The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes The method of fulfilling the Perfection of Renunciation (Nekkhamma Parami) contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as on Miscellany. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).

Part 10c - The method of fulfilling the Perfection of Renunciation (Nekkhamma Pāramī)

As already stated above, the Perfection of Renunciation is the group of consciousness and mental concomitants which desire emancipation from sense pleasures and existences, which is founded on mahā-karuṇā and upāya-kosalla ñāṇa and which is preceded by the knowledge of disgusting and dreadful faults in them. Therefore, the Bodhisatta undertakes first to discern the faults (as they truly are) in sense pleasures and existences by means of the knowledge of disgust and dread (ādīnava-ñāṇa).

This is how he discerns these faults: “Because household life is the dwelling place of all kinds of defilements, because there are impediments, such as wife and children, etc., restricting one’s meritorious performances, because one gets involved and entangled in multifarious activities such as trading and cultivation, it is not a proper place where happiness of renunciation can be achieved.”

The sensual pleasures of men, like a drop of honey on the sharp edges of a sword, prove to be more harmful rather than enjoyable. Their enjoyment is short-lived, like a theatrical show seen only by intermittent flashes of lightning. They are enjoyed only through perverted perception (which is disorderly) like the ornaments of a mad man. They are as deceptive as a camouflaging object, which conceals a heap of excreta, as unsatisfying as licking the moisture on the fingers. They are afflictive, damaging, like the gorging of food by a famished person, causing hordes of misfortune like the bait on a hook, causing dukkha in the past, present and future like the heat of burning fires. They are being sticky like the gum of a plant (makkata lepa). They form a means to conceal destructive objects like the mantle of a murderer. Thus, discerning first the disadvantages in sense pleasures and existences, and then the advantages of liberality from them, which is Nekkhamma, the Bodhisatta fulfils the Perfection of Renunciation.

Since going forth from household life is the foundation of the Perfection of Renunciation, at a time when there is no teaching of a Buddha, in order to fulfil this perfection, the Bodhisatta takes up an ascetic life under recluses or wanderers who uphold the doctrine of action (kamma-vādī) and the doctrine of efficacy of action (kiriya-vādī). However, when an Enlightened One appears in the World, he joins the Order of Bhikkhus in the Dispensation of the Buddha.

Having thus gone forth, he establishes himself in the vāritta-sīla and cāritta-sīla, as described above, and, in order to purify these sīlas, he undertakes the ascetic practices (dhutaṅgas)[1].

The Bodhisatta, who has thus washed away the mental defilements with the clean water of sīla, fortified by dhutaṅga practices becomes endowed with blameless, pure physical and verbal conduct. He shows contentment with any available robe, alms-food and dwelling. Having followed the first three of the four traditions of the ariyas [2] (ariyavamsattaya), he strives to achieve the fourth one, the delight in meditation (bhāvanārāma), by practising an appropriate one out of the prescribed forty meditation subjects till he attains the stages of Jhāna Access (Upacāra) and Absorption (Appanā).

Attainment of Absorption Jhāna is the Bodhisatta’s complete fulfilment of the Perfection of Renunciation.

(Details on the forty subjects of meditation may be obtained from the Visuddhi-magga.)

(This is the method of fulfilling the Perfection of Renunciation.)

Footnotes and references:


Read explanation of dhutaṅga practices in footnote #16.


The four traditions of Ariyas: Ariyavamsattaya, contentment with any kinds of robes, alms-food, dwelling and delight in meditation.

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