Sunday, April 20, 2014



“With a mind delighting in self- culture, day and night, his disciples rise with a full awakening.” Dhammapada Verse 21 (5)

The state of mind which we need to develop is well described by the Buddha. It is stated that one should be mindful of one’s thoughts and strive to get rid of evil thoughts and foster right thoughts (samma sankappa -  nekkammaa sankappa, avyapada sankappa, avihimsa sankappa - thoughts of renunciation, good will, and harmlessness) & by practicing right understanding (sammaditti). Consequently one should be able to restrain (purify) one’s body, speech and mind through right concentration (samma samadi). Be able to focus the mind towards the attainment of Nibbana.


Mindfulness is (sati) mostly linked with clear comprehension. (sampajanna).This means, to be mindful of the right purpose or suitability of an action (paying wise attention). Mindfulness is a way of deeply looking into oneself in the sense of self inquiry and self- understanding.  It is the observance and the practice of paying attention or being aware of the present moment. Being aware of the present moment helps us to realise our habitual, mechanical movements of the past and the future which can create problems for ourselves and to others.
This awareness can help us to develop insight and this type of cultivation of mindfulness has been named: “VIpassana.” Vipassna-meditation is purely the Buddha’s teaching. It teaches about the mental culture discovered and taught by him. It is an analytical method, based on mindfulness, awareness, vigilance and close observation with an effort to eliminate the unwholesome roots of greed hatred and delusion

In the Satipatthana Sutra, (No 22 of the Digha Nikaya & No10 of the Majjima Nikaya), the Buddha teachers the most simple and effective method of training the mind, how to develop and cultivate the mind. The ways of 'Meditation' given in this discourse are not to cut off from life, or to avoid life. They are all connected with our life, our daily activities, our sorrows and happiness, our words and thoughts, our moral and intellectual occupations. By paying close observation and attention to our words thoughts and deeds help us eliminate the unwholesome roots of greed, hatred and delusion. This method can be used anywhere and anytime, whether it is in a busy office, noisy school or even in a quiet place. 

The Satipattana discourse is divided into four main sections: dealing with our body (kaya), our feelings and sensations (vedana), with mind/ thoughts (citta) and the various moral and intellectual subjects/mental states (dhamma). It is designed to produce insight into nature of things through rightly understanding mental and physical processes and attain the cessation of dukka.
Mind and Body

As we watch ourselves, we will see that there is mind and body as the two aspects of our being. We have to pay attention to both of them. Mindfulness of the body means that we know the movements of all parts. Watching how the mind giving orders and the body following suit. When discomfort arises in the body, your consciousness becomes aware of it and we learn to pay attention to the mind’s reaction, we tend to move automatically. When there is an uncomfortable feeling, it is essential to realise what is happening within. We notice that there is a sense contact, in this case, “touch.” From all sense contacts feeling/vedana or sensation arise. Vedana is of three kinds – pleasant, unpleasant and indifferent.

Mindfulness of the body extends to the other aspects of mindfulness as well. We can pay attention to the thought process. The thoughts are mental formations as well as karma formations. 

The Buddha taught cause and effect that depend on any sense contact. First comes the sense contact, consciousness with the awareness of a visible object. This is mere awareness of a visible object. Our personal experience is produced through consciousness with the functioning of the other three major mental factors of experience (feeling, perception and mental formation or volition).
Then secondly feeling (vedana) arises. Then perception (sanna), the naming of this feeling, followed by dislike. Here the mind has been contacted with an unpleasant feeling; our perception says “this is painful.” Next arise the mental formations/volition (sankhara), with a condition reaction which is also karma formations, because we make karma through our thought process. So mental formation and volition function to determine our responses to the objects of experience and these responses have moral consequences in the sense of wholesome, unwholesome or neutral. This way we can analyse all our personal experience in terms of the five aggregates.
[If you are intersted in learning more about the five aggregates, please refer to the following link; "Madupindika Sutta."]

"Madhupindika Sutta: The Ball of Honey" (MN 18), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, .
During the day when one’s eye comes in contact with a visible object, which to one’s way of thinking is unpleasant and undesirable, then repugnance arises, if one does not exercise systematic wise attention. It is the same with the ear and sound, nose and smell, tongue and taste, body and contact, mind and mental objects. 

