2 Mar
Posted in: Books
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If You Want to Understand…Observe

The Monday night Dharma Book KM Group is in the process of getting rejuvenated (by adding a few new members), so I thought this would be a good time to post a quote from the book we’re reading/discussing: Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, by Joseph Goldstein.

From the Preface:
“I first became interested in Buddhism and meditation as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. After returning home and trying to continue the practice on my own, I quickly realized that I needed a teacher. This was in 1967, and at that time there were few Buddhist teachers to be found in the West. So I returned to Asia, first stopping in India to look for someone who could guide my practice. I went to Himalayan hill stations, unfortunately in winter when all the Tibetan teachers had gone south. After visiting different ashrams, I ended up in Bodh Gaya, a small village in Northern India, where Siddhartha Gotama became the Buddha, the Awakened One.

“Anagarika Munindra, my first teacher, had just returned from nine years in Burma and had begun teaching vipassana, or insight meditation. When I first arrived, he said something so simple and direct that I knew I had come to my spiritual home: ‘If you want to understand your mind, sit down and observe it. As he explained the practice, I resonated with this direct looking at the nature of the mind and body, at how suffering is created and how we can be free.

“The simple, although not always easy, practices of vipassana are all rooted in one important discourse of the Buddha: the Satipatthana Sutta. Satipatthana is often translated as ‘the four foundations of mindfulness,’ but another, and perhaps more helpful, translation is ‘the four ways of establishing mindfulness.’ In terms of awareness of the different aspects of our experience, this slight shift of translation has important implications: it gives more emphasis to the process of awareness itself, rather than to the particular objects of our attention.”


Come, Dharma Friends…..the game’s afoot!

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