The Discourse about the
Ways of Attending to Mindfulness

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Contemplation of the Mind

And how, monks, does a monk dwell contemplating (the nature of) the mind in the mind?

Here, monks, a monk when a mind has passion knows “the mind has passion”, Relying on an ambiguity in the Pāḷi (which also exists in the English), at the beginning of the Contemplation of (the Nature of) Things the commentary will say: to teach ... the contemplation of mind the Auspicious One ... took up the constituent of consciousness. Consciousness (viññāṇa) in the constituents, however, is confined to the six spheres of consciousness. The complexes that are defined here more properly belong to the constituent of (mental) processes.01
or when a mind is without passion he knows “the mind is without passion”; The commentary explains that when without passion is said it does not indicate the supermundane state, but only that the mind is in a wordly wholesome or inconsequential state and the same interpretation is to be applied to hate and delusion below. Throughout this section the Comm is careful to note that we are not talking about supermundane states.02

or when a mind has hate he knows “the mind has hate”,
or when a mind is without hate he knows “the mind is without hate”;

or when a mind has delusion he knows “the mind has delusion”,
or when a mind is without delusion he knows “the mind is without delusion”;

or when a mind is collected he knows “the mind is collected”,
or when a mind is scattered he knows “the mind is scattered”; Comm: saṅkhittaṁ means fallen into sloth and torpor, this is therefore a name for a shrunken mind; scattered means having become agitated, this is therefore a name for the distracted mind. I depart from the commentary here in my translation as the whole logic of this passage is that ethical opposites are being set in contrast, and shrunken on the one hand, and distracted on the other are not opposites ethically and therefore do not fit into this pattern. Saṅkhittaṁ literally means thrown (or brought) together, and vikkhittaṁ means thrown apart.03

or when a mind has become very great he knows “the mind has become very great”,
or when a mind has not become very great he knows “the mind has not become very great”; Comm: become very great means being conversant with the form and formless fields; not become very great means being conversant (only) with the sensual field. Similarly for surpassable & unsurpassable below.04

or when a mind is surpassable he knows “the mind is surpassable”,
or when a mind is unsurpassable he knows “the mind is unsurpassable”;

or when a mind is concentrated he knows “the mind is concentrated”,
or when a mind is not concentrated he knows “the mind is not concentrated”; Comm: concentrated means he who has fixed concentration or access concentration; not concentrated (indicates being) devoid of both (types of) concentration.05

or when a mind is liberated he knows “the mind is liberated”,
or when a mind is not liberated he knows “the mind is not liberated”. Comm: liberated means liberated by (replacing) this factor (with the opposite factor, during vipassanā meditation), and by withdrawing support (in absorption meditation); not liberated (indicates being) devoid of both (types of) liberation. We can note here that the list of qualities in this section is ordered not according to logical opposites, but according to grammatical opposition.06

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Thus he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the mind in the mind in regard to himself, or he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the mind in the mind in regard to others, or he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the mind in the mind in regard to himself and in regard to others, or he dwells contemplating the nature of origination in the mind, or he dwells contemplating the nature of dissolution in the mind, or he dwells contemplating the nature of origination and dissolution in the mind, or else mindfulness that “there is a mind” is established in him just as far as (is necessary for) a full measure of knowledge and a full measure of mindfulness, and he dwells independent, and without being attached to anything in the world.

In this way, monks, a monk dwells contemplating the (the nature of) the mind in the mind.

Contemplation of the Mind is Finished