Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by tiltbillings »

Dmytro wrote:Leave behind every hope, you who enter. What do the sati and satipatthana definition by some strange guy called B. have to do with this topic?
The good thing is that Vens Analayo, Bodhi, and Nyanaponika do a good job of outlining the Buddha's idea of sati and satipatthana, as we have seen in this thread.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Assaji
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by Assaji »

Hi Dhamma Follower,
dhamma follower wrote:"Analyo notes that these are more possible objects of mindfuless than those specifically listed in the satipatthana sutta."
Indeed. The forementioned Maha-cattarisaka sutta (MN 117) says, for example:

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is endowed with remembrance (sato) to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right remembrance (sati). Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right remembrance (sati) — run & circle around right view."

So samma-sati has an exact purpose: to remember to abandon the unskillful and enter & remain in skillful. And these skillful and unskillful ways of behaviour may extend beyond those mentioned in the Satipatthana sutta.
Our natural tendency is to turn outwards to concepts and to proliferate. If we are told that any object is fine as long as there is remembering, the mind will just keeps on following this pattern and will not be able to see its nature (and actually mindfulness will be lost in the first place!)
That is why the Buddha pointed out very specific objects. For example, the Bhikkhunupassaya sutta lists as the things to abandon:

- bodily excitation;
- sluggishness of will;
- the mind is distracted outwardly;

and the things to develop:

- bodily relaxation;
- pleasant non-carnal feelings;
- spaciousness and freedom of mind.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 656#p88181" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So the remembrance has a well-defined task, which needs and can be fulfilled.

Best wishes, Dmytro
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Assaji
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by Assaji »

tiltbillings wrote:The good thing is that Vens Analayo, Bodhi, and Nyanaponika do a good job of outlining the Buddha's idea of sati and satipatthana, as we have seen in this thread.
Ven. Bodhi says:

"Even the word sati, rendered mindfulness, isn’t unproblematic. The word derives from a verb, sarati, meaning “to remember,” and occasionally in Pali sati is still explained in a way that connects it with the idea of memory. But when it is used in relation to meditation practice, we have no word in English that precisely captures what it refers to. An early translator cleverly drew upon the word mindfulness, which is not even in my dictionary. This has served its role admirably, but it does not preserve the connection with memory, sometimes needed to make sense of a passage."

http://www.inquiringmind.com/Articles/Translator.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Satipatthana: The direct path to realization

Post by tiltbillings »

Dmytro wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The good thing is that Vens Analayo, Bodhi, and Nyanaponika do a good job of outlining the Buddha's idea of sati and satipatthana, as we have seen in this thread.
Ven. Bodhi says:

"Even the word sati, rendered mindfulness, isn’t unproblematic. The word derives from a verb, sarati, meaning “to remember,” and occasionally in Pali sati is still explained in a way that connects it with the idea of memory. But when it is used in relation to meditation practice, we have no word in English that precisely captures what it refers to. An early translator cleverly drew upon the word mindfulness, which is not even in my dictionary. This has served its role admirably, but it does not preserve the connection with memory, sometimes needed to make sense of a passage."

http://www.inquiringmind.com/Articles/Translator.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
And I would recommend to anyone reading this to read the full text of this interview. It certainly does not contradict Ven Analayo. It does, rather, point to the fact that sati is a word highly nuanced in meaning, which Ven Analayo has carefully shown in the linked PDF found here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 20#p160144" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , which you, Dmytro, really have not addressed.

Though I doubt that you intended to, I have to say thanks for continuing to make my point here.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by Assaji »

[Moderator note: Since the following was off-topic to the original thread, it has been given a thread of its own.]
tiltbillings wrote:It does, rather, point to the fact that sati is a word highly nuanced in meaning, which Ven Analayo has carefully shown in the linked PDF found here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 20#p160144" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , which you, Dmytro, really have not addressed.
OK, I will address some of the arguments Ven. Analayo uses.

He mentions the Sutta-nipata passages, which I will quote:

1.

He who in the midst of sensualities, follows the holy life, always mindful, craving-free; the monk who is — through fathoming things — Unbound: he has no agitations.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

2.

[The Buddha:]
I will teach you the Dhamma — in the here & now, not quoted words — knowing which, living mindfully, you'll cross over beyond entanglement in the world.

[Mettagu:]
And I relish, Great Seer, that Dhamma supreme, knowing which, living mindfully, I'll cross over beyond entanglement in the world.

[The Buddha:]
Whatever you're alert to, above, below, across, in between: dispelling any delight, any laying claim to those things, consciousness should not take a stance in becoming. The monk who dwells thus — mindful, heedful — letting go of his sense of mine, knowing right here would abandon birth & aging, lamentation & sorrow, stress & suffering.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

3.

[The Buddha:]
Mindfully focused on nothingness, relying on 'There isn't,' you should cross over the flood.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I don't see here any trace of "present moment awareness" meaning of sati. The third passage is particularly straighforward - Buddha instructs to establish remembrance of the sphere of nothingness (Ākiñcañña). In the second passage, Buddha instructs to establish remembrance in such a way that "consciousness should not take a stance in becoming".

Regarding his reference to Patisambhidamagga and Visuddhimagga, and the word "upatthāna". This word is one of the components of the compound "satipatthana". As explained in the Patisambhidamagga-Atthakatha 2.509, upatthāna refers to the sati being established on the particular basis (arammana). (See the Pali quote at http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5656" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ). "Upatthāna" does not mean "presence".

Regarding the reference to the Visuddhimagga 464. The full paragraph, in Ven. Nyanamoli's translation, reads:

141. (x) By its means they remember (saranti), or it itself remembers, or it is just mere remembering (saraṇa), thus it is minfulness (sati). It has the characteristic of not wobbling. Its function is not to forget. It is manifested as guarding, or it is manifested as the state of confronting an objective field. Its proximate cause is strong preception (thirasaññā), or its proximate cause is the foundations of mindfulness concerned with the body, and so on (see M. Sutta 10). It should be regarded, however, as like a pillar because is firmly founded, or as like a door-keeper because it guards the eye-door, and so on.

465. Saranti tāya, sayaṃ vā sarati saraṇamattameva vā esāti sati. Sā apilāpanalakkhaṇā, asammosarasā, ārakkhapaccupaṭṭhānā, visayābhimukhabhāvapaccupaṭṭhānā vā, thirasaññāpadaṭṭhānā, kāyādisatipaṭṭhānapadaṭṭhānā vā. Ārammaṇe daḷhapatiṭṭhitattā pana esikā viya, cakkhudvārādirakkhaṇato dovāriko viya ca daṭṭhabbā.

The Visuddhimagga-Mahatika 229 straightforwardly connects the "thirasaññā" Ven. Analayo mentions, with the sati being established on nimitta. ( Nimittaṃ ṭhapetabbanti satiyā tattha tattha sukhappavattanatthaṃ thiratarasañjānanaṃ pavattetabbaṃ. Thirasaññāpadaṭṭhānā hi sati. ) So this word has nothing to do with being "wide awake in regard to the present moment".

Overall, Ven. Analayo's arguments are evidently highly selective, and don't reflect the function of sati described in the passages he refers to - remembrance to develop the skillful, being established on the appropriate basis (arammana).

Best wishes, Dmytro
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Re: Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by Nyana »

Dmytro wrote:Regarding the reference to the Visuddhimagga 464. The full paragraph, in Ven. Nyanamoli's translation, reads:

141. (x) By its means they remember (saranti), or it itself remembers, or it is just mere remembering (saraṇa), thus it is minfulness (sati). It has the characteristic of not wobbling. Its function is not to forget. It is manifested as guarding, or it is manifested as the state of confronting an objective field. Its proximate cause is strong preception (thirasaññā), or its proximate cause is the foundations of mindfulness concerned with the body, and so on (see M. Sutta 10). It should be regarded, however, as like a pillar because is firmly founded, or as like a door-keeper because it guards the eye-door, and so on.

The Visuddhimagga-Mahatika 229 straightforwardly connects the "thirasaññā" Ven. Analayo mentions, with the sati being established on nimitta. ( Nimittaṃ ṭhapetabbanti satiyā tattha tattha sukhappavattanatthaṃ thiratarasañjānanaṃ pavattetabbaṃ. Thirasaññāpadaṭṭhānā hi sati. ) So this word has nothing to do with being "wide awake in regard to the present moment".
Just to add a couple of definitions from the Pāli texts which may help inform the discussion. The Dhammasaṅgaṇī offers the following:
  • The mindfulness which on that occasion is recollecting, calling back to mind; the mindfulness which is remembering, bearing in mind the opposite of superficiality and of obliviousness; mindfulness as faculty, mindfulness as power, right mindfulness.
The Milindapañha explains sati as follows:
  • “What, Nāgasena, is the characteristic mark of mindfulness?”

    “Noting and keeping in mind. As mindfulness springs up in the mind of the recluse, he repeatedly notes the wholesome and unwholesome, blameless and blameworthy, insignificant and important, dark and light qualities and those that resemble them thinking, ‘These are the four foundations of mindfulness, these the four right efforts, these the four bases of success, these the five controlling faculties, these the five moral powers, these the seven factors of enlightenment, these are the eight factors of the noble path, this is serenity, this insight, this vision and this freedom.’ Thus does he cultivate those qualities that are desirable and shun those that should be avoided.”...

    “How is keeping in mind a mark of mindfulness?”

    “As mindfulness springs up in the mind, he searches out the categories of good qualities and their opposites thinking, ‘Such and such qualities are beneficial and such are harmful’. Thus does he make what is unwholesome in himself disappear and maintain what is good.”
I don't see much support for the notion of sati being "bare attention" or "bare awareness" in the suttas or commentaries. There are other terms which designate this type of mental function such as attention (manasikāra) or awareness (sampajañña).
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Re: Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by tiltbillings »

Ñāṇa wrote:I don't see much support for the notion of sati being "bare attention" or "bare awareness" in the suttas or commentaries. There are other terms which designate this type of mental function such as attention (manasikāra) or awareness (sampajañña).
One of the points that Ven Analayo makes is that sati is a multivalent function. So far the argumernts he makes for his position are at least as good, if not better (in my opinion), as the arguments against his position. What I am taking away from what you are saying here is that "bare awareness" is not the issue; rather, it is where do we fit that notion. Manasikāra or sampajañña? But the interesting thing is that these words overlap, and I am inclined to agree with those who do not want to see sati glossed in a overly resticted manner, which would give us a further overlapping
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Re: Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by Zom »

The good idea is to think about the following:

if sati is just "recollection", can we say then, that while practising satipatthanas you only float in some memories and thoughts - and this floating is the core of the meditation process? ,) So you just sit down in cross-legged posture and begin thinking and recollecting...? That is? Is this a right method to meditate? What is going on then in the 2nd and higher jhanas where there is no thinking and recollecting at all? Can we say that sati is absent there?
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Re: Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by Nyana »

tiltbillings wrote:What I am taking away from what you are saying here is that "bare awareness" is not the issue; rather, it is where do we fit that notion. Manasikāra or sampajañña? But the interesting thing is that these words overlap, and I am inclined to agree with those who do not want to see sati glossed in a overly resticted manner, which would give us a further overlapping.
Yes, these are all related mental functions. Sati has become something of a catch-all term used to designate manasikāra, sampajañña, vipassanā, and even samādhi. But when we have sati being used in combination with these other mental functions, it's appropriate to differentiate them. I would also suggest that bare awareness as a mode of practice is a somewhat advanced level of practice requiring prior attention training and remembrance of what is skillful and unskillful and so on.
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Re: Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by Nyana »

Zom wrote:if sati is just "recollection", can we say then, that while practising satipatthanas you only float in some memories and thoughts - and this floating is the core of the meditation process? ,) So you just sit down in cross-legged posture and begin thinking and recollecting...? That is? Is this a right method to meditate? What is going on then in the 2nd and higher jhanas where there is no thinking and recollecting at all? Can we say that sati is absent there?
Sati as remembrance is far more subtle than this.
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Re: Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by Assaji »

Hi Zom,
Zom wrote:if sati is just "recollection", can we say then, that while practising satipatthanas you only float in some memories and thoughts - and this floating is the core of the meditation process? ,) So you just sit down in cross-legged posture and begin thinking and recollecting...? That is? Is this a right method to meditate? What is going on then in the 2nd and higher jhanas where there is no thinking and recollecting at all? Can we say that sati is absent there?
Sati, in the context of satipatthana, instead of past events recollection, denotes remembrance, defined in Mahacattarisaka sutta (MN 117):

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is endowed with remembrance (sato) to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right remembrance (sati). Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right remembrance (sati) — run & circle around right view."

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So samma-sati has an exact purpose: to remember to abandon the unskillful and enter & remain in skillful. And these skillful and unskillful ways of behaviour may extend beyond those mentioned in the Satipatthana sutta.

Buddha pointed out very specific objects of remembrance. For example, the Bhikkhunupassaya sutta lists as the things to abandon:

- bodily excitation;
- sluggishness of will;
- the mind is distracted outwardly;

and the things to develop:

- bodily relaxation;
- pleasant non-carnal feelings;
- spaciousness and freedom of mind.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 656#p88181" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So the remembrance has a well-defined task, which needs and can be fulfilled.

Best wishes, Dmytro
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Re: Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by dhamma follower »

Dmytro wrote:Hi Zom,

Sati, in the context of satipatthana, instead of past events recollection, denotes remembrance, defined in Mahacattarisaka sutta (MN 117):

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is endowed with remembrance (sato) to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right remembrance (sati). Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right remembrance (sati) — run & circle around right view."

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So samma-sati has an exact purpose: to remember to abandon the unskillful and enter & remain in skillful. And these skillful and unskillful ways of behaviour may extend beyond those mentioned in the Satipatthana sutta.

So the remembrance has a well-defined task, which needs and can be fulfilled.

Best wishes, Dmytro
While I totally agree with all of the above, I still think that "to remember to abandon the unskillful and remain in skillful" is only one aspect of sati. Otherwise, how would you make sense of the way sati is described in sati patthana?

Sati as attending to the working of the five khandas is clearly also as important.

Also, in vipassana stages, skillful and unskillful don't apply anymore, as there is only perception of paramatha, rise and fall, the three marks etc..., what is the role of sati then ?

Regards,
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Re: Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by tiltbillings »

Dmytro wrote:Hi Zom,
Zom wrote:if sati is just "recollection", can we say then, that while practising satipatthanas you only float in some memories and thoughts - and this floating is the core of the meditation process? ,) So you just sit down in cross-legged posture and begin thinking and recollecting...? That is? Is this a right method to meditate? What is going on then in the 2nd and higher jhanas where there is no thinking and recollecting at all? Can we say that sati is absent there?
Sati, in the context of satipatthana, instead of past events recollection, denotes remembrance, defined in Mahacattarisaka sutta (MN 117):

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is endowed with remembrance (sato) to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right remembrance (sati). Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right remembrance (sati) — run & circle around right view."

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So samma-sati has an exact purpose: to remember to abandon the unskillful and enter & remain in skillful. And these skillful and unskillful ways of behaviour may extend beyond those mentioned in the Satipatthana sutta.

Buddha pointed out very specific objects of remembrance. For example, the Bhikkhunupassaya sutta lists as the things to abandon:

- bodily excitation;
- sluggishness of will;
- the mind is distracted outwardly;

and the things to develop:

- bodily relaxation;
- pleasant non-carnal feelings;
- spaciousness and freedom of mind.

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 656#p88181" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So the remembrance has a well-defined task, which needs and can be fulfilled.

Best wishes, Dmytro
Interesting. So, what you are describing as a practice is a practice that is solely and completely conceptual in its structure. In other words, one thinks oneself to awakening.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Re: Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by dhamma follower »

Zom wrote:The good idea is to think about the following:

if sati is just "recollection", can we say then, that while practising satipatthanas you only float in some memories and thoughts - and this floating is the core of the meditation process? ,) So you just sit down in cross-legged posture and begin thinking and recollecting...? That is? Is this a right method to meditate? What is going on then in the 2nd and higher jhanas where there is no thinking and recollecting at all? Can we say that sati is absent there?
We all know those moments where we see someone familiar yet can not tell who is the person nor where we've met him. Then "bang", it springs up and we "remember". It's happens in just one thought moment. It is not so much an activity stretching over a period of time...

In the case of satipatthana, my personal understanding is that, although we try to be aware in the present moment", we aren't, given how fast a dhamma rises and falls. What actually happens is we remember what have just happened, as closely as possible...

Regards,
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Re: Objection to the Views of Venerable Analayo

Post by Zom »

So - as far as I understood - everyone agrees that "awareness in/to the present moment " is a vital part of meditation ,)
So the only disputable point is how to call this awareness - "sati" or not "sati" (or - "included into sati")? Does that really matter?
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