Tag Archives: reflection

Yoniso manasikara

I’ve called this blog Yoniso Manasikara.  It’s a Pali phrase that I learnt recently, during my stay at a Buddhist temple.  The phrase is comprised of two words:

Yoni (or yoniso) meaning:

  • womb, origin, way of birth, place of birth, realm of existence, nature, matrix
  • thoroughness, knowledge, insight

Manasikara meaning:

  • to ponder or
  • to take to heart

The combined terms have been defined as meaning:

  • proper, wise, or appropriate attention
  • skilful, wise, or critical reflection
  • purposeful, systematic and methodical thought

However, the phrase was described to me as meaning “the ability to be a good teacher to oneself”.

I have always aspired to be a good teacher to others, but had never really thought about being a teacher to myself.  My research into the meaning of the phrase revealed its strong connection with the notion of reflection, something that I am more familiar with.  Somehow, though, the idea of being a good teacher to oneself means a little more than the concept of self-reflection.  The latter seems to focus on self-as-student, whereas the former adds a kind of responsibility to be self-as-teacher.  I like the circularity of the relationship: self-as-teacher to self-as-student.

Yoniso Manasikara, by Buddha Art

There is a downloadable mp3 of a wonderful talk by Ajahn Pasanno about the importance of yoniso manasikara in meditation, available here.

Here are also some links to websites that discuss the concept of yoniso manasikara: