Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6254
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Satipatthana | "Internally and Externally"

Post by bodom » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:43 pm

There are a few different interpretations on this matter, for a full account see Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization by Analayo.
http://www.amazon.com/Satipatthana-Dire ... 1899579540" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The easiest and most practical way for me is to see "Internal" as representing my experience of Body, Feelings etc. and "External" as others experience of Body, Feelings etc.

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

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


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

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

User avatar
mettafuture
Posts: 452
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:13 pm

Re: Satipatthana | "Internally and Externally"

Post by mettafuture » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:47 pm

bodom wrote:There are a few different interpretations on this matter, for a full account see Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization by Analayo.
http://www.amazon.com/Satipatthana-Dire ... 1899579540" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I own it. :D
The easiest and most practical way for me is to see "Internal" as representing my experience of Body, Feelings etc. and "External" as the experience of others.

:anjali:
That method works for some of the meditations, but, for example, how do you contemplate someone else's body?

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6254
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Satipatthana | "Internally and Externally"

Post by bodom » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

mettafuture wrote:That method works for some of the meditations, but, for example, how do you contemplate someone else's body?
Analayo covers that pg. 97.

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

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


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

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

Moggalana
Posts: 331
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:31 am
Location: Germany

Re: Satipatthana | "Internally and Externally"

Post by Moggalana » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:10 pm

Additionally: Satipatthana Sutta - part 3 - Concentration And Contemplation He talks about contemplating body externally at about 41:00
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.

User avatar
Goedert
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 9:24 pm
Location: SC, Brazil

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by Goedert » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:05 am

zavk wrote:Hi friends,

This line from the story posted by Chris reminded me of something I've been meaning to ask:
"We must constantly keep ourselves under observation--not only others. In fact, let others be our mirror wherein we may discover our own defilements."
In the Satipatthana Sutta, there is a line that goes:

"In this way he abides contemplating the body/feelings/mind/dhammas internally, or he abides contemplating the body/feelings/mind/dhammas externally, or he abides contemplating the body/feelings mind/dhammas both internally and externally..."

This is the part of sutta that Ven. Analayo calls the 'refrain', the modus operandi of satipatthana, if you like. He suggests that the "task of this 'refrain' is to direct attention to those aspects that are essential for the proper practice of each exercise" (p. 92). The refrain also tells us to contemplate the 'arising/passing', with 'bare knowledge and continuous mindfulness' and 'independently without clinging'.

I am, however, curious about the part that says 'internally/externally'. These two terms are not further elaborated in the Satipatthana Sutta. But to sum up Ven. Analayo's arguments very briefly, he examines two ways of interpreting 'internally/externally'.

The first way of interpreting follows the Abhidhammic and commentarial literature, which interprets 'internally/externally' to encompass phenomenon arising in oneself and others. So, when one contemplates body/feelings/mind/dhammas, one contemplates them in oneself and in others. We of course cannot read the minds of others. But reading the Abhidhammic and commentarial literature, Ven. Analayo suggests that we can direct mindfulness towards the outer manifestations of others (facial expressions, posture, movements, etc) so as to practice satipatthana 'externally'.

The second way of interpretating is suggested by some contemporary teachers who interpret 'internally/externally' to refer to what is inside of the body and what is on the outside of the body--i.e. the surface of the skin. I won't reproduce Ven. Analayo's arguments in detail here. But he more or less argues that while such interpretations are not entirely unfounded and have their practical benefits, they have their limits (e.g. it becomes hard to maintain such a distinction when one begins to contemplate the dhammas).

So, leaving aside the more contemporary interpretations, I have some questions about the more 'classical' way of understanding 'internally/externally'. Following the sequence stated in the Satipatthana Sutta, one first practices internal contemplation, which then becomes the basis of external contemplation. And finally one contemplates both internally and externally. Ven. Analayo thus opines that "indeed to be aware of one's feelings and reactions enables one to understand the feelings and reactions of others more easily". He adds:
'For a balanced development of awareness, this shift from the internal to the external is of considerable importance. Awareness applied only internally can lead to self-centredness. One can become excessively concerned with what happens with and within oneself while at the same time remaining unaware of how one's action and behaviour affect others. Practicing both internal and external satipatthana can prevent such lopsidedness and achieve a skillful balance between introspection and extroversion' (p. 98).
When we talk about meditation we often speak of it as a kind of introspective practice. But in light of the above, we see that it shouldn't be only introspective. Indeed, the force of introspection should propel one towards a certain extroversion, a greater sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of others.

So my questions are: Do you actually make a conscious effort to contemplate 'externally'? Should we attempt to do so? Or is this something that happens 'naturally' as we build up the momentum of 'internal' contemplation?

Metta,
zavk
Hello friend. The point is to get the "principle" involve in it, so you will know what is happining in the external.

:namaste:

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:03 am

Moggalana wrote:Additionally: Satipatthana Sutta - part 3 - Concentration And Contemplation He talks about contemplating body externally at about 41:00
Thanks. Joseph Goldstein is one of the better teachers out there. His talks and writings are well worth the time spent. Also, his comments support what I have experienced in terms of the internal/external instructions: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1122#p14316" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
>> 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

Sylvester
Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by Sylvester » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:24 am

I recall Ven Analayo equating the "internal" and the "external" satipatthanas with the first 2 of the 8 Deliverances. It was from his "The Thought World of the Pali Discourses".

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:23 pm

Sylvester wrote:I recall Ven Analayo equating the "internal" and the "external" satipatthanas with the first 2 of the 8 Deliverances. It was from his "The Thought World of the Pali Discourses".
Do you recall if this is available on line? He obviously talks about this on his book on satipatthana from page 94 for the next several page after. I find Goldstein's commentary and my experience credible.
>> 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

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 6254
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by bodom » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:27 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Sylvester wrote:I recall Ven Analayo equating the "internal" and the "external" satipatthanas with the first 2 of the 8 Deliverances. It was from his "The Thought World of the Pali Discourses".
Do you recall if this is available on line?
Here ya go tilt.

http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/analayo/index.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


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

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:17 pm

bodom wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Sylvester wrote:I recall Ven Analayo equating the "internal" and the "external" satipatthanas with the first 2 of the 8 Deliverances. It was from his "The Thought World of the Pali Discourses".
Do you recall if this is available on line?
Here ya go tilt.

http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/analayo/index.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
Ven Analayo's stuff is always worth reading. In looking through the two texts linked, I find nothing that runs counter to his statements in his book, SATiPATTHANA: The Direct Path to Realization, page 94-102.
>> 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

Sylvester
Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by Sylvester » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:10 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Sylvester wrote:I recall Ven Analayo equating the "internal" and the "external" satipatthanas with the first 2 of the 8 Deliverances. It was from his "The Thought World of the Pali Discourses".
Do you recall if this is available on line? He obviously talks about this on his book on satipatthana from page 94 for the next several page after. I find Goldstein's commentary and my experience credible.
Sorry, Tilt. Mine is the hard copy, and I don't recall that particular publisher (a Vipassana society in Malaysia) offering an online version.

I think you might find the treatment in his opus magnum more detailed, as the internal/external satipatthanas were discussed only very briefly in Thought World, in the context of the 8 Deliverances.

I just realised that I have an online edition of Thought World marked (2), published this year by The Buddhist Assn of the USA. It has a very different content from the earlier one I was referring to. Perhaps no (1) might be listed in his online bibliography with a link?

Sylvester
Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by Sylvester » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:19 am

Hi Tilt

Just managed to locate an online copy of Ven Analayo's "From Craving to Liberation - Excursion to the Thought World of the Pali Discourses (1).

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... raving.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The internal/external satipatthanas and the 2 Deliverances are addressed at p.145

Lest his list of publications be lost again, here it is as of today -

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... ations.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:29 am

Sylvester wrote:Hi Tilt

Just managed to locate an online copy of Ven Analayo's "From Craving to Liberation - Excursion to the Thought World of the Pali Discourses (1).

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... raving.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The internal/external satipatthanas and the 2 Deliverances are addressed at p.145

Lest his list of publications be lost again, here it is as of today -

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... ations.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I am not quite sure what you are pointing to here. I do not see anything in that discussion that runs contrary to his discussion in his book or to what Goldstein said in his talk, but maybe you could cut and paste a quote or two.
>> 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

dhamma follower
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:48 am

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by dhamma follower » Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:39 pm

rowyourboat wrote:I think the suttas are quite clear without us having to generate our own theories which can muddy the waters a bit:

§ 32.
He remains focused internally on the mind in & of itself — ardent,
alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to
the world. As he remains focused internally on the mind in & of
itself, he becomes rightly concentrated there, and rightly clear.
Rightly concentrated there and rightly clear, he gives rise to
knowledge & vision externally of the minds of others.

— DN 18
This recalls me of one time while I was in a retreat, a kind of loose one as we could talk quite freely among yogis... I was listening to a yogi friend and suddenly, for one second or so, I literally experienced her mind process as if it was mine. Be sure, I don't have psychic powers, so to speak, but the relevance of this experience was this: at the same time there was a very clear, intuitive understanding that "this is just a process, not her". Later, when I discussed with the Teacher about this experience, and he told some of his own, he explained that when we are clear about our own mind, then we can understand others' mind without telepathy, because ultimately, there's no one, only body and mind's process.

So that's how I now understand "internally and externally". it all has to do with UNDERSTANDING of ultimate reality, where the border between you and I, in and out is disolved.

So, the answer to the question of the OP is quite clear from the quote above: first be rightly concentrated and rightly clear in and of one self, then knowledge and vision of other's mind will arise.

Best wishes,

D.F.

User avatar
legolas
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:58 am

Re: Satipatthana: Internal and external contemplation

Post by legolas » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:21 am

Internal could be equated with ones own personal experience, and external by inference and observation. The understanding gained from contemplating the rise and fall of material aggregate externally could be applied to yourself internally. This method is taught by the Buddha to Rahula.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

and a further understanding can be gained here-

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The external form elements are understood and a perception of there nonself is acquired to develop a similar view towards ones own body.

The feelings, emotions etc that one feels internally can be applied by inference and observation to other beings, with the understanding of arising/passing/cessation.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests