Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was abiding in Śrāvastī, in the Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park. At that time, the Bhagavān said to the bhikṣus, “As I expound ānāpānasmṛti, have you cultivated it?” At that time, there was a bhikṣu named Ariṣṭa, seated within the assembly. He arose from his seat, adjusted his robe, and paid his respects to the Buddha. Kneeling with his right knee to the ground, he joined his palms together and addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, as the Bhagavān has spoken of ānāpānasmṛti, I have cultivated it.”
The Buddha said to Ariṣṭa, “Bhikṣu, How do you cultivate ānāpānasmṛti as I have expounded it?” The bhikṣu addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, regarding past formations, I pay these no mind. Regarding future formations, I do not give rise to delight for them. Regarding present formations, I do not give rise to defiling attachment. Regarding internal and external obstructions and thoughts before me, they are skillfully removed and extinguished. I have thusly cultivated ānāpānasmṛti as expounded by the Bhagavān.”
The Buddha said to Ariṣṭa, “Bhikṣu, you truly cultivate ānāpānasmṛti as I have expounded it. It is not uncultivated. However, bhikṣu, in regard to your cultivation of ānāpānasmṛti, there is still that which is superior, surpassing, and higher. What is it that is superior and surpasses the cultivation by Ariṣṭa of ānāpānasmṛti? This bhikṣu, if he depends upon a city or village... as previously stated in detail... up to skillfully training breathing out, contemplating cessation. This, Ariṣṭa Bhikṣu, is superior and surpasses your cultivation of ānāpānasmṛti.”
After the Buddha had spoken this sūtra, the bhikṣus heard what the Buddha had said, and joyfully practiced in accordance.