Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Javi » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:16 pm

Excerpted from Analayo. ''Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta'' in Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health) 1st ed. 2015 Edition

My understanding is that this is not available anywhere else on the net at the moment and I have found it a great overview of anapanasati. Enjoy.
4.2 The First Tetrad
The instructions for the 16 steps of practice in the Ānāpānasati-sutta and its parallels are preceded by an indication that the meditator should retire to a secluded spot to sit down for actual meditation practice. This indication is noteworthy insofar as it gives the impression that, in early Buddhist thought, mindfulness of breathing was considered a form of meditation best cultivated in a setting free from outer disturbances, instead of being a practice one undertakes alongside everyday activities. There does in fact not seem to be an explicit reference in the early discourses to undertaking mindfulness of breathing while one is engaged in some form of activity, such as having a conversation, going somewhere, doing some kind of manual work, etc. Even in the case of descriptions of walking meditation, the instructions are to keep the mind free from defilements, not to watch the breath while one is walking.

Of course, it will always be beneficial to keep the breath in mind, in whatever situation one may be in. Nevertheless, a problem can arise at least for some practitioners when trying to maintain mindfulness of breathing while, at the same time, having to engage in various daily activities and conversations. The fact that the breath is a relatively subtle object naturally requires some degree of mental focus, in order to be kept in mind. The stronger one’s mind focuses on anything, however, the less it will be able to attend to a range of other things that may be happening at the same time. At least in situations where one is actively engaged in a particular task, it can at times be preferable to use a less subtle object to sustain continuity of mindfulness.

An alternative to the breath would be, for example, mindfulness of the whole body. The entire body is a comparatively less subtle and more easily discerned support for mindfulness, making it less of a challenge to be kept in mind while engaging in various activities. The actual instructions in the Ānāpānasati-sutta for being aware of the breath, once one has sat down in a secluded place, begin by directing mindfulness to the phenomenon of the breath as such, reading: “Mindful one breathes in, mindful one breathes out” (MN III 82; translated in Ñāṇamoli 1995, p. 943). The basic distinction between inhalation and exhalation introduced in this way sets a pattern that continues throughout the entire scheme of practice. The distinction between the breath that comes in and the breath that moves out inculcates a continuous awareness of the impermanent nature of the breath, which keeps changing all the time.

This already points to the insight potential inherent in mindfulness of breathing, something that becomes particularly prominent with the last tetrad in the 16-step progression. Before coming to that, however, I first survey the preceding tetrads. The instructions for the first tetrad direct mindfulness to the following aspects while being aware of breathing in and out:
1. Know breaths to be long
2. Know breaths to be short
3. Experience the whole body
4. Calm the bodily formation

In practical terms, this means that, after having become mindful of the breath moving in and out, the meditator next becomes aware of the length of these breaths. These could be either long or short. Here, it is noteworthy that in the Pāli version, the instructions for steps (1) and (2) are worded as alternatives, evident in the use of the disjunctive particle vā, which means “or.” In other words, the point at stake is not that one should be having first long breaths and then short breaths, but rather that one is aware of either long or short breaths.

A distinct characteristic of the early Buddhist approach to meditation on the breath is in fact an emphasis on mere observation, instead of attempting to control the breath in the way this would be the case for someone engaging in a type of practice that involves an intentional controlling of the breathing process. Elsewhere, the early discourses report that, during the period of his quest for awakening, the Buddha-to-be did engage in breath control, yet he found that this did not lead him to liberation (MN I 243; translated in Ñāṇamoli 1995, p. 337 f.).

In principle, the breath is an aspect of the body that happens naturally, but which can also be influenced through one’s intentions. Breathing happens even when no attention is being paid to it, yet one can freely decide to take a deep and long breath, for example. Instead of attempting to control the breath, however, implementing the instructions in the Ānāpānasati-sutta would simply require being aware of the length of the breath as it naturally occurs in the present moment. This length should then be distinguished into two types: belonging to either the category of long breaths or the category of short breaths.

The next step then requires experiencing the whole body. Here, the instructions in the Ānāpānasati-sutta show a shift of terminology, as the discourse proceeds from referring to an act of “knowing,” employed for the first two steps, to using the expression “training,” a term used throughout the remainder of the 16 steps. In the Ānāpānasati-sutta, then, with step (3) concerned with experiencing the whole body, a form of training begins, one trains oneself to experience the whole body while breathing in or breathing out.

