what I am as where I am

I think for me there is no path without personal necessity, and somewhere inside I have always believed that mindfulness depends on the necessity of mindfulness. In the Gautamid’s teaching, the “setting up of mindfulness” always began: “sitting down cross-legged and holding the body upright, (one) sets mindfulness in front (an odd translation?); mindful (one) breathes in, mindful (one) breathes out”. To me, this means in particular that only through realizing my personal necessity to hold the body upright, to set mindfulness in front, and to mindful breathe in, mindful breathe out can I actually realize mindfulness in my daily life.

This is like juggling three balls, which I’ll bet you’ve done, not like the mindfulness practice most Vipassana teachers in this country prescribe; at least, that’s how it feels to me, when I discover that I have the need to feel what I am as where I am.

I strongly disagree with the notion that the description of a practice given to beginners is of no consequence, that a dumbed-down version can be given because a beginner cannot appreciate the real thing, or worse yet the assumption that no real description can be made. We have the record of the efforts of the ancestors to make such a description, over and over again. This is my quarrel with most of the teachers and practices I hear about, that they do not take seriously the need to make plain the practice in which they engage, and they do not feel a responsibility to make consistent the understanding they put forward with the experience of the beginner. It doesn’t have to be simple, it just has to be verifiable, you know?

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