From Craving to Liberation, From Grasping to Emptiness: Excursions into the ThoughtWorld of the Pali Discourses by Bhikkhu Analayo
Chapter 17, Wise Attention: Yoniso Manasikara
To be read out loud:
17.3 First paragraph on p. 198 through second full paragraph on p. 199 17.4 From the beginning of the section on p. 202 through end of second paragraph on p. 2014
Venerable Analayo states that Yoniso Manasikara (wise attention) has varied meanings that include a wise, appropriate, thorough and penetrative attention allowing the mind to go beyond the surface appearances into the underlying nature of any phenomena. Even beginning levels of mindfulness reveals that it really matters what and how we pay attention, with unwise attention we are very likely to be reinforcing the particular cycles of suffering that our mind is conditioned to spin through. Whereas wise attention can take care of the mind and path from the most mundane decision making about how to care for the body all the way to the very refined attention given to how the factors of awakening can come into balance. Wise attention is wholesome source of joy and delight in life.
This month, we can begin by assessing our confidence in the transforming power of wise attention. This confidence initially arises from hearing and reflecting on the Buddha’s teachings that point to the liberation of the heart. Venerable Analayo states, “To be able to rouse such inspiration requires overcoming three adverse conditions: forgetfulness, thoughtlessness and confusion (AN V 145)”. As practitioners we are learning to renew our confidence and inspiration through our connection with this path supported by our connection to community, our practice, or through our ongoing study. We then direct any energy of inspiration in the service of wise attention. On page 201, Venerable Analayo reviews from the Buddha’s teachings how wise attention could be directed. We can use wise attention to understand: the four noble truths, the value of sense restraint, the proper use of the requisites for life, the value of patient endurance of the vicissitudes of life, how to avoid danger, how to abandon unwholesome states, and finally how to develop the factors of awakening. This month let’s choose one or more of these studies to confirm the great value of wise attention in releasing the mind from the oppressiveness of its conditioned habits.