Author Topic: Being mindful isn’t enough  (Read 267 times)

Artisticwatching

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Being mindful isn’t enough
« on: August 02, 2019, 12:03:00 PM »
Hi everyone

I’ve been pondering a teaching I heard from Joseph Goldstein where he often says.
“ being mindful alone isn’t enough, we need to use mindfulness to see what brings suffering to our lives”. I am asking if someone could point out examples of modern life  suffering and where it stems from and what to do when we see it. I Guess I need a lesson on what is suffering.

Thank you
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Dharmic Tui

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2019, 03:57:50 AM »
Suffering in a Buddhist sense refers to craving and aversion.

If you wanted an example in modern life, consumerism provides an amazing example. Say you want a new TV, you put in some time researching what model to buy. You buy the new TV with all the expectation of the joy it'll bring. You get the new TV home, unwrap it, paw through the manual and take in the newly manufactured smells. You power it up and bask in awe of the sharp picture and large screen size. Then a week later you're used to the new TV, but you're not quite content. Maybe a new laptop might fulfil you.....

Suffering is grasping for something external on the promise it'll fulfil you, or wanting to cast something away on the assumption you'll be ok once you're rid of it. The alternative is acceptance and appreciation of what is.

stillpointdancer

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2019, 10:57:44 AM »
Hi everyone

I’ve been pondering a teaching I heard from Joseph Goldstein where he often says.
“ being mindful alone isn’t enough, we need to use mindfulness to see what brings suffering to our lives”. I am asking if someone could point out examples of modern life  suffering and where it stems from and what to do when we see it. I Guess I need a lesson on what is suffering.

Thank you
The suffering in this sense is the suffering that comes with not having insight into the nature of suffering. Sounds a bit of a circular argument but it means that if we don't know any different, how could we know what is wrong? Modern society, as Dharmic Tui points out, has it that we should be happy if we are successful consumers, or look good, or anything else they badger us to buy or buy into. Then only the poor and unsuccessful ever suffer mental anguish.

For Buddhists, suffering comes from not being aligned with the path. Following the path still means we can suffer pain and loss, but with a different relationship to that pain and loss. With time and hard work, the mental suffering you are talking about may still be there, but starts to change. Unlike physical suffering, this mental anguish can be fully eradicated, as it is a mental construct, not the same kind of thing as physical pain or that brought about by, say, losing a family member. With insight comes the first step to eradication, which, I guess, comes to completion with enlightenment.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Nicky

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2019, 01:05:09 PM »
Joseph Goldstein
“ being mindful alone isn’t enough, we need to use mindfulness to see what brings suffering to our lives”.

If Joseph said the above, which I imagine he said, it confirms my view he has been "teaching" for many years but is yet to know what "mindfulness" really means or is. Joseph Goldstein. One of the foremost disinformation agents.

"Mindfulness" is not something that "sees". For 50 years, Joseph has been totally confused about "mindfulness".

  :o

Matthew

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2019, 03:24:41 PM »
If Joseph said the above, which I imagine he said, it confirms my view he has been "teaching" for many years but is yet to know what "mindfulness" really means or is. Joseph Goldstein. One of the foremost disinformation agents.

"Mindfulness" is not something that "sees". For 50 years, Joseph has been totally confused about "mindfulness".

  :o

Hi Nicky,

I was expecting you to comment here. I think it would be helpful if you could expand on your clarification of what right mindfulness means.

Kind regards,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Nicky

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2019, 10:23:49 PM »
I think it would be helpful if you could expand on your clarification of what right mindfulness means.

Thanks Matthew. Its difficult to clarify such a mode of speech where, in reality, Right Mindfulness & Right Understanding always interact together, yet Joseph has separated them.

Joseph separated Right Mindfulness & Right Understanding as follows:
Quote
“ being mindful alone isn’t enough, we need to use mindfulness to see what brings suffering to our lives”.

But the Buddha has already told us what brings suffering to our lives. This is called Right Understanding, the 1st factor of the Noble Eightfold Path, as follows:
Quote
And what, monks, is right view? Knowledge with regard to stress, knowledge with regard to the origination of stress, knowledge with regard to the stopping of stress, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the stopping of stress: This, monks, is called right view.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn45/sn45.008.than.html

The role of Right Mindfulness is to remember or bring to mind what Right View is; that is; what brings suffering to our lives. The suttas say:
Quote
One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness.

Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.117.than.html

Therefore, there cannot be a "mindfulness" that operates separate from Right View/Understanding.

If we are suffering, Right Mindfulness immediately recollects: "The cause of my suffering is my craving, my attachment, therefore to overcome suffering I must give up craving & attachment".

In summary, for Joseph, "mindfulness" is "consciousness" or "seeing". But in Buddhism, "mindfulness" means "to recollect" or "bring to mind" or "remember" the Teachings and to apply them.

Therefore, in reality, there cannot be the existence of Right Mindfulness without Right View about suffering, its causes, it cessation and the method of cessation.

Regards  :)


« Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 10:27:15 PM by Nicky »

dharma bum

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2019, 04:26:14 PM »
Sorry, it just seems like a quibble over the use of the translated word 'mindful'. Effectively, Mr Goldstein is saying the same thing. In general, Buddhism is an accessible way for all sorts of people and an ability to finely differentiate the use of language is not an essential skill.
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stillpointdancer

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2019, 10:38:35 AM »
Sorry, it just seems like a quibble over the use of the translated word 'mindful'. Effectively, Mr Goldstein is saying the same thing. In general, Buddhism is an accessible way for all sorts of people and an ability to finely differentiate the use of language is not an essential skill.

Much of Buddhism is about trying to make sense of words which cannot be translated using English, or any other language not arising from a Buddhist culture. Mindfulness has many meanings to many people, so an essential skill is to tease out what it might mean for Buddhists or for people trying to understand Buddhism. For me, Buddhist mindfulness is an attempt to drag us away from our assumptions about what is happening within and around us so that we can work on how we interact with the world and our view of it.

First of all we have to start observing, since many of us operate on a kind of autopilot for much of the time. I well remember having driven to work but sitting in the car park having no recollection of my journey. The idea is to be aware of how we are at any given time and to extend that awareness to our surroundings.

Next we have to be aware of how we are reacting to and interacting with what is happening around us every second. This is mighty difficult as our brains are designed to ignore or make assumptions about what we are seeing and doing, most of which is a construct on our part, a story we are telling ourselves rather than an understanding of what is really going on.

As we develop this awareness we also have to call on different aspects of the Buddhist path to bring 'right understanding' to any given situation. What we bring to what is happening, how we react to what is happening and how we understand the consequences of our words and actions is all part of 'right mindfulness' and is a million miles away from 'McMindfulness' and most secular understandings of the term 'mindfulness'.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Middleway

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2019, 10:20:11 PM »
Hi everyone

I’ve been pondering a teaching I heard from Joseph Goldstein where he often says.
“ being mindful alone isn’t enough, we need to use mindfulness to see what brings suffering to our lives”. I am asking if someone could point out examples of modern life  suffering and where it stems from and what to do when we see it. I Guess I need a lesson on what is suffering.

Thank you

Suffering in Buddhist context refers to mental suffering only. It starts when we become self aware (as a toddler). This self awareness (I or ego-self) and the world arise simultaneously. I.e, "we are" and therefore the "world is". Prior to this self awareness, there is no "I" and therefore there is no one to notice the world.  With this self awareness starts the clinging and aversion. You can clearly see this clinging and aversion in the toddlers when they approach the age of 2 years and thus we call it terrible twos. These terrible twos never go away although the clinging and aversion become more sophisticated. With the advent of the clinging and aversion come various other negative emotions (greed, jealousy, hatred etc.). Our world view is distorted by this primary illusory concept or construct in our mind that "we are".  Its all downhill from here.

So, transcending this primary illusory concept is called stream entry by the Buddhists. A person who wins the stream entry has the firm conviction that there is no separate world out there. With this firm conviction, he eradicates all negative emotions and thoughts in one swoop. The suffering ends here (almost). The stream winner still has a sense of self (universal-self), and works with great compassion to liberate all other entities.

When even this universal-self drops (note, there is nobody there to drop it...it has to drop by itself), there is no entity (personal or universal) and what remains is the reality which was always there to begin with. This is called the Buddha nature by Buddhists. This is the end of suffering.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

dharma bum

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2019, 08:19:50 PM »
My own reading is that Mr Goldstein (I've never heard of him before) in this context uses mindful in the sense of noting.

So you're meditating and let's say you are mindful that you have angry thoughts about something your spouse said. It is not enough to note that you are angry. You have to employ the wisdom that anger causes you suffering that comes from some sort of attachment or aversion. Maybe you felt slighted and your ego was hurt. Without also noting that this thought brings you suffering, meditation is less effective. If you have been meditating for long, you would also note that this is a pattern of thought that comes often and that it comes and goes.
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Middleway

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2019, 01:07:58 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixGLaYJU6ig

Mr. Goldstein has no clue what mindfulness is.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Mert

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2019, 01:59:41 AM »
Most of the western people -especially over 30-, who was brainwashed since childhood about how to interpret the world can't get out of their cultural shells no matter how much they engage in Buddhism. That's the brainwash's purpose after all. The most far they can go is panentheism polished by popular culture. Goldstein is one of the victims. As far as the stereotype goes, they always chase something they don't know what and make lives exponentially complicated.

“ being mindful alone isn’t enough, we need to use mindfulness to see what brings suffering to our lives”.

"Not enough", he thinks. You're bringing suffering to "your" life, what else?

mobius

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2019, 03:07:09 AM »
I can give an example from my own life; of a time when I realized suffering which I was inflicting upon myself unknowingly until I realized it, thanks to mindfulness.

I was driving in my car, coming home from the store and day dreaming about how my mother would react to something I did or failed to do that day (can't even remember what it was; proving how trivial it must have been). I was predicting that she would be angry and I'd argue with her and we'd have this long fight (that actually happens every so often). So I was getting angry while alone in my car. As began happening ever since I started meditating I had a brief 'weird moment where I become more aware of myself and the thoughts faded a bit and I realized the silliness of it:

I had been perfectly content moments ago; yet due to a wondering mind I was making myself needlessly angry, imagining an argument that didn't really exist; might never happen (and indeed it did not happen later). The whole day dream then just sort of fell apart; the anger and everything just crumbled and faded and I chuckled a little bit to myself.
Actually this was a major moment for me; one of the things that made me think mindfulness really is working/benefiting my in the long run and is worth whatever troubles it put me through.

I assume that this it what teachers refer to when saying that 'mindfulness on the cushion isn't enough; you have to incorporate it into your whole life. You have to be mindful all day long, 24/7. And eventually after people have meditated for years and years it becomes natural to do so.

I'm reading Joseph Goldstein's book "Mindfulness, Practical guide to Awakening". So far I found it very interesting though it mostly focuses on morals and that side of Buddhism. It doesn't really have any pedantic or practical specific meditation direction/advice. Like types of meditation/ mantra's versus focus on breath etc. For that kind of stuff I've been watching videos from "Shinzen Young" which has helped me a great deal.
"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain

"If you learn to laugh at your own stupidity, all your crap will turn into manure very fast. And manure is good for growth." -Sadhguru

Middleway

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Re: Being mindful isn’t enough
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2019, 01:27:17 AM »
Hi everyone

I’ve been pondering a teaching I heard from Joseph Goldstein where he often says.
“ being mindful alone isn’t enough, we need to use mindfulness to see what brings suffering to our lives”. I am asking if someone could point out examples of modern life  suffering and where it stems from and what to do when we see it. I Guess I need a lesson on what is suffering.

Thank you

Suffering in Buddhist context refers to mental suffering only. It starts when we become self aware (as a toddler). This self awareness (I or ego-self) and the world arise simultaneously. I.e, "we are" and therefore the "world is". Prior to this self awareness, there is no "I" and therefore there is no one to notice the world.  With this self awareness starts the clinging and aversion. You can clearly see this clinging and aversion in the toddlers when they approach the age of 2 years and thus we call it terrible twos. These terrible twos never go away although the clinging and aversion become more sophisticated. With the advent of the clinging and aversion come various other negative emotions (greed, jealousy, hatred etc.). Our world view is distorted by this primary illusory concept or construct in our mind that "we are".  Its all downhill from here.

So, transcending this primary illusory concept is called stream entry by the Buddhists. A person who wins the stream entry has the firm conviction that there is no separate world out there. With this firm conviction, he eradicates all negative emotions and thoughts in one swoop. The suffering ends here (almost). The stream winner still has a sense of self (universal-self), and works with great compassion to liberate all other entities.

When even this universal-self drops (note, there is nobody there to drop it...it has to drop by itself), there is no entity (personal or universal) and what remains is the reality which was always there to begin with. This is called the Buddha nature by Buddhists. This is the end of suffering.

There is no personal or universal self.  Grasping onto false personal-self causes craving and aversion and then leads to all other negative feelings/emotions such as greed, jealousy, anger, hatred etc. When we are angry we suffer, when we are full of hatred, we suffer. Grasping onto false universal-self causes positive feelings/emotions such as love, compassion and bliss. From reality (nibbana) standpoint even these positive emotions are suffering. This is the right view. 

To remember the right view and to live accordingly from moment to moment is the right mindfulness.   
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.