Sampajañña - a source collection

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why does he translate "kammaṃ adhiṭṭhāti"
as “he undertakes walking up and down”?

was he translating the agama parallel or something?
bodhi has “ever mindful he undertakes work”

i would prefer “action” for kamma rather than “work”, since action is a far broader term, a catch all any kind of bodily, speech, mental activity. it makes more sense that way doesn’t it? why “sati” be restricted to just work, or “walking up and down”? the auxilarly formula for satipatthana occurs in all 4 satipatthana’s, not just the first one.

from our wiki page
Kuan in Mindfulness in Early Buddhism quotes an interesting variation in AN 6.29

Here, Ananda, being mindful (sato), a monk goes forward; being mindful, he goes back; being mindful, he stands; being mindful, he sits; being mindful, he lies down; being mindful, he undertakes walking up and down. This subject of mindfulness, Ananda, thus developed, thus cultivated, leads to mindfulness and full awareness.

the 6th item of 6 anus­satiṭ­-ṭhānaṃ in AN 6.29

Idhānanda, bhikkhu satova abhikkamati satova paṭikkamati satova tiṭṭhati satova nisīdati satova seyyaṃ kappeti satova kammaṃ adhiṭṭhāti. Idaṃ, ānanda, anus­satiṭ­ṭhānaṃ evaṃ bhāvitaṃ evaṃ bahulīkataṃ sati­sam­pajañ­ñāya saṃvattatī”ti. (6)


i tried to add it to the wiki (under misc.), is there a way to get the table in properly formatted?


shouldn’t the “abhidhamma” section of the wiki page, be a sub-section under “commentary”? aren’t they the same time period?


I’m not an expert in the time line of commentary literature, but my impression from reading around is that it is surely older than the commentaries, reaching into the late period of the completion of the nikayas. Also, there isn’t “the” abhidhamma. Book 1, the dhammasangani seems to be treated as an older sphere of the abdhidhamma. Under that assumption I separated it from the commentaries. If someone has solid research that shows the opposite, then of course the titles should be changed.




@frankk Hi Frank, you included the above note. But I can’t see the use to mention where sampajanna is not mentioned - it’s also not in the first and second jhana. why is that important?


@frankk sorry to question your editions, but I don’t see why paragraphs in pali are interesting for a wiki article that should be informative and concise. I am certainly not a fluent pali student, and most other readers are not. Whoever is, is certainly used to looking the original up. I felt my original wiki was already quite long and additions should best be measured.

instead of writing

and then a pali paragraph, why not just write shortly what ‘the 6th item is’ - I still don’t have an idea

again, the 4th jhana reference has no connection to sampajanna and I would ask you to review what the value of that information is.

Also, as you might have noticed, SN 47.35 is already referred to in a short way, just before the ‘jhana’ sub-section

Again AN 4.41 has now a full pali paragraph that addresses maybe 5% of the readers. I’m sure it’s enough the have the SC sutta reference, anyone interested can look up the pali easily, and it is quoted in translation anyway as far as I can see.

The goal I think is to give the reader a rather short overview to the main occurrences of sampajanna in the suttas, and just reference the others. Not every occurrence deserves the same space, as contexts that appear only once or twice in the whole sutta pitaka are surely of less central importance than the very common contexts…
Sorry for being critical, these are my reflections for having wikis that are easy to read and hopefully informative at the same time


It depends what you mean by “abhidhamma”. the Abhidhammapitaka is a late set of canonical texts, which belong to the non-EBT portion of the Pali canon (and other canons). But when using the word “abhidhamma”, very often it refers to the later commentaries on that literature, or to the scholastic aspects of the later traditions generally.

Having said which, we should focus on the EBTs, that’s what we know, and its why we’re here. Other references should be kept brief.


no problem Gabriel.
as soon as i get a clear understanding of exactly how we want this wiki at SC to be, i’ll conform. you’re welcome to change any of my additions if i don’t get around to it in a timely manner.

the lack of sampajanna in 4th jhana is very interesting because usually you find “sati and sampajano” together like best friends everywhere, and often with upekkha. so to see it missing seems to suggest more refinement and stillness in samadhi from 3rd to 4th jhana. the lack of it in 1st and 2nd jhana may be because piti and sukha can be so “loud” that your attention is hard to direct anywhere else but piti and sukha.

i added the quote from AN 6.29 in pali because i didn’t understand how the translator came out with the last part of “kammam adhitthati” (see my post earlier in this thread). also the fact that “sampajanna” is one of six “anussatithanam” itself is interesting, because usually people treat MN 10 satipatthana as the bible, and they tend to compartmentalize sampajanna as a kaya-anupassana, so the fact that i italized and succinctly stated it simply that it’s the 6th element of the 6 anussatithana is to call attention to that.

maybe i’m just the 5% for a general wiki audience, but i think at SC it would be far more than 5%, since it seems many people are either doing some translation in one language or another, or trying to dig deeper into the pali. an SC wiki that is all english would be of very little use to me.

my approach would be to start this sampajanna wiki entry off with a synopsis, and there you could have the short concise summary you and the 95% desire, and then the rest of the article could dive into gory detail for translators and pali nerds. in wikipedia, the table of contents is hyperlinked, so between reading the synopsis and the hyperlinks the 95% get what they want, and the 5% get what they want and everyone can be happy. that’s just my suggestion. i’ll go along with what people decide on.


Your position is legitimate so if you don’t mind let’s work it out in satisfying way. Also the wiki section is rather new, so it’s worth finding a solution that is good for the eye and the mind too…

Here’s another idea. In scholarly articles we often don’t have lengthy pali passages in the text but in the (foot)notes. How would it be to adopt this practice, have the main text in translation (including individual words up to a sentence in pali) and then at the end of the wiki a ‘footnote section’ with the pali texts?[quote=“frankk, post:29, topic:3615”]
the lack of sampajanna in 4th jhana is very interesting

I agree, but don’t think it’s the place in this wiki source collection to hint at it - simply because sati appears in many places without sampajanna. It calls for a deeper discussion of these two terms, with an interpretation, and a conclusion in the end. Would you like to develop that in an essay or a discussion topic? in the wiki we could provide links to SC topics in a separate section - just before or after the proposed pali section at the end of the article.


As you said, the whole idea of a wiki is new and evolving. To some extent we can just let it evolve by itself and see where it takes us. I think one of the issues facing Wikipedia is that as it gets bigger, the rules become so complex it gets weighed down by its own history, and in an ever-changing place like the internet, that spells doom.

Regarding Pali passages, would it not be better to just give the references? My thought is that these articles are mainly as introductions for people wanting a general survey. Obviously if a specific term is discussed it needs to be in Pali, and there may be cause for occasional other things. But try imagining that all the Pali text is just random gibberish: that’s what the article will look like to 98% of readers.

As for footnotes, since we don’t have proper footnote support, I would avoid them. I don’t have a 100% solution, but on the whole I think it would be better to keep notes in place.

One of the things I have noticed about footnotes is that when they’re available, they become a convenient place to just put stuff. It’s like having a room with lots of cupboards and closed closets. You can endlessly shove your smelly old socks in there and pretend they don’t exist. But still they lurk, evolving, growing, waiting for their moment. :scream:

When we were designing Santi monastery, given that it’s a communal space and we want to keep it tidy, one of the things we did was make sure there was a minimum of concealed storage. Almost all storage was open shelves, so you can see what’s there and when its messy.

If we keep everything inline, rather than as footnotes, it forces a discipline on us: only keep what’s necessary. I’d rather prioritize a clean, well-written article than one stuffed with references.


I personally doubt the above is occurring. Nor is ‘sampajano’ defined as ‘attention’ (‘manasikara’). Again, my concern about using the broad & vague English word ‘awareness’ is manifesting.

I would speculate ‘sampajano’ is specifically mentioned in the 3rd jhana formula due to the: “fading away of rapture”, which potentially could be a major object of clinging (upadana; ālaya). When rapture fades away, I am suggesting the mind has ‘sampajano’ in not being affected by the impermanence/loss of the rapture. The sutta states:

With the fading away as well of rapture, I remained equanimous, mindful and clear comprehending (with wisdom)… MN 4

When the description is too brief (e.g. MN 4), students keep questioning. When the description is too extensive (e.g., in MN 111), students claim the sutta is unauthentic.

