This is from Sayadaw U. Pandita's classic meditation manual In This Very Life:
Mindfulness is the Cause of Mindfulness
The first cause of mindfulness is nothing more than mindfulness itself. Naturally, there is a difference between the weak mindfulness that characterizes one’s early meditative efforts and the mindfulness at higher levels of practice, which becomes strong enough to cause enlightenment to occur. In fact, the development of mindfulness is a simple momentum, one moment of mindfulness causing the next.
He then goes on to explain four more supporting factors for developing mindfulness namely:
1. Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension
2. Avoiding Unmindful People
3. Choosing Mindful Friends
4. Inclining the Mind Toward Mindfulnesshttp://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... tors1.html
Thanks Bodom, i just listened to two talks of Ajahn Brahmali
about the subject ("Transcendental Dependent Origination" and "Causes and Purpose of Mindfulness") and i get a mixed image here. Ajahn Brahmali points out that putting too much willpower in gathering mindfulness is not good, can actually be harmful and that it is not "good mindfulness" when one has to force oneself to stay mindful during anapanasati.
"good mindfulness", as far as i understand, is supposed to be accompanied by piti and a certain state of relaxation and comfort to be in the present moment. To be comfortable with being in the present moment, mindfulness is a good way, so one needs mindfulness in order to establish mindfulness. What Sayadaw U. Pandita and Ajahn Brahmali say is pretty similar, they both also emphasize the importance of virtue (a lack of remorse makes staying in the present moment easier)
Would it be correct to say that some people may not be ready or able to establish good mindfulness because of a lack of the various supporting factors?
Should meditation practice then be put off until factors like sila and company of truly good people are at a more refined level ? Or should oneself force to have mindfulness regardless whether the factors for it are at place or not? I find it confusing that ajahn Brahmali actually says that most people make a mistake in not establishing mindfulness before meditating, yet meditating with poor mindfulness seems to be the way to better mindfulness? In that regard, i don't get why the Buddha says one should establish mindfulness before anapanasati because if you can't establish it properly, you should do anapanasati in a flawed manner anyways to enhance the poor mindfulness?
So "mindfulness" is nice to have in anapanasati and important later on, but not a requirement to start or to do it at all?