What does the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

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Strive4Karuna
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What does the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:48 pm

In the suttas, before buddha enters into sitting meditation he crosses his legs, body erect, with mindfulness established "in front of him".

What does the blessed one mean by having mindfulness established "in front"?
Last edited by Strive4Karuna on Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: What doed the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:08 pm

For me, it's like Zen meditation when they stare at the wall.

You focus on what's in front of you, whatever it is.

with an eye closed, focuses on the darkness of the mind so as not to be distracted.

I like the example of a computer monitor. the monitor is the one that consumes the most energy because it has to be producing an image. so does the human vision. spends a lot of energy and distracts the person a lot.

if she keeps her eyes closed she'll be able to focus more on meditation

here is a comment in the Portuguese translation of DN22
[7a] "In front of him," parimukham, can be understood in the literal or figurative sense. In the literal sense, "in front of you indicates" the area of the nostrils as being most appropriate for attention in the breath. With the figurative sense, "in front of it" can be understood as the firm establishment of mindfulness, placing it mentally "ahead" of all the rest, in the sense of meditative composure and attention.
http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/sutta/DN22.php#N7a
:anjali:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

Strive4Karuna
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Re: What doed the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:27 pm

Lucas Oliveira wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:08 pm
For me, it's like Zen meditation when they stare at the wall.

You focus on what's in front of you, whatever it is.

with an eye closed, focuses on the darkness of the mind so as not to be distracted.

I like the example of a computer monitor. the monitor is the one that consumes the most energy because it has to be producing an image. so does the human vision. spends a lot of energy and distracts the person a lot.

if she keeps her eyes closed she'll be able to focus more on meditation

here is a comment in the Portuguese translation of DN22
[7a] "In front of him," parimukham, can be understood in the literal or figurative sense. In the literal sense, "in front of you indicates" the area of the nostrils as being most appropriate for attention in the breath. With the figurative sense, "in front of it" can be understood as the firm establishment of mindfulness, placing it mentally "ahead" of all the rest, in the sense of meditative composure and attention.
http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/sutta/DN22.php#N7a
:anjali:
Thank you Lucas

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bodom
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Re: What doed the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by bodom » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:36 pm

From Analays brilliant satipathanna commentary
Once the posture is set up, mindfulness is to be established “in front”. The injunction “in front” (parimukhaÿ) can be understood lit-erally or figuratively Following the more literal understanding, “in front” indicates the nostril area as the most appropriate for atten-tion to the in- and out-breaths. Alternatively, “in front” understood more figuratively suggests a firm establishment of sati, sati being mentally “in front” in the sense of meditative composure and attentiveness. 45

Both the Abhidhamma and the commentaries take “in front” (parimukhaÿ) to indicate a precise anatomical location. In the dis-courses, however, the specification “in front” occurs in a variety of contexts, such as, for example, in relation to overcoming the hindrances or to developing the divine abodes (brahmavihãra).

note 45 Paìis I 176 explains sati qualified as parimukhaÿ to mean that it “provides” a “way out”(of forgetfulness). Fessel 1999: p.79, suggests understanding the term in contrast to the Sanskrit bahir mukha (averting one’s face), parimukhaÿ then implying presence of mind directed to the immediate environment. T.W. Rhys Davids (1993) has: “to sur-round oneself with watchfulness of mind” (p 672), and “to set one’s mindfulness alert” (p 431). The corresponding passage from the Chinese Ãgamas reads: “with thoughts well controlled, not going astray” (in Minh Chau 1991: p.99). In fact, in sev-eral discourses the expression “mindfulness established in front” was used by people who were apparently quite unfamiliar with meditation in order to describe the Buddha seated in meditation (a Brahmin searching for his ox at S I 170, a woodworker at S I 179, and some Brahmin students at S I 180). It is difficult to imagine that thesepeople should have been able to know, from merely seeing the Buddha seated, that he was directing awareness to his nostrils. The more probable explanation for these instances is that “mindfulness established in front” was used by them just to express the visible fact that the Buddha was sitting in meditative composure.
https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... t-path.pdf

Basically it means to make mindfulness more important than anything else. It comes first.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

paul
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Re: What doed the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by paul » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:42 pm

“Alternatively, “in front” understood more figuratively suggests a firm establishment of sati, sati being mentally “in front” in the sense of meditative composure and attentiveness”
I think it means having the task before the mind, which involves the three components:
“Here, monks, in regard to the body a monk abides contemplating the body, diligent, clearly knowing, and mindful” (Analayo).

Strive4Karuna
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Re: What doed the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:55 pm

bodom wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:36 pm
From Analays brilliant satipathanna commentary
Once the posture is set up, mindfulness is to be established “in front”. The injunction “in front” (parimukhaÿ) can be understood lit-erally or figuratively Following the more literal understanding, “in front” indicates the nostril area as the most appropriate for atten-tion to the in- and out-breaths. Alternatively, “in front” understood more figuratively suggests a firm establishment of sati, sati being mentally “in front” in the sense of meditative composure and attentiveness. 45

Both the Abhidhamma and the commentaries take “in front” (parimukhaÿ) to indicate a precise anatomical location. In the dis-courses, however, the specification “in front” occurs in a variety of contexts, such as, for example, in relation to overcoming the hindrances or to developing the divine abodes (brahmavihãra).

note 45 Paìis I 176 explains sati qualified as parimukhaÿ to mean that it “provides” a “way out”(of forgetfulness). Fessel 1999: p.79, suggests understanding the term in contrast to the Sanskrit bahir mukha (averting one’s face), parimukhaÿ then implying presence of mind directed to the immediate environment. T.W. Rhys Davids (1993) has: “to sur-round oneself with watchfulness of mind” (p 672), and “to set one’s mindfulness alert” (p 431). The corresponding passage from the Chinese Ãgamas reads: “with thoughts well controlled, not going astray” (in Minh Chau 1991: p.99). In fact, in sev-eral discourses the expression “mindfulness established in front” was used by people who were apparently quite unfamiliar with meditation in order to describe the Buddha seated in meditation (a Brahmin searching for his ox at S I 170, a woodworker at S I 179, and some Brahmin students at S I 180). It is difficult to imagine that thesepeople should have been able to know, from merely seeing the Buddha seated, that he was directing awareness to his nostrils. The more probable explanation for these instances is that “mindfulness established in front” was used by them just to express the visible fact that the Buddha was sitting in meditative composure.
https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... t-path.pdf

Basically it means to make mindfulness more important than anything else. It comes first.

:namaste:
Thanks for that Bodom. Regards

Strive4Karuna
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Re: What doed the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:56 pm

paul wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:42 pm
“Alternatively, “in front” understood more figuratively suggests a firm establishment of sati, sati being mentally “in front” in the sense of meditative composure and attentiveness”
I think it means having the task before the mind, which involves the three components:
“Here, monks, in regard to the body a monk abides contemplating the body, diligent, clearly knowing, and mindful” (Analayo).
Paul, thank you.

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DooDoot
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Re: What does the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by DooDoot » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:19 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:48 pm
What does the blessed one mean by having mindfulness established "in front"?
Here, a comparative contextual analysis of suttas can be attempted by placing the word 'parimukhaṃ' in the search function at Sutta Central & hoping a straightforward unambiguous sutta is found. Below are the only two search results found that depart from the stock phrase found in MN 118.
Asubhānupassī, bhikkhave, kāyasmiṃ viharatha; ānāpānassati ca vo ajjhattaṃ parimukhaṃ sūpaṭṭhitā hotu; sabba­saṅ­khā­resu anic­cānupas­sino viharatha. Asu­bhānupas­sī­naṃ, bhikkhave, kāyasmiṃ viharataṃ yo subhāya dhātuyā rāgānusayo so pahīyati. Ānāpānassatiyā ajjhattaṃ parimukhaṃ sūpaṭṭhititāya ye bāhirā vitakkāsayā ­vighā­ta­pak­khikā, te na honti. Sabba­saṅ­khā­resu anic­cānupas­sī­naṃ viharataṃ yā avijjā sā pahīyati, yā vijjā sā uppajjatī”ti.

Bhikkhus, live contemplating the foulness of the body. Let mindfulness of breathing be inwardly well established before you. Live contemplating the impermanence of all formations. For those who live contemplating foulness in the body, the tendency to lust with regard to the element of beauty is abandoned. When mindfulness of breathing is inwardly well established before one, the tendencies of extraneous thoughts to produce vexation of mind remain no more. For those who live contemplating the impermanence of all formations, ignorance is abandoned and knowledge arises.

https://suttacentral.net/pi/iti85
Addasā kho bhagavā āyasmantaṃ mahākaccānaṃ avidūre nisinnaṃ pallaṅkaṃ ābhujitvā ujuṃ kāyaṃ paṇidhāya kāyagatāya satiyā ajjhattaṃ parimukhaṃ sūpaṭṭhitāya

Now at that time Ven. Mahā Kaccāyana was sitting not far from the Blessed One, his legs crossed, his body held erect, having mindfulness immersed in the body well-established to the fore within.

https://suttacentral.net/pi/ud7.8
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html.
Note: It is not necessary for us to know Pali because the placing the cursor over the Pali words at Sutta Central will inform us of the meaning of most of the Pali words (once we set up the Pali->English function). In other words, we should not allow the Pali to intimidate us. For example, I personally have never studied Pali and can't read Pali.

It is notable above the 1st quote about anapansati is quite general & the 2nd quote about kāyagatāya sati is not specifically about breathing but about 'kāyagatāya' or what appears to be the whole body, particularly inwardly. Therefore, the 2nd quote appears to dismiss the idea that parimukhaṃ refers to the 'nostrils' or literally 'in front of the face'.
mukha
neuter
mouth; face; entrance; opening; front. (adj.), foremost.
As for the common translation of 'mindfulness of breathing', I think this leads to confusion. I prefer the translations 'mindfulness when breathing', 'mindfulness while breathing' or 'mindfulness with breathing'.

The quote below from MN 118 appears to distinctly distinguish 'setting mindfulness to the fore' apart from the breathing. It does not say: "setting mindfulness upon the breathing".
There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore. Always mindful, he breathes in; always mindful he breathes out.

MN 118
Therefore, as previously suggested, 'parimukhaṃ' probably means to make mindfulness more important than anything else. It comes first. It is foremost. In other words, establishing the mind in clarity; to mindfully (remember to) keep the mind free from hindrances & craving. To me, it sounds like establishing & maintaining the clear bright empty unattached mind & making this the foremost priority. As for the breathing, it will continue to naturally occur & the clear mind will naturally become increasingly aware or sensitive to this occurrence.

Strive4Karuna
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Re: What does the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:24 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:19 pm
Strive4Karuna wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:48 pm
What does the blessed one mean by having mindfulness established "in front"?
Here, a comparative contextual analysis of suttas can be attempted by placing the word 'parimukhaṃ' in the search function at Sutta Central & hoping a straightforward unambiguous sutta is found. Below are the only two search results found that depart from the stock phrase found in MN 118.
Asubhānupassī, bhikkhave, kāyasmiṃ viharatha; ānāpānassati ca vo ajjhattaṃ parimukhaṃ sūpaṭṭhitā hotu; sabba­saṅ­khā­resu anic­cānupas­sino viharatha. Asu­bhānupas­sī­naṃ, bhikkhave, kāyasmiṃ viharataṃ yo subhāya dhātuyā rāgānusayo so pahīyati. Ānāpānassatiyā ajjhattaṃ parimukhaṃ sūpaṭṭhititāya ye bāhirā vitakkāsayā ­vighā­ta­pak­khikā, te na honti. Sabba­saṅ­khā­resu anic­cānupas­sī­naṃ viharataṃ yā avijjā sā pahīyati, yā vijjā sā uppajjatī”ti.

Bhikkhus, live contemplating the foulness of the body. Let mindfulness of breathing be inwardly well established before you. Live contemplating the impermanence of all formations. For those who live contemplating foulness in the body, the tendency to lust with regard to the element of beauty is abandoned. When mindfulness of breathing is inwardly well established before one, the tendencies of extraneous thoughts to produce vexation of mind remain no more. For those who live contemplating the impermanence of all formations, ignorance is abandoned and knowledge arises.

https://suttacentral.net/pi/iti85
Addasā kho bhagavā āyasmantaṃ mahākaccānaṃ avidūre nisinnaṃ pallaṅkaṃ ābhujitvā ujuṃ kāyaṃ paṇidhāya kāyagatāya satiyā ajjhattaṃ parimukhaṃ sūpaṭṭhitāya

Now at that time Ven. Mahā Kaccāyana was sitting not far from the Blessed One, his legs crossed, his body held erect, having mindfulness immersed in the body well-established to the fore within.

https://suttacentral.net/pi/ud7.8
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html.
Note: It is not necessary for us to know Pali because the placing the cursor over the Pali words at Sutta Central will inform us of the meaning of most of the Pali words (once we set up the Pali->English function). In other words, we should not allow the Pali to intimidate us. For example, I personally have never studied Pali and can't read Pali.

It is notable above the 1st quote about anapansati is quite general & the 2nd quote about kāyagatāya sati is not specifically about breathing but about 'kāyagatāya' or what appears to be the whole body, particularly inwardly. Therefore, the 2nd quote appears to dismiss the idea that parimukhaṃ refers to the 'nostrils' or literally 'in front of the face'.
mukha
neuter
mouth; face; entrance; opening; front. (adj.), foremost.
As for the common translation of 'mindfulness of breathing', I think this leads to confusion. I prefer the translations 'mindfulness when breathing', 'mindfulness while breathing' or 'mindfulness with breathing'.

The quote below from MN 118 appears to distinctly distinguish 'setting mindfulness to the fore' apart from the breathing. It does not say: "setting mindfulness upon the breathing".
There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore. Always mindful, he breathes in; always mindful he breathes out.

MN 118
Therefore, as previously suggested, 'parimukhaṃ' probably means to make mindfulness more important than anything else. It comes first. It is foremost. In other words, establishing the mind in clarity; to mindfully (remember to) keep the mind free from hindrances & craving. To me, it sounds like establishing & maintaining the clear bright empty unattached mind & making this the foremost priority. As for the breathing, it will continue to naturally occur & the clear mind will naturally become increasingly aware or sensitive to this occurrence.
Doodoot much appreciated. Thank you for going through all that work.

2600htz
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Re: What does the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by 2600htz » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:42 pm

Hello:

It just means being in the present moment without mental proliferation, not inside your head.
"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."[2]
Regards.

Strive4Karuna
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Re: What does the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by Strive4Karuna » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:43 am

2600htz wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:42 pm
Hello:

It just means being in the present moment without mental proliferation, not inside your head.
"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."[2]
Regards.
2600, thanks for the reply. I enjoyed reading that passage.

Saengnapha
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Re: What does the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:23 am

I will add my 2 cents for whatever it is worth. I used to use the term mindfulness automatically when referring to the Satipatthana practice until I discovered Bhante Punnaji's elaboration of meditation and its various terminologies. He explains that sati means attention, and the full word means to withdraw the attention from outer circumstances to what is presently occurring inwardly, inwardly being body, feelings, mentations, & mental formations, the 4 activities mentioned in the sutta. When the attention is properly focused, there is a process of observation and relaxation that takes place and these areas of activity are seen in a different 'light'. It is not concentration on an object. It is attention in the present moment which allows a natural turning away from our habitual thoughts and feelings and into an unperturbed, open state of mind which allows us to deepen wisdom and discover how we perceive and cognize all experience. Concentration is not what is practiced. Concentration is a contraction of attention and not really open. Letting go of concentration is essential. Samadhi is harmonious attention, not focused on one object. Focusing on one object is an unnatural activity and a form of manipulation. Attending to the present moment is not trying to force anything to happen. There is no becoming involved. Desires and attachments as thoughts and feelings, come and go. You don't get caught up in them. To me, this is the establishment the Buddha talked about.

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DooDoot
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Re: What does the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by DooDoot » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:39 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:23 am
I discovered Bhante Punnaji's elaboration of meditation and its various terminologies. He explains that sati means attention...
The word 'sati' means 'to remember' or 'bare in mind'.


Saengnapha
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Re: What does the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:59 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:39 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:23 am
I discovered Bhante Punnaji's elaboration of meditation and its various terminologies. He explains that sati means attention...
The word 'sati' means 'to remember' or 'bare in mind'.
You will have to take it up with him. It works for me. This is part of the re-translation of Pali terms led by Sri lankans.

You mean bear in mind?

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robertk
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Re: What does the buddha mean by having mindfulness established"in front of him"

Post by robertk » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:48 am

the most important part, imho, comes a few stanzas later in the satipatthan sutta where it says

Atthi kayoti va panassa sati paccupatthita hoti = "Or, indeed, his mindfulness is established, with the thought: 'The body exists.'"

the Commentary adds "Mindfulness is established for the yogi through careful scrutiny. He thinks: There is the body, but there is no being, no person, no woman, no man, no soul, nothing pertaining to a soul, no "I", nothing that is mine, no one, and nothing belonging to anyone [kayoti ca attli, na satto, na puggalo, na itthi, na puriso, na atta, na attaniyam naham, na mama, na koci, na kassaciti evam assa sati paccupatthita hoti].

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