The Foundations of Mindfulness

Mindfulness has become a ‘billion-dollar business’ in the West (Wiecznsner, 2016). Growing research indicates that as a cognitive therapy, it works, and Western mental health professionals have begun to use and evaluate its efficacy as a clinical intervention for people with psychosis. The connection of mindfulness with Buddhism has occasionally been acknowledged in this context, but traditional Buddhist approaches to mental health and healing have, for the most part, been ignored in the West, perhaps dismissed as among the “trappings” of Buddhism.

As a result there are now growing concerns over the rapidity at which ‘mindfulness’ has been extracted from its traditional Buddhist setting and introduced into psychiatric treatment domains. As stated by Huxter (2007) on this matter:

Attempts to reinvent the wheel, without reference to earlier models are, perhaps a retrograde step
— Huxter, 2007

Sri Lanka has been a centre of Buddhist scholarship and learning since the introduction of Buddhism in the third century BCE and historically Buddhism and traditional medicine, particularly Āyurveda, in Sri Lanka have been closely related (Liyanaratne, 1995).

Whilst attending the sick, the Buddha explained the satipatthanas (four establishings of mindfulness) (SN.36.7,8) and when the Venerable Anuruddha was gravely ill he explained that through his practice of the satipatthanas: “...arisen bodily painful feelings do not persist obsessing my mind” (SN.52.10).

The satipatthanas (four foundations (or establishings) of mindfulness) forms an important part of our therapeutic programmes. The Satipattana Sutta and Maha Satipattana Suta are the most ancient known discourses on the practice of mindfulness.

The Satipattanas form the basis of our approach to 'cognitive therapy' which is an important part of our Manasa Ayurveda therapy programmes.

In the recording here, Ven. Dr Omalape Sobhita Maha Thero is chanting the Maha Satipatthana Sutta (the Buddha's discourse on the four foundations of mindfulness). 

The recitation of this Sutta is traditionally offered to those who are suffering from physical or mental health problems...