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How the Buddha Taught “Mindfulness”: The Evolution of Sati & Satipatthāna
Dates: Dec 21, 2018 - Dec 23, 2018
Days: Fri - Sun (2 Nights)

Instructor(s): Chip Hartranft

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Meditation was a central element in Siddhattha Gotama's own path to awakening—it was how he trained the mind to “know & see things as they’ve come to be,” and realize 
extinguishing, nibbāna. Of all the meditation instructions attributed to the Buddha, probably none are more cherished or consulted than the Satipatthāna sutta, which provides formulas for an unusual assortment of mindfulness practices and represents satipaṭṭhāna as the 'one way' to final knowledge. Important discoveries in recent years, however, have led to a growing scholarly recognition that this key text is an anthology constructed by later scholastics. There are also signs its compilers may not have remembered or personally recognized important early distinctions between types of contemplation. In this weekend exploration of meditation practice we will identify and embody some of the fragmentary original satipatthāna instructions that have survived and been integrated in sometimes contradictory ways into the Pali Canon, as well as Chinese, Tibetan, and Sanskrit sources, tracing a possible way they coalesced into the canonical teaching. As we do, a new picture may begin to emerge of how and when Gotama himself came to teach the four satipaṭṭhāna 'windows', their relationship to each other, and what yogic states (dhammā) he regarded as prerequisite. The course will include illuminated presentation, dialogue, and meditation.

  • Chip Hartranft is the founding director of The Arlington Center, integrating yoga and dharma practice, and has taught mindful movement, breath, and meditation in the Boston area since 1978. He is the author of The Yoga-Sutra of Patañjali: A New Translation with Commentary and teaches Buddhist history at Lesley University.