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ân'âp'âna-sati

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  • Gabriel Bittar, PhD, Geneva University
    Dear Pali friends, I first wish to thank all those who contribute to make this forum a most useful contribution to a better understanding of the message of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 15, 2002
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      Dear Pali friends,

      I first wish to thank all those who contribute to make this forum a most
      useful contribution to a better understanding of the message of the Buddha.

      Then, after an exchange with Dimitry, whose contributions often plunge me
      in deep thought, I would like to submit to your own light the basic working
      text of ân'âp'âna-sati that is used at Buddhâyatana for bhâvanâ towards
      jhâna. Your contributions could certainly be useful to me and to those who
      practise at Buddhâyatana.

      Metta-cittena.

      --------------

      Hello Dimitry.

      Thank you very much for the Pali Primer, it will be very useful here. I am
      happy that you continue your dedicated work towards Pali translation(s).
      May our paths meet one day - perhaps on Kangaroo Island, where the retreat
      - dedicated, as you probably know, to bhâvanâ and Pali studies - is slowly
      coming to reality.

      >I would like to clarify the meaning of the word 'parimukham' in the
      >phrase 'parimukham satim upa.t.thapeti' from the Satipa.t.thana sutta.
      >
      >Dr. Rhys Davids, quoting Buddhaghosa's commentary 'ure
      >loma-samhara.nam' on the phrase 'parimukham kaaraapeti',
      >from Vin. II.134, suggests the translation 'in front', explaining it as
      >'set up his memory in front of the object of thought'.
      >
      >Thanissaro Bhikkhu mentions the literal translation of 'ure', i.e. on
      >the breast.
      >
      >Bhikkhu Sona in his article
      >http://www2.nethop.net/~birken/texts/NIMITTA.doc
      >writes that 'parimukham' means 'around the entrance' (<'pari' +
      >'mukham'), namely mouth or nose as the entrance of air, drawing on the
      >Patisambhidamagga commentary.
      >
      >Since it is one of the key words in this outstanding sutta, would you
      >please tell your opinion?

      I do agree that it is important to fully understood "pari'mukha.m sati.m
      upa'.t.thapetvâ", because it is a fundamental instruction to a fundamental
      technique (ân'âp'âna-sati).

      ----------
      Paul Cooney has reminded us of the classical (and I believe, good)
      translations:

      "Although the PED lists "pari" and "mukha.m"
      separately as meaning something close to "around", and "mouth" or "face",
      respectively, there is no mention of this meaning in the full word
      parimukham:

      PED: Parimukha (adj.)[pari+mukha] facing, in front; only as nt. adv.
      -.m in front, before, in phrase parimukham satim upa.t.thapeti
      "set up his memory in front" (i.e. of the object of thought), to
      set one's mindfulness alert.

      CHILDERS: Parimukha.m (adv.), in front, before. Parimukha.m sati.m
      upa.t.thahanto, "placing memory directly before him" (Vij.), i.e.
      having his consciousness active and lively.

      WARDER: Parimukha.m (ind.) in front

      ----------
      Some years ago, after a lot of head-scratching, I decided, after some
      experiences in meditation and from what I understood from the litteral
      possibilities for translation (and you have provided some of them - there
      is also my own: "he sets his mindfulness in front of him"), to settle for
      "he lucidly observes his mindfulness".

      That is how I instruct it at Buddhâyatana. The idea expressed in the
      Suttas, I think, is that, with both lucidity and detachment, one observes
      oneself observing (some aspect of reality), and then you can expand to
      yourself observing yourself observing yourself... until this multi-layered
      process of sati-observation dissolves itself, and what is left is pure,
      detached sam'â'dhi and vi'mokha. Well, I have practised for years in this
      way, to my satisfaction, and it is helping me to progress on jhâna.
      Students seem to find this difficult, or confusing, but I encourage them to
      persist (I haven't noticed that it can bring harm), and I think that for a
      couple of them the process seems to have been initiated.

      Whatever, I do not know if I have been useful to you with my answer. But
      perhaps you could yourself help me: I transmit to you thereafter the text
      distributed to practisers (sorry for the neologism) of ân'âp'âna-sati at
      Buddhâyatana. Now if you see possibilities of improvement, I would be most
      interested in your enlightened advice.

      Metta-cittena.

      Gabriel Jîvasattha Bittar

      -------------------------

      A fundamental teaching of Buddha (Sûtra in Sanskrit), related to awareness
      to respiration and its role and use in meditation, is to be found thrice
      within the Sutta-Pi.taka (the "Basket of Teachings", a part of the Pâli
      Canon -the whole of the most ancient buddhistic texts- which is composed
      of 5 Nikâya or Collections). It consists in the "Teaching on mindfulness of
      Breathing" (^An'âp'âna-sati Sutta, Majjhima-Nikâya 118, XII = Anupada Vagga
      8), the 20 Sutta of the "Grouping on Respiration" (^An'âp'âna-Sa.myutta,
      Sa.myutta-Nikâya liv.1-20, V = Mahâ Vagga x.1-20, e.g. liv.13 ^Ananda
      Sutta), and in the "Teaching for Girimânanda" (Girimânanda Sutta,
      A"nguttara-Nikâya X.60, X = Dasaka-Nipâta 60); moreover, the introduction
      and the first four quatrains of this teaching are also to be found in the
      "(Great) Teaching on the establishment of Mindfulness" ((Mahâ)
      Sati-pa.t.thâna Sutta, Dîgha-Nikâya 22 and Majjhima-Nikâya 10), and in the
      "Teaching about mindfulness directed on the Body" (Kâya-gatâ-sati Sutta,
      Majjhima-Nikâya 119).
      (The Pâli terms are given, followed by the corresponding Sanskrit term when
      the latter differs from the Pâli)

      (...)
      The practiser goes to the forest or to any other peaceful place and sits
      down at the foot of a tree, or in any other appropriate place. Crosslegged,
      the body erect, he lucidly observes his mindfulness (pari'mukha.m sati.m
      upa'.t.thapetvâ). He is mindful (sato) of his breathing, of each
      in-breathing (a'ssâsa) and each out-breathing (pa'ssâsa).

      A.1 (1)
      Breathing in long (dîgha), he knows clearly (pa'jânâti) : "I breathe in long".
      Breathing out long, he knows clearly : "I breathe out long".
      A.2 (2)
      Breathing in short (rassa), he knows clearly : "I breathe in short".
      Breathing out short, he knows clearly : "I breathe out short".

      Thus he practices (sikkhati).
      A.3 (3)
      "I breathe in, fully conscious (pa.ti'sa.m'vedî) of the whole body
      (sabba-kâya ; Skt: sarva-kâya).
      I breathe out, fully conscious of the whole body.
      A.4 (4)
      I breathe in, appeasing (pa'ssambhaya.m ; Skt: pra'sjrambh...) the body
      structural flux (kâya-sa"n'khâra; Skt: kâya-sa.m's'kâra).
      I breathe out, appeasing the body structural flux.

      B.1 (5)
      I breathe in, fully conscious of joy (pîti).
      I breathe out, fully conscious of joy.
      B.2 (6)
      I breathe in, fully conscious of harmony (su'kha).
      I breathe out, fully conscious of harmony.

      B.3 (7)
      I breathe in, fully conscious of the mind structural flux
      (citta-sa"n'khâra; Skt: citta-sa.m's'kâra).
      I breathe out, fully conscious of the mind structural flux (process).
      B.4 (8)
      I breathe in, appeasing the mind structural flux (process).
      I breathe out, appeasing the mind structural flux.

      C.1 (9)
      I breathe in, fully conscious of the mind.
      I breathe out, fully conscious of the mind.
      C.2 (10)
      I breathe in, highly gladdening (abhi'p'pamodati) the mind.
      I breathe out, highly gladdening the mind.
      C.3 (11)
      I breathe in, reassembling in composure (sam'â'dahati) the mind.
      I breathe out, reassembling in composure the mind.
      C.4 (12)
      I breathe in, liberating (vi'moceti) the mind.
      I breathe out, liberating the mind.

      D.1 (13)
      I breathe in, and I discern (anu'passî) impermanence (a'nicca; Skt: a'nitya).
      I breathe out, and I discern impermanence.
      D.2 (14)
      I breathe in, and I discern dispassion (vi'râga).
      I breathe out, and I discern dispassion.
      D.3 (15)
      I breathe in, and I discern cessation (ni'rodha).
      I breathe out, and I discern cessation.
      D.4 (16)
      I breathe in, and I discern ultimate relinquishment (pa.ti'nis'sagga ; Skt:
      ni.h'sa"nga).
      I breathe out, and I discern ultimate relinquishment."

      This is how mindfulness of in- and out-breathing (ân'âp'âna-sati) must be
      practised.
      (...)



      ----------------------------------------------------
      I I
      I Jacqueline "Gotamî Jîvarakkhî" Bittar I
      I Dr Gabriel "Ananda Jîvasattha" Bittar, I
      I PhD University of Geneva I
      I email: bittar@... I
      I bittar@... I
      I phone +61 8 8553 7442 , fax +61 8 8553 7444 I
      I mob. ph. +61 4 2743 5148 I
      I I
      I Institut Suisse de Bioinformatique I
      I Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics I
      I http://www.isb-sib.ch/DEA/plan_etudes.html I
      I I
      I Université Bouddhique Européenne I
      I http://perso.club-internet.fr/ube I
      I /programme-intervenants.html I
      I I
      I À Bientôt Seayu Lodge, http://www.seayu.com I
      I I
      I Buddhâyatana, http://www.buddhayatana.org I
      I buddhayatana@... I
      I I
      I 4/5 Warawee road / 34 Falie court I
      I PO box 281, American River, Kangaroo Island I
      I South Australia 5221 I
      I I
      I GMT +9h30 (allow for +1h when "summer time" in SA) I
      I I
      I a'niccâ vata san'khârâ I
      I ( a'niccaa vata san'khaaraa ) I
      I "impermanent are structural fluxes" I
      I "instables sont les flux structurels" I
      I Siddhârtha (Siddhaartha) Gautama Buddha I
      I I
      ----------------------------------------------------
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