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I was reading about mindfulness here. At the end I found this paragraph

Let alone seven years, anyone who develops these four kinds of mindfulness meditation in this way for six years … five years … four years … three years … two years … one year … seven months … six months … five months … four months … three months … two months … one month … a fortnight … Let alone a fortnight, anyone who develops these four kinds of mindfulness meditation in this way for seven days can expect one of two results: enlightenment in the present life, or if there’s something left over, non-return.

Here Tathagata saying one keeping that kind of mindfulness for 7 days can get enlightenment? Is it exaggeration, translation problem or understanding problem or it's true?

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Is it exaggeration, translation problem or understanding problem or it's true?

The translation is fine, but the reader must know the environment and situation of that sutta, before read it. If the reader read it without the pre-required knowledge, it is the reader's fail.

The explanation

In atthakathā of MN 10 wrote:

Why Buddha taught mahāsatipaṭṭhānasutta to Kuru-people? Because they had enough ability to study the advance teaching. It's told that Kuru-people, such as bhikkhu, bhikkhunī, lay men, and lay women, always had the potential body and the potential mind because Kuru-country had the richness of temperature, etc. Their potential body and potential mind supported their wisdom power, so they can studied the advance teaching.

So, most Kuru-people were diṭṭhi-cārita, who have little dust in their eyes, according to netti desanāhāravibhaṅga.

The diṭṭhi-cārita people can attain jhāna easily. So they don't have to meditate jhāna because of their pure mind. They can enlighten at the listening moment. That's why in the end of mahāsatipaṭṭhānasutta's atthakathā wrote:

30,000 people enlightened as arahanta at the end of mahāsatipaṭṭhānasutta was taught.

therefore, the end of mahāsatipaṭṭhānasutta wrote:

Let alone seven years, anyone who develops these four kinds of mindfulness meditation in this way for six years … five years … four years … three years … two years … one year … seven months … six months … five months … four months … three months … two months … one month … a fortnight … Let alone a fortnight, anyone who develops these four kinds of mindfulness meditation in this way for seven days can expect one of two results: enlightenment in the present life, or if there’s something left over, non-return.

But for taṇhā-carita people,who have much dust in their eyes, they have to meditate jhāna, first. After they attained jhāna, they can count down for enlightenment like what buddha taught in the end of mahāsatipaṭṭhānasutta. Because jhāna can pause their five hindrances, then their "dust in eyes" state will be same little dust as diṭṭhi-carita and they are able to count down for enlightenment.

  • Oh. How can I ascertain my eligibility? – user10804 Sep 15 '18 at 17:22
  • And what do you mean by little dust in eyes? Can you give some links? – user10804 Sep 15 '18 at 17:24
  • The eligibility is that if you are normally no unwholesome mind arising daily, you don't need to attained jhāna. Another, the translated link can switch directly from above given link's drop down menu. Or you can go to this link > 84000.org/tipitaka/read/… – Bonn Sep 15 '18 at 19:42
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No exaggeration or translation problem here. A quick mundane analogy, say there's a complex quantum mechanics problem that needs to be solved, it'd be equally valid to say it could take seven years, or six years, or five years,... three months, two months, one months...or seven days for one to solve it. It all depends on where one is on the path of quantum mechanics. For a high school graduate, it sure would take at least seven years ( 4 years for a bachelor degree, 3-4 years for graduate degree), but for a professional physicist, seven days might be all s/he needs to crack it.

  • Great analogy of the quantum physics Path. – Lanka Sep 16 '18 at 13:18
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Here Tathagata saying one keeping that kind of mindfulness for 7 days can get enlightenment? Is it exaggeration, translation problem or understanding problem or it's true?

In order to develop these Four Kinds of Mindfulness in 7 days, one needs to have superior, fine-tuned and almost perfectly balanced faculties.

Without speculating too much on the workings of Kamma, I think it's safe to say, that this requires a lot of practice in this life and probably past lives as well.

IMO one should be careful of anything such as "quick enlightenment" or "shortcuts to enlightenment". Noone gets enlightened without putting in the work and effort it requires. People who gets enlightened from just listening to a Dhamma talk, have put in all the work in countless past lives, which is why their faculties are ripe and balanced in such a way, that it requires very little to attain Arahantship.

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    "Noone gets enlightened without putting in the work and effort it requires." - absolutely! – santa100 Sep 16 '18 at 17:48
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MN 10 is a fake sutta that includes the five hindrances in the 4th satipatthana. Therefore, if the meditator practises for seven days: ‘I have sensual desire in me’; they obviously will not make any progress because there cannot be any progress when the five hindrances exist.

This said, if proper satipatthana (such as described in MN 118) is practised continuously for seven days, i.e., without any hindrances for seven days and with proper samadhi based in 'letting go' (per SN 48.10 and the end of MN 118), then, yes, certainly that meditator will be a stream-enterer and certainly they can expect one of two results in their life: enlightenment in the present life, or if there’s something left over, non-return.

It is important to distinguish between 'actually practising satipatthana without hindrances' and 'attempting to practise satipatthana with hindrances'.

If a meditator sits one or many 10-day Goenka, Mahasi or IMS satipatthana meditation retreats but continues to have hindrances or uses a wrong method, then this is not actually practising satipatthana.

In order to develop these Four Kinds of Mindfulness over 7 days, one needs to have perfectly balanced faculties for the entire 7 days (which depends on one single moment of Right View).

Ajahn Buddhadasa explained:

As for samadhi, an empty mind is the supreme samadhi, the supremely focused firmness of mind. The straining and striving sort of samadhi isn't the real thing and the samadhi which aims at anything other than non-clinging to the five khandas is micchasamadhi (wrong or perverted samadhi). You should be aware that there is both micchasamadhi and sammasamadhi (right or correct samadhi). Only the mind that is empty of grasping at and clinging to 'I' and 'mine' can have the true and perfect stability of sammasamadhi. One who has an empty mind has correct samadhi.

Heart-wood from the Bo Tree

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    Thanks. But why do you often invite downvotes? You seem to be an ardent critic. – user10804 Sep 16 '18 at 12:49
  • I said MN 10 was fake. – Dhammadhatu Sep 16 '18 at 21:22

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