HandcuffedThe Ten Fetters

The ten fetters that bind us to the cycle of birth and death are listed as follows in the Pali canon (from the Anguttara Nikaya (AN 10.13): “Sanyojana Sutta – Fetters.”):

“There are these ten fetters. Which ten? Five lower fetters and five higher fetters. And which are the five lower fetters? Self-identity views, uncertainty, grasping at precepts and practices, sensual desire, and ill will. These are the five lower fetters. And which are the five higher fetters? Passion for form, passion for what is formless, conceit, restlessness, and ignorance. These are the five higher fetters. And these are the ten fetters.”

©2000 Thanissaro Bhikkhu. (Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)Source: “Sanyojana Sutta: Fetters” (AN 10.13), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 4 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.013.than.html .

The usual enumeration of the ten principal fetters (samyojana), as given in the Discourse Collection (Sutta Pitaka), is as follows: (1) self-illusion, (2) skepticism, (3) attachment to rules and rituals, (4) sensual lust, (5) ill-will, (6) craving for fine-corporeal existence, (7) craving for incorporeal existence, (8) conceit, (9) restlessness, (10) ignorance.

Source: “The Foundations of Mindfulness: Satipatthana Sutta”, translated by Nyanasatta Thera. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanasatta/wheel019.html .

The ten fetters may be listed in a table as follows:

 Ten Fetters 

      1.  Self-illusion (self-identity views; belief in personality)
      2.  Scepticism (uncertainty)
      3.  Attachment to rules and rituals (grasping at precepts and practices)
      4.  Sensual lust (craving)
      5.  Ill-will
      6.  Craving for fine-corporeal or material existence (passion for form)
      7.  Craving for incorporeal existence (passion for what is formless)
      8.  Conceit
      9.  Restlessness
    10.  Ignorance

© 2014 Alexander Peck

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