As I said earlier in this thread at the level of vipassana the momentary concentration is very strong – indeed I think it must be at the level of upacara samadhi during those moments. Very vivid and unforgetable it seems.
Now some general remarks.
Even the first vipassanā-ñāṇa is starting to dismantle the idea of a self. There is direct knowledge, at a tender level, that what was thought to be a world of people and things is only nama and rupa. What an awesome perception that must be.
Yet I have met and read people who claim to have even advanced levels of vipassana – if not sotapanna and higher – who still seem to believe that realities can last for some period of time, like seconds ,minutes or even longer. They believe that mentality is under their control. They can’t see that there are only conditioned elements performing their function:
In the Book of Causation (Nidaanavagga) VII The Great Subchapter 61
(1) Uninstructed (1) p. 595 Samyutta Nikaya Vol 1 (translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi)
But that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘mentality’ and consciousness’
arises as one thing and ceases as another by day and by night. Just
as a monkey roaming through a forest grabs hold of one branch, lets
that go and grabs another, then lets that go and grabs still
another, so too that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘mentality’
and ‘consciousness’ arises as one thing and ceases as another by day
and by night. [note 157]
[note 157: Spk: 'By day and by night (rattiyaa ca divasassa ca):
This is a genitive in the locative sense, i.e., during the night and
during the day. Arises as one thing and ceases as another (annadeva
uppajjati, anna.m nirujjhati): The meaning is that (the mind) that
arises and ceases during the day is other than (the mind) that
arises and ceases during the night. The statement should not be
taken to mean that one thing arises and some thing altogether
different, which had not arisen, ceases. “Day and night” is said by
way of continuity, taking a continuity of lesser duration than the
previous one (i.e. the one stated for the body). But one citta is
not able to endure for a whole day or a whole night. Even in the
> time of a fingersnap many hundred thousand kotis of cittas arise and
> cease (1 koti=10 million).
Visuddhimagga XX84 "> there is removal of false view in one who sees
thus: “If formations were self it would be right to take them as
self; but being not-self they are taken as self. **Therefore they are
not self in the sense of no power being exercisable over them; they
are impermanent in the sense of non-existence after having come to
be; they are painful in the sense of oppression by rise and fall”
Thus there are misunderstandings about what sati of the level of satipatthana is these days. People concentrate on various objects for long periods and think they are doing satipatthana.But satipatthana, if it is the real one, is intimately connected with the perception of anatta.
So it is not : “first I get strong concentration and then pañña comes”. It is rather that pañña associated with sati, firstly at the level of pariyatti, and then directly, starts to discern the nature of the elements of the present moment. And concentration arises in association with those factors.
Can satisampajañña at the level of satipatthana arise before vipassanā-ñāṇas ?
Obviously the satisampajañña must be weak in the beginning and so the concentration may also be comparatively weak. But it is still the right type of concentration as it arises in association with panna.
Thus the Satipatthana sutta:
And how, O bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu live contemplating consciousness in consciousness?
"Here, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu understands the consciousness with lust, as with lust; the consciousness without lust, as without lust; the consciousness with hate, as with hate; the consciousness without hate, as without hate
and from the Commentary:
Here the mindfulness which lays hold of the hindrances is the Truth of Suffering. Thus the portal of deliverance of the bhikkhu who lays hold of the hindrances should be understood
Thus whatever reality arises - even lust or hate, or the hindrances is a suitable object for satipatthana.
Also visible object or another of the derived rupas can be object, and of course hardness, heat and the other rupas do appear and must be understood as they appear.
Thus certainly the 4 elements and derived rupas may be apparent. But there is no manager who can make sati take an object.
In the “Dispeller of Delusion”(PTS) p 137 paragraph 564 it says
…in respect of the classification of the Foundations of Mindfulness. And this also takes place in multiple consciousness in the prior stage [prior to supramundane]. For it lays hold of the body with one consciousness and with others feeling etc.