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Unread March 8th, 2006, 08:03 AM
Chate Sivasomboon Chate Sivasomboon is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Default Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy

In my earlier posting, I have avoided mentioning the word enlightenment( Nibana or Niravana) since it may sound too weird for people here, and it is unproven scientifically. It is also beyond the goal of psychotherapy which aims to bring those with mental troubles back to the ordinary normal mind states. Well, it has been mentioned and some questions have been raised, so I write the following just in case that someone might be interested to follow the path of Vipassana for their own liberation, according to Theravada Buddhism.

Actually in Buddhism, all ordinary people are considered psychologically abnormal, living beneath the shroud of one greatest schema: “I & Myself,” which causes every one to hold tightly to the idea that “I must be happy and I must avoid suffering (by all means and forever)” , and constatly devise all schemes to achieve this goal, and get whipped around as a result. The enlightened mind state is actually described as “normal.”

According to Theravada Buddhism’s theory of enlightenment, Healer is exactly right to state that the moment of enlightenment needs a special mind state. In this state, the mind will spontaneously pass into a brief moment of intense concentration (Samadhi) of at least the first rupa-jhana state and then break through the veil of “I & Myself” conceptualization to have the first glimpse of liberation; the state of perception without a perceiver (No I being tagged.) Then the veil will close up to shroud the mind again. The wisdom will occur that “I & Myself” is mere conceptualization, which is called Sakkaya-ditthi. (Ditthi = view, concept; Sakkaya-ditthi assumes that this body and mind are I and Myself.) The platform for this act of severing to occur is the full “Sati-Sampajanya” state: the exact state that Healer has experienced, but the object of awareness at this moment is the mind itself. That is why we need to cultivate the mind state of “Sati-Sampajanya” and to have it occurred as frequently as possible in order to investigate our own mind. This first enlightenment stage will spontaneously occur (but unpredictably when) after strong equanimity has been built up in the mind (the stage of Sankarubekka-yana; Sankara = mental concoction, Ubekka = equanimity, Yana = wisdom; neutrality to good and bad states of the mind.) But even though this conceptualization has been cut through once, strong attachment still remains. Further cutting through of the attachment to the body will occur in the third stage of enlightenment and the cutting through of the attachment to the mind itself will occur at the final fourth stage of enlightenment, which is the stage of complete throwing of the body and mind back to the Universe where they belong (Patinisakka; those who read mindfulness breathing sutta will see this word in the last section.) In one sutta, the last sentence says: the cutting (of wisdom) through (the veil of Ignorance) of me (Buddha) was similar to that of a little chick breaking through its eggshell.

A little more about mindfulness meditation. Recollection of feelings (Vedana) are divided into body feelings, which are roughly categorized as pleasant and unpleasant, and mental feelings which are categorized into pleasant(attachment), neutral and unpleasant(aversion.) When we are angry or depressed, we certainly know that we are angry or depressed and usually we tell ourselves by thinking “ I am angry or I am depressed”, but this is not yet a mindfulness practice. These two mind states are usually associated with aversion towards: 1. The mentally projected contents or objects of thoughts which we “want” to change or get rid of (well, for anger, it is our enemy and for depression, it is ourselves) and 2. The accompanying unwell feelings of the body (somatic and visceral) and the mind which are resulted from the mind state of aversion. When we feel angry or depressed, we usually fixedly stare into these mind states, and even when we recognize that we are thinking about these mind states with resultant cessation of thinking, these states usually would not be spontaneously resolved. There would be lingering unwell feelings remained for some times after the thinking processes have already stopped. If we observe carefully, we will see that we harbor some aversion toward these lingering unwell feelings accompanying these mind states; it is aversion within aversion which must be recognized. Only when we are skillful and can just “simply see or feel ” with neutrality, not harboring this secondary aversion or when we recognize it, only then these confronting mind states would be spontaneously resolved.

For those who are skillful in entering deep calming meditative states, the golden period for observation of their own mind is when they gradually transit back from the deep calming meditative states toward the normal ordinary mind state. Be observant of the progressively emerging mental phenomena during this period; don’t just simply wake up, and walk away. Keep practicing this way, you will be skillful in seeing your mind and you might experience the mind phenomenon similar to that of Healer. According to the texts, the useful calming meditative state is the fourth rupa-jhana state, which comprises of pointedness and equanimity, with happiness being dropped away. The needed mind quality in the deep calming meditation is equanimity (not happiness), of which its power will anchor or enhance the mind position of detachment and neutrality while observing the various emerging mental states during this transition period.

Progression along the path of mindfulness depends on the ordinary psychology of rewarding: a self–relying, harmless happiness or fulfilling contentment of calming well-being substitutes for a transient, harmful happiness which is dependent on other people or surrounding circumstances, and eventually followed by unhappiness. By this way, we can stop pursuing many suffering-generated, happiness hunting schemes. By mindfully investigating our own mind, the state of calming well-being will arise, leading to diligence in mindfulness practices, which will generate more abundance of the calming well-being moments in daily life. And the nature of the sustained state of calming well-being will anchor the mind, leading further into the stage of Samadhi (here, means a firm, unwavering mind state, does not means calming meditation) and Ubekka (equanimity), which is the last frontier of the ordinary mind states before the mind will be spontaneously catapulted into the first enlightenment stage. ( The 7 factors of enlightenment: Sati, Dharma investigation, Diligence, Happiness, Calming and relaxation of the mind, Samadhi, Ubekka.)

Finally I would like to quote a Pali chanting phrase: “Aehipassigo Opanayigo Pujjuttung Vetituppo Vinyuheti” : Come to see and test the teaching by yourself. Bring the teaching into yourself by investigating your own body and mind. You will see the results by yourself and only by your own efforts, no one else can help.

Last edited by Chate Sivasomboon; March 11th, 2006 at 03:06 AM.
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