Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

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

Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:49 pm

First off I want to make it clear that I don't intend to insult or otherwise disparage Mahasi Sayadaw or other teachers who do not teach Anapanasati, but simply want to understand the cultural or Dhammic reasoning behind the emphasis that is given to Satipatthana as opposed to mindfulness with breathing.

I recently read the following mini-essay about Satipatthana and its place in Buddhism by Buddhadasa:

Another common problem is that some people cling to and are stuck on the word satipatthana (foundations of mindfulness) far too much. Some go so far as to think that Anapanasati has nothing to do with the four foundations of mindfulness. Some even reject Anapanasati out of hand. In some places they really hang onto the word "satipatthana." They cling to the satipatthana of the Digha-nikaya (Long Discourses) which is not anything more than a long list of names, a lengthy catalogue of sets of dhammas. Although there are whole bunches of dhammas, no way of practice is given or explained there. This is what is generally taken to be satipatthana. Then it is adjusted and rearranged into these and those practices, which become new systems that are called satipatthana practices or meditation.

Then, the followers of such techniques deny, or even despise, the Anapanasati approach, asserting that it is not satipatthana. In truth, Anapanasati is the heart of satipatthana, the heart of all four foundations of mindfulness. The 16 Steps is a straight-forward and clear practice, not just a list of names or dhammas like in the Mahasatipatthana Sutta. Therefore, let us not fall into the misunderstanding that Anapanasati is not satipatthana, otherwise we might lose interest in it thinking that it is wrong. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding is common. Let us reiterate that Anapanasati is the heart of all four satipatthana in a form that can be readily practiced.

We have taken time to consider the words "satipatthana" and "Anapanasati" for the sake of ending any misunderstandings that might lead to a narrow-minded lack of consideration for what others are practicing. So please understand correctly that whether we call it satipatthana or Anapanasati there are only four matters of importance: kaya, vedana, citta, and Dhamma. However, in the Mahasatipatthana Sutta there's no explanation of how to practice these four things. It gives only the names of dhammas and expands upon them. For example, the matter of kaya (body) is spread out over corpse meditations, sati-sampajanna in daily activities, the postures, and others more than can be remembered. It merely catalogues groups of dhammas under the four areas of study.

The Anapanasati Sutta, on the other hand, shows how to practice the four foundations in a systematic progression that ends with emancipation from all dukkha. The sixteen steps work through the four foundations, each one developing upon the previous, and supporting the next. Practice all sixteen steps fully and the heart of the satipatthana arises perfectly. In short, the Satipatthana Suttas are only lists of names. The Anapanasati Sutta clearly shows how to practice the four foundations without anything extra or surplus. It does not mention unrelated matters.


...and I can't really find fault with it. I recently read Analayo's study of the Satipatthana Sutta and I was surprised at how little real technique or explanation of practice there was. If the Anapanasati tetrads cover the four focuses of mindfulness, then why were other methods like Mahasi's created, and why are they often valued as more "correct" than the most detailed record we have of the Buddha himself teaching a step-by-step method?

Basically, as I read more about both camps, I am honestly confused why a sutta that does little more than list subjects of meditation in groups is considered the better frame to base meditation on than a sutta that teaches how to apply mindfulness to the four focuses in depth and detail? I'm not trying to say that the Satipatthana sutta isn't great, but I am uncertain why some have felt the need to create new meditation systems for it while the one taught by the Buddha himself is somewhat ignored!

Thoughts? Criticisms? Things I'm missing?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:03 pm

That's why a teacher should be taken to learn meditation. Learning from books is not the same thing at all. Reading Buddhadasa's books is not the same as practising under his guidance. So too with any other teacher or method. They each emphasise different things. The Satipatthana Sutta was taught to 1,000 monks, not all were contemplating the four elements — some were practising Ānāpānasati, asubha kammatthāna, or cemetery contemplations. It is a comprehensive discourse.

Follow the teacher that appeals to you, but both Mahasi Sayādaw and Buddhadasa are now dead, so better look for someone who is still living. If you have to practice on your own from reading books, progress will be slow and hesitant as your head is full of too many things at once.
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:31 am

Hi LY,

The Tipitaka is not just one or two suttas.
There are many suttas discussing satipatthana http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#sn47
and anapanasati http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#sn54
And many suttas on analysis of the elements http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-subject.html#dhatu

Any meditation approach also involves overcoming the hindrances, balancing the faculties, arousing the factors of awakening, and so on...

Different teachers have, through their own experience, and the experience of their students, developed different ways of using the brief hints in the suttas.

I've yet to find a sutta that contains much "technique". Ajahn Buddhaghosa, for example, spends quite a lot of time explaining how to interpret and implement such terse statements as:
"He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I don't see that as particularly detailed, compared to the Satipatthana Sutta:
"And how does a monk remain focused on feelings in & of themselves? There is the case where a monk, when feeling a painful feeling, discerns, 'I am feeling a painful feeling.' When feeling a pleasant feeling, he discerns, 'I am feeling a pleasant feeling.' When feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he discerns, 'I am feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling.'"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Some, like Sayadaw Mahasi and his students, and many of Ajahn Chah's students, emphasise a mindfulness/satipatthana based approach. Goenka has a slightly different satipatthana approach. Others, like Vens Buddhaghosa, Brahm, Pa Auk, emphasis the development of deep jhana states based on anapanasati...

In person most teachers are quite flexible, and rather concerned to tailor their instructions to individuals.

I'm not sure if you've read this (courtesy of Bhikkhu Pesala's web site), but it gives less rigid impression of how Sayadaw Mahasi, U Pandita, and other such teachers see the Suttas and Commentaries:
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Other/Ques ... tions.html
“Why did Mahāsi Sayādaw ignore ānāpānassati, which was directly taught by the Buddha, but introduced the rising-falling method?”

“Is ānāpānassati the same in essence as vipassanā and meditating on rising and falling, and able to lead to magga-phala and nibbāna?”


In answering these questions, Panditārāma Sayādaw explained the teachings of the Mahāsi Sayādaw as follows.

Ānāpānassati can take two directions. If the meditator strives to be mindful of the form or manner of the in-breath and the out-breath, then it is samatha meditation and leads to one-pointedness of mind. On the other hand, if the meditator notes the sensation of the in-breath and out-breath as it moves and touches, then it is vipassanā meditation. The element of wind or motion (vayo-dhātu) is rūpa or matter, while the awareness or consciousness of the sensation is nāma or mind. Therefore, ānāpānassati can be considered as vipassanā, and can lead to high levels of insight wisdom. However, in the Visuddhimagga, in the section on kāyānupassana, or mindfulness of body, fourteen objects of meditation are discussed, and further subdivided into objects for samatha and vipassanā meditation. In the Visuddhimagga, ānāpānassati is presented as an object of samatha meditation. Consequently, if we are to instruct meditators to develop ānāpānassati as part of vipassanā meditation, we will be inviting much unwanted and unwarranted criticism and controversy. And neither Mahāsi Sayādaw or myself would want to argue here that the Visuddhimagga, the rightly venerated classic, is at fault here.

It has been said that by noting the rising and falling of the abdomen, meditators are distancing themselves from the teachings of the Buddha. The answer to this is a firm and definite “no.” Quite apart from the success that meditators have achieved by noting rising-falling, there is much solid evidence in the Buddhist scriptures, such as Salāyatana Vagga Samyutta, to show that the method is very much a part of the Buddha’s teachings regarding mindfulness of the body, mindfulness of the elements (dhātu), and mindfulness of the five aggregates (khandhas).

As you can see, this is very much related to what Ajahn Buddhaghosa, Brahm, etc say, regarding different ways of using the breath, as I mentioned over here: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=14796&p=214405#p214405

:anjali:
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby daverupa » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:46 am

Following along with respect to the breadth of the Suttas, note that the gradual training describes that anapanasati et al are conducted as part of a daily satisampajanna regimen; you might profitably also ask why meditation tends to receive emphasis over this training, e.g. MN 61.

Modern living allows for amazing opportunities along these lines, ones that even the landed gentry of ancient India would have envied...

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:21 am

Of course, suttas such as MN 27 about the Gradual Training seem to give a good overview of the progression:
Virtue
Sense Restraint
Mindfulness & Alertness
Abandoning the Hindrances
The Four Jhanas
The Three Knowledges
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

And one can consult numerous suttas regarding each of the various aspects.

I don't feel comfortable with the suggestion that there is some sort of "competition" between the particular approaches that various teachers have developed by fleshing out the different aspects with specific tricks (to use Ajahn Buddhadasa's terminology) and techniques, and that a "winner" needs to be declared...

:anjali:
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby daverupa » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:09 am

It is, however, noteworthy that satipatthana, as such, does not figure prominently in the gradual training list.

It may indeed simply form half of the sati-sampajanna compound, but I see it as an emergent teaching; something that came to be taught as time went on, possibly during early systematization, possibly while the Buddha still taught.

Is there a list of those meditations which are said to fulfill satipatthana, e.g. anapanasati?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby pegembara » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:55 am

Whether satipatthana or anapanasati is emphasized in the sutta, you will find teachings like these all over the sutta. You can call them whatever you like.

