Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

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

Post by 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)

Post by 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

rowyourboat
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by 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

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

rowyourboat
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by 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

Post by 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



:anjali:
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paul
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by 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)

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

rowyourboat wrote: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

Matheesha
Dear Matheesha,

Your kind reply would be highly appreciated.

As a Theravada Buddhist I have learnt, 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).

Kind Regards,

Mohan
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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JMGinPDX
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by JMGinPDX » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:10 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: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.
An old old post I know, but I wanted to give the thumbs up as mindfulness of breathing does virtually nothing for me, contemplation of body parts and corpse in decay do a little, but mindfulness of the 4 elements is VERY impactful.
Right now, it's like this...

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by 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.
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paul
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Re: Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Post by paul » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:36 pm

Rowyourboat:
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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