The Buddha's teaching on Four Bases for Spiritual Power

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

The Buddha's teaching on Four Bases for Spiritual Power

Postby starter » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:00 am

1. How important are Four Bases for Spiritual Power?

Viraddha Sutta, SN 51.2:
"Bhikkhus, those who have neglected the four bases for spiritual power have neglected the noble path leading to the complete ending of suffering. Those who have undertaken the four bases for spiritual power have undertaken the noble path leading to the ending of suffering."

2. How to practice Four Bases for Spiritual Power

1) Chandasamādhi Sutta, SN 51.13:
"A bhikkhu obtains concentration, bhikkhus, by means of will (desire), he obtains unification [one-pointedness] of the mind: this is called concentration due to will. He generates his will (chanda - the 1st basis for spiritual power) for the non-arising of unarisen evil and unwholesome states, he makes an effort and arouses energy (viriya - the 2nd basis for spiritual power), applies his mind (citta - the 3rd basis for spiritual power), and strives (Vimaṃsā - the 4th basis for spiritual power). He generates his will for the abandoning of arisen evil and unwholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the arising of unarisen wholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the steadiness of arisen wholesome states, for their non-confusion, for their increase, their abundance, their cultivation and their completion, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. These are called volitions of striving. Thus, this will, this concentration due to will, and these volitions of striving: this is called, bhikkhus, the basis for (spiritual) Power that is endowed with concentration due to will and volitions of striving.

A bhikkhu obtains concentration, bhikkhus, by means of energetic effort, he obtains unification of the mind: this is called concentration due to energy. He generates his will for the non-arising of unarisen evil and unwholesome states, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the abandoning of arisen evil and unwholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the arising of unarisen wholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the steadiness of arisen wholesome states, for their non-confusion, for their increase, their abundance, their cultivation and their completion, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. These are called volitions of striving. Thus, this energy, this concentration due to energy, and these volitions of striving: this is called, bhikkhus, the basis for (spiritual) Power that is endowed with concentration due to energy and volitions of striving.

A bhikkhu obtains concentration, bhikkhus, by means of [applying] the mind [to avoid and abandon the evil/unwholesome states, and to arouse and develop the wholesome states], he obtains unification of the mind: this is called concentration due to (applying) the mind. He generates his will for the non-arising of unarisen evil and unwholesome states, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the abandoning of arisen evil and unwholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the arising of unarisen wholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the steadiness of arisen wholesome states, for their non-confusion, for their increase, their abundance, their cultivation and their completion, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. These are called volitions of striving. Thus, this (application of) mind, this concentration due to the (application of) mind, and these volitions of striving: this is called, bhikkhus, the basis for (spiritual) Power that is endowed with concentration due to the (application of) mind and volitions of striving.

A bhikkhu obtains concentration, bhikkhus, by means of discrimination and investigation (Vimaṃsā) [keep dividing the thinking into two sorts: evil/unwholesome states and wholesome states and “discerning that thinking imbued with ill will (and other unwholesome states) has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs wisdom, promotes vexation, & does not lead to nibbana” (MN 19)], he obtains unification of the mind: this is called concentration due to discrimination and investigation. He generates his will for the non-arising of unarisen evil and unwholesome states, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the abandoning of arisen evil and unwholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the arising of unarisen wholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the steadiness of arisen wholesome states, for their non-confusion, for their increase, their abundance, their cultivation and their completion, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. These are called volitions of striving. Thus, this discrimination and investigation, this concentration due to discrimination and investigation, and these volitions of striving: this is called, bhikkhus, the basis for (spiritual) Power that is endowed with concentration due to discrimination/investigation and volitions of striving."

[The above translation is based upon my personal understanding of the sutta.]

2) Pubba Sutta, SN 51.11:

"There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion, thinking, 'This desire of mine will be neither overly sluggish nor overly active, neither inwardly restricted nor outwardly scattered.' He keeps perceiving what is in front & behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, what is behind is the same as what is in front. What is below is the same as what is above, what is above is the same as what is below. [He dwells] by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind.

"He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence...

"He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on intent...

"He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on discrimination & the fabrications of exertion, thinking, 'This discrimination of mine will be neither overly sluggish nor overly active, neither inwardly restricted nor outwardly scattered.' He keeps perceiving what is in front & behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, what is behind is the same as what is in front. What is below is the same as what is above, what is above is the same as what is below. [He dwells] by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind.

"And how is desire overly sluggish? Whatever desire is accompanied by laziness, conjoined with laziness, that is called overly sluggish desire.

"And how is desire overly active? Whatever desire is accompanied by restlessness, conjoined with restlessness, that is called overly active desire.

"And how is desire inwardly restricted? Whatever desire is accompanied by sloth & drowsiness, conjoined with sloth & drowsiness, that is called inwardly restricted desire.

"And how is desire outwardly scattered? Whatever desire is stirred up by the five strings of sensuality, outwardly dispersed & dissipated, that is called outwardly scattered desire.

"And how does a monk dwell perceiving what is in front & behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, and what is behind is the same as what is in front? There is the case where a monk's perception of what is in front & behind is well in hand, well-attended to, well-considered, well-tuned by means of discernment. This is how a monk keeps perceiving what is in front and behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, and what is behind is the same as what is in front.

"And how does a monk dwell so that what is below is the same as what is above, and what is above is the same as what is below? There is the case where a monk reflects on this very body, from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin, & full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.' This is how a monk dwells so that what is below is the same as what is above, and what is above is the same as what is below.

"And how does a monk dwell by night as by day, and by day as by night? There is the case where a monk at night develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion by means of the same modes & signs & themes that he uses by day, and by day he develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion by means of the same modes & signs & themes that he uses by night. This is how a monk dwells by night as by day, and by day as by night.

"And how does a monk — by means of an awareness open & unhampered — develop a brightened mind? There is the case where a monk has the perception of light, the perception of daytime [at any hour of the day] well in hand & well-established. This is how a monk — by means of an awareness open & unhampered — develops a brightened mind."

(The above discussion is then repeated for persistence, intent, & discrimination.)

[http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn51/sn51.020.than.html]

3. What are the fruits & benefits of developing Four Bases for Spiritual Power?

1) Pubba Sutta, SN 51.11:

"When a monk has thus developed & pursued the four bases of power, he experiences manifold supranormal powers ..." [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn51/sn51.020.than.html]

2) DN 16

“Whoever has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the Four Bases for (Spiritual) Power, could, if he wanted, Ānanda, remain for the lifespan or for what is left of the lifespan. The Realised One has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the Four Bases for (Spiritual) Power. If he wanted, Ānanda, the Realised One could remain for the lifespan or for what is left of the lifespan.” [mainly from http://ancient-buddhist-texts.net, with minor change]

Your input would be appreciated. Metta to all!
starter
 
Posts: 788
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:56 pm

Re: The Buddha's teaching on Four Bases for Spiritual Power

Postby Mkoll » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:58 am

Nice job starter.

The 4 bases are also part of the 37 Bodhipakkhiyādhammā which is also a testament to their prime importance.
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 1000
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: The Buddha's teaching on Four Bases for Spiritual Power

Postby Ananda26 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:11 pm

starter wrote:1. How important are Four Bases for Spiritual Power?

Viraddha Sutta, SN 51.2:
"Bhikkhus, those who have neglected the four bases for spiritual power have neglected the noble path leading to the complete ending of suffering. Those who have undertaken the four bases for spiritual power have undertaken the noble path leading to the ending of suffering."

2. How to practice Four Bases for Spiritual Power

1) Chandasamādhi Sutta, SN 51.13:
"A bhikkhu obtains concentration, bhikkhus, by means of will (desire), he obtains unification [one-pointedness] of the mind: this is called concentration due to will. He generates his will (chanda - the 1st basis for spiritual power) for the non-arising of unarisen evil and unwholesome states, he makes an effort and arouses energy (viriya - the 2nd basis for spiritual power), applies his mind (citta - the 3rd basis for spiritual power), and strives (Vimaṃsā - the 4th basis for spiritual power). He generates his will for the abandoning of arisen evil and unwholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the arising of unarisen wholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the steadiness of arisen wholesome states, for their non-confusion, for their increase, their abundance, their cultivation and their completion, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. These are called volitions of striving. Thus, this will, this concentration due to will, and these volitions of striving: this is called, bhikkhus, the basis for (spiritual) Power that is endowed with concentration due to will and volitions of striving.

A bhikkhu obtains concentration, bhikkhus, by means of energetic effort, he obtains unification of the mind: this is called concentration due to energy. He generates his will for the non-arising of unarisen evil and unwholesome states, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the abandoning of arisen evil and unwholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the arising of unarisen wholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the steadiness of arisen wholesome states, for their non-confusion, for their increase, their abundance, their cultivation and their completion, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. These are called volitions of striving. Thus, this energy, this concentration due to energy, and these volitions of striving: this is called, bhikkhus, the basis for (spiritual) Power that is endowed with concentration due to energy and volitions of striving.

A bhikkhu obtains concentration, bhikkhus, by means of [applying] the mind [to avoid and abandon the evil/unwholesome states, and to arouse and develop the wholesome states], he obtains unification of the mind: this is called concentration due to (applying) the mind. He generates his will for the non-arising of unarisen evil and unwholesome states, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the abandoning of arisen evil and unwholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the arising of unarisen wholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the steadiness of arisen wholesome states, for their non-confusion, for their increase, their abundance, their cultivation and their completion, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. These are called volitions of striving. Thus, this (application of) mind, this concentration due to the (application of) mind, and these volitions of striving: this is called, bhikkhus, the basis for (spiritual) Power that is endowed with concentration due to the (application of) mind and volitions of striving.

A bhikkhu obtains concentration, bhikkhus, by means of discrimination and investigation (Vimaṃsā) [keep dividing the thinking into two sorts: evil/unwholesome states and wholesome states and “discerning that thinking imbued with ill will (and other unwholesome states) has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs wisdom, promotes vexation, & does not lead to nibbana” (MN 19)], he obtains unification of the mind: this is called concentration due to discrimination and investigation. He generates his will for the non-arising of unarisen evil and unwholesome states, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the abandoning of arisen evil and unwholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the arising of unarisen wholesome states, makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. He generates his will for the steadiness of arisen wholesome states, for their non-confusion, for their increase, their abundance, their cultivation and their completion, he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. These are called volitions of striving. Thus, this discrimination and investigation, this concentration due to discrimination and investigation, and these volitions of striving: this is called, bhikkhus, the basis for (spiritual) Power that is endowed with concentration due to discrimination/investigation and volitions of striving."

[The above translation is based upon my personal understanding of the sutta.]

2) Pubba Sutta, SN 51.11:

"There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion, thinking, 'This desire of mine will be neither overly sluggish nor overly active, neither inwardly restricted nor outwardly scattered.' He keeps perceiving what is in front & behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, what is behind is the same as what is in front. What is below is the same as what is above, what is above is the same as what is below. [He dwells] by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind.

"He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on persistence...

"He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on intent...

"He develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on discrimination & the fabrications of exertion, thinking, 'This discrimination of mine will be neither overly sluggish nor overly active, neither inwardly restricted nor outwardly scattered.' He keeps perceiving what is in front & behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, what is behind is the same as what is in front. What is below is the same as what is above, what is above is the same as what is below. [He dwells] by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind.

"And how is desire overly sluggish? Whatever desire is accompanied by laziness, conjoined with laziness, that is called overly sluggish desire.

"And how is desire overly active? Whatever desire is accompanied by restlessness, conjoined with restlessness, that is called overly active desire.

"And how is desire inwardly restricted? Whatever desire is accompanied by sloth & drowsiness, conjoined with sloth & drowsiness, that is called inwardly restricted desire.

"And how is desire outwardly scattered? Whatever desire is stirred up by the five strings of sensuality, outwardly dispersed & dissipated, that is called outwardly scattered desire.

"And how does a monk dwell perceiving what is in front & behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, and what is behind is the same as what is in front? There is the case where a monk's perception of what is in front & behind is well in hand, well-attended to, well-considered, well-tuned by means of discernment. This is how a monk keeps perceiving what is in front and behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, and what is behind is the same as what is in front.

"And how does a monk dwell so that what is below is the same as what is above, and what is above is the same as what is below? There is the case where a monk reflects on this very body, from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin, & full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.' This is how a monk dwells so that what is below is the same as what is above, and what is above is the same as what is below.

"And how does a monk dwell by night as by day, and by day as by night? There is the case where a monk at night develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion by means of the same modes & signs & themes that he uses by day, and by day he develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion by means of the same modes & signs & themes that he uses by night. This is how a monk dwells by night as by day, and by day as by night.

"And how does a monk — by means of an awareness open & unhampered — develop a brightened mind? There is the case where a monk has the perception of light, the perception of daytime [at any hour of the day] well in hand & well-established. This is how a monk — by means of an awareness open & unhampered — develops a brightened mind."

(The above discussion is then repeated for persistence, intent, & discrimination.)

[http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn51/sn51.020.than.html]

3. What are the fruits & benefits of developing Four Bases for Spiritual Power?

1) Pubba Sutta, SN 51.11:

"When a monk has thus developed & pursued the four bases of power, he experiences manifold supranormal powers ..." [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn51/sn51.020.than.html]

2) DN 16

“Whoever has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the Four Bases for (Spiritual) Power, could, if he wanted, Ānanda, remain for the lifespan or for what is left of the lifespan. The Realised One has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the Four Bases for (Spiritual) Power. If he wanted, Ānanda, the Realised One could remain for the lifespan or for what is left of the lifespan.” [mainly from http://ancient-buddhist-texts.net, with minor change]

Your input would be appreciated. Metta to all!


The 4 Basis of Spiritual Power are so important that they are included in the 37 Wholesome Factors: 4 Foundations of MIndfulness, 4 Right Kinds of Striving, 4 Basis for Spiritual Power, 5 Faculties, 5 Powers, 7 Factors of Enlightenment, and the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Exposition Discourse(Vibhanga Sutta) in the Connected Discourses Chapter 51 on the 4 Spiritual Powers explains the development of the 4 Spiritual Powers.
Ananda26
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:41 pm


Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Digity, fivebells, mikenz66, randall and 7 guests