Chapter 1


(Spiritual Insight)

Delivered at the Yangon University Dhammāyon by the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw

(May 1974)


            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 non-acceptance 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 inadequate.


            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, 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 sakkāyadiṭṭhi.


            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 arisen

            (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 Sakkāyadiṭṭhi.

            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 Satipaṭṭhāna.

            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 comprising-

(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) attained.

            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 detail.


            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 self-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 sammādiṭṭhi.

            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 well-being. 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 Ñātapariññā.

            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 maggaṅga,

(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 mind.


            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 overcome.


            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 him.

            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 absorption.


            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 re-arrangement 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 satipaṭṭhānaṃ.

            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 follow:

            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), Dhammasa-vanaṃ (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.