Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

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Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:48 pm

Samvega has kindly offered to lead a discussion on Ven Anālayo's book about the Sattipathana Sutta:
Satipaṭṭhāna: the direct path to realization.

I will leave it up to Samvega to lead the discussion. Further details should follow shortly.

:anjali:
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Samvega » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:54 am

Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization
By: Bhante Analayo

Image

Join us as we read Bhante Analayo's seminal book on early Buddhist meditation. We will read one chapter per week and hold a discussion to help each other gain insight.
When: Starting Monday, October 17th
Where: Dhammawheel Forum
How: Visit www.dhammawheel.com and register for an account. Pick up the book from your favorite bookseller and start taking notes on chapter 1. We'll go wherever the conversation takes as and we explore questions that might come up as you read, any realization or inspiration you might have, the pali background, and even points of controversy.

The book study will be held in the forum entitled "Study Group" under the parent forum called "Modern Theravada".


'a gem...I learned a lot from this wonderful book and highly recommend it to both experienced meditators and those just beginning to explore the path.'
Joseph Goldstein

... an indispensable guide ... surely destined to become the classic commentary on the Satipatthana.
Christopher Titmuss

The Satipatthana Sutta is the teaching on mindfulness and the breath and is the bases of much insight meditation practice today. This book is a thorough and insightful guide to this deceptively simple yet profound teaching.

'With painstaking thoroughness, Ven. Analayo marshals the suttas of the Pali canon, works of modem scholarship, and the teachings of present-day meditation masters to make the rich implications of the Satipatthana Sutta, so concise in the original, clear to contemporary students of the Dharma.

Unlike other popular books on the subject, he is not out to establish the exclusive validity of one particular system of meditation as against other's. Rather, his aim is to explore the sutta as a wide-ranging and multi-faceted source of guidance which allows for alternative interpretations and approaches to practice. His analysis combines the detached objectivity of the academic scholar with the engaged concern of the practitioner for whom meditation is a way of life rather than just a subject of study.

The book should prove to be of value both to scholars of Early Buddhism and to serious meditators alike. Ideally, it will encourage in both types of readers the same wholesome synthesis of scholarship and practice that underlies the author's own treatment of his subject.'
Bhikkhu Bodhi

About the Author
Ven. Analayo was born in Germany, was ordained in Sri Lanka in 1995 and completed his PhD on satipatthana at the University of Peradeniya in 2000. At present he is mainly engaged in the practice of meditation and amongst other things contributes to the Encyclopedia of Buddhism.
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Samvega » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:13 am

Chapter One: General Aspects o fthe DIrect Path

1.1

Some thoughts on the originality of the Satipatthana sutta:

Analayo makes the point that "expositions on satipatthana are also preserved in the Chinese and Sanskrit, with intriguing occasional variations from the Pali presentations" (p.15). Looking in the footnotes it is noted that there are five additional versions in existence.

I'd like to note a couple of things. Analayo seems to intentionally avoid saying that there are different version of the sutta ITSELF, but instead notes that there are "other expositions" on the TOPIC. Just what are these "intriguing variations"? Ajahn Sujato makes that point that the main variations seem to stem from a gradual de-emphasizing of "concentration" meditation in favor of a strict "vipassana-only" approach. See Sujato's post on the topic here: http://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/a-brief-history-of-mindfulness/

Analayo also holds the "refrain" part of the satipatthana sutta as centrally important. He notes in footnote 6 that the refrain is "indispensible". Sujato, on the other hand seems to treat the refrain with some disdain, calling it a "late addition". Would anyone like to add to this seeming contradiction between scholars?

1.2

Analayo makes the point that the sequence of a satipatthana's in the sutta is relevant to the way in which a natural practice unfolds. They start with the more gross and easily fixed upon aspects of the body, and procede the more fine and subtle contemplations. This isn't to say that satipatthana MUST be practiced in a certain order, only that it has a tendency to procede that way. In reality there will be some variance in the order in which your practice unfolds, and even the buddha himself continued to practice the grosser meditations after his enlightenment.

1.3

One need not spead one's meditation too thin between many satipatthana's. According to Analayo, several discourses. commentaries, and modern meditation teachers focus on a single satipatthana as a vehicle to full enlightenment. This seems to be possible a result of the habits that one forms during satipatthana practice, and how they will involuntarily carry over into other aspects of experience. It seems also to be possible to contemplate aspects from all four satipatthana's in any meditation object.

Although this is possible, Analayo recommends a balanced appoach of muttiple meditation exercises. He quotes Debes in footnote 21: "it may be possible to gain realization with one single exercise, but that one who has practised all of the them should still not realize awakening would seem to be impossible"

1.4

So if you don't want to spread yourself too thin in your practice, but still want to be balanced, how do you choose what to focus on? It appears that each satipatthana is suited to a different personality type. Analayo states that " The first two satipatthana's suit those with a more affective inclination, while the last two are recommended for those with a more cognitive orientation". These recommendations can also be applied to ones state of mind at the time, rather than ones overall personality type.

Each satipatthana is also individually more effective at dispelling a particular delusion. Contemplation of body for dispelling the delusion of beauty, feelings for the delusion of happiness in fleeting pleasures, mind for permanence, and dhammas for self.

1.5

Analayo contends that the more common translation of "ekayano" in the satipatthana sutta would place it's meaning as being a statement of dogma, that is, as satipatthana as "the only path". He presents and argument that there seems to be more evidence to translate the work as "direct" in the sense or "leading straight to the goal.

Interestingly, the commentaries don't resolve this issue, and they leave the interpretation of the word open. They leave it open to 5 possible interpretations. Why is this? Was there significant disagreement on the meaning even back then?

Analayo surveys the pali canon and it's use or lack of use to support his assertion. He also notes that using it in the sense of meaning "direct" makes more sense in context with the final passage of the satipatthana sutta, where it makes a prediciton about how fast one can become enlightened, and says that it is because it is "the direct path".

1.6

It turns out that the "Four Foundations of Mindfulness" is actually a mistranslation stemming from the commentaries. The commentaries derice sattipatthana from "patthana", which means foundation. Patthana, however, appears to be a late word that was not in use at the time of the discourses.

Analayo suggests "upatthana" as the root word, which means "placing near". Thus satipatthana would mean "attending with mindfulness" instead of "foundation of mindfulness.

It makes little difference in practice, but places less emphasis on the actual object. Analyo notes that these are more possible objects of mindfuless than those specifically listed in the satipatthana sutta.


Any thoughts/comments?
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:26 am

Thanks Samvega for following this up.
I will add some comments later when I have a bit more time.
I am looking forward to the discussion.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby 8fold » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:43 am

...
Last edited by 8fold on Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby octathlon » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:21 pm

Thanks for conducting this study topic, Samvega. I will be following along. :reading:
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Sacha G » Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:06 pm

Hi,
I don't have Ven. Analayo's book for the moment, but will receive it in some days. However what I remeber from Ven. Sujato's opinion on the Satipatthana, is that the section on the body is (exclusively?) concerned with the 32 parts and the 4 elements, and the section on the Dhammas with the 5 hindreances and the 7 Factors of Awakening.
:juggling:
Pali and Theravada texts:
http://dhamma.webnode.com
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Beneath the Wheel » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:33 pm

Sacha G wrote:Hi,
I don't have Ven. Analayo's book for the moment, but will receive it in some days. However what I remeber from Ven. Sujato's opinion on the Satipatthana, is that the section on the body is (exclusively?) concerned with the 32 parts and the 4 elements, and the section on the Dhammas with the 5 hindreances and the 7 Factors of Awakening.
:juggling:



The breakdown given by Ven. Analayo describes the section on the body as referring to: Breathing, postures, Activities, Anatomical parts, Elements, and the corpse in decay.

The dhammas are concerned with the hindrances, aggregates, sense-spheres, awakening factors, and Noble Truths.
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Sacha G » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:37 pm

ok
I meant the "proto-satipatthana", as (supposedly) uttered by the Buddha.
As for the way ven. Analyo breaks the (current) satipatthana sutta, it is the way the sutta is actually divided.
:anjali:
Pali and Theravada texts:
http://dhamma.webnode.com
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Dmytro » Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:53 am

This book is heavily influenced by the "bare attention" (aka "choiceless awareness") approach of Ven. Analayo's teacher, Ven. Nyanaponika. The "choiceless awareness" was first introduced by Krishnamurti, and modified by Ven. Nyanaponika.

Since the "choiceless awareness" doesn't have support in Buddha's words, reading it in the Satipatthana sutta is misguiding.

The Buddha's words themselves present quite different description of Satipatthana:

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

Other misconceptions of this book include:

- presenting the sixteen ways of Anapanasati as sixteen cosecutive steps;

- interpretation of 'parimukham' as 'in front'

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5636
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby danieLion » Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:21 pm

Thanks Samvega and contributors.
How did I miss this? I just finished this book and am waiting on snail-mail to deliver me my copy (the one I have now is a library book).
I will participate as much as I can.
Daniel :heart:
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Samvega » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:23 pm

I wanted to let you guys know that I haven't forgotten about the book, I've just been busy this week. I'm a teacher and it's the end of a grading quarter which means lots of work for me! I'll get the next chapter up in a couple of days.

