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.