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Chapter XXXI - The Thirty-seven Auxiliaries to Enlightenment



The title of the fourth noble truth preached by the Buddha in his sermon at Benares is the path of cessation of suffering (duḥkhanirodhagāminī pratipad). It deals with the noble eight-membered Path (ārya aṣṭāṅgamārga), the culmination of a method of liberation involving an infinite number of more or less efficacious spiritual practices. The most important – among which are included the eight Path members – are designated by the name ‘Auxiliaries to Enlightenment’, bodhipakkhika or bodhipakkhiya in Pāli, bodhipākṣika, bodhipakṣika, bodhipakṣya or bodhipakṣa dharma in Sanskrit.

Definition of the Vibhāṣā (T 1545, k. 96, p. 496b18–21): “Why are they called bodhipākṣika? The two knowledges of the saint, the knowledge of the cessation of the impurities (āsravaṣayajñāna) and the knowledge that they will not arise again (anutpādajñāna) are given the name of Bodhi because they consist of the complete understanding of the four Truths. If a dharma is favorable to this complete understanding, it is given the name of bodhipākṣika.”

Definition of the Kośa, (VI, p. 282–284): “Kṣayajñāna and anutpādajñāna are Bodhi which, due to the difference of the saints who attain it, is threefold: śrāvakabodhi, pratyekabodhi, anuttarā samyaksaṃbodhi. Indeed, ignorance is completely abandoned (aśeṣāvidyāprahāṇāt) by these two jñānas: by means of the first, one knows truly that the task has been accomplished; by means of the second, one knows that the task will no longer have to be accomplished. Inasmuch as they are favorable to this Bodhi, thirty-seven dharmas are its auxiliaries (tadanulomyataḥ saptatriṃśat tu tatpakṣāḥ)… All these auxiliaries to Bodhi are also a group of pure (anāsrava) or impure (sāsrava) qualities of hearing (śruta), reflecting (cintā) and meditating (bhāvanā), arising from practice (prāyogika).”

But the classical list of the thirty-seven auxiliaries to enlightenment (saptatriṃśad bodhipākṣikādharmāḥ) was slow in being formulated:

1. In the Nikāyas and the Āgamas the term bodhipākṣika dharma is rather rare and still poorly defined. The Aṅguttara, III, p. 70, 300 (cf. Vibhaṅga, p. 244) includes among them: the guarding of the senses (indriyeṣu guttadvāratā, sobriety (bhojane mattaññutā) and heedfulness (jāgariy’ ānuyoga). For the Saṃyutta, V, p. 227, 239, the bodhipākṣika are the five spiritual faculties (indriya); for the Vibhaṅga, p. 249, they are the seven members of enlightenment (sambojjhaṅga).

2. In the Canon there is frequently a list of 37 dharmas divided into seven classes: 1) the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthana), 2) the four right efforts (samyakpradhāna), 3) the four bases of magical powers (ṛddhipāda), 4) the five spiritual faculties (indriya), 5) the five strengths (bala), 6) the seven members of enlightenment (saṃbodhyaṅga or bodhyaṅga), 7) the seven members of the path (mārgāṅga).

Except for the Ekottarāgama, the Nikāyas and the Āgamas do not enumerate these dharmas which are 37 in total, and do not describe them as bodhipākṣika.

See, for example, Dīgha, II, p. 120 (cf. Sanskrit Mahāparinirvāṇa, ed. Waldschmidt, p. 196, 224); Dīgha III, p. 102, 127; Majjhima, II, p. 238–239; III, p. 296; Aṅguttara, IV, p. 125, 203; Udāna, p. 56. It is the same for the Pāli Vinaya, II, p. 240; III, p. 93; IV, p. 26, etc. – Madhyamāgama, T 26, k. 8, p. 476c20–21; k. 9, p. 479a18–19; k. 52, p. 753c6–7; Saṃyuktāgama, T 99k. 2, p. 14a7–8; k. 3, p. 19c5–6; k, 13, p. 87c3–4; k. 24, p. 176c14–15; k. 26, p. 188b26–27.

The Ekottarika, a late text crammed with Mahāyānist interpolations, is the only Āgama to enumerate these dharmas and describe them as bodhipākṣika: cf. T 125, k. 3, p. 561b20–22; k. 7, p. 579c26; k. 13, p. 612a19–20; k. 18, p. 635b25–26; k. 26, p. 696c9; k. 40, p. 765c15.

3. Sometimes the seven classes are incorporated into a list of more than 37 dharmas, e.g., Majjhima, II, p. 11–12; Anguttara, I, p. 39–49; and also for the Greater Vehicle, Pañcaviṃśati, p. 203–308; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1427–1439.

4. Paracanonical or postcanonical texts, whether Pāli or Sanskrit, the sūtras and śāstras of the Greater Vehicle list the seven classes in question, number their components and give them a name, ‘the 37 bodhipākṣika dharmas’, that will remain classical.

For the Pāli sources, see Nettippakaraṇa, p. 197, 261; Milinda, p. 30; Visuddhimagga, ed. Warren, p. 582–583; commentaries by Buddhaghosa on the Saṃyutta, I, p. 104; II, p. 139; III, p. 136; and on the Aṅguttara, I, p. 85; II, p. 11; III, p. 56; IV, p. 111; Compendium of Philosophy, p. 179.

For the Sanskrit-Chinese sources, see an infinity of texts on the two Vehicles: Divyāvadāna, p. 350, 616; Avadānaśataka, I, p. 340; Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 96, p. 495c27–28; Kośa, VI, p. 281; Abhidharmadīpa, p. 57 seq.; Lalitavistara, p. 9; Pañcaviṃśati, T 223, k. 18, p. 350b9; Kāśyapaparivarta, p. 75; Saddharmapuṇd., p. 458; Vimalakīrti, p. 117, 139, 144, 201–202, 216, 378; Sūtrālaṃkāra, p. 140–146; Madhyantavibhāga, p. 89–94; Yogācārabhūmi, T 1579, k. 28, p. 439c–440a (for the śrāvakas): Bodh. bhūmi, p. 259 (for the bodhisattvas); Dharmasaṃgraha, ch. 43; Arthaviniścaya, p. 569–575; Mahāvyut., no. 952–1004.

5. As well as the classical list of 37 bodhipakṣikas which is by far the most widespread, there are also aberrant lists:

a. The Nettippakaraṇa, which notes (p. 31, 261) the list of 37, mentions (p. 112, 237) a list of 43 bodhipakkhiyas beginning with six saññā: anicca, duhkha, anatta, pahāna,virāga and nirodhasaññā.

b. In his commentary on the Anguttara (I, p. 85) Buddhaghosa mentions as heretical (adhamma) a list of 38 bodhipakkhiyas, consisting of 3 sati, 3 padhāna, 3 iddipāda, 6 indriya, 6 bala, 8 bojjhaṅga and 9 maggaṅga.

c. According to the Vibhāṣā (T 545, k. 86, p. 499a14–15), the Vibhajyavādins have a list of 41 bodhipākṣikas, by adding the four āryavaṃśas ‘Ārya stock’ – being content with clothing, food and seat, and taking delight in cessation and the Path – to the 37 traditional ones.

d. According to Bhavya (M. Walleser, Die Sekten des alten Buddhismus, 1927, p. 90: A. Bareau, Trois Traités, JA 1956, p. 186) place the four apramāṇas, also called brahmavihāras, loving-kindness, etc., among the bodhyaṅgas.

[In Kośa, VI, p. 281, note, de La Vallée Poussin comments that the Anguttara, I, p. 53, recognizes only six bodhyaṅgas, memory being omitted. This is wrong, for memory (satisaṃbojjaṅga) is mentioned in the first line on p. 53.]



1. The four smṛtyupasthānas

Pāli formula in Dīgha, II, p. 290; Majjhima, I,p. 55–56; Saṃyutta, V, p. 141, 167, 185; Vibhaṅga, p. 193:

Ekāyano ayaṃ bhikkhave maggo ….vuneyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ.

Sanskrit formula in Pañcaviṃśati, p. 204; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1427; Daśabhūmika, p. 38.

Sa … kāye kāyānupaśyi (var. kāyānudarśī)vinīyā loke ‘bhidhyādaurmanasye.

Transl. – O monks, there is only one way for the purification of beings, for going beyond sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of suffering and sadness, for the conquest of the right Path, for the realization of nirvāṇa: this is the four foundations of mindfulness. What are these four?

1. The monk dwells considering the body in the body, energetic, aware, mindful of controlling greed and sorrow in the world.

2. He dwells considering feeling in the feelings, energetic, aware, mindful of controlling greed and sorrow in the world.

3. He dwells considering the mind in the mind, energetic, aware, mindful of controlling greed and sorrow in the world.

4. He dwells considering dharmas in the dharmas, energetic, aware, mindful of controlling greed and sorrow in the world.


Pāli formula: Dīgha, II, p. 216, 292–306; Majjhima, I, p. 56–57, 59; Anguttara, III, p. 450; Saṃyutta, V, p. 143, 294, 296; Vibhaṅga, p. 193, 195, 197:

Iti ajjhattaṃ vā kāye kāyānupassī … dhammesu dhamānupassī viharati.

Sanskrit formula: Pañcaviṃśati, p. 204 seq; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1427 seq.; Daśabhūmika, p. 38:

Evam adhyātmaṃ kmye kāyānupaśyi (var. anudarśi) … bahirdhā dharmeṣu dharmānupaśyī viharati.

Transl. – 1. Thus he dwells considering the body in the body internally (i.e., in his own body), considering the body externally (i.e., in the body of another) or considering the body (both) internally and externally.

2. He dwells considering feelings in the feelings internally, considering feeling in the feelings externally or considering feelings internally and externally.

3. He dwells considering the mind in the mind internally, considering the mind in the mind externally or considering the mind in the mind internally and externally.

4. He dwells considering dharmas in the dharmas internally, considering dharmas in the dharmas externally or considering dharmas in the dharmas internally and externally.


2. The four samyakpradhānas

In the Pāli sources, sammappadhāna ‘right efforts’; in the Sanskrit sources, samyakprahāṇa ‘right cessations’, translated into Tibetan as yaṅ dag par spoṅ ba, but glossed as samyakpradhāna in the Kośavyākhyā, p. 601, l. 29. The Chinese translations give a choice between tcheng cheng or tcheng k’in on the one hand, and tcheng touan on the other hand.

Pāli formula in Dīgha, III, p. 221; Majjhima, II, p. 11; Saṃyutta, IV,p. 364–365; V, p. 244; Anguttara, II, p. 15; IV, p. 462; Paṭisambhidā, II, p. 15, 17:

Cattāro sammappadhānā:
1. Idha bhikkhu anupannānaṃ pāpakānaṃ … ārabhati cittaṃ paggaṇhāti padahati.

Sanskrit formula in Pañcaviṃśati, p. 307; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1435–36; Daśabhūmika, p. 38; Mahāvyut., no. 958–965.

Catvāri samyakprahāṇāni:
1. Anutpannānāṃ pāpakānām akuśalānāṃpragṛhṇāti samyak pradadhāti (var. praṇidadhāti).

Transl. – The four right efforts:

1. Here the monk gives rise to zeal, exerts himself, activates his energy, stimulates his mind and strives so that evil bad dharmas not yet arisen do not arise.

2. He gives rise to zeal, exerts himself, activates his energy, stimulates his mind and strives so that evil bad dharmas already arisen are destroyed.

3. He gives rise to zeal, exerts himself, activates his energy, stimulates his mind and strives so that good dharmas not yet arisen arise.

4. He gives rise to zeal, exerts himself, activates his energy, stimulates his mind and strives so that good dharmas already arisen are maintained, preserved, developed increased, cultivated and completed.


3. The four ṛddhipādas.

Pāli formula: Dīgha, II, p. 213; III, p. 77, 221; Majjhima, I, p. 103; Saṃyutta, IV, p. 365; V, p. 254, 263–264; 278; Anguttara, I, p. 30, 297; II, p. 256; III, p. 82; IV, p. 464; Vibhaṅga, p. 216; Paṭisambhidā, I, p. 111, 113; II, p. 205:

Cattāro iddhipādā:
1. Idha bhikkhu … iddhipādaṃ bhāvati.

Sanskrit formula: Pañcaviṃśati, p. 207–208; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1436; Daśabhūmika, p. 38–39; Mahāvyut., no. 967–975:

Catvāra ṛddhipādāḥ:
1. Chandasamādhiprahāṇasaṃskārasamanvāgatam vyavasargapariṇatam.

Transl. – The four bases of magical power:

1. Here the monk cultivates with active effort the basis of magical power that is provided with zealous concentration, a basis that rests on separation, that rests on detachment, that rests on cessation and results in rejection.

2. He cultivates with active effort the basis of magical power that is provided with energetic concentration, a basis that rests, etc.

3. He cultivates with active effort the basis of magical power that is provided with the concentration of mind, a basis that rests, etc.

4. He cultivates with active effort the magical power that rests on concentration of examination, a basis that rests, etc.

[The formula vivekaniśritam, etc., that does not appear here in the Pāli wording, however, does occur.

Definition of the four samādhis constituting the bases of magical power. – Pāli wording: Saṃyutta, V, p. 268; Vibhaṅga, p. 216:

1. Chandaṃ ce bhikkhu nissāya (var. adhipatiṃ karitvā) … vuccati vīmaṃsāsamādhi.

Sanskrit wording: Kośavyākhyā, p. 601–602.

1. Chandaṃ cāpi bhikṣur adhipatiṃ … ’sya bhavati mīmāṃsāsamādhiḥ.

Transl. – Concentration, the application of the mind to a single object which the monk acquires by resting on (while giving predominance) to zeal, to energy, to the mind, or to examination, concentration of the mind or concentration of examination.


4. The five indriyas

The five spiritual faculties, not to be confused with the five organs also called indriyas, are frequently mentioned in the canonical texts but rarely defined in extenso, and the definitions given are rarely identical. There is no classical definition as there is for the other auxiliaries.

Vibhaṅgasutta of the Saṃyutta, V, p. 196–197, to be compared to the Tsa a han, T 99, no, 647, k. 26, p. 182b–c:

Pañcimāni bhikkhave indriyāni. katamāni … idaṃ vuccati bhikkhave paññindriyaṃ.

Transl. – Now, O monks, the five faculties. What are these five? The faculty of faith, the faculty of exertion, the faculty of attention, the faculty of concentration, and the faculty of wisdom.

1. What is the faculty of faith? Here the noble disciple has faith; he believes in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata and says: The Blessed One is holy, completely and fully enlightened, endowed with the sciences and methods, well-come, knower of the world, peerless, leader of men to be tamed, teacher of gods and men, the Buddha and Blessed One. This is called the faculty of faith.

2. What is the faculty of exertion? Here the noble disciple dwells actively energetic in destroying the bad dharmas and producing the good dharmas; he is firm, of proven courage, and does not reject the burden of the good dharmas. This is called the faculty of exertion.

3. What is the faculty of attention? Here the noble disciple is attentive, endowed with vigilance and supreme discrimination, unceasingly recalling and remembering what was done and what was said a long time ago. This is called the faculty of attention.

4. What is the faculty of concentration? Here the noble disciple, making renunciation the object of his mind, acquires concentration, acquires the application of mind to a single object. This is called concentration.

5. What is the faculty of wisdom? Here the noble disciple is provided with wisdom: He is endowed with wisdom to determine the rising and falling of things, wisdom that is noble, penetrating, leading to complete cessation of suffering.


Daṭṭhabbaṃ sutta of the Saṃyutta, V, p. 196 (cited in Nettippakaraṇa, p. 19), corresponding to Tsa a han, T 99, no, 646, k. 26, p. 182b:

1. Kattha ca bhikkhave saddhindriyaṃ … ettha paññindriyaṃ daṭṭhabbaṃ.

Transl. – 1. Where, O monks, is the faculty of faith to be found? In the four members of entry into the stream. That is where the faculty of faith is found.

2. Where is the faculty of exertion to be found? In the four right efforts. That is where …

3. Where is the faculty of attention to be found? In the four foundations of mindfulness. That is where …

4. Where is the faculty of concentration to be found? In the four trances. That is where …

5. Where is the faculty of wisdom to be found? In the four noble truths. That is where …


This outline is developed in the Vibhaṅgasutta, no, 2, of the Saṃyutta, V, p. 197–198, where the viriyindriya is defined in exactly the same terms as the four sammāpadhāna.

I [Lamotte] have searched in vain in the Sanskrit sources for a text corresponding to the Pāli sources cited here. The Mahāvyutpatti, no. 977–981, mentions the five indriyas but does not give a definition; the Arthaviniścaya, p. 571–572, gives a definition borrowed, it seems, from the Akṣayamatisūtra cited in the Śikṣāsamuccaya, p. 316–317, but its wording has nothing in common with the old canonical sources.


5. The five balas

Pāli formula: Aṅguttara, III, p. 10; Majjhima, II, p. 12; Saṃyutta, IV, p. 366:

Pañc’ imāni bhikkhave … samādhibalaṃ paññābalaṃ.

Sanskrit formula: Pañcaviṃśati, p. 208; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1437; Daśabhūmika, p. 39.

Sa śraddhābalaṃ samādhibalam, etc., prajñābalam, etc.

Except for the samādhibala, the Anguttara, III, p. 10–11, uses exactly the same terms to define the five balas as the Saṃyutta, V, p. 196–197, cited above, uses to define the five indriyas. The same formulas appear also in the definition of the seven balas presented by the Anguttara, IV, p. 3–4.
        Actually, it has always been recognized that there is just a difference in intensity between bala and indriya. Cf. Saṃyutta, V, p. 220: Evaṃ eva kho bhikkhave yaṃ saddhinriyaṃ taṃ saddhābalaṃ, yaṃ saddhābalaṃ taṃ saddhindriyaṃ. pe. yaṃ paññindriyaṃ taṃ paññābalaṃ, yaṃ paññābalaṃ taṃ paññindriyaṃ: “Similarly, O monks, the faculty of faith is the power of faith, and the power of faith is the faculty of faith. And so on up to: the faulty of wisdom is the power of wisdom, and the power of wisdom is the faculty of wisdom.”

This identity is confirmed by the Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 141, p. 726b13–20; Kośa, VI, p. 286.


6. The seven saṃbodhyaṅgas

Pāli wording: Majjhima, I, p. 11; II, p. 12; III, p. 275, etc.:

1. Idha bhiukkhu satisambojjhaṅgaṃ …bhāveti, etc.

Sanskrit wording in Pañcaviṃśati, p. 208; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1438; Daśabhūmika, p. 39; Mahāvyut. no. 989–995.

1. Sa smṛtysaṃbodhyaṅgaṃ … Upekṣāsaṃbodhyaṅgam bhāvayati, etc.

Transl. – Here the monk cultivates the members of enlightenment called:

1. attention, 2, discernment of dharmas, 3. exertion, 4. joy, 5. relaxation, 6. concentration, 7. equanimity: members that rest on detachment, that rest on cessation and result in rejection.


In the Pāli sources, a stock phrase defines these seven saṃbodhyaṅgas: cf. Majjhima, III, p. 86–87; Saṃyutta, V, p. 67–69, 331–332, 337–339; Vibhaṅga, p. 227:

1. Yasmiṃ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno … bhāvanāparipūriṃ gacchati.

Transl. – 1. O monks, when an unfailing attention has arisen in the monk, then the member-of-enlightenment called attention has begun in the monk, then the monk develops the member-of-enlightenment called attention, then the member-of-enlightenment called attention reaches its full development in the monk.

2. When the monk thus dwelling attentively examines, inquires and investigates this thing by means of wisdom, then the member-of-enlightenment called discernment of dharmas is launched in him.

3. When exertion without laziness arises in this monk who is examining, inquiring and investigating this thing by means of wisdom, then the member-of-enlightenment called exertion is launched in him.

4. When spiritual joy is produced in this energetic monk, then the member-of-enlightenment called joy is launched in him.

5. When the body and also the mind relaxes in this monk with joyful spirit, then the member-of-enlightenment called relaxation is launched in him.

6. When the mind is concentrated in this monk of relaxed and happy body, then the member-of-enlightenment called concentration is launched in him.

7. When this monk considers his mind thus concentrated with equanimity, then the member-of enlightenment called equanimity is launched in him, then the monk develops the member-of-enlightenment called equanimity, then the member-of-enlightenment called equanimity reaches its full development in the monk.


7. The eight mārgaṅgas

Pāli wording: Vinaya, I, p. 10; Dīgha, I, p. 157; II, p. 251, 311; Majjhima, I, p. 15, 49, 299; II, p. 82–83; III, p. 231; Saṃyutta, II, p. 42–44, 57, 59; III, p. 159;IV, p. 133, 233; V, 8, 347–348, 421, 425; Anguttara, I, p. 177, 217; III, p. 411; Paṭisambhidā, I, p. 40, II, p. 86; Vibhaṅga, p. 104, 235, 236:

Ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko … sammāsati sammāsamādhi.

Sanskrit wording: Catuṣpariṣad, p. 142; Mahāvastu, III, p. 331; Lalitavistara, p. 417; Pañcaviṃśati, p. 208:

Āryāṣṭāṅgo mārgas … samyaksmṛtiḥ samyaksamādhiḥ.

Transl. – The noble eightfold Path, namely, right view, right concept, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.


Pāli wording: Saṃyutta, IV, p. 367–368.

1. Idha bhikkhu … vossaggapariṇāmiṃ.

Sanskrit wording: Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1438–1439; Daśabhūmika, p. 39:

1. Samyagdṛṣṛṭiṃ … vyavasargapariṇatam.

Transl. – Here the monk cultivates right view, right concept, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration, which rest on separation, which rest on detachment, which rest on cessation and lead to rejection.


A stock phrase defines the eight mārgāṅgas; it occurs frequently in the Pāli Nikāyas, e.g., Dīgha, II, p. 311–313; Majjhima, III, p. 252–252; Saṃyutta, V, p. 8–10; Vibhaṅga, p. 235–236. The Sanskrit Āgamas do not reproduce it exactly: cf. Tchong a han, T 26, k. 7, p. 469a15–b 29:

Ayam eva ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo,catutthajjhānaṃ upasampajja viharati

Transl. – Here is the eightfold noble Path: 1. right view; 2. right resolve; 3. right speech; 4. right action; 5. right livelihood; 7. right mindfulness; 8. right concentration.

1. What is right view? It is the knowledge of suffering, the knowledge of the origin of suffering, the knowledge of the cessation of suffering, the knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of suffering.

2. What is right concept? The concept of renunciation, the concept of non-maliciousness, the concept of non-violence.

3. What is right speech? Abstaining from falsehood, abstaining from gossip, abstaining from abusive speech, abstaining from unnecessary speech.

4. What is right action? Abstaining from killing, abstaining from theft, abstaining from illicit sexual activity.

5. What is right livelihood? Here the noble disciple, excluding the evil way of life, earns his livelihood by way of right living.

6. What is right effort? Here the monk gives rise to a wish, exerts himself, activates his energy, stimulates his mind and strives so that the evil bad dharmas not yet arisen do not arise. He gives rise to a wish… and strives so that the evil bad dharmas already arisen are destroyed. He gives rise to a wish… and strives so that the good dharmas not yet arisen arise. He gives rise to a wish… and strives so that the good dharmas already arisen are maintained, preserved, developed, increased, cultivated and completed.

7. What is right mindfulness? Here the monk dwells considering the body in the body, energetic, aware and mindful of controlling greed and sadness in the world. Similarly he dwells considering feeling in the feelings, mind in the mind and dharmas in the dharmas…

8. What is right concentration? Here the monk, having eliminated desires, having eliminated bad dharmas, enters into the first trance, provided with examination, provided with judgment, resulting from detachment, which is joy and happiness. – By the suppression of examination and judgment, he enters into the second trance, inner peace, one-pointedness of mind, without examination and judgment, arisen from concentration, which is joy and bliss. – By renouncing joy, he dwells equanimous, reflective, aware; he experiences bliss in his body; he enters into the third trance where the saints say that he is ‘equanimous, reflective, dwelling in bliss’. – By cessation of bliss and by cessation of suffering, by the previous suppression of joy and sadness, he enters into the fourth trance, free of suffering and bliss, purified in renunciation and reflection.


We may note that the definitions of samyagvyāyāma (no. 6) and samyaksmṛti (no. 7) given here are the same, respectively, as the definitions given above of the four samyakpradhānas and the four smṛtyupasthānas.

