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What is the difference between satipaṭṭhāna and ānāpānasati?

a)Some commentators believe that Satipatthana as a latter addition and not Buddha’s original teaching.
b) They both refer to four frames of references, how do they differ?

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Hi @SarathW1,

Just to make sure we maximize the chances of this being a productive conversation, would you please kindly define precisely what you mean by satipaṭṭhāna and ānāpānasati here?

Broadly, EBTs clearly have both mentioned. So I don’t think anyone could say either of the concepts - satipaṭṭhāna or ānāpānasati - are not found in EBTs as being recorded to have been originally spoken of and about by the Buddha.

##Defining satipaṭṭhāna
First of all, satipaṭṭhāna means application or development of mindfulness (sati). It is all about how the path factor of right mindfulness, or right presence, is to be cultivated by one invested in the path. It is itself a fourfold cultivation, in short:

"Bhikkhu, when your virtue is well purified and your view straight, based upon virtue, established upon virtue, you should develop the four establishments of mindfulness in a threefold way.

“What four?

Body (kāya) as the first

Here, bhikkhu, dwell contemplating the body in the body internally, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. Dwell contemplating the body in the body externally, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. Dwell contemplating the body in the body internally and externally, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.

Feelings (vedana) as the second

“Dwell contemplating feelings in feelings internally … externally … internally and externally, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.

Mind (citta) as the third

Dwell contemplating mind in mind internally … externally … internally and externally, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.

##Principles of phenomena (dhamma) as the fourth
Dwell contemplating principles in phenomena, internally … externally … internally and externally, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.

“When, bhikkhu, based upon virtue, established upon virtue, you develop these four establishments of mindfulness thus in a threefold way, then, whether night or day comes, you may expect only growth in wholesome states, not decline.”
Source: SN47.3

##Defining ānāpānasati
Secondly, ānāpānasati is one of the suggested focuses of recollection (anussati).

It is concerned with developing right mindfulness with the in and out breath (ānāpāna). Key suttas to read in order to understand what it is all about are at least the MN118 and all suttas of the Ānāpāna Saṃyutta (SN54).

##What is the link between satipaṭṭhāna and ānāpānasati as per EBTs?

That is maybe the question we need to understand there is a satisfactory answer to, and it is to be found in the SN54.13:

"Mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, when developed & pursued, brings the four frames of reference (cattāro satipaṭṭhāne) to completion.
(…)

ānāpānasati & the first satipaṭṭhāna

"[1] Now, on whatever occasion a monk breathing in long discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out long, discerns that he is breathing out long; or breathing in short, discerns that he is breathing in short; or breathing out short, discerns that he is breathing out short; trains himself to breathe in… &… out sensitive to the entire body; trains himself to breathe in… &… out calming the bodily processes:
On that occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I tell you that this — the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

ānāpānasati & the second satipaṭṭhāna

"[2] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself to breathe in… &… out sensitive to rapture; trains himself to breathe in… &… out sensitive to pleasure; trains himself to breathe in… &… out sensitive to mental processes; trains himself to breathe in… &… out calming mental processes: On that occasion the monk remains focused on feelings in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I tell you that this — close attention to in-&-out breaths — is classed as a feeling among feelings, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on feelings in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

ānāpānasati & the third satipaṭṭhāna

"[3] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself to breathe in… &… out sensitive to the mind; trains himself to breathe in… &… out satisfying the mind; trains himself to breathe in… &… out steadying the mind; trains himself to breathe in… &… out releasing the mind: On that occasion the monk remains focused on the mind in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I don’t say that there is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing in one of confused mindfulness and no alertness, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the mind in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

ānāpānasati & the fourth satipaṭṭhāna

"[4] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself to breathe in… &… out focusing on inconstancy; trains himself to breathe in… &… out focusing on dispassion; trains himself to breathe in… &… out focusing on cessation; trains himself to breathe in… &… out focusing on relinquishment: On that occasion the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He who sees clearly with discernment the abandoning of greed & distress is one who oversees with equanimity, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

"This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination.

I thank you in advance for considering the definitions above, and truly hope it helps shaping up a productive conversation in this topic.

P.S.: I am adjusting the pali spelling in the title! Feel free to not accept it!

:anjal:

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Thank you, I appreciate the effort you taken to clarify my question.:anjal:
I remember a prominent monk from the UK mentioned that Satipatthana is not EBT. However, will ignore that for this discussion.

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Satipatthana Sutta:

  • is not a natural progression, where calming breathing results in rapture, etc.

