mindfulness vs concentration

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mindfulness vs concentration

Postby effort » Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:37 pm

when someone mindful of breathing,he knows breathing process,or " there is breathing", and could keep the mind on breathing process and keep the knowing mind and cultivate some type of calm mind over object.

BUT correct me if i'm wrong :

someone could concentrate on breathing process without knowing "there is breathing", and forget that he is observing breath and just observe breath without distraction, like playing game without knowing that you are playing game, so in this type of concentration there is no mindfulness.


so the second type of concentration is wrong concentration or absorption or right concentration?
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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:53 am

Hi effort,

Wrong or right concentration is decided by whether you want to end samsara (right view) or prolong it, by gaining some nice state.

Minduflness, as applied to the breath, can be very focused (or 'concentrated') or less so by being aware (or including into) of other things, other than the breath. The second method is the one suggested by the Buddha for those who already have experience with samatha/tightly focused samadhi in the anapanasati sutta. This allows them to bring in the discriminatory mind to see the characteristics of what they are focusing on. Another way to say it is having a 'tight/close' mindfulness vs having a more open/allowing form of mindfulness. The latter allows the development of vipassana, however this is not to say that former is not useful. It is very useful if you want to intentionally develop the jhana to eventually help with your vipassana.

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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby Fede » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:01 pm

"see". Don't "concentrate on".
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby lojong1 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:06 am

effort wrote:without knowing "there is breathing"

When that happens to me, I feel comparatively useless--still, in a plugged toilet kind of way. Losing sight of purpose tends to make drifting away much easier.
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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby easeofbeing » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:38 pm

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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby daverupa » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:24 am

Fede wrote:"see". Don't "concentrate on".


Helpful.

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby bodom » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:35 am

Mindfulness is a broader and larger function than concentration. It is an all-encompassing function. Concentration is exclusive. It settles down on one item and ignores everything else. Mindfulness is inclusive. It stands back from the focus of attention and watches with a broad focus, quick to notice any change that occurs.


From the Chapter Mindfulness Versus Concentration contained in Bhante Gunaratana's book Mindfulness in Plain English:

http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/min ... ish_16.php

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby ground » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:06 am

I feel that one may attain a state of mindfulness out of a state of concentration (on an object), i.e. through relaxation of the concentrated non-discursive state. But one may also start concentration (on an object) starting from a state of mindfulness, i.e. a receptive, non-discursive state. The latter was mentioned to be conducive to attain concentration (on an object) in the "jhana vs vipassana" thread.

Also if one uses the term "concentration" not only for "concentration on an object" but also for a state of "concentration in a certain mode of operation (of the mind)" then one may also call a state of mindfulness or a state of metta "concentration" and the term "signless concentration" makes more sense.


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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby ground » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:39 am

In addition

Here, Saddha, to the thoroughbred man, in earth the perception of earth is dstroyed, in water the perception of water is destroyed, in fire the perception of fire is destroyed and in air the perception of air is destroyed. In the sphere of space the perception of the sphere of space is destroyed In the sphere of consciousness the perception of the sphere of consciousness is destroyed. In the sphere of nothingness the sphere of nothingness is destroyed. In the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception, the sphere of neither perception nor non perception is destroyed. The perception of this world and the the perception of the other world is destroyed. The perceptions of whatever seen, heard, experienced, cognized and sought with the mind are destroyed.

Yet, he concentrates.

http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html


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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby chownah » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:00 am

Isn't concentration one kind of mindfulness? Being mindful of the totality of experience while walking down a street is almost impossible....but when the mind is concentrated then it seems more likely that one could be mindful of the entirety of the expereince...so isn't it possible that during concentration one could have the most perfect expression of mindfulness?
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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby Nyana » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:39 am

chownah wrote:Isn't concentration one kind of mindfulness?

Translating samādhi as "concentration" doesn't cover the full range of the term. The Pāli noun samādhi is related to the verb samādahati, which means "to put together," "to join," "to combine," "to collect," and the past participle of the same verb, samāhita, meaning "collected," "composed." Thus, samādhi indicates "collecting" one's mind, and specifically in the context of sammāsamādhi, the mind composed in meditation. It is this composed mental unification which is termed singleness of mind (cittekaggatā). This meditative composure can be vast and expansive.

chownah wrote:when the mind is concentrated then it seems more likely that one could be mindful of the entirety of the expereince...so isn't it possible that during concentration one could have the most perfect expression of mindfulness?

Yes. And this is why the fourth jhāna includes the purity of mindfulness (satipārisuddhi).

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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby IanAnd » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:51 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
chownah wrote:Isn't concentration one kind of mindfulness?

Translating samādhi as "concentration" doesn't cover the full range of the term. The Pāli noun samādhi is related to the verb samādahati, which means "to put together," "to join," "to combine," "to collect," and the past participle of the same verb, samāhita, meaning "collected," "composed." Thus, samādhi indicates "collecting" one's mind, and specifically in the context of sammāsamādhi, the mind composed in meditation. It is this composed mental unification which is termed singleness of mind (cittekaggatā). This meditative composure can be vast and expansive.

Precisely. I couldn't agree more. In practice it can "feel" as though the mind is as agile and exacting in its grasp of phenomena as a steel trap. Nothing significant escapes it's notice.

Ñāṇa wrote:
chownah wrote:when the mind is concentrated then it seems more likely that one could be mindful of the entirety of the experience...so isn't it possible that during concentration one could have the most perfect expression of mindfulness?

Yes. And this is why the fourth jhāna includes the purity of mindfulness (satipārisuddhi).

This is descriptive of my preference for the use of the term appana samadhi and its definition as "fixed concentration." When I have used these terms in the past, this is what I am talking about. As Geoff has intimated in his description, the vastness and expansiveness of this contemplative composure is measureless. Any object that one can bring to mind can be seen with clarity and insight. (At least, that is how I experience it.)
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby ground » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:52 am

TMingyur wrote:...
Also if one uses the term "concentration" not only for "concentration on an object" but also for a state of "concentration in a certain mode of operation (of the mind)" then one may also call a state of mindfulness or a state of metta "concentration" and the term "signless concentration" makes more sense.


Another reason why mindfulness can be considered to be "concentration" is the "concentration on the present moment" in the context of being mindfully receptive.

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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:14 am

Mindfulness maybe confused with samadhi (unification of mind) if the latter is translated as mere concentration. Unification of mind is so much more and should not be considered the blind cousin of mindfulness. In fact it is better considered as it's successor, as sati leads to (right) samadhi. In this light it is useful to explore what samadhi truly is. :anjali:

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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby daverupa » Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:38 pm

I agree; lax use of English "mindfulness" and "concentration" alongside Pali terms usually translated thus (sati and samadhi, respectively) is likely to lead to mistakes in understanding, given the divergent connotative realms rendered by the two languages.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby icyteru » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:40 am

7. Right Mindfulness--samma sati
Right mindfulness (samyak-smrti / sammā-sati), also translated as "right memory", "right awareness" or "right attention". Here, practitioners should constantly keep their minds alert to phenomena that affect the body and mind. They should be mindful and deliberate, making sure not to act or speak due to inattention or forgetfulness. In the Pali Canon, it is explained thus:

And what, monks, is right mindfulness?

(i) There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself—ardent, aware, and mindful—putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.

(ii) He remains focused on feelings in and of themselves—ardent, aware, and mindful—putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.

(iii) He remains focused on the mind in and of itself—ardent, aware, and mindful—putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.

(iv) He remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves—ardent, aware, and mindful—putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.

This, monks, is called right mindfulness.

Although the above instruction is given to the male monastic order, it is also meant for the female monastic order and can be practiced by lay followers from both genders.

Bhikkhu Bodhi, a monk of the Theravada tradition, further explains the concept of mindfulness as follows:

The mind is deliberately kept at the level of bare attention, a detached observation of what is happening within us and around us in the present moment. In the practice of right mindfulness the mind is trained to remain in the present, open, quiet, and alert, contemplating the present event. All judgments and interpretations have to be suspended, or if they occur, just registered and dropped.

The Maha Satipatthana Sutta also teaches that by mindfully observing these phenomena, we begin to discern its arising and subsiding and the Three Characteristics of Dharma in direct experience, which leads to the arising of insight and the qualities of dispassion, non-clinging, and release.


8. Right Concentration--samma samadhi
Right concentration (samyak-samādhi / sammā-samādhi), as its Sanskrit and Pali names indicate, is the practice of concentration (samadhi). As such, the practitioner concentrates on an object of attention until reaching full concentration and a state of meditative absorption (jhana). Traditionally, the practice of samadhi can be developed through mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati), through visual objects (kasina), and through repetition of phrases (mantra). Samadhi is used to suppress the five hindrances in order to enter into jhana (Pali) / dhyana (Sanskrit). Jhana (Pali) / Dhyana (Sanskrit) is an instrument used for developing wisdom by cultivating insight and using it to examine true nature of phenomena with direct cognition. This leads to cutting off the defilements, realizing the dhamma (Pali) / dharma (Sanskrit) and, finally, self-awakening. During the practice of right concentration, the practitioner will need to investigate and verify their right view. In the process right knowledge will arise, followed by right liberation. In the Pali Canon, it is explained thus:

And what is right concentration?

(i) Herein a monk aloof from sense desires, aloof from unwholesome thoughts, attains to and abides in the first meditative absorption [jhana / dhyana], which is detachment-born and accompanied by applied thought, sustained thought, joy, and bliss.

(ii) By allaying applied and sustained thought he attains to, and abides in the second jhana / dhyana, which is inner tranquillity, which is unification (of the mind), devoid of applied and sustained thought, and which has joy and bliss.

(iii) By detachment from joy he dwells in equanimity, mindful, and with clear comprehension and enjoys bliss in body, and attains to and abides in the third jhana / dhyana, which the noble ones [ariyas] call "dwelling in equanimity, mindfulness, and bliss".

(iv) By giving up of bliss and suffering, by the disappearance already of joy and sorrow, he attains to, and abides in the fourth jhana / dhyana, which is neither suffering nor bliss, and which is the purity of equanimity — mindfulness.

This is called right concentration.

Although this instruction is given to the male monastic order, it is also meant for the female monastic order and can be practiced by lay followers from both genders.

According to the Pali and Chinese canon, right concentration is dependent on the development of preceding path factors:

The Blessed One said: "Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions.
—Maha-cattarisaka Sutta
Last edited by icyteru on Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:56 am

icyteru wrote:7. Right Mindfulness--samma sati . . .
Good stuff.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby Ytrog » Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:08 am

Last week I read "Mindfullness in plain English". I can really recommend it regarding this topic. :anjali:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: mindfulness vs concentration

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:30 pm

I particularly like the following definition of heedfulness (appamada). It suggests the link between mindfulness and concentration leading to insight.

"And how does one dwell in heedfulness? When a monk dwells with restraint over the faculty of the eye, the mind is not stained with forms cognizable via the eye. When the mind is not stained, there is joy. There being joy, there is rapture. There being rapture, there is serenity. There being serenity, he dwells in ease. The mind of one at ease becomes centered. When the mind is centered, phenomena (dhammas) become manifest. When phenomena are manifest, one is classed simply as one who dwells in heedfulness.

"When a monk dwells with restraint over the ear... nose... tongue... body...


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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