Aṅguttara Nikāya

The Book of the Fives

28. Five-Factored

“Bhikkhus, I will teach you the development of noble five-factored right concentration. Listen and attend closely. I will speak.”

“Yes, Bhante,” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“And what, bhikkhus, is the development of noble five-factored right concentration?

(1) “Here, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which consists of rapture and pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by thought and examination. He makes the rapture and happiness born of seclusion drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the rapture and happiness born of seclusion. Just as a skillful bath man or a bath man’s apprentice might heap bath powder in a metal basin and, sprinkling it gradually with water, would knead it until the moisture wets his ball of bath powder, soaks it, and pervades it inside and out, yet the ball itself does not ooze; so too, the bhikkhu makes the rapture and happiness born of seclusion drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the rapture and happiness born of seclusion. This is the first development of noble five-factored right concentration.

(2) “Again, with the subsiding of thought and examination, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which has internal placidity and unification of mind and consists of rapture and pleasure born of concentration, without thought and examination. He makes the rapture and happiness born of concentration drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the rapture and happiness born of concentration. Just as there might be a lake whose waters welled up from below with no inflow from east, west, north, or south, and the lake would not be replenished from time to time by showers of rain, then the cool fount of water welling up in the lake would make the cool water drench, steep, fill, and pervade the lake, so that there would be no part of the whole lake that is not pervaded by cool water; so too, the bhikkhu makes the rapture and happiness born of concentration drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the rapture and happiness born of concentration. This is the second development of noble five-factored right concentration.

(3) “Again, with the fading away as well of rapture, a bhikkhu dwells equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, he experiences pleasure with the body; he enters and dwells in the third jhāna of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.’ He makes the happiness divested of rapture drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the happiness divested of rapture. Just as, in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses that are born and grow in the water might thrive immersed in the water without rising out of it, and cool water would drench, steep, fill, and pervade them to their tips and their roots, so that there would be no part of those lotuses that would not be pervaded by cool water; so too, the bhikkhu makes the happiness divested of rapture drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the happiness divested of rapture. This is the third development of noble five-factored right concentration.

(4) “Again, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and dejection, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, neither painful nor pleasant, which has purification of mindfulness by equanimity. He sits pervading this body with a pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the pure bright mind. Just as a man might be sitting covered from the head down with a white cloth, so that there would be no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the white cloth; so too, the bhikkhu sits pervading this body with a pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his whole body that is not pervaded by the pure bright mind. This is the fourth development of noble five-factored right concentration.

(5) “Again, a bhikkhu has grasped well the object of reviewing, attended to it well, sustained it well, and penetrated it well with wisdom. Just as one person might look upon another—as one standing might look upon one sitting down, or one sitting down might look upon one lying down—so too, a bhikkhu has grasped well the object of reviewing, attended to it well, sustained it well, and penetrated it well with wisdom. This is the fifth development of noble five-factored right concentration.

“When, bhikkhus, noble five-factored right concentration has been developed and cultivated in this way, then, there being a suitable basis, he is capable of realizing any state realizable by direct knowledge toward which he might incline his mind.

“Suppose a water jug full of water has been set out on a stand, the jug being full of water right up to the brim so that crows could drink from it. If a strong man would tip it in any direction, would water come out?”

“Yes, Bhante.”

“So too, bhikkhus, when noble five-factored right concentration has been developed and cultivated in this way, then, there being a suitable basis, he is capable of realizing any state realizable by direct knowledge toward which he might incline his mind.

“Suppose on level ground there was a four-sided pond, contained by an embankment, full of water right up to the brim so that crows could drink from it. If a strong man were to remove the embankment on any side, would water come out?”

“Yes, Bhante.”

“So too, bhikkhus, when noble five-factored right concentration has been developed and cultivated in this way, then, there being a suitable basis, he is capable of realizing any state realizable by direct knowledge toward which he might incline his mind.

“Suppose on even ground at a crossroads a chariot was standing harnessed to thoroughbreds, with a goad ready at hand, so that a skillful trainer, the charioteer, could mount it, and taking the reins in his left hand and the goad in his right, might drive out and return wherever and whenever he likes. So too, bhikkhus, when noble five-factored right concentration has been developed and cultivated in this way, then, there being a suitable basis, he is capable of realizing any state realizable by direct knowledge toward which he might incline his mind.

“If he wishes: ‘May I wield the various kinds of psychic potency: having been one, may I become many … here and below as in 5:23 … may I exercise mastery with the body as far as the brahmā world,’ he is capable of realizing it, there being a suitable basis.

“If he wishes: ‘May I, with the divine ear element, which is purified and surpasses the human, hear both kinds of sounds, the divine and human, those that are far as well as near,’ he is capable of realizing it, there being a suitable basis.

“If he wishes: ‘May I understand the minds of other beings and persons, having encompassed them with my own mind. May I understand … an unliberated mind as unliberated,’ he is capable of realizing it, there being a suitable basis.

“If he wishes: ‘May I recollect my manifold past abodes … with their aspects and details,’ he is capable of realizing it, there being a suitable basis.

“If he wishes: ‘May I, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, see beings passing away and being reborn … and understand how beings fare in accordance with their kamma,’ he is capable of realizing it, there being a suitable basis.

“If he wishes: ‘May I, with the destruction of the taints, in this very life realize for myself with direct knowledge the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, may I dwell in it,’ he is capable of realizing it, there being a suitable basis.”