posture as foundation of mindfulness

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

Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:54 am

mikenz66 wrote:I'd be interested in some technical comments on the Pali:
Atthi kayoti va panassa sati paccupatthita hoti

From Venerable Anandajoti's translation
Some texts (BJT) and translations (Way, VRI) divide these alternatives into 3 blocks (1: ajjhattaü, bahiddhà, ajjhattabahiddhà; 2: samudaya-, vaya-, samudayavaya-; 3: ßatthi kàyoû), but this is not justified by the grammar, which connects all the alternatives with và...và...
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Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby Dmytro » Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:18 am

Hi Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:I'd be interested in some technical comments on the Pali:
Atthi kayoti va panassa sati paccupatthita hoti


There's a parallel with Dvedhavitakka sutta which helps to understand this expression.

"Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have been gathered into the village, a cowherd would look after his cows: While resting under the shade of a tree or out in the open, he simply keeps himself mindful of 'those cows.' In the same way, I simply kept myself mindful of 'those mental qualities.'"

This indeed refers to a rather advanced stage of practice, when there's no immediate need to apply the right effort.

As for the kind of effort that may be required, - this is described in Bhikkhunupassaya sutta:

"What four? Here, Ananda, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. While he is contemplating the body in the body, there arises in him, based on the body, either a fever in the body or sluggishness of mind, or the mind is distracted outwardly.

That bhikkhu should then direct his mind towards some inspiring sign [nimitta]. When he directs his mind towards some inspiring sign, gladness is born. When he is gladdened, rapture is born.

When the mind is uplifted by rapture, the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body experiences happiness."

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Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:24 am

Thanks Tilt, Cittasanto, Dmytro for the

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu's translation is here:
http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/T ... /index.htm
“atthi kāyo” ti vā panassa sati paccupaṭṭhitā hoti
or else mindfulness that “there is a body” is established in him


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Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:59 am

Here is the whole section from
Ānandajoti Bhikkhu's translation:
http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/T ... /index.htm

Iti ajjhattaṁ vā kāye kāyānupassī viharati,
Thus he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body in regard to himself,
    The context seems to indicate that contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body means contemplating the transient, ownerless nature of the body, as is signified by the references to origination and dissolution (samudaya & vaya [= anicca]) on the one hand; and the impersonal knowledge “there is a body” (atthi kāyo [=anattā]) on the other. Dukkha, the other of the three characteristics of existence (tilakkhaṇa) is implied in anicca. And similarly in regard to the other contemplations.
bahiddhā vā kāye kāyānupassī viharati,
or he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body in regard to others,
    That we are really talking about others’ bodies, and not the internal and external parts of our own body, is confirmed by the Abhidhamma Satipaṭṭhānavibhaṅga (translated elsewhere on this website), where the grammar excludes any other interpretation.
ajjhattabahiddhā [*] vā kāye kāyānupassī viharati,
or he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body in regard to himself and in regard to
others,
    * See DP, ajjhattaṁ (and °bahiddhā) for these meanings. In Janavasabhasutta (DN 18,26) it says: Idha ... bhikkhu ajjhattaṁ kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṁ; ajjhattaṁ kāye kāyānupassī viharanto tattha sammā samādhiyati, sammā vippasīdati, so tattha sammā samāhito sammā vippasanno bahiddhā parakāye ñāṇadassanaṁ abhinibbatteti; here ... a monk dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body, ardent, with full awareness, mindfully aware, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world; while he dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body there he becomes perfectly concentrated, perfectly clear, and, being perfectly concentrated, perfectly clear, he generates knowledge and insight regarding the external bodies of others. Similarly in regard to the contemplation of vedanā, citta, and dhamma.
samudayadhammānupassī vā kāyasmiṁ viharati,
or he dwells contemplating the nature of origination in the body,
    Kāye (on the previous line) & kāyasmiṁ are alternative forms of the locative singular of kāya, the former ending being the normal one, and the latter borrowing from the pronominal declension; the same alternation occurs later with citte and cittasmiṁ.
vayadhammānupassī vā kāyasmiṁ viharati,
or he dwells contemplating the nature of dissolution in the body,

samudayavayadhammānupassī vā kāyasmiṁ viharati,
or he dwells contemplating the nature of origination and dissolution in the body,

“atthi kāyo” ti vā panassa sati paccupaṭṭhitā hoti
or else mindfulness that “there is a body” is established in him
    Some texts (BJT) and translations (Way, VRI) divide these alternatives into 3 blocks (1: ajjhattaṁ, bahiddhā, ajjhattabahiddhā; 2: samudaya-, vaya-, samudayavaya-; 3: “atthi kāyo”), but this is not justified by the grammar, which connects all the alternatives with vā...vā...
yāvad-eva ñāṇamattāya patissatimattāya,
just as far as (is necessary for) a full measure of knowledge and a full measure of mindfulness,
    The translation follows the commentary, which says: Yāvad-evā ti payojanaparicchedavavatthāpanam-etaṁ. Idaṁ vuttaṁ hoti: yā sā sati paccupaṭṭhitā hoti sā na aññad-atthāya. Atha kho yāvad-eva ñāṇamattāya aparāparaṁ uttaruttari ñāṇapamāṇatthāya ceva satipamāṇatthāya ca, satisampajaññānaṁ vuḍḍhatthāyā ti attho; just as far as, this designates, and is limited to, purpose. This is what is said: whatever mindfulness is established is not for another reason. Then the meaning of as far as (is necessary for) a measure of knowledge is so as to increase more and more, further and further, knowledge and mindfulness, for the increase of mindfulness and full awareness. For the same word in Sanskrit having this meaning see SED under mātra.

    This seems to me to make much better sense than the usual translation of for just knowledge and remembrance (Way); or for mere understanding and mere awareness (VRI). See also MN 22, near the end, where saddhamatta is translated by Ñāṇamoḷi and Bodhi (MLDB) as sufficient faith, and pemamatta as sufficient love.
anissito ca viharati, [*] na ca kiñci loke upādiyati. [**]
and he dwells independent, and without being attached to anything in the world.
    * Comm: taṇhānissayadiṭṭhinissayānaṁ vasena anissito va viharati; he lives independent because he is not dependent on wrong views or craving.
    ** Comm: ayaṁ me attā vā attaniyaṁ vā ti na gaṇhāti; he doesn’t grasp (anything) thinking: this is my self or this belongs to my self.
Evam-pi kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu kāye kāyānupassī viharati.
In this way, monks, a monk dwells contemplating (the nature of) the body in the body.

:anjali:
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Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:20 am

retrofuturist wrote:"And further, O bhikkhus, when he is going, a bhikkhu understands: 'I am going'; when he is standing, he understands: 'I am standing'; when he is sitting, he understands: 'I am sitting'; when he is lying down, he understands: 'I am lying down'; or just as his body is disposed so he understands it."


I see what you mean. But is this more like what we'd call labelling, once mindfulness has initially been established? I know some people use physical sensations like the breath to initially establish mindfulness, so presumably it doesn't have to be thought-based.
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Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby daverupa » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:02 pm

AN 8.63 wrote:When this concentration is thus developed, thus well-developed by you, you should then train yourself thus: 'I will remain focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.' That's how you should train yourself. When you have developed this concentration in this way, you should develop this concentration with directed thought & evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought & a modicum of evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought & no evaluation, you should develop it accompanied by rapture... not accompanied by rapture... endowed with a sense of enjoyment; you should develop it endowed with equanimity.
    "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: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:17 pm

Hi Dave,

Certainly, that is an interesting Sutta. In that case there seems to be a description of the development of Jhana, based on the Brahmaviharas and mindfulness of the body. We discussed this over here:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=15015
[And, as also discussed there, the Satipatthana commentary discusses the development of Jhana as one of the options for fulfilling the "having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief" instruction.]

I'm not sure how you want us to use that in the context of the current discussion, apart from that there are many different possible sequences of development.

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Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby daverupa » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:26 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Dave,

Certainly, that is an interesting Sutta. In that case there is a description of the development of Jhana based on the Brahmaviharas follwed by satipatthana, as we discussed over here:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=15015
[And, as also discussed there, the Satipatthana commentary discusses the development of Jhana as one of the options for fulfilling the "having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief" instruction.]

I'm not sure how you want us to use that in the context of the current discussion, apart from that there are many different possible sequences of development.

:anjali:


It seemed pertinent, given that the passage had, in close proximity, "body in and of itself" and "vitakka-vicara". I'm not sure how y'all might use it either, but it hadn't been mentioned yet in this context.

In that Sutta, the four brahmaviharas and the four satipatthana are both to be done according to the progression in the section I quoted. I find myself ruminating over how similar the stages are to the standard jhana progression: vitakka-vicara, vicara, a/vitakka-vicara, piti, a/piti, sukha, upekkha. Jhana isn't otherwise mentioned in that Sutta.
    "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: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:31 pm

Thanks Dave!

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Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby daverupa » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:39 pm

It could mean that the brahmaviharas and satipatthana are a foundation of practice before, during, and after jhana. They're a framework for all occasions, in other words, not just for during dedicated sitting/walking meditation practice.
    "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: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:40 pm

We seem to have wandered off into a rather technical discussion. I think that PolarBuddha's description here is an excellent answer to the question. As indicated here, such examination will teach you a lot about what your mind/body is actually doing...
polarbuddha101 wrote:
befriend wrote:kind of confused on how to be aware of my posture. is the awareness supposed to be a constant stready stream, do i feel with my minds eye the feelings inside my body, or do i just understand that i am standing. metta, befriend


The way I read the sutta is that instead of going off and thinking about breakfast when you wake up, immediately point your mind to the fact that you are lying down. Just notice that you're lying down and be aware of sitting up, getting out of bed and try not to think any thoughts about the past or the future, just be totally aware and alert of what your body is doing in the present moment and if you get distracted remind yourself to return to just being alert of what is going on right now. Next time you're on the john, really pay attention to the sheer act of defecating or urinating, just notice that it is going on without thinking about what's in the newspaper or whether there's any coffee left in the house. If you manage to do this and avoid getting all caught up in thought worlds then you'll start to experience reality with less and less mental fabrications running through and distorting it by concocting senses of self and constancy or by just plain distracting you from what is really going on all around you in your field of experience. So, the short answer is do both. Just plain old understand that you are standing and try to remain perpetually aware of all the sensations you're experiencing at the same time. This practice will contribute a great deal to the clarity and acuity of your mind.

:namaste:

Very simple, but not necessarily easy. It takes quite a bit of practice...

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Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:50 pm

daverupa wrote:It could mean that the brahmaviharas and satipatthana are a foundation of practice before, during, and after jhana. They're a framework for all occasions, in other words, not just for during dedicated sitting/walking meditation practice.

Good point. The Commentaries (and U Pandita's "Vipassana Jhana" terminology) suggests that the development of the jhana factors to a high level (at least "access concentration") is necessary for insight to arise.

It seems to me that there are two aspects of satipatthana. One is the development of enough mindfulness to allow the development concentration (as in the usual gradual training suttas, where there is some mindfulness development before abandoning hte hindrences and entering jhanas [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.027.than.html]). The other is the development of insight, which requires a good degree of concentration.

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Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:47 pm

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:
daverupa wrote:It could mean that the brahmaviharas and satipatthana are a foundation of practice before, during, and after jhana. They're a framework for all occasions, in other words, not just for during dedicated sitting/walking meditation practice.

Good point.... It seems to me that there are two aspects of satipatthana. One is the development of enough mindfulness to allow the development concentration (as in the usual gradual training suttas, where there is some mindfulness development before abandoning hte hindrences and entering jhanas ... The other is the development of insight, which requires a good degree of concentration.

I think you could also add a third and distinct aspect to that list - to quote Dave, "a framework for all occasions".

I do think there's merit in acknowledging the present moment benefits of a life of mindfulness in and of itself, without necessarily framing it as a means to an end. Frankly, once insight into the nature of dukkha is obtained, living mindfully in accordance with that knowledge is a pleasurable and happy mode of existence, in and of itself, for its own sake.

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: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:18 am

retrofuturist wrote:I do think there's merit in acknowledging the present moment benefits of a life of mindfulness in and of itself, without necessarily framing it as a means to an end.

That's certainly a good point. I was just following on from Dave's comments, and discussing the relationship between satipatthana and jhana in the various suttas, and how it was not necessarily contradictory to have the different orderings.

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Re: four foundations of mindfulness

Postby Sylvester » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:58 am

tiltbillings wrote:
'Or his mindfulness that "there is a body" is established in him to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness.' -- Ven Nyanaponika

"... mindfulness is established with the thought: 'The body exists,'" is not supported by the Pali.


It's one of those bugbears that I have with translations that consistently interpret the presence of the "iti" clitics as necessitating thought. May be appropriate in those suttas that use etadahosi to preface the thought, but you are right that verbalisation is not a given when the iti pops up.
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posture as foundation of mindfulness

Postby befriend » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:46 am

i dont see how a hand or a body part cant be an object of noting but sitting, standing, and lying down are objects of meditation for the four foundations of mindfulness.
happy new year
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Re: posture as foundation of mindfulness

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:04 am

befriend wrote:i dont see how a hand or a body part cant be an object of noting but sitting, standing, and lying down are objects of meditation for the four foundations of mindfulness.
happy new year

See the Sampajana section of the satipatthana sutta.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Re: posture as foundation of mindfulness

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:03 am

Hi befriend,

Don't you think that:
... just as his body is disposed so he knows it.

would include anything that any part would be doing? That's certainly the way I see it usually interpreted.

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foundation of mindfulness

Postby befriend » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:14 pm

how can posture be a foundation of mindfulness? thanks Befriend
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Re: foundation of mindfulness

Postby daverupa » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:30 pm

Well, awareness of posture is part of sampajanna, and the body is a category of satipatthana.

Satisampajanna, then, would be an encompassing awareness of the state of what can be known with respect to the satipatthana categories, which includes posture. In cases where old habits prevailed and satisampajanna was absent, shifting postures might be enough to remind you of the practice.
    "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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