Key Points for Practicing the Path

• "The best way to review the main points of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness is to read or recite the short version of the sutta. . . .

• "Mindfulness gives you insight into the characteristics of everything that exists: impermanence, dissatisfaction, and selflessness.

• "You gain this insight by using mindfulness to investigate your body, feelings, thoughts, and phenomena.

• "The best way to begin mindfulness training is to meditate on the breath, as the breath is always present and easy to observe. When the mind is united with the breath, your mind is in the present moment.

• "Mindfulness and clear comprehension reveal that the body's thirty-two parts are composed of four elements that are always changing. Because it is subject to growth, decay, disease, and death, the body cannot give you lasting satisfaction. Most important, the body is 'not mine, not I, and not my self.'

• "Mindfulness of feelings helps you become aware that suffering arises from the mind's habitual reactions to three kinds of feelings — craving pleasant feelings, rejecting unpleasant feelings, and experiencing a confused sense of 'self' in neutral feelings. Like everything else, feelings arise, peak, and pass away.

• "Mindfulness of mind helps you become aware that your thoughts and mental states are also always changing.

• "When you cultivate mindfulness of dhammas, or phenomena, you become aware of the arising and disappearing of the five hindrances, ten fetters, five aggregates, six senses and their objects, seven factors of enlightenment, Four Noble Truths, and eight steps of the Buddha's path.

• "Properly practicing mindfulness of the Four Foundations leads to nibbana, liberation, complete freedom from suffering. The Buddha has promised that you can achieve this goal within this very life. Proper mindfulness also alleviates suffering right now and makes this life more pleasant."