The four close placements of mindfulness: on the body, feelings of levels of happiness, the mind, and phenomena. Mindfulness is a mental factor that holds on to an object of focus and prevents forgetfulness or loss of it. It functions somewhat like mental glue. The strength of the mental hold can vary. It needs to be neither too tight nor too loose.
Vasubandhu in his Treasury of Knowledge (Abhisamayaalamkara) says: “The close placement by mindfulness is wisdom.” The four close placements of mindfulness are practiced to correct the discordant ways we pay attention to our daily experience. With mindfulness, we practice regarding:
- Our bodies – as unclean (impure, ugly), rather than as clean (pure, beautiful)
- Our feelings – as suffering (unsatisfying), rather than as happiness (satisfying)
- Our minds (referring to our six types of primary consciousness: seeing , hearing, and so on) – as nonstatic (impermanent), rather than static (permanent)
- All phenomena (referring to the various mental factors and to the five aggregate factors in general) – as lacking an impossible soul of a person, rather than as having one.
The purpose of meditating on the four close placements is to reject what has been identified by the four noble truths as that to be abandoned, and to integrate what has been identified by the four noble truth as that to be accepted. Realizing the four noble truths in relation to ourselves generates renunciation, and realizing them in relation to others generates compassion.
English-speaking Geshe Sherab understands and connects very well with Western students, presenting the Dharma in a warm and open manner. His clarity down to earth approach brings clarity to even the most difficult topics. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of listening to Geshe-la don’t miss this unique opportunity. Doors open at 6 pm. Join us for tea and biscuits before and after the talk. Feel free to browse our bookshop and to ask our friendly volunteers for recommendations.