What is wrong mindfulness?

Dear Friends

All though wrong mindfulness is mentioned many times in the Suttas I have never found a definition, does anyone have any ideas?


if we understand right mindfulness as constant remembering of the dhammic principles for the sake of guidance by them, wrong mindfulness could be understood as constant remembrance of and guidance by some other, non-dhammic principles

or practice of mindfulness for purposes other than dhammic

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Thank you dhammarelax for the excellent question. Does anyone know of any suttas within the Nikayas to reference based upon this question? I was wondering this question myself the last few days. Would the Second Noble Truth be an answer to this question? Also I would be interested in key Pali words in relation to Wrong Mindfulness. Bhikkhu Bodhi within his book on the Noble Eightfold Path mentions Papañca as a key Pali word in relation to Wrong Mindfulness. What would other key Pali words be?

I agree with the above well-explained answer.

If your job is a sniper for the army in a military occupation that must shoot with a rifle people who walk in a certain area, you need a lot of mindfulness to perform your job well.

This is how I understand it.

  • The word I like to use is the non-harmonious mindfulness
  • Anything other than harmonious mindfulness is non-harmonious
  • Mindfulness towards the external
  • Unwholesome
  • Seen things are as permanent, satisfactory , with a self and seen Asuba as Suba.
  • Non-harmonious mindfulness is always accompany with taints.

“Bhikkhus, ignorance is the forerunner in the entry upon unwholesome states, with shamelessness and fearlessness of wrongdoing following along.
For an unwise person immersed in ignorance, wrong view springs up.
For one of wrong view, wrong intention springs up.
For one of wrong intention, wrong speech springs up.
For one of wrong speech, wrong action springs up.
For one of wrong action, wrong livelihood springs up.
For one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort springs up.
For one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness springs up.
For one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration springs up.

From reading the above, I understand wrong mindfulness is that preceded by wrong view, intention/thought, speech, action, livelihood and effort, all those having in turn lack of wisdom, or ignoranca (avijja) as the forerunner.

Hence, until the path is fulfilled - i.e. the noble tasks of cultivation of the path and verification of release have been achieved - one’s mindfulness will always be partially tainted by avijja and hence partially “wrong”.

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