Perhaps you have had situations where your meditation practice was not going as expected? I’ve found it difficult to progress in my practice when following general mindfulness guidelines which emphasized observing the breath. It seemed rather unstructured and it was hard to know if I was making progress…
When I read the Anapanasati Sutta, though, I realized that the Buddha had laid out a very helpful, concise, step-by-step approach that had clear goals and landmarks. He also articulated the joy and happiness that can come from meditation, which was a real surprise. However, perhaps because of its brevity, at times it was confusing. When reading the Buddha’s similes, fortunately, many items became more clear, and I was able to find one for most of the 16 Anapanasati contemplations.
Recently, we received a small donation to make an Anapanasati sutta app in memory of my brother, Sarnaka, and some software programmers were willing to take up the project to make this as a free (no ads, etc.) iPhone app, with plans for an Android app in the future. The iPhone frame will be ready by Sept 1, but before hard-coding the text into the app, we felt that it would greatly benefit from the advice of the SuttaCentral community; the link is available below. Any comments you have would be much appreciated!
Beautiful idea. I would be hesitant to include a detailed commentary. I like the SuttaCentral philosophy of just presenting the original texts and translations. Something more along those lines might be a Pali memorization app for the Anapanasati Sutta or perhaps some other relevant suttas (believe it or not there are many more on the subject), with one or several translations (to get an idea of what one is memorizing).
Thank you for that suggestion. It is true that the original suttas are great to read because of their rigor and (in most cases) clarity. In regards to the APS, though, I found concepts such as joy (contemplation #5) vs pleasure (contemplation #6) vs gladness (contemplation #10) to be a bit confusing–how do they differ and how can I achieve those states? The point of the commentary we’ve added was to provide a concise explanation drawing from the works of Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, Larry Rosenberg and others. The intent is to help facilitate the introduction of APS to new meditators. If you have a moment, please use the Google doc link to view the commentary, and perhaps jump to one contemplation (such as the third Vedana)–please let me know if there is something I can improve or edit. Thanks!
Sīla (morality) is important for the removal of dasa akusala (ten immoral action, speech and thought) by following the mundane eightfold path, of which Sīla is first followed by Samādhi (concentration) and Paññā (wisdom) (mundane eightfold path order is Sīla Samādhi Paññā). Only when you have seen the ture nature of things (yathābhūta) which is understanding anicca, dukkha and anatta which leads to the attaining of Sotāpanna, then Noble Eightfold Path order is followed which is Paññā, Sīla and Samādhi.
Thank you for sharing that pdf file. I looked over it and the detailed analysis of the Pali terms. Unfortunately, I regret that I am not a Pali scholar, but I appreciate your clarification of the terms assa and passa. If I understand correctly, you are emphasizing the role of morality on the eightfold path, which I completely agree with. In the APS explanation text I prepared, I mentioned that advancing in one’s meditation practice requires sila, and I encourage the practitioner to take the five precepts during the period that they practice the APS.
While re-reading your post, I see that you draw a distinction between the “mundane” eightfold path and the “noble” eightfold path, which is something I have not heard before. Would you be interested in opening up a new thread on this topic and explaining this more in the new thread (separate from this thread on the APS)?
Well, maybe you should at least include the sutta with some translations in the app. SuttaCentral devs might help you integrate since it’s a Progressive Web App now. Someone here could help you with collecting the other suttas besides MN118 on anapana, there’s also a bunch of Chinese Agama Sutras on Anapana that are EBT.
I think there will be quite a lot of variation in interpretation of the sutta, especially if the teacher relies on later commentaries or on the “orthodox” Theravada rather than “just” EBT. I’m a fan of the EBT scholar Bhikkhu Analayo’s (who has btw, as a polyglot an understanding of Pali, Ancient Chinese, Tibetan and has deeply studied and practiced for years (now writing prolifically for 2 days, meditating for 5 every week)) writings on Anapana. Some excerpts here: https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=30301
Thanks for that suggestion. I’ll talk to the app developers about adding the pali as a separate item in the app.
I’d love to find some way to link the app with SuttaCentral. For example, perhaps someone using the app may have a question that they could then look up or post on SuttaCentral. One of the goals of the app is to help encourage community, and redirect our attention to the original suttas, thus it aligns with the goals of SuttaCentral as well. Is there a SuttaCentral dev that you recommend I contact?
No specific dev. @blake seems to be most active on the forum. They always have a lot on their table, so I’m really not sure about how available they would be, but I think they would be in support of integration with attribution since the SC project is all about openness.
They have fake etymologies on that site. That site has been refuted so many times both here and on DhammaWheel I cannot count.
This is a copy-paste of only one of those times.
@kstan1122’s beliefs surrounding the ‘saṅ’ in ‘saṅkhara’ mirror those published on the website “Pure Dhamma”. These idiosyncratic teachings are further an extension of the Dhamma dispensation of Ven Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero.
The etymology given follows after the etymological analysis at Pure Dhamma. This page in particular seems a likely candidate:
This is a quote from the page:
As we can see, Pure Dhamma follows the hypothesis that the authentic Pāli meanings and etymologies of key words have been lost and that they can be reconstructed following the teachings of the aforementioned Venerable. These reconstructed etymologies generally seem to involve reading Pāli words with Sinhala pronunciations (removing aspirations, etc) and meanings derived from modern Sinhala words that are loanwords from Pāli. In the above example they claim that the “kha” in sankhara ought rightly not be aspirated (i.e. “sankara”).
If Ven @Dhammanando does not mind I would like to cut-and-paste a quote from the DhammaWheel thread addressing Pure Dhamma. In the above excerpt from Pure Dhamma, it recommends the reader view a page called “What is “San”? Meaning of Sansāra (or Samsāra)“, it seems Ven Dhammanando happens to analyze just that same very page:
Sad to say that for those who still think that Pure Dhamma website is a distortion of the tipitaka, that is because that they still have moha followed by dosa and then lobha which is the reasons why they are not able to see the deeper meaning of the true dhamma.
Cleansing the mind is the first step on the correct path to nibbana. For those who have not cleansed the mind that has been clouded with the ten unwholesome actions (dasa akusala) their mind will not be able to accept what Pure Dhamma is trying to teach and will try at all cost to discredit the website (Pure Dhamma) even though it is the true dhamma.
Thanks for posting this, and for Ven @Dhammanando for taking the time to explain.
The hardest part with responding to the Waharaka imaginings is to convince people that they really are as incomprehensibly wrong-headed as they seem. There have been many weird and wonderful interpretations of Buddhism through the millennia, but I can’t think of a single one anywhere that even approaches this level. It’s almost magnificent in its sheer, audacious disconnect from any form of truth. Almost!
Dear Kstan, Please read the SC discourse guidelines here
Firstly participation in this forum is dependent upon agreeing to abide by the guidelines linked above.
Second, I direct attention to the following passage from the guidelines
Asserting that people do not understand your point of view because they are subject to defilements, and will understand it when they become enlightened, falls under the the two examples of unacceptable discussion methods highlighted in bold above.
Can any body claim that they do not have moha, dosa and lobha? Even I myself do not claim that I do not have moha, dosa and lobha. As long as one is not enlightened, that person still has the moha, dosa and lobha. So, we are still worldings and not arahants, we still have moha, dosa and lobha which should be acceptable to all.
This is exactly why we need truly pure Dhamma and not one shrouded in “artificially pure Dhamma” like Dhamma expounded by the Pure Dhamma web site misleading those venture in to that site looking for true Dhamma.
I personally know several people who follow the misinterpretations propagated by Ven: Vaharaka and Ven: Abhaya. The most unfortunate thing IMO opinion is that almost all of them claim to have reached the fourth jhana and some openly call themselves Sotapannas.
I recently attended a retreat conducted by Ven: Abhaya out of sheer curiosity and asked him why he interprets “paticca” as “tightening with greed” which is how he literally translates “paticca”.
He explained that “paticca” comes from the two words “pati” and “iccha”. “pati” is a sinhala word meaning belt, like the garment used to tighten our pants and “iccha” as we all know is the Pali word meaning desire or greed etc. So combined we get his purpoted meaning “tightening with greed”. Obviously dismayed by this interpretation, I then asked him if it was appropriate to use two languages - Sinhala and Pali - to translate the word “paticca” and he without any hesitation said “yes”.
There were at least fifty people at this occasion and except for one or two people everyone accepted his interpretation.
I am citing this incident just to show how mired a lot of their followers are in delusion and I find how relevant the Buddhas declaration “avijja paccaya sankhara” - ignorance conditions formations - is.