The Life of Meditation
What is Mindfulness Training?
If we wish to elevate the mind we must merge it with the practice of virtue by steadily applying the power of mindfulness. This is the heart of meditation (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso)
Training in mindfulness is not just watching our mind but actively improving our mind by keeping it focused on a positive object. This practice involves three main mental factors: mindfulness, alertness and conscientiousness.
Mindfulness is a mental factor that functions both to keep the mind on an object that has not been forgotten and to bring the mind back to an object that has been forgotten.
Mindfulness in and out of meditation:If we wish to avoid falling under the influence of delusion, we must guard our mind and keep it from wandering. We can not follow our moral discipline purely if we have an unguarded mind. If we can learn how to protect our mind from delusion and yoke it to the practice of virtue, our moral discipline will grow in strength and eventually be perfected. If we neglect to guard our mind however, many faults will arise.
Many benefits arise from the practice of mindfulness. If we take the rope of mindfulness and tie our elephant mind securely to the post of virtue, all our fears will swiftly come to an end. All positive and wholesome attainments will fall into the palm of our hand.
If we don not develop mindfulness our meditations will be hollow and empty. There will be nothing to keep our wild elephant mind from running back and forth in its customary, uncontrolled manner between objects of attachment, anger, jealousy and so forth. While we are sitting on our meditation cushion our mind will be miles away, wandering through distant cities or visiting our family and friends. Just as a potter needs two hands to shape his wares, so do we need mindfulness and alertness if we are to meditate properly and gain realizations along the spiritual path.
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