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.
The definition of magga is:
Kilese marenta nibbanam gacchanti etenati maggo.
(These dhamma dispel the defilements such as sakkaya-ditthi and thus enable one to reach Nibbana--end of apaya dukkha and vatta dukkha. Hence they are called magga.)
There are eight ingredients of magga, namely:
All these eight ingredients are present in lokuttara-nanadassana- visuddhi (supramundane purification by knowledge and vision). In the preceding lokiya-visuddhi (mundane purifications), samma-vaca, samma kammanta and samma-ajiva are present only in sila-visuddhi (purification of virtue). They are not present in citta-visuddhi (purification of consciousness), etc.
Hence, in the matter of the bodhipakkhiya-dhamma, sila-visuddhi means viveka nissita and viraga nissita sila in accordance with:
Sammavacam bhaveti, viveka nissitam, viraga nissitam, nirodha nissitam, vossaggaparinamim.
Samma-kammantam bhaveti, viveka nissitam, viraga nissitam, nirodha nissitam, vossaggaparinamim.
Samma-ajivam bhaveti, viveka nissitam, viraga nissitam, nirodha nissitam, vossaggaparinamim.
It does not refer to sila that has leanings towards bhava-sampatti and dependency on the round of rebirths. The sila-visuddhi of those who have consciously given up attempts at attaining the holy Paths and the Fruits in this life is not genuine adibrahmacariyaka-sila and thus is not of the genuine bodhipakkhiya class. If effort be made, however, towards the attainment of Nibbana in the next life, it can be parami-sila which is a part of vivatta nissita-sila.
Samma-vaca, samma-kammanta, and samma-ajiva magganga are purely of the class of sila and hence constitute genuine sila-visuddhi They are also called the three virati cetasika.'
Samma-sankappa is vitakka-cetasika. Since it is the harbinger of panna, it is included in the panna category. There are three kinds of sankappa, namely nekkhama-sankappa, abyapada-sankappa, and avihimsa-sankappa. Just as a person incarcerated in prison, or a person beseiged by enemy troops, or a person encircled by a forest fire, or a fish caught in a net, tank, or trap, or a bird caught in a cage, is absorbed (without being able to sleep or eat) in only only one thought, that is in the attempt to escape from these confinements, the attempts of those persons who contrive with sammappadhana-viriya to escape, from the confinement of the old infinitely numerous uppanna-akusala kamma and the new infinitely numerous anuppanna-akusala-kamma that are due to arise are called nekkhama-sankappa magganga. It is the sort of sankappa which looks for the way to escape in this very life from the vattadukkha (round of rebirths).
The sankappa which associates with metta jhanna is called abyapada-sankappa. The sankappa which associates with karuna jhana is called avihimsa-sankappa. The sankappa which associates with the remaining jhana is called nekkhama-sahkappa.
The four magganga of samma-ditthi, samma-vayama, samma-sati, and and samma-samadhi, have been dealt with under bojjhanga.
Samma-ditthi and samma-sankappa are pannakkhandha. They constitute the panna group. Khandha means group or aggregate. Samma- vaca, samma-kammanta, samma-ajiva are called silakkhandha. They constitute the sila group. Samma-vayama, samma-sati, and samma-samadhi are called samadhikkhandha. They constitute the samadhi group.
The ajivatthamaka-sila that is observed and kept with the pupose of destroying the great kingdom of ditthi-anusaya is lokiya- silakkhandha-magganga. It is sila-visuddhi.
There are two kinds of ajivatthamaka-sila, namely, sila for layfolk, and sila for the sangha. Abstention from the three kaya- duccarita and the four vaci-duccarita  comprise the ajivatthamaka-sila for layfolk. The atthanga-uposatha-sila and the dasanga-sila are sila that refine or polish the ajivatthamaka-sila.
The observance of the 227 sikkha laid down in the Vinaya Pitaka comprise the ajivatthamaka-sila for the sangha. These 227 sikkha cover kaya-kamma and vaci-kamma, and are so classified in the commentaries. The remaining sila groups laid down in the Vinaya Pitaka constitute refinements to the ajivatthamaka-sila.
