(1) The Dhamma which is Well-Proclaimed by the Blessed One
The Dhamma, which is well-proclaimed by the Blessed One, consists of
the Scriptural Dhamma (Pariyatti Dhamma) and the Ninefold Supramundane
Dhamma (Nava Lokuttara Dhammas). The Scriptural Dhamma is well-proclaimed
because it is good in the beginning, the middle, and the end and because
it declares the life of purity that is absolutely perfect and pure with
meaning and with detail. For instance, a discourse or Sutta with a single
sequence of meaning is good in the beginning with the introduction, good
in the end with the conclusion, and good in the middle with the rest.
The Scriptural Dhamma is doctrine and discipline, or the three Baskets: the Basket of Discipline, the Basket of Discourses, and the Basket of higher doctrine or the Buddhist philosophy and psychology.
The Ninefold Supramundane Dhamma is the Fourfold Noble Path, the Fourfold Fruition, and Nibbana. Of them, the Fourfold Noble Path, which is the Middle Way leading to Nibbana without approaching the two extremes, is well-proclaimed. And the Fourfold Fruition, in which defilements are tranquillized, is well-proclaimed too. And Nibbana, whose individual essence is eternal, deathless, the refuge, the shelter, is well-proclaimed too.
The two extremes: addiction to sensual pleasures and self- mortification.
The Fourfold Noble Path is (1) the Path of Stream-entry, (2) the Path
of Once-returning, (3) the Path of Non-returning, and (4) the Path of Arahantship.
“Path of Stream-entry” means the first Supramundane wholesome Dhamma of one who enters the stream that leads to Nibbana.
“Path of Once-returning” means the second Supramundane wholesome Dhamma of one who will be reborn on the earth only once before he attains Arahantship. “Path of Non-returning” means the third Supramundane wholesome Dhamma of one who does not return to this world or the sensuous world.
“Path of Arahantship” means the fourth Supramundane wholesome Dhamma of one who attains Arahantship.
The Fourfold Noble Fruition is (1) Fruition of Stream-entry, (2) Fruition
of Once-returning, (3) Fruition of Non-returning, and (4) Fruition of Arahantship.
“Fruition of Stream-entry” means the first Supramundane resultant Dhamma of the first Supramundane wholesome state, “Fruition of Once-returning”, the second
Supramundane resultant Dhamma of the second Supramundane Wholesome state, “Fruition of Non-returning”, the third Supramundane resultant Dhamma of the third Supramundane wholesome state, and “Fruition of Arahantship”, the fourth Supramundane resultant Dhamma of the fourth Supramundane wholesome state.
(2) The Dhamma which is Self-Realized
The Dhamma, which is self-realized, is the Noble Path. It can be seen
by the noble person, who has done away with greed, hate, and delusion in
continuity. Moreover, the Dhamma, which is self-realized by anyone, is also the Ninefold Supramundane Dhamma through his reviewing knowledge without relying on faith in another.
(3) The Dhamma which is followed by its Fruition without delay
The Dhamma, which gives immediate result, is the Supramundane Path because it is immediately followed by its own fruit or the Supramundane Fruition. Instead of giving its fruit after using up time such as five days, seven days, it gives its fruit immediately after its own arising. The arising of the Supramundane Path endures for only one mind-moment. Thereafter, its own fruit or Supramundane Fruition consciousness arises according to the procedure of Javana or the thought process. (Abhidhammattha Sangaha)
( 4) The Dhamma which is Worthy of the Invitation “ Come and See”
The Dhamma, which is worthy of the invitation “Come and See”, is the Supramundane Path, the Fruition, and Nibbana because it is actually found as such in its individual essence, and because it is as pure as the full moon’s disk in a cloudless sky.
(5) The Dhamma which is Brought to Oneself
The Dhamma, which is brought to oneself, is also the Supramundane states because the Path and the Fruition are worthy of leading to Nibbana, and because Nibbana is worthy of being treated as one’s shelter by realizing it.
(6) The Dhamma which is Realized by the Wise Each for Himself
The Dhamma, which is realized by the wise each for himself, is the Ninefold Supramundane state because it can be experienced only by the noble ones. The Path has been developed, the Fruition attained, and Nibbana (Cessation) realized by them.
The Benefits of the Recollection of the Special Qualities of the Dhamma
When the meditator recollects the special qualities of the Dhamma, his mind is invaded neither by greed, nor by hate, nor by delusion. He has a right state of mind being inspired by the Dhamma. And when he has suppressed the hindrances, the Jhana factors arise in a single mind-moment. But because of the profundity of the special qualities of the Dhamma, or because of his being engrossed in recollecting special qualities of various kinds, the Jhana (he attains) is only access (upacara) without reaching absorption(appana).
(Upacara = the condition of concen tration just before entering any
of the absorptions)
(Appana = the condition of concentration existing during absorption)
Furthermore, when a meditator recollects the Dhamma, he thinks, “In the past I never saw a master who taught the Dhamma which is brought to oneself thus; in the present I also do not see anyone such a master other than the Buddha. Seeing the special qualities of the Dhamma, he is respectful and deferential towards the Buddha. Having great reverence for the Dhamma, he attains fullness of faith and has much happiness and gladness. He overcomes fear and dread. He is also able to bear pain and comes to feel as if he were living in the presence of the Dhamma.
In addition, the body of him who is recollecting the special qualities of the Dhamma becomes as worthy of veneration as a shrine room. His mind has a tendency towards the realization of incomparable Dhamma. When he encounters an opportunity for wrongdoing, he has a strong awareness of conscience and shame on recollecting the well-regulatedness of the Dhamma. If he comprehends no higher, he will be at least born in a happy state.
(This article is based on Visuddhimagga, Vol. 1, THE PATH OF PURIFICATION, and THE PATH OF PURITY.)