#502. The Mental States That Steal Your Calm | Bhikkhu Bodhi

Ten Percent Happier
September 28, 2022
#502. The Mental States That Steal Your Calm | Bhikkhu Bodhi
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

Ever have that experience where you catch yourself in a moment of anger, judgmentalism or fear? And, with a wince, immediately tell yourself a whole story about what kind of person you are? How do you stop this from happening or cut it short once it’s already begun?

The answer? Mindfulness or having the basic self-awareness to see what kind of mental states are arising so that you are not owned them. To use a technical Buddhist term this is called, “mindfulness of mind.” It’s the ability to see your mind states without taking them personally and it comes from one of the Buddha’s most famous lists called the four foundations of mindfulness. 

Today we are going to learn about the whys and wherefores of mindfulness of mind from one of the most esteemed living Buddhist scholars, Bhikkhu Bodhi. Bodhi is a monk, originally from NYC. He is a prolific translator, scholar, and author of books on the Buddha’s teachings. He is also President of the Buddhist Association of the United States and co-founder and Chairperson of the Board of Buddhist Global Relief

This episode is the third installment of a series we've launched on the four foundations of mindfulness.

In this episode we talk about:

  • The historical backdrop of the four foundations of mindfulness
  • What exactly the Buddha meant by “mindfulness of mind”
  • How we can know whether or not we are being mindful 
  • How not to let our mindfulness become a sort of compulsive internal nanny state
  • Practical instructions for the third foundation (given that the Buddha never actually gave them)
  • And Bhikkhu Bodhi’s view that we should not be mindfulness zealots

Photo Credit: Hsiao Ying Chang (史曉瑛)

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