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
- 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.
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: