Satipatthana, Sati-patthana, Satipaṭṭhāna: 8 definitions



Satipatthana means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Satipatthana in Theravada glossary
Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist TermsFoundation of mindfulness; frame of reference - body, feelings, mind, and mental events, viewed in and of themselves as they occur.Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

N (Attention (sati); fact to be sustained (patthana)). Establishment of the attention.

Training consisting in focusing, in a sustained manner, the attention to a set of phenomena, at time of their appearance. The four satipatthanas:

  • (kayanupassana satipatthana)
    Establishment of the attention focused on the body.
  • (vedananupassana satipatthana)
    Establishment of the attention focused on sensations.
  • (cittanupassana satipatthana)
    Establishment of the attention focused on consciousness.
  • (dhammanupassana satipatthana)
    Establishment of the attention focused on mental and physical phenomena.
  • See also: satipatthana

    Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

    (“Four Foundations of Mindfulness”) the 4: satipatthāna.

    Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

    the 4 'foundations of mindfulness', lit. 'awareness of mindfulness' (sati-upatthāna), are:

    contemplation of

    • body,
    • feeling,
    • mind and
    • mind-objects. -

    For sati, s. prec.

    A detailed treatment of this subject, so important for the practice of Buddhist mental culture, is given in the 2 Satipatthāna Suttas (D.22; M.10), which at the start as well as the conclusion, proclaim the weighty words: "The only way that leads to the attainment of purity, to the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, to the end of pain and grief, to the entering of the right path, and to the realization of Nibbāna is the 4 foundations of mindfulness."

    After these introductory words, and upon the question which these 4 are, it is said that the monk dwells in contemplation of the body, the feelings, the mind, and the mind-objects, "ardent, clearly conscious and mindful, after putting away worldly greed and grief."

    These 4 contemplations are in reality not to be taken as merely separate exercises, but on the contrary, at least in many cases, especially in the absorptions, as things inseparably associated with each other. Thereby the Satipathāna Sutta forms an illustration of the way in which these 4 contemplations relating to the 5 groups of existence (khandha) simultaneously come to be realized, and finally lead to insight into the impersonality of all existence.

    (1) The contemplation of the body (kāyanupassanā) consists of the following exercises:

    • mindfulness with regard to in-and-outbreathing (ānāpānasati),
    • minding the 4 postures (iriyāpatha),
    • mindfulness and clarity of consciousness (satisampajañña, q.v.),
    • reflection on the 32 parts of the body (s. kāyagatāsati and asubha),
    • analysis of the 4 physical elements (dhātuvavatthāna),
    • cemetery meditations (sīvathikā).

    (2) All feelings (vedanānupassanā) that arise in the meditator he clearly perceives, namely:

    • agreeable and disagreeable feeling of body and mind,
    • sensual and super-sensual feeling,
    • indifferent feeling .

    (3) He further clearly perceives and understands any state of consciousness or mind (cittānupassanā), whether it is

    • greedy or not,
    • hateful or not,
    • deluded or not,
    • cramped or distracted,
    • developed or undeveloped,
    • surpassable or unsurpassable,
    • concentrated or unconcentrated,
    • liberated or unliberated.

    (4) Concerning the mind-objects (dhammānupassanā),

    • he knows whether one of the five hindrances (nīvarana) is present in him or not, knows how it arises, how it is overcome, and how in future it does no more arise.
    • He knows the nature of each of the five groups (khandha), how they arise, and how they are dissolved.
    • He knows the 12 bases of all mental activity (āyatana): the eye and the visual object, the ear and the audible object, .. mind and mind-object,
    • he knows the fetters (samyojana) based on them, knows how they arise, how they are overcome, and how in future they do no more arise.
    • He knows whether one of the seven factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga, q.v.) is present in him or not, knows how it arises, and how it comes to full development.
    • Each of the Four Noble Truths (sacca) he understands according to reality.


    The 4 contemplations comprise several exercises, but the Satipatthāna should not therefore be thought of as a mere collection of meditation subjects, any one of which may be taken out and practised alone. Though most of the exercises appear also elsewhere in the Buddhist scriptures, in the context of this sutta they are chiefly intended for the cultivation of mindfulness and insight, as indicated by the repetitive passage concluding each section of the sutta (see below).

    The 4 contemplations cover all the 5 groups of existence (khandha), because mindfulness is meant to encompass the whole personality. Hence, for the full development of mindfulness, the practice should extend to all 4 types of contemplation, though not every single exercise mentioned under these four headings need be taken up. A methodical practice of Satipatthāna has to start with one of the exercises out of the group 'contemplation of the body', which will serve as the primary and regular subject of meditation: The other exercises of the group and the other contemplations are to be cultivated when occasion for them arises during meditation and in everyday life.

    After each contemplation it is shown how it finally leads to insight-knowledge: "Thus with regard to his own body he contemplates the body, with regard to the bodies of others he contemplates the body, with regard to both he contemplates the body. He beholds how the body arises and how it passes away, beholds the arising and passing away of the body. 'A body is there' (but no living being, no individual, no woman, no man, no self, nothing that belongs to a self; neither a person, nor anything belonging to a person; Com.): thus he has established his attentiveness as far as it serves his knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world.''

    In the same way he contemplates feeling, mind and mind-objects.

    In M.118 it is shown how these four foundations of mindfulness may be brought about by the exercise of mindfulness on in-and-out breathing (ānāpāna-sati).

    • The Way of Mindfulness, tr. of Sutta and Com., by Soma Thera (3rd ed; Kandy 1967, BPS). -
    • The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, by Nyanaponika Thera (3rd ed.; London. Rider & Co.).
    • The Foundations of Mindfulness (tr. of M. 10), Nyanasatta Thera (Wheel 19).
    • The Satipatthāna Sutta and its Application to Modern Life, V. F. Gunaratna (WHEEL 60). -
    • The Power of Mindfulness by Nyanaponika Thera (WHEEL 121/122).

    Source: Pali Kanon: A manual of Abhidhamma

    Pali for 'foundations of mindfulness';

    Source: This is Myanmar: The Doctrine of Paticcasammupada

    Satipatthana Suttas universally known in the Buddhist world. As there are four Satipatthanas, they are like four stairways to a Pagoda. By whichever stairway one uses, the platform of the Pagoda can be reached.

    They are:

    1. Kayanupassana: contemplation on Rupa (components);
    2. Vedananupassana: contemplation on sensations or feelings;
    3. Cittanupassana: contemplation on mind or consciousness;
    4. Dhammanupassana: contemplation on Sacca.
    context information

    Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

    Discover the meaning of satipatthana in the context of Theravada from relevant books on Exotic India

    Languages of India and abroad

    Pali-English dictionary

    [«previous next»] — Satipatthana in Pali glossary
    Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

    satipaṭṭhāna : (nt.) application of mindfulness.

    Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

    Satipaṭṭhāna refers to: (BSk. smṛty’upasthāna Divy 126, 182, 208) intent contemplation and mindfulness, earnest thought, application of mindfulness; there are four satipaṭṭhānas, referring to the body, the sensations, the mind, and phenomena respectively, D. II, 83, 290 sq.; III, 101 sq. , 127, 221; M. I, 56, 339; II, 11 etc.; A. II, 218; III, 12; IV, 125 sq. , 457 sq.; V, 175; S. III, 96, 153; V, 9, 166; Dhs. 358; Kvu 155 (cp. Kvu. translation 104 sq.); Nd1 14, 45, 325, 340; Vism. 3; VbhA. 57, 214 sq. , 417.—See on term e.g. Cpd. 179; and in greater detail Dial. II. 322 sq.

    Note: satipaṭṭhāna is a Pali compound consisting of the words sati and paṭṭhāna.

    Pali book cover
    context information

    Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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