Ten fetters

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In the Sutrayana there are ten fetters (Pali dasa samyojana; Skt. daśa saṁyojana; Tib. ཀུན་ཏུ་སྦྱོར་བ་ བཅུ་, Wyl. kun tu sbyor ba bcu) that are listed as binding one to the cycle of rebirth. They are:

  1. The mistaken belief in the existence of a self in relation to the five aggregates (Pali sakkāyadiṭṭhi; Skt. satkāyadṛṣṭi; Tib. འཇིག་ཚོགས་ལ་ལྟ་བ་, Wyl. ’jig tshogs la lta ba).
  2. Doubt (Pali vicikicchā; Skt. vicikitsā; Tib. ཐེ་ཚོམ་ , Wyl. the tshom) about the efficacy of the path.
  3. Attachment to rules and rituals (Pali sīlabbata-parāmāsa; Skt. śīla-vrata¬parāmarśa; Tib. ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་དང་བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་མཆོག་ཏུ་འཛིན་པ་ , Wyl. tshul khrims dang brtul zhugs mchog tu ’dzin pa) and the belief that, for example, purificatory rites, such as bathing in the Ganges River or performing sacrifices, can free a person from the consequences of unwholesome actions.
  4. Craving sense pleasures (Pali kāmacchando; Skt. kāmarāga; Tib. འདོད་པ་ལ་འདོད་ཆགས་, Wyl. ’dod pa la ’dod chags).
  5. Malice (Pali vyāpādo; Skt. vyāpāda; Tib. གནོད་སེམས་ , Wyl. gnod sems).
  6. Craving rebirth in the realm of subtle form (Pali rūparāgo; Skt. rūparāga; Tib. གཟུགས་ལ་ཆགས་པ་ , Wyl. gzugs la chags pa) where beings are possessed of refined material bodies and are perpetually absorbed in the bliss of meditative absorption.
  7. Craving rebirth in the realm of the immaterial (Pali arūparāgo ; Skt. arūpyarāga; Tib. གཟུགས་མེད་པའི་འདོད་ཆགས་ , Wyl. gzugs med pa’i ’dod chags) is the desire to be reborn as a divinity in the immaterial realm, where beings are comprised entirely of mind and are perpetually absorbed in the meditative bliss of the immaterial attainments.
  8. Pride (Pali māna; Skt. māna; Tib. ང་རྒྱལ་ , Wyl. nga rgyal) that arises from comparing oneself to others.
  9. Mental restlessness or agitation (Pali uddhacca; Skt. auddhatya; Tib. རྒོད་པ་ , Wyl. rgod pa) that impedes concentration.
  10. Ignorance (Pali avijjā; Skt. avidyā; Tib. མ་རིག་པ་ , Wyl. ma rig pa).

According to the Pali Canon, the ten fetters are severed in four stages.

If we sever the first three fetters we will become a stream-enterer. If we sever the first three fetters, and let go of our attachment to the fourth and fifth fetter, we will become a once-returner. If we sever the first five fetters completely by learning about the jhanas, the stages of meditative concentration, we will become a non-returner. When we have severed our ties to all ten fetters we will become an arhat.