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The chapter on Right Mindfulness, the seventh factor, is actually a brief translation of the Discourse on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness and some passages from other Suttas. It is like a study of the Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness. There are four foundations of mindfulness. The first is contemplation of the body. We are in the middle of the first foundation of mindfulness. The contemplation of the body is treated in fourteen different ways in the discourse. The first is mindfulness of breathing. Then the second is mindfulness of the four postures. That is on page 63. Next is mindfulness and clear comprehension, that is mindfulness of the other small activities of the body.


Today we come to contemplation of loathsomeness of the body. “And further, the disciple contemplates this body from the sole of the foot upward, and from the top of the hair downward, with a skin stretched over it, and filled with manifold impurities: ‘This body has hairs of the head and body, nails, teeth, skin; flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys; heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs; stomach, bowels, mesentery, and excrement; bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, lymph, tears, skin-grease, saliva, nasal mucus, oil of the joints, and urine.” This is the famous 32 parts of the body meditation.


In this discourse only 31 parts are mentioned. One is missing in this list. This body has 1. Hairs of the head, 2. Hairs of the body, 3. Nails, 4. Teeth, 5. Skin. I think we should put a semicolon after skin because it is supposed to be one group. The first five (head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin) is one group. Then flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys is another group. Heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs is another group.


Next he has stomach. The order is also broken here. Then there is bowels, mesentery. What are bowels?


Student (medical person): The tubing of the colon, the actual intestines are the bowels.


Teacher: Is there a difference between the intestines and the colon?


Student (medical person): The colon is the large intestine; the very coiled part is the small intestine.


Teacher: Oh, I see. The PÈÄi word is ‘anta’. It is described as the coiled part of the intestine. It is said that it is about 32 hands long. I don’t know how long the intestines  is. That comes first before the stomach. The next is mesentery, something that is attached to the intestine and keep the intestine from falling down. I think that is mesentery. Is that correct?


Student (medical person): It’s the apron of fat and blood vessels that holds the intestines.


Teacher: So there are bowels, mesentery. Then the next one is not the stomach, but the food in the stomach. It is what we eat, drink, chew and lick that remains in the stomach. Venerable Soma Thera translated it as the contents of the stomach. The food in the stomach is one of the 32 parts of the body. Then there is excrement.


After excrement we add the brain, or not we, but the Buddha’s chief disciple, Venerable SÈriputta. Venerable SÈriputta added the brain there. That’s why we have 32 parts of the body now. Then there are bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, lymph, tears, skin-grease, saliva, nasal mucus, oil of the joints, and urine.


This is not a list for the study of anatomy. It may or may not be accurate clinically. We don’t have to worry about that because the Buddha just wanted us to contemplate and different parts of the body and try to develop the perception of loathsomeness. This meditation, this contemplation, is given to those who are too much attached to their bodies or the bodies of others. In order to get rid of attachment or craving for the body people have to practice this kind of meditation. In the Visuddhi Magga the method for the practice of this meditation is given in great detail. I will have to refer you to the Visuddhi Magga if you want to understand the detailed instructions for the practice of this meditation.


What yogis do is first learn the 32 parts by heart. They recite these parts back and forth, back and forth. That will take about five months. That is because we take the first five “head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin.” Then we recite in reverse order “skin, teeth, nails, body hairs, head hairs.” That takes maybe a week for each. The purpose is to see loathsomeness in the parts of the body.


“Just as if there were a sack, with openings at both ends, filled with various kinds of grain - with paddy, beans, sesamum, and husked rice - and a man not blind opened it and examined its contexts, thus: ‘That is paddy, these are beans, this is sesamum, this is husked rice’: just so does the disciple investigates this body.” When we open a bag of grain, we may say that this is paddy, these are beans and so on. In the same way we try to contemplate on the different parts of the body and try to develop the perception of loathsomeness.


Student: What is paddy?


Teacher: It is unhusked rice.


Student: Why did the Buddha leave out the brain?


Teacher: I don’t know because it is not explained in the Suttas. One explanation is that the Buddha may have included it with bone marrow. It’s like bone marrow in the skull. We do not find the brain in this Sutta, but it is in the PaÔisambhidÈmagga. The great disciple, Venerable SÈriputta, added it.


I had a tape of this Sutta. I transferred it onto a video and I took the video to Japan. I let a monk view it there. He watched it and said: “You left matthalu~ga out.” He listened to it attentively. He asked why I left the brain out of the list. It is wrong. I said “No.” Although the brain is included in the 32 parts of the body meditation, in this Sutta the brain is not mentioned. When we practice loathsomeness of the body meditation, we have to include the brain and so we have 32 parts. The Venerable Taungpulu SayÈdaw is very fond of this meditation - “kesÈ, nakkÈ, dantÈ, taco.”


A disciple can practice this meditation and in the beginning it is a samatha meditation, not necessarily vipassanÈ meditation. He may develop first jhÈna with this meditation, but not the other jhÈnas. Only the first jhÈna can be developed. After he gets the first jhÈna, he may take the first jhÈna as the object of vipassanÈ and then practice vipassanÈ on it. Or after emerging from the first jhÈna, he may take any of the miscellaneous formations as object of vipassanÈ and practice vipassanÈ on it. So at first it is samatha meditation and later on one has to change to vipassanÈ meditation.


Because as I said before at the end of each section the Buddha repeated the passage: “Thus he dwells contemplating the body in the body either with regard to his own person, or with regard to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the body arises; beholds how it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of the body.” The passage is on page 62. This passage is repeated after each section. In this passage we find that he beholds how the body arises, beholds how it passes away; and he beholds the arising and passing away of the body. That is done only through vipassanÈ meditation. When you practice samatha meditation, you don’t try to see the arising and disappearing of things. You just try to take the parts as object and get strong concentration on them. But when you practice vipassanÈ, you try to see them as impermanent and so on. So in the end it must become vipassanÈ meditation.


Further down in the passage you will read: “He lives independent unattached to anything in the world.” That means he is able to eradicate attachment to things through this meditation. That means first he practices samatha and then he practices vipassanÈ only.


The next section is the analysis of four elements. That means breaking ourselves down into four elements. “And further, the disciple contemplates this body, however it may stand or move, with regard to the elements: ‘This body consists of the solid element, the liquid element, the heating element, and the vibrating element’.” These are the four great elements. The solid element is what? It is what is popularly called ‘the earth element’. Liquid element is water element. Heating element is fire element. Vibrating element is air element. These are the four great elements.


In the teaching of the Buddha the ‘earth element’ does not necessarily mean the earth, but the quality inherent in the earth, that is the hardness or softness. That is why it says here ‘the solid element’. ‘The liquid element’ means cohesiveness or trickling nature as in water. ‘The heating element’ means the temperature in things. ‘Vibrating element’ means supporting or distendedness. That is called ‘vÈyo dhÈtu’ (vibrating element). These four elements can be found everywhere in anything material. So these four elements are found in our bodies, in books, in trees, and so on.


They are said to always be together. We cannot physically separate one from the other. Only in our minds can we separate them - this is solid element, this is liquid element, and so on.


If we look at the list just mentioned in the previous section (in the book), we find head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin; flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys; heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs; stomach, bowels, mesentery and excrement. These belong to the solid element. The solid element predominates in these parts of the body. Then there is bile, phlegm and so on. In these the water element or the liquid element predominates.


“Just as if a skilled butcher or butcher’s apprentice, who had slaughtered a cow and divided it into separate portions, were to sit down at the junction of four highroads; just so does the disciple contemplate his body with regard to the elements.” It’s not clear. Right? That is where the Commentary becomes useful. Without the help of the Commentary we may not understand this passage clearly. “Just as if a skilled butcher or butcher’s apprentice, who had slaughtered a cow and divided it into separate portions, were to sit down at the junction of four highroads.” What does he do?


Let’s read the explanation from the Visuddhi Magga. “When a butcher rears a cow, brings it to the place of slaughter, binds it to a post, makes it stand up, slaughters it and looks at the slaughtered cow, during all that time he has still the notion ‘cow’. But when he has cut up the slaughtered cow, divided it into pieces, and sits down near it to sell the meat, the notion ‘cow’ ceases in his mind, and the notion ‘meat’ arises. He does not think that he is selling a cow or that people buy a cow, but that it is meat that is sold and bought. Similarly, in an ignorant worldling, whether, monk or layman, the concepts ‘being’, ‘man’, ‘personality’, etc., will not cease until he has mentally dissected this body of his, as it stands and moves, and has contemplated it according to its component elements. But when he has done so, the notion ‘personality’, etc., will disappear, and his mind will become firmly established in the Contemplation of the Elements.” So we divide ourselves into four elements and we see these elements in different parts of our bodies. This is what this meditation is about.


This meditation is very useful in other respects too. For example when we are angry, we can use this contemplation to get rid of anger. When you are angry with a person, you may break him up into four elements. Then ask yourself: “Are you angry with the earth element in him? Are you angry with the water element in him?” When you ask that way, your anger will not persist. It will disappear. It is a very useful kind of meditation not only to get rid of attachment to our bodies, but also to get rid of anger or other mental defilements.


Everywhere you see these four elements, say a book, in a tree, or whatever. There is hardness or softness everywhere. Even in water there is hardness or softness. That is why these four elements and four others are called ‘inseparables’. They cannot be physically separated. Following this teaching of the Buddha, we can say that the smallest atom is still composed of these eight smaller parts. However small a material property may be reduced, there are still eight components in that small part. Here also one has to go to vipassanÈ meditation.


Now come the cemetery meditations. They are not easy to practice nowadays even in Asian countries. Here what is meant is not necessarily going to the cemetery and looking at the corpses. One may imagine seeing a corpse and then apply the nature of a corpse to one’s living body. “And further just as if (SayÈdaw repeated ‘just as if.’) the disciple were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel-ground, one, two, or three days dead, swollen up, blue-black in color, full of corruption - so he regards his own body: ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it’.” One applies the nature of the dead body to oneself. My body is also of this nature. One day my body will become like that. My body cannot escape these states of being swollen up and so on.


Here the Buddha treated the cemetery meditation in nine different ways. These are just the nine different stages of decomposition of the dead body. The first is for a body that has been dead for just one, two, or three days and that is swollen up and so on. The second one is “just as if the disciple were looking at a corpse thrown on a charnel-ground, eaten by crows, hawks, or vultures, by dogs or jackals, or devoured by all kinds of worms, - so he regards his own body: ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it’.” The third one is “a framework of bones, fleshing hanging from it, bespattered with blood, held together by the sinews.” The fourth is “a framework of bone, stripped of flesh, bespattered with blood, held together by the sinews.” The fifth is “a framework of bone, without flesh and blood, but still held together by the sinews.” The sixth is “bones, disconnected and scattered in all directions, here a bone of the hand, there a bone of the foot, there a shin bone, there a thigh bone, there a pelvis, there the spine, there the skull - so he regards his own body.” The seventh is bleached and resembling shells, so “bones lying in the charnel-ground, bleached and resembling shells.” The eighth is “bones heaped together, after the lapse of years.” Actually it is after the lapse of one year. Then the ninth one is “bones weathered and crumbled to dust; so he regards his own body: ‘This body of mine also has this nature, has this destiny, and cannot escape it’.” Here the Buddha gave nine kinds of cemetery meditation.


In the list of forty meditations there are not nine but ten kinds of contemplations of loathsomeness of the body. All of these meditations are described in great detail in the book called ‘The Visuddhi Magga’ or ‘The Path of Purification’.


“Thus he dwells in contemplation of the body either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the body arises; beholds how it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of the body. ‘A body is there’; this clear awareness is present in him.” That means he sees that there is this body only and nothing else, nothing else which we can call ‘a person’, ‘a man’, ‘a woman’, ‘a self’, ‘a soul’, and so on.


“He lives independent, unattached to anything in the world.” That is when he becomes an Arahant. He becomes independent. He does not depend upon anything. He is not attached to anything; he is unattached to anything in the world. “Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body.”


We come to the end of the first contemplation, the contemplation of the body. There are 14 kinds of contemplation of the body. The most popular among them is the mindfulness of breathing. Mindfulness of breathing is practiced by most meditators.


Although there are 14 different kinds of contemplation given here, we are not to practice all of them. If you want to, you can, but we don’t have to practice all 14 of them. We may choose any one of them and then practice that one seriously until we reach our destination.


Sometimes the meditation subjects have to be chosen according to one’s own mental disposition, one’s own nature. Some people have the nature of greed, and some ten to have too much anger, and some have the disposition of delusion, and so on. According to our mental dispositions, we choose the suitable kind of meditation for ourselves. Actually any one of these contemplations is suitable for everyone because meditation subjects given in this discourse and also the meditation subjects given in the list of 40 are all for the eradication of mental defilements. If you practice any one of these meditations, you will not become more greedy or more hateful. In fact you will be able to get rid of or at least diminish these mental defilements. Any subject of meditation is suitable, but if we want to make rapid progress, then we choose what is more suitable for us. You are not expected to practice all of them. Just choose one and then practice it seriously.


