Phala

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Phala (T. 'bras bu; C. guo; J. ka; K. kwa) is translated as the “fruit” of one's actions. The term phala is used to refer to the fruition or results of actions according to the doctrine of karmic action and result.

The following types of phala are identified:

  • Ariya-phala also refers to the fruition of following the Buddhist path.
  • Maha-phala refers the great fruits of the contemplative life.

Ariya-phala

The term Ariya phala refers specifically to the fruition of following the Buddhist path. The fruition for each of the four levels of the path is identified as follows:[1][2]

  1. Sota patti phala, fruition of stream entry
  2. Sakadagamiphala, fruition of once returning
  3. Anagami phala, fruition of non returning
  4. Arahatta phala, fruition of the worthy one or perfected one

Maha-phala

The term Maha-phala refers to the ten "Great fruits" of the contemplative life. According to the Samaññaphala Sutta, the 10 “Great fruits” (DN 2) are:[3]

  1. Equanimity (upekkha)
  2. Fearlessness (nibbhaya)
  3. Freedom from unhappiness & suffering (Asukhacaadukkha)
  4. Meditative Absorption (jhana/samādhi)
  5. Out-of-body experience (Manomaya)
  6. Clairaudience (dibba-sota)
  7. Intuition and mental telepathy (ceto-pariya-ñána)
  8. Recollection of past lives (Patisandhi)
  9. Clairvoyance (dibba-cakkhu)
  10. End of anxiety & mental agitation (nirvana)

Alternate translations

The term phala is translated as:

  • fruit (Harvey, 1990, p. 39;[4] Keown, 2000, loc 810-813)
  • fruition
  • effect (Ven. D. Mahinda Thera[5])

References


Sources

  • Ajahn Sucitto (2010), Turning the Wheel of Truth: Commentary on the Buddha's First Teaching, Shambhala 
  • Geshe Tashi Tsering (2005), The Four Noble Truths: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Volume I, Wisdom, Kindle Edition 
  • Gethin, Rupert (1998), Foundations of Buddhism, Oxford University Press 
  • Harvey, Peter (1990), Introduction to Buddhism, Cambridge University Press 
  • Keown, Damien (2000), Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition 
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