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Is it possible to skip the 7 purifications and gain straight insight into phenomenon?

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  • Are you asking for the standard Buddhist line or an opinion? Personally, I think it's possible, although there seems to be a good reason for the standard Buddhist line (each purification removes a distraction or hindrance to the other ones). Whether it's as systematic or cut and dried as presented is another matter, but I do think there's merit to the understanding that some steps precede others. In particular, the role of renunciation or virtue in avoiding certain kinds of distractions cannot be overemphasized IMO.
    – R. Barzell
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 17:43

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I'm starting to get the feeling that you haven't studied the seven purifications at all... numbers six and seven are equivalent to "straight insight into phenomena", so no, it is not by definition possible to skip them and still gain insight into phenomena. As per the sutta:

“So too, friend, purification of virtue is for the sake of reaching purification of mind; purification of mind is for the sake of reaching purification of view; purification of view is for the sake of reaching purification by overcoming doubt; purification by overcoming doubt [150] is for the sake of reaching purification by knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path; purification by knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path is for the sake of reaching purification by knowledge and vision of the way; purification by knowledge and vision of the way is for the sake of reaching purification by knowledge and vision; purification by knowledge and vision is for the sake of reaching final Nibbāna without clinging. It is for the sake of final Nibbāna without clinging that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One.”

-- MN 24 (Bodhi, trans)

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  • I just wondered wether it was possible to skip them and gain direct insight into phenomenon, and I have studied them. Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 18:07
  • But that's like asking whether it is possible to gain direct insight into phenomena while skipping direct insight into phenomena... Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 0:54
  • I meant it like maybe you could be focusing on the arising and falling of phenomenon and then get insight that skips the purifications or maybe speeds through, maybe not the purification by knowledge and vision. Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 1:08
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Skipping the purifications is what we are already good at without meditation, right?

Do you mean practice mindfulness without cultivating virtue? Virtue is the foundation of the practice. It might be hard to see exactly why virtue is needed but there should be some subjective intuition that virtue is important for the beginner.

Virtue is simply about how well one deals with suffering: both own and that of others... this is the stage for meditation.

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