Dhamma Letter No. 114
Satipatthana 38: Vedanānupassanā (Observation of feeling) 느낌관찰 5: Q&A 27
Q: In feeling observation, there is a method of observing only bodily sensations and a method of observing feelings with emotions. Which method should I follow?
A: With the method of Goenkaji, only bodily sensations are observed. He explains that this is because in the Pali language, which is the original text of the Mahasatipattana Sutta, feeling observation is only specified as dukkha and sukkha. As stated previously in the Dhamma Letter no. 112, we use ‘dukkha (pleasant) and sukkha (unpleasant)’ for the body, and ‘somanassa (pleasant) and domanassa (unpleasant)’ for the mind.
I will not argue here about the practices each emphasizes. This is because each person is different in how they feel comfortable with themselves. Being aware of the sensations of your body is also very important, and is a key practice, especially for beginners as well as you progress on the path. As emphasized earlier in the Dhamma Letter, feeling observation is an essential element that must be passed through for cessation on the way to Nirvana. However, as the practice progresses, the mind is overlooked, and the progress of the practice is difficult and comes with limitations. This is because, above all, in the Buddhist method of practice, where wisdom is emphasized, the development of wisdom is the practice of mind.
Just like the Buddha's teaching to observe the four subjects (body, feeling, mind and dhamma), these four subjects are also inseparable.
While you observe an object of the ‘body’, the ‘feeling’ arises. The ‘mind’ knows the feeling and object. Object itself is ‘Dhamma’ in the right view, not in the personal view. The moment to observe and know it is already on 4 foundations at the same time. - Dhamma Letter no. 84
Vedana is from physical and mental phenomena that are related to each other, correspond with each other, and occur simultaneously.
It can start from the body or the mind, but vedana occurs mostly through the mind. A past memory triggered by feeling reacts automatically from the nervous system associated with memories. To solve this problem fundamentally is by understanding the conditions/situation of anicca (everything is changing; nothing is fixed), dukkha (dissatisfaction; suffering), and anatta (there is no 'I'; it is a phenomenon). - Dhamma Letter no. 67
I don't think it can be defined and limited only to language. When we try to communicate with language alone, there are many changes in interpretation or translation. Although Dhamma has been handed down in the original Pali language and is practiced by us, Dhamma is a universal truth and requires a broader view. This can be known through experience.
If you feel the sensations of the body, they change according to the state of the mind, so you can know the sensations of the body through the mind. This perspective can be accepted according to the level of wisdom of each person.
The truth does not control or suppress you, so if you practice naturally, you will understand how to do it yourself.
May everyone be free from body and mind!
May you be happy through sati practice!
Ayyā Kosallā Vipassinī
Edited by Euna Bonovich
If you have any questions related to dhamma & meditation, please feel free to ask. You can reach Ayya Kosalla directly at Bhikkhuni.Kosalla@gmail.com.
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The Korean Dhamma Letter is here 담마레터.
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Buddha Sāsanaṁ Ciraṁ Tiṭṭhatu!
May the Buddha’s teachings last a long time!
Bhavatu Sabba Sotiṁ ca Maṅgalaṁ ca!!
May everyone be led on the path of peace and blessing!!
Sādhu Sādhu Sādhu !