Pali Term: Sati

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Billymac29 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:14 pm

porpoise wrote:
Dmytro wrote:
porpoise wrote:The approach I've found most helpful is that described by Thera Nyanaponika in The Heart of Meditation, where there is a distinction between "bare attention" ( sati ) and "clear comprehension" ( sati-sampajjana ). It seems consistent with the Satipatthana Sutta, and it also seems consistent with practice.


I wonder how the interpretation of 'sati' as 'bare attention' can be consistent with Satipatthana sutta, when this sutta doesn't define 'sati'.
In such a case, any other interpretation, i.e. 'choiceless awareness' of Krishnamurti, would be consistent as well.


I regard the Satipatthana Sutta as the primary instructional text for the development of sati. A key phrase in the sutta is "remaining focussed on" various aspects of the 4 frames, which strongly suggests paying attention. And through paying attention, understanding arises.

I agree with this... :smile:
:goodpost:
May all be well
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:55 pm

Hi Sekha,
Sekha wrote:
Dmytro wrote:This thread is devoted to the discussion of the Pali term "sati", with Pali texts as a reference.

That's your point of view, ...

This being the Pali Forum it is a reasonable statement. Admittedly, there is inevitable cross-over, but this area is intended to be for technical discussion of Pali, not discussion of meditative experience.

:anjali:
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Sekha » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:05 pm

well, I think this is a point underlying this whole discussion. Accepting only textual sources as a valid source of knowledge, even on a Pali forum discussing technical Pali terms, is imo a mistake. There can be no understanding of those technical terms without direct knowledge, and the opinion of knowledgeable experts, whatever the subject of a discussion may be, is also to be taken into account and discussed, perhaps even rejected, but not simply ignored.

Otherwise the outcome is the one I pointed to a couple of my post back. Dmytro is right (or can almost arguably be considered so) if you only take into account the textual side of things. He is wrong if you consider the effect of his statement on beginners who may take that word for the truth and get confused while trying to meditate. Many people want to acquire some knowledge of Pali in order to understand the practice better, and that will most probably confuse them.

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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:13 pm

Sekha wrote:Otherwise the outcome is the one I pointed to a couple of my post back. Dmytro is right (or can almost arguably be considered so) if you only take into account the textual side of things. He is wrong if you consider the effect of his statement on beginners who may take that word for the truth and get confused while trying to meditate. Many people want to acquire some knowledge of Pali in order to understand the practice better, and that will most probably confuse them.
All one has to do is take the textual side, as has been shown above. The texts, as has been shown, contrary to Dmytro's rigid claim, do show an expansion of the meaning of sati beyond just mere memory. This is something that the brilliant scholar, Ven Analayo has argued for convincingly in his excellent book, SATIPATTHANA and well as Rupert Gethin in various source have been quoted above.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Sekha » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:34 pm

tiltbillings wrote: The texts, as has been shown, contrary to Dmytro's rigid claim, do show an expansion of the meaning of sati beyond just mere memory. This is something that the brilliant scholar, Ven Analayo has argued for convincingly in his excellent book, SATIPATTHANA and well as Rupert Gethin in various source have been quoted above.

As for me, we don't even need any scholar to understand that sati refers to the peception of present moment phenomena. The standard definition of sammasati or satipatthana is self-explanatory.

As to Dmytro's counterargument to this:
Dmytro wrote:The samma-sati (appropriate or right remembrance) passage you refer to does not give the definition of 'sati'. Here sutta describes the right ways to apply the eight factors. The description of right action:
"And what, monks, is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity: This, monks, is called right action."
doesn't mean that the definition of "action" is "abstaining".
Similarly, the definition of 'sati' through four satipatthanas dosnt mean that the definition of "remembrance" (sati) is "being focused" (anupassana).

we can state however that the definition of right action IS abstaining.
similarly, the definition of right sati IS "being focused" (anupassana), and that's all I am concerned with.

Sati may sometimes be clearly used in other contexts as memory, as in the Sotānugata sutta, where it is wrongly translated as mindfulness by sister upalavanna:

Like a man clever in knowing the sound of drums, gone to the highway hears the sound of a drum and he does not doubt, whether it is the sound of a drum or not, but concludes it is the sound of a drum. In the same manner the bhikkhu learns the Teaching as discourses, verse and prose sections, ... re ... and series of questions and answers and becomes learned in that Teaching, He practices it verbally, mentally gathers the meaning and he straightens his view. He dies with confused mindfulness and is born with a certain retinue of gods. There he does not voice the Teaching skillfully, becomes successful in teaching the heavenly gathering. Then he recalls isn't it in this Teaching and Discipline that I earlier led the holy life. Mindfulness arises to him slowly and he quickly rises to the next higher state.

memory here would be a better rendering.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Dmytro » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:51 pm

Hi Porpoise,

porpoise wrote:I regard the Satipatthana Sutta as the primary instructional text for the development of sati. A key phrase in the sutta is "remaining focussed on" various aspects of the 4 frames, which strongly suggests paying attention. And through paying attention, understanding arises.


Won't you mind looking at another sutta?

Sato bhikkhave, bhikkhu vihareyya sampajāno, ayaṃ vo amhākaṃ anusāsanī.

At Savatthi. "Stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our instruction to you all.

Kathañca bhikkhave, bhikkhu sato hoti: idha bhikkhave, bhikkhu kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Citte cittānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Evaṃ kho bhikkhave, bhikkhu sato hoti.

"And how is a monk mindful? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. This is how a monk is mindful.

Kathañca bhikkhave, bhikkhu sampajāno hoti: idha bhikkhave, bhikkhuno viditā vedanā uppajjanti, viditā upaṭṭhahanti, viditā abbhatthaṃ gacchanti. Viditā vitakkā uppajjanti, viditā upaṭṭhahanti, viditā abbhatthaṃ gacchanti. Evaṃ kho bhikkhave, bhikkhu sampajāno hoti.

"And how is a monk alert? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is how a monk is alert.

Sato bhikkhave bhikkhu vihareyya sampajāno, ayaṃ vo amhākaṃ anusāsanīti.

"So stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our instruction to you all."

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

Here the function of 'sati' is too keep in mind the particular sphere (satipatthana), while the function of 'sampajanna' is to keep track of what is going on in the particular sphere.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Dmytro » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:56 pm

tiltbillings wrote:The texts, as has been shown, contrary to Dmytro's rigid claim, do show an expansion of the meaning of sati beyond just mere memory.


Your implication that I state that 'sati' means just mere memory, is an outward lie.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:20 pm

Dmytro wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The texts, as has been shown, contrary to Dmytro's rigid claim, do show an expansion of the meaning of sati beyond just mere memory.


Your implication that I state that 'sati' means just mere memory, is an outward lie.
Yes, you do offer a something of a nuanced view of sati, though I would rather take Ven Analayo's and particularly Gethin's broader point of view, as we have discussed at length above, over yours. Interestingly, you do seem to have changed -- or clarified -- your point of view from the start of this thread. So, my apologies for not acknowledging the flexibility you have shown.
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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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Billymac29 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:55 pm

Dmytro wrote:Hi Porpoise,

porpoise wrote:I regard the Satipatthana Sutta as the primary instructional text for the development of sati. A key phrase in the sutta is "remaining focussed on" various aspects of the 4 frames, which strongly suggests paying attention. And through paying attention, understanding arises.


Won't you mind looking at another sutta?

Sato bhikkhave, bhikkhu vihareyya sampajāno, ayaṃ vo amhākaṃ anusāsanī.

At Savatthi. "Stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our instruction to you all.

Kathañca bhikkhave, bhikkhu sato hoti: idha bhikkhave, bhikkhu kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Citte cittānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Evaṃ kho bhikkhave, bhikkhu sato hoti.

"And how is a monk mindful? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. This is how a monk is mindful.



This is one of the ways i define sati... Staying focused (which keeps one in the present moment)
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:07 pm

Dmytro wrote:Here the function of 'sati' is to keep in mind the particular sphere (satipatthana), while the function of 'sampajanna' is to keep track of what is going on in the particular sphere.


Interesting. So how do think sampajanna is best translated? Is it something like "fully aware"?
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Dmytro » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:57 pm

porpoise wrote:
Dmytro wrote:Here the function of 'sati' is to keep in mind the particular sphere (satipatthana), while the function of 'sampajanna' is to keep track of what is going on in the particular sphere.


Interesting. So how do think sampajanna is best translated? Is it something like "fully aware"?


Let's return to the Satipatthana sutta.


Dīghaṃ vā assasanto dīghaṃ assasāmīti pajānāti.

"Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'.

Puna ca paraṃ bhikkhave bhikkhu gacchanto vā gacchāmīti pajānāti.

"Furthermore, when walking, the monk discerns, 'I am walking.'

Puna ca paraṃ bhikkhave bhikkhu abhikkante paṭikkante sampajānakārī hoti.

"Furthermore, when going forward & returning, he makes himself fully alert.


Satipatthana sutta is full of several forms of "sampajanna" - either in the verb form pajānāti or in the compound form sampajānakārī, which are applied to relevant parameters in the given sphere of establishing "sati". However these forms get translated by very different words in English translations.

I have argued for the translation of this word as "awareness" in the thread: "Pali Term: Sampajañña".

In contrast, 'sati' is always applied to the whole sphere of establishing 'sati', and never to individual parameters:


So satova assasati, sato passasati.

Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

Atthi kāyoti vā panassa sati paccupaṭṭhitā hoti yāvadeva ñāṇamattāya patissatimattāya.

Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance.


Or as explained in Dvedhavitakka sutta:

Seyyathāpi bhikkhave gimhānaṃ pacchime māse sabbasassesu gāmantasambhatesu gopālako gāvo rakkheyya. Tassa rukkhamūlagatassa vā abbhokāsagatassa vā satikaraṇīyameva hoti: etaṃ gāvoti. Evameva kho bhikkhave satikaraṇīyameva ahosi: ete dhammāti.

"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.'


As for the expression 'anupassī viharati', translated as 'remains focused'.

The verb 'anupassati' refers to maintaining special modes of viewing, e.g.:


aniccato anupassati, no niccato

he views as impermanent, not as permanent

yo attano attānaṃ nānupassati

he who does not view the self by means of the self

vayaṃ cassānupassati

and he views its vanishing


In Satipatthana sutta, Sata sutta, and many other similar suttas, Buddha describes four special modes of viewing:


"And how is a monk mindful? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. This is how a monk is mindful.

Sato bhikkhave, bhikkhu vihareyya sampajāno, ayaṃ vo amhākaṃ anusāsanī. Kathañca bhikkhave, bhikkhu sato hoti: idha bhikkhave, bhikkhu kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Citte cittānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Evaṃ kho bhikkhave, bhikkhu sato hoti.


In these four special forms of viewing, one remains focused on a particular sphere (satipatthana) in & of itself, disregarding other spheres.

Similarly, one can be mindful to maintain some other skilful form of viewing:

Idha bhikkhave, ekacco puggalo sabbasaṅkhāresu aniccānupassī viharati aniccasaññī aniccapaṭisaṃvedī satataṃ samitaṃ abbokiṇṇaṃ cetasā adhimuccamāno paññāya pariyogāhamāno. So āsavānaṃ khayā anāsavaṃ cetovimuttiṃ paññāvimuttiṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharati.

Here, bhikkhus, some person dwells contemplating impermanence in the eye, perceiving impermanence, experiencing impermanence, constantly, continuously, and uninterrpuptedly focusing on it with the mind, fathoming it with wisdom. With the destruction of taints, he has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, dwells in it.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Dmytro » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:04 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Yes, you do offer a something of a nuanced view of sati, though I would rather take Ven Analayo's and particularly Gethin's broader point of view, as we have discussed at length above, over yours. Interestingly, you do seem to have changed -- or clarified -- your point of view from the start of this thread. So, my apologies for not acknowledging the flexibility you have shown.


My apologies for being too blunt.
Seems like Rupert Gethin's article is our point of agreement.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:54 am

Are remembering and awareness (or their relevant synonyms) mutually in exclusive in:

-The context of the sutta pitaka?

No.

-The context of the tipitaka?

No.

-All the Pali literature?

No.

-Buddhism at large?

No.

-In reality as we know it?

No. Remembering involves awareness. Awareness involves remembering. "Choiceless awareness" doesn't necessarily imply "awareness that never chooses"; "bare attention" doesn't necessarily imply "attention with no content"; "non-judgmental" doesn't necessarily imply "completely judgment free"; "present moment awareness" doesn't necessarily imply "awareness absolutely uninfluenced by the past."
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:09 am

Dmytro wrote:Some teachers write works specifically addressed to the misconception of 'paying attention' as the whole practice, e.g. Sayadaw U Tejaniya, "Awareness Alone Is Not Enough".

Which teachers have you ever heard say "paying attention is the whole practice"?

I'm glad you brought up Reverend Tejaniya. One of his students, Andrea Fella, is constantly talking about "non-reactivity" in terms of sati. But it's not just her thing.

danieLion wrote:
A lot of people think that "mindfulness" or "awareness" means you focus on something. But, actually, the right definition of the word "awareness" [or "mindfulness'] in Pāli is sati. The right translation of it is just "not forgetting, to know yourself."

-Sayadaw U Tejaniya, 6.16.07 Right Attitude for Meditation (1 of 3) 30:00-30:33

Download

Notice, Rev. Tejaniya doesn't leave it at "not forgetting" (a remembering element) but adds, "to know yourself" (an awareness element).
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Dmytro » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:56 am

danieLion wrote:Which teachers have you ever heard say "paying attention is the whole practice"?


Do you want to engage me in the game already played in the thread on Ven. Thanissaro's book? I would be in good company of the Venerable to decline naming.

I still prefer good old Pali glosses, especially on the Pali forum.

I know everything involves everything, everything's interconnected, etc. Does this mean that the precise terms can be interpreted contrary to their definition?

It's unfortunate that plain investigation of the Pali term brings up so much Buddhist politics. In this thread I'm not interested in the standpoints of contemporary teachers, with the exception of cases when they elaborate on the Pali texts.
Perhaps in ancient China I could have been punished for questioning the established interpretations of the Pali terms, but fortunately I live in the free country called Ukraine.

Let's investigate the words of the Buddha. They are largely forgotten, so this task requires courage and honesty.

P.S. Whence the 'remembering'? This word hasn't been used in this thread before. Evidently I have to use the dictionary to clarify things:

Definition of REMEMBRANCE
1 : the state of bearing in mind
2 a : the ability to remember : memory
b : the period over which one's memory extends
3 : an act of recalling to mind
4 : a memory of a person, thing, or event
5 a : something that serves to keep in or bring to mind : reminder
b : commemoration, memorial
c : a greeting or gift recalling or expressing friendship or affection

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/remembrance

In the case of 'sati', this is mostly 1 : the state of bearing in mind , and also 2 a : the ability to remember : memory
b : the period over which one's memory extends, as explained in the Sutta.
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:27 pm

Dmytro wrote:I know everything involves everything, everything's interconnected, etc. Does this mean that the precise terms can be interpreted contrary to their definition?

"Everything involves everything" is a tautology invented by Parmenides and popularized by Plato. I'm no such monist. I don't believe in "interconnectedness" (I wholeheartedly agree with Rev. Thanissaro's attacks on the one-consciousness imbeciles). And, unlike you, I'm not a definitionalist (someone who acts like and/or believes dictionaries are the final say on the meanings of words, often betrayed by their use of the term, "the dictionary."). Tell me, is your Pali provincialism an extension of your definitionalism or is your definitionalism an extension of your Pali provincialism?

Dmytro wrote:It's unfortunate that plain investigation of the Pali term brings up so much Buddhist politics.

"Plain" is an interesting choice of words. Reminds me of words like "bare" and "choiceless." What exactly do you mean by "plain"? Do you think an anti-defitionalist, non-monist like me would post here just for the sake of politics?

Dmytro wrote:In this thread I'm not interested in the standpoints of contemporary teachers, with the exception of cases when they elaborate on the Pali texts.

So all their experience has to conform to the Pali? Next thing you'll tell me there's no hermeneutics in translation.

Where do you draw the line between contemporary and non-contemporary?

Let's also investigate the meaning of:

reify:
to regard (something abstract) as a material or concrete thing
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reify
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:34 pm

Dmytro wrote:In this thread I'm not interested in the standpoints of contemporary teachers, with the exception of cases when they elaborate on the Pali texts.

Then why did you bring Reverend Tejaniya up here in this thread to support your argument first? Besides, Reverend Tejaniya is elaborating on the Pali texts in my posts here. So, what you're really saying is that you only use contemporary teacher's elaborations on the Pali texts when they support your (and Rev. T's) arguments?
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:39 pm

Dmytro,
I get the impression that even if the Buddha himself told you in person that he used sati to mean more than just remembering and that it implies awareness you'd correct him and say, "Not according to the Pali!"

Am I right?
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby Dmytro » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:55 pm

Hi Daniel,

The words of the Buddha have been preserved to this day in the Pali Canon, and I am fortunate to read them and apply in practice.
In such a manner, Buddha speaks to me personally.
His teaching is unbelieavably powerful when sincerely and exactly followed.
I am sharing his teaching to the best of my ability.

Since your questions have little to do with what I said, I take them as rhetorical ones.
And I hope the discussion will return to the Pali term.

Best wishes, Dmytro
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Re: Pali Term: Sati

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:10 pm

Dmytro wrote:And I hope the discussion will return to the Pali term.
We have gone around on this. The problem is that meaning is not just lexicographical, but it is in it actual usage that meanings are shaped, which can push well beyond just what the dictionary says, and that has been shown above, quite clearly and in detail, to be the case with the Pali term sati.
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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