DEVELOPMENT OF ESSENTIAL MINDFULNESS


Within any system of Dharma it is clear that words are always inadequate and that it is important to reach beyond the words to the root events that we call experiences, which are either cognitive or subliminal.

This is complicted by the fact that many words almost defy definition. The word "mindfulness" is one of those and so difficult is it to define that some languages cannot even translate it.

But that word is most important within Buddha Dharma and especially so in Chan, which reaches so deeply into the inner secrets of the system.

Many will say that there are other things of greater importance, but Buddha thought otherwise.



MINDFULNESS

INVESTIGATION OF DHARMA

RAPTURE

EFFORT

TRANQUILITY

CONCENTRATION MEDITATION

EQUANIMITY


Need I say more?

What we are interested in here then is the Essential Mindfulness that is required for Liberation.

There are four important divisions we can make in building a model that will help understanding, realizing that the model itself is just a tool to understanding these important hidden experiences.

The divisions we have made here are between:

Attentive Midfulness

Task Mindfulness

Identity Mindfulness

              Meditative Mindfulness


But before we begin we must set a more complete base and so we must speak about Pure Mindfulness, which is the fount of all these.

Yet we must go further, for we cannot divorce Pure Mindfulness from the other primordial experience which accompanies it in every human creature. That is Pure Awareness.

So let us begin, understanding that this will require deep and penetrating mindfulness... oh my, oh my... We are in a dreadful circle, but never mind.

It is rather like the situation in which you cannot take a job unless you have experience and can't get experience unless you join the union... But you can't join the union unless you have the job.

But we shall try, so hang on with diligence.


                                           PURE AWARENESS

One of the great problems here is that people think that they are being AWARE when really it is just a Mundane Awareness or Mundane Mindfulness.

Imagine that Pure Awareness is rather like the Energy that drives your heart. This Energy specific to the heart lets the heart beat at a regular rate when in repose and when more blood is required, without knowing why, the heart simply beats faster and more strongly.

Pure Awareness is rather like that. We can say then that it has in and of itself no subject or object. So what does it accomplish?

Its first important application is to send a message to the right brain informing it that the most important systems for life itself are correctly in operation. It effectively declares, quite below the level of Consciousness, "There is life present."

Now, just like the analogy of the heart, it has two modes, which are set in place by the application of Attention. They are:

Repose (Passaddhi), which is the Passive but regular beating State

Alert (Appamada), which is Active and directed and results in the cognitive experience of being: "Aware of Something, ? ? ?"   

But this Awareness of Something has no subject, that is no "I am aware of", and the apparent objects are abstract states with little or no associations within memory.

One cannot be aware, for example of "a pair of trousers."

One can be aware of "falling" without one who falls. The most important of these abstract experiences is the experience of the State of Aliveness.

If you work through that several times then I am sure it will become clearer.


                                          PURE MINDFULNESS

Now Pure Mindfuness in many respects is quite similar, for it also has no subject or object, in and of itself, and its application is to send a signal to the right hemisphere. It is an unconscious experience declaring, "There is particular detection for being, all systems are working."
                      
This Mindfulness of Being when interactive with Attention generates three very important attentive states giving signals that provoke a physiological response.

"Specific attention is required, an environmental experience which in psychology is called Irritation."

"Move with Orientation (Manasikara) to target the area, selecting target forms. This is called the state of Clear Comprehension."

"Capture (Vitakka) exactly what is there with the senses, generates a Mindfulness of Something."


You can perhaps see that Pure Mindfulness has provided the ground for the eventual conscious Mindfulness of Something, which when provided with a name has associations which can be retrieved and is effective with the illusion of apparent existence for an identified target.

It is clear then that if the object of Mindfulness is of "True Self" then there will be an apparent existence of "True Self", not "Identity" and apparent "Separate existence for all phenomena."

You will have noticed here that the interaction of Pure Awareness with Attention and Pure Mindfulness with Attention provides the change in the application of the five points of Attention that is necessary for the following concentration stage which is "One-Pointedness, (Ekaggata)," which has two forms, named "applied" and "sustained".


 Summary

Previous to that CLEAR COMPREHENSION we say that the system is in REPOSE (PASSADDHI), followed by a wakened state which we call ALERT.

Now that STATE OF ALERT 
(APPAMADAis quite important, for that state opens wide the detectors to the totality of the apparent external world and to the state of sense door reception.

This PREDISPOSITION FOR THAT STATE of ALERT is sent to the RIGHT HEMISPHERE as READINESS (USSAHA). This signals the correct function of READINESS. But remember it is not a readiness for anything.

This is followed after Environmental IRRITATION, by an ORIENTATION (MANASIKARA) of the sense doors and mind towards the novel event.  

Then the object is not known with conscious thought but by unconscious thinking which is DETERMINED to be with SPECIFIC FORM. We call this operation CAPTURE 
(VITAKKA).

This is immediately followed by ONE-POINTEDNESS (EKAGGATA) upon that form.

Then ATTENTION is first APPLIED and then SUSTAINED consciously, so that there is a continuing exercise of the mind (VICARA) upon the object.
 

Remember that these processes are extremely rapid and below the threshold of any possible normal distinguishing of time and, consequently, order.


So we have the process of ATTENTION as:
 
1. REPOSE (PASSADDHI) the RESTING STATE

2. ALERT (APPAMADA

An intervening state of IRRITATION my occur here.

3. ORIENTATION (MANASIKARA)

4. CAPTURE (VITAKKA), generates the Mindfulness of a named form.

5. ONE-POINTEDNESS, CONCENTRATION (EKAGGATA), which also means tranquility of mind, suggesting perhaps the terminal point of the ALERT.

6. Attention is then APPLIED and then SUSTAINED consciously, so that there is a continuing exercise of the mind (VICARA) upon the object. 


This will take a little longer to fully understand and experience its actual working as a process in everything to which mind and body respond.

Stay with it until you do understand fully, for it is particularly important for those who wish to advance into Chan Contemplation.

The four areas of Mindfulness that we will now deal with, arise with this "Capture and Mindfulness of Something", where there is the applied and sustained one-pointedness of Attention with:

                      Attentive Mindfulness

        Task Mindfulness

        Identity Mindfulness 

        Meditative Mindfulness


Here we have a case which is rather like the school multiple choice questions in which one has to choose the one element which does not belong in a natural operating system.

Here that should be quite easy to detect. It is, of course, Identity Mindfulness.


                                           ATTENTIVE MINDFULNESS

You will have noticed that when Attention moves to a specific location (for any of the five senses) Clear Comprehension may allow a selected form to be extracted from an undefined sense mass, to which a name can be applied from memory, thus allowing effective retrieval so that any irritation can be Identifed and useful associations made in computing a response.

In a completely natural and unstained system there is a constant scanning of the sense doors and when a useful targeted form is received as irritation, or when a new stimulus is detected, then attentive Mindfulness clicks into place and there is a momentary mindfulness which allows the target to be identified and associations to be drawn from memory. This is normally a very quiet process that is normally continually in operation, working with the aforementioned attention series of "Irritation, Orientation and Capture".

We will see later how Identity destroys this quiet application and generates a mental agitation and confusion.

When we examine the model, however, we find that the problem is not with Attentive Mindfulness itself, which is functioning correctly. The problem arises within the previous stage which is the "Move to target the selecting of target forms," namely, Clear Comprehension.

It is within the higher operation of Sensation, which occurs next after the hierarchy of Attention, that the level of unconscious anxiety arises from insecurity with regard to the level of threats which may exist from any potential not actual irritation within the environment. The basic fear is the fear of making error with unpleasant consequences.

Multiple inappropriate target forms are then named and pulled into consciousness by the operation of Clear Comprehension. Irritation is complex and Attentive Mindfulness is then "overloaded". The result is an over-stimulation of the system and a "cognitively confused state" ensues.

Restoration of the system does not lie with training in Attentive mindfulness but with practice of Meditative Mindfulness or the fuller Vipassana Meditation. However, the calm naming of overloads and resultant confusion are a place to start free critical enquiry into the level of the problem.



TASK MINDFULNESS

Whenever a task, which may be either "approach, a neutral watching or avoidance," is activated by the natural system then Task Mindfulness steps into the picture.

You have within Chan or Zen often heard the phrase, "when walking be walking, when sitting be sitting". This is the correct application of Task Mindfulness.

However, we must examine the correct application of this Task Mindfulness, which occurs during the CAPTURE (VITAKKA) state, which has generated the Mindfulness of a named form through memory and perception.

That form is no longer actually a simple form but one form or more with context and a required action, which may be either mental, physical, or both.

In other words, the system may have compiled the command "wash the dishes", "drive the car to the supermarket" or even "sit down quietly and consider this problem."

Now the basic physiological idea behind all mindfulness is to CONDITION the system for that task in such a way that minimal cognitive thinking is needed for the task.

You can see that conditioning the task of washing the dishes presents no great peril, while driving a car has multiple variables which require a constant attention to new information and variable actions. The basic concept then is to give attention completely to the task at hand without any interference from sensations, discriminations, perceptions or cognitions that are not essential to it.

