Meditation on Abdominal Movements
It has been asked whether meditation on the rising and falling of the abdomen really conforms to the Pāli texts. This question may be answered on the authority of the Salāyatana Vagga of the Samyuttanikāya where it is stated that failure to note the arising and passing away of mind and matter occurring at the six sense-doors results in the upsurge of defilements, while meditating on them brings nibbāna closer through the realisation of the Path and Fruition with the suppression of defilements. The Mālukyaputta Sutta is also very clear on this point. I shall give reasons in support of our method conforming to the scriptures.
When Satipatthāna teaching prescribes observing the four elements, it is advocating the observance of the apparent phenomena created by the four primary elements. Abdominal movements indicate the working of the element of motion, which is one of the four elements to be observed by the method of attention to the elements (dhātumanasikāra). I prefer ordinary language to Pāli technical terms, so instead of asking meditators to contemplate the air element (vāyo dhātu), I ask them to observe the rising and falling of the abdomen. Employing everyday language agrees with the Buddha’s preference for simple speech when he gave the advice, “Gacchāmi vā gacchāmi’ti pajānāti.” As the meditator’s concentration develops with continued practice of insight meditation, he or she will come to realise the nature of the element of motion in the movements of the abdomen.
念处经在指示如何观照四种元素(四大)时，它是提倡观察四大所造成的容易看见的现象。腹部的运动显示运动元素(风大)的运作，风大是界作意(dhātumanasikāra)方法所观察的四种元素中的一种。相对于巴利文的技术性术语，我更喜欢普通的语言，所以我没有要求禅修者们专注于风元素(vāyo dhātu)，而是要求他们观察腹部的上升和下降。佛陀在给出建议“Gacchāmi vā gacchāmi’ti pajānāti.在行走时，了知我在行走”时，偏好使用简单的用语，(我)使用日常用语和这相符。禅修者通过持续的内观禅修的练习，定力增长后，将能了知腹部动作中运动元素的本质。
On the authority of the Satipatthāna Sutta, and others in the Samyuttanikāya, we take it that a meditator should concentrate not only on the four postures usually mentioned in the scriptures, but also on other postures or actions that can be met with in the normal course of events.
If a meditator does not feel satisfied with noting the rising and falling of the abdomen, he or she can try meditating on sitting while sitting, on standing while standing, or on lying down while lying down. However, we do not urge meditators to practise mindfulness of respiration as we maintain that it contradicts statements in the Visuddhimagga and Commentaries on the Satipatthāna Sutta, which speak of insight meditation after the attainment to absorption through noting breathing in and breathing out, but we do not deter anyone from practising mindfulness of respiration.
Now I will revert to my original theme.