porpoise wrote:4. MIND OBJECTS: MN118 focuses on experiencing impermanence and dissolving attachment. MN10 includes a range of contemplations about mind objects and how they arise, also contemplations on teachings like the 4NT.
Well, this is the toughest frame to dissect. Here goes.
First, in MN118 we see this frame expressed as "" He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading].' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on cessation.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on cessation.'  He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.'
The steps 13, 14 and 15 are closely related the first three noble truths like this: understand stress, abandon its cause and experience its end. Perhaps you might like to read the "Setting the wheel of Dhamma in motion", SN 56.11
Steps 13, 14 and 15 seem to relate to the third permutation of the wheel "it is understood, it is abandoned, it is realized".
Here is the standard definition of these three truths, slightly abridged:
And what is stress? ... In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful. This is called stress.
"What is the origination of stress? The craving that makes for further becoming ... — i.e., craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming. This is called the origination of stress.
"And what is the cessation of stress? The remainderless fading & cessation ... letting go of that very craving. This is called the cessation of stress.
And just to be clear why I equate step 13 with the five aggregates:
"What do you think, monks — Is form constant or inconstant?"
"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"
"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"
[repeat for each aggregate]
EDIT: Never mind this sentence, as it is the wrong spot (I had a late night). Its inclusion here kind of mucks up the intended meaning
"It should also be noted that the five aggregates are repeatedly treated with the three marks, as in "
Step 16 is relinquishment, or the end of clinging . I have tried to find a definition of relinquishment in the canon to give a little context, and this is the best I've found so far: "Envisioning for himself clash, dispute, quarreling, annoyance, frustration, he both abandons that view and does not cling to another view. Thus there is the abandoning of these views; thus there is the relinquishing of these views.
Hopefully this establishes that the four truths are the template of this last tetrad in MN118.
Because the last tetrad of MN118 closely corresponds to the four truths, we are able to relate it back to the four truths as listed under MN10 frame four. All well an good, but what exactly does that do for the meditator? Recall above that MN118 step 13 relates to stress, and that stress is defined as the five clinging aggregates? Well, the aggregate list under MN10 has this "There is the case where a monk [discerns]: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'
This pattern is mimicking the first three of the four truths, and is carried out to all four in the SN 22.56
. From this it may be said that the heart of MN118 is expressed by the four truths and five aggregates.
As an aside, I've found that keeping this simple fact in mind really cuts through a lot of the confusion that surrounds practice. There are a lot of vantage points possible in practice, a lot of methods exist, a lot of investment made in them by their practitioners, but really, it all relates back to the four truths, starting with "understand the five aggregates".
Anyway, there are still three other lists in MN10, so lets keep going.
I think the most straight forward interpretation of the six-sense-base list is that it illustrates that all the fetters arise from contact with the world, so to speak. This is also an important list as it is the one most closely related to DO:"And which All is a phenomenon to be abandoned? The eye is to be abandoned.  Forms are to be abandoned. Consciousness at the eye is to be abandoned. Contact at the eye is to be abandoned. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is to be abandoned." SN 35.24
With DO not all of the aggregates are mentioned explicitly, but their presence is implicit. What is always mention is the sense base, the contact and consciousness classes arising there (eye-contact, ear-consciousness, etc). So watching how the sense bases can give rise to the fetters (of lust, delight, etc) we see how DO operates from beginning to end. Because the DO is taught as it is, it seems clear that the six sense bases and the aggregates are two halves of the same coin, as it were. I'm pretty sure there's a sutta to that effect, but I don't think I'm going to look it up
At anyrate, I think the six sense bases are the best vantage point for everyday mindfulness (as opposed to the mindfulness of samadhi), as they allow you to have a clear starting point in your observations.
Now, about the last lists: the hindrances and enlightenment factors.
I think their import is indicated the inclusion of the seven factors at the end of MN118. Obviously the completion of the 16 steps engenders the fullfillment of the seven. Of course, the five are not explicitly mention there along with them, but are implied as having been abandoned. In this case the inclusion of these two lists in MN10 suggest, as with the feeling and mind frames above, that we should consider this frame to straddle ordinary mind and jhana mind. We abandon the hindrances step by step, giving rise to the enlightenment factors in their place. If you haven't read SN 46.51
, do so now. It's pretty great.
Ugh, my mind is burnt out.
Now that I'm done this 'commentary' I think it wise to add the disclaimer: "I am not an arahant, and as that is the case it must fall to the reader to consider my opinion and discern its validity for themselves. All opinion on the path, fruit and what have you is only provisional, serving to get you to the place of certainty -- the 'undeceptive' that is the goal."
Have a good night porpoise, thanks for starting this thread, as I have learned much.