The Path to Arahantship: A Compilation of Venerable Ācariya Mahā Boowa’s Dhamma Talks About His Path of Practice
Translated by from the Thai by Bhikkhu Dick Sīlaratano
Looking at the state of the world, I felt discouraged. I saw people who lived in total darkness as being hopeless. Being so blind that they’re worthless, the Buddha called such people padaparama. Gazing further up the scale, I saw the types of people known as neyya and vipacitaññu. Persons in the neyya category are capable of being trained in the way of Dhamma. Sometimes they make progress, sometimes they lose ground. Neyya individuals are fully capable of understanding the Teaching and putting it into practice. Should they be careless, however, they’ll lose ground. But if they are earnest in their practice, they can progress rapidly. Depending on the degree of commitment, neyya can go either way.
Vipacitaññu individuals always progress toward the goal; they never lose ground. Still, their progress is slower than that of ugghatitaññu, individuals whose intuitive wisdom is so sharp that they’re always fully prepared to make a decisive breakthrough. Were they cattle, they would be waiting at the corral gate. As soon as the gate opened, they’d come rushing out. Ugghatitaññu are capable of the kind of quick understanding that allows them to pass beyond in one moment of insight.
All living beings must fall into one of these four categories. As I investigated the nature of the world, it separated naturally, of its own accord, into these four types of individuals. I could see that superior individuals existed in that multitude of humanity which I had felt so discouraged about teaching. Ugghatitaññu: they were fully prepared to cross beyond in an instant. In descending order: there were vipacitaññu, those progressing quickly toward the goal; then, the neyya, whose desire to lie down and take it easy competes with their desire to be diligent. Do you see what I mean? Those two opposing forces are vying for supremacy within their hearts. And finally padaparama: those who are human in physical appearance only. They have gained nothing at all to enhance their future prospects. Death for such people is death without distinction. There is only one possible direction they can go—down. And they fall further and further with each successive death. The way up is blocked, for they have gained absolutely nothing beneficial to take along with them. They can only go down. Remember this well! This teaching comes straight from my heart. Do you think I am bluffing and telling you deliberate falsehoods?
When compared with a heart that’s absolutely pure, the world is one big refuse bin, containing different grades of garbage. From the highest, ugghatitaññu, to the lowest and most common grade, padaparama, all possible types are gathered together in the same great receptacle. The entire world of conventional reality is one big contaminated mix of good things and bad things.
pada-parama: 'one for whom the words are the utmost attainment'. "Whoever, though having learned much, speaking much, knowing many things by heart, and discoursing much, has not penetrated the truth, such a man is called by that name".
neyya: 'requiring guidance', is said of a person "who through advice and questioning, through wise consideration, and through frequenting noble-minded friends, having intercourse with them, associating with them, gradually comes to penetrate the truth"
ugghaṭitaññu: 'one who already during a given explanation comes to penetrate the truth' (Pug.). This is one of four types of persons classified according to their ability of acquiring insight, mentioned in A. IV, 133. Cf. also vipacitaññu, neyya,pada-parama.
vipacitaññu / vipañcitaññu: 'one who realizes the truth after explanation.' Thus is called one who realizes the truth only after detailed explanation of that which already had been said to him in a concise form.