But that attention is not the normal manner of doing things in which you half-attend with your attention on other matters. All the senses that can be usefully applied to the task are employed.

One visually attends to each dish, the water, the soap, etc. One is conscious of the touch and textures, the colors and especially the movement of your hands and every odor is captured. There is full attention and you note each almost imperceptible movement of washing those dishes. If you do this correctly, there is no room for other thoughts to intrude.

The human system in a person who is balanced and harmonious is always naturally prepared with capacity to respond to unexpected circumstances, so it is the task itself which is centered upon.

The important question here and in all these tasks is, "Is the mind telling your body what to do or is your body reacting to the situation and the mind is capturing the natural and automatic subliminal commands that have been issued?"

In our stained daily life it is the mind that commands and controls everything, including the allowing of inappropriate thoughts. The ideal is to allow the natural system itself to perform whatever tasks it is capable of performing, with the mind only observing and noting.

In walking, watch how the ankle moves and note the lifting of the leg the balance of the arms, the changes in the muscles. Do you get the idea...? And it is no different with washing dishes, playing golf, setting a table, doing up your shoes. Task mindfulness should be developed as completely and fully as possible.

When walking be walking. This means that one notes the full body movements in walking, the pressures and changes on the parts of the body, changes in temperature and perhaps most of all the relationship between what you are actually doing in the task of walking and what the mind is doing.


IDENTITY MINDFULNESS

There should be no doubt in anyone's mind at this point that Identity is to blame for all the problems where correct mindfulness is not in operation. We have spoken of the Identity problems in other sections so it will be suffice here to show where the Daughter Identities, which are Visceral, Emotional and Mental, operate.

You will have seen that the Visceral Identity complex causes great problems due to the Anxiety of the system because of the subliminal Identity innate fear of Confusion. This becomes then a self-fulfilling prophecy, for Clear Comprehension is elicited with such frequency that the irritations sensed by the system are frequent and considered as potentially new and harmful even when there is actually no threat at all.

The simple act of entering a shoe store to choose a pair of shoes becomes daunting. How much more confusing would be more complex decision-making! The fear, you see, is of making an error, with the consequence of the dissaproval of others. The dissonant solution is to avoid all complications building a virtual nest of safety for oneself. This, of course, does not cure the basic problem and a natural unclouded mindfulness in daily life becomes impossible.

While the Visceral Identity complex also affects Discriminations, the greatest enemy of all Discriminations is the Acquisitive Emotive Identity complex.

As a result, Task Mindfulness is exceedingly difficult. Attention to any task is impeded by the presence of the Acquisitive Identity complex that is fixed upon receiving a positive outcome and avoiding a negative one. You can see that Craving and Clinging is a great problem and since these Daughter Identities are subliminal they jump into action and impede correct operation, so failure is only discerned after the events.

The Aversive Identity complex is quite easy to understand, but the most difficult to change. It reduces Mindfulness of both the Attentive type and the Task type into an arrogant dominant stubborness in terms of what is the target of mindfulness with faulty, calculated opinions that hold the weight of Truth but are without true substance. The mindfulness is contaminated and stained, but error is seldom seen.

Meditative Mindfulness, with diligence and very frequent practice, eliminates these problems of Mindfulness, but it does not destroy these debilitating memory identity complexes.


MEDITATIVE MINDFULNESS

When we are speaking of Meditative Mindfulness, Buddha explained it quite clearly in the Mahasatipatthana Sutra and it requires little explanation for the dedicated practitioner.

This mindfulness is in fact the base for access to all Insight Meditations and also Jhana meditation, called Concentration, which is also one of the Seven Factors of Awakening.

In this Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta, called The Great Discourse on the Establishing of Mindfulness, Buddha declared:

"This is the one and only way, monks, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the extinguishing of suffering and grief, for walking on the path of truth, for the realisation of nibbāna: that is to say, the fourfold establishing of Mindfulness.

Which four? Here, monks, a monk dwells ardent with mindfulness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence,

Observing body in body, having removed craving and aversion towards the world; he dwells ardent with mindfulness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence,

observing discriminations in discriminations, having removed craving and aversion towards the world; he dwells ardent with mindfulness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence,

observing mind in mind, having removed craving and aversion towards the world [of mind and matter]; he dwells ardent with mindfulness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence,

observing mental contents in mental contents, having removed craving and aversion towards the world [of mind and matter]."

So we find that the Meditative Mindfulness is directed at the body in and of itself (sensations); discriminations, in and of themselves; the mind, in and of itself, and finally the contents of mind in and of themselves.

But you must note something often bypassed by meditators, and that is that the developed mindfulness includes a deeper understanding at the level of experiences of IMPERMANENCE. This is shown and discerned during the meditation as a rising and falling of the experiences together with the certain knowledge that all phenomena rise and fall within the mind and have no external substance.

Kāyānupassanā: The Observation of the Body Sensations. 

This really is the observation of Sensations of the body, named in many of Buddha's sutras as "Contact."

Buddha begins by suggesting the observation of Breathing. Now this becomes the most important part, for this actually is a concentration upon the breath (actually of the nostrils with the contact of passing air) with both breathing in and breathing out. 

This serves, when correctly performed, to eliminate interfering impediments.

But by simultaneously sensing the whole body, in Chan we call this the Defensive Qi, the body and mind are calmed and the trained meditator who has organized his meditation, as Buddha suggested, will discern that he is dwelling and observing the phenomenon of arising in the body and the phenomenon of passing away in the body.

So there is developed both a mindfulness of breathing and the understanding that all arises and falls in the mind and is impermanent. This understanding allows the natural detachment from clinging and craving.


THE ADDITIONAL TARGETS OF SENSATION MEDITATION

In addition to the meditative reflection upon the actual experiences of Sensations which are stored within memory, the BODY IS TO BE SEEN AS REPULSIVE.

The most difficult and most ignored of Buddha's recommendations regarding the body is that we must examine it meditatively and discern that it is just flesh and bone that should be revulsed, not revered as we do in this world.

Buddha declared: "In this body, there are hairs of the head, hairs of the skin, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, stomach with its contents, faeces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, saliva, nasal mucus, synovial fluid and urine."

Instead we not only glorify this body, which is no more really than a container for experiences and responses, but dress it up, change its form surgically and paint it calling it enhancement of beauty. What a calamity.


... and the  BODY IS TO BE SEEN BY THE ELEMENTS OF WHICH IT CONSISTS.

Better, Buddha declared, that we should just consider it as made up of elements and no more; that is, water, air, heat and base material.

Furthermore as apart of this understanding and meditation of the body as arising and falling away only in the mind and as being impermanent, he advises also seeing its decomposition and the like after death. A disagreeable experience that most ignore as a part of practice.

Now what I have given here is a set of observations about this Body Mindfulness Meditation... You can read it, but the full text is well worth ingesting, for it gives a better flavor to the task of body mindfulness that is set aside within normal Mindfulness Meditation and within Vipassana than I have given here.


Vedanānupassanā: The Observation of Discriminations

This observing is translated incorrectly in many texts as "of Sensations."

It is is really the observation "of Discriminations."

While experiencing a pleasant sensation, from the mind, the meditator understands, "I am experiencing a pleasant sensation of LIKE"; while experiencing an unpleasant sensation, he understands, "I am experiencing an unpleasant sensation, of DISLIKE"; while experiencing a neither-unpleasant-nor-pleasant sensation, he understands, "I am experiencing a neither-unpleasant-nor-pleasant sensation, of INDIFFERENCE."

All of which may arise with other labels of different intensity.

He also receives through his prior pre-programmation and the organization of the meditation, ATTACHMENT accompanying the like, dislike and indifference.

Buddha stated, "Thus he dwells observing discriminations in discriminations internally, or he dwells observing discriminations in discriminations externally, or he dwells observing discriminations in discriminations both internally and externally.

"Thus he dwells observing the phenomenon of arising in discriminations, thus he dwells observing the phenomenon of passing away in discriminations, thus he dwells observing the phenomenon of arising and passing away in Discriminations.

"Now his mindfulness is established: "This is DISCRIMINATION!" Thus he develops his mindfulness to such an extent that there is mere understanding along with mere mindfulness. In this way he dwells detached, without clinging towards anything in the world [of mind and matter]. This is how, monks, a monk dwells observing DISCRIMINATIONS IN DISCRIMINATIONS."

Cittānupassanā: The Observation of Mind

How can one examine the mind in meditation which does not exist, for no one is able to locate it? The solution is to examine the experiences of that mind state, not its content.

The meditator then through prior organization allows the rising of craving as mind with craving, a mind free from craving as mind free from craving. He also allows the rising of aversion as mind with aversion, a mind free from aversion as mind free from aversion.

He then examines delusion as mind with delusion, mind free from delusion as mind free from delusion. Thus he can discern Identity presence and see that those too are impermanent products of his mind.

There is also examination within a correctly organized meditation of: 

The nature of the mind as being collected or scattered as a state ignoring all content.

The expanded mind and unexpanded mind as unexpanded mind.

The surpassable and the unsurpassable mind.

The concentrated mind and the unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated mind.

The liberated mind and the unliberated mind.

"Thus he dwells observing the phenomenon of arising in the mind, thus he dwells observing the phenomenon of passing away in the mind, thus he dwells observing the phenomenon of arising and passing away in the mind. Now his mindfulness is established: "This is mind!" Thus he develops his mindfulness to such an extent that there is mere understanding along with mere mindfulness. In this way he dwells detached, without clinging towards anything in the world [of mind and matter]. This is how, monks, a monk dwells observing mind in mind."

 

Dhammānupassanā: The Observation of Mental Contents


In this Sutra Buddha gives us clear ideas with respect to the nature of the meditation upon the contents of mind.

Nīvaraapabba. Hindrances

Sense Desire as absent, the potential arising of sense desire, the falling away of sense desire and the potential eradication of sense desire in the future.

Aversion as present, understanding  "Aversion is present in me;" Aversion as absent; Aversion as a disposition for arising and the potential for its eradication.

Sloth and torpor as present or absent, the disposition for its arising and the potential for its elimination.

Agitation and remorse as present or absent, the disposition for its arising and the potential for its eradication.

Doubt as present or absent and the disposition for the arising as well as the potential for its elimination.


"Thus he dwells observing mental contents in mental contents internally, or he dwells observing mental contents in mental contents externally, or he dwells observing mental contents in mental contents both internally and externally. Thus he dwells observing the phenomenon of arising in the mental contents, thus he dwells observing the phenomenon of passing away in the mental contents, thus he dwells observing the phenomenon of arising and passing away in the mental contents. Now his mindfulness is established: "These are mental contents!" 

Thus he develops his mindfulness to such an extent that there is mere understanding along with mere mindfulness. In this way he dwells detached, without clinging towards anything in the world [of mind and matter]. This is how, monks, a monk dwells observing mental contents in mental contents as regards the five hindrances."

 

Khandhapabba: The Five aggregates of Clinging


The meditator examines through the meditation, bringing to the becoming of consciousness, 

The arising and falling away of body as Sensations.

The arising and falling away of Discriminations.

The arising and falling away of Perceptions (naming form).

The arising and falling away of Reactions to Irritation.

The arising and falling away within Consciousness

"Thus he dwells observing the phenomenon of arising and passing away in the mental contents. Now his mindfulness is established: "These are mental contents!" Thus he develops his mindfulness to such an extent that there is mere understanding along with mere mindfulness. In this way he dwells detached, without clinging towards anything in the world [of mind and matter]. This is how, monks, a monk dwells observing mental contents in mental contents as regards the clinging."

 

 

Āyatanapabba: The Six internal and external Sense Spheres


The eye and the visible consequence of stimulation by irritation, together with the bondage that arises dependent on these two. Together also with the disposition for future bondage and the potential eradication.

He performs the same with the ear, nose, tongue, tactile senses including heat and finally the mind and its contents.

"Now his mindfulness is established: Thus he develops his mindfulness to such an extent that there is mere understanding along with mere mindfulness. In this way he dwells detached, without clinging towards anything in the world [of mind and matter]. This is how, monks, a monk dwells observing mental contents in mental contents as regards the six internal and external sense spheres."

 

In addition, as a practitioner advances in understanding the meditative reflections can include:

The presence or absence of the deep understanding of the Seven Factors of Awakening.

The presence or Absence of the deep understanding of the Four Noble Truths of Suffering.

The full fruits of Mindfulness, however, are not attained until this access meditative Mindfulness is carried forward to higher states.

Buddha, for example declared that full Mindfulness is a state of pleasurable abiding, activated at the Third Jhana in Concentration.

"And what is Right Concentration? Here a monk -- secluded from sense desires, secluded from unwholesome states of mind -- enters and remains in the First Jhana which is filled with rapture and joy born of seclusion accompanied by initial and sustained attention.

"With the stilling of initial and sustained attention, by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind, he enters and remains in the Second Jhana which is without initial and sustained attention; born of concentration, and is filled with rapture and joy.

"With the fading away of rapture, remaining imperturbable, mindful, and clearly aware, he enters and remains in the Third Jhana, and of him the Noble Ones declare, "Equanimous and mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding."

One must note that the second of the Seven Factors of Awakening, RAPTURE, becomes finely tuned within the first two Jhanas; the fourth factor, INNER TRANQUILITY, is finely tuned by the second Jhana; the seventh factor, EQUANIMITY, is finely tuned by the third and the fourth Jhana.


                                                                                             Shan jian