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Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby paul » Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:08 am

Feelings, perceptions and thoughts are arising continually and one tries to be aware of them in whatever domain they happen but the response that occurs in the fourth foundation, ‘contents of the mind’ is the important one. Here one becomes aware of the defilements and how they control thinking, but by keeping the mind anchored in one of the three signata, impermanence, suffering or non-self (this is the remembering aspect of mindfulness) and seeing how the habitual response differs from that perception, one is able to root it out and change one's position of observation from clinging to renunciation. Even opening up and being aware of this influence of habitual thought weakens it, otherwise it operates behind the scenes. Habitual responses stem from conventional reality and its purely functional role in maintaining the body, which is a different project to the aims of the Path.

The understanding of the three signata initially impermanence, should be strengthened as a separate exercise through study and contemplation, for example impermanence as a natural process and in the body of others through observation, visiting morgues etc., then they become a powerful tool when applied to interrogate incoming perceptions and thoughts. As practice develops, suffering follows as the mark by which to question responses. It is said that all states except craving and states free from cankers are included in the truth of suffering (Vism. XVI, 86.)

“The entire world is nothing but an affair of delusion, an affair of suffering. People who don't know the Dhamma, don't practice the Dhamma — no matter what their status or position in life — lead deluded, oblivious lives. When they fall ill or are about to die, they're bound to suffer enormously because they haven't taken the time to understand the defilements that burn their hearts and minds in everyday life. Yet if we make a constant practice of studying and contemplating ourselves as our everyday activity, it will help free us from all sorts of suffering and distress. And when this is the case, how can we not want to practice?” —“Looking Inward”, Upasika Kee Nanayon.

Upasika Kee Nanayon had the support of practising in a Buddhist country, but there is an emotional content to this process which does not figure prominently in the texts, as the abandoning of long-held responses and views which have a resonance in conventional society puts one into a seemingly isolated position and courage is needed in the battle. This is a particular feature of the western form of Buddhism which is in a pioneering stage and operates in non-Buddhist countries. Once views have been changed through insight, then there is the work over time of replacing habitual mental (perception and consciousness) and behavioural responses and all this pursuit is at the forefront of western culture, striking into unknown territory.
Last edited by paul on Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mohan Gnanathilake
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Right Mindfulness (sammā-sati)

Postby Mohan Gnanathilake » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:27 pm

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.
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby JMGinPDX » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:10 pm

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:23 am

Although I practice and teach the Mahāsi method, I find that mindfulness of breathing is also very effective, especially if reading or writing, as it quickly concentrates my mind on the task in hand. The four elements contemplation is best when practised without other activities. OK while travelling on public transport, for example, but not very effective when writing.

One should choose a method to suit one's present mental state.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Postby paul » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:36 pm

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.

Mohan Gnanathilake:
…the last mental state (last citta) of this life, the death-consciousness (cuti-citta), is succeeded by the first mental state (first citta) of the next life, the rebirth- consciousness (patisandhicitta).

“With regard to the priority of their result one distinguishes:
1. weighty karma (garuka-kamma),
2. habitual karma (ácinnaka- or bahula-kamma),
3. death-proximate karma (maranásanna-kamma),
4. stored-up karma (katattá-kamma).
(1, 2) The weighty (garuka) and the habitual (bahula) wholesome or unwholesome karma are ripening earlier than the light and rarely performed karma. (3) The death-proximate (maranásanna) karma - i.e. the wholesome or unwholesome volition present immediately before death, which often may be the reflex of some previously performed good or evil action (kamma), or of a sign of it (kamma-nimitta), or of a sign of the future existence (gati-nimitta) - produces rebirth. (4) In the absence of any of these three actions at the moment before death, the stored-up (katattá) karma will produce rebirth.”—Buddhist Dictionary, Ven. Nyanatiloka.

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