Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
2. Anupada Vagga

The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha

Sutta 118

Ānāpāna-Sati Suttaɱ

Mindfulness of Breathing

Translated from the Pali by Ñanamoli Thera.
edited and revised by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

© 1995 Bhikkhu Bodhi
Published by
Wisdom Publications
Boston, MA 02115

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

 


 

[1][chlm][than][upal][olds] THUS HAVE I HEARD.

On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Sāvatthī in the Eastern Park, in the Palace of Migāra's Mother, together with many very well known elder disciples - the venerable Sāriputta, the venerable Mahā Moggallāna, the venerable Mahā Kassapa, the venerable Mahā Kaccāna, the venerable Mahā Koṭṭhita, the venerable Mahā Kappina, the venerable Mahā Cunda, the venerable Anuruddha, the venerable Revata, the venerable Ānanda, and other very well known elder disciples.

2. Now on that occasion elder bhikkhus had been teaching and instructing new bhikkhus; some elder bhikkhus had been teaching and instructing ten bhikkhus, some elder bhikkhus had been teaching and instructing twenty bhikkhus, some elder bhikkhus had been teaching and instructing thirty bhikkhus, some elder bhikkhus had been teaching and instructing forty bhikkhus.

And the new bhikkhus, taught and instructed by the elder bhikkhus, had achieved successive stages of high distinction.

3. On that occasion - the Uposatha day of the fifteenth, on the full-moon night of the Pavāraṇā ceremony[[1115]] - the Blessed One was seated in the open surrounded by the Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

Then, surveying the silent Saŋgha of bhikkhus, he addressed them thus:

4. "Bhikkhus, I am content with this progress.

My mind is content with this progress.

So arouse still more energy to attain the unattained, to achieve the unachieved, to realise the unrealised.

I shall wait here at Sāvatthī for the Komudi full moon of the fourth month."[[1116]]

5. The bhikkhus of the countryside heard:

"The Blessed One will wait there at Sāvatthī for the Komudi full moon of the fourth month."

And the bhikkhus of the countryside left in due course for Sāvatthī to see the Blessed One.

6. And elder bhikkhus still more intensively taught and instructed new bhikkhus; some elder bhikkhus taught and instructed ten bhikkhus, some elder bhikkhus taught and instructed twenty bhikkhus, some elder bhikkhus taught and instructed thirty bhikkhus, some elder bhikkhus taught and instructed forty bhikkhus.

And the new bhikkhus, taught and instructed by the elder bhikkhus, achieved successive stages of high distinction.

7. On that occasion - the Uposatha day of the fifteenth, the full-moon night of the Komudi full moon of the fourth month - the Blessed One was seated in the open surrounded by the Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

Then, surveying the silent Saŋgha of bhikkhus, he addressed them thus:

8. "Bhikkhus, this assembly is free from prattle, this assembly is free from chatter.

It consists purely of heartwood.

Such is this Saŋgha of bhikkhus, such is this assembly.

Such an assembly as is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, an incomparable field of merit for the world - such is this Saŋgha of bhikkhus, such is this assembly.

Such an assembly that a small gift given to it becomes great and a great gift greater - such is this Saŋgha of bhikkhus, such is this assembly.

Such an assembly as is rare for the world to see - such is this Saŋgha of bhikkhus, such is this assembly.

Such an assembly as would be worth journeying many leagues with a travel-bag to see - such is this Saŋgha of bhikkhus, such is this assembly.

9. "In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who are arahants with taints destroyed, who have lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached their own goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and are completely liberated through final knowledge - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

10. "In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who, with the destruction of the five lower fetters, are due to reappear spontaneously [in the Pure Abodes] and there attain final Nibbāna, without ever returning from that world - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

11. "In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who, with the destruction of three fetters and with the attenuation of lust, hate, and delusion, are once-returners, returning once to this world to make an end of suffering - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

12. "In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who, with the destruction of the three fetters, are stream-enterers, no longer subject to perdition, bound [for deliverance], headed for enlightenment - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

13. "In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of the four foundations of mindfulness - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of the four right kinds of striving - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of the four bases for spiritual power - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of the five faculties - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of the five powers - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of the seven enlightenment factors - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of the Noble Eightfold Path - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

14. "In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of loving-kindness - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of compassion - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of altruistic joy - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of equanimity - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of the meditation on foulness - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of the perception of impermanence - such bhikkhus are there in this Saŋgha of bhikkhus.

In this Saŋgha of bhikkhus there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of mindfulness of breathing.

15. "Bhikkhus, when mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, it is of great fruit and great benefit.

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.

16. "And how, bhikkhus, is mindfulness of breathing developed and cultivated, so that it is of great fruit and great benefit?

17. "Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.

18. "Breathing in long, he understands:[[1117]] 'I breathe in long'; or breathing out long, he understands: 'I breathe out long.'

Breathing in short, he understands: 'I breathe in short'; or breathing out short, he understands: 'I breathe out short.'

He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body [of breath]'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing the whole body [of breath].'

He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in tranquillising the bodily formation; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out tranquillising the bodily formation.'

