What is the difference between mindfulness and investigation?

Mindfulness and the investigation are the first two factors of enlightenment. What is the difference?
http://chinabuddhismencyclopedia.com/en/index.php?title=Seven_Factors_of_Enlightenment

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Without mindfulness, investigation can’t occur - or it will just be further delusion and conditioned views. Eg. Without being mindful one can never see the arising and ceasing of thoughts or feelings - without that one can’t see the changeability and unsatisfactoriness of thoughts and feelings, without which one is not motivated to look for a ‘true’ investigation - behind delusion and conditioning, which is required for proper investigation to take place, and thus to the possibility of lessening delusion and seeing things the way they really are :slight_smile:

https://legacy.suttacentral.net/en/mn118/-1

“Bhikkhus, that is how mindfulness of breathing, developed and cultivated, fulfils the four foundations of mindfulness.

Fulfilment of the Seven Enlightenment Factors

“And how, bhikkhus, do the four foundations of mindfulness, developed and cultivated, fulfil the seven enlightenment factors?

“Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world—on that occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in him. On whatever occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in a bhikkhu—on that occasion the mindfulness enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development, it comes to fulfilment in him.

“Abiding thus mindful, he investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it. On whatever occasion, abiding thus mindful, a bhikkhu investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it—on that occasion the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

“In one who investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it, tireless energy is aroused. On whatever occasion tireless energy is aroused in a bhikkhu who investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it—on that occasion the energy enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

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Agree.
But I like toknow the diffrence. They both sound the same to me.

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Ok so mindfulness involves the looking, seeing and identification of the subject part - and investigation involves the analysing part which leads to insights

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If you read Satipathana and Anapanasati you will find investigation in there as well.
So Dhamma Vicaya is somethigng additionla I suppose.

You can apply mindfulness and investigation to everything, every single tiny little thing that makes up action, thought, feeling and perception in our lives :slight_smile:

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I seem to be on a sutta roll. There are quite a few, but I like this section of MN 48


And what, monks, is that view which is ariyan, leading onwards, and which leads him who acts according to it to the complete destruction of anguish? Herein, monks, a monk who is forest-gone or gone to the root of a tree or gone to an empty place, reflects like this; ‘Now, have I a subjective obsession, not got rid of, owing to which I, if my mind were obsessed by it, could not know, could not see (things) as they really are? (1) If, monks, a monk is obsessed by addiction to sense-pleasures, to this extent is his mind obsessed. (2) If, monks, a monk is obsessed by malevolence, to this extent is his mind obsessed. (3) If, monks, a monk is obsessed by sloth and torpor, to this extent is his mind obsessed. (4) If, monks, a monk is obsessed by restlessness and worry, to this extent is his mind obsessed. (5) If, monks, a monk is obsessed by doubt, to this extent is his mind obsessed, to this extent is his mind obsessed. (6) If, monks, a monk centres his thought on this world, to this extent is his mind obsessed. (7) If, monks, a monk centres his thought on the world beyond, to this extent is his mind obsessed. (8) If, monks, a monk, disputatious, quarrelsome, contentious, lives wounding with the weapons of his tongue, to this extent is his mind obsessed. He comprehends thus: ‘I have no subjective obsession, not got rid of, owing to which I, if my mind were obsessed by it, could not know, could not see (things) as they really are; my thought is well directed towards awakening as to the truths.’ This is the first knowledge won by him, ariyan, transcendental, not in common with average men.

This is Bikkhu Bodhi’s translation of the relevant passage

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the root of a tree, or to an empty dwelling, considers thus: ‘Is there any internal enthrallment unabandoned in me that, enthralled with which, my enthralled mind would not know or see things as they actually are?’ If a monk is enthralled with sensual passion, then his mind is enthralled. If he is enthralled with ill will, then his mind is enthralled. If he is enthralled with sloth and torpor, then his mind is enthralled. If he is enthralled with restlessness and anxiety, then his mind is enthralled. If he is enthralled with uncertainty, then his mind is enthralled. If a monk is absorbed in speculation about this world, then his mind is enthralled. If a monk is absorbed in speculation about the other world, then his mind is enthralled. If a monk is given to arguing and quarreling and disputing, stabbing others with weapons of the mouth, then his mind is enthralled.

