by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes What is The Synopsis of The Paramis 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).
To the question, “What is the synopsis of the Pāramīs?” the answer is:
The thirty pāramīs can be reduced to ten by grouping together those of same nature, (e.g. three kinds of Dāna Pāramī into one; three kinds of Sīla Pāramī into one and so on). Similarly these ten pāramīs may further be reduced to six by grouping together those of related nature, viz., Dāna Pāramī, Sīla Pāramī, Khanti Pāramī, Vīriya Pāramī, Jhāna Pāramī and Paññā Pāramī.
This is how abridgement is made: Renunciation (Nekkhamma) means taking up an ascetic life, jhāna and general meritoriousness. Here Nekkhamma as taking up an ascetic life should be counted as Sīla Pāramī because they are of similar nature; in the same way Nekkhamma as jhānas, free from hindrances (nīvaraṇa) should be counted as Jhāna Pāramī; and Nekkhamma as general meritoriousness belong to all the six Pāramīs.
Truthfulness is of three kinds: Truthful speech (vacī-sacca); abstaining from falsehood (virati-sacca) which is mental concomitant of Right Speech (Sammā-vācā); and truthful wisdom (ñāṇa-sacca) which is mental concomitant of Wisdom (paññā). (Nibbāna which is Absolute Truth (Paramattha-sacca), is not relevant here.) Of these, vacī-sacca and viratisacca being related to sīla should be counted as Sīla Pāramī; ñāṇa-sacca being the concomitant of wisdom should be counted as Paññā Pāramī.
Mettā Pāramī which is similar in nature to Jhāna Pāramī is thus included in the latter.
Upekkhā Pāramī consists of concomitant of Tatramajjhattatā and Paññā; Tatramajjhattatā should be counted as the Jhāna Pāramī to which it is related; and concomitant of Paññā which is the same as Nanupekkhā should be counted as Paññā Pāramī.
Adhiṭṭhāna Pāramī should be included in all the Six Pāramīs of Dāna, Sīla, Khantī, Vīriya, Jhāna and Paññā. (Unshakeable determination in performance of Dāna should be counted as Dāna Pāramī;likewise, unshakeable determination in matters related to Sīla,
Khantī, Vīriya, Jhāna and Paññā should be included in their respective Pāramīs.)
Advantages of pairing The Six Pāramīs
First of all, the six abridged pāramīs, namely, Dāna, Sīla, Khantī, Vīriya, Jhāna and Paññā, could be formed into fifteen pairs as follows:
(a) Dāna and Sīla,
(b) Dāna and Khantī,
(c) Dāna and Vīriya,
(d) Dāna and Jhāna,
(e) Dāna and Paññā,
(f) Sīla and Khantī,
(g) Sīla and Vīriya,
(h) Sīla and Jhāna,
(i) Sīla and Paññā,
(j) Khantī and Vīriya,
(k) Khantī and Jhāna,
(l) Khantī and Paññā,
(m) Vīriya and Jhāna,
(n) Vīriya and Paññā, and
(o) Jhāna and Paññā,
The Bodhisatta accomplishes through the pair of:
(a) Dāna and Sīla, the double merit of doing what is beneficial to others and of abstaining from what is harmful to them;
(b) Dāna and Khantī, the double benefit of non-greed and non-hatred; (c) Dāna and Vīriya, the double merit of generosity and learning;
(d) Dāna and Jhāna, the double merit of abandoning sensual desires and ill-will;
(e) Dāna and Paññā, the double merit of concentration and insight meditation; and also the double merit of learning the Text Pariyatti and meditation;
(f) Sīla and Khantī, the double merit of purity of bodily and verbal conduct and purity of mental disposition;
(g) Sīla and Vīriya, the double merit of Concentration and Insight Meditation;
(h) Sīla and Jhāna, the double merit of abandoning vītikkama kilesa and pariyuṭṭhāna kilesa; (Vītikkama kilesa is defilement which produces evil actions in deed and word; it is removed by sīla. Pariyuṭṭhāna kilesa is defilement which is violently active only in the mind; it is removed by jhāna);
(i) Sīla and Paññā, the double gift of harmlessness (abhaya dāna) and gift of Dhamma (Dhamma dāna); (the gift of harmlessness is possible only when endowed with sīla; and gift of Dhamma, when endowed with paññā);
(j) Khantī and Vīriya, the double quality of patience and perseverance; (the vicissitudes of life can be withstood only with forbearance; and it is only when there is energy that meritorious deeds are performed with zeal and enthusiasm);
(k) Khantī and Jhāna, the double benefit of abandoning hostility that arise out of illwill and of favouritism that arises out of greed; (without Khantī one is opposed to undesirable aspect of the world out of ill-will; without jhāna one is overwhelmed by desirable aspect of the world out of greed);
(n) Vīriya and Paññā, the double benefit of being a refuge of beings and that of himself (refuge of beings by means of Vīriya; refuge of self by means of Paññā); and
(o) Jhāna and Paññā, the double benefit of concentration and Insight Meditation.
Advantages accruing from Triads
(Similarly, there are advantages of grouping the Pāramīs into triads.)
The Bodhisatta accomplishes the triple benefit of:
(1) abandoning greed, hatred and bewilderment, the three roots of demeritoriousness, through the triad of dāna, sīla and Khantī;
(2) extracting of essence from one’s wealth, from one’s physical body and from one’s life;(being associated with five enemies, wealth and property are void of intrinsic values; their real worth is giving them away (dāna); being subjected to various ills and ailments, the body is devoid of substance; its real essence is observance of precepts (sīla); ultimately ending up in destruction, life is devoid of substance; its real essence is development of Insight Meditation. The Commentary on the Kanha Jātaka of the Dasaka Nipāta gives an account on these subjects);
(3) the meritorious deeds of dāna, sīla, bhāvanā through the triad of dāna, sīla and jhāna;
(4) three kinds of gift, namely, the gift of material objects, the gift of harmlessness and the gift of Dhamma, through dāna, sīla and paññā;(through dāna, the gift of material objects is accomplished; through sīla, the gift of harmlessness and through paññā, the gift of Dhamma).
In this way, gaining of triple, quadruple benefits through the remaining triads and tetrads may be understood as is appropriate in each case.
Method of enumerating The Six Pāramīs by including Them in The Four Foundations (Adhiṭṭhāna)
Having shown how the Ten Pāramīs could be condensed into six by combining similar ones, it could be shown again how the Six can be included in the Four Foundations:
(i) Foundation of Truthfulness (Saccādhiṭṭhāna) means: Nibbāna which is Absolute Truth (the Paramattha Sacca) together with initial practices which leads to Nibbāna (pubbabhāga pāṭipada), namely, truthful speech (vacī-sacca), abstention from falsehood (virati sacca) which is mental concomitant of right speech (sammā-vācā) and truthful wisdom (ñāṇa-sacca) which is mental concomitant of wisdom (paññā). (The vacī-sacca, virati-sacca and ñāṇa-sacca form a supporting foundation for the Bodhisatta to stand on, in the course of existences during which the pāramīs are fulfilled and in the existence when he becomes a Buddha. Nibbāna as Paramattha Sacca forms a supporting foundation on which he stands when he becomes a Buddha. Hence they constitute Saccādhiṭṭhāna.)
(ii) Foundation of Abandonment (Cāgādhiṭṭhāna) means: abandonment and uprooting of all mental defilements without any remnant, by means of arahatta-magga and forsaking, in the initial stage while still a Bodhisatta, of sense objects and sense desires through fulfilment of the pāramīs, such as dāna, etc., (While fulfiling the pāramīs as a Bodhisatta, he is not able to abandon and uproot mental defilements without any remnant. He can only forsake sense objects as far as possible through Dāna Pāramī, etc., and put away sense desires temporarily (tadanga-pahāna) and to a distance (vikkhambhana-pahāna). Only in this way can the Bodhisatta build a supporting foundation to stand on. Only when he achieves arahatta-phala and Omniscience and becomes a Buddha is he firmly established on the foundation of complete abandonment and uprooting of defilements without any remnant. Therefore, complete abandonment and uprooting of defilements by means of arahatta-magga and putting away sense objects and sense desires temporarily or to a distance constitute Cāgādhiṭṭhāna).
