10th September 2504 B.E. (1961)
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Recapitulation of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness
Internally and Externally
Firstly, will all of you centre your mind inwards
to examine yourself and see what really is true at this time. This means setting
the mind on your breathing and being aware of the ongoing inhalation and exhalation.
It means being aware of your posture --sitting with your hands and feet arranged
in whatever way. Now bring the mind into examining the actual parts and organs
of your body: up from the soles of the feet and down from the crown of one's head,
all encased by skin. Focus and analyse those parts into elements: the hard as
earth element, the fluid as water element, the heating as fire, the moving as
wind and the cavities as space element. Contemplate a corpse as seen outside and
then compare it with your own body --which eventually must likewise reach such
a state and end finally as rotting bones. Focus into your own body in this way,
both externally and internally, seeing both the arising and the disappearing.
In examining the external, one uses mindfulness to see various characteristics in their conventional appearance. Knowledge (nyana), which can penetrate through such appearances, is used to clearly discern the internal. Standing outside, looking at the exterior shape and characteristics of one's house is similar to the external examination, while the internal examination is more like the actual entering inside. Once inside, knowledge will be able to see through conventional appearances without being held by their superficiality.
Inside the body, this means seeing in terms of its arising and disappearing. For example, the in-breath is counted as the arising, and the out-breath as the disappearing. You must see that in every portion of this body there is a continual arising and disappearing. Look until you can actually see this right here and now. Everyone normally can see only the arising and persisting without being aware of the disappearing. For instance, we all experience being alive, and though we know that there must be a passing away, it cannot be seen here and now. Our investigation must proceed with knowledge, seeing arising followed by disappearing in the present. Being able to see this indicates we are discerning the body with knowledge and seeing the internal. In the beginning we must use mindfulness to see the external, and then we turn to the internal, the arising and the disappearing.
Whatever feeling you are experiencing at this present moment. Look at it now. Is it pleasant, painful or neither-pleasant-nor-painful? Does it arise from external attractions (with their baited hooks)? If it does, then it is termed worldly, being hooked by carnal attractions (amisa) but if it develops from the mind in samadhi, then it is called unworldly or spiritual (niramisa). It is then free from those attractions with their baited hook. Therefore see the present feeling for what it really is. Looking with mindfulness sees the exterior feeling, whereas seeing with knowledge penetrates to the interior feeling or the arising and disappearing.
Look further into the mind, because feeling itself also stirs the mind. Pleasure stirs up hankering, pain stirs up dejection while neither-pleasure-nor-pain stirs up and fixes the mind in attachment, which is a condition of delusion. Seeing with mindfulness the outer mind and comprehending its properties, one then penetrates with knowledge to the inner mind to see the continual arising and disappearing.
Look at the affairs and concerns of the mind or see what conditions of mind have developed. These are what hold the mind back from samadhi and stop knowledge. They are the hindrances which block samadhi and knowledge from arising. Be aware of sensual desire if it is now present in your mind. If there is ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worries or sceptical doubt --be aware of that.
Those things which become objects to draw the hindrances out into one's mind are rupa. When the mind has inclined out to know them and a hindrance has arisen, then that is nama. If no object comes to draw away the mind or the mind does not incline out to know about an object, then it is as if rupa or nama is not present, and the hindrances do not arise. It is therefore necessary in examining the hindrances to focus on rupa and nama to see the object and the mind inclining out to receive that object. Where does the object enter in? It enters by way of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind (mano) and the mind (citta) goes out to receive that object through, those same six sense doors. Whichever avenue the mind inclines out through it is always in a state of breaking out. This characteristic of this ordinary or commonplace mind is therefore like a fire work shooting up with streams of sparks. These latter are the restless, proliferating processes. However, they can't be seen unless the mind is concentrated. One therefore must know both about the entering of objects and about the mind's inclining out to receive them. Why should the mind be like this? Because when it goes to receive them it becomes bound up with the object, for that object is also coming in to tie-up with the mind. This is what we call the fetters (samyojana).
If the mind does not go and tie-in, then the object will pass on its way without involvement. This can be compared to water droplets falling onto a lotus leaf. They roll off without sticking or adhering. The hindrances arise in one's mind because the incoming object sticks and attaches. When it becomes bound into the mind then it is known as a fetter. You must therefore look and see these fetters for what they are in your own mind.
The Factors of Enlightenment (Bojjhanga)
When mindfulness is set, watchful and
aware, it will steadily become stronger and swift enough to catch up with the
mind. It normally cannot keep up, which is what gives the fetters and hindrances
an opportunity to arise. This swift mindfulness is instantly aware of the sight's
or the sound's entry through the eyes or ears, of the mind's involvement and tie-in
and of the subsequent liking or despising. If mindfulness is prompt enough to
know this sequence, then there won't be much of a problem. It will be aware from
the first contact with a sight or sound that they have come to provoke and incite
the arising of liking or despising. However, the sight or sound is really nothing
more than that, whereas the seed of liking and despising is found right here in
ourselves, in the mind. This mind brings such a predilection out with it to receive
the sight or sound it likes, and takes the despising out to meet one it doesn't.
It can be compared to when a safety match and its striking surface meet and a
flame is produced. The fires of lust, hatred and delusion flare up. However, even
when the match is present if there is no striking surface, it won't ignite. Therefore
that which comes in and that which goes out to receive it must accord with each
other. The fire (the fetters and the hindrances) will therefore not ignite when
mindfulness is up to the mark. This mindfulness is the enlightenment factor of
When the enlightenment factor of mindfulness has been born one can then start to investigate things (dhamma) correctly by selecting and sifting. This means a discrimination of what is wholesome and good, and of what is unwholesome and bad; what is detrimental and harmful, and what is harmless; what is evil and gross, and what is rare and refined; the dark side and the light side. This ability to sift through and discriminate concerning these things is called the enlightenment factor of the investigation of phenomena (dhamma-vicaya-bojjhanga).(10)
This is about the things inside our mind: the wholesome and unwholesome, the harmful and the harmless, the good and the bad, all within this mind. One's discrimination is not quick enough when one recollects and becomes mindful of an affair only after it has arisen and died away and when the action, whether good or bad, has already been carried through. This indicates a sluggish mindfulness that is not abreast of events. It only knows after it's all over whether anything good or bad had been said or done. But when mindfulness is abreast of whatever is happening, one is able to discern what is skilful or not, what is good or not and in what way. One will then hold only to the good side and refrain from the bad.
The effort and energy which arises from one's investigation and holding to the good and rejecting the bad is called the enlightenment factor of energy (viriya-bojjhanga). The hindrances which then arise can be ejected and the samadhi can be fostered and safeguarded. When an object enters through any of the six sense doors, one just lets it pass on through, without sticking or tying in as a fetter. Whatever is not good can then be gradually abandoned, and the good safeguarded.
When this is the case, rapture will arise --a spiritual (niramisa) rapture without a baited hook, and therefore an inner rapture or the enlightenment factor of rapture (piti-bojjhanga).
With the enlightenment factor of rapture, both body and mind grow calm. This is the enlightenment factor of tranquillity (passaddhi-bojjhanga), which is imbued with an inner happiness.
With such inner happiness the mind will become composed and steady. This is the enlightenment factor of samadhi (samadhi-bojjhanga).
When one fixes on this samadhi to make it steadfast then this becomes the enlightenment factor of equanimity (upekkha-bojjhanga).
These seven factors of enlightenment arise step by step but for them to be born at all one must rely on one's practice right from the beginning. If you set your mindfulness on breathing in and out, then make sure it's firmly based and steady. Eventually, it will be alert to the objects that come-in and to the mind's inclination to go out to them. When mindfulness and attention are constant, the object will be unable to tie-in and bind the mind, giving rise to fetters and hindrances. All of this means that at this level of practice the mindfulness and investigative powers must be highly refined. Focus on this. Come to know for yourself the truth of things as they really are.
17th September 2504 B.E. (1961)
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Integrating into the Noble Truth of Suffering
you all please compose and focus your mind within. See the body, the feeling and
the mind (citta). See the mental objects, which means examining the hindrances,
the sense bases and the factors of enlightenment. I have already explained all
of this, stage by stage, so this time I'll just offer these few headings. There
are many and various subjects but they can't yet be correctly brought together
into a single way of practice --especially when the mind is still so agitated
and restless. Therefore, I will now present an integrated and correct way of practice
so that you won't lose your way through uncertainty.
Firstly, centre the mind and set mindfulness on the single point at the nostrils or upper lip (as the nimitta) for mindfulness of breathing. Be aware of the breath's contact at this single point, right here and now.
