SN54.11 The Buddha’s Breath Meditation: talk by Piya Tan

Icchanangala Sutta (SN54.11)


The Icchā,naṅgala Sutta centers around the Buddha’s practice of the breath meditation. The significance of this meditation is highlighted by the fact that it is declared by the Buddha to be the “noble abode” (ariya,vihāra), the “perfect abode” (brahma,vihāra), and the “Tathagata’s abode” (tathāgata,vihāra) [§11].
The Sutta opens with the Buddha announcing to the monks that he plans to “spend three months in solitary retreat” [§2]. During that period, the Buddha will not see anyone, except the monk who brings almsfood for the Buddha [§3]. In other words, the Buddha will be spending a solitary meditation retreat (where silence is observed throughout). The Sutta later tells us that the “three months” refer to the rains retreat [§3.1].