During this talk, Peter reviewed last week’s topic, “The Selfing Story” and added to the concept of the Five Aggregates the additional concept of paticca sammuppada, typically translated as “dependent origination”. He substituted the term “contingent provisional emergence” as a more contemporary rendering of the concept. This revised meaning conveys the importance of recognizing that momentary experiences of “selfing” are holistic and non-linear, very complex and dynamically changing. The value of mindfulness of feelings as feelings, not as an enduring self, was emphasized.
Next week’s discussion will be led by Daniel Logan. Here is a brief synopsis of his topic: “Many practitioners find it difficult to let go of the doubts and fears that arise during sitting or in the course of their greater practice. The Buddha himself struggled with fear on the eve of his liberation. He acknowledges his experience of fear in an excerpt from sutta MN 36: “Why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities?’ I thought: ‘I am no longer afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities.” The Buddha’s own words give hope to those of us who may not yet have found perfect ease and contentment on the cushion or off. This dharma dialogue will present a more hopeful antidote to heavy and afflictive states by focusing on the role of joy and contentment in one’s practice. It will be an interactive exploration and will include brief written exercises and structured dialogues with fellow yogis.”
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.
This posting contains the notes for the dhamma dialogue presented by Peter on March 11, 2015. The focus of this talk reviews the remaining wholesome mind conditioners, emphasizing the “six beautiful pairs”. Peter suggested that these conditioners represent a harmonious and integrated reflective interaction between the mind conditioners and the quality of conscious awareness associated with them. He also suggested that these pairings are most effective in the process of vipassana, stating that after several days of cultivating samadhi/passadhi (concentration/tranquility) during an intensive retreat, the operation of these pairs becomes increasingly evident, enlivening the practice of vipassana. He then reviewed the wholesome virtues (Right Speech, Action and Livelihood) and the cultivation of compassion and sympathetic joy. Culmination of the process of awakening, fostered by vipassana practice, perfecting the seven factors of awakening, results in the last of the mind conditioners listed, Wholesome Understanding. Here is the attached file: WHOLESOME MIND CONDITIONERS PART 2
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.
During this talk, Peter reviewed the Four Noble Truths, emphasizing the ultimate development of the Noble Eightfold Path, Right Knowledge and Right Release, the transformation of Right Understanding and Right Intention from concept to direct realization. This practice moves from “self state conflict” (the five hindrances) through “self state integration” toward awakening as the seven awakening factors mature through mindfulness practices. He emphasized that awakening is a process, not an identifiable “state” of being. He quoted extensively from an article posted by Gil Fronsdal on the “Tenfold Path” to illustrate the process.
Following on last week’s dialogue, Peter described how the mind “transforms energy into information”, and that the hindrances are “energy dumps” that distort perceptions and create distress. The setting aside of the hindrances through mindfulness of breathing creates a zone of clarity and non-reactivity, preparing for the investigation of emerging self-states that vipassana practice cultivates. […]
During this second of two talks on the Third Noble Truth, Peter reviewed last week’s dialogue, which was focused on understanding how emotionally potent memories (karma) bias the data input through the sense doors, the result being that we “imagine” our way through life. Mindful investigation allows these emergent processes to be noted sooner, and […]