Nine ways to Sharpen the Controlling Faculties – Indriyas

I copied/paraphrased these nine ways from two different English language translations of Ven. Sayadaw U Kundala’s Burmese language transcriptions of Dhamma talks. I’m sorry I don’t have the citation details since I left the books in Yangon.

These nine ways are also in the Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification) by Ven. Buddhaghosa, in the section on Samaadhi. Buddhaghosa appears to have provided them to strengthen the five controlling faculties (panc’indriya) and develop samatha – one pointedness of mind. Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw and the Mahasi tradition of vipassana meditation have adapted these nine ways for vipassana meditation.

1. Direct the mind on the nature of cessation of phenomenon; incline the mind towards the dissolution or passing away of the observing and noting object.

2. Note respectfully and penetratively; note respectfully, closely and intensely to actually see the dissolution.

3. Note continuously without disruption in noting; note incessantly without break or gap so the noting will be continuous throughout.

4. Cultivate seven types of suitable (beneficial) dependables during the retreat including:

  1. accommodation – meditation centre
  2. alms – convenient to obtain food, not having to walk far etc.
  3. conversation on Dhamma that is relevant to attaining liberation
  4. fellow practitioners – who are enthusiastic for bhavanaa-mental development
  5. nourishment – food that is suitable for the individual
  6. climate – not too hot, not too cold etc.
  7. posture – straight back and not too much pain

5. Note the causes of development of vipassana samaadhi (insight concentration), remember the causes for attaining the tranquillity of mind, the causes of samaadhi, the signs (nimitta) of past samaadhi.

6. Contemplate the Bojjhanga Dhammas to strengthen the Indriya-controlling faculties. [This also amounts to balancing bojjhangas 2-4 (the investigation group) with bojjhangas 5-6 (the concentration group). Sati-mindfulness is neutral as far as balancing goes and is never in excess relative to any other factor.]

  1. Sati-mindfulness
  2. Dhammavicaaya-investigation of phenomena
  3. Viriya-energy
  4. Piiti-joy, rapture, thrill
  5. Passaddhi-tranquillity
  6. Samaadhi-concentration
  7. Upekkhaa-equanimity

7. Be detached from body and life [be ready to sacrifice the bodily comfort for progress in Dhamma].

8. Practice to overwhelm all painful sensations/feelings [not by force of will but by patient noting and perseverence].

9. Make a determination/resolution for non-stop continuous noting until reaching perfection, don’t give up observing and noting until reaching path and fruition (magga and phala) [this is for an advanced stage and usually after being instructed to do so by the teacher].


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