Buddha in Dhyana, which in this context means: The meditative training stage on the path to Samadhi.

Buddhist Mindfulness – People, concepts & teachings

is the practice of purposely bringing one’s attention in the present moment without evaluation, a skill one develops through or other training.

Origin & definition

Mindfulness derives from sati, a significant element of Buddhist traditions, and is based on Zen, Vipassanā, and Tibetan meditation techniques.

Though definitions and techniques of mindfulness are wide-ranging, Buddhist traditions explain what constitutes mindfulness such as how past, present and future moments arise and cease as momentary sense impressions and mental phenomena.

As forms of self-observation and interoception, these methods increase awareness of the body, so they are usually beneficial to people with low self-awareness or low awareness of their bodies or emotional state.

Mindfulness meditation practices

One method is to sit in a straight-backed chair or sit cross-legged on the floor or a cushion, close one’s eyes and bring attention to either the sensations of breathing in the proximity of one’s nostrils or to the movements of the abdomen when breathing in and out.

In this meditation practice, one does not try to control one’s breathing, but attempts to simply be aware of one’s natural breathing process/rhythm.

When engaged in this practice, the mind will often run off to other thoughts and associations, and if this happens, one passively notices that the mind has wandered, and in an accepting, non-judgmental way, returns to focusing on breathing.

In body-scan meditation the attention is directed at various areas of the body and noting body sensations that happen in the present moment.

One could also focus on sounds, sensations, thoughts, feelings and actions that happen in the present.

In this regard, a famous exercise, introduced by Kabat-Zinn in his MBSR program, is the mindful tasting of a raisin, in which a raisin is being tasted and eaten mindfully.

By enabling reconnection with internal hunger and satiety cues, mindful eating has been suggested to be a means of maintaining healthy and conscious eating patterns.

Other approaches include practicing yoga asanas while attending to movements and body sensations, and walking meditation.

Meditators’ recommendations

Meditators are recommended to start with short periods of 10 minutes or so of meditation practice per day.

As one practices regularly, it becomes easier to keep the attention focused on breathing.

In a Buddhist context the keeping of moral precepts is an essential preparatory stage for mindfulness or meditation.

Vipassana also includes contemplation and reflection on phenomena as dukkha, anatta and anicca, and reflections on causation and other Buddhist teachings.

People, concepts & teachings

This is a list of people, concepts and teachings related to the practice of Mindfulness in Buddhism.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.

Mindfulness derives from sati, a significant element of Buddhist traditions, and is based on Zen, Vipassanā, and Tibetan meditation techniques.

Vipassanā

Vipassana in the Buddhist tradition means insight into the true nature of reality. In the Theravada tradition this specifically refers to insight into the three marks of existence.

Thích Nhất Hạnh was a Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist, prolific author, poet, teacher, and founder of the Plum Village Tradition, historically recognized as the main inspiration for engaged Buddhism.

Known as the “father of mindfulness”, Nhất Hạnh was a major influence on Western practices of Buddhism and mindfulness.

Satipatthana

Satipaṭṭhāna is the establishment or arousing of mindfulness, as part of the Buddhist practices leading to detachment and liberation.

Samatha

(Pāli) or śamatha is a quality of mind which is developed in tandem with vipassana (insight) by calming the mind and its ‘formations’. This is done by practicing single-pointed meditation, most commonly through mindfulness of breathing. Samatha is common to many Buddhist traditions.

Bhavana

Bhāvanā literally means “development” or “cultivating” or “producing” in the sense of “calling into existence.” It is an important concept in Buddhist praxis (Patipatti). The word normally appears in conjunction with another word forming a compound phrase such as citta-bhavana or metta-bhavana. When used on its own bhavana signifies contemplation and ‘spiritual cultivation’ generally.

Anapanasati

Ānāpānasati, meaning “mindfulness of breathing”, is a form of Buddhist meditation originally taught by Gautama Buddha in several suttas including the Ānāpānasati Sutta.

Dhyana in Buddhism

Buddha in Dhyana, which in this context means: The meditative training stage on the path to Samadhi.

In the oldest texts of Buddhism, dhyāna (Sanskrit) or jhāna (Pali) is the training of the mind, commonly translated as meditation, to withdraw the mind from the automatic responses to sense-impressions, and leading to a “state of perfect equanimity and awareness (upekkhā-sati-parisuddhi).” Dhyana may have been the core practice of pre-sectarian Buddhism, in combination with several related practices which together lead to perfected mindfulness and detachment, and are fully realized with the practice of dhyana.

Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein is one of the first American vipassana teachers, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) with Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg, a contemporary author of numerous popular books on Buddhism, a resident guiding teacher at IMS, and a leader of retreats worldwide on insight (vipassana) and lovingkindness (metta) meditation.

is one of the first American vipassana teachers, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) with Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg, a contemporary author of numerous popular books on Buddhism, a resident guiding teacher at IMS, and a leader of retreats worldwide on insight (vipassana) and lovingkindness (metta) meditation.

