Is watching *just the mind's movement* bona fide?

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

Is watching *just the mind's movement* bona fide?

Postby manas » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:27 am

Hello all,

did the Buddha teach any sitting practice that comprised just observing wherever the mind is in the present moment? Not purposefully bringing it in to the body, or to anywhere else in particular, but rather, just observing whatever is apparent with equanimity, following it wherever it may go (with the exception of very unwholesome things), even observing how attentiveness itself ebbs and flows? In short, just keeping watch over the mind?

Kind regards
Last edited by manas on Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is watching *just the mind's movement* bona fide?

Postby twelph » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:36 am

manas wrote:Hello all,

did the Buddha teach any sitting practice that comprised just observing wherever the mind is in the present moment? Not bringing it in to the body, or anywhere else in particular, but rather, just observing whatever is apparent with equanimity, even observing how attentiveness ebbs and flows? In short, just keeping watch over the mind?

Kind regards


Third tetrad of Anapanasati.

" He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'
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Re: Is watching *just the mind's movement* bona fide?

Postby upekha » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:00 am

In the Satipathana sutta, cittanupassana is explained, where one is aware of the mind and Dhammaupassana is where one is aware of the mind states.



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Re: Is watching *just the mind's movement* bona fide?

Postby Ben » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:35 am

Is watching *just the mind's movement* bona fide?

It depends how it is done.
A lot of great success can be made by observing the mind, indirectly via kayanupassana or vedananupassana and are excellent preliminary practices to cittanupassana or dhammanupassana, and can take one to Nibbana in their own right.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Is watching *just the mind's movement* bona fide?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:54 pm

manas wrote:Hello all,

did the Buddha teach any sitting practice that comprised just observing wherever the mind is in the present moment? Not purposefully bringing it in to the body, or to anywhere else in particular, but rather, just observing whatever is apparent with equanimity, following it wherever it may go (with the exception of very unwholesome things), even observing how attentiveness itself ebbs and flows? In short, just keeping watch over the mind?

Kinda. The satipattana sutta is clear that one is to discern how the hindrances are abandoned, and the factors of awakening are developed. While that requires knowing however the mind is at any given moment (when the mind has passion, discerns that the mind has passion... When the mind is restricted, he discerns that the mind is restricted. When the mind is scattered, he discerns that the mind is scattered... and so forth) it's not simply a matter of passively watching the mind do whatever indefinitely.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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