“Assured of Ten Blessings” - this is taken from another Sutta. The Venerable ©ÈÓatiloka inserted that Sutta here. “Once the contemplation of the body is practiced, developed, often repeated, has become one’s habit, one’s foundation, is firmly established, strengthened and perfected, the disciple may expect ten blessings.” You may expect ten results from contemplation of the body.


“1. Over delight and discontent he has mastery; he does not allow himself to be overcome by discontent; he subdues it, as soon as it arises.” That means when a person practices this meditation, he will not become too much delighted or too much discontented or depressed. He will be able to keep himself more or less unmoved in the face of the ups and downs of life. Over delight and discontent he has mastery.


“2. He conquers fear and anxiety; he does not allow himself to be overcome by fear and anxiety; he subdues them, as soon as they arise.”


“3. He endures cold and heat, hunger and thirst; wind and sun, attacks by gadflies, mosquitoes and reptiles; patiently he endures wicked and malicious speech, as well as bodily pains that befall him, though they be piercing, sharp, bitter, unpleasant, disagreeable, and dangerous to life.”


I have often read to you the story of Venerable Anuruddha who was very ill and was still cheerful. His friends, the other monks, inquired as to what state of mind the Venerable Anuruddha dwelled in so that his mind was not perturbed although he had pain in the body. Then the Venerable Anuruddha answered: “I always soak my mind with the four foundations of mindfulness. My mind is firmly established in the four foundations of mindfulness. That is why the bodily painful sensation do not perturb the mind.” He was able to endure sensations in the body that were piercing, sharp, bitter, unpleasant, disagreeable and even dangerous to life.


“4. The four ‘Absorptions’ (jhÈna) which purify the mind, and bestow happiness even here, these he may enjoy at will, without difficulty, without effort.” He may get the four absorptions (the four jhÈnas). If you practice breathing meditation, you can get all four jhÈnas, but if you practice contemplation on loathsomeness, you will only get the first jhÈna, not all four. After getting first jhÈna, after practice on 32 parts of the body, you may practice another kind of meditation in order to get the higher jhÈnas.


Then we have the six ‘psychical powers’ (abhiÒÒÈ). “5. He may enjoy the different ‘Magical Powers’.” ‘Different magical powers’ means things such as creating likenesses of himself or the ability to create many images of himself, disappearing from the sight of people, going through the earth, the water and so on. These are called ‘magical powers’ or ‘iddhi-vidhÈ’ here. He may enjoy these also. These are to be gained only after getting the four absorptions. Without getting the four absorptions, the abhiÒÒÈs or psychical powers cannot be attained.


“6. With the ‘Heavenly Ear’, the purified, the super-human, he may hear both kinds of sounds, the heavenly and the earthly, the distant and the near.” By this psychic power he could hear any sound whether small or big, whether subtle or gross. So he could hear sounds from far away places. He may not need a radio or a television.


“7. With the mind he may obtain ‘Insight into the Hearts of Other Beings’, of other persons.” Here ‘insight’ does not mean vipassanÈ. It just means that he can know other people’s minds. He can read the minds of others.


“8. He may obtain ‘Remembrances of many Previous Births’.” That is the ability to remember his past lives.


“9. With the ‘Heavenly Eye’, purified and super-human, he may see beings vanish and reappear, the base and the noble, the beautiful and the ugly, the happy and the unfortunate; he may perceive how beings are reborn according to their deeds.” This psychic power is very important. It can be obtained through the practice of the contemplation of the body. It can be obtained through other kinds of meditation too. This heavenly eye which helps the person to see beings dying in one life and then being reborn in another. Also he is able to see that this being is reborn in this state because he did such and such a thing in this life or in his past life. So actually through this psychic power a person comes to see the Law of Kamma for himself. He doesn’t have to take it on faith. He doesn’t have to depend upon just logical thinking. He sees it as it were with his own eyes, beings dying in one life and being reborn in another.


There are people who want scientific proof of the Law of Kamma. I think there can be no scientific proof of the Law of Kamma because it is beyond the scope of science. Here in the discourses it is said that if a person gets this psychic power, the supernormal knowledge, he will be able to see the Law of Kamma clearly.


This heavenly eye and also the previous one, the remembrance of previous births, the Bodhisatta attained before he became the Buddha. On the night before he became the Buddha, he practiced meditation. One by one he got the four absorptions and then the psychic powers. During the first watch of the night he gained #8, the remembrance of many previous births. During the middle watch of the night he gained #9, the heavenly eye, with the help of which he saw beings dying and being reborn. During the last watch of the night he gained #10, the cessation of passions. That means he became a Buddha or he became an Arahant.


“10. He may, through the ‘Cessation of Passions’, come to know for himself, even in this life, the stainless deliverance of mind, the deliverance through wisdom.” These three are care called ‘the three vijjÈs’. ‘VijjÈ’ means knowing, understanding, wisdom. These are called ‘the three vijjÈs’.


“The last six blessings (5-10) are the ‘Psychical Powers’ (abhiÒÒÈ). The first five of them are mundane (puthujjana), whilst the last AbhiÒÒÈ is supermundane (lokuttara) and exclusively the characteristic of the Arahant, or Holy One. - It is only after the attainment of all the four Absorptions (jhÈna) that one may fully succeed in acquiring  the five worldly ‘Psychical Powers’. - There are four iddhipÈda, or ‘Bases for obtaining Magical Powers’, namely: concentration of Will, concentration of Energy, concentration of Mind, and concentration of Investigation.” ‘Investigation’ really means wisdom.


These are the ten benefits one can get from the practice of the Contemplation of the Body. One has to practice so that it becomes one’s foundation, so that one is firmly established in it, so that one is strengthened and perfected. One does not just practice once. You have to practice it again and again.


The next one is Contemplation of the Feelings (vedanÈnupassanÈ). “But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the feelings? In experiencing feelings, the disciple knows: ‘I have an agreeable feeling’, or: ‘I have a disagreeable feeling’; or: ‘I have an indifferent feeling’; or: ‘I have a worldly agreeable feeling’; or: ‘I have an unworldly agreeable feeling’; or: ‘I have a worldly disagreeable feeling’; or: ‘I have an unworldly disagreeable feeling’; or: ‘I have an worldly indifferent feeling’; or: ‘I have an unworldly indifferent feeling’.”


First, what is feeling? Feeling is in the mind although sensations of pain or comfort are in the body. Suppose there is pain here. You concentrate on the pain and feel the pain. Feeling actually is in the mind although the pain is there (in the body). When you practice contemplation on feeling, you are contemplating on or meditating on nÈma and not r|pa. Although here we cannot separate pain from feeling because when there is pain, we experience pain and there is feeling of pain.


The feeling is first said to be of three kinds - agreeable, disagreeable and indifferent (That means neutral feeling.). We have good feeling, bad feeling, or sometimes we have neutral feeling. ‘Feeling’ here can mean through bodily sensations or through states of mind. Sometimes we are happy in our minds and sometimes we are comfortable in bodily positions. There may be agreeable, or disagreeable, or indifferent feelings. Sometimes we feel very good, we are comfortable, then we have an agreeable feeling. When we have numbness or heat or whatever in the body, then we have a disagreeable feeling. When there is neither agreeable nor disagreeable feeling, then we have the indifferent or neutral feeling. The feelings are of three kinds.


Among these three it is said in our books that neutral feeling is very difficult to perceive. It is not so difficult to talk about because we can say that which is neither agreeable nor disagreeable is indifferent feeling. However to perceive it through experience is not so easy. It is like moha. Moha is difficult to see. Lobha is not difficult to see. Right? When we have attachment, when we have craving, we can know that there is craving. When we are angry, we can know that there is anger. Moha is not so easy to see. In the same way indifferent feeling is difficult to see. Sometimes during meditation you have pain in the body. You concentrate on pain and say ‘pain, pain, pain’. Then it may disappear. Let us say it disappears. When it disappears, you don’t feel anything. After some time some good feeling may arise. The pain disappears and then you have another kind of feeling. Before you get that other kind of feeling, there is something lie a gap between the two feelings (the painful and the agreeable feeling). That gap is not actually a real gap, but that is when you experience neutral feeling. Neutral feeling is so difficult to perceive that you may not know that you are experiencing neutral feeling. Meditators have this kind of experience. So it is said that you know this kind of feeling by inference.


A hunter chases a deer. When the deer runs, the hunter follows it. He follows looking at the deer’s hoof prints. Suppose the deer walks on a piece of rock. On the piece of rock there are no hoof prints. The hunter sees hoof prints leading to the rock. When the hunter sees the hoof prints on the other side of the rock, he infers that the deer must have run on the rock. In the same way a yogi infers: There was disagreeable feeling previously and then there is an agreeable feeling; between these two I was not aware that there was neutral feeling, but that is the neutral feeling. Neutral feeling is not easy to perceive, not easy to know, when you experience it. The others are very obvious.


Student: Bhante, if you look at neutral sensations, like the weight of your hand on your knee and investigate, if you have agreeable, or disagreeable, or neutral feeling, can you conclude that is the neutral feeling because it is neither agreeable nor disagreeable?


Teacher: Yes. If it is neither pleasant nor unpleasant, that is the neutral feeling. Then there is worldly feeling and unworldly feeling. There is worldly feeling that is agreeable, worldly feeling that is disagreeable, worldly feeling that is indifferent.  ‘Worldly’ means what you experience in the world. That means what you experience outside meditation, outside the spiritual practice. That is called ‘worldly’. So worldly agreeable feeling is when you eat something you like, when you are with someone you love and so on. At that time there is worldly agreeable feeling. When you lose something, or when you lose someone, or when you are disappointed, there is worldly disagreeable feeling. If you are with feeling that is neither agreeable nor disagreeable, there is worldly indifferent or neutral feeling.


What is unworldly feeling? It is that which you experience in spiritual practices, in meditation practices. When you meditate, sometimes you have good meditation or good concentration. So you are happy at that time. When you are happy, when your meditation is good, then you have this unworldly agreeable feeling. But sometimes you have disagreeable feeling. You have pain here and there. There is disagreeable feeling. Also sometimes you are frustrated. You are depressed. You cannot meditate well. You even want to give up. So then there is disagreeable feeling. That disagreeable feeling comes from the practice of meditation.


Sometimes especially when you reach the higher stages of vipassanÈ practice, you are so adept at keeping  mindfulness that it is almost effortless. You do not have to make much effort to be mindful. Your mindfulness is always there. Whatever objects come up you are able to be mindful of them. You don’t have to make special effort for that. At that time you experience unworldly neutral or indifferent feeling.


The Buddha said that unworldly disagreeable feeling, although is disagreeable, yet it is desirable. It can instigate us to make more effort to practice more in order to get results. There is a story which I have told quite often. There was a monk who was a very learned monk and who was the teacher of thousands of monks. There were thousands of Arahants among his pupils. But he was still an ordinary person, a worldling. One day his pupil came to him and taught him a lesson by asking him to teach him how to give a Dhamma talk. The teacher said that he was busy and could not teach him. The pupil asked him to please teach him when he was about ready to go to the village for alms. The teacher answered that there were other monks asking hi questions then. And so at every moment of the day he was busy. At the end the pupil said: “Bhante, you don’t even seem to have the time to die. You are too busy. Many people depend upon you, rely upon your wisdom, your knowledge, but you are not a reliance for yourself. You should have at least time for sitting quietly and practicing meditation.” Then he said: “I don’t want to learn anything from you.” Then he went back. So the pupil came just to teach a lesson to his teacher.


The teacher got the message and he went away without telling anybody. He went to another place to practice meditation. He thought to himself: “A person that is so learned like me can get enlightenment in two or three days.” He went away and practiced two or three days, but he did not become enlightened. So he said to himself: “I thought I would become an Arahant in two or three days, but I haven’t. OK. I will practice for three months.” So he practiced for three months, trying very hard to get enlightenment, but he didn’t get enlightenment at the end of the three months. It went on, and on,  and on for how many years? 29 years. At the end of each vassa period (rainy season period) he would cry because his friends and pupils were Arahants and free from defilements, while he was still a puthujjana. So he cried and cried. At the end of the 29th vassa he was crying. While he was crying, he heard someone else crying too. He asked: “Who is crying?” Someone answered: “I am a deity here.” The monk asked: “Why are you crying?” The deity replied: “I saw you crying. So I thought I could get enlightenment too by crying.” So the monk said to himself: “Even the deity is making a joke with you.” He practiced again. At that time he was successful. He became an Arahant. In the Commentaries it is said that the sorrow and the depression experienced by that monk is the unworldly disagreeable feeling. This unworldly disagreeable feeling instigated him to practice more and more. So in the end he became enlightened.


Whatever feeling there is and if it is prominent, we have to be mindful of that feeling. We have to make notes of that feeling whether it is a good feeling, a bad feeling, or a neutral feeling. Sometimes we think only when there is a bad feeling, only when there is pain, are we to be mindful. That is not true. Sometimes we have a very good feeling. We are happy practicing meditation. You must be mindful of that too. If you are not mindful of your happiness at that time, you will be carried away by that happiness. You will become elated. You will lose concentration. Whether you are happy or sad, whatever the feeling is, you must be mindful. You must pay attention to the feeling which is prominent at the present moment. There are nine kinds of feeling mentioned in the Sutta. Any one of these feelings is always with us. When it becomes prominent, we make ourselves mindful of that feeling. “Thus he dwells contemplation of the feelings, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both.” This is real vipassanÈ meditation.


“The disciple understands that the expression ‘I feel’ has no validity except as a conventional expression; he understands that, in the absolute sense, there are only feelings, and there is no Ego, no experiencer of the feelings.” When he concentrates on feeling and when he sees feeling clearly, then he sees there is only feeling and there is no one who feels. He cannot find anyone who is feeling actually. He just sees at that time the feeling in the mind and the sensation in the body, just these two going together at that particular moment. When he sees that there is only the experience of the sensation in the mind and the sensation in the body, just these two, on and on and on, then he understands that the expression ‘I feel’ has no validity. There is no ‘I’ which can feel. So there is just feeling. That is why it is important that when you have especially pain, that you are not to identify it with yourself. I always say: “Try to see it as a sensation separate from you. Try to separate it from you. Look at it as just a sensation - not your sensation, not your pain, or not that you are feeling pain, but just that there is pain there, and there is watching here (‘Watching’ means mindfulness.).” So there are only these two things at the time of pain or at the time of happiness. When one sees clearly that there are only these two things, one comes to know that the expressions ‘I feel’, ‘you feel’, ‘a person feels’ are just conventional expressions. They are just for the convenience of usage. In the absolute sense there are only feelings. There is no ego, no experiencer of the feelings.


The next one is Contemplation of the Mind. “But how does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind? Herein the disciple knows the greedy mind as greedy and the not greedy mind as not greedy, knows the hating mind as hating, and the not hating mind as not hating” and so on. Now here ‘mind’ means consciousness. If we differentiate the components of mind, this is the contemplation of consciousness. In Buddha’s teachings mind is a combination of two things. One is the awareness of the object and the other is the mental states accompanying that awareness of the object. These two are collectively called ‘mind’. When we say ‘mind’ in the Buddhist sense, we mean these two together - the awareness of the object and the other mental factors arising together with that awareness. Only when there is awareness of the object, can there be feeling of the object, attachment to the object, or understanding of the object and so on. The awareness of the object is the chief of the two. Awareness of the object is what is called ‘consciousness’ in Buddhist Abhidhamma. When we say ‘consciousness’, we mean the pure awareness of the object without any mental states. In Buddha’s teachings these two are clearly defined - the awareness of the object or consciousness and mental factors or mental states.


There are many mental factors as there are many types of consciousness. They come into combination in different ways. You have to study Abhidhamma to understand all of these. When our consciousness is accompanied by greed, or attachment, or craving, then our consciousness is said to be greedy or with greed. Or it may be with hate, with delusion. When our minds are fee from akusala, then they are free from greed, free from hate, free from delusion.


Sometimes even during meditation attachment can come to us, to our mind. Sometimes it is not just weak attachment, but strong attachment or even craving arises in our mind even during meditation. So yogis are expected to be mindful of such mental stated when they arise in their minds. Here the mindfulness is not of the mental state itself but of the consciousness which is accompanied by this mental state. If you concentrate on the mental state, you are not doing contemplation of consciousness. You are doing contemplation of dhamma objects. In actual practice you are not to ask yourself whether you are doing the contemplation of consciousness or the contemplation of dhamma objects. Whatever is there at the present moment which becomes prominent, you take that as the object. In actual practice you don’t have to worry about what kind of contemplation you are doing at the moment. If you are worrying about that, your mind is distracted from the object of meditation. In actual practice don’t worry about which contemplation you are doing at the moment. Be mindful of the thing at the present moment. So long as you can be mindful of the thing at the present moment, you are doing the right thing. You are doing fine.


Here a yogi is mindful of consciousness. Since consciousness cannot arise alone (It is always accompanied by mental states.), it is called ‘greedy mind’, ‘mind with hate’, ‘deluded mind’ and so on.


