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In the Seen Just the Seen: Mindfulness and the Construction of Experience

Abstract

In this article, I relate findings in cognitive psychology on the constructed nature of experience to related notions in early Buddhist thought, which recognize the degree to which the mind influences sensory perception. In particular, I take up the doctrinal teaching of dependent arising in its bearing on the reciprocal relationship between consciousness and name-and-form. I complement this by turning to the role of the mind as a forerunner of all things and to the impact of affect, in the form of “feeling,” on the arising of craving (another aspect of the doctrine of dependent arising). Based on these explorations, I examine the notion of “bare awareness” as a mode of practice already recognized in early Buddhist thought. From an early Buddhist viewpoint, the cultivation of mindfulness can help to become aware of, and avoid being carried away by, the influence of mental construction on experience, resulting in the ability to remain just with what is seen in the seen.

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Abbreviations

DĀ:

Dīrgha-āgama (T 1)

Dhp:

Dhammapada

EĀ:

Ekottarika-āgama (T 125)

MĀ:

Madhyama-āgama (T 26)

MN:

Majjhima-nikāya

SĀ:

Saṃyukta-āgama (T 99)

SHT:

Sanskrithandschriften aus den Turfanfunden

SN:

Saṃyutta-nikāya

T:

Taishō edition

Ud:

Udāna

Up:

Abhidharmakośopāyikā-ṭīkā

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Correspondence to Bhikkhu Anālayo.

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This article does not contain any studies performed by the author with human participants or animals.

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The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.

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Anālayo, B. In the Seen Just the Seen: Mindfulness and the Construction of Experience. Mindfulness 10, 179–184 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-1042-9

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Keywords

  • Bare awareness
  • Construction of experience
  • Dependent arising
  • Mindfulness
  • Name-and-form
  • Perceptual prediction