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Benefits of Buddhism

1. The First Jhana as an Advantage

Being detached from sensual pleasures and demeritorious factors, that bhikkhu achieves and remains in the first jhana which is accompanied by vitakka (initial application of the mind), vicara (sustained application of the mind), and which has piti (delightful satisfaction) and sukha (bliss), born of detachment from the hindrances (nivarana). He soaks, drenches, permeates and suffuses his body with piti and sukha, born of detachment from the hindrances. There is no place in his body not suffused with pill and sukha, born of detachment from the hindrances.

Great King! Take the example of a skilful bath attendant or his assistant, who strews bath powder in a brass dish, sprinkles and sprinkles water on it and makes it into a mass. Water, permeating through that mass to form a cake soaked with unguents inside and out, is unable to seep out.

Great King! In the same way, that bhikkhu soaks, drenches, permeates and suffuses his body with piti and sukha, born of detachment from the hindrances. There is no place in his body not suffused with piti and sukha, born of detachment from the hindrances.

Great King! This is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

2. The Second Jhana as an Advantage

And again. Great King, having got rid of vitakka and vicara, the bhikkhu achieves and remains in the second jhana, with internal tranquillity, with enhancement of one-pointedness of Concentration, devoid of vitakka and vicara, but with piti and sukha born of Concentration. He soaks, drenches, permeates and suffuses his body with piti and sukha born of Concentration. There is no place in his body not suffused with piti and sukha born of Concentration.

Great King! Take the example of a deep lake with water welling up from a spring below. There is no inlet from either east or south or west or north. It does not rain heavily or regularly there. And yet cool water which wells up from that spring soaks, drenches, permeates and suffuses the lake and there is no place in that lake not suffused with it.

Great King! In the same way, that bhikkhu soaks, drenches, permeates and suffuses his body with piti and sukha born of Concentration. There is no place in his body not suffused with them.

Great King! This also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

3. The Third Jhana as an Advantage

And again, Great King, having been detached from piti, that bhikkhu dwells in equanimity with mindfulness and clear comprehension and experiences sukha in mind and body. He achieves and remains in the third jhana, that which causes a person who attains it to be praised by the Ariyas as one who has equanimity and mindfulness, one who abides in sukha. He soaks, drenches, permeates and suffuses his body with sukha detached from piti. There is no place in his body not suffused with sukha detached from piti.

Great King! Take the example of uppala, paduma and pundarika lotuses in a pond where they grow in the water and thrive in it. Even when they are submerged, they thrive under water, soaked, drenched, permeated and suffused from root to apex with cool water. There is no spot in the whole plant of an uppala, paduma or pundarika lotus not suffused with it.

Great King! In the same way, that bhikkhu soaks, drenches, permeates and suffuses his body with sukha detached from piti; and there is no place in his body which is not suffused with sukha detached from piti.

Great King! This also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

4. The Fourth Jhana as an Advantage

And again, Great King, by dispelling both pain and pleasure, and by the previous disappearance of sadness and gladness, that bhikkhu achieves and remains in the fourth jhana, without pain and pleasure, a state of equanimity and absolute purity of mindfulness. That bhikkhu abides in the purity of mind suffused in his body. There is no place in his body which is not suffused with it.

Great King! Take the example of a man sitting wrapped up head to foot in a white cloth leaving no place on his whole body uncovered by it.*

Great King! in the same way, that bhikkhu abides in the purity of mind suffused in his body and there is no place in his body which is not suffused with it.

Great King! This also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

* The Commentary says that in this comparison, body warmth, generated by the body which is covered from head to foot, is meant.

5: (i) Insight-Knowledge
Vipassana Nana

When the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to Insight-Knowledge (vipassana nana). Then he understands thus:

“This body of mine is corporeal. It is made up of four great primary elements. It is born of the union of mother and father. It is nurtured on rice and bread. It has the nature of impermanence, breaking up and disintegrating. It needs the tender care of rubbing and massaging. My consciousness too depends on it and is attached to it.”

Great King! Take the example of a veluriya gem, brilliant, genuine, eight-faceted, well-cut, crystal-clear, transparent, flawless, and complete with all good characteristics. It is threaded with a dark-blue, or yellow, or red, or white, or light yellow string. A man of good eyesight, placing it on his palm, might reflect thus:

“This gem is brilliant, genuine, eight-faceted, well-cut, crystal-clear, transparent, flawless, and complete with all good characteristics. I see that it is threaded with a dark-blue, or yellow, or red, or white, or light yellow string.”

