The <i>Pāḷi</i> Line

The Eighth Lesson

Aṭṭha Nāma Kim? What is Eight?

What eight concepts, when used to see things to their root with penetrating knowledge, and to understand them in their broadest limits, such that their disgusting nature is seen as it really is and one has released them in their entirety, can bring one to the uttermost freedom of detachment?

Ariya Aṭṭhangika Magga
The Aristocratic Multidimensional HighWay



Note On Terminology: The word so often translated "Right" has several problems that are avoided by the terms 'Consummate' or 'High' used here.

The Pāḷi word is sammā. sa = one, amma = nursing, mothering. I will leave to the imagination how the real meaning comes to be summit (in the US we have a mountain range named by the French that will help you figure that one out.).

The closest we could come to "right" understanding it this way is "consummate."

The state to be attained throughout the Magga is that of detachment. 'Right' is a concept fraught with attachments. It is right and all else is wrong, whereas in the Magga it is the highest or best way among others which are lower or contrary, and even that is relative to the goal.

A thing with two sides like 'Right' and 'Wrong' cannot be abandoned — those in the "wrong" will never let go because they do not believe they are in the wrong, those 'in the right' are hanging on to those in the wrong for their understanding of their own stance. On the other hand, if you will imagine yourself with the ability to soar, reaching the summit is a place from which complete detachment is attainable.

Furthermore, while there might be some justification for the use of the word 'right' (shy of it's moralistic overtones) if one attributes its derivation to sama = even = straight = upright = right (and there is your progression from a carpenters term to a moralists term) (and certainly the two words are closely related), there is absolutely no justification for using 'Wrong' as it's opposite (which is the problem with 'Right' that makes me want to use another word — very high moral behavior can be seen from the Buddhist view as miccha. Miccha in no way comes to 'Wrong', it means 'opposite,' or 'contrary' and there is even some justification for the term I prefer, 'low' in the meaning of mi = small, miniscule, 'Wee.' Even a contrary way of behaving can be the right way to behave, depending on the view held. (... the right way to kill a man ...) whereas high behavior, if followed, leads one ever upward from whatever starting point he may occupy.

What many are calling the 'Noble Eightfold Path', the 'Ariya Atthangika Magga,' I call the Aristocratic Multi-dimensional HighWay.

Ariya = is most closely related to English "Aristocratic". So 'Noble' is ok, but it is awkward to use this term to describe one who has attained the goal: Arahatta; or for one who is a student of the Ariya. If we understand the reference is to a genuine sort of aristocracy, an aristocracy of the mind, then we can state the goal as becoming an Aristocrat.

Aṭṭhangika: Aṭṭha = eight, for sure, but also "unlimited," [turn the "eight" on it's side].

Originally the Aristocrats only counted up to three. For heavy duty counting, they had accountants who could count up to a nahutam (1 with 28 zeros).

All the numbers up past three began their life as meaning "a whole bunch," and that is the case with eight.

This is important when we read the suttas and find that a good number of times the eightfold path has ten folds (adding Consummate Knowledge and Consummate Freedom, or Consummate Vision and Consummate Detachment — to the usual eight).

Studying the Magga further reveals that each of the folds, or dimensions, is a complete path to detachment in and of itself, and, further, digging into the sub definitions of each of the terms, one will find that there are a limitless number of loopings back, such as is most clearly seen here in the Satipaṭṭhāna, which ends with the Eightfold Path which includes Sati, (or the state arrived at by the practice of 'satipaṭṭhāna,' 'the setting-up of mind') and so forth.

Thus we are best guided by at least knowing the meaning of 'eightfold' to be 'multi' or 'limitless'.

Angika = angled, dimensioned, as in the arm bent at the elbow, the leg bent at the knee, or a 'crooked' thumb or bent finger, or the limb of a tree — which angles off the trunk (khandha).


The Magga

1. Sammā Diṭṭhi: Consummate View, thesis, perspective, theory, point of view, position, opinion.

Consummate view is a "Working Hypothesis." By adopting Consummate View, one drops attachment to all other views (especially those concerning existence, self and soul — thus breaking the sakkaya-diṭṭhi — one true view or one true view of self attachment) then the Consummate View itself is easy to drop.

This is Consummate View:

This is Pain — painful, ugly, ukky, k-kha.

The origin of this Pain — dukkhā — is Hunger/Thirst.

To get up out of the K-Kha, you gotta let it go at the source: taṇhā: The Hunger/Thirst

This is The Way: Consummate View, Consummate Principles, Consummate Talk, Consummate Works, Consummate Lifestyle, Consummate Self Control, Consummate Mind, and Consummate Serenity.