At this moment, is there bodily and mental pleasure, pain or an intermediate feeling? Set the mind to see this and then look in at the mind. Is it agitated or calm? If you are comfortable in body and mind, then it should be calm. Otherwise, it will be unquiet and restive. Focus so as to know the actual situation at this moment. Examine yourself. If there is still restlessness, then that restlessness itself will be a hindrance which blocks the mind from samadhi. See if such hindrances are present.
Examine this nama-rupa. This is the assembled (physical-) body (rupa-kaya) sitting here. However, it is not just an inanimate doll, for it is living matter together with mind. It has avenues by which the mind receives objects and various concerns and affairs --sometimes via the eyes, or ears, or nose, or tongue, or body and sometimes via the mind (mano). If you were to open your eyes now, you would immediately see something or other, while your ears may hear the noise of a car or the sound of speaking --including this Dhamma talk been given here now. Meanwhile, the nose smells, the tongue tastes, the body has sensations from the cool breeze or from the heat, and the mind thinks of various things.
If the mind is not composed and concentrated, it will go off thinking of this issue and that affair. However, once it is centred, it will think only of one single thing. The sounds of this talk contacts your ears: If you determine to listen, then your mind will incline out to know and you hear that sound. This 'hearing' is termed consciousness. Upon listening whatever pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain is present is termed feeling. The mind inclines out to know, and to note and perceive; it can recollect the sounds and words spoken and is therefore able to bring them together and one can then get the idea. If you hear and can't remember one word or the next, then you can't possibly put together any idea. This 'remembering' can also be termed perception. When you have got the idea or percept together, then the thoughts that follow straight on from there are the mental-formations. The mind then inclines out to know about that thinking and keeps with it all the way; this is consciousness again.
The pain, pleasure or indifference that arises when consciousness knows, following thinking, is feeling. The 'remembering' of whatever we are thinking about is perception, while the thought-fabricating on top of that is mental formations. And all of this because the mind inclines out to know. It's this very condition which is known as nama. Every person at every moment when awake and not sleeping is therefore made up of rupa-and-nama, continually arising and intricately involved together.
Set yourself, therefore, to see rupa. Where is one to look? The eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body --this is where to look. Setting mindfulness there, realize that whatever form the eye sees together with the physical eye is called rupa. Similarly, whatever sound is heard and the ears themselves, whatever odour is smelled and the nose itself, whatever touch the body contacts and the body itself and whatever flavour is tasted and the tongue itself, are all called rupa.
We are now taking the affairs of sights and sounds (for example) as an object for the mind to think about. However, if there were mere rupa without a mind inclining-out to know, then even though there might be eyes they would be as if blind, the ears would be as if deaf, the nose without smelling, the tongue without tasting and the body insensible and numb. The reason why the eyes see, the ears hear, the nose smells, the tongue tastes and the body feels is because the mind inclines-out to know --and this condition is what is termed nama.
After you have focussed on rupa, set your attention on nama. This means seeing into your mind when you experience it constantly inclining-out to receive various affairs via the eyes or ears (for example). The condition of consciousness is then apparent as 'seeing' or 'hearing', and that of feeling as pain or pleasure or indifference. Perception manifests as marking and remembering and mental-formations as thinking and fabricating. Therefore the knowing about nama is the looking into the mind to see when it inclines-out to acknowledge various things.
Fixing one's attention so as to clearly see nama-rupa will bring forth the enlightenment factor of a surefooted and steadfast mindfulness. An unsteady mindfulness can't catch up with nama-rupa and needs further training. However, once it can keep up with them, it will clearly discern the mind, as it inclines out, in terms of various conditions. It will then see that consciousness has arisen, feeling, perception and mental-formations have all arisen. This is the foundation and base of mindfulness (Satipatthana) and with even greater clarity it becomes the enlightenment factor of mindfulness.
From this mindfulness with its clear-seeing of nama-rupa an investigation and discrimination of phenomena will be born. In the beginning this will be a sorting out right here within, distinguishing that 'this is rupa,' 'this is feeling,' 'this is perception,' 'these are mental formations' and 'this is consciousness.' While still uninstructed one considers them all to be assembled together as a unit or entity and indistinguishable. The mature and fully fledged mindfulness, however, will be able to discriminate what is what. This is an enlightenment-factor and thus energy, rapture, tranquillity of mind and body, a composed and firm samadhi and equanimity will be born.
This fixing of the mind on nama-rupa, as I have explained, means a focussing on the concentrated and established mind. Look at the mind inclining-out to know various things and distinguish which processes depend on the avenues of the eyes or ears (and which are themselves rupa). You will there find the truth of nama-rupa.