Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 47. Satipaṭṭhānasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on the Establishments of Mindfulness

V. The Deathless

41 (1) The Deathless
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, dwell with your minds well established in the four establishments of mindfulness. Do not let the Deathless be lost on you.
    “In what four? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. Dwell, bhikkhus, with your minds well established in these four establishments of mindfulness. Do not let the Deathless be lost on you.”

42 (2) Origination
“Bhikkhus, I will teach you the origination and the passing away of the four establishments of mindfulness. Listen to that.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is the origination of the body? With the origination of nutriment there is the origination of the body. With the cessation of nutriment there is the passing away of the body.
    “With the origination of contact there is the origination of feeling. With the cessation of contact there is the passing away of feeling.
    “With the origination of name-and-form there is the origination of mind. With the cessation of name-and-form there is the passing away of mind.
    “With the origination of attention there is the origination of phenomena. With the cessation of attention there is the passing away of phenomena.” [185]

43 (3) The Path
At Sāvatthī. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus:
    “Bhikkhus, on one occasion I was dwelling at Uruvelā on the bank of the river Nerañjarā under the Goatherd’s Banyan Tree just after I became fully enlightened. Then, while I was alone in seclusion, a reflection arose in my mind thus: ‘This is the one-way path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation … (as in §18) … that is, the four establishments of mindfulness.’
    “Then, bhikkhus, Brahmā Sahampati, having known with his own mind the reflection in my mind, just as quickly as a strong man might extend his drawn-in arm or draw in his extended arm, disappeared from the brahmā world and reappeared before me. He arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, extended his joined hands towards me in reverential salutation, and said to me: ‘So it is, Blessed One! So it is, Fortunate One! Venerable sir, this is the one-way path for the purification of beings … [186] … that is, the four establishments of mindfulness.’
    “This, bhikkhus, is what Brahmā Sahampati said. Having said this, he further said this:

“‘The seer of the destruction of birth,
  Compassionate, knows the one-way path
  By which in the past they crossed the flood,
  By which they will cross and cross over now.’”

44 (4) Mindful
“Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu should dwell mindful. This is our instruction to you.
    “And how, bhikkhus, is a bhikkhu mindful? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. He dwells contemplating feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. It is in this way, bhikkhus, that a bhikkhu is mindful.
    “Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu should dwell mindful. This is our instruction to you.”

45 (5) A Heap of the Wholesome
“Bhikkhus, if one were to say of anything ‘a heap of the wholesome,’ it is about the four establishments of mindfulness that one could rightly say this. For this is a complete heap of the wholesome, that is, the four establishments of mindfulness. What four? [187]
    “Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.
    “If, bhikkhus, one were to say of anything ‘a heap of the wholesome,’ it is about these four establishments of mindfulness that one could rightly say this. For this is a complete heap of the wholesome, that is, the four establishments of mindfulness.”

46 (6) The Restraint of the Pātimokkha
Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, it would be good if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief, so that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and resolute.”
    “In that case, bhikkhu, purify the very beginning of wholesome states. And what is the beginning of wholesome states? Here, bhikkhu, dwell restrained by the restraint of the Pātimokkha, accomplished in good conduct and proper resort, seeing danger in the slightest faults. Having undertaken the training rules, train in them. When, bhikkhu, you dwell restrained by the restraint of the Pātimokkha … seeing danger in the slightest faults, then, based upon virtue, established upon virtue, you should develop the four establishments of mindfulness.
    “What four? Here, bhikkhu, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.
    “When, bhikkhu, based upon virtue, established upon virtue, you develop these four establishments of mindfulness in such a way, then, whether night or day comes, you may expect only growth in wholesome states, not decline.”
    Then that bhikkhu, having delighted and rejoiced in the Blessed One’s statement, rose from his seat.… [188] And that bhikkhu became one of the arahants.

47 (7) Misconduct
Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, it would be good if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief, so that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and resolute.”
    “In that case, bhikkhu, purify the very beginning of wholesome states. And what is the beginning of wholesome states? Here, bhikkhu, having abandoned bodily misconduct, you should develop good bodily conduct. Having abandoned verbal misconduct, you should develop good verbal conduct. Having abandoned mental misconduct, you should develop good mental conduct. When, bhikkhu, having abandoned bodily misconduct … you have developed good mental conduct, then, based upon virtue, established upon virtue, you should develop the four establishments of mindfulness.
    “What four? Here, bhikkhu, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.
    “When, bhikkhu, based upon virtue, established upon virtue, you develop these four establishments of mindfulness in such a way, then, whether night or day comes, you may expect only growth in wholesome states, not decline.”
    Then that bhikkhu … became one of the arahants. [189]

48 (8) Friends
“Bhikkhus, those for whom you have compassion and who think you should be heeded—whether friends or colleagues, relatives or kinsmen—these you should exhort, settle, and establish in the development of the four establishments of mindfulness.
    “What four? Here, bhikkhu, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.
    “Bhikkhus, those for whom you have compassion … these you should exhort, settle, and establish in the development of these four establishments of mindfulness.”

49 (9) Feelings
“Bhikkhus, there are these three feelings. What three? Pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. These are the three feelings. The four establishments of mindfulness are to be developed for the full understanding of these three feelings.
    “What four? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.
    “These four establishments of mindfulness, bhikkhus, are to be developed for the full understanding of these three feelings.”

50 (10) Taints
“Bhikkhus, there are these three taints. What three? The taint of sensuality, the taint of existence, the taint of ignorance. [190] These are the three taints. The four establishments of mindfulness are to be developed for the full understanding of these three taints.
    “What four? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.
    “These four establishments of mindfulness, bhikkhus, are to be developed for the full understanding of these three taints.”
 

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© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)

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