Right Mindfulness






When one follows the Tathagata's gradual training path, which includes renunciation, fostering strong virtue, adhering to precepts, skillfully guarding the sense doors, practicing moderation in eating, and dedicating themselves to wakefulness and alertness, unskillful qualities of mind and behavior are greatly diminished. This sets the stage for the practice of Right Mindfulness.

In simpler terms, one has greatly lessened the coarse affliction of body, speech, actions, and livelihood, has greatly decreased disturbances in one's life, and is dedicated to being alert and mindful of one's thoughts and actions in their daily life. One has gained enough tranquility that they can now address more subtle forms of clinging and aversion, specifically clinging to the Five Aggregates themselves.

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And what, disciples, is to be done? You should be endowed with mindfulness and clear knowing.

When going forward and returning....
When looking ahead and looking away, endowed with clear knowing.

When bending and stretching.. .
When wearing the robe and carrying the bowl...
When eating, drinking, chewing, and savoring...
When urinating and defecating...

When walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, speaking, and keeping silent, endowed with clear knowing.

This is how you should train, disciples.

MN39

What is Right Mindfulness?

So how is Right Mindfulness different from the mindfulness of practicing virtue, guarding the sense doors, mindfulness in eating, and in the practice of wakefulness?

In these previous practices, our attention is on practicing mindfulness in regard to the objects of the "world." That is, being mindful and paying attention to our movements, actions, speech, mind states, and how our mind makes contact with objects of the "world."

Right Mindfulness, whether walking, sitting, standing, or lying down, requires a more subtle level of attention, with attention placed at the source of these bodily, verbal, mental and volitional formations, at the Five Aggregates themselves.

As covered before, phenomena like time and space, and our sense of self as a separate being apart from the objects of the world, are not inherent characteristics of light waves coming in contact with our eyes or sound waves sensed by our ears. This three-dimensional world, in which we perceive ourselves as separate from objects of the world, is created by the Five Aggregates to facilitate our interaction with the environment. In other words, to make things relevant to our survival stand out from the environment.

In nature, this cognitive process, which the Tathagata calls the Five Aggregates, does not generally cause a problem because the mind cannot cling to what is constantly changing and infinitely variable. Also when one is alone in nature, one cannot cling to perceptions and get lost in thoughts, one must constantly be mindful, aware for any dangers lurking from all possible directions.

In contrast to nature, modern humans have completely surrounded themselves with semi-permanent structures, material goods, ways of thinking, and habits, in the desire to control nature, to obtain stability and lasting satisfaction. This false sense of permanence also perpetuates the ignorance that the body, perceptions, feelings, intentions, and cognition itself have some permanence, substance, and can be relied upon to obtain happiness, what we call clinging to the Five Aggregates.

When we cling to the objectification created by the Five Aggregates, judgements of good or bad, labels created by perceptions, cling to desires, intentions and thoughts in regard to these perceptions and feelings, this is the arising of greed, aversion, and delusion, along with the resulting stress.

A liberated person, on the other hand, knows that nothing in this world is intrinsically good or bad, and that all perceptions, feelings, and thoughts are products of the five aggregates and, taken by themselves, are empty of any substance.

A liberated person's mind sees through these distortions and enhancements in cognition. Their mind does not cling to any objectification. Instead, they see the underlying reality, rendering perceptions and thoughts harmless.

So, regarding the mindfulness of a non-liberated person, any forms, perceptions, feelings, memories, and thoughts are experienced as formations that appear as separate objects in awareness, that are grasped and clung to, which causes stress.

If, on the other hand, attention is fully established not on the objects of the "world" but in awareness itself, established in memory, at the Five Aggregates, then since there is no perceiver or objects being perceived, bodily, verbal, and mental formations do not arise. Thus, there are no objects to be grasped and no one to take them personally.

When mindfulness is fully established at the Five Aggregates, in awareness itself, this quiets the mind sufficiently so that the knowing element inherent in awareness or intuition can accurately discern and see things as they really are.

That is, without the inherent restlessness and continual grasping to objects getting in the way of true seeing, one can see the underlying reality and the objectification process.

One clearly knows and sees for oneself that it is clinging to the body that gives rise to a majority of the stress and suffering in one's life. One sees that whenever there is no clinging to the body, the majority of formations disappear, along with their stress and suffering.

The goal of practicing Right Mindfulness is to collect and establish attention fully in memory (awareness) and not scattered among the objects of the "world." To let go of clinging to the Five Aggregates, starting with the body, the Form Aggregate.

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Or he remains aware on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the body.

MN 10


Right Mindfulness of the Body

Remember that the formation of the body, the form aggregate as we know it in our mind, is made up of perceptions, feelings, intentions, and phenomena, which together contribute to the fabrication of the image of the body in our mind. These are all mental images and volition that have been created in the mind over time, are continually reinforced and have become deeply ingrained in memory.

So, for example, in the act of looking, the perceptions of our eyes, nose, facial muscles, our facial expressions, jaws, the way of looking, etc., are so ingrained in memory that we no longer pay attention to them, but instead accept these feelings and perceptions to be part of the body, and the intentions behind the looking, as who we are.

Because of the mental constraints imposed by these ingrained perceptions and intentions in regard to the body, we ignorantly believe that the mind is somehow attached and constrained by the body, or the mind is "in" the body, or the body is in the mind.

The goal of mindfulness of the body is to break clinging, detach from these perceptions, feelings, intentions, and ingrained memories and dissolve the illusion that the mind is attached to, or constrained by the body, or that the body is part of the self.

This requires that we become aware of the many layers of feelings, perceptions, and intentions ingrained in memory regarding the mind's attachment to the body. Seeing for oneself that they are unsubstantial, fleeting, and impermanent. That clinging to these perceptions and intentions constrains the mind and wisdom, leads to ignorance and suffering.

It also requires seeing that the physical body is not under our control in the way we think it is. It is a product of nature, made from the elements, subject to change, illness, pain, aging, decay, and death. In other words, we will need to learn how to detach and let go of the mind's clinging to the physical body as we cannot control what is experienced through the physical senses, for example discomfort, illness, and pain, or the appearance of aging and decay.

We can however, not cling to the mental feelings, perceptions, intentions and thoughts that are generated as a result of physical experiences. Through wholesome intentions and actions, we can take steps to lessen and even prevent illness and pain, by for example following a healthy lifestyle. We can also lessen and completely eliminate the mental suffering related to aging and death.

One let's go of clinging to the physical body by practicing Right Mindfulness of the body, which is abiding in awareness of the body, the Form Aggregate, and keeping track in memory, seeing the impermanent, always-changing nature of phenomena originating, arising, passing away, and ceasing in the body.

One has to see for oneself that all these phenomena in the body neither exist nor do not exist, are neither real nor not real, and that clinging to these phenomena and clinging to the Form Aggregate give bodily phenomena the appearance of some permanence and substance, which results in the arising and propagation of thoughts, greed, aversion, and delusion in regard to the body.

Stress results when we cling to the arising, the appearance of phenomena, but do not pay attention to or keep track in memory of their passing away and cessation. This clinging causes them to at least temporarily become ingrained in memory, which causes stress and suffering when the clinging to perceptions leads to the propagation of thoughts, greed and aversion.

As part of the practice of Mindfulness of the Body, we must see the insubstantial nature and completely detach ourselves from these ingrained memories so that awareness is completely free, unobstructed, unbound, and not constrained by these ingrained perceptions of the body.

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What if I were to dwell with a mind that is vast, exalted, and overcoming the world, established in mindfulness?

For while I dwell with a mind that is vast, exalted, and overcoming the world, established in mindfulness, those evil, unwholesome mental states of covetousness, ill will, and contention will not exist.

With their abandonment, my mind will be unlimited, immeasurable, and well developed.

For one who practices in this way and frequently abides in this state, the mind becomes confident.

With confidence, one either attains the imperturbable here and now or is resolved upon wisdom.

MN106


Appropriate Attention

Right mindfulness requires appropriate attention.

The basic principle of appropriate attention is that attention must be placed at the origin or "womb" of the problem, which is stress and suffering, and one must pay attention in such a way that it reduces, or removes stress.

Although all feelings, perceptions, sensations, and thoughts continually arise, pass away, and cease naturally, we cling to things existing or not existing.

Stress results from paying attention solely to the arising of sensations and thoughts, clinging to their details while disregarding or ignoring their passing away and cessation, and their underlying emptiness. In other words, we cling to thoughts and perceptions even though they have already passed away and ceased naturally on their own.

In the practice of Right Mindfulness, appropriate attention is placing attention at the Five Aggregates, the origin of the formations, paying attention to the origination and especially the passing away of these formations, but not getting entangled with them.

This is because one can't clearly see the arising and passing away of formations when one is interacting with or entangled in them. Where you actively pay attention, there is past intention or karma which manifests in greed, aversion and delusion when there is contact with the six senses. This causes the mind to fabricate new feelings, perceptions, intentions, and consciousnesses. This gets in the way of true seeing. To have appropriate attention, we need to keep attention at the source of the formations, the Five Aggregates themselves.

For example, in regard to mindfulness of the body, any sensations or thoughts that arise are the result of clinging to the body itself. If we try to let go of clinging to the body by interacting with any of these sensations or thoughts, this would be inappropriate attention, as the sensations and thoughts are symptoms of clinging to the body, and not the clinging itself.

In the same way that an aspirin can only temporarily cure a headache, working with sensations or thoughts does not address the source of the problem, clinging to the body.

Instead, we must address the problem at the source: clinging to the physical body being under our control, clinging to the perceptions, feelings, intentions, and memory of the body as something substantial, permanent, and belonging to self.


