Teachings on Mindfulness
by Chime Shore
The late Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche, a Canadian Buddhist Teacher, worked globally to illuminate the Dhamma through universal exploration and to express it in contemporary language. Rinpoche’s first teacher was Ven. Sayadaw U Thila Wunta (Mon), a Burmese Mahathera and builder of world peace pagodas, stupas, on five continents. The Tibetan title ‘Rinpoche’ was given by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa.
The teachings and exercises of traditional Mindfulness practice are a gift to humanity from the Sakyamuni Buddha. They have been maintained and transmitted faithfully by Buddhist practitioners for 25 centuries. These Teachings are offered by Buddhadhamma to universal human culture. Mindfulness practice is not meant to be confined to cultural Buddhism.
Mindfulness is essentially a Teaching about the integration of love, calm, insight and compassion without conditions of belief or ritual. Formal exercises support the general view and intent of the Teachings. These Teachings are today being absorbed into global human culture.
Calm is a major feature of mindfulness. Calm forms the vessel for insight and experience; learning requires calm.
Mindfulness is understood as an innate human capacity. The Teachings seek to protect, maintain and develop this quality of mindfulness. The micro of formal exercise practice is meant to support the macro of a life well lived. We should practice in a way that suits us, sufficient to our purposes. In the broad view, some say, this simply means cultivating mental health. Mindfulness belongs into mental health medicine. In this view the cultivation of mindfulness is itself an expression of both individual and collective mental health.
The Teachings, Dhamma, speak to a kind of symbiosis between the inner and outer worlds of experience. Internal and external are interactive. There is one mind, not two, as the Dhamma says: one interactive world of nature. Mindfulness allows compassion to flourish. Mindfulness exercises can be universally taught and practiced.
The great purpose, as always with the Dhamma, is the growth of compassion as a means to peace, and compassion requires the cultivation of mindfulness. Mindfulness, Buddha taught, is the one road to enlightenment. There is a strong recognition within the tradition that life experience is itself the great vehicle. Formal practice is seen as skilful means. Good teaching is a great asset. Friends who practice together and places that support practice are also wonderful. In the end, however, Mindfulness practice can be understood and practiced by individuals alone, and, indeed, this is one of its greatest virtues. The maturing of mindfulness is seen as an expression of the maturing of the individual.
Wonderful to find,
This Practice, a Medicine,
So common, so profound!
The universal way of mindfulness Wonderful gift that Buddha taught Way of all Buddhas’ awakening.
MAHA – great, all-embracing, universal. SATI – awareness, attention, question and intelligence. SARATI – memory; the cultivation and purification of memory. SOTA – stream, flow, experience. PATTHA – independent, self-reliant. PATTHANA – to set out, survey, to enter the stream of experience.
To sum up, mindfulness is a universal Dhamma practice, recognised by all schools and continuously taught for 2,500 years.
All Dhamma practices encourage deep respect for the effort to become calm, inquiring and dedicated to the greater good
From the Theravada Dhamma Training Text, Coorain
Copyright: Coorain, Origins Centre (Society Incorporated) Inc.
MAHA – great, all-embracing, universal.
SATI – awareness, attention, question and intelligence.
SARATI – memory; the cultivation and purification of memory.
SOTA – stream, flow, experience.
PATTHA – independent, self-reliant.
PATTHANA – to set out, survey, to enter the stream of experience.