Introduction to 3.8.4 Ānāpānassatisuttaṃ cont. - How does the full Cultivation of Ānāpānassati nurture full Development of the four Satipaṭṭhāna?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Introduction to 3.8.4 - Ānāpānassatisuttaṃ cont.
How does the full Cultivation of Ānāpānassati nurture full Development of the four Satipaṭṭhāna?
Ānāpānassati has been praised from ancient times as an “object that supports the development of concentration through awareness of inhalation and exhalation.”
“Here, just as a man who tames a calf would tie it to a post,
He likewise should firmly fix his mind to the object of awareness.”
The following simile illustrates how to implement an object that supports the development of concentration through awareness of inhalation and exhalation.4
Araññagato vā rukkhamūlagato vā suññāgāragato vāti idamassa ānāpānassatisamādhibhāvanānurūpasenāsanapariggahaparidīpana5: Imassa hi bhikkhuno dīgharattaṃ rūpādīsu ārammaṇesu anuvisaṭaṃ cittaṃ ānāpānassatisamādhiārammaṇaṃ abhiruhituṃ6 na icchati, kūṭagoṇayuttaratho viya uppathameva dhāvati. Tasmā seyyathāpi nāma gopo kūṭadhenuyā7 sabbaṃ khīraṃ pivitvā vaḍḍhitaṃ kūṭavacchaṃ dametukāmo dhenuto apanetvā ekamante mahantaṃ thambhaṃ nikhaṇitvā8 tattha yottena bandheyya, athassa so vaccho ito cito ca vipphanditvā9 palāyituṃ10 asakkonto tameva thambhaṃ upanisīdeyya vā upanipajjeyya vā, evameva imināpi bhikkhunā dīgharattaṃ rūpārammaṇādirasapānavaḍḍhitaṃ11 duṭṭhacittaṃ dametukāmena rūpādiārammaṇato apanetvā araññaṃ vā rukkhamūla suññāgāraṃ vā pavesetvā tattha assāsapassāsathambhe satiyottena bandhitabbaṃ. Evamassa taṃ cittaṃ ito cito ca vipphanditvāpi pubbe āciṇṇārammaṇaṃ12 alabhamānaṃ13 satiyottaṃ chinditvā palāyituṃ asakkontaṃ tamevārammaṇaṃ upacārappanāvasena upanisīdati ceva upanipajjati ca.–
‘Gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to a vacant spot’ illustrates a (suitable) resting place for implementation of an object that supports the development of concentration through awareness of inhalation and exhalation.
The Bhikkhu’s mind has for long periods been scattered among visible objects (and objects of other sense doors) as its nucleus. So it does not incline to focus on the object of concentration through awareness of inhalation and exhalation and runs off track like a chariot harnessed to an untamed, wild bull. Now, imagine a cowherd wanted to tame a wild calf that had been raised on the milk of a wild cow - he would remove it from the cow and fasten it with a rope separately to a strong post dug into the ground; then the calf having struggled by rushing back and forth but being unable to get away would eventually sit or lie down by the post.
So too, when a Bhikkhu wants to tame his own mind which has been debauched by long periods adhering to visible objects (and objects of other sense doors) as its essence and beverage, then after having removed it from those objects of sense and entered the forest or the root of a tree or a vacant spot he should fasten it through the binding of awareness to the pillar of inhalation and exhalation. Likewise, his mind then will struggle by hastening back and forth but being fastened by the binding of awareness not able to reach those objects that he formerly indulged in, he (finally) rests or settles with this object (of inhalation and exhalation) under the influence of access and absorption (concentration).
The current selection from the important Ānāpānassatisutta delineates in detail the practise of ānāpānassati. The sutta was uttered by the Buddha at an occasion when he was dwelling at Sāvatthi in the Pubbārāme monastery that had been donated by Visākhā, also known as Migāramāta.