(iii) Foundation of Tranquillity (Upasamādhiṭṭhāna) means: complete calming of all the “fever of defilements” by means of arahatta-magga, allaying the suffering in the cycle of rebirths when Nibbāna is realized, and putting away the “fever of defilements” temporarily or to a distance through fulfilment of the pāramīs, such as dāna, etc., while still a Bodhisatta. (While fulfilling the pāramīs as a Bodhisatta, the “fever of defilements” and suffering in the cycle of rebirth have not completely subsided yet. Therefore, through the pāramīs, such as dāna, etc., which form the means of allaying them, the Bodhisatta puts away the “fever of defilements” temporarily or to a distance. By such practices only, the Bodhisatta builds for himself a temporary supporting foundation to stand on. It is only when he attains Buddhahood that he is firmly established on the supporting foundation through complete removal of the “fever of defilements” and of the suffering in the cycle of rebirths. Hence, calming of the “fever of defilements”, and of the suffering in the cycle of rebirths constitute Upasamādhiṭṭhāna.)
(iv) Foundation of Wisdom (Paññādhiṭṭhāna) means: the arahatta-phala Insight, Omniscience and all kinds of wisdom, such as upāya-kosalla ñāṇa, etc., which have arisen earlier in the mental continuum of the Bodhisatta. (In his existences as a Bodhisatta, he remains with the earlier forms of wisdom such as upāya-kosalla ñāṇa. etc. It is only when he attains Buddhahood that he is firmly established on the supporting foundation of arahatta-phala Insight and Omniscience. Hence all the various kinds of aforesaid wisdom constitute Paññādhiṭṭhāna).
For the ignorant common worldlings, who have only sense objects and sense desires to rely on, these sense objects and sense desires constitute their foundation. As for the Bodhisatta who clearly sees danger in them, he establishes himself on the four supporting foundations of sacca, cāga, upasama and paññā, which lead from these sense objects and sense desires to freedom, which is Nibbāna. Therefore, these four factors constitute the supporting foundations for the Bodhisatta.
How Fulfilment of The Four Adhiṭṭhānas takes place in The Mental Continuum of The Bodhisatta
After receiving the definite prophecy of attaining Buddhahood, the Bodhisatta investigates the pāramīs by means of Perfection-investigating Wisdom (Pāramī-pavicaya ñāṇa). Having done so, he makes a vow to fulfil all pāramīs, then he proceeds to fulfil them all in keeping with this vow. Thus Saccādhiṭṭhāna becomes manifest in the mental continuum of the Bodhisatta.
While pāramīs are being fulfilled, there occur abandonment of defilements, which oppose them, and there also occur abandonment of sense objects and sense desires. Thus, Cāgādhiṭṭhāna also becomes manifest.
As there is extinction of defilements by virtue of pāramīs, Upasamādhiṭṭhāna also becomes manifest.
Through these same pāramīs, the Bodhisatta becomes endowed with upāya-kosalla ñāṇa and Paññādhiṭṭhāna also becomes manifest.
(What is meant here is: whenever he fulfils the Ten Pāramīs or the Six Pāramīs, or whenever he performs a meritorious deed related to pāramīs, there become manifest in the mental continuum of the Bodhisatta: (i) Saccādhiṭṭhāna, which is the endeavour without fail, to implement the vow he has made; (ii) Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, which is the abandonment of defilements, which oppose pāramīs; (iii) Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, which is the extinction of the defilements; and (iv) Paññādhiṭṭhāna, which is the skill in ways and means for promotion of welfare of beings. Therefore the six pāramīs can again be condensed into the four adhiṭṭhānas of sacca, cāga, upasama and paññā.)
When a person, engaged in a blameless business venture, finding it profitable as intended, he keeps pursuing that venture with increasing industry and vigour. Here the profit accruing from the initial business venture is the cause; increasing industry and vigour in the pursuance of it is the effect of that cause.
