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Cattāri Satipaṭṭhāna

The Four Satipatthanas


Satipatthana Resources
Rhys Davids Introduction to their translation of the Satipatthana Sutta, and the translation itself
Puremind, M. Punnaji, Awakening Meditation, 1-13, 1-15, 3-12, 4-3, 4-6, 6-8, 7-6,7, 7-11, 8-52, 8-60, 8-61, 8-86
[MN 10]
WP: The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, 10: The Foundations of Mindfulness, pp 145
[DN 22]
WP: The Long Discourses of the Buddha, Maurice Walshe, 22: The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness, pp335
PTS:, Middle Length Sayings I, #10: Discourse on the Applications of Mindfulness, Horner, pp70

Cattāri Satipaṭṭhāna
Pali MO Nyanasatta Thera Soma Thera Hare Horner Punnaji Nanamoli/ Bodhi T. W. and C.A.F. Rhys Davids Thanissaro Walshe Woodward
Cattāri Satipaṭṭhāna The Four Satisfaction Pastures, Mental Pastures The Four Foundations of Mindfulness the four Arousings of Mindfulness The Four Uprisings of Mindfulness the four Applications of Mindfulness the four focuses of Awareness, attention, introverted attention[1] The Four Foundations of Mindfulness The Fourfold Setting-Up of Mindfulness The Four Frames of Reference The Four Foundations of Mindfulness The Four Stations of Mindfulness [SN 5.47.5]
sati Mental Satisfaction, Memory, Mind Mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness Attentiveness, attention, awareness mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness [SN 5.47.5]
Ekāyano ayaṁ Maggo One sure way the only way the only way one way[2] the way with a single purpose[3] the direct path[4] The one and only path the direct path one way
Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu kāya kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṁ. In the case of the first case, Beggars, a Beggar living here in a body lives seeing body as a body of flames, with such Penetrating Knowledge that he Releases his angry Downbound, (not very skillful) longing and misery, and, rising above it all, Watchful and Diligent (APPAMADA), Satisfied, Reviewing and Calming Down, Overcoming any TANHA that may appear, is bound up bound up in nothing at all in the World.[5] Herein (in this teaching) a monk lives contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu lives contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending (it) and mindful (of it), having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief body Herein, monks, a monk fares along contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly conscious (of it) so as to control the covetousness and dejection in the world seeing bodiness of the body Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. Herein, 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 There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself -- ardent, alert, and mindful -- putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world walshe Here, monks, a monk abides contemplating body as body, ardent, clearly aware and mindful, having put aside hankering and fretting for the world Herein a monk abides in body contemplating body (as transient), ardent, composed and mindful, having restrained the dejection in the world that arises from covetousness. [SN 5.47.5]
vedanā living in his senses feelings feelings feeling feelings sensation feelings feelings feelings feelings feelings [SN 5.47.5]
citte living in the emotions consciousness consciousness thought, mind mind emotion mind thoughts mind mind mind [SN 5.47.5]
dhamma living in the dhamma (the Word) mental objects mental objects Dhamma (for the teaching), states, qualitties, things, doctrines mental objects thought mind-objects ideas mental qualities mind-objects mind-states [SN 5.47.5]


[ 1 ] Venerable Punnaji explains his interpretation of the Satipatthana in two important passages:

1. (p1-15): Sometimes meditators are not sure whether the awareness of body, sensations, moods and thoughts are to be practiced separately or alltogether. My understanding is that the Satipatthana is the practice of awareness of the reaction of the body to sensory stimulattion. This reaction is observed first as a physical movement or a tension in the body. Then as awareness deepens, it is observed as a sensation. Then it is observed as an emotion and lastly as a thought. As one progresses, the whole reaction can be observed in its four parts (physical, sensational, emotional, and cognitive). Then one begins to see the reaction as a subjective experience and also as an objective experience. Then as one advances, one sees how the subjective and objective experiences arises and ceases. It i9s then that one begins to see the unreality of the phenomenal experience, and the emptiness of phenomena subjective and objective. This leads to the disidentification and depersonalization.

2. (p8-59): [being questioned] Q. We were taught by other teachers to observe the breathing, in the abdomen lightly, and if the mind wanders not to be upset with it but to note that the mind is wandering and just slowly bring that attention back. But I have not been taught to think of the body and think about whether there is any tension in the body...

A: The difference between what you practice and what I teach, as I see it, is in the interpretation of sati patthana. According to the sutta, there are four places to focus attention. One is the body, the others are the sensations, the emotions, and the thoughts. Because of the problem of translation, the real meaning has not been conveyed to people. What we are doing in this sati patthana meditation is that we are really focusing our attentionon the reactions. Let me explain: First you have to understand that you are an organism in an environment. Try to take that picture into your mind — an organism and the environment. Now this organism is aware of the environment through the senses. Things happening in the environment stimulate the senses, like light falling on the eye. Light coming from the environment falls on the eye and stimulates the eye. This results in a reaction, the reaction of the organism to that stimulus.

Now the reaction has three phases. First is the cognitive phase, which means that you see something. Having seen something, you react emotionally to what you see. The emotional reaction is what is called the affective phase. The emotional reaction leads to tension in the body. That tension is released in action to obtain what is desired. This is the active phase of the reaction. If the emotion is hatred or anger, then you try to get rid of what you hate. Or, if it is fear, the release of tension will be to run away from what you fear. That is how you shold see the reacioon of the organism, in terms of the cognitive, affective and active phases.

When we practice the sati patthana, what we are doing is observing this reaction.

[2] But see page 99, where she translates the same phrase: "the one sole way".

[3] Venerable Punnaji's explanation of this term is too rich to remain confined in a single translation: "...this expression is very rich in meaning, and is capable of several interpretations. Eka can be understood as solitude, which is an important part of this practice. It can also mean unity (ekagga). Therefore, we may say that this is a singular way that leads exclusively, through solitude, to unity or harmony, within and without."

[4] B/N footnotes: "The Pali reads ekayano ayam bhikkhave maggo, and virtually all translators understand this as a statement upholding satipatthana as an exclusive path. Thus Ven. Soma renders it: "This is the only way, O bhikkhus," and Ven. Nyanaponika: "This is the sole way, monks." Nm, however, points out that ekayana magga at MN 12.37-42 has the unambiguous contextual meaning of "a path that goes in one way only," and so he rendered the phrase in this passage, too. The expression used here, "the direct path," is an attempt to preserve this meaning in a more streamlined phrasing. MA explains ekayana magga as a single path, not a divided path; as a way that has to be walked by oneself alone, without a companion; and as a way that goes to one goal, Nibbana. Though there is neither canonical nor commentarial basis for this view, it might be maintained that satipatthana is called ekayana magga, the direct path, to distinguish it from the approach to meditative attainment that proceeds through the jhanas or brahmaviharas. While the latter can lead to Nibbana, they do not do so necessarily but can lead to sidetracks, whereas satipatthana leads invariable to the final goal.

[5] My rendition of this passage is a retelling, not a translation, but does represent my view as to the intent of this passage. See the discussion of the phrase kāya kāyānupassī viharati here. and the PED discussion Kaya Kayanupassi.


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