How to reconcile Pa-Auk and MN 125?


In his book Knowing and Seeing, Pa Auk Sayadaw writes the following:

Then The Buddha explains mindfulness-of-breathing :

He mindfully breathes in; mindfully breathes out.

Breathing in long, he understands: I breathe in long;' breathing out long, he understands: I breathe out long.’
Breathing in short, he understands: I breathe in short;' breathing out short, he understands: I breathe out short.’
Experiencing the whole [breath] body, I shall breathe in': thus he trains; experiencing the whole [breath] body, I shall breathe out’: thus he trains.
Tranquillizing the body-formation, I shall breathe in': thus he trains; tranquillizing the body-formation, I shall breathe out’: thus he trains.

Pa Auk Sayadaw stops here. He doesn’t quote the Buddha when the Buddha talks about mindfulness of feelings, mindfulness of mind, and so on.
So I have the impression that for Pa Auk Sayadaw, Anapanasati only concerns the first tetrad, and it’s not by practising the other tetrads that we reach jhana.
Please correct me if I’m wrong.

But in MN 125, the Buddha says this:

“Then the Tathāgata trains him further: ‘Come, monk, remain focused on the body in & of itself, but do not think any thoughts connected with the body.4 Remain focused on feelings in & of themselves, but do not think any thoughts connected with feelings. Remain focused on the mind in & of itself, but do not think any thoughts connected with mind. Remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, but do not think any thoughts connected with mental qualities.’ With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation—internal assurance.

It seems that according to this sutta one must attain the second jhâna by also practicing the other tetrads. I don’t understand how this is possible. How can the Pa-Auk system be reconciled with this sutta?

Thank you in advance.

May all beings quickly realize the Uncaused.

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Read the Anapanasati sutta, Maha satipatthana sutta, Kayagatasati sutta, and then Visuddhimagga “Samadhi” chapter on Anapanasati, it was the accepted authentic and classical commentary for the Suttas. The Visuddhimagga is the core of the ancient Commentaries that were preserved by all Arahants and all great learned monks in Jambudvipa and Sri Lanka in the past.

What you see on internet or certain modern authors on internet are all nothing but new interpretations which has no consensus agreement between them.

Since the Supreme Enlightened One gone, who else we may seek advice from? It is none other than the Arahants and the great learned Theras and Theris, in which their explanation on various matters preserved in Commentaries.


Thank you. So please, what would be the answer to my topic ?

I have silenced the one who posted the pdf.

Sorry to bother you Bhante, but what would you say about my topic? I’m very curious about your answer. I’m very interested in this question.
Thank you, Bhante @bksubhuti .

Pa-Auk Saydawgyi speaks about 4 Jhānas during the first part of the sutta where you say he stops… He does not stop there though… Later, when all of the preliminary knowledges are finished and vipassana can be properly done, then the manuals continue in various different methods. If you look deep into the vipassana manuals or what the teachers teach, then you will be able to understand the different anussatis as stated in the mahasatipatthana sutta. You and ask the pa-auk teachers about this.

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Thank you very much Bhante.

Do you mean that for Pa-Auk, from a certain stage of practice, one can reach the jhanas by practicing the other tetrads?

No… the other part that you speak of is the vipassana section. ānāpānassati stops at 4th jhāna. Jhāna is just a preliminary for vipassana. People often never get to practice real vipassana and assume that ānāpānassati is only for jhāna. This is not correct. As stated in other posts, you cannot practice jhāna at the same time as vipassana. Jhāna or samatha is merely a preliminary stage… even paticcasammuppada is a preliminary to real vipassana and is not considered vipassana until shortly after that stage. It is only when one contemplates the tilakkhaṇa (anicca, dukkha anatta) on real objects that one is practicing vipassana.

You really should read the entire book. Knowing and Seeing. Please do so before asking about pa-auk “controversies”.


Sorry Venerable, I think I’ve only now understood why I didn’t understand your post.

In fact, I expressed my thoughts very badly in my topic. When I said that “for Pa-Auk, Anapanasati only concerns the first tetrad”, I meant “for Pa-Auk, the part of Anapanasati about jhanas only concerns the first tetrad”. In other words, I knew that Pa-Auk takes into account all the tetrads of Anapanasati, but Pa-Auk doesn’t seem to think that the other tetrads of Anapansati also concern jhana.

And from there, the question I raised was that MN 125 gives me the IMPRESSION that the other tetrads of Anapansati can lead to jhana.

Do you understand better what I mean?

Forgive me again for my lack of clarity Bhante. I’ll avoid that next time.

Thank you, Bhante.

I don’t think any theravāda would consider the other parts as jhāna… In fact… it does not mention jhāna anywhere, so the suttanta people have no case either. But for classical theravada, i doubt anyone would say the rest was jhāna. I’d like to know who says that who is classicaltheravada? I don’t think you will find anyone.

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