Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

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cooran
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by cooran » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:21 am

Hello Samvega, all,

Finally, the book arrived from Amazon! :woohoo:

Now I can study along with the rest of you.

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

with metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by bodom » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:31 pm

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


Choiceless awareness simply means that with awareness one remains impartial, to all sense experience without reacting with greed or hatred, like or dislike. It is choiceless in the sense of no preference or judgement to what is experienced and certainly has support in the suttas:
a bhikkhu lives contemplating the body in the body..feelings in the feelings..consciousness in consciousness..mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending (them) and mindful (of them), having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief."

Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so neither forms, nor sounds, nor odors, nor tastes, nor contacts of any kind, neither the desired nor the undesired, can cause such a one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance. - A. VI. 55
:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

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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.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by Sylvester » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:18 am

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


Choiceless awareness simply means that with awareness one remains impartial, to all sense experience without reacting with greed or hatred, like or dislike. It is choiceless in the sense of no preference or judgement to what is experienced and certainly has support in the suttas:
a bhikkhu lives contemplating the body in the body..feelings in the feelings..consciousness in consciousness..mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending (them) and mindful (of them), having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief."

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

Hi bodom

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

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

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

http://www.ocbs.org/images/documents/gonda.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

- see p.7.

Tse Fu Kuan also makes the same point in his "Mindfulness in Early Buddhism". He makes the interesting observation that the 2 Commentaries on the Satipatthana Suttas do not seem to agree on this point, which could simply point to the Digha Commentary being corrupted and diverging from the position in the Majjhima Commentary. It appears that the Majjhima Commentary explains the phrase as a fruit of satipatthana. Here's the extract -
The commentary on the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (Sv III 759) reads: abhijjhadomanassavinayena
bhavanabalam (same in CSCD) vuttan ti. This gloss also
occurs in the commentary to the Satipatthana Sutta of the Majjhima NikAya
(Ps I 244), but it has phala (same in CSCD) instead of bala. Ven. Nyanuttara
probably refers to the reading in Ps rather than Sv. Searching CSCD, I only
found one other occurrence of this expression at Patis-a I 177, which has phala
instead of bala, agreeing with the reading of Ps.
The issue is controversial, as how the vineyya is interpreted could mean that Satipatthana bhavana is a "Vipassana" practice, or that it is a mere Samatha practice.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by Dmytro » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:51 am

Hi Bodom,
bodom wrote:Choiceless awareness simply means that with awareness one remains impartial, to all sense experience without reacting with greed or hatred, like or dislike.
Indeed, the key feature of 'choiceless awareness' is intentional passivity.

Krishnamurti:

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

http://books.google.com/books?id=_5ho4x ... frontcover" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Ven. Nyanaponika:

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

http://www.midamericadharma.org/gangess ... lness.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

For more details, see the post: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 30#p128630" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It is choiceless in the sense of no preference or judgement to what is experienced and certainly has support in the suttas:
a bhikkhu lives contemplating the body in the body..feelings in the feelings..consciousness in consciousness..mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending (them) and mindful (of them), having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief."
Buddha clearly recommends a sound judgement on what is skillful and what is not, in the very first factor of Awakening, the "discernment of ways of (especially mental) behaviour" (dhamma-vicaya):

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

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5582" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so neither forms, nor sounds, nor odors, nor tastes, nor contacts of any kind, neither the desired nor the undesired, can cause such a one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance. - A. VI. 55
This quote is about the final result, deliverance. Ven. Thanissaro wrote:

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

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 0&#p128630" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 656#p88181" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

to brute-force efforts:

Vitakkasanthana sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (where 'theme' = "nimitta")

Capala sutta:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:17 am

Dmytro wrote:. . .
The expression “choiceless awareness” has been conflated with Ven Nyanaponika's neologism “bare attention,” and rather wooley things have been said about the two, as if the fuzzy, wooley things said are an accurate expression of bare attention truly is. It seem that if you are going to continue your crusade against “bare attention” that you accurately reflect what it is before you try to beat it up. So far, you are not so good on that account, which means that your criticism falls flat, fails to engage, rings hollow, and has no substance.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by piotr » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:27 am

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

"Uninvolved and detached receptivity as one of the crucial characteristics of 'sati' forms an important aspect in the teachings of several modern meditation teachers and scholars. They emphasize that the purpose of 'sati' is solely to make things conscious, not to eliminate them. Sati silently observes, like a spectator at play, without in any way interfering. Some refer to this non-reactive feature of 'sati' as "choiceless" awareness. "Choiceless" in the sense that with such awareness one remains impartially aware, without reacting with likes or dislikes."
This simile gives quite different idea, than the simile used in the suttas:
  • Just as the royal frontier fortress has a gate-keeper — wise, experienced, intelligent — to keep out those he doesn't know and to let in those he does, for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way a disciple of the noble ones is mindful, highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago. With mindfulness as his gate-keeper, the disciple of the ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this sixth true quality is he endowed.

    — Nagara Sutta: The Fortress (AN 7.63)
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by Dmytro » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:45 pm

Hi Piotr,
piotr wrote:This simile gives quite different idea, than the simile used in the suttas:
  • Just as the royal frontier fortress has a gate-keeper — wise, experienced, intelligent — to keep out those he doesn't know and to let in those he does, for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way a disciple of the noble ones is mindful, highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago. With mindfulness as his gate-keeper, the disciple of the ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this sixth true quality is he endowed.

    — Nagara Sutta: The Fortress (AN 7.63)
Thank you for the quote. The misconceptions about "sati" are so deeply embedded in the Western Buddhism that it is rare to encounter a reasonable argument.

Let's replace "mindfulness" in your quote with "remembrance", which is much more natural, taking in account the "remembering & able to call to mind". Then we get:

Just as the royal frontier fortress has a gate-keeper — wise, experienced, intelligent — to keep out those he doesn't know and to let in those he does, for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way a disciple of the noble ones is endowed with remembrance (sati), highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago. With remembrance (sati) as his gate-keeper, the disciple of the ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this sixth true quality is he endowed.

(6) Seyyathāpi bhikkhave, rañño paccantime nagare dovāriko hoti paṇḍito viyatto medhāvī aññātānaṃ nivaretā ñātānaṃ pavesetā abbhantarānaṃ guttiyā bāhirānaṃ paṭighātāya, evameva kho bhikkhave, ariyasāvako satimā hoti paramena satinepakkena samannāgato cirakatampi cirabhāsitampi saritā anussaritā. Sati dovāriko bhikkhave, ariyasāvako akusalaṃ pajahati, kusalaṃbhāveti, sāvajjaṃ pajahati, anavajjaṃ bhāveti, suddhaṃ attānaṃ pariharati. Iminā chaṭṭhena saddhammena samannāgato hoti.

— Nagara Sutta: The Fortress

The role of "sati" here is clarified in the Maha-cattarisaka sutta:

So micchādiṭṭhiyā pahānāya vāyamati sammādiṭṭhiyā upasampadāya. Svāssa hoti sammāvāyāmo. So sato micchādiṭṭhiṃ pajahati. Sato sammādiṭṭhiṃ upasampajja viharati. Sāssa hoti sammāsati. Itissime tayo dhammā sammādiṭṭhiṃ anuparidhāvanti anuparivattanti. Seyyathīdaṃ: sammādiṭṭhi sammāvāyāmo sammāsati.

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is endowed with remembrance (sato) to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right remembrance (sati). Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right remembrance (sati) — run & circle around right view."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here we see what exactly remembers one endowed with sati.

Ven. Analayo, on page 46, acknowledges that "the noun sati is related to the verb 'sarati', to remember". However on the page 47 he takes a sudden turn and writes that "[in the] context of satipatthana it [sati] is not concerned with recalling past events, but functions as awareness of the present moment". In the footnote he refers to the works of Ven. Nyanaponika, Nyanavira, Rhys Davids and Griffith, and does not give any scruptural references for such an important statement.

Indeed, sati in the context of satipatthana is not concerned with recalling past events. It is concerned with remembering to abandon what is uskillful and developing what is skillful - the point which is traditionally misunderstood in the Western Buddhism.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:56 pm

Greetings Piotr & Dmytro,

Thanks for your posts... it's something to sati.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by James the Giant » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:58 am

So... how does this argument about sati as remembrance and sati as mindfulness make any difference to my meditation practise? What should I be doing instead? Should I throw away everything I have learned and start again?
Dmytro, can you please post a link to some description of what proper practise is, or proper meditation practise should be? Not a sutta please, something in plain English written for those with the meanest of understandings. Thanks!
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:14 am

James the Giant wrote:So... how does this argument about sati as remembrance and sati as mindfulness make any difference to my meditation practise? What should I be doing instead?
It is an interesting issue as to how to understand sati. Quite frankly, as with any number of words in the suttas, the meaning is dependent upon context, not just dictionary meaning. I think, however, those who want to argue a strict dictionary meaning for sati should start a new thread, since that would takes us away from a direct discussion of the book. The issue of sati as memory and as "present moment aweareness" is discussed on pages 46-9.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by Brizzy » Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:17 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Piotr & Dmytro,

Thanks for your posts... it's something to sati.

Metta,
Retro. :)
So, would that be "rememberance WITH breathing", that is a real possibility.

Metta

Brizzy
Ignorance is an intentional act.

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:26 am

Greetings Brizzy,
Brizzy wrote:So, would that be "rememberance WITH breathing", that is a real possibility.
Sorry, to be mildly off-topic, but the Police come to mind here...
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you
I didn't know that Sting was into satipatthana and anapanasati.

:rofl:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by Dmytro » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:00 am

Hi James,
James the Giant wrote:So... how does this argument about sati as remembrance and sati as mindfulness make any difference to my meditation practise? What should I be doing instead? Should I throw away everything I have learned and start again?
Dmytro, can you please post a link to some description of what proper practise is, or proper meditation practise should be? Not a sutta please, something in plain English written for those with the meanest of understandings.
You point to the problem I see with many books on the Buddha's teaching, including the book by Ven. Analayo.
Too often this or that practise is presented as the proper meditation practise, which exactly corresponds to the Sutta. Other practises are considered thereby not so proper.

The honest approach would be to acknowledge that Buddha's teaching is partly lost, and we can only reconstruct it in the best way possible. This would provide space for many varieties of reconstruction, and for many possible practises. Then we would also be able to seek constructively for better and better reconstructions of the Buddha's teaching.

I do think that many meditation experts already practice in line with Buddha's instructions on Satipatthana, despite all the misunderstandings. But these misunderstandings may make the description of practice somewhat clumsy. I think that the deeper understanding of the Sutta will help such people to recognize things they are already doing, practice them more efficiently, and describe them more clearly.

For example, what many describe as 'mindfulness' corresponds rather to the Pali 'sampajanna'

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5570" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There are some very useful Sutta instructions on such practice, e.g.

“Katha~nca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sampajaano hoti? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno viditaa vedanaa uppajjanti, viditaa upa.t.thahanti, viditaa abbhattha.m gacchanti. Viditaa vitakkaa uppajjanti, viditaa upa.t.thahanti, viditaa abbhattha.m gacchanti. Viditaa sa~n~naa uppajjanti, viditaa upa.t.thahanti, viditaa abbhattha.m gacchanti. Eva.m kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sampajaano hoti.

And how, monks, is a monk mindful? Here, friends, feelings arise known to a monk, known they persist, known they go to an end. Recognitions arise known, known they persist, known they go to an end. Thoughts arise known, known they persist, known they go to an end. In such a way, monks, is a monk mindful.

(Sati sutta, SN 5:180)

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:15 am

Dmytro wrote:The honest approach would be to acknowledge that Buddha's teaching is partly lost, and we can only reconstruct it in the best way possible. This would provide space for many varieties of reconstruction, and for many possible practises. Then we would also be able to seek constructively for better and better reconstructions of the Buddha's teaching.
Then why is it that you are consistently critical and dismissive of the Burmese vipassana tradition's reconstruction, which was done by highly knowledgeable monks, certainly having far more knowledge of the suttas and Pali than we have seen here from you?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by Dan74 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:35 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Brizzy,
Brizzy wrote:So, would that be "rememberance WITH breathing", that is a real possibility.
Sorry, to be mildly off-topic, but the Police come to mind here...
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you
I didn't know that Sting was into satipatthana and anapanasati.

:rofl:

Metta,
Retro. :)
:jumping:

Sting is Buddhist, isn't he? A Vajrayana practitioner, I think and some of their schools are very fond of satipatthana.

:focus:

I struggle to understand how this discerning sati as opposed to bare awareness would happen in meditation. So you sit and proliferate more thoughts about thoughts, more mind states in reaction to mind states?

I thought the Buddha's instruction on discerning the wholesome from the unwholesome were to do with developing and maintaining sila rather than meditation instructions.

Sorry for being dense, I just don't follow, but I would like to understand what Dmytro was arguing for.
_/|\_

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