mindfulness

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  • Longdog
    Member
    • Nov 2007
    • 448

    mindfulness

    Hi

    Just thought I put it as a topic as referrences to Nishijima's, Harry's and B Warner's recent post on it seem spattered about the place.

    Is Nishijima just trying to say that to 'revere mindfulness' is non-Buddhist because it introduces a duality and by inference denies the Buddha-nature in those who are or have non-mindful moments or lives?

    Assuming that that is all of us, as I find it hard to believe that anyone can be 100% 24/7 mindful in thought speech and action, it is idealistic to be always mindful as this is not reality?


    Also is it because it is introducing mindfulness as a goal to attain as opposed to just being mindful and always going on...

    To say that mindfulness in itself is non-Buddhist seems very odd given the nature of most zen practises.

    In gassho, Kev
    [url:x8wstd0h]http://moder-dye.blogspot.com/[/url:x8wstd0h]
  • Aswini
    Member
    • Apr 2008
    • 108

    #2
    Re: mindfulness

    Maybe I should read their blogs first.

    I thought mindfullness was just a practice, like just paying attention. I've heard some teachers say that mindfulness is the practice and awareness is what develops.

    I guess it is all a matter of being balanced. Not to narrow one's view or to imagine that mindfulness is something you get and the "bing" everything will be ok.

    I've never heard of a buddhist teacher revere mindfulness just like I have never heard a sewer worker praise their spade. It cleans out the sh!t and as long as its usefull that is all that matters? Even some of the thai monks who teach that jhana is useful don't praise it as something to get hold of and be in all the time. just a tool.

    i don't get warner's consistent ranting that he seems to intermittently put out from time to time. he's first book was really good but it gets tired after that. I mean arsenal play really good football but no one believes it when Arsene Wenger talks up how everybody hates arsenal and is out to get them, coz that is his first response a lot of the time.

    Mettha.

    Aswini.

    Comment

    • Ryumon
      Member
      • Apr 2007
      • 1691

      #3
      Re: mindfulness

      Originally posted by HezB
      PeopleNishijima Roshi clearly says that he is referring to 'mindfulness' as an idealistic philosophy.
      What the heck does he mean by that? Idealistic philosophy? I've never heard of anyone turning mindfulness into a philosophy...

      Kirk
      ---
      Ryūmon (Kirk)
      流文

      SAT/LAH

      I know nothing.

      Comment

      • Ryumon
        Member
        • Apr 2007
        • 1691

        #4
        Re: mindfulness

        Well, if that's Nishijima's meaning, then he's splitting hairs. There are other traditions with different "techniques". Thich Nhat Hanh is big on mindfulness, as are the Theravada. If he says he doesn't agree with them, then that's fine, but I don't think any of them see mindfulness as more than a technique.

        Kirk
        ---
        Ryūmon (Kirk)
        流文

        SAT/LAH

        I know nothing.

        Comment

        • Stephanie

          #5
          Re: mindfulness

          Mindfulness is an idealized concept as it is taught by some. There's a common belief in Buddhist circles of the virtue of doing simple tasks with total concentration on the task at hand and no discursive thinking to interrupt it. I doubt that anyone experiences this any more than occasionally, and even so, I question how desirable this would be.

          I think the point is that it's good to be aware of what's going on in our minds as what's going on in our minds. If you're thinking about whales and ice cream while you're sweeping, I say the better approach wouldn't be to try to stop thinking about whales and ice cream, but to be aware that this is what your mind is doing as it's doing it. That is what has the potential to truly change how you engage in the world.

          To be in a stage of perfect concentration on some mundane detail is simply a mental circus trick. What keeps you from acting out in harmful and stupid ways isn't so much the ability to concentrate as it is to see how your mind is setting up a future stupid action with how it's creating a situation with thought. If you cultivate the ability to see how your mind is creating your experiences, you not only cultivate a sense for emptiness, but also greater freedom in not identifying with or acting from this mental activity. Trying to cultivate a difficult result of being able to drop all thinking and be in perfect concentration is a waste of time in my opinion when you could simply learn how to turn your awareness inward.

          Comment

          • Jundo
            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
            • Apr 2006
            • 39078

            #6
            Re: mindfulness

            Hi Guys,

            Before commenting on this more, I am going to wait for a clarification for Nishijima Roshi (I have written him ... I may go to see him if I can before heading to Vietnam). All I will say is that dealing with his Nishijima-style English sometimes is like figuring out the words of the Oracle of Delphi ... and I see a lot of "reading into" what Nishijima "meant" going on here (by me too, that is why I want to make sure).

            One thing is certain: If you have ever met the man, he is a naturally "mindful" individual, in the usual sense of the word. I have seen him a bit distracted once in a long while, but it is amazingly rare. When you sit in a room with him and chat, you have his undivided attention. When he translates a text or paints calligraphy, it has his undivided attention in that moment. So, it is hard for me to imagine that he was rejecting "mindfulness", and I think he was rejecting turning it into some false ideal or goal to achieve, or a 24/7 way of life.

            Anyway, I do not want to put words in his mouth. So let me go visit the Oracle, and I will report back. Or I will post here any further update he makes to his blog.

            Gassho, Jundo
            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

            Comment

            • will
              Member
              • Jun 2007
              • 2331

              #7
              Re: mindfulness

              Is Nishijima Roshi your teacher? In common Zen centers you would have a meeting with a teacher once a week, or maybe more or less. However, most of our practice is done without guidance. I think it is important to be clear, that mindfulness (or practice) is not a goal, or an ideal.

              Nishijima Roshi has no clue about everyone's practice. Some might think mindfulness is something to be achieved and some might not. Those who have good a teacher, have the opportunity to personalize their practice, and in such a setting there's not a question of idealistic view because the teacher will work with that. However, to speak to a broader audience, which possibly has no Sangha or teacher, is a different story.

              Some might be clear on the point and some might not. We should use that understanding as a guide to what he is saying and probably not judge too strongly or look into it too much.

              G,W
              [size=85:z6oilzbt]
              To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
              To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
              To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
              To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
              [/size:z6oilzbt]

              Comment

              • will
                Member
                • Jun 2007
                • 2331

                #8
                Re: mindfulness

                Harry

                Will,

                If you're addressing me
                I wasn't

                G,W
                [size=85:z6oilzbt]
                To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
                [/size:z6oilzbt]

                Comment

                • will
                  Member
                  • Jun 2007
                  • 2331

                  #9
                  Re: mindfulness

                  :lol:

                  G,W
                  [size=85:z6oilzbt]
                  To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                  To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                  To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                  To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
                  [/size:z6oilzbt]

                  Comment

                  • TracyF
                    Member
                    • Nov 2007
                    • 188

                    #10
                    Re: mindfulness

                    Originally posted by Stephanie
                    I think the point is that it's good to be aware of what's going on in our minds as what's going on in our minds. If you're thinking about whales and ice cream while you're sweeping, I say the better approach wouldn't be to try to stop thinking about whales and ice cream, but to be aware that this is what your mind is doing as it's doing it. That is what has the potential to truly change how you engage in the world.
                    Which is exactly like zazen.

                    I honestly gotta say, I'm skeptical that any serious zen teacher teaches what I think Nishijima is referring to as "idealized mindfulness". As I mentioned earlier and what Kirk mentions here, TNH uses the term "mindfulness" throughout his teachings but I don't see an "idealized mindfulness". Here's a quote from his book "Miracle of Mindfulness"

                    While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means that while washing the dishes, one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly: why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that's precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing these bowls is a wondrous reality. I'm being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There's no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.
                    In his books, he obviously doesn't advocate being mindful in this way 24/7.

                    I'm still new to this but I never got the impression that we were supposed to concentrate completely on every simple task all the time. That would drive you insane! :shock: Although, I've noticed that some foods taste awful when I pay more attention to what I'm eating. I definitely need to practice "idealized mindfulness" to lose weight.

                    Comment

                    • chicanobudista
                      Member
                      • Mar 2008
                      • 864

                      #11
                      Re: mindfulness

                      Originally posted by Longdog
                      Hi

                      Just thought I put it as a topic as referrences to Nishijima's, Harry's and B Warner's recent post on it seem spattered about the place.

                      [....]

