It is interesting to me how the Ajahn seems to manufacture these new concepts. The above is not comprehensible to me therefore I will add:
Thus, something one attends to directly is what a foreground is at the time.
For example, my computer screen.
It can be anything that is the current object of one’s attention.
For example, my computer screen.
That thing has manifested, and it is enduring as such.
Eye meets form + consciousness
That’s the basic structural property of one’s experience, there is no problem with this.
However, if one wants to develop mindfulness, a step further is necessary.
Mindfulness means remembering to govern experience with Dhamma.
That step is developing the peripheral “vision” in regard to that very same foreground object, but without making that peripheral vision the new object by directly attending to it.
If I am comprehending the above accurately, I think i disagree with it. To me, mindfulness does not mean attending to the computer screen but means keeping the mind undefiled while experiencing the computer screen. Here, observing the mind is the primary/foreground object and the computer screen is the background/secondary object.
For me, the same applies in Satipatthana. Keeping the mind undefiled is the foreground object and the breathing, feelings, mental states & realities are the “background” objects.
The Buddha referred to this as “yoniso manasikara ”, which is often translated as “proper attention”.
I cannot recall the Buddha referring to yoniso manasikara apart from as a preliminary practice prior to Satipatthana
Yoniso manasikara is the correct way of attending to the peripheral.
Manasikara means “attention”. Yoni means “womb”. So when a thing is present in the front, in the foreground, its peripheral background is that very “womb” the thing has “came from”, so to speak. Yoniso manasikara is womb-attention, or less literally: a peripheral attention.
I’m totally lost now… The above seems to solipsismically say objects are born from attention yet this does not seem to distinguish between ayoniso and yoniso.
The catch is in persistent effort of repetition of learning how to attend to things peripherally, without having to “directly” look at them.
Consciousness is always aware of the most coarse object. For example, to listen to a sound, all I need to do is keep the mind silent. I do not need to direct my ear at the sound.
Therefore, attending to keeping the mind silent is the primary/foreground object and the sound to be listened to is the background object.
For a mind affected with avijja, the “direct look”, the “ayoniso manasikara” always involves appropriation and the Self-view.
OK. It involves craving; like craving for samadhi or craving to watch the breathing.
And “learning to attend” things peripherally can be done on many different “bases” or “domains” that are structurally present as the background of our attended experience. These domains are the domain of feelings, thoughts, and even one’s intentions (bodily, verbal and mental).
So is the “background” above the feelings, thoughts & intentions? I doubt intention can be the “background”. Dhp1 says mano is the forerunner. In other words, it seems the establishment of mindfulness first requires an underlying intention to be mindful.
For example, being aware of the general feeling present, without trying to perceive it as “sensation” (i.e. “in” the body), is another way of establishing the proper mindfulness.
My impression is an “ideal” has been created above, where a general feeling MUST BE attended to. Personally, my view is establishing proper mindfulness has no relationship whatsoever to awareness of feelings. For me, mindfulness (maintaining an undefiled mind) is simply established as the primary/foreground object. If feelings pop into that undefiled mind, OK. But if they don’t, it does not matter.
It seems the Ajahn has made body, feelings & mental states into sacred holy objects.