Natural Law

With the recent investigation of mindfulness and how Kabat-Zinn has got mindfulness into science, I have been looking at how Matriellez might get Buddhism in the mainstream – without calling it such. Much of this has been discussed on the mindfulness meditation page.

I have recently restarted the Mandtao blog about what is knowledge and science. In this I have been investigating Natural Law. there is a place for Natural Law in Education so make sure this is included in the book.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Zandtao.


Phassa – The Conditioning Moment

On the mindfulness meditation page, I have described a thought process summarised as

This is a limited version of a much more profound teaching paticcasamuppada discussed by Ajaan Buddhadasa on p10 of Idappaccayata – download here. Here are the detailed stages he uses in his discussion of dependent origination (paticcasamuppada):-

“Then he realized that it came from jāti (birth). Jāti (birth), what does birth come from? Birth comes from bhava (becoming). Becoming arises from upādāna (clinging). Clinging comes from taṇhā (craving, ignorant desire). Craving comes from the vedanā (feeling). Feeling comes from phassa (contact). Contact comes from the āyatana (the senses). The senses come from nāma-rūpa (name and form). Name and form comes from viññāṇa (consciousness). Consciousness comes from saṅkhāra (the power of concocting). The power of concocting comes from avijjā (ignorance).”

In terms of the mindfulness discussion Buddhadasa says that a perfected person (arahant) “already possesses the perfect Right Mindfulness, he does not anymore experience suffering, because there is already the cessation of dependent arising.” In the wider framework that is Buddhism, mindfulness leads to an end of suffering – a much greater goal than discussed by Kabat-Zinn.

Perhaps unwisely I have limited the dependent co-arising for academic consumption – guilty of what I accuse Kabat-Zinn of? In my limited model I focus on the moment between the senses and the arising of the emotions. In the original Buddhist model this is called phassa – point of contact. I want to describe it as the conditioning point, the moment when conditioning arises.

Let us examine racism. Because of forces behind Trump and Brexit racism has become increasingly more acceptable within the last few years. How does racism arise? In the very young races mix without problems, this indicates to me a natural law of equality, we are all different people together. As we get older we become conditioned. Through our senses thoughts arise that lead to racism. Let us consider this. By the time a person is a racist, it is rare they will change. However we can work on conditioning, and perhaps eliminate the conditioned racism in many young people. In my own case I grew up a racist, all the people in my middle-class suburb of Manchester were racists; it was just conditioning.

When I moved to London I came into contact with black people and began to change. With their help I learned to remove my conditioning, and thus see the different forces that lead to racism. As such I am now a strong anti-racist. Fortunately there was minimal emotion involved in my own racism, in fact emotionally my tendency would be to reject racism as being part of my upbringing that I also rejected.

This lack of emotion is not however the case with many white racists. Unlike me many white racists will be emotionally invested in their community and its racism, they could not stand up to their community by demanding anti-racism. Because of racism in British there are many reactions – often violent. In addition there is a black underclass of criminality. If a mugging is committed by a black person, white people associate this with blackness, and become emotionally invested in racism. I know of someone who was badly bullied at school. A group of boys would almost daily steal his dinner money, they were black boys and would claim legitimacy because the person they were stealing from was white – a criminal excuse. In my view this boy who is now in his 50s is still scarred by this, and exhibits racism. In his case I suggest that the thought of black bullying comes up as emotion as soon as any consideration of racism arises.

As with the more general emotions that arise as a consequence of thoughts on race, somehow we need to break the conditioning. Before the emotion that leads to desire, clinging and accumulation, there needs to be an interception – a mindful interception, that says “do not cling to this emotion, all people are equal under nature”. There is a moment before the emotion kicks in, in which we can stand back and detach ourselves from any emotional consequences that arise. When friends start with their racism, stand back and listen, do not agree because they are friends, do not let emotions from personal experience pull you into a racist reaction. There is a moment when you don’t have to immerse yourself in the clinging, hold onto that moment, step back and learn with discernment. Don’t be conditioned.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Zandtao.

Mindful activism – A Fusion of Activisms

When I was active in politics I had as my underlying principle or mission the idea that I was working for political equality to enable wider spiritual involvement. By this I meant that people were unable to follow the spiritual path because they were wage-slaves. I still feel that.

Throughout my life I have been involved in two types of activism, one or other coming to the fore at various times – the spiritual activist and the political activist. My spiritual activism started when I hit bottom, and after that spiritual upheaval I was always on the Path to some extent or other. My political awareness was hindered when I was early on the Path by a collision with the extreme Liberalism of the SWP, this Trotskyite-Liberalism demanding that their creed be followed to the exclusion of all other. Fortunately towards the end of that period in my life I met African and Afro-Caribbean activists who began to open my mind to a world view of understanding that led to a period of political activism in the next phase of my life. Following that I became a teacher abroad, and my community activism was limited to education activism fighting against the inadequacies within the different school communities rather than the wider community of the different countries. If you examine my blog you will see blogs that oscillate between the Inner and Outer with the pendulum swinging between personal Buddhist development and anti-1% political activism (sadly only of a blog form).

On the negative side I retired because of the careerism and profiteering in education, but on a positive level it was because my spiritual path had become distanced from my actual life path and I needed to focus on the path. For the first years of my retirement I was dealing with personal damage. In terms of the blogs it showed in a predominance of Buddhist blogs although I had a separate STC blog which was concerned with political evaluation. But more importantly I was writing my spiritual book, A Treatise on Zandtao, and my education primer, Matriellez – neither of which are finished. The balancing in my life came with Occupy, and at that point I personally fused and recognised there was a wider need for such fusion.

Buddhism mostly has as its teachers monks, or at least people who teach in monasteries. In my view they are in monasteries for two purposes – to preserve and teach the dhamma, and to meditate. Whilst this is a legitimate life path it has an unfortunate side effect, people who follow Buddhism tend to want to do the same – study the dhamma and meditate. But people outside cloisters are living life, and in my view it is the intention of Buddhism to inform an activism in daily life which then transforms society. This is Engaged Buddhism but unfortunately not all Buddhism outside cloisters is engaged. If the role is not preserving and teaching the dhamma as in cloisters, then the Buddhist needs to be an activist, delivering their compassion through an active participation in social change.

This brings me to an excellent talk between Angela Davis and Jon Kabat-Zinn – between a political activist and a mindfulness activist. Let me begin this by re-evaluating Jon Kabat-Zinn. Because what I do is not comprehensive and academic, I do not always look in depth about what I am saying. In beginning examination of Kabat-Zinn I used his Oslo talk. For me there were weaknesses in his position, and I reacted quite strongly to his rejection of robes, that was what he presented in that talk I suspect because it was delivered to academics. I don’t want to swing to a judgement in the opposite direction, but it could just have been a strategy to appease the rules and intellects of academy. For me the essence of his life’s work has been to make mindfulness acceptable to academia, this has also tailored into HHDL’s Mind and Life work.

And the reason I now consider it a strategy is the degree of non-dogmatic Buddhist awareness that is prevalent in the dialogues between he and Angela Davis, I only have a playlist of this dialogue. I took from this talk a mutual recognition of the other’s position and a mutual agreement towards mindful activism in whatever form.

There is a particular aspect of mindfulness that is needed for political activists, and that is mindfulness of the attachment to sankhara; in non-Buddhist terms the dogmatic approach of most political activism towards holding a line and demanding that others follow it.

During my political activism in the 80s the Marxist left was split asunder by extreme Trotskyist parties who were demanding that all activists follow their political line. What they were correct about was that the only way forward was for the proletariat to unite against the bourgeoisie but instead of working in the interests of the proletariat they demanded that all follow their line. There were times when the Trotskyist Left were united but other times they squabbled. Within the proletariat as a whole they only sewed division.

What was needed within the proletariat was mass movement unity, no adherence to dogma, just working together against the proletariat, my great teacher at the time was George Cooper who spent all his life working within the Brighton Trade Union movement to promote mass movement unity. He was a Marxist but it was not the theory that mattered but how it was put into practice, and it could only be put into practice through diligence, compassion and working for unity – that was George Cooper.

Let us examine the world of Trump’s neoliberalism (and Brexit neoliberalism). There are two themes common throughout his presidency – anti-Liberal division and pro-1% policies (often hidden). His tactics of division have been obvious to see from the beginning. In the Republican nominee race, he divided and attacked unscathingly; easy to do given the quality of the Republican nominees.

During his campaign he cemented a division between Liberals and non-Liberals, and managed to accrue all the non-Liberal vote gaining the Presidency. During his Presidency he has publicly denounced any form of Liberalism through racism, sexism and homophobia. Every week his Liberal-baiting has produced a torrent of Liberal abuse towards him in mainstream media and wider platforms. Meanwhile throughout his presidency the 1% have been adopting policies that promote their wealth the most obvious now being the tax reforms. Let us be clear the 1% put him in power – Robert Mercer, and since he has been in power he has been feathering their nest. This Trump neoliberalism is just an extreme form of the electoral neoliberalism in which a bilateral clone party system fight each other at elections, and then give token lip-service to party differences whilst all the while promoting policies of the 1%. Trump does this but in an extreme way.

I am anti-racist, anti-sexist, pro-LBGT and anti-Liberalism. Let me describe Liberal characteristics. These are people who demand that people follow what they say. Black liberalism demands we are all anti-racist and here is the anti-racist line, reformist feminism demands we are all feminist and here is the feminist line, and pro-LBGT demands that we all support the rights of all genders. What is the difference between what I say in the first sentence and this last sentence? Division. Demands create division.

At the same time these Liberal positions themselves are carrying out the work of neoliberalism because they create divisions. When I see Trump’s America I see Trump liberal-baiting and liberal-bleating, I see increased accumulation amongst the 1%, and I see extreme sadness. Liberals perceive that the system is OK but it needs fixing – reform. They believe that the racism in the system can be reformed, sexism can be reformed and LBGT rights can be won under the existing system. They don’t have to lose their jobs, their houses, their way of life, bleat a bit, a lot, and it will change.

Meanwhile there is a lot that liberals overlook. They do not see as the root of the problem the financial system that sees accumulation to the 1%. They cannot see that this financial system forces people to be greedy, to hold onto their good fortune at the expense of others. When white males claim that liberals are taking their jobs historically there is an element of truth in this. Historically the 1% advantaged white males as their wage-slaves and they became richer accordingly. Along came Liberals demanding jobs for all kinds of people and, once this happened, the whites reacted by bringing in Trump. What is not being attacked, because of the neoliberal system, is that the 1% has accumulated even more wealth than they did historically, and they have encouraged the delusion that this wealth went to the Liberals and their causes.

And where does all the wealth come from – wars and wage-slavery. But the Liberals don’t fight this because they are involved in maintaining their way of life through identity struggles. Liberal demands are dividing the 99% turning people against each other whilst the 1% continue to profit.

The key phrase here is demand for a set of ideas, that is a characteristic of Liberalism. And this is why I call the Trotskyites extreme Liberals. They make demands for a particular set of ideas, and demand that the mass movement follow them. They are all divisive. We seek Unity, and removal of adherence to demanding ideas is the key to this. And this is a characteristic of the mindful activist. Such an activist adheres to compassion, does not demand that we follow a set of ideas but that we be compassionate; compassion directs the struggle. Buddhists go to the monasteries and learn compassion, and then engage that compassion in the struggle.

When I watch Angela and Jon, I see two activists who are convinced of their own approach. But I saw something else. I didn’t see two separate activisms but one mindful activism in which there has been a fusion of the inner and outer struggles – except when Jon suggested Google money might fund a change. Whilst left-wing activism is dominated by Liberal demands, there is no future – there is only division. Mindfulness can help us not emotionally attach to our demands because of the heinousness they are trying to overcome. At present there is legitimate Liberal backlash to the chronic sexism in society that frequently leads to assaults. Unfortunately some of the demands that are coming out can only lead to further division. These Liberals need to consider that 53% of white women voted for Trump, they did not vote for Hillary – a flawed politician but a leading female icon. These 53% were alienated from what would benefit them, white women were divided amongst themselves because, in my view, of reformist Liberal demands. A backlash to sexism needs to attack the source of the problem, the accumulation of money to the 1%. If there were more money available people would not be fighting for the same crumbs, and this would ease the tension created within the 99%.

Once there is money available, people will not be dividing an ever-decreasing cake, and will have the opportunity to attend education in mindfulness and others that removes the conditioning we all work within. With education people can see that racism is caused by the 1% and exploited by the same, sexism is caused by the 1% and exploited by the same, and aggression towards the LBGT community has the same sources. Once liberated from the 1% and their conditioning there is a chance that we can be compassionate.

Only 5 blogs today!!

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Zandtao.

Mindfulness – a Brianblog

30 seconds on mindfulness meditation:-

Mindfulness meditation can help agitated minds including teenagers.
Mindfulness is a tool and its usefulness is limited by the framework in which it is taught – helps corporations repress, helped the Buddha to enlightenment.
Coercive teaching methodologies, even with the best of intentions, can add to mental agitation.
A quiet room – mindfulness room or Muslim prayer room – would be a benefit to all institutions.

Boring ramblings – mindfulness meditation page, and tag – mindfulness.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Zandtao.

Kabat-Zinn and Sunnata

For me sunnata is most easily understood through the Buddhadasa systems:-

If we remove attachment to the 5 khandas, if we remove the I and mine from the 5 khandas, then we can experience sunnata, the fundamental Gaia, the life force that is Nature. In terms of the Buddhadasa systems, removing attachment to the 5 khandas (which are body and psyche) then we are left with self and sunnata. But the self builds up over the years by attaching to the 5 khandas, if we detach from the existing selves then all we are left with is sunnata – emptiness, as it says in the Tao te Ching the emptiness that is full.

Kabat-Zinn refers to this as an internal wisdom, something that is inside. He referred to this internal wisdom here.

But his answer to this one of Angela Davis’s questions is perhaps far more significant, here the internal wisdom is a guiding force for good. Their talk is discussed in detail here.

Now I have alluded that mindfulness is a loose cannon. Kabat-Zinn has been at great pains to talk about mindfulness meditation as being relational, yet fundamentally he predicates it on this internal wisdom. Whilst I feel details of what this internal wisdom is needs to be investigated as it is the primary factor and as it is the root of mindfulness meditation in Buddhism that Kabat-Zinn claims to have eschewed. However internal wisdom is not part of academia so he would probably not have gained acceptance by demanding that mindfulness meditation is predicated on an undefined internal wisdom.

Internal wisdom prevents the cannon from being loose. If an internal wisdom is recognised then when mindfulness meditation is practised and there is no sankharic agitation the mind is free to reach for the internal wisdom that will guide. I cannot imagine that internal wisdom would be a core part of the mindfulness training for corporate execs!! Nor for young students.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Zandtao.

The Agitated Mind of Sankhara

Sankhara is one of the 5 khandas that is included in the psyche part of the Buddhadasa model:-

Sankhara is most important in considering the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation especially as to whether to introduce it into schools.

Sankhara is often translated as mental operations, so let me describe in part these mental operations with regards to meditation. In Anapanasati, meditating is concerned with bringing the mind back to the breath when it is wandering. Typically an adult is drawn to meditation for one reason or another. They sit down and try to watch the breath, and the mind is wandering all over the place. Out of control. For some people this wandering mind is so uncomfortable they decide they cannot meditate. As examples of this difficulty I know personally of two westerners who say they are unable to meditate yet claim they are Buddhists, yet the Buddha says to meditate. It is for them to decide but their example illustrates the difficulty with mind and meditation. It is this wandering mind being out of control that stops most people from meditating – and that is people who are choosing to meditate. Basically sankhara is the problem.

Through mindfulness the agitation of uncontrolled sankhara can be calmed.

Let us examine that uncontrolled sankhara in a typical educated western adult. They go to school, and are convinced that it is important to get an “education” ie pass exams. In class they force themselves to listen and work – discipline. Mostly passing exams is concerned with memory so they work with their memory to pass exams – sanna as memory is also one of the 5 khandas that is part of the psyche. OK, some sankhara is involved with the use of reason but that can be relatively limited in certain parts of the curriculum where there is an over-reliance on memory. But the dominant mental force in operation is discipline, somehow we apply discipline to control our use of memory and any mental operations that are required.

It is possible to go through life with disciplined use of memory and mental operations – sanna and sankhara, without ever having to look inside and cope with the agitation that occurs as a result of this discipline. Especially in the West it is this which is the normal “state of mind”.

Now consider less educated people, those who are not academically successful. They do not have the motivation of academic success to help with the discipline so in school it is only discipline that controls them – and this discipline is fundamentally the fear of getting in trouble. If you are a delinquent without such fears you produce disruption in school.

For adolescents how can agitation arise? One obvious way this arises is that because they have limited hope of academic success they begin to question the point of being at school. Such questioning can obviously produce agitation. Adolescence is obviously dominated by growing sexual awareness. Especially in the West sex dominates the culture where sexual imagery is constantly offered in the media typically as advertising. For adolescents who have no involvement in academic success to motivate them, more emphasis on sexual discovery when growing up is bound to cause agitation, physical agitation can cause mental agitation, and that is before considering how much of a mental operation is involved in sexual desire.

Relationships with the family dominate the lives of teenagers. As they are beginning to see what life has ahead for them they begin to kick against immediate authority. Sadly parents bear the brunt of this attack but teachers are also a symbol of authority, and both are blamed for the world that we live in – yet neither are 1%.

So life awareness, family issues, sexual development and lack of academic involvement all contribute to mental agitation in teenagers.

If we are motivated to be mindful, mindfulness meditation can obviously help with this teenage mental agitation – sankhara.

But how can we possibly interest all teenagers in mindfulness meditation? I suspect there has to be an element of genuine teacher coercion in mindfulness classes but if the student attitude is to fight that coercion mindfulness cannot be beneficial. If a teacher is forcing a student to be quiet against their will what will that do to the student’s mind? If a mindfulness session is the student sitting there silently steaming, I don’t think that would be good. Yet having said that, the “Victorian” school discipline that existed in the 1950s and before developed concentration, and there was much that was lost in terms of concentration as education sought motivation and threw the concentration baby out with the bath water. Mindfulness has to offer benefits in most situations as it deals with agitation, but if there is coercion this might not be beneficial and simply add to the agitation. Possible coercion might explain this report in a South Australia school.