“He knows the cramped mind as cramped, and the scattered mind as scattered.” What is a ‘cramped mind’? ‘Cramped mind’ really means that you are sleepy. When you are sleepy, you don’t want to meditate. You don’t want to keep your mind on the object. So your mind is receding or something like that. It is called ‘cramped’ here. In PÈÄi it is thÊna-middha (sloth and torpor). When there is sloth and torpor, your mind is said to be in a cramped state. Sometimes it is compared to putting a feather in the fire. When you put a feather in the fire, it burns and shrinks. Here a ‘cramped mind’ means a shrunken mind. ‘Scattered mind’ means a mind that is not able to be on the object properly or on the object squarely. That is what is called ‘scattered’ here. It is not distracted to other objects, but it is unable to take the object firmly. That is what is called ‘scattered mind’ here. It is not a distracted mind. Distracted mind will come later. Here ‘scattered mind’ means - sometimes you try to concentrate. You try to see the object clearly, but you don’t see it. Right? It happens quite often to meditators. You try to see the breath clearly or the movements of the abdomen clearly, but you don’t see them clearly. The mind is something like out of focus. The PÈÄi word used here is ‘uddhacca’. ‘Uddhacca’ means trembling above. So it is not on the object, not stuck to the object, but it is above the object and maybe moving of shaking above it.


“He knows the developed mind as developed, and the undeveloped mind as undeveloped; knows the surpassable mind as surpassable and the unsurpassable mind as unsurpassable.” When there is a better mind than this, then you know it is surpassable. When there is no better mind than this, then it is unsurpassable.


“He knows the concentrated mind as concentrated, and the unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated.” Here ‘unconcentrated’ means distracted towards other objects.


“He knows the freed mind as freed, and the unfreed mind as unfreed.” ‘Freed’ does not mean here totally freed or absolutely freed. The yogi described here is practicing vipassanÈ meditation. During vipassanÈ he can free his mind from mental defilements only temporarily, not permanently. When it becomes permanently freed, that means he has reached the enlightenment stage. Here he has not yet reached the enlightenment stage. He is going toward the enlightenment stage. Here ‘freed’ does not mean totally freed or freed once and for all, but temporarily freed.


These states of mind or these moments of consciousness also a meditator comes to be aware of if he pays attention, if he pays close attention to whatever is present at the present moment.


“Citta (mind) is here used as a collective term for the cittas, or moments of consciousness. Citta being identical with viÒÒÈÓa, or consciousness, should not be translated as ‘thought’. ‘Thought’ and ‘thinking’ correspond rather to the ‘verbal operations of the mind’: vitakka (thought-conception) and vicÈra (discursive thinking), which belong to Sa~khÈra Khandha.” Verbal operations of the mind - that is very true because when we think we are talking to ourselves. This is contemplation of consciousness.


When we are actually in the practice, we do not confine ourselves to one contemplation only. We take what comes. At one moment the prominent thing may be the body, or the actions of the body, or the movement of the body. At another time a sensation may become prominent. Yet at another time you may be aware of your mind. So in actual practice we are not confined to one contemplation only. We practice maybe all four contemplations in one sitting. Here the Buddha wants us to understand each one clearly, one not mixed with another. Therefore these contemplations are given isolated one from the other, one not mixed with the other. But in actual practice we practice all four contemplations, all four contemplations even I one sitting.


Student: Bhante, could you discuss the footnote about the difference between thought and thinking?


Teacher: Thought and thinking correspond to vitakka and vicÈra.


Student: “ ‘Thought’ and ‘thinking’ correspond rather to the ‘verbal operations of the mind’.” My question is why the word ‘verbal’ is in there?


Teacher: Vitakka and vicÈra are described in PÈÄi as vÈci-sa~khÈra. ‘VÈci-sa~khÈra’ means makers of speech, something like that.  Before we talk, we think in our mind.

Student: Is there any kind of thought that is perceived as non-verbal thought, like visual thought? I can see where these would always precede speech, but some thoughts seem to be pictures, not words.

Teacher: Then they may not have anything to do with vitakka and vicÈra here. Vitakka is now generally translated as initial application of the mind and vicÈra is sustained application of the mind to the object. Vitakka is like the first encounter and vicÈra is the sustained experience of the object. OK. We should stop now. Contemplation of dhamma objects, we will carry on with that in the next class.


                                      SÈdhu!                SÈdhu!                    SÈdhu!