77 The Four Types of Mindfulness in Taking the Mind as the Path and Vipashyana

12 May 2016

We started the session with a quick review of the four types of mindfulness, with Alan mentioning that usually, for the untrained mind, there’s not even the capacity to distinguish between stillness and motion, with cognitive fusion with movements of mind occurring as a most common experience. Alan then did a review of the four types of mindfulness that we will experience as we embark on the practice of taking the mind as the path: (1) single-pointed mindfulness (which allows us to simultaneously be aware of stillness and motion of the movements of the mind, preventing cognitive fusion), (2) manifest mindfulness (where our practice gets simultaneously subtler, and implies less and less effort – stages 4 to 9 of the shamatha path), (3) absence of mindfulness (where we become aware of only the sheer vacuity of the mind, with both the mental factor of mindfulness and the five senses, going dormant) and lastly (4) self-illuminating mindfulness (where we focus awareness on the space of the mind itself, finally identifying the conventional nature of our mind). In the last point mentioned before the meditation, Alan returned to the familiar theme of the three higher trainings (ethics, samadhi and wisdom), with comments elaborating on the fact that each of these really manifests greater benefit when used for the purpose they were originally designed, and by the mentioned sequence.

After the meditation, we returned to the Panchen Lama text, resuming the oral commentary, having covered material from stanza 43 of the follow up section of the text, to stanza 45.

The meditation, which was a vipashyana practice on searching for the true nature of the mind, begins at 40:00

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