In the same way, Great King, when the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to Insight-Knowledge. Then he understands thus:

“This body of mine is corporeal. it is made up of four great primary elements. It is born of the union of mother and father. It is nurtured on rice and bread. It has the nature of impermanence, breaking up and disintegrating. It needs the tender care of rubbing and massaging. My consciousness too depends on it and is attached to it.”

Great King, this also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

6. (ii) Power of Creation by Mind
Manomayiddhi Nana*

When the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to the power of creating a mentally-generated body. That bhikkhu produces another body out of his own and creates a mentally-generated form complete with all organs, major or minor, without any defective faculties.

Great King! Take the example of a man pulling out the core of a stalk of munja grass from its sheath. It might occur to him thus:

“This is the core and this the sheath. The core is one thing and the sheath is another. It is from the sheath that the core has been pulled out.”

Great King, take another example. A man might pull out a sword from its scabbard. It might occur to him thus:

“This is the sword and this the scabbard. The sword is one thing and the scabbard is another. it is from the scabbard that the sword has been pulled out.”

Great King, take yet another example. A man might (mentally) take out a snake from its slough, it might occur to him thus:

“This is the snake and this its slough. The snake is one thing and its slough is another. It is from the slough that the snake has been pulled out.”

In the same way, Great King, when the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to the power of creating a mentally-generated body. He produces another body out of his own and creates a mentally-generated form complete with all organs, major or minor, without any defective faculties.

Great King, this also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.
* Nana: Lit., knowledge; here, it means power arising out of that knowledge.

7. (iii) Psychic Power
Iddhivida Nana

When the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to supernormal psychic powers. He wields the various kinds of supernormal powers: being one, he becomes many; and from being many, he becomes one; he makes himself visible or invisible; he passes unhindered through walls, enclosures, and mountains, as though going through space; he plunges into or out of the earth as though plunging into or out of water; he walks on water as though walking on earth; he travels in space cross-legged as if he were a winged bird; he touches and strokes the moon and the sun which are so mighty and powerful; and he gains mastery over his body (to reach) even up to the world of the Brahmas.

Great King! To give an example, it is as if a skilled potter or his apprentice could make out of well-kneaded clay various kinds of pots as desired.

Great King! To give another example, it is as if a skilled ivory carver or his apprentice could make out of duly-prepared elephant tusk various kinds of ivory-carvings as desired.

Great King! To give still another example, it is as if a skilled goldsmith or his apprentice could make out of duly-prepared gold gold-ornaments as desired.

In the same way, Great King, when the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to super-normal psychic powers. He wields the various kinds of surer normal powers: being one, he becomes many; and from being many, he becomes one; he makes himself visible or invisible; he passes unhindered through walls, enclosures, and mountains, as though going through space; he plunges into or out of the earth as though plunging into or out of water; he walks on water as though walking on earth; he travels in space cross-legged as if he were a winged bird; he touches and strokes the moon and the sun which are so mighty and powerful; and he gains mastery over his body (to reach) even up to the world of the Brahmas.

Great King, this also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

8. (iv) Divine Power of Hearing
Dibbasota Nana

When the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to (the gaining of) the hearing power like the divine hearing-power. With the divine hearing-power which is extremely clear, surpassing the hearing-power of men, he hears both kinds of sounds, of devas and men, whether far or near.

Great King! Take the example of a man travelling on a highway who might hear the sounds of a big drum, a cylindrical drum, a conch, a small drum and a kettledrum. It might occur to him thus:

“This is the sound of the big drum; this is the sound of the cylindrical drum; this is the sound of the conch; this is the sound of the small drum; and this is the sound of the kettledrum.”

In the same way, Great King, when the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to (the gaining of) the hearing-power like the divine hearing-power. With the divine hearing-power which is extremely clear, surpassing the hearing-power of men, he hears both kinds of sounds, of devas and men, whether far or near.

Great King, this also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

9. (v) Knowledge of the Minds of Others
Cetopariya Nana

When the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to (discriminating) knowledge of the minds of others (Cetopariya Nana). He discriminatively knows with his own mind the minds of other beings or individuals. He knows the lustful mind as such, and he knows the mind devoid of lust as such; he knows the angry mind as such, and he knows the mind devoid of anger as such; he knows the bewildered mind* as such, and he knows the mind devoid of bewilderment as such; he knows the constricted mind as such, and he knows the distracted mind as such; he knows the exalted mind (to be met with beyond the domain of sensual pleasure) as such, and he knows the unexalted mind (of the domain of sensual pleasure) as such; he knows the inferior mind (of the three mundane planes) as such, and he knows the superior mind (of the supra-mundane plane) as such; he knows the concentrated mind as such, and he knows the unconcentrated mind as such; he knows the mind liberated (from defilements) as such, and he knows the unliberated mind as such.

