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The Little Book on Buddhist Mindfulness & Concentration builds on the basic Buddhist practice that is described in the previous books in this series. This Little Book begins by describing the practice of mindfulness.
The word “mindfulness” has been greatly distorted in its imported, Western version. It is usually taught as something like “non-judgmental awareness” or “non-reactive attention.” But the Pali word for “mindfulness” literally means ”keeping something in mind,” not “attention.” Further, when the Buddha did teach “attention” he taught “wise attention,” which means attending to qualities of the mind that are skillful.
The Buddha’s teachings on mindfulness are taught most extensively in two discourses: “The Four Foundations of Mindfulness” and “Mindfulness of Breathing.” This book describes the practices in both of these discourses.
The practice of “right mindfulness” leads to “right concentration.” The Buddha defined right concentration as “jhana,” or “meditative absorption.” The qualities of mindfulness and concentration reinforce each other. Greater mindfulness leads to greater concentration and greater concentration leads to greater mindfulness.
These practices of mindfulness and concentration constitute Phase Two of Buddhist practice. They lead to serenity, calm, tranquility, and greater wisdom. Ultimately, if they are mastered they lead to Awakening, to freedom from stress and suffering, to transcendent happiness.