...Herein, stiffness (thīna) has the characteristic of lack of driving power. Its function is to remove energy. It is manifested as subsiding. Torpor (middha) has the characteristic of unwieldiness. Its function is to smother. It is manifested as laziness, or it is manifested as nodding and sleep. The proximate cause of both is unwise attention to boredom, sloth, and so on.
...It has subsequent regret as its characteristic. Its function is to sorrow about what has and what has not been done. It is manifested as remorse. Its proximate cause is what has and what has not been done. It should be regarded as slavery.
...Herein, applied thinking (vitakkana) is applied thought (vitakka); hitting upon, is what is meant. It has the characteristic of directing the mind onto an object (mounting the mind on its object). Its function is to strike at and thresh - for the meditator is said, in virtue of it, to have the object struck at by applied thought, threshed by applied thought. It is manifested as the leading of the mind onto an object ...
...Sustained thinking (vicaraṇa) is sustained thought (vicāra); continued sustainment (anusañcaraṇa), is what is meant. It has the characteristic of continued pressure on (occupation with) the object. Its function is to keep conascent (mental) states (occupied) with that. It is manifested as keeping consciousness anchored (on that object).
...It refreshes (pīṇayati), thus it is happiness (pīti). It has the characteristic of endearing (sampiyāna). Its function is to refresh the body and the mind; or its function is to pervade (thrill with rapture). It is manifested as elation. But it is of five kinds as minor happiness, momentary happiness, showering happiness, uplifting happiness, and pervading (rapturous) happiness.
And whenever the two are associated, happiness (pīti) is the contentedness at getting a desirable object, and bliss (sukha) is the actual experiencing of it when got. Where there is happiness there is bliss (pleasure); but where there is bliss there is not necessarily happiness. Happiness is included in the formations aggregate (saṅkhārakkhandha) ; bliss is included in the feeling aggregate (vedanākkhandha). If a man exhausted in a desert saw or heard about a pond on the edge of a wood, he would have happiness; if he went into the wood’s shade and used the water, he would have bliss...
It puts (ādhiyati) consciousness evenly (samaṁ) on the object, or it puts it rightly (sammā) on it, or it is just the mere collecting (samādhāna) of the mind, thus it is concentration (samādhi). Its characteristic is non-wandering, or its characteristic is non-distraction. Its function is to conglomerate conascent states as water does bath powder. It is manifested as peace. Usually its proximate cause is bliss. It should be regarded as steadiness of the mind, like the steadiness of a lamp’s flame when there is no draught.
...For it is said that the Hindrances are opposed to the jhāna-factors, which are hostile to them and dispel and destroy them. Likewise it is said, in the “Peṭakopadesa”, that concentration is opposed to sensuous desire, rapture (pīti) to ill-will, initial application of mind (vitakka) to sloth and torpor, bliss (sukha) to flurry and worry (uddhacca and kukkucca), sustained application of mind (vicāra) to perplexity (vicikicchā, doubt)...
For while other meditation subjects become clearer at each higher stage, this one does not: in fact, as he goes on developing it, it becomes more subtle for him at each higher stage, and it even comes to the point at which it is no longer manifest.
Although any meditation subject, no matter what, is successful only in one who is mindful and fully aware, yet any meditation subject other than this one gets more evident as he goes on giving it his attention. But this mindfulness of breathing is difficult, difficult to develop, a field in which only the minds of Buddhas, Pacceka Buddhas (96), and Buddhas’s sons are at home. It is no trivial matter, nor can it be cultivated by trivial persons. In proportion as continued attention is given to it, it becomes more peaceful and more subtle. So strong mindfulness and understanding are necessary here.Mindfulness of breathing is most difficult, “it is no trivial matter”, as the Visuddhimagga stated. The Buddha and his great disciples were endowed with great wisdom and other excellent qualities and thus, for them it was a “field” in which their minds were at home.
“Let not the venerable Citta Hatthisāriputta constantly interrupt the elders’ Abhidhamma talk; the venerable Citta should wait until the talk is over!”And when he had thus spoken, Citta’s friends said: “The venerable Mahā Koṭṭhita should not censure the venerable Citta Hatthisāriputta. A wise man is the venerable Citta and able to talk to the elders on Abhidhamma.”“It is a hard thing, sirs, for those who know not another person’s ways of thought. Consider, sirs, a person who, so long as he lives near the Master or a fellow-teacher in the holy life, is the most humble of the humble, the meekest of the meek, the quietest of the quiet; and who, when he leaves the Master or his fellow-teachers, keeps company with monks, nuns, lay-disciples, men and women, rajahs, their ministers, course-setters or their disciples. Living in company, untrammelled, rude, given over to gossip, passion corrupts his heart; and with his heart corrupted by passion, he disavows the training and returns to the lower life...Consider again a person who, aloof from sensuous appetites ...enters and abides in the first jhāna. Thinking: ‘I have won to the first jhāna’, he keeps company ...Living in company, untrammelled, rude, given over to gossip, passion corrupts his heart; and with his heart corrupted by passion, he disavows the training and returns to the lower life...”
And the venerable Citta Hatthisāriputta, living alone, secluded, earnest, ardent, resolved, not long after, entered and abode in that aim above all of the holy life - realizing it here and now by his own knowledge - for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from home to the homeless life; and he knew: “Birth is destroyed, the holy life is lived, done is what was to be done, there is no more of this.”And the venerable Citta Hatthisāriputta was numbered among the arahats.