I was reading this comment which included ...

I guess I'm perhaps not entirely aware of what the basic problem which affects me is. I feel that in many ways, I'm either backwards or not fully satisfied with my experience, and I feel Buddhism has a lot of answers; but, as you say, across the years I'm still a bit clueless. I will say, though, that recently I'm less motivated and derive less pleasure from my activities and experience.

... and I thought ...

Isn't that the observation of Buddhism -- like 'rule number one' (the four noble truths -- i.e., that "experiences" aren't "fully satisfying", and that "motivations" may be temporary (conditioned)?

From which there's then the eightfold path, starting with right view, seeing the true worth of everything ('seeing things as they really are'), isn't that right?

My question here though is based on the Kimattha Sutta (AN 11.1)

"What is the purpose of skillful virtues? What is their reward?"

"Skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, Ananda, and freedom from remorse as their reward."

"And what is the purpose of freedom from remorse? What is its reward?"


So ...

  • Is it fair to see the "absence of remorse" as relatively unconditioned, and therefore permanent (compared with other maybe-more-mundane sensual contacts which are more transient)?
  • Metaphysically, is an absence (e.g. of remorse), possibly emptiness, reliably (seemingly paradoxically) present or existent -- conversely any presence (sense-contact) is not "reliably" present or existent?
  • Am I right in thinking that the following bits of dhamma support this theory:
    • Sīlānussati being one of the anussatis AN 6.10
    • The Dana sutta (AN 7.49 or is it AN 7.52), translated as saying that it's a "support" for the mind? That's sometimes also translated "ornament" or "requisite" -- or cittālaṅkāracittaparikkhāra: "adornment or improvement (making fit?) and equipping of thinking?"
  • How does that (i.e. its being a reliable support) fit with Buddhist doctrine about "groundless" -- or 'trackless' or 'footless' -- or is that something else entirely?
  • What about "skilful virtue" or "skilful ethics" then, kusalāni sīlāni, concentrating on those words: is the meaning of that non-obvious, is it quite specific and closely defined, or does it mean just what you might expect it to mean?
  • I notice that AN 6.10 says,

    Furthermore, a noble disciple recollects their own ethical conduct, which is unbroken, impeccable, spotless, and unmarred, liberating, praised by sensible people, not mistaken, and leading to immersion (samādhisaṃvattanikāni: "conducive to concentration").

    That reminds me a bit of problems people sometimes say they have, of being "unable to concentrate". So might you explain this quote a bit: how is "ethical conduct" and "remembering ethical conduct" is related to concentration? Is that actually informative or prescriptive, or are they (e.g. "remembering" and "concentration") merely synonyms?

  • 1
    One who dwells on perfect virtue is one having acted on right view. Done, one is capable to remember, has the means for right conncentration, right release. Defiled virtues, how ever appreciated with in certain community, doesn't lead out of it, stays this or that kind of householder, holding a stand.
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 8:43
  • 1
    In regard of what is the basis, nissaya, for release: Admirable friend (savaka sangha) should be answered.
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 8:48
  • 1
    "absence of remorse" is only for an Arahat no more conditioned. All other is conditioned, yet even not present at all, when talking about neither sekha nor asekha, in regard of "samma".
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 8:52
  • Thank you. So SN 55.40 says that a Sotapanna may be content with virtue (which may lead to immersion), but they might then not make further "effort" (vāyamati) -- whereas immersion is also conditioned by a lack of "negligence" (pamatta) -- that rapture and tranquillity are also required for immersion.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 9:49
  • It's depending "co-disappearing". No effort (will) required once virtue/saddha is perfect. Cetana-sutta. Right effort = straighten right view, right virtue.
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 23:12

3 Answers 3


The first thing here is to understand that the Buddha did not say, as it is almost universally translated: "All conditioned things are impermanent." He said all 'sankharas' are impermanent and sankhara does not mean 'condition'. It means san = own or self; and khara - make, and it means that which is constructed by the individual mind with the idea of creating personal experience. Nibbana is conditioned (paccaya) by following the Magga.

I have laid out the argument for the above in greater detail at: http://buddhadust.net/dhammatalk/dhammatalk_forum/dhamma_talk/dt_009.conditioned.vs.own-made.htm

So the absence of remorse is conditioned, but not being an existing thing, not having been constructed (sankharaed)-- it was the result of not-doing, is not itself subject to ending and is a small taste of Nibbana. Remorse being relative to its cause and the cause being removed the remorse is removed forever. Remorse may return but it will be based on another ill-conceived act.


Free from remorse is one of the initial factors from which one reaches Nibbida.

(Ekādasaka) Cetanā’karaṇīya Sutta

(Ekādasaka) Cetanā’karaṇīya Sutta Introduction by Piya Tan

(Dasaka) Cetanā’karaṇīya Sutta

(Dasaka) Cetanā’karaṇīya Sutta Introduction by Piya Tan

There are many starting points like virtue, faith, understanding of suffering.

And what, bhikshus, is the necessary condition for faith?

It should be said: suffering (dukkha). Suffering, bhikshus, has a necessary condition, too, I say. It is not without a necessary condition.

Upanisa Sutta


  1. listening to the Dharma
  2. teaching the Dharma
  3. reciting the Dharma
  4. reflecting on the Dharma
  5. meditation

Followed by the rest of the steps :

joy arises in him;

because of joy, zest arises;

because of zest, the body becomes tranquil;

when the body is tranquil, he feels happiness;

a happy mind becomes concentrated.


Vimutt’āyatana Sutta

Also, 4 Noble Truths lead to the same process.

Then, the Buddha, when further questioned by Potthapāda on what he actually teaches, declares that he teaches the 4 noble truths, and his reasons are:


it [their declaration] is connected to the goal;

it is connected to the Dharma;

it belongs to the fundamentals of the holy life;

it leads to revulsion, nibbidāya

to dispassion [letting go], virāgāya

to cessation (of suffering), nirodhāya

to inner peace, upasamāya

to direct knowledge, abhiññāya

to awakening, sambodhāya

to nirvana. nibbānāya savattati

Potthapāda Sutta

OP: Is it fair to see the "absence of remorse" as relatively unconditioned

Free from remorse is conditioned by moral virtue. If one becomes less virtuous then guilt-free state disappears. Every element in the above lists are conditions except for Nirvana.

Cittâlakra citta,parikkhr’attha. In other words, the giving is part of one’s cultivation of moral virtue as a support for mental cultivation. With abundant moral virtue, it is easier for one to cultivate the mind. Conversely, if one finds difficulty in meditating then one should examine one’s moral conduct and rectify any unwholesome habits or resolve negative thoughts.

Dana Maha-p,phala Sutta

In the 1st list above free from remorse give rise to joy. Items 3-7 are related to concentration. So giving supports virtue which supports lack of remorse and from there onwards, the rest follow.


♡ Is it fair to see the "absence of remorse" as relatively unconditioned, and therefore permanent (compared with other maybe-more-mundane sensual contacts which are more transient)?

● i think one can explain them in that way, in that they don't require maintetance and are to that extent without a particular requisite for substinanca and to that extent preferable.

I think it is ok if it occurs to you.

♤ It isn't a paradox tho because it even tho it is not conditioned by a cause for regret, the preferable is still conditioned by life-force, heat and etc.

■ i think preferable translation is; 'how would one guide him who has no path, whose field is endless'

I think the meaning is that one has perfected all perfections, laid down the burden and there is nothing more wise people would urge him to do or develop. So it is like what new can you teach to one who is perfected in all trainings

• silanupassana is for gladdening the mind if it is dull or when otherwise appropriate by developing perception of that theme. ° sila as in ethical conduct is also for gladdening the mind for one who does good in the morning, daytime and the evening has a good day to that extent. One who has a good day is glad.

One who is gladdened can stop giving attention to the theme which prompted it and just be mindful and at ease or develop otherwise.

Just my thoughts on the question.

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