Basic Exercises On Mindfulness
Venerable Saddhammaransi Sayadaw
- English translation by Sayamagyi Daw Hnin Yi
All those who have come to
practice Vipassana Meditation want to gain Insight very quickly. Those
who have not experienced any Insight yet would like to gain Insight
very quickly. Those who have experienced some Insights would like to
gain further Insights very quickly. Everyone wants to gain Insights
very quickly. To reach these goals, one must first listen very
attentively and closely to the "Basic Exercises on Vipassana
Meditation" so that one will remember each and every word of the
instruction thoroughly when you practice. One must read and study them
diligently. Only then will one be able to reach the goal.
practice is not something that has to do with physical effort or
verbal recitations. It has to do with the mental faculty or mind.
Thus, it is absolutely
crucial that one knows how to:
- Keep the mind on the object of meditation with pinpoint precision
- Train the
mind so that it does not wander to outside objects
- Train the mind so that
it will wander for long, if and when it wanders to outside objects
To be able practice in
such a way, one must read, study, memorize, listen and pay close
attention to the details of the Basic Exercises in a diligent and
meticulous manner. Thus all those who want to practice Vipassana
Meditation effectively should read and study the Basic Exercises
with special care and attention.
This is the first lecture
on Basic Exercises or Basic Principles of Mindfulness Meditation by
the most Venerable Sayadaw of Saddhamma Ransi Yeiktha (Meditation
Center) for those yogis who have come to practice Vipassana Meditation
at Saddhamma Ransi
Of those who have come to
practice Vipassana Meditation, those who have not experienced any
Insight would like to gain Insight as quickly as possible. Those who
have already experienced some Insight would like to gain further
Insights more quickly. To be able to reach the highest goal quickly,
you must listen with utmost care and attention to the following
discourse "Basic Exercises on Mindfulness Meditation" and practice
To mention briefly, there are three kinds of "Basic Exercises on
Mindfulness Meditation". They are:
- Meditating while in the sitting position
while performing daily activities or "Meditating on the General
Meditating while in the sitting position
I will first explain about
meditating while in the sitting position. First you must pick a quiet
and peaceful place. Then, choose the most comfortable posture which
will enable you to sit for quite some time. You may sit with your
knees bent under you or you may sit cross legged, but you must choose
a posture which will enable you to meditate for a long time. After you
are satisfied with your sitting posture, keep your back and head
straight. Then, close your eyes and focus your attention on you
When you inhale or breathe
in, the abdomen Rises or Expands. You must note this rising with close
concentration so that your mind is pinpointed on it from the start of
the Rising, as it rises in stages, to the end of the rising without
your mind wandering anywhere and note as: "Rising".
When you exhale or breathe
out, the abdomen Contracts or Falls gradually. You must also note this
from the beginning of the falling, in stages, to the end of the
falling, with pinpointed precision so that your mind does not wander
anywhere and note as: "Falling".
When noting the Rising and
Falling of the abdomen, you should try not to concentrate on the
physical form of the abdomen. You should try to concentrate on how the
air, when inhaled, affects some tension and pressure that pushes up
from the inside. You must try to feel and know or realize this pushing
up of the air from the inside, the tension and pressure, etc., and not
the physical form of the abdomen. The abdomen is so called only for
its namesake, "Pannat" (Concept or Convention). Vipassana is not for
Pannat (Concepts) but for the true nature, "Paramat" (Reality). The
nature of air pushing up from inside, the tension, pressure, etc., is
"Paramat", the real thing that is happening when you breathe in. Thus
you must concentrate closely and precisely to try to know this
You must note as carefully
when breathe out. You must try not to concentrate on the form or shape
of the abdomen, but on the gradual and slow movement, vibration and
recession of the air as you breathe out.
Thus you must keep noting
these 2 movements as "Rising, Falling"; concentrating on the gradual
force of air that makes the abdomen rise and the gradual contraction
of the abdomen as you breathe out.
If you feel that you cannot
keep your calm by noting these 2 movements as "Rising, Falling", you
may add another object and note "Rising, Falling, Touching."
