SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

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SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:42 pm

SN 47.35vPTS: S v 180vCDB ii 1657
Sata Sutta: Mindful
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


What does it mean to be mindful? What does it mean to be alert?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



At Savatthi. "Stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our instruction to you all.

"And how is a monk mindful? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. This is how a monk is mindful.

"And how is a monk alert? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is how a monk is alert.

"So stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our instruction to you all."
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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:42 pm

SN 47.35: Sata Sutta
Translated by John Ireland


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... passage-69

"Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu should live mindful and clearly comprehending. This is our instruction to you. And how is a bhikkhu mindful? Herein, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu lives practicing body-contemplation on the body feeling... feeling-contemplation on feelings... mind-contemplation on mind... mind-object-contemplation on the objects of mind, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome covetousness and grief concerning the world. In this manner, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is mindful. And how is a bhikkhu clearly comprehending?

"Herein, bhikkhus, feelings are known to a bhikkhu as they arise, known as they stay, known as they come to an end. Thoughts are known as they arise, known as they stay, known as they come to an end. Perceptions are known as they arise, known as they stay, known as they come to an end. In this manner, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is clearly comprehending.

"A bhikkhu should live mindful and clearly comprehending. This is our instruction to you."
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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:50 pm

Note that sampajañña is translated as "alertness" and "clear comprehension" in these two translations.

http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... %B1%C3%B1a
Sampajañña: 'clarity of consciousness', clear comprehension. This term is frequently met with in combination with awareness or mindfulness sati In D. 22, M. 10 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.010.soma.html it is said:;Clearly conscious is he in going and coming, clearly conscious in looking forward and backward, clearly conscious in bending and stretching his body; clearly conscious in eating, drinking, chewing and tasting, clearly conscious in discharging excrement and urine; clearly conscious in walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep and awakening; clearly conscious in speaking and keeping silent.; - For a definition of the term sati-sampajañña see: Pug. 86.

According to the Com., 'clarity of consciousness' is of 4 kinds: regarding the purpose, the suitability, inclusion in the meditative domain, and the unconfused conception of the activity concerned. Explained in detail in Com. to Satipatthāna Sutta. tr. in The Way of Mindfulness, by Soma Thera; BPS.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html

:anjali:
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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:36 pm

Rarely does mindfulness as a concept arise without some discussion or suggestions as to how it might be better conceived or expressed. This is a helpful reminder that any such description should at least be compatible with the quality of sampajanna.

According to the Com., 'clarity of consciousness' is of 4 kinds: regarding the purpose, the suitability, inclusion in the meditative domain, and the unconfused conception of the activity concerned.


I wasn't sure at first whether the "activity" referred to here is the physical activity undertaken by the monk/practitioner (in which case, does it only refer to the domain of agency? And is it possible to clearly comprehend sense data?) or whether it refers to the "activity" of being mindful.

Ajahn Piyadassi gives the following as an explanation:
Lack of complete awareness is lack of these four: complete awareness of purpose (sattha sampajañña), of suitability (sappaya sampajañña), of resort (gocara sampajañña), and of non-delusion (asammoha sampajañña). When one does a thing without a right purpose; when one looks at things or does actions which do not help the growth of the good; when one does things inimical to improvement; when one forgets the dhamma, which is the true resort of one who strives; when one deludedly lays hold of things, believing them to be pleasant, beautiful, permanent, and substantial — when one behaves thus, then too non-restraint is nourished.

I find this relatively straightforward. (In lots of other cases, ponderous explanations of mindfulness and clear comprehension just lead to me glazing over.)

Ajahn Sumedho gives a much more straightforward and expansive account:
Sampajanna is a word that is translated into English
as ‘clear-comprehension’, which is so vague and even
though it says ‘clear’, it doesn’t give me a sense of Intuitive Awareness
the broadness of that clarity. When you have clear
definitions of everything, then you think you have clear
comprehension. So that’s why we don’t like confusion,
isn’t it? We don’t like to feel foggy, confused or
uncertain. These kind of states we really dislike, but
we spend a lot of time trying to have clear
comprehension and certainty. But sati-sampajanna
includes fogginess, includes confusion, it includes
uncertainty and insecurity. It’s a clear comprehension
or the apperception of confusion — recognising it’s
like this. Uncertainty and insecurity are like this. So
it’s a clear comprehension or apprehension of even
the most vague, amorphous or nebulous mental
conditions.


So something like the quality of being clear about an object of attention within its context; and being clear about any inherent lack of clarity.
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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:08 am

From Bhikku Bodhi's translation:

“And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu exercise clear comprehension? Here, bhikkhus, for a bhikkhu feelings are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. Thoughts are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. Perceptions are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. It is in this way, bhikkhus, that a bhikkhu exercises clear comprehension.

    This practice is described at MN III 124,10-20 [MN 124] (as a wonderful quality of the Buddha); at AN II 45,15-20 AN 4.41 (as a development of concentration, also at DN III 223,9-17); at AN IV 32,24-33,2 (as a factor leading to the four paṭisambhidās ); and at AN IV 168,12-15 AN 8.9 (as a practice of mindfulness and clear comprehension). Paṭis I 178-80 treats this practice in relation to mindfulness of breathing. Spk explains the feelings, thoughts, and perceptions as those that occur in relation to the sense bases and objects comprehended in developing insight.
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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:45 pm

Hi Mike,

What are your thoughts as to why, when outlining sati and sampajanna, they are applied to different objects? Mindfulness is presented as applying to the usual four "foundations" of body, feelings, mind, and dhammas. But clear comprehension is presented as applying to the triad of feelings, thoughts, and perceptions.
Spk explains the feelings, thoughts, and perceptions as those that occur in relation to the sense bases and objects comprehended in developing insight.

