Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:53 am

What Robert K. said seems to match my experience that when an unpleasant feeling arises (and then persists for a while) then that would mean the mindfulness had either lapsed, or wasn't correct, i.e., samma-sati. Of course my own experiences aren't that deep, so keep that in mind.

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Digity » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:55 am

My biggest issue with mindfulness is boredom. It's often boring to be mindful when I'm washing my teeth or doing the dishes. Does it ever become enjoyable to do all these things mindfully?
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:37 am

Digity wrote:My biggest issue with mindfulness is boredom. It's often boring to be mindful when I'm washing my teeth or doing the dishes. Does it ever become enjoyable to do all these things mindfully?

Good question and the reason I started this topic. Mindfulness by definition can never be boring or have even the slightest taste of unpleasantness . But what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focussing on an approximation of the here and now. This is merely concentration, without any sati or panna, and is a wrong path.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:41 am

robertk wrote:But what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focussing on an approximation of the here and now. This is merely concentration, without any sati or panna, and is a wrong path.
So, you are saying that -- oh, let us say -- Burmese vipassana practice is "a wrong path?"
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:54 am

tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:But what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focussing on an approximation of the here and now. This is merely concentration, without any sati or panna, and is a wrong path.
So, you are saying that -- oh, let us say -- Burmese vipassana practice is "a wrong path?"


I am mystified as to how you could possibly read that onto what I just wrote.
Did you understand that a member thought his mindfulness of brushing his teeth could feel unpleasant. This is an impossibility. According to Abhidhamma.
How does it in anyway bring the Mahasi system into play?
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Digity » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:11 am

robertk wrote:
Digity wrote:My biggest issue with mindfulness is boredom. It's often boring to be mindful when I'm washing my teeth or doing the dishes. Does it ever become enjoyable to do all these things mindfully?

Good question and the reason I started this topic. Mindfulness by definition can never be boring or have even the slightest taste of unpleasantness . But what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focussing on an approximation of the here and now. This is merely concentration, without any sati or panna, and is a wrong path.

That's the first time I've heard mindfulness defined in such a way. My understanding is that mindfulness is keeping something in mind. I've never heard anything about that experience having to be pleasant and if it isn't it's not mindfulness. Not offense, but I think your definition may be wrong. Although, I'd like to hear other people's opinions.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

Can you point out where it says it must be pleasant or its not mindfulness?
Last edited by Digity on Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:14 am

Digity wrote:
robertk wrote:
Digity wrote:My biggest issue with mindfulness is boredom. It's often boring to be mindful when I'm washing my teeth or doing the dishes. Does it ever become enjoyable to do all these things mindfully?

Good question and the reason I started this topic. Mindfulness by definition can never be boring or have even the slightest taste of unpleasantness . But what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focussing on an approximation of the here and now. This is merely concentration, without any sati or panna, and is a wrong path.

That's the first time I've heard mindfulness defined in such a way. My understanding is that mindfulness is keeping something in mind. I've never heard anything about that experience having to be pleasant and if it isn't it's not mindfulness. Not offense, but I think your definition may be wrong. Although, I'd like to hear other people's opinions.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

Can you point out where it says it must be pleasant or its not mindfulness?

This is the Abhidhamma forum. Robert's definition is consistent with the Abhidhamma.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Digity » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:16 am

If your definition is based on the Abhidhamma can you show me where? I'm not too familiar with it. I just read the Buddha's basic teachings. Anyway, what your saying about mindfulness seems off to me. I think the flavour of mindfulness changes as it develops. I don't think it necessarily starts off as pleasant, but I can see if one develops concentration and the mind quiets down then it could be more and more pleasant, but obviously that's not going to happen for someone who is just starting off...and then they're suppose to thing they're on the wrong path? Seems odd.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:17 am

robertk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:But what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focussing on an approximation of the here and now. This is merely concentration, without any sati or panna, and is a wrong path.
So, you are saying that -- oh, let us say -- Burmese vipassana practice is "a wrong path?"


I am mystified as to how you could possibly read that onto what I just wrote.
Did you understand that a member thought his mindfulness of brushing his teeth could feel unpleasant. This is an impossibility. According to Abhidhamma.
How does it in anyway bring the Mahasi system into play?
Just asking. It is good to see that you do not see that Burmese style practice is wrong practice.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:25 am

Ben wrote:This is the Abhidhamma forum. Robert's definition is consistent with the Abhidhamma.

This appears to me to be in the Classical Theravada forum. As such, aren't non-Abhidhamma answers to the topic fair game?
"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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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:47 am

Cittasanto wrote:I have certainly experianced unpleasant feelings when being mindful, or bringing mindfulness to a memory that comes up. how is this explained in the Abhidhamma?

Reading some of the responses again, I am now wondering if I had not misunderstood the OP statement that "According to Abhidhamma it is impossible for any mindstates associated with sati to have unpleasant feeling. It can only come with either pleasant or neutral feeling."
Is this association of sati with particular feelings not part of the object being looked at and actually part of the experience of sati itself?
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby pilgrim » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:53 am

Mindfulness is a tool the mind applies to be aware. It is neither pleasant nor unpleasant. What is described as pleasant or unpleasant are feelings (vedana). Obviously, one can be mindful of both pleasant and unpleasant feelings. I thought this much would have been obvious.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:55 am

Greetings,
kirk5a wrote:
Ben wrote:This is the Abhidhamma forum. Robert's definition is consistent with the Abhidhamma.

This appears to me to be in the Classical Theravada forum. As such, aren't non-Abhidhamma answers to the topic fair game?

Yes, so long as there is an attempt to conform to the Mahavihara position on Dhamma matters, as expounded by the ancient commentators.

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Retro. :)
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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:16 am

.
]Just asking. It is good to see that you do not see that Burmese style practice is wrong practice.

Let us be clear I never made any evaluation of the burmese method on this thread. Now if your posts are designed to somehow designate criticism of the burmese techniques improper you might be better asking the administration to put something to this effect in dhamma wheel terms of use.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:19 am

robertk wrote:
robertk wrote: am mystified as to how you could possibly read that onto what I just wrote.
Did you understand that a member thought his mindfulness of brushing his teeth could feel unpleasant. This is an impossibility. According to Abhidhamma.
How does it in anyway bring the Mahasi system into play?
Just asking. It is good to see that you do not see that Burmese style practice is wrong practice.

Let us be clear I never made any evaluation of the burmese method on this thread. Now if your posts are designed to somehow designate criticism of the burmese techniques improper you might be better asking the administration to put something to this effect in dhamma wheel terms of use.
Criticism of the Burmese vipassana methods is fair topic. As for what you have said above, I was curious as to whether or not it would apply to the Burmese methods, even if you have not overtly stated anything about them one way or another.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:22 am

Cittasanto wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:I have certainly experianced unpleasant feelings when being mindful, or bringing mindfulness to a memory that comes up. how is this explained in the Abhidhamma?

Reading some of the responses again, I am now wondering if I had not misunderstood the OP statement that "According to Abhidhamma it is impossible for any mindstates associated with sati to have unpleasant feeling. It can only come with either pleasant or neutral feeling."
Is this association of sati with particular feelings not part of the object being looked at and actually part of the experience of sati itself?

All cittas arise with associated cetasikas such as vedana, feeling. In any kusala mindstate there must be as one of the cetasikas sati. The feeling that also arises at the same time is either pleasant or neutral, never unpleasamt.
Can sati be aware of unpleasant feeling?
Yes of course. But at the moment of such awareness the unpleasnt feeling has just fallen away. This can atill be considered as awateness of the prsent momnt as it is all happenong very fast
Sorry for all my typos. I am using a mobile phone
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:53 am

kirk5a wrote:
Ben wrote:This is the Abhidhamma forum. Robert's definition is consistent with the Abhidhamma.

This appears to me to be in the Classical Theravada forum. As such, aren't non-Abhidhamma answers to the topic fair game?

Oops, I beg your pardon, you are right - it is the Classical Theravada forum. Having said that, Robert's answer is consistent with Classical (Mahavihara) Theravada.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:42 am

Here are listed the various types of kusala citta (all of which have sati as an accompanying cetasika)


http://www.budsas.org/ebud/nina-abhidha ... bhi-19.htm
In the Abhidhamma we learn that there are eight types of maha-kusala cittas, kusala cittas of the sensuous plane of consciousness. Why isn't there only one type? The reason is that each type has its own conditions through which it arises. If we know about these different types and if we can be aware of them when their characteristics present themselves, it will help us not to take them for self. Four types of maha-kusala cittas arise with somanassa (pleasant feeling) and four types arise with upekkha (indifferent feeling). We would like to have kusala cittas with somanassa, because we cling to somanassa. However, one cannot force somanassa to arise. Sometimes we perform dana with somanassa, sometimes with upekkha. It depends on conditions whether somanassa or whether upekkha arises with the maha-kusala citta. Four types are accompanied by wisdom : four types are not accompanied by wisdom. We may, for example, help others without panna or with panna. When we realize that helping is kusala, or when we are aware of the nama or rupa appearing at that moment, there is panna arising with the maha-kusala citta. Four types are asankharika (unprompted, spontaneous, not induced by someone else or by one's own consideration) and four types are sasankharika (prompted, by someone else or by self-inducement) The eight types of maha-kusala cittas are the following: .


1. Accompanied by pleasant feeling, with wisdom, unprompted (Somanassa-sahagatam, nana-sampayuttum, asankharikam ekam)

2. Accompanied by pleasant feeling, with wisdom, prompted (Somanassa-sahagatam, nana-sampayuttam, sasankharikam ekam)

3. Accompanied by pleasant feeling, without wisdom, unprompted (Somanassa-sahagatam, nana-vippayuttam, asankharikam ekam)

4. Accompanied by pleasant feeling, without wisdom, prompted (Somanassa-sahagatam, nana-vippayuttam, sasankharikam ekam)

5. Accompanied by indifferent feeling, with wisdom, unprompted (Upekkha-sahagatam, nana-sampayuttam, asankharikam ekam)

6. Accompanied by indifferent feeling, with wisdom, prompted (Upekkha-sahagatam, nana-sampayuttam, sasankharikam ekam)

7. Accompanied by indifferent feeling, without wisdom, unprompted (Upekkha-sahagatam, nana-vippayuttam, asankharikam ekam)

8. Accompanied by indifferent feeling, without wisdom, prompted (Upekkha-sahagatam, nana-vippayuttam, sasankhaikam ekam)
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:01 am

robertk wrote: But what is thought to be mindfulness in common parlance is often some type of tedious focussing on an approximation of the here and now. This is merely concentration, without any sati or panna, and is a wrong path.


But if we don't pay attention to our experience, how can sati and panna develop?
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:15 am

robertk wrote:Here are listed the various types of kusala citta (all of which have sati as an accompanying cetasika)
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/nina-abhidha ... bhi-19.htm


I couldn't see any mention of sati. Is sati discussed or defined in the Abidhamma?
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