The Discourse about the Ways of Attending to Mindfulness

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Contemplation of (the Nature of) Things

The Section about the Four Truths

Moreover, monks, a monk dwells contemplating (the nature of) things in (various) things, in the Four Noble Truths.

And how, monks, does a monk dwell contemplating (the nature of) things in (various) things, in the Four Noble Truths?

Here, monks, a monk knows as it really is “this is Suffering”,

he knows as it really is “this is the Origination of Suffering”,

he knows as it really is “this is the Cessation of Suffering”,

he knows as it really is “this is the Practice Leading to the Cessation of Suffering”. In the Satipaṭṭhānasuttaṁ of Majjhimanikāya, this is the end of the The Section about the Four Truths, only here in the Mahā- is it elaberated on. 01

 

The Truth of Suffering From here on the analysis of the truths corresponds closely to Ven. Sāriputta’s exposition of the same subject in The Discourse giving the Analysis of the Truths (M. 141, which has some small variations), but with the analysis of the 2nd and 3rd truths greatly expanded.02

Now what, monks, is the Noble Truth of Suffering? Dukkha is the same word that is used in the analysis of the feelings, meaning there: unpleasant (feeling). This is unfortunate as people tend to think it has the same meaning here, which is not the case. Even pleasant feeling is impermanent and therefore dukkha in this sense (though it is not dukkhavedanā, of course). A more comprehensive translation might be unsatisfactoriness (and its cognates), a word too cumbersome to use without risking sounding pedantic, but good to bear in mind as a meaning for dukkha.03

Birth is suffering
also old age is suffering
also death is suffering
also grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair, is suffering
also being joined to what is not liked is suffering,
also being parted from what is liked is suffering, PTS omits these two lines, saying they might be an addition from The Discourse that Set the Dhamma Wheel Rolling (the First Discourse of the Buddha), but is then also forced to omit the later text that explains these lines. However, the explanation does not occur in the first discourse, or anywhere else in the early texts except in the Satipaṭṭhāna discourses, so that it seems that if they are genuine they must belong here.04
also not to obtain that which one longs for is suffering
in brief, the five constituents (of mind and body) that provide fuel for attachment are suffering. To reiterate, it is not that the constituents are always suffering as in the examples given above (like birth, etc.), though they are always prone to it, rather it is that being impermanent they can never provide complete satisfaction.05

 

Now what, monks, is birth?

For the various beings in the various classes of beings (there is) birth, being born, appearing, turning up; We can see here the methodology employed with definitions in the early texts, which is to define terms by synonyms, so their actual usage in the particular context can be clearly understood.06 the manifestation of the constituents (of mind and body), the acquisition of the sense spheres:

this, monks, is called birth.

 

Now what, monks, is old age? Here is a good example of the methodology at work: jarā in its most general sense means maturing, which can of course have a positive sense. But in this context it doesn’t mean so much maturing, as over-maturing.07

For the various beings in the various classes of beings there is old age, agedness, broken teeth, greying hair, and wrinkled skin; the dwindling away of the life span, the decay of the sense faculties:

this, monks, is called old age.

 

Now what, monks, is death?

For the various beings in the various classes of beings there is a fall, a falling away, a breaking up, a disappearance, a dying, a death, a making of time; the break up of the constituents (of mind and body), the throwing off of the body; the cutting off of the life faculty:

this, monks, is called death.

 

Now what, monks, is grief?

For he who has, monks, some sort of misfortune or other, who is touched by some sort of painful thing or another, there is grief, grieving, the state of grieving, inner grief, great inner grief:

this, monks, is called grief.

 

Now what, monks, is lamentation?

For he who has, monks, some sort of misfortune or other, who is touched by some sort of painful thing or another, there are laments, great laments, lamenting, great lamenting, the state of lamenting, the state of great lamentation:

this, monks, is called lamentation.