Till then, feel free to start without me. :)
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:45 pm

No problem, It's good to have time to read and reflect... :reading:

:anjali:
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby James the Giant » Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:57 pm

Dmytro wrote:This book is heavily influenced by the "bare attention" (aka "choiceless awareness") approach of Ven. Analayo's teacher, Ven. Nyanaponika. The "choiceless awareness" was first introduced by Krishnamurti, and modified by Ven. Nyanaponika.
Since the "choiceless awareness" doesn't have support in Buddha's words, reading it in the Satipatthana sutta is misguiding.

What? How can you say the book is heavily influenced by the Bare Attention approach? Ven Analayo's book has chapters and chapters detailing and explaining the very opposite of Bare Attention/ Choiceless Awareness. For eight chapters out of fifteen, he shows how the Satipatthana sutta recommends sustained, close attention on specific aspects, body, feelings, mind, hindrances, aggregates, sense-spheres, awakening factors, and the four noble truths.

Dmytro wrote:The Buddha's words themselves present quite different description of Satipatthana:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5656#p88181

I read your post, and I read Ven Analayo's book, and I can't see how his description differs from what you have presented. Seems exactly the same to me.

Dmytro wrote:Other misconceptions of this book include:

- interpretation of 'parimukham' as 'in front'

On page 128 (chapter VI.3) Ven Analayo presents four different understandings of Parimukham.
He says although he favours one explanation, he leaves it up to the reader to make up their own mind.
"...alternative ways of practise, based on a more figurative understanding of the term, cannot be categorically excluded. In fact, several modern teachers have developed successful approaches to mindfulness of breathing independent of the nostril area. Some, for example..."page 128 (chapter VI.3)
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Gena1480 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:58 pm

i'm reading this book right now
i have to say very good book
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby cooran » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:21 am

Hello Samvega, all,

Finally, the book arrived from Amazon! :woohoo:

Now I can study along with the rest of you.

Who else is studying Satipatthana - The Direct Path to Realization by Ven Analayo?

with metta
Chris
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---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby bodom » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:31 pm

dmytro wrote:Since the "choiceless awareness" doesn't have support in Buddha's words, reading it in the Satipatthana sutta is misguiding.


Choiceless awareness simply means that with awareness one remains impartial, to all sense experience without reacting with greed or hatred, like or dislike. It is choiceless in the sense of no preference or judgement to what is experienced and certainly has support in the suttas:

a bhikkhu lives contemplating the body in the body..feelings in the feelings..consciousness in consciousness..mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending (them) and mindful (of them), having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief."


Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so neither forms, nor sounds, nor odors, nor tastes, nor contacts of any kind, neither the desired nor the undesired, can cause such a one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance. - A. VI. 55


:namaste:
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
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Sylvester » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:18 am

bodom wrote:
dmytro wrote:Since the "choiceless awareness" doesn't have support in Buddha's words, reading it in the Satipatthana sutta is misguiding.


Choiceless awareness simply means that with awareness one remains impartial, to all sense experience without reacting with greed or hatred, like or dislike. It is choiceless in the sense of no preference or judgement to what is experienced and certainly has support in the suttas:

a bhikkhu lives contemplating the body in the body..feelings in the feelings..consciousness in consciousness..mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending (them) and mindful (of them), having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief."


Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so neither forms, nor sounds, nor odors, nor tastes, nor contacts of any kind, neither the desired nor the undesired, can cause such a one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance. - A. VI. 55


:namaste:



Hi bodom

I think there's still some controversy over how to interpret the vineyya in "vineyya loke abhijjhadomanassam". It's standard to translate it as "having given up grief and covetuousness in regard of the world", where vineyya's absolutive form is given its plain absolutive connotation (ie hindrances have already been abandoned in the past).

Ven Analayo thinks that this is not a tenable reading and suggests that the vineyya should be read as a motive and purpose of satipatthana, rather than a means to it.

To be able to do this, the absolutive must then be able to be read as an infinitive. This does not appear to be unprecedented, given Gombrich's views here -

http://www.ocbs.org/images/documents/gonda.pdf

- see p.7.

Tse Fu Kuan also makes the same point in his "Mindfulness in Early Buddhism". He makes the interesting observation that the 2 Commentaries on the Satipatthana Suttas do not seem to agree on this point, which could simply point to the Digha Commentary being corrupted and diverging from the position in the Majjhima Commentary. It appears that the Majjhima Commentary explains the phrase as a fruit of satipatthana. Here's the extract -

The commentary on the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (Sv III 759) reads: abhijjhadomanassavinayena
bhavanabalam (same in CSCD) vuttan ti. This gloss also
occurs in the commentary to the Satipatthana Sutta of the Majjhima NikAya
(Ps I 244), but it has phala (same in CSCD) instead of bala. Ven. Nyanuttara
probably refers to the reading in Ps rather than Sv. Searching CSCD, I only
found one other occurrence of this expression at Patis-a I 177, which has phala
instead of bala, agreeing with the reading of Ps.


The issue is controversial, as how the vineyya is interpreted could mean that Satipatthana bhavana is a "Vipassana" practice, or that it is a mere Samatha practice.
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby Dmytro » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:51 am

Hi Bodom,

bodom wrote:Choiceless awareness simply means that with awareness one remains impartial, to all sense experience without reacting with greed or hatred, like or dislike.


Indeed, the key feature of 'choiceless awareness' is intentional passivity.

Krishnamurti:

(Choiceless) Awareness is a state in which there is no condemnation, no justification or identification, and therefore there is understanding: in that state of passive, alert awareness there is neither the experiencer nor the experienced.

http://books.google.com/books?id=_5ho4x ... frontcover

Ven. Nyanaponika:

By bare attention we understand the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us, at the successive moments of perception. It is called “bare” because it attends to the bare facts of a perception without reacting to them by deed, speech or mental comment.

http://www.midamericadharma.org/gangess ... lness.html

For more details, see the post: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=8200&p=128630#p128630

It is choiceless in the sense of no preference or judgement to what is experienced and certainly has support in the suttas:

a bhikkhu lives contemplating the body in the body..feelings in the feelings..consciousness in consciousness..mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending (them) and mindful (of them), having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief."


Buddha clearly recommends a sound judgement on what is skillful and what is not, in the very first factor of Awakening, the "discernment of ways of (especially mental) behaviour" (dhamma-vicaya):

"And what is the food for the arising of unarisen discrimination of qualities as a factor for Awakening, or for the growth & increase of analysis of qualities... once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that are skillful & unskillful, blameworthy & blameless, gross & refined, siding with darkness & with light. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen discrimination of qualities as a factor for Awakening, or for the growth & increase of analysis of qualities... once it has arisen.

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5582

Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so neither forms, nor sounds, nor odors, nor tastes, nor contacts of any kind, neither the desired nor the undesired, can cause such a one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance. - A. VI. 55


This quote is about the final result, deliverance. Ven. Thanissaro wrote:

"If you don’t understand the conditioned nature of even simple acts of attention, you might assume that a moment of nonreactive attention is a moment of Awakening."

viewtopic.php?f=35&t=8200&p=128630&#p128630

The "four right efforts" are an essential component of the Path:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

Ven. Analayo, following his teacher, Ven. Nyanaponika, writes on page 58:

"Uninvolved and detached receptivity as one of the crucial characteristics of 'sati' forms an important aspect in the teachings of several modern meditation teachers and scholars. They emphasize that the purpose of 'sati' is solely to make things conscious, not to eliminate them. Sati silently observes, like a spectator at play, without in any way interfering. Some refer to this non-reactive feature of 'sati' as "choiceless" awareness. "Choiceless" in the sense that with such awareness one remains impartially aware, without reacting with likes or dislikes."

Further on this page, he extends this passivity to the whole Satipatthana practice:

"This detached but receptive stance of 'saipatthana' constitutes a "middle path", since it avoids the two extremes of suppression and reaction."

As for the term 'sati', Buddha explains it in a quite different way, as remembrance or recollection:

"And what is the faculty of remembrance? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, is endowed with memory, highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago."

Indriya-Vibhanga sutta, (SN V 197-8 )

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299

The coarse distinction of reaction and non-reaction does injustice to the Buddha's fine shades of effort, from subtle shifts of attention:

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

to brute-force efforts:

Vitakkasanthana sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html (where 'theme' = "nimitta")

Capala sutta:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:17 am

Dmytro wrote:. . .
The expression “choiceless awareness” has been conflated with Ven Nyanaponika's neologism “bare attention,” and rather wooley things have been said about the two, as if the fuzzy, wooley things said are an accurate expression of bare attention truly is. It seem that if you are going to continue your crusade against “bare attention” that you accurately reflect what it is before you try to beat it up. So far, you are not so good on that account, which means that your criticism falls flat, fails to engage, rings hollow, and has no substance.
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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