Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
2. Anupada Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
III. The Final Fifty Discourses
2. The Division of the Uninterrupted

Sutta 119

Kāyagatā-Sati Suttaɱ

Discourse on Mindfulness of Body[1]

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner, M.A.
Associate of Newham College, Cambridge
First Published in 1954

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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Scanned, digitized and proofread by Waiyin Chow.

 


 

[25] [1][chlm][than][ntbb][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

Then when a number of monks had returned from the alms-gathering after the meal and were sitting down gathered together in an assembly hall, there arose this conversation:

"It is marvellous, revered sirs, it is wonderful, revered sirs, that mindfulness of body[2] when developed and made much of is of great fruit, of great advantage, as was said by the Lord who knows, who sees, the perfected one, the fully Self-Awakened One."

But this conversation between these monks was interrupted.

For the Lord, emerging from solitary meditation towards evening, approached the assembly hall; having approached, he sat down on the seat made ready.

As he was sitting down, the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"What were you talking about here, monks, as you were sitting down? And what was your conversation that was interrupted?"

"As to this, revered sir, when we had returned from the alms-gathering after our meal and were sitting down gathered together [130] in the assembly hall this conversation arose:

'It is marvellous, revered sirs, it is wonderful, revered sirs, that mindfulness of body when developed and made much of is of great fruit, of great advantage, as was said by the Lord ... fully Self-Awakened One.'

This, revered sir, was our conversation that was interrupted, for then the Lord arrived."

"And how, monks, when mindfulness of body has been developed, how when it has been made much of, is it of great fruit, of great advantage?

As to this, monks, a monk[3] who is forest-gone or gone to the root of a tree or gone to an empty place, sits down cross-legged, holding his back erect, arousing mindfulness in front of him.

Mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out. Whether he is breathing in ... breathing out a long (breath) ... a short (breath), he comprehends, 'I am breathing in ... out a long (breath) ... a short (breath).'

He trains himself thinking, 'I will breath in ... out experiencing the whole body.'

He trains himself, thinking, 'I will breathe in ... out tranquillising the activity of the body.'

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute, those memories and aspirations[4] that are worldly[5] are got rid of; by getting rid of them the mind itself is inwardly settled, calmed, focussed, concentrated.

Thus, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, when a monk is walking[6] he comprehends, 'I am walking'; or when he is standing still he comprehends, 'I am standing still'; or when he is sitting down he comprehends, 'I am sitting down'; or when he is lying down he comprehends, 'I am lying down.'

So that however his body is disposed he comprehends that it is like that.

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute ... the mind itself is inwardly settled, calmed, focussed, concentrated.

Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, a monk, when he is setting out or returning is one acting in a clearly conscious way; when he is looking in front or looking around ... when he has bent in or stretched out (his arm) ... when he is carrying his outer cloak, bowl and robe ... when he is eating, drinking, chewing, tasting ... when he is obeying the calls of nature ... when he is walking, standing, sitting, asleep, awake, talking, silent, he is one acting in a clearly conscious way.

While he [131] is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute ... Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, a monk reflects precisely on this body itself, encased as it is in skin and full of various impurities, from the soles of the feet up and from the crown of the head down, that:

'There is connected with this body hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, membranes, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, serum, saliva, mucus, synovic fluid, urine.'

Monks, it is as if there were a double mouthed provision bag that was full of various kinds of grain such as hill-paddy, paddy, kidney beans, peas, sesamum, rice; and a keen-eyed man, pouring them out, might reflect:

'That's hill-paddy, that's paddy, that's kidney beans, that's peas, that's sesamum, that's rice.'

Even so, monks, does a monk reflect precisely on this body itself, encased as it is in skin and full of various impurities, from the soles of the feet up and from the crown of the head down, that:

'There is connected with this body hair of the head ... urine.'

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute ...

Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, a monk reflects on this body itself according to how it is placed or disposed in respect of the elements, thinking:

'In this body there is the element of extension ... of cohesion ... of radiation ... of motion.'

Monks, it is as if a skilled cattle-butcher or his apprentice, having slaughtered a cow, might sit at the crossroads displaying its carcase.

Even so, monks, does a monk reflect on this body itself according to how it is placed or disposed in respect of the elements, thinking:

'In this body there is the element of extension ... of cohesion ... of radiation ... of motion.'

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute ...

Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, it is as if a monk might see, thrown aside in a cemetery a body that had been dead for one day or for two days or for three days, swollen, discoloured, decomposing; so he focuses on this body itself, thinking:

'This body too is of a similar nature, a similar constitution, it has not got past that (state of things).'

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute ...

Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, it is as if a monk might see thrown aside in a cemetery a body which was being devoured by crows or ravens or [132] vultures or wild dogs or jackals or by various small creatures; so he focusses on this body itself, thinking:

'This body too is of a similar nature, a similar constitution, it has not got past that (state of things).'

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute ...

Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, it is as if a monk might see thrown aside in a cemetery a body which was a skeleton but with (some) flesh and blood, sinew-bound ... a skeleton, which was fleshless but blood-bespattered, sinew-bound ... a skeleton which was without flesh or blood, sinew-bound; or the bones scattered here and there, no longer held together: here a bone of the hand, there a foot-bone, here a leg-bone, there a rib, here a hip-bone, there a back-bone, here the skull; so he focusses on this body itself, thinking:

'This body too is of a similar nature, a similar constitution, it has not got past this (state of things).'

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute ... Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, it is as if a monk might see thrown aside in a cemetery a body the bones of which were white and something like sea-shells ... a heap of dried up bones more than a year old .. the bones gone rotten and reduced to powder; so he focusses on this body itself, thinking:

'This body too is of a similar nature, a similar constitution, it has not got past this (state of things).'

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute, those memories and aspirations that are worldly are got rid of; by getting rid of them the mind is inwardly settled, calmed, focussed, concentrated.

Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, a monk, aloof from pleasures of the senses,[7] aloof from unskilled states of mind, enters on and abides in the first meditation which is accompanied by initial thought and discursive thought, is bom of aloofness, and is rapturous and joyful.

He drenches, saturates, permeates, suffuses this very body with the rapture and joy that are bom of aloofness; there is no part of his whole body that is not suffused with the rapture and joy that are bom of aloofness.

Monks, as a skilled bath-attendant or his apprentice, having sprinkled bath-powder into a bronze vessel, might knead it while repeatedly sprinkling[8] it with water until the ball of lather had taken up moisture, was drenched with moisture, suffused with moisture inside and out, but without any oozing.

[133] Even so, monks, does a monk drench, saturate, permeate, suffuse this very body with the rapture and joy that are born of aloofness; there is no part of his whole body that is not suffused with the rapture and joy that are born of aloofness.

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute ...

Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, a monk, by allaying initial thought and discursive thought, with the mind subjectively tranquillised and fixed on one point, enters on and abides in the second meditation which is devoid of initial thought and discursive thought, is born of concentration and is rapturous and joyful.

He drenches, saturates, permeates, suffuses this very body with the rapture and joy that are born of concentration; there is no part of his whole body that is not suffused with the rapture and joy that are born of concentration.

Monks, it is like a pool of water with water welling up within it, but which has no inlet for water from the eastern ... western ... northern ... or southern side, and even if the god does not send down showers upon it from time to time, yet the current of cool water having welled up from that pool will drench, saturate, permeate, suffuse that pool with cool water.

Even so, monks, does a monk drench saturate, permeate, suffuse this very body with the rapture and joy that are born of concentration; there is no part of his whole body that is not suffused with the rapture and joy that are born of concentration.

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute ...

Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, a monk, by the fading out of rapture, dwells with equanimity, attentive and clearly conscious and experiences in his person that joy of which the ariyans say:

'Joyful lives he who has equanimity and is mindful,'

and he enters on and abides in the third meditation.

He drenches, saturates, permeates, suffuses this very body with the joy that has no rapture; there is no part of his whole body that is not suffused with the joy that has no rapture.

As in a pond of white ... or red ... or blue lotuses, some white ... or red ... or blue lotuses are born in the water, grow up in the water, never rising above the surface but flourishing beneath it and from their roots to the tips are drenched, saturated, permeated, suffused by cool water; even so, monks, does a monk drench, saturate, permeate, suffuse this very body with the joy that has no rapture; there is no part of his whole body that is not suffused with the joy that has no rapture.

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute ...

Thus too does a monk develop mindfulness of body.

And again, monks, a monk, by getting rid of joy and by getting [134] rid of anguish, by the going down of his former pleasures and sorrows, enters on and abides in the fourth meditation which has neither anguish nor joy, and which is entirely purified by equanimity and mindfulness.

He, having suffused this very body with a mind that is utterly pure, utterly clean, comes to be sitting down; there is no part of his whole body that is not suffused by a mind that is utterly pure, utterly clean.

Monks, it is as if a man might be sitting down who had clothed himself including his head with a white cloth; there would be no part of his whole body not covered by the white cloth.

Even so, monks, a monk, having suffused this very body with a mind that is utterly pure, utterly clean, comes to be sitting down; there is no part of this whole body that is not suffused by a mind that is utterly pure, utterly clean.

While he is thus diligent, ardent, self-resolute, those memories and aspirations that are worldly are got rid of; by getting rid of them the mind itself is inwardly settled, calmed, focussed, concentrated.

Thus too, monks, does a monk develop mindfulness of body.[9]

Monks, those skilled states that are connected with knowledge[10] are in anyone in whom mindfulness of body has been developed and made much of.

As, monks, those streams that flow down to the ocean are in anyone in whom the great ocean has been suffused by thought,[11] even so, those skilled states that are connected with knowledge are in anyone in whom mindfulness of body has been developed and made much of.

Monks, Māra gains access to whatever monk there is in whom mindfulness of body has not been developed, not been made much of.

Monks, it is as though a man were to throw a heavy round stone into a mound of moist clay.

What do you think, monks?

Would that heavy round stone gain access to[12] that mound of moist clay?"

[135] "Yes, revered sir."

"Even so, monks, Māra gains access to, Māra gets a chance over anyone in whom mindfulness of body has not been developed, not made much of.

Monks, it is as though there were a dry sapless stick,[13] and a man were to come along bringing an upper piece of fire-stick, thinking:

'I will light a fire, I will get heat.'

What do you think, monks?

Could that man, bringing an upper piece of fire-stick and rubbing that dry sapless stick (with it), light a fire, could he get heat?"

"Yes, revered sir."

"Even so, monks, Māra gains access to, Māra gets a chance over anyone in whom mindfulness of body has not been developed, not been made much of.

Monks, it is as though a water-pot were standing void and empty on its support, and a man were to come along bringing a load of water.

What do you think, monks?

Would that man get a chance to unload the water?"

"Yes, revered sir."

"Even so, monks, Māra gains access to, Māra gets a chance over anyone in whom mindfulness of body has not been developed, not been made much of.

(But), monks, Māra does not gain access to, Māra does not get a chance over anyone in whom mindfulness of body has been developed and made much of.

Monks, it is as though a man were to throw a light ball of thread against a door-panel[14] made entirely from heartwood.

What do you think, monks?

Would that light ball of thread gain access to a door-panel made entirely from heart-wood?"

"No, revered sir."

"Even so, monks, Māra does not gain access to, Māra does not get a chance over anyone in whom mindfulness of body has been developed and made much of.

It is as though, monks, there were a wet sappy stick,[15] and a man were to come along bringing an upper piece of fire-stick, thinking:

'I will light a fire, I will get heat.'

What do you think, monks?

Could that man, bringing an upper piece of fire-stick and rubbing that wet sappy stick (with it), light a fire, could he get heat?"

[136] "No, revered sir."

"Even so, monks, Māra does not gain access to, Māra does not get a chance over anyone in whom mindfulness of body has been developed and made much of.

Monks, it is as though[16] a full water-pot, brimming with water so that a crow could drink from it, were placed in a support, and a man were to come along bringing a load of water.

What do you think, monks?

Would that man get a chance to unload the water?"

"No, revered sir."

"Even so, monks, Māra does not gain access to, Māra does not get a chance over anyone in whom mindfulness of body has been developed and made much of.

Anyone, monks, in whom mindfulness of body has been developed and made much of, turns his mind to this or that realisation through super-knowledge of a thing that may be realised through super-knowledge and achieves ability as a witness now here, now there, whatever may be the plane.[17]

Monks, it is as though a full water-pot, brimming with water so that a crow could drink from it, were placed in a support and a strong man were to rock it from side to side - would the water spill?"

"Yes, revered sir."

"Even so, monks, anyone in whom mindfulness of body has been developed and made much of, turns his mind to this or that realisation through super-knowledge of a thing that may be realised through super-knowledge and achieves ability as a witness now here, now there, whatever may be the plane.

Monks, it is as though[18] there were a tank on a level stretch of ground, its four sides strengthened with dykes, full and brimming with water so that a crow could drink from it, and a strong man were to loosen a dyke at this side or that - would the water spill?"

"Yes, revered sir."

"Even so, monks, anyone in whom mindfulness of body has been developed and made much of, turns his mind to this or that realisation through super-knowledge of a thing that may be realised through super-knowledge and achieves ability as a witness now here, now there, whatever may be the plane.

Monks, it is as though[19] [137] at a cross-roads on level ground a chariot were standing harnessed with thoroughbreds, the goad hanging ready; and a skilled groom, a charioteer of horses to be tamed, having mounted it, having taken the reins in his left hand, the goad in his right, were to drive up and down as he liked; even so, monks, anyone whomsoever in whom mindfulness of body has been developed and made much of, turns his mind to this and that realisation through super-knowledge of a thing that may be realised through super-knowledge and achieves ability as a witness now here, now there, whatever may be the plane.

Monks, these ten advantages are to be expected from pursuing mindfulness of body, developing it, making much of it, making it a vehicle, making it a foundation, practising it, increasing it, and fully undertaking it.[20]

What ten?

He is one who overcomes dislike and liking,[21] and dislike (and liking) do not overcome him; he fares along constantly conquering any dislike (and liking) that have arisen.

He is one who overcomes fear and dread,[22] and fear and dread do not overcome him; and he fares along constantly conquering any fear and dread that have arisen.

He is one who bears[23] cold, heat, hunger, thirst, the touch of gadfly, mosquito, wind and sun, creeping things, ways of speech that are irksome, unwelcome; he is of a character to bear bodily feelings which, arising, are painful, acute, sharp, shooting, disagreeable, miserable, deadly.

He is one who at will,[24] without trouble, without difficulty, acquires the four meditations that are of the purest mentality, abidings in ease here and now.

He experiences the various forms of psychic power: having been one he is manifold; having been manifold he is one; manifest or invisible he goes unhindered through a wall, a rampart, a mountain as if through air; he plunges into the ground and shoots up again as if in water; he walks upon the water without parting it as if on the ground; sitting cross-legged he travels through the air like a bird on the wing; with his hand he rubs and strokes this moon and sun [138] although they are of such mighty power and majesty; and even as far as the Brahma-world he has power in respect of his person.

By the purified deva-like hearing which surpasses that of men he hears both (kinds of) sounds - deva-like ones and human ones, whether they be far or near. He comprehends by mind the minds of other beings, of other individuals, so that he comprehends a mind that is full of attachment ... aversion ... confusion, that it is full of attachment ... aversion ... confusion; or a mind that is without attachment ... aversion ... confusion, that it is without attachment ... aversion ... confusion; or he comprehends a mind that is contracted that it is contracted, or a mind that is distracted that it is distracted; or of a mind that has become great that it has become great, or of a mind that has not become great that it has not become great; or of a mind with (some other mental state) superior to it that it has (some other mental state) superior to it, or of a mind that has no (other mental state) superior to it that it has no (other mental state) superior to it; or of a mind that is composed that it is composed, or of a mind that is not composed that it is not composed; or of a mind that is freed that it is freed, or of a mind that is not freed that it is not freed.

He recollects manifold former habitations, that is to say one birth and two births and ... Thus he recollects (his) former habitations in all their modes and detail.

With the purified deva-vision surpassing that of men he beholds beings as they pass hence and come to be; he comprehends that beings are mean, excellent, fair, foul, in a good bourn, in a bad bourn according to the consequences of deeds.

By the destruction of the cankers, having realised here and now by his own super-knowledge the freedom of mind and the freedom through intuitive wisdom that are cankerless, entering thereon, he abides therein.

Monks, these ten advantages are to be expected from pursuing mindfulness of body, developing it, making much of it, making it a vehicle, making it a foundation, practising it, increasing it and fully undertaking it."

Thus spoke the Lord.

Delighted, these monks rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Discourse on Mindfulness of Body: The Ninth

 


[1] Like Discourse No. 118, No. 119 is again only a sectional presentation of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (M. Sta. 10). See also A. i. 43 and Vbh. 226.

[2] This includes both samatha and vipassana, MA. iv. 144

[3] Cf. the following with M. i. 50 ff.

[4] sarasaṁkappā, as at M. i. 453, iii. 132, S. iv. 76, 190.

[5] gehasitā, belonging to a householder, thus thoughts, etc., belonging to the five kinds of sensual pleasures.

[6] Cf. M. i. 56.

[7] As at M. i. 276-278.

[8] paripphosakaɱ paripphosakaɱ, as at M. i. 276, ii. 15, iii. 140, D. i. 74 See P.E.D.

[9] The parallel passage at M. i. 276-278 ends here.

[10] For this passage cf. A. i. 43. The "skilled states that are connected with knowledge," dhammā vijjābhāgiyā, are given as six at A. iii. 334: perception of impermanence, perception of the anguish in impermanence, perception of non-self in anguish, perception of getting rid of, perception of detachmcnt, perception of stopping. But MA. iv. 145 says that here the knowledge of insight, psychic power made by mind, the six super-knowledges are connected with knowledge.

[11] By deva-vision, MA. iv. 145.

[12] Although the English may suffer from the use of this strange expression, and although some such phrase as "makes an impression on" would sound more natural here, it yet seems that by translating labhati otāraɱ all through this passage by "gains access to" (and this is precisely what is meant in the case of Māra), the Pali sequence of thought and argument is better preserved and conveyed.

[13] Cf. M. i. 242.

[14] aggaḷaphalaka, the board and bolt. MA. iv. 145 says kavāṭa, the panel of a door.

[15] Cf. M. i. 240.

[16] Cf. A. iii. 27.

[17] tatra tatr'eva sakkhibhavyataɱ pāpuṇāti sati sati āyatane. Cf. M. i. 494, A. i. 256-258, iii. 17-19, 27; quoted at Asl. 141. At MA. iv. 146 āyatana is explained by kāraṇa, in its turn explained by abhiññā. Therefore now one, now another of the high meditative planes, āyatana, is suggested.

[18] As at A. iii. 28.

[19] As at M. i. 124, A. iii. 28, S. iv. 176.

[20] Cf. S. iv. 200; also D. ii. 103, A. iv. 290, Ud. 62.

[21] As at M. i. 33, A. v. 132. Aratiratisaho: Neumann, vol. iii, p. 214 proposes to read here arati-r-atisaho, because M. text proceeds: na ca taɱ aratiɱ sahati, uppannaɱ aratim abhibhuyya. But it would seem better to follow A. v. 132 which reads: aratiratisaho assaɱ na ca mam aratirati saheyya uppannam aratiratim abhibhuyya. Here "dislike and liking" are kept throughout, and moreover this pair balances the next: "fear and dread."

[22] As at M. i. 33, A. v. 132.

[23] Cf. M. i. 10 where these are cankers to be got rid of by endurance; cf. also A. iii. 389, v. 132.

[24] As at M. i. 33, which see also for the remainder of the above passage.


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