In Section One, below are a few Terms to support understanding.

In Section Two, find the references for the four-part blog series, “Evolving Mindfulness.”

In Section Three, please find book recommendations to serve your training and practice.

Section 1: Terms

These terms are found used in the blog series Evolving Mindfulness and are listed here to support greater understanding.

Upādāna and Taṇhā: “clinging” and “craving.”

Upādāna is the Sanskrit and Pāli word for “clinging” or “attachment,” although the literal meaning is “fuel.” There are four kinds of clinging

    1. Sense-pleasure clinging. The first kind of clinging is, clinging to sensual pleasures.
    2. Views clinging. Then clinging to views, to our ideas of how things should be
    3. Rites-and-Rituals clinging. Third is clinging to rules and rituals: as in, ‘this is the right way to do this.’
    4. Self-Doctrine clinging. The fourth type of clinging is (ego)clinging to the belief in personality, the belief in self, that we are somehow this solid entity, that’s me.

Taṇhā is an important Buddhist concept, referring to “thirst, desire, longing, or craving,” either physical or mental.  Craving is a condition upon which Upādāna (Clinging) is dependent — craving is a condition for clinging.

Upādāna and taṇhā(Skt. tṛṣṇā) are seen as the two primary causes of suffering.

Dukkha includes the entire range of human dissatisfaction and anguish beyond the clinical disorders described by psychiatry.

    1. Dukkha-dukkha: The suffering of suffering refers to the physical and emotional discomfort and pain all humans experience in their lives.
    2. Viparinama-dukkha: The suffering of change refers to suffering that arises from an inability to accept change. People cling to pleasurable experiences and feel sad when these moments pass. They cannot accept the truth of impermanence.
    3. Sankara-dukkha: The suffering of existence is best described as a background of suffering caused by judgments, thoughts, and anxiety simply by things not being how we want them to be rather than how they exist.

Seven Ego-Oriented Patterns That lead to Suffering

The items in this section are taken from the text The Path of Individual Liberation: The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume One by Chogyam Trungpa.

There are seven ego-oriented patterns that arise from both attitudes and actions, and lead to suffering: 1) regarding the five skandhas as belonging to oneself; 2) protecting oneself from impermanence; 3) believing that one’s view is best; 4) believing in the extremes of nihilism and eternalism; and root Kleshas: 5) passion; 6) aggression; and 7) ignorance.

Cycle of Samsara

The cycle of samsara is equated with the ocean because the ocean continually circulates around the world: it comes in, goes back out, comes back in, and so on. Samsara is endless circulation. The samsaric ocean is based on three categories: the essence, the cause, and the result.

  • It all begins with the essence of samsara: bewilderment. We are constantly drifting around, not seeing, not knowing, not experiencing what is happening, constantly drifting – that is the essence of samsara.
  • Then, the cause of samsara is fixation, the constant holding on or grasping. Since we do not have clear perception, we hang on to the vagueness and confusion.
  • The result is suffering. Since you have been constantly bounced back and forth, like a ping-pong ball reacting to situations or circumstances, you begin to experience dizziness. Then you ache all over and your body because you’ve been bounced back and forth so much.

The sense of pain is enormous. That is the definition of samsara.

These thoughts on “Samsara” are paraphrased from Chogyam Trungpa’s writings in The Path of Individual Liberation; 2013 (pp 423-424).

One of the most profound parts of Buddhist Psychology is the concept and description of how the wheel of life, death, and rebirth emerges, exists, continues, and ceases. This chain of existence is called the Law of Dependent Origination. Meditation/Mindfulness Teacher Joseph Goldstein explains The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination.

The twelve links (Nidanas) in this Law of Dependent Origination provide an insight into the chain of existence. The twelve links give insights into the causes and conditions of the wheel of life as follows:

  1. Fundamental ignorance (Pali: avidya)
  2. Formation (sankhara)
  3. Consciousness (vinnana)
  4. Name and form (namarupa) 
  5. Sense faculties (salayatana)
  6. Contact (phassa)
  7. Feeling or sensation (vedana)
  8. Craving or thirst (tanha)
  9. Clinging or grasping (upadana)
  10. Becoming or worldly existence (bhava)
  11. Birth or becoming (jati)
  12. Old age and death (jaramarana)

Impermanence called anicca (Pāli) or anitya (Sanskrit), appears extensively in the Pali Canon as one of the essential doctrines of Buddhism. The doctrine asserts that all conditioned existence, without exception, is transient, ephemeral, and inconstant.