This agitation of mind, known as sankhara, is prevalent throughout the world, and mindfulness could help throughout. In the centre of Manchester there is a Buddhist Centre, when I was working there in 2003 it was good to sit in their quiet room. There was a Muslim prayer room at the Muscat school I taught in. A quiet room can be great for those who know they want to try to cope with their agitated minds.

Mindfulness meditation has got to be of benefit to all interested to cope with the agitation that is part of sankhara. It would be especially useful for adolescents for whom life is one whole agitation. But if mindfulness meditation is coerced through genuine teacher concern or institutional imposition, it might cause problems.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Zandtao.

Mindfulness is a Loose Cannon

Firstly I want to be upbeat about mindfulness meditation, it is useful. I want to encourage everybody to use it but we have to be mindful of mindfulness meditation – aaaggh.

Now the question of mindfulness meditation arises in the west and not in the east as meditation has been considered within eastern cultures a long time. In the West we have an excess of agitated minds quite simply because our establishment does not understand that minds can be agitated as it has always coped with such agitated minds. As a culture the West learns to deal with agitated minds, and within our communities and education we develop mechanisms of discipline that deal with the agitation. We control the agitation through discipline and repression, even when we are agitated we force ourselves to do the “right thing” – mostly. When Kabat-Zinn describes America as ADD LINK, he is describing the usual level of agitation that exists within western minds.

So wouldn’t it be great if we did not experience this agitation? Wouldn’t it be great if in adolescence there was not the embarrassment and agitation associated with developing sexual awareness?

Now mindfulness meditation can help people cope with this. If we were trained in mindfulness meditation we would be trained to cope with the agitations that are in the western mind – as many eastern children are trained. At present for many this agitation is controlled rather unhealthily by alcohol. So to introduce mindfulness meditation especially in schools is beneficial in coping with the agitated minds that tend to grow up in our society without any mechanisms for control. But all it is doing is calming the agitated mind, coping with minds that the West has only previously coped with by discipline and repression. And this is why so many western classrooms have such poor discipline because these agitated minds are rejecting the discipline for whatever reasons – quite often delinquency but also distrust as western societies have developed a distrust of the education system and its teachers.

For a simple example of the agitated mind consider Asian children who sit pillion on bikes with their mothers. They are completely still because their mothers demand it. With Asian children there is no issue because from birth they have meditated to some extent and their minds do not have the agitation characteristic of western children.

For this reason (calming agitation) alone, mindfulness meditation is worth introducing in western schools – and society in general.

But mindfulness meditation is simply judgement-free awareness. You start practicing sitting and the calmness of mind then transfers to the daily-life mind, so to some extent in daily life there is judgement-free awareness and generally a feeling of much less mental agitation.

But an aware mind that is judgement-free is just that – without judgement. When corporations like mindfulness meditation it is not inconsistent with the intention of mindfulness meditation because it is judgement-free. This is why it can be argued that there could be a murderer who uses mindfulness meditation. So when mindfulness coaches are being employed by such organisations as corporations and the military, they are being employed not to make judgements but simply control agitation. Typically a corporation worker joins a company accepts company policy and accepts the lifestyle that is concerned with career and remuneration. Accepting such a position requires that an individual does not introduce morality into the workplace, and there is no reason why judgement-free awareness could ameliorate the situation of stress brought about by moral or other awareness – although the mind would be less agitated. This is why corporations like mindfulness, it can be a tool for repression, repressing the natural agitation that comes from being in the wrong situation and moral conflict causing agitation.

It is this lack of morality that attracts many to mindfulness meditation. Because there are benefits to mindfulness meditation by coping with the anxiety and stress of the agitated mind I am not attacking Kabat-Zinn for introducing mindfulness meditation. But when he eschewed Buddhism from mindfulness meditation he was taking away the moral basis that Buddhism insists upon and he was taking away the purpose of meditation inherent in Buddhism. Basically once you go beyond the control of the agitated mind with mindfulness meditation you are creating a loose cannon unless you provide an appropriate framework (such as Buddhism). Morality could of course be that framework – although using that framework would be limited in terms of the possible wider benefits of Buddhism. Once the agitation of the western mind has been coped with, mindfulness meditation is a loose cannon.

Removing that agitation is sufficient raison d’etre for the introduction of mindfulness meditation but beyond that it is a loose cannon.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Zandtao.

Kabat-Zinn limitations

I am not sure I can ever get a grip on what Kabat-Zinn and his mindfulness meditation actually mean. It is difficult to understand it in terms of Buddhism with all its proliferations, but once academia has been let loose on it it has become a mental free-for-all.

Let me begin with Buddhadasa’s 4-system model:-


Let’s further be clear the purpose of meditation is to help with a model that fits the Buddhist system, a model such as this. This is Buddhadasa’s path through the forest as opposed to wandering through underbrush and thickets.

Ultimately Buddhism deals with Nirvana connected to emptiness or sunnata yet that has to be rejected by academia. Without sunnata there is no genuine methodology, no appropriate ultimate direction or purpose. Does that mean that the mindfulness cannot be used fruitfully? And the answer has to be a careful no. Mindfulness is a tool. You cannot use a hammer to chop wood nor can you use a saw for a nail. But within the context of the ultimate direction it might be possible to find suitable usages for young people. However I note that in a Buddhist country meditation is used but not heavily. For example it is not used to create an “impact on self-reported measures of anxiety, depression, weight/shape concerns, well-being and mindfulness”, the benchmarks used in this study. The more I look I am seeing a western approach that is out of context.

Significant within Buddhadasa’s 4-system approach is being mindful of sankhara – mental proliferations, part of his psyche system. Based on the way benchmarks are used above it appears to me that mindfulness has proliferated into a form of panacea. Kabat-Zinn’s talk in Oslo was well attended, and as it was given to support those involved with MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) I can see how academia can have proliferated benchmarks directly into the underbrush and thicket, it has always been difficult to see academic minds keep on track.

Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness meditation will also not be making any attempt within the third system of self. It is quite possible that his mindfulness would be used for removing some selves – to reduce stress for example, but the whole question of whether an I need exist beyond the 5 khandas would not even be considered within the realm of academia.

Whilst it need not be restricted to such, mindfulness was a tool designed to work with a mind that is aggregated from the 5 khandas of body-rupa, vedana – feeling, sanna – perception, sankhara – mental operations and vinnana – consciousness. Through conditioning, selves come into existence as described arising in paticcasamuppada or dependent origination, ignorance, consciousness, mind-body, sense, phassa, sensation, desire, clinging, becoming, self, suffering. Whilst there is consideration of this with regards to reincarnation, Buddhadasa does not look at it for that purpose but for the birth of selves that aggregate into I. This whole approach is ignored by Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness meditation. Whilst such a doctrinal approach is not going to be accepted in schools, its tool, mindfulness, is unlikely to have any impact either because it is not used for its original purpose. For adults paticcasamuppada is difficult, it would be far too demanding to consider its application in this form within a school curriculum.

“Dependent on ignorance, reaction (conditioning) arises;
Dependent on reaction (conditioning), consciousness arises;
Dependent on consciousness, mind-body arise;
Dependent on mind-body, the six senses arise;
Dependent on the six senses, contact arises;
Dependent on contact, sensation arises;
Dependent on sensation craving and aversion arise ;
Dependent on craving and aversion, clinging arises ;
Dependent on clinging, the process of becoming arises ;
Dependent on the process of becoming, birth arises;
Dependent on the base of birth, ageing and death arise,
together with sorrow, lamentation, physical and mental sufferings and tribulations.” Quoted from here.

Can the core of the teaching be used in schools? Possibly. But surely it depends on purpose. For schools Buddhadasa’s emptiness and self systems are not appropriate but as indicated on the mindfulness meditation page there might be applications within morality, what is described on that page is based on paticcasamuppada.

It concerns me how this mindfulness is being applied in schools, how are the teachers chosen? Throughout my career I have seen various programmes connected with personal and social education that are perhaps of more interest to the teacher than the student, whilst the intentions were good the results were not – students did not get involved based on restrictions understood through considering the hidden curriculum. In this situation teachers need to be meditators, and I met few that were. A course on mindfulness meditation does not make a meditator. If careers can be made in mindfulness meditation, then that makes for greater potential to redirect to the underbrush and thickets.

Mindfulness meditation might have more success if it could be brought into schools as a tool of its original purpose – Buddhism. Rather than eschewing Buddhism as Kabat-Zinn has done, perhaps more can be done to adapt Buddhism to suit curricular models. If it is now acceptable to consider a modular mind, then there is a possible direction there. The use of a limited version of paticcasamuppada as described on my mindfulness meditation page is one such example, there needs to be investigation to find more. Kabat-Zinn has established mindfulness meditation in academia, this is positive. However his eschewing of Buddhism completely has seriously limited its impact, and possibly led to erroneous applications. Using mindfulness meditation in its original Buddhist context has much more potential for application in schools than appears to have been developed so far.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Zandtao.

Wise Relationship

Case Study, David:- In the 80s a white man went to a majority-black school. At this school black delinquents daily stole his “dinner money” under threat of violence. He could not turn to the teachers because liberal teachers colluded with an education authority who were avoiding recognising that such violence occurred. The liberal teachers did not believe in having security in the school to protect students, and the authority were unwilling to pay for it – hence the collusion. As an adult this man now made comments usually attributed to a racist, and still felt pain about the situation.

I started listening to Kabat-Zinn and began to realise that David, who I had been in discussion with, had reached some of his understanding through a “wise relationship with his pain”. Kabat-Zinn talks about this as healing taken from a talk mindfulness introduction in Oslo. In this case study David was living with his pain, seeing it as permanent and had come to accept it, he had a wise relationship with it in that he considered himself compassionate, considered he had good relationships with black people, yet used descriptions of them and their community which were negative and disparaging – although they could be seen as true – in my view partial truth. His mindfulness was concerned with relationship based on accepting his pain as permanent, Kabat-Zinn talked about seeing ourselves with our imperfections as perfect.

Kabat-Zinn had earlier talked of ancient wisdom, that this ancient wisdom did not come from the East but was inside us. There is within us a perfect state, this is the perfect state of anatta, no-self, but why don’t we live in a state of no-self as sunnata, and the answer is imperfections. If we internalise emotions such as greed and hate (including anger) and accept them as permanent – delusion, we are living with imperfections. To accept who we are as a totality of perfect and imperfect is a delusion. It appears to me that David deluded himself into accepting this totality. The way he talked he might well have a wise relationship with his pain, and might well be managing his pain relatively successfully but his case illustrates a weakness with what I perceive as MBSR. If this MBSR-mindfulness is only concerned with relations what are the fundamental axioms that MBSR-mindfulness is based on?

[Please note the Kabat-Zinn proviso discussed in the final paragraph, if Kabat-Zinn is only talking of pain from physical illness such as cancer this blogpost does not apply to him. However he does say MBSR applies to phrase “chronic pain”. In my view the blogpost does however apply to David although I am almost completely certain he would not agree.]

These fundamental axioms come down to right view, the view that in Buddhism uses mindfulness meditation to achieve awakening, Nibbana or whatever. In this case study right view talks about the inner “perfection” but says that the imperfections can be removed. Right view talks about what is permanent and does not see imperfections that arise from greed and anger as permanent. Here is the danger of MBSR, Kabat-Zinn eschewing Buddhism, he does not have the right view.

Buddhadasa talks about “seeing what is” without any imperfections – without conditioning. If we internalise selves such as greed and anger then we cannot see without conditioning. In David’s case his pain arose from the negative conditioning that came from the criminals. These criminals hid behind their race using racial difference as an excuse to steal, and because the boys who were committing the violent crime were black David became a racist. Instead of using mindfulness to see through the racism he used mindfulness to accept himself as he was with perfections and imperfections, and came to terms with himself as being David with perfections and imperfections. This is mindfulness without right view, without the basic truth of what is as a basis to apply the tool. And this could be a weakness in Kabat-Zinn.

The basic truth in David’s case is not a Buddhist right view although it is part of the right view that is accepted by Buddhists. All people are equal but it is conditioning that makes them behave badly. There is no defence of the criminals who bullied David in his youth, further there is no defence of the liberal-education authority collusion that allowed such criminality to exist.

As an aside let us examine who that collusion was defending. These criminals were gang members. They didn’t always come to school but when they did it was to collect money to buy drugs in the evening. The establishment could not accept such a description because it would be against black people. At the time there was a legitimate grievance against the police from within the black community as demonstrated by the Brixton uprising that spread around UK black communities, and the Scarman report recognised this legitimate grievance. Independent security might have prevented the bullying but Authority-Liberal collusion allowed the violence to continue. It should be noted here that the racism against black people at the time caused far more of a totality of hardship than was caused to people like David, but it should never have happened to David.

Back to David’s case. The pain that David was in needs to be perceived as temporary conditioning that can be removed. Instead because MBSR is not based on a right view mindfulness is used to manage the situation, accept the pain (imperfection) and live with it in a better way – what Kabat-Zinn calls healing. The Buddhist way sees the pain as a consequence of the conditioning and by seeing this conditioning and detaching from it releases the pain (imperfection), and helps David or any individual to embrace the perfection that is within.

This Kabat-Zinn relational aspect of mindfulness is consistent with science as a whole. In general science uses reason in a relational way. Whilst in branches of science it accepts axioms and uses reason to develop those axioms – such as maths, in other areas science ignores axioms claiming they cannot be verified – and the tautological consistency is that verification only means “proving by scientific method”; science can only verify scientific axioms. This goes back to an oft-repeated argument I have put forward. Francis Bacon dichotomised knowledge into that which could be scientifically verified and that which was empirical – such as religious knowledge. At his time it was all knowledge but over the years scientific knowledge has become science and all knowledge that is not science has become religion or superstition, and has been dismissed therein. This was the basis of writing by Gary Zukav and Fritjof Kapra. With Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness meditation the right view has been removed, wysiwyg patients turn up and rather than working on eschewing imperfections such as pain bodies mindfulness works on accepting the wysiwyg package as a totality. The Buddhist approach would get rid of the pain, MBSR keeps it. It makes no sense.

In truth I might be nailing Kabat-Zinn incorrectly. It might well be that David has accepted a psychological spin-off of MBSR. When Kabat-Zinn is talking in the clip of accepting pain he is talking of living with permanent illness – although he mentions chronic pain. In the case of physical illness the Buddhist approach and his MBSR would be the same, using mindfulness meditation to live with the pain. I knew already that David was into meditation, and I couldn’t understand how he accepted his pain, I can now see how the relational nature of Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness could be misapplied – as yet I don’t know whether Kabat-Zinn would choose to do so.

Interestingly the latest from the Buddhadasa Archives is this meme (arriving 2 days after blogpost):-

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao. Zandtao.

Fake News Censorship and Discernment

I am now a committed writer, and at the beach I was thinking about efforts to finish Matriellez and the Treatise.

Since starting Matriellez there has been the emergence of the right – Trump Brexit and elsewhere. Fake News had been originally the accusation of leftie conspiracy theorists like me, but it has now become mainstream attacks on Fake News. This has got to have an impact on education.

Undoubtedly with the rise of the alt-right education has completely failed. Teachers have been pigeon-holed as leftie liberals and whilst there is truth in this, that is far too simplistic. A new way of teaching is required to deal with these manipulations.

First and foremost there has to be an end to classroom censorship along the lines that students can’t cope. There was a liberal ill-conceived approach of mollycoddling students so that they would not be exposed to the worst sort of indoctrination. Instead of that working, students as usual were alienated from teachers and some have become attracted to the alt-right as an alternative to liberalism.

Let’s examine liberalism in schools. Now what happens in discussions on social issues in schools. Teachers are supposed to present a balanced viewpoint so there is a sea-saw in which the distance between the two ends of left and right is very small. This is ludicrously artificial. Students often do not fall between these arbitrary extremes – especially on the right. Students are expected to fall between this balanced spectrum, and in discussions teachers direct students within these limits. This is censorship.

The consequence of this censorship is that students repress their views, and seek support outside of education where they might be able to learn. It is this censorship that leads to the alt-right pigeon-holing of PC and liberalism.

What I experienced was totally different. I was not liberal, I was genuine left and my views were considered too extreme. In fact I never believed that students should follow my views. What I do believe is that students should be exposed to all views and learn to discern what is the truth for them. It is discernment we should be teaching and not views. End the sea-saw and teach discernment.

It is my view that a teacher as in any other situation of moderation should express their view so that the students know and draw conclusions for themselves. But then in discussion the teachers should not participate whilst maintaining facilitative control. In this way I feel the spectrum widens.

With the widening spectrum more views could well be expressed. Students must feel they have the freedom to express their views. I had a recent discussion in which a white student who was regularly attacked by black bullies to get dinner money etc. felt that he could not describe his experience in a majority black school. All people should have been aware of his experience and further all people should know that the school avoided trying to resolve this criminal bullying (hiding behind race). This could only come out if all people were aware of the problem.

The classroom needs to be seen as a protected environment – a commitment from all students that nothing said will be responded to outside. The classroom needs also to be seen as a non-insulting environment. “White people not allowed to use the word “nigger” whilst black people can” is an appropriate topic for discussion but not if people in the room feel they have the right to insult others. To determine whether an insult has occurred would be the right of the class. The teaching point is discernment and not views.

This discernment can be then extrapolated to consideration of “fake news”, and the teaching point that is needed is that students should not accept anything unless they know it to be true. This creates difficulty for education because liberal education tends to present its own viewpoint as truth and eschew other viewpoints – censorship. It is this censorship that has enabled the alt-right to influence ignorant minds. Such minds are willing to accept as truth statements that many including factcheck organisations dismiss as lies because that truth fits in with a particular cultural outlook – often racist. If those minds were used to being heard, if their views were expressed and accepted as experience as opposed to being confronted by liberalism. If white youth feel fear on black streets that fear should be expressed. If black people say “man up” every black person suffers from racism and has to deal with it. That also needs to be heard. At present neither is, as it is not liberal.

It is important to recognise that liberal censorship is in operation and that this censorship has been manipulated into being a significant factor in the move to the right. Such censorship needs to end and genuine education by understanding as opposed to liberal imposition needs to be the modus operandi.

It is not likely that liberals will give up their foothold.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Zandtao.