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Tuesday, January 24, 2012


(Spiritual Insight)
Delivered at the Yangon University Dhammāyon by the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw
(May 1974)
vippassana Meditation
As is usual, the main emphasis of this evening's discourse will be on Vipassanā because it is a
subject of vital importance which behooes a teacher to deliver for the instruction of his audience as
much as it commands careful attention on the part of the latter to listen and learn.
The Buddha had set a sequence for the subjects. He would address in his sermons, and they
were enumerated in the following order.
(i) Dāna Kathā, which deals with the subject of alms-giving or charity, and describes how one should
offer alms or practise charity; and what kind of consequence or fruition would result thereby
(ii) Sīla Kathā, which deals with the subject of morality, such as keeping the five precepts, and
explains how morality is developed, and what benefits its practice will bring
(iii) Sagga Kathā, which describes the delights of the Devas' blissful existence attainable through the
practice of Dāna and observance of Sīla
(iv) Magga Kathā, which exposes the demerits of sensual pleasures that abound in the sphere of Devas
and points the way to their renunciation, and to the attainment of Ariya magga (Noble or Sublime Path)
through the practice of Samatha (quietude) and Vipassanā bhāvanā (insight meditation).
Because the first three Kathās are subjects most often covered in discourses, I shall not deal
with them here. Even the first portions of Magga Kathā will have to be excluded in order that I may
devote the entire time this evening to the completion of my discourse on Vipassanā.
Discourses on Vipaªsanā are being delivered by many Dhammakathikas (those who preach the
Dhamma), and there may be variations in their individual presentations. The important thing is that
whoever practises Vipassanā according to the instructions of a discourse should derive Vipassanā
insight through immediate personal experience and in full accord with the expositions in the Dhamma.
We therefore commit ourselves to the propagation of working instructions on Vipassanā
bhāvaanā (insight meditation) which will ensure that those who follow them in its practice will achieve
personal experience of true Vipassanā insight. In discharge of this commitment, I shall begin my
discourse with the recital of a keynote gāthā (stanza) from Satti Sutta which says:
"sattiyā viya omattho deshamānova matthake
Kāmarāgappahānāya sato bhikkhu paribbaje."
This is the rendition in verse of a statement of personal opinion made to the Buddha by an
anonymous Deva. According to the exegesis in the first chapter of Sagāthāvagga saṃyutta, this
statement may be assumed to have been made by a Brahmā (a celestial being of the Brahmā world; a
noble being) from the fact that his life span was described as having ranged over many worlds. The
Pāḷi gāthā (stanza) may be translated as follows.
"With the same urgency and despatch as someone whose breast has been impaled with a spear
or whose head is on fire would seek immediate relief from the affliction thereof, the Bhikkhu who is
mindful of the perils of Samsārā (round of births; cycle of the continuity of existence) should make
haste to rid himself of the defilement's of Kāmarāga (sensual pleasure) through Samatha Jhāna
(quietude as a result of abstract meditation)."

As already mentioned, this is the submission by a Brahmā of his opinion to the Buddha. Certain
people do not believe in the existence of Devas and Brahmās on the ground that they have not seen
them personally. This is because they do not have the ability to perceive and because their level of
knowledge and observation is low. They might turn round and say that they do not believe because
their high intellect and rationality would not permit acceptance of the existence of Devas and Brahmās.
As a matter of fact, the situation is very similar to the disbelief of certain easterners when the western
would announced the invention of aeroplanes for the first time. It may also be likened to the nonacceptance
by some people of the fact that space vehicles have landed man on the moon.
Buddha had spoken of Devas and Brahmās through personal knowledge of their existence and
this has been supported by observations of persons endowed with Abhiñña (transcendent knowledge)
and by Arahats. Buddha in his omniscience had perceived more abstruse and refined dhamma and
expounded them also. Arahats with superior intellects have had personal experience of these Dhammas
and had thereby supported Buddha's exposition. If for the reason that they cannot see the Devas and
Brahmās, certain people will not accept their existence, we may conclude that their intelligence is still

Brahmās are free from attachment to sensual pleasures. Their life-span covers a range of many
worlds. Men and Devas belonging to the Kāmaloka (sensuous sphere or plane of existence comprising
eleven kinds of sentient beings) have short life spans. During the life-time of Gotama Buddha, man
generally lived to the age of one hundred years. Some died before that age while others live beyond
one hundred years to one hundred and fifty or sixty. Much further back in time man had lived,
according to statements in the religious chronicles, up to three or four hundred years of age. Man's
lifespan cannot however be considered long. The devas have a much longer life span in comparison.
Mortal human beings do not realized this. We could only learn about these facts through the teachings
and observations of the Buddha and the Arahats. For example, in today's world, scientific knowledge is
continually advancing. Men of science have been studying the nature of the world. Others who have no
personal knowledge of science, learn from the findings of the scientists. Information on such matters as
the nature and dimension of the stars and planets, their orbits and relationships, the nature of other
celestial systems (Cakkavalas) etc., are gathered by scientists using their methods and calculations and
others accept such information as true. Although we are not endowed with the knowledge that
scientists have, we use our common sense and intelligence and accept the scientists' information
whenever we find it plausible.
In the same way, what the Buddha had told us out of His own omniscience and experience we
should accept and believe as, (Buddha's real teaching) for instance, in the case of accepting the fact that Devas and Brahmās
exist. We accept such facts although we do not know them through personal experience, because we
can use our rational thinking and accept them as plausible. If we aspire for personal experience and
knowledge of these facts, there are methods through the practice of which such experience and
knowledge can be attained. Jhānas (mystic or abstract meditation; ecstasy; absorption) and Abhiññas
achieved by such practice can lead to conviction as a result of personal experience. It is therefore
irrational to adopt the attitude of non-acceptance of a fact just because one has no personal knowledge
of it while methods exist by practising which such knowledge is attainable.

Some people say they cannot believe anything of which they have no personal experience. This
attitude stems from their presumption that others would not know what they themselves do not.
One person can appraise another's ability only when both belong together in the same category
of development, intellectual or spiritual. It is wrong to assume that one can similarly appraise others
who belong to a different category, as in the instance of someone with no training in mathematics who
contends that a learned mathematician is no better than he in doing an arithmetical sum. To refuse to
believe what someone with a profound knowledge of the world has expounded just because it is
beyond one's comprehension is lamentable folly. The egregious error lies in equating one's intellectual
caliber with the exponent's, and assuming that what one does not know the other cannot.
One accept the existence of Devas and Brahmās because the Buddha said so, and because one
believes that He had seen and known them even though one may not be able to perceive their existence
personally. There is in Buddha's teaching much else which is of greater import. It is necessary to study
them thoroughly if one really wants to gain personal knowledge thereof, and one can surely achieve
this if one sets out to study seriously. Buddha's teachings are all available for knowledge as well as
personal experience, one of the attributes of the Dhamma being Sandiṭṭhiko which means that practice
of the Dhamma certainly leads to personal insight and direct experience.

As stated earlier, the life span of Devas is much longer than man's. Yet, in the estimation of the
Brahmās, the Devas seem to be dying off after very brief spells of life. A Brahmā would therefore take
pity on men and devas for their very short lives, assuming that lust for sensual pleasure has relegated
them to the planes of human or Deva's existence where they die very soon. Should they strive for
deliverance from bondage to this lust and achieve states of Jhāna as a Brahmā has done, they would
also attain the existence of Brahmās and live for aeons of time measurable in world cycles. In this way,
they would be relieved of the misery of very frequent deaths.
Thus the Satti Sutta, which says "With the same urgency and despatch as someone whose breast
has been impaled with a spear or whose head is on fire would seek immediate relief from the affliction
thereof, the Bhikkhu who is mindful of the perils of Samsārā (round of births; cycle of the continuity
of existence) should make haste to rid himself of the defilement's of Kāmarāga (sensual pleasure)
through Samatha-Jhāna (quietude as a result of abstract meditation).
To put it briefly, the Brahmā's message is that attempts must be made immediately to achieve
Jhāna in order to divest oneself of Kāmarāga.
We humans can observe many small animals whose lifespan is very short. Some insects appear
to live only for a few days. Others are extremely small and presumingly very short-lived also. One
feels pity for these insects which live a few days only to die and be reborn into another short life. In the
same way, Brahmās are moved to pity when they observe men and Devas coming to life and dying in a
very short time, thus going through repeated cycles of brief periods of life. They hold the view that if
men and devas should attain Jhānas, they would be rid of the lust for sensual pleasures and reach the
realm of the Brahmās, which they believe is the best attainable state. Hence the expression of this
opinion by one Brahmā as rendered in the Satti Sutta which was made to Buddha in the hope that He
would approve it as true.

Buddha noted, however, that the Brahmā's statement of view was incomplete and erroneous.
Rejection of Kāmarāga (lust for sensual pleasures) can be brought about either by Samatha-jhāna or
by Anāgāmi magga (the third of the four Maggas, or paths to Nibbāna).
In the case of Anāgāmi magga, Kāmarāga is completely uprooted and this leads to rebirth in
the Brahmā world. Here arahatta magga, the final step to Nibbāna, is attained. Rejection of Kāmarāga
through Anāgāmi magga is therefore a commendable achievement of a high order.
On the other hand rejection of Kāmarāga through Samatha-jhāna, does not achieve its
complete annihilation. During the Jhānic state or existence as a Brahmā there is freedom from
Kāmarāga, but at the end of the Brahmā world, there can be rebirth in the human or Deva realms.
Kāmarāga would then rear its head again. If he finds good companionship, and lives a virtuous life he
will be born again as man or Deva. If through deligent practice he attains Jhāna, he can regain
existence in the Brahmā world. If, however, he should fall among evil companions, he could be led to
heresy and sinful conduct whereby he may be cast into the four apāyas (States of suffering or
punishment). Therefore, rejection of Kāmarāga merely by recourse to Samatha jhāna is not a valuable
or rewarding achievement. This is Buddha's view and all disciples of the Buddha do not attach much
value to rejection of Kāmrāga through Samatha Jhāna. At the end of existence in Brahmā realm which
had been attained as fruition of Jhāna, rebirth could take place in the human world and the continuum
of innumerable deaths and rebirths would prevail. The expected liberation from the misery of recurring
deaths would still be unattainable. To emphasize the need for and ensure the attainment of this
liberation, the Buddha restated the Gāthā as follows.
"Sattiyā viya omattho, deshamānoya mattake sakkāyadiṭṭhippahānāya, sato-bhikkhu paribbaje"
which means
"With the same urgency and despatch as someone whose breast has been impaled with a spear
or whose head is on fire would seek immediate relief from the affliction thereof, the Bhikkhu who is
mindful of the perils of Samsārā (round of births) should make haste to free himself from Sakkāyadiṭṭhi
(the heresy of individuality)."

Just as it is of extreme importance to remove the spear impaling one's breast and treat the
injury, or to put out the fire that burns one's head, it is imperative that one should divest oneself of
Sakkāyadiṭṭhi. For anyone who has not rid himself of Sakkāyadiṭṭhi, even the attainment of existence in
the Brahmās' realm is no surety against rebirth in the human or Deva worlds and the misery of frequent
death; nor can relegation to the four Apāyas (states of suffering or punishment) be ruled out.
Once free from Sakkāyadiṭṭhi, however, one is forever delivered from the perils of being cast to
the four Apāyas and will only be reborn the human or Devā worlds no more than seven times. At the
latest, then, one would achieve Arahathood and attain Parinibbāna in the seventh existence. Should
one reach thee Brahmā realm also, achievement of Arahathood and attainment of Parinibbāna would
take place there. It is therefore most important and essential to uproot Sakkāyadiṭṭhi through
achievement of Ariyamagga (the sublime path). It is on this account that Buddha had pointed out the
error in the Brahmā's pronouncement of Satti Sutta and enjoined us "to make haste to free ourselves
from Sakkāyadiṭṭhi through the sublime path of Ariyamagga.

The wrong view or interpretation of the apparent, perceived aggregate of physical and mental
elements as individual Atta or "I", is Sakkāyadiṭṭhi. This pāḷi word is a union of three component words
namely, Sa, kāya, and diṭṭhi. "Sa" means visible, perceivable presence; "kāya" means an aggregation;
and: diṭṭhi" means wrong view and wrong interpretation. When "sa" and "kaya" are put together, a
joint word "sakkāya" is derived which means a visible, perceivable aggregation of rūpa (assemblage of
material {physical} elements and properties) and nāma (assemblage of consciousness and mental
properties). Sakkāyadiṭṭhi is the wrong view and wrong interpretation of the aggregation of rūpa and
nāma as individual atta, "I" or sentient being.

