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Thread: The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

  1. #1

    Question The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

    I'm a westener interested in Hinduism.
    I particularly identified with Advaita Vedanta's conceptions about God, Illusion and the World. It's the most compatible cosmological explaination I've found, so I want to learn more.

    Is there a place for mindfulness meditation in Hinduism?
    For those unfamiliar with the concept of mindfulness, it's goal is to non-judgementally observe the mind's activities while they're occuring.
    What are the main practices in Advaita??
    Can one incorporate different aspects of different traditional yogas into one's life?
    I think that's all for now.
    I hope I don't offend anyone with my naif curiosity.

    Peace

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    Re: The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté

    FlipAsso writes,
    Is there a place for mindfulness meditation in Hinduism? For those unfamiliar with the concept of mindfulness, it's goal is to non-judgementally observe the mind's activities while they're occuring
    As I see it complete mindfulness is that of complete fullness (bhūma) of awareness. No judging occurs at this level of being (sattā) due to the fact that the mind has been absorbed in fullness or samasta, that which pervades the whole.
    No judgement can take place as that would infer there are 2 i.e. the judge and that being judged. This would then not be part of advaita ( a='not' and dvaita ='dual').

    This state of wholeness (purṇatā) in the beginning of one's spiritual pursuit is usually called samādhi¹ ( there are other names also). It is usually found in a meditiative state. Yet over time, this ability to hold this fullness can also be sustained while in activity, daily life.
    Hence the pinnicale of mindfullness (IMHO) comes when 'individal mind' is disolved. Some call this cosmic mind or virāṭ or vaiśvānara¹ .

    praṇām

    words
    • samādhi समाधि- putting together , joining or combining , union; onepointed absorption; sam + ā + dhā : sam or sama = sameness, evenness, homogeneous + ā = although completely + dhā = take hold of , hold , bear , support.
      Hence samādhi = 'to hold sameness/evenneness completely'.
    • virāṭ leads us to virāj विराज्- Supreme Intellect
    • vaiśvānara वैश्वानर- Universal Self; Supreme Spirit or Intellect when located in a supposed collective aggregate of gross bodies
    Last edited by yajvan; 12 February 2009 at 07:35 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  3. #3

    Re: The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

    Aren't those samadhi states also called dhyana?

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    Re: The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Quote Originally Posted by FlipAsso View Post
    Aren't those samadhi states also called dhyana?
    Namast FlipAsso,

    Here's a few HDF posts that address dhyāna that is a component of sayama. Now what is saṁyama ? This post will assist : http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=9745&postcount=5

    HDF Posts on dhyāna, which also includes dhyāna and samādhi:
    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=769&highlight=dhyana

    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=1382&highlight=dhyana

    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=9745&postcount=5

    praṇām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  5. #5

    Question Re: The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

    I'm sorry it seems I misused terms.
    I had yoga classes and the teacher (a phooney, I guess) said that Dhyana was when the mind was totally concentrated and that Samadhi was similar (or was) Moksha.
    I understood by those posts that Dharana is when you place the mind on the object, Dhyana is when the mind is placed on the object, and Samadhi when the mind is "effortlessly" placed exclusively on the object with no other thought in mind. Is this correct??

    I practice a form of Buddhist meditation called Vipassana.
    It consists of 2 principles:
    -concentration - samadhi
    &
    -mindfulness - sati
    In this practice we place the mind on the breath (the object) and when it flyes to other thoughts, feelings or sensations we observe what it (the mind) did. After that we place it again on the object and repeat the process over and over.
    The "goal" in this meditation is not as much to reach samadhi, although it may also happen. But in Vipassana we aim to observe and understand the nature of the mind/reality.

    Does Hinduism have a similar practice of observation??

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    Re: The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    Namasté FlipAsso,
    Quote Originally Posted by FlipAsso View Post
    I had yoga classes and the teacher (a phooney, I guess) said that Dhyana was when the mind was totally concentrated and that Samadhi was similar (or was) Moksha.
    I understood by those posts that Dharana is when you place the mind on the object, Dhyana is when the mind is placed on the object, and Samadhi when the mind is "effortlessly" placed exclusively on the object with no other thought in mind. Is this correct??
    I practice a form of Buddhist meditation called Vipassana.
    It consists of 2 principles:
    -concentration - samadhi
    &
    -mindfulness - sati
    In this practice we place the mind on the breath (the object) and when it flyes to other thoughts, feelings or sensations we observe what it (the mind) did. After that we place it again on the object and repeat the process over and over.
    The "goal" in this meditation is not as much to reach samadhi, although it may also happen. But in Vipassana we aim to observe and understand the nature of the mind/reality.
    Does Hinduism have a similar practice of observation??
    Your understanding is fine; Let me offer a few ideas to make it firm and see if you agree.

    The samādhi that is mentioned is the result of dhyāna (meditation).
    Now there are a few 'flavors' of samādhi based on the Yogadarśana of Patañjali ( some call it the yoga-sūtras). For now, lets not go there
    just yet until we can agree on some of the components, and also answer your question.

    Within the yoga-sūtras the practice of saṁyama is called out. And this saṁyama has those 3 components:
    • dhyāna ध्यान - meditation
    • dhāraṇā धारणा- fixity, the act of holding, singleminded-ness ( as you mention ~ fixity on an object)
    • samādhi समाधि- is onepointed absorption; One can say the mind is absorbed or 'concentrated' - but it is not the act of concentration.
      • I mentioned the following in the last post on samādhi ( just to say consistent) sam + ā + dhā : sam or sama = sameness, evenness, homogeneous + ā = although completely + dhā = take hold of , hold , bear , support. Hence samādhi = 'to hold sameness/evenneness completely'. The even-ness is the concentrated one-pointedness. We will use this idea in a later post when we define the ~types~ of samādhi.
    you mention
    In this practice we place the mind on the breath (the object) and when it flyes to other thoughts, feelings or sensations we observe what it (the mind) did.
    After that we place it again on the object and repeat the process over and over. Does Hinduism have a similar practice of observation?
    From a techniques perspective , we call them upāya¹, using the mind+breath approach is found often. One book that is a favorite ( and quite important in kaśmir śaivism) is the Vijñāna Bhairava kārikā-s. Note this text (& kaśmir śaivism) overall, is part of Śaivism ( the adoration of Śiva as Supreme). The book mentioned is part of the Śiva āgama-s¹.
    You can view various mind-breath techniques (which are also considered dhāraṇā-s) from the Vijñāna Bhairava kārikā-s reviewed here:
    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=2323

    For these upāya or dhāraṇā the intent is to become fixed/settled in the Supreme (by way of samādhi but other words are used). Yet to become unsettled during dhāraṇā only keeps the aspirant away from this fixity on the Supreme. Then one begins to entertaining thoughts and then goes back to the technique, just as you point out in your method.
    It is a very delicate process. 'Effort' in the mix creates distraction and does not allow the settling-down into Being (sattā) easily. This too can be discussed at a later point.

    Let me stop here and allow you to reflect on the information and references given above.

    praṇām
    words
    • upāya उपाय - that by which one reaches one's aim ; a means for success
    • āgama आगम- that which is handed down and fixed by tradition i.e. scriptures
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  7. #7

    Smile Re: The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

    I'm somewhat familiar with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, at least with the ashta (eight) anga's (limbs) of Raja Yoga's practice and samyama.

    The difference seems to be between "deepness" of reached states of mind/no-mind.
    According to brazilian Swsthya Yga's master Sri DeRose, who IMHO is a lyar, but I respect others opinions:
    -Dharana is putting the mind back at the object
    -Dhyana is a state of silentness of mind and union with the object - in which the thoughts are stopped - the onepointedness of mind
    &
    -Samadhi is a very powerfull state of mind which according to him can be of 2 kinds Nirbija Samadhi, which is what a saint like Sri Ramana Maharshi has attained; or Sabija Samadhi, which is what a very enlightened but not completely enlightened man has accomplished.

    I think he compares Samadhi to Moksha, and this is not true, is it?
    Moksha is the most enlightened state, total liberation; samadhi is a deep state of mind acquired by most yogis, is it?

    In this Buddhist practice there is placed emphasis on the samadhi part, calming the mind and fixing it on the object, but there is also much emphasis (if not more), on observing where the mind went when it flew.
    Is there a hinduist practice that places emphasis on this observing/mindfulness part?
    What does a hinduist understand by mindfulness?

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    Re: The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

    The mindfulness observation of Buddhism is based on the concept of the Alaya Vijnana, the so called ground of conciousness and its transformation into the Dharmakaya by the realising of the absolute nature of the mind, which in Budhhism is without any truly existing ground, it is the groundless nature of the mind. These concepts, or comparable concepts that are like Alaya Vijnana/Dharmakaya can not be found in any of the diverse Hindu Traditions.

    The concept of the Dharmakaya/Alaya Vijnana is connected to the idea of Anatma (nonmind). Buddhist methods of meditation are trying to achieve as their goal the realisation that the concept of atma (self) is an illusion, a wrong concept, and ultimately there is no atma, this means buddhist meditation is based on the concept of the non existence of Atma, while most darshanas of Hinduism are based on the exact opposite concept, the realisation of the undying Atma (the true self) and the realisation, that this personal true self, the Atman is ultimately non different from the Paramatma. (the greater transpersonal self)

    Though i must remark that in the later stages of Buddhism when it developed into the Tantrayana and Vajrayana lineages the concept of the existance of an ultimate self again entered into this variety of Buddhism through "the backdoor" so to say But when the monks where confronted with the root tantras (texts), they where /are already well learned in the doctrine of the non self and that to the extant that one can say that even in these later stages of Buddhism, concepts similar to the atman are considered a heresy, and so dire a sin was the belief in this concept that whole monasteries of so called heretic tibetan lineages,(like the Jonangpa) that appeared to be too close to the concept of atma for the orthodoxy, were completly destroyed and thousands of its monks killed, only because they followed a philosophy which was considered to be "eternalistic", and comparable to the concept of the existence of the atman or Paramatman of Hinduism. Also the chinese chan buddhism modified some basic Buddhistic concepts which moved it closer to the original pre buddhist indian philosophy. These, and other exceptions. like the adi yoga (dzog chen) teachings of the Nyingmapa buddhist sect, do not invalidate the general dichotomy between buddhist and hindu thought.
    Last edited by MahaHrada; 14 February 2009 at 04:51 PM.

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    Re: The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    Namast FlipAsso,

    you mentioned the 8 limbs of yoga. In Patajalis yogadarśana (the yoga sutras of Patajali), chapter two Sādhana Pada, he calls out the 8 limbs of yoga. Within these 8 limbs he outlines yama & niyama.

    If you wish to read a bit more about yama & niyama you can find several HDF posts on this matter here:
    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=57

    I cannot add more to your query on 'mindfulness' and I see that MahaHrada is addressing some of your questions.

    praṇām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  10. #10

    Wink Re: The role of Mindfulness Meditation in Hinduism.

    Thank you both for your efforts in helping me.

    I'll give a read and try to diggest the concepts you presented and I'll be back with more questions if you don't mind.

    Happiness@all

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