Practice as Process

The constituent factors in this process of practice are two-fold: the passive (that which is focused on, observed, concentrated on, contemplated), and the active (focusing, observation, concentration, contemplation).

    The passive constituents are those ordinary, mundane things common to all of us: the body and its movements, thoughts, feelings and so on as they occur (only those existing at the present moment are valid objects of contemplation).

    The active constituents of focusing, concentration, observation and contemplation form the basic agents of satipatthana and are functions of sati and sampajaņņa. Sati is that which keeps hold of the chosen object. Sampajaņņa is the wisdom-faculty which realizes the nature and purpose of the thing or state being contemplated, as, for example, when focusing one's contemplation on the movements of the body when walking, one has a comprehension of such things as the reason for walking and the intended destination. Sampajaņņa understands the object or the action as it is, without coating it with feelings and so on.

    There is a point to be wary of which should be stressed here, concerning a wrong understanding that may lead to misguided and fruitless practice. Some people misconstrue the meaning of the common translation of sati as 'recollection' and of sampajaņņa as 'self-awareness'. They establish sati on the sense of self and then feel aware of themselves as the agents of the various actions, 'I am doing this, I am doing that'; their practice thus becoming a creation or strengthening of the concept of self. The mind becomes absorbed on that self-concept and develops a rigidity, or if not, at the very least, it strays from its task, thus spoiling the results of the work being undertaken. One who has formed such a wrong understanding should look at the meaning of sati in its sense of 'bearing in mind', maintaining the mind on its object, on the task being performed, or in the flow of action. He or she should look at the meaning of sampajaņņa in its sense of clear comprehension of that which sati is bearing in mind. In other words, it is not a matter of using sati to focus on the sense of self, 'I am doing this, I am doing that'; it implies bearing the task itself in mind, rather than the 'performer' of the task. Sati should pay attention to the action being performed or to the state that is presently occurring to the extent that there is no room to think of oneself, or the 'actor'. The heart must abide with the action until the feeling of 'I' or agency is made redundant.

    The essential feature of focused contemplation lies in the accurate, undistorted perception of its object, i.e. looking, seeing and understanding what that object is, its characteristics and the effects of its presence. It entails facing up to, acknowledging, considering and understanding. Bare attention is maintained on the object at every moment, without reacting to it in any way; without evaluation, criticism, or judgement of it as being good or bad, right or wrong, etc. There is no interpretation of the object in the light of one's emotions, prejudices or attachments as being agreeable or disagreeable, pleasant or unpleasant. One merely understands the way that thing, that state, that aspect is, without supplementing one's perception of it with such thoughts as 'mine', 'his', 'me', 'her', 'Mr. A.', 'Ms. B.', etc. To take the example of contemplation of the feelings in one's heart: at the moment that a painful feeling arises, one knows that a painful feeling is arising, the way in which it has come about, and the way in which it is presently dissipating. In the contemplation of mental phenomena, as the example when anxiety or depression occurs in the mind, one lays hold of that anxiety or depression and contemplates how it has come about and how it has developed. At a time when anger arises, and, on becoming the object of awareness, subsides, then one takes up that past anger as an object of contemplation and considers its benefits and ill effects, the cause for its arising and the way in which it disappears. It can become enjoyable to study, reflect on and analyse one's suffering! When it is purely suffering that is presently arising and passing away, and is not 'my suffering' or 'I am suffering', then that suffering is robbed of all its power to harm the one who contemplates it. Whatever form of goodness or unwholesomeness appears or is present in the mind, one faces up to it, without any effort at avoidance. One cognizes it and pays attention to it as it is, from the moment of its occurrence until it meets its natural end, and then switches attention to something else. It is similar to watching actors perform a play, or to being a bystander at some event. It is an attitude that is comparable to that of a doctor performing an autopsy, or that of a scientist observing the subject of his study, rather than that of a judge listening to evidence in a trail. It is an objective rather than a subjective approach.

    An important characteristic of the state that is informed at all times by sati-sampajaņņa is that of dwelling in the present moment. Sati is mindful at each moment of what is arising, what is happening, or what one is doing and does not allow the mind to wander off. There is no attachment to, or lingering on, any past experience, and no floating off into the future in search of things that have not yet happened or do not yet exist. There is no straying back into the past or forward into the future. If some unresolved matter from the past or some future obligation is to be considered, then sati lays hold of the relevant details, and the wisdom-faculty reflects on them in a purposeful way, so that every matter becomes a present object of mind. There is no aimless or superfluous drifting into past or future. Dwelling in the present moment means freedom from subjection to craving. The mind not seduced or motivated by selfish desire exists with a wisdom which liberated it from the various expressions of dukkha, such as grief and regret, agitation, anxiety and depression, and gives rise to an awareness that is accompanied by spaciousness, clarity and ease.


The Fruits of Practice

Purity: When sati is fixed exclusively on the object on which one desires to focus and sampajaņņa comprehends that thing in its true light, then the stream of consciousness and thought will be naturally maintained in purity, for there will be no room for the various defilements to arise. When examining and analysing phenomena simply as they are, without appending emotions and conceptualizations based on subjective prejudices and preferences, then there will be no clinging. It is a method of eradicating existing cankers (asava[13]) and protecting the mind from the occurrence of those that are as-yet unarisen.

    Freedom: The pure state of mind spoken of above will also be blessed with freedom, being unperturbed by the various sense-impressions which impinge upon it, through utilizing every one of them as material for objective study. When sense-data is not interpreted in line with the dictates of the cankers, it exerts no subjective influence over the one who experiences it. That person's behaviour will be liberated from the defilements that act as unconscious drives or motivations. This is what is referred to in the text as 'dwelling independently (i.e. not being the servant of craving and views) and clinging to naught in the world'.

    Wisdom: In the train of such a mental process, the wisdom-faculty will function with maximum effectiveness. The absence of obfuscation or diversion by emotions, proclivities and prejudices ensures a perception of things as they actually exist, an authentic awareness.

    Liberation from dukkha: When the mind dwells in a state of wakefulness, understanding things in their actuality and able to maintain such a vision, those positive and negative inclinations in relation to things which are unfounded on a purified logic will be unable to arise. Thus there will be an absence of states rooted in covetousness (abhijjha) or in distress (domanassa), and freedom from the various expressions of anxiety. This is the state of mind which is called 'released'. It is experienced as a light spaciousness, relaxation, serenity and independence.

   In fact, all of the fruits of practice mentioned above are different, related aspects of a single whole. To summarize in terms of Dependent Origination[14] and the Three Characteristics: At first, human beings are ignorant of the fact that the self they cling to it ultimately non-existent, that is merely a flux, consisting of a great number of interrelated material and immaterial phenomena, constantly arising and degenerating in accordance with complex causal and conditioning processes. When one is unaware of this truth, one clings to the feelings, thoughts, desires, habits, attitudes, beliefs, opinions and sense-consciousness that arise at each moment as being one's self and feels that that one's self is continually changing: 'I was that, now I am this, I felt that way, and now I feel this way', etc. In perceiving an 'I' as a subject who has likes and dislikes, one is simply being deceived by such things as thoughts and feelings. This deluded condition of the mind is the source of wrong thinking. As a consequence of it, one's thoughts, feelings and actions are all held in subjection to the exigencies of whatever is being clung to as self at the moment. In coming to practise according to the principles of satipatthana, every kind of material and immaterial phenomenon contained within the mental continuum is seen to be arising and ceasing in accordance with its nature. When analysing the various constituents of this flux by segregating them in terms of content or temporal sequence, and thus perceiving a continuity of change, the process-nature of our existence, one is no longer deceived into clinging onto anything as being one's self, and phenomena lose their power to coerce.

