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by admin on September 11, 2014

Energy Awakening Factor September 17 2014

by Peter Carlson on September 18, 2014

In this talk, the awakening factor of energy/effort is described.  Peter talked of how the universe is essentially energy, and that the sense of separation that humans struggle with is a profound, fundamental error of thinking.  He described that energy is distributed throughout the body in the form of glucose, as fuel for the cells.  In the brain, the activities of the mind can be observed through modern technologies such as the fMRI machine.  This research shows that energy “pools” in areas of heightened neural activity.  The mental dysfunctions called hindrances grow stronger when “fed” glucose.  The same feeding occurs as the hindrances are diminished.  In this way, mental formations can be compared to muscles, which grow stronger when exercised.  Peter suggested that the struggles occurring during meditation practice are mistakenly attributed to mindfulness of breathing; in reality, mindful investigation of mental phenomena reveals that the struggle comes from how the hindrances are “energy dumps”, and that the experience of mindfulness of breathing without the hindrances is a much more “efficient” use of energy.  Here is a copy of the notes prepared for this week’s talk:  ENERGY AWAKENING FACTOR

Next week’s talk will focus on the next awakening factor, Joy.

The Investigation Awakening Factor

by Peter Carlson on September 11, 2014

This is the second in a series of discussions regarding the seven factors of awakening, focused on dhamma vicaya bojjhanga, the investigation of mental phenomena factor of awakening.  This factor is a core element of the practice of vipassana, operating in tandem with mindfulness, Right Effort and concentration.  Peter described the maturing of investigation from the rudimentary mindfulness of breathing practice of vitakka and vicara, that is, aiming attention at the beginning of the in-breath and sustaining that attention for the duration of the in-breath, then repeating that procedure for the out-breath.  This basic practice develops the ability to cultivate concentration and tranquility, setting the stage for the practice of vipassana.  This description was followed by a brief guided meditation focusing on investigating the breath and noting any variations of attention that might occur.  There was some discussion following this meditation to associate the investigation factor with truly understanding the Four Noble Truths.

Here are the notes accompanying this evenings dialogue: The Awakening Factor of Investigation of Mental Phenonemena  Next week’s dialogue will continue exploring the awakening factors with a focus on the awakening factor of energy, that is, Right Effort.

Thank You, Sangha

by admin on September 10, 2014

Dear Sangha….

My family would like to share how grateful we are for the compassion shared with us after our son’s recent passing.  Every intention, glance, handshake, shared tear, hug, call, card, email, and kind thought continues to help dilute the power of sadness.  These actions make a difference.  You make a difference.

We cope during difficult times in different ways.   The Buddha’s teachings continue to be everything in helping cope with my life’s difficulties—now more than ever.  Below are links to helpful teachings that have been sources of clarity and comfort over the years and even more so recently.

  • No Death, No Fear – Thich Nhat Hanh  – A book filled with beautiful words offering contemplative heartfelt ways to relate to the experience of loss.
  • 5 Remembrances – Thanissaro Bhikkhu – Reminders of the impermanent nature of our existence and how important our actions are as life unfolds
  • 8 Fold Path – Bhikkhu Bodhi – Right View teaches that we can change the way we relate to life’s experiences.  Right Intention teaches us that renunciation, good will, and harmlessness pave the way.   Every moment presents an opportunity to practice these – even in time of loss.

My path exists only because others have shared their understandings of the Buddha’s teachings.  Perhaps there are teachings that have helped you over the years during a difficult time.  It would warm my heart if you were inclined to share these teachings via email with me.

Thank you again for being who you are, your practice, and your kindness.

Have a peaceful day…..Tommy

Mindfulness As An Awakening Factor

by Peter Carlson on September 4, 2014

During this dharma dialogue, the awakening factor of mindfulness was described.  Peter referred to a Wikipedia definition of metacognition, a psychological term developed without reference to Buddhist psychology, that seems to be synonymous with mindfulness.  The neurological research describing which parts of the brain activated in the process of mindful awareness was described as well.  Following this, there was a brief guided meditation to emphasize recognition of the present function of mindfulness of the body as a stable point of reference supporting vipassana practice.

Here is the .doc file of the notes prepared for this week’s discussion:  SATI As A Factor For Awakening

Next week’s discussion will explore dhamma vicaya bojjhanga, the awakening factor for the investigation of mental phenomena.

Cultivating The Awakening Factors

This is the first of several dialogues exploring the bojjhangas, the seven factors of awakening.  During this talk, Peter describes the relationship between the awakening factors and the five powers.  He also described the evolution of the factors through the process of setting aside the hindrances preparatory to the practice of vipassana.  The awakening factors […]

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What Is Jhana?

Here are the notes accompanying the dhamma dialogue “Cultivating Jhana”: WHAT IS JHANA?

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