For an original definition of the eight mārgāngas, see Arthaviniścaya, p. 573–575.



Of the eighteen treatises contained in the Pāli Vihaṅga, the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh are dedicated to the five classes of bodhipākṣikas respectively: the smṛtyupasthānas (p. 193–207), the samyakpradhānas (p. 208–215), the ṛddhipādas (p. 216–226), the saṃbodhyaṅgas (p. 227–234) and the mārgāṅgas (p. 235–243). Each treatise is made up of three parts: 1) the suttantabhājaniya or literal explanations of the canonical sources; 2) the abhidhammabhājaniya or scholastic explanations of the same sources; 3) the pañhāpucchaka or summary by means of questions and answers.

The bodhipākṣikas are often discussed in the Visuddhhimagga as well by Buddhaghosa who summarizes his views at the beginning of chapter XXII (ed. Warren, p. 582–585, tr. Ñānamoli, p. 792–796).

But in the second part of the present chapter, the Traité takes its inspiration solely from the Sarvāstivādin-Vaibhāṣika sources and enunciates theories already described in the Ṣaṭpādābhidharma (T 1553–1554), the Vibhāṣā (T 1545), the Amṛtasāra (T 1550–1552), the Abhidharmāmṛtarasa (T 1553), all texts dealing copiously with the bodhipākṣikas. It seems that the Traité preferably consulted the Prakaraṇapāda of Vasumitra (T 1541–42) which it cites twice under the heading of chapter VII, namely ‘the Thousand Difficulties’.

The Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma shows considerable progress in elaborating the doctrine of the auxiliaries in regard to the number of elements (dravya) entering into the constitution of the bodhipākṣikas, their successive appearance in the course of practice of the Path and their distribution in the levels (bhūmi) of birth or absorption.

1. Elements making up the bodhipākṣikas. – The Abhidharma authors rightly noted that although the canonical lists enumerate 37 bodhipākṣikas, many of them are fundamentally the same. Thus, when the lists speak of samyakprahāna, vīryendriya, vīryabala, vīryasaṃbodhyaṅga and samyagvyāyāma, basically it is a matter of one and the same thing, exertion. This is why these authors were led to reducing the 37 bodhipākṣikas to a certain number of constitutive elements, i.e., faith, exertion, mindfulness, etc. The Vibhāṣā (T 1545, k. 96, p. 496a-b) hesitates between ten, eleven or twelve constitutive elements; the Abhidharmāmṛtarasa (T 1553, k. 2, p. 977c11–12; Reconstruction by Bhikṣu Sastri, p. 116) settles for ten; the Kośa (VI, p. 283–284) has ten and the Abhidharmadīpa (p. 358) has eleven. Here the Traité also has ten.

2. Successive appearance of the bodhipākṣikas. – But if several auxiliaries are intrinsically the same, should we not accuse the canonical lists of having introduced fictional distinctions? No, for a given practice may have been practiced more or less efficaciously at different stages. This is why exertion, as it progresses, successively takes the name of samyakprahāna, vīrendriya, vīryabala, vīryasaṃbodhyaṅga and finally samyagvyāyāma.

Since then, the authors of the Abhidharma were brought to determining the successive appearance of the seven classes of bodhipākṣikas in the course of the various stages of the path:

1) The first class, that of the smṛtyupasthānas, appears at the beginning stage (adikāramika).

2–5) The four following classes appear during the preparatory Path (prayogamārga) or the practice of the four roots of good (kuśalamūla) ‘leading to penetration’ (nirvedhabhāgīya): 1) The four samyakpraghānas, in the Heat (uṣmagata); 2) the four ṛddhipādas in the Summits (mūrdhan); 3) the five indriyas in the Patiences (kṣānti); 4) the five balas in the Supreme worldly dharmas (laukikāgradharma).

6) The sixth class, that of the seven saṃbodhyaṅgas, develops in the Path of meditation (bhāvanmārga).

7) The seventh and last class, that of the eight mārgāṅgas, appears in the Path of seeing (darśanamārga).

Here, the Traité will not mention this classification although it appears in the Vibhāṣā (T 1545, k. 96, p. 496c22–497a2), the Kośa (VI, p. 287–288), the Abhidharmadīpa (p. 362), etc.

3. Distribution of the bodhipākṣikas in the levels. – On the other hand, the Traité borrows textually from the Vibhḥaṣā the paragraph on the distribution of the bodhipākṣikas in the levels (bhūmi). This distribution is also accepted by the Abhidharmāmṛta (T 1553, k. 2, p. 977c21–26; Reconstruction of Sastri, p. 117), the Kośa, VI, p. 291–292, and the Abhidharmadīpa, p. 365.

In this entire section, the Traité shows its complete understanding of the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma.



1. The Madhyamaka viewpoint        

Preliminary question. – From the beginning of this chapter, the Traité is confronted with an objection of principle. The auxiliaries of Bodhi that lead directly to nirvāṇa are of interest primarily to the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas whose aspirations concern nirvāṇa. But can we say that they also concern bodhisattvas who delay their nirvāṇa indefinitely in order to dedicate themselves to the welfare and happiness of beings?

The answer of the Traité is categorical: the bodhisapākṣikas concern the bodhisattvas as well as the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas and consequently are relevant to the three Vehicles.

Some arguments drawn from scripture and reasoning support this thesis:

1. In the Great Prajñās (Pañcaviṃśati, p. 194–223; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1405–1473), there is a long chapter dedicated to the constitutive elements of the Mahāyāna. These are the six pāramitās, the twenty śūnyatās, the one hundred and twelve samādhis, the twenty-one practices, the forty-three dhāraṇīmukhas and the ten bhūmis. The seven classes of bodhipākṣikas are placed at the head of the twenty-one practices (Pañcaviṃśati, p. 203–308; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 1427–1439). This is proof that the bodhipākṣikas are an essential part of the Greater Vehicle and must be practiced in some way by the bodhisattvas.

Other Mahāyānasūtras may be called upon as witness. Thus the Avataṃsaka (T 278, k. 38, p. 640a27–28; T 279, k. 54, p. 286c24–25) makes the seventh of the ten gardens frequented by the bodhisattvas to be the six pāramitās, the three saṃgrahavastus and the thirty-seven bodhipākṣikas. In its section on the Daśabhūmika (p. 38–39, 42, 57), the same Avataṃsaka comments that the bodhisattva practices (bhāvayati) the bodhipākṣikas as early as the fourth bhūmi, purifies them by the view of sameness (samatā) in the fifth and fulfills them completely (paripūrayati) in the seventh.

Similarly, the Bodh. bhūmi (p.342) section of the Yogācārabhūmi, describes the Arcismatī, the fourth bodhisattva level, as the level ‘associated with the auxiliaries’ (bodhipākṣyapratisaṃyukta).

2. We also know from reasoning that the bodhipākṣikas are a part of the bodhisattva path, the intent of which is to save beings and lead them to nirvāṇa. But there is no nirvāṇa without bodhi, and bodhi can be attained only by practice of the Path (mārgabhāvana) with all the auxiliaries of bodhi (bodhipākṣika dharma). It is thus necessary that the bodhisattva fulfill them completely (paripūr) himself in order that he can teach them to others. But although he fully completes them (paripūrayati), he does not realize (na sākṣātkaroti) them immediately for, if he did that, he would enter into nirvāṇa immediately. He means, however, in his great compassion imitating the Buddhas, to stay in saṃsāra for a long time in order to ripen (paripācana) the greatest possible number of beings. Established in the perfection of wisdom (prajñāpāramitā), he knows that saṃsāra is identical with nirvāṇa, but that does not prevent him in any way from perfecting beings by the practice of the Path. This is why ‘his wisdom is accompanied by skillful means, and his skillful means is accompanied by wisdom’ (upāyasahitā prajñā, prajñāsahita upāyaḥ).

The Traité will develop considerations of this type in the first section of this chapter. But although the bodhisattva shares the thirty-seven auxiliaries with the śrāvaka and the pratyekabuddha, he practices them in quite a different spirit. This is what the Traité will set out to show in the third section of the chapter.


View and aim of the bodhisattva in the practice of the auxiliaries. – Two passages of the Great Prajñās are involved here:

1. Pañcaviṃśati, p. 146–147; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 841–842. – The bodhisattva clings (nopalabhate) to no dharma in general nor to any class of bodhipākṣika in particular because of their absolute purity (atyantaviśuddhitām upādāya). This purity is a non-arising (anutpāda), a non-manifestation (aprādurbhāva), an absence of clinging (anupalambha), a non-activity (anabhisaṃskāra). Things do not exist (na saṃvidyante) as worldly fools would like to believe (yathā bālapṛthagjanā abhiniviṣtāḥ); things exist by not existing (yathā na saṃvidyante tathā saṃvidyante). Consequently, because they exist only out of ignorance, they are called (the result) of ignorance (evam asaṃvidyamānās tenocyate ‘vidyeti).

2. Śatasāhasrikā, p. 56–57. – Dharmas in general and the seven categories of bodhipākṣikas in particular must be completely fulfilled (paripūrayitavya) by the bodhisattva who abides in the perfection of wisdom by a method of non-abiding (bodhisattvena prajñāpāramitāyāṃ sthitvāsthānayogena) basing himself on the impossibility of their being apprehended (anupalabdhitām upādāya).

The Traité has defined the method of non-abiding (asthānayoga) above (p. 656F): it consists of not grasping any characteristic (nimitta) in things. The translation of anupalabdhi and anupalabdhitā, rendered in Tibetan by mi dmigs pa and in Chinese by wou so tö, is very tricky. In his Materials for a Dictionary, p. 35, Prof. E. Conze proposes different translations such as no(n)-apprehension, impossibility of apprehending, that cannot be got at, etc., and he cannot be blamed for sticking to the purely literal meaning. However, I [Lamotte] think that the understanding of the term is much vaster than may be given to it by understanding the etymology. A dharma is anupalabhda, non-apprehended, not only because it is not grasped by any faculty whatsoever, but also as a result of its basic non-existence which puts it beyond the range of any clinging. For my part, the ultimate meaning of anupalabdhi and anupalambha is pure and simple non-existence. We may cautiously say, with J. May (Candrakīrti, p. 167) that the anupaladhasvabhāva dharma is that which is not perceived as existing in itself.

The two passages of the Prajñās that have just been presented permit the attitude of the bodhisattva towards the thirty-seven bodhipākṣikas to be defined:

1. For the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas, the ātman, the individual, does not exist in itself, but things (dharma) exist as they are produced by causes. For the bodhisattva, on the other hand, there is neither ātman nor dharma, and it is from the twofold perspective of pudgala- and dharmanairātmya that he ‘completely fulfills’ (paripūrayati) the auxiliaries of bodhi ‘by being based on their non-existence’ (anupalabdhitām upādāya).

The Traité as well will dedicate the third section of the present chapter to showing that the bodhipākṣikas operate within emptiness. The body, feelings, mind and dharmas, the objects of the four smṛtyupasthānas, are not only without self (anātman) and without ‘mine’ (anātmīya), but also non-existent (asat). The four samyakpradhānas and the four ṛddhipādas are empty (śūnya) and without basis (apratiṣṭhāna). The five indriyas and the five balas are applied to empty (śūnya) dharmas, without characteristics (ānimitta) and are of no interest (apranihita). The seven saṃbodhyaṅgas illuminate the True nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa) of things, namely, pure and simple non-existence. Finally, the eight mārgāṅgas lead to total absence of mind, speech and action.

2. The śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas who aspire to bodhi and nirvāṇa ‘realize’ (sākśātkurvanti) the bodhipākṣikas regarded as leading to it. On the other hand, the bodhisattva, wishing to remain in saṃsāra in order to work for the benefit and happiness of all beings, keeps from realizing the dharmas that would have the effect of making this task impossible and in which he does not believe. If he does ‘completely fulfill’ them (paripūrayati), it is not for himself but for a purely altruistic end, to teach them to beings destined to be converted by way of the Vehicle of the śrāvakas. For the bodhisattva, the bodhipākṣikas are merely skillful means (upāya) to be used according to the circumstances.

By this twofold attitude of theoretical refusal and practical acceptance, the bodhisattva remains faithful to his plan, namely, prajñā accompanied by upāya and vice versa.


2. The Vijñānavādin viewpoint

In contrast to the Prajñāpāramitā and the Madhyamaka of which the Traité is here the spokesman, the Vijñānavādin school is of the opinion that the True nature of dharmas is not pure and simple non-existence but a True manner of being (bhūtatathatā) and that the practice of the bodhipākṣikas allows its attainment.

To illustrate this point of view, a passage from the Bodh. bhūmi, p. 259, is cited:

Bodhisattva upāyaparigṛhītena jñānena … iyam asya pāramārthikī kāyānupaśyanā.

Transl. – By means of wisdom incorporating skillful means, the bodhisattva understands fully the thirty-seven auxiliaries but does not realize them; and he understands them fully from the point of view of both Vehicles, namely, the point of view of the śrāvaka Vehicle and the point of view of the Greater Vehicle.

From the point of view of the śrāvaka Vehicle, he understands precisely those that have been explained completely in (the chapter) on the śrāvaka level to which reference will be made (T 1579, k. 21–34, p. 395c–477c; cf. A. Wayman, A report on the Śrāvaka-Bhūmi and its Author Asaṅga, J. Bihar research Soc., XLII, 2–4, Parts 3–4, 1956, p. 1–14).

But how does the bodhisattva understand exactly the thirty-seven auxiliaries of enlightenment from the point of view of the Greater Vehicle? Here the bodhisattva abides considering the body in the body, but he does not conceive the body as being body [which is the viewpoint of the śrāvakas], nor as not existing in any way whatsoever [which is the viewpoint of the Mādhyamikas]; but he understands exactly the manner of existence of the inexpressible nature of the body [which is the viewpoint of the Vijñānavādins]. That is the bodhisattva’s consideration of the body in the absolute sense.


[k. 19, p. 197b] (p. 1137F)

Sūtra (cf. Pañcaviṃśati, p. 19, l. 12–15; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 56, l. 9–57, l. 10). –The bodhisattva-mahāsattva who abides in the perfection of wisdom by the method of non-abiding should, without producing them, complete perfect [the following] (Prajñāpāramitāyaṃ sthitvā bodhisattvena mahāsattvenāsthānayogenānutpādanataḥ paripūrayaitvyāḥ):

1. the four foundations of mindfulness (catvāri smṛtyupasthānāni),

2. the four right efforts (catvāri samyakpradhānani),

3. the four bases of magical power (catvāra ṛddhipādāḥ),

4. the five faculties (pañcendriyāṇi),

5. the five strengths (pañca balāni),

6. the seven members of enlightenment (sapta bodhyaṅgāni),

7. the eight members of the Path (aṣṭāṅgamārga).

Śāstra. –



Question. – The thirty-seven auxiliaries (pākṣika) are the path (mārga) of the śrāvaka and pratyekabuddha; the six perfections (pāramitā) are the path of the bodhisattva-mahāsattva. Then why speak of things concerning only the śrāvaka when dealing with the bodhisattva?

Answer. – 1. The bodhisattva-mahāsattva must practice the paths of all the good dharmas. Thus the Buddha said to Subhūti: “The bodhisattva-mahāsattva who practices the Prajñāpāramitā should practice the paths of all the good dharmas, from the level of sharp wisdom (śuṣka- or śuklavipāśyanābhūmi) up to the level of the Buddhas (buddhabhūmi). He must practice (śikṣitavyam) the first nine levels but not realize them (sakṣātkartavyam); as for the level of the Buddhas, he must practice and realize it.”[1]

2. Moreover, where is it said that the thirty-seven auxiliaries are the qualities of śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas alone and do not constitute the path of the bodhisattva? In this Prajñāpāramitāsūtra, in the chapter entitled Mahāyāna, the Buddha says that [the thirty-seven auxiliaries], from the four foundations of [197c] mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna) up to the eight members of the noble path (āryāṣṭāṅgamārga) are contained in the Three Baskets (tripiṭaka) of the Greater Vehicle;[2] but he does not say that the thirty-seven auxiliaries are things exclusively (kevalam) concerning the Lesser Vehicle.

In his great loving-kindness (mahāmaitrī), the Buddha preached the thirty-seven auxiliaries that are the path to nirvāṇa. In accordance with the vows (praṇidhāna) of beings, in accordance with karmic causes and conditions (hetupratyaya), each finds his own path. The person who seeks (paryeṣate) to be a śrāvaka finds the śrāvaka path; the person who has planted the roots of good (kuśalamūla) of the pratyekabuddha finds the pratyekabuddha path; the person who seeks the bodhi of the Buddhas finds the Buddha path.

According to his previous vows (pūrvapraṇidhāna) and the sharpness (tīkṣṇa) or dullness (mṛḍu) of his faculties (indriya), the person has great compassion (mahākaruṇā) or does not have great compassion. Similarly, when the nāga king (rāja) makes rain (vṛṣṭi) to fall, it rains on the earth everywhere indiscriminately (nirviśeṣam); the big trees (mahāvṛkṣa) and the large plants (mahātṛṇa) receive a lot of rain because of their big roots (mūla); the small trees (alpavṛkṣa) and the small plants (alpatṛṇa) receive but little because of their small roots.

Question. – So be it. Nowhere is it said that the thirty-seven auxiliaries are exclusively the path of the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas and are not the path of the bodhisattvas, but it can be known by rational induction. The bodhisattva who remains in saṃsāra and the five destinies (pañcagati) for a long time does not get nirvāṇa quickly. And yet the thirty-seven auxiliaries are presented only as adjuvants to nirvāṇa, whereas the perfections (pāramitā) and the great compassion (mahākaruṇā) of the bodhisattvas are not. This is why we know that [the thirty-seven auxiliaries] are not the bodhisattva path.

Answer. – 1. Although the bodhisattva remains in saṃsāra for a long time, he must know the True Path (bhūtamārga) and the false paths (abhūtamārga), the world (saṃsāra) and nirvāṇa. Knowing that, he makes his great vow (mahāpraṇidhāna): “Beings are worthy of compassion; I must save them and bring them to unconditioned (asaṃskṛtapada) safety.” The bodhisattva who practices the perfections (pāramitā) is able, by means of this true dharma (bhūtadharma), to reach the Bodhi of the Buddhas. But although he practices and understands this dharma, he has not yet fulfilled the six perfections and this is why he does not immediately realize (na sākṣātkaroti) this true dharma.

Thus the Buddha said: “It is like [an archer] who, raising his head, shoots his arrows into the air (ūrdhvaṃ kāṇḍaṃ kṣipati): the arrows support each other so that they do not fall to earth. In the same way, the bodhisattva, taking the arrow of the Prajñāpāramitā, shoots it into the air at the three gates of deliverance (vimokṣamukha); then, taking the arrow of skillful means (upāya), he shoots it at the arrow of Prajñā so that it does not fall on the ground of nirvāṇa.”[3]

2. Furthermore, if, as you have said, the bodhisattva abides for a long time in saṃsāra, he must undergo all the physical and mental sufferings (nānavidha kāyikacaitasikaduḥkha). If he has not attained true knowledge (bhūtajñāna), how could he endure these things? This is why the bodhisattva-mahāsattva seeks the auxiliaries to enlightenment (bodhipākṣika) and true knowledge. From then on he can transform (pariṇamitum) the world (saṃsāra) into the fruits of the path (mārgaphala) and into nirvāṇa by the power of Prajñāpāramitā. Why? The threefold world (traidhātuka) is the result of a complex of causes and conditions (sāmagrīja). That which is born from this complex has no intrinsic nature (svabhāva); having no intrinsic nature, it is empty (śūnya). Empty, it is ungraspable (agrāhya). The ungraspable is nirvāṇa. This is why [the Prajñāpāramitā] says here: “The bodhisattva-mahāsattva who abides in the perfection of wisdom by the method of non-abiding must, without producing them, fulfill the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna).”[4]

3, Furthermore, in the śrāvaka and pratyekabuddha system, it is not said [198a] that saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are the same. Why? Because their wisdom (prajñā) does not penetrate dharmas deeply. In the bodhisattva system, it is said that samsāra and nirvāṇa are identical because their wisdom deeply penetrates dharmas.

Thus the Buddha said to Subhūti: “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form (rūpam eva śūnyatā sūnyataiva rūpam); feelings (vedanā), ideas (saṃjñā), formations (saṃskāra) and consciousnesses (vijñāna) are emptiness, and emptiness is feelings, ideas, formations and consciousnesses. Emptiness is nirvāṇa and nirvāṇa is emptiness (śūnyataiva nirvāṇaṃ, nirvāṇam eva śūnyatā).[5]

The Madhyamakaśāstra also says:

Nirvāṇa is no different from saṃsāra,
Saṃsāra is no different from nirvāṇa.
The limit of nirvāṇa and the limit of saṃsāra
Are the same limit, for there is no difference.[6]

Having fond this True nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa), the bodhisattva-mahāsattva is not disgusted with saṃsāra and not pleased with nirvāṇa. The thirty-seven auxiliaries are the ground of true knowledge (bhūtajñānabhūmi).

* * *




Question. – Since the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna) suffice to obtain the path (mārga),[7] why talk about thirty-seven auxiliaries? Would it be for the sake of abridgment (saṃkṣiptena deśanā) that you speak of the four foundations of mindfulness and for the sake of expansion (vistareṇa deśana),[8] that you speak of the thirty-seven auxiliaries? Then that is not correct (ayukta) because, if one wants to expand, there would be innumerable (apramāṇapakṣa) auxiliaries.

Answer. – 1. Although the four foundations of mindfulness are sufficient to attain the path, the four right efforts (samyakpradhāna) and the other auxiliary dharmas must also be preached. Why? Among beings, minds (citta) are multiple (nānāvidha) and varied (viṣama); their fetters (samyojana) and the things that they love and those to which they are unattached also are multiple.

Although it is a single truth (ekārtha) and is of a single nature (ekalakṣaṇa), the Buddhadharma is expressed in distinct explanations (saṃbhinnadeśana): twelve classes of texts (dvādaśāṅgadharmapravacana) and eighty-four thousand dharmas (caturśītisahasradharmaskandha).[9] If it were otherwise, after having preached the four noble Truths (āryasatya) in the course of their first sermon, the Buddhas should stop and should preach nothing more. Because there are beings who detest suffering (duḥkha) and love happiness (sukha), the Buddhas preach the four truths: 1) physical and mental dharmas, etc. (kāyikacaitasikādidharma) are all suffering and have no happiness (sukha); 2) the causes and conditions (hetupratyaya) of this suffering are craving (tṛṣṇā) and the other passions (kleśa); 3) the cessation of this suffering (duḥkhanirodha) is called nirvāṇa; 4) the way to reach nirvāṇa is the Path (mārga).

There are beings who, as a result of worries (bahucintā), distractions (vikṣiptacitta) and misunderstanding (viparyāsa), cling (abhiniviśante) to the body (kāya), feelings (vedanā), the mind (citta) and things and lead a bad life (mithyācāra). For these people the Buddhas preach the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna). It is the same for the other [auxiliary] dharmas of the Path: each of them is preached to a certain type of being. It is like a master physician (bhaiṣajyaguru) who cannot cure all sickness with a single drug (bhaṣajya): sicknesses (vyādhi) are dissimilar and the remedy to be applied is not single. In the same way, the Buddha adapts himself to the various types of mental illnesses (cittavyādhi) from which beings suffer and cures them with different remedies.

Sometimes the Buddha saves beings by preaching only one thing. Thus the Buddha said to a bhikṣu: “This is not yours, do not grasp it (na tāvakaṃ, tangṛhāṇa).” – The bhikṣu said: “I know it already, O Bhagavat.” – The Bhagavat replied: “What do you know?” – The bhikṣu answered: “Dharmas are not ‘mine’ (ātmīya); they should not be grasped.”[10]

Sometimes the Buddha saves beings by means of two things, concentration (samādhi) and wisdom (prajñā). Sometimes, by three things, morality (śīla), concentration and wisdom. Sometimes by four things, the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛityupasthāna).

[198b] Thus, although the four foundations of mindfulness are enough to attain the Path, there are other dharmas that differ in practice (ācāra), concepts (vikalpa), quantity and point of view. This is why the four right efforts (samyakpradhāna) and the other [auxiliary] dharmas must also be preached.

