The Practice of Mindfulness

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
User avatar
christopher:::
Posts: 1326
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby christopher::: » Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:53 am

As mentioned elsewhere, my friend Michael and I are currently reading Nyanaponika Thera's The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, a book recommended by Ben, Tilt and others here. I just came across this article as well, it's really excellent...

The Power of Mindfulness: An Inquiry into the Scope of Bare Attention and the Principal Sources of its Strength; by Nyanaponika Thera

Anyone feel like discussing Nyanaponika Thera's writing, the Satipatthana Sutta, how to practice mindfulness throughout the day, mindfulness & meditation, related ideas, difficulties, successes, etc?

:namaste:

From the above article:

Introduction

Is mindfulness actually a power in its own right as claimed by the title of this essay? Seen from the viewpoint of the ordinary pursuits of life, it does not seem so. From that angle mindfulness, or attention, has a rather modest place among many other seemingly more important mental faculties serving the purpose of variegated wish-fulfillment. Here, mindfulness means just "to watch one's steps" so that one may not stumble or miss a chance in the pursuit of one's aims. Only in the case of specific tasks and skills is mindfulness sometimes cultivated more deliberately, but here too it is still regarded as a subservient function, and its wider scope and possibilities are not recognized.

Even if one turns to the Buddha's doctrine, taking only a surface view of the various classifications and lists of mental factors in which mindfulness appears, one may be inclined to regard this faculty just as "one among many." Again one may get the impression that it has a rather subordinate place and is easily surpassed in significance by other faculties.

Mindfulness in fact has, if we may personify it, a rather unassuming character. Compared with it, mental factors such as devotion, energy, imagination, and intelligence, are certainly more colorful personalities, making an immediate and strong impact on people and situations. Their conquests are sometimes rapid and vast, though often insecure. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is of an unobtrusive nature. Its virtues shine inwardly, and in ordinary life most of its merits are passed on to other mental faculties which generally receive all the credit. One must know mindfulness well and cultivate its acquaintance before one can appreciate its value and its silent penetrative influence. Mindfulness walks slowly and deliberately, and its daily task is of a rather humdrum nature. Yet where it places its feet it cannot easily be dislodged, and it acquires and bestows true mastery of the ground it covers.

Mental faculties of such a nature, like actual personalities of a similar type, are often overlooked or underrated. In the case of mindfulness, it required a genius like the Buddha to discover the "hidden talent" in the modest garb, and to develop the vast inherent power of that potent seed. It is, indeed, the mark of a genius to perceive and to harness the power of the seemingly small. Here, truly, it happens that "what is little becomes much." A revaluation of values takes place. The standards of greatness and smallness change. Through the master mind of the Buddha, mindfulness is finally revealed as the Archimedean point where the vast revolving mass of world suffering is levered out of its twofold anchorage in ignorance and craving.

The Buddha spoke of the power of mindfulness in a very emphatic way:

"Mindfulness, I declare, is all-helpful" (Samyutta, 46:59).

"All things can be mastered by mindfulness" (Anguttara, 8:83).


Further, there is that solemn and weighty utterance opening and concluding the Satipatthana Sutta, the Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness:

"This is the only way, monks, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of pain and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of Nibbana, namely the four foundations of mindfulness."


In ordinary life, if mindfulness, or attention, is directed to any object, it is rarely sustained long enough for the purpose of careful and factual observation. Generally it is followed immediately by emotional reaction, discriminative thought, reflection, or purposeful action. In a life and thought governed by the Buddha's teaching too, mindfulness (sati) is mostly linked with clear comprehension (sampajañña) of the right purpose or suitability of an action, and other considerations. Thus again it is not viewed in itself. But to tap the actual and potential power of mindfulness it is necessary to understand and deliberately cultivate it in its basic, unalloyed form, which we shall call bare attention.

By bare attention we understand the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us, at the successive moments of perception. It is called "bare" because it attends to the bare facts of a perception without reacting to them by deed, speech or mental comment. Ordinarily, that purely receptive state of mind is, as we said, just a very brief phase of the thought process of which one is often scarcely aware. But in the methodical development of mindfulness aimed at the unfolding of its latent powers, bare attention is sustained for as long a time as one's strength of concentration permits. Bare attention then becomes the key to the meditative practice of satipatthana, opening the door to mind's mastery and final liberation.

