Posted 04 August 2006 - 05:36 PM
Glad you brought this up--I have a pretty elementary question: Aa.napaa.nasati seems to be nearly universally recognized (in the last few decades anyway) as a kind of 'vipassanaa meditation', or satipa.t.thaana bhaavanaa (as opposed to samatha bhaavanaa). It seems to me though that aa.naa.paa.naa--inhaled and exhaled breath--is a concept or designation for a great many different, sequential naamaa and ruupaa.
I recall reading that the object of samatha bhaavanaa is usually(?) concept and that the object of satipa.t.thaana is always paramattha dhamma. If the latter is correct, then shouldn't aa.napaa.nasati be properly regarded as samatha bhaavanaa rather than satipa.t.thaana vipassanaa bhaavanaa?
Thanks in Advance,
Posted 07 August 2006 - 06:07 AM
Posted 12 August 2006 - 07:21 PM
I'm slow to catch up, but this is a good question, and one I have as well:
Here's a portion of the Mahaa Satipa.t.thaana Sutta:
Why does the Buddha give the instruction and description of mindfulness of breath?
How does this fit with the overall sense of satipa.t.thaana? Why the direction to sit and focus on breath in this way, given your statement above, which I think is correct, that "breath" is "a concept or designation for a great many different, sequential naamaa and ruupaa?
And how is one to understand this, given that there is no one to sit, and postures are also conceptual?
"Bahulikata," as I find, has meanings such as "practised frequently," and "in application." The word "bahu" means "to strengthen." "Paripaceti" means "to bring to maturity," or "to cause to ripen, to develop." What is the way to understand this? The above quote says that the development and cultivation of mindfulness of breathing fulfills the four establishments of mindfulness, and more. What exactly does that mean?
With loving kindness,
Posted 14 August 2006 - 01:48 PM
Your questions are stirring my mind and I too wait for some clarification. As I was taught ,samatha, aanapaanasati is for calming mind and entering "higher states", jhanas. To know that no one is sitting theoretically, and to KNOW that no one is sitting (but rather that "one sitting" is a conventional gathering of thought) requires insight. To obtain insight one first needs to gain control of the "flow" of consciousness, and once that has occured through aanapannasati you can begin to work on seeing the true nature of reality. Or so I practice. I await word from the venerable Robert K.
Posted 14 August 2006 - 07:52 PM
Here's the rub, according to my intellectual understanding: There is no one to control anything!
Posted 15 August 2006 - 10:53 AM
Jonathan Abbott writes:
Let's consider for a moment mindfulness of breathing. We all breathe all day long, but breath is usually not an object of our attention. However, when it is, is there any reason why it should not be possible to experience the hardness or softness, heat or cold, appearing through the body door, that we normally take for breath? A moment of cognising one of the realities that we normally take for 'breath' is surely a moment of satipatthana with 'breath' as object. This would not seem to require a special time, place or posture.
In a recent post you mentioned the passage from the Satipatthana Sutta on mindfulness of breathing. (This is an extremely difficult sutta to understand, but we need not go into that here.)
To my understanding, that particular passage is an instruction specially directed to those who were already adept at samatha of a high level with breath as object. In the words of the commentary (p. 54 of Soma Thera's translation), "This is the portal to emancipation of the bhikkhu devoted to meditation on breathing".
So when it talks about having gone to a quiet place, adopting a classic 'meditation' posture, long and short in-breaths and out-breaths etc it is describing the established practice of the very audience to whom it was primarily directed.
Why did the Buddha see the need to address this particular audience on satipatthana with breath as object? Perhaps because when the development of samatha has already progressed to the level that the object of samatha has been replaced by an 'image' (nimitta) of that object, moments of satipatthana are not possible during absorption on the image, since the object of the moment of consciousness is a concept rather than a reality.
If this interpretation is correct, then this part of the sutta should not be regarded as requiring us, or even as advising us, as relative beginners at samatha/vipassana, to undertake a particular kind of 'meditation practice' in order to develop mindfulness of breathing.
So to return to your comment, I am very much interested the traditional teachings. But I do not necessarily accept the modern-day interpretation of them. However, I am always happy to discuss any views that are reasonably open on the texts.
Posted 15 August 2006 - 10:55 AM
Dear R. E.
I'm not sure if you read my earlier post where I noted that some among the objects of samatha do require special conditions including a crosslegged posture, erect back, a very quiet place, solitude... This is all well explained in the visuddhimagga. In particular this applies to anapanasati - breath. If that is the object one chooses then these conditions are necessary if one wants to succeed. However, we should know that anapanasati is singled out as being the most difficult of all the 40 objects.Here is a passage from the
Also one should understand the difference bettwen the development of vipassana and samatha (see dans post earlier today for some good points). For the one who is truly at home with samatha bhavana (calm meditation) then that has to be an object for insight as well other wise it will be taken a self. It is not considered a preferable object but rather that all objects should be known as they are for insight to develop. Hence Erik noted that his biggest insights have come while seeing panic as being anatta, while one who is a master of jhana would have to see those very pleasant objects in the same way - as conditioned phenomena- for it to be an object for the development of vipassana. All kusala is supportive, to some degree, of the path, so if we have the skill and wish to develop samatha that is good . But easy, as dan mentioned, to get confused about the difference between sati(of the eigtfold path) and samadhi and samatha and vipassana.
One can have subtle desire for just a little more calmness, a little more clarity of mind. And if so one is not developing vipassana. This slight desire moves one out of the present moment - one doesn't want to see what is there at this very moment. If we are sittting crosslegged now and we feel we have to stand to have awareness, or read a Dhamma book, then that would show a misunderstanding. I feel the issue of positions becomes irrelevant to vippasana bhavana to the degree that there is understanding of the objects for sati (all paramatha dhammas). For sure some people are going to want to sit quietly more than others. But it should be by their accumulations, their nature, rather than because they think it is the condition for insight.
Also it takes time for everyone to understand how to be aware: that is to be aware without craving for some experience. Seeing and colour are objects that the Buddha mentioned time and again and yet so few people seem to be interested in these objects. But why? Because of colours and seeing so many concepts are formed up in the following mind-door processes. If there is not awareness in association with wise attention (yoniso manisikara) after seeing then there will be ignorance or craving or dosa. One will believe (attasanna -self perception) that one sees people, friends, enemies, neutral ones, or computers, cars etc.. But seeing only experiences colours. Panna (insight) in conjunction with sati and samadhi and other factors can understand this and break the wheel of dependent origination (paticcasamupada) there and then. Not necessary to be watching the breath or sitting in the full lotus for this to happen
Posted 15 August 2006 - 10:56 AM
I think there are many reasons why the breath is so popular. For one thing it is the basis from which all Buddhas attain enlightenment. For another it is highly praised by the Buddha.The breath is in many ways a neutral object, hence it can be said to be suitable for all personality types.It is especially good for quieting discursive thought. However, as we see it is not recommended for all.
Breath as an object of samatha is difficult. If it is being developed correctly the citta that knows breath is associated with panna(wisdom ) and alobha(detachment)- Sometimes we can know breath BUT with lobha (attachment).However, even if it is an object of attachment it may still have benefits (in a conventional way)- it can be good for health or help to reduce the amount of thinking one does (hence less worries). It can help concentration too. It doesn't interfere with one's views when it is used in this way. Even fanatical terrorists could profitably develop it (in the attachment way - not as true samatha) as a way to relax themselves and focus the mind. Whereas such objects as Dhammanusati or Buddhanusati (ones that don't need special posture and that the Buddha specifically recommended to laypeople) will have an impact on view- and hence may not seem so appealing.
abhidhamma? I doubt it. "
Well I have some very good friends in Thailand who have been listening to T. A. Sujin's radio program for more than 20 years. They are very poor and completely illiterate. And the details in Thai are much more than we write here in English. I think the reasons one is interested in Abhidhamma go back over lifetimes and even aeons. I agree that only an intellectual would be interested in abhidhamma as an academic subject - but it is different once we see that Abhidhamma is about life here and now. I sometimes wonder why anyone wouldn't be interested in Abhidhamma.
look fwd to your further comments.
Posted 15 August 2006 - 10:57 AM
Nina van Gorkom writes:
Dear L and R. Ep,
Thank you for your input. There are many things to consider in the passage you quoted. As we can see, the right conditions for jhana and for vipassana have to be developed, nothing arises automatically. I would like to go back somewhat in this section on breathing. I shall make use of what I wrote in my Book "The World in the Buddhist Sense".
We should note that there is a division into four sections of four clauses each in this sutta which, in the Visuddhimagga, are marked from I-XVI. I noticed that Larry and Rob Ep were already dealing with the third tetrad, group of four, but now we could start with the first tetrad. Some tetrads deal with calm, some with vipassana, as we shall see.
First I quote the sutta. The sutta (K V, Book X, Ch 1, §1,) states:
(I) Breathing in long, he knows ³I breathe in long²; or breathing out long, he knows ³I breathe out long².
(II) Breathing in short, he knows ³I breathe in short²; or breathing out short, he knows ³I breathe out short².
(III) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out
experiencing the whole body².
(IV) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in tranquillizing the bodily activity²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out
tranquillizing the bodily activity².
(V) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in experiencing happiness²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out experiencing happiness².
(VI) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in experiencing bliss²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out experiencing bliss².
(VII) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in experiencing the mental formation²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out experiencing the mental formation².
(VIII) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in tranquillizing the mental formation²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out tranquillizing the mental formation².
(IX) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in experiencing the (manner of) consciousness²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out experiencing the (manner of) consciousness².
(X) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in gladdening the (manner of) consciousness²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out gladdening the (manner of) consciousness².
(XI) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in concentrating the (manner of) consciousness²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out concentrating the (manner of) consciousness².
(XII) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in liberating the (manner of) consciousness²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out liberating the (manner of) consciousness².
(XIII) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in contemplating impermanence²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out contemplating impermanence².
(XIV) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in contemplating fading away²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out contemplating fading away².
(XV) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in contemplating cessation²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out contemplating cessation².
(XVI) He trains thus ³I shall breathe in contemplating relinquishment²; he trains thus ³I shall breathe out
In the word commentary to the above quoted sutta the Visuddhimagga (VIII, 223-226) mentions with regard to the first tetrad (group of four clauses, marked I-IV) of the sutta the different stages of insight-knowledge which are developed after emerging from jhåna. We read:
It depends on the accumulated wisdom whether the different stages of insight can be realized within a short time or whether they are developed very gradually during a long period of time. ŒAfter he has thus reached the four noble paths in due succession and has become established in the fruition of arahatship, he at last attains to the nineteen kinds of ³Reviewing Knowledge², and he becomes fit to receive the highest gifts from the world with its deities.¹
It is evident that only those who had accumulated great wisdom could attain jhåna with ³mindfulness of breathing² as meditation subject, and then attain arahatship.
The Visuddhimagga carefully describes the development of jhana, of the jhanafactors which counteract the hindrances. Someone may wonder how we can know that jhana is attained, could it not happen that someone takes for jhana what is a trance but not jhana? This is a matter of panna. Panna and sati are necessary. When there is panna there is no doubt. Panna should know when the citta is kusala and when akusala, and this not in theory, but right at the moment it appears. Panna should know the different jhanafactors which are cetasikas, and not merely in theory. Take the jhanafactors piti, rapture, and sukha, pleasant feeling. In daily life and in the lower stages of jhana they arise together, but can they be clearly distinguished? Only panna can do this. it is trhe same in the case of vitakka and vicara, applied thinking and discursive thinking. They usually arise together, but, in the development of jhana panna should be able to distinguish them. After emerging from jhana one should know with insight all nama and rupa that appear. All stages of insight have to be developed, beginning with tender insight, distinguishing the characteristic of rupa from the characteristic of nama. How could otherwise the arising and falling away of nama and rupa, impermanence be realized? As I wrote before, one should also have mastery of jhana (Vis. IV, 131). One should be able to attain jhana and emerge from it at any time, in any place. Next time I shall go to the following tetrads.
Best wishes from Nina.
Posted 15 August 2006 - 10:59 AM
Nin van Gorkom writes:
Dear friends, now we come to the second tetrad, group of four, of the sutta on Mindfulness of Breathing, the Visuddhimagga comments upon:
the mental formation.
As regards the second tetrad (marked V-VIII), the Visuddhimagga (VIII, 226) comments:
As regards happiness experienced with the object, the Visuddhimagga (VIII, 227) explains:
After the jhånacitta has fallen away paññå realizes the characteristic of píti as it is: only a kind of nåma, which is impermanent and not self. We read:
In a similar way the words of the second tetrad are explained: (VI) I shall breathe in breathe out experiencing bliss (sukha, pleasant feeling) Sukha occurs in three stages of jhåna (of the fourfold system); it does not arise in the highest stage of jhåna where there is equanimity instead of sukha. Sukha accompanies the jhånacitta of the three stages of jhåna and is, after the jhånacitta has fallen away, realized by paññå as impermanent.
