mindfulness: natural born activity?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Shonin
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Re: mindfulness: natural born activity?

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:01 pm

beeblebrox wrote:For some reason you seem to insist on reading all my posts in just the wrong way. :tongue: In this thread, and that another thread about earthquakes.


:smile: It happens

beeblebrox wrote:Whatever you've said above is none of the implications I've been making. I never said that you should imagine nibbāna as something. It's a cessation of dukkha. You don't imagine what that cessation is like... you just use that as a benchmark to compare your own current experience against. When they align, then there you are... Nibbāna.


OK, but this is not the practice of mindful awareness.

beeblebrox wrote:So, the mindfulness is not based on a goal? What are you being mindful for? Seems fuzzy to me.


There may be over-arching goals that form the basis for decisions such as practicing mindfulness (presumably there must be), however the actual practice of mindful awareness is not a goal-oriented practice. It is a radically different mode of simply attending to how things actually are. It's a 'being' or 'non-doing' rather than a 'doing'. The usual comparisons between our cognition of where we are and our ideal that we are tring to reach and the associated trying, judgement and so forth, are dropped.

beeblebrox wrote:I'm not trying to do any value judgments here... just trying to show that there are things that are oriented towards the Dhamma practice, and things that aren't. It's that simple.


OK. Some things lead to insight, unbinding and less suffering and some things don't, but I don't believe practices are simply and neatly divided into worldly/limited/self-centred or insight/unbinding/selfless according to whether it is a 'Buddhist' practice or not, in the way that you seem to be suggesting.

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beeblebrox
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Re: mindfulness: natural born activity?

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:10 pm

Shonin wrote:The usual comparisons between our cognition of where we are and our ideal that we are tring to reach and the associated trying, judgement and so forth, are dropped.


This is included in the "nibbāna-oriented" mindfulness. I don't know if you've noticed this, but every instance of the "right mindfulness" mentioned by me (in this thread) have been surrounded by scare-quotes.

Shonin
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Re: mindfulness: natural born activity?

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:19 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
Shonin wrote:The usual comparisons between our cognition of where we are and our ideal that we are tring to reach and the associated trying, judgement and so forth, are dropped.


This is included in the "nibbāna-oriented" mindfulness.


OK. If that is what you mean then I agree. However this is true for so-called secular mindfulness as well as so-called Buddhist mindfulness practice, and (although I would never put it in quite that way in a secular context) surely the main reason why these practices reduce stress, depression etc.

beeblebrox wrote:I don't know if you've noticed this, but every instance of the "right mindfulness" mentioned by me (in this thread) have been surrounded by scare-quotes.


Thanks for pointing that out.

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Re: mindfulness: natural born activity?

Postby Individual » Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:10 pm

Shonin wrote:But what does that mean?

Do you mean sitting and thinking about these? Do you mean taking extra care to notice them? How does one be mindful of nibbana when one has never experienced it? Remembering that they exist? I don't think that this is the sort of mindful awareness that we're talking about here.

Bruce Lee:

Don't think. Feeeeeeel.

It is like a finger pointing away to da moon. Don't concentrate on da finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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beeblebrox
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Re: mindfulness: natural born activity?

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:24 pm

Here are some quotes from the Satipatthana Sutta (Establishment of Mindfulness):

"There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances? There is the case where, there being sensual desire present within, a monk discerns that 'There is sensual desire present within me.' Or, there being no sensual desire present within, he discerns that 'There is no sensual desire present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen sensual desire. And he discerns how there is the abandoning of sensual desire once it has arisen. And he discerns how there is no future arising of sensual desire that has been abandoned. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining hindrances: ill will, sloth & drowsiness, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty.)

This is in line with being mindful about greed, hatred, and delusion... and their abandoning.

"Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the seven factors for Awakening. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the seven factors for Awakening? There is the case where, there being mindfulness as a factor for Awakening present within, he discerns that 'Mindfulness as a factor for Awakening is present within me.' Or, there being no mindfulness as a factor for Awakening present within, he discerns that 'Mindfulness as a factor for Awakening is not present within me.' He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen mindfulness as a factor for Awakening. And he discerns how there is the culmination of the development of mindfulness as a factor for Awakening once it has arisen. (The same formula is repeated for the remaining factors for Awakening: analysis of qualities, persistence, rapture, serenity, concentration, & equanimity.)

How do you discern the "Mindfulness as a factor for Awakening is not present within me," if you were not mindful in the first place?

"Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the four noble truths. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the four noble truths? There is the case where he discerns, as it has come to be, that 'This is stress.' He discerns, as it has come to be, that 'This is the origination of stress.' He discerns, as it has come to be, that 'This is the cessation of stress.' He discerns, as it has come to be, that 'This is the way leading to the cessation of stress.'

"'This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said."

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Re: mindfulness: natural born activity?

Postby Freawaru » Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:40 am

Hi Delora,

delora wrote:hi there,

I have been reading a lot around mindfulness.. many websites, etc. And mindfulness is almost presented as if it is a new thing, something we are not naturally accustomed to? Just a few questions to clarify my understanding..

1. Am I right in thinking mindfulness IS a natural activity? One that all children possess?


I think so. But it is not stable.

When one concentrates on something (this also includes concentration on whatever one does or thinks) and then the mind looses the concentration on the object, wanders, and then - all of a sudden - one notices that it has wandered, that the mind is not focused on whatever we want it to focus on, this moment mindfulness is present.

Mindfulness shows you the current state of your mind. Usually, we use it to compare it to what we want the mind to do and then direct the mind to what we want. Once the mind does what we want it to do, mindfulness is lost again. This ability to redirect the mind is inherent to the human mind, even small children can use it to concentrate on something. But without some training mindfulness only shines for a moment. A flash of light and we can see our mind ... and then it is lost again and we are left in the dark.

2. Am I right in thinking that children are perhaps born with varying degrees of mindfuless? Also, their environment is likely to shape how mindful they become?


Yes to the second - as I said it can be trained.

Regarding the first question: I am not sure if mindfulness is a matter of DNA. From the Buddhist point of view I would say that previous lives influence our present birth and that present abilities such as concentration and mindfulness depend on our practice in previous lives.


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