Dr. B. Alan Wallace

What the Buddha Meant by “Mindfulness”

The Buddha explained the meaning of “sati,” or mindfulness, as the faculty of remembering, which is an ability with which we are all born. In Buddhist practice, this faculty is transformed into “right mindfulness,” which is oriented toward the cultivation of wholesome qualities and to the alleviation of unwholesome qualities. This is the basis for achieving our own and others´ happiness. Mindfulness plays a crucial role in all aspects of Buddhist practice. In the practice of ethics and in daily life, it ensures that our conduct is beneficial.

 

In the practice of meditation, it is combined with introspection to finely tune the attention so that it becomes clear and stable. In the cultivation of wisdom, mindfulness is applied to the close inspection of the body, feelings, mental states, and phenomena at large, leading to insight into the fundamental nature of existence. This is the Buddha’s “direct path” to liberation, in which direct knowledge dispels the ignorance and confusion that lie at the root of suffering.

Dr. B. Alan Wallace

began his studies of Tibetan Buddhism in 1970 in Germany and has taught Buddhist meditation and philosophy worldwide since 1976 and has served as interpreter for numerous Tibetan scholars and contemplatives, including the Dalai Lama. After earning his undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at from Amherst College in 1987, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in religious studies at Stanford University. He is the founder and President of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and Director and Chairman of the Phuket International Academy Mind Centre in Thailand. He is author and translater of more than 30 books, e.g. „The Attention Revolution, Wisdom Publications 2006.