“Nāgita, when one dwells contemplating impermanence in the six bases of contact, revulsion towards contact is established; this is the outcome for him. When one dwell contemplating rise and fall in the five aggregates subject to clinging, revulsion towards clinging is established; this is the outcome for him.”

~ Aṅguttara-Nikāya, Book of the Fives, Sutta 30

“And what, bhikkhus, is the development of concentration which when developed and cultivated leads to the destruction of the taints? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating rise and fall in the five-aggregates subject to clinging: 'Such is materiality, such is the arising of materiality, such is the passing-away of materiality; such is feeling, such is the arising of feeling, such is the passing-away of feeling; such is perception, such is the arising of perception, such is the passing-away of perception; such are mental-formations, such is the arising of mental-formations, such is the passing-away of mental-formations; such is consciousness, such is the arising of consciousness, such is the passing-away of consciousness.' This, bhikkhus, is the development of concentration which when developed and cultivated leads to the destruction of the taints.”

~ Aṅguttara-Nikāya, Book of the Fours, Sutta 41

“The monk who has retired to a solitary abode and calmed his mind, who comprehends the Dhamma with insight, in him there arise a delight that transcends all human delights.

“Whenever he sees with insight the rise and fall of the aggregates, he is full of joy and happiness. To the discerning one this reflects the Deathless.”

~ Dhammapada 373-374

“Bhikkhus, materiality is impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering; what is suffering is non-self; what is non-self should be seen with right wisdom as it really is thus ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

“Feeling is impermanent… Perception is impermanent… Mental-formations are impermanent… Consciousness is impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering; what is suffering is non-self; what is non-self should be seen with right wisdom as it really is thus ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

“Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple has revulsion towards materiality, has revulsion towards feeling, has revulsion towards perception, has revulsion towards mental-formations, has revulsion towards consciousness. Having revulsion, he becomes dispassionate; Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated. When it is liberated there is the knowledge ‘It is liberated.’ He knows ‘Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived, what is to be done has been done, there is nothing more beyond this.”

~ Saṃyutta-Nikāya, Khandhasaṃyutta, Sutta 15

“Bhikkhus, visible-forms are impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is non-self. What is non-self should be seen with right wisdom as it really is thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

“Sounds are impermanent… Smells are impermanent… Tastes are impermanent… Tactile-objects are impermanent… Mind-objects are impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is non-self. What is non-self should be seen with right wisdom as it really is thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

“Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple has revulsion towards visible-forms, has revulsion towards sounds, has revulsion towards smells, has revulsion towards tastes, has revulsion towards tactile-objects, has revulsion towards mind-objects. Having revulsion, he becomes dispassionate; Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated. When it is liberated there is the knowledge ‘It is liberated.’ He knows ‘Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived, what is to be done has been done, there is nothing more beyond this.”

~ Saṃyutta-Nikāya, Saḷāyatanavagga, Saḷāyatanasaṃyutta, Sutta 4
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:35 am

Hi Dave,
daverupa wrote:It is, however, noteworthy that satipatthana, as such, does not figure prominently in the gradual training list.


I've always taken this part to be the usual basic retreat instructions for mindfulness of the body:
Mindfulness & Alertness

"When going forward and returning, he acts with alertness. When looking toward and looking away... when bending and extending his limbs... when carrying his outer cloak, his upper robe, and his bowl... when eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting... when urinating and defecating... when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, and remaining silent, he acts with alertness.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


daverupa wrote:Is there a list of those meditations which are said to fulfill satipatthana, e.g. anapanasati?

Isn't that what the Satipatthana Sutta and the Satpatthana Samyutta are about?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"I will teach you the frames of reference, their development, and the path of practice leading to their development. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak.

"Now, what are the frames of reference? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

"This is called the frames of reference.
...

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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:45 am

daverupa wrote:It is, however, noteworthy that satipatthana, as such, does not figure prominently in the gradual training list.

It may indeed simply form half of the sati-sampajanna compound, but I see it as an emergent teaching; something that came to be taught as time went on, possibly during early systematization, possibly while the Buddha still taught.

Sure, that's always a possibility for all suttas with systematic lists.

Perhaps this sort of passage is earlier:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.

Satipatthana seems to use four divisions, the first two the same as the aggregates, the last two a mixture of the last three aggregates...

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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby daverupa » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:37 am

mikenz66 wrote:Isn't that what the Satipatthana Sutta and the Satpatthana Samyutta are about?


Perhaps; it's only ever made explicit with anapanasati, as I recall...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby Nyana » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:59 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:I recently read Analayo's study of the Satipatthana Sutta and I was surprised at how little real technique or explanation of practice there was. If the Anapanasati tetrads cover the four focuses of mindfulness, then why were other methods like Mahasi's created, and why are they often valued as more "correct" than the most detailed record we have of the Buddha himself teaching a step-by-step method?

Basically, as I read more about both camps, I am honestly confused why a sutta that does little more than list subjects of meditation in groups is considered the better frame to base meditation on than a sutta that teaches how to apply mindfulness to the four focuses in depth and detail? I'm not trying to say that the Satipatthana sutta isn't great, but I am uncertain why some have felt the need to create new meditation systems for it while the one taught by the Buddha himself is somewhat ignored!

The practices offered in the Pāli canon are far more numerous and diverse than either satipaṭṭhāna vipassanā or ānāpānassati. Ven. Bodhi, The Four Protective Meditations:

    For American Buddhists, the Theravada tradition has become so narrowly identified with the style of meditation called “vipassana” that those who practice in this tradition often describe themselves simply as “vipassana practitioners,” discarding the name “Theravada” and even “Buddhism” as Asian accretions to a secular discipline of mindfulness. Others, better acquainted with the Pali canon, assume that the Buddha’s core instructions on meditation are all contained in his “Discourse on the Establishment of Mindfulness” (Satipatthana Sutta) and thus seldom look beyond this text for guidance. If, however, we study the Buddha’s discourses in breadth, we would find that they offer a wide range of meditation subjects, many of which have received scant attention in this country. These constitute a potent battery of spiritual disciplines designed for people with diverse aptitudes and inclinations.
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby Dmytro » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:39 pm

Hi LonesomeYogurt,

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Basically, as I read more about both camps, I am honestly confused why a sutta that does little more than list subjects of meditation in groups is considered the better frame to base meditation


It's historical.

"Strong Roots", pages 110-111.

"Apparently a number of nineteenth century monks were inspired by the meditation techniques collected from the Pāḷi discourses in one seminal text, Buddhaghosa’s Visuddhimagga. Scholar-practitioners such as the The-Lon Sayadaw and the Ledi Sayadaw are said to have put this textual guidance into practice without personal teachers to guide them in mindfulness practice. The Buddha and the classical commentators who collated his teachings were themselves human practitioners; nonetheless, it remarkable that these modern scholar practitioners were able, solely with guidance meditated through the texts, to found lineages that have led many thousands of twentieth-century practitioners to achieve – according to their own reports – significant levels of liberation from suffering.

The Mingun Jetawun Sayadaw U Nārada (1868-1955) was one monk who became interested in applying his theoretical knowledge from the Pāḷi, but mindfulness practice was apparently so rare in nineteenth century Burma that he had to travel to the wilderness of the Sagaing Hills for guidance. There he found a recluse called the Aletawya Sayadaw, who had practiced with the same The-Lon Sayadaw mentioned above. U Nārada inquired of this reclusive monk how to achieve the goal of the teachings that he had studied so extensively. The Aletawya Sayadaw reportedly asked U Nārada in return why he was looking outside of the Buddha’s teachings, since they so clearly point out the path of mindfulness as the way to achieve awakening.

The satipaṭṭhāna practice taught by the Mingun Jetawun Sayadaw to the Mahāsi Sayadaw and others did not require extensive tranquility preparation previous to insight practice. Some have suggested that this system gained popularity because lay people did not have the time to devote to the scholastic and absorption practices traditionally engaged in by ordained renunciates."

http://www.dharma.org/bcbs/Pages/docume ... gRoots.pdf
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby Sylvester » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:46 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
LonesomeYogurt wrote:I recently read Analayo's study of the Satipatthana Sutta and I was surprised at how little real technique or explanation of practice there was. If the Anapanasati tetrads cover the four focuses of mindfulness, then why were other methods like Mahasi's created, and why are they often valued as more "correct" than the most detailed record we have of the Buddha himself teaching a step-by-step method?

Basically, as I read more about both camps, I am honestly confused why a sutta that does little more than list subjects of meditation in groups is considered the better frame to base meditation on than a sutta that teaches how to apply mindfulness to the four focuses in depth and detail? I'm not trying to say that the Satipatthana sutta isn't great, but I am uncertain why some have felt the need to create new meditation systems for it while the one taught by the Buddha himself is somewhat ignored!

The practices offered in the Pāli canon are far more numerous and diverse than either satipaṭṭhāna vipassanā or ānāpānassati. Ven. Bodhi, The Four Protective Meditations:

    For American Buddhists, the Theravada tradition has become so narrowly identified with the style of meditation called “vipassana” that those who practice in this tradition often describe themselves simply as “vipassana practitioners,” discarding the name “Theravada” and even “Buddhism” as Asian accretions to a secular discipline of mindfulness. Others, better acquainted with the Pali canon, assume that the Buddha’s core instructions on meditation are all contained in his “Discourse on the Establishment of Mindfulness” (Satipatthana Sutta) and thus seldom look beyond this text for guidance. If, however, we study the Buddha’s discourses in breadth, we would find that they offer a wide range of meditation subjects, many of which have received scant attention in this country. These constitute a potent battery of spiritual disciplines designed for people with diverse aptitudes and inclinations.


Good one. The Girimananda Sutta, AN 10.60 gives a listing of several other meditation subjects -

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The perceptions of impermanence and non-self described here look like rather discursive ruminations and not the usual rise-&-fall observations described elsewhere. Might it be unique to Ven Girimananda's special circumstance in the sick ward?
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby santa100 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:15 am

From MN 108 ( http://palicanon.org/en/sutta-pitaka/tr ... allna.html ):

Venerable Ananda: The Blessed One, brahmin, did not praise every type of meditation, nor did he condemn every type of meditation. What kind of meditation did the Blessed One not praise? Here, brahmin, someone abides with his mind obsessed by sensual lust, a prey to sensual lust, and he does not understand as it actually is the escape from arisen sensual lust. While he harbors sensual lust within, he meditates, premeditates, out-meditates, and mismeditates. He abides with his mind obsessed by ill will, a prey to ill will...with his mind obsessed by sloth and torpor, a prey to sloth and torpor...with his mind obsessed by restlessness and remorse, a prey to restlessness and remorse...with his mind obsessed by doubt, a prey to doubt, and he does not understand as it actually is the escape from arisen doubt. While he harbors doubt within, he meditates, premeditates, out-meditates, and mismeditates. The Blessed One did not praise that kind of meditation.
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:20 am

That sutta then immediately states that the Buddha praises Jhana:



27. “And what kind of meditation did the Blessed One praise? Here, brahmin, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna...With the stilling of applied and sustained thought, he enters upon and abides in the second jhāna...With the fading away as well of rapture...he enters upon and abides in the third jhāna...With the abandoning of pleasure and pain...he enters upon and abides in the fourth jhāna...The Blessed One praised that kind of meditation.”
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby santa100 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:29 am

And thus we can at least be sure that any kind of meditation that helps eliminate the Five Hindrances would be desirable and praised by the Buddha..
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:39 am

santa100 wrote:And thus we can at least be sure that any kind of meditation that helps eliminate the Five Hindrances would be desirable and praised by the Buddha..

For sure, but that doesn't mean any meditation that simply curbs the hindrances is enough - the Buddha is pretty clear here and elsewhere that the ultimate form of meditation is Jhana. If the end point of meditation was just to become concentrated enough for the hindrances to drop away, then he would have simply provided the inverse of the original formula for un-praised meditation; instead he makes it clear that the meditation he praises is that which, upon the hindrances being removed, results in Jhana.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby santa100 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:52 am

Of course abandoning the Five Hindrances is only the first important step. However, imho the ultimate form of meditation is whatever one that helps get the practitioner to the end goal. It could be jhana, dry-insight, etc..
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Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:58 am

santa100 wrote:Of course abandoning the Five Hindrances is only the first important step. However, imho the ultimate form of meditation is whatever one that helps get the practitioner to the end goal. It could be jhana, dry-insight, etc..

Where does the Buddha say that a path without Jhana should be followed? I think a clear examination of these texts, if free from cultural or traditional bias, shows that the Buddha saw Jhana as the "ultimate" form and not just "another way of doing it." I guess my real confusion over this whole distinction is why the bare insight-based Satipatthana approach is held on equal, if not higher, ground when compared to the Jhana-centric Anapanasati approach, when the suttas seem to clearly come down on one side. As people have pointed out in this thread, there are tons and tons of different meditations out there in the suttas but that doesn't mean that the undeniable "obsession" the Buddha had with teaching Jhana can be thrown out in favor of a method that can't be reliably traced to the suttas at all.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Why is Satipatthana emphasized over Anapanasati?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:08 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
santa100 wrote:And thus we can at least be sure that any kind of meditation that helps eliminate the Five Hindrances would be desirable and praised by the Buddha..

For sure, but that doesn't mean any meditation that simply curbs the hindrances is enough - the Buddha is pretty clear here and elsewhere that the ultimate form of meditation is Jhana.
That is not quite correct, given that jhana practice can lead to wrong view. Jhana is a tool, definitely not an end in itself.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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