Linking the Avijja sutta’s 10 steps practices to the cultivation of the Four foundation of Mindfulness

Dear Kalyanamittas,
The below is a very good sharing for all kalyanamittas to develop the understanding of the cultivation. (To read the last email at the bottom first then its reply leading upwards from the bottom.)
Bye! and with metta always,
From: xxxxxxx Sent: 01 May 2019 09:50
To: Bro Teoh Kian Koon
Subject: Re: Outline short notes for Sunday class dated 10th March and 7 April 2019

Dear Brother Teoh,

Thank you very much for the explanation. I know it’s due to my lack of understanding. I just want to understand how I got it wrong.
With Metta always,

On 1 May 2019 16:51, “Teoh Kian Koon” <> wrote:

Hi! xxxxx,
You still could not understand what the Buddha meant. It is not what u mentioned below. Because step 3 involves the whole  4 FOM (Step 3) cultivation. Before steps 7, 6, 5 and 4 are mastered u are not able to do the 4 FOM and that is the reason why the Buddha put in those words, ‘after overcoming covetousness and grief…’ then only can one cultivate the 4 FOM.  Your interpretation below is not accurate.
Step 7 is only the initial wisdom develop via 1st and 2nd turnings, especially the 2nd turning wisdom. This step can be done before cultivating step 6 (Mindfulness and clear comprehension or Sati Sampajanna).
And step 6 is not equivalent to the 2nd-4th foundation of mindfulness as mentioned by u. It is mentioned in the 1st foundation of Mindfulness – 3rd category of practice and can only be done after step 7 is being developedotherwise without the initial wisdom, a stable daily mindfulness is impossible to develop because the mind will continue to stir and react to sense experiences. So don’t be too impatient or eager to go into the 4 FOM firstbefore doing steps 7, 6, 5 and 4. If u do that u are wasting your precious cultivation time.
Hope this is clear to u by now.
Bye! and with metta always,
From: xxxxxxx

Sent: 01 May 2019 07:43

To: Bro Teoh Kian Koon

Subject: Re: Outline short notes for Sunday class dated 10th March and 7 April 2019

Dear Brother Teoh,

Thank you for the explanation. If I understand correctly, steps 4-6 are also inclusive in step 3 as follows (??):
1. Step 4, ie three ways of good conduct are equivalent to right view, right speech, right action in step 3 (mindfulness of the N8FP).
2. Step 6, ie mindfulness and clear comprehension is equivalent to the 2nd-4th foundation of mindfulness
3. Step 7, ie wise attention requires right view in step 3 (mindfulness of the N8FP)
What I am trying to understand is, steps 4-6 seems to be part of step 3, and not a strict sequence as in must complete steps 4-6 first then only can reach step 3. Since step 4-6 are already part of step 3, then one is already cultivating the 4FOM before reaching the full blown step 3 which is the 4FOM itself.
Also, it says that the 4FOM is the only way out or sorrow and lamentation but it also says that we have to overcome covetousness and grief first before cultivating 4FOM. Isn’t sorrow and lamentation somewhat the same as covetousness and grief?

Can Brother Teoh help please. TQ.

 With Metta always
On Wed, 1 May 2019, 11:47 Teoh Kian Koon <teohkiankoon@hotmail.comwrote:
Dear xxxx,
Regarding your below question I had already answered them before. Please refer to the 10 steps as stated in the Avijja sutta on cultivation as reproduced below from our website.

