The Practice of Mindfulness

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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby adosa » Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:56 pm

christopher::: wrote:
adosa wrote:
Hi rowyourboat,

Good points. Just for the record I don't mean to make it sound like I view mindfulness as easy. In fact it is one of the hardest practices I've ever attempted to master. My point was that I find myself, rather than simply being aware of ever changing phenomenon, subconsciously thinking I need to intellectualize every aspect. Like there has to be more to the process. I think its a subconscious control issue. The likes of which create more suffering.



Could you say more about that, adosa? I agree that much is subconscious... Which may explain why this takes so long, the unraveling of self, for most of us....

:group:


Hi Christopher,

I'm not much of an expert on mindfulness as I really tend to flounder around on this part of the path. Not that I tend to be "spacey" or day-dream but it seems like I try to over-analyze or out think myself if that makes sense. I tend to want to be in control of whatever task I undertake and I think it is this aspect of my nature that leads to wanting things to happen quickly. I want to understand the Dhamma and I want to understand it yesterday.

The following quote from your O.P. is what I am trying to describe.

In ordinary life, if mindfulness, or attention, is directed to any object, it is rarely sustained long enough for the purpose of careful and factual observation. Generally it is followed immediately by emotional reaction, discriminative thought, reflection, or purposeful action


It seems like in my experience I drift in and out of bare awareness. As soon as I seem to be in bare awareness I find myself usually in discursive thoughts. For example I can be pretty steady at mindfulness through the ear consciousness but it is usually mixed with an underlying desire to "get it". Then the analysis and discursive thoughts fill in. Then its back to bare awareness and so on and so on.

It's very hard to describe but I hope this is making sense. I hope in some way it is useful.

Thanks for the topic as I see from your O.P. and from the follow-up comments that my experiences are common.

adosa :smile:
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby jhana.achariya » Fri Oct 09, 2009 3:33 am

rowyourboat wrote:Clear comprehension is defined in the suttas as being aware of arising and passing away. This when seen continuously leads to awareness of impermanence and true letting go (vipassana).

And how is a monk alert (clearly comprehending)? There is the case where feelings are known
to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they
subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they
persist, known as they subside. Discernment (vl: perception) is known
to him as it arises, known as it persists, known as it subsides. This
is how a monk is alert. So stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is
our instruction to you all.
— SN 47.35

Hi Row Your Boat

Being aware of arising and passing away is vipassana. Clear comprehension is abandoning covetous & grief towards the world or non-craving and non-grasping towards feeling, perception & thought. It is cutting the stream of dependent origination at feeling. The difference is listed in the Samadhi Sutta.
"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & clearly comprehending? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & clearly comprehending.

"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.

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


:meditate:
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:14 am

Hi Jhana acarya

Mindfulness and clear comprehension is clearly defined by the Buddha in the quote I posted, and in the first paragraph of the samadhi sutta quote you posted. However the second paragraph refers to the ending of effluents (aasava)- ie full enlightenment. The practice mentioned in that leads to (mostly) insight by focusing on the five aggregates, in a framework approaching that of the four noble truths (object, origin, passing away--complete release from object). This is appropriate as ignorance is the last fetter to be lost.

I agree that clear comphrehension (mindfulness of arising, persisting and subsiding of the four foundations) will eventually lead to non-grasping and the other qualities you mentioned.

I am not trying to be pedantic here! I think we need to have consensus when we use a technical term from the suttas otherwise communication can flounder. :smile:

In my opinion vipassana begins when we are knowing and seeing the one of the three characteristics and it is leading to even minor degrees of detachment through insight. Anything other than this can be just a samatha/tranquility process. It helps to be clear about what it is not:
Vipassana is not mindfulness (mindfulness alone can lead to samatha)
Vipassana is not watching an impermanent object (doesnt necessarily mean that the observer is grasping that insight)
Vipassana is not watching multiple objects (that also can lead to just samatha)
Vipassana is not synonymous with satipatthana (it contains the seeds of developing both samatha and vipassana)

I think it is important to be clear about what vipassana is otherwise we may do one thing thinking it is something else.

