Moral Conduct as the Basis for Spiritual Development

Buddhist suttas-discourses are translated into English in various ways. Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu translates satipa.t.thaana as “the four frames of reference.” Others translate it as the four establishments of mindfulness or the four foundations of mindfulness. I prefer “the four establishments of mindfulness” or to just leave it in the Paali as satipa.t.thaana. This is the basis for samaadhi-concentration and developing panna-wisdom, both of which are the basis for spiritual development.

Sikkha-dubbalya Sutta: Things That Weaken the Training
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

“Monks, these five are things that weaken the training. Which five? The taking of life, stealing, sexual misconduct, the telling of lies, and distilled and; fermented beverages that are a cause for heedlessness. These five are things that weaken the training.

“To abandon these five things that weaken the training, one should develop the four frames of reference. Which four? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in and; of itself — ardent, alert, and; mindful — putting aside greed and; distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in and; of themselves… mind in and; of itself… mental qualities in and; of themselves — ardent, alert, and; mindful — putting aside greed and; distress with reference to the world. To abandon the five things that weaken the training, one should develop these four frames of reference.”

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