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Buddhadharma : Winter 2007
winter 2007| 60 |buddhadharma be many gaps. There will also be many instances where you cannot be aware of and note the inten- tions to change. don’t feel frustrated! if you note with the attitude that you will note meticu- lously and carefully, you will be able to note and observe more and more. when your understand- ing becomes mature, you will be able to easily note even more objects than explained here. Increasing the Number of Objects after about a day, you are likely to feel that simply noting the rising and falling of the abdomen is too easy. you may find that there is a gap or empty interval between the rising and falling movements. in that case, you should switch to noting three objects, adding a third object of the sitting pos- ture itself. you will then be noting: “rising, falling, sitting; rising, falling, sitting...” in the same way that you note the rising and falling, you should be aware of the sitting posture of the body as you note “sitting.” if you are lying down, you should note the three objects: “rising, falling, lying.” if you still find that there are gaps while noting these three objects, you can note “rising, falling, sitting, touching,” adding a distinct touching sen- sation in any part of the body as the fourth object. if you are not comfortable with that approach, you could also note: “rising, sitting, falling, sit- ting.” if you are lying down, the four objects to note are: “rising, falling, lying, touching” or “ris- ing, lying, falling, lying.” if your breath becomes so subtle that you cannot feel the rising and falling of the abdomen clearly, you should note the sitting or lying posture or “touch points.” 1 you can note four, five, or six touch points, one after another. Working with Mental States and Practicing Diligently if you have been practicing for a long time, or if you are not making any progress, you may become lazy. Note that as “lazy, lazy.” when mindfulness, concentration, and special insights have not yet arisen, you assume that noting does not get you anywhere and, therefore, doubts arise. Note that as “doubt, doubt.” at times, you may hope for smoother practice or some special experience. Note that as “hoping, hoping.” if you reflect on your previous practice, note that as “reflecting.” if you wonder whether the object you are not- ing is mental or physical, note that as “wonder- ing.” sometimes, when your practice does not go smoothly, you may feel frustrated. Note that as “frustrated, frustrated.” sometimes, when you find that your practice is going well, you may feel happy. Note that as “happy, happy.” you should note all mental states in this way, whenever they arise, and then continue to note the primary object. you should note each and every thought, whether wholesome or unwholesome. you should note each and every physical movement, whether large or small. you should note each and every feeling arising in the body or mind, whether pleas- ant or unpleasant. you should note each and every mental object, whether wholesome or unwhole- some. if there is nothing else in particular to note, then note the primary object, such as the rising and falling of the abdomen when you sit, or the lifting, moving, and dropping of the foot when you walk. Note these objects uninterruptedly and continuously. in this way, except for the sleeping hours, you should note continuously and uninterruptedly all day and all night. Before long you will be able to observe all mental and physical phenomena the moment they arise and develop the insight knowl- edges one by one. Insight when you practice noting as described above, and your mindfulness, concentration, and insight mature, you will find that the noting mind and the noted objects occur in pairs. For example, you will observe both the physical phenomena (body) involved in the rising of the abdomen and the men- tal phenomena (mind) that notes it; the physical phenomena of the falling of the abdomen and the mind that notes it; the physical phenomena of lift- ing the foot and the mind that notes it; the physi- cal phenomena of moving the foot forward and the mind that notes it; the physical phenomena of dropping the foot and the mind that notes it, and so on. when your practice is going well, you will see the rising and falling of the abdomen and the not- ing mind separately in this way. Thus, you are able to distinguish between mental and physi- cal phenomena, or mind and body. it will seem like the noting mind is rushing toward the noted objects. This is awareness of the characteristic of the mind to incline toward its objects. The clearer your observation of physical objects becomes, the more obvious the noting mind will become. The Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification) says: whenever the physical phenomena become clear, unambiguous, and obvious to a medi- tator, the mental phenomena associated with those physical sense-objects will also become obvious to him or her on their own accord. as your practice matures further, the inten- tion to move becomes obvious by itself when you intend to move your body. as soon as an intention arises, you will be able to be aware of it easily. For example, in the beginning of your practice, even if you note “intending to bend,” you are not able 1 Touch points are any distinc- tive physical sensations that can be easily noticed and recognized. Obvious touch points are where the hands touch each other or the knees, where the buttocks touch the sitting bench or the cushion, the touch of knees on the floor, etc. when one intentionally moves attention sequentially through a series of such touch points, awareness becomes very continuous. adrianfiSh