Exercises: Buddha on Mind (Set 2)

Mental Hindrances

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

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In this exercise one contemplates on the following five hindrances to meditation:

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

Hindrances are part of mental objects, which are to be viewed the way one views physical objects.

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EXERCISE # 1

PURPOSE: The Contemplation of SENSE DESIRES as mental objects

PREREQUISITE: All exercises up to Exercises: Buddha on Mind (Set 1)

GUIDING PRINCIPLE:  The Discipline of Mindfulness

STEPS:

  1. Contemplate on instances when a sense desire had arisen and was present. When you find such an instance examine it for discontinuity, disharmony or inconsistency.

  2. Contemplate on instances when a sense desire had subsided and was no longer present. When you find such an instance examine it closely as above.

  3. Contemplate on instances when something appeared, which then led to arising of a sense desire. When you find such an instance examine closely it as above.

  4. Contemplate on instances when something appeared, which then led to the abandonment of a sense desire. When you find such an instance examine it closely as above.

  5. Contemplate on ways that the arising of a sense desire can be prevented in future.

  6. Contemplate on sense desires as observed by you internally and also externally in others.

  7. Contemplate on factors that shape a sense desire and/or which dissolve a sense desire.

  8. View the sense desires as mental objects necessary for knowledge and mindfulness.

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

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EXERCISE # 2

PURPOSE: The Contemplation of ANGER as a mental object

PREREQUISITE: Exercise #1 above

GUIDING PRINCIPLE:  The Discipline of Mindfulness

STEPS:

  1. Contemplate on instances when anger had arisen and was present. When you find such an instance examine it for discontinuity, disharmony or inconsistency.

  2. Contemplate on instances when anger had subsided and was no longer present. When you find such an instance examine it closely as above.

  3. Contemplate on instances when something appeared, which then led to arising of anger. When you find such an instance examine closely it as above.

  4. Contemplate on instances when something appeared, which then led to the abandonment of anger. When you find such an instance examine it closely as above.

  5. Contemplate on ways that the arising of anger can be prevented in future.

  6. Contemplate on anger as observed by you internally and also externally in others.

  7. Contemplate on factors that shape anger and/or which dissolve anger.

  8. View anger as a mental object necessary for knowledge and mindfulness.

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

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EXERCISE # 3

PURPOSE: The Contemplation of SLOTH and TORPOR as mental objects

PREREQUISITE: Exercise #2 above

GUIDING PRINCIPLE:  The Discipline of Mindfulness

STEPS:

  1. Contemplate on instances when sloth and torpor had arisen and wwere present. When you find such an instance examine it for discontinuity, disharmony or inconsistency.

  2. Contemplate on instances when sloth and torpor had subsided and were no longer present. When you find such an instance examine it closely as above.

  3. Contemplate on instances when something appeared, which then led to arising of sloth and torpor. When you find such an instance examine closely it as above.

  4. Contemplate on instances when something appeared, which then led to the abandonment of sloth and torpor. When you find such an instance examine it closely as above.

  5. Contemplate on ways that the arising of sloth and torpor can be prevented in future.

  6. Contemplate on sloth and torpor as observed by you internally and also externally in others.

  7. Contemplate on factors that shape sloth and torpor and/or which dissolve sloth and torpor.

  8. View sloth and torpor as mental objects necessary for knowledge and mindfulness.

  9. Repeat this exercise in “20 minute sessions”, until you can comfortably view sloth and torpor objectively.

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EXERCISE # 4

PURPOSE: The Contemplation of AGITATION and REMORSE as mental objects

PREREQUISITE: Exercise #3 above

GUIDING PRINCIPLE:  The Discipline of Mindfulness

STEPS:

  1. Contemplate on instances when agitation and remorse had arisen and wwere present. When you find such an instance examine it for discontinuity, disharmony or inconsistency.

  2. Contemplate on instances when agitation and remorse had subsided and wwere no longer present. When you find such an instance examine it closely as above.

  3. Contemplate on instances when something appeared, which then led to arising of agitation and remorse. When you find such an instance examine closely it as above.

  4. Contemplate on instances when something appeared, which then led to the abandonment of agitation and remorse. When you find such an instance examine it closely as above.

  5. Contemplate on ways that the arising of agitation and remorse can be prevented in future.

  6. Contemplate on agitation and remorse as observed by you internally and also externally in others.

  7. Contemplate on factors that shape agitation and remorse and/or which dissolve agitation and remorse.

  8. View agitation and remorse as mental objects necessary for knowledge and mindfulness.

  9. Repeat this exercise in “20 minute sessions”, until you can comfortably view agitation and remorse objectively.

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EXERCISE # 5

PURPOSE: The Contemplation of DOUBT as a mental object

PREREQUISITE: Exercise #4 above

GUIDING PRINCIPLE:  The Discipline of Mindfulness

STEPS:

  1. Contemplate on instances when doubt had arisen and was present. When you find such an instance examine it for discontinuity, disharmony or inconsistency.

  2. Contemplate on instances when doubt had subsided and was no longer present. When you find such an instance examine it closely as above.

  3. Contemplate on instances when something appeared, which then led to arising of doubt. When you find such an instance examine closely it as above.

  4. Contemplate on instances when something appeared, which then led to the abandonment of doubt. When you find such an instance examine it closely as above.

  5. Contemplate on ways that the arising of doubt can be prevented in future.

  6. Contemplate on doubt as observed by you internally and also externally in others.

  7. Contemplate on factors that shape doubt and/or which dissolve doubt.

  8. View doubt as a mental object necessary for knowledge and mindfulness.

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

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