AN 5.28 what is the object of reviewing?

“Furthermore, the meditation that is a basis for reviewing is properly grasped, attended, borne in mind, and comprehended with wisdom by a mendicant.”

Not sure what is it that the mendicant is attending to.

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The keyword here is paccavekkha / pratyavekṣā / 觀察 / སོ་སོར་རྟོག་པ་, which can be translated as consideration, reviewing or checking.

A further explanation of what that means in practice can be found in suttas like AN10.52 and AN10.53:

The object of checking is oneself and can be formulated as:

‘Am I often covetous or not?
Am I often malicious or not?
Am I often overcome with dullness and drowsiness or not?
Am I often restless or not?
Am I often doubtful or not?
Am I often angry or not?
Am I often defiled in mind or not?
Am I often disturbed in body or not?
Am I often energetic or not?
Am I often immersed in samādhi or not?’

It is the sort of internal checklist that tell us how much is still left undone towards awakening:

But suppose that, upon checking, a mendicant knows this:
‘I am often content, kind-hearted, rid of dullness and drowsiness, calm, confident, loving, pure in mind, undisturbed in body, energetic, and immersed in samādhi.’
Grounded on those skillful qualities, they should practice meditation further to end the defilements.”

Note that SN36.31 also employs the aforementioned term and gives us a description of how that reviewing takes place as one progresses further towards freedom from greed, hate, and delusion, and arising of liberation.

And in MN61 we read:

All the ascetics and brahmins of the past, future, and present who purify their physical, verbal, and mental actions do so after repeated reflection.
So Rāhula, you should train yourself like this: ‘I will purify my physical, verbal, and mental actions after repeated reflection.’

:anjal:

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Do you think this is a function of sati ( mindfulness )?

Hmmm… yes, one could argue this is something that pertains to either the kind of mindfulness meditation of observing an aspect of principles or of observing an aspect of the mind.

To me it sounds more like something related to the awakening factor of investigation of principles (dhamma vicaya) and/or the inquiry base of success (vīmaṃsā).

:anjal:

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I think there could be a number of things that could be reviewed:

  1. jhana factors (reviewing them and not going up the jhanas too quickly).
  2. five noble factors of samadhi (likely to be adhicitta of where samadhi training is complete?)
  3. five aggregates, sense bases, etc.
    (wisdom also suggests knowing that this is ‘just’ jhana and not floating up to the top of the world or ‘union with brahma’ or other projected philosophical view).

Reviewing (paccavekkhana) is a helpful aspect of practice:

“Mendicants, these five things lead to the decline of a mendicant who is temporarily free. What five? They relish work, talk, sleep, and company. And they don’t review the extent of their mind’s freedom. These five things lead to the decline of a mendicant who is temporarily free.

These five things don’t lead to the decline of a mendicant who is temporarily free. What five? They don’t relish work, talk, sleep, and company. And they review the extent of their mind’s freedom. These five things don’t lead to the decline of a mendicant who is temporarily free. SuttaCentral

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Many thanks Mat. That’s very useful.

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I thought the 4th jhāna was the “meditation that is a basis for reviewing” for some reason…

The term used in AN5.28 is paccavekkhaṇānimittaṃ, which occurs 5 times.

A key part of the word is nimitta/sign. More specifically, I believe it is used with the prefix for negation as ānimitta/signless.

Therefore my understanding of paccavekkhaṇānimittaṃ is that it might refer to the basis of meditation that reflects on the signless release of the heart.

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Nimitta here possibly means the object of meditation, which needs to be carefully reviewed.

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Yes, could be. Or perhaps noticing the presence / absence of hindrances and enlightenment factors, as in the fourth frame of satipatthana ( MN10 ).

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