Visuddhimagga (the pah of purification)

by Ñāṇamoli Bhikkhu | 1956 | 420,758 words | ISBN-10: 9552400236 | ISBN-13: 9789552400236

This page describes Conclusion of the section Understanding (Paññā) of the English translation of the Visuddhimagga (‘the path of purification’) which represents a detailled Buddhist meditation manual, covering all the essential teachings of Buddha as taught in the Pali Tipitaka. It was compiled Buddhaghosa around the 5th Century.

After we quoted this stanza,

“When a wise man, established well in virtue,
Develops consciousness and understanding,
Then as a bhikkhu ardent and sagacious
He succeeds in disentangling this tangle” (I.1),

we then said:

“My task is now to set out the true sense,
Divided into virtue and the rest,
Of this same verse composed by the Great Sage.
There are here in the Victor’s Dispensation
And who although desiring purity
Have no right knowledge of the sure straight way—
Comprising virtue and the other two,
Right hard to find, that leads to purity—
Who, though they strive, here gain no purity.
To them I shall expound the comforting Path
Of Purification, pure in expositions
Relying on the teaching of the dwellers
In the Great Monastery; let all those
Good men who do desire purity
Listen intently to my exposition.” (I.4)

Now, at this point that has all been expounded. And herein:

Now, that the exposition as set forth
Is almost free from errors and from flaws
After collating all the expositions
Of all these meanings classed as virtue and so on
Stated in the commentarial system
Of the five Nikāyas—for this reason
Let meditators pure in understanding
Desiring purification duly show
Reverence for this Path of Purification.

* * *

What store of merit has been gained by me
Desiring establishment in this Good Dhamma
In doing this, accepting the suggestion
Of the venerable Saṅghapāla,
One born into the line of famous elders
Dwelling within the Great Monastery,
A true Vibhajjavādin, who is wise,
And lives in pure simplicity, devoted
To discipline’s observance, and to practice,
Whose mind the virtuous qualities of patience,
Mildness, loving kindness, and so on, grace—
By the power of that store of merit
May every being prosper happily.
And now just as the Path of Purification,
With eight and fifty recitation sections
In the text, has herewith been completed
Without impediment, so may all those
Who in the world depend on what is good
Glad-hearted soon succeed without delay.


This Path of Purification was made by the elder who is adorned with supreme and pure faith, wisdom and energy, in whom are gathered a concourse of upright, gentle, etc., qualities due to the practice of virtue, who is capable of delving into and fathoming the views of his own and others’ creeds, who is possessed of keenness of understanding, who is strong in unerring knowledge of the Master’s Dispensation as divided into three Piṭakas with their commentaries, a great expounder, gifted with sweet and noble speech that springs from the ease born of perfection of the vocal instrument, a speaker of what is appropriately said, a superlative speaker, a great poet, an ornament in the lineage of the elders who dwell in the Great Monastery, and who are shining lights in the lineage of elders with unblemished enlightenment in the superhuman states that are embellished with the special qualities of the six kinds of direct-knowledge and the categories of discrimination, who has abundant purified wit, who bears the name Buddhaghosa conferred by the venerable ones, and who should be called “of Moraṇḍaceṭaka.”

May it continue here to show
The way to purity of virtue, etc.,
For clansmen seeking out the means
To ferry them across the worlds
For just as long as in this world
Shall last that name “Enlightened One,”
By which, thus purified in mind,
Is known the Greatest Sage, World Chief.


[The following verses are only in Sinhalese texts:]

By the performance of such merit
As has been gained by me through this
And any other still in hand
So may I in my next becoming
Behold the joys of Tāvatiṃsā,
Glad in the qualities of virtue
And unattached to sense desires.
By having reached the first fruition,
And having in my last life seen
Metteyya, Lord of Sages, Highest
Of persons in the World, and
Helper Delighting in all beings’ welfare,
And heard that Holy One proclaim
The Teaching of the Noble Dhamma,
May I grace the Victor’s Dispensation
By realizing its highest fruit.

[The following verses are only in the Burmese texts:]

The exposition of the Path of Purification
Has thus been made for gladdening good people;
But this, by reckoning the Pali text,
Has eight and fifty recitation sections.


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