The four objects are referred to, in the ordinary samsaric sense, as body,feeling, mind, and phenomena. The object of body is related to as the basisof clinging to oneself as an entity, as an existent, permanent ego. The bodyserves as the basis ofthat clinging, to which we add feeling, which is seen assomething to be experienced, something to be enjoyed by this self in themost basic sense. Then we have mind in the third stage, which we relate toas the real self. When we try to point to the self,the ego, we usually point toour consciousness, our basic stream of mind or basic sense of mind. Thatbecomes the actual object of self-clinging, the actual object of ego-clinging,which cannot exist without body and feeling. Mind cannot really express itself without the existence of body (body here is referring to form), and the objectof feeling. Therefore mind, as the third object, the third stage of mindfulness,is the basic notion of consciousness. It is the basic notion of awareness. Thenwe have thefourth object, the object of phenomena. Ordinarily, we relate tothat object as the basis of all confusion. However, from this perspective, allconfusion arises from these phenomena, and all aspects of liberation alsoarise in these phenomena as well. Sophenomena is seen as the basis of confusion and liberation, or samsara and nirvana. Samsara or nirvanaappears or is experienced on the basis of the fundamental phenomena, thebasic sense of dharmas or existence.These four unhealthy relationships, or misunderstandings of these fourobjects, lead us in a vicious circle of samsara. We are involved in a continualgame of illusion. The game of illusion arises from a lack of prajña in ourrelationships with these four objects. Therefore, we're trying to developtheunderstanding of prajña in order to realize how we can relate with these fourobjects more profoundly, as well as more basically. The main point presentedin the first stage of mindfulness practice is to recognize these four objects.
Point Two: Understanding the Essence
The second point of mindfulness practice is understanding the essence,understanding the true essence or true nature of mindfulness. What ismindfulness? What does it mean? This practice of mindfulness is actually thenature of prajña,as we discussed earlier. The essence or the nature of mindfulness here is the prajña of seeing, the prajña of understanding, theprajña of experiencing the true nature of form or the body, the true nature of feeling, the true nature of mind, and the true nature of phenomena. Thatprajña is the nature of mindfulness. This mindfulness is known as dran pa inTibetan. It's called dran pa nye bar zhak pa (dren pa nye war bzhag pa). It'svery simple. Dran pa literally means "recollection" or "mindful" or "beingwatchful." And that dran pa is the wisdom, the prajña of seeing, the prajña of simply experiencing without any labels. Zhak pa means "placing" and nye bar