Itivuttaka 16

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: “Monks, with regard to internal factors, I don’t envision any other single factor like appropriate attention1 as doing so much for a monk in training,2 who has not attained the heart’s aspiration but remains intent on the unsurpassed safety from bondage.3 A monk who attends appropriately abandons what is unskillful and develops what is skillful.

Appropriate attention

as a quality

of a monk in training:

nothing else

does so much

for attaining the superlative goal.

A monk, striving appropriately,

attains the ending of stress.


1. Appropriate attention (yoniso manasikāra) is the ability to focus attention on questions that lead to the end of suffering. MN 2 lists the following questions as not fit for attention: “Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? … Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? … Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?” The discourse also lists the following issues as fit for attention: “This is stress. This is the origination of stress. This is the cessation of stress. This is the way leading to the cessation of stress.” Other passages show that appropriate attention views experience not only in terms of the four noble truths, but also in terms of the duties appropriate to those truths. See SN 22:122 and SN 46:51.

2. A person “in training” is one who has attained at least the first level of awakening, but not yet the final level.

3. Bondage = the four yokes: sensual passion, becoming, views, & ignorance.