In the Satipattana Sutta, the Buddha explains how to develop and cultivate the mind. Buddha offers Four Foundations of Mindfulness or four objects of meditation to practice such as, body, feelings, thoughts and mental states. (Kayanupassana, Vedananupassana, Cittanupassana and Dhammanupassana)
Mindfulness is “sati” mostly linked with clear comprehension (sampajanna). The practice of mindfulness enables a practitioner to get in touch with one’s mind, body and emotions. It enables one to understand with clarity what goes on in one's normal day today life experiences. It enables one to make necessary adjustments or changes in these experiences so that one can experience more peaceful and harmonious states of mind.
“Cultivating mindfulness means learning to tap and focus our own wasted energies. In doing so, we learn to calm down enough to enter and dwell in states of deep relaxation. This nourishes and restores body and mind. At the same time it makes it easier for us to see with greater clarity the way we actually live and therefore how to make changes to enhance our health and the quality of our life. In addition it helps us to channel our energy more effectively in stressful situations or when we are feeling threatened or helpless. This energy comes from inside us and is therefore always within our reach and potential control.” (Kabat-Zinn (1990 p11-12)
In other words, mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention. It is a way of looking deeply into oneself in the sense of self-inquiry and self- understanding. It is the observance and the practice of paying attention or being aware of present moment. Most of the time, we live either in the past or in the future. We hardly know this as this happens habitually, mechanically, and unconsciously. Being aware of the present moment helps us to realize how we use the past and the future which again can create problems for ourselves and others. This awareness can help us to develop insight. This type of cultivation of mindfulness has been named “Vipassana” (insight meditation) which we call the heart of Buddhist meditation.
There are two modes of practising Vipassana- bhavana
Vipassna-bhavana is purely the Buddha’s teaching. Mental culture discovered and taught by him. It is an analytical method, based on mindfulness, awareness, vigilance, close observation. It is designed to produce insight into nature of things and through rightly understanding mental and physical processes, and attain the cessation of dukka.
There are two modes of practicing Vipassana Meditation.
2. Vipassana yana, the vehicle of insight or sukkah-vipassana yanika.
In the Satipatthana Sutra, the Buddha offers the most simple and effective method of training the mind. This can be useful in assisting to meet daily tasks and also to achieve high aims and liberation. You can use this method anywhere and anytime, whether it be in a busy office, noisy school or even in a quiet place.
The Four Foundations of Mindfulness (The essence of the Mahasatpattana Sutta in summation is as follows:
1. The Contemplation of the Body(a) Mindfulness of Breathing
(b) The postures of the body
(c) Mindfulness with Clear Comprehension
(d) The Reflection on the repulsiveness of the Body
(e) The reflection of the Material Elements
(f) The Nine Cemetery Contemplations
(g) The Foundations of Mindfulness
2.The Contemplation of Feeling - The observation of sensations-(Vedananupassana)
3. The Contemplation of Consciousness-The observation of mind.(cittanupassana).
4. The Contemplation of Mental Objects, (Dhammanupssana).
(a) The Five Hindrances (nivaranapabbam)
(b) The Five Aggregates of Clinging (khandhapabbam)
(c) The Six Internal and External Sense Bases (ayatanapabbam)
(d) The Seven Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhangapabbam)
(e) The Four Noble Truths (saccapabbam)
Satipattana Sutta , Majjima Nikaya, Sutta No.10
MEDITATION IN DAILY ACTIVITIES
It is important to develop a steady penetrating awareness with everything we do. From the time we wake up in the morning to the time of going to sleep. From the time you wake up be aware of the first moment and be mindful of the actions involved in getting up and washing. Beginning to walk, going to sit and then in standing, again going to wash, going for food, etc., and in lying down to sleep until the last moment before sleep.
This kind of attention will be of great benefit in the meditation practice. After much practice of being mindful in your daily actions coupled with your seated meditation practice, mindfulness will automatically take its place on its own accord. If there is the idea that the practise is only sitting and walking, and the rest of the time is not important, then in all those breaks we lose the momentum that has been building.
Ven. Ajahn Chah, explains to the beginners this way: ” When you are mindful, it’s like you carry a basket. Leave the basket on the floor, when you can practice it carry the basket from where ever you left and go on the journey again.”
Cultivating a strong awareness in every action throughout the day helps the mind to remain concentrated and still.
Seen, seen, intending, intending, moving, moving, touching, touching, lifting, lifting, opening, opening, closing, closing, dressing, dressing, washing, washing, feeling, feeling, tasting, tasting, swallowing, swallowing. Be aware of the whole sequence involved. There is no one behind it. No one who is eating, merely a sequence of intentions, movements, taste, touch, sensations. That’s what we are. When being very mindful of the flow, we free ourselves from the concept of self.