Solely Anapanasati

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Solely Anapanasati

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:19 am

Wall of text alert. Please bear with me, as I am trying to understand the Dhamma. I would like to explore only anapanasati, but the phrases in the relevant Suttas are unclear to me. For example, let me lay out a basic formulation, this one from Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of SN 54.10:

"On that occasion, the bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world."


Using SN 36.7, two of these terms receive further treatment:

"And how, bhikkhus, is a bhikkhu mindful? Here, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having put away covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world... (and so too with feelings in feelings, mind in mind, and phenomena in phenomena).

"And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu exercise clear comprehension? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is one who acts with clear comprehension when going forward and returning... when defecating and urinating... when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, speaking, and keeping silent."


This is only somewhat helpful; with the term 'mindfulness' I get the feeling that I'm trying to look up a word in a dictionary and being sent to another word (which refers back to the first word), whereas researching 'clear comprehension' adds information (although clear comprehension reads like a colloquial English definition of mindfulness, which bears noting in case confusion over these terms arises later).

Of the four preliminary aspects of anapanasati, I understand three ("having folded his legs crosswise" & "straightened his body" & "just mindful...") and one is obscure ("set up mindfulness in front of him"). I have here a small manual entitled The Four Noble Truths by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, and he offers a variation (the one found on ATI):

Bodhi's "set up mindfulness in front of him" is
Thanissaro's "setting mindfulness to the fore [lit: to the front of the chest]".

With this in mind, the preliminaries I have discerned are:

(a) Go to some quiet place
(b) Sit upright
(c) Place mindfulness on the chest/abdomen/diaphragm/musculo-skeletal breathing apparatus? (more on this below)
(d) Just mindful he breathes in, just mindful he breathes out (this phrase precedes the four tetrads)

So here's the first anapanasati tetrad, using Bodhi's SN 54.10:

"Breathing in long, he knows 'I breathe in long';
Breathing out long, he knows 'I breathe out long';
Breathing in short, he knows 'I breathe in short';
Breathing out short, he knows 'I breathe out short';
He trains thus: 'Experiencing the whole body, I will breathe in';
He trains thus: 'Experiencing the whole body, I will breathe out';
He trains thus: 'Tranquilizing the bodily formation, I will breathe in';
He trains thus: 'Tranquilizing the bodily formation, I will breathe out';..."


Prima facie, the last half of this tetrad is obscure to me, as are the remaining tetrads. It becomes more helpful to me to use Thanissaro's preparatory phrase "to the front of the chest" rather than Bodhi's phrase because using the chest/abdomen/diaphragm as the tool for "knowing" per the first four lines clarifies, for me, what "experiencing the whole body" could mean. In fact, Thanissaro translates that phrase as "He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body..." and in place of "...tranquilizing..." offers instead "He trains himself to breathe in calming bodily fabrications". So here's Tetrad I (with that little bit from earlier for continuity) using Thanissaro's translation:

(d) Breathe in/out | just mindful
(1) Breathe in/out | knowing whether long
(2) Breathe in/out | knowing whether short
(3) Breathe in/out | sensitive to the entire body
(4) Breathe in/out | calming bodily fabrications

We started with the breath, and I'm inclined to read (3) in the context of the Buddha describing the breath as a body among bodies, but (4) definitely refers to the whole physical body, doesn't it? If so, (3) seems to make the most sense when it's taken to mean "sensitive to the entire body inhaling and exhaling", meaning mindfulness of the entire physical mechanism of breathing - it seems to be a sort of broadening of mindfulness, collecting the whole body under its purview instead of just some part, such as the chest or abdomen. Therefore, (4) makes sense if interpreted as some sort of "relaxing" injunction. In short, encompass the various bits, then calm them.

The phrase "...sensitive to..." in (3) is replete in Tetrad II:

(5) Breathe in/out | sensitive to rapture
(6) Breathe in/out | sensitive to pleasure
(7) Breathe in/out | sensitive to mental fabrications
(8) Breathe in/out | calming mental fabrications

So, breathing in and out and apparently still aware of it, since the instructions still refer to breathing in and out and training accordingly, I am to become sensitive to rapture. I can only presume that this sensitizing will occur similarly to (3), above, since the word is an instruction and not a description (perhaps the Pali here can be conveyed with the eccentric "sensitizing to rapture"?)

I assume rapture is the rapture spoken of in SN 12.21:
...Happiness too has a proximate cause... tranquility.
Tranquility... rapture.
Rapture... gladness.
Gladness... faith...


In other words, {...} --> Faith --> Gladness --> Rapture --> Tranquility --> {...}, whence the source of rapture addressed in Tetrad II. "Pleasure" is a strange thing to have in (6), but earlier I was only instructed to set aside covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world, so pleasure is still along for the ride. Perhaps, as in the first tetrad, it's a matter of broadening the horizons? Here's what I wonder:

Just as (1-2) added a level of detail to (d), and (3) added a level of detail to (1-2), so too here: breathing in and out, long or short is an addition to merely breathing in and out, so too pleasure is in addition to merely rapture. If so, (7) can be read as 'sensitive to the entire pleasant & unpleasant', just as (3) was 'sensitive to the entire body'.

