Dīgha Nikāya


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Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume III

Dīgha Nikāya

Dialogues of the Buddha
Part II

Sutta 22

Mahā Satipaṭṭhāna Suttantaɱ

Setting-Up of Mindfulness

Translated from the Pali by T.W. Rhys Davids

Public Domain

Originally published under the patronage of
His Majesty King Chulālankarana,
King of Siam
by The Pali Text Society, Oxford

 


[322]

Introduction

The doctrine here expounded is perhaps the most important, after that of the Aryan Path, in early Buddhism; and this tract, the oldest authoritative statement of the doctrine, is still in frequent and popular use among those Buddhists who have adhered to the ancient faith.

The two doctrines are closely connected. The exposition here of mindfulness (Sati) includes that of the Path, and no exposition of the Path is complete without he inclusion of mindfulness. Whosoever neglects the fourfold practice of mindfulness he misses the Path, whosoever practices mindfulness has found the Path (Saɱyutta V, 179, 180, 294). The right way to the practice of mindfulness is precisely the Aryan Path (ibid. 183). And that practice is in turn, in one passage, called the Path to the Unconditioned (Asamkhata, that is, Arahantship, Nirvana, the goal of the Aryan Path).[1]

What then is this Mindfulness?

This Suttanta will show. But a few observations may help the student of it. Etymologically Sati is Memory. But as happened at the rise of Buddhism to so many other expressions in common use, a new connotation was then attached to the word, a connotation that gave a new meaning to it, and renders 'memory' a most inadequate and misleading translation. It became the memory, recollection, calling-to-mind, being-aware-of, certain specified facts. Of these the most important was the impermanence (the coming to be as the result of a cause, and the passing away again) of all phenomena, bodily and mental. And it included the repeated application of this awareness, to each experience of life, from the ethical point of view. 'Thus does he cultivate those qualities which ought to be practiced, and not those which ought not. That is how repetition is the mark of Mindfulness,' says Nāgasena[2], in complete accord with our Suttanta.

[323] When Christians are told: 'Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,' a way is shown by which any act, however lowly, can, by the addition of a remembrance (a Sati), be surrounded by the halo of a high moral enthusiasm; and how, by the continual practice of this remembrance, a permanent improvement in character can be obtained. The Buddhist idea is similar. But the remembrance is of what we should now call natural law, not of a deity. This has been made a corner-stone of the system of ethical self-training. The corresponding cornerstone in the West is conscience; and indeed, so close is the resemblance in their effects that one scholar has chosen 'conscience' as a rendering of Sati; — wrongly, we think, as this introduces a Western idea into Buddhism. The curious notion of an internal monitor, distinct from the soul, yet speaking independently of the will of the man himself, is confined to animistic modes of thought. Buddhaghosa uses it, indeed, as a simile, to explain the connotations of Sati; but he expressly pours scorn on any idea of a separate entity.[3]

On the other hand though Sati ([Skt.:] Smrti) does not occur in any ethical sense in pre-Buddhistic literature, it is possible that the Buddhist conception was, in one way, influenced by previous thought. Stress is laid in the Upanishad ideal on Intuition, especially as regards the relation between the soul, supposed to exist inside each human body, and the Great Soul. In the Buddhist protest against this, the doctrine of Sati, dependent not on intuition, but on grasp of actual fact, plays an important part. This opposition may have been intentional. On the other hand, the ethical value of Mindfulness (in its technical sense) would be sufficient, without any such intention, to explain the great stress laid upon it.

The following are some of the proposed translations of Sati: —

Conscience Spence Hardy, 'Manual,' 412
Attention Spence Hardy, 'Manual,' 497
Meditation Gogerly, 'Ceylon Buddhism,' 584
Childers, 'Dictionary.'[4]
Memory Oldenberg, 'Vinaya Texts,' I, 96
E. Hardy, 'Buddha,' 40
[324] Contemplation Warren, 'Buddhism in Translations,' 353
Insight Neumann, 'Majjhima,' I, 85
Thought Pischel, 'Buddha,' 28
Thought Thought, Oldenberg, 'Buddha' (English translation), 128

The other word in the compound that gives the title to this Suttanta is Paṭṭhāna — which would mean etymologically 'putting forward, setting forth.' It does not occur in pre-Buddhistic literature. It has not been yet found in the Nikāyas in its concrete, primary, sense; or in any connexion except this. Buddhaghosa here paraphrases it, exegetically only, by gocara, which is the feeding-ground, resort, of an animal [pasture]. The mediaeval use of the word (in its Sanskrit form) was in the sense of starting off, going away, departure. It is the title of the most often quoted book in the Abhidhamma, and there means probably Origins, Starting-points, as it gives under twenty-four categories the paccayas (causes) of phenomena. In one passage of a fifth-century commentator (Jat. I, 78.-5) the Abhidhamma Piṭaka as a whole is said to be samantapaṭṭhāna, 'having (or giving) the settings-on-foot, the points of departure, of all things.' Childers gives the word as a neuter. It is masculine throughout our Suttanta. But he analyses the compound (sub voce uppaṭṭhānam), not into Sati+paṭṭhāna, but into Sati+upaṭṭhāna. This is a possible contraction, and Buddhaghosa gives it as an alternative explanation which he does not adopt. Had we adopted it, the rendering of the title would have been 'The getting-ready of Mindfulness.' Neumann renders it 'Pillars of Insight,' and Warren 'Intent Contemplations.' Neither of these is much more than a distant cousin of the Pāli.

