Page 1 of 1

how to practice the Anapanasati Sutta?

Posted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:40 pm
by nichiren-123
I've been reading allot of thich nhat hanh's work lately and time and time again I've come across the Anapanasati Sutta (discourse on full awareness of breathing) https://plumvillage.org/sutra/discourse ... breathing/

The instructions of the sutta are as follows:
"It is like this, bhikkhus: the practitioner goes into the forest or to the foot of a tree, or to any deserted place, sits stably in the lotus position, holding his or her body quite straight, and practices like this: ‘Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.’

1. ‘Breathing in a long breath, I know I am breathing in a long breath. Breathing out a long breath, I know I am breathing out a long breath.

2. ‘Breathing in a short breath, I know I am breathing in a short breath. Breathing out a short breath, I know I am breathing out a short breath.

3. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body. Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

4. ‘Breathing in, I calm my whole body. Breathing out, I calm my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

5. ‘Breathing in, I feel joyful. Breathing out, I feel joyful.’ He or she practices like this.

6. ‘Breathing in, I feel happy. Breathing out, I feel happy.’ He or she practices like this.

7. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my mental formations. Breathing out, I am aware of my mental formations.’ He or she practices like this.

8. ‘Breathing in, I calm my mental formations. Breathing out, I calm my mental formations.’ He or she practices like this.

9. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my mind. Breathing out, I am aware of my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

10. ‘Breathing in, I make my mind happy. Breathing out, I make my mind happy.’ He or she practices like this.

11. ‘Breathing in, I concentrate my mind. Breathing out, I concentrate my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

12. ‘Breathing in, I liberate my mind. Breathing out, I liberate my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

13. ‘Breathing in, I observe the impermanent nature of all dharmas. Breathing out, I observe the impermanent nature of all dharmas.’ He or she practices like this.

14. ‘Breathing in, I observe the disappearance of desire. Breathing out, I observe the disappearance of desire.’ He or she practices like this.

15. ‘Breathing in, I observe the no-birth, no-death nature of all phenomena. Breathing out, I observe the no-birth, no-death nature of all phenomena.’ He or she practices like this.

16. ‘Breathing in, I observe letting go. Breathing out, I observe letting go.’ He or she practices like this."


This is all well and good but I don't understand how you follow these instructions. Are you supposed to go through the first four instructions in one sitting? or are you supposed to contemplate one per sitting or do you recite each instruction once in your head before moving on?

Re: how to practice the Anapanasati Sutta?

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:46 am
by Marc
Hi

It is indeed somehow quite a dense, compact instruction, and therefore translation choices can give very, very different results.

However succint the text, one should be aware that by the end of the 16th step, one is supposed to becomme an araht...

You could check the work and teachings of Thanissaro Bikkhu (an american monk / scholar / practioner in the Thaï Forest Tradition), or that of the Pa-Auk Sayadaw, a burmese master.

The first one is more rooted in the pali suttas themselves, with a more straightforward reading, while the second is an upholder of the commentarial tradition, specially the Buddhagosa's Visudhimagha... Quite different approaches, interpretations & teachings...

(As for my personnal "taste" I'd go with the 1st)

Re: how to practice the Anapanasati Sutta?

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:19 pm
by DGA
nichiren-123 wrote:
This is all well and good but I don't understand how you follow these instructions. Are you supposed to go through the first four instructions in one sitting? or are you supposed to contemplate one per sitting or do you recite each instruction once in your head before moving on?
Practice instructions aren't much help if you don't have a competent teacher to guide you through.

The Dharma is an oral tradition. It's something that doesn't make much sense until you hear it and apply it.

Short answer: find a competent teacher. avoid the make-it-up-as-you-go path.

Re: how to practice the Anapanasati Sutta?

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:52 pm
by CedarTree
nichiren-123 wrote:I've been reading allot of thich nhat hanh's work lately and time and time again I've come across the Anapanasati Sutta (discourse on full awareness of breathing) https://plumvillage.org/sutra/discourse ... breathing/

The instructions of the sutta are as follows:
"It is like this, bhikkhus: the practitioner goes into the forest or to the foot of a tree, or to any deserted place, sits stably in the lotus position, holding his or her body quite straight, and practices like this: ‘Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.’

1. ‘Breathing in a long breath, I know I am breathing in a long breath. Breathing out a long breath, I know I am breathing out a long breath.

2. ‘Breathing in a short breath, I know I am breathing in a short breath. Breathing out a short breath, I know I am breathing out a short breath.

3. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body. Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

4. ‘Breathing in, I calm my whole body. Breathing out, I calm my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

5. ‘Breathing in, I feel joyful. Breathing out, I feel joyful.’ He or she practices like this.

6. ‘Breathing in, I feel happy. Breathing out, I feel happy.’ He or she practices like this.

7. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my mental formations. Breathing out, I am aware of my mental formations.’ He or she practices like this.

8. ‘Breathing in, I calm my mental formations. Breathing out, I calm my mental formations.’ He or she practices like this.

9. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my mind. Breathing out, I am aware of my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

10. ‘Breathing in, I make my mind happy. Breathing out, I make my mind happy.’ He or she practices like this.

11. ‘Breathing in, I concentrate my mind. Breathing out, I concentrate my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

12. ‘Breathing in, I liberate my mind. Breathing out, I liberate my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

13. ‘Breathing in, I observe the impermanent nature of all dharmas. Breathing out, I observe the impermanent nature of all dharmas.’ He or she practices like this.

14. ‘Breathing in, I observe the disappearance of desire. Breathing out, I observe the disappearance of desire.’ He or she practices like this.

15. ‘Breathing in, I observe the no-birth, no-death nature of all phenomena. Breathing out, I observe the no-birth, no-death nature of all phenomena.’ He or she practices like this.

16. ‘Breathing in, I observe letting go. Breathing out, I observe letting go.’ He or she practices like this."


This is all well and good but I don't understand how you follow these instructions. Are you supposed to go through the first four instructions in one sitting? or are you supposed to contemplate one per sitting or do you recite each instruction once in your head before moving on?

It is Theravada based but Ajahn Geoff has a great guide on this :) Metta Forest Monastery

Re: how to practice the Anapanasati Sutta?

Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:09 am
by Anonymous X
CedarTree wrote:
nichiren-123 wrote:I've been reading allot of thich nhat hanh's work lately and time and time again I've come across the Anapanasati Sutta (discourse on full awareness of breathing) https://plumvillage.org/sutra/discourse ... breathing/

The instructions of the sutta are as follows:
"It is like this, bhikkhus: the practitioner goes into the forest or to the foot of a tree, or to any deserted place, sits stably in the lotus position, holding his or her body quite straight, and practices like this: ‘Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.’

1. ‘Breathing in a long breath, I know I am breathing in a long breath. Breathing out a long breath, I know I am breathing out a long breath.

2. ‘Breathing in a short breath, I know I am breathing in a short breath. Breathing out a short breath, I know I am breathing out a short breath.

3. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body. Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

4. ‘Breathing in, I calm my whole body. Breathing out, I calm my whole body.’ He or she practices like this.

5. ‘Breathing in, I feel joyful. Breathing out, I feel joyful.’ He or she practices like this.

6. ‘Breathing in, I feel happy. Breathing out, I feel happy.’ He or she practices like this.

7. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my mental formations. Breathing out, I am aware of my mental formations.’ He or she practices like this.

8. ‘Breathing in, I calm my mental formations. Breathing out, I calm my mental formations.’ He or she practices like this.

9. ‘Breathing in, I am aware of my mind. Breathing out, I am aware of my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

10. ‘Breathing in, I make my mind happy. Breathing out, I make my mind happy.’ He or she practices like this.

11. ‘Breathing in, I concentrate my mind. Breathing out, I concentrate my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

12. ‘Breathing in, I liberate my mind. Breathing out, I liberate my mind.’ He or she practices like this.

13. ‘Breathing in, I observe the impermanent nature of all dharmas. Breathing out, I observe the impermanent nature of all dharmas.’ He or she practices like this.

14. ‘Breathing in, I observe the disappearance of desire. Breathing out, I observe the disappearance of desire.’ He or she practices like this.

15. ‘Breathing in, I observe the no-birth, no-death nature of all phenomena. Breathing out, I observe the no-birth, no-death nature of all phenomena.’ He or she practices like this.

16. ‘Breathing in, I observe letting go. Breathing out, I observe letting go.’ He or she practices like this."


This is all well and good but I don't understand how you follow these instructions. Are you supposed to go through the first four instructions in one sitting? or are you supposed to contemplate one per sitting or do you recite each instruction once in your head before moving on?

It is Theravada based but Ajahn Geoff has a great guide on this :) Metta Forest Monastery
There are many books, manuals, etc., that can give you a good feel for Samatha and Vipassana meditations. In Tibet, it is called Shine. It is the basis of a lot of Buddhist practice and is good and simple to learn. This book, in pdf, is free and very popular here in Thailand. Looks like a kid's book, but very concise and effective. You can read online or download it.

Re: how to practice the Anapanasati Sutta?

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:16 pm
by shanyin
I was thinking that maybe one has to think the thought "mindful I breath in" on in breath and "mindful I breath out" on out breath.

Re: how to practice the Anapanasati Sutta?

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:54 pm
by kausalya
shanyin wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:16 pm
I was thinking that maybe one has to think the thought "mindful I breath in" on in breath and "mindful I breath out" on out breath.
AFAIK, it's enough to know the sensation of long or short. That is, just stay present with what's happening without drifting into thought.

(I reserve the right to be wrong!)

Re: how to practice the Anapanasati Sutta?

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:31 pm
by haha
nichiren-123 wrote:
Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:40 pm

This is all well and good but I don't understand how you follow these instructions. Are you supposed to go through the first four instructions in one sitting? or are you supposed to contemplate one per sitting or do you recite each instruction once in your head before moving on?
Actually, by reading only one sutra, it does not present any clear picture for how to practice it. If you read all nikayas, then you can figure out: when and after what this sutra is applicable to practice. However, if you read Ambalatthika-rahulovada Sutta (MN 61) and Maha-Rahulovada Sutta (MN 62), you will get some sense how it is presented and how it is applicable.