Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 63 – The Satipatthāna Sutta: The Four Elements


Continuing his series of teachings around The Satipatthāna Sutta, Joseph shares how contemplation of the four elements frees the mind from “I” and “mine” giving use to our understanding of relative and ultimate truths.

Listen to the last episode in this series here: Ep. 62 – Mindfulness in Motion

Show Notes

The Four Elements of Being (Opening) – In his instruction on the contemplation of the body, The Buddha breaks down the four basic qualities of matter. Joseph reflects on how these elements, borrowed from far older Indian traditions, offer a framework for understanding our felt sense and subjective experience of the body.

“You review this body according to how it is placed or disposed as consisting of elements. Thus, in this body there is the earth element, the water element, the fire element, and the air element.” – The Buddha

Mastering the Elements (9:00) – How does contemplation of the four elements affect our practice?

“On the experiential level we can see that the various sensations that we feel, however the body is disposed, is really just the play of the elements.” – Joseph Goldstein

Loosening Attachment (29:50) – What happens when we experience the body as just the elements? Joseph looks at how the embodiment of the elements allows us to loosen our clinging to identity.

“When we free ourselves from attachment to the concept of the body, through this contemplation of the elements, then the mind is less prone to cling to it.” – Joseph Goldstein

Image via Oliver.zs