2. Sammā Sankappa: Consummate Principles.

'Kappa' is 'fitting', what is fit and propper, what fits, the fittings on a boat or for the horse, etc. One is said to have one's intentions straight when one's principles are in alignment with one's views.

These are the highest principles based on Consummate View:

Dump K-kha, giving up, letting go, renunciation, letting it pass.

No tears, no mental cruelty.

Be harmless, no intentional harm.

3. Sammā Vaca: Consummate Talk.

No intentional untrue talk, cruel talk, slander, harsh talk, useless talk.

4. Sammā Kammanta: Consummate Works.

Note On Terminology:

What some are calling 'action,' and the rest call 'livelihood,' is here called "works."

'Kammanta' is, like most of the other important Pāḷi words, really a manta, a magic charm that when repeated and studied reveals its inner meanings as well as it's mula: it's root. The roots here are kamma = karma or making, as in weaving and in doing deeds; manta = magic charms, or, 'works'; and kammanta = commerce, or, work. Thus my multi dimensional "Works."

At the first level we do not need to debate the meaning of 'Kammanta', it is spelled out for us in the many suttas that give the Magga in detail.

In your deeds, works of magic, or work:

Do no intentional:

harm to living beings,

taking of other peoples ungiven things,

low deeds for pleasure's sake — (this last being most frequently translated "abstaining from adultery or carnal indulgence").

5. Sammā Ajiva: Consummate Lifestyle.

(A = to, no; jiva = live, calling; "To Live No Calling" a little word game.)

When one dumps what one clearly sees is a low element of one's lifestyle, what remains is Consummate Lifestyle. Consummate Lifestyle is the "style" or "process," and it is a matter of personal judgment, a thing relative to one's own understanding of what is high and low.

6. Sammā Vāyama: Consummate Self Control.

Strive, make an effort, exert energy and endeavor to

restrain low ways
that are in this seen thing

refrain from low ways
not yet in this seen thing

retain Consummate Ways
that are in this seen thing

obtain Consummate Ways
not yet in this seen thing

7. Sammā Saṭi: Consummate Mind.

The state of the memory aspect of the mind prepared for living satisfied with higher things.

Live in a body

In sensation

In states of the heart

And in The Word

Seeing Bodies


States of the Heart

And The Word

As they really are.

Seeing how they come to be.

Seeing how they burn out.

Living above it all.

Watchful and diligent,

Reviewing and calming down.

Overcoming any taṇhā, ambitions and disappointments, likings and dislikings, that may appear

Downbound to nothing at all in the world.

3. Sammā Samādhi: Consummate Serenity.

Letting go of involvements with the world,
live in the appreciation of the peace and calm of solitude;
letting go of thinking in verbal terms,
live in the appreciation of serenity;
letting go of entheusiasm,
live at ease;
letting go of living at ease,
live off the all 'Roun'

clean clear through

bright shiny


of detachment


 ---------------------------detach here (little joke)---------------------------



This section has provided the beginner with the information necessary to build a solid foundation for progress, starting from the most fundamental practice (giving) and ending, at the end of the Atthangika Magga, with the most advanced concept in the system (detachment).

A person who knew and understood the Dhamma this far could encompass all the remaining teachings — hereafter the instructions only become broader and deeper.

The exercise at this point should be to try and create a mental picture of the structure being described:

Ethical Culture,
Mental Development.

As the picture in the mind becomes more complete,
turn the mind upon itself
and observe how it appears to "like" the "order",
and how it "feels" like the mind is being exercised.

This is the entry to the second level of getting high, getting high on getting high.

Ask yourself if you have observed any internal contradictions.

What questions remain?

How far have you begun to translate the information into practice?



It Can Be Done!

It can be done, Beggars!
It can be done!
If it could not be done,
I would not say:
'It can be done.'
It can be done,
Therefore I say:
'It can be done'

[AN 2 19] Skillful

This Way

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 [ The Gradual Course ]  [ I. Nidana ]  [ II.Dana — Giving ]  [ II.Sila — Ethical Culture ]  [ III. Jagarianuyoga — Self Discipline ]  [ The Second Lesson ]  [ The Third Lesson ]  [ The Fourth Lesson ]  [ The Fifth Lesson ]  [ The Sixth Lesson ]  [ The Seventh Lesson ]  [ The Eighth Lesson ]  [ TheGreatMastersSatisfactionPastures ]  [ HighGetnHigh ]  [ The 10th Question I ]  [ The 10th Question II ]

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