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Sanyutta Nikaya,
V: MahaVagga

10. (54) AnapanaSanyutta

Connected Discourses on Breathing

1. Ekadhammavaggo

Book 1: One Thing

Sutta 1

One Thing

Translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi

 


 

[311]

[1-2][pts][ati][bd] At Savatthi.

[2][pts][ati][bd] There the Blessed One said this:

[3][pts][ati][bd] "Bhikkhus, one thing, when developed and cultivated, is of great fruit and benefit. What one thing? Mindfulness of breathing.

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

[4][pts][ati][bd] "Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, having gone to the forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty hut, sits down. Having folded his legs crosswise, straightened his body, and set up mindfulness in front of him, just mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.[289]

[5][pts][ati][bd] "Breathing in long, he knows: 'I breathe in long'; or breathing out long, he knows: 'I breathe out long.'

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

[6][pts][ati][bd] He trains thus: 'Experiencing the whole body, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Experiencing the whole body, I will breathe out.'

He trains thus: 'Tranquillizing the bodily formation, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Tranquillizing the bodily formation, I will breathe out.'[290]

[312] [7][pts][ati][bd] "He trains thus: 'Experiencing rapture, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Experiencing rapture, I will breathe out.'

He trains thus: 'Experiencing happiness, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Experiencing happiness, I will breathe out.'

[8][pts][ati][bd] He trains thus: 'Experiencing the mental formation, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Experiencing the mental formation, I will breathe out.'

He trains thus: 'Tranquillizing the mental formation, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Tranquillizing the mental formation, I will breathe out.'[291]

"He trains thus: 'Experiencing the mind, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Experiencing the mind, I will breathe out.'

[9][pts][ati][bd] He trains thus: 'Gladdening the mind, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Gladdening the mind, I will breathe out.'

He trains thus: 'Concentrating the mind, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Concentrating the mind, I will breathe out.'

He trains thus: 'Liberating the mind, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Liberating the mind, I will breathe out.'[292]

[10][pts][ati][bd] "He trains thus: 'Contemplating impermanence, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Contemplating impermanence, I will breathe out.'

He trains thus: 'Contemplating fading away, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Contemplating fading away, I will breathe out.'

He trains thus: 'Contemplating cessation, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Contemplating cessation, I will breathe out.'

He trains thus: 'Contemplating relinquishment, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Contemplating relinquishment, I will breathe out.'[293]

[11][pts][ati][bd] "It is, bhikkhus, when mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated in this way that it is of great fruit and benefit."

 


[289]What follows are the sixteen steps or apsects in the practice of mindfulness of breathing, which form the core of the Anapanasati Sutta (MN No. 118). The sixteen steps are explained in detail at Vism 267-91 (Ppn 8:146-237), to which Spk refers the reader. A collection of important texts on this meditation subject, translated by Nanamoli and entitled Mindfulness of Breathing, includes the Anapanasati Sutta, the passage from Vism, a treatise from Patis, and selected suttas.
As will be shown at 54:10, the sixteen aspects fall into four tetrads, which are correlated with the four establishments of mindfulness. Thus, while mindfulness of breathing begins in the domain of "contemplation of the body" (kayanupassana), it eventually comprehends all four contemplations.
On the phrase "having set up mindfulness in front of him" (parimukham satim upatthapetva), Vibh 252,14-16 says: "This mindfulness is set up, well set up at the tip of the nose or at the centre of the upper lip."

[290]Vism 273-74 (Ppn 8:171-73) explains the third step of this tetrad to mean "making known, making plain, the beginning, middle, and end of the entire in-breath body... of the entire out-breath body." The "bodily formation" (kayasankhara), in the fourth step, is the in-and-out breathing itself, which becomes progressively calmer and more subtle as mindfulness of the breath develops. See SN IV 293,16: Assasapassasa kho gahapati kayasankharo, "In-breathing and out-breathing, householder, are the bodily formation."

[291]This note and the two to follow are based on Vism 287-91 (Ppn 8:226-37). Rapture (piti) is experienced when he has entered upon the lower two jhanas and when, after entering upon and emerging from one of those jhanas, he comprehends with insight the rapture associated with the jhana as subject to destruction and vanishing. Happiness (sukha) is experienced when he has entered upon the lower three jhanas and when, after entering upon and emerging from one of those jhanas, he comprehends with insight the happiness associated with the jhana as subject to destruction and vanishing. The mental formation (cittasankhara) is feeling and perception, which are experienced in all four jhanas.

[292]"Experiencing the mind" is to be understood by way of the four jhanas. The mind is "gladdened" by the attainment of the two jhanas accompanied by rapture or by the penetration of these with insight as subject to destruction and vanishing. "Concentrating the mind" refers either to the concentration of the jhana or to the momentary concentration that arises along with insight. "Liberating the mind" means liberating it from the hindrances and grosser jhana factors by attaining successively higher levels of concentration, and from the distortions of cognition by way of insight knowledge.

[293]"Contemplating impermanence" (aniccanupassi) is contemplation of the five aggregates as impermanent because they undergo rise and fall and change, or because they undergo momentary dissolution. This tetrad deals entirely with insight, unlike the other three, which can be interpreted by way of both serenity and insight. "Contemplating - fading away" (viraganupassi) and "contemplating cessation" (nirodhanupassi) can be understood both as the insight into the momentary destruction and cessation of phenomena and as the supramundane path, which realizes Nibbana as the fading away of lust (viraga, dispassion) and the cessation of formations. "Contemplating relinquishment" (patinissagganupassi) is the giving up (pariccaga) or abandoning (pahana) of defilements through insight and the entering into (pakkhandana) Nibbana by attainment of the path. See n. 7.

 


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