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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Sila means those particular volitions and mental states


style="text-align: justify;">[Footnote 1: _Dhammasa@nga@ni,_ p. 180.]


by it one is led to the more advanced states of a saint. It directly brings in panna (true wisdom) and by panna the saint achieves final emancipation and becomes what is called an arhat [Footnote ref 1]. Wisdom (_panna_) is right knowledge about the four ariya saccas, viz. sorrow, its cause, its destruction and its cause of destruction.

Sila means those particular volitions and mental states, etc. by which a man who desists from committing sinful actions maintains himself on the right path. Sila thus means 1. right volition (_cetana_), 2. the associated mental states (_cetasika_), 3. mental control (_sa@mvara_) and 4. the actual non-transgression (in body and speech) of the course of conduct already in the mind by the preceding three silas called avitikkama. Sa@mvara is spoken of as being of five kinds, 1. Pa@timokkhasa@mvara (the control which saves him who abides by it), 2. Satisa@mvara (the control of mindfulness), 3. Nanasa@mvara (the control of knowledge), 4. Khantisa@mvara (the control of patience), 5. Viriyasa@mvara (the control of active self-restraint). Pa@timokkhasa@mvara means all self-control in general. Satisa@mvara means the mindfulness by which one can bring in the right and good associations when using one's cognitive senses. Even when looking at any tempting object he will by virtue of

his mindfulness (_sati_) control himself from being tempted by avoiding to think of its tempting side and by thinking on such aspects of it as may lead in the right direction. Khantisa@mvara is that by which one can remain unperturbed in heat and cold. By the proper adherence to sila all our bodily, mental and vocal activities (_kamma_) are duly systematized, organized, stabilized (_samadhanam, upadhara@na@m, pati@t@tha_) [Footnote ref 2].

The sage who adopts the full course should also follow a number of healthy monastic rules with reference to dress, sitting, dining, etc., which are called the dhuta@ngas or pure disciplinary parts [Footnote ref 3]. The practice of sila and the dhutangas help the sage to adopt the course of samadhi. Samadhi as we have seen means the concentration of the mind bent on right endeavours (_kusalacittekaggata samadhi@h_) together with its states upon one particular object (_ekaramma@na_) so that they may completely cease to shift and change (_samma ca avikkhipamana_) [Footnote ref 4].


[Footnote 1: _Visuddhimagga Nidanadikatha_.]

[Footnote 2: _Visuddhimagga-silaniddeso_, pp. 7 and 8.]

[Footnote 3: _Visuddhimagga_, II.]

[Footnote 4: _Visuddhimagga_, pp. 84-85.]


The man who has practised sila must train his mind first in particular ways, so that it may be possible for him to acquire the chief concentration of meditation called jhana (fixed and steady meditation). These preliminary endeavours of the mind for the acquirement of jhanasamadhi eventually lead

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