Practicing Insight on your own

Tracing the Eightfold Path in the Four Satipatthāna


For the invention of radio, television and the like, it is necessary to have many electrical circuits and all these systems must be connected to one point, whether it is a switch or a press-button. If one wants to put them to work, one simply presses the button, then all systems will work automatically in an instant. In the same way the Lord Buddha who is the scientist of the mind, searched for the correct dhamma with a view to making it work. Wishing to reduce and make it convenient and easy in the same manner, the Lord Buddha refined the Eightfold Path to become the Ekāyanomaggo, that means the single magga, or translated THE SINGLE WAY.


This way is the four FOUNDATIONS OF MINDFULNESS; the four satipatthāna are Ekāyanomaggo or Sammā-sati which is nothing else but one of the factors of the Eightfold Path.


Q: What is the significance of sammā-sati so that it becomes the Ekāyanomaggo?

A: The significance and duty of sammā-sati remains with the practice. Thus:


I. Sati has the function to know the present dhamma; that means, when it arises together with the mind it is obliged to contemplate the presently existing rūpa-nāma.


II. Sati is the cause for the arising of sīla, samādhi; pa˝˝ā. If sati is missing, the correct sīla, samādhi, pa˝˝ā cannot arise.


III. Sati is active in the abandoning of kilesa-nīvarana, which are the akusala group of cetasika and always prevent the mind from achieving the Good.


IV. Sati fulfills the function of unifying the Eightfold Path into one, called Ekāyanomaggo. If sati does not arise, the other seven magga will also not arise. When sati arises, the other seven magga will arise together with sati, becoming the Single Way (Ekāyanomaggo).


V. Sati acts by controlling the five indriya so that they are evenly balanced. When sati has little power, the vipassanūpakkilesa may arise easily.


VI. The development of the Four Satipatthāna is the way leading to absolute purity; it is the way to the arising of Lokuttara-pa˝˝ā (transcendent discernment); it is the only way to reach Nibbāna.

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