  • refers to painful feelings

  1. is a list of disconnected different practises, such as the five hindrances in the 4th satipatthana.

  2. is not an expression of the noble path, where the fulfilment of a preceding condition results in the occurring of the later condition.

Ānāpānasati Sutta:

  • is a natural progression or unfolding of the path.

  • refers only to pleasant feelings of rapture & happiness.

  • describes the supramundane correct (‘samma’) quality of the factors of enlightenment, namely:

…supported by seclusion, dispassion and cessation and ripens in relinquishment (vossagga).

  • explains terms such as ‘sabbakaya’ & ‘cittanupassana’, when it states:

I tell you that this — the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies,

I don’t say that there is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing in one of confused mindfulness and no alertness

sensitive to the mind; trains himself to breathe in… &… out

In other words, Anapanasati seems to describe each of the sixteen experiences occurs together with concentration (awareness of breathing). It follows cittanupassana in Anapanasati appears to be something much more profound & deeper than American-Vipassana ideas about experiencing ‘papanca’ (discursive-thought-emotions).

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Interesting you mention this. So in your opinion, Joseph Goldstein’s Satipathana does not cove r the whole range.

http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/6162/

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Joseph in Satipatthana Sutta - part 13 - Mindfulness Of Mind is talking on a mundane level about kilesa/hindrances [that are properly dealt with prior to starting Anapanasati]. Joseph is referring to using the ‘conceptual noting’ technique. He starts talking about ‘therapy’. He starts talking about ‘struggling with thoughts’. Then preaches the ‘magical cure’ of “simply knowing with bare attention”.

This appears to contradict MN 118, which states:

I don’t say that there is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing in one of confused mindfulness and no alertness

sensitive to the mind; trains himself to breathe in… &… out

MN 118 describes cittanupassana occurring after rapture & happiness (citta sankhara) has calmed. MN 118 does not appear to be referring to hindrances to meditation, as Joseph is.

The generalisations in MN 10 may support Joseph’s views but it appears the specific words in MN 118 do not. MN 118 uses the words ‘he trains himself’, which appears to mean ‘samadhi’ is present.

Regards :seedling:

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[quote=“gnlaera, post:2, topic:4796”]
Defining satipaṭṭhāna … Phenomena (dhamma) as the fourth[/quote]

MN 118 or Anapanasati does not appear to exactly refer to ‘phenomena’ as the fourth. Instead, it seems to refer to the realisation of impermanence (& the other characteristics) and, importantly, how this affects the mind, which is the same as the realisation of truth in SN 22.59:

"[4] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself to breathe in… &… out focusing on inconstancy; trains himself to breathe in… &… out focusing on dispassion; trains himself to breathe in… &… out focusing on cessation; trains himself to breathe in… &… out focusing on relinquishment…

MN 118

Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released.

22.59

For example, SN 47.40 about satipatthana states:

He remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to dhamma, remains focused on the phenomenon of passing away (vaya) with regard to dhamma, remains focused on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to dhamma (samuda­ya­va­ya­dham­mā­nu­passī) — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

This excerpt from SN 47.40 does not exactly conform with MN 118 since MN 118 refers to viraga (dispassion) and nirodha (cessation) as objects of experience.

if viraga (dispassion) and nirodha (cessation) were subject to origination & passing away (vaya), how could liberation be permanent?

:sunflower:

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Hello @Gabriel_L
Here is a quote from MN 118

When mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, it fulfils the four foundations of mindfulness. When the four foundations of mindfulness are developed and cultivated, they fulfil the seven enlightenment factors. When the seven enlightenment factors are developed and cultivated, they fulfil true knowledge and deliverance.

  1. Is the text saying that ānāpānasati leads to nibbana?
  2. Do the Suttas indicate if ānāpānasati can lead to Jhana?
  3. How did you find the dictionary entries as in satipaṭṭhāna.? I mean I understand how you linked it. I just did it. But how did you find the dictionary entries in the first place… help…:scream:

Peace.

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By using SuttaCentral’s define function:

Suttacentral.net/define/example

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Perhaps this is a misinterpretation of the argument I made in A History of Mindfulness. I argued that the text of the extent Satipatthana Sutta had been subject to later elaboration, not that the teaching was inauthentic. MN 10/DN 22 Satiptthana Sutta is only one of very many teachings on satipatthana in the EBTs.

They don’t differ. Anapanassati is one way—the most prominent and important way—of practicing satipatthana. In other words, satipatthana includes anapanassati, as well as other meditation approaches.

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Just do a normal search, eg a search for “cat” brings you to:

https://suttacentral.net/search?query=cat

Then click “Dictionaries” as an option.

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Thank you. I just tried it for vipassana. Results included vipassanā and a sutta link as well: AN 2.31. Neat! :slight_smile:

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Where I can find the search button?

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Go to https://suttacentral.net/ you will see
the search magnifying glass thingy in the top right.

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No I was thinking about a prominent monk from UK. I can’t find the reference .

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Oh, okay. Well, let us know if you come across it, it would be interesting to know about.

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I understand it in this way.

ānāpānasati is the formal practice, training ground in a controlled environment. First three tetrad direct the attention to the thoughts that body, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness are not me, mine or Self. Fourth tetrad, is the application of the first three onto whatever mental phenomenon that arises. It is an undirected practice.

satipaṭṭhāna puts the training into daily practice. Expanding the practice into all wakeful state.

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But it doesn’t say that in the descriptions of the first three tetrads in MN 118. They describe important trainings which cannot be ignored. Skipping to the end stage is often a sign of ‘failing to launch’ the practice.

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Yesterday, while reading MN62 The Longer Advice to Rāhula, I came to this understanding that ānāpānasati is a practice to see non-self in the five aggregates.

This sutta starts with the Buddha admonishing Rāhula, urging him to see the five aggregates as ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’ Later, Sāriputta suggested ānāpānasati and then Rāhula asked Buddha for an exposition.

Before giving the usual four tetrad, 16 steps ānāpānasati formula, Buddha taught the following six groupings of meditation themes:

  1. Contemplate non-self and detachment from five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space)
  2. Meditate like the earth, water, fire, wind, space so that pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy the mind.
  3. Meditate on Brahma vihara (metta, karuna, mudita, uppekkha).
  4. Meditate on loathsomeness.
  5. Meditate on impermanence.

In the past, I would assume that those were the preliminaries of ānāpānasati. Yesterday, however, I thought to myself what if they were actually ānāpānasati practice proper? Suddenly, I saw ānāpānasati in a totally different light. Before going further, I need to first clarify my interpretation of an important term sankhara in the fourth and eighth steps of ānāpānasati below.

There were many interpretations of what bodily and mental formations (kaya and citta sankhara) meant in the fourth and eighth steps of ānāpānasati. In the Agama SA57, there was a phrase “于色见是我,若见我者,是名为行” meaning Buddha term sankhara as one who sees a Self in form and the other four aggregates. Therefore, kaya and citta sankhara could mean fabricating a Self view in the body and mental processes (feeling, perception and volition).

With this interpretation, the first meditation theme of contemplating the five elements could be seen as a method to calm bodily fabrication in the fourth step of ānāpānasati. The second theme of meditating like 5 elements prevents pleasant and unpleasant contacts from occupying the mind. Since contact brings about mental processes (feeling, perception and volition), mental fabrications mentioned in the eighth step can be calmed.

The third theme of meditating on Brahma vihara gladden and still the mind in the tenth and eleventh steps. Finally, the last two themes of meditating on loathsomeness and impermanence liberates the mind from lust and conceit in the twelfth step.

Thereafter, the fourth tetrad becomes undirected, observing all mental phenomena that arise as impermanence, fading away and ceasing. Thereby letting go of the notion of self in the five aggregates.

Lastly, the Buddha concluded that “even when the final breaths in and out cease, they are known, not unknown”. It suggests that breathing is to be used as an anchor to remind oneself of the practice above continuously.

I find that with this interpretation and understanding, the 16 steps of ānāpānasati fall into place nicely.

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This is a forced attempt to integrate the last part of MN 62 with the first in the interests of justifying and finding a place for non-self, which is not mentioned in the Anapanasati sutta, but impermanence is. Despite the Buddha’s definitive explanation in SN 22.59, this causes puzzlement in the millennial mindset, where anatta in the absence of anicca is a favoured topic as it is mentally oriented. For one thing if the five preliminary instructions for calming the mind were an exposition of the four tetrads then on such a major point the sutta would say so. In fact the Buddha made several discourses on the preliminaries to breath & general meditation, MN 62 to a young monk, AN 10.60 to a sick monk, and AN 11.12 to a lay person, and each has different recommendations for preparing the mind for meditation as instructed in the third tetrad to gladden or steady the mind.

In MN 62 the preliminary methods focus on the removal of lust, in AN 10.60 on the impermanence of the body, and 11.12 on how amongst those who are out of tune, to live in tune .

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