The words of Ananda Mahathera who was the Buddha's attendant monk.
He recited the texts of the Dhamma, as he had heard them from
the Buddha, at the First Council of monks (approx. 544 b.c.).
This is a polite form of address which was used when monks spoke
to the Buddha. It means ''Blessed One".
The Kuru country was located in North West India near New Delhi.
A bhikkhu is a Buddhist monk who has received full ordination.
"Bhadante" is a polite answer to an elder or superior.
Its approximate meaning would be "Yes, Venerable Sir".
The one and the only way: ekayano, this means that this is: the
only way which surely leads to the benefits listed, there is no
other way, and this way leads to nowhere else. This statement
does not need to be believed in blindly, but as a meditator practises
he can verify it by his own experience.
Cessation (atthanamaya) is generally translated as "destruction"
which might wrongly imply an active attack on the physical and
mental pain. However, the physical and mental pain cease due to
lack of craving, just as a fire is extinguished due to lack of
Physical and mental pain (dukkha-domanassa) is a compound word
which denotes the whole spectrum of physical and mental pain.
Here, dukkha (du = bad, painful, + kha = empty, space) refers
to all types of physical pain, and domanassa (du = bad, painful
+ mana = mind) refers to all types of mental pain including frustration,
grief, fear and various types of phobias and neuroses.
Here naya means the four Noble Paths (ariya magga). The Noble
Path is the name for the consciousness that has Nibbana for its
object. The Four Noble Paths are the path of a Stream Enterer
(sotapatti magga), the path of the Once-returner (sakadagami magga),
the path of a Non-returner (anagami magga), and the path of an
Arahat (arahatta magga).
Nibbana (Skt. Nirvana), is a reality experienced by a mind totally
free from greed, hatred, and delusion.
Satipatthana (Sati = mindfulness, awareness of what is occuring
+ patthana = that which plunges into and penetrates continuously,
again and again) is the type of mindfulness that penetrates repeatedly
into the body, feelings, mind, and dhammas, and sees the actual
reality that is occurring. This is in contrast to the normal unmindful
state in which the mind bounces or skips over these phenomena.
"The four satipatthanas" might therefore be translated
as the "four steadfast mindfulnesses".
The Four satipatthanas in Pali are kayanupassana, vedananupassana,
cittanupassana and dhammanupassana.
Kaya is the aggregate of physical phenomena. Here it refers to
the corporeal body.
The phrases, "body as just the body", "feelings
as just feelings", show that the body, feelings, mind, and
dhammas are not to be seen as mine, I or self. This is the natural
knowledge that arises from observing the body, feelings, mind
and dhammas with steadfast mindfulness. It is not a belief. Normally
this knowledge is absent due to lack of steadfast mindfulness.
Diligence (atapi) means bringing the mind back to the object of
meditation again and again no matter how many times it slips away.
Clear understanding (see Note 39)
World (loka) refers to anything that arises and passes away, i.e.
the five aggregates of clinging.
Feelings (vedana) (see Note 45)
Mind (citta) is that which knows, is aware, or is conscious (see
The word dhamma has a number of meanings according to the context
in which it is used. It can mean: natural phenomena, mental objects,
a state, truth, reality, wisdom, actions, good actions, practice,
cause and offence. Also, in English usage Dhamma (there are no
capital letters in the Pali language) can mean the Teachings of
the Buddha or the texts which contains those teachings.
Here, in this context dhamma is any natural phenomenon that is
not a concept and it is specifically referring to the five hindrances,
the five aggregates of clinging, the six internal and external
sense bases, the seven factors of enlightenment and the Four Noble
The main point here is that the place for meditation should be
as quiet and free from people and distractions as possible.
If sitting cross-legged is too painful the meditator will not
be able to sit for very long. The main point is to sit in a comfortable
and alert way. Therefore, a chair may be used. Mindfulness of
breathing can also be developed while standing, walking or lying
The mindfulness should be directed to the place at which the breath
makes contact with the upper lip or the tip of the nose depending
on where it is felt in each individual.
The whole breath body (sabbakaya) means the whole breath from
the beginning to the end.
As the mind calms down the breath will also calm down without
exerting any conscious control over it.
It is not necessary to repeat all the above phrases in the mind,
but the essential point is to be aware of the actual phenomena.