What is evident is that at the moment of seeing there simultaneously exist the eye (physical)
organ of sight without which none can see); visible physical source of light or colour; and the mental
faculty of recognizing vision. The first two are "rūpas" because, on their own, they have no cognitive
property; and encounter with or exposure to such opposing or unfavourable conditions as heat or cold
would bring about adverse changes. In simple terms they may be described as an ārammaṇa (incapable
of cognition). The mental faculty of recognizing vision, of being conscious of seeing is "nāma". Thus,
at the moment of seeing, what clearly exist are the aforesaid "rūpas" and "nāma". Yet ordinary humans
do not realize this fact and what in reality is an aggregate of "rūpas" and "nāma" is mistakenly
assumed by them as individual "atta" or "I". This is Sakkāyadiṭṭhi.
The eye as well as the whole body of which it is part is misconceived as an individual "I" who
sees. When one sees one's own hand, for instance, - "I" am seeing "my" hand; the subject who sees is
"I". All three components, the eye, the object of sight and the eye-consciousness, are assumed to
belong in the same individual "I". This is Sakkāyadiṭṭhi. When seeing others, the interpretation would
be that a person, a woman, a man, a living atta or an individual is seen. This is also Sakkāyadiṭṭhi.
Beginning with eye-consciousness, all consciousness and mental properties as well as the whole body
are collectively presumed one's own, thereby giving rise to a clinging attachment to the individual "I".
This is Sakkāyadiṭṭhi, a heresy always present in ordinary man, and so deeply rooted and firmly
ensconced that the number of cases of its rejection is very few and far between. Perhaps, attachment to
the individual "atta" may be considerably reduced as the result of a wide study of Abhidhammā and
other. Buddhist texts. But complete detachment is unlikely.
Mere study of Abhidhammā as an intellectual exercise will not lead to freedom from the
bondage of Sakkāyadiṭṭhi. But momentary detachment from the "atta" heresy occurs each time
"anatta" consciousness arises through the practice of Vipassanābhāvanā in relation to the conciseness
of sight, sound, touch, etc. Whenever lapses occur in the mindful application of Vipassanā bhāvana,
attachment to atta will yet prevail again. Only the attainment of Ariyamagga (sublime path) can
completely eradicate this heresy. Ceaseless efforts should therefore be directed to its rejection through
spiritual insight that leads to Ariya magga.

There are many treatises and scriptures in India which describe and explain the atta principle in
great detail. The acceptance of the idea that one can achieve whatever one wishes to bring about, is
Sāmī type of atta-attachment; that the body always harbours an atta or individual "I" is Nivāsī type;
that "I" myself walk, stand, sit sleep, see, hear, act, etc., is Kāraka type; and that the individual "I"
myself solely enjoy the pleasurable and suffer the displeasurable is Vedaka type. Adherents to the atta
principle according to these four types take the view that atta actually exists. But the teaching of
Buddha denies the existence of atta in firm and explicit terms. This is very clearly brought out in such
sermons of the Buddha as the Anatta Lakkhaṇa Sutta. The majority of people in India believe in the
atta principle. They believe that the tiny individual atta really exists, and that if contact with or
understanding of this atta can be accomplished, all suffering would cease, as set forth in some of their
writings. There is no written doctrine extant in Myanmar, however, which endorses the view that there
is a tiny atta "creature" in the individual. But clinging or attachment to the idea of a living, individual
atta does remain nevertheless. This atta-attachment not only characterizes the common man or
worldling, but also manifests itself in animals.
All the essential properties of rūpa and nāma which bring about processes that lead to seeing
visible objects, hearing audible sounds are taken together and wrongly interpreted as being
incorporated into the single entity of a living "I". Such deep-rooted misconception is atta diṭṭhi or

At the moment of hearing also, just as in the case of vision, the physical organ concerned,
namely the ear and the physical force of sound vibrations (rūpas); and the mental property of sound
perception (nāma) are clearly recognizable. These clearly recognizable aggregates of rūpas and nāma
are wrongly interpreted as the individual "I" or as a living entity. In the same way, the source of the
heard sound is also misconceived as a living individual creature. This is the wrong view, wrong belief
and wrong assumption of sakkāyadiṭṭhi.
At the moment of smelling, the physical organ concerned, viz, the nose, and the physical or
material source of smell (rūpas); and the mental property of olfactory perception (nāma) are
recognizable. Here again, aggregates of these recognizable rūpas and nāma are misconceived as a
living, individual "I" or individual creature. This is sakkāyadiṭṭhi.
By the same token, during the process of eating food, edible matter and taste-perceptive
physical organ, tongue (rūpas); and mental faculty of gustatory perception (nāma) are distinctly
recognizable. But the aggregation of these component rūpas and nāma is misinterpreted as the living,
individual "I" or a living individual creature. This is sakkāyadiṭṭhi.
The process of touch or contact involves a very wide area. Touch or contact can be established
in all parts of the body. Sight only involves the two eyes of the recipient body; hearing involves the two
ears; smell involves the two nasal passages; and taste involves the tongue: whereas touch or contact
takes place in all adequately nourished, normally functioning parts of the body; from head to foot,
externally as well as internally. In every point of contact diffused throughout the recipient body, there
is a distinct kāya pasāda (body-consciousness sense base). Therefore, when touch or contact takes
place between the subject and the sense object, three manifestations are involved; namely, the
kāyapasāda of the recipient body and the sense objects, both of which are rūpas; and the mental
faculty (nāma) of the perception of touch. When aggregations of these rūpas and nāma are however
wrongly conceived as "I" or a sentient creature, it is sakkāyadiṭṭhi again.
While giving rein to one's imagination thoughts or schemes, the physical base on which each is
focussed (rūpa); and the idea (ārammana) which supports or is the object of each projected thought
(also rūpa); and the mental faculty which thinks, schemes and knows (nāma) are manifested. When
these manifest rūpas and nāma are aggregated and wrongly presumed as the basis on which "I" am
thinking, scheming or imagining, it is sakkāyadiṭṭhi.
In fact, total aggregation of all perceptions relating to the ocular, auditory, olfactory, gustatory,
tactile and mental processes is also liable to be misconceived as contributory to an individual "I" or
atta, which again is sakkāyadiṭṭhi.

For a person who has heard the teaching of Buddha and benefited therefrom, such phenomena
as sight, hearing etc., are each understood as a continuum involving alternating moments of the arising
and cessation of related rūpas and nāmas. Such a person will not be oppressed by a firm bondage to
sakkāyadiṭṭhi. For others who have not had the opportunity to benefit from Buddha's teaching,
attachment to the heresy of individuality would be very closely and firmly established. They would be
fully convinced that a living individual atta or "I" really exists. Some may even go further and believe
that a soul resides in each individual; that it relinquishes its habitat on the death of the host and takes up
its new abode in the body of an infant about to be born. All this is sakkāyadiṭṭhi.
As long as sakkāyadiṭṭhi holds sway, immoral or sinful actions (akusalakamma) would abound,
bringing about a commensurate rise in the risk of relegation to the apāya. It could be said that the doors
to apāya are kept open and ready to take in all those still wallowing in the thralldom of sakkāyadiṭṭhi.
That is why it is most important that one should eliminate sakkāyadiṭṭhi. If it is possible to uproot
sakkāyadiṭṭhi entirely, there shall hence-forth be no possibility of being cast into apāya. There shall be
no further commitment of akusalakamma and no past skusalakamma can be brought to bear upon the
issue of relegation to apāya. The doors to apāya shall be closed forever and all suffering inherent in the
apāya state will never be encountered again. Even rebirths in the human and Deva realms will not
occur for more than seven times. All suffering that stems from aging, ill health and death which would
attend further rebirths beyond the said maximum of seven would be eliminated; and during the
maximum of seven rebirths, the final stage in the sublime path viz. arahatta magga would be achieved
and Nibbāna attained.
It would thus be seen how important it is to rid oneself of the heresy of individuality and why
Buddha enjoined us in Satti Sutta "to make haste to free ourselves from sakkāyadiṭṭhi through the
sublime path of ariya magga." Whoever is impaled by a spear should not brook any delay or tardiness,
but take immediate steps to remove the prime weapon and treat the wound. The immediate concern of
anyone whose head is on fire must be to put out the fire as soon as possible. Similarly, it is an
overriding necessity to eliminate sakkāyadiṭṭhi, to extinguish its raging flames immediately. Efforts
should be started at once to this end because of the constraint of uncertainty there is no way of
ascertaining the length of our current existence. We cannot determine how long we will live nor
foresee when, on what day and at what time we shall die. Time is therefore of the essence. We cannot
afford to procrastinate any further.

Vipassanā practice, which is most relevant to and essential for deliverance from the bondage of
sakkāyadiṭṭhi, should begin now, right away. It should be established and maintained with
Sammappadhānaṃ (supreme effort, right exertion) to ensure the extinction of Kilesā (moral
defilement's). Urgency of advocacy for Vippasanā practice is prompted by the uncertainty of what
tomorrow holds in store, whether one will live it through or be claimed by death which lurks and
awaits the fateful hour. Death with disease, poison and diversity of lethal weaponry at its command is
inexorable. It is not accessible to negotiation or conciliation. One cannot bargain for postponement of
its visitation; nor take recourse to bribery, nor marshal one's own forces to repel its assault. Hence, the
crucial need for immediate action to start the practice of Vipassanābhāvanā. The important point which
cannot be overemphasized is the need for immediate action the need to start vipassanā practice now,
this very day.


There are four functions of Sammappadhāna:
i Making efforts to prevent the arising of latent or unrisen evils or unwholesome states
ii Making efforts to reject, or disburden oneself of evils or unwholesome states that have already arisen
iii Making efforts to develop unrisen good (meritorious) or wholesome states Making efforts to
maintain, augment and completely fulfil good meritorious or wholesome states which have already
(i) Latent or unrisen evils (unwholesome states) refer to such cases as taking the life of any
sentient being; robbing (stealing) other's property; utterance of lies, etc, which have not arisen in
oneself but have been seen arising in others. Seeing or hearing others get into such evil or sinful states
should prompt one to avoid or take precautions against the arising of such evils. In the same way, for
instance, as proper environmental and personal hygiene, avoidance of unsafe contaminated food and
water, etc have to be taken as preventive measures when others are seen to be afflicted with the
prevailing disease during an outbreak of diarrhea, the arising of sinful (unwholesome) states in others
should serve as the signal for instituting measures to prevent similar states arising in one's own self.
(ii) one also has to safeguard oneself against further incidence of evil (unwholesome) states
which had arisen in the past. This function also involves efforts to reject Anusaya kilesā (latent
dispositions to moral defilement).
(iii) Unrisen good (meritorious) or wholesome state refers to status resulting from virtuous
practice of Dāna (charity), Sīla (morality) or Bhāvanā (meditation) which has not arisen in oneself. If
such Dāna as offering of food and robes to the Sanghā (Buddhist priesthood, clergy) has not been
performed before, one should make an effort to start the practice of Dāna within one's own capability
and circumstance. Sīla is code of morality and the basic Pañca Sīlas (five precepts) are binding on all
Buddhists. If one has not observed these five precepts conscientiously, one should take steps to do so.
As far and as often as possible one should make efforts to embrace the observance of the eight precepts
also. Similarly, efforts should be stepped up to embark upon the practice of Bhāvanā. Samatha,
bhāvanā (meditation exercise leading to quietude or tranquility) which is also synonymous with
samādhi (concentration), may be practiced as for example Buddhānussati. This is the repeated
reflection on and constant mindfulness of virtues of the Buddha the most important thing, in the final
analysis, is to embark on an unprecedented course, the practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā. Its stern
demands not with standing, one's utmost efforts invested in this discipline are sure to be most profitable
and rewarding. Benefits would grow apace and provide support to the attainment of spiritual insight.
Admittedly, Viapssanā practice is no simple task and this is why it is outside the experience of
most people, and why we are trying our best to provide instruction and guidance for simple approaches
thereto. While paying attention to such lectures as the one being delivered now, one should be able to
learn the method by which Vipassanā bhāvanā may be practiced within the confines of one's home and
progress steadily on the path to spiritual insight. Mātikamāttā of ancient times who progressed in such
fashion to Anāgāmi status (the third of the four sublime paths to Nibbāna), was a standing example of
such achievement.
At the present time, only a small number of people may attain Vipassanā insight after a few
days of meditation. For some who are highly endowed, Vipassanā insight may be reached in seven
days while for others fulfillment may take anywhere between fifteen or twenty days to one or two
months. The main thing to be borne in mind is that efforts should be maximal and sustained till at least
the Sotāpattimagga (the first of the four sublime paths to Nibbāna) is attained. This is a clear indication
for the third Sammappadhāna which relates to application of supreme efforts to attain a meritorious
state not yet achieved (Sotāpattimagga in this instance). As a result of these efforts, Sakkāya diṭṭhi is
eliminated. Sakadāgāmimagga, Anāgamimagga and Arahattamagga would have to be attained in that
order through Sammappadhāna.
Efforts directed towards the maintenance of meritorious states already achieved; further
expansion of these states and fulfillment or realization of the final objective denote the endeavous
made, for example, to keep up the level of Dāna kusala (charitable activities) already established; to
achieve Jhāna and to attain magga and its phala (fruit or outcome of magga). It is especially important
for supreme efforts to be applied to maintenance of such a meritorious state as accrues from vipassanā
insight; and for successive attainment of higher states of merit. As far as possible, efforts must continue
for the attainment of the final stage of Arahattamagga. Sammappadāna should thus be applied
exclusively to the practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā to achieve Ariya magga (sublime path).
Buddha thus enjoined the Bhikkhu (who, being aware of the perils of Samsārā wished to escape
therefrom) to take immediate steps for developing mindfulness by which to free himself from
How Vipassanā bhāvanā may be practised through mindfulness has been expounded by the
Buddha in Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta.

"There is a path laid on the four Satipaṭṭhānas (foundations of mindfulness), Oh Bhikkhus" said
the Buddha, "and this is the only path and direction which has to be taken."
(i) Kāyānupassanā satipaṭṭhāna-mindfulness, at each occurance, of the arising of movements
and postures of the body (assemblage of physical elements)
(ii) Vedanānupassanā satipaṭṭhāna-mindfulness of each arising of sensation or feeling
(iii) Cittānupassanā satipaṭṭhāna-mindfulness of each arising of thought or impression and
(iv) Dhammānupassanā satipaṭṭhāna-mindfulness of each arising of Dhamma (condition,
property, characteristic of natural phenomena).
This categorization is made according to the sense object which the mind has to support and
provide a base for. If considered from the standpoint of mindfulness, however, it is a single process
which needs no further classification Mindfulness is also referred to as appamāda (vigilance).
Satipaṭṭhāna is the only sublime path, and it is set in a specific direction, namely toward the
cleansing of all defilement's from sentient beings. When all moral defilement's are cleansed,
Arahattamagga is attained; a Bodhisatta (a being destined to attain Buddhahood) or Pacceka bodhisatta
(one who is destined to become a Paccekabuddha) would attain Buddhahood or Paccekabuddhahood
respectively. Thus Buddhas, Paccekabuddhahood and Arahats have all been cleansed of Kilesā
defilements through Satipaṭṭhāna, and attained Buddhahood, Paccekabuddhahood and Arahatship
respectively. This is the only sublime path-way.

Only when cleansed of moral defilements can there be an end of all suffering. Hence the vital
necessity for uprooting these defilements. All creatures yearn for release from suffering; and cleansing
of moral defilements as pre-requisite for deliverance therefrom can only be achieved through
Moral defilements comprise ten categories, these are, Loba (craving), Dosa (illwill, hatred),
Moha (ignorance, wrong perception), Māna (pride, conceit), Diṭṭhi (false view), Vicikicchā (doubt,
indecision), Thina (sloth), Uddhacca (restlessness), Ahirika (shamelessness in the commission of
akusala kamma) and Anottappa (lack of fear in the commission of akusala kamma)
Similarly, Issa (envy, jealousy), Macchariya (grudge) and Kukkucca (remorse, brooding over
past wrong deeds, wrong words; etc) may also be considered elements of moral defilements.
Of these Kilesās, Moha is difficult to conceive. It does not lend itself to interpretation as easily
as the words Loba and Dosa do. It is not generally recognized that acceptance of traditional beliefs
(such as in the permanence of certain states; in a blissful existence; and in the individuality of living
beings) is Moha or Avijjā. Because of the lack of mindfulness regarding the arising of sense
perceptions such as in the case of sight and hearing, there is no realization that these are just
manifestations of the characteristics and properties of Rūpa and Nāma, and such non realization is
Moha or Avijjā. This Avijjā should be removed by developing the practice of mindfulness with regard
to arising of sense perceptions.
Diṭṭhi is another word which is difficult to interpret. People holding wrong views consider
themselves right and stubbornly cling to their ideas and beliefs. They go even further and make
attempts to propagate their heresy.

At this point, it is necessary to understand Sammādiṭṭhi as opposed to Micchādiṭṭhi (wrong
views, false doctrine). Sammādiṭṭhi has been critically reviewed and classified in the Aṭṭahakathā as
(i) Kammassakathā sammādiṭṭhi
(ii) Jhāna sammādiṭṭhi
(iii) Vipassanā sammādiṭṭhi
(iv) Magga sammādiṭṭhi
(v) Phala sammādiṭṭhi and
(vi) Paccavekkhaṇā sammādiṭṭhi
Of the six, Paccavekkhaṇā sammādiṭṭhi is the retrospective examination of magga, Phala and
Nibbāna after the realization of Nibbāna through attainment of Arahatta magga and Arahatta phala.
This does not entail any special effort. When magga and Phala ñāṇa have been attained
Paccavekkhaṇā sammādiṭṭhi takes place automatically. Phala sammādiṭṭhi is also a resultant of magga
sammādiṭṭhi and arises simultaneously without effort.
But Kammassakathā sammādiṭṭhi, Jhāna sammādiṭṭhi, Vipassanā sammādiṭṭhi and Magga
sammādiṭṭhi need to be brought about through diligent efforts. However, Kammassakathā sammādiṭṭhi
being knowledge (ñāṇa) concerning kamma (action) and corresponding result, its general idea is
widely known among Buddhists even from young age when cognitive faculty has developed. When the
age of fifteen or sixteen is reached this knowledge is reinforced by listening to sermons like the one
being delivered now, and by reading and studying appropriate treatises on the Dhamma and thus
Kammassakathā sammādiṭṭhi comes to be well established in the minds of these teenagers. This
knowledge concerning the commission of kamma and the result thereof acquired as it is through
instruction and acceptance cannot, of course, bear comparison with knowledge derived from personal
experience of actual practice such as Vipassanā ñāṇa. The former is knowledge based on saddhā
(confident belief born of conviction).
These days, some people subscribe to the view that they cannot believe anything which they
have not themselves experienced. It is not possible for anyone to have had personal experience of
everything. If one is dogmatic about not accepting anything which is outside one's own experience,
how can the daily affairs of life be managed? For instance, there are railway train services taking
passengers from Yangon to other places such as Mandalay, Pyi, Mawlamyaing etc. That these different
services take people to the respective destinations will have to be accepted even if one has had no
previous personal experience to support such acceptance. Similarly, there are vessels in the Inland
Water Transport which take passengers to riverine towns such as Pyapon, Pathein, etc. on scheduled
services; as also airplane services to take passengers to different towns or different countries and each
time one wishes to travel to a certain destination in an appropriate transport, one has to take the service
proffered without question, whether one has previous personal experience of travelling in such
transport or not. In those instances, one has to take certain information on trust, otherwise the
destination will not be reached. If one accepts others' statements of experience as true, and take the
indicated transport system, one would reach the desired destination.
One should therefore accept as truth what the Buddha, from his Omniscience, had stated about
unwholesome actions resulting in ill effects; and wholesome actions resulting in good effects. The
Arahats also have supported these statements because they have personal experiences to prove their
truth. Thus, the righteous people, accepting fully the relationship between actions and their results,
avoid the unwholesome and undertake the wholesome activities such as the practice of dāna (charity),
thereby escaping relegation to apāyas, reaching happy existences in the human or Deva realms and
finally attaining Nibbāna.

Buddha would never speak on any subject without personal experience and knowledge of it; nor
rely on conjecture or impression for delivering his sermons. Having attained Supreme Enlightenment,
discovered the Four Noble Truths, and gained clear insight and in-depth understanding thereof,
Buddha's compassion for mankind led him to offer it the greatest of gifts, namely, knowledge of these
Noble Truths. A parallel may be drawn with the contemporary education system, in which teachers try
to impart all they know to their pupils. In this teacher-pupil relationship, pupils should believe the
teacher's words and be grateful for their goodwill and concern for the pupil's instructions. In the same
manner, mankind should give credence to Buddha's teaching and be grateful for His instructions on
precept and practice. But just believing alone will not do. One should follow His teaching and practice
accordingly and benefits would certainly accrue.

When illness occurs, one visits an physician and places confidence in and reliance on his
ministrations. This is because one believes that if the physician's instructions and directions are
followed properly, one will get well. With trust and confidence one takes medicine prescribed by the
physician and abstains from dietary items and physical activities he disapproves. Health is recovered
and thus one personally experiences the benefits of following the physician's advice. Similarly, when
Buddha's teachings are accepted with firm conviction and followed diligently in practice, essential
comprehension and insight will be derived through immediate personal experience. Therefore, as a first
basis, the facts of precursor Kamma (action), and its result should be accepted. This acceptance and
cognizance of action and its corresponding result is Kammassakathā sammādiṭṭhi. This is derived just
through the act of acceptance; no special effort is required.
Whosoever is endowed with Kammassakathā sammādiṭṭhi abstains from killing, stealing and
sexual misconduct. This is Sammā Kammanta (Right action), one of the constituents of the Noble
Eightfold Path. He also abstains from lying, slandering, harsh speech and frivolous talk which is
Sammāvācā (Right speech); abstains from unwholesome livelihood such as trading in arms, slaves,
intoxicants, animals for slaughter, and poison, which is Sammā ājīva (Right livelihood). These three
constituents of the Noble Eightfold Path may be grouped under Sīla (Morality). When these three
constituents of the Noble Eightfold Path are taken, Sīla visuddhi (purity of sīla) is attained. These are
the Sīla (morality) factors built on the three aforesaid constituents of the Noble Eightfold Path which
will be the basis for samādhi (concentration) and paññā (wisdom).
When Sīla visuddhi is attained, one may, if one has the capacity, develop Jhāna sammādiṭṭhi in
conjunction with Sammā samādhi (Right concentration). Any one of the forty Samatha kammaṭṭhana
(exercises leading to quietude) e.g. pathavīkasiṇa (one of ten processes by means of which mystic
meditation is induced by concentrating the mind on a hypnotic circle (kasiṇa mandala) covered in this
instance with clay i.e., earth=paṭhavī; the objective being one-pointedness of the mind leading
eventually to appanā samādhi i.e., ecstatic concentration, absorption); or ānāpāna (mindfulness of
respiration which comprises āna inhalation and apāna, exhalation; which leads to one-pointedness of
the mind progressively to insight and thence to arahatship) or the Thirty-two koṭṭhāsa meditation on the
loathsomeness of the thirty-two impure parts of the body eg., hair, nails, teeth, etc., which leads to
dispassion may be concentrated on with the purpose of achieving jhāna (state of ecstasy or absorption).
Knowledge which comes with the achievement of Jhāna is jhāna sammādiṭṭhi. Here, knowledge is not
the prime concern. The essential outcome is jhāna samādhi; because with its establishment, nīvarana
(hindrances to mindfulness and quietude) would be overcome and Citta visuddhi (purity of the mind)
When Citta visuddhi is attained vipassanā sammādiṭṭhi should be developed vipassanā
sammādiṭṭhi is vipassanā ñãṇa (intuitive knowledge or insight) which is endowed with immediate
experience and knowledge of the nature of Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta. When vipassanā ñãṇa is fully
matured and complete, Nibbāna is realized and Ariyamagga ñãṇa developed. This is Magga
sammādiṭṭhi. Once this is attained. Sakkāyadiṭṭhi is uprooted. Vipasanā maggaṅga has to be developed,
therefore, for the attainment of Magga Sammadiṭṭhi. That is why Vipassanā Sammādiṭṭhi is designated
the pubba bhāga magga (precursor magga) of Ariyamagga sammādiṭṭhi. The forerunners of Vipassanā
sammādiṭṭhi are the Mūla (basic) maggaṅgas namely, kammassakathā sammādiṭṭhi; Sīla maggaṅga
comprising sammāvācā, sammā kammanta, sammā ājīva and jhāna sammādiṭṭhi.
If one whishes to attain Nibbāna, one must first develop and complete the fulfillment of Mūla
maggaṅgas. Attempts must be made to achieve Sīla visuddhi on the basis of kammassakathā
sammādiṭṭhi. For the laity this is not very difficult to achieve. The understanding of kamma (action)
and its related result, and the acceptance of their relationship are already established since childhood;
and keeping the five precepts has also begun early on in life. Even if these measures were not
thoroughly addressed during the early years of life, taking the five precepts just before beginning the
meditation session would suffice ordinarily. Going on next to attempts at developing jhāna will, in the
majority of instances, be hard to accomplish. For that reason, an alternative would be to adopt the
Suddha vipassanā yānika method, and begin Vipassanā bhāvanā right away. Starting from bodily
contact with sense objects, all distinctly recognizable rūpas and nāmas should be continuously
observed as they arise, thus establishing mindfulness. It is possible that while engaging oneself in this
mindfulness, one's thoughts and ideas would often stray. Such mental diversion should be noted and
the mind disburdened thereof, immediately. When Vipassanā samādhi has been developed to a high
degree of intensity, the mind will no longer be assailed by such vagrancy. It will be continuously
focused on the object of meditation. Such strong Vipassanā samādhi is Samādhi maggaṅga, which is
the primary, basic foundation.
Following this, Nāma rūpa pariccheda ñãṇa (knowledge which enables one to distinguish
between nāma and rūpa components in the object of meditation); Paccaya pariggaha ñãṇa (knowledge
which enables recognition of cause and effect clearly, to the end that one may be distinguished from
the other); and vipassanā ñãṇa (insight into the arising and cessation of sensory phenomena and the
realization of the characteristics of Anicca transitoriness or impermanence; Dukkha, suffering or
sorrow; and Anatta, no-self or non-individuality), will be progressively developed and refined. When,
as a result of this process, Vipassanā ñãṇa reaches a state of maturity and fulfillment, ariya maggaṅga,
the faculty to know and experience Nibbāna will arise. The development and progress along the three
stages of Mūla maggaṅga, Pubbabhaṅga maggaṅga and Ariya maggaṅga are thus presented according
to Buddha's teaching and this teaching deserves the highest credence. I will explain this again in more

One of the attributes of the Buddha Dhamma is that personal experience verifies its truth
(sandiṭṭhiko). If practised, one is bound to experience its truth. This may be likened to the experience of
the efficacy of good medicine when it is taken, or to the personal perception of the taste of a certain
item of food when it is actually eaten. Buddha's teaching is that all sentient beings are essentially
aggregates of rūpa and nāma. A Yogī (one who practises Vipassanā bhāvanā) beginning with the
perceptions derived from physical contact, tries to be continuously mindful of the arising of each and
every consciousness; and having strengthened and consolidated his Vipassanā samādhi becomes aware
of the fact that in each state of consciousness there are only two components the object of
consciousness (rūpa) and the mental faculty which perceives (nāma). This is realized through self12
knowledge as, for instance, when concentrating on the breathing process and observing the rising of the
abdominal wall during inspiration, it becomes clear through mindfulness that there is the rising
abdomen (rūpa) and the mental faculty which knows or feels its rising (nāma) . Similarly mindfulness
of the process of taking steps for walking will reveal that it involves the rūpa which steps and the nāma
which perceives. Such direct personal experience and self-knowledge reveals that a sentient being is
basically an aggregate of rūpa and nāma and that there is no individual person or creature. This
confirmation of Buddha's teaching by one's own personal experience further heightens conviction of
the truth of the Dhamma and bolsters Saddhā (confident belief based on knowledge or conviction).
Following this, one finds that one bends because one whishes to bend; and moves because one
wishes to move, thereby discovering the cause- effect relationship, again confirming Buddha's teaching
in this regard and strengthening Saddhā. Further progress in the practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā will
lead to the realization of a continuum of the arising and cessation of all phenomena, and bring out the
facts of impermanence, suffering and non individuality. Buddha's teaching that "there is a continuum of
arising and cessation", and that "all is impermanence, suffering and devoid of individuality," are
brought home convincingly and accepted with renewed and greater Saddhā. It becomes very clear that
Buddha taught what He knew through personal experience and according to a declaration of the
Buddha which goes "Whosoever sees (grasps) my teaching, has truly seen me," one has really seen
Buddha and understood His Teaching, because one has grasped the Dhamma through Vipassanā
bhāvanā. At the same time, one realizes that having gained omniscience, Buddha had made His
exposition of the Dhamma for the benefit of all suffering sentient beings. These are explanation of how
the practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā enables direct, immediate knowledge of the Dhamma.

