The four Foundations of Mindfulness have unmistakably been shown as the Only Way trodden by the Buddhas. Guard them at all times! Negligence in them makes all efforts useless, and it is the persevering practice of them that is called 'concentration of mind.' Keep to mindfulness and clear comprehension in all activities, as in sitting, standing, walking, looking around and talking. He who has established mindfulness as a guard at the doors of his mind, cannot be overpowered by the passions, as a well-guarded city cannot be conquered by the enemy. No pas- sions will arise in him who possesses mindfulness concerning the body; he will protect his mind under all circum- stances as a wet-nurse protects the infant. He who lacks the protective armor of mindfulness, is truly like a target board for the passions; just as a warrior in battle, who has no coat of mail, is exposed to the arrows of the enemy.
The heart if not protected by mindfulness, must truly be regarded as utterly helpless. It resembles a blind man walking on uneven ground without a guide. Attracted by evil are men, and upon their own true weal (well-being), they turn their back; regarding the perils that are so close to them, they feel no apprehension. All that is due to lack of mindfulness. Moral conduct and all the other good qualities remain each in its own domain (as if isolat- ed); but mindfulness follows them as a cow herder goes after his straying cattle (and collects them). He who loses mindfulness, loses the Deathless (Nirvana). But he who possesses Mindfulness concerning the Body, hold the Deathless in his hands. He who is without mindfulness, how can he acquire the Noble Method (of Deliverance)? And he who lacks that Noble Method, has missed the Right Path. He who has missed the Right Path, also misses the Deathless. He who has lost sight of the Deathless, cannot win freedom from suffering. Therefore, it is meet (proper, suitable) that, while going, you know 'I am going:' while standing 'I am standing,' and that you thus pre- serve mindfulness at all times. The functions of Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension are of equal importance. There is no mental process concerned with knowing and understanding, that is without mindfulness. Negligence is, in brief, absence of mindfulness. Mindfulness is that unremitting heedfulness that brings about perseverance in any activity. Developed sense-faculties are called those which, under the impact of habitual work at mind-devel- opment, have become impregnated with the fragrance of mindfulness and clear comprehension.