These phrases are all examples to show that the meditator has
to be aware of the breath in whichever condition it is in and
does not need to control the breath in any way.
Here "body" means the process of breathing.
The meditator knows by inference that in others, just as in himself,
there is no I or self that breathes but just breathing exists.
This cuts out delusion concerning external phenomena.
This cannot be done at the same time but is done alternately.
The causes of the appearing and the dissolution of the breath
are the existence or the non-existence of the body, the nasal
apertures, and the mind. The actual appearing and the actual dissolution
refer to the actual phenomena of the breath arising and passing
away. The main point here is to be aware of the actual appearing
and the actual dissolution of the breath so as to perceive its
impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless nature.
Wrong view refers to thinking that there is a permanent self or
I who is breathing. If the meditator sees the breath as impermanent,
unsatisfactory, and not self then there will be no craving or
wrong view at that time.
See Note 17.
While walking (gacchanto) lit. means while going.
I am walking: Here as elsewhere in this discourse the use of the
term "I" is only a grammatical usage and does not mean
that an "I" really exists. In Pali language it is impossible
to construct a verb without an ending showing a subject, for example,
gaccha + mi = gacchami, I am going
gaccha + ma = gacchama, we are going
similar situation occurs in English where sometimes we have to
make up a subject to make a sentence i.e. "It's raining".
Clearly the "It" does not exist and there is only raining.
Similarly there is only walking and no "I" who is walking.
When the meditator is aware of the actual motion of the legs and
body, that is the sensation of touch and motion, he can be said
to "know", "I am walking". In all the postures
he should be aware of what is actually happening in a similar
The meditator should even be aware of movements of the body within
a posture, e.g. while sitting he moves an arm or while lying down
he rolls over.
Body here means the positions, postures, and movements of the
The causes of the appearing and the dissolution of the body here
and in subsequent sections are the existence or non-existence
of ignorance of the Four Noble Truths, craving, kamma, and nutriment.
Clear understanding (sampajanna) is of four types: satthaka-sampajanna,
sappaya-sampajanna, gocara-sampajanna and asammoha-sampajanna.
a meditator does any action he should first consider whether that
action is or is not a beneficial action. This prior consideration
is called satthaka-sampajanna.
it is a beneficial action then the meditator should next consider
whether it is suitable or proper. This is called sappaya-sampajanna.
For example, if the meditator wishes to go to a pagoda to meditate
this is a beneficial action. However, if at the time he wishes
to go to the pagoda there is a large crowd gathered for a pagoda
festival and there would be many disturbances because of that,
then it would not be suitable.
understanding of the proper field for the mind is gocara-sampajanna.
If the meditator is practising the four satipatthanas this is
the proper field for the mind. If he is thinking about or indulging
in sense pleasures this is not the proper field for the mind.
understanding that sees that all conditioned phenomena are impermanent
and unsatisfactory and that sees all phenomena (including Nibbana)
are not-self is asammoha-sampajanna.
This meditation can be practised in either of two ways. The first
way is to see each part as repulsive and the second way is to
see that as parts or collectively the body is not-self.
To develop the perception of the repulsiveness of the body it
is very helpful to view an autopsy of a corpse as this will make
it easier to truly see that each part is repulsive. This method
of meditation is very effective for cutting out lust.
develop the perception of not-self the meditator should reflect
on each part and see that they are devoid of consciousness e.g.
the hair on the head does not know it has hair growing on it;
what is it that thinks "This is my hair"? By meditating
in this way the meditator will clearly see the difference between
the mind and the body. Also he will see for himself that it is
deluded to view the body as me, as mine or as self.
Only primary elements (dhatu) and no being or soul.
The primary elements (dhatu) are the natural qualities of matter.
The earth element (pathavi-dhatu) is the quality of hardness and
softness or the degree of solidity. The water element (apo-dhatu)
is the quality of fluidity and cohesion. The fire element (tejo-dhatu)
is the quality of heat and cold. The air element (vayo-dhatu)
is the quality of motion, vibration and support.
four primary elements are present in any given substance but one
is more prominent. The quality of hardness and softness is called
earth element because that is the prominent quality of earth,
but, earth also has the qualities of cohesion, heat and motion.