 

Now what, monks, is pain? We can see in this definition how sometimes dukkha is restricted in meaning to bodily pain. Compare the definition of domanassa, sorrow, mental pain which follows where dukkha is also used in the definition, but with a broader connotation.08

That, monks, which is bodily pain, bodily disagreeableness, pain born of contact with the body, disagreeable feeling:

this, monks, is called pain.

 

Now what, monks, is sorrow?

That, monks, which is mental pain, mental disagreeableness, pain born of contact with the mind, disagreeable feeling:

this, monks, is called sorrow.

 

Now what, monks, is despair?

For he who has, monks, some sort of misfortune or other, who is touched by some sort of painful thing or another, there is desponding, despairing, the state of despondency, the state of despair:

this, monks, is called despair.

 

Now what, monks, is the suffering from being joined to what is not liked?

Here, for that one who has unwanted, unlovely, unpleasant forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tangibles, and thoughts; or, for that one who has those who do not desire his welfare, benefit, comfort and security - (and then) having meetings, assembly, connection, and interaction with them:

this, monks, is called the suffering from being joined to what is not liked.

 

Now what, monks, is the suffering from being parted from what is liked?

Here, for that one who has wanted, lovely, pleasant forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tangibles, and thoughts; or, for that one who has those who do desire his welfare, benefit, comfort and security - mothers, or fathers, or brothers, or sisters, or friends, or companions, or blood relatives - (and then) not having meetings, assembly, connection, and interaction with them:

this, monks, is called the suffering from being parted from what is liked.

 

Now what, monks, is the suffering from not obtaining what one longs for?

To those beings subject to birth, monks, a longing like this arises: “Oh, might we not be subject to birth, may birth not come to us!” But that cannot be attained merely by longing for it:

this is the suffering from not obtaining what one longs for.

To those beings subject to old age, monks, a longing like this arises: “Oh, might we not be subject to old age, may old age not come to us!” But that cannot be attained merely by longing for it:

this is the suffering from not obtaining what one longs for.

To those beings subject to sickness, monks, a longing like this arises: “Oh, might we not be subject to sickness, may sickness not come to us!” But that cannot be attained merely by longing for it:

this is the suffering from not obtaining what one longs for.

To those beings subject to death, monks, a longing like this arises: “Oh, might we not be subject to death, may death not come to us!” But that cannot be attained merely by longing for it:

this is the suffering from not obtaining what one longs for.

To those beings subject to grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair, monks, a longing like this arises: “Oh, might we not be subject to grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair, may grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair, not come to us!” But that cannot be attained merely by longing for it:

this is the suffering from not obtaining what one longs for.

 

Now what, monks, in brief, are the five constituents (of mind and body) that provide fuel for attachment which are suffering?

They are as follows:

the form constituent that is fuel for attachment
the feelings constituent that is fuel for attachment
the perceptions constituent that is fuel for attachment
the (mental) processes constituent that is fuel for attachment
the consciousness constituent that is fuel for attachment.

These, monks, are called, in brief, the five constituents (of mind and body) that provide fuel for attachment which are suffering.

This, monks, is called the Noble Truth of Suffering.

 

The Truth of Origination

Now what, monks, is the Noble Truth of the Origination of Suffering?

It is that craving which leads to the continuation of existence, which is connected with enjoyment and passion, greatly enjoying this and that, as follows:

craving in regard to sense pleasures
craving in regard to the continuation of existence I translate bhava simply as existence in the context of the 3 planes of bhava (kāmabhava, sensual existence; rūpabhava, form existence; arūpabhava, formless existence). But in this context it is the continuation of existence that is at the heart of the matter. Bhava here is divided into kammabhava, continuation of existence through (result-producing) actions; and uppattibhava the continuation of existence through rebirth.09
craving in regard to the discontinuation of existence. Comm: Kāmataṇhā is craving in regard to sense pleasures, this is a name for passion regarding the five-fold sense-pleasures. Bhavataṇhā is craving in regard to the continuation of existence, because of having a wish for existence. This is a term associated with the arising of the eternalist view, passion for the form and formless existences, and a desire for absorption. Vibhavataṇhā is craving in regard to the discontinuation of existence, this is passion associated with the annihilationist view.10

