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Satipatthana Sutta, Fourth Foundation: An Overview (1 of 2)

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2011-08-02
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



The Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness is the ability to discern what limits freedom and to see the value of open awareness when it is not limited. It encourages a complete examination and investigation of mind until there is existence without obstructions.


The Buddha uses the word discern frequently throughout this Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness. “Discern when an experience arises, discern when it has passed away.” The dictionary defines it as perceiving, recognizing, or distinguishing something. Discernment seems to involve thinking about an experience, but is discernment a quality of awareness itself, free of thought? See if you can quiet your mind during meditation sufficiently to “discern” without having to think. It is very subtle and difficult to distinguish between the intelligence of awareness that abides in stillness and the intellect that relies on cognition. Look out through your eyes without intentionality and sense back into the mind itself for the intelligence that pre-exists thought. Let thought move through the mind but not define what awareness sees.


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