80 Spirituality Studies 9-1 Spring 2023 This paper aims to consider whether mindful attention can help resolve social categorization in our everyday lives. Accordingly, the objectives of this paper are the following: 1. Identify traditional and contemporary mindfulness aspects associated with our everyday social interactions. 2. Analyze how mindful attention is connected to our social interactions and categorizations. 3. Examine the importance of the everyday and ordinary in our daily lives and social interactions. 4. Formulate a connection between mindful attention and our everyday social categorizations. The methodology employed in this research is based on mindfulness. Approaches with mindful components are valuable here because the research focuses on mindfulness in a new context. Awareness, open viewpoints, and meditation practice can help us see our research more clearly from different perspectives. This approach is described by Sikh and Spence (2016, 7) as a mindfulness hermeneutic and was employed in this research to help look at mindfulness in new ways. A mindful approach also is one where mindfulness is more than thought, which makes sense because, as humans, we live by more than just thinking. We also interact with our world and others through feeling and compassion. Bentz and Shapiro (1998, 64) call this methodology a mindful inquiry that approaches our research with “gentleness and care.” Through this mindful inquiry, we approach research subjects through caring, which can be vital when our subjects are the objects of prejudice and discrimination. 2 Beginning with Mindfulness In his influential book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryū Suzuki (2020, 130–131) depicts the initial steps on a path toward awareness. This path may be inconspicuous, but it could be crucial to our human growth. It is a path of observing ourselves and our world with an open mind: You are quite free from material things, and you begin Zen practice with a very pure mind, a beginner’s mind. You can understand Buddha’s teaching exactly as he meant it. But we must not be attached to America, or Buddhism, or even to our practice. We must have beginner’s mind, free from possessing anything, a mind that knows everything is in flowing change. In our daily lives, not one of us is a beginner. That is, we have knowledge and wisdom of ourselves and others through thoughts, feelings, and experiences that are rich and deep. However, as Suzuki mentions, we should set aside our faded constructions so we may see in new ways. 3 Mindfulness in the Buddhist Tradition Mindfulness has been a vital part of the Buddhist tradition since it began more than twenty-five centuries ago (Bodhi 2011, 20; Hanh 2009, 26–27; Thera 2014, xiv). From the Buddha’s words in the Mahā-Satipahāna-Sutta, we see how mindfulness, or Right Mindfulness, is a component of the Noble Eightfold Path. The path that takes us away from suffering (Thera 2014, 140): And what, monks, is the Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering? It is that Noble Eightfold Path, namely, Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration. After questioning the monks about Right Action and other aspects of the path, the Buddha asks (Thera 2014, 141): And what is Right Mindfulness? Herein a monk dwells practicing body-contemplation on the body – practicing feeling-contemplation on feelings – practicing mind-contemplation on the mind – practicing mind-object-contemplation on mind-objects, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome covetousness and grief concerning the world: this is Right Mindfulness. Ancient Buddhist mindfulness was closely connected to the Buddha’s teachings of the eightfold path, practices for living in a right way (Gethin 2011, 268). Although there are eight parts to that path, with mindfulness being the seventh, the Buddha considered mindfulness to be at the core of everything in his doctrine (Hanh 2009, 115; Thera 2014, xiii). The details of mindfulness are described in the Buddha’s Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness. This sutra describes four methods of mindfulness which are focuses on our body, our feelings, our state of mind which is our mental condition at the moment, and the objects of our mind which are our mental contents at the moment (Hanh 2009, 26–27; Thera 2014, 14–15).