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

Sanghamitta
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:08 am

For many of us a kick start in begining the practice of Mindfulness is valuable, and maintenance is valuable in continuing. The kick start and maintenance that many benefit from is a course of hands on instruction. It may be a day or half day or an hour a week, but it is truly worth the effort. I would also add that Sila and Mindfulness go together , both are enhanced by the other.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
Posts: 16345
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Land of the sleeping gods
Contact:

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:10 am

It sounds like an absolutely sterling idea, Chris!
I've actually been thinking a little about the subject of mindfulness of late. Its the result of re-reading Nyaniponika Thera's Heart of Buddhist Meditation and having dipped into the course material of a seminar my wife went to on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, in particular the work of Dr Russ Harris 'The Happiness Trap'. But as you know, with work, family, the vaguaries of internet connectivity problems - the opportunity just hasn't presented itself.
Thanks Chris for starting the thread!
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:44 am

This as Ben says sounds like a sterling idea, I unfortunately will loose any internet connection as of tomorrow morning (due to my moveto the Isle of Man then to the monestary aprox 2months offline) so I won't be able to participate as I may like to on this thread, but can I ask if anyone knows any thesis or new links to ideas within this scope please PM me, there is also for peoples consideration my exploration (see link in signature but still an early version so the grammar and holes still exist in it) which may be somewhat useful within the scope of the thread although some of my interpretations are now more "evolved" - if that is the correct word.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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."

User avatar
christopher:::
Posts: 1326
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby christopher::: » Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:34 am

Hi Ben, Sanghamitta & Manapa. Thanks for jumping in.

Manapa, wow, good luck with your move. I'm not sure how this might connect with all your experiences, but one of the things that has jumped out at me since focusing in on this is how the simplicity of mindfulness, as a method, may lead to people overlooking its potential power.

It needs to be understood correctly (which is where instruction is helpful, as Sanghamitta points out) and then practiced constantly, which can be quite challenging, cause our attention gets so easily caught up in thoughts & emotions, caught up in dukkha, rather then staying alert and detached, in a mindful way...

The practice of mindfulness must remain a constant priority, to be effective.

Does your experience correspond?
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

Sanghamitta
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:09 pm

Yes, although the Buddhas analogy of a stringed instrument, that Ben referred to in another thread, is relevant here too. I remember a period of intense effort to be mindful at all times, this continued for some months. I put so much effort into it that I in fact became hypervigilant. One evening I realised that I had dropped this hyperviligance. At first I thought this meant a lack of mindfulness, but then realised that the hypervigilance was not only unnecessary, but slightly counter productive in achieving a state of relaxed awareness of the processes of the Skandhas. And relaxed awareness is I think the key here.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

User avatar
zavk
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:04 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby zavk » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:30 pm

Nice thread Chris. The questions you ask have been addressed in several other threads. I'll post the links when I can find the time to find them.

For now, I'd like to echo what Sanghamitta has said about 'relaxed awareness'. At my recent stay at the Dhammagiri hermitage, the abbot Ven. Dhammasiha mentioned how anapanasati--although important and useful for cultivating mindfulness and concentration--can lead to a kind of aloofness. This is because through a focussed awareness of the breath, one can experience such subtle realities that the coarser realities of everyday life become somewhat jarring. This may not really be an issue when we are on retreat and it is certainly not so much an issue for a monk living in solitude. However, it can become an issue in lay life where we have to negotiate human interactions and activities. Perhaps this is similar to what Sanghamitta describes as 'hypervigilance'?

In any case, I've recently taken a liking to Ajahn Sumedho's phrase, 'spacious awareness'. I have found this interpretation useful in helping me put mindfulness into practice in everyday life.

I also recently listened to Joseph Goldstein's dhamma talk entitled, 'Knowing, Awareness, Wisdom'. He describes 'knowing' as the narratives of our live: the thoughts, feelings and perceptions they we have at any moment. 'Awareness' (which he uses as a synonym for minfulness or sati) is that which recollects the act of knowing or that which recognises the process of thought. He adds that 'awareness' is the crucial component that allows us to investigate 'knowing'. From this space of 'awareness' that embraces 'knowing', 'wisdom' or understanding arises. I find this explanation very helpful too.


