Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

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binocular
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by binocular » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:59 am

L.N. wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:50 am
binocular wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:33 pm
Mindfulness is sometimes presented in that vanilla, YOLO, "joyfully savoring each fleeting event" manner. As the examples above show, the secular approach to mindfulness has already been bastardized.
No doubt. Those examples are funny. Even so, one can google lots of silly stuff, and the quote in the OP does not reflect my personal experience with secular mindfulness presentations and the competence of individuals I know who present on mindfulness.
It does reflect my personal experience with secular mindfulness presentations, though. And why I have such a problem with it.
I tend to agree with the following perspective:
Goofaholix wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:46 am
... while some people have the attitude he described it's not really the point of such teachings, the point is to help us let go of resistance (ie aversion) and this is really just a first step.
I can't relate to this.
L.N. wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:27 am
cappuccino wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:54 pm
Mindfulness means remembering the teaching in each situation.
Yes, and modern mindfulness can be helpful toward this end.
How??

Especially when already the preface or introduction to a secular book about mindfulness espouses a YOLO perspective?
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:19 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:24 am
Bhante, what you are referring to is not the same thing that Spiny put forth. Jhana is certainly helpful and leads to nibbida, etc.
Spiny spoke of "suttas [in which] there is the idea of turning away from the conditioned, and towards the unconditioned." The sutta I cited is certainly an example of this. In this case it happens to be first jhāna that is the conditioned thing that one turns away from. In other suttas the phrase is used in connection with other things that one turns away from, having come to realize their coarseness in comparison to the unconditioned.

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:26 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:16 am
Spiny, no doubt, the unconditioned may be there, but there is no mention of 'turning to the uncondtioned' in the practice of mindfulness as put forth in the Satipatthana Sutta. If the unconditioned were a 'thing', a 'state', we could turn to, it would not be unconditioned. Since the thread is about modern mindfulness, is 'turning to the unconditioned' one of the practices that is recommended?
But that's my point. If one's focus is primarily on satipatthana practice, then the idea of turning away from the conditioned and towards the unconditioned probably wouldn't seem relevant. If one's focus is primarily on satipatthana practice, then it's likely that there will less focus on the other factors of the 8-fold path, or on the other five factors of enlightenment. And so on.

I am of course generalising, because "modern mindfulness" is a rather vague description.
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by mal4mac » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:13 pm

"Savoring positive experiences" seems to be a strong movement in positive psychology at the moment:

Here's a book, backed by JKZ with "Mindfulness" in the title, and "savoring" in the subtitle:

Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful: How to End Your Struggle with Mindless Eating and Start Savoring Food by Susan Albers, Psy.D.

Savoring does seem totally non Buddhist, and totally against true mindfulness, in that it involves trying to enjoy the taste of food to the full. I mean aren't Buddhists supposed to let go of anything enjoyable, and certainly not "enjoy it the full". In a sense, aren't they supposed to enjoy it as little as possible? Then again, a banker wolfing down a hamburger while thinking about what the share index might be a year from now is certainly not enjoying his food, and is surely less "in the moment" than a gourmet savouring his food.

I've stopped listening to the radio while eating, to try and pay attention to one thing, i.e, what I'm eating. But I don't try and enjoy it to the full - that seems like a desperate grasping after positive experience. I pay attention, if it's pleasant then I just observe that and let it go, if it's quite boring (as my cooking often is!) I observe that, and let that go.

So the "paying attention" part of savoring seems good, but the "trying to enjoy it the full" seems rather desperate and therefore not a good idea. Savoring, it seems to me, is likely to lead you to spending all your time thinking of how you might improve the variety and taste of the food you cook. This might be some kind of spiritual path, the Gourmet Path, but it's certainly not Buddhist. (And thinking about it, I've never heard of anyone serious recommending the Gourmet path... the ancient Greek philosophers frowned on gourmandism as much as Buddhists.) So I'll not be taking Jamie Oliver as my guru...
- Mal

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:26 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:19 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:24 am
Bhante, what you are referring to is not the same thing that Spiny put forth. Jhana is certainly helpful and leads to nibbida, etc.
Spiny spoke of "suttas [in which] there is the idea of turning away from the conditioned, and towards the unconditioned." The sutta I cited is certainly an example of this. In this case it happens to be first jhāna that is the conditioned thing that one turns away from. In other suttas the phrase is used in connection with other things that one turns away from, having come to realize their coarseness in comparison to the unconditioned.
Bhante, forgive me but I think we're talking about two different things here. Some of the ideas put forth by people teaching a modern approach to Mindfulness practice are not really in line with the Buddha's teachings. If someone is not a Buddhist and practices these things, there is no foul as far as a Buddhist goes. But, if the practice of mindfulness is not taken up with a foundation of the 3 marks of existence, the necessary conditions for the fruit cannot line up. Benefits can be gained, no doubt, but not a complete disenchantment as taught by the Buddha. Jhanas by themselves also cannot be the cause for release. Introducing the unconditioned is somewhat like talking about a god, a Self, something that one can experience. How can one turn towards something that is not experienceable?, that is not conditioned? Turning away from a jhana because it is conditioned would be nibbida, disenchantment, an act of wisdom/insight. Doesn't this make sense to you?

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:27 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:26 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:16 am
Spiny, no doubt, the unconditioned may be there, but there is no mention of 'turning to the uncondtioned' in the practice of mindfulness as put forth in the Satipatthana Sutta. If the unconditioned were a 'thing', a 'state', we could turn to, it would not be unconditioned. Since the thread is about modern mindfulness, is 'turning to the unconditioned' one of the practices that is recommended?
But that's my point. If one's focus is primarily on satipatthana practice, then the idea of turning away from the conditioned and towards the unconditioned probably wouldn't seem relevant. If one's focus is primarily on satipatthana practice, then it's likely that there will less focus on the other factors of the 8-fold path, or on the other five factors of enlightenment. And so on.

I am of course generalising, because "modern mindfulness" is a rather vague description.
I think I get what you're saying. These things are hard to discuss online.

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by L.N. » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:40 pm

binocular wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:59 am
It does reflect my personal experience with secular mindfulness presentations, though. And why I have such a problem with it.
Here is the entire Mindfulness passage from the article which prompted the previous Topic linked:
2. Be mindful.

You also can sharpen your self-awareness by practicing mindfulness. “Bring attention to the present moment and observe what is happening without judging it,” said Lidia Zylowska, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in adult ADHD and penned the book The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD.

For instance, focus on your thoughts, emotions and urges along with how your body feels when you’re impulsive, she said. This may not be easy at first. You might pick up on your impulsivity only after being impulsive. But with practice, you can start identifying what precipitates your impulsive acts.

Mindfulness also helps you gain some distance from your urges. This way you aren’t driven by your impulses but simply observing them, and are able to decide your actions, Dr. Zylowska said.

When you notice an urge, name it in your mind. For instance, “here is anger and wanting to criticize my spouse,” she said. After identifying the urge, practice mindful self-coaching: “I need to relax” or “try to stay calm” or “express my feelings without lashing out.”

Use a supportive, compassionate and encouraging voice, she said. For instance, if you’re struggling with impatience, you might say: “Waiting is hard for you but see if you can be a bit more patient right now.”
It is directed toward treatment of individuals with ADHD. It does not reflect the description of modern mindfulness as presented in the OP of this present Topic.
L.N. wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:27 am
cappuccino wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:54 pm
Mindfulness means remembering the teaching in each situation.
Yes, and modern mindfulness can be helpful toward this end.
How??

Especially when already the preface or introduction to a secular book about mindfulness espouses a YOLO perspective?
I have never heard of a modern mindfulness presentation which espouses the view that "you only live once." Apparently you and I have had very different experiences with modern mindfulness.

Modern mindfulness can be helpful toward the end of "remembering the teaching" when, for example, it aids individuals at a particular stage in refraining from harmful conduct, and when it plants the seeds for greater self-examination rather than brute reactivity.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

2600htz
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by 2600htz » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:47 pm

paul wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:01 pm
Pleasurable feelings ‘of the flesh’ and ‘not of the flesh’:

“…a significant difference can still be discerned between the perspectives on impermanence advocated by teachers of modern mindfulness meditation and by classical Buddhism. Proponents of modern mindfulness meditation often see impermanence as imbued with positive significance. They admit that clinging to what is impermanent brings suffering, but take this connection to mean , not that one should renounce the impermanent in favour of the imperishable nibbana, but that one should learn to live in the world with an open mind and loving heart, capable of experiencing everything with awe and wonder. The practice of mindfulness thus leads through the door of impermanence and selflessness to a new affirmation of the world, so that one can joyfully savour each fleeting event, each relationship, each undertaking in its wistful evanescence, unperturbed when it passes.
This attitude, though it has some resonances with Zen Buddhism particularly as expressed by Thich Nhat Hanh, is quite at odds with the Buddhism of the Pali Canon, the tradition from which mindfulness originates. In classical Buddhism, the fact of impermanence is viewed as a sign of deficiency, a warning signal that the things we turn to for happiness are unworthy of our ultimate concern. As the Buddha says: “Conditioned things, monks, are impermanent, unstable, unreliable. It is enough to be disenchanted with all conditioned things, enough to be dispassionate toward them, enough to be liberated from them.” (SN 15:20, ii 193) —-“Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context and Social Engagement,” Part 1. Between Tradition and Modernity, ‘The Transformations of Mindfulness’, Ven. Bikkhu Bodhi
Hello:

I kinda get where Bikkhu Bodhi is going, but i don´t think its right to emphasize dukkha, but the cessation of dukkha.
You just can´t go full ascetic mode to lay people, or people who aren´t even really buddhists but are just looking some minor stress relief like yoga or some "mindfulness technique".

Regards.

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by binocular » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:00 pm

L.N. wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:40 pm
I have never heard of a modern mindfulness presentation which espouses the view that "you only live once." Apparently you and I have had very different experiences with modern mindfulness.
I make a point of listening for YOLO references. Sometimes, they look like this: "We only have this one short time on earth, so we must make the best of it."
Modern mindfulness can be helpful toward the end of "remembering the teaching" when, for example, it aids individuals at a particular stage in refraining from harmful conduct, and when it plants the seeds for greater self-examination rather than brute reactivity.
I'm not convinced that works.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Saengnapha
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by Saengnapha » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:08 am

2600htz wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:47 pm
paul wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:01 pm
Pleasurable feelings ‘of the flesh’ and ‘not of the flesh’:

“…a significant difference can still be discerned between the perspectives on impermanence advocated by teachers of modern mindfulness meditation and by classical Buddhism. Proponents of modern mindfulness meditation often see impermanence as imbued with positive significance. They admit that clinging to what is impermanent brings suffering, but take this connection to mean , not that one should renounce the impermanent in favour of the imperishable nibbana, but that one should learn to live in the world with an open mind and loving heart, capable of experiencing everything with awe and wonder. The practice of mindfulness thus leads through the door of impermanence and selflessness to a new affirmation of the world, so that one can joyfully savour each fleeting event, each relationship, each undertaking in its wistful evanescence, unperturbed when it passes.
This attitude, though it has some resonances with Zen Buddhism particularly as expressed by Thich Nhat Hanh, is quite at odds with the Buddhism of the Pali Canon, the tradition from which mindfulness originates. In classical Buddhism, the fact of impermanence is viewed as a sign of deficiency, a warning signal that the things we turn to for happiness are unworthy of our ultimate concern. As the Buddha says: “Conditioned things, monks, are impermanent, unstable, unreliable. It is enough to be disenchanted with all conditioned things, enough to be dispassionate toward them, enough to be liberated from them.” (SN 15:20, ii 193) —-“Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context and Social Engagement,” Part 1. Between Tradition and Modernity, ‘The Transformations of Mindfulness’, Ven. Bikkhu Bodhi
Hello:

I kinda get where Bikkhu Bodhi is going, but i don´t think its right to emphasize dukkha, but the cessation of dukkha.
You just can´t go full ascetic mode to lay people, or people who aren´t even really buddhists but are just looking some minor stress relief like yoga or some "mindfulness technique".

Regards.
Don't you think most people need to be reminded that their actual experience is dukkha in order to be made aware of the necessity for the cessation of dukkha? Surely, you don't have to be a monk to appreciate this.

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by Dinsdale » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:33 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:26 pm
Dhammanando wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:19 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:24 am
Bhante, what you are referring to is not the same thing that Spiny put forth. Jhana is certainly helpful and leads to nibbida, etc.
Spiny spoke of "suttas [in which] there is the idea of turning away from the conditioned, and towards the unconditioned." The sutta I cited is certainly an example of this. In this case it happens to be first jhāna that is the conditioned thing that one turns away from. In other suttas the phrase is used in connection with other things that one turns away from, having come to realize their coarseness in comparison to the unconditioned.
Bhante, forgive me but I think we're talking about two different things here. Some of the ideas put forth by people teaching a modern approach to Mindfulness practice are not really in line with the Buddha's teachings. If someone is not a Buddhist and practices these things, there is no foul as far as a Buddhist goes. But, if the practice of mindfulness is not taken up with a foundation of the 3 marks of existence, the necessary conditions for the fruit cannot line up. Benefits can be gained, no doubt, but not a complete disenchantment as taught by the Buddha. Jhanas by themselves also cannot be the cause for release. Introducing the unconditioned is somewhat like talking about a god, a Self, something that one can experience. How can one turn towards something that is not experienceable?, that is not conditioned? Turning away from a jhana because it is conditioned would be nibbida, disenchantment, an act of wisdom/insight. Doesn't this make sense to you?
I think there are different levels of "turning away". It could be turning towards the refined pleasure of jhana, and away from the coarse pleasure of the senses. It could be turning towards stillness, and away from movement. And so on.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by L.N. » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:26 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:00 pm
I make a point of listening for YOLO references. Sometimes, they look like this: "We only have this one short time on earth, so we must make the best of it."
I have never heard anything like this during such a presentation.
binocular wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:00 pm
Modern mindfulness can be helpful toward the end of "remembering the teaching" when, for example, it aids individuals at a particular stage in refraining from harmful conduct, and when it plants the seeds for greater self-examination rather than brute reactivity.
I'm not convinced that works.
Maybe not for you, and that's fine.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

ieee23
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by ieee23 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:38 pm

paul wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:01 pm
dispassionate toward them, enough to be liberated from them.” (SN 15:20, ii 193) —-“Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context and Social Engagement,” Part 1. Between Tradition and Modernity, ‘The Transformations of Mindfulness’, Ven. Bikkhu Bodhi
I found the title on the Internet, but not by Bhikkhu Bodhi

If it is not a book by him, can you post a link as to where he is making this commentary?
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

Saengnapha
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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:24 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:33 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:26 pm
Dhammanando wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:19 am


Spiny spoke of "suttas [in which] there is the idea of turning away from the conditioned, and towards the unconditioned." The sutta I cited is certainly an example of this. In this case it happens to be first jhāna that is the conditioned thing that one turns away from. In other suttas the phrase is used in connection with other things that one turns away from, having come to realize their coarseness in comparison to the unconditioned.
Bhante, forgive me but I think we're talking about two different things here. Some of the ideas put forth by people teaching a modern approach to Mindfulness practice are not really in line with the Buddha's teachings. If someone is not a Buddhist and practices these things, there is no foul as far as a Buddhist goes. But, if the practice of mindfulness is not taken up with a foundation of the 3 marks of existence, the necessary conditions for the fruit cannot line up. Benefits can be gained, no doubt, but not a complete disenchantment as taught by the Buddha. Jhanas by themselves also cannot be the cause for release. Introducing the unconditioned is somewhat like talking about a god, a Self, something that one can experience. How can one turn towards something that is not experienceable?, that is not conditioned? Turning away from a jhana because it is conditioned would be nibbida, disenchantment, an act of wisdom/insight. Doesn't this make sense to you?
I think there are different levels of "turning away". It could be turning towards the refined pleasure of jhana, and away from the coarse pleasure of the senses. It could be turning towards stillness, and away from movement. And so on.
This is not what I am talking about. Nibbida seems to be a turning away from all experience. Why? Because all experience is unsatisfying and is dukkha. Nibbida is a condition for dispassion which in turn is a condition for release.

Also:

“The jhānas and the mundane types of direct knowledge by themselves do not issue in enlightenment and liberation. As lofty and peaceful as these attainments are, they can only suppress the defilements that sustain the round of rebirths but cannot eradicate them. To uproot the defilements at the most fundamental level, and thereby yield the fruits of enlightenment and deliverance, the meditative process must be redirected along a third line of development, one which does not necessarily presuppose the former two. This is the contemplation of “things as they actually are,” which results in increasingly deeper insights into the nature of existence and culminates in the final goal, the attainment of arahantship.”

Excerpt From: Nanamoli, Bhikkhu. “The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.”

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Re: Bikkhu Bodhi on the errors of modern mindfulness

Post by paul » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:47 am

ieee23 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:38 pm
can you post a link as to where he is making this commentary?
The link is there in one of my posts.

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