Friday, September 2, 2011

"Wise Reflection" is the way to Freedom

Buddhist Publication Society

Wise Reflection: The Importance of Yoniso Manasikara in Meditation (BPS Wheel 463)

What is "wise reflection" (yoniso manasikara) and why encourage readers to use their own thought processes for the growth of wisdom in meditation practice?

The majority of experienced Buddhist meditators Steven Weissman met during 30 years of meditation and 18 years of teaching were unfamiliar with formal reflective meditation. I hope to correct this lack of understanding.

The Buddha stressed the importance of wise reflection. In an important sutra on the topic (MN 2), he says:

“I say that the getting rid of anxieties and troubles [1] is possible for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know and see. What must one know and see in order to get rid of anxieties and troubles? Wise reflection and unwise reflection. For one who reflects unwisely, there arise anxieties and troubles that have not yet arisen. And those that have already arisen increase. But for one who reflects wisely, anxieties and troubles that have not yet arisen do not arise. And those already arisen disappear.”

What is yoniso manasikara (wise reflection)? One might call it systematic attention, careful attention, reasoned attention, having thorough method in one’s thought, proper consideration, wise consideration, critical reflection, analytical reflection, or thinking in terms of causal relations or by way of problem solving. It is a significant factor leading to the arising of insight or wisdom.

What causes our mental suffering? Simply stated, wrong thinking produces mental suffering (dukkha).[2] Right thinking ends suffering. So it is important to use formal reflective meditation in order to develop right thinking. More


Part 1. Meditation and Concentration

Part 2. Wise Reflection Meditations