    If this insight attains an optimum profundity and clarity, there is realization of the state of liberation. It establishes the mind in a new mode of being, as a light, bright stream, free of inner knots, proclivities and attachments. It is the birth of a new personality. To put it another way, it is the state of perfect mental health, comparable to a body which is said to be in perfect health when, in the absence of any disturbing illness, all of its organs function smoothly at their full, normal capacity. In this simile, the practice of satipatthana is viewed as a method of eradicating the various malignancies of the mind, eliminating all those things which form knots and obstructions to its smooth working. Satipatthana creates a spaciousness in the mind. One becomes ready to conduct one's life, to face up to and deal with everything in one's world with resolution and good cheer.

This matter may be summarized with the following words of the Buddha:

"O Bhikkhus, there are two kinds of disease: physical disease and spiritual disease (literally 'mental disease'). Those beings who may assert that they have been without physical disease for a whole year are to be found in the world. Those people who may assert that they have been without physical disease for two years ... three years ... four years ... five years ... ten years ... twenty years ... thirty years ... forty years ... fifty years ... a hundred years are to be found. But hard to find in this world are those beings who may assert that they have been free from spiritual disease, even for a single moment, apart from those in whom the cankers have been destroyed." [A.II.142-143]

Venerable Sariputta: 'Extremely clear are your features today, householder, your countenance is radiant. Surely you have been listening to a Dhamma talk from the Blessed One.'

The Householder Nakulapita: 'Venerable Sir, how could it be otherwise? I have just been sprinkled with the nectar of a Dhamma discourse by the Blessed One.'

Venerable Sariputta: 'With what kind of Dhamma discourse did the Blessed One sprinkle nectar upon you?'

The Householder Nakulapita: 'Venerable Sir, I entered the presence of the Blessed One, paid my respects to him, and having sat down in an appropriate place I spoke to the Blessed One thus, 'Lord, I am at the end of my life, I am a broken-down old man, I am far gone in years, my body is beset by illnesses and is in constant pain. Moreover, I am one who has seldom had the opportunity to behold the gladdening sight of the Lord and the Sangha. May the Lord, out of compassion, give me a teaching that will conduce to my long-lasting benefit and happiness.'

'The Buddha: "That is correct, Householder, it is so. This body is inevitably beset by illness, just as an egg is surrounded by a shell. For one carrying this body about, who but a fool could claim to be free from illness, even for a moment. Therefore, Householder, you should train yourself thus, 'Even though my body is beset by illness, my mind will not be." Venerable Sir, this was the Dhamma discourse with which the Lord Buddha sprinkled nectar upon me.' [S.III.1-2]


For What Reason is the Sati Which Keeps Abreast of the Present Moment an Important Foundation of Vipassana?

Our most ordinary, mundane activity, one that is going on constantly in our daily lives, is the cognition of sense-impressions through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. Sense-consciousness is always accompanied by a feeling -- either of pleasure and ease, of pain and discomfort, or else of indifference. In the presence of feeling, a reaction takes place in the mind; if pleasure and ease are evoked by an object, there is liking and attachment. If pain and discomfort are evoked, there will be dislike and aversion. When there is liking of something, there arises the desire to experience more of it, to repeat the enjoyment, to obtain or possess. When there is dislike of something, there arises the desire to escape from it, to rid oneself of it or destroy it. This process is continuing all the time, both on subtle levels which tend to remain unobserved, and, on occasion, with an intensity which is plainly recognizable and which inflicts clearly discernible and lasting effects on the mind. Whenever the process displays this intensity, or is so strikingly evident, it will usually induce long and involved mental proliferations, and, if the matter finds no resolution in the heart, it will then intrude into the whole range of one's speech and actions. Thus people's lives, their roles in the world and the ways in which they relate to each other all issue principally from this incessant flow of mental phenomena which is present in every moment of our existence.

    Heedlessly abandoning the mind to the conditioned process described above, i.e. liking and attaching to feelings of sensual pleasure and comfort, or disliking and resisting feelings of sensual pain and discomfort, will serve to thwart and impede the development of wisdom. One will be prevented from seeing things as they are and accurately perceiving the true nature of their existence.

