Lesson for mindfulness - part 16:
Proliferate the positive state of
mind with five intensifying factors
Ven. Dr. Mirisse Dhammika thero
Overall, mindfulness practice aims at a combination of two processes (Harvey) :
a) the cultivation and growth of wholesome, positive mental states; and b) the
weakening, and final eradication, of mental, ‘impediments’. These two parallel
processes are enabled through the development of mindfulness. As I discussed
above, five hindrances are debilitated by the technique of mindfulness on
contemplation of mental objects. In order to proliferate the positive state of
mind, one should concentrate on “five intensifying factors” (Rowlands),
Nyanaponoka, cited in Harvey. These lead the mind towards its culmination of
mental clarity and absorption: mindfulness in the fullest sense. These five
intensifying factors are (Harvey).
1. Vitakka, or ‘Applied thought’; applying, and re-applying the mind to the
* Vicara, ‘Examination’ or ‘sustained thought’; a sustained examination and
exploration of the meditation object; keeping the mind on the object.
* Piti: or ‘Joy’: physical and mental zest and energisation, felt, at first, as
mind joyful tingles, later in a more sustained and intense way.
* Sukha or ‘Happiness”: a harmonization of energy that expresses itself in a more
tranquil and calm way than joy, as a deeply contented inner happiness and
Citta-ekaggata, or ‘one-pointedness of mind’: unification of the mind and its
energies, through being wholly focused on the meditation object.
The above five intensifying factors may develop and ennoble gradually, though;
the result depends on the practitioner’s effort, determination and perseverance.
It is substantial and notable here that one may counteract, using these five
intensifying factors, the five hindrances and overcome negative intensity in the
mind. Harvey states.
* Applied thought counteracts dullness and drowsiness: by engaging the mind in
* Examination counteracts vacillation; by sustained application to the task at
* Joy counteracts ill-will: by being a warm, uplifting energistation, rather than
a fiery one.
* Happiness counteracts restlessness and worry: by being a calm contented feeling
which avoids the extremes of elation and depression.
One-pointedness of mind counteracts desire for more alluring and indulgent
pleasurable sense experiences: by letting the mind remain, in stillness, on one
object, without wanting to shuffle off in search of others.
It is clear that at this stage, the practitioner should maintain his/her full
strength of mindfulness, of contemplation, expression and re-expression to
counteract the hindrances until he/she establishes the strong habit of natural
flux of mindfulness. When these factors naturally arise in the mind, the
practitioner is having clear, comprehensive mental clarity, which is more
durable and sustainable. This may lead to the potential stage of mental
culmination of attainment of the full state of mental clarity-Jhana
(Visuddhimagga and Vimuttimagga).