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Saṁyutta Nikāya — The Connected Discourses

SN46: Connected Discourses on the Factors of Enlightenment

SN46:3 Virtue

1"Bhikkhus, those bhikkhus who are accomplished in virtue, accomplished in concentration, accomplished in wisdom, accomplished in liberation, accomplished in the knowledge and vision of liberation: even the sight of those bhikkhus is helpful, I say; even listening to them … even approaching them … even attending on them … even recollecting them … even going forth after them is helpful, I say. For what reason? Because when one has heard the Dhamma from such bhikkhus one dwells withdrawn by way of two kinds of withdrawal—withdrawal of body and withdrawal of mind.


2"Dwelling thus withdrawn, one recollects that Dhamma and thinks it over. Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwelling thus withdrawn recollects that Dhamma and thinks it over, sn.v.68 on that occasion the enlightenment factor of mindfulness is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occasion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness; on that occasion the enlightenment factor of mindfulness comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.[n.63] In stating that the satisambojjhaṅga arises by recollecting the Dhamma taught by accomplished monks, the text draws upon the etymological connection between sati as act of remembrance and the verb anussarati, to recollect. Though it has been overshadowed by sati's more technical sense of awareness of the present, this nuance of the word is still occasionally preserved in Pali (e.g., in the definition of the faculty of mindfulness at SN48.9).
The three phrases used to describe the cultivation of each enlightenment factor can be understood to depict three successive stages of development: initial arousal, maturation, and culmination. Spk says that in this sutta the enlightenment factors are to be understood as pertaining to insight in the preliminary stage of the path of arahantship. They occur together in one mind-moment, though with different characteristics. The whole pattern is also at SN54.13, but beginning with the four establishments of mindfulness as the means of arousing the satisambojjhaṅga.

3"Dwelling thus mindfully, he discriminates that Dhamma with wisdom, examines it, makes an investigation of it. Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwelling thus mindfully discriminates that Dhamma with wisdom, examines it, makes an investigation of it, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occasion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states; on that occasion the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.

4"While he discriminates that Dhamma with wisdom, examines it, makes an investigation of it, his energy is aroused without slackening. Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu's energy is aroused without slackening as he discriminates that Dhamma with wisdom, examines it, makes an investigation of it, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of energy is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occasion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of energy; on that occasion the enlightenment factor of energy comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.

5"When his energy is aroused, there arises in him spiritual rapture. Whenever, bhikkhus, spiritual rapture arises in a bhikkhu whose energy is aroused, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of rapture is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occasion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of rapture; on that occasion the enlightenment factor of rapture comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.

6"For one whose mind is uplifted by rapture the body becomes tranquil and the mind becomes tranquil. Whenever, bhikkhus, the body becomes tranquil and the mind becomes tranquil in a bhikkhu whose mind is uplifted by rapture, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of tranquillity is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occasion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of tranquillity; on that occasion the enlightenment factor of tranquillity comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu. sn.v.69


7"For one whose body is tranquil and who is happy the mind becomes concentrated.[n.64] I follow Be here, which reads simply passaddhakāyassa sukhino cittaṁ samādhiyati. Se and Ee have passaddhakāyassa sukhaṁ hoti, sukhino cittaṁ samādhiyati, "for one whose body is tranquil there is happiness, for one who is happy the mind becomes concentrated." I suspect this reading has arisen from confusion with such texts as SN47.10 and AN10.2, where sukha is a distinct stage in the sequence of development. Be is supported here by the Se and Ee reading of the exact parallel at SN54.13. Whenever, bhikkhus, the mind becomes concentrated in a bhikkhu whose body is tranquil and who is happy, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of concentration is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occasion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of concentration; on that occasion the enlightenment factor of concentration comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.

8"He closely looks on with equanimity at the mind thus concentrated. Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu closely looks on with equanimity at the mind thus concentrated, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of equanimity is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occasion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of equanimity; on that occasion the enlightenment factor of equanimity comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.


9"Bhikkhus, when these seven factors of enlightenment have been developed and cultivated in this way, seven fruits and benefits may be expected. What are the seven fruits and benefits?

"One attains final knowledge early in this very life.

"If one does not attain final knowledge early in this very life, then one attains final knowledge at the time of death.

"If one does not attain final knowledge early in this very life or at the time of death, then with the utter destruction of the five lower fetters one becomes an attainer of Nibbāna in the interval.[n.65] This fivefold typology of nonreturners recurs at SN48.15, SN48.4, SN48.66; SN51.26; SN54.5; and SN55.25. Spk explains the antarāparinibbāyī ("attainer of Nibbāna in the interval") as one reborn in the Pure Abodes who attains arahantship during the first half of the life span. This type is subdivided into three, depending on whether arahantship is reached: (i) on the very day of rebirth; (ii) after one or two hundred aeons have elapsed; or (iii) after four hundred aeons have elapsed. The upahaccaparinibbāyī ("attainer of Nibbāna upon landing") is explained as one who attains arahantship after passing the first half of the life span. For Spk, the asaṅkhāraparinibbāyī ("attainer without exertion") and the sasaṅkhāraparinibbāyī ("attainer with exertion") then become two modes in which the first two types of nonreturners attain the goal. This explanation originates from Pp 16–17 (commented on at Pp-a 198–201). However, not only does this account of the first two types disregard the literal meaning of their names, but it also overrides the sequential and mutually exclusive nature of the five types as delineated elsewhere in the suttas (see below).
If we understand the term antarāparinibbāyī literally, as it seems we should, it then means one who attains Nibbāna in the interval between two lives, perhaps while existing in a subtle body in the intermediate state. The upahaccaparinibbāyī then becomes one who attains Nibbāna "upon landing" or "striking ground" in the new existence, i.e., almost immediately after taking rebirth. The next two terms designate two types who attain arahantship in the course of the next life, distinguished by the amount of effort they must make to win the goal. The last, the uddhaṁsota akaniṭṭhagāmī, is one who takes rebirth in successive Pure Abodes, completes the full life span in each, and finally attains arahantship in the Akaniṭṭha realm, the highest Pure Abode.
This interpretation, adopted by several non-Theravada schools of early Buddhism, seems to be confirmed by the Purisagati Sutta (AN7.55), in which the simile of the flaming chip suggests that the seven types (including the three kinds of antarāparinibbāyī) are mutually exclusive and have been graded according to the sharpness of their faculties. Additional support comes from AN4.131, which explains the antarāparinibbāyī as one who has abandoned the fetter of rebirth (upapattisaṁyojana) without yet having abandoned the fetter of existence (bhavasaṁyojana). Though the Theravadin proponents argue against this interpretation of antarāparinibbāyī (e.g., at Kv 366), the evidence from the suttas leans strongly in its favour. For a detailed discussion, see Harvey, The Selfless Mind, pp. 98–108.
AN II 155–56 draws an alternative distinction between the sasaṅkhāraparinibbāyī and the asaṅkhāraparinibbāyī: the former reaches arahantship through meditation on the "austere" meditation subjects such as the foulness of the body, the perception of the repulsiveness of food, discontent with the whole world, the perception of impermanence in all formations, and mindfulness of death; the latter, through the four jhanas.


"If one does not attain final knowledge early in this very life … or become an attainer of Nibbāna in the interval, then with the utter destruction of the five lower fetters one becomes an attainer of Nibbāna upon landing.


"If one does not attain final knowledge early in this very life … sn.v.70 … or become an attainer of Nibbāna upon landing, then with the utter destruction of the five lower fetters one becomes an attainer of Nibbāna without exertion.


"If one does not attain final knowledge early in this very life … or become an attainer of Nibbāna without exertion, then with the utter destruction of the five lower fetters one becomes an attainer of Nibbāna with exertion.


"If one does not attain final knowledge early in this very life … or become an attainer of Nibbāna with exertion, then with the utter destruction of the five lower fetters one becomes one bound upstream, heading towards the Akaniṭṭha realm.


"When, bhikkhus, the seven factors of enlightenment have been developed and cultivated in this way, these seven fruits and benefits may be expected."

1"Ye te, bhikkhave, bhikkhū sīlasampannā samādhisampannā ñāṇasampannā vimuttisampannā vimuttiñāṇadassanasampannā, dassanampāhaṁ, bhikkhave, tesaṁ bhikkhūnaṁ bahukāraṁ vadāmi; savanampāhaṁ, bhikkhave, tesaṁ bhikkhūnaṁ bahukāraṁ vadāmi; upasaṅkamanampāhaṁ, bhikkhave, tesaṁ bhikkhūnaṁ bahukāraṁ vadāmi; payirupāsanampāhaṁ, bhikkhave, tesaṁ bhikkhūnaṁ bahukāraṁ vadāmi; anussatimpāhaṁ, bhikkhave, tesaṁ bhikkhūnaṁ bahukāraṁ vadāmi; anupabbajjampāhaṁ, bhikkhave, tesaṁ bhikkhūnaṁ bahukāraṁ vadāmi. Taṁ kissa hetu? Tathārūpānaṁ, bhikkhave, bhikkhūnaṁ dhammaṁ sutvā dvayena vūpakāsena vūpakaṭṭho vihārati – kāyavūpakāsena ca cittavūpakāsena ca. So tathā vūpakaṭṭho vihāranto taṁ dhammaṁ anussarati anuvitakketi.


2Yasmiṁ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhu tathā vūpakaṭṭho vihāranto taṁ dhammaṁ anussarati anuvitakketi, satisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti; satisambojjhaṅgaṁ tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhu bhāveti; satisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno bhāvanāpāripūriṁ gacchati. So tathā sato vihāranto taṁ dhammaṁ paññāya pavicinati pavicarati parivīmaṁsamāpajjati.

3Yasmiṁ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhu tathā sato vihāranto taṁ dhammaṁ paññāya pavicinati pavicarati parivīmaṁsamāpajjati, dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti; dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgaṁ tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhu bhāveti; dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno bhāvanāpāripūriṁ gacchati. Tassa taṁ dhammaṁ paññāya pavicinato pavicarato parivīmaṁsamāpajjato āraddhaṁ hoti vīriyaṁ asallīnaṁ.

4Yasmiṁ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno taṁ dhammaṁ paññāya pavicinato pavicarato parivīmaṁsamāpajjato āraddhaṁ hoti vīriyaṁ asallīnaṁ, vīriyasambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti; vīriyasambojjhaṅgaṁ tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhu bhāveti; vīriyasambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno bhāvanāpāripūriṁ gacchati. Āraddhavīriyassa uppajjati pīti nirāmisā.

5Yasmiṁ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno āraddhavīriyassa uppajjati pīti nirāmisā, pītisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti; pītisambojjhaṅgaṁ tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhu bhāveti; pītisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno bhāvanāpāripūriṁ gacchati. Pītimanassa kāyopi passambhati, cittampi passambhati.

6Yasmiṁ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno pītimanassa kāyopi passambhati cittampi passambhati, passaddhisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti; passaddhisambojjhaṅgaṁ tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhu bhāveti; passaddhisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno bhāvanāpāripūriṁ gacchati. Passaddhakāyassa sukhino cittaṁ samādhiyati.


7Yasmiṁ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno passaddhakāyassa sukhino cittaṁ samādhiyati, samādhisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti; samādhisambojjhaṅgaṁ tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhu bhāveti; samādhisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno bhāvanāpāripūriṁ gacchati. So tathāsamāhitaṁ cittaṁ sādhukaṁ ajjhupekkhitā hoti.

8Yasmiṁ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhu tathāsamāhitaṁ cittaṁ sādhukaṁ ajjhupekkhitā hoti, upekkhāsambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti; upekkhāsambojjhaṅgaṁ tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhu bhāveti; upekkhāsambojjhaṅgo tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhuno bhāvanāpāripūriṁ gacchati.


9Evaṁ bhāvitesu kho, bhikkhave, sattasu sambojjhaṅgesu evaṁ bahulīkatesu satta phalā sattānisaṁsā pāṭikaṅkhā. Katame satta phalā sattānisaṁsā?

Diṭṭheva dhamme paṭikacca aññaṁ ārādheti.

No ce diṭṭheva dhamme paṭikacca aññaṁ ārādheti, atha maraṇakāle aññaṁ ārādheti.

No ce diṭṭheva dhamme paṭikacca aññaṁ ārādheti, no ce maraṇakāle aññaṁ ārādheti, atha pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā antarāparinibbāyī hoti.


No ce diṭṭheva dhamme paṭikacca aññaṁ ārādheti, no ce maraṇakāle aññaṁ ārādheti, no ce pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā antarāparinibbāyī hoti, atha pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā upahaccaparinibbāyī hoti.


No ce diṭṭheva dhamme paṭikacca aññaṁ ārādheti, no ce maraṇakāle aññaṁ ārādheti, no ce pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā antarāparinibbāyī hoti, no ce pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā upahaccaparinibbāyī hoti, atha pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā asaṅkhāraparinibbāyī hoti.


No ce diṭṭheva dhamme paṭikacca aññaṁ ārādheti, no ce maraṇakāle aññaṁ ārādheti, no ce pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā antarāparinibbāyī hoti, no ce pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā upahaccaparinibbāyī hoti, no ce pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā asaṅkhāraparinibbāyī hoti, atha pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā sasaṅkhāraparinibbāyī hoti.


No ce diṭṭheva dhamme paṭikacca aññaṁ ārādheti, no ce maraṇakāle aññaṁ ārādheti, no ce pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā antarāparinibbāyī hoti, no ce pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā upahaccaparinibbāyī hoti, no ce pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā asaṅkhāraparinibbāyī hoti, no ce pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā sasaṅkhāraparinibbāyī hoti, atha pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā uddhaṁsoto hoti akaniṭṭhagāmī.


Evaṁ bhāvitesu kho, bhikkhave, sattasu bojjhaṅgesu evaṁ bahulīkatesu ime satta phalā sattānisaṁsā pāṭikaṅkhā"ti.

Tatiyaṁ.