Obsolete: Mindfulness in Mental Objects (Hindrances)

See: Exercises: Buddha on Mind (Set 2)

Mental Hindrances

Reference: The 12 Aspects of Mindfulness

Hindrances are part of the mental objects that one needs to be mindful of. There are five hindrances:

  1. Sense-desire
  2. Anger
  3. Sloth and torpor
  4. Agitation and remorse
  5. Doubt

Here are some excerpts from Satipatthana Sutta: The Foundations of Mindfulness.

And how, monks, does a monk live contemplating mental objects in mental objects?
Herein, monks, a monk lives contemplating mental objects in the mental objects of the five hindrances.
How, monks, does a monk live contemplating mental objects in the mental objects of the five hindrances?
Herein, monks, when sense-desire is present, a monk knows, “There is sense-desire in me,” or when sense-desire is not present, he knows, “There is no sense-desire in me.” He knows how the arising of the non-arisen sense-desire comes to be; he knows how the abandoning of the arisen sense-desire comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the abandoned sense-desire comes to be.
When anger is present, he knows, “There is anger in me,” or when anger is not present, he knows, “There is no anger in me.” He knows how the arising of the non-arisen anger comes to be; he knows how the abandoning of the arisen anger comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the abandoned anger comes to be.
When sloth and torpor are present, he knows, “There are sloth and torpor in me,” or when sloth and torpor are not present, he knows, “There are no sloth and torpor in me.” He knows how the arising of the non-arisen sloth and torpor comes to be; he knows how the abandoning of the arisen sloth and torpor comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the abandoned sloth and torpor comes to be.
When agitation and remorse are present, he knows, “There are agitation and remorse in me,” or when agitation and remorse are not present, he knows, “There are no agitation and remorse in me.” He knows how the arising of the non-arisen agitation and remorse comes to be; he knows how the abandoning of the arisen agitation and remorse comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the abandoned agitation and remorse comes to be.
When doubt is present, he knows, “There is doubt in me,” or when doubt is not present, he knows, “There is no doubt in me.” He knows how the arising of the non-arisen doubt comes to be; he knows how the abandoning of the arisen doubt comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the abandoned doubt comes to be.
Thus he lives contemplating mental objects in mental objects internally, or he lives contemplating mental objects in mental objects externally, or he lives contemplating mental objects in mental objects internally and externally. He lives contemplating origination factors in mental objects, or he lives contemplating dissolution factors in mental objects, or he lives contemplating origination-and-dissolution factors in mental objects.[21] Or his mindfulness is established with the thought, “Mental objects exist,” to the extent necessary just for knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives detached, and clings to nothing in the world. Thus also, monks, a monk lives contemplating mental objects in the mental objects of the five hindrances.
.

EXERCISE

PURPOSE:   To practice mindfulness in mental hindrances.

  1. Look and contemplate on SENSE DESIRE.

    • Know when sense-desire is present, “There is sense-desire in me,”
    • Know when sense-desire is not present, “There is no sense-desire in me.”
    • How the arising of the non-arisen sense-desire comes to be;
    • How the abandoning of the arisen sense-desire comes to be;
    • How the non-arising in the future of the abandoned sense-desire comes to be.
    • Do steps 6 – 9 before going to the next step.
  2. Look and contemplate on ANGER.

    • Know when anger is present, “There is anger in me,”
    • Know when anger is not present, “There is no anger in me.”
    • How the arising of the non-arisen anger comes to be;
    • How the abandoning of the arisen anger comes to be;
    • How the non-arising in the future of the abandoned anger comes to be.
    • Do steps 6 – 9 before going to the next step.
  3. Look and contemplate on SLOTH and TORPOR.

    • Know when sloth and torpor are present, “There are sloth and torpor in me,”
    • Know when sloth and torpor are not present, “There are no sloth and torpor in me.”
    • How the arising of the non-arisen sloth and torpor comes to be;
    • How the abandoning of the arisen sloth and torpor comes to be;
    • How the non-arising in the future of the abandoned sloth and torpor comes to be.
    • Do steps 6 – 9 before going to the next step.
  4. Look and contemplate on AGITATION and REMORSE.

    • Know when agitation and remorse are present, “There are agitation and remorse in me,”
    • Know when agitation and remorse are not present, “There are no agitation and remorse in me.”
    • How the arising of the non-arisen agitation and remorse comes to be;
    • How the abandoning of the arisen agitation and remorse comes to be;
    • How the non-arising in the future of the abandoned agitation and remorse comes to be.
    • Do steps 6 – 9 before going to the next step.
  5. Look and contemplate on DOUBT.

    • Know when doubt is present, “There is doubt in me,”
    • Know when doubt is not present, “There is no doubt in me.”
    • How the arising of the non-arisen doubt comes to be;
    • How the abandoning of the arisen doubt comes to be;
    • How the non-arising in the future of the abandoned doubt comes to be.
    • Do steps 6 – 9.
  6. Continue contemplating this hindrance internally and/or as observed externally.

  7. Be mindful of the origination factors in this hindrance, and/or the dissolution factors in this hindrance.

  8. Be mindful that this hindrance exists to the extent necessary just for knowledge and mindfulness.

  9. Live detached, and cling to nothing in the world.

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Further references: KHTK Mindfulness

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Comments

  • vinaire  On September 21, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    This exercise is really interesting. I started with simply looking at what sense-desire is. There are five primary physical senses and the mental sense. We are dependent upon them to various degrees. We are attached to them. We are subject to desires associated with them.

    So the first thing I did was simply to dive into looking and experiencing the sense-desire so that I understand this thing fully. I looked at this sense-desire in a personally internal context, and then compared it to sense-desire in an external context of how I have observed others experience and enjoy it.

    I have not experienced water skiing or surfing personally, but I have watched others do it. Looking at that in terms of sense-desire has been very interesting to me.

    OK, more later… as I am going back to this exercise.

    .

  • vinaire  On September 23, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    It is difficult for me to admit that there is no sense-desire in me, though I can see when certain sense-desire is not present.

    There is a difference between senses being present, and sense-desire being present. It is interesting to contemplate upon this.

    Here is the definition of DESIRE. The root meaning is “to long for.”

    Here is the Wikipedia article on desire as an emotion. “Desire is a sense of longing for a person or object or hoping for an outcome.”

    .

  • vinaire  On September 23, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Is there a desire connected with wanting to see something? Is there a desire connected with the ability to see itself?

    There are degree of seeing, such as, individual trees or the whole forest.

    Is there a desire connected with wanting to hear something? Is there a desire connected with the ability to hear itself?

    Is there a desire connected with wanting to taste something? Is there a desire connected with the ability to taste itself?

    Is there a desire connected with wanting to touch something? Is there a desire connected with the ability to touch itself? [This was quite interesting to go through. I think this was the most powerful area for me. It is spread all over the body and just concentrated at a few spots.]

    Is there a desire connected with wanting to smell something? Is there a desire connected with the ability to smell itself?

    The focus here is on desire. This mindfulness is having quite a calming effect on me.

    Is there a desire connected with wanting to sense something mentally? Is there a desire connected with the ability to mental sense itself?

  • vinaire  On September 23, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    The desire to live seems to spring from a circumstance when there is threat to life.

    The desire to avoid pain comes when there is pain.

    The desire for knowledge comes when there is awareness of ignorance.

    The desire for auditing comes when there is some unwanted condition.

    When there is no desire then there is simply an awareness of love.

    There is desire to preserve the ego or self. Now I am going to fully review this Wikipedia article on desire.

    .

  • vinaire  On September 23, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    Goals are connected with desires. Games are connected with goals. Desire gives rise to motivation.

    From Wikipedia” “In Buddhism, for an individual to effect his or her liberation, the flow of sense-desire must be cut completely; however, while training, he or she must work with motivational processes based on skilfully applied desire. The Buddha stated, according to the early Buddhist scriptures, that monks should “generate desire” for the sake of fostering skillful qualities and abandoning unskillful ones.”

    Desire seems to be the essence of how life is viewed by most people.

    .

  • vinaire  On September 23, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    Plato: Individual desires must be postponed in the name of the higher ideal.

    Aristotle: Desire is implicated in animal interactions and the propensity of animals to motion. Reasoning also interacts with desire.

    Hobbes: Fundamental motivation of all human action is the desire for pleasure.

    Spinoza: Natural desires are a form of bondage that are not chosen by a person of their own free will.

    Hume: Desires and passions are noncognitive, automatic bodily responses. Reasoning is capable only of devising means to ends set by bodily desire.

    Kant: Any action based on desires is a hypothetical imperative. It is a command of reason that applies only if one desires the goal in question. There is a relation between the beautiful and pleasure.

    Hegel: Self-consciousness is desire.

    .

  • Chris Thompson  On September 23, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    I wanted to write and question whether we truly “desire” liberation, then I heard how that sounded. Then I thought maybe we need just a little bit of liberation, just we are only a little bit dirty and not completely filthy, then I heard how that sounded. Sounds like addiction to me. And trying to manage one’s addiction by only immersing oneself “a little bit” never works out very well.

    So what about this bondage? Do we view it as such and then struggle against it only to fail and backslide into our animal desires?

    Is hunger when our stomach is empty “sense-desire?”

    Write more about where you are going with this.

    • vinaire  On September 24, 2012 at 5:42 AM

      I am simply looking, as you are looking, at what Buddha said.

      Sense-desire is a phenomenon. Look at it as a phenomenon and be mindful of it. Look at how it arises and how it subsides.

      .

      • Chris Thompson  On September 25, 2012 at 9:52 PM

        I did notice it to have amplitude with troughs and peaks. And I also noticed that these compete for attention.

  • vinaire  On September 25, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    I believe that any desire is the outcome of certain conditions in the body. This is pretty self-evident in the case of hunger, which is a physical desire. But, I think, this is also true for spiritual desires.

    Those conditions in the body somehow arise from the structure of the body. All properties of the body come from how the atoms of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and few others are bonded together in large chains. This bonding comes about from sharing of electrons among atoms. The nuclei in atoms act as anchors for the electronic distribution. This electronic distribution pretty much determines all our physical properties.

    This results in macromolecules. These macromolecules are large enough to have computing circuits, and they generate their own computation. This, probably, gives rise to a rudimenary form of life.

    [To be continued…]

  • Chris Thompson  On September 25, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    That is a very interesting take on basic life and basic thought.

    waiting…

  • vinaire  On September 26, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Here is another example of body originating desire:

    When the body is operational for a while, chemicals are produced that produce the desire to rest. The rest is necessary for the body to recharge and reset itself.

    All desires seem to have a built-in purpose. That purpose gets triggered under certain conditions. For example, a slim female body may be sexually restimulating for a male, whereas, a pregnant (or fat) female body may not be.

    .

  • vinaire  On September 26, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Can body be maintained within certain parameters by regulating its input (food, senses, and thoughts) so that desires are under effortless control.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On September 27, 2012 at 12:12 AM

      First answer? Of course the answer will be the considerations.

      In a practical sense, we can first define moderate parameters and then train ourselves and our children what these parameters are . . . the deeper the understanding then possibly the better the success.

      Once again, it seems to me that “right thinking” layered over contrary considerations will enjoy no success.

      • vinaire  On September 27, 2012 at 6:01 AM

        Yes. “Right thinking” layered over contrary considerations will enjoy no success, because there is inconsistency that would have to be resolved.

        Here is the reference to “right thinking”:
        THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH TO NIRVANA

        So, “right thinking” is an important component of good health. Now that is an intriguing concept.

        .

  • vinaire  On September 27, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    It seems that the fundamental desires shall originate from the configuration of electronic distribution in the macromolecules.within the body structure.

    However, this cannot be entirely looked upon as “materialism” because there is a spiritual element determining that electronic configuration.

    I believe that physical and spiritual are aspects of a single overall system.that is yet to be fully comprehended.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On September 27, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      I see what you are saying about one system. What consideration is making you lean toward the word spiritual? Are we using it as a placeholder now for what is yet to be discovered? Are we going to discover the spiritual particles that define precisely spiritual? What? Because across the planet, spiritual is used and acknowledged and defined in all cultures from denial of its existence to exaltation as the only true existence.

    • vinaire  On September 27, 2012 at 6:46 PM

      That is a good question: What is spiritual?

      As we research and come to know things objectively, they become part of the physical. However those things that remain in subjective, speculative and mystical realm are regarded to exist more in the domain of the spiritual. So, you may be right.

      The moment anything ‘spiritual’ becomes objectively known, it transitions to the physical realm. So, ‘spiritual’ will always remain in the fuzzy realm. So, some day we might discover a ‘fuzzy’ particle that defies mathematics, and so, it would be classified as a ‘spiritual’ particle.

      .

      • Chris Thompson  On September 27, 2012 at 7:37 PM

        We sayit needs to defy mathematics, yes we all think in that direction but I don’t know that is necessarily so…

        EM radiation was thought to be in the spiritual realm, source of lightning, planets and the sun and such. . . magical things that we were a long off way from knowing about.

        If there is a spiritual line, maybe we just keep pushing the line back by understanding more about our world.

      • vinaire  On September 27, 2012 at 7:44 PM

        “If there is a spiritual line, maybe we just keep pushing the line back by understanding more about our world.”

        Very true!

        .

        • Chris Thompson  On September 28, 2012 at 12:07 AM

          Maybe one day the spiritual will disappear or maybe one day the spiritual will be truly discovered.

        • vinaire  On September 28, 2012 at 5:00 AM

          The spirit of something is basically the essence of that thing. Maybe, spiritual deals with the essence of man, which is MINDFULNESS. It is not some identity.

          .

        • Chris Thompson  On September 28, 2012 at 9:30 AM

          ah, good. — I thought you began a tautology but the comment about mindfulness = good… Now we only have to decipher that! haha

        • vinaire  On September 28, 2012 at 9:37 AM

          Yes, the ideas of soul, thetan, etc. don’t work because they are sort of identities.

          Spirit works because it is the essence. Check out MORE ON MINDFULNESS

          .

  • vinaire  On September 27, 2012 at 6:17 AM

    Just imagine the ‘desire vectors’ of all the macromolecules within the body, adding up to determine the overall motion of the body in real time.

    This is fascinating.

    .

  • vinaire  On September 27, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    In those areas of the body where these ‘desire vectors’ are opposing each other, this kind of conflict may appear as PAIN.

    And in those areas areas of the body where these ‘desire vectors’ are in harmony with each other, it may provide the feeling of wholesomeness.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On September 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      Yes because pain has the effect of slowing us down of increasing entropy and of reducing inertia (or would it be better to say momentum?).

      Harmony is wholesomeness and motion?

      Is there an a proportionate and corresponding equation between motion and health?

      It seems more healthy to be in motion and less healthy to be sedentary.

    • vinaire  On September 27, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      Harmony is consistency. It leads to consistent and smooth motion, which leads to skills. Skills executed expertly makes us feel good, pleased about ourselves and whole… a feeling of wholesomeness. Pain works the other way. What is the opposite of the feeling of wholesomeness? It is s feeling being confused, scattered and not focused.

      Motion is not just the external, macro motion of the body. Far more important seems to be the internal motion of blood, enzymes, hormones, etc.

      .

  • vinaire  On September 27, 2012 at 6:28 AM

    These macromolecules may form subsystems with specific desires or functions.. These functions, when harmonious will provide the feeling of wholesomeness.

    One must then pay special attention to all the input (food, sense perception, thought) to see how it is determining the output of the feeling of wholesomeness.

    .

  • Chris Thompson  On September 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    When we let go of the ego driven anthropomorphic mapping of the world, all sorts of interesting and consistent things fall out as you are showing with these posts.

    • vinaire  On September 27, 2012 at 7:59 PM

      That is so true.

      We are mapping the anthropomorphism itself. 🙂

      .

  • vinaire  On October 8, 2012 at 5:49 AM

    I have been contemplating on anger per Buddha’s exercise in the essay above. I am surprised to find that I no longer need to control anger. The anger is simply not there in the first place.

    What a relief!

    But I know that there still could be circumstances where anger may arise. But this exercise has become part of my mindfulness now.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On October 8, 2012 at 8:44 AM

      Excellent! I have the same sensation. I was raised where anger and resentment abounded. These attitudes and filters are no longer a major concern in my life either.

      What type of construct would mindfulness be? Another filter?

      • vinaire  On October 8, 2012 at 10:10 AM

        I don’t know if mindfulness be a filter because it seems to be something very fundamental.

        .

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