Mindfulness is one of the latest buzzwords in today’s hectic world. Surprisingly, people seem to be anxious to know about the significance of mindfulness. Many modern scholars, psychologists, and prominent yoga practitioners have defined this in different ways in the recent past. However, it was originally mentioned in the teachings of the Supreme Buddha. However, practicing mindfulness existed in India even before the Buddha’s birth. The Buddha emphasized mindfulness as a necessary component of one’s quest for Nirvana and the difference between mind and mindfulness. Today, mindfulness has lost its Buddhist roots because of people who profit from marketing mindfulness.
Many people have various perspectives and interpretations of what the mind is. Calming, healing, or purifying the minds of ordinary, typical people who cling to worldly things is a near-impossible feat. Our minds are conditioned by our family, education, social media, general beliefs, deep-seated ideas, culture, societal norms, and a variety of other causes. People are exceedingly materialistic. They have become more individualistic and egocentric. With all of that conditioning, we keep ourselves from getting any closer to reality. Mindfulness teaches us how to let go of such perceptions daintily, so they don’t interfere with our whole reality. It’s important to understand that mindfulness and the mind are not the same. Then you may have difficulty grasping what right mindfulness entails. If mindfulness means mind, then the mind should be gone when there is no mindfulness.
Let us give a simple simile to explain this. Presume you come upon a giant Palm tree in a park on a sunny day. The sunlight obstructed by that giant Palm tree casts a shadow on the lawn. Yet, the shadow is not the Palm tree. What we should realize is that the Palm tree does not exist because of its shadow. Similarly, mindfulness is a state that arises from the existence of something known as the mind. In simple terms, mindfulness is one nature or form of mind.
How many people have you seen with their spectacles on top of their heads, desperately searching high and low for their specs? They had the mind to do it, but they lacked mindfulness. That’s why they have no recollection of where they placed their spectacles. Similarly, when the phone or doorbells ring, we are aware of that sound. So definitely, the awareness is there, yet it’s not mindfulness because countless thoughts enter your mind. “Who has come this time, and why have they come?” “Someone must have come to deliver the book I ordered from Amazon.” If you cannot control this nature, you are a person who lacks mindfulness.
The Buddha Described The Nature And Behavior Of The Mind As Follows
“Travels long journeys, Behaves alone, Has no Figure (body), Live in a cave (in Abhidhamma mind is said to be located within the cardiac cavity associated with blood. This is why you have the impression that the mind is located somewhere closer to your hearts), Whoever takes control of his own mind will free himself clutches of death.”
There are four qualities or aspects that we use to define mindfulness.
Characteristic – The characteristic of mindfulness is not wobbling. The mind of the average person is unstable. It is not fixed on an object. Our mind is similar to a fish pulled out from the water and put on the ground. What happens next is that the fish begins to quiver up and down. The same is true for our mind. Our thoughts quickly shift from one to another. When your mind is in a state of disarray, it will trick you into believing things that have no connection with reality. Mindfulness has the ability to grasp the object.
Function – Its function is not to forget. Ordinary mindfulness can refer to the ability to recollect something that happened. Simply put, the object, in this case, is a past occurrence. However, right mindfulness does not refer to a historical event; instead, it means not losing sight of the object in the present moment.
The awareness of the present moment is essential for achieving excellent outcomes in boxing. In this scenario, awareness of the present moment arose due to the desire to win or harm the opposing boxer. According to Buddhism, desire is the cause of all suffering. Desire will ultimately result in the endless cycle of death and rebirth, which is referred to as Samsara in Buddhism. Buddha taught the correct path to achieve complete emancipation from desire. When mindfulness comes into conflict with attachment, aversion, or delusion, it flees. Therefore, just being aware of the present moment cannot be deemed right mindfulness.
Manifestation – It’s manifested as guarding/protecting or as the state of confronting an objective field. This simply means that our mindfulness protects our minds from defilements, as the ordinary mind is vulnerable. Therefore, countless defilements can invade our mind. The ordinary mind has been trained to rely on the evil roots of attachment, delusion, and aversion for a long time. That’s why we feel sluggish when we go to do a good deed. Our minds are addicted to being stimulated by lustful thoughts. Right mindfulness helps us to focus the mind on goodness without mixing with the three unwholesome roots.
Proximate Cause – is what gives rise to mindfulness. Simply put, the proximate cause is the practice of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. The Blessed One preached that one should always remember the four foundations of mindfulness. The intentions and experiences we get from our five senses (Eye, Ear, Nose, Tongue, and Body) get ingrained in our minds. When you continue to practice insight meditation which is based on the four foundations of mindfulness, you will be able to let those intentions or experiences in without letting in the defilements. A ball tossed into a steep slope rolls down fast, so does our mind. Right mindfulness is like a steady pillar bringing the movement of the mind to a standstill.
The Four Foundations Of Mindfulness
The Buddha preached that if one’s mind is fixed on one of the four foundations of mindfulness, one can attain the highest wisdom (Nirvana). When you begin to practice one foundation of mindfulness, continuing and practicing it for an extended period of time will awaken the other three foundations of mindfulness.
Mindfulness Of Body
This is the Buddhist practice of identifying the body as body – as a collection of parts rather than a solid unified object. You won’t be able to attain mindfulness as long as you conceive of this body as my body or me. Why can’t we stay young for as long as we want if this body belongs to us? Even though it is invisible to the naked eye, the body changes every second. The change is inevitable. The body comes into being, remains for some time, goes through numerous transitions, and eventually passes away.
The Supreme Buddha preached that one must see the impermanence of the form before seeing the impermanence of the mind. Therefore, anyone seeking to attain the right mindfulness should start with the mindfulness of the body, which is the first foundation of mindfulness. This can be achieved through meditation, and there are six ways to do this.
Being mindful of your breathing (Inhaling and exhaling)
Being mindful of our different postures. This simply means being mindful of all your actions, such as walking, sitting, lying down, eating, and defecating.
Reflections On Repulsiveness – This is a Buddhist meditation practice in which the body’s thirty-two parts are contemplated in various ways so that you will realize its impermanence.
Clearly comprehending what is beneficial and what is not beneficial. This can be done using two perceived objects; A sound that is heard in the ear or A thought that is felt in the mind
Being mindful of the nature of the body. (Contemplating what our body is made of)
Contemplating what happens to our body after nine days of death (Different stages of decomposition). Mindfulness of the body is a realization that our body is impermanent. This practice will help us recognize the body as a body or as a physical form and make us realize that clinging to the body is futile.
Mindfulness Of Feeling
There are three types of thoughts, according to the Buddha – pleasant feelings, unpleasant feelings, and neutral feelings. Thoughts that ordinary people are willing to accept that make them laugh and feel good are regarded as pleasant feelings. The opposite is called unpleasant feelings. Thoughts that are neither pleasant nor unpleasant are called neutral feelings. Of these three types of feelings, only pleasant feelings and unpleasant feelings are popular among people. Therefore, we often neglect or pay no attention to neutral feelings. The delusion of feelings is what makes it impossible for beings to attain Nirvana.
Although both pleasant and unpleasant thoughts are familiar, many people are unaware of their true nature. When someone’s desires are fulfilled, pleasant feelings flood his mind, causing him to laugh and think, “I’m delighted,” “I’m enjoying.” In contrast, when they are not fulfilled, he thinks, “I’m unfortunate,” “I’m suffering.” Both pleasant and unpleasant feelings pass quickly. When you carefully observe dozens of feeling arise, remain present, and passes away, You will come to know that these feelings are also impermanent. All you need to recognize is that feelings are selfless. There is no purpose in clinging to them. Train your mind to acknowledge a feeling as an emotion or sensation instead of seeing it as My Feeling.
Mindfulness of Mind
The mind is also a place where the concept of self occurs. Mindfulness of mind refers to the eradication of the mind’s self-perception. Though the mind is usually one, its variants are numerous because the mind cannot exist alone. Specific mental states emerge and pass away based on the six internal and external senses.
Eye and form
Ear and sound
Nose and odour
Tongue and flavour
Body and touch
Mind and mental object
Pay attention to how each thought arises, remains, and disappears. The fundamental nature of the mind will then become apparent to you. This understanding will eliminate the roadblocks in your path to mindfulness and lead you towards supreme bliss.
Mindfulness Of Dhamma
Mindfulness of Dhamma can be described as seeing everything around you according to the Dhamma. This does not refer to the Buddha’s Dhamma or the teachings of any other religious leader, but rather to the meritorious and demeritorious minds. We basically cultivate the good and subjugate the bad here. When it comes to mindfulness of Dhamma, the Supreme Buddha elaborates on several facts. Here, the blessed one first taught us to develop a deep understanding of the five hindrances, then the five aggregates of clinging, the six internal and external senses, the seven factors of awakening, the four noble truths, and the noble eightfold path. The Buddha preached that the Fourth Foundation is about contemplating things mentioned above, comprehending them, and purifying the mind with the deep understanding you gained.
Mindfulness practices introduced by other organizations that promote mindfulness have emphasized the physical and mental benefits of mindfulness that are obvious to everyone. Because it can then be sold. Mindfulness is a treasure chest or a gold mine for most of them. Rather than shielding your mind from defilements, such modern practices invite defilements to enter your mind. According to the Supreme Buddha, there are five reasons (benefits) to practice mindfulness.
Purification Of Beings
Purification is a notion found in many religions and cultures. For the cleansing of their souls, they have established a variety of customs and rituals. The washing of the complete body is an essential aspect of Hindu ritual purification, particularly in sacred rivers such as the Ganges. Hindus have a religious belief that after a child is born, the household becomes impure. They practice Sutak to repel impurity. Salah are Muslim prayers that require purification before they are performed. Physical and Ritual impurities must be removed through Wudu and Ghusl before the prayers are performed. The Bible also mentions several forms of purification, particularly after childbirth, menstruation, death, and animal sacrifice. Baptism and confession are also regarded as a form of purification.
Purifying our ordinary mind is not an impossible task, but it takes lots of effort and practice. According to Buddha’s teaching, the mind is chief to everything in life. Buddha’s answer for purification is mindfulness. Even if you bathe in turmeric water, your mind and body will not be purified when your mind is connected with defilements. Being mindful can free us from the defilements of ordinary life.
To Surmount Sorrow And Lamentation
When the mind is pure, it is not caught up with despair, disappointment, insecurity, resentment, jealousy, depression, and anxiety. It will help you to solve all your problems. A disturbed mind is incapable of finding answers to any problems. However, it’s important to remember that mindfulness alone cannot solve problems. Still, it will train your mind to see the reality of anything. As a Buddhist, the real problem is figuring out how to end the suffering or the endless cycle of death and rebirth. Mindfulness is just one element that shows you the path to put an end to suffering. We cannot reliably predict what will happen next in our lives. Everything in life is uncertain. The Buddha preached that life is like a dewdrop on the grass. The significance of right mindfulness is that it guides you in seeing their reality and impermanence and achieving complete emancipation from defilements rather than clinging to the lustful intentions of the materialistic world.
Freedom From Suffering
Mindfulness is the only treatment for mental suffering. Anyone would agree on that fact. The cure for physical pain is also mindfulness. This is an aspect that none of us take into account. Medications prescribed by a doctor only give temporary relief, and certain medications may have side effects too. Being mindful heals you. It purifies you and has no side effects at all. If you start practicing mindfulness meditations, you will only enjoy the rewards incrementally.
Someone may argue that if you are suffering mentally and continuously thinking about it as you travel through different mental states, it will worsen. “I have depression, I have anxiety, I feel apprehensive about my future. ” Yes, it will exacerbate the condition. The idea is to see that they are not actually problems, even your problems. When you are unhappy about something, it is a perception that you have a problem. Your mind will trick you into believing there is a problem when the fact is the polar opposite. These negative mental responses cannot occur in the presence of mindfulness. Don’t let your mind control you; instead, you control it.
It Directs You On The Right Path
The Buddha taught us one way. There is no other way to put an end to this cycle of rebirth and death known as Samsara. That is called the Nobel Eightfold Path. This path is composed of eight practices. The Right Mindfulness is one of the eight practices of this Buddhist practice. Progressively, as you practice the right mindfulness, you will naturally begin to practice the remaining seven practices.
Mindfulness Helps To Attain Nirvana
Following the Noble Eightfold Path will eventually lead you to Nirvana. You must put up an unwavering effort to break free from Samsara and attain Supreme Bliss / Nirvana. Mindfulness is an essential component for those who follow the path shown by the Blessed One. That is why, over 2500 years ago, the Buddha preached about the mind and the need for mindfulness. Nobody has studied and developed the mind more than the Buddha. The modern world is rapidly advancing in technology. Science may prove one thing today, but as technology advances, that conclusion may be proven to be erroneous or outdated. However, the uniqueness of Supreme Buddha’s Dharma is that it is topical and pragmatic, and it will never become obsolete.