Seven stages of purification

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Seven stages of purification are a series of purifications that serve as a "succinct outline of the entire path a meditator passes through in his inner journey from bondage to liberation."[1]

These purifications are presented in the Rathavinīta Sutta of the Pali Canon, and the are elaborated upon in the Visuddhimagga, the great commentary by Buddhagosa.

The seven stages are:

  1. Purification of conduct (sīla-visuddhi)
  2. Purification of mind (citta-visuddhi)
  3. Purification of view (ditthi-visuddhi)
  4. Purification by overcoming doubt (kankha-vitarana-visuddhi)
  5. Purification by knowledge and vision of what is path and not-path (maggamagga-nanadassana-visuddhi)
  6. Purification by knowledge and vision of the course of practice (patipada–nanadassana-visuddhi)
  7. Purification by knowledge and vision (nanadassana-visuddhi)


A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma states:

These seven stages of purification are to be attained in sequence, each being the support for the one that follows. The first purification corresponds to the morality aspect of the path, the second to the concentration aspect, the last five to the wisdom aspect. The first six stages are mundane, the last is the supramundane paths.[2]

Ari Ubeysekara states:

Out of the seven stages of purification, the first six belong to the mundane world while the last stage of "Purification by knowledge and vision" is a supramundane stage. This last stage includes the supramundane states of the path of Stream Entry (sotapanna magga), Once Returner (sakadagami magga), Non-Returner (anagami magga) and Arahanthood (arahat magga).[3]

Notes

  1. Matara Sri Nanarama 1993, p. 13.
  2. Bhikkhu Bodhi 2000, s.v. Stages of Purification.
  3. Ubeysekara 2018.


Sources and further reading