It is not easy at first sight to understand the choice of just those four fields of areas (comp. paṭṭhāna = thānā = gocarā), to which, in this Suttanta, 'mindfulness' is to be applied, or in respect to which it is to be set up. We need ourselves to be mindful, lest, in interpreting them, we follow too closely European points of view. In trying to avoid this danger, we do not consider our choice of terms leaves nothing to be desired, or to be explained.

The ethical desirableness of Sati, as the instrument most efficacious in self-mastery, lay in the steady alertness of inward vision which it connoted, whether past or present experience was contemplated. In discussing it, the Buddhist was concerned, not with the outer world as such, but with the microcosm of his subjective experience, and with the vehicles thereof — sense and mind. These he is here represented as considering under the fourfold aspect of —

[325] (1) kaya, physical structure and activities
(2) vedana, the emotional nature, first as bare feeling, then as having ethical implications
(3) citta, conscious life, consciousness or intelligence, considered under ethical aspects
(4) dhamma, with its subdivisions —

a. the Five Hindrances.
b. The Five Groups.
c. The Six Spheres of Sense.
d. The Seven Factors of Enlightenment,
e. The Four Aryan Truths.

Now it is always difficult to make any English term coincide with either dhamma or dhammā. Here, as elsewhere in Buddhist diction, it is chiefly the context that must be the guide to meaning. The Suttanta is a discipline — the supreme discipline — in ethical introspection. And in Buddhist introspective analysis, dhammā (elsewhere translatable now by 'things,' now by 'qualities') are, more especially, 'cognoscible objects.' These are related to mano (consciousness as apprehending), just as each kind of sense-object is related to one kind of sense-organ; thing-seen, for example, to sight. A cognoscible object is any presentation (German, Vorstellung), that has got beyond the stage of mere sensory re-action. It is an idea or perception in the wider sense used by Locke: — 'Whatsoever is the immediate object of perception, thought, or understanding.' But neither cognoscible object, nor presentation, is a term which lends itself with sufficient simplicity and impressiveness to ethical homily. We have therefore decided to perpetuate the Lockean 'idea.'

For the same reason we use 'thought' for citta, in preference to a term of more psychological precision; and we understand by 'thought', thinking, or knowing, or being intelligently conscious, and do not restrict the word to any special mode of cognition.

Hence we get this distinction of aspects in (3) and (4): under citta, the ever-changing ever-active continuance of consciousness, or re-acting intelligence; under dhammā, those same activities considered objectively, as concrete states, procedure, content of consciousness,' as the psychologists phrase it. Under (3) we watch the agency as a whole, in its chameleon-like phases. Under (4) we take transverse cuttings, so to speak, of our subjective experience.

It is interesting to note that Buddhaghosa, explaining the inclusion, under No. 4, of the Six Senses and the fivefold Khandha doctrine, says: — 'in contemplation of the body the Exalted One taught only the grasp of matter, in contemplation [326] of feeling and consciousness, only the grasp of the immaterial. Now in order to teach grasp of matter and the immaterial mixed (rūpārūpamissakapariggaho), he spoke of dhammā. And again: 'grasp of the rūpa-khanda being taught by contemplation of body, and grasp of the khandhas of feeling and viññāṇa (cognition or consciousness) by contemplation of feeling and citta, He now, to teach grasp of the khandhas of perception and sankhāra (let us say, volition and other mental factors) went on to speak of dhammā.

 


[290][327]

Setting-Up of Mindfulness

THUS HAVE I HEARD:

[1][wrrn][wp][than][olds][gnsg] The Exalted One was once staying among the Kurus.

Kammāssadhamma is a city of the Kuru country.

There the Exalted One addressed the brethren, saying,

'Bhikkhus!'

'Reverend sir!' responded the brethren.

And the Exalted One said:

The one and only path, Bhikkhus
leading to the purification of beings,
to passing far beyond grief and lamentation,
to the dying-out of ill and misery,
to the attainment of right method[5],
to the realization of Nirvana,
is that of the Fourfold Setting up of Mindfulness.[6]

Which are the Four?

Herein[7], O bhikkhus,
let a brother,
as to the body,
continue so to look upon the body
that he remains ardent,
self-possessed,
and mindful,
having overcome both the hankering
and the dejection common in the world.

And in the same way as to feelings,
thoughts,
and ideas,
let him so look upon each,
that he remains ardent,
self-possessed,
and mindful,
having overcome both the hankering
and the dejection common in the world.

 

§

 

[291][328] [2][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And how, bhikkhus, does a brother
so continue to consider the body?

[8] Herein, O bhikkhus, let a brother,
going into the forest,
or to the roots of a tree,
or to an empty chamber,
sit down cross-legged,
holding the body erect,
and set his mindfulness alert.[9]

Mindful let him inhale,
mindful let him exhale.

Whether he inhale a long breath,
let him be conscious thereof;
or whether he exhale a long breath,
let him be conscious thereof.

Whether he inhale a short breath,
or exhale a short breath,
let him be conscious thereof.

Let him practise with the thought
'Conscious of my whole body
will I inhale';
let him practise with the thought
'Conscious of my whole body
will I exhale.'

Let him practise with the thought
'I will inhale
tranquillizing my bodily organism;
let him practise with the thought
'I will exhale
tranquillizing my bodily organism.'

Even as a skilful turner,
or turner's apprentice,
drawing (his string) out a length,
or drawing it out short,
is conscious that he is doing one or the other,
so let a brother practise inhaling and exhaling.

[292] So does he,
as to the body,
continue to consider the body,
either internally or externally,
or both internally and externally.

He keeps on considering
how the body is something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how the body is something that passes away;
or again he keeps on considering
the coming to be with the passing away;
or again, conscious that
'There is the body,'
mindfulness hereof becomes thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-collectedness.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world [329] whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother continue to regard the body.

[3][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother,
when he is walking,
is aware of it thus:
— 'I walk';
or when he is standing,
or sitting,
or lying down,
he is aware of it.

However he is disposing the body,
he is aware thereof.

So does he, as to the body,
continue to consider the body,
either internally or externally,
or both internally and externally.

He keeps on considering
how the body is something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how the body is something that passes away;
or again he keeps on considering
the coming to be with the passing away;
or again, conscious that
'There is the body,'
mindfulness hereof becomes thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-collectedness.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother continue to regard the body.

[4][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother
— whether he departs or returns,
whether he looks at
or looks away from,
whether he has drawn in
or stretched out (his limbs),
whether he has donned under-robe,
over-robe,
or bowl,
whether he is eating,
drinking,
chewing,
reposing,
or whether he is obeying the calls of nature —
is aware of what he is about.

In going,
standing,
sitting,
sleeping,
watching,
talking,
or keeping silence,
he knows what he is doing.

[293] So does he,
as to the body,
continue to consider the body,
either internally or externally,
or both internally and externally.

He keeps on considering
how the body is something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how the body is something that passes away;
or again he keeps on considering
the coming to be with the passing away;
or again, conscious that
'There is the body,'
mindfulness hereof becomes thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-collectedness.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother continue to consider the body.

[330] [5][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother
reflects upon this very body,
from the soles of his feet below
upward to the crown of his head,
as something enclosed in skin
and full of divers impurities:
— 'Here is in this body hair and down,
nails,
teeth,
skin,
flesh,
sinews,
bones,
marrow,
kidney,
heart,
liver,
membranes,
spleen,
lungs,
stomach,
bowels,
intestines; excrement,
bile,
phlegm,
pus,
blood,
sweat,
fat,
tears,
serum,
saliva,
mucus,
synovic fluid,
urine.'

Just as if there were a double-mouthed sample-bag[10] bhikkhus,
full of various sorts of grain,
such as rice,
paddy,
beans,
vetches,
sesamum
or rice husked for boiling;
and a keen-eyed man
were to reflect as he poured them out:
— 'That's rice,
that's paddy,
those are beans,'
and so forth.

Even so, bhikkhus,
does a brother reflect upon the body,
from the soles of the feet below
upward to the crown of the head,
as something enclosed in skin
and full of divers impurities.

So does he,
as to the body,
continue to consider the body,
either internally or externally,
or both internally and externally.

He keeps on considering
how the body is something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how the body is something that passes away;
or again he keeps on considering
the coming to be with the passing away;
or again, conscious that
'There is the body,'
mindfulness hereof becomes thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-collectedness.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother continue to regard the body.

[294] [6] [wrrn][wp][than][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother
reflects upon this very body,
however it be placed or disposed,
with respect to its fundamentals:
— 'There are in this body
the four primary elements
of earth,
water,
heat,
[331] and air.'

Just as a cattle-butcher,
or his apprentice,
when he has slain an ox,
displays the carcass piecemeal
at the crossways
as he sits,
even so, bhikkhus, does a brother
reflect upon this very body ...
with respect to its fundamental constituents . . .

So does he,
as to the body,
continue to consider the body,
either internally or externally,
or both internally and externally.

He keeps on considering
how the body is something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how the body is something that passes away;
or again he keeps on considering
the coming to be with the passing away;
or again, conscious that
'There is the body,'
mindfulness hereof becomes thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-collectedness.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother continue to regard the body.

[295] [7][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother,
just as if he had seen a body
abandoned in the charnel-field,
dead for one,
two,
or three days,
swollen,
turning black and blue,
and decomposed,
applies that perception
to this very body (of his own),
reflecting:
'This body, too,
is even so constituted,
is of even such a nature,
has not got beyond that (fate).'

So does he, as to the body,
continue to consider the body,
either internally or externally,
or both internally and externally.

He keeps on considering
how the body is something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how the body is something that passes away;
or again he keeps on considering
the coming to be with the passing away;
or again, conscious that
'There is the body,'
mindfulness hereof becomes thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-collectedness.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother continue to regard the body.

[8][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother,
just as if he had seen a body
abandoned in the charnel-field
pecked by crows,
ravens,
or vultures,
gnawn by dogs
or jackals
or by various small creatures,
applies that perception
[332] to this very body (of his own),
reflecting:
'This body, too,
is even so constituted,
is of such a nature,
has not got beyond that (fate).'

[296] So does he, as to the body,
continue to consider the body,
either internally or externally,
or both internally and externally.

He keeps on considering
how the body is something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how the body is something that passes away;
or again he keeps on considering
the coming to be with the passing away;
or again, conscious that
'There is the body,'
mindfulness hereof becomes thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-collectedness.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother continue to regard the body.

[9][wrrn][wp][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother,
just as if he had seen a body
abandoned in the charnel-field
(reduced to) a chain of bones
hanging together by tendons,
with flesh and blood yet about it,
or stripped of flesh
but yet spotted with blood;
or cleaned of both flesh and blood;
or reduced to bare bones,
loosed from tendons,
scattered here and there,
so that the bones of a hand
lie in one direction,
in another the bones of a foot,
in another those of a leg,
in another a thigh bone,
in another the pelvis,
in another [297] the spinal vertebrae,
in another the skull,
applies that perception
to this very body (of his own) reflecting:
'This body, too,
is even so constituted,
is of such a nature,
has not got beyond that (fate).'

So does he, as to the body,
continue to consider the body,
either internally or externally,
or both internally and externally.

He keeps on considering
how the body is something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how the body is something that passes away;
or again he keeps on considering the coming to be with the passing away;
or again, conscious that
'There is the body,'
mindfulness hereof becomes thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-collectedness.

And he abides independent,
[333] grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother continue to regard the body.

[10][wrrn][wp][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother,
just as if he had seen a body
abandoned in the charnel-field,
(reduced to) white bones
the colour of a sea shell
... or to a mere heap of bones a year old ...
or to rotten powder,
this perception does he apply
to this very body (of his own) reflecting:
— 'This body too is even so constituted,
is of such a nature,
has not got beyond that (fate).'

So does he, as to the body,
continue to consider the body,
either internally or externally,
or both internally and externally.

He keeps on considering
how the body is something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how the body is something that passes away;
or again he keeps on considering
the coming to be with the passing away;
or again, conscious that
'There is the body,'
[298] mindfulness hereof becomes thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-collectedness.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother continue to regard the body.

 

§

 

[12][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And how, bhikkhus, does a brother,
as to the feelings,
continue to consider the feelings?

Herein, O bhikkhus, is a brother
when affected by a feeling of pleasure,
aware of it, reflecting:
'I feel a pleasurable feeling.'

So, too, is he aware
when affected by a painful feeling,
or by a neutral feeling,
or by a pleasant or painful or neutral feeling
concerning material things,
or by a pleasant or painful or neutral feeling
concerning spiritual things.

So does he, as to the feelings,
continue to consider the feelings,
both internally and externally,
or internally and externally together.

He keeps on considering
how the feelings are something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how the feelings are something that passes away;
or [299] he keeps on considering
their coming to be with their passing away.

Or again with the consciousness:
'There is feeling,'
[334] mindfulness thereof becomes thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-collectedness.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother with respect to the feelings,
continue to consider feeling.

 

§

 

[12][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And how, bhikkhus, does a brother,
as to thought,
continue to consider thought?[11]

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother,
if his thought be lustful,
is aware that it is so,
or if his thought be free from lust,
is aware that it is so;
or if his thought be full of hate,
or free from hate,
or dull,
or intelligent,
or attentive,
or distrait,
or exalted,
or not exalted,
or mediocre,
or ideal,
or composed,
or discomposed,
or liberated,
or bound,
he is aware in each case
that his thought is so, reflecting:
'My thought is lustful,'
and so on.

So does he,
as to thought,
continue to consider thought,
internally or externally,
or internally and externally together.

He keeps on considering
how thought is something that comes to be,
or again he keeps on considering
how thought is something that passes away;
or again he ever considers
its coming to be and passing away together.

Or again, with the consciousness:
'There is a thought,'
mindfulness thereof becomes thereby established,
[300] far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-possession.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother
with respect to thought,
continue to consider thought

 

§

 

[13][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And how, bhikkhus, does a brother,
as to ideas[12],
continue to consider ideas?

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother,
as to ideas,
continues [335] to consider ideas
from the point of view of the Five Hindrances[13].

And how, bhikkhus, does a brother,
as to ideas,
continue to consider ideas
relating to the Five Hindrances?

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother,
when within him is sensuous desire,
is aware of it,
reflecting:

'I have within me sensuous desire.'

Or again, when within him
is no sensuous desire,
he is aware of this.

And he knows of
the uprising of such desire unfelt before,
knows too of his putting aside
that uprisen sensuous desire,
knows too of the non-arising in future
of that banished sensuous desire.

[301]Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother,
when within him is ill-will,
is aware of it,
reflecting:
'I have within me ill-will.'

Or again, when within him
is no ill-will,
he is aware of this.

And he knows of
the uprising of such ill-will unfelt before,
knows too of his putting aside
that uprisen ill-will,
knows too of the non-arising in future
of that banished ill-will.

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother,
when within him is sloth and torpor,
is aware of it,
reflecting:
'I have within me sloth and torpor.'

Or again, when within him
is no sloth and torpor,
he is aware of this.

And he knows of
the uprising of such sloth and torpor unfelt before,
knows too of his putting aside
that uprisen sloth and torpor,
knows too of the non-arising in future
of that banished sloth and torpor.

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother,
when within him is flurry and worry,
is aware of it,
reflecting:
'I have within me flurry and worry.'

Or again, when within him
is no flurry and worry,
he is aware of this.

And he knows of
the uprising of such flurry and worry unfelt before,
knows too of his putting aside
that uprisen flurry and worry,
knows too of the non-arising in future
of that banished flurry and worry.

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother,
when within him is doubt,
is aware of it,
reflecting:
'I have within me doubt.'

Or again, when within him
is no doubt,
he is aware of this.

And he knows of
the uprising of such doubt unfelt before,
knows too of his putting aside
that uprisen doubt,
knows too of the non-arising in future
of that banished doubt.

So does he,
as to ideas,
continue to consider them,
both internally or externally,
or internally and externally together.

He ever considers
how an idea is a thing that comes to be,
again he ever considers
how an idea is a thing that passes away;
or he ever considers their coming to be with their passing away;
or again, with the consciousness:

'There is such and such an idea,'
mindfulness thereof is thereby established,
far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-possession.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother
with respect to ideas,[ed1]
continue to consider ideas[ed1]
in the case of the Five Hindrances.

[14][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother,
as to ideas,
continues to consider these
from the point of view of
the Five Skandhas of Grasping.

And how, bhikkhus, does he so consider them?

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother reflects:
'Such is material form,
such is its genesis,
such its passing away;
such is feeling
— perception
— the mental activities
— such is cognition,
its genesis,
its passing away.

