- 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.
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 theI do agree that it is important to fully understood "pari'mukha.m sati.m
>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
>Bhikkhu Sona in his article
>writes that 'parimukham' means 'around the entrance' (<'pari' +
>'mukham'), namely mouth or nose as the entrance of air, drawing on the
>Since it is one of the key words in this outstanding sutta, would you
>please tell your opinion?
upa'.t.thapetvâ", because it is a fundamental instruction to a fundamental
Paul Cooney has reminded us of the classical (and I believe, good)
"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
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.
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,
(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).
Breathing in long (dîgha), he knows clearly (pa'jânâti) : "I breathe in long".
Breathing out long, he knows clearly : "I breathe out long".
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).
"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.
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.
I breathe in, fully conscious of joy (pîti).
I breathe out, fully conscious of joy.
I breathe in, fully conscious of harmony (su'kha).
I breathe out, fully conscious of harmony.
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).
I breathe in, appeasing the mind structural flux (process).
I breathe out, appeasing the mind structural flux.
I breathe in, fully conscious of the mind.
I breathe out, fully conscious of the mind.
I breathe in, highly gladdening (abhi'p'pamodati) the mind.
I breathe out, highly gladdening the mind.
I breathe in, reassembling in composure (sam'â'dahati) the mind.
I breathe out, reassembling in composure the mind.
I breathe in, liberating (vi'moceti) the mind.
I breathe out, liberating the mind.
I breathe in, and I discern (anu'passî) impermanence (a'nicca; Skt: a'nitya).
I breathe out, and I discern impermanence.
I breathe in, and I discern dispassion (vi'râga).
I breathe out, and I discern dispassion.
I breathe in, and I discern cessation (ni'rodha).
I breathe out, and I discern cessation.
I breathe in, and I discern ultimate relinquishment (pa.ti'nis'sagga ; Skt:
I breathe out, and I discern ultimate relinquishment."
This is how mindfulness of in- and out-breathing (ân'âp'âna-sati) must be
I Jacqueline "Gotamî Jîvarakkhî" Bittar I
I Dr Gabriel "Ananda Jîvasattha" Bittar, I
I PhD University of Geneva I
I email: bittar@... I
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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