Sariputta entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. Whatever qualities there are in the fourth jhana — a feeling of equanimity, neither pleasure nor pain; an unconcern due to serenity of mind; singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, zeal, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him [with sampajanna] they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned [with sampajanna], ‘So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.’ He remained [with sampajanna] unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that ‘There is a further escape,’ and pursuing it there really was for him. MN 111

MN 111, specific to the 4th jhana, includes the phrase: ’ passaddhattā cetaso anābhogoan’, translated as: ‘unconcern due to serenity of mind’, which, on face value, sound very much like the application of ‘sampajanna’.

As I see it, problems arise when the word ‘awareness’ is used for ‘sampajanna’ because this gives the impression of removing ‘sampajanna’ from the wisdom faculty (panna indriya) and placing ‘sampajanna’ into the concentration faculty (samadhi indriya).

The result is Wiki Dhamma, like most of the Internet Buddhist sects, becomes ‘Western Buddhism’ and thus potentially ends up like Greek Christianity (rather than original Aramaic Christianity). Like mistaking the finger for the moon, the English translation (‘finger’) is clung to rather than the reality of the Pali (‘the moon’).



thanks for that explanation of MN 111 and 4th jhana, that makes sense.
i’m not equating sampajanno with awareness.
the bigger picture i was trying to get at is the very terse samma samadhi formula of 4 jhanas is trying to point at what the dominant feature of each jhana is.

off topic,
i’ve wondered for a long time now why the Buddha did not officially formulate samma samadhi as the “samadhi in 3 ways formula” such as AN 8.63, since it would be more general purpose like samma vayamo and inclusive of many hybrid samadhi states.

0“When this concentration has been developed and cultivated by you in this way, then you should develop this concentration with thought and examination; you should develop it without thought but with examination only; you should develop it without thought and examination. You should develop it with rapture; you should develop it without rapture; you should develop it accompanied by comfort; and you should develop it accompanied by equanimity.


what about the hyperlinks that point offsite or to other articles on site?
should that be treated the same way as trying to avoid footnotes? for example someone added that fantastic offsite link on gradual training to an awesome chart on leigh’s site. i’d hate to not have easy access to something like that.


Sure, links are fine. We have native support for them.

Just remember that links decay. Half the links in US Supreme Court decisions are broken!

So it’s best to supply enough information so that people can, wherever possible, still find the information even if the link is broken. So if there’s the name and title, for example, that’s usually enough to get it from Google, even if the original source is down. In the case of portable resources, such as images or pdfs, best to import them here, that solves the problem.


I think it is worth listing Ajahn Sumedho’s rendering as well: intuitive awareness / awareness

(…)If we’re not mindful and developing wisdom, then the life here becomes one of developing an ego around being a monk or a nun.

So when the Buddha pointed to awareness, sati-sampajanna, he was pointing to the reflective capacity. For this I use the phrase ‘intuitive awareness.’ Although ‘intuition’ is a common enough word in English, I myself use it to refer to the ability to awaken and be aware, which is a state of reflection.
It isn’t thought; it’s not filling my mind with ideas or views and opinions. It’s an ability to receive this present moment, to receive both the physical and mental conditions as they impinge on me through the senses.
It is the ability to embrace the moment, which means the embracement of everything. Everything belongs here, whether you like it or not. Whether you want it or don’t want it is not the issue. It is the way it is.


This awareness, sati-sampajanna, intuitive awareness, is not something that I can claim personally. If my personality started claiming it, it would just be more self-view, sakkaya-ditthi again. If I started saying ‘I’m a very wise person,’ then it would be self-view claiming to be wise. So when you understand that, how could you claim to be anything at all? Of course, on a conventional level I’m willing to play the game. So, when they say ‘Ajahn Sumedho’ I say ‘Yes’. There’s nothing wrong with conventional reality either. The problem is in the attachment to it out of ignorance.

Avijja is the Pali word for spiritual ignorance. It means not knowing the Four Noble Truths. In the investigation of the Four Noble Truths, avijja ceases. Awareness, the awakened state, takes you out of ignorance immediately, if you’ll trust it. As soon as you are aware, ignorance is gone. So then, when ignorance arises, you can be aware of it as something coming and going, rather than taking it personally or assuming that you’re always ignorant until you become enlightened. If you’re always operating from the assumption that ‘I’m ignorant and I’ve got to practise in order to get rid of ignorance,’ then grasp that assumption, you’re stuck with that until you see through the grasping of that view.