The parallel versions differ, as the Saṃyukta-āgama speaks of “training” in the case of each of the 16 steps (T II 206a), including the first two, whereas the three Vinayas do not mention the need for any “training” at all (T XXII 254c, T XXIV 32c, and T XXIII 8a). The notion of engaging in a form of training in relation to mindfulness of breathing, even though this clearly does not imply an attempt to control or even suppress the breath, does point to some degree of intentional monitoring of a natural process that for the most part unfolds on its own. The impression that actual practice involves some degree of intentional monitoring finds further support in the instructions given for the 16 steps. Had there not been a need for some degree of intentional effort or directing of the mind, there would have been little reason for detailed instructions on how to proceed through the 16 steps. So some extent of “training” is indeed required, inasmuch as the practitioner does incline the mind in such a way that the ensuing step can take place.

Yet, at the same time, such “training” is not a forceful matter that involves a strong degree of control, but is probably best understood as a soft kind of nudging of the mind in the proper direction The proper direction to be taken for this third step requires some degree of discussion, as the Pāli commentarial tradition takes the expression “body” in the instruction “to experience the whole body” as intending the body of the breath (Vism 273; translated in Ñāṇamoli 1956/1991, p. 266). That is, the practitioner should become aware of the full length of the breath, being able to distinguish between its beginning, middle, and final parts.

This interpretation is not entirely straightforward, as awareness of the breath in its full length has already been the task of the preceding steps (1 and 2). Unless one has been aware of the whole breath, from its beginning all the way to its final parts, it would not be possible to know if this breath should be reckoned “long” or “short.” So on the explanation suggested by the Pāli commentarial tradition, the third step would not be introducing something distinctly new to the progression of practice, but would just amount to a repetition, or perhaps better a refinement, of awareness of the whole breath.

Here, the parallel versions in the three Vinayas provide a helpful indication, as they formulate the third step in terms of “pervading the body.” Such pervading would indeed present a distinctly new element for the progression of practice, in that from having become aware of the breath in its entire length, the meditator now moves on to becoming aware of the whole body in the sitting posture. This would be a natural progression when turning attention inward, where the breath as an easily noticeable bodily process would then lead on to noticing other and more subtle bodily sensations occurring elsewhere in the body. On this understanding, the third step in the progression would involve a conscious broadening of the field of awareness from the breath alone to the breath experienced within an awareness of the whole body.

The final step in the first tetrad then requires a calming of the bodily formation. Here, the term formation, saṅkhāra, can be understood to mean in particular the breath itself. In addition, the same term could also be taken to stand for any other bodily activity. On this understanding, the instruction would then entail a relaxing of the body in the sitting posture until it becomes naturally still and stable, as well as a calming of whatever other bodily activity may be going on within the body, to the extent that one is able to calm these down. These two interpretations are mutually supportive insofar as a calming of the breath will naturally lead to an increased general tranquility of the body, and tranquility of the body in turn will enhance the calmness of the breathing process. So it seems safe to conclude that step (4) requires calming the breath and the body.

In sum, then, a way of practically implementing the first tetrad of mindfulness of breathing could proceed from becoming aware of the breath to recognizing its length (in terms of either long or short breath), followed by broadening the field of one’s awareness from the breath to the whole body in the sitting posture and then relaxing breath and body, allowing them to become calm. Chief themes of actual practice would then be a firm establishing of mindfulness on the breath and the body together with a gradual calming of both.
Last edited by Javi on Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Javi » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:30 pm

4.3 The Second tetrad
The instructions for the second tetrad in the 16-step practice model delineated in the Ānāpānasati-sutta describe the progression of practice to be undertaken while remaining aware of breathing in and out as follows:
5. Experience joy
6. Experience happiness
7. Experience mental formation
8. Calm mental formation

The instructions for steps (6) and (7) refer to joy (pīti), often alternatively translated as “rapture,” and to happiness (sukha). Joy and happiness are qualities characteristic of the first and second absorption (jhāna). Although this clearly draws attention to the potential of mindfulness of breathing to lead to deep concentration and the attainment of absorption, mental conditions of joy and happiness can already manifest at stages of practice that fall short of being full absorption attainment. A perusal of the early discourses in general gives the impression that the attainment of absorption represents a deeply concentrated mental condition in which the mind is quite literally absorbed in its object and has become thoroughly unified (Anālayo 2003, 75 and the following pages). On adopting such an understanding of the nature of absorption attainment, the instructions in this part of the Ānāpānasatisutta and its parallels would then appear to refer to lesser levels of concentration, in the sense that the mind would be unified and collected only up to such a degree that one can still be distinctly aware of the difference between inhalation and exhalation.

