Prof. em. Dr. Lambert Schmithausen

A new view of the original contents and meaning of the four kinds of attentive mindfulness

In an article which was published 35 years ago, I tried to re-establish the original form and the meaning of the Buddha’s teachings on attentive mindfulness (Satipatthanasutta) in which I had compared critically the Theravada (Pali) version of the text with the versions of other traditions which were preserved (which survived) either in the original Sanskrit or in Chinese translations. My re-establishment has not achieved unanimous consent.

 

Other suggestions have been made, and I have reflected upon my own theses. It seems promising to put special emphasis on the distinction between the object of mindfulness in relation to contemplation of one’s own self (ajihattam) and that in relation to the outside world (bahiddha), or in relation to both at the same time (ajihattabahiddha). Later non-Theravada sources, such as the Sravakabhumi, are of special interest in understanding this distinction.

Prof. em. Dr. Lambert Schmithausen

studied Indology, Philosophy and Islamic studies at the Universities of Bonn, Cologne, Vienna and Münster. From 1973 to 2005, he was Professor of Indology and Buddhism at the department of Culture and History of India and Tibet at the Asian-African Institute at the University of Hamburg. His research was devoted to the investigation of Buddhism in India, Buddhist ethics and the Yogacara school.