The Analysis of the Ways of Attending to Mindfulness

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The Questionnaire

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Four Ways of Attending to Mindfulness:

Here a monk dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world.

He dwells contemplating (the nature of) feelings in feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world.

He dwells contemplating (the nature of) the mind in the mind, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world.

He dwells contemplating (the nature of) things in (various) things, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world.

 

The Triplets

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Regarding the four (supermundane) ways of attending to mindfulness: Bhikkhu Bodhi (in a private communication) explained that although it is not explicity stated here, what is being examined in this section is still the supermundane ways of attending to mindfulness, lokuttara satipaṭṭhāna. He further explained that in what follows: siyā kusalā, siyā abyākatā, the Path is kusala, the Fruit is abyākata; siyā vipākā siyā vipākadhammadhammā, the Fruit is vipāka, the Path is vipākadhammadhamma; siyā apacayagāmino, siyā nevācayagāmināpacayagāmino, the Path is the former, the Fruit is the latter; siyā sekkhā, siyā asekkhā, the four Paths and lower three Fruits are sekkha; the arahattaphala is asekkha; siyā sammattaniyatā, siyā aniyatā, the Path is sammattaniyatā, the Fruit is aniyatā.01

Are any [of the ways of attending to mindfulness] wholesome? This is a standard list of questions that occurs in the early parts of the Abhidhamma, which seeks to further define which mental factors are present during the practice of the topic under consideration. The sequence of questions is elided in the texts as kati kusalā, kati akusalā, kati abyākatā ... kati saraṇā kati araṇā. The rest has to be inferred from the supermundane wholesome consciousness (lokuttarakusalaṁ) sequence in Dhammasaṅgaṇī. I have rearranged the material here so that the answers, which are indented, follow each of the questions, which hopefully makes the whole discussion more intelligible.02 Are any unwholesome? Are any without consequences? Aṭṭhasālinī has this interesting explanation of this sequence: what has the characteristic of having faultless and pleasant result is wholesome, what has the characteristic of having faulty and painful result is unwholesome, what has the characteristic of no result is without consequence. For this meaning, see SED: á-vyākṛta, mfn. undeveloped, unexpounded... I follow the first meaning, but PED follows the second meaning and translates as unexplained, not decided, not declared, indeterminate and, it seems to me, misses the point here.03

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They may be wholesome, they may be without consequences.

...pe... Are any connected with pleasant feeling? Are any connected with painful feeling? Are any connected with neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling?

They may be connected with pleasant feeling, they may be connected with neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. Unpleasant feeling (dukkhavedanā) is never present in the supermundane consciousnesses.04

...pe... Are any results? Are there any things that have resultant nature? The Nikkhepakaṇḍa section of Dhammasaṅgaṇī paraphrases with vipākasabhāvadhammā; things that by their own nature are resultant. 05 Are any neither results nor have resultant nature? The Nikkhepakaṇḍa says this phrase means: ye ca dhammā kiriyā neva kusalānākusalā na ca kammavipākā, sabbañ-ca rūpaṁ, asaṅkhatā ca dhātu; whatever actions that are neither wholesome nor unwholesome, all form, and the element without processes (i.e. nibbāna).06

They may be results, they may be things that have resultant nature.

...pe... Are any attached to and favourable to the attachments? Are any not attached to (but) are favourable to the attachments? Are any not attached to and are not favourable to the attachments?

(They are) not attached to and are not favourable to the attachments.

...pe... Are any defiled and connected with the defilements? Are any not defiled (but) are connected with the defilements? Are any not defiled and are not connected with the defilements?

(They are) not defiled and are not connected with the defilements.

...pe... Are any with thinking and reflection? Are any without thinking, and have reflection alone? Are any without thinking and reflection?

They may be with thinking and reflection, they may be without thinking, The second possibility comes about in the fivefold absorption sequence found in the Abhidhamma. The third would apply in the second absorption and higher.07 and have reflection alone, they may be without thinking and reflection.

