Weekend Meditation Retreat Day 1

by Peter Carlson on December 8, 2014

This recording was made during the first night of the weekend retreat at the Franciscan Center, a delightful retreat facility on the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida, from December 5th to the 7th.  This recording is extraordinarily long, almost 95 minutes.  The first part is Peter’s introduction to the practice of anapanasati, mindfulness of breathing.  Included in the talk is a description of the “three refuges”: “I take refuge in the Buddha…I take refuge in the Dhamma…I take refuge in the Sangha.”  Peter described the Buddha as the reality of awakening, not with an emphasis on nirvana, but on the release each person can experience from the burdens of craving and clinging.  The Dhamma was described as the principles and practices described in the Buddhist tradition that foster awakening, from the perspective of what is called “Secular Buddhism”, that is, the Westernized approach that is relatively free from traditional rites and rituals, and draws on scientific research that validates the important insights of mindfulness meditation practices.  The Sangha was presented as the community of “truth seekers” who gather for the practices leading to awakening.

The last 45 minutes of the recording involves a guided mindfulness of breathing meditation session that provides useful periodic comments to foster “noticing distractions, disregarding them and returning to the practice of aiming and sustaining attention to the in- and out-breath”.

This posting is accompanied by a recording from December 6, during which Peter described the different levels of intimate breath awareness that can be acquired with diligent attention to the in- and out-breath.

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