Pali Term: Sati

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:09 am

Sekha wrote:I have already debunked this argument


Sekha

In my understanding, I see little ground, if any, to dispute Dymtro. 'Sati' is rememberance, recollection or mental preoccupation. In respect to meditation, particularly Anapanasati, it is to keep the mind preoccupied with each in & out breathing & the other internal sense objects that come into awareness is association with in & out breathing, such as the physical body, feelings, the quality of the citta (mind) & Dhamma (truth). Or in respect to the framework Satipatthana, it is to keep the mind pre-occupied with body, feelings, mind & dhamma (rather than have the mind pre-occupied with other activities, such as sex, drugs and rock-&-roll).

However, when a practitioner is not meditating, sati also serves to keep the mind pre-occupied with whatever dhamma is relevent to the situation, such as right thought, right speech, right action, right livehood, etc. Sati even keeps the mind free from 'self-view' & attachment when engaging in internet Dhamma discussion.

In summary, my understanding is sati is to keep in the mind whatever tasks, goals, knowledges, etc, are required for dhamma practise. Even, if one is not formally practising dhamma, such as crossing a busy road, sati is keeping watch on the traffic (rather than keeping watch on in & out breathing or entering the 2nd jhana).

In my opinion, the Mahavihara commentaries correctly refer to sati as the state of non-fading; not-forgetting; maintaining in mind; as is correctly described in MN 117.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Sekha » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:02 am

I kind of agree with rendering it as 'the act of keeping in the mind'. B. Analayo proposes also 'presence of/in the mind'. But the former rendering has this drawback that the verb 'to keep' is transitive, so it calls for an object which is not present, as sati is an abstract concept that does not refer to a particular object (unless for example in anapanassati). So 'presence of/in the mind' seems to be a better rendering.

But there is a great difference in English between remembrance and awareness/mindfulness. If one is to hold on tenaciously to the former, the problem is that it may induce confusion for practitioners. Remembrance is directed to the present perception of a 'past object' (instructions for example), whereas awareness is directed to phenomena happening in the present moment.

The most advanced meditation teachers I know of all take sati in the sense of awareness/mindfulness. I don't see any reason to consider that they are all mistaken.
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As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:39 am

Sekha wrote: Remembrance is directed to the present perception of a 'past object' (instructions for example), whereas awareness is directed to phenomena happening in the present moment.

The most advanced meditation teachers I know of all take sati in the sense of awareness/mindfulness. I don't see any reason to consider that they are all mistaken

Sekha

Imho, your 2nd point is irrelevent because only an advanced meditation practitioner can judge whether a teacher is advanced.

As for awareness directed towards phenomena happening in the present moment, in my experience, this is definitely not sati. In my experience, MN 117 offers the most accurate description of sati for the advanced meditator. Here, sati is to keep right view in the mind, which means to keep the mind free of craving, following the right view set forth in the Four Noble Truths.

By nature (rather than by intent), the mind is consciousness. It is not required of the mind to direct awareness towards certain phenomena. When the mind is free from craving, free from hindrances, the in & out breathing naturally arises as the meditation object. Then calming of the breathing will naturally arise; then jhana will naturally arise, etc, without any need to direct awareness towards certain phenomena. Have you not read SN 48.10, where Lord Buddha instructs the noble disciple attains jhana simply by making relinquishment (vosagga) the object of meditation?

Here, using this advanced method, which accords with the heartwood of Buddha-Dhamma, sati is only required to keep the mind free from craving, following the Lord Buddha's instruction.

As for awareness is directed to phenomena, I have personally never come to this interpretation from reading sutta. The stock phrase for satipathana is he 'sees' the body in the body, etc. The stock phrase in Anapanasati is 'experiencing'. I have not read any specific techniques mentioned to bring about such 'seeing' & 'experiencing'.

Possibly you could quote some discourses for us that explicitly instruct the beginning practitioner (i.e., not those attained to the 4th jhana) to direct their awareness towards in & out breathing & other objects?

Thanks

:)
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Sekha » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:15 am

JhanaStream wrote:
Sekha wrote:The most advanced meditation teachers I know of all take sati in the sense of awareness/mindfulness. I don't see any reason to consider that they are all mistaken

Imho, your 2nd point is irrelevent because only an advanced meditation practitioner can judge whether a teacher is advanced.

I don't even want to argue on that. I have already given 2 names earlier: Goenka, the Pa Auk Sayadaw and I can add various other teachers like Sayadaw U Revata, Sayadaw U Puññananda who are respected teachers by both beginners and advanced meditators.

JhanaStream wrote:As for awareness directed towards phenomena happening in the present moment, in my experience, this is definitely not sati.

well then, we disagree. I am tired of addressing your baseless statements. Everyone knows what the definition of samma-sati is.

JhanaStream wrote:In my experience, MN 117 offers the most accurate description of sati for the advanced meditator.

if you say so..

JhanaStream wrote:It is not required of the mind to direct awareness towards certain phenomena.

I don't see any other word to qualify this as pure 'nonsense'.

JhanaStream wrote:Have you not read SN 48.10, where Lord Buddha instructs the noble disciple attains jhana simply by making relinquishment (vosagga) the object of meditation?

Please provide a proper quotation with Pali text.

JhanaStream wrote:As for awareness is directed to phenomena, I have personally never come to this interpretation from reading sutta.

so for you anapana, the breath, is not a phenomenon?

JhanaStream wrote:The stock phrase for satipathana is he 'sees' the body in the body, etc. The stock phrase in Anapanasati is 'experiencing'. I have not read any specific techniques mentioned to bring about such 'seeing' & 'experiencing'.

provide clear quotations.

JhanaStream wrote:Possibly you could quote some discourses for us that explicitly instruct the beginning practitioner (i.e., not those attained to the 4th jhana) to direct their awareness towards in & out breathing & other objects?

Yes, I can, and it is quite easy. But I am tired of arguing with you.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:19 am

Sekha wrote:But there is a great difference in English between remembrance and awareness/mindfulness. If one is to hold on tenaciously to the former, the problem is that it may induce confusion for practitioners. Remembrance is directed to the present perception of a 'past object' (instructions for example), whereas awareness is directed to phenomena happening in the present moment.
And, as you correctly indicate, this points to the problem of taking a purely lexical approach to understanding Pali terms, as is taken by the OP. Meaning is determined by usage and quite clearly sati -- as it is used in text the suttas and as been shown here repeatedly -- means more than mere "remembrance." But, alas, this will continues to be a matter of contention, it seems.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:40 pm

Sekha wrote:
JhanaStream wrote:As for awareness directed towards phenomena happening in the present moment, in my experience, this is definitely not sati.

well then, we disagree. I am tired of addressing your baseless statements. Everyone knows what the definition of samma-sati is.

Hello Sekha

A poetic sutta at AN 10.58 (although not translated according to the original commentaries on it) may be helpful here in offering insight into the intrinsic role of sati (mindfulness) . The sutta states:

Satādhipateyyā sabbe dhammā

Mindfulness governs all dhamma (practices).

In his new Anguttara Nikaya, Bhikkhu Bodhi, with input from Ajahn Brahmali, has rendered: "Mindfulness exercises authority over them".

Sekha wrote:
JhanaStream wrote:As for awareness is directed to phenomena, I have personally never come to this interpretation from reading sutta.

so for you anapana, the breath, is not a phenomenon?

Yes. Anapana is phenomena. But there is no instruction to direct awareness towards it. The instruction states: "The meditator sets mindfulness to the fore: lit: in front of one's face; ever mindfulness, one [the body] breathes in; ever mindful, one [the body] breathes out". Here, a natural fruition of unity between mind & object seems to be described simply by establishing the mind in a state of mindfulness, which means free of unwholesome states. It does not instruct to busily direct the mind here & there or to literally be in the present moment.

Mindfulness also governs the quality of mind thus the mind can be in the present moment but still not have the most ideal (particularly pliant) qualities for meditation.

Sekha wrote:
Jhanastream wrote:It is not required of the mind to direct awareness towards certain phenomena.

I don't see any other word to qualify this as pure 'nonsense'.

Jhanastream wrote:Have you not read SN 48.10, where Lord Buddha instructs the noble disciple attains jhana simply by making relinquishment (vosagga) the object of meditation?

Please provide a proper quotation with Pali text.

I am not asserting what you regard as "non-sense" is the only method but simply drawing it to your attention to broaden possibilities.

Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako vossaggārammaṇaṃ karitvā labhati samādhiṃ, labhati cittassa ekaggataṃ.

And what is the faculty of concentration? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making it his object to let go, attains concentration, attains singleness of mind. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters & remains in the first jhana:

SN 48.10 (Thanissaro)


And what is the faculty of concentration? Here, the noble disciple gains concentration, gains one-pointedness of mind, having made release the object. Secluded from sensual pleasures...he enters & dwells in first jhana...

SN 48.10 (Bodhi)

I am more inclined to render 'vossaggā' as 'letting go' or 'relinquishment' rather than 'release'. Regardless, this verse points to another (more pliant, fluid & sublime) possibility.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:17 pm

Hi JhanaStream,
JhanaStream wrote:A poetic sutta at AN 10.58 (although not translated according to the original commentaries on it) may be helpful here in offering insight into the intrinsic role of sati (mindfulness) . The sutta states:

Satādhipateyyā sabbe dhammā

Mindfulness governs all dhamma (practices).

In his new Anguttara Nikaya, Bhikkhu Bodhi, with input from Ajahn Brahmali, has rendered: "Mindfulness exercises authority over them".

You're right. Your translation differs from others.

Bhikkhu Bodhi and Thanissaro Bhikkhu both take those lines as talking about dhammas (things/phenomena) in their translations, not dhamma practice.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:"'All phenomena have mindfulness as their governing principle.

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:All things are rooted in desire, .... Mindfulness exercises authority over them ... .

Bhikkhu Bodhi also points out a related line in Sn 5.1
"Whatever streams are in the world, it is mindfulness that obstructs them and restricts them, and by wisdom they are cut off."

:anjali:
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:23 pm

Sekha wrote:But there is a great difference in English between remembrance and awareness. If one is to hold on tenaciously to the former, the problem is that it may induce confusion for practitioners.

I am in full agreement, here, Sekha, with your point. However, in my experience, it is sati as 'awareness' that induces confusion for practitioners.

Sekha wrote:Remembrance is directed to the present perception of a 'past object' (instructions for example), whereas awareness is directed to phenomena happening in the present moment.

'Remembrance' is directed towards keeping in mind certain dhammas, such as relinquishment. Where as awareness directed to phenomena makes the mind very busy & thus too gross.

In my experience, when I ceased using effort to direct awareness but, instead, was simply mindful to keep the mind relinquished, my practise progressed greatly.

Mindfulness as 'awareness' creates rigidity. Where as mindfulness as 'maintaining' (remembering) creates fluidity/pliancy. Please keep in mind, Buddha explained pliancy is a quality of good samadhi.

When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady....

Stock phrase


:meditate:
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:31 pm

mikenz66 wrote:You're right. Your translation differs from others.

Thank you. But I see no need to enter into a discussion about this here because the verse states: "Mindfulness governs all dhamma". Practices are also dhamma. If you need me to explain the entire sutta to you, you may consider commencing another thread or simply PM me.

My translation certainly differs from modern translations but not the first commentaries (here, 1st paragraph, 2nd page). Further, I have unshakeable confidence in my translation thus there is no point in your challenging it, at least for my benefit.

:)
Last edited by JhanaStream on Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:38 pm

JhanaStream wrote:.

Mindfulness as 'awareness' creates rigidity.
Not in my experience.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:44 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
JhanaStream wrote:.

Mindfulness as 'awareness' creates rigidity.
Not in my experience.

True, each experience is different. If one describes one's experience (which I am not recommending), then another can reply: "Yes, I have experienced that but there is experience beyond that".

My point is I genuinely disagree with Sekha & see mindfulness as serving only one purpose, which is recollecting. Even when the mind is 'aware' (i.e., receptively conscious), it is mindfulness that performs the function of remembering to keep it in the state of awareness. I can only suggest to look into the mind & look one step back into what is actually happening. Also, mindfulness must remember to do more than just keeping the mind 'receptively conscious'.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:54 pm

JhanaStream wrote:My point is I genuinely disagree with Sekha & see mindfulness as serving only one purpose, which is recollecting. Even when the mind is 'aware' (i.e., receptively conscious), it is mindfulness that performs the function of remembering to keep it in the state of awareness. I can only suggest to look into the mind & look one step back into what is actually happening. Also, mindfulness must remember to do more than just keeping the mind 'receptively conscious'.
Honestly, it is difficult to keep all these sub-arguments straight. If Sekha sees sati "as serving only one purpose, which is recollecting," then I would strongly disagree with that. But at this point, the arguments I am seeing here from the OP onwards are either rigidly limiting themselves to lexical meanings or are nitpicking. Best for me to just simply stay out of this altogether, especially given your manipulation of translations.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby JhanaStream » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:08 pm

tiltbillings wrote:If Sekha sees sati "as serving only one purpose, which is recollecting," then I would strongly disagree with that.

