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19-12-2018 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 3/2019

Mindfulness 3/2019

The Emphasis on the Present Moment in the Cultivation of Mindfulness

Mindfulness > Uitgave 3/2019
Bhikkhu Anālayo
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The objective of this article is to explore the relationship between the present moment and mindfulness practice in early Buddhism. Based on text-critical study, I begin with a brief look at the etymology of the term satipaṭṭhāna and then survey the mindfulness exercises found in the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta and in at least one of its two Chinese Āgama parallels from the perspective of their relationship to the present moment. Exploring the same topic in relation to mindful eating leads me on to the memory dimension of mindfulness, in relation to which I argue that the temporal reference of memory to the past needs to be seen as only one dimension, rather than an exhaustive account of mindfulness. My overall conclusion is that the emphasis on the present-centeredness of mindfulness in contemporary MBIs has a precedent in early Buddhist thought, where a range of exercises described under the four establishments of mindfulness as well as the practice of mindful eating exhibit a similar concern with the present moment.

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