16 APS 🌬️ 😤 (Ānā-pāna-s-sati)
in-breath (&) out-breath remembering
SN 54.3 Suddhika
(0. preliminary steps )
[0.1] 🏞️ arañña-gato vā
|[0.1] 🏞️ (to the) wilderness-(he)-went, or|
🌲 rukkha-mūla-gato vā
|🌲 (to the) tree-root-(he)-went, or|
🏕️ suññā-(a)gāra-gato vā
|🏕️ (to the) empty-dwelling-(he)-went, **|
|[0.2] sits down|
[0.3] 🧘 pallaṅkaṃ ābhujitvā
|[0.3] 🧘 (into)-cross-leg-posture (he)-bends,|
[0.4] 🏃📐 ujuṃ kāyaṃ paṇidhāya
|[0.4] 🏃📐 straightened body (he)-aspires (to),|
[0.5] 🌬️😤 pari-mukhaṃ satiṃ upaṭṭhapetvā.
|[0.5] 🌬️😤 Near-(the)-mouth, remembrance he-establishes.|
[0.6] 🐘 So sato-va assasati,
|[0.6] 🐘 He, Always-a-rememberer, breathes in;|
|Always-a-rememberer, breathes out.|
Translation (from pali)
I've chosen the literal translation of near-the-mouth. In Theravada Pali Vinaya, pari-mukha is used in the context of facial hair or chest hair being in front of you.
But what does it actually mean?
To have 'sati' established 'near the mouth', or 'in front of you'?
Three logical possibilities
1) spatial coordinates only (in front of you, near mouth, face, chest)
2) figurative only, not a literal interpretation of spatial coordinates, like "focusing on task at hand"
3) both one and two (it's possible the Buddha meant both, just like if you're using a cel phone, you're literally and figuratively focusing on the task in your hand)
So which one of the 3 is it?
From the Pali, it's ambiguous. For example,
B. Bodhi in SN 54.1 has: "and set up mindfulness in front of him,"
B. Thanissaro: "and establishing mindfulness to the fore.",
and his footnote for pari-mukha says:
2. To the fore (parimukhaṁ): The Abhidhamma takes an etymological approach to this term, defining it as around (pari-) the mouth (mukhaṁ). In the Vinaya, however, it is used in a context (Cv.V.27.4) where it undoubtedly means the front of the chest. There is also the possibility that the term could be used idiomatically as “to the front,” which is how I have translated it here.
Translation of pari-mukha from sanskrit to Chinese
In EBT of Chinese Agama, the ambiguity is also there, at least for this translator:
SA 803 is the first discourse in the collection to give a lengthy treatment to the practice of ānāpānasmṛti. This includes great detail about the manner in which one should start the practice of ānāpānasmṛti. The bhikṣu first enters a forest (入林中), or an empty room (閑房). He should be seated below a tree (樹下), or on the ground in a clear place (空露地). He adjusts his body and sits correctly (端身正坐), putting mindfulness before him (繫念面前). He then cuts off craving and affection (斷世貪愛), and develops purity apart from desires (離欲清淨). He then severs ill-will (瞋恚), drowsiness (睡眠), restlessness and remorse (掉悔), and doubt (疑). By cultivating these good dharmas (於諸善法), his mind attains resolve (心得決定). At this point he becomes far from the five obstructing afflictions of the mind (遠離五蓋煩惱於心) which cause one’s power of wisdom to weaken (令慧力羸), and which ultimately prevent one from going to Nirvāṇa (不趣涅槃). .
I've emailed the author asking or clarification on the ambiguity, with no response yet, but perhaps they were influenced by popular translations from Pali to English.
So which of the 3 logical possibilities is it?Any pali, sanskrit, Chinese, or other EBT expert care to comment?