So does he,
as to ideas[ed1],
continue to consider them. . .

[302][336] [15][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother,
as to ideas,
continues to consider ideas
from the point of view of
the Six Internal and External Spheres of Sense.

And how does he do this?

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother
is aware of the organ of sight,
is aware of the objects of sight,
and any Fetter which arises
on account of them both
— of that, too, is he aware;
and how there comes an uprising
of a Fetter not arisen before
— of that, too, is he aware;
and how there comes a putting-aside
of a Fetter than has arisen
— of that, too, is he aware;
and how in the future
there shall arise
no Fetter that has been put aside
— of that too, is he aware.

And so, too,
with respect to the organ of hearing and sounds,
to the organ of smell and odours,
to the organ of taste and tastes,
to the organ of touch and tangibles,
to the sensorium and images,
he is aware of the sense
and of the object,
of any Fetter
which arises on account of both,
of how there comes an uprising of a Fetter
not arisen before,
of how there comes a putting aside
of a Fetter than has arisen,
and of how in the future
there shall arise no Fetter
that has been put aside.

So does he, as to ideas,
continue to consider ideas,
from the point of view of
the Six Internal and External Spheres of Sense.

[303] [16][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother,
as to ideas
continues to consider ideas,
with respect to
the Seven Factors of Enlightenment.

And how does he do this?

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother,
if there be present to him subjectively
mindfulness as a factor of enlightenment,
is aware that it is resent.

Or if it be absent,
he is subjectively aware of its absence.

And how there comes an uprising
of such mindfulness not hitherto uprisen
— of that, too, is he aware;
and how there comes a full development
of such mindfulness
when it has arisen
— of that too is he aware.

And so too with respect
to the other subjective factors of enlightenment:
— search the truth,
energy,
joy,
serenity,
rapture,
equanimity —
he is aware
if they are subjectively present or absent,
and he is aware
of how there [337] comes an uprising
of any factor not hitherto uprisen,
and of how there comes a full development
of such factors when it has arisen.

So does he, as to ideas,
continue to consider ideas
from the point of view of
the Seven Factors of Enlightenment.

[304] [17][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And moreover, bhikkhus, a brother,
as to ideas,
continues to consider ideas
from the point of view of
the Four Aryan Truths.

And how does he do this?

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother
at the thought:
'This is Ill!'
is aware of it as it really is;
— at the thought:
'This is the coming to be of Ill!'
is aware of it as it really is;
— at the thought:
'This is the cessation of Ill!'
is aware of it as it really is;
— at the thought:
'This is the way leading to the cessation of Ill!'
is aware of it as it really is.

-◦-

[305] [18][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And what, bhikkhus, is the Aryan truth (regarding) Ill?

Birth is painful,
old age is painful,[14][15]
death is painful,
grief,
lamentation,
suffering,
misery and despair are painful,
painful is it not to get what is wished for,
[338] in a word,
the Five Groups that arise from Grasping
are connected with pain.[16]

And what, bhikkhus, is birth?

Birth is the production,
the outcome,[17]
the rising up in a new form,
the appearsnce of the Groups,
the acquisition of sense spheres,
by this or that being
in this or that class of beings.

This is what is called birth.

And what, bhikkhus, is growing old[18]?

Growing old is the decay,
the decrepitude,
the breaking-up,
the hoariness,
the wrinkled state,
the shrinkage of life's span,
the collapse[19] of the sense-faculties
of this or that being
in this or that class of beings.

This is what is called growing old.

And what, bhikkhus, is dying?

Dying is the fall (out of any state),
the dropping out of it,
the dissolution,
the disappearsnce,
the death,
the dying,
the accomplishment of the life-term,
the breaking up of the Groups,
the laying down of the body
of this or that being
in this or that class of beings.

This is called dying.

And what, bhikkhus, is grief?

Grieving is the state of woe,
heart ache,
and affliction.

The inward grief,
the hidden wretchedness,
of one who is visited by some calamity or other,
of one who is smitten by some kind of ill.

[306] This is what is called grief.

And what, bhikkhus, is lamenting?

[339] Lamenting is the act
and the state of mourning,
lamentation,
deploring,
of one who is visited by some calamity or other,
of one who is smitten by some kind of ill.

This is what is called lamenting.

And what, bhikkhus, is suffering?

Suffering is bodily ill,
bodily pain,
ill that is born of bodily contact,
the being bodily affected
by what is painful.

This is what is called suffering.

And what, bhikkhus, is misery?

Misery is mental ill,
mental pain,
ill that is born of mental contact,
the being mentally affected
by what is painful.

This is what is called misery.

And what, bhikkhus, is despair?

Despair is the act and state
of dejection,
of despondency,
of one who is visited by some calamity or other,
of one who is smitten by some kind of ill.

This is what is called despair.

[307] And what, bhikkhus, is the ill
of not getting what is wished for?

In beings subject to birth
the wish arises:
— 'Ah! If only we were not subject to birth,
if only we could avoid being born!'

But this is not to be got by wishing.

This is the ill
of no getting what is wished for.

So too in the case of growing old,
falling ill,
dying,
grieving,
lamenting,
suffering,
being in misery and in despair,
in being subject to these
the wish arises:
— 'Ah! If only we were not subject
to this one or that one of those things!

If only we could avoid them!'

But this cannot be had for the wishing.

This again is the ill
of not getting what is wished for.

And what, bhikkhus, is
'in a word
the Five Groups that arise from Grasping
are associated with Ill.'?

These are the Groups
of material form,
of feeling,
of perception,
of dispositions,
and of cognition
that arise from grasping.

This is what is called
'in a word
the Five Groups that arise from Grasping
are associated with Ill.'

This, bhikkhus, is the Aryan Truth regarding Ill.

-◦-

[308] [19][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And what, bhikkhus, is the Aryan Truth
concerning the coming to be of Ill?

Even this Craving,
potent for rebirth,
that is accom- [340] panied by lust and self-indulgence,
seeking satisfaction now here now there,
to wit,
the craving for the life of sense,
the craving for becoming (renewed life),
and the craving for not becoming (for no rebirth)[20].

-◦-

Now this Craving, bhikkhus,
where does it take its rise,
where does it have its dwelling?

In those material things of this world
which are dear to us,
which are pleasant.

There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

What things in this world are dear,
what things are pleasant?

The sense of sight,
the sense of hearing ,
the senses of smell,
taste,
touch and imagination
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

Things seen,
things heard,
things smelt,
tasted,
tangible,
things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

The thoughts that arise through sight,
the thoughts that arise through hearing,
the thoughts that arise through smell,
taste,
touch and imagination
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

The stimulus of visual sense,
the stimulus of auditory sense,
the stimulus of the senses of smell,
taste,
touch and imagination
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

[309] There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

Feeling that is born
of the stimulus of the visual sense,
feeling that is born
of the stimulus of the [341] auditory sense,
feeling that is born
of the stimulus of the senses of smell,
taste,
touch
and feeling born of imagination
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

The perceiving of things visible,
the perceiving of things audible,
the perceiving of things odorous,
sapid,
tangible,
of things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

Intentions concerned with things visible,
intentions concerned with things audible,
intentions concerned with things odorous,
sapid,
that may be smelt,
tasted,
touched,
tangible,
with things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

Craving for things visible,
craving for things audible,
craving for things that may be smelt,
tasted,
touched,
for things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

Pre-occupation about things seen,
pre-occupation about things heard,
pre-occupation about things smelt,
tasted,
tangible,
about things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

Deliberating about things seen,
deliberating about things heard,
deliberating about things smelt,
tasted,
tangible,
about things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

And there does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

[310] This bhikkhus, is what is called
the Aryan Truth concerning the coming to be of Ill.

-◦-

[20][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And what, bhikkhus,
is the Aryan Truth concerning the cessation of Ill?

The utter cessation of
and disenchantment about
that very Craving,
giving it up,
renouncing it,
emancipation from it,
detachment from it.

[342] But, now this Craving, bhikkhus,
where in being put away,
is it put away;
where in ceasing,
does it cease?

In those material things of this world
which are dear to us,
which are pleasant
— there may this Craving be put away,
there does it cease.

What things in this world
are dear,
what things are pleasant?

The sense of sight,
the sense of hearing ,
the senses of smell,
taste,
touch and imagination
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

Here may this Craving be put away,
here does it cease.

Things seen,
things heard,
things smelt,
tasted,
tangible,
things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

Here may this Craving be put away,
here does it cease.

The thoughts that arise through sight,
the thoughts that arise through hearing,
the thoughts that arise through smell,
taste,
touch and imagination
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

Here may this Craving be put away,
here does it cease.

The stimulus of visual sense,
the stimulus of auditory sense,
the stimulus of the senses of smell,
taste,
touch and imagination
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

[311] Here may this Craving be put away,
here does it cease.

Feeling that is born
of the stimulus of the visual sense,
feeling that is born
of the stimulus of the auditory sense,
feeling that is born
of the stimulus of the senses of smell,
taste,
touch
and feeling born of imagination
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

Here may this Craving be put away,
here does it cease.

The perceiving of things visible,
the perceiving of things audible,
the perceiving of things odorous,
sapid,
tangible,
of things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

Here may this Craving be put away,
here does it cease.

Intentions concerned with things visible,
intentions concerned with things audible,
intentions concerned with things odorous,
sapid,
that may be smelt,
tasted,
[343] touched,
tangible,
with things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

Here may this Craving be put away,
here does it cease.

Craving for things visible,
craving for things audible,
craving for things that may be smelt,
tasted,
touched,
for things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

Here may this Craving be put away,
here does it cease.

Pre-occupation about things seen,
pre-occupation about things heard,
pre-occupation about things smelt,
tasted,
tangible,
about things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

Here may this Craving be put away,
here does it cease.

Deliberating about things seen,
deliberating about things heard,
deliberating about things smelt,
tasted,
tangible,
about things in memory recalled
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

Here may this Craving be put away,
here does it cease.

This, bhikkhus,
is what is called
the Aryan Truth concerning the cessation of Ill.

-◦-

[21][wrrn][wp][than][olds] And what, bhikkhus,
is the Aryan Truth concerning the Way that leads to the Cessation of Ill?

This is that Aryan Eightfold Path,
to wit,
right view,
right aspiration,
right speech,
right doing,
right livelihood,
right effort,
right mindfulness,
right rapture.

And what, bhikkhus,
is right view?

[312] Knowledge, bhikkhus,
about Ill,
knowledge about the coming to be of Ill,
knowledge about the cessation of Ill,
knowledge about the Way
that leads to the cessation of Ill.

This is what is called right view.

The Pali: Katamo ca bhikkhave sammā-saɱkappo?|| ||

Nekkhamma-saɱkappo, avyāpāda-saɱkappo, avihiɱsā-saɱkappo,||
ayaɱ vuccati bhikkhave sammā-saɱkappo.

NOTE: avyāpāda not-via-the not-path, (or, more conventionally translated, non-harm): Not 'benevolence'!;
avihiɱsā not-violence: Not 'kindness'!
There is a place for these, but it is not here, and this is to take the Pali and completely reverse the intent from that of abstaining from a bad thing to aspiring to a good thing. This is contra-method! You must try to understand this distinction! There is no ending kamma or rebirth by 'doing'. These things are good to do, make good kamma; but they do not end kamma. Warren, Walsh, Bhk. Thanissaro, and myself have it correctly.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

And what, bhikkhus,
is right aspiration?

The aspiration towards renunciation[21],
the aspiration [344] towards benevolence,
the aspiration towards kindness.

This is what is called right aspiration.

And what, bhikkhus,
is right speech?

Abstaining from lying,
slander,
abuse
and idle talk.

This is what is called right speech.

And what, bhikkhus,
is right doing?

Abstaining from taking life,
from taking what is not given,
from carnal indulgence.

This is what is called right doing.

And what, bhikkhus,
is right livelihood?

Herein, O bhikkhus,
the Aryan disciple
having put away wrong livelihood,
supports himself by right livelihood.

And what, bhikkhus is right effort?

Herein, O bhikkhus,
a brother makes effort
in bringing forth will
that evil and bad states
that have not arisen within him
may not arise,
to that end he stirs up energy,
he grips and forces his mind.

That he may put away
evil and bad states
that have arisen within him
he puts forth will,
he makes effort,
he stirs up energy,
he grips and forces his mind.

That good states
which have not arisen may arise
he puts forth will,
he makes effort,
he sirs up energy,
he grips and forces his mind.

That good states
which have arisen may persist,
may not grow blurred,
may multiply,
grow abundant,
develop and come to perfection,
he puts forth will,
he makes effort,
he stirs up energy,
he grips and forces his mind.

This is what is called right effort.

And what, bhikkhus,
is right mindfulness?

[313] Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother,
as to the body,
continues to look upon the body,
that he remains ardent,
[345] self-possessed and mindful,
having overcome
both the hankering
and the dejection
common in the world.

And in the same way as to feelings,
thoughts and ideas,
he so looks upon each,
that he remains ardent,
self possessed and mindful,
having overcome the hankering
and the dejection
that is common in the world.

This is what is called right mindfulness.

And what, bhikkhus,
is right rapture?

Herein, O bhikkhus, a brother,
aloof from sensuous appetites,
aloof from evil ideas,
enters into and abides in the First Jhāna,
wherein there is cogitation and deliberation,
which is born of solitude
and is full of joy and ease.

Suppressing cogitation and deliberation
he enters into and abides in the Second Jhāna,
which is self-evoked,
born of concentration,
full of joy and ease, in that,
set free from cogitation and deliberation,
the mind grows calm and sure,
dwelling on high.

And further,
disenchanted with joy,
he abides calmly contemplative while,
mindful and self-possessed,
he feel in his body that ease
whereof Aryans declare
'He that is calmly contemplative and aware,
he dwelleth at ease.'

So does he enter into
and abide in
the Third Jhāna.

And further,
by putting aside ease
and by putting aside mal-aise,
by the passing away of the happiness
and of the melancholy
he used to feel,
he enters into
and abides in
the Fourth Jhāna,
rapture of utter purity of mindfulness and equanimity,
wherein neither ease is felt
nor any ill.

This is what is called right rapture.

This, bhikkhus,
is the Aryan Truth concerning
the Way leading to the cessation of Ill.

-◦-

[314] So does he,
as to ideas,
continue to consider ideas,
both internally or externally,
or internally and externally together.

He ever considers
how ideas are something that comes to be,
again he ever considers
how they are something that passes away;
or again he ever considers
their coming to be with their passing away;
or again with the consciousness
'There are ideas,'
mindfulness thereof is thereby established,
[346] far enough for the purposes of knowledge
and of self-possession.

And he abides independent,
grasping after nothing in the world whatever.

Thus, bhikkhus, does a brother
with respect to ideas,
continue to consider ideas
with respect to the Four Aryan Truths.

 

§

 

[22][wrrn][wp][than][olds] Bhikkhus!

Whoso shall thus practise
these Four Applications of Mindfulness
for seven years,
in him one or two kinds of fruition may be looked for:
— either in this present life
The Knowledge,[22]
or, if there be yet residuum for rebirth,
the state of him who returns no more.

Or, not to speak of seven years, bhikkhus,
whoso shall thus practise
these Four for six years,
for five only,
for four only,
for three only,
for two only,
for one year only,
in him one or two kinds of fruition may be looked for:
either in this present life
The Knowledge,
or, if there be yet residuum for rebirth,
the state of him who returns no more.

Or not to speak of one year, bhikkhus,
whoso shall thus practise
these Four for six months,
or for five months,
for four only,
or three,
or two,
or one month only,
[315] or half a month only,
in him one or two kinds of fruition may be looked for:
either in this present life
The Knowledge,
or, if there be yet residuum for rebirth,
the state of him who returns no more.

Or not to speak of half a month, bhikkhus,
whoso shall thus practise
these Four for seven days,
in him one of two kinds of fruition may be looked for:
either in this present life
The Knowledge,
or if there be yet residuum for rebirth,
the state of him who returns no more.

It was on account of this
that that was said
which was said (at the beginning)
'The one and only path, bhikkhus,
leading to the purification of beings,
to passing far beyond grief and lamentation,
to the dying out of ill and misery,
to the attainment of right method,
to the realization of Nirvana,
is that of the Four-fold Setting-up of Starting.

Thus spake the Exalted One.

Pleased were the brethren,
delighting in that which was spoken by the Exalted One.

 


 

More Satipaṭṭhāna Resources

 


 

[1] Saɱyutta IV, 363

[2] Questions of King Milinda, I, 59

[3] See Mrs. Rhys David's 'Buddhist Psychology,' p. 16, note I: and note I above on Vol. I, p. 81

[4] He renders kāyagatā sati, where the word occurs in its technical sense, as 'meditation on the body.' He has other renderings for popular usage.

[5] Ñāya. Practical Buddhism is summed up (Majjhima I, 181, 197) as exertion in ñāya, dhamma, and kusala (the Method, the Norm, and the Good). Ñāya is defined at Saɱyutta V, 388 as what comes pretty much to our method in philodophy. Above (p.167) it is rendered System. There, in a very old verse, the Buddha says that seeking after Good he had been a pilgrim through the realm of System and Law, outside of which no victory can be won.

[6] See Introduction.

[7] The commentarial tradition sees in this word idha, the implication of 'belonging to this order or doctrine or school' (imasmiṁ sāsane), and thus an antithesis to 'ito bahiddhā,' outside this (order) — an expression which occurs immediately after the verse mentioned in the last note.

[8] Quoted Paṭisambhidā I, 175, and 'Yogāvacara Manual,' p. I. Each quotation gives a word for word commentary; and so does Sum. I. 210.

Literally: Around-mouth mind set up; set up minding around the mouth.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[9] Parimukkhaṁ satiṁ uppaṭṭhapati, literally, 'set up his memory in face of (the object of his thought). The ultimate object is throughout, as the 'Yogāvacara Manual' says, Nirvana. Examples of the subsidiary, changing, objects of thought are given in what follows.

[10] Mutoli. Buddhaghosa has no explanaion. But Daramiṭipola says mallak pasumbiyak, that is, a small bag, such as is used by grain merchants for keeping samples in. The particular kind meant is kept tied up with string at both ends, and either end can be opened. The word only occurs in this connexion (here, and at M. I. 57; III 90). The spelling of the word is uncertain.

[11] Citta. The reader is reminded that 'thought' is used here for citta in the widest sense possible to that term, such as is intended when, in the Christian tradition, it is made to complement the 'word and deed' of the Epistles. And as such it is 'thinking' rather than 'what is thought,' that should be understood.

[12] Dhammā. See Introduction

[13] Literally, 'in the Five Hindrances.'

[14] What follows (down to the line and space on p.345) is not found in the Majjhima recension of the Satipaṭṭhāna (M.I.55ff). Except for this the two recensions agree, and ours here is doubtless called the Mahā-satipaṭṭhāna, precisely because, to that extent, it is longer. That would show that when that title was first used the Majjhima recension was already known. It would not follow that the Dīgha is yonger than the Majjhima; they may have been edited at the same time from older material.
The Dīgha addition is interesting as containing a fragment of Old Commentary (as old as the texts) of which other fragments are found in the Nikāyas, and also in the Vinaya.
The Vibhanga (99-106) quotes this Dīgha addition verbatim.

[15] Many MSS. And the Colombo edition of 1876 add 'disease is painful.' But this is not mentioned in the word-for-word commentary that follows. It is probably transferred as a gloss from the Saɱyutta recension of the Four Truths (S. V, 421) which differs slightly from that of the repeaters of the Dīgha (the Dīgha bhānakā).

[16] Pañc'upādānakkhandhā. The Groups are the five groups of material and mental qualities that form, in combination brought about by grasping, an individual. One might, therefore, express this central thought of the first Aryan truth in modern Western language by saying that pain is involved in individuality — a most pregnant and far reaching suggestion. The rest of the Truth is merely a statement of facts universally admitted.

[17] Sañjāti only found elsewhere as yet Dīgha I, 227, where it means the produce arising out of an estate and accuing to the landlord.

[18] Cf.Dh.S. and Bud. Psy. On rūpassa jaratā (§ 644)

[19] Paripāka, which in all other passages means maturity, must here mean over-ripeness, loss of power through having reached their full vigour and begun to give out.

[20] Vibhava. This word usually means power, prosperity, success — the prefix vi being used as an intensitive particle. In this particular connexion the traditional interpretation takes the prefix in a negative sense, and paraphrases the word by 'the absence of becoming (bhava).' This view is apparently supported by some Nikāya passages (S. III, 57; It. no. 49), and by the Dhamma Saŋgaṇī 1314. But it may be derived from them; and it is odd that the word should have been found nowhere else in that sense. It is quite possible that the original sense was the usual one. At Dhp. 282 it seems to mean decline in wisdom.

[21] Nekkhamma. Burnouf ('Lotus,' 334) derives this word from nis+karma; Oldenberg ('Vinaya Texts,' I, 104) from nis+kāma, and Childers (sub voce) from nis+kramya. These three derivations would give the meaning respectively as having no Karma, being devoid of lust, and going forth from home. Daraminpola explains it here as meaning either the second or the third. No doubt Oldenberg is right as to the derivation. But Daramiṭipola is also right if we take his note as exegetical, not philological. The fact is that the derivation had been, from very early times, forgotten or confused; and the connotation of the word was renunciation generally, with special reference to these two kinds. It never had anything to do with Karma.
The three aspirations of our paragraph here recur at Saɱyutta II, 152, and on p. 151 nekkhamma is replaced by kama. See also It. No 72, and M. I. 114.

[22] Aññā; one of the many epithets of Arahantship.

 


[ed1] Rhys Davids has here and in the next used 'dispositions', but it should be as he has with the rest, 'ideas'.


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