is therefore to be emphasized that the act of pulling
up the body to the standing posture should be carried
out slowly. On coming to an erect position, a note should
be made as "standing, standing." If one happens to look
around, a note should be made as "looking, seeing,"
and on walking each step should be noted as "right step,
left step" or "walking, walking." At each step, attention
should be fixed on the sole of the foot as it moves
from the point of lifting the leg to the point of placing
walking in quick steps or taking a long walk, a note
on one section of each step as "right step, left step"
or "walking, walking" will do. In the case of walking
slowly, each step may be divided into three sections
-- lifting, moving forward and placing down. In the
beginning of the exercise, a note should be made of
the two parts of each step: as "lifting" by fixing the
attention on the upward movement of the foot from the
beginning to the end, and as "placing" by fixing on
the downward movement from the beginning to the end.
Thus the exercise which starts with the first step by
noting as "lifting, placing" now ends.
when the foot is put down and is being noted as "placing,"
the other leg begins lifting to begin the next step.
This should not be allowed to happen. The next step
should begin only after the first step has been completed,
such as "lifting, placing" for the first step and "lifting,
placing" for the second step. After two or three days
this exercise will be easy, and then the yogi should
carry out the exercise of noting each step in three
sections as "lifting, moving, placing." For the present
a yogi should start the exercise by noting as "right
step, left step," or "walking, walking" while walking
quickly, and by noting as "lifting, placing" while walking
one is walking, one may feel the desire to sit down.
One should then make a note as "wanting." If one then
happens to look up, note it as "looking, seeing, looking,
seeing"; on going to the seat as "lifting, placing";
on stopping as "stopping, stopping"; on turning as "turning,
turning." When one feels a desire to sit, note it as
"wanting, wanting." In the act of sitting there occur
in the body heaviness and also a downward pull. Attention
should be fixed on these factors and a note made as
"sitting, sitting, sitting." After having sat down there
will be movements of bringing the hands and legs into
position. They should be noted as "moving," "bending,"
"stretching," and so forth. If there is nothing to do
and if one is sitting quietly, one should then revert
to the usual exercise of noting as "rising, falling."
in the course of contemplation one feels painful or
tired or hot, one should make a note of these and then
revert to the usual exercise of noting "rising, falling."
If one feels sleepy, one should make a note of it as
"sleepy, sleepy" and proceed with the noting of all
acts in preparation to lie down: note the bringing into
position of the hands and legs as "raising," "pressing,"
"moving," "supporting"; when the body sways as "swaying,
swaying"; when the legs stretch as "stretching, stretching";
and when the body drops and lies flat as "lying, lying,
trifling acts in lying down are also important and they
should not be neglected. There is every possibility
of attaining enlightenment during this short time. On
the full development of concentration and knowledge,
enlightenment is attainable during the present moment
of bending or stretching. In this way the Venerable
Ananda attained Arahatship at the very moment of lying
the beginning of the fourth month after the Buddha's
complete passing away, arrangements were made to hold
the first council of bhikkhus to collectively classify,
examine, confirm and recite all the teachings of the
Buddha. At that time five hundred bhikkhus were chosen
for this work. Of these bhikkhus, four hundred and ninety-nine
were Arahats, while the Venerable Ananda was a sotapanna,
order to attend the council as an Arahat on the same
level with the others, he made his utmost effort to
carry on with his meditation on the day prior to the
opening of the council. That was on the fourth of the
waning moon of the month of Savana (August). He proceeded
with mindfulness of the body and continued his walking
meditation throughout the night. It might have been
in the same manner as noting "right step, left step"
or "walking, walking." He was thus occupied with intense
contemplation of the processes of mentality and materiality
in each step until dawn of the following day, but he
still had not yet attained to Arahatship.
the Venerable Ananda thought: "I have done my utmost.
Lord Buddha has said: 'Ananda, you possess full perfections
(paramis). Do proceed with the practice of meditation.
You will surely attain Arahatship one day.' I have tried
my best, so much so that I can be counted as one of
those who have done their best in meditation. What maybe
the reason for my failure?"
he remembered: "Ah! I have been overzealous in keeping
solely to the practice of walking throughout the night.
There is an excess of energy and not enough concentration,
which indeed is responsible for this state of restlessness.
It is now necessary to stop walking practice so as to
bring energy in balance with concentration and to proceed
with the contemplation in a lying position." The Venerable
Ananda then entered his room, sat down on his bed, and
began to lie down. It is said that he attained Arahatship
at the very moment of lying down, or rather at the moment
of contemplating as "lying, lying."
manner of attaining Arahatship has been recorded as
a strange event in the Commentaries, because it is outside
the four regular postures of standing, sitting, lying
and walking. At the moment of his enlightenment, the
Venerable Ananda could not be regarded as strictly in
a standing posture because his feet were off the floor,
nor could he be regarded as sitting because his body
was already at an angle, being quite close to the pillow,
nor could he be regarded as lying down since his head
had not yet touched the pillow and his body was not
Venerable Ananda was a stream-enterer and he thus had
to develop the three other higher stages -- the path
and fruit of once-returning, the path and fruit of non-returning,
and the path and fruit of Arahatship in his final attainment.
This took only a moment. Extreme care is therefore needed
to carry on the practice of contemplation without relaxation
the act of lying down, contemplation should therefore
be carried out with due care. When a yogi feels sleepy
and wants to lie down, a note should be made as "sleepy,
sleepy," "wanting, wanting"; on raising the hand as
"raising, raising"; on stretching as "stretching, stretching";
on touching as "touching, touching"; on pressing as
"pressing, pressing"; after swaying the body and dropping
it down as "lying, lying." The act of lying down itself
should be carried out very slowly. On touching the pillow
it should be noted as "touching, touching." There are
many places of touch all over the body but each spot
need be noted only one at a time.
the lying posture there are also many movements of the
body in bringing one's arms and legs into position.
These actions should be noted carefully as "raising,"
"stretching," "bending," "moving," and so forth. On
turning the body a note should be made as "turning,
turning," and when there is nothing in particular to
be noted, the yogi should proceed with the usual practice
of noting "rising, falling." While one is lying on one's
back or side, there is usually nothing in particular
to be noted and the usual exercise of "rising, falling"
should be carried out.
may be many times when the mind wanders while one is
in the lying posture. This wandering mind should be
noted as "going, going" when it goes out, as "arriving,
arriving" when it reaches a place, as "planning," "reflecting,"
and so forth for each state in the same manner as in
the contemplation while in the sitting posture. Mental
states pass away on being noted once or twice. The usual
exercise of noting "rising, falling" should be continued.
There may also be instances of swallowing or spitting
saliva, painful sensations, hot sensations, itching
sensations, etc., or of bodily actions in changing positions
or in moving the limbs. They should be contemplated
as each occurs. (When sufficient strength in concentration
is gained, it will be possible to carry on with the
contemplation of each act of opening and closing the
eyelids and blinking.) Afterwards, one should then return
to the usual exercise when there is nothing else to
it is late at night and time for sleep, it is not advisable
to give up the contemplation and go to sleep. Anyone
who has a keen interest in contemplation must be prepared
to face the risk of spending many nights without sleep.
scriptures are emphatic on the necessity of developing
the qualities of four-factored energy (caturanga-viriya)
in the practice of meditation: "In the hard struggle,
one may be reduced to a mere skeleton of skin, bones
and sinews when one's flesh and blood wither and dry
up, but one should not give up one's efforts so long
as one has not attained whatever is attainable by manly
perseverance, energy and endeavor." These instructions
should be followed with a strong determination. It may
be possible to keep awake if there is strong enough
concentration to beat off sleep, but one will fall asleep
if sleep gets the upper hand.
one feels sleepy, one should make a note of it as "sleepy,
sleepy"; when the eyelids are heavy as "heavy, heavy";
when the eyes are felt to be dazzled as "dazzled, dazzled."
After contemplating in the manner indicated, one may
be able to shake off sleepiness and feel fresh again.
This feeling should be noted as "feeling fresh, feeling
fresh," after which the usual exercise of noting "rising,
falling" should be continued. However, in spite of this
determination, one may feel unable to keep awake if
one is very sleepy. In a lying posture, it is easier
to fall asleep. A beginner should therefore try to keep
mostly to the postures of sitting and walking.
the night is advanced, however, a yogi may be compelled
to lie down and proceed with the contemplation of rising
and falling. In this position he may perhaps fall asleep.
While one is asleep, it is not possible to carry on
with the work of contemplation. It is an interval for
a yogi to relax. An hour's sleep will give him an hour's
relaxation, and if he continues to sleep for two, three
or four hours, he will be relaxed for that much longer,
but it is not advisable for a yogi to sleep for more
than four hours, which is ample enough for a normal
yogi should begin his contemplation from the moment
of awakening. To be fully occupied with intense contemplation
throughout his waking hours is the routine of a yogi
who works hard with true aspiration for the attainment
of the path and fruit. If it is not possible to catch
the moment of awakening, he should begin with the usual
exercise of noting "rising, falling." If he first becomes
aware of the fact of reflecting, he should begin his
contemplation by noting "reflecting, reflecting" and
then revert to the usual exercise of noting "rising,
falling." If he first becomes aware of hearing a voice
or some other sound, he should begin by noting "hearing,
hearing" and then revert to the usual exercise. On awakening
there may be bodily movement in turning to this side
or that, moving the hands or legs and so forth. These
actions should be contemplated in successive order.
he first becomes aware of the mental states leading
to the various actions of body, he should begin his
contemplation by noting the mind. If he first becomes
aware of painful sensations, he should begin with the
noting of these painful sensations and then proceed
with the noting of bodily actions. If he remains quiet
without moving, the usual exercise of noting "rising,
falling" should be continued. If he intends to get up,
he should note this as "intending, intending" and then
proceed with the noting of all actions in serial order
in bringing the hands and legs into position. One should
note "raising, raising" on raising the body, "sitting,
sitting" when the body is erect and in a sitting posture,
and one should also note any other actions of bringing
the legs and hands into position. If there is then nothing
in particular to be noted, the usual exercise of noting
"rising,falling" should be reverted to.
far we have mentioned things relating to the objects
of contemplation in connection with the four postures
and changing from one posture to another. This is merely
a description of the general outline of major objects
of contemplation to be carried out in the course of
practice. Yet in the beginning of the practice, it is
difficult to follow up on all of them in the course
of contemplation. Many things will be omitted, but on
gaining sufficient strength in concentration, it is
easy to follow up in the course of contemplation not
only those objects already enumerated, but may many
more. With the gradual development of mindfulness and
concentration, the pace of knowledge quickens, and thus
many more objects can be perceived. It is necessary
to work up to this high level.
should be carried out in washing the face in the morning
or when taking a bath. As it is necessary to act quickly
in such instances due to the nature of the action itself,
contemplation should be carried out as far as these
circumstances will allow. On stretching the hand to
catch hold of the dipper, it should be noted as "stretching,
stretching"; on catching hold of the dipper as "holding,
holding"; on immersing the dipper as "dipping,dipping";
on bringing the dipper towards the body as "bringing,
bringing"; on pouring the water over the body or on
the face as "pouring, pouring"; on feeling cold as "cold,
cold"; on rubbing as "rubbing, rubbing," and so forth.
are also many different bodily actions in changing or
arranging one's clothing, in arranging the bed or bed-sheets,
in opening the door, and so on. These actions should
be contemplated in detail serially as much as possible.
the time of taking a meal, contemplation should begin
from the moment of looking at the table and noted as
"looking, seeing, looking, seeing"; when stretching
the hand to the plate as "stretching, stretching"; when
the hand touches the food as "touching, hot, hot"; when
gathering the food as "gathering, gathering"; when catching
hold of the food as "catching, catching"; after lifting
when the hand is being brought up as "bringing, bringing";
when the neck is being bent down as "bending, bending";
when the food is being placed in the mouth as "placing,
placing"; when withdrawing the hand as "withdrawing,
withdrawing"; when the hand touches the plate as "touching,
touching"; when the neck is being straightened as "straightening,
straightening"; when chewing the food as "chewing, chewing";
while tasting the food as "tasting, tasting," when one
likes the taste as "liking, liking"; when one finds
it pleasant as "pleasant, pleasant"; when swallowing
as "swallowing, swallowing."
is an illustration of the routine of contemplation on
partaking of each morsel of food till the meal is finished.
In this case too it is difficult to follow up on all
actions at the beginning of the practice. There will
be many omissions. Yogis should not hesitate, however,
but must try to follow up as much as they can. With
the gradual advancement of the practice, it will be
easier to note many more objects than are mentioned
instructions for the practical exercise of contemplation
are now almost complete. As they have been explained
in detail and at some length, it will not be easy to
remember all of them. For the sake of easy remembrance,
a short summary of the important and essential points
will be given.