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Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness
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In these challenging times it is easy to forget the incredible blessings that we enjoy.
The Buddha taught that this human birth is a most precious gift—and provides the possibility of realizing our true nature of immeasurable freedom. In this discourse the Buddha provides four gateways through which to investigate our experience: 1 mindfulness of the body; 2 mindfulness of feelings; 3 mindfulness of the mind; and 4 mindfulness of our experience through the lens or framework of key Buddhist teachings.
You feel hurt, angry, sad, misunderstood. You are tense and irritable. Why are people always so unkind? Nothing seems to be going right in my life In our example above, you can experience all that is arising in the body in response to the argument or conflict—tension in the belly, shortness of breath, heat in the face, tearing up around the eyes, for example—and allow each of the sensations to come and go and be known with an attitude of openness and friendliness.
You can be aware of thoughts, emotions and mind states but the body remains the primary gateway through which to experience the impermanence anicca, in the Pali language , unsatisfactoriness dukkha and selflessness anatta of your experience. The Buddha taught that all mental and physical experiences have a feeling tone— pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral—and we can open to and investigate these as they arise and pass.
In our example you might be aware of unpleasant bodily sensations tension, contraction, heat, for example , unpleasant mental states judgments, difficult thoughts , unpleasant emotions anger, irritation, sadness , perhaps a neutral feeling arises or a pleasant one comes and goes. All can be experienced without grasping, resisting or judging, using the second foundation—mindfulness of feelings. In our example you might investigate your experience using the five hindrances—for example, opening to the obvious hindrance of aversion. How does aversion feel?