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Contemplation of the body

According to the Satipatthana Sutta, in practicing mindfulness, another very important and useful preparation for the meditator is to be aware and mindful of whatever they do, physically or verbally, during the daily routine of their lives. This involves the "four foundations of mindfulness" which are: 1) contemplation of the body (kayanupassana), 2) contemplation of feelings/sensations (Vedananupassana), 3) contemplation of the state of mind (Chittanupassana), and 4) contemplation of mental objects (Dhammanupassana).

I will begin with the first foundation of "contemplation of the body" (kayanupassana). The Satipatthana Sutta (Nyanaponika, 1962) explains the procedure as follows:

He applies clear comprehension; in eating, drinking, chewing and savoring, he applies clear comprehension; in obeying the calls of nature, he applies clear comprehension; in walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking, speaking and being silent, he applies clear comprehension"

Therefore, one should be in the present moment and in their present actions. This does not mean that they should not think of the past or not to plan for the future. But they should do so in relation to the present action. This is the "clear comprehension" of present action. Rahula (1996e) notes:
People do not generally live their actions in the present moment. They live in the past or in the future. Though they seem to be doing something now, here, they live somewhere else in their thoughts, in their imaginary problems and worries, usually in the memories of the past or in desires and speculations about the future. Therefore they do not live in, nor do they enjoy, what they do at the moment. So they are unhappy and discontented with the present moment, with the work at hand, and naturally they cannot give themselves fully to what they appear to be doing.

I am acting in front of an audience, his acting is disturbed. However when he forgets himself in his acting then he is at his best: he acts well and performs appropriately.


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