Each paragraph below shows profound understanding reflected through years of experience on meditation of Bhante Gunaratara. Please heed the words . They are insightful, deeply-experienced explanation of Bhante Gunaratana:
Dưới đây là “cốt tủy” về Thiền Minh Sát được giải thích qua chính kinh nghiệm của đại sư Gunaratara.
“ It is not shackled to logic. Nevertheless, Mindfulness can be experienced - rather easily - and it can be described, as long as you keep in mind that the words are only fingers pointing at the moon. They are not the thing itself. The actual experience lies beyond the words and above the symbols. Mindfulness could be described in completely different terms than will be used here and each description could still be correct. “
“Mindfulness is mirror-thought. It reflects only what is presently happening and in exactly the way it is happening. There are no biases.
Mindfulness is non-judgmental observation. It is that ability of the mind to observe without criticism. With this ability, one sees things without condemnation or judgment. One is surprised by nothing. One simply takes a balanced interest in things exactly as they are in their natural states. One does not decide and does not judge. One just observes.
It is psychologically impossible for us to objectively observe what is going on within us if we do not at the same time accept the occurrence of our various states of mind. This is especially true with unpleasant states of mind. In order to observe our own fear, we must accept the fact that we are afraid. We can't examine our own depression without accepting it fully. The same is true for irritation and agitation, frustration and all those other uncomfortable emotional states. You can't examine something fully if you are busy reflecting its existence. Whatever experience we may be having, Mindfulness just accepts it. It is simply another of life's occurrences, just another thing to be aware of. No pride, no shame, nothing personal at stake - what is there, is there.
Mindfulness is an impartial watchfulness. It does not take sides. It does not get hung up in what is perceived. It just perceives. Mindfulness does not get infatuated with the good mental states. It does not try to sidestep the bad mental states. There is no clinging to the pleasant, no fleeing from the unpleasant. Mindfulness sees all experiences as equal, all thoughts as equal, all feelings as equal. Nothing is suppressed. Nothing is repressed. Mindfulness does not play favorites.
Mindfulness is nonconceptual awareness. Another English term for Sati is 'bare attention'. It is not thinking. It does not get involved with thought or concepts. It does not get hung up on ideas or opinions or memories. It just looks. Mindfulness registers experiences, but it does not compare them. It does not label them or categorize them. It just observes everything as if it was occurring for the first time. It is not analysis which is based on reflection and memory. It is, rather, the direct and immediate experiencing of whatever is happening, without the medium of thought. It comes before thought in the perceptual process.
Mindfulness is present time awareness. It takes place in the here and now. It is the observance of what is happening right now, in the present moment. It stays forever in the present, surging perpetually on the crest of the ongoing wave of passing time. If you are remembering your second-grade teacher, that is memory. When you then become aware that you are remembering your second-grade teacher, that is mindfulness. If you then conceptualize the process and say to yourself, "Oh, I am remembering", that is thinking.
Mindfulness is non-egoistic alertness. It takes place without reference to self. With Mindfulness one sees all phenomena without references to concepts like 'me', 'my' or 'mine'. For example, suppose there is pain in your left leg. Ordinary consciousness would say, "I have a pain." Using Mindfulness, one would simply note the sensation as a sensation. One would not tack on that extra concept 'I'. Mindfulness stops one from adding anything to perception, or subtracting anything from it. One does not enhance anything. One does not emphasize anything. One just observes exactly what is there - without distortion.
Mindfulness is goal-less awareness. In Mindfulness, one does not strain for results. One does not try to accomplish anything. When one is mindful, one experiences reality in the present moment in whatever form it takes. There is nothing to be achieved. There is only observation.
Mindfulness is awareness of change. it is observing the passing flow of experience. It is watching things as they are changing. it is seeing the birth, growth, and maturity of all phenomena. It is watching phenomena decay and die. Mindfulness is watching things moment by moment, continuously. It is observing all phenomena - physical, mental or emotional - whatever is presently taking place in the mind. One just sits back and watches the show. Mindfulness is the observance of the basic nature of each passing phenomenon. It is watching the thing arising and passing away. It is seeing how that thing makes us feel and how we react to it. It is observing how it affects others. In Mindfulness, one is an unbiased observer whose sole job is to keep track of the constantly passing show of the universe within. Please note that last point. In Mindfulness, one watches the universe within. The meditator who is developing Mindfulness is not concerned with the external universe. It is there, but in meditation, one's field of study is one's own experience, one's thoughts, one's feelings, and one's perceptions. In meditation, one is one's own laboratory. The universe within has an enormous fund of information containing the reflection of the external world and much more. An examination of this material leads to total freedom.”
( Mindfulness in Plain English)
Scholars, linguists in Pali and Sanskrit before 1973, normally/frequently translate Sati into English as mindfulness; after 1992 , chiefly, some call attention to the root of “sati”, or more complicated, the Sanskrit “smrti”, as remember/recollect, attentiveness, and retention; therefore, they combine the “attentiveness” to mindfulness to become Mindful attention, or Attentive mindfulness; Vietnamese : Thiết lập chánh niệm, Giữ chánh niệm ( calling to mind- Monier-Williams) .
But that’s only contextual meaning in literary digging and clarification of term and certain meanings. In certain reflections on the process of Vipassana meditation , we can recognize these meanings too, but mostly they are just of secondary importance to remind us of the value of being attentive.
What Bhante Gunaratana gives here is valuable insight for us to perceive, grasp what Vipassana meditation can bring us to realize.
Pay special attention to these two paragraphs, please :
“It is not shackled to logic. Nevertheless, Mindfulness can be experienced - rather easily - and it can be described, as long as you keep in mind that the words are only fingers pointing at the moon. They are not the thing itself. The actual experience lies beyond the words and above the symbols...”
“ Mindfulness is nonconceptual awareness. Another English term for Sati is 'bare attention'. It is not thinking. It does not get involved with thought or concepts...”
Học giả chữ Phạn Pali và Sanskrit , trước 1973, thường dịch chữ “Sati” ra là Để ý, Quán sát; Việt dịch thường là : Niệm, giữ Chánh niệm. Sau, chủ yếu là sau 1992, một số kêu gọi để ý đến nghĩa gốc căn bản của từ “Sati” trong Nam Phạn, hay phiền phức hơn là từ “Smrti” của Bắc Phạn. với ý nghĩa nhớ/gợi nhớ, chú tâm; giữ niệm, để ý mà giữ niệm, nên thêm vào cho rõ hơn là sự Chú tâm hay Để ý Quán sát (Mindful attention). Đó là vấn đề nghĩa của chữ trong văn bản, văn học. Có những khi trong tiến trình thực hành Thiền quán Minh sát, hay gọn hơn là Thiền Minh Sát ( các dịch giả VN Phật học
Đìều mà Thiền sư Gunaratana dạy ở đây là “cốt tủy” được giải thích qua chính kinh nghiệm thiền Minh sát của đại sư.
Hãy để ý đến hai đoạn rất sâu sắc mà thiền sư viết trong “ Mindfulness in Plain English” :
“Nó ( Tâm/Tuệ Minh sát= TMS ) không bị trói vào Luận lý học. Tuy vậy, TMS có thể được kinh nghiệm thấy khá dễ dàng- và có thể mô tả được, nếu chúng ta hiểu biết rằng ngôn từ chỉ là ngón tay chỉ mặt trăng. Chúng không phải là sự vật, sự việc đích thực. Kinh nghiệm thực sự nằm ngoài ngôn từ , và bên trên các biểu tượng…”
Tâm/Tuệ Minh sát là tri giác vô khái niệm. Một cách diễn tả khác trong Anh ngữ là : sự quán sát/chú tâm thuần. Nó không phải là suy nghĩ, suy tư. Nó không liên can gì tới tư tưởng hay khái niệm…”
* Just for further reading on the linguistic matter related to “Sati” and “Smrti”:
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