"He discerns that, ‘There is no enthrallment unabandoned in me that, enthralled with which, my enthralled mind would not know and see things as they actually are. My mind is well directed for awakening to the truths.’ This is the first knowledge attained by him that is noble, transcendent, not held in common with run-of-the-mill people.

Can’t find the way to look for different translations at SC after the new version - will work it out :slight_smile:

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What I am trying to clarify is that Sati (mindfulness) already include investigation as far as I know.
why Sati and Dhammavicaya are separated into seven factors of enlightenment?

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In my understanding, investigation is not included in mindfulness. They are separate parts of the process.

Perhaps someone has clearer words than mine to continue this :slight_smile:

I am talking about Satipathana and Anapanasati.

I think it is analogous to the scientific method. First you observe and gather data, then you analyse and look for patterns and relationships. With this analogy the 3 marks would be equivalent to theories to be tested.
So basically you do some satipatthana practice, and then reflect on what you have noticed. With experience the reflection becomes more intuitive, like you’re just noticing more. An obvious example is mental states changing quickly.

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Now my conclusion is quite different.
I think Satipathana and Anapanasati include both mindfulness and investigation.
However, for seven enlightenment factors, it was separated.
ie: Mindfulness+investigation=Satipathana or Anapanasati

Hi @SarathW1

MINDFULNESS AND INVESTIGATION ARE DIFFERENT AND THEY ARE ALL INCORPORATED IN THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH.

  1. FOUR ESTABLISHINGS OF MINDFULNESS ARE THE CONTENT OF RIGHT MINDFULNESS.

Where are the four establishings of mindfulness in the four noble truths? As stated in DN 22 (Thanissaro - “The Blessed One said: “This is the direct path … in other words, the four establishings of mindfulness. … mental qualities in & of themselves … And how does a monk remain focused on the body in & of itself?”),

the description of four establishings of mindfulness (four frames of reference) is exactly the same as that of right mindfulness - the seventh factor of the noble eightfold path. So the four establishings of mindfulness are the content of right mindfulness.

  1. THE SEVEN FACTORS FOR AWAKENING IS ANOTHER WAY TO PRESENT PART OF THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH.

the seven factors for awakening shows the process from right mindfulness to right concentration.

  1. Mindfulness:

Mindfulness means to keep something in mind, to remember, not to forget.

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “On whatever occasion the monk remains focused on the body … mindfulness as a factor for awakening becomes aroused”)

Mindfulness as a factor (the first) for awakening is about four establishings of mindfulness, which belong to right mindfulness - the seventh factor of the noble eightfold path.

  1. Analysis of qualities:

Investigation means thinking, evaluating, examining objects that are kept in mind.

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “Remaining mindful in this way, he examines … analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening becomes aroused”)

Analysis of qualities as a factor (the second) for awakening is mental activities: thought, comprehension, discernment, which belong to right view and right resolve (this is also directed thought and evaluation in the first jhana.) - the first and second factor of the noble eightfold path.

3. Persistence:

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “In one who examines, analyzes, … persistence as a factor for awakening becomes aroused.”)

Persistence as a factor (the third) for awakening belongs to right efforts - the sixth factor of the noble eightfold path.

4. Rapture:

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “ In one whose persistence is aroused, a rapture … rapture as a factor for awakening becomes aroused”)

Rapture as a factor (the fourth) for awakening is a rapture not of the flesh. This is rapture in the first jhana (absorption), born of seclusion. Secluding from sensual pleasure and unskilful phenomena (qualities) has directed thoughts and evaluation as tools. This is shown in MN 19, after the section of how to direct the mind with thoughts away from unskilful qualities (Thanissaro - “[beginning] … In the same way, I simply kept myself mindful of ‘those qualities.’”), the result is “Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single.”. This is the process: mindfulness - analysis of qualities (directed thoughts and evaluation) - persistence - rapture - calm - concentration. So, directed thoughts and evaluation are requisite condition for rapture, these three factors are in the first jhana. The first jhana (absorption) belongs to right concentration - the eighth factor of the noble eightfold path.

5. Calm:

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “For one enraptured at heart, the body … calm as a factor for awakening becomes aroused”)

Calm (serenity, tranquil) as a factor (the fifth) for awakening is for both the mind and body. From this, pleasure arises on the body, as stated in SN 12.23 (Thanissaro - “The knowledge of ending in the presence of ending has its prerequisite … Conviction”). This pleasure arises from calm, calm arises from rapture of not the flesh, so this pleasure is in the first jhana (absorption), born of seclusion. The first jhana belongs to right concentration - the eighth factor of the noble eightfold path.

6. Concentration:

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “For one who is at ease—his body calmed—the mind … concentration as a factor for awakening becomes aroused.”)

Concentration as a factor (the sixth) for awakening is exactly concentration in the second jhana (absorption), which belongs to right concentration - the eighth factor of the noble eightfold path.

7. Equanimity:

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “He carefully watches the mind thus concentrated … equanimity as a factor for awakening becomes aroused.”)

Equanimity as a factor (the seventh) for awakening is exactly equanimity in the third jhana (absorption), which belongs to right concentration - the eighth factor of the noble eightfold path.

8. Evaluating the seven factors for awakening:

So, now it is clear that the seven factors for awakening shows the process from right mindfulness to right concentration. Hence, the seven factors for awakening is another way to present part of the noble eightfold path.

Here we see the arising order of seven factors for awakening different from that of eight factors of the noble eightfold path.

  • Firstly, MN 118 (Thanissaro - “And how are the four establishings of mindfulness developed & pursued so as to bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination? …This is how the four establishings of mindfulness are developed & pursued so as to bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination.”)

shows the arising order of the seven factors for awakening. Mindfulness as a factor for awakening (right mindfulness) is a requisite condition for analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening (right view and right resolve), which is a requisite condition for persistence as a factor for awakening (right efforts), which is a requisite condition for rapture, calm, concentration, equanimity as factors for awakening (right concentration). So, the order here is right mindfulness - right view and right resolve - right efforts - right concentration.

  • Secondly, MN 117 (Thanissaro - “Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, right resolve comes into being … In one of right knowledge, right release comes into being.”) points out the arising order of the noble eightfold path (with extension to right knowledge/insight and right release): right view - right resolve - right speech - right action - right livelihood - right effort - right mindfulness - right concentration - right knowledge - right release.
  • Thirdly, SN 12.23 (Thanissaro - “The knowledge of ending in the presence of ending has its prerequisite … Conviction”) shows the arising order of the path to awakening: conviction - joy - rapture - serenity (calm, tranquil) - pleasure - concentration - knowledge & vision of things as they have come to be - disenchantment - dispassion - release - knowledge of ending.

The arising order of seven factors for awakening in MN 118 corresponds to the arising order of the path to awakening in SN 12.23. Equanimity as a factor for awakening is the process “concentration - knowledge & vision of things as they have come to be - disenchantment - dispassion - release”. Conviction is based on right view, which is acquired through analysis of qualities.

However, the arising order of the noble eightfold path in MN 117 is different. The arising order of seven factors for awakening can be paraphrased as “right mindfulness - right view and right resolve - right effort - concentration”. So right mindfulness has jumped from the position between right effort and right concentration to the position even before right view. Does this contradict the statement in MN 117 that “right view is the forerunner” and the regular arising order of the noble eightfold path?

No! Mindfulness as a factor for awakening (right mindfulness) sets up new area to look into, research and find out new discernment (right view and right resolve). But before you practice right mindfulness, be mindful of four establishings (body, feeling, mind, phenomena), what drives you to do so? It is right view of a brief look at the four noble truths to understand that practicing right mindfulness is needed to fill in the gap between knowing dependent co-arising (i.e. release means cessation of ignorance and craving) and actually achieve release.

This issue is raised in SN 12.68 (Thanissaro - “My friend, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it has come to be, that ‘The cessation of becoming is unbinding,’ still I am not an arahant … but he would not dwell touching it with his body”). Even right discernment that “The cessation of becoming is unbinding” is not sufficient to release, you need to practice mindfulness to actually end ignorance and let go of craving, hence released. So, of course right view is the foundation for all other factors of the noble eightfold path, the starting point of the path itself. But, right mindfulness also strengthens, widens, deepens right view with new discernment. So these two factors complement each other.

To sum up, there is no contradiction here between the arising order of seven factors for awakening and the arising order of the noble eightfold path. Once again for confirmation, the seven factors for awakening connects right mindfulness to right concentration. That means the seven factors for awakening are another way to present a part of the noble eightfold path.

C. MINDFULNESS OF IN-&-OUT BREATHING IS ACTUALLY INTEGRATED INTO THE FOUR ESTABLISHINGS OF MINDFULNESS

First of all, mindfulness of in-&-out breathing in MN 118 is also about body, feeling, mind, phenomena (mental qualities), and has the same starting point as practicing four establishings of mindfulness in DN 22 - Thanissaro: “There is the case where a monk—having gone to the wilderness, … Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.”

7.7.1. Body:

Both DN 22 - Thanissaro and MN 118 - Thanissaro have the same description of breathing with regard to the body: “Breathing in long, he discerns, ‘I am breathing in long’ … ‘I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.’”.

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “On whatever occasion a monk breathing in long discerns … I tell you, monks, that this—the in-&-out breath—is classed as a body among bodies … body in & of itself—ardent, alert, & mindful—subduing greed & distress with reference to the world.”)

confirms that practicing mindfulness of the breath is actually practicing remaining focused on the body in & of itself (four establishing of mindfulness) because the in-&-out breath is classed as a body among bodies.

7.7.2. Feeling:

This section is different.

DN 22 (Thanissaro - “And how does a monk remain focused on feelings in & of themselves? There is the case where a monk, when feeling … ‘I am feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling not of the flesh.’”)

presents discernment of 3 types of feeling (pleasant, painful, neither pleasant nor painful) with regard to of the flesh or not of the flesh.

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.’ … I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.’”)

shows the practice to direct the mind positively, towards rapture, pleasure, discernment of mental fabrication, calm. These are to achieve concentration. Both discourses have discernment of rapture, pleasure in common. Maybe the original practice of mindfulness includes all of them with the breath, both discernment of every feeling that takes place and the training to direct the mind positively, heading to concentration.

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, ‘I will breathe in …&…out sensitive to rapture’… I tell you, monks, that this—careful attention to in-&-out breaths … feelings in & of themselves—ardent, alert, & mindful—subduing greed & distress with reference to the world.”)

confirms that practicing mindfulness of the breath is actually practicing remaining focused on feelings in and of themselves (four establishings of mindfulness) because careful attention to in-&-out breaths is classed as a feeling among feelings.

7.7.3. Mind:

This section is also different.

DN 22 (Thanissaro - “And how does a monk remain focused on the mind in & of itself? There is the case where a monk, when the mind has passion … ‘The mind is not released.’”)

is about discernment of the mind’s state: passion/without passion, aversion/without aversion, delusion/without delusion, constrict/scattered, enlarged/not enlarged, surpassed/unsurpassed, concentrated/not concentrated, released/not released.

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.’ … ‘I will breathe out releasing the mind.’”)

shows a practice to direct the mind positively: discerning, gladdening, steadying, releasing the mind. This is towards concentration and release. Both discourses have discerning the mind in common. Maybe the original practice of mindfulness covers all of them combined, not only discernment but also training the mind towards concentration.

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “ On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, ‘I will breathe in…&…out sensitive to the mind’ … I don’t say that there is mindfulness … the mind in & of itself—ardent, alert, & mindful—subduing greed & distress with reference to the world.”)

confirms that practicing mindfulness of the breath is actually practicing remaining focused on the mind in and of itself (four establishings of mindfulnesss) because there is no mindfulness of in-&-out breath in one of lapsed mindfulness and no alertness.

7.7.4. Phenomena/mental qualities:

This is different, too.

DN 22 (Thanissaro - “There is the case where a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five hindrances. … This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the four noble truths.”)

gives detailed explanation on how to remain focused on phenomena in & of themselves: five hindrances, five clinging-aggregates, six sense bases, seven factors for awakening, four noble truths.

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.’ … I will breathe out focusing on relinquishing.’”)

summarizes what property to focus on phenomena: inconstancy, dispassion, cessation, relinquishing.

