Satipatthana Sutra


Discourse on The Four Foundations of Mindfulness
(excerpts translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)


And in what way does the monk develop and frequently practice mindfulness of in-and-out breathing so that the four foundations of mindfulness come to completion?

On whatever occasion a monk breathing in long discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out long, discerns that he is breathing out long; or breathing in short discerns that he is breathing in short; or breathing out short, discerns that he is breathing out short; trains himself to breathe in... and... out sensitive to the entire body; trains himself to breathe in... and... out calming the bodily processes: On that occasion, monks, the monk remains focused on the body in and of itself -- ardent, aware and mindful -- subduing greed and sorrow with reference to the world. I tell you, monks, that this -- the in-and-out breath -- is classed as a body among bodies, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the body in and of itself -- ardent, aware and mindful -- subduing greed and sorrow with reference to the world.

On whatever occasion a monk trains himself to breathe in... and... out sensitive to rapture; trains himself to breathe in... and... out sensitive to pleasure; trains himself to breathe in... and... out sensitive to mental processes; trains himself to breathe in... and... out calming mental processes: On that occasion the monk remains focused on feelings in and of themselves -- ardent, aware and mindful -- subduing greed and sorrow with reference to the world. I tell you, monks, that this -- careful attention to in-and-out breaths -- is classed as a feeling among feelings, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on feelings in and of themselves -- ardent, aware and mindful -- subduing greed and sorrow with reference to the world.

On whatever occasion a monk trains himself to breathe in... and... out sensitive to the mind; trains himself to breathe in... and... out satisfying the mind; trains himself to breathe in... and... out steadying the mind; trains himself to breathe in... and... out releasing the mind: On that occasion the monk remains focused on the mind in and of itself -- ardent, aware and mindful -- subduing greed and sorrow with reference to the world. I don't say that there is mindfulness of in-and-out breathing in one of confused mindfulness and no presence of mind, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the mind in and of itself -- ardent, aware and mindful -- subduing greed and sorrow with reference to the world.

On whatever occasion a monk trains himself to breathe in... and... out focusing on inconstancy; trains himself to breathe in... and... out focusing on dispassion; trains himself to breathe in... and... out focusing on stopping; trains himself to breathe in... and... out focusing on relinquishment: On that occasion the monk remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves -- ardent, aware and mindful -- subduing greed and sorrow with reference to the world. He who sees clearly with discernment the abandoning of greed and sorrow is one who oversees with equanimity, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves -- ardent, aware and mindful -- subduing greed and sorrow with reference to the world.

It is through developing and frequently practicing mindfulness of in-and-out breathing in this way that the four foundations of mindfulness come to completion.

The Seven Factors of Awakening

And in what way does the monk develop and frequently practice the four foundations of mindfulness so that the seven factors of awakening come to completion?

1. On whatever occasion the monk remains focused on the body in and of itself -- ardent, aware and mindful -- subduing greed and sorrow with reference to the world, on that occasion his mindfulness is ready and without lapse. When his mindfulness is ready and without lapse, then mindfulness as a factor of awakening becomes aroused, he develops it and through development it comes to completion.

2. Remaining mindful in this way, he examines, analyzes and comes to a comprehension of that phenomenon with discernment. When he remains mindful in this way, examining analyzing and coming to a comprehension of that phenomenon with discernment, then investigation of phenomena as a factor of awakening becomes aroused, he develops it and through development it comes to completion.

3. In one who examines, analyzes and comes to a comprehension of that phenomenon with discernment, unflagging persistence is aroused. When unflagging persistence is aroused in one who examines, analyzes and comes to a comprehension of that phenomenon with discernment, then persistence as a factor of awakening becomes aroused, he develops it and through development it comes to completion.

4. In one whose persistence is aroused, a rapture not of-the-flesh arises. When a rapture not-of-the-flesh arises in one whose persistence is aroused, then rapture as a factor of awakening becomes aroused, he develops it and through development it comes to completion.

5. For one who is enraptured, the body grows calm and the mind grows calm. When the body and mind of an enraptured monk grow calm, then tranquility as a factor of awakening becomes aroused, he develops it and through development it comes to completion.

6. For one who is at ease -- his body calmed -- the mind becomes concentrated. When the mind of one who is at ease -- his body calmed -- becomes concentrated, then concentration as a factor of awakening becomes aroused, he develops it and through development it comes to completion.

7. He oversees the mind thus concentrated with complete equanimity. When he oversees the mind thus concentrated with complete equanimity, equanimity as a factor of awakening becomes aroused, he develops it and through development it comes to completion.

(Similarly with the other three foundations of mindfulness: feelings, mind and mental qualities.)

It is through developing and frequently practicing the four foundations of mindfulness in this way that the seven factors of awakening come to completion.

Knowledge and release.

And in what way does the monk develop and frequently practice the seven factors of awakening so that knowledge and release come to completion?

There is the case of a monk who develops mindfulness as a factor of awakening dependent on seclusion, dispassion, cessation, resulting in relinquishment.

(Similarly with the remaining factors of awakening.)

It is through developing and frequently practicing the seven factors of awakening in this way that knowledge and release come to completion.

That is what the Blessed One said. Glad at heart, the monks delighted at his words.

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