As the mind moves from that of an unenlightened worlding to that of enlightenment, it passes thru various stages on the path. These are described in the suttas - and in a more detailed form in the commentaries. The following chart shows the classic teaching on these stages:
The Seven Stages of Purification and The Sixteen Insight Knowledges
I encountered some interesting research on Devadatta, the Buddha's so called evil cousin. How much do we really know about this person - and how much is myth and legend created for other purposes?
"Mindfulness is always wholesome." Really?!? I know the Abhidhamma teaches that, but there are over 40 places in the suttas that speak of "wrong mindfulness." Mindfulness Is Always Wholesome - NOT!
One of the more important concepts in Buddhism are the teaching on Vedana. Unfortunately this word is often mistranslated and misunderstood. Vedana Does Not Mean Emotions!
"What view of the world should one have, So as not to be seen by the King of Death?" The Buddha's answer points to an expanded role for Mindfulness over what is usually being taught today in the Secular Buddhism/Mindfulness movement. Unicorns Never Die
The Buddha said that his teaching was difficult to understand. The teaching on not-self may be the most difficult of all. It often leads to this frequently asked question: If There Is Not a Self, What Gets Reborn?
The Alayavijnana is the storehouse consciousness of the Yogacara (and Tibetan) schools of Buddhism. It's supposedly where are the "seeds" of unfulfilled kharma are stored. But it ain't what it's popularly thought to be:
The Alayavijnana Is Just Like the Internet
Successful meditation practice has a required prerequisite practice: ethics, morality, sila. The 5 Precepts
The Gradual Training is the most complete description of the training undergone by the monks and nuns of the Buddha's Sangha. It appears in a number of suttas with different factors given in various suttas. This is a chart of what factors appear in which suttas and how often each factor occurs: The Factors of the Gradual Training As Found in Various Suttas
The Gradual Training contains a number of striking similes used to illustrate its key components. These have been gathered into a single web page for easy reference and study: The Similes from the Gradual Training.
Just what does Awakening (aka Enlightenment) mean? There are maps of the 4 stages of awakening found in the suttas and other Pali literature. This is a summary of (mostly sutta) descriptions. The 4 Stages of Awakening - various sources
What did the Buddha mean when he said "The World is Empty"? What is the experience of emptiness like? How deep does the rabbit hole go? 4 Levels of Experiencing Emptiness
I taught a weekend sutta study course for BCBS in June, 2023, on book 5 of the Sutta Nipata - The Way to the Far Shore. The link is to the "handout."
The following essays were written as part of a 1996 class on the
Buddhist Suttas taught by Gil Fronsdal. They are my reactions and responses to
various Suttas from the Digha and Majjhima Nikayas or to scholarly papers
the class read as background for the study of the Suttas.
These are the first papers I'd
written since graduating from college 25 years before. I present them much as
I wrote them, with spelling mistakes, awkward grammar (remember I'm a computer
programmer, not a writer), and sometimes a missing context. Nonetheless
I hope they may be of benefit to you. If you have questions or comments
please feel free to e-mail me at