Aparihani Sutta: Not Losing The Way


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In this sutta, the Buddha teaches four qualities to develop to remain focused on developing the Dhamma. Practicing restraint at the six-sense base is a key aspect of refined mindfulness and is the underlying theme os this sutta. [1]

The Aparihani Sutta – Not Losing the Way

Anguttara Nikaya 4.37

The Buddha teaches those gathered:

“Having developed four qualities a Dhamma practitioner cannot lose the way and is free of clinging to views. When one has fully integrated the Eightfold Path they are:

•    Established in virtue

•    They guard the six-sense base

•    They know moderation in eating

•    They are devoted to mindfulness

“And how does one establish virtue? They are continually mindful of the precepts and the various factors of the Eightfold Path. They understand even the slightest unskillful actions.

“And how does one guard the six-sense base? On seeing form, they do not grasp at fabrication that would further greed and distraction. They practice restraint at the eye.


“On hearing a sound they practice restraint at the ear,

“On smelling, an aroma they practice restraint at the nose,

“On tasting a flavor they practice restraint at the tongue,

“On feeling a tactile sensation they practice restraint at the body,

“On cognizing an idea they practice restraint at the intellect, they do not grasp at fabrications.

“This is how one guards the doors to the six-sense base.

“And how does one establish moderation in eating? They understand nourishment skillfully. They do not eat for entertainment or distraction. They do not eat for intoxication. They do not eat to grow large or for beautification. They eat simply for the survival of the body so that the integrated life can be lived. They abandon craving for food and for mindless eating.

“And how does one establish mindfulness as a quality? Whether resting, sitting or moving about, they cleanse their mind of anything that is a distraction. This is how one establishes mindfulness.

“Having established these four qualities this Dhamma practitioner will not lose the Eightfold Path.

“Established in virtue,

“Restrained with the six-sense base,

“Established in moderate eating,

“Established in mindfulness

“Forthright and inspired,

“The qualities for unbinding develop

“Delighting in refined mindfulness,

“Knowing the danger of mindlessness,

“They stay true to the Eightfold Path,

“And remain free of deluded views.”

End of Sutta


  1. Wisdom Of Restraint

For All Who Reside In The Dhamma - Agantuka Sutta

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My Dhamma articles and talks are based on the Buddha's teachings  (suttas) as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon. I have relied primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali generously made freely available at his website Dhammatalks.org, as well as the works of Acharya Buddharakkhita, Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Hellmuth Hecker, and Sister Khema, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight.

Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.

I have made edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain contextual relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths.

Becoming-Buddha.com and Dhamma articles and recordings by John Haspel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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