Mindfulness Workshop Yasodhara Dhamma and Sinhala School, Sri Lankarama Mahaviharaya,
Brisbane, Australia , 20.09.2014
Please find the audio recording of the workshop on the bottom of this page.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a kind of energy that we can generate. Everyone has the capacity to generate the energy of mindfulness and allows us to be aware of what is going on in our body, in our feelings, in our perceptions, and in the world around us. You can define mindfulness as that kind of energy that allows us to be aware of what is happening in the here and the now. We always feel that the world around us is the object of our mind. But present moment is the only moment that allows us to recognise how our sense faculties operate. If we are not in the here and the now then we cannot know what is happening in the present moment. So the Mindfulness is the self-awareness and the presence of our mind.
The opposite of mindfulness is forgetfulness. Mindfulness is always paying attention to something. For example, when you walk you know that you are mindful in your walk. When you are very aware of your walking you begin to see something deeply. Therefore, mindfulness contains concentration. Mindfulness also carries the energy of insight.
You sit for two hours near the computer and you forget that you have a body. Your mind is on the computer and you leave your body left alone and that moment your body and mind are not together. And when your body and mind are not together, you are not fully alive. You are not with total attention. In our daily life our mind is somewhere and our body is not there. Our mind is suffering in the past or the worries concerning the future and therefore the body is in another place and mind is in another place. In that case there is no mindfulness and right attention. You are not fully alive. You are not fully there, in the here and the now.
When you begin to breathe in mindfully you bring your mind home, to your body. So if you know the practice of mindfulness of breathing you begin to breathe in, then you know that I am breathing in. And by breathing in mindfully you are bringing your mind home – to your body. Then you breathe out, and then you know that you are breathing out. You realise that, “breathing was there since I was born, breathing is my life support and know that I am alive.” When body and mind are together you are establishing the here and the now together. You are fully alive. You are fully present and immersed in the present moment. When you are sitting, walking, washing, eating, drinking and going to sleep, etc., when you are paying attention to each moment mindfully, we are fully alive and do not waste life. So the mindfulness is the energy that helps us to bring our mind home to body so that self-awareness can be established. Being aware of the here and the now connects with what we are doing each moment, which is an effective way to increase fulfillment of life.
With mindfulness, concentration and insight you can deeply go into every moment of your life time. You don’t waste any moment in your life. You feel a live every moment. You feel energised. You don’t regret later in life that you wasted your life. You will not get affected by fame, power and sensual pleasures because you are content and happy in every moment of your daily life. That is the power of mindfulness, concentration and insight. When concentration and mindfulness are powerful enough then insight is established and with constant practice of meditation, wisdom develops.
The Buddhist way of meditation teachers to pay attention to something without the unwholesome roots of greed, hatred or delusion and instead, let thoughts of relinquishing, loving-kindness and wisdom dominate your mind.
The purpose of insight meditation is to eliminate the unwholesome roots. By just paying full attention to whatever you are doing at any time is not going to eliminate the unwholesome roots. Full attention coupled with wise attention (yonisomanasikaraya) accompanied by generosity, loving-kindness and wisdom can assist in the elimination of all unwholesome roots of suffering in order to gain liberation and wisdom.
When the mind is concentrated your hindrances will begin to disappear. This allows the joy to arise and you can be active and self- motivated through the energy of mindfulness. You begin to see the real nature of the mind and see things clearly. A mindfulness of equanimity will arise in you and you will begin to understand what is right and wrong. You will not take hasty decisions and no anger; no fear or greed can arise in you. You mind will be calm, alert and because of this, a natural joy will arise.
When we feel calm and happy it is obvious that we are in a better condition to achieve the goals and targets that we set ourselves from day today. We will perform far better at our work and study because our mind will be content and focused.
In the Satipattana Sutta, the Buddha explains how to develop and cultivate the mind. The 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).
The Buddha encouraged his disciples to practice Breathing Meditation not only to find tranquility and peace, and to be in the present moment, but also to end all suffering. The Buddha’s Discourse on the “Four Foundations of Mindfulness” (Satara Satipattana Sutta,Majjima Nikaya, Sutta No.10) can be developed and accomplished through the “Breathing Meditation” technique (Anapana Sati Meditation).
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