The Present Moment and Mindfulness


Here is an article by ven Anālayo on “The Emphasis on the Present Moment in the Cultivation of Mindfulness”, published in Mindfulness, 2019, 10.3: 571–581.
EmphasisOnThePresentMoment.pdf (592.5 KB)


CBT takes mindfulness out of the context of the noble eightfold path and severs its link with the guidance of right view, thereby incorrectly presenting it as related only to the present moment. When mindfulness is properly seen in conjunction with right view, it includes memory of past experience applied to the present moment for future benefit:

“Right mindfulness is a complex process called the establishing of mindfulness, in which you undertake the practice of remaining focused on a particular frame of reference in and of itself—body in and of itself, feelings in and of themselves, mind in and of itself, or mental qualities in and of themselves—ardent, alert, and mindful, subduing greed and distress with reference to the world. Of the three qualities applied to this process, mindfulness remembers from the past what should be done; alertness notices what is happening—and what you are doing—in the present; ardency generates the desire to deal skillfully with the raw material from which present experience can be formed, so as to lead to wellbeing both in the present and on into the future. Without this desire, right mindfulness would not be established.


“it remembers lessons drawn from right view in the past—both lessons from reading and listening to the Dhamma, as well as lessons from reading the results of your own actions—that can be used to shape this activity in a more skillful direction: to act as the path to the end of suffering .”— “Right Mindfulness”, Thanissaro.

The concept that conventional reality provides the raw material for processing through the application of dhamma principles is important. This can happen at the time or later through contemplation. Additionally it is necessary to maintain a balance between the intake of conventional reality and the ability to process it through contemplation, by ensuring sufficient time in solitude. On the other hand some input time of CR is necessary for a healthy practice.