Vipassana can be reached rather quickly and reliably by using a contemplation/yonisomanasikara.

Discursive thoughts in vipassana are best dealt by developing samatha samadhi to a deep degree (ideally jhanic). This will make the process a lot smoother- any insights will sink in deeper-the process will be faster. Also if using a yonisomanasikara method it will stop the contemplation from becoming merely discursive thinking.

with metta

RYB

Matheesha

with metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby christopher::: » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:22 pm

jhana.achariya wrote:
Being aware of arising and passing away is vipassana. Clear comprehension is abandoning covetous & grief towards the world or non-craving and non-grasping towards feeling, perception & thought. It is cutting the stream of dependent origination at feeling. The difference is listed in the Samadhi Sutta.



rowyourboat wrote:I agree that clear comphrehension (mindfulness of arising, persisting and subsiding of the four foundations) will eventually lead to non-grasping and the other qualities you mentioned.

I am not trying to be pedantic here! I think we need to have consensus when we use a technical term from the suttas otherwise communication can flounder. :smile:

In my opinion vipassana begins when we are knowing and seeing the one of the three characteristics and it is leading to even minor degrees of detachment through insight. Anything other than this can be just a samatha/tranquility process. It helps to be clear about what it is not:
Vipassana is not mindfulness (mindfulness alone can lead to samatha)
Vipassana is not watching an impermanent object (doesnt necessarily mean that the observer is grasping that insight)
Vipassana is not watching multiple objects (that also can lead to just samatha)
Vipassana is not synonymous with satipatthana (it contains the seeds of developing both samatha and vipassana)

I think it is important to be clear about what vipassana is otherwise we may do one thing thinking it is something else.

Vipassana can be reached rather quickly and reliably by using a contemplation/yonisomanasikara.

Discursive thoughts in vipassana are best dealt by developing samatha samadhi to a deep degree (ideally jhanic). This will make the process a lot smoother- any insights will sink in deeper-the process will be faster. Also if using a yonisomanasikara method it will stop the contemplation from becoming merely discursive thinking.



Hi jhana.achariya and rowyourboat. If possible, could you say more about the relationship of vipassana to mindfulness with specific examples from daily life and practice, perhaps addressing adosa's situation or your own experiences?

I'm new to pali terminology and am a bit confused by some of your "technical" explanations. Thanks!!

:spy:

adosa wrote:
Hi Christopher,

I'm not much of an expert on mindfulness as I really tend to flounder around on this part of the path. Not that I tend to be "spacey" or day-dream but it seems like I try to over-analyze or out think myself if that makes sense. I tend to want to be in control of whatever task I undertake and I think it is this aspect of my nature that leads to wanting things to happen quickly. I want to understand the Dhamma and I want to understand it yesterday.

The following quote from your O.P. is what I am trying to describe.

In ordinary life, if mindfulness, or attention, is directed to any object, it is rarely sustained long enough for the purpose of careful and factual observation. Generally it is followed immediately by emotional reaction, discriminative thought, reflection, or purposeful action


It seems like in my experience I drift in and out of bare awareness. As soon as I seem to be in bare awareness I find myself usually in discursive thoughts. For example I can be pretty steady at mindfulness through the ear consciousness but it is usually mixed with an underlying desire to "get it". Then the analysis and discursive thoughts fill in. Then its back to bare awareness and so on and so on.

It's very hard to describe but I hope this is making sense. I hope in some way it is useful.

Thanks for the topic as I see from your O.P. and from the follow-up comments that my experiences are common.

adosa :smile:


Hi adosa. Do you always fall completely into discursive thoughts, or are you able to observe their arising and then passing away? Cause that's an essential aspect of mindfulness practice, to carefully watch thoughts. It's not that we are trying to stop or suppress them, maintaining bare attention only. The challenge (as i understand it) is to be fully aware of what is happening, seeing things as they are, which includes the natural arising of thoughts and feelings.

See rowyourboat's quote below:

rowyourboat wrote:Clear comprehension is defined in the suttas as being aware of arising and passing away. This when seen continuously leads to awareness of impermanence and true letting go (vipassana).

