Why Mindfulness of Respiration is Not Taught
Mindfulness of respiration (ānāpānassati) is included in the ten recollections. It is concentration on breathing in and breathing out. Breathing is an act of the element of motion. It may be asked, therefore, “Why not take up the exercise of breathing in and out?” In my opinion, I agree that ānāpāna could lead to the establishment of insight knowledge, but it should be noted that the Visuddhimagga puts it in the category of meditation objects for tranquillity as opposed to insight. It enumerates the fourteen body contemplations as follows:
“Herein, the three, that is to say, the sections on the four postures, on the four kinds of full awareness, and on attention directed to the elements as they are stated [at M.iii.89] deal with insight. ... So there are only two, that is the sections on breathing and on directing attention to repulsiveness that, as stated there, deal with concentration.” (Vism. 240)
“于此，有三节，也就是说，四威仪节、四正知节、界作意节，如同它们被陈述的那样[在 M.iii.89]，涉及观。…所以只有两节，即入出息念节和厌恶作意节，涉及止。”(Vism. 240)(译注，更精确的文义把握，请全面阅读《清净道论》的身至念节P244，及本节末尾的译注。)
Thus it is clearly stated that mindfulness of breathing belongs to the development of concentration. Therefore, if we advocated mindfulness of breathing we would be open to the criticism that we were teaching samatha and not vipassanā. Then we would be unable to make a rebuttal of this charge without contradicting this teaching in the Visuddhimagga. However, we allow those who like to practise mindfulness of the respiration to have their wish. We impose no restriction upon them.
The Patisambhidāmagga and the Visuddhimagga are explicit on the point that, when doing breathing exercises, one must concentrate on the tip of the nose without letting the mind follow the course of the breath in and out. The purpose is to enable the meditator to develop access concentration (upacāra samādhi) and attainment concentration (appanā samādhi) to enter jhāna.
《无碍解道》和《清净道论》都清楚提到，进行呼吸练习时，必须专注于鼻子前端，不要让心跟随呼吸的出入过程。目的是使得禅修者培育出近行定(upacāra samādhi)，然后达到安止定(appanā samādhi)来进入禅那。
In the practice of insight, there is no restriction that directs the meditator to note only one phenomenon continuously. If we instruct the meditators to note all the phenomena of touch that occur in various parts of the body while breathing in and out, we will again be open to the criticism that we are contradicting the two authorities just cited. That is why we do not encourage meditators to practise mindfulness of respiration for insight meditation.
(译注，《大念处经》的身随观部分介绍了十四种身至念业处，包含这五节及九墓节。雷迪尊者在《Ānāpāna Dīpani》中说《身至念经(中部119经)》介绍了十八种身至念业处，另多了四种禅那。论中的“身至念业处”一般是狭义，特指厌恶作意，即三十二身分。词源分析，kāyagatasati：kāya身gata至sati念。其中，gata:已行去的, 已(到)达的, 已有关系的(已来到(进入)某种状态或情况…)