:anjali: :smile:
With metta,
zavk

User avatar
christopher:::
Posts: 1326
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby christopher::: » Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:48 pm

Hi Sanghamitta & zvak. Excellent points about balance and relaxation. Interestingly, this corresponds to instructions often given in Zen Buddhism, concerning the open and "mindful" mode of awareness cultivated in zazen...

:buddha1: :smile:

"The important thing in our understanding is to have a smooth, free-thinking way of observation. We have to think and to observe things without stagnation. We should accept things as they are without difficulty. Our mind should be soft and open enough to understand things as they are. When our thinking is soft, it is called imperturbable thinking. This kind of thinking is always stable. It is called mindful thinking. Concentration should be present in our thinking. This is mindfulness. Whether you have an object or not, your mind should be stable and your mind should not be divided. This is zazen.

It is not necessary to make an effort to think in a particular way. Your thinking should not be one-sided. We just think with our whole mind, and see things as they are without any effort. Just to see, and to be ready to see things with our whole mind, is zazen practice. If we are prepared for thinking, there is no need to make an effort to think. This is called mindfulness.

Mindfulness is, at the same time, wisdom. By wisdom we do not mean some particular faculty or philosophy. It is the readiness of the mind that is wisdom... Wisdom is something which will come out of your mindfulness. So the point is to be ready for observing things, and to be ready for thinking. This is called emptiness of your mind. Emptiness is nothing but the practice of zazen."


~Shunryu Suzuki
from Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

User avatar
Jechbi
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Contact:

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Jechbi » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:55 pm

Howdy everybody,

I like Zavk's and 'Mitta's contributions a lot. It resonates with my experience as well. A few thoughts.

In a different thread, I posted this from the Visuddhimagga, regarding the importance of balance.

VM 4.47 translated by Ven. Nanamoli wrote:However, what is particularly recommended is balancing faith with understanding, and concentration with energy. For one strong in faith and weak in understanding has confidence uncritically and groundlessly. One strong in understanding and weak in faith errs on the side of cunning and is as hard to cure as one sick of a disease caused by medicine. With the balancing of the two a man has confidence only when there are grounds for it.

Then idleness overpowers one strong in concentration and weak in energy, since concentration favours idleness. Agitation overpowers one strong in energy and weak in concentration, since energy favours agitation. But concentration coupled with energy cannot lapse into idleness, and energy coupled with concentration cannot lapse into agitation. So these two should be balanced; for absorption comes with the balancing of the two.
And from 4.49:
Strong mindfulness, however, is needed in all instances; for mindfulness protects the mind from lapsing into agitation through faith, energy and understanding, which favor agitation, and from lapsing into idleness through concentration, which favors idleness. So it is as desirable in all instances as a seasoning of salt in all sauces, as a prime minister in all the king's business.


Interestingly, in the type of sitting practice that works best for me, awareness does indeed have a balancing counterpoint, and it is equanimity. I've been taught that without these two working in tandem, like wings, without awareness and equanimity both in application, there will not be stability conducive to understanding. I think this balancing approach may address the problem of hypervigilence -- a term used by medical doctors to label a diagnosis, I believe.

Best wishes
:smile:
Last edited by Jechbi on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

Sanghamitta
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:13 pm

I was using the term hypervigilance for the condition that sometimes arises for meditators who feel that they have to strain to be always consciously aware of all sense impressions. That is a good way to over- tighten the string of the Vina ! Instead as one of the Chithurst Ajahns said, we should aim to be alert and aware , "but with soft eyes and a slight smile ready to let all sense impressions go as they arise". I knew what he meant... :smile:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

User avatar
Jechbi
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Contact:

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Jechbi » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:23 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:That is a good way to over- tighten the string of the Vina !

I'm glad you said that! It prompted me to go hunting for this: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Suppose there were a king or king's minister who had never heard the sound of a lute before. He might hear the sound of a lute and say, 'What, my good men, is that sound — so delightful, so tantalizing, so intoxicating, so ravishing, so enthralling?' They would say, 'That, sire, is called a lute, whose sound is so delightful, so tantalizing, so intoxicating, so ravishing, so enthralling.' Then he would say, 'Go & fetch me that lute.' They would fetch the lute and say, 'Here, sire, is the lute whose sound is so delightful, so tantalizing, so intoxicating, so ravishing, so enthralling.' He would say, 'Enough of your lute. Fetch me just the sound.' Then they would say, 'This lute, sire, is made of numerous components, a great many components. It's through the activity of numerous components that it sounds: that is, in dependence on the body, the skin, the neck, the frame, the strings, the bridge, and the appropriate human effort. Thus it is that this lute — made of numerous components, a great many components — sounds through the activity of numerous components.'

"Then the king would split the lute into ten pieces, a hundred pieces. Having split the lute into ten pieces, a hundred pieces, he would shave it to splinters. Having shaved it to splinters, he would burn it in a fire. Having burned it in a fire, he would reduce it to ashes. Having reduced it to ashes, he would winnow it before a high wind or let it be washed away by a swift-flowing stream. He would then say, 'A sorry thing, this lute — whatever a lute may be — by which people have been so thoroughly tricked & deceived.'
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

User avatar
christopher:::
Posts: 1326
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby christopher::: » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:45 pm

Hi Jechbi. The lute metaphor can be presented in different ways. I may be misunderstanding the quote above but it differs i think from the example Ben provided (that Sanghamitta is referring to) where Buddha used the lute analogy to represent the essential harmony and balancing of interdependent factors, including equanimity and mindfulness, as you just mentioned...

Bojjhanga: 'the 7 factors of enlightenment', are: awareness or mindfulness sati-sambojjhanga, sati, investigation of the law dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga energy viriya-sambojjhanga, viriya padhāna rapture pīti-sambojjhanga tranquillity passaddhi-sambojjhanga, concentration samādhi-sambojjhanga, equanimity upekkhā. Because they lead to enlightenment, therefore they are called factors of enlightenment see: XLVI, 5...


:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

User avatar
Jechbi
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Contact:

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Jechbi » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:59 pm

Hi Christopher,
christopher::: wrote:it differs i think from the example Ben provided (that Sanghamitta is referring to) where Buddha used the lute analogy to represent the essential harmony and balancing of interdependent factors
Differs or complements?
:anjali:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

User avatar
christopher:::
Posts: 1326
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby christopher::: » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:43 pm

Jechbi wrote:Differs or complements?


LOL, its too late at night right now for me to be in any way sure...

Anyway, here's what Mike shared in the other discussion, a bit before Ben mentioned the musical analogy as well.

mikenz66 wrote:Actually, I though the balancing was just a Commentary thing, but there is some hint of it in this Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were neither too taut nor too loose, but tuned to be right on pitch, was your vina in tune & playable?"

"Yes, lord."

"In the same way, Sona, over-aroused persistence leads to restlessness, overly slack persistence leads to laziness. Thus you should determine the right pitch for your persistence, attune the pitch of the [five] faculties [to that], and there pick up your theme."

However, it's not a balancing between faculties...

Mike


Looks like he was talking about a vina here also, not a lute.
Now, are those similar?

I have nooooooooooo idea.

Off to bed.

Image :hello:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

User avatar
Jechbi
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Contact:

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Jechbi » Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:12 pm

vina.jpg
vina.jpg (42.88 KiB) Viewed 1204 times
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

User avatar
adosa
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:08 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby adosa » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:34 pm

Greetings all,

I often times find myself wanting to add, in someway, to the act of mindfulness. Almost a feeling of "Is that it? There has to be something more I can be doing." As if I can force the issue of simply being aware. I think it comes from wanting an epiphanic moment. I know that in itself comes from grasping. But still it's interesting to watch the mind try to enhance what is already just fine as is. In fact even the process of realizing the mind has drifted off and bringing it back to mindfulness is mindfulness. So even drifting off, as long as it is caught before unwholesome actions arise, is okay.



adosa
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
Posts: 16345
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Land of the sleeping gods
Contact:

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:37 am

Hi adosa
I know what you mean. I similarly had a 'is that it' after instructions of anapana and vipassana on my frst retreat!
But through the years, I've become aware of the subtlety of the technique of 'bare awareness' or 'bare attention' and to be able to muster bare awareness as in atapi sampajjano satima without the lifetime of mental overlays is a feat in itself.
Just keep plugging away my friend and I'm sure you'll see what I mean.
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

rowyourboat
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: London, UK

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:28 pm

Hi Ben Adosa, as far as I am aware it is not just that! But I am interested to hear what you have to say. The lute similie above seems to talk of exploring the five aggregates and finding that there is no self. I suppose as a method we could stop with mindfulness. But it can lead to samatha- just calmness with no insight and no true letting go (in fact stronger attachment to the world with the blissful experience, maybe not gross sense pleasures but more subtler ones nevertheless). Often mindfulness is linked with sampjanna- clear comprehension. Clear comprehension is defined in the suttas as being aware of arising and passing away. This when seen continuously leads to awareness of impermanence and true letting go (vipassana).


Mindful (sati) & Alert (sampajanna). Stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is our
instruction to you all. And how is a monk mindful? There is the case
where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent,
alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to
the world. He remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities
in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed &
distress with reference to the world [§213]. This is how a monk is
mindful.

And how is a monk alert (clearly comprehending)? There is the case where feelings are known
to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they
subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they
persist, known as they subside. Discernment (vl: perception) is known
to him as it arises, known as it persists, known as it subsides. This
is how a monk is alert. So stay mindful, monks, and alert. This is
our instruction to you all.
— SN 47.35
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

User avatar
adosa
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:08 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby adosa » Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:28 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Ben Adosa, as far as I am aware it is not just that! But I am interested to hear what you have to say. The lute similie above seems to talk of exploring the five aggregates and finding that there is no self. I suppose as a method we could stop with mindfulness. But it can lead to samatha- just calmness with no insight and no true letting go (in fact stronger attachment to the world with the blissful experience, maybe not gross sense pleasures but more subtler ones nevertheless). Often mindfulness is linked with sampjanna- clear comprehension. Clear comprehension is defined in the suttas as being aware of arising and passing away. This when seen continuously leads to awareness of impermanence and true letting go (vipassana).




Hi rowyourboat,


Good points. Just for the record I don't mean to make it sound like I view mindfulness as easy. In fact it is one of the hardest practices I've ever attempted to master. My point was that I find myself, rather than simply being aware of ever changing phenomenon, subconsciously thinking I need to intellectualize every aspect. Like there has to be more to the process. I think its a subconscious control issue. The likes of which create more suffering.

Thanks for your post.

adosa
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

User avatar
christopher:::
Posts: 1326
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:56 am

Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

Postby christopher::: » Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:00 am

adosa wrote:
I often times find myself wanting to add, in someway, to the act of mindfulness. Almost a feeling of "Is that it? There has to be something more I can be doing." As if I can force the issue of simply being aware. I think it comes from wanting an epiphanic moment. I know that in itself comes from grasping. But still it's interesting to watch the mind try to enhance what is already just fine as is. In fact even the process of realizing the mind has drifted off and bringing it back to mindfulness is mindfulness. So even drifting off, as long as it is caught before unwholesome actions arise, is okay.



Yes!! especially to the part in bold...

Ben wrote:Hi adosa
I know what you mean. I similarly had a 'is that it' after instructions of anapana and vipassana on my frst retreat!
But through the years, I've become aware of the subtlety of the technique of 'bare awareness' or 'bare attention' and to be able to muster bare awareness as in atapi sampajjano satima without the lifetime of mental overlays is a feat in itself.
Just keep plugging away my friend and I'm sure you'll see what I mean.


Thanks, Ben. Good to hear such encouragement from a longtime dhamma brother on the front lines.

:bow:

rowyourboat wrote:The lute similie above seems to talk of exploring the five aggregates and finding that there is no self. I suppose as a method we could stop with mindfulness. But it can lead to samatha- just calmness with no insight and no true letting go (in fact stronger attachment to the world with the blissful experience, maybe not gross sense pleasures but more subtler ones nevertheless). Often mindfulness is linked with sampjanna- clear comprehension. Clear comprehension is defined in the suttas as being aware of arising and passing away. This when seen continuously leads to awareness of impermanence and true letting go (vipassana).


Nice description. It seems like a gradual unraveling of self, in my experience. Seeing patterns i once identified with and realizing, "ah, that's not me... and that's not me..." Letting go, slowly....

adosa wrote:
Hi rowyourboat,

Good points. Just for the record I don't mean to make it sound like I view mindfulness as easy. In fact it is one of the hardest practices I've ever attempted to master. My point was that I find myself, rather than simply being aware of ever changing phenomenon, subconsciously thinking I need to intellectualize every aspect. Like there has to be more to the process. I think its a subconscious control issue. The likes of which create more suffering.



Could you say more about that, adosa? I agree that much is subconscious... Which may explain why this takes so long, the unraveling of self, for most of us....

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009


Return to “Discovering Theravāda”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests