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Re: [dsg] one limb of 8 fold path more important (was satipathana and practice)

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  • Sarah
    Dear Erik, I’d 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;-)
    Message 1 of 88 , Jan 9, 2002
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      Dear Erik,

      I’d 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;-) I’m 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
      is not
      > unbroken or continuous but is a skilful mental state arising
      > with a specific citta (consciousnes) in the javana (`running-
      > process.
      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 &
      without lapse."
      Like Num, I find it helpful to look at different translations;

      B.Bodhi’s 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 doesn’t refer to
      ‘focus’ or ‘without lapse’, though I agree with your comments about the
      limitations of ‘contemplating’...I’d 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 I’m checking BB’s 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 don’t pretend to have all the answers and I’m 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.
      We read:
      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
      right conditions.
      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 isn’t 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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    • Robert Epstein
      ... Anders, I don t know if you re still around here, but that is a good distinction. Thanks. Robert Ep. __________________________________________________ Do
      Message 88 of 88 , Feb 14, 2002
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        --- anders_honore <anders.honore@...> wrote:
        > --- In dhammastudygroup@y..., Robert Epstein <epsteinrob@Y...> wrote:
        > >
        > > --- anders_honore <anders.honore@g...> wrote:
        > >
        > > > I am not saying to avoid it. Indeed, I will say that such a
        > > > perception is extremely skilful. But it is perception
        > nonetheless,
        > > > and thus only 'partial emptiness'.
        > >
        > > Well, Anders, we're pretty close on this. But still have a
        > familiar problem with
        > > eliminating samsara in order to have a pure experience of
        > emptiness, nibbana, or
        > > other enlightened qualities. If you say that emptiness is 'full'
        > or 'partial'
        > > depending on whether phenomena arise or not,
        > I am not talking about the seeing of emptiness in dependence on the
        > absence of phenomena or not, but in dependence on the absence of
        > ignorance.

        I don't know if you're still around here, but that is a good distinction. Thanks.

        Robert Ep.

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