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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Pāli Canon presents a number of summaries of the Buddha’s teaching, one of the most concise being that of the Three Trainings (or Three Disciplines): ethics, meditation, and wisdom. The purpose of this chapter is to explicate the various formulations of these Three Trainings as well as to discuss their relationship to one another and other Pāli Buddhist teachings. Its focus is on the Pāli material of early Buddhism and Theravāda in particular. It discusses the Three Disciplines and their interrelations, along with analyses of what comes before the discipline, namely the ordinary worldling or person, and what comes after, namely the awakened person. The Three Trainings can be analytically divided, but the development of each reciprocates the development of the others. An illustration from the Pāli Canon, leaving out meditation, suggests that ethics and wisdom act ‘like one hand washing the other’.

Keywords: meditation, wisdom, Three Trainings, early Buddhism, Pāli Canon, Theravāda

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