37 Limbs of Enlightenment – 4 right efforts
4 mindfulness (四念处) – Being mindful that (1) Our physical body is impure and repulsive (2) All sensations leads to sufferings (3) Mind is impermanent (4) there is no “I”
4 right efforts (四正勤) – (1) cease all unwholesomeness (2) do not create new unwholesomeness (3) preserve and maintain existing wholesomeness (4) Create new wholesomeness
4 bases of miraculous power (四如意足) – (1) Concentration build upon desire (desire for samandhi) (2) Concentration based on persistence (3) Concentration build upon intention (4) Concentration of contemplation (Reference Link)
5 roots ( 五根) – (1) Faith/conviction (2) Energy/persistence (3) Mindfulness (4) Stillness / jhanas (5) Wisdom/understanding
5 powers (that arises from the 5 roots) – (1) Faith/conviction (2) Energy/persistence (3) Mindfulness (4) Stillness / jhanas (5) Wisdom/understanding
7 factors of Enlightenment (七菩提) – (1) Mindfulness (2) Investigation (3) Effort (4) rapture (5) Relaxation (6) Concentration, (7) Equanimity
8 fold path (八正道) – (1) Right Understanding (2) Right Intent (3) Right Speech (4) Right Action (5) Right Livelihood (6) Right Effort (7) Right Mindfulness (8) Right Concentration.
Last week, we explored the 4 mindfulness in Buddhism. Being mindful of those 4 realities is very conducive to Buddhist practices and our spiritual advancements. It promotes a sense of detachment to our Samsaric world. When that happens, we do not experience depression or sadness. Instead, we learn to be at peace with the imperfections that is in our world. In short, we won’t take our world or ourselves too seriously. That letting go actually create space for us to be happy. Did you have fun practicing the 4 mindfulness? Remember, it should not result in sadness when done correctly.
In regards to Pureland practices, the 4 mindfulness helps the practitioner let go of samsara to be reborn in the Buddha land.
Next, we explore the 4 efforts. The effort here refers to a determination, a resoluteness, a mental alertness. In this practice, we want to stop existing unwholesomeness (Action, Speech and Thoughts), prevent new unwholesomeness from arising and taking roots, maintain and keep up our existing wholesomeness and create new wholesomeness in us.
From the above, it should be pretty obvious that spiritual reward in Buddhism is not given to us but earned by us.
What is the definition of wholesomeness?
- Action, speech and thoughts that do not harm others or ourselves; but brings goodness.
- Action, speech and thoughts that remove craving, aversion and ignorance.
To engage in this practice, we must be constantly mindful of our action, speech and thought. If we engage in pureland practices; mental recitation of Amitabha’s name help us stay focus throughout the day.
That way, we can have mindfulness and engage in the 4 efforts.
May all be well and happy.