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This is the Chinese character for Mindfulness. This character, written in bronze script, 金文 jin wen, dates to the shang dynasty, 1766-1111 BCE. Thus, from the history of Chinese writing we learn that the concept of mindfulness has been inherent in the language and lifestyle.

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This is the Chinese character for Mindfulness


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    1. This is the Chinese character for Mindfulness This character, written in bronze script,金文jin wen, dates to the shang dynasty, 1766-1111 BCE. Thus, from the history of Chinese writing we learn that the concept of mindfulness has been inherent in the language and lifestyle for almost four millennia. mindfulness

    2. More than 90% of Chinese characters Are a combination of a phonetic 聲 a pictogram 形 . Phonetic In this ancient character for mindfulness the phonetic is at the top. Pictogram of heart/mind And a pictogram showing a heart/ mind is below. mindfulness

    3. 古代人以心為思維器官,故後沿用為腦的代稱 In ancient times, people guessed that the flesh heart was the organ of thought and so the character for heart 心 came to include the functions of the brain [and by extension the mind]. Bone oracle script 甲骨文 jia gu wen Bronze script 金文 jin wen Seal script 小篆xiao zhuan In the book Illustrated Account of Chinese Characters, compiled by Guang Hui Xie the definition on page 164 notes: … In ancient writing systems 心 has the shape of a heart. People in ancient times mistook the heart for an organ for thinking, so the character 心 is also a cover term for thinking, ideas, and feelings… Standard Script 楷体kai ti Picto- grams of heart/ mind mindfulness

    4. The Chan* School of Buddhism 禪 *Founded in China by Patriarch Bodhidharma during his time in Loyang from516-526 CE. Chan,禪,is part of the transliteration for Dhyana, which means quieting thoughts. The Japanese pronunciation of Chan is Zen. mindfulness

    5. 以 心 印 心 以yiUsing The method by which a Buddhist Chan Master transmits his teachings to a qualified disciple is non-verbal. 心xin the mind 印yin to seal 心 xin the mind mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness 5 5

    6. This character for mindfulness is from AN Inscription on a bronze cauldron Named for the duke of mao, 毛 公 鼎, dating from the Zhoudynasty, 828-782 BCE. Although the top part of the character is the phonetic, giving the character its pronunciation, the phonetics were chosen for their meaning in addition to their sounds. This phonetic’s meaning is NOW. NOW over the MIND brings us to the concept of MINDFULNESS. mindfulness

    7. Duke of Mao bronze cauldron,毛 公 鼎 The portion of the inscription inside The Duke of Mao bronze cauldron, 毛 公 鼎,That includes The Character for Mindfulness reads: 夕敬念 王 …each evening respectfully be mindful of the king. Written by the Duke in praise of King Xuan of the late Western Zhou period. 西周晚期的宣王時期。 mindfulness

    8. Thus, • the classical Chinese concept of • Mindfulness • could be described as • deliberate focus on someone or • something out of a sense of duty • or social obligation. • For example, • The citizen is mindful of his king; • The child is mindful of his parents, and so forth. mindfulness

    9. These few ancient characters and their verifiable dates show that the concept of mindfulness dates before the advent of Buddhism in China.* Thus, *about 70 CE when Buddhism’s concept of mindfulness was introduced into China, there was already a character for it and a classical concept of it. mindfulness mindfulness 9

    10. A note on proposed dates when Shakyamuni Buddha lived. The Mahayana Buddhist calendar is based on a Zhou Dynasty (1122-255 BCE) text called Records of Unusual Events , 異 記. That record described astrological events that pertained to India and occurred both when the Buddha was born and when he entered nirvana. This period of time was the Zhou Dynasty in China. Thus Shakyamuni Buddha’s birth is placed at about 1024 BCE, in the twenty-sixth year of the reign of King Zhao, 昭 王(1052-1001 BCE) of the Zhou Dynasty thus determining that The historic Buddha, Shakyamuni lived in the 11th century BCE, making him more or less contemporary with Moses and Ramses II. Mahayana Buddhist calendar mindfulness

