The Discourse giving the Analysis of the Topics

Arthaviniścayasūtram

12. The Four Cultivations of Meditation

Herein, monastics, what are the four cultivations of meditation?

  1. The cultivation of meditation, monastics, which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to the abandoning of sensual desire.

  2. The cultivation of meditation, monastics, which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to a pleasant abiding here and now.

  3. The cultivation of meditation, monastics, which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to the acquisition of knowledge and insight.

  4. The cultivation of meditation, monastics, which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to the acquisition of wisdom.

12.1 The Abandoning of Sensual Desire

Herein, monastics, what is the cultivation of meditation which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to the abandoning of sensual desire?

Here, monastics, a monastic who has gone to the wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, in regard to this very body – from the sole of the feet upwards, from the hair of the head down, bounded by the skin, as it is placed, as it is disposed, full of manifold impurities, reflects with right wisdom as it really is:

There are in this body:

Hairs of the head, body hairs, nails, teeth, filth, skin,
flesh, bones, sinews, nerves, kidneys,
heart, spleen, pleura, intestines, mesentery,
upper stomach, food, stomach, liver, excrement,
tears, sweat, spit, mucus, grease, synovial fluid,
marrow, fat, bile, phlegm, suppuration,
blood, skull, brain,

(thus on this body) full of manifold impurities he reflects with right wisdom as it really is.

Just as though, monks, there were a granary with open doors at both ends, full of various and manifold kinds of corn varieties: grain, sesame, mustard, mung beans, meal and beans, and a man with good vision looking round would understand: these are bearded grains, these are fruit-grain, even so, monastics, a monastic in regard to this very body – as it is placed, as it is disposed, reflects thus.

This is the cultivation of meditation which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to the abandoning of sensual desire.

12.2 A Pleasant Abiding Here and Now

Herein, monastics, what is the cultivation of meditation which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to a pleasant abiding here and now?

Here, monastics, a monastic who has gone to the wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, has a body that is suffused internally with the happiness and joy born of seclusion and concentration, and is fulfilled, satisfied and manifesting it.

For him there is no part of the whole body that is not pervaded, not manifesting it, that is to say, the internal happiness and joy born of seclusion and concentration.

Just as though, monastics, water-lilies or red lotuses or white lotuses which are born in water, growing in water, immersed in water, they are all cool, flowing, streaming, fulfilled, satisfied and manifesting in water, so, monastics, a monastic who has gone to the wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, has a body that is suffused internally with the happiness and joy born of seclusion and concentration, and is fulfilled, satisfied and manifesting it.

For him there is no part of the whole body that is not pervaded, not manifesting it, that is to say, the internal happiness and joy born of seclusion and concentration.

This is the cultivation of meditation which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to a pleasant abiding here and now.

12.3 The Acquisition of Knowledge and Insight

Herein, monastics, what is the cultivation of meditation which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to the acquisition of knowledge and insight?

Here, monastics, a monastic grasps well and truly the perception of light,
applies his mind well, sees it well, penetrates it well, daily he cultivates his illumined mind, determined on the perception, as by day, so by night, as by night, so by day; as before, so later, as later, so before; as below, so above, as above, so below.

Thus with an open mind, which is receptive, by day he cultivates his illumined mind, determined on the perception, in every corner of the world.

Just as though, monastics, in the first month of the summer the days are cloudless, without thunder or rain, or mists, and in the middle of the day, as far as there is light, it is pure, fulfilled, luminous, and there is no darkness found, so, monastics, a monastic grasps well and truly the perception of light, applies his mind well, sees it well, penetrates it well, by day he cultivates his illumined mind, determined on the perception, as by day, so by night, as by night, so by day; as before, so later, as later, so before; as below, so above, as above, so below.

Thus with an open mind, which is receptive, daily he cultivates his illumined mind, determined on the perception.

This is the cultivation of meditation which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to the acquisition of knowledge and insight.

12.4 The Acquisition of Wisdom

Herein, monastics, what is the cultivation of meditation which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to the acquisition of wisdom?

Here, monastics, a monastic who has gone to the wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, having given up pleasure, given up pain, and with the previous disappearance of mental well-being and sorrow, without pain, without pleasure, and with complete purity of mindfulness owing to equanimity, dwells having attained the fourth absorption.

This is the cultivation of meditation which, when practised, developed, made much of, leads to the acquisition of wisdom.

These are the four cultivations of meditation.