(Inter)dependence pratītyasamutpāda, Sanskrit; paṭiccasamuppāda, Pāli, commonly translated as dependent origination or dependent arising, is a key doctrine in Buddhismshared by all schools of Buddhism. It states that all dharmas (phenomena) arise in dependence upon other dharmas: “if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist.” 

Emptiness (Śūnyatā): The Pāli Canon uses this term  in three ways: “(1) as a meditative dwelling, (2) as an attribute of objects, and (3) as a type of awareness-release.”

    1. In Theravāda BuddhismSuññatāoften refers to the non-self (Pāli: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman). Suññatā is also often used to refer to a meditative state or experience or bhāvanā (mental development or cultivation). This is the essence of our Firm’s name.
    2. In Mahāyāna Buddhismśūnyatārefers to the tenet that “all things are empty of intrinsic existence and nature (svabhava).” It may also refer to the Buddha-nature teachings and primordial or empty awareness.
    3. Emptiness is a mode of perception to view experience without adding or subtracting anything from the raw data of physical and mental events. You observe mental events and perceive situations from the senses without adding thought or meaning (meaningless) or any frame of reference. This mode is empty of the assumptions we usually add to an experience to make sense of it: the beliefs, concepts, and worldviews to explain who we are and the world we live in.

Dharma (Sanskrit) or dhamma (Pali) is a word central to Buddhist teachings and refers to the second gem of the Three Gems (Jewels) of Buddhism—Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Dharma is that which upholds the natural order of the universe to mean “teachings” or “the truth” or “way” or “phenomena.”

When the word Dharma is capitalized, it means specifically Buddhist Doctrine. When in lower case, dharma is more generalized to mean teachings or “natural law,” “way,” “truth,” or “phenomena.”

  1. Theravadin monk and scholar Walpola Rahula wrote,  There is no term in Buddhist terminology wider than dhamma. It includes not only the conditioned things and states, but also the non-conditioned, the Absolute Nirvana. There is nothing in the universe or outside, good or bad, conditioned or non-conditioned, relative or absolute, which is not included in this term. [What the Buddha Taught (Grove Press, 1974), p. 58]
  2. Mahayana texts sometimes use the word dharma to mean something like “manifestation of reality.” A literal translation of the Heart Sutra contains the line “Oh, Sariputra, all dharmas [are] emptiness” (iha Sariputra Sarva Dharma sunyata). Very basically, this is saying that all phenomena (dharmas) are empty (sunyata) of self-essence.

Jon Kabot-Zinn offers a more generalized view of dharma that suggest an increased awareness and expanded view and relationship with “self” and all “phenomena.” When practiced from an integrated path, Mindfulness cultivates and is informed by this view of “dharma”:

One might think of dharma as a sort of universal generative grammar (Chomsky, 1965), an innate set of empirically testable rules that govern and describe the generation of the inward, first-person experiences of suffering and happiness in human beings. In that sense, dharma is, at its core, truly universal, not exclusively Buddhist. It is neither a belief, an ideology, nor a philosophy.

Rather, it is a coherent phenomenological description of the nature of mind, emotion, and suffering and its potential release, based on highly refined practices aimed at systematically training and cultivating various aspects of mind and heart via the faculty of mindful attention (the words for mind and heart are the same in Asian languages; thus “mindfulness” includes an affectionate, compassionate quality within the attending, a sense of openhearted, friendly presence and interest).”

The Satipaṭṭhāna SuttaThe Discourse on the Establishing of Mindfulness the establishing(upaṭṭhāna) of mindfulness (sati)—is a meditative technique for training the mind to keep mindfulness firmly established in a particular frame of reference in all its activities. These frames include the body, feelings, mental activity, and the dharmas, or consciousness. This Sutta is one of the most celebrated and widely studied discourses in the Pāli Canon of Theravada.

Obscurations (Sanskrit: avarana) — what hinders us from realizing our true nature. Also known as obstructions, the negative imprints left on the mind by negative karma and delusion obscure the mind. 

Kleshas (Sanskrit); kilesa, (Pali) are mental states that cloud the mind and manifest in unwholesome actions, often referred to as afflictions, defilements, destructive emotions, disturbing emotions, and mind poisons. Kleshas include “confused states of mind” such as anxiety, fear, anger, jealousy, desire, depression, etc.

Engaged Buddhism, also known as socially engaged Buddhism, refers to a Buddhist social movement that emerged in the 20th century. It uses contemporary situations such as social, political, environmental, and economic suffering as the path to which to apply insights and teachings acquired from Buddhist wisdom, ethics, and mental discipline.

Section 2: References

  1. Gleig, Ann; American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity; 2019
  2. Goldstein, Joseph; Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening; November 1, 2013
  3. Jacobs, Beth; The Original Buddhist Psychology; June 27, 2017
  4. Kabot- Zinn, Jon; Wherever You Go, There You Are; 1994
  5. King, Martin Luther; The Trumpet of Conscience, 24 December 1967
  6. Kofman, Fred; Conscious Business: How to Build Value through Values; October 1, 2013
  7. Kornfield, Jack; The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology; May 19, 2009
  8. Mingyur, Yongey Rinpoche; Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness; March 6, 2007
  9. Mingyur, Yongey Rinpoche; Joy of Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom; April 7, 2009
  10. Nhat Hanh, Thich; Transformation and Healing: Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness; Sept 9, 2022
  11. Nhat Hanh, Thich; The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching; Jun 8, 1999.
  12. Purser, Ron; McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality;
  13. Ritzer, George; The McDonaldization of Society; 1993
  14. Smith, David; Ethical Mindfulness; 2015
  15. Trungpa, Chogyam; The Path of Individual Liberation; 2013
  16. Welwood, John; Toward a Psychology of Awakening, February 12, 2002

Other sources used in the blog series

  1. Original blog by Miles Neale (2011), On McMindfulness and Frozen Yoga: Rediscovering the Essential Teachings of Ethics and Wisdom
  2. Original blog in Huffington Post (2013), Beyond McMindfulness, by David Loy and Ronald Purser.
  3. Guardian (2019), How capitalism captured the mindfulness industry
  4. Andrew Olendzki, Buddhist scholar and author of the piece, What Mindfulness Is (Not):
  5. The original sutta, Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (four establishments of mindfulness) for studying Mindfulness.
  6. Mindfulness Revisited: A Buddhist-Based Conceptualization, a scholarly paper by Ronald E Purser and Joseph Milillo; Journal of Management Inquiry 2015, Vol. 24(1) 3 –24; SAGE publications.
  7. The Transformations of Mindfulness, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi. Published in Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context, and Social Engagement (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health); Edited by Ronald E. Purser, David Forbes, and Adam Burke Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, 2016.

See Endnotes at the end of each of the four parts of this blog series for items related to that specific blog post.

Section 3: Recommended Books

1.    Transformation and Healing: Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh, September 9, 2002.

2.    Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, by Joseph Goldstein, November 1, 2013

3.    How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind, by Pema Chödrön, October 26, 2021,

4.    The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, August 14, 2012,

5.    Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, September 6, 2011,

6.    The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation, by Thich Nhat Hanh, May 1, 1999

Audio version

Satipatthana Sutta Series by Joseph Goldstein. This series brings in a traditional dharmic view of mindfulness for study and practice. In each audio file, Goldstein moves learners through the teachings with grace and wisdom. 

1.    The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering, by Bhikkhu Bodhi, March 19, 2020

2.    The Four Noble Truths, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, March 23, 1998

3.    The Four Noble Truths: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Volume 1, by Geshe Tashi Tsering, April 15, 2005 

4.    Buddhism Plain and Simple: The Practice of Being Aware Right Now, Every Day, by Steve Hagen, 1997.

1.    One Buddha is Not Enough: A Story of Collective Awakening, by Thich Nhat Hanh, September 14, 2006,

2.    Interbeing, 4th Edition: The 14 Mindfulness Trainings of Engaged Buddhism, by Thich Nhat Hanh, May 5, 2020

3.    Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh, March 15, 2003

4.    Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet, by Thich Nhat Hanh, October 5, 2021

5.    Together We Are One: Honoring Our Diversity, Celebrating Our Connection, by Thich Nhat Hanh, Kaira Jewel Lingo, May 9, 2006

6.    Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Society, by Thich Nhat Hanh, June 14, 2008