The Buddha’s Words — Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the core of Buddhist thought. As mentioned, Buddhism is a map, not a mandate. You don’t have to accept any of these things. In fact, it’s immaterial if you do. You have to experience it.
In the last chapter we discussed some of the treasure on the map — freedom from suffering, hatred, clarity of thought. Now we’ll start discussing how to get there. Spoiler alert, it’s a simple answer that you don’t want to hear.
AW Adikaram calls this chapter of his Dhammapada NON-INTOXICATION, but to a Buddha, we’re always drunk. Drunk on sensation, on food, on self, on wealth, on grievance, on Twitter; whatever substance we use to distract ourself from the nothingness (and everythingness) of life. I think a better translation is MINDFULNESS, a word you might know.
Far from a life-hack for tech-bros, mindfulness is the central Buddhist act, which looks a lot like doing nothing. As Oasis said, be here now. It’s so simple that it’s basically impossible.
21. Mindfulness is the way to immortality; mindlessness is the way to death; those who are mindful do not die; they who are mindless are as the dead.22. The wise ones attached to the pasture of the Noble Ones, take delight in mindfulness, having known well this (fact) with regard to mindfulness.
The western concept of immortality is that you live forever. The eastern concept is that you don’t exist at all. Therefore, like Santa Claus, how can you ever die?
Think of it this way.
Imagine you’re a cup of water on the banks of a river. You’re like ‘oh shit, I’m evaporating’. The Buddha simply says join the stream. You’ll lose your identity as glass of water, but gain so much more.
Just hold a cup of water in your hand and think about it. The atoms you’re drinking are older than the sun. You’ll piss them out and the water cycle will recycle them a trillion times more. Water is effectively immortal. So…