The roots of mindfulness

Bringing Mindfulness Back to it’s Buddhist Roots


Mindfulness has its origins in the Buddhist tradition and was passed on from teacher to student since over 2500 years when the North Indian man Siddhartha left his father’s palace and walked as a homeless monk for about 50 years. The practice we today know as mindfulness is described in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta of the Theravada tradition. It was also part of his first teachings on the Four Noble Truths in which the Buddha explained how one follows the Eightfold Noble Path to reach nirvana, which emphasizes the cultivation of right mindfulness. In the old sources mindfulness is described as the cultivation of four foundations which a monk or nun should practice during meditation, contemplating the body, the feelings, the mind and any phenomena arising in this human existence. When the monk is sitting, eating, walking, lying down, moving, working, in all aspects of life, the monk should be mindful and make conscious wholesome choices instead of unwholesome choices. The monk should not only bring awareness to these four foundations for mindfulness, he should transcend them by letting go of any attachment to a worldly life and thereby reach the ultimate stage called nirvana. Siddhartha reached the state of realization, which is the meaning of his name Buddha.

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Levekunst art of life by Erik Pema Kunsang & Tara Trinley Wangmo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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