I see the word Vedanāsati thrown around a bit, and one of my monastic teachers uses that word, but I’ve been trying to research the distinction between Vedanānupassana and Vedanāsati, but I couldn’t seem to get a definitive answer to this.
I’ve asked one of my other teachers and he told me that there is no such expression as vedanāsati. The practice of satipatthāna in regard to vedanā is explained as vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati, (“one dwells contemplating feelings in regard to feelings”).
Two different monastics, two different understandings
“Vedanāsati” is all over the place on the internet, though admittedly, there are more instances of “Vedanānupassana.” If vedanāsati isn’t a word, then I suppose that’s part of the distortion of Pāli that happens when people who aren’t instructed in the language make inferences or “wing it” by stringing together Pāli words? Hmmm?
Anyway, I wanted to share this here for discourse; perhaps my dilemma will serve as a benefit to others.
Hi Michael. While the term “vedanasati” seems not found in the suttas, for me, the term would mean “having mindfulness towards feelings” . The meaning of “mindfulness”, here, per the direct definitions found in the suttas (SN 46.3; MN 117) or in Vb 5 is recollecting or bearing/maintaining in mind the right view towards feelings so feelings are viewed with Right View.
For me, personally, the above is an institutionalized misinterpretation of the definition of Samma Sati. The word “ānupassī” (“observe closely”) seems obviously not a synonym of “sati” (“recollection”; “remembrance”; “non-forgetfulness”) therefore the word “sati” seems to obviously not mean “anupassi”. For me, in its crudest practical sense, the term “sati” here means “to remember to contemplate/closely observe feelings” (rather than to allow the mind to drift off or get distracted elsewhere). In its most sublime practical sense, the term “sati” here means “to not be forgetful of Right View when experiencing feelings”. Regards
The surpassing importance of the contemplation of feelings:
"A final point to be explored concerns the very existence,
in the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta and its parallels, of contemplation
of vedanās as a satipaṭṭhāna in its own right. Given that the
third satipaṭṭhāna covers the whole of the mind (citta), why
should another satipaṭṭhāna just be dedicated to one aspect
of the mind, namely vedanā?90 If various aspects of the
mind each deserve a satipaṭṭhāna of their own, then why
not also take up perception (saññā), for example?
“The same question presents itself again in a different
form when considering the themes under which discourses
are arranged in the Saṃyutta-nikāya (and in its counterpart,
the Saṃyukta-āgama). In addition to a section on the
whole set of five aggregates (SN 22) and on the whole set
of the four satipaṭṭhānas (SN 47), another whole section
is dedicated to the topic of vedanā (SN 36). Precisely this
section is the source of many of the discourses translated
above, which provide such rich perspectives on the practice
of the second satipaṭṭhāna, contemplation of vedanās. No
comparable section exists on the topic of “perception”
(saññā) or even on “the mind” (citta);91 although a chapter
on this topic exists in the Dhammapada.