Conditions for the Four Stages of Nibbāna

Revised August 3, 2016; Revised November 19, 2018; August 21, 2022

1. The following Table shows the conditions to be fulfilled (i.e., factors to be eliminated) to attain each stage of Nibbāna. For example, to attain the Sōtapanna stage, three of the ten samyōjana (or the ten fetters) are removed, akusala citta #1, 2, 5, 6, and 11 are removed; also, the apāyagāmi strength in the other citta removed, etc.

 SaṁyojanaAkusala CittaAnusayaĀsava (Āsaya)Kilesa (Asobhana Cetasika)
Sōtapannasakkāya diṭṭhi
vicikicchā
silabbata parāmāsa
1,2,5,6,11
Also removes apāyagāmi strength in the rest
diṭṭhi
vicikicchā
diṭṭhāsavaRemoved: diṭṭhi, vicikicchā, thina, middha, issa, macchariya, kukkucca
Reduced: lōbha, dōsa, mōha to rāga, paṭigha, avijjā
Sakadāgāmikāma rāga (reduced)
patigha (reduced)
weakens 9, 10
also weakens kāma rāga in 3,4,7,8
kāma rāga (reduced)
paṭigha (reduced)
kāmāsāva (reduced)Reduced: kāma rāga and paṭigha
Anāgāmikāma rāga
paṭigha
9,10
also removes kāma rāga in 3,4,7,8
kāma rāga
paṭigha
kāmāsāvaRemoved: kāma rāga and paṭigha
Arahantrupa rāga
arupa raga
māna
uddhacca
avijjā
3,4,7,8,12
(see below for a list of akusala citta)
bhava rāga
māna
avijjā
bhavāsava
avijjāsava
Removed: avijjā, ahirika, anatoppa, uddhacca, māna

2. The ability to commit akusala kamma also is removed in stages as one progresses and is completely removed only at the Arahant stage. It is important to note that a Sōtapanna completely removes only one akusala kamma, that of having wrong views (micchā diṭṭhi): “What is the only Akusala Removed by a Sōtapanna?“. But this leads to removing many kilesa (mental impurities); see the Table.

3. Āsava and anusaya are discussed in the post, “Gati (Character), Anusaya (Temptations), and Āsava (Cravings)“. Kilesa is discussed in “Diṭṭhi (Wrong Views), Sammā Diṭṭhi (Good/Correct Views).” For a discussion on Dasa Samyōjana, see “Dasa Samyōjana – Bonds in Rebirth Process.”

4. The 12 types of akusala citta are listed in, “Akusala Citta and Akusala Vipaka Citta“. But I thought it would be more explanatory to list them. The numbers below correspond to the numbers in the Table.

Lōbha (Greedy) Citta (Also has the mōha root)

1. Citta connected with a wrong view, accompanied by pleasure, and done with habit.

2. Citta connected with a wrong view, accompanied by pleasure, and done reluctantly.

3. Citta NOT connected with a wrong view, accompanied by pleasure and done with habit.

4. Citta NOT connected with a wrong view, accompanied by pleasure, and done reluctantly.

5. Citta connected with a wrong view, accompanied by a neutral mind, and done with habit.

6. Citta connected with a wrong view, accompanied by a neutral mind, and done reluctantly.

7. Citta NOT connected with a wrong view, accompanied by a neutral mind and done with habit.

8. Citta NOT connected with a wrong view, accompanied by a neutral mind and done reluctantly.

Dōsa (Hateful) Citta (Also has the mōha root)

9. Citta associated with hate, accompanied by displeasure, done with habit.

10. Citta associated with hate, accompanied by displeasure, done reluctantly.

Mōha Citta (only with the mōha root)

11. Citta accompanied by a neutral mind, associated with vicikiccā (not aware of bad consequences)

12. Citta accompanied by neutral mind, associated with uddacca (unfocused).

Notes:

1. Even though recent Abhidhamma literature categorizes lōbha and dōsa citta as asankhārika (unprompted) and sasankhārika (prompted), in original Abhidhamma, they were not categorized as such.

2. For example, the two dōsa-mula cittā are:

  1. Dōmanassa sahagata paṭigha-sampayutta citta.
  2. Dōmanassa sahagata sasankhārika paṭigha-sampayutta citta.
  • The first citta arises due to saṃsāric habits and thus is more potent. For example, someone who tends to easily get angry normally generates such potent citta.
  • On the other hand, another person without such a habit may not generate such a citta unless “forced hard”; it is done with reluctance, “when pushed to the limit,” or if the perceived “sense pleasures” are enticing. Then he/she is actually “incorporating new “san” or initiating a new habit; thus, the name “sasankhārika.”
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