Sign of the Fault

In his book What Comes Before Mindfulness Ajahn Sona talks about “the sign of the fault.”

I assume “sign” is a translation of “nimitta”, but I’m not sure the Pali for the whole phrase “sign of the fault.” And consequently I can’t find the Suttas that talk about it. So two questions:

  1. What is the Pali that “sign of the fault” translates?
  2. What Suttas discuss the sign of the fault?

Thank you!

This might be what Bhante Sujato translates as ‘the feature of harshness’ (paṭigha-nimitta), literally something like ‘irritation sign’.

The feature of harshness and irrational application of mind.
Paṭighanimittañca ayoniso ca manasikāro.



Thank you, @Erika_ODonnell! That is helpful!

I will start tracking down sutta references.

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Also not sure what he’s referring to here.


Hi Bhante,
Here is an early passage where he uses the phrase.


from the passage you quote I would suggest it’s just subha’ (sign of beautiful) and ‘asubha’ (sign of fault).


Thanks, Venerable! Much appreciated.


It’s a curious rendering, @Vensonata if you’re around maybe you’d like to explain?


Hello Ven Sujato,
My intended meaning is simply that the cause for the arising of aversive feeling is “unwise attention” to a “fault” or something or someone which we perceive to be “wrong” or “flawed”. We attend unwisely if aversion arises. We do not deny that there are faults, but if we attended wisely aversion would not arise. This is what I meant by “the sign of the fault” or the “sign of the beautiful”. “The sign” is the investment of unskillful emotion accompanying the object perceived.


Thank you Venerable @Vensonata

I find your teaching on this very helpful. I’ve been looking to find any suttas that discuss the sign of the fault and the sign of the beautiful. Are there any suttas you recommend?

Thank you, Ajahn.

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