Hijacking of Awareness

Appropriate attention also requires understanding how the mind "hijacks" awareness. Just as clinging to the body causes the mind and awareness to be constrained by perceptions of the body, clinging to the mind causes awareness to be constrained or "hijacked" by the volitional processes of the mind.

Generally speaking, people in the modern world are "stuck" or "trapped" in their thoughts.

For example, if you were to ask someone to pay attention to the sensations in their feet, they will likely look or go through their mind or thoughts, instead of directly accessing awareness at the feet. In other words, most people are not aware that awareness is something separate from the mind, and that you can access it directly.

Clinging results when people only pay attention to the objectification created by the mind, while ignoring the underlying reality present in awareness.

Furthermore, people mistakenly believe that it is the mind that is the source of intelligence. Because of clinging to the mind, they mistake the process of cognition or objectification as intelligence itself.

However, in reality, true intelligence comes not from the process of cognition but from insight, when the mind is free from objectification, what the Tathagata calls "knowing," which along with memory is inherent in awareness. "Knowing" arises, not when we want it to, but when the causes and conditions are in place for it's arising. That is, when we see things as they really are, and see their causes and conditions.

What people mistake for intelligence is the after-the-fact process, when the mind has taken the insight and summarized it by adding labels, value judgments, logical inductions and reasoning, verbal summarization, and propagation into thoughts.

Because of clinging to the mind, most people are not aware of this intelligence, and instead only pay attention to the resulting objectification created by the mind.

The problem is that the very process of objectification or cognition requires the reduction or ignoring of information, logical induction, which is subject to corruption and faulty conclusions.

In other words, people wrongly believe that one must use the mind to make sense of the world, while in fact, it is clinging to the mind that obscures clear seeing.

Right Mindfulness and proper attention require one to be able to access awareness directly, pay attention to the underlying reality, without attention getting trapped or "hijacked" by the mind's volitional objectification processes that "enhance" reality but cloud clear seeing.

Practically speaking, this means developing seeing and knowing that is always aware of the underlying, unobjectified reality, free of the injection of self. This is sometimes called awareness watching awareness, or non-dual awareness. A better description, however, is "abiding in awareness."

Because these volitional mental processes that cling to sensations and create the illusion of self can be very subtle to discern, more and more subtle levels of appropriate attention and contemplation are required to ensure that we see things "as they really are."

Finally, in the same way that ignorance causes the mind to be constrained within the body and awareness to be hijacked by the mind's volitional processes, awareness is trapped in the "cave" of consciousness.


What is contemplation

Contemplation is seeing things as they really are, along with their causes and conditions. Wisdom arises when causes and conditions are right, and not by trying to come to a logical conclusion.

In regards to contemplation of the body, we need to see for ourselves how we cling to the physical body, see for ourselves the insubstantial nature of all phenomena, and learn to detach from this clinging by being aware of the underlying unobjectified reality.

No instructions can be given to explain how to detach from clinging to the physical body, because it is beyond the confines of logical thinking. This is something one has to contemplate, discover, and practice for oneself. By seeing things as they really are, seeing the underlying reality, sometimes called "the ground of being", and by contemplating causes and conditions, insight will arise. When insight arises, the way of practice becomes clear. With practice, one gradually detaches from clinging to the body.

We must, however, be careful not to cling to the logical conclusions or views created whenever wisdom or insights arise, as this will hamper or cloud deeper insight. In other words, logical conclusions or views are by nature incomplete representations of reality and must be seen as lacking any inherent substance or truth.

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And, friend, wisdom and consciousness:

Are these states conjoined or disjoined? And is it possible to distinguish between them to describe them separately?

Wisdom and consciousness, friend: These states are conjoined, not disjoined. And it is not possible to distinguish between them to describe them separately.

What one understands, that one knows; what one knows, that one understands. Therefore, these states are conjoined, not disjoined. And it is not possible to distinguish between them to describe them separately.

And, friend, wisdom and consciousness:

For these conjoined states, not disjoined, what is the distinction?

Wisdom and consciousness, friend: For these conjoined states, not disjoined, wisdom should be developed, consciousness should be fully understood. This is their distinction.

MN43







True Right Mindfulness

Author: Linmu

For most people, the concept of "right mindfulness" and "right discernment" is very vague. Here, I'll use a popular saying from the internet that might help everyone grasp what "right mindfulness" and "right discernment" mean more clearly.

Resaerch has shown that teh order of English characters does not necessarily affect reading comperhension.

After reading this sentence, I believe many people didn't notice that the characters in the sentence are actually jumbled. Strictly speaking, this sentence doesn't convey any meaning, but our brains overlook this fact.

In this example, ignoring the position of each character while reading the sentence is an example of "not having right mindfulness." Because of "not having right mindfulness," various understandings and concepts generated in the mind are also not accurate, which is "not having right discernment." If we had initially paid attention to each character and its position as they are, that would be "right mindfulness," and the various accurate understandings and concepts arising from "right mindfulness" would be "right discernment."

The correct understanding of a sentence is based on having accurate knowledge of the words, just as the correct understanding of the world is based on having accurate knowledge of consciousness.

It's important to note that there is nothing within the body and mind that can observe or be aware of other things. All cognition is the result of interactions between the senses and objects. So, to have right knowledge of consciousness itself, nothing else is needed to know or observe consciousness. It's like a self-illuminating light source; it doesn't need another light to shine upon it.

There's also no need to actively observe; consciousness is always arising, various forms of awareness are also always arising. This world doesn't cease to exist because we don't make an effort to observe it, and our sense of existence and various emotions and feelings don't disappear because we don't make an effort to observe them.

Just as I wrote in "My Meditation Experience":

One day during meditation, I thought, If I don't make an effort to observe, does that mean I won't know what's happening in the present moment? Will I become completely unaware like a piece of wood?' The answer was very clear—no one turns into a piece of wood just because they're not trying to observe.

So, at that moment, I completely renounced, gave up all active and passive observations and all acts of will. I simply allowed phenomena of body and mind to arise and pass away on their own. The restless me suddenly became calm, and the phenomena of body and mind became even clearer than before, but I was no longer involved in them. My mind remained stable in a state beyond all phenomena.

A form of knowing, one that I had never experienced or seen before, arose: when phenomena of body and mind occurred, there was already knowing within them. There was no need for extra, redundant observation. This knowing was the inherent function of the phenomena themselves. What people call 'observation' is nothing more than another phenomenon arising afterwards.

It reminded me of an insight I had years ago when I first started practicing meditation. At that time, I simply paid attention to what arose on a small patch of water's surface. Following a similar feeling now, I no longer actively observed the phenomena of body and mind; I only pay attention to what knowing arises within the scope of body and mind.

Nowadays, my concentration is completely different from what it used to be. When I use this method again, the knowing generated by the phenomena of body and mind is timely, complete, and clear, while I remain relaxed, as if I had just taken a heavy burden off my shoulders.

Just like between a worker and a boss, previously, I kept observing the phenomena of body and mind, like a worker continually doing a job, exhausted but earning meager wages. Now, I've discovered that knowing is the inherent function of the phenomena of body and mind themselves, so I no longer need to do this job. I only need to collect the results of labor from these workers (inherent knowing in consciousness), which is not only effortless but also highly profitable."

If you can understand this point, you won't waste time on incorrect methods of so-called observation. Instead, you'll simply pay attention to what consciousness arises and what knowing arises in every moment, everywhere. You won't miss it, won't overlook it, and won't misunderstand it. Through this, ignorance is eliminated, and right knowing arises. When right knowing arises, the inner logical induction, analysis, summarization, and reflection will remove past misunderstandings, eliminate wrong thoughts, and produce right mindfulness.


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There are, Poṭṭhapāda, three acquisitions of self for me: the gross acquisition of self, the mind-made acquisition of self, and the formless acquisition of self.

And what, Poṭṭhapāda, is the gross acquisition of self? It is the one with form, composed of the four great elements, feeding on physical food; this is called the gross acquisition of self.

And what is the mind-made acquisition of self? It is the one with form, mind-made, complete in all its parts, not deficient in any sense organ; this is called the mind-made acquisition of self.

And what is the formless acquisition of self? It is the one without form, made of perception; this is called the formless acquisition of self.

And, Poṭṭhapāda, I teach the Dhamma for the abandoning of the gross acquisition of self... And, Poṭṭhapāda, I teach the Dhamma for the abandoning of the mind-made acquisition of self... And, Poṭṭhapāda, I teach the Dhamma for the abandoning of the formless acquisition of self...

As you practice, defiling qualities will be abandoned, and wholesome qualities will grow, leading to the fulfillment of wisdom and the attainment of full understanding in this very life, living having realized it with your own insight.

DN9


The Physical, Mental and Formless body

To abandon clinging to the Form Aggregate, one will need to contemplate and discern the difference between the physical body, the mental body, and the formless body. We should first let go of clinging to the physical body before the mental and formless bodies can be addressed.

The physical body is what most people understand as the body, what they can observe, touch, smell, hear, and taste through their senses.

The mental body is the perceptions, feelings, volitional formations, and consciousness or objectification created from these physical sensations by the mind.

The formless body is awareness that is free from mentally created physical constraints. There is only the perception of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, or neither perception nor no perception.

The Physical Body

Because of the mental constraints imposed by ingrained perceptions and intentions in regard to the body, the mind ignorantly believes it is somehow attached and constrained by the physical body. So for example when the physical body experiences pain, it becomes the mind's pain. Or when sensations coming through the six senses are not in line with perceptions stored in memory of how the physical body should, or should not be, this also causes stress.

In regard to the physical body, one will need to see that the physical body and the senses are not under the mind's control in the way we think they are. Also, it is not possible for the mind to experience the physical body apart from memory, feelings, perceptions, volitional formations, and the phenomena created by conciousness.

