Walking with mindfulness in the Theravada tradition

- through Henry Oudin

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Part 2 of Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw's advice on the basic Buddhist practice of Mindfulness.

In each exercise, it is important that there is no interruption in the notation. We cannot repeat it enough: in the practice of Vipassana meditation, it is important to follow the example of a person trying to make a fire. In the past, a person had to rub two dry sticks non-stop until the fire caught in the fuel. As the sticks got warmer, more effort had to be exerted and rubbing continuously. It was only when the fire was lit that we were free to rest. Likewise, a meditator should work hard so that there is no interruption between the preceding act of noting and that which follows, nor between the preceding concentration and that which follows. Once the painful sensations have been noted, he returns to his usual practice of “ascent, descent”.

Note while walking

When walking, note each step: “right, left” or “walk, walk”. With each step, the movement should be noted as soon as the leg rises until the end, when it lands. When walking briskly or during a long walk, note each step: “right, left” or “walk, walk”. In the case of a slow walk, each step can be divided into three sections: up, forward and down.

A meditator should work hard so that there is no interruption between the act of noting the preceding moment and the following one, nor between the preceding concentration and the following one.

At the start of the exercise, there are two sections to each step: “raise” focusing attention on the upstroke of the leg from start to finish, and “land” on the downstroke from start to finish. . This is how we proceed for the practice of the first stage which consists in noting “raise, pose”. It will be noted here that when we note “pose”, when the leg lands during a step, it generally happens that the other leg rises to begin the next step. This must not be allowed. The next step must start only after the previous step has been completed, like this: “lift, put down” for the first step and then “lift, put down” for the next one. After two or three days, this exercise will be easy and we will divide each step into three sections, which we will note “raise, advance, pose”. For now, a meditator should begin the exercise by noting "right, left" or "walk, walk" when walking quickly, and noting "lift, put down" when walking slowly.


Mahasi Sayadaw
Translation: Christian Galliou

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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