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Samyojana: 'mental chains'. There are 10 mental chains tying beings to the wheel of existence, namely; 1: personality-or-ego-belief sakkāya-ditthi, 2: sceptical doubt vicikicchā, 3: clinging to mere rules and ritual sīlabbata-parāmāsa, see: upādāna 4 sense-craving kāma-rāga.v., 5 ill-will vyāpāda 6 craving for fine-material existence rūpa-rāga 7 craving for immaterial existence arūpa-rāga 8 conceit māna, 9 restlessness uddhacca,, 10 ignorance avijjā. The first five of these are called 'lower mental chains' orambhāgiya-samyojana as they tie to the sense-world. The latter 5 are called 'higher mental chains' uddhambhāgiya-samyojana as they tie to the higher worlds, i.e. the fine-material and immaterial world A. IX, 67, 68; X. 13; D. 33, etc..

He who is free from 1-3 is a Sotāpanna, or Stream-winner, i.e. one who has entered the stream to Nibbāna, as it were. He who, besides these 3 mental chains, has overcome 4 and 5 in their grosser form, is called a Sakadāgāmi, a 'Once-returner' to this sense-world. He who is fully freed from 1-5 is an Anāgāmī, or 'Non-returner' to the sense-world. He who is freed from all the 10 mental chains is called an Arahat, i.e. a perfectly Noble One.

See: Ten hindrances


Maha Thera Nyanatiloka. Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, Buddhist Publication Society, first edition 1952.