Chapter 16. Equation of Enlightenment




Enlightenment = (E) =

(Unification of Magga x (Accumulation x Cultivation of Merit)Time Frame) Resolution

E = (UF x (A x C)T)R


Enlightenment is the ultimate goal of Buddhism.  With enlightenment, one can eliminate mental fetters which are bonding impurities or defilements in order to  become pure and Holy; thereafter, one is eligible to enter the Nirvana which is the state of pure and permanent bliss.  To attain enlightenment, it requires any or many of the 37 factors contributing to enlightenment (Bodhipakkhiyadhamma) that one should observe or apply.  Each of the 37 factors contributing to enlightenment can be categorized into one or more of the Noble Eightfold Path or Magga.

The Buddhist teaching on the 37 factors leading to enlightenment is grouped into seven sub-topics which can be listed as follows:

A.  The Four Mindfulness

(A1)  Mindfulness of bodily movement and on-going (Right Mindfulness)

(A2)  Mindfulness of mental feeling (Right Mindfulness)

(A3)  Mindfulness of mental condition and on-going (Right Mindfulness)

(A4)  Mindfulness of mental qualities (Right Mindfulness)

B.  The Four Right Attempt

(B1)  Attempting to prevent the unexisting unwholesomeness from existing (Right Effort)

(B2)  Attempting to eliminate the existing unwholesomeness (Right Effort)

(B3)  Attempting to cherish the unexisting wholesomeness to exist (Right Effort)

(B4)  Attempting to cherish the existing wholesomeness to prosper (Right Effort)

C.  The Four Attributes to Success

(C1)  Willingness (Right Intent)

(C2)  Perseverance (Right Effort)

(C3)  Attention (Right Mindfulness)

(C4)  Pondering on Cause & Effect (Right View)

D.  The Five Mental Domination

(D1)  Mental domination of faith (Right Intent)

(D2)  Mental domination of perseverance (Right Effort)

(D3)  Mental domination of mindfulness (Right Mindfulness)

(D4)  Mental domination of concentration & calmness (Right Concentration)

(D5)  Mental domination of wisdom (Right View & Intent)

E.  The Five Power

(E1)  Power of faith (Right Intent)

(E2)  Power of perseverance (Right Effort)

(E3)  Power of mindfulness (Right Mindfulness)

(E4)  Power of mental concentration & calmness (Right Concentration)

(E5)  Power of wisdom (Right View & Intent)

F.  The Seven Mental Faculties

(F1)  Mindfulness (Right Mindfulness)

(F2)  Insight investigation (Right Concentration)

(F3)  Perseverance (Right Effort)

(F4)  Delightfulness (Right Intent)

(F5)  Tranquility (Right Mindfulness)

(F6)  Concentration (Right Concentration)

(F7)  Equanimity (Right Concentration)

G.  The Noble Eightfold Path

(G1)  Right View (Knowledge & Understanding)

(G2)  Right Intent

(G3)  Right Speech

(G4)  Right Action

(G5)  Right Livelihood

(G6)  Right [balanced] Effort

(G7)  Right Mindfulness

(G8)  Right Concentration (Mental Unification)

Thus, any or many of the above 37 factors contribute to one’s enlightenment either in the state of path (magga), where mental impurity or defilement is respectively eradicated, or fruition (phala), where one’s mind remains in the state of liberation as a result of respective eradication of defilement.  The path and fruition can be listed from lowest to highest, as follows:

(1)  The path of Sotapanna Sainthood
        with roughly 25% eradication of mental fetters or impurities

(2)  The fruition of Sotapanna Sainthood
        with roughly 25% liberation

(3)  The path of Sagadagami Sainthood
        with roughly 50% eradication of mental fetters or impurities

(4)  The fruition of Sagadagami Sainthood
        with roughly 50% liberation

(5)  The path of Anagami Sainthood
        with roughly 75% eradication of mental fetters or impurities

(6)  The fruition of Anagami Sainthood
        with roughly 75% liberation

(7)  The path of Arahat Sainthood
        with roughly 100% eradication of mental fetters or impurities

(8)  The fruition of Arahat Sainthood
        with roughly 100% liberation

We can regard the Noble Eightfold Path (Tenfold Path when including liberation and insight from liberation) which can be divided into the aforesaid 37 factors as the ‘working tools’ to achieve the Path (magga) and Fruition (phala) of enlightenment whereas the level of Sainthood depends on one’s perfected merit or perfection, gained from the accumulation & cultivation of merit, which is the ‘energy’ that enables the ‘working tools’ to, more or less, eradicate mental fetters or impurities or defilements.

