John Vervaeke - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Episode 8 - The Buddha and “Mindfulness” - Summary


The following are my main takeaways from the video, quoting and paraphrasing the content.

Axial Revolution > India > Buddhism

Siddhārtha sees a sick person, an old person and a dead person. This undermines his having (existential) mode and causes an existential crisis.

Then he sees a mendicant, someone who has renounced the having mode, and the peace on the mendicant’s eyes, the being mode.

disillusionment has 2 senses:

self-denial is the negation of self-indulgence, but still having mode. Too tight is just as bad as too loose.

This is when Siddhārtha discovers the middle path: to transcend the having mode by rejecting both self-indulgence and self-denial.

sati means to remember what is it like to be in the being mode. Today it is translated into mindfulness. The set of psychotechnologies that bring about awakening.

re-member means to be a member again. When you wake up you remember your world and your identity.

buddha means the awakened one.

Mindfulness

Distinction between the language of training and the language of explaining.

mindfulness features:

Being Present Brings Insight

Being present is having the right kind of concentration. Paying attention. Renewing your interest.

interest comes from inter esse and means to be within something.

attention is a very complex optimization process, it is about tuning and getting between too tight and too loose, and allowing you to become intimately involved, conformed to, participating, inter esse with what you are paying attention to. It is not a spotlight.

attention makes things more salient.

To practice something is to optimize it by doing something else.

You pay attention by optimizing some other process, e.g.:

cognitive unison is coordinating various processes so that they are sharing the same goal and working well together.

What we need to understand is:

Not just insights into particular problems, but the systematic insight that is awakening, that motivates and empowers people to radically transform themselves, so that they can escape from modal confusion and other existential dilemmas.


Next: episode 9.

Previous: episode 7.