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This article explores the relationship of mindfulness to open monitoring in texts reflecting early Buddhist thought, extant in Pāli discourses and their Chinese parallels. The first of the discourses studied is the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta, which together with its two Chinese Āgama parallels reflects an emphasis on open monitoring rather than on establishing a narrow focus. The second discourse commends a shift of practice towards a more directed form of meditation if the cultivation of mindfulness in the form of satipaṭṭhāna/smṛtyupasthāna should lead to distraction or sluggishness. The third discourse concerns the cultivation of mindfulness in relation to sensory experience in situations outside of formal meditation. Such cultivation is explicitly related to the experience of a boundless mental condition, reflecting the breadth of mind that appears to be characteristic of the early Buddhist conception of mindfulness when cultivated on its own, that is, when full prominence is given to mindfulness itself during formal meditation or daily life practice.
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- Open Monitoring and Mindfulness
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