Satipatthana sequencing

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: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby zavk » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:18 am

[Please start from two posts up]

The flexible interpretation of the satipatthana contemplations in actual practice can be illustrated by taking a cross section, as it were, through the direct path of satipatthana. Such a sectional view would resemble a twelve-petalled flower (see Fig 15.2 below), with the main object of contemplation (here the breath is used as an example) constituting the centre of the “flower”.

Image

From awareness of the main object of meditation, the dynamics of contemplation can at any given moment lead to any of the other satipatthana exercises, and then revert to the main object. That is, from being aware of the process of breathing, for example, awareness might turn to any other occurrence in the realm of body, feelings, mind, or dhammas which has become prominent, and then revert to the breath. Otherwise, in the event that the newly-arisen object of meditation should require sustained attention and deeper investigation, it can become the new centre of the flower, with the former object turned into one of the petals.

Any meditation practice from the four satipatthanas can serve as the main focus of insight contemplation and lead to realization. At the same time, meditations from one satipatthana can be related with those from other satipatthanas. This indicates the flexibility of the satipatthana scheme, which allows freedom for variation and combination according to the character and level of development of the meditator. Understood in this way, practising satipatthana should not be a question of practising one or another satipatthana, but of contemplating one as well as the others. In fact, during the deeper stages of the practice, when one is able to abide "independent and free from clinging to anything in the world", the practice of satipatthana progresses from any particular object or area to a more and more comprehensive form of contemplation that embraces all aspects of experience. Expressed in the terms of Fig. 15.2 it would be as if, when the sun was about to set, the twelve petals of the flower gradually came together to form a single bud. Practised in this way, satipatthana becomes an integrated four-faceted survey of one's present experience, taking into account its material, affective, and mental aspects from the perspective of the Dhamma. In this way one's present experience becomes an occasion for swift progress on the direct path to realization.
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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:26 am

Greetings zavk,

Thanks for taking the effort to put that together.... that was very interesting and highly relevant.

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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:48 am

hi Zavk
Very interesting, I will be looking for this work
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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:58 am

just looking for a page I found a little while ago, and stumbled across this which has allot of from what I can tell similare Diagrams but looks on the surface quite interesting and or relevant with what has been put
http://www.mahabodhi.org.uk/satipatthana2.2pt2.pdf
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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby Element » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:44 am

The satipatthana sequence is the natural sequence of the stream.
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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:48 pm

Greetings,

An elaboration on Soma's earlier point, here's an extract from his translation of the commentary.

The Way of Mindfulness - Soma Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html

Cattaro Satipatthana = "The Four Arousings of Mindfulness." Four in relation to classes of objects of mindfulness.

Why did the Buddha teach just Four Arousings of Mindfulness and neither more nor less? By way of what was suitable for those capable of being trained.

In regard to the pair of the dull-witted and the keen-witted minds among tamable persons of the craving type and the theorizing type, pursuing the path of quietude [samatha] or that of insight [vipassana] in the practice of meditation, the following is stated: For the dull-witted man of craving type the Arousing of Mindfulness through the contemplation of the gross physical body is the Path to Purity; for the keen-witted of this type, the subtle subject of meditation on the feeling. And for the dull-witted man of the theorizing type the Path to Purity is the Arousing of Mindfulness through a subject not too full of distinctions, namely, consciousness [citta]; for the keen-witted of this type, the subject which teems with distinctions, namely the contemplation on things of the mind — mental objects [dhammanupassana].

For the dull-witted man, pursuing quietude, the First Arousing of Mindfulness, body-contemplation, is the Path to Purity, by reason of the feasibility of getting at the mental reflex; for the keen-witted of this type, because he does not continue to stay in the coarse, the second Arousing of Mindfulness, the contemplation on feeling, is the Path to Purity.

And for the dull-witted man pursuing the path of insight, the subject of meditation without many distinctions, the contemplation on consciousness, is the Path to Purity; and for the keen-witted of this type the contemplation on mental objects which is full of distinctions.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, I think this interpretation is forced and off-target.

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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: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby zavk » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:15 pm

Hi Retro,

I can see why you are uncomfortable with Soma Thera's suggestions. It does seem like he is absolutizing the the satipatthana somewhat, cleaving what is really a multi-faceted practice into self-contained units. But, for the sake of argument, I'd suggest that we can nevertheless interpret his suggestions more openly. Again, I will rely on Bhikkhu Analayo's readings.

In your earlier post, you mentioned that you are primarily taking issue with how Soma Thera insist that one starts with whatever matches one's disposition. You gave three reasons why you didn't agree with him:

retrofuturist wrote:1.) the earlier steps help sharpen the mind for the later steps

I certainly think that one needs to sharpen the mind before one can gain any deep insight. But I don't think that one needs to follow the sequence delineated in the sutta in order to sharpen the mind. As Analayo suggests with the figure of the cones, each satipatthana is capable of cultivating the same four qualities [I'll use the English terms rather than Pali] of 'diligence', 'clear knowing', 'mindfulness' and 'equanimity'. The aim of any one of the satipatthana is too lead one to the insights mention in the 'refrain' of the sutta (the bit that is repeated after each satipatthana): 'internal & external', 'arising & passing', 'knowledge & awareness', 'independent & detached'.

retrofuturist wrote:2.) Each step reveals more penetrative insight than the last

To the extent the Analayo's argument mentioned above is valid, we cannot then really say that each step leads to more penetrative insight than the last. Other than having different objects of contemplation, each satipatthana requires the same qualities and is directed towards the same insights. Analayo does concede that, 'The contemplations in the Satipatthana Sutta progress from gross to subtle aspects of experience.' But he also mentions, 'It should be kept in mind, however, that that this discourse represents a theoretical model of satipatthana, not a case study. In actual practice, the different contemplation described in the discourse can be combined in a variety of ways and it would be a misunderstanding to take the progression in the discourse as prescribing the only possible sequence for the development of satipatthana.'

retrofuturist wrote:3) I don't think the Buddha was offering them up as a platter of options, rather a cohesive program.

In light of the previous two responses, I would have to disagree with you on this point. I agree that we should be careful about treating the satipatthanas as a platter of options where we are free to 'mix-n-match'. But I think to treat as a cohesive program is to risk tying it down too tightly. Again, I find Analayo's diagram of the flower instructive. He suggested that, 'From awareness of the main object of meditation, the dynamics of contemplation can at any given moment lead to any of the other satipatthana exercises, and then revert to the main object.' This reading suggests that one does indeed need to proceed systematically by starting with one of the satipatthana--so we cannot accurately say that it is a 'platter of options.' But because the contemplation can give rise at any moment to any other satipatthana exercises, the systematic approach only applies to a certain extent, that is, the 'system' is really an open and porous one--so we cannot accurately say that is a 'cohesive program' either.
Last edited by zavk on Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby zavk » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:15 pm

What I find interesting is how Analayo points out the centrality of one 'present experience': 'In this way one's present experience becomes an occasion for swift progress on the direct path to realization.' Soma Thera appears to have this in mind when he offers the four different disposition--that one's present condition should be taken into account when approaching the satipatthana. Following Analayo's arguments, we might assume that the dim-witted or keen-witted person who begins with any one satipatthana is cultivating the same qualities, gaining the same insights and will eventually move in and out of each satipatthana, as he progresses.

Perhaps, we might question if Soma Thera is insisting too narrowly on those definitions. It seems to me that this is what you are asking. I think it is always important that we ask this about any teaching. We must certainly always be on guard against any forms of absolutism. To play the devil's advocate, I'd say that he is offering those suggestions on the basis of many years of experience and contact with different meditators--that he is attempting to be contextually sensitive. So, there is certainly some merit in his argument. But I also think that you are mounting an important argument, for we shouldn't assume that his suggestions are universally applicable.

One last point:
Analayo's reading of the satipatthana really speaks to my own experience. However, I must concede that I can't say for sure if I Analayo has indeed captured the 'essence' of practice or if I am merely projecting his ideas retrospectively to rationalise my own experience. BUT, I don't think this undecidability is a problem. For I think this is precisely how knowledge works--knowledge about any one 'thing' doesn't so much describe what is 'out there' as form, shape, and produce the very thing it purportedly 'describes'. In other words, I don't think we can insist too strongly on a subjective/objective dichotomy. Nor can we really insist on a teaching describing the dhamma more 'authentically' than others. But this is not to say that we should accept any reading of the dhamma willy-nilly. I say this because what one 'knows' shapes, forms and produces what one 'does' and vice versa. So it is important that we investigate any knowledge claim.

If this is indeed the case--that what one 'knows' shapes, forms and produces what one 'does' and vice versa--then one's 'knowledge' of the satipatthana will shape, form and produce one's 'practice' of the satipatthana, just as much as one's 'practice' of the satipatthana will shape, form and produce one's 'knowledge' of the satipatthana. To this extent, this is why our practice is enriched by debates about knowledge--indeed, this why you and I or anyone can agree to disagree.

In light of this, I'd say that the Satipatthana Sutta is as much 'a platter of options' as it is 'a cohesive program'. It is as much a 'theoretical treatise' as it is a 'meditation manual'.

:namaste:

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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:21 pm

Greetings zavk,

I'm still in the process of reading through the replies, but just to clarify, in that section I quoted just above (as with most of the text) Soma Thera is just directly translating the commentaries without adding his own. Other than the comments in the Introduction which I provided earlier, these are purely the views of the classical Theravada commentators.

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: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby zavk » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:27 pm

Noted, Retro. So perhaps I shouldn't have attributed those ideas directly to Soma Thera but to those who composed the commentaries who, one might assume, were writing from within their specific context of experience.

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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:31 pm

Greetings zavk,

zavk wrote:He suggested that, 'From awareness of the main object of meditation, the dynamics of contemplation can at any given moment lead to any of the other satipatthana exercises, and then revert to the main object.' This reading suggests that one does indeed need to proceed systematically by starting with one of the satipatthana--so we cannot accurately say that it is a 'platter of options.' But because the contemplation can give rise at any moment to any other satipatthana exercises, the systematic approach only applies to a certain extent, that is, the 'system' is really an open and porous one--so we cannot accurately say that is a 'cohesive program' either.


I agree with this. I still think it's a comprehensive program, but it needn't be a strictly chronological program. The flexibility to accommodate one's present experience by applying the most relevant/beneficial satipatthana as a response is important.

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: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:39 pm

Greetings Zavk,

zavk wrote:Noted, Retro. So perhaps I shouldn't have attributed those ideas directly to Soma Thera but to those who composed the commentaries who, one might assume, were writing from within their specific context of experience.


Perhaps, yet I'm still inclined to think that if the "cleaving what is really a multi-faceted practice into self-contained units" (your words, but good words!) is what the Buddha intended, he would have said so for himself.

Given the importance of the Satipatthana practice, as measured by the phrase "the only way" (and the rest of the introduction) and the potential for arahantship within 7 days as stated in the conclusion, it's hard to imagine the Buddha being so remiss as to leave out something so significant to one's application of the teaching. It's not like anapanasati where someone could make the argument that detail might not be required because other teachers taught mindfulness of breathing as well... satipatthana is a Buddha original. He was the one who taught it.

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: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby zavk » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:10 am

It's interesting that you mention the phrase 'only path' because Analayo examines the definition of the term and raises some questions about how we might understand it. It was one of the things that struck me early in his book. I won't type it out but will post again when I find the time to scan and OCR the two pages or so.

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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby zavk » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Perhaps, yet I'm still inclined to think that if the "cleaving what is really a multi-faceted practice into self-contained units" (your words, but good words!) is what the Buddha intended, he would have said so for himself. .....it's hard to imagine the Buddha being so remiss as to leave out something so significant to one's application of the teaching.


I don't think the Buddha intended for his teaching to be separated into units too. But given how we take the Satipatthana Sutta to be the words of the Buddha himself, we should also heed the Buddha's words in the Mahasihanada Sutta where he mentioned that even if he talked about the satipatthana for a whole century he would still not exhaust the teaching. This suggest to me that what he has said is not 'all there is to be said' about the satipatthana--that there is some leeway to interpret the satipatthana. But again, this is not to say that we accept any interpretation willy-nilly. It is imperative that we investigate any interpretation, as we are doing here.

Anyway, my point is that we we need not see the commentary like the one you have posted as attempting to cut the teaching up. If anything, if reflects the creative ways in which practitioners over the years have attempted to grasp the dhamma (nb: this is not to say that they have got it 'right'). We should be inspired to find our own creative ways to approach the dhamma.

Here's Analayo's assessment of the phrase 'only way'. I've left out the footnotes.....

The first section of the Satipatthana Sutta proper introduces the four satipatthanas as the" direct path" to realization. The passage reads:

Monks, this is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the surmounting of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of dukkha and discontent, for acquiring the true method, for the realization of Nibbana, namely, the four satipatthanas.'

The qualification of being a "direct path" occurs in the discourses almost exclusively as an attribute of satipatthana, thus it conveys a considerable degree of emphasis. Such emphasis is indeed warranted, since practice of the "direct path" of satipatthana is an indispensable requirement for liberation. As a set of verses in the Satipatthana Samyutta point out, satipatthana is the" direct path" for crossing the flood in past, present, and future times.

"Direct path" is a translation of the Pali expression ekayano maggo, made up of the parts eka, "one", ayana, "going", and magga, "path". The commentarial tradition has preserved five alternative explanations for understanding this particular expression. According to them, a path qualified as ekayano could be understood as a "direct" path in the sense of leading straight to the goal; as a path to be travelled by oneself "alone"; as a path taught by the "One" (the Buddha); as a path that is found "only" in Buddhism; or as a path which leads to "one" goal, namely to Nibbana. My rendering of ekaayano as "direct path" follows the first of these explanations. A more commonly used translation of ekiiyano is "the only path", corresponding to the fourth of the five explanations found in commentaries.

In order to assess the meaning of a particular Pali term, its different occurrences in the discourses need to be taken into account. In the present case, in addition to occurring in several discourses in relation to satipatthana, ekayano also comes up once in a different text. This is in a simile in the Mahasihanada Sutta, which describes a man walking along a path leading to a pit, such that one can anticipate him falling into the pit. This path is qualified as ekayano. In this context ekayano seems to express straightness of direction; than exclusion. To say that this path leads "directly" to the pit would be more fitting than saying that it is "the only" path leading to the pit.

Of related interest is also the Tevijja Sutta, which reports two Brahmin students arguing about whose teacher taught the only correct path to union with Brahma. Although in this context an exclusive expression like "the only path" might be expected, the qualification ekayano is conspicuously absent. The same absence recurs in a verse from the Dhammapada, which presents the noble eightfold path as "the only path". These two instances suggest that the discourses did not avail themselves of the qualification ekayano in order to convey exclusiveness.

Thus ekayano, conveying a sense of directness rather than exclusiveness, draws attention to satipatthana as the aspect of the eightfold path most "directly" responsible for uncovering a vision things as they truly are. That is, satipatthana is the "direct path” because it leads" directly" to the realization of Nibbiina.

This way of understanding also fits well with the final passage of the Satipatthana Sutta. Having stated that satipatthana practice can lead to the two higher stages of realization within a maximum of seven years, the discourse closes with the declaration: "because of this, it has been said - this is the direct path". This passage highlights the directness of satipatthana, in the sense of its potential to lead to the highest stages of realization within a limited period of time.

(From pp. 27-29.)


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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:21 am

zavk wrote:It's interesting that you mention the phrase 'only path' because Analayo examines the definition of the term and raises some questions about how we might understand it. It was one of the things that struck me early in his book. I won't type it out but will post again when I find the time to scan and OCR the two pages or so.

I recall Bhikkhu Bodhi saying this might be more accurately translated as "one going way" as in "for one who develops this path their practice will end up at Nibbana and no where else. This seems to be the gist of Ven. Analayo's comments as well.
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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:30 am

Greetings,

Peter wrote:I recall Bhikkhu Bodhi saying this might be more accurately translated as "one going way" as in "for one who develops this path their practice will end up at Nibbana and no where else. This seems to be the gist of Ven. Analayo's comments as well.


Yes, this is compatible with one of the commentarial explanations (of which there are a few)...

Again, as translated by Soma Thera (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html)

"The only way" = The one way [Ekayanoti ekamaggo]. There are many words for "way." The word used for "way" here is "ayana" ("going" or road). Therefore, "This is the only way, O bhikkhus [ekayano ayam bhikkhave maggo]" means here: "A single way ("going" or road), O bhikkhus, is this way; it is not of the nature of a double way [ekamaggo ayam bhikkhave maggo na dvedhapathabhuto]."

Or it is "the only way" because it has to be trodden by oneself only [ekeneva ayitabbo]. That is without a companion. The state of being companionless is twofold: without a comrade, after abandoning contact with the crowd, and in the sense of being withdrawn (or secluded) from craving, through tranquillity of mind.

Or it is called "ekayana" because it is the way of the one [ekassa ayana]. "Of the one" = of the best; of all beings the Blessed One is best. Therefore, it is called the Blessed One's Way. Although others too go along that way, it is the Buddha's because he creates it. Accordingly it is said: "He, the Blessed One, is the creator of the uncreated path, O Brahman." It proceeds (or exists) only in this Doctrine-and-discipline and not in any other. Accordingly the Master declared: "Subhadda, only in this Doctrine-and-discipline is the Eightfold Way to be found." And further, "ekayana" means: It goes to the one [ekam ayati] — that is, it (the way) goes solely to Nibbana. Although in the earlier stages this method of meditation proceeds on different lines, in the latter, it goes to just the one Nibbana. And that is why Brahma Sahampati said:

Whose mind perceiving life's last dying out
Vibrates with love, he knows the only way
That led in ancient times, is leading now,
And in the future will lead past the flood.6
As Nibbana is without a second, that is, without craving as accompanying quality, it is called the one. Hence it is said: "Truth is one; it is without a second."

Why is the Arousing of Mindfulness intended by the word "way"? Are there not many other factors of the way, namely, understanding, thinking, speech, action, livelihood, effort, and concentration, besides mindfulness? To be sure there are. But all these are implied when the Arousing of Mindfulness is mentioned, because these factors exist in union with mindfulness. Knowledge, energy and the like are mentioned in the analytically expository portion [niddese]. In the synopsis [uddese], however, the consideration should be regarded as that of mindfulness alone, by way of the mental disposition of those capable of being trained.

Some [keci], however, construing according to the stanza beginning with the words, "They do not go twice to the further shore [na param digunam yanti]"7 say, "One goes to Nibbana once, therefore it is ekayana." This explanation is not proper. Because in this instruction the earlier part of the Path is intended to be presented, the preliminary part of the Way of Mindfulness proceeding in the four objects of contemplation is meant here, and not the supramundane Way of Mindfulness. And that preliminary part of the Path proceeds (for the aspirant) many times; or it may be said that there is many a going on it, by way of repetition of practice.

In what sense is it a "way"? In the sense of the path going towards Nibbana, and in the sense of the path which is the one that should be (or is fit to be) traversed by those who wish to reach Nibbana.

Regarding "the only way" there is the following account of a discussion that took place long ago.

The Elder Tipitaka Culla Naga said: "The Way of Mindfulness-arousing (as expounded in our Discourse) is the (mundane) preliminary part (of the Eightfold Way)."

His teacher the Elder Culla Summa said: "The Way is a mixed one (a way that is both mundane and supramundane)."

The pupil: "Reverend Sir, it is the preliminary part."

The teacher: "Friend, it is the mixed Way."

As the teacher was insistent, the pupil became silent. They went away without coming to a decision.

On the way to the bathing place the teacher considered the matter. He recited the Discourse. When he came to the part where it is said: "O bhikkhus, should any person maintain the Four Arousings of Mindfulness in this manner for seven years," he concluded that after producing the consciousness of the Supramundane Path there was no possibility of continuing in that state of mind for seven years, and that his pupil, Culla Naga, was right. On that very day, which happened to be the eighth of the lunar fortnight, it was the elder Culla Naga's turn to expound the Dhamma. When the exposition was about to begin, the Elder Culla Summa went to the Hall of Preaching and stood behind the pulpit.

After the pupil had recited the preliminary stanzas the teacher spoke to the pupil in the hearing of others, saying, "Friend, Culla Naga." The pupil heard the voice of his teacher and replied: "What is it, Reverend Sir?" The teacher said this: "To say, as I did, that the Way is a mixed one is not right. You are right in calling it the preliminary part of the Way of Mindfulness-arousing." Thus the Elders of old were not envious and did not go about holding up only what they liked as though it were a bundle of sugar-cane. They took up what was rational; they gave up what was not.

Thereupon, the pupil, realising that on a point on which experts of the Dhamma like his learned teacher had floundered, fellows of the holy life in the future were more likely to be unsure, thought: "With the authority of a citation from the Discourse-collection, I will settle this question." Therefore, he brought out and placed before his hearers the following statement from the Patisambhida Magga: "The preliminary part of the Way of Mindfulness-arousing is called the only way."8 And, in order to elaborate just that and to show of which path or way the instruction in our Discourse is the preliminary part, he further quoted the following also from the Patisambhida Magga: "The Excellent Way is the Eightfold way; four are truths; dispassion is the best of things belonging to the wise; besides that Way there is no other for the purifying of vision. Walk along that Way so that you may confound Death, and put an end to suffering."9

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: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby zavk » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:54 am

Thanks for the above post, Retro.
With metta,
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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby Danny » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:44 am

zavk wrote:[Please start from two posts up]

The flexible interpretation of the satipatthana contemplations in actual practice can be illustrated by taking a cross section, as it were, through the direct path of satipatthana. Such a sectional view would resemble a twelve-petalled flower (see Fig 15.2 below), with the main object of contemplation (here the breath is used as an example) constituting the centre of the “flower”.

Image

From awareness of the main object of meditation, the dynamics of contemplation can at any given moment lead to any of the other satipatthana exercises, and then revert to the main object. That is, from being aware of the process of breathing, for example, awareness might turn to any other occurrence in the realm of body, feelings, mind, or dhammas which has become prominent, and then revert to the breath. Otherwise, in the event that the newly-arisen object of meditation should require sustained attention and deeper investigation, it can become the new centre of the flower, with the former object turned into one of the petals.


Hello everybody, great topic and i have found some answers already, but, and I've asked this on an other forum, how do things like the fingernails or other bodyparts and the four elements come into play in the way descriped above? I did contemplate the fist five bodyparts listed, in my practice, and had some good results so for, but I don't see how they come to mind automaticly, I mean when focusing on the breath I never think of my head hair for instance. I have read both Soma Thera´s and ven. Analayo`s commentaries and listened to the Bhikkhu Bodhi talks as well, from what I understand the bodyparts and elements are used as a single exercise to counter-ballance any sensual craving or seeing the body as beautiful or as my-self or I. So for a certain mental state or certain character type, but not all the time and every sitting.
Or should it be taken as the centre of the flower at these moments only'? But still, how do they fit in another, say breath at the centre, type of meditation?
Any help is appreciated...
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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:42 pm

Hello everybody, great topic and i have found some answers already, but, and I've asked this on an other forum, how do things like the fingernails or other bodyparts and the four elements come into play in the way descriped above? I did contemplate the fist five bodyparts listed, in my practice, and had some good results so for, but I don't see how they come to mind automaticly, I mean when focusing on the breath I never think of my head hair for instance. I have read both Soma Thera´s and ven. Analayo`s commentaries and listened to the Bhikkhu Bodhi talks as well, from what I understand the bodyparts and elements are used as a single exercise to counter-ballance any sensual craving or seeing the body as beautiful or as my-self or I. So for a certain mental state or certain character type, but not all the time and every sitting.
Or should it be taken as the centre of the flower at these moments only'? But still, how do they fit in another, say breath at the centre, type of meditation?
Any help is appreciated...[/quote]

Hi
Try reading the main Sutta about Meditation on the Body
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Satipatthana sequencing

Postby Danny » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:35 pm

Thank you, Manapa, for the quick reply and link.
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