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Practical understanding of observing cessation


#3

What about the body?


#4

My understanding is that the body is just form (not self), it ‘houses’ the aggregates, and through the senses, one has contact with a ‘stimulus’ eg pain in the foot. As the sutta says

"If they feel a pleasant feeling, they understand that it’s impermanent, that they’re not attached to it, and that they don’t take pleasure in it. If they feel a painful feeling, they understand that it’s impermanent, that they’re not attached to it, and that they don’t take pleasure in it. If they feel a neutral feeling, they understand that it’s impermanent, that they’re not attached to it, and that they don’t take pleasure in it.

If they feel a pleasant feeling, they feel it detached. If they feel a painful feeling, they feel it detached. If they feel a neutral feeling, they feel it detached."

So the sensation is just seen or heard or felt, or tasted or smelt etc… without anything additional being added, such as good, bad, unfair etc etc. So it is ‘observed’ detached… it is not self - just the arising and passing of sensations, feelings and thoughts :slight_smile:

I’m sure there will be others who can perhaps explain this from different angles :slight_smile:

with Metta, and best wishes for your exploration! :smiley:


#5

Thanks for your reply. I agree on your understanding of the body, since in similar context (MN74) the body is said to be physical, produced by mother and father, built up from rice and porridge, and so on - I take it to mean the body is dependent on this things, so it is impermanent, conditioned & dependently arisen (as it is also stated in SN 36.7). How I can meditate observing cessation of (?) that body?


#6

Hi Piotr,
I look forward to reading what Viveka says about the cessation of the body. My own take is that we can observe changes and cessation of aspects of our bodily form. It doesn’t have to be the whole body ceasing.

I would want to add that pleasant feelings are sometimes strong and very noticeable, so I would suggest focussing on whatever is most noticeable at the present time: good, bad, who knows. When one feeling dissolves there will be others waiting to be uncovered and watched. :slight_smile:


#7

That sequence which can be simplified (MN 118, fourth tetrad), to impermanence, dispassion, cessation, relinquishment, is the “insight knowledges” which build one upon the other and can take years to bring to a position where cessation is realized, and one knowledge has to be cultivated at a time. The knowledge of impermanence results in a feeling of dispassion, the accomplishment of dispassion causes the mind to turn away from conditioned experience and towards the unconditioned. Eventually there is complete relinquishment of the conditioned. So the practitioner should work upon understanding impermanence of materiality, particularly externally. For example monks visit morgues and watch post-mortems.

The mind is conditioned by the survival impulses of desire and anger to prefer things at their peak level regarding the cycle of impermanence, and this must be countered by cultivating the stage of dissolution.

There are practical exercises for cultivating knowledge of dissolution in the Visuddhimagga, ch. XX. For example observing the way the leaves on a tree branch progress from being green to withering and dying. This is the aspect of the cycle that the mind systematically avoids and it must be trained otherwise. Further exercises dealing with the body itself are found under the first foundation of mindfulness (MN 10), where the subjects are divided into three dealing with present life, and three dealing with dissolution (reflection on the thirty-two parts of the body, analysis of the four physical elements, cemetery meditations), thereby reflecting the cycle of impermanence.cycle%20of%20impermanence


#8

 

Hello,

Even tho’ I don’t understand very much, I hope this helps.




Pali So kāye ca sukhāya ca vedanāya aniccānupassī viharati, vayānupassī viharati, virāgānupassī viharati, nirodhānupassī viharati, paṭinissaggānupassī viharati. from SC
B. Sujato They meditate observing impermanence, vanishing, dispassion, cessation, and letting go in the body and pleasant feeling. SC
B. Bodhi He dwells contemplating impermanence in the body and in pleasant feeling, he dwells contemplating vanishing, contemplating fading away, contemplating cessation, contemplating relinquishment. SC
Thanissaro B. He remains focused on inconstancy with regard to the body & to the feeling of pleasure. He remains focused on dissolution… dispassion… cessation… relinquishment with regard to the body & to the feeling of pleasure. ATI
Nyanaponika T. In regard to both body and the pleasant feeling he dwells contemplating impermanence, dwells contemplating evanescence, dwells contemplating detachment, dwells contemplating cessation, dwells contemplating relinquishment. ATI
PTS Thus he dwells contemplating impermanence in body and pleasant feeling, he dwells contemplating their transience, their waning, their ceasing, the giving of them up. PTS

 

Paragraph Context (Author by Column / Pali by Row)
Pali B. Sujato B. Bodhi Thanissaro B. Nyanaponika T. PTS
Tassa ce, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno evaṃ satassa sampajānassa appamattassa ātāpino pahitattassa viharato uppajjati sukhā vedanā, so evaṃ pajānāti: While a mendicant is meditating like this—mindful, aware, diligent, keen, and resolute—if pleasant _feeling_s arise, they understand: “Bhikkhus, while a bhikkhu dwells thus, mindful and clearly comprehending, diligent, ardent, and resolute, if there arises in him a pleasant feeling, he understands thus: As a monk is dwelling thus mindful & alert — heedful, ardent, & resolute — a feeling of pleasure arises in him. He discerns that If a monk is thus mindful and clearly comprehending, ardent, earnest and resolute, and a pleasant feeling arises in him, he knows: Now, Brethren, as that brother dwells collected, composed, earnest, ardent, strenuous, there arises in him feeling that is pleasant, and he thus understands:
 
 
‘uppannā kho myāyaṃ sukhā vedanā. ‘A pleasant feeling has arisen in me. ‘There has arisen in me a pleasant feeling. A feeling of pleasure has arisen in me. Now a pleasant feeling has arisen in me. There is arisen in me this pleasant feeling.
 
 
Sā ca kho paṭicca, no appaṭicca. That’s dependent, not independent. Now that is dependent, not independent. It is dependent on a requisite condition, not independent. It is conditioned, not unconditioned. Now that is owing to something, not without cause.
 
 
Kiṃ paṭicca? Dependent on what? Dependent on what? Dependent on what? Conditioned by what? Owing to what?
 
 
Imameva kāyaṃ paṭicca. Dependent on my own body. Dependent on this very body. Dependent on this body. Even by this body it is conditioned. (See Note below the table) body may be (phassayatana) Owing to this same body.
 
 
Ayaṃ kho pana kāyo anicco saṅkhato paṭiccasamuppanno. But this body is impermanent, conditioned, dependently originated. But this body is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen. Now, this body is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen. And this body, indeed, is impermanent, compounded, dependently arisen. Now this body is impermanent, compounded, arisen owing to something.
 
 
Aniccaṃ kho pana saṅkhataṃ paṭiccasamuppannaṃ kāyaṃ paṭicca uppannā sukhā vedanā kuto niccā bhavissatī’ti. So how could a pleasant feeling be permanent, since it has arisen dependent on a body that is impermanent, conditioned, and dependently originated?’ So when the pleasant feeling has arisen in dependence on a body that is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen, how could it be permanent?’ Being dependent on a body that is inconstant, fabricated, & dependently co-arisen, how can this feeling of pleasure that has arisen be constant?’ But if this pleasant feeling that has arisen, is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen; how could such a pleasant feeling be permanent?’ It is owing to this impermanent body, which [143] has so arisen, that pleasant feeling has arisen as a consequence, and how can that be permanent?’
 
 
So kāye ca sukhāya ca vedanāya aniccānupassī viharati, vayānupassī viharati, virāgānupassī viharati, nirodhānupassī viharati, paṭinissaggānupassī viharati. They meditate observing impermanence, vanishing, dispassion, cessation, and letting go in the body and pleasant feeling. He dwells contemplating impermanence in the body and in pleasant feeling, he dwells contemplating vanishing, contemplating fading away, contemplating cessation, contemplating relinquishment. He remains focused on inconstancy with regard to the body & to the feeling of pleasure. He remains focused on dissolution… dispassion… cessation… relinquishment with regard to the body & to the feeling of pleasure. In regard to both body and the pleasant feeling he dwells contemplating impermanence, dwells contemplating evanescence, dwells contemplating detachment, dwells contemplating cessation, dwells contemplating relinquishment. Thus he dwells contemplating impermanence in body and pleasant feeling, he dwells contemplating their transience, their waning, their ceasing, the giving of them up.
 
 
Tassa kāye ca sukhāya ca vedanāya aniccānupassino viharato, vayānupassino viharato, virāgānupassino viharato, nirodhānupassino viharato, paṭinissaggānupassino viharato, yo kāye ca sukhāya ca vedanāya rāgānusayo, so pahīyati. As they do so, they give up the underlying tendency for greed for the body and pleasant feeling. As he dwells thus, the underlying tendency to lust in regard to the body and in regard to pleasant feeling is abandoned by him. As he remains focused on inconstancy… dissolution… dispassion… cessation… relinquishment with regard to the body & to the feeling of pleasure, he abandons any passion-obsession with regard to the body & the feeling of pleasure. And in him who thus dwells, the underlying tendency to lust in regard to body and pleasant feeling vanishes. As he thus dwells contemplating impermanence in body and pleasant feeling, contemplating their transience, their waning, their ceasing, the giving of them up the lurking tendency to lust for body and pleasant feeling is abandoned.
 
 
from SC SuttaCentral SuttaCentral Gelañña Sutta: The Sick Ward (1) Gelañña Sutta: At the Sick Room (1) PTS (Translated from the Pali by Mrs. Rhys-Davids and F.L. Woodward, M.A.)

[Note-1 by Author ==> The term body may be taken here as referring to the first five of the six bases of sense-impression (phassayatana).]

 

Paragraph Context (Pali by Column / Author by Row)
Pali Tassa ce, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno evaṃ satassa sampajānassa appamattassa ātāpino pahitattassa viharato uppajjati sukhā vedanā, so evaṃ pajānāti: ‘uppannā kho myāyaṃ sukhā vedanā. Sā ca kho paṭicca, no appaṭicca. Kiṃ paṭicca? Imameva kāyaṃ paṭicca. Ayaṃ kho pana kāyo anicco saṅkhato paṭiccasamuppanno. Aniccaṃ kho pana saṅkhataṃ paṭiccasamuppannaṃ kāyaṃ paṭicca uppannā sukhā vedanā kuto niccā bhavissatī’ti. So kāye ca sukhāya ca vedanāya aniccānupassī viharati, vayānupassī viharati, virāgānupassī viharati, nirodhānupassī viharati, paṭinissaggānupassī viharati. Tassa kāye ca sukhāya ca vedanāya aniccānupassino viharato, vayānupassino viharato, virāgānupassino viharato, nirodhānupassino viharato, paṭinissaggānupassino viharato, yo kāye ca sukhāya ca vedanāya rāgānusayo, so pahīyati. from SC
B. Sujato While a mendicant is meditating like this—mindful, aware, diligent, keen, and resolute—if pleasant _feeling_s arise, they understand: ‘A pleasant feeling has arisen in me. That’s dependent, not independent. Dependent on what? Dependent on my own body. But this body is impermanent, conditioned, dependently originated. So how could a pleasant feeling be permanent, since it has arisen dependent on a body that is impermanent, conditioned, and dependently originated?’ They meditate observing impermanence, vanishing, dispassion, cessation, and letting go in the body and pleasant feeling. As they do so, they give up the underlying tendency for greed for the body and pleasant feeling. SuttaCentral
B. Bodhi “Bhikkhus, while a bhikkhu dwells thus, mindful and clearly comprehending, diligent, ardent, and resolute, if there arises in him a pleasant feeling, he understands thus: ‘There has arisen in me a pleasant feeling. Now that is dependent, not independent. Dependent on what? Dependent on this very body. But this body is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen. So when the pleasant feeling has arisen in dependence on a body that is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen, how could it be permanent?’ He dwells contemplating impermanence in the body and in pleasant feeling, he dwells contemplating vanishing, contemplating fading away, contemplating cessation, contemplating relinquishment. As he dwells thus, the underlying tendency to lust in regard to the body and in regard to pleasant feeling is abandoned by him. SuttaCentral
Thanissaro B. As a monk is dwelling thus mindful & alert — heedful, ardent, & resolute — a feeling of pleasure arises in him. He discerns that A feeling of pleasure has arisen in me. It is dependent on a requisite condition, not independent. Dependent on what? Dependent on this body. Now, this body is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen. Being dependent on a body that is inconstant, fabricated, & dependently co-arisen, how can this feeling of pleasure that has arisen be constant?’ He remains focused on inconstancy with regard to the body & to the feeling of pleasure. He remains focused on dissolution… dispassion… cessation… relinquishment with regard to the body & to the feeling of pleasure. As he remains focused on inconstancy… dissolution… dispassion… cessation… relinquishment with regard to the body & to the feeling of pleasure, he abandons any passion-obsession with regard to the body & the feeling of pleasure. Gelañña Sutta: The Sick Ward (1)
Nyanaponika T. If a monk is thus mindful and clearly comprehending, ardent, earnest and resolute, and a pleasant feeling arises in him, he knows: Now a pleasant feeling has arisen in me. It is conditioned, not unconditioned. Conditioned by what? Even by this body it is conditioned. (See Note below the table) body may be (phassayatana) And this body, indeed, is impermanent, compounded, dependently arisen. But if this pleasant feeling that has arisen, is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen; how could such a pleasant feeling be permanent?’ In regard to both body and the pleasant feeling he dwells contemplating impermanence, dwells contemplating evanescence, dwells contemplating detachment, dwells contemplating cessation, dwells contemplating relinquishment. And in him who thus dwells, the underlying tendency to lust in regard to body and pleasant feeling vanishes. Gelañña Sutta: At the Sick Room (1)
PTS Now, Brethren, as that brother dwells collected, composed, earnest, ardent, strenuous, there arises in him feeling that is pleasant, and he thus understands:  
 
There is arisen in me this pleasant feeling.  
 
Now that is owing to something, not without cause.  
 
Owing to what?  
 
Owing to this same body.  
 
Now this body is impermanent, compounded, arisen owing to something.  
 
It is owing to this impermanent body, which [143] has so arisen, that pleasant feeling has arisen as a consequence, and how can that be permanent?’  
 
Thus he dwells contemplating impermanence in body and pleasant feeling, he dwells contemplating their transience, their waning, their ceasing, the giving of them up.  
 
As he thus dwells contemplating impermanence in body and pleasant feeling, contemplating their transience, their waning, their ceasing, the giving of them up the lurking tendency to lust for body and pleasant feeling is abandoned.  
 
PTS (Translated from the Pali by Mrs. Rhys-Davids and F.L. Woodward, M.A.)

[Note-1 by Author ==> The term body may be taken here as referring to the first five of the six bases of sense-impression (phassayatana).]


:anjal:


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#9

There are many ways to contemplate the body. As Gillian stated, it is difficult to observe the cessation of ones own entire body, but one can see the impermanence of individual elements.

One can look at impermanence and cessation of the body/form from many angles;

  • The 4 elements of earth, fire, water and wind, that make up the components of the body.
  • There are the components of the body, hair, skin, teeth, intestines etc etc.
  • Each component of the body is just a part just like the parts of a chariot
  • Death contemplation, and the decomposition of the body

Just a few to get you started. :slight_smile:


#10

As a starting point, I would suggest just observing bodily sensations, and noticing how they feel, and how they change.
I often use the sensation of pressure due to weight/gravity, which is continually shifting and mostly neutral. Or when outdoors, the light cool pressure of wind on my skin. That kind of thing.
Technically it’s the first two frames of satipatthana.


#11

Hi @Viveka @Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta @paul1 & @Gillian,

thank you for all your replies. Actually I’m pondering on the possibility that this text doesn’t speak about observing how the body & feeling ceases. As you all point out one can observe how the body is liable to change, one can meditate on the impermanence or the uncertainty of the body but observing actual cessation of it seems to be inconceivable.

After giving it some thought I’m wondering if this texts speaks about cessation of rāga, dosa & moha with regard to the body & feelings? After seeing that they are inconstant meditator changes his own attitude towards them: he doesn’t grasp or welcome them and experiences detachment from rāga, dosa & moha as sanskrit parallel to MN 74 seem to say:

sa sukhām api vedanāṃ vedayate, visaṃyukto vedayate, na saṃyuktaḥ | duḥkhām api aduḥkhāsukhām api vedanāṃ vedayate, visaṃyukto vedayate, na saṃyuktaḥ | kena visaṃyuktaḥ? visaṃyukto rāgeṇa dveṣeṇa mohena, visaṃyukto jātijarāmaraṇaśokaparidevaduḥkhadaurmanasyopāyāsaiḥ, visaṃyukto duḥkhād iti vadāmi ||

Can this be a cessation from SN 36.7?


#12

I’ve been wondering something simmilar. I think the nuance of the specific text may be describing a slightly different angle from which to see this. :slight_smile:

Maybe, if they have time, one of the Venerables on the forum could elucidate :slight_smile:
Bhante @sujato Ajahn @brahmali


#13

“It’s when a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world”.

“Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā, vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ”.

I understand the above text as follows.
“kāye kāyānupassī” even though most translators translate it as “observing an aspect of the body” means a lot more than that. It means IMO understanding the true nature of the body from head hairs to toes which is its impermanent, suffering and not-self nature because the body itself is a formation dependent on nutriments for its survival.

If we understand that the body which we call “my body” depends on external nutriments over which we have no control, then we should also be able to understand that if and when the supply of nutriments cease the body too will cease. This is the true nature of vedana, citta and Dhammas too. And this this what is meant by;
"they meditate observing impermanence, vanishing, dispassion, cessation, and letting go in the body, vedana, citta and Dhammas".
With Metta


#14

The difficult word here, as so often, is kāya. It’s meaning is contextual, sometimes referring to the physical body, but often referring to body in a broader sense, as in “one’s person”. Take sakkāya ditthi, literally “the view of an existing body”, which is defined in terms of seeing a permanent self in any of the five khandhas (see MN 44). By definition kāya (sakkāya = sat + kāya) cannot mean physical body in such a context, but must refer to any aspect of one’s person.

SN 36.7 is a very profound sutta that ends with arahantship. Such a conclusion only makes sense if the instructions given by the Buddha refer to the contemplation of all feelings, not only those connected to the physical body. So in this context we can be sure that kāya refers to “body” in this broader context of “one’s person”, which really comes down to whatever one is experiencing (with the exception, perhaps, of consciousness).

The way this contemplation works is to see the cessation of the five khandhas directly in one’s meditation. For instance, in the first jhāna all painful feeling is gone. You then know from direct experience that it is affected by the three characteristics, impermanence, suffering, and nonself. The same is true for pleasant feelings. They change and partly cease, until they are completely gone in the fourth jhāna. When you get to the fourth jhāna, there will be no doubt that happiness, too, is subject to the three characteristics. In reality, however, you won’t usually need to go all the way to the fourth jhāna, because you will be able to infer the cessation of all feelings from seeing their partial cessation during the earlier part of the process of meditation.

I haven’t really read your discussion here, and so I hope my reply is relevant!


#15

Very helpful, many thanks :pray:
:slightly_smiling_face:


#16

The great thing about your follow-up question,

was that it made me go and look at the whole sutta. There I found at the beginning the Buddha setting up and answering two questions

“Mendicants, a mendicant should await their time mindful and aware. This is my instruction to you.

3And how is a mendicant mindful? …

4And how is a mendicant aware? …

To answer them, he starts from the basic and goes right through to death and final extinguishment

Feeling the end of life approaching, a mendicant understands: ‘I feel the end of life approaching.’ They understand: ‘When my body breaks up and my life is over, everything that’s felt, since I no longer take pleasure in it, will become cool right here.’

My first thought when I saw your response had been that rāga, dosa & moha permeate everything and so your suggestion must be reasonable, whether or not they are named in the text. I don’t find that they are specifically mentioned but Ajahn @Brahmali confirms the reading of extinction/nibbana at the end, so penetrating rāga, dosa & moha through looking at all the other things the sutta mentions can surely be implied.


