Title- The Three Essence of Buddha Sasana Teachings (Part-3)


The Teachings of the Buddha to get out of the round of rebirth sufferings is called “Sasana”. The Essence of that Sasana is Sila, Samadhi and Panna (Morality, Concentration & Knowledge).




Explanation of Panna



(1)    The Meaning of Panna-Knowing widely is Panna. The realization of things whatever good or bad. Panna is similar to light. Just as light dispels darkness, Panna knowledge can dispel moha, delusion. Therefore the Buddha said, “Pannasama abha natthi” , “There is no light like Panna knowledge”.



(2)    Kinds of Panna-There are Panna knowledge, namely,


☸ Sutamaya panna = knowledge gained by hearing from the wise

☸ Cintamaya panna = knowledge gained by thinking

☸ Bhavanamaya panna = knowledge gained while abiding in jhanas and noble fruitions. Altogether 3 kinds of knowledge.


Moreover, in Abhidhamma Vibhanga Pali, Nana Vibhanga, etc., there are still many kinds of Panna knowledge. For example, knowing the good results of charity is called Danamaya Panna. Knowing good results of observing morality is called Silamaya Panna. Thus there are still many kinds of Panna. Those who wish may go on studying in the said books.



(3)    How to Study-Three kinds of Panna such as Cintamaya Panna, etc., have already been mentioned. Among them the Sutamaya Panna is the basic knowledge. The Buddha said in the Buddhavamsa Pali Text thus: “Paripuccham budham janam, panna parimitam gantva”, “By asking from wise ones, the Panna Parami is fulfilled”. It shows that Sutamaya Panna is the foundation. One who has no basic education cannot understand by mere thinking with Cittamaya Panna. Without Cittamaya Panna, it is impossible to attain Bhavanamaya Panna.  So one must learn at first from the wise. Only after getting basic Suttamaya Panna, one can get Cinnamaya Panna and Bhavanamaya Panna. If one can research Panna knowledge basically, why can’t one come in the list of wise?



(4)    The Benefit of Panna Knowledge-To mention the benefit of panna it will never come to end. Buddha himself is a name of knower. Knowing the 4 Noble Truths is a name of knowledge. Knowing the 4 Noble Truths is the work of Panna knowledge. Sabbannuta Nana, the Omniscient, the All-knowing is also a name of knowledge. In the world, the wise can do successfully national, religious, economic, social, political works. Every work can be accomplished by Panna knowledge. That Panna is not evil, it is good, wholesome. Panna is on the side of kusala. Therefore Panna is mentioned in the chapter of mental factors of Buddha Abhidhammattha Sangaha as pleasant, good and faultless.



(5)    Is the Stratagem of A Woman Who Kills the Robber Panna Knowledge?-Once upon a time, when King Brahmadatta was reigning the city of Baranasi, the prostitute Sulasa saved the robber Sattuka from hands of executioners and they were living together as husband and wife. The robber Sattuka, being unable to dispel the wickedness of the fool, told Sulasa to put on jewellry worth one lakh rupees and took her to the top of the mountain. On reaching it, he took off the jewellery and attempted to kill her by pushing from the top of it. Sulasa thought it was better to use a stratagem, and she requested him to let her worship him from four directions before death. On getting permission, she worshipped from each direction and at last killed Sattuka by pushing him behind from the top of the mountain and he died. The Bodhisatta, the then guardian deva of the tree said, “Not only men are wise but also women are wise; Ithipi pandita hoti”. In this story, as Sulasa’s wrong-doing (ducarica) cannot associate with Panna Cetasika; the Bodhisatta praised her to be wise, we should not say it is wrong. We should not say that Sulasa’s understanding is also not Panna knowledge. Understanding “I will win if I use a stratagem” is the realization, and so it is Panna. We should not doubt whether wrong-doings ducarica, can become real knowledge, Panna. The stage of knowing “I will win if I use a stratagem” does not yet come to be akusala ducarika. Only when reaching the stage of pushing and killing Sattuka, akusala ducarica came to be. The praising of the Bodhisatta deva was related to the part of knowledge Panna only. Therefore the understanding of Sulasa is also Panna. Just as Sulasa struggled to overcome life danger, we should take refuge in Panna with confidence.





The Three Essence of Sasana



Sila, Samadhi and Panna has been mentioned respectively. Those three dhammas are also called the Essence of Sasana. How is it?



Because the three dhammas are greatly conducive to the practice of Sasana with the energy of each dhamma and with the combined energy of the three.



The Buddha mentioned the related energy of Sila, Samadhi and Panna as follows:



While residing at the mango grove of the banker Pavarika, the Buddha delivered the dhamma discourse to the bhikkhus many times as follows:



“Samadhi depending on Sila has much benefit, Panna depending on Samadhi has much benefit. Mind depending on Panna is quite free from kamasava, bhavasava, ditthasava and avijjasava”.

{Sutta Mahava, Mahaparinibbana Sutta}



As shown by the Buddha, to be free from asava defilements and to enable us to realize nibbana, we should make use of the combined energy of Sila, Samadhi, Panna with faith and confidence. Without Sila, good concentration (Samma Samadhi) cannot come to be.



Hence the Buddha said:



“The unvirtuous man has no right concentration. If right concentration disappears, right knowledge panna disappears”.

{Anguttara, Catuttha Pannasaka, Aghata Vagga, Sila Sutta}



Hence, the sons and daughters of the noble householders should try to equip with Sila and gain Samadhi by developing Vipassana Insight, realize the namarupa, mind-and-matter and realize nibbana which will be able to attain only by proper use of SILA, SAMADHI & PANNA, THE ESSENCE OF BUDDHA SASANA.




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