MN118 - sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī = "... experiencing all bodies..."?

In Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s book called “Mindfulness with Breathing”, for the third step in the first tetrad of mindfulness with breathing, he says one gains an understanding of how the “breath-body” conditions the “flesh-body”. (Rather than experiencing all three stages of the breath: beginning, middle, and end. Or literally the whole body.)

I’m not familiar with Pāli, and I was wondering if “sabbakāya” can be interpreted as being plural? I ask because I’ve only seen “sabbakāya” being translated as plural in this translation/interpretation of MN118.


Sabba kāya : whole body
paṭisaṃvedī : experiencing

Therefore sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī is experiencing the whole body.

For deeper meaning of paṭisaṃvedī:
paṭi means towards
saṃ means san
vedi means knows

san is an unheard of word in current Buddhism but it is an essential word to know and it means the good and bad things we acquire. We need to take in the good things (good cetasika) and remove the bad things (bad cetasika).

The deeper meaning of sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī is towards knowing san (by taking in the good things and remove the bad things) of the whole body.

Any form of bhāvanā (meditation) is to remove defilement
(kilesa) and if the bhāvanā is not removing defilement then it is useless.

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saṃ means “together or with” in the dictionary but “san” means a bit more than “together” (which is similar to “adding”): It should really be “adding defilements (those that lengthen samsara or the rebirth process)”. Thus if you know san you will practice by taking in the good things and remove the bad things, in that way defilement will slowly be removed.

In meditation ( bhāvanā), removal of kilesa (defilement) is a must so knowing san helps in removal of defilement, but the choice is yours.

We’ve been through this before: Explaining sankhāra="choices" - #29 by Coemgenu