Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DALAI LAMA SAYS ‘MINDFULNESS IS NOT RELIGIOUS’


His Holiness the Dalai Lama (pictured above, in Germany), addressed the concluding session of the International Congress on Mindfulness on 21 August 2011, reiterating that mindfulness is not a religious practice.

The Dalai Lama made the point that we all ‘practise’ mindfulness every day in different forms. (Of course, not all of us do it that well, nor are many people even aware – let alone ‘choicelessly aware’ – of what they are doing.)

The Tibetan spiritual leader said that the first step of mindfulness was concentrating on breathing – focusing one subject. In that regard, I use in my mindfulness meditative practice a 'version' of ānāpānasati (mindfulness on in-and-out breathing), being the 'method' – sorry, I know that's a most unfortunate word – taught by the late Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw (pictured left) of Burma. You fix your attention at that point in the nostrils against which the breathing air strikes on its in-breath ... without actually following the breath along its way. (Alternatively, you may be mindful of and follow the rise/expansion and fall/contraction of the lower abdomen. That can be better where, for example, you're a mouth breather.)

The Dalai Lama’s address was webcast live on the Internet.

Over 30 international speakers – specialists in medicine, psychology and education – addressed the four-day International Congress on Mindfulness which was held at the University of Hamburg, in Hamburg, Germany, between 18 August and 21 August 2011.



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