#17

Hmm, english isn’t my native tongue, so maybe this is the reason that I have difficulties to understand what’s going on exactly. Wouldn’t the extraction of teeth and the meditation on the inability of getting them back an “introductory” example for meditation on cessation of the body? Or loosing sight? Or loosing ability to walk? For instance, since some years when I see people of my age sitting in a wheel chair - I always take the moment to listen into inside what my thoughts, what my body, what my heart and my compassion says to this? The process of aging is a long one and a process of loosing abilities. When I was young and worked in a hospital there was even one young guy, having lost his kidneys - being now dependend on “the machine” for the rest of his life: cessation of the body, “what does this mean to him”, what to my compassion with him?
Even one can observe (and meditate on) the loss of power of brain/mind…

So if we simply expand the quote to read like this:

Basically, I take it to be the observation of the arising, changing and ceasing of sensation, feeling, of the physical abilities, of the physical appearance, of physical mutilations, and of thought and of mental capacities.

I guess this will make things clearer. And put “cessation” more to the “body” and make this more accessible to meditation… Or not?
(Well, if I really misunderstood something in the original post then I can well retract this comment)


#18

Ajahn Brahmali gave a very good explanation here

As is so often the case, context is so important in determining the specifics :slight_smile:


#19

Hi Piotr

I second Ven @brahmali on the meaning of kāya as used in the passage -

So kāye ca sukhāya ca vedanāya aniccānupassī viharati, vayānupassī viharati, virāgānupassī viharati, nirodhānupassī viharati, paṭinissaggānupassī viharati.

The clearest sign that this kāya does not mean the physical body (sarīra) comes in the ending passages about the termination of the body and feelings -

So kāyapariyantikaṃ vedanaṃ vedayamāno ‘kāyapariyantikaṃ vedanaṃ vedayāmī’ti pajānāti, jīvitapariyantikaṃ vedanaṃ vedayamāno ‘jīvitapariyantikaṃ vedanaṃ vedayāmī’ti pajānāti. ‘Kāyassa bhedā uddhaṃ jīvitapariyādānā idheva sabbavedayitāni anabhinanditāni sītībhavissantī’ti pajānāti.

As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, the formulaic “kāyassa bhedā” is actually an alternative reading for “khandhānaṃ bhedo” (the breakup of the Aggregates) in SN 12.2, SN 12.28, SN 12.33, MN 141. Eg, SN 12.2 has “breakup of the Aggregates”, while its Chinese parallel SA 298 has 身壞 (breakup of the body).

Based on how the Indians used kāya in the Buddha’s time, one of the principal existential meanings of “body” as such is personal existence, as alluded to by Ven Brahmali. We see the same interchangeability between kāya and attapaṭilābhā in DN 9 and DA 28.


#20

The breath also considered a kāya in MN 118.

At that time they’re meditating by observing an aspect of the body—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world.
kāye kāyānupassī, bhikkhave, tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhu viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ.
For I say that the in-breaths and out-breaths are an aspect of the body.
Kāyesu kāyaññatarāhaṃ, bhikkhave, evaṃ vadāmi yadidaṃ—assāsapassāsā(MN118).


#21

Might be a bit difficult, given the syntax, where the pronoun “so” is used in the contemplator passage. This pronoun from ta typically links back to the subject mentioned earlier, ie the body and feelings.

Secondly, for your suggestion to work, you’d need rāga, dosa & moha to make their appearance in a locative declension as part of a tappurisa compound with body and feeling. Kāye being locative must be the noun standing in a referential relationship with the other noun anupassī, which doesn’t leave any room for the 3 defilements to squeeze into such a relationship with anupassī.


#22

I’m not sure about it either… Given that this kāya is a condition for feelings to arise I assume that it is a base for arising of physical feelings. Contact from next sutta seems to be a base for physical and mental feelings to arise. I try to read SN 36.6, SN 36.7 and SN 36.8 as a whole, their grouping doesn’t seem to be accidental.

But even if this kāya is a synonym for pañcupādānakkhandhā then we still need to have some idea what it means for rūpupādānakkhandha to cease. So either way I’m back to my original question. Would you suggest arūpa dwellings? Or cessation of upādāna?