Stress arises because, feelings, perceptions, and intentions regarding the body can never be substantial, dependable or satisfactory. This is because the body is made up of natural elements, including, cells, organs and body parts, which are subject to natural forces and the environment, constantly changing, subject to illness, pain, aging, decay and death, which are not under the mind's control.

Stress and suffering arises every time the ingrained perceptions or intentions do not match with the underlying reality sensed by the six senses and when these changes are taken personally, for example when experiencing pain, discomfort, sickness, decay of appearance, or lack of energy.

To let go of clinging to the physical body, one must learn to discern the difference between sensations like pain, which are a physical phenomenon, and suffering, which is a mental phenomenon, and recognize how for example, the perception of physical pain is increased considerably by mental fabrications when the mind takes physical pain personally, as it's own pain.

In other words, we cannot stop the sensation of physical pain manifesting in the body, as pain is a natural process. We can however, let the mind be detached, unaffected by the physical body, not label a sensation as pain, judge a sensation as either good or bad, we can let go of the notion that any sensation should or should not be there, and let go of the view an intention that one's body should always be pain free, all which cause stress and suffering.

In reality, it's this pushing and pulling, the expectations, wanting the body to be a certain way, and the clinging to the body that causes stress and suffering.

For example, as one develops a more subtle discernment of the breath, one realizes that trying to control the breath physically and mechanically results in increased stress.

If we try to control the breath mechanically, this creates tension. The more we try to physically control it or micromanage the breath, the more tension, and the less smooth and calm the breath becomes.

Conversely, if we work only with the mental sensations and perceptions and not the physical breath, we reduce clinging and stress, resulting in a calm breath and body.

To reduce clinging to the body at the coarse level, we must see for ourselves that the physical body is not what it appears to be, that our senses are not under our control in the way we think, and that we only have control over how we interact, or react to, the mind-created aspects of the body: form, feelings, perceptions, intentions, and phenomena.

Practices like mindfulness of breathing, visualization of the 32 body parts, mindfulness of death, and contemplation of the elements are practices that help reduce and completely detach oneself from clinging to the physical body.

One will need to learn to detach oneself, let go of clinging to the physical body and instead abide in the mental body, detached from clinging to the physical aspect of existance.

The Mental Body

In regard to the mental body, keep in mind that the mind is the forerunner to all experience. For example, when there is tightness in the mind, this appears as tightness in the body. When we let go of the tightness in the mind, this results in calmness in the body.

When there is tightness in the body, we should look for tightness in the mind and calm the tightness there.

In simple terms, one must become attuned to the mental body, the mind-made formations of perceptions, feelings, volitional formations, memory, etc., and work with the body on that level.

So in regard to lessening clinging to the mental body, the practice involves the calming, fading, cessation and letting go of mental formations, and freeing oneself from the illusion of attachment to the mental body.

One will need to learn to let go of clinging to the mental body and instead abide in the formless body, detached from mentally created physical constraints.

The formless body will be covered in Right Concentration.


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Disciples, when touched by a painful feeling, the unlearned ordinary person becomes distressed, laments, and becomes confused. He feels two kinds of feelings: physical and mental. Just as if a man were pierced by an arrow and, following the first arrow, he were pierced by a second arrow, so that person would feel feelings caused by two arrows...

However when touched by a painful feeling, the learned noble disciple does not become distressed, does not lament, does not become confused. He feels one kind of feeling: physical, not mental...

Being touched by that painful feeling, he does not harbor aversion towards it. When he does not harbor aversion towards painful feeling, the underlying tendency to aversion does not lie within him. Being touched by painful feeling, he does not desire sensual pleasure.

Why is that? Because the learned noble disciple knows of an escape from painful feeling other than sensual pleasure. As he does not desire sensual pleasure, the underlying tendency to lust does not lie within him. He understands as they actually are the origin and passing away, the gratification, danger, and escape in regard to these feelings.

Because he understands these things, the underlying tendency to ignorance does not lie within him. If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it detached. If he feels a painful feeling, he feels it detached. If he feels a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he feels it detached.

This is called a learned noble disciple who is detached from birth, aging, death, sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs, detached from suffering, I say.

SN36.6







The Simile of the Beauty Queen


The Simile of the Beauty Queen demonstrates the right mind state needed to practice Right Mindfulness when walking. When one is faced with extreme danger from all sides, the mind cannot be hampered or cling to self and its formations, which would obscure true seeing. All attention is on awareness itself, the Five Aggregates:








Minding the Body as Treading on Thin Ice

Author: Linmu

Before I understood the simile of the beauty queen in the scriptures, I contemplated how to avoid generating delusions and how to achieve complete right mindfulness regarding all phenomena occuring at my feet during walking meditation.

At that time, I thought of the phrase "as treading on thin ice."

Imagine walking on the fragile surface of a frozen lake. A momentary lapse in concentration, and you could fall through the ice. One must be extremely cautious, lightly touch the ice with their feet, slowly shift their weight, and only once one foot is steady, can you raise the other foot, move it, and touch the ice again.

Throughout this process, even during moments of standing still, attention is completely alert to all sensory perceptions underfoot. It's neither lax nor fixated, and certainly not distracted. Upon finding this sensation, I frequently practiced walking meditation in this manner.

On one occasion, with a mind of extraordinary clarity and right mindfulness, I recognized that when the sensation of my foot touching the ground arises, I immediately know that it's been touched. At that moment, various feelings arise, all independently arising, unentangled, and fleeting. They didn't exist before arising, and they don't persist after ceasing. They have no inherent existence, and they're devoid of substantiality.

When I mindlessly attached to these feelings, the perception of my foot, my movement, my awareness of movement, the intention, and the perceived cause and effect between them would give rise to thoughts. And within those thoughts existed craving and aversion.

Similarly, during movement and when standing still, my legs and body experienced various sensations, all of which were discrete and continually vanishing. When I mindlessly attached to these sensations, perceptions of my legs, my bodily movement, and my standing, corresponding thoughts rooted in craving and aversion would also arise.

I came to realize that the so-called "body" consists solely of diverse feelings originating from contact. These feelings are momentary and ever-changing, vanishing and reappearing. The various perceptions and thoughts that arise from these feelings have no intrinsic reality. They may appear rich and colorful, yet they are ultimately empty illusions.

During this time, I practiced right mindfulness by not attaching to feelings. I didn't cling to the arising perceptions or thoughts related to my body or movement. I refrained from speculative thinking and craving. My mind abided in liberation.

In the past, during my practice of Theravada Buddhism, I once believed that there was an intention for movement, and thus, movement of the legs existed. There was also a knowing mind that recognized this movement. But now, as I directly face the present, I understand that the only true reality is the arising of feelings due to contact. The concepts of "feet," "movement," "awareness of movement," "intention," and the causal relationships between them are simply perceptions and thoughts that arise from a lack of insight into the nature of feelings. When all feelings are mindfully acknowledged without clinging, all these illusory perceptions and thoughts vanish.

This is akin to an old-fashioned television, where the electrical impulses and the flickering of the screen only give rise to momentary flashes. The countless fleeting flashes create the illusion of a continuous image in our minds. It's due to people's thinking and memories about these ever-changing images that various narratives form. Yet, the only true reality within that TV is the instantaneous flickering of the electrons and the screen.

The movement of footparts is no different. The sensations in the feet and the contact with the ground give rise to momentary feelings. Numerous fleeting feelings create the perception of having feet. It's due to people's thoughts and memories about these changing perceptions that the concept of movement forms.

Subsequent analytical thoughts and the conception of intention cause movement. However, in reality, the only true phenomenon in the present moment is the diverse, fleeting feelings due to the contact of the feet.

This understanding applies to all sensory experiences: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and mental phenomena. As the Buddha stated: "Eye and visible form, eye-consciousness, and eye-contact give rise to eye-feeling. The same principle applies to ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind, as well as their respective sensory experiences, awareness, and contact, which give rise to feeling. This is what the Buddha termed 'all phenomena.'"

However, because people don't correctly perceive these real phenomena, scriptures can sometimes, mistake many illusory phenomena for reality. This confusion can mislead people onto the wrong path to liberation.

So, do not attempt to observe the body with a mind tainted by wrong views. Cultivate right view. With the similes of the beauty queen and treading on thin ice, consistently keep your mind on the body. Practice right mindfulness and right understanding. This is the contemplation of the body.

With much practice in contemplating the body, you'll be able to perceive feelings accurately. By contemplating feelings, you'll be able to perceive the mind accurately. With the contemplation of the mind, you can perceive all true phenomena accurately. And when you perceive them accurately, you'll cease to give rise to craving and aversion, and your mind will attain liberation.


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Ignorance, ignorance, it is said, venerable sir. What, venerable sir, is ignorance, and how is one bound by ignorance?

Here, disciple, an unlearned ordinary person does not know as it really is the nature of arising in form; does not know as it really is the nature of vanishing in form; does not know as it really is the nature of arising and vanishing in form.

SN22.126


The Tathagata explains to a desciple that ignorance is not knowing the Five Aggregates in terms of arising and passing away:


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Disciples, I declare the destruction of the taints for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know and does not see.

And what does one know and see for the destruction of the taints to occur?

This is form, this is the arising of form, this is the cessation of form;

this is feeling...

this is perception...

these are formations...

this is consciousness, this is the arising of consciousness, this is the cessation of consciousness:

Thus for one who knows and sees in this way, the destruction of the taints occurs.

SN22.126


Contemplating the arising and falling away of the Five Aggregates leads to knowing and liberation, but this may not be immediately apparent. The Tathagata illustrates this with similes of a hen brooding on her eggs, the wearing away of an axe handle, and the rotting of a ship’s rigging:



Aware Right at Awareness

Upāsikā Kee Nanayon

The mind, if mindfulness and awareness are watching over it, won’t meet with any suffering as the result of its actions. If suffering does arise, we’ll be immediately aware of it and able to put it out. This is one point of the practice we can work at constantly. And we can test ourselves by seeing how refined and subtle our all-around awareness is inside the mind. Whenever the mind slips away and goes out to receive external sensory contact: Can it maintain its basic stance of mindfulness or internal awareness? The practice we need to work at in our everyday life is to have constant mindfulness, constant all-around present awareness like this. This is something we work at in every posture: sitting, standing, walking, and lying down. Make sure that your mindfulness stays continuous.

Living in this world—the mental and physical phenomena of these five aggregates—gives us plenty to contemplate. We must try to watch them, to contemplate them, so that we can understand them—because the truths we must learn how to read in this body and mind are here to be read with every moment. We don’t have to get wrapped up with any other extraneous themes, because all the themes we need are right here in the body and mind. As long as we can keep the mind constantly aware all around, we can contemplate them.

If you contemplate mental and physical events to see how they arise and disband right in the here and now, and don’t get involved with external things—like sights making contact with the eyes, or sounds with the ears—then there really aren’t a lot of issues. The mind can be at stability, at equilibrium—calm and undisturbed by defilement or the stresses that come from sensory contact. It can look after itself and maintain its balance. You’ll come to sense that if you’re aware right at awareness in and of itself, without going out to get involved in external things like the mental labels and thoughts that will tend to arise, the mind will see their constant arising and disbanding—and won’t be embroiled in anything. This way it can be disengaged, empty, and free. But if it goes out to label things as good or evil, as “me” or “mine,” or gets attached to anything, it’ll become unsettled and disturbed.

You have to know that if the mind can be still, totally and presently aware, and capable of contemplating with every activity, then blatant forms of suffering and stress will dissolve away. Even if they start to form, you can be alert to them and disperse them immediately. Once you see this actually happening—even in only the beginning stages—it can disperse a lot of the confusion and turmoil in your heart. In other words, don’t let yourself dwell on the past or latch onto thoughts of the future. As for the events arising and passing away in the present, you have to leave them alone. Whatever your duties, simply do them as you have to—and the mind won’t get worked up about anything. It will be able, to at least some extent, to be empty and still.

This one thing is something you have to be very careful about. You have to see this for yourself: that if your mindfulness and discernment are constantly in charge, the truths of the arising and disbanding of mental and physical phenomena are always there for you to see, always there for you to know. If you look at the body, you’ll have to see it simply as physical properties. If you look at feelings, you’ll have to see them as changing and inconstant: pleasure, pain, neither pleasure nor pain. To see these things is to see the truth within yourself. Don’t let yourself get caught up with your external duties. Simply keep watch in this way inside. If your awareness is the sort that lets you read yourself correctly, the mind will be able to stay at stability, at equilibrium, at stillness, without any resistance.

If the mind can stay with itself and not go out looking for things to criticize or latch onto, it can maintain a natural form of stillness. So this is something we have to try for in our every activity. Keep your conversations to a minimum, and there won’t be a whole lot of issues. Keep watch right at the mind. When you keep watch at the mind and your mindfulness is continuous, your senses can stay restrained.

Being mindful to keep watch in this way is something you have to work at. Try it and see: Can you keep this sort of awareness continuous? What sort of things can still get the mind engaged? What sorts of thoughts and labels of good and bad, me and mine does it think up? Then look to see if these things arise and disband.

The sensations that arise from external contact and internal contact all have the same sorts of characteristics. You have to look till you can see this. If you know how to look, you’ll see it—and the mind will grow calm.

So the point we have to practice in this latter stage doesn’t have a whole lot of issues. There’s nothing you have to do, nothing you have to label, nothing you have to think a whole lot about. Simply look carefully and contemplate, and in this very lifetime you’ll have a chance to be calm and at peace, to know yourself more profoundly within. You’ll come to see that the Dhamma is amazing right here in your own heart. Don’t go searching for the Dhamma outside, for it lies within. Peace lies within, but we have to contemplate so that we’re aware all around—subtly, deep down. If you look just on the surface, you won’t understand anything. Even if the mind is stable on the ordinary, everyday level, you won’t understand much of anything at all.

You have to contemplate so that you’re aware all around in a skillful way. The word “skillful” is something you can’t explain with words, but you can know for yourself when you see the way in which awareness within the heart becomes special, when you see what this special awareness is about. This is something you can know for yourself.

And there’s not really much to it: simply arising, persisting, disbanding. Look until this becomes plain—really, really plain—and everything disappears. All suppositions, all conventional formulations, all those aggregates and properties get swept away, leaving nothing but awareness pure and simple, not involved with anything at all—and there’s nothing you have to do to it. Simply stay still and watch, be aware, letting go with every moment.

Simply watching this one thing is enough to do away with all sorts of defilements, all sorts of suffering and stress. If you don’t know how to watch it, the mind is sure to get disturbed. It’s sure to label things and concoct thoughts. As soon as there’s contact at the senses, it’ll go looking for things to latch onto, liking and disliking the objects it meets in the present and then getting involved with the past and future, spinning a web to entangle itself.

If you truly look at each moment in the present, there’s really nothing at all. You’ll see with every mental moment that things disband, disband, disband—really nothing at all. The important point is that you don’t go forming issues out of nothing. The physical elements perform their duties in line with their elementary physical nature. The mental elements keep sensing in line with their own affairs. But our stupidity is what goes looking for issues to cook up, to label, to think about. It goes looking for things to latch onto and then gets the mind into a turmoil. This point is all we really have to see for ourselves. This is the problem we have to solve for ourselves. If things are left to their nature, pure and simple, there’s no “us,” no “them.” This is a singular truth that will arise for us to know and see. There’s nothing else we can know or see that can match it in any way. Once you know and see this one thing, it extinguishes all suffering and stress. The mind will be empty and free, with no meanings, no attachments, for anything at all.

This is why looking inward is so special in so many ways. Whatever arises, simply stop still to look at it. Don’t get excited by it. If you become excited when any special intuitions arise when the mind is still, you’ll get the mind worked up into a turmoil. If you become afraid that this or that will happen, that too will get you in a turmoil. So you have to stop and look, stop and know. The first thing is simply to look. The first thing is simply to know. And don’t latch onto what you know—because whatever it is, it’s simply a phenomenon that arises and disbands, arises and disbands, changing as part of its nature.

So your awareness has to take a firm stance right at the mind in and of itself. In the beginning stages, you have to know that when mindfulness is standing firm, the mind won’t be affected by the objects of sensory contact. Keep working at maintaining this stance, holding firm to this stance. If you gain a sense of this for yourself, really knowing and seeing for yourself, your mindfulness will become even more firm. If anything arises in any way at all, you’ll be able to let it go—and all the many troubles and turmoils of the mind will dissolve away.

If mindfulness slips and the mind goes out giving meanings to anything, latching onto anything, troubles will arise, so you have to keep checking on this with every moment. There’s nothing else that’s so worth checking on. You have to keep check on the mind in and of itself, contemplating the mind in and of itself. Or else you can contemplate the body in and of itself, feelings in and of themselves, or the phenomenon of arising and disbanding—the Dhamma—in and of itself. All of these things are themes you can keep track of entirely within yourself. You don’t have to keep track of a lot of themes, because having a lot of themes is what will make you restless and distracted. First you’ll practice this theme, then you’ll practice that, then you’ll make comparisons, all of which will keep the mind from growing still.

If you can take your stance at awareness, if you’re skilled at looking, the mind can be at peace. You’ll know how things arise and disband. First practice keeping awareness right within yourself so that your mindfulness can be firm, without being affected by the objects of sensory contact, so that it won’t label things as good or bad, pleasing or displeasing. You have to keep checking to see that when the mind can be stable, centered and neutral as its primary stance, then—whatever it knows or sees—it will be able to contemplate and let go.

The sensations in the mind that we explain at such length are still on the level of labels. Only when there can be awareness right at awareness will you really be able to know that the mind that is aware of awareness in this way doesn’t send its knowing outside of this awareness. There are no issues. Nothing can be concocted in the mind when it knows in this way. In other words, an inward-staying unentangled knowing, all outward-going knowing cast aside.

The only thing you have to work at maintaining is the state of mind at stability—knowing, seeing, and still in the present. If you don’t maintain it, if you don’t keep looking after it, then when sensory contact comes it will have an effect. The mind will go out with labels of good and bad, liking and disliking. So make sure you maintain the basic awareness that’s aware right at yourself. And don’t let there be any labeling. No matter what sort of sensory contact comes, you have to make sure that this awareness comes first.

If you train yourself correctly in this way, everything will stop. You won’t go straying out through your senses of sight, hearing, etc. The mind will stop and look, stop and be aware right at awareness, so as to know the truth that all things arise and disband. There’s no real truth to anything. Only our stupidity is what latches onto things, giving them meanings and then suffering for it—suffering because of its ignorance, suffering because of its unacquaintance with the five aggregates—form, feelings, perceptions, thought-fabrications, and consciousness—all of which are inconstant, stressful, and not-self.

Use mindfulness to gather your awareness together, and the mind will stop getting unsettled, stop running after things. It will be able to stop and be still. Then make it know in this way, see in this way constantly—at every moment, with every activity. Work at watching and knowing the mind in and of itself: That will be enough to cut away all sorts of issues. You won’t have to concern yourself with them.

If the body is in pain, simply keep watch of it. You can simply keep watch of feelings in the body because the mind that’s aware of itself in this way can keep watch of anything within or without. Or it can simply be aware of itself to the point where it lets go of things outside, lets go of sensory contact, and keeps constant watch on the mind in and of itself. That’s when you’ll know that this is what the mind is like when it’s at peace: It doesn’t give meanings to anything. It’s the emptiness of the mind unattached, uninvolved, unconcerned with anything at all.

These words—unattached, uninvolved, and unconcerned—are things you have to consider carefully, because what they refer to is subtle and deep. “Uninvolved” means uninvolved with sensory contact, undisturbed by the body or feelings. “Unconcerned” means not worried about past, future, or present. You have to contemplate these things until you know them skillfully. Even though they’re subtle, you have to contemplate them until you know them thoroughly. And don’t go concerning yourself with external things, because they’ll keep you unsettled, keep you running, keep you distracted with labels and thoughts of good and bad and all that sort of thing. You have to put a stop to these things. If you don’t, your practice won’t accomplish anything, because these things keep playing up to you and deceiving you. In other words, once you see anything, it will fool you into seeing it as right, wrong, good, bad, and so forth.

Eventually you have to come down to the awareness that everything simply arises, persists, and then disbands. Make sure you keep attention on the disbanding. If you watch just the arising, you may get carried off on a tangent, but if you keep attention on the disbanding you’ll see emptiness: Everything is disbanding every instant. No matter what you look at, no matter what you see, it’s there for just an instant and then disbands. Then it arises again. Then it disbands. There’s simply arising, knowing, disbanding.

So let’s watch what happens of its own accord—because the arising and disbanding that occurs by way of the senses is something that happens of its own accord. You can’t prevent it. You can’t force it. If you look and know it without attachment, there will be none of the harm that comes from joy or sorrow. The mind will stay in relative stability and neutrality. But if you’re forgetful and start latching on, labeling things in pairs in any way at all—good and bad, happy and sad, pleasing and displeasing—the mind will become unsettled: no longer empty, no longer still. When this happens, you have to probe on in to know why.

All the worthless issues that arise in the mind have to be cut away. Then you’ll find that you have less and less to say, less and less to talk about, less and less to think about. These things grow less and less on their own. They stop on their own. But if you get involved in a lot of issues, the mind won’t be able to stay still. So we have to keep watching things that are completely worthless and without substance, to see that they’re not-self. Keep watching them repeatedly, because your awareness, coupled with the mindfulness and discernment that will know the truth, has to see that, “This isn’t my self. There’s no substance or worth to it at all. It simply arises and disbands right here. It’s here for just an instant and then it disbands.”

All we have to do is stop and look, stop and know clearly in this way, and we’ll be able to do away with many, many kinds of suffering and stress. The normal stress of the aggregates will still occur—we can’t prevent it—but we’ll know that it’s the stress of nature and won’t latch onto it as ours.

So we keep watch of things that happen on their own. If we know how to watch, we keep watching things that happen on their own. Don’t latch onto them as being you or yours. Keep this awareness firmly established in itself, as much as you can, and there won’t be much else you’ll have to remember or think about.

When you keep looking, keep knowing like this at all times, you’ll come to see that there are no big issues going on. There’s just the issue of arising, persisting, and disbanding. You don’t have to label anything as good or bad. If you simply look in this way, it’s no great weight on the heart. But if you go dragging in issues of good and bad, self and all that, then suffering starts in a big way. The defilements start in a big way and weigh on the heart, making it troubled and upset. So you have to stop and look, stop and investigate really deep down inside. It’s like water covered with duckweed: Only when we take our hand to part the duckweed and take a look will we see that the water beneath it is crystal clear.

As you look into the mind, you have to part it, you have to stop: stop thinking, stop labeling things as good or bad, stop everything. You can’t go branding anything. Simply keep looking, keep knowing. When the mind is quiet, you’ll see that there’s nothing there. Everything is all still. Everything has all stopped inside. But as soon as there’s labeling, even in the stillness, the stopping, the quiet, it will set things in motion. And as soon as things get set into motion, and you don’t know how to let go right from the start, issues will arise, waves will arise. Once there are issues and waves, they strike the mind and it goes splashing all out of control. This splashing of the mind includes craving and defilement as well, because avijjā—ignorance—lies at its root.

Our major obstacle is this aggregate of perceptions, of labels. If we aren’t aware of the arising and disbanding of perceptions, these labels will take hold. Perceptions are the chief instigators that label things within and without, so we have to be aware of their arising and disbanding. Once we’re aware in this way, perceptions will no longer function as a cause of suffering. In other words, they won’t give rise to any further thought-fabrications. The mind will be aware in itself and able to extinguish these things in itself.

So we have to stop things at the level of perception. If we don’t, thought-fabrications will fashion things into issues and then cause consciousness to wobble and waver in all sorts of ways. But these are things we can stop and look at, things we can know with every mental moment. If we aren’t yet really acquainted with the arising and disbanding in the mind, we won’t be able to let go. We can talk about letting go, but we can’t do it because we don’t yet know. As soon as anything arises we grab hold of it—even when actually it’s already disbanded, but since we don’t really see, we don’t know.

So I ask that you understand this basic principle. Don’t go grasping after this thing or that, or else you’ll get yourself all unsettled. The basic theme is within: look on in, keep knowing on in until you penetrate everything. The mind will then be free from turmoil. Empty. Quiet. Aware. So keep continuous watch of the mind in and of itself, and you’ll come to the point where you simply run out of things to say. Everything will stop on its own, grow still on its own, because the underlying condition that has stopped and is still is already there, simply that we aren’t aware of it yet.


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And what is the passing away of form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness?

Here one does not delight in, welcome, or remain holding to.

And what does one not delight in, welcome, or remain holding to?

One does not delight in, welcome, or remain holding to form.

For one not delighting in, not welcoming, and not remaining holding to form, the delight in form ceases.

With the cessation of delight, there is the cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, there is the cessation of becoming…thus ceases this entire mass of suffering.

One does not delight in feeling…

One does not delight in perception…

One does not delight in formations, does not welcome, and does not remain holding to.

For one not delighting in, not welcoming, and not remaining holding to formations, the delight in formations ceases.

With the cessation of delight, there is the cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, there is the cessation of becoming… thus ceases this entire mass of suffering.

One does not delight in consciousness, does not welcome, and does not remain holding to.

For one not delighting in, not welcoming, and not remaining holding to consciousness, the delight in consciousness ceases.

With the cessation of delight, there is the cessation of clinging… thus ceases this entire mass of suffering.

This is the passing away of form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness.

SN22.5


Practicing Mindfulness of Breathing

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Here, disciples, I breathe in mindful, I breathe out mindful. When I breathe in long, I know. When I breathe out long, I know …

I will breathe in experiencing relinquishment, I will breathe out experiencing relinquishment.

For if anyone should be rightly said to dwell in the noble dwelling, the divine dwelling, the Tathāgatas dwelling, it is when dwelling in mindfulness of breathing.

SN54.12

Mindfulness of breathing (Anapanasati) can be practiced in different ways:

What makes the breath special is that we can use it to penetrate every part of the body and mind to discern clinging to the physical, and mental body.

Here, we will practice all four Tetrads of the Anapanasati Sutta concurrently, which covers all Five Aggregates. Remember that although we are working with all Five Aggregates, we must first address clinging to the physical body before more subtle Aggregates can be discerned accurately. Therefore, we establish mindfulness on the breath, part of the Form Aggregate.

The First Step of all four Tetrads:

We will be practicing the first part of each of the four tetrads at the same time. That is, establishing mindfulness at the breath, the Form Aggregate, while at the same time developing joy, keeping intention on the breath, and contemplating the impermanent, unsubstantial nature of any phenomena appearing in consciousness in regard to the body, the Form Aggregate.

The Form Aggregate:

"Breathing in long, he knows; breathing out long, he knows."

For part 1 of the first Tetrad, the Form Aggregate, one simply directs their attention to the breath, akin to how a skilled turner or potter pays attention while shaping pots. That is, while shaping the pot in real time, he 'knows.' Any abstract thinking, planning, or daydreaming will only result in an imperfect pot.

In the same way, to develop perfect mindfulness, one needs to pay continuous attention to the in and out breath in real time, without any objectification and without missing any details.

The difference between mindfulness of breathing in the practice of wakefulness, and the practice of Right Mindfulness, is that now our awareness is embodied inside the breath, not as a separate object being observed, but as awareness established in awareness of the body. In other words, abiding in awareness of the breath.

With attention and awareness embodied inside the breath, attention is not scattered in the bodily formations.

(In the last part of this tetrad we will calm all bodily formations)

The Feeling and Perception Aggregates:

"He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing joy'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing joy.'"

The experience of joy, sometimes called 'rapture' or 'piti,' is the joy that results from letting go. Unlike sensual pleasures, which cause stress, the joy of letting go is a pleasure 'not of the flesh' (not from the six senses). It is a wholesome state and should be developed.

When we develop joy, we are letting go of clinging to sensations of the physical body, the six senses. We are also developing awareness of the mental body.

For part 1 of the second Tetrad, as we let go, somewhere in the body or mind, there will be a feeling of joy from the release of stress.

"Whatever the mind pays attention to, it grows."

Using Right Effort, one 'inclines' the mind to joy, establishing attention, abiding in this joy. As joy arises, one continually inclines and abides in this joy, until joy completely pervades all of awareness.

(In the last part of this tetrad we will calm all mental formations)

The Volitional Formation Aggregate:

"He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing the mind'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing the mind.'"

The mind is not a static entity, it comprises of mental and emotional processes that have volition or power behind them.

For part 1 of the third Tetrad, 'the Volitional Formation Aggregate', experiencing the mind is experiencing the volitional formations. That is being aware of desires, intentions, emotions and thoughts.

Normally the mind is scattered among different mental and emotional processes. These processes have volitional energy behind them or Karma. In other words we have different desires, intentions, emotions and thoughts brewing under the surface ready to take over the mind when the circumstances are right, when there is corresponding contact with the six senses.

At this point in the practice, the objective is not to try to understand or interact with these mental and emotional processes, but instead be aware of the power they have to take your attention away from being mindful of the breath.

To practice, establish mindfulness firmly in the mind, staying aware of any volitional energy brewing under the surface, ensuring that the mind does not chase after any formations; that the mind is fully abiding in the breath, inclined to renunciation.

(Later in this tetrad we will work with this volitional energy to calm it, concentrate it, and release it.)

The Conciousness Aggregate:

"He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in contemplating impermanence'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out contemplating impermanence.'"

For part 1 of the fourth Tetrad, we contemplate the impermanent, unsubstantial, not-self nature of phenomena (objectification) arising and passing away in consciousness in regard to the body. Any other topic can also be contemplated, for example, the 32 parts of the body, Mindfulness of Death, Contemplation of the Four Elements, the 10 perceptions, etc., as long as it is in reference to the body, the Form Aggregate.

Conciousness, or the cognizing process has the ability to filter and manipulate perception. For example we can train the cognizing process to only see certain details, fade perception itself, and superimpose images on it.

So for example, we can use the perception of stress to filter perception so that we only perceive stress or the lack of stress. Wherever there is cognition (which is stressful) is replaced or turned into the perception of stress.

We can also use the perception of not-self to perceive wherever there is clinging as not self, as separate, apart from us. Or we can perceive the constantly changing nature of everything.

Remember we're not trying to get involved with or discern any details in perception, we're just trying to see the unsubstantial, empty, always changing, not self, and stress nature of all phenomena.

Also, if we cannot let go of clinging to bodily phenomena, we can use the perception of impermanence, not-self, or suffering to dissolve this clinging.

Remember to always keep attention grounded in underlying awareness. That is, keeping awareness at the Five Aggregates, in memory, abiding in awareness of the breath. When awareness is at the Five Aggregates, it is not obstructed by or clinging to fabrications, and thus, the arising and passing away of phenomena are discerned effortlessly.

True Right Mindfulness is when mindfulness is completely established in memory, at the Five Aggregates, completely abiding in awareness of the breath or body.

The other parts of Anapanasati will be covered later in the gradual training.


The disciple Girimānanda is sick. The Tathagata encourages Ānanda to visit him and teach him the ten perceptions:


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Ignorance, ignorance, they say, friend Sāriputta. But what is ignorance, and how is one mired in ignorance?

Here, friend, an uneducated ordinary person does not truly understand form as a phenomenon that arises and passes away.

They do not truly understand feeling as a phenomenon that arises and passes away. They do not truly understand perception as a phenomenon that arises and passes away. They do not truly understand choices as phenomena that arise and pass away. They do not truly understand consciousness as a phenomenon that arises and passes away.

This is called ignorance, friend, and this is how one is mired in ignorance.

SN22.127


Discernment vs. Self-deception

Upāsikā Kee Nanayon

It’s important that we discuss the parts of the practice in training the mind, for the mind has all sorts of deceptions by which it fools itself. If you aren’t skillful in investigating and seeing through them, they are very difficult to overcome even if you are continually mindful to keep watch over the mind. You have to make an effort to contemplate these things at all times. Mindfulness on its own won’t be able to give rise to any real knowledge. At best, it can give you only a little protection against the effects of sensory contact. If you don’t contemplate, the mind won’t be able to give rise to any knowledge within itself at all.

This is why you have to train yourself to be constantly aware all around. When you come to know anything for what it really is, there’s nothing but letting go, letting go. On the beginning level, this means the mind won’t give rise to any unwise or unprofitable thoughts. It will simply stop to watch, stop to know within itself at all times. If there’s anything you have to think about, keep your thoughts on the themes of inconstancy, stress, and not-self. You have to keep the mind thinking and labeling solely in reference to these sorts of themes, for if your thinking and labeling are right, you’ll come to see things rightly. If you go the opposite way, you’ll have to think wrongly and label things wrongly, and that means you’ll have to see things wrongly as well. This is what keeps the mind completely hidden from itself.

Now, when thoughts or labels arise in the mind, then if you are intent on watching them closely, you’ll see that they’re sensations—sensations of arising and disbanding, changeable, unreliable, and illusory. If you don’t make an effort to keep a watch on them, you’ll fall for the deceptions of thought-fabrication. In other words, the mind gives rise to memories of the past and fashions issues dealing with the past, but if you’re aware of what’s going on in time, you’ll see that they’re all illusory. There’s no real truth to them at all. Even the meanings the mind gives to good and bad sensory contacts at the moment they occur: If you carefully observe and contemplate, you’ll see that they’re all deceptive. There’s no real truth to them.

But ignorance and delusion latch on to them all, and this drives the mind around in circles. In other words, it doesn’t know what’s what—how these things arise, persist, and disband—so it latches onto them and gets itself deceived on many, many levels. If you don’t stop to watch, there’s no way you can see through these things at all.

But if the mind keeps its balance or stops to watch and know within itself, it can come to realize these things for what they are. When it realizes them, it can let them go automatically without being attached to anything. This is the knowledge that comes with true mindfulness and discernment: It knows and lets go. It doesn’t cling. No matter what appears—good or bad, pleasure or pain—when the mind knows, it doesn’t cling. When it doesn’t cling, there’s no stress or suffering.

You have to keep hammering away at this point: When it doesn’t cling, the mind can stay stable. Empty. Undisturbed. Quiet and still. But if it doesn’t read itself in this way, doesn’t know itself in this way, it will fall for the deceits of defilement and craving. It will fashion up all sorts of complex and complicated things that it itself will have a hard time seeing through, for they will have their ways of playing up to the mind to keep it attached to them, all of which is simply a matter of the mind’s falling for the deceits of the defilements and cravings within itself. The fact that it isn’t acquainted with itself—doesn’t know how mental states arise and disband and take on objects—means that it loses itself in its many, many attachments.

There’s nothing as hard to keep watch of as the mind, because it’s so accustomed to wrong views and wrong opinions. This is what keeps it hidden from itself. But thanks to the teachings of the Buddha, we can gain knowledge into the mind, or into consciousness with its many layers and intricacies, which when you look into it deeply, you’ll find to be empty—empty of any meaning in and of itself.

This is an emptiness that can appear clearly within consciousness. Even though it’s hidden and profound, we can see into it by looking inward in a way that’s quiet and still. The mind stops to watch, to know within itself. As for sensory contacts—sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and that sort of thing—it isn’t interested, because it’s intent on looking into consciousness pure and simple, to see what arises in there and how it generates issues. Sensations, thoughts, labels for pleasure and pain and so forth, are all natural phenomena that change as soon as they’re sensed—and they’re very refined. If you view them as being about this or that matter, you won’t be able to know them for what they are. The more intricate the meanings you give them, the more lost you become—lost in the whorls of the cycle of rebirth.

The cycle of rebirth and the processes of thought-fabrication are one and the same thing. As a result, we whirl around and around, lost in many, many levels of thought-fabrication, not just one. The knowledge that would read the heart can’t break through to know, for it whirls around and around in these very same thought-fabrications, giving them meanings in terms of this or that, and then latching onto them. If it labels them as good, it latches onto them as good. If it labels them as bad, it latches onto them as bad. This is why the mind stays entirely in the whorls of the cycle of rebirth, the cycle of thought-fabrication.

For this reason, to see these things clearly requires the effort to stop and watch, to stop and know in an appropriate way, in a way that’s just right. At the same time, you have to use your powers of observation. That’s what will enable you to read your own consciousness in a special way. Otherwise, if you latch onto the issues of thoughts and labels, they’ll keep you spinning around. So you have to stop and watch, stop and know clearly. That way your knowledge will become skillful.

Ultimately, you’ll see that there’s nothing at all—just the arising and disbanding occurring every moment in emptiness. If there’s no attachment, there are no issues. There’s simply the natural phenomenon of arising and disbanding. But since we don’t see things simply as natural phenomena, we see them as being true and latch onto them as our self, good, bad, and all sorts of other complicated things. This keeps us spinning around without knowing how to find a way out, what to let go of—we don’t know. When we don’t know, we’re like a person who wanders into a jungle and doesn’t know the way out, doesn’t know what to do.

Actually what we have to let go of lies right smack in front of us: where the mind fashions things and gives them meanings so that it doesn’t know the characteristics of arising and disbanding, pure and simple. If you can simply keep watching and knowing, without any need for meanings, thoughts, imaginings—simply watching the process of these things in and of itself—there won’t be any issues. There’s just the phenomenon of the present: arising, persisting, disbanding, arising, persisting, disbanding. There’s no special trick to this, but you have to stop and watch, stop and know within yourself every moment. Don’t let your awareness stream away from awareness to outside preoccupations. Gather it in so it can know itself clearly—that there’s nothing in there worth latching onto. It’s all a bunch of deceits.