19. "He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing rapture'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing rapture.'[[1118]]

He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing pleasure'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing pleasure.' He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing the mental formation'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing the mental formation.'

He train thus: 'I shall breathe in tranquillising the mental formation'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out tranquillising the mental formation.'[[1119]]

20. "He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing the mind'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing the mind.'

He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in gladdening the mind'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out gladdening the mind.'

He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in concentrating the mind'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out concentrating the mind.'

He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in liberating the mind'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out liberating the mind.'[[1120]]

21. "He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in contemplating impermanence'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out contemplating impermanence.'

He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in contemplating fading away'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out contemplating fading away.'

He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in contemplating cessation; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out contemplating cessation.'

He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in contemplating relinquishment'; he trains thus: 'I shall breathe out contemplating relinquishment.'[[1121]]

22. "Bhikkhus, that is how mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, so that it is of great fruit and great benefit.

23. "And how, bhikkhus, does mindfulness of breathing, developed and cultivated, fulfil the four foundations of mindfulness?

24. "Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu, breathing in long, understands: 'I breathe in long,' or breathing out long, understands: 'I breathe out long'; breathing in short, understands: 'I breathe in short,' or breathing out short, understands: 'I breathe out short'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body [of breath]'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing the whole body [of breath]'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe in tranquillising the bodily formation'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out tranquillising the bodily formation' - on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.

I say that this is a certain body among the bodies, namely, in-breathing and out-breathing.[[1122]]

That is why on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.

25. "Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing rapture'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing rapture'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing pleasure'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing pleasure'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing the mental formation'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing the mental formation'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe in tranquillising the mental formation'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out tranquillising the mental formation' - on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.

I say that this is a certain feeling among the feelings, namely, giving close attention to in-breathing and out-breathing.[[1123]]

That is why on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.

26. "Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing the mind'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out experiencing the mind'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe in gladdening the mind'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out glad­dening the mind'; train thus: 'I shall breathe in concentrating the mind'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out concentrating the mind'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe in liberating the mind'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out liberating the mind' - on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind as mind, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.

I do not say that there is the development of mindfulness of breathing for one who is forgetful, who is not fully aware.

That is why on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind as mind, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world."[[1124]]

27. "Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu trains thus: 'I shall breathe in contemplating impermanence'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out contemplating impermanence'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe in contemplating fading away'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out contemplating fading away'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe in contemplating cessation'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out contemplating cessation'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe in contemplating relinquishment'; trains thus: 'I shall breathe out contemplating relinquishment' - on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.

Having seen with wisdom the abandoning of covetousness and grief, he closely looks on with equanimity.[[1125]]

That is why on that occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.

28. "Bhikkhus, that is how mindfulness of breathing, developed and cultivated, fulfils the four foundations of mindfulness.

29. "And how, bhikkhus, do the four foundations of mindfulness, developed and cultivated, fulfil the seven enlightenment factors?

30. "Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world - on that occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in him.

On whatever occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in a bhikkhu - on that occasion the mindfulness enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development, it comes to fulfilment in him.

31. "Abiding thus mindful, he investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it.

On whatever occasion, abiding thus mindful, a bhikkhu investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it - on that occasion the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

32. "In one who investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it, tireless energy is aroused.

On whatever occasion tireless energy is aroused in a bhikkhu who investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it - on that occasion the energy enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

33. "In one who has aroused energy, unworldly rapture arises.

On whatever occasion unworldly rapture arises in a bhikkhu who has aroused energy - on that occasion the rapture enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

34. "In one who is rapturous, the body and the mind become tranquil.

On whatever occasion the body and the mind become tranquil in a bhikkhu who is rapturous - on that occasion the tranquillity enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

35. "In one whose body is tranquil and who feels pleasure, the mind becomes concentrated.

On whatever occasion the mind becomes concentrated in a bhikkhu whose body is tranquil and who feels pleasure - on that occasion the concentration enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

36. "He closely looks on with equanimity at the mind thus concentrated.

On whatever occasion a bhikkhu closely looks on with equanimity at the mind thus concentrated - on that occasion the equanimity enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

37. "Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world - on that occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in him.

On whatever occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in a bhikkhu - on that occasion the mindfulness enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development, it comes to fulfilment in him.

38. "Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind as mind, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world - on that occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in him.

On whatever occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in a bhikkhu - on that occasion the mindfulness enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development, it comes to fulfilment in him.

39. "Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating mind-object as mind-objects, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world - on that occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in him.

On whatever occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in a bhikkhu - on that occasion the mindfulness enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development, it comes to fulfilment in him.

"Abiding thus mindful, he investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it.

On whatever occasion, abiding thus mindful, a bhikkhu investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it - on that occasion the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

"In one who investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it, tireless energy is aroused.

On whatever occasion tireless energy is aroused in a bhikkhu who investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it - on that occasion the energy enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

"In one who has aroused energy, unworldly rapture arises. On whatever occasion unworldly rapture arises in a bhikkhu who has aroused energy - on that occasion the rapture enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

"In one who is rapturous, the body and the mind become tranquil.

On whatever occasion the body and the mind become tranquil in a bhikkhu who is rapturous - on that occasion the tranquillity enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

"In one whose body is tranquil and who feels pleasure, the mind becomes concentrated.

On whatever occasion the mind becomes concentrated in a bhikkhu whose body is tranquil and who feels pleasure - on that occasion the concentration enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

"He closely looks on with equanimity at the mind thus concentrated.

On whatever occasion a bhikkhu closely looks on with equanimity at the mind thus concentrated - on that occasion the equanimity enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

40. "Bhikkhus, that is how the four foundations of mindfulness, developed and cultivated, fulfil the seven enlightenment factors.[[1126]]

41. "And how, bhikkhus, do the seven enlightenment factors, developed and cultivated, fulfil true knowledge and deliverance?

42. "Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops the mindfulness enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, and ripens in relinquishment.[[1127]]

He develops the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, and ripens in relinquishment.

He develops the energy enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, and ripens in relinquishment.

He develops the rapture enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, and ripens in relinquishment.

He develops the tranquillity enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, and ripens in relinquishment.

He develops the concentration enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, and ripens in relinquishment.

He develops the equanimity enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, and ripens in relinquishment.

43. "Bhikkhus, that is how the seven enlightenment factors, developed and cultivated, fulfil true knowledge and deliverance."[[1128]]

That is what the Blessed One said.

The bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One's words.

 


 

[1115] The Pavāraṇā is the ceremony that concludes the rains residence, at which each bhikkhu invites all the others to admonish him for his transgressions.

[1116] Komudi is the full-moon day of the month of Kattika, the fourth month of the rainy season; it is called by this name because the white water-lily (kumuda) is said to bloom at that time.

[1117] Explanatory notes for the first tetrad will be found at nn.140-142. MN 10.4 differs from this passage only by the addition of the simile. Since Ācariya Buddhaghosa has commented on the four tetrads on mindfulness of breathing in the Visuddhimagga, in MA he merely refers the reader to the latter work for explanation. Notes 1118-21 are drawn from Vsm VIII, 226-37, also included by Ñm in his Mindfulness of Breathing.

[1118] One experiences rapture in two ways: by attaining one of the lower two jhāna in which rapture is present, one experiences rapture in the mode of serenity; by emerging from that jhāna and contemplating that rapture as subject to destruction, one experiences rapture in the mode of insight.

[1119] The same method of explanation as in n.1118 applies to the second and third clauses, except that the second comprises the three lower jhāna and the third all four jhāna. The mental formation is perception and feeling (see MN 44.14), which is tranquillised by the development of successively higher levels of serenity and insight.

[1120] "Experiencing the mind" is to be understood by way of the four jhāna. "Gladdening the mind" is explained either as the attainment of the two jhāna containing rapture or as the penetration of those jhāna with insight as subject to destruction, etc. "Concentrating the mind" refers either to the concentration pertaining to the jhāna or to the momentary concentration that arises along with insight. "Liberating the mind" means liberating it from hindrances and grosser jhanic factors by successively higher levels of concentration, and from the cognitive distortions by way of insight knowledge.

[1121] This tetrad deals entirely with insight, unlike the previous three, which deal with both serenity and insight. "Contemplating fading away" and "contemplating cessation" can be understood both as the insight into the impermanence of formations and as the supramundane path realising Nibbāna, called the fading away of lust (i.e., dispassion, virāga) and the cessation of suffering. "Contemplating relinquishment" is the giving up of defilements through insight and the entering into Nibbāna by attainment of the path.

[1122] MA: In-and-out breathing is to be counted as the air element among the four elements making up the body. It should also be included in the base of tangibles among bodily phenomena (since the object of attention is the touch sensation of the breath entering and leaving the nostrils).

[1123] MA explains that close attention (sādhuka manasikāra) is not itself actually feeling, but is spoken of as such only figuratively. In the second tetrad the actual feeling is the pleasure mentioned in the second clause and also the feeling comprised by the expression "mental formation" in the third and fourth clauses.

[1124] MA: Although the meditating bhikkhu takes as his object the sign of in-and-out breathing, he is said to be "contemplating mind as mind" because he maintains his mind on the object by arousing mindfulness and full awareness, two factors of mind.

[1125] MA: Covetousness and grief signify the first two hindrances, sensual desire and ill will, and thus represent the contemplation of mind-objects, which begins with the five hindrances. The bhikkhu sees the abandoning of the hindrances effected by the contemplations of impermanence, fading away, cessation, and relinquishment, and thus comes to look upon the object with equanimity.

[1126] MA says that the above passage shows the enlightenment factors existing together in each mind-moment in the practice of insight meditation.

[1127] See n.48.

[1128] MA: The mindfulness that comprehends breathing is mundane; the mundane mindfulness of breathing perfects the mundane foundations of mindfulness; the mundane foundations of mindfulness perfect the supramundane enlightenment factors; and the supramundane enlightenment factors perfect (or fulfil) true knowledge and deliverance, i.e., the fruit and Nibbāna.


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