Foundations of Mindfulness

Stephen Batchelor

Wisdom Collection

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The origins of [mindful awareness] practice are found in Gautama's own discourse on the "Foundations of Mindfulness" (Satipatthana Sutta) in the Pali Canon. It has been described as "the most important discourse ever given by the Buddha on mental development," and as such is highly revered in all Theravada Buddhist countries of Asia. The Buddha opened the discourse by declaring:

There is, monks, this way that leads only to the purification of beings, to the overcoming of sorrow and distress, to the disappearance of pain and sadness, to the gaining of the right path, to the realization of Nirvana—that is to say the four foundations of mindfulness.

These four foundations are the four areas of life to which mindful awareness needs to be applied: body, feelings, mind and objects of mind. In other words, the totality of experience.

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