    11. A note on dates when Shakyamuni Buddha lived. [continued] The Theravada Buddhist calendar records that   Shakyamuni Buddha was born in 560 BCE, thus determining that The historic Buddha, Shakyamuni lived in the 6th century BCE making him more or less a contemporary of Confucius (551-479 BCE). Theravada Buddhist calendar mindfulness

    12. A note on dates when Shakyamuni Buddha lived. [continued] Contemporary scholars  place Shakyamuni Buddha’s life in the 4th or 5th century BCE. For example, in Dr. Peter Harvey’s Introduction to Buddhism, he suggests dates of about 480-400 BCE, basing these dates on historic records pertaining to King Asoka, thus determining The historic Buddha, Shakyamuni lived in the 4th or 5th century BCE making him more or less a contemporary of Socrates 469-399 BCE Plato 427-347 BCE. Contemporary scholars mindfulness

    13. For the purposes of this brief exploration of the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, we have chosen to consider that this concept entered China when the Mahayana Buddhist sutras began to enter China and to be translated and explained in the language of the people there. The advent of the Buddhist concept of mindfulness impacted the classical concept and broadened the scope of the practice of mindfulness. mindfulness

    14. Confucius,孔丘 kong qiu, respectfully called Teacher Kong, 孔夫子 kong fu zi,livedin China from 551-479 BCE. An anonymously authored text called Standards for Students, 弟子規 di zi gui about 450 BCE, is attributed to the Confucian tradition. In this text, mindfulness is described as part of the process of learning. The way to success in your studies Is to focus attention on three: Trust to your eyes, mouth, and mind. Believe these are all that you need.  讀書法  有三到  心眼口  信皆要 mindfulness

    15. Mencius, 孟子 meng zi, (about 370-280 BCE) was a Follower of Confucian Philosophy • Mencius said, • Humaneness pertains to a person’s mind; • Righteousness pertains to a person’s path. • How lamentable is it • to neglect the path and not pursue it; • to lose this mind and not even know to search for it! • When people’s chickens or dogs get lost, people know to go searching for them. • But when people lose their minds, they do not even know to go find them again. • The path of learning is nothing more than seeking for our lost minds.’ • from Gao Zi Section 11 of Mencius. 孟子曰:「仁,人心也;義,人路也。舍其路而弗由,放其心而不知求,哀哉!人有雞犬放,則知求之;有放心,而不知求。學問之道無他,求其放心而已矣。」 孟子 告 子篇第十一章 The path of learning is nothing more than seeking for our lost minds. mindfulness mindfulness 15

    16. Here’s one that he made up in the Confucian style about how to maximize mindfulness. Master Hua, 1918-1995, skillfully introduced Confucian and Daoist concepts in his Buddhist teaching. The Three On’s 三種在上 X X X X X X On the road. 在路上. On the loo. 在廁上. On the pillow. 在枕上. mindfulness

    17. Another method of Mindfulness in the Confucian tradition focuses on stages of life. When one’s vital energies are not yet settled, the restraint is on sex. 血氣未定, 戒之在色. When one’s vital energies are strong, the restraint is on fighting. 血氣方剛, 戒之在 鬥. When one’s vital energies are in decline, the restraint is on obtaining things. 血氣既衰, 戒之在得. As a youth Prime of life Old age mindfulness

    18. Lao zi,6th century BCE, -excerpt from the Treatise on The Way and Virtue, 道 德 經 Dao De Jing 聖人不積. 既以為人己愈 . 既以與 人己愈多. 天之 道. 利而不害. 聖 人之道. 為而不爭. A sage does not accumulate things. The more he does for others, the more he feels he has.The more he gives to others, the more he receives.The Way of Nature is to benefit and not harm.The Way of the Sage is to be as he is and not contend. mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness mindfulness 18 18 18 18

