Mindfulness in Buddhism

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Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby thecharmedbaja » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:09 pm

Hey all :D

I was just wondering about mindfulness and the five skandhas/aggregates - if one is supposed to rid themselves of the 'self,' which includes the last of the aggregates - consciousness, why is it, then, that we are supposed to be mindful of ourselves? Surely that is one of the things we must rid ourselves of?

I know mindfulness is extremely important - I try to practise it all the time, but I was reading up about mindfulness and how to be more so, and realised that it could be related to the five skandhas...

Anyway, thank you for any help! I'm sorry that I always ask the silliest questions!!

:namaste: Jasmine
'He is able who thinks he is able.' - The Buddha
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Re: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:49 pm

Greetings Jasmine,

In Buddhism, consciousness has a slightly different meaning perhaps to what it tends to mean in every day language.

Extract from SN 22.57: Sattatthana Sutta
http://www.mahindarama.com/e-tipitaka/s ... n22-57.htm

SN 22.57 wrote:And what is consciousness? These six bodies of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness. This is called consciousness.


So there is eye-consciouness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness and mind-consciousness... rather than some kind of broad-brush "consciousness" which is not connected to a particular object or sense-base.

As for what is to be observed, it is the impermanent nature of each of these. Are you always conscious of what you are tasting? Are you always conscious of what you are hearing? Are you always conscious of what you are thinking?..... What about when you're sleeping?

As for "not-self", how these things are to be perceived...?

‘Friend, Sariputta, eye, eye-consciousness, and things cognizable by eye consciousness, are not me, I’m not in them, they are not self. Friend, Sariputta, ear, ear-consciousness, and things cognizable by ear -consciousness, are not me, I’m not in them, they are not self. Friend, Sariputta, nose, nose-consciousness, and things cognizable by nose-consciousness, are not me, I’m not in them, they are not self. Friend, Sariputta, tongue, tongue-consciousness, and things cognizable by tongue-consciousness, are not me, I’m not in them, they are not self. Friend, Sariputta, body, body-consciousness, and things cognizable by body-consciousness, are not me, I’m not in them, they are not self Friend, Sariputta, mind, mind-consciousness, and things cognizable by mind-consciousness, are not me, I’m not in them, they are not self.’


If you've not yet done so, it might be worth trying to set aside a block of time to attend a residential meditation retreat in which you can learn vipassana meditation. In the meantime, however, this sutta should give you a good 'manual' for how to cultivate mindfulness.

MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby christopher::: » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:11 am

Hi Jasmine. In line with retro's observations, what is key here- as we practice mindfulness over time- we become more aware of (gain deeper insight into) how the "self" is an illusion, the aggregates arise and pass away. So its not so much being mindful of "ourselves" or "getting rid of the self" as coming to recognize over time how the illusion of self is constructed and maintained.

:smile:
"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: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby thecharmedbaja » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:43 pm

Thank you both very much - your answers were deeply appreciated! :D
Hope you're both having a good day,
Metta
Jasmine
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Re: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby altar » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:06 pm

Retro,
Although the answer you give is interesting (in that you talk about consciousness as its spoken of in the suttas as "eye consciousness," etc.), I'm not sure it's correct to say that the way consciousness is used in the suttas is only sense-consciousness, and it's maybe it's not so clear that it's not some kind of "broad brush" consciousness.
Why do I say this? Because I remember a sutta where the Buddha gives a talk and he recites some verses. In the verses he praises homelessness. Those who heard the talk later ask Maha Kaccana to explain the verses. When he gets to the homelessness part, he says it refers to consciousness not having it's home in any of the four other khandas... So, depending on the meaning of this, it could mean that consciousness still arises with other khandas (i.e. cognizing perception, or sankharas, or feelings, or with one of the six sense bases), simply not attached to them though, or it could mean something different.

More connected with the original post, I think it's interesting that the Buddha teaches disenchantment with consciousness as well as with the other khandas. He doesn't say, "Abolish consciousness (I don't think)", but he talks about practicing for disenchantment with it. If one doesn't observe it, how can one grow dispassionate towards it...
maybe kind of like when you are in the water and a wave is coming and you get scared and think, "Oh no," but then it laps over you and it's really not that impressive...
If you don't get in the water you won't have the experience... It's interesting because I think it shows a lot, about determination and rest/calm.
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Re: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:13 pm

Greetings Altar,

I'd be happy to see the sutta, if you can find it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby altar » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:47 pm

Hi Retro,
Yea I found the sutta on page 859 of Bhikkhu Bodhi's SN, and here is the Thanissaro link: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.003.than.html
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Re: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:49 pm

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Re: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:14 pm

Greetings Altar,

altar wrote:Hi Retro,
Yea I found the sutta on page 859 of Bhikkhu Bodhi's SN, and here is the Thanissaro link: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.003.than.html


That sutta certainly speaks of the six-consciousnesses...

"The property of form, householder, is the home of consciousness. When consciousness is in bondage through passion to the property of form, it is said to be living at home. The property of feeling... perception... fabrication is the home of consciousness.


The opposing "not dwelling at home" of the Tathagata may be implying some form of non-manifestative consciousness or "anidassana-vinnana".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby char101 » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:18 pm

thecharmedbaja wrote:I was just wondering about mindfulness and the five skandhas/aggregates - if one is supposed to rid themselves of the 'self,' which includes the last of the aggregates - consciousness, why is it, then, that we are supposed to be mindful of ourselves? Surely that is one of the things we must rid ourselves of?


Our mind and body, fell under the shadow of avijja, became viewed as self.

To remove the shadow, we need to cast light on it, i.e. not just by being mindful, but by seeing them with knowledge, so that the truth will come out

Mindfulness stands as the foundation for right knowledge to arise
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Re: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby christopher::: » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:19 pm

char101 wrote:
thecharmedbaja wrote:I was just wondering about mindfulness and the five skandhas/aggregates - if one is supposed to rid themselves of the 'self,' which includes the last of the aggregates - consciousness, why is it, then, that we are supposed to be mindful of ourselves? Surely that is one of the things we must rid ourselves of?


Our mind and body, fell under the shadow of avijja, became viewed as self.

To remove the shadow, we need to cast light on it, i.e. not just by being mindful, but by seeing them with knowledge, so that the truth will come out

Mindfulness stands as the foundation for right knowledge to arise


:smile:
"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: Mindfulness in Buddhism

Postby Zom » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:56 pm

There is consciousness outside 6-class-consciousness, and it is too inconstant and stressful.

"In dependence on the intellect & ideas there arises intellect-consciousness. The intellect is inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise. Ideas are inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise. Thus this pair is both wavering & fluctuating — inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise.

"Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise. Whatever is the cause, the requisite condition, for the arising of intellect-consciousness, that is inconstant, changeable, of a nature to become otherwise. Having arisen in dependence on an inconstant factor, how could intellect-consciousness be constant?


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