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Saɱyutta Nikāya,
V: Mahā-Vagga
54 Ānāpāna Saɱyutta

Connected Discourses on Breathing

1. Ekadhammavaggo

Book 1: One Thing

Sutta 10

Kimbila

Translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi

 


 

[1][pts][olds] Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Kimbilā in the Bamboo Grove. There the Blessed One addressed the Venerable Kimbila thus: "How is it now, Kimbila, that concentration by mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and benefit?"

When this was said, the Venerable Kimbila was silent. A second time ... A third time the Blessed One addressed the Venerable Kimbila: "How is it now, Kimbila, that concentration by mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and benefit?" A third time the Venerable Kimbila was silent. [323]

When this happened, the Venerable Ānanda said to the Blessed One: "Now is the time for this, Blessed One! Now is the time for this, Fortunate One! The Blessed One should speak on concentration by mindfulness of breathing. Having heard it from the Blessed One, the bhikkhus will remember it."

"Well then, Ānanda, listen and attend closely, I will speak."

"Yes, venerable sir," the Venerable Ānanda replied. The Blessed One said this:

"And how, Ānanda, is concentration by mindfulness of breathing developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and benefit? Here, Ānanda, 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.... He trains thus: 'Contemplating relinquishment, I will breathe in'; he trains thus: 'Contemplating relinquishment, I will breathe out.'

(i. Contemplation of the body)

"Whenever,[307] Ānanda, a bhikkhu, when breathing in long, knows: 'I breathe in long'; or, when breathing out long, knows: 'I breathe out long'; when breathing in short, knows: 'I breathe in short'; or, when breathing out short, knows: 'I breathe out short'; when he trains thus: 'Experiencing the whole body, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Experiencing the whole body, I will breathe out'; when he trains thus: 'Tranquillizing the bodily formation, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Tranquillizing the bodily formation, I will breathe out' — on that occasion the bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. For what reason? I call this a certain kind of body, Ānanda, that is, breathing in and breathing out.[308] Therefore, Ānanda, on that occasion the bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.

(ii. Contemplation of feelings)

"Whenever, Ānanda, a bhikkhu trains thus: 'Experiencing rapture, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Experiencing rapture, I will breathe out'; when he trains thus: 'Experiencing happiness, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Experiencing happiness, I will breathe out'; when he trains thus: 'Experiencing the mental formation, [324] I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Experiencing the mental formation, I will breathe out'; when he trains thus: 'Tranquillizing the mental formation, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Tranquillizing the mental formation, I will breathe out' — on that occasion the bhikkhu dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. For what reason? I call this a certain kind of feeling, Ānanda, that is, close attention to breathing in and breathing out.[309] Therefore, Ānanda, on that occasion the bhikkhu dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.

(iii. Contemplation of mind)

"Whenever, Ānanda, a bhikkhu trains thus: 'Experiencing the mind, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Experiencing the mind, I will breathe out'; when he trains thus: 'Gladdening the mind, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Gladdening the mind, I will breathe out'; when he trains thus: 'Concentrating the mind, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Concentrating the mind, I will breathe out'; when he trains thus: 'Liberating the mind, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Liberating the mind, I will breathe out' — on that occasion the bhikkhu dwells contemplating mind in mind, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. For what reason? I say, Ānanda, that there is no development of concentration by mindfulness of breathing for one who is muddled and who lacks clear comprehension. Therefore, Ānanda, on that occasion the bhikkhu dwells contemplating mind in mind, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.

(iv. Contemplation of phenomena)

"Whenever, Ānanda, a bhikkhu trains thus: 'Contemplating impermanence, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Contemplating impermanence, I will breathe out'; when he trains thus: 'Contemplating fading away, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Contemplating fading away, I will breathe out'; when he trains thus: 'Contemplating cessation, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Contemplating cessation, I will breathe out'; when he trains thus: 'Contemplating relinquishment, I will breathe in'; when he trains thus: 'Contemplating relinquishment, I will breathe out' — on that occasion the bhikkhu dwells contemplatiitg phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. Having seen with wisdom the abandoning of covetousness and displeasure, he is one who looks on closely with equanimity.[310] Therefore, Ānanda, on that occasion the bhikkhu dwells contemplating phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. [325]

"Suppose, Ānanda, at a crossroads there is a great mound of soil. If a cart or chariot comes from the east, west, north, or south, it would flatten that mound of soil.[311] So too, Ānanda, when a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, feelings in feelings, mind in mind, phenomena in phenomena, he flattens evil unwholesome states."

 


[307] What follows is also in the Ānāpānasati Sutta (at MN III 83, 20-85,6), brought in to show how mindfulness of breathing fulfils the four foundations of mindfulness (see SN 5:54:13 below). The commentary on this passage is translated in Ñaṇamoli, Mindfulness of Breathing, pp. 49-52.

[308]Spk: "I call it the wind body (vāyokāya) among the 'bodies' of the four elements. Or else it is 'a certain kind of body' because it is included in the tactile base among the various components of the form body."

[309]Spk: Attention is not actually pleasant feeling, but this is a heading of the teaching. In this tetrad, in the first portion feeling is spoken of (obliquely) under the heading of rapture, in the second portion directly as happiness. In the third and fourth portions feeling is included in the mental formation (saññā ca vedanā ca cittasaŋkhāro, SN IV 293,17).

[310]Spk: Having seen with wisdom, etc. Here, "covetousness" is just the hindrance of sensual desire; by "displeasure" the hindrance of ill will is shown. This tetrad is stated by way of insight only. These two hindrances are the first among the five hindrances, the first section in the contemplation of mental phenomena. Thus he says this to show the beginning of the contemplation of mental phenomena. By "abandoning" is meant the knowledge which effects abandoning, e.g., one abandons the perception of permanence by contemplation of impermanence. By the words "having seen with wisdom" he shows the succession of insights thus: "With one insight knowledge (he sees) the knowledge of abandonment consisting in the knowledges of impermanence, dispassion, cessation, and relinquishment; and that too (he sees) by still another." He is one who looks on closely with equanimity: one is said to look on with equanimity (at the mind) that has fared along the path [Spk-pt: by neither exerting nor restraining the mind of meditative development that has properly fared along the middle way), and by the presentation as a unity [since there is nothing further to be done in that respect when the mind has reached one-pointedness]. "Looking on with equanimity" can apply either to the conascent mental states (in the meditative mind) or to the object; here the looking on at the object is intended.

[311]Spk: The six sense bases are like the crossroads; the defilements arising in the six sense bases are like the mound of soil there. The four establishments of mindfulness, occurring with respect to their four objects, are like the four carts or chariots. The "flattening" of the evil unwholesome states is like the flattening of the mound of soil by the cart or chariot.

 


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