The Cause of mindfulness

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

The Cause of mindfulness

Postby Alobha » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:59 pm

Hi everyone :anjali:

pretty straight questions:
1. What is the cause of mindfulness?
2. What is the cause of a lack of mindfulness?
3. How to establish mindfulness?

I had a look at the Girimananda Sutta, but it's formulated similar in the anapanasati sutta, too.

(10) And what, Ānanda, is mindfulness of in- and out-breathing?
Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu, gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down, having folded his legs crosswise, sets his body erect, establishes mindfulness in front of him, just mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.


So, establishing mindfulness is a precondition for anapanasati and I notice it's not mentioned for every other contemplation in the Girimananda Sutta. I hope someone can answer my questions (preferable by an explanation the Buddha gave and not so much speculation).

Best wishes,
Alobha
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby bodom » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:17 pm

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 Mindfulness

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... tors1.html

: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: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:44 pm

.
..And what is the nutriment for mindfulness and alertness? Appropriate attention...And what is the nutriment for appropriate attention? Conviction....And what is the nutriment for conviction? Hearing the true Dhamma...And what is the nutriment for hearing the true Dhamma? Associating with people who are truly good...


AN X. 61
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby effort » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:14 pm

I - keep remembering about observing ,knowing, noting of four frames of reference
II - being present in this moment

as you know these two ( wisdom ) you need to practice (mindfulness) and morality ( sila ) again and again ( effort ) to maintain stability of the mind ( samadhi ).
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby jason c » Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:46 pm

Alobha wrote:Hi everyone :anjali:

pretty straight questions:
1. What is the cause of mindfulness?
2. What is the cause of a lack of mindfulness?
3. How to establish mindfulness?

I had a look at the Girimananda Sutta, but it's formulated similar in the anapanasati sutta, too.

(10) And what, Ānanda, is mindfulness of in- and out-breathing?
Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu, gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down, having folded his legs crosswise, sets his body erect, establishes mindfulness in front of him, just mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.


So, establishing mindfulness is a precondition for anapanasati and I notice it's not mentioned for every other contemplation in the Girimananda Sutta. I hope someone can answer my questions (preferable by an explanation the Buddha gave and not so much speculation).

Best wishes,
Alobha

hi alobha,
1. what is the cause of mindfulness? craving.
2.what is the cause of a lack of mindfulness? thinking.
3.how to establish mindfulness? sila, samadhi, panna.
metta,
jason
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby Alobha » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:59 pm

bodom wrote: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 Mindfulness

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... tors1.html

:anjali:


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?
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby daverupa » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:18 pm

Sam Vega wrote:.
..And what is the nutriment for mindfulness and alertness? Appropriate attention...And what is the nutriment for appropriate attention? Conviction....And what is the nutriment for conviction? Hearing the true Dhamma...And what is the nutriment for hearing the true Dhamma? Associating with people who are truly good...


AN X. 61


Indeed! And appropriate attention, here, is yoniso manasikara, which means this thread is probably relevant to the OP's parenthetical stipulation.
    "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: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby hanzze_ » Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:01 am

1. What is the cause of mindfulness?

Wholesome deeds

2. What is the cause of a lack of mindfulness?

Unwholesome deeds

3. How to establish mindfulness?

Doing wholesome deeds and abstain for unwholesome. That for it self need a little amount of mindfulness, but by experiencing the results it increases.

To establish that we usually start with Dana-practice. When we experience a little difference between wholesome and unwholesome we step further to Sila. From the raw to the fine. And all about getting aware of cause and effect.
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby alan » Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:44 pm

It's incorrect to use the word "cause' in this case. It implies an exterior force.
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby IanAnd » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:37 pm

Alobha wrote:pretty straight questions:
1. What is the cause of mindfulness?
2. What is the cause of a lack of mindfulness?
3. How to establish mindfulness?

I had a look at the Girimananda Sutta, but it's formulated similar in the anapanasati sutta, too.

(10) And what, Ānanda, is mindfulness of in- and out-breathing?
Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu, gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down, having folded his legs crosswise, sets his body erect, establishes mindfulness in front of him, just mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.

So, establishing mindfulness is a precondition for anapanasati and I notice it's not mentioned for every other contemplation in the Girimananda Sutta. I hope someone can answer my questions (preferable by an explanation the Buddha gave and not so much speculation).
Alobha

Hello Alobha,

Very insightful of you to notice this instruction: "establishes mindfulness in front of him." It is the basis for the development of a beneficial and useful practice in meditation no matter what method (anapanasati or whatever) one is using.

If you are looking for a more practical application of the establishing of mindfulness other than the verbal or mental jousting with trying to figure out what such vague ideas as supporting factors for developing mindfulness means in terms of actual practice: Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension, Avoiding Unmindful People, Choosing Mindful Friends, Inclining the Mind Toward Mindfulness, then you may benefit from checking out the following thread: The Practical Aspects of Establishing Mindfulness. Not saying that the foregoing (ideas on "mindfulness is the cause of mindfulness") is not useful in eventually learning how to maintain an establishment in mindfulness, just that it doesn't provide one with many practical ideas regarding how to go about doing this within one's practice. Once you grasp how to establish mindfulness in your own practice, you will possess that ability for the rest of your life, as well as benefit from its practice.

Enjoy and prosper.

In peace,
Ian
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby alan » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:13 pm

Doesn't really answer the question.
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby suttametta » Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:35 pm

Alobha wrote:Hi everyone :anjali:

pretty straight questions:
1. What is the cause of mindfulness?
2. What is the cause of a lack of mindfulness?
3. How to establish mindfulness?

I had a look at the Girimananda Sutta, but it's formulated similar in the anapanasati sutta, too.

(10) And what, Ānanda, is mindfulness of in- and out-breathing?
Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu, gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down, having folded his legs crosswise, sets his body erect, establishes mindfulness in front of him, just mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.


So, establishing mindfulness is a precondition for anapanasati and I notice it's not mentioned for every other contemplation in the Girimananda Sutta. I hope someone can answer my questions (preferable by an explanation the Buddha gave and not so much speculation).

Best wishes,
Alobha


Sati just means "look within." The passage you quoted just means, "okay now sit up straight and look within now."
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby reflection » Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:45 pm

Alobha wrote:
(10) And what, Ānanda, is mindfulness of in- and out-breathing?
Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu, gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down, having folded his legs crosswise, sets his body erect, establishes mindfulness in front of him, just mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.


So, establishing mindfulness is a precondition for anapanasati and I notice it's not mentioned for every other contemplation in the Girimananda Sutta. I hope someone can answer my questions (preferable by an explanation the Buddha gave and not so much speculation).

Best wishes,
Alobha

I interpret "putting mindfulness in front of him" meaning to give it importance. To put something "in front" means to care for it. This seems logical to me as this is the very first instruction.

The cause of mindfulness is singleness of the mind.
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby hanzze_ » Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:56 am

alan wrote:It's incorrect to use the word "cause' in this case. It implies an exterior force.

Well volition does not come from nothing. You might call it the "exterior" force in a strong stream of ripping kamma. That is why we need to slowing the stream first, otherwise we would think that there is no possible force. Jet not so strong and orientated. Before we use mindfulness as a tool for the higher eightfold path, its "just" to establish it self.

"One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong resolve & to enter & remain in right resolve: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong speech & to enter & remain in right speech: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong action & to enter & remain in right action: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness..."

— MN 117


Things on what we can train on where ever or state of mindfulness might be.
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby Alobha » Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:19 pm

Thanks everyone,

Sam Vega wrote:.
..And what is the nutriment for mindfulness and alertness? Appropriate attention...And what is the nutriment for appropriate attention? Conviction....And what is the nutriment for conviction? Hearing the true Dhamma...And what is the nutriment for hearing the true Dhamma? Associating with people who are truly good...


:goodpost:


Indeed! And appropriate attention, here, is yoniso manasikara, which means this thread is probably relevant to the OP's parenthetical stipulation.[/quote]

Yeah it is helpful :smile: The first 9 contemplations are a good example for appropriate attention, too i'd say.

I'm always glad that i can get so much good input from you people here! Sadhu! :anjali:

Metta,
Alobha
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Re: The Cause of mindfulness

Postby robertk » Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:44 pm

Bhikkhus, just as the dawn is the forerunner and first indication of the rising of the sun, so is right view the forerunner and first indication of wholesome states. For one of right view, bhikkhus, [...]right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up. For one of right concentration, right knowledge springs up. For one of right knowledge, right deliverance springs up."
Anguttara Nikaya 10:121
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