Dogen Sangha Blog


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Saturday, May 24, 2008

On Mindfulness

Dear all members of Dogen Sangha International and Dogen Sangha Groups!

This morning I have found a very important question of "Mindfulness," from Ven. Hanrei Banzan, Ireland, and I have wrote my answer to him on the Blog already, but I think that it is very important knowledge about Buddhism, that even though many people, who do not understand Buddhism on the basis of its true meaning, think that the idea of "mindfulness" is very important in understanding Buddhist. But I think that such interpretation includes very dangerous misunderstanding in it. Therefore I have been thinking for many years that we, true Buddhists, should understand the true meaning of "mindfulness," and we should never misunderstand that having "mindfulness" is a kind of True Buddhism. Because we can think that having "mindfulness" might be a concept of idealistic philosophy, and so the isolated reverence of "mindfulness" can never be Buddhist thoughts, but it is only idealistic philosophical thought.

Therefore this morning I have sent my Dogen Sangha Blog to Ven. Hanrei Banzan as follows. And I think that the problem is so important for everyone to understand True Buddhism exactly, and so I would like to send the whole information to you again.

Blogger HezB said...

Dear Roshi,

In the West, from various Buddhist sources, we hear a lot about "mindfulness". It is widely considered a Buddhist practice to strive to attend to our daily tasks with an unbroken attention, which may be similar to the 'one-pointedness' developed in certain types of meditation.

What is your view on this type of practice?

Thank-you & Regards,


10:32 PM, May 23, 2008
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

Dear Ven. Hanrei San,

Thank you very much for you indicating the dangerous situation of concept "mindfulness."

I think that the word "mindfulness" means the state of our mind, which is very careful to mental function.

Therefore the word "mindfulness" might be a word, which is much related with idealistic philosophy.

However recently many so-called Buddhist teachers insist the importance of "mindfulness." But such a kind of attitudes might be insistence that buddhism might be a kind of idealistic philosophy.

Therefore actually speaking I am much afraid that Buddhism is misunderstood as if it was a kind of idealistic philosophy.

However we should never forget that Buddhism is not an idealistic philosophy, and so if someone in Buddhism reveres mindfulness, we should clearly recognize that he or she can never a Buddhist at all.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

1:49 PM, May 24, 2008

Post a Comment

Dear HezB San

Thank you very much. Gudo Wafu Nishijima

Dear Markis "Uku" Laitinen San,

Thank you very much for your opinion, and I agree with your idea. As you says, the problem is not fundamental but a selection of words. In the next chance I would like to use a word "consciousness."
Gudo Wafu Nishijima

Dear Ven. Cohen Jundo,

I have found the image of my behavior writing calligraphy in my computer, and so I express my thanks. But I do not agree with your idea of mindfulness. It is clearly a mistake in selecting vocabulary. The word "mindfulness" can never indicate the balanced state, and so "mindfulness" can never be Buddhist. When we are doing something, we are always balanced, but never mindful.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

Dear Rich San,

Thank you very much for your important question. When we are doing something we have to keep our autonomic nervous system balanced. Therefore we should concentrate our body and mind into our action, and so our daily practice of Zazen in the morning and in the evening everyday is important.
Gudo Wafu Nishijima

Dear PhilBob-SquareHead San,

I agree with your idea, and so I am thinking to correct "mindful" and "mindfulness" into "consious" and "consciousness" as soon as possible.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

Dear jundo cohen San,

Sewing Rakusu, writing calligraphy, and so forth, are all actions, and so those actions are always done in the balanced state of body and mind. Therefore it is difficult for me to agree with your opinion, which you described in your comments.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima