Four nutriments and 4 satipatthana ~ links

Hi friends , anyone care to share some on this topic ?! :anjal:


I asked a similar question here:

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The Four Nutriments are not directly related to Satipatthana, which is why the Puttamansa Sutta (SN 12.63) is found in the Nidana-Samyutta rather than in the Satipatthana-Samyutta of the Samyutta Nikaya.

The Four Nutriments are related to Dependent Origination, as found in MN 38 & MN 9, where the Four Nutriments of life form a foundation for craving & attachment and the arising of the self-view of “beings” (“satta”).

However, the Puttamansa Sutta does explain how the Noble Disciple relates to the four nutriments for the purpose of Dependent Cessation, which is related to Satipatthana, namely:

  1. To eat food only for the maintenance of the Holy Life (rather than to eat food with craving for pleasure or beautification).

  2. To have mindfulness & clear-comprehension in relation to the many feelings that arise at sense contact (thus stopping craving & attachment from arising at sense contact).

  3. To not act with good or bad intention (which are two strong men that take the mind into the fire pit of dukkha) but to act with wise right intention.

  4. To not to be a thief and take consciousness (and its objects) to be ‘self’ or ‘mine’ (and therefore to not be punished with dukkha for stealing).

The main teaching of Satipatthana is to be mindful & clearly comprehending so covetousness & distress does not arise in relation to the world. Therefore, the Four Nutriments only relate to Satipatthana when craving (covetousness) in relation to the Four Nutriments is abandoned.

These four kinds of nutriment…for the maintenance of beings (sattanam)… have craving as their source, craving as their origin; they are born and produced from craving. MN 38

From the origination of craving comes the origination of nutriment. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of nutriment. And the way of practice leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this very noble eightfold path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. MN 9

Kind regards :deciduous_tree:


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,”[1] namely mindfulness of the body, feelings/sensations, mind/consciousness, and dhammās.[2]

According to Polak, this is a misinterpretation of the oldest teachings, in which the four foundations refer to the six sense-bases, contemplation on the vedanās, which arise with the contact between the senses and their objects (vedanānupassanā), the altered states of mind to which this practice leads (cittānupassanā), and the development from the five hindrances to the seven factors of enlightenment (dhammānupassanā) as the result of this practice.

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.


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The way I understand both interpretation is correct.
In this case there will be 24 aspects of mindfulness. (ie: four Satipatthana X six senses =24)
It is just like the 30 aggregate. (ie: five aggregate x sixsenses)

Where is this view found in the EBTs? Thanks :four_leaf_clover:

The way I understand mindfulness is more than just remembering.

The way I understand mindfulness is it is not more than just remembering. It is only remembering. Please refer to MN 117.

There is mindfulness & the results/outcome of mindfulness. The results of mindfulness should not be confused with mindfulness itself; just as tree should not be confused with its fruit. The tree is one thing & the fruit is another thing.

:deciduous_tree: :apple:

I learnt it from here.
The five aggregate.

Have you read Satipatthana Samyutta?

It is important to understand what is read & reconcile what is read with experience. Satipatthana states:

Katame cattāro? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā, vineyya loke abhij­jhā­do­manas­saṃ; vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā, vineyya loke abhij­jhā­do­manas­saṃ; citte cittānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā, vineyya loke abhij­jhā­do­manas­saṃ; dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā, vineyya loke abhij­jhā­do­manas­saṃ.

MN 10

The word ‘ānupassī’ is not the same as the word ‘satimā’. ‘Satimā’ does not observe. ‘Vinnana’ observes, as follows:

Dependent on the body and tangibles, body-consciousness arises; the meeting of the three is contact.

MN 148

All mindfulness does is direct or influence the field of observation or attention, as follows:

“Suppose, monks, that a large crowd of people comes thronging together, saying, ‘The beauty queen! The beauty queen!’ And suppose that the beauty queen is highly accomplished at singing & dancing, so that an even greater crowd comes thronging, saying, ‘The beauty queen is singing! The beauty queen is dancing!’ Then a man comes along, desiring life & shrinking from death, desiring pleasure & abhorring pain. They say to him, ‘Now look here, mister. You must take this bowl filled to the brim with oil and carry it on your head in between the great crowd & the beauty queen. A man with a raised sword will follow right behind you, and wherever you spill even a drop of oil, right there will he cut off your head.’ Now what do you think, monks: Will that man, not paying attention to the bowl of oil, let himself get distracted outside?”

“No, lord.”

SN 47.20

Mindfulness itself does not observe. ‘Vinnana’ observes, which is ‘ānupassī’ . :koala:

Perhaps we are going off topic. :slight_smile:

Imo, we are not going off topic because in my explanation of the Four Nutriments I mentioned the role of ‘sati’ for Noble Disciples in relation to the Four Nutriments. :slight_smile:

Bowing to 3 Gems .

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Sati or right Sati ?!

The way 4 nutriments & 4 satipatthana related is as follows :

4 nutriments :
Coarse food
Fine contact

Contemplations of 4 satipatthana

Body in body ~ Coarse food
Feeling in feeling ~ fine contact
Mind in mind ~ feeling perception Volition
Dhamma in dhamma ~ consciousness food


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Hi @James2997, could you provide a reference for that?

Its from the introduction in Wikipedia. here:

To me, a very idiosyncratic way to provide general knowledge to the general public in a general purpose encyclopedia.

My question to @James2997 was about where / how does Polak exactly say so in his book “Reexamining Jhana: Towards a Critical Reconstruction of Early Buddhist Soteriology”?

Ultimately I am curious about the basis for his argument. Has he found something that hints so in Chinese/Sanskrit parallels or it is just a well educated guess?

The above has been set out very nicely & makes a compelling relationship. :innocent:

The 1st nutriment does relate to the body; the 2nd nutriment does relate to feelings; the 3rd nutriment does relate to volition & defilements; and the 4th nutriment does relate to (not attaching to all objects of) consciousness.

However, in my opinion, the two respective teachings have different purposes.

For me, the Four Nutriments refers to necessities of life (namely, food, contact, intention & consciousness), which each person is familiar with & must use in order to live. In particular, as I previously posted, it is used to explain the Dependent Origination of suffering or ‘re-birth’.

Where as Satipatthana is about a meditative depth of experience beyond the ordinary & the cessation of suffering, which includes the generation of non-sensual rapture & a deep insight into impermanence. For example, MN 118 refers to sixteen aspects of satipatthana.

In conclusion, 4 nutriments relate to 4 satipatthana as you discerned (but are a similar way to look at different things).

Well done. I learned something new. :anjal:

@Gabriel_L ,

Well , I agree with some of Polak writing ,
~ quote " in which all the above mentioned constituents were linked in an organic way and only in this connection, they gained their true meaning" !!!