Satipatthana Questions

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Satipatthana Questions

Postby Tom » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:36 pm

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.010.than.html:
A. Body
"And how does a monk remain focused on the body in & of itself?

[1] "There is the case where a monk — having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building — sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect and setting mindfulness to the fore [lit: the front of the chest]. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.'


1. How does one set "mindfulness to the fore"?
2. What exactly does this mean: "Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out."
3. How can one discern when one is "breathing in long", "breathing out long", "breathing in short", or "breathing out short"?
Tom
 
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:50 pm

Re: Satipatthana Questions

Postby Billymac29 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:27 am

ccharles wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.010.than.html:
A. Body
"And how does a monk remain focused on the body in & of itself?

[1] "There is the case where a monk — having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building — sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect and setting mindfulness to the fore [lit: the front of the chest]. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.'


1. How does one set "mindfulness to the fore"?
2. What exactly does this mean: "Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out."
3. How can one discern when one is "breathing in long", "breathing out long", "breathing in short", or "breathing out short"?


This is how i interpret them:
1.) I interpret the first to mean one sets mindfulness as priority.. bringing mindfulness to the front of your attention
2.) getting familiar with the breath.. feeling the breath.. just knowing that your breathing in and out
3.) simply by feeling the breath one can determine if a breath was long or short.. Its really just telling you to pay attention to the breath and get to know the breath.

I believe all three combine are telling someone to concentrate, become familiar, and stay aware of the breath and the process of breathing.
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
User avatar
Billymac29
 
Posts: 278
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:07 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: Satipatthana Questions

Postby Tom » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:02 am

Do "long" and "short", in this context, refer to length of time?
Tom
 
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:50 pm

Re: Satipatthana Questions

Postby EmptyShadow » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:26 am

At this stage you have to develop awareness of whether the in-and-out breaths are long or short. ‘Long’ or ‘short’ here do not refer to length in feet and inches, but length in time, the duration. You should decide for yourself what length of time you will call ‘long’, and what length of time you will call ‘short’. Be aware of the duration of each in-and-out breath. You will notice that the breath is sometimes long in time, and sometimes short. Just knowing this is all you have to do at this stage. Do not note, ‘In, out, long - In, out, short’, just ‘In, out’, and be aware of whether the breaths are long or short. You should know this by being just aware of the length of time that the breath brushes and touches the upper lip, or around the nostrils, as it enters and leaves the body. Sometimes the breath may be long throughout the sitting, and sometimes short, but do not purposely try to make it long or short.

This explanation is from Pa-Auk Sayadaw

:namaste:
User avatar
EmptyShadow
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:34 pm

Re: Satipatthana Questions

Postby Samma » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:49 am

With the exception of one word, this preamble is self-explanatory. The one word is parimukham, translated here as “to the fore.” The Abhidhamma, when commenting on this passage, gives an etymological interpretation of this word, saying that parimukha means “around the mouth” (pari = around;mukha = mouth or face). In other words, when focused on the breath, you should focus on the area around the mouth. However, the Vinaya (Cv.V.27.4) contains a prohibition against dressing the hair of the parimukha. Because the same passage also contains a separate prohibition against dressing the beard around the mouth as a goatee, the Commentary interprets parimukha in this case as meaning “on the chest.” Obviously, then, the word has several meanings, and the question is whether it should be understood literally as meaning a particular section of the body, or more idiomatically as bringing something to the forefront. Evidence for this latter interpretation comes from passages in the Canon where monks focusing on topics of meditation aside from the breath are nevertheless described as having established mindfulness parimukham.For example, in Ud 7:8, Ven. MahaKaccayana establishes mindfulness parimukham when engaged in mindfulness immersed in the body; in MN 62, Ven. Rahula establishes mindfulness parimukham when contemplating the theme of not-self with regard to the five aggregates. Because it makes no sense to say that a person contemplating either of these topics should focus awareness exclusively on one part of the body to the exclusion of others—and because, in step 3 of the first tetrad in breath meditation, the awareness will become whole-body anyway—it makes more sense to interpret the phrase, “mindfulness established parimukhaª” as an idiom for bringing mindfulness to the fore. In other words, you bring the topic you plan to keep in mind up to the forefront of your awareness.
(Thanissaro, Right Mindfulness, p. 88-9)

Here the term parimukham is one of those simple words that is so hard to interpret. It literally means 'around the mouth'. It is interpreted by the Vibhanga as 'at the nose top', while modern renderings usually use something vague like 'in front'. However the phrase frequently occurs in contexts outside of anapanasati, making the interpenetration 'at the nose-tip', or any literal spatial interpretation, unlikely. The Sanskrit has a different reading, pratimukha.256 This has many meanings, among which are 'reflection' and 'presence'. Both of these would be appropriate in meditative context. But the word usually, as here, occurs in close conjunction with upatthana, which also means 'presence'. I think we have another example of that common feature of Pali or Sanskrit, a conjunction of synonyms for emphasis: literally, 'one makes present a presence of presence of mind', or more happily, one establishes presence of mindfulness.' (Sujato, A History of Mindfulness, p. 108-9)

Both the Abhidhamma and the commentaries take "in front" (parimukham) to indicate a precise anatomical location.46 In the discourses, however, the specification "In front" occurs in a variety of contexts, such as for example, in relation to overcoming the hindrances or to developing the divine abodes (brahmavihara).47 Although overcoming the hindrances can occur with the aid of mindfulness of breathing, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, the standard instructions for overcoming the hindrances do not mention the breath.48 Similary, the discourses do not relate the development of the divine abodes in any way to awarenss of the breath.49. Apart from awareness of the breath, however, to direct mindfulness to the nostril area makes little sense, whether in relation to overcoming the hindrances or to developing the divine abodes. Thus, at least in these contexts, the figurative sense of "in front" as a first establishment of sati is the more meaningful alternative.
Therefore, although to understand "in front" to indicate the nostril area makes sense in relation to mindfulness of breathing, alternative ways of practice, based on a more figurative understanding of the term, cannot be categorically excluded. In fact, several modern teachers have developed successful approaches to mindfulness of breathing independent of the nostril area. Some, for example, advice their pupils to experience the breath in the chest area, others suggest observing the air element at the abdomen, while still others recommend directing awareness to the act of breathing itself, without focusing on any specific location.50
(Analayo, Satipatthana, p. 124-5).

So satova assasati, satova passasati.
One mindfully inhales, mindfully exhales.
I suppose "always" is Thanssiaro's addition, driving a point about continuity of mindfulness.
Analayo notes that according to Chit Tin "this instruction refers in particular to clearly distinguishing between the in-breath and the out-breath"

Because steps 1 and 2 are not described as “trainings,” we can infer that in the beginning stages of familiarizing yourself with the breath you don’t consciously try to adjust it. You simply try to discern variations in the breath. The same principle would appear to apply to questions of whether the breath is fast or slow, shallow or deep, heavy or light. (Thanissaro, Right Mindfulness, p. 89)

Another interpenetration is that long breath is an earlier stage, and the short breath represents greater calm. The progression from knowing longer breaths to knowing shorter breaths reflects the fact that the breath naturally becomes shorter and finer with continued contemplation, owing to increasing mental and physical calmness.52 (Analayo)

You see the joys of figuring out a dead language? :woohoo:
Samma
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:47 pm

Re: Satipatthana Questions

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:14 am

ccharles wrote:Do "long" and "short", in this context, refer to length of time?


That's how I understand it. By paying close attention to the process of breathing, one becomes more aware of the features of the process - long or short, deep or shallow, etc.
Mrs. Bun: Have you got anything without spam in it?
Waitress: Well, there's spam, egg, sausage and spam. That's not got MUCH spam in it.
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2693
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Satipatthana Questions

Postby Dmytro » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:26 am

Hi CCharles,

ccharles wrote:1. How does one set "mindfulness to the fore"?
2. What exactly does this mean: "Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out."
3. How can one discern when one is "breathing in long", "breathing out long", "breathing in short", or "breathing out short"?


For the start, I would recommend the Commentary:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... #breathing

Further on you may refine some points.
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine


Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests