Wise Reflection

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Wise Reflection

Postby bodom » Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:29 pm

Here is an excellent article on yoniso manasikara or wise reflection. I highly, highly recommend this read:

Wise Reflection:
The Importance of
Wise Reflection in Meditation

The purpose of this essay is to explain the value of wise reflection, yoniso manasikara, and to encourage readers to use their own thought processes for the growth of wisdom in their formal meditation practice. The majority of experienced Buddhist meditators whom I have met during thirty years of meditation and eighteen years of teaching were unfamiliar with formal reflective meditation. By way of this essay I hope to correct this lack of understanding.

The Buddha himself greatly stressed the importance of wise reflection. In an important discourse on the topic of wise reflection, the Sabbasava Sutta (MN 2), the Buddha says:

“I say that the getting rid of anxieties and troubles is possible for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know and see. What must one know and see in order to get rid of anxieties and troubles? Wise reflection and unwise reflection.

For one who reflects unwisely, there arise anxieties and troubles that have not yet arisen, and those that have already arisen increase. But for one who reflects wisely, anxieties and troubles that have not yet arisen do not arise, and those already arisen disappear.”

What is yoniso manasikara? Yoniso manasikara is a Pali term that can be translated as wise reflection. This includes systematic attention, careful attention, reasoned attention, having thorough method in one’s thought, proper consideration, wise consideration, critical reflection, analytical reflection, or thinking in terms of causal relations or by way of problem solving. Yoniso manasikara is a significant factor leading to the arising of insight or wisdom.

What causes our mental suffering? Simply stated, it is wrong thinking that produces our mental dukkha (suffering). Right thinking will end our mental dukkha. Thus, it is important to use formal reflective meditation in order to develop right thinking.

In helping the reader to understand the importance of reflective meditation, much of this booklet is devoted to trying to correct meditation “myths.” By “myths” I mean certain misunderstandings that many Buddhists have acquired. These misunderstandings are widespread, and as a result, many meditators do not realise the importance of reflective meditation and may even doubt some of the things written here. To support my understanding, I have included several relevant teachings from the scriptures that emphasize the importance of wise reflection.

For any of you who may experience doubts concerning what is written here, I ask you to follow the Buddha’s advice to all of us, to seek the truth in order to dispel ignorance. If you are going to follow the Buddha in this way, then it is important that you stay open to what is presented. If you stay open, yet after reading find that you still have remaining doubts, feel free to contact me at the address at the end of this booklet. I welcome any wise discussion on anything presented here. I do believe, though, that if you are seriously interested in ending your mental dukkha, then what is written here will help you greatly.


The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: Wise Reflection

Postby mlswe » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:22 pm

i am very very grateful

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Paul Davy
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Re: Wise Reflection

Postby Paul Davy » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:27 pm


I've got the booklet of this at home.

My reflections 8-) on it were that it was a good little text, even if some of the suggested methods to implement this practice seemed a little awkward.

On a related theme...

MN 61: Ambalatthika-rahulovada Sutta (Instructions to Rahula)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Retro. :)
"Having understood name-and-form, which is a product of prolificity,
And which is the root of all malady within and without,
He is released from bondage to the root of all maladies,
That Such-like-one is truly known as 'the one who has understood'."
(Snp 3.6)

"Whether I were to preach in brief, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach in detail, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach both in brief or in detail, Sāriputta, rare are those who understand." (A I 333, Sāriputtasutta)

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Re: Wise Reflection

Postby jackson » Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:23 am

Thanks Bodom,
That was a good, informative read.
May you be well, :smile:
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah

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Re: Wise Reflection

Postby polarbear101 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:30 am

i just read this a few hours ago, i thought it was awesome, thanks for posting it
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: Wise Reflection

Postby ieee23 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:09 pm

I recently read Wheel 463 too.

I thought the author did an excellent job of making an argument for wise reflection being a regular part of someone's meditation practice. Though he listed a variety of techniques, he didn't say much about how to make a regular practice out them.

Does anyone here have a regular wise reflection practice? Do you do it every day the way you would do samatha, vipassana or metta? How long? A half hour to an hour? Do you do it in separate sessions, or at the beginning or end of your regular session?

I've tried The Five Daily reflections for a few weeks. It made me anxious and depressed. That isn't the goal. I can see a similar negative potential in some of the other reflections the author listed. How do you avoid those side effects?

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