Meditation on Perception (pp. 125-128)

The Ten Perceptions

The Ten Perceptions are summarized below comparing the deluded or distorted perception with the purified one:

  Deluded Perception Purified Perception
1 There is permanence. Everything is impermanent.
2 There is a “self.” Everything is of selfless nature.
3 The body is pure (attractive). The body is impure (unattractive).
4 Afflictions of the body are remote possibilities. Danger: The body is always susceptible to afflictions (e.g. injury, disease).
5 Thoughts of pleasure and ill-will are harmless and the way life is. These thoughts are unwholesome and must be abandoned to become at peace.
6 Craving is the way to pleasure. Craving leads to clinging which causes suffering. Dispassion releases us from suffering.
7 Suffering is inevitable. Suffering can cease by developing concentration through jhana practice meditation.


8 The world is delightful. Nondelight: Everything in the world is impermanent, unsatisfactory and of selfless nature.
9 We are our thoughts and we cling to them. All mental formations are impermanent and selfless. We must give them up.
10 We cannot experience our mind. Mindfulness of breathing purifies our perceptions and shows the true relationship with our mind.

The Path to Deliverance

“When one sees with wisdom that all conditioned things are impermanent, unsatisfactory, and that all the dhammas are without self, then one would be disappointed with suffering, which is the nature of all conditions, conditionings, and conditioned things. This is the path to deliverance.” The Dhammapada

The path to deliverance is also called the path to purification. This is deliverance from suffering or purification from suffering.

Bhante G. noted that anyone who enjoys sensual pleasure also experiences suffering.   Pleasure and suffering come as one package. The eight worldly winds are another expression of the fixed pairs of opposites: pleasure/pain, gain/loss, fame/disrepute and praise/criticism. You can’t get enough of the “good” part of the pair and you can’t avoid the other part of the pair.

As we pursue the path, we get tired of seeking sensual pleasures because we realize the impermanence, inherent suffering, and the selfless nature of all conditioned things.

There is a state beyond perception: “Here, Ananda, a bhikkhu is percipient thus: “This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbana,” (tr. Bhikkhu Bodhi)

This state is achieved by meditative concentration and does not last long in our mundane life.   However, “it foreshadows the final cessation of perception that accompanies the death of a fully enlightened person – nibbana, the cessation of existence, extinction, the state utterly and permanently beyond death and rebirth, the ultimate goal of the Buddha’s path.” (p. 127)

“Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences revulsion toward form, revulsion toward feeling, revulsion toward perception, revulsion toward volitional formations, revulsion toward consciousness. Experiencing revulsion, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It’s liberated.’ He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.’” (tr. Bhikkhu Bodhi)


  • Reread this talk and reflect on it.  Review the 10 perceptions (one per day) and see if you understand and can truly experience the purified one.


  • Meditate as usual in your daily practice being mindful of the Ten Perceptions.

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