Monday, February 22, 2010

Mahasatipatthana Sutta (2)

I. Kayanupassana (Contemplation on the Body)

i. Anapana Pabba (Section on In and Out Breathing)

And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu dwell perceiving again and again the body as just the body? Here (in this teaching), bhikkhus, a bhikkhu having gone to the forest, or to the foot of a tree, or to an empty, solitary place;note21 sits down cross-legged,note22 keeping his body erect, and directs his mindfulness (towards the object of mindfulness).note23Then only with keen mindfulness he breathes in and only with keen mindfulness he breathes out. Breathing in a long breath, he knows, "I breathe in a long breath"; breathing out a long breath, he knows, "I breathe out a long breath"; breathing in a short breath, he knows, "I breathe in a short breath"; breathing out a short breath, he knows, "I breathe out a short breath", "Aware of the whole breath body, I shall breathe in",note24 thus he trains himself; "Aware of the whole breath body, I shall breathe out", thus he trains himself. "Calming the process of breathing, I shall breathe in",note25 thus he trains himself; "Calming the process of breathing, I shall breathe out", thus he trains himself.note26

Just as, bhikkhus, a skillful turner or a turner's apprentice pulling a long pull (on the string turning the lathe), knows, "I am pulling a long pull"; pulling a short pull, knows, "I am pulling a short pull", just so, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu breathing in a long breath, knows, "I breathe in a long breath"; breathing out a long breath, knows, "I breathe out a long breath"; breathing in a short breath, knows, "I breathe in a short breath"; breathing out a short breath, knows, "I breathe out a short breath". "Aware of the whole breath body, I shall breathe in," thus he trains himself; "Aware of the whole breath body, I shall breathe out", thus he trains himself. "Calming the process of breathing, I shall breathe in", thus he trains himself; "Calming the process of breathing, I shall breathe out", thus he trains himself.

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body note27 as just the body (not mine, not I, not self, but just a phenomenon) in himself; or he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in others;note28 or he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in both himself and in others.note29 He dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual appearing of the body; or he dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual dissolution of the body; or he dwells perceiving again and again both the actual appearing and dissolution of the body with their causes.note30 To summarize, he is firmly mindful of the fact that only the body exists (not a soul, a self or I). That mindfulness is just for gaining insight (vipassana) and mindfulness progressively. Being detached from craving and wrong views note30 he dwells without clinging to anything in the world.note32 Thus, bhikkhus, this is a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

ii. Iriyapatha Pabba (Section on Postures)


And again, bhikkus, a bhikkhu while walking note33 knows "I am walking";note34 while standing, he knows, "I am standing"; while sitting, he knows, "I am sitting"; while lying down he knows, "I am lying down."note35

To summarize, a bhikkhu should know whatever way his body is moving or placed.note36

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the bodynote37 as just the body (not mine, not I, not self, but just a phenomenon) in himself; or he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in others; or he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in both himself and in others. He dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual appearing of the body or he dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual dissolution of the body; or he dwells perceiving again and again the actual appearing and dissolution of the body with their causes.note38 To summarize, he is firmly mindful of the fact that only the body exists (not a soul, a self or I). That mindfulness is just for gaining insight (vipassana) and mindfulness progressively. Being detached from craving and wrong views he dwells without clinging to anything in the world. Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.


iii. Sampajanna Pabba (Section on Clear Understanding)

And again, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, while going forward or while going back does so with clear understanding;note39 while looking straight ahead or while looking elsewhere he does so with clear understanding; while bending or stretching his limbs he does so with clear understanding; while carrying the alms bowl and while wearing the robes he does so with clear understanding; while eating, drinking, chewing, and savouring he does so with clear understanding; while urinating or defecating he does so with clear understanding; while walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking, speaking or when remaining silent, he does so with clear understanding.

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body, as just the body in himself… Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

iv. Patikulamanasika Pabba (Section on Contemplation of Impurities)

And again, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu examines and reflects closely upon this very body, from the soles of the feet up and from the tips of the head hair down, enclosed by the skin and full of various kinds of impurities,note40 (thinking thus) "There exists in this body: hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, membranes (including the pleura, the diaphragm and other forms of membrane in the body), spleen, lungs, intestines, mysentery, gorge, faeces, brain, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, solid fat, tears, liquid fat, saliva, mucus, synovic fluid (i.e. lubricating oil of the joints) and urine."

Just as if, bhikkhus, there were a double-mouthed provision bag filled with various kinds of grain such as: hill-paddy, paddy, green-gram, cow pea, sesamum, and husked rice; and a man with sound eyes, having opened it, should examine it thus: "This is hill-paddy, this is paddy, this is green-gram, this is cow pea, this is sesamum, and this is husked rice." Just so, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu examines and reflects closely upon this very body, from the soles of the feet up and from the tips of the head hair down, enclosed by the skin and full of various kinds of impurities, (thinking thus) "There exists in this body: hair of the head, … and urine.''

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in himself…. Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

v. Dhatumanasika Pabba (Section on Contemplation on Elements)

And again, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu examines and reflects closely upon this very body however it be placed or disposed as composed of (only) primary elements note41 thus: "There exists in this body the earth element, the water element, the fire element, and the air element."note42

Just as if, bhikkhus, a skillful butcher or his apprentice, having slaughtered a cow and divided it into portions were sitting at the junction of four high roads,note43 just so, a bhikkhu examines and reflects closely upon this body however it be placed or disposed as composed of (only) the primary elements thus: "There exists in this body the earth element, the water element, the fire element and the air element.''

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in himself…. Thus bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

vi. Navasivathika Pabba (Section on Nine Stages of Corpses)

Part 1

And again, bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu should see a body, one day dead, or two days dead, or three days dead, swollen, blue and festering, discarded in the charnel ground, he then compares it to his own body thus: "Truly this body is of the same nature, it will become like that and cannot escape from it."note44

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in himself…. Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

Part 2

And again, bhikkus, if a bhikkhu should see a body discarded in the charnel ground, being devoured by crows, being devoured by hawks, being devoured by vultures, being devoured by herons, being devoured by dogs, being devoured by tigers, being devoured by leopards, being devoured by jackals, or being devoured by various kinds of worms, he then compares it to his own body thus: ''Truly this body is of the same nature, it will become like that and cannot escape from it.''

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in himself…. Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

Part 3

And again, bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu should see a body discarded in the charnel ground, that is just a skeleton held together by the tendons, with some flesh and blood still adhering to it, he then compares it to his own body thus: "Truly this body is of the same nature, it will become like that and cannot escape from it."

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in himself…. Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

Part 4

And again, bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu should see a body, discarded in the charnel ground, that is just a skeleton held together by the tendons, blood-besmeared, fleshless, he then compares it to his own body thus: "Truly this body is of the same nature, it will become like that and cannot escape from it."

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in himself…. Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

Part 5

And again, bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu should see a body, discarded in the charnel ground, that is just a skeleton held together by the tendons without flesh and blood, he then compares it to his own body thus: "Truly this body is of the same nature, it will become like that and cannot escape from it."
Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in himself…. Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

Part 6

And again, bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu should see a body, discarded in the charnel ground, that is just loose bones scattered in all directions; at one place bones of a hand, at another place bones of a foot, at another place ankle-bones, at another place shin-bones, at another place thigh-bones, at another place hip-bones, at another place rib-bones, at another place spinal-bones, at another place shoulder-bones, at another place neck-bones, at another place the jawbone, at another place the teeth, and at another place the skull, he then compares it to his own body thus: "Truly this body is of the same nature, it will become like that and cannot escape from it."

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in himself…. Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

Part 7

And again, bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu should see a body, discarded in the charnel ground, that is just white bones of conch-like colour, he then compares it to his own body thus: "Truly this body is of the same nature, it will become like that and cannot escape from it."

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in himself…. Thus, bhikkhus, this is a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

Part 8

And again, bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu should see a body, discarded in the charnel ground, that is bones more than a year old, lying in a heap, he then compares it to his own body thus: "Truly this body is of the same nature, it will become like that and cannot escape from it."

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in himself…. Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

Part 9

And again, bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu should see a body, discarded in the charnel ground, that is just rotted bones, crumbling to dust, he then compares it to his own body thus: "Truly this body is of the same nature, it will become like that and cannot escape from it."

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body (not mine, not I, not self, but just a phenomenon) in himself; or he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in others; or he dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body in both himself and in others. He dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual appearing of the body or he dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual dissolution of the body; or he dwells perceiving again and again both the actual appearing and dissolution of the body with their causes. To summarize, he is firmly mindful of the fact that only the body exists (not a soul, a self or I). That mindfulness is just for gaining insight (vipassana) and mindfulness progressively. Being detached from craving and wrong views he dwells without clinging to anything in the world. Thus, bhikkhus, this is also a way in which a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body.

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Notes

21. The main point here is that the place for meditation should be as quiet and free from people and distractions as possible.

22. If sitting cross-legged is too painful the meditator will not be able to sit for very long. The main point is to sit in a comfortable and alert way. Therefore, a chair may be used. Mindfulness of breathing can also be developed while standing, walking or lying down.

23. The mindfulness should be directed to the place at which the breath makes contact with the upper lip or the tip of the nose depending on where it is felt in each individual.

24. The whole breath body (sabbakaya) means the whole breath from the beginning to the end.

25. As the mind calms down the breath will also calm down without exerting any conscious control over it.

26. It is not necessary to repeat all the above phrases in the mind, but the essential point is to be aware of the actual phenomena. These phrases are all examples to show that the meditator has to be aware of the breath in whichever condition it is in and does not need to control the breath in any way.

