Id like to consider some of your other points and quotes on focus and
without lapse, but this is not so simple at all, I find;-) Im quoting
extracts from more than one of your posts..pls excuse the cut and paste
> 2)Focus and `unbroken mindfulness'
>....... As we know from our abhidhamma studies, sati
> unbroken or continuous but is a skilful mental state arising
> with a specific citta (consciousnes) in the javana (`running-
Then why does this seem to directly contradict the Buddha's teaching
on Right Mindfulness (from the Anapanasati Sutta): "On whatever
occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself --
ardent, alert, & mindful -- putting aside greed & distress with
reference to the world, on that occasion his mindfulness is steady &
Like Num, I find it helpful to look at different translations;
B.Bodhis translation Anapanasati Sutta, in MN p945:
That is why on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a
body, ardent, fully aware and mindful, having put away covetousnes and
grief for the world.
The same translation is used later. Covetousness and grief refer to lobha
(attachment) and dosa (aversion) as I understand. He doesnt refer to
focus or without lapse, though I agree with your comments about the
limitations of contemplating...Id prefer being aware perhaps.
Erik, may I just point out a few dificulties which I find when we read
suttas such as this one:
1.For most of us we depend on translations and our very limited
2. Translations can vary a lot and inevitably reflect the understanding of
the translator. Studying the Pali itself will reflect our own undestanding
and be limited in this regard also.
3. Sometimes the references are to jhana attainment and sometimes to
satipatthana. We need to carefully distinguish. For example, in the
paragraph following the one quoted here, we read I shall breathe in
experiencing rapture. Rapture can refer to the state attained in the
jhanas and also be an object of insight. Concentrating the mind
sometimes refers to concentration pertaining to jhanas and sometimes to
momentary concentration arising with insight and so on.
How do you regard what the Buddha says here about mindfulness as a
factor of awakening being "steady and without lapse", compared to
sati merely being "a skilful mental state arising momentarily with a
specific citta"? By way of personal preference, I prefer the direct
words of the Buddha over other interpretations, since some appear to
directly contradict the words of the Buddha regarding mindfulness as
an enlightenment factor: "When his mindfulness is steady & without
lapse, then mindfulness as a factor of awakening becomes aroused. He
develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its
Ok Im checking BBs translation for this quote, p946 :
Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body a
a body, ardent, fully aware, and mindul, having put away covetousness and
grief for the world - on that occasion unremitting mindfulness is
established in him. On whatever occasion unremitting mindfulness is
established in a bhikkhu - on that occasion the mindfulness enlightenment
factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development, it comes
to fulfilment in him.
Abiding thus mindful, he investigates and examines that state with wisdom
and embarks upon a full inquiry into it....with wisdom... <end quote>
This continues for all the other foundations of mindfulness.
A few points to consider:
1. The enlightenment factors arise momentarily with pure cittas
2. The enlightenment factors only arise with highly developed panna. Only
when wisdom has developed to the extent that it can realize the Noble
Truths is it accompanied by the 7 bojjhangas (enlightenment factors) i.e.
not before experiencing th e vipassana nanas.
3. Objects of awareness pertain to realities appearing now.as we read in
other suttas, these include the hindrances, the sense objects,
experiencing through different doorways and so on.
4. In the beginning, sati will not be powerful or an enlightenment factor
or unremitting in any sense of the word.
5. The aim should not be to copy the arahat or one for whom lobha and dosa
have been put away, but to develop awareness of realities as they are.
6. If the enlightenment factors or limbs of wisdom (as they are
sometimes referred to, I recall) are experienced, it isnatural that these
can be objects of awareness amongst the rupas, vedana, cittas and other
Erik, I dont pretend to have all the answers and Im merely sharing a few
reflections. Without sati and panna there will be no knowing when
concentration or any other factor is skilful or unskilful. This is why,
even when we read suttas specifically about concentration, energy, metta,
dana or other mental states, the emphasis is still on understanding and
being aware of these dhammas as not self and not worth being attached to.
AN. I, v (48): "Nothing, O monks, do I
know that changes so rapidly as consciousness. Scarcely anything may
be found that could be compared with this so rapidly changing
consciousness." <recently quoted by Dan>
The aim of panna and sati is not to change cittas (consciousness) or to
slowthem down or to only have one kind of reality appering, but to
understand more and more about those realities appering now. What is truly
extraordinary is that panna and sati can and will develop with sufficient
That is why I cannot help but return again and again to the question
I feel is of utmost importance here: how does being aware,
intellectually, of the truth of anatta, lead to the sort of insight
needed to terminate the fetters? I'm not denying the importance of
studying how all things lack self-nature, but question how this--
without diligently practicing ones' meditative "chops" until the
mind is well-trained and can remain focused for long periods of time-
-is enough to lead to the sole aim of the Dhamma: the termination of
When we talk about all things lack self-nature, we have to know very
precisely what all things are. All things are paramattha dhammas
(absolute realities) which can be directly known and experienced. If we
have the idea that sati should be and be aware of concepts such as
walking, eating and body, then this isnt the intellectual understanding,
let alone the direct understanding of anatta. So first, we really have to
hear and consider over and over again and test out directly what these
realities are. As Num paraphrased in a recent post, the fruit is the
easy part. In other words, with clear intellectual right understanding
and sacca nana (as Jaran described so well), the rest takes care of
Just a few reflections for the 4th lunch-hour (a late one today) running.
Hope there is something of use;-)
p.s Btw, Much appreciated your kind and helpful comments and response in
the recent post to Christine ======================================================
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