This is entirely plausible, but makes this particular sutta less unified and coherent.

Might it be that the objects used to illustrate sampajanna (feelings, thoughts, and perceptions) correspond to the feelings, mind, and dhammas as per the objects of mindfulness? The activity of sampajanna is to understand the three phenomena as they arise, persist and pass away. If this means that we are to experience them arising, persisting, and passing (as opposed to knowing that they pass - that they are anicca) then this would put the body as an object of mindfulness beyond the scope of this type of clear comprehension. We can know that it arises and passes away, but we do not "sit through" these events.
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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:53 pm

Good question Sam,

Perhaps it's a sort of pasting together...

The same pattern is used in those other suttas Bhikkhu Bodhi refers to:

"This is Nanda's being in mindfulness & alertness: There is the case where feelings are known to Nanda as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is Nanda's being in mindfulness & alertness.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


But in this case it is the development of concentration:
"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby Sam Vara » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:33 am

The same pattern is used in those other suttas Bhikkhu Bodhi refers to:


Yes, I hadn't seen those before, and was quite struck with how similar they are. Feelings, perceptions, and thoughts; and arising, persisting, and passing away.

i wonder why the commentaries give this:

According to the Com., 'clarity of consciousness' is of 4 kinds: regarding the purpose, the suitability, inclusion in the meditative domain, and the unconfused conception of the activity concerned. Explained in detail in Com. to Satipatthāna Sutta. tr. in The Way of Mindfulness, by Soma Thera; BPS.


I would have thought from the frequent similar expositions in the suttas that this is an over-elaboration. It's certainly harder to remember on the cushion!
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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby Sekha » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:08 pm

I think the following resource could be helpful for those who want to understand this sutta in its original words:
http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/samy ... 7-035.html

Sam Vara wrote:What are your thoughts as to why, when outlining sati and sampajanna, they are applied to different objects? Mindfulness is presented as applying to the usual four "foundations" of body, feelings, mind, and dhammas. But clear comprehension is presented as applying to the triad of feelings, thoughts, and perceptions.

Actually there are two different definitions of sampajanna. The other one is available in detail here: http://www.buddha-vacana.org/formulae/sampajanna.html
That definition insists on the fact that sampajanna should be continuous throughout one's activities in the day. I think the Buddha insists on feelings, thoughts, and perceptions because they are those phenomena which are 1) right in the middle of our experience from moment to moment and 2) easy to catch a grasp of
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby Sam Vara » Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:37 pm

Sekha wrote:I think the following resource could be helpful for those who want to understand this sutta in its original words:
http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/samy ... 7-035.html

Sam Vara wrote:What are your thoughts as to why, when outlining sati and sampajanna, they are applied to different objects? Mindfulness is presented as applying to the usual four "foundations" of body, feelings, mind, and dhammas. But clear comprehension is presented as applying to the triad of feelings, thoughts, and perceptions.

Actually there are two different definitions of sampajanna. The other one is available in detail here: http://www.buddha-vacana.org/formulae/sampajanna.html
That definition insists on the fact that sampajanna should be continuous throughout one's activities in the day. I think the Buddha insists on feelings, thoughts, and perceptions because they are those phenomena which are 1) right in the middle of our experience from moment to moment and 2) easy to catch a grasp of


Many thanks for this, and for the absolutely brilliant resource of your site. The only "definition" that I have seen in the suttas (as opposed to accounts of when to use it) is indeed the understanding of anicca. And I agree that feelings, thoughts, and perceptions are easier to see in this light because (unlike the body) they can be caught as they arise and pass away.
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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:25 am

Sekha wrote:That definition insists on the fact that sampajanna should be continuous throughout one's activities in the day. I think the Buddha insists on feelings, thoughts, and perceptions because they are those phenomena which are 1) right in the middle of our experience from moment to moment and 2) easy to catch a grasp of


Interesting. But then what is the difference between sampajanna and dhamma vicaya as one of the 7 factors of enlightenment - both seem intimately related to sati?
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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby Sekha » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:32 am

There is certainly some overlapping. I would say that sampajañña applies exclusively to direct experience of phenomena whereas dhammavicaya has a broader meaning of investigation, both by direct experience as well as by means of the intellect and mutual cross-questioning.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:00 am

Sekha wrote:There is certainly some overlapping. I would say that sampajañña applies exclusively to direct experience of phenomena whereas dhammavicaya has a broader meaning of investigation, both by direct experience as well as by means of the intellect and mutual cross-questioning.


Yes, that makes sense.
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Re: SN 47.35: Sata Sutta — Mindful

Postby gavesako » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:23 am

From Ajahn Chah:

Methods of meditation all have value in helping to develop mindfulness. The point is to use mindfulness to see the underlying truth. With this mindfulness, we watch all desires, likes and dislikes, pleasures and pains that arise in the mind. Realizing they are impermanent, suffering, and empty of self, we let go of them. In this way, wisdom replaces ignorance, knowledge replaces doubt.

As for singling out one object of meditation, you yourself must discover what fits your character. Wherever you choose to be mindful, it will bring wisdom to the mind. Mindfulness is knowing what is here, noticing, being aware. Clear comprehension knows the context in which the present is occurring. When mindfulness and clear comprehension act together, their companion, wisdom, always appears to help them complete any task.


http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Ajahn ... t_Pool.htm
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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