|This is the Middle Way, the Path the Buddha, Sage of the Shakya Clan, showed.|
|What is the Path?|
The Mahācattārīsaka Sutra, a Pāli canon text, describes the first seven practices as requisites of right samadhi, starting with right view:
2. RIGHT INTENTION (sammā sankappa) "right thought" or "right aspiration," the resolve to renounce the worldly life [let go internally though not necessarily externally] and dedicate oneself to a spiritual pursuit. "What is right intention? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness" (MN III.248).
|Even seen still not believed.|
"What is right speech? Abstaining from perjury, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from useless chatter: This is called 'right speech.' "
"What is right action? Abstaining from taking the lives of living beings, abstaining from taking what is not given, abstaining from taking sexual liberties. This is called right action."
|First human depictions of the Buddha from Mes Aynak, Afghanistan|
Sex versus Sexual Misconduct
|Wait, are we allowed to talk about sex?|
- one's community
- spouse (a married person)
- betrothal or promise (garlanded) to another
- a convict [determined to be off limits by law]
- or by dharma [duty, social obligations, notions of right and wrong in society].
|We're lay-Buddhists, right? - Yeah, lay, baby|
"What is right livelihood? Right livelihood, I say, is of two sorts. There is right livelihood with defilements, meritorious, resulting in gains. There is right livelihood that is noble, free of defilements, transcendent, a factor of the Path.
"What is the right livelihood with defilements, meritorious, resulting in gains? There is the case where a follower of the noble ones [enlightened persons from stream-enterers to arhats] abandons 'wrong' livelihood and maintains life by right livelihood. This is the right livelihood with defilements, meritorious, resulting in gains.
"What is the right livelihood that is noble, free of defilements, transcendent, a factor of the Path? The abstaining, abandoning, abstinence, and avoidance of wrong livelihood in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without defilements, who is fully possessed of the noble Path."...
|We can all meditate like monastics -- with knowledge, practice, and persistence.|
6. RIGHT EFFORT (sammā-vāyāma) is presented as consisting of four parts in the Pali canon, such as the "Exposition on Truth Discourse" (Sacca-vibhanga Sutra) as follows:
"What is right effort? Here the monastic [meditator] arouses will, puts forth effort, generates energy, exerts mind, and strives to prevent the arising of unskillful and unwholesome mental states that have not yet arisen.
"One arouses will...and strives to eliminate unskillful and unwholesome mental states that have already arisen. One arouses will...and strives to generate wholesome mental states that have not yet arisen.
"One arouses will, puts forth effort, generates energy, exerts mind, and strives to maintain wholesome mental states that have arisen, to keep them free of delusion, to develop, increase, cultivate, and perfect them. This is called 'right' effort."
- sensual craving
- ill will of any kind
- skeptical doubts about the path.
|Only persistence pays off on the Path.|
"What is right mindfulness? Here the meditator remains contemplating [being mindful of rather than thinking about] the body in the body, resolute, aware, and mindful, having set aside worldly desire and dejection; one remains contemplating feelings in feelings; one remains contemplating mental states in mental states (dhammas, dharmas, phenomena related to the Five Aggregates of Clinging]; one remains contemplating mental objects [enumerated in the sutra] in mental objects, resolute, aware, and mindful, having set aside worldly desire and dejection. This is called 'right' mindfulness."
- disappointing, and
- impersonal (not-self).
According to Theravada Buddhism, these "four contemplations" through the systematic setting up and practice of right mindfulness lead to liberating insight into the Three Marks or Characteristics of Existence: (1) impermanence (anicca), (2) unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and (3) not-self (anatta). And they cover the Five Aggregates clung to (the skandhas, groups, or heaps we commonly cling to as "self" and a separate "ego," "identity," "soul," "personality," "I," "me").
|Ah, I finally see! The Buddha was right!|
The term samadhi derives from the root sam-a-dha, which means "to collect all together" or "bring into coherent functioning," so it is often translated as "collectedness" or "unification of mind."
In early Buddhist texts, samadhi is also associated with the term samatha (serenity, tranquility, calm abiding). In the sutras, samadhi is defined as "one-pointedness of mind" (cittass'ekaggatā).
The famous commentator and scholar-monk Buddhagosa defines samadhi as "the centering of consciousness [cittas] and consciousness-concomitants [cetasikas] evenly and rightly on a single object...the state in virtue of which consciousness and its concomitants remain evenly and rightly on a single object, undistracted and unscattered."
Neither the Four Noble Truths nor the Noble Eightfold Path discourse, explains Johannes Bronkhorst, provide details of right samadhi. The explanation is to be found in the canonical texts of Buddhism, [in the many commentaries, the tika, and subcommentaries, particularly the "Higher Teachings"/Abhidharma, in several sutras, such as the following from the "Exposition on Truth Discourse" Saccavibhanga Sutra:
"What is right concentration? [i] Here, the monastic, detached from sensual craving, detached from unwholesome states, enters and remains in the first absorption (jhana, level of coherence/concentration, Sanskrit dhyāna), in which there is applied and sustained attention, together with joy and pleasure born of detachment;
[ii] And through the subsiding of applied and sustained attention, with the gaining of inner stillness and one-pointedness of mind, one enters and remains in the second absorption, which is free of applied and sustained attention, but in which there are [still] joy and pleasure born of concentration;
[iii] And through the subsiding of joy, one remains equanimous, mindful and aware, and one experiences in the body the pleasure of which the noble ones [enlightened persons] say: "equanimous, mindful, and dwelling in pleasure [is the person who attains the state" and thus one enters and remains in the third absorption;
[iv] And through the transcending of pleasure and pain, and through the previous disappearance of gladness and sadness [elation and dejection], one enters and remains in the fourth absorption, which is beyond pleasure and pain, and in which there is pure equanimity and mindfulness. This is called right concentration."
|Shakya Land, the Buddha's home, the Middle Country, was present-day Afghanistan.|