In a similar manner, when the Bodhisatta undertakes to perform blameless meritorious deeds of pāramī, he comes to enjoy the benefit of these meritorious deeds in the form of the four adhiṭṭhānas, namely, the sweet taste of Vacī-sacca (“Saccam have sādūtaram rasānam”, Yakkha Samyutta); the abandonment of defilement (cāga); extinction of the
“fever of defilements” (upasama), and upāya-kosalla ñāṇa. He keeps on performing these meritorious deeds of pāramī with increasing industry and vigour, existence after existence. Here, the benefit of these meritorious deeds, in the form of the four adhiṭṭhāna, is the cause and the meritorious deeds of pāramī repeated with increasing industry and vigour are the effect of that cause. It should be understood that occurrence of meritorious deeds of pāramī and occurrence of the four adhiṭṭhānas are one and the same thing expressed in different words.
To describe them in detail:
(i) While in the course of performing the good deeds of Dāna Pāramī, the Bodhisatta comes to enjoy the benefits accruing from (a) Saccādhiṭṭhāna, which is performance of an act of Dāna without fail in accordance with his vow: “I will make an offering when I see someone seeking gifts”; (b) Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, which is abandonment of demeritorious stinginess, etc., which oppose generosity; (c) Upasamādhiṭṭhāna which is extinction of greed for gifts’ materials, of hatred (which occurs to those who are reluctant to make gifts) towards those who come for gifts; of bewilderment as to dāna; bewilderment tends to occur when one is not used to making gifts); of fear of waste which arises in unwilling givers when they see loss or destruction of gifts’ materials brought about somehow or other; (d) Paññādhiṭṭhāna which is offering gifts befittingly at the proper time as planned, and preceded by wisdom.
Having enjoyed the benefit of these four adhiṭṭhānas, the Bodhisatta keeps on developing the Dāna Pāramī more earnestly.
(ii) Likewise, while in the course of fulfilling the Sīla Pāramī, the Bodhisatta comes to enjoy the benefit accruing from (a) Saccādhiṭṭhāna, which is non-transgression of precepts in accordance with his vow (b) Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, which is abandonment of immoral unwholesome volition, and demeritoriousness;(c) Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, which is extinction of harm caused by wrong deeds;(d) Paññādhiṭṭhāna, which is wisdom playing a dominant role. Having enjoyed the benefit of these four adhiṭṭhānas, the Bodhisatta keeps on developing the Sīla Pāramī more earnestly.
(iii) While in the course of fulfilling the Khantī Pāramī, the Bodhisatta comes to enjoy the benefit accruing from (a) Saccādhiṭṭhāna, which is practice of forbearance without fail in accordance with his vow; (b) Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, which is abandonment of wrong thoughts caused by wrong deeds and words of others; (c) Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, which is extinction of violent anger; (d) Paññādhiṭṭhāna, which is wisdom playing a dominant role.
Having enjoyed the benefit of these four adhiṭṭhānas;the Bodhisatta keeps on developing the Khantī Pāramī more earnestly.
(iv) While in the course of fulfilling the Vīriya Pāramī, the Bodhisatta comes to enjoy the benefit accruing from (a) Saccādhiṭṭhāna, which is working for the welfare of others in accordance with his vow; (b) Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, which is abandonment of slackness and inefficiency; (c) Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, which is extinction of harm caused by demeritoriousness; (d) Paññādhiṭṭhāna, which is wisdom playing a dominant role.
Having enjoyed the benefit of these four adhiṭṭhānas;the Bodhisatta keeps on developing the Vīriya Pāramī more earnestly.
(v) While in the course of fulfilling the Jhāna Pāramī, the Bodhisatta comes to enjoy the benefit accruing from (a) Saccādhiṭṭhāna, which is thinking deeply about and seeking the welfare of the world in accordance with his vow; (b) Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, which is abandonment of demeritorious hindrances (nīvaraṇas); (c) Upasamādhiṭṭhāna which is peace of mind; (d) Paññādhiṭṭhāna which is wisdom playing a dominant role.
Having enjoyed the benefit of these four adhiṭṭhānas, the Bodhisatta keeps on developing the Jhāna Pāramī more earnestly.
(vi) While in the course of fulfilling the Paññā Pāramī, the Bodhisatta comes to enjoy the benefit accruing from (a) Saccādhiṭṭhāna, which is skill in means and ways of promoting welfare of others in accordance with his vow; (b) Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, which is abandonment of wrong paths and actions; (c) Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, which is extinction of all forms of worries and anxieties caused through one’s ignorance; (d) Paññādhiṭṭhāna, which is wisdom playing a dominant role.
Having enjoyed the benefit of these four adhiṭṭhānas, the Bodhisatta keeps on developing the Paññā Pāramī more earnestly.
In this manner, with every act of merit in fulfilment of pāramīs, there occur the four adhiṭṭhānas; hence it is said that the Six Pāramīs may be included in the Four Adhiṭṭhānas.
The Four Adhiṭṭhānas counted as A Single Adhiṭṭhāna
Just as the Six Pāramīs are included in the Four Adhiṭṭhānas, so also each of the four adhiṭṭhānas may be counted as embracing the remaining three. This is how it is effected.
Like Saccādhiṭṭhāna, Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, Upasamādhiṭṭhāna and Paññādhiṭṭhāna being of the nature of faithful performance in keeping with the vow may be included in Saccādhiṭṭhāna.
Like Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, Saccādhiṭṭhāna, Upasamādhiṭṭhāna and Paññādhiṭṭhāna being of the nature of abandonment of opposing factors and being the result of total relinquishing may be included in Cāgādhiṭṭhāna.
Like Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, Saccādhiṭṭhāna, Cāgādhiṭṭhāna and Paññādhiṭṭhāna being of the nature of extinction of all the heat caused by one’s deeds and defilements may be included in Upasamādhiṭṭhāna.
Saccādhiṭṭhāna, Cāgādhiṭṭhāna and Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, following paññā as their leader, may be included in Paññādhiṭṭhāna.
How The Adhiṭṭhānas bring Benefits
Thus all the pāramīs have their commencement with Saccādhiṭṭhāna;they become manifest through Cāgādhiṭṭhāna; they grow and prosper through Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, and by means of Paññādhiṭṭhāna, they distance themselves from defilements and become purified of all of them.
Furthermore, in the first phase of the pāramīs, Saccādhiṭṭhāna plays a leading role; only with Saccādhiṭṭhāna, fulfilment of the pāramīs can be commenced. In the middle phase, Cāgādhiṭṭhāna takes the leading role; having commenced the fulfilment of the pāramīs with Saccādhiṭṭhāna, it is continued in the middle phase by sacrificing totally one’s body and life for the welfare of others through Cāgādhiṭṭhāna. In the final phase, Upasamādhiṭṭhāna takes over the leadership; only with the extinction of all the suffering of saṃsāra, the task of fulfiling the pāramīs comes to an end.
Paññādhiṭṭhāna is supreme throughout all the three phases of the beginning, the middle and the end. Only with paññā can fulfilment of the pāramīs be commenced, total sacrifice of one’s body and life can be made and final extinction of suffering of saṃsāra can take place.
All the four adhiṭṭhānas constantly promote welfare of oneself and of others and cause one to be highly revered and loved by everyone. Of these four, through Saccādhiṭṭhāna and Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, the Bodhisatta, as a layman, benefits others with material gift; and through Upasamādhiṭṭhāna and Paññādhiṭṭhāna, the Bodhisatta, as an ascetic, benefits others with the gift of Dhamma.
How Fulfilment of The Four Adhiṭṭhānas takes place in The Bodhisatta’s Last Existence when He becomes A Buddha
Preliminary note: In stating different views of various teachers in the treatises, they are mentioned as Eke vāda or Aññe vāda when these teachers have qualifications worthy to be the author’s teacher; when they have qualifications equal to his, the author describes their views as Apare vāda; when they are inferior to him, he refers to theirs as Keci vāda.
This traditional way of recording is handed down generation after generation: Eke or Aññe means those worthy to be the author’s teachers; Apare means those with qualifications equal to those of the author, and keci implies those inferior to him.
As to how the fulfilment of the Four Adhiṭṭhānas takes place in the Bodhisatta’s last existence, eke teachers maintain that the Four Adhiṭṭhānas are already fulfilled at the time when the Bodhisatta is conceived. (Just as the Bodhisatta’s conception takes place in his last existence only when the pāramīs are completely fulfilled, so also does it take place only when the Four Adhiṭṭhānas reach complete fulfilment.)
Explanation given by these eke teachers: Having completely fulfilled the Paññādhiṭṭhāna at the time of descending into his mother’s womb, while remaining there for ten months and when emerging from it, the Bodhisatta is bound to possess mindfulness and clear comprehension.
Ordinary worldlings are not aware of their descending into their mother’s womb, nor are they aware of remaining there and emerging from it at birth. The eighty future Disciples are aware of descending into their mothers’ wombs, but they are not aware of remaining there or of emerging from them; the two future Chief Disciples and future Paccekabuddhas are aware of their descending into their mothers’ wombs, and of remaining there, but not of emerging from them at birth. True, these future Chief Disciples and future Paccekabuddhas, when the time draws near for their births, are flung in a tumble by internal pressure of the womb towards external genital orifice, as if plunged into a very deep chasm. Then they undergo extreme suffering in emerging from the genital orifice, just like the big elephant would if it were to push its way through a keyhole. Therefore, these future Chief Disciples and future Paccekabuddhas are unable to know that they are emerging from their mothers’ wombs. In this way, one should have a deep sense of religious urgency by contemplating the extreme suffering of conception in the mother’s womb with the thought: “Even such personages, who are accomplished in the pāramīs, are subjected to intense suffering on such an occasion!”
The future Buddhas, however, are conscious of all the three events of descending into the mother’s womb, of remaining there and of emerging from it at birth. The internal pressure is not capable of turning them topsy-turvy in the womb. On their birth, they always emerge from the mother’s womb with both hands stretched out, eyes open, and standing firmly and straight. Apart from the future Buddhas, there is no single being who is mindful of these three events. Therefore, at the time of their taking conception in the mother’s womb, and at the time of birth, the ten thousand world-systems shook violently (Commentary to the Dīgha Nikāya, 3rd volume).
Having completely fulfilled the Saccādhiṭṭhāna, as soon as he is born, the Bodhisatta goes forward taking seven steps towards the north, and surveying boldly all the directions, makes a truthful utterance three times without fear, like a lion’s roar: “I am the foremost in the world (aggo'ham asmi lokassa); I am the most eminent in the world (jettho'ham asmi lokassa); I am the most praise-worthy in the world (settho'ham asmi lokassa).”
Having completely fulfilled the Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, when he sees the four signs of the old man, the sick man, the dead man and the ascetic, the arrogance due to youthfulness, healthiness, longevity and wealthiness ceases in the mental continuum of the Bodhisatta, who has deep understanding of the four epitomes of Dhamma (Dhammuddesa), namely, how this body is oppressed by old age, ailments, death and how escape from servitude of craving for pleasures and wealth is impossible unless there is complete detachment from it (as given in the Ratthapāla Sutta).
Having completely fulfilled the Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, the Bodhisatta leaves behind, without any concern, all the royal relatives and kinsmen; he also abandons the kingship he has been enjoying and the sovereignty of a Universal Monarch which is about to come within his grasp.
According to keci teachers, the Four Adhiṭṭhānas are completely fulfilled only on the occasion when Buddhahood is attained. Their interpretation is: When he becomes a Buddha (attaining arahatta-magga ñāṇa and Omniscience) through the past accumulation of Saccādhiṭṭhāna in accordance with his vow, he penetrates the Four Noble Truths; hence the Saccādhiṭṭhāna is fully accomplished then. Through the past accumulation of Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, he eradicates all the defilements; hence Cāgādhiṭṭhāna is fully accomplished then. Through the past accumulation of Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, he achieves the most sublime Peace of Nibbāna when he becomes a Buddha, hence Upasamādhiṭṭhāna is fully accomplished then. Through the past accumulation of Paññādhiṭṭhāna, he achieves the unobstructed knowledge of all there is to know (anāvarana ñāṇa); hence Paññādhiṭṭhāna is fully accomplished then.
This is the interpretation by keci teachers, on which the Commentator, Venerable Mahā Dhammapāla, remarks: “Their statement is imperfect because Abhisambhodhi, which is arahatta-magga ñāṇa or Omniscience, is purely Absolute Reality; because Upasamādhiṭṭhāna means extinction through non-arising of the suffering of saṃsāra or Complete
Aññe teachers, however, say that the Four Adhiṭṭhānas are completely fulfilled on the occasion the discourse on the Wheel of Dhamma (Dhamma-cakka) is taught (when the Buddha develops the Knowledge of Teaching, Desanā Ñāṇa.).
This is how aññe teachers explain their view: The mental continuum of the Buddha, who has in the past made an accumulation of Saccādhiṭṭhāna, becomes accomplished in it by teaching the Noble Truths in three modes of sacca-ñāṇa, kicca-ñāṇa and kata-ñāṇa with regard to each of the Four Noble Truths. The mental continuum of the Buddha, who has in the past made an accumulation of Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, becomes accomplished in it by making the great offering of the True Dhamma. The mental continuum of the Buddha, who has in the past made an accumulation of Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, becomes accomplished in it by having attained Himself the Peace of Freedom from defilements and causing others to attain the same like Himself. The mental continuum of the Buddha, who has in the past made an accumulation of Paññādhiṭṭhāna, becomes accomplished in it by full comprehension of the propensities and latent tendencies of beings.
This is the interpretation by aññe teachers, on which the Commentator, Venerable Mahā Dhammapāla, remarks: “The statement of aññe teachers is also imperfect because the Four Adhiṭṭhānas become completely accomplished only when the duties of a Buddha (Buddhakicca) are over; with the teaching of Dhammacakka Discourse, the Buddha has just begun performing His duties; He has not yet finished them. Hence the statement of aññe teachers remains incomplete.”
Apare teachers maintain that the Four Adhiṭṭhānas are completely fulfilled on the occasion when Nibbāna is fully realized (Parinibbāna).
This is how the apare teachers explain their view: Of the four aspects of Saccādhiṭṭhāna, Nibbāna as Paramattha Saccādhiṭṭhāna is paramount; its function is not yet complete by mere attainment of arahatta-magga through extinction of defilements (kilesa-parinibbāna).
Its function is complete only when existence comes to an end with extinction of aggregates (khandha-parinibbāna). It is only then that Saccādhiṭṭhāna becomes perfect. At that time, because all the four aggregates, namely, the aggregate of sense desire (kāmupadhi), the aggregate of body (khandhupadhi), the aggregate of defilements (kilesupadhi) and the aggregate of volitional activities (abhisaṅkhārūpadhi) have been rejected, Cāgādhiṭṭhāna becomes perfect. Then because all the mental formations cease, Upasamādhiṭṭhāna becomes perfect. At that time too, because all the purpose of wisdom is achieved, Paññādhiṭṭhāna becomes perfect. That is the view of apare teachers. Without making any criticism of their view, the Commentator, Venerable Mahā Dhammapāla, gives his own interpretation as a supplement to it: (a) Perfection of Saccādhiṭṭhāna is particularly evident at the time of (the Bodhisatta's) birth; (b) Perfection of Paññādhiṭṭhāna is particularly evident at the time of his Enlightenment; (c) Perfection of Cāgādhiṭṭhāna is particularly evident when he makes the great gift of Dhamma by delivering the Discourse on Dhammacakka; (d) Perfection of Upasamādhiṭṭhāna is particularly evident when he realizes Nibbāna.
To summarise the various views of different teachers:
(i) Eke teachers say that the Four Adhiṭṭhānas become perfect on the first occasion when conception takes place in the last existence.
(ii) Keci teachers say that the Four Adhiṭṭhānas become perfect on the second occasion when Enlightenment is attained.
(iii) Aññe teachers say that the Four Adhiṭṭhānas become perfect on the third occasion when the Discourse on Dhammacakka is delivered.
(iv) Apare teachers say that the Four Adhiṭṭhānas become perfect on the fourth occasion when Nibbāna is realized.
Following the tradition of authors who express last in their works the view they endorse, the Venerable Mahā Dhammapāla mentions last the apare vāda because he approves of it and accepts it with a supplementary remark which is: “The Four Adhiṭṭhānas become perfect only on the fourth occasion when Nibbāna is realized as stated by apare teachers. However, it is particularly evident that Saccādhiṭṭhāna is perfect at the time of the first event; Paññādhiṭṭhāna, at the time of the second event; Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, at the time of the third event; and Upasamādhiṭṭhāna at the time of the fourth event.”
Benefits of The Adhiṭṭhānas
Through Saccādhiṭṭhāna, purification of morality is effected; through Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, purification of livelihoods; through Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, purification of mind; and through Paññādhiṭṭhāna, purification of knowledge.
In addition, through Saccādhiṭṭhāna (because he does not deviate from truth), he does not follow the wrong course of hatred; through Cāgādhiṭṭhāna (because he is not attached to sense objects), he does not follow the wrong course of greed; through Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, (because he is faultless and) since there is nothing to be afraid, he does not follow the wrong course of fear; and through Paññādhiṭṭhāna (because he sees things as they really are) he does not follow the wrong course of delusion.
Furthermore, through Saccādhiṭṭhāna, he can tolerate, without anger, inconveniences caused by cold, heat, hunger; by contact with gadflies, mosquitoes, flies, wind, sun, reptiles; annoying insults and abuses of others; and distressing ailments. Through Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, he makes use of the four requisites of robes, alms-food, dwelling and medicine, without attachment arising from greed. Through Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, he avoids dangers of wild elephants, wild horses, wild cattle, wild dogs, etc., remaining absolutely calm. Through Paññādhiṭṭhāna, he dispels, without delusion, wrong thoughts of sense pleasure, ill-will and cruelty as well as demeritorious factors.
Through Saccādhiṭṭhāna, he achieves happiness of renunciation; through Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, of solitude;through Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, of peace; and through Paññādhiṭṭhāna, happiness associated with fourfold knowledges of the Path.
Through Saccādhiṭṭhāna, he achieves happiness of the First Jhāna; through Cāgādhiṭṭhāna, of the Second Jhāna; through Upasamādhiṭṭhāna, of the Third Jhāna; through Paññādhiṭṭhāna, of the Fourth Jhāna.
Thus it should be understood how all the pāramīs are included in the Four Adhiṭṭhānas accompanied by various attributes.
How all the Pāramīs are counted as Two Factors
Just as all the pāramīs are included in the Four Adhiṭṭhānas, they are also counted as two factors, namely, Compassion (karuṇā) and Wisdom (paññā). True, it is only the virtues, such as dāna, etc., founded on Compassion and Wisdom which are the requisites for Perfect Self-Enlightenment resulting in attainment of Omniscience.
(This is the synopsis of the Pāramīs)
What has been described in This chapter
How the thirty pāramīs are reduced to ten; how the Ten Pāramīs are reduced to six: Dāna, Sīla, Khantī, Vīriya, Jhāna and Paññā; then how these six pāramīs are reduced to the Four Adhiṭṭhānas; and finally, how all the pāramīs are reduced to two factors: Compassion and Wisdom.
Footnotes and references:
Foundation (adhiṭṭhāna): We have translated previously adhiṭṭhāna as ‘resolution’ or ‘determination’, but these words are not applicable here and 'foundation' seems more appropriate in this context. P.E.D gives adhiṭṭhāna also “in the sense of fixed, permanent abode” besides ‘decision, resolution, self-determination, etc.’
Raṭṭhapāla Sutta: The eighty-second Sutta of the Majjhima Nikāya.
Three modes: sacca-ñāṇa: the knowledge that it is the truth; kicca-ñāṇa: the knowledge that a certain function, with regard to that truth, has to be peformed; kata-ñāṇa: the knowledge that the function, with regard to that truth, has been performed.