The lay follower Visakha asks his former wife, the nun Dhammadinna a series of questions concerning Dhamma and receives answers approved of later by the Buddha.
Read the Sutta
Index to available translations: MN.44./
Subjective existence, what is considered the individuality (sakkāya), is that which is identified with and made up from the five support piles pañca upādānakkhandhā.
The five support piles:
The form support pile (rūp'upādānakkhandhā);
the sensation support pile(vedan'upādānakkhandhā);
the perception support pile(saññ'upādānakkhandhā);
the own-making support pile(saŋkhār'upādānakkhandhā); and
the consciousness support pile(viññāṇ'upādānakkhandhā).
The arising of individuality is a consequence of thirst (taṇhā) —
thirst for this and that,
thirst for sensual pleasure,
thirst for existence,
thirst for increased existence,
accompanied by delight,
results in attachment
that leads on to rebirth.
To bring about the end of individuality,
end the thirst.
The walk to walk to bring about the end of thirst is:
High Working Hypothesis,
High Vision, and
(see: The Method for details.)
That which is support for individuaity arises from the five support piles and
there is no support for individuality apart from the five support piles.
The five support piles are not the support itself,
but the support does not exist without the five support piles; it is the wanting and lust arising from the five support piles that is the support for individuality.
The idea of individuality arises as a consequence of seeing beyond what is self-seen holding the views:
Shape is the self
the self has shape,
shape is in the self,
self is in shape.
Sensation is the self
the self has sensation,
sensation is in the self,
self is in sensation.
Perception is the self
the self has perception,
perception is in the self,
perception is in shape.
The own-made is the self
the self has the own-made,
the own-made is in the self,
self is in the own-made.
Consciousness is the self
the self has consciousness,
consciousness is in the self,
self is in consciousness.
The idea of individuality is got rid of by:
Not regarding shape as the self
or the self as having shape,
or shape as in the self,
or self as in shape.
Not seeing sensation as the self
or the self as having sensation,
or sensation as in the self,
or self as in sensation.
Not seeing perception as the self
or the self as having perception,
or perception as in the self,
or perception as in shape.
Not seeing the own-made as the self
or the self as having the own-made,
or the own-made as in the self,
or self as in the own-made.
Not seeing consciousness as the self
or the self as having consciousness,
or consciousness as in the self,
or self as in consciousness.
The Aristocratic Multi-Dimensional High Way, that is, High Working Hypothesis, High Principles, High Talk, High Works, High Lifestyle,
High Self-control, High Mind, High Serenity, High Vision, and High Detachment,
is own-made or constructed,
not not own-made.
There are three own-makings (saŋkhāra):
own-made heart (willing, intention).
The broadest generalized way of speaking of the own-made body is to call it respiration;
respiration is bodily, and
the body is tied up in respiration.
(This definition accommodates other forms of body than are generally familiar, such as those who have multiple shapes but a single mind.)
Own-made speech is essntially thinking and pondering;
first one thinks and ponders,
then one utters speech.
The own-made locus of focus is essentially perceiving and experiencing the senses
perceiving and experiencing the senses are the heart of the matter (are central to),
and the heart is tied up in perceiving and experiencing.
Serenity (samādhi = 'even-over'; here is where the term 'equanimity' even-mindedness, imperturbability should be being used as opposed to using it for upekkha, detachment) is the state of having become whole-heartedly single-minded (cittassa ekaggatā). This definition encompases the entire practice, from undertaking generosity to the attainment of the ending of perception of sense-experience.
The signs of serenity are having set up
minding the body,
minding sense experience,
minding states of the heart,
The pre-requisites for serenity are the four consummate efforts:
The effort to get rid of unskillful states that have arisen;
the effort to keep off unskillful states that have not yet arisen;
the effort to aquire skillful states that have not yet arisen; and,
the effort to preserve skillful states that have arisen.
This is the way Serenity is said to be being cultivated.
The culmination of Serenity is the knowledge and wisdom attained in the freedom of deliverance from things of Time. Serenity being a state of mind of an individual, beyond that, the freedom of deliverance from things not of time is not counted as serenity.
Here first own-making of body ceases first,
then own-making of speech,
then own-making of heart (perception and experience of sense).
This state is reached by way of conditioning the mind, not by the intent to attain. There is in attaining this state no thought "I am attaining".
The difference between this state and the state of a dead body is that there is here the remaining lifespan to be lived out and there is caloric energy.
In re-entering serenity from the point where there is the freedom of delivery from where perception of sense experience ends, one enters signlessness, aimlessness, and emptiness, where here signs are signs of lust, anger and blindness; aims are towards things involving lust, anger, and blindness; and emptiness is a state empty of lust, anger, and blindness.
Here first own-making of heart (perception and experience of sense) is revived,
then own-making of speech,
then own-making of body.