Purification of the Path and Not-Path (Maggāmagga nāṇadassanavisuddhi) (Maṅgala Sutta – Protection with Blessing)

revised on 2021-03-16

By Venerable Uttamo Thera(尊者 鄔達摩 長老)

There are not much to talk about the fifth purification of path and not-path. When the yogi arrives at the knowledge of rising and fall of mind and matter (udayabbaya ñāṇa), the ten insight corruptions appear. These are; an aura (obhāsa), rapture (pīti), tranquility (passaddhi), resolution (adhimokkha), exertion (paggaha), happiness (sukha), knowledge (ñāṇa), mindfulness (sati), equanimity (upekkhā) and attachment (nikanti).

If a yogi gets lost in any one of them and become an obstacle to the progress. Because the yogi takes it as the attainment and stops the practice. Ven. Sayadaw Puññananda mentioned them in his talk on the seven purifications. Every yogi must encounter any of these phenomena.

The important point is they should not get lost in these processes. In the insight processes, there are no appearing of bodily form and particles. Paramattha dhammas are arising and passing away by itself and with insight defilement (kilesa) is purified.

The mind becomes clear and bright that:

① aura or light comes out from the body.

If samādhi is strong, it also has light. If you encounter them, do not think about them and not take pleasure in them; otherwise, the practice will go down. By not taking an interest in them and continue with the impermanent process will overcome the problem.

② sharp knowledge:

At the beginning of vipassanā practice, it was led by samādhi, so that knowing them with concepts whatever arises. This was the task of satipaṭṭhāna. Sometimes if the yogi discerned impermanence, the contemplative mind had five path factors (sati, viriya, samādhi, sammā-diṭṭhi and sammā-saṅkappa).

This period was very short. After that, samādhi led the process again. In these ways sometimes led by samādhi and sometimes became knowledge (discern anicca). And then Sati became strong. Sometimes the mind is clear and sometimes not. When it is clear will discern impermanence. If not, clear, only know the arising phenomena with concepts.

This level is still led by samādhi. With samādhi, the yogi develops step by step and only seeing anicca. This is led by discernment (ñāṇa or knowledge). And then, knowledge becomes pure and sharper. With the better and sharper knowledge, the yogi cannot discern anicca as separating one by one.

Instead, the yogi sees the passing away as a whole. When seeing anicca with the strong power of mind or sharp knowledge and he takes it as attainment. At that time, the yogi able to contemplate whatever coarse, middle, refined phenomena without failure. The yogi can take pleasure in it. With pleasure, his knowledge declines.

③ Rapture (pīti):

The important point here is whatever the yogi encounters he can solve the problem. Whatever type of contemplation we do or try when discerning anicca, all phenomena (body, feeling, mind and dhamma) are dhamma arising and dhamma passing away. Only saṅkhāra (all conditioned things or the five khandhas) arises and saṅkhāra passes away. With the mind clear and pure, zest appears.

And then the yogi cannot discern anicca which is covered up by rapture. With strong respect on the three treasures (tiratana—i.e., Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha), rapture can arise. With the pervading rapture (pharaṇa pīti, which is the pīti in jhāna attainment), the yogi cannot see impermanence. Without seeing anicca, the yogi thinks it as the ending of anicca, which is Nibbāna.

At that time, knowledge went down. Even some yogis have tears come out. Instantly when rapture arises if he can contemplate it and no problem arises. If not, the yogi takes it as the path knowledge and stops the contemplation.

④ Tranquility (passaddhi): mind and body become tranquil.

Anyone of the ten corruptions can arise to the yogi. These things are sure to arise for yogis. If not, encounter any of them, the mind still not mature yet. After the encounter, it and cannot solve them the yogi will far from Nibbāna. Normally people are burning with the fire of defilement such as greed, ill-will, delusion, sorrow, etc. the mind is not peaceful.

In the same way the body is oppressing by diseases and pains. But when the yogi discerning anicca with the strong power mind he can bear all the pains with equanimity. When the mind and body become tranquil, the mind can fall into one-pointedness (ekaggatā).

Then the yogi cannot hear any external sounds. And no external object disturbs the mind. It is peaceful. At that time, anicca disappears and the mind sinks in the tranquility and take it as the path knowledge. Each yogi experience is not the same. If the yogi can contemplate the arising fake dhamma (i.e., any of the ten corruptions), then contemplate its anicca. If not, neglecting it and continue with one’s contemplation.

⑤ Happiness (sukha):

From tranquility, it progresses to the level of happiness then the yogi can maintain the posture for a very long time. Without any pain and aching, the mind feels happiness. At that time, sukha replaces anicca and the yogi misses anicca. Also, the yogi does not contemplate the arising happiness that knowledge falls.

⑥ Resolution or faith (adhimokkha):

With the well discerning of anicca better and better, faith increases (i.e., in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha). The whole body becomes cool and happy. This cool and happiness come from the faith which covers up anicca. So, anicca disappears and the yogi took it as the attainment. With faith, if happiness arises, the yogi should not lose sati and contemplate the arising happiness as anicca.

Or without paying attention to it and continue with one’s practice. (There are two ways to solve the problems; contemplate the coming in corruptions as anicca or neglect it by contemplating one’s meditation object.) Therefore, in all these situations, sati is very important.

⑦ Exertion (paggaha or viriya):

With the progress in the practice, the yogi can contemplate without any difficulty with happiness. So, exertion increases and the mind with high spirit. Every time he puts effort and not to miss the point. At that time, he could sink in the exertion and forgot anicca. This is taking pleasure in exertion.

⑧ Mindfulness (sati):

At that time (i.e., insight corruptions period), mindfulness always fell on the object and became very strong whatever dhamma arises. It is the kind of heedful mindfulness that the yogi does not lost his sati even in a dream. If taking pleasure in strong mindfulness, he will miss anicca. Therefore, always alert with sati without letting go of anicca whatever dhamma arises (i.e., do not change the object and not get lost in pleasure).

⑨ Equanimity (upekkhā):

Whatever dhamma arises, it can be contemplated with equanimity. The yogi also can attach to this state and take it as attainment.

⑩ Attachment (nikanti):

All the above nine dhammas, light (obhāsa) to equanimity themselves, are not defilement (kilesa). The problem is the attachment to all these fake dhammas, i.e., nikanti. These are significantly refined dhammas and the signs of progress in practice. Every yogi must encounter them (not all).

The problem here is the yogi’s attachment or pleasure in them. It is nikanti or taṇhā. Therefore, it could hinder the yogi’s practice if they trapped him. So, be careful to the refined and subtle experiences with strong and alert mindfulness.

revised on 2021-03-16; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4702&p=36994#p36994 (posted on 2019-11-22)

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