially it involves an act of will, a deliberate cultivation of interest and putting energy into the appreciation of what one is doing. Self-motivation. It needs to get just a little beyond the idea that this study is work. Think 'challenge.' Think 'taking on the most difficult challenge life offers.' Think, meeting the challenge! Then get beyond your own accomplishments and develop an appreciation of the system and how it has been constructed, what it took to make it into what it is.

Part of the practice of the Seven Dimensions of Awakening, is the development of skill in balancing the energized state with the calm state. Here there are two dangers: over-excitement leading to discouragement and over-excitement leading to lust.

Coming upon some insight or notable progress entheusiasm arises, sometimes in a great surge. At this time one should make a strong effort to keep one's cool, discourage pride and delight and recognize that what one has accomplished is in fact marvelous relative to the world, but likely only a very small step in the system. Making too much of it could lead into some very stupid mistakes and stupid mistakes are very dangerous the further into this field one gets. Discourage your inclination to think that what you have learned is something the whole world needs to know right now and that it is your destiny to make the world believe.

The other dangerous reaction to a serge of energetic entheusiasm is old habit. For the most part people have used their energies in distructive habits such as the pursuit of sense pleasures. If this is the direction of your inclination, attempt to anticipate yourself and see how this amounts to a useless waste of your effort.

With practice you will come to be able to anticipate your reaction to progress and temper entheusiasm with calm.

A good, practical way to smooth out a wild burst of energetic entheusiasm is to pace your place-to-pace.

Up ahead you will learn that pīti is eliminated at the point where one enters the third jhāna burning or knowing state of serenity, but do not let this knowledge deter you from cultivating this important tool. Life, even for the Arahant, is mostly lead below the second burning. To that point an energetic calm smooth strong entheusiasm informed by knowledge and tempered by humility is nothing but an asset.

5. Passaddhi: Impassivity. passa = seeing; addhi = beyond, over, above. The cultivation of impassivity, indifference, poise, being above it all

The dimension of self-awakening that is impassivity is rooted in solitude, in calm, in ending and letting go.

Impassivity is first developed through deliberate self-control in the face of some strong impulse to react, later it becomes second nature. Think of the poker player or the martial arts practitioner. Every reaction, no matter how slight, that is useless or not directly lined up with one's purpose is a waste of time, weakens one's position and reveals it to the enemy. And there are enemies! What Awakening is about is battle. You should make no mistake about that. This world does not like to lose it's suckers. Every false move, every wasted move will be taken advantage of and used to corrupt your progress. And you will find the most dangerous enemy is within. Over time bad habits have taken up residence and have become identified as 'my nature'. They need to be evicted, and the way they are evicted is by not giving them the food they need, their residence, which is your participation with them in their self-indulgence through reaction. Non-reaction, the development of impassivity, will initially scour off that internal enemy and later keep him at a distance.

6. Samadhi: The science of serenity or getting high.

The dimension of self-awakening that is serenity is rooted in solitude, in calm, in ending and letting go.

"And what, monks, is food for the arising of the dimension of awakening that is serenity [samadhi] which has not yet arisen, or for the cultivation and fulfillment thereof, if already arisen?

There are, things whose signatures, signs, and indications point to their calming effects, things that do not cause confusion. Studious etiological examination of such, — [yonisomanisikara down to the womb = yoni] — is this food for the arising of serenity which has not yet arisen, or for the cultivation and fulfillment thereof, if already arisen.

Samādhi, serenity, getting high, is defined in this system in two ways:

In the first case it is having so cultivated detachment from lust, the desire to be, and blindness that one lives in a state free of any worldly ambitions, leaves no sign of lust, desire to be or blindness, and is in a state empty of lust, desire to be or blindness.

The second case is the seventh dimension of the Magga, Sammā Samādhi, High serenity, or the highest way to cultivate serenity with the objective of ending pain:

Letting go of involvements with the world,
live in the appreciation of the peace and calm of solitude;
letting go of thinking in verbal terms,
live in the appreciation of serenity;
letting go of entheusiasm,
live at ease;
letting go of living at ease,
live detached.

The single most important thing to notice about the science of developing serenity it that it is a matter of letting go, not acquisition.

The second you notice that there is anxiety to get connected with this practice you should understand that you are going the wrong direction and stop and regroup.

A note of caution: Some translators and some schools have translated the term samādhi as 'concentration'. This, in spite of the fact that a thoughtful reading of the instructions for the jhānas clearly indicate the role of concentration as only supportive and even in this case the idea is not 'concentration' so much as 'focus' — getting the whole picture clear and aimed at one goal. Concentrating on concentration as the only aspect of this practice can lead one off on wild tangents, the more dangerous in that some of those tangents, such as the development of magic powers and very deep and interesting insights into worldly things make mistaking this practice for the correct method very easy. Counterbalance excessive concentration by first noting whether or not it is accompanied by any sort of ambition. If it is, turn your 'focus' onto Dhamma Research. The Dhamma as we have it is larger than your scope if you have anything remaining of attachment to this world and Dhamma Research will sooner or later make you aware of that.

7. Upekkha: The science of Objective Detachment

The dimension of self-awakening that is objective detachment is rooted in solitude, in calm, in ending and letting go.

Since this is a system of developing objective detachment with regard to every conceivable thing, which is the goal, one might ask is it possible that we are being asked to see this system itself as "repellant?"

That is, in fact the case in a manner of speaking. We do need to remember that the idea of 'repellance' is not a statement as much about the object as about an attitude towards it. One is repelled by it because it is an aspect of a world which is the source of pain. If we hang onto it beyond the point of it's usefulness simply because it is a beautifully constructed work, we are still involved in the world of pain.

The well-tamed, well-trained, well-educated student of the Aristocrats, taking this system as his vehicle, practices it to perfection and then lets it too, go [see The Simile of the Raft].

Yes this is a paradox. Paradoxi are good for your mind. What you do is use desire to attain the goal through use of the Dhamma until you have reached the goal at which time you let go of the desire and any holding on to the Dhamma. This is not one day you are A. Bungling Jerk, Ph.D. and the next day, snap fingers, just like magic, you are an Arahant. You need to take steps. To take steps you need desire and direction. So you need to use the tools at hand, like a practitioner of judo or aikido, taking the forces that would work against you and using their power on themselves.

 


 

Ethical Culture

[EXCERPT]
Saɱyutta Nikāya: V. MahāVagga 46. Bojjhanga Saŋyuttaa, Sutta 3

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 

I HEAR TELL:

This was said in Sāvatthī.

5. At such a time, beggars, as a beggar,
living in solitude,
recollects the memory of Dhamma,
thinks it over,
that gives rise to the memory dimension of self-awakening
and thus such has been started by that beggar.

At such a time, beggars,
as the memory dimension of self-awakening is begun,
at such a time, that beggar's memory dimension of self-awakening
is headed towards fulfillment.

Such a one
living remembering Dhamma
wisely thinking it over,
recollecting it,
produces thorough pondering.

6. At such a time, beggars, as a beggar,
living remembering Dhamma,
wisely thinking it over,
recollecting it,
produces thorough pondering,
that gives rise to the Dhamma-research dimension of self-awakening
and thus such has been started by that beggar.

At such a time, beggars,
as the Dhamma research dimension of self-awakening is begun,
at such a time, that beggar's Dhamma research dimension of self awakening
is headed towards fulfillment.

Such a one,
wisely thinking over such Dhamma,
recollecting it,
producing thorough pondering,
sets up tireless energy.

7. At such a time, beggars, as a beggar,
wisely thinking over such Dhamma,
recollecting it,
producing thorough pondering,
has set up tireless energy,
that gives rise to the energy dimension of self-awakening
and thus such has been started by that beggar.

At such a time, beggars,
as the energy dimension of self-awakening is begun,
at such a time, that beggar's energy dimension of self-awakening
is headed towards fulfillment.

In one setting up the production of energy
uncarnal excitement arises.

8. At such a time, beggars, as a beggar,
in setting up the production of energy,
uncarnal excitement arises,
that gives rise to the entheusiasm dimension of self-awakening
and thus such has been started by that beggar.

At such a time, beggars,
as the entheusiasm dimension of self-awakening is begun,
at such time, that beggar's entheusiasm dimension of self-awakening
is headed towards fulfillment.

In one who is entheusiastic in mind,
the body is passive,
the heart is passive.

9. At such a time, beggars, as a beggar,
entheusiastic in mind,
is passive in body,
passive in heart,
that gives rise to the impassivity dimension of self-awakening
and thus such has been started by that beggar.

At such a time, beggars,
as the impassivity dimension of self-awakening is begun,
at such a time, that beggar's impassivity dimension of self-awakening
is headed towards fulfillment.

He who's body is impassive is at ease.

At ease the heart is serene.

10. At such a time, beggars, as a beggar,
impassive in body and at ease,
at ease, who'se heart is serene,
that gives rise to the serenity dimension of self-awakening
and thus such has been started by that beggar.

At such a time, beggars,
as the serenity dimension of self-awakening is begun,
at such a time, that beggar's serenity dimension of self-awakening
is headed towards fulfillment.

He who is serene in heart and at ease has become well detached.

11. At such a time, beggars, as a beggar,
serene in heart and at ease
has become well detached
that gives rise to the detachment dimension of self-awakening
and thus such has been started by that beggar.

At such a time, beggars,
as the detachment dimension of self-awakening is begun,
at such a time, that beggar's detachment dimension of self-awakening
is headed towards fulfillment.

12. Thus developed, then, beggars,
the seven dimensions of awakening
thus made a big thing of
seven fruits,
seven results
are to be expected.

What seven fruits, seven results?

In this seen thing, before death, accomplishing omniscience.

If not in this seen thing, before death, accomplishing omniscience,
then at the time of death accomplishing omniscience.

If not ... then thoroughly breaking the five lower yokes to rebirth,
becoming midway [between death and the next rebirth]-thoroughly-cool.

If not ... then thoroughly breaking the five lower yokes to rebirth,
becoming stopped-[before rebirth]-thoroughly-cool.

If not ... then thoroughly breaking the five lower yokes to rebirth,
becoming no-ownmaking [of any identified-with situation causing temptation to be reborn]-thoroughly-cool.

If not ... then thoroughly breaking the five lower yokes to rebirth,
becoming with-ownmaking [of identified-with situations causing temptation to be reborn]-thoroughly-cool.

If not ... then thoroughly breaking the five lower yokes to rebirth,
going up-stream to the Akanittha Realm.

20. These then, beggars are the seven fruits, seven results to be expected from developing and making a big thing of the seven dimensions of awakening.

 

§

 

[sn 5.46.4] The Practice, by Sariputta

"Friends! There are these Seven Dimensions of Self-Awakening:
memory,
dhamma study,
energy building,
enthusiasm,
impassivity,
serenity,
and objective detachment.

In whatever dimension of self-awakening
I want to spend my day,
in that dimension of self-awakening
I am able to spend my day.
In whatever dimension of self-awakening
I want to spend my evening,
in that dimension of self-awakening
I am able to spend my evening.

If I wish to spend my time
in the dimension of self-awakening that is memory,
I am clearly conscious
that it is limitless within,
or that it has begun,
or when it is established
I am clearly conscious of that.

And again, if the practice fails,
I am clearly conscious
that it is because of this or that.

And it is the same
with the other dimensions of self-awakening.

In the same way
that the wardrobe of a King or Great Noble
is full of various colored clothes.
In whatever set of clothes
he wants to spend the day,
in that set of clothes
he is able to spend his day.
In whatever set of clothes
he wants to spend the evening,
in that set of clothes
he is able to spend his evening.

 


 

Roof Peak

Beggars! In the same way
as the beams of a house with a peaked roof
all lean toward the peak,
tend toward the peak,
meet at the peak,
and the peak is considered the peak,
in the same way, beggars,
the beggar who cultivates
the Seven Dimensions of Self-Awakening
leans toward Nibbana,
tends toward Nibbana,
ends in Nibbana.

 

§

 

Creatures

Beggars! In the same way
as all beings that use the four postures
(Walking, Standing Sill, Sitting, and Lying Down)
do so in dependence on the Earth,
In the same way, beggars,
it is in dependence on ethical culture,
supported by ethical culture,
that a beggar cultivates
the Seven Dimensions of Self-Awakening.

 

§

 

The Sun

In the same way
as the dawn is the first sign of the sun's arising,
in the same way, beggars,
friendship with the good
is the first sign
of the arising of
the Seven Dimensions of Self-Awakening.

Beggars!
I see no other single thing
Which, cultivated and made a big thing of
Is more conducive
To the letting go of attachments as
The Seven Dimensions of Self-Awakening

 


 

Enthusiasm (Piti)

Once upon a time Anathapindika the Householder,
accompanied by about five hundred other Lay Disciples,
visited the Lucky Man,
greeted him with closed palms
and sat down to one side
(it would be impolite to sit directly in front of the Teacher,
when one left the gathering,
one would leave keeping one's right side toward him,
walking backwards, if necessary).
There the Lucky Man spoke this to him:

"Indeed, householder,
you have been of service to The Order,
giving gifts of the essentials:
Food,
Clothing,
Shelter
and Medicine.
But you should not let yourself be content with the thought:

"We have been of service to The Order,
giving gifts of the essentials."

Wherefore, householder, train yourself this way:

"Let us occasionally experience
the enthusiasm that comes from enjoying solitude."

Then, when he had spoken,
BrokeTooth Sariputta said to the Lucky Man:
"Wonderful, Lucky Man!
Marvelous, Lucky Man!
How well said
is that which was said by the Lucky Man:
'Train yourself this way, householder:

'Let us, occasionally experience the enthusiasm
that comes from enjoying solitude.'
When, Bhagava, the student of the Aristocrats
gains and holds on to the enthusiasm
that comes from enjoying solitude,
five things cannot reach him:

At that time,
the pain and misery
that come from lust
cannot reach him

At that time,
the pleasure and gladness
that come from lust
cannot reach him

At that time,
the pain and misery
that come from low works
cannot reach him

At that time,
the pleasure and gladness
that come from low works
cannot reach him

At that time,
the pain and misery
that come from good deeds
cannot reach him."

And Gotama said:
"Well said Sariputta!"
and repeated all that he just said.


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 [ The Gradual Course ]  [ I. Nidana ]  [ II.Dana — Giving ]  [ II.Sila — Ethical Culture ]  [ III. Jagarianuyoga — Self Discipline ]  [ The Second Lesson ]  [ The Third Lesson ]  [ The Fourth Lesson ]  [ The Fifth Lesson ]  [ The Sixth Lesson ]  [ The Seventh Lesson ]  [ The Eighth Lesson ]  [ TheGreatMastersSatisfactionPastures ]  [ HighGetnHigh ]  [ The 10th Question I ]  [ The 10th Question II ]


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