Here are the other Tetrads for reference:

(09) Breathe in/out | sensitive to the mind
(10) Breathe in/out | satisfying the mind
(11) Breathe in/out | steadying the mind
(12) Breathe in/out | releasing the mind

(13) Breathe in/out | focusing on inconstancy
(14) Breathe in/out | focusing on dispassion
(15) Breathe in/out | focusing on cessation
(16) Breathe in/out | focusing on relinquishment

...but you see the direction I'm going here: Meditation instruction that maps precisely onto the anapanasati tetrads and doesn't bring jhana in to explain the difficult bits. If there is any merit to this approach, perhaps we can work out the remaining half.

Thoughts?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 3704
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby altar » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:42 pm

i prefer the phrase puts mindfulness to the fore to puts it in front of him. it means it is his sole preoccupation, or, at any rate, the sole designation of his occupation. normally you can be doing mindfulness of chattering away or doing odd tasks and jobs, or whatever it is you are doing. but here mindfulness itself is the chief preoccupation. of course, and as i have come to learn, it is accompanied by and important to include other factors including intention.
another translation for displeasure in regard to the world is grief. so it means im fairly certain the kind of displeasure that keeps you concerned with the world. if it is sensitive to displeasure in your body or mind, this is different and is usually considered as a vipassana object, endured, or ignored to continue with the meditation.
as per the umm instructions which keep you focused on always considering and analyzing or intentionality or cessation, these i think one usually sorts out themselves regarding their desire for jhana or more peace and quiet and vipassana kind of accompanying it along, however it would be interesting to hear what one has to say
useful tools are the seven factors of enlightenment and the 5 spiritual faculties/powers along w/ contemplation of the 5 hindrances working towards their dispelling however it would be neat to see how you do focussing solely on the anapanasati sutta. but maybe i should work on meditating before i give so much advice.
User avatar
altar
 
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:24 pm
Location: Monterey, MA

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby Dmytro » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:52 pm

Hi,

For practical instructions, you will need someone with deep knowledge of the practie, like Ven.Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#part2-b

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... #varieties

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/inmind.html

As for the term 'parimukhaṃ', there's a relevant thread:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5636

Satipatthana: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5656#p88181

'Sati' is to keep in mind the selected area of experience, while 'sampajanna' notices aht happens there:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5570

The 16 methods of Anapanasati are not a sequence of steps, they are brought together in four groups according to the four ways of establishing remembrance (sati).

The sequence is explained, for example, in Mahanama sutta:

"And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Good luck,

Dmytro
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby Dmytro » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:54 pm

P.S. The earliest practical explanation of Anapanasati:

http://www.bps.lk/bp_library/bp502s/bp502_part3.html
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby rowyourboat » Sun May 08, 2011 6:05 pm

Hi Daverupa,

I see no problem with what you are suggesting, but I do believe and have experienced that the first three retrads lead to the first jhana ('release'). The jhana factors of piti (rapture) and sukha (bliss) arise before the jhana itself arises, so that is the 5th and 6th lines. When this fades what remains to be felt is 'citta' or mind. Even this is 'relaxed' when the awareness is felt to absorb into the nimitta. Then there is further work to be done (9-12) to get into the first jhana. This sutta outlines an amazingly sophisticated method to get into jhana, best attempted by those who already have some proficiency in the anapanasati method- note that the Buddha taught it to some of his finest monks, who were already meditating. It bears the mark of the genius of a Sammasambuddha IMO. You are welcome to discuss this further.

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby daverupa » Sun May 08, 2011 7:18 pm

Explanations of anapanasati which suggest that any stage (1-16) requires jhana are mistaken. Jhana can probably arise during any stage of anapanasati, yet anapanasati can be practiced to step 16 without jhana. It's a matter of development. Besides, suppose one is practicing the second tetrad and attains jhana - one would still have to explore the third and fourth tetrads; jhana isn't a "pass" for the aspects of anapanasati not yet developed. Sammasati and sammasamadhi both.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 3704
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby rowyourboat » Sun May 08, 2011 9:37 pm

Hi Daverupa,

I don't see how 1-16 require jhana. I feel step 12 (release) is talking of release into jhana (Samma samadhi). It doesn't then follow that 13-16 must be done in that jhana either.

In my experience 1-12 steps are a sophisticated and sequential development of the progress of samadhi. What is special in this are that some steps are voluntary and others in involuntary developments. I guess you could practice the 'full body of the breath' before the 'long breath', but it is not the correct label.. or to put in other words- that label of the full body of the breath finds the best fit, after the sequential development from steps 1 and 2, in step 3.

Edit: The dhamma being proclaimed in a certain order, used to be a mark of a proper teacher/teaching, and the Dhamma was indeed 'well said' (suvakkata).

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby gavesako » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:38 am

The Seven Practices
For a Healthy Mind

By Venerable Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako

Wat Sunandavanaram
Ban Tha Tian, Tumbol Saiyoke,
Amphur Saiyok, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

http://truthoflife.fix.gs/index.php?topic=1421.0
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
User avatar
gavesako
 
Posts: 1326
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm
Location: England

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby Ytrog » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:03 pm

Very useful Bhante :anjali:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
User avatar
Ytrog
 
Posts: 693
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: The Netherlands, near Arnhem

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby JackV » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:25 pm

gavesako wrote:The Seven Practices
For a Healthy Mind

By Venerable Ajahn Mitsuo Gavesako

Wat Sunandavanaram
Ban Tha Tian, Tumbol Saiyoke,
Amphur Saiyok, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

http://truthoflife.fix.gs/index.php?topic=1421.0



Thanks
Here where a thousand
captains swore grand conquest
Tall grasses their monument.
JackV
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:19 am

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:34 pm

I'm glad this thread is here. It seems like there is a blizzard of writings interpreting the suttas in regards to anapanasati. Too many writings to read and digest each and everyone. Good to see opinions popping up about the better writings.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby danieLion » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:31 am

Hi daverupa/all,
My practice involves anapanasati. If what you say about anapanasati and jhana is true (and I think it is), then I could probably save myself some time and forgo reading the long threads on jhana here at Dhammawheel, right? ;)
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby bodom » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:13 pm

In my view there is no reason that one must practice all 16 steps of anapanasati one after the other and attain jhana (if that is what the Buddha even referred to by rapture, pleasure etc.) If one takes a look at the sutta one will see the seven factors of awakening are mentioned FOUR times in the sutta. They are relayed after practicing each tetrad. Thus if one fulfils all four factors of the first tetrad (mindfulness of body) through mindfulness of breathing...

'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, discerns, 'I am breathing out long'; or breathing in short, discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&... out sensitive to the entire body'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out calming bodily fabrication':


this in turn perfect's the seven factors of enlightenment and one can thus attain "clear knowing and release" with the first tetrad alone. Similarly for the other three tetrads:

The Seven Factors for Awakening

"And how are the four frames of reference developed & pursued so as to bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination?

"[1] On whatever occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world, on that occasion his mindfulness is steady & without lapse. When his mindfulness is steady & without lapse, then mindfulness as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[2] Remaining mindful in this way, he examines, analyzes, & comes to a comprehension of that quality with discernment. When he remains mindful in this way, examining, analyzing, & coming to a comprehension of that quality with discernment, then analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[3] In one who examines, analyzes, & comes to a comprehension of that quality with discernment, persistence is aroused unflaggingly. When persistence is aroused unflaggingly in one who examines, analyzes, & comes to a comprehension of that quality with discernment, then persistence as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[4] In one whose persistence is aroused, a rapture not-of-the-flesh arises. When a rapture not-of-the-flesh arises in one whose persistence is aroused, then rapture as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[5] For one enraptured at heart, the body grows calm and the mind grows calm. When the body & mind of a monk enraptured at heart grow calm, then serenity as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[6] For one who is at ease — his body calmed — the mind becomes concentrated. When the mind of one who is at ease — his body calmed — becomes concentrated, then concentration as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

"[7] He carefully watches the mind thus concentrated with equanimity. When he carefully watches the mind thus concentrated with equanimity, equanimity as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.

(Similarly with the other three frames of reference: feelings, mind, & mental qualities.)

"This is how the four frames of reference are developed & pursued so as to bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination."


:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4535
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby daverupa » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:27 pm

The Kayagatasati Sutta has only the first tetrad yet goes on to describe all four jhanas, so that's a point in favor of such an interpretation. Segregating the tetrads in this way, it would seem a progression through anapanasati 1-16 borders on artificial. Yet besides the Kayagatasati Sutta and the two Satipatthana Suttas, which seem likely to be composite, the 16 steps are always conveyed together.

Is it possible the repetition of seven enlightenment factors for each tetrad is an artifact of recension?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 3704
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Solely Anapanasati

Postby Nyana » Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:44 pm

daverupa wrote:The Kayagatasati Sutta has only the first tetrad yet goes on to describe all four jhanas, so that's a point in favor of such an interpretation.

The Madhyamāgama Smṛtyupasthāna Sūtra also places the four dhyānas (with the similes of the bath attendant, etc.) after the first tetrad of mindfulness of breathing in the mindfulness of the body section of the discourse.

daverupa wrote:Segregating the tetrads in this way, it would seem a progression through anapanasati 1-16 borders on artificial. Yet besides the Kayagatasati Sutta and the two Satipatthana Suttas, which seem likely to be composite, the 16 steps are always conveyed together.

I'd say it just opens the practice up, highlighting a number of different aspects of mindfulness of breathing as options for attentive development. But they're all subsets of the same practice.

daverupa wrote:Is it possible the repetition of seven enlightenment factors for each tetrad is an artifact of recension?

The seven factors of awakening cover the same ground, progressing through more advanced stages of practice.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2229
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am


Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 3 guests