August 30, 2013

Summary of Basic Mindfulness

Einstein said he knew he was on the right track when the equations became beautiful and symmetrical. He also pointed out that sometimes things aren’t as simple as we would like them to be. 

So one way to look at scientific creativity might be as an interplay of contraction and expansion – trying to get things to be as simple as possible but at the same time not glossing over significant subtleties and complexities. 

From time to time, I like to explore different ways of organizing what I’ve learned over my years of study and practice—see how simple I can get things to be. I look upon my formulation, which I call the Basic Mindfulness System, as a contribution to a world-wide “program.” Not program in the computer science sense but rather program in the sense of an ongoing endeavor that may take generations to realize. In other words, program in the sense that landing a human on the moon was a program. The ultimate goal is to create a true science and an effective technology of enlightenment. It may take humanity decades to complete this program but at least the vision is clear now.

Just for fun, here’s my latest attempt at presenting in a beautiful and symmetrical way a “grand theory of everything” regarding human contemplative spirituality. 

Basic Mindfulness: Summary of the System


  1. This is cool. I might print it out and put it up somewhere :-)"make things as simple as possible, but not simpler" a great man once said.

  2. Beautiful, Shinzen. And your explanation of this at the Buddhist Geeks Conference was brilliant.

    Scienbudd0 - that quote is also from Einstein, but probably you knew that.

    "Man soll alles so einfach wie möglich machen, aber nicht einfacher."

  3. This is killer. The system is starting to flow like a Mac instead of like a PC from the 90s. I feel like I could give this to other Buddhist friends without an expectation of total overwhelm. I'm glad the deeper explanations are available in the expanded documents, but tools like this are invaluable! Thank you

  4. Shinzen you are awesome. I thought "The Science of Enlightenment" audio program was extraordinary. Thank you for helping the world.

  5. I can't understand the image. Could you elaborate?

    1. To understand the image, you have to click on it, which will take you to the document this blogpost is introducing. Here is the direct link:

  6. Deeply appreciated this is a real gem.


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