Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
coreycook950
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Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby coreycook950 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 4:04 pm

How do you practice the four foundations of mindfulness?

All at once or one at a time?

I'm thinking of practicing them one day at a time such as with Contemplation of the Body,

Mon, Mindfulness of Breathing
Tues, Postures of the Body
Wed, Mindfulness with Clear Comprehension
Thurs, Reflection on Repulsiveness of the Body
Fri, Reflection on Material Elements
Sat, Nine Cemetery Contemplations.

-Could I practice the Four Foundations of Mindfulness continuing in this manner?

Thank you for your help.

Corey

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bodom
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby bodom » Sat Jul 04, 2015 5:36 pm

The person who wishes to practice meditation according to the instruction of the Buddha on the Arousing of Mindfulness should first read the discourse, with the commentary on the synopsis, and get a fair idea of the trend of the teaching. Today, there are still people as of old who learn the discourse by heart as a preparation to practice. Such memorizing is helpful to certain types. But it is not essential. What is essential is to think long and deep on the instruction, until one gets the hang of its application to daily life. Only by repeated reflection on all the implications of it, can the discourse be made an effective instrument of mental culture.

The core of the instruction is in the sections dealing with the modes of deportment and clear comprehension. These are intended for all types of aspirants. The commentary on these sections is very important and should be carefully studied. The whole practice of mindfulness depends on the correct grasp of the exercises included in the two parts referred to here.

One should then look through the rest of the exercises in the discourse with the help of the commentary to find a preliminary object of concentration or subject of meditation that accords with one's character, temperament and cognizing slant mentioned earlier. If, for instance, one is an extrovert mentally languid or a person whose cognizing slant is intuitive and is temperamentally slow of mind, the contemplation on breathing could well suit that one as a preliminary object.

If one finds the explanation given in the commentary to the discourse on mindfulness on any preliminary object one chooses insufficient, one should read the exposition of it in the Path of Purification [Visuddhi Magga] of our commentator. One may if a teacher of Buddhist meditation can be found, also consult him and ask for elucidation of any difficult points connected with meditative practice.

Necessary too to be read by all are the portions of the commentary on the contemplation of feeling and consciousness, and those on the hindrances, the sense-bases and the factors of Enlightenment (in the contemplation of Mental Objects) which give information on the obstacles and aids to concentration on the preliminary object.

In concentration of any preliminary object, say the breath, if any feeling or thought that interferes with concentration arises, then one should contemplate on that interfering phenomenon in a manner that accords to the exposition on feeling, consciousness, the hindrances, or the sense-bases, in the commentary, until the interference disappears and then revert to the preliminary object.

Similarly, when attending to the preliminary object, any over-activeness or slackness present should be overcome by the method taught in the exposition on the factors of Enlightenment in the commentary and then there will be steady work possible on the object of concentration. It is useful to bear in mind that either the favorable or the unfavorable qualities increase by pondering over them and decrease by the turning away of attention from them.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... /wayof.htm

I also HIGHLY recommend reading Analayos Satipathanna commentary.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo

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Goofaholix
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:16 pm

Looks like a worthwhile exercise, as long as it doesn't distract you from the tasks you have at hand at the point in time.

The point though is to eventually develop a momentum whereby mindfulness is countinuous and you don't need refer back to a regime like this.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Kamran
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby Kamran » Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:20 am

coreycook950 wrote:How do you practice the four foundations of mindfulness?

All at once or one at a time?

I'm thinking of practicing them one day at a time such as with Contemplation of the Body,

Mon, Mindfulness of Breathing
Tues, Postures of the Body
Wed, Mindfulness with Clear Comprehension
Thurs, Reflection on Repulsiveness of the Body
Fri, Reflection on Material Elements
Sat, Nine Cemetery Contemplations.

-Could I practice the Four Foundations of Mindfulness continuing in this manner?

Thank you for your help.

Corey


That's sounds like a wonderful practice :) You might be interested in a guided meditation by Analayo Bhikhu that goes through all of them. Also, I like to do Metta for 15 minutes first to set a positive mood prior to the body part and cemetery contemplations.
"Silence gives answers"

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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby paul » Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:30 am

In the longer term, I would recommend studying what constitutes mindfulness itself, it being a group of factors:
---Thanissaro Bikkhu, "Mindfulness Defined:"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... fined.html

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:27 am

I don't think it is such a great idea. The Buddha taught the different methods of body contemplation to suit bhikkhus with different temperaments. It is not expected that one should practise all of the methods. Certainly, mindfulness of the four postures and clear comprehension of all daily activities are universal methods that are appropriate for all.

Of the other methods, choose one from — mindfulness of breathing, mindfulness of the four elements, contemplation of the 32 body-parts, or contemplation of a corpse in various stages of decay (if you have one handy).

Having established mindfulness on the body to some extent, extend your awareness to feelings, thoughts, and mental states.
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coreycook950
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby coreycook950 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:32 pm

Post Update:

Ven. Bhikku Bodhi directed me to Joseph Goldstein's book "Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening" to help me with the subject.
Intrigued, I then purchased all of Goldstein's educational materials.
He seems to be quite a wonderful Dhamma teacher!

C.

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:50 pm

coreycook950 wrote:Ven. Bhikku Bodhi directed me to Joseph Goldstein's book "Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening" to help me with the subject.Intrigued, I then purchased all of Goldstein's educational materials.
He seems to be quite a wonderful Dhamma teacher!


I've recently been listening to some of Joseph Goldstein's talks, good stuff, very practical. :thumbsup:
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Spiny Norman
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:21 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Having established mindfulness on the body to some extent, extend your awareness to feelings, thoughts, and mental states.


Yes, mindfulness of the body seems to be foundational, and an effective way of re-establishing mindfulness.
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
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Vanda
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby Vanda » Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:35 am

I practice them all at once, moment to moment (sati), as they encompass all - nama-rupa.
“Don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted and carried out, lead to welfare and to happiness’ — then you should enter and remain in them.”
- Kalama Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya

mal4mac
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby mal4mac » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:11 am

bodom wrote:
I also HIGHLY recommend reading Analayos Satipathanna commentary.



His book is available from his website

https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg.de/pdf/5-personen/analayo/direct-path.pdf

He does consider how to balance the contemplations. Below are my modified notes from his book on that aspect, p.268-270 (but please, please, read the original...)

The Satipatthãna Sutta presents a theoretical model, not a case study. From awareness of the breath, the dynamics of contemplation lead to another satipatthãna object which has become prominent, and then reverts to the breath. If the newly-arisen object of meditation should require sustained attention and deeper investigation, it can become the new centre of the flower, with the former object becoming a petal. The flexibility of the satipatthãna scheme allows freedom for variation and combination according to the character and development of the meditator.
- Mal

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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby badscooter » Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:29 pm

mal4mac wrote:
bodom wrote:
I also HIGHLY recommend reading Analayos Satipathanna commentary.



His book is available from his website

https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg.de/pdf/5-personen/analayo/direct-path.pdf

He does consider how to balance the contemplations. Below are my modified notes from his book on that aspect, p.268-270 (but please, please, read the original...)

The Satipatthãna Sutta presents a theoretical model, not a case study. From awareness of the breath, the dynamics of contemplation lead to another satipatthãna object which has become prominent, and then reverts to the breath. If the newly-arisen object of meditation should require sustained attention and deeper investigation, it can become the new centre of the flower, with the former object becoming a petal. The flexibility of the satipatthãna scheme allows freedom for variation and combination according to the character and development of the meditator.

thats a pretty good paraphrase :smile:
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"

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Mohan Gnanathilake
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Right Mindfulness (sammā-sati)

Postby Mohan Gnanathilake » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:42 pm

As a Theravada Buddhist I believe that if mindfulness is cultivated there can be mindfulness before we fall asleep. If there is no mindfulness or ‘sati’, there may be attachment or ‘lobha’ when we are pleased to be comfortably lying down. Or perhaps we are worrying about many things which have happened during the day and thus aversion or ‘dosa’ arises. If there is no mindfulness of the realities which appear, we are likely to fall asleep with unwholesome mental states or ‘akusala cittas’. If there is mindfulness just before we fall asleep there are conditions for mindfulness as soon as we wake up.
All thoughts begin in the mind, mind is supreme and mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with impure mind pain follows him like the wheel the hoof of the ox.
(Dhammapada 1, Yamaka Vagga – The Twin Verses)

All thoughts begin in the mind, mind is supreme and mind –made are they. If one speaks or acts with pure mind happiness follows him like one’s shadow that never leaves.
(Dhammapada 2, Yamaka Vagga – The Twin Verses)

Mr.Mohan Barathi Gnanathilake
Permanent Address : No. 372 / 2 , Mahara Prison Road , Ragama, Sri Lanka.
Telephone No :+94 112957857
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby form » Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:06 am

I have read about Bhikkhu Analayo's foundations of mindfulness comparison between agamas and Pali canon in a library. I remembered there are some differences for the part on mind. Can anyone direct me to an online link to that?
Last edited by form on Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cittasanto
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:29 pm

coreycook950 wrote:How do you practice the four foundations of mindfulness?

All at once or one at a time?

I'm thinking of practicing them one day at a time such as with Contemplation of the Body,

Mon, Mindfulness of Breathing
Tues, Postures of the Body
Wed, Mindfulness with Clear Comprehension
Thurs, Reflection on Repulsiveness of the Body
Fri, Reflection on Material Elements
Sat, Nine Cemetery Contemplations.

-Could I practice the Four Foundations of Mindfulness continuing in this manner?

Thank you for your help.

Corey

Hi,
I would recommend sticking to one part at a time, extending each days practice into weeks before moving on to the next. If you are familiar with Anapanasati practice already(?) you could combine Anapana with Postures in the first week(s) then also incorporating mindfulness with clear comprehension as the basis of your practice to use with the other parts.

