This meditation is intended to provide ways to realize the potential of the satisampajanna (sah-tee-sahm-pah-jah-nyah) concept, translated as mindful clear comprehension. There are four contemplations involved: a worthy goal, suitable means for achieving the goal, monitoring the process of realizing the goal, and keeping the process aligned with Awakening. In the meditation, the worthy goal is to remain mindfully aware of what passes through one’s focus of attention; the suitable means is cultivating mindfulness of breathing, while continuing to investigate what is passing through one’s focus in order to maintain persistent clear comprehension mindfully, with the end goal being furthering the process of Awakening. This capability can be extended with training beyond formal meditation practice in order to integrate mindful clear comprehension into one’s daily life routines.
This meditation focuses on practicing satisampajjana (sah-tee-sahm-puh-jahn-yah), mindful clear comprehension, alternatively termed knowing, which is part of the First Foundation of Mindfulness. It is reflected as “Breathing in long, he knows ‘I breath in long'”, and again “…”when walking, he knows ‘I am walking’; when standing, he knows ‘I am standing'”; this quality of knowing attention is found repeatedly throughout the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse. During the guided meditation Peter made several suggestions regarding cultivating a knowing awareness, that is, being mindful of the three characteristics essential to Buddhist concepts about subjective reality: anicca (ah-nee-chah), the transient nature of experiences, dukkha (doo-kah), the distress and confusion that comes from being ignorant about anicca, and anatta (ah-nah-tah), the absence of an enduring, autonomous self. Clearly knowing functions to deconstruct craving and clinging and allows the mind to be free from the five hindrances and, alternatively, able to bring the seven awakening factors to maturity.
During this dialogue, Peter described the extraordinary complexity of our material culture, compared to the time of the Buddha. He also emphasized how easy it is to just think about pollution, global warming, and resource scarcity in the abstract, at a distance from the daily choices we make. He described the history of his developing concerns regarding the environment, beginning with such books as “Silent Spring”, “Diet For A Small Planet” and “Voluntary Simplicity”. The inspirational and informative quality of the books combined with the development of his Buddhist practice. He presented this as a realistic model of how the Four Clear Comprehensions (satisampajjana) can provide ways to make concrete decisions that are beneficial for the environment (in a small, personal way) and one’s sense of meaningful action in the world. During the ensuing discussion, examples from the persons attending the meeting were analyzed through the lens of satisampajjana.