Pali Term: Sati

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Dmytro
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by Dmytro » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:57 pm

porpoise wrote:
Dmytro wrote:Here the function of 'sati' is to keep in mind the particular sphere (satipatthana), while the function of 'sampajanna' is to keep track of what is going on in the particular sphere.
Interesting. So how do think sampajanna is best translated? Is it something like "fully aware"?
Let's return to the Satipatthana sutta.


Dīghaṃ vā assasanto dīghaṃ assasāmīti pajānāti.

"Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'.

Puna ca paraṃ bhikkhave bhikkhu gacchanto vā gacchāmīti pajānāti.

"Furthermore, when walking, the monk discerns, 'I am walking.'

Puna ca paraṃ bhikkhave bhikkhu abhikkante paṭikkante sampajānakārī hoti.

"Furthermore, when going forward & returning, he makes himself fully alert.


Satipatthana sutta is full of several forms of "sampajanna" - either in the verb form pajānāti or in the compound form sampajānakārī, which are applied to relevant parameters in the given sphere of establishing "sati". However these forms get translated by very different words in English translations.

I have argued for the translation of this word as "awareness" in the thread: "Pali Term: Sampajañña".

In contrast, 'sati' is always applied to the whole sphere of establishing 'sati', and never to individual parameters:


So satova assasati, sato passasati.

Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

Atthi kāyoti vā panassa sati paccupaṭṭhitā hoti yāvadeva ñāṇamattāya patissatimattāya.

Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance.


Or as explained in Dvedhavitakka sutta:

Seyyathāpi bhikkhave gimhānaṃ pacchime māse sabbasassesu gāmantasambhatesu gopālako gāvo rakkheyya. Tassa rukkhamūlagatassa vā abbhokāsagatassa vā satikaraṇīyameva hoti: etaṃ gāvoti. Evameva kho bhikkhave satikaraṇīyameva ahosi: ete dhammāti.

"Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have been gathered into the village, a cowherd would look after his cows: While resting under the shade of a tree or out in the open, he simply keeps himself mindful of 'those cows.' In the same way, I simply kept myself mindful of 'those mental qualities.'


As for the expression 'anupassī viharati', translated as 'remains focused'.

The verb 'anupassati' refers to maintaining special modes of viewing, e.g.:


aniccato anupassati, no niccato

he views as impermanent, not as permanent

yo attano attānaṃ nānupassati

he who does not view the self by means of the self

vayaṃ cassānupassati

and he views its vanishing


In Satipatthana sutta, Sata sutta, and many other similar suttas, Buddha describes four special modes of viewing:


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

Sato bhikkhave, bhikkhu vihareyya sampajāno, ayaṃ vo amhākaṃ anusāsanī. Kathañca bhikkhave, bhikkhu sato hoti: idha bhikkhave, bhikkhu kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Citte cittānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Evaṃ kho bhikkhave, bhikkhu sato hoti.


In these four special forms of viewing, one remains focused on a particular sphere (satipatthana) in & of itself, disregarding other spheres.

Similarly, one can be mindful to maintain some other skilful form of viewing:

Idha bhikkhave, ekacco puggalo sabbasaṅkhāresu aniccānupassī viharati aniccasaññī aniccapaṭisaṃvedī satataṃ samitaṃ abbokiṇṇaṃ cetasā adhimuccamāno paññāya pariyogāhamāno. So āsavānaṃ khayā anāsavaṃ cetovimuttiṃ paññāvimuttiṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharati.

Here, bhikkhus, some person dwells contemplating impermanence in the eye, perceiving impermanence, experiencing impermanence, constantly, continuously, and uninterrpuptedly focusing on it with the mind, fathoming it with wisdom. With the destruction of taints, he has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, dwells in it.
Last edited by Dmytro on Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by Dmytro » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:04 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Yes, you do offer a something of a nuanced view of sati, though I would rather take Ven Analayo's and particularly Gethin's broader point of view, as we have discussed at length above, over yours. Interestingly, you do seem to have changed -- or clarified -- your point of view from the start of this thread. So, my apologies for not acknowledging the flexibility you have shown.
My apologies for being too blunt.
Seems like Rupert Gethin's article is our point of agreement.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:54 am

Are remembering and awareness (or their relevant synonyms) mutually in exclusive in:

-The context of the sutta pitaka?

No.

-The context of the tipitaka?

No.

-All the Pali literature?

No.

-Buddhism at large?

No.

-In reality as we know it?

No. Remembering involves awareness. Awareness involves remembering. "Choiceless awareness" doesn't necessarily imply "awareness that never chooses"; "bare attention" doesn't necessarily imply "attention with no content"; "non-judgmental" doesn't necessarily imply "completely judgment free"; "present moment awareness" doesn't necessarily imply "awareness absolutely uninfluenced by the past."

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:09 am

Dmytro wrote:Some teachers write works specifically addressed to the misconception of 'paying attention' as the whole practice, e.g. Sayadaw U Tejaniya, "Awareness Alone Is Not Enough".
Which teachers have you ever heard say "paying attention is the whole practice"?

I'm glad you brought up Reverend Tejaniya. One of his students, Andrea Fella, is constantly talking about "non-reactivity" in terms of sati. But it's not just her thing.
danieLion wrote:
A lot of people think that "mindfulness" or "awareness" means you focus on something. But, actually, the right definition of the word "awareness" [or "mindfulness'] in Pāli is sati. The right translation of it is just "not forgetting, to know yourself."
-Sayadaw U Tejaniya, 6.16.07 Right Attitude for Meditation (1 of 3) 30:00-30:33

Download
Notice, Rev. Tejaniya doesn't leave it at "not forgetting" (a remembering element) but adds, "to know yourself" (an awareness element).

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by Dmytro » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:56 am

danieLion wrote:Which teachers have you ever heard say "paying attention is the whole practice"?
Do you want to engage me in the game already played in the thread on Ven. Thanissaro's book? I would be in good company of the Venerable to decline naming.

I still prefer good old Pali glosses, especially on the Pali forum.

I know everything involves everything, everything's interconnected, etc. Does this mean that the precise terms can be interpreted contrary to their definition?

It's unfortunate that plain investigation of the Pali term brings up so much Buddhist politics. In this thread I'm not interested in the standpoints of contemporary teachers, with the exception of cases when they elaborate on the Pali texts.
Perhaps in ancient China I could have been punished for questioning the established interpretations of the Pali terms, but fortunately I live in the free country called Ukraine.

Let's investigate the words of the Buddha. They are largely forgotten, so this task requires courage and honesty.

P.S. Whence the 'remembering'? This word hasn't been used in this thread before. Evidently I have to use the dictionary to clarify things:

Definition of REMEMBRANCE
1 : the state of bearing in mind
2 a : the ability to remember : memory
b : the period over which one's memory extends
3 : an act of recalling to mind
4 : a memory of a person, thing, or event
5 a : something that serves to keep in or bring to mind : reminder
b : commemoration, memorial
c : a greeting or gift recalling or expressing friendship or affection

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/remembrance" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In the case of 'sati', this is mostly 1 : the state of bearing in mind , and also 2 a : the ability to remember : memory
b : the period over which one's memory extends, as explained in the Sutta.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:27 pm

Dmytro wrote:I know everything involves everything, everything's interconnected, etc. Does this mean that the precise terms can be interpreted contrary to their definition?
"Everything involves everything" is a tautology invented by Parmenides and popularized by Plato. I'm no such monist. I don't believe in "interconnectedness" (I wholeheartedly agree with Rev. Thanissaro's attacks on the one-consciousness imbeciles). And, unlike you, I'm not a definitionalist (someone who acts like and/or believes dictionaries are the final say on the meanings of words, often betrayed by their use of the term, "the dictionary."). Tell me, is your Pali provincialism an extension of your definitionalism or is your definitionalism an extension of your Pali provincialism?
Dmytro wrote:It's unfortunate that plain investigation of the Pali term brings up so much Buddhist politics.
"Plain" is an interesting choice of words. Reminds me of words like "bare" and "choiceless." What exactly do you mean by "plain"? Do you think an anti-defitionalist, non-monist like me would post here just for the sake of politics?
Dmytro wrote:In this thread I'm not interested in the standpoints of contemporary teachers, with the exception of cases when they elaborate on the Pali texts.
So all their experience has to conform to the Pali? Next thing you'll tell me there's no hermeneutics in translation.

Where do you draw the line between contemporary and non-contemporary?

Let's also investigate the meaning of:

reify:
to regard (something abstract) as a material or concrete thing
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reify" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by danieLion on Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:34 pm

Dmytro wrote:In this thread I'm not interested in the standpoints of contemporary teachers, with the exception of cases when they elaborate on the Pali texts.
Then why did you bring Reverend Tejaniya up here in this thread to support your argument first? Besides, Reverend Tejaniya is elaborating on the Pali texts in my posts here. So, what you're really saying is that you only use contemporary teacher's elaborations on the Pali texts when they support your (and Rev. T's) arguments?

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:39 pm

Dmytro,
I get the impression that even if the Buddha himself told you in person that he used sati to mean more than just remembering and that it implies awareness you'd correct him and say, "Not according to the Pali!"

Am I right?

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by Dmytro » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:55 pm

Hi Daniel,

The words of the Buddha have been preserved to this day in the Pali Canon, and I am fortunate to read them and apply in practice.
In such a manner, Buddha speaks to me personally.
His teaching is unbelieavably powerful when sincerely and exactly followed.
I am sharing his teaching to the best of my ability.

Since your questions have little to do with what I said, I take them as rhetorical ones.
And I hope the discussion will return to the Pali term.

Best wishes, Dmytro

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:10 pm

Dmytro wrote: And I hope the discussion will return to the Pali term.
We have gone around on this. The problem is that meaning is not just lexicographical, but it is in it actual usage that meanings are shaped, which can push well beyond just what the dictionary says, and that has been shown above, quite clearly and in detail, to be the case with the Pali term sati.
>> 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: Pali Term: Sati

Post by Dmytro » Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:45 pm

tiltbillings wrote:The problem is that meaning is not just lexicographical, but it is in it actual usage that meanings are shaped, which can push well beyond just what the dictionary says, and that has been shown above, quite clearly and in detail, to be the case with the Pali term sati.
Thank you, Tilt.
Yes, the actual Pali usage of the term sati pushes well beyond what the dictionary says, as I have shown quite clearly and in detail in the posts:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 299#p64546" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 99#p167808" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 99#p167809" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 99#p167810" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 99#p180573" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 99#p180765" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 99#p180783" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 99#p183130" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p203386" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p205855" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 80#p214403" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 80#p214481" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 00#p216828" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p217112" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p224280" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As the President of the Pali Text Society, Rupert Gethin, writes:

"These ancient definitions and the Abhidhamma list of terms seem to be rather at odds with the modern clinical psychotherapeutic definition of mindfulness, and even perhaps with the more recent Buddhist definitions of mindfulness offered by way of exposition of the practice of
satipaṭṭhana."

http://www.scribd.com/doc/99110733/On-S ... ethin-2011" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by Dmytro on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:32 pm

Dmytro wrote:As the President of the Pali Text Society, Rupert Gethin, writes:

"These ancient definitions and the Abhidhamma list of terms seem to be rather at odds with the modern clinical psychotherapeutic definition of mindfulness, and even perhaps with the more recent Buddhist definitions of mindfulness offered by way of exposition of the practice of
satipaṭṭhana."

http://www.scribd.com/doc/99110733/On-S ... ethin-2011" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The problem with your Gethin quote (on page 270) is that it needs to be taken into fuller context of what he goes on to say, pointing the the actual complexity of what is involved in the term sati as it is used in the suttas and commentaries, which is a bit more than than just your Merriam-Webster "Definition of REMEMBRANCE," and that is the point. And also to the point is the question what are the other Pali terms that point what is also involved with paying attention.
>> 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: Pali Term: Sati

Post by danieLion » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:53 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Daniel,
Since your questions have little to do with what I said, I take them as rhetorical ones.
These questions are definitely not rhetorical, have quite a bit to do with what you said, and are focused on The Pali.
danieLion wrote:
Dmytro wrote:In this thread I'm not interested in the standpoints of contemporary teachers, with the exception of cases when they elaborate on the Pali texts.
Then why did you bring Reverend Tejaniya up here in this thread to support your argument first? Besides, Reverend Tejaniya is elaborating on the Pali texts in my posts here. So, what you're really saying is that you only use contemporary teacher's elaborations on the Pali texts when they support your (and Rev. T's) arguments?
So there must be some ohter reasons your way too quick to dismiss them.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by danieLion » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:07 am

Dmytro wrote:The words of the Buddha have been preserved to this day in the Pali Canon...,
How can you be so certain?
Dmytro wrote:...and I am fortunate to read them and apply in practice.
I agree that we are fortunate to have what we have.
Dmytro wrote:In such a manner, Buddha speaks to me personally.
His teaching is unbelieavably powerful when sincerely and exactly followed.
I agree that his teaching is powerful (although I'd say it's believably so), and that sincerity is important, but if they could be followed with exactitude posts like this wouldn't exist, Dhammawheel wouldn't exist, etc..., because we'd all agree on what exactly to do.
Dmytro wrote:I am sharing his teaching to the best of my ability.
Which I greatly appreciate and have benefited from. However, you have not made a strong case, are behaving evasively to my valid inquiries, and dismiissing my points much too quickly.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Post by Dmytro » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:06 am

Hi Daniel,

Thank you for your attention.
If you would like to discuss with me any questions about my personal motives, opinions, etc., please write me personal messages.

IMHO, all the personal-oriented posts, innuendos, pamphlets, proclamations, etc. are offtopic here.

What I'm interested in this thread is how Buddha defines "sati" in the Pali Canon. If you can offer substantiated opinion, please do so.
So far hardly anyone in this thread except for me has made a substantiated case for this or that meaning of "sati".
I am grateful to Piotr, Sekha and Porpoise for some remarks that have been to the point, to Tilt for helping me to explore my patience, and to you for introducing me to the depths of Western Academia labeling culture. Your "definitionalist" and "provincionalist" are certainly gems in my collection.

I'll be unlikely to reply to futher offtopic in this thread.

Best wishes, Dmytro

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