satipatthana

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Robert S Johnson, modified 6 Years ago at 12/6/15 11:38 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/5/15 5:35 PM

satipatthana

Posts: 11 Join Date: 12/5/15 Recent Posts
i've noticed that the satipatthana sutta is universally recognized as outlining all the main practices that are needed for insight practice, but among this community, mahasi sayadaws progress of insight, and daniels book there's very little reference to it. what do you folks think about using the sutta as a main reference point in achieving liberation?
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Ian And, modified 6 Years ago at 12/5/15 8:06 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/5/15 8:01 PM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 785 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Robert S Johnson:
i've noticed that the satipatthana sutta is universally recognized as outlining all the main practices that are needed for insight practice, but among this community, saydaws progress of insight, and daniels book there's very little reference to it.

I've been quietly making this point for several years now on this forum, but very few here have any interest in the practice or discussing it.

It is, to be sure, a longer route to take, as most people are focused on a quick fix. However, there are many rewards in store for those who take the long scenic route to self realization.
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tom moylan, modified 6 Years ago at 12/6/15 3:45 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/6/15 11:19 AM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
ditto rush...
robert, i would guess that you haven't searched inside this site for references to satipatthana for there must be many.

https://www.google.de/webhp?ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=FKxkVq2cEseeaO6_l-AJ#q=http:%2F%2Fwww.dharmaoverground.org+satipatthana

although not holding strictly to that sutta as a 'practice manual' I , for one, go back often to it as a reference both during and outside of formal practice.  there are posts here discussing analyo's excellent book(s) on the subject and many lucid commentaries from people here.

the progress of insight is also widely referenced and reccommended here. 

in a forum format it is often so that one checks in and sees some themes but misses others.  i think that the above mentioned sources are well known by many here.

do you have particular questions of comments about them?

cheers

tom
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CJMacie, modified 6 Years ago at 12/7/15 7:13 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/7/15 7:12 AM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
re: Robert S Johnson (12/6/15 11:38 AM)

"… the satipatthana sutta is universally recognized as outlining all the main practices that are needed for insight practice, but among this community, mahasi sayadaws progress of insight, and daniels book there's very little reference to it…."

That's a good point. It (satipatthana) gets mentioned, but nowhere near the emphasis as in the modern mainline Therevada tradition, especially the Burmese Mahasi branch.

A good perspective emerges in contrasting Ven. Analayo's two books with Ajahn Sujato's "AHistory of Mindfulness"*. Analayo takes the viewpoint thatsatipatthana is central to Therevada; as does the Mahasi school; exampled also in the writings of Nyanaponika after he "converted" to the Mahasi viewpoint in the early 1950's.

Sujato paints a historical picture where the satipatthana sutta and the emphasis on it represents the definitive aspect of Theravada as created s/w late in the ETB ("early Buddhist texts) tradition, and dominant ever since, BUT in contrast with much of the emphasis in earlier ETB texts. He interprets, with lots of textual and historical evidence, that the satipatthana sutta was a relatively late fabrication (i.e. less "ETB"), and different than the anapanasati sutta in being more an encyclopedic list of aspects rather than more clearly a path of practice. His take is the earlier emphasis was on samadhi, and the satipatthana originally as stages thereof, while the later approach reframes satipatthana as more purely vipassana practice.

This may correspond to a general emphasis in the modern Burmese traditions, notably Mahasi, on vipassana as distinct from samadhi, whereas in the Thai "Forest" traditions – Sujato's lineage, as well as Thanissaro Bhikku's – there's less abdhidhamma-like analytical distinction between samadhi and vipassana, and more a smooth flowing-together of the two in practice.

That said, I've found, as I delve more deeply into the writings and practice methods of both traditions, the difference is more stylistic than substantive, than dogmatic. The great teachers in on both side would be more likely to agree with each other about the essential nature of the path, just seeing from slightly different historically conditioned perspectives. It's more the followers, the fanatic "fans" who harp on the differences, create the jhana-wars, the vipassana-vs-samadhi dogmas. That is to say, assertions that such-and-such (a) is the correct way, and others (b) are not, is more saying that, in the lineage of "my" training (on which ever side), method (a) is proven to work (pragmatically), and from this viewpoint of training and practice, (b) might not work as well.

* Analayo's first book is now available to download from the internet (free), as is Sujato's. I can look-up the links, if anyone's interested.
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CJMacie, modified 6 Years ago at 12/7/15 7:16 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/7/15 7:14 AM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
re: Ian And (12/5/15 8:06 PM as a reply to Robert S Johnson)

"It is, to be sure, a longer route to take, as most people are focused on a quick fix. However, there are many rewards in store for those who take the long scenic route
to self realization."


Good characterization, Ian And.

The highly detailed satipatthana approach, as well as the extensively drawn-out stages in the Visudhimagga, are both comprehensive mappings, within which any individual practitioner may take (pragmatically) some more specific route to the goal.

Note that in his satipatthana books, Analayo points out, again and again, that at many specific places in the satipatthana stages it possible for the practitioner to go directly to break-through realization (as amply documented throughout the sutta-s).

Similarly, once asking Ven. U. Jagara about the long, involved trek depicted in the Visudhimagga, he confirmed that it's more an encyclopedic overview, a map of all the possibilities, within which any individual practitioner may steer a more selective (and pragmatic) route to the same goal.

At least this (my) interpretation helps me from going nuts, from despair, when confronted with the immensity of the task taking the satipatthana or Visudhimagga paths as absolute necessities in every detail. It's for sure a "gradual path", but ripens in various ways for various individuals.
Causes & Conditions, modified 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 11:55 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/7/15 12:16 PM

RE: satipatthana (Answer)

Posts: 48 Join Date: 2/27/15 Recent Posts
I've always felt that Mahasi Noting is pretty faithful to the spirit and content of the satipatthana sutta. That's one of the reasons I like it so much.
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Robert S Johnson, modified 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 1:08 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 1:06 AM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 11 Join Date: 12/5/15 Recent Posts
thanks for all the feedback, guys. after reveiwing the sathipatthana a little more, your feedback, and the progress of insight, it seems like the satipatthana outlines some of the practices to be done in conjunction with the progress of insight. For example, per the wiki on the Mind and Body, even the very first stage is showing 2 of the four foundations:

"In this way, the meditator knows for themselves that thoughts are just thoughts, physical sensations are just physical sensations, and these are the objects that arise in the field of awareness. This is an important initial insight, and serves as the basis for subsequent insights, the next being Cause and Effect."

i wouldn't want to get things all jumbled up and do a sort of mixture of satthipathana and mahasi style practice, but it does seem that the progress of insight was in some ways informed by the satipatthana. kinda thinking that one would be able to get some progress in the stages of insight by by doing the steps outlined in the satipatthana? does that make sense? sorry for the ramble, sorta piecing this together. your thoughts and clarification are greatly appreciated. emoticon
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Noah, modified 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 2:27 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 2:27 AM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 1467 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
http://buddhismnow.com/2013/09/12/vipassana-as-taught-by-the-mahasi-sayadaw-of-burma/

This article talks about how Mahasi reccomended focus on the belly and not the nostrils so as to avoid too much absorption.  This allowed for the effects of karmic purification to be played out in the body (which I suspect account for a large portion of the effects of the nanas).  I would suggest that you assume that the same territory is being covered whether you go samatha or vipassana.  For instance, if you spent a week doing samatha, and then switched to vipassana, you might still have a similar cutting edge, and be able to switch between the two lenses fairly smoothly.  In other words, its all good.
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tom moylan, modified 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 3:20 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 3:20 AM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Hi Robert,
i think its important to remember that sati means mindfulness.  there are lots of takes on the exact meaning of sati though.  recently i've been drawn to ajahn succito's rough definition of sati as "bearing in mind".  while this doesn't purport to get into all of the important specific qualities of what comprises sati, it is a good simple working definition.

you mention "noting".  this is strictly a method to empower sati. there are other methods one could use but one of the important goals of any of the possible methods is to short circuit our minds' natural tendency to proliferate endless chains of thoughs.  recollecting our reason for meditating, bringing our attention back to the chosen object again and again and again is part of the initial practice and subsequent 'training'.

analayo points out in his books that one can use / view the satipatthana sutta as either an escalating ascending practice where one goes through the steps and instructions as they are written down in order, OR one can take any aspect (patthana) as a practice and strive for perfection there.  above all he emphasizes the movement from the gross to the subtle  body -> feeling -> mind -> categories of experience.

ajahn succito's take looks at the four patthanas as intersecting domains which need to be contemplated in a balanced way.  on any day one's abilities, preoccupations, desires, mental clarity may predispose one to contemplate one or another of the four patthanas more or  less effectively.  the implication is that one should be flexible within the limiits of ones abilities.

so, i don't think you are 'jumbling up' anything by applying 'noting' as a method to the different contemplations in this AWESOME sutta. 

tom
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Robert S Johnson, modified 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 8:06 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 8:06 PM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 11 Join Date: 12/5/15 Recent Posts
[quote=]although not holding strictly to that sutta as a 'practice manual' I , for one, go back often to it as a reference both during and outside of formal practice. 