Just as trees grow in the soil, the six visuddhis beginning with citta-visuddhi develop in the soil of sila-visuddhi. In particular, sila-visuddi, does not mix with the five middle vistiddhi beginning with citta-visuddhi, but supports them by securing antecedent purity. In the case of lokuttara-nanadassana-visuddhi, sila-visuddhi operates in conjunction with it as three constituents of silakkhandha-magganga. The reason is, the objects of attention of sila-visuddhi are of a different order from those of the five middle visuddhi, while they are identical with those of the lokuttara-visuddhi, thus operating together with it as sahajata (coexistent).
This ends silakkhandha-magganga.
With reference to samadhikkhandha-magganga there are two courses of action, namely, the way of the suddhavippassana-yanika (one who practises pure insight only), and the way of the samatha-vipassana- yanika (one who practises both calm and insight). After the fulfilment of sila-visuddhi and the setting up of kayagata-sati, not following the way of samatha, but following the way of pure vipassana such as that of ditthi-visuddhi, etc., is the way of suddhavipassana-yanika. If, however, the way of samatha be followed, such as the attainment of ihe first jhana samapatti, etc., and thence following the way of vipassana such as that of ditthi-visuddi, etc., it is called the way of the samatha-vipassana-yanika.
Of these two ways, 1) in the case of the suddhavipassana-yanika, the three samadhi-magganga fulfil the functions of samatha- and citta- visuddhi through the three kinds of samadhi known as sunnata-samadhi, animitta-samadhi and appanihita-samadhi; 2) in the case of samatha- vipassana-yanika, however, the three samadhi-magganga fulfil the functions of samatha and citta-visuddhi by the name of three samadhi-- parikamma-samadhi, upacara-samadhi, and appana-samadhi; and thereafter at the vipassana stage, the functions of samatha and citta-visuddhi are fulfilled through the three kinds of samadhi known as sunnata- samadhi, animitta-samadhi, and appanihita-samadhi.
During the period of the proceeding sila-visuddhi and kayagata- sati, however, the three samadhi-magganga fulfil the functions of khanika (momentary) samadhi.
This ends samadhikkhandha-maggaaga.
The two pannakkhandha-magganga fulfil the functions of panna in both of the ways of the suddhavipassana-yanika and the samatha- vipassana-yanika, after the setting up of sila-visuddhi and kayagata- sati. These remarks relate to both the lokiya-magganga and the lokuttara-magganga.
I shall now show the way of sotapatti-magga in lokuttara-magganga. It should be remembered that this book is aimed at the lowest of the ariya, namely the 'bon-sin-san' sukkhavipassaka-sotapanna. At the present time there are infinite numbers of beings such as Visakha, Anthapindika, Sakka the deva king, Cularatha Deva, Maharatha Deva, Anekavanna Deva, the four Catumaharajika Deva kings, and the guardian devas of the sun and moon who still continue to derive pleasure and ease within the round of rebirths --inhabiting the catumaharajika deva loka, the tavatimsa deva loka, and the upper deva loka. They are beings who have seven more rebirths in the kama-loka, one rebirth each in the six fourth jhana loka or vehapphala brahma loka. The number of rebirths in the first, second, and third jhana brahma loka is undetermined.
Why are they called sotapanna? The five great rivers and five hundred lesser rivers that have their source in the Himalayas, do not flow up, but flow down continuously to the great ocean. Hence they are called sota. Similarly, ariya do not revert back to the state of puthujjana (worldlings) but but proceed continuously (as ariya) until they attain anupadisesa-nibbana. In the case of puthujjana, although they may attain rebirth in the highest brahma loka, they possess the liability to descend to the lowest Avici hell, but in the case of ariya, wherever they may be reborn, they do not descend and attain rebirth in a lower loka, but possess a continuous tendency to be reborn in a higher loka. Although putthujana may attain the state of tihetuka-brahma in the rupa and arupa loka, they possess the liability to be reborn as ahetuka-duggati creatures such as dogs and pigs, whereas in the case of ariya, they do not revert back to the stage of putthujana, but ascend with each rebirth to higher states of ariya.
