While Peter’s wife is away for a week, he decided to practice integrating mindfulness more thoroughly into daily life routines. The primary changes included more meditation periods and more reading about Buddhist practices; otherwise, the routines were the same as before. During the talk, he reviewed various ways to increase the application of mindfulness during the day: the cultivation of samadhi/passadhi (concentration and tranquility) as a buffer against impulsive reactivity, using body awareness to interrupt intrusive unnecessary thoughts, and simply reflecting “Is _______ really that important or valuable right now?”, focused on distractions and intrusive thoughts. This was followed by dialogue with sangha members regarding ways to enhance daily practice of mindfulness. Next week’s talk will focus on understanding what sankhara (mental conditioners) are, related to understanding one of the Five Aggregates of Clinging, sankharakkhanda.
During this first of a series of talks exploring the Satipatthana Sutta, Peter talked of the mutually supportive functions of samadhi (concentration) and vipassana (insight). This was followed by a lively discussion regarding how different meditators cultivate these qualities, both during formal meditation and normal daily routines.
During this talk on the second night of the 2014 one week retreat, Peter talked of the contemporary views on karma, relating this to the characteristics of the five hindrances. Ways to use the skills developed during the retreat to set the hindrances aside were described, setting the stage for the cultivation of concentration and tranquility, which would then be applied to the practice of vipassana.
During this talk, the first night of the annual one week retreat, Peter revisited the meaning of “retreat”, “the three refuges” and the concept of the precepts from a contemporary perspective. The importance of silence was emphasized, both external and internal. He then explained the value of persistent, but relaxed investigation of the sensation of breathing, to support increasing tranquility and insight. The meditation students were encouraged to make persistent monitoring of the breath a priority during the course of the ensuing days.
This Dhamma dialogue reviews three levels of awareness related to mindfulness of breathing and how they interact with the practice of vipassana, that is, insight into the impermanent and selfless nature of personal experience. The first level is simply being aware “This is the in-breath, this is the out-breath”. The second level is a cultivated interest in the “textural” quality of the breath sensation, while the third level narrows the focuses the concentrated awareness around a discrete, singular sensation “like noticing the sensation of one nasal hair vibrating”. How each level relates to the practice of vipassana was described and then there was a general discussion of these practices.