...pe... Are any united with joyful interest? Are any united with pleasure? Are any united with equanimity?

They may be united with joyful interest, they may be united with pleasure, they may be united with equanimity. Joyful interest and pleasure occur within the first and second absorptions (or first three, if we follow the Abhidhamma classification), equanimity in the third and fourth absorptions (or fourth and fifth).08

...pe... Are any to be given up through vision Aṭṭhasālinī: through vision means through the (vision of the) Path of Stream Entry.09 (of the First Path)? Are any to be given up through development Aṭṭhasālinī: through development means through the (development of the) other three Paths.10 (of the rest of the Paths)? Are any to be given up neither through vision (of the First Path) nor through development (of the rest of the Paths)?

(They are) to be given up neither through vision (of the First Path) nor through development (of the rest of the Paths).

...pe... Do any have roots that are to be given up through vision (of the First Path)? Do any have roots that are to be given up through development (of the rest of the Paths)? Do any have roots that are neither to be given up through vision (of the First Path) nor through development (of the rest of the Paths)?

(They have) roots that are neither to be given up through vision (of the First Path) nor through development (of the rest of the Paths).

...pe... Can any go towards increase? Can any go towards decrease? Can any go towards neither decrease nor increase?

They may go towards decrease, they may go towards neither decrease nor increase.

...pe... Are any in training? Are any no longer in training? Sekhā are those on one or other of the Noble paths or fruitions, with the exception of those with Arahatta fruit (Arahattaphala), who are known as asekhā, those who are no longer in training; those who are neither in training nor no longer training are ordinary folk (puthujjanā) who have not attained the Paths or the Fruits.11 Are any neither in training nor no longer in training?

They may be in training, they may be no longer in training.

...pe... Are any limited? Are any very great? Are any immeasurable? Aṭṭhasālinī: measureable things like passion and so on are called measureable, whether from sense-objects or from association, (but) these are not measureable, they are opposed to the measureable, therefore they are immeasureable. 12

(They are) immeasurable.

...pe... Are any limited sense-objects? Are any very great sense-objects? Are any immeasurable sense-objects?

(They are) immeasurable sense-objects.

...pe... Are any inferior? Are any middling? Are any excellent?

(They are) excellent.

...pe... Are any wrongful and have a fixed destiny? Are any righteous and have a fixed destiny? Do any not have a fixed destiny? According to the Nikkhepakaṇḍa, there are five acts that are wrongful and have a fixed destiny: matricide, patricide, killing a Arahat, drawing the blood of a Buddha, and making a schism in the Saṅgha; the four Paths and Nibbāna are righteous and have a fixed destiny; other things do not have a fixed destiny.13

They may be righteous and have a fixed destiny, they may not have a fixed destiny.

...pe... Do any have Path as their objects? Do any have Path as their roots? Do any have Path as their predominant (factor)?

(They do) not have Path as their objects, they may have Path as their roots, they may have Path as their predominant (factor), (sometimes) they may not be spoken of as having Path as their roots, or as their predominant (factor).

...pe... Have any arisen? Have any not arisen? Are any arising?

They may be arisen, they may be not arisen, they may be arising.

...pe... Are any past? Are any future? Are any present?

They may be past, they may be future, they may be present.

...pe... Are any past objects? Are any future objects? Are any present objects?

(They are) not to be spoken of as past objects, as future objects, (or) as present objects.

...pe... Are any his own? Nikkhepakaṇḍa: whatever things for the various beings are one’s own, individual, constantly and personally attached to: form, feelings, perception, (volitional) processes, and consciousness. 14 Are any another’s? Are any his own and another’s?

They may be his own, they may be another’s, they may be his own and another’s.

...pe... Are any internal objects? Are any external objects? Are any internal and external objects?

(They are) external objects.

...pe... Are any visible and have impingement? Aṭṭhasālinī: what is reckoned as having a visible nature ... (that is) visible; what is reckoned as having a striking nature ... (that is) impingement.15 Are any not visible and have impingement? Are any not visible and without impingement?

(They are) not visible and without impingement.