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Magga Paccaya- Condition of Paths

When conscious processing is pointing in a certain direction, in that the mind’s choices become more consistent, consciousness gets established on a certain path.

Yet, this Path-condition refers not only to paths brought about through choice, but to any path, brought about through choice or brought about through circumstances, spiritual or worldly, good or evil.

In relation to the four elements, paths may be divided into paths of earth, paths of fire, and paths of air. Paths of earth are the paths of those who are stable in their human life, usually not deviating from the common course most humans are engaged in. Paths of fire are the paths of those who incline towards destruction and chaos. While the paths of air are the paths of those who incline to lofty, that is, spiritual things. 

But then, what is a path itself in terms of the four elements? It is a moving forward, which makes it an aspect of the wind element, and it is a moving forward along a definite line, the aspect of definiteness being an aspect of the earth element.

Then is our own body an intricate machinery which can teach us much about the different paths of life. Because within the body there are also pathways of life. If nutrient rich blood (that is, blood which is alive,) travels the right pathway upwards, and does not neglect to remain around the heart1 until it has been well purified, then, if it enters our body’s heaven, the brain, the devas will rule over our life. That is, our consciousness will become divine. If on the other hand, nutrient rich blood enters the brain un-purified, then the asuras (demons) will start to become the ruling agents of our life. That is, our consciousness will become perverted and demonic. On the other hand side, if nutrient rich blood, following the body’s pathways in an imperfect manner, gets stuck only in the senses, then consciousness will attain only to a human, if not animal existence. While the perhaps worst possible condition is, when nutrient rich blood flows downwards only, away from heaven and the brain. Then the consciousness will head towards the lower forms of existence, entering a ghost, if not a hell realm life.

In relation to the mind, we of course, also have pathways. If the mind follows only the direction/ dictates of sense-impressions (i.e., it thinks along the line of sense-impressions, and makes decisions in regards to them)†, then the paths consciousness travels are quite random, or dictated by society at best. This is of course the normal condition of common human beings. 

On the other hand side, there are human beings who choose a goal for themselves and thus, if they posses wisdom and inquiry, their path becomes equally a chosen one.
Self-chosen paths may generally be expected to be paths leading upwards. This may mean an aim to acquire a better condition in human life, but for those possessing knowledge, paths aiming higher than that become available too. Thus, for those who have come to know about the various heavens towering above the realm of human beings, they may aim for a rebirth in any of these, if they equally acquire an understanding of some of their characteristics and fulfill the proper conditions necessary for a rebirth in there.

While for those, who are meditators, still higher paths than these, become available. For them, the paths to the gods of light, or to the cosmic gods may stand equally open.* 

Then again, we may think more specifically about the Buddhist path of training. Which is divided into various stages, which allows a person to rest more closely in the here and now, temporarily losing sight of the goal, in order to more effectively walk the path. In the buddhists scheme of training, a person will first train in virtue (through repetition of virtuous actions), which will protect him or her to some degree, from coming into easy contact with persons whose goals and intentions may be un-virtuous and thus harmful to his or her path and wellbeing.

When that is established (retained), that person will cease to emphasise outer actions and give more emphasis to inner conditions such as calmness of mind and body, or mental attitudes such as unconditional loving kindness. These will equally give protection to that person, generally assuring more agreeable surrounding conditions and easier dealings with lives problems. These then in turn will after a certain amount of establishment, too be dis-emphasised, while the main intention shifts to an attainment of knowledge and vision, which as a further stage equally is seeked to be surpassed. Then, by an unshakable permanent liberation of mind.

Taken differently, in purely psychological terms, on a path directed at unworldliness, the first step will ever be, wherever an opportunity arises, to work hard to free the mind from the spell of matter (making consciousness repel from the sense- sphere world). This is accomplished in another set of stages. Beginning with the systematic balancing of the elements in the body, followed by the gradual gaining of control over the various bodily functions and through that the development of greater malleability of perceived materiality. Only with an accomplishment in that, it becomes possible to work on the mind directly.

When then consciousness starts to function in alignment with its chosen path, still having to work with past kamma, it will ever calculate the kammical potency of the physical and mental actions it initiates and thus becomes capable of knowing, when it is the time to develop obstructive kamma, when it is the time to develop destructive kamma, when to develop new kamma and when to develop supportive kamma towards results coming from the past. Thus, a well established path-consciousness will continuously work on and curb whatever arises within body and mind, to move in the direction of the chosen path. Working in this manner, the path through life becomes self chosen and slowly loses all randomness.

And as a beings knowledge and vision has become so broad, as to be able to encompass and respond towards any outer and inner phenomenon or circumstance that life brings, its liberation will have become perfected. Then, all kamma is mastered through knowledge, and the highest fruit of the path is attained.


*Therein, depending on whether the goal is put outwardly or inwardly, will be the nobleness or lack thereof of the quest. Because even Brahma gods, if complacent with their life and still attached to being and becoming may become negligent and again fall from their condition.Only those who have disavowed the totality of the phenomenal world will never fall again.

  1. more accurately around the liver ↩︎

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