Direct, immediate experience stems from the fact that acceptance of the relationship between
'action' and its 'result' has engendered a positive milieu of confidence that facilitates mindfulness and
insight. Those who will not accept the principle of 'action' and its corresponding 'result' will not take up
Vipassanā bhāvanā nor will they listen and give serious thought to the discourses on the Dhamma.
Direct personal knowledge cannot therefore come to them. Hence the importance of Kammāssakāthā
A critical analysis will bring out the rationale of the principle of 'action' and its corresponding
'result'. Performance of good action begets good result. When ethical principles are applied in a
business enterprise, it will thrive and bring prosperity. Whereas, if no scruples are observed and
dishonest business practices are resorted to, undesirable consequences would ensure and the business
enterprise would come to a bad end. How crime always brings the offender his due punishments is also
clearly manifest to any observer. The unwholesome results of akusala kamma (immoral actions)
sometimes appear as Gati nimittaṃ (indication or sign of the state of existence to which a being may be
re-born) when death is near. Such Gati nimittaṃ may be so dreadful that the last moments of the dying
were filled with absolute terror. On the other hand, the wholesome effects of Kusala kamma (moral
actions) may bring about pleasant and gladdening Gati nimittaṃ such as the beautiful abodes for
blissful living, or devas and friends beckoning; and in some cases, the dying person may even be able
to recount those nimittas. Such occurrences have been seen by many and mention is also made thereof
in the scriptures.

What has just been said is a brief account of how a critical analysis may be made of the
existence and operation of the principle relating to 'action' which brings about its corresponding 'result'.
Acceptance of the rationale of this principle and bearing it in mind is Kammasakathā sammādiṭṭhi.
Whoever is endowed with this right belief (sammādiṭṭhi) eschews all immoral actions which are liable
to bring about unwholesome results. Abstinence from musāvāda (falsehood), Pisunavācā (slander),
Pharusavācā (harsh speech) and Samphapplāpa (frivolous talk) is scrupulously observed. This
abstinence constitutes Sammāvācā (Right speech). Abstinence from killing (Pānātipāta), stealing
(Adinnadāna), and sexual misconduct (Kāmesu micchācāra) is also observed, thereby achieving
Sammā kammanta (Right Action). At the same time Micchājīva (iniquitous livelihood) is abstained
from, which leads to Sammā Âjīva (Right livelihood). Every conscious effort which leads to Sammā
vāccā, Sammā kammanta and Sammā Âjīva fulfils and maintains the three components of Sīla
maggaṅga (the sublime Path of Morality).

An impeccable morality and fully established Sīla maggaṅga permit Samatha bhāvanā which,
if steadfastly focussed on a specific sense object, can develop Jhāna samādhi. The tide of joy and
gladness which surges through the aspirant on the attainment of Jhāna samādhi is an overwhelming
personal experience. During jhānic ecstasy, there is great buoyancy of the body and sense of wellbeing.
There is also a concurrent feeling of happiness and much elation. This shows how Samatha
bhāvanā when practised well and developed properly can bring immediate and outstanding benefits in
the form of physical and mental well-being. One should not be content, however, with just Jhāna
samādhi and what it has to offer, because this Samādhi per se cannot achieve Sallekha kicca
(eradication of Kilesā or moral defilements). Sallekha Sutta deals with forty-four observances which
lead to eradication of Kilesā. Reference may be made on this subject to the said Sutta for
comprehensive information.

Whosoever gains jhāna samādhi should use it as a basis for the development of vipassanā
bhāvanā. The modus operandi can take the form of alternating episodes, one following the other,
involving Jhāna samādhi and Vipassanā bhāvanā which directs its attention and mindfulness on the
preceding Jhāna samādhi. It may also start with withdrawal from Jhāna samādhi and after reflection
on and mindful Vipassanā observation of the jhānic state in which the Yogī had just been, attention and
Vipassanā bhāvanā would then be directed to each perception out of several that may arise, as for
example, those connected with vision, hearing, etc. The different kinds of sense objects to which, as
they are encountered, such Vipassanā bhāvanā is addressed, are designated Pakiṇṇaka saṅkhāras
(miscellaneous conditioned things subject to change, sorrow, etc.)

Those who cannot achieve Jhāna samādhi will begin Vipassanā bhāvanā and develop
mindfulness of the Pakiṇṇaka saṅkhāras as they arise. When Vipassanā samādhi grows in strength,
Nīvaranas (hindrances) disappear and the observating mind stands out pure and clear. This is the
manifestation of Citta visuddhi (purity of the mind) established through Vipassanā samādhi. At this
stage, behind every single effort made for mindfulness, there is the impelling force of Sammā vāyāma
(right effort) which is concerned with ensuring maximal mindfulness; as well as Sammā sati (right
mindfulness); and Sammā samādhi (right concentration) which affects correspondence of the observing
mind to and its firm focus on the sense object that is being observed. These are the three Sammādhi
maggaṅgas which serve as primary supportive Maggaṅga for Vipassanā paññā.

When basic Sammādhi has been firmly set up and grown in stature and strength, mindful
observation of each sense perception confers insight into its true nature. It becomes possible to make a
proper distinction between the observable, perceivable sense object (rūpa) and the mental faculty that
perceives (nāma); and cause is clearly distinguished from its corresponding result. This is
Thereafter, mindfulness brings direct knowledge of a continuously repeated cycle in the
operation of which the perceived sense object as well as the perceiving faculty are concurrently going
through a phase of fresh arising which immediately alternates with the other in which there is
cessation. This personal observation of a cycle of continuous arising and cessation leads to the
cognizance of impermanence or transitoriness; suffering; and non-individuality. Items of knowledge
thus progressively acquired are termed Tirana pariññā, and they constitute true Vipassanā ñãṇas. This
realization, during the progress of Vipassanā bhāvanā, of the facts of impermanence, suffering and
non-individuality is derived from personal experience and knowledge. It is not mere acceptance of
what others say nor is it something learned from the study of scriptures. It is knowledge gained through
direct personal experience, during the practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā, of the components of sense
perception arising anew and immediately ceasing in a continually repeated cycle. The characteristics of
impermanence (transitoriness), suffering (sorrow) and non-individuality (no-self) are experienced and
truly understood. Therefore this realization is Sammādiṭṭhi.
Every incidence of such realization is supported by the prompting and orientation of
Sammāsaṅkappa maggaṅga toward the right path. Sammādiṭṭhi and Sammasaṅkappa together
constitute paññā maggaṅga. When they are added to the three Samādhi maggaṅgas (sammāvāyāma,
sammā sati and sammā samādhi), there are five Vipassanā maggaṅgas. These five Vipassanā
maggaṅgas are involved in all Vipassanā practices. The three Sīla maggaṅgas are already established
earlier on with the observance of the precepts. During Vipassanā bhāvanā, Sīla maggaṅgas remain
pure. When these three Sīla maggaṅgas are added to the five Vipassanā maggaṅgas, we have a total of
eight Vipassanā maggaṅgas.

Assiduous practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā will promote development of Vipassanā maggaṅga
and bring about full maturation of Vipassanā ñãṇa. The eight Ariya maggaṅgas are thus achieved and
Nibbāna realized. Sakkāyadiṭṭhi and all other Kilesā (moral defilements) that lead to Apāyas are
entirely eliminated by this single event. This marks the attainment of the state of Sotāpatti magga, the
lowest stage in the Ariyamagga. Efforts should thus be made to divest oneself of Sakkāyadiṭṭhi through
Ariyamagga. It will be seen here that Pubbahāga maggaṅga (precursor magga) is developed on the
basis of Kammassakathā sammādiṭṭhi, Sīla maggaṅga and Sammādhimaggaṅga; and with further
development of Vipassanā- maggaṅga which is inherent in Pubbabhāga maggaṅga, Nibbāna is
realized through Ariya magga. It is important to note the three successive maggaṅgas which have to be
developed in order to attain Nibbāna, These are-
(a) Mūla maggaṅga comprising Kammassakathā Sammadiṭṭhi, Sīla maggaṅga and Samādhi
(b) Pubbabhāga maggaṅga which is based on Mūla maggaṅga, and
(c) Ariya maggaṅga.
From what has been said so far, you will recall that benefiting on strong support of Sīla and
Jhāna samādhi, or vipassanā samādhi, one who is endowed with confidence in and true conviction of
Kamma (action) and corresponding result, will develop vipassanā maggaṅga in the form of
Pubbahbhāga (precursor) maggaṅga. This will lead to the attainment of Sotāpatti magga whereby
moral defilements which potentate relegation to Apāya such as Sakkāyadiṭṭhi will be eliminated.
Further development of this vipassanā maggaṅga can lead to the crowing achievement of the ultimate,
namely, Arahatta magga at which stage all moral defilements would be finally and completely purged;
and full emancipation from their tyranny attained. This process of progressive development has to be
guided by instructions embodied in the Satipaṭṭhāna desanā, Buddha's discourse (instruction) on the
Foundations of Mindfulness.


The introductory Aṭṭhakathā (exegesis, commentary) of Saṭṭipatthāna sutta says:
"Yasmā pana kāya vedanā citta dhammesu kinci dhammaṃ anāmasitvā bhāvanā nāma natthi.
Tasmā tepi imināva maggena sokaparideve samatikkhantābi veditabbā."
which Pāḷi passage may be interpreted as follows:
"Without mindfulness directed to anyone of the objects of Satipaṭṭhāna, namely, kāya (body),
Vedanā (feelings, sensations), citta (thoughts, ideas) and Dhammā (phenomena or characteristics of
existence), no vipassanā paññā nor ariya magga Paññā can be developed. Thus, it should be inferred
that Santati, minister of a royal court and Patācārī who were reputed to have overcome Sokaparideva
(sorrow and lamentation) and attained the status of Arahat and sotāpanna respectively after hearing
one sermon (or Gāthā) delivered by the Buddha, must also have overcome Sokaparideva by following
the instructions of Saṭṭipatthāna desanā.
Mindfulness may be established by focussing earnest attention on the postures and attitudes
taken, and movements made by the body (Kāya) which is an aggregation of rūpas. These include
awareness of walking, halting, sitting, reclining, bending, stretching and such other body movements
and postures. Alternatively, attention can be directed to sensations or feelings (Vedanā) which are (a)
pleasurable, (b) unpleasurable or (c) indifferent, indeterminate, neutral. Mindfulness may also be
brought about by contemplating on the processes of thought, generation of ideas, etc., which are the
functions of citta. Similarly, characteristics or phenomena of the perceptions of sight, sound, odour,
taste, may each be the object of contemplation. Only through mindful observance of and sustained
attention to any one of these four areas can vipassanā paññā and magga pãnñā be acquired.
Therefore, if sammāsati is applied to body stance and movements; to vedanā; citta;
or characteristics of the perception of sight, sound, etc., and mindfulness or awareness is established,
Vipassanā paññā will be generated. As vipassanā paññā is continuously nurtured, and developed the
successive stages on the Ariyamagga will be reached and moral defilements (kilesā) will be entirely
wiped out and Arahatship achieved Satipatthāna is the only way by which efforts can be directed to the
attainment of purification through removal of all vestiges of Kilesā. Hence Buddha's declaration to the
effect that the four Satipaṭṭhānas constitutes the one and only path that leads all sentient beings
(including Bodhisattas, Paccekabodhihsattas, Ariyāsāvaka-designates) to liberation from defilements
of Kilesā.

There are two kinds of defilements (filth, pollution). One is defilement of Rūpa and the other is
of Citta. Of the two, it is more urgent and necessary for the Citta (mind) to be rid of its defilements.
But the majority of people only understand how to attend to the Rūpa defilements i.e., how to clean
themselves when their bodies are soiled with sweat, dirt, etc. They would bathe or wash themselves,
clean themselves with soap, and in some instances, even put a final touch by applying sweet smelling
creams or pastes to the body. Cleaning the body, however immaculately it has been administered,
cannot by itself lead to deliverance from the sufferings of Apāya, senility, illness and death which are
inherent in Samsāra, nor can it bestow rebirth in blissful celestial abodes of the Devas. The attainment
of Nibbāna is certainly out of the question. Only when citta is cleansed (disburdened) of its defilements
such as Lobha, Dosa, and Moha, can the sufferings of Apāya and the shackles of Samsāra be overcome
and Nibbāna realized. Hence the vital importance of efforts to be made for disburdening the mind of its
defilements. The only means of stamping out all moral defilements which assail the mind is the
practice of Satipaṭṭhāna.
That is why mindful observance must be continuously applied to every bodily behavior as they
are initiated or brought about; every sense perception as it occurs; every thought or idea as it is
generated; every phenomenon or characteristic of sense perception (as for example that of sight, sound,
odour, taste, etc.,) as it is contemplated on. As one progresses in the application of such continuous
mindfulness, one will realize that one's mind has been gradually cleansed of its moral impurities. This
realization brings with it stronger conviction that the Buddha having Himself gone through the process
of eliminating all moral defilements, had propagated its methodology, thus providing the means
whereby His Sāvakas (disciples) were enabled to practise mindfulness accordingly and disburden
themselves of all Kilesā.
One also begins to see that the outcome of this process in determined by the measure of effort
that is expended for continuity of mindful observation. If the endeavor is slight, little benefit would
accrue; if large, greater benefits would be derived in the purification of the mind; and if full eadeavour
is applied, complete elimination of kilesā would be achieved. Satipaṭṭhāna is the only way by which all
Kilesā can be cleansed and deliverance from the shackles of Samsāra attained. When Sotapatti magga
stage is reached, one fourth of the defilements of Citta, namely. Sakkāyādiṭṭhi (the heresy of
individuality); Vīcikicchā (doubt, indecision); and Loba (craving), Dosa (ill will, hatred), Moha
(ignorance, wrong perception) which lead to Apāya, would be cleansed. Attainment of Sakadāgami
magga would bring about the cleansing of half of the Kilesā defilements. Coarser forms of Kāmarāga
(sensual pleasure) and Vyāpāda (malevolence) would be disburdened at this stage. When Anāgāmi
magga is attained one would be rid of three fourths of Kilesā, because all vestiges of Kāma rāga and
Vyāpāda would have been stamped out. When the final Arahata magga is reached, one is completely
free from all Kilesā defilements. Thus Satiapaṭṭhāna is the only pathway which leads to liberation from
all defilements of the Citta (mind). This fact is of the utmost importance and should always be kept in

The same pathway leads to deliverance from the oppression of Soka (grief or sorrow).
Satipaṭṭhāna, which is continuous application of mindful observance to bodily posture or behavior;
sensation; thought process; phenomena of sense perception as they arise, is the only way by which one
can overcome grief and sorrow. Sentient beings do not wish to suffer from grief or sorrow, and would
be only too willing to procure remedies, charms, mantra etc., which can ensure freedom therefrom, if
such were available. What can really dispel grief or sorrow, however, is the practice of Satipaṭṭhāna.

Some people are liable to be stricken with much grief and be thrown into uncontrollable fits of
wailing and lamentation on the death of a husband, a wife, a son, etc. If such persons should take up the
practice of Satipaṭṭhāna diligently, they would derive great relief from their affliction within a few
days. Continuation of Satipaṭṭhāna would, in course of time, bring complete release from the throes of
grief Satipaṭṭhāna, therefore, is also use pathway by which Pariveda (wailing, lamentation) can be

Dukkha (physical pain or suffering) may arise spontaneously in the body, or may arise from
injuries inflicted by another person's physical assault. It may also result from burns due to insulation or
fire. Such physical pain or suffering is hard to bear and nobody wishes to be exposed to it. Domanassa
(mental suffering) is unbearable anguish caused by loss or destruction of one's fortune, and is therefore
equally unwelcome. All sentient beings are subject to and troubled by Dukkha and Domanassa. If these
two could be eliminated, there would be perpetual happiness and peaceful lives for all. Everybody
would certainly wish to be liberated from Dukkha and Domanassa, and if one desires such liberation,
one only needs to follow the pathway of Satipaṭṭhāna. There is no other way.
Although the body is free from physical pain, there would still be suffering if the mind is
disturbed or in a state of turmoil. If one's wishes or aspirations are not fulfilled, there is anxiety and
mental suffering. Tidings of misfortune such as the death of a young son or daughter as the result of a
road accident or of drowning, would immediately turn a carefree and happy state into one of grief and
sorrow. Mental suffering brought about by the death of one's close relatives is termed Ñāti vyāsana.
Grief and anguish caused by loss of property and fortune as a result of natural disasters or robbery and
theft, is Bhoga vyāsana. Distress and mental suffering due to disease or illness which is prolonged by
chronicity, or incurable because of malignancy, is Roga vyāsana.
For those who set great store by moral rectitude and strict observance of Sīla (moral precepts)
and especially for members of the Saṅghā (assembly of Buddhist priests), Sīla vyāsana (breach of
moral discipline) gives rise to remorse and much mental anguish. Diṭṭhi vyāsana (destruction of right
views) occurs when a person who had originally accepted the right view of Kammassakathā
sammādiṭṭhi and recognized the facts of Kamma (action) and its effect; and of rebirth after death,
listens to and accepts false views that there is no precursor action nor its effect; nor any re-birth after
death; and that there is nothing after death. While he continues to believe that these false views are
correct, he would be satisfied and no scruple would assail him. He might even try to propagate the false
views that he had newly embraced. Realization of his prodigious error would come when death
impends, and dreadful Gati nimittaṃ appear.
When reborn in the Peta realms (one of the four Apāyas) or when cast into Niraya (hell), he
would realize his error in accepting false views. He would then know that it is wrong to believe that
there is no precursor action and its corresponding effect and that there is no rebirth after death, because
through his own experience he realizes that he has to suffer the miseries of Apāya as the result of his
unwholesome or evil Kamma in his past existence. At this time he would rue his folly which had led
him to forsake right views and accept false ones, and bitter remorse and mental distress would torment
During Buddha's ministry, two persons one who lived and behaved like a dog and another who
adopted the life-habits of cattle were told by Buddha that following such animal practices would lead to
rebirth in the canine or other animal world. They were greatly shocked and disturbed on discovering
their mistaken views, and lamented and wailed over their folly. Similarly, one dancer had believed that
as a result of her dance performances she would attain the happy existence of Devas in Pahāsa Deva
realm. When Buddha explained to her that Pahāsa is not a Deva realm but hell and that dance
performances can bring about relegation thereto, she also realized how she had been labouring under
misapprehensions and false views and bitterly wept over her misfortune. These are also instances of
mental suffering brought about by Diṭṭhi vyāsana (destruction of right views). Here again. the only was
by which such suffering may be avoided or overcome is the practice of Satipaṭṭhāna.
It must be noted also that Satipaṭṭhāna is the only pathway to be followed for the attainment of
Ariya magga and realization of Nibbāna.
Attainment of Magga immediately brings its fruition, Phala. Therefore as is usually expressed
in Myanmar, the two can be combined together. Again, Ariya magga and its fruition, Phala, leads to
realization of Nibbāna and thus the two resultants "Ariya magga and Phala," and "Nibbāna" can be
combined into a compound word.
After every meritorious deed, Buddhists would invariably pray that performance thereof would
redound to the attainment of "Magga-Phala- Nibbāna". For some people such prayer may be the
expression of a genuine aspiration; for other it may just be an attempt to conform to examples set by
teachers and elders; or a mere observance of traditional rirual. Any prayer which is said for
convention's sake only, and is not prompted by serious interest and conviction, would certainly suffer
from lack of potential for expeditious achievement of results. The important thing is to have essential
knowledge about the evils of Samsāra and to pray for the attainment of Nibbāna with seriousness and
determination. The evils of Samsāra comprise senility, disease, death, physical pain, grief, anxiety and
mental suffering which afflict all sentient beings during each existence in their respective round of
births. Moreover, when untoward circumstances facilitate activation of the resultants of accumulated
Akusala Kamma (sinful conduct, evil actions), relegation to the four Apāyas would occur, and intense
suffering and misery would have to be undergone. Such dreadful suffering and misery would only end
when one attains Nibbāna. Therefore, it is necessary to contemplate on and fully understand the evils
and suffering inherent in Samsāra, and to pray and strive seriously for the attainment of Nibbāna
whereby all suffering may be completely overcome.
It may not be possible to attain Nibbāna right away during the present existence. But prayer for
its attainment and efforts made to achieve this purpose would ensure rebirth in circumstances which are
conductive to attainment of Nibbāna. Rebirth would be in the human world and during this life span
there will be opportunities for hearing the Dhamma (Buddha's teaching) and practising it. Through
such practice, "Magga-Phala-Nibbāna" would be attained. For this attainment, the only pathway is the
practice of Satipaṭṭhāna. If Satipaṭṭhāna practice is commenced now, one may attain "Magga-Phala-
Nibbāna" even in this life. Therefore those who wish to accomplish this attainment as soon as possible
must not be content only with the saying of prayers therefore, but must indeed begin Satipaṭṭhāna
practice right now.
That is why Buddha had stated that in order to divest oneself of Sakkāyadiṭṭhi, one should make
haste and begin efforts for practising mindfulness of each bodily movement or posture, each sensation
or feeling; each thought or impression; and each Dhamma (condition, property or characteristic of
natural phenomena) as they arise.

For those who have attained Jhāna samādhi, practice of the four Satipaṭṭhānas may be initiated
by going into the Jhānic state. Immediately on withdrawal therefrom, attention and mindfulness must
be focussed on this past Jhānic cittaṃ as well as on concomitant Cittaṃ, such as Vitakko (reflection,
argument, reasoning) if prominent. After this, mindfulness must also encompass all readily
recognizable Pakiṇṇaka saṅkhāras (miscellaneous conditioned things subject to change, sorrow, etc.,)
such as tactile, auditory, visual perceptions etc. When fatigue from continuous application of
mindfulness to Pakiṇṇaka saṅkhāras sets in, the Yogī should reenter the Jhānic state. When relief from
fatigue is thus attained, the Yogī should come out of the Jhānic absorption, apply mindfulness to the
immediately past Jhānic cittaṃ and thence to the Pakiṇṇaka saṅkhāras as they arise. When fatigue
recurs, relief will be sought again by returning to the Jhānic state, and this alternation of Jhānic state
and mindful observation of the Pakiṇṇaka saṅkhāra should be continued till Jhāna sammādiṭṭhi and
Jhāna samādhi are progressively strengthened and fatigue is overcome. Henceforth, application of
mindfulness to Pakiṇṇaka saṅkhāra may be carried without interruption of or recourse to Jhānic

How yogīs who have not achieved Jhāna may begin Vipassanā bhāvanā by mindful
observation of the four Dhātus (principal elements) is described in the Visuddhi magga. In the
Sattipaṭṭhāna sutta, instructions are given on mindful observation of the movements and postures of
the body, such as "Gacchanto vā gacchāmītti pajānāti" etc. This describes how Vāyo dhātu (air
element) which is readily recognizable during the movements of walking, may be focussed on for
mindful observation. Man can assume at any point in time, any one of the four Iriyāpathas (postures)
namely, walking, standing, sitting, lying down. That is why Buddha had made the following statement:
"Puna saparaṃ bhikkhave bhikkhū gacchanto vā gacchāmītti pajānāti"; which means "yet
another way of mindful observation, oh Bhikkhus, is to develop while walking (that is while making
movements to take walking steps), mindfulness of the Iriyāpattha of walking." Thus, while walking,
one must be mindful and fully aware that one is walking; while standing, one must be mindful of one's
posture and be aware that one is standing; similarly, while sitting one must be aware that one is sitting;
and while lying down, one must be aware that one is lying down. Buddha also added that mindfulness
of each Iriyāpatha (posture) should be directed not to the type of Iriyāpatha alone, but also to the
characteristic disposition of the component parts of the body when the particular Iriyāpatha e.g. sitting
posture is struck. In such an instance, mindfulness will encompass the Iriyāpatha (the sitting posture);
the disposition of the head e.g. sitting with head raised; or sitting with head hung low; and the state of
the abdominal wall which is heaving and falling with respiratory movement.

