THE THIRTY-SEVEN CONDITIONS OF THE
These are the important conditions in cultivating the Buddhist Way.
It can be taken as a deeper understanding and the advanced teachings of the
Noble Truth of Path in the Four Noble Truths.
These thirty-seven conditions are specifically indicated in the Amitabha
Sutra that they are nutrients or necessities for those who
wish to be born in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.
12.1 The Fourfold Dwelling of
Our mind is like a monkey jumping restlessly. All kinds of false thinking
hinder us from recognising and understanding the reality of the nature. The
Buddha teaches us how to dwell our false-thinking mind by contemplating.
12.1.1 Contemplating the Body as Impure
Many people like attractive, beautiful, or sexy figures of others, or
even their own. In order to avoid the indulgence, we have to contemplate that
According to the Principle of Impermanence, our body is impermanent,
subject to decay and death.
- our own physical body as impure and utterly filthy for the nine
kinds of occurrence:
- Extravasated blood
- Bitten by insects
- Interlocking bones
- Being separated
- other's body as impure too in five aspects:
- the seed of rebirth (i.e. cause)
- the dwelling place
- the mark (i.e. notion of form)
- the physical substance
- the ultimate
12.1.2 Contemplating the Sensation as
Our body and mind is constantly subject to the Eight Sufferings, and also
the Three Sufferings. By contemplating these sufferings, we will renunciate
all these sensations leading us to suffering. For more details about suffering,
please refer to Section 10.3.
12.1.3 Contemplating the Mind as
Ten Dharma Realms are not beyond a single thought. Ten Thousand Dharma
are created by our mind. Our thoughts come one after another continuously
and impermantly, like the waves in the ocean. By contemplating the Principle
of Impermanence that all phenomena are impermanent, we will not allow
our mind in the state of false thinking.
For more details about impermanence, please refer to Section 10.1.
12.1.4 Contemplating the Dharmas as
All Dharma are not-self is one of the Three Universal Truths. Every physical
and mental matter does not have its own nature (i.e. not-self). Its existence
is impermanent, and dependent upon a number of conditioned factors, thus
it is unreal. By contemplating the Principle of Not-self, we will break
up the self-attachment.
For more details about not-self, please refer to Section
12.2 The Fourfold Right Zeal
Right means wholesome and good deed. Zeal means diligence and enthusiasm.
For all wholesome and good deeds, we have to do them diligently. Conversely,
for all unwholesome and evil deeds, we have to stop doing them in a determined
The Fourfold Right Zeal are:
- To put an end to existing evil.
- To prevent evil arising
- To bring good into existence
- To develop existing good
12.3 The Four Wishful Contentment
Subsequent to the complete and perfect cultivation of The Fourfold Dwelling
of Mindfulness and The Fourfold Right Zeal, we will attain The Four Wishful
Contentment through meditation.
12.3.1 Wishful Contentment
The desire of rapid progress in cultivating the Buddhist Way.
12.3.2 Wishful Contentment of Mindfulness
The mind is so concentrated that it dwells in the right Dharma
without distraction and deviation.
12.3.3 Wishful Contentment of Progress
The progress is so smooth and rapid that the merits of cultivation
are achieved all the way.
12.3.4 Wishful Contentment of Wisdom
As the mind is not scattered and confused, it is apart from the
false thinking. Thus the mind is pure, and wisdom arises.
For the effects of cultivating mindfulness, the spiritual powers are
automatically attained. Therefore, the Fourfold Wishful Contentment is also
called The Fourfold Contentment of Spiritual Power.
12.4 The Five Roots (Panca
Root is an analogy to represent the foundation from which everything grows.
The followings are the fundamental quality from which the Buddhist Way is
12.4.1 Root of Faith
Faith is the mother of all merits and virtues. We must have faith on the
Buddhist teachings, such as the Four Noble Truths, Twelve Links of Dependent
12.4.2 Root of Zeal
Effort in the progress of Buddhist Way, without rest.
12.4.3 Root of Mindfulness
To prevent our mind from false thinking, and to keep it towards the
12.4.4 Root of Meditation
12.4.5 Root of Wisdom
12.5 The Five Power (Pana
To cultivate The Five Roots, we attain The Five Powers. Power is used to
describe the strength, rigidity and prosperity. The Five Powers are
corresponding to The Five Roots. They are:
12.5.1 Power of Faith
Not tempted or distracted by all external paths or false teachings,
and not changed by adverse conditions.
12.5.2 Power of Zeal
No fear of any difficulties, and to break up all obstructions to
12.5.3 Power of Mindfulness
To discontinue and to end any false thinking as soon as it
12.5.4 Power of Meditation
The internal mind is always still, and not disturbed by any external
12.5.5 Power of Wisdom
To break up the ignorance and to liberate oneself.
12.6 Seven Characteristics of Bodhi
It represents the seven grades of enlightenment, which can also be regarded
as the seven aspects of cultivating the Buddhist Way in order to attain the
enlightenment. They are:
12.6.1 Discrimination of the true and the
To observe all phenomena with wisdom, and discriminate whether it is
true or false.
To make progress in a right way, and to understand that asceticism
is not beneficial to cultivation.
It is a joy of understanding Buddhist Dharma, but we have to
understand whether the teaching is an ultimate truth or not.
To get rid of all affliction so as to be free and at ease. To
understand that wisdom comes from affliction, so the substance of wisdom and
affliction is virtually the same.
To renunciate all phenomena that may arise in the course of
cultivating Buddhist Way, because all phenomena are in illusion like
dreams. To understand that all phenomena are not real, therefore they
should be renunciated and not pursued in thinking.
12.6.6 Meditation (i.e. Samadhi)
There are many kinds of Samadhi. We have to understand that the worldly
meditation is not ultimate, as it cannot liberate us from the cycle of
birth and death.
12.6.7 Mindfulness (i.e. Contemplating)
We have to balance the mindfulness and wisdom in cultivation. If
mindfulness is biased, we will be spiritually obscured and dazed, then
we have to keep it up by the first three aspects, i.e. discrimination,
zeal and joy.
If wisdom is biased, we will be spiritually unstable and flickering,
then we have to stabilize it by the last three aspects, i.e. riddance,
renunciation and meditation.
12.7 The Eightfold Noble Paths
- Right Understanding
- Right Thought
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
For more details, please refer to Section 8.3.