    Thus the following impediments to wisdom may be seen:

The mind falls into the power of liking and disliking and is held fast by it. The mind's vision is obscured by that like or dislike and inclines away from an accurate perception of the actual nature of phenomena.

The mind falls into the past or the future. Having cognized an object and aroused liking or disliking towards it, the mind will stick to or oppose the particular part, point, or aspect of that object which calls forth that like or dislike. It will take up an image of that aspect as if implying the whole, feed it and proliferate on it until the overall truth of the matter is almost completely obscured. This dwelling on one particular aspect of a phenomenon due to like or dislike, then grasping onto the concept or mental image of it appearing in one's mind, is a slip into the past. The ensuing mental proliferations regarding that image are a drift into the future. One's knowledge and understanding of an object thus in fact becomes based on the image of that partial aspect of it which attracts one's like or dislike, or else on a more developed image fashioned from the original one by the imagination. Thus there is no perception of the object as it actually exists in its entirely in the present moment.

The mind falls into the power of mental conditioning, which interprets the meaning of what is sensed or experienced in the light of one's personal history or accumulated habits, e.g. by the values, attitudes and opinions which one clings to and upholds. The mind is thus said to fall into a conditioned state, unable to look with equanimity at the bare experience itself.

The mind integrates the conditioned image of experience into subsequent proliferations, thus quickening the accretion of habitual patterns of reaction.

    The characteristics of mind mentioned above do not pertain only to the coarse and shallow matters of one's daily life and general affairs. The emphasis in the teachings is on their manifestation at the subtle and profound level of the mental continuum. It is through their presence that ordinary, unenlightened beings are led to see things as stable and substantially real, to perceive inherent beauty or ugliness in them, to attach to conventional truths and to be unable to see phenomena in their true light, as temporal expressions of a causal flux. People accumulate habits and conditioned tendencies to misperceive existence almost from the day they are born, and go twenty or thirty years, forty or fifty years, even longer than that, without ever training themselves to break the circuit of wrong thinking. Consequently, effecting a remedy is not easy. At the very moment that one becomes conscious of an object, before one has had time to steady oneself to check the process, the mind has already switched into an habitual response. Thus the remedy in this case is not simply a matter of breaking a circuit and abrogating the conditioned process, but also necessitates a curbing of the habitual tendency and disposition of the mind to flow strongly along fixed channels. It is sati which is vital here, both initially as a sort of ground-breaker, and subsequently as the element around which other factors gather. The objectives of satipatthana practice are, therefore, through maintenance of sati in the present moment and always seeing things in their bare actuality, the breaking of the circuit of deluded thought, the destruction of the unwholesome causal process, and the gradual alleviation of the old conditioning, with the simultaneous creation of new dispositions in the mind.

    The mind which has sati helping to maintain it in the present moment will possess characteristics which are the complete antitheses of those shown by the mind caught in the flow of unwholesome dhammas.

    Liking and aversion will have no opportunity to arise in it, because their presence is dependent on the mind seizing on a particular point or aspect of a matter and, through lingering on it, slipping back into the past. Liking and aversion exist only in association with a falling away from the present moment. A consequence of bare mindfulness of the presently existing state is the prevention of a dropping into the past or a floating off into the future. In the presence of sati there is also no exacerbation or strengthening of previously accumulated wrong habits.

    When one is unceasingly mindful of every phenomenon arising in the present moment, one is bound to perceive certain character traits in oneself which are unpleasant or which one would ordinarily consider unacceptable. With sati, one can acknowledge and face up to these qualities as they are, without seeking to avoid them and without any self-deception. One is thus able to cleanse them from the mind and to solve the problems which lie within oneself.

    The mind with constant sati is one which possesses the qualities of purity, radiance, spaciousness, joy and freedom. It is an unconstricted and untarnished mind.

