Satipatthana Sutta

Definition - What does Satipatthana Sutta mean?

The Satipatthana Sutta is a section of Buddhism's Pali Canon that discusses mindfulness. It translates as the “Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness” or “The Establishing of Mindfulness Discourse.” This sutta, or discourse of the Buddha, along with the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (an expanded version of the sutta), are two of the most popular sections of the canon that discuss meditation.

The Satipatthana Sutta describes the four foundations of mindfulness, which are then further broken down into 21 meditative practices.

Yogapedia explains Satipatthana Sutta

The foundations of mindfulness include:

  • Kaya (body)
  • Vedana (sensations or feelings)
  • Citta (mind or consciousness)
  • Dhamma (mental contents)

The four foundations form the path that leads to the realization of nirvana. The sutta says that properly practicing these foundations of mindfulness leads to enlightenment in as little as a week.

Each of these foundations has more specific mindfulness practices associated with it. For example, kaya includes the mindfulness of breathing, postures, awareness of the body's actions, reflection on the body's impurities, contemplation of material elements, and nine cemetery contemplations.

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