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Buddhadharma : Winter 2013
80 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY WINTER 2 0 1 3 Mental noting also gives us impor- tant feedback: Are we really present or not, in a continuous or sustained way? Are we practicing to make our sittings— or the day—genuinely seamless? Do we understand the difference between being casual and relaxed in our application of mindfulness? We shouldn’t confuse this strong intention to be aware with grimness. We can practice continuity of mindfulness with the grace of tai chi or a Japanese tea ceremony, simply taking care even with the small daily activities of our lives. This continuity is impor- tant because it builds the momentum of energy necessary to realize nibbana. It’s important to realize that this tool of mental noting is simply a skill- ful means for helping us be mindful; it is not the essence of the practice itself, which is simply to be aware. There are many Buddhist traditions that do not use this technique. But it is worth exper- imenting with, even for short periods of time, to see whether it is indeed help- ful for your practice or not. We should also understand its limitations. Noting is not used as an intellectual reflection and should be kept to a single, silent word. David Kalupahana, a renowned Buddhist scholar, wrote, “Concepts used for satipatthana are to be pursued only to the point where they produce knowl- edge, and not beyond, for conceptions carried beyond their limits can lead to substantialist metaphysics.” Taking con- cepts too far simply solidifies our view of reality, and we get boxed in by mental constructs of our own making. As mindfulness gets stronger, we might become aware of too many things to label, with objects changing so quickly that there’s not even time to note. In this situation, we are noticing more than we note, and the labels them- selves start to fall away. When aware- ness is well established and mindfulness is happening by itself—what we could call effortless effort—then we can sim- ply rest in the continuity of bare know- ing. Ryokan, a nineteenth-century Zen master, poet, and wandering monk, expressed it this way: “Know your mind just as it is.” online gallery by studio zilly WWW.SHENSPACE.COM Buddha Series: Maitri 4 ©2013 Karen Zilly Original works on canvas by Karen Zilly Features abstracts inspired by nature and poetry, and the Buddha Series 646.373.7263 • info @ shenspace.com SubScriber ServiceS Subscribe • Renew Pay an invoice • Give a Gift Purchase back issues Change your address Inquire about a subscription Replace a missing issue Online easy, quick, and secure Visit Subscriber Services at www.shambhalasun.com or www.thebuddhadharma.com Call toll-fRee 11:30 am – 8 pm et weekdays 1-877-786-1950 overseas: 01-760-317-2362 fax: 1-760-738-4805 email: firstname.lastname@example.org or thebuddhadharma.com Mail: Po Box 469095, escondido, Ca 92046–9095 Privacy notice: Subscribers may receive offers from organizations we believe may be of interest to our readers. Contact us if you wish to be excluded from such mailings. Shambhala Sun Foundation An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly.