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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mahasatipatthãna Sutta


While the Buddha was sojourning through the market town known as Kammãsa dhamma, in the Kuru country, he addressed the Bhikkhus thus, "Bhikkhus, this is the one and only way for the purification (of the minds) of beings, for overcoming sorrow and lamentation, for the complete destruction of (physical) pain and (mental) distress, for attainment of the noble (ariya) Magga, and for the realization of Nibbãna. That (only way) is the practice of the four methods of steadfast Mindfulness (Satipatthãna)."
These four Methods of steadfast Mindfulness are the contemplation of the body, contemplation of feeling (sensation), contemplation of the mind, and contemplation of the Dhamma, with constant awareness.
Kãyãnupassanã (awareness of the Body) : Here the Bhikkhu should either go to a forest, or beneath a tree, or to an empty, solitary place and then sit cross-legged, keeping the body erect, and the mind alert and awake. With constant awareness he inhales and with constant awareness he exhales. This process is called Anãpãna-Sati.
Again he should be fully aware when he is walking, sitting down, and standing up. Whatever position he is in, he should be constantly aware of it, as it is.
Again he should constantly be aware when he advances. He should be aware when he looks straight or sideways. He should be fully aware when he contracts or straightens his arms and legs. He should be constantly aware while defecating and urinating. In walking, standing up, sitting down, lying, awakening from sleep, in talking, in keeping silent, and doing such things, he should be fully aware of what he is doing.read more
He should further observe the body as full of filth from the soles of the feet to the hair of the head, from the skin of the head to the soles of the feet, along with the whole body containing hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, etc.
Again he should observe the body exactly as it is composed of different elements such as earth element, water element, fire element and air element.
Also he meditates on the corpses lying discarded on the cremation ground, one day old, two days old, three days old, swollen, turning blue, festering and rotting, and thinks thus, "This body of mine, too, is of the same nature, it will surely become like that; it cannot escape such a fate."
In this way the practising Bhikkhu dwells meditating on the body with the awareness of the corpse.
Vedãnupassanã (Awareness of the Feeling) : The Bhikkhu, when experiencing a pleasant sensation, realizes that he is experiencing a pleasant sensation. In the same way he remains thoroughly realizing unpleasant sensation or sensations neither pleasant nor unpleasant. Thus the alert Bhikkhu dwells on, freed from craving and wrong insight.
Cittãnupassanã (Awareness of Mind) : The practising Bhikkhu, when there is a passion in the mind, should know it as such. When the mind is freed from passion he should know it as such. In the same way, when the mind is in a liberated state he should know it as such.
Dhammãnupassanã (Awareness of the Dhamma) : The Bhikkhu should realize and experience the nature of the Dhamma such as the five obstacles, the five sensorial aggregates, the twelve sense-organs, the seven factors of Enlightenment and the Four Noble Truths.
These are the four Methods of Mindfulness. By practicing them, the practitioner is sure to attain, in this very life, the fruit of Arhatship (the ultimate fruit or stage of liberation, summum bonum) or, in the event that there is some clinging (upãdãna) remaining he is sure to attain the third Fruit of Non-Returner, (no more to be born in this world). This is the Buddha's declaration.
The Majjhimanikaya also contains in brief a similar discourse on steadfast Mindfulness.

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