Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mahasatipatthana Sutta (3)

II. Vedananupassana (Contemplation on Feelings)

And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu dwell perceiving again and again that feelings (vedana)note45 are just feelings (not mine, not I, not self but just as phenomena)?

Here (in this teaching), bhikkhus, while experiencing a pleasant feeling,note46 a bhikkhu knows, "I am experiencing a pleasant feeling"; or while experiencing an unpleasant feeling,note47 he knows, "I am experiencing an unpleasant feeling"; or while experiencing a feeling that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant,note48 he knows, "I am experiencing a feeling that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant.''

While experiencing a pleasant feeling associated with sense pleasures,note49 he knows, "I am experiencing a pleasant feeling associated with sense pleasures"; or while experiencing a pleasant feeling not associated with sense pleasures,note50 he knows, "I am experiencing a pleasant feeling not associated with sense pleasures.''

While experiencing an unpleasant feeling associated with sense pleasures,note51 he knows, "I am experiencing an unpleasant feeling associated with sense pleasures"; or while experiencing an unpleasant feeling not associated with sense pleasures,note52 he knows, ''I am experiencing an unpleasant feeling not associated with sense pleasures.''

While experiencing a feeling, that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant that is associated with sense pleasures,note53 he knows, "I am experiencing a feeling that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant that is associated with sense pleasures"; or while experiencing a feeling that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant that is not associated with sense pleasures, he knows, "I am experiencing a feeling that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant that is not associated with sense pleasures.''

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again feelings as just feelings (not mine, not I, not self, but just as phenomena) in himself; or he dwells perceiving again and again feelings as just feelings in others; or he dwells perceiving again and again feelings as just feelings in both himself and in others. He dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual appearing of feelings; or he dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual dissolution of feelings; or he dwells perceiving again and again both the actual appearing and dissolution of feelings with their causes.note54 To summarize, he is firmly mindful of the fact that only feelings 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, in this way a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again feelings as just feelings.

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Notes

45. Vedana (feelings) is not used here in the sense of "emotions", but refers only to the pleasant, the unpleasant, and the neither pleasant nor unpleasant feelings that arise, only one at a time, with every consciousness, (i.e eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-…, body?…, and mind-consciousness). It is important to see these feelings clearly as they are the cause of craving. Also, if the meditator does not see these clearly then he may think that there is a being experiencing feeling.

46. E.g., bodily comfort and mental happiness.

47. E.g., bodily pain and mental pain.

48. Neither pleasant nor unpleasant feeling is the hardest to perceive as its characteristic is the absence of pleasure and pain. E.g., the neutral feeling that is normally present on the surface of the eye and the feeling in the mind when it is neither happy nor unhappy.

49. E.g., the normal type of pleasure and happiness based on sense pleasures.

50. E.g., the happiness experienced while seeing the true nature of body and mind.

51. E.g., the unpleasant feeling experienced when one does not obtain the sense pleasures one wants to obtain.

52. E.g., the unhappiness experienced by a meditator reflecting on his lack of progress towards realizing Nibbana.

53. E.g., the neutral feeling experienced when the mind is calm and detached from sense pleasures.

54. The causes of the appearing and the dissolution of feelings are the existence or non-existence of contact (phassa), ignorance of the Four Noble Truths, craving and kamma.

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