Preserving the Buddha's Teachings, Ch 4, no 5.

Dear friends,

Some people believe that they should just practise, that study is not
necessary, but it is necessary to know what sati and paññå are, what
the object of satipatthåna is, and what the conditions are for their
arising. As we have seen, the object of satipatthåna is a paramattha
dhamma, an ultimate reality, that appears, not a concept. We should
not forget that sati of satipatthåna is a cetasika that arises when
there are the appropriate conditions, that it is not self. It is non-
forgetful, mindful of the reality that appears, so that right
understanding of that reality can be developed at that moment.
Sati can be of different levels of kusala, it accompanies each kusala
citta, it is non-forgetful of kusala: it arises with dåna,
generosity, with síla, morality, with samatha and with the
development of satipatthåna. Only through satipatthåna the wrong view
of self can be eradicated. When we perform dåna, sati accompanies the
kusala citta that is non-forgetful of kusala, but when sati is not of
the level of satipaììhåna, we are bound to take dåna for ìour dånaî,
for self. It is the same in the case of síla and samatha, if
satipatthåna is not developed, one is bound to take these ways of
kusala for self.

Paññå is a cetasika that arises when there are the appropriate
conditions, it is non-self. It may arise with dåna and síla, but it
does not always accompany these ways of kusala. Paññå always
accompanies mental development, including samatha and vipassanå. When
we study the teachings and we acquire intellectual understanding of
nåma and rúpa, sati and paññå accompany the kusala citta. However,
thinking of paramattha dhammas is not the same as direct awareness
and understanding of the reality appearing at this moment, and this
is satipatthåna.

The development of satipatthåna is a gradual process, because there
have to be the right conditions for the arising of sati and paññå of
satipatthåna. The right condition is the firm foundation knowledge of
the teachings. Thus, study of realities of our life and considering
them as they appear in our life. It depends on the individualís
inclinations to what extent he will study the details about citta,
cetasika and rúpa and the different processes of cittas, but a basic
knowledge of realities is necessary. Each person is unique, there are
no rules with regard to the development of understanding. But at the
present time it has to be a development that takes a long time (cira
kala bhavana).

Acharn Supee Thumthong who teaches Påli in Bangkok remarked that when
he studies realities he keeps firmly in mind that the results become
apparent only when the conditions are fulfilled. If paññå does not
arise to realize the dhammas that appear, it means that one's
understanding about the dhammas at the paññatti level is not firm
enough. He said that if one truly understands this, one will not
struggle and strive for results. In other words, one will develop
understanding naturally and not force oneself, trying to reach a
level one is not yet ready for.




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