Vipassana movement

The Vipassanā movement, also called the Insight Meditation Movement and American vipassana movement, refers to a branch of modern Burmese Theravāda Buddhism which promotes "bare insight" (sukha-vipassana) to attain stream entry and preserve the Buddhist teachings, which gained widespread popularity since the 1950s, and to its western derivatives which have been popularised since the 1970s, giving rise to the more dhyana-oriented mindfulness movement.

The Vipassanā movement, also called the Insight Meditation Movement and American , refers to a branch of modern Burmese Theravāda Buddhism which promotes “bare insight” (sukha-vipassana) to attain stream entry and preserve the Buddhist teachings, which gained widespread popularity since the 1950s, and to its western derivatives which have been popularised since the 1970s, giving rise to the more dhyana-oriented mindfulness movement.

Apramāda is a Buddhist term translated as “conscientious” or “concern”. It is defined as taking great care concerning what should be adopted and what should be avoided. In the Pāli Canon, a collection of the Buddha’s earliest teachings, the term appamāda is quite significant and the essence of the meaning cannot be captured with one English word. “Heedfulness”, “diligence”, and “conscientiousness”, are all words that capture some aspects of appamāda. It is identified as one of the eleven virtuous mental factors within the Mahayana Abhidharma teachings.

Mental noting

is a mindfulness meditation technique which aims to label experiences as they arise. In practice, this means using a single word to describe what one is experiencing in the current moment, for example “warmth”, “excitement”, “resisting”, etc. These experiences can be sensory, emotional, or cognitive.

Sampajañña is a term of central importance for meditative practice in all Buddhist traditions. It refers to “The mental process by which one continuously monitors one’s own body and mind. In the practice of śamatha, its principal function is to note the occurrence of laxity and excitation.” It is very often found in the pair ‘mindfulness and introspection’ or ‘mindfulness and clear comprehension).

Samu (Zen)

Samu (作務) is participation in the physical work needed to maintain the Zen monastery. According to tradition, it was emphasized by Baizhang Huaihai, who is credited with establishing an early set of rules for Chan monastic discipline, the Pure Rules of Baizhang. As the Zen monks farmed, it helped them to survive the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution more than other sects which relied more on donations. These rules are still used today in many Zen monasteries. From this text comes the well-known saying “A day without work is a day without food”.

Luangphor Viriyang Sirintharo

Somdet Phra Ñāṇavajirottama, also known as Luang Phor Viriyang Sirindharo, was a Thai monk, Meditation Master and Patriarch of the Dhammayuttika Nikaya Order in Canada. He was born in Saraburi, Thailand.

Larry Rosenberg

is an American Buddhist teacher who founded the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1985. He is also a resident teacher there. Rosenberg was a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago and Harvard Medical School. In addition to teaching at the Insight Meditation Center in Cambridge, he is also a senior teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts.

Sati (Buddhism)

Sati is mindfulness or awareness, a spiritual or psychological faculty (indriya) that forms an essential part of Buddhist practice. It is the first factor of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment. “Correct” or “right” mindfulness is the seventh element of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Henepola Gunaratana

Bhante is a Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist monk. He is often affectionately known as Bhante G.

Buddhānusmṛti, meaning “Buddha-mindfulness”, is a common Buddhist practice in all Buddhist traditions which involves meditating on the virtues of the Buddha, mainly Gautama Buddha as the meditation or contemplation subject. Later Mahayana sects like Pureland Buddhism focused on Amida Buddha instead, mainly to pray for rebirth in the Western Pure Land.

Ganana

Gaṇanā is the technique of breath counting in Buddhist meditation. It focuses on drawing mental attention to breathing by counting numerically inhalation and exhalation. It is part of the six stages of described by Vasubandhu and Zhiyi, composed by counting breath (), following the motions of the air flow (anugama), stilling thought in the body, observing the elements of air (upalakshana), transformation of the mind focused on the air (vivarthana) and entering the path of vision (parisuddhi). Those stages are increasingly subtle and lead to control of mind, producing samadhi in order to achieve vipassana.

Four Foundations of Mindfulness

Satipaṭṭhāna is the establishment or arousing of mindfulness, as part of the Buddhist practices leading to detachment and liberation.

Anussati

means “recollection,” “contemplation,” “remembrance,” “meditation”, and “mindfulness”. It refers to specific Buddhist meditational or devotional practices, such as recollecting the sublime qualities of the Buddha, which lead to mental tranquillity and abiding joy. In various contexts, the Pali literature and Sanskrit Mahayana sutras emphasise and identify different enumerations of recollections.

Vidyamala Burch

is a mindfulness teacher, writer, and co-founder of Breathworks, an international mindfulness organization known particularly for developing mindfulness-based pain management (MBPM). The British Pain Society has recognized her “outstanding contribution to the alleviation of pain”, and in 2019 she was named on the Shaw Trust Power 100 list of the most influential disabled people in the UK. Burch’s book Mindfulness for Health won the British Medical Association’s 2014 Medical Books Award in the Popular Medicine category.

Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman is an author, psychologist and science journalist. For twelve years, he wrote for The New York Times, reporting on the brain and behavioral sciences. His 1995 book Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times Best Seller list for a year and a half, a best-seller in many countries, and is in print worldwide in 40 languages. Apart from his books on emotional intelligence, Goleman has written books on topics including self-deception, creativity, transparency, meditation, social and emotional learning, ecoliteracy and the ecological crisis, and the Dalai Lama’s vision for the future.

is an author, psychologist and science journalist. For twelve years, he wrote for The New York Times, reporting on the brain and behavioral sciences. His 1995 book Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times Best Seller list for a year and a half, a best-seller in many countries, and is in print worldwide in 40 languages. Apart from his books on emotional intelligence, Goleman has written books on topics including self-deception, creativity, transparency, meditation, social and emotional learning, ecoliteracy and the ecological crisis, and the Dalai Lama’s vision for the future.

Bhante Vimalaramsi

is an American Buddhist monk and currently the Abbot of the Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center in Annapolis, Missouri.

Anne Cushman

is a teacher of yoga as exercise and meditation, an author on the intersection of those topics long thought to be distinct but now widely called , and a novelist. Her novel Enlightenment for Idiots was named by Booklist as one of the top ten novels of 2008.

Contemplative psychotherapy

is an approach to psychotherapy that includes the use of personal contemplative practices and insights informed by the spiritual tradition of Buddhism. Contemplative psychotherapy differs from other, more traditional methods of counseling in that the therapist brings to the therapeutic relationship qualities of mindfulness and compassion in order to help clients access their fundamental goodness and natural wisdom. The practice of Contemplative Psychotherapy grew out of a dialogue between Tibetan Buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Western psychologists and psychiatrists. This discussion led to the opening of the Contemplative Psychotherapy Department at Naropa University in 1978 by Edward M. Podvoll, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and dedicated student of Trungpa.

Mindful Yoga

Mindful Yoga or Mindfulness Yoga combines Buddhist-style mindfulness practice with yoga as exercise to provide a means of exercise that is also meditative and useful for reducing stress. Buddhism and Hinduism have since ancient times shared many aspects of philosophy and practice including mindfulness, understanding the suffering caused by an erroneous view of reality, and using concentrated and meditative states to address such suffering.

Mind and Life Institute

The Mind & Life Institute is a US-registered, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1991 to establish the field of contemplative sciences. Based in Charlottesville, Va., the institute “brings science and contemplative wisdom together to better understand the mind and create positive change in the world.” Over three decades, Mind & Life has played a key role in the mindfulness meditation movement by funding research projects and think tanks, and by convening conferences and dialogues with the Dalai Lama. Since 2020, Mind & Life’s grant-making, events, and digital programs have sought to nurture personal wellbeing, build more compassionate communities, and strengthen the human-earth connection.

Craig Warren Smith

is an academic specializing in Human–computer interaction. He is chairman of a nonprofit organization, Digital Divide Institute, which is currently active in Indonesia, China, and Thailand.

Maraṇasati is a Buddhist meditation practice of remembering that death can strike at anytime, and we should practice assiduously appamada and with urgency in every moment, even in the time it takes to draw one breath. Not being diligent every moment, is called negligence by the Buddha. In the Earliest discourses of the Buddha, the term Maranasati is only explicitly defined twice, in those two suttas AN 6.19 and AN 6.20.

The Kāyagatāsati Sutta is a Pāḷi Buddhist sutta which outlines the development of mindfulness through contemplation of the body in order to reach jhāna.

Ānāpānasati Sutta

The Ānāpānasati Sutta (Pāli) or Ānāpānasmṛti Sūtra (Sanskrit), “Breath-Mindfulness Discourse,” Majjhima Nikaya 118, is a discourse that details the Buddha’s instruction on using awareness of the breath (anapana) as an initial focus for meditation.

Five Strengths

The in Buddhism are faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. They are one of the seven sets of Bodhipakkhiyadhamma. They are paralleled in the five spiritual faculties, which are also part of the Bodhipakkhiyadhamma.

Community of Mindful Living

The (CML) is a Buddhist community located in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1983 by followers of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh and was incorporated in 1990 in California as a nonprofit religious organization. CML provides support for individuals and meditation groups (sanghas) worldwide who wish to practice in the tradition of Zen Buddhism associated with Thich Nhat Hanh. It also assists with the organization of retreats offered by Hanh and lay teachers in the United States and Canada. In December 1999, CML officially became a “Doing Business As” (DBA) arm of the Unified Buddhist Church, the governing body for Hanh’s various affiliated organizations.

Cyndi Lee

is a teacher of mindful yoga, a combination of Tibetan Buddhist practice and yoga as exercise. She has an international reputation and is the author of several books on her approach.

Memento mori

is an artistic or symbolic trope acting as a reminder of the inevitability of death. The concept has its roots in the philosophers of classical antiquity and Christianity, and appeared in funerary art and architecture from the medieval period onwards.

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