The second sequence of Avijja sutta is:

1. True Knowledge (Vijja) leading to enlightenment and the nutriment for this is

2. The Seven Enlightenment factors (Satta Bojjhanga) and the nutriment for this is

3. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthana) and the nutriment for this is

4. The three ways of good conduct (mind, body and speech) and thenutriment for this is

5. Restraint of the sense faculties and the nutriment for this is

6. Mindfulness and clear comprehension (Sati and Sampajanna) and nutriment for this is

7. Wise consideration (Yoniso Manasikara) and nutriment for this is

8. Confidence/Faith (Saddha) in Buddha, Dharma, and the Sangha andnutriment for this is

9. Listening to true Dharma and nutriment for this is

10. Association with good Dharma and spiritual friends (Kalyanamittas).

(Note: Again you can see association with good Dharma or spiritual friendsor Kalyanamittas is a pre-requisite needed to arrive at that path that ends in True Knowledge (or Vijja)/enlightenment. That is the reason why the Buddha clearly instructs us via saying to Venerable Ananda: ‘havingDharma/spiritual/noble friends (kalyanamittas) is 100% of the holy life.”Hence developing and promoting true kalyanamittaship among all Buddhist within the Buddhist communities is most important.

Base on the above you  must have completed steps 4, 5, 6 & 7 before you can commence the cultivation of  the Four foundation of mindfulness (step 3). Step 7 (Yoniso manasikara)  will give rise to the initial wisdom required for sense restrain (step 5) leading to step 4 (the 3 ways of right or good conduct) to be possible. Having the 3 ways of good conduct means the cultivator already has the ability of overcome covetousness and grief.  Step 7 leading to step 6 is also very important because without step 6 you lack a very stable daily mindfulness to see your defilements and to overcome them via the 4 right efforts.
The other reason is, without steps 4, 5, 6 & 7 cultivated you will be wasting your time ‘cultivating’ step 3 which is the Four foundation of mindfulness because you are not ready and u don’t have the ability to do it because youcan’t understand the cultivation which is sati based and not thought based.
Hope the above helps and is clear by now.
Bye! and with metta always,
From: xxxxxx
Sent: 30 April 2019 14:44
To: Bro Teoh Kian Koon;

Subject: Outline short notes for Sunday class dated 10th March and 7 April 2019

Dear Brother Teoh,
I have a question. Why is it that only after overcoming covetousness and grief, can one start to cultivate the 4 Foundation of Mindfulness? Is it not because we have covetousness and grief that we need to purify ourselves through the 4 Foundation of Mindfulness? 

Outline short notes for Sunday class dated 10th March 2019

Brother Teoh’s transcript book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, pages 55-62

  1. Karmic fruition triggers karmic obstruction and is very powerful.

  2. To clear karmic obstruction, ask for forgiveness from the Triple Gem and invoke power of merits. The Triple Gem are ever ready to forgive through their vow and pure wish so that sentient beings are able to cultivate the Way/Path of Dharma without obstruction.

  3. The 10 Perfections cultivation are generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, spiritual zeal, patience endurance, truthfulness, determination/aspiration, loving kindness and equanimity.

  4. Dharma is not just theory. It has to be cultivated in the midst of life. Investigate the Dharma in our daily life activities. When the Dharma stands up to investigation, there will be understanding and faith.

  5. Only Bodhisattvas have precepts to break because Bodhisattvas take precepts.

  6. It is very important to understand what constitute evil so that they can be recognised and abandoned.

  7. Strive to connect to our truth nature early in every life. Learn the Dharma fast so that the Bodhisattva seed is activated early and perfect our karmic nature until it cannot fall any more.

  8. Long or short period of time is of no difference for a Bodhisattva once Enlightenment is attained.

  9. Question from Sister Tammy: Is Adhitthana and Law of Attraction the same?

  10. Brother Teoh explained that the Law of Attraction does not give the whole perspective of things as it does not take into account the law of karma. If the thoughts are positive but with evil roots, negative karma will arise. Then, those positive thoughts (with evil roots) will only work in the beginning until merits are depleted, then negative fruition will kick in.

  11. Question from Sister Soo: What is cetasika? How can cetasika help in our cultivation?

  12. Brother Teoh explained that cetasika is just mental concomitant/states/content of consciousness which we must be aware of.

  13. Brother Song shares his cultivation experience where he has heightened awareness and understanding of the Dharma. He saw bright lights and was aware of birds flying above his head.

  14. Brother Teoh rejoiced with Brother Song’s progress but cautioned him against attaching to the manifestation (the bright light) which is just a conditioned state. Clinging will block progress.

  15. At feeling, understand the cause so that the mind does not stir and one will then have self restraint.

  16. Sister Soo asked why she has no feeling and thoughts during her spiritual trip to India. She also asked why she has so much aversion to beggars.

  17. Brother Teoh explained that her mind was suppressed through faith. If she has relaxed into it, it will change into a free mind. As for the beggars, there must be understanding to overcome the aversion.

Outline short notes for Sunday class dated 7th April 2019

Brother Teoh’s transcript book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, pages 62-

  1. We are all connected in existence. Everything is interdependent. Our nature contributes to what the universe is today.

  2. The egoic mind that separates us from the Whole causes us suffering. Enlightened Beings can see clearly this reality of life, i.e. no mark and are conditions arising.

  3. Law of independence = Karma – due to causes and conditions.

  4. Explanation of 5 Daily Contemplation.

  5. Accept karma. Don’t react to karma with negativity. Develop the right view. Follow the Noble Eightfold Path to resolve the problem. When one understands this, one is liberated. If this is not understood, one will suffer or be miserable. With the Dharma, life is beautiful.

  6. We cannot help everyone all the time. When there is no condition, nothing can be done. When there is condition, help can be offered.

  7. Relationship is important only for the form and mind.

  8. Buddhahood is the completion of the cultivation of the Bodhisattva Path.

  9. Cultivate and investigate the Dharma to have the understanding life after life to break karmic obstruction.

  10. Do no play the game of suffering, i.e. cocoon oneself in wrong thoughts or holding to thoughts of previous negative experiences like phobia, sorrow which impacted on them – re-playing these negative memories again and again through thoughts or speech. Need to be aware of this and abandon this habit.

  11. Whenever we are not happy, there are defilements. One is caught in cocoon of wrong thoughts and is miserable.

  12. Question from Sister PG: How to establish affinity with Great Beings besides invoking power of merits?

  13. Brother Teoh explained that we can also pay respect with faith or call/chant name of the Great Beings.

  14. Brother Teoh went through the Q&A section of the Klang talk on understanding meditation where Sister Jeanne’s son asked whether anapanasati as taught by the Buddha is a technique or a meditation.

  15. Meditation is to train the mind to be heedful to cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path (N8FP).

  16. Heedfulness is to be ever mindful and constantly meditative of the N8FP.

  17. The cultivation of the 4 Foundation of Mindfulness (after overcoming covetousness and grief) is the only way for the purification of beings, for overcoming of sorrow and lamentation and to realise enlightenment:

    (1) First foundation – Kayanupassana or mindfulness of the physical body

      • To train the mind to be mindful, the Buddha recommends us to start with anapanasati which is just a method and technique that serve as an initial skillful means to train the mind to be mindful so that it does not wander off and be lost in thoughts.

      • After anapanasati is developed, do not continue it any more. Move to daily mindfulness (sati sampajanna) of the 4 postures.

      • Then later move to mindfulness of all movements in between the 4 postures to reach stability of mindfulness, to see our mental intentions and to understand the spiritual teachings.

(2) Second foundation – vedananupassana or mindfulness of feelings

(3) Third foundation – cittanupassana or mindfulness of the content of consciousness

(4) Fourth foundation – dhammanupassana or mindfulness of the essential dhamma

      • Mindfulness of 5 mental hindrances and spiritual faculties

      • Mindfulness of 5 aggregates of form and mind

      • Mindfulness of 6 internal sense bases and 6 external sense bases

      • Mindfulness of of the 4 Noble Truths (N8FP is the last Noble Truth)

Thank you.

With metta always,


Leave a Reply