    19. The translation of this sutra marked the beginning of centuries of gradually bringing the Buddha’s teachings from India into China and getting them translated into Chinese. It also marked the introduction of the Buddhist perspective on mindfulness into Chinese culture and language. In the Eighteenth Sectionof this sutra, the Buddha defines MINDFULNESS About 70 CE marked the introduction of the Buddhist perspective on mindfulness into Chinese culture and language. The first Buddhist sutra translated in China from the Mahayana tradition was the Sutra in Forty-two Sections, 四 十 二 章 經 . It was co-translated, 同 譯, about 70 CE during the Eastern Han, 後 漢, by two monks from India— Master Kashyapa-matanga, 迦葉摩騰尊者, and Master Gobharana, 竺法蘭尊者. mindfulness

    20. The Buddha’s meaning was: My method is not being mindful that you are mindful and even the thought of that “not being mindful” is not there. My Dharma is called a mindfulness that is mindful and yet not mindful. mindfulness that is both mindfulness and non-mindfulness. 念 無 念 念 . mindfulness that is both mindfulness and non-mindfulness. 念 無 念 念. The Eighteenth Section of the Sutra in Forty-two Sections: All aspects of mindfulness are basically empty. 念 等 本 空 The Buddha said: 佛 言 . My method is mindfulness that is both mindfulness and non-mindfulness. 吾 法 念 無 念 念 . It is practice that is both practice and non-practice. 行 無 行 行 . It is words that are both words and non-words. 言 無 言 言. It is cultivation that is both cultivation and non-cultivation. 修 無 修 修 . My method of practice is effortless. Attachments become empty. Even that emptiness is empty. Even the shadow of “non-cultivation” does not remain. mindfulness

    21. All aspects of mindfulness are basically empty, 念 等 本 空.[continued] Those who understand are near to it; 會 者 近 爾 . those who are confused are far from it! 迷 者 遠 乎 . It is not accessible by communication in language. 言 語 道 斷 . It is not grasped through concrete examples. 非 物 所 拘 . If you miss it by a hairsbreadth, you will lose it in an instant. 差 之 毫 釐 . 失 之 須 臾 . mindfulness

    22. No small task that— “not to be mindful that you are mindful.” That definition of mindfulness requires a method— some directive on “how to.” Here’s a modern verse on “how to.” But for most, this verse is as cryptic as the Buddha’s definition! Whether walking, standing, sitting, or reclining, Never be apart from this. If we depart from this. We have gone amiss! -by Master Hua 宣 公 上 人 行 住 坐 臥 不 離 這 個 離 了 這 個 便 是 錯 過 mindfulness mindfulness 22

    23. During the Tang Dynasty, 618-907 CE, a four-year-old lad from Wen county (later renamed Yong Jia) entered monastic life. In his formative years he studied and mastered the Buddhist teachings and he meditated regularly. Upon awakening, he needed to have his enlightenment certified and so he sought out Venerable Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch. After the Patriarch verified his awakening, Great Master Yong Jia composed a Song of Certifying to the Way. mindfulness mindfulness 23

    24. The following stanzas of the Song of Certifying to the Way reflect the Buddha’s description of mindfulness. Do not seek the true, Do not cut off the false. Comprehend that both dharmas are empty; they have no attributes at all. Without attributes there is no emptiness, either, and yet emptiness is not negated. That is the absolutely true attribute of all Buddhas. 不 求 真, 不 斷 妄, 了 知 二 法 空 無 相. 無 相 無 空 無 不 空, 即 是 如 來 真 實 相. mindfulness mindfulness 24

    25. Elder Master Hsu Yun, 1840–1959, a contemporary sage, also composed a song. His is called Song of the Skin Bag, 皮袋歌 Elder Master Hsu Yun’s Song of the Skin Bag, reflects the great vigour and inspiration that he applied to developing mindfulness, and echoes the Buddha’s description of mindfulness and what results it can bring. mindfulness

