Who cannot practice Ānāpānasati and Satipaṭṭhāna?

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    • #39443

      Dear readers,
      For reference sake, see the below 3 categories:
      i)Humans with miccha ditthi
      ii)Humans with mundane samma ditthi
      iii)Humans with lokotarra samma ditthi (ariya)

      1.) Regarding anapanasati:

      Who can or cannot practice it according to Buddha?
      Buddha said that anyone without samma sati cannot do anapanasati.
      I’d think someone with mundane samma ditthi (ii) is able to practice it, although not as efficiently as an ariya (iii) due to the lack of understanding of tilakkhana. It surely does leave out (i).

      2.) Regarding satipatthana

      a.) I remember reading somewhere that Buddha said that anyone who has “not understood dhamma,” should not try and practice cittanupassana. (Does anybody have a reference for this? I can’t find it)
      Is he talking about ii or iii?
      A non-ariya would not be able to cultivate some nibbana-related citta as mentioned in the cittanupassana section, so the practice would be incomplete but he/she could, for example, contemplate the consequences of getting carried away by hateful thoughts and try to abstain from them as best as he/she can, and even cultivate wholesome thoughts. Again, the lack of tilakkhana does prevent a deeper understanding/practice. That said, (i) is surely excluded.

      b.) Besides the above, is there anything else Buddha stated regarding the practice of satipatthana (or anapanasati) in relation to i, ii, and iii?
      Someone with some miccha ditthi (i) could still do some parts of satipatthana, such as body decay contemplation (kayanupassana) and also try and understand/contemplate dhamma. Need to start somewhere, after all.

      Any specific information from the Tipitaka is greatly appreciated.

    • #39445

      Good questions and answers!

      1.) Correct.

      2.) Those quotes were discussed in the post “Ānāpānasati – Overview.”

      Anyone should try to practice Ānāpānasati/Satipaṭṭhāna Bhāvanā.
      – Of course, one in category (i) would not have any incentive to do.
      – Those in category (ii) should do it, and it will help them comprehend 4NT/PS/Tilakkhana and get to the Sotapanna Anugāmi stage.
      – Only those in category (iii) (Sotapanna Anugāmi or above) can attain higher magga phala with the practice.

      There are two posts (including the one cited above) in the section “Elephant in the Room 3 – Ānāpānasati.” I will write more in the future.
      – There are also early posts on Ānāpānasati in “Bhāvanā (Meditation)
      – Posts on Satipaṭṭhāna in “Mahā Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta” section.

      P.S. This topic is more suited for the “Meditation Forum.” Please think about the appropriate forum before posting.

    • #39447

      Thank you and apologies for not picking the most appropriate forum.

      I can find the samma sati quote, but I can’t find the “cittanupassana is not recommended to be practiced by one who doesn’t comprehend dhamma.” I have tried looking (also in the links you provided) for it but no no avail. He did say that right?

      I’m not completely sure whether I’ve read it on the site or elsewhere.

    • #39448

      Yes. That verse is a bit hidden here:
      Yasmiṁ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhu ‘cittapaṭisaṁvedī assasissāmī’ti sikkhati, ‘cittapaṭisaṁvedī passasissāmī’ti sikkhati; ‘abhippamodayaṁ cittaṁ assasissāmī’ti sikkhati, ‘abhippamodayaṁ cittaṁ passasissāmī’ti sikkhati; ‘samādahaṁ cittaṁ assasissāmī’ti sikkhati, ‘samādahaṁ cittaṁ passasissāmī’ti sikkhati; ‘vimocayaṁ cittaṁ assasissāmī’ti sikkhati, ‘vimocayaṁ cittaṁ passasissāmī’ti sikkhati; citte cittānupassī, bhikkhave, tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhu viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṁ. Nāhaṁ, bhikkhave, muṭṭhassatissa asampajānassa ānāpānassatiṁ vadāmi. Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, citte cittānupassī tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhu viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṁ.”

      It is close to the middle of the sutta: “Ānāpānassati Sutta (MN 118).”

      In the English translation at:Ānāpānassati Sutta (MN 118)” that highlighted verse is translated as:
      There is no development of mindfulness of breathing for someone who is unmindful and lacks awareness, I say.”

      P.S. That English translation is laughable. Any fool can do “breathing in out mindfully”!
      P.P.S.muṭṭhassatissa” means “one who does not have a comprehension of Samma Sati (which requires comprehension of 4NT/PS/Tilakkhana.

    • #39482

      Thank you so much Lal, but I was referring to whether there was a reference for “cittanupassana is not recommended for people who haven’t understood the dhamma,” or something along this line.
      I was able to find that “samma sati is needed for anapanasati” quote. I’m sorry for your trouble.

      Your posted excerpt does remind me of something however, which leads me to the following question: Do you have any estimation on when you’ll do your next Anapanasati-related -elephant-in-the-room article?

    • #39483

      Jorg wrote, “..but I was referring to whether there was a reference for “cittanupassana is not recommended for people who haven’t understood the dhamma,” or something along this line.”

      – I am not aware of a direct quote on Dhamma like that.
      – However, if one does not understand that “sati” means “Sammā Sati” that means they have not understood Dhamma enough to do ānāpānassati or cittānupassanā that comes within ānāpānassati!
      – So, I think the verse, “Nāhaṁ, bhikkhave, muṭṭhassatissa asampajānassa ānāpānassatiṁ vadāmi” means the same as, “..ānāpānassati is not recommended for people who haven’t understood the dhamma (meaning Buddha Dhamma).”
      – That verse is in the cittānupassanā section of MN 118.

      I am not sure when I will do the next post on “Anapanasati-related -elephant-in-the-room” section.
      I keep coming across things that need to be addressed before that.

    • #39496

      The following post is from Jorg:

      Thank you kindly, Lal.
      Everything you said is very clear. Samphassa-ja-vedana always precede dhammā (kamma bīja). Without Samphassa-ja-Vedana, there’s no way of kamma bija developing.

      Still, I had some questions lingering about that particular phrase because it’s such a key component in this tradition which I used to practice for about six years until I got hold of the deeper dhamma truths. I feel it’s my duty to understand so that I can communicate this with that proper understanding. So, I checked the corresponding suttā of the phrase for some context. After some contemplation, along with what Lal said, some things cleared up, and I realized why it was originally interpreted that way.
      Maybe this is also helpful for other members who have a background in this tradition.

      The context of 2 out of 3 suttā starts with Buddha asking the following questions:
      AN 8.83 (This one has 8 Q & A)
      AN 10.58 (This one lists 10 Q & A)

      “‘kiṁmūlakā, āvuso, sabbe dhammā, kiṁsambhavā sabbe dhammā, kiṁsamudayā sabbe dhammā, kiṁsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā, kiṁpamukhā sabbe dhammā, kiṁadhipateyyā sabbe dhammā, kiṁuttarā sabbe dhammā, kiṁsārā sabbe dhammā’ti, kiṁ ogadhā sabbe dhammā, kiṁ pariyosānā sabbe dhammâ ti.”

      To which he then, himself, answers:
      “‘chandamūlakā, āvuso, sabbe dhammā, manasikārasambhavā sabbe dhammā, phassasamudayā sabbe dhammā, vedanāsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā, samādhippamukhā sabbe dhammā, satādhipateyyā sabbe dhammā, paññuttarā sabbe dhammā, vimuttisārā sabbe dhammā’ti, amat’ogadhā sabbe dhammā, nibbāna pariyosānā sabbe dhammâ ti.”

      Let me arrange them in the corresponding order, adding the answer to the question, and add my comment below each Q & A:
      Q: kiṁmūlakā sabbe dhammā?
      A: chandamūlakā sabbe dhammā.
      “What is the root of all dhammā (kamma bīja)? Kamachanda are the root.”

      Kamachanda are the root cause of suffering, and they lead to new existences. Since Buddha dhamma is all about knowing this and doing something about it (with nibbana as the end goal as mentioned as #10), chanda must mean kamachanda, therefore with dhammā, kamma bīja is meant, not necessarily namagotta (memory records).

      Q: kiṁsambhavā sabbe dhammā?
      A: manasikārasambhavā sabbe dhammā.
      I assume the question is something like: “How do these kamma bīja end up getting established in the kamma bhava (sambhavo = kamma bhava?) and, thus, lead to a new existence? Because of anyoniso manasikara.”

      Since we indulge in/desire sense pleasures (kamachanda), we act with ayoniso manasikara, the opposite of yoniso manasikara. In other words, we act with ignorance of Paticca Samuppada and Tilakkhana.

      Q: kiṁsamudayā sabbe dhammā?
      A: phassasamudayā sabbe dhammā.
      How do kamma bīja arise? They arise because of contact with san (samphassa).”

      Here, I thought it was extra clear that Buddha is referring to kamma bīja because phassa cannot lead to the formation of kamma bīja. Phassa only results in the formation and storage of namagotta. In other words, “samphassa” is meant, which aligns with the previous use of ayoniso manasikara and kamachanda.

      Q: kiṁsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā?
      A: vedanāsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā.

      In Lal’s first translation “all types of vedana coming together to lead to each and all dhamma,” Lal used “coming together” which coincides with Sutta central’s definition.
      In the last response, Lal mentioned that “sarana” means something like help/depend on.
      “Samo” means similar or equal?
      This question must then mean something like:
      – What are kamma bīja (equally) dependent upon?
      – What converges into kamma bīja (in the same way/according to the same process)?
      Answer: They all depend (in the same way) on the generation of samphassa-ja-vedana.
      Since there’s samphassa, “samphassa paccaya samphassa-ja-vedana” step in the PS must happen.
      And only this type of vedana leads to the establishment of kamma bīja (in the kamma bhava).

      5), 6), 7), 8), 9), 10).
      From here on I’m not familiar with many of the terms.
      Let me arrange each Q & A on the same line this time:

      5.    kiṁpamukhā sabbe dhammā? samādhippamukhā sabbe dhammā.
      6.    kiṁadhipateyyā sabbe dhammā? satādhipateyyā sabbe dhammā.
      7.    kiṁuttarā sabbe dhammā? paññuttarā sabbe dhammā.
      8.    kiṁsārā sabbe dhammā’ti? vimuttisārā sabbe dhammā’ti.
      9.    kiṁ ogadhā sabbe dhammā? amat’ogadhā sabbe dhammā.
      10.   kiṁ pariyosānā sabbe dhammā ti? nibbāna pariyosānā sabbe dhammā ti

      Sutta central translation:
      “Immersion is their chief. Mindfulness is their ruler. Wisdom is their overseer. Freedom is their core. They culminate in the deathless. And extinguishment is their final end.”

      That translation is vague, but if the definition of the words comes close, I think what the Pali sutta is trying to convey is that we need samma sati and samma samadhi to develop wisdom, leading to the eradication of defilements, thus removing the conditions for these kamma bīja to ever give rise to a new existence, i.e., be freed from them, which eventually leads to nibbana.
      But not sure why sati and samadhi are listed in this order (samadhi before sati).

      The third sutta is slightly different but necessary to include here. AN 9.14

      It’s very similar to the answers given (except the first two), but the questions are related to “sankappavitakka,” not “dhammā” (kamma bīja).

      “Kimārammaṇā, (samiddhi), purisassa saṅkappavitakkā uppajjantī”ti?
      “Nāmarūpārammaṇā, bhante”ti.
      Te pana, samiddhi, kva nānattaṁ gacchantī”ti?
      Dhātūsu, bhante”ti.

      After this, it goes on similarly as the other two suttā, shown in bold (but all related to sankappavitakka):

      “Te pana, samiddhi, kiṁsamudayā”ti? Phassasamudayā, bhante”ti.
      Te pana, samiddhi, kiṁsamosaraṇā”ti? Vedanāsamosaraṇā, bhante”ti,
      ” etc.

      Please correct me if I’m mistaken, but I assume the question means:
      Q: “How do miccha sankappa arise after an arammana has come in contact with the sense doors?”
      This should be micchā sankappa because we need to free ourselves of wrong thoughts (Micchā Saṅkappa, Apuññabhisaṅkhāra ) to reach Nibbana.
      A: “They arise due to the expectation created (in the kamma viññāṇa by abhisaṅkhāra), which leads to ‘kamma viññāṇa paccaya nāmarūpa’ (in the Paṭicca Samupādda).”

      The next part:
      Te pana, samiddhi, kva nānattaṁ gacchantī”ti? Dhātūsu, bhante”ti.

      Sutta central translation:
      “Where do they become diversified? In the elements.”
      Maybe this is something to do with salayatana. (I’m not sure, I don’t know the words in the question).
      Because of namarupa, our senses cannot be used objectively and cannot see things for what they truly are. Elements are not merely elements anymore, they become valuable, and one becomes hopeful and delusional due to this nicca perception.

      To finish off, to avoid any gaps surrounding the key phrase “Vedanāsamosaraṇā”:

      “Te pana, samiddhi, kiṁsamudayā”ti? Phassasamudayā, bhante”ti.
      Te pana, samiddhi, kiṁsamosaraṇā”ti?
      Vedanāsamosaraṇā, bhante”ti,”

      I assume this means that our defiled thoughts (miccha sankappa, apuññabhisaṅkhāra) arise because of samphassa.
      Then, we start generating samphassa-ja-vedana, which all lead to more and more of similar defiled thoughts (because of taṇhā). These thoughts/sankappa/saṅkhāra are all dependent upon samphassa-ja-vedana. Without it, they (sankhara) won’t arise. (but that means we need to get rid of avijā first, so that we can stop the “avijā paccaya saṅkhāra” step in PS).
      “Coming together,” or “converge,” seems a bit less appropriate in this context. Though, in the end, these saṅkhāra create dhammā and eventually get established (automatically) in the kamma bhava.

      I understand now better why “vedanāsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā” gets translated as:
      -     “Whatever arises in mind is accompanied by sensations”; or
      -     “Everything that arises in mind starts flowing with a sensation on the body.”

      That’s because “samosarana” gets translated as “coming together,” and so it’s easy to think that dhammā come together and manifests as vedana. Dhammā are interpreted as mental phenomena, which is unfortunately not a precise description, leading to various interpretations.
      Also, because of samphassa-ja-vedana, we start generating abhisaṅkhāra, and these abhisaṅkhāra generate more samphassa-ja-vedana. Then, when samphassa-ja-vedana is seen as simply “vedana,” or “sensations,” that logic actually holds up. In turn, this solidifies the idea of the translation, “Whatever arises in mind is accompanied by sensations.”

      I hope this was helpful.

      Lal, or anyone else, would you be able to help me fill in the gaps with the translations I missed?
      And, of course, if I made an error anywhere, feel free to point it out.

      With Metta

    • #39497

      1. Jorg was unable to make the above post on his own. A couple of others have run into the same issue. But they could post subsequently. I am not sure why that is.
      – If anyone runs into the same issue (i.e., gets the “forbidden” message), please email it to me so that I can post it: [email protected].
      – This is why it is a good idea to write the post in a word processor and paste it.

      2. I am very impressed with Jorg’s understanding and efforts. Writing one or two more posts in the “Elephants in the Room” series may be necessary to address his questions. I will read his comment and see whether I can give brief answers or not.

    • #39498

      The “10 factors” are in the verse: “‘kiṁ mūlakā, āvuso, sabbe dhammā, kiṁ sambhavā sabbe dhammā, kiṁ samudayā sabbe dhammā, kiṁ samosaraṇā sabbe dhammā, kiṁ pamukhā sabbe dhammā, kiṁ adhipateyyā sabbe dhammā, kiṁ uttarā sabbe dhammā, kiṁ sārā sabbe dhammā’ti, kiṁ ogadhā sabbe dhammā, kiṁ pariyosānā sabbe dhammâ ti.”

      (The questions become clearer when you separate “kiṁ” meaning “what”?)

      Jorg’s explanations of the first four factors are very good.

      Jorg wrote:
      5), 6), 7), 8), 9), 10).
      From here on I’m not familiar with many of the terms.
      Let me arrange each Q & A on the same line this time:

      5.    kiṁ pamukhā sabbe dhammā? samādhi pamukhā sabbe dhammā.
      6.    kiṁ adhipateyyā sabbe dhammā? satādhipateyyā (sati adhipateyyā) sabbe dhammā.
      7.    kiṁ uttarā sabbe dhammā? paññuttarā (paññā uttarā) sabbe dhammā.
      8.    kiṁ sārā sabbe dhammā’ti? vimutti sārā sabbe dhammā’ti.
      9.    kiṁ ogadhā sabbe dhammā? amat’ogadhā (amata ogadhā) sabbe dhammā.
      10.   kiṁ pariyosānā sabbe dhammā ti? nibbāna pariyosānā sabbe dhammā ti

      Let me state the essence. I will write posts later to explain further.

      A. Factors 1 through 6 point to the root causes of dhammā (that bear everything in this world).

      B. Note that there are ” mundane good dhammā” that lead to “better outcomes in this world like rebirths in Deva and Brahma realms. Those fall under puññābhisaṅkhāra.
      – Factors 7 through 10 state that Nibbāna (reached via cultivation of paññā) is better than those “mundane good outcomes” which DO NOT last.

      C. Let me expand some of Jorg’s explanations.
      (1) “chanda mūlakā sabbe dhammā”
      – Here chanda includes rupa raga and arupa raga in addition to kama raga.
      (2) – (4) Jorg’s explanations are good.
      (5) Here, samādhi means “micchā samādhi“.
      (6) Here, sati means “micchā sati“, i.e., the opposite of Sammā Sati. In other words, to focus on sensual, jhanic pleasures, etc.
      As I wrote above, factors 7 through 10 state that Nibbāna (reached via cultivation of paññā) is better than those “mundane good outcomes” which DO NOT last.
      (7) All cetasika (sobhana and asobhana) lead to the extension of the rebirth process. Only when paññā is optimized at the Arahant stage that one becomes free of all suffering. The rest of the factors need to be addressed that way.
      (8) Sāra is “essence” or “good”.
      (9) ogadhā is to be “immersed in”.
      (10) pariyosānā is to end.

    • #39502

      Lal was so kind to help me post the lengthy #39496, a few posts up, to which he then responded. These actually belong in the thread: https://puredhamma.net/forums/topic/goenkas-vipassana/#post-39484 as it was a response to the posts there.

      This is my mistake as I didn’t inform Lal of the specific thread.
      My sincere apologies.

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