2021-09-06-Citta (1 of 5) Intro to 3rd Foundation of Mindfulness
3:06PM Sep 6, 2021
on this Monday, start a new series of new theme for the week. And that theme will be the third foundation of mindfulness. So the classic teachings on mindfulness is taught by the Buddha comes from a discourse called the four foundations of mindfulness. And, and therefore domains areas of our life where within with which we develop our mindfulness or awareness, and so it becomes strong and clear, lucid, relaxed. And these four are the body the feeling tones of our experience, pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, the state of minds that we have, and the dhamas, the mental operations activities with which we either get pulled into the world of suffering, or get pulled out of it into a world of freedom.
So this week, we're talking about the third foundation. In July, other theme for one week was the the first foundation and talked about some of the teachings there. And that was in June, I think. And then in July, the, the topic was, there was a week where I did the feeling tones. And then I was in August, I talked about for one week each the greed, hatred and delusion and their opposites. And that was actually meant to be a preparation for talking about the third foundation. And now following up on the third Foundation, and so I feel a little bit sorry that maybe they're not these, this series, and the four foundations of mindfulness are not right after each other so that they make sense to build. But a good number of you are familiar with the four foundations. So maybe you can just pick up here on the third foundation. I like to think of these four foundations as kind of providing a kind of like a path. I used to be that like the metaphor of depth.
So I apologize for those of you who don't like this kind of metaphor going in going deep. But another way of metaphors that have intimacy, that with the first Foundation, we can be very intimate with our body, but the focus is on the body. And the courser experience and sometimes in some of the exercises is actually to be aware of the body and activity as we're walking in, is laying down and sitting. Eating, just be aware of the body. And some of the exercises are involved reflections. Considering the body developing a new relationship with the body that's helpful. And, but so it's a little bit it, you know, a provisionally will sail but coarser attention more obvious more, you know, something solid you can maybe connect to, as we connect to the body and get intimate to us intimate to it, then we start peeking becoming aware of the subjective experience of pleasant and unpleasant that comes along with being grounded in the body. And it's subjective. So it's little bit deeper than the body it has to do with the interface between a lot of our inner mental life, and the sensations that we experience. And that interface, we can experience it as either things as pleasant or unpleasant and enjoyable, not enjoyable, comfortable, not comfortable. And that we're getting something closer, something that in some ways is more meaningful and more impactful for us. Because I see with pleasant and unpleasant there can be a lot of pain, for example, or a lot of pleasure that's felt. And then as we settle into that, and we start discovering that there's different two different kinds of pleasant and unpleasant, there's that which has to do with the body itself. And this ordinary senses like so if I pinch myself It hurts. Or if I get a massage, it feels good. And and I'm sitting in a cold room I might be uncomfortable sitting in a comfortable temperature room I feel I can relax perhaps the cold day the warmth feels very nice and soothing. And so so there's that has to do with stimulating the ordinary senses of the body. But as we settle in and meditation we become aware that there's a deeper sense of a pleasant, unpleasant having to do with in modern world. Language might call it our psychology, though with our inner mind, state our inner state of being
I like the expression state of being. And I know it's kind of a vague expression. And not everyone understands what it means perhaps, but the the quality, the characteristics of our state of being that's independent on whether the world is providing us with pleasure or with pain. And this inner sense of well being, and their state of being, is getting closer, deeper and more intimate with us. And this state of being now, as we become aware of it, this is very closely connected, or maybe the same thing as the state of mind, state of mind that word is citta. I see I TTA, is a very important word in the term in the teachings of the Buddha, it's sometimes translated as mind. Sometimes it's translated as state of mind. Sometimes it's translated as the thinking thought. And so it's different contexts, it means kind of its consequences as the constellation of things that the word kind of points to. But it points to I like state of mind or quality of mind, or quality of being, it's the mood, overall mood or attitude through which we're aware of things. So for example, if I'm angry, I can be angry as a flare up in the moment about something in particular, and then it goes away. And then my basic disposition hasn't changed. But when my disposition becomes an angry disposition, then we say that the state of mind has become angry, the inner quality, the quality of our being, as a kind of, is characterized by anger, it's an attitude or mood that we carry with us that is more enduring than the flare ups of the moment. So the same thing, if I feel just tremendous goodwill, for that goodwill, you know, is not just that, then it's not just a momentary goodwill and some encounter that I have. But there's a disposition of goodwill that characterizes them, the state of being the mood, the state of mind, that we have. Maybe for some of you, it might be meaningful to know that some people translate the word citta, CIT, da, as heart, and soul as this quality of our heart. And now with this third Foundation, where we focus on this state of mind or state of heart, state of our inner being, and now we're getting much more intimate, we're getting into something that's much more impactful, closer into what feels most intimate with us. That not having not not so tied to the vagaries of changing phenomena in the world. And place where has a big impact on our mood, our sense of well being where we might feel isolated, pervasive feeling of dread or basic feeling of, of greed or wanting, desperate, wanting for something, or we might feel a pervasive mood of ill will hostility, where we might feel the opposite, that we might feel a tremendous mood or attitude of, of generosity and open heartedness where we might feel love or kindness, goodwill. And so, so now, this is the mind state. And so as we settle and get quieter and quieter, maybe the breathing gets quieter, the body comes still in quieter, we feel at ease and relaxed, and things are comfortable. And enough, that we start noticing what stands out and highlight is this inner disposition, this mood, the mind, state, the heart, state how we are. And sometimes we discover that that's difficult place. There's all kinds of ways which which are in our life, people try to avoid it, they don't want to know it, they stay busy, so they don't feel like because there might be some real sadness or grief there or something we're very much afraid of, or some inner sense of conflict between different parts of ourselves. But as to start becoming aware of this deeper inner state that we have. It allows the healing to unfold. It allows the purification they is a term that's often used in Buddhism, purifying ourselves of the
of the afflictive states that we have. And Buddhism in that sense is very optimistic. It's very encouraging that it is possible to change ourselves that we're never stuck in any particular mood, any particular mind state. That is afflictive. That that harms us that is difficult. To be with, but that there is a path through it. And recently, we've talked about faith and talked about patience. And these are all important states and qualities for being able to work with these deeper mind states, to have a lot of faith in the value of practice and enter into it, to have a lot of patience with what is difficult for us. And, and then it's possible to work through these work through or open up or settle the afflictive mind states settles a good term, because afflictive mind states involve a certain kind of over activity of the mind. At there's action activity of the mind that's generating boredom, generating hatred, or ill will, generating fear, despair. And as the mind gets quieter, and Stiller, that activity settles away, and we experience ourselves without those afflictive mind states. And as we do so, there's two different things that can happen. Either we start making room, in our hearts for the opposite of the afflictive states to begin to appear, generosity, love wisdom, that's one thing that can happen. The other is that the mind state itself begins the quality or the characteristic of it, the texture of it begins to change, where it starts becoming expansive, open, it starts feeling at ease that is related to freedom. And, like the mind, the heart can now breathe easily, because feels free and unrestricted. And these are also all these things are part of mindfulness of the mind, state, that third Foundation, becoming mindful of mind states that are afflictive, those that are the opposite of afflictive. And those that come as the mind becomes freer and freer. And to feel this freedom of mind, state freedom of heart, is one of the great important teachers for us. On this path of mindfulness, we become our own teacher, as we begin recognizing the very changing states of mind that we're capable of having, and beginning to notice and appreciate ones that support the movement towards our freedom and wisdom and compassion and care, and such things. So that's the introduction for this theme for this week. And, and I look forward to sharing this important part. And I'll say, to end it, that what we're looking at when we look at the mind state or the heart state that we have, is the quality of our interstate quality, very inner being. And, and it turns out, that we are, we are the primary or maybe the only custodian of our inner well being. And so, it isn't, if we if we assume other people are the custodian of it, and, and our inner well being is dependent how other people treat us or what they do for us, then it's not really a reliable place to find happiness and well being. But to learn through mindfulness to be the custodian of our own well being is what's possible with this third foundation of mindfulness. So we'll talk more this week. So thank you very much.