Samma wrote:I suppose the question is essential what is meant by experiencing the whole body (sabbakāaya patisamvedi) in step 3 of anapanasati.
As polarbuddha mentions above, contemplation on the body (kayanupassana) seems to be predominately physical body. Recognize the 6 contemplations having to do with body as:
1) anapanasati, 2) discern postures, 3) discern actions, 4) 32 parts of body, 5) 4elements, 6) impurities/decay
If not physical-body then why talk about all this related physicality?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
You can find Ajahn Brahm's interpretations of the 4similies in his book The Jhanas, as relating to mental-body. Here is Ajahn Thanissaro:the similes for the jhanas, which are attained through the sixteen steps, repeatedly mention a full-body awareness. If the mind were forced exclusively into a single point, it wouldn’t be able to spread feelings of rapture or pleasure throughout the entire body in the first three jhanas, or to fill the body with a clear bright awareness in the fourth.
One response to this last argument is that the word “body” in the similes for jhana doesn’t mean the physical body, because a person in jhana has to be
oblivious to the physical body. Instead, “body” is meant metaphorically as a term for the “body” of the mind.
Putting aside the question of why someone with the Buddha’s teaching skills would use terms in such a potentially confusing way in his basic meditation
instructions, we can simply note that in MN 119 he gives the similes for the jhanas immediately after his discussion of six ways of focusing on the physical
body. As in the case of steps 3 and 4 in breath meditation, if he had meant “body” to mean “physical body” in one context, and “mind body” in the
discussion immediately following it, he would have signaled that he was redefining his terms. But again he doesn’t.
So unless we want to assume that the Buddha was careless or devious in his meditation instructions, it seems best to interpret “body” as meaning “physical
body” in all of these contexts, and to interpret “entire body” in step 3 as referring to the entire physical body as sensed from within.
(Right Mindfulness p.90)
By placing or pouring awareness right in to this body of four elements, not allowing the awareness to stray outside this form of ours (the ball of powder is saturated but 'does not drip'), it isn't as if mind along with it's image-making capacity is going to cease functioning. Mind and body depend and rest on each other. When focussing on this material body the 'mental body' is fully involved anyway, or we would not be perceiving anything! So even if fully immersing mindfulness into this body sitting here, we are actually working with the entire mind-body complex; we won't 'miss out' on working with the mind as well.
If, however, we leave the physical body in our meditation, and focus exclusively on mental phenomena, we will be missing something: the opportunity to penetrate with discernment a huge source of attachment for us, that is, this physical body of ours that we clean, feed, care for and decorate so much, not properly seeing it as intrinsically asubha, due to our normally clouded vision.
(That's how I understand it, and how I've experienced it, but I could be wrong. But I thought I'd share in this discussion.)