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Mindfulness is NOT enough

betaboybetaboy Veteran Veteran
Most people have the wrong idea that mindfulness is an end in itself. It is not. We become mindful in order to change things. Without being mindful of my flaw, say envy, I wouldn't be able to change that. So change is the issue, not mindfulness. How does change come about?

Here's where disagreements crop up - some might say mindfulness itself is an agent of change, while others may say that change is an act of will. I go with the latter. We make the effort to change, we fail, we make the effort ... and so it goes. Eventually, we will succeed, but it is an act of will. Mindfulness plays a small role, if any.

Discuss.
Chaz

Comments

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    betaboy said:

    Discuss.

    How about PLEASE discuss?

    MaryAnnehowInvincible_summer
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    I think the Buddha said that all 8 parts of the 8 Fold Path were equally important. So yes I would agree mindfulness is not enough. :)
    pommesetorangesSkaðiInvincible_summer
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    What is mindfulness? Is it distinguishing the harmful from the skillful? Is it opening the mind to a new creativity bubbling up? Both?

    Let's investigate what each of us means by mindfulness...
  • matthewmartinmatthewmartin Amateur Bodhisattva Suburbs of Mt Meru Veteran
    If you, in your practice, want to do more than mindfulness, do so!

    I'm guessing this is about the mindfulness movement, which typically emphasizes developing a meditative, mindful practice, but doesn't entail the B word (Buddha), nor much of anything else? (i.e. usually no ethical system, no talk about karma or rebirth, etc)

    I've been on the 1 fold path of wisdom for two decades, also known as reading books from the Buddhist section of the bookstore. Recently I finally started meditating a few times a week. It's worked for me, no way I would have signed up for a program to do it all on day one.

    It's important to realize that everyone has to start somewhere and if you expect others or yourself to do all practices on day one, it won't necessarily be motivating or enticing to others. There is a reason why single practice Buddhism became so popular in the Kamakura era and why mindfulness is such a big deal in the west at the moment.
    Jeffreyjae
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    Of course Mindfulness is enough.
    Providing it's equally balanced with the other 7 'virtues'.........
    riverflow
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2013
    I think it would be VERY interesting to hear what all of us people think mindfulness is. I know my teacher doesn't even like the word 'mindfulness' and favors the word 'awareness'. The reason is that mindfulness implies straining to keep an object and is not what she means. For example if you focused on thoughts of your belly button for eight hours that would be 'focus' but not mindfulness. I seem to recall Thich Nhat Hanh also having a unique perspective on mindfulness in living Buddha living Christ where he said Mindfulness is similar to the western ideal of thankfulness. So as you are mindful chewing your food you are thankful to have that sense and sustenance.

    Should I start a new thread about what *we* think of when we say *mindfulness*?
    ChazDennis1lobster
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    The dhamma practice laid down by the buddha is multifaceted. Sila, samadhi, dana, metta, mindfulness and concentration are the tool that allow us to see reality for what it is.. And it is this insight itself(Panna) that the actual change flows from.
    Dennis1
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran
    For me, mindfulness is just paying stricter attention to something and attempting to fully focus on whatever that something is. When I would go into a temple, I would attempt to fully focus on the reasons for my little pilgrimage. When I was still working I would fully focus on, for example, a conference coming up, and attempt to discern how I could make that conference come out the best for each party involved. Even now when I travel and visit some particular place, I attempt to focus on what I am experiencing, rather than let my mind wander.
  • poptartpoptart Veteran Veteran
    Here is a definition from "Openness, Clarity and Sensitivity" by Rigdzin Shikpo:
    Mindfulness just means being aware. We have a faculty to be aware and we can choose to align ourselves with that, or to try and blank it out and be mindless.
    Jeffrey
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2013
    I think mind full ness is just a description of unhindered sense gate input.
    Chaz
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    What hinders the senses?
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    Jeffrey said:

    What hinders the senses?

    @Jeffrey
    I did not say the sense gates were hindered, just their data input.
    The manipulator of that input is Ego, identity or whatever you want to call that which keeps us in a delusive snooze..
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    betaboy said:

    Most people have the wrong idea that mindfulness is an end in itself. It is not. We become mindful in order to change things. Without being mindful of my flaw, say envy, I wouldn't be able to change that. So change is the issue, not mindfulness. How does change come about?

    Here's where disagreements crop up - some might say mindfulness itself is an agent of change, while others may say that change is an act of will. I go with the latter. We make the effort to change, we fail, we make the effort ... and so it goes. Eventually, we will succeed, but it is an act of will. Mindfulness plays a small role, if any.

    Discuss.

    Maybe on Planet Betaboy.

    Indeed, mindfulness can play a very insignificant role in acts of will. No arguments there!

    If a person begins practicing Buddhism to change themselves into a new and improved person, then mindfulness can only get you so far.

    *****tongue removed from cheek*****

    When I was very young, in my twenties and earlier, all of my intention was focused upon 'becoming'. Mindfulness served Will. Maybe that was appropriate; we are conditioned psychologically to 'become' someone by both native instinct and the culture we are born into. But there is a natural conflict between the Buddha's central teachings and the imperative of 'becoming' someone, which we are intent to do until . . .

    Until you get to be my age and older. I did the 'becoming' thing, and now, just like Carl Jung said a hundred years ago, I'm working just as hard as I did then to take it all back apart! Jung once said in a letter to someone "If a gentleman over the age of 45 comes to me for analysis, and I discover he is a devout Catholic, I tell him he does not need analysis but to further pursue his Catholicism. If a gentleman over the age of 45 comes to me and has no religious tradition, I invite him into analysis because he has no religion."

    The first and last half of life have different demands, and I can't help but opine that Buddhist practice will not look the same to a twenty two year old as it does to a 48 year old. Neither is 'wrong', probably, but when I first read Betaboy's post I wanted to copy, paste and link my favorite sources describing 'mindfulness', you know, to edumacate the young lad :D

    I'm not looking forward anymore to 'becoming' an improved potential of myself. I did that, and it was interesting, full of adventure, I reproduced a male and female offspring and have the unparalleled pleasure of a grandchild.

    I want to take it all off, to get to the Source, the Truth, the Absolute, because that's where I'm going. Rather, that's where I am, always have been, I was just too busy building my sand castle, you know? I needed to explore the limits of this genome, this environment, this karma. And now . . .

    Mindfulness breaks Will like Rock breaks Scissors in the last half of my life, anyway.

    Does anyone else over the age of mid-forty-something relate?

    Thanks for your post @Betaboy :)

    Gassho :)


    Dennis1betaboyMaryAnneNele
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2013
    "Mindfulness" alone is not enough and should be accompanied by "clear comprehension". I prefer the term sati-sampajanna.
    Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension

    13. Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Mindful should you dwell, bhikkhus, clearly comprehending; thus I exhort you.

    14. "And how, bhikkhus, is a bhikkhu mindful? When he dwells contemplating the body in the body, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world; and when he dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, the mind in the mind, and mental objects in mental objects, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world, then is he said to be mindful.

    15. "And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu have clear comprehension? When he remains fully aware of his (actions) coming and going, his looking forward and his looking away, his bending and stretching, his wearing of his robe and carrying of his bowl, his eating and drinking, masticating and savoring, his defecating and urinating, his walking, standing, sitting, lying down, going to sleep or keeping awake, his speaking or being silent, then is he said to have clear comprehension.

    "Mindful should you dwell, bhikkhus, clearly comprehending; thus I exhort you."

    This exercise is the observation and awareness of the actions of the body (and mind). This is the fundamental practice of the monk. When I was first ordained as a novice forty-eight years ago, the first book my master gave me to learn by heart was a book of gathas to be practised while washing your hands, brushing your teeth, washing your face, putting on your clothes, sweeping the courtyard, relieving yourself, having a bath, and so on.
    ... If a novice applies himself to the practice of [this] ... exercise, he will see that his everyday actions become harmonious, graceful, and measured. Mindfulness becomes visible in his actions and speech. When any action is placed in the light of mindfulness, the body and mind become relaxed, peaceful, and joyful. [This] ... exercise is one to be used day and night throughout one's entire life.

    Thich Nhat Hanh

    Dennis1seeker242
  • Dennis1Dennis1 Veteran Veteran
    Hi Betaboy: I sort of agree and sort of don't. I see mindfulness as a way to rise above delusion. I think the main delusion mindfulness helps with is the idea of a separate self.
    That idea promotes self cherishing and the desire which rises from self grasping is the source of suffering. So yes mindfulness is not the goal. Realization is. However, it is just about impossible to see past the delusion of discursive thought. Without mindfulness we are like a man in a foreign country. We can't even ask for food or water
    and we can't hear the native when he tells us where to go. So first we have to understand the chatter and move through the clutter of our own mind. That takes mindfulness. Then we can look to the generation and completion stages and start Lamrim.

    So mindfulness is just a tool but a necessary tool and meditation is just a tool but it is what the Buddha showed us (Vipassana), as the way to enlightenment.
    I appreciate your input. You are stimulating. MTGBY
    robot
  • Dennis1Dennis1 Veteran Veteran
    Jefferey: I would like that thread. Personally I like one pointed meditation and I think it does improve mindfulness. Like Vipassana or the white AH at the heart of night practice, you keep returning the mind, then you learn to see the mind and notice when it moves away and then you can just put it where you want it and it behaves. You are no longer so stupid. Anyway, I would like that thread-please do.
  • Dennis1Dennis1 Veteran Veteran
    Hamsaka said Mindfulness breaks Will like Rock breaks Scissors in the last half of my life, anyway.
    Does anyone else over the age of mid-forty-something relate?

    I agree. I don't practice at 66 as I did at 18 or 25. At eighteen I searched at 25 I meditated. At 66 I take the path as meditation and that is pretty informal. I haven't done formal meditation for years...however I'm always pretty mindful so I take the path.
    I really liked the Ah of compassion, night practice. It helped me develop pristine cognition. I don't take myself seriously anymore. My death seems inconsequential and my further enlightenment seems unimportant. I mostly want to be a better guide and helper to those around me-I love this group. But sometimes I fondly remember fireflies and the melting bliss and I tell myself, I'll get back to that sometime. But then, that just seems far away and a little selfish. Things do change. But I love life and I will miss the light so I keep my thoughts pure and work hard to do right action. Someday I'll experience Bliss again and then I'll remember to dwell on emptiness. I'm pretty lucky because I love my life and my family and I am comfortable. I have time to work at what I love too. mtgby
    Hamsaka
  • betaboybetaboy Veteran Veteran
    You're aware that you're drinking too much. Will that stop your addiction, or must you make the effort to stop it?

    Food for thought.
  • poptartpoptart Veteran Veteran
    I think of mindfulness as consciousness. Most people are unconscious to some degree most of the time, because of conditioned thinking or delusion.

    Why do people choose to be unconscious? Because they are turning away from the present moment for one reason or another. Perhaps their situation or even their life doesn't match up to the list of shoulds they identify with. So instead of savouring this moment they live in the past, when they felt happy/rich/loved or whatever, or else in an imaginary future when they will be happy/rich/loved or whatever.

    Without mindfulness everything is delusion.

    @betaboy:
    You're aware that you're drinking too much. Will that stop your addiction, or must you make the effort to stop it?
    You may need others' help, but accepting you are drinking too much is the first important step. Whether you can conquer the addiction depends on many things, but you will certainly not conquer it without the awareness that you have a problem.
    MaryAnne
  • MaryAnneMaryAnne Veteran Veteran
    betaboy said:

    You're aware that you're drinking too much. Will that stop your addiction, or must you make the effort to stop it?

    Food for thought.

    As they say, The very first step towards sobriety is to acknowledge there is a problem- mindfulness.
    What steps will you choose to do if you're not aware in the first place? Sounds to me like one can't expect action before mindfulness- nor without mindfulness.

    Good Luck @betaboy. Remember, One Day At A Time... :)
    riverflow
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    Jeffrey said:

    What is mindfulness? Is it distinguishing the harmful from the skillful? Is it opening the mind to a new creativity bubbling up? Both?

    Let's investigate what each of us means by mindfulness...

    One of my favorite videos on mindfulness. :)

    "Often the word Sati is used with Sampajanna implied, they have to go together really."



    Invincible_summer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2013
    seeker242 said:


    "Often the word Sati is used with Sampajanna implied, they have to go together really."

    Yes, though IMO sati is the foundation for sampajanna. Implied in this is the dimension of acting mindfully, so it's not just a passive process.
  • absoluteabsolute Explorer Explorer
    edited December 2013
    is mindfulness included in samatha ? from my understanding there are two main meditations in buddhism that are samatha and vipassana right, or not anyway i am confused with those names. is there anyone else can explain which meditation is fundamental and which one is advanced and their names and levels such as mindfulness, jhana or dhyana, samatha, vipassana, vajrayana meditation, and etc ?
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    absolute said:

    is mindfulness included in samatha ?

    Samatha is usually developed by paying attention to an object eg mindfulness of breathing.
    If we're talking about the 8-fold path then in the suttas samadhi ( concentration ) is usually defined in terms of jhana, for which samatha is an important foundation.
    And sati ( mindfulness ) is usually defined in terms of the 4 foundations of mindfulness, ie body, feeling, mind-state and mental objects.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    My teacher speaks of many samadhis occuring at all times. You have a question bubble up and eventually there is a samadhi as a creative response follows and in turn bubbles up. So you (or I) might be having a samadhi right now, if only just a small one.
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran
    In the Pali canon samadhi is synonymous with the jhanas.
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.041.than.html

    The suttas are riddled with descriptions of jhanas and their necessity for liberation.
    The jhānas are states of meditation where the mind is free from the five hindrances—craving, aversion, sloth, agitation and doubt—and (from the second jhāna onwards) incapable of discursive thinking.

    In the early texts, the jhanas are taught as a state of collected, full-body awareness in which mind becomes very powerful and still but not frozen, and is thus able to observe and gain insight into the changing flow of experience. The Buddha's instructions on attaining jhana are via mindfulness of breathing, found in the Ānāpānasati Sutta and elsewhere. Dhyana, or samadhi, alone is not enough to attain liberation. According to the Theravada tradition it must be combined with vipassana, which gives insight into the three marks of existence and leads to detachment and "the manifestation of the path".
    "'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.
    (Similarly with the second, third, and fourth jhana.)
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.036.than.html
    But with this racking practice of austerities I haven't attained any superior human state, any distinction in knowledge or vision worthy of the noble ones. Could there be another path to Awakening?'
    "I thought: 'I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Could that be the path to Awakening?' Then following on that memory came the realization: 'That is the path to Awakening.'
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.036.than.html
  • Dennis1Dennis1 Veteran Veteran
    absolute said:

    is mindfulness included in samatha ? from my understanding there are two main meditations in buddhism that are samatha and vipassana right, or not anyway i am confused with those names. is there anyone else can

    explain which meditation is fundamental and which one is advanced and their names and levels such as mindfulness, jhana or dhyana, samatha, vipassana, vajrayana meditation, and etc ?

    There are a great many meditation practices. I don't thing their names are important. Maybe more important is what time you will dedicate and when you will dedicate that time. Maybe night practice is best. Maybe morning is for you. Practice is the important part. If you are not getting change and or improvement maybe you should move on to something else or to a different time. do it do it do it....

  • absoluteabsolute Explorer Explorer
    Dennis1 said:

    absolute said:

    is mindfulness included in samatha ? from my understanding there are two main meditations in buddhism that are samatha and vipassana right, or not anyway i am confused with those names. is there anyone else can

    explain which meditation is fundamental and which one is advanced and their names and levels such as mindfulness, jhana or dhyana, samatha, vipassana, vajrayana meditation, and etc ?

    There are a great many meditation practices. I don't thing their names are important. Maybe more important is what time you will dedicate and when you will dedicate that time. Maybe night practice is best. Maybe morning is for you. Practice is the important part. If you are not getting change and or improvement maybe you should move on to something else or to a different time. do it do it do it....

    yep that is true but without intro, guide, list, classification, and outline it all seem confusing. i think first step of everything is knowing the whole intro without details and then stepping forward gradually with specific details like the mind mapping technique
    Dennis1
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    Dennis1 said:


    There are a great many meditation practices. I don't thing their names are important.

    I think it is important to understand what the purpose of these different practices are - without that clarity a lot of confusion can develop.
  • Dennis1Dennis1 Veteran Veteran

    Dennis1 said:


    There are a great many meditation practices. I don't thing their names are important.

    I think it is important to understand what the purpose of these different practices are - without that clarity a lot of confusion can develop.
    I agree. So what is the purpose? We say mindfulness-well yes but then? If we can use the mindfulness to be less stupid and then explore ourselves and others and understand the basics of existence, maybe we can use our understanding to be of use to others. Ignorant, bewildered and compulsive leaves us little energy for human kindness.

    Jeffrey
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