One Things Leads to Another

In one of my favorite little suttas, the Buddha shows how leading a good life is the key to deep states of meditation and finally to liberation, not the other way around. As with the Eightfold Path, each step can be strengthened by strengthening the previous steps. For example, one cannot fully see the true nature of things until they can feel the full bliss and happiness of deep meditation.

For a good, honest, virtuous person, there is no need to work to be free from guilt and shame. They will naturally be free from guilt and shame.

For a person free from guilt and shame, they do not need to work to be joyful. They will naturally be joyful.

For a joyful person, there is no need to work to be blissful. It is natural that bliss will arise in them.

For a person filled with bliss, there is no need to work to relax their body. Their body will naturally relax.

For a person with a relaxed body, there is no need to work to feel pleasure. Their body will naturally feel pleasure.

For a person filled with pleasure, there is no need to work to unify the mind. Their mind will naturally become unified.

For a person with a unified mind, there is no need to work to see the true nature of things. They will naturally see the true nature of things.

For a person who sees things as they are, there is no need to work to be disillusioned with the world. They will naturally become disillusioned with the world.

For a person who is disillusioned with the world, there is no need to work to be dispassionate. They will naturally become dispassionate.

For a person who is dispassionate, there is no need to work to achieve liberation. They will naturally be liberated.

-Cetana Sutta, AN 11.2

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