Sekha did not say that. I said that.

Returning, if we instruct a person with no exposure to Buddhism to "be aware", that person will probably arouse a certain state of heightened alertness. But, in my understanding, this heightened alertness is not sati. In my understanding, sati functions to keep the Dhamma in the mind; to remember to keep in the mind the various aspects of the Noble Eighthold Path. For example, if in meditation, the mind thinks: "I am entering the 2nd jhana in this present moment", sati remembers Buddha taught to abandon the view of "I am" &, instead, try to see, with insight, it is the mind entering the 2nd jhana in this impermanent "present" moment.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby rahul3bds » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:02 pm

In both Marathi and Hindi (two modern Indian languages closest to Pali), the term smriti (sati) is rendered as Memory.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:03 pm

rahul3bds wrote:In both Marathi and Hindi (two modern Indian languages closest to Pali), the term smriti (sati) is rendered as Memory.
However, that does not mean that Marathi and Hindi are a basis for understanding how sati is actually used within the suttas, which is what gives the sati in that context its particular meaning.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Sekha » Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:30 am

agreed. This is not a conclusive argument.

sati does mean remembrance in Pali as well. But it is not the best rendering of the word in all contexts, because Pali and English semantics follow quite different patterns.
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As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Dmytro » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:58 am

rahul3bds wrote:In both Marathi and Hindi (two modern Indian languages closest to Pali), the term smriti (sati) is rendered as Memory.


Thank you, it's interesting.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:16 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
rahul3bds wrote:In both Marathi and Hindi (two modern Indian languages closest to Pali), the term smriti (sati) is rendered as Memory.
However, that does not mean that Marathi and Hindi are a basis for understanding how sati is actually used within the suttas, which is what gives the sati in that context its particular meaning.


I just had another look at the Satipatthana Sutta, and there sati seems to have the primary meanings of paying attention to, and being aware of.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Dmytro » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:56 pm

Hi Porpoise,

porpoise wrote:I just had another look at the Satipatthana Sutta, and there sati seems to have the primary meanings of paying attention to, and being aware of.


The meaning of sati in Satipatthana sutta is explained in the early text, Satipatthana-Vibhanga:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299&p=205855#p205855

Being aware is a sphere of another faculty that plays an important role in Satipatthana practice,

“Sampajāno” ti. Tattha, katamaṁ sampajaññaṁ?
“Full awareness”. Herein, what is full awareness?

Yā paññā pajānanā vicayo pavicayo dhammavicayo,
That which is wisdom, knowing, investigation, deep investigation, investigation of (the nature of) things,

sallakkhaṇā upalakkhaṇā paccupalakkhaṇā,
discernment, discrimination, differentiation,

paṇḍiccaṁ kosallaṁ nepuññaṁ vebhabyā cintā upaparikkhā,
erudition, skilfulness, subtlety, clarification, thoughtfulness, consideration,

bhūrī medhā pariṇāyikā vipassanā sampajaññaṁ patodo,
breadth, intelligence, guidance, insight, full awareness, examination,

paññā Paññindriyaṁ Paññābalaṁ,
wisdom, the Faculty of Wisdom, the Strength of Wisdom,

paññāsatthaṁ paññāpāsādo paññā-āloko paññā-obhāso paññāpajjoto paññāratanaṁ,
the sword of wisdom, height of wisdom, light of wisdom, lustre of wisdom, flame of wisdom, treasure of wisdom,

amoho dhammavicayo Sammādiṭṭhi – idaṁ vuccati “sampajaññaṁ”.
non-delusion, investigation of (the nature of) things, Right View – this is called “full awareness”.

http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/T ... iddeso.htm
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:08 pm

Dmytro wrote:Hi Porpoise,

porpoise wrote:I just had another look at the Satipatthana Sutta, and there sati seems to have the primary meanings of paying attention to, and being aware of.


The meaning of sati in Satipatthana sutta is explained in the early text, Satipatthana-Vibhanga:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299&p=205855#p205855
Which is actually a good bit. And if one follows the thread, one can see easily enough that the meaning of sati as it is actually used in the suttas is a bit more plastic than you seem to want to admit to.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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