The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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The tenth sutta of the Majjhima Nikāya. It is identical with the Mahā Satipatthāna Sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya, except that towards the end the Dīgha Sutta interpolates paragraphs explaining in detail the Four Noble Truths. These, in the Majjhima, form a separate sutta, the Sacca Vibhanga Sutta.
Important Pāli discourse concerned with meditational practice that has provided the foundation for Buddhist meditational techniques down the ages. The discourse occurs in two places in the Pāli Canon: in the Dīgha Nikāya (where it is known as the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta), and in the Majjhima Nikāya, in a slighter shorter version. Its name means ‘the setting up of mindfulness’ (smṛti), and it describes a fourfold meditational exercise involving the body, feelings, the mind, and mental objects (concepts related to Buddhist doctrine). The meditator takes one of these as his meditation subject and by focusing on it calms the body and mind and enters the trances (dhyāna). Although the distinction is not made in the discourse, this phase of the practice came to be known as ‘calming’ (śamatha). The next phase is the analytical examination of the meditation subject in the light of Buddhist doctrine in order to directly experience the object as endowed with the three marks (trilakṣaṇa) of impermanence (anitya), suffering, and absence of self. This phase became known as ‘insight meditation’ (vipaśyanā).