Dhamma Letter No. 47

Study of Cittanupassana in Vipassana Meditation: The Four Objects

According to the commentary of Monk Nanatiloka (author of “The Word of the Buddha”):

Mind is a word that means moments of consciousness— especially the little ones.

The mind or consciousness of a meditator who is sensitive to changes points to the moments of Mind or consciousness which is not a fixed entity, but the totality of the mind that is created and then disappears by conditions. Strictly speaking, the basic position of Buddhism is that minds change from moment to moment, so no two minds are identical.

As time changes, the conditions that created the mind also change. Since there is no time period which remains the same, then there is no state of mind that can remain the same— our mind is a mind that is constantly changing.

We can only refer to states of minds (ex: happiness, sadness, or tiredness) by naming a certain category for convenience just as we use ‘I’ in language even though there is no-Self. 

The infinite states of mind and processes of consciousness are explained in detail in the Abhidhamma of early Buddhism, so please refer to that text to learn more or submit a question for more resources. 

The practice of Cittānupassanā is a method of establishing observation and awareness of the mind among the “four objects” of the body, feeling, mind and dhamma (身受心法).

Cittanupassana consists of observation of the mind. It  is a method of performing more detailed work by noticing primary psychological phenomena or secondary cognitive phenomena occurring in the mind as they are.

One may consider the building blocks of mindfulness which can begin with Observation of breathing meditation or Observation of body movements which is the Contemplation of the body (Kayanupassana). This may lead to the next base that is observation and awareness of the most primitive psychological phenomenon, such as feeling, pleasant feeling, painful feeling, and dull feeling or sensation that is neither pleasant nor painful which is the Contemplation of feeling (Vedanaupassana).

After observing these phenomena either independently or sequentially, Contemplation of the mind is next. These building blocks support to prepare and calm the mind for observation, so if one is an experienced meditator, one may already be able to begin with Cittanupassana.

To be continued…

With Metta,

Ayyā Kosallā & Mahāpajāpatī Bhikkhunī Sangha
Edited by Euna Bonovich 

If you have any questions related to dhamma & meditation, please feel free to ask. You can reach Ayya Kosalla directly at Bhikkhuni.Kosalla@gmail.com . 

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The Korean Dhamma Letter is here 담마레터.

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Buddha Sāsanaṁ Ciraṁ Tiṭṭhatu! 
May the Buddha’s teachings last a long time!

​Bhavatu Sabba Sotiṁ ca Maṅgalaṁ ca!!  
May everyone be led on the path of peace and blessing!!

Sādhu Sādhu Sādhu !