Already during such lesser levels of concentration, wholesome forms of joy and happiness can be experienced that will become more intense when the mind proceeds to deeper levels of concentration. Whatever understanding of the nature of absorption one may advocate, it seems fair to conclude that steps (5) and (6) need not be seen as confined to actual attainment of a form of mental absorption during which one is no longer able to sense distinctly inhalations and exhalations.

From a practical perspective, then, the basic degree of bodily and mental calm established through the preceding four steps leads at the present juncture to the arising of a wholesome form of joy (step 5). Practitioners might even consciouslyencourage the arising of joy by reviewing the pleasant condition of tranquility that one is experiencing after having proceeded through the first tetrad. Joy, which at times can be quite exuberant and rapturous, eventually leads over to the calmer experience of happiness (step 6) in the sense of a pleasantly contented condition of body and mind. With step (7), awareness of joy and happiness leads on to becoming aware of any other mental formation or activity present in the mind. This and the next step in this tetrad are similar to the last two steps in the preceding tetrad, inasmuch as in each case meditation proceeds from awareness of bodily or mental formations to their calming (step 8).

The description of these four steps in the parallel versions is closely similar, a minor but noteworthy difference is that step (8) in the Mahāsāṅghika and Sarvāstivāda Vinayas require “letting go” of mental formations, an expression these two versions also used in relation to step (4). This in a way could be seen as a complementary description of the calming enjoined in the Ānāpānasati-sutta. It is precisely when one has a mental attitude of being willing to let go bodily and mental formations that these become calm. In the present context, this would involve, in particular, the willingness to let go of joy and happiness; however, powerfully attractive these may be in actual experience, in order to be able to proceed further in the practice.

Understood in this way, steps (5) and (6) clearly show that wholesome joy and happiness have a central part to play in the practice and should be encouraged, a topic that comes to the fore again in relation to the awakening factors, to which I will turn later. At the same time, however, steps (7) and (8) show that joy and happiness should be experienced with an attitude that is willing to let go of them, allowing them to subside naturally once the time for that has come.

A way of practically implementing the second tetrad of mindfulness of breathing would then be to proceed from the joy that comes from the calming down of bodily processes to the calmer experience of happiness, which via becoming aware of any other mental activity that might be taking place at that time then leads over to a calming of these mental activities. Chief themes of such practice would then bgiving proper place to joy and happiness as integral parts of the practice, combined with aiming at a calming down of mental processes.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Javi » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:07 pm

4.4 The Third Tetrad

The practice of the 16 steps of mindfulness of breathing described in the Ānāpānasatisutta proceeds to a third tetrad, which relates awareness of breathing in and out to the following steps:

9. Experience the mind
10. Gladden the mind
11. Concentrate the mind
12. Free the mind

The parallel versions agree closely on these four steps. Meditation at the present juncture moves from being aware of the contents of the mind to becoming aware of the mind itself. So far, the progress of practice involved a shift from awareness of the body (or of aspects of the body) with the first tetrad to the experience of mental activities or qualities (like joy and happiness) with the second tetrad. Progression to the third tetrad involves a further degree of refinement. The ability to know that one is breathing in or breathing out does not require much meditative expertise, and even to know if one is joyful or happy can still be reckoned part of average experience.

Of course, in both cases, through intentional directing of mindfulness one learns to notice these more clearly than one would have done earlier. At the present juncture, however, to become aware of the mind as such, in the sense of recognizing that which is aware of the breath or aware of joy and happiness, clearly requires some degree of meditative expertise and familiarity with introspection. The present step does continue along the same trajectory taken earlier, but this continuity requires some degree of meditative expertise for a practitioner to be able to navigate the transition from awareness of what is experienced to awareness of experience itself.

In practical terms, successfully navigating this shift from step (8) to step (9) can take place through a turning back of awareness, or a turning inside of awareness, so to say. From being mindful of the breath, one turns back awareness to that which knows the breath. From being mindful of the experience of joy and happiness, one turns awareness inside to that which knows the experience of happiness. Thanks to the calming of mental formations experienced in the preceding step (8), it becomes easier to recognize the mind itself, to experience that which knows experience.

Awareness of the mind itself then leads naturally to the arising of gladness, because such turning back or inward of awareness results in a much more subtle and calm type of experience. The type of gladness that arises at this stage of practice is one that easily leads to concentration, to the mind becoming collected and unified (step 11). In this way, the mind comes to be increasingly freer from any obstruction or mental hindrance. Having become naturally concentrated, at the present juncture, the mind is also free from any interference on the side of the meditator, however subtle it may be. Instead of interfering, the mind is simply allowed to rest in calm
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Javi » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:18 pm

4.5 The Fourth Tetrad
The final tetrad in the 16 steps of practice in the Ānāpānasati-sutta proceeds by combining awareness of breathing in and out with the following insight-related themes:

13. Contemplate impermanence
14. Contemplate fading away/dispassion
15. Contemplate cessation
16. Contemplate letting go

With the first of these steps, the fact of impermanence, which anyway was present at the background of the practice throughout the preceding steps by way of remaining aware of the breath coming in and going out, now moves to the center stage of attention. With step (13), not only the impermanent nature of the breath, but also the
impermanent nature of all aspects of experience becomes the object of contemplation. This includes the impermanent nature of any joy and happiness experienced as well as the impermanent nature of that which knows—the mind. Even though the ability to know is a constant given in all experiences, the very fact that one is able to know different things makes it clear that the mind must also be changing itself. Were it permanent, then it would be forever frozen in the condition of knowing only a single thing. According to early Buddhist thought, the entire gamut of body and mind is nothing but a changing process, without any exception all of it is subject to the law of impermanence.

From a full appreciation of impermanence, the practice then moves on to virāga, which could be translated as “fading away” or else as “dispassion” (step 14). Both translations bring out related nuances of what in actual experience are closely interrelated aspects in the progress of insight. Seeing that everything changes and is bound to fade away arouses dispassion, one naturally becomes disenchanted and disillusioned with what anyway is impermanent. In this way one’s passion will inevitably diminish and fade away. Such dispassion through seeing the fading away of impermanent phenomena in a way brings out the characteristic of dukkha, making it unmistakably clear that impermanent phenomena are incapable of yielding lasting satisfaction. All conditioned phenomena are indeed “unsatisfactory,” and this insight brings about increasing degrees of dispassion and inner freedom through detachment.

From dispassion, the instructions in the Ānāpānasati-sutta proceed to cessation (nirodha). This could be understood in the sense of attending to the disappearance aspect of whatever is experienced. Be this the breath or joy, or whatever else one knows in the present moment, it all is bound to cease, bound to disappear, giving room to the arising of something else. Contemplating cessation in this way sharpens insight into impermanence, bringing to the fore of attention the aspect of impermanence that is the most threatening one: Things are bound to cease and vanish. Another and complementary aspect of the practice at the present juncture would be that dispassion (step14) leads by degrees to the cessation of dukkha. While the final cessation of dukkha requires full awakening in early Buddhist thought, minor cessations of craving and clinging can be experienced already much earlier, as long as dispassion is being cultivated.

The more the practitioner comes to be at peace with cessation (step 15), learning to allow things to end, the easier it becomes to let go (step 16). Letting go or relinquishing here refers to letting go of any form of attachment, most importantly perhaps to letting go of all sense of identification and appropriation of any aspect of experience in terms of “I” or “mine.” Such letting go points directly to the final goal of liberation.

Some parallel versions differ from the presentation in the Ānāpānasati-sutta regarding steps (14) to (16). In their presentation, practice continues from contemplating impermanence to contemplating eradication (step 14), dispassion (step 15), and cessation (step 16). Following this mode of presentation, contemplation of impermanence would then lead to eradicating, which could be understood to intend the gradual eradication of clinging and attachment. This would naturally lead on to dispassion and then cessation.

A way of practically implementing the fourth tetrad of mindfulness of breathing as described in the Ānāpānasati-sutta would be to proceed from the apperception of the changing nature of the breath to awareness of the impermanent nature of all aspects of experience. Clear awareness of impermanence would then be the foundation for arousing dispassion, proceeding to cessation in the sense of allowing things to end, and finally letting go in the most comprehensive manner possible. Alternatively, on following the parallel versions preserved in Chinese translation, based on insight into impermanence, one could turn to the eradication of attachment and then move on to dispassion and cessation. The chief theme of implementing the instructions for the last tetrad of mindfulness of breathing, whichever mode one may prefer, is clearly the cultivation of insight based on awareness of impermanence.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by DooDoot » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:41 pm

Javi wrote: I have found it a great overview of anapanasati. Enjoy.
I have found it to contain many statements that are contrary to the suttas & to the reality of practise. I might highlight these at a later time.

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Javi » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:22 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Javi wrote: I have found it a great overview of anapanasati. Enjoy.
I have found it to contain many statements that are contrary to the suttas & to the reality of practise. I might highlight these at a later time.
Please do
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by ToVincent » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:40 pm

Javi wrote:.....
Hi Javi,
Thanks for the interesting analysis from Analayo.

Concerning the first tetrad, and the translation of sikkhati as "training" - Analayo says rightly:
"such “training” is not a forceful matter that involves a strong degree of control, but is probably best understood as a soft kind of nudging of the mind in the proper direction".

Instead of "training", I suppose that "desiring to be able" (to feel), would be a better translation.
Sikkhati comes from the Sanskrit: śikṣati - inflected form of शक् śak {des. pr. ac. sg. }), and is a desiderative verb, that has the underlying meaning of "desiring to be able to".

As far as the "body of breath" is concerned, maybe this might help.
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 15#p438849
Also this:https://justpaste.it/1bkrk
In this world with its ..., Māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Javi » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:32 am

I honestly can't see how step three can be "breath body", I think he is totally right here.

Likewise, there is also the Chinese Ekottarika Agama 3.8 which teaches anapanasati states that the meditator “completely observes the body”, knowing it “from the head down to the feet” - which I linked to in the other thread about Thanissaro's meditation method.

And if we go into other later material it also shows that this method of breathing with the whole physical body is not a new thing either but that it was a pretty standard method of interpreting anapanasati. Here is for example, a quote I saved from the Abhidharmakosa-bhasya section on Anapanasati:
Without contention, follow the progress of the air which enters and leaves until it goes into two senses: does the air breathed in occupy all of the body or does it go into only one part of the body? The ascetic follows the air breathed in into the throat, the heart, the navel, the kidneys, the thigh, and so on to the two feet; the ascetic follows the air breathed out to a distance of a hand and a cubit. - Vasubandhu. Translated into French by Louis de La Vallee Poussin. English Version by Leo M. Pruden. Abhidharmakosabhasyam,Vol 3. Page 922.
Now Vasubandhu here was probably sticking to the traditional Sarvastivadin presentation. I haven't read other Sarvastivada material on this like the Mahavibasa etc but perhaps it reflects this understanding too.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by DooDoot » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:44 am

ToVincent wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:40 pm
Concerning the first tetrad, and the translation of sikkhati as "training" - Analayo says rightly:
"such “training” is not a forceful matter that involves a strong degree of control, but is probably best understood as a soft kind of nudging of the mind in the proper direction".

Instead of "training", I suppose that "desiring to be able" (to feel), would be a better translation.
Sikkhati comes from the Sanskrit: śikṣati - inflected form of शक् śak {des. pr. ac. sg. }), and is a desiderative verb, that has the underlying meaning of "desiring to be able to".
Steps 1 & 2 are only concentration, concerning knowing the length of the breath. They obviously are not "training", which is why the word "training" is absent. The word "training" obviously refers to training in higher morality, higher concentration & higher wisdom, as follows:
There are these three trainings. Which three? The training in heightened virtue, the training in heightened mind, the training in heightened discernment. AN 3.88
The 3rd & 4th steps are 'training' because they include moral & wisdom training in understanding 'sankhara' ('conditioning') & understanding the results of giving up craving . This is why the translation 'whole body' is questionable. Both Analayo's ideas about "experience the whole body" and "training" are questionable. Personally, I would say they are wrong or errors.
Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops the mindfulness enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion and cessation, and ripens in relinquishment. MN 118

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by DooDoot » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:53 am

Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:32 am
I honestly can't see how step three can be "breath body", I think he is totally right here.
Step 3 is 'sabba kaya'. 'Sabba' means 'all'. 'Kaya' means 'bodies'. MN 118 says the breath is a certain body among the (other) bodies. The other bodies are the rupa-kaya (physical body) and nama-kaya (mental body). Step 3 is experiencing how the quality of the breath determines the quality of the other bodies (physical body & mind). If you actually meditate, you should understand when the breathing is calm, the mind & body are calm. When the breathing is agitated, the mind & body are agitated. This is not rocket science. Due to cognitive dissonance, it is very difficult, close to impossible, for most Buddhists to think 99% of the Theravada tradition of teachers, monks & scholars are mistaken about Step 3 of Anapanasati. Personally, I trust in my own experience. Step 3 is about how the breathing is the 'sankhara' ('conditioning agent') of the other bodies & also about how the other bodies are conditioning agents of the breathing. There is a conditioning interrelationship between all of these three kaya (bodies/groups). To experience this cause-&-effect inter-conditioning inter-relationship is 'training' ('sikkha') in higher wisdom & also training in higher morality.
Kāyesu kāyaññatarāhaṃ, bhikkhave, evaṃ vadāmi yadidaṃ—assāsapassāsa

I say that this is a certain body among the bodies, namely, in-breathing and out-breathing. MN 118
So if a monk should wish: 'May neither my body be fatigued nor my eyes, and may my mind, through lack of clinging, be released from fermentations,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing. SN 54.8

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Javi » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:13 am

DooDoot wrote:....
The text you just quoted says the breath is a body among bodies, it doesn't say "the breath is the all-body".

I am well aware of this interpretation and I just do not think that it says that at all.

The fact that the previous step has to do with watching the length of the breathing means that one is already watching the whole "body" of the breath - to measure its length. So if that interpretation is correct, then step three would not add anything new to the practice.

Also as you yourself stated, you are watching how the breath conditions the body - and that in itself leads you to watch the whole physical body too. So you are watching both, the breath and the physical flesh body doing the breathing.

You can cite tradition all you want, but as I have shown, there are other traditions which interpreted this as watching the flesh body too, like the Sarvastivadins.

IMO they had it right, you're to watch both, the breath and the physical body. It is the natural progression to become sensitive to the physical breathing process once you watch the breath itself.

This is supported by the jhana similies too, which indicate that one spreads and kneads piti throughout the body like a spring filling a lake etc.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by DooDoot » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:26 am

Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:13 am
The text you just quoted says the breath is a body among bodies, it doesn't say "the breath is the all-body".
I do not recall posting what is inferred above.
Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:13 am
I am well aware of this interpretation and I just do not think that it says that at all.
Then why be interested in meditation if not interested in understanding how suffering arises & how suffering ends? Maybe, you are not spiritually "aware" of this interpretation because you dismiss it despite it being the only spiritually beneficial interpretation that accords with the notion of the three Buddhist trainings (sikkha).
Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:13 am
The fact that the previous step has to do with watching the length of the breathing means that one is already watching the whole "body" of the breath - to measure its length.
The Pali does not state "whole body of the breath". The Buddha did not say this. If the Buddha intended to say this, he would have said this. Also, as I posted, there is no wisdom "training" in observing the whole body of the breath. It is not a spiritually beneficial activity. It is like walking a dry hot road to an oasis but not drinking the water in the oasis.
Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:13 am
Also as you yourself stated, you are watching how the breath conditions the body - and that in itself leads you to watch the whole physical body too. So you are watching both, the breath and the physical flesh body doing the breathing.
There is no spiritual benefit in watching the whole physical body. Also, watching the whole physical body is impossible. The only spiritual benefit is watching how the breath, conditioned by the state of mind, conditions the body because how suffering arises & ceases is learned.
Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:13 am
You can cite tradition all you want, but as I have shown, there are other traditions which interpreted this as watching the flesh body too, like the Sarvastivadins.
You have not shown anything.
Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:13 am
IMO they had it right, you're watch both, the breath and the physical body. It is the natural progression to become sensitive to the physical breathing process once you watch the breath itself.
The purpose of Buddhist training is knowing suffering & its cessation. There must be a mental component. I think "experiencing sabba kaya" means "experiencing all three bodies". I have heard another interpretations that refer to two bodies but this must be wrong because if Buddha meant two bodies (breath & physical) he would have used the phrase, similar to step 7, of 'experiencing the kaya sankhara'. But Buddha said experiencing sabba kaya, which for me means all bodies; which is three bodies rather than two bodies.

In summary, Analayo's view is alien to the reality of Buddhist meditation training (sikkha), which includes sila, samadhi & panna.

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Javi » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:38 am

Actually, never mind, I actually agree with you

I was mainly arguing against the view that sabakaya means "breath body" which is the commentary explanation. I think I was just being unmindful while reading :thinking:

While I agree that ultimately we are to watch "all bodies" I think that this step, since it is under the satipatthana of "body" and since this satipatthana is referring to the physical body, mainly focuses on the physical body and breath body. However, since the satipatthanas are all interconnected anyways, there is nothing wrong with also seeing this as being "all three bodies" too. But remember that the fourth step is "calming bodily sankharas", only in the second tetrad do we calm mental sankharas, so there less of an emphasis on the 'mind body' in the first tetrad. I think this point is pretty obvious.

Also I really cannot see why you object to Analayo's presentation in the above, it is pretty consistent with what you have said.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:50 am

Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:38 am
Actually, never mind, I actually agree with you

I was mainly arguing against the view that sabakaya means "breath body" which is the commentary explanation. I think I was just being unmindful while reading :thinking:

While I agree that ultimately we are to watch "all bodies" I think that this step, since it is under the satipatthana of "body" and since this satipatthana is referring to the physical body, mainly focuses on the physical body and breath body. However, since the satipatthanas are all interconnected anyways, there is nothing wrong with also seeing this as being "all three bodies" too. But remember that the fourth step is "calming bodily sankharas", only in the second tetrad do we calm mental sankharas, so there less of an emphasis on the 'mind body' in the first tetrad. I think this point is pretty obvious.

Also I really cannot see why you object to Analayo's presentation in the above, it is pretty consistent with what you have said.
Trying to understand or practice as a step by step process is a bit unrealistic. Everyone's actual experience is not linear and rigid. There are no two practitioners who are the same. As the scriptures say, YMMV. :shrug:

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Javi » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:44 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:50 am
Trying to understand or practice as a step by step process is a bit unrealistic. Everyone's actual experience is not linear and rigid. There are no two practitioners who are the same. As the scriptures say, YMMV. :shrug:
I agree with this, in fact, I tend to agree with the view that sees the sixteen steps as not being a strictly linear instruction, like Thanissaro writes. They are different aspects of one practice and all interpenetrate each other and are connected with each other.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by DooDoot » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:05 am

Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:44 am
I tend to agree with the view that sees the sixteen steps as not being a strictly linear ...
I would suggest they are linear. For example, rapture obviously occurs after the calming of the breath. For non-linear meditation, for practitoners without stable mindfulness, I would suggest the Satipatthana Sutta. As for the Anapanasati Sutta, the Buddha said it is not for those without stable mindfulness:
I do not say that there is the development of mindfulness of breathing for one who is forgetful, who is not fully aware. MN 118
Satipatthana Sutta is for the run-of-the-mill meditator; Anapanasati for stream-enters & jhana for once-returners & above.

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by DooDoot » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:12 am

Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:30 pm
4.3 The Second tetrad
The instructions for the second tetrad in the 16-step practice model delineated in the Ānāpānasati-sutta describe the progression of practice to be undertaken while remaining aware of breathing in and out as follows:
5. Experience joy
6. Experience happiness
7. Experience mental formation
8. Calm mental formation

With step (7), awareness of joy and happiness leads on to becoming aware of any other mental formation or activity present in the mind. This and the next step in this tetrad are similar to the last two steps in the preceding tetrad, inasmuch as in each case meditation proceeds from awareness of bodily or mental formations to their calming (step 8).
In steps 7 & 8, the Pali is 'citta sankhara', which refers to the vedana (feelings) of rapture & happiness, as defined in MN 44:
Assāsapassāsā kho, āvuso visākha, kāyasaṅkhāro, vitakkavicārā vacīsaṅkhāro, saññā ca vedanā ca cittasaṅkhāro”ti

