Mindfulness

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Mindfulness

Postby MayaRefugee » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:27 am

Greetings,

When we say one is practicing mindfulness what is it that is being mindful?

If the goal is to eventually eliminate the notion of an "I" and you actually do eliminate the notion of an "I" how could you say "I" is being mindful?

Thanks
MayaRefugee
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:15 am

Re: Mindfulness

Postby Reductor » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:35 am

MayaRefugee wrote:Greetings,

When we say one is practicing mindfulness what is it that is being mindful?



The process is in the process of being aware of the process. Awareness is awareness and is otherwise indescribable beyond the object it is aware of.


If the goal is to eventually eliminate the notion of an "I" and you actually do eliminate the notion of an "I" how could you say "I" is being mindful?

Thanks


You can't, in the sense that you know that there is no "I". But language makes the use of reflexive pronouns as a matter of course. So for an arahant to speak, he must make use of such things as the dreaded "I".

A car is made up of thousands of parts, not even one of them is a 'car', yet we call the final product a 'car'. A person is made up of even more parts, and all of the moving. There is no part that might be called 'I', yet we call all this accumulation of parts 'I' because it is the easiest way to refer to it.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

User avatar
Reductor
 
Posts: 1285
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Mindfulness

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:54 am

Greetings MayaRefugee,

The Satipatthana Sutta will give you a comprehensive (yet not exhaustive) collection of things one could be mindful of.

MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14672
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Mindfulness

Postby MayaRefugee » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:24 pm

thereductor wrote:The process is in the process of being aware of the process.


Can this go on to infinity?

BTW, Thanks for the replies....

Peace.
MayaRefugee
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:15 am

Re: Mindfulness

Postby Dan74 » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:38 pm

what is it that is being mindful?


This is for us to find out (maybe). In Chan (Chinese Zen) this is called a hua-tou (hwadu in Korean). It's a deep inquiry which once it takes root keeps the practitioner in a constant one-pointed state of meditation that eventually leads to a break-through. In the process, the practitioner lets go of all else, even concern for one's body and life. The inquiry pushes ever deeper, past every conceptual notion, part perception and physical sensation, past the arising and falling of though and mentation... As all these are revealed to be not-self and identifications dissolve, what emerges in clear unspotted brightness is the unborn and the unconditioned.

But as a direct answer of your question I would just echo the other posters and say that there is no agent, but a habitual pattern of volition. A mental formation of effort and attendant sensations, all empty and without a core, a self. But we usually perceived a self within, due to our conditioning.
Last edited by Dan74 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2640
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Mindfulness

Postby Reductor » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:35 am

MayaRefugee wrote:
thereductor wrote:The process is in the process of being aware of the process.


Can this go on to infinity?

BTW, Thanks for the replies....

Peace.


It has so far, but it doesn't have to.

However, it is not an easy thing to put an end to (if you accept life to life rebirth as true).

We are always 'mindful' in that we are always aware of an object (ie, feeling, thought, perceptions, input from the 5 senses), but in the skillful mode of mindfulness there is a process which halts the usual chain of perceptions that arise and instead looks at the object in terms of its true characteristics. In fact it is best to know what the perception is and what the actual characteristics of the object are, so that you can compare them.

Eventually all objects that are made the object of mindfulness are analyzed to the point that desire for any object ceases, and so their is something called 'cessation of feeling and perception' which is awareness without object. This is the first time in the entire history of existence that 'our' awareness is without object. I hear it is really something else :meditate:

And so there is my long winded answer.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

User avatar
Reductor
 
Posts: 1285
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Mindfulness

Postby MayaRefugee » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:02 am

Not being rude here but what I meant to ask was:

At 1, the process is in the process of being aware of the process.

At 2 could the process be in the process of being aware that it is in the process of being aware of the process.

Then at 3 could it be aware of what it's doing at 2 and at 4 be aware of what it's doing at 3 and so on to infinity.

Peace.
MayaRefugee
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:15 am

Re: Mindfulness

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:22 am

MayaRefugee wrote:Not being rude here but what I meant to ask was:

At 1, the process is in the process of being aware of the process.

At 2 could the process be in the process of being aware that it is in the process of being aware of the process.

Then at 3 could it be aware of what it's doing at 2 and at 4 be aware of what it's doing at 3 and so on to infinity.

Peace.
Infinite regress, but why make this complicated?

The original question:
When we say one is practicing mindfulness what is it that is being mindful?
No need for infinite regress: You are being mindful.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19555
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Mindfulness

Postby Dan74 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:26 am

MayaRefugee wrote:Not being rude here but what I meant to ask was:

At 1, the process is in the process of being aware of the process.

At 2 could the process be in the process of being aware that it is in the process of being aware of the process.

Then at 3 could it be aware of what it's doing at 2 and at 4 be aware of what it's doing at 3 and so on to infinity.

Peace.


Like Tilt says, just focus on the object of awareness and there is no infinite regress.

Going a touch deeper, at each of your stages above, "it" is a fiction. Remove "it" and what are you left with? Just awareness.

So sure, if you like to drive yourself insane, think of it as "I am being aware of myself being aware of myself being aware...." and keep going, but there is no need. Simply aware, "the one" being aware is exposed as an unnecessary extra, a concept that divides awareness into subject and object. But there is actually no division like that present. It is just a useful tool for communication.

But until there is knowledge of that, it's good to try and put 100% into awareness of your meditation object. Then the notion of you being aware, of watching time passing, etc gradually gives way to a more complete awareness of whatever it is.



Does this address your question?
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2640
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Mindfulness

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:31 am

Dan74 wrote: At each stage, "it" is a fiction. Remove "it" and what are you left with? Just awareness.

So sure, if you like to drive yourself insane, think of it as "I am being aware of myself being aware of myself being aware...." and keep going, but there is no need. Simply aware, "the one" being aware is exposed as an unnecessary extra, a concept that divides awareness into subject and object. But there is actually no division like that present. It is just a useful tool for communication.

Does this address your question?
If it were my question, your answer really does not address it.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19555
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Mindfulness

Postby Dan74 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:33 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote: At each stage, "it" is a fiction. Remove "it" and what are you left with? Just awareness.

So sure, if you like to drive yourself insane, think of it as "I am being aware of myself being aware of myself being aware...." and keep going, but there is no need. Simply aware, "the one" being aware is exposed as an unnecessary extra, a concept that divides awareness into subject and object. But there is actually no division like that present. It is just a useful tool for communication.

Does this address your question?
If it were my question, your answer really does not address it.


Since you've raised it, do you care to elaborate?
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2640
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Mindfulness

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:35 am

Dan74 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote: At each stage, "it" is a fiction. Remove "it" and what are you left with? Just awareness.

So sure, if you like to drive yourself insane, think of it as "I am being aware of myself being aware of myself being aware...." and keep going, but there is no need. Simply aware, "the one" being aware is exposed as an unnecessary extra, a concept that divides awareness into subject and object. But there is actually no division like that present. It is just a useful tool for communication.

Does this address your question?
If it were my question, your answer really does not address it.


Since you've raised it, do you care to elaborate?
Just awareness?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19555
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Mindfulness

Postby Dan74 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:36 am

What else?
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2640
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Mindfulness

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:43 am

Dan74 wrote:What else?
And what is awareness?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19555
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Mindfulness

Postby Dan74 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:54 am

As far as I can tell awareness is the fundamental, it defies description.

My point in the above was to say that this preoccupation with "I" who is doing it all should either be done properly like in hua-tou meditation or in analysing what is not "I" as in Theravada or simply put aside while practicing mindfulness. Conventional preoccupation with it as in infinite regress is not productive.

Is this really contentious?
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2640
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Mindfulness

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:59 am

Dan74 wrote:As far as I can tell awareness is the fundamental, it defies description.
Then we have no idea of what it is.

My point in the above was to say that this preoccupation with "I" who is doing it all should either be done properly like in hua-tou meditation
?

or in analysing what is not "I" as in Theravada
Is that what Mahasi Sayadaw type vipassana meditation does?

or simply put aside while practicing mindfulness.
Is mindfulness the same as awareness?

Conventional preoccupation with it as in infinite regress is not productive.
Probably it is not a good understanding of the issue at hand.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19555
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Mindfulness

Postby Dan74 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:17 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:As far as I can tell awareness is the fundamental, it defies description.
Then we have no idea of what it is.

I guess it is what remains when all the fictions are put to rest. But it has never been missing. Makes sense?

We cannot conceive of it, but it is right here nevertheless.

tilt wrote:
My point in the above was to say that this preoccupation with "I" who is doing it all should either be done properly like in hua-tou meditation
?


I am not sure what you are querying here. Clearly "properly" was applied to both clauses.

or in analysing what is not "I" as in Theravada
Is that what Mahasi Sayadaw type vipassana meditation does?


Firstly I am not familiar with Mahasi method. Is it? Nor was I implying that there are only two ways. Sorry if I said that "analysing what is not "I" is the only method in Theravada while it isn't. But keep in mind that I was refering to the inquiry about who or what is being mindful, rather than the mindfulness practice itself. What does Mahasi Sayadaw teach about that?

Tilt wrote:
or simply put aside while practicing mindfulness.
Is mindfulness the same as awareness?

Only in the ultimate sense or when practiced to its completion, I guess. Our everyday run-of-the-mill mindfulness still has the subject and object, so it is not fully mindful.

tilt wrote:
Conventional preoccupation with it as in infinite regress is not productive.
Probably it is not a good understanding of the issue at hand.

It? :smile:
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2640
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Mindfulness

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:06 am

Dan74 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:As far as I can tell awareness is the fundamental, it defies description.
Then we have no idea of what it is.

I guess it is what remains when all the fictions are put to rest. But it has never been missing. Makes sense?

We cannot conceive of it, but it is right here nevertheless.
Mahayana stuff.

tilt wrote:
My point in the above was to say that this preoccupation with "I" who is doing it all should either be done properly like in hua-tou meditation
?


I am not sure what you are querying here. Clearly "properly" was applied to both clauses.
hua-tou meditation? Why would we have a clue as to what that is?

But rather than getting lost in all of this, let us get back to the the OP question - When we say one is practicing mindfulness what is it that is being mindful? The problem is that it it assumes that there is some sort of "it" there. In a conventional sense, it is the individual that is being mindfull, but mindfulness is a part of the process of awareness/consciousness, viññana, and consciousness/awareness is always aware of something. Using mindfulness abit loosely, it is that aspect of awareness that arises before the "self" identification kicks in. The practice is the cultivation of that "bare attention" - at least in the Mahasi Sayadaw type 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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19555
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Mindfulness

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:21 am

Hi MayaRefugee
MayaRefugee wrote:Greetings,

When we say one is practicing mindfulness what is it that is being mindful?

If the goal is to eventually eliminate the notion of an "I" and you actually do eliminate the notion of an "I" how could you say "I" is being mindful?

Thanks


The premise in your question seems to suggest that if one is being mindful then it refutes the doctrine of anatta by suggesting that there really is a self or some essence that oversees and is being mindful.
As others have said, being mindful is really just a process of attending to an object. When we are engaged in the practice of minfulness of this or that object, one may have the sense that "I" am being mindful, but the sense of "I" that we continue to identify with, is nothing but a computation aid. If I get time later tonight, I'll try and supply some quotes for you.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16128
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Mindfulness

Postby ground » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:54 am

MayaRefugee wrote:Greetings,

When we say one is practicing mindfulness what is it that is being mindful?

If I want to get rid of a habit I am mindful of this habit and my motivation to get rid of it so that when it appears I will be in a position to immediately combat it.
If I want to practice mindfulness as defined in the Satipatthàna Sutta then I decide to do it and am mindful of this decision and the concepts contained in the sutta and if I am on the verge of forgetting I recall it/them and stick to it/them.
So generally: Mindfulness implies to stick to concepts, decisions, motivations in the sense of these being "present". These may be conclusions of own investigations or conclusions that someone else has made and taught (as in the case of the Buddha).

MayaRefugee wrote:If the goal is to eventually eliminate the notion of an "I" and you actually do eliminate the notion of an "I" how could you say "I" is being mindful?

You do not need to "say" you just have to be mindful!
Just being mindful does not necessarily imply concepts of there someone being who is mindful and there something being the someone is being mindful of. "Thinking about doing" is not the "doing".
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am

Next

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alex123, chownah, Dan74, David N. Snyder, Google [Bot], Sylvester and 10 guests