Week 3: Mindfulness

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The Gateway to Wisdom

In week three we continued the investigation of the Satipatthana Sutta. Last week we talked about the basic definition of Sattipatthana, that is. the four abidings of mindfulness, and the particular mental qualities that the Buddha described as necessary for the path to awakening aka liberation. These qualities were identified as ardency, clearly knowing, mindfulness, and freedom from desire and discontent in regard to the world. Our discussion focused on the role of ardency and clear knowing on the path to liberation.

(Here is a link to the talk we heard from Joseph Goldstein)

This week we took a closer look at Mindfulness, which is the English translation of the word Sati. Joseph noted that Mindfulness or Sati plays a central role in every Buddhist tradition. Mindfulness was described as being the root of dharma, the body of practice, as the fortress of the mind, the aide to innate wakefulness. The emphasis of the talk was on the variety of interpretations of the word Sati or Mindfulness and the value and benefits of each of these aspects of sati or The vivid distinctions of the various aspects of Mindfulness which were highlighted include: Mindfulness as remembering, Mindfulness as present moment awareness, Mindfulness as the guardian of the sense doors, Mindfulness as a balancing agent, Mindfulness as a guardian of the mind, and the distinction between fabricated, un-fabricated, prompted, and unprompted Mindfulness. 

Discussion Questions: 

How does Joseph Goldstein’s description of the various aspects of Mindfulness compare to your personal understanding and utilization of the word Mindfulness?

What are your thoughts on or reaction to, the specific value & benefits of Mindfulness as remembering, Mindfulness of present moment awareness, Mindfulness as the guardian of the sense doors, Mindfulness as a balancing agent, and/or Mindfulness as guardian of the mind?

Do you have some personal examples of fabricated, un-fabricated, prompted and unprompted Awareness? 

What in your mind is the value of contemplating all the various aspects of Mindfulness?

Suggested at home practices:

1. Contemplate the various aspects of mindfulness described by Joseph in this talk and journal your answers to the discussion questions above.

2. During your daily meditation notice if you can discern the various aspects of mindfulness within one sitting with the intention of sharing any relevant insights with the group next week.

3. Reflect on your own use of the word Mindfulness in your daily speech in light of the various aspects that have been described in this talk.

-Suzanne Lawrence