This way we can see in our daily life how all our five aggregates work together to produce personal experience. The nature of the five aggregates is that each and all of them are in constant change. The elements that constitute the aggregate of form/rupa are impermanent and are in a state of constant change. The body grows old, sick and week. The things around us are also impermanent and change constantly. Our feelings too change constantly. Under different circumstances our perceptions change. As we have seen, all the physical and mental factors of our experience, like our bodies, the physical objects around us, our minds and our thinking patterns are constantly changing. 

When we can become aware of the content of our thoughts, we will know whether it is wholesome or not. We can learn to drop any negative thinking and replace it with thoughts containing the qualities of generosity, loving-kindness and wisdom. At this time our meditation training should come in and help us for outer activities.

Mindfulness in Daily Life

The same procedure is used in daily life to let go of unwholesome thoughts. We substitute at that time with a wholesome thought, just as we substitute with the breath in meditation. Mindfulness needs to be used not only in our meditation practice, but also every time we move, feel, talk or think in our daily life. While awake, mindfulness has to be our primary objective. The mind needs to be kept in check and not allowed to run wild.

By practicing the various sections of the Satipattana meditation as part of the daily routine, one would also be able to control and adjust one’s life in a successful manner and there by lead a household life of peace and contentment


 A very special characteristic of the Teaching of the Buddha is the central position given in it to the need to be kind to all beings. Loving –kindness, metta, the practice ensures non-violence, has been extensively dwelt upon by the Buddhists.
In Maharahulovada Sutta (Majjima Nikaya 11 & Diga Nikaya 62), the Buddha’s exhortation to Rahula, the Buddha said, 

"Develop the meditation on loving-kindness (metta),Rahula. For, Rahula, by developing loving-kindness, ill-will is abandoned.
“Develop the meditation on compassion, Rahula. For, Rahula, by developing compassion, cruelty is abandoned.
“Develop the meditation on sympathetic joy, Rahula. For, Rahula, by developing sympathetic joy, aversion is abandoned.
“Develop the meditation on equanimity, Rahula. For, Rahula, by developing equanimity, hatred is abandoned.
“Develop the meditation on impurity, Rahula. For, Rahula, by meditating on impurity, lust is abandoned.
“Develop the meditation on the concept of transience, Rahula. For, Rahula, by meditating on the concept of transience, pride of self is abandoned."
[Cited from ("Maha-Rahulovada Sutta: The Greater Exhortation to Rahula" (MN 62), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013,) .]
From this statement it is clear that metta and karuna are diametrically opposed to ill-will and cruelty respectively. Ill-will or hate, like sense desire (lust), is also caused by the sense faculties meeting sense objects.
The person who strives for enlightenment acts being mindful of all one’s thoughts and activities of the body (sati). Which such mindfulness one distinguishes between right and wrong and examines them with wisdom.
The Truth of Suffering

The elaboration on the first of his Four Noble Truths in the Dhammachakkappavattana Sutta, the Buddha  elaborates on the first of his Four Noble Truths, “The Truth of Suffering" (Dukkhasacca): “The Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha), monks, is this: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, association with the unpleasant is suffering, dissociation from the pleasant is suffering, not to receive what one desires is suffering—in brief the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering.”

Here Buddha compared all form comparable to foam; all feelings to bubbles; all sensations are mirage-like; dispositions are like the plantain trunk; consciousness is but an illusion: so did the Buddha illustrate the nature of the aggregates.

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness (The essence of the Mahasatpattana Sutta in summation is as follows:

1. The Contemplation of the Body
(a) Mindfulness of Breathing
(b) The postures of the body
(c) Mindfulness with Clear Comprehension
(d) The Reflection on the  repulsiveness of the Body
(e) The reflection of the Material Elements

(f) The Nine Cemetery Contemplations
(g) The Foundations of Mindfulness

2. The Contemplation of Feeling - The observation of sensations- (vedananupassana)
3. The Contemplation of Consciousness-The observation of  mind. cittanupassana).

4. The Contemplation of Mental Objects, (Dhammanupssana).  
(a) The Five Hindrances (nivaranapabbam)
(b) The Five Aggregates of clinging (khandhapabbam)
(c) The Six Internal and External Sense Bases (ayatanapabbam)
(d) The Seven Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhangapabbam)
(e) The Four Noble Truths (saccapabbam)
(Satipattana Sutta, Majjima Nikaya, Sutta No.10)

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