    All things are established and exist according to natural laws. Figuratively speaking, the truth is revealing itself at all times, but we shut ourselves off from it; or, if we don't, we either perceive only a distorted image of it or we deceive ourselves as to its nature altogether. The cause of that concealment, distortion and deception is immersion in the conditioned stream of unwholesome dhammas detailed above. Once that false step has been taken, then the old, false conditioning is even more inclined to drag one into error, thus leaving virtually no hope at all of seeing the truth. In that humanity has been steadily accumulating these habits for an immeasurably long time, the practice to remedy them and to create new dispositions in the mind is also likely to require a long time.

    Whenever sati keeps up with the change in things and works constantly, without interruptions and in an assured fashion; when one doesn't put up a barrier to the truth, or distort the images one perceives; when one is free from the power of conditioning and habit; then one is prepared to see things in their actuality and to understand the truth.

    On reaching this stage, if the other faculties (particularly the wisdom-faculty) are mature and well-primed, they will join forces with sati, or else rely on it to facilitate their full functioning and so bring about ņana-dassana, the authentic vision of phenomena which is the goal of vipassana. However, to bring the faculties to the maturity demanded for such work, one has to rely on a progressive training which must include, at first, study and investigation of the teachings. Study and logical thought are then of definite assistance in the birth of the clear vision of truth.

    Sati is not itself vipassana; vipassana is wisdom (paņņa) or the use of wisdom. However, wisdom derives its opportunity to work with maximum facility from dependence on sati's direction and support. Thus the training in sati is of major importance to vipassana. One trains in sati in order to be able to fully utilize the wisdom faculty. To train in sati is to simultaneously train in wisdom.

    When speaking of sati on the practical rather than academic level, one includes in its meaning that of the wisdom with which it is conjoined, and the strength and continuity attained by sati is derived from the cooperation of the two.[15] The paņņa which works together with sati in general tasks tends to bear the characteristic called sampajaņņa or clear comprehension. On this level, paņņa still appears mainly as a contributory factor in practice, cooperating and liaising with sati. In speech and conversation, for example, one tends to rely principally on sati. However, when it comes to more subtle levels of investigation, prominence shifts to paņņa, and sati is relegated to a role rather like that of a servant. The paņņa which functions on this level is, for example, the dhamma-vicaya of the Seven Limbs of Enlightenment. But whether it is sampajaņņa or dhammavicaya, or paņņa by any of its other designations, if it works to produce a clear knowledge and understanding of things in direct accordance with the true nature of their existence so as to liberate the mind, then it is all vipassana.[See Vibhanga, 612]

    Sati performs an important task in both samatha and vipassana and a comparison between the differing roles it plays in each may help to further clarity the matters dealt with above. In samatha, sati fastens the mind onto its object, or holds the object in the mind, simply in order to enable the mind to concentrate unswervingly on the object and to grasp it firmly, to be motionlessly tranquil and free of distraction and agitation. When the mind is thus firmly and unswervingly centered on the object to the extent that it becomes uninterruptedly one with it, that state is called samadhi and signals the achievement of samatha.

    In vipassana, sati focuses on the object and fastens it to the mind, or maintains the mind on the object in a similar way. However, in this case, the aim is to use the mind as a place to lay the object down for examination and contemplation by the wisdom-faculty. One takes hold of the object in order to let paņņa investigate and analyse it, using the firm and stable mind as one's laboratory. The practice of samatha is like tying a wild young bull to a post with a rope. All it can do is circle around the post to which it is bound until, eventually, when its wildness has abated, it lies down meekly at the foot of the post. Here, the mind may be compared to the wild young bull, the meditation object to the post and sati to the rope. The practice of Vipassana may be compared to fixing a specimen onto a surface in order to allow a subsequent examination to proceed smoothly and with precision. Here, the means used to pin down the specimen may be compared to sati, the specimen to the meditation object, the surface to the stabilized mind and the examination to paņņa.