In-&-out breaths are bodily sankhara (conditioning agent). Initial & sustained thought are verbal sankhara. Perceptions & feelings are the mind sankhara. MN 44
Feelings as the mind sankhara are well described in MN 148:
When one is touched by a pleasant feeling, if one delights in it, welcomes it, and remains holding to it, then the underlying tendency to lust lies within one. When one is touched by a painful feeling, if one sorrows, grieves and laments, weeps beating one’s breast and becomes distraught, then the underlying tendency to aversion lies within one. When one is touched by a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, if one does not understand as it actually is the origination, the disappearance, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in regard to that feeling, then the underlying tendency to ignorance lies within one. MN 148
Thus, Analayo's reference to 'citta sankhara' as 'other mental formations' is very questionable scholarship. While the presence of some mental formations may exist here, as described in MN 148, which are subtle defiled reactions to rapture & happiness, these reactions are not the literal meaning of citta sankhara, as described in MN 44. The meaning of 'experiencing citta sankhara' is experience how rapture & happiness, which are the mind conditioning agents, give rise to different mental moods or subtle reactions. While not relevant to my point, I would assume or guess 'citta' is a noun meaning 'mind' rather than an adjective meaning 'mental'. Vedana (feelings) are mind-conditioning-agents (citta-sankhara), as defined in MN 44. They are obviously not the "mental formation". If steps 7 & 8 were about mental formations (sankhara khandha), they would be part of the 3rd tetrad.

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by DooDoot » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:56 am

Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:07 pm
The ability to know that one is breathing in or breathing out does not require much meditative expertise, and even to know if one is joyful or happy can still be reckoned part of average experience.
The above appears to show Analayo is watering down MN 118; just as he watered down & misconstrued the phrase: "He trains himself". At least for me, the sentence above is sufficient to personally reject Analayo's commentary; given continuously knowing & tranquilizing breathing to give rise to rapture is an unordinary skill, which is why jhana is classed as a supernormal attainment.
In practical terms, successfully navigating this shift from step (8) to step (9) can take place through a turning back of awareness, or a turning inside of awareness, so to say. From being mindful of the breath, one turns back awareness to that which knows the breath. From being mindful of the experience of joy and happiness, one turns awareness inside to that which knows the experience of happiness.
That which "knows" is consciousness (vinnana) rather than citta. Experiencing the citta is described in MN 10:
And how does a monk remain focused on the mind in & of itself? There is the case where a monk, when the mind has passion, discerns that the mind has passion. When the mind is without passion, he discerns that the mind is without passion. When the mind has aversion, he discerns that the mind has aversion. When the mind is without aversion, he discerns that the mind is without aversion. When the mind has delusion, he discerns that the mind has delusion. When the mind is without delusion, he discerns that the mind is without delusion. When the mind is constricted, he discerns that the mind is constricted. When the mind is scattered, he discerns that the mind is scattered. When the mind is enlarged, he discerns that the mind is enlarged. When the mind is not enlarged, he discerns that the mind is not enlarged. When the mind is surpassed, he discerns that the mind is surpassed. When the mind is unsurpassed, he discerns that the mind is unsurpassed. When the mind is concentrated, he discerns that the mind is concentrated. When the mind is not concentrated, he discerns that the mind is not concentrated. When the mind is released, he discerns that the mind is released. When the mind is not released, he discerns that the mind is not released. MN 10

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:28 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:05 am
Javi wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:44 am
I tend to agree with the view that sees the sixteen steps as not being a strictly linear ...
I would suggest they are linear. For example, rapture obviously occurs after the calming of the breath. For non-linear meditation, for practitoners without stable mindfulness, I would suggest the Satipatthana Sutta. As for the Anapanasati Sutta, the Buddha said it is not for those without stable mindfulness:
I do not say that there is the development of mindfulness of breathing for one who is forgetful, who is not fully aware. MN 118
Satipatthana Sutta is for the run-of-the-mill meditator; Anapanasati for stream-enters & jhana for once-returners & above.
I always mistrust those who quote chapter and verse and use judgement (duality) in their analyses and reasonings. Experience always overrides the written word. I would venture to say that no one who has dived deeply into both of these practices has come up with a paint by numbers rigid technique and procedural. Just read the first hand accounts of forest monks and zen practitioners who untangled the knot.

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Re: Analayo - Understanding and Practicing the Ānāpānasati-sutta

Post by Mkoll » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:49 am

Thanks Javi, excellent stuff.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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