‘Adhitthana’ literally means determination, resolution or fixedness of purpose. ‘Adhitthana’ can be regarded as a foundation for all the perfection, because without a firm determination one cannot fulfill the other Paramitas. Although one’s detention can be extended to either desirable or undesirable way; it should be clearly understood that the determination for the line of unwholesome deeds cannot be regarded as a perfection.

A person with a wavering mind or who sits on the fence cannot succeed in any undertaking. One must have an iron-will, an unshakable determination to overcome any difficulties of hardship in order to achieve success. He who has no determinative mind would easily give up his work before it is successful. Such a person with weak and unsteady mind should get disappointed easily and disheartened quickly.  Even a word of criticism would be adequate to put an end to hl his projects.

A Bodhisatta, who has an unshakable resolution and who is a man of principles, will never give up his noble effort even at the point of death. He is capable of setting aside any obstacles in his way and going forward, turning his eyes to-wards his goal.

Our Bodhisatta, when he was Sumedha Pandit, made a firm determination at the feet of the Buddha Dipankara in this way: “O Sumedha, from now onwards you must fulfil the perfect of resolution as well. Be steadfast in whatever solution you make. As a rock, even while the wind beats upon it on every side, does not tremble nor quake but re-mains in its own place, you must likewise be unshaken in your resolution until you become a Buddha.”


Illustration from TEMIYA JATAKA.

Once upon a time our Bodhisatta was born in a royal family. He was named Temiya and was also known as Mugapakkha. While he was only one month old, lying on the lap of his father, he noticed how the king ordered four thieves to ‘be punished. Though he was an infant he thought that his father was acquiring evil Kamma by his kingship.

On the following day as he was sleeping under the royal canopy, he remembered his past life. He recalled how he was suffering in his previous birth owing to his evil Kamma done as a king. He, therefore, resolved to get away from that royal ‘prison’.

A goddess who was guarding the canopy and who had been his mother in a previous birth, advised him thus: “Dear son, if you so wish, behave like a cripple though not a cripple, a dumb though not a dumb, behave like a deaf though not a deaf.”

He accepted the advice of the goddess and made a firm determination to do like-wise. He suffered much, but he did not change his resolution. For sixteen years he acted as advised.

The kind parents then approached him and said: “Dear son Temiya, we know that you are not a cripple, not a deaf or a dumb. Their faces, ears and limbs are not like yours. We longed for you and we got you. Please do not disgrace us Save our good name, son.” But the iron-willed Temiya was silent. He remained as if he did not hear a word. The king could no longer bear this insult. He grew annoyed and mad an order that the prince should be taken in a hearse by the back door and buried alive.

The sorrowful mother queen who received a favour from the king on the birthday of the prince, approached the king, and reminded him of the favour and begged him to ant the kingship for her son for seven days. With difficulty she got the consent of the king and implored the son again and again for seven days to change his attitude but with no success.

On the seventh day the king summoned the charioteer and said: “Tomorrow you should take this wretched child to the cemetery. Dig a grave there; smash his head and bury him. The queen could not bear the fateful order. She came and told her son about it. Prince Temiya was delighted to hear this seemingly news. He was happy because he knew that his determination would be crowned with success after sixteen years.

But the poor mother’s tender heart was about to break through grief. As ordered, the charioteer went to the chamber of the Prince and carried him out of the palace while the mother-queen was weeping and lamenting.

It was a critical moment for the noble Prince. He looked at the mother and thought: “If I do not speak now, my mother will be deeply grieved. If I do speak, then my resolution for sixteen years will be useless. By my silence I will bring happiness to my parents.” In this instance the Bodhisatta cared more for his determination than for the grief of his mother. His adherence to his lofty principle made him firm to follow his perfection.

The charioteer took him in a hearse and stopped it near the cemetery. Leaving the Prince in the hearse, he started digging a grave. Meanwhile the Prince rose up and went to the charioteer. To his great surprise he found out that the Prince was hale and hearty.

As the Prince decided to remain in the forest meditating, the charioteer returned to the palace and reported the whole matter. The Prince lived as an ascetic and later on, others also followed his footstep. After the Enlightenment the Buddha said :

"I did not detest my mother and father, or my great glory: but I preferred `Omniscience'.  Therefore did I make that vow."