> image/svg+xml image/svg+xml image/svg+xml CS CS image/svg+xml CS image/svg+xml image/svg+xml image/svg+xml

Obstructions—Bhikkhu Bodhi

Aṅguttara Nikāya

The Book of the Fives

51. Obstructions

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: “Bhikkhus!”

“Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“Bhikkhus, there are these five obstructions, hindrances, encumbrances of the mind, states that weaken wisdom. What five? (1) Sensual desire is an obstruction, a hindrance, an encumbrance of the mind, a state that weakens wisdom. (2) Ill will … (3) Dullness and drowsiness … (4) Restlessness and remorse … (5) Doubt is an obstruction, a hindrance, an encumbrance of the mind, a state that weakens wisdom. These are the five obstructions, hindrances, encumbrances of the mind, states that weaken wisdom.

“Bhikkhus, without having abandoned these five obstructions, hindrances, encumbrances of the mind, states that weaken wisdom, it is impossible that a bhikkhu, with his powerless and feeble wisdom, might know his own good, the good of others, or the good of both, or realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. Suppose a river were flowing down from a mountain, traveling a long distance, with a swift current, carrying along much flotsam. Then, on both of its banks, a man would open irrigation channels. In such a case, the current in the middle of the river would be dispersed, spread out, and divided, so that the river would no longer travel a long distance, with a swift current, carrying along much flotsam. So too, without having abandoned these five obstructions … it is impossible that a bhikkhu … might realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.

“But, bhikkhus, having abandoned these five obstructions, hindrances, encumbrances of the mind, states that weaken wisdom, it is possible that a bhikkhu, with his powerful wisdom, might know his own good, the good of others, and the good of both, and realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. Suppose a river were flowing down from a mountain, traveling a long distance, with a swift current, carrying along much flotsam. Then a man would close up the irrigation channels on both of its banks. In such a case, the current in the middle of the river would not be dispersed, spread out, and divided, so that the river could travel a long distance, with a swift current, carrying along much flotsam. So too, having abandoned these five obstructions … it is possible that a bhikkhu … might realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.”