Nagasena Bhiksu Sutra 2.66

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T 1670B Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

Part 2: Dialogues 2.66. Seven Kinds of Wisdom

The king asked Nāgasena again, “By how many ways does one need to learn the Path?”

Nāgasena replied, “One needs to learn the Path in seven ways. What are the seven? They are: (1) thinking of good and evil things, (2) exertion or energy, (3) taking delight in the Dharma, (4) to subdue the mind to do good, (5) thinking of the Path, (6) concentration of the mind, and (7) to take things without attachment or hatred.”

“Is it to know the Path that all these seven ways are practiced?”

“No, not by all these seven ways does one learn. The wise who can distinguish good and evil learn the Path only by one way.”

“Then if one can know the Path by just one way, why are the seven ways all preached?”

Nāgasena asked the king, “Suppose a man were to put a sword in its sheath and place it against a wall, could it cut off anything by itself?”

“No, it could not cut anything by itself.”

“Even so, a person though intelligence can achieve wisdom only with the help of the other six ways.”

“Excellent, Nāgasena.”