Written Lecture Summary

Dear Class participants,

Here is a brief summary of the first class and some excerpts from Analayo’s Direct Path to Realization.

The opening saying of the Satipattana Sutta:

Monks, this is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the surmounting of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of dukkha and discontent, for acquiring the true method, for the realization of Nibbana, namely the four satipatthanas.

Opening statement of Dogen Zenji’s Fukanzazengi:

Originally, the Way is complete and universal. How could it be contingent upon verification by practicing? The expression of reality exists naturally. What need is there for efforts to attain it? Indeed, reality is beyond notions of limitation.

Are these statements about practice contradictory? Or can they be related to as reminding us that within our collective individuality there is a tendency to create great suffering and, in contrast, when we open to the inconceivable vastness of co-existence how we struggle with experiences loses its purpose and appeal.

Together these perspectives can guide how we engage the practice of awakening and release from suffering.

The Satipattana sutta offers a two-fold methodology that is applied to each of the four categories of sati which are, contemplating physicality, contemplating feelings, contemplating mind and contemplating subjective experiences as teachings of liberation.

Each contemplation is engaged with diligence, clearly knowing, mindfulness and freedom from attachment. I characterized this four-fold process as sustaining noticing, acknowledging, accepting the experience and let it register that it is what it is, as an attempt to translate the admonitions into purposeful engagement. (The attachment below called, Definition part of Satipattana Sutta is describes these qualities of mindfulness)

Then each experience is deliberately contemplated in the following way:

Noticing its internal and external attributes;  noticing how it arises, how it abides and how it passes away; noticing with bare awareness; noticing without clinging (these attributes will be discussed in detail in the next class).

Yes, that’s a lot of detail!! Maybe you’ll need take a break and read a poem.



Complete and Continue