These notes were written by Peter in preparation for the talks presented over the last several weeks. The fourth tetrad of the sutta provides training for the practice of vipassana (insight), emphasizing awareness of impermanence, dispassion, liberation and letting go. Here are the notes: ANAPANASATI SUTTA FOURTH TETRAD
The next recording posted will review all four tetrads as representative of the four foundations of mindfulness.
During this talk, Peter briefly reviewed the cultivation of samadhi/passadhi (concentration/tranquility) in the first three tetrads of the Anapanasati Sutta, then read a translation of the fourth tetrad, which is focuses on vipassana. The four characteristics to be investigated during the breathing in and out cycle are impermanence, dispassion, cessation and renunciation. The primary focus of discussion was on impermanence, which is more usefully termed inconstancy. This was associated with dukkha, dissatisfaction. This explanation was followed by a discussion of how different folks at the meeting experience inconstancy and the benefits of this investigation on the path of Awakening.
Next week’s talk will revisit the fourth tetrad, with more emphasis on the cultivation of viraga, dispassion.
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, empathic joy and insights about the three characteristics of impermanence, non-self, and the inevitable results of craving and clinging, that is, distress. This talk also includes the enthusiastic question and answer session that followed.
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 the emergence of a hindrance. Recognizing the reality of the three characteristics, impermanence, the dissatisfaction resulting from craving and clinging and the interdependence of life was also emphasized as a practical way to understand life’s challenges.