During this talk, Peter reviewed 3 lojong mind training commitments: “Don’t revert to magic”, “Don’t reduce a god to a demon”, and “Don’t seek pain as a component of happiness”. The common theme of these three commitments is to be mindful of mental rigidity, which produces “magical thinking” (Misperceiving one’s beliefs to be “things”, that is, accurate personality defining characteristics). This consequence of craving and clinging can create a rigid, doctrinaire, “holier than thou” approach to life, comparing and judging others harshly for their beliefs. This rigidity can manifest as a punitive approach to life, that is, relishing the suffering of others.
The review was followed by discussion by various persons attending regarding how this rigidity is experienced and what aspects of the Four Noble Truth can bring resolution to the rigidity and harshness.
This review is the last focused on the commitments of lojong mind training. Peter will be on a two-week self retreat over the holidays. The first meeting in January will review the retreat process he experienced. The following meeting will summarize the lojong mind training with a review of the remaining aphorisms, which emphasize the importance of various elements of the lojong mind training system.
This is the second of two talks about the importance of the practice of mindfulness of feelings. During this talk, Peter reviewed paticca samuppada, usually translated as dependent origination. A new rendering of the term was explained, that is, contingent provisional emergence, with clarification of the non-linear, mutually influential functions that affect how the mind overlays a provisional interpretation of raw sense data input, thereby creating a “selfing moment”. In this creative process, attention becomes fixated on a particular feeling and perception, creating the craving and clinging dynamic that is the driving force of our distresses about life. Mindfulness of feelings as feelings allows the skilled meditator to avoid “personalizing” the emerging self-organization, providing relief from craving and clinging.
During this talk, Peter described Paticca Samupadda, usually translated as the principle of Dependent Origination. This is one of the core concepts of Buddhism, as it explains how the dynamics of self formation and dissolution operate. Emphasis was placed on understanding that being able to directly experience feeling as feeling (the second of the four foundations of mindfulness) interrupts the formation and operation of craving and clinging, and that these functions are core to the problem of suffering. Feeling brings resolution to this problem, and is why so much emphasis is placed on body awareness, particularly on strongly pleasant or unpleasant feelings in a non-reactive way.
During this dialogue, Tommy reviewed the last two presentations Peter provided on craving and clinging. Tommy’s frequent use of facilitating questions opened up a lively dialogue among the folks attending. Wendy asked for comments from others about how they approach cultivating mindfulness at the start of the day, and received an abundance of reports from various Sangha members that were quite helpful.
During this talk, Peter reviewed the classic Buddhist concepts of craving and clinging in the context of the Second Noble Truth. Special emphasis was placed on the insights of modern neuropsychological research that relates Buddhist notions of craving to the experience of addictive craving. The three aspects of spiritual progress were reviewed as well: craving and clinging are to be understood conceptually, brought directly into mindful awareness, and noting and renouncing craving and clinging is to be mastered. Next week, Peter will continue to explore the nature of the Second Noble Truth as regards clinging.
During this second discussion of the seven awakening factors, more emphasis was placed on the integrative function of the factors and how this process transitions from personality integration to spiritual transcendence. As the “demons” of the hindrances are starved of attention, more free energy is channeled intentionally to nurturing the “angels” of loving-kindness, compassion, generosity, […]
On this last night of the retreat, Peter provided several suggestions for continuing the practice of awakening after the retreat ends. The value of daily samadhi practice was emphasized as the foundation from which all insights and spiritual progress derives. During the discussion, yogis offered different ways of mindfully knowing the intrusive feelings that precipitate […]