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The 10 perceptions in the sutta are meant to be meditated upon? Aniccasaññā is then not to be understood as empirical seeing the 3 characteristics, but contemplating on impermanence, right?

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In the Girimananda Sutta, there are nine perceptions (sanna) preliminary to the development of direct seeing of Anapanasati.

The explanatory Pali word is 'paṭisañcikkhati', which means 'to think over', as follows:

Idhānanda bhikkhu araññagato vā rukkhamūlagato vā suññāgāragato vā iti paṭisaṃcikkhati:

There is the case where a monk — having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building — reflects thus: 'Form is inconstant, feeling is inconstant, perception is inconstant, fabrications are inconstant, consciousness is inconstant.' Thus he remains focused on inconstancy with regard to the five clinging-aggregates. This, Ananda, is called the perception of inconstancy.


Paṭisañcikkhati

paṭi+saŋ+cikkhati

to think over, to discriminate, consider, reflect

Also used in MN 19 and AN 3.38:

As I abided thus, diligent, ardent and resolute, a thought of sensual desire arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This thought of sensual desire has arisen in me. This leads to my own affliction, to others’ affliction, and to the affliction of both; it obstructs wisdom, causes difficulties, and leads away from Nibbāna.’ When I considered (paṭisañcikkhato): ‘This leads to my own affliction,’ it subsided in me; when I considered (paṭisañcikkhato): ‘This leads to others’ affliction,’ it subsided in me; when I considered (paṭisañcikkhato): ‘This leads to the affliction of both,’ it subsided in me; when I considered (paṭisañcikkhato): ‘This obstructs wisdom, causes difficulties, and leads away from Nibbāna,’ it subsided in me. Whenever a thought of sensual desire arose in me, I abandoned it, removed it, did away with it.


'Now I too am subject to old age and am not exempt from old age. Such being the case, if I were to feel repelled, humiliate and disgusted when seeing another who is old, that would not be proper for me.’ When I reflected (paṭi­sañcik­khato) thus, my intoxication with youth was completely abandoned


Similar to 'paṭisaṅkhā yoniso':

Paṭisaṅkhā yoniso piṇḍapātaṃ paṭisevati

Reflecting properly, they make use of almsfood:‘Not for fun, indulgence, adornment, or decoration, but only to continue and sustain this body, avoid harm, and support spiritual practice. So that I will put an end to old discomfort and not give rise to new discomfort, and so that I will keep on living blamelessly and at ease.’

AN 6.58

  • Thanks. So while these perception use thought, mindfulness of breathing does not, correct? Kind of confusing because the suttas state "... he discerns 'I breath short' ". Does this refer to thought or can it be ignored and just paying attention to the in and out breath in an ardent and alert manner? – Val Mar 20 '18 at 20:30
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    There are only 9 perceptions. Anapanasati is not a 'perception'. To study sutta, one needs to learn how to investigate the Pali, which merely requires persistence rather than formal study. Simply google MN 118, click on Sutta Central suttacentral.net/mn118, go to Sujato translation, use the cog wheel to active the Pali-English functions. The Pali word is for "discerns thus" is "pajānāti". Its a wisdom word, which means to experience directly: suttacentral.net/search?query=paj%C4%81n%C4%81ti You can also place pajānāti in general search & examine how it is used in other suttas. – Dhammadhatu Mar 20 '18 at 20:35
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    But yes, these perceptions use thought; that is; they begin with thought. The teaching of impermence is taken on faith & then one both thinks about & observes the five aggregates until confirming via perception the teaching is true. For example, one asks: "Is this body impermanent" and examines, thinks, ponders & observes until perceiving: "Yes this body is impermanent". Therefore, when Anapansati is practised, if any obstacle arises, the mind can quickly reflect: "This obstacle is impermanent" thus endure &/or abandon the obstacle. – Dhammadhatu Mar 20 '18 at 20:38
  • Thanks DD! Always refined answers! Is there any chance to ask you questions privately? Thanks anyways – Val Mar 21 '18 at 8:07
  • Sure. Anytime. Email dhammadhatu@bigpond.com – Dhammadhatu Mar 21 '18 at 9:40

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