The Perfection of Morality - Ascetic Akitti’s sila I


The perfection of síla is an excellent quality, a supporting condition for reaching

the further shore, namely the eradication of defilements. We read about Akitti’s

sila in the Commentary to the “Basket of conduct”


“When the Buddha was the ascetic Akitti,

he dwelt in a Kara wood with strength and energy to fulfil the ascetic practices (tapa),

that is, the perfection of síla.

Síla is indeed called asceticism, because it burns the impurity of akusala.

Even so the perfection of renunciation

and the perfection of energy are called asceticism (tapa),

because they burn by their strength the impurity of clinging and laziness.”


The ten perfections are supporting conditions for each other, also at the time the

Buddha was the ascetic Akitti. He accumulated the perfection of síla together

with the other perfections, such as renunciation and energy. We read:


“At the time he was the ascetic Akitti he built a hermitage beside a great Kara tree.

When this tree gave fruits he fed on them,

and when there were no fruits he fed on its leaves sprinkled with water.

Thus he had time and opportunity to apply himself to the attainment of jhana.

The ascetic Akitti searched for Kara leaves that were sufficient for only one meal a day,

because he found that searching for food for two meals

would not lead to the eradication of defilements.”


This is the perfection of patience, because his life was not involved with the urge

to eat. We read:


“His behaviour caused Sakka, the King of the devas,

to wonder why the ascetic Akitti had such pure conduct of action, speech and thought,

was devoid of attachment in his life,

and had Kara leaves as his only food,

which were ascetic practices most difficult to perform.”

Topic 278