All of these are found in DN 22: origination and passing away (inconstancy, cessation), and what to do with inconstant things: dispassion and relinquishing. This is training the mind towards concentration and release. Once again, the original practice of mindfulness might have actually incorporated all of them.

MN 118 (Thanissaro - “On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, ‘I will breathe in…&…out focusing on inconstancy’; … He who sees with discernment … mental qualities in & of themselves—ardent, alert, & mindful—subduing greed & distress with reference to the world.”)

confirms that practicing mindfulness of the breath is actually practicing remaining focused on phenomena/mental qualities in and of themselves (four establishings of mindfulness) because the one who sees with discernment the abandoning of greed and distress is one who watches carefully with equanimity.

7.7.5. Conclusion:

Can the in-&-out breath replace the whole section of each of the four establishings of mindfulness? No! All contents in each section of the four establishings of mindfulness in DN 22 have to be mindful of, not just the in-&-out breath. What is the purpose of right mindfulness? It is to be mindful of things in which ignorance and cravings are rooted, then to achieve right concentration, equanimity and this is release. So, the main content is the four noble truths and their ingredients, such as: dependent co-arising, five clinging-aggregates, six sense bases.

Once again, mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is actually integrated with four establishings of mindfulness, in other words, right mindfulness - the seventh factor of the noble eightfold path.

D. FINAL CONCLUSION

Mindfulness and investigation are different, but they are all incorporated into the practice of right mindfulness with the content of the four establishings of mindfulness.

For more information: https://goo.gl/rBf3i6

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Oh, I just thought about an example of the difference between mindfulness and investigation. Suppose a student is given homework on Friday. Then, on Saturday, he thinks “I have homework to be finished before Monday”. This reminder is a thing he keeps in mind, he is mindful of the homework the teacher gave on Friday. But the student doesn’t do the homework on Saturday, he’s just mindful that he has one but doesn’t investigate it to see if it’s about what, hard or easy, how to solve it, etc. Until Sunday evening, he finally looks at the homework. Of course he’s still mindful that he has homework to do, but this time, he really gets into it: reading the content, determining the question and task to do, analyzing it, thinking about solutions, etc. This is investigation.

Hope that helps
Cheers :smiley:

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Three years later, I have the same question as the title question.

This direct answer by Viveka makes sense. Is it correct?

Viveka

Feb '19

Ok so mindfulness involves the looking, seeing and identification of the subject part - and investigation involves the analysing part which leads to insights.

For what it is worth, I think answers become less helpful when entire suttas or paragraphs are quoted in an answer.

Please just quote the relevant bit, link to the texts, and give your answer. :slight_smile:

No disrespect meant.

The seven factors of awakening are the basic qualities that need to be developed, so are a resolution of all the other lists, particularly the noble eightfold path. Being essential they therefore refer to the factors as actual dynamics, and this is described in SN 46.53 where the Buddha states this (reduction to dynamics) is the thing which differentiates his teaching from other paths. In the sutta the factors are divided into two groups active and passive, represented by the elements fire and water, with mindfulness set apart as the governing factor. Investigation is the instigator of the active group, meaning the examination of whether states are dark or bright and their consequences. MN 19 contains all the factors of awakening in germinal form, so are not mentioned explicitly by name, at that stage they had not been formalized:

"I discerned (investigation) that ‘Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.’—MN 19

The results of a successfully directed investigation lead naturally to a causal arising of the two other factors of the group, namely energy and joy. This in turn causes the passive group to arise.

Also mentioned in this pre-awakening sutta (MN 19) is that this cycle between the active and passive factors can also occur in reverse, serene states can assist investigation:

"“And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with renunciation arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with renunciation has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding.”

So it should be able to be seen how mindfulness is necessary to cause investigation to arise in the first place, and as an overview when these processes are occurring for identification, and that there is no over-indulgence in any one stage. Mindfulness is outside the causal sequence. Practically speaking when these factors arise at first they are subtle and need clarification and strengthening.

I thinks it’s analogous to a scientist first collecting data, and then analysing the data. Or to put it more simply, you need to look closely at something in order to understand what is going on.

