During this talk, Peter described the Abhidhamma, the Buddhist approach to psychology. A distinction was made between the term cetasika, which is a category where memories are “stored” and sankhara, the content of the stored memory. This analysis was followed with a lively discussion period.
The next talk will begin more in-depth exploration of the cetasika categories, leading to ways to understand how Abhidhamma can foster deeper understanding of the awakening process.
During this dhamma dialogue, Peter explored the transition from cultivating a calm and stable focus of attention to the practice of vipassana, insight into the conditioned nature of subjective reality. He described the meanings of kamma (karma in Sanskrit), sankhara, cetasikas and cetana. Kamma and sankhara are almost synonymous and the cetasikas are categories of the different functions of the personality that are organized into kamma by cetana, intention.
This was followed by discussion of how kamma functions in action and how breath awareness interrupts the formation of self-states, allowing opportunities to modify the mind conditioners toward more wholesome and adaptive functions.
Next week’s discussion will focus in on the cetasikas, to foster a deepening insight into how self-states are formed, deconstructing the misperception of a separate, enduring self.
CALMING MENTAL FABRICATION
This week’s discussion focuses on the next stanza in the Anapanasati Sutta, again downloaded from the Access To Insight site, translated by Thanissaro:
“On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, ‘I will breathe in…&…out sensitive to rapture’; trains himself, ‘I will breathe in…&…out sensitive to pleasure’; trains himself, ‘I will breathe in…&…out sensitive to mental fabrication’; trains himself, ‘I will breathe in…&…out calming mental fabrication’: On that occasion the monk remains focused on feelings in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I tell you, monks, that this — careful attention to in-&-out breaths — is classed as a feeling among feelings, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on feelings in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.”
During this dhamma dialogue, Peter completed the exploration of the Five Aggregates, describing the function of sankhara, translated as the mind fabricator, the process of fabricating, and that which is fabricated. This concept is related to the paticcasamuppada, usually translated as dependent origination, which will be the next topic explored. This recording is accompanied by the notes prepared for the presentation.
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 […]