Thus whether it be the loka where rebirth takes place, or the status attained in each rebirth, the ariya do not regress, but proceed higher and higher from one loka to the next, or from one status to another, until after many rebirths and many worlds elapse they reach the highest loka and the highest status, when they discard the five aggregates called khandha and cross over to anupadisesa-nibbana. The process by whichthis single path of ascent is traversed is called dhamma-sota. They comprise samma-ditthi-sota, samma-sankappa-sota, samma-vaca-sota, samma-kammanta-sota, samma-aijiva-sota, samma-vayama -sota, samma-sati-sota, and samma-samadhi-sota.
Samma-ditthi-sota means the establishment of the great kingdom of samma-ditthi which can perceive the light of the Four Noble Truths. This great kingdom of samma-ditthi is established in place of the great anusaya kingdom of sakkaya-ditthi. It resembles the rising of the sun after the night is over, when the darkness is dispelled and the light is established. In the same way, the great kingdom of light of samma-ditthi remains established throughout many lives and many world- cycles until the attainment of anupadisesa-nibbana. The light increases and becomes more and more firmly established from one rebirth to another. It also resembles a person born from his mother's womb without sight through cataracts covering both his eyes, who, on coming across good medicines, is cured of the cataracts and gains sight. From the moment the cataracts disappear, the view of the earth, mountains, sky, sun, moon, and stars, etc., is opened to him and thereafter throughout his life.
In the same way, the sotapanna-ariya gain view of the three characteristics (ti-lakklhana) and the Four Noble Truths. Just as the blind man in the illustration above can see the sky, sun and moon, these ariya can percieve the dhamma mentioned at their will. This is how samma-ditthi magga is established.
Samma-ditthassa samma-sankappo pahoti. (When samma-ditthi is established, samma-sankappa progresses.) According to this, if samma- ditthi is established, samma-sankappa, which consists of intention and design to escape from worldly ills, and to preserve others from destruction and suffering, also becomes established and thrives from one rebirth to another until the attainment of anupadisesa-nibbana. This is how samma-sankappa is established. The Commentary says: 'Pahotiti vaddhati' (pahoti means vaddhati, increase).
Samma-sankappassa samma-vaca pahoti. If the intention and design to escape from worldly ills, and to see others in pleasure and ease, is established, speech free from the vaci-duccarita appears and is progressively established. This is how samma-vaca is established.
Samma-vacassa samma-kammanto pahoti. If speech free from the vaci-duccarita is established, acts free from kaya-duccarita appear and are progressively established. This is how samma-kammanta is established.
Samma-kammantassa samma-ajivo pahoti. When views, intentions, speech and acts become pure, the forms of livelihood also become pure, and one is free permanently from low and base forms of livelihood. This is how samma-ajiva is established.
Samma-ajivassa samma-vayamo pahoti. When views, intentions, speech, acts and livelihood become pure, energy or effort free from the duccarita become permanently established. This is how samma-vayama is established.
Samma-vayamassa samma-sati pahoti. Thus also does samma-sati- magganga that has its roots in the work of sila, samadhi, and panna, become established from one rebirth to another. This is how samma- sati is established.
Samma-satissa samma-samadhi pahoti. Thus also does samma- samadhi, which has its roots in the world of sila, samadhi, and panna, and which possesses great control over the mind, become established. This is how samma-samadhi is established.
This is how the eight magganga called dhamma-sota become progressively established throughout many lives and many worlds from the moment a being attains the stage of sotapanna and until he finally attains anupaddisesa-nibbana.
Although from the moment kayagata-sati is set up there is progress such as has been shown above, so long as the state of niyama is not reached that being is not as yet an ariya. Sotapatti-magga is the starting point of ariya-sota. As soon as beings reach sotapatti- magga, they enter the domain of ariya. Hence it is said: Sotam aditopajjimsu papunimsuti sotapanna. They are called sotapanna, as they reach ariya-sota for the first time.