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It’s great to see consistency over the years Martin… :rofl::rofl:. Succinct and sensible on both occasions.

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I’d say it depends :slight_smile:

Sometimes we like little ‘bites’ of info, but these can be misleading, and one can stitch these small parcels of words together and construct any meaning in order to support ones own views. There are endless examples of arguments stemming from this approach on this very forum :smile: It is a different matter when one has to contemplate the Dhamma more as a whole to get the meaning, especially when it is challenging the conditioned view.

Here’s a thought… sometimes the desire for a super detailed specification of a definition may not be the best way forward :open_mouth:

For what it’s worth, my approach to Dhamma is as a Path of Practice that must be explored and experienced, and as such, to keep an open and flexible attitude… more of a maybe or perhaps approximation, rather than a right or wrong… ie if I were to compare it to learning a language - there are a couple approaches to this (and I have used both of them in the past). One is to learn a language based on ‘learning’ a set of definitions and rules of grammar, and the other is to derive understanding through seeing how terms are used in real life over a long period of time. For me this is the difference between a purely intellectual and memory approach, versus a developmental/experiential approach… The meaning always goes way beyond the ‘words’. Words can only be approximations, and the very structure of language is extremely conditioning, and as such one needs to be a bit careful. I feel it is important to keep this in mind at all times as a counterbalance to the current preoccupation with cut and dried intellectual understanding.

So with regards to the question here, I’d say the best way to deal with it is to explore it deeply within ones practice ( :smile: investigation)… whatever definitions one can give are just labels symbolizing and approximating an underlying meaning… one needs to see the process and understand the mechanisms for oneself - this is knowing Mind - this is where confidence is built and doubt is eradicated :slight_smile: Otherwise this type of ‘knowledge’ is based on believing you have the right definition, and if someone says - hey no - that is the wrong definition here is the right one - then one is blown about all over the place. Even worse, one dismisses experience because it doesn’t comply to what one has been told by someone is the ‘truth’… that the conditioned expectations don’t match the actual experience and so the experience is is taken as secondary and interpreted through the lens of the conditioned view! Until one has fully developed Right View (sotapanna +) this is a continual real and present danger.

The terms/words/symbols one gives it are really secondary, they are only conventions for communication. One can put any word or symbol there as a representation of the actual experienced reality. To see what the Buddha is pointing at is ehipassiko. It is like a finger pointing at the moon, sometimes one becomes fixated on the finger and forgets that the goal is to see the moon. No matter how much of an expert one is in the ‘finger’, this is a different thing from knowing the moon. The dhamma is pointing at Nibbana, in just the same way… the words communicating the Dhamma are just like that finger. They are just a means to guide and support out of conditioned seeing/views to seeing clearly, free of defilements and hindrances.

I am often torn between stimulating reflection and contemplation as a result of posts, versus giving a packaged view as answer. Its a question of whether it is a Doctrinal response one wants (in which case there is an accepted ‘correct’ convention) or if it is about encouraging contemplation and the understanding of processes from a practice and transformation perspective. Both do have their place, and will be found useful or not by different people at different times.

:smile: so there is a long and waffly response to your comment :smile:

Much metta for your journey :slight_smile: :pray: :dharmawheel:

PS. Of course one must depend on language to communicate the Dhamma, and I have boundless gratitude to all those who work so hard to preserve and disseminate the words of the Buddha. There is no other medium to do this. I’m just making the point of the purpose and limitations of language, especially words/definitions, as they relate to the transformation that is the objective of the Dhamma.

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Mindfulness is the state of being aware and being grateful of what blessings you currently have. The Buddha for example went all alone into the wilderness to develop his mindfulness. He wanted to understand what suffering was. As a prince obviously he never experienced suffering first hand. To achieve a complete understanding of suffering one thing that he had to do was to exile himself from all the luxury and comfort of a noble birth inside a palace. With guards and servants everywhere anytime at your disposal. In the wilderness you will experience all the dangers presented to you by apex predators and poisonous snakes and insects, and what not. It’s even very hard to even feed yourself in the wilderness. Thus the Buddha could have a complete perspective on how harsh life could be if you’re literally a nobody without anyone caring about you, living all alone fending for yourself. From the harshness of nature and the world.