27. Here "body" means the process of breathing.

28. The meditator knows by inference that in others, just as in himself, there is no I or self that breathes but just breathing exists. This cuts out delusion concerning external phenomena.

29. This cannot be done at the same time but is done alternately.

30. The causes of the appearing and the dissolution of the breath are the existence or the non-existence of the body, the nasal apertures, and the mind. The actual appearing and the actual dissolution refer to the actual phenomena of the breath arising and passing away. The main point here is to be aware of the actual appearing and the actual dissolution of the breath so as to perceive its impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless nature.

31. Wrong view refers to thinking that there is a permanent self or I who is breathing. If the meditator sees the breath as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not self then there will be no craving or wrong view at that time.

32. See Note 17.

33. While walking (gacchanto) lit. means while going.

34. I am walking: Here as elsewhere in this discourse the use of the term "I" is only a grammatical usage and does not mean that an "I" really exists. In Pali language it is impossible to construct a verb without an ending showing a subject, for example,
gaccha + mi = gacchami, I am going
gaccha + ma = gacchama, we are going

A similar situation occurs in English where sometimes we have to make up a subject to make a sentence i.e. "It's raining". Clearly the "It" does not exist and there is only raining. Similarly there is only walking and no "I" who is walking.

35. When the meditator is aware of the actual motion of the legs and body, that is the sensation of touch and motion, he can be said to "know", "I am walking". In all the postures he should be aware of what is actually happening in a similar way.

36. The meditator should even be aware of movements of the body within a posture, e.g. while sitting he moves an arm or while lying down he rolls over.

37. Body here means the positions, postures, and movements of the body.

38. The causes of the appearing and the dissolution of the body here and in subsequent sections are the existence or non-existence of ignorance of the Four Noble Truths, craving, kamma, and nutriment.

39. Clear understanding (sampajanna) is of four types: satthaka-sampajanna, sappaya-sampajanna, gocara-sampajanna and asammoha-sampajanna.

Before a meditator does any action he should first consider whether that action is or is not a beneficial action. This prior consideration is called satthaka-sampajanna.

If it is a beneficial action then the meditator should next consider whether it is suitable or proper. This is called sappaya-sampajanna. For example, if the meditator wishes to go to a pagoda to meditate this is a beneficial action. However, if at the time he wishes to go to the pagoda there is a large crowd gathered for a pagoda festival and there would be many disturbances because of that, then it would not be suitable.

The understanding of the proper field for the mind is gocara-sampajanna. If the meditator is practising the four satipatthanas this is the proper field for the mind. If he is thinking about or indulging in sense pleasures this is not the proper field for the mind.

The understanding that sees that all conditioned phenomena are impermanent and unsatisfactory and that sees all phenomena (including Nibbana) are not-self is asammoha-sampajanna.

40. This meditation can be practised in either of two ways. The first way is to see each part as repulsive and the second way is to see that as parts or collectively the body is not-self.
To develop the perception of the repulsiveness of the body it is very helpful to view an autopsy of a corpse as this will make it easier to truly see that each part is repulsive. This method of meditation is very effective for cutting out lust.

To develop the perception of not-self the meditator should reflect on each part and see that they are devoid of consciousness e.g. the hair on the head does not know it has hair growing on it; what is it that thinks "This is my hair"? By meditating in this way the meditator will clearly see the difference between the mind and the body. Also he will see for himself that it is deluded to view the body as me, as mine or as self.

41. Only primary elements (dhatu) and no being or soul.

42. The primary elements (dhatu) are the natural qualities of matter. The earth element (pathavi-dhatu) is the quality of hardness and softness or the degree of solidity. The water element (apo-dhatu) is the quality of fluidity and cohesion. The fire element (tejo-dhatu) is the quality of heat and cold. The air element (vayo-dhatu) is the quality of motion, vibration and support.

All four primary elements are present in any given substance but one is more prominent. The quality of hardness and softness is called earth element because that is the prominent quality of earth, but, earth also has the qualities of cohesion, heat and motion. The parts from the hair of the head up to the brain, in the Patikulamanasika Pabba, are examples of bodily parts in which the earth element is prominent. The parts from bile up to urine are examples in which the water element is prominent. Heat and cold in the body are examples of the fire element. The breath is an example of the wind element.

43. In this simile the four high roads represent the four postures. The butcher or his apprentice represents a meditator who sees the body as only elements, just as the cow having been divided is no longer seen as a cow but is seen only as meat.

44. The meditations based on corpses are best done while or after actually seeing a corpse. By seeing the reality that the body will one day be a corpse too, the mind becomes free from attachment to the body.

Mahasatipatthana Sutta (1)

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