Notes from reading “Satipatthana: the direct path to realization” by Analayo 

Satipatthana: direct path…”Sati [choiceless awareness; non-reactive; non-interfering] does not change experience, it deepens it.” p 56; “Upatthana”: placing near; being present; attending – instead of “foundations” (derived from “patthana” which was never used with “sati” in the early Pali texts) which describes them as “objects” that lead to sati rather than attitudes with regard to them that one performs as an activity of sati; “mindfulness being present (upatthitasati) can be understood to imply presence of mind, in so far as it is directly opposed to absent-mindedness (mutthassati); presence of mind in the sense that, endowed with sati, one is wide awake in regard to the present moment.” p48 – sati as present moment awareness and remembering/re-collecting (breadth of attention connecting information from the present and about the past) – relaxed receptivity

Bodily investigation leads to understanding of attachment to the body: feeling (bodily states); “who is feeling?” or the understanding that body and feeling are mental objects leads to contemplation of mind (mental states) which can lead to investigation of the categories of all psycho-physical phenomena (compared to Pramote Pramojjo – vipassana in relation to body and …mind
“Satipatthana definition: “abide contemplating (anupassī) _____ as ____ (e.g. body as body), diligent (ātāpī), clearly knowing (sampajāna), and mindful (sati), free from desires and discontent (vineyya abhijjhādomanassa) in regard to the world” – “anu-“: emphatic prefix, passati: to see (thus: to closely observe); present participle of verb, “sampajanati” “sam-“: intensifying prefix, “pajanati”: he/she knows (input-processing; to fully grasp or comprehend; ranging from a basic knowing to a deep discriminative understanding); “ātāpī” is related to “tapas”: which connotes ascetic practices; “vineyya”: “free” from verb vineti “to remove” – may be “having removed” or “one should remove” indicating a concurrence of abiding and removal of desires/discontents (which may be referring to the hindrances – similar concurrent action with regard to loving-kindness and absorption: “fake it till you make it”?) – Free from desire or discontent: natural concentration resulting from the enjoyment of the present moment of experience whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral – “unification of mind” at the point of present (timeless) moment awareness
Concentration: Balanced effort like tuning strings of a lute or holding a chick (too tight: choked; too loose: it falls)

Samadhi (“concentration” – used very broadly in different contexts); 4 ways of developing: leading to pleasant abiding (jhanas), to knowledge and vision (dev of clarity of cognition), to mindfulness and clear knowledge (contemplating arising/passing of feelings, cognitions, and thoughts), and destruction of influxes (contemplation arising/passing of 5 aggregates) – “decisive factor that qualifies concentration as “right” is not just a question of the depth of concentration achieved, but is concerned with the purpose for which concentration is employed” p74

Samatha primarily for countering passions (greed/hatred) and Vipassana primarily for countering ignorance; both are developed as “one hand washing the other”
Sati functions to monitor in satipatthana contemplation (penetrative, process-oriented, calm, nonreactive observation); more active sati that alters experience is more in the pasture of right effort (appropriate action of body, speech, or mind) – sati can interact with other more active factors of mind without itself interfering

This objective and receptive observational stance (not suppressing or reacting) can be closely related to the ability to tolerate a high degree of cognitive dissonance (since witnessing one’s own shortcomings usually lead to unconscious attempts to reduce the resulting feeling of discomfort by avoiding or even altering the perceived information)

Noun sati is related to verb sarati (to remember; to recollect; the use of that faculty which makes memory possible) – the present moment and/or the 6 recollections; as a faculty, awakening factor, a factor of the 8-fold path, or at the moment of realization; stabilizing, restraining, supervising, balancing, guarding, gathering, and controlling functions; surgeon’s probe, elephant’s neck, goad/plowshare

Bare attention/open awareness of empty phenomena rolling along (swirling, floating, passing, churning, emerging…) – listening (Mother Teresa: listening to God listening to me); allowing “things” to be revealed
“Refrain”: internally(“or/and…”)/externally (spatial axis); arising/passing away (temporal axis); bare knowledge & continuous mindfulness (mere awareness – using direct speech to formulate what is to be known: using concepts to facilitate the tools of labeling/noting/apostrophizing (there is a… body/feelings/mental state/dhamma”) only to the “extent necessary for bare knowledge and continuous mindfulness”- leads to a dis-identification); independent without clinging
Body satipatthana

contemplation of body in action then analysis of anatomical, material, and temporal perspectives with mindfulness of breathing acting as transition from active to more static if moved to the third position (to support the movement from more obvious to more detailed): awareness of postures (knowing), clear knowledge of activities (knowing), awareness of breathing (knowing then training), analysis of anatomical parts (considering/repeated analysis), analysis of material qualities (considering/repeated analysis), and contemplation of temporal perspective of (the disintegration after death) the body (comparing) – [mindfulness of breath is used by “breathing though” the anatomy and then ending on the airy quality of the body to contemplate the act of breathing itself without specific physical location)

Similes of man carrying jar of oil (with a man with a drawn sword behind him) while watching a beautiful woman dance and of a post with 6 wild animals tied to it (who eventually lie down next to it) both highlight the sense-restraint grounded in present awareness of the body

Contemplation of the body can be a basis for developing samatha (calm) or it can lead to an application of sati to feeling and mental phenomena in vipassana (insight)

Mindfulness of breathing: 4 steps (as opposed to the 16 of Anapanasati sutta) – in/out knowing long breath; in/out knowing short breath (moving to more subtle breath as tranquil-concentration deepens); in/out experiencing the whole body; in/out calming the whole body [because the breath can be both automatic (by the body) and under control (by the mind), the conditionality of body and mind can be contemplated through the breath most easily); Focus on rising-falling or other anatomical-orientation during breath awareness: suggested (in Mahasi tradition) that this is contemplation on the air element rather than actual breath meditation – maybe breath meditation begins with the focus on breathing itself without emphasis on a specific location[?]

Awareness of Postures-Mindfulness/Clear Knowledge of Activities: passive voice; “who is… whose is…?”; grounding of awareness in the body that forms the basis for clear knowledge of the range of activities (bending, stretching, shifting, settling, etc); mindfulness and clearly knowing (progression through: purpose, suitability, pasture/relation to one’s path-of-growth/sense restraint, and non-delusion) complete the preparatory stages of ethical conduct/sense restraint/contentment and prepare the mind for seclusion/overcoming of hindrances/progress through levels of absorption/realization

Anatomy-Quality: seeing the internal (anatomy and/or qualities) as no different from the external (the environment); e.g. Just like the earth is not resentful when trash is thrown on it, one can respond to others with loving-kindness (metta) and compassion (karuna) rather than resentment

Meditation on death (decay of the body): as a countermeasure to lust and, when applied to one’s own body, conceit – but, it should not lead to aversion or depression. Using the breath (or eating) to contemplate the limited nature of the substance we cling to as an embodiment of “I” and “mine”: the next breath (or mouthful) is not certain.

These last three (postures-activities, anatomy-qualities, and death) are useful especially to cultivate a dis-identification with the body.
Feeling satipatthana (affective and ethical):

•not emotions (these are more complex parts of states of mind): before reactions, projections, and justifications;

•contemplation on feelings can enhance intuitive apperception

•worldly (having an underlying tendency to lead to desire, aversion, or delusion) and unworldly (not having those tendencies); flesh and renunciation; carnal and spiritual; or physiological or psychological; the underlying ethical sensitivity of wholesome or unwholesome

•like winds from different directions: sometimes warm, cold, wet, dry, pleasant, unpleasant, neutral…;

•”who feels?”: this leads from merely experiencing feelings to contemplating them as a satipatthana

•link between contact and craving (which leads to “views”

•bringing the evaluative and conditioning function of appraisal (MAP schema/disposition formation) to conscious awareness: de-conditioning emotions from their points of origination instead of allowing them to find “rationalized homes” within views/opinions (clinging and dogmatic adherence are results of the dependence of views/opinions on initial evaluative impact: affective bias) – “right view”: concerned with a non-attached stance in relation to one’s views

•”Feeling provides quick feedback during information processing, as a basis for motivation and action.” P162

•”Logic and thought often serve merely to rationalize already existing likes and dislikes, which in turn are conditioned by the arising of either pleasant or unpleasant feelings.” P162

•Pleasant: Important to develop joy (piti) and happiness (sukha) – non-sensual pleasant feelings

•Unpleasant: the “unawakened” view leads to being shot by 2 darts: one of pain and the second of suffering led Ronny mental reaction

•Neutral: discovered by inference (absence of pleasant and unpleasant) likened to a hunter seeing tracks before and after a rock, inferring the path of the animal; associated with wisdom or ignorance (transcending an object vs. mere bland disinterest in object) – progressive move of neutrality toward equanimity: sense-feelings, mental feelings (sense renunciation), mental joy, equanimous feeling of wise neutrality that transcends mental joy
Mind satipatthana

•essentially “knowing” presence or absence of 3 roots of unwholesome action divided into 8 categories (and their opposites) covering the range of mindfulness of mind states:

•”ordinary” states (5 hindrances):

*with(without) desire/lust, aversion/anger, ignorance/delusion, contraction(sloth-torpor)/distraction(restlessness) and

•”higher” states (calmly noticing any advanced stages of practice lest they give rise to speculative views – all are products of the mind and conditioned, volitionally produced, and thus impermanent experiences):

*as(not) great (broad scope of attention), unsurpassable (reaching for highest possible absorption), concentrated, liberated (temporarily/permanently free from all the hindrances)

•Non-reactive Awareness: purpose with all categories: calmly notice unfolding (arising-passing) of experience – MONITORING (not actively avoiding/opposing) lest speculative views arise as a result of phenomena within these categories – non-reactivity deactivated the emotional/attentional “pull” of unwholesome states by countering the impulse towards reaction or suppression

•overcoming mental “defilements” through repeated wise observation; being a “mirror” and simply reflecting whatever condition of mind arises without interference or reactive involvement

•if this doesn’t work, direct attention to the nature of these mind-states and to volitional dispositions underlying them; then try directing attn to something wholesome instead or reflecting on the danger of succumbing to unwholesome thoughts or try to forget them – as a last resort: “beat down and crush mind with mind”

•”citta”: Mind in the sense of mood or cognitive-emotional state of mind; in its “conative” sense

•recognizing the states of mind that underlie particular trains of thought or reaction

•underlying ethical sensitivity of wholesome/unwholesome (like “Feeling” satipatthana); there is no fire like lust, no grip like anger, and no net like delusion; pulling in, pushing away, running around in circles

•To be aware of the knowing faculty with all its concomitant mental states (Goldstein)
“Dhammas” satipatthana (look at whatever is experienced through each category) – diagnosis, cure, and prevention

•particularly concerned with the conditional nature of phenomena

•specific mental qualities (5 hindrances and 7 factors of enlightenment) and specific categories (5 aggregates, 6 sense spheres, and 4 noble truths)

•compared to the last 4 steps of the anapanasati sutta: (contemplation on…) impermanence of all phenomena; fading/passing away; cessation; letting go/detachment
•5 hindrances: like more specific version of Mind States, but with focus on conditional nature of hindrances (knowing if each is present, if each is not-present, conditions that lead to arising, conditions that lead to removal, and conditions that will prevent future arisings) – learn to withstand impact of each with awareness (like trying to properly see one’s reflection in a bowl of water: colored with dye, boiling, overgrown with algae, blown by the wind, or muddy) – turning obstacles of meditation into objects of meditation (middle way between suppression and indulgence through simple recognition) – counterbalancing one’s perceptual appraisal (“antidotes”) once the cognitive-emotional distortion (hindrance) is recognized (not for the sake of annihilating them, but for seeing the conditions of their arising, passing , etc): bodily awareness for desire, Metta for aversion, “clarity of cognition” (luminous mind or light image – mindfulness and clear knowledge) or: eating less, pulling ears, massaging body, getting up/changing posture,

water on face, look at sky, or walking meditation for sloth/torpor, calm and stability through samatha or less energetic striving for restlessness/worry, and skillful discernment of wholesomeness/unwholesomeness through investigation for doubt – mindfulness is central to recognition, removal, and prevention of hindrances
•5 aggregates (a paraphrase of the theory of dependent origination): “such is _____; such is its arising; such is its passing away” – clear recognition of the nature of each then awareness of the arising and passing away of each aggregate; applied to other practices (e.g. Jhanas, anapanasati: sensation of breathing, hedonic-tone of breath, noting the breath, effort of breathing, knowing the breath);

-desire/attachment to these aggregates (of clinging) is the root of dukkha

-non-self essential, impermanence clearly observed, and suffering as a result of attachment to aggregates is apparent in this contemplation; characterized by what they do rather than what they are; the mental aggregates exist as functions not as entities
-material form: the subjective factor of organic sensations; materiality and sensibility – function rather than an entity; that which is “derived” from the 4 qualities of matter;
-contact is the condition for the paired manifestation of feeling and cognition (“with contact as condition there is feeling, what one feels, that one cognizes”) – feeling relates to the sense organ (the “how” of experience) and cognition relates to the sense object (the “what” of experience); cognition: use of memory to “gather together” sensory input/feelings and furnish them with conceptual labels;
-volition and intention: conative (reactive or purposive) aspect of mind (conation) that reacts to objects or their potentiality – conditions and is conditioned by other aggregates; includes many mental factors (executive function; 5 hindrances – all of which can be automatically arising intentional/emotional states – to be known not annihilated)
-consciousness: 3 forms of term “mind”- vinnana (conscious awareness ‘of’/underlying stream of consciousness – this is the sense used in the aggregate schema; particularizing), mano (door of thought action/6th internal sense base), and citta (center of experience/subject of thought, feeling, and volition);

interdependent conditioning of consciousness and ‘name-and-form’ (name: mental aspects of feeling, cognition, volition, contact, and attention; form: material form);

-mistaken (delusional) identification with the aggregates: claiming “I am” by “where I am” (body), “how I am” (feeling), “what I am (perceiving)” (cognition), “why I am (acting)” (volition), and “whereby I am (experiencing)” (consciousness); “self” as a product of projection (of the aggregates); aggregate contemplation uncovers patterns of identification with (“me”), attachment to (“mine”), or reification of (view of “myself”) “Self”/”I”;

form is like the foam on a river, feelings are like impermanent bubbles formed on the surface from the rain, cognition is like an illusory mirage, volitions are like a pithless tree, and consciousness is like a magician’s trick
-non-identification strategies: “who?”/”whose?” – “representational”/”symbolic” self – arising/passing and conditional nature of aggregates (2nd stage of contemplation after clear recognition) by observing the change taking place in every aspect of experience then in all aggregates simultaneously – seeing the conditions for the arising and passing of each aggregate; one condition that can be brought under control-within-constraint is the condition of identification/attachment/reification

-“chariot” analogy: “chariot” is a conventional term describing the functionality of all its conditioned and impermanent parts; this is the same with the “representational” (conventional, functional, impermanent, conditioned) self; the aggregates (i.e. personality) are not an eternal Self, but the self still operates and “exists” conventionally, functionally, impermanent, conditionally (emptiness, not nothingness)

-contemplating the distinction bw body and consciousness (mind) may be sufficient to lead to insight (found in the Mahasakuludayi Sutta) – “mind” is analyzed in more detail (4 aggregates) simply because it is more difficult to see the impersonal nature of mind than body

-purpose of this satipatthana is to expose identification-patterns leading to disenchantment/detachment (a key aspect of which is awareness of their impermanent and conditioned nature by observing change taking place in every aspect of personal experience; e.g. sensations of breathing/blood circulating, change in feeling-tone, variety of cognitions/volitional reactions arising in the mind, or the changing of consciousness at this or that sense door; then all these together)

-Bodily and mental experience depends on and is affected by a set of conditions – “I” and “mine” turn out to be utterly dependent on what is “other” – identification, through volition, is one thing within personal control
[Paticcasamuppada: essentially: co-conditioning of consciousness and psycho-physical system (name-and-form)

Links of the chain of conceptual (“diamond-shaped-net” of aggregates) proliferation/reactivity (3 “lifetimes”):

• (Past) Ignorance of Dispositions/tendencies ->

• (Present: *the only real event – the past and future are alternate perspectives of present experience) Consciousness-Sense Objects-Sense Organs -> Contact -> Feeling AND Cognition (Mind-and-Matter/Nama-Rupa/Psycho-Physical-System) -> Craving/Aversion -> Clinging (“view” of intensified craving) -> Becoming (the “regenerating process”)

[OR] (Craving/Aversion ->) Volition with Wisdom/Skillful Understanding (breaks the cycle with an intentional stance of equanimity and gradually replaces craving with equanimous traits – transforming sañña into pañña)

• (Future) “Birth” (“new”/reinforced dispositions) -> “Aging, Decay, and Death” (samsara = suffering); one then becomes a victim of one’s own “net” of associations, memories, projections, etc]

•6 (inner and outer) sense spheres:

-recognize the inner sense organ and object

-know the conditions that lead to the arising of a fetter (bondage rooted in desire, aversion, and/or delusion); the conditions that lead to removal of a fetter; and the conditions that lead to prevention of future fetters

-perceptual process: contact, co-arising of feeling-tone and cognition (point of perceptual distortion), thought, and conceptual proliferation (which feeds back/projects into future perceptions

-sense-restraint: mindfulness at the sense doors (observing sense data before the initial feeling-tone/cognitive appraisal – [“wedge” bw craving and clinging/orientation-appraisal and response]) is the foundation of concentration and insight

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