So, what is wrong with translating Sati as Mindfulness? Well, part of the early translations suggests that it has to do with remembering.
So, what exactly are we supposed to remember?
‘Sati‘ – is the seventh acre of the Buddhist wheel called ‘the eightfold path.’ And in its completeness, the eightfold path includes Right view, right motivation, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. With ‘Sati’ meaning: Remembering the now.
Remembering that which is experienced through the five senses at this moment.
In many modern contexts, ‘Sati’ has been derived from its rightful place as ONE of eight acres in the eightfold path. A wheel that together drives the path of liberation forward.
In the recent days of secular systems of Mindfulness, ‘Sati’s’ original place is not even known to most of us. A lot has also been lost in translation. By now, only a fraction of the connection is left with the original Buddhist path.
Part of the similarity in these practices is the awareness method of purposely bringing one’s attention to the present moment and doing so without judgment. However, it takes more than just being aware to apply the full power of the practice of ‘Sati’, a skill we can develop through meditation and post-meditation.
Whenever you see a form, hear a sound, use ‘Sati’ or “remembering” to take a mental note or to be a witness of what is occurring at the moment without judging it as bad or good. We can draw our attention back to the body, our feelings, the mind, and the different phenomenon around us to take advantage of this practice in the ongoing moment.
While doing so, the practice will become complete when we apply the right motivation, right view, right effort, etc so that the use of ‘Sati’ includes a broader meaning then simply being aware of the present moment.
As we do so, we include an attitude of equanimity based on the understanding of no-self, no other. A mindset that neither favors nor opposes the object of which we are aware. This attitude is applied to all our experiences, whether that is an experience of the body, feelings, mind, or phenomena.
To consciously practice ‘Sati’ in our daily lives, it’s very beneficial to turn to our natural breath as our meditation object. By doing so in conjunction with an attitude of equanimity, we enhance the part of the mind that is aware of the way things are.
This will also help us to arrive at radical acceptance rather than getting lost in how we would like things to be. Arriving at the point of radical acceptance will allow us to let go of our opinions and wants around our experiences and thereby arrive at a more peaceful place within.
As someone wise has said,” If we could stop wishing for what we don’t have and be content with what we have, we would be happy right this instance!”
It is healthy to heighten our sense of awareness and be mindful, AND it’s even more beneficial to do so with an attitude of equanimity. Hence, a change of our way of behaving occurs following our insights derived from incorporating the complete eightfold path. And much more so then detaching one of the acres from the wheel of the path to liberation and leaving the rest behind.
Don’t leave the attitude of equanimity at the doorstep of Mindfulness and allow your practice of ‘Sati’ to fall flat on simply being mindful. Remember the now, apply the complete path and rest in acceptance through letting it be. As.It.Is.