This ends the answer to the question, 'Why are they called sotapanna?'
Beings transcend the state of puthujjana as soon as they reach the stage of ariya. They are no longer worldlings or beings of the world. They have become beings of lokuttara. They are no longer beings subject to the suffering within the round of rebirths (vatta-dukkkha), they have become beings of Nibbana. Throughout the series of many existences and in many worlds, they no longer emerge back again from the first stage of Nibbana. They no longer possess the susceptibility to return to the ansuaya plane of sakkaya- ditthi, or to the state of puthujjana. They are permanently established in the first stage of sa-upadisesa-nibbana, and throughout many lives and worlds they enjoy at will the pleasures of humans, devas, and brahmas. For a detailed exposition see my Catu Sacca Dipani, and Paramattha Sankhitta.
These eight magganga occur simultaneously to these ariya only at the instant of the attainment of a Path or Fruition. With reference, however, to lokiya-kusala-kamma (mundane wholesome volitional actions), the three silakkhandha-magganga associate only with sila-kusala- kamma. The three samadhikkhandha-magganga and the two pannakkhandha- -magganga, however, associate with many kinds of kusala kamma.
Although the three silakkhandha-magganga associate only with sila- kusala-kamma, they are firmly established in ariya as avitikkama (non- contravention) throughout many lives and many worlds.
This ends the eight magganga.
The pure dhamma involved in the thirty-seven bodhipakkhiya dhamma are: chanda, citta, tatra-majjhattata, saddha, passadhi, panna, vitakka, viriya, the three virati, sati, piti, and ekaggata,and are fourteen in number.
132. Sammohavinodani Atthakatha, 1. Suttanta-bhajaniya-vannana. p. 305,
6th Syn. Edn.
133. Morality belonging to the principles of fundamentals of moral
134. The three virati cetasika are: --
samma-vaca, samma-kammanta, samma-ajiva
135. Please see the Light of the Dhamma Vol. VII. No. 2, p.10
136. Vimana Vatthu, p. 87, 6th Syn. Edn.
137. Vimana Vatthu, p. 90, 6th Syn. Edn.
138. Vimana Vatthu, p. 112, 6th Syn. Edn.
139. Digha Nikaya, Mahavagga, Mahagovinda Sutta, p. 178, 6th Syn Edn
140. Guardian devas of the sun and moon. Samyutta Nikaya, Sagatha-
vagga, Samyutta, p. 48, 6th Syn Edn.
141. Samyutta Nikaya, Mahavagga Samyutta Pali, 1. Magga-samyutta, 1.
Avijja vagga. 1. Avijja, Suta p. 2, 6th Syn Edn.
142. Wrong doing
143. Wrong livelihood
144. Samyutta Nikaya, Mahavagga Samyutta Pali, 1. Magga Samyutta, 1.
Avijja-vagga, 1. Avijja Sutta, p. 2 6th Syn Edn.
145. 1. Chanda (desire), 2.citta (consciousness), 3.tatramajjhattata
(equanimity), 4.saddha (faith), 5.passadhi (tranquillity),
6. panna (wisdom), 7.vitakka (thought conception), 8.viriya
(effort), 9.samma-vaca (Right Speech), 10.samma-kammanta (Right
Action), 11.Samma-ajiva (Right Livelihood), 12.sati
(mindfulness), 13.piti (joy), 14.ekaggata (one-pointedness of mind)
Preface and Introduction
I, The Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma and II, The Four Satipatthana
III, The Four Sammappadhana
IV, The Four Iddhipadda
V, The Five Indriya
VI, The Five Bala (or Balani)
VII, The Seven Sambojjhanga
IX, How to practise The Bodhipakkhiya-Dhamma
X, Heritage of the Sasana
Index - The Bodhipakkhiya-Dipani
Published by the Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, IMC-UK, Splatts House,
Heddington, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 0PE, England,
Tel: +44 1380 850 238, Fax: +44 1380 850 833.
Registered Charity No 280134.
Copyright © 1999 Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, all rights reserved.