Obstacles and Pathways in a Meditator’s Journey of Self-Awakening: Dammanupassana as a pathway for managing the five hindrances with a special focus on Sloth-and-torpor and Boredom as an Attentional Crisis.

Professor Padmasiri de Silva


The ability to master the five hindrances helps one to attain the five factors needed to attain absorption and the hindrances also obstruct the establishment of the awakening factors (bojjhaṅga), which is explained by the Buddha with five graphic metaphors.  Simple recognition of a hindrance like anger presents the ingenious way of turning obstacles into a pathway of awakening. In several expositions of the gradual path in the suttas, it is said that the absence of the hindrances leads to delight, joy and happiness.  A tranquil mind unaffected by hindrances ifs often described as ‘luminous’.  In deep meditative states of absorption (kayagata Sutta) there is a balancing with the meditative states focused on the unattractive facets of the body.  There is a vital link between the mastery of the hindrances and the deep contemplative meditations, in fact all types of meditative experience and back again, the shadows of these hindrances in secular life - the bondage to passions, below the higher ethics.

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