    The preceding remarks have covered the significant differences between samatha and vipassana, but a few minor observations remain to be made. One such observation is that, in samatha, one's aim is to pacify the mind; thus when sati is employed to focus on an object, it will firmly fasten onto it with the sole aim of producing a firm and unswerving concentration on that object, preventing even the slightest separation, until eventually the mind dwells completely and unwaveringly on the 'sign' or mental image of the meditation object, Thus samatha involves fixing on an object which is merely a perception created in the mind by the meditator.

    In vipassana, on the other hand, the aim is towards knowledge and understanding of the way things are. Consequently, sati focuses only on truly existent phenomena, in order for paņņa to fully and clearly comprehend the nature of their existence. It attends to the way things are, right from the moment of their nascence through their gradual decline to their final disintegration. It demands an awareness of every kind of sense-impression which impinges on consciousness so that paņņa can comprehend each one in its actuality. Thus the object in focus is not a fixed one, and to ensure an accurate and authentic comprehension, sati must be mindful of the changing nature at every moment, to prevent the mind from lingering on any one object or aspect of an object.

    Another minor point of difference to be observed is that, in samatha, sati focuses on an object that is either fixed or else moves repetitiously within fixed boundaries. In vipassana, sati can focus on an object that is moving or changing in any way. In samatha, one selects a certain defined object as a skilful means to facilitate the pacification and stabilization of the mind. In vipassana, one may focus on any object without restrictions; whatever appears in the mind and lends itself to contemplation, whatever permits the vision of truth, is valid. In fact, all may be subsumed under the headings of body, feelings, mind and dhammas or else nama-rupa (mind and body).

    Another important element of the general principles of practice, and examination of which helps to further clarify those special characteristics which distinguish vipassana from samatha, is yoniso-manasikara (skilful reflection). Yoniso-manasikara is a mental factor that assists in the birth of wisdom and is consequently of great importance in vipassana. In the practice of samatha, although it may be a useful support on many occasions, it is of lesser significance and, on some occasions, may be redundant, ordinary consideration being sufficient. To expand on this point, in the development of samatha, if all goes smoothly and results are duly experienced, there is no need to make use of yoniso-manasikara. However, on those occasions when the mind refuses its attention to the object, resists all restrains and insists on agitation, or else in those meditation themes, e.g. metta, which require a certain measure of reflective thought, one may need a skilful means to guide the mind. In such a case, one require the assistance of yoniso-manasikara, intelligent use of the thought-process, to lead the mind on the correct path towards its goal. An example would be knowing how to reflect so as to arrest anger and cause its replacement by metta.

    On the samatha side of practice, the yoniso-manasikara which may be required is solely of the kind that induces wholesome dhammas; there is no need to call upon the kind that activates the clear seeing of the true nature of things. In vipassana, yoniso-manasikara is a singularly important step on the path to wisdom and is thus an essential principle of Dhamma. Yoniso-manasikara directly precedes wisdom; it is that which paves the way for wisdom, or opens up a space in which wisdom can mature.[16] Its characteristics and workings are so similar to those of paņņa that, when speaking of them, there often tends to be a looseness in expression, referring by name to only one and in fact meaning both, thus causing students difficulties in distinguishing between them.

    Yoniso-manasikara acts as a link between sati and paņņa. It is that which guides the stream of thought in such a way that wisdom is able to get down to work and achieve results. To put it another way, it is that which provides wisdom with its method; it is the skilful means employed in the efficacious use of wisdom. Student of Dhamma tend to become confused because, in general parlance, the term 'yoniso-manasikara' is used to refer both to the proposal of the means or method of thought (which is its true meaning), and also to the subsequent employment of paņņa in line with that method. Thus, as it is commonly used, the term implies both reflection and wisdom, in other words, 'wise reflection'.

    This ambiguity may also occur when speaking of the practical expressions of paņņa. For instance, when using the term 'dhammavicaya' (the discrimination of dhammas), one is usually left to work out for oneself that dhammavicaya denotes the employment of the wisdom-faculty to discriminate between dhammas using one of the methods provided by yoniso-manasikara.

    To demonstrate the process involved as a sequence of events, one could say that when sati brings an object to mind and lays it down in full view of the mind, yoniso-manasikara, as it were, picks it up and manipulates it in such a way that paņņa may scrutinize it and then deal with it effectively. Yoniso-manasikara fixes on the aspects amenable to the workings of paņņa and determines the course that it should take. Paņņa proceeds accordingly, and if yoniso-manasikara has done the ground-work well, its efforts will bear fruit. Sati is  present at every stage of this process for, whenever yoniso-manasikara is functioning, sati is always present. It is supported by, and in turn, supports, yoniso-manasikara in vipassana.

    A comparison may be made to someone in a rowing boat out on a choppy river, picking flowers or water greens. Firstly, that person ties up the boat or anchors it in such a way that it will remain stationary at the spot where the plants grow. Then with one hand he grasps hold of the stems, gathers them together and exposes them as conveniently as possible for harvesting. With the other hand, using the tool he has prepared for the job, he cuts them off. Sati may be compared to the anchor which stabilized the boat, enabling the man to remain within reach of the plants. The boat, held stationary at a given spot, may be compared to the mind. The hand which grasps the plant stems and holds them in a convenient way is like yoniso-manasikara. The other hand, using a sharp tool to cut off the stems, is like paņņa.

    A through knowledge of sammasati, the seventh factor of the Noble Eightfold Path, thus entails an examination of its characteristics and variations, its effects, its benefits, its relationship to other dhammas, and the role it plays in the practice leading to ultimate cessation of dukkha. Such an understanding of sammasati is of inestimable value to the practicing Buddhist.


"This is the one way, O Bhikkhus, for the purification of beings,
for the passing beyond sorrow and lamentation,
for the cessation of pain and distress,
namely the Four Satipatthana."


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13. Three asavas are usually given in the Discourses, those of sensuality, becoming and ignorance. Occasionally a fourth, that of views, is added. Destruction of the asavas is a synonym for complete enlightenment. (Translator) [Back to text]

14. "The doctrine of the conditionality of all physical and psychical phenomena." Nyanatiloka, Buddhist Dictionary. [Back to text]

15. Sati conjoined with paņņa is strong, lacking paņņa is weak: see Majjhima Nikaya Commentary, Vol. III, 28; Vibhanga Commentary, 406. There is no paņņa without sati: Paramatthamaņjusa Mahatika, Vol. I, 302. One lacking in sati will have no effective contemplation; e.g. Digha Nikaya Commentary, Vol. II, 474; Samyutta Nikaya Commentary, Vol. II, 270. Speaking of sati alone, implying paņņa: Anguttara Nikaya Commentary, Vol. III, 127, glossing Anguttara Nikaya, Book of the Sixes, 300; and the general explanation of the term 'satokari' as in Khuddaka Nikaya, Patisambhidamagga, 389, quoted in the Visuddhimagga, Chapter 2, 58. [Back to text]

16. Here one should note the differing results, in relation to paņņa, of saddha (reasoned conviction) and yoniso-manasikara. Saddha is like digging a fixed channel for thought to flow along. Yoniso-manasikara is like cutting the path for paņņa which is at each moment most conducive to its fruitful progress.

    In Buddhism, the sort of saddha which is encouraged is that which can link up with paņņa, i.e. that which offers an opportunity to yoniso-manasikara to perform its function. To illustrate this point, one example of the saddha of the 'fixed channel' variety is the theist's belief that everything which happens is the will of God. Such a faith brings critical thought to a halt. A Buddhist, on the other hand, has conviction in the truth of those of the Buddha's teachings which he has not yet directly verified for himself, but his faith leads him on. For example, his conviction in the Buddha's teaching that all things exist in accordance with causes and conditions encourages him, when undergoing an experience, to try to find out what causes and conditions are prevailing at that time. [Back to text]