There are 10 fetters tying beings to the wheel of existence, namely:
- (1) personality-belief (sakkāya-ditthi)
- (2) sceptical doubt (vicikicchā)
- (3) clinging to mere rules and ritual (sīlabbata-parāmāsa; s.
- (4) sensuous craving
- (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 fetters'
(orambhāgiya-samyojana), as they tie to the sensuous world. The latter 5 are
called 'higher fetters' (uddhambhāgiya-samyojana),
as they tie to the higher worlds, i.e. the fine-material and immaterial
world (A.IX.67-68; A.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 fetters, has overcome 4 and 5 in their grosser
form, is called a Sakadāgāmi, a 'Once-returner' (to this sensuous world).
- He who is fully freed from 1-5 is an Anāgāmī, or 'Non-returner' (to the
- He who is freed from all the 10 fetters is called an Arahat, i.e. a
perfectly Holy One.
For more details, s. ariya-puggala.
The 10 fetters as enumerated in the Abhidhamma, e.g. Vibh. XVII, are:
- sensuous craving,
- wrong views,
- sceptical doubt,
- clinging to mere rules and ritual,
- craving for existence,