If mindfulness is developed and maintained, the investigation of phenomena will meet with success. Joy and ease are wonderful feelings nourished by diligence. Concentration gives rise to understanding. When understanding is there, we go beyond comparing, discriminating and reacting; and we realize letting go. The Seven Factors of Awakening, if practiced diligently, lead to true understanding and emancipation.
mindfulness, investigation of phenomena, joy, ease, diligence, concentration and letting go
The Seven Factors of Awakening
The First and main Factor of Awakening is mindfulness. Mindfulness means “remembering,” not forgetting where we are, what we are doing and who we are with. Our breathing, walking, movements, feelings and the phenomena around us are all parts of the “relationship” in which mindfulness arises. With training, every time we breathe in and out, mindfulness will be there so that our breathing becomes a cause and condition for the arising of mindfulness.
Investigation of phenomena is the Second Factor of Awakening. With mindfulness, investigation takes us deeply into life and into reality. We are open and allow things simply to reveal themselves; consequently, our knowledge and our boundaries expand.
The Third Factor of Awakening is effort, diligence or perseverance. In Buddhism, the sources of our energy are mindfulness, investigation and faith in the practice. When we look deeply, we see that life is a miracle beyond our comprehension.
The Fourth Factor of Awakening is joy. It is possible to develop joy in your mind even when your body is not well. This will, in turn, help your body. Joy comes from touching things that are refreshing and beautiful, within and outside of ourselves. Usually we touch only what is wrong. If we can expand our vision and also see what is right, this wider picture always brings joy.
The Fifth Factor of Awakening is ease. Diligence is always accompanied by ease. We need to practice resting even when we are not sick. Sitting meditation, walking meditation and mindful eating are good opportunities for resting. When you feel agitated, if you are able to go to a park or a garden, it is an opportunity for rest.
The Sixth Factor of Awakening is concentration. We collect the energy of our mind and direct it toward an object. With concentration, our mind is one-pointed and still, and quite naturally it stays focused on one object. To have mindfulness, we need concentration. Once mindfulness is developed, concentration, in turn, becomes stronger.
The Seventh Factor of Awakening is equanimity, or letting go. Equanimity is an aspect of true love. Practicing equanimity, we love everyone equally. To be a disciple of the Buddha, your heart must bear no hatred, you must utter no unkind words and you must remain compassionate with no hostility or ill-will toward anyone.
THE SEVEN FACTORS OF AWAKENING: MIDJECL
Investigation of Phenomena