In the beginning, most Yogīs take up the practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā in the sitting position.
Therefore, Buddha had directed that one should sit cross-legged for the practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā.
There are three ways in which one may sit cross-legged (Pallaṅkaṃ ābhujati= to sit cross-legged):
(a) as portrayed in pictures or images of the Buddha
(b) with the shanks placed one behind the other or one crossed over the other, while the bent knees are
spread apart and
(c) sitting on the shanks with thighs and bent knees held together - traditional sitting posture for
Myanmar women termed "sitting half cross-legged".
Any of these three sitting postures may be taken according to one's preference. Women may
also take any of these postures if they are among themselves. The important criterion for choice is the
assurance that the sitting posture adopted will permit prolonged sessions of Vipassanā bhāvanā. If it is
possible to take up long sessions of Vipassanā bhāvanā without making movements and changing
posture, samādhi is likely to be established easily. Once Samādhi is established, Vipassanā ñāṇa can be
developed. If Vipassanā bhāvanā is taken up only after Jhāna samādhi is established, Vipassanā ñãṇa
can be attained more easily. For those who begin Vipassanā bhāvanā straight away, great effort would
be needed for the establishment of Samādhi. That is why it is important to develop the ability to take up
long sessions of Vipassanā bhāvanā.
Buddha also pointed out that after sitting cross-legged, one should hold the upper part of the
body straight and erect. If the body is bent and slumped there will be laxity of physical energy and
vigour which leads to difficulty in attaining Samādhi ñãṇa. The upper part of the body must therefore
be braced and held upright. This facilitates mindful observance. After the upper part of the body is held
straight and upright, Sati (attention) must be directed to the object of mindful observation. In the case
of those practising Ânāpāna (mindfulness of respiration), attention should be focussed on the nostrils to
establish continuous awareness of the stream of air which flows in and out of them.

The Yogī may start with mindful observation of a readily recognizable Rūpa in any part of the
body. The body which is tensely braced for Vipassanā bhāvanā is seated cross-legged and one may
recognize and develop full awareness of the sitting posture for as long as it is maintained. But
prolonged mindful observance focussed on one single object, namely the sitting posture, does not
require arduous concentration and may therefore lead to flagging of the vigour and strength of purpose.
For this reason we have been instructing yogīs to be mindful of the state of the abdominal wall,
registering awareness of its heaves and falls as they occur. Those who have followed these instructions
in the practice of Kāyānupassanā satipatthānaṃ and gained true insight and wisdom according to the
Buddha's dhamma are legion.
Therefore Sati (mindfulness) must be focussed on the abdominal wall. It will be seen that with
every inhalation of breath, there is a heaving of the abdominal wall. This is due to increase tension and
thrust in the abdominal cavity and is the manifestation of the characteristic of Vāyo dhātu (air element).
With every exhalation of breath, there is a falling of the abdominal wall. This is the result of lowering
of tension and relaxation of the abdominal wall which is again the manifestation of the characteristic of
Vāyo dhātu in its waning phase. Mindfulness of the state of the abdominal wall must be established.
When there is heaving of the abdominal wall, one must be fully aware of the heaving movement and
register its occurrence in one's mind. Similarly, when there is a falling of the abdominal wall one must
be fully aware of the falling movement and register its occurrence in one's mind. This interpretation is
according to the way in which Buddha had given His instructions in connection with mindfulness of
the Iriyāpatha of walking when one is making movements to take walking steps. In order to make it
clear that the meaning of the colloquial word "walking" (used in explaining the practice of mindfulness
of Iriyāpatha), includes the connotation that both the impulse to walk as well as the nature of Vāyo
dhātu is clearly recognized through application of mindfulness, Buddha had said;
"Gacchāmīti cittaṃ uppajjati, taṃ vāyaṃ janeti"
which means "the impulse or intention to go arises in the mind first and this cittaṃ (mind intention)
brings about the manifestation of the characteristic of Vāyo dhātu (air element). Yogīs who have taken
up Vipassanā bhāvanā are deriving personal experiences of these facts exactly as they had been
elucidated in the dhamma and are gaining knowledge thereby.
Therefore when there is heaving of the abdominal wall, one must be mindful of the heaving
movement and take note of its occurance, and when there is falling of the abdominal wall, one must be
mindful of the falling movement and take note of its occurrence. There is no need to put anything into
words. One only needs to be mindful of what is being focussed on. The important thing is to recognize
and be mindful of the nature of what has arisen. Thus, mindfulness of the heaving of the abdominal
wall must start with its beginning and be continuously applied up to its end. Mindfulness of the falling
of the abdominal wall must also start with its beginning and be applied continuously up to its end. As
Samādhi gains strength, the characteristics of tension, thrust, relaxation and movement will, on their
own, become clearly recognizable. When in a seated posture, undisturbed by movement, the heave and
fall of the abdominal wall is most conspicuous and recognizable. Therefore the heaving and falling
movements of the abdominal wall must be mindfully observed without interruption. When the
movement of heaving ends, that of falling begins; and when the movement of falling ends, that of
heaving begins. There should be no interruption in mindfulness. It has to be maintained continuously.
When one is bowing one's head, one must fix one's attention on and be aware of the bowing
movement. When raising the head also, one must fix one's attention on and be aware of the raising
movement. If one's hands and feet are being moved or re-arranged, one must fix one's attention on and
be aware of the re-arrangement, the bending, or the straightening as they occur. When standing up from
a sitting posture, one must take mental note and be aware that one is standing up. Lightening of the
body and its progressive elevation should be mindfully observed continuously from its start till the
standing posture established. When one has established oneself in a standing posture, one should take
mental note and be aware that one has assumed a standing posture. One would then feel and know the
tenseness of the body which is the manifestation of characteristic of Vāyo rūpas (air elements in the
elementary matter). When from a standing posture one begins to walk, one must mentally note that one
is walking. Instead of this, one may focus mindfulness on the alternating steps being taken, mentally
noting the stepping of the right foot and of the left foot as they each occur. Mindfulness must cover the
whole period of the step, beginning with the raising of the foot and following its movement forward till
the foot is set down after the step has been taken. When mindful observation of the process of walking
has been developed properly each step will be covered by three points of mental noting namely, (i) on
raising the foot (ii) on stepping forward and (iii) on putting the foot down at the end of the step. When
Samādhi has been strongly established, the raising of the foot and its awareness, the stepping forward
and its awareness and the setting down of the foot and its awareness would be recognized distinctly.
This is knowledge which distinguishes Rūpa (form, physical characteristic, assemblage of material
elements and properties) from Nāma (mental elements, mind).
With further growth in strength of samādhi, one will also be able to recognize and be aware of
the impulse, mind or intention to move or go which is in accord with the Pāḷi text "Gacchāmīti cittaṃ
uppajjati, taṃ vāyaṃ janeti" quoted previously. This knowledge is derived as direct personal
experience in the course of Kāyānupassanā satipaṭṭhānaṃ; and therefore is not acquired at second
hand as in the case of book learning from the study of the scriptures. Those who have not taken up the
practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā will not have this knowledge. To prove this, one might try moving the
index finger to see if impulse or intention to move the finger, which arises first in the mind, can be
recognized. One may know that mental impulse or intention which motivates the finger-movement
arises first, but one would have no idea when and how this impulse has arisen. One may also know that
the head is raised, lowered or moved because an impulse or intention for making such movement has
arisen in the mind. But when and how this impulse has arisen would not be recognized. On the other
hand, whenever a yogī, who has been continuously practising mindfulness, makes a movement or rearrangement
of the body posture, he can clearly recognize the impulse to move or re-arrange body
posture which first arises in the mind. Thus, direct personal knowledge is derived through actual
experience that "intention to make a movement arises first and that this Citta (mental intention or
impulse) brings about the tensing and body movement (Vāyo rūpa)." In addition to this, progressive
extension of direct experiential knowledge brings recognition of the diffusion of Vāyo rūpa stimuli
throughout the body and movement under its impulsion either forwards or backwards according to the
dictates of Citta impulse. When Samādhi insight grows stronger still, it will be seen that each impulse
for, and actual involvement of various components in the execution of a particular movement or
change of posture does not move from one place to another but disappears with each completion of the
specific movement or change. This clearly proves that all is impermanent, and that there is no
individual "I" nor Atta principle which moves. One thus progressively derives direct experiential
knowledge that this movement or change of posture comprises coordinated responses of the various
component Rūpas to a specific Citta impulse or intention which desires such movement or change.
Prior to acquirement of such direct experiential knowledge, the assumption of the common man
would ordinarily be "I go because I want to go; I stand because I want to stand; I sit because I want to
sit; I bend because I want to bend; and I stretch because I want to stretch. It is I who wants to go, and
also I who goes; it is I who wants to stand and also I who stands; it is I who wants to sit and also I who
sits; it is I who wants to bend or stretch and also I who bends or stretches." There is thus an illusion of
an individual "I" and also of permanence. After insight knowledge has been acquired through mindful
observation of bodily movements and postures as they arise, it becomes clear while focussing
mindfulness on the mental impulse (Citta) to go, and on the Rūpas involved in the physical movement
of going, that the arising and cessation of these Citta and Rūpa take place in their respective time
points in an unceasing continuum.

Buddha had ascribed to His Dhamma the attribute of Sandiṭṭhika which refers to the fact that
assiduous practice of its tenets would certainly bring about direct, experiential knowledge and insight.
We are propagating this very Dhamm which, if practised, can be perceived through personal
experience. In our discourses we aim at providing instructions on how Vipassanā bhāvanā may be
practised. Those who accept the truth of the Dhamma and take up the practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā
come to realize on their own, through experiential knowledge, that there is only the aggregate of Rūpa
and Nāma and that all life is Anicca (impermanence), Dukkha (sorrow, grief) and Anatta (devoid of
living individual Atta or individual creature). When such knowledge is acquired, it will be realized as
an illustration of the Dhamma's attribute of Sandiṭṭhika which ensures that practice of Vipassanā
bhāvanā according to the Dhamma would inevitably lead to direct experiential knowledge and insight.
If adequate effort is put into the practice of Vipassanā bhāvanā, personal direct knowledge will
accrue; but if no effort is made in this direction, there can be no such result. Nothing can be done for
such non-achievement which sterms from absence of effort in the first place. Only actual practice will
be productive of desired results. Among the yogīs who come to our meditation centre, those who
faithfully carry out the practice of satipaṭṭhāna according to the directions of the instructors achieve
direct personal experiential knowledge. Those who do not follow instructions properly, however, will
not achieve insight into the true Dhamma. A few of the latter yogīs would mistakenly presume that
because they cannot achieve true experiential knowledge, others would not be able to, either; and make
undesirable statements about this matter. Such failure to achieve true experiential knowledge, can be
ascribed to improper and inadequate practice. Nothing can be done for such failures which are due to
improper practice.
Buddha Himself had stated that one must address Sammappadhāna (supreme efforts) to
mindful observation; that Buddhas can only preach; and that whoever practises mindful observation
will achieve liberation from Kilesā defilement's and the bondage of Samsarā. Those who take up
Vipassanā bhāvanā will achieve direct knowledge and insight and be liberated from Samsāra. For
those who do not, even the Buddha, cannot confer on them personal direct knowledge and liberation.
Adequate information and discussion on Kāyanupassanā satipatthānaṃ have now been given. But
before going on to Vedanānupassanā satipaṭṭhānaṃ, we will deal with Cittānupassanā satipatthā-naṃ
which is closely connected with Kāyānupassanā satipatthānaṃ.

While engaged in mindful observance of body movements and postures such as the heaving and
falling of the abdominal wall, the sitting posture which is being assumed, etc., it often happens that the
observing mind strays to other areas. One cannot prevent this. Although one's physical presence is in a
meditation centre, and one is focussing mindful attention on body movements and postures, the mind
may wander and imagine meeting one person or another in one's community. Whenever such
distraction occurs, one must take mental note of it. If the mind is occupied with some idea, this must be
taken note of; if one is walking in one's imagination, one must also take note of it. If one imagines that
one has arrived at a certain place, one must take mental note of this imaginary arrival; If one imagines
that one meets someone, this imaginary meeting must be noted in the mind. If a wish or desire arises in
the mind, or if anger is aroused, these must also be noted. Whatever arises in the mind has to be noted.
When such continuous observation is maintained, the characteristics of mental processes, thoughts and
impressions will be seen and truly understood. In the beginning, one may not realized how the mind is
subject to such vagrancy. One may come to know of this only after a number of ideas or speculations
have already passed through the mind. Every time such activity is recognized, mental note should be
made of its occurrence. When this is done, the recognized mental activity would cease at once without
continuation. That is the time for mindful observation to be reverted to the movement of the abdominal
wall. When Sati and Samādhi grow stronger, any idea or thought arising in the mind during the
observation of the abdominal movements would be immediately recognized and mentally noted. Later
on, the faculty of mindfulness will be developed to the extent that recognition of the mind's tendency to
move away from the object of Kāyānupassanā satipaṭṭhānaṃ will take place as soon as this tendency
has arisen, and its mental noting and observation will bring about cessation of the mind's inclination
towards vagrancy. Attention to the movements of the abdominal wall must then be resumed. Mindful
observation of the arising of each mental process of thought or impression is Cittānupassanā
According to the satipaṭṭhāna suttaṃ, Buddha had stated that any consciousness, thought or
impression associated with lust must be recognized and mentally noted as such. One must recognize
and be aware of Citta (consciousness, thought or impression) which is associated with or dissociated
from (a) lust or craving: (b) anger or hatred; and (c) ignorance or delusion. One must recognize and be
aware of Citta which is associated with sloth, as well as Citta which is associated with torpor. Citta
associated with Mahaggata jhāna (sublime jhana) must be recognized and mentally noted as well as
Citta which is dissociated from such jhāna; but faculty for recognition and awareness of these two
Cittas is an attribute of those who have attained Jhāna. One must also recognize and be aware of
Sauttara citta (mundane or lowly thought, consciousness) as well as Aruttara citta (supra-mundane or
lofty thought, consciousness), faculty for undertaking which is again an attribute of those who have
attained Jhāna. Similarly, one must recognize and be aware of a calm and tranquil state as well as
distracted state of mind. If is also necessary to be able to recognize and be aware of mindful
observance which brings release from the bondage of Kilesā, as well as non-application of mindful
observance which fails to derive release from Kilesā bondage. These are the sixteen categories of Citta
enumerated in the explanation of Cittānupassanā satipaṭṭhānaṃ.

When continuous satipaṭṭhāna mindfulness has been maintained for a long time in the sitting
posture, mascular fatigue, stiffness and pain would set in and give rise to unbearable physical
discomfort. When this happens, mindfulness must be focussed on the most conspicuous Vedanā
(sensation, pain suffering). If there is muscular fatigue and strain this must be mentally noted as such.
Similarly, mental note must be taken of the sensation of heat, pain or itchiness etc., as they arise. While
mindful observance is applied to these various sensations of pain and discomfort, they may increase in
intensity. One may then wish to change the body posture, but this must not be done immediately. One
must take mental note of this wish, bear with the pain and discomfort, and resume the satipaṭṭhāna
mindfulness. Such forbearance is termed Khantīsamvara. Only when satipaṭṭhāna mindfulness is
continued with patience and endurance can Samādhi be developed, which would then lead to
Vipassanā ñāṇa, Ariyamagga ñāṇa, etc. Nibbāna can also be attained. If patience is lacking and
changes of body posture are made frequently, it would be difficult to develop Samādhi. If Samādhi is
not developed Vipassanā ñāṇa will not ensure; thus excluding the possibility of attaining Ariyamagga
ñāṇa, Phala ñāṇa and Nibbāna.
Therefore one must extend one's patience to the utmost and focus one's mindfulness on the
Dukkha vedanā, (pain and suffering). When mindfulness and Samādhi ñāṇa have grown in strength,
the Dukkha vedanā which has been very difficult to bear may disappear as if it has been suddenly taken
away. A good number of people, whose illnesses have been pronounced incurable by their physicians
and who have hardly any change of survival, have taken up Vipassanā bhãvanā and recovered from
their illnesses while they are practising Vipassanā mindfulness. One must therefore bear with the
painful sensations and discomfort with all the patience one can muster, and continues mindfulness of
these painful sensations. If the pain and discomfort have increased in intensity and become unbearable,
one may take recourse to change of body posture. At this juncture also, mindfulness must be directed to
the Citta impulse to move and change posture, and then follow the process of movement continuously.
When this is completed, one must revert to mindfulness of the heave and fall of the abdominal wall.
When distress or anxiety assails the mind, this distress or anxiety must be recognized and
mentally noted till it disappears. So also, any conspicuous pleasurable sensation arising out of pleasant
physical contact must be recognized and mentally noted. Pleasurable feeling from joy and gladness that
arises in the mind must also be recognized and noted as well as certain type of feeling which is neither
pleasurable nor painful but somewhere in between. This last category of feeling is termed Upekkhā
vedanā and is usually inconspicous. Such Upekkhā vedanā becomes more easily apprehensible when
ñāṇa has been developed to a very high level. These three categories of feelings must be recognized
and mentally noted as they arise in the mind. Pleasurable feelings are termed Sukha vedanā, distressing
feelings are termed Dukkha vedanā and those midway between the two foregoing feelings are termed
Upekkhā vedanā. These do not arise concurrently, but one at a time. Each feeling as it arises has to be
recognized and mentally noted.

Whatever arises that is neither concerned with (a) body movements and postures, nor with (b)
consciousness and processes of thought or impression, nor with (c) Vedanā (feelings, sensations), is
dhamma (conditions of existence, characteristics of phenomena). This is exemplified by such
conditions or characteristics as the mere fact of the perception of sight or sound etc. Thus, while one is
focussing one's attention and mindfulness on the heave and fall of the abdominal wall, one must take
mental note of (a) incidence of visual perception should one see an object; (b) incidence of auditory
perception should one hear a sound; (c) incidence of olfactory perception should one smell something.
Similarly if while eating, one gets the taste of what is being eaten, mental note must be made of the
incidence of gustatory perception. When contact is felt, the incidence of tactile perception must be
noted mentally; when a certain idea or thought arises, this idea or thought must be recognized and
noted mentally. Such recognition and mindfulness is in accordance with statements like "Cakkhumca
pajānāti; rūpeca pajānāti" made in the Âyatana dhammānupassanā exegesis.
When a craving or desire for something arises, this condition or state of craving must be
recognized and noted mentally. When one likes or feels attachment for a certain object, this condition
or state of affection must be recognized and noted in the mind. This is brief account of the method of
establishing mindfulness of Kāmacchanda. When Vyāpāda (anger, malevolence, hatred) arises, this
must also be recognized and noted in the mind. Similarly, one must take mental note of Thinamiddha
(sloth and torpor), Uddhacca (restless state of mind, mental distraction, flurry), and Kukkucca
(remorse), as they arise. If wrong views about Buddha and His teaching (Dhamma) arise, they must be
mentally noted as wrong views. Sometimes one may mistakenly interpret the arising of such wrong
views as an exercise of critical intellectual analysis. If, while observing mindfulness of the rising and
falling movements of the abdominal wall, one contemplates about the methods applied to the practice
of the Dhamma, one must take mental note of this contemplation. Such mindful observance is in accord
with statements made in the Nīvarana dhammānupassanā satipaṭṭhāna exegesis.
If, while attention is being focussed on mindful observance of the heave and fall of the
abdominal wall, any characteristic of the phenomena of visual or auditory perceptions, of craving and
attachment, etc., should arise conspicuously, one must recognize and take note of the characteristic and
mindfully aware of it.
When such mindfulness is developed nothing should remain unknown. Whatever arises in the
Khandhā aggregate would all come under mindful observance and awareness. All that needs to be
recognized and covered by mindfulness has been dealt with. All body movements and postures should
be noted as they are made or assumed; all forms of consciousness and processes of thought; and all
sensations or feelings should be noted as they arise. Similarly, all conditions and characteristics of
phenomena should also be noted as they arise conspicuously. This covers the practice of all four
Satipaṭṭhāna disciplines.
There are some people who think that the method of practising Satipaṭṭhāna that is being
described is concerned only with mindfulness of the heave and fall of the abdominal wall, and pass
adverse criticism thereon. This is not true. Based on mindfulness of the heave and fall of the abdominal
wall, every feeling, thought or phenomenon that arises is recognized and mentally noted. Instructions
have been given to the effect that when Bhaṅga ñāṇa is attained, no basis is ṅeeded. The ambit of
mindfulness is spread wide so that all body movement or posture; mental process; feeling or sensation;
and phenomena, that arise or appear are brought under this mindfulness sequentially in the order of
their respective conspicuousness, as each arises.

When one is just beginning Satipaṭṭhāna practice, one's mind is restless and in a flurry, its
attention being divided in many directions. This mental distraction is called Nīvarana citta. It means
that such Citta hinders or obstructs the development of Samādhi. Every time these hindrances arise
they have to be recognized mentally noted, and cast aside. When, after the Nīvaranas are thus
discarded, and Sati (mindfulness, attentiveness) and Samādhi (tranquility) grow strong, the mind would
be free from distraction and restlessness. Mindful attention and nothing would progress without
interruption. The preceding Citta is one of the mindful attention, as also the following Citta and the one
next in line thereto. In this way, every Citta is focussed on mindful observance and kept pure. This is
Cittavisuddhi (purity of the mind). Subsequent to establishment of Cittavisuddhi, a clear distinction
becomes discernable between the object of mindful attention and the faculty of mindfulness.
Previously, the impression has been that the body which is the object of mindfulness is one with the
mental faculty of recognition and mindful observance in the same individual. Henceforth, this
impression will disappear and the distinction between the two entities will be obvious and clear. The
object of mindfulness such as the heave and fall of the abdominal wall is separately perceived as Kāya
(body) aggregate, and distinguished from the faculty of recognition and mindfulness which is Citta or
Nāma (mental Khandhā). In the mindful observation of bending and stretching; movement and change
of posture; standing and walking; raising the foot, stepping forward and putting it down, etc., the
observed Rūpa; and the mental faculty which observes, Citta or Nāma, are entirely different entities. It
is not even possible to mix or blend them together. This is Nāmarūpa pariccheda ñāṇa which can
differentiate between and clearly comprehend Rūpa and Nāma. When the two separate entities, namely,
the Kāya aggregate which is observed; and the mental Khandhā which apprehends are clearly
perceived, the original Attadiṭṭhi which laboured under the misconception of a single person or an
individual body, will be relinquished. Freedom from Attadiṭṭhi and attainment of clear perception of the
two separate entities is termed Diṭṭi visuddhi.


Muscular fatigue, sensation of heat, pain, etc., which arise while mindful attention of
Satipaṭṭhāna is being given to the movement of the abdominal wall, to the sitting posture etc., have to
be recognized and mindfully noted. Similarly, during Satipaṭṭhāna practice, when one wishes to change
posture, to bend or stretch etc., one has to recognize and take mental note of any such wish. Only after
this recognition should postural change or movement of the body be made and its process closely
followed and covered by mindful observation. In this way one will realize that postural change is made
because a wish to change posture has arisen; and movement of bending or stretching is made because a
wish to bend or stretch has arisen. It will become clear that the mental impulse or wish to change
posture, to bend or to stretch is the cause which brings about postural change, bending or stretching;
and that no Atta entity or individual "I" exists which undertakes this work. There is only Citta which is
the cause, and Rūpa the resultant therefrom.
When walking also, during mindful observance of raising of the foot, its carriage forward and
its setting down, each causal Citta (mental impulse) which wishes to walk; and motivates raising,
carriage forward and setting down of the foot, will become conspicuously manifest. Thus it will be
possible to recognize and be mindfully aware of the impulse or wish to walk, and the physical act of
walking: the impulse to raise the foot, and the raising of the foot, etc. As a result of this mindful
observation, one realizes that one walks because of the Citta (mental impulse) which wishes to walk;
one raises one's foot because of the citta which motivates the raising of the foot etc., thus conferring
personal experiential knowledge that these are only manifestations of the cause and effect relationship.
Moreover, while mindful attention is being focussed on perceptions, such as those of sight or hearing,
one can clearly see the relationships between cause and effect which operates in the case of sight
because of the presence of the eye and visible Rūpa; and in the case of hearing, because of the presence
of the ear and audible vibrations of sound. According the one's level of Nāna (intellect), one would
perceive the chain of successive cause and effect relationships which begins with ignorance of the truth
because one has failed to practise Vipassanā bhāvanā. Ignorance brings about complacency and
attachment; complacency and attachment lead to craving; because of craving one speaks or takes action
for the gratification of this craving. Good action would bring good (wholesome) effect, whereas evil or
immoral action would bring bad (unwholesome) effect.
Clear perception brings firm conviction of the fact that there is only cause and its corresponding
effect in the Khandhā, and that these are not the creation of anyone. This is Paccaya pariggaha ñãṇa.
When this ñãṇa (knowledge) grows stronger, one will realize that in the past existences also, the cause
and effect relationships must have prevailed just as they would in future existences this is
Kamkhāvitaraṇa visuddhi which has overcome all doubts and misconceptions (such as of the question
whether one had gone through existences in the past), and has been rendered pure and crystal clear.

When Sati and Samādhi ñãṇa gain strength and maturity, mindful observance of the heave and
fall of the abdominal wall will begin to recognize the exact starting and ending points of both the
heaving and falling movements. In the case of bending and stretching also, recognition of the exact
starting and ending points of both the bending and stretching movements will similarly begin to occur.
One will also begin to recognize the exact starting and ending points of each step taken while walking.
During mindful observation of (a) raising the foot, (b) its carriage forward, and (c) its setting down, the
exact starting and ending points of these three components of the walking movement will begin to be
recognized. Such recognition that these various movements arise and cease thereafter, brings
experiential knowledge which leads to the conclusion that they are impermanent.
When focussing mindfulness on the incidence of pain, the exact starting and ending points of
Vedanā (pain, suffering) will be recognized. During mindful observation of the sensation of pain one
will derive experiential knowledge of its gradual waning and final cessation. This knowledge enables
one to come to the conclusion that because Vedanā, which is hard to bear, arises and later on ceases, it
is not permanent. This is only a brief reference to realization of the arising and cessation of Rūpa and
Nāma through Santati (extention, continuity) during the incidence of Sammāsana ñãṇa (investigation
of aggregates as composite).
Later on, when Udayabbaya ñãṇa (knowledge of the arising and cessation of conditioned
things) has arisen, neither the heave nor the fall of the abdominal wall is perceived as a single
movement. The heave is perceived as a composite of three, four, five or six distinct heaving
movements, just as the fall is also perceived as a composite of three, four, five or six distinct falling
movements. Thereafter, a quick succession of rapidly disappearing, flickering movements are
perceived. Realization of the characteristic of impermanence would then become more clear and firm.
When this stage is reached, during each bending or stretching movement, a rapid succession of
innumerable component movements would be perceived distinctly. During mindfulness of pain also,
the episode of pain would be perceived as a series of many separate incidences of pain each of which
arises and then rapidly disappears. Likewise, during mindfulness of hearing, an episode of hearing a
certain sound will be perceived as a series of component incidences of hearing this sound, each of
which arises and then rapidly disappears, the disappearances being very conspicuously discernible.
Concurrently, the observing mind also goes through a series of sound perceptions, each of which arises
and very rapidly passes away. The remarkably rapid cessation of each sound perception is striking.
Those who are endowed with high intelligence will readily recognize the extremely rapid cessation of
each of the successively arising perceptions which are under mindful observation. They would also
recognize distinctly and most exclusively the rapid disappearance, during mindfulness of whatever is
being mindfully observed; and thus the characteristic of impermanence would be realized every time
such recognition occurs. This is true Aniccānupassanā ñãṇa.
At the beginning of Satipaṭṭhāna practice, when one is focussing mindfulness on body postures
and movements such as those of the abdominal wall, the appearance, shape and configuration of the
abdomen, body, hands and feet, etc. would be clearly seen or visualized. But, as Bhāvanā ñãṇa gains
maturity, such appearances are no longer seen or visualize. Only the flickering succession of
disappearances or cessation would be perceived. Therefore the rapid disappearance or cessation of
bodily movements and postures (such as heaves and falls, bendings and stretchings); feelings and
sensations; consciousness and mental processes of thought, impression; conditions and characteristics
of phenomena; as well as mindful observations and recognitions, would all be perceived, so that
Aniccānupassanā ñãṇa which recognizes the characteristic of impermanence would arise during every
mindful observance. When one recognizes the characteristic of impermanence, one will also realize
that all is suffering, and that there is nothing which one should develop affection for, or which one
could depend on; and that there is no "Atta" nor individual "I". Such progressive attainment of true
knowledge is most joyful and satisfying. This is the state of knowledge at the level of attainment of
Bhaṅga ñãṇa (knowledge of dissolution of conditioned things).
However, one should not rest content with the achievement made thus far. As one continues to
recognize exclusively, during mindfulness, the rapid disappearance or cessation of successive
perceptions which are under mindful observation, a sense of fear may arise. This is Bhaya ñãṇa. When
one assumes that these conditioned things are frightful, then one would begin to view them as being
riddled with faults, guilt and evil. This is Âdinava ñãṇa. When the faults and evils are recognized, one
will feel displeasure and disgust. This is Nibbidā ñãṇa. Displeasure and disgust would lead to a desire
for escape or liberation from the burden of Rūpa and Nāma, which state of mind is the manifestation of
Muncitukamyata ñãṇa. Because of this desire, one must revert to the practice of Satipaṭṭhāna in order
to attain the required liberation. This is Patisaṅkha ñãṇa. When the revived mindfulness gains in
strength, special concern and effort are no longer necessary, and mindfulness is steadily maintained
without any flagging. Only the first five to ten incidences of mental noting need attention and effort,
after which the objects of mindfulness appear and present themselves on their own; and the Citta
faculty of mindful attention and recognition thereof also functions smoothly on its own. This facility in
establishing mindfulness makes it seem that the yogī only need to hold the sitting posture. As this even
tenor of mindfulness is established, sensations of pleasure or feelings of attachment do not arise; nor
any fear in recognizing the succession of rapidly disappearing perceptions. No fault or guilt would be
ascribed to conditioned things either. There is only a series of perceptions which just crossed the
threshold for recognition by the observing mind. This is Saṅkhārupekkhā ñãṇa, which confers
complete indifference to all conditioned things. When Saṅkhārupekkhā ñãṇa is attained, one can
maintain optimum mindfulness for one or two hours at a stretch. There would be no tenseness or
numbness from muscular fatigue, nor any Dukkha vedanā (discomfort, pain, suffering). No unbearable
discomfort or pain will occur, and one can go through such sessions in reasonable comfort, so much so
that two or three hours of Satipaṭṭhanā practice may seem just a little while. These are the
characteristics of the very subtle and excellent Vipassanāñāṇa.

As Vipassanā ñāṇa gains more maturity with continuing mindfulness and subtle recognitions,
very rapid perceptions occur. At the same time, cessations of the more conspicuous phenomena are
clearly recognized as they occur. Such specific cognizance is termed Vuṭṭhāna gāmini Vipassanā. As
mindful recognition of each of these rapid cessations continues, both of the observed and the faculty of
observation enter into a sphere of extinction and bliss. This is realization of Nibbāna through insight
knowledge of Ariyamagga and phala. How Nibbāna is realized is explained in the Milinda pañhā as
While the Citta (mind, consciousness) of the yogī mindfully recognizes and takes note of each
of the succession of perceptions as they arise, it transcends the continuous current of arising Rūpas and
Nāmas and reaches a state which is the direct opposite of the continuous current of arising Rūpas and
Nāmas. One who has practised correctly, and attained a state where the continuous stream of arising
Rūpas and Nāmas is extinguished, should be designated as one who has realized Nibbāna.
The yogī engaged in Vipassanā practice has to focus attention exclusively on the continuous
arising and cessation of Rūpas and Nāmas, so that mindfulness has always been directed thereto. At the
final moment, mindful observance finds itself focussed on a state where all arising and cessation of
Rūpas and Nāmas are extinguished. This is blissful liberation resulting from the extinction of observed
Rūpas and Nāmas which observe. When no object for observation nor the mental faculty off
observation arises, and no thought nor any other mental activity occurs, one recognizes their extinction,
and this must be understood as realization of Nibbāna.

Such realization of Nibbāna is the attainment of Sotāpatti ariyamagga ñãṇa. Whosoever attains
this Ñãṇa would be completely disburdened of Sakkāyādiṭṭhi and thus there would no longer be any
interpretation of the Rūpa and Nāna aggregate as "Atta" or individual "I" who perceives visible objects
and audible sounds, nor any attachment to this heresy of individuality.
Puthujjanas (common men, worldlings) hold the mistaken view, to which they are firmly
attached, that it is the individual "I" who sees, and "I" who hears, just as it is "I" who stands and also
"I" who sits. This is Sakkāyadiṭṭhi which takes a wrong view or interpretation that the perceived,
tangible Rūpas and Nāmas aggregate is Atta or the individual "I". Sotāpannas (those who have attained
Sotāpattimagga), however, are free from wrong views and wrong interpretations of Sakkāyadiṭṭhi.
When Sakkāyadiṭṭhi is completely eliminated, no Duccarita (sinful conduct) or Akusala kamma (evil
deed, sinful action) which leads to Apāya would be committed; nor would past Akusala kammas bring
about the result of rebirth in Apāya. Complete liberation from the miseries of Apāya is thus achieved;
that is, henceforth, there shall be no risk of being cast into Niraya (hell), nor of rebirth in the
Tiracchana bhava (animal existence), Peta loka (departed beings who are absolutely devoid of
happiness) or Asura loka (those who do sport nor shine). A Sotāpanna may only be reborn in the
human or deva worlds to noble and wealthy lives. But rebirths would occur no more than seven times.
During any of these seven existences, Arahatship would be attained and all suffering would come to an
end. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to rid oneself completely of Sakkāyadiṭṭhi just as Buddha had
said in the Satti Sutta.
"Sattiyā viya omaṭṭho, deshamanova matthake, Sakkāyadiṭṭhippahānāya, sato bhikkhu paribbāje"
which means-
"With the same urgency and despatch as someone whose breast has been impaled with a spear
or whose head is on fire, would seek immediate relief from the affliction thereof, the Bhikkhu who is
mindful of the perils of Samsāra (round of births) should make haste to free himself from Sakkāyadiṭṭhi
(the heresy of individuality)."


Using the Gāthā (stanza) quoted above from the Satti sutta as the keynote of this evening's
discourse, much of the subject of Vipassanā has been covered in the one and a half hours spent in its
delivery. It is time, therefore, to stop the discourse in order that practical application of Vipassanā
bhāvanā according to Buddha's advice and instruction can be conducted here and now. Change your
present posture to relieve yourself of muscular strain and fatigue, and take a comfortable sitting
posture. Because it is not necessary to look at anything; keep your eyes closed. Direct mindful attention
to your abdominal wall. When there is a swelling up or heaving of the abdominal wall, take mental
note that there is heaving; when there is falling of the abdominal wall take mental note that there is
falling. The heave and the fall, noted mentally, need not be expressed by word of mouth. The main
thing is to be mindful and to recognize and mentally note these movements. Awareness of the heave
must be maintained from its start to its end; so also must awareness of the fall be maintained from its
start to its end. If during mindfulness of the movements of the abdominal wall the mind should wander
elsewhere, make a note of the mind's vagrancy and revert to mindfulness of the abdominal wall
movements. If bodily discomfort muscular strain, heat or pain should grow in intensity and become
unbearable, direct mindful attention to and take mental note of such discomfort, muscular strain, heat,
pain, etc. After about five mental nothings, revert to mindfulness of the abdominal wall movements. If
a sound is heard, take mental note of this perception and go back again to mindfulness of the
abdominal wall movements. This much instruction should suffice for the present. Let us now have a
three-minute session of mindfulness.
Three minute's time is up, now. During one minute, depending on the rate of respiration,
anywhere between thirty to sixty mental nothings of abdominal wall movements may be made. In each
noting, the eight Maggaṅgas (constituents of the noble path) are involved. Efforts made for
mindfulness is Sammā vāyāma (right effort); mindfulness is Sammā sati (right mindfulness); the
capacity to attach the mind to and maintain steadfast mindful attention on the object of observation is
Vipassanā khaṇika samādhi. These are the three Samādhi maggaṅgas. To have the right knowledge of
perceptions which have been mentally noted is Sammā diṭṭhi (right view). At the beginning of
Vipassanā practice, before Samādhi has gained strength, right understanding or right view is not
readily attainable. But some basic understanding of Lakkhaṇa (characteristic), Rasa (essence),
Paccupaṭṭhāna (understanding, appearance, coming on) etc., of Rūpas and Nāmas would be
progressively garnered. When Samādhi has grown in strength, differential knowledge between Rūpas
and Nāmas would be acquired; clear discriminative knowledge of action and its corresponding result
would also be attained. Arising and cessation; the characteristics of Anicca (impermanence), Dukkha
(suffering) and Anatta (non-individuality), would be perceived very clearly, as if they are palpable
objects. Such progressively developed understanding or knowledge is right understanding or right
view. That is why it is termed Sammā diṭṭhi (right view). Just as Samādhi directs or focuses
mindfulness on the observed object in order to help achieve right view, Sammā saṅkappo (right
aspiration, or right resolve) channels the flow of and provides direction to the faculty of mindful
attention. These last two are Paññā maggaṅgas. Added to the three Samādhi maggaṅgas we now have
five Maggaṅgas. Aṭṭhakathā (commentaries) designated these five Maggaṅgas, as Kāraka maggaṅgas
(worker maggaṅgas.) These five maggaṅgas work together in unity and cooperation to bring about and
sustain the process of mindfulness.
The three Sīla maggaṅgas namely, Sammā vācā, Sammā kammanta and Sammā ājīva, have
been established at the time of taking the Sikkhāpada (precepts) and continuously maintained during
the practice of mindfulness. Therefore, when these three maggaṅgas are also enumerated, all eight
maggaṅgas would be involved in each and every mindful noting. Maggaṅgas are constituents of the
noble path. When these constituents are brought together, the noble path is complete. This noble path
leads to Nibbāna. Thus, in the course of Satipaṭṭhāna which comprises the eight Maggaṅgas, each
single mindful noting carries one nearer towards Nibbāna. Just as each step taken by someone who is
walking carries him nearer to his destination, every mindful noting takes one nearer to Nibbāna.
On the assumption that approximately fifty mental nothings can be made in one minute, about
one hundred and fifty nothings would have been taken during the 3-minute session of Satipaṭṭhāna that
we have had a while ago. Should a certain person have the potential to realize Nibbāna on completion
of one thousand mental notings, he she would only need to make eight hundred and fifty more notings.
If these outstanding mental notings are made to complete the total requirement, Nibbāna would be
realized. Therefore, if it is not possible to go to a meditation centre to continue Satipaṭṭhāna practice,
one can, in one's own home, continue this practice according to the method which has been
demonstrated and actually applied this evening, and also within the limits of one's free time, whether it
is one minute, five minutes or ten minutes, as available. Every time Satipaṭṭhāna mindful observance is
practised, special merits and higher levels of perfection would accrue, for which no financial expense is
required. If practice is continued assiduously, Vipassanā ñãṇas would be progressively attained as and
when circumstances are favorable. Nibbāna would be realized through Ariya magga ñãṇa. When this
realization takes place, Sakkāya diṭṭhi would be completely eliminated and there would be permanent
liberation from the states of Apāya. Arahatta magga and Phala (the path and fruition of Arahatship, the
fourth {final} emancipation) would be attained within seven rebirths and all suffering would be
completely extinguished, therefore, if one desires permanent liberation from relegation to Apāya states,
or if one desires states or if one desires extinction of all suffering and a permanent state of bliss, one
only needs to continue Satipaṭṭhāna practice according to the procedures which we have followed
during the session we have had this evening. My discourse has taken nearly two hours to deliver; so let
us end the discourse with the sharing of merits and good will.
May our parents; our relatives; all those who are gathered here, both men and devas; and all
sentient beings share with us the good merits of Dāna (charity), Sīla (moral practice), Bhāvanā
(meditation), Veyyāvaccaṃ (service to superious), Dhammadesanā (religious teaching), Dhammasavanaṃ
(hearing or attending the preaching of a sermon) that we have performed this day; and may all
sentient beings receive their due share of these merits and be blessed with peace and happiness both in
body and mind.


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