Mindfulness is called Anussati because it is constantly recalled. Another meaning is for one who ordains with faith is constantly recalling that faith. Overall, recollection of virtues which calms the mind and strengthens faith is called Anussati. There are ten types of Anussati.
The first six recollections (Anussati) are clearly achieved only by the Noble Ones because the virtues of Lord Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha are always with those Noble Ones who possess the virtue of Sila such as untorn Sila, generosity without stain or miserliness and the other virtues such as faith and the virtues of great celestial beings.
In the Mahanama Sutta, Lord Buddha answered Mahanama’s question that these Six Recollections are the States that Stream-Enterers (Sota-panna) live with.
In the Gedha Sutta, Lord Buddha taught these Six Recollections only to the Noble Ones with the purpose of calming their minds for the attainment of higher virtues, “Monks, the Noble Ones in this religion, always contemplate the Tathagata (Lord Buddha), Itipi So Bhagava ... Their minds will be liberated from Gedha. Monks, Gedha is the name of Five Sensual Objects [visible objects, sounds, smells, tast es and tangible objects]. If monks in this religion develop the Buddhanussati-jhana (Virtues of Lord Buddha) as a meditation object, they can reach purification.”
In Aekadasakanipata, Lord Buddha said that the Six Recollections are only for the Noble Disciples, “Mahanama, only one with faith will achieve these Six Recollections ... Ones with effort, stable mindfulness, concentration and wisdom will achieve those Six Recollections ... Mahanama, you have to possess the Five Dhammas and then develop these Six Recollections by contemplating the Tathagata, Itipi So Bhagava ...”
Note: The Five Dhammas are (1) faith, (2) effort or energy, (3) mindfulness, (4) concentration, and (5) wisdom.
However, ordinary persons with pure Sila should also practice these Six Recollections because when they diligently contemplate virtues such as Buddha’s, their mind will become calmed from the Five Hindrances. As a result, the mind becomes ready for Vipassana Meditation and is able to attain arahantship (Enlightenment).
The following are the first six recollections based on the Visuddhimagga or the Path of Purification:
Recollection of the Buddha’s Virtues or Buddhanussati means sustained contemplation of the nine virtues of Lord Buddha. Here is how to practice. The meditator who has strong faith in Lord Buddha might choose to begin by recalling Lord Buddha’s virtues as the first meditation. Find a quiet place with proper seclusion and repeatedly recall the nine virtues of Lord Buddha. These virtues are:
1. Itipi Arahang - Lord Buddha is Saintly pure,
2. Itipi Sammasambuddho - Lord Buddha is fully self-enlightened,
3. Itipi Vijjacarana-sampanno - Lord Buddha is perfect in knowledge and conduct,
4. Itipi Sugato - Lord Buddha is well-fared,
5. Itipi Lokavidu - Lord Buddha is the knower of all worlds,
6. Itipi Anuttaro Purisadammasarathi - Lord Buddha is the unexcelled trainer of capable beings
7. Itipi Sattha Devamanussana - Lord Buddha is the teacher of devas and men,
8. Itipi Buddho - Lord Buddha is fully awakened,
9. Itipi Bhagava - Lord Buddha is the exalted sage.
One constantly repeats Itipi Arahang, Lord Buddha is Saintly pure, Itipi Sammasambuddho, Lord Buddha is fully self-enlightened and so on until Itipi Bhagava, Lord Buddha is the exalted sage. When the meditator can remember the meaning of each item, he or she may just recite the Pali words.
A monk who meditates on Lord Buddha’s virtues will develop increased reverence for Lord Buddha, he will also have spacious faith, spacious mindfulness, spacious wisdom, and spacious merit. He will become joyful and happy, will eliminate awful dangers, will become patient and tolerant to pain, and will always feel close to Lord Buddha. When a monk with his mind filled with recollection of the Buddha (Buddhanussati) passes away, he will be worthy of respect such as a Cetiya, his mind will be directed to Buddhabhåmi (Desire to be a Buddha) and if he happens to commit a wrongful act, moral shame (Hiri) and moral dread (Ottappa) will come up as Lord Buddha standing in front of him. If he does not reach spiritual attainment in this life, a happy world is waiting for him after death.
One who wishes to practice Silanussati should find a quiet, secluded place and contemplate his or her own moral conduct (Sila) in accordance with the eight virtues of moral conduct which are:
1. Sila are not torn: Precepts (Sila) for householders and for monks are not broken at the beginning or at the end [first or last precept], like a cloth which is frayed at the edges, therefore, the precepts are not torn. [This means if one breaks the first or the last precepts, his or her precepts are like the cloth which is frayed at the edges.]
2. Sila are not holed: No single precept is broken in the middle [such as the third of five precepts], like a cloth with a hole in the middle.
3. Sila are not blotched: Precepts are not broken in consecutive order. No two or three consecutive precepts are broken, like a cow with big black or red spots on her back or belly. These precepts are not blotched.
4. Sila are not mottled: Precepts are not broken here and there like a cow speckled with different colored spots. Such precepts are not mottled.
In another sense, Sila are not torn, holed, blotched or mottled when they are not destroyed by the seven bonds of sexuality (Methunasanyoga) or by unwholesome states such as anger and hatred.
5. Sila are liberating: Precepts liberate one from the slavery of craving.
6. Sila are praised by the wise: Precepts are praised by the wise such as Lord Buddha and the Noble ones.
7. Sila are untouch by craving and wrong view: Precepts are untouched by craving and wrong view. They are precepts that nobody can criticize by saying, ‘There are flaws in your Sila.’
8. Sila are for concentration: Precepts bring one to gain access concentration and they also help one to develop the paths and fruits of concentration.
When the meditator reviews his or her precepts both extensively and intensively, the power of Sila such as being untorn will protect one’s mind from being disturbed by lust, anger or delusion. The mind is filled with morality. The Jhana will be attained by the one who calms the Five Hindrances. He or she will attain at least access concentration. However, the virtues of morality are both multiple and profound. A meditator may contemplate various virtues of morality and, as a result, the Jhเna may reach only access concentration level, not attainment concentration.
One who wishes to practice Caganussati contemplates the virtues of generosity and frequent donations such as giving away and sharing things. One might start by mentally reciting, “If I cannot give away even a spoonful of rice today, I will not consume anything.” One contemplates his or her own generosity in a quiet, secluded place to develop the virtues of being without stains such as miserliness. One reflects, “When others are overtaken by greed, I will be the one without any stain such as miserliness. I will sacrifice completely. I will have clean hands. I will be happy to sacrifice. I will be happy to be asked. I will be happy in generosity and sharing. This is my Noble Good Fortune.”
When one repeatedly contemplates one’s own kindness while focusing on the virtues of generosity, he or she will gain the power of virtues such as being without stain or miserliness. The mind will not be disturbed by lust, anger or delusion. It will be filled with generosity and the Jhana will be attained to calm the Five Hindrances. However, generosity virtues are profuse and profound. One who contemplates various virtues of generosity may only reach access concentration, not attainment concentration.
One who practices Devatanussati, will gain virtues such as faith achieved via the power of the Eightfold Noble Path. He or she should find a quiet, secluded place and contemplate continuously one’s own virtues such as faith, wishing the celestial beings to bear witness:
Celestial beings in the Realm of the Four Great Kings (Catummaharajika) exist. Celestial beings in the Realm of the Thirty-three Gods (Tavatinsa) exist. Celestial beings in the Realm of the Yama Gods (Yama) exist. Celestial beings in the Realm of the Satisfied Gods (Tusita) exist. Celestial beings in the Realm of the Gods who rejoice in their own creations (Nimmanarati) exist. Celestial beings in the Realm of Gods who lord over the creation of others (Paranimmitavasavatti) exist. Celestial beings in the Brahman World and Celestial beings in the higher worlds do exist.
Celestial beings with faith die from these worlds and are reborn in new worlds, let this faith be in me. Celestial beings with morality, learning, generosity and wisdom die from these worlds and are reborn in new worlds, let such morality, learning, generosity and wisdom be in me.
Lord Buddha has said,
Mahanama, when a Noble Disciple who diligently contemplates faith (Saddha), morality (Sila), great learning (Suta), generosity (Caga) and wisdom (Panna) in himself and in celestial beings, his mind will not be disturbed by lust.
The meditator needs to understand that Lord Buddha meant for the same qualities of virtue such as faith which are in the celestial beings who are bearing witness to develop in oneself. The commentary confirms, however, that one does this by constantly contemplating the virtues within oneself while the celestial beings bear witness.
When the meditator first contemplates the virtues of celestial beings and then one’s own virtues, such as faith, his or her mind will not be disturbed by lust, anger or delusion. The mind will be filled with celestial virtues and he or she will attain the Jhana by calming the Five Hindrances. Because virtues such as faith are profuse and profound, the meditator who contemplates various virtues may only reach access concentration, not attainment concentration.