SN 54.8: Dipa Sutta — The Lamp

Each week we study and discuss a different sutta or Dhamma text

Moderator: mikenz66

SN 54.8: Dipa Sutta — The Lamp

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 15, 2013 9:06 am

SN 54.8 PTS: S v 316 CDB ii 1770
Dipa Sutta: The Lamp
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


No matter how far along you are in your meditation practice, the basic principle is the same: you should develop and sustain mindfulness of breathing.

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

"Monks, concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. And how is concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?

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

"{1} Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' {2} Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' {3} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' {4} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming the bodily fabrication.'

"{5} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' {6} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.' {7} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.'[4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.' {8} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'

"{9} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' {10} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in gladdening the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out gladdening the mind.' {11} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind. {12} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'[5]

"{13} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.' {14} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion.'[6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.' {15} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on cessation.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on cessation.' {16} He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.'

"This is how concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit.

"I, too, monks, before my awakening, when I was an unawakened bodhisatta, frequently remained with this abiding. When I frequently remained with this abiding, neither my body was fatigued nor were my eyes, and my mind, through lack of clinging/sustenance, was released from fermentations.

"So if a monk should wish: 'May neither my body be fatigued nor my eyes, and may my mind, through lack of clinging/sustenance, be released from fermentations,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May my memories & resolves related to the household life be abandoned,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I remain percipient of loathsomeness in the presence of what is not loathsome,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I remain percipient of unloathsomeness in the presence of what is loathsome,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I remain percipient of loathsomeness in the presence of what is not loathsome & what is,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I remain percipient of unloathsomeness in the presence of what is loathsome & what is not,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I — in the presence of what is loathsome & what is not — cutting myself off from both — remain equanimous, mindful, & alert,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — enter & remain in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, enter & remain in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish, 'May I, with the fading of rapture, remain equanimous, mindful, & alert, sense pleasure with the body, and enter & remain in the third jhana, of which the noble ones declare, "Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding,"' then he should attend closely to this very same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish, 'May I, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enter & remain in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain,' then he should attend closely to this very same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I, with the complete transcending of perceptions of (physical) form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, (perceiving,) 'Infinite space,' enter & remain in the dimension of the infinitude of space,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, (perceiving,) 'Infinite consciousness,' enter & remain in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, (perceiving,) 'There is nothing,' enter & remain in the dimension of nothingness,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I, with the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, enter & remain in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"If a monk should wish: 'May I, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enter & remain in the cessation of perception & feeling,' then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.

"When concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is thus developed, thus pursued, then if he senses a feeling of pleasure, he discerns that it is inconstant, not grasped at, not relished. If he senses a feeling of pain, he discerns that it is inconstant, not grasped at, not relished. If he senses a feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain, he discerns that it is inconstant, not grasped at, not relished. If he senses a feeling of pleasure, he senses it disjoined from it. If he senses a feeling of pain, he senses it disjoined from it. If he senses a feeling of neither-pleasure-nor-pain, he senses it disjoined from it. When sensing a feeling limited to the body, he discerns that 'I am sensing a feeling limited to the body.' When sensing a feeling limited to life, he discerns that 'I am sensing a feeling limited to life.' He discerns that 'With the break-up of the body, after the termination of life, everything that is experienced, not being relished, will grow cold right here.'

"Just as an oil lamp burns in dependence on oil & wick; and from the termination of the oil & wick — and from not being provided any other sustenance — it goes out unnourished; in the same way, when sensing a feeling limited to the body, he discerns that 'I am sensing a feeling limited to the body.' When sensing a feeling limited to life, he discerns that 'I am sensing a feeling limited to life.' He discerns that 'With the break-up of the body, after the termination of life, everything that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here.'"

Notes

1. To the fore (parimukham): The Abhidhamma takes an etymological approach to this term, defining it as around (pari-) the mouth (mukham). In the Vinaya, however, it is used in a context (Cv.V.27.4) where it undoubtedly means the front of the chest. There is also the possibility that the term could be used idiomatically as "to the front," which is how I have translated it here.

2. The commentaries insist that "body" here means the breath, but this is unlikely in this context, for the next step — without further explanation — refers to the breath as "bodily fabrication." If the Buddha were using two different terms to refer to the breath in such close proximity, he would have been careful to signal that he was redefining his terms (as he does below, when explaining that the first four steps in breath meditation correspond to the practice of focusing on the body in and of itself as a frame of reference). The step of breathing in and out sensitive to the entire body relates to the many similes in the suttas depicting jhana as a state of whole-body awareness (see MN 119).

3. "In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications." — MN 44.

4. "Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications." — MN 44.

5. AN 9.34 shows how the mind, step by step, is temporarily released from burdensome mental states of greater and greater refinement as it advances through the stages of jhana.

6. Lit., "fading."

See also: MN 118; SN 54.6.
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10397
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 54.8: Dipa Sutta — The Lamp

Postby Coyote » Wed May 15, 2013 8:35 pm

Interesting sutta. I am trying hard to take it all in. There is obviously a play between mindfulness and concentration that Ven. Thanissaro seems to pick on here with his translation. I have been trying to understand the subject but I am a slow learner.

Forgive my ignorance, but would this kind of thing be considered "vipassana jhana"?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 537
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: SN 54.8: Dipa Sutta — The Lamp

Postby Bakmoon » Thu May 16, 2013 9:07 am

Interestingly, while the Commentaries and the Visuddhimagga interpret the step of "breathing in sensitive to the entire body" as referring to the breath body, the Patisambhidamagga does not, defining the term entire body to refer not just to the physical body, but also to the mental body
http://buddhistacademyofpuc.org/ebooks/ ... AMAGGA.pdf
(Page 246 of the PDF, 183 in text)

They also differ on several other points as well. For example, the Patisambhidamagga does not mention jhana in the context of the second tetrad (except slightly broadly with the term that this translation renders as "unification of cognizance" which I am guessing is "citt'ekagatta" but this term is used in all of the steps of Anapanasati in the Patisambhidamagga)

While some might take this to be a demonstration of weakness and lack of fidelity of the commentarial literature in relation to the canonical texts, especially considering that the Visuddhimagga quotes lengths from the Patisambhidamagga in its instructions of Anapanasati, I believe that a closer attention to context would reveal this apparent mismatch to be the result of these works having different purposes. The Visuddhimagga includes its treatment of Anapanasati in the section devoted to the development of Samadhi according to the path of the Samathayanika, and it presents its instructions accordingly, whereas the Patisambhidamagga is a work which relates everything back to its central purpose of laying out the different types of knowledge. I don't think one would be amiss to say that the Patisambhidamagga in contrast, presents a method of Anapanasati practice which is better classified as a method belonging to the path of the Vipassanayanika
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
Bakmoon
 
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:14 pm

Re: SN 54.8: Dipa Sutta — The Lamp

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 17, 2013 10:15 pm

Here are some comments from Bhikkhu Bodhi and the Commentary (Spk):

“Therefore, bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu wishes: ‘May neither my body nor my eyes become fatigued and may my mind, by not clinging, be liberated from the taints,’ this same concentration by mindfulness of breathing should be closely attended to.
    Spk: When one works on other meditation subjects the body becomes fatigued and the eyes are strained. For example, when one works on the meditation subject of the (four) elements, the body becomes fatigued and reaches a stage of oppression such that one feels as if one has been thrown into a mill. When one works on a kasiṇa, the eyes throb and become fatigued and when one emerges one feels as if one is tumbling. But when one works on this meditation subject the body is not fatigued and the eyes do not become strained.


“Therefore, bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu wishes: ‘May I dwell perceiving the repulsive in the unrepulsive,’ this same concentration by mindfulness of breathing should be closely attended to. ...
    BB: At AN III 169-170, 4. Tikandaki this practice is discussed more fully, with reference to the benefits of each contemplation. At DN III 112,25-13,10 it is called a “spiritual power which is taintless, acquisitionless, and noble” (ayaṃ iddhi anāsavā anupadhikā ariyā), and Paṭis II 212-13 calls it “the noble ones’ spiritual power” (ariyiddhi); further explanation is given at Vism 381-82 (Ppn 12:36-38).
    The following is condensed from Spk: (i) to perceive the repulsive in the unrepulsive (appaṭikkūle paṭikkūlasaññī) one pervades an unrepulsive object (e.g., a sensually attractive person) with the idea of foulness or attends to it as impermanent; (ii) to perceive the unrepulsive in the repulsive (paṭikkūle appaṭikkūlasaññī ) one pervades a repulsive object (e.g., a hostile person) with lovingkindness or attends to it as elements; (iii) and (iv) simply extend the first two modes of perception to both types of objects conjointly; and (v) is self-explanatory.

    Spk: This passage on the “noble one’s spiritual power” (ariyiddhi) is included to show the advantage (in developing mindfulness of breathing). For if a bhikkhu wishes for the noble one’s spiritual power, or the four jhānas, or the four formless attainments, or the attainment of cessation, he should attend closely to this concentration by mindfulness of breathing. Just as, when a city is captured, all the merchandise in the four quarters that enters the city through the four gates and the country is captured as well—this being the advantage of a city—so all the attainments listed in the text are achieved by a meditator when this concentration by mindfulness of breathing has been fully developed.
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10397
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 54.8: Dipa Sutta — The Lamp

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 19, 2013 8:56 am

This Sutta is one of a number of apparently parallel Suttas that discuss the Buddha's awakening. In outline [Bhikkhu Bodhi translation]:
...
“It is in this way, bhikkhus, that concentration by mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and benefit.

“I too, bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still a bodhisatta, not yet fully enlightened, generally dwelt in this dwelling. While I generally dwelt in this dwelling, neither my body nor my eyes became fatigued and my mind, by not clinging, was liberated from the taints.
...

“When he feels a feeling terminating with the body, he understands: ‘I feel a feeling terminating with the body.’ When he feels a feeling terminating with life, he understands: ‘I feel a feeling terminating with life.’ He understands: ‘With the breakup of the body, following the exhaustion of life, all that is felt, not being delighted in, will become cool right here.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, an oil lamp burns in dependence on the oil and the wick, and with the exhaustion of the oil and the wick it is extinguished through lack of fuel, so too, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu feels a feeling terminating with the body … terminating with life … He understands: ‘With the breakup of the body, following the exhaustion of life, all that is felt, not being delighted in, will become cool right here.’”


SN 15.65 discusses awakening in terms of the key insight into Dependent Origination:
"Monks, before my Awakening, when I was just an unawakened Bodhisatta, the realization came to me: 'How this world has fallen on difficulty! It is born, it ages, it dies, it falls away & rearises, but it does not discern the escape from this stress, from this aging & death. O when will it discern the escape from this stress, from this aging & death?'
...
"The thought occurred to me, 'I have attained this path to Awakening, i.e., from the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of consciousness, from the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. ...
...

MN 36 talks about jhana and the ending of the asavas, etc.:
"Why wouldn't it have, Aggivessana? Before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. Life gone forth is the open air. It isn't easy, living in a home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. What if I, having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe, were to go forth from the household life into homelessness?'
...
"So when I had taken solid food and regained strength, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.
...
"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. I discerned, as it was actually present, that 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress... These are fermentations... This is the origination of fermentations... This is the cessation of fermentations... This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.' My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the fermentation of sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, released from the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, 'Released.' I discerned that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'
...

MN 004 goes similarly through the jhanas.

MN 26 has few details of awakening:
"Then, monks, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, seeking the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeking the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'


AN 9.41 Proceeds through the formless attainments:
"So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the cessation of perception & feeling, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the cessation of perception & feeling, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I entered & remained in the cessation of perception & feeling. And as I saw with discernment, the mental fermentations went to their total end.

Any comments on these various parallels?

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10397
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand


Return to Study Group

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests