Sunday, 12 September 2010

ADB---Four foundations of mindfulness

Analytical dhamma for beginners

Four foundations of mindfulness

In the Satipatthāna Sutta (MN 10, DN 22) (sati means memorizing) and elsewhere, four steps of practice are given, which also leads one to insights.

1. “Consciously (sato) he inhales; consciously he exhales. Inhaling a long breath, he knows, - ‘ I am inhaling a long breath’. Exhaling a long breath, he knows - ‘I am exhaling a long breath.’”

2. “Inhaling a short breath, he knows - ‘I am inhaling a short breath’. Exhaling a short breath, he knows - ‘I am exhaling a short breath.’”

3. “Experiencing the entire (breathing) process (sabbakayapatisamvedt) ‘I will inhale’, thus he trains himself. Experiencing the entire (breathing) process ‘I will exhale’ - thus he trains himself.”

4. “Calming the body of respirations (passambhayam kayasamkharam), ‘I will inhale’ - thus he trains himself. Calming the body of respirations, ‘I will exhale’ - thus he trains himself.” (Satipatthana Sutta)

The 'Discourse on Mindfulness of Breathing' (Ānāpānasati Sutta, MN 118) and other suttas have 16 steps of practice, which divide the practice into four groups of four steps. The first three apply to both tranquility (samatha) and insight meditation (vipassana), while the fourth refers to pure insight meditation only. The second and the third group require the attainment of the absorptions (samadhi).

1. Mindfulness of the body
Group I:
(1) “With attentive mind he breathes in, with attentive mind he breathes out.
When making a long inhalation he knows: 'I make a long inhalation'; when making a long exhalation he knows: 'I make a long exhalation.'”
(2) “When making a short inhalation he knows: 'I make a short inhalation'; when making a short exhalation he knows: 'I make a short exhalation.'”
(3) “‘Clearly perceiving the entire (breath) body I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'clearly perceiving the entire (breath) body I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”
(4) “'Calming this bodily function I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'calming this bodily function I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”

2. Mindfulness of the feeling
Group II:
(5) “'Feeling rapture (pīti) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'feeling rapture I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”
(6) “'Feeling joy I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'feeling joy I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”
(7) “'Feeling the mental formation (citta-sankhāra) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself, 'feeling the mental formation I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”
(8) “'Calming the mental formation I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'calming the mental formation I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”

3. Mindfulness of the mental states
Group III:
(9) “'Clearly perceiving the mind (citta) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'clearly perceiving the mind I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”
(10) “'Gladdening the mind I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'gladdening the mind I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”
(11) “'Concentrating the mind I will breathe in, thus he trains himself; 'concentrating the mind I will breathe out', thus he trains himself.”
(12) “'Freeing the mind I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'freeing the mind I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”

4. Mindfulness of the Dhamma
Group IV:
(13) “'Reflecting on impermanence (anicca) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'reflecting on impermanence I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”
(14) “'Reflecting on detachment (virāga) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'reflecting on detachment I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”
(15) “'Reflecting on extinction (nirodha) I will breathe in,' thus he trains himself; 'reflecting on extinction I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”
(16) “'Reflecting on abandonment (patinissagga) I will breathe in, thus he trains himself; 'reflecting on abandonment I will breathe out,' thus he trains himself.”
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