Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:23 am

Greetings,

I was just wondering whether there were any other Dhamma Wheel members whose primary satipatthana practice is (a suttanta version of) dhammanupassana.

Does anyone wish to discuss their daily application of this practice?

For reference, the relevant extract from the sutta in question...

MN 10, Thanissaro translation wrote:"And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves?

[1] "There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances? There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.' Or, there being no sensual desire present within, he discerns that 'There is no sensual desire present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of sensual desire that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining hindrances: ill will, sloth & drowsiness, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty.)

"In this way he remains focused internally on mental qualities in & of themselves, or externally on mental qualities in & of themselves, or both internally & externally on mental qualities in & of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to mental qualities, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to mental qualities, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to mental qualities. Or his mindfulness that 'There are mental qualities' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances.

[2] "Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates? There is the case where a monk [discerns]: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'

"In this way he remains focused internally on the mental qualities in & of themselves, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates.

[3] "Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media? There is the case where he discerns the eye, he discerns forms, he discerns the fetter that arises dependent on both. He discerns how there is the arising of an unarisen fetter. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of a fetter once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of a fetter that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining sense media: ear, nose, tongue, body, & intellect.)

"In this way he remains focused internally on the mental qualities in & of themselves, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media.

[4] "Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the seven factors for Awakening. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the seven factors for Awakening? There is the case where, there being mindfulness as a factor for Awakening present within, he discerns that 'Mindfulness as a factor for Awakening is present within me.' Or, there being no mindfulness as a factor for Awakening present within, he discerns that 'Mindfulness as a factor for Awakening is not present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen mindfulness as a factor for Awakening. And he discerns how there is the culmination of the development of mindfulness as a factor for Awakening once it has arisen. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining factors for Awakening: analysis of qualities, persistence, rapture, serenity, concentration, & equanimity.)

"In this way he remains focused internally on mental qualities in & of themselves, or externally... unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the seven factors for Awakening.

[5] "Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the four noble truths. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the four noble truths? There is the case where he discerns, as it has come to be, that 'This is stress.' He discerns, as it has come to be, that 'This is the origination of stress.' He discerns, as it has come to be, that 'This is the cessation of stress.' He discerns, as it has come to be, that 'This is the way leading to the cessation of stress.'

"In this way he remains focused internally on mental qualities in & of themselves, or externally on mental qualities in & of themselves, or both internally & externally on mental qualities in & of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to mental qualities, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to mental qualities, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to mental qualities. Or his mindfulness that 'There are mental qualities' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the four noble truths...

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:34 am

I've no experience with trying to specifically focus on dhammas. However, it seems to me that in many (most?) satipatthana-sutta-based practices, such as the Mahasi style that I usually do, that is what many of the "secondary objects" are. In that case one usually has a default focus on the abdominal or walking motions/sensations but notices when hindrances, etc arise. which is, of course, often...

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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:40 am

Hi Retro & All
I try to see things as they are & the three characteristics within them, this is in line with the Anapanasati Dhammanupasi model, & the satipatthana insight refrain model.

it is allot easier said than done though, as allot of my conditioning jumps to conclusions to an extreme, and it can take complete removal from a situation to be able to see it, but it is a gradual path :).
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby Ben » Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:08 pm

Hi Retro, Mike, Cittasanto, all,
mikenz66 wrote:I've no experience with trying to specifically focus on dhammas. However, it seems to me that in many (most?) satipatthana-sutta-based practices, such as the Mahasi style that I usually do, that is what many of the "secondary objects" are. In that case one usually has a default focus on the abdominal or walking motions/sensations but notices when hindrances, etc arise. which is, of course, often...

:anjali:
Mike

My experience is somewhat similar. Dhammas becomes a secondary object at a certain point. Its usually during retreat settings after sustained attention on the anicca characteristic of vedanas and the mind is both stable and calm. Dhammanupassana then occurs without effort.
I would like to know how you practice Dhammanupassana if you are happy to share.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:48 pm

For me the breath is sort of like the back drop, or the movement of walking depending on the posture, it does become a very obvious representation of impermanence/uncertainty, particularly on retreat, then any of the four satipatthanas become far more noticeable within this perspective.

for day to day life I have found sense restraint far more beneficial outside of retreat structure, and can have a similar effect, it is just a matter of keeping up the practice....
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby bodom » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:57 pm

This from Bhante G. summarizes nicely the way I practice this satipatthana both on and off the meditation cushion.

MINDFULNESS OF MENTAL OBJECTS

Mindfulness of mental objects may sound like a new kind of meditation practice, but it is just another way of describing the insight practice that you are already doing. "Mental Objects" refers to thoughts - which here means all conscious mental activities. Thoughts have several categories: there are fetters, hindrances, the five aggregates of existence, factors of enlightenment and the four noble truths. They may arise in any order.

In sitting meditation, while practicing with your intended object of meditation, such as the breath, you quickly become mindful of any thought that arises, such as the hindrance of doubt or an aspect of one of the aggregates. That mental object - the thought - becomes the new temporary object of meditation. You simply notice the mental object and watch it fade. Or, if it is unwholesome and it persists, you do whatever is necessary to get rid of it. As the mental object disappears, you note that it is characterized by impermanence, dissatisfaction and selflessness. Then you return your attention to the breath or chosen object of meditation. When the next thought arises, you repeat the process.

Note that you do not determine in advance what kinds of mental objects you will turn to during the meditation. Nor is there any need to categorize what arises, thinking. '"I am observing a fetter." When observing wholesome mental objects such as joy, you do what you can to encourage such thoughts to keep coming, but you also continue to observe the impermanence, dissatisfaction and selflessness of these states.

As we mentioned before, however, mindfulness meditation practice is not limited to the meditation cushion. In any posture, no matter what you may be doing, you can become aware of any mental activity as it arises. As you try to maintain continuous mindfulness, unwholesome mental activities eventually occur less frequently, and wholesome ones occur more frequently. Since you spend less time getting lost in negative thinking, it becomes easier and easier to stay abreast of the actions of mind.


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The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:56 pm

“All things (of thought and intention) converge at feeling” (vedanā samosaraṇā sabbe dhammā) – Kiṃmūlaka suttaṃ (AN.8.83).

Aside from the conceptual contemplations of kāyānupassi that we find in the long version, I do not see where one group of the four would be used exclusively of the other three. Satipaṭṭhāna is a progression of contemplative awareness that is sustained by calm unity with the breath, and develops at sensations of feeling as a progression as this awareness assimilates mind-states with knowledge and release.

Of course this does not preclude bringing this practice in-stride with daily living, just as we find in the Sīla Sutta (AN.4.12), where the hindrances are abandoned when one is walking, standing, sitting and lying, because one has ...

“…an active resolve to effort; mindfulness fixed without neglect, the body is calm and peaceful, and the mind is composed and unified. … it is said that bhikkhu walks about ... lays in this way ‘always with intense endeavor and scrupulousness, always resolved to effort and exertion’.
Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:15 pm

bodom/Bhante G wrote: Note that you do not determine in advance what kinds of mental objects you will turn to during the meditation. Nor is there any need to categorize what arises, thinking. '"I am observing a fetter." When observing wholesome mental objects such as joy, you do what you can to encourage such thoughts to keep coming, but you also continue to observe the impermanence, dissatisfaction and selflessness of these states.

That pretty much sums it up. I can't see how it would be possible to do much else with the dhammas category of satipatthana. One can decide to observe the breath, for example, but one can't decide to observe the arising of aversion, or rapture, or whatever. All one can realistically do is wait for something to arise...

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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:12 pm

Greetings Ben,

Ben wrote:I would like to know how you practice Dhammanupassana if you are happy to share.

In daily life, I apply the satipatthana practices numbered above in the Satipatthana Sutta as [3] (six sense media), and [5] (four noble truths).

Unlike the other ones noted, I find that these are the ones that are most easily, quickly and naturally discernible at all times. When I say quickly that's important, because in daily life, you alternative between viewing "conventionally" and "in line with Dhamma" and the quicker you can pick up a satipatthana frame of reference the better. I assume it's similar to how you can pick up vedana quickly, even if you had been giving your exclusive attention previously to something of a conventional nature. Viewing with respect to the five aggregates is slower as the classification isn't as intuitive, and the hindrances and enlightenment factors are mostly (though not exclusively) applicable to dedicated meditation "sittings".

The two I use most also have the advantage of being applicable to the total sum of present experience, so there's nothing happening which may fall outside the domain of the six-sense-media or the four noble truths.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:19 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:One can decide to observe the breath, for example, but one can't decide to observe the arising of aversion, or rapture, or whatever. All one can realistically do is wait for something to arise...

Right, you can't necessarily will these things into existence, but with a clear and agile mind you can still pick them up in what would be described as their "arising" phase.

It's a good observation in the sense that there is no primary object here per se, other than the broad range of experience (dhamma) itself. Whatever arises...

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:28 pm

According to the Commentaries, this meditation is best for those who are cognitive-introverted, with a quick reactivity temperament.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satipattha ... typography

It sounds like many of us here on Dhamma Wheel, who like to discuss Dhamma (perhaps leaning toward introversion with an interest in study).
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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:39 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:One can decide to observe the breath, for example, but one can't decide to observe the arising of aversion, or rapture, or whatever. All one can realistically do is wait for something to arise...

Right, you can't necessarily will these things into existence, but with a clear and agile mind you can still pick them up in what would be described as their "arising" phase.

Sure, that's what in encouraged by Mahasi (and probably other) teachers. One can also describe it in terms of dependent origination: contact, feeling, etc...
retrofuturist wrote:It's a good observation in the sense that there is no primary object here per se, other than the broad range of experience (dhamma) itself. Whatever arises...

As I said elsewhere, I've heard some teachers use the term "choiceless awareness" for the approach of not having a "primary object".
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 84#p168848

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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:44 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:As I said elsewhere, I've heard some teachers use the term "choiceless awareness" for the approach of not having a "primary object".

Some may well do so (and in the context of this sub-forum it's worth briefly pointing out that "choiceless awareness" is not found in the suttas as such), but I wouldn't, as it's misleading.

Attention (manasikara) still goes to the object, and that very act of placing attention somewhere is a volitional mental activity, so perhaps it's not so "choiceless" after all?

If it was truly regarded by the meditator as "choiceless", then the opportunity to see manasikara as the sankhata-dhamma it is, becomes closed to them. Rather, manasikara itself should ideally be a potential object of dhammanupassana too. See the bolded portion below to see how manasikara would fit into the domain of remaining "focused on mental qualities in & of themselves".

[2] "Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates? There is the case where a monk [discerns]: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'

"In this way he remains focused internally on the mental qualities in & of themselves, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates.

[3] "Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media? There is the case where he discerns the eye, he discerns forms, he discerns the fetter that arises dependent on both. He discerns how there is the arising of an unarisen fetter. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of a fetter once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of a fetter that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining sense media: ear, nose, tongue, body, & intellect.)

"In this way he remains focused internally on the mental qualities in & of themselves, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the sixfold internal & external sense media.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Dhammanupassana in the Satipatthana Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:05 am

retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:As I said elsewhere, I've heard some teachers use the term "choiceless awareness" for the approach of not having a "primary object".

Some may well do so (and in the context of this sub-forum it's worth briefly pointing out that "choiceless awareness" is not found in the suttas as such), but I wouldn't, as it's misleading.

Well, few specifics are found in the suttas, and your particular interpretation seems to me to be exactly the same as what those teachers say, so are you not following the sutta(s)?
retrofuturist wrote:Attention (manasikara) still goes to the object, and that very act of placing attention somewhere is a volitional mental activity, so perhaps it's not so "choiceless" after all?

Of couse, technically nothing in "choiceless" in the sense that it depends on previous conditions and so on, and that becomes more obvious as you pay attention to stuff that arises...

Perhaps I'm missing some subtlety that you are trying to get at...

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