Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:31 pm

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?


If we view the boredom as dukkha, then it's also part of our practice to view its cause, then its cessation, and also build our right mindfulness with that kind of knowledge (or panna). All of this is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th noble truth.

While keeping the above in mind... if we noticed that boredom is arising, and we knew its cause, then why would we even allow it to continue?

If we had the right mindfulness, built on the right panna (i.e., we know that it isn't just merely by stopping brushing that we will make this boredom go away) then all of it will fall away, immediately. That seems to be my experience.

That is why Robert K. said the following:

robertk wrote: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 unpleasant.

Can sati be aware of unpleasant feeling?

Yes of course. But at the moment of such awareness the unpleasant feeling has just fallen away. This can still be considered as awareness of the present moment as it is all happening very fast.


Also, from the Satipatthana Sutta:

This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of Nibbana, namely, the four establishments of mindfulness . . .


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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:54 pm

robertk wrote:
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

no problem about the typo's, I am actually quite enjoying reading about me, I have tried reading the first sentence three times without a self implant.
but if I am underatanding this correctly this happends in one or two mind moments?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:00 pm

All mind states arise momentarily and fall away immediately. It is like a new being born and dying again and again, even in the space of a second.
But they do arise in processes and each process is conditioned by previous mind states. Thus this continuity is one of the reasons for the illusion of a lasting being.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:59 am

robertk wrote:All mind states arise momentarily and fall away immediately. It is like a new being born and dying again and again, even in the space of a second.
But they do arise in processes and each process is conditioned by previous mind states. Thus this continuity is one of the reasons for the illusion of a lasting being.


OK, but I'm still not clear how sati is defined in the Abidhamma, or why sati and dosa cannot be present at the same time.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:31 pm

porpoise wrote:
robertk wrote:All mind states arise momentarily and fall away immediately. It is like a new being born and dying again and again, even in the space of a second.
But they do arise in processes and each process is conditioned by previous mind states. Thus this continuity is one of the reasons for the illusion of a lasting being.


OK, but I'm still not clear how sati is defined in the Abidhamma, or why sati and dosa cannot be present at the same time.

Why can't dosa arise at the same time as sati?
Can we hate and love at the same instant? They can alternate but not arise together.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:43 pm

robertk wrote:
porpoise wrote:
robertk wrote:All mind states arise momentarily and fall away immediately. It is like a new being born and dying again and again, even in the space of a second.
But they do arise in processes and each process is conditioned by previous mind states. Thus this continuity is one of the reasons for the illusion of a lasting being.


OK, but I'm still not clear how sati is defined in the Abidhamma, or why sati and dosa cannot be present at the same time.

Why can't dosa arise at the same time as sati?
Can we hate and love at the same instant? They can alternate but not arise together.

Metta is something to be continually mindful of though, not mindfulness itself.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:58 pm

robertk wrote:
porpoise wrote:
robertk wrote:All mind states arise momentarily and fall away immediately. It is like a new being born and dying again and again, even in the space of a second.
But they do arise in processes and each process is conditioned by previous mind states. Thus this continuity is one of the reasons for the illusion of a lasting being.


OK, but I'm still not clear how sati is defined in the Abidhamma, or why sati and dosa cannot be present at the same time.

Why can't dosa arise at the same time as sati?
Can we hate and love at the same instant? They can alternate but not arise together.


So sati includes includes love? I'm not sure what you're basing that on. Again, it would be very helpful to know what definition of sati you're using.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:13 pm

porpoise wrote:

So sati includes includes love? I'm not sure what you're basing that on. Again, it would be very helpful to know what definition of sati you're using.

Sati has nothing to do with love.
But it is absolutely Kusala. It can
Only arise with kuala cittas and thus it is impossible that it could arise with dosa.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby beeblebrox » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:03 pm

Hi Porpoise, I think it makes no sense for the mindfulness to be part of akusala citta, or unwholesome mind.

I think that maybe the difficulty here lies in trying to view these as discrete moments, which are separate from each other... this can cause the problem where it seems like the mindfulness won't have the ability to be in touch with of what is akusala citta, or even to arise out of it. That is only a conventional description... not the reality.

If we try to describe it as a flux, where things are blended together, then I think we also still have the same problem... i.e., the idea that mindfulness could be a part of akusala citta. That obviously isn't the case.

The duration would be another story. I think that with many practitioners, myself included, the mindfulness (if it was that in the first place) will disappear rather quickly... and then it will pop up again sometimes later (which can happen very soon, or after a while), only to disappear fairly quickly again.

Also, I think that maybe what some people call mindfulness is actually concentration.

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Digity » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:55 am

beeblebrox 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?


If we view the boredom as dukkha, then it's also part of our practice to view its cause, then its cessation, and also build our right mindfulness with that kind of knowledge (or panna). All of this is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th noble truth.

While keeping the above in mind... if we noticed that boredom is arising, and we knew its cause, then why would we even allow it to continue?

If we had the right mindfulness, built on the right panna (i.e., we know that it isn't just merely by stopping brushing that we will make this boredom go away) then all of it will fall away, immediately. That seems to be my experience.

I agree. I'm just saying that boredom is something that most people who take up mindfulness will face. I think it's just comes with the territory and you need to work your way through it. I just don't like the idea of someone labeling boredom in mindfulness as "wrong path". To me that's a little absurd. It's not "wrong path" it's just a state that's going to arise, especially if you're taking up mindfulness for the first time. Although, as your mindfulness develops the boredom issue goes away. However, you need to work through the boredom to get there....so experiencing "unpleasant" things during mindfulness practice, in my mind, is not the "wrong path". If anything, I think it's an inevitable part of the process and as we mature in our practice our relationship to those negative experiences change.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:44 am

robertk wrote:
porpoise wrote:

So sati includes includes love? I'm not sure what you're basing that on. Again, it would be very helpful to know what definition of sati you're using.

Sati has nothing to do with love.
But it is absolutely Kusala. It can
Only arise with kuala cittas and thus it is impossible that it could arise with dosa.

what about micca sati?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:14 am

Cittasanto wrote:
robertk wrote:
porpoise wrote:

So sati includes includes love? I'm not sure what you're basing that on. Again, it would be very helpful to know what definition of sati you're using.

Sati has nothing to do with love.
But it is absolutely Kusala. It can
Only arise with kuala cittas and thus it is impossible that it could arise with dosa.

what about micca sati?

the suttas occasionnally use the term when they are talking about the wrong path : miccha ditthi, miccha samadhi.. miccha sati..
But this 'miccha-sati' is in fact lobha.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:20 am

Edit in brackets
robertk wrote:the suttas occasionnally use the term when they are talking about the wrong path : miccha ditthi, miccha samadhi.. miccha sati..
But this 'miccha-sati' is in fact lobha.

so is it not [a form of] sati?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby danieLion » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:22 am

Cittasanto wrote:what about micca sati?

Do you mean what Reverend Mahasi wrote?
Wrong mindfulness is the recollection of worldly matters and unwholesome deeds of the past. Some remember the unwholesome things they did when they were young, their companions, the placesthey visited, their happy days, and so forth. They may be likened to cows chewing the cud at night. These recollections are wrong mindfulness. However, it is not wrong mindfulness when one recognises the mistakes of the past, repents, and resolves not to repeat them in future. Such repentance is right mindfulness. Some monks think of their parents, relatives, native places, and the companionsof their childhood. They recall how they spent their days as laymen. They think of what they have to do for so-and-so. All these recollections of the past are wrong mindfulness. Laymen need not reject thoughts about their sons, daughters, etc., for such recollections are natural. However, while meditating, the meditator should note and reject them. As he sits in his retreat at the meditation centre, noteing the rising and falling of the abdomen or his other bodily movements, “sitting”, “touching”, etc., the meditator recalls what he did formerly, his sayings and doings in his youth, his friends, etc. These are wrong mindfulness and have to be noted and rejected. Some old men and women think of their grandchildren. While noteing their thoughts, they have mental visions of the children near them and they fancy they hear the children calling them. All these have to be noted and expelled. Some meditators felt compelled to return home because they could not overcome these unwholesome thoughts. A meditator’s spiritual effort is often thwarted by wrong mindfulness. In the final analysis a wrong recollection is not a distinct element of consciousness. It is a collection of unwholesome elements in the form of memories concerning worldly and unwholesome things of the past.

Which I presume RobertK disagrees with?
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:25 am

Cittasanto wrote:Edit in brackets
robertk wrote:the suttas occasionnally use the term when they are talking about the wrong path : miccha ditthi, miccha samadhi.. miccha sati..
But this 'miccha-sati' is in fact lobha.

so is it not [a form of] sati?

yes it is not sati.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:28 am

Hi DanieLion,
I had just edited that slightly to include [a form of].
But in many respects yes, to me each aspect that makes up the path is by itself, speech, livelihood, perspective, focus, mindfulness... are neutral, and it is only when you are aiming in a particular direction that it becomes skilful or not.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:36 am

robertk wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:Edit in brackets
robertk wrote:the suttas occasionnally use the term when they are talking about the wrong path : miccha ditthi, miccha samadhi.. miccha sati..
But this 'miccha-sati' is in fact lobha.

so is it not [a form of] sati?

yes it is not sati.

That seams very strange when the description is that of the same thing being used in the wrong way.
to use another path factor is miccaditti, vaca or another not a form of view, speech or another aspect of the path?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby danieLion » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:42 am

Cittasanto wrote:Hi DanieLion,
I had just edited that slightly to include [a form of].
But in many respects yes, to me each aspect that makes up the path is by itself, speech, livelihood, perspective, focus, mindfulness... are neutral, and it is only when you are aiming in a particular direction that it becomes skilful or not.

So, by your view, sati is "neutral" or "dormant" until will and/or intention direct it towards kusala or akusala?
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:53 am

danieLion wrote:So, by your view, sati is "neutral" or "dormant" until will and/or intention direct it towards kusala or akusala?
That is probably the Sarvistivadin view, but not the Theravadin, as robertk has pointed out above.
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 danieLion » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:08 am

tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote:So, by your view, sati is "neutral" or "dormant" until will and/or intention direct it towards kusala or akusala?
That is probably the Sarvistivadin view, but not the Theravadin, as robertk has pointed out above.

So does this also exclude the initial decision to walk the path (and I'm sorry, Tilt, but could you please point out to me in which post Robert pointed it out above? Thanks)? If this distinction holds, many modern teachers who call themselves Theravadin are really Sarvastivadin, right? Because many of them have said this exact thing about sati.
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