Kind Regards
Cittasanto
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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 …
...
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SarathW
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby SarathW » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:20 pm

Agree.
Sitting cross leg and body erect for half an hour also a big challenge.
Getting motivated to sit is even a bigger challenge.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Mohan Gnanathilake
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Right Mindfulness (sammā-sati)

Postby Mohan Gnanathilake » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:06 am

Someone does not know when someone will die. If someone develops mindfulness in daily life there are conditions for mindfulness shortly before death. The mental states or ‘cittas’ arising shortly before death condition the rebirth-consciousness of the next life. Therefore someone should cultivate mindfulness even at the moment before someone falls asleep.
All thoughts begin in the mind, mind is supreme and mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with impure mind pain follows him like the wheel the hoof of the ox.
(Dhammapada 1, Yamaka Vagga – The Twin Verses)

All thoughts begin in the mind, mind is supreme and mind –made are they. If one speaks or acts with pure mind happiness follows him like one’s shadow that never leaves.
(Dhammapada 2, Yamaka Vagga – The Twin Verses)

Mr.Mohan Barathi Gnanathilake
Permanent Address : No. 372 / 2 , Mahara Prison Road , Ragama, Sri Lanka.
Telephone No :+94 112957857
Email :moh.bar.gna1975@gmail.com

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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:03 pm

Dear Mohan

What happens after death is determined by what someone did while they were alive, according to the Buddha.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

There is a misconception that the moment before death or sleep is special. The Buddhism rejects this idea and places the emphasis on what that person did his or her entire lifetime.

metta

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With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:10 pm

coreycook950 wrote:How do you practice the four foundations of mindfulness?

All at once or one at a time?



Hi Corey,

The Four foundations of mindfulness should be practiced while intermittently reviewing the mind, to ensure that you are making progress (reduction of defilements like craving, aversion and delusion).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

You could also take this to mean that you should pick up the meditation that is most effective in removing defilements in the present moment. Having skills in all or most of them will be helpful. Ven Assaji in one sutta mentions that practicing all 4 is better than practicing one foundation of mindfulness, but at the appropriate time.

Having a teacher helps too or being in a group of kalyanamittas who you can reflect your practices off on- I suppose this forum counts. :smile:

metta

Mat
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby Lucas Oliveira » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:30 pm

The contemplation of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness progresses not only from the external to the internal, from the coarse to the refined, but it also progresses from basic awareness to more enhanced states of concentration and wisdom. The establishment of mindfulness in each domain leads to calmer and more focused mental faculties and to a clearer and more insightful knowledge and understanding about ourselves. Insight into the truth about ourselves, in turn, fosters a profound sense of detachment. When insights have gone deep enough, when wisdom has done its job, when understanding has come, then attachments are relinquished without our conscious intention.

The purpose of establishing mindfulness in each of the Four Satipaṭṭhāna is to gradually overcome personal attachments in the domains of body and mind. In the domain of the body, we consider how the human body is part of the physical world. It’s composed of earthly substances; it’s sustained by nutrients from the earth; and it decays and returns to the earth after death. At the same time, we know the body internally in a way that is different from the way we perceive the external world.

From the point of view of our attachment to the body, knowing the internal aspects of the body is more important than knowing the external, material aspects. That’s why we are encouraged to establish mindfulness inside the body. When we keep our attention inside, we begin to realize that our knowledge of the body comes to us almost exclusively through sensation, through feeling. As the feeling-body gradually supersedes the physical body in our perceptions of what we are, our attachment to the gross, material body drops away while attachment to the more subtle feeling-body takes its place.

When mindfulness is well established in the internal body, the relationship between feelings and the states of mind that define and interpret them becomes apparent. In other words, the way we interpret the feelings that define how we experience the body is determined by our mental state. From that understanding, we realize that the mind is the true basis of feeling. As our contemplation moves deeper into mental states, our attachment to the domain of feeling—an essential aspect of our personal identity—starts to fade into the background. Feelings now appear external, and the primary focus turns inward to our mental states.

With the establishment of mindfulness firmly based in the domain of mental states, the subtle phenomena that make up the content of the mind are more readily perceived. These mental phenomena are far more refined than the states of mind they bring into being, and therefore more “internal” in relation to mental processes. In the final analysis, attachment to these subtle phenomena must be overcome in order to attain the mind’s liberation.

The more we contemplate the four domains of satipaṭṭhāna, the more we become aware that everything is internal. Then we ask ourselves: If everything is internal, what is meant by external? In searching for the answer, we reach a point where the whole question of inner and outer ceases to have much meaning. Strictly speaking, making a distinction between outside and inside is the wrong way to look at the issue—it’s nearly all inside. Then again, if everything is inside, there can be no outside. Ultimately, this quandary can be resolved only at the highest and subtlest levels of meditation practice.

...

It’s not so much that one sees something that one has never seen. It’s more like seeing something that one has seen many times before, but seeing it from a completely new perspective. The understanding comes from quite deep inside, so there’s no possibility of being deceived. It’s seeing something that one has seen before in such a new and different way that the truth of it suddenly becomes very obvious. When that happens, the understanding penetrates straight to the heart. Thinking won’t reach the heart. It’s as though thinking erects a barrier which prevents wisdom from developing in the heart.

Uncommon Wisdom - Life and Teachings of Ajaan Paññāvaddho
http://www.forestdhamma.org/ebooks/engl ... Wisdom.pdf



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