Duly noted. I have found the sutta extremely powerful during daily life. Especially the bits about the body, feelings, and postures. Noting mentally what posture I'm in at a given moment during mundane activities really seems to bring me into the present moment, eliminates (to a certain extent) unecessarry anxiety, idle thoughts, and keeps a certain momentum throughout the day that carries into meditaion practice.
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Robert S Johnson, modified 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 9:59 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 9:55 PM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 11 Join Date: 12/5/15 Recent Posts
Thanks for the feedback Chris J Macie! It'd be awesome if you could provide a link to Analayo's book, I'm not familiar with any of the works that you've mentioned and was unaware that there were disagreements (samadhi/vipassana) about the functionality of satipatthana. 
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Robert S Johnson, modified 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 10:35 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/10/15 10:35 PM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 11 Join Date: 12/5/15 Recent Posts
Thanks a lot Tom, that makes a lot of sense. I found it interesting how you mentioned that one of the primary objectives of sati is to short circuit the minds tendancy to embark on endless, unhelpful chains of thought, that's exactly what happens when I engage with one or another of the foundations during the day when I'm off the cushion, really seems to ground me in whatever I'm doing and brings a spirit of whole-heartedness to actions.
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CJMacie, modified 6 Years ago at 12/11/15 9:03 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/11/15 8:52 AM

RE: satipatthana -- book links

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
Robert S Johnson:
...  a link to Analayo's book, I'm not familiar with any of the works that you've mentioned and was unaware that there were disagreements (samadhi/vipassana) about the functionality of satipatthana. 


This has the text ( 1.3 MB ):

https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg.de/pdf/5-personen/analayo/direct-path.pdf

This has the whole book, cover, images, graphs and all ( 73.3 MB ):

https://ahandfulofleaves.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/satipatthana_direct-path_analayo_free-distribution-copy2.pdf


Here's a link to Ajahn Sujato's book:

http://santifm.org/santipada/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/A_History_of_Mindfulness_Bhikkhu_Sujato.pdf
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Marek Mark, modified 6 Years ago at 12/11/15 10:44 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/11/15 10:43 AM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 40 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Noah:
http://buddhismnow.com/2013/09/12/vipassana-as-taught-by-the-mahasi-sayadaw-of-burma/

This article talks about how Mahasi reccomended focus on the belly and not the nostrils so as to avoid too much absorption.  This allowed for the effects of karmic purification to be played out in the body (which I suspect account for a large portion of the effects of the nanas).  I would suggest that you assume that the same territory is being covered whether you go samatha or vipassana.  For instance, if you spent a week doing samatha, and then switched to vipassana, you might still have a similar cutting edge, and be able to switch between the two lenses fairly smoothly.  In other words, its all good.

Great article! Thanks

It's good to know that noting technique and bare attention technique are two different techniques that lead to the same result:

"So we don’t have to worry about when to stop noting. It will stop once we have arrived at a high enough level of awareness and concentration. Such moments of pure vipassana are usually of very short duration, but they have great potential for insight. These moments are known as khanika samadhi, momentary concentration which lengthen into a moment-to-moment concentrated awareness."


I reached state of khanika samadhi last week on third day of my personal retreat practicing just bare attention. How long it takes to achieve khanika samadhi with noting technique during retreat?
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Robert S Johnson, modified 6 Years ago at 12/11/15 9:15 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 12/11/15 9:15 PM

RE: satipatthana

Posts: 11 Join Date: 12/5/15 Recent Posts
Thanks a lot, Noah! That was a fantastic article, I really like the parts about bringing mindfulness into daily activities, reducing the hierarchy between mundane activities, walking sitting eating, etc. I've found this to be helpful in my own practice.