Practical Advice for Meditators

by Bhikkhu Khantipalo | 1986 | 10,033 words

Practical Advice for Meditators by Bhikkhu Khantipalo The Wheel Publication No. 116 Copyright © 1986 Buddhist Publication Society For free distribution only. You may print copies of this work for your personal use. You may re-format and redistribute this work for use on computers and computer networks, provided that you charge no fees for its di...

Ten Reflections


  1. upon the Buddha *
  2. " the Dhamma
  3. " the Sangha
  4. " virtue (sila) ..... {counteracts the stain (kilesa) of bad conduct (duccarita)}
  5. " generosity ..... {counteracts meanness (macchariya)}
  6. " celestials ..... {counteracts scepticism (vicikiccha)}
  7. " death ..... {counteracts laziness}
  8. " body * ..... {counteracts lust & sensuality (kama-raga)}
  9. " breathing * ..... {counteracts delusion, worry}
  10. " peace ..... {counteracts disturbance} 21-26 recommended for faith characters
  11. " " intelligent characters
  12. " " greedy characters
  13. " " deluded/speculative characters
  14. " " intelligent characters

This group of ten has a more miscellaneous character than the previous two groups. In practicing the first three recollections (21-23) one recited the lists of qualities of each one of these.[1] Or if the mind does not become concentrated in this way, one chooses one particular quality and recites that silently and continuously (such as "Buddho" or "Araham"). Rosaries are used in some places in connection with practice of this sort. The recollections on virtue and generosity are specially good to cultivate in one's old age. One reviews all the meritorious deeds (puñña) made by one in the course of life, and recollecting them the mind becomes tranquil and happy, and having such a mental state at the time of death, one is sure to be reborn in very favorable surroundings. One cannot recollect the celestials (deva) except by hearsay unless one has seen them. This practice is suitable for those who have increased the range of their minds and so have made contact with other more subtle beings.

Death may be recollected by intelligent characters since they will not be frightened at the prospects which this practice opens up. It is a great incentive to practice now when one does not know whether even one second from hence, one will be alive. The twenty-eighth recollection -- on the body -- is for greedy characters, who need to develop dispassion regarding the body. This is achieved by the analysis of the body into thirty-two unbeautiful parts, and then by selecting one or more of these and examining it. However, this practice comes to perfection when with insight the body is illuminated and its various components are clearly seen and their nature understood. The mindfulness of breathing is recommended for calming and clearing the mind, and a person of almost any temperament may practice it with benefit, though great care is needed in the subtler ranges of this exercise. The breathing is never forced but observed constantly with mindfulness, the point of concentration being usually the nose-tip or nostrils. However, teachers vary in their practice of it.

The recollection of peace, says the great Acariya, is only of certain benefit to those who have already experienced Nibbana, such as stream-enterers; but others can gain some calm from contemplation of peacefulness. The peace spoken of here is really Nibbana, and as one cannot recollect what one has not known, if a worldling (puthujjana), this is a practice for the Noble Ones (ariya).

Footnotes and references:


See The Mirror of the Dhamma, WHEEL No. 54 a/b.

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