Now where, In Saccavibhaṅgasutta (MN 141) this section, which expands on the second Noble Truth is not found. It appears to have been brought in from the the Discourse about Determining (Sammasanasutta, SN 12.66), which follows the very same scheme. The same applies to the third Noble Truth below.11 monks, does that craving when it is arising arise? This cognate use of the present participle and the present tense of the same verb, apart from its use in this and the following section, seems to be very rare in the discourses. The only other occurrence I have found is ummajjamānā ummajjanti (emerging they emerge) in the simile of the fisherman at the end of Brahmajālasutta (DN 1).12 When settling where does it settle?

In the world there is that which is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles. As we will see in the section on cessation, although this is the place where it arises, it isn’t the place where it necessarily arises, it can also cease in the same place, provided there is mindfulness and understanding, particularly of the danger involved in sense-desire.13

And in the world what is likeable and pleasing?

 

In the world the eye is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles. The commentary says: craving does not arise when these have not arisen in that place, (but) because of manifesting again and again arisen craving settles. Therefore the Auspicious One said: “In the world the eye is likeable and pleasing...” and so on. 14

In the world the ear is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world the nose is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world the tongue is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world the body is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world the mind is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

 

In the world forms are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world sounds are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world smells are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world tastes are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world tangibles are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world thoughts are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

 

In the world eye-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world ear-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world nose-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world tongue-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world body-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world mind-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

 

In the world eye-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world ear-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world nose-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world tongue-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world body-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world mind-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

 

In the world feeling born of eye-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world feeling born of ear-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world feeling born of nose-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world feeling born of tongue-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world feeling born of body-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world feeling born of mind-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

 

In the world perception of forms is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world perception of sounds is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world perception of smells is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world perception of tastes is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world perception of tangibles is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world perception of thoughts is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

 

In the world intention in regard to forms is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world intention in regard to sounds is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world intention in regard to smells is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world intention in regard to tastes is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world intention in regard to tangibles is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world intention in regard to thoughts is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

 

In the world craving for forms is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world craving for sounds is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world craving for smells is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world craving for tastes is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world craving for tangibles is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world craving for thoughts is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

 

In the world thinking about forms is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world thinking about sounds is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world thinking about smells is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world thinking about tastes is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world thinking about tangibles is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world thinking about thoughts is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

 

In the world an examination of forms is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world an examination of sounds is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world an examination of smells is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world an examination of tastes is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world an examination of tangibles is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

In the world an examination of thoughts is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is arising arises, here when settling it settles.

This, monks, is called the Noble Truth of the Origination of Suffering.

 

The Truth of Cessation

Now what, monks, is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering?

It is the complete fading away and cessation without remainder of that craving - liberation, letting go, release, and non-adherence.

Now where, monks, is that craving when it is being abandoned (actually) abandoned? When ceasing where does it cease?

In the world there is that which is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

And in the world what is likeable and pleasing?

 

In the world the eye is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world the ear is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world the nose is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world the tongue is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world the body is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In this world the mind is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

 

In this world forms are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In this world sounds are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world smells are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world tastes are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world tangibles are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world thoughts are likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

 

In the world eye-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world ear-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world nose-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world tongue-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world body-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world mind-consciousness is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

 

In the world eye-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world ear-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world nose-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world tongue-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world body-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world mind-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

 

In the world feeling born of eye-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world feeling born of ear-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world feeling born of nose-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world feeling born of tongue-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world feeling born of body-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world feeling born of mind-contact is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

 

In the world perception of forms is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world perception of sounds is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world perception of smells is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world perception of tastes is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world perception of tangibles is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world perception of thoughts is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

 

In the world intention in regard to forms is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world intention in regard to sounds is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world intention in regard to smells is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world intention in regard to tastes is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world intention in regard to tangibles is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world intention in regard to thoughts is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

 

In the world craving for forms is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world craving for sounds is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world craving for smells is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world craving for tastes is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world craving for tangibles is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world craving for thoughts is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

 

In the world thinking about forms is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world thinking about sounds is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world thinking about smells is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world thinking about tastes is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world thinking about tangibles is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world thinking about thoughts is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

 

In the world an examination of forms is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world an examination of sounds is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world an examination of smells is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world an examination of tastes is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world an examination of tangibles is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

In the world an examination of thoughts is likeable and pleasing - here this craving when it is being abandoned is abandoned, here when ceasing it ceases.

This, monks, is called the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering.

 

The Truth of the Path

Now what, monks, is the Noble Truth of the Practice Leading to the Cessation of Suffering?

It is this noble Ariya means primarily belonging to the Ariyan people; when used ethically, however, as the Buddha used it, it had the meaning of civilised, worthy, and therefore noble. 15 path with eight factors, Traditionally the Path is divided into three sections: virtue (right speech, action and livelihood), mind-mastery (right endeavour, mindfulness and concentration) and wisdom (right view and thought), but it should be borne in mind that all factors of the Path work to support each other, and this is not a hierarchical sequence. 16 as follows:

right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood right endeavour, right mindfulness, right concentration. The eightfold Path, when fulfilled, becomes the tenfold Path, with the addition of right knowledge and right freedom.17

 

Now what, monks, is right view?

That, monks, which is knowledge about suffering
knowledge about the origination of suffering
knowledge about the cessation of suffering
knowledge about the practice leading to the cessation of suffering.

This, monks, is called right view. Mundane right-view is defined elsewhere (MN 41, 117, etc.) as: there are gifts, offerings and sacrifices, there are fruit and result for well-done and badly-done deeds, there is this world and the next world, there are (obligations towards) Mother and Father, there are spontaneously born (heavenly) beings, there are in this world monks and priests who have practiced and attained correctly, and those who, themselves having directly realised it with their deep knowledge, make known this world and the next world; i.e. one must have understanding of wholesome and unwholesome actions, one’s duties to others, a belief in the heavenly realms and confidence in good teachers. If someone doesn’t have these, it is hard to see how he could make progress to supermundane right-view.18

 

Now what, monks, is right thought?

The thought of renunciation, the thought of good-will, the thought of non-violence. Avihiṁsā (non-violence) is simply another form of the better known ahiṁsā, a fundamental virtue associated with Mahātma Gandhi, which has been very influential in modern politics as a different way of getting things done: for those who are physically weak it adds the strength of morality.19

This, monks, is called right thought.

 

Now what, monks, is right speech?

Refraining from false speech
refraining from malicious speech
refraining from rough speech
refraining from frivolous talk. All four are normally included in the five virtuous practices (sīla) under right speech (musāvāda), but sometimes spelt out to make another set of eight virtuous practices, which has right livelihood as the eighth (ājīvā-aṭṭhamakasīla).20

This, monks, is called right speech.

 

Now what, monks, is right action?

Refraining from killing living creatures
refraining from taking what has not been given
refraining from sexual misconduct. These are the first three of the five precepts undertaken by lay followers. Together with the previous right speech and restraint from intoxicants they constitute the basic level of morality expected of anyone following the teaching.21

This, monks, is called right action.

 

Now what, monks, is right livelihood?

Here, monks, a noble disciple, having abandoned a wrong way of livelihood, makes his living by a right way of livelihood. Five types of wrong livelihood for merchants are explained in Vaṇijjāsuttaṁ (AN 5.177): dealing in weapons (lit. swords), living beings, meat, intoxicants and poisons; but generally speaking any activity whereby in the course of earning one’s living one has to break the precepts could be considered wrong livelihood. For monks and nuns, making a living through reading of signs, fortune telling, acting as a go-between, casting spells, accountancy, poetry, philosophy or acting as medical assistants would count as wrong livelihood (see DN 1, where they are spelt out in great detail). 22

This, monks, is called right livelihood.

 

Now what, monks, is right endeavour?

Here, monks, a monk regarding bad and unwholesome thoughts that have not yet arisen generates desire for their non-arising, This section on the endeavours is a good example of the Pāḷi usage of negatives, which sounds so awkward in English, where we would normally say something simple here, like: he endeavours to prevent bad and unwholesome things from arising. In Pāḷi, though, there is a tendency to work with negative and positive forms of the same word through the exchange of prefixes, and with cognate forms.23 (in this regard) he endeavours, instigates energy, exerts his mind, and makes an effort.

Regarding bad and unwholesome things that have already arisen he generates desire for their abandonment, (in this regard) he endeavours, instigates energy, exerts his mind, and makes an effort.

He generates desire for the arising of wholesome things that have not yet arisen, (in this regard) he endeavours, instigates energy, exerts his mind, and makes an effort.

Regarding wholesome things that have arisen he generates desire for their endurance, persistence, Normally asammosa would mean lack of confusion, absense of delusion, etc. Here the commentary defines it thus: asammosāyā ti avināsanatthaṁ; for persistence means for non-destruction - a meaning that is demanded by the context.24 multiplication, extension, development, and fulfilment, (in this regard) he endeavours, instigates energy, exerts his mind, and makes an effort.

This, monks, is called right endeavour.

 

Now what, monks, is right mindfulness?

Here, monks, 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.

This, monks, is called right mindfulness.

 

Now what, monks, is right concentration?

Here, monks, a monk, quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unwholesome things, having thinking, reflection, and the happiness and joy born of seclusion, dwells having attained the first absorption. Right Concentration is always defined in terms of the absorptions in the discourses; there is no mention of such things as access concentration (upacārasamādhi) or momentary concentration (khaṇikasamādhi) until commentarial times. If they were sufficient to fulfil the Path we might have expected the Buddha to mention them.25

With the calming down of thinking and reflection, Vitakka and vicāra are sometimes transalted as applied and sustained thought. But if this is correct then they have a meaning in this context that they have nowhere else, as elsewhere they always have the much broader meanings of thinking and reflection, as translated here.26 with internal clarity, and one-pointedness of mind, being without thinking, without reflection, having the happiness and joy born of concentration, These are the sorts of pleasurable states of mind that counteract the attachment to sense-desires, and are always recommended in the discourses, as they lead on along the Path to liberation; it is an example of what was mentioned in the Vedanānupassanā as: spiritual pleasant feeling.27 he dwells having attained the second absorption.

With the fading away of joy he dwells equanimous, mindful, fully aware, experiencing happiness through the body, Always defined in the commentaries (e.g. MNiddA, Guhaṭṭhakasuttaniddesavaṇṇanā; VinA, Verañjakaṇḍavaṇṇanā, etc.) as being the nāmakāya, or mind-body.28 about which the Noble Ones declare: “He dwells pleasantly, mindful, and equanimous,” he dwells having attained the third absorption.

Having abandoned pleasure, abandoned pain, and with the previous passing away of mental happiness and sorrow, without pain, without pleasure, and with complete purity of mindfulness If we interpret the compound differently this might be taken to mean: complete purity of mindfulness and equanimity.29 owing to equanimity, he dwells having attained the fourth absorption.

This, monks, is called right concentration.

This, monks, is called the Noble Truth of the Practice Leading to the Cessation of Suffering.

* * *

Thus he dwells contemplating (the nature of) things in (various) things in regard to himself, or he dwells contemplating (the nature of) things in (various) things in regard to others, or he dwells contemplating (the nature of) things in (various) things in regard to himself and in regard to others, or he dwells contemplating the nature of origination in things, or he dwells contemplating the nature of dissolution in things, or he dwells contemplating the nature of origination and dissolution in things, or else mindfulness that “there are these (various) things” 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 nature of) things in (various) things, in the Four Noble Truths.

The Section about the Four Truths is Finished

Contemplation of (the Nature of) Things is Finished