And how is a monk alert (clearly comprehending)? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Discernment (vl: perception) is known to him as it arises, known as it persists, known as it subsides. This is how a monk is alert. So stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our instruction to you all.
— SN 47.35


Are you having success with that, staying mindful and aware of thoughts as they arise, persist and subside?

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby adosa » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:27 pm

christopher::: wrote:Hi adosa. Do you always fall completely into discursive thoughts, or are you able to observe their arising and then passing away? Cause that's an essential aspect of mindfulness practice, to carefully watch thoughts. It's not that we are trying to stop or suppress them, maintaining bare attention only. The challenge (as i understand it) is to be fully aware of what is happening, seeing things as they are, which includes the natural arising of thoughts and feelings.

See rowyourboat's quote below:

rowyourboat wrote:Clear comprehension is defined in the suttas as being aware of arising and passing away. This when seen continuously leads to awareness of impermanence and true letting go (vipassana).

And how is a monk alert (clearly comprehending)? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Discernment (vl: perception) is known to him as it arises, known as it persists, known as it subsides. This is how a monk is alert. So stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our instruction to you all.
— SN 47.35


Are you having success with that, staying mindful and aware of thoughts as they arise, persist and subside?

:anjali:


Hi Christopher,

I doubt that I see the thoughts the instant they arise. I do have days where I merely observe thoughts without buying into them and reacting. Then on other days I see the thoughts, the emotions, then carryout with old habit patterns none-the-less. I suppose this is a topic for another thread.....that of renunciation and how it is developed (i.e. through mindfulness, through effort, both, neither???)

Am I having success? Sometimes I would like to think so but I am completely aware that the roots of greed, aversion, and delusion are still present in spades.

For example I indulged in one of my favorite activities last night, watching college football. I still attach to "my" team, they were in a nail-biter, won the game, and I was elated. But I also noticed this created a mental vortex of stress and suffering that I'm still trying to shake-off today. :rolleye: And today I've been heedless, just surfing the net with zero mindfulness or meditation. It seems silly, and most likely completely off topic, but I throw that out there as food for thought. At least I'm not completely blind to the effects.

But its a gradual training so I press on.


adosa :smile:
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby christopher::: » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:12 am

LOL... well, i know just what you mean...

And i agree, for most of us this is a gradual training process, and its these kinds of challenges and experiences that really provide the nitty gritty focus. I like Joseph Goldstein's dhamma talks for this reason. For almost every principle of practice he provides a story from his own life where the truth of that principle became clear..

One thing that has become apparent to me recently has been the importance of prioritizing upekkha, the cultivation of equanimity. During phases where i make serenity a priority it becomes easier to say no to old habits which may seem exciting or fun, but which actually create more suffering.

Noticing this- as you did last night with the football game- is a BiG step on the path, imo. So, it sounds to me like your "practice" is going well, in that your understanding is deepening, even as you cycle thru old patterns that create suffering...

Sometimes we just have to do that until we get sick of the old ways.

:computerproblem: :buddha1: :meditate:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby pink_trike » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:37 am

christopher::: wrote:
Sometimes we just have to do that until we get sick of the old ways.

:computerproblem: :buddha1: :meditate:


Yes. And also, I've noticed over the years that some of the patterns of the old ways will always be with me. They become more subtle, like tiny whispers, even silent...but the shadow of patterns still persist.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby christopher::: » Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:59 am

pink_trike wrote:
Yes. And also, I've noticed over the years that some of the patterns of the old ways will always be with me. They become more subtle, like tiny whispers, even silent... but the shadow of patterns still persist.


Yes, indeed. Ram Dass sometimes referred to these as "old friends"...

:tongue:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby chicka-Dee » Sat Oct 24, 2009 10:34 pm

Hi Chris and all,

Although I don't know a lot about the technical explanations of mindfulness vs vipassana, etc, I do practice both, and can only really comment based on my own experience, using my own 'terminology'.. so appologies for this, in advance. Reading thru this thread, the following comment caught my attention as a sort of basis to start with:

christopher::: wrote:
Hi adosa. Do you always fall completely into discursive thoughts, or are you able to observe their arising and then passing away? Cause that's an essential aspect of mindfulness practice, to carefully watch thoughts. It's not that we are trying to stop or suppress them, maintaining bare attention only. The challenge (as i understand it) is to be fully aware of what is happening, seeing things as they are, which includes the natural arising of thoughts and feelings.


I will try to describe my own practice and experience, as a way of addressing these comments. Rightly or wrongly, I guess I've come to see my meditation practice (vipassana) as the 'training ground' for mindfulness during my daily activities and happenings. Someone mentioned earlier about 'spaciousness', and this 'quality' I find is extremely important to cultivate. I began to cultivate (I think without being fully aware of this) this 'spaciousness' during vipassana (meditation). Spaciousness, for me, has a sort of 'stepping back' sensation, where a space is 'felt' between the 'observing' part of me, and that which I am observing (such as the breath, thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and what I experience through the 5 senses). Spaciousness seems, to me, to be important to try and 'find', and then maintain while practicing mindfulness.

For me it was a breakthrough when I was able to tell the difference between 'being lost in my thoughts' (or 'being my thoughts') and being mindful of the (sometimes swirling) thoughts that occupy my mind. The difference is in identification. When we identify 'self' as being our thoughts (as most of us do most of the time), we are not being mindful (in my way of thinking about it). But when we identify 'self' as 'that which is observing', we are being mindful and simply observing the occurance of whatever is happening in our field of experience at this moment (the happenings we observe).

At first this is most easily done in quiet moments (such as meditation), and then, with practice, during routine activities, and then onto even the most chaotic of happenings, it is possible to remain mindful, with practice! (And lots of it, in my experience).

Another important part of this, for me, is a gentle acceptance of myself and my own reactions to things. When we are truly mindful, we seem to have this 'ability' of observance without identifying closely with our personal reactions. This was also a huge breakthrough for me, as I was always so self-conscious. It is such freedom to be able to 'step outside' of what we had always identified with as 'self' (our thoughts, feelings, etc), and turn our observance away from this self, 'outward'; away from a sort of 'self-absorbtion' to a more all-encompassing sense of self (if even for a moment) in observing all that is happening around us.

This 'shift' has been quite a process, but it is the fruit of mindfulness practice.

So Chris, when you say, "that's an essential aspect of mindfulness practice, to carefully watch thoughts", the word 'carefully' may be misleading.. the objective is not so much to 'watch thoughts' as it is to begin to become aware of the 'observing' part of ourselves, to create that spaciousness.

At least, this is what I have come to find for myself, and come to understand in my own practice. I hope this is in some way helpful. I'd also like to learn more about the terminology used in Buddhist teachings and how they relate to my own experience, so I welcome any comments or critique from experienced practitioners.

This is a sort of 'overview' of what I have learned for myself, and if some part of it is confusing or unclear, or needs expanding on, I invite questioning and further discussion. This is such a large and important topic, and I look forward to learning more, myself.

:namaste:
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:32 am

Patented Catmoon Mindfulness Method




1. Go to shrine.
2. Dust. Wipe down if necessary
3. Place offerings.
4. Light candles in the order #1, light #2 from #1, #3 from #2 etc in a chain.
5. Light incense from last candle


Notice that like spreading Dharma, the flame has travelled from one candle to the next, and the end result is fragrant incense burning.
When placing offerings be sure the bowls are clean and orderly.

Pause before Buddha statue with folded hands. Consider the meaning of what you have done. I tend to ponder that the statue has no more Buddha nature than any other rock, but you will ponder something else I imagine.

Now if all this is done slowly and carefully, avoiding spills and mess, a funny thing happens. The ritual ends in perhaps 5 minutes, but the mindfulness continues, sometimes for hours.

Please note the method is patented. Each time you use it, send me $5. :tongue:
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby christopher::: » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:27 am

catmoon wrote:
Please note the method is patented. Each time you use it, send me $5.



I'll try to keep that in mind.