2. Furthermore, the bodhisattva-mahāsattvas have a power of faith (śraddhābala) so great that they save all beings, and so the Buddha preaches the thirty-seven auxiliaries to them simultaneously. And although he preaches other dharmas favorable to the Path, such as the ten concepts (daśasaṃjñā),[11] etc., all are included (saṃgṛhīta) in the thirty-seven auxiliaries. These thirty-seven are a collection of all the remedies (sarvabhaiṣajyasasaṃsarga) that can cure all the illnesses (vyādhi) of beings. This is why it is not necessary to multiply the auxiliaries to the Path infinitely. Similarly, although the Buddha possesses innumerable powers (bala), we speak only of ten powers, for they are enough to save beings.



These thirty-seven auxiliaries have ten things (dravya)[12] as roots (mūla). What are these ten? 1) Faith (śraddhā), 2) morality (śīla), 3) thought (saṃkalpa), 4) exertion (vīrya), 5) mindfulness (smṛti), 6) concentration (samādhi), 7) wisdom (prajñā), 8) relaxation (praśrabdhi),[13] 9) joy, (prīti), 10) equanimity (upekṣā).

1) Faith (śraddhā) constitutes: a. the faculty of faith (śraddhendriya); b. the power of faith (śraddhābala).

2) Morality (śila) constitutes: a. right speech (samyagvac); b. right action (samyakkarmānta); c. right livelihood (samyagājīva).

3) Thought (saṃkalpa) constitutes: right thinking (samyaksaṃkalpa).]

4) Exertion (vīrya) constitutes: a. the four right efforts (samyakpradhāna); b. the faculty of exertion (vīryendriya); c. the power of exertion (vīryabala); d. the factor-of-enlightenment called exertion (vīryasaṃbodhyaṅga); e. the [factor-of-the path] called right effort (samyagvyāyāma).

5) Mindfulness (smṛti) constitutes: a. the faculty of mindfulness (smṛtīndriya); b. the power of mindfulness (smṛtibala); c. the factor-of-enlightenment called mindfulness (smṛtisaṃbodhyaṅga); d. the [factor-of-the-path] called right mindfulness (samyaksmṛti).

6) Concentration (samādhi) constitutes: a. the four foundations of magical power (ṛddhipāda); b. the faculty of concentration (samādhīndriya); c. the power of concentration (samādhibala); d. the factor-of-enlightenment called concentration (samādhisaṃbodhyaṅga); e. the [factor-of-the-path] called right concentration (samyaksamādhi).

7) Wisdom (prajñā) constitutes: a. the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna); b. the faculty of wisdom (prajñendriya); c. the power of wisdom (prajñābala); d. the factor-of-enlightenment called discernment of dharmas (dharmapravicayasaṃbodhyaṅga); e. the [factor-of-the-path] called right view (samyagdṛṣṭi).

8) Relaxation (praśrabdhi) constitutes the factor-of-enlightenment called relaxation (praśrabdhisaṃbodhyaṅga).

9) Joy (prīti) constitutes the factor-of-enlightenment called joy (prītisaṃbodhyaṅga).

10) Equanimity (upekṣā) constitutes the factor-of-enlightenment called equanimity (upekṣāsaṃbodhyaṅga)].[14]



1. The dharmas where mindfulness (smṛti) is focused (upatiṣṭhati) on the objects of knowledge (prajñālambana) are called ‘foundations of mindfulness’(smṛtyupasthāna).

2. Those that destroy bad dharmas and move in the right path (samyagmārga) are called ‘right effort’ (samyakpradhāna).

3. When the concentrated mind (pragṛhītacitta) stops worrying (āśvasiti) about things (ālambana), there is ‘foundations of magical power’ (ṛddhipāda).

4. When a mind of dull knowledge (mṛdujñānacitta) is acquired, there is ‘faculties’ (indriya).[15]

5. When a mind of sharp knowledge (tīkṣṇajñānacitta) is acquired, there is ‘powers’ (bala).[16]

6. By the practice of the path of meditation (bhāvanāmārgavyāpāra), there is ‘[factors] of enlightenment’ (saṃbodhyaṅga).

7. By the practice of the path of seeing (darśanamārgavyāpāra), there is ‘[factors] of the path’ (mārgāṅga).



Question.[17] – First we must speak about the [factors] of the path (mārgāṅga). Why? Because only after having traveled the path are the good dharmas acquired. Thus, a person first travels over a road and later arrives at his destination. Here, by what mistake (viparyāsa) do you first speak of the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna) and only at the end, of the eight factors of the path (mārgāṅga)?

Answer. – It is not a mistake (viparyāsa). The thirty-seven auxiliaries are involved as soon as one wants to enter onto the Path.

1. Thus, when the yogin goes to the teacher (ācārya) and hears the teaching on the Path (mārgadharma) from him, first he uses his mindfulness (smṛti) to retain (dhāraṇa) this teaching: that moment is called ‘foundation of mindfulness’ (smṛtyupasthāna).

2. When he has retained and followed this teaching, the yogin who is looking for the fruit (phalaparyeṣin) practices with exertion (vīryeṇa prayuñjate): this is called ‘right effort’ (samyakpradhāna).

3. As a result of this expenditure of energy (bahuvīrya), his mind is distracted (vikṣipta). He concentrates his mind (cittaṃ pragṛhṇāti) and controls it (damayati): this is called ‘foundation of magical power’ (ṛddhipāda).

4. His mind being tamed (dānta), he produces the ‘five faculties’ (pañcendriya).

a. The True nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa) of dharmas is very profound (atigambhīra) and difficult to probe (durvigāhya), but by means of the faculty of faith (śraddhendriya), he believes in it: this is called the ‘faculty of faith’ (śraddhendriya).

b. He does not spare his own life (kāyajīvita) and seeks enlightenment (bodhiṃ paryeṣate) wholeheartedly (ekacittena): this is called ‘faculty of exertion’ (vīryendriya).

c. He constantly thinks about the Bodhi of the Buddhas and does not think about anything else: this is called the ‘faculty of mindfulness’ (smṛtīndriya).

d. He always concentrates his mind on Bodhi: this is called the ‘faculty of concentration’ (samādhīndriya).

e. He considers (samanupaśyati) the four truths and the True nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa): this is called the ‘faculty of wisdom’ (prajñendriya).

5. When the five faculties (pañcendriya) have been developed (vṛddha), [198c] they are able to intercept the afflictions (kleśa): this is like the power of a big tree (mahāvṛkṣa) that is able to block off water. These five faculties, when they have been developed, are able to gradually penetrate the profound Dharma (gambhīradharma):[18] this is called ‘power’ (bala).

6. Having obtained the powers (bala), the yogin distinguishes the dharmas [of the path of meditation (bhāvanamārga)]:

There are three factors (aṅga): 1) the [second] factor-of-enlightenment called discernment of dharmas (dharmapravicayasaṃbodhyaṅga); 2) the [third] factor-of-enlightenment called exertion (vīryasaṃbodhyaṅga); 3) the fourth factor-of-enlightenment called joy (prītisaṃbodhyaṅga). If the mind sinks when one is practicing the Path, these three factors (aṅga) raise it up again (samutthāpayanti).

[There are three other factors]: 1) the [fifth] factor-of-enlightenment called relaxation (praśrabdhisaṃbodhyaṅga); 2) the [sixth] factor of enlightenment called concentration (samādhisaṃbodhyaṅga); 3) the [seventh] factor-of-enlightenment called equanimity (upekṣaḥasaṃbodhyaṅga). If the mind is distracted (vikṣipyate) when one is practicing the Path, these three factors settle it (pragṛhṇanti) so that it is concentrated.

As for the remaining factor, namely: the [first] factor-of-enlightenment called mindfulness (smṛtisaṃbodhyaṅga), it operates in both cases [when the mind sinks and when it is distracted]. It can unite the good dharmas and stop the bad ones; it is like a gate-keeper (dauvārika) who allows what is useful (arthavat) to enter and sends away what is useless (anarthaka).[19]

If the mind sinks, mindfulness (smṛti) and the three factors [nos. 2–4] raise it up. If the mind is distracted, mindfulness and the three factors [nos. 5–7] settle it.

Because these seven things work (gāmitvāt), they are called ‘factors’ (aṅga).

7. When the yogin has obtained these things and his tranquility (kṣema) is complete (saṃpanna), he wishes to enter into the unconditioned city of nirvāṇa (nirvāṇāsaṃskṛtanagara).[20] This is why he practices the dharmas [of mārgaṅga]: that moment is called ‘Path’ (mārga).



I. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

1. Foundations and mistakes

Question. – What are the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna)?[21]

Answer. – The foundation of mindfulness on the body (kāyasmṛtyupasthāna) and the foundations of mindfulness on feeling (vedanā), mind (citta) and dharmas are the four foundations of mindfulness. The yogin considers (anupaśyati) these four things in four ways: 1) he considers the impurities of the body (kāyāśuci); 2) he considers the painfulness of feelings (vedanāduḥkha); 3) he considers the impermanence of the mind (cittānityatā); 4) he considers the non-self of dharmas (dharmanairātmya).

Although each of the four things has these four characteristics, in the body it is especially the impurities that must be considered; in feelings, the suffering; in the mind, impermanence; and in dharmas, non-self.

Why? The worldly person (pṛthagjana), who has not yet entered into the Path, is deluded about these four things and produces four mistakes (viparyāsa): 1) the mistake that consists of taking what is impure to be pure (aśucau śucir iti viparyāsa); 2) the mistake that consists of taking what is suffering to be happy (duḥkhe sukham iti viparyāsa); 3) the mistake that consists of taking what is impermanent to be permanent (anitye nityam iti viparyāso); 4) the mistake that consists of taking what is not a “self” to be a “self” (anātmany ātmeti viparyāsa).[22]

In order to destroy these four mistakes, the Buddha preached the four foundations of mindfulness: 1) to destroy the mistake about purity (śuciviparyāsa), he preaches the foundation of mindfulness on the body (kāyasmṛtyupasthāna); 2) to destroy the mistake on happiness (sukhaviparyāsa), he preaches the foundation of mindfulness on feelings (vedanāsmṛtyupasthāna);

3) to destroy the mistake on permanence (nityaviparyāsa), he preaches mindfulness on the mind (cittasmṛtyupasthāna); 4) to destroy the mistake on the self (ātmaviparyāsa), he preaches the foundation of mindfulness on dharmas (dharmasmṛtyupasthāna). It is for this reason that he preached four, no more and no less.[23]


2. Foundation of mindfulness on the body

Question. – How does one obtain these four foundations of mindfulness?

Answer. – The yogin who is established in pure morality (viśuddhaśīla) and is practicing exertion (vīrya) wholeheartedly (ekacittena) considers (anupaśyati) the fivefold impurity of the body (kāyāśuci). What are these five impurities? 1) The impurity of birthplace (jātisthānāśuci); 2) the impurity of seed (bījaśuci); 3) the impurity of intrinsic nature (svabhāvāśuci); 4) the impurity of intrinsic characteristics (svalakṣanāśuci); 5) the impurity of the final outcome (paryavasānaśuci).

1. What is the impurity of the place of birth (jātisthānaśuci)? Head (śiras), feet (pāda), belly (udara), back (pṛṣṭha), thighs (pārśva), that which is called a woman’s body (strīkāya) is a collection of impure things (aśuddhavastusamāgrī).

Inwardly (adhyātman), it contains a stomach (āmāśaya), a belly (pakvāśaya), excrement (viṣ), urine (mūtra)[24] and [other] impurities (aśuci). Outwardly (bahirdhā), there is a wind (vāta) conditioned by the afflictions (kleśa) and actions (karman), a wind that blows on the seed-consciousness (vijñānabīja)[25] and introduces it within the two viscera. During eight or nine months, the seed-consciousness dwells in a pit of excrement and urine (vinmūtragarta). Thus it is said:

This body is foul and revolting:
It is not from a flower that it is born,

Neither does it come from Campaka, [199a]
And it does not come from a jewel mountain.

This is what is called the impurity of the place of birth.

2. The impurity of the seed (bījaśuci). – By means of the wind (vāta) of deceptive concepts (mṛṣāvikalpa) and wrong thoughts (mithyāmanasikāra), the father and mother (mātāpitṛ) blow upon the fire (agni) of sexual desire (rāga); blood (rudhira), marrow (majjan) and fat (vasā) escape, get hot and are changed into sperm. The seed-consciousness (vijñānabīja) conditioned by previous actions (pūrvakarman) settles in the blood (śoṇita) and whitish sperm (śukra). That is what is called the seed of the body (kāyabīja). Thus it is said:

The seed of the body is impure,
It is not a precious substance,
It has not come from pure innocence,
It has come only from the urinary pathways.

That is what is called the impurity of the seed.

3. The impurity of intrinsic nature (svabhāvāśuci). – From head to toe and on all four sides, the body is a lowly rag. Everything in it is full of impurities. Decorate it with garments, bathe it with perfumed water, nourish it with the best dishes and food of many flavors, at the end of one night all of it will be impure.[26] Even if that you clothe it in celestial garments (divyavastra) and feed it with celestial food (divyāhāra), because of the body itself, all of it will become impure. Then what can be said if you give it only human garments and human clothes? Thus it is said:

Formed from earth, water, fire and wind,
It transforms everything into impurities.
Empty the sea to bathebody,
Still you will be unable to clean it.

That is what is called the impurity of intrinsic nature.

4. The impurity of intrinsic characteristics (svalakṣaṇāśuci). – This body with its nine gates (nanadvāra) is always secreting impurity: the eyes (akṣi) spill out rheum (akṣigūthaka) and tears (aśru); the ears (karṇa) produce wax (karṇagūthaka); the nose (nāsā) contains snot (siṃghāṇaka); the mouth (mukha) has saliva (lālā) and vomit (vāntīkṛta); the anus (guda) and the urethra (mūtramārga) constantly empty out excrement (viṣ) and urine (mūtra); and the hair-pores (romakūpa) sweaty impurity.[27] Thus it is said:

All kinds of impure things
Fill the interior of the body.
It flows ceaselessly
Like a filter-sack containing dirt.

That is what is called the impurity of intrinsic characteristics.

5. The impurity of the final outcome (paryavāsanāśuci). – Thrown on the fire (agni), the body becomes ash (bhasman); devoured by insects (kurmi) it becomes dung (purīṣa); placed in the earth, it decays, decomposes, and becomes earth; put into the water, it swells up and decays or it is eaten by water-insects. Of all corpses (kuṇapa), that of man is the most impure: his impurities (aśucidharma) will be explained at length in reference to the nine concepts (navasaṃjñā).[28] Thus it is said:

Examine the body minutely:

It ends up necessarily in death.
Difficult to control,[29]
It gives nothing in return,
Ungrateful like a lowly individual.

That is what is called the impurity of the final outcome.

Moreover, from birth (jāti) until death, everything that moves close to the body, everywhere that it rests, all is defiled. Just as perfumed clear waters that [199b] flow in a hundred rivers are changed into bitter salt as soon as they reach the great sea (mahāsamudra), so whatever the body eats, the most delicate dishes of various flavors, beautiful colors and fine smells, as soon as they penetrate into the sea of the belly (udarasamudra), are changed into filth. Thus the body, from birth to death, always contains disgusting impurities.

The yogin wonders if this body, impure as it is, does not have some permanence. Wrong! It is a great suffering (mahāduḥkha). This body is the place of arising (upapattisthāna) of all the suffering. Just as water (ap) arises from the earth (pṛthivī), wind (vāyu) from the ether (ākāśa) and fire from wood (dāru), so all the inner (ādhyātmika) and outer (bāhya) suffering comes from the body. The inner sufferings are old age (jarā), sickness (vyādhi) and death (maraṇa); the outer sufferings are the knife (asi), the stick (daṇḍa), cold and heat (śītoṣṇa), hunger and thirst (kṣutpipāsā), etc. It is because there is a body that these sufferings exist.

Question. – The body is not suffering alone basically (duḥkhasvabhāva); happiness (sukha) also comes from it. If there were no body, who would experience the five objects of enjoyment (pañcakāmaguṇa) as they like?

Answer. –The suffering which the four noble truths [mention] the saint cognizes truly as suffering, but worldly people (pṛthagjana) call it happiness. It is necessary to rely on the noble truth (āryatattva) and reject error (moha) and doubt (kāṅkṣā). This body is really suffering because it rests on the ‘Great Suffering’ (mahāduḥkha) [of saṃsāra], and it is only a lesser suffering (parīttaduḥkha) that constitutes happiness. Thus, when a man condemned to death undergoes punishment (daṇḍa) instead of being executed, he feels great joy. This punishment is really suffering, but as he escapes from death, the condemned man calls it happiness.

Furthermore, recent suffering (navaduḥkha) is ‘happiness’ (sukha) [in contrast] to the old suffering (pūrvaduḥkha) which is ‘suffering’. Thus, when one sits down (sīdati) one feels happiness, but when this position persists, it gives rise to suffering. At the beginning, walking (caṅkrama), standing (sthāna) and lying down (śayyā) are happiness, but in the end they too are suffering. Whether one is bending (saiñjite) or one is stretching (prasārite), whether one is bowing the head or raising it, whether one looks straight ahead (ālokite) or to the side (vilokite), whether one is breathing out (praśvasite) or breathing in (āśvasite),[30] suffering always follows the body. From conception (garbhāvakrānti) and birth (jāti) to death (maraṇa), there is not a single moment of happiness.

You enjoyed pleasures (rāga) as if they were happiness; when the sickness of lust (abrahmacaryavyādhi) increases, you seek women outside, but the more you find, the more your torment increases. It is like when one suffers from scabies (kacchū), one goes near the fire, one scratches one’s hands and roasts them. At that time, one feels a little joy, but in the long run (read kieou) the sickness increases in intensity. This little joy, it too becomes the cause of sickness: it was not a true happiness or the elimination of the sickness. Those who see people with scabies act thus, feeling pity (karuṇā) for them. The person who has renounced desire (vītarāga) has the same feelings towards the lustful: he has compassion for these angry madmen, burned by the fire of desire (kāmadagdha) who suffer more than they enjoy. For many reasons of this kind, we know that the body has the nature of suffering (duḥkhalakṣaṇa) and is the cause of suffering (duḥkhahetu).

The yogin knows that the body is merely impure (aśuci), impermanent (anitya) and suffering (duḥkha) but he cannot do otherwise than nourish it. It is like parents who have given birth to a son: however vicious the child, he is born from themselves (ātmaja) and this is why they must feed him and raise him.

The body is, in truth, not the self (ātman). Why? Because it is not independent (svatantra). It is like a man sick with an illness of wind (vāyuvyādhi), unable to raise or lower his head, unable to come or go; or like a man suffering from an obstruction in his throat, unable to speak. This is why we know that [199c] the body is not independent. If a man has something, he uses it as required. This is not the case for the body; as it escapes from all influence, we know that it is not ours.

It is in this way that the yogin meditates on the body, the impure (aśuci), impermanent (anitya), painful (duḥkha), empty (śūnya), selfless (anātman) body possessing innumerable defects of the same type. The various considerations on the body are called mindfulness of the body (kāyasmṛtyupasthāna).


3. Mindfulness of feeling (p. 1158F)

In possession of this consideration called kāyasmṛtyupasthāna, the yogin pursues his reflections and asks himself why beings are attached (abhiniviśante) to this body. It is because of pleasant feeling (sukhavedanā). How? From the meeting between the six internal organs (ādhyātmikendriya) and the six outer objects (bāhyaviṣaya) the six kinds of consciousnesses (vijñāna) arise. From these six consciousnesses arise the three kinds of feelings (vedanā), unpleasant feeling (duḥkhavedanā), pleasant feeling (sukhavedanā), neither unpleasant nor pleasant feeling (aduḥikhāsukhavedanā). Pleasant feelings are loved by all beings; unpleasant feelings are hated by all beings; as for the neither unpleasant nor pleasant feelings, people neither reject them nor cling to them. Thus it is said:

Evil-doers and monks (pravrajita).
Gods, humans and small worms:
Amongst these beings divided among the five destinies (gati) in the ten directions,
There is not one that does not love happiness and hate suffering.[31]
Out of error (moha), mistake (viparyāsa) and ignorance (ajñāna),
They do not know nirvāṇa, the abode of eternal bliss.

Considering pleasant feeling (sukhavedanā), the yogin truly knows that it contains no happiness but only suffering. Why? Happiness (sukha), i.e., ‘true happiness’ (bhūtasukha) is free of errors (viparyāsa). And yet all the pleasant feelings of the world come from mistakes and contain no reality.[32]

Furthermore, while greedily seeking the happiness of pleasant feeling, one will encounter great suffering. Thus it is said:

Those who go to sea encounter heavy winds
The waves rise up as high as the Kālaparvata.
Those who go into the army to fight
Cross very dangerous paths and perilous gorges.
Noble śreṣṭhins must bow down when approaching vile people in order to satisfy their sexual desires.
These many great sufferings
All come from attachment to happiness and to cupidity (rāgacitta).

This is why we know that pleasant feeling can give rise to all sorts of suffering.

Furthermore, although the Buddha spoke of the three kinds of suffering, one of them, that of pleasant feeling, merits the name of suffering because in it happiness is rare. It is like a bushel of honey (madhu) which, when thrown into a big river, loses its smell and its taste (rasa).

Question. – Happiness [such as it is conceived in the world (laukikasukha)], having error (viparyāsa) as cause and condition (hetupratyaya), is suffering (duḥkha). But the concentrations (samādhi) practiced by the saints (āryapudgala) give rise to a pure happiness (anāsravasukha) which itself is real happiness. Why? Because this happiness is not derived from delusion (moha) or mistake (viparyāsa). How then could it be suffering?

Answer. – It is not suffering. Although the Buddha said: “All that is impermanent is suffering” (yad anityaṃ tad duḥkham),[33] it was only in regard to impure dharmas (sāsravadhrma) that he was speaking of suffering. Why? Worldly people (pṛthagjana) are mentally attached to impure dharmas, and as these impure dharmas are impermanent (anitya) and perishable (vyaya), they give rise [200a] to suffering. But the mind does not become attached (nābhiviśate) to pure dharmas and, although they are impermanent (anitya), they do not produce sadness (daurmanasya), lamentation (parideva), suffering (duḥkha), torment (viheṭhana), etc. That is why they are not called suffering. And besides, the bad contaminants (anuśaya) do not take shelter there.[34]

Furthermore, if pure happiness were suffering, the Buddha would not have treated it separately in the truth of the Path (mārgasatya), since, [as suffering], it would have been included (saṃgṛhīta) in the truth of suffering (duḥkhasatya).[35]

Question. – “There are two kinds of happiness (sukha): impure (sāsrava) happiness and pure (anāsrava) happiness.”[36] Impure happiness is lowly, vile, perverse and bad; pure happiness is excellent. Why does one become attached to the lowly vile happiness and not attached to the excellent happiness? One should become attached preferentially to the excellent happiness in the same way that one would prefer to be attached to precious objects of gold (heman) or silver (rajata) rather than to straw (tṛṇa) or to wood (kāṣṭha).

Answer.- Pure happiness being excellent, wisdom (prajñā) abounds there and, as wisdom is abundant there, it can eliminate attachment (abhiniveśa). In the impure happiness, it is the fetters (saṃyojana), thirst (tṛṣṇā), etc., that abound, and thirst is the root of attachment (abhiniveśamūla). The true wisdom (bhūtaprajñā) [inherent in pure happiness] is able to eliminate attachment. That is why it is not attached to [the pure happiness].

Furthermore, pure wisdom (anāsravaprajñā) always considers (anupaśyati) universal impermanence (sarvānityatā) and because it considers impermanence it does not produce the fetters (saṃyojana), thirst (tṛṣṇā), etc. It is like a sheep (eḍaka) that is kept near a tiger (vyāghra): even if it has good grass and good water, it does not get fat.[37] In the same way, even though they experience pure happiness (anāsravasukha), the saints nevertheless contemplate impermanence (anityatā) and emptiness (śūnya) and that is why they do not produce the ‘fat’ of desire (rāgameda).

Furthermore, pure happiness (anāsravasukha) is inseparable from the sixteen noble aspects (ṣoḍaśākāra) of the three concentrations (samādhi)[38] and is always without the mark of a self (sattvanimitta). If it were endowed with the mark of a self, it would produce minds of attachment (abhiniveśacitta). Thus pure happiness, although excellent, does not give rise to attachment.

For many reasons of this kind, the yogin considers pleasant worldly feeling (laukikā sukhavedanā) as suffering.

He considers unpleasant feeling (duḥkhavedanā) as an arrow (śalya); as for the neither unpleasant nor pleasant feeling (adhuḥāsukhavedanā), he considers its impermanent and perishable nature (anityavyayanimitta).