For the purpose of this ETP-presentation the sutta itself had to be divided into three parts:
The first part was presented in chapter one: ‘So Fortunate who Encounters’. This selection of texts portrayed the rare opportunity in the current era for beings actually able to encounter and apply the teaching of the Buddha and gaining inspiration through the example of those who walked on the Noble Path. The Ānāpānassatisutta was held at the Uposatha-day on the full moon night ending the four-month’s rain retreat. Then and there the Buddha surveyed the Bhikkhus that had assembled and contented with their attainments he extolled their qualities, achievements and dedication to their practice of meditation. Thus, this first part was posted under chapter one.14
The last part of the Ānāpānassatisutta was presented in the previous chapter: Sammāvāyāmo–right effort. Here the Saṃvarasutta highlights how a follower of the path should put forth right mental vigour and exert oneself to develop the four crucial endeavours– cattāro sammā padhānāni: (saṃvarappadhānaṃ, pahānappadhānaṃ, bhāvanāppadhānaṃ, anurakkhaṇāppadhānaṃ)15. Such exertion of bhāvanāppadhānaṃ supports the development of the seven factors of enlightenment. So, when the last part of the Ānāpānassatisutta describes, how through ānāpāna and the fulfilment of the four satipaṭṭhānā the seven factors of enlightenment get perfected (cattāro satipaṭṭhānā evaṃ bahulīkatā satta sambojjhaṅge paripūrenti) it was felt quite suitable to add this selection to the previous chapter.16
Now the current part, the middle part actually presents the core fragment of this sutta. It may again be divided in two parts:
· How ānāpāna is practised
· How ānāpāna fosters the four satipaṭṭhānā – kāyānupassanā, vedanānupassanā, cittānupassanā, dhammānupassanā
While the practice in the first part, describing the method of ānāpāna – observation of inhalation and exhalation, is analogous to the progress described in the previous lesson,17 the second part links the respective satipaṭṭhānā to evolving achievements for a meditator.18
As a start, the observation of the incoming and outgoing breath focuses on the selected triangle between upper nostril and upper lip where the breath is felt easy:
‘‘Parimukhaṃ satiṃ upaṭṭhapetvā’’ti … Ayaṃ sati upaṭṭhitā hoti supaṭṭhitā nāsikagge vā mukhanimitte vā. Tena vuccati ‘‘parimukhaṃ satiṃ upaṭṭhapetvā’’ti.19
“He fixes his awareness in the area around the mouth.” … This awareness is fixed, gets firmly fixed anywhere between the upper part of the nostril and the centre of the upper lip. This is what is called: “He fixes his awareness in the area around the mouth.”
The simile of the gatekeeper specifies how through ānāpānassati such development of concentration gets fortified20:
“A gatekeeper does not check on people inside and outside of a settlement, asking, ‘Who are you? Where have you come from? Where are you going? What have you got in your hand?’ as this is not his duty—but he examines each one who arrives at the gate. In the same way for a bhikkhu the incoming breaths that have gone inside and the outgoing breaths that have gone outside are not of his concern—but they are his concern once they enter at the entrance (of the nose) itself.”
This continuous observation of short and long in-coming and out-going breaths proceeds in progressive steps with the training (sikkhati) of feeling or experiencing the whole body– ‘sabbakāyappaṭisaṃvedī’ which results in the calming of all physical reactions– ‘passambhayaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ’. Through the observation of the breath and the resultant experience of quietened activities and the emerging calmness within a formerly gross and coarse body the meditator gets enabled to feel a subtle body within bodies–kāyesu kāyaññatara:
Because before the time of taking up (concentration) the Bhikkhu’s body and mind are distressed and gross. And with the grossness of body and mind not yet waned, inhalation and exhalation are gross. … When they get calmed then inhalation and exhalation ensue so subtle that one has to investigate: ‘do they exist or not?’
These steps represent the practise of kāye kāyānupassanā described by the Buddha thus:
Kāyesu kāyaññatarāhaṃ, bhikkhave, evaṃ vadāmi yadidaṃ– assāsapassāsā. Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, kāye kāyānupassī tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhu viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ.
When I say: ‘a certain body within bodies’, Bhikkhus, it is inhalation and exhalation.23 In this way Bhikkhus, at that time the Bhikkhu dwells observing body in body, ardent with awareness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence, detached, having removed craving and aversion towards anything in the world.
Vedanānupassanā is the training (sikkhati) to experience along with respiration mental bliss– ‘pītippaṭisaṃvedī’, on base of which happiness– ‘sukhappaṭisaṃvedī’ gets fostered. Both, mental rapture and resultant physical pleasure are being reflected in respective sensations. On the base of these, one trains oneself observing and experiencing conditioned reaction on the mental level– ‘cittasaṅkhārappaṭisaṃvedī’ and the calming of mental activity– ‘passambhayaṃ cittasaṅkhāraṃ’.24 The Buddha endorses that everything that arises in the mind flows along with sensations 25: ‘vedanāsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā’26.
Cittasaṅkhāro here refers to the two aggregates of sensation and perception: ‘perception and sensation are mental co-efficients, are bound up with the mind, are conditioned reactions of the mind’.27 In the field of deeper insight of vipassanā one experiences mental bliss and physical happiness: ‘‘sukhanti dve sukhāni kāyikañca sukhaṃ cetasikañcā’’ti.
So, likewise, along with the tranquilized mental activity the character of the entailed sensations changes – from previously crude and gross sensations one starts experiencing a subtle and refined undercurrent during the arising, staying and disappearance of sensations28:
Vedanāsu vedanāññatarāhaṃ, bhikkhave, evaṃ vadāmi yadidaṃ– assāsapassāsānaṃ sādhukaṃ manasikāraṃ. Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, vedanāsu vedanānupassī tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhu viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ.
When I say, ‘a certain sensation in sensations’, Bhikkhus, it is well established attention to inhalation and exhalation. In this way Bhikkhus, at that time the Bhikkhu dwells observing sensations in sensations, ardent with awareness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence, detached, having removed craving and aversion towards anything in the world.
Thus, observation of the in-breath and out-breath inevitably leads to feeling the whole body and further points to the importance of feeling sensations in their impermanent character of arising and passing away29.
The next step is cittānupassanā–the training of observing the characteristics of the mind in mind along with respiration is realised through the attainment of (the four) jhāna30: Experiencing the mind–‘cittapaṭisaṃvedī’, delighting the mind–‘abhippamodayaṃ cittaṃ’31, concentrating the mind–‘samādahaṃ cittaṃ’ and liberating the mind–‘vimocayaṃ cittaṃ’.32
Even so in all the steps the concluding emphasis is the same: ‘tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhu viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ’ – the significance of sati and sampajāno - maintaining constant thorough awareness that focuses on the impermanent nature of the sensations is particularly underlined with cittānupassanā:
Nāhaṃ, bhikkhave, muṭṭhassatissa asampajānassa ānāpānassatiṃ vadāmi.33 Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, citte cittānupassī tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhu viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ.
I say, Bhikkhus, one who forgets awareness and does not maintain proper constant thorough understanding does not practise ānāpānassati. In this way, Bhikkhus, at that time the Bhikkhu dwells observing mind in mind, ardent with awareness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence, detached, having removed craving and aversion towards anything in the world.
With dhammānupassanā an efficacious meditator enters the field of anatta. Literally the prefix ‘anu-’ determines the notion of motion: ‘along with, following after, on to’: ‘anu + passī’ can be translated as: ‘keeps observing, continuously witnesses’. The meditator commences with the training of understanding impermanence–‘aniccānupassī’– by properly witnessing and realising what is anicca, dukkha and anatta which results in the rejection of the illusion of permanency, happiness and self.34 On the base of well established equanimity–‘sādhukaṃ ajjhupekkhitā’– the meditator then proceeds with the (training of) discernment of realising dispassion–‘virāgānupassī’, accomplishing cessation–‘nirodhānupassī’ and achieving relinquishment–‘paṭinissaggānupassī’35.
So yaṃ taṃ abhijjhādomanassānaṃ pahānaṃ taṃ paññāya disvā sādhukaṃ ajjhupekkhitā hoti. Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, dhammesu dhammānupassī tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhu viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ.
Thus having discarded covetousness and anguish and having realised such abandonment on the base of wisdom he continues with attentiveness and equanimity. In this way, Bhikkhus, at that time the Bhikkhu dwells observing mental contents in mental contents, ardent with awareness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence, detached, having removed craving and aversion towards anything in the world.
Refering to dhammānupassanā the commentary points to the removal of the first two of the hindrances:36 ettha abhijjhāya kāmacchandanīvaraṇaṃ, domanassavasena byāpādanīvaraṇaṃ dassitaṃ. This abandoning is based on full comprehension and wisdom –‘abhijjhādomanassānaṃ pahānaṃ taṃ paññāya disvā’– by insight which means with full knowledge of the factual abandonment of the nīvaraṇa:
Pahānanti aniccānupassanāya niccasaññaṃ pajahatīti evaṃ pahānakarañāṇaṃ adhippetaṃ.37 Taṃ paññāya disvāti taṃ aniccavirāganirodhapaṭinissaggāñāṇasaṅkhātaṃ pahānañāṇaṃ aparāya vipassanāpaññāya, tampi aparāyāti evaṃ vipassanāparamparaṃ dasseti.
The act of removal takes place with the understanding of impermanence and through eliminating the perception of permanence that is what is meant. Thus, having seen with wisdom that abandoning by means of what is called ‘knowledge of impermanence, dispassion, cessation and relinquishment’ and through ensuing insight by vipassanā he comprehends further by progressive steps of vipassanā.
Ajjhupekkhitā hotīti yañca samathapaṭipannaṃ38 ajjhupekkhati, yañca ekato upaṭṭhānaṃ ajjhupekkhatīti dvidhā ajjhupekkhati nāma.
‘He continues with (attentiveness and) equanimity’: He maintains equanimity along with the tranquillity he has entered upon by attending to it as if it was one, thus he maintains twofold equanimity.
How truly it has been said:
Anupubbaṃ paricitā, yathā buddhena desitā;
Somaṃ lokaṃ pabhāseti, abbhā muttova candimā’’ti.39
One who has practised Ānāpānassati progressively,
As the Buddha taught, well developed and accomplished,
Illuminates the world like the moon,
When completely freed of any clouds.
1 thambho: post, pillar
2 satiyārammaṇe: sati + y + ārammaṇe: awareness + support, object, base
3 Ānāpānassatikathā, Anussatikammaṭṭhānaniddeso, Visuddhimaggo – likewise all following quotes.
4 Tena vuttaṃ ‘‘idamassa ānāpānassatisamādhibhāvanānurūpasenāsanapariggahaparidīpana’’nti.
5 ānāpānassatisamādhibhāvanānurūpasenāsanapariggahaparidīpana: ānāpāna + s + sati + samādhi + bhāvanā + anurūpa + senāsa + n +apariggaha + paridīpana: inhalation-exhalation + awareness + concentration + development + according to + bed, resting place + occupation, including, embracing + explanation, illustration
6 abhiruhituṃ: to ascend, mount
7 kūṭadhenuyā: kūṭa + dhenuyā: untamed + cow
8 nikhaṇitvā: having dug into
9 vipphanditvā: having struggled
10 palāyituṃ: to escape, run away
11 rūpārammaṇādirasapānavaḍḍhitaṃ: rūpa +ārammaṇa +ādi + rasa + pāna + vaḍḍhitaṃ: form + object +and so forth + taste + drink + reared, brought up
12 āciṇṇārammaṇaṃ: āciṇṇa +ārammaṇa: practised + object
13 alabhamānaṃ: not gaining, loss of
18 It may be worthwhile mentioning, even so it goes without saying that reading and intellectual pursuit of such suttas should always result and stir to exercise what is described as the benefits and achievements that can be expected (here of ānāpānassati) may be realized and comprehended only by someone who actually applies to practise!
19 Jhānavibhaṅgo, Suttantabhājanīyaṃ, Abhidhammapiṭake, Vibhaṅgapāḷi
20 Ayaṃ pana dovārikūpamā – seyyathāpi dovāriko nagarassa anto ca bahi ca purise ‘‘ko tvaṃ, kuto vā āgato, kuhiṃ vā gacchasi, kiṃ vā te hatthe’’ti na vīmaṃsati. Na hi tassa te bhārā, dvārappattaṃ dvārappattaṃyeva pana vīmaṃsati, evameva imassa bhikkhuno antopaviṭṭhavātā ca bahinikkhantavātā ca na bhārā honti, dvārappattā dvārappattāyeva bhārāti ayaṃ dovārikūpamā.
21 apariggahitakāle: a + pariggahita + kale: not + being occupied + time, period
22 vicetabbatākārappattā: vicetabbata + ākāra + p + pattā: should investigate + making + obtained
23 The commentary relates kāyesu kāyaññatarāhaṃ to the ‘air-body’ as a certain body among the four primaries: Kāyaññataranti pathavīkāyādīsu catūsu kāyesu aññataraṃ vadāmi, vāyo kāyaṃ vadāmīti attho
24 Passambhayaṃ cittasaṅkhāranti oḷārikaṃ oḷārikaṃ cittasaṅkhāraṃ passambhento, nirodhentoti attho.
25 Mūlakasuttaṃ, Sativaggo, Satisampajaññasuttaṃ, Aṭṭhakanipātapāḷi, Dutiyapaṇṇāsakaṃ, Aṅguttaranikāyo
26 see also: 3.8.7 Vedanānupassanā – The particular Importance of Vedanā
27 ‘‘saññā ca vedanā ca cetasikā ete dhammā cittapaṭibaddhā cittasaṅkhārā’’ti
28 The commentary refers to the pleasant sensations as one type of the three kinds of sensations: Vedanāññataranti tīsu vedanāsu aññataraṃ, sukhavedanaṃ sandhāyetaṃ vuttaṃ
29 For a successful meditator this process results in higher achievements through the attainments of the first two jhānic factors. While it is said that the first tedrad of kāyānupassī is the beginning point–‘yasmā panettha idameva catukkaṃ ādikammikassa kammaṭṭhānavasena vuttaṃ’– the following steps, vedanā + citta + dhammānupassanā demand the attainment of jhāna:–‘Itarāni pana tīṇi catukkāni ettha pattajjhānassa vedanācittadhammānupassanāvasena vuttāni’.
The commentary points out that respective sensations and experience of mental bliss–‘pītippaṭisaṃvedī’ and happiness–‘sukhappaṭisaṃvedī’ needs to be realized in two ways, as object itself and based on non-confusion or non-illusion: Tattha dvīhākārehi pīti paṭisaṃviditā hoti ārammaṇato ca asammohato ca.
Mental bliss is experienced as object when one attains the two jhānas in which mental bliss is present. At that time mental bliss is experienced as object owing to the attainment of jhāna, because of experiencing directly the object–mental bliss. – Kathaṃ ārammaṇato pīti paṭisaṃviditā hoti? Sappītike dve jhāne samāpajjati. Tassa samāpattikkhaṇe jhānapaṭilābhena ārammaṇato pīti paṭisaṃviditā hoti, ārammaṇassa paṭisaṃviditattā.
Mental bliss is experienced without confusion when after entering upon and emerging from one of the two jhānas accompanied by mental bliss one grasps that the object–mental bliss, associated with jhāna, is subject to destruction and decay. Here at the moment of insight mental bliss is experienced without confusion owing to the penetration of its characteristics of impermanence. – Kathaṃ asammohato? Sappītike dve jhāne samāpajjitvā vuṭṭhāya jhānasampayuttaṃ pītiṃ khayato vayato sammasati. Tassa vipassanākkhaṇe lakkhaṇapaṭivedhena asammohato pīti paṭisaṃviditā hoti.
