Each kammatthana can be prescribed, especially by a teacher (kalyāṇa-mitta), to a certain individual student at some specific point, by assessing what would be best for that student's temperament and the present state of his or her mind.
Forty meditation subjects
(1) swollen corpse,
(2) discolored, bluish, corpse,
(3) festering corpse,
(4) fissured corpse,
(5) gnawed corpse,
(6,7) dismembered, or hacked and scattered, corpse,
(8) bleeding corpse,
(9) worm-eaten corpse,
- Next three are recollections of the virtues of:
- Recollections of:
- (1) unconditional kindness (mettā)
- (2) compassion (karuna)
- (3) sympathetic joy over another's success (mudita)
- (4) evenmindedness, equanimity (upekkha)
- (1) infinite space
- (2) infinite consciousness
- (3) infinite nothingness
- (4) neither perception nor non-perception.
Of these, due to their complexity, eight recollections (excluding the recollection of the Body (kāyagatāsati) and of Breathing (ānāpānassati)), the perception of disgust of food and the analysis of the four elements only lead to access concentration (upacara samadhi).
Absorption in the first jhana can be realized by mindfulness on the ten kinds of foulness and mindfulness of the body. However, these meditations cannot go beyond the first jhana due to their involving applied thought (vitaka) which is absent from the higher jhanas.
However, these meditations cannot aid in attaining the fourth jhana due to the pleasant feelings associated with them. Conversely, once the fourth jhana is induced, the fourth brahma-vihara (equanimity) arises.
Meditation subjects and temperaments
- Greedy: the ten foulness meditations; or, body contemplation.
- Hating: the four brahma-viharas; or, the four color kasinas.
- Deluded: mindfulness of breath.
- Faithful: the first six recollections.
- Intelligent: recollection of death or peace; the perception of disgust of food; or, the analysis of the four elements.
- Speculative: mindfulness of breath.
Kammatthana literally means "basis of work" or "place of work".
Although kammatthana can be found in many meditation-related subjects, the term is most often used to identify the forest tradition (the Kammatthana tradition) lineage founded by Ajaan Sao Kantasilo Mahathera and his student Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera.
The qualities of mind he needed in order to survive physically and mentally in the wilds, were key to his discovery of the Dhamma. Therefore every practitioner should take the wilderness as the teacher, conform to the ways of nature – the samsara itself -- and break through to truths transcending them entirely.
After wandering for several years with Ajaan Sao, Ajaan Mun set off on his own in search of the truth and spent the remainder of his life wandering through central Thailand, Burma, and Laos, dwelling for the most part in the forest, engaged in the practice of meditation.
His life was short but eventful.
Known for his skill as a teacher and his mastery of supernatural powers, he was the first to bring the ascetic tradition out of the forests of the Mekhong basin and into the mainstream of Thai society in central Thailand.
The practitioners observe many of what are known as the thirteen classic dhutanga (ascetic) practices, such as living off alms food, wearing robes made of cast-off rags, dwelling in the forest, eating only one meal a day.
This attitude toward the Dhamma parallels what ancient cultures called "warrior knowledge" -- the knowledge that comes from developing skills in difficult situations -- as opposed to the "scribe knowledge" that people sitting in relative security and ease can write down in words. A text is pointers for training and authoritative only if its teachings are borne out in practice.
Instead of simply imparting verbal knowledge, a practitioner will be put into situations where they would have to develop the qualities of mind and character needed in surviving the battle with their own defilements.
- akaliko: Ever-present.
- Opanayiko: Bring the mind inward to investigate body, speech, and mind when a practitioner contemplate what already exists within him/her.
- aloko: Blatantly clear both by day and by night;
- paccattam -- Knew clearly for themselves after bringing their minds inward to contemplate what was already there.
The most important meditation technique is this sect is to focus on the in-and-out breath and to keep mindfulness in charge, together with the meditation word, buddho (“Buddha”, used as the meditation word), in and out with the breath.
- The breath that goes past the lungs and connects with the various properties of the body, giving rise to a sense of comfort or discomfort.
- The breath that stays in place throughout the body. It doesn't flow here or there. The breath sensations that used to flow up and down the body stop flowing. The sensations that used to run to the front or the back stop running. Everything stops and is still.
- The really refined breath, so refined that it's like atoms. It can penetrate the entire world. Its power is very fast and strong.
The second is to evaluate the inner breath sensations in the body until the practitioner can spread them out through all the properties of the body to the point where the practitioner forget all distractions.
When all of these aspects of the Noble Path -- virtue, concentration, and discernment -- are brought together fully mature within the heart, the practitioner gain insight into all aspects of the breath.
- Right View - Knowing when the breath is coming in, knowing when it's going out, knowing its characteristics clearly -- i.e., keeping the views in line with the truth of the breath.
- Right Consideration - Knowing which ways of breathing are uncomfortable, knowing how to vary the breath.
- Right Action - Knowing various ways of improving the breath; breathing, for example, in long and out long, in short and out short, in short and out long, in long and out short, until the breath becomes most comfortable.
- Right Livelihood - Knowing how to use the breath to purify the blood, how to let this purified blood nourish the heart muscles, how to adjust the breath so that it eases the body and soothes the mind, how to breathe to feel full and refreshed in body and mind.
- Right Effort - Trying to adjust the breath so that it comforts the body and mind, and to keep trying as long as possible.
- Right Mindfulness - Being mindful of the in-and-out breath at all times, knowing the various aspects of the breath -- the up-flowing breath, the down-flowing breath, the breath in the stomach, the breath in the intestines, the breath flowing along the muscles and out to every pore -- keeping track of these things with every in-and-out breath.
- Right Concentration - A mind intent only on matters of the breath, not pulling any other objects in to interfere, until the breath is refined, giving rise to fixed absorption and then liberating insight.
With respect to the meditation on physical events that qualifies as the great frame of reference (mahasatipatthana), when the practitioner’s mind has fully developed the four paths to success (listed as bellow), complete with mindfulness and alertness, the results in terms of the body are the stilling of pain.
The four paths to success are:
- Chanda (desire): Have a friendly interest in the breath, keeping track of it to see when breath is in and what breathe in with it.
- Viriya (persistence): Be diligent in all affairs related to the breath and be in charge of the breath.
- Citta (attention): Focus intently on the breath. Be observant of how the external breath comes in and connects with the internal breath in the upper, middle, and lower parts of the body; in the chest -- the lungs, the heart, the ribs, the backbone; in the abdomen -- stomach, liver, kidneys, intestines; the breath that goes out the ends of the fingers and toes and out every pore.
- Vimansa (discrimination): Contemplate and evaluate the breath that comes in to nourish the body to see whether it fills the body, to see whether it feels easy and natural, to see if there are many parts the body still have to adjust it. Notice the characteristics of how the external breath strikes the internal breath, to see if they connect everywhere or not, to see how the effects of the breath on the properties of earth, water, and fire arise, remain, and pass away.
In terms of concentration, there are three levels in the practice:
- Momentary concentration- the mind gathers and settles down to a firm stance (a underlying level) and rests there for a moment before withdrawing.
- Threshold concentration - the mind gathers and settles down to its underlying level and stays there before withdrawing to be aware of a nimitta (mental sign, image, or vision).
Or without retreating, the practitioner meditates until an uggaha nimitta (arising image) appears, contemplates that image until the mind lets go of it and reverts to its underlying level and stays there for a fair while before withdrawing again.
- Fixed penetration - the mind settles down to a firm stance on its underlying level and stops there in singleness endowed with the five factors of jhana.
Seven factors of Awakening
And it is composed of seven basic qualities as the factors of Awakening. Appreciating all seven of these qualities and developing them in full measure within the heart will result a single point awakening in a single moment.
2. Analysis of present qualities (dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga): Let the breath spread throughout the body to care for its various parts, making an enlarged frame of reference. To adjust, improve, choose, and use our breaths so that they give us comfort.
4. Rapture (piti-sambojjhanga): When the mind is quiet, the breath is full and refreshing. The practitioner is free from the hindrances and from every sort of restlessness; it gives rise to a feeling of brightness, fullness, and satisfaction. This is the breath of cognitive skill (vijja), meaning the breath lies under the direction of mindfulness.
5. Serenity (passaddhi-sambojjhanga): The breath is solid throughout the body. The elements are at peace, and so is the mind. Feelings are still experienced as they are felt, but at this point they don't give rise to craving, attachment, states of being, or birth. Awareness is simply aware.
6. Concentration (samadhi-sambojjhanga): The breath is firm, steady, and unwavering. The mind takes a firm stance in a single preoccupation so the knowledge arises. The practitioner will perceive kamma and its results, both in ourselves and other people in this state.
7. Equanimity (upekkha-sambojjhanga): When body, feelings, mind, and mental qualities are fully snug with one another in these two types of breath -- the mind stays with these aspects of the breath -- it goes to be still with a spacious sense of relaxation, not fastening onto many sign, preoccupation, or anything at all.
The practitioner can now sit or stand for long periods of time without getting tired, to walk for great distances without getting fatigued, to go for unusually long periods of time on just a little food without getting hungry, or to go without food and sleep altogether for several days running without losing energy.
It doesn't establish contact with anything else; it keeps itself cleansed of outside preoccupations.
(practitioner)] gain conviction in the results from his/her efforts.
- 2. Viriyindriya (Viriya-balam): persistence arises and becomes resilient without flagging or getting discouraged.
- 3. Satindriya (Sati-balam): mindfulness be robust and vigorous. The awareness becomes entirely radiant in every posture: sitting, standing, walking, and lying down. This all-around awareness is what is meant by the great frame of reference.
- 5. Paññindriya (Pañña-balam): discernment of all things right and wrong. Discernment can make the mind attain stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning, or even arahantship.