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May 25, 2009

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Sati, sati and sati…

From my humble experience, I found that mindfulness of an object can sometimes strengthen the self-object dichotomy.

I therefore tend to privilege mindfulness of awareness itself, namely “awareness of awareness” or “awareness of awareness of something else around me” when working or doing something, in order to cultivate the mind that abides nowhere.

I'm not going to defend what you call 'pop Buddhism'. Obviously there are a lot of people out there talking out of their arses, professing to be enlightened. It is every person's own responsibility to 'separate the wheat from the chaff', think for themselves and work out their own salvation with diligence. Buddhas, Bodhisattvas,teachers and friends can sometimes help, but nobody can do it for you.

I agree that mindfulness is not the Dharma, but it is a pretty important part of practice, for example being one of the Eightfold Path (samyak smrti). We could of course debate what it means exactly and what we need to be mindful of.

You say 'it is important to also realize that our awareness is of samsara' True, but you have to start somewhere and since you're in Samsara, how can you start with Nirvana?

Interesting point. Coincidentally, I wrote something on the same subject a few days ago, saying that sticking to the awareness of the pop Buddhist "here and now" is nothing more than floating like a pumpkin on the river of Samsara.

I note however that Tsung-mi said that Zen could be summarized by the single word "Chih" (1st tone), which stands for "awareness" or "knowledge" in Chinese. To be more specific, we could say "non-abiding awareness", or "awareness aware of awareness itself".

Starting from the pop Zen mindfulness of the "here ans now", I would therefore suggest going a bit deeper with the hua-tou "who is aware here and now?"

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