Mindfulness and modern ideas about it

Exploring modern Theravāda interpretations of the Buddha's teaching.
Saengnapha
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Re: Mindfulness and modern ideas about it

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:25 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:13 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:18 am
In my experience, Payutto's definition and exposition of Mindfulness and satipatthana practice comes very close to my own
You appear to be arguing in circles. I already offered an objection to or refutation of your views & you have not offered a refutation in return. There is little point in re-posting what you & I previously posted.

I trust i demonstrated & proved your idea of mindfulness to be not real or true. That is the matter. I already posted when meditators calm their breathing and cannot discern their breathing anymore, this shows mindfulness does not "choose" a "chosen" object. Or when breathing ceases as an object of awareness & is replaced by the rapture of jhana, mindfulness does not chose the disappearance of breathing & the appearance of rapture. It is quite obvious Payutto & yourself are asserting things that are not real or true and, being not real or true, would indicate adherence to a collective or group dogma.

In short, what I have posted above is obviously irrefutable.
Payutto: 'There is the matter of linguistics here that needs to be addressed. Some people misconstrue the common definition of sati as 'recollection' and the definition of sampajanna as 'self awareness', leading to misguided practice.
If Payutto is saying mindfulness is not "recollection", it seems it is Payutto that might be misconstruing & misguided because there are many scholar & meditation monks that prefer "recollection" if a single word translation is required; from Buddhadasa to Sujato.

As for sampajanna, I never said it is 'self-awareness'. It said it is 'situational wisdom' or 'applied wisdom'.
They establish mindfulness on the sense of self and then have the impression that they are the agents for various actions, thinking, 'I am doing this,' 'I am doing that.'; as a result they create or reinforce the concept of self. They become preoccupied with this self image and develop a rigidity of mind. At the very least, their minds are not truly focused on the activity and their efforts thus do not come to fruition.
This is a departure from what was previously discussed, which was Payutto's personal ideas about mindfulness (sati).
Someone prone to such misunderstanding should recall the definition of sati as 'bearing in mind,' 'sustaining attention on the object or task at hand,' and 'sustaining attention on the flow of events.'
Sati might be "bearing in mind" but I trust I already proved sati is not "sustaining attention on the chosen object", unless that object is non-attachment or another object that can be permanent.
Similarly, one should recall the definition of sampajanna as 'clear comprehension of an object of attention' or 'clear comprehension of one's current activity.' In other words, it is not a matter of focusing on the sense of self ('I am doing this'). Rather than focusing on the 'performer' of the task, one focuses on the task itself. One's attention is so present and focused that eventually there is no opportunity for a sense of self to interfere in the process.
This is irrelevant to mindfulness (because it is a discussion of sampajanna) but Payutto seems to again equate sampajjana with consciousness (vinnana; anupassi) & concentration (samadhi) when he says: "so present & so focused". All sampajjana is is a support for the development of the path, which brings learned wisdom to a situation, such as: "the self idea is to be abandoned because abandoning self is the path of peace".
The essential feature of mindfulness is an accurate, undistorted perception of things.
This is not mindfulness. It is "wisdom" (panna) & vipassana (clear seeing) that is an accurate, undistorted perception of things. :roll:
One sees and understands what the object of awareness is, how it manifests, and what effects it has in each moment.
This is not mindfulness. It is "wisdom" ("panna") and vipassana ("clear seeing") that understands what the object of awareness is, how it manifests, and what effects it has in each moment.
This entails a constant acknowledging, observing, contemplating, and understanding............
There are simply too many discrete mental functions in the above sentence for all them to be "mindfulness" (sati).
The constant application of mindfulness and clear comprehension implies living in the present moment. One is aware in each moment of what is arising, what is happening, or what one is doing; attention does not slip. One does not attach to or linger over past events, and one does not drift off into the future in search of things that do not yet exist.............By dwelling in the present moment, one is not enslaved, seduced, or driven by craving.........
This is more rhetoric.
Doo Doot, if the Pali suttas were so clear and efficient in their meaning, what do you think prompted others to write treatises and give talks about them?
Because the suttas may have been miscomprehended.
It would follow that one reading of a sutta would clarify all things and impart immediate awakening.

Indeed. Immediate awakening, i.e., at least stream-entry, is a feature of many Pali suttas.
Maybe there are some people who fit this description but it certainly ain't you or I or anyone else on this board...
The path includes truthful speech. I think the above should be rephrased according to your personal knowledge of what is known to be true, namely: 'Maybe there are some people who fit this description but it certainly ain't I ..".
Payutto is a very clear writer, carefully choosing his words.

Obviously, I disagree. I think I have made a very sound case, which, as usual, you have not corrected, countered or refuted. I posted:

1. Mindfulness (sati) is obviously not observing (anupassi), otherwise the Pali words would not be different.

2. Mindfulness is unable to choose & stay with most objects given most objects of Satipatthana are impermanent (unless the object is something potentially permanent, such as non-attachment, non-craving, Nibbana or impermanence).
He is highly thought of here in Thailand.
What is true & real is not a popularity contest. Plus, I already posted I had Payutto's book 'Samma Sati', when it was 1st published. In other words, I was living in Thailand at the time.
I've told you before, I'm not interested in debate with you and have no interest in proving you wrong or right about anything.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Mindfulness and modern ideas about it

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:35 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:21 pm

Jayasaro also helped with the translation of Payutto's 'Buddhadhamma' and as far as I am told, holds Payutto in high esteem
A friend of mine had the honour of meeting Payutto when he was a monk in Thailand, and said that he was a very rare example of scholarship and advanced spiritual development. Having read a couple of books by Payutto, I would personally find it difficult not to hold him in high esteem.

DooDoot
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Re: Mindfulness and modern ideas about it

Post by DooDoot » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:59 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:21 pm
Jayasaro also helped with the translation of Payutto's 'Buddhadhamma'...
This may be so but I think Jayasaro's video is consistent with my posts & contrary to much of Payutto. Jayasaro unambiguously says that: "mindfulness is not forgetting"; "remembering what needs to be remembered" & "belongs to concentration faculty" and "sampajanna belongs to wisdom faculty & is not being deluded; not getting lost; is quality control". But Payutto has given the impression mindfulness is wisdom faculty; that mindfulnesss clearly perceives the characteristics of things.
Payutto wrote:The essential feature of mindfulness is an accurate, undistorted perception of things. One sees and understands what the object of awareness is, how it manifests, and what effects it has in each moment. :roll:
When I stayed in Thailand, I met a famous American translator, who had "modern American ideas" about mindfulness, and did not share the same view as the famous guru they translate for. That Jayasaro helped translate Payutto does not necessarily mean Jayasaro shares exactly the same view as Payutto.
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:35 pm
A friend of mine had the honour of meeting Payutto when he was a monk in Thailand, and said that he was a very rare example of scholarship and advanced spiritual development. Having read a couple of books by Payutto, I would personally find it difficult not to hold him in high esteem.
Certainly Payutto has compiled many excellent books, such as Constitution For Living and Kamma: Good, Evil & Beyond. His Constitution For Living was particularly valuable to me, personally. However, I think his books Dependent Origination & Samma Sati present a large collection of different views on those topics rather than one coherent position. Payutto begins 'Samma Sati' with the stock sutta definition that seems to confuse many but then includes an Abhidhamma quote that was obviously composed to prevent confusion but then gets lost again by referring to "mindfulness" ("sati") & "contemplation" ("anupassi") as synonyms:
Payutto wrote:Another definition, which appears in the Abhidhamma texts, is as follows:

"What is sammasati? Sati means to bear in mind or bring to mind. Sati is the state of recollecting, the state of remembering, the state of non-fading, the state of non-forgetting :ugeek: . Sati means the sati that is a Spiritual Faculty, the sati that is a Spiritual Power, Sammasati, the Sati that is an Enlightenment Factor, that which is a Path Factor and that which is related to the Path. This is what is called sammasati." [Vbh.105, 286]
Payutto wrote:The four elements of this group have the abbreviated names of:

Kayanupassana (contemplation or mindfulness :roll: of the body);

Vedananupassana (contemplation or mindfulness of feelings);

Cittanupassana (contemplation or mindfulness of mind);

Dhammanupassana (contemplation or mindfulness of dhammas).
Contemplation (anupassi) does not appear to be mindfulness (sati). Contemplation is a wisdom factor of clear-seeing (vipassana) and mindfulness is a stability factor of concentration (samadhi). One effect or outcome of the practice of mindfulness (sati) might be contemplation (anupassi) but sati & anupassi may not necessarily be the same thing. The problem with the Payutto approach is it can misguide students by giving contemplation an "active" role where as contemplation may ideally have a "passive" or "automatic" role. In other words, the active effort to contemplate hinders the very clarity contemplation ideally can have. I think teachers such as Jiddu Krishnamurti have pointed out the hindrance of wrong effort.

Saengnapha
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Re: Mindfulness and modern ideas about it

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:18 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:59 pm

Jayasaro unambiguously says that: "mindfulness is not forgetting"; "remembering what needs to be remembered" & "belongs to concentration faculty" and "sampajanna belongs to wisdom faculty & is not being deluded; not getting lost; is quality control". But Payutto has given the impression mindfulness is wisdom faculty; that mindfulnesss clearly perceives the characteristics of things.
There seems to be several elements that comprise what people call 'mindfulness'. To conclude that mindfulness has to do with memory and not forgetting, is not really an accurate description of sati. Certainly, the way we function has to include the brain's ability to use memory when necessary. But, mindfulness is about the present moment, not what has transpired in past moments. To be able to know what you are doing in the present moment doesn't require 'what needs to be remembered'. It requires attention to what your present experience is. It is a focus of knowing exactly what is happening when it is happening. It is not a reflection on what is happening. The Four Foundations of mindfulness are what sati holds in focus in every moment, body, feelings, mentation, and mental objects. This is what comprises our experience. Perhaps there are times when remembrance is necessary to pay attention, but sati is paying attention not the remembrance of it. There is a difference, methinks.

Of course, you are free to disagree and see it differently, but I would imagine that you are more of a thinker and have the tendency to reflect on thinking which is a memory based activity and which is cautioned against in the practice of mindfulness because it is involved with the illusion of a self and the effort to become, crave something, to be right, in the know, and all the signs of believing in an agent, a self, which is just not true. Even UG, who was not a Buddhist, always pointed out the inability of reflection to understand anything in truth.

DooDoot
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Re: Mindfulness and modern ideas about it

Post by DooDoot » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:35 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:18 am
There seems to be several elements that comprise what people call 'mindfulness'. To conclude that mindfulness has to do with memory and not forgetting, is not really an accurate description of sati.
Mindfulness only means 'not-forgetting' & is 100% accurate. There is not several elements to mindfulness.

Its like travelling or going on a holiday, which includes several elements, such as travelling, eating, bathing, sightseeing, etc. When travelling & going on a holiday, when you take a bath each evening, this is not travelling or holidaying. It is personal hygiene. Just because taking a bath is included in the holiday does not mean taking a bath is a holiday.
Saengnapha wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:18 am
Certainly, the way we function has to include the brain's ability to use memory when necessary. But, mindfulness is about the present moment, not what has transpired in past moments. To be able to know what you are doing in the present moment doesn't require 'what needs to be remembered'. It requires attention to what your present experience is.

Obviously, what is written above is seriously wrong :| . For example, my writing this post, now, in the present moment, requires recollecting or bringing to mind what I have learned in the past, such as how to spell, read, Buddhist theory, etc.

I will provide some examples to show the questionable nature of Payutto's views:

1. The goal of a prostitute is to make money by having sex with customers. Therefore, when a prostitute is mindful of her goal, she spends her time proactively propositioning men on the street, having sex with them & remembering to take the money before rather than after sex. Here, the act of mindfulness is not the same as the act of propositioning & having sex with men. Mindfulness is not sex.

2. The goal of a sniper in war is to assassinate people. The sniper must be very mindful & vigilant in remembering to focus on his role. Here, the act of mindfulness is not the same as the act of shooting people. Mindfulness is not killing.

3. The goal or task of a monk is to contemplate (seeing; anuapassi) the true nature of body, feelings, mind & Dhamma. The monk must remember to perform this task and particularly remember or bring to mind the various instruction wisdoms (sampajanna) required for this task because this task is not actually easy but requires very subtle use of the mind. Here, the act of mindfulness is not the same as the act of contemplating. Mindfulness (sati) is not contemplation (seeing; anupassi).

In the Pali suttas, monks & practitioners are also called "contemplatives". Their role or duty is to contemplate, just as the role of a prostitute is to have sex or the role of a sniper is to assassinate. Each three must use mindfulness but only one uses Right Mindfulness, namely, remembering to bring to mind the various factors of the eightfold path that lead to Nibbana.
Saengnapha wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:18 am
It requires attention to what your present experience is.

Mindfulness is not bringing "attention to what your present experience is". If I am cognisant of, conscious of or attentive to having sex with a prostitute or assassinating Syrians in Aleppo, bringing attention to these experiences is not mindfulness. Bringing attention to these experiences is called 'consciousness' (vinnana) or attention (manasikara). It is not mindfulness (sati).

In Buddhism, mindfulness is remembering to follow the instructions to give up craving & attachment in relation to present experience. The role of mindfulness is to "govern" present experience rather than to experience present experience. If present experience is experienced with greed, hatred or delusion; that is not Right Mindfulness.

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L.N.
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Re: Mindfulness and modern ideas about it

Post by L.N. » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:40 am

robertk wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:03 am
Or consider this promotional language for a workshop this summer co-sponsored by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center: “Practitioners report deeper connection to themselves, more self-compassion, and greater insights into their lives.” The emphasis is on the individual — connection to themselves, self-compassion, insights into their lives.
The above quote from the opinion article in the Washington Post appears to be a misrepresentation. Following appears to be a link to the actual event: http://uymkfnh.dharmaseed.org/retreats/3361/
The complete paragraph with information about the 7-day "Foundations of Mindfulness" retreat is as follows:
Mindfulness can be defined as paying attention to our present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. Through the practice of mindfulness, we learn tools to regulate emotions, develop attention, and cultivate states of compassion, even-mindedness, and greater well-being. When we attend to the present moment over a sustained period of time, practitioners report deeper connection to themselves, more self-compassion, and greater insights into their lives. In this week-long retreat we will practice mindfulness meditation through sitting and walking meditation as well as lectures and opportunity to meet with teachers who will guide our practice. While rooted in Buddhist practice of mindfulness, this retreat will focus on the practical applications of mindfulness, and is open to people of all backgrounds and experience, especially those interested in secular mindfulness. An excellent retreat for beginners, but open to all levels. Co-sponsored by UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.
It appears the program included material related to parenting, and ended with discussion focussed on lovingkindness. The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, meanwhile, (marc.ucla.edu) is a reputable part of UCLA Health. To disparage all of this merely because of the increasing popularity of mindfulness misses the point, in my view. I am encouraged to see a wider conversation about mindfulness, even if some of the presentation is not exactly on the nose.
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。

Saengnapha
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Re: Mindfulness and modern ideas about it

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:50 am

L.N. wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:40 am
robertk wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:03 am
Or consider this promotional language for a workshop this summer co-sponsored by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center: “Practitioners report deeper connection to themselves, more self-compassion, and greater insights into their lives.” The emphasis is on the individual — connection to themselves, self-compassion, insights into their lives.
The above quote from the opinion article in the Washington Post appears to be a misrepresentation. Following appears to be a link to the actual event: http://uymkfnh.dharmaseed.org/retreats/3361/
The complete paragraph with information about the 7-day "Foundations of Mindfulness" retreat is as follows:
Mindfulness can be defined as paying attention to our present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. Through the practice of mindfulness, we learn tools to regulate emotions, develop attention, and cultivate states of compassion, even-mindedness, and greater well-being. When we attend to the present moment over a sustained period of time, practitioners report deeper connection to themselves, more self-compassion, and greater insights into their lives. In this week-long retreat we will practice mindfulness meditation through sitting and walking meditation as well as lectures and opportunity to meet with teachers who will guide our practice. While rooted in Buddhist practice of mindfulness, this retreat will focus on the practical applications of mindfulness, and is open to people of all backgrounds and experience, especially those interested in secular mindfulness. An excellent retreat for beginners, but open to all levels. Co-sponsored by UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.
It appears the program included material related to parenting, and ended with discussion focussed on lovingkindness. The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, meanwhile, (marc.ucla.edu) is a reputable part of UCLA Health. To disparage all of this merely because of the increasing popularity of mindfulness misses the point, in my view. I am encouraged to see a wider conversation about mindfulness, even if some of the presentation is not exactly on the nose.
Well, according to Doo Doot, there is only his interpretation and conversation that is valid for mindfulness. :D

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