The Wings to Awakening

PART II: G. THE SEVEN FACTORS OF AWAKENING

The seven factors of Awakening (bojjhanga) are closely related to the practice of the four frames of reference. The texts use two patterns to describe this relationship. The first pattern is a spiral, showing how the seven factors of Awakening build on the four frames of reference [§92]. This point is reflected in the position of mindfulness-defined as the practice of any one of the four frames of reference-as the first factor in the list. Discernment, in the role of the analysis of mental qualities into skillful and unskillful, builds on right mindfulness and leads to persistence, which in the form of right effort/exertion maximizes the skillful qualities and minimizes the unskillful ones. This in turn leads to four factors associated with jhana: rapture, serenity, concentration, and equanimity. Equanimity, here, is not a neutral feeling, but rather a balancing or moderation-an evenness of mind-with regard to any feeling or object that arises. It is identical with the equanimity in the fourth jhana [§149] and with the inherent equanimity in the fifth factor of five-factored noble concentration [§150], which can develop out of any of the four jhanas. As such it can either lead to greater mastery of meditation-as the purity of mindfulness that accompanies the fourth jhana provides the basis for even more precise analysis of qualities, thus allowing the causal loop to spiral to a higher level-or else develop into the state of non-fashioning that opens to Awakening.

Abhidhamma texts seem to contradict the point that equanimity feeds back into mindfulness in this way, for they maintain that the factors of Awakening are transcendent-in other words, that they come into play only as one reaches the point of Awakening, where no temporal feedback would take place. The discourses, however, show that the factors of Awakening can function in the development of mundane concentration as well. Passage §96 shows how the "feeding" of the factors of Awakening is needed to "starve" the hindrances, mental qualities that have to be suppressed before mundane concentration can be attained. Passage §98 shows how the factors function in developing the four attitudes that lead to "release of awareness"-a mundane form of release-and indicates the highest state to which those attitudes can lead for one who has penetrated no higher, i.e., who has attained none of the transcendent levels. These passages demonstrate that the factors of Awakening can function on the level of mundane jhana in addition to the level at the verge of Awakening. Thus, equanimity as a factor of Awakening on the mundane plane can feed back into the process of meditation, providing a steady basis for more continuous mindfulness and clearer analysis of mental qualities, until all the factors of the list ripen to transcendence.

The second pattern for describing the relationship between the factors of Awakening and the four frames of reference is more holographic. As we have already noted [II/B], all the factors in the list are all implicit in the "approach" stage of frames-of-reference meditation, and the texts themselves make this point by saying that the development of any one of the frames of reference involves bringing the factors of Awakening to the culmination of their development [§92].

The differences between these two patterns-a spiraling sequence building on the four frames of reference, and a holographic formula implicit in the frames of reference-is largely one of emphasis. As the dual nature of this/that conditionality indicates-with mental factors building on one another over time and strengthening one another in the present-both aspects act together in actual practice.
Viewed as a spiraling sequence, the factors of Awakening offer some interesting contrasts to the five faculties. Both sets depict one of the causal loops in the skillful development of the mind, but here the emphasis is not on how mindfulness and concentration help to develop discernment, but on how mindfulness and discernment help to develop concentration. This different dynamic is reflected in the mental qualities that act as underlying agents in the development of each set. As we have seen [II/E], heedfulness underlies the development of the faculties; it grows from a sense of conviction in the principle of kamma into members of the "concentration aggregate"-right effort and right mindfulness-in the noble eightfold path. In the case of the factors of Awakening, appropriate attention is what underlies the development of every element in the set [§95]; it grows from a component factor of conviction [§70] into a member of the "discernment aggregate": right view. Thus, in each set, the agent underlying its development reflects the intermediate members of the set in their role of fostering the final member.

A closer look at the topic of appropriate attention will show how the processes of discernment can foster concentration to the point where both issue in Awakening. Because this topic is so central to the practice, we will have to treat it in detail.

The term "appropriate attention" (yoniso manasikara) can also be rendered as "wise reflection," "the proper approach," or "systematic attention." It is essentially the basic insight that enables one to see which issues are worth paying attention to, and which ones should be ignored. Passage §51 gives what is probably the best depiction of this process. One ignores questions that lead to the proliferation of mental effluents, and pays attention to questions that help weaken them. As we noted in I/B, the knowledge that puts an end to the effluents deals with experience in the phenomenological mode. Thus, the best questions for weakening the effluents are ones that lead the mind into that mode. Now, not all questions are helpful in this way. Some deal in terms that focus the mind on narrative or cosmological issues in ways that actually obstruct a phenomenological viewpoint. For this reason, the Buddha found it necessary to divide questions into four classes: those meriting a categorical answer, those meriting an analytical answer, those deserving a counter-question, and those deserving to be put aside [A.IV.43]. The first class includes questions that are already well-phrased and can yield straight answers useful in weakening one's mental effluents. The second class includes those that are poorly phrased but are close enough to becoming useful that they can be clarified by a redefinition of terms. The third class covers instances where the real issue is not the question as phrased, but the confused line of thinking or hidden agendas behind the asking of the question. Once these underlying elements are exposed and corrected by the proper counter-question, fruitful questions can then be framed. The final class of questions covers instances where both the question and the act of asking it are so misguided that any attempt to get involved in the issue would lead only to the proliferation of mental effluents, and so the whole issue should be put aside.

Of these four classes of questions, the class that merits categorical answers is of most interest here, for it constitutes the class that can act as a focal point for appropriate attention. The vast majority of the questions that the Buddha asks and answers categorically in the texts fall into three general sorts: (a) those that seek to identify terms and categories useful for the task of ending stress and suffering; (b) those that seek to place particular events in their proper category; and (c) those that seek to understand the causal role of events assigned to the various categories: how they condition, and are conditioned by, one another. A sub-set of (c) consists of questions concerning the effect that one's questions and one's approach to the practice in general have on the mind. All of these three sorts of question are closely related to the three stages of frames-of-reference meditation: sorts (a) and (b) relate to the first stage, and sort (c) to the second, whereas the sub-set of (c) dealing with the questioning approach itself leads directly to the third. This last sub-set also forms the overall principle for delineating all four classes of questions mentioned above: the effect that the process of asking and answering has on the mind. In simple terms, this principle means viewing experience in terms of cause and effect, viewing questions in terms of cause and effect, classifying them according to the results that come from trying to answer them, and treating them only in ways that will help lead to the ending of suffering and stress. This is the proper function of appropriate attention in its most mature form.

To arrive at this mature level, however, appropriate attention must be developed step by step. These steps can be shown by taking the passages given in this section and viewing them in the context of the practice of the fourth frame of reference: focusing on the mental qualities of the hindrances and the factors of Awakening in and of themselves in the course of developing concentration.

The first step is simply to identify the hindrances and factors of Awakening as they are experienced, noting their presence and absence in the mind-a movement toward what the Buddha called "entering into emptiness" [II/B]. As III/D makes clear, there are several preliminary steps in concentration practice leading up to the ability to do this. When these are mastered, one can focus on, say, the hindrance of ill-will not in terms of the object of the ill-will, but on the quality of ill-will as a mere event in the mind. The question here is not, "What am I angry about?" or "What did that person do wrong?" but simply "What is happening in my mind? How can it be classed?" Given the well-known Buddhist teaching on not-self, some people have wondered why the questions of appropriate attention at this step would use such concepts as "me" and "my," but these concepts are essential at this stage-where the mind is still more at home in the narrative mode of "self" and "others"-in pointing out that the focus of the inquiry should be directed within, rather than without. This helps to bring one's frame of reference to the experience of mental qualities as phenomena in and of themselves, and away from the narratives that provoked the anger to begin with. Only when this shift in reference is secure can the concepts of "me" and "my" be dispensed with, in the third step below.

The second step in appropriate attention-corresponding to the second stage of frames-of-reference practice-is to inquire into the causal functioning of the hindrances and factors of Awakening, to see how they arise and cease in the course of one's concentration practice. The aim here is to gain insight into the workings of the hindrances and factors of Awakening as one tries to eliminate the former and bring the latter to full development. The passages in this section dealing with this step treat the issue in terms of two metaphors-balance on the one hand, feeding and starving on the other-and list the desired results of the meditation as a standard of measurement for gauging the success of one's practice.

We have met with the role of balance already in the four bases of power and the five faculties. What is special here is that, instead of finding a balance within each factor of Awakening, the meditator is to use different factors to balance out specific hindrances. The more active members-analysis of qualities, persistence, and rapture-can be used to offset sluggish mind states; the more calming members-serenity, concentration, and equanimity-counteract restless mind states. Mindfulness is the only member of the set that is inherently skillful at all times [§97], for it is the one that keeps the need for balance in mind. To combine the portrayals of balance under this set and under the bases of power, we can say that the more active factors of Awakening should be used to prevent specific bases of power-such as desire-from being too sluggish or restricted, whereas the more calming factors of Awakening should be used to prevent desire, etc., from being too active or scattered [§66]. It is interesting also to note that, although analysis of qualities is a potential cause for restlessness, it is also the factor needed to judge when its own activity is going overboard and needs to be calmed with concentration.

