Mindfulness and Ethics: Attention, Virtue and Perfection

Abstract

Mindfulness is regarded by all scholars and practitioners of all Buddhist traditions as essential not only for the development of insight, but also for the cultivation and maintenance of ethical discipline. The English term denotes the joint operation of what are regarded in Buddhist philosophy of mind as two cognitive functions: sati/smṛti/dran pa, which we might translate as attention in this context (although the semantic range of these terms also encompasses memory or recollection) and sampajañña/samprajanya /shes bzhin , which I will render here as introspective vigilance. The first function involves the fixation of attention on an object, and the second the careful maintenance of that attention and of the attendant attitudes and motivations

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Jay Garfield
Smith College

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