Sunday, 31 January 2010


silabbata-paramasa: almost everywhere translated as "attachment (clinging) to mere rules (rites) and rituals", the third fetter.

There is nothing in the Pali which corresponds to "mere". The use of it indicates that the translator has not understood.

silabbata = sila + bata (vata)
sila = morality = character, behaviour
vata = practice, custom, behaviour. cp Vedic vrata = vow
paramasa = attachment, clinging, misapprehension

Fetters are normally bonds which hold one down and have been put on us by someone else. In Buddhist psychology, fetters certainly hold us down but it is because we hold on to them. Like a man who is stuck at the bottom of the sea because he is holding on to a heavy anchor.

So really it means clinging to the practice of morality. The key word is "clinging". There is nothing wrong with morality including conventional codes of good conduct.

Think of it: all morality is practiced within the field of the sangsara. If you escape the sangsara, there is nowhere to practise morality, nor any need for the mental concepts of "morality" or "practicing".

As far as the practice of morality within the sangsara is concerned, you can't escape the sangsara unless your morality is perfect. If you visualise the universal octopus, the reason for this becomes obvious.

New Project: The Fourth Sanyojana

(See Sanyojana The Buddha's Doctrine of the TEN FETTERS)


vicikiccha: "uncertainty", the second fetter.

This is always translated as "doubt in the Buddha's Teachings".  It certainly includes this.  But it refers to any doubts.  Think about it: The FETTERS are almost as old as the sangsara and men have been breaking them and becoming enlightened since before the Buddha and his teaching appeared.

New Project: The Third Sanyojana

(See Sanyojana The Buddha's Doctrine of the TEN FETTERS)


sakkaya-ditthi: "own-body view", the first fetter.

A "fetter" binds you down to where you don't want to be. 

Where do these fetters bind us to?  To the sangsara.  The sangsara is the plane of suffering in which "kayas" (bodies), physical and mental, incessantly appear and disappear.  Any view about "OWN BODY" bind one to this level of suffering where the bodies are.  One is born and dies over and over again until one can break free of "OWN" and "VIEW".

The sangsara does not come to an end of itself.  One has to break free of it.

New Project: The Second Sanyojana

(See Sanyojana The Buddha's Doctrine of the TEN FETTERS)