    26. Song of the Skin Bag, 皮袋歌 佛不疑。法不疑。 了了聞見是良知。 Doubt not the Buddha. Doubt not the Dharma. Inherent insight lets us know clearly what we see and hear. Bore through the paper. Pierce the cowhide. Make your mind perfectly bright and free from error. Return to the origin. Reach liberation. Go back to the source and retrieve your inherent innocence. 穿紙背。透牛皮。 圓明一心莫差池。 亦返源。亦解脫。 還元返本天真兒。 mindfulness mindfulness 26

    27. Song of the Skin Bag, 皮袋歌[continued ] 瀝心腸。披肝膽。 奉勸世人應守正。 Open your heart. Be truthful to all. Encourage people to guard what is proper. Don’t think my words are idle. Don’t fail to pay attention. Great cultivators will surely see their own natures. 莫當閒言不記心。 大修行人必見性。 mindfulness mindfulness 27

    28. Nothing is not nothing. Emptiness is not empty. As our magnificent potential reveals itself, its wonder is hard to imagine. When you arrive, You will not have toiled in vain. The impacts from your planting of causes will be over. Then you truly will be A Great Hero. All ten titles will fit perfectly As you become a teacher of many generations. 無不無。空非空。 透露靈機妙難思。 到這裡。不冤枉。 因地一聲是了期。 方才稱。大丈夫。 十號圓明萬世師。 mindfulness

    29. The Buddha’s methods on the practice of mindfulness are found in many teachings. One set of lessons is shared by all Buddhist traditions. Thirty-seven Aspects of the Way 三 十 七 道 品 mindfulness

    30. Thirty-seven Aspects of the Way 三 十 七 道 品 • Four Dwellings in Mindfulness 四 念 住* • dwelling in mindfulness of the body 身念住 • Contemplate the body as impure. 觀身不凈 • dwelling in mindfulnessof feelings受念住 • Contemplate feelings as suffering. 觀受是苦 • dwelling in mindfulness of the mind 心 念 住 • Contemplate the mind as transitory.觀心無常 • dwelling in mindfulnessof dharmas 法念住 • Contemplate dharmas as being devoid of self. 觀法無我 • * Also rendered as四念處 mindfulness

    31. Thirty-seven Aspects of the Way Four Bases of Psychic Power 四神足 1. zeal 2. vigour 3. mindfulness 4. reflection 欲神足 勤神足 心神足 (心神專一) 觀神足 Five Roots 五根 1. root of faith 2. root of vigour 3. root of mindfulness 4. root of concentration 5. root of wisdom • Five Powers 五力 • 1. power of faith • 2. power of vigour • 3. power of mindfulness • 4. power of concentration • 5. power of wisdom 信根 精進根 念根 定根 慧根 信力 精進力 念力 定力 慧力 Four Types of Upright Diligence 四正勤 1. Evil that has not yet been done is kept from being done. 2. Evil thoughts that have already been generated are cut off. 3. Good roots not yet grown are caused to grow. 4. Good roots already grown are caused to grow further. 未生惡法令不生 已生惡法恆令滅 未生善法令出生 已生善法令增長 mindfulness

    32. Thirty-seven Aspects of the Way Seven Limbs of Enlightenment 七 覺 支 1. choosing a method (dharma) 2. vigour (diligent in practice) 3. joy (in practice experience) 4. rejecting (afflictions) 5. giving up (letting go of thinking and attachments) 6. samadhi (concentration) 7. mindfulness 擇法覺支 精進覺支 喜覺支 除覺支 捨覺支 定覺支 念覺支 Eightfold Upright Path 八 正 道 1. upright views (looking) 2. upright consideration (listening) 3. upright speech (saying) 4. upright occupation (doing) 5. upright living (being considerate of others) 6. upright vigour (doing what is proper) 7. upright mindfulness (being aware) 8. upright concentration (being stable) 正見解 正思惟 正語言 正行為 正業(正命) 正精進 正意念 正禪定 mindfulness mindfulness 32

    33. The Seven Limbs of Enlightenment 七 覺 支 provide a practice centering on Mindfulness shared by all traditions of Buddhism. This practice is an effective means of psychotherapy applied by oneself to oneself. mindfulness

    34. The Seven Limbs of Enlightenment 七 覺 支 Method of Practice 7. being mindful 念 so that upon becoming aware that one is mentally depressed, 心沈時, one applies these three limbs: 2. choosing a method,擇 3. being vigorous in practicing it, 進,and 4. experiencing the outcome of joy, 喜 2, 3, 4 are proactive and positive to give impetus to practice (when depressed or lacking motivation) 七念:心沈時,念用擇、進、喜以起之. mindfulness

    35. The Seven Limbs of Enlightenment 七 覺 支 Method of Practice 7. being mindful 念 so that upon becoming aware that one is mentally flighty, 心浮時, one applies these three limbs: 4. letting go, 除 (getting free of negative emotions) 5. concentrating, 定 (samadhi) 6. renouncing,捨 (giving away positive benefits) 4, 5, 6 are quelling and quieting to place restraint on habits (when hyper) so that concentration and wisdom develop equally. 七念:心浮時,念用、除、定、 捨以攝之,覺令定慧均等。 mindfulness

    36. 7. Mindfulness (aware of one’s moods) 1. choosing a method (dharma) 2. vigour (diligent in practice) 3. Joy (in practice experience) 4. rejecting (afflictions) 5. giving up (thinking and attachments) 6. samadhi (developing concentration) 7 limbs of enlightenment 7. Mindfulness at all times to perceive what is needed 1, 2 and 3. Proactive and positive to give impetus to practice (when depressed) 4, 5 and 6. Quelling and quieting to place restraint on habits (when hyper) mindfulness mindfulness 36

    37. The Seven Limbs of Enlightenment 七 覺 支 Method of Practice Mindfulness remains the constant in this method of practice, which enables and empowers practitioners to maintain mental balance. mindfulness

    38. Moral Aspects of Mindfulness found in the Thirty-seven Limbs of Enlightenment mesh with the Confucian tradition. Yan Yuan asked how to be humane. 顏淵問仁, Confucius answered: Restrain yourself and return to propriety. 子曰:「克己復禮。」 Analects Book 12, Section 1 Online link: http://ctext.org/analects/yan-yuan mindfulness

    39. Moral Aspects of Mindfulness found in the Confucian tradition If it’s not proper, don’t look at it. If it’s not proper, don’t listen to it. If it’s not proper, don’t speak about it. 非禮勿視、非禮勿聽、非禮勿言 • This means to discipline yourself. It means to be mindful • in keeping your mind free of improper thoughts, • in keeping your body from acting in improper ways, and • in keeping your mouth from uttering improper speech. mindfulness

    40. More popularly depicted as… mindfulness

    41. Moral Aspects of Mindfulness correlate among Buddhism Confucianism Daoism mindfulness

    42. mindfulness

    43. And, finally, in the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, we look to the sages, who serve as awesome role models. mindfulness

    44. In the Ten Samadhis Chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra* Bodhisattvas’ practices of mindfulness are described. A brief quote is included here. *The Avatamsaka, 華 嚴huayan,Sutra was the first teaching Shakyamuni Buddha gave upon his Awakening. What he said was so profound that most did not understand it initially. So the Buddha then began gradually to use analogies, parables, examples, and stories, 公案 gong an, as appropriate, to explain fundamental truths. mindfulness

    45. The Bodhisattva performs the work of the Buddhas through mindfulness, for the sake of purifying living beings… He performs the work of the Buddhas through skillful enlightenment, for the sake of keeping living beings from losing their mindfulness. He performs the work of the Buddhas by appearing in dreams, for the sake of ensuring that living beings will eternally maintain proper mindfulness. 以 憶 念 作 佛 事. 為 清 淨 眾 生 故… 以 方 便 覺 悟 作 佛 事. 為 令 眾 生 不 矢 念 故. 以 夢 中 現 相 作 佛 事. 為 令 眾 生 恆 正 念 故. Excerpt from the Ten Samadhis Chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra, describing functions of mindfulness used by Bodhisattvas. mindfulness