Tag Archives: satipaṭṭhāna

A History of Mindfulness

The Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta is the most in­flu­en­tial scrip­ture in Buddhist med­i­ta­tion. It is the foun­da­tion text for the mod­ern schools of ‘vipas­sanā’ or ‘in­sight’ med­i­ta­tion. The well-known Pali dis­course is, how­ever, only one of many early Buddhist texts that deal with mind­ful­ness. This is the first full-scale study to en­com­pass all ex­tant ver­sions of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, tak­ing into ac­count the dy­namic evo­lu­tion of the Buddhist scrip­tures and the broader Indian med­i­ta­tive cul­ture. A new vi­sion emerges from this ground­break­ing study: mind­ful­ness is not a sys­tem of ‘dry in­sight’ but is the ‘way to con­ver­gence’ lead­ing the mind to deep states of peace.

Satipaṭṭhāna and the Evolution of the Dhamma Theory

While the Satipaṭṭhana Sutta is of­ten claimed to be the most im­por­tant of the Buddha’s teach­ings, close tex­tual analy­sis re­veals that it is a com­pos­ite text, with sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ences be­tween the many ex­ist­ing ver­sions. The use of the fun­da­men­tal term dhamma in fact re­veals the text to be part of the early Abhidhamma move­ment.