Are arahants (fully emancipated ones) always mindful?

Mindfully they give up wrong view and take up right view: that’s their right mindfulness.
So sato micchādiṭṭhiṃ pajahati, sato sammādiṭṭhiṃ upasampajja viharati, sāssa hoti sammāsati (MN 117)

According to above passage, one would argue that the mind of an arahant cannot give up the right view and therefore he is always mindful. Further the mindfulness of an arahant is automatic because an arahant can never take up wrong view since the arahants already developed all 8 limbs of the Noble Eightfold Path to perfection such that they’ve become second nature.

MN 104 says sativinaya should be given to a bhikku who don’t recall the offense when they are accused to a defeat or some act close to a defeat; explained in Samathakkhandhaka. This is for arahants, to keep them safe from being accused again. sativinayo
Explainations in the Sukkavisatti rule also says that those who go to sleep mindfully does not undergo wet dreaming and it also says arahants never ejaculate semen. This may be due to their mindfulness?

Eventhough this is doubtful, the blessed one seems always mindful. DN 16 appears to say that the Buddha endured his physical pains mindfully (satova).

After the Buddha had commenced the rainy season residence, he fell severely ill, struck by dreadful pains, close to death.
Atha kho bhagavato vassūpagatassa kharo ābādho uppajji, bāḷhā vedanā vattanti māraṇantikā.

But he endured with mindfulness and situational awareness, without worrying.
Tā sudaṃ bhagavā sato sampajāno adhivāsesi avihaññamāno. (DN 16)

Before drawn into a conclusion, there are a set of suttas to consider.

1. Tatiyagilāna Sutta SN 46.16

When the Buddha was sick, Mahācunda taught him the awakening factors, inspiring him to a swift recovery.

2. Dutiyagilāna Sutta SN 46.15

When Mahāmoggallāna was sick, the Buddha taught him the awakening factors, inspiring him to a swift recovery.

3. Paṭhamagilāna Sutta SN 46.14

These suttas show some stuaions where reminding bojjhaṅgas helped healing sickness.

If they are able to be mindful how reminding bojjhaṅgas help recovering from sikness?
However, is it possible to always be mindful or they are mindful only when they take it up?


I think that arahants always have mindfulness, but are mindful of various things throughout the day, depending on the situation. In meditation, they are mindful of their meditation subject. In daily activities, they are mindful of what they are doing, as they are doing it. When recollecting the Dhamma, they are mindful of those teachings and their own thoughts related to those teachings. So, in my opinion, the fact that someone recited the bojjhaṅgas to an arahant, which was uplifting enough to the arahant to effect a full recovery, doesn’t mean that the arahant wasn’t mindful before that. It just means that they weren’t specifically mindful of the teaching of the awakening factors. They may instead have been mindful of vedanā, or ānāpāna, or the bodily posture, etc.

A sutta that I think indicates that an arahant is always mindful is AN 4.195:

A mendicant whose mind is rightly freed like this has achieved six consistent responses [Bodhi: “six constant dwellings”]. Seeing a sight with the eye, they’re neither happy nor sad, but remain equanimous, mindful and aware. Hearing a sound with the ears … Smelling an odor with the nose … Tasting a flavor with the tongue … Feeling a touch with the body … Knowing a thought with the mind, they’re neither happy nor sad, but remain equanimous, mindful and aware. Feeling the end of the body approaching, they understand: ‘I feel the end of the body approaching.’ Feeling the end of life approaching, they understand: ‘I feel the end of life approaching.’ They understand: ‘When my body breaks up and my life has come to an end, everything that’s felt, being no longer relished, will become cool right here.’


Thank you so muchfor the reference.
Then at that time venerable Pilindivaccha accosted monks with words of contempt.
Ekamantaṃ nisinnā kho te bhikkhū bhagavantaṃ etadavocuṃ: “āyasmā, bhante, pilindavaccho bhikkhū vasalavādena samudācaratī”ti.
Ud 3.6
He is an arahant who has remarkable supernatural powers (Bhesajjakkanda).
If he is always mindful, why cannot he control vasalavāda?

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I believe it can be translated in a way that seems to me much less harsh. The phrase vasalavādena samudācaratī could also be rendered as “addressed them as ‘outcasts’ (someone of low birth)”. In fact, that’s how Ireland translates it in his 1997 translation of the Udāna:

On that occasion the Venerable Pilindivaccha went about calling the bhikkhus outcasts.

The Buddha goes on to explain that it is just a habit of speech from Pilindivaccha being born a brahmin so many times before.

Perhaps Pilindivaccha was mindful of his speech while speaking like this but felt no need to restrain it. We never get to find out whether he changed his habit after it was brought to his attention by the Buddha. Interestingly, the discourse doesn’t report the Buddha admonishing him or suggesting that he change his manner of speaking.


Any possible explaination to bojjhaṅga (gilana) suttas?

When sleeping arahants not mindful .

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Could you be more specific as to what you’re looking to explain about those suttas?

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Would you happen to have a reference to support this, Gene?


The need of reminding bojjhaṅgas to a mindful person.

Sorry, I thought I had expressed my opinion on that earlier in the thread:

It seems to me that the early discourses envision the awakening factors as being capable of producing a very potent mind state (really a symphony of mind states). This potency can be applied to progressing toward awakening, but it seems it can also be used to uplift and energize the mind so much that physical illnesses are overcome.

Interestingly, in the early discourses, as far as I know, this overcoming of illness through hearing a recitation of the awakening factors only happens for arahants, which might imply that they are the only ones who have developed these factors strongly enough for this kind of application.

In a nutshell, my opinion is that these suttas don’t imply that the arahants weren’t mindful at all (in fact, in SN 46.16 that you cited, the Buddha is the one who asked Mahācunda to recite the awakening factors to him). But having the awakening factors recited to them caused those factors to become amplified in their minds, producing a powerful uplifting, energizing effect in the mind that, in turn, had an effect on the body.


The arahant were unconscious . To be Mindful one need to be in awake conditions .

At one time a monk was lying down in the Jātiyā Grove at Bhaddiya, having gone there to spend the day, and he had an erection because of wind. A certain woman saw him and sat down on his penis, and having taken her pleasure, she departed. The monks, seeing the moisture, informed the Master. “Monks, an erection occurs for five reasons: because of sensual desire, because of excrement, because of urine, because of wind, because of being stung by caterpillars. It’s impossible that that monk had an erection because of sensual desire. That monk is a perfected one [arahant]. There’s no offence for that monk.”


Thanks, Gene. I’m not sure that Vinaya background stories are considered as EBT by most scholars, as there is so much variation between the traditions. But let’s leave that aside for now.

I’d like to make a provocative statement that one doesn’t have to be awake to be mindful, at least according to the understanding of mindfulness in Early Buddhism. Here’s why I’m suggesting that:

Although this doesn’t mention mindfulness (sati), this section is about clear awareness (sampajañña), which would seem to imply mindfulness present as well:

Furthermore, a mendicant acts with situational awareness when going out and coming back; when looking ahead and aside; when bending and extending the limbs; when bearing the outer robe, bowl and robes; when eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting; when urinating and defecating; when walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, waking, speaking, and keeping silent. -MN 10

There is also the frequent instruction for monastics:

In the middle watch of the night he lies down on the right side in the lion’s posture, with one foot overlapping the other, mindful and clearly comprehending, after noting in his mind the idea of rising. -AN 3.16, et al

There must be some level of mindfulness present while sleeping to be tracking the passage of time and waking up at the right time, without an alarm clock.

Another consideration is that mindfulness doesn’t have to imply being aware of one’s surroundings, or of the teachings, etc. For example, one can be dwelling in a formless attainment and be completely unaware of one’s surroundings and yet still be mindful. In fact, one would be supremely mindful, because imperturbable states like the fourth jhāna and the formless states are accompanied by upekkhāsatipārisuddhiṃ, “purified mindfulness and equanimity” (or “mindfulness purified by equanimity”, depending on your translation).

*I credit Ven. Anālayo for pointing out the first two examples above in a forthcoming paper on clear knowing and mindfulness.


:scream_cat: :eyes:

I actually can’t find any objection and would be quite curious to hear any rebuttal to such “provocation”.

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This is something questionable, where one could not be mindful while sleeping. When someone is in deep sleep he cannot be aware, however, if he sleep like buddha he could be able to be mindful.
Mindful and clearly comprehending, after noting in his mind the idea of rising until fall sleep? not after?

It’s when a Realized One, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption … second absorption … third absorption … fourth absorption.
Idha, bhikkhave, tathāgato vivicceva kāmehi … pe … catutthaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.
This is called the way a Realized One lies down.
Ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, tathāgataseyyā AN 4.246.

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What mental factor (among those mentioned in the EBTs) do you think is functioning to allow one to track the passage of time and wake up when one wishes?

Personally, it’s something I’ve been doing for years now – setting the intention to wake up at a particular time and then, 8 hours later, waking up at that time, usually to the minute. There must be some level of mindfulness functioning to discern how much time has passed.

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Experiments with rats have indicated that this is low-level awareness and might only be as “mindful” as an alarm clock.

However, many have had the experience of making a decision in a dream. I’m inclined to think that any such decision made in a dream should also be mindful and not be based on craving.


There is, of course, also the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, in which mindfulness and clear awareness are both present.


Are there any suttas from EBT to understand the process behind the sleep?
I think it is something difficult to understand without (later) abhidhamma explainations.


I’m not aware of any suttas that explain the process behind sleep, maybe because the Buddha didn’t consider that conducive to awakening. (pun intended)


An arahant always mindful, but in what ways is important. See the samma sati is not just right mindfulness but right attention inward

Arahant always mindful in a way, whenever the tanha upadana bhava is going to be orginated, because he has been fully freed from all delusion of existence.

So anytime arahant is always conscious, there will be no tanha, means even in a wet dream, he stop the action in the dream, but sometimes there are also wet dreams without the dream.

Anytime the mind is feed with sexual images, sometimes from the pictures of some advertisement and the intellectual start playing the images, the semen is produced, so arahant who never exposed himself to these images wont even have a wet dream anymore.

But lets say maybe one day he went to give a speech, then there is images on the mind comes from his expostion to the worlds, the mind might produce and find a way to throw out, through wet dream but without dream