The Ten Fetters (Samyojana), according to the Sutta Pitaka

  1. Self-Illusion (sakkaya-ditthi)
  2. Doubt(vicikiccha)
  3. Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual (silabbata-paramaso)
  4. Sensual Lust (kamacchando, kāma-cchanda)
  5. Ill-Will (vyapada)
  6. Craving for Fine-Material Existence (rupa-raga)
  7. Craving for Immaterial Existence (arupa-raga)
  8. Conceit (mana)
  9. Restlessness (uddhaccan)
  10. Ignorance (avijja).

1 Self-Illusion

The view that there is a permanent, unchanging self or soul, or that there is no self. Both believing in the permanent self and believing there is no self are wrong views in Buddhism.

2 Doubt

This is not scepticism nor the lack of blind faith, both are discouraged in Buddhism. It is a state of mind where no answer does, or could satisfy. It is a perplexed and undecided state of mind, that nothing seems to remedy.

3 Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual

Attachment to mere Rule and Ritual, means memorising and going through the motions, without true understanding and commitment. Of course, beginners need to learn various ideas, which they can say, but do not deeply understand. You have to start somewhere. But gradually, beginners understand what they have learned, and it is not mere Rule or Ritual. As we learn, we may find it necessary to examine the words carefully, and seek deep understanding from them. We should not become attached to them. Sometimes, however, we become attached to words and rituals, and like a lawyer, we think more of the words than we think of the spirit and intention of them. Buddhism is about the reduction of suffering, and it is the reduction of suffering that counts. Words should not become entities that we 'worship' (the self illusion), but tools we use wisely to guide us (words of the Buddha) and direct our thinking (Right Effort, Right Speech) as we develop the path.

4 Sensual Lust

This is attachment to objects of the six senses − sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, mind. See the 12 links.

5 Ill-will

Hatred, or hostility.

6 Craving for Fine Material Existence

The craving to be reborn in the Desire Realm.

7 Craving for Immaterial Existence

The craving to be reborn in the Immaterial Realm.

8 Conceit

Excessive Pride. Thinking oneself superior.

9 Restlessness


10  Ignorance

Literally the original word means 'not knowing'. Here it means not knowing the four noble truths

Stages and Fruit of the Practice



until suffering's end


1. self-illusion
2. Doubt
3. rule and ritual attachment


up to seven more times as
a human or in a heaven


once more as
a human


4. sensual desire
5. ill will

once more in
a pure abode


6. material-rebirth lust
7. immaterial-rebirth lust
8. conceit
9. restlessness
10. ignorance




The above table is based on a Wikipedia article.