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08-05-2020 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 6/2020

Mindfulness 6/2020

Somatics of Early Buddhist Mindfulness and How to Face Anxiety

Mindfulness > Uitgave 6/2020
Bhikkhu Anālayo
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The body is a central object of the cultivation of mindfulness, in the way this has been described in relevant Pāli discourses and their parallels. At the background of such cultivation stands the absence of positing a mind-body duality and a lack of concern with a particular physical location of the mind in early Buddhist thought. Moreover, the various exercises that involve directing mindfulness to the body need to be considered in conjunction in order to arrive at a balanced understanding of their overarching purpose. Out of the different possible modalities of cultivating mindfulness in this way, the discourses present awareness directed to one’s own bodily postures as a practice already undertaken by the Buddha-to-be when he was still in quest of awakening. In this particular setting, such mindfulness of postures served as a way of facing fear. The potential of this exercise to provide a grounding in embodied mindfulness, being fully in the here and now, is of particular relevance to the challenges posed by the current pandemic.

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