The shortcoming in Ajahn Dhammavuddho’s approach is he does not understand the function of the fourth foundation of mindfulness, which contains five categories under the overarching structure of the four noble truths. He interprets this as simply dhamma as teaching, suggesting it has to be studied, and objects to Bikkhu Bodhi’s more active interpretation of dhamma as ‘phenomena’. His is a lame interpretation of dhamma in the context of the four foundations, as ‘studying dhamma’ does not cause the fourth foundation to interact with the other three. It is not believable to suggest the five categories are to be simply studied and remain inactive rather than being applied.
Here it is shown how the fourth foundation is to be brought to bear on experience, so warranting the name “contemplation of phenomena”:
“What this satipatthãna is actually concerned with are specific mental qualities (such as the five hindrances and the seven awakening factors), and analyses of experience into specific categories (such as the five aggregates, the six sense-spheres, and the four noble truths). These mental factors and categories constitute central aspects of the Buddha’s way of teaching, the Dhamma. These classificatory schemes are not in themselves the objects of meditation, but constitute frameworks or points of reference to be applied during contemplation. During actual practice one is to look at whatever is experienced in terms of these dhammas. Thus the dhammas mentioned in this satipatthãna are not “mental objects”, but are applied to whatever becomes an object of the mind or of any other sense door during contemplation”—“ Satipatthana”, Analayo.