These factors were given to me orally by 92 yr old Burmese monk, Sayadaw U Pandita. They are also recorded in his written work “On the Path to Freedom”.
The first factor of enlightenment is mindfulness (Sati-sambojjhanga).
Mindfulness is a requisite of enlightenment. There are four foundations of mindfulness:
1. Contemplation of body (kayanupassana)
2. Contemplation of feelings (vedananupassana)
3. Contemplation of mind (cittanupassana)
4. Contemplation of mind objects, any miscellaneous objects not mentioned above (dhamma nupassana)
Mindfulness (or sati) is not just ordinary mindfulness, it is actually extremely active, vigilant and powerful. As it develops it becomes very energetic, and basic insight knowledge radically manifests itself. Mindfulness then becomes unremittingly powerful.
(This is essentially Buddhist psychology, or basic building blocks to healing the deeper layers of the mind. The main text of Buddhist Psychology is “The Abhidhamma”.)
The Second factor of enlightenment is investigation of the Laws: Dhamma-vijaya-sambojjhanga.
This means investigation of the Laws of Truth in the body-mind (nama-rupa dhammas). Even in the early stages of insight meditation and investigation into body-mind (nama-rupa) a student will come to know within themselves the arising and passing away of all phenomena (udayabbaya nana), also the interdependence of all phenomena.
During the arising of this insight they will also come to know the Truth of suffering (Dukkha Sacca), and the remaining truths:
* The truth of origin of suffering (samudaya sacca)
* The truth of extinction of suffering (nirodha sacca)
* The truth of the path leading to the extinction of suffering (magga sacca)
This is all automatically understood, as they are mindful of all sensations within. Every time an object arises there is no chance for the mind to attach and take delight in it, and the Origins of Suffering (samudaya sacca) are noted, understood and abandoned, as they should be.
Just as we build up resistance to diseases, the cravings which are the cause of suffering will be eliminated and have no chance of occurring in the nama-rupa process (body-mind)
The third factor of enlightenment is energy.
As the yogi attains the knowledge of arising and passing away of all phenomena, udayabbaya nana, the three stages of effort will come about one by one:
- Diligent effort (arradha virya)
- Upward movement of energy, permitting neither lowering nor stagnation of energy. (Paggahita viriya)
- Accomplished effort (paripunna viriya)
The fourth factor of Enlightenment is joy
Joy (piti) is of 5 kinds, with the minor one occurring in the first stages of insight, and the higher stages of joy occurring in the higher stages of knowledge.
1. Minor joy, thrill, goose bumps kind of joy (Khuddhaka piti)
2. Momentary or instantaneous joy like flashes of lightning (moments of irrational joy) (khanika piti)
3. Showering flood of joy (okkantika piti)
4. Uplifting joy with such much energy that is has the power to levitate the body (Ubbega piti)
5. All pervading rapturous joy. Sayadaw U Pandita describes this pervading joy to be like the sensation of having a full-blown bladder or at times there is so much joy one feels like being rolled around like a ball. Joy (Pharana piti).
The fifth factor of enlightenment is tranquility.(Passaddhi-sambojjhanga)
The tranquillity factor of enlightenment is developed as a consequence of the arising of joy (piti). The mind is not scattered and free. When this stage of liberation has been reached, mindfulness is thorough as it takes place without much effort, as the truth (the dhamma) becomes the distinct resting point.
The sixth factor of Buddhist enlightenment is Concentration (Samadhi-sambojjhanga)
Samadhi: When the mind is concentrated in a unified manner, like a lighted candle in a still atmosphere.
The seventh and last factor of enlightenment is Equanimity or neutrality(upekkha-sambojjhanga).
This is towards all living beings and formations, so one remains equanimous in the face of varying conditions, seeing all as neither good nor bad.
The Buddha said this was how to develop the seven Factors of enlightenment and there is no other way then repetitive satipatthana (the setting up of mindfulness) practice. It promotes unshakable faith which is one of the five faculties, and also shows us the truth, the dhamma.
“Bhikkhus, if you practice and repeatedly practice the four foundations of mindfulness, you will accomplish the seven factors of enlightenment.”