:smile:

chicka-Dee wrote:
For me it was a breakthrough when I was able to tell the difference between 'being lost in my thoughts' (or 'being my thoughts') and being mindful of the (sometimes swirling) thoughts that occupy my mind. The difference is in identification. When we identify 'self' as being our thoughts (as most of us do most of the time), we are not being mindful (in my way of thinking about it). But when we identify 'self' as 'that which is observing', we are being mindful and simply observing the occurance of whatever is happening in our field of experience at this moment (the happenings we observe).

At first this is most easily done in quiet moments (such as meditation), and then, with practice, during routine activities, and then onto even the most chaotic of happenings, it is possible to remain mindful, with practice! (And lots of it, in my experience).

Another important part of this, for me, is a gentle acceptance of myself and my own reactions to things. When we are truly mindful, we seem to have this 'ability' of observance without identifying closely with our personal reactions. This was also a huge breakthrough for me, as I was always so self-conscious. It is such freedom to be able to 'step outside' of what we had always identified with as 'self' (our thoughts, feelings, etc), and turn our observance away from this self, 'outward'; away from a sort of 'self-absorbtion' to a more all-encompassing sense of self (if even for a moment) in observing all that is happening around us.

This 'shift' has been quite a process, but it is the fruit of mindfulness practice.



I do agree, this is a big "insight" to have, especially in relation to emotions and thoughts. To see them as patterns arising and no longer "fall into" them, identify with these patterns and see them as self.

But you speak of the observer as self, self as "myself" and thoughts as "my" thoughts. Buddha challenged this idea, spoke of no self residing within us, observing these processes...

So Chris, when you say, "that's an essential aspect of mindfulness practice, to carefully watch thoughts", the word 'carefully' may be misleading.. the objective is not so much to 'watch thoughts' as it is to begin to become aware of the 'observing' part of ourselves, to create that spaciousness.

At least, this is what I have come to find for myself, and come to understand in my own practice.


I agree about the spaciousness, the importance of no longer identifying with what arises. But there may be differences in forms of practice, with emphasis placed on understanding the samsaric patterns (which generate suffering) deeply, vs. deeper awareness of the observing part of our minds....

As Joseph Goldstein has pointed out, the emphasis differs in various schools of Buddhism. Dzogchen, for example, focuses attention on the "luminous mind" of awareness...

:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby chicka-Dee » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:29 pm

christopher::: wrote:But you speak of the observer as self, self as "myself" and thoughts as "my" thoughts. Buddha challenged this idea, spoke of no self residing within us, observing these processes...


Yes, this is a good question. I don't think we should start trying to think of ourselves as 'no-self', until we have thoroughly investigated who this self we have thought we are, really is. (And this just isn't my idea, I've heard this from well respected teachers). This understanding of 'no-self' seems to happen naturally, through such an investigation. Otherwise, if we suddenly just decide we are something called 'no-self', without understanding what this is about, it is simply another means of pushing something away, another means of resistance, imo. I can still identify 'my thoughts' as the thoughts that are occuring for 'me' (this localized being), without identifying with them in thinking 'these thoughts are who I am'. Do you see the difference? It is quite subtle, and it is a shift in perspective. I'm not a teacher, so I can only speak from my own experience, but it may take awhile in practice to see this subtle (and profound) difference.

christopher::: wrote:I agree about the spaciousness, the importance of no longer identifying with what arises. But there may be differences in forms of practice, with emphasis placed on understanding the samsaric patterns (which generate suffering) deeply, vs. deeper awareness of the observing part of our minds....

As Joseph Goldstein has pointed out, the emphasis differs in various schools of Buddhism. Dzogchen, for example, focuses attention on the "luminous mind" of awareness...


I agree as well, about understanding our own 'inner workings', being aware of our patterns of behaviour, how our minds grasp onto thoughts, how we get caught up in swirling thoughts and emotions. This has also been an intense part of my practice, and I guess I would call this a 'mindful self-reflection'. This is the area where gentleness with one's self is important. I think maybe part of this is allowing ourselves to identify with a 'self', if we have this impression that we just need to completely drop any notions of a thing called 'self'. If this is what we are thinking, then one would have an awful time when they realize they are spending much of the day actually identifying with a self. This is ok! Because if we just constantly push away any notions of self, we will never likely get to find what this identification is all about.

Again, I'm not a teacher, these are my own observations, experience and reasoning, and what I've learned from reading and Dharma talks etc. I was reading Thich Nhat Hanh recently, and he stressed the importance of understanding the Buddha's teachings in the context of who he was speaking to and on what occassion, and what the surrounding conditions were like. For instance (he says) , "The notion of Atman, Self, which was at the center of Vedic beliefs, was the cause of much of the social injustice of the day -- the caste system, the terrible treatment of the untouchables, and the monopolization of spiritual teachings by those who enjoyed the best material contitions and yet were hardly spiritual at all. In reaction, the Buddha emphasized the teachings of non-Atman (non-self)." (from "Living Buddha, Living Christ" pg.54)

I'll try to see if I can find references for teachers talking about the mis-understanding of the Buddha's teaching of non-self. I just think that this tends to be over-emphasized in people's minds, perhaps, and the result is a pushing away of 'self', quite often, when practitioners mis-understand this. I think this needs to be thoroughly understood in the context of his teachings of the 4 Noble Truths. Maybe? I might suggest. :tongue:

:namaste:
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:44 pm

The notion of Aatta or Atman may well have led to all sorts of social injustice Chicka-Dee. However the Buddhas teaching of Anatta was not merely a political statement. He meant it, no abiding permenant self. That is the teaching, or so I believe of the Theravada.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby chicka-Dee » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:50 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:The notion of Aatta or Atman may well have led to all sorts of social injustice Chicka-Dee. However the Buddhas teaching of Anatta was not merely a political statement. He meant it, no abiding permenant self. That is the teaching, or so I believe of the Theravada.


Oh, yes! Sanghamitta, I agree that it wasn't merely a political statement, that this teaching has absolute worth and truth. It just seems to me that many of the Buddha's teaching must be understood through our own experience (that is, through our practice). Trying to understand it intellectually, one is not able to fully comprehend it. Through vipassana and mindfulness practice, it becomes much more clear. This is what I'm trying to get at, that focusing on a teaching (such as non-self) intellectually to too great a degree can hinder us, it seems to me. I can only really say that I have found this in my own practice, and is an observation that I have made. You can't 'force' an understanding -- it's not like.. oh, now I get it, in a cognitive way, it's more like.. yes! now I see this because I have experienced it -- experienced it through mindfulness practice -- it's more like an awareness that expands and allows this understanding. Until we have come to know these teachings in this way, we must be careful how we think about them (and keep an open mind about them).. or maybe this is a radical idea, to some? :thinking: For instance, I took a course on the 4 Noble Truths, and a big part of this was examining our personal experiences in relation to the teachings. A purely scholarly approach just doesn't get you very far in understanding these teachings, I was taught, and I have found. I'm thinking most experienced practitioners would agree? I hope I'm not suggesting something too subversive. :?
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:26 pm

I think you are posing a problem which doesnt really exist Chicka-Dee. The way to verify the truth of the Buddhas teaching is certainly by practice, but what is verified isnt some intellectual speculation. What is verified is what the Buddha taught in the Canon. We dont in the Theravada just hang experience on proofs of our own devising. What I am trying to say is that it is not a question of experience OR an intellectual understanding, Its both, and that the intellectual understanding isnt just subjective, it is the result of absorbing the teachings of the last Buddha of the age, whose words we are fortunate enough to still have readily available to us.
Last edited by Sanghamitta on Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby chicka-Dee » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:48 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:I think you are posing a problem which doesnt really exist Chicka-Dee. The way to verify the truth of the Buddhas teaching is certainly by practice, but what is verified isnt some intellectual speculation. What is verified is what the Buddha taught in the Canon. We dont in the Theravada just hang experience on proofs of our own devising. What I trying to say is that it is not a question of experience OR an intellectual understanding, Its both, and that the intellectual understanding isnt just subjective, it is the result of absorbing the teachings of the last Buddha of the age, whose words we are fortunate enough to still have readily available to us.


Yes, I think I get what you're saying, Sanghamitta. I know I need to study the teachings more thoroughly, and really shouldn't try to express my own subjective experience until I have a better understanding. Thank you for pointing this out.

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