According to the Lord Buddha, the virtue perfection from accumulation & cultivation of merit is accounted as the ‘time frame,’ not the volume of merit energy.  This is because, it takes (i) time (ii) quantity or volume of merit energy in the form of element and (iii) quality or virtue cultivation in the form of essence, altogether, to achieve virtue perfection or perfected merit.  This can be compared to the baking of bread which requires proper heat and time for different volume of flour mass in order to be well-baked. 

Therefore, we can derive Dhammonomic equations to show the correlation between various factors contributing to enlightenment as follows:

The 37 Factors Lead to Enlightenment (F) =

(A and/or B and/or C and/or D and/or E and/or F and/or G)

Unification of the Meditative Noble Eightfold Path (U) =

Meditative x [Right (View + Intent + Speech + Action + Livelihood + Effort + Mindfulness + Mental Unification)]

Perfected Merit within a Time Frame (P) = (A x C)T

Perfection (P) = (Accumulation x Cultivation of Merit)Time Frame

Accumulation of Merit = (A) =

Basic Commitment (Parami) 

Intermediate Commitment (Uppa-Parami)

Advanced Commitment (Paramatha-Parami)

Cultivation of Merit = (C) =

(i) Generosity (ii) Discipline (iii) Renunciation (iv) Wisdom (v) Perseverance (vi) Patience (vii) Truthfulness (viii) Resolution (ix) Compassion, and (x) Equanimity by ways of the following 10 meritorious deeds:

(1) Giving (2) Observing Moral Precepts (3) Meditation (4) Humility (5) Helpfulness (6) Sharing Merit (7) Appreciating Others' Merit (8) Learning the Dharma (9) Teaching the Dharma, and (10) Keeping Right View

The required period of time or ‘time frames’ = (T) are as follows:

Achievement                                                           Required Time Frame

(1) Perseverance Oriented Buddha         80 eons and 100,000 sub-eons

(2)  Faith Oriented Buddha                        40 eons and 100,000 sub-eons

(3)  Wisdom Oriented Buddha                  20 eons and 100,000 sub-eons

(4)  Silent Buddha                                          2 eons and 100,000 sub-eons

(5)  Right-Sided Senior Disciple Saint      1 eon and 100,000 sub-eons

(6)  Left-Sided Senior Disciple Saint         1 eon and 100,000 sub-eons

(7)  Specialized Disciple Saint                     > or = 100,000 sub-eons

(8)  Common Arahat Saint                            100,000 sub-eons

(9)  Anagami Saint                                       < 100,000 sub-eons

(10) Sagadagami Saint                                < 100,000 sub-eons

(11) Sotapanna Saint                                   < 100,000 sub-eons


1 eon = 1 asangaiya

1 sub-eon = 1 kappa

Resolution = (R)

This means one has resolved or intended or decided along the period of merit accumulation & cultivation to attain enlightenment in correspond to the present expected achievement of sainthood or Buddhahood.

Equation of Enlightenment = (E)

Enlightenment =

(Unification of Magga x (Accumulation x Cultivation of Merit)Time Frame) Resolution

E = (UF x (A x C)T)R

In conclusion, enlightenment can occur to an individual when one experiences verbal, physical, and mental Magga Unification whilst having enough fulfilled & perfected merit


By Pirajak S. (formerly Pittaya Wong)

11 – 14 August 2018

First Revision on 18 August 2020



Sources of our study:

(1) The Voice of Dhamma from Suan Kaew Vol. 1 & 2  by Acariya Master Nun Wanjai Chookorn

(2)  Samatha-Vipassana Meditation by Assoc. Prof. Venerable Master Phra Thepyanmongkol (Sermchai)