kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

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kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:42 am

from http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/T ... ana-02.htm

passambhayaṁ kāyasaṅkhāraṁ assasissāmī ti sikkhati,
calming the bodily process I will breathe in, like this he trains,

passambhayaṁ kāyasaṅkhāraṁ passasissāmī ti sikkhati.
calming the bodily process I will breathe out, like this he trains.

thanissaro translates as "calming bodily fabrication".

So my question is, if elsewhere in the suttas kāyasaṅkhāra is defined to be "in and out breathing", why doesn't everyone just translate it as "calming the breath"? Wouldn't that be much easier for a mediator who's trying to follow the 16 steps of anapana to understand?
http://www.audtip.org Audio Sutta Recordings
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Samma » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:42 am

Thanissaro translates it as bodily (kaya) fabrication (sankharam). Bhikku Buddhasa translates it as calming the body-conditioner. Your link has it as bodily-process. Sankhara is notoriously difficult to translate. Another synonym is construction.

Where did you find kāyasaṅkhāra defined as "in and out breathing"?
"in and out breathing" is ānāpāna. Thus, anapanasati, mindfulness of breathing.
SN12.2 stated: and what are sankharas -- bodily sankharas, verbal sankharas, mental sankharas.
Where you are getting confused, I suspect, is in that one form of bodily sankhara is in and out breathing.

Nonetheless, many people interpret step 4 as:
calming the activity of the breath-body
And what about step 3, would you interpret it as experiencing the whole breath-body?

Edit-perhaps this will help:
For these reasons, it seems best to interpret step 3 as including not only the ability to be sensitive to the entire body throughout the in-and-out breath—to prepare you for the full-body awareness developed in jhana—but also the ability to consciously adjust the breath in a way that allows you to do two things: to spread pleasure and rapture throughout the body in the first three jhanas, and to develop a more general sensitivity to how the breath is the primary bodily fabrication in its effect on the other properties of the body. (Thanissario, Right mindfulness p.91)
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Dmytro » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:02 am

Hi Frank,

frank k wrote:So my question is, if elsewhere in the suttas kāyasaṅkhāra is defined to be "in and out breathing", why doesn't everyone just translate it as "calming the breath"? Wouldn't that be much easier for a mediator who's trying to follow the 16 steps of anapana to understand?


Indeed, in Culavedalla sutta sister Dhammadinna says:

“Katamo panaayye, kaayasa"nkhaaro, katamo vaciisa"nkhaaro, katamo cittasa"nkhaaro”ti?

“Assaasapassaasaa kho, aavuso visaakha, kaayasa"nkhaaro, vitakkavicaaraa vaciisa"nkhaaro, sa~n~naa ca vedanaa ca cittasa"nkhaaro”ti.

“Kasmaa panaayye, assaasapassaasaa kaayasa"nkhaaro, kasmaa vitakkavicaaraa vaciisa"nkhaaro, kasmaa sa~n~naa ca vedanaa ca cittasa"nkhaaro”ti?

“Assaasapassaasaa kho, aavuso visaakha, kaayikaa ete dhammaa kaayappa.tibaddhaa, tasmaa assaasapassaasaa kaayasa"nkhaaro. pubbe kho, aavuso visaakha, vitakketvaa vicaaretvaa pacchaa vaaca.m bhindati, tasmaa vitakkavicaaraa vaciisa"nkhaaro. sa~n~naa ca vedanaa ca cetasikaa ete dhammaa cittappa.tibaddhaa, tasmaa sa~n~naa ca vedanaa ca cittasa"nkhaaro”ti.

"Now, lady, what are fabrications?"

"These three fabrications, friend Visakha: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, & mental fabrications."

"But what are bodily fabrications? What are verbal fabrications? What are mental fabrications?"

"In-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."

"But why are in-&-out breaths bodily fabrications? Why are directed thought & evaluation verbal fabrications? Why are perceptions & feelings mental fabrications?"

"In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/su ... 4-tb0.html

However, this is just one of several meanings of the word "saṅkhāra". For more detailed review of the meanings, see the relevant thread.


The earliest and most reliable explanation of sixteen kinds of Anapanasati is given in Patisambhidamagga, in the Anapanasati chapter:

http://bps.lk/olib/bp/bp502s.pdf

How is it that (7) he trains thus 'I shall breathe in calming the body fabrication;' (8 ) he trains thus 'I shall breathe out calming the body fabrication'?

[Analysis of the object]

What is the body fabrication? Long in-breaths are of the body; these things, being bound up with the body, are body fabrications; he trains in calming, stopping, stilling, those body fabrications. Long out-breaths belong to the body; ... short in-breaths belong to the body; short out-breaths belong to the body; ... in-breaths while acquainted with the whole body belong to the body; out-breaths while ac­quainted with the whole body belong to the body; these things, being bound up with the body, are body fabrications; he trains in calming, stopping, stilling, those body fabrications.

When there are such body fabrications whereby there is bending back­wards, sideways, in all directions, and forwards, and perturbation, excite­ment, moving, and shaking, of the body, he trains thus 'I shall breathe in calming the body fabrication;' he trains thus' I shall breathe out calming the body fabrication.' When there are such body fabrications whereby there is no bending backwards, sideways, in all directions, and forwards, and no perturbation, excitement, moving, and shaking, of the body, quiet and subtle, he trains thus 'I shall breathe in calming the body fabrication;' he trains thus 'I shall breathe out calming the body fabrication.'

So then he trains thus 'I shall breathe in calming the body fabrication;' he trains thus 'I shall breathe out calming the body fabrication:' that being so, there is no production of the experience of wind, and there is no production of in-breaths and out-breaths, and there is no production of mindfulness of breathing, and there is no production of concentration by mindfulness of breathing, and consequently the wise neither enter into nor emerge from that attainment.

So then he trains thus 'I shall breathe in calming the body fabrication;' he trains thus 'I shall breathe out calming the body fabrication:' that being so, there is production of the experience of wind, and there is production of out-breaths and in-breaths, and there is production of mindfulness of breathing, and there is production of concentration by mindfulness of breathing, and consequently the wise enter into and emerge from that attainment. Like what? Just as when a gong is struck. At first gross sounds occur and [mind occurs] because the sign of the gross sounds is well apprehended, well attended to, well observed; and when the gross sounds have ceased, then afterwards faint sounds occur and [mind occurs] because the sign of the faint sounds is well apprehended, well attended to, well observed; and when the faint sounds have ceased, then afterwards mind occurs because it has the sign of the faint sounds as its object -- so too, at first gross in-breaths and out-breaths occur and [mind does not become distracted] because the sign of the gross in­breaths and out-breaths is well apprehended, well attended to, well ob­served; and when the gross in-breaths and out-breaths have ceased, then afterwards faint in-breaths and out-breaths occur and [mind does not become distracted] because the sign of the faint in-breaths and out-breaths is well apprehended, well attended to, well observed; and when the faint in-breaths and out-breaths [are so faint that perception of them] has ceased, then afterwards mind does not become distracted because it has the sign of the faint in-breaths and out-breaths as its object [i.e. the subtle awareness of the material body which remains when the faint breaths are too faint to be noticed -- this remaining 'sign' being either as small as the nostril area (or upper lip in one breathing through the mouth), or as large as the internal felt-sense of the whole body (indicated previously as being the sign for anchoring mindfulness, and at this level of subtlety represents its full development as the sign of calm abiding)]. That being so, there is production of the experience of wind, and there is production of in-breaths and out-­breaths, and there is production of mindfulness of breathing, and there is production of concentration by mindfulness of breathing, and conse­quently the wise enter into and emerge from that attainment.

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This accords very well with the Commentary:

Passambhayam kayasamkharam assasissamiti... passasissamiti sikkhati = "Calming the activity of the body I shall breathe in... breathe out, thinking thus, he trains himself." He thinks: " I shall breathe in and I shall breathe out, quieting, making smooth, making tranquil and peaceful the activity of the in-and-out-breathing body. And in that way, he trains himself."

"In this connection coarseness, fineness and calm should be understood thus: Without contemplative effort, the body and the mind of this bhikkhu are distressed, coarse. When the body and the mind are coarse, the in-and-out-breathings too are coarse and proceed uncalmly; the nasal aperture becomes inadequate and he has to breathe through the mouth, too. But when the body and the mind are under control then the body and the mind become placid, restful. When these are restful, the breathings proceed so fine that the bhikkhu doubts whether or not the breathings are going on."

"The breathing of a man who runs down from a hill, puts down a heavy burden from his head, and stands still is coarse; his nasal aperture becomes inadequate and he breathes through the mouth, too. But when he rids himself of his fatigue, takes a bath and a drink of water, and puts a wet cloth over his heart and is sitting in the shade, his breathing becomes fine, and he is at a loss to know whether it exists or not. Comparable to that man is the bhikkhu whose breaths become so fine after the taking up of the practice of contemplation that he finds it difficult to say whether he is breathing or not. What is the reason for this? Without taking up the practice of meditation he does not perceive, concentrate on, reflect on, or think over, the question of calming the gross activity of the breathing body, the breaths, but with the practice of meditation he does. Therefore, the activity of the breath-body becomes finer in the time in which meditation is practiced than in the time in which there is no practice. So the men of old said:

"In the agitated mind and body the breath is of the coarsest kind.
In the unexcited body, fully subtle does it wind."

"How does he train himself with the thought: Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe in... breathe out? What are the activities of the body? Those things of the body of breaths, those things bound up with that body, are the activities of the body. Causing the body-activities to become composed, to become smooth and calm, he trains himself... He trains himself thinking thus: Calming the body-activity by way of (quieting) the bodily activities of bending forwards, sidewards, all over, and backwards, and (by way of the quieting of) the moving, quivering, vibrating, and quaking of the body, I shall breathe in... I shall breathe out. I shall breathe in and I shall breathe out, calming the activity of the body, by way of whatsoever peaceful and fine body-activities of non-bending of the body forwards, sidewards, all over and backwards, of non-moving, non-quivering, non-vibrating, and non-quaking, of the body."[19]

Indeed, to that yogi training in respiration-mindfulness according to the method taught thus: "He, thinking 'I breathe in long,' understands when he is breathing in long... Calming the activity of the body... I breathe out, thinking thus, he trains himself" [digham va assasanto digham assasamiti pajanati... passambhayam kayasankharam passasissamiti sikkhati], the four absorptions [cattari jhanani] arise in the respiration sign [assasapassasanimitte uppajjanti].

In the respiration sign = In the reflex image [patibhaga nimitta].

Having emerged from the absorption, he lays hold of either the respiration body or the factors of absorption.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... #breathing
Last edited by Dmytro on Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:24 pm

Thanks Samma and Dmytro for the helpful input.
I was aware of the sections in the pali suttas such as MN 44 as Dmytro quoted above where one asked "what is kaya sankhara" and the answer was "in breathing and out breathing." What was the issue of confusion for me is that everyone seems to translate step 4 of anapana as calming "bodily formations" (kaya sankhara) which suggest there are other important kaya sankharas besides the in breathing and out breathing.

Dmytro, are there sutta references (to support the Patisambhidamagga and commentary quotes) that also include these items as kaya sankhara:
    body postures
    four elements
    shaking and involuntary movements during sitting meditation

Also, do the suttas also explicitly state (like your quotes) that passambhayam(calming) bodily formations to the point of stillness and 4th jhana?

The reason I'm being so nitpicky is it occurred to me that in my decades experience of practicing anapana i don't recall ever having encountered any monastic or lay teacher who uses the 16 steps of anapana as the main text. I'm wondering if a well translated 16 steps, in plain english, and explicit and clear on such points as what is bodily fabrications, could suffice as the primary text, just as in the good old days when the Buddha presumably passed those instructions to the monks, who then memorized it, and then went off into the wilderness to apply it.

To that end, I would translate passambhayam kaya sankhara as "calming the breath and other bodily fabrications" with a footnote that explicitly stated what those other unstated bodily fabrications are. Likewise, I would translate sabbakayapatisamvedi as something to the effect of, "I will breathe in experiencing the breath in every cell of the anatomical body from head to toe"

My guess is the Buddha used "kaya sankhara" instead of "in and out breathing" in step 4 not so much because the other bodily fabrications were so important to include under the 16 steps of ananpanasati, but to include the word "kaya" as a way to facilitate memorizing the fact that it belongs in the first tetrad of satipatthana (kayaanupassi)
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Samma » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:50 am

There are teachers that use anapanasati and the 16 steps as their main teaching. Thanissaro being one. Bhante Vimalaramsi is living, certainly a different take. Buddhadasa Bhikku - A manual for serious beginners. Bhikkhu Nanamoli translation and commentary, as well as many shorter commentaries and instructions

As I mentioned above many of those based in commentary (eg Pa Auk) interpret kaya here to mean breath-body. Here is Thanissaro's argument against that (and further in his book Right Mindfulness):
The commentaries insist that "body" here means the breath, but this is unlikely in this context, for the next step — without further explanation — refers to the breath as "bodily fabrication." If the Buddha were using two different terms to refer to the breath in such close proximity, he would have been careful to signal that he was redefining his terms (as he does below, when explaining that the first four steps in breath meditation correspond to the practice of focusing on the body in and of itself as a frame of reference). The step of breathing in and out sensitive to the entire body relates to the many similes in the suttas depicting jhana as a state of whole-body awareness (see MN 119).
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/bodymind.html


Thanissaro defined bodily fabrications as things tied up with the body. This seems to be mental fashionings with the four elements: earth, water, wind, fire. And things like shaking Thanissaro probably includes bellow as bodily fevers, being provoked. Here is the rest of the quote from Thanissaro from my first post above:
Of course, this adjustment has to be developed as a skill. If you apply too much pressure or are too heavy-handed in your efforts to adjust the properties of the body, it will give rise to the “fevers” mentioned in SN 47:10. That will require you to step back from the breath and turn the mind to another theme for a while until you feel calmed enough to return to the breath.

The same point applies to step 4. If you apply too much force to calm the breath, it will play havoc with the properties of the body. The body will be
starved of breath energy, and again a “bodily fever” will result. At the same time, it’s important to remember—in line with MN 118’s explanation of the
relationship between rapture and calm as factors for awakening—that one of the most effective ways of calming bodily fabrication is first to breathe in a way that induces a sense of rapture to energize the body and mind. Otherwise, the act of calming bodily fabrication will have a stultifying effect, leading to one of the other problems mentioned in SN 47:10: a sluggishness or constriction in your awareness.

[And above]

According to MN 28, three of these properties—water, fire, and wind—have the potential to become “provoked” (kuppa). In other words, when stimulated,
they can become quite volatile. So when you explore the ways in which the in-and-out breath fabricates the inner sense of the body, these are the three properties most directly responsive to influences from the breath. With regard to
the water property, this could mean breathing in such a way as to raise or lower the blood pressure, for example,or to change the flow of the blood through
different parts of the body: away from an area feeling excess pressure (as when you have a headache) or toward an area that has been injured and needs the
extra nourishment that a healthy blood flow would provide. With regard to the fire property, this could mean breathing in such a way as to feel warmer when
the weather is cold, or cooler when it’s hot. With regard to the wind property, this could mean breathing in ways that would regulate the flow of the energy already coursing through the different parts of the body.

[Further]

When you’ve learned to maintain this sense of balanced stillness in the breath, you can focus on balancing the other properties of the body as well. First balance the heat and the cold. If the body feels too warm, notice where the coolest spot in the body is. Focus on the coolness there, and then allow it to spread, just as you’d spread the still breath. Similarly, if you feel too cold, find the warmest spot in the body. After you can maintain your focus on the warmth there, allow it to spread. See if you can then bring the coolness and warmth into balance, so that the body feels just right.
Similarly with the solidity of the body: Focus on the sensations that seem heaviest or most solid in the body. Then allow that solidity to spread through the body. If the body feels too heavy, then think of the still breath making it lighter. Try to find a balance so that you feel neither too heavy nor too light.
This exercise not only makes the body more comfortable as a basis for firmer
concentration, but also acquaints you with the properties that make up your inner sense of the body. As we noted in Part Two, being acquainted with these properties provides you with a useful set of tools for dealing with pain and out-of-body experiences. This exercise also gives you practice in seeing the power of your perceptions: Simply noticing and labeling a particular sensation can make it stronger. (With Each and Every Breath)


In addition, on the one hand internal tranquility, bodily fabrications calmed down, quieted. On the other hand, insight into phenomena through heightened discernment,
He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perceptions, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, a void, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' (AN 9.36)
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Dmytro » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:52 am

Hi Frank,

frank k wrote:Dmytro, are there sutta references (to support the Patisambhidamagga and commentary quotes) that also include these items as kaya sankhara:


No.

Also, do the suttas also explicitly state (like your quotes) that passambhayam(calming) bodily formations to the point of stillness and 4th jhana?


No. The quotes I gave also don't state that. They are matrix-like texts, and have to be read accordingly.

Vimuttimagga explanation (page 161) isn't matrix-like, and can be understood more easily, though it quotes the Patisambhidamagga. Note that both "image" and "sign" refer to "nimitta".

The reason I'm being so nitpicky is it occurred to me that in my decades experience of practicing anapana i don't recall ever having encountered any monastic or lay teacher who uses the 16 steps of anapana as the main text. I'm wondering if a well translated 16 steps, in plain english, and explicit and clear on such points as what is bodily fabrications, could suffice as the primary text, just as in the good old days when the Buddha presumably passed those instructions to the monks, who then memorized it, and then went off into the wilderness to apply it.


Buddha and his disciples taught every day for decades. Suttas indeed serve as a memorization tool, but much more details are needed for successful practice. It's like assembling a machine or application - many details are required for the whole thing to work. Lots of instructions were passed orally, and some of them survived in Patisambhidamagga and Vimuttimagga.

"Passambhayam" here, as already noted, refers to the Enlightenment-factor (bojjhanga) of passadhi, which in many suttas is related to body (kaya), e.g. in Mahanama sutta.

Ujugatamevassa tasmiṃ samaye cittaṃ hoti tathāgataṃ ārabbha. Ujugatacitto kho pana mahānāma ariyasāvako labhati atthavedaṃ, labhati dhammavedaṃ labhati dhammūpasaṃhitaṃ pāmojjaṃ. Pamuditassa pīti jāyati, pītamanassa kāyo passambhati, passaddhakāyo sukhaṃ vediyati, sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati.

"His mind heads straight, based on the Tathagata. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated."

My guess is the Buddha used "kaya sankhara" instead of "in and out breathing" in step 4 not so much because the other bodily fabrications were so important to include under the 16 steps of ananpanasati, but to include the word "kaya" as a way to facilitate memorizing the fact that it belongs in the first tetrad of satipatthana (kayaanupassi)


There's already too much guesswork in this field. I suffered from application of authoritative-sounding fantasies, and since then rely on the earliest sources available.
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:22 pm

Hi Samma,
I'm very familiar with Thanissaro's writings, I've read much of it. He has a new book out recently, maybe a month ago, a guide to breath meditation. I didn't read the whole thing yet, but I did skip ahead to read the sections on stream entry, 4 jhanas, 4 formless attainments, and I like his explanations very much. I know there are many Theravada teachers who have made commentaries, both written and as subjects for a workshop/retreat, on the 16 steps of anapana, but no one that I'm aware of uses those 16 steps exactly as stated by the Buddha as their main text that they teach to new and old students, only as a supplemental resource. Thanissaro for a long time always referred people to Ajahn Lee's "keeping the breath in mind" as the main breath meditation manual. Ajahn Lee's method 2 in spirit follows the 16 steps, but is worded quite differently.

I'm also very familiar with the whole sutta jhana and visudhimagga jhana difference. Pa Auk's booklet on anapansati 16 steps is very faithful to the vism. and commentary position. It would be fair to say that Pa Auk teaches anapana using the 16 steps of the anapanasati sutta as the main and primary text, however because his position represents the commentarial and vism. position, it's a very different meditation system than the sutta jhana interpretations. For example one would not even be allowed to practice steps 5 - 16 until one first masters steps 1-4 and attains and has time mastery of full absorptions in the rupa jhanas. The sutta jhana system on the other hand, would encourage using all 16 steps of anapansati as well has satipatthana subjects as the "nimittas" of samadhi, and offers a more balanced approach to practice (in my opinion).

I personally think the sutta jhana position jibes much more closely to what the suttas say according to my understanding of reading B.Bodhi's and Thanissaro's english translations, and even with my beginner pali skills looking at some of the key pali passages. For example, looking at the 4 jhana similes, and how well it matches the bodily sankhara experiences that one goes through in meditation, it's hard to see how step 3 of anapanasati could mean anything other than experiencing the tactile sensation of the breath in every part of the anatomical body.

Samma wrote:There are teachers that use anapanasati and the 16 steps as their main teaching. Thanissaro being one. Bhante Vimalaramsi is living, certainly a different take. Buddhadasa Bhikku - A manual for serious beginners. Bhikkhu Nanamoli translation and commentary, as well as many shorter commentaries and instructions

As I mentioned above many of those based in commentary (eg Pa Auk) interpret kaya here to mean breath-body.
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby Samma » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:35 am

but no one that I'm aware of uses those 16 steps exactly as stated by the Buddha as their main text that they teach to new and old students, only as a supplemental resource.


Yea, I think the answer to this is that the sixteen steps themselves are only a supplemental resource. Or rather, that they must be supplemented with further explanation to make much sense. It does not make much sense to just list the 16steps in order and say go practice them. They are essentially a shorthand for the whole practice, something easier to write down and remember. Trying to piece together thousands of year old stuff only goes so far. And Thanissaros explications are probably the best out there.

In terms of detail, MN 118 lists sixteen steps in mindfulness of in-and-out
breathing, but many of those steps require extra explanation as to what, in
practice, they entail. At the same time, it gives no explicit indication of whether
the sixteen steps have to be practiced in the order in which they are listed. (Thanissaro, Right Mindfulness, p. 67)

Although the four tetrads constitute the Buddha’s most extensive instructions
on what to do when you sit down to meditate, they are still very terse. As one
writer has commented, they are more like a telegram than a full text. This should
come as no surprise, for—as we noted in the Introduction—these instructions
were never meant to stand on their own. They were embedded in a canon of
texts memorized by a community of practitioners who would use them simply
as memory aids, both for teachers and for students. This means that they had to
be long enough to convey the most important points—such as the fact that
breath meditation is a proactive process designed to give insight into the
processes of fabrication—but short enough to be easily memorized.
They also had to indicate, through inclusion, which aspects of the practice
held true across the board; and, through silence and exclusion, which aspects
allowed for variations from case to case. If everything were mentioned, the
sheer volume of instructions would have been unwieldy, making it difficult to
sort out which instructions were meant for everyone, and which for specific
cases. So the terseness of the instructions, instead of being a shortcoming, is
actually one of their strengths. (p.84)


Compared to something that just takes the 16step as they are and comments on them, you end up with things like this -- Bhavana by Glenn Wallis:
http://ebookbrowse.com/gdoc.php?id=1448 ... 814915a024
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby pegembara » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:52 am

"But what are bodily fabrications? What are verbal fabrications? What are mental fabrications?"

"In-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."

"But why are in-&-out breaths bodily fabrications? Why are directed thought & evaluation verbal fabrications? Why are perceptions & feelings mental fabrications?"

"In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."



In-&-out breaths is not the only thing tied up with the body (rupa). There are up and down winds,bowel movements etc. Of all the kaya sankharas, the breath is the only thing one can calm down hence the emphasis on breathing.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:08 pm

Hi Pegembra,
An interesting side note, I find that while doing anapana, before I sneeze, there's a one second or less build up time where the body heats up, and during that interval if I "calm my bodily fabrications", the sneeze is suppressed, avoiding the inconvenience of startling meditators sitting around me.

On the one hand, I like the translation, "calming the breath", because it is both elegant, deep, and comprehensive. For how can we calm the breath (in a sustainable natural way) without also gaining insight from the learning process that calming the breath necessarily entails also calming various kinds of kaya sankhaara, citta, and citta sankhara.

On the other hand, a lawyer would prefer "calming bodily formations" since the wording is more comprehensive, not leaving any room for getting sued.
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frank k
 
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Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm

Re: kāya saṅkhāra (step 4 of anapanasati)

Postby frank k » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:24 pm

Hi Samma,
I agree with what you wrote above. I didn't mean to imply that one could successfully teach or learn anapana with the brief 16 steps alone. But I do think that by assembling other sutta passages, and using those as a commentary, you can put together something that is surprisingly robust without requiring additional support from texts later than the suttas. For example, using the 4 jhana similes as a commentary for step 3 is very instructive, without requiring lengthy explanation.
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frank k
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm


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