Under the metaphor of feeding and starving, the skill of appropriate attention is said to feed all the factors of Awakening, just as inappropriate attention starves them and feeds the hindrances in their place. As §96 points out, the role of appropriate attention at this level is to inquire into the property that acts as a foothold for each hindrance or factor of Awakening. The feeding process is especially direct with analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening-a near equivalent of appropriate attention-and the hindrance of uncertainty. These two form a pair, in that the feeding of analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening in and of itself starves the hindrance of uncertainty, and vice versa. Appropriate attention to the effects of skillful and unskillful qualities in the mind-in other words, focusing on questions that identify such qualities as the hindrances and the factors of Awakening, and inquire into their causes and effects-not only feeds this factor of Awakening but also enables one to develop its fellow factors. Inappropriate attention to issues that excite uncertainty-asking questions that can lead only to doubt and perplexity-not only feeds the hindrance of uncertainty, but leads to a sense of confusion that prevents all the factors of Awakening from developing.

With some of the other factors of Awakening-such as mindfulness, rapture, and equanimity-the texts are vague as to exactly which properties form their potential footholds. A few of these properties can be inferred from other texts, so they are cross-referenced in the relevant passages. The remaining instances can serve as challenges for each meditator to explore through practice. Challenges of this sort are valuable in forcing one to become self-reliant at observing cause and effect and asking the right questions: two skills that are basic to the development of appropriate attention and the path of practice as a whole.

As one becomes more successful in identifying these properties and attending to them in the appropriate way, one's skill at concentration practice improves. Concentration and equanimity then feed back into the loop by purifying mindfulness in the practice of jhana [§72], providing a steady basis for discernment in terms of more precise analysis of qualities and more subtlety in one's attention. This can lead either to improved abilities at concentration or to a more self-referential mode away from the "object" of the practice and turning toward the "approach" [II/B], where these activities of discernment become sensitive to themselves as events in the causal network. In particular, they can begin to ask questions about their own acts of questioning, to see what latent assumptions are still causing them uncertainty and getting in the way of their further development. In this way, they come to the third step in their development.

According to the texts, the most insidious issues that can excite uncertainty are questions that center on the concept of "I": "Do I exist?" "Do I not exist?" In the cosmological or metaphysical mode, this concept leads to such questions as: "Does the self exist?" "Does it not exist?" In the psychological or personal narrative mode, it leads to a sense of self-identity, attachment to the object with which one identifies, and all the suffering that inherently results. In either mode, this concept leads to uncertainty about the past and future: "Did I exist in the past?" "Will I exist in the future?" "What will I be?" All of these questions obviously pull the mind out of the phenomenological mode; passage §51 shows that the Buddha regarded them as leading to mental effluents and thus unworthy of attention. The one time he was asked point-blank as to whether or not there is a self [S.XLIV.10; MFU, pp. 85-86], he refused to answer, thus showing that the question deserves to be put aside.

What then of the well-known Buddhist teachings on not-self? From a few of the ways in which these teachings are expressed in the texts, it might be inferred that the Buddha held to the principle that there is no self. Here, though, it is important to remember the Buddha's own comment on how his teachings are to be interpreted [A.II.25]. With some of them, he said, it is proper to draw inferences, whereas with others it is not. Unfortunately, he did not illustrate this principle with specific examples. However, it seems safe to assume that if one tries to draw inferences from his statements to give either a categorical answer (No, there is no self; or Yes, there is) or an analytical answer (It depends on how you define "self") to a question that the Buddha showed by example should not be asked or answered, one is drawing inferences where they should not be drawn.

A more fruitful line of inquiry is to view experience, not in terms of the existence or non-existence of the self, but in terms of the categories of the four noble truths, which §51 identifies as the truly proper subject of appropriate attention. If we look at the way the Buddha phrases questions about not-self [S.XXII.59, MFU, pp. 79-80] in the context of the duties appropriate to the four noble truths [§195], we see that they function as tools for comprehending stress and abandoning the attachment and clinging that function as its cause. Thus they help bring about the ending of the mental effluents. Rather than asking, "Do I exist?", one should ask, "Is this mine? Is this me? If these things are regarded as me or mine, will there be suffering?" These questions, when properly answered (No, No, and Yes), can lead directly to the phenomenological mode and on to release from attachment and from suffering and stress.

Thus they are worth asking.

When applied to the hindrances and factors of Awakening, this line of inquiry can bring the mind to the third stage of frames-of-reference meditation by calling into question the "me" and "my" assumed in the first step of questioning. This undermines any sense of self-identification, first with the hindrances-such as "I'm drowsy"-and then with the factors of Awakening-such as "My mind is serene" [§167]. All that then remains is the radically phenomenological mode that enters fully into the emptiness on the verge of non-fashioning [II/B], where there are no longer any questions, but simply awareness that "There are mental qualities"..."There is this." This is the threshold to Awakening.

Throughout the process of developing appropriate attention in the course of the second and third stages of frames-of-reference meditation, the spiraling loop of the factors of Awakening continually feeds back on itself, as the factor of equanimity allows the factors of mindfulness and analysis of qualities to gauge the success of the practice and call for adjustments where needed. The standard of measurement to be used in this evaluation is given in the formula that frequently accompanies the definition of the factors of Awakening in the texts: each factor ideally should depend on "seclusion...dispassion...cessation, resulting in letting go." The terms in this list occur both in mundane [§98] and in transcendent [§92] contexts, which indicates that they have both mundane and transcendent levels of meaning. On the mundane level, they play a role in the practice of jhana [for the role of letting go in concentration see §71]. As they develop and reach transcendence, they bring the mind to the state of non-fashioning. By basing one's practice on the seclusion, dispassion, and cessation found in the jhana that takes letting go as its object [§72], and by feeding it through the constant evaluation provided by appropriate attention and analysis of qualities to the point of ever more refined levels of letting go, one brings together the mental qualities of attention and intention in a mutually reinforcing way that heads in the direction of Awakening. At the highest level of letting go-the "knowing but not holding" that we equated with the perceptual mode of emptiness on the verge of non-fashioning in section II/E-appropriate attention gives way to transcendent clear knowing, and the intention underlying the practice of jhana gives way to the stillness of the resulting transcendent freedom. This is how the factors of Awakening, in the words of the texts [§92], "when developed and pursued, lead to the culmination of clear knowing and release."

§ 92. Once the Blessed One was staying at Saketa, in the Aņjana Forest Game Refuge. Then Kundaliya the Wanderer came to where the Blessed One was staying and on arrival greeted him courteously and, after engaging in pleasant conversation, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, 'Ven. Gotama, I like to frequent gatherings in parks. It is my habit at midday, after my morning meal, to go from park to park, from garden to garden. There I encounter various priests and contemplatives discoursing on the rewards of defending their own tenets in debate, and the rewards of condemning those of others. Now in the experience of what reward does Ven. Gotama dwell?'

'The Tathagata dwells experiencing the reward of the fruits of clear knowing and release.'

'But what are the qualities that, when developed and pursued, lead to the culmination of clear knowing and release?'

'The seven factors of Awakening....'

'And what are the qualities that...lead to the culmination of the seven factors of Awakening?'

'The four frames of reference....'

'And what are the qualities that...lead to the culmination of the four frames of reference?'

'The three courses of right conduct....'

'And what are the qualities that...lead to the culmination of the three courses of right conduct?'

'Restraint of the senses....And how does restraint of the senses, when developed and pursued, lead to the culmination of the three courses of right conduct? There is the case where a monk, on seeing a pleasant form with the eye, does not hanker after it, does not delight in it, does not give rise to passion for it. Unmoved in body and unmoved in mind, he is inwardly well composed and well released.

On seeing an unpleasant form with the eye, he is not upset, his mind is not unsettled, his feelings are not wounded, his mind does not become resentful. Unmoved in body and unmoved in mind, he is inwardly well composed and well released.

On hearing a pleasant...unpleasant sound with the ear...On smelling a pleasant...unpleasant smell with the nose...On tasting a pleasant...unpleasant taste with the tongue...On feeling a pleasant...unpleasant tactile sensation with the body...

On cognizing a pleasant idea with the intellect, he does not hanker after it, does not delight in it, does not give rise to passion for it.

Unmoved in body and unmoved in mind, he is inwardly well composed and well released. On cognizing an unpleasant idea with the intellect, he is not upset, his mind is not unsettled, his feelings are not wounded, his mind does not become resentful. Unmoved in body and unmoved in mind, he is inwardly well composed and well released. This is how, Kundaliya, restraint of the senses, when developed and pursued, leads to the culmination of the three courses of right conduct.

And how are the three courses of right conduct developed and pursued so as to lead to the culmination of the four frames of reference? There is the case where a monk abandons wrong conduct in terms of his deeds and develops right conduct in terms of his deeds; abandons wrong conduct in terms of his speech and develops right conduct in terms of his speech; abandons wrong conduct in terms of his thoughts and develops right conduct in terms of his thoughts. This is how, Kundaliya, the three courses of right conduct, when developed and pursued, lead to the culmination of the four frames of reference.

And how are the four frames of reference developed and pursued so that the seven factors of Awakening come to completion?

[1] On whatever occasion the monk remains focused on the body in and of itself-ardent, alert, and mindful-putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world, on that occasion his mindfulness is steady and without lapse. When his mindfulness is steady and without lapse, then mindfulness as a factor of Awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

[2] Remaining mindful in this way, he examines, analyzes, and comes to a comprehension of that quality with discernment. When he remains mindful in this way, examining, analyzing, and coming to a comprehension of that quality with discernment, then analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

[3] In one who examines, analyzes, and comes to a comprehension of that quality with discernment, unflagging persistence is aroused. When unflagging persistence is aroused in one who examines, analyzes, and comes to a comprehension of that quality with discernment, then persistence as a factor of Awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

[4] In one whose persistence is aroused, a rapture not-of-the-flesh arises. When a rapture not-of-the-flesh arises in one whose persistence is aroused, then rapture as a factor of Awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

[5] For one who is enraptured, the body grows calm and the mind grows calm. When the body and mind of an enraptured monk grow calm, then serenity as a factor of Awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

[6] For one who is at ease-his body calmed-the mind becomes concentrated. When the mind of one who is at ease-his body calmed-becomes concentrated, then concentration as a factor of Awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

[7] He oversees the mind thus concentrated with equanimity. When he oversees the mind thus concentrated with equanimity, equanimity as a factor of Awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.
(Similarly with the other three frames of reference: feelings, mind, and mental qualities.)

This is how, Kundaliya, the four frames of reference, when developed and pursued, lead to the culmination of the seven factors of Awakening.

And how are the seven factors of Awakening developed and pursued so as to lead to the culmination of clear knowing and release? There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor of Awakening dependent on seclusion...dispassion...cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening...persistence as a factor of Awakening...rapture as a factor of Awakening...serenity as a factor of Awakening...concentration as a factor of Awakening...equanimity as a factor of Awakening dependent on seclusion...dispassion...cessation, resulting in letting go. This is how, Kundaliya, the seven factors of Awakening, when developed and pursued, lead to the culmination of clear knowing and release.'

When this had been said, Kundaliya the Wanderer said to the Blessed One: 'Magnificent, Ven. Gotama, magnificent. In many ways has Ven. Gotama made the Dhamma clear-just as if one were to place upright what has been overturned, to reveal what has been hidden, to point out the way to one who is lost, or to set out a lamp in the darkness so that those with eyes might see forms. I go to Ven. Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the community of monks. May Ven. Gotama regard me as a lay follower gone for refuge from this day forth as long as life shall last.'
S.XLVI.6 { + M.118}

§ 93. Now in what way does a monk develop and pursue mindfulness of in-and-out breathing so that it bears great fruit and great benefits?

There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor of Awakening accompanied by mindfulness of in-and-out breathing-dependent on seclusion...dispassion...cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening... persistence as a factor of Awakening...rapture as a factor of Awakening...serenity as a factor of Awakening...concentration as a factor of Awakening...equanimity as a factor of Awakening dependent on seclusion...dispassion...cessation, resulting in letting go. This is how mindfulness of in-and-out breathing is developed and pursued so that it bears great fruit and great benefits.
S.LIV.2

§ 94. Now what is the manner of reckoning by which the seven factors of Awakening are fourteen?

[1] Any mindfulness with regard to internal qualities is mindfulness as a factor of Awakening. And any mindfulness with regard to external qualities is also mindfulness as a factor of Awakening. Thus this forms the definition of 'mindfulness as a factor of Awakening,' and it is in this manner that it is two.

[2] Any time one examines, investigates, and scrutinizes internal qualities with discernment, that is analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening. And any time one examines, investigates, and scrutinizes external qualities with discernment, that too is analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening. Thus this forms the definition of 'analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening,' and it is in this manner that it is two.

[3] Any bodily persistence is persistence as a factor of Awakening. And any mental persistence is also persistence as a factor of Awakening. Thus this forms the definition of 'persistence as a factor of Awakening,' and it is in this manner that it is two.

[4] Any rapture accompanied by directed thought and evaluation is rapture as a factor of Awakening. And any rapture unaccompanied by directed thought and evaluation is also rapture as a factor of Awakening. Thus this forms the definition of 'rapture as a factor of Awakening,' and it is in this manner that it is two.

[5] Any bodily serenity is serenity as a factor of Awakening. And any mental serenity is also serenity as a factor of Awakening. Thus this forms the definition of 'serenity as a factor of Awakening,' and it is in this manner that it is two.

[6] Any concentration accompanied by directed thought and evaluation is concentration as a factor of Awakening. And any concentration unaccompanied by directed thought and evaluation is also concentration as a factor of Awakening. Thus this forms the definition of 'concentration as a factor of Awakening,' and it is in this manner that it is two.

[7] Any equanimity with regard to internal qualities is equanimity as a factor of Awakening. And any equanimity with regard to external qualities is also equanimity as a factor of Awakening. Thus this forms the definition of 'equanimity as a factor of Awakening,' and it is in this manner that it is two.

This is the manner of reckoning by which the seven factors of Awakening are fourteen.
S.XLVI.52

§ 95. I do not envision any one quality by which unarisen factors of Awakening do not arise, and arisen factors of Awakening do not go to the culmination of their development, like inappropriate attention. When a person's attention is inappropriate, unarisen factors of Awakening do not arise, and arisen factors of Awakening do not go to the culmination of their development.

I do not envision any one quality by which unarisen factors of Awakening arise, and arisen factors of Awakening go to the culmination of their development, like appropriate attention. When a person's attention is appropriate, unarisen factors of Awakening arise, and arisen factors of Awakening go to the culmination of their development. [§§51; 53]
A.I.75-76

§ 96. Monks, I will teach you the feeding and starving of the five hindrances and of the seven factors of Awakening. Listen and pay close attention. I will speak....

Feeding the Hindrances. And what is the food for the arising of unarisen sensual desire, or for the growth and increase of sensual desire once it has arisen? There is the theme of beauty. To foster inappropriate attention to it: This is the food for the arising of unarisen sensual desire, or for the growth and increase of sensual desire once it has arisen.

And what is the food for the arising of unarisen ill will, or for the growth and increase of ill will once it has arisen? There is the theme of irritation. To foster inappropriate attention to it: This is the food for the arising of unarisen ill will, or for the growth and increase of ill will once it has arisen.

And what is the food for the arising of unarisen sloth and drowsiness, or for the growth and increase of sloth and drowsiness once it has arisen? There are boredom, weariness, yawning, drowsiness after a meal, and sluggishness of awareness. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen sloth and drowsiness, or for the growth and increase of sloth and drowsiness once it has arisen.

And what is the food for the arising of unarisen restlessness and anxiety, or for the growth and increase of restlessness and anxiety once it has arisen? There is non-stillness of awareness. To foster inappropriate attention to that: This is the food for the arising of unarisen restlessness and anxiety, or for the growth and increase of restlessness and anxiety once it has arisen.

And what is the food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth and increase of uncertainty once it has arisen? There are phenomena that act as a foothold for uncertainty. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth and increase of uncertainty once it has arisen.

Feeding the Factors of Awakening. Now, what is the food for the arising of unarisen mindfulness as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of mindfulness...once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that act as a foothold for mindfulness as a factor of Awakening [well-purified virtue and views made straight; see §27]. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen mindfulness as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of mindfulness...once it has arisen.

And what is the food for the arising of unarisen analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of analysis of qualities... once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that are skillful and unskillful, blameworthy and blameless, gross and refined, siding with darkness and with light [§§2-3]. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of analysis of qualities...once it has arisen.

And what is the food for the arising of unarisen persistence as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of persistence...once it has arisen? There is the potential for effort, the potential for exertion, the potential for striving. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen persistence as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of persistence...once it has arisen.

And what is the food for the arising of unarisen rapture as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of rapture...once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that act as a foothold for rapture as a factor of Awakening. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen rapture as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of rapture...once it has arisen.

And what is the food for the arising of unarisen serenity as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of serenity...once it has arisen? There is physical serenity and there is mental serenity. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen serenity as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of serenity...once it has arisen.

And what is the food for the arising of unarisen concentration as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of concentration...once it has arisen? There are themes for calm, themes for non-distraction [these are the four frames of reference; see §148]. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen concentration as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of concentration...once it has arisen.

And what is the food for the arising of unarisen equanimity as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of equanimity...once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that act as a foothold for equanimity as a factor of Awakening. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen equanimity as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of equanimity...once it has arisen.

Starving the Hindrances. Now, what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen sensual desire, or for the growth and increase of sensual desire once it has arisen? There is the theme of unattractiveness. To foster appropriate attention to it: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen sensual desire, or for the growth and increase of sensual desire once it has arisen.

And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen ill will, or for the growth and increase of ill will once it has arisen? There is the release of the mind [through good will, compassion, appreciation, or equanimity]. To foster appropriate attention to that: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen ill will, or for the growth and increase of ill will once it has arisen.

And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen sloth and drowsiness, or for the growth and increase of sloth and drowsiness once it has arisen? There is the potential for effort, the potential for exertion, the potential for striving. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen sloth and drowsiness, or for the growth and increase of sloth and drowsiness once it has arisen.

And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen restlessness and anxiety, or for the growth and increase of restlessness and anxiety once it has arisen? There is stillness of awareness. To foster appropriate attention to that: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen restlessness and anxiety, or for the growth and increase of restlessness and anxiety once it has arisen.

And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth and increase of uncertainty once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that are skillful and unskillful, blameworthy and blameless, gross and refined, siding with darkness and with light. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth and increase of uncertainty once it has arisen.

Starving the Factors of Awakening. Now, what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen mindfulness as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of mindfulness...once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that act as a foothold for mindfulness as a factor of Awakening. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen mindfulness as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of mindfulness...once it has arisen.

And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of analysis of qualities... once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that are skillful and unskillful, blameworthy and blameless, gross and refined, siding with darkness and with light. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of analysis of qualities...once it has arisen.

And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen persistence as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of persistence...once it has arisen? There is the potential for effort, the potential for exertion, the potential for striving. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen persistence as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of persistence...once it has arisen.

And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen rapture as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of rapture...once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that act as a foothold for rapture as a factor of Awakening. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen rapture as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of rapture...once it has arisen.

And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen serenity as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of serenity...once it has arisen? There is physical serenity and there is mental serenity. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen serenity as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of serenity...once it has arisen.

And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen concentration as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of concentration...once it has arisen? There are the themes for concentration, themes for non-confusion. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen concentration as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of concentration...once it has arisen.

And what is lack of food for the arising of unarisen equanimity as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of equanimity...once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that act as a foothold for equanimity as a factor of Awakening. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is lack of food for the arising of unarisen equanimity as a factor of Awakening, or for the growth and increase of equanimity...once it has arisen.
S.XLVI.51

§ 97. Fire. Monks, on occasions when the mind is sluggish, that is the wrong time to develop serenity as a factor of Awakening, concentration as a factor of Awakening, equanimity as a factor of Awakening. Why is that? The sluggish mind is hard to raise up by those mental qualities. Just as if a man, wanting to make a small fire blaze up, were to place wet grass in it, wet cow dung, and wet sticks; were to give it a spray of water and smother it with dust. Is it possible that he would make the small fire blaze up?

No, lord.

In the same way, when the mind is sluggish, that is the wrong time to develop serenity as a factor of Awakening, concentration as a factor of Awakening, equanimity as a factor of Awakening. Why is that? The sluggish mind is hard to raise up by those mental qualities.

Now, on occasions when the mind is sluggish, that is the right time to develop analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, persistence as a factor of Awakening, rapture as a factor of Awakening. Why is that? The sluggish mind is easy to raise up by those mental qualities. Just as if a man, wanting to make a small fire blaze up, were to place dry grass in it, dry cow dung, and dry sticks; were to blow on it with his mouth and not smother it with dust. Is it possible that he would make the small fire blaze up?

Yes, lord.

In the same way, when the mind is sluggish, that is the right time to develop analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, persistence as a factor of Awakening, rapture as a factor of Awakening....

Now, on occasions when the mind is restless, that is the wrong time to develop analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, persistence as a factor of Awakening, rapture as a factor of Awakening. Why is that? The restless mind is hard to calm down with those mental qualities. Just as if a man, wanting to put out a large fire, were to place dry grass in it, dry cow dung, and dry sticks; were to blow on it with his mouth and not smother it with dust. Is it possible that he would put it out?

No, lord.

In the same way, when the mind is restless, that is the wrong time to develop analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening, persistence as a factor of Awakening, rapture as a factor of Awakening....

Now, on occasions when the mind is restless, that is the right time to develop serenity as a factor of Awakening, concentration as a factor of Awakening, equanimity as a factor of Awakening. Why is that? The restless mind is easy to calm down with those mental qualities. Just as if a man, wanting to put out a large fire, were to place wet grass in it, wet cow dung, and wet sticks; were to give it a spray of water and smother it with dust. Is it possible that he would put it out?

Yes, lord.

In the same way, when the mind is restless, that is the right time to develop serenity as a factor of Awakening, concentration as a factor of Awakening, equanimity as a factor of Awakening. Why is that? The restless mind is easy to calm down with those mental qualities.

As for mindfulness, I tell you, that is beneficial everywhere.
S.XLVI.53

§ 98. Release of Awareness. And how is the release of awareness through good will developed, what is its destiny, what is its excellence, its reward, and its consummation?

There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor of Awakening accompanied by good will, dependent on seclusion...dispassion... cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops analysis of qualities as a factor of Awakening...persistence as a factor of Awakening...rapture as a factor of Awakening...serenity as a factor of Awakening...concentration as a factor of Awakening...equanimity as a factor of Awakening accompanied by good will, dependent on seclusion...dispassion...cessation, resulting in letting go. If he wants, he remains percipient of loathsomeness in the presence of what is not loathsome. If he wants, he remains percipient of unloathsomeness in the presence of what is loathsome. If he wants, he remains percipient of loathsomeness in the presence of what is not loathsome and what is. If he wants, he remains percipient of unloathsomeness in the presence of what is loathsome and what is not. If he wants-in the presence of what is loathsome and what is not-cutting himself off from both, he remains equanimous, alert, and mindful [§§46; 181]. Or he may enter and remain in the beautiful liberation. I tell you, monks, the release of awareness through good will has the beautiful as its excellence-in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release.

And how is the release of awareness through compassion developed, what is its destiny, what is its excellence, its reward, and its consummation?

There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor of Awakening accompanied by compassion...etc....If he wants-in the presence of what is loathsome and what is not-cutting himself off from both, he remains equanimous, alert, and mindful. Or, with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, thinking, 'Infinite space,' he enters and remains in the sphere of the infinitude of space. I tell you, monks, the release of awareness through compassion has the sphere of the infinitude of space as its excellence-in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release.

And how is the release of awareness through appreciation developed, what is its destiny, what is its excellence, its reward, and its consummation?

There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor of Awakening accompanied by appreciation...etc....If he wants-in the presence of what is loathsome and what is not-cutting himself off from both, he remains equanimous, alert, and mindful. Or, with the complete transcending of the sphere of infinitude of space, thinking 'Infinite consciousness,' he enters and remains in the sphere of the infinitude of consciousness. I tell you, monks, the release of awareness through appreciation has the sphere of the infinitude of consciousness as its excellence-in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release.

And how is the release of awareness through equanimity developed, what is its destiny, what is its excellence, its reward, and its consummation?

There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor of Awakening accompanied by equanimity...etc....If he wants-in the presence of what is loathsome and what is not-cutting himself off from both, he remains equanimous, alert, and mindful. Or, with the complete transcending of the sphere of infinitude of consciousness, thinking 'There is nothing,' he enters and remains in the sphere of nothingness. I tell you, monks, the release of awareness through equanimity has the sphere of nothingness as its excellence-in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release.
S.XLVI.54

§ 99. Imagine, Uttiya, a royal frontier fortress, with strong foundations, strong walls and towers, and a single gate. There at the gate is a wise gate-keeper, experienced and intelligent, who keeps out strangers and lets in only those he knows. As he patrols along the road around the fortress he would not see any joints or openings in the wall large enough for even a cat to slip through. And although he wouldn't know exactly how many living beings entered or left the fortress, he would know that whatever living beings of any size entered or left the fortress, they would all leave or enter through the gate.

In the same way, the Tathagata is not concerned that the whole world or half of it or one third of it will escape by means of [the Dhamma]. What he does know is this: 'All of those who have escaped from the world or are escaping or will escape, have done so by abandoning the five hindrances-those defilements of awareness that weaken discernment-their minds well-established in (well-tuned to) the four frames of reference, developing as they actually are the seven factors of Awakening. That is how they escaped from the world or are escaping or will escape.
A.X.95

§ 100. Whose minds are well-developed
in the factors of self-awakening,
who delight in non-clinging,
relinquishing grasping:
resplendent,
their effluents ended,
they, in the world,
are Unbound.
DHP.89


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