Bhikkhu Analayo

Mindfulness according to early Buddhist sources

The aim of my presentation will be to investigate what mindfulness practice is about according to the early Buddhist discourses. These discourses have been preserved in the Pali Nikayas, in the Chinese Agamas, and at times also in Sanskrit fragments and sutra quotations preserved in Tibetan. From a historical viewpoint, these discourses represent the earliest layer of Buddhist textual material and thus take us back as close as possible to the original instructions delivered by the Buddha.

In these texts, we find two basic expositions:
1) the fourfold establishment of mindfulness taught in general;
2) the threefold establishment of mindfulness associated with the Buddha himself.

First, I will examine the fourfold establishment of mindfulness, based on the way it is depicted in the different extant versions of the Discourse on Mindfulness and the Discourse on Mindfulness of Breathing. Then, I will compare these to the threefold establishment of mindfulness. Through such comparison, I hope to arrive at key aspects of Buddhist mindfulness practice according to the earliest available textual sources at our disposition.

Bhikkhu Analayo

Bhikkhu Analayo was born in Germany in 1962 and ordained in Sri Lanka in 1995. In the year 2000 he completed a Ph.D. thesis on the Satipatthana-sutta at the University of Peradeniya (published by Windhorse in the UK). In the year 2007 he completed a habilitation research at the University of Marburg, in which he compared the Majjhima-nikaya discourses with their Chinese, Sanskrit, and Tibetan counterparts. At present, he is a member of the Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg, as a Privatdozent (the German equivalent to an associate professorship), and works as a researcher at Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan. Besides his academic activities, he regularly teaches meditation in Sri Lanka.