I am completely new to all this (buddhism, meditation etc...) but I really want to begin somewhere

I found this guy called Stephen Procter who has this free guided meditation program (52 guided meditations, 1 each week) that he says will guide you to the completion of the Satipatthana Sutta.

What actually is that sutta about? what will it teach me. Is it for real deal enlightenment (or just new age hippy dippy stuff)? What sort of meditations would this be about (I suuuck at visualization, which is why I am not trying out tantric practices even tho I like the sound of them)

And why is there all these other methods then? all these other suttas, and then stuff like Vajrayana buddhism. I don't get it, I just want something clear cut that can at the very least give me a very solid foundation.

Can I do this Sattipathana program if im physically unhealthy? (all the Hinduism yogas seem to require superman level health before you can even think about doing anything with the mind)


3 Answers 3


The Satipatthana Sutta is a famous Buddhist scripture attributed to the Buddha (although it is unlikely it was actually spoken by the Buddha but instead is a compiling of various teachings of the Buddha). The Satipatthana Sutta is used for instruction in very basic meditation training (rather than used for very advanced training).

The Satipatthana Sutta is often interpreted and thus taught differently by different teachers.

The word 'satipatthana' means 'establishing mindfulness'. Establishing 'mindfulness' means to 'bring to mind' the Buddhist teachings in relation to experience. In terms of formal 'satipatthana' practise, it means to not have greed, grief or attachment towards experience. The Satipatthana Sutta says as its core practise:

he lives clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief.

he lives detached and clings to nothing in the world.

Satipatthana practice includes the natural experiencing of four objects:

(i) the breathing & body;

(ii) pleasant, painful & neutral feelings;

(iii) the mind, its moods or, otherwise, its clarity; and

(iv) various realities ('dhamma'), such as impermanence, the nature of suffering & peace, etc.

These four objects of meditation experience are used to train mindfulness; so to remember to not cling or have greed or grief towards these four objects.

Importantly, continuously experiencing the breathing & body with a non-attached and non-judging mind causes the breathing to calm & the body to relax. In short, it feels peaceful & calm.

Ideally, Satipatthana requires having normal breathing and being able to sit still with back upright (either cross-legged on the floor or in a chair without leaning against the back of the chair) for about 30 to 60 minutes. Having normal breathing means not having a blocked nose or any other chronic breathing abnormality. Having normal breathing & sitting upright allows the breathing to relax & calm while keeping the mind alert and non-drowsy.

I am listening to Stephen Procter, here. If Stephen is offering a free guided meditation program then you have nothing to lose to do it. His teachings sound reasonable to me.

  • +1 Esp for Stephen Proctor. Another participant mentioned him, my first encounter. I find him outstanding but for what he teaches and what he doesn't do - no political correctness agenda. Best regards,
    – user20360
    Feb 7, 2021 at 14:46

I have no experience with what Stephen Procter teachers. But best is not get attached to a particular set of teachings taught by different teachers and directly go to the source material which is:

OP: What actually is that sutta about?

This is about the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness:

  • mindfulness of the body (kaya);
  • mindfulness of feelings or sensations (vedanā);
  • mindfulness of mind or consciousness (citta); and
  • mindfulness of dhammās.

The key is that one is not attached or averse to feelings generated from each sathipattanas knowing they are arising and passing [Mahā Sati’patthāna Sutta], as well as, not generating thoughts on account of each sathipattanas [Dantabhūmi Sutta]. One can even use the sathipattanas to achieve Jhanic concentration [Saṅkhitta Dhamma Sutta].

This is part of the Noble 8 Fold Path.

OP: And why is there all these other methods then?

There are only 2 methods:

Which are repeated in other Suttas. E.g. Kaya,gatā,sati Sutta has a subset of the instruction in Mahā Sati’patthāna Sutta and Sati’patthāna Sutta. Mahā Rāhul’ovāda Sutta has all 16 steps in Ānâpāna,sati Sutta and 4 elements meditation in Mahā Sati’patthāna Sutta and Sati’patthāna Sutta.

Can I do this Sattipathana program if I'm physically unhealthy?

Physical health is no barrier as you are not doing physically strenuous activities like Yoga Anasas and Pranayama.


I upvoted your question because of the Stephen Proctor reference. He is excellent. But, if I may, I think your question is a bit misguided.

You seem focused on two extremes - true enlightenment or hippy-dippy stuff. In between (ironically the Middle Way) are genuine practices that are to degrees nurturing depending on the individual.

As anyone answering, the Sattipathana Sutta is fundamental and you can use it as a practice guide for the rest of your life if you like without our natural human proclivity for more.

I find Stephen Proctor ideal for me, and his material is generously available and well-suited for Westerners.

As far as physical, and perhaps other capacities, that is something that I personally find putoffish in certain contexts.

The "next level" is dangled before you with the unavoidable inference that what you are doing is not enough and somehow lacking.

Bottom line, you can spend your life watching your breath - really watching, and cultivating that acuity - to take you all the way home. And using the breath is a key component of Stephen Proctor's teaching.

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