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The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

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Published by Charles Day
Budhha's quintessential teaching on how to facilitate spiritual growth, realize our impermanent, interdependent, and selfness nature, and attain enlightenment.
Budhha's quintessential teaching on how to facilitate spiritual growth, realize our impermanent, interdependent, and selfness nature, and attain enlightenment.

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Published by: Charles Day on May 01, 2010
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THE FOUR FOUNDATIONS OF MINDFULNESS: BUDDHA'S SATIPATTHANA SUTTACharles Day *www.DesMoinesMeditation.orgAccording to Buddha, studying and practicing his teaching on theFour Foundations of Mindfulness (the Satipatthana Sutta) is thesurest way to gain enlightenment and insight into the way thingsreally are, i.e., into the reality that all physical phenomena andmental experiences are inherently dissatisfying, impermanent,selfless, and interdependent. Paradoxical as it may seem, theserealizations are associated with:
Overcoming greed, hatred, and delusion of the sense of aseparate self (the Three Defilements, Poisons, or Roots of Suffering);
Increasing experiences of Lovingkindness, Compassion,Appreciative and Altruistic Joy, and Equanimity (the Four Great Virtues, Immeasurables, or Bhrama Viharas);
Ending the inevitable suffering caused by our attachments todesires, aversions, and the delusions of perpetual happiness,permanence, and an enduring, autonomous, and independentself, and by wanting things to be different than the way theyare (The Four Noble Truths); and
Attaining the blissful, peaceful state of our alreadyenlightenment nature in which all thoughts, feelings, words,and behaviors are wholesome, spontaneous, appropriate, andbeneficial to oneself, others, and the universe.Buddha said this about the Four Foundations of Mindfulness:“This is the only way, monks, for the purification of beings, for the
overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the realizationof Nirvana, namely the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Whatare the four? Herein, a monk lives contemplating the…1. Body in the body,2. Feelings in feelings,3. Consciousness in consciousness, and4. Mind objects in mind objects (dharmas in the dharmas).Contemplation of each of these Four Foundations must bedone…1. Ardently, i.e., intentionally and with the appropriate energy,neither too much nor too little, to arouse and maintainmindfulness;2. With clear comprehension and mindfulness, i.e., withappropriate effort, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom inorder to realize the three truths of unsatisfactoriness,impermanence, and selflessness/interdependence; and3. Abandoning covetousness and grief in the world, i.e.,overcoming in the mind greed, craving, attachment and anger, illwill, fear, sadness, negativity, and displeasure.The meditator also contemplates each of the Four Foundations inthe following ways:1. Body in the body (etc., for each of the other Foundations)internally, externally, or both internally and externally;2. Origination factors in the body (etc.), the dissolution factors inthe body (etc.), or both the origination and dissolution factors inthe body (etc.);3. Or his mindfulness is established as 'there is the body (etc.)only'. And that mindfulness is established to the extent necessaryto further insight and mindfulness."
THE FIRST FOUNDATION: MINDFULNESS OF THE BODY1. Mindfulness of Breath: Awareness of whether it is an in-breathor out-breath, a long breath or short breath, a deep breathor shallow breath, a calm breath or rough breath. Awareness of the beginning, middle, and end of, and the space between eachinhalation and exhalation. Awareness of the calming affect whichmindful breathing has on the whole physical body. 2. Mindfulness of Postures: Awareness of walking when walking,standing when standing, sitting when sitting, lying down whenlying down, bending when bending, and awareness of whatever position or movement characterizes the body in the presentmoment.3. Mindfulness with Clear Comprehension: Awareness of thebodily actions of eating, drinking, dressing, washing, brushingteeth, toilet functions, sleeping, waking up, exercising,meditating, taking medications, speaking, and all behavioralactions happening in the present moment.There should also be Mindfulness with Clear Comprehension inbalancing the Five Mental Faculties of Mindfulness, Faith andWisdom, and Energy and Concentration.And finally, there should be Mindfulness with Clear Comprehension in thinking, speaking, and acting in terms of their…a. Purpose: Is the purpose of the thought, speech, or actionbeneficial, meaningful, skillful, and wholesome for you and others?b. Suitability: Are the time, place, and circumstances of thethought, speech, or action appropriate?

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