kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

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frank k
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kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:42 am

from http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/T ... ana-02.htm

passambhayaṁ kāyasaṅkhāraṁ assasissāmī ti sikkhati,
calming the bodily process I will breathe in, like this he trains,

passambhayaṁ kāyasaṅkhāraṁ passasissāmī ti sikkhati.
calming the bodily process I will breathe out, like this he trains.

thanissaro translates as "calming bodily fabrication".

So my question is, if elsewhere in the suttas kāyasaṅkhāra is defined to be "in and out breathing", why doesn't everyone just translate it as "calming the breath"? Wouldn't that be much easier for a mediator who's trying to follow the 16 steps of anapana to understand?
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Samma » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:42 am


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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Dmytro » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:02 am

Last edited by Dmytro on Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.


frank k
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:24 pm

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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Samma » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:50 am


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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Dmytro » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:52 am



frank k
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:22 pm

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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Samma » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:35 am


pegembara
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby pegembara » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:52 am

And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

frank k
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:08 pm

Hi Pegembra,
An interesting side note, I find that while doing anapana, before I sneeze, there's a one second or less build up time where the body heats up, and during that interval if I "calm my bodily fabrications", the sneeze is suppressed, avoiding the inconvenience of startling meditators sitting around me.

On the one hand, I like the translation, "calming the breath", because it is both elegant, deep, and comprehensive. For how can we calm the breath (in a sustainable natural way) without also gaining insight from the learning process that calming the breath necessarily entails also calming various kinds of kaya sankhaara, citta, and citta sankhara.

On the other hand, a lawyer would prefer "calming bodily formations" since the wording is more comprehensive, not leaving any room for getting sued.
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frank k
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:24 pm

Hi Samma,
I agree with what you wrote above. I didn't mean to imply that one could successfully teach or learn anapana with the brief 16 steps alone. But I do think that by assembling other sutta passages, and using those as a commentary, you can put together something that is surprisingly robust without requiring additional support from texts later than the suttas. For example, using the 4 jhana similes as a commentary for step 3 is very instructive, without requiring lengthy explanation.
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Kumara » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:33 am

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frank k
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Sun Nov 30, 2014 5:00 pm

I noticed something recently about the 16 steps of anapana. There's an asymmetry when you compare the last two items of vedananupassana and the last two items of kayanupassana.

The last two of vedananupassana:
7. cittasankhaarapatisamvedi...
8. passambhayam cittasankharam

the last two of kayanupassana:
3. sabba kaya patisamvedi
4. passambhayam [u]kaya sankharam[/u]

So #7 and #8 both use citta sankhara, whereas #3 and #4 there's a change - one is "sabba kaya", and the other is "kaya sankahra". This is why it seems really odd that commentaries interpret both "sabba kaya" and "kaya sankhara" to mean "the breath". If the Buddha wanted to refer to the same concept, why would he change the terminology and risk confusing novice monks when in steps 7 and 8 he's consistent?

I always felt that the argument of the commentaries that "the breath is a body among bodies" to justify "sabba kaya" as breath ( MN 118 ) is like looking at the wrong end of the telescope. To me the straightforward analysis is that the Buddha is explaining why "the breath" is classified under "KAYA"nupassana, body contemplation. Just as in the next tetrad, he explains that "in-&-out breaths — is classed as a feeling among feelings". He's saying that to explain how one can stay with the breath as the object of meditation and still be classified as "vedananupassana", contemplation of feelings.

from mn 118
(referring to kayanupassana)
I tell you, monks, that this — the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

(referring to cittanupassana)
I tell you, monks, that this — careful attention to in-&-out breaths — is classed as a feeling among feelings, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on feelings in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

If you take the commentary argument to its conclusion, you would also have to say that for step 7 and step 8 of anapana, one is not supposed to look at cittasankhara as "mental formation", but instead as the physical breath. And in step 8, one is not to calm citta sankhara but to calm the physical breath instead. But then you would wonder, why would the Buddha be redundant and have step 3, 4, 7,8 all refer to physical breath?
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