Universal Mind Conditioners

by Peter Carlson on September 22, 2016

This talk continues to explore the functioning of the cetasikas, the categories of factors that condition the mind.  The focus this week in on the “Universal Cetasikas”, that is, the cetasikas that cooperate in the formation of a self in every moment of consciousness: Contact, Volition, Concentration, Vitality and Attention.  The remaining universal cetasikas, Feeling and Perception, were discussed in depth during the last talk, September 14.  Peter emphasized that these conditioners align and cooperate with other cetasikas, whether they are wholesome or unwholesome in their function.

The explanations were followed by group discussion to clarify the functions and application of the cetasikas during the process of awakening.

Here are the notes prepared for this week’s talk:  universal-conditioning-functions.

Additionally, here is the .doc file listing the 52 cetasikas in total:  CETASIKAS POSTER

Next week’s talk will function on the group of cetasikas called “Occasional” or “Particular” cetasikas, which may or may not be included in a moment of self-state organization.

Feelings And Perceptions

by Peter Carlson on September 15, 2016

This talk continues the exploration of the Abhidhamma, Buddhist psychology, focused on the first two of the 52 cetasikas (categories of mental function), vedana (feelings) and sanna (perceptions).  These factors provide a bridge between sensory stimulation and the way the mind interprets and creates meaningful self-states.   The purpose of Abhidhamma study is to provide conceptual support for the application of mindfulness in the process of awakening.  The initial explanation is followed by lively discussion among those present regarding how to make best use of this information.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  feelings-and-perceptions-bridging-sensations-and-the-mind

Next week’s discussion will describe the “Universal Cetasikas”, whose function, like feeling and perception, operates in every moment of consciousness.

Abhidhamma A Psychology For Awakening

by Peter Carlson on September 9, 2016

During this talk, Peter described the Abhidhamma, the Buddhist approach to psychology.  A distinction was made between the term cetasika, which is a category where memories are “stored” and sankhara, the content of the stored memory.  This analysis was followed with a lively discussion period.

The next talk will begin more in-depth exploration of the cetasika categories, leading to ways to understand how Abhidhamma can foster deeper understanding of the awakening process.

Here are the notes for this talk: abhidhamma-cetasikas

Cultivating Wholesome Emergent Self States

by Peter Carlson on September 1, 2016

This talk follows on the preceding exploration of paticca sammupada, traditionally translated as dependent origination, a foundational concept of Buddhist liberation practices.  During the previous talk, the organization of the 12 elements of the process of “selfing” was described, using non-linear terms.  This talk reviewed the 12 elements, emphasizing how clear awareness of the transition from unprocessed sensory data through the mental conditioners to the misperception of an enduring, separate self can be resolved.  The resolution emerges through mindful, non-reactive awareness of feelings and perceptions as just phenomena, not constituting an enduring self.  During the discussion period, two levels of awakening were described: personal/psychological, and ultimate/spiritual.

Those interested in further study of this talk should go to the prior talk entitled “How Selfing Operates August 24 2016 and download the two .doc files on paticca sammupada and cetasikas.

Next week’s discussion will begin to elaborate understanding regarding the cetasikas, the categories withing which personal karmic potential are organized, with an emphasis on how this understanding can support the process of awakening.

Intensive Study Group

by Peter Carlson on August 27, 2016

For several years, Peter has facilitated an intensive study group to foster regular mindfulness of breathing meditation practice and the integration of mindfulness and benevolent intention into “householder” daily routines.  Those who will benefit from this 8 week group will commit to practicing mindfulness of breathing meditation 45 minutes per day. during the meetings, Peter will interview the participants individually, followed by a general “seminar” discussion by the other group members.   Some level of study of Buddhist concepts will be important; the intention of this course is to deepen the conceptual understanding of Buddhism and to combine those concepts with daily life experience.  Participants will meet from 7:30-9 PM on Tuesday nights.  The fee for the course is $160, payable to Peter Carlson.  The first meeting will be determined as soon as there are 6 committed group members; as of this writing, there are 2 commitments.  For more information or to register, email Peter at Peter@orlandoinsightmeditation.org.

How Selfing Operates

This talk adds to the discussion from last week, which focused on the Five Aggregates With Clinging doctrine.  This week’s topic is paticca sammupada, typically translated as dependent origination.  Peter applies a new translation, contingent provisional emergence, which connects the ancient Buddhist doctrine to modern theories regarding the complexity of the brain’s functioning.  The twelve […]

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Five Aggregates With Clinging

This talk provides a review of pancasammupada, the Five Aggregates With Clinging, an important Buddhist concept describing how personality is organized.  When Peter was in Graduate School, part of the required curriculum was a course on personality theory, citing such authorities as Freud and Jung, among others.  One of the chapters, written by Daniel Goleman, […]

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