The parts from the hair of the head up to the brain, in the Patikulamanasika
Pabba, are examples of bodily parts in which the earth element
is prominent. The parts from bile up to urine are examples in
which the water element is prominent. Heat and cold in the body
are examples of the fire element. The breath is an example of
the wind element.
In this simile the four high roads represent the four postures.
The butcher or his apprentice represents a meditator who sees
the body as only elements, just as the cow having been divided
is no longer seen as a cow but is seen only as meat.
The meditations based on corpses are best done while or after
actually seeing a corpse. By seeing the reality that the body
will one day be a corpse too, the mind becomes free from attachment
to the body.
Vedana (feelings) is not used here in the sense of "emotions",
but refers only to the pleasant, the unpleasant, and the neither
pleasant nor unpleasant feelings that arise, only one at a time,
with every consciousness, (i.e eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness,
, and mind-consciousness).
It is important to see these feelings clearly as they are the
cause of craving. Also, if the meditator does not see these clearly
then he may think that there is a being experiencing feeling.
E.g., bodily comfort and mental happiness.
E.g., bodily pain and mental pain.
Neither pleasant nor unpleasant feeling is the hardest to perceive
as its characteristic is the absence of pleasure and pain. E.g.,
the neutral feeling that is normally present on the surface of
the eye and the feeling in the mind when it is neither happy nor
E.g., the normal type of pleasure and happiness based on sense
E.g., the happiness experienced while seeing the true nature of
body and mind.
E.g., the unpleasant feeling experienced when one does not obtain
the sense pleasures one wants to obtain.
E.g., the unhappiness experienced by a meditator reflecting on
his lack of progress towards realizing Nibbana.
E.g., the neutral feeling experienced when the mind is calm and
detached from sense pleasures.
The causes of the appearing and the dissolution of feelings are
the existence or non-existence of contact (phassa), ignorance
of the Four Noble Truths, craving and kamma.
Greed (raga) does not just mean strong passion but refers to the
whole range of lust, craving, and attachment to sense pleasures
from the weakest sensual desire to the strongest lust. It can
produce only unwholesome actions.
The mind without greed is the wholesome opposite of greed and
is the cause of renunciation, generosity, charity, and giving.
Anger (dosa) always occurs together with mental pain (domanassa).
Therefore, if mental pain is present the meditator should know
that anger is also present. Aversion, ill-will, frustration, fear,
and sadness are all included in this term. Anger can produce only
The mind without anger is the wholesome opposite of anger and
is the cause of loving-kindness (metta), friendliness, and goodwill.
Delusion (moha) is the mental concomitant that clouds and blinds
the mind making it unable to discern between right and wrong actions,
unable to perceive the characteristics of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness,
and soullessness, and unable to perceive the Four Noble Truths.
It is common to all unwholesome types of consciousness but here
it refers specifically to those types of consciousness associated
with doubt, uncertainty, restlessness, distraction, and confusion.
The mind without delusion is the wholesome opposite of delusion.
It is the wisdom that perceives the impermanent, unsatisfactory
and soulless nature of conditioned phenomena, perceives the Four
Noble Truths, and is able to discern between right and wrong actions.
Greed, anger, delusion and their opposites all have a wide range
of intensity from weak to strong. In insight meditation it is
important to be aware of whatever is present in the mind no matter
how weak or strong it appears to be.
This is the shrunken mind that is lethargic, indolent, and lacks
interest in anything.
A diffused, restless state of mind that goes here and there is
therefore not concentrated.
The type of mind experienced in the råpa jhanas and aråpa
The mind as generally found in the sensuous (kamavacara) realms
(i.e. without jhanas).
As above (Note 64.)
The rupa jhanas and arupa jhanas. Amongst these two the aråpa
jhanas are superior to the råpa jhanas.
The mind with either proximate concentration (upacara samadhi)
or absorption concentration (appana samadhi). A meditator who
has no experience of jhana will not need to be mindful of the
concentrated mind, the superior mind or the developed mind.
The mind without proximate or absorption concentration.
The mind temporarily free from defilements due to insight or jhana.
There are ten defilements (kilesa), namely: greed, anger, delusion,
conceit, wrong views, doubt, sloth, distraction, lack of moral
shame, lack of moral dread (lobho, doso, moho, mano, ditthi, vicikiccha,
thinam, uddhacam, ahirikam, anottapam).
The causes of the appearing and the dissolution of the mind are
the existence or non-existence of ignorance of the Four Noble
Truths, craving, kamma, body and mind (nama and råpa).
The five hindrances are unwholesome mental concomitants that confuse
the mind and obstruct it from achieving wholesome states such
as insight or jhana.
Sense desire is the craving for any of the five types of sense-objects
(i.e. sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile objects). It
arises due to unwise attention to the pleasant aspect of an object.
It is discarded due to the wise attention to the perception of
either impermanence, unsatisfactoriness or soullessness or to
the unpleasant aspect of an object. It is totally eradicated by
the path of an Anagami (anagami magga).
Ill-will is the same as anger (see Note 57). It arises due to
the unwise attention to the unpleasant aspect of an object. It
is discarded due to wise attention to the perception of either
impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, or soullessness or to the development
of loving-kindness. It is totally eradicated by the path of Anagami.
Sloth and torpor refer to the state of indolence, dullness of
mind and dullness of mental concomitants. They arise due to unwise
attention to lack of interest, lazy stretching of the body, drowsiness
after meals, and mental sluggishness. They are mental concomitants
and do not refer to physical tiredness. They are discarded due
to wise attention to the perception of either impermanence, unsatisfactoriness,
or soullessness or to the development of energy and exertion.
They are totally eradicated by the path of an Arahat (arahatta
Distraction (uddhacca) refers to the agitated, restless, and unconcentrated
mind. Worry (kukkucca) refers to worrying about past actions that
one has or has not done. They arise due to unwise attention to
the things that cause distraction and worry. They are discarded
by wise attention to the perception of either impermanence, unsatisfactoriness,
or soullessness or to the development of calmness of mind. Distraction
is totally eradicated by the path of an Arahat. Worry is totally
eradicated by the path of an Anagami.
Doubt or wavering refers to doubts such as "Is the Buddha
really fully enlightened?"; "Does this practice really
lead to the cessation of dukkha?"; "Have the disciples
of the Buddha really attained enlightenment by this practice?";
"Is there a future life?"; Was there a past life?".
Doubt or wavering arises due to unwise attention to things that
cause doubt. It is discarded due to wise attention to the perception
of either impermanence, unsatisfacturiness, or soullessness or
to the Dhamma. It is totally eradicated by the path of a Sotapanna
or Streamwinner (sotapatti magga).
The cause of the appearing of the hindrances is unwise attention
(ayoniso manasikara). To cause of the dissolution of the hindrances
is wise attention which removes them temporarily and the Four
Noble Paths (ariyamagga) which permanently discards them (See
also Notes 71 to 76).
The five aggregates of clinging are the objects depending on which
the four types of clinging arise. The four types of clinging are
the clinging to sense pleasures, the clinging to wrong views,
the clinging to the belief that there are other paths and practices
that can lead to happiness and liberation besides the Eightfold
Noble Path, and the clinging to the view that there is a Self
The word råpa refers to everything made of the four primary
elements (i.e. the earth element, the water element, the fire
element, and the air element). But here it refers mostly to the
corporeal body which arises together with the remaining four aggregates
Feeling is described in Note 45.
recognizes or perceives an object by means of a mark. It enables
one to recognize colours such as blue, white or red. It can also
wrongly recognize a rope as a snake.
Mental formations include faith, energy, intention, greed, hatred,
delusion, non-greed, non-hatred, non-delusion, and mindfulness
which prepare, arrange, or accomplish actions. There are fifty
is that which is aware of an object. Here it refers only to sensuous,
råpa and aråpa types of consciousness and does not
include path or fruition consciousness (magga-phala citta) which
are not objects of clinging.
For the causes of the appearing and the dissolution of the corporeal
body see Note 38; of feelings, perception and mental formations
see Note 54; and of consciousness see Note 70.
Sense bases are those things which extend and expand the range
of the mind. The six internal sense bases are the eye, ear, nose,
tongue, body and mind. The six external sense bases are sights,
sounds, smells, tastes, tactile objects and mental objects.
The fetters (samyojana) are those things which bind one to the
rounds of rebirth. They are: 1. craving for sense pleasures (kamaraga);
2. anger (patigha), 3. pride or conceit (mana), 4. wrong view
(ditthi) 5. doubt or wavering (vicikiccha), 6. the belief that
there are other paths and practices that can lead to happiness
and liberation besides the Eightfold Noble Path (silabbataparamasa),
7. craving for rebirth in the sensuous, råpa or aråpa
worlds (bhavaraga), 8. envy or jealousy (issa), 9. meanness or
stinginess (macchariya), 10. ignorance of the Four Noble Truths
These fetters arise due to unwise attention which regards the
sense bases as permanent, satisfactory and as Self or belonging
to a Self. They are discarded temporarily by wise attention to
the impermanent, unsatisfactory, and soulless characteristics
of the sense bases. They are totally discarded by the four Noble
Paths (i.e ditthi, vicikiccha, silabbataparamasa, issa, and macchariya
by sotapatti magga; kamaraga and patigha by anagami magga; and
the remaining fetters by arahatta magga).
For the causes of the appearing and dissolution of the physical
sense bases see Note 38; of the mind see Note 70; and of mental
objects see Note 54.
Mindfulness is that which watches what is occurring at the present
moment in the body and mind. (Also see Note 11).
All the factors of enlightenment arise due to wise attention and
come to complete development due to the path of an Arahat (arahatta
This is the wisdom or insight that can differentiate the corporeal
body and the mind and perceives both as impermanent, unsatisfactory
This is the balanced mental effort that is generated while being
This is the interest and lack of boredom that arises due to seeing
things as they really are. It is often associated with a feeling
of lightness, lifting of the body or a thrill of joy that can
make the hair on the body stand up.
With the arising of rapture the mind becomes calm and peaceful.
This is called tranquility.
With the arising of tranquility the mind is not distracted and
no longer wanders here and there but is aware of each object that
appears in the mind. This is concentration.
With the arising of concentration the mind sees each object in
a detached and calm way. It feels neither aversion to pain nor
is overpowered by pleasure but it is calmly and effortlessly observant
of the impermanence, unsatisfactoriness or soullessness of every
constituent of body and mind. This is called equanimity.
The cause of the appearing of the seven factors of enlightenment
is wise attention (yoniso-manasikara) which views phenomena as
impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self. The cause of the dissolution
of the seven factors of enlightenment is unwise attention (ayoniso-manasikara)
which views phenomena as permanent, satisfactory and as a soul
Birth (jati) refers to both birth and repeated rebirth.
Here dukkha does not just refer to painful feelings but has a
wide range of meaning. Birth, ageing and death are dukkha because
they are painful. Pleasant feelings are dukkha because they are
subject to change. The rest of the five aggregates of clinging
are dukkha because they are oppressed by ceaseless arising and
Sorrow, lamentation and anguish are different intensities of mental
pain that arise due to loss or painful states such as loss of
a good reputation, the passing away of relatives or the loss of
possessions through fire, flood, or theft. Sorrow is the weakest
and is felt internally with little outward expression. Lamentation
is more intense and results in outbursts of wailing and crying.
Anguish is the most intense and although one cries and wails there
is still deep inexpressible pain that makes one look exhausted
These things cannot be gained by wishing or prayer. They can only
be gained by attaining the Noble Paths.
The craving for pleasurable sights, sounds, smells, tastes and
tactile objects is kamatanha. The craving to be born in any sensual;
rupa or arupa worlds, and the attachment to rupa or arupa jhanas,
and the craving associated with the belief in an eternal and indestructible
Self or Soul are all included in the term bhavatanha. The craving
that associated with the wrong view that at death one is annihilated
and hence that there is no rebirth or results of good or bad actions
The word establishes (nivisati) has two aspects. Firstly, the
craving arises at that place and secondly because of happening
again and again it establishes itself there so that it arises
habitually whenever the same object is met or thought about.
The world (loka) refers to the five aggregates of clinging.
Contact (phassa) refers not to the contact of an object with the
body but to the contact of an object with the mind. Thus, when
an object, a sense base and consciousness appear together it is
Volition (cetana) is the mental concomitant that causes actions
of body, speech, and mind.
Initial thinking (vitakka) searches for, introduces, and moves
towards a new sensual object. Continued thinking (vicara) stays
with the same object and repeatedly thinks about, ponders, and
examines that object in greater detail. They have different meanings
when they are associated with the jhanas, which are all free from
It is important to note that craving arises and is discarded in
the same place and that craving is removed by mindfully observing
each object as it arises at one of the six sense doors and not
by mere intellectual understanding.
Right View (samma ditthi) develops through several stages. At
first one understands that good actions produce good results,
and that bad actions produce bad results. Next, one understands
the impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless nature of conditioned
phenomena which deepens the understanding of cause and effect
so that only cause and effect are seen. The last stage is to understand
the Four Noble Truths and to see that if the cause (craving) ceases
the result (dukkha) will also cease.
If one has Right View then depending on that Right Thought (samma
sankappa) will arise. Also if one has Right Thought then Right
Speech (samma vaca) and Right Action (samma kammanta) will arise
because one's actions are dependent on one's thoughts.
Tale bearing refers to taking stories from one person to another
in order to create a split between those two people and also to
make oneself liked by the second person, e.g. person A hears person
B saying bad things about person C. Then A goes to C and tells
him what B has said in order to create discord between B and C
and to make C like A.
This refers to idle chatter or gossip that is of no benefit to
anyone. Nowadays it is worth considering if this applies to reading
and writing certain types of books.
Only the intentional killing of living beings is meant here and
not unintentional killing such as accidentally stepping on an
insect. Something is called a living being if it possesses consciousness
and does not include plants, bacteria, amoebae, and viruses which
according to Buddhism are without consciousness.
Stealing does not just mean simple theft but also inrcludes smuggling,
tax evasion, and using false weights or measures.
This refers to sexual misconduct (i.e. adultery, rape), drinking
alcohol, and taking drugs.
This refers to obtaining one's livelihood by wrong speech or wrong
action. It includes trading in weapons, in animals for slaughter,
in slaves, in liquor, in drugs, and in poisons.
The word jhana comes from the root jha = to stare. Here it is
used to refer to a degree of concentration in which the mind stares
at an object with such concentration that one is unaware of sights,
sounds, smells, tastes, or tactile objects. There are four types
of jhanas mentioned here which are characterized or differentiated
by the mental concomitants present in each. As mental concomitants
of jhana, vitakka and vicara refer to the initial and sustained
application of the mind to a single object. Just like a man first
puts his hand on a shaking object and then keeps his hand on the
shaking object, vitakka puts the mind on the object and vicara
keeps the mind there. At this stage the mind is still not perfectly
calm. In the second jhana the mind is so still that it stays on
one object without any vitakka and vicara. Rapture (piti) is the
same as the enlightenment factor of rapture (see Note 88). Sukha
refers to ease and comfort of body and mind.
The Buddha and his enlightened disciples are Noble Ones (ariya).
The causes of the appearing of dukkha are ignorance of the Four
Noble Truths, craving and kamma. The cause of the dissolution
of dukkha is the Eightfold Noble Path. The cause of the appearing
of craving is Feeling. The cause of the dissolution of craving
is the Eightfold Noble Path. The cessation of dukkha, which is
Nibbana, has no arising or passing away and is therefore not included
path leading to the cessation of dukkha is of two kinds: supramundane
(lokuttara) and mundane (lokiya). Both appear due to the four
factors of stream entry. (i.e. associating with virtuous men,
hearing the true Dhamma, wisely considering the Dhammas one has
heard, and practising in accordance with that Dhamma). The lokuttara
path cannot pass away once it has been attained but the lokiya
path can pass away due to not wisely considering the Dhamma one
has heard and not practising
in accordance with that Dhamma.
An Anagami is an enlightened individual who has eradicated ditthi,
vicikiccha, silabbataparamasa, issa, macchariya, kamaraga and
patigha (see Note 82) and consequently at death will be reborn
in the Pure Abode (Suddhavasa) where he will attain Arahatship.
He is called a Non-returner because he will never be reborn again
in the sensuous realm (kamaloka). This last section is meant to
encourage the meditator with the knowledge that if he practises
in a really diligent and consistent way in accordance with this
sutta he can expect to attain the total eradication of greed,
hatred and delusion, in this very life.
Jotika and U Dhamminda
Ye Chan Oh Village