Author Topic: The 4 Foundations of Mindfulness  (Read 8742 times)

DS Star

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The 4 Foundations of Mindfulness
« on: March 27, 2013, 03:55:32 PM »
“This, monks, is the only way for the purification of beings,
for the transcendence of grief and lamentation,
for the extinction of pain and sorrow,
for attaining the right method,
for the realisation of nibb?na;
namely, the four foundations of mindfulness.”

What are the four?

1. The Body;
2. Feelings;
3. Thoughts;
4. Mental states.

1. The Body

Mindfulness of the Body is the foundation of Insight Meditation. It includes several different meditation objects — mindfulness of the breath, 32 body parts, four elements, clear comprehension of daily activities, and comparing the body with corpses.

The Mah?si meditation method uses mindfulness of the four elements as the primary object, stressing clear comprehension of all intentions when making bodily movements.

Note incessantly

2. Feelings

This includes both physical and emotional feelings. A meditator must be patient with pain, and equanimous towards pleasure and joy.
Pain is the key that opens the door to nibb?na. Do not change your position as soon as pain arises — change your mental attitude.
Resolve to understand the true nature of painful sensations. Insight will soon arise if you investigate painful sensations patiently.

No pain, no gain

3. Thoughts

The wandering mind is difficult to restrain. Insight cannot arise from thinking. One must transcend it to realise the truth.
Focus on mindfulness of bodily movements and sensations to gain discipline. The restless mind will gradually settle down.
Strict moral purity is vital. Avoid all sexual activity, eat little, sleep little, move very slowly, and refrain from all talking.

Talking is the greatest hindrance

4. Mental states

When you prevent the mind from following its usual habits, it will resist and complain with restlessness, laziness, or doubts.
Like a spoiled child who is made to sit still, the fickle mind will struggle to escape from the confines of continuous mindfulness
Meditators must face these tantrums calmly, resolutely observing each mental or physical phenomenon, as and when it occurs.

Patience opens the door to nirv?na

DS Star

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Re: The 4 Foundations of Mindfulness
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 04:55:26 PM »
On  mindfulness on BODY, one of the most 'popular' is the meditation on corpse. This method of meditation is practiced by Theravada monks,

There are 10 types of corpses or known as "objects of repulsion (asubha)" to be contemplated.

1. A Bloated Corpse is a swollen corpse shortly after the day of death. When a person dies their body begins to decay and this decay causes the bloating of the body due to internal gasses.

2. A Bluish Corpse refers to the bluish-green tint the skin gets after death. The skin of the corpse turns different colors such as blue, black or purple. Usually, the body will turn green.

3. A Festering Corpse is when the corpse becomes pus-filled.

4. A Split Up or Cut Up Corpse is a corpse which has been dissected or cut into two pieces.

5. A Gnawed Corpse is a corpse whose parts have been eaten by wild animals such as dogs or vultures.

6. A Scattered or Mangled Corpse is a corpse whose parts have become separated from the body and are lying in different places.

7. A Hacked and Scattered Corpse is a corpse which has been cut up or chopped apart.

8. A Blood Stained or Bleeding Corpse is a corpse which is covered with blood or one which still has blood issuing from the body.

9. A Worm Infested Corpse is a corpse which is full of worms eating the flesh.

10. A Skeleton is a corpse which is only bones. For this meditation, the meditator might need only a piece of bone as the object of meditation.

At the present time it is difficult to find a corpse because there are no longer charnel grounds for disposing of bodies as in the time of Lord Buddha. One might go to a hospital or morgue or funeral temple, or use a picture of a corpse for meditation.


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Re: The 4 Foundations of Mindfulness
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2013, 02:26:09 PM »
One might add that mindfulness meditation begins with awareness of breathing.  Below are some quotes from the discourses in relation to the practice of each type of mindfulness:

1. Mindfulness of breathing

"When mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, it is of great fruit and great benefit. When mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, it fulfills the four foundations of mindfulness. When the four foundations of mindfulness are developed and cultivated, they fulfill the seven enlightenment factors. When the seven enlightenment factors are developed and cultivated, they fulfill true knowledge and deliverance." (Majjhima Nikaya 118.15)

2. Mindfulness of the body

"Mindfulness of the body, when developed and cultivated, is of great fruit and great benefit." (Majjhima Nikaya 119.2)

3. Mindfulness of emotions (feelings)

"There's no fire like that of lust,
No grasping like that of hate,
No snare like that of delusion,
No river like that of craving." (Dhammapada 251)

4. Mindfulness of thoughts

"The mind, hard to control,
Flighty - alighting where it wishes
One does well to tame.
The disciplined mind brings happiness.
The mind, hard to see,
Subtle - alighting where it wishes
The sage protects.
The watched mind brings happiness." (Dhammapada 35-36)

5.Mindfulness of intentions

"Beings are
owners of their karma,
heirs of their karma,
born of their karma,
related to their karma,
supported by their karma.
Whatever karma they do, for good or for ill,
Of that they are the heirs." (Anguttara Nikaya V.57)


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Re: The 4 Foundations of Mindfulness
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2013, 03:00:35 PM »
1. Mindfulness of breathing

To counter the strong forces of distraction, we use the breath to help anchor us to the present.

2. Mindfulness of the body

The Buddha said:

"There is one thing when cultivated and regularly practised leads to deep spiritual intention, to peace, to mindfulness and clear comprehension, to vision and knowledge, to a happy life here and now, and to the culmination of wisdom and awakening. And what is that one thing? Mindfulness centred on the body."

"If the body is not cultivated, the mind cannot be cultivated. If the body is cultivated then the mind can be cultivated."

3. Mindfulness of emotions

Bringing awareness to our emotions helps us to have straightforward or uncomplicated emotions. The Buddha said:

"In life, we cannot always control the first arrow. However, the second arrow is our reaction to the first. This second arrow is optional." This means that in life, we can expect painful experiences - the first arrow. To condemn, judge, criticise, hate, or deny the first arrow is like being struck by a second arrow. The first arrow is often out of our control but the second arrow is not.

4. Mindfulness of thoughts

Mindfulness of thinking is simply recognising that we are thinking. Mindfulness practice won't stop the thinking, but it will help prevent us from compulsively following thoughts that have appeared. In turn, this will help us become more balanced, so that our physical, emotional and cognitive sides all work together as a whole.

5. Mindfulness of intentions

Our intentions - noticed or unnoticed, gross or subtle - contribute either to our suffering or to our happiness. Intentions are sometimes called seeds. The garden you grow depends on the seeds you plant and water.

The Buddha placed great emphasis on attending to our intentions. The greater our awareness of our intentions, the greater our freedom to choose. Mindfulness helps us to notice our impulses before we act, gives us the opportunity to decide whether to act and how to act.

(extracted from Gil Fronsdal, The Issue at Hand, 2001)

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: The 4 Foundations of Mindfulness
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 10:03:55 AM »
There are many descriptions as to what mindfulness is all about as it is one important way for a Buddhist to lead his/her life.  This articles give much explanation and thoughts to mindfulness.

The total sum of mindfulness is to behave in such manner that benefits self and others and always have the situation better off.