SuttaCentral

Kāye in 'kāye kāyānupassī viharati' not spacial locative - no such thing as 'body in the body'

satipatthana
body
kāye
bodyinthebody
Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f788c024f48> #<Tag:0x00007f788c024d68> #<Tag:0x00007f788c024b60> #<Tag:0x00007f788c024a20>

#26

May all being be well


#27

The Chinese might be of some help in decoding this idea of “body” in this context, kāye, being allegedly rendered in a “spacial locative”. Given that, since the Chinese is a translation of theorized Prākrit, a locative in the Prākrit would have been rendered as such in the Chinese too, presuming the translation is good at all:

The Chinese is 當隨修內身身觀住。

A spacial locative, rendered into Buddhist Chinese, might be something like this 當隨修內身身[中]觀住。or possibly like this 當隨修內身[裡]身觀住, but I am not advanced enough to be composing my own sentences fluently.

Either way, there is little reason for arguing that the Chinese would necessarily denote a spacial relation between the two 身身.

In the Chinese, it can mean “body [as] body” or “body [as] bodily” or “body [of the] body” (in the sense of: focus on the “bodyness”, or “body-quality” of the body in question, in this case, the 內 body).

It may well be that this is the case that it is a spacial locative. I don’t know enough about Pāli to know either way, but the Chinese seems to point to it possible not having been in a parallel Prākrit recension.


#28

Whatever the original they relied on, there is no doubt it would have been grammatically identical with the Pali. We know this because of the existence of several Sanskritic versions, all of which are the same. To be clear, there is no verbal distinction between a “spatial” locative and any other kind; the form is the same, it is just the interpretation.

But in any case, it is useful to know that the Chinese reading probably does not denote a spatial sense. There was a Chinese commentary on several satipatthana suttas, which was translated some years ago; I used it for A History of Mindfulness. Anyway, perhaps in that commentary it might give more info on exactly how they understood it. Having said which, by the time of the Pali commentaries, the correct reading was basically lost, so there is no guarantee the Chinese would get it right.


#29

Well, sometimes there’s no direct equivalent in English. One has to think in Pali, or at least in a similar fusional language.

In English “anupassī” would be, perhaps, “one-who-is-(regularly)-in-the-process-of-contemplating”, since it’s a participle.

This term has been discussed in detail in the thread:
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=15686

You are right, a better translation, like one by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, is more to the point.

Well, ‘kāye kāyānupassī’ is a kind of abbreviation for a rather intricate structure of Satipatthana practice, - where one keeps to selected gocara (lit. pasture), e.g. the bodily proccesses.

Such keeping in mind/remembrance of one or another of Satipatthanas as a whole sphere (gocara) is described in the Satipatthana sutta itself:

[quote]Atthi kāyoti vā panassa sati paccupaṭṭhitā hoti yāvadeva ñāṇamattāya patissatimattāya.
Or his mindfulness that ‘There is a body’ is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance.

Atthi vedanāti vā panassa sati paccupaṭṭhitā hoti yāvadeva ñāṇamattāya patissatimattāya.
Or his mindfulness that ‘There are feelings’ is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance.

Atthi cittanti vā panassa sati paccupaṭṭhitā hoti yāvadeva ñāṇamattāya patissatimattāya.
Or his mindfulness that ‘There is a mind’ is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance.

Atthi dhammāti vā panassa sati paccupaṭṭhitā hoti yāvadeva ñāṇamattāya patissatimattāya.
Or his mindfulness that ‘There are mental qualities’ is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.010.than.html[/quote]

with more details in Dvedhavitakka sutta:

[quote]Seyyathāpi bhikkhave gimhānaṃ pacchime māse sabbasassesu gāmantasambhatesu gopālako gāvo rakkheyya. Tassa rukkhamūlagatassa vā abbhokāsagatassa vā satikaraṇīyameva hoti: etaṃ gāvoti. Evameva kho bhikkhave satikaraṇīyameva ahosi: ete dhammāti.

“Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have been gathered into the village, a cowherd would look after his cows: While resting under the shade of a tree or out in the open, he simply keeps himself mindful of ‘those cows.’ In the same way, I simply kept myself mindful of ‘those mental qualities.’”

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html[/quote]

(see also other sources in the thread: https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299&start=260#p387615 )


#30

What are the possibilities of the meaning of the Chinese sentence? Also the point which I was making in the OP was not to look just at those two words, but the idea that we are dealing with a compound, kāyānupassī being not merely ‘body’ but ‘body contemplator’. So in the Chinese, is there this compound ‘body contemplator’, as a noun, or has contemplate been made into a verb? (I do not know Chinese grammar).

Sure. I don’t mind it being clumsy or ugly if it is literal, but getting to that understanding of the Pāli (even if by using very awkward English as an intermediary) I think is important before converting it into understandable/beautiful English.

Right. So doesn’t that make kāyānupassī “one-who-is-(regularly)-in-the-process-of-contemplating the body”? So that still means there are not two bodies being talked about, and not a body in a body or anything like that (if you are right). It described him, and says he is dwelling as that, in relation to his body, right? I am struggling to understand how it could not mean that, or how this extra body has appeared, or become detached from the compound in translation.

Just to check if I found the right part - are you saying you translate ‘kāye kāyānupassī viharati’ as “observing an aspect of the body”?

Talking of how we regard the Pāli even if not translating it, I am curious that you say ‘you can’. Are you saying that it possibly is a compound (which would in English be ‘body-contemplator’), but possibly isn’t a compound?

Cool. And I guess you would change that to:

One meditates as a body-contemplator observing an aspect of the body.

I seem to have missed how we came to “observing an aspect of the body”. Why ‘aspect’? I can’t see how that comes from the Pāli.

Yes it does seem so! Glad to hear it.

Would that be: “remains focused on the body in & of itself”? That would seem to contradict @Sujato’s interpretation.

What I took from those quotes you provided was perhaps that one is to be mindful of that sphere without letting that lead to thought. Is that what you are pointing out? I.e. not thinking about that sphere? Actually I am not really understanding exactly what “maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance.” means there, since it could possibly include speculative thought, depending on what knowledge and remembrance involve or include.


#32

[quote=“Senryu, post:30, topic:5605”]
So in the Chinese, is there this compound ‘body contemplator’, as a noun, or has contemplate been made into a verb? (I do not know Chinese grammar).
[/quote]I think that you want is this: 身身觀住. “Verbs” and “nouns” are something of a Indo-European feature, because while Sinitic languages do have verbal and nominal features (how could a language function without them?), the line between where nouns stop being nouns and verbs stop being verbs is not the same as in, say, English, AFAIK. My partner is a linguist, I may have him add some clarifications to this, but as far as I know, very often a given Chinese character can function as a verb or a noun with little differentiation apparent (to amateurs like me!).

Contemplator would be 觀 if there were anything that could be “contemplator”, but I think it can be read either as a noun or a verb in this instance depending on context… I think.

身 is kāya, 身觀 is kāyānupassī (觀 seems to more often be a verb), 住 is viharati, that much I think I can say for certain.


#34

[quote=“Senryu, post:30, topic:5605”]
Sure. I don’t mind it being clumsy or ugly if it is literal, but getting to that understanding of the Pāli (even if by using very awkward English as an intermediary) I think is important before converting it into understandable/beautiful English.[/quote]
I’m not sure there is such a thing as a literal translation though. If I were to translate “I’m going to have a shower” literally into my native language, it would be “I am walking to own a shower”; meaning something like “I am walking so that [in the future] I will own facilities to shower in”

It’s not that the literal translation is clumsy and ugly but ultimately more true and correct – it’s the opposite, the literal translation is severely distorting the original meaning into something that’s not there in the English.

There’s also the idea of function words, which are basically words that don’t carry much meaning, they’re just generic parts of language to build idiomatic expressions like “take after”, “go up against”, “have at it”, “have a go at it”, etc.

E.g. “think on it” would be locative in English, or “from the bottom of my heart” would perhaps indicate ablative, but on their own there’s a limit to how much we can understand these expressions by their use of “on” and “from”.

In the Pali (or any language) there will probably be limits in certain cases to how much meaning we can squeeze out of a single word’s case or whether it’s a noun or a verb.

This touches on the idea of the whether a phrase is compositional or not. That is, whether the meaning of a phrase can be predicted from the meaning of its parts or not.

For example, we cannot predict the meaning of “kicking the bucket” by the meaning of the individual words. “Raining cats and dogs”, the word raining gives some clue as to the meaning, but not cats and dogs. “I ate breakfast”; meaning clear from just the words.

Anyway, I thought these concepts could be an interesting contribution to the discussion :slight_smile:


#35

Hi Senryu

Yes, there are not two bodies.

The sphere (gocara, lit. pasture) of body is viewed in and of itself, without reference to other spheres. This is essential for good results.

Were one observe everything at once, it would be impossible to establish causal links, and train in key skills. Things are learned one by one, factor by factor, sphere by sphere.

“an individual uses non-judgmental observations of critical variables, with the purpose of being accurate about these observations. If the observations are accurate, the person’s body will adjust and correct automatically to achieve best performance.”

This selectivity and exclusivity of observation is rendered in Pali by reduplicative locative.


#37

Bhikkhu Sujato. I apologise for asking such a basic question by why is “kāyā” singular in “kāyānupassī”; likewise “cittā” in “cittānupassī” yet vedanā & dhammā is plural with ānupassī? Must the ānupassī follow the (prior) locative?

Thank you

kāye (loc; singular) kāyānupassī
vedanāsu (loc; plural) vedanānupassī
citte (loc; singular) cittānupassī
dhammesu (loc; plural) dhammānupassī