30 Tatiyacatukkepi catunnaṃ jhānānaṃ vasena cittapaṭisaṃveditā veditabbā
31 A meditator who attaines jhāna realises impermanence through concentration and vipassanā: Tattha dvīhākārehi abhippamodo hoti samādhivasena ca vipassanāvasena ca.
Through concentration: At the moment of entering the two jhāna associated with bliss he gladdens, stills and rejoices the mind through the bliss associated with it. – Kathaṃ samādhivasena? Sappītike dve jhāne samāpajjati. So samāpattikkhaṇe sampayuttapītiyā cittaṃ āmodeti pamodeti.
Through vipassanā he realizes when entering and emerging the two jhāna associated with bliss that the bliss and happiness that accompanies jhānic states is likewise bound to destruction and disappearance. He then at that actual moment of vipassanā gladdens, stills and rejoices the mind by making the bliss associated with jhāna the object. –Kathaṃ vipassanāvasena? Sappītike dve jhāne samāpajjitvā vuṭṭhāya jhānasampayuttapītiṃ khayato vayato sammasati. Evaṃ vipassanākkhaṇe jhānasampayuttaṃ pītiṃ ārammaṇaṃ katvā cittaṃ āmodeti pamodeti.
 ‘Liberating the mind’ happens only on account of the achievement of the four jhāna while through the first one attains liberation from the hindrances, release from vitakkavicāra through the second, from bliss by means of the third and pleasure and pain by means of the fourth: Vimocayaṃ cittanti paṭhamajjhānena nīvaraṇehi cittaṃ mocento vimocento, dutiyena vitakkavicārehi, tatiyena pītiyā, catutthena sukhadukkhehi cittaṃ mocento vimocento.
33 PTS has here: Nāhaṃ bhikkhave, muṭṭhassatissa asampajānassa ānāpānasatibhāvanaṃ vadāmi.
34 Anupassatīti, kathaṃ anupassati? Aniccato anupassati, no niccato. Dukkhato anupassati, no sukhato. Anattato anupassati, no attato. Nibbindati, no nandati. Virajjati, no rajjati. Nirodheti, no samudeti. Paṭinissajjati, no ādiyati. Aniccato anupassanto niccasaññaṃ pajahati. Dukkhato anupassanto sukhasaññaṃ, anattato anupassanto attasaññaṃ, nibbindanto nandiṃ, virajjanto rāgaṃ, nirodhento samudayaṃ paṭinissajjanto ādānaṃ pajahati
Bhaṅgānupassanāñāṇakathā; also Bhaṅgānupassanāñāṇaniddeso, Mahāvaggo, Paṭisambhidāmaggapāḷi, Khuddakanikāye
35 paṭinissaggo: paṭi + nissaggo: letting go, renouncing, relinquishment, handing over – refers to two aspects:
a) of letting go entirely of all kind of worldly desires and defilements and b) the realisation of (entering into) nibbāna by means of ‘leaping towards’ the respective opposites (tabbiparīte) of what is formed as a heap of defilements (and suffering) and what is impermanent - gained through inside knowledge of vipassana: Paṭinissaggānupassīti etthāpi dve paṭinissaggā pariccāgapaṭinissaggo ca pakkhandanapaṭinissaggo ca. Vipassanā hi tadaṅgavasena saddhiṃ khandhābhisaṅkhārehi kilese pariccajati, saṅkhatadosadassanena ca tabbiparīte nibbāne tanninnatāya pakkhandatīti pariccāgapaṭinissaggo ceva pakkhandanapaṭinissaggoti ca vuccati.
37 adhippetaṃ: meant, understood
38 samathapaṭipannaṃ: samatha + paṭipanno: tranquillity, calm + obtaining, entering on
39 Mahākappinattheragāthā, Dasakanipāto, Theragāthāpāḷi
Pāli lesson (with audio) 3.8.4
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