On the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, Part Four: Tranquility, Concentration, and Serenity

- through Francois Leclercq

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Tranquility leads to clarity in concentration and then to equanimity on the path to purity.

To quote Venerable Piyadassi Thera:

The fifth factor of enlightenment is calm or tranquility (pasadhi). Passaddhi is dual. Kaya pasadhi is the calm of the body. Kaya here means all mental properties rather than the physical body; in other words, calms aggregates of feelings. . . perception . . . and voluntary activities or conformations. Citta-passaddhi is the calm of the mind – it is the whole of consciousness.

Passaddhi is compared to the happy experience of a tired walker sitting under a tree in the shade or to the cooling of a warm place by rain. It is difficult to calm the mind. He shakes and is unstable, difficult to hold and hold. He quivers like a fish taken from its aquatic habitat and thrown onto dry land. He wanders at will. Such is the nature of this ultra-subtle mind. It is a systematic reflection (Yoniso Manasikara) which helps the aspirant to enlightenment to calm his fickle mind. Unless a man cultivates peace of mind, concentration cannot be developed. A peaceful mind keeps away all superficialities and all trivialities.

The Tathagata, the tamed one, teaches the Dhamma with the aim of training the human heart. . . . All the devastation caused in the world is caused by men who have not learned the way of mental calm, balance and poise. . . . The calm attitude at all times shows a man of culture. . . . Being calm in mind in the midst of an adverse situation is indeed difficult.

A man who cultivates calmness of mind does not feel upset, confused or excited when confronted with the eight vicissitudes of the world. He strives to see the rise and fall of all conditioned things, how things come into being and then pass away. Freed from anxiety and agitation, he will see the fragility of the fragile. . . as he came, he went.

This is the advantage of a peaceful mind. He is not shaken by loss or gain, blame and praise, and is not perturbed by adversity. This state of mind is obtained by considering the sensible world in its own perspective. So calm or pasadhi leads a man to enlightenment and deliverance from suffering. (Piyadassi Théra)

The sixth illumination factor is Samadhi, concentration: “Only the peaceful mind can easily concentrate on a subject of meditation. The calm, focused mind sees things as they really are. . . . The unified mind subdues the five obstacles. (Piyadassi Théra)

Concentration is an intensified stability of mind comparable to the flickering flame of a lamp in a windless place. It is concentration that fixes the mind properly and makes it impassive and tranquil. Correct practice of samadhi keeps the mind and mental properties in a state of balance like a firm hand holding a scale. Good concentration dispels the passions that disturb the mind and brings purity and placidity of the mind. The focused mind is not distracted by sensory objects. Concentration of the highest type cannot be disturbed under the most unfavorable circumstances.

Anyone interested in the development of samadhi should develop a love of virtue, Silasfor it is the virtue which nourishes the mental life and makes it coherent and calm, equal and full of rich content.

Many are the obstacles that confront a yogi, an aspirant to enlightenment, but there are five particular obstacles that hinder concentrated thought, samadhi, and hinder the path to deliverance. . . . They are known as the five obstacles (panca nivarana) the five obstacles. The Pali term nivarana designates that which hinders or obstructs mental development (bhavana). They are called obstacles because they close, cut and obstruct. They close the doors of deliverance. (Piyadassi Théra)

The five obstacles that block the door to deliverance are: (i) sensual desires for what is pleasant and delightful, which arouse a longing which, when frustrated, turns into anger and destructiveness; (ii) ill will, resentment and indignation, which arises in the face of what is unpleasant and painful, who hates being separated from what is loved and desired, and who is revolted by what he considers to be odors , unpleasant tastes, dishes or foods. drinks or behavior, and a thousand other trifles; (iii) weariness or laxity of mind which sometimes even stubbornly delays mental development; (iv) restlessness and worry, resulting from impatience, sullenness or guilt causing mental agitation or worry related to past actions or future desires; and (v) doubt, which means perplexity and mental agitation over lack of confidence and mental itching due to a cynical view of things, inability to decide and doubts about one's ability to achieve higher states.

The five barriers are where we must work to improve our mental health or suffer the consequences. This is an area where Vipassana gives us insight to improve our mental development on the path.

It is said that the yogi, far from the vile conflicts of the maddening crowd, fixes his mind on an object of meditation and, struggling with ceaseless effort, inhibits the five obstacles, thus relentlessly washing away the impurities from his mind and turning it towards an understanding of reality in the highest sense: “He broke the shell of ignorance. » (Piyadassi Théra)

The seventh factor of enlightenment is equanimity (upekka), which means neutrality or mental balance as opposed to hedonic indifference. Equanimity comes from a calm and focused mind. It is the quality of not being disturbed by the whirlwind of experience and the vicissitudes of life. He who possesses perfect serenity never wavers or topples, no matter what happens in life. He who demonstrates equanimity through impartiality avoids evil paths such as greed, hatred and delusion. He developed a detached attitude towards all inanimate beings and things – the immediate cause of his equanimity being the understanding that all beings are the result of their actions in accordance with the law of humanity. kamma.

Venerable Piyadassi concludes his presentation by saying:

The only thing necessary on our part to fully realize the truth is firm determination, effort and earnestness in studying and applying the teaching, each putting it into practice for himself to the best of his ability.

Tranquility leads to clarity in concentration, which leads to equanimity on the path to purity.

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Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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