The Daily Cushion

“Five Parasites (ajjhāruhā) of the Mind that Weaken Insights & Wisdom (pañña)” by Steve Lin

“Mendicants, there are these five obstacles and hindrances, parasites of the mind that weaken wisdom. What five? Sensual desire … Ill will … Dullness and drowsiness … Restlessness and remorse … Doubt … These are the five obstacles and hindrances, parasites (ajjhāruhā) of the mind that weaken wisdom (pañña).

Take a mendicant who has feeble and weak wisdom (pañña), not having given up these five obstacles and hindrances, parasites (ajjhāruhā ) of the mind that weaken wisdom. It’s simply impossible that they would know what’s for their own good, the good of another, or the good of both; or that they would realize any superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.”


📌 There are five parasites of the mind that weaken insights & wisdom.1. Sensual desire (cravings)2. Ill will (grudges, anger)3. Dullness & drowsiness4. Restless & remorse (regrets, distractive thoughts)5. Doubt

📌 These five dominate and overpower the mind… blocking the ability to gain insights and wisdom.

📌 These five prevent the mind from knowing what is good for themselves and good for others.


📌 The Buddha teaches that “it’s possible” to give up these five obstacles or parasites.

📌 It’s essential to observe them and admit they exist. We must understand their impermanent and changing nature and negative impacts to the mind.

📌 Use meditation to contemplate and understand them… in order to more easily let them go and release their power over mind.



📌 Find a comfortable place that is quiet to sit and meditate with few interruptions and distractions to the senses.


📌 After sitting comfortably on a cushion or pillow or floor, place hands in lap and close the eyes.

>>> TRIPLE GEM (1-2 min)

📌 Prepare the mind and concentration by taking “Refuge in the Triple Gem”.

📌 Visualize each one in the mind (as an object) and generate faith and warm feelings with each one. Don’t rush this.

📌 I take refuge in The Buddha.

📌 I take refuge in The Dhamma.

📌 I take refuge in The Sangha.


>>> “The Breath”

📌 Begin to focus in the breathing without attaching or stressing about it. Just relax and observe the breath.

📌 As you breath in… observe it and release.

📌 As you breath out… observe it and release.

📌 Observing the rhythm of the breath is essential to relax the body and to practice releasing.

📌 Use the out breath to practice releasing.

📌 Relaxed smiling is good to use to help relax.

📌 I often will use the phrase “Peace” (in breath)

📌 “Release” (our breath)

📌 Continue observing breathing until it becomes very subtle or almost unnoticeable.


>>> “The Body”

📌 As the breath fades, the mind relaxes, the body also begins to relax.

📌 Observe the body as a (body) form. It’s not self, but only a shell, a rupa, that temporarily supports consciousness.

📌 As observing, the body, let the breath and body fade.


>>> “The Mind”

📌 As the breath fades and the body relaxes, the mind tends to become active or stay busy.

📌 As thoughts arise, don’t engage with them. Observe them and then let them fade.

📌 They will rise and they will fall unless there is engagement to feed the thoughts.


📌 Observe the mind and any of the five obstacles that may arise.

📌 Observe the nature of the hindrance… it’s constant changing and temporary surges and influences.

📌 Observe it’s negative impact on pañña, insights, and wisdom.

📌 Observe it’s ability to blind the mind from knowing what is good for you and good others. It’s like a film over the spiritual eyes.

📌 Use these insights about the nature of the parasite to help release it and let it go.

📌 Smile. Affirm in your mind the positive results that will arise after letting this parasite go. 😌

📌 Use the breath to relax and smile as the hindrance fades… releasing… letting it go.

📌 Observe new insights and wisdom arise after the parasite is gone.

📌 Extend Metta to the mind and body.

📌 Relax. Give thanks.

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