These are notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book, “Mindfulness”
These notes are from the first half of the chapter on Bare Knowing and the Continuity of
Bare Knowledge is to observe objectively without getting
lost in associations and reactions.
One of our missions in Buddhism is to establish a continuity
of mindfulness. There are two ways
to practice to accomplish this.
Through the momentum of moment-to-moment
Through the mental faculty of perception.
mindfulness through the momentum of moment-to-moment mindfulness
Mindfulness can become spontaneous through
Through our own experience, we can observe that knowing and its object arise simultaneously
The first stage of insight we call Purification of View. In
this stage we begin to see that there is no “knower” or “witness”. Knowing and the object arise
simultaneously. Knowing or
consciousness is always preceded by the appropriate causes and
conditions for that object to arise.
This is a liberating factor of merging subject and object. The knowing faculty is not altered by the object. We can simply be aware of the object
without holding on to it.
There is a progression in the
cultivation of mindfulness
Object-concentration, bringing the mind back to
a certain object: breath, heart, love, sound, body sensation and so on
As mindfulness strengthens we go on to
object-less awareness, choiceless awareness, or shinkantaza- just opening to what
is arising in this moment.
Progressing further, the awareness becomes more
panoramic and more general
move from emphasis on the content of the particular experience to noticing
mindfulness through the mental factor of perception.
Consciousness or Knowing identifies an object through
perception. Perception is
the mental quality of recognition.
It picks out distinguishing marks and stores it for future reference
Consciousness simply knows the
object like a sound, But
perception is the underlying process that identifies and records the object:
Recognizes the sound
Names it bird
Remember this concept for the next time
It is a pre-verbal recognition that that
particular sound is called the sound of a bird.
But we can use perception also in a different way that can
leads us towards the liberation we seek.
We can begin to use perception to notice the how of our activity
rather than the what or contents.
We can cut through identifying with our
experience by notice the tone of voice of our noting or the mood that you are
We can investigate our conceptual over-lay by
more subtlety being curious about the layers of perception and how we
We can notice the hindrances to awareness that
Mental noting is a skillful means but not the essence of mindfulness. The essence is to be simply aware. Eventually we have to even let go of
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be serious and grim.
It can be graceful like Tai-chi or the
Japanese Tea Ceremony.
express what Zen people call effortless
Simply resting in the continuity of bare knowledge.
Labels: Bare noting, continuity of mindfulness, Joseph Goldstein"s Mindfulness, Satipatthana Sutra, the mental factor of perception