Continuing with notes from Joseph Goldstein’s “Mindfulness”
We are working with the section on the four qualities of
mind: Ardency, Clearly knowing, mindfulness,
Mindfulness is much more than what our pop-culture thinks of
it, which is simply something about returning to the present moment. The media often says- this was a Zen
moment. They refer to a peaceful,
quiet moment. I smile. After studying Zen for 40 years, I know
it’s more than just that! And it’s
Goldstein presents several meanings and functions of
practice of Remembering
the Spiritual Faculties
of the mind
and unfabricated mindfulness
awareness is the aspect of mindfulness we are most familiar with. We often
call it bare noting or non-interfering awareness. It is the opposite of absentmindedness. It is a type of non-judgmental
receptivity or listening to what is actually happening.
The Practice of
Remembering reminds me of Ram Das’s book title “Be, Hear, Now!” But actually that’s not the book title! It is “Remember, Be, Hear, Now”. That Remember might be the most
important word. Do we remember to
be mindful? Or are we on automatic most of the time?
What do we remember?
The virtues of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
Remembering all the qualities of our practice, helps us to
become more confident and self-respecting and allows us to really feel the
possibility of awakening.
Five Spiritual Faculties
We enhance our mindfulness when we notice one of these is in
excess or deficient. We can get
into trouble if these are out of balance.
Too much faith and not enough wisdom can create being a fundamentalist
and dogmatic. Too much
Concentration can cause us to be lost in states of mind. Too much effort causes restlessness. Too little effort causes torpor. Etc.
Protector of the
Mind. I have always taught
that we need to have huge strong guardians placed at the entrance of our
minds. These guardians have great
discernment and can decide if a thought is wholesome or unwholesome. These guardians allow the wholesome
thoughts in and prevent the unwholesome from taking root.
These guardians also notice when our habituated habits based
on our ego’s desire system are at play.
This type of mindfulness: sees a habituated habit and can have the
strength and determination to interrupt it with a spiritual action.
In Buddha’s discourse on “The Two kinds of Thought”, he
divides our thoughts into two kinds:
Sensual desire, thoughts of ill will, and
thoughts of cruelty
Renunciation, thoughts of non-ill will, and
thoughts of non-cruelty
And Buddha says:
“As I abided thus,
diligent, ardent and resolute, a thought of sensual desire arose in me. I understood thus:
This thought of
sensual desire has arisen in me.
This leads to my own affliction, to other’s affliction and the
affliction of both; it obstructs wisdom, causes difficulties and leads away
from Nibbana. ….
Whenever a thought of
sensual desire arose in me, I abandoned it, removed it, did away with it.”
And he applied these same thoughts to ill will and cruelty.
With wholesome states of mind, mindfulness takes a different
form. We don’t need to be quite so actively engaged. In fact, doing so would only lead to disturbance of mind and
body. We find a balance between
active and receptive, doing and non-doing.
mindfulness is our concerted effort to stay mindfulness, sometimes called prompted mindfulness. We are using our minds to stay
mindful. After a considerable
amount of practice, sometimes this mindfulness becomes spontaneous and
continues through the strength of its own momentum. This is called effortless
mindfulness. In effortless
mindfulness, sometimes the consciousness of the observer stops and there is no
reference point for that which is observed.
is our innate wakefulness of the mind’s natural state.
Our natural mind is like a mirror that reflects everything
without value judgements. It is not something we create or develop, but
something we need to recognize and come back to.
When these two types of mindfulness are in harmony, we bear
the fruit of great ease. Our practice is simply let go, relax, and surrender
into the natural unfolding.
From the Suttas:
The mind within itself
is already peaceful.
When the mind is not
peaceful it is following sense impressions and following the moods created by
the sense impressions.
The untrained mind
gets lost and follows these things, forgetting itself….
Our practice is simply
to see the Original Mind
Labels: "Two kinds of Thought" sutta. Satipatthana sutta., fabricated and unfabricated mindfulness, guarding the mind, Joseph Goldstein"s Mindfulness, mindfulness, Spiritual faculties