Author Topic: 8 Translations of the 16 Mindfulness of Breathing Steps  (Read 1370 times)

Offline landis

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8 Translations of the 16 Mindfulness of Breathing Steps
« on: September 30, 2011, 05:50:13 am »
Hi,
I made it a blog entry.  Enjoy.
http://buddhistics.blog.com/?p=13
landis <3
Like a rock,
like a planet,
like a f**king atom bomb,
I'll remain unperturbed by the joy and the
madness
that I encounter everywhere I turn
I've seen it all before
in books and magazines
like a twitch before dying
like a pornographic sea
there's a flower behind the window
there's an ugly laughing man
like a hummingbird in silence
like the blood on my door
it's the generator
oh yeah, oh yeah, like the blood on my door
wash me clean and I will run
until I reach the shore
I've known it all along
like the bone under my skin
like actors in a photograph
like paper in the wind
there's a hammer by the window
there's a knife on the floor
like turbines in darkness
like the blood on my door
it's the generator
-Bad Religion, Generator

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: 8 Translations of the 16 Mindfulness of Breathing Steps
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2011, 06:13:32 am »
Hi,
I made it a blog entry.  Enjoy.
http://buddhistics.blog.com/?p=13
landis <3


Thanks, very useful to see these together.  Clearly some significant differences, particularly with the first 2 tetrads.  Do you have a favourite translation? 
I've opted for the "condensed" version ( see Buddhadasas book, basically samatha then contemplation of impermanence ), largely because I can complete it in 1 sit. 
What approach do you take?

Spiny


Offline landis

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Re: 8 Translations of the 16 Mindfulness of Breathing Steps
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2011, 10:49:49 pm »
Hi,
I made it a blog entry.  Enjoy.
http://buddhistics.blog.com/?p=13
landis <3


Thanks, very useful to see these together.  Clearly some significant differences, particularly with the first 2 tetrads.  Do you have a favourite translation? 
I've opted for the "condensed" version ( see Buddhadasas book, basically samatha then contemplation of impermanence ), largely because I can complete it in 1 sit. 
What approach do you take?

Spiny

Thanks Spiny.  Glad you like it. 

You're right.  Seeing them together is useful and was my main desire in creating it.  It's a lot easier than referencing multiple books and/or links.

Yes, the first two tetrad differences are significant, especially steps 4-8.  IMO, this is the most psychological part of the steps, so the variety of ways to describe it are more abundant, than say, describing impermanence.  No doubt, the latter steps are psychological, but that is not emphasized as much.

Favorite translation?  It used to be Thanissaro's but currently I prefer a Buddhadasa/Thanissaro conglomeration of sorts.  When I'm sitting, I stick to the Pali as much as possible.  I think we're pretty much on the same page via practice, especially the one sit completion aspect.  I'm transitioning between Buddhadasa's "long" version and the "condensed" version you mention.  Before that, I was using Ajaan Lee's Keeping the Breath In Mind in concert with Thanissaro's modifications of Lee's instructions (which adds a metta peice at the beginning); and before that Gil Fronsdal's (and various Gil students, e.g., Ines Freedman, Andrea Fella) Burmese/Zen influenced instructions on Insight Meditation Center's audiodharma.org. 

I've found that if I stick to one method for some time the techniques I've learned from other methods are readily available if the particular situation calls for innovation.  IOW, I don't get sick of a teacher and then try something different.  They all seem to supplement each other.  I think this speaks to the Sutta's timelessness.  The 16 steps are as far as I know the most detailed a bhavana ("meditation") instructions in the Suttas, yet the steps per se leave a lot of room for individual adaptation.
landis   
Like a rock,
like a planet,
like a f**king atom bomb,
I'll remain unperturbed by the joy and the
madness
that I encounter everywhere I turn
I've seen it all before
in books and magazines
like a twitch before dying
like a pornographic sea
there's a flower behind the window
there's an ugly laughing man
like a hummingbird in silence
like the blood on my door
it's the generator
oh yeah, oh yeah, like the blood on my door
wash me clean and I will run
until I reach the shore
I've known it all along
like the bone under my skin
like actors in a photograph
like paper in the wind
there's a hammer by the window
there's a knife on the floor
like turbines in darkness
like the blood on my door
it's the generator
-Bad Religion, Generator

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: 8 Translations of the 16 Mindfulness of Breathing Steps
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2011, 08:10:33 am »
The 16 steps are as far as I know the most detailed a bhavana ("meditation") instructions in the Suttas, yet the steps per se leave a lot of room for individual adaptation.
landis   

Yes, I think that's right.  The main difference that comes across to me when reading different translations and commentaries is the samatha v. vipassana emphasis.  So one view is that the first 3 tetrads are mainly samatha with the 4th being exclusively vipassana, the other view is that all 4 tetrads have vipassana - the latter approach seems very similar to that in the four frames of the Satipatthana sutta.  There also seem to be different views about the significance and necessity of jhana.
In any case it does feel to me like a complete practice, and one which can be approached at different levels.

Spiny

 


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