The realization of the characteristic of impermanence can only occur when the stages of insight knowledge have been developed, beginning with tender insight, as I said before. Thus both jhana and insight are have been developed here. The Vis. VIII, 229, explains that mental formation pertains here to feeling and perception, sanna. The Vis. gives in this passage more word meanings and quotes the Path of Discrimination. The Vis. adds that this tetrad deals with the contemplation of feeling. It is evident that the person who develops jhana must have strong sati and panna (of the level of samatha) to discern exactly cetasikas such as piti and sukha accompanying the jhanacitta, and after emerging from jhana to comprehend them as impermanent, dukkha and anatta.
Posted 15 August 2006 - 11:00 AM
Howard (and Victor)
Jonathan Abbott writes:
My apologies for not getting back sooner on this interesting post.
... Mindfulness of breathing as taught in the Anapanasati Sutta and as elucidated upon by many, including, for example, Bhikkus U Silananda and Buddhadasa, is a complete system of meditative practice, but it could also be used in lesser, partial ways, most particularly only for samatha bhavana. Developing awareness of the breath strictly as a concentration on the breath, as a focussing technique, might bring the jhanas, but, by itself, would not fully implement vipassana. The instructions in the Anapanasati Sutta, that title being rendered by Buddhadasa as "Mindfulness while [not 'of'] Breathing", are quite explicit.
You (and I think Victor also) see the Anapanasati Sutta as 'instructional' in the sense of laying out a course of practice to be followed by anyone who wishes to develop insight. I would like to try and explain why I do not share that view.
As in the case of any sutta, one needs to ask the question, 'What exactly is the message being conveyed here, and to/for whom?'. Nina has already given us a lot of material from the commentarial texts, which to me give a clear answer to those questions. However, as I know you have reservations about the authenticity of the commentaries, I would like to make one or two observations based on the text of the sutta alone, taking the first part of the passage quoted by you below as an example.
1. A closer look at the wording of the text.
The structure of the passage is rather complex, so I think it helps to break it down a little. Here’s my breakdown--
(i) Now, on whatever occasion a monk breathing in [or out] long [or short] discerns that he is breathing in [or out] long [or short];
(ii) trains himself to breathe in or out sensitive to the entire body, or calming bodily fabrication:
(iii) On that occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself -- ardent, alert, & mindful -- subduing greed & distress with reference to the world.
(iv) I tell you, monks, that this -- the in-&-out breath -- is classed as a body among bodies, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the body in & of itself -- ardent, alert, & mindful -- putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.
(v) This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination.
To me, the words 'on whatever occasion' in par. (a) indicate that what immediately follows is not meant to be ‘instructional’, but to describe a situation that may occur. I see that expression as equivalent to present-day ‘in the case where’.
The key to the whole passage seems to be par. (iii), because it is here that the first reference to mindfulness is found. Note, however, that par. (iii) does not tell us how mindfulness is to be developed, but seems to refer to mindfulness arising and taking a specific object, namely the body (i.e., rupas).
So my reading of the whole passage would be something like this: If there is mindfulness of rupa as rupa ['the body in and of itself', in par. (iii)] while focussing on the breath [as described in par. (i) and (ii)] then this is mindfulness of breathing for the purposes of satipatthana [par. (iv)].
2.The preliminary/underlying assumptions In the sutta, the whole passage on mindfulness of breathing, including the part quoted in your post, is preceded by the following:
This sets the context for what follows, including the passage discussed at 1/. above. I would like to focus on some particular aspects of this introductory section. Again, a breakdown may be helpful:
(i) There is the case where a monk,
(ii) 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
(iii) and sets mindfulness to the fore.
(iv) Always mindful, he breathes in…"
Again, this is a "case where" situation, not a "do this" passage [par. (i)]. To my reading, it refers to a particular class of monk, namely one who is not only leading the homeless life but is doing so in the manner recommended by the Buddha for those who wish to develop samatha to a high degree [par. (ii)], and in whom both samatha with breath as object and mindfulness/satipatthana are well developed [par. (iii) and (iv)]. Who else could 'set mindfulness to the fore' and be 'always mindful' when breathing? It is to such a person that the rest of the sutta is pitched.
Howard, I hope these comments give you some idea as to why I do not read the sutta as a general exhortation to practise mindfulness of breathing as a means of developing satipatthana, but rather as being directed to those with already-developed samatha where breath is the object.
(I am of course not saying the sutta has no relevance or application to the rest of us, but simply that it has to be understood in its proper context.)
" Now, on whatever occasion a monk breathing in long discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out long, discerns that he is breathing out long; or breathing in short, discerns that he is breathing in short; or breathing out short, discerns that he is breathing out short; trains himself to breathe in... &... out sensitive to the entire body; trains himself to breathe in... &... out calming bodily fabrication: On that occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself -- ardent, alert, & mindful -- subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. I tell you, monks, that this -- the in-&-out breath -- is classed as a body among bodies, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the body in & of itself -- ardent, alert, & mindful -- putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. " On whatever occasion a monk trains himself ... " On whatever occasion a monk trains himself ... " On whatever occasion a monk trains himself ... "This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination ..."
Posted 15 August 2006 - 11:01 AM
Jonathan Abbott writes:
In you post below you ask:
"What do you, or anyone else, see as the 'point' of mindfulness of in and out breathing, both in practice and according to the suttas?"
This is an extremely complex matter, but in deference to your preferred style I'll try to give an answer in as short a space as possible ;-)).
Mindfulness/awareness refers to moments of consciousness that directly experience a dhamma. The direct experience of a dhamma, is the basis for the panna (wisdom, insight) that sees the dhamma as it truly is, that sees the characteristics of the dhamma. It is by seeing dhammas as they truly are that attachment to them and to existence is eventually eradicated.
In the context of 'mindfulness of breathing', this means mindfulness of one of the dhammas that we take for breathing, and the development of insight that arises based on that mindfulness. That insight is, of course, vipassana.
However, 'mindfulness of breathing' can also refer to breath as an object of samatha development, and so it can also mean jhana based on breath as object. Now, jhana in and of itself is not something that leads to insight/enlightenment, nor is it even something that makes insight easier or more likely to occur. Yes, it is kusala accompanied by panna, but the panna is not the panna that sees the true nature of dhammas. While vipassana and samatha both involve the development of panna, it is panna of different levels and they lead to different goals.
The 'point' of the sutta on mindfulness of in and out breathing is to illustrate how jhana with breath as object can be a basis for insight. In other words, how those who are advanced in the development of *both* samatha and vipassana can attain to enlightenment that is based on jhana. This is my understanding of the oft-repeated passage in the sutta that:
Note the wording here, "brings the four frames of reference [four arousings of mindfulness] to their culmination". To bring something to its culmination is not the same as developing it from scratch, and I see the emphasis in the sutta as being very much on describing the final stages of development for those ready to achieve enlightenment in that very lifetime. Hence the description of the (hypothetical) monk who has already developed samatha (and satipatthana) to a high degree.
I hope this is not too confusing.
Posted 15 August 2006 - 11:02 AM
Nina van Gorkom writes:
Hi L. and all,
Way 33 we read:
Right before the beginning, Because the subject... Ven. Soma left out a passage (editor note: Nina is referring to the Translation of the satiptthana sutta and Commentary by Soma thera) which I believe is essential for understanding this subject, for whom it is suitable and also the goal of anapanasati: developing insight and calm to the degree of jhana, using jhana as foundation for vipassana and attaining fruition of the arahat.
It is also a passage translated in the Vis. VIII, 155:
This is almost the same as my translation that follows (I saw the Vis tr later on):
N: And thus also, with regard to the meditation subject of anapanasati which has become the topmost of Body Contemplation, being the proximate cause for abiding in ease here, now (di.t.thadhammasukhavihaara, fruition attainment) for all Buddhas, Silent Buddhas and disciples of the
itthipurisahatthiassaadisaddasamaakula.m gaamanta.m apariccajitvaa na sukara.m sampaadetu.m, saddaka.n.takattaa jhaanassa.
N: this is not easy to undertake when one has not abandoned the border of the village, full of sounds of women, men, elephants, horses etc.
agaamake pana ara~n~ne sukara.m yogaavacarena ida.m kamma.t.thaana.m pariggahetvaa aanaapaanacatutthajjhaana.m nibbattetvaa tadeva jhaana.m paadaka.m katvaa sa"nkhaare sammasitvaa aggaphala.m arahatta.m paapu.nitu.m.
N: If the meditator does not live in a village but in the forest, it is easy for him, after he has mastered this meditation subject, attained the fourth jhana of anapana sati, and made this jhana the foundation and has thoroughly comprehended conditioned dhammas (sankhare), to fulfill the highets frutuion, the fruition of arahatship;
tasmaassa anuruupasenaasana.m dassento bhagavaa ``ara~n~nagato vaa''tiaadimaaha.
N: Therefore the Blessed One, pointing out the dwelling suitable for that, said, gone to the forets etc. (As is)
Remarks: We see here that this meditation subject is for those who can attain jhana and develop insight even to arahatship. Some time ago (In September 002) I made a study of the Co to the Anapana Sati sutta. I quote again and also include posts of Jon:
We read in the Co. to the Anapana Sati Sutta:
The Co states that it is thus elsewhere (in other texts), but that in this sutta it is handed down that the mundane foundations of mindfulness perfect the mundane enlightenment factors, and that these perfect clear vision (vijjå), deliverance (vimutti), fruition (phala) and nibbana, which are lokuttara. Because in this sutta ³clear vision and deliverance² designate clear vision, fruition (phala) and nibbana.
N : If jhana is not reached, and there are not the masteries (vasis) in jhana, such as attaining and emerging at any time, at any place, samatha, the development of calm, cannot be a foundation for vipassana.
As Jon said,
And Jon said also:
sutta is indeed about the discernment of an 'everyday object'.
N: I would add:the bhikkhus the sutta was addressed to were highly adept, they were arahats or they had accumulations to attain arahatship. We read even after the first tetrad (Of mindfulness of breath) in the
(Jon to Rob Ep, Sept 16):
As I have indicated, the sutta was given for the benefit of those (monks) who are already highly adept at attending to the breath (actually, its nimitta) as an object of samatha, and for those persons the sutta is indeed about the discernment of an 'everyday object'.
Posted 15 August 2006 - 11:08 AM
If one has the ability and inclination to develop anapanasati that is great. Still it is good to know that many conditions are needed to suceed in this: Some meditation subjects need a crosslegged posture, erect back, a very quiet place, solitude... This is all well explained in the visuddhimagga. In particular this applies to anapanasati - breath. Also we should know that anapanasati is singled out as being the most difficult of all the 40 objects.Here is a passage from the Visuddhimagga Viii
In many suttas the Buddha was speaking to monks who had vast accumulations of panna and other parami. It is not, I believe, that the Buddha said that all should take up anapanasati.
There are other types of samatha - such as Maranasati (meditation on death)- that are suitable for all times.
For example the Anguttara nikaya (Book of the Elevens ii 13 p213 Mahanama) says about Buddhanusati and Dhammanusati and several other samatha objects:
In the Samyutta nikaya V (Sayings on stream entry p347 The great chapter Dhammadina ) 5oo rich merchants came to see the Buddha . They asked how they should live their lives. The Buddha suggested that they train themselves thus:
In the satipatthana sutta the Buddha explains the four foundations of mindfulness. These can be cultivated in any position at any time.
Talk about accumulations, or lack thereof, is also baffling to me. Certainly some would find seclusion and tranquillity easier to cultivate than others, but if you don't accumulate now, when are you going to accumulate? After you're dead?
It is relevant because this is a Buddha sasana - a very rare event. If one develops samatha bhavana that is wonderful. Indeed all of us have developed samatha and we must have succeeded in gaining jhana in countless lives. This is because of the vast time of samsara. However only very rarely has there been insight into anatta, into the lakkhana (characteristic) of elements. That is why some of us believe that we should give stress to this aspect of the Dhamma. The Buddha sasana will soon be extinguished and it will be a long time before another samma-sammbuddha arises.
Posted 15 August 2006 - 11:09 AM
It is said, "Anapanasati is difficult,difficult to develop, a field in which only the minds of Buddhas,paccekabuddhas and Buddhas sons are at home" and "The most difficult of the 40 meditation
Why then is anapanasati recommended for a "Moha carita person"?
What is the definition of "Buddhas sons"?
I think the texts indicate that the Buddha's sons means Mahapurisa, those with great accumulations. When you look at the other 37 objects of samatha in the Visuddhimagga we see that only anapanasati is singled out for this special attention. Anapanasati is the samatha object that all the Buddha's use on the eve of their attainment, it is such a wonderful object for those who can develop it. But that doesn't mean it is easy.
From visuddimagga 211 viii the pali:
It is a stock phrase in the commentaries with regard to anapanasati. E.g: Patisambhidhimagga -atthakatha anapanassatikatha and in the Commentary to vinaya Parajika khanda attakatha. There are other places too.
You wonder why in the Visuddhimagga Buddhaghosa in one section says it is the hardest of all samatha objects and in another says that it is suitable for the mohacarita, one with a temperament on the ignorant side?
As I mentioned in an earlier letter anapanasati is suitable for both mohacarita as RoBM mentioned and also the vitakkacaritassa (discursive ) type. The six temperaments come in pairs: so the one of hating temperament is parallel to the one of intelligent temperament in that both are disaffected and do not cling; hating in an unprofitable way and intelligence in a profitable way.
The discursive type has many applied thoughts due to thinking over various aspects. Anapanasati is the meditation which especially stills vitakka and vicara, which both vittakka and mohacarissa types have a lot of. The Visuddhimagga III 122 "Mindfulness of breathing should be developed for the purpose of
cutting off of applied thought.."
Interesting to see that the one of greedy temperament - who when doing any task "acts skillfully, gently evenly and carefully" should ideally not have much time in a sitting posture when trying to develop samatha:"the right kind of posture for him is standing or walking"III 98.
Back to the question: why give the most difficult of all subjects to the one of deluded temperament? Because it is the outstanding one for cutting off thinking, and the deluded temperament conjectures unskillfully about all manner of things. Does this then mean that it is easy to develop? No, as the Visuddhimagga says it is the most difficult. Can the one of deluded temperament develop it then? Yes, if they have the parami etc. No, if not. Remember that one can have enormous skillful parami and still be one of the `not so good` in temperament. This is because the temperament is to a large degree decided by the the type of rebirth producing kamma in this life.
There are also other classifications of recommended objects. Death, maranasati, for example, is recommended for the one of intelligent temperament when considering the carita. But it is recommended for all when considering by way of its great helpfulness (vis. iii 59) Again metta is recommended for the one with hate temperament when considering carita but is said to be good for all when considered by way of its "general usefulness" and "great helpfulness" iii59.
Note that even though metta is said to be especially suitable for the hating type it doesn`t necessarily follow that the one of hating temperament will succeed in developing jhana by using it. The same for breath and the mohacaritassa.
Posted 04 May 2007 - 12:06 PM
I think it is clear that the Buddha's sons means Mahapurisa, those
with great accumulations. When you look at the other 37 objects of
samatha in the Visuddhimagga you will see that only anapanasati is
singled out for this special attention.
I think we see that anapanasati is the samatha object that even the
Buddha's use on the eve of their attainment, it is such a wonderful
object for those who can develop it. But that doesn't mean it is
From visuddimagga 211 viii the pali: Ki~ncaapi hi ya.mki~nci
kamma.t.thaana.m satassa sampajaanasseva sampajjati. Ito
a~n~na.m pana manasikarontassa paaka.ta.m
hoti. Ida.m pana aanaapaanassatikamma.t.thaana.m garuka.m
garukabhaavana.m buddhapaccekabuddhabuddhaputtaana.m mahaapurisaa
na.myeva manasikaarabhuumibhuuta.m, na ceva ittara.m, na ca
ittarasattasamaasevita.m. Yathaa yathaa manasi kariiyati, tathaa
~nceva hoti sukhuma~nca. Tasmaa ettha balavatii sati ca pa~n~naa ca
It is actually a stock phrase in the commentaries with regard to
Patisambhidhimagga -atthakatha anapanassatikatha and in the
Commentary to vinaya
Parajika khanda attakatha
. There are other places too.
Some people get offended that anyone should point out the difficulty
of anapanasati and think this is disparagement. However, it is
helpful for peolple who may have been using this object and have not
had success as then they may consider that other objects are also
recommended by the Buddha, and these may be more suitable. For those
that use anapanasati and are successful then they need no further
help, of course.