Buddha’s 7 Factors of Enlightenment (and the Ultimate Key to Getting There)

In Mind & Body, Philosophy & Culture
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Have you heard of the Tripitak? It’s a famous Buddhist texture detailing the 7 factors of enlightenment. They are:

  • Dhamma’s keen investigation or dhammavicaya
  • Mindfulness or sati
  • Rapture or piti
  • Energy or viriya
  • Equanimity or upekkha
  • Calm or passaddhi
  • Concentration or samadhi

Buddhism is all about the end of suffering and achieving enlightenment. It says that a person who is focused on the attainment of enlightenment must be aware of the impediments that holds her/him back from achieving enlightenment.

Buddhism says that life is suffering, which is caused by avijja or ignorance. The Buddha says that “It is ignorance that smothers, and it is carelessness that makes it invisible. The hunger of craving pollutes the world, and the pain of suffering causes the greatest fear.”

What causes ignorance? According to the Tripitak, there are 5 hindrances:

The five hindrances

  • Sensuality or kamacchanda
  • Obduracy of mind
  • Ill-will or vyapada
  • Mental factors or thinamiddha
  • Doubt or vicikiccha

Many of these hindrances have to do with having an undisciplined mind. According to the Dalai Lama, “Whether our action is wholesome or unwholesome depends on whether that action or deed arises from a disciplined or undisciplined state of mind. It is felt that a disciplined mind leads to happiness and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering, and in fact it is said that bringing about discipline within one’s mind is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching.”

So, the question is:

How can we discipline our minds?!

The Tripika says that mindfulness and meditation are the key to self-mastery. Buddha said that “Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. – Buddha

In fact, this is what Steve Jobs found:

“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.”

 

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