The Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta, found as the tenth discourse in the Majjhima-nikāya of the Theravāda Pāli canon, is a central resource for instructions on the practice of mindfulness, on which see the separate Oxford Bibliographies article Sutta (Pāli/Theravada Canon). A closely similar discourse under the title Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna-sutta occurs as the twenty-second discourse in the Dīgha-nikāya of the Pāli canon, differing from the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta in providing a more extensive coverage of the last of the meditative contemplations listed in both discourses, concerned with the four noble truths. The Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta has two parallels preserved in Chinese translation in discourse collections of other schools, namely, the ninety-eighth discourse in a Madhyama-āgama collection found in the Taishō edition as entry 26, probably based on an Indic original of Sarvāstivāda provenance, and the first discourse in chapter 12 of an Ekottarika-āgama collection found in the Taishō edition as entry 125, whose school affiliation is a matter of continuing discussion among scholars, the most often voiced hypothesis being a Mahāsāṃghika affiliation. The different versions agree in presenting the practice of satipaṭṭhāna as covering four areas of contemplation: body, feeling, mental states, and dharmas. Another and historically later text that takes up only the fourth of these is the Saddharmasmṛtyupasthāna-sūtra. The Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta has served as the basis for a revival of insight meditation in Buddhist Asia as well as influencing the clinical use of mindfulness in the West.
Translations of Pāli Versions
English translations of the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna-sutta and the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta can be found as part of renderings of their respective Pāli discourse collections, in the case of the Dīgha-nikāya in Rhys Davids 1910 and Walshe 1987 and in the case of the Majjhima-nikāya in Horner 1967 and Ñāṇamoli 2005. Another source of information on the practice of mindfulness is the Satipaṭṭhāna-saṃyutta, which has been translated in Bodhi 2000. The exegesis in the Pāli Abhidhamma on the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta has been translated in Thiṭṭila 1969; the Pāli commentary on the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta has been translated into German in Ñāṇaponika 1973 and into English in Soma 1981.
Bodhi, trans. “Connected Discourses on the Establishments of Mindfulness.” In The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Saṃyutta Nikāya. Vol. 2. Edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi, 1627–1667. Boston: Wisdom, 2000.
English translation of the Satipaṭṭhāna-saṃyutta.
Horner, I. B., trans. “Discourse on the Applications of Mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhānasutta).” In The Collection of the Middle Length Sayings (Majjhima-Nikāya). Vol. 1. Edited by I. B. Horner, 70–82. London: Pali Text Society, 1967.
English translation of the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta of the Majjhima-nikāya.
Ñāṇamoli, trans. “Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta: The Foundations of Mindfulness.” In The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya. Vol. 1. Edited by Bhikku Bodhi, 145–155. Boston: Wisdom, 2005.
English translation of the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta of the Majjhima-nikāya.
Ñāṇaponika, trans. Kommentar zur Lehrrede von den Grundlagen der Achtsamkeit (Satipaṭṭhāna), mit Subkommentar in Auswahl. Konstanz, Germany: Christiani, 1973.
German translation of the commentary on the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta together with excerpts from the sub-commentary. Originally published in 1951.
Rhys Davids, T. W., trans. “Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Suttanta: Setting-up of Mindfulness.” In Dialogues of the Buddha. Vol. 2. Translated from the Pāli of the Dīgha Nikāya. Edited by T. W. Rhys Davids, 327–346. London: Oxford University Press, 1910.
English translation of the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna-sutta of the Dīgha-nikāya, preceded by a five-page introduction to the discourse.
Soma, trans. The Way of Mindfulness: The Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta Commentary. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1981.
English translation of the commentary on the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta, together with excerpts from the sub-commentary. Originally published in 1941.
Thiṭṭila, P. A., trans. “Analysis of the Foundation of Mindfulness.” In The Book of Analysis (Vibhaṅga): The Second Book of the Abhidhammapiṭaka. Translated from the Pāḷi of the Burmese Chaṭṭasaṅgīti Edition. Edited by P. A. Thiṭṭila, 251–270. London: Pali Text Society, 1969.
English translation of the exegesis on the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta in the Vibhaṅga, the second book in the Pāli Abhidhamma collection.
Walshe, Maurice, trans. “Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta: The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness.” In Thus Have I Heard: The Long Discourses of the Buddha. Edited by M. Walshe, 335–350. London: Wisdom, 1987.
English translation of the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna-sutta of the Dīgha-nikāya.
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