Great King! Take the example of a young lass or a young lad, who is wont lo beautifying her self or himself, looking at herself or himself in a clear mirror or in a bowl of clear water. Then she or he would at once recognize in her or his face blemishes or, if they are absent, the absence of blemishes.

In the same way, Great King, when the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable,’ firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to (discriminating) knowledge of the minds of others. He discriminatively knows with his own mind the minds of other beings or individuals. He knows the lustful mind as such, and he knows the mind devoid of lust as such; he knows the angry mind as such. and he knows the mind devoid of anger as such; he knows the bewildered mind as such, and he knows the mind devoid of bewilderment as such; he knows the constricted mind as such, and he knows the distracted mind as such; he knows the exalted mind (to be met with beyond the domain of sensual pleasure) as such, and he knows the unexalted mind (of the domain of sensual pleasure) as such; he knows the inferior mind (of the three mundane planes) as such, and he knows the superior mind (of the supra-mundane plane) as such; he knows the concentrated mind as such, and he knows the unconcentrated mind as such; he knows the mind liberated (from defilements) as such, and he knows the unliberated mind as such.

Great King. this also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

* Bewilderment consists of ignorance: of, or misconception of, the Four Noble Truths.

10. (vi) Knowledge of Past Existences
Pubbenivasanussati Nana

When the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to knowledge of past existences (Pubbenivasanussati Nana). He recollects many and varied existences of the past. And what does he recollect?

“He recollects one past existence, or two, or three, or four, or five, or ten, or twenty, or thirty. or forty, or fifty, or a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand existences, or many hundred, many thousand, many hundred thousand existences, or existences in many cycles of dissolution, or in many cycles of development, or in many cycles of the rounds of dissolution and development, in this way: ‘In that past existence I was known by such a name. I was born into such a family. I was of such an appearance. I was thus nourished. I enjoyed pleasure thus. I suffered pain thus. My life-span was such. I died in that existence. Then I was born in another existence. In that (new) existence, I was known by such a name. I was born into such a family. I was of such an appearance. I was thus nourished. I enjoyed pleasure thus. I suffered pain thus. My life-span was such. I died in that existence. Then I was born in this existence.’ In this way he recollects many and varied past existences, together with their characteristics and related facts (such as names and clans).”

Great King! Take the example of a man travelling to another village, then to another village, and then returning home later. Then it might occur to him thus:

“I went out from my village to such and such a village, in that village, I stood thus, I sat thus, I spoke thus, and I remained silent thus. Then I again set out from that village to still another village. In that (second) village, I stood thus, I sat thus, I spoke thus, and I remained silent thus. Then I returned to my own village.”

In the same way, Great King, when the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled. malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to knowledge of past existences. He recollects his many and varied existences of the past. And what does he recollect?

He recollects one past existence, or two, or three, or four, or five, or ten, or twenty, or thirty. or forty, or fifty, or a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand existences, or many hundred, many thousand, many hundred thousand existences, or existences in many cycles of dissolution, or in many cycles of development, or in many cycles of the rounds of dissolution and development, in this way: ‘In that past existence I was known by such a name. I was born into such a family. I was of such an appearance. I was thus nourished. I enjoyed pleasure thus. I suffered pain thus. My life-span was such. I died in that existence. Then I was born in another existence. In that (new) existence, I was known by such a name. I was born into such a family. I was of such an appearance. I was thus nourished. I enjoyed pleasure thus. I suffered pain thus. My life-span was such. I died in that existence. Then I was born in this existence.’ In this way he recollects many and varied past existences, t ogether with their characteristics and related facts (such as names and clans).

Great King, this also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

11. (vii) Divine Power of Sight
Dibbacakkhu Nana

When the concentrated mind has thus be come purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to knowledge of the passing away and arising of beings (cutupapata nana). With the divine power of sight, which is extremely clear, surpassing the sight of men, he sees beings in the process of passing away and also of arising, inferior or superior beings, beautiful or ugly beings, beings with good or bad destinations. He knows beings arising according to their own kamma-actions.

“Friends! These beings were full of evil committed bodily, verbally and mentally. They maligned the Ariyas, held wrong views and performed actions according to these wrong views. After death and dissolution of their bodies, they reappeared in wretched destinations (duggati), in miserable existences (apaya), states of ruin (vinipata), realms of continuous suffering (niraya). But, friends, there were also beings who were endowed with goodness done bodily, verbally and mentally. They did not malign the Ariyas, held right views and performed actions according to right views. After death and dissolution of their bodies, they reappeared in good destinations, the happy world of the devas.”

Thus, with the divine power of sight which is extremely clear, surpassing the sight of men, the bhikkhu sees beings in the process of passing away and also of arising, inferior or superior beings, beautiful or ugly beings, beings with good or bad destinations and beings arising according to their own kamma-actions.

Great King! Take the example of a man with good eyesight, standing above, in a pinnacled mansion situated at a crossroads, who could see men entering a house, or coming out of a house, strolling about on the street or sitting at the crossroads. It might occur to him thus:

“These men are entering a house. Those are coming out of a house. These men are strolling about on the street. Those are sitting at the cross roads.”

In the same way, Great King, when the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to knowledge of the passing away and arising of beings. With the divine power of sight, which is extremely clear, surpassing the sight of men, he sees beings in the process of passing away and also of arising, inferior or superior beings, beautiful or ugly beings, beings with good or bad destinations, and beings arising according to their own kamma-actions.

Friends! These beings were full of evil committed bodily, verbally and mentally. They maligned the Ariyas, held wrong views and performed actions according to these wrong views. After death and dissolution of their bodies, they reappeared in wretched destinations (duggati), in miserable existences (apaya), states of ruin (vinipata), realms of continuous suffering (niraya). But, friends, there were also beings who were endowed with goodness done bodily, verbally and mentally. They did not malign the Ariyas, held right views and performed actions according to right views. After death and dissolution of their bodies, they reappeared in good destinations, the happy world of the devas.

Thus, with the divine power of sight which is extremely clear, surpassing the sight of men, the bhikkhu sees beings in the process of passing away and also of arising, inferior or superior beings, beautiful or ugly beings, beings with good or bad destinations and beings arising according to their own kamma-actions.

Great King, this also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

12. (viii) Knowledge of Extinction of Moral Intoxicants
Asavakkhaya Nana

When the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to knowledge of the extinction of moral intoxicants (asavakkhaya Nana).

Then he truly understands dukkha* as it really is, the cause of dukkha as it really is, the cessation of dukkha as it really is, and the way leading to the cessation of dukkha as it really is. He also truly understands the asavas as they really are, the cause of the asavasas it really is, the cessation of the asavasas it really is, and the way leading to the cessation of the asavasas it really is. The mind of the bhikkhu who thus knows and thus sees is liberated from the moral intoxicant of sensual pleasures and sensuous realms (kamasava), the moral intoxicant of hankering after (better) existence (bhavasava), and the moral intoxicant of ignorance (of the Four Noble Truths) (avijjasava). When thus liberated, the knowledge of liberation arises (in him). He knows that rebirth is no mere (for him), that he has lived the Life of Purity, that what he has to do (for the realization of Magga) has been done, and that he has nothing more to do (for such realization).**

Great King! Take the example of a man, with good eyesight, standing at the edge of a clear and transparent lake in a mountain glen. He sees oysters, mussels, pebbles, broken pottery, and shoals of fish moving about or just lying still. It might occur to him thus:

“This lake is clear and transparent. In it there are oysters, mussels, pebbles, broken pottery and shoals of fish either moving about or just lying still.”

In the same way, Great King, when the concentrated mind has thus become purified, pellucid, unblemished, undefiled, malleable, pliable, firm and imperturbable, that bhikkhu directs and inclines his mind to the extinction of moral defilements.

Then he truly understands dukkha* as it really is, the cause of dukkha as it really is, the cessation of dukkha as it really is, and the way leading to the cessation of dukkha as it really is. He also truly understands the asavas as they really are, the cause of the asavasas it really is, the cessation of the asavasas it really is, and the way leading to the cessation of the asavas as it really is. The mind of the bhikkhu who thus knows and thus sees is liberated from the moral intoxicant of sensual pleasures and sensuous realms (kamasava), the moral intoxicant of hankering after (better) existence (bhavasava), and the moral intoxicant of ignorance (of the Four Noble Truths) (avijjasava). When thus liberated, the knowledge of liberation arises (in him). He knows that rebirth is no mere (for him), that he has lived the Life of Purity, that what he has to do (for the realization of Magga)has been done, and that he has nothing more to do (for such realization).**

Great King, this also is an advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, which is more pleasing and higher than the advantages previously mentioned.

Great King, there is no other advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, more pleasing and higher than this which one can see for oneself.

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