Mindfulness of Activities

This is a continuation of notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book “Mindfulness”
On Chapter 9, Mindfulness of activities:

“Again, monks, when going forward and returning one acts clearly knowing; when looking ahead and looking away one acts clearly knowing; when flexing and extending one’s limbs one acts clearly knowing. . . when eating, drinking, consuming food, and tasting one acts clearly knowing; when defecating and urinating one acts clearly knowing; when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking and keeping silent one acts clearly knowing.”

'Clearly knowing' often translated 'clear comprehension'
It means:
Seeing precisely or seeing thoroughly with all of the
Five spiritual faculties:
·      Confidence
·      Energy
·      Mindfulness
·      Concentration
·      Wisdom
All five spiritual faculties in balance.

Training in clear comprehension

Recognize the motivation behind an action
What is the purpose of what we are doing
Is it of benefit to myself and others?
This is takes our mindfulness more than simply knowing what we are doing.
Is what I’m doing skillful?  Is it unskillful?
Practicing discernment.
Our motivation are often complex or made of conflicting motivations

This is the ethical dimension of mindfulness

Encountering Mara- the embodiment of delusion
But unlike western religions, mara is not the devil or Satan
Mara is seen to be the kind of the highest heaven realm.
His mission is to keep us all ensnared in his realm of samsaric attachments
Using seductive and confusing ploys to accomplish this.

“Mara, I see you” is a phrase that we can use when we are interrupting our patterns.

Know the suitability of an action
Even if something is suitable and wholesome
Is it the appropriate time and place for this action.

Particularly in speech
            Is it true?
                        Something might be true but is it the right time to express it?
            Is it useful?
                        What is the effect of our action on others?
What is appropriate for this time and place?

Know the fields of practice
The four fields of practice are the four foundations
Body, feelings, mind, and different categories of dharma
These are the proper domain of practice
Knowing which field we are in helps us to practice restraint of the senses
Restraint or renunciation
            Not allowing are minds to roam around in sense attachments
Renunciation is a kind of non-addiction

Understand non-delusion
Seeing clearly the three universal characteristics clearly
·      Dukkha- unreliability, dissatisfaction, suffering
·      No centralized self
·      Impermanence
Nondelusion understands that with all of the bodily actions mentioned, there’s no one there doing anything.
There’s doing without a doer

This sections shows the importance Buddha placed on monks and nuns deporting themselves in a quiet and dignified manner.
            Not stiff and contrived
            But a “carefree dignity”
Respect and grace in the way people hold themselves and care for others.

Ending with the repeat of the refrain
·      Contemplate all these activities internally and externally
·      Seeing their nature to arise and pass away
·      Establishing mindfulness to the extent necessary for bare noting and continuous mindfulness
·      Abiding independently
·      Not clinging to anything in the world

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