About This Book
According to one discourse in the Samyutta Nikaya entitled "Bhikkhu Sutta" (SN. 46.5): [Bhikkhu:] "Venerable sir, it is said, 'factors of enlightenment, factors of enlightenment.' In what sense are they called factors of enlightenment?" [Buddha:] "They lead to enlightenment, bhikkhu, therefore they are called factors of enlightenment...." During meditation, one may contemplate the seven Factors of Enlightenment as well as on their antithesis, the Five Hindrances (sensual pleasure, ill-will, sloth-torpor, restlessness-worry, doubt). In addition, one Samyutta Nikaya sutta identifies developing each of the enlightenment factors accompanied by each of the four brahma viharas (lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity). In the Samyutta Nikaya's "Fire Discourse," the Buddha identifies that mindfulness is "always useful" (sabbatthika); while, when one's mind is sluggish, one should develop the enlightenment factors of investigation, energy and joy; and, when one's mind is excited, one should develop the enlightenment factors of tranquility, concentration and equanimity. Again according to the Samyutta Nikaya, once when the Buddha was gravely ill he asked Venerable Mahacunda to recite the seven Factors of Enlightenment to him. In such a way the Buddha was cured of his illness.