The Concept of smṛti in the Yogasūtra: Memory or Mindfulness?

Authors

  • Tamara DITRICH University of Ljubljana, University of Sydney

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2013.1.1.45-62

Keywords:

Yogasūtra, Patañjali, modern yoga, mindfulness, modern Buddhism

Abstract

One of the key concepts in Buddhist meditation is mindfulness which has recently been introduced into new environments, including contemporary yoga. This paper identifies some of the parameters involved in the rather seamless integration of Buddhist mindfulness and yoga and explores whether this synthesis is an ancient one, already found in the oldest recorded text on yoga, the Yogasūtra, by investigating if the word smṛti, usually translated as “memory”, can refer to mindfulness. This would imply that mindfulness may have been a component of ancient Yogic practices, although perhaps lost at some stage in the transmission only to be reintroduced recently by the syncretistic new trends in the globalised spiritual movements.

 

 

Izvleček

Eden od osnovnih konceptov budistične meditacije je pozornost ali čuječnost. V zadnjih desetletjih se je praksa meditacijske pozornosti razširila na številna nova področja, med drugim tudi v sodobne jogijske prakse. Prispevek poskuša identificirati nekaj glavnih parametrov, ki pogojujejo integracijo budistične meditacije in joge in raziskuje, ali je koncept pozornosti morda bil prisoten že v najstarejšem poznanem besedilu o jogi, v Yogasūtri. V tem besedilu se večkrat pojavi koncept smṛti, ki je ponavadi preveden kot “spomin”. Prispevek predlaga novo intepretacijo tega koncepta in ga prevaja kot “meditacijska pozornost”. Nova interpretacija odpira vprašanje, ali je praksa pozornosti bila prisotna že v starodavnih jogijskih praksah, a se je pri prenosu jogijskih tradicij izgubila in se šele danes ponovno pojavila v jogi kot odsev sinkretističnih duhovnih gibanj 21. stoletja.

Ključne besede: Yogasūtra, Patañjali, sodobna yoga, pozornost, sodobni budizem

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Author Biography

Tamara DITRICH, University of Ljubljana, University of Sydney

Researcher

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Published

30.04.2013

How to Cite

DITRICH, T. (2013). The Concept of smṛti in the Yogasūtra: Memory or Mindfulness?. Asian Studies, 1(1), 45–62. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2013.1.1.45-62