I noticed that if I set an intention to avoid some behaviour, I rarely follow through. I feel perhaps a mere intention based on willpower doesn't have much strength.

Is it more effective to direct one's thoughts to a virtuous object whenever fantasies and cravings, or worries and rumination, occur? Are these cravings/worries causing the problems?

Is just setting an intention mentally sometimes not adequate?


You might want to consult Vitakkasanthana Sutta: The Removal of Distracting Thoughts https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.020.soma.html

It explains how one deals with unwholesome thoughts in several ways and 'Reorienting Thoughts Towards Virtuous Object' is one of those ways.

  • If I may ask, I wonder what "an object connected with skill" means in that sutta (or Piya Tan's translation, "a sign connected with the wholesome")? Would that mean one of the anussati, or something else? – ChrisW Oct 28 '19 at 13:25
  • 1
    MN19;The Buddha said this: “Mendicants, before my awakening—when I was still unawakened but intent on awakening—I thought: ‘Why don’t I meditate by continually dividing my thoughts into two classes?’ So I assigned sensual, malicious, and cruel thoughts to one class. And I assigned thoughts of renunciation, good will, and harmlessness to the second class. – Buddhism Oct 28 '19 at 14:15
  • other than the mn19 explaination, my personal interpretation is that any theme conducive to development is good, including the nupassana and subjects for reflection otherwise listed throughout the Sutta. – Buddhism Oct 28 '19 at 14:16
  • Fwiw i think developing this practice is called developing the perception of abandoning; (5) “And what, Ānanda, is the perception of abandoning? Here, a bhikkhu does not tolerate an arisen sensual thought; he abandons it, dispels it, terminates it, and obliterates it. He does not tolerate an arisen thought of ill will … an arisen thought of harming … bad unwholesome states whenever they arise; he abandons them, dispels them, terminates them, and obliterates them. This is called the perception of abandoning. (AN10.60) – Buddhism Oct 28 '19 at 14:24

There are no virtues objects. However, the object of meditation is to bring the mind to a neutral object such as breath hence no unwholesome thoughts arise.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.