Teaching Meditation: A discussion with Ven. Pemasiri


Edited by Dr. Amal Randhir Karunaratna, PhD

The following are notes from a talk given by Ven Pemasiri about meditation
instructions and the relationship between a teacher with a student and how the
teacher guides him or her. The talk was in one of his evening classes during the
rains retreat in September 2015.

When people sit for meditation they typically spend a great deal of time thinking
about the past and the future. One should let go of the past and the future. The
mind needs to be released from such contemplations. Sometimes people want
rapid progress whereas others progress slowly and have many expectations
about their progress. This thinking process generates aversion and attachment.
In some cases, there is no progress because they are troubled by an internal
dialog and spend their time absorbed in thought. Others spend their time
wondering if their technique is right or wrong. The mind should be free of such
thoughts. Thinking may arise and one needs to watch these thoughts arising
and know what’s happening and simply observe these and be aware of these
thoughts. The Buddha has an analogy about the workings of a goldsmith. One
should not heat the metal to too high a temperature or too low a temperature. At
certain times, one should heat the gold and filter the molten metal and at other
times, one should let it cool. But there are impurities in the gold and it needs to
be heated to get remove these, similar to this heating and purifying process,
maintaining mindfulness involves the removal of the hindrances.

Developing awareness of the body, kayanupassana[i] involves transforming all
activities of the body so that they are wholesome. Even the wondering mind
should be transformed into states of wholesomeness. When the mind is in a
state of wholesomeness, this is called anupassana[ii]. Filtering relates to all
mental objects in a state of awareness. Despite this, delusion arises, particularly
if one spends time thinking about whether this type of meditation will work for
me. The teacher may ask the student to stop thinking about such things and not
to indulge in thinking. Sometimes objects that arise in the mind may create pain
or conflict and some people may have more of these than others, but there is no
need to focus on things that create conflict.

During the early stages of training, the student may not have a clear idea about
what they are doing and the teacher may ask him or her to note various objects,
or the teacher may tell you not to concentrate or note some specific objects.
Such instructions depend entirely on the teacher and teacher should not be
changed during this time, as each one may have a different way of teaching.
Also, meditation cannot be taught in groups as instructions are relevant to an
individual and not necessarily applicable to everyone in a group.

If we relate with too much clinging to objects, this leads to tension and
restlessness and aversion. Craving and aversion may arise from time to time but
delusion is present all the time, and, because of this, sloth and torpor arises and
this is also caused by delusion. This is only removed at the state of liberation.
With the development and practice of jhana[iii], it is an attractive state as it also
arises resulting from delusion and a very pleasurable state. The only way to
remove this delusion is to develop a state of sati where one is free from craving
and aversion. If there is greed, one can overcome this by being aware of it, and
where there is aversion, being aware of it often reduces it, but delusion
connected with greed or aversion is harder to remove. While greed and aversion
can be removed, the underlying delusion remains but its strength is reduced. In
both cases, when they are together, its influence on the mind is much stronger.
When there is strong mindfulness, aversion and craving are suppressed, but in
such a state, there is no wisdom. Where wisdom is developed, and becomes
stronger, delusion is weakened or removed. Where the mind is concentrated,
the mind moves to samatha[iv] and where wisdom starts to arise, the mind turns
towards vipassana[v] through a state of clear awareness. Where sati is present,
greed is weakened and through a concentrated mind which turns to wisdom
greed is removed and delusion is weakened. We may call a being in this state a
non-returner (anagami[vi]) which is a higher state of attainment in path
knowledge. The greatest goal in meditation practice is to remove delusion;
wrong views connected with delusion. Greed and delusion can be eliminated but
delusion is harder to deal with and leads people astray.

It is ditthi[vii] or wrong view and delusion moha[viii] that has created distorted
views. In the Sacchavibhanga Sutra, venerable Sariputta who is likened to the
mother (the nurturer) who brings up a child and leads the student onto the first
path knowledge state (sotapanna[ix]); he is likened to a wet-nurse. Venerable
Sariputta leads people into right view and the pathy ahead is made much easier
because of this. This became the duty of Ven Moggallana who leads one to the
next stage. In this sutra, the Buddha advises people to associate closely with
Ven Sariputta and Ven Moggallana. Ven Sariputta creates a new being by
bringing him up carefully with perfect balance, removing wrong views and
habits, leading to stream entry. The student gains the ability to understand the
four noble truths quickly. The Buddha proclaims this, and it is explained in
greater detail by Ven Sariputta. Removing such delusion, removes the possibility
of being born in lower realms, and then the person will progress on their own. If
the mind can be cultivated without the influence of philosophy or religion the
mind then becomes independent without being entangled with philosophies or
views. It becomes independent and restrained (with virtue), calm (concentrated)
and wise (sila[x], samadhi [xi]and panna [xii]are achieved), this is a state known
as svakhatho[xiii]. This is not something that one talks about or writes books

The Buddha gives instructions to venerable Rahula to look back and reflect on
any negativity and overcome these states and to cultivate one’s mind so that it
becomes svakhatho. Where the mind is in this state and how one sees it within
one’s-self, cannot be predicted. It is not connected nor constrained by time.
Sampajana[xiv], mindfulness, is not connected with time. Time is not a limitation
nor restriction. The quality of ehipassiko means, come and investigate, apply
ones-self; openaiko means, leading on-wards to a place of purity. Paccathang
not just understanding intellectually but realising for one’s-self. Where there are
other mental objects, these are restricted with time and there is a time-based
quality to this. This realisation is confined to one’s self. This understanding
cannot be communicated to anyone else. If one has seen nibbhana, while the
realisation cannot be communicated, the understanding that arises from this can
be communicated and wise people understand.

If one is committed to the path, even a short period such as a month is sufficient
for some progress in practice if the practice is good enough to be in a state of
meditation (bhavana). The reason that meditation often doesn’t progress is
because of confusion generated by different teachers contradicting each other.
Many people don’t have a clear objective about meditation, but they do have a
belief in the dhamma but it is not totally pure. Even though their belief is not
clear and uncontaminated, it is sufficient for them to come to the right path. Even
if one has a conviction about the Buddha, or the dhamma, this is sufficient to get
onto the right path. Despite this, many people do not get sufficient value from
such a conviction. Many people practice meditation for a long time, but this is
not real meditation, yet we continue to use the term “meditation”. If you practice
meditation correctly, instead of years of practice, one can gain sufficient
concentration to become a real practitioner of meditation rather than just
practice or preparation.

Many people are confused about what meditation is by reading different books,
and hearing different writers and teachers. They form mixed-up ideas and views;
and they often have long breaks between sessions. As a result, our foundation
of practice is weak. Firstly, we don’t know why we are noting sense objects. We
know that noting is a good thing but not sure why? Stopping at knowing that this
is a good thing is not sufficient. Before embarking on formal meditation there are
some preliminary things one should do to prepare the mind.

These preparations are based two factors: if one has a strong karmic influence
impacting on one, you should be able to manage that. These karmic influences
may be impacting on the present life only. Secondly, the mind needs to be in a
calm state. These are preparatory stages. When an individual commences
meditation practice, Karmic influences start to operate on the meditative
process. Negative Karmic influences may start to operate at the early stages.
This does not mean that there are no positive karmic influences – there is – that’s
what brings them to this practice. Negative karma may operate during the
middle stages of practice, and then another set that may impact at the later
stages. If a yogi has a large karmic influence impacting on his/her or her mind,
there are those forces impacting during early stages of practice and the
presence of kusala helps to prepare the mind for these influences. Negative
karma also plays out in this birth itself and won’t follow into the next. Other
karma impacts during the middle stages and there are yet others that impact
during later stages of practice. Only the meditation teacher knows of this. A
meditation teacher should be able to know this and be able to deal with it. Only
the meditation teacher should be aware of it, not the student.

In the Mahasi tradition, the main object is being aware of the rising and falling of
the abdomen. This type meditation practice is classified within the satipattana
(four foundations of mindfulness). The rising and falling of the abdomen is
classified under the subcategory of postures and activity under
dhamanupassana (contemplation of phenomena). This type of object is
commonly given by many teachers without knowing why. When a person starts
on this journey, they need to be well established in sila (moral code) and there
should be some preliminary preparation of the mind, and they should be given a
meditation technique such as rising falling of the abdomen. This method is
powerful enough to take a yogi all the way to complete liberation.

The problem is that the foundation of meditation is poor because we do it in fits
and starts, two weeks here, one week there, there is no consistency. Also, we
don’t know why we are noting mental objects – there is a great deal more to
meditation than simply noting objects.

When a yogi sits for practice and focuses on the rising and falling of the breath,
the process is invariably clouded in thought but a sense of calmness needs to
be developed. Reducing the impact of karma and achieving a calm mind are in
preliminary or preparatory stages before the meditation journey commences.
Most Sri Lankans are easily convinced of the necessity of this but non-Sri
Lankans are harder to convince.

If the preparation is sound there is no need continue with this process for years
on end. Even a month of training can be sufficient to go into true meditation than
dwelling in the preparatory or preliminary work that we usually describe as
meditation. In most cases, yogis dwell in these preliminary practices rather than
move to true meditation practice. Mostly, people confuse these preliminary
practices with true meditation.

Moving on to mindfulness training, Ven Mahasi’s system is based on rising and
falling of the abdomen, but the student may look upon this with suspicion. Most
meditation teachers will invariably provide a single object on which to focus,
such as rising and falling, usually on the breath, without knowing or saying why.
However, for some people, this doesn’t suit them. Observing rising and falling is
good enough practice to take one all the way to nibbhana. The rising and falling
process should result in the development of manasikara[xv], bare attention, but
most of the time it is like a spider just shaking around the web, achieving
nothing. Simply noting rising and falling has no value, the student needs to be
instructed on developing present moment awareness – manasikara.
The rising and falling of the abdomen can also be applied to walking meditation
practice which needs to be done naturally and with awareness rather than
forcing some artificial process on walking action such as very slow walking. This
is referred to as: knowing well the walking process, i.e. it is not a forced process.
If you try to manage the walking process, your mind goes off track and you
never make any progress. It should be a natural process, as with sitting,
standing, lying down; one is aware of each posture. You cannot benefit from
sitting meditation practice if you don’t do all the other meditative awareness
postures. Each of the postures are complementary to each other and are self-
reinforcing. Practice needs to be continuous and the process is likened to
rubbing two sticks together to create a fire. One must keep rubbing the surfaces
constantly where heat is generated. The simile is applied to all postures as the
sticks are rubbed constantly. If you stop, the process stops. All contact points in
each of the postures need to be noted constantly: sitting, standing, walking and
lying down. In the standing posture, the yogi may be aware of all the rising and
falling phenomena. It is the same with lying down, walking and sitting. Some
people are good in one or two but not always good in all four postures: sitting,
standing, walking and lying down. When working well, they are all strong. When
the foundation for meditation is not established we take breaks for two or more
weeks. Also, a lot of the time, we don’t know why we note sense objects or what
we are doing this for. We have an idea that noting objects is a good thing but
that’s not enough.

With the rising and falling of the abdomen, the yogi may lose awareness of the
abdomen. One’s own discursive thoughts from books, other teachers and other
ideas tend to create confusion in the mind. Some people may understand the
dhamma based on some elements of the Buddha’s teachings while others may
lose awareness altogether and never gain a sense of sustained concentration.
What one recognizes as mental process, bodily sensations and other sensations
in the sitting posture are also recognised in the walking process. If this is
happening, it can be said that meditation is moving well – the awareness of one
should be consistent with the other in the way one is observing rising and falling.
The different types of meditation postures, sitting and walking are

When a meditation teacher gives instructions to a student the student or he/she
may have no idea why they these instructions are given. The rising and the
falling of the abdomen is described in the Satipatthana Sutra as one of the four
foundations of mindfulness under a subcategory of postures and activities. This
rising and falling of the abdomen comes under dhammanupassana, mindfulness
of phenomena. This is also part of the Mahasi tradition. Many meditation
teachers have no idea why they are teaching this method.

When walking, one brings in a sense of simple awareness of the movement of
the right foot followed by the left. This process is called gaccantowa (knowing)
and pajanati (knowing very well) the movement of the feet. It is not necessary to
artificially slow down the process and insert one’s self into the process with the
intention of creating an artificially concentrated state. One simply knows when
one is standing, sitting and walking without losing any postural awareness.

When standing, one has awareness of standing and a full awareness of the
whole body from the top of the head to the soles of the feet in contact with the
earth at least in a state of bare attention – manasikara at that specific moment.
The yogi needs to incorporate all four postures in developing present moment

Sometimes a yogi may stand for an hour or more in this state before moving.
This process of watching the rising and falling can also be done in the lying
down position where the yogi may be lying on his or her side. A total process of
developing awareness that flows from the process of watching the rising and
falling of the abdomen should be cultivated. The earlier analogy of rubbing two
pieces of wood means that a constant process of rubbing is required until the
wood generates enough heat to ignite into a fire. Most yogis may be able to
watch the rising and falling of the abdomen in one posture or two but it’s rare to
be able to do this in every posture but it should be cultivated where it can be
done in every posture.

There are two situations where the yogi may not sense rising and falling of the
abdomen: one is where the student loses focus on the rising falling process
where the student fails to gain bare attention (manasikara) or mindfulness (sati),
the other is where the student loses awareness of rising and falling while being
in a state of bare attention or mindfulness, i.e. one is where the student is lost
without awareness and never enters a state of attention and the other is where
awareness is lost after gaining a state of mindfulness or bare attention. The
student may also be lost in discursive thoughts based on what the student has
been taught by various teachers. Sometimes the student may lose awareness of
rising and falling with or without any knowledge or understanding of the process.
One who is lost with an understanding is a developed yogi whereas the other is
one who has totally lost his/her way without any insight into why or where. What
the student understands along the way impacts on his/her continuing meditation
practice. The good yogi will be able to integrate an understanding gained during,
say, walking meditation, into sitting practice. During the interview with the
teacher, the student will report his/her personal experiences accurately to the
teacher. If this parallel or integrative experience is not reported as such or it is
reported as a separate experience, the teacher will realize that the student is
reporting something from his/her reading and not from real experience, and the
teacher should guide the student to gain this understanding through his/her own
experience that the general insight gained during one posture is the same as
that in another.

It is not uncommon for the teacher to hear stories that have been concocted
from reading, but the teacher knows from the student’s posture and behavior
his/her manasikara, awareness, state and level of development. The student
who has genuinely progressed will clearly show this in his/her deportment and
general behavior. The student will also report details about his/her feelings and
perceptions and how the student processes meditation objects which should
manifest observable parallel developments rather than reported concoctions
based on what the student has read. It is easy for the teacher to see students
who are in such states of delusion. A yogi whose practice is maturing would not
present such text book like descriptions.

The teacher will immediately recognise the developing yogi from his/her posture,
physical presentation and language which cannot be artificially created. Now, for
the student to progress further, the teacher will change the meditation object as
the student notices changes in the state of his/her mind. When the teacher
notices that the student may be perceiving sensations differently, the student
needs to report what’s happening in his/her/her mind which should be
accompanied by parallel developments that are clearly observable to the
teacher. At this point the teacher will change the object of concentration to
ensure that he progresses. Saddha (confidence) of the triple gem alone is not
sufficient but viriya [xvi] (effort or energy) and sampajanna, clear
comprehension, also has to be combined for development to take place. Each of
these elements need to work in concert and are complementary to each other.
A yogi making good progress is easily recognised by the teacher and these
characteristics cannot be artificially created by the student presenting an
elaborate description. The teacher recognizes the level of progress from his/her
or her posture, walk, movements and general behaviour. When the student
reports sense objects, meditative concentration should be complementary with
each other. Faith or confidence (saddha[xvii]) is not sufficient; energy (viriya)
and mindfulness (sati)[xviii] has to be cultivated and developed, and all these
have to come together. The general principal of understanding, insight, is the
same but manifests differently in each posture. The reporting of extreme calm
and tranquility where there is no evidence of awareness (manasikara) is at odds
with each other. Good yogis do not report such things and they don’t need to say
a great deal – his/her state is quite apparent to the teacher. They cannot be
artificially created or described.

The rising and falling of the abdomen may or may not be suitable for some
people, so the contact point of the nose is sometimes given. The technique or
object is changed as the student’s state changes. Let’s say that the meditation
object may be rising and falling of the abdomen or the focus is on the breath,
depending on the way an individual is able to focus on an object. Some have a
preconceived notion that one should stick to one object, but this is not so. The
meditation object should change, depending on the conditions. In some
meditation centers, the teachers will not allow the student to change the object
of concentration and force the student to continue with the same object, forcing
the student to go deeper and deeper into the same object – this is useless. While
this process has been rejected by the founders, they persist in forcing students
to stay with one object. This will result in the student regressing and force the
student to manifest developments that are actually not there and the student will
regress. Often, the student may have progressed well beyond that point and
understood that process quite clearly. Watching the rising and falling of the
abdomen or the breath during early stages calms the mind after which the yogi
can move towards concentrating on other touch points. Once the student has
understood this process, the student is now ready to let go of this practice and
move on to sensations on the touch points now that the mind is calmed. This
place cannot be reached without the preliminary work described above. All this
is about practicing learning to meditatate – this is pure practice, up to this, it is
not considered true meditation or bhavana. When the student reaches a point of
calm he/she is now ready to move onto focusing on other touch points (eg.
sitting, touching etc.) and on average, the student will be given six or seven
touch points on which to focus. Many teachers will only ask the student to focus
on one or two touch points. The meditational development process is a
structured process and they all need to develop together: the conditions of the
mind, the state of the body or form and the intellectual processes that
accompanies this process, all need to progress. The developmental process
should encompass the following:

1. Mind (citta)
2. Form (rupa)
3. Mindfulness (sati)
4. Intellectual understanding of the dhamma (nuwana).

Concentration and focus should be from the top of the head to the souls of the
feet when walking. Some people meditate standing and may do so for two or
more hours. If walking, they will turn around and, when standing or lying down,
they will note the rising and falling of the abdomen. Similarly, there is a way of
lying or sleeping. When lying down, it is usually on the right and the yogi will be
instructed to note the rising and falling of the abdomen. It is only when walking
that the rising and falling of the abdomen is not noted. All three postures should
be incorporated to develop manasikara. When standing, attention should be
from head to toe, then transfer attention to the souls of the feet when walking.
When a yogi gains an understanding or insights in one posture, similar
understanding or insights should also occur with all the other postures; they
need to be in balance and harmony. They also need to report to the teacher
what they experienced or understood while in each posture. If they are not in
balance, or the student does not report anything that is consistent with each
other, it becomes clear that the student is reporting book knowledge or
something not really expereinced. In this case, it is clear to the teacher that the
student has gone off the track and the student should find a way to bring him
back to the point of seeing that understanding should develop in parallel with
each posture.

The development within each posture should be similar. The student should be
reporting mind objects and sensations. When the sensations (vedana) are
changing in relation to the state of mind, the teacher changes the meditation
technique or focus of meditation practice to further his/her progress. Then, one
sees a change in vedana, and the mind state. For these changes to take place,
saddha is not sufficient but needs to combine with viriya and sampajana to move
from insight to insight.

All these elements need to progress together in an upward psychic process.
Sometimes, the student may feel that meditation went well and other days they
may feel that it was awful. This is to be expected, and should happen in equal
proportions. There are times when the yogi feels that his/her meditation was
very poor and the student feels like giving up. This process of up and down and
the mind alternating between calmness and running is part of the process; this is
also a learning experience. The nature of meditation should be an experience of
pain, sometimes one cannot even sit for meditation. This is quite normal. This
changeable nature of the mind is quite normal and the student needs to
understand this and be in sync with this process and not force it to be calm and
concentrated all the time. If a student reports the latter, the teacher will be
suspicious of such a report. The teacher, under these conditions, will not
necessarily change the practice because of this discomfort nor pamper the

Sometimes in formal sitting, parts of the body seem to vanish – this is also
normal. This happens because of defilements of meditation (upakkilesas)[xix]
and while they are a hindrance, they also benefit meditative practice and allows
the meditator to function – they motivate and drive the yogi forward. Such
experiences come in different forms: joyfulness, bliss, lights and so on. The
teacher may disapprove of these but they do have value. While upakkilesas are
not necessarily a bad thing and it motivates a student to further practice, these
can be very pleasent and can feel as though there is some state of samadhi and
the student may discuss this state in positive terms. However, it depends on
how the individual perceives his/her or her own state of mind. With upakkilases,
where one develops a liking to such states as when there is a light or some
state of samadhi the student is attracted to this state, the teacher will advise
against being attached to this, or the student will feel pain or discomfort and
experience unpleasant sensations. However, it can motivate the student to be
driven forward. While practicing, the student starts to experience the presence
or the absence of an individual during walking, for instance, or may experience
just the elements walking or only part of an individual and so on. Under these
conditions the teacher will change the instructions as the student is experiencing
only parts of the form. At this point, defilements of meditation (upakkilesas) may
be more intense. Here, the upakkilesas start to manifest and the student begins
to think that the he/she has mastery over the dhamma but this strong belief can
be a disadvantage but if they take it in a balanced form, it can help with
progress. There can also be a point where all upakkilesas have ceased and
intense pain and restlessness is experienced, at which point the yogi may be
ready to give up. Instead of giving up and doing other spiritual things, if the
student returns to practice, he/she is likely to recommence practice very quickly
and make rapid progress. At times, the presentations can be quite strong and
this may be a result of maturing past karma. But, before arriving at this
conclusion, the student will investigate whether this is due to karma or due to
some other influence such as another person and provide remedial measures. If
a yogi experiences intense pain and restlessness and can let go of these
influences and note the nature of the mind and the state of these sensations,
and reaches a state of equanimity, the student is able progress towards path
knowledge or jhana[xx], higher states of concentration.

Often when one experiences pain, this can be a sign of progress as are mental
states of restlessness. A good teacher will expect such states, and if they don’t
appear, the teacher will investigate this further. Sometimes this can be the result
of karma, but often not. The yogi needs to work through these feelings and
experiences. When a yogi experiences these kinds of physical pain, he or she
may lose interest in being attached to the physical plane and the same with
restlessness of the mind. At this point, the yogi may move towards equanimity
(upekkha). When the student lets go of the pleasures of the material world, then
upekka is experienced. But there will be moments of calm and happiness where
the student may note these states and the mind may be balanced – the mind
only notes what is happening. At this point, the yogi may move towards path
knowledge. We need to know the path and goal of the process.

Sometimes knowledge and understanding of a sense object arises along with
the sense of the object. Part of the reason that knowledge or understanding of a
sense object arises after the sense object does so is due to a lack of training.
When an understanding of the sense object arises along with unwholesome
states, it leads to a sense of cunning. In general, people feel that what they say
and think are different to that required for daily functions.

When people present outward signs of concentration which are not reflected
internally, this is not a true meditative practice at all. When a yogi starts to
experience upakkilesas (defilements of meditation), they may take these as
signs of progress. This is not a bad thing but if the meditator is attached to
these, and there are fetters present, then it becomes a problem. If they are not
attached and there are no fetters, then this won’t be a problem. Upakkilesas can
occur even when one is practicing sila as well as bhavana. Monks, particularly,
will tend to compare themselves with others and manifest a sense of pride; but
these are not easily recognised.

When a person gets out of upakkilesas, they can reach a state of equanimity -
upekkha, when there is no avijja (ignorance). So, where there is a greater
understanding of the sense object, the mind inclines towards nibbhana and the
path. Even when someone’s mind inclines towards liberation, where upekkha is
close, a minor event such as talking to someone could be a karmic incident that
prevents further progress and everything stops. In general, this is the reason
yogis are encouraged to talk as little as possible. Sometimes the teacher could
intervene and try to help the student to get back to where the he/she was. This
stalling could happen in some cases for many lives or just a few weeks. Often
when people turn up at the centre with friends and relatives, husband and wife
couples, parents and children, they cannot make progress. A simple statement
by someone close can destroy any progress. Bringing children to meditation
centres totally wrecks meditation practice. Someone whose mind is primed for
progress could be upset because of a simple interaction with someone close.
(to be continued….)

Selected definitions.

[i] Kayanupassana: contemplation of the body as an accumulation.
[ii] Anupassana: realisation
[iii] Jhana: concentration of mind, reached in a certain order of mental state.
[iv] Samatha: calm, quietude of heart.
[v] Vipassana: insight.
[vi] Anagami: One who does not return.
[vii] Ditthi: View, belief, dogma, speculation, especially false theory, groundless
or unfounded opinion.
[viii] Moha: Delusion, stupidity.
[ix] Sotapanna: stream-entrant, the first of the four stages of enlightenment.
[x] Sila: moral code, code of morality.
[xi] Samadhi: one pointedness of the mind, a concentrated, self-collected, intent
state of mind and meditation.
[xii] Panna: wisdom, knowledge, insight.
[xiii] Check:
[xiv] Sati: thoughtful, mindful, attentive, deliberate.
[xv] Manasikara: attention, the mind’s first confrontation with an object and binds
the associated mental factors to the object.
[xvi] Viriya: energy.
[xvii] Saddha: faith, confidence. A Buddhist is said to have faith if he believes in
the Perfect One’s (the Buddha’s) enlightment or in the Three Jewels by taking
his refuge in them (Nyanathiloka, p.180).
[xviii] Sati: mindfulness, described as “one of those mental factors inseparably
associated with all karmically wholesome (kusala, q.v.) and karma-produced
lofty (sobhana) consciousness”(Nyanathiloka, 2011, p.194).
[xix] Upakkilesa: anything that spoils or obstructs, a minor stain, impurity,
defilement, depravity
[xx] Jhana: absorption from meditation (a fuller explanation can be found in
Nyanathiloka, p.82)