The Daily Cushion



By Steve Lin

“Surely the mendicants (Bhikkhus) must live the spiritual life under the Buddha for the sake of realizing such a (type) development of immersion?”

“No, Mahāli, the mendicants (bhikkhus) don’t live the spiritual life under me for the sake of realizing such a (type) development of immersion. There are other things that are finer, for the sake of which the mendicants live the spiritual life under me.”

“But sir, what are those finer things?”

☀️ “Firstly, Mahāli, with the ending of three fetters a mendicant is a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening. This is one of the finer things for the sake of which the mendicants live the spiritual life under me.”

☀️ “Furthermore, a mendicant—with the ending of three fetters, and the weakening of greed, hate, and delusion—is a once-returner. They come back to this world once only, then make an end of suffering. This too is one of the finer things.”

☀️ “Furthermore, with the ending of the five lower fetters, a mendicant is reborn spontaneously and will become extinguished there, not liable to return from that world. This too is one of the finer things.”

☀️ “Furthermore, a mendicant has realized the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life, and lives having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements. This too is one of the finer things.”

“These are the finer things, for the sake of which the mendicants live the spiritual life under me.”

Read the full Sutta.


📌 We can become obsessed with one type of meditation and miss all the finer teachings of The Buddha

📌 The Buddha says that the most important and finer things under his teachings includes the removal of the fetters which causes Dukkha and rebirth

📌 Removal of these fetters leads to the ending Dukkha, ending of rebirth, and to the various stages of enlightenment…


📌 Our meditation “must” include the observation and release of the fetters.

📌 Samādhi meditation is incomplete alone but should include vipassana insight to end the fetters

📌 Ending the fetters takes time and daily routine practice … otherwise, they will never cease



📌 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.👉 SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)

📌 “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.

The Pali canon’s Sutta Pitaka identifies ten “fetters of becoming”:

– belief in a self (Pali: sakkāya-diṭṭhi)

– doubt or uncertainty, especially about the Buddha’s awakeness and nine supermundane consciousnesses (vicikicchā)

– attachment to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāsa)- sensual desire (kāmacchando)

– ill will (vyāpādo or byāpādo)

– lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth (rūparāgo)

– lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm (arūparāgo)

– conceit (māna)

– restlessness (uddhacca)

– ignorance (avijjā)

As indicated in the adjacent table, throughout the Sutta Pitaka, the first five fetters are referred to as “lower fetters” (orambhāgiyāni saṃyojanāni) and are eradicated upon becoming a non-returner; and, the last five fetters are referred to as “higher fetters” (uddhambhāgiyāni saṃyojanāni), eradicated by an arahant.


📌 Observe the first three fetters that arise during meditation…

1. belief in a self (sakkāya-diṭṭhi)

2. doubt (vicikicchā)

3. attachment to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāsa)

📌 Observe insights about each of these … take time… be open to things you might not enjoy discovering …

📌 Reflect on changes in lifestyle, actions, thoughts, and views that may need to change

📌 Release the need to be a permanent self and desire for rebirth and existence

📌 Release doubts in The Buddha and his teachings

📌 Release the need and dependence on religious practices, rites, superstitious religious activities, good luck chants and charms … these all prevent stream-entry and enlightenment.

Truly and honestly observing and seeing these fetters as they truly are in our minds and life can be very difficult. We often don’t want to admit or face the truth. This keeps us in ignorance and samsara cycles of Dukkha and rebirth. Once we learn to see the truth

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