, it refers to something called "ānāpāna jhānas." AFAIK (and someone please correct me if this is a mistaken assumption), this refers to jhāna accessed
. His text outlines a progression from these jhanas to the realization of dependent origination, the four truths, and ultimately to Nibbāna. This could not be more related to dependent origination. What is more related to it than that by which it is undone?
The Requisites of Enlightenment in Tranquility
When one attains the four anapana jhanas, one is practising samatha (tranquility meditation). That means one is actually developing the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment. How?
• To be mindful of the breath body, in the way we have explained, is "body contemplation;" to be mindful of the jhana factors of pleasant and neutral feelings is "feelings contemplation;" to be mindful of the exalted mind is "mind contemplation;" and to be mindful of things such as the anapana panibhaganimitta and the jhana factors is "dhamma contemplation." That is, to develop the four foundations of mindfulness.
• Furthermore, to make effort to remove unwholesome things such as the five hindrances (sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and scepticism); and to make effort to develop wholesome things such as the five controlling faculties (faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom). That is, to develop the four right efforts.
• Furthermore, to enter into jhana with either predominantly zeal, or predominantly effort, or mind, or investigation, is to develop the four bases of spiritual power.
• Furthermore, to have strong faith in anapanasati; to make constant effort to concentrate on the anapana panibhaganimitta; to be mindful of the panibhaganimitta; to concentrate on the panibhaganimitta; and to comprehend the panibhaganimitta, is to develop the five controlling faculties. To develop them in this way is also to develop the five powers.
• Furthermore, to be mindful of the anapana panibhaganimitta; to investigate the panibhaganimitta; to make constant effort to focus on the panibhaganimitta; to be rapturous upon focussing on the panibhaganimitta; to tranquillize one's mind upon the panibhaganimitta; to concentrate on the panibhaganimitta; and to look upon the panibhaganimitta with equanimity, is to develop the seven enlightenment factors.
• Lastly, to understand the anapana panibhaganimitta is Right View; to apply one's mind to the panibhaganimitta is Right Thought; to abstain from wrong speech, wrong action, and wrong livelihood by having undertaken the precepts, is Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood; to make effort to concentrate on the panibhaganimitta is Right Effort; to be mindful of the panibhaganimitta is Right Mindfulness; and to have jhana is Right Concentration. To develop those eight things is to cultivate the eight factors corresponding to the Noble Eightfold Path.
That is how to develop samatha using anapanasati to develop all thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment.
Discerning the Objects for Vipassana
Having developed the four anapana jhanas, one is now able to practise vipassana. Because with the light of wisdom one has developed with anapanasati, one is now able to discern ultimate materiality, ultimate mentality, and their causes. They are the objects of Vipassana.
Discerning Ultimate Materiality
To discern ultimate materiality, one begins with air [i.e. breath] meditation and moves to the other elements. That is, one discerns the four elements in one's body filled with one's breath. One discerns the four elements by way of twelve characteristics:
Earth Element: 1) hardness, 2) roughness, 3) heaviness, 4) softness, 5) smoothness, 6) lightness
Water Element: 7) flowing, 8) cohesion
Fire Element: 9) heat, 10) cold
Wind Element: 11) supporting, 12) pushing
One discerns these twelve characteristics first in one part of one's breath, then in one's body, and then externally. With practice, one will be able to discern all twelve characteristics throughout one's body quite quickly: at about two to three rounds a minute. Then, to develop one's concentration further, one takes an overview of the body to discern each characteristic in the body as a whole. With practice, one will be able to discern all twelve characteristics almost at once. And with yet further practice, one will then be able to discern the twelve characteristics as just the four elements: earth, water, fire, and wind. Then, as one's mindfulness of and concentration on the four elements develops, one will perceive one's body in different ways. It will first appear as a grey body, then as a white body, and then as a transparent body like a block of ice. When one discerns the four elements in that transparent body, they emit brilliant light, which then breaks into tiny particles that arise and pass away at great speed: they are in Pàli called rupa kalapas (clusters of materiality). But they are not ultimate materiality. To discern ultimate materiality, one discerns the four elements in single rupa kalapas, one element after the other. Afterwards, one discerns the various kinds of derived materiality (upadana rupa): for example, colour, odour, flavour, and nutritive essence. Altogether one discerns and analyses twenty-eight types of materiality. They are ultimate materiality, arising and passing away. Then one analyses the ultimate materiality of the external world: that of other beings, and that of inanimate things.
Discerning Ultimate Mentality
Having discerned ultimate materiality, one then discerns ultimate mentality. One begins with jhana. One enters into jhana and emerges. Then, as before, one discerns the anapana panibhaganimitta at the mind-door. And then one discerns the jhana cognitive-process's individual mental formations. For example, one discerns the thirty-four mental formations of the anapana first-jhana cognitive process:
(9) initial application
(10) sustained application
(17) shame of wrongdoing
(18) fear of wrongdoing
(21) neutrality of mind
(22) tranquility of mental body
(23) tranquility of consciousness
(24) lightness of mental body
(25) lightness of consciousness
(26) malleability of mental body
(27) malleability of consciousness
(28) wieldiness of mental body
(29) wieldiness of consciousness
(30) proficiency of mental body
(31) proficiency of consciousness
(32) rectitude of mental body
(33) rectitude of consciousness
(34) wisdom faculty
One discerns these thirty-four mental formations systematically: one by one. First, one emerges from the anapana first jhana and discerns the mental formation consciousness of each of the jhana cognitive process's consciousness moments. Then again one enters the first jhana, again emerges, and now discerns both the mental formation consciousness as well as the mental formation contact. Then again one enters the first jhana, again emerges, and again discerns consciousness and contact, and now also feeling. In that way, one adds one mental formation at a time, till one in the end is able to discern all thirty-four mental formations of the first jhana. In the same way one discerns the thirty-two mental formations of the second jhana; and the thirty-one mental formations of the third and fourth jhanas. That is ultimate mentality, arising and passing away. The four anapana jhanas are fine-material realm cognitive processes, and they are only wholesome. But there are also other kinds of mentality. So one discerns also the various mental formations of sensual realm cognitive-processes: of the eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body-, and mind-door, wholesome and unwholesome. Afterwards, one discerns the ultimate mentality of the external world: that of other beings. When this stage of the meditation is complete, one will have done four things:
1) One will have discerned one's own ultimate materiality (internally), and all other materiality (externally).
2) One will have discerned ultimate mentality internally and externally.
3) One will have discerned ultimate materiality and ultimate mentality together internally and externally.
4) One will have distinguished ultimate materiality and ultimate mentality internally and externally to see that there is no self, no person, and no being, but only materiality and mentality arising and passing away.
When one has completed these four things, one will have attained the Knowledge of Defining Mentality-Materiality.
Discerning Dependent Origination
Now one is able to discern dependent origination. Gradually recollecting one's past materiality and mentality, one is able to recollect the first moment of one's present life: at conception. Then one goes further back, to recollect the last moments of one's past life. There one goes along the continuity of mentality-materiality, backwards and forwards, to find the causes for one's present rebirth. One's present mentality-materiality is the result of mainly five things:
1) Ignorance: ignorantly believing that there exists a real human being.
2) Craving: craving for that human being's life.
3) Clinging: clinging to that human being's life.
4) Volitional formations: the volitional formations responsible for one's present rebirth. When it is a human rebirth, the volitional formations are
5) Existence of kamma: the kammic force that produced one's present rebirth.
Having discerned these five main causes for one's present life, one then discerns the relationship between the five past causes and the present results. Then, in the same way, one discerns the relationship between causes and results in more past lives, and in future lives. And systematically one discerns all twelve links of dependent origination: ignorance, formations, consciousness, mentality-materiality, the six bases, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, coming into existence, birth, and ageing-&-death. One discerns their causal relationship in past lives, the present life, and in future lives. When one has discerned the relationship between causes and results in this way, one will have attained the The Knowledge of Apprehending the Condition.
The term "patibhāganimitta" refers to the mental perception of the object of the meditation. In Theravāda, this is a non-dual and all-encompassing yogic perception of the meditative subject (i.e. "the breath" in this instance) that suspects normal cognition. Bodily senses are inactive according to traditional Theravādin understandings of jhāna, so this doesn't necessarily actually mean "the (physical) breath." This is a mental or otherwise "psychic" perception of the breath, unless I'm framing things wrongly.