Exercises: Buddha on Mind (Set 1)

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Reference: Mindfulness Approach
Note: These exercises are derived directly from Buddhist scriptures, specifically, from Satipatthana Sutta: The Foundations of Mindfulness.

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After one is able to discern the physical environment and the body comfortably, one is ready to discern perception of the mind. These are called feelings. A feeling is the physical sensation of the dominant condition of the mind.

There are three different types of feelings, such as, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral (neither pleasant nor unpleasant). There are also two different categories of feelings, such as, worldly or spiritual. The worldly feelings are concerned with day to day affairs. The spiritual feelings are concerned with long term, deeper sense of well-beingness.  The following exercise helps one recognize the nature of feelings as one is experiencing them.

After one is able to discern the feelings comfortably, one is ready to discern the nature of consciousness. Consciousness is the level of awareness. The deeper is the awareness, the higher is consciousness. This explains the higher consciousness in humans compared to animals. Consciousness cannot really be called ‘I’.

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EXERCISE # 1

PURPOSE: The Contemplation of Feelings

PREREQUISITE:  All exercises up to Exercises: Buddha on Body (Set 2)

GUIDING PRINCIPLE:  The Discipline of Mindfulness

STEPS:

  1. Contemplate on pleasant feelings until you know what it is like to experience a pleasant feeling.

  2. Contemplate on painful feelings until you know what it is like to experience a painful feeling.

  3. Contemplate on neutral feelings until you know what it is like to experience a neutral feeling.

  4. Contemplate on pleasant worldly feelings until you know what it is like to experience a pleasant worldly feeling.

  5. Contemplate on pleasant spiritual feelings until you know what it is like to experience a pleasant spiritual feeling.

  6. Contemplate on painful worldly feelings until you know what it is like to experience a painful worldly feeling.

  7. Contemplate on painful spiritual feelings until you know what it is like to experience a painful spiritual feeling.

  8. Contemplate on neutral worldly feelings until you know what it is like to experience a neutral worldly feeling.

  9. Contemplate on neutral spiritual feelings until you know what it is like to experience a neutral spiritual feeling.

  10. Contemplate on what you are feeling at the moment. Discern that feeling as pleasant, painful, or neutral, worldly or spiritual.

  11. Contemplate on feelings as observed by you internally and also externally in others.

  12. Contemplate on factors that shape feelings and/or which dissolve feelings.

  13. Contemplate on feelings as existing to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness.

  14. Repeat this exercise in “20 minute sessions”, until you can comfortably view feelings objectively.

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EXERCISE # 2

PURPOSE: The Contemplation of Consciousness

PREREQUISITE:  Exercise #1 above

GUIDING PRINCIPLE:  The Discipline of Mindfulness

STEPS:

  1. Contemplate on the consciousness with lust until you can perceive it objectively.

  2. Contemplate on the consciousness without lust until you can perceive it objectively.

  3. Contemplate on the consciousness with hate until you can perceive it objectively.

  4. Contemplate on the consciousness without hate until you can perceive it objectively.

  5. Contemplate on the consciousness with ignorance until you can perceive it objectively.

  6. Contemplate on the consciousness without ignorance until you can perceive it objectively.

  7. Contemplate on the shrunken state of consciousness until you can perceive it objectively.

  8. Contemplate on the distracted state of consciousness until you can perceive it objectively.

  9. Contemplate on the developed state of consciousness until you can perceive it objectively.

  10. Contemplate on the undeveloped state of consciousness until you can perceive it objectively.

  11. Contemplate on the state of consciousness with some other mental state superior to it until you can perceive it objectively.

  12. Contemplate on the state of consciousness with no other mental state superior to it until you can perceive it objectively.

  13. Contemplate on the concentrated state of consciousness until you can perceive it objectively.

  14. Contemplate on the un-concentrated state of consciousness until you can perceive it objectively.

  15. Contemplate on the freed state of consciousness until you can perceive it objectively.

  16. Contemplate on the un-freed state of consciousness until you can perceive it objectively.

  17. Contemplate on consciousness as observed by you internally and also externally in others.

  18. Contemplate on factors that shape consciousness and/or which dissolve consciousness.

  19. Contemplate on consciousness as existing to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness.

  20. Repeat this exercise in “20 minute sessions”, until you can comfortably view consciousness objectively.

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