                      Assuming that that is all of us, as I find it hard to believe that anyone can be 100% 24/7 mindful in thought speech and action, it is idealistic to be always mindful as this is not reality?
                      At least you gotta hand it to Brad....he does have good one-liners. :wink:

                      My friend Tonen told me a story that when she was in Japan a Zen teacher she met there said that Americans who visited his temple were always gushing to him about how mindful they were being. "Put away your video cameras," he told them, "You're just video taping yourselves being mindful!"
                      paz,
                      Erik


                      Flor de Nopal Sangha

                      Comment

                      • will
                        Member
                        • Jun 2007
                        • 2331

                        #12
                        Re: mindfulness

                        but at the same time I'm vaguely worried...
                        Nothing to worry about . Just keep doing your Zazen practice.

                        Zazen is dropping bodymind. Dropping thoughts. Dropping feelings and just enjoying the moment for what it is. Nothing to add and nothing to take away. Dropping pain. Dropping concept. Clear, relaxed, calm, but not asleep

                        We talk about action, action, action, but when do we ever have time to just enjoy a cup of tea? Be gentle with yourself.

                        G,W
                        [size=85:z6oilzbt]
                        To save all sentient beings, though beings are numberless.
                        To penetrate reality, though reality is boundless.
                        To transform all delusion, though delusions are immeasurable.
                        To attain the enlightened way, a way non-attainable.
                        [/size:z6oilzbt]

                        Comment

                        • Jundo
                          Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                          • Apr 2006
                          • 39078

                          #13
                          Re: mindfulness

                          Hi Folks,

                          I just got off the phone from a long chat with Nishijima Roshi. I wanted to visit him in person before leaving for Vietnam tomorrow, but I could not at the last minute.

                          Anyway, we spoke about the "mindfulness" post on the blog, and one thing that is now very clear to me is that Roshi's meaning of "mindfulness", and what most of us are probably thinking as the ordinary meaning of "mindfulness", are rather different. This is not the first time this has happened (actually, it happens quite often), for Nishijima Roshi has his own quaint, and very personal way of speaking English. When I worked with him in translating one of his books, I got rather good at figuring out when language was getting in the way ... However, Roshi's meaning of "mindfulness" is still pretty slippery.

                          As I gather from speaking with him, he is pretty much taking the meaning of "mindfulness" as being "to be full of the mind". As he put it in his blog post, if you read closely, "I think that the word "mindfulness" means the state of our mind, which is very careful to mental function." He does not mean "to be in the present moment" or "to be careful" or "to do one act at one time". He thinks it is "to be focused only on how the mind is" or "only on regulating the mind". When I asked him if writing calligraphy or eating Oryoki is "mindful" action, he said "no" because "you must also use your hand and brush or wooden bowl, so it is not just to think about the mind".

                          But if you ask him, Roshi pretty much agreed with what has been written here that most of us consider "mindfulness". Namely, when he is writing calligraphy (as in this film), he is being mindful I think:

                          http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 4&q=&hl=en

                          He just does not call it that (he says "it is just action"). He also says that sometimes "we do one activity purely, sometimes we do not" (in other words, sometimes we are mindful, sometimes we are not, and it is a misunderstanding of many Zen teachings that Zen is about "being mindful all the time" Nishijima Roshi does not disagree with that).

                          Sometimes, talking with my teacher requires 3 languages: English, Japanese and Nishijima. :roll: So, I suggest we just don't get too tangled in what we think he meant.

                          Gassho, Jundo
                          ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                          Comment

                          • Ryumon
                            Member
                            • Apr 2007
                            • 1691

                            #14
                            Re: mindfulness

                            So maybe angry Brad will change his tune on mindfulness now... His post was fraught with confusion and misunderstanding too. You might want to forward your post to him.

                            I have to say, from what Nishijima had said, it didn't make sense that he was using that word the same way you do. Thanks for clearing it up.

                            Kirk
                            ---
                            Ryūmon (Kirk)
                            流文

                            SAT/LAH

                            I know nothing.

                            Comment

                            • Jundo
                              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                              • Apr 2006
                              • 39078

                              #15
                              Re: mindfulness

                              Originally posted by HezB
                              Yes, that's good to hear.

                              ...

                              Regards,

                              Harry.
                              Oh, and who put the very first comment on Nishiijima Roshi's blog in answer to his post, I wonder??

                              Blogger HezB said...

                              Dear Roshi,

                              Thank-you for your clear answer.

                              Regards,

                              Hanrei.
                              Apple polisher! :wink: :wink:

                              Gassho, Jundo
                              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                              Comment

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