On one occasion the Blessed One was living near Rajagaha, in the bamboo grove, in the Squirrels’ feeding ground. At that time the Venerable Maha Kassapa who was living in the Pipphali Cave, was afflicted with a disease, was suffering therefrom, and was gravely ill. Then the Blessed One arising from his solitude at eventide visited the Venerable Maha Kassapa and sat down on a seat made ready. Thus seated the Blessed One spoke to the Venerable Maha Kassapa:
“Well Kassapa, how is it with you? Are you bearing up, are you enduring (your suffering? Do your pains decrease or increase? Are there signs of your pains decreasing and not of increasing?”
“No, Ven. Sir, I am not bearing up, I am not enduring, the pain is very great. There is a sign not of pains decreasing but of their increasing.”
“Kassapa, these seven factors of enlightenment are well expounded by me and are cultivated and fully developed by me. They conduce to perfect understanding, to full realization (of the four Noble Truths) and to Nibbana. What are the seven?
- Mindfulness (sati): the quality of mind that know things as they are, and notices that physical objects are physical objects and that mental objects are mental objects, knows their qualities and aspects and is the basis of investigation.
- Investigation (dhamma vicaya): the quality of mind that penetrates to the universal characteristics of the objects revealed by mindfulness, often referred to as The Three Characteristics
- Energy (viriya): a factor that supports mindfulness and investigation, that being the quality of bright-mindedness and vigorous attention to reality
- Joy or rapture (piti): the physical and mental qualities that aries from strong practice, usually referring to the bliss of specific meditation stages or states, but also generically referring to raptures in general, which is a catch all term for unusual experiences in meditation. When referring to joy or bliss, this quality can help increase our engagement with the practice, our enjoyment of practice and our enthusiasm for the other factors of enlightenment.
- Relaxation or tranquillity (passaddhi) of both body and mind: that quality of mind that is calm, balance, cool, like the skillful counterbalance to energy and rapture, and is a support to clear investigation and insight
- Concentration (samadhi): refers in the context of insight practice to momentary concentration, meaning that quality of mind that can repeatedly be mindful of and investigate moment after moment, sensation after sensation, in a way that continues for longer and longer sequences of moments and more of the sense field as our concentration grows more complete and wider and more inclusive.
- Equanimity] (upekkha): that quality of mind that is okay with what arises, whatever it may be, be it pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, be it skillful or not skillful, be it physical or mental, be it wide or narrow, simple or complex, wide or narrow, and thus is a support to the clear and inclusive mindfulness and investigation of the whole range of experiences.
“These seven factors of enlightenment, Kassapa, are well expounded by me and are cultivated and fully developed by me. They conduce to perfect understanding, to full realization and to Nibbana.”
“Most assuredly, O Blessed One, they are factor of enlightenment. Most assuredly, O Welcome Being (Sugata), they are factors of enlightenment.”
Thus said the Buddha, and the Venerable Maha Kassapa glad at heart approved the utterances of the Buddha. Thereupon the Venerable Kassapa recovered from that affliction, and that affliction of the Venerable Kassapa disappeared.
May all beings be well and happy & attain the fruits of Nibbana.