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The Practice of Mindfulness - Dhamma Wheel

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.
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christopher:::
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The Practice of Mindfulness

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

"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

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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.

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Ben
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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
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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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.


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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christopher:::
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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

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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.

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zavk
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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

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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

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

"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

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Jechbi
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

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

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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.

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Jechbi
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

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


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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

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

"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

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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

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


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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

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

"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

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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

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

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adosa
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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

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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
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

rowyourboat
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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

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adosa
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

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

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

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christopher:::
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Re: The Practice of Mindfulness

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

"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


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