When concentrating on
"Touching", you should not allow yourself to be carried away by the
form or shape of your limbs touching the floor/mat or each other, but
concentrate on the hardness or tension of the touch.
If you still cannot
concentrate enough and your mind tend to wander with these three
movements, then you can add another and note "Rising, Falling,
When you concentrate on the "Sitting", try to concentrate by
encompassing from the upper part of your body down and try to feel the
stiffness and tension on your body (from the force of air element that
has pushed you up into the sitting position). You should not
concentrate on the shape or form of the head, hands, legs or body. The
"desire to sit" has set in motion the air element that supports and
props up the body into this position called "Sitting". You must try to
feel the stiffness, tension, pressure, etc. of this support and not
the form of body, hands or legs.
So now you have 4 objects
to note: "Rising, Falling, Sitting, Touching". When you note with 4
objects as such, your mind will usually become calm. If you find
noting as "Rising, Falling, Sitting, Touching" with the 4 objects is
helpful, you may continue with such noting. However, if you find that
noting with 4 objects as such puts your mind in so much strain and
worry that you cannot concentrate well, you may want to note with just
3 objects as: "Rising, Falling, Touching". If you still find that
noting even with 3 objects is not helping you, you can note with just
2 objects as "Rising, Falling". The main objective is to calm the mind
and develop concentration.
As a beginner,
while noting "Rising, Falling, Sitting, Touching", your mind may
wander here and there - to the pagoda, monastery or temple, to the
shopping centers, to the house, etc. When this occurs, you must also
make note of your wandering mind as "Wandering, Imagining, Planning,
etc." As your concentration becomes strong and your Insight progress,
you will find that your wandering thoughts disappear after a few
notings. You will come to realize for yourself that the thoughts pass
away with a few continuous notings by observing precisely and closely
in a meticulous manner.
As you progress in you
concentration and reach the Insight knowledge known as "The Knowledge
of Dissolution" (Bhanga
you will find the thoughts disappear with each noting.
With further progress in
your Insight, you will come to see not only the thoughts disappear
with each noting, but the noting mind (or awareness) also disappears
with the noting. Thus you will come to realize that: "The thoughts are
not everlasting. Also the noting mind (or the awareness of them) is
not everlasting - Anicca."
Being so oppressed by such
rapid succession of Arising and Passing away, the yogi comes to
realize their Unsatisfactory nature or Suffering. At the same time,
the yogi finds that this Arising and Passing away as well as the
resulting Suffering cannot be warded off in any way or by anyone. One
cannot do anything about it. It is Uncontrollable - Anatta. There and
then you come to the realization or Insight into the truth about: "All
conditioned things being Transient (Anicca), being objects of
Suffering (Dukkha) and being Uncontrollable (Anatta)". Thus, a yogi
comes to a clear Insight or knowledge of Anicca (Impermanence), Dukkha
(Suffering) and Anatta (Uncontrollability).
on the pain
As you go on concentrating
"Rising, Falling, Sitting, Touching" for about an hour or 45 minutes,
you will notice that your limbs start to ache, become painful or numb.
When this occurs, you have to change your concentration from "Rising,
Falling, Sitting, Touching" onto the pain, and concentrate your mind
on the pain.
There are 3 ways of being
mindful or fixing your concentration regarding the pain:
The first is to concentrate
on the pain with the objective of making the pain disappear.
The second is to make a
strong determination to make the pain disappear within this one
sitting or within one day, and to fight it all out in an aggressive
The third is to concentrate
so as to know the true nature of the pain.
Method #1. Concentrating
with the objective of "wanting to be relieved of the pain". The first
way means that the yogi is actually craving for the pleasure of having
no pain. That means the yogi is having greed for pleasure. Mindfulness
Meditation is to rid oneself of greed, to stop being greedy. Instead,
this greed (Lobha) now becomes an obstacle to the progress and
realization of the true nature of things. Thus, a yogi should not
contemplate in this way.
Method #2. The second way,
where you determine yourself to get rid of this suffering, is not good
either, because there is anger (Dhosa) in the determination to fight.
In other words, the determination is colored with anger. One will not
be able to make progress if one allows anger to creep in. That is why
one should not adopt this method.
Method #3. The third way is
to concentrate your mind on the pain so that you will come to know the
"true nature" of the pain. Only when one comes to know the true nature
(of pain, in this case),
Vaya (the Arising and Passing away) will be revealed or known.
When pain occurs, yogis
usually tend to become tense both in body and mind. One should not
tense up like that, but try to relax both in body and mind. You should
also try not to worry about whether you will have to endure the pain
the whole time or during this whole hour. You must try not to have
You should keep yourself
calm and adopt the attitude that: "Pain will come and go at its own
will, and my duty is to keep mindful of the pain". You must also adopt
the attitude that you will practice "patience with the pain". Patience
is the most crucial element in dealing with pain. The saying that
"Patience leads to Nibbana" is the most useful maxim in Mindfulness
After making a
determination that you will be patient, keep both your body and mind
calm and relaxed. Don’t be taut. Then, pinpoint your mind on the pain
and try to concentrate on the intensity of the pain ("How painful is
it?") and on where the pain is most crucial ("On the flesh or skin, in
the muscles or right down in the bones or marrow?").
You must try to concentrate
on the intensity of the pain with each noting, then note as: "Painful,
Painful; Aching, Aching; etc.", and know exactly where they occur and
how painful it is. Mindfulness on the pain should be deep and
penetrative, and not superficial. As you keep noting, if you are
deeply mindful, you will notice very clearly that after 4 or 5
notings, these pains and aches become more and more severe and
After reaching the peak,
the pain will tend to lessen and subside following its own course.
When this occurs, you should not relax your concentration. Instead,
you should earnestly and enthusiastically continue being mindful. You
will then experience for yourself the pain becoming less and less
after every 4 or 5 notings and the pain shifting to another location.
Thus seeing the changing nature of pain, the yogi becomes interested
in the practice. Continuing in this way, as the mind gets more and
more steep in concentration, you will find that the pain increases
with each noting.
After reaching a peak, the
pain usually subsides. One must not relax the intensity of one’s
noting when the pain starts to subside. Instead, one must continue
with the same intensity of effort, and one will find the pain
subsiding with each noting, and the pain changing locations. Thus the
yogi will come to realize that pain is not everlasting; it is always
changing. It increases as well as decreases. In this way, the yogi
comes to know more about the real nature of pain.
Continuing noting in this way, when a yogi reaches the stage of
Insight known as "The Knowledge of Dissolution" (Bhanga
he/she will realize, as if seeing clearly by his own eyes, that the
pain disappears completely with each noting, as if suddenly plucked
away. In this way, the yogi comes to realize that: "Pain is not
permanent. It is Impermanent." The yogi is now gaining the upperhand
on the pain.
With further deepening of
Insight, those yogis whose Insight Knowledge of "Bhanga
- Knowledge of Dissolution" are sharp, are able to experience that:
"with each noting, not only the pain but also the noting mind (or
consciousness) disappears with it".
In the case of yogis whose
Insight knowledge are exceptionally sharp, they will see distinctly 3
phases disappearing, that is: the passing of the pain, the
consciousness that recognizes or becomes aware of the pain, and the
noting mind registering the pain.
Thus the yogi comes to
realize that pain is not everlasting or permanent, neither does the
consciousness (or feeling of the pain), nor the noting mind.
Being oppressed by such
quick succession of Passing away or Dissolution, the yogi feels that
it is Unsatisfactory - Suffering or Dukkha. As these cannot be warded
off, it is Uncontrollable - Anatta.
Thus, the yogi comes to
Pain is Anicca - Impermanent.
Dukkha - Suffering [Unsatisfactory].
Anatta - Uncontrollable.
When such knowledge become
very distinct and clear, progress will be made into further Insights.
While meditating, you may
hear sounds, see things or smell things that are around you. You may
especially hear the sounds of corks, birds, hammering and beating
sounds, sounds of people, cars, etc. When you hear such sounds, you
must note as: "Hearing, Hearing." You must try to pay only "bare
attention" to the sounds. That is, you must try not to let your mind
follow these sounds or let your imagination get you about them.
When your concentration
gets relatively strong, as you note "Hearing, Hearing", the sounds may
become indistinct as if from far away, or as if being carried far
away, or getting nearer, or hoarse and not clear. That means you are
getting better concentration on your noting. You are progressing in
As you go noting in this
way and your concentration get better, you will find that as you note
"Hearing, Hearing", the sounds disappear syllable by syllable and the
noting mind also disappear after hearing each syllable. Yogis, whose
Insight knowledge are sharp, are able to experience this very clearly
Even yogis, who are
beginners in noting "Hearing, Hearing", will be able to experience
distinctly that the sounds disappear in disjointed syllables, without
being connected to each other to make any sense.
For example, when one hears
the sound of the word "Gentleman" and note it as "Hearing, Hearing."
You will notice hearing the sound of the syllable "Gen" first and then
pass away. You will next hear the sound "tle" and pass away, and
finally the sound "man". The sounds arising and passing away in such
broken sequence that the meaning of the word becomes obscure and
unintelligible. Only the Passing away of the sounds in broken
sequences becomes evident.
When you experience the
sounds disappearing, you will come to realize that the sound is not
permanent. When you experience the noting mind also vanishing or
passing away, you will realize that the noting mind is also not
permanent. Thus you will realize further that the sound being heard is
not permanent nor is the noting mind permanent. Thus it is Anicca
Being oppressed by the
quick succession of such passing away means Unstisfactoriness or
Since one cannot stop or
ward off this oppression of passing away, it is Uncontrollable
Thus while noting "Hearing,
Hearing", one will come to realize the Insight knowledge of Anicca,
Dukkha and Anatta, and progress to further Insight knowledge.
in the sitting position
Noting during the sitting
position as "Rising, Falling, Sitting, Touching" has to do with the
physical body, it is known as Kayanupassana
Noting as "Painful, Numb or
Aching" has to do with the feelings, it is known as Vedananupassana
Noting as "Wandering,
Wandering, Planning, Planning, Thinking, Thinking, etc." has to do
with the mind or acts of consciousness, it is known as Cittanupassana
Noting as "Seeing, Seeing, Hearing, Hearing, Smelling, Smelling, etc."
has to do with the dhammas, it is known as Dhammanupassana
So we see that while
practicing in one sitting of Mindfulness Meditation, as instructed by
our benefactor, the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, there is included all
the 4 practices of Satipatthana.
Meditating while walking
There are 4 ways of noting
Walking Meditation; they are:
Making one noting with one
Making 2 notings with one step
Making 3 notings with one step
Making 6 notings with one step
Method #1. The first way is to make note of the step as one movement
as: "Left step, Right step". When you note "Left step," you must keep
your mind closely pinpointed on the movement, from the beginning of
the step to the end of the step. You must concentrate closely on the
gradual forward movement of the step. Try not to concentrate on the
physical form of the foot. Similarly with the "Right step," you must
concentrate on the gradual forward movement of the step, movement by
movement. You must not concentrate on the physical form of the foot.
Method #2. The second way
is to make note of the step as 2 movements as: "Lifting, Dropping,
Lifting, Dropping". You must be aware of the nature of the gradual
upward movement of the foot, movement by movement, and again not the
physical form of the foot, as you note: "Lifting." Similarly, when you
note "Dropping," you must keep aware of the nature of the foot
dropping slowly, movement by movement, and not the physical form.
The name of the physical
form, such as "foot", is so called for its namesake only. They are
"Pannat", Concepts or Conventions. Concepts are not objects of
Vipassana. The element of motion or movement is "Paramat", Reality.
Only Realities are the objects of Vipassana.
It is the
element of Vayo dhatu (the air element or the element of motion),
"Paramat" (Reality) that is making the movement possible. You must
concentrate closely and precisely to know this element of Vayo dhatu.
Method #3. The third way is
to note 3 movements as: "Lifting, Pushing Forward, Dropping". When you
are Lifting your foot, you must keep aware of the gradual upward
movement of your foot as explained above. When you note as "Pushing
Forward," you must keep aware of the gradual movement of the foot
forward. When you note "Dropping," you must pay careful attention to
the dropping gradually of the foot downward.
All these movements must be
closely and keenly observed so that you are with the "present moment"
of the movement of your foot as well as the "knowing" of the nature of
the movement itself, which is Paramat. When your concentration is
strong, as you note "Lifting", you will come to realize for yourself
not only the gradual upward movement, movement by movement, but also
that it becomes lighter and lighter as it moves upward.
As you note "Pushing
Forward," also you will come to realize not only the gradual forward
movement, movement by movement, but also that it becomes light as it
moves forward. When you drop your foot and note ["Dropping"] as such,
you will again realize not only the downward movement, movement by
movement, but also that it becomes heavy as it goes down. Such
realization results in the yogis becoming interested in their
practice. It means the start of the emergence of the Insight
(Penetrative) Knowledge for the yogi.
means experiencing the characteristics of Tejo dhatu - element of heat
and cold, and V¬yo dhatu - element of motion or movement.
means experiencing the characteristics of Pathavi dhatu - element of
extension, toughness or hardness, and Apo dhatu - element of cohesion
The knowledge or awareness
of such mental and physical phenomena is the beginning of Insight
knowledge into the intrinsic nature of mental and physical process as
it really is.
Method # 4. The fourth way
is to make note as 6 movements [and there are 3 techniques.]
1) Noting 6
movements as: "Beginning to Lift, End of Lifting; Beginning to Push
Forward, End of Pushing Forward; Beginning to Drop, End of Dropping".
- "Beginning to Lift" means only the heal has been raised.
of Lifting" means the whole feet together with the toes has been
"Beginning to Push Forward" means the foot has just "started" to push
- "End of Pushing Forward"
means the stage of the foot that is just about to descend for
"Beginning to Drop" means the stage of descending to drop.
"End of Dropping" means when the foot touches the ground or
- Actually, this is just dividing the 3 movements into 6 as
"beginning and ending".
2) Another way
is to note as: "Wanting to Lift, Lifting; Wanting to push forward,
Pushing forward; Wanting to drop, Dropping." In this type of noting,
the mental phenomena (Wanting to...) and physical phenomena (Lifting,
etc.) are noted separately.
3) Still another
way is to note as: "Lifting, Raising; Pushing Forward; Dropping,
- When you note "Lifting," it is the stage where only the heel starts
"Raising" means the whole foot together with the toes is raised.
"Pushing Forward" means pushing the foot forward as just one movement.
"Dropping" means starting to put the foot down.
"Touching" means the foot touches the ground or floor.
"Pressing" means pressing the foot in order to lift the other foot.
Thus you will note as
"Lifting, Raising, Pushing Forward, Dropping, Touching, Pressing" in 6
movements. Yogis can make real progress by noting with such 6
movements and gain further Insight.
Meditation while performing daily activities
or on the general details
"Mindfulness on the General
Details" means being mindful of the little details in the daily
activities as one goes through the daily routine. It is not the time
for Sitting Meditation or Walking Meditation. They are little details
that you do when you return to your living quarters, such as: opening
the door, closing the door, making the bed, changing clothes, washing
clothes, preparing meals, eating, drinking, etc. You must keep aware
and note all these little details, too.
while having a meal
The moment you see the meal, you must note as "Seeing, Seeing".
stretch your hand to reach the food, note as "Stretching, Stretching".
touch the food, note as "Touching, Touching".
collect and arrange your food, note as "Arranging, Arranging".
bring it to your mouth, note as "Bringing, Bringing".
When you bend
your head to take the food, note as "Bending, Bending".
When you open
your mouth, note as "Opening, Opening".
When you put
the food into your mouth, note as "Putting, Putting".
straighten or raise your head again, note as "Raising, Raising".
chew, note as "Chewing, Chewing".
When you are
aware of the taste, note as "Knowing, Knowing".
swallow, note as "Swallowing, Swallowing".
The above instructions are
in accordance with the way our benefactor, The Venerable Mahasi
Sayadaw, who practiced and noted while taking a morsel of food. You
should also be mindful or aware of such movements, closely, precisely
It will not be easy in the
beginning to be aware of all the movements. You will forget to note
many of the movements, but you must not be discouraged. When your
concentration deepens, you will be able to note all the movements.
At the beginning of the
practice of such mindfulness, you must first try to focus on the most
distinctive movement to you as your main object. What is the most
distinctive movement to you? If stretching your hand is the most
distinctive movement, then you must try to note "Stretching,
Stretching" without missing or forgetting. If bending your head is
most distinct, try to note "Bending, Bending" without missing or
forgetting. If chewing is most distinct, try to note "Chewing,
Chewing" without missing or forgetting. You should thus try to note at
least one distinctive movement as your main object without missing or
Once you can focus your
mind on one object closely and precisely and gain in concentration,
you will be able to focus and note the other movements and sustain
your concentration. In this way, you can make progress in the various
stages of Vipassana Insights while taking your meal.
The chewing movement is
especially more distinctive. Our benefactor, The Venerable Mahasi
Sayadaw, has once said that: "Of the 2 jaws, it is the lower jaw that
is involved in the chewing movement. This movement of the lower jaw is
actually what we call ‘Chewing’ ".
If you can note this gradual movement of the jaw well and have good
concentration, you will find noting on the chewing movement to be
quite well and good. Beginning with this chewing movement, you will be
able to note all the movements involved in taking food.
on the motion of sitting down
Noting "Sitting, Standing,
Bending, Stretching" are also part of "Noting the General Details". If
one really keeps keenly aware, one will realize that there arises
first the "Desire to sit" before the actual act of sitting. This
awareness is usually experienced by those yogis whose concentration is
basically good. Thus one must start with noting this desire as
"Wanting to sit, Wanting to sit". Only when the actual movement of
sitting begins, one will note as "Sitting, Sitting".
When you note "Sitting,
Sitting", try also not to concentrate on the forms of head, body,
legs, etc. You must concentrate closely on the "nature" of the gradual
downward movement, movement by movement. You must concentrate in such
a way that your mind stays pinpointed on the "present moment" of the
downward movement, movement by movement.
You have to concentrate very closely and precisely so that you can
realize the "real nature" (Paramat) of the movement. If you can
concentrate in that way on the movement and your mind also is able to
stay with the "present moment", you will realize for yourself clearly
that you are not only aware of the gradual downward movement but also
able to feel it getting heavier and heavier as it moves downwards.
on the motion of standing up / getting up
When you want to stand up,
if you keep closely and keenly aware, you will be aware of the "Desire
to get up" first. You must note this as "Wanting to get up, Wanting to
get up". The desire to get up sets in motion Vayo dhatu (the element
of motion) which pushes you up. As you bend forward to collect your
energy to get up, note as "Collecting energy, Collecting energy". If
you stretch your hand to the side for support, note "Supporting,
When the body becomes
filled with energy, it will gradually rise upwards. This movement is
what we call "standing up" or "getting up". We note this as "Standing
up, Standing up". These "phrases" are used just for its namesake
(Concept). Again, we must try to realize the nature of the gradual
upward movement. Thus we must concentrate closely and precisely on the
nature of the upward movement as well as to be with the "present
moment" as it rises upwards.
If you can make your mind stay pinpointed on the "present moment" as
well as closely and precisely aware of the nature of the upward
movement (the Reality; Paramat), you will come to realize that as you
reach higher and higher up, the body becomes lighter and lighter as it
Thus you come to realize
for yourself the heaviness with the gradual movement downwards, and
the lightness with the gradual movement upwards. Realizing the
"Lightness" means seeing the nature of Tejo dhatu [the Fire element]
and Vayo dhatu [the Wind element]. Realizing the "Heaviness" means the
nature of Pathavi dhatu [the Earth element] and Apo dhatu [the Water
Arising and Passing away
MOTTO: Only when the nature
(particular mark or characteristic) is known, Udaya Vaya will be seen.
After coming to know the
nature of the particular phenomena, one will come to know Udaya (the
Arising) and Vaya (the Passing away). One will come to see the Arising
and Passing away from moment to moment. There is one arising and
passing away; then another arising and passing away; another arising
and passing; and so on. Seeing clearly the Arising and Passing away is
Lakkhana (mark or
sign of Conditionality of Arising and Dissolution).
Continuing noting in this
way after seeing the Arising and Passing away, if one’s concentration
becomes strong and advanced, you will find the Arising not so
distinct, but the Passing away becoming more prominent. Experiencing
the Passing way more distinctly, the yogi come to realize that no
phenomena is permanent.
When the yogi becomes
clearly aware that the noting mind also passes away, he/she will come
to realize that the noting mind is also not permanent, that both
mental and physical phenomena are Impermanent (Anicca).
Being oppressed by such
rapid succession of Passing away means Suffering (Dukkha). Such
Dissolution cannot be stopped or warded off; it is taking place at its
own will means Uncontrollable (Anatta). When your Insight knowledge of
this Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta becomes very clear and thorough, one
can progress to further Insights.
Thus while noting the process of sitting down and standing up, one
will come to realize the "characteristics of Anicca, Dukkha and
Lakkhana). When one
is clear and thorough about this Sannanna
one will gain further Insights that one has been aspiring for.
on bending and stretching
Noting the bending and
stretching are also part of "Noting the General Details" of daily
activities. When you are about to bend your arm, if you keep
attentively aware, you will find that there is first the "desire to
bend". Thus you must note as "Wanting to bend, Wanting to bend". Next,
you must concentrate closely and attentively to know the nature of the
gradual movement of the bending of the arm. Here also one will be able
to experience the lightness of the arm as it moves upward by paying
very close and precise attention.
When you want to stretch
the arm back after taking care of whatever need to be taken care of by
bending, the "desire to stretch" will also become distinct. Then you
must note as "Wanting to stretch, Wanting to stretch". When the actual
movement of stretching occurs, note as "Stretching, Stretching". This
outward and downward movement of the arm, we call "stretching". As you
note "Stretching, Stretching", you will also notice it becomes heavier
and heavier as it falls downwards.
The characteristics of
Lightness and Heaviness are known as "Sabhava
(Specific or Particular mark or characteristic).
MOTTO: Only when the nature
(particular mark or characteristic) is known, Udaya Vaya will be seen.
Continuing noting in this
way, one will come to realize that the nature of Lightness and
Heaviness arise and pass away, and thus comes to know the "Sankhata
(Compound or Conditioned characteristic which has a beginning, middle
and end [or dissolution]).
As one reaches the stage of
Insight of "Bhanga
Nyana" (Knowledge of
Dissolution), one sees the Dissolution of the bending and stretching
phenomena more clearly and distinctly. Thus one comes to realize that:
"The act of bending is not everlasting, and the noting mind on the
bending is also not everlasting. The act of stretching is not
everlasting nor the noting mind on the stretching everlasting."
Thus, while bending and
stretching, one can have a clear and thorough knowledge of the
"characteristics of Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta" and progress to the
higher knowledge or Insight that one have been aspiring for.
Having listened to the 3
aspects of the Basic Exercises on Vipassana Meditation, may you be
able to practice accordingly and acquire that knowledge which you have
been searching for with ease and realize the peace of Nibbana, the
extinction of all suffering, soon.
- May we be fulfilled with
the Venerable Sayadaw’s blessings.
Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu!
Recitation for radiating
thoughts of Metta (Loving Kindness) used at the Saddhammaransi
May all beings in the ten
directions be free from harm.
May they be free from mental suffering.
May they be free from physical suffering.
May they physically and mentally at ease.
May they be able to bear the burden of life (*)
(*) (to repeat 3 times)
* Only when mindful at the present moment of Arising, will Sabhava
Lakkhana (the Particular mark or characteristic) be really known.
* Only when the nature (the
particular characteristic) is known, Udaya
will be seen.
* All Arising physical and
mental phenomena must be explicitly observed as "inevitable ending" in
Dissolution (Passing away).
* When the Dissolution
(Passing away) is known, Anicca will be explicitly known.
* When Anicca is seen,
Dukkha becomes obvious.
* When Dukkha becomes
obvious, Anatta is seen.
* When Anatta is seen,
Nibbana will be realized.
thanks to Dr. Binh Anson for offering us with this article.