Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

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

Post by 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

Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
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Goofaholix
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by 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

Post by 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"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by 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:"
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by 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

Post by 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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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by Dinsdale » 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:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by Dinsdale » 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.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Vanda
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by 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

Post by 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 ... t-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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badscooter
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by 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 ... t-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)

Post by 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
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form
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by 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

Post by 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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