Thus he does not experience desire (rāga) for pleasant feeling; he does not experience hatred (dveṣa) for unpleasant feeling and he does not experience delusion (moha) for neither unpleasant nor pleasant feeling.

That is what is called mindfulness of feeling (vedanāsmṛtyupasthāna).


4. Mindfulness of mind

The yogin also says to himself: “It is because of happiness that one becomes attached to the body; but who is experiencing (vedayati) this happiness?” Having reflected, he knows that feeling (vedanā) comes from the mind (citta). It is following mental elation (cittakṣepa) and a misunderstanding (viparyāsa) that beings experience a given happiness. The yogin must take into account that the mind which is transitory (anitya) has the nature of being born and perishing (utpādabhaṅgalakṣaṇa) and lasts for only a moment, is unable to experience happiness. It is by mistake that a person claims to feel happiness. Why? At the very moment when one wishes to experience happiness, the mind has already changed; at the moment when the happiness arises, the mind is another (anya) mind. There is no connection between happiness and the mind. How could it be said that the mind experiences happiness?

The past mind (atītacitta), being already destroyed (bhagna), does not experience the happiness; the future mind (anāgatacitta), being not yet born (utpanna), does not experience the happiness; the present mind (pratyutpannacitta), being momentary (ekakṣaṇika) and fleeting (kṣipra), does not have the awareness to experience the happiness.

Question. – We accept that the past mind and the future mind cannot experience happiness. But the present mind, which endures for a moment, must experience happiness. How can you say that it does not?

Answer. – I have just said that, being fleeting, it does not have the awareness to experience happiness. [200b]

Besides, being impermanent in nature (anityalakṣaṇa), all dharmas have no span of duration (sthitikāla). If mind lasted for a moment, it would also last during the second moment. It would then be eternal in duration and without the nature of disappearing (vyayalakṣaṇa). And yet, among the three characteristics of conditioned dharmas (saṃskṛtadharmalakṣaṇa), the Buddha also mentioned the characteristic of disappearance (vyayalakṣaṇa).[39] If the mind did not have disappearance, it would not show the characteristics of the conditioned.

Furthermore, if dharmas suffered a destruction a posteriori (uttareṇa), we would know that they possessed it already a priori (pūrveṇa). Thus, when a person clothes himself in a new garment (navavastra), if on the same day that he puts it in, the garment is not yet old, it would not be old on the second day either, and so on for ten years: the garment would always be new and never old. In truth, the garment was already old, and we should know that [this ageing] coexisted with its newness. But since this ageing was subtle, we were not aware of it. It is only in the presence of old things that we notice it. This is why we know that dharmas do not have a time of duration (sthitikāla). How then could the mind last long enough to be able to experience happiness? Since it has no duration, it is impossible that it experiences happiness.

This is why we know that there is nothing that can truly experience happiness. [A mind ‘experiencing happiness’] is a purely conventional entity (prajñaptimātra dharma): we speak of a single entity experiencing happiness as a result of the succession of minds (cittaprabandha).

Question. – How do you know that all conditioned dharmas (saṃskṛtadhrma) are impermanent (anitya)?

Answer. – Here I must repeat what I have already said above (p. 37F). These conditioned dharmas, which all depend on causes and conditions (hetupratyayāpekṣa), are impermanent. Because not existing earlier, they exist now and because existing now, they will not exist later, they are impermanent.

Furthermore, the nature of impermanence (anityatālakṣaṇa)[40] always follows (anusarati) conditioned dharmas. Conditioned dharmas have neither increase (upacaya) nor decrease (apacaya), and finally, all conditioned dharmas are mutually destroyed (parasparaviheṭhaka): therefore they are impermanent.

Furthermore, a twofold old age (dvividhajarā) always follows (anusarati) conditioned dharmas: i) primary old age (mūlajarā); ii) the old age of old age (jarājarā).[41] A twofold death (dvidhamaraṇa) always follows them: i) death by oneself (ātmanā maraṇam); ii) being put to death by another (pareṇa maraṇa).[42] This is why we know that all conditioned dharmas are impermanent.

Among the conditioned dharmas, the impermanence of the mind (cittānityatā) is very easy to detect. Thus the Buddha said: “Sometimes worldly people (pṛthgjana) recognize the impermanence of the body (kāyānityatā) but do not recognize the impermanence of the mind (cittānityatā). Some worldly people say that the body is eternal, but the mistake that holds the mind to be eternal is even more fatal. Why? It may be that the body will last for ten years or twenty years, whereas the mind, night and day, disappears each moment (ekakṣaṇalavamuhūrte), arising as one thing, perishing as another, without stopping for a single moment. On the point of arising, it is born one thing; on the point of perishing, it dies another thing.[43] The true nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa) of such a magical thing (māyāvastu) is ungraspable (anupalabdha).

For innumerable reasons of this kind, we know that the mind is impermanent. That is what is called mindfulness of mind (cittasmṛtypasthāna).


5. Mindfulness of Dharmas

The yogin asks himself on whom does the mind depend (apekṣate) and who controls the mind. Having considered well, he does not see that the mind has a master. The dharmas resulting from the complex of causes and conditions (hetupratyayasāmagrī) are not independent (svatantra); not being independent, they have no intrinsic nature (svabhāva); not having any intrinsic nature, they have no self (ātman). If there is no self, then who controls the mind?

Question. – 1) There must be an ātman. Why? If the mind (citta) controls [200c] the body (kāya), there also must be an ātman to control the mind. In the same way that the master of a kingdom (rāṣṭreśvara) controls the general (senāpati) and the general controls the soldiers (patti), there must be an ātman to control the mind, and there must be a mind to control the body so that it may enjoy the five objects of enjoyment (pañcakāmaguṇa).

2) Moreover, as each person possesses his own mind (ātmacitta), we know that there really is an ātman. If it were only due to a mistake (viparyāsa) about the body and the mind that we assume an ātman, why would we not produce the idea of an ātman in regard to another?[44] Thanks to this sign, we know that each one possesses his own ātman.

Answer. – 1) If, the mind controlling the body, there were an ātman to control the mind, there still must be someone to control the ātman. If there were still someone to control the ātman, there would be an infinite regress (anavasthā); as there would be still someone to control the ātman, there would be two ātmans.

If there is no ātman to control the mind, there can only be the mind to control the body. You consider the mind to be dependent on a soul (pudgalāpekṣa), but in the absence of the mind, the soul has no object of consciousness (jñeya) and, having no object of consciousness, how would it control the mind? If the soul had the characteristics of a knowledge (jñānalakṣaṇa), why resort again to the mind? This is why we know that only the mind presents the characteristics of a consciousness (vijñānalakṣaṇa). Therefore it is able to control the body and does not depend on a soul (pudgalaṃ nāpekṣate). It is like fire (agni) which, by its nature, burns things without the intervention of a person (puruṣa).

Objection. – Although fire has the power to burn, it is not useful without a person; although the mind has the characteristic of a consciousness (vijñānalakṣaṇa), it is not controlled without the soul (pudgala).

Answer. – Dharmas exist insofar as they have their own characteristics (lakṣaṇa). Not having any characteristics, the soul does not exist. You consider the inbreath and the outbreath (ānāpāna), suffering and happiness (duḥkhasukha), etc., as characteristics of the soul; but that is not right (ayukta). Why? Because the inbreath and the outbreath, etc., are characteristics of the body, and the fact of feeling suffering, happiness, etc., is characteristic of the mind. Why make the body and the mind into characteristics of the soul?

Moreover, fire (agni) burns things by itself without depending on a person (pudgala). We say that a man burns something only metaphorically. You have fallen into an untenable position (nigrahasthāna). Why? Because the soul (puruṣa) is the person (pudgala) and you cannot compare the person with the person.

2) Moreover, you said: “Each one possessing his own mind (ātmacitta), we know that there really is an ātman. If it were only due to a mistake (viparyāsa) about the body and the mind that an ātman is assumed, why not produce the idea of an ātman in regard to another?”

Without knowing if the ātman exists or does not exist, you are asking why one does not produce the idea of the ātman in regard to another.[45] [The distinctions] between one’s own body (ātmakāya) and another’s body (parakāya) exist as a function of the ātman. But the ātman is non-existent (nopalabhyate). [The characteristics attributed to it]: having form (rūpin) or formless (arūpin), permanent (nitya) or impermanent (anitya), finite (antavat) or infinite (ananta), moveable (gantṛ) or motionless (agantṛ), cognizant (jñātṛ) or ignorant (ajñātṛ), active (kāraka) or inactive (akāraka), autonomous (svatantra) or non-autonomous (asvatantra): all these characteristics of the ātman do not exist (nopalabhyante), as we have said above in the chapter on the ātman.

For many reasons of this kind, the yogin considers that dharmas come from complexes of causes and conditions, that there are no real dharmas endowed with ātman. That is what is called mindfulness of dharmas (dharmasmṛtyupasthāna).


6. Mindfulness itself, by connection with or as object.

The four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna) are of three kinds: i) mindfulness in itself (svabhāvasmṛtyupasthāna); ii) mindfulness by connection (saṃsargasmṛtyupasthāna); iii) mindfulness as object (ālambanasmṛtyupasthāna).[46] [201a]

i) What is mindfulness in itself (svabhāva)? The wisdom (prajñā) that considers the body (kāyam anupaśyan) is mindfulness of the body. – The wisdom that considers the feelings (vedanā) is mindfulness of feelings. – The wisdom that considers the mind (citta) is mindfulness of mind. – The wisdom that considers dharmas is mindfulness of dharmas. This is mindfulness in itself.

ii) What is mindfulness by connection (saṃsarga)? When they consider the body at the head of the list, the dharmas of the Path [other than prajñā], coming from causes and conditions (hetupratyaya), impure (sāsrava) or pure (anāsrava), are mindfulness of the body. – When they consider feelings, the mind or dharmas as head of the list, the dharmas of the Path [other than prajñā], coming from causes and conditions, impure or pure, are mindfulness of feelings, mind or dharmas [respectively]. This is mindfulness by connection.

iii) What is mindfulness as object (ālambana)?[47] All dharmas with form (rūpadharma), namely, the ten bases of consciousness (daśāyatana) and a small part of the dharmāyatana[48] are mindfulness of body. – The six kinds of feelings, namely, feeling arising from contact with the eye (cakṣuḥsaṃsparśajā vedanā) and the feelings arising from contact with the ear (śrotra), nose (ghrāṇa), tongue (jihvā), body (kāya) and mind (manas) respectively[49] – The six kinds of consciousnesses, namely, consciousness of the eye (cakṣurvijñāna) and consciousnesses of the ear, nose, tongue, body and mind[50] are mindfulness of mind. – The notion aggregate (saṃjñāskandha), the volition aggregate (saṃkāraskandha) and the three unconditioned (asaṃskṛta)[51] are mindfulness of dharmas. That is mindfulness as object.

Mindfulness in itself (svabhāva), having wisdom (prajñā) as nature, is formless (arūpin), invisible (anidarśana), non-resistant (apratigha), sometimes impure (sāsrava) and sometimes pure (anāsrava)… .[52]

These things are fully explained in the Ts’ien-nan ‘The Thousand Aporias.’[53] [202a]


7. Inner, outer and mixed mindfulness

[1. In regard to kāyasmṛtyupasthāna.] – What is the inner body (adhyātmakāya); what is the outer body (bahirdhākāya) and, since everything is already included (saṃgṛhita) in the inner and outer body, why does the sūtra[54] speak again about the consideration of both the inner and outer body (adhyātmabahirdhākāyānupaśyanā)?

Answer. – One’s own body (svakāya) is inner; another’s body (parakāya) is outer.

One’s own body is of two kinds: i) the impurities (aśuci) inside the body; ii) the skin (tvac), the hairs (roman), the nails (nakha), the hairs of the head (keśa), etc., outside.

Furthermore, when the yogin considers a corpse (mṛtaśarīra), bloated (vyādhmātaka) and rotting (vipūyaka), he grasps the characteristics (nimittāny udgṛhṇāti) and examines his own body, saying: “This body, too, is of the same nature, the same constitution and has not gone beyond this state of affairs” (sa imam eva kāyam upasaṃharati: ayam api khalu kāya evaṃdharma evaṃbhāvy etad anatīta iti),[55] then the corpse is the ‘outer’ body, whereas the yogin’s body is the ‘inner’ body.

If the yogin, possibly seeing a beautiful woman (abhirūpastrī), becomes attached to her in his mind and then considers the impurities (aśuci) of this female body, it is a matter of an outer body. But if the yogin recognizes that his own body is exactly like it, it is a question of an inner body.

Furthermore, the five organs (indriya), eye (cakṣus), etc., are inner body whereas the five objects (viṣaya), color (rūpa), etc., are outer body.

The four great elements (mahābhūta) are inner body whereas the matter derived from the four great elements (bhautikarūpa) are outer body.

The place where suffering and happiness are experienced is the inner body; the place where one does not experience suffering and happiness is outer body.

One’s own body (svakāya) and the organs (indriya), eye (cakṣus), etc., are inner body; one’s wife (bhāryā), son (putra), wealth (dhana), fields (kṣetra), house (gṛha) and other utilized objects are outer body. How is that? Since material dharmas (rūpadharma) are all [objects] of mindfulness of the body (kāyasmṛtyupasthāna).

First the yogin examines the inner body (adhyātmakāya) to find out if he can find a pure (śuci), eternal (nitya) and happy (sukha) ātman there, but he examines thoroughly and can find no ātman, as has been said above (p. 1167F) in regard to the examination of dharmas.

But if he finds no ātman when he examines the inner [body], perhaps this ātman is outside (bahirdhā). Why? Because outer things (bāhyavastu) are an object of attachment (abhiniveśasthāna) for all beings.[56] But when the yogin examines the outer body, the ātman is not found there either.

Then the yogin makes this reflection: “When I examined inwardly (adhyātmam anupaśyan), I did not find the ātman and [I wondered] if it was not on the outside (bahirdhā), but when I examined [things] on the outside, I did not find it either. I wonder if the ātman is not a delusion (bhrānti). Now I must examine internally and externally simultaneously (yugapat). Examining internal and external are two distinct operations (bhinna); examining [internal and external] at the same time (ekakāle) and simultaneously (sārdham) are conjunct operations!” But although he examines [internal and external] conjointly or separately, the ātman is not found anywhere (nopalabhyate): the examination is therefore ended.

[2. In regard to vedanāsmṛtyupasathāna.] – Question. – In regard to mindfulness of the body (kāyasmṛtyupasthāna), it might be a matter of the inner [body] and the outer [body]. But here, all the feelings (vedanā) are included (saṃgṛhīta) in the external bases of consciousness (bāhyāyatana);[57] so how can there be a difference between inner feelings (ādhyātmikavedanā) and outer feelings (bāhyavedanā)?

Answer. – The Buddha said: “There are two kinds of feelings: bodily feeling (kāyikī vedanā) and mental feeling (caitasikī vedanā).”[58] Bodily feeling is outer (bāhya) and mental feeling is inner (ādhyātmika).

Furthermore, the feelings associated with the [first] five consciousnesses (pañcavijñānasaṃprayuktavedanā) are outer, and the feelings associated with the mental consciousness (manovijñānasaṃprayuktavedanā) are inner.

The feelings arise in dependence on the twelve bases of consciousness [202b] (dvādāśāyatana). The group of the six inner bases (ādhyātmikāyatana) produce feelings that are inner; the outer six bases (bāhyāyatana) produce feelings that are outer.

Coarse (audārika) feeling is outer; subtle (sūkṣma) feeling is inner.

There are two kinds of suffering (duḥkha): inner suffering and outer suffering.

a. Inner suffering (ādhyātmika duḥkha) is of two types: physical suffering (kāyika duḥkha) and mental suffering (caitasika duḥkha).[59] Physical suffering is the four hundred and four sicknesses (vyādhi), bodily pains (kāyavyādhi), headaches (śirovyādhi), etc.[60]: those are physical suffering. – Mental suffering is grief (daurmanasya), sadness (śoka), hatred (dveṣa), fear (bhaya), jealousy (īrṣyā), doubt (vicikitsā), etc.: those are mental suffering. These two sufferings together are inner suffering.

b. Outer suffering (bāhyaduḥkha) is of two types: i) the king (rājan), the victorious enemy (vijetṛ), the wicked thief (caura), the lion (siṃha), tiger (vyāghra), wolf (vṛka), snake (sarpa) and other nuisances (viheṭhana); ii) the wind (vāta), rain (vṛṣṭi), cold (śīta), heat (uṣna), thunder (meghagarjita), lightning (vidyut), thunderbolts, etc: these two kinds of suffering are outer suffering.

It is the same for pleasant feeling (sukhavedanā) and neither unpleasant nor pleasant feeling (aduḥkhāsukhavedanā).

Furthermore, the feeling that takes as object (ālambate) an inner dharma is an inner feeling; that which takes as object an outer dharma is an outer feeling.

Furthermore, the one hundred and eight feelings[61] are inner feelings; the others (śeṣa) are outer feelings.

[3. In regard to cittasamṛtyupasthāna.] – Question. – The mind is included (saṃgṛhita) in the inner bases of consciousness (ādhyātmikāyatana): how can the sūtra say that [the yogin] “also considers the mind outwardly” (bahirdhā vā citte cittānupaśyī viharati)?

Answer. – Although the mind is included in the inner bases of consciousness, when it takes as object (ālambate) an outer dharma, it is outer mind, and when it takes as object an inner dharma, it is inner mind.

The mental consciousness (manovijñāna) is an inner mind, and the [first] five consciousnesses (pañcavijñāna) are outer minds.

The concentrated mind (saṃkṣiptacitta) that penetrates into meditation (dhyānapraviṣṭa) is an inner mind; the distracted mind (vikṣiptacitta) is an outer mind.

The mind associated (saṃprayukta) with the five inner obstacles (ādhyātmikanīvaraṇa)[62] or with the inner seven factors of enlightenment (ādhyātmikabodhyaṅga) is an inner mind; the mind associated with the five outer obstacles (bāhyanīvaraṇa) or with the seven outer factors of enlightenment (bāhyabodyaṅga) is an outer mind.

For various reasons of this kind, we distinguish inner mind, outer mind and both inner and outer mind.

[4. In regard to dharmasmṛtyupasthāna.] – Mindfulness of dharmas (dharmasmṛtyupasthāna) is included (saṃgṛhita) in the outer bases of consciousness (bāhyāyatana): how can [the sūtra] say that [the yogin] “also considers dharmas inwardly” (ādhyātmaṃ vā dharmeṣu dharmānupaśyī viharati)?

Answer. – Outside of feeling (vedanāṃ sthāpayitvā), there are other mental dharmas (caitasika dharma). Mental dharmas that have as object (ālambante) an inner dharma are inner dharmas; mental dharmas that have as object an outer dharma, the unconditioned (asaṃskṛta) or the formations dissociated from the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra)[63] are outer dharmas.

Furthermore, the dharmas that are the object (ālambana) of the mental consciousness (manovijñāna) are inner dharmas, for it has been said by the Buddha: “The mental consciousness arises in dependence on the object (ālambanam āśrityotpadyate manovijñānam).” Here, except for feeling (vedanāṃ sthāpayitvā), the other mental dharmas (caitasika dharma) are inner dharmas, whereas the other formations dissociated from the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra) and the unconditioned dharmas (asaṃskṛtadharma) are outer dharmas.


II. The Four Right Efforts

The four right efforts (samyakpradhāna) are of two kinds: i) right efforts in themselves (svabhāvasamyakpradhāna); ii) right efforts by connection (saṃsargasamyakpradhāna).

Right effort in itself develops four kinds of exertion (vīrya) in view of the path (mārga): it eliminates the two types of bad dharmas (akuśaladhama), [namely, those that have not yet arisen and those that have already arisen], and it brings together the two types of good dharmas (kuśaladharma), [namely, those that have not yet arisen and those that have already arisen.]

During the examination (anupaśyanā) characteristic of the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna), when [the yogin] feels some laziness (kausīdya), when the five obstacles (pañcanīvaraṇa) and the other passions (kleśa) cloud the mind and he strays away from the five kinds of roots of good, faith, etc. (śraddhādhikuśalamūla), then he makes an effort (vyāyacchate) and develops exertion (vīryam ārabhate) for: 1) eliminating the bad dharmas that have already arisen (utpannānām akuśaladharmāṇāṃ prahāṇāya); 2) preventing the arising of the bad dharmas that have not yet arisen (anutpannānām akuśalānāṃ dharmāṇām anutpādāya); 3) making the good dharmas, faith, etc., that have not yet arisen, arise (anutpannānāṃ śraddhādikuśaladharmāṇāṃ utpādyāya); 4) developing the good dharmas that have already arisen (utpannānāṃ kuśaladharmāṇāṃ bhūyobhāvāya).[64] When these [four] exertions are abundant during the four doundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna), they take the name of right efforts (samyakpradhāna). [202c]

Of the seven categories of dharmas [auxiliary to enlightenment (bodhipakṣika)], why are these four called right efforts and the last eight, [namely, samyagdṛṣṭi), etc.] not described as right (samyak)?

Answer. – Because these four kinds of exertion (vīrya), of spritual energy (cittābhyusāha) or efforts (ārambha) are easily damaged by error (bhrānti), they are called right efforts. Because the [eight] factors of the Path, [samyagdṛṣṭi, etc.] take pleasure in the Dharma and are are easily damaged by falling into bad doctrines (mithyādharma), they are called right Path.

[The right efforts] in themselves (svabhāva) are the four kinds of exertions (caturvidhavīrya). [The right efforts] by connection (saṃsarga) are the dharmas of the Path resulting from causes and conditions (hetupratyaya), [dharmas other than the four right efforts] but having primarily the four kinds of exertion (caturvidhavīrya) in question. They are impure (sāsrava) or pure (anāsrava), with form (rūpin) or formless (arūpin), as has been said above (p. 1170F).


III. The Four Bases of Magical Power

When the four right efforts (samyakpradhāna) are practiced, the mind is slightly distracted (vikṣipta); this is why the concentrations (samādhi) are used to fix the mind: [concentrations of zeal (chanda), of exertion (vīrya), of the mind (citta) and of examination (mīmāṃsā). These concentrations are called bases of magical power (ṛddhipāda).

Thus, when good food (praṇītāhāra) is under-salted, it lacks flavor (rasa), but when salt (lavaṇa) is added, the taste is sufficient and is in accord with what is desired (yatheṣṭa). Or again, when a person who has two legs finds a good horse (aśva) or a good chariot (ratha), he comes to his destination as desired.

Similarly, when the yogin has obtained the true wisdoms that are the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna) and these right exertions (samyagvīrya) that are the four right efforts (samyakpradhāna), his wisdom (prajñā) is increased (vardhate) by means of these exertions; however, the strength of his concentration (samādhibala) remains weak. But when he obtains the four kinds of concentration (caturvidhasamādhi) and therefore fixes his mind (cittaṃ pragṛhṇati), the strength of his wisdom (prajñā) and concentration (samādhi) are equal (sama) and his vows (praṇidhāna) are realized. [These four concentrations] are called bases of magical power.

Question. – Concentration (samādhi) already was present in the four foundations of mindfulness and the four right efforts. Why not call them the bases of magical power?

Answer. – These practices do indeed contain [a certain measure] of concentration, but although wisdom (prajñā) and exertion (vīrya) are strong in them, concentration is weak. That is why the yogin did not realize his wishes (praṇidhāna) as he desired. [In the bases of magical power], there are four kinds of concentrations:

i) The concentration obtained by giving predominance to zeal (chandam adhipatiṃ kṛtvā).[65]

ii) The concentration obtained by giving predominance to exertion (vīryaṃ adhipatiṃ kṛtvā).

From these concentrations as causes and conditions there arise [the practices of] the Path, impure (sāsrava) or pure (anāsrava).

iii) The concentration obtained by giving predominance to the mind (cittam adhipatiṃ kṛtva).

iv) The concentration obtained by giving predominance to examination (mīmāṃsām adhipatiṃ kṛtva).

From these concentrations as causes and conditions there arise [practices of] the Path, impure or pure.

Together with the five good elements (kuśalaskandhasaṃsargāt) these practices are called [bases of] magical power by connection (saṃsargaṛddhipāda).

The four kinds of concentrations under the predominating influense of zeal (chanda), etc., are called [bases of] magical power in itself (svabhāvaṛddhipāda).[66]

For the four right efforts (samyakpradhāna) and the four bases of magical power (ṛddhipāda) see what was said in full detail in regard to the smṛtyupasthānas in themselves and as smṛtyupasthānas by connection (p. 1169F).


IV. The Five Faculties

Here are the five faculties (pañcendriya):[67]

1. Believing in the Path (mārga) and in the good dharmas adjuvant to the Path (mārgapākṣika kuśaladharma) is the faculty of faith (śraddhendriya).

2. When the yogin practices the Path and the dharmas adjuvant to the Path and exerts himself without stopping, that is the faculty of exertion (vīryendriya).

3. When he thinks about the Path and the dharmas adjuvant to the Path and does not think of anything else, that is the faculty of memory (smṛtīndriya).

4. When he meditates attentively (ekacittena) and without being distracted (avikṣepam), that is the faculty of concentration (samādhīndriya).

5. When, in view of the Path and the dharmas adjuvant to the Path, he considers (anupaśyati) the sixteen aspects of the truths (ṣoḍaśākāra),[68] impermanence (anitya), etc., that is the faculty of wisdom (prajñendriya).


V. The Five Strengths

When the five faculties have increased and are no longer troubled by the affictions (kleśa), they take the name of strengths (bala).[69] See what has just been said about the five faculties.

The five faculties and the five strengths come under the aggregate of volition (saṃskāraskandha), are always associated (sadāsaṃprayukta), are mental events (caitasikadharma) accompanying the mind (cittānuparivartin); they arise with the mind, endure with the mind and perish with the mind.

When one possesses them, the mind is in right concentration (samyaksamādhi); when one does not possess them, the mind falls into wrong concentrations (mithyāsamādhi).


VI. The Seven Members of Enlightenment

On the seven members of enlightenment (sapta saṃbodhyaṅga), see the explanations above (p. 1149F). [203a]

Question. – You previously gave the meaning but you did not speak from the Abhidharma point of view.

Answer. – It is necessary here to repeat what was said above (p. 1170F) in regard to the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna).

The seven members of enlightenment are formless (arūpin), invisible (anidarśana), non-resistant (apratigha), pure (anāsrava), conditioned (saṃskṛta), resulting from causes and conditions (hetupratyaya), included in the three times (tryadhvasaṃgṛhīta), included in name (nāmasaṃgṛhīta), included in the outer bases of consciousness (bāhyāyatanasaṃgṛhīta) and not to be destroyed by seeing (na darśanena prahātavya), things to be cultivated (bhāvanādharma) and non-defiled things (asaṃskliṣṭadharma), being fruit (phala) and involving a fruit (saphala), being neither feeling (na vedanā) nor matter derived (bhautika, upādāya rūpa) from the four great elements, nor cause associated with existence (na bhavanasaṃprayuktahetu). Two sections of the good (kuśala) contain the seven members of enlightenment and the seven members of enlightenment contain two sections of the good. [The members of enlightenment] are dissociated from bad, indeterminate, impure dharmas and dharmas containing impurity (akuśala-avyākṛta-āsrava-sāsravadharma-viprayukta). Two sections of the anāsrava include the seven members of enlightenment and the seven members of enlightenment include two sections of the anāsrava.

These various things have been discussed fully in the Ts’ien-nan ‘The Thousand Aporias’.[70]


VII. The Eight Members of the Path

On the eight members of the noble Path (āryāṣṭaṅgamārga), see what has been said above (p. 1150F).

1. [The first member], right view (samyakdṛṣṭi), is the wisdom mentioned in regard to the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna), the faculty of wisdom (prajñendriya), the strength of wisdom (prajñābala) and the member of enlightenment called discernment of dharmas (dharmapravicayasaṃbodhyaṅga).

2. [The second member], right thought (samyaksaṃkalpa), is, at the time of contemplating the four truths (satyānupaśyanā), associated with a pure mind (anāsravacittasaṃprayukyta): it is a reflection (tarka), an enquiry (vitarka), an understanding (avabodha), an examination (mīmāṃsa).

3. [The sixth member], right effort (samyagvyāyāma) has already been mentioned in regard to the four right efforts (samyakpradhāna), the faculty of exertion (vīryendriya), the strength of exertion (vīryabala) and the member of enlightenment called exertion (vīryasaṃbodhyaṅga).

4. [The seventh member], right attentiveness (samyaksmṛṭi), has already been mentioned in regard to the faculty of attentiveness (smṛtīndriya), the strength of attentiveness (smṛtibala) and the member of enlightenment called attentiveness (smṛtisaṃbodhyaṅga).

5. [The eighth member], right concentration (samyaksamādhi) has already been mentioned in regard to the bases of magical power (ṛddhipāda), the faculty of concentration (samādhīndriya), the strength of concentration (samādhibala) and the member of enlightenment called concentration (samādhisaṃbodhyaṅga).

Now it is necessary to speak [of the three remaining members]: right speech (samyagvāc), right action (samyakkarmānta) and right livelihood (saṃyagājīva).

6. [The third member or samyagvāc]. – With the exception of the four bad ways of livelihood (mithyājīva),[71] fixing vocal actions (vākkarmapragrahaṇa) and, by means of a pure wisdom (anāsravaprajñā), rejecting and eliminating bad vocal actions (vāṅmithyākarman).

7. [The fourth member or samyakkarmānta.] – For right action (samyakkarmānta), it is the same [allowing for a few minor variations].

8. [The fifth member or samyagājīva.] – By means of a pure wisdom (anāsravaprajñā), to reject and eliminate the five bad ways of livelihood is right livelihood (samyagājīva).

Question. – What are the five bad ways of livelihood (mithyājīva)?[72]Answer. – a. Out of love for profit (lāhalobha), to manifest all kinds of wonders (āścarya) by cheating (kuhāna).

b. Out of love for profit, to boast about one’s own qualities (svaguṇalapanā).

c. Out of love for profit, to predict good luck (svasti) or bad luck (asvasti) to people.

d. Out of love for profit, to proclaim loudly (uccais) one’s own power (prabhāva) in order to frighten people and make them respect oneself.

e. Out of love for profit, to speak of offerings already obtained (labdhapūjā) in order to encourage [other] people [to give in their turn].


These eight right paths (samyagmārga) are arranged into three groups (skandha):

a. Three of them, [right speech (samyagvāc), right action (samyakkarmānta) and right livelihood (samyagājīva)], make up the class of morality (śīlaskandha).

b. Three others, [right effort (samyagvyāyāma), right mindfulness (samyaksmṛti) and right concentration (samyaksamādhi)], make up the class of concentration (samādhislandha).

c. Two, finally, [right view (samyagdṛṣṭi) and right thinking (samyaksaṃkalpa)], make up the class of wisdom (prajñāskandha).[73]

The class of wisdom and the class of concentration are as above. Now we must talk about the class of morality.

The class of morality (śīlaskandha) has form (rūpasvabhāva), is invisible (anidarśana), non-resistant (apratigha), pure (anāsrava), conditioned (saṃskṛta), non-retribution (avipāka), the result of causes and conditions (hetupratyayaja), included in the three times (tryadhvasaṃgṛhīta), included in form (rūpasaṃgṛhīta), not included in name (na nāmasaṃgṛhīta), included in the outer bases of consciousness (bāhyāyatanasaṃgṛhīta), not to be destroyed by meditation (na bhāvanayā prahātavya) and not to be destroyed by seeing (na darśanena prahātavya), something to be cultivated (bhāvanādharma) and something non-defiled (asaṃkliṣṭadharma), being fruit (phala) and involving a fruit (saphala), not being either feeling (na vedanādharma) nor derived from the four great elements (na bhautika), not something of subordinate rank (na sottaradharma) nor a cause associated with existence (na bhavasaṃprayuktahetu).

One section of the good (kuśala) includes (saṃgṛhīta) three [members of [203b] the] right path and these three [members of the right path] include a section of the good. The members are dissociated from the bad, indeterminate, impure or involving impurity dharmas (akuśala-avyākṛta-sāsrava-sāsravadharma-viprayukta).

One dharma of the anāsrava includes three [other members of] the right path, and these three members also include one dharma of the anāsrava.

These various explanations are presented in full in the Abhidharma.


VIII. Distribution of the Auxiliaries in the Stages[143]

1. The thirty-seven auxiliaries of enlightenment (bodhipakṣikadharma) are all present in the stage of the first dhyāna (prathamadhyāna).

2. In the stage of the ānāgamya [preliminary absorption of the first dhyāna], there are thirty-six auxiliaries, excluding the member of enlightenment called joy (prītisaṃbodhyaṅga).

3. In the second dhyāna (dvvitīyadhyāna), there are also thirty-six auxiliaries, excluding [the member of the path] called right thinking (samyaksaṃkalpamārgaṅga).

4. In the intermediate dhyāna (dhyānāntara) [subdivision of the first dhyāna], in the third dhyāna (tṛtīyadhyāna) and in the fourth dhyāna (caturthadhyāna), there are thirty-five auxiliaries, excluding the member of enlightenment called joy (prītisaṃbodhyaṅga) and excluding the [member of the path called] right thinking (samyaksaṃkalpamārgāṅga).

5. In the [first] three formless absorptions (ārūpyasamāpatti), there are thirty-two auxiliaries, excluding the member of enlightenment called joy (prītisaṃbodhyaṅga) and [the members of the path (margāṅga) called] right thinking (samyaksaṃkalpa), right speech (samyagvāc), right action (samyakkarmānta) and right livelihood (samyagājīva).

6. In the summit of existence (bhavāgra) [or fourth formless absorption], there are twenty-two auxiliaries, excluding the seven members of enlightenment (saṃbodhyaṅga) and the eight members of the noble path (āryamārgaṅga).

7. In the desire realm (kāmadhātu), there are also twenty-eight auxiliaries [excluding the sambodhyaṅgas and the eight mārgāṅgas].

This information is valid for the system of the śrāvakas.



Question. – What is the meaning (artha) of these thirty-seven auxiliaries as taught in the Mahāyāna?



Answer. – The bodhisattva-mahāsattva practices the four foundations of mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna).


1. Mindfulness of body

He contemplates his inner body as impermanent, suffering, like a sickness, like an ulcer (so ’dhyātmakāyam anityato duḥkhato rogato gaṇḍataḥ samanupaśyati),[74] a mass of rotting flesh (read jou tsiu), filled with impurities (aśuciparipūrṇa), oozing from nine gates (navadvāra)[75] and a veritable walking latrine. In the same way, he contemplates the repulsive nakedness of the body where there is not even one pure place.

This ‘pile of bones, equipped with flesh and blood, wrapped with tendons’ (asthisaṃkalikā samāṣalohitā snāyusaṃbandhā),[76] this leather bag, that has as causes and conditions (hetupratyaya) the impure actions (sāsravakarman) of earlier lives (pūrvajanman), is provided in this life (ihajanman) with baths (snāpana), flowers (puṣpa) perfumes (gandha), clothes (vastra), food (āhāra), beds and seats (śayanāsana), remedies and medicines (glānapratyayabhaiṣajya), etc. It is like a two-wheeled cart (dvicakra ratha) which, when drawn by the power of an ox (gobala), can move: the causes and conditions of the two lifetimes produce the ‘cart’ of the body and, pulled by this ‘ox’ which is the consciousness (vijñāna), it turns, goes forwards and backwards.

This body formed by of the complex of the four great elements (caturmahābhūtasāmagrī) is not real (abhūta) and without substance (asāra), like a ball of foam (pheṇapiṇḍu).[77]

This body is impermanent (anitya) and must perish after a time. The physical characteristics (kāyalakṣaṇa) are not found inside the body, nor outside, nor in between the two (na te ’dhyātmaṃ na bahirdhā nobhayam antareṇopalabhyante).

The body itself does not know itself: it is ignorant (ajñā), inactive (akāraka), like the tiles (kaṭhalla) and stones (śilā) of a wall (kuḍya).

In this body there are no definite physical characteristis (kāyanimitta). There is no person who makes the body nor anyone who makes him make it. In this body there is no earlier term (pūrvānta) nor later term (aparānta) nor middle term (madhyānta).

Eighty thousand types of worms (kṛmikula),[78] innumerable sicknesses (vyādhi), hunger and thirst (kṣutpipāsā), cold and heat (śītoṣṇa) and weaknesses always torment the body.

The bodhisattva-mahāsattva who considers the body in this way knows that there is neither his own body (ātmakāya) nor the body of another (parakāya). There is neither master (īśvara) nor agent (kāraka) who makes this body. Empty of characteristics (lakṣaṇaśūnya), the body arises from unreal causes and conditions (abhūtahetupratyaya): this body that has but nominal existence (prajñaptisat) depends on previous actions (pūrvakarman) as causes and conditions.

The bodhisattva then says to himself: “I must not spare the life of the body. Why? The bodily characteristics do not unite and do not separate, they do not come and they do not go, they are not born and they are not destroyed; they do not rest upon anything.”

Pursuing the examination of the body, he says to himself: “Being without ‘I’ (anātman) and without ‘mine’ (anātmīya), this body is empty (śūnya). Being empty, it does not have any male (puruṣa) or female (strī) characteristics. Being without characteristics (animitta), it is not to be wished for (apraṇihita).” [203c]

Thinking thus, the bodhisattva enters into the gate of knowledge (jñānamukha) called ‘wishlessness’ (apraṇihita). He knows that the body is not to be considered in the sense that it arises only from a complex of engendering causes and conditions (hetupratyayasāmagrī). But these causes and conditions that produce the body also come from mistakes (bhrānti) and errors (viparyāsa). In these causes and conditions, the nature of cause and condition is also lacking, and the arising of causes and condtions is really a non-arising (anutpāda).

Reflecting thus, the bodhisattva knows that the body, from the beginning, is without the nature of arising (utpādalakṣaṇa). He knows that this body, without characteristics (animitta), is ungraspable (agrāhya). Since it is not born, it is without characteristics and, not having any characteristics, it is not born. Only stupid worldly people (bālapṛthagjana) speak about the body.

When the bodhisattva considers the true nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa) of the body in this way, he eliminates all desire (rāga) and all attachments (saṅgacitta) and, always fixing his attention on the body, he pursues the examination of the body. That is what is called mindfulness of body (kāyasmṛtyupasthāna) for the bodhisattva.

It is the same in regard to the consideration of the outer body (bahirdhākāya) and the consideration of the inner and outer body (adhyātmabahirdhākāya).


2. Mindfulness of feeling

How does the bodhisattva consider feelings (vedanā)? He considers inner feeling (adhyātmavedanā). This feeling is of three kinds: unpleasant (duḥkha), pleasant (sukha) neither unpleasant nor pleasant (aduḥkhāsukha). These feelings do not come from anywhere and, once destroyed, do not go anywhere. They arise only from error (bhrānti), mistakes (viparyāsa) and thought-construction (vikalpa). They are fruit of retribution (vipākaphala), depending on causes and conditions (hetupratyaya) constituted by the actions of previous lifetimes (pūrvajankakarman).

In this way, the bodhisattva considers these feelings that are neither in the past (atīta) nor in the future (anāgata) nor in the present (pratyutpanna). He knows that these feelings are empty (śūnya), without ‘I’ (anātman) or ‘mine’ (anātmīya), impermanent (anitya) and changing (vipariṇāmadharman). Considering the feelings distributed in the three times (tryadhvan) as empty (śūnya), without characteristics (ānimitta) and unworthy of being considered (apraṇihita), he penetrates into the gates of deliverance (vimokṣamukha).[79]

He also considers the arising (utpāda) and the cessation (nirodha) of feelings. He knows that feelings are not united, are not separated, do not arise and do not cease. Thus he penetrates into the gate of non-production (anutpādamukha).

He knows that feelings do not arise, are without characteristics (ānimitta) and, being without characteristics, are not born.

Knowing this, he is not attached to the objects (ālambana) of the mind. If he experiences an unpleasant feeling (duḥkha), pleasant feeling (sukha) or a neither unpleasant nor pleasant feeling (aduḥkhāsukha), his mind does not feel it (na vedayati), is not attached to it (nābhiniviśate), does not rest on it (nāśrayate).

Considering feelings in this way (etena paryāyena) is what is called mindfulness of feelings (vedanāsmṛtyupasthāna) for the bodhisattva.

It is the same in regard to the consideration of outer feeling (bahirdhāvedanā) and the consideration of both inner and outer feeling (adhyātmabahirdhāvedanā).


3. Mindfulness of mind

What is mindfulness of mind (cittasmṛtyupasthāna) for the bodhisattva? The bodhisattva considers the inner mind (adhyātmacitta). This inner mind has three characteristics (lakṣaṇa): arising (utpāda), duration (sthiti) and cessation (bhaṅga). He has the following thought: “This mind comes from nowhere and once destroyed, does not go anywhere. It arises only from a complex of inner and outer causes and conditions (adhyātmabahirdhāhetupratyayasāmagrī).”

This mind has no fixed and real nature, has no real birth, duration or cessation (utpādasthitibhaṅga); it does not occur in past (atīta), future (anāgata) or present (pratyutpanna) existence.

This mind is neither inner nor outer nor between the two (na tad adhyātmaṃ na bahirdhā nobhayam antareṇopalabhyate).

This mind is also without intrinsic nature (niḥsvabhāva) and without characteristics (nirmitta) and there is nothing that arises or anything that makes it arise. Outwardly, there are various (nānāvidha) mixed (miśra) causes and conditions (hetupratyaya), namely, the six objects (viṣaya); inwardly, there are erroneous notions (viparītasamjñā). But due to the succession of births and cessations (utpādanirodhaprabandha), the name of mind (citta) is habitually given to all of that.

The true nature of the mind (cittasya bhūṭalakṣaṇa) does not exist (nopalabhyate) in this mind. In its intrinsic nature (svabhāvena), the mind is not born (notpadyate) and does not cease (na nirudhyate). This mind is always [204a] luminous (prabhāsrava) but, because of adventitious passions (āgantuka kleśa), we [wrongly] speak of the soiled mind (upakliṣṭacitta).

The mind does not recognize itself. Why? Because this mind is empty of characteristics of mind (cittalakṣaṇaśūnya). From the beginning to the end, this mind has no real attributes.

This mind is not joined with nor separated from dharmas. It has neither an anterior term (pūrvānta) nor a posterior term (aparānta) nor a middle term (madhyanta). It has neither color (rūpa), shape (saṃsthāna) nor resistance (pratigha). It arises only from mistakes (viparyāsa) and error (bhrānti).

This mind is empty (śūnya), without ‘I’ (anātman), without ‘mine’ (anātmīya), impermanent (anitya) and unreal (asat). That is a consideration in accordance with the mind.

Knowing that the nature of the mind is unborn is to enter into ‘the dharmas that do not arise’ (anutpattikadharma). Why? Because this mind is without birth (utpāda), without intrinsic nature (svabhāva) and without characteristics (lakṣaṇa). The wise person (jñānin) can know it. And although the wise person considers the characteristics of birth (utpāda) and cessation (nirodha) of this mind, he will find no true birth, no true cessation. Not finding any defilement (saṃkleśa) or purification (vyāvadan) in it, he discovers this luminosity of the mind (cittasya prabhāsvara), a luminosity by virtue of which the mind is not defiled by the adventitious passions (na khale āgantukair upakleśair upakliṣyate).[80]

This is how the bodhisattva considers the inner mind (ādhyātmacitta), and it is the same in regard to the outer mind (bahirdhācitta) and the both inner and outer mind (adhyātmabahirdhācitta).


4. Mindfulness of dharmas

How does the bodhisattva practice mindfulness of dharmas (dharmasmṛtyupasthāna)? He considers that all dharmas are neither on the inside nor on the outside nor in between (na te ’dhyātmaṃ na bahirdhā nobhayam antareṇopalabhyante); they are not in the past (atīta) lifetime, the future (anāgata) lifetime, or the present (pratyurpanna) lifetime. They arise only from the complex of causes and conditions (hetupratyayasāmagrī) and wrong views (mithyādṛṣṛti). There is no fixed reality; there is no dharma that is any dharma whatsoever.

In the dharmas there is no characteristic of dharmas and there is no dharma that unites or is separated. All dharmas are non-existent like space (ākāśa); all dharmas are deceptive like a magic show (māyā).[81] The purity of nature (svabhāvaviṣuddhi) of dharmas[82] has no contact with defilement (saṃkleśa). Dharmas are not felt (vedita) because feelings (vedanā) do not exist; dharmas are not cognized (jñāta) because the mind (citta) and mental events (caitasikadharma) are deceivers.

Considering things in this way, the bodhisattva sees neither identity (ekatva) nor difference (anyatvā) among dharmas. He considers that all dharmas are empty (śūnya) and without self (anātman). Thus, he has the following thought:

Coming from causes and conditions (hetupratyaya), all dharmas have no intrinsic nature (svabhāva) and are empty of reality (tattvaśūnya). Being empty of reality, they have no characteristics (animitta). Not having characteristics, they are not to be taken into consideration (apraṇihita). Not being taken into considertion, one does not see any dharma that is born, that perishes or that lasts. In this wisdom (prajñā), the bodhisattva penetrates into the gateway of ‘conviction that dharmas do not arise’ (anutpattikadharmakṣānti).

From that time on, even if he notices birth (utpāda) or cessation (nirodha) among dharmas, he enters into the gateway of ‘signlessness’ (ānimitta). Why? Because all dharmas are without characteristics. That is what is understood by the wise person (jñanin).

Considering things in this way, he is not attached to objects of the mind (cittālambana) and, while submitting (anugacchan) to the characteristics of dharmas (dharmalakṣaṇa), he does not think about the body (kāya) or ahout feeling (vedanā) or about the mind (citta) or about dharmas. He knows that these four things are without a basis (apratiṣṭhāna).[83]

That is mindfulness of inner dharmas (adhyātmadharma). It is the same for mindfulness of outer dharmas (bahirdhādharma) and mindfulness of both inner and outer dharmas (adhyātmabahirdhādharma).



The four right efforts (samyakpradhāna) and also the four bases of magical power (ṛddhipāda) should be analyzed in the same way and considered as empty (śūnya) and without basis (apratiṣṭhāna).



What are the five faculties (indriya) as practiced by the bodhisattva? The bodhisattva-mahāsattva considers (anupaśyati) and cultivates (bhāvayati) the five faculties.

1. The faculty of faith (śraddhendriya). – The bodhisattva believes that all dharmas arise from causes and conditions (hetupratyaya), arise from mistakes (viparyāsa) and wrong views (mithyādṛṣṭi), like a fire-brand brandished in a circle [204b] (alātrackara),[84] like a dream (svapna), like a magic show (māyā).

He believes that dharmas are impure (aśuddha), impermanent (anitya), suffering (duḥkha), without self (anātmaka), like a sickness (roga), like an ulcer (gaṇḍa), like a thorn (śalya), subject to deterioration and ruin.

He believes that all dharmas are non-existent (asat), like an empty fist deceiving little children (bālollāpanariktamuṣṭivat).[85]

He believes that there are no dharmas in the past (atīta) or in the future (anāgata) or in the present (pratyutpanna), that they come from nowhere and, once destroyed, they go nowhere.

He believes that dharmas are empty (śūnya), without characteristics (ānimitta), not to be considered (apraṇihita), unborn (anutpanna) and non-destroyed (aniruddha). Despite this wishlessness (read wou-tso) and this signlessness, he believes [in the five pure elements or (anāsravaskandha)]: i) morality (śīla), ii) concentration (samādhi), iii) wisdom (prajñā), iv) deliverance (vimukti), v) knowledge and vision of deliverance (vimuktijñānadarśana).

Because he has acquired this faculty of faith, the bodhisattva is non-regressing (avaivartika). Taking the faculty of faith as the major one, he skillfully becomes established in morality (śīla). When he is established in morality, his mind of faith is unmoving (acala) and firm. He believes with his whole mind (ekacittena). He depends on the retribution of the fruit of action (karmaphalavipāka), rejects wrong views (mithyādṛṣṭi), no longer believes in the words of others (paravacana). He accepts only the Buddha’s teachings; he believes in the Community (saṃgha) and he becomes established in the true Path (mārga). He is of right mind (ṛjucitta), gentle (mṛdu) and patient (kṣamavat). His supernatural powers (abhijñā) are unhindered (apratigha), immobile (acala) and indestructible (akṣaya); he acquires mastery of powers (balavaśitā).

This is called the faculty of faith.

2. The faculty of exertion (vīryendriya). – Day and night (aharniśam), the bodhisattva always develops exertion (vīrya). He rejects the five obstacles (pañcanivarāṇa) and protects the five faculties (pañcendriya). He wants to find, understand, practice, read, study and hear the profound teachings (gambhīradharma) of the sūtras.

When evil bad dharmas (pāpaka akuśala dharma) have arisen, he acts so as to destroy them quickly and, if they have not arisen, he acts so as to prevent them from arising. As for the good dharmas (kuśaladharma) that have not yet arisen, he acts so that they will arise and, if they have already arisen, he acts so as to develop them. He has no fondness for dharmas that are neither good nor bad (naivakuśalānākuśaladharma).

Dedicating equal exertion to good dharmas, he advances directly and straight to the point. He develops right exertion (samyagvīrya) and, due to his concentrated mind (samāhitacitta), the latter is called the faculty of exertion (vīryendriya).

3. The faculty of mindfulness (smṛtīndriya). – The bodhisattva is always attentive (smṛtimat) and reflective (saṃprajānat). Wishing to perfect generosity (dāna), morality (śīla), meditation (dhyāna), wisdom (prajñā) and deliverance (vimukti), wishing to purify bodily, vocal and mental actions (kāyavāṅmanaskarman), he is ever attentive and reflective in his knowledge pertaining to the arising (utpāda), disappearance (vyaya) and duration-change (sthityanyathātva) of dharmas.

He reflects attentively [on the four noble truths] on suffering (duḥkha), its origin (samudaya), its cessation (nirodha) and the path (mārga) to its cessation.

He reflects attentively and analyzes the faculties (indriya), strengths (bala), the [members] of enlightenment (saṃbodhyaṅga) and the absorptions (samāpatti), deliverance (vimukti), arising (utpāda) and cessation (nirodha), entering and exit.

He reflects attentively on unborn (anutpanna), non-destroyed (aniruddha), ineffective (anabhisaṃskāra) and inexpressible (anabhilāpya) dharmas in order to attain the knowledge of non-production (anutpādajñāna) and to realize fully the teachings of the Buddha.

He reflects attentively and prevents the concepts of the śrāvakas from being introduced.

The bodhisattva always reflects and never forgets. Thanks to these very profound (gambhīra), pure (viśuddha) dharmas acquired by meditation and practice (bhāvanācāraprāpta), he attains this sovereign attentiveness (vibhūtasmṛti) called the faculty of mindfulness (smṛtīndriya).

4. The faculty of concentration (samādhīndriya). – Grasping well the characteristics (lakṣaṇa) of concentration, the bodhisattva is able to produce all kinds of dhyānas and absorptions (samāpatti).

He knows clearly the gates of concentration (samādhimukha); he knows how to enter into concentration (samādhipraveśa), how to remain in concentration (samādhivihāra) and how to come out of concentration (samādhivyutthāna).

He is not attached to concentration (na samādhim abhiniviśate), does not savor it (nāsvate) and does not emphasize it (nāśrayate).[86] He knows well the object (ālambana) of the concentrations and the destruction of this object.[87]

He also knows the objectless concentration (anālambanasamādhi). Without conforming to the words of another (paravacana), without conforming to any [204c] particular absorption, he practices his mastery (vaśita) of it and enters it and comes out of it without obstacle.

That is what is called the faculty of concentration (samādhīndriya).

5. The faculty of wisdom (prajñendriya). – In order to exhaust suffering (duḥkha), the bodhisattva is endowed with a noble wisdom (āryaprajñāsaṃpanna), a wisdom that eliminates the dharmas and realizes nirvāṇa. With this wisdom, the bodhisattva considers the impermanence (anityatā) of the threefold world (traidhātuka) burning with the fire of the three rottennesses and the three poisons (viṣayatraya).[88]

When this consideration is finished, the bodhisattva is detached from the threefold world by means of his wisdom and, for him, the threefold world is transformed into the gates of deliverance (vimokṣamukha), namely, emptiness (śūnyatā), wishlessness (apraṇihita) and signlessness (ānimitta). He seeks the Buddhadharma attentively as if his hair were on fire (ādiptaśira-upama).[89]

Nothing can destroy this wisdom of the bodhisattva: it has no support (āśraya) in the threefold world, and his mind constantly avoids the five objects of enjoyment (pañcakāmaguṇa) as he wishes (yatheṣṭam).

By the power of wisdom (prajñābala) the bodhisattva accumulates innumerable qualities (guṇa) and, without hesitation or difficulty, penetrates directly into the true nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa) of dharmas. He has neither grief (daurmanasya) in saṃsāra nor joy (saumansaya) in nirvāṇa.

The possession of this sovereign wisdom (vibhūtaprajñā) is what is called the faculty of wisdom (prajñendriya).


[Altruism in the practice of the faculties].[90] – The bodhisattva in possession of the five faculties understands well (prajānāti) the various faculties of beings.

He understands the faculties of beings with desire (sarāga) or without desire (vītarāga), hateful (sadveṣa) or without hatred (vītadveṣa), stupid (samoha) or without stupidity (vītamoha).[91]

He understands the faculties of beings destined to fall into the bad destinies (durgati), destined to be reborn among humans (manuṣya) or destined to be reborn among the gods (deva).

He understands the beings of weak faculties (mṛdvindriya) or of sharp faculties (tīkṣṇendriya). He understands beings of superior (agra), medium (madhya) or lower (avara) faculties.

He understands the faculties of guilty (sāpattika) or faultless (anāpattika) beings, rebellious or docile.

He understands the faculties of beings who are always reborn in the desire realm (kāmadhātu), in the form realm (rūpadhātu) or in the formless realm (ārūpyadhātu).

He understands the faculties of beings of coarse (sthūla) or fine (sūkṣma) roots of good (kuśaladharma).

He understands the faculties of beings predestined to salvation (samyaktvaniyata), predestined to ruin (mithyātvaniyata) or without predestination (aniyata).[92]

He understands the faculties of careless or impetuous people. He understands the faculties of beings bearing the burden (bhārasaha).[93]

He understands the faculties of miserly (matsarin) or generous (tyāgavat) people, respectful people or disrepectful people, people of pure morality (viśuddhaśīla) or of impure morality (aviśuddhaśīla), angry (vyāpanna) or patient (kṣamin) people, energetic (vīryavat) or lazy (kusīda) people, people of distracted mind (vikṣiptacitta) or of concentrated mind (samgṛhītacitta), stupid people (mūḍhā) or wise people (prajñāvat), fearless (nirbhāya) or fearful (sabhaya) people, prideful people (abhimānika) or people without pride (nirabhimāna), people of right conduct (samyakpratipanna) or of wrong conduct (mithyāpratipanna), controlling their senses (guptendriya) or not controlling their senses.

He understands the faculties of people who seek the path of the śrāvakas, that of the pratyekabuddhas, or that of the Buddhas.

In this knowledge of the faculties of beings, the bodhisattva shows his mastery (vaśita), skillfulness (upāya) and power (bala): this is what is called the faculty of wisdom (jñānendriya).



When the bodhisattva has progressed in the practice of the five faculties (indriya), he is able to destroy the afflictions (kleśa), save beings and acquire the [205a] conviction that dharmas do not arise (anutpattikadharmakṣānti): this is what is called the five powers or strengths (bala).

Moreover, as the god Māra and heretics (tīrthika) are unable to destroy them, they are called powers or strengths.



Here are the seven factors of enlightenment (saṃbodhyaṅga):

1. The bodhisattva no longer thinks about or reflects on any dharma: this is the factor of enlightenment called attentiveness (smṛtisaṃbodhyaṅga).

2. Looking among the dharmas for good (kuśala), bad (akuśala) or neutral dharmas (avyākṛta), the bodhisattva finds nothing: this is the factor of enlightenment called discernment of dharmas (dharmapravicayasaṃbodhyaṅga).

3. Without entering into the threefold world (traidhātuka), the bodhisattva reduces the characteristic traits (lakṣaṇa) of all worlds into pieces: this is the factor of enlightenment called exertion (vīryasaṃbodhyaṅga).

4. In regard to all the formations (saṃskāra), the bodhisattva produces no attachment (abhiniveśa) or pleasure (sukha) and, as all signs of grief (daurmanasya) and joy (prīti) have been overcome in him, this is the factor of enlightenment called joy (prītisaṃbodhyaṅga).

5. In all dharmas, there is nothing but an object of mind (cittālambana): this is the factor of enlightenment called relaxation (praśrabdhisaṃbodhyaṅga).

6. The bodhisattva knows that all dharmas, which have as their characteristic being always concentrated (sadāsamāhita), are not [sometimes] scattered (vikṣipta) and [sometimes] concentrated (samāhita): this is the factor of enlightenment called concentration (samādhisaṃbodhyaṅga).

7. The bodhisattva is not attached to any dharma (na dharmam abhiniviśate), does not rest there (nāśrayate) and no longer sees them (na paśyati): this mind of equanimity (upekṣacitta) is the factor of enlightenment called equanimity (upekṣāsaṃbodhyaṅga).

This is how the bodhisattva considers the seven factors of enlightenment as empty (śūnya).

Question. – Why explain these seven factors of enlightenment so briefly (saṃkṣepeṇa)?

Answer. – Of these seven factors of enlightenment, [four, namely] attentiveness (smṛti), wisdom (prajñā), exertion (vīrya) and concentration (samādhi) have been fully explained above (p. 1149F). Now we must speak of the three others.

1. The bodhisattva who practices the factor of enlightenment called joy (prītisaṃbodhyaṅga) considers this joy as unreal (abhūta). Why? This joy arises from causes and conditions (hetupratyayaja). These are the formations (saṃskāra), conditioned dharmas (read: yeou tso fa: saṃskṛtadharma), impermanent (anitya) dharmas that produce (read cheng in place of k’o) attachment (abhiniveśa). But if the thing that produces attachment is impermanent (anityalakṣaṇa), once it has disappeared, it arouses grief (daurmanasya). Worldly people (pṛthagjana) are attached to it out of error (viparyāsa), but if they know that dharmas ar empty of reality (tattvaśūnya), they correct themselves at once and say: “I made a mistake (bhranti).”

It is like a man in the darkness (andhakāra) tormented by hunger and thirst (kṣutpipāsāpīḍita) who has swallowed impure things; then, by the light of day, he re-examines the things and finally understands his mistake.

Considering things in this way, the bodhisattva puts his joy (prīti) into real wisdom (bhūtaprajñā): this is true joy (bhūtaprīti).

2. Having acquired this true joy, first he eliminates unwholesome physical states (kāyadauṣṭhulya), then he eliminates unwholesome mental states (cittadauṣṭhulya), and finally he eliminates all characteristics of dharmas (dharmalakṣaṇa). Thus he acquires well-being that fills the body and the mind and that constitutes the factor of enlightenment called relaxation (praśrabdhisaṃbodhyaṅga).

3. Since he has attained joy (prīti) and relaxation (praśrabdhi), he disregards any form of examination (anupaśyanā), namely, examination of impermanence (anityānupaśyanā), examination of suffering (duḥkhānupaśyanā), examination of emptiness and non-self (śūnyānāmānupaśyanā), examination of arising and cessation (utpādanirodhānupaśyanā), examination of existence (sadanupaśyanā), examination of non-existence (asadanupaśyanā), examination of what is neither existence nor non-existence (naivasannāsadanupaśyanā). The bodhisattva abandons all futile proliferation (prapañca) of this kind completely. Why? Because absence of nature, absence of object, non-activity, absence of futile discursiveness, perpetual pacification are the true nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa) of dharmas.

If the bodhisattva did not practice this equanimity (upekṣā), there would still be arguments (raṇa). Indeed, those who hold the existent (sat) to be true consider the non-existent to be false (moha); those who hold the non-existent (asat) to be true consider the existent (sat) to be false; and those who hold to be true what is neither existent nor non-existent (naivasannāsat) consider as false that which is both existent and non-existent (sadasat). They like what they believe to be true (satya), they hate what they believe to be false (moha), and this gives rise to grief (daurmanasya) and joy (prīti). Why not disregard all that?

When the bodhisattva has attained this [real] joy (prīti), this relaxation (praśrabdhi) and this equanimity (upekṣā), the seven factors of enlightenment are complete (paripūrṇa).



As for the eight members of the noble Path (āryamārgāṅga), [the first] or right view (samyagdṛṣṭi), [the sixth] or right effort (samyagvyāyāma), [the seventh] or right mindfulness (samyaksmṛti) and [the eighth] or right concentration (samyaksamādhi) have already been explained above (p. 1181F). Now we must [205b] speak of right thought (samyaksaṃkalpa).

[Second member]: right thought (samyaksaṃkalpa). – In the course of right thinking, the bodhisattva who is established in the emptiness (śunya) and non-existence (anupalabdhi) of dharmas examines the characteristics of right thought (samyaksaṃkalpalakṣaṇa). He knows that all thoughts (saṃkalpa) are false conceptions (mithyāsaṃkalpa), up to and including those concerning nirvāṇa and the Buddha. Why? The cessation of all kinds of conceptions (sarvasaṃkalpaprabhedhanirodha) is called right thought. All types of conceptions come from falsities, errors (bhrānti) and mistakes (viparyāsa): this is why they differ. But the characteristics of the conceptions are all non-existent, and the bodhisattva established in this right thinking (samyaksaṃkalpa) no longer sees what is correct (samyak) and what is wrong (mithyā) and by-passes (atikrāmati) all kinds of thinking (sarvasaṃkalpaprabheda): this is right thinking. For him, all types of conceptions are the same (sama) and, because they are the same, his mind does not become attached to them. This is what is called the right thinking of the bodhisattva.

[Third member]: right speech (samyagvāc). – The bodhisattva knows that all words (vāc) come from error (bhrānti), falsities, mistakes (viparyāsa), imaginings that seize the characteristics (nimittodgrahaṇavikalpa). Then the bodhisattva reflects in this way: In speech, the characteristics (lakṣana) of speech do not exist and all vocal actions (vākkarman) have ceased (niruddha). Understanding the true nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa) of words is right speech (samyagvāc).

Words come from nowhere and, once they have ceased, they go nowhere. The bodhisattva who is practicing right speech, in everything he says, holds to the true nature (bhūtalakṣaṇa). Thus the sūtras say that, established in right speech, the bodhisattva is able to accomplish pure vocal action (pariśuddhavākkarman). Understanding the true nature of all words, the bodhisattva, whatever he may say, does not fall into unwholesome words (mithyāvāc).[94]

[Fourth member]: right action (samyakkarmānta). – The bodhisattva knows that all actions (karman) are false, erroneous, unreal, having non-activity as nature (anabhisaṃskāralakṣaṇa). Why? Because there is not a single action that possesses definite nature.

Question. – If all actions are empty (śūnya), why did the Buddha say that generosity (dāna), etc., is a good action (kuśalakarman), murder (prāṇātipāta), etc., a bad action (akuśalakarman), and other things, gestures (ceṣṭa), are neutral actions (avyākṛtakarman)?[95]

Answer. – If there is not even one single kind of action, why should there be three? How is that? When the time of the movement has already been accomplished (gamanakāle gate), there is no motor activity (gamikriyā). When the time of the movement has not yet been accomplished (agate, i.e., future), there is no motor activity either. When the time of the movement is present (pratyutpanna), there is no motor activity either.[96]

Question. – In the seat of the movement already accomplished (gate sthāne) there can be neither [motor activity] nor can there be any motor activity in the seat of the movement not yet accomplished (agate sthāne); but in the seat of present movement (gamyamāne sthāne), there must be movement.[97]

Answer. – In the seat of present movement there is no movement. Why? Because the seat of present movement (gamyamāna) does not exist (nopalabhyate) without a motor activity (gamikriyā). If the seat of the present movement could exist without a motor activity then it ought to involve movement; but that is not the case. Without a present seat of movement, there is no motor activity and without motor activity there is no seat of present movement. Since this is a case of co-existent conditions (sahabhūprataya), we cannot say that that the seat of present movement involves movement (gamyamānaṃ gamyate iti nopadyate).

Furthermore, if the seat of present movement had motor activity (gamikriyā), there should be a seat of present movement outside of the motor [205c] activity, and there should be a motor activity outside of the seat of present movment.[98]

Question. – If that is so, what would be the error (doṣa)?[99]

Answer. – There would be two motor activities (gamikriyā) at the same time (samakāla) and, if there were two motor activities, there would be two agents of movement (dvau gantārau). Why? Because movement does not exist without an agent of movement (gantāraṃ hi tiraskṛtya gamanaṃ nopapadyate). Without agent (gantṛ), the seat of the present movement (gamyamāna) does not exist and, since there is no seat of the present movement, neither is there any agent of movement (gantṛ).[100] Furthermore, this non-agent itself does not move either (agantā naiva gacchati) and, outside of agent and non-agent, there cannot be a ‘third’ to move (nāsty anyo gantur agantuś cakaścit tṛtīyo gaccheta).[101]

Question. – It is right that the non-agent does not move (agantā na gacchatīti yujyate). But why does the agent not move?

Answer. – Without motor activity, the agent does not exist (gamikriyāṃ tiraskṛtya, gantā nopapdyate),[102] and without agent, motor does not exist (gantāraṃ tirask rtya, gamikriyā nopapadyate).

This emptiness of all action (sarvakarmaśūnyatā) is called right action (samyakkarmānta). The bodhisattvas who penetrate into the equality of all actions (sarvakarmasamatā) do not consider bad action (mithyākarman) as bad and do not consider right action (samyakkarmānta) as good (kuśala). Without activity (anabhisaṃskāra), they do not perform right actions and they do not commit bad actions. That is true wisdom (bhūtaprajñā); that is right action.

Moreover, among the dharmas, none is right (samyak) and none is wrong (mithyā). The bodhisattvas know actions in accordance with the truth and, knowing in accordance with the truth, they do not undertake anything and do not stop anything. Such wise people always have right actions and never have bad actions. In the bodhisattva this is what is called right action (samyakkarmānta).

[Fifth member]: right livelihood (samyagājīva). – All foods (bhojana), all means of subsistence (jīvitapariṣkāra) are right (samyak) and are not bad (mithyā). Established in a knowledge free of futile proliferation (niṣprapañcajñāna), the bodhisattva does not choose right livelihood (samyagājīva) and does not reject wrong livelihood (mithyājīva). He does not depend on either the right law (samyagdharma) or the wrong law (mithyādharma), but he remains always in pure knowledge (viśuddhajñāna). Penetrating thus into right living which is equality (samatā), he does not see life and does not see non-life. To practice this true wisdom (bhūtaprajñā) is what is called right livelihood (samyagājīva) [in the bodhisattva].

The bodhisattva-mahāsattva who conceives the thirty-seven auxiliaries of enlightenment (saptatriṃśad bodhipakṣikadharma) in this way surpasses the levels (bhūmi) of the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas, penetrates into the state of bodhisattva (bodhisattvaniyāma) and gradually (krameṇa) realizes the knowledge of things in all their aspects (sarvākārajnatā).[103]


Footnotes and references:


Free quotation of the Prajñāpāramita in the Daśabhūmiparivarta (cf. Pañcaviṃśati, p. 225; Śata., p. 1473: Yad bodhisattvo mahāsattva upāyakauśalyena sarvāsu pāramitāsu caran saptatriṃśad bodhipākṣeṣu dharmeṣu śikṣito ’pramāṇadhyānārūpyasamāpattiṣu caran daśatathāgatabalapratisaṃvitsv aṣṭādaśāvenikeṣu buddhadharmeṣu caran śuklapaśyanābhūmiṃ gotrabhūmim darśanabhūmiṃ tanubhūmiṃ vītarāgabhūmiṃ kṛtāvibhūmiṃ śrāvakabhūiṃ pratyekabuddhabhūmiṃ bodhisattvabhūmiṃ bodhisattvo mahāsattvo ’tikramya etā navabhūmīr atikramya buddhabhūmau pratiṣṭhate, iyaṃ bodhisattvasya mahāsattvasya daśamī bhūmiḥ.

Transl. – “When the bodhisattva-mahāsattva, with his skillful means, practices all the perfections, practices the thirty-seven auxiliaries of enlightenment, practices the [four] limitless ones, the trances and the formless absorptions, practices the ten strengths of the Tathāgata, the [four] unhindered knowledges and the eighteen special attributes of the Buddhas, when he goes beyond nine levels, namely, the level of clear seeing, the level of the spiritual lineage, the level of the eighth saint, the level of seeing, the refined (?) level, the level of renunciation, the level of the one who has finished his career, the level of the śrāvaka, the level of the pratyekabuddha and the level of the bodhisattva, when he is established in the level of the Buddha, that is the level of the bodhisattva-mahāsattva.”

The ten levels cited here are the levels common (sāddhāraṇabhūmi) to both vehicles. On this subject, see Śūraṃgamasamādhi, p. 248–251, note. The Sarvāstivādin treatises are not unaware of them, as Prof. A. Hirakawa has shown in The Rise of Mahāyāna Buddhism, Memoirs of the Research Dept. of the Tokyo Bunko, No. 22, 1963, p. 67–68.


Actually the Prajñāpāramitā, in the chapter on the Mahāyāna, mentions the thirty-seven bodhipākṣikas, from the four smṛityupasthānas to the āṣṭāṅgamārgas, among the Mahāyāna practices (cf. Pañcaviṃśati, p. 203–208; Śata. P. 1427–1439).


Aṣṭasāhasrikā, p. 374 (ed. U. Wogihara, p. 755): Tadyathāpi sāma Subhūte balavān iṣvastrācārya iṣvastraśikṣikṣāyāṃ suśikṣitaḥ supariniṣṭhitaḥ. sa ūrdhvaṃ kāṇḍaṃ kṣiped ūrdhvaṃ kāṇḍaṃ kṣiptvā tadanyaiḥ kāṇḍais tat kāṇḍaṃ bhūman patat pratinivārayed vārayet, tasya paurvakasya kāṇḍasya kāṇḍaparamparayā bhūmau patanaṃ na dadyāt. tāvat tat kāṇḍaṃ bhūmau na patet yāvan nākāṅkṣed aho batedaṃ kāṇḍaṃ bhūmau pated iti. evam eva Subhūte bodisattvo mahāsattvaḥ prajñāpāramitāyāṃ carann upāyakauśalyaparigṛhītas tāvat tāṃ paramāṃ bhūtakoṭiṃ na sākṣātkaroti yāvan na tāni kuśalamūlāny anuttarāyāṃ samyaksaṃbodhau paripakvāni suparipakvāni. yadā tāni kuśalamūlāny anuttarāyāṃ samyaksaṃbodhau paripakvāni bhavanti suparipakvāni, tadā tāṃ paramāṃ bhūtakotiṃ sākṣātkaroti.

Transl. – “It is, O Subhūti, as if a powerful master archer, well practiced and well versed in the practice of shooting the bow, shot an arrow into the air and, having shot one arrow into the air prevented, by means of other arrows, this arrow from falling to the ground, by means of a series of arrows, prevented the first arrow from falling to the ground: this first arrow would not fall to the ground as long as the master archer did not consent to its falling to the ground. In the same way, O Subhūti, the bodhisattva-mahāsattva, progressing in the perfection of wisdom and endowed with skillful means, does not realize the supreme summit of the real (i.e., nirvāṇa) as long as these roots of good are not ripe, are not indeed ripened by supreme complete enlightenment. But when these roots of good are ripe, are indeed ripened for supreme complete enlightenment, then he realizes this supreme summit of the real.”

The example of the master-archer appears in every version of the Prajñā: Aṣṭasāhasrikā T 224, k. 7, p. 458c16; T 225, k. 4,p. 497c10; T 226, k. 5, p. 531c11; T 227, k. 7, p. 560a16; T 228, k. 18, p. 649c8; Pañcaviṃśati, T 221, k. 14, p. 94c21; T 223, k. 18, p. 350c3; T 220, t. VII, k. 452, p. 281a9; Aṣṭādaśa, T 220, t. VII, k. 517, p. 646c19.

The same example is summed up in the Ratnaguṇasaṃcaya, XX, 9–10, p. 74, as follows:

Iṣvastraśita yathā puruṣordha kāṇḍaṃ
kṣepitva anya puna kāṇḍaparaṃpareṇa |
patanāya tasya purimasya na deya bhūmiṃ
ākāṅkṣamāṇa puruṣasya pataye kāṇḍaṃ ||

Evam eva prajñāvarapāramitāṃ caranto
prajñā-upāyabalaṛddhivicāramāṇo |
tāvan na tāṃ paramaśūnyata prāpuṇotī
yāvan na te kuśalamūla bhavanti pūrnāḥ ||

Transl. – “It is as if a man practiced in shooting the bow shot an arrow into the air and then, by means of a series of other arrows, did not allow the first arrow to fall: but if the man so wished, the arrow could fall. In the same way, the person who practices wisdom, the best perfection, and who practices wisdom and skillful means, the strengths and magic, would not take this supreme emptiness as long as these roots of good are not fulfilled.”


Pañcaviṃśati, p. 1137.


Pañcaviṃśati, p. 38: Rūpam eva śūnyatā, vedanaiva śūnyatā, saṃjñaiva śūnyatā, saṃskārā eva śūnyatā, vijñāṇam eva śūnyatā; śūnyataiva rūpaṃ, śūnyataiva vedanā, śūnyataiva saṃjñā, śūnyataiva saṃskārāḥ, śūnyataiva vijñānam.

This is a stock phrase endlessly repeated in the Prajñās: Pañcaviṃśati, T 222, k. 1, p. 221c1, p. 223a14; k. 3, p. 235a11. Other references above, p. 1112F, n. 2.


Madh. kārikā, XXV, 19–20; Madh. vṛtti, p. 535; T 1564, k. 4, p. 36a4–11:

Na saṃsmarasya nirvāṇāt kiṃcid asti viśeṣaṃ |
na nirvāṇasya saṃsārāt kiṃcid asti viśeṣaṇaṃ ||
nirvāṇasya ca yā koṭiḥ saṃsaraṇasya ca |
na tayor anstaraṃ kiṃcid susūkṣmam api vidyate ||


The fourth noble Truth concerning the path to the cessation of suffering is so complex that it consists not only of the eightfold path (aṣṭāṅgamārga) preached by the Buddha but also the thirty-seven auxiliaries to enlightenment (bodhipākṣika) and a whole infinity of dharmas.

The person who raises the objection is here contesting the need to speak of the thirty-seven auxiliaries in detail, as some of them are enough to lead to nirvāṇa This is mainly the case of the four foundations of mindfulness since the Buddha stated in the Majjhima I, p. 63:

Ehāyano ayaṃ bhikkhave sattānaṃ visuddhiyā sokaparividdavāvaṃ satikkamāya dukkhadomanassānaṃ atthagamāya ñāyassa adhigamāya nibbānassa sacchikiriyāya, yadidaṃ cattāro satipaṭṭhānā ti. – “There is one single way, O monks, leading to the purification of beings, to the transcending of sorrow and lamentation, to the disappearance of suffering and sadness, to the attainment of knowledge and realization of nirvāṇa; this is the four foundations of mindfulness.”

But the objection does not hold, for although the smṛtyupasthānas and the other auxiliaries to enlightenment constitute paths that are sufficient to the attainment of enlightenment, they are not suitable for all adepts indiscriminately: each must choose the one best suited to his own capacities and aptitude. Hence the need to propose a complete listing of auxiliaries to adepts without, however, excluding an infinity of other practices which will make up the object of chapters XXXII to XXXVIII.


The Dharma may be preached in an abbreviated form (saṃkṣiptena) or in a long form (vistareṇa): cf. Anguttara, I, p. 53; II, p. 189.


Two different classifications of the Buddhist scriptures already mentioned above (p. 27F, 560F). For details see F. Lamotte, Histoire du bouddhisme indien, p. 157–163.


Natumhākasutta in Samyutta, III, p. 33–34, and Tsa a han, T 99, no, 269, k. 10, p. 70b, repeated in the Alagaddūpamasutta in Majjhima, I, p. 140–141: Yaṃ bhikkhave na tumhākaṃ taṃ pajahatha, taṃ vo pahīnaṃ dīgharattaṃ hitāya sukhāya bhavissati. Kiñ ca bhikkhave na tumhākaṃ: Rūpaṃ bhikkhave na tumhākaṃ, taṃ pajahatha, taṃ vo pahīnaṃ dīgharattaṃ hitāya sukhāya bhavissati. Vedanā pe. Sañā pe. Saṅkhārā pe, Viññānaṃ pe.


See below, chap. XXXVII.


According to the Vibhāṣā (T 1545, k. 96, p. 496a–b), the thirty-seven auxiliaries consist of ten, eleven or twelve constitutive elements: according to the Abhidharmāmṛta (1553, k. 2, p. 977c11–12) and Kośa (VI, p. 283–284), ten; according to the Abhidharmadīpa (p. 358), eleven.


This is cittapraśrabdhi, ‘the dharma by means of which the mind is skillful, light, capable’: cf. Kośa. II, p. 157. Kumārajīva renders praśrabdhi here by tch’ou “to get rid of ?”; the translation k’ing-ngan ‘lightness-peace’ adopted by Hiuan-tsang in his version of the Kośa (T 1558, k. 2, p. 7c7; k. 4, p. 19b6; k. 12, p. 67a1–2; k. 25, p. 132b11; k. 28, p. 147a13) seems preferable.


The text in square brackets is taken from Kośa, VI, p. 284, so as to complete the list.


The punctuation in Taisho is defective, the period should be placed between ken and li.


Śraddhā, vīrya, smṛti and prajñā are called faculties (indriya) when they are weak, called powers or strengths (bala) when they are strong; cf. Kośa, VI, p. 286.


For the logical and chronological order of the seven classes of auxiliaries, cf. Kośa, VI, p. 288–290.


Defined above, p. 337–338F.


Canonical comparison: Dīgha, II, p. 83; III, p. 101; Saṃyutta, IV, p. 194; Anguttara, IV, p. 107, 110; V, p. 104: Seyyattā pi rañño paccantimaṃ nagaraṃ daḷhuddāpaṃ daḷhapākāratoraṇaṃ ekadvāraṃ, tatr’ assa dovāriko panḍito viyatto medhāvī aññātānaṃ ñātānaṃ pavesetā. – See also the Nāgasenasūtra in BEFEO, XXIV, 1924, p. 113.


The ‘City of nirvāṇa’ is a canonical expression: cf. Tch’ang a han, T 1, k. 4, p. 30a19 seq.; Tseng yi a han, T 125, k. 16, p. 626a1; k. 23, p. 669b27; k. 25, p. 687b19–20; k. 39, p. 760c24. We will see (p. 1231F) that the three gates of the City of nirvāṇa are the three vimokṣamukha.


See references above, p. 1121F.


On these mistakes (viparyāsa), see Anguttara, II, p. 52; Vibhaṅga, p. 376; Kośa, V, p. 21; Śikṣāsamuccaya, p. 198; Traité, p. 925F.


The contrast between viparyāsa and smṛtyupasthāna has already bween noted above, p. 1076F.


See also Mahāvyut., nos. 4026, 4027, 4065, 5063.


The vijñāna-bīja “seed-consciousness), the consciousness which is seed, is obviously the third member of the causal chain, the member conditioned by actions and itself conditioning name and form (nāmarūpa). This is what descends into the mother’s womb and is the first seed of the new being. This vijñāna was the subject of a conversation between the Buddha and Ānanda (Dīgha, II, p. 63: Kośavyākhyā, p. 669; Madh. vṛtti, p. 552).

Transl. – If the vijñāna, O Ānanda, did not descend into the mother’s womb, would the nāmarūpa (i.e., the entire living individual) coagulate as an embryo? – No, Lord.

If the vijñāna went away after having descended into the mother’s womb, would the nāmarūpa come into existence? – No, Lord.

If the vijñāna were to be cut off in the child, boy or girl, would the nāmarūpa grow and develop? – No, Lord.

The technical term vijñānabīja used here by the Traité does not appear, it seems, in the canonical scriptures, but occurs in some Mahāyānasūtras, especially in the Śalistamba, ed. Sastri, p. 13–14 (cited with a few variants in Madh. vṛtti, p. 566, and Pañjikā, p, 480:

Transl. – “Although this twelve-membered co-dependent production set in action for all of eternity continues to function uninterruptedly like the current of a river, however, four members of this twelve-membered co-dependent production function as cause to ensure its substance. What are these four? They are ignorance, craving, action and consciousness. Here consciousness is cause as seed: action is cause as field; ignorance and craving are causes as defilements. Action and the defilements give rise to the seed-consciousness; action plays the part of field for the seed-consciousness; craving waters the seed-consciousness, ignorance plants the seed-consciousness. If these four conditions do not exist, there is no arising for the seed-consciousness.”

But it seems that the Śalistamba may have been directly inspired by the Bhava-sutta of Anguttara, I, p. 23–224, where the Buddha explains to Ānanda: “If the action destined to be retributed in kāma-, rūpa- or ārūpyadhātu did not exist, existence (bhava) in one of these three realms would not manifest.” The Sūtra continues by saying:

Iti kho Ānanda kammaṃ khettam, viññānaṃ bījaṃ, taṇhā sineho avijjānīvaraṇānaṃ sattānaṃ taṇhāsaṃyojanānaṃ hīnāya… majjhimāya… paṇitāya dhātuyā viññāṇaṃ patiṭṭhitaṃ. “Indeed, O Ānanda, action is the field, consciousness is the seed, and craving is the moisture (of the soil). In beings chained by ignorance, fettered by craving, consciousness manifests in the lower, middle or higher realm.”

The Bhava-sutta exits in a Chinese version in the Ts’i tch’ou san kouan king (T 150a, no. 42, p. 881c), an anthology of 47 sūtras translated by Ngan Che-kao, the first year of the yuan-kia period (151a. D.). Tan-ngan claims that these sūtras are extracts from the Saṃyuktāgama (cf. Li-tsi, T 2034, k. 4, p. 50b1), but actually, only two sūtras – the Sattaṭṭhāna (no, 1) and the Puggala (no, 30) – come from the Saṃyukta, and all the others are borrowed from the Ekottara. The anthology is entitled Ts’i tch’ou ‘The Seven Subjects’, after the title of the first sūtra Sattaṭṭhāna (cf. K’ai-yuan, T 2154, k. 1, p. 479c16).

It is quite characteristic that the Bhava-sutta, dealing with the vijñāna-bīja, should have been one of the first to be translated into Chinese. The seed-consciousness was called upon to play a large role in the Abhidharma (see Kośa, III, p. 25, 26, 124, 26); it is the basis of the Vijñānavādin psychology which made the ālayavijñāna, the consciousness-receptacle ‘provided with all the seeds’ (sarvabījaka) the support of the knowable (jñeyāśraya); cf. Mahāyānasaṃgraha, p. 12 seq.


Reminder of a canonical topic: Dīgha, I, p. 76, 173, 209; Majjhima, I, p. 144, 500; II, p. 17; Saṃyutta, IV, p. 83, 194, 202; V, p. 370; Aṅguttara, IV, p. 386: Ayaṃ kāyo rūpī cātummahābhūtiko mātāpettikasambhavo odanakummāsupacayo anico’ ucchādanaparimaddanabhedanaviddhaṃsanadhammo: “The material body, composed of the four great elements, coming from the mother and father, fattened with boiled rice and gruel, that always must be oiled and massaged, nevertheless breaks up and is destroyed.”

The corresponding Sanskrit wording (Mahāvastu, II, p. 269, 278; Kāśyapaparivarta, § 152, shows asome variations: cf. Vimalakīrti, p. 134 as n.


Cf. the Vijayasutta of the Suttanipāta, p. 34,verse 197–198:

Ath’ assa navahi sotehi asūci sabbadā |
akkhimhā akkhigūthako, kaṇṇagūthako ||

siṃghāṇikā ca nāsāto, mukhena vanat’ ekadā |
pittaṃ semhañ ca vamati, kāyamhā sedajallikā ||

“Impurity flows from him ever in nine streams: from the eye, rheum; from the ear, wax; from the nose, snot; from the mouth sometimes bile and sometimes phlegm vomit; and from the entire body there flows sweat and filth.”

A sermon of the Buddha, cited in Milinda, p. 74, and Visuddhimagga, ed. Warren, p. 161, is expressed thus:

Allacammapaṭicchasnno navadvāro mahāvaso |
samantato paggharati asuci pātiganhiyo ||

“Covered with damp skin, [the body] with its nine gates, a great suffering, pours out stinking secretions from very part.”

The nine gates (dvāra), holes (chidra) or wounds (vraṇa) of the body are the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, mouth, anus and urinary canal. They are often mentioned in Buddhist texts: Fo pan ni yuan king, T 5, k. 2, p. 171a16; Tsa pan nie pan king, T 7, k. 1, p. 194c13; Tchong a han, T 26, k. 5, p. 453c5; Anguttara, IV, p. 386; Tseng yi a han, T 125, k. 30, p. 713a28; Ts’i tch’ou san kouan king, T 150, p. 880b5; Sieou hing pen k’i king, T 184, k. 2, p. 466c16; Ta tchouang yen louen king, T 201, k. 12, p. 324b28 (tr. E. Huber, Sūtrālaṃkāra, p. 346); Fa kiu king, T 210, k. 2, p. 573c27; Śikṣasamuccaya, p. 82, l. 1 (navavraṇamukha).


The nine concepts, objects of meditation on the horrible (aśubhabhāvanā), will be studied below in Chap. XXXV.


Like a stubborn horse.


Expressions borrowed from a canonical stock phrase listing various bodily positions: abhikkante paṭikkante, ālokite vilokite, sammiñjite pasārite, etc.: cf. Dīgha, I, p. 70; II, p. 95, 292: Majjhima, I, p. 57, 181, 269, 274, 346; III, p. 3, 90, 135; Saṃyutta, IV, p. 211, V, p. 142; Anguttara, II, p. 210. V, p. 206; Pañcaviṃśati, p. 204; Śatasḥahasrika, p. 1428.


Cf. Majjhima, I, p. 315, 365; II, p. 260; Saṃyutta, II, p. 99; IV, p. 172, 188; V, p. 170, 353: Puriso jīvitukāmo amaritukāmo sukhakāmo dukkhapaṭikkūlo: “Man wants to live, fears death, loves happiness and abhors suffering.”


See the Rahogataka-suttanta of the Saṃyutta, IV, p. 216 (Tsa a han, T 99, no. 476, k. 17, p. 121c) cited in Kośa, VI, p. 131, and Kośavyākhyā, p. 519:

Transl. – “I have spoken, O monks, of three feelings: pleasant feeling, unpleasant feeling and neither unpleasant nor pleasant feeling. But I have also said that every feeling is suffering (acc. to the comm.., dukkhasmiṃ = dukkha-sannissitaṃ): it is by viewing the impermanence of [all] the formations, the perishable, transitory, unpleasant, destructible and changing nature of [all] the formations that I have declared that all feeling is suffering.”

In other words, all the phenomena of existence, by reason of their transitory nature, are suffering and, if sometimes they seem to us to be pleasant, sometimes unpleasant and sometimes indifferent, that is purely a mistake.


Anguttara, V, p, p. 187–188.


Of the 98 anuśayas, bad tendencies that cause actions to accumulate, 92 have an impure object; 6 have a pure object, namely, the third and fourth truth, cessation and the Path: cf. Kośa, V, p. 34.


The Buddha spoke of samādhi, the second element of the Path of nirvāṇa, when he was dealing with the fourth noble truth. This proves that samādhi, which gives rise to the pure happiness of nirvāṇa, is truly happiness and not suffering. If it were suffering, the Buddha would have spoken of it in connection with the first truth which deals precisely with universal suffering.


Anguttara, I, p. 80–81: Dve ‘māni bhikkave sukhāni. Katamāni dve? Sāsavañ ca sukhaṃ anāsavañ ca sukhaṃ… Etadaggaṃ bhikkhave imesaṃ dvinnaṃ sukhānaṃ yadidaṃ anāsavasukhan ti.


See the apologue of the big but not fat sheep, above (p. 908–909F)


The sixteen aspects of the four noble truths perceived in the course of the three samādhis of śūnyatā, ānimitta and apraṇihita: see above, p. 641F and later, k. 23, p. 233b6; k. 54, p. 444a15; k. 63, p. 505a17.


The sūtras of the Āgamas and the Nikāyas set out the three characteristics of conditioned dharmas: production or origin, disappearance, and duration-change.

Sanskrit version (cf. Nidānasaṃyukta, p. 139, cited in Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 39, p. 199c22–23; Kośa, II, p. 223; Kośavyākhyā, p. 171; Madh. vṛtti, p. 145): Trīṇīmāni bhikṣavaḥ saṃskṛtasya saṃskṛtalakṣaṇāṇi. Katamāni trīṇi. Saṃskṛtasya bhikṣava utpādo ’pi prajñāyate, vyayo ’pi prjñāyate, sthityanyathātvam apīti: “There are, O monks, three characteristics of the conditioned that are themselves conditioned. What are these three? Of the conditioned, the production is object of consciousness; the disappearance is also object of consciousness; likewise the duration-change.”

Pāli version (Anguttara, I, p. 152; Saṃyutta, III, p. 37): Tīṇ’ imāni bhikkhave saṅkhatassa saṅkhatalakkhaṇāni. Katamāni tīṇi. Uppādo paññāyati, vayo paññāyati, ṭhitassa (variant: ṭhitānaṃ) aññathattaṃ paññāyati.

The Pāli reading ṭhitassa (or ṭhitānaṃ) aññathattaṃ ‘change while it (they) endure(s)’ is in contrast with the Sanskrit reading sthityanyathātvam attested by the preceding sources and by a fragment from Central Asia published by L. de La Vallée Poussin, Documents sanscrits de la seconde collection A. Stein, JRAS, 1913, p. 573.

c. The Chinese versions of the Āgamas render the originals only imperfectly: the Tsa a han, T 99, k. 2, p. 12a29 (corresponding to the Saṃyutta, III, p. 37) mentions only utpāda and vyaya; the Tseng yi a han, T 125, k. 12, p. 607c15 (corresponding to Anguttara, I, p. 152) has utpāda, anyathātva and vyaya; the Tsa a han, T 99, k. 12, p. 83c16 (corresponding to Nidānasaṃyukta, p. 139) subdivides the sthityanyathātva of the original and thus has four characteristics: utpāda, sthiti, anyathātva and vyaya.

d. The Pāli Abhidhamma accepts only three characteristics: uppāda, vaya and ṭhitānaṃ aññathatattam (Kathāvatthu, p. 61; Compendium, p. 25, 125).

e. The Sanskrit Abhidharma of the Sarvāstivādins, while referring to the canonical sources that accept three characteristics, nevertheless puts forth four: birth (jāti), old age (jarā) duration (sthiti) and impermanence (anityatā) according to the Vibhāṣā (T 1545, k. 39, p. 200c10–12) and Kośa, II, p. 222; jāti, jarā, nāśa according to the Abhidharmadīpa, p. 104.

f. For the Sautrāntikas and for Vasubandhu, the four characteristics of the conditioned, being the viprayuktasaṃskāras, are not real entities (cf. Kośa, II, p.226–234).


Fourth saṃskṛtalakṣaṇa according to the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma (see preceding note).


According to the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma whose theories the Traité reproduces here, the four primary characteristics (mūlalakṣaṇa) of the conditioned, namely jāti, jarā, sthiti and anityatā, have secondary characteristics (anulakaṣaṇa) in their turn: birth-of-birth (jātijāti), old-age–of old-age (jarājarā) duration-of-duration (sthitisthiti) and impermanence-of-impermanence (anityatānityatā): cf. Kośa, II, p. 224–225). – But Nāgārjuna refuted the theory of the anulakṣaṇas in Madh. Kārikā, VII, 3 (Madh. vṛtti, p. 147): Utpādasthitibhaṅgānām anyat saṃskṛtalakṣaṇam | asti ced anavasthaivaṃ; nāsti cet te na saṃskṛtāḥ ||: “If production, duration and destruction have a secondary characteristic, there is infinite regression; if they do not have a secondary conditioned characteristic, they are not conditioned.”


Dīgha, III, p. 231; Anguttara, II, p. 159: Atth’ āvuso attabhāvapaṭilābho yasmiṃ attabhāvapaṭilābhe attasaṃcetanā yeva kamati no parasaṃcetanā. Atth’ āvuso attabhāvapaṭilābho yasmiṃ attabhāvapaṭilaābhe yeva kamati no attasaṃcetanā: “There is an occasion in life [note, p. 1165F] in the course of which it is one’s own volition that acts, not the volition of another. There is an occasion in life during the course of which it is the volition of another that acts and not one’s own volition.”

According to the explanations of Anguttara (l. c.) summarized in Kośavyākhyā, p. 170, in the first case, death is due to one’s personal will (ātmanā maraṇam), in the second case, to the will of another (pareṇa maraṇam). Kośa, II, p. 218, cites several examples of these two kinds of death.


Beginning of the Markaṭasūtra of the Samyukta (Nidānasaṃyukta, p. 115–120; Tsa a han, T 99, no. 289, k. 12, p. 81c), entitled Assutavato in the Saṃyutta, II, p. 94–95:

Transl. of the Sanskrit. – 1. A foolish and unlearned worldly person, O monks, can indeed become disgusted with it, detached from it, and liberated from the body formed of the four great elements.

2. Why? We notice, O monks, that this body formed by the four great elements gets bigger, gets smaller, is taken and rejected. [This is why one can become disgusted with it.]

3. But in regard to the ‘mind’, or the ‘consciousness’, the foolish and unlearned worldly person is incapable of becoming disgusted with it and liberated from it.

4. Why? During the long night [of saṃsāra], this [mind] has been cared for, guarded, assimilated, espoused, adopted by the foolish unlearned worldly person, who says to himself: “It belongs to me, it is me, it is my self.”

This is why the foolish unlearned worldly person is incapable of becoming disgusted with it, detached from it, liberated from it..

5. And moreover, O monks, it would be preferable that the foolish unlearned worldly person considers as his self the body formed by the four great elements rather than the consciousness.

6. Why? We notice that the body formed by the four great elements, when it is maintained [in health], lasts for ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years, or even a little longer.

7. On the contrary, what is called ‘mind’, ‘consciousness’, over the days and nights, in the course of instants, moments and hours, appears in many different aspects: when it arises, it is [already] another mind that is born, when it disappears, it is another mind that is destroyed.

8. It is like a monkey who grasps a branch of a tree and, having let go of it, grasps another. In the same way, what is called ‘mind’ or ‘consciousness’, over the course of nights and days, etc., as before up to ‘when it is disappears, it is another that is destroyed.’


This objection has already been formulated above, p. 736F.


Compare the refutation developed above, p. 737–747F.


See Kośa, VI, p. 159–161; Kośavyākhyā, p. 529–531:

Smṛtyupasthāna itself (svabhāva) is fixing of the attention (smṛter upasthānam): it is a wisdom (prajñā) by which the attention is fixed (smṛtir anayopatiṣṭhate) on the body, the feelings, the mind, dharmas. The person who possesses this prajñā becomes an anupaśyin: hence the phrase: kāye kāyānupaśyī smṛta upasthitasmṛtiḥ.

When other dharmas, the auxiliaries to the path that are not prajñā, are dharmas co-existing with prajñā, they are smṛtyupasthāna by connection (saṃsarga).

The objects – body, feelings, mind, dharmas – to which the attention is applied are smṛtyupasthāna as object. In this sense, kāyasmṛtyupasthāna should be analyzed as kāyaḥ smrtyupasthānam ‘the body is fixation of the attention’ as the attention is fixed on it.


In other words, on what objects is the attention fixed in the course of the smṛtyupasthāna?


Five ādhyātmikāyatanas or organs: cakṣus, śrotra, ghrāṇa, jihvā and kāya; five bāhyāyatanas or objects: rūpa, śabda, gandha, rasa, spraṣṭavya; and the material part of the dharmāyatana, namely, avipjñapti (cf. Kośa, I, p. 20).


The six vedanākāyas (cf. Saṃyutta, III, p. 60).


The six vijñānakāyas (cf. Saṃyutta, III, p. 61).


The six saṃjñākāyas (Saṃyutta, III, p. 60), the six cetanākāyas (Saṃyutta, ibid.) and the three asaṃskṛtasākāśa and two nirodhas – accepted by the Sarvāstivādins (Kośa, I, p. 8–9).


There follows a long list which I [Lamotte] think need not be translated here. It shows many analogies with the Pāli Vibhaṅga, p. 206.


Prakaraṇapāda, T 1541, k. 8–9, p. 667c–672a; T 1542, k. 11–12, p. 739b–743c.

The Traité cites the Ts’ien-nan (p’in) ‘Chapter of the thousand Aporias’ three times: k. 18, p. 195a15–16 (see above, p. 1101F); k. 19, p. 202a5; 203a8. It is the seventh chapter of the [Abhidharma]-Prakaraṇapāda-[śāstra] entitled in the Chinese versions Ts’ien wen louen p’in (T 1541, k. 8, p. 663a5) or Pien ts’ien wen p’in (T 1542, k. 10, p. 733a17) corresponding to a Sanskrit original like Sahasraparipṛcchā-varga ‘Chapter of the Thousand Aporias’.

The Prakaraṇapāda, also called Prakaraṇagrantha or simply Prakaraṇa, is part of the Ṣaṭpādābhidharma of the Sarvāstivādins made up of the Jñānaprasthāna of Kātyāyanīputra and six annexed treatises (see above, p. 111F, n. 1).

The Sanskrit sources (Kośavyākhyā, p. 9), Tibetan sources (Bu ston, I, p. 49; Tāranātha, p. 296) and the Chinese sources attribute the Prakaraṇapāda to Vasumitra who composed it at Gandhāra, not far from Puṣkarāvati (Si-yu-ki, T 2087, k. 2, p. 881a15–16). But according to the Traité (above, p. 111–112F), only the first four chapters were by Vasumitra, the last four of which are the Ts’ien-nan p’in were the work of the Kaśmir arhats.

According to the modern exegetists, the Prakaraṇapāda belonged to the Abhidharma of the late period and shows affinities with the Vibhaṅga of the Pāli Abhidhamma: cf. Kogen Mizuno, Abhidharma Literature, Ceylon Enc., I, p. 70–71; A. C. Banerjeee, Sarvāstivādin Literature, 1957, p. 62–64: B.C. Law, History of Pāli Literature, I, 1933, p. 340.

The Prakaraṇapāda is often cited by Vasubandhu in his Kośa, by Yaśomitra in his Kośavyākhyā and by Saṃghabhadra in his Nyāyānusāra (cf. Taisho Index, 16, p. 174).

Two Chinese translations of the Prakaraṇapāda have been made:

a. Tchong che fen a-p’i-t’an louen (T 1541) by the Indian Brahmin Guṇabhadra (394–468) and his disciple Bodhiyaśas (cf. Li tai san pao ki, T 2034, k. 10, p. 91a25; K’ai yuan mou lou, T 2154, K. 5, p. 528b11).

b. A-p’i-ta-mo p’in tsou louen (T 1542) by Hiuan-tsang. The translation was started in the Yun-kouang hall at Yu-houa sseu the 1st of the 9th month of the 5th hien-k’ing year (October 10, 660) and finished the 23rd day of the 10th month of the same year (November 30). Ta-cheng-kouang, etc., wrote it down with the brush (K’ai yuan mou lou, T 2154, k. 8, p. 447a14–15).


The canonical sūtra mentioned above, p. 1122F.


Canonical expression: cf. Dīgha, II, p. 297; Majjhima, I, p. 58: Ayam pi kho kāyo evaṃdhammo evaṃbhāvī etaṃ anatīto ti.


Therefore capable of being taken for the ‘self’ or ‘mine’


The six organs, eye, etc.


Saṃyutta, IV, p. 231: Katame ca bhikkhave dve vedanā. Kâyikā ca cetasikā ca.


Cf. Majjhima, I, p. 302: Yaṃ kho āvuso kāyikaṃ vā cetasikaṃ vā dukkhaṃ asātaṃ vedayitaṃ ayaṃ dukkhā vedanā.


See above, p. 494–495F, 583–585F.


The canonical sources distinguish two, three, five, six, eighteen, thirty-six, and one hundred and eight kinds of vedanā: cf. Saṃyutta, IV, p. 231–232; Tsa a han, T 99, no. 485, k. 17, p. 123c–124b. Later the Traité (k. 36, p. 324b4–8) will return to this subject.


The five obstacles preventing entry into dhyāna. The Traité has spoken of them above (p. 1012–1020F). In the same way as the factors of enlightenment, these obstacles are inner or outer according to whether one examines them within oneself or in another.


Kośa, II, p. 178 and foll.: cf. the cittavippayutta of the Pāli scholasticism: Dhammasaṅgaṇī, p. 210, 254.


Canonical formula already cited above, p. 1123F.


Formulas appearing in the Vibhaṅga, p. 216, and Kośavyākhyā, p. 601–602; see above, p. 1125F.


The four concentrations having zeal, exertion, the mind, examination a predominating respectively are the bases of magical power (see above, p. 382–383F).

Taken by themselves (svabhāva), they are of lower order: they are right views but are impure (sāsrava), having only meritorious value (puṇyabhāgīya) and bearing fruit only in this world (upadhivaipkaya); it is the right view of worldly people who see the truth but stay apart from the path traced by the Buddha.

On the other hand, together with the five good elements (the dhammakkhandha of the Dīgha, III, p. 229, 279, Itivuttaka, p. 107; the lokottaraskandha of the Dhrmaguptaka, § 23; the asamasamāḥ skandhāḥ of the Mahāvyut., no. 103–108) – namely, śīla, samādhi, prajñā, vimukti, vimuktijñānadarśana -, these four concentrations ‘by connection’ (saṃsarga) are the right views of the nobles (ārya), pure (anāsrava), supraworldly (lokottara) and linked to the Path (mārgāṅga); this is the view found in the noble mind, purified, joined to the way, following the noble Path. See Majjhima, III, p. 72.


For the Traité, the five indriyas concern the Path and the auxiliaries to enlightenment exclusively. The canonical sources cited above (p. 1125F) are less precise: according to them, faith (śraddhā), rather, would have the Buddha as object.

On the order of the indriyas, cf. Kośa, VI, p. 287.


See above, p. 641F.


There is only a difference in intensity between the five indriyas and the five balas: see above, p. 1127F; Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 141, p. 726b13–20: Kośa, VI, p. 286.


Prakaraṇapāda, T 1541, k. 10, p. 679c9 foll.; T 1542, k. 15, p. 753a. – Cf. Vibhaṅga, p. 232–234.

On the Chapter of the Thousand Aporias, see above, p. 1171F, note 1.


These will be discussed in regard to the fifth member or samyagājīva.


The five bad ways of livelihood are formulated in sybilline terms which have severely tested the wisdom of translators. Besides, the texts show many variations:

a. Pāli sources. – Majjhima, III, p. 75: Katamo ca bhikkhave micchā-ājīvo. Kuhanā, lapanā, nemittakatā, nippesikatā, lābhena lābhaṃ nijigiṃsanatā. – Transl. I. B. Horner, Middle Length Sayings, III, p. 118: ‘Trickery, cajolery, insinuating, dissembling, rapacity for gain upon gain’. Scholarly notes justify this translation.

Dīgha, I, p. 8, 67; Anguttara, III, p. 111: Kuhakā ca honti, lapakā ca, nemittikā ca, nippesikā ca, lābhena ca lābhaṃ nijigiṃsitaro iti. – Transl. L. Renou, Canon bouddhique pāli, vol. I, fasc. 1, 1949, p. 8: ‘They become swindlers, boasters, soothsayers, jugglers, seeking to gain profit upon profit.’

The Pāli commentaries pile synonym upon synonym and are not of much help: cf. Vibhaṅga, p. 352–353 (reproduced in Visuddhimagga, ed. Warren, p. 19); Sumaṅgalavilāsinī, I, p. 91–92: Papañcasūdanī, IV, p. 134; Manorathapūraṇī, III, p. 273, 412.

b. Sanskrit sources. – Kośavyākhyā, p. 420: 1) kuhanā, 2) lapanā, 3) naimittikatā, 4) naiṣpeṣitā, 5) lābhena lābhaniścikīrṣā.

Bodh. bhūmi, p.168: 1) kuhanā, 2) lapanā, 3) naimittikā, 4) naiṣpeṣikatā, 5) lābhena lābhaṃ niścikīrṣutā.

Abhidharmadīpa, p. 309: 1) kuhanā, 2) lapanā, 3) naimittikatā, 4) naiṣpeṣikatā, 5) lābhena lābhasya niścikīrṣatā.

Mahāvyut., no. 2493–97: 1) kuhanā = ṅan pa, 2. lapanā = kha = gsag, 3. naiṣpeṣikatva = thob kyis ḥjal ba, thob ciṅ ḥjal ba, 4) naimittikatva = gzhog sloṅ, 5) lābhena lābhaniṣpādanatā = rñed pas rñed pa sgrub pa. – For the Chinesse translations, see Hiuan-tsang (T 1579, k. 41, p. 518a7), preferable to the translations adopted by the editions of the Mahāvyutpatti.

In the Lexikalisches annexed to his edition of the Bodh. bhūmi, p. 21–26, U. Wogihara has succeeded in defining the meaning of these five expressions. Edgerton’s Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary (p. 189, 461, 312, 313, 462) is mainly inspired by Wogihara.

The explanations given here by the Traité may be found mainly in the Abhidharmadīpa, p. 310: Abhūtaguṇadarśanārtham īryāpathavikalpakṛe caittaviśeṣaḥ kuhanā. Lābhārtham eva guṇapriyalapanakṛl lapanā. Upakaraṇārthitvanimittadarśanakṛc caittaviśeṣo naimittikatā. Paraguṇavad doṣavacananiṣpeṣaṇakṛd eva caitasiko naiṣpeṣikatā. Labdhalābhakhyāpanenānyalābhaniścikīrṣaṇatā lābhena lābhasya niścikīrṣatā.

The five bad ways of livelihood are thus special mental evenrs (caittaviśeṣa). Kuhanā, cheating, resorts to various attitudes to show qualities that one does not have. Lapanā, boasting, consists of praising one’s own qualities towards one’s own interest. Naimittikatā, divination, under pretext of rendering service, to interpret favorable or unfavorable signs. Naiṣpeṣikatā, extortion, to snatch a favor by means of threats. Lābhena lābhaniścikīrṣatā, to try to grab new profit by virtue of a profit previously won.


Cūḷavedallasutta of the Majjhima, I, p. 301 (Tchong a han, T 26, k. 58, p. 788c9–12), cited in Atthasālinī, p. 305: Na kho Visākha ariyena aṭthaṅgikena …. dhammā paññākhande saṅgaītā ti.

For these three elements (skandha) of the eightfold path, see also Dīgha, I, p. 206; Anguttara, I, p. 125, 291; II, p. 20; III, p. 15–16; V, p. 326; Itivuttaka, p. 51; Nettippakaraṇa, p. 64, 126.


Canonical reminiscence: cf. Majjhima, I, p. 500: Ayaṃ kāyo rūpī… aniccato dukkhato rogato gaṇḍato sallato aghato ābādhato parato palokato suññato anattato samanupassitabbo. Same wording in Majjhima, I, p. 435.


See above, p. 1154F, n. 2.


Also a canonical expression: cf. Dīgha, II, p. 296; Majjhima, I, p. 58, 89; Anguttara, III, p. 324. For the Sanskrit correspondents, see Edgerton, Dictionary, p. 85 under asthi-śakatā.


The pheṇapiṇḍūpamaṃ rūpaṃ of Saṃyutta, III, p. 142; see above, p. 370F.


According to the Visuddhimagga, ed. Warren, p. 193–194, the body is inhabited by eighty families of worms (kikikula) located in the skin, hide, flesh, tendons, bones, marrow, and which feed there: “There they are born, live, die and fill their greater and lesser needs: the body is their maternity ward, their hospital, their cemetery, their latrine ditch and even dies under their rage.” According to the same text, p. 213, the stomach itself is occupied by thirty-two types of worms, round worms, ribbon worms, thread worms, etc., ever in turmoil: when the body is on a light diet, the worms jump around crying and strike against the heart region; when the body is fed, they rush to seize the mouthfuls of food. – According to the Milindapañha, p. 100, these undesirable and undesired guests come into the body and multiply there by the power of bad actions.

The Mahāyāna texts go so far as to postulate the presence in the body of eighty-four thousand types of worms. The Udayanavatsarājaparipṛcchā, cited in the Śikṣāsamuccaya, p. 81, actually says: Aśitiṃ krimikulasahasrāṇi yāni tiṣṭhanti antare.

The wise person puts up with their presence. According to the Ratnakūṭa (T 310, k. 114, p. 645b4–6), the forest-dwelling monk (araṇyabhikṣu), when he is about to eat, has the following thought: “In this body there are at present 80,000 types of worms. When the worms get this food, they will all be safe; now I am going to attract these worms with this food.” – According to the Avataṃsaka (T 279, k. 21, p. 112c12–15: cf. T 278, k. 12, p. 476b12–15), at the time of the bodhisattva’s meal, he has the following thought: “In my body there are 80,000 types of worms; they live in me; when my body is filled, they too are filled; when my body suffers from hunger, they too suffer from hunger. Now by taking this food and drink (pānabhojana), I hope that these beings may be replete. Therefore I am myself eating this food so as to make a gift to them; I do not desire the taste of it.”

But the great Bodhisattva, the ‘irreversible’ bodhisattva (avinivartanīya or avaivartika) does not have to formulate such intentions, for one of his numerous privileges is to be completely free of worms. In the Aṣṭasāhasrikā, p. 326, we read: Yāni khalu punar anyeṣāṃ sattvānām aśītiḥ kurmikulasahasrāṇi kāye saṃbhavati tāni tasya kāye sarveṇa sarvathā sarvaṃ na saṃbhavanti. tat kasya hetoḥ. tathā hi tasya tāni kuśalamūlāni sarvalokābhyugatāni bhavanti: “Moreover, these eighty thousand types of worms that are in the bodies of other beings are never found in his body. Why? Because for him these roots of good transcend the entire world.” This privilege of the avaivartika is mentioned in all the versions of the Prajñā: cf. Pañcaviṃśati, T 223, k. 16, p. 339c27; Mahāprajñāpāramitā, T 220, k. 326, p. 666b4–5; k. 448, p. 261c26–28; k. 514, p. 627b13–14; k. 549, p. 826b10–11; k. 562, p. 901a16. Note also, that according to Taoist ideas, grain takes birth in the bodies of the worms which eat away at vitality. On this subject, see H. Maspero, Mélanges Posthumes, I, 1950, p. 98 seq.


The three samādhis which will be studied in the following chapter.


Concerning the nature of the mind (citta), the general tendency of the Canon is clear. Mind (citta, manas) and consciousness (vijñāna) are synonymous. Vijñāna constitutes the fifth skandha and, like all the aggregates, it is transitory, suffering and impersonal.

However, we find, in the Canon, some passages that seem to attribute to the mind a more stable, almost transcendental, value. Actually, in Anguttara, I, p. 10 and in Atthasālinī, p. 140, we read: Pabhassaraṃ idaṃ bhikkhave cittaṃ tañ ca āgantukehi upakkileseshi upakkiliṭṭaṃ… tañ ca kho āgantukehi upakkilesehi vippamuttaṃ: “This mind is luminous, but sometimes it is defiled by adventitious passions; sometimes it is free of these adventitious passions.”

Basing themselves on this passage, certain sects of the Lesser Vehicle say that the mind is originally and naturally luminous (cittaṃ prabhasvaram) but that it may be soiled (kliṣṭa) by the passions (kleśa) or liberated (vipramukta) from the passions. The latter are not the original nature of the mind and are described as adventitious (āgantuka).

Among the sects advocating this maximalist interpretation, one may cite the Mahāsāṃghika (cf. A. Bareau, Les Sectes bouddhiques, p. 67–68, no. 44), the Vibhajyavādin (ibid., p. 175, no. 23; Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 27, p. 140b25–26), the practitioners of the Śāriputrābhidharma (ibid., p. 194, no. 6; Śāriputrābhidharma, T 1548, k. 27, p. 697b18) and the Andhaka (Kathāvatthu, p. 238–241).

But the major schools of the Lesser Vehicle resolutely rejected this interpretation. No, the mind is not naturally and originally pure; on the contrary, it is originally defiled by passion and action, and the efforts of the candidate for sainthood consist precisely of eliminating defiled minds (cf. Atthasālinī, p. 140, l. 24–29; Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 27, p. 149b–c; Kośa, VI, p. 299; Nyāyānusaraśāstra, T 1562, k. 72, p. 731c).

For the Greater Vehicle in general and the Prajñāpāramitā in particular, the alleged luminous mind of which the Anguttara spoke is in reality a non-mind (cittam acittam), the pure and simple non-existence of the mind (cittābhāvamātra): that which does not exist cannot be defiled nor purified (cf. Aṣṭasāhasrikā, p. 5–6;Pañcaviṃśati, p. 121, l. 12–122, l. 11; Śatasāhasrikā, p. 495, l. 3–21; āloka, p. 38, l. 24–26; 40, l. 6; Suvikrāntavikrāmin, p. 85, l. 15–86, l. 6).

This is the position which the Traité is defending here, reserving itself to return to the subject later (k. 41, p. 363a20 seq).

For further details, see introduction to Vimalakīrti, p. 51–60.


These two examples are part of the stock phrases of the ten comparisons explained above, like space, p. 364–368F; like a magic show, p. 358–363F.


We have just seen that this purity of nature is a pure and simple (cittabhāvamātra) non-existence.


For the apratiṣṭhāna of all dharmas, see Vimalakīrti, p. 47–51, 269–271, 283.


For the alātacakra, see above, p. 372F, n. 1.


This comparison is unknown to the Tripiṭaka I [Lamotte] think, but is frequent in the Mahāyānasūtras: Lalitavistara, p. 176, l. 4; 212, l. 14 (cited in Śikṣāsamuccaya, p. 238, l. 2; Pañjikā, p. 532, l. 10): bālollāpana riktamuṣṭivat.

Suvikrāntavikrāmin, p. 92, l. 23: riktamuṣṭisamā hi sarvadharmā vaśikasvabhāvalakṣaṇatayā.

See also Mahāvyut., no. 2831;Fo pen hing tsi king, T 190, k. 18, p. 737a4; Sūtra of the sermon given by Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja to king Udayana, T 1690, k. 1, p. 786b11; Traité, T 1509, k. 20, p. 211a5; l. 43, p. 375a14.

The Ratnakūṭā (T 310, k. 90, p. 519a7–8) explains the comparison: It is as if one were fooling a little child with an empty fist; one opens one’s hand, but there is nothing in the empty fist; then the child weeps and cries.


In other words, he avoids the concentrations associated with enjoyment (āsvādanasaṃprayukta) in order to practice only the pure (śuddhaka) concentrations without defilements (anāsrava): see above, p. 1027F.


On the object of the dhyānas and samāpattis, see p. 1040F and, for further details, Kośa, VIII, p. 176–177.


An implicit reference to the Fire Sermon spoken by the Buddha at Gayaśīrṣa (Vinaya, I, p. 34; Catuṣpariṣad, p. 322): Sarvaṃ bhikṣava ādīptam… Kenādīptam? Rāgāgninā dveṣāgninā mohāgninādīptam..

As for the three (or five?) decays (chouai), they have been discussed above, p. 834F.


The expression in the Sanskrit texts is usually ādīptaśiraścailopama ‘like someone whose head or clothes are on fire’: cf. Gaṇḍavyūha, p. 493, l. 2; Śikṣasamuccaya, p. 54, l. 3–4; Mahāvyutpatti, no. 1802.

The Pāli texts resort preferentially to a periphrasis: Seyyathāpi bhikkhave ādittacelo vā āditasīso vā, tass’ eva celassa vā sīsassa vā nibbāpanāya adhimattaṃ chandañ ca vāyāmañ ca ussāhañ ca ussoḷhiñ ca appaṭivāniñ ca satin ca sampapajaññañ ca kareyya: cf. Anguttara, II, p. 93; III, p. 307; IV, p. 320; V, p. 98; Saṃyutta, V, p. 440.


Whereas the śrāvaka practices the bodhipakṣikas in his own interest, the bodhisattva practices them for the benefit of others: this is an essential difference.


Common canonical locutions: cf. Majjhima, I, p. 59.


These are the three categories of beings (sattvarāśi): 1) samyaktvaniyatarāśi, those who have entered onto the Path and will quickly reach nirvāṇa; 2) mithyāniyatarāśi, those who, having committed grave sins, will definitely go to the bad destinies and who, coming out of these bad destinies, will go into the third rāśi; 3) aniyatarāśi, those who do not belong to either the first or the second rāśi and may enter either the first or the second.

These three rāśi are mentioned in Dīgha, III, p. 217; Tseng yi a han, T 125, k. 13, p. 614b24; k. 27, p. 698c; Kathāvatthu, II, p. 611; Dhammasaṅgani, p. 186; Nettippakaraṇa, p. 96; Mahāvastu, III, p. 318; Lalitavistara, p. 5400; Pañcaviṃśati, T 223, k. 23, p. 384a26–27.

According to the Sukhāvativyūha, p. 44, the last two rāśi are absent in Amitābha’s paradise.

In the later sources, the system of the rāśi is mixed with that of the gotras ‘race, family’; certain eternal or acquired mental dispositions that cause a person to obtain nirvāṇa: on this subject, see Vimalakīrti, appendix, p. 425–430.


On the ‘burden’, see above, p. 215–216F.


See the paragraph dedicated to the eloquence of the bodhisattva in the Śūraṃgamasamādhi, p. 188–189.


Reference to a sūtra often cited, but without any other identification, in the Abhidharma: Uktaṃ hi sūtre: trīṇi karmāṇi: kuśalam akuśalam avyākṛtaṃ ca: cf. Kośa, IV, p. 105; Nyāyānusāra, T 1562, k. 43, p. 584c3; Abhidharmadīpa, p. 136.


Almost textual citation from Madh. kārikā, II, 1 (p. 92):

Gataṃ na gamyate tāvad agataṃ naiva gamyate |
gatāgatavinirmuktaṃ gamyamānaṃ na gamyate ||

Transl. – J. May, p. 52: “Accomplished movement does not involve movement; no more does unaccomplished movement. A present movement independent of the other two is unintelligible.”


Objection formulated in Madh. kārikām, II, 2 (p.93):

Ceṣṭā yatra gatis tatra gamyamāne ca sā yathaḥ |
na gate nāgate ceṣṭā ganyamāne gatis tataḥ ||

Transl. J. May, p. 55: “Since there is movement wherever there is gesture and there is gesture in present movement, in contrast to movements [already] accomplished and not [yet] accomplished, there is thus movement in present movement.”


The answer to the objection is a paraphrase of Madh, kārikā, II, 3–4 (p. 94–95):

Gamyamānasya gamanaṃ kathaṃ nāipapatsyate |
gamyamānaṃ vigamanaṃ yadā naivopapadyate ||
Gamyamānasya gamanaṃ yasya tasya prasajyate |
ṛte gater gamyamānaṃ hi gamyate ||

Transl. J. May, p. 55–57: “How will movement be applied [as predicated] to present movement, since a present movement without [inherent] movement is completely irrational? – He for whom present movement possesses movement incurs the necessary consequence of a present movement without [inherent] movement: indeed, present movement involves movement.”


If the present movement were distinct from the inherent movement.


Madh. kārikā, II, 5–7 (p. 95–97):

Gamyamānasya gamane prasaktaṃ gamanadvayam |
yena tad gamyamānaṃ ca yac cātra gamanaṃ punaḥ ||
Dvau gantārau prasajyete prasakte gamanadvaye |
gantāraṃ hi tiraskṛtya gamanaṃ nopapadyate ||
Gantāraṃ cet tiraskṛtya gamanaṃ nopapadyate |
gamane ’sati gantātha kuta eva bhaviṣyati ||

Transl. J. May, p. 58–60: “ If the present movement possesses movement, the existence of two movements will result: one by which it is the present movement, the other contained in this [present movement]. – The necessary consequence of twofold movement involves that of a twofold agent of movement. Indeed, without agent, movement is illogical. – If the movement without agent of movement is illogical, how would the agent exist in turn in the absence of the movement?”


Madh. kārikā, II, 8 (p. 97):

Gantā na gacchati tāvad agantā naiva gacchati |
anyo gantur agantuś ca kas tṛtīyo gacchati ||

Transl. J. May, p. 60: “The agent of movement does not move; neither does the agent; and what ‘third’ other than agent and non-agent would be able to move?”


Madh. kārikā, II, 9 (p. 98):

Gantā tāvad gacchatīti katham evopapatsyate |
gamanena vinā gantā yadā naivopapadyate ||

Transl. – The objection: “The agent itself, at least, moves”, is not logical whereas in the absence of movement, the agent is completely illogical.”

On the problem of movement closely linked with that of action, there are useful notes and a complete bibliography in J. May, Candrakīrti, p. 51–77.


Defined fully above, p. 640–642F.