It's significantly harder to be mindful when the language part of our brain is active.

So how does one read theory about Buddhist meditation while actually being mindful of what is being read? How does one listen to Dhamma talks with moment by moment mindfulness?

This is multitasking two birds with one stone, but should we study and practice at the same time? Also, should noting (as in the Mahasi tradition) be dropped in these situations, because noting a word with another word seems like it could be more trouble than it is worth.

I haven't heard of very many meditation techniques or methods that cover this area (mindfulness while reading, talking, listening & writing) and I am hoping someone else might know. METTA

3 Answers 3


Uilium. I hope you are well my friend. I think if you were to view things from an experiencial point of view- so acknowledgement of all experience through sensory input ( the 5 aggregates)seeing, smelling, tasting, touching...etc. Also the body can multi-task but the brain can not, for example you can only think one thought at a time, you can't think of both a banana and an elephant simultaneously, unless you combine them, then it's still only one thought being processed.

So back to your question specifically, when i read, i listen very attentively to my voice, but if i'm reading in my head, then i might focus on the touch or feeling of the book or pages. Wherever the mind goes, just focus on that during your studies.

I hope i have helped in some way, my friend. Metta.


Sometimes being mindful can get in the way of learning--sometimes it can support it (for example, catching yourself when you are just drolling through the read not understanding anything).

You will have to learn things the "ordinary" non-mindful way until you understand what mindfulness feels like.

So don't worry, just keep reading and learning about it, absorbing the right Buddhist material on your way to Right Mindfulness.

Eventually, when you have become used to mindfulness and you try to read, you will naturally be one-pointed and focused, as you go through a reading. Your target will be: your purpose for reading.

Your distractions that you will learn to be aware of and transcend (be mindful of): distraction, self-doubt, expectation, etc.

You will be aware of the things in the distraction category and make the one-pointed target (ekagatta) the sun around which your actions revolve.

Until you reach this foundation of mindfulness, don't try to do two things at one time. You will only be creating more anxiety and false expectation--at least until you are familiar with mindfulness and have an overall more clear state of mind.

Thus, the answer to your question is: meditate more and get stronger in mindfulness before trying to carry your power in the midst of activity. Doing the latter is always more difficult and needs a good foundation in the former. If you cannot do the latter, you need more foundation in the former.

Use this as a rule of thumb for all activities you want to include into meditation.

I hope this helps, writing this helped me to answer a question I had before, haha.


Listening, reading, thinking about what has been said create sensations. You have to look at these sensation. (Indriya Bhāvanā Sutta1)

In additions if it is listening the Dhamma then this also can be used as a stepping stone for the 3 trainings. (Vimutt’āyatana Sutta) listening to Dhamma > joy (pāmujja) > zest (pīti) > tranquillity (passaddhi) > happiness (sukha) > concentration or collectedness of the mind or mastery over the mind (samādhi) > the knowledge and vision of reality (yathā,bhuta,ñāna,dassana) > repulsion and dispassion (nibbidā,virāgo) > the knowledge and vision of liberation (vimutti,ñāna,dassana)

1 Agreeable, disagreeable, neither Agreeable nor disagreeable are tied to pleasant, unpleasant and neutral sensations

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