8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
Mr. Seek
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:45 am

8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by Mr. Seek »

Is there a description of right mindfulness (as part of the 8-fold path) out there in the five nikayas that matches with the description of mindfulness as found in DN 2?

Also, what do you think about the obvious difference between the two? DN 2 says being mindful is simply being aware, being wakeful, attentive, etc., during daily activities. Meanwhile, some of the longer 8-fold path descriptions clearly link right mindfulness with the 4 establishments of mindfulness. Other, shorter 8-fold path descriptions however don't link right mindfulness with the 4 establishments of mindfulness -- they just use the list of 8 right's as a mnemonic list of some kind, without going into details about what each right means.

Or are these two practices meant to be complementary, different by design from the very beginning? They don't seem such to me; they look more like two different versions of one practice. Both are said to lead one directly into jhana, their positions in terms of importance and level on the path of practice are the same. DN 2 I think represents the original description, which was later put into a standardized list, which was then elaborated upon and misinterpreted.

I have a feeling there's something fishy in all this. Another one of my suspicions regarding the possibly lost and then misinterpreted meaning of mindfulness... What do you think; am I being delusional?
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
SarathW
Posts: 14924
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by SarathW »

The way I understand it, the Samma Sati in Eightfold Path represents the Satipathana Sutta and Anapanasati Sutta.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
Mr. Seek
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:45 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by Mr. Seek »

SarathW wrote: Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:23 pm The way I understand it, the Samma Sati in Eightfold Path represents the Satipathana Sutta and Anapanasati Sutta.
Yeah, that's exactly how I understand it too. The problem I'm trying to unentangle is why does this 'right' mindfulness differ so much from the mindfulness described in DN 2.

Essentially we have two different versions of the same practice. And the problem is that this practice is not of minor importance: if you don't do it right, there is no jhana.

At least that's how I understand it. Might be wrong. I'm hoping you guys will be able to shed more light on this.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
SarathW
Posts: 14924
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by SarathW »

You have to be specific about the particular section you are concerned with.
Heres the link to DN2

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html


https://suttacentral.net/dn2/en/sujato
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 18082
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by mikenz66 »

I believe he's referring to this:
And how does a mendicant have mindfulness and situational awareness? It’s when a mendicant acts with situational awareness when going out and coming back; when looking ahead and aside; when bending and extending the limbs; when bearing the outer robe, bowl and robes; when eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting; when urinating and defecating; when walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, waking, speaking, and keeping silent. That’s how a mendicant has mindfulness and situational awareness.
https://suttacentral.net/dn2/en/sujato
This is a typical description in the Graduated Training suttas, which include DN2, MN27, and and a number of other suttas. It's also in the first section of the Satipattana Sutta
Furthermore, a mendicant acts with situational awareness when going out and coming back; when looking ahead and aside; when bending and extending the limbs; when bearing the outer robe, bowl and robes; when eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting; when urinating and defecating; when walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, waking, speaking, and keeping silent.
https://suttacentral.net/mn10/en/sujato#11
I would say that you can't expect all of the details in one sutta. DN2 (in common with the other Graduated Training suttas) does go on later to say:
When they have this noble spectrum of ethics, this noble sense restraint, this noble mindfulness and situational awareness, and this noble contentment, they frequent a secluded lodging—a wilderness, the root of a tree, a hill, a ravine, a mountain cave, a charnel ground, a forest, the open air, a heap of straw. After the meal, they return from alms-round, sit down cross-legged with their body straight, and establish mindfulness right there.
https://suttacentral.net/dn2/en/sujato#79
which suggest that there is more work on mindfulness, and in fact the next section talks about the hindrances, which are in the fourth section of MN10.

:heart:
Mike
Mr. Seek
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:45 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by Mr. Seek »

mikenz66 wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:37 amI would say that you can't expect all of the details in one sutta.
That's true, but... This is DN and MN we're talking about, not SN or AN. The 4 establishments of mindfulness are referred to as "the direct path" in some suttas, so why would they be skipped if they're so important? Why would the compilers of these long, detailed suttas dedicate pages upon pages on mere virtue, while skipping (or abbreviating into one sentence) the entire doctrine of the 4 establishments of mindfulness? It doesn't make sense to me. It's on the high-end of the path. If the 4 jhanas were mentioned, why were the 4 establishments of mindfulness skipped or abbreviated? They're of nearly equal importance in suttas that praise the noble 8-fold path, which is likened to the doctrine of the Buddha in general, from start to finish.

This arguement is the same one used by the Mahayana and Vajrayana to legitimize some of their esoteric practices. We might as well say that the compilers of DN 2 forgot to mention or intentionally skipped commenting on how tantric sex is of tantamount importance on the path, or how mantras and pure lands and deity visualizations are just some of the 84000 doors leading to the dimension of nirvana. Obviously I'm being sarcastic here, trying to make a point; no offense to such practitioners.

Thank you for the input though, I'll have to look into the stuff you said in greater detail. I admit my bias against MN 10; perhaps I'll have to spend time reading it some more to try and see where it fits.

PS: Also, just a note: by "DN 2" in my posts I'm not referring only to DN 2, but also to all suttas based on DN 2. I think that's a couple of dozen suttas in the early portions of DN and MN.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
coconut
Posts: 788
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:10 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by coconut »

Mr. Seek wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:18 am
mikenz66 wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:37 amI would say that you can't expect all of the details in one sutta.
That's true, but... This is DN and MN we're talking about, not SN or AN. The 4 establishments of mindfulness are referred to as "the direct path" in some suttas, so why would they be skipped if they're so important? Why would the compilers of these long, detailed suttas dedicate pages upon pages on mere virtue, while skipping (or abbreviating into one sentence) the entire doctrine of the 4 establishments of mindfulness? It doesn't make sense to me. It's on the high-end of the path. If the 4 jhanas were mentioned, why were the 4 establishments of mindfulness skipped or abbreviated? They're of nearly equal importance in suttas that praise the noble 8-fold path, which is likened to the doctrine of the Buddha in general, from start to finish.

Because mindfulness is a result of a compound of things. Specifically proper attention and right view. You need to investigate the suttas more, they're complete, it's just that they're scattered and you need to put them together like a jigsaw puzzle.
SarathW
Posts: 14924
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by SarathW »

The Four Noble Truths encompasses all of Buddha's teaching.
Having said that if I have to talk about the First Noble Truth, I still have to brush through the other three truths because they all one truths end of the day.
Buddha's teaching is not linear like other teachings. It is circular.

In the same way, when we say Four Satipathana, they all are one in practice.
It is like driving a car. You can't drive a car only with the break.
If a learner asks you about the break, you have to talk briefly about the clutch as well.
"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline (dhammavinaya) there is but one taste — the taste of freedom": with these words the Buddha vouches for the emancipating quality of His doctrine.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... bl071.html
Last edited by SarathW on Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:51 am, edited 4 times in total.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
Mr. Seek
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:45 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by Mr. Seek »

coconut wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:26 am
Mr. Seek wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:18 am
mikenz66 wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:37 amI would say that you can't expect all of the details in one sutta.
That's true, but... This is DN and MN we're talking about, not SN or AN. The 4 establishments of mindfulness are referred to as "the direct path" in some suttas, so why would they be skipped if they're so important? Why would the compilers of these long, detailed suttas dedicate pages upon pages on mere virtue, while skipping (or abbreviating into one sentence) the entire doctrine of the 4 establishments of mindfulness? It doesn't make sense to me. It's on the high-end of the path. If the 4 jhanas were mentioned, why were the 4 establishments of mindfulness skipped or abbreviated? They're of nearly equal importance in suttas that praise the noble 8-fold path, which is likened to the doctrine of the Buddha in general, from start to finish.

Because mindfulness is a result of a compound of things. Specifically proper attention and right view. You need to investigate the suttas more, they're complete, it's just that they're scattered and you need to put them together like a jigsaw puzzle.
I agree. And yes, they are complete. My worry however is that they are too complete. Here in this thread for example I outlined how (as I understand it) mindfulness as a practice, according to suttas such as DN 2, has nothing to do with the right mindfulness of the 8-fold path, has nothing to do with the 4 establishments of mindfulness.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
Mr. Seek
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:45 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by Mr. Seek »

SarathW wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:37 am The Four Noble Truths encompasses all of Buddha's teaching.
Having said that if I have to talk about the First Noble Truth, I still have to brush through the other three truths because they all one truths end of the day.
Buddha's teaching is not linear like other teachings. It is circular.
"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline (dhammavinaya) there is but one taste — the taste of freedom": with these words the Buddha vouches for the emancipating quality of His doctrine.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... bl071.html
Sure, I like the four noble truths too as a guideline for the Dhamma. That being said, different people interpret the fourth noble truth (the path leading to the cessation of stress) in different ways. For example, some interpret it as constituting the noble 8-fold path. Others, as the noble 10-fold path. Others, as the practice described in DN 2. Others, as the 84000 doors leading to the deathless, etc.
Last edited by Mr. Seek on Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
SarathW
Posts: 14924
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by SarathW »

Mr. Seek wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:51 am
SarathW wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:37 am The Four Noble Truths encompasses all of Buddha's teaching.
Having said that if I have to talk about the First Noble Truth, I still have to brush through the other three truths because they all one truths end of the day.
Buddha's teaching is not linear like other teachings. It is circular.
"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline (dhammavinaya) there is but one taste — the taste of freedom": with these words the Buddha vouches for the emancipating quality of His doctrine.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... bl071.html
Sure, I like the 4NT too as a guideline for the Dhamma. That being said, different people interpret the fourth noble truth (the path leading to the cessation of stress) in different ways. For example, some interpret it as the 8-fold path. Others, as the 10-fold path. Others, as the practice described in DN 2. Others, as the 84000 doors leading to the deathless, etc.
Agree.
You can talk about the same thing in many thousands of ways, based on your experience.
Buddha taught the same in different ways based on the audience and the purpose.
Buddha's time some people became Sotapanna by listening to two stanzas.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
Mr. Seek
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:45 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by Mr. Seek »

SarathW wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:54 am
Mr. Seek wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:51 am
SarathW wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:37 am The Four Noble Truths encompasses all of Buddha's teaching.
Having said that if I have to talk about the First Noble Truth, I still have to brush through the other three truths because they all one truths end of the day.
Buddha's teaching is not linear like other teachings. It is circular.



https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... bl071.html
Sure, I like the 4NT too as a guideline for the Dhamma. That being said, different people interpret the fourth noble truth (the path leading to the cessation of stress) in different ways. For example, some interpret it as the 8-fold path. Others, as the 10-fold path. Others, as the practice described in DN 2. Others, as the 84000 doors leading to the deathless, etc.
Agree.
You can talk about the same thing in many thousands of ways, based on your experience.
Buddha taught the same in different ways based on the audience and the purpose.
Yes. Therein lies the problem. 2600 years after the Buddha we have an infinite amount of theories about the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress. Sure, Gotama would have used 'expositions' and talked different things to different people, depending on what they needed to hear at the time, but this is different, our situation is more complex.

Right now, the more you study Buddhism, the more you come to the definite conclusion that the path leading to the cessation of stress is lost, at best obscured. There are signs and tips along the way, yes, there are complete suttas out there, but we also have a ton of later additions and modifications.

The precise details surrounding the fourth noble truth are obscure. Different Buddhist traditions and practitioners have different opinions about it and would disagree with one another if they had to be honest. The only reason they wouldn't openly disagree with one another is to keep their reputations intact and to preserve harmony. While this is being done however the Dhamma is just melting away from this world like ice-cream, to the point where now there are all sorts of Buddhisms out there, all with radically different goals and paths of practice.

This topic is a clear example of the situation. On the one hand we have suttas that say mindfulness is just clear awareness, being wakeful and alert during all activities. On the other hand we have suttas that say how mindfulness is about being focused on a particular object, such as one's breath, body, or thoughts, i.e. concentration, actively and constantly keeping something in mind.
Last edited by Mr. Seek on Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:37 am, edited 5 times in total.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
SarathW
Posts: 14924
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by SarathW »

The only way to find true teaching is by practice.
Just start observing five precepts first if not at least try to observe one precept perfectly to start with and see the difference.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
Mr. Seek
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:45 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by Mr. Seek »

SarathW wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:17 am The only way to find true teaching is by practice.
Just start observing five precepts first if not at least try to observe one precept perfectly to start with and see the difference.
No worries, I don't have confusion regarding that part of the path. My main concerns now are with mindfulness and jhana, I.e the stuff that can lead one to a truly noble attainment; hence this topic. Thanks for the stern reminder though, doing my best to practice and be consummate in virtue.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
SarathW
Posts: 14924
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: 8-fold path mindfulness vs DN 2 mindfulness

Post by SarathW »

Mr. Seek wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:25 am
SarathW wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:17 am The only way to find true teaching is by practice.
Just start observing five precepts first if not at least try to observe one precept perfectly to start with and see the difference.
No worries, I don't have confusion regarding that part of the path. My main concerns now are with mindfulness and jhana, I.e the stuff that can lead one to a truly noble attainment; hence this topic. Thanks for the stern reminder though, doing my best to practice and be consummate in virtue.
I appreciate your question.
I have spent almost asking many thousands of questions and reading Tipitak at least twice and in some cases reading individual sutta many many times.
What I am still lacking in my practice even though I still am trying to improve it though.
:anjali:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
Post Reply