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Object ascertaining and virtuous mental factors

13 The Foundation of Buddhist Practice

Part of a series of teachings given during a retreat based on the book The Foundation of Buddhist Practice given at Sravasti Abbey.

  • Five object-ascertaining mental factors
  • The order of practicing the three higher trainings
  • Eleven virtuous mental factors

The Foundation of Buddhist Practice 13: Object ascertaining and virtuous mental factors (download)

Contemplation points

  1. How do each of the five object-ascertaining mental factors (aspiration, appreciation, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom) play a role in attaining the path? Think about the qualities of each and what they contribute to transforming the mind. How do each of these five mental factors contribute to and support the development of the other four?
  2. What are the three types of acquired understanding that we cultivate when developing wisdom? Why is each important and how do they support each other? Why is familiarity such an important aspect of our practice?
  3. What is meant by the word “faith” in the context of the eleven virtuous mental factors? What are the three kinds of faith? How do these benefit our mind?
  4. What is meant by “integrity” and why do we have to be cautious of not cultivating a negative/self-denigrating form of shame? Describe the kind of mind we are looking to attain here.
  5. How do integrity and consideration for others work together to help us to refrain from harm. Consideration for others is very different from people-pleasing. Describe what is meant by this mental factor and why we want to develop this quality.
  6. What is meant by “non-attachment?” Describe this mental state and how it balances the mind, utilizing an element of wisdom.
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.