To know just this much is very useful for seeing the truth inside yourself. You’ll see that consciousness is empty of any self. When you look at physical phenomena, you’ll see them as elements, as empty of any self. You’ll see mental phenomena as empty of any self, as elements of consciousness—and that if there’s no attachment, no latching on, there’s no suffering or stress.…

So even if there’s thinking going on in the mind, simply watch it, simply let it go, and its cycling will slow down. Fewer and fewer thought-fabrications will occur. Even if the mind doesn’t stop completely, it will form fewer and fewer thoughts. You’ll be able to stop to watch, stop to know more and more. And this way, you’ll come to see the tricks and deceits of thought-fabrication, mental labels, pleasure and pain, and so on. You’ll be able to know that there’s really nothing inside—that the reason you were deluded into latching on to things was because of ignorance, and that you made yourself suffer right there in that very ignorance.…

So you have to collect your attention at one point in the mind. Scattering the mind on many things won’t do. Keep mindfulness in place: stopping, knowing, seeing. Don’t let it run out after thoughts and labels. But knowing in this way requires that you make the effort to pay attention and to see clearly, not just intent on making the mind still. Intent on seeing clearly. Look on in for the sake of seeing clearly…and contemplate how to let go. The mind will become empty in line with its nature in a way that you’ll know exclusively within.


Bulb

Feeling, perception, and consciousness, friend:

These states are conjoined, not disjoined. And it is not possible to distinguish between them to describe them separately.

What one feels, that one perceives; what one perceives, that one knows. Therefore, these states are conjoined, not disjoined. And it is not possible to distinguish between them to describe them separately.

MN43


Mindfullness of Mind and Dharmas

Author: Ajhan DTUN

Layperson: I’m still a little confused as to whether the practice of contemplating the mind is the same as the practice of cittanupassanā as taught in the four satipatthāna. If it is the same, shouldn't we all do it, because the practice of satipatthāna is the way to go beyond suffering?

Ajahn Dtun: Yes, contemplating the mind is what is called cittanupassanā. To practice cittanupassanā correctly one must see the characteristics of aniccā, dukkha, and anattā: the impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and absence of self in all one’s thoughts and emotions. In truth, cittanupassanā is the path of practice for an anāgāmī practicing for the final breakthrough to arahantship. Anyone else can only contemplate the mind at a very gross or superficial level because their faculties of mindfulness and wisdom are not yet subtle enough to penetrate deeply and uproot the mental defilements. Hence, contemplating the last two satipatthāna, the mind and dhammas, in great detail or refinement requires one’s mindfulness and wisdom to be extremely subtle, so as to be aware of the subtle delusion still remaining in the mind. As I just said, this is the practice of an anāgāmī developing arahattamagga, the path of practice that leads to full enlightenment.

The mindfulness and wisdom of ordinary, unenlightened beings are too slow and too coarse to penetrate to any real depth within the mind. Actually, their mindfulness and wisdom can't even stay abreast of all the emotions and thoughts arising within the mind. If we think in terms of percentages, they would be aware of no more than 10% of the mind’s thoughts and emotions. A sotāpanna (the first level of enlightenment) would be aware of perhaps 20%, a sakadāgāmī (the second level of enlightenment) would be aware of about 30%, and an anāgāmī would be aware of about 50%. To destroy the mental defilements completely, 100%, by way of practicing cittanupassanā is solely the task of the anāgāmī.

Those who like to practice of contemplating the mind always say that mental defilements exist within the mind, and so we must seek them out and deal with them at the level of the mind.

Their practice is all about watching thoughts and emotions, but no matter how many thoughts and emotions are watched, they will never cease. Every day new thoughts and emotions will arise. For example, as we experience sights, sounds, odors, flavors, and bodily sensations today, feelings of liking or disliking will arise. Tomorrow we will again meet with forms, hear sounds, smell odors,  taste flavors, and experience bodily sensations, all of which will cause feelings of liking and disliking to arise. It’s never-ending.

No matter how much they watch their mind, those who like to practice the method of do jit cannot remove the mental defilements. The only way to do so is to go to the very source of the defilements—the body. It is our deluded attachment to and identification with the body as being ourselves that give rise to clinging and anger. The body and the mind are interrelated.

However, even though attaining the first three stages of enlightenment is dependent on body contemplation, we still have to stay aware of all our emotions and know them in line with the  truth so that we can let them go. Letting go is a conditional thing; it happens due to causes. For us to let go of our emotions from the mind, we must see their impermanence and absence of self.

Bulb

Or his mindfulness that ‘There is a body’ is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, not clinging to anything in the world

MN10


Going Out Cold

Upāsikā Kee Nanayon

It’s important to realize how to pay attention to events in order to get special benefits from your practice. You have to pay attention so as to observe and contemplate, not simply to make the mind still. Pay attention how things arise, how they disband. Make your attention subtle and deep.

When you’re aware of the characteristics of your sensations, then—if it’s a physical sensation—contemplate that physical sensation. There will have to be a feeling of stress. Once there’s a feeling of stress, how will you be aware of it simply as a feeling so that it won’t lead to anything further? Once you can be aware of it simply as a feeling, it stops right there without producing any taste in terms of a desire for anything. The mind will disengage right there—right there at the feeling. If you don’t pay attention to it in this way, craving will arise on top of the feeling—craving to attain ease and be rid of the stress and pain. If you don’t pay attention to the feeling in the proper way right from the start, craving will arise before you’re aware of it, and if you then try to let go of it, it’ll be very tiring.

The way in which preoccupations take shape, the sensations of the mind as it’s aware of things coming with every moment, the way these things change and disband: These are all things you have to pay attention to see clearly. This is why we make the mind disengaged. We don’t disengage it so that it doesn’t know or amount to anything. That’s not the kind of disengagement we want. The more the mind is truly disengaged, the more it sees clearly into the characteristics of the arising and disbanding within itself. All I ask is that you observe things carefully, that your awareness be all-around at all times. Work at this as much as you can. If you can keep this sort of awareness going, you’ll find that the mind or consciousness under the supervision of mindfulness and discernment in this way is different from—is opposite from—unsupervised consciousness. It will be the opposite sort of thing continually.

If you keep the mind well supervised so that it’s sensitive in the proper way, it will yield enormous benefits, not just small ones. If you don’t make it properly sensitive and aware, what can you expect to gain from it?

When we say that we gain from the practice, we’re not talking about anything else: We’re talking about gaining disengagement. Freedom. Emptiness. Before, the mind was embroiled. Defilement and craving attacked and robbed it, leaving it completely entangled. Now it’s disengaged, freed from the defilements that used to gang up to burn it. Its desires for this or that thing, its concocting of this or that thought, have all fallen away. So now it’s empty and disengaged. It can be empty in this way right before your very eyes. Try to see it right now, before your eyes, right now as I’m speaking and you’re listening. Probe on in so as to know.

If you can be constantly aware in this way, you’re following in the footparts or taking within you the quality called “buddho,” which means one who knows, who is awake, who has blossomed in the Dhamma. Even if you haven’t fully blossomed—if you’ve blossomed only to the extent of disengaging from the blatant levels of craving and defilement—you still benefit a great deal, for when the mind really knows the defilements and can let them go, it feels cool and refreshed in and of itself. This is the exact opposite of the defilements that, as soon as they arise, make us burn and smolder inside. If we don’t have the mindfulness and discernment to help us know, the defilements will burn us. But as soon as mindfulness and discernment know, the fires go out—and they go out cold.

Observe how the defilements arise and take shape—they also disband in quick succession, but when they disband on their own in this way, go out on their own in this way, they go out hot. If we have mindfulness and discernment watching over them, they go out cold. Look so that you can see what the true knowledge of mindfulness and discernment is like: It goes out; it goes out cold. As for the defilements, even when they arise and disband in line with their nature, they go out hot—hot because we latch onto them, hot because of attachment. When they go out cold, look again—it’s because there’s no attachment. They’ve been let go, put out.

This is something really worth looking into: the fact that there’s something very special like this in the mind—special in that when it really knows the truth, it isn’t attached. It’s unentangled, empty, and free. This is how it’s special. It can grow empty of greed, anger, and delusion, part after part. It can be empty of desire, empty of mental processes. The important thing is that you really see for yourself that the true nature of the mind is that it can be empty. This is why I said this morning that nibbāna doesn’t lie anywhere else. It lies right here, right where things go out and are cool, go out and are cool. It’s staring us right in the face.

Bulb

And, friend, by what is the knowable known?

The knowable, friend, is known by the eye of wisdom.

And, friend, for what purpose is wisdom?

Wisdom, friend, is for the purpose of direct knowledge, for full understanding, for abandonment.

MN43


The Illusion of Consciousness






Author: Linmu

Previously, it was mentioned that there are five types of human consciousness: visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, and tactile. In addition to these, there is another type of consciousness that can be generated without the need for external real-time stimuli, which is the inner consciousness (mind) and the thoughts generated by events. We will temporarily call it the "consciousness of intention."

Therefore, humans have a total of six types of consciousness (visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, consciousness of intention), each generated by six senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, inner consciousness or mind) and corresponding six entities (light, sound, smell, taste, touch, events).

Let's start with the principle of a television set. As mentioned earlier, the light in a television picture is produced jointly by the television set and the electromagnetic waves. So, when light appears, it indicates that the television set and the electromagnetic waves have successfully interacted. Obviously, it is not the light that illuminates the television set and the electromagnetic waves, but rather the light depends on them for its existence. The television set and the electromagnetic waves are the prerequisites and causes for the light, while the light is the product and result of the television set and the electromagnetic waves.

The same goes for vision. Eyes and light produce vision. It is not that vision sees the eyes and light, or that the eyes see the light, but vision depends on the eyes and light for its existence. The eyes and light are the prerequisites and causes for vision, while vision is the product and result of the eyes and light.

Audition, olfaction, gustation, tactility, and consciousness of intention follow the same principle. It is not that consciousness perceives the senses and entities, or that the senses perceive the entities, but rather consciousness depends on the senses and entities for its existence. The senses and entities are the prerequisites and causes for consciousness, while consciousness is the product and result of the senses and entities.

However, people often understand that light cannot actively illuminate electromagnetic waves, yet they always believe that consciousness can actively perceive entities. Through the previous analysis, it is clear that when consciousness arises from the interaction of the senses and entities, consciousness is merely a result of their interaction, a new, independent, non-autonomous, non-living, passively arising natural product.

When consciousness arises, the fact of perception has already been achieved. At this point, the senses and entities have already interacted. This consciousness does not need to return to perceive the entity, nor does it need or even can perceive other entities. Because when other consciousness arises, it is also due to the conditions of other senses and entities.

The generation of these consciousnesses does not require an active perceiver or an object to be perceived. The whole process is just A + B = C. Whether people are willing or not, when the conditions of both senses and entities are present, this process will naturally occur, without the need to add anything else to actively see, hear, smell, taste, touch, or think.

Just like fuel and oxygen burning to produce flames, when flames appear, it indicates that the burning phenomenon has occurred. There is no need to add an active burner, as the flames are just the result of the interaction between the first two, and the entire burning phenomenon is just the process of fuel + oxygen = flames.

Therefore, whether within or outside consciousness or the body, there is nothing that has the function of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, or thinking. These consciousnesses are all newly generated, independent, non-autonomous, non-living, passively arising natural products that arise from the interaction of the senses and entities. When these consciousnesses arise, it is the act of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, or thinking.

The relationship between them is like that of a television or a movie. When light appears, it signifies the appearance of the program content; they are two sides of the same coin. Consciousness is the same. When visual consciousness arises, it is the arising of what is seen; when auditory consciousness arises, it is the arising of what is heard; when other consciousness arises, it is the arising of what is known. They are two sides of the same coin.

However, people are ignorant of this and mistakenly divide consciousness into two parts, believing that consciousness is one thing and its content is another, connected by the function of perception. This leads to the illusion that consciousness can perceive entities.

Based on this illusion, most people consider the perceived entities as real, while others believe that the perceived entities are false, illusory, and so on. Regardless of whether the perceived entities are considered real or false, these viewpoints are built on the illusion that consciousness or something else can perceive entities.


The Pure Present

Upāsikā Kee Nanayon

We have to catch sight of the sensation of knowing when the mind gains knowledge of anything and yet isn’t aware of itself, to see how it latches onto things: physical form, feeling, perceptions, thought-fabrications, and consciousness. We have to probe on in and look on our own. We can’t use the teachings we’ve memorized to catch sight of these things. That won’t get us anywhere at all. We may remember, “The body is inconstant,” but even though we can say it, we can’t see it.

We have to pay attention inside to see exactly how the body is inconstant, to see how it changes. And we have to pay attention to feelings—pleasant, painful, and neutral—to see how they change. The same holds true with perceptions, thought-fabrications, and so forth. We have to pay attention them, investigate them, contemplate them to see their characteristics as they actually are. Even if you can see these things for only a moment, it’ll do you a world of good. You’ll be able to catch yourself: The things you thought you knew, you didn’t really know at all.…This is why the knowledge we gain in the practice has to keep changing through many, many levels. It doesn’t stay on just one level.

So even when you’re able to know arising and disbanding with every moment right in the present: If your contemplation isn’t continuous, it won’t be very clear. You have to know how to contemplate the bare sensation of arising and disbanding, simply arising and disbanding, without any labels of “good” or “bad.” Just keep with the pure sensation of arising and disbanding. When you do this, other things will come to intrude—but no matter how they intrude, it’s still a matter of arising and disbanding, so you can keep your stance with arising and disbanding in this way.

If you start labeling things, it gets confusing. All you need to do is keep looking at the right spot: the bare sensation of arising and disbanding. Simply make sure that you really keep watch of it. Whether there’s awareness of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or tactile sensations, just stay with the sensation of arising and disbanding. Don’t go labeling the sight, sound, smell, taste, or tactile sensation. If you can keep watch in this way, you’re with the pure present—and there won’t be any issues.

When you keep watch in this way, you’re keeping watch on inconstancy, on change, as it actually occurs—because even the arising and disbanding changes. It’s not the same thing arising and disbanding all the time. First this sort of sensation arises and disbands, then that sort arises and disbands. If you keep watch on bare arising and disbanding like this, you’re sure to arrive at insight. But if you keep watch with labels—“That’s the sound of a cow,” “That’s the bark of a dog”—you won’t be watching the bare sensation of sound, the bare sensation of arising and disbanding. As soon as there’s labeling, thought-fabrications come along with it. Your senses of touch, sight, hearing, and so forth will continue their bare arising and disbanding, but you won’t know it. Instead, you’ll label everything—sights, sounds, etc.—and then there will be attachments, feelings of pleasure and displeasure, and you won’t know the truth.

The truth keeps going along on its own. Sensations keep arising and then disbanding. If we pay attention right here—at the consciousness of the bare sensation of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations—we’ll be able to gain insight quickly.…

If we know how to observe things in this way, we’ll be able to see easily when the mind is provoked by passion or greed, and even more easily when it’s provoked by anger. As for delusion, that’s something more subtle… something you have to take a great interest in and investigate carefully. You’ll come to see all sorts of hidden things—how the mind is covered with many, many layers of film. It’s really fascinating. But then that’s what insight meditation is for—to open your eyes so that you can know and see, so that you can destroy your delusion and ignorance.


Conciousness and the Eight Fold Path






Author: Linmu

From the article above, we can determine the following:

  1. Regardless of the existence of the external world or the nature of external things, it is all meaningless to us because we lack the ability to explore external things, and we cannot even know if there is an external world. What we know is merely the consciousness arising from things and our senses. Our consciousness contains the entire world we know, or in other words, everything we know belongs to the realm of consciousness.





  1. Just as burning is a phenomenon produced by conditions, people often say fire burns wood, but in reality, fire and burning are just popular expressions for the intense reaction between wood and oxygen, and there is no factual truth that fire can burn wood. Awareness is similar; there is no factual truth that anything can be aware of something. Awareness itself is a phenomenon produced by senses and things.

  2. Consciousness is an instantaneous phenomenon, like light, sound, shadows, etc., it does not stay, cannot be preserved, constantly changes, and is inconsistent. Since everything we know belongs to the realm of consciousness, the world we know will also not stay, cannot be preserved, constantly changes, and is inconsistent, like light, sound, shadows, etc. If everyone understands these three points, we can move on.

First, let's look at an animated picture.






This animated picture has a characteristic where each word appears briefly and then disappears. Therefore, to understand what this picture is saying, one needs to focus attention on the picture and not miss any new word that appears. After reading the entire animated picture word by word without missing any, if we remember the words we saw and engage in some recall thinking, these words will connect in our minds to form a sentence, and we will understand the meaning of the whole sentence.






The arising of consciousness is like the appearance of these words; continuously arising consciousness is like these continuously appearing words; the consciousness produced within a period of time is like the words appearing within that period; people's understanding of a period of consciousness is like their understanding of a piece of text.

As we mentioned earlier, consciousness contains the entire world we know, so our understanding of the world is actually an understanding of consciousness. If we want to truly know the truth of the whole world, we should first truly know the truth of our consciousness internally.

If everyone can understand up to this point, then everything is simple. Just like truly knowing the animated picture earlier, to truly know consciousness or the world, we must first know every consciousness without missing any, which is called "Right Knowledge." Secondly, to understand the consciousness within a period of time, we must not forget any of the consciousness that occurred during that period, which is called "Right Mindfulness." Right Knowledge and Right Mindfulness together are called "Right Mindfulness." Not missing any consciousness arising internally, not forgetting any consciousness, fully and firmly and continuously intent on Right Knowledge and Right Mindfulness is called "Right Concentration."

The principles understood during Right Concentration, such as what is seen, understood, and grasped, represent true wisdom, called "Right View." The principles contained in Right View regarding the operation of consciousness, body, mind, and the whole world are known as "Dependent Origination."

The inclinations, plans, decisions, resolutions, aspirations, and willpower that arise from Right View are known as "Right Intention." The bodily and verbal actions driven by Right Intention are "Right Action," "Right Livelihood," and "Right Speech."

The internal actions that occur include Right Mindfulness and right concentration. The efforts made to generate all these good, true thoughts and actions, and to eliminate all unwholesome, wrong thoughts and actions, are known as "Right Effort." Through Right Effort, people continuously practice Right Knowledge and Right Mindfulness, leading to Right Concentration.

The complete and true understanding of the operational principles of consciousness seen during Right Concentration will continuously generate Right View. From Right View, Right Intention arises continuously, which leads to continually deciding to practice correct bodily and verbal actions and more Right Knowledge and Right Mindfulness. The continuous Right Knowledge and Right Mindfulness prolong Right Concentration, leading to more Right View... In this way, the eightfold path, like a snowball, enhances people's abilities of will, diligence, memory, intention, and wisdom.

When these five abilities are strong enough, one can be fully aware of every consciousness without missing any and completely eliminate ignorance of the operational principles of consciousness and even the entire world. If people can completely eliminate ignorance, all actions, including thoughts, will cease. In the previous article, we mentioned that thoughts are like heat and stimulate the production of consciousness from senses and things. When all thoughts cease, all consciousness ceases to arise.

Therefore, for those seeking liberation, they should possess right knowledge and right mindfulness, not be negligent, persist until personally verifying the cessation of all consciousness, knowing liberation, and realizing Nirvana.


Venerable Māluṅkyaputta asks for a teaching to take on retreat. The Tathagata wonders how to teach an old disciple like him, then questions him on his desire for sense experience that has been or might be, and encourages him to simply let sense experience be. Māluṅkyaputta says he understands, and expands the Tathagata’s teaching in a series of verses:



The Tathagata discusses with a wanderer the nature of perception and how it evolves through deeper states of meditation. None of these, however, should be identified with a self or soul: