This is an ornament for the mind?

Can anyone care to explain the
meaning of below sentence ?
What does it mean by :

" This is an ornament
for the mind " ?

Why one is a " non returner "
after he exhausted
from Brahma world ?

AN7.52 ( please refer to
the last part ).
but with the thought, ‘This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind’—on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of Brahma’s Retinue. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a non-returner. He does not come back to this world.

Thank you in advance .

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An ornament is an adornment. A thing of beauty, the purpose of which is to please and delight, to create and contribute to an atmosphere that suggests that one may relax, lay down one’s burdens.

If one gives, knowing that one’s reason is that one’s mind is beautified - that one’s pleasure will increase, that one’s sense of ease and happiness will magnify and that all this will create a beautiful mind - AN7.52 seems to suggest that one is doing so out of wisdom. That is one understands well how one’s mind works and that one can deliberately institute a particular motivation because one realises it is happy, beneficial and productive of the highest result; in this case, a result that can lead to Non-Returning.

The suggestion here is that to truly give, for the sheer beauty of it and for no other reason, one must truly understand things like Renunciation, Metta, and the 3rd Noble Truth. I’m sure we can all touch this. But to live it broadly, deeply, constantly, it seems, according to this Sutta, that one must be quite advanced on the Path.

What a lovely question and what a beautiful Sutta. Thank you.



Sādhu for the question and reply above :anjal:

“This is an ornament of the mind.” … in my understanding, “This” here is a reference to the act of giving, as friend @anon29387788 wonderfully points out. The Buddha is pointing here to the importance of virāga or dispassion even in giving. And he’s at the same time explaining the use or benefits (upāya) of giving without clinging, as friend Kay explains it above, in terms of the pleasant qualities this dispassionate giving affords the psyche. But in my understanding, the subtle connotations of “ornament” & “support” for the mind go further than that: if the conditioned mind in this namarupa is bound to do something, then let it be that giving!
We could state based on this sutta that in Buddhist psychology this is the highest form of giving, higher even than self-sacrifice.

But friend @anon29387788, I don’t think this kind of giving is that much difficult! In fact in many societies it’s already the more common, and many many people do it with just that same Buddhist understanding! Interestingly, we have a famous Egyptian proverb which says: “Cast your benevolent deeds into the sea!” - it means don’t think about them or about their results! :slight_smile:
Thanks :anjal:


Hi friend , could you describe
in what way the self sacrifice is ?
And how is it that dispassionate
giving surpassed the self sacrifice ?

Also , if it’s same thing with other
society , would they also will be
attaining the non returner ?

It’s when you do something that is not beneficial, or even painful to yourself, for the sake of others or for some higher goal. Example: a fighter willing to die to defend his country.

As mentioned in the sutta, self sacrifice is still a form of giving that is done to gain something out of it (something conditioned, lesser than nibbana). Where dispassionate giving is done with the wisdom that it is the appropriate mental activity for one seeking nibbana.

Perhaps I’ve exaggerated a bit when I said they do the giving with this understanding, because this understanding seem to require belief in nibbana. But at least they do the giving without too much attachment. I don’t think dāna alone delivers one to the anagami. One has to understand what really is it to be anagami, and to develop faith and desire for this emancipation. Only then perhaps this giving may be a practice sufficient to reach the goal. But I don’t really know. :slight_smile:


Or someone who jumps in front of a car to push someone else out of its way.

Or just doing something good for someone else despite it, perhaps, being slightly inconveniencing for you.