Satipaṭṭhāna is the establishment or arousing of mindfulness, as part of the Buddhist practices leading to detachment and liberation.
Traditionally, mindfulness is thought to be applied to four domains, "constantly watching sensory experience in order to prevent the arising of cravings which would power future experience into rebirths," namely mindfulness of the body, feelings/sensations, mind/consciousness, and dhammās.
The modern Theravadan Buddhism and the Vipassana or Insight Meditation Movement promote satipatthana as key techniques for achieving mindfulness, promoting "mindfulness" as meaning careful attention instead of the recollection of the dhamma.
|Glossary of Buddhism|
Satipaṭṭhāna is a compound term that has been parsed (and thus translated) in two ways, namely Sati-paṭṭhāna and Sati-upaṭṭhāna. The separate terms can be translated as follows:
The compound terms have been translated as follows:
While the latter parsing and translation is more traditional, the former has been given etymological and contextual authority by contemporary Buddhist scholars such as Bhikkhu Analayo and Bhikkhu Bodhi.[note 1]
Anālayo argues from an etymological standpoint that, while "foundation [paṭṭhāna] of mindfulness" is supported by the Pāli commentary, the term paṭṭhāna (foundation) was otherwise unused in the Pāli nikayas and is only first used in the Abhidhamma. In contrast, the term upaṭṭhāna (presence or establishment) can in fact be found throughout the nikayas and is readily visible in the Sanskrit equivalents of the compound Pāli phrase satipaṭṭhāna (Skt., smṛtyupasthāna or smṛti-upasthāna). Thus Anālayo states that "presence of mindfulness" (as opposed to "foundation of mindfulness") is more likely to be etymologically correct.
Like Anālayo, Bodhi assesses that "establishment [upaṭṭhāna] of mindfulness" is the preferred translation. However, Bodhi's analysis is more contextual than Anālayo's. According to Bodhi, while "establishment of mindfulness" is normally supported by the textual context, there are exceptions to this rule, such as with SN 47.42[note 2] where a translation of "foundation of mindfulness" is best supported. Soma uses both "foundations of mindfulness" and "arousing of mindfulness."
Traditionally, mindfulness is thought to be applied to four domains, "constantly watching sensory experience in order to prevent the arising of cravings which would power future experience into rebirths." The four domains are:
"Dhammā" is often translated as "mental objects". According to Anālayo translating dhamma as "mental object" is problematic for multiple reasons. The three prior satipatthāna (body, sensations, mind) can become mental objects in themselves, and those objects, such as the hindrances, aggregates and sense bases, identified under the term dhamma are far from an exhaustive list of all possible mental objects. Anālayo translates dhammā as "mental factors and categories," "classificatory schemes," and "frameworks or points of reference to be applied during contemplation". Anālayo quotes Gyori as stating that contemplation of these dhammā "are specifically intended to invest the mind with a soteriological orientation." He further quotes Gombrich as writing that contemplating these dhammā teaches one "to see the world through Buddhist spectacles."
In the Satipatthana Sutta the term sati means to remember the dharmas, whereby the true nature of phenomena can be seen. According to Paul Williams, referring to Erich Frauwallner, mindfulness provided the way to liberation, "constantly watching sensory experience in order to prevent the arising of cravings which would power future experience into rebirths."[note 3] According to Vetter, dhyāna may have been the original core practice of the Buddha, which aided the maintenance of mindfulness.
The four foundations of mindfulness are one of the seven sets of "states conducive to enlightenment" (Pāli bodhipakkhiyādhammā) identified in many schools of Buddhism as means for progressing toward bodhi (awakening). In the Noble Eightfold Path, they are included in sammā-sati and, less directly, sammā-samādhi. Sati is recommended as a "one-way path" for the purification from unwholesome factors, and the realization of Nibbana.[note 4]
In the Pāli Canon, this framework for systematically cultivating mindful awareness can be found in the Mahasatipatthana Sutta ("Greater Discourse on the Foundation of Mindfulness," DN 22); the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta ("Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness," MN 10), and throughout the Satipaṭṭhāna-samyutta (SN, Chapter 47). The Satipaṭṭhāna-samyutta itself contains 104 of the Buddha's discourses on the satipaṭṭhānas including two popular discourses delivered to the townspeople of Sedaka, "the Acrobat"[web 4] and "the Beauty Queen".[web 5]
The Sutta Pitaka contains texts in which The Buddha is said to refer to the fourfold establishment of mindfulness as a "direct" or "one-way path" for purification and the realisation of nirvana.[note 5]
The Chinese Tripitaka also contains two parallels to the Satipatthana sutta; Madhyama Āgama No. 26 and Ekottara Agama 12.1. The four foundations of mindfulness are also treated in various Abhidharma works in the major Buddhist traditions such as the Abhidharmakosha, the Yogacarabhumi-sastra and the Visuddhimagga.
The four establishments of mindfulness are regarded as fundamental in modern Theravadan Buddhism and the Vipassana or Insight Meditation Movement. In this approach the emphasis is on mindfulness itself, as bare attention, instead of on the objects, mental states to be guarded, and the teachings to be remembered. The four establishments (Satipaṭṭhāna) meditation practices gradually develop the mental factors of samatha ("calm") and vipassana ("insight"). Thanissaro Bhikkhu notes that "satipatthana practice is often said to be separate from the practice of jhana," but argues that mindfulness is also an aid in the development of concentration.
Buddhadasa rejected the reliance on the Satipatthana sutta as being "vague and muddled," instead relying on the Anapanasati Sutta. According to Buddhadasa, the aim of mindfulness is to stop the arising of disturbing thoughts and emotions, which arise from sense-contact. According to Grzegorz Polak, the four upassanā have been misunderstood by the developing Buddhist tradition, including Theravada, to refer to four different foundations. According to Polak, the four upassanā do not refer to four different foundations of which one should be aware, but are an alternate description of the jhanas, describing how the samskharas are tranquilized:
Ānāpānasati (Pali; Sanskrit ānāpānasmṛti), meaning "mindfulness of breathing" ("sati" means mindfulness; "ānāpāna" refers to inhalation and exhalation), is a form of Buddhist meditation originally taught by Gautama Buddha in several suttas including the Ānāpānasati Sutta. (MN 118)
Ānāpānasati is now common to Tibetan, Zen, Tiantai and Theravada Buddhism as well as Western-based mindfulness programs. Simply defined, Anapanasati is to feel the sensations caused by the movements of the breath in the body as is practiced in the context of mindfulness meditation.Anapanasati Sutta
The Ānāpānasati Sutta (Pāli) or Ānāpānasmṛti Sūtra (Sanskrit), "Breath-Mindfulness Discourse," Majjhima Nikaya 118, is a discourse that details the Buddha's instruction on using awareness of the breath (anapana) as an initial focus for meditation.
The sutta includes sixteen steps of practice, and groups them into four tetrads, associating them with the four satipatthanas (placings of mindfulness). According to American scholar monk, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, this sutta contains the most detailed meditation instructions in the Pali Canon.Bhikkhu Analayo
Bhikkhu Anālayo is a bhikkhu (Buddhist monk), scholar and meditation teacher. He was born in Germany in 1962, and went forth in 1995 in Sri Lanka. He is best known for his comparative studies of Early Buddhist Texts as preserved by the various early Buddhist traditions.Bodhipakkhiyādhammā
In Buddhism, bodhipakkhiyā dhammā (Pali; variant spellings include bodhipakkhikā dhammā and bodhapakkhiyā dhammā; Skt.: bodhipakṣa dharma) are qualities (dhammā) conducive or related to (pakkhiya) awakening (bodhi).
In the Pali commentaries, the term bodhipakkhiyā dhammā is used to refer to seven sets of such qualities regularly mentioned by the Buddha throughout the Pali Canon. Within these seven sets of Enlightenment qualities, there is a total of thirty-seven individual qualities (sattatiṃsa bodhipakkhiyā dhammā).These seven sets of qualities are recognized by both Theravadan and Mahayanan Buddhists as complementary facets of the Buddhist Path to Enlightenment.A sutta found in The Senior Collection of Gandhāran Buddhist texts ascribes forty one instead of thirty seven beneficial dharmas. The Gandharan text includes rūpajhānas which the Pali tradition does not. Salomon notes this forty one numbered list appears in both a Chinese translation of the Dirghagama which current scholarship believes to be of the Dharmaguptaka school of Buddhism and a Chinese translation of the Dharmaguptaka vinaya.Buddhist meditation
Buddhist meditation is the practice of meditation in Buddhism. The closest words for meditation in the classical languages of Buddhism are bhāvanā ("mental development") and jhāna/dhyāna (mental training resulting in a calm and luminous mind).Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward liberation, awakening and Nirvana, and includes a variety of meditation techniques, most notably asubha bhavana ("reflections on repulsiveness"); reflection on pratityasamutpada (dependent origination); sati (mindfulness) and anussati (recollections), including anapanasati (breath meditation); dhyana (developing an alert and luminous mind); and the Brahma-viharas (loving-kindness and compassion). These techniques aim to develop equanimity and sati (mindfulness); samadhi (concentration) c.q. samatha (tranquility) and vipassanā (insight); and are also said to lead to abhijñā (supramundane powers). These meditation techniques are preceded by and combined with practices which aid this development, such as moral restraint and right effort to develop wholesome states of mind.
While these techniques are used across Buddhist schools, there is also significant diversity. In the Theravada tradition, reflecting developments in early Buddhism, meditation techniques are classified as either samatha (calming the mind) and vipassana (gaining insight). Chinese and Japanese Buddhism preserved a wide range of meditation techniques, which go back to early Buddhism, most notably Sarvastivada. In Tibetan Buddhism, deity yoga includes visualisations, which precede the realization of sunyata ("emptiness").Fetter (Buddhism)
In Buddhism, a mental fetter, chain or bond (Pāli: samyojana, saŋyojana, saññojana) shackles a sentient being to saṃsāra, the cycle of lives with dukkha. By cutting through all fetters, one attains nibbāna (Pali; Skt.: nirvāṇa).Four Right Exertions
The Four Right Exertions (also known as, Four Proper Exertions, Four Right Efforts, Four Great Efforts, Four Right Endeavors or Four Right Strivings) (Pali: sammappadhāna; Skt.: samyak-pradhāna or samyakprahāṇa) are an integral part of the Buddhist path to Enlightenment. Built on the insightful recognition of the arising and non-arising of various mental qualities over time and of our ability to mindfully intervene in these ephemeral qualities, the Four Right Exertions encourage the relinquishment of harmful mental qualities and the nurturing of beneficial mental qualities.
The Four Right Exertions are associated with the Noble Eightfold Path's factor of "right effort" (sammā-vāyāma) and the Five Spiritual Faculties' faculty of "energy" (viriya); and, are one of the seven sets of Qualities Conducive to Enlightenment.Mahasi Sayadaw
Mahasi Sayadaw U Sobhana (Burmese: မဟာစည်ဆရာတော် ဦးသောဘန, pronounced [məhàsì sʰəjàdɔ̀ ʔú θɔ́bəna̰]; 29 July 1904 – 14 August 1982) was a Burmese Theravada Buddhist monk and meditation master who had a significant impact on the teaching of vipassanā (insight) meditation in the West and throughout Asia.
In his style of practice, derived from the so-called New Burmese Method of U Nārada, the meditator lives according to Buddhist morality as a prerequisite for meditation practice. Meditation itself entails the practice of satipatthana, mindfulness of breathing, anchoring the attention on the sensations of the rising and falling of the abdomen during breathing, observing carefully any other sensations or thoughts. This is coupled to reflection on the Buddhist teachings on causality, gaining insight into anicca, dukkha, and anattā.Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training. Mindfulness is derived from sati, a significant element of Buddhist traditions, and based on Zen, Vipassanā, and Tibetan meditation techniques. Individuals who have contributed to the popularity of mindfulness in the modern Western context include Thích Nhất Hạnh (1926– ), Herbert Benson (1935– ), Jon Kabat-Zinn (1944– ), and Richard J. Davidson (1951– ). Mindfulness is very similar to what was earlier known as Gestalt therapy.
Clinical psychology and psychiatry since the 1970s have developed a number of therapeutic applications based on mindfulness for helping people experiencing a variety of psychological conditions. Mindfulness practice has been employed to reduce symptoms of depression, to reduce stress, anxiety, and in the treatment of drug addiction. Programs based on Kabat-Zinn's and similar models have been adopted in schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans' centers, and other environments, and mindfulness programs have been applied for additional outcomes such as for healthy aging, weight management, athletic performance, helping children with special needs, and as an intervention during the perinatal period.
Clinical studies have documented both physical- and mental-health benefits of mindfulness in different patient categories as well as in healthy adults and children. Research studies have consistently shown a positive relationship between trait mindfulness and psychological health. The practice of mindfulness appears to provide therapeutic benefits to people with psychiatric disorders, including to those with psychosis. Studies also indicate that rumination and worry contribute to the onset of a variety of mental disorders, and that mindfulness-based interventions significantly reduce both rumination and worry. Further, the practice of mindfulness may be a preventive strategy to halt the development of mental-health problems.The necessity for more high-quality research in this field has also been identified – such as the need for more randomized controlled studies, for providing more methodological details in reported studies and for the use of larger sample sizes.Sampajañña
Sampajañña (Pāli; Skt.: saṃprajanya) means "clear comprehension", "clear knowing," "constant thorough understanding of impermanence", "fully alert" or "full awareness", as well as "attention, consideration, discrimination, comprehension, circumspection", or introspection.Sampajañña is a Pali term used in the suttas; the equivalent Sanskrit term samprajaña is found in Sanskrit texts employed (in translation) by a variety of meditation teachers such as Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and in the Tibetan tradition.Sati (Buddhism)
Sati (from Pali: सति; Sanskrit: स्मृति smṛti) is mindfulness or awareness, a spiritual or psychological faculty (indriya) that forms an essential part of Buddhist practice. It is the first factor of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment. "Correct" or "right" mindfulness (Pali: sammā-sati, Sanskrit samyak-smṛti) is the seventh element of the Noble Eightfold Path.Satipatthana Sutta
The Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 10: The Discourse on the Establishing of Mindfulness), and the subsequently created Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta (Digha Nikaya 22: The Great Discourse on the Establishing of Mindfulness), are two of the most celebrated and widely studied discourses in the Pāli Canon of Theravada Buddhism, acting as the foundation for contemporary vipassana meditational practice. These suttas (discourses) stress the practice of sati (mindfulness) "for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the extinguishing of suffering and grief, for walking on the path of truth, for the realization of nibbāna."Saṃyutta Nikāya
The Samyutta Nikaya (Saṃyutta Nikāya SN, "Connected Discourses" or "Kindred Sayings") is a Buddhist scripture, the third of the five nikayas, or collections, in the Sutta Pitaka, which is one of the "three baskets" that compose the Pali Tipitaka of Theravada Buddhism. Because of the abbreviated way parts of the text are written, the total number of suttas is unclear. The editor of the Pali Text Society edition of the text made it 2889, Bodhi in his translation has 2904, while the commentaries give 7762. A study by Rupert Gethin gives the totals for the Burmese and Sinhalese editions as 2854 and 7656, respectively, and his own calculation as 6696; he also says the total in the Thai edition is unclear. The suttas are grouped into five vaggas, or sections. Each vagga is further divided into samyuttas, or chapters, each of which in turn contains a group of suttas on a related topic.Seven Factors of Awakening
In Buddhism, the Seven Factors of Awakening (Pali: satta bojjhaṅgā or satta sambojjhaṅgā; Skt.: sapta bodhyanga) are:
Mindfulness (sati). To maintain awareness of reality (dharma).
Investigation of the nature of reality (dhamma vicaya).
Energy (viriya) also determination, effort
Joy or rapture (pīti)
Relaxation or tranquility (passaddhi) of both body and mind
Concentration, (samādhi) a calm, one-pointed state of mind, or clear awareness
Equanimity (upekkha). To accept reality as-it-is (yatha-bhuta) without craving or aversion.This evaluation of seven awakening factors is one of the "Seven Sets" of "Awakening-related states" (bodhipakkhiyadhamma).
The Pali word bojjhanga is a compound of bodhi ("awakening," "enlightenment") and anga ("factor").Skandha
Skandhas (Sanskrit) or khandhas (Pāḷi) means "heaps, aggregates, collections, groupings". In Buddhism, it refers to the five aggregates of clinging (Pancha-upadanakkhanda), the five bodily and mental factors that take part in the rise of craving and clinging. They are also explained as the five factors that constitute and explain a sentient being’s person and personality, but this is a later interpretation in response to sarvastivadin essentialism.
The five aggregates or heaps are: form (or matter or body) (rupa), sensations (or feelings, received from form) (vedana), perceptions (samjna), mental activity or formations (sankhara), and consciousness (vijnana).In the Theravada tradition, suffering arises when one identifies with or clings to the aggregates. This suffering is extinguished by relinquishing attachments to aggregates. The Mahayana tradition asserts that the nature of all aggregates is intrinsically empty of independent existence.Ten Principal Disciples
The ten principal disciples were the main disciples of Gautama Buddha. Depending on the scripture, the disciples included in this group vary. The Vimalakirti Sutra includes:
Śāripūtra (Sanskrit), or Sāriputta (Pāli), is a top master of Wisdom. In Heart Sutra, the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara preaches to him.
Maudgalyāyana (Sk.) or Moggallāna(Pl.), also known as Mahāmaudgalyāyana or Mahāmoggallāna. He is a top master of supernatural powers. Maudgalyayana and Śāriputra were once disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the skeptic, but they became disciples of the Buddha. In Chinese Buddhism, the Mass that Maudgalyayana held to save his mother who had gone to the Hungry Ghost realm (one of the Six realms) is the foundation of ullambana (Ghost Festival).
Mahākāśyapa (Sk.) or Mahākassapa (Pl.). He was a top master of ascetic training. After the death of Shakyamuni Buddha, he assumes the leadership of the sangha, compiled the Buddha's sayings (suttas) with 500 other disciples (First Buddhist councils), and became the first man who preached the Buddha's teachings directly.
Subhūti (Sk. & Pl.) understood the potency of emptiness. He appears in several Sutras of Mahāyāna Buddhism which teach Śūnyatā (Emptiness or Voidness). He is the subject of the Subhūti Sutta.
Pūrṇa Maitrāyaniputra (Sk.) or Puṇṇa Mantānīputta (Pl.). He was also called Purna for short. He was the greatest teacher of the Law out of all the disciples. He was the top master of preaching.
Kātyāyana or Mahākātyāyana (Sk.) or Mahākaccāna (Pl.). He understood Shakyamuni Buddha's lecture the best. Although he had only five master in the rural areas, he was permitted to learn Vinaya by the Buddha.
Anuruddha (Pl.) or Aniruddha (Sk.) was a top master of clairvoyance and the practice of the four foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana). Aniruddha was a cousin of Shakyamuni Buddha. He and Ananda became monks at the same time.
Upāli (Sk. & Pl.) was a top master of Vinaya. He was born in the Shudra class and worked as a barber, ayurveda vaidya. Buddha had denied the class system, he ranked his disciples according to the order in which they joined. So Upali was ranked ahead of the ex-princes. In the First Buddhist council, the Vinaya was compiled based on his memory.
Rāhula (Sk. & Pl.) was the only son of the Buddha (when he was still Prince Siddhartha) and his wife Princess Pṛthī. He was a scrupulous, strict and shrewd person. When the Buddha went to his hometown, he became the first Sāmanera (novice monk).
Ānanda (Sk. & Pl.) listened to the Buddha's teachings the most among the disciples. He was a cousin of the Buddha. Ananda means great delight. After he became a monk, he took care of the Buddha for 25 years, until the Buddha died. In the First Buddhist council, the suttas/sutras were compiled based on his memory. He lived to 120 years old.Vibhanga
The Vibhanga (vibhaṅga) is a Buddhist scripture, part of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism, where it is included in the Abhidhamma Pitaka. One known English translation is contained in The Book of Analysis, first published in 1969.The book has eighteen chapters, and each deals with a particular topic:
sense bases (āyatana)
dependent origination (paticcasamuppāda)
mindfulness foundation (satipaṭṭhāna)
right exertion (sammappadhāna)
base of power (iddhipāda)
enlightenment factor (bojjhanga)
training rules (sikkhāpada)
smaller subjects (khuddhaka vatthu)
heart of the Dhamma (dhammahadaya)A typical chapter is divided into three parts:
Sutta method: often consisting of quotations from the Sutta Pitaka
Abhidhamma method: various lists of synonyms, numerical classifications
Question method: applies the matika (matrix) of the DhammasanganiVipassana movement
The Vipassanā movement, also called the Insight Meditation Movement and American vipassana movement, refers to a branch of modern Burmese Theravāda Buddhism which gained widespread popularity since the 1950s, and to its western derivatives which were popularised since the 1970s, and gave rise to the mindfulness movement.The Burmese vipassana movement has its roots in the 19th century, when Theravada Buddhism came to be influenced by western modernism, and some monks tried to restore the Buddhist practice of meditation. Based on the commentaries, Ledi Sayadaw popularized vipassana meditation for lay people, teaching samatha and stressing the practice of satipatthana to acquire vipassana (insight) into the three marks of existence as the main means to attain the beginning of awakening and become a stream-enterer.It was highly popularized in the 20th century in traditional Theravada countries by Mahasi Sayadaw, who introduced the "New Burmese Satipatthana Method". It also gained a large following in the west, due to westerners who learned vipassana from Mahasi Sayadaw, S. N. Goenka, and other Burmese teachers. Some also studied with Thai Buddhist teachers, who are more critical of the commentarial tradition, and stress the joined practice of samatha and vipassana.The 'American vipassanā movement' includes contemporary American Buddhist teachers such as Joseph Goldstein, Tara Brach, Gil Fronsdal, Sharon Salzberg, Ruth Denison and Jack Kornfield.
Most of these teachers combine the strict Burmese approach with the Thai approach, and also other Buddhist and non-Buddhist ideas and practices, due to their broader training and their critical approach of the Buddhist sources. And while the New Burmese Method is strictly based on the Theravada Abhidhamma and the Visuddhimagga, western teachers tend to base their practice also on personal experience and on the suttas, which they approach in a more textual-critical way.
In a broader sense, modern western Theravada-oriented meditation also includes the teachings of Western-born monastics like Bhikkhu Bodhi, Bhikkhu Sujato, Bhikkhu Analayo, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu. They tend to take a more critical approach of the Buddhist suttas, some of them noticing that the Theravada commentaries deviate from the suttas in critical ways.
A recent development is the understanding that jhana, as described in the nikayas, is not a form of concentration-meditation, but a training in heightened awareness and equanimity, which forms the culmination of the Buddhist path.Vipassanā
Vipassanā (Pāli) or vipaśyanā (Sanskrit), "insight," is prajñā "insight into the true nature of reality", defined as anicca "impermanence", dukkha "suffering, unsatisfactoriness", anattā "non-self", the three marks of existence in the Theravada tradition, and as śūnyatā "emptiness" and Buddha-nature in the Mahayana traditions.
Meditation practice in the Theravada tradition ended in the 10th century, but was reintroduced in Toungoo and Konbaung Burma in the 18th century, based on contemporary readings of the Satipaṭṭhāna sutta, the Visuddhimagga, and other texts. A new tradition developed in the 19th and 20th century, centering on bare insight in conjunction with samatha. It became of central importance in the 20th century Vipassanā movement as developed by Ledi Sayadaw and U Vimala and popularised by Mahasi Sayadaw, V. R. Dhiravamsa, and S. N. Goenka.In modern Theravada, the combination or disjunction of vipassanā and samatha is a matter of dispute. While the Pali sutras hardly mention vipassanā, describing it as a mental quality alongside with samatha which develop in tandem and lead to liberation, the Abhidhamma Pitaka and the commentaries describe samatha and vipassanā as two separate meditation techniques. The Vipassanā movement favours vipassanā over samatha, but critics point out that both are necessary elements of the Buddhist training.
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