Page:History of India Vol 1.djvu/365

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
307
THE IDEA OF SELF-CULTURE

sense, the seven kinds of wisdom, and the noble Eightfold Path."

The four earnest meditations here alluded to are the meditations on the body, the sensations, the ideas, and the reason. The fourfold struggle against sin is the struggle to prevent sinfulness, the struggle to put away sinful states which have arisen, the struggle to produce goodness, and the struggle to increase goodness. The fourfold roads to saintship are the four means, the will, the exertion, the preparation, and the investigation, by which iddhi is acquired. In later Buddhism iddhi implies supernatural powers, but what Gautama probably meant was the influence and power which the mind by long training and exercise can acquire over the body. The five moral powers, and the five organs of spiritual sense, are faith, energy, , thought, contemplation, and wisdom; and the seven kinds of wisdom are energy, thought, contemplation, investigation, joy, repose, and serenity. The Eightfold Path has already been described.

It is by such prolonged self-culture and by the breaking of the ten fetters of doubt, sensuality, and all other evils that Nirvana may at last be gained. This was formerly believed to imply final extinction or death, but the majority of scholars now hold that Nirvana does not mean death, but only the extinction of that sinful condition of the mind, that thirst for life and its pleasures, which is the cause of reincarnation. What Gautama meant by Nirvana is attainable in life, for it is the sinless calm of mind, the freedom from passion and