This talk continues exploration of the Anapanasati Sutta, the Mindfulness of Breathing Discourse, with specific focus on the 3rd and 4th stanzas, describing how cultivating breath awareness integrated with full body awareness through a variety of methods, fosters tranquility in the body.  Peter emphasized that a goal of these two of the sixteen steps in the sutta is to be able to cultivate alert physical relaxation in order to clearly discern the difference between sensory awareness and how the mind creates fundamental misperception, the fabrication of an enduring and autonomous self.  In the process of Awakening, there is a stage called namarupa, with nama meaning what the mind creates and rupa meaning the unprocessed sensory data we all experience.  As one’s practice matures through the remaining 12 steps of the 16 step anapanasati process, the focus of attention is increasingly on the three basic characteristics, as described by Buddhism: anicca (impermanence), dukkha (distress and confusion) and anatta (the absence of and enduring and autonomous self).  Full awareness of this leads to full Awakening through deconstructing the view of an enduring and autonomous self.

The explanatory talk was followed by a lively discussion among the participants regarding the benefits of cultivating tranquility in the body.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Cultivating Breath Body Tranquility

Here is a copy of the Anapanasati Sutta, translated by Gil Fronsdal, that was posted earlier in the series of discussions:  Anapanasati Sutta Fronsdal

Next week’s topic will be focused on how mindfulness of breathing cultivates piti (joy) and sukkha (satisfaction) in stanzas 5 and 6.