This is the last of the series of dhamma talks provided during the retreat. At the beginning, Tommy Harrison gave a brief talk on the power of generosity and gratitude for the teachings and the practice. After that, Peter reviewed the week’s progression of practice and described various ways that the process of awakening can be furthered after the retreat ended and regular life routines resumed.
The topic of this talk is “What Is Awakening?” During the talk, Peter emphasized that awakening is a process that is not a place or a definable experience, but can be known as meditation practice matures. Every time the mind turns away from unwholesome self-states and re-engages in the cultivation of wholesome self-states, awakening occurs. He emphasized that the way to foster awakening is to use the skills manifested in the practice of the seven awakening factors to focus on process rather than content. Focusing on content is the manifestation of craving and clinging. Through attending to the process involved in the emergence of a momentary, contingent self-state organization, liberation is in operation.
During this talk, Peter explains the “fulfilling of the seven factors of awakening”, as described by the Anapanasati Sutta, quoting the translation by Gil Fronsdal. During the explanations, Peter used a graphic illustration of what are called the “panca bala”, the five powers, to describe the dynamic balancing of energy-tranquility, combined with the balancing of concentration-investigation. This process is ongoing due to the reality of impermanence, and the resulting dynamic equilibrium is equanimity.
This recording is associated with the previously posted .mp3 file, “Deerhaven Sixth Night Dhamma Talk”. It was recorded during a guided body sweep meditation, and included the parts of the body mentioned in the title. As mentioned previously, the purpose of this meditation is to support the cultivation of the seven awakening factors: mindfulness, investigation of mental phenomena, energy/ persistent Right Effort, joy, tranquility, concentration and equanimity.
This recording followed a guided body sweep meditation and provided an opportunity for the participants to discuss the experience and receive suggestions about their practice. Peter emphasized that the goal of this practice is to foster the maturing of vitakka and vicara (aiming and sustaining attention) into the awakening factor of investigation of mental phenomena. The practice also fosters the cultivation of mindfulness, persistent Right Effort, and concentration. These factors also foster the emergence of joy, tranquility and equanimity, the remaining factors of the seven awakening factors. This posting will be followed by the recorded body sweep meditation.