Translated into English by Sayadaw U Nyana, Patamagyaw of Masoeyein Monastery
Edited by The English Editorial Board
Note to the electronic version:
This electronic version is reproduced directly from the printed version
The text is an English translation from the original Burmese. No attempt has
been made to to change any of the English phraseology. The reason for putting
this book into electronic media is that the book is out of print and the text
has been found very a valuable source of inspiration to those practising Vipassana
meditation, despite using English language which is somewhat archaic.
This electronic version is reproduced directly from the printed version The text is an English translation from the original Burmese. No attempt has been made to to change any of the English phraseology. The reason for putting this book into electronic media is that the book is out of print and the text has been found very a valuable source of inspiration to those practising Vipassana meditation, despite using English language which is somewhat archaic.
Bala is defined: Patipakkha dhamme baliyantiti balani. (Suppresses opposition. Hence called bala.) The Pali Texts say: Akampanatthena balani. (Whenever opposition is encountered, there is fearless firmness. Hence called bala.)
As in the case of the indriya, there are five bala:
They are five generals or five commanders for the purpose of destroying the kingdom of sakkaya-ditthi (personality-belief). They are the five strengths that serve as reliance for bhikkhus and layfolk in the Buddha Sasana.
As in the case of saddhindriya, saddha is of two kinds:
Pakati-saddha which has no development through specific practice, associates with tanha according to circumstances, and can thus produce only the pakati-kusala-kamma of dana, sila, etc. It cannot overcome tanha with strength. On the other hand, tanha keeps pakati-saddha under its power.
This is how tanha keeps pakati-saddha under its power. The Pali Texts mention (as clearly as exist the sun and moon in the heavens) four ariya-vamsa-dhamma. They are:
They constitute the realm of saddha. In the present-day world, this great kingdom of saddha lies hidden and submerged. Today, beings take pleasure and enjoyment in material things (paccayamisa); they take pleasure and enjoyment in worldly rank, dignity, and honour (lokamisa); they take pleasure and enjoyment in the attainment of the pleasant life, in worldly riches and in power and dominion (vattamisa); and thus is the great kingdom of tanha established as clearly as the great ocean round the island. This shows the weakness of pakati-saddha in this world.
It is bhavana-saddha, which has its genesis in the successful practice of kayagata-sati, such as out-breath and in-breath until the disappearance of the dissettlement and distraction of the mind, that can dispel tanha which takes pleasure and enjoyment in the three kinds of amisa. It is this bhavana-saddha that can save bhikkhus and layfolk, who are in the course of being drowned and submerged in the ocean of the three tanha, and enable them to reach the island haven of the kingdom of saddha consisting of the four ariyavamsa-dhamma. In the matter of the bodhi-pakkhiya-dhamma, it is this saddha that should be acquired.
Of the two kinds of viriya, pakati-viriya which has no development practice, associates with kosajja (laziness) according to occasion and produces the pakati-kusala-kamma of dana, the study of the sacred texts, etc. This pakati-viriya cannot dispel kosajja subdues pakati-viriya.
When beings encounter a Buddha Sasana, they acquire the knowledge that in the past infinite samsara they have been the kinsfolk of sakkaya- ditthi, the duccarita, and the apaya loka. The sacred Pali Texts clearly prescribe the method of the ariyavamsa, which consists of dispelling kosajja (laziness) and devoting the whole time to bhavanarama (delight in meditation) till release from such state is attained.
...The act of dispelling kosajja may be thus described. Having equipped oneself with the sikkha (trainings--which are the Buddha's heritage) and which one undertook in the sima (ordination hall) at the time of becoming a bhikkhu, sikkha auch as the undertaking
rukkhamula senasanam nissaya pabbajja, tattha teyava jivam ussaho karaniyo.
and in accordance with such sikkha, if one makes trees and bushes in the forests as one's dwelling place, lives only on alms-round, does not associate with other persons, observes the dhutanga (ascetic practice) steadfastly, and practises kayagata-sati scrupulously, these are acts of viriya that dispel the akusala kamma (unwholesome volitional actions) arising out of kosajja. They are acts comprised within the realm of viriya.
This realm of viriya remains obscure and is unknown in the present-day world. Today, although bhikkhus are aware that they belong to that class of beings possessed of sakkaya-ditthi, the duccarita, and the liability to rebirth in the apaya loka, they live permanently in dwelling places constructed within towns and villages by dayakas (or donors), they take pleasure and enjoyment in the receipt of large gifts and benefits, they are unable to discard the society of other people, etc. all of which acts are comprised within the realm of kosajja and this realm of kosajja is as conspicuous as the sea which has inundated an island. This shows the weakness of pakati-viriya.
It is only bhavana-viriya, such as being satisfied with the minimum of sleep, being always alert and active, being fearless, being bold and firm in living alone, being steadfast in mental advertence, that can dispel kosajja. In the matter of the bodhipakkhiya-dhamma, it is this bhavana-viriya that should be acquired.
The detailed meaning of the bala of sati, samadhi, and panna may be known by following the lines of explanation outlined above. Here, I shall give just a concise explanation.
The antithesis of sati is the akusala kamma called mutthasacca. Mutthasacca means inability to become absorbed in the work of samatha- bhavana--such as in kayagata-sati--or in the work of vipassana-bhavana inability to concentrate, inability to control one's mind, and the wandering of thoughts to objects other than the object concentrated on. The pakati-sati that one possesses in its natal state from birth cannot dispel mutthasacca. It is only bhavana-sati that can dispel it.
The antithesis of samadhi is the akusala kamma of vikkhepa (restlessness of mind). It consists of the inability to concentrate, and of unquietness and restlessness of mind in the work of bhavana manasikara. It is the arising of thoughts on objects other than the object of concentration. It is the inability to control the mind and keep its attention fixed on one object. Pakati-samadhi cannot dispel that akusala kamma of vikkhepa. Only bhavana-samadhi can dispel it.
The antithesis of panna is the akusala kamma of sammoha. It consists of ignorance, lack of clarity, mistiness, and absence of light of the mind. It is the darkness that surrounds the mind. This sammoha cannot be dispelled by pakati-panna, nor by pariyatti-panna which may comprise a knowledge of the whole of the Ti-Pitaka. It is only bhavana- panna that has set up kayagata-sati which can gradually dispel sammoha.
This shows the meaning of the five patipakkha akusala dhamma coupled with their respective bala.
The five patipakkha akusala dhamma are: 1) tanha, 2) kosajja, or laziness, or inability to take pains, or lack of fearlessness in the work of the patipatti, 3) mutthasacca, 4) vikkhepa, and 5) sammoha. The five dhamma that can counteract and dispel these akusala dhamma are called bala. If any one of these five bala is weak and unable to dispel the respective patipakkha dhamma, work in samatha and vipassanana cannot be very successful as far as neyya individuals are concerned.
Hence, at the present day, some persons can emerge out of the realm of tanha because of their strength in saddha-bala. They are rid of the attachments to paccaya amisa and worldly dignities and honours. But since they are deficient in the other four bala, they are unable to rise above the stage of santutthi (state of being contented).
Some persons can emerge out of the realm of tanha and kosajja because they are strong in saddha-bala and viriya-bala. They are constant in the observance of the santosa dhamma in residence among hills and forests, and in the practice of the dhutanga (ascetic practices). But because they are weak in the other three bala, they are unable to practise kayagata-sati, or do the work of samatha and vipassana.
Some persons are strong in the first three bala and thus can rise up to the work of kayagata-sati. They achieve concentration in out-breath, or in the bones of the body. But since they are deficient in the other two bala, they cannot rise up to the work of the jhana and vipassana.
Some persons can rise up to the attainment of jhana samapatti because they are strong in the first four bala, but since they are weak in panna-bala, they cannot rise up to the work of vipassana.
Some persons are strong in panna-bala. They are learned in the Dhamma and the Pitakas. They are wise in the paramattha dhamma (ultimate realities). But because the back is broken in the four other bala, they cannot emerge from the realm of tanha, kosajja, mutthasacca and vikkhepa. They live and die within the confines of these akusala. In this way, whenever one is deficient in any one of the bala, one cannot emerge out of the realm of the respective patipakkha.
Of the five bala, viriya-bala and panna-bala are also iddhipada. Hence, if these two bala are strong and co-ordinated, it does not happen that one cannot rise up to the work of vipassana because of the weakness of the other three bala. As an illustration, consider the case of the five crores and five lakhs of householders in Savatthi City during the Buddha's time who obtained release from ills.
People who do not know the functions of the iddhipada, the indriya, and the bala, do not know why their desires are weak, and what patipakkha assails them. They do not know what dhamma they have to set up, and the desire to set them up never arises. It is thus that the ariyavamsa-dhamma are on the verge of disappearance at the present day.
I shall give an illustration. There is a species of bull called usabha. It is a bull worth more than a thousand or ten thousand ordinary bulls. If the characteristics and distinctive signs of that bull be recognised, and it be reared and nurtured properly, its limbs and marks will develop, and its strength and powers will increase. It can then guard even a hundred cattle pens from the incursions of lions and leopards. The cattle in the enclosures where such a bull exists will be free from major diseases and epidemics. People living in houses round the stockade, up to the seventh house in each direction, will be free from major diseases and epidemics. Like the bull Nandi Visala, it can draw even five hundred carts at a time.
If the owner of such a bull is ignorant of all these, and if thus he does not rear and nurture it properly but keeps and tends it just as he would any other ordinary bull, if he employs it in ploughing and drawing carts in company with other bulls, its distinctive marks and limbs will fail to develop, and its strength and powers will remain dormant. It will thus live and die just like any other bull.
A knowing owner, however, will separate such a bull from the rest and keep it in a specially constructed shed. He will cover the floor of the shed with clean sand and will fix a ceiling to the roof. He will keep the shed clean of urine and excreta, and will feed the bull with paddy and pulses fit for human consumption. He will wash and bathe it, and apply cosmetics and unguents. In such a case, the distinctive marks and limbs will develop, and its strength and powers will increase enormously.
In this Buddha Sasana, neyya individuals resemble the owner of the bull. The five bala of these neyya individuals resemble the usabha bull. The satipatthana vibhanga, sammappadhana vibhanga, iddhipada vibhanga, indriya vibhanga, bojjhanga vibhanga, and magganga vibhanga, of the Abhidhamma Pitaka and the Mahasatipatthana Sutta, satipatthana samyutta, sammappadhana samyutta, iddhipada samyutta, indriya samyutta, bala samyutta, and bojjhanga samyutta of the Sutta Pitaka, resemble the worldly expository books which expound the distinctive signs, marks, and characteristics, of usabha bulls, the methods how such bulls are to be reared and taken care of, and the strength and powers that such bulls can attain if reared and nurtured properly.
Those neyya individuals who through ignorance do not attempt to develop the five bala through the work of bhavana, and who thus remain satisfied with the lower attainments within the sasana, such as dana, sila, and the study of pariyatti-dhamma, resemble the ignorant owner of an usabha bull who does not rear and nurture it properly.
In this world, there are many kinds of worldly undertakings. There are undertakings that can be accomplished by the strength of wealth, and there are undertakings that can be accomplished by the strength of knowledge. Even in the case of the cultivation of land, several kinds of strength are needed for its accomplishment. Sometimes the strength of wealth has to be garnered first, and at other times the strength of knowledge. Preparatory education and study constitute the garnering of the strength of knowledge.
Similarly, in the Buddha Sasana, there are five bala needed for the work of samatha, vipassana, and the attainment of the holy Paths and Fruits and Nibbana. It is only when these bala are first accumulated that the great worlks mentioned can be undertaken. Those persons who do not possess even one of the five bala cannot evoke a desire to undertake these great tasks. It does not occur to them that those great tasks can be accomplished in this life. They live forgetfully and without determination. If it is pointed out to them that the tasks can be accomplished, they do not wish to hear it. They do not know that such untoward thoughts occur to them because they are utterly impoverished in the bala. They lay the blame at the door of parami, or dvi-hetuka, or at the times.
If, however, these people set up work in one of the satipatthana, such as in anapana-sati, and if thereby they set up the three bala of saddha, viriya, and sati, such untoward thoughts will certainly disappear. It is inevitable that new wholesome thoughts must arise. This is because they have developed their strength.
This is how the strength is developed. Although such a person cannot as yet attain an insight into rupa and nama, the weak saddha develops through the control exercised on paccayamisa-tanha and lokamisa-tanh@. The weak viriya develops through the control of kosajja. The weak sati develops through the control of mutthasacca. Samadhi and panna also gather strength through the control of vikkhepa and sammoha. When these bala develop, it is inevitable that there must be a change in his mind.
A person who is afflicted with a major disease, such as leprosy, has no desire to take an interest in the ordinary affairs and undertakings of the world. But if after taking the proper medicines and treatment, the great sickness is gradually cured and he is aroused from his apathy. This is inevitable. The group of five akusala kamma of tanha, kosajja mutthasacca, vikkhepa, and sammoha, resemble five major sicknesses. In the Sasana the work of samatha and vipassana-bhavana resembles the affairs and undertakings of the world. The work of satipatthana, such as anapana-sati, resembles the taking of proper medicines and treatment. The rest of the comparison can be easily recognised.
Hence did the Buddha say:
saddhabalam bhaveti viriyabalam bhaveti satibalam bhaveti samadhbalam bhaveti pannabalam bhaveti.
In this world, the strength of builders lie in good tools, such as awls, chisels, axes, knives, saws, etc. Only when he equips himself with such strength can he undertake to build monasteries, houses, etc. In the work of carpenters, blacksmiths, goldsmiths, artists, wood-carvers, etc., also, they have each their respective strength. Their strength consists of good tools and implements. Only with such can they accomplish their work.
Similarly, in the Sasana, the tools of samatha and vipassana for the purpose of achieving magga-nana and phala-nana consists of bhavana-saddha, bhavana-viriya, bhavana-sati, bhavana-samadhi, and bhavana-panna, developed through one of the satipatthana, such as anapana-sati. These five bala are the strength of yogavacara.  Hence, these five bala must be developed in order to undertake successfully the work or samatha and vipassana within the Buddha Sasana. This is the meaning of 'bhaveti' in the stanza quoted above.
110. Paramattha Dipani, Sangha Maha-Tika by Ledi Sayadaw, page 299,
Kawimyethman Press, Rangoon.
111. Anguttara-Nikaya, Ekaka Nipatatthakatha, 18. Apara
Accharasanghata-vagga-vanna, p. 388, 6th Syn. Edn.
112. Traditional practice of the Noble Ones. Anguttara Nikaya,
Catukka Nipata. 1. Patthama-pannasaka, 8 Ariyavamsa Sutta, p. 336
6th Syn. Edn.
113. The going forth by depending on the foot of a tree as abode; thus
they undertake the tree dweller's practice their whole lives. --
Vinaya Pitaka, Vol. 1. Mahakhandhaka, 64. Cattaro Nissaya, p. 133,
6th Syn. Edn.
114. Wandering thoughts or idle fancies.
115. Sammoha: delusion
116. Patipakkha: opposite.
117. These are four kinds of santosa-dhamma. They are:
1. civara-santosa: contentment of robes;
2. pindapata-santosa: contentment of food;
3. senasana-santosa: contentment of lodging, and
4. gilana paccaya bhesajja parikkhara santosa: contentment of
Note-- Santosa and santutthi have the same meaning.
118. Khuddaka-Nikaya Jataka Pali, Ekaka Nipata, Kurunga-Vagga, 28,
Nandi Visala Jataka, p. 7, 6th Synod Edn.
119. Some believe that these are times when the holy paths and the
Fruits thereof can no longer be attained, and tend to defer
effort till the parami ripen. Some believe that persons of the
present day are dvi-hetuka (i.e. beings reborn with
two root-conditions, nar.,iely, detachment and amity), and as
such they cannot attain the holy Paths and the Fruits thereof
in the present life.
120. Five major sicknesses are: 1. leprosy, 2. boils, 3. tuberculosis, 4. apoplexy,
121. Idha bhikkhave bhikkhu (In this Sasana, the bhikkhu)
Saddhabalati,i bhaveti (develops saddhabala),
Viriyabalam bhaveti (develops viriyabala),
Satibalam bhaveti (develops satibala),
Samddhibala bhaveti (develops samadhibala) and
Pannabalam bhaveti (develops pannabala).
-Suttanta Pitaka, Samyutta-Nikaya Mahavagga Samyutta Pali, 6 Bala
Samyutta Gangapeyyalavagga, 1-12, Baladi Sutta, page 218, 6th
122. Yogavacara: One who practises samatha or vipassana or both.
Preface and Introduction
I, The Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma and II, The Four Satipatthana
III, The Four Sammappadhana
IV, The Four Iddhipadda
V, The Five Indriya
VII, The Seven Sambojjhanga
VIII, The Eight Magganga
IX